Former Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company member Leah Cox knew it was time to make the transition from performer to educator when she started feeling selfish. “I felt I'd spent enough time in the company," Cox says. “I was beginning to discover that entirely different world that becomes available when you approach dance as an educator, versus as a performer." When Bard College approached Bill T. Jones in 2009 about forming an education partnership, Cox jumped at the chance to head it up. She's now education director of New York Live Arts—downtown dance venue and home base for Bill T. Jones—as well as a master teaching artist during the National YoungArts Foundation's YoungArts Week. Over the course of one week in January, Cox and Jones will work with YoungArts alumni in Miami to create an interdisciplinary work.


Structuring her YoungArts master class: “I teach an interdisciplinary class to get the students to acknowledge the current state of art-making and performance, so that they start imagining how to work with people in other disciplines. It's not just that they're going to get on the stage together and each sing or dance or act or play music or write, but that they're going to make something that's integrated."

Working with high school students: “In terms of their development, collaboration is where they're at: They're really curious to work with one another, moving beyond their own sphere. It's natural—not a push. These kids are suddenly surrounded by other people who think about and love art just like they do. It feels like a homecoming for them that they've never had before."

YoungArts Week takeaway: “I tend to get bogged down and depressed about the state of the arts—raising money, getting audiences in seats—but when I get to work with students at that level who love the arts and aren't jaded, it gives me inspiration. I love to look at this next generation coming up, telling us: 'It still matters.'" DT

Education: BA in philosophy, minor in religion and

concentration in dance from Texas Christian University

Performance Career: danced with California-based McCaleb Dance right out of college; member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, 2001–2009

Teaching Credits: education director of New York Live Arts, where she's in charge of educational programming for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and the artists

presented by Live Arts; YoungArts master teaching artist since 2011


The Conversation
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The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

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No matter what your needs are, Harlequin Floors has your back, or rather, your feet. With 11 different marley vinyl floors available in a range of colors, Harlequin has options for every setting and dance style. We rounded up six of their most popular and versatile floors:

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As a teacher at a studio, you've more than likely developed long-lasting relationships with some of your students and parents. The idea that you could be sued by one of them might seem impossible to imagine, but Insure Fitness Group's Gianna Michalsen warns against relaxing into that mindset. "People say, 'Why do I need insurance? I've been working with these people for 10 years—we're friends,'" she says. "But no one ever takes into account how bad an injury can be. Despite how good your relationship is, people will sue you because of the toll an injury takes on their life."

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Vanessa Zahorian. Photo by Erik Larson, courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet Academy

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Bill Johnson, Courtesy Just for Kix

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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.

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