Teaching Tips

The Dancer Memoirs You Should Read (or Re-read) This Year

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Here at Dance Media, we think everyone's list of New Year's resolutions should include reading more đŸ’â™€ïž. And aside from reading Dance Teacher magazine (which should, of course, be a resolution in and of itself), we recommend some seriously wonderful dancer memoirs.

Here are three interesting books we think you should check out (or re-check out) in 2019!

Share your favorite dancer memoirs in our comment section! We can't wait to hear what you're reading!

1. Margot Fonteyn: A Life

by Meredith Daneman

This book delves into the life story of Royal Ballet prima ballerina assoluta Margot Fonteyn. This is a must-read for all dance-history buffs!

2. Dancing Through It

by Jennifer Ringer

Former New York City Ballet principal Jenifer Ringer shares her journey from student to star—including her struggles with an eating disorder. Her experiences will give you greater understanding of what your students are going through, and the takeaways will help you become a more compassionate and informed teacher.

3. Mao's Last Dancer

by Li Cunxin

Li Cunxin, artistic director of Queensland Ballet in Brisbane, Australia, tells how he went from peasant boy in rural China to one of the greatest ballet dancers in the world. This book has one numerous awards, including the Australian Book of the Year, award and was adapted into a film in 2009. It's a must-read!

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

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Teaching Tips
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But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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