Editor's Note

In this issue we focus on educators who give young children their very first dance experiences. During these formative years, says Jody Gottfried Arnhold, dance can really take root.


When she accepted the National Dance Education Organization’s Visionary Award last summer, Arnhold announced that her vision was “sequential dance education for every child.” The dance educators applauded enthusiastically and I wondered if I was the only one to have the thought, every child? When children arrive at school hungry and leave without learning how to read, dance can seem more like a luxury than a basic educational right. But in the cover story, Arnhold challenges us to think big and imagine the far-reaching impact of raising generations of dance-literate children.


Here, Suzi Tortora offers music suggestions (and some surprises) for creative dance class. When Kandee Allen, takes her littlest dancers to competition, she treats the experience like an additional recital so they don’t burn out before high school. And for those of you who have your own children in class, click here for advice on how to separate your dual roles as teacher and mom.


Editor Jenny Dalzell and I had a great conversation with Germaine Salsberg at Broadway Dance Center as we shot this month’s Technique column, “How I Teach a Paddle and Roll” . Salsberg noted that beginning tappers often have trouble letting go and allowing their ankles to move freely. Watch her video in which she demonstrates how to get crisp sounds from a loose ankle.
It was the late Gregory Hines who initiated the hunkered down style that Jason Samuels Smith, Savion Glover, Derick K. Grant and others have taken to new heights. In honor of National Tap Dance Day (May 25), writer Katie Rolnick highlights the pivotal role Hines played and shows why he is so revered by hoofers.


The Higher Ed and K–12 stories this month address topics of interest for educators in all settings. For instance, how often do you wish your students would queue up something other than Top 40 hits in their iPods? In “Breaking the Sound Barrier” , dance accompanists share ways they help students broaden their musical tastes. And “Watch and Learn”  is all about how to successfully use video. (Perhaps we’ll soon see your entry in the Dance Teacher Video of the Month contest.)


Karen Hildebrand

Editor in Chief

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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