Looking Forward to the Return of SYTYCD

In her 1963 The Book of the Dance, Agnes de Mille writes, “Art is communication on the deepest and most lasting level.” She continues, “Before man can do anything, he must draw breath, he must move. Movement is the source and condition of life.” In essence, true dance is serious; it means something. It doesn’t have to be emotional or upsetting, but it has to have a point. Even if the point is not to have a point, dance has to evoke some kind of reaction from an audience. Because who wants to just watch people flail about—regardless of perfect shapes or techniques—meaninglessly? Certainly not Ms. de Mille.
    So as we eagerly anticipate the return of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance (which begins again tonight, September 9, at 8p.m), let’s hope that this time around (after the countless audition shows) we’ll not only see great technicians, but great dance. And I’m not talking about emotionally charged pieces with over-the-top, fake, distressed facial expressions. Viewers deserve to see the quality of dance where the meaning comes from the movement itself; dance on a level at which audience members feel the movement within their own cores because of a dancer’s artistry—not only because of his/her virtuosity or representational skills. And this show has all the right ingredients to make it happen. The dancers are amazing, no doubt about that one, and the choreographers are more than capable. However, if art is an expression on the deepest, most lasting level, and if movement is the source of life, I hope this season we will experience pieces that communicate something more than “hot.”

Sponsored by A Wish Come True
(Courtesy of 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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Higher Ed
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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Teacher Voices
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.

When schools and studios launched their virtual dance programs at the beginning of the pandemic, many operated under the assumption that all their students would be able to take class online. But in reality, lack of access to technology and Wi-Fi is a major issue for many low-income students across the country, in many cases cutting them off from the classes and resources their peers can enjoy from home.

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