Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday
By Jordan Matter
Workman Publishing, 2012
One thing dancers love more than watching dance is watching dancers do ordinary things—in a dancerly fashion, of course. Which is exactly what you get in the portraits of Jordan Matter’s photography book, Dancers Among Us, the perfect gift for fellow dance teachers, office staff and accompanists this holiday season. There are more than 170 images: From a dancer in muddy pointe shoes at a Chicago construction site to a suited “So You Think You Can Dance” finalist soaring in front of the New York Stock Exchange, they show a broad range of dancers in everyday locations across North America.
The concept took shape when Matter asked former Paul Taylor dancer Jeffrey Smith to leap across a Times Square subway platform in Manhattan amid the daily rush of travelers. As Smith hangs in the air, onlookers stare in awe (or confusion), which marks the theme of the collection—the dancers are among us. Many images show pedestrians surprised by the dancers, and some even participate in the shots. To set the mood of each chapter, Matter includes heartwarming anecdotes from his own life experiences as a husband, father and son. There are also behind-the-scenes stories for many of the images, thankfully, since many of the scenes leave the reader thinking, “How’d they do that?”
As the director of dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts, Istvan Cserven organizes the biannual student showcases, prepares dancers for competition and trains new instructors. On top of all that, he teaches the upper-level technique classes. A former ballroom champion in Hungary, he is well-acquainted with both rhythm and smooth ballroom-dance styles.
In an event inspired by the words of President John F. Kennedy, The Washington Ballet will perform the world premier of WHO WHEN WHY this Saturday, June 24, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Kogod Courtyard.
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.