Pina Bausch's Final Piece

Pina Bausch, who passed away last month at age 68, was known for her reticence with the press. She did however give Dance Teacher a rare interview for the June 2008 issue:

DT: You’ve said that choreographing can be a torturous, frustrating process, with real highs and lows. Why do you do it?

PB: Because I would like to express what I really feel, what I know, but that has nothing to do with words. And, of course, it’s very hard, because you have nothing to hold on to, and everything you have done is done, so you have to always go further, or another way. On the way, you feel like you didn’t reach what you would like to, and you kind of fight for it, so it’s a very heavy process. We have a lot of fun, but you really go through everything. It’s a hard thing, and many times I’ve thought, “That will be the last piece,” but as soon as we première it, I’m already thinking about the other ones. So it brings me forward all the time, and the wish to do it is much stronger than the wish to stop.

 It's hard to believe that her most recent work, Bamboo Blues, shown last fall at BAM, is indeed her last piece. 

 Check out this great footage of her work at DanceMedia.com. And here she is accepting her Dance Magazine Award.

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
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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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