Role Models

Ailey II dancers Lloyd A. Boyd III, Jacob Lewis, Terri Ayanna Wright and Deidre Rogan get a selfie with Robert Battle at our cover shoot.

There were many things we could have discussed with Robert Battle, whom we honor this month with the Dance Teacher Lifetime Achievement Award. For instance, there is the charming tale about the boy who wore leg braces and grew up to lead Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. (There's a children's book out about this: My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle's Journey to Alvin Ailey by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome, with foreword by Robert Battle.) There is also his artistic vision, both in terms of the AAADT rep and his own choreography. (The New York Times and Dance Magazine both have plenty to say about that.) But when Battle started telling anecdotes about his formative teachers, he confirmed our selection of him in a particularly gratifying way.

I know you're going to enjoy what he has to say about Carolyn Adams, Gerri Houlihan and Kazuko Hirabayashi, as well as the teaching profession at large: “There's something to me about teaching that is beyond noble," he told me in our phone interview. “It is, I think, the lifeblood of society. Anybody I admire will always talk about a teacher in their lives in some way: Alvin Ailey, Lester Horton and on and on. So this is a very personal thing, this honor, because of that." And the headline of our cover feature, “Rainbow After the Rain," comes directly from something Battle says in the story.

We're also proud to announce the four educators who will receive the Dance Teacher Awards at our New York Dance Teacher Summit at the end of this month. Read the compelling stories of Joanne Chapman, Kathleen Isaac, Claudio Muñoz and Pamela VanGilder.

In this issue you'll also find the new and updated “Dance Annual Directory," with contact information for the products and services you'll need during the coming year. You can keep it handy in print or refer to it online at DanceMedia.com.

Photo by Jim Lafferty

Don't miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less
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.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.