Dance and Film Fans Agree: We Love Ballet Behind-the-Scenes

We dancers are lucky the rest of the population has become so interested in our craft. It means there are more outlets for films like Ballet 422, which will be featured in the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival (April 16–April 27).

Originally backed through crowd-funding site HatchfundBallet 422 documents the creation of Justin Peck’s latest work for New York City Ballet. Peck has been in the spotlight since he fulfilled his dream of collaborating with musician Sufjan Stevens and fans and critics went gaga over the results in Year of the Rabbit. Paz de la Jolla, an homage to Peck’s southern California home region and NYCB’s 422nd original ballet, premiered in February to positive reactions. Now audiences will see this promising dancemaker’s process in action, and we could not be more excited about that.

The tantalizing trailer shows the always gorgeous (and increasingly popular with mainstream media) Tiler Peck in rehearsal, plus Justin mapping formations, reviewing footage and discussing his vision with the orchestra. Camera crews were clearly given full access, going everywhere from Justin’s apartment to the costume shop to dress rehearsals and live performances.

The film was conceived by former NYCB soloist and director of media projects Ellen Bar and directed by her husband, filmmaker Jody Lee Lipes. Bar says in the Hatchfund description that she has long dreamed of “pulling back the veil on the making of a new ballet.” We feel the same way, and we cannot wait to see more!

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Barbara Bashaw in Thompson Hall of Columbia Teachers College. Photo by Kyle Froman

Barbara Bashaw has always been a pioneer. Since kicking off her career in education by building a dance program from the ground up at an elementary school in Brooklyn, she's gone on to become an inspiring force in teacher training. Now, as director of the new doctoral program in dance education at Columbia University's renowned Teachers College and as executive director of the even newer Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy & Leadership, she's in a position to effect change nationwide.

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Every year in our summer issue, we honor four dance educators for their outstanding contributions to the field. Recipients have included studio owners, professors, program directors, K–12 teachers and more, whose specialties run the gamut of dance genres.

We need your help to identify this year's best in the profession. Do you have a colleague or mentor who deserves to be recognized as a leader and role model?

Send your nomination by March 1, 2020. You can e-mail us at danceteachereditors@dancemedia.com with the following details:

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Photo by Jenny Studios, courtesy of Utah Dance Artists

Running a dance school used to involve a seemingly endless stream of paperwork. But thanks to the advent of software tailored specifically for dance studios' needs, those hours formerly spent pushing papers can now be put to better use.

"Nobody opens a dance studio because they want to do administrative work," says Brett Stuckey, who leads Akada Software's support team. "It's our job to get you out of the office and back into your classroom."

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Watching through the studio windows—or even from the sidelines in a Mommy and Me class—can surely make parents wonder what exactly our little tykes are getting out of weekly ballet lessons. After all, they're repeating the same things class after class. Are they bored? Are they progressing? Why are they doing that again?

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The oldest ballet competition in the world doesn't have the funds for the show to go on: The 29th edition of the Varna International Ballet Competition, scheduled for July 12–30, 2020, has been postponed indefinitely.

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Q: I have a 15-year-old student who has problems keeping her heel fully on the ground during a demi-plié. How can I help her?

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The eight 2020 Prix de Lausanne prize winners. Photo by Rodrigo Buas, courtesy of PdL

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Nope, there's still no Oscar for Best Choreography—but we now get to reveal the winner of our own Dance Spirit award for Best Movie Choreography of 2019! Though we're big fans of all seven of the nominated choreographers, and think each one deserves to be acknowledged for their contributions to some of our favorite films this year, there can only be one winner. And based on your votes, that is...

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