Go West, Young Man

"Angsters," from the video compilation "Revolve on Camera"

Videotape a rehearsal with your smartphone and you may find that the movement appears flat and has lost much of its energy. Watch any of the films being screen at Dance Camera West, though, and you'll get quite a different picture (pun intended). The Dance Media Festival, now in its 13th year, will be held at various venues in downtown Los Angeles, June 6–8, and promises new ways to explore dance via film, live performance and architectural art. Film selections include two documentaries Hoku Uchiyama's Upaj:Improvise, which follows the unlikely duo of Indian kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das and hoofer Jason Samuels Smith in their East-meets-West collaborative performance; and Hiroyuki Nakano's Flying Bodies, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Japanese men's gymnastics.

Live performances include BODYTRAFFIC and Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company. Artist Gustavo Godoy's large-scale sculptural installation will be on-site and available for festival-goers to interact with. His work will also serve as the set for the BODYTRAFFIC dancers, per his collaboration with the company and Dance Camera West.




Photo courtesy of Dance Camera West

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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Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

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Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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