Editor's Note

Fall brings new beginnings. Just as we were going to press for this issue, American Ballet Theatre announced that Susan Jaffe (on the cover) will become its ballet mistress in October. We photographed Jaffe teaching her advanced ballet class at the Princeton, New Jersey, studio that she has co-owned with Risa Kaplowitz since 2003. It was a treat to watch Jaffe demonstrate the rock-solid attitude turns that made her famous as a performer. Congratulations, Susan, on an exciting career move!


This issue is filled with inspiration and resources to give you a jump-start on the new season—whether you’re teaching in a studio, K–12 classroom or university dance program. (And don’t forget to order a copy of the new Dance Magazine College Guide to help answer questions from your college-bound students.)


    --    It’s the start of competition season, and with it comes the delicate process of auditioning new team members. New Hampshire studio director Jennifer Rienert shares her unique system here.

    --    Karen Kaufmann’s fall schedule at the University of Montana will be extra full, thanks to persistent pavement-pounding for her innovative dance programs that teach math and science concepts in the public schools. Arts funding may be slim, but Kaufmann has found a way to succeed. We tell her story here.

    --    When an injury occurs, medical attention is the best course of action. But many dance-related injuries can be prevented. Check out our chart of the 10 most common and how to avoid them.

    --    It can be frustrating when students with special needs cause disruptions in your class. Don’t you wish you knew how to help them really receive what you have to offer? In Theory & Practice, we share advice you can immediately put to use.


While educators everywhere prepare to open their doors to students returning from summer break, some are still getting in some rejuvenation. Here in New York, the Dance Teacher Summit welcomes more than 900 educators on August 2 for three days of dance classes and business seminars, plus the exciting final round of the A.C.E. choreography competition and presentation of the Dance Teacher Awards. I hope we’ll see you at the Hilton New York.

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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