Performance Planner: 12 Months of Fun

Don't wait until recital season to have studio get-togethers. Spice up your studio's activities calendar to keep teachers, students and parents involved and excited throughout the entire year. Here are a few neat ideas:

  • Before the first week of fall classes, hold a low-stress, potluck back-to-school bash. Invite everyone to a local park, the studio or a backyard for a ballet barbeque. New families can meet returning dancers and parents can plan carpools. It's a great time to share plans for the upcoming year, like recital dates or locations and any studio updates.

 

  • Springtime means cleaning! Hold a studio-sponsored flea market or yard sale in the parking lot for parents to get rid of their gently used treasures. During the event, distribute flyers about your school, information about upcoming performances and sell tickets. 

 

  • For your students: Teach all combinations backward on April Fool's Day! Start everything to the left, and give brain-teasing combinations to students. Here's one petit allegro combo—it's easy to say but tricky to do: Brisé, assemblé, entrechat cinq, assemblé.


For 25 more fun events to fill your calendar, check out “Lesson Plans for Every Month,” by Katia Bachko.

Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy TUPAC

When legendary Black ballet dancer Kabby Mitchell III died unexpectedly in 2017, two months before opening his Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, his friend and business partner Klair Ethridge wasn't sure she had what it took to carry his legacy. Ethridge had been working with Mitchell to co-found TUPAC and planned to serve as its executive director, but she had never envisioned being the face of the school.

Now, Ethridge is heading into her fourth year of leading TUPAC, which she has grown from a fledgling program in an unheated building to a serious ballet school in its own sprung-floor studios, reaching hundreds of students across the Tacoma, Washington, area. The nonprofit has become a case study for what it looks like to carry out the vision of a founder who never had the chance to see his school open—and to take an unapologetically mission-driven approach.

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