Need Choreographic Inspiration? Try Your…Treadmill!

If you’re not “Uptown Funk”-ed out yet, you need to see this video of Carson Dean dancing on a treadmill (his YouTube video description reads, “The best cardio workout! Don’t believe me just watch”—nudge-nudge wink-wink, Carson). But this is more than just a cardio workout: It’s a smooth hip-hop dance, with a couple of grands battements thrown in.

This video then prompted me to look up some of my other favorite treadmill-dance videos. (Duh. The vicious YouTube vortex strikes again.) Remember the band OK Go’s video for “Here It Goes Again”? They did it all in one take! And it was choreographed by Trish Sie, who’s created stuff for Pilobolus and directed Step Up: All In.

My treadmill search then led me to this little gem that reached its peak popularity a few months ago: Guy on a treadmill in a gym, doing sweet, sweet moves. With absolutely no inhibitions. Some genius overlaid “Mack the Knife” as the background music. Perfect.

Which then led me to this little video here—an advertisement for NordicTrack. According to the YouTube description, choreographer Jason Celaya used 12 YouTube and Vine stars and 40 dancers to star in the “world’s largest treadmill dance.” (There’s also a fun saxophone cameo, which appears unrelated.) Definitely a great workout.

Teacher Voices
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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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