Dance Teacher Awards

Who knew that a virtual awards ceremony could bring our community together in such a powerful way?

Last night, we celebrated the annual Dance Teacher Awards, held virtually for the first time. Though it was different from what we're used to, this new setting inspired us to get creative in celebrating our six extraordinary honorees. In fact, one of the most enlivening parts of the event was one that could only happen in a Zoom room: Watching as countless tributes, stories and congratulations poured in on the chat throughout the event. Seeing firsthand the impact our awardees have had on so many lives reminded us why we chose to honor them.

If you missed the Awards (or just want to relive them), you're in luck—they are now available to watch on-demand. We rounded up some of the highlights:

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Dance Teacher Awards
Tiffany Yoon, courtesy The Rock School

Missed the 2020 Dance Teacher Awards? Watch them on-demand here.

As directors of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Bo and Stephanie Spassoff run not just a ballet academy but an all-encompassing campus that includes dorms and an academic program. The married couple, who often teach together and share two children, have trained an impressive list of alumni. Michaela DePrince, Beckanne Sisk, Isaac and Esteban Hernandez, Christine Shevchenko, Taylor Stanley and Derek Dunn all attended The Rock School, which also has a large number of international students. Their students have regularly competed in the New York Finals of Youth America Grand Prix, and The Rock has been named Outstanding School in the YAGP Philadelphia semifinal for 14 years in a row.

But beyond these accolades, at the heart of their training is compassion. "Bo and Stephanie have a very warm and caring energy," says Dunn, now a principal dancer at Boston Ballet. "They push students to do their best, but they use positive reinforcement and crack jokes to break the tension. It takes the fear of failing away and gives students a chance to try new things and push past their comfort zones."

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To Share With Students

It's summer intensive season, people! Dancers go away to train for weeks at a time and come home having grown by leaps and bounds from all of the endless hours of focused attention with some of the nation's top talent.

Wanting to stay abreast of all of the fabulous summer programs going on this summer? Instagram is the way to do it! We've compiled a list of summer program handles for your perusal. It's certainly not comprehensive, but it's a start!

Enjoy your social-media deep-dive, ladies and gentlemen!

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