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

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.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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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.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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Music
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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