Behind at the Scenes at the DT October Cover Shoot

Hi readers!

The October issue should be reaching your mailboxes any day, if it hasn't already. The cover, as you'll see, features Edith Montoya, owner and director of Southern California studio Dance Precisions, and a quartet of her lovely dancers.

I first met Edith a few years ago at a Nationals competition in Las Vegas, and I've had the pleasure of watching her kids onstage quite a bit since then. Her students seem to have it all -- technique, expressivity and great choreography, to name a few things. But more than anything, they have that "can't-take-my-eyes-off-you" quality that is truly unusual.

It was the middle of August when I flew from New York City to Placentia, CA -- near Laguna Beach -- to supervise the shoot. What's a cover shoot like? Well, it's a bit like putting together a puzzle. First, we do hair and makeup for an hour; then we shoot for three, varying set-ups and poses. (If you think it's easy to do nothing but stand and smile for the camera for that long, just ask our subjects -- not so much!) There's a photographer, one or two of his assistants, the subject or subjects, the hair and makeup artist, an editor (like myself) and an art director -- which adds up to a lot of people, all with their own opinions on how the shots should look The trick is to follow a plan while allowing for the unexpected to happen. It can be nerve-wracking sometimes, but it never fails to be exciting!

Edith and I shot the breeze as she had her makeup done and the photographer set up. We talked business, mainly -- I hadn't read the article yet, so it was fascinating to hear about the strategies she's used to grow her studio over the last 20 years. As her students started trickling in, we headed over to where the photographer had set up.

With so many people in each shot, it was a little difficult to art-direct the poses, and Edith and I both wondered aloud how we could really get the energy going. Finally, we turned up the music, and the kids came alive! "Wow, I see why we're shooting them," Joe, the photographer said. They performed excerpts from one of their award-winning pieces this year, "Proud Mary," to the unfailingly upbeat Aretha Franklin tune, and I could see the shoot was really shaping into something special. As the day wound down, the kids gave us all hugs and thanked us for the opportunity -- proving they were as genuine and sweet as they were talented.

Be sure to check out their story and photos when you get the issue!

Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.