Editor's Note: Here’s to Your Health

Just looking at our cover this month makes me want to take a deep breath of the fresh Rocky Mountain air of Provo, Utah, where Brigham Young University is located. We’re delighted to introduce readers to Jodi Maxfield, the dance teacher behind the mega-successful BYU Cougarettes. In “Forever Young," frequent contributor Jen Jones Donatelli talks with Maxfield about why dance team is a viable college option for technically trained dancers.

For the Health & Wellness issue this year, we home in on that fundamental element of technique, turnout. Regular DT contributor Deborah Vogel and respected anatomy expert Irene Dowd share their approaches for developing a holistic, career-maximizing base.

And speaking of a healthy base, dancers need more than dance class to build the cardiovascular capacity demanded by many professional roles. In “No Pain, No Gain,” Julie Diana suggests ways to develop heart and lung power both inside the studio and out.

Of special interest to studio owners, we expand the wellness theme into studio infrastructure in “Seeing Green," with advice on how you can do the right thing for the environment and your bottom line.

Photo by Nathan Sayers

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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Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

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