Editor's Note

Laurieann Gibson arrived for the Dance Teacher photo shoot the morning after Lady Gaga’s awe-inspiring show at Madison Square Garden. Though Gibson said she was tired, you’d never know it had been a late night. (Doesn’t she look great?) Still fueled by adrenaline, the pop star’s creative director chatted with us about her start in dance and the phone call she made to tell Gaga about her concept epiphany—“We’re going to birth a new race!”—which they developed for the video “Born This Way.” But what impressed me most was that Gibson trained in Horton technique at The Ailey School. Read more in “How I Teach Hip Hop," about how she’s a stickler for proper training, and check out the phrase she demonstrates from “Born This Way” to share with your students. (To view it on video, click here.)


Though every issue of Dance Teacher includes advice and information for studio owners and directors (as well as educators in other settings), June is the month when we bring studio business concerns to the forefront:


“Retail Report”: A frequent question I hear is: Should I open a retail store in my studio? If you’re not sure you have what it takes to run two labor-intensive ventures, perhaps you could  instead leverage your relationship with a local dancewear store. We suggest you open a conversation with your local retailer. We’d love to hear about any creative collaborations that develop. No store near your area? We know storeowners who would happily travel to you.


“Location, Location, Location”: Since location can make or break a business, you can appreciate the leap of faith Ballet Austin took when it decided to consolidate school and company operations and renovate a risky downtown site. Read about how it’s turned out in “Location, Location, Location.”


“Summer Studio Checklist”: When was the last time you looked into studio management software? The features of new generations of these products may surprise you. Turn to “Goods” for a handy checklist of this and other essential business to-do’s for the summer.


We hope to see you in person at the Dance Teacher Summit, where the pages of the magazine come to life, July 29–31. (There’s still time to register: www.danceteachersummit.com.) And look for the July issue, where we reveal the 2011 Dance Teacher Award honorees.

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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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