DT Notes: July 2010 News

  • Choreographer Robert Battle has been named Judith Jamison’s successor as artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He will assume the title in July 2011 and will serve alongside Jamison as artistic director designate until then. Battle had been artist-in-residence for The Ailey School, and he has created ballets for the main Ailey company and Ailey II since 1999. He will be only the third person to head AAADT since 1958, after Jamison and Alvin Ailey.

 

  • CORPS de Ballet International is holding its 12th Annual Teacher Conference in New York City July 7–11. This year’s conference is titled Bodies of Knowledge: Ballet and Academe, and it’s hosted by the Marymount Manhattan College Department of Dance and the NYU Steinhardt School’s Dance Education Program. Workshops will be held by Susan Jaffe, Irene Dowd, Jessica Lang and Hilary Cartwright. Gretchen Ward Warren will be honored with the 2010 CORPS Lifetime Achievement Award at a banquet on the 7th. Since 1983, she has been professor of dance at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and she has worked as ballet mistress for ABT II alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov and Richard Englund.

 

  • Modern dance choreographer Martha Clarke, who has worked with American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet and Martha Graham Dance Company, among many others, was awarded the $50,000 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in June, in a ceremony in Durham, NC.

 

  • Complexions Contemporary Ballet founder and co-artistic director Desmond Richardson has joined the faculty of The PULSE On Tour for its 2010–11 regional tour. It kicks off in L.A. July 16–18, and moves to NYC July 22–25.

 

  • In Memoriam: Susan Hartley, founder of Dancemoves Studio in Largo, Florida, and mentor to many young competition dancers, died in a car accident in March. She was 62. Hartley founded Dancemoves in 1988. Her students have won national competitions and danced in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.

 

  • The School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, held its annual workshop performances in June, in celebration of Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary. Students from SAB performed Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie and Bourrée Fantasque (which hadn’t been performed in NYC since 1993), and Christopher Wheeldon’s Scènes de Ballet.



  • Former Martha Graham dancer Terese Capucilli received the President’s Award for Distinguished Alumni from Purchase College State University of New York, at the school’s commencement this past spring. She danced with the Graham Company for 26 years, as part of the last generation of dancers to be taught by Graham herself, and partnered both Nureyev and Baryshnikov during her career. Since retirement she has lectured, served on the faculty at Juilliard and reconstructed Graham’s early solos.

 

  • Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet founder and artistic director Marcia Dale Weary received an honorary degree in performing arts from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, at its commencement in May. Dale Weary began her teaching career 55 years earlier in Carlisle, with the Marcia Dale Weary School of Dance. Her students have gone on to dance with just about every major U.S. ballet company.

 

photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of AAADT

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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.

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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.

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