Editor's Note: With a Spring in Your Step

If the New York City boys who participate in the Dancing Classrooms Academy are any indication, starting a ballroom program in your studio could be just what you need to boost your male enrollment.

When Dance Teacher editor Jenny Dalzell met the teens (Dancing Classrooms is the program made famous by the award-winning documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, released in 2005), she was surprised that so many boys voluntarily came to the weekend sessions. Yes, they’re learning how to dance, but they see it as a social occasion—and they told Jenny they like it because it’s fun! Heads up—this could be happening in your studio.

Of course, it helps that someone as animated as Broadway alum Alee Reed (on the cover) is onboard to raise the awesome factor of fox-trot and swing for this age group. In Technique, the director of the Dancing Classrooms Youth Dance Company demonstrates a beginning tango move, appropriate for teens.

And should you decide to take our suggestion and recruit a ballroom teacher for your school, you’ll definitely want to check out "Help Wanted" for advice on how to make a successful hire.

National Dance Week is April 26 to May 5.

What better way to celebrate NDW than to honor the man who insisted there must be a School of American Ballet before there could be a New York City Ballet? As of this month, George Balanchine has been gone for 30 years. Thankfully his legacy is alive and well, due in large measure to the efforts of dancers like Francia Russell who restage his work on behalf of The George Balanchine Foundation. Here, the co-founder of Pacific Northwest Ballet talks about the challenges of teaching the Balanchine style to a new generation of ballet dancers.

Also, check out History: Lesson Plan for a concise and easy way to share the Balanchine influence with young dancers in your studio.

Photo by Nathan Sayers

News
Layeelah Muhammad, courtesy DAYPC

This summer's outcry to fully see and celebrate Black lives was a wake-up call to dance organizations.

And while many dance education programs are newly inspired to incorporate social justice into their curriculums, four in the San Francisco Bay area have been elevating marginalized youth and focusing on social change for decades.

GIRLFLY, Grrrl Brigade, The Alphabet Rockers and Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company fuse dance with education around race, gender, climate change and more, empowering young artists to become leaders in their communities. Here's how they do it.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Music
Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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