Boost Your Bookshelf With These Four New Dance Picks

Jill Randall

Has the pandemic given you more time to do all that dance reading you've always dreamed of?

Enter these four new releases, each of note for its in-depth exploration of the art form and its engaging, artful storytelling.

Dance Adventures: True Stories About Dancing Abroad

The cover of Dance Adventures, featuring three women in colorful costumes from different dance genres

Jill Randall

Edited by Megan Taylor Morrison

306 pages; MTM Coaching and Consulting (2020)

Keywords: Travel, first-person accounts, curiosity, dance around the world

Check it out if: You, too, have dreams of traveling the world to study dance, whether it is exploring your own cultural heritage or following a particular style to its origins. Dance Adventures offers stories from 19 dancers who traveled to 17 different countries, including Senegal, the Philippines, Cuba and China. The essays are relatively short in length and are highly accessible; Dance Adventures is a great option for dancers in high school, college and beyond.

The Grand Union: Accidental Anarchists of Downtown Dance, 1970–1976

The cover image of Grand Union, featuring a black and white image of dancers at the top and green text on a white background

Jill Randall

By Wendy Perron

384 pages; Wesleyan University Press (2020)

Keywords: Improvisation, postmodern dance, contact improv

Check it out if: You are interested in improvisation, or any of the core members of Grand Union, such as Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton. Perron documents the formation of the group, highlighting each artist with great care and describing archival videos in detail. You'll hear from Grand Union members, their contemporaries and dancers influenced by the work of this group during its six-year existence.

Moving Lessons: Margaret H'Doubler and the Beginning of Dance in American Education (Second Edition)

The cover of Moving Lessons, featuring a black and white photo of a woman dancing outside with a large hula hoop-type prop

Jill Randall

By Janice L. Ross

328 pages; University Press of Florida (2020)

Keywords: Dance in higher education, first dance-degree program in the U.S., skeleton and anatomy as foundation, John Dewey's philosophy

Check it out if: You teach in higher ed or aspire to be a college professor, or are curious about the lineage of dance from physical education. Ross' second edition deepens our knowledge of Margaret H'Doubler, who founded the first dance-degree program in the U.S. in 1926 at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Ross also explores the influence of educational philosopher John Dewey on H'Doubler's pedagogy, as well as her use of a skeleton as a core component in her classes.

Daniel Lewis: A Life in Choreography and the Art of Dance

The cover of the book, featuring a black and white photo of Lewis jumping

Jill Randall

By Donna H. Krasnow and Daniel E. Lewis

239 pages; McFarland (2020)

Keywords: José Limón, Juilliard, New World School of the Arts, long dance career

Check it out if: You are a Limón Company fan or modern dance history buff who loves a journey through the life of an artist. Krasnow recounts Lewis' career over many decades, which included time as a student and then a faculty member at Juilliard, touring the world with José Limón and then setting Limón's work, directing his own company, and becoming the first dean of dance at the New World School of the Arts. Notes and quotes from colleagues are woven throughout the book.

Teachers Trending
Cynthia Oliver in her office. Photo by Natalie Fiol

When it comes to Cynthia Oliver's classes, you always bring your A game. (As her student for the last two and a half years in the MFA program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I feel uniquely equipped to make this statement.) You never skip the reading she assigns; you turn in not your first draft but your third or fourth for her end-of-semester research paper; and you always do the final combination of her technique class full-out, even if you're exhausted.

Oliver's arrival at UIUC 20 years ago jolted new life into the dance department. "It may seem odd to think of this now, but the whole concept of an artist-scholar was new when she first arrived," says Sara Hook, who also joined the UIUC dance faculty in 2000. "You were either a technique teacher or a theory/history teacher. Cynthia's had to very patiently educate all of us about the nature of her work, and I think that has increased our passion for the kind of excavation she brings to her research."

Keep reading... Show less
Clockwise from top left: Courtesy Ford Foundation; Christian Peacock; Nathan James, Courtesy Gibson; David Gonsier, courtesy Marshall; Bill Zemanek, courtesy King; Josefina Santos, courtesy Brown; Jayme Thornton; Ian Douglas, courtesy American Realness

Since 1954, the Dance Magazine Awards have celebrated the living legends of our field—from Martha Graham to Misty Copeland to Alvin Ailey to Gene Kelly.

This year is no different. But for the first time ever, the Dance Magazine Awards will be presented virtually—which is good news for aspiring dancers (and their teachers!) everywhere. (Plus, there's a special student rate of $25.)

The Dance Magazine Awards aren't just a celebration of the people who shape the dance field—they're a unique educational opportunity and a chance for dancers to see their idols up close.

Here's why your dancers (and you!) should tune in:

They'll see dance history in the making.

Carlos Acosta. Debbie Allen. Camille A. Brown. Laurieann Gibson. Alonzo King.

If you haven't already taught your students about these esteemed awardees, odds are you'll be adding them to your curriculum before long.

Not only will your students get to hear from each of them at a pivotal moment in their careers (and Dance Magazine Awards acceptance speeches are famously chock-full of inspiration), they'll also hear from presenters like William Forsythe and Theresa Ruth Howard.

This year, all the Dance Magazine Awards are going to Black artists, as a step towards repairing the history of honoring primarily white artists.

And meet tomorrow's dance legends.

Dance Magazine's Harkness Promise Awards, this year going to Kyle Marshall and Marjani Forté-Saunders, offer funding, rehearsal space and mentorship to innovative young choreographers in their first decade of presenting work—a powerful reminder to your students that major success in the dance world doesn't happen overnight.

They'll get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes.

Solely teaching your students how to be a great dancer doesn't give them the full picture. A complete dance education produces artists who are savvy about what happens behind the scenes, too.

In 2018, Dance Media launched the Chairman's Award to honor those behind-the-scenes leaders who keep our field moving. Each year's recipient is chosen by our CEO, Frederic M. Seegal. This year's award goes to Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, who is using philanthropy to make the performing arts—and the world at large—more just.

And, of course, see dozens of great dance works.

Where else could your students see selections from Alonzo King's contemporary ballet classics next to Camille A. Brown's boundary-pushing dance theater works? Or see both Carlos Acosta and Laurieann Gibson in action in the same evening? Excerpts from the awardees' works will show your students what it is exactly that makes these artists so special.

So gather your class (virtually!) and join us next Monday, December 7, at 6 pm. To receive the special student rate, please email

See you there!

Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.