Music: Michelle Barber

Barber's jazz class is influenced by all the styles she has studied.

Michelle Barber grew up studying jazz dance in Ohio, before moving to New York City to begin training under and working for Frank Hatchett and Sheila Barker. Now, she teaches weekly classes at Broadway Dance Center, where she's created her own brand of movement, incorporating the different styles that fall under the umbrella of jazz dance.

Class begins with a high-energy song to help students start moving and get their blood pumping during warm-up. Barber's musical variety is reflected in her class combinations, which frequently mix classical jazz with more lyrical, funky or theatrical movement. “I want my students to learn how to blend styles, but do all of that with a very strong technical base," she says, noting that she spends a lot of time outside of class making sure her choreography connects to the music. “I'm big on performance and really putting your heart and soul into dance, not just doing the steps. I want my students to have that feeling of release when it all clicks and feels good, and you just let go." DT

Artist: Johnnyswim

Album: Diamonds

“This husband-and-wife team has a beautiful sound that I love. This album, in my opinion, is a piece of art. Every song is so different and moves me in a special way. I have choreographed to it, used it in my warm-up and simply enjoyed listening to it when I'm commuting to class. There's something about it that warms me."

Artist: Leona Lewis

Album: I Am

“I love Leona's powerful voice. It's so beautiful. She has a mature sound, and her songs are uplifting with a positive message. This album is perfect for combinations and also for progressions. You can't go wrong with this one."

Artist: Jess Glynne

Album: I Cry When I Laugh

“Jess has a strong, soulful voice and fun musical changes and depth in her music. Usually, I like a couple of songs on an album, but with Jess I can use every song. Love that! From ballads to up-tempo, it inspires my creativity."

Artist: LOLO

Album: Comeback Queen

“I just started listening to this album. I'm drawn to her unique sound—it has a gritty and raw feeling. I can't wait to choreograph to it."

Artist: Gavin DeGraw

Album: The Best of Gavin DeGraw

“Gavin is one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriter/musicians, with his solid rock, soulful sound. His music always gets me moving. Whenever Gavin comes out with a new song, I am all over it."

Photo (top) by April Cook, courtesy of Broadway Dance Center

Don't miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

News
Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"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."

Keep reading... Show less
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."

Keep reading... Show less
News
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.