April 2008

Southern Trailblazer

Much more than a dance teacher at a public school, Kelly Burnette reveals the secrets to her success.

Progress Report

No Child Left Behind seems to have left the arts behind, but educators and advocates are working to turn the tide.

Good to Go

DT's guide to traveling with props, costumes and accessories in tow

In Good Company

What you need to know when starting a school dance troupe

Cool Enough for School

Public school dance teacher Freddie-Lee Heath shares classroom music even a picky preteen could love.

Fashion

The latest hip-hop styles to hit the scene

Carmen deLavallade

The genre-defying performance legend shares her formative influences and creative process.

Performance Planner: A Year of Dance

Take your audience on a 12-month whirlwind with this show-stopping recital theme.

Robert Joffrey

A groundbreaking teacher, dancer and choreographer

Studio Sounds

Tips on finding and working with musicians for class and performance

Staff Savers

An insider's take on keeping and motivating employees

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Music
Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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