Grady McLeod Bowman—Not a Traditional Musical Theater Choreographer

Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy of Bowman

Talk to Grady McLeod Bowman about his early years, and it's immediately clear where his stylistic versatility, choreographic intelligence and knack for storytelling originate. Precocious from the start, Bowman appeared in theater productions regularly starting at age 5. By 10, he was a tapper, and just six years later he was teaching his own dance classes.


Having toured with Pilobolus Dance Theater and performed in the original cast of several Broadway shows, Bowman is now sought after as a director and choreographer of musicals, plays and independent film projects. At Broadway Dance Center, The Performing Arts Project and University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Bowman encourages his musical theater, contemporary and tap students to be versatile. “Shows are asking for so many different things these days, and you've got to be able to adapt: jumping from style to style, differentiating the different movement qualities."

Bowman says he's not a traditional musical theater choreographer, because he gravitates more toward contemporary theater music (think Once or Spring Awakening). That said, “Sometimes I'll take a song from Crazy for You or Catch Me If You Can and challenge myself to choreograph a traditional combination. When I teach, I like to create challenges for myself as well as for the dancers."

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.