News: In Memoriam

Janet Hamburg, professor of dance at the University of Kansas, died unexpectedly September 4 in New York City. Hamburg joined the KU faculty in 1979 and later became dance department chair. She was certified by the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York, received the institute’s first Laban Award for Creative Achievement in 2004 and was a core faculty member of the New Mexico Laban Certification Program. She also served as director of senior wellness and exercise for the Center for Movement Education and Research in Los Angeles and was a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist. She taught in the Bill Evans Summer Institutes of Dance and was a frequent guest teacher at The Juilliard School, the Laban/Bartenieff Institute and the Sports Training Institute, all in New York City.

 

Sally Sevey Fitt, professor emeritus of modern dance at the University of Utah, died in August in Loveland, CO. The last 25 years of her teaching career were at the University of Utah, where she retired as head of the dance kinesiology department. The author of numerous publications, Fitt’s book Dance Kinesiology (1988) still serves as the primary text in many college dance departments around the world.

 

Patricia A. Rowe, Ed.D, founder of New York University’s Department of Dance and Dance Education, died in June. Rowe was instrumental in the 20-year effort to achieve dance certification for K–12 in the state of New York and foster degrees in undergraduate and graduate majors in dance. Her lifetime of contributions to dance education was honored with a celebration on September 27 at The Joyce Theater in NYC.

Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Dancer Diary
Claire McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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