Books/DVDs: Role Models

Pina Bausch
By Royd Climenhaga
In a nutshell: A fundamental guide to understanding the works and methods behind the Tanztheater artistic mind.

Another addition to the Routledge Performance Practitioners series, this book is the first English-language overview of the dance theory of the late German native Pina Bausch—one of the 20th century’s most prominent dancemakers. Within its four analytical chapters, the author spans Bausch’s career, from outlining the historical and artistic context for her work to detailed descriptions of her practical exercises, like helping dancers expand on their relationship with the audience. The text also includes a translated 1987 interview with Bausch, in which she opened up about her developmental process and revealed, “I am scared, content, I hope, just like everyone. Maybe this is why people react very strongly to my pieces, because they feel directly spoken to.” Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this book is the in-depth look at her central piece, Kontakthof. Black-and-white performance photos give readers’ eyes a rest from the book’s text-heavy content. For an artist who rarely documented her methods, Pina Bausch uncovers for dance educators and students the commonly unanswered question: How did Bausch do what she did?

Margaret H’Doubler: The Legacy of America’s Dance Education Pioneer
Edited by John M. Wilson, Thomas K. Hagood and Mary A. Brennan
Cambria Press
In a nutshell: An in-depth anthology that explores the life’s work of a venerable higher-education groundbreaker.

While Margaret H’Doubler is best remembered for establishing the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s dance major, this 17-chapter book allows readers to grasp a deeper understanding of her personal life and career. The editors, including two past H’Doubler pupils, claim their collective work presents a “holistic portrait of this interesting, plain, driven, modest, unyielding, flexible, committed, some might say eccentric woman.” The text is logically split into two parts, separated by a mix of black-and-white photographs spanning her career. The first section includes a collection of memories from friends, family members and colleagues, and an entire chapter dedicated to an editors’ roundtable that discusses her life and works. Part two compiles historical documents, notes and interviews that delve into the critical analyses of H’Doubler’s dance philosophies. While certainly not a casual read, this meticulously detailed book will inspire dance scholars and educators looking to expand their dance-education knowledge.

Musical Theatre Training: The Broadway Theatre Project Handbook
By Debra McWaters
University Press of Florida
In a nutshell: An all-encompassing guidebook to a prominent training program in musical theater.

Debra McWaters, artistic director and co-founder of the Broadway Theatre Project, uses 19 chapters to highlight the program’s training techniques to help students excel in the world of musical theater. While some chapters focus on technical training tactics, others provide compelling insight into topics like: how to create a healthy performer, finding an inspirational teacher and the benefits of developing well-rounded students. Captivating images taken from past BTP classes and workshops held at the project’s base in Tampa, Florida, fill every chapter. In this easily navigable text, aspiring students and musical-theater teachers will learn about the benefits of artistic collaboration, how to prepare students for auditions and training techniques, among other subjects. The book’s concluding chapter, “Passing the Baton,” leaves readers with inspirational quotes from many famous artists, including Julie Andrews who said, “Learn your craft and learn it well.” DT

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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