Bill Evans presents Why I Can't Not Dance at NDEO

The cast of Why I Can't Not Dance

Dance Teacher is at the National Dance Educators Organization conference this week in Chicago, and we're loving the chance to meet and talk with so many folks in our community. Last night was the big kickoff reception and Bill Evans unveiled a new work, Why I Can't Not Dance.

A few years ago, Barry Blumenfeld (DT Ask the Experts columnist) told us about a special interest group he had formed for men in dance. Now, some might say that though men are a minority in dance, they are a highly visible and privileged minority. But as Barry told the NDEO crowd last night, there is an unaddressed need for balance in our field. "Every dance educator working with males today has questions." The group has been meeting to discuss those questions, and last night 21 of them performed this powerful and touching piece.

It's a long video but definitely worth 30 minutes of your time. We really love the part where Evans reveals how the piece came together. The men each created a movement phrase based on quotes like these (from research by Doug Risner) :

"Dance isn't gay or straight. Dance is my body and soul."

"I dance because I was forbidden to."

Photo courtesy of NDEO

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.

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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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