Dance Teacher Tips
Molly Heller's Very Vary. Photo by Duhaime Movement Project, courtesy of Heller

University of Utah professor Molly Heller choreographs works that demand 100 percent commitment from her dancers. Her most recent piece Very Vary saw her cast of six speak, scream, laugh, cry and make a range of radical facial expressions in movement that was technically challenging, dynamic and highly expressive.

Getting that level of commitment from your dancers isn't easy, especially when it comes to facial expressions and vocalization. Heller shares six ways that she brings out excellent performance quality in her dancers. Try them with your students.

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Bearden teaching company class at Ballet Arkansas. Photo by Chris Cranford, courtesy of Ballet Arkansas

"I was asked many times by other artistic directors, from Devon Carney to Peter Boal, 'Wait a minute, you don't live there? How is this working?'" says Michael Bearden about directing Ballet Arkansas in Little Rock. For the past four years, he has lived a double life—one part artistic director of the up-and-coming regional ballet company and the other part a tenure-track professor at University of Utah in Salt Lake City, commuting more than 1,400 miles between the two locations every six weeks. He started teaching at University of Utah before he had even completed his bachelor's degree. "I was never one to shy away from a challenge," he says.

With masterful multitasking ability, goal-oriented nature and irrefutable charisma, Bearden has proven himself invaluable. Now, following his remarkable juggling act in Utah and Arkansas, at 37, he has landed the coveted position of director of the School of Dance at University of Oklahoma.

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