Costumes, Costumes, Costumes!

Very apropos of our current issue, the New York City Public Library for the Performing Arts is opening an exhibit next Monday titled, “Curtain Call: Celebrating a Century of Women Designing for Live Performance.”

Per the press release: “From the costume design for the 1897 production The Belle of New York to the set design for Broadway’s current hit In the Heights, this exhibition features works by 140 distinguished women who have designed scenery, costumes, lighting, props and projections for the stage.”

Some of the highlights will include Glinda’s blue dress from Wicked, Anna’s waltzing frock from the famous “Shall We Dance?” scene in The King and I and Richard Burton’s Hamlet duds. Sounds fun, no? If you’re in NYC during the next six months—the exhibit runs until May 2, 2009—I encourage you to make use of the wonderful resource that is the NY Public Library and check out this exhibit for some inspiration for your year-end shows. For more info, visit the library's website at www.nypl.org/research/lpa/.

Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

With so much else on your plate, from navigating virtual learning to keeping your studio afloat, it can be tempting to to cut corners or to settle for less in order to check "costumes" off of this season's to-do list. Ultimately, though, finding a costume vendor you trust is paramount to keeping your stress levels low and parent satisfaction high, not to mention helping your students look—and feel—their absolute best. Remember: You are the client, and you deserve exceptional service. And costume companies like A Wish Come True are ready to go above and beyond for their customers, but it's important that you know what to ask for. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your costume company.

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Higher Ed
Charles Anderson (center) in his (Re)current Unrest. Photo by Kegan Marling, courtesy of UT Austin

Given the long history of American choreographers who have threaded activism into their work—Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Joanna Haigood, Bill T. Jones, Jo Kreiter, to name a few—it's perhaps surprising that collegiate dance has offered so little in the way of training future generations to do the same.

Until now, that is. Within the last three years, two master's programs have cropped up, each the first of its kind: Ohio University's MA in community dance (new this fall), and the University of Texas at Austin's dance and social justice MFA, which emerged from its existing MFA program in 2018. These two programs join the University of San Francisco's undergraduate performing arts and social justice major, with a concentration in dance, which has been around since 2000.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

As many dance teachers begin another semester of virtual teaching, it is time to acknowledge the fact that virtual classes aren't actually accessible to all students.

When schools and studios launched their virtual dance programs at the beginning of the pandemic, many operated under the assumption that all their students would be able to take class online. But in reality, lack of access to technology and Wi-Fi is a major issue for many low-income students across the country, in many cases cutting them off from the classes and resources their peers can enjoy from home.

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