Recommended: 4 Editor's Picks

Ballerina Gets Ready

By Allegra Kent; illustrated by Catherine Stock

Holiday House; 32 pages; $16.95

In this new children's book by former New York City Ballet principal Allegra Kent, beautiful watercolor illustrations take readers step by step through the day of a professional ballerina—from her first stretch in the morning to the moment the lights go down and the curtain goes up.

Ballet Barre Etudes: 125 Lesson Plans to Inspire Dance Teachers

By Connie Bellinghausen

Mira Digital Publishing; 258 pages; $31.95

For ballet teachers stuck in a choreographic rut, Connie Bellinghausen has provided ample material to get your gears turning. Ballet Barre Etudes is a compilation of 125 barre sequences, including combinations for plié, tendu, dégagé, frappé, rond de jambe, grand battement, allégro and many more.

Beginning Musical Theatre Dance

By Diana Dart Harris

Human Kinetics;

128 pages; $39

In this introductory guide, students will learn about basic musical theater dance techniques, history, auditioning, classroom conduct and what they will encounter in the theater. The book comes with a web resource featuring video clips, a glossary of terms, prompts for journaling and links for additional study.

Girl Through Glass

By Sari Wilson

Harper Collins Publishers; 304 pages; $25.99

Author Sari Wilson draws from her dancing days at Harkness Ballet and Eliot Feld's New Ballet School (now Ballet Tech) in this new novel with two interwoven plotlines. An aspiring New York City Ballet dancer in the 1970s wins the approval of George Balanchine, while in the present day a dance professor is forced to confront her past.

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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