Igal Perry's students can finish a ballet grand allegro, hop into a Limón technique class and end the day voguing. The founder of New York City's Peridance Capezio Center, Perry is a ballet teacher, but his goal is to mold versatile dancers prepared to work with any choreographer. "If a dancer is trained in one particular style, she is limited overall," he says. "Some dancers may look fantastic in ballet, with feet stretched and passés at 180 degrees, but they can't do anything but ballet repertory. My philosophy is to train dancers to be wholesome, so that they can do everything, including tap, including hip hop—forms that give you different approaches to movement."


As a young dancer with Bat-Dor Dance Company, Perry studied ballet and Graham and worked with a variety of choreographers, including Lar Lubovitch, Rudi van Dantzig and Alvin Ailey. His varied background is a draw for modern and contemporary dancers: Students clad in loose-fitting clothing flock to his professional-level ballet classes, even though they are classically based.

Enforcing clean lines with an anatomical focus, Perry draws on his own training in the Royal Academy of Dance and Vaganova methods, along with a modern-dance sensibility. “All the steps are strictly ballet steps, but my goal is to teach dance, not dancers training to become ballet dancers," he says. “I concentrate on good lines, good usage of torso. I don't let students do any movements artificially to fit a certain look."

Perry teaches all levels of students and says the key is to create a safe space for the dancers to feel comfortable and take risks. “When you teach beginners, you first have to teach them how to learn. They're usually so intimidated, so you have to create a positive environment," he says. “Professionals have been working for a long time and do what they're used to. The challenge is to create an atmosphere of trust, so they are willing to try my way. It doesn't always work, and in cases of resistance I've learned to say, 'If you don't, you don't. That's your choice—you're a pro. But I'm here to help if you want it.'"

Here, Perry and his student Nikki Holck demonstrate a développé à la seconde.

After performing with Karmon, an Israeli folk dance troupe, and Bat-Dor Dance Company, Igal Perry moved to the United States in 1976 and served as ballet master for Dennis Wayne's Dancers. He established Peridance Center in 1983, and the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company one year later. The school moved to its current location in 2010, and in addition to an adult open program with more than 250 classes each week, it operates a children's program, a teen performance ensemble, a two-year certificate program and an international program. Peridance is home to 100 regular faculty members, and guest artists lead frequent workshops and master classes. Outside of Peridance, Perry's work has been set on companies including Batsheva Dance Company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alberta Ballet in Canada and Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Along with frequent international teaching appearances, he was recently a guest teacher at The Juilliard School and a guest faculty member of The School at Jacob's Pillow.

Originally from Honolulu, Nikki Holck has been a member of the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company for two years.

Photo by Jim Lafferty

The Conversation
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Julianna D. Photography, courtesy of Abreu

Although Rudy Abreu is currently JLo's backup dancer and an award-winning choreographer—his piece "Pray" tied for second runner-up at the 2018 Capezio A.C.E. Awards, and a variation of the piece made it to the finals on NBC's "World of Dance"—he still finds time to teach. Especially about how he hears music.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Dance Teacher Web
Courtesy Dance Teacher Web

Dance students aren't the only ones who get to spend their summers learning new skills and refining their dance practice. Studio owners and administrators can also use the summer months to scope out new curriculum ideas, learn the latest business strategies and even earn a certification or two.

At Dance Teacher Web's Conference and Expo, attendees will spend July 29–August 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada learning everything from new teaching methods to studio management software. And as if the dance and business seminars weren't enough, participants can also choose from three certifications to earn during the conference to help expand their expertise, generate new revenue and set their studios apart:

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

James Payne, director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, starts class each day by asking students how they feel. "If they're collectively hurting, and I know that the day before they were working hard on something new, I might lessen the intensity of the class," he says. "I won't slow it down, though. Sometimes it's better to move through the aches and get to the other side."

A productive class depends, in part, on how well it is paced. If you move too slow, you risk losing students' interest and creating unwanted heaviness. Move too fast and dancers might not fully benefit from combinations or get sufficiently warm, increasing their risk of injury. But even these guidelines may differ depending on the students' age and level. Good pacing is a delicate balance that can facilitate mental and physical growth, but it requires good planning, close observation and the ability to adapt mid-class.

Keep reading... Show less
David Galindo Photography

New York City is a dream destination for many dancers. However aspiring Broadway stars don't have to wait until they're pros to experience all the city has to offer. With Dance the World Broadway, students can get a taste of the Big Apple—plus hone their dance skills and make lasting memories.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Q: Our dancers' parents want to observe class, but students won't focus if I let them in the room. I've tried having them observe the last 10 minutes of class, but even that can be disruptive and bring the dancers' progress to a halt. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

Running your own studio often comes with a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality. After all, you're the one who teaches class, creates choreography, collects tuition, plans a recital, calls parents, answers e-mails, orders costumes—plus a host of other tasks, some of which you probably don't even think about. But what if you had someone to help you, someone who could take certain routine or clerical tasks off your hands, freeing you up to focus on what you love?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Derek and Julianne Hough via @juleshough on Instagram

Here at Dance Teacher, we LOVE a talented dance family. Something about parents and siblings passing their passion for dance down to those who come after them just warms our hearts.

While there are many sets of talented siblings across all genres of dance, ballroom seems to be particularly booming with them.

Don't believe us? Check out these four sets of ballrooms siblings we can't take our eyes off of. Their parents have raised them right!

This is far from a comprehensive list, so feel free to share your favorite sets of dance siblings over in our comments!

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy of Roxey Ballet

This weekend, Roxey Ballet presented a sensory-friendly production of Cinderella at the Kendell Main Stage Theater in Ewing, New Jersey, with sound adjustments, a relaxed house environment and volunteers present to assist audience members with special needs. The production came on the heels of three educational residencies held at New Jersey–based elementary schools in honor of Autism Awareness Month in April.

Keep reading... Show less
To Share With Students
Shared via Dance Teacher Network Facebook

I'm a part of a popular group on Facebook called Dance Teacher Network which consists of dance teachers across the country discussing and sharing information on all things dance. Yesterday morning, I spotted a photo shared in the group of four smiling young boys in a dance studio. And I couldn't help but smile to myself and think, "Wow, I never had that...that's pretty damn amazing."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Marr

When Erica Marr discovered ballroom dancing in her late teens, she instantly fell in love with the Latin beats and strong drum lines that challenged her musicality. After shifting her focus away from contemporary and jazz, she began studying with elite ballroom coaches in New York City and quickly earned a World Championship title in her division.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Thinkstock

Q: I own a studio in a city that has a competitive dance market. I've seen other studios in my community put ads on Instagram and Facebook for open-call auditions in April, long before most studios have finished their competition season and year-end recitals. Is this fair?

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox