East Coast, West Coast

New York City has long been considered the dance capital of the world, but this year there’s been enough West Coast activity to get the attention of even die-hard New Yorkers. First we heard that philantropist Glorya Kaufman was funding a new college dance program in the City of Angels. Then Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette announced they were moving west, he to manage the L.A. Dance Project and she to direct the Colburn Dance Academy. Every time I open my e-mail to see yet another note from a Tinseltown correspondent, I can’t help but wonder if I should be gliding down a sunny boulevard in a cherry red vintage convertible with palm trees swaying above my head.

When we heard that longtime European expat William Forsythe was to take up at least part-time residence in L.A., we asked writer Debra Levine to get the scoop on the new dance program at the University of Southern California where he will be on faculty. In “Breeding Hybrids,” Levine fills us in on the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and how Jodie Gates, the visionary dancer at its helm, plans to make the program a game changer.

Meanwhile, there is also movement within the venerable Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, as choreographer and faculty member Seán Curran becomes department head. In “Taking a Mid-Career Leap,” we talked to the outgoing Cherylyn Lavagnino about her move to invest more fully in her artistic career. Her company just had its season at Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church.

A good deal is happening in the college dance scene, and you’ll need to be on your toes if you want to help your college-bound students find the right program fit. Check out our Dance Teacher Higher Ed Guide for 152 programs sorted state by state. Then, for more in-depth details and advice, order a copy of the all-new and updated Dance Magazine College Guide 2014/2015 (dancemagazine.com/college). It’s the comprehensive resource trusted by dancers for nearly 50 years. And if you attend any of the UDMA Dance Resource and Costume shows, be sure to stop by the DanceMedia booth and take advantage of the College Guide show special.

And of course, teachers go back to school, too. When we asked former Mark Morris dancer Megan Williams (who has been teaching at Purchase College, SUNY) to demonstrate for our Technique feature this month, we learned that she is now enrolled in the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence.

Whether you’re on the East Coast, West Coast or somewhere in between, we hope your fall season is off to a great start. Let me know what’s on your mind: khildebrand@dancemedia.com.

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Music
Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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