Editor's Note

Is there anything more adorable than little kids dancing? I love that Raegan Wood uses imagery to get her young students to stand with good dance posture. "Show us your bright shining star," she tells them. During our visit to her class, we heard it many times: "Remember, bright stars."

 

Wood, the former company member who has designed the curriculum for Paul Taylor's first children’s program, is at her gifted best when working with her youngest group, ages 4–6. And when we saw 7- and 9-year-olds doing iconic Taylor moves, well, it just made us smile. In Technique, Wood demonstrates the way she gets youngsters to fly like birds with the Aureole run. (See the video here.)

 

We had a similar response when we heard about dance studios that have raised substantial funds for cancer research and other medical causes. In "Feel-Good Fundraising," Jen Jones Donatelli goes behind the scenes of three annual events that were conceptualized and produced by dance teachers. Each was started for very different reasons, but a side benefit the three share is that the events have raised their studios' profiles in the community. What a formula: Worthy cause + opportunity for students to perform = great marketing tool.

 

We're not as purely enthusiastic about cosmetic surgery—the topic addressed in Health ("I Feel Pretty"). Going under the knife can fuel a dancer's quest for perfection in a negative way ("Nip/Tuck" anyone?). But given that there are instances when a procedure may benefit your career or your health, writer Nancy Wozny shares what you need to know—and what to watch out for.

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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