Ballet Class Blogging: Spring has Sprung!

Now that spring break has passed, it's recital crunch time! At Groove with Me, I'm devoting much of my class to performance readiness. On top of practicing their dances, I spend a few minutes each lesson discussing proper audience decorum and what's acceptable behavior in a theater.


What I love most about spring (apart from the sunny 70-degree days we've finally had in the northeast) are the opportunities to see other schools' productions. I'm inspired to be a better teacher after each viewing, and there's always something to take away—whether it's a cool lighting design element or a stellar song choice. If you're in or around NYC this weekend, The Joffrey Ballet School Performance Company will present two showings Saturday, May 7th at the Miller Theater at 2:30 and 7pm. The performances will feature five specially commissioned pieces by artists including Daniel Ulbricht, Julie Bour and Matthew Prescott.


And this past April, I had the pleasure to see the Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York's spring gala performance. My favorite part of the night was watching excerpts from La Bayadère. Kozlova's students performed the variations' tricky pointework and fast footing with great professionalism and ease. I was very impressed. Sarah Steele took the lead as the devious Gamzatti, and as she conquered the difficult attitude turns and cabrioles (my most dreaded step), proved to be a great role model to the younger students of the evening. The performance's success was certainly a testament to Valentina's expert coaching. Click here to read more about Dance Teacher's January 2011 cover girl!


Photo: Quiz! Marius Petipa originally staged La Bayadère—the man in this portrait composed the music. Who is he?

Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.