Joshua Trader Makes Waves at Santa Rosa Dance Theater

"That's the goal," says Trader. "Take a tendu and make a statement with it." Photo by Diana Dumbadse, courtesy of Santa Rosa Dance Theater

For advanced ballet students at Santa Rosa Dance Theater, Joshua Trader's class is a lesson in patience and persistence. “Ballet isn't going to come overnight. You have to be willing to put in the time," says Trader, who danced with Eugene Ballet and then Tulsa Ballet for eight years before transitioning into teaching full-time at the California-based school. To help his students build strength and develop muscle memory, he emphasizes repetition—using the same series of exercises for four to six classes before he shifts gears. “I always tell them to tattoo it into their bones so it never leaves," he says.

A simple tendu to the back is one foundational movement that he constantly refers to. “It's so hard! If you can do a tendu to the back correctly—without having your hip bones pop up and keeping your rib cage together—then that leads to a correct first arabesque," he says. “If your first arabesque isn't correct, you're lost, so we work on tendu back for six to eight months or two years, if we have to."

Although he prioritizes technique, Trader does encourage his dancers to be conscious of their artistry. “We work on the same lesson plan for three weeks, so by the time we get to the fourth or fifth repetition, they can really start playing with it," he says. “I'll ask them, 'What are you going to say with this simple four phrases of eight?' Because that's the goal. Take a tendu and make a statement with it."

Rachel Neville, courtesy DTH

A new three-summer collaboration between Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Dance Theatre of Harlem will contribute to conversations on race, activism and equity in the arts, while also exploring creative projects and learning opportunities.

Kicking off the partnership in June, DTH focused on the development of The Hazel Scott Project, a new work by choreographer Tiffany Rea-Fisher. Scott was a Black piano virtuoso and Hollywood trailblazer who risked her life and career through outspoken civil rights activism. In the spirit of her example, Monica White Ndounou, associate professor of theater, and John Heginbotham, director of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble, co-taught a summer theater course that challenged students to create dance as a tool for social change.

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Courtesy A Wish Come True

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If we want our costumes to be of the same high quality as our dancing—and for our costume-buying process to be as seamless as possible—it helps to take the time to learn a bit more about those costumes and the companies making them.

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Courtesy Jill Randall

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