From Dance Film to Full-Length Work

A Capezio A.C.E. runner-up will perform in New York City this summer.

A Room on Broad Street at the 2013 Capezio A.C.E. Awards

Nobody who attended the 2013 Capezio A.C.E. Awards at the Dance Teacher Summit could forget Jacob Jonas’ In a Room On Broad Street. It was the one where the guy spun on his head for what seemed like a full minute.

Jonas’ unique background makes his style stand out. The 22-year-old got his start at 13 performing with a group of Venice Beach street-dance acrobats called the Calypso Tumblers. He went on to pursue classical dance training.

Named for the Philadelphia studio location where it was created, Broad Street blends pedestrian movement, street and contemporary styles and, of course, circus-caliber stunts. The piece placed third at the A.C.E. Awards, earning Jonas a $2,500 production budget and a year to prepare for a full-length show in New York City.

Watch Jonas’ original video entry here. He will present the final product at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in Manhattan, August 5–7.

Photo by Kyle Froman

 

 

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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Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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