The Best of Everything

Are you ready for our Dance Teacher Summit? The excitement is building as we prepare to bring the pages of the magazine to life, August 1–3, here in New York City—great classes with your favorite master teachers, panel discussions about running a successful studio, networking with your colleagues and a few surprises as well. As you read this, 15 finalists are preparing to present their choreography for the judges of the Capezio A.C.E. Awards. We hope you’ll be on hand to cheer for them and to help us honor Franco De Vita with the 2014 Dance Teacher Lifetime Achievement Award.

De Vita brings a very full career of training, performing and teaching to his current position as artistic director of American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. The ABT National Training curriculum he co-authored with Raymond Lukens today reaches ballet students across the U.S. It had its seeds in Florence, Italy, during the 1980s,  where they experimented with concepts from the French, Russian, Danish and Italian schools of ballet technique before landing on the perfect blend that would produce the purity of movement that has become De Vita’s hallmark. “Every school has something to offer,” he told editor Amy Brandt in “How I Teach Ballet.” “Why not try to have the best of everything?”

In this spirit of having the best of everything, each year, we celebrate four educators with the Dance Teacher Awards. Read the inspiring stories of these professionals who were nominated by their colleagues and peers.

And as you strive for the best in your business and your career, we offer our annual Dance Directory, with contact information for makers and suppliers, programs and services. It’s a resource you’ll want to keep close at hand throughout the year.

The Dance Teacher editors and I look forward to meeting you in person.


Photo by Matthew Murphy

Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

The term "body shaming" might bring up memories of that instructor from your own training who made critical remarks about—or even poked and prodded—dancers' bodies.

Thankfully, we're (mostly) past the days when authority figures felt free to openly mock a dancer's appearance. But body shaming remains a toxic presence in the studio, says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, psychologist for Atlanta Ballet: "It's just more hidden and more subtle." Here's how to make sure your teaching isn't part of the problem.

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Courtesy Russell

Gregg Russell, an Emmy-nominated choreographer known for his passionate and energetic teaching, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, November 22, at the age of 48.

While perhaps most revered as a master tap instructor and performer, Russell also frequently taught hip-hop and musical theater classes, showcasing a versatility that secured him a successful career onstage and in film and television, both nationally and abroad.

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