Let your students know they can use their smartphones for more than Snapchat!
Conversations on Dance isn’t just another fun app spreading dance to people who don’t know dance (as important as those are). This one is for serious, classical students. It can help young pre-professionals educate themselves on everything about ballet that isn’t covered in the studio.
Ballet Society, a nonprofit arm of the School of American Ballet originally founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein in 1946, created the app. The goal? To educate complete, well-rounded dancers. Ballet Society director and School of American Ballet director emeritus Nancy Lassalle stated that today’s young dancers, “while technically adept, do not grasp the connections between dance, the humanities and the rest of the art world.” The app will aim to fill this gap by bringing dance history, theory and more to students’ fingertips.
Beginning with the topic of classicism, Conversations on Dance will offer a new theme every three months. Presented through pictures and text, the topics—including choreography, world cultures, photography and art—are designed to get young dancers thinking deeply about their art and, as the app’s title suggests, talking about it, too.
Conversations on Dance launches October 20 for iPhone and iPad, available through iTunes.
Photo by Amy Kelkenberg
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.