News

A Letter From Dance Teacher's New Editor in Chief

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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

Teacher Voices
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I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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