Remember Al Blackstone, that exceedingly charming dancemaker who appeared on our cover with his mom, longtime studio owner Denise? He has a new show coming up June 6 and 13, benefiting Dancers Responding to AIDS. Freddie Falls in Love follows a down-and-out young man on “his journey to embrace the beauty of the unknown.”
Al Blackstone, choreographer-charmer. Photo by Jeremy Davis Photography.
Blackstone bills it as a dance narrative, or a dance theater work that tells a story without using any actual words. Makes sense, considering his way without words is what helped him take home first place in the Capezio A.C.E. Awards at the Dance Teacher Summit in 2011. Here's the video, for a guaranteed Monday pick-me-up:
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.