Back to School

Cirque artists, under direction of Aloysia Gavre: (clockwise from top) Nicole Reineman, Lesley Vaughn, Manon Chaney and Sarah Sporich

Were you ever tempted to run away with the circus? These days, dancers don't have to leave home in order to add aerial and acro skills to their resumés. In Los Angeles, Aloysia Gavre, (“With the Greatest of Ease"), runs a circus arts studio, where she shows the ropes (so to speak!) to fitness buffs and dancers alike. And all those acro tricks you see on competition stages? They require focused training, per Robin Dawn Ryan in “So You Want to Add an Acro Program at Your Studio?" If you're not currently offering acro classes, there may be an opportunity to expand your curriculum.

Back-to-school season has arrived, along with its hint of fall in the air and nostalgic reports of summer vacations. We'll be seeing many of you in New York (July 29–31) and Long Beach, California (August 5–7), for our Dance Teacher Summit. And in “When the World Is Your Studio," we talked with three artists who traveled with groups of dancers to some legendary locations.

What are your goals for the new school term? In “6 Lessons I Learned the Hard Way," editor Rachel Rizzuto shares the sage advice of studio owners who've been in the business long enough to have pretty much seen it all. If you have a lesson to add to this list, we'd like to hear from you.

From top: by Joe Toreno; by Matthew Murphy

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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, 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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