Guest Blog: Update from the New NYU/ABT Ballet Pedagogy Program

One of the optional courses offered this spring explores Laban Movement Analysis and how it can be applied in the classroom, building upon an introduction to LMA class held in the fall.

During the weekly 1.5-hour class, we watch a clip of a dance that our instructor, Frederick Curry, has selected and analyze it with a Laban lens, based on either Body, Effort, Shape, or Space qualities. So far, we have focused on Body. As a group, we talk about the piece until we agree upon the different traits (such as symmetrical vs. asymmetrical emphasis or upper vs. lower body emphasis) that are showcased.

Then, we each create our own dance phrase using those specific movement qualities. It's fascinating to see how a roomful of people interpret the same movement directions. Not only that, it's clearly a unique way to engage students while using the exercise as a launching pad for dance creation.

If you're curious, the first dance we looked at was African. It involved body isolations of the head, shoulders, and torso as the dancers performed in a kneeling position for much of the piece. The following week we watched a segment of "May B" by Compagnie Maguy Marin, which uses vocalization rather than music. I strongly suggest you look it up on YouTube for a very unique piece of work that is sure to open up discussion and ideas of using voice in your own dance making.

And, on a complete a side note, if you are interested in the ABT/NYU program for next fall, it turns out that the deadline has been extended because the article (see the cover feature in January 09 Dance Teacher) came out after applications were due. You can contact Mary Jo Ziesel directly at or call (212) 477-3030, ext. 3205 for more details.

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

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Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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