Listen to Al Blackstone's Epic Warm-Up Playlist

Al Blackstone leads a class at Steps on Broadway. Photo by Daryl Getman/Transmission-Roots to Branches, courtesy of Blackstone

"I totally manipulate the energy in the room with my warm-up music. I start with something really calm and then build to something energetic. I go with sweet songs for pliés, so people soften and are vulnerable. Then I go aggressive with high-energy music for abs, and soothing music for stretches on the floor.

"I finish warm-up with step-touches to a fun song that feels like a party, so everyone can feel good. I couldn't do my splits growing up, and that was always the last thing we did before center, so I would feel bad about myself. When I started teaching, I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun if we ended warm-up with a party instead?"

"Micro Melodies": The Album Leaf

"Next to Me": Emeli Sandé

"Stop This Train": John Mayer

"Hold Back the River": James Bay

"This Gift": Glen Hansard

"Crazy Love": Irene Diaz

"The Music": Hifi Sean (feat. Celeda)

"When I Come Around": Honeywagon

"All We Want Is Love": Ane Brun

"Work Song": Hozier

"Gonna Move": Paul Pena

Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

With so much else on your plate, from navigating virtual learning to keeping your studio afloat, it can be tempting to to cut corners or to settle for less in order to check "costumes" off of this season's to-do list. Ultimately, though, finding a costume vendor you trust is paramount to keeping your stress levels low and parent satisfaction high, not to mention helping your students look—and feel—their absolute best. Remember: You are the client, and you deserve exceptional service. And costume companies like A Wish Come True are ready to go above and beyond for their customers, but it's important that you know what to ask for. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your costume company.

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Charles Anderson (center) in his (Re)current Unrest. Photo by Kegan Marling, courtesy of UT Austin

Given the long history of American choreographers who have threaded activism into their work—Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Joanna Haigood, Bill T. Jones, Jo Kreiter, to name a few—it's perhaps surprising that collegiate dance has offered so little in the way of training future generations to do the same.

Until now, that is. Within the last three years, two master's programs have cropped up, each the first of its kind: Ohio University's MA in community dance (new this fall), and the University of Texas at Austin's dance and social justice MFA, which emerged from its existing MFA program in 2018. These two programs join the University of San Francisco's undergraduate performing arts and social justice major, with a concentration in dance, which has been around since 2000.

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Getty Images

As many dance teachers begin another semester of virtual teaching, it is time to acknowledge the fact that virtual classes aren't actually accessible to all students.

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