Teaching Tips

(Late) Summer Reading: 6 New Books to Add to Your List

Courtesy Jill Randall

Fall may be fast-approaching, but it's never too late to slip in a little summer reading—especially if it'll make you all the more prepared for the perhaps crazier-than-usual season ahead.

Here are six new releases to enrich your coming school year:

A Teaching Artist's Companion: How to Define and Develop Your Practice, by Daniel Levy

Reflective as well as practical, Levy shares his 30 years as a teaching artist in this dense volume that explores the intersection of our work and our identities as artists and educators. He frames teaching through the words "view" (our viewpoint, what we believe teaching can offer), "design" (how we craft our lessons and units) and "respond" (reflecting on what actually happens in the classroom and reflecting on artwork with our students). The final chapter offers key information about teaching-artist pay and frameworks from arts education programs around the country.

Middle School Matters, by Phyllis L. Fagell

Fagell is a middle school counselor; she really gets working with kids and talking with parents. For dance educators, this book is a valuable exploration into the world of middle school children—their priorities, their fears and the ways that we as adults in their lives can create safe environments in dance classes for risk-taking, group work and creative expression.

How to Land: Finding Ground in an Unstable World, by Ann Cooper Albright

As we navigate this time of pandemic and racism, Ann Cooper Albright's book is a guide for placing our dance work into the larger context of meaning-making and healing. Essays by the Oberlin College professor introduce the idea of movement concepts as metaphor for what we're experiencing in our everyday lives: falling, disorientation, suspension, gravity, resilience and connection.

The New Adolescence, by Christine Carter

As a parent, author and senior fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, Carter brings a wealth of experience and research to the topic of adolescence. She unpacks the life of Gen Z adolescents and how we can offer support and structures, and watch out for anxiety and depression, plus foster face-to-face real-time experiences. In an age of constant stimulation and external validation, the dance class setting can offer focus, embodiment and internal understanding.

Perspectives on American Dance, edited by Jennifer Atkins, Sally R. Sommer and Tricia Henry Young

Originally published in 2018 and now in paperback, this two-volume set is the first anthology on dance in the U.S. in nearly 25 years. Edited by three Florida State University dance professors, book one, The Twentieth Century, contains 13 essays spotlighting a variety of dance styles, artists, concert dance and dance on film. Book two—The New Millennium—captures dance in all of its forms, whether live or on the internet, from pole dancing to flash mobs to sports victory dances.

A Revolution in Movement: Dancers, Painters, and the Image of Modern Mexico, by K. Mitchell Snow

A deep dive into the dance and visual art worlds of Mexico from the 1920s through the 1960s, this book explores ballet, modern and folk forms in post-revolution Mexico. The author details the shaping of a national identity through dance and highlights collaborations between artists like Diego Rivera and dancers of this time period.

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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