Please Release Me

Healthy knees benefit from well-toned supporting muscles. A tight iliotibial (IT) band or quadriceps will pull excessively on the knee, says Houston-based physical therapist and former dancer Jennifer Romanek. Here are two foam-roller exercises she recommends to release tight muscles:

IT Band Roll
1. Flip over onto your side and place the foam roller underneath the outside of your thigh (iliotibial band). Keep the bottom leg straight, bend your top leg with the foot flat on the floor and support the upper body with your hands. Keep abdominal muscles engaged for back support.
2. Slowly roll up and down your IT band, from your knee to your hip.
3. Roll your body forward and back to get all sides of the IT band.

Quad Roll
1. Face the floor and place the roller underneath the front of your thighs; support the upper body with your forearms. Pull in your abdominal muscles, while keeping the back straight and supported.
2. Roll up and down the front of your thighs, or quadriceps, going all the way down to your knee and up to the hips.
3. Repeat with legs straight, legs turned out and then with legs turned in.
(Tip: For best results, complete both exercises three times a day. But remember to stay on the soft muscle during each exercise; do not roll over bones, including the kneecap, and go very slowly to iron out muscle and fascia.)

Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

With so much else on your plate, from navigating virtual learning to keeping your studio afloat, it can be tempting to to cut corners or to settle for less in order to check "costumes" off of this season's to-do list. Ultimately, though, finding a costume vendor you trust is paramount to keeping your stress levels low and parent satisfaction high, not to mention helping your students look—and feel—their absolute best. Remember: You are the client, and you deserve exceptional service. And costume companies like A Wish Come True are ready to go above and beyond for their customers, but it's important that you know what to ask for. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your costume company.

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Higher Ed
Charles Anderson (center) in his (Re)current Unrest. Photo by Kegan Marling, courtesy of UT Austin

Given the long history of American choreographers who have threaded activism into their work—Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Joanna Haigood, Bill T. Jones, Jo Kreiter, to name a few—it's perhaps surprising that collegiate dance has offered so little in the way of training future generations to do the same.

Until now, that is. Within the last three years, two master's programs have cropped up, each the first of its kind: Ohio University's MA in community dance (new this fall), and the University of Texas at Austin's dance and social justice MFA, which emerged from its existing MFA program in 2018. These two programs join the University of San Francisco's undergraduate performing arts and social justice major, with a concentration in dance, which has been around since 2000.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

As many dance teachers begin another semester of virtual teaching, it is time to acknowledge the fact that virtual classes aren't actually accessible to all students.

When schools and studios launched their virtual dance programs at the beginning of the pandemic, many operated under the assumption that all their students would be able to take class online. But in reality, lack of access to technology and Wi-Fi is a major issue for many low-income students across the country, in many cases cutting them off from the classes and resources their peers can enjoy from home.

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