If winter weather has you California dreamin’, you may want to consider this new educational dance offering from the San Francisco Bay Area: Saint Mary’s College of California has just announced a shiny new dance MFA program. Designed with the working dance professional in mind, the graduate program offers two degrees: a master of fine arts in dance in creative practice and a master of fine arts in dance for design and production.
While many schools have theater design and production programs, Saint Mary’s will offer the first dance-specific concentration in the country. “Designers and technicians for dance have mainly been self-taught until now,” said Linda Baumgardner, director of the design and production program, in a statement. Students who choose this course of study learn set design, costuming, lighting, stage management and more, all based on setting the scene for choreographed bodies in motion.
The other degree program, for dance in creative practice, offers multidisciplinary studies in choreography, technique, somatics, pedagogy and theory, as well as technical aspects of production and scenic and lighting design. For those pursuing performance (or other) careers, this track offers a low-residency option, where students take the majority of their courses during June and January. CatherineMarie Davalos, who directs the creative practice area of study, says she hopes this program “will be of interest to dance teachers in the Bay Area and to professional dancers across the country.”
The inaugural MFA in dance class will begin studying in June 2014. The early application deadline is January 2. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: Saint Mary's Dance Company in A Movable Feast; Rapt Productions, Saint Mary's College
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.
Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.
This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.