“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” —Sensei Ogui (via Cindy Clough, Just For Kix, at the Dance Teacher Summit)

It’s always fun to work on the Competition and Convention issue because it happens right after Nationals and our Dance Teacher Summit. In the past month we’ve seen the top competition studios perform, and the many choreographers and teachers at the DT Summit made the pages of the magazine come to life.

Add to that the folks we interviewed for this issue, and it feels like we’ve been in the same room with an A-list of people who make things happen in our world. Can we just say how fun it is to be in the presence of Mandy Moore? From the minute she arrived for her Sunday sessions at the  Summit, you could feel her energy fill the space—and her three classes were packed.

And it was exciting to see this month’s cover star, Derek Mitchell, show his work onstage as a finalist in the Capezio A.C.E. Awards. We know him as you see him in this issue (Technique)—a dedicated and popular street jazz instructor at Broadway Dance Center. So we were surprised and pleased to see his fantastic musical theater piece for the A.C.E. Awards, We Both Reached for the Gun. It’s a good thing the DT editors weren’t on the judging panel, because we’re somewhat partial! (Judging honors fell to Dance Magazine editor in chief Jennifer Stahl, Andy Blankenbuehler, Ray Leeper, Benoit-Swan Pouffer and Nina Vance of Capezio). Check out our photos of the winners.

Speaking of judges, in the 2014 Dance Teacher Competition and Convention Guide, we talked with four who see a lot of competition numbers. They call out five popular trends you would do well to avoid. In “It Takes Heart to Win Trophies,” three studio company directors, each with different backgrounds and studio demographics, share their very human approaches to competition. And if you’ve considered inviting a guest artist to choreograph for your performance company, you’ll want to read “Be Our Guest” for perspectives from both host and guest.

You don’t have to run a competition company (and we know that many of you don’t!) to enjoy this issue. For instance, we take seriously the need for dancers to understand their historical lineage. Erick Hawkins is the latest in our series of dance history lesson plans. Editor Rachel Rizzuto points out why his work matters today. In “Copying Choreography,” an entertainment lawyer answers your questions about how to protect your work—yes, it involves YouTube. And in “Bridging the Gap,” three college dance professors outline ways you can better prepare your seniors for their first year of college.

We hope your fall season is off to a great start.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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Barbara Bashaw has always been a pioneer. Since kicking off her career in education by building a dance program from the ground up at an elementary school in Brooklyn, she's gone on to become an inspiring force in teacher training. Now, as director of the new doctoral program in dance education at Columbia University's renowned Teachers College and as executive director of the even newer Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy & Leadership, she's in a position to effect change nationwide.

"The study of dance education is a young field," Bashaw says. "Music and visual arts are far ahead of us, in terms of the research that has been done, as well as the foothold they have in education. Anywhere education is being discussed, we want to put dance on the table—and that means developing researchers and championing research that will push public policy." In a climate where arts education feels both more endangered and more necessary than ever, Bashaw is ready to blaze a trail.

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We need your help to identify this year's best in the profession. Do you have a colleague or mentor who deserves to be recognized as a leader and role model?

Send your nomination by March 1, 2020. You can e-mail us at danceteachereditors@dancemedia.com with the following details:

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Martha Graham Dance Company created The EVE Project to mark the upcoming 100th anniversary of U.S. women's right to vote. The female-focused initiative includes new works, as well as the company's classic repertoire highlighting Martha Graham's heroines and antiheroines. In April, the company is showing the newly reconstructed Circe, Graham's 1963 interpretation of the Greek myth, at New York City Center. Dancing the role of Circe is company member So Young An. Here, she shares thoughts on The EVE Project and how she's approaching her role in Circe, the 57-year-old work that invites audiences to consider pressing conversations about womanhood.

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Q: I'm having such a love-hate relationship with mirrors right now. They can be distracting, as well as cause emotional distress for my students. At the same time, they're a really useful tool. I know some teachers remove theirs altogether. Is this something you recommend?

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Susan Pilarre has been closely tied to the School of American Ballet for nearly her entire life.

From her first class there at age 11 through her 16-year career with its affiliated company, New York City Ballet, Pilarre learned directly from the great choreographer George Balanchine, absorbing the details of his unique style. Sensing her innate understanding of his principles, Balanchine encouraged her to teach; she joined SAB's permanent faculty in 1986. Since then, she has become recognized as an authority on Balanchine's teachings, instilling SAB and NYCB's distinctive speed, clarity and energy into generations of dancers.

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The oldest ballet competition in the world doesn't have the funds for the show to go on: The 29th edition of the Varna International Ballet Competition, scheduled for July 12–30, 2020, has been postponed indefinitely.

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