Editor's Note

The annual higher education issue is one of my favorites to work on and this year is no exception. When New York choreographer Mary Seidman (of Mary Seidman and Dancers) told me about a project that she had recently undertaken for her MFA degree at Hollins University, I jumped at the chance to share some of her research. Seidman interviewed faculty of 13 college dance programs to find out how modern dance is taught in college today. In “Architects of Body and Soul," five respected artists and faculty members talk about their daily practice of technique class.

 

Much has changed about college education since 1938 when Bessie Schönberg began her pioneering dance program at Sarah Lawrence College. Most schools now offer online courses, for instance. In “Going the Distance," writer Rachel Ellner tells how and when dance departments use this format. There is also a growing emphasis on preparing dance majors for professional work life, whether as performing artists or businesspeople (and often both!). Consistent with this trend, Arizona State University recently made a bold move and placed a dance festival administrator at the head of its dance department. Read about Simon Dove’s ambitious plans, as ASU students head into a second year with his revamped curriculum, in “Developing New Voices."

 

Do check out the “2010 Guide to Dance in Higher Ed," with 135 colleges and university dance programs to share with your students who are making decisions about college in the next few years. Regardless of whether they plan to major in dance or simply want to keep dance in their lives while they study another subject, the Higher Ed Guide is the place to start. Then, for more details, we recommend the new edition of Dance Magazine College Guide, now available at www.dancemagazine.com/college.

 

There’s a great deal more in this issue for dance educators in every setting—from tips on working well with an accompanist to selling snacks in your studio. I know you’ll enjoy the vintage photos we unearthed from the Dance Magazine archives for Hannah Maria Hayes’ feature about preserving the history of jazz dance. With winter recitals right around the corner, now is the time to order holiday costumes; we’ve got a selection of new and best-selling styles. And in Technique, Sheila Barker, a Dance Teacher Summit favorite, demonstrates a warm-up exercise you can easily incorporate into your classes, no matter what style you teach.

 

Karen Hildebrand

editor in chief

Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

The term "body shaming" might bring up memories of that instructor from your own training who made critical remarks about—or even poked and prodded—dancers' bodies.

Thankfully, we're (mostly) past the days when authority figures felt free to openly mock a dancer's appearance. But body shaming remains a toxic presence in the studio, says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, psychologist for Atlanta Ballet: "It's just more hidden and more subtle." Here's how to make sure your teaching isn't part of the problem.

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News
Courtesy Russell

Gregg Russell, an Emmy-nominated choreographer known for his passionate and energetic teaching, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, November 22, at the age of 48.

While perhaps most revered as a master tap instructor and performer, Russell also frequently taught hip-hop and musical theater classes, showcasing a versatility that secured him a successful career onstage and in film and television, both nationally and abroad.

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