Offsetting Cancer’s Stress with Dance Scholarships

Cancer impacts the lives of the sufferer’s entire family. If a parent faces frequent treatments, appointments and hospital stays, there isn’t much money leftover for children’s extracurriculars—like dance class. One studio in Salt Lake City strives to make it a little easier for families battling cancer to keep kids dancing.

At Artistic Endeavors Dance, owner Kim Luke offers free lifetime tuition to dancers who have a family member with cancer. That way, dancers or those interested in starting classes can train without further straining their family’s finances. Luke has awarded nine scholarships so far and even provided some students’ ballet and tap shoes.

Having lost her own father to cancer shortly after opening her studio, Luke told The Salt Lake Tribune the scholarships are in his memory. "My dad gave me $1,000 to start this business," she said. "He died a year later and never got to see that I have 300 students."

Photo courtesy of Artistic Endeavors

Teacher Voices

There were plenty of reasons why we were happy to bid 2020 a not-so-fond farewell, but for tap dancers, the end of such a difficult year was the final curtain on a decade in which the art form experienced remarkable growth.

Over the past 10 years, The School at Jacob's Pillow launched its first-ever tap programs; companies such as Dorrance Dance and Caleb Teicher & Company emerged and produced award-winning work; Operation Tap became an important voice in online tap education; the American Tap Dance Foundation established its new home in Greenwich Village; The Kennedy Center presented its first full-length tap concert; and so much more.

As the new year sees tap dance trying to maintain this positive momentum despite the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic, we invited several of the field's living legends to meet on Zoom and discuss how they perceive the current state of tap dance and tap education.

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Teacher Voices
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In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

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Health & Body
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Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

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