This ABT Principal Just Released a Competition Jazz Music Video—And It’s Amazing

If you haven’t met American Ballet Theatre principal James Whiteside’s alter ego, JbDubs, now is the time. That is because JbDubs just released a music video that pays tribute to competition jazz from the 1990s. (And we know you know exactly what we’re talking about.)

Sometimes it’s better to just show rather than tell, so here goes:

This video led me down an entirely pleasurable rabbit-hole of JbDubs videos, including the wildly popular (um, 3 million views) “I Hate My Job.”

…and also including “The Fanny Bounce,” for which the titles read: “A SUPER PRETENTIOUS FASHION & MOVEMENT FILM,” something I highly appreciated. I also highly appreciated him prancing around in high heels and a fencing mask.

I’m not entirely decided yet on if Whiteside is either highly self-aware and irreverent or completely taking himself seriously, but honestly, I don’t care. Show me all the ballet dancer alter egos!

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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
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After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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