Studio Owners
Pavan Thiammaiah is fighting to keep open PMT House of Dance. Photo by Vita Bum Photography, Courtesy PMT

With the pandemic raging on, dance studios have had to get creative to stay open. Some are hosting virtual classes, others are setting up outdoor workshops, many are offering a hybrid of online and in-person classes.

But their efforts to save their businesses hinge on their local dance communities. Without support from their students, many might be forced to close their doors permanently—and several already have. What can dancers do to help their studios?

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News
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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors

The current pandemic has studio owners everywhere rethinking business as usual. One dirty little secret that's been exposed? Before COVID-19, many of us weren't giving our floors nearly enough attention. As Derryl Yeager, founder and artistic director of Odyssey Dance Theatre in Draper, UT, says, "A lot of times, the floor wouldn't be deep-cleaned more than once a month—and dance floors can get pretty gross!"

This new era is a perfect opportunity to start taking better care of your studio flooring—which, in turn, will help ensure a healthy, supportive surface for your dancers and teachers. We turned to two studio owners and Harlequin Floors, the global leader in advanced technology dance flooring, for advice on keeping your dance studio floors in top shape this season.

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Sponsored by CLI Studios

In the "new normal" of dance training shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has become clear: Having a solid plan for virtual dance instruction is crucial to helping studios stay afloat. Luckily, CLI Studios has been leading the online dance education scene since 2014. And with its Studio Partnership Program, CLI has helped studios nationwide fill in the gaps in their student learning experience, often becoming a lifeline for them during the pandemic.

CLI's Studio Partnership Program, a membership-based online platform, works directly with local studio owners to keep students engaged, teachers inspired, and studios profitable, no matter what pandemic-related restrictions they may be facing. With over 800 recorded dance classes in a range of styles, continuing-education resources for teachers, and live-streaming events for students, the program includes everything dance teachers and studio owners need to create a thriving online curriculum, which opens up time and resources for those same teachers to focus on in-person training.

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Health & Body
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From oversized mouse heads in The Nutcracker to Jabbawockeez masks, most dancers have experience performing with restrictive costumes or headpieces. But as we transition from taking class at home during the COVID-19 pandemic to sharing a studio with others, masks aren't just a costume accessory: They're a necessary health tool.

While masks are not a replacement for other COVID-19 prevention measures that we've been following for months, such as social distancing and practicing hand hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear face masks or cloth face coverings in any public setting or instance where it's difficult to maintain at least six feet of social distance—and that includes the dance studio.

We spoke with medical experts and dancewear manufacturers about what to look for in a protective mask for dance.

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Health & Body
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There's a new must-have accessory for the dancers who've begun to venture back into the studio. Face masks are essential to protecting both teachers and dancers (not to mention their families) from coronavirus. But they definitely make dancing more complicated.

How can you prepare for—and adjust to—the new masked normal? Here's practical advice from Dr. Steven Karageanes, a primary care sports medicine specialist who's worked with the Rockettes and "So You Think You Can Dance," and Anna Dreslinski Cooke, a Chicago-based professional dancer who has experience dancing in cloth masks, disposable masks, N95 masks, and face shields.

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News
Ananya Chatterjea (here in Mohona: Estuaries of Desire) will be leading one of the conference's movement classes. Photo by Paul Virtucio, courtesy of Ananya Dance Theatre

Dance/USA's annual conference is going all digital this year. And while you may have already developed a case of Zoom fatigue weeks ago, this is one online opportunity we're truly excited about.

Because artists can join from anywhere and attendance is pay-what-you-can, the June 17–19 Dance/USA Virtual Conference has the potential to reach far more people at a time when open conversation and resource sharing are imperative for our field.

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Studio Owners
Marlana Doyle entered build-out stage for her new business just before COVID closures. Photo by Ben Doyle, courtesy of ICD

When Houston's beloved METdance lost its lease in 2019, artistic director Marlana Doyle struck out on her own to open the Institute of Contemporary Dance Houston. With a new building, school and performing company, Doyle had carefully set the stage for an April 2020 grand opening.

"I wanted to create a space for everyone, from professionals to those trying dance for the first time—a real home for the arts," says Doyle.

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