We tend to think of December as being filled with holiday festivities, The Nutcracker and year-end recitals. But it’s also a great time to reflect. What were your successes this year, and what do you want to create for the future? As we began to plan the 2014 Dance Teacher editorial calendar, I asked the editors which 2013 covers were their favorites.

My vote goes to the June Studio Business issue with Jennifer Owens and Julie Jarnot of Artistic Fusion. I have deep admiration for artists who also develop sound business aptitude. Jen and Julie talked about how their strengths and interests complement each other—division of labor is so important in a partnership. Plus they’re located in my home state of Colorado!

I love that Bethany Marc-Aurele is a young entrepreneur who has a great business model and offers amazing training. (The same goes for all the sources in the story.) And she looks gorgeous! She has such clear goals and mission for her studio, and her commitment to continuing her training as a teacher is certainly a plus for her students as well as her faculty. She’s a strong role model for studio owners and she’s definitely inspired me. —Jenny Dalzell, Contributing Editor

TaraMarie Perri’s dancer-turned-yoga-instructor story was inspiring. She has such a complete knowledge of anatomy, and I love that she’s made it her life’s work to help dancers use their bodies in a healthy way. I was also really into her funky jewelry and urban yogi style! —Andrea Marks, Assistant Editor

I really loved our September cover story on Judy Rice. I enjoyed her frankness about how inept she felt, starting out as a ballet teacher. And her willingness to start from scratch in the field, coupled with her work ethic, has brought her full circle—now she’s a beloved faculty member and in-demand on the competition scene. Meeting her at our DT Summit was icing on the cake! She was just as bubbly, witty and knowledgeable in person as she was on the page. ­—Rachel Rizzuto, Assistant Editor

The Jodi Maxfield cover story was one of my favorites this year. Growing up as a bunhead, I’ll admit that I used to turn up my nose at the idea of dance team as a respected form. Jodi’s story really validates that there is some great dance line training out there. And she is giving college dancers a serious alternative to majoring in dance. Plus, Utah was a beautiful place to shoot a cover! —Kristin Schwab, Associate Editor

“Twin City Titans”—TU Dance on the May Cover. Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands combine modern, ballet and West African in their training, and they bring diversity to the Twin Cities dance offerings. They’re also a great husband-and-wife team, and they give back to the community, training kids from underserved areas free of charge. —Joe Sullivan, Managing Editor

And we couldn’t be more pleased to round out the year with the amazing Suzi Taylor on the cover this month. As a founding faculty member touring with New York City Dance Alliance and longtime teacher at Steps on Broadway, she has nurtured the talent of several generations of dancers. We love how grounded in technique her classes are. While choreographers featured on “So You Think You Can Dance” are all the rage these days on the convention floor, it’s traditionalists like Taylor who make sure the dancers have the technical chops necessary to perform the movement they admire.

Happy holidays from all of us at Dance Teacher,

Karen Hildebrand

editor in chief

Dance News
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Dancers are resilient by nature. As our community responds to COVID-19, that spirit is being tested. Dance Teacher acknowledges the tremendous challenges you face for your teaching practice and for your schools as you bring your offerings online, and the resulting financial impact on your businesses.

Perhaps we can take hope from the knowledge of how we've managed adversity in the past. I'm thinking of the dance community in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I'm thinking of 9/11 and how that changed the world. I'm thinking of the courageous Jarrah Myles who kept her students safe when the Paradise wildfire destroyed their homes. I'm thinking of Jana Monson who rebuilt her studio after a devastating fire. I'm thinking of Gina Gibney who stepped in to save space for dance in New York City when the beloved Dance New Amsterdam closed.

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Dance News
This Bitter Earth. Photo by Sam Wootton, courtesy of NYCB

Create a Watch Party! Here are four free offerings from New York City's most celebrated arts organizations to share with your students and their families.

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Dance Teacher Tips
Photo courtesy of the Academy for the Performing Arts

“Keeping agile" has taken on a whole new meaning for every studio owner and dance instructor since the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shuttered studio doors for safety's sake in March. Now is the time to show parents how you bring normalcy and positivity to their children's lives so you can retain tuition revenue until your doors reopen for business as usual.

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Studio Owners
Misty Lown delivers a seminar in Austin. Photo courtesy of More Than Just Great Dancing

Business leader Misty Lown convened (remotely) more than 700 dance studio owners to create an action plan in response to COVID-19 studio closures. ICYMI, here are the takeaways:

  • Studios can deliver value to customers with online content.
  • Owners can preserve enrollment with caring communication.
  • The federal stimulus package is a strong short-term safety net.
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Site Network
Photo by Jason Hill, courtesy of Disenhof

When dancer Katherine Disenhof found out her company, NW Dance Project, would be shutting down indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic (on Friday the 13th, no less), she immediately went in search of ways to stay connected and in shape.

At that point, a few virtual class opportunities had emerged, so Disenhof decided to aggregate them on an Instagram account called Dancing Alone Together.

She launched the account that Monday, and by mid-week she'd also created a website. Now, just a few weeks later, Dancing Alone Together has 22K followers—and virtual classes are more than just a growing trend, but a phenomenon that has reshaped the dance world at an unprecedented speed.

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Dance News
Photo by Kyle Froman
Update March 31, 2020: This article was first published in Dance Teacher, February 2009.

One of today's leading ballet masters, German-born Wilhelm Burmann exerts a magnetic attraction on the professional students he teaches five days a week at Steps on Broadway in New York City. “Taking Willie's class" has become a tradition for many top dancers of both New York–based companies and those simply passing through town.

Standing ramrod straight at age 69, Burmann embodies the authority and skills he acquired during an extensive global career. He was a corps member of the Pennsylvania Ballet and New York City Ballet, a Frankfurt Ballet principal dancer, Stuttgart and Geneva company principal and ballet master, and ballet master for The Washington Ballet and Le Ballet du Nord, among others. After he retired from dancing in 1977, Burmann took up guest teaching and is still in great demand at prestigious American and European companies and schools: This year he will teach in Florence and Milan, Italy.

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Photo courtesy of Courtesy Ahearn

Elizabeth Ahearn never imagined that she'd teach her first online ballet class in her kitchen. Adding to the surreality of the situation: Rather than give her corrections, her student, the director of distance learning at Goucher College, had tips for Ahearn: Turn the volume up, and move a little to the left.

Ahearn, chair of the dance department at Goucher, is among thousands of dance professors learning to teach online in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The internet may be exploding with resources for virtual classes, from top dancers teaching barre to free warm-ups courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Foundation, but in academia, teachers face many restraints. Copyright laws, federal privacy regulations, varying tech platforms and grading rubrics all make teaching dance online a challenge.

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Site Network
Talia Bailes leads a Ballet & Books class. Lindsay France, Courtesy Ballet & Books.

Talia Bailes never imagined that her ballet training and her interest in early learning would collide. But Bailes, a senior studying global and public health sciences at Cornell University, now runs a successful non-profit called Ballet & Books, which combines dancing with the important but sometimes laborious activity of learning to read. And she has a trip to South America to thank.

In 2015, before starting at Cornell, Bailes took a gap year and headed to Ecuador with the organization Global Citizen Year to teach English to more than 750 students. But Bailes, who grew up training at a dance school outside Cincinnati, Ohio, also spent time teaching them ballet and learning their indigenous dances. "The culture in Ecuador was much more rooted in dance and music rather than literacy," she recalls. Bailes was struck by the difference in education and the way that children were able to develop and grow socially through dance. "It left me thinking, what if dance could be truly integrated into the way that we approach education?"

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Dance Teacher Tips
Choreographer Molly Heller with musician Michael Wall. Photo by Duhaime Movement Project

Love electronic music? Calming notes of a piano? Smooth, rich trumpet? Want music in clear meters of 3, or in 7? This week is the ideal time to check out musician Michael Wall's abundant website soundformovement.com. I myself have enjoyed getting to experience his music over the past five years—whether to use in a teen class, older-movers class or for my own MFA thesis choreography.

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Dance Teacher Tips
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On Wednesday, March 18, I was supposed to return to Juilliard and teach Pilates after a two-week spring break. Instead, I rolled a mat onto my bedroom floor, logged in to Zoom and was greeted by a gallery of 50 small-screen images of young ambitious dancers, trying to make the best of a strange situation. As I began class, I applied our new catchphrase: "Please mute yourself," then asked students to use various hand gestures to let me know how they are coping and how much space they have for movement. I asked dancers to write one or two things they wanted to address in the sidebar, and then we began to move.

This is our new normal. In the midst of grave Covid-19 concerns, dance professors across the country faced university closures and requirements to relocate their courses to the virtual sphere. Online education poses very specific and substantial challenges to dance faculty, but they are finding ways to persist by learning new methods of communication, discovering untapped pedagogical tools, expanding their professional networks, developing helpful new resources and unearthing old ones.

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Site Network
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As Broadway goes dark and performances are canceled across the country, the financial repercussions of a global pandemic have gone from hypothetical to very real. This is especially true in the dance community, where many institutions are nonprofits or small businesses operating on thin margins, and performers rely on gigs that are being canceled. It's a scary and uncertain time.

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Site Network
Courtesy of Wroth

The effects of COVID-19 on college dancers might have been devastating. Performances were canceled, seniors trying to savor every last moment together were left without a graduation ceremony, students were encouraged to go home, and at each moment, a question has sounded: How can a student learn how to become a better performer when they are not allowed to perform?

Here at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, the ballet department rallied quickly and adapted its programming, choosing to see this hiatus as an opportunity to encourage reflection and self-improvement.

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