Teacher Voices
The author teaching at home. Photo courtesy of Rosner

I think it is important to address the elephant in the room.

In less than one week, the dance community was on board with teaching online, as if it was something they always did—as if it was normal.

But have we taken a moment to consider how it is affecting our students—and ourselves?

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News
Photo by Benjamin Crain, courtesy of Alysa Anderson

The dance faculty and students of University of Arkansas at Little Rock thought that the closure of their school for the remainder of the semester due to coronavirus was the biggest of their problems.

Though the university had begun a retrenchment process in January, the dance program had widespread support among university stakeholders—and no one thought the school would eliminate the only dance major in the state of Arkansas.

So the news in early May that the university's chancellor Christy Drale had recommended the dance program be completely cut came as a shock to faculty members and students alike, who had braced themselves for reductions but not elimination.

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Q: Balancing school and competitive dance can be very challenging for dancers, especially in high school. How can I help my dancers manage their stress?
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Bill Arnold, Courtesy Arnold

Co-creator of Contact Improvisation, improviser extraordinaire, and founder and co-editor of Contact Quarterly, Nancy Stark Smith passed away on May 1. A force as a dancer and an educator, she created a network of love for improvisation on a global scale. She died in her home in Florence, MA, of ovarian cancer. Messages from all over the world registered shock, sadness and poetic memories on social media.

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Cosentino and her students pose for a photo after a performance in New York City. Photo by Kyla Dodd, courtesy of Cosentino
Joelle Cosentino is on a mission to shake up dance education with an alternative model for pre-professional training. Because she turned her competition dance background into a star-studded career (she's worked with Beyoncé, Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz), you might think her teaching goals would include a quest for rhinestones and first-place trophies. But by the time she became a teacher, Cosentino had become disillusioned with competition dance. "It had become so expensive," she says. "Parents were getting sucked into endless routines and unreasonable hours." She believed there was a better way, and to that end she created Z Artists Group—a New York City–based collective for pre-professional training with an emphasis on performance and advocacy.
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