Dancers Among Us, Now in Bookstores

You’ve probably seen Jordan Matter’s photos circulating on Facebook and Pinterest. The New York–based photographer has made a name for himself with eye-catching images of dancers doing typically ordinary things in amazing, dancerly ways, like playing Frisbee, snapping photos or mopping the floor.

 

Now you can own Dancers Among Us in the form of a lovely coffee table book! Perhaps a gift for your parent volunteers? Or maybe just a reward to yourself for making in through another "Nutcracker" season. And when your guests flip through it and point, awestruck, to an image of someone penché-ing on a floating boogie board, you can yawn and say, "Ah yes, just another day in the life."

 

Part of the lure of Matter's work is the "How did they do that?!" factor. This behind-the-scenes video shows Matter and his gutsy dancers at work, taking risks with the law and their lives to capture the perfect shot!

 

 

 

Photo by Jordan Matter

 

 

 

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

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Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

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