City.ballet." Recap: Episode 10, “Finale

All good things must come to an end, and this is the (relative) end of “city.ballet.”—though the entire season will continue to live online, for your repeated viewing pleasure. In classic wrap-up style, several of the New York City Ballet dancers talk about their non-ballet interests, stressing the need to have a life outside of the theater to maintain sanity and even improve personal artistry. Ashley Bouder is in school, pursuing a degree in political science; Georgina Pazcoguin has her real estate license; Sara Mearns is learning to be a true New Yorker; Megan Fairchild talks about wanting to start a family. If anything, this web series has done a commendable job of reminding viewers that professional dancers are people, not stereotypes.

That’s not to diminish their obviously intense obsession with and love for their jobs as ballet dancers, however. When Ashley Bouder speaks of how performing is “something you can have only with a lover, but you can have it with everybody onstage,” it’s easy to remember why so many of us relentlessly pursue this artform.

Can’t get enough of “city.ballet.”? Don’t worry—there are plenty of extras on Check out the “Behind the Scenes” mini videos, with titles like “The Hair” (there is much hairspray), “Outside the Box” (apparently most NYCB dancers have sailor mouths, once offstage), “The Shoes” (it took Ashley Bouder two years to find a version of a new pointe shoe that she felt completely comfortable with), “The Makeup” (hello, pancake faces!) and “If I Wasn’t Dancing” (the Angle brothers think they might have a future in music).  An added perk is that several of these mini-episodes are conducted by Sarah Jessica Parker! Feel free to be starstruck.

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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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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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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