The NDEO Conference, New Wave Festival at BAM and Other Dance Events to Check Out This Month

Dorrance Dance at the Next Wave Festival. Photo courtesy Dorrance Dance

Don't miss these festivals, conferences and performances throughout the country.

October 3–8
3rd Annual Lion's Jaw Performance + Dance Festival (Boston, MA)

Lion's Jaw is a contemporary dance festival with classes, workshops, intensives and performances at Green Street Studios in Cambridge. There is even a movie night/slumber party. Teaching artists from around the country convene for Lion's Jaw, including Thomas F. DeFrantz, Heidi Henderson, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko and Kathleen Hermesdorf.

October 4–7
20th Annual NDEO Conference (National Dance Education Organization)

"Connections, Knowledge, and Leadership: A New Era in Dance Education"

In San Diego this year, the NDEO conference includes an impressive schedule of more than 250 workshops, classes, presentations and panels over the course of three days. It is a multifaceted workshop for new teachers as well as seasoned educators.

October 11–14
9th Annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival

The festival returns for another year, presenting work at the Brava Theater and three other locations. The Co-Laboratory project—in partnership with the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron (Ohio)—culminates with new films presented during the Bay Area festival. And if you don't live in the Bay Area, check out the SFDFF On The Road opportunity to bring films right to your hometown.

October 3–December 23
Next Wave Festival @ BAM

Since 1981, the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has launched ideas of innovation and risk for eager audiences. This year's roster has nine different dance projects of various dance forms, including Sasha Waltz & Guests, Dorrance Dance and Jesper Just.

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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