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

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Success with Just for Kix
Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

Running a dance studio is a feat in itself. But adding a competition team into the mix brings a whole new set of challenges. Not only are you focusing on giving your dancers the best training possible, but you're navigating the fast-paced competition and convention circuit. Winning is one goal, but you also want to create an environment that's fun, educational and inspiring for young artists. We asked Cindy Clough, executive director of Just For Kix and a studio owner with over 40 years of experience, for her advice on building a healthy dance team culture:

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Via Instagram

Happy Father's Day to all of the dance dads in the world! Whether you're professional dancers, dance teachers, dance directors or simply just dance supporters, you are a key ingredient to what makes the dance world such a happy, thriving place, and we love you!

To celebrate, here are our four favorite Instagram dance dads. Prepare to say "Awwwwwwwweeeeeee!!!!!!"

You're welcome!

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Insure Fitness
AdobeStock, Courtesy Insure Fitness Group

As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

You'll benefit most from an insurance policy that caters to the specifics of teaching dance at one or several studios. Here's what to look for:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

If you're a studio owner, the thought of raising your rates most likely makes you cringe. Despite ever-increasing overhead expenses you can't avoid—rent, salaries, insurance—you're probably wary of alienating your customers, losing students or inviting confrontation if you increase the price of your tuition or registration and recital fees. DT spoke with three veteran studio owners who suggest it's time to get past that. Here's how to give your business the revenue boost it needs and the value justification it (and you) deserve.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by World Class Vacations
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Margie Gillis (left); photo by Kyle Froman

Margie Gillis dances the human experience. Undulating naked in a field of billowing grass in Lessons from Nature 4, or whirling in a sweep of lilac fabric in her signature work Slipstream, her movement is free of flashy technique and tricks, but driven and defined by emotion. "There's a central philosophy in my work about what the experience of being human is," says Gillis, whose movement style is an alchemy of Isadora Duncan's uninhibited self-expression and Paul Taylor's musicality, blended with elements of dance theater into something utterly unique and immediately accessible. "I want an authenticity," she says. "I want to touch my audiences profoundly and deeply."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

Teaching arabesque can be a challenge for educators and students alike. Differences in body types, flexibility and strength can leave dancers feeling dejected about the possibility of improving this essential position.

To help each of us in our quest for establishing beautiful arabesques in our students without bringing them to tears, we caught up with University of Utah ballet teacher Jennie Creer-King. After her professional career dancing with Ballet West and Oregon Ballet Theater and her years of teaching at the studio and college levels, she's become a bit of an arabesque expert.

Here she shares five important tips for increasing the height of your students' arabesques.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Jennifer Kleinman, courtesy of Danell Hathaway

It's high school dance concert season, which means a lot of you K–12 teachers are likely feeling a bit overwhelmed. The long nights of editing music, rounding up costumes and printing programs are upon you, and we salute you. You do great work, and if you just hang on a little while longer, you'll be able to bathe in the applause that comes after the final Saturday night curtain.

To give you a bit of inspiration for your upcoming performances, we talked with Olympus High School dance teacher Danell Hathaway, who just wrapped her school's latest dance company concert. The Salt Lake City–based K–12 teacher shares her six pieces of advice for knocking your show out of the park.

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Q: I'm looking to create some summer rituals and traditions at my studio. What are some of the things you do?

A: Creating fun and engaging moments for your students, staff and families can have a positive impact on your studio culture. Whether it's a big event or a small gesture, we've found that traditions build connection, boost morale and create strong bonds. I reached out to a variety of studio owners to gather some ideas for you to try this summer. Here's what they had to say.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Sam Williams and Jaxon Willard after competition at RADIX. Photo courtesy of Williams

Self-choreographed solos are becoming increasingly popular on the competition circuit these days, leading dance teachers to incorporate more creative mentoring into their rehearsal and class schedules. In this new world of developing both technical training and choreographic prowess, finding the right balance of assisting without totally hijacking a student's choreographic process can be difficult.

To help, we caught up with a teacher who's already braved these waters by assisting "World of Dance" phenom Jaxon Willard with his viral audition solos. Center Stage Performing Arts Studio company director Sam Williams from Orem, Utah, shares her sage wisdom below.

Check it out!

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Dance studios are run by creative people with busy schedules, who have a love-hate relationship with props and sequins. The results of all this glitter and glam? General mass chaos in every drawer, costume closet and prop corner of the studio. Let's be honest, not many dance teachers are particularly known for their tidiness. The ability to get 21 dancers to spot in total synchronization? Absolutely! The stamina to run 10 solos, 5 group numbers, 2 ballet classes and 1 jazz class in one day? Of course! The emotional maturity to navigate a minefield of angry parents and hormonal teenagers? You know it!

Keeping the studio tidy? Well...that's another story.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox