Dancin’ in the Street…and Parks...and Public Squares

A Limón dance class in Bryant Park

Ahhh Summer in New York City. Time for Mister Softee ice cream trucks, outdoor movies, Shakespeare in the Park, SummerStage performances and more dancing opportunities than any one human could possibly keep up with. Truly, you can’t walk six blocks between Memorial Day and Labor Day without coming across an al fresco flamenco, salsa or Zumba class. (Forget the grocery shopping—there’s booty-shaking to be done!) I’ve rounded up just a few of my favorite NYC summer dance events to help you get moving:

Limón Classes in Bryant Park

Every Saturday morning from May 25–September 7, movers of all ages and levels can get a taste of Limón technique as part of Bryant Park Moves. Classes are free, held on the grassy lawn of the park and taught by real, live Limón company members. This is one of those things where many people can’t even appreciate how cool it is. Free class from company members?! Plus live accompaniment, you say? What a treat!

NYC Dance Week

These classes aren’t outdoors, but they are free! For ten days starting June 20, dancers and nondancers alike can test the waters at some of the city’s top studios including Mark Morris Dance Center and the Ailey School. There are about 100 classes to choose from, in classical, traditional and ballroom dance as well as fitness and wellness. In other words, your last week of June just got booked solid.

34th Street Partnership

This is one of those easily stumbled-upon classes that you wind up wishing you’d known about ahead of time. Now you can! The 34th Street Partnership is a nonprofit that manages the Herald Square/Greeley Square area of Midtown. They’re offering 5:30 pm Tuesday salsa classes and Thursday Zumba every week until the end of August. Classes meet in front of Macy’s (Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets) for that total summer-in-the-city experience.

Midsummer Night Swing

Tickets went on sale last week for the three-week festival’s 25th anniversary season. Midsummer Night Swing is a giant big-band dance party held every Tuesday–Saturday night between June 25 and July 13. Each evening begins with a dance lesson on the plaza at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. Styles range from Lindy Hop and jitterbug to salsa and hustle, depending on that evening’s musical performer. Check the calendar for your favorite style, and make sure you arrive early, because the crowds at MNS are intense.

What’s your favorite place to dance during the summer? Have you tried hosting community or outdoors classes yourself? Tell us about it in the comments section!

Photo courtesy Audrey Ross/Publicity

Music
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.