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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Teacher Voices
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I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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