DT Notes: April 2010 News

 

  • Jacob’s Pillow has announced its 2010 lineup, June 19–August 29, in Becket, MA. It features more than 50 companies from 9 countries and 4 continents, as well as more than 140 talks and 75 dance classes. For the full schedule of events, see www.jacobspillow.org.

 

  • Dance teacher Homer Bryant [on DT’s Feb. 2008 cover] was named 2009 Chicagoan of the Year in dance. Bryant runs Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center and has danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem and on Broadway. A documentary about his life, Raising the Barre: The Homer Bryant Story, aired last year. First daughter Sasha Obama is among Bryant’s former students.

 

  • National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) Program Director Rima Faber has retired after 12 years with the organization. She was at the forefront of creating national curricula for dance educators, including Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts: ages 5–18 and Standards for Dance in Early Childhood: ages 0–5. Her future plans include training Baltimore educators to teach science through dance and setting choreographer Pola Nirenska’s Holocaust Tetralogy on CityDance members in Washington, DC.

 

  • Tapper Dianne Walker [on DT’s Jan. 2003 cover] will participate in United States Artists’ Alaska Artist-in-Residence program, which hosts seven artists of varying disciplines from January through July. The goal  is to share each artist’s work with the community through events and projects while also letting the artist learn about Alaska’s traditions and culture. Walker will be in residence at Alaska Dance Theatre in Anchorage, April 15–May 15.
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.

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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy TUPAC

When legendary Black ballet dancer Kabby Mitchell III died unexpectedly in 2017, two months before opening his Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, his friend and business partner Klair Ethridge wasn't sure she had what it took to carry his legacy. Ethridge had been working with Mitchell to co-found TUPAC and planned to serve as its executive director, but she had never envisioned being the face of the school.

Now, Ethridge is heading into her fourth year of leading TUPAC, which she has grown from a fledgling program in an unheated building to a serious ballet school in its own sprung-floor studios, reaching hundreds of students across the Tacoma, Washington, area. The nonprofit has become a case study for what it looks like to carry out the vision of a founder who never had the chance to see his school open—and to take an unapologetically mission-driven approach.

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