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In early April, I wrote about a dance production class that involves a broad overview of what it's like to put on a performance, including lighting design, costuming, backstage management, choreography, and programming. The final project of the course, which we presented on April 13, was performing a short piece of any dance genre in duos and trios, complete with costumes, a basic lighting design, and a press release.

We had a tech rehearsal in class, followed directly with the 15-minute show featuring seven original dance pieces. It was filmed by our instructor Deborah Damast, and I uploaded several of the videos in case you're interested what kind of things we came up with, mostly on the fly.

Here are direct links to some of the pieces that were performed:


Leselle Robinson and Jee Yun Hong perform their piece "Ocean Sunrise"

Adam Holms and Megan Philipp perform their piece "Flipper Ballet"

Barbara Angeline, Nicole Frangione, and Julie Garcia perform their piece "Again"

Aya Wallace and I perform our piece "Another Star"


If you'd like more details about the class structure, check out my original blog entry: http://www.dance-teacher.com/sections/blogs/435

I'd love to know what you thought of the pieces, as well as if you have choreographic workshop ideas for older students. Are there any ideas that you've used that have really helped inspire creativity? If so, share your thoughts on the Dance Teacher message board.

Music
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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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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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