Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop

The Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop, offered through The Ailey School, is the perfect urban retreat for teachers seeking immersion in Horton technique. Since 2005, director Ana Marie Forsythe has shared her knowledge with teachers in weeklong summer intensives at the Joan Weill Center for Dance and The Ailey School studios in New York City.

The workshop is comprised of two seminars each year: Session I offers beginning-level Horton instruction, while Session II covers intermediate and advanced material. Participants take and observe classes, discussing Horton vocabulary in-depth and, in Session II, counts and dynamics.

Demonstrators illustrate movements to live musical accompaniment. “I speak about how to build a class to enable students to progress technically and artistically, what a Horton warmup consists of and how to combine Horton progressions to inform students about transitions, projection and musicality,” says Forsythe. In addition, participants in both sessions attend daily lectures and Q & A sessions with guest speakers, who have included renowned artists Marjorie B. Perces and Carmen deLavallade, as well as Rebecca Dietzel, an anatomist specializing in biochemistry.

An ideal Horton educator, Forsythe began teaching his technique at age 15 and became head of the Horton department at Ailey in 1979, taking over for her mentor, the late Joyce Trisler. In addition to her work as co-director of the Ailey School/Fordham University BFA program, she has co-authored The Dance Technique of Lester Horton, produced four DVDs illustrating the technique and is currently working on a new Horton guide.

She is thankful that the next generation of educators will be able to pass on the gifts handed down from the late master who taught Ailey himself. “This workshop gives me the opportunity to share this incredibly powerful technique with others,” says Forsythe. “I hope these workshops will guarantee the continuation of the Horton technique for future generations. I continue, even after almost 50 years of teaching it, to marvel at the intelligence, beauty and versatility that Horton created.”

The dates for next year’s workshop are July 13–17 (Session I) and July 20–24 (Session II). Session I is open to dance teachers with some teaching experience; Session II requires a minimum of three years experience and prior attendance in Session I. A certificate of completion is available to all attendees.

For more information: Justina Gaddy, jgaddy@alvinailey.org; www.alvinailey.org  DT

Teachers Trending
Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy. Photo courtesy Dance With Me

Listening to Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy riff together makes it crystal-clear why each has mastered the art of partnering in the ballroom—they've long been doing this dance in real life as brothers and business partners.

Along with their "Dancing with the Stars" pedigree (and a combined three mirror-ball trophies between them), Maks and Val (and their father, Sasha) also run Dance With Me, a dance company hosting six ProAm Dancesport competitions annually and running 14 brick-and-mortar studio locations across the U.S.

Last year, the pair launched an online component, Dance & Co. The online video platform offers beginner through advanced instruction in not only ballroom but an array of other styles, as well as dance fitness classes from HIIT to yoga to strength training. "DWTS" fans will recognize such familiar faces as Peta Murgatroyd, Jenna Johnson, Sharna Burgess and Emma Slater, along with Maks and Val themselves.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.