Music: Neil Schwartz

Although Neil Schwartz has had the pleasure of working with artists like ASTR and Bosco and has choreographed performances and industrials for “Good Morning America” and Sephora, it’s teaching that really drives his passion for dance. In his regular street jazz classes at Broadway Dance Center in New York City and master classes around the world, he believes one of the most important things he can do as a teacher is challenge his students musically and emotionally. “I always tell them they have to look beyond the ‘5, 6, 7, 8,’” he says. “People today are getting too caught up in the steps instead of the feelings that should be coming across with their performance.”

Schwartz sets aside time once a week to research music, and he usually knows within seconds if he has found a song he wants to use for choreography. “I search through music blogs, the iTunes library and SoundCloud to discover new music,” he says. “I’m a huge movie buff, so each piece that I create, I picture what it would be like if I set it as a short video or film.” DT



Artist: ASTR

Song: “Activate Me”

“I’ve been listening to their music for years, and I was fortunate enough to have had the honor of choreographing for these artists. I love to use their music for everything from a warm-up to setting pieces and choreography. This song has an electronic dance vibe to it. It’s one that I can put on repeat and never get tired of. I really strive for musicality and performance in my classes, and this song is a perfect fit.”



Artist: J*Davey

Song: “Strong Anticipation”

“I’m a huge J*Davey fan and have been for quite some time. There’s something about their music and artistry that sets them apart in so many ways. This song is a mixture of soul, R&B, dance and electronic music, and it’s a mix that really inspires my musicality.”



Artist: Bosco

Song: “Gold Ghost”

“This is another artist I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I consider Bosco a breath of fresh air. Her music is extremely soulful, and it reminds me of ’90s R&B—a genre I’m a huge fan of. It took me 10 seconds of listening to this to know that I had to use it for a class combo. It’s the type of song you can get totally lost in.”



Artist: SWV

Song: “#MCE”

“This song is very catchy, especially for a ’90s R&B fan like me. I’ve been listening and dancing to SWV since I was about 7—I grew up to this music—so it was no surprise that I want to choreograph to it now. I used this song for my first class of 2016, and the energy it brought into the classroom was nothing short of amazing.”



Artist: The Internet

Song: “Get Away”

“It took less than five seconds for this particular song to catch my attention. It’s a beautiful mix of neo soul, hip hop and R&B and was by far one of my favorite songs of 2015. At first, I used it for warm-up, but I’m considering using it for a class combination now.” 



Photo by Shar Adrias, courtesy of Schwartz

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

Keep reading... Show less
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

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.