#MotivationMonday: Your Faculty Lineup at Our Dance Teacher Summit

Alright, people. It’s #MotivationMonday—and it’s also the week of the Dance Teacher Summit. The schedule for the New York City Summit is now posted online, and this year’s teachers and seminar leaders are some of the biggest names in dance today (and many of them, you’ll notice, have been on our cover). So let today’s motivation arrive in the form of my favorite dance videos from these talented folks—who are eager to share their dance knowledge with you this weekend!

Mia Michaels (DT, November 2006) has long been a mainstay on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and while her biggest hit was probably the bench piece she created for Travis Wall and Heidi Groskreutz, my favorite will always be Kayla and Kupono’s “Addiction.”

Mandy Moore (DT, December 2009) is a jazz and contemporary powerhouse with the special gift to make every dancer in the room feel noticed. It’s probably no surprise that I chose her “Sweet Dreams” routine from Season 3 of “SYTYCD,” considering she received an Emmy nomination for it.

I like to think of Al Blackstone as the Summit’s charming gentleman caller from a bygone era. But that’s probably because his whimsical, narrative dances all seem to feature characters just like that—like this piece he created for the Fire Island Dance Festival last year.

If you’re experiencing mild video overload at this point, know that this is the last one. And maybe the most amazing. Because it’s tWitch’s audition from Season 4 of “SYTYCD”! Look at his BABY FACE. (And now he HAS a baby.)

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"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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