It was a few students in the STAND (Students Taking Action Now Darfur) club who originally suggested that Arcadia High School’s annual fall dance show become an anti-genocide benefit. Now in its fifth year, Dance for Darfur is one of the Phoenix, AZ, school’s most anticipated events. For this year’s concert on November 18 and 19, $5 admission for students and $6 for adults goes toward preventing genocide in Darfur. Five cans for the local food bank will also grant admission. The school’s goal is to raise $4,000 and 4,000 cans. “Teenagers are so into their own world,” says Denise Rapp, Arcadia’s dance teacher and organizer of the event. “Something like this helps them begin to
understand that helping others can enrich their lives.”
Every dance class at Arcadia performs, while advanced students have the chance to choreograph additional dances during class time or on their own. Rapp invites four local dance studios to each perform a piece, bringing the total number of dancers in the show to 200.
Photo: Arcadia students rehearse. (by Danny Cisneros, courtesy of Denise Rapp)
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.
The language of Mind Body Dancer is dynamic. "Action words stimulate change in your students," says yoga teacher TaraMarie Perri. "Try 'pour,' 'push' and 'experience' –not 'feel' or 'do or don't' Those words don't mean anything." Here, Perri and dancer Maggie Ronan use the active MBD language to demonstrate yoga poses used as a warm-up in many dance classes. While practicing, be sure to inhale and exhale in steady cycles.