News

A Letter From Dance Teacher's New Editor in Chief

Getty Images

I've introduced myself to many dance teachers over my years as a student—usually still sweaty and elated from class.

But I never thought I'd be introducing myself to thousands of teachers, all at once. I'm the new editor in chief of Dance Teacher magazine, and I'm delighted to meet you.


For the past five years, I've been an editor at Dance Magazine, leading on training and career-related stories and writing about everything from social justice to music. I've chaired the Dance/NYC Junior Committee, a group of young dance professionals advocating for equity in our field, and presented my research at the Women in Dance Leadership conference. Dance teachers have shaped my path every step of the way—from the small studio I attended in coastal North Carolina to my years at Barnard College to taking class as an adult at Steps on Broadway and Mark Morris Dance Center.

I realize that as I step into this new role, many of you are stepping into new roles, too. Dance teachers are now Zoom experts and tech support for their students and parents. Studio owners are now their own brand strategists, figuring out overnight how to completely shift their business models. Those of you who were used to only teaching other people's kids may be finding that now you have to homeschool your own, too. And while teachers have always been mentors and support systems for their students, the current moment may be demanding even more of you as your students have their lives upended. As writer Kathleen McGuire puts it in an upcoming story on how teachers can help their students navigate grief: "Leading your students through a global pandemic was not on the dance pedagogy syllabus." (You can find this story in our September/October print issue, and online shortly.)

Wingenroth, wearing a blue and red striped shirt, smiles at the camera

Jayme Thornton

It can be scary to take on these new challenges. But know that everything you're doing is inspiring me, and all of us at Dance Teacher. We're inspired to create new spaces where our community can grow. We're inspired to reimagine what dance education can look like moving forward, as many of you already are. We're inspired to celebrate you and your accomplishments, big and small. We're inspired to keep educating the next generation about the storied history of our artform and the lineages that continue to shape our field. We're inspired to look to the future to see what we can do better.

Speaking of lineages, I want to recognize my predecessor, Karen Hildebrand, who has been at the helm of Dance Teacher for the past 10 years. As I've started in this role, Karen has been a teacher to me. I'm grateful for her generosity, as I know many of you are, too. I know she will be missed deeply by this community, and I hope to continue her legacy of advocating for dance teachers and their needs.

I'm excited to get to work: In the next few months I'll be shaping our last print issues of the year, giving our social-media pages a revamp and introducing some exciting new virtual offerings. I'll also be bringing you up-to-the-minute small-business tips and stories with Dance Business Weekly, which I'll also be heading as editor in chief.

But what I'm most looking forward to? Getting to know all of you. Shoot me a note at lwingenroth@dancemedia.com—my inbox is always open, and I'd love to hear your ideas, your stories and your concerns.

Let's get to know each other.

With excitement and gratitude,
Lauren Wingenroth

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.