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5 Books Every Dance Teacher Should Own

American Dance: The Complete Illustrated History

by Margaret Fuhrer

Voyageur Press; 288 pages; $45

Legendary dancers and choreographers like Fred Astaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Martha Graham jump off the pages of this beautiful coffee-table book on the history of American dance, by Dance Spirit editor in chief Margaret Fuhrer.


Being a Dancer: Advice from Dancers and Choreographers

by Lyndsey Winship

Nick Hern Books; 200 pages; $20.95

Get guidance from some of the world's brightest stars like Carlos Acosta, Wayne McGregor, Hofesh Shechter, Darcey Bussell and Tamara Rojo. Advice ranges from the poetic ("Every Romeo needs a Mercutio." —Carlos Acosta) to the practical ("There's always another job."—Adam Garcia).

Dance to the Piper

by Agnes de Mille

NYRB Classics; 368 pages; $17.95

Twentieth-century choreographer Agnes de Mille is famous for her ballets and Broadway works, including Rodeo, Oklahoma! and Fall River Legend. In her 1951 memoir, now released in a new edition with an introduction by dance writer Joan Acocella, de Mille tells her story with humor and candor.

The Art of Movement

by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory

Black Dog & Leventhal; 304 pages; $37.27

Get your dance photo fix with these gorgeous images of dancers from American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Royal Ballet and other companies. There are also inspirational quotes from the featured dancers and a foreword by ABT principal Daniil Simkin.

What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing

by Brian Seibert

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 612 pages; $35

The New York Times dance critic Brian Seibert delivers an illuminating history of tap dance, including its origins in jig and clog dancing; hoofers like Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the Nicholas Brothers and John Bubbles; and how stars like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly took it to the silver screen.

Teacher Voices
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In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

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Health & Body
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Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

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Technique
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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