Dance Teachers Trending
Taylor with PTAMD dancers Annmaria Mazzini and Michael Trusnovec. Photo by Richard Calmes

A person's walk is like a fingerprint, according to four Paul Taylor dancers who are stepping on without their beloved choreographer. Taylor died August 29, passing the legacy of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance to Michael Novak, the second artistic director in the company's history.

"Human movement never lies," says Novak, who sometimes slipped into present tense when describing his mentor. "For auditions, Paul makes dancers walk across the floor in rhythm. The first time I auditioned, I didn't get the job. I was terrified, but now that I'm on the other side of the audition process, 'the walk' is telling."

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Dance News
Teacher Elias Kababa with students at the 92nd Street Y "Hip-Hop to the Top" workshop. Photo by Todd France, courtesy of Votaw

With hopes of better connecting to young students, dance educators met Saturday at New York City's 92nd Street Y for "Hip-Hop to the Top: Exploring the world through hip-hop dance."

The five-hour workshop provided age-appropriate lesson plans rooted in history and Laban Movement Analysis. But the program also reassured classically trained teachers to "come as you are." After all, a "groove" is just a plié with a grounded "urban edge."

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Dance News
Photo by Alex Huber, courtesy of YDC

Ballroom dance could be the best form of diplomacy, according to New York City teenagers starring in a new documentary, Taking New Steps—The Dancing Classrooms Youth Dance Company Goes to Israel.

Saturday, members of the Youth Dance Company and their loved ones watched the private screening with family and friends at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Produced by SingularDTV, the 18-minute documentary captured individual interviews and sweeping drone shots during the company's 2017 trip to Israel for the Karmiel Dance Festival. Dancers in the audience, now a year older, cheered as they viewed younger versions of themselves on the movie screen.

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Dance News
The Cannarsie Wobblers, a professional dance group in New York.

Prohibition fever is sweeping the nation with toe-tapping picnics that will have you shimmying all summer long.

"I think with 2020 approaching and the release of the 2013 film The Great Gatsby, people are excited about the Roaring Twenties," says dance instructor Andrew Selzer of Boston Lindy Hop.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Students at Steps Consevatory in NYC.

Dancers who dare to sing increase their marketability, according to voice teacher Jan Horvath.

It's one thing to master a triple pirouette, she says. It's another to be a well-rounded performer who can tackle any challenge without being discouraged.

Horvath teaches voice at Steps Conservatory, a two-year professional dance program in New York City. Once a week, she leads two groups of 10 students in a 90-minute vocal course.

"It's like a ballet barre," she explains. "We focus on one little thing of the day and perfect it and move on."

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Dance News
The Legacy Dancers performing in New York. Photo courtesy of Legacy 36

"Not only do Rockettes move together while physically attached, we are also forever linked through a long tradition of precision dance," says Mary Six Rupert, a former Rockette who produced, directed, and choreographed "Forever Linked: The Early History of Precision Dance Troupes."

Rupert's educational performance is this weekend in New York City and stars Legacy 36, LLC, her troup of former Rockettes, who have presented similar history programs since 2013. Novelty acts include stilt and three-legged dancers, a duet with her five-year-old nephew, and toe tap–all sandwiched between narration. Photos and videos honor all precision dancers, including the Tiller Girls, an iconic English troop that preceded the Rockettes.

As the most famous precision group, the Rockettes have resided at Radio City Music Hall since the early 1930s, but at the time, dozens of American movie palaces had their own kicklines, similar to the team in Manhattan. Before films, beautiful women dazzled onstage and became part of each cinema's year-round brand.

Today, the Rockettes are known for their annual Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Unlike other precision troops, they're still going, Rupert says.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Thinkstock

Even the most disciplined dancers admit to weeping in class sometimes. Sorrow and fear are human expressions, but teachers may not always know how to navigate a sudden burst of waterworks.

"Stress is in the body," explains Linda Taylor, a school psychologist in Idaho who has taught ballet to all age groups, from toddler to professional. "Sometimes the release of it can bring on tears, especially for older students."

"We all need to cry sometimes," says Joel Hall, founder and director of Joel Hall Dancers & Center in Chicago. An instructor who has taught for 46 years, he admits he used to feel panicked at the sight of watery eyes. Now, he has a better understanding of students' feelings and how to work with them.

Here are five expert tips from Taylor and Hall for navigating grief in dance class.

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Dance Teachers Trending
Photo via Madam Olga's Instagram

Ballet instructor Michael Cusumano has a secret identity that even his mother didn't encounter until recently.

When he's not teaching at Pace University or editing funny videos on YouTube, he's transforming into his alter ego Madame Olga, a feisty Russian ballet star who claimed part of his brain and a lot of his closet.

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