Cross-Train for a Cause

Many dancers avoid running because it stresses joints. If you have the right shoes and technique, however, a few laps around the track can be a healthy cardio supplement to your training. (More about running safety and other dance-friendly summer workouts here.) On Sunday, May 4, Discount Dance Supply is giving dancers in southern California a chance to chase that runner’s high while supporting dance education.

Chelsie Hightower and other dance celebs will attend Discount Dance Supply's Run de Jambe.

The first annual Run de Jambe—that ballet pun alone lets you know it’s meant for athletes more familiar with the studio than the track—follows a 5K course around Long Beach’s Rainbow Lagoon Park,but not before a pre-run dance party and warm-up stretches. Celebrity choreographers, including Chelsie Hightower and Brian Friedman, will be on-site after the run for a meet-and-greet and more dancing. All proceeds go to the National Dance Education Organization, which works to bring quality dance education to public schools across the country.

Dancers, take your mark!

 

Photo by Bob D’Amico, courtesy of ABC

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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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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