Summer Study

Seems impossible to imagine summer from within frigid January, but it is indeed time to begin making plans—whether competition nationals, teacher training or preparing for your own in-house summer program. The 2012 Dance Teacher Summer Study Guide (page 60) is full of options for teachers as well as students. Whether you’re helping your advanced dancers find the right intensive, or looking for the best continuing ed opportunity for yourself, you’ll find everything you need. And to be sure you’re making the most of summertime in your own studio, DT spoke to three studio directors (“Business,” page 56) about how you can bolster your recreational programs—and your bottom line.

When DT visited the San Francisco Ballet School last October, I wondered if all the greenery visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows you see on the cover could be a little distracting for students. But not to worry. During Tina LeBlanc’s Level 8 ballet class, the concentration of the dancers was palpable. A small thing like bright sunlight didn’t stand a chance next to the force field generated by their teacher.

LeBlanc is a sunny, smiling presence, but make no mistake: She’s all focus and intention. Last summer she not only taught in a summer study program but also attended Marcia Dale Weary’s teacher training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet to sharpen her own skills. To learn why, turn to Mary Ellen Hunt’s profile, “When One Size Does Not Fit All” (page 24).

One of the most popular and talked about sessions of the Dance Teacher Summit last July was an appearance by the legendary jazz teacher Luigi. This month in “Technique” (page 33), Francis Roach demonstrates a basic Luigi jazz lesson that can strengthen your students’ technique, regardless of genre.

Are you a smoker? You undoubtedly understand the health risk you’re taking, but have you considered that you might unintentionally be sending your students the wrong message? In “Trashing the Ash” (page 42), we discredit the reasons dancers take up the habit and tell how you can support them in quitting.

There’s a great deal more in our pages this month to inspire you, as you turn the calendar page to a new and, we hope, brilliant year.

Happy New Year,

Karen Hildebrand

editor in chief

Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

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All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

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Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

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