News

Here Are the 2018 Capezio A.C.E. Awards Finalists at Our Dance Teacher Summit

"Peel" by Will Johnston and Marissa Osato, winners of 2017's A.C.E. Awards (photo by Joe Toreno)

We have so much ❤️ for the Capezio A.C.E. Awards, the annual competition that highlights gifted emerging choreographers from all over. Since starting in 2009, it's become an eerily reliable predictor of the Next Big Thing in choreography. And that's not an exaggeration: Past winners include Travis Wall, Al Blackstone, Melinda Sullivan, Talia Favia, and Martha Nichols.

This year's A.C.E. Awards will be held August 4 in NYC, and the just-announced list of finalists features some exciting names (if you don't already know Jaclyn Walsh, Nicholas Palmquist, and Rudy Abreu, believe us when we say that YOU WILL SOON):



Which of these top-level talents will win funding to produce their very own shows? We'll find out soon at this year's Dance Teacher Summit when the DT Awards will also be presented. Teachers, if you've not yet registered, click here for more information.

In the meantime, take a look at all the impressive works submitted for this year's A.C.E. Awards, and at the winning pieces from last year's contest.

Teachers Trending
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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Music
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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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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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