News: Awards

* Daniel Lewis, founding dean of dance at New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL, received the National Dance Education Organization’s Lifetime Achievement award at its annual conference in October at Arizona State University. Deborah Damast of the New York University Steinhardt School of Education received NDEO’s Outstanding Educator award, and the Outstanding Leadership award went to Julie Kerr-Berry, associate professor of dance at Minnesota State University.


* The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced that Tony Award–winning choreo-grapher Bill T. Jones will receive a 2010 Kennedy Center Honor on December 28. The presentation will be broadcast on CBS. Other honorees are Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman, Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey.


* At the Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s fifth annual Harold Clurman Festival of Arts in September, Alexandra Wells, ballet teacher at The Juilliard School, received the MAD Spirit Award for her work as an artist and humanitarian.


* The Washington Performing Arts Society awarded the 2010 Pola Nirenska Award for Lifetime Achievement to Seda Khoyan Gelenian. In addition to performing with several Washington, DC–area dance companies, Gelenian taught creative dance for children at the Norwood School in Bethesda, MD, for 36 years.


Photo:Daniel Lewis (Jeffery A. Salter, courtesy of Daniel Lewis)

Studio Owners
The Dance Concept staff in the midst of their costume pickup event. Photo courtesy of Dance Concept

Year-end recitals are an important milestone for dancers to demonstrate what they've learned throughout the year. Not to mention the revenue boost they bring—often 15 to 20 percent of a studio's yearly budget. But how do you hold a spring recital when you're not able to rehearse in person, much less gather en masse at a theater?

"I struggled with the decision for a month, but it hit me that a virtual recital was the one thing that would give our kids a sense of closure and happiness after a few months on Zoom," says Lisa Kaplan Barbash, owner of TDS Dance Company in Stoughton, MA. She's one of countless studio owners who faced the challenges of social distancing while needing to provide some sort of end-of-year performance experience that had already been paid for through tuition and costume fees.

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Teachers Trending
Ryan Smith Visuals, courtesy Whitworth

A New Hampshire resident since 2006, Amanda Whitworth is the director of dance at Plymouth State University and the co-founder of ARTICINE, a nonprofit that uses the performing and creative arts as a means to improve people's health. Whitworth is also the founder of Lead With Arts, a consulting service working in three priority areas: performance and production, arts and health, and creative placemaking. The NH State Council on the Arts recommended her to the governor for a two-year term, February 2020 to February 2022. She is the first dancer in New Hampshire to hold the title of artist laureate. We caught up with her to hear about her new role:

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Studio Owners
Genevieve Weeks, founder of Tutu School. Courtesy of Tutu School

As the founder of Tutu School, a dance studio business with a successful franchise model that has grown to 37 locations throughout the United States, Genevieve Weeks was in a unique position for a studio owner at the start of COVID-19. Not only did she have to make sure her own, original Tutu School locations weathered the virus' storm, she also felt a duty to guide her franchisees through the tumult.

Though she admits it was a particularly grueling experience for her at the start—her husband at one point was bringing all of her meals to her at her laptop, so she could continue working without pause—the appreciation she's felt from her franchisees is palpable. "What I've heard from the Tutu School owners is that they're grateful to be part of a franchise system right now," says Weeks.

So how does a franchise survive something like COVID-19? Here's what got Weeks—and her franchisees—through the first few months of the pandemic.

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