Recommended: 4 Editor's Picks

Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955–1972

•By Ninotchka Bennahum, Wendy Perron and Bruce Robertson

•University of California Press; 192 pages; $55

Anna Halprin's California-based dance deck was a haven for many New York choreographers in the 1960s. Radical Bodies celebrates Halprin's works and those of Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer. The fully illustrated catalog of photos, scores and drawings is accompanied by essays that delve into the choreographers' controversial work, which challenged what audiences accepted as dance.

Dance and Politics: Moving Beyond Boundaries

•By Dana Mills

•Manchester University Press; 144 pages; $25.95

In her first book, Dana Mills, a visiting scholar at Bard College, covers the history of how dance has been used to make statements. She connects the revolutionary dances of Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham, the Gumboot dancers in South Africa, the One Billion Rising movement to end violence against women and protest dances in Israel.

Taking the Lead: Memoir of a Dancing Life

•By Pierre Dulaine

•Dancing Without Borders Press; 240 pages; $25

In 1994, ballroom world champion Pierre Dulaine created Dancing Classrooms, a program that helps children build confidence, self-esteem and social skills through dance. It later became the subject of the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom. In his new memoir, Dulaine shares his journey from a turbulent childhood in the Middle East to becoming an acclaimed ballroom dancer and teacher.

The Magic Box: The Films of Shirley Clarke. 1929–1987. Project Shirley: Volume 4. Three Disc Deluxe Set

•Milestone Films, 2016; eight hours; $71.96 (DVD)

Best known for experimental films and an Academy Award–winning documentary on Robert Frost, American filmmaker Shirley Clarke was a dancer first, studying with Martha Graham and Hanya Holm in the 1930s. Clarke created a substantial collection of short dance films, which viewers can enjoy in The Magic Box.

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Music
Mary Malleney, courtesy Osato

In most classes, dancers are encouraged to count the music, and dance with it—emphasizing accents and letting the rhythm of a song guide them.

But Marissa Osato likes to give her students an unexpected challenge: to resist hitting the beats.

In her contemporary class at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles (which is now closed, until they find a new space), she would often play heavy trap music. She'd encourage her students to find the contrast by moving in slow, fluid, circular patterns, daring them to explore the unobvious interpretation of the steady rhythms.

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For Parents

Darrell Grand Moultrie teaches at a past Jacob's Pillow summer intensive. Photo Christopher Duggan, courtesy Jacob's Pillow

In the past 10 months, we've grown accustomed to helping our dancers navigate virtual school, classes and performances. And while brighter, more in-person days may be around the corner—or at least on the horizon—parents may be facing yet another hurdle to help our dancers through: virtual summer-intensive auditions.

In 2020, we learned that there are some unique advantages of virtual summer programs: the lack of travel (and therefore the reduced cost) and the increased access to classes led by top artists and teachers among them. And while summer 2021 may end up looking more familiar with in-person intensives, audition season will likely remain remote and over Zoom.

Of course, summer 2021 may not be back to in-person, and that uncertainty can be a hard pill to swallow. Here, Kate Linsley, a mom and academy principal of Nashville Ballet, as well as "J.R." Glover, The Dan & Carole Burack Director of The School at Jacob's Pillow, share their advice for this complicated process.

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Teachers Trending

From left: Anthony Crickmay, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem Archives; Courtesy Ballethnic

It is the urgency of going in a week or two before opening night that Lydia Abarca Mitchell loves most about coaching. But in her role as Ballethnic Dance Company's rehearsal director, she's not just getting the troupe ready for the stage. Abarca Mitchell—no relation to Arthur Mitchell—was Mitchell's first prima ballerina when he founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with Karel Shook; through her coaching, Abarca Mitchell works to pass her mentor's legacy to the next generation.

"She has the same sensibility" as Arthur Mitchell, says Ballethnic co-artistic director Nena Gilreath. "She's very direct, all about the mission and the excellence, but very caring."

Ballethnic is based in East Point, a suburban city bordering Atlanta. In a metropolitan area with a history of racism and where funding is hard-won, it is crucial for the Black-led ballet company to present polished, professional productions. "Ms. Lydia" provides the "hard last eye" before the curtain opens in front of an audience.

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