March 2015

A New Breed

by Karen Hildebrand

On Top of the World

How Nick DeMoura became one of the most sought-after choreographers in Hollywood

Nurturing the Gift

Training the new breed of hypertalented young dancers

Blossom Leilani Crawford

How I teach Pilates for dancers

Fashion

Ballet slippers and pointe shoes

Face to Face

A conversation with dance writer Claudia La Rocco

Teachers’ Tools

Up close with Lirena Branitski

Robyn Mineko Williams

Music to inspire choreography

Finding Your Om

Reap the benefits of meditation.

John Bubbles

The father of rhythm tap

Let’s Go, Team!

5 team-building activities for your competition dancers

Leading a Double Life

Three college grads explain how double majoring shaped their careers.

From “Ho Hum” to “Aha!”

Making bold changes to the way you run your studio

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

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Health & Body
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Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

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Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

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