5 Non-Slip Socks for Contemporary Class

Oh, socks: What are we gonna do with you? Many dancers—ourselves definitely included—have a love-hate relationship with this unassuming member of the footwear family. On the one hand, they feel oh-so-essential for pulling off endless turns in contemporary class. On the other hand, we've heard our fair share of horror stories from fellow dancers of catastrophic slips that led directly to serious injuries. Then what's a dancer to do? We're so glad you asked.


Below are five of our favorite dancer socks that won't let you down (literally or figuratively).


Behold, comp kid Carter Williams rocking Apolla Performance's Infinite Shocks. Apolla Shocks come with traction that starts out feeling sticky but can be "broken in" to your desired level of slip versus grip.


For all the minimalists out there, ToeSox's Relevé Half Toe makes effortless turns, well, effortless—all powered by organic cotton and minimal fuss.



Don't let the humble appearance of Capezio Extends fool you. These machine-washable bad boys boast a polyurethane outsole that works on a variety of surfaces, while the stretch nylon/spandex fabrication miraculously maintains that elusive barefoot feeling.



Discount Dance Supply's Natalie padded turn socks in Cherry (via discountdance.com)

Headed to a convention weekend? You'll want to pack the Natalie padded turn socks from Discount Dance Supply. Their cushioned ball of the foot is the answer to the prayer of dancers faced with carpet's unforgiving nature as a dance surface.


Valentine Pajtler, a dancer and business student in southern France, is the perfect model for Repetto's anti-slippery socks. They're clutch for warming up and doing floor barre.

Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Music
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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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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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