12 Days of Holiday Thanks: Kathryn McCormick

Kathryn McCormick certainly isn't camera shy. In her on-screen debut, she played an auditioning dancer in the remake of Fame. Then, we watched her climb to the final three on the sixth season of "So You Think You Can Dance" and return for season seven's "All Star" cast. And most recently, she moved back to the big screen as the star of Step Up's fourth installment, Step Up 4Ever. McCormick credits much of her success to Bea Scheyer, her fifth grade dance teacher from Augusta West Dance Studio in Georgia.

"She would have a jar in class and if we ever said the words 'I can't' we had to pay her a quarter. No fifth grader wants to give up her money! She was more than a teacher--she taught us how dance builds character and that love through art is the most important thing.

I learned to never limit myself and to have confidence in what I do. I also remind myself to put relationships before work, because the person you are is most important at the end of the day. And when you put that effort into yourself and those surrounding you, it really does shine through in your dancing. It brings your work to a completely different level."

Photo courtesy of Go 2 Talent

Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

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Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

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