Photo courtesy of the university
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.
Courtesy Lovely Leaps
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?
A recent Headliners competition.
Photo courtesy Headliners
A recent Shake the Ground competition.
Photo courtesy Shake the Ground
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."
Getty Images<p>The jurors for the competition include: Pennsylvania Ballet assistant artistic director Samantha Dunster, Kansas City Ballet School director Grace Maduell Holmes, Royal Winnipeg Ballet associate director Tara Birtwhistle, Orlando Ballet School principal teacher Charmaine Hunter and international master teacher Duncan Cooper.</p><p>An online awards ceremony announcing each scene's top three submissions (and their subsequent cast members) will be held on December 14. The first-place clips will then be strung together to create a final cohesive recording of <em>The Virtual Nutcracker</em>, which audiences can stream for free on UBC's website on December 19.</p>