Books/DVDs: A Beautiful Mind

Beautiful Body, Beautiful Mind: The Power of Positive Imagery
by Eric Franklin
Elysian Editions

In a nutshell: Mobilizing the power of thought for a healthy lifestyle.
In this guidebook, Eric Franklin illustrates more than 80 exercises for maintaining a healthy physical-emotional connection—the key to longevity, without artificial creams, pastes, surgeries or pills. He infuses positive imagery and mental techniques (i.e., self talk and goal setting) into the book’s eight chapters, targeting major parts of the body, including the joints and cartilage, bones, muscles, brain and nervous system. Franklin’s overall lesson: Whether you achieve your fitness goals is determined by habits in the quality of your thoughts and daily life. —Erin K. Dean

Shanti Generation for Youth Peacemakers
by Abby Wills

WSR Creative

In a nutshell: An introductory yoga program for 10- to 15-year-olds.
Led by the soothing instruction of yoga teacher Abby Wills, seven teen students demonstrate exercises that encourage physical, mental and social development. During the 90-minute session, viewers will learn 18 yoga poses for focus, energy and calmness, along with other sequences that focus on flexibility, balance, meditation, breathing and stress management. Viewers can navigate through the five sections as they choose, while relaxing to music by 311 bassist Aaron Wills. A special features section includes interviews with the teenage yogis, who share the benefits of yoga for young people. —Jenny Thompson

Pilates and Calisthenics for Children
by Larkin Barnett, BA, MA

Lorenz Educational Press

In a nutshell: A kid-friendly manual for teaching Pilates and calisthenics.
Written by Larkin Barnett, an exercise science professor at Florida Atlantic University and former dancer, this easy-to-follow text teaches movement to children through creative visualization that accesses all five senses. Though concise, this book is packed with instructional tips and cartoon-like visuals to help students grasp mind-body connection. The first three chapters detail the “ABCs” of Pilates—alignment, breathing and core control basics. The remaining three sections cover “Calisthenics Exercises,” “Pilates Mat Exercises” and “Wall Stretches,” with each exercise illustrating how to engage the imagination of children. A certificate of completion template for students is also included. —JT

Practical Pilates: Using Imagery
by Larkin Barnett, BA, MA
The Lorenz Corporation

In a nutshell: Using visual imagery to help condition the body.
Larkin Barnett fused her dance and movement-therapy expertise into a practical fitness program to help remedy America’s increasing struggle with health issues—especially obesity. This resource offers more than 70 simple movements (modeled by Miami City Ballet dancers) that use visual imagery to control flexibility, strength and body maintenance. She includes moves that can be done while on the go, watching television, sitting on an airplane or waiting in line. And with a focus on the key ingredients for success in dance—alignment, breathing and centering—these exercises can also be carried into classroom teaching technique. —JT

Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Dancer Diary
Claire McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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