Apolla Is Raising Thousands for Dance Studio Owners—and Offering Epic Prizes to Donors

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We don't need to tell you that dance studios are the heart of the dance industry. Or, that many of them are struggling right now due to COVID-19.

So instead, we'll tell you some good news: Apolla Performance Wear—who you may know for their popular compression "shocks"—is teaming up with Florida-based Dance Arts Centre to raise funds that will go directly to supporting dance studios hard hit by the pandemic.

The best part: The For The Love Of Dance Challenge will be funded by donations from members of the dance community and dance supporters, who will earn entries into sweepstakes for some truly epic prizes, provided by dance industry leaders (including us!).

Every dance organization who contributes a prize will then tag three more to join in the challenge. Some drool-worthy prizes are already lined up, like VIP tickets to Boston Ballet and private lessons with dancers like Hope Boykin and Jaimie Goodwin. A donation of $10 or more counts as one entry for the prize of your choosing.

U.S.-based studios can apply to win grants up to $5,000 dollars. Studios will be vetted thoroughly and will be required to complete a four-course series on racism, gender equality, sex abuse prevention and dance science. Eligible studios will join a pool from which grant recipients will be randomly chosen every month as long as the challenge lasts.

Studios can apply here, and supporters can donate here.

Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
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After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy TUPAC

When legendary Black ballet dancer Kabby Mitchell III died unexpectedly in 2017, two months before opening his Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, his friend and business partner Klair Ethridge wasn't sure she had what it took to carry his legacy. Ethridge had been working with Mitchell to co-found TUPAC and planned to serve as its executive director, but she had never envisioned being the face of the school.

Now, Ethridge is heading into her fourth year of leading TUPAC, which she has grown from a fledgling program in an unheated building to a serious ballet school in its own sprung-floor studios, reaching hundreds of students across the Tacoma, Washington, area. The nonprofit has become a case study for what it looks like to carry out the vision of a founder who never had the chance to see his school open—and to take an unapologetically mission-driven approach.

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