Just for fun

April 28th Is National Super Hero Day: Be the Superwoman (or Man) Your Students Need

It's National Super Hero day this weekend—yet another great opportunity to add some spice to your classroom! Be the superhero your students need and dress up as your favorite character. Let them do the same, and encourage them to use their newfound powers to help them polish their technique.

Here are three superheroes who are ideal for this exercise! Let us know what other ones you come up with in our comments!


1. Spiderman

Encourage your dancers to be like Spiderman to use their imaginary webs to assist them in finding their angles. Have them visualize shooting their webs directly in front, to the side and behind them during tendu, and have their toes trace the lines during the combinations. This visual will help keep them square.

2. Wonder Woman

Have your dancers act as Wonder Woman to use their newfound superhuman strength, flight and speed to travel the floor with ease during grand allégro. Gal Gadot is all the inspiration they need to soar through the air—trust us.

3. Iron Man

Tell your dancers to be like Iron Man and use the magnetic plate (otherwise known as the Arc Reactor) in their chest to help them open their third eye, and perform out toward the audience. This will encourage them to have long necks, a chest that is lifted and energized, and ribs that stay knit together.

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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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 onstageblog.com, 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
Getty Images

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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