John Heginbotham: What My Teacher Taught Me

John Heginbotham's Closing Bell

Though former Mark Morris Dance Group member John Heginbotham premiered his own company, Dance Heginbotham, in 2011, he's been a choreographer for much longer. As a teenager, he attended Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and enrolled in choreography guru Bessie Schönberg's three-week dance composition intensive. Heginbotham credits Schönberg for caring about her students as dancers and humans.

"She was interested not only in teaching us how to make up a dance but also how to live our best lives. Bessie would let us come into her class and vent our frustrations about life--I was 19 years old--and then she would tell us: 'Now you just have to leave it all in the grass.' She meant, of course, the grass at Jacob's Pillow. It's a life lesson, but it also applies to choreography. Sometimes you hit a wall or get frustrated, but you have to do all that you can and then learn to let it go."

Dance Heginbotham premieres Dark Theater at Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, October 29-November 2.

Photos by Amber Star Merkens

Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

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Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

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Mary Mallaney/USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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