Bird's-Eye View Ballet

Ever wanted to know what a day in the life of a ballet company is like? Well, if you’ve got three minutes to spare, you can get a bird’s-eye view of Boston Ballet’s daily routine of company class and rehearsals. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory principal investigator David Gifford and grad student Adrian Dalca (dance + science = awesomeness) put several small cameras throughout the Boston Ballet studio to record one full day of activity. They later manipulated the footage to include time-lapse and slow-motion capture, added some Audiomachine music to get you pumped up and compressed the entire thing into just under three minutes, calling it “A Day of Grace with Boston Ballet.”

The highlights are getting to see the ballerinas’ individual warm-up routines and pointe shoe fiddlings and the gorgeous slow-motion arabesque around 1:49. And talk about the spacing perfection! Too bad every dance teacher can’t install ceiling cameras in her studio—that would be the absolute end of misshapen formations and dancers getting out of line. The video premiered on September 21 as part of the Boston Ballet Night of Stars gala, kicking off the 50th anniversary season for the company.

Read more about the collaboration between MIT and Boston Ballet here.

A Day of Grace with Boston Ballet - MIT CSAIL from David Gifford on Vimeo.

Higher Ed
Charles Anderson (center) in his (Re)current Unrest. Photo by Kegan Marling, courtesy of UT Austin

Given the long history of American choreographers who have threaded activism into their work—Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Joanna Haigood, Bill T. Jones, Jo Kreiter, to name a few—it's perhaps surprising that collegiate dance has offered so little in the way of training future generations to do the same.

Until now, that is. Within the last three years, two master's programs have cropped up, each the first of its kind: Ohio University's MA in community dance (new this fall), and the University of Texas at Austin's dance and social justice MFA, which emerged from its existing MFA program in 2018. These two programs join the University of San Francisco's undergraduate performing arts and social justice major, with a concentration in dance, which has been around since 2000.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

As many dance teachers begin another semester of virtual teaching, it is time to acknowledge the fact that virtual classes aren't actually accessible to all students.

When schools and studios launched their virtual dance programs at the beginning of the pandemic, many operated under the assumption that all their students would be able to take class online. But in reality, lack of access to technology and Wi-Fi is a major issue for many low-income students across the country, in many cases cutting them off from the classes and resources their peers can enjoy from home.

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Dance Teacher Awards

Who knew that a virtual awards ceremony could bring our community together in such a powerful way?

Last night, we celebrated the annual Dance Teacher Awards, held virtually for the first time. Though it was different from what we're used to, this new setting inspired us to get creative in celebrating our six extraordinary honorees. In fact, one of the most enlivening parts of the event was one that could only happen in a Zoom room: Watching as countless tributes, stories and congratulations poured in on the chat throughout the event. Seeing firsthand the impact our awardees have had on so many lives reminded us why we chose to honor them.

If you missed the Awards (or just want to relive them), you're in luck—they are now available to watch on-demand. We rounded up some of the highlights:

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