Studio Owners

12 Signs Your Dance Studio Is Actually Your Valentine

Searching for a beau to love on this Valentine's Day, teachers? Look no further than your very own studio. Check out these 12 signs your studio is ACTUALLY your Valentine this year (and every year).👇

1. It's the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning, and the last thing you think about before you go to bed.

"You were always on my mind!" —Willie Nelson

2. You've spent more Friday nights at the studio than you ever have with your significant other.

Who needs love when you've got the space to do a whacked battement into a full layout right here?

3. You check in on it obsessively when you're away.

That video-monitoring system was worth EVERY penny.

4. You bring it up at random times in conversation, because you don't know how to talk about anything else.

"I love your dress! It reminds me of the costumes I just ordered for my mini small group number. Let me tell you all about it!"

5. When your therapist tells you to think of your "happy place," your mind immediately goes to the studio.

It's better than Disneyland!

6. You never judge your studio for its flaws—even when it smells like feet.

"It's OK, babe. You know I love you no matter what."

7. You can always count on the marley floor there to catch you if you fall.

Smacking that floor is the one constant in all of our lives.

8. You have a drawer at the studio where you keep a change of dance clothes/street clothes and extra makeup.

If having a drawer there doesn't mean you're in a committed relationship, I don't know what does!

9. It's seen you cry more times than your actual significant other has.

"Bedazzled costumes are just so hard to work with!"

10. You become irrationally angry when dancers disrespect it.

"Throw your trash away, don't hang on the barres and keep your hands off the mirrors!"

11. It's the first place anyone would look for you if you were ever on a missing persons list.

But really, though.

12. You love it more than pizza and/or anyone you've ever dated. (That's saying something!)

Pizza is a close second, though—let's be honest with ourselves.

Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

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Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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