Finding a last-minute substitute

Holidays, illness, emergencies—there’s a seemingly endless list of reasons you might need a substitute for your classes at a moment’s notice. This is where comes in. Created by dance teachers for dance teachers in the tri-state area (New York City Dance Alliance’s Joe Lanteri is the director), this website acts as a matchmaking service between studio owners in need of a sub and well-qualified teachers who can fill in with as little as a few hours’ notice.

To access this free substitute-finding service, a studio owner creates an account with, providing contact information and the studio’s hourly pay rate for subs. Then, when a fill-in teacher is needed, the studio owner completes the teacher request form on the website, detailing what type of teacher is needed and when. The team responds as quickly as possible, matching up from the service’s database the studio with a vouched-for teacher whose price per hour aligns with the studio’s substitute pay rate. A few hours’ notice for a substitute is recommended—allowing for travel time—but has been able to place a job within an hour on occasion. Studios in New York City (all five boroughs), New Jersey and Connecticut can use, and there are plans to branch out to other areas.

Though finding substitute teachers (short- or long-term) is the main service of, you can also use the site to find guest artists for bigger studio productions (like The Nutcracker), competition choreographers or professionals for master classes and workshops.

Interested in joining the substitute instructor list? You can apply at and by submitting your resumé and headshot. If is interested, someone will contact you and ask for a video of you teaching.

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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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