Bodies: A Look From the Inside Out

I recently went to see BODIES… The Exhibition at the South Street Seaport, just a few blocks from the DT office. If you aren’t familiar with this show, take caution—it’s not for the faint of heart! Although I think it’s a must-see for dancers and dance educators alike, as our bodies are our instruments.

Real human bodies that have been dissected and preserved (to prevent from decaying—and giving off a foul odor, I’m sure) are displayed to offer an in-depth view of the muscles, tissues and numerous other parts that, when combined, create the human body.

Once dissected, each body is immersed in acetone, which eliminates water. The specimen is then placed in a large bath of silicone, or polymer, and sealed in a vacuum chamber. Under vacuum pressure, the acetone leaves the body in the form of gas and the polymer replaces it, entering each cell and body tissue. A catalyst is then applied to the specimen, hardening it and completing the process, allowing thousands of unique teaching possibilities for educators, medical professionals, archeologists and the like.

This remarkable exhibition reveals how the body works by exploring it from the inside out. As it is meant to give people a deeper respect for the machine that gives them the power of life, it got me thinking about the importance that everyone—especially dancers—should place on caring for themselves.

While it can be a challenge to eat properly, avoid colds and flus and steer clear of temptations such as nicotine and alcohol, remember that your body will thank you if you try your best. Check out some of our recent Health: How-To stories for more inspiration: The October issue, for example, includes an article on avoiding burnout, while September included one on tips for dealing with a lost voice. Plus, we’ve got many more in store, so stay tuned!

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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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy TUPAC

When legendary Black ballet dancer Kabby Mitchell III died unexpectedly in 2017, two months before opening his Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, his friend and business partner Klair Ethridge wasn't sure she had what it took to carry his legacy. Ethridge had been working with Mitchell to co-found TUPAC and planned to serve as its executive director, but she had never envisioned being the face of the school.

Now, Ethridge is heading into her fourth year of leading TUPAC, which she has grown from a fledgling program in an unheated building to a serious ballet school in its own sprung-floor studios, reaching hundreds of students across the Tacoma, Washington, area. The nonprofit has become a case study for what it looks like to carry out the vision of a founder who never had the chance to see his school open—and to take an unapologetically mission-driven approach.

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