Editor's Note: Help Your Dancers Avoid the College Daze

Every fall, as the halls of academia fill with eager freshmen, a new batch of dancers will discover that dance in college bears little resemblance to what they knew at their home studios. It can be a disheartening experience. That’s why it helps to have a professor like Judy Rice as an advocate. With one perfectly pointed foot in the University of Michigan dance department and the other planted in the dance convention circuit, she understands exactly what competition dancers face in a university setting. In "Dance Ambassador," DT editor Kristin Schwab tells the story of how Rice turned personal disappointment into an unexpected career path.

As a studio director, you are in a unique position to prepare dancers for their next steps after high school graduation. In “A Collegiate Affair,” Virginia Commonwealth University interim dance department chair Lea Marshall recommends taking students to a college dance fair and shares tips on how to make the most of the experience.

The DT Higher Ed Guide is a quick reference for your college-bound dancers, and you’ll also want to stock your studio library with the annual Dance Magazine College Guide. Along with descriptions of the most prominent dance programs and a handy comparison chart to make sense of all the choices, the College Guide is full of advice from the dancer’s perspective. One of my favorite parts of the new edition is a list of the top-10 questions every college-bound dancer should be asking. Get your copy at dancemagazine.com/college.

And don’t send your dancers to college without some basic knowledge of the famous artists who’ve created dance history. Each month DT editor Rachel Rizzuto delivers a concise lesson plan to share as a handout or post on your studio bulletin board. This month she presents the father of theatrical jazz dance, Jack Cole—highlights of his career, the dancers he influenced and how to identify his movement vocabulary when seen today.

Whether or not you work with college-bound dancers, we are confident you’ll find something in this issue that speaks to you. Let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see in the magazine. You can connect with us on Facebook or write to me at khildebrand@dancemedia.com.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Teacher Voices

There were plenty of reasons why we were happy to bid 2020 a not-so-fond farewell, but for tap dancers, the end of such a difficult year was the final curtain on a decade in which the art form experienced remarkable growth.

Over the past 10 years, The School at Jacob's Pillow launched its first-ever tap programs; companies such as Dorrance Dance and Caleb Teicher & Company emerged and produced award-winning work; Operation Tap became an important voice in online tap education; the American Tap Dance Foundation established its new home in Greenwich Village; The Kennedy Center presented its first full-length tap concert; and so much more.

As the new year sees tap dance trying to maintain this positive momentum despite the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic, we invited several of the field's living legends to meet on Zoom and discuss how they perceive the current state of tap dance and tap education.

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Teacher Voices
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In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

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Health & Body
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Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

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