Dance Teacher Tips
Schermoly with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo by Jeremy Brick

Despite her traditional ballet training in South Africa, Andrea Giselle Schermoly has always had a wide range of music tastes and sensibilities. "There's always been this other drumbeat in my heart," says Schermoly, who's a three-time Outstanding Choreographer winner at the Youth America Grand Prix. That "other drumbeat" has become an integral layer to her creative process.

Following a series of career-ending injuries while dancing with Nederlands Dans Theater, Schermoly found a new stride choreographing competitive ballet pieces for students at the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Los Angeles. Since then, she's been commissioned by ballet companies all over the world, exploring all styles of music for her work. "My pieces for New York City Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet were primarily classical," she says, "but I used Jefferson Airplane and a very quirky rock opera for Santa Barbara Dance Theater and a Bob Dylan piece for BalletMet."

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Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Kyle Froman

To a certain subset of the New York City dance community, Gail Accardi is known as the Body Whisperer. For her part, Accardi calls her work "creative physical problem solving." Whether she's leading her Anatomy Awareness class for dancers, substitute-teaching Simonson Technique, or working with a private client one-on-one, Accardi has a clear vision: "I want people to gain insight into and learn to celebrate their individual structures," she says. "When I was young, a teacher referred to my weak arches as a horrible defect! I never want a student to experience that. When it comes to anatomical variations, this is who you are, so let's figure out how to work with it."

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Dance News

This week, September 9-15, 2018, is a time to show extra support for dance education.

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Dance News

Last night Jennifer Lopez "danced the night away" at the MTV Video Music Awards, and though no words can truly do justice to her jaw-dropping performance, we have to try. The dance legend began her 10-minute mash-up of best hits descending from the heavens, like the dance goddess she is—and somehow things only got better from there. The 49-year-old pulled out some of the fiercest moves we've ever seen, proving why she's such an icon in the industry.

After the performance, Lopez graciously accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, becoming the first Latina artist to receive the title. "Music, acting, performing—this career has always been an obsession for me... I kind of had to forge my own path and rules," Lopez said. And then she paid the ultimate compliment to her mother Guadalupe Rodríguez, calling her "the original dancing queen. Anybody who knows Lupe knows that's where I get my skills from," she told the crowd.

The only way MTV will ever be able to outdo this performance is if they get J. Lo and her mom up on that stage next year for a duet. Till then, we'll just be over here replaying this epic routine.

Photo of dancer Amanda Krische

Choreographer Loni Landon is no stranger to the enticing power of social media. Instagram, for example, makes it very easy for Landon to connect with other artists. "I feel torn about it," says Landon. "On one hand, I think it can be used in a really positive way. I have received so many jobs through connecting with people on social media. But I do think sometimes people are on it for the wrong reasons and it becomes a popularity contest."

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Viral Videos

This month's winner tells the story of immigrants traveling to America who experience tragedy before reaching the shore. Michael Susten, New York City–based choreographer and teacher, was initially inspired by the song "This is Not the End," by Clare Maguire. "Her voice really painted a picture in my head," says Susten. "I could hear the heartbreak." Instead of sharing the story he envisioned with the 12 young dancers at Prestige Academy of Dance, he first focused on teaching them the choreography.

After a long day of getting the steps down, he then asked the dancers to create a character for their role in the piece. He wanted the team to explore how each individual perspective contributed to the narrative as a whole. "I think it helps keep the performance honest and new every time, instead of feeling too robotic and over-rehearsed," says Susten.

Photo Matthew Henry via Burst

Your feet may not be the envy of your studio, but having inflexible feet and ankles isn't all bad. Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee walks us through the pros and cons.

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Dance Teachers Trending
grimes (far right), with students at the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Photo by Rose Eichenbaum

Ask anyone at the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance how they feel about assistant professor of practice, d. Sabela grimes, and they automatically begin to sing his praises. Not only is he one of the department's most beloved and dynamic educators, he is among the most respected and innovative facilitators of dance today. He teaches the foundational elements of black Afro-diasporic vernacular street-dance practices—aka hip hop. But what makes his instruction unique is that his class is not based on any one hip-hop style. It's not popping or locking, waacking or breaking. And yet, it's all of these and much, much, much more, as Rose Eichenbaum wrote about in DT's August cover feature.

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