DT Awards

The 2012 Dance Teacher Awards: Katie Glasner

Guiding undergrads through career preparation

 

It’s 10 a.m. on a Friday at Barnard College in upper Manhattan, where the looming stress of finals week is the only obstacle separating students from summer break. One walks forward to teach a pirouette combination created for a ballet assignment. She looks anxious and timid, and for assistant chair of the dance department Katie Glasner, this will not do. “It’s okay to be nervous, but this is a women’s college!” declares the former Twyla Tharp dancer. “We stand up for ourselves and what we believe in.”

Mottos like these run strong at Barnard, an all-women’s private school affiliated with Columbia University, where Glasner has counseled countless students who teeter between studying dance and traditional academics. As someone who attended an arts conservatory (North Carolina School of the Arts) and college (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee), and worked in concert dance (with Tharp from 1977 to 1987) and on Broadway (Singin’ in the Rain), she knows the realities of professional life. It’s why her classroom isn’t just a technique lesson, but a place to discover how dance fits into an individual’s goals. Glasner sees the potential in each student and feels that she deserves the highest level of training, regardless of whether that young woman will become a professional dancer, an arts historian or a patron.

One student who has benefited from Glasner’s personal approach is Sydnie Mosley, a dance and Africana studies BA who graduated in 2007. “I’m not a ballet dancer, but Katie and I set goals. With her help I became fearless, even though I wasn’t to the level of the other dancers in the room.”

Today, Mosley choreographs and teaches dance at a high school in the Bronx. Glasner helped her through the unguided and always difficult transition between collegiate life and the working world. The two continue to keep in touch through e-mail and meetings, and Glasner weighs in on Mosley’s choreography and frequents her performances. “Katie is more than a professor. She’s an advisor, lecturer, mentor and friend. That’s what any student could ever want.”

Though she’s helped shape many careers, Glasner is modest in crediting herself and instead raves about her students. “There’s an old Chinese proverb that a teacher opens the door and the student walks through it. And that’s my job—to give as much information as I can, and they will do with it as is relevant to them,” she says. It’s her students, colleagues and downright love of dance that keeps this educator going. “My mother once told me, ‘You only get to keep what you give away,’ and that never made sense to me until I started teaching.”

Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

Keep reading... Show less
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

Keep reading... Show less
How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored