Editor's Note

Seems impossible to imagine summer from within frigid January, but it is indeed time to begin making plans—whether competition nationals, teacher training or preparing for your own in-house summer program. The 2012 Dance Teacher Summer Study Guide is full of options for teachers as well as students. Whether you’re helping your advanced dancers find the right intensive, or looking for the best continuing ed opportunity for yourself, you’ll find everything you need. And to be sure you’re making the most of summertime in your own studio, DT spoke to three studio directors here about how you can bolster your recreational programs—and your bottom line.    

 

When DT visited the San Francisco Ballet School last October, I wondered if all the greenery visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows you see on the cover could be a little distracting for students. But not to worry. During Tina LeBlanc’s Level 8 ballet class, the concentration of the dancers was palpable. A small thing like bright sunlight didn’t stand a chance next to the force field generated by their teacher.

 

LeBlanc is a sunny, smiling presence, but make no mistake: She’s all focus and intention. Last summer she not only taught in a summer study program but also attended Marcia Dale Weary’s teacher training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet to sharpen her own skills. To learn why, turn to Mary Ellen Hunt’s profile, “When One Size Does Not Fit All.”

 

One of the most popular and talked about sessions of the Dance Teacher Summit last July was an appearance by the legendary jazz teacher Luigi. This month in “Technique,” Francis Roach demonstrates a basic Luigi jazz lesson that can strengthen your students’ technique, regardless of genre.

 

Are you a smoker? You undoubtedly understand the health risk you’re taking, but have you considered that you might unintentionally be sending your students the wrong message? In “Trashing the Ash,” we discredit the reasons dancers take up the habit and tell how you can support them in quitting.

 

There’s a great deal more in our pages this month to inspire you, as you turn the calendar page to a new and, we hope, brilliant year.

 

Happy New Year!

News
Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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News
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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