5 Music Selections From Modern Teacher Hollis Bartlett

Bartlett, front and center, leading a class. Photo by Arthur Fink, courtesy of Bartlett

When Hollis Bartlett began attending NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2007, the modern-dance faculty urged students to explore the relationship between composed music and dancing. Coming from a studio that typically used popular tunes or songs with lyrics, rather than scores by Philip Glass or John Cage, Bartlett found this valuable, yet challenging. "Now, as an artist I can fight that rule," says Bartlett, who's danced with Doug Varone and Dancers for seven years.

When he's teaching at Gibney Dance Center in New York City, Bartlett pairs his downtown postmodern style of movement with music that inspires him. "I try not to make those weird, obscure choices," he says. "I don't want to limit myself."

Whether with recorded tracks or a live accompanist, he starts class with a quiet selection, something atmospheric. This allows dancers to listen to what's going on in their own bodies, he says. As the class progresses and students build heat and awareness, he adds more charged, rhythmic music that pushes dancers forward through space.

Using Spotify and accompanists, who record for class, he searches for music that either supports or, occasionally, contrasts with the choreography. "I like to have fun in class," he says. "Dance is a very communal activity, so I find it's important to engage in different ways with different types of music."

Artist: alt-J
Song: "Deadcrush"
Album: Relaxer

"I enjoy dancing to most alt-J, and this song in particular has a catchy, driving beat perfect for big, traveling movement."

Artist: Son Lux
Song: "Lost It to Trying (Mouths Only Lying)"

"I've found this to be a versatile track in my class, fitting for both my warm-up and also large movement phrases."

Artist: Perfume Genius
Song: "Queen"
Too Bright

"I often match this easy tempo with a phrase that is slow and expansive. The music feels like it's constantly inflating and leaves space to elongate."

Artist: Kid Cudi
Song: "Releaser"
Album: Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin'

"This song has a steady underlying beat, but I've also really enjoyed riding the melody on top and not being too concerned with counting."

Artist: Someone
Song: "Forget Forgive"
Chain Reaction

"This song has a haunting, airy quality, and I've enjoyed building material to it that matches those qualities in the body."

Teachers Trending
Cynthia Oliver in her office. Photo by Natalie Fiol

When it comes to Cynthia Oliver's classes, you always bring your A game. (As her student for the last two and a half years in the MFA program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I feel uniquely equipped to make this statement.) You never skip the reading she assigns; you turn in not your first draft but your third or fourth for her end-of-semester research paper; and you always do the final combination of her technique class full-out, even if you're exhausted.

Oliver's arrival at UIUC 20 years ago jolted new life into the dance department. "It may seem odd to think of this now, but the whole concept of an artist-scholar was new when she first arrived," says Sara Hook, who also joined the UIUC dance faculty in 2000. "You were either a technique teacher or a theory/history teacher. Cynthia's had to very patiently educate all of us about the nature of her work, and I think that has increased our passion for the kind of excavation she brings to her research."

Keep reading... Show less
Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Ford Foundation; Christian Peacock; Nathan James, Courtesy Gibson; David Gonsier, courtesy Marshall; Bill Zemanek, courtesy King; Josefina Santos, courtesy Brown; Jayme Thornton; Ian Douglas, courtesy American Realness

Since 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have celebrated the living legends of our field—from Martha Graham to Misty Copeland to Alvin Ailey to Gene Kelly.

This year is no different. But for the first time ever, the Dance Magazine Awards will be presented virtually—which is good news for aspiring dancers (and their teachers!) everywhere. (Plus, there's a special student rate of $25.)

The Dance Magazine Awards aren't just a celebration of the people who shape the dance field—they're a unique educational opportunity and a chance for dancers to see their idols up close.

Keep reading... Show less
Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.