Courtesy Turnage

As COVID-19 persists, dance teachers everywhere are adapting their classes for online platforms. One such teacher, Birmingham, Alabama-based Melissa Turnage, is finding it especially vital. "I have been banned from the hospital for the last six weeks," she says. "If there is a need, you just have to figure it out."

Turnage is a dance artist in residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital and a dance/movement specialist at Children's Hospital of Alabama and St. Vincent's Birmingham. Though she's not a dance therapist, her dance classes for patients have shown therapeutic benefits. "They sleep better. Their mood is better. Physically they feel better," she says.

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"So You Think You Can Dance" Season 16 hopefuls at the Academy

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is still very much part of our reality. What does that mean for two of the most highly-anticipated dance events of the year: the 17th season of summer-TV staple "So You Think You Can Dance," and National Dance Day, planned for September 19th? We caught up with the one and only Nigel Lythgoe—executive producer of "SYT" and co-founder of NDD's host organization, American Dance Movement—to get the scoop on both.

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Stacie Webster at Turn It Up. Photo courtesy of Webster

While contemporary jazz teacher Stacie Webster keeps her choreography rooted in traditional jazz, she likes to incorporate soulful music in the studio. "I gravitate toward deep house music because it's a mixture of house, jazz, funk and soul," says Webster, who has taught for the Broadway Dance Center Children and Teens program since 2007. "It creates a good energy and everyone can relate to it, even kids." In addition to the energetic rhythms that keep the class moving and the vocals that add a storytelling element, the genre also helps students to find their authentic voices. "Even when kids are great technical dancers, they lack a certain maturity. I try to pick music they can connect with," she says.

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