instructional

Therapeutic Exercises Using
Foam Rollers
Therapeutic Exercises Using Resistive Bands


by Caroline Corning Creager, PT
Executive Physical Therapy, Inc.
In a nutshell: Two user-friendly manuals to share in class or use at home.


As much as dancers love to dance, there’s no denying the toll it takes on their bodies. Taking steps to reduce and prevent injury is the subject of these books, which outline how to incorporate foam rollers and resistive bands into your exercise regimen in order to stretch and strengthen. Exercises are all illustrated with detailed step-by-step instructions and special notes on correct execution and safety. Also included are tips on how to treat such injuries as piriformis syndrome, hip tendonitis, ankle sprains and low-back pain. For readers seeking continued longevity in movement, the wealth of information Creager provides is invaluable.

The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance
by Christine Denniston
Portico (Anova Books)
In a nutshell: A great tool for providing a solid foundation for an education in Tango dance.


Having taught tango on five continents, Denniston is well-versed in this lively genre. Beginning with the meaning and purpose behind the dance, she describes its history, focusing on the immigration, romance, politics and passion that were imperative to its inception and how it has evolved over time. Detailed instructions and diagrams help readers understand the technical aspects of tango, including transferring weight, holding a partner correctly and turning.

The Fosse Style
by Debra McWaters
University Press
of Florida
In a nutshell: A step-by-step guide to perfecting Fosse style.



McWaters, who was the director-choreographer of the international tour of Fosse, dissects the dancemaker’s notoriously difficult style in this detailed book. As she shows, there’s more to it than hunched shoulders, turned-in legs and arms akimbo. Beginning with individual movements such as “soft-boiled-egg hands” and “broken doll arms,” McWaters explains the intricacies of hand, arm, shoulder and hip isolations before progressing to group movement, locomotor steps and the nuances of facial expression essential to the work. Photos, passed down by Fosse himself to Gwen Verdon, Ann Reinking, Ben Vereen, Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli, illustrate the craft, look and attitude of the technique that continues to thrive today.

Theory

Your Move
by Ann Hutchinson Guest and Tina Curran
Routledge
In a nutshell: A guide to understanding movement through dance notation.


Hutchinson Guest and Curran, founder and co-founder of the Language of Dance Centers in the UK and U.S., respectively, explain how dance notation can be used to deepen a dancer’s relationship with her craft in this second edition. Beneficial to both beginners and dance notation professionals, the book pays special attention to areas such as balance, rotation, direction in space and flexion and extension. The authors bring their explanations to life with illustrations, as well as a music CD composed to accompany studies in the book.

The Body Eclectic: Evolving Practices in Dance Training
Edited by Melanie Bales and Rebecca Nettl-Fiol
University of Illinois Press
In a nutshell: An intellectual look at modern dance training over time.


Ohio State University dance professor Bales and University of Illinois dance professor Nettl-Fiol have compiled a collection of essays and interviews that investigate the evolution of modern dance over the past 50 years. They also take a look at the changing role of dance education during this time, explaining how class-taking practices both change and mirror what society values in dance. Contributors include Wendell Beavers, Veronica Dittman, David Dorfman, Martha Myers, Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller and Tere O’Connor. Suggested sources for further reading are also provided.

Biography

Remembering Nureyev: The Trail
of a Comet

by Rudi van Dantzig
University Press of Florida
In a nutshell: An intimate look at the subject from a friend’s perspective.


Rudolf Nureyev requested that his friend and colleague van Dantzig share his story. While their relationship was strained by clashes in lifestyle and artistic choices, Nureyev believed van Dantzig could give a truthful account of his life and career. In this intimately told memoir, Nureyev is portrayed as a man rather than a legend. The author takes all aspects of his life into consideration, including his volatile disposition and undeniable allure. Beginning with their first meeting in a dressing room prior to a performance of Raymonda in 1968, the book spans many important moments in the dancer’s life. Although Nureyev passed away more than 15 years ago, van Dantzig ensures that his influence as a dancer, friend, fighter and realist will never be forgotten.

Young Adult

Meet the Dancers: From Ballet, Broadway, and Beyond
by Amy Nathan
Henry Holt and Company
In a nutshell: Young dancers will find inspiration in this collection of pros’ tales.


In Nathan’s compilation of stories, we meet 16 professional dancers who specialize in everything from ballet to Broadway. Whether they began dancing at age 3, like New York City Ballet dancer Teresa Reichlen, or age 13, like Broadway’s Elizabeth Parkinson, the subjects share the challenges they encountered in their rise to success. The stories prove rewarding and inspiring for beginners and young students. They also touch on issues such as body image, the college debate and the benefits and drawbacks of competitions. A portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales will be used to promote dance education.

House of Dance
by Beth Kephart
Laura Geringer Books
In a nutshell: An entertaining and emotional read for teen students.


In this novel, dance can empower both participants and observers. Fifteen-year-old Rosie learns this lesson at a very difficult time in her life. Abandoned by her father and living with a mother who spends most of her time with her business partner, Rosie begins daily visits to her ailing grandfather. It is on one of these trips that she discovers a studio called the House of Dance, where she takes up ballroom dance lessons with professional champion Max—a life-altering decision for both Rosie and her family. Young readers will empathize with Rosie as she discovers an untapped talent that helps her learn to celebrate each day. Kephart has penned a great read that will speak to teen dancers who are faced with more responsibility at home than most.

Behind the Scenes

Balanchine Variations
by Nancy Goldner
University Press of Florida
In a nutshell: A breakdown of some of Balanchine’s most celebrated ballets.


As a dance critic and former dancer, Goldner has a thorough knowledge of the subject and adds her own insights to create a unique perspective. Here she takes a close look at Balanchine’s vast repertory rather than the dance legend’s biography, incorporating critical analyses and detailed descriptions of the movement and storyline of some of Balanchine’s most celebrated ballets. She also provides a history of each piece, placing it in the context of the artist’s life and referring to her own experiences with him from her days at The School of American Ballet. Beginning with Apollo, which Balanchine choreographed at age 24, the book covers 20 other masterpieces and culminates with Ballo della Regina, choreographed 50 years later. DT

Dance Teachers Trending
Roshe (center) teaching at Steps on Broadway in New York City. Photo by Jacob Hiss, courtesy of Roshe

Although Debbie Roshe's class doesn't demand perfect technique or mastering complicated tricks, her intricate musicality is what really challenges students. "Holding weird counts to obscure music is harder," she says of her Fosse-influenced jazz style, "but it's more interesting."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Dean College
Amanda Donahue, ATC, working with a student in her clinic in the Palladino School of Dance at Dean College. Courtesy Dean College

The Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College is one of just 10 college programs in the U.S. with a full-time athletic trainer devoted solely to its dancers. But what makes the school even more unique is that certified athletic trainer Amanda Donahue isn't just available to the students for appointments and backstage coverage—she's in the studio with them and collaborating with dance faculty to prevent injuries and build stronger dancers.

"Gone are the days when people would say, 'Don't go to the gym, you'll bulk up,'" says Kristina Berger, who teaches Horton and Hawkins technique as an assistant professor of dance. "We understand now that cross-training is actually vital, and how we've embraced that at Dean is extremely rare. For one thing, we're not sharing an athletic trainer with the football players, who require a totally different skillset." For another, she says, the faculty and Donahue are focused on giving students tools to prolong their careers.

After six years of this approach, here are the benefits they've seen:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Thinkstock

Dance teachers are just as apt to fall into the trap of perfectionism and self-criticism as the students they teach. The high-pressure environment that is the dance world today makes it difficult to endure while keeping a healthy perspective on who we truly are.

To help you quiet your inner critic, and by extension set an example of self-love for your students, we caught up with sports psychologist Caroline Silby. Here she shares strategies for managing what she calls "neurotic perfectionism." "Self-attacking puts teachers and athletes in a constant state of stress, often making them rigid, inflexible and ultimately fueling high anxiety rather than high levels of performance," Silby says. "Perfectionistic teachers, dancers and athletes can learn to set emotional boundaries. They can use doubt, frustration and worry about missing expectations as cues to take actions that align with what they do when teaching/performing well and feeling in-control. Being relentless about applying a solution-oriented approach can help the perfectionist move through intense emotional states more efficiently."

Check out those strategies below!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Alternative Balance
Courtesy Alternative Balance

As a dance teacher, you know more than anyone that things can go wrong—students blank on choreography onstage, costumes don't fit and dancers quit the competition team unexpectedly. Why not apply that same mindset to your status as an independent contractor at a studio or as a studio owner?

Insurance is there to give you peace of mind, even when the unexpected happens. (Especially since attorney fees can be expensive, even when you've done nothing wrong as a teacher.) Taking a preemptive approach to your career—insuring yourself—can save you money, time and stress in the long run.

We talked to expert Miriam Ball of Alternative Balance Professional Group about five scenarios in which having insurance would be key.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Thinkstock

Since the dawn of time, performers have had to deal with annoying, constant blisters. As every dance teacher knows (and every student is sure to find out), blisters are a fact of life, and we all need to figure out a plan of action for how to deal with them.

Instead of bleeding through pointe shoes and begging you to let them sit out, your students should know these tricks for how to prevent/deal with their skin when it starts to sting.

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Brian Guilliaux, courtesy of Coudron

Eric Coudron understands firsthand the hurdles competition dancers face when falling in love with ballet. Now the director of ballet at Prodigy Dance and Performing Arts Centre in Frisco, Texas, Coudron trained as a competition dancer when he was growing up. "It's such a structured form of dance that when they come back to it after all of the other styles they are training in, they don't feel at home at the barre," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Turn It Up Dance Challenge
Courtesy Turn It Up

With back-to-back classes, early-morning stage calls and remembering to pack countless costume accessories, competition and convention weekends can feel like a whirlwind for even the most seasoned of studios. Take the advice of Turn It Up Dance Challenge master teachers Alex Wong and Maud Arnold and president Melissa Burns on how to make the experience feel meaningful and successful for your dancers:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Kendra Portier. Photo by Scott Shaw, courtesy of Gibney Dance

As an artist in residence at the University of Maryland in College Park, Kendra Portier is in a unique position. After almost a decade of performing with David Dorfman Dance and three years earning her MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she's using her two-year gig at UMD (through spring 2020) to "see how teaching in academia really feels," she says. It's also given her the rare opportunity to feel grounded. "I'm going to be here for two years," she says, which offers her the chance to figure out the answers to some hard questions. "What does it mean to not dance for somebody else?" she asks. "What does it mean to take my work more seriously? To realize I really like making work, and figuring out how that can happen in an academic place."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by The Studio Director

As a studio owner, you're probably pretty used to juggling. Running a business is demanding, with new questions and challenges pulling your attention in a million different directions each day.

But there's a solution that could be saving you time and money (and sanity!). Studio management systems are easy-to-use software programs designed for the particular needs of studio owners, offering tools like billing, enrollment, inventory and emails, all in one place. The right studio management system can help you handle the day-to-day tasks that bog you down as a business owner, leaving you more time for the most important work—like connecting with students and planning creative curriculums for them. Plus, these systems can keep you from spending extra money on hiring multiple specialists or using multiple platforms to meet your administrative needs.

So how do you make sure you're choosing a studio management system that offers the same quality that your studio does? We talked to The Studio Director—whose studio management system provides a whole host of streamlined features—about the must-haves for any system, and the bonuses that make an excellent product stand out:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Deanna Paolantonio leads a workshop. Photo courtesy of Paolantonio

Deanna Paolantonio had been interested in body positivity long before diabetes ever crossed her mind. As a Zumba and Pilates instructor who had just earned her master's degree in dance studies, she focused her research on the relationship between fitness and body image for women and young girls. Then, at age 25, just as she was accepted into the PhD program at York University in Toronto, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Robin Nasatir (center) with Peter Brown and Vicki Gunter. Photo by Christian Peacock

On a sunny Thursday morning in Berkeley, California, Robin Nasatir leads her modern class through a classic seated floor warm-up full of luscious curves and tilts to the soothing grooves of Bobby McFerrin. Though her modern style is rooted in traditional José Limón and Erick Hawkins techniques, the makeup of her class is far from conventional. Her students range in age from 30 all the way to early 80s.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox