Teachers’ Tools: Up Close With Amanda Pope

Teachers share the philosophies and materials that make them successful in their careers and classes.

Amanda Pope (center in gray) with her students at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy

At Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, Amanda Pope begins class for high school dance majors with a mantra: “I believe in myself. I am the master of my ability. My success depends heavily on my work ethic and self-discipline.” She uses these phrases to focus and inspire students, who come from all five boroughs and every socioeconomic background. “They need a lot of motivation and prompting to realize what they are capable of,” says Pope, who has seen students go on to performing careers or to study dance in college.

Admission to LoMA is by lottery. Many students haven’t danced before, while others take classes at studios or choose to pursue more serious training with Pope after school and on weekends as part of the Chimera Concept hip-hop performance troupe. To manage mixed-level contemporary and hip-hop classes and a high population of students with special needs, Pope enlists the help of her more advanced students. She asks them to lead parts of the warm-up or to work with lower-achieving students in partners on mastering new skills—practicing the fundamentals of a tendu, for example. The advanced dancers thrive in leadership roles, she says, and it lets the lower-level students catch up. “We push each other and support each other. It helps them rise to their highest level.” DT

Teaching attire: T-shirt or tank top and a jacket or sweatshirt with leggings or sweats (Body Wrappers shown). “I am a sneaker head so I always have sneakers (Pastry shown) to match my clothing. They are stylish, and they provide support and shock absorption.”

 

 

 

 

To excite students: Step Up, Fame. “Students relate to these movies, and the dance sequences can be deconstructed into several lesson ideas.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To expand her knowledge: The Art of Dance in Education, by Jacqueline M. Smith-Autard. “It helped me develop my teaching philosophy and dance curriculum.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To unwind: “I have chamomile tea and take a hot shower.” She uses Dr. Teal’s Relax & Relief Ultra Moisturizing Body Wash with Epsom salt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In her free time: “I love the beach, amusement parks and shopping for sneakers and trendy dance gear.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from top: by James Alonzo White, courtesy of Amanda Pope; courtesy of manufacturer, ©Thinkstock

Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.