Editor's Note: Building the Future

Sheryl Murakami is living the dream of countless young competition dancers across the country. Ever since the day Beyoncé’s creative team selected Murakami’s demo tape from what must have been a sea of submissions, she has been working with some of the biggest stars in the music video world.

But she didn’t come out of nowhere to nab this celebrity gig. In our cover feature, "Just Dance," writer Jen Jones Donatelli tells how the former comp kid worked her signature sultry moves at the front of Broadway Dance Center classes and performing in rock clubs all over New York before she got her first big break. Her success is as much about courage and persistence as it is about talent.

Every time young dancers get on the competition stage, they’re learning about courage and persistence. They’re building their future—even if it doesn’t include dance.

If you are among those who question whether competition is a good idea, you might be interested in a new book by Harvard scholar Hilary Levey Friedman (see Recommended). Friedman studied teens who compete in dance, soccer and chess and concluded that competition expands the horizons of young people. Those who participate in a win-or-lose culture tend to set their life goals higher than others.

Though it may seem as if Nationals just ended, it’s time to begin preparing for the new season, and this, our annual Competition Issue, has plenty of advice and information to offer, including the “2013 Guide to Competitions,” for your easy reference in the months ahead.

The editors hosted lunch for the 2013 DT Awardees during the Dance Teacher Summit.

Of course, you don’t have to lead a competition team to understand that dance is a competitive field. Every month Dance Teacher shares inspiration and advice to keep you at the top of your game. This month, for instance, studio owners can sharpen their pencils over a cash-flow statement ("Profits Are Up, So Why Can’t I Pay the Bills?”). In Technique, Banu Ogan demonstrates a classic Cunningham step that can inform any style you teach. And History: Lesson Plan is about how Vaganova—never a stellar performer herself—codified a style that became a fundamental ballet training all over the world.

Speaking of inspiration, we’re still on an adrenaline high after the Dance Teacher Summit in August. We had a great time mingling with all those who joined us in NYC to bring the pages of the magazine to life. Mark your calendar for next year, August 1–3, 2014. Until then, Dance Teacher can help you stay connected. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and at dance-teacher.com.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.