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Forsythe has taught Horton at AAADT since 1973 and continues to mine the technique daily for its legendary specificity and discipline. Photo by Nicole Tintle, courtesy of The Ailey School

Ana Marie Forsythe's eyes twinkle, and a smile plays at the corners of her mouth as she welcomes the 40-plus teachers who are enrolled for her two-week-long Horton teacher-training workshop at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater studios in New York City—plus me, a dancer and writer, taking part for the day. As we watch Genius on the Wrong Coast, a film about Lester Horton, the "princess of Horton" (as someone aptly refers to Forsythe) offers her own version of a director's commentary: She identifies faces as they appear onscreen and interjects her own narration ("Fortification 15—that's the one I hated so much," she says).

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Karen Acreneaux teaching first-year student in the Ailey professional division, Whitney Janis. Photo by Kyle Froman

The lateral T is a hallmark of Horton technique. When executed correctly, the body resembles the letter T: The torso tilts to 90 degrees, and the opposite leg extends for counterbalance.

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Dance Teachers Trending
Markus teaching at The 92nd Street Y's Harkness Dance Center. Photo courtesy of The Ailey School

In Andrea Markus' West African class at The Ailey School in New York City, listening is just as important as moving. “My goal is to get them to really listen for what makes each rhythm distinct," she says. As her 7- to 8-year-old students sing, hear the drummer and then dance the steps, they become familiar with two to three djembe rhythms each year. “If you break it down and repeat it every week, the things they can do by the end of the year are impressive," Markus says.

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