Big Apple Ballroom Blitz

Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko, world professional Latin championsThis weekend, top ballroom competitors invade Manhattan for the second annual Dance Legends festival. The two-night event at the Hammerstein Ballroom features performances by world champions in ballroom and Latin dance, including 2012 DT cover star and "DWTS" pro Louis van Amstel and his partner Julie Fryer, who have earned both Latin and showdance world champion titles during their career together. Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko, who have won world professional Latin championships the past three years, will also perform, as well as reigning Blackpool professional standard champions Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova and many others. There will be a special performance by brother-and-sister world junior salsa champions Raymond and Jenalyn Saraza-Pacheco, just 14 and 12 years old, respectively. (Don’t miss our April 2013 story on Dancing Classrooms, nurturing young ballroom talent in public schools.)

On Sunday, city-dwellers who want to dance like the stars can attend a lecture-demonstration and workshop with Mirko Gozzoli and Edita Daniute, the 2013 World DanceSport Federation world professional standard champions. The class is open to all levels at Manhattan Ballroom Dance studio.

Photo by DanceSport Photography/Alex Rowan

For Parents

Darrell Grand Moultrie teaches at a past Jacob's Pillow summer intensive. Photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow

In the past 10 months, we've grown accustomed to helping our dancers navigate virtual school, classes and performances. And while brighter, more in-person days may be around the corner—or at least on the horizon—parents may be facing yet another hurdle to help our dancers through: virtual summer-intensive auditions.

In 2020, we learned that there are some unique advantages of virtual summer programs: the lack of travel (and therefore the reduced cost) and the increased access to classes led by top artists and teachers among them. And while summer 2021 may end up looking more familiar with in-person intensives, audition season will likely remain remote and over Zoom.

Of course, summer 2021 may not be back to in-person, and that uncertainty can be a hard pill to swallow. Here, Kate Linsley, a mom and academy principal of Nashville Ballet, as well as "J.R." Glover, The Dan & Carole Burack Director of The School at Jacob's Pillow, share their advice for this complicated process.

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Teachers Trending

From left: Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives; Courtesy Ballethnic

It is the urgency of going in a week or two before opening night that Lydia Abarca Mitchell loves most about coaching. But in her role as Ballethnic Dance Company's rehearsal director, she's not just getting the troupe ready for the stage. Abarca Mitchell—no relation to Arthur Mitchell—was Mitchell's first prima ballerina when he founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook; through her coaching, Abarca Mitchell works to pass her mentor's legacy to the next generation.

"She has the same sensibility" as Arthur Mitchell, says Ballethnic co-artistic director Nena Gilreath. "She's very direct, all about the mission and the excellence, but very caring."

Ballethnic is based in East Point, a suburban city bordering Atlanta. In a metropolitan area with a history of racism and where funding is hard-won, it is crucial for the Black-led ballet company to present polished, professional productions. "Ms. Lydia" provides the "hard last eye" before the curtain opens in front of an audience.

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Higher Ed
Courtesy Benny Simon

It's safe to say that the 2020 fall semester was a learning experience for college dance departments and students alike.

While Zoom and socially distanced dancing had their obvious frustrations, professors met many of them with creative solutions that not only served as satisfactory replacements for "normal" learning, but also gave students valuable new perspectives that will last beyond the pandemic.

Dance Teacher rounded up four of our favorite examples:

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