I didn't realize how much the whole movement meant to me until I saw the mass of male dancers congregated in front of "Good Morning America" led by the likes of Travis Wall, Alex Wong and Robbie Fairchild. It was pre-7 am—I was all packed up and ready to begin my trek to work when I stumbled upon a livestream of the event. I had read an article the day prior, and heard some whispering about a meet-up outside "GMA." But I wasn't quite sure what type of turnout I could expect. And I certainly could not anticipate how it would make me feel.


Three hundred dancers, young and old, males and their female allies, taking ballet class in the middle of Times Square. It wasn't about Lara Spencer. It wasn't about "GMA." It was about boys - men who dance, our shared experiences: personal tales of resilience and passion for movement. It was about our collective voices finally being given the platform we deserved. It was a glorious, life-affirming moment.

I teared up.

As a young male dancer, I was fortunate enough to have devoted parents who drove me to and from the dance studio and sisters to share my passion for dance with. I felt supported. But I just as often felt the need to keep my dancer identity a secret in fear of retaliation.

I remember making speedy exits from a dance studio in my hometown adjacent to a popular teenager hangout spot. Making sure that I was dressed in regular, inconspicuous, "nondancer" attire. Hiding my face. Avoiding eye contact. Terrified that I'd be spotted and outed for having taken a ballet class.

I remember my classmates asking me how I spent my after-school hours, and how I'd evade the question, making every effort possible to conceal the countless hours I spent in a dance studio.

I remember watching my high school dance ensemble performing onstage, admiring their work, wanting to join in, but deciding that it would not be wise for me to do so. It was too close to home. I didn't want to take the spotlight, become the center of attention and assume all the baggage that came along with it. The judgmental stares, the snide comments, the condescending giggles, the bullies...

Lara Spencer, you may not be the problem, but you're a part of the problem. Being a dancer is tough. Being a male dancer is even tougher and for reasons it shouldn't be. Those who defy the odds and continue dancing have every reason to celebrate.

You can't change the world overnight, but you can prevent the world from changing you.

Dear Prince George, I hope that you hold your head up high, continue doing what you love and know that the rest of the dance world is dancing along with you. #BoysDanceToo

Dance News
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Dancers are resilient by nature. As our community responds to COVID-19, that spirit is being tested. Dance Teacher acknowledges the tremendous challenges you face for your teaching practice and for your schools as you bring your offerings online, and the resulting financial impact on your businesses.

Perhaps we can take hope from the knowledge of how we've managed adversity in the past. I'm thinking of the dance community in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I'm thinking of 9/11 and how that changed the world. I'm thinking of the courageous Jarrah Myles who kept her students safe when the Paradise wildfire destroyed their homes. I'm thinking of Jana Monson who rebuilt her studio after a devastating fire. I'm thinking of Gina Gibney who stepped in to save space for dance in New York City when the beloved Dance New Amsterdam closed.

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Sponsored by Dance Teacher Web
Courtesy Dance Teacher Web

While summer usually sparks dreams of warm vacations in the sun, many dance teachers don't have the luxury of taking a week off to lounge by the pool. But what if a stellar educational opportunity for dance instructors just happened to take place in sunny Las Vegas?

The Dance Teacher Web Conference and Expo, happening August 4–7 and founded and directed by longtime successful studio owners and master teachers Steve Sirico and Angela D'Valda Sirico, gives dance teachers and administrators a chance to learn, network and recharge during a one-of-a-kind working vacation. Here, attendees can rub shoulders with esteemed industry professionals, get inspired by a variety of workshops and even walk away with a new certification or two:

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Studio Owners
Photo courtesy of Misty Lown

Please join us for a Virtual Town Hall with Misty Lown, owner of More Than Just Great Dancing, an affiliation of 300 studios worldwide, and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance. She's also a dance studio owner of 23 years.

Register here to join the call for Monday, March 30, at 1 pm CST (2 pm, EDT).

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Dance Teacher Tips
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On Wednesday, March 18, I was supposed to return to Juilliard and teach Pilates after a two-week spring break. Instead, I rolled a mat onto my bedroom floor, logged in to Zoom and was greeted by a gallery of 50 small-screen images of young ambitious dancers, trying to make the best of a strange situation. As I began class, I applied our new catchphrase: "Please mute yourself," then asked students to use various hand gestures to let me know how they are coping and how much space they have for movement. I asked dancers to write one or two things they wanted to address in the sidebar, and then we began to move.

This is our new normal. In the midst of grave Covid-19 concerns, dance professors across the country faced university closures and requirements to relocate their courses to the virtual sphere. Online education poses very specific and substantial challenges to dance faculty, but they are finding ways to persist by learning new methods of communication, discovering untapped pedagogical tools, expanding their professional networks, developing helpful new resources and unearthing old ones.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Choreographer Molly Heller with musician Michael Wall. Photo by Duhaime Movement Project

Love electronic music? Calming notes of a piano? Smooth, rich trumpet? Want music in clear meters of 3, or in 7? This week is the ideal time to check out musician Michael Wall's abundant website soundformovement.com. I myself have enjoyed getting to experience his music over the past five years—whether to use in a teen class, older-movers class or for my own MFA thesis choreography.

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Site Network
Courtesy of Wroth

The effects of COVID-19 on college dancers might have been devastating. Performances were canceled, seniors trying to savor every last moment together were left without a graduation ceremony, students were encouraged to go home, and at each moment, a question has sounded: How can a student learn how to become a better performer when they are not allowed to perform?

Here at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, the ballet department rallied quickly and adapted its programming, choosing to see this hiatus as an opportunity to encourage reflection and self-improvement.

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Site Network
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As Broadway goes dark and performances are canceled across the country, the financial repercussions of a global pandemic have gone from hypothetical to very real. This is especially true in the dance community, where many institutions are nonprofits or small businesses operating on thin margins, and performers rely on gigs that are being canceled. It's a scary and uncertain time.

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Q: We always seem to lose the most students after our recitals. How do I prevent post-show fallout?

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Dance Teacher Tips
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With studio closures and shelter-in-place restrictions throughout the country this week due to COVID-19 concerns, dancers are putting creative skills to use in a myriad of new ways with each given day and new scenario. If you are stuck at home, consider a few of these projects that frequently get pushed down our long "to do" lists.

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Dance Teachers Trending
Alicia Graf Mack. Photo by Rachel Papo


American Ballet Theatre principal dancer James Whiteside is doing his best to adjust to life at home during the coronavirus outbreak. Watch below for his insights, and see who among the ballet world's best is teaching online, including DT's January cover star and director of The Juilliard School's Dance Division, Alicia Graf Mack (minute 1:07).


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Dance Teachers Trending
Nyama McCarthy-Brown leads class. Courtesy of McCarthy-Brown

For the past 20 years, Ohio State University professor Nyama McCarthy-Brown has been advocating for dance pedagogy that embraces students' cultural backgrounds. "When you look at a textbook and all you see is Western-based dances or people moving in ways that point back to a Eurocentric culture, how do you value other cultures?" she asks. "How do we value other cultures when we're not seeing them in every place that we're told is important?"

In her 2017 book Dance Pedagogy for a Diverse World: Culturally Relevant Teaching in Theory, Research and Practice, McCarthy-Brown details her approach, which hinges on researching the cultural backgrounds of the students in the room and teaching with these in mind. Integrating students' cultural practices into dance curriculum, especially in K–12 schools, enables students to be seen and valued, and to have a more positive learning experience.

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Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Damrow

Kristin Damrow is a beloved teaching artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. On average, she teaches 15 hours a week with adults and teens of different levels, plus directs her company Kristin Damrow & Company. She is also a tech-savvy artist who makes vlogs and maximizes social-media posts through Facebook and Instagram to support her teaching and choreographic work. Her dance work is already well-connected via technology.

This week we asked Kristin a few questions as she posted her first online teaching video, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the closing of all institutions in which she teaches.

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