Arts in the Classroom

For teachers learning how to talk about art in their classrooms—or for those just looking to reinvigorate their careers with a good dose of arts-centric professional development—Lincoln Center Education’s revamped Summer Forum this past July was a resounding success.

LCE teaching artists—designated arts professionals who work with educators to integrate arts into the classroom—conducted labs, performances and workshops. Wendy Blum, a 15-year LCE teaching artist, led a family event for educators and their children during the second week of the Forum. In preparation to view an afternoon performance of fellow LCE teaching artist Monica Bill Barnes’ vaudevillian duet Luster, Blum had her workshop participants create a pattern made up of commonplace gestures (miming to a friend that he has pizza on his face, for example), then implemented tools like exaggeration, repetition and inserting pauses to modify the original pattern. Participants also built their own makeshift proscenium, using props and material. Quick discussions following each activity (“What kind of performance do you think will happen in a proscenium space?”) helped cement the connection between collaborative dancemaking and Barnes’ finished piece.

LCE program manager Daniel Wallace highlighted the complete customization as the program’s biggest strength. “If you’re a high school English teacher, and your students are reading something about companionship,” he said, “then you can bring in a dance artist to teach partnering.”

But the Forum’s success wasn’t LCE’s only summer happening. Lincoln Center—in partnership with Hunter College—announced an alternative certification program to train and place arts teachers in New York City’s public schools. In August, 20 music and dance artists enrolled in a tuition-free master’s program at Hunter College that is subsidized by Lincoln Center’s recent $1.5 million grant from The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. Beginning in February 2015, program participants will be placed in NYC elementary, middle or high schools—and continue to teach as they complete the two-year master’s program. Those enrolled will receive a $7,500 grant for art supplies for their placement schools and will also have access to further training and coaching at Lincoln Center. By next year, Lincoln Center plans to expand the program to 60 candidates.


Photos by Christopher St. Clair, courtesy of LCE

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
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

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.