When I met Tammy DePascal last summer at the Dance Teacher Summit, I knew we had to tell her story in the magazine. She offered her Force Friends class as a model for teaching dance to special-needs children. She herself has a daughter with special needs, so her perspective is unique. "Force Friends" details of the sensitive approach that is surprisingly popular with all the dancers at Creative Force Dance Center in Baltimore.
Likewise, the account of how Martha Eddy designed her Moving For Life class to help with a range of issues experienced by women with breast cancer is hugely inspiring (“Dancing to Heal”). Dr. Eddy is part of a growing trend: dance educators who use their knowledge of kinesiology and anatomy to work with people who might not otherwise set foot on a ballet barre.
March is our annual Health and Wellness issue. To lead off DT Notes, we report on All That Dance in Seattle, where for a full week every year, faculty and students devote their attention to body image and acceptance of self and others. Started in 2005, Love Your Body Week has become an annual tradition that influences the dancers year-round.
These stories are examples of the many ways dance educators make an impact far beyond the dance studio. Whether training artists, helping children develop life skills or easing the effects of mental and physical disease, dance teachers can and do change the world every day. It’s an honor to serve this inspiring population with Dance Teacher. If you don’t already, I hope you’ll connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest and join the remarkable conversation.
Photo by Matthew Murphy
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This Sunday, master ballet teacher Finis Jhung turns 80. After a career as a soloist for both San Francisco Ballet and the Joffrey and a principal for Harkness Ballet, Jhung carved out a unique place for himself as a ballet teacher in New York City. He's coached the boys of Billy Elliot: The Musical, developed a popular video and DVD how-to series and STILL teaches seven classes a week at the Ailey Extension. He's graced the pages of this magazine to offer his time-honored wisdom again and again, and he's currently working on a memoir. (We can't wait to read it.) Happy birthday, Finis!
Since 1989, tap dancers have been celebrating National Tap Dance Day (NTDD) on and around May 25, the birthday of tap dance legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. This year, prime events are happening in Philadelphia, New York and Chicago.
When you think of a major basketball team's dancers or cheerleaders, you probably picture the Laker Girls—scantily clad, with shiny curls cascading down their backs. You definitely don't picture a group of 15 40-years-old-and-up "seniors," mean-mugging and ripping off breakaway pants. But the New York Liberty's Timeless Torches do exactly that, and they routinely bring down the house during halftime at the WNBA games where they perform.
The exhibit Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955–1972 is filled with exhibits, performances and conferences honoring the three postmodern dance living legends.