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In past issues, we've touched on what it takes to teach particular populations of dancers, from children with autism to Parkinson's patients. But recently, we've been hearing more about the benefits of training dancers with disabilities in the same classroom as traditional students. So when AXIS Dance Company gathered interested parties to discuss access and visibility for dancers with disabilities at Gibney Studios in New York, Dance Teacher writer Lea Marshall was there. Read her thoughtful report, “Doing the Same Thing Differently." There are some remarkable stories of inspiration and transformation through physically integrated dance. Jenny Ouellette brings us one of these in “Teaching from a Wheelchair."

And for another but completely different kind of physical integration, Rachel Rizzuto talked with Joanna Mendl Shaw about pairing dancers with horses (“Horse Sense"). Shaw's story is captivating—especially what she's learned from equines that can help dancers in the studio.

In the realm of college dance, we were excited to learn about the work of Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is sharing her embodied knowledge of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company repertory with students there. Joseph Carman reports on the impact of this four-year project.

How many of your students will leave you for college at the end of this year? As their dance teacher, you can be a trusted advisor about the various options. Because we know it's not easy to stay up-to-date, this issue includes the Dance Teacher “Higher Ed Guide," one of our most popular resources. Use it as a quick state-by-state look at 149 popular dance-degree programs. When you need to drill down to the finer points, we recommend the Dance Magazine College Guide. Updated every year, there is no directory like it. Order your copy at dancemagazine.com/collegeguide.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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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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