Editor's Note: A small adjustment can make a huge difference

A small adjustment can make a huge difference. —TaraMarie Perri

The fall back-to-school season can be an exhilarating fresh start—and it can be stressful. It seems we could all benefit from a bit of yoga practice. Yoga’s calming attention to breath and meditation is fundamental to TaraMarie Perri’s Mind Body Dancer program. But as Perri says in “How I Teach Yoga for Dancers," “We don’t teach bliss and rainbows.” Her practice grew from her interest in alignment and anatomical awareness. Simply put, yoga helped her become a better dancer. We’re excited to share her advice about poses used (and misused!) frequently by dancers.

One of Arvin Cheng Arjona’s first tasks of the new school year is to organize an annual spring trip to either the Regional or National High School Dance Festival. He says the festivals are a good ego reality check for his students, many of whom study at local studios outside his class. “They’re all well-trained,” he says. “But I tell them there’s always someone better. They don’t believe me until they go to the festival.” Read about Arjona’s engaging approach to college prep dance in Millburn, New Jersey, in “Boundless Energy.”

Technology is a wonderful tool that can support the way you teach. But with the frequency of new offerings and upgrades, it’s not easy to keep up. That’s why editor (and dancer) Kristin Schwab makes a suggestion in every issue of Dance Teacher. (See Technology here.) Also, “Ask the Experts” columnist Barry Blumenfeld offers great tips that are targeted to those working in the K–12 setting. Note: Did you know you can now get your monthly Dance Teacher magazine on your iPad or other tablet, via the iTunes or Nook newsstand?

While you may sometimes want to hide your head in the sand when it comes to electronic technology, that’s not an option with new advances in pointe shoes. So this month, we asked Amy Brandt to give us a “Pointe Shoe Primer” reviewing all the latest innovations from noted manufacturers. Brandt knows what she’s talking about: A dancer with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, she also manages pointe shoes for the company. After reading the primer, head to your local dancewear store, where the master fitter will make sure your students spend their money well.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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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