Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday

Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday

By Jordan Matter

Workman Publishing, 2012

231 pages

One thing dancers love more than watching dance is watching dancers do ordinary things—in a dancerly fashion, of course. Which is exactly what you get in the portraits of Jordan Matter’s photography book, Dancers Among Us, the perfect gift for fellow dance teachers, office staff and accompanists this holiday season. There are more than 170 images: From a dancer in muddy pointe shoes at a Chicago construction site to a suited “So You Think You Can Dance” finalist soaring in front of the New York Stock Exchange, they show a broad range of dancers in everyday locations across North America.

The concept took shape when Matter asked former Paul Taylor dancer Jeffrey Smith to leap across a Times Square subway platform in Manhattan amid the daily rush of travelers. As Smith hangs in the air, onlookers stare in awe (or confusion), which marks the theme of the collection—the dancers are among us. Many images show pedestrians surprised by the dancers, and some even participate in the shots. To set the mood of each chapter, Matter includes heartwarming anecdotes from his own life experiences as a husband, father and son. There are also behind-the-scenes stories for many of the images, thankfully, since many of the scenes leave the reader thinking, “How’d they do that?”

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.

Keep reading... Show less
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, 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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.