Editor's Note

Each year since 2003, Dance Teacher has recognized top educators in studios, conservatories, the K–12 setting, colleges and universities. Here, we are very pleased to introduce four people who exemplify the passion, commitment and leadership it takes to succeed in this career field: Cindy Gratz, Sean Murphy, Heather Raue and Betty Webster. Their stories will inspire you.


This year Bill Evans receives our highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. For the cover shoot, we visited Evans in Brockport, New York, where he is visiting professor in the SUNY Brockport dance program. To be in Evans’ presence for more than a few minutes, you begin to understand why dancers and teachers sing his praises. “He has a different concept of the role of teacher than anyone else,” says Brockport interim department head, Jacqueline Davis. “It is teacher as guide, yet learning as well.”


In addition to taking over the tap program while also teaching modern, Evans has developed a graduate-level pedagogy course for Brockport. “It has just been thrilling,” he says. “I see the students go from teaching material, to understanding that they’re guiding the growth of a whole person.”


We caught the last half of his advanced modern technique class that editor Jenny Dalzell describes here. In “How I Teach Modern Dance,” Evans shares a foundational element of his technique: an under-curve with an inversion and spiral. (Because the concept is complex, I suggest you also watch the sequence on video to get the full effect.) In class, we saw what happens when dancers embody these concepts. His students moved with a fullness and sense of buoyancy, and they handled directional changes with ease.


Also included in this issue is the annual Dance Teacher Dance Directory. It contains contact info from the most trusted providers of service and products for your studio, and you’ll want to keep it handy throughout the year.


I hope you’ll join us in NYC for our summer conference, The Dance Teacher Summit, August 2–4. We will present the Dance Teacher Awards at the closing gala on Wednesday, August 4. Register now at www.danceteachersummit.com.





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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Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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