Speed-dating for Hopeful Dance Majors

A movement class from 2014's Dancing Through College and Beyond

No one argues that choosing a college is a big decision—one not to be taken lightly. For dancers hoping to continue studying dance after high school, it is, in some ways, an even bigger decision. High school dancers aren’t just deciding what sports teams they want to cheer on, or which campus has the best cafeteria. They’re deciding who will shape the future of their careers as professional dancers.

If you’re in the tristate area, consider letting your students know about Dancewave’s Dancing through College and Beyond event at the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Center this Sunday. It’s a chance for high-schoolers to attend a massive college dance fair—more than 40 dance programs from all over the country will be represented. You’ll get to sit in on panel discussions, hear great advice about the audition and application processes and financial aid and see students from dance programs perform. Seniors in high school will even get the chance to audition for college dance programs.

It’s a free, all-day affair with special guests Jody Gottfried Arnhold of the 92nd Street Y Dance Education Laboratory, Lauren Gordon from Career Transition for Dancers and choreographer/New York University’s dance chair Seán Curran. Register here, and be on the lookout while you’re there for our all-inclusive 2015–16 College Guide at a special discounted price.

Both photos courtesy of Dancewave

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

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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Music
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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