What a treat it was to stand backstage while Brian Friedman taught at The PULSE On Tour convention in New York in July. The fact that his right arm was in a sling (surgery for a labrum tear that at press time he reports is healing nicely) didn’t seem to slow him down—check out our video clip at dance-teacher.com. But he expressed to me afterward how frustrating it was that he couldn’t dance full-out.

 

His advanced students arrived at class already warmed up, so they could immediately dig into a complex combination in the ganky style Friedman is known for (see our feature article for more on getting ganky). Wearing a headset, he was constantly breaking things down to help the dancers not only get the steps but to also grasp the right artistic expression. “Take your time to make step eight a little more fabulous,” he said about one section. “It’s about two percent technique and 98 percent style. So if you’re not bringing something to it, you’ve got nothing.” His imagery was as unique as his moves. For one expansive arm movement, he suggested: “It’s your subjects down there and you’re giving them your wealth.” Friedman gives us some of his wealth in Victoria Looseleaf’s profile.

 

Speaking of wealth, this issue is full of ways to make your busy studio life easier, from putting parents to work as volunteers to introducing partnering to your students . In Technique, the co-founders of Complexions Contemporary Ballet give partnering a twist—literally—as they demonstrate counterbalance.

 

Whether you’re outfitting your company for the competition circuit, or a dance team for halftime, one of the biggest challenges is finding a costume style that looks good on everyone. In our print edition, we give you 18 options that flatter a variety of figures and ages.

 

And while it seems like Nationals took place just last week, it’s already time to prepare for the new season. The “2010–11 Guide to Competition Events,” will keep the details you need at your fingertips all year long.

 

As we produced this issue, we were coming off the high of our own version of Nationals, the Dance Teacher Summit. I enjoyed talking with studio owners from all over the country about what it takes to ready their dancers for competition—the training (of course), the choreography, the costumes—the parents! A session with Mandy Moore was particularly memorable. She talked about the biggest mistakes she sees as a competition judge. We love Mandy—she’s candid, fearless and funny! (We call out five of her tips here.) I also had the great pleasure of meeting Kim Delgrosso of Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Utah. In “Confidence Catalyst”, she (along with Moore and Tyce Diorio) talks to writer Jen Jones about how to inspire winning performances in  dancers, whether they’re vying for a title or not.

 

Mark your calendar now to join us next year in New York City for the Dance Teacher Summit, July 29–31, 2011.

 

Karen Hildebrand
Editor in Chief

The Conversation
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