Jump Start

We’ve just returned from the annual National Dance Education Organization conference in Chicago, and I’m still flying from all the positive energy of the K–12 and college/university educators who shared and discussed their methods. Just a few of the highlights included a presentation with Ann Hutchinson Guest to decode Nijinsky’s choreography for Afternoon of a Faun; an all-male performance facilitated by Bill Evans, Why I Can’t Not Dance; and a new film about Martha Hill presented by Daniel Lewis, Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter. Rima Faber (DT, May 2014) was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. And it was wonderful to see longtime friend Thom Cobb from our Dance Teacher Summit faculty behind the podium as NDEO president.

So it’s fitting that in this issue we sing the praises of teachers working in the studio. From the quiet confidence of Nancy Bielski on the cover (Technique) to five educators who have a special way with students (“Dance Whisperers”) to two women who are continuing the legacy of the late master teacher David Howard in New York City (“Carrying the Torch”), our pages are filled with kinetic passion and fresh wisdom.

This issue also features our annual Summer Study Guide. Bigger than ever, the guide includes 257 summer intensives with training for dancers (and teachers!) of all varieties. You’ll want to hang on to this for the next six months and make it available to your dancers. We’ve done our best to gather the details, but be sure to check directly with the programs for any updates or changes before registering.

At NDEO, I met up with Kathryn Kearns (left), director of the National High School Dance Festival, and DT advisory board member Diane Smagatz-Rawlinson (middle).

Over the past few months, the DT editors have been immersed in planning for 2015. We’re excited about the topics and trends we’ll be reporting on in the coming year. Of course, as always, we love hearing from you. Let us know what you’re up to and what you’d like to see in the magazine. khildebrand@dancemedia.com

From top: photo by Matthew Murphy; photo courtesy of Smagatz-Rawlinson

Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

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.

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Courtesy Shake the Ground

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?

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Getty Images

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."

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