News

5 Points of Light, a Message From Editor in Chief Karen Hildebrand

Getty Images

Dancers are resilient by nature. As our community responds to COVID-19, that spirit is being tested. Dance Teacher acknowledges the tremendous challenges you face for your teaching practice and for your schools as you bring your offerings online, and the resulting financial impact on your businesses.

Perhaps we can take hope from the knowledge of how we've managed adversity in the past. I'm thinking of the dance community in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I'm thinking of 9/11 and how that changed the world. I'm thinking of the courageous Jarrah Myles who kept her students safe when the Paradise wildfire destroyed their homes. I'm thinking of Jana Monson who rebuilt her studio after a devastating fire. I'm thinking of Gina Gibney who stepped in to save space for dance in New York City when the beloved Dance New Amsterdam closed.


And there are so many more examples of how we've not only survived adversity, but made things better as a result. Yes, the current situation is different because it is so widespread and we are very much in the middle of so many unknowns. COVID-19 impacts us all. I believe we can take heart that our natural dancer resiliency, creativity and passion will also get us through this—together.

In that spirit, here are five points of light for today: examples of the dance community at its most resilient best.


1. From Colorado, The Colorado Ballet reports that, though they cancelled the remaining four weeks of their performance season, they are paying the company and orchestra through the full term of their contracts—April 12. To help with the financial impact, many patrons turned their tickets into donations. The organization is also paying salaries for the school's teaching staff through April 6.


2. From Wisconsin, Misty Lown tells us her studio is, as of this week, the site of a day-care center for 50 children. When the governor announced day-care centers in the state were limited to 50, the center that rents Lown's former studio building was faced with turning away half of its families. Lown stepped in and offered her current studio (which is currently in shutdown) free of rent.

3. From Washington, DC, Joy of Motion Dance Center, with 3 studios and 262 classes per week, shares that they are launching their Online Learning Library for dance education. We'll have more about this soon!

4. From New York, Parsons Dance, despite having to postpone their annual gala and cancel the spring touring dates, announced a commitment to continue paying both dancers and staff and is moving forward with plans for its summer intensive. This small company of eight dancers has been known for its scrappy, entrepreneurial spirit since 1985. "We will dance for you when we can," writes founder David Parsons and executive director Rebecca Josue in an e-mail to their community.

5. Every day we hear of teachers offering free video classes and live sessions on Instagram and Facebook, including Alicia Graf Mack via @JuilliardSchool. Thank you for your generosity.

I'm sure there are other positive examples that we can look to for inspiration. Please let me know where you're finding the light, and I will share your stories here. Stay safe, be smart and keep dancing. khildebrand@dancemedia.com

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.

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less
Music
Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.