JR and Misty: Dance Movies at Tribeca Film Festival

Screen capture from Les Bosquets

Les Bosquets

Last year, French visual artist JR participated in the creation of Les Bosquets, an original piece for New York City Ballet. Now, the artist has announced he will premiere a film based on the ballet at next month’s Tribeca Film Festival. Les Bosquets is named for a housing project outside Paris, one of the poverty-stricken areas affected by riots in 2005. According to JR’s website, “The film brings the audience [to] a place where art, social uproar and the power of image interweave.” The 17-minute film will feature Lil Buck, Lauren Lovette and members of Paris Opéra Ballet, with music by pop star and producer Pharrell Williams, French musician Woodkid and famed movie composer Hans Zimmer.

Screen capture from A Ballerina's Tale

A Ballerina’s Tale

Also premiering at the 2015 festival is a much anticipated documentary on Misty CopelandA Ballerina’s Tale. Directed by Brooklyn-born writer and filmmaker Nelson George, this full-length film documents Copeland’s rise to stardom while investigating the challenges of being a black woman in the ballet world. It also promises exclusive performance footage. Check out the somewhat dizzying trailer here:


And finally, don’t miss the first feature film by Celia Rowlson-Hall. The former Monica Bill Barnes and Faye Driscoll dancer wrote, directed and stars in Ma, described as a modern retelling of “Mother Mary’s pilgrimage,” set in the American Southwest.

Visit tribecafilm.com for more info.

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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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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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The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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