December 2008

Renaissance Woman

Former Ailey dancer Sharron Miller has built a model private studio/K–12 partnership

12 Months of Fundraising

Ideas to last through the coming year

Convention Compass

Heading to a convention? Prepare your students for what to expect so they can make the most of it.

2009 Convention Guide

Details on more than 100 events this coming year

 

Fashion

27 styles to keep students warm this winter

Creative Direction

Choreographer Jon Lehrer lets us in on some of the tunes that inspire him.

Above and Beyond

13 creative ways to enrich your students' dance education outside of the classroom

Marius Petipa

Legendary ballet choreographer

Making Connections

Find out how one young dance teacher built a thriving program from scratch in rural Vermont.

Stepping Stone

Glendale Community College is paving the way for budding dancers.

Face Value

When it comes to facial expressions onstage, how much is too much?

Retiring Gracefully

Tips for stepping down when you're ready to close the curtain on your studio director days

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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Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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