Eye on Dance

EYE ON DANCE

Arts Resources in Collaboration, Inc.

eyeondance.org

Imagine listening in on a conversation between choreographer Erick Hawkins and mask-maker Ralph Lee as they discuss their collaborative process for costume design; or watching Edward Villella reveal his history with Balanchine; or hearing Alvin Ailey talk about the early days of forming his company. These are just a few examples of the in-depth video interviews in EYE ON DANCE (1981–2006), a PBS weekly television series created, produced and hosted by former dancer and choreographer Celia Ipiotis.

“I cannot imagine teaching dance history or theory without using this invaluable series,” says Sally Sommer, dance historian and professor at Florida State University. “My students regularly turn to these video archives, which my university library owns, for hard-to-find primary-source material.”

Viewers can find a media archive of excerpts from Ipiotis’ interviews on the website, as well as a list of select EYE ON DANCE programs available for purchase. (Select “Media Library” from the right-hand column on the website to search by artist or dance category.) The complete series can be viewed at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts or purchased by educational institutions and libraries. Ipiotis is currently raising funds to digitize the extensive archive, which includes source material never seen publicly—raw videotape footage, handwritten communications, rare photographs and publications.

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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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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