Sponsored by NYCDA

NYCDA Is Redefining the Convention Scene Through Life-Changing Opportunities

Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.

"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."

Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.

Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:


NYCDA founder Joe Lanteri with the 2019 college scholarship recipients

Courtesy NYCDA

College Scholarships

NYCDA has perhaps become most known for the massive amount of college scholarships they dole out every year. Both high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to earn scholarship money: Juniors are recruited and offered scholarships directly from colleges, who participate in the annual NYCDA National College Scholarship Audition at their New York City-based Nationals every July. Seniors who already know where they're attending school can also receive funds from the NYCDA Foundation.

NYCDA's annual college audition

Courtesy NYCDA Foundation

This past summer, NYCDA had 180 dancers auditioning for college scholarships and 10 colleges—including Marymount, Point Park University, Pace University and University of the Arts—in attendance. The schools' offers surpassed 10 million dollars, and the NYCDA foundation awarded $355,000.

Langan sees NYCDA as helping dancers gain a foundational building block in their career. "A college education is really important," she says. "NYCDA has put its stamp behind it with this enormous event."

Training Scholarships

Many conventions and competitions—NYCDA included—give scholarships back to their own organizations so that participants can attend a subsequent event. But what sets NYCDA apart is the fact that they also pay it forward, handing out training scholarships to other institutions at every single one of their Regionals. Whether or not students win any titles, they have the opportunity to earn scholarships to programs like Steps on Broadway (which Lanteri also co-owns and directs), Peridance Capezio Center, Broadway Dance Center, BODYTRAFFIC (where 50% of dancers are NYCDA alums), the Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School and more.

Andy Blankenbuehler teaching at NYCDA

Courtesy NYCDA

Career Opportunities

"NYCDA will put you in a room with people who will eventually pay you to dance," says veteran Broadway dancer Corey John Snide, and he would know. Snide grew up doing NYCDA, earning the National Outstanding Dancer Award in the Mini, Junior and Teen age divisions, and is now on NYCDA's faculty.

Even more important than the titles were Snide's scholarship to Juilliard and introduction to Andy Blankenbuehler—both thanks to NYCDA—which led to some of his most notable career highlights including dance captaining for CATS on Broadway, assisting on the upcoming CATS movie, and landing a gig in the upcoming Broadway production of West Side Story.

Corey John Snide in CATS on Broadway

Courtesy NYCDA

At Nationals each July, students participate in Broadway audition workshops—often with the casting director, dance captain and choreographer in the room. While the workshops are primarily meant to help dancers hone their audition skills, it's not unheard of for students to walk out of the room with a job. (When Newsies was on Broadway, the casting director even traveled with NYCDA to Regionals to scout talent!). At Nationals, real auditions for the Rockettes or to be Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular are often held.

For Snide, friendships formed between participants are as valuable as those forged with faculty members and master teachers. "I can point to so many of my lifelong friends from NYCDA with outstanding careers," he says. NYCDA's alumni champion each other, often working together on projects later in their careers.

A CATS audition workshop at NYCDA

Courtesy NYCDA

Professional Development

Growing up in Albany, NY, Snide says he wouldn't have even known being a professional dancer was a possibility for him without the exposure to the New York City dance scene that NYCDA provided him. While many conventions and competitions have moved their Nationals away from New York City, NYCDA has stayed—giving students of all ages the opportunity to learn from dance world giants.

Even at Regionals, NYCDA holds Friday Night Sessions, master classes with everyone from Tony nominees Joshua Bergasse and Warren Carlyle to principal dancers to artistic directors. "Dancers underestimate what it means to have the opportunity to be in the room with these people," says Lanteri. NYCDA faculty members, too, are a valuable source of knowledge, connections and resources for students. "They're incredibly caring and generous," he says. "They are invested in these kids—and not just for two days."

Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell has seen first-hand NYCDA's long-lasting impact on one student's career: A scholarship to The Ailey School led to an Ailey II offer which led to a contract with the main company. But before students can take advantage of these opportunities, Powell says that they need a first taste of what working in the professional dance world can be, starting with developing their own identities as dancers—which NYCDA also helps them do. "When I'm working with students and teaching them in New York City there's an energy," he says. "They come with such joy and excitement and willingness to be hungry and committed to dance and to becoming the greatest artist that they can become."

Dance Teachers Trending
Barbara Bashaw in Thompson Hall of Columbia Teachers College. Photo by Kyle Froman

Barbara Bashaw has always been a pioneer. Since kicking off her career in education by building a dance program from the ground up at an elementary school in Brooklyn, she's gone on to become an inspiring force in teacher training. Now, as director of the new doctoral program in dance education at Columbia University's renowned Teachers College and as executive director of the even newer Arnhold Institute for Dance Education Research, Policy & Leadership, she's in a position to effect change nationwide.

"The study of dance education is a young field," Bashaw says. "Music and visual arts are far ahead of us, in terms of the research that has been done, as well as the foothold they have in education. Anywhere education is being discussed, we want to put dance on the table—and that means developing researchers and championing research that will push public policy." In a climate where arts education feels both more endangered and more necessary than ever, Bashaw is ready to blaze a trail.

Keep reading...
Instagram
Karen Hildebrand (center) with 2019 DT Awardee Marisa Hamamoto and members of Infinite Flow. Photo by Joe Toreno

Every year in our summer issue, we honor four dance educators for their outstanding contributions to the field. Recipients have included studio owners, professors, program directors, K–12 teachers and more, whose specialties run the gamut of dance genres.

We need your help to identify this year's best in the profession. Do you have a colleague or mentor who deserves to be recognized as a leader and role model?

Send your nomination by March 1, 2020. You can e-mail us at danceteachereditors@dancemedia.com with the following details:

Keep reading...
Sponsored by Akada Software
Photo by Jenny Studios, courtesy of Utah Dance Artists

Running a dance school used to involve a seemingly endless stream of paperwork. But thanks to the advent of software tailored specifically for dance studios' needs, those hours formerly spent pushing papers can now be put to better use.

"Nobody opens a dance studio because they want to do administrative work," says Brett Stuckey, who leads Akada Software's support team. "It's our job to get you out of the office and back into your classroom."

We talked to Stuckey about how a studio software program can streamline operations, so you can put your energy toward your students.

Keep reading...

To celebrate Valentine's Day in the most dance-centric way possible, we sat down with five powerhouse dance-teaching couples to talk about their love stories. What do they admire about each other? What are their couple goals and their teaching philosophies, and how do they make their relationships work, especially when they work together? Get ready to swoon!

Keep reading...
For Parents
Photo by Paul B. Goode, courtesy of BAE

Watching through the studio windows—or even from the sidelines in a Mommy and Me class—can surely make parents wonder what exactly our little tykes are getting out of weekly ballet lessons. After all, they're repeating the same things class after class. Are they bored? Are they progressing? Why are they doing that again?

Keep reading...
Site Network
Photo by Nina Lokmadzhieva, courtesy of Varna IBC

The oldest ballet competition in the world doesn't have the funds for the show to go on: The 29th edition of the Varna International Ballet Competition, scheduled for July 12–30, 2020, has been postponed indefinitely.

Keep reading...
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

Q: I have a 15-year-old student who has problems keeping her heel fully on the ground during a demi-plié. How can I help her?

Keep reading...
Site Network
The eight 2020 Prix de Lausanne prize winners. Photo by Rodrigo Buas, courtesy of PdL

The 2020 Prix de Lausanne has officially come to a close after a thrilling week of classes, coaching sessions, competition performances and networking forums. The annual competition, which was live streamed around the world and watched over 1.1 million times, gave 77 dancers an opportunity to perform and take class in front of an international panel of judges. In addition to a classical variation, candidates had to master a contemporary solo by Mauro Bigonzetti, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Cathy Marston, Wayne McGregor, Heinz Spoerli or Richard Wherlock.

Keep reading...
Dance News
Photo by Wendy Turner, courtesy of Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop

This summer, as for the past 42 years, students will flock to Colorado to immerse themselves in jazz dance training and performance. High school and college students, professional artists and teaching artists alike will find opportunities for growth and connection.

The Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop honors tradition while also embracing innovation and change within the jazz dance genre and dance field in general. Before executive/artistic director Lara Branen began the Workshop, she and her co-founder Michael Geiger had studied at separate times with San Francisco jazz teachers Ann Garvin, Linda Heine and Ed Mock. Later Lynn Simonson became their primary inspiration. Each year Branen invites new guest artists to join long-term faculty who devotedly return year after year, including: Wade Madsen (modern dance), Nancy Cranbourne (jazz), Christy McNeil Chand (jazz) and Meghan Lawitz (contemporary). This summer will include lyrical, musical theater rep and a heels class, in addition to the program's regular offerings.

Keep reading...
Site Network
Getty Images

Nope, there's still no Oscar for Best Choreography—but we now get to reveal the winner of our own Dance Spirit award for Best Movie Choreography of 2019! Though we're big fans of all seven of the nominated choreographers, and think each one deserves to be acknowledged for their contributions to some of our favorite films this year, there can only be one winner. And based on your votes, that is...

Keep reading...
Site Network
Photo courtesy of Meier

Pointe shoes are high-maintenance. New pairs are not only expensive, but time consuming. So it's no surprise that many dancers try to extend the lifespan of each shoe. But did you know that dancing on dead shoes can increase your risk for a variety of injuries?

Keep reading...
Dance Teacher Tips
Jill Wolins (center, in pink). Photo courtesy of Wolins

"The best judges come from the competition circuit," says Jill Wolins, who trains adjudicators for the Star Dance Alliance and Starpower National Talent Competition. "If you competed as a kid, you have proper respect for how hard these dancers work. It's not easy to do what they're doing."

Wolins began judging competition events in 2001 in between dancing as a Rockette and performing on Broadway/national tours of The Producers, The Will Rogers Follies, Sweet Charity and Grease. And, yes, she came up on the circuit herself, before earning a BFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Keep reading...

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox