Climate Change + Dance = the Magic of Jody Sperling

At first, climate change doesn't sound like the type of topic that would lend itself easily to dance. But Jody Sperling (DT, May 2015) is eager to prove that thought wrong this weekend, with her global warming–inspired evening, Polar Rhythms: Dance and Music of Ice. Beginning this evening and continuing through Saturday in New York City, Sperling will present a dance performance alongside post-show talkbacks, panel discussions and kid-friendly workshops with scientists and climate educators.


Here's a short preview of the performance—prepare to be hypnotized:

If Sperling's use of fabric and light feels like it's from another era, it's because her company, Time Lapse Dance, specializes in the style of modern dance pioneer Loie Fuller, who created special effects with her billowing costumes and colored lighting.

When Sperling was on our cover, she'd recently completed a research trip with a U.S. Coast Guard expedition to the Arctic Ocean. This performance is part of an ever-evolving version of Ice Cycle, inspired by her experience dancing on polar ice.

Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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Music
Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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