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
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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