Editor's Note: The Convention Issue

Remember when you attended your first convention? And how exciting (and scary!) it was to take class from a famous teacher? Today, many of the dancers your students emulate from television and the concert stage also teach at dance conventions. What an opportunity it is, for instance, to take class from DT cover girl Brooke Lipton, who makes casting decisions for the hit TV show, “Glee.” In “Red Hot” (page 34), L.A.-based writer Victoria Looseleaf tells how Lipton made a career for herself in the tough professional environment of Hollywood, and she shares the positive influence Lipton has on young dancers as a teacher for The PULSE On Tour and Hollywood Connection.

Conventions can open doors for your dancers—all your dancers, not just those with commercial aspirations. We get excited about the glamour and ambition, but let’s not forget the powerful educational foundation of these events. In this issue, Dance Teacher focuses on what it takes to teach in that setting (“Mastering the Master Class” on page 58) and how your students can benefit (“High Five” on page 28)—including the 2012 Convention Guide (page 70) for easy reference to contact details and other essentials.

How are you celebrating the holidays at your studio? In “Holidays in Every Way” (page 38), writer Nancy Wozny spoke to studio directors about how they reflect the varying demographic interests of their communities. Do you do something unique? Let us know by liking us on Facebook and joining the discussion about ways to make your studio inviting to everyone. And do have a look at “Goods” (page 32) to see our holiday gift suggestions for the dancers on your list.

While The Nutcracker may be consuming your life this month, the new year is right around the corner. If you’re one of the many who resolve to diet or exercise with renewed vigor on January 2, be sure to read “My Personal Fitness Plan” (page 50), where three busy teachers share their health and fitness routines. They impressed us, and we hope they will inspire you.

Here’s to a fulfilling holiday season and fruitful new year,

Karen Hildebrand

editor in chief

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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