Editor's Note

It was an all-star cast at Steps on Broadway the day we photographed Chloé Arnold for the cover. Tap dancers from all over New York City (and from the pages of this magazine!) answered a call for the impromptu class, including Chloé’s sister and DC Tap Festival business partner, Maud; Dan Mitra, the young tapper who received a Presidential Scholar Award and appeared in our May 2009 Tap City Youth Ensemble coverage; and Shelby Kaufman and Jill Kenney, who appeared in the May 2010 Technique feature. Best of all, Arnold showed up to teach in glamorous, silver high-heeled boots. “People don’t understand how much harder it is to get the strong sound from high heels,” commented Jill Kenney, who was dripping with sweat from teaching an earlier class.

 

Learn more about how Arnold has and is distinguishing herself as dancer, mentor, teacher and producer in “Five Teachers, Five Venues”. Her story kicks off a look at the careers of five educators who have forged unique paths, all under the umbrella title of “dance teacher.”

 

Have you considered broadening your studio’s offerings with classes for adults? In “Night School,” Mary Ellen Hunt writes about the rewards of teaching ballet to adult beginners. She shares business and teaching advice from the directors of San Francisco Academy of Ballet, the Joffrey School of New York and Tapestry Dance in Austin. And to keep your adult students safe, our experts share ways to modify traditional dance stretches for less flexible adults in "Mindful Moderation."

 

Dance Teacher’s K–12 editor, Katie Rolnick, was impressed when she learned about a group of high school teachers in Phoenix started by Arizona State University faculty member, Becky Dyer. The group meets regularly to design lesson plans to help dance teachers better address teens’ social and emotional needs. In “Dance Your Troubles Away," Janet Weeks reports on the successful experiences at two of the schools.

 

Want to come to New York and be honored at the Dance Teacher Summit in July? Nominate yourself or an esteemed colleague for the 2011 Dance Teacher Awards. We’re looking for educators who’ve demonstrated dedication, leadership and overall excellence in one of three categories: studios & conservatories, K–12 and higher ed. Click here for details, and send your nomination before March 1.

Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Dancer Diary
Claire McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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