It hardly seems possible that with this issue we bid farewell to 2015. The Dance Teacher team is working on some exciting plans for 2016. But before we officially turn the page, we wanted to reflect on some of our favorite projects of this year.

When we first talked with Gina Gibney, the space at 280 Broadway was still under construction. Now the building is filled with dancers seven days a week, and the Gibney Dance Center has become an institution we can’t remember living without. I admire Gina so much as a businessperson and visionary. What she’s done for NYC dancers is exceptional. Karen Hildebrand, Editor in Chief

The unstoppable Jared Grimes is hands-down my favorite this year. From the smile on his face and his feet leaving the ground in that cover shot, you get a real sense of the way he can move and the joy he takes in his dancing. In the article, we learn he’s persevered for a decade to become a tap dancer on Broadway and won’t stop working on his craft. You can’t beat a guy who combines perspiration and inspiration. Joe Sullivan, Managing Editor

Writing our story on Camille A. Brown and her outreach project, Black Girl Spectrum, was both eye-opening and joyous. Plus, the shoot itself was a hoot! So much dancing, so many bright colors, so many great girls. Then everything came full circle for me at the opening-night performance of Black Girl: Linguistic Play at The Joyce—seeing how material from the project took root in Camille’s athletic, hard-hitting movement felt magical. Rachel Rizzuto, Assistant Editor

Lea Marshall did a wonderful job with our September modern-dance roundup featuring Elena Demyanenko. Great (and sometimes hilarious) anecdotes! And it was so satisfying to see photos of the teachers juxtaposed with archival photos from the past. I loved that Elena’s opening pose perfectly embodied Trisha Brown in Water Motor (1978).

Rachel Caldwell, Assistant Editor

I love Dana Foglia’s drive and how passionate she is about continuing her own growth and sharing what she’s learned on her journey with dancers who hope to have commercial careers. Her acknowledgment that the performance aspect of a dance career isn’t always fulfilling resonated with me, and I love that she found a different way to channel her love for dance. Alyssa Marks, Assistant Editor

I loved watching Tammi Shamblin’s class at this month’s cover shoot. When her students tumbled in at the beginning of class, they were typical fifth-grade boys—goofing around. But when class started, they suddenly turned into serious ballet students. Tammi kept them engaged the entire time. Plus, the shoot gave us an abundance of great photos to choose from for our cover and layout! —Emily Giacalone, Art Director

Wishing you a joyous holiday season,

The Dance Teacher editorial team

Photo by Matthew Murphy; cover photos (top to bottom) by Christopher Duggan; Matthew Murphy (2);  Julieta Cervantes; Joe Toreno; Kyle Froman

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The Conversation
Dance Teacher Tips
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James Payne, director of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, starts class each day by asking students how they feel. "If they're collectively hurting, and I know that the day before they were working hard on something new, I might lessen the intensity of the class," he says. "I won't slow it down, though. Sometimes it's better to move through the aches and get to the other side."

A productive class depends, in part, on how well it is paced. If you move too slow, you risk losing students' interest and creating unwanted heaviness. Move too fast and dancers might not fully benefit from combinations or get sufficiently warm, increasing their risk of injury. But even these guidelines may differ depending on the students' age and level. Good pacing is a delicate balance that can facilitate mental and physical growth, but it requires good planning, close observation and the ability to adapt mid-class.

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Sponsored by Dance Teacher Web
Courtesy Dance Teacher Web

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At Dance Teacher Web's Conference and Expo, attendees will spend July 29–August 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada learning everything from new teaching methods to studio management software. And as if the dance and business seminars weren't enough, participants can also choose from three certifications to earn during the conference to help expand their expertise, generate new revenue and set their studios apart:

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Q: Our dancers' parents want to observe class, but students won't focus if I let them in the room. I've tried having them observe the last 10 minutes of class, but even that can be disruptive and bring the dancers' progress to a halt. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?

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David Galindo Photography

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.

Here's why Dance the World Broadway is the best way for students to experience NYC:

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Studio Owners
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Running your own studio often comes with a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentality. After all, you're the one who teaches class, creates choreography, collects tuition, plans a recital, calls parents, answers e-mails, orders costumes—plus a host of other tasks, some of which you probably don't even think about. But what if you had someone to help you, someone who could take certain routine or clerical tasks off your hands, freeing you up to focus on what you love?

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Courtesy of Roxey Ballet

This weekend, Roxey Ballet presented a sensory-friendly production of Cinderella at the Kendell Main Stage Theater in Ewing, New Jersey, with sound adjustments, a relaxed house environment and volunteers present to assist audience members with special needs. The production came on the heels of three educational residencies held at New Jersey–based elementary schools in honor of Autism Awareness Month in April.

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To Share With Students
Shared via Dance Teacher Network Facebook

I'm a part of a popular group on Facebook called Dance Teacher Network which consists of dance teachers across the country discussing and sharing information on all things dance. Yesterday morning, I spotted a photo shared in the group of four smiling young boys in a dance studio. And I couldn't help but smile to myself and think, "Wow, I never had that...that's pretty damn amazing."

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When Erica Marr discovered ballroom dancing in her late teens, she instantly fell in love with the Latin beats and strong drum lines that challenged her musicality. After shifting her focus away from contemporary and jazz, she began studying with elite ballroom coaches in New York City and quickly earned a World Championship title in her division.

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Studio Owners
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Q: I own a studio in a city that has a competitive dance market. I've seen other studios in my community put ads on Instagram and Facebook for open-call auditions in April, long before most studios have finished their competition season and year-end recitals. Is this fair?

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Dancer Health
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Q: How can I improve my pointed feet?

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Just for fun
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Did you know there is an annual contest in which scientists turn their PhD research into dance? Well there is, and it's even better than you're imagining! I mean, honestly, if our grade-school science teachers had us turn our schoolwork into dances, we may have enjoyed chemistry a bit more 🤣.

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