So Is Cheryl Burke the New Abby? (And Is That Better?)

Whether you consider "Dance Moms" a guilty pleasure or a legitimate depiction of competitive studio life (or maybe you just don't consider it at all, these days), you're definitely aware that change is brewing for the Lifetime TV show. Abby Miller (DT, October 2012) just announced she's leaving the show after seven seasons and under less-than-ideal circumstances (bankruptcy fraud claims, feuds with producers). And it appears that "Dancing with the Stars" ballroom performer Cheryl Burke (DT, October 2009) will be taking the helm—at least according to Burke's latest Instagram posts:


There's a lot to unpack here, but—especially if you're a fan of the show and watch it semi-religiously—what are your thoughts? Are you glad to see Miller go? Do you think Burke will take the show in a different direction? (Do you even care?)

Guess we'll have to wait 'til the next season airs to learn the real story (or what the producers want us to think is the real story, at least).

Teachers Trending
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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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Dancer Diary
Claire McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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