Calling All Dance History Nerds

ATDF's "Tap It Out" in Times Square

It’s going to be a good winter for dance archives. (What a sentence.) The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has announced that choreographer David Gordon is donating his complete archives to the Library. As a bonus, Gordon’s created new works about the act of archiving, which he’ll show in workshop form this Thursday, January 21 (and again on January 28). The Library will also screen a 2011 performance of Gordon’s Dancing Henry Five, February 8.

And on February 12, the Library of Congress will celebrate the launch of an interactive tap dance archive, “Tap Dance in America,” compiled by Constance Valis Hill, director of preservation at the American Tap Dance Foundation. The archive will serve as an encyclopedia of American tap dance, searchable by title, date, venue, dancer, choreographer, director, producer and performance medium. It includes more than 2,820 records of tap performance and 180 biographies!

To kick off the new archive, ATDF is hosting a tap talk, screening the PBS special Tap Talk and offering a weekend teen tap intensive.

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

Photo by Debi Field, courtesy of ATDF

Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

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Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

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