Dance Teachers Trending

For New York Theatre Ballet's Founder Diana Byer, the Accompanist Is Key

Byer with students at Ballet School NY. Photos by Susan Lin, courtesy of NYTB

After teaching ballet for 42 years, New York Theatre Ballet founder Diana Byer has learned that teaching is not just about identifying talent. It's about giving students—of all levels—the right tools to hone a skill. Essential to that tool-set is how to deal with the music. Learning to be musical carries the same weight as learning the perfect technique. "We're not just teaching them how to point their feet or march on the beat," she says. "It all grows as one."

Byer finds working within the parameters of the Cecchetti style's set syllabus helps students learn to find the artistry and musicality. "When you learn the exercises, you don't have to think what comes next," she says. "You're focused on finding the phrasing with the music."

Byer considers the accompanist the most important person in the room. She believes using a live musician keeps the class more engaged and alert, and with music director Michael Scales, she's always working hard to find the right accompanist for Ballet School NY, NYTB's school.

Regardless of students' level, she never has the musician play down to her younger students in class. Even in the beginning, it's important for them to identify a tarantella waltz, a polka or a mazurka. "My aim is to create well-rounded dancers," she says, "and learning about music plays a huge part in that."

Show Comments ()
Dance Teachers Trending
Hines in White Nights (1985). Photo courtesy of Dance Magazine archive

During tap dance's waning popularity from the 1970s to the 1990s, Gregory Oliver Hines kept it alive with his show-stopping performances on Broadway, television and in film. A triple threat, Hines was best known for his sensational tap skills—namely his natural rhythm, creativity, elegance and speed. Throughout his career, Hines served as a tireless advocate for tap and mentor to dozens of today's most notable hoofers.

Keep reading... Show less
Via @kyle_vanny on Instagram competing on "World of Dance"

Kyle Van Newkirk is a tap dancer you probably remember from the premiere season of NBC's World of Dance. In case you missed it, he is also one of Showstopper's incredible convention teachers. What makes Kyle stand apart from some of today's other incredible tappers? He isn't afraid to change what tap means to his audience and even himself. This modern view of tap dancing is important because it shows us that tap dancers are just as versatile and dynamic as dancers of any other genre. We sat down with Kyle to get his advice on bringing tap dancing into the 21st century.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos
Photo by Kyle Froman

Do you know how to teach this classic tap rhythm?

Keep reading... Show less

"When we come together and start talking, everyone starts sharing so much and it's just great. That's my favorite thing to do all year long." – Denise Wall, Dance Teacher Summit Ambassador

For years the Dance Teacher Summit has been offering opportunities for studio owners and dance instructors of all levels to work with world-renowned faculty members to improve their teaching methods, learn new styles of choreography and discover ideal ways to convey choreography to students.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, via @kensingtonroyal on Instagram

The Royal Wedding was EVERYTHING this weekend, and we still can't get over it. We haven't stopped checking Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for recaps and commentary on the dress, preacher and Oprah, since 7 am Saturday morning. (Who are we kidding—we've been wedding-obsessed since November 😍.)

But, now that we're back to work and deep in the throes of our day-to-day lives, the withdrawals are just too real. WE MISS THE LOVE!

To help all of us recover in the only way we know how, we're providing you with five love-centric dance videos that are sure to fill the lavish, Royal Wedding–sized void in your hearts.

Enjoy!

Keep reading... Show less

Purchasing a Harlequin floor is now easier than ever!

Get a new marley/vinyl floor, sprung floor system and installation with convenient monthly payments. American Harlequin Corporation has partnered with Allstate Capital to offer comprehensive, easy to understand financing packages customized to meet the needs of our customers.

Apply for an Allstate Capital Financing account today and receive a decision within 24 hours.

Click here to learn how you can buy a Harlequin floor today!

92Y Harkness Dance Center is hosting the first festival dedicated to dance films captured on mobile devices. Photo by Adam Grannick, Courtesy 92Y

Who says you need fancy equipment to make a festival-worthy dance film? Right now, two New York City–based dance film festivals are calling for aspiring filmmakers to show their stuff—and you don't need anything more cumbersome than a smartphone to get in on the action.

Here's everything you need to know about how to submit:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health

I'm an adult and just started taking ballet classes for the first time in my life, and I'm having trouble keeping my balance. I've never really paid attention to my balance in the past, but I always seem to fall over when the teacher has me hold relevé in any position. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored