This past weekend was a busy one for us at DT—we've been in Long Beach, California, attending our Dance Teacher Summit, which included honoring our DT Award winners Award winners (best acceptance speech of the decade goes, hands down, to the fabulous Joe Tremaine) and the Capezio A.C.E. Award champions on Saturday night. It was a big evening: The overall winner of the A.C.E. Awards goes home with $15,000 to use towards the production of a future show. Here's who scored the top three spots:
Nick Young's tap number, The Light, was ostensibly a boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-squander-opportunities-to-secure-their-future story, but Young's insane rhythms and gift for storytelling are both perpetually surprising and nuanced. He's proof that tap can be just as emotive and powerful as contemporary, end of discussion.
Lukas McFarlane's Falling was full of movement so hard-hitting that I kept waiting to see a visible reverb in the atmosphere. McFarlane and his dancers spilled their guts all over the stage, marrying incredible, inventive partnering with real, palpable passion.
And the 2017 A.C.E. Award champions:
But it was Marissa Osato and Will Johnston's electric, ominous Peel that took home the grand prize. The dancers' athleticism and control were mind-blowing—at one point, they balanced forearm planks on tiny, clear bowls. And they had some serious slo-mo ability. (You can watch an earlier iteration of the piece by clicking here.)
Big congrats to all of the finalists—and to this year's winners, we're so excited to see what you do with your prize money!
Photo by Jim Carmody
Danceology Performing Arts Campus
San Diego, CA
Be your students' coach—not their friend Coaching dancers is Lucia's passion. To get results, she uses discipline tempered with inspiration. "I am not interested in being their friend," she says. "There is time to laugh, but there are boundaries. Kids listen and do as I say because they understand what is expected of them. Expectations are set and never change."
Don't let parents help you run your biz She encourages parents to enjoy classroom viewing, but has a strict policy of no parents or adults other than staff upstairs. A common mistake is having parents help run a business, she says. "We are a professional team, not volunteers," says Lucia. "We coach minds and teach bodies. We support dance competition, and we prepare young people for success on a stage and in life, the wins and losses. There's discipline and team bonding, and we help with scholarships and college. There are many opportunities, and we work as a team to find the right chemistry for a college education or other direction."
In Take the Lead, actor Antonio Banderas wins over a group of reluctant inner-city students with a racy tango performance. While the 2006 film was inspired by Pierre Dulaine, ballroom dancer and founder of Dancing Classrooms, teaching in a public school is rarely as easy as it looks in the movies. From financial challenges to lack of administrative support and parental involvement, public-school teaching differs greatly from the studio environments in which most dance educators began their own training. We asked several public-school teachers to share their passion for the hardest job they've ever done. —Kat Richter
"So why did you quit?"
It's a question I've been asked hundreds of times since I stopped dancing over a decade ago. My answer has changed over the years as my own understanding of what led me to walk away from greatest love of my life has become clearer.
"I had some injures," I would mutter nervously for the first few years. This seemed like the answer people understood most. Then it became, "I was just not very happy." Finally, as I passed into my 30s, I began telling the uncomfortable truth: "I quit dancing because of untreated depression."
Fall is back-to-ballet-school time and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is introducing the HS First Steps scholarship program to help facilitate access to classical ballet classes for young dancers.