Drew Jacoby's playlist helps dancers take risks.

Though she dons pointe shoes instead of pumps, Drew Jacoby is still a full-blown businesswoman. After jobs with Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, she partnered up with colleague Rubinald Pronk to establish a freelance duo, performing at galas and festivals around the world. Jacoby pioneers again this month, producing BLUEPRINT at Peridance Capezio Center in New York City. The summer intensive includes a faculty list of contemporary and ballet masters like Helen Pickett (William Forsythe), Kevin Irving (Nacho Duato) and Manuel Vignoulle (Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet).

BLUEPRINT’s goal is to bridge the gap between classical and contemporary students. “Often, commercial and contemporary dancers need a bit more structure while ballet kids need to be broken down,” says Jacoby. She helps them meet in the middle by focusing on their common weakness—moving timidly. “In training, it’s so much about technique and trying to be correct. But the issue I see from students, regardless of the kind of dance they study, is they don’t take enough chances,” she says. For bunheads and barefooted dancers whose minds and bodies think differently, learning from each other may be the best way to improve. DT

Artist: Major Lazer

Song: “Pon De Floor”

“I ask students to come ready to dance, because my warm-up is quick—20 minutes. It’s mostly stretching, ab work, push-ups and cardio, because the rep I do is so hard on the back, and they need to fire up their cores. This music really drives you when you’re doing difficult strengthening exercises.”

Artist: Leslie Stuck

Album: Pas

“Leslie is a dance composer, and this is a CD of pas de deux works he’s done for different companies. Some of the tracks kind of remind me of William Forsythe’s In the middle, somewhat elevated. It has that icy and sharp quality.” 

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

Piece: Partita No. 2 in D minor: Chaconne

“This is my favorite piece of music. I don’t usually have a typical song set for class, but I always end up putting this on. The work is classical, but high-energy and very dance-y.” 

Artist: M.I.A.

“I like to surprise my students and put on something popular that has a funky vibe. Though sometimes you have to be careful. Just because I put on a fun song doesn’t mean I want you to dance sexy! I’m just trying to show them the differences in how they dance choreography to something classical versus this.” 

Artist: The Knife

Album: Deep Cuts

“I use this band when I want dancers to move with a more gooey quality. There’s a creepiness and heaviness to these songs that gets them lower and closer to the floor.”

 

Photo: Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk; by Bill Cooper, courtesy of Drew Jacoby

William Whitener held countless auditions when he directed The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Kansas City Ballet and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, and he himself learned from legendary choreographers Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse about what it takes to make it on Broadway. Now he coaches ballet students on these skills when he guest teaches around the country. "Auditions require a certain amount of strategy," says Whitener. He holds mock auditions and discusses all aspects of the process—registration, class and even how to make a professional exit. "Practicing for this kind of performance works better than telling dancers what they should do," he says. "They need to actually do it."

Keep reading... Show less
How-To
Thinkstock

Pointe shoes can be tricky for new students. Share these helpful pointers before problems arise.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers from Hart Academy of Dance in La Habra, CA at Spotlight Events. Photo by DancePix, courtesy of Spotlight Events

One can never be too prepared. When things break, rip and get left on the bus, that doesn't need to ruin the show. From first-aid to back-up music, here's a handy check-list of what not to forget.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Photo by Igor Burlak, courtesy of Tamara King

A raspy voice and sore muscles are not obligatory for teachers, but that's often what happens after hours of teaching. Being a dance teacher is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. Unfortunately, whether it's because you're pressed for time or that you're focused solely on your students, self-care isn't always the top priority. You might think you don't have time to attend to your personal well-being, but what you really don't have time for is an injury. Here are seven strategies that will help keep you injury-free and at the top of your game.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
It takes strength and suppleness to reach new heights of flexibility. (Photo by Emily Giacalone; dancer: Dorothy Nunez)

There is a flexibility freak show going on in the dance world. Between out-of-this-world extensions on “So You Think You Can Dance" and a boundaries-pushing contemporary scene, it seems the bar for bendiness gets higher every year.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Thinkstock

When I am lying down on my back with my feet together and knees apart and press down on my knees, my hips pop. It feels really good. However, now when my hips don't pop, they hurt, and my lower back starts to hurt as well. What do I do to get them to pop, and is it even healthy?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

Bobbi Jene is another poignant film to add to this year's must-see list of dance documentaries.

After 10 years living in Israel and dancing with Ohad Naharin's Batsheva Dance, American dancer Bobbi Jene Smith decides to leave the company –and the life she's come to know–in search of finding her own path as a dancer and choreographer.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored