Editor in Chief of Dance Teacher since 2009, Karen Hildebrand is Vice President-Editorial for DanceMedia (Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit, Pointe and Dance Retailer News). She first joined Dance Magazine as education editor in 2001.
Each year, the Dance Teacher Awards honor four outstanding educators for their contributions to the field. Recipients have included studio owners, professors, program directors and more whose specialties run the gamut of dance genres. We need your help to find this year's best in the profession. Do you know a teacher who deserves to be recognized as a leader and role model? Nominate him or her for a 2019 Dance Teacher Award! The Awards will be presented at our Dance Teacher Summit in July.
Send nominations by March 1, 2019. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your nomination should include the following:
1. Award category: Studios and Conservatories; Colleges and Universities; K–12.
2. School or studio name and location, nominee's position at the institution.
3. Nominee's contact info.
4. Your relationship to the nominee.
5. In 200 words or less, tell us why this teacher deserves an award. What are his/her leadership qualities, for instance, and list some notable accomplishments. Feel free to include any helpful photos or videos, as well!
DT Awards will be presented at the Dance Teacher Summit. Nominees must be available to attend.
It was a fun moment at our Dance Teacher Summit when Stacey Tookey stopped teaching mid-sentence to greet her 6-month-old daughter who had just entered the room in the arms of Tookey's husband. "Hi Harper!" she said brightly. Then without skipping a beat, she returned to teaching, while her family watched from the sidelines. It seemed the most natural thing in the world that they were traveling with her for this weekend convention. Her work life and home life were perfectly integrated.
Thank goodness having a baby no longer means giving up your career. It does mean giving up your perfect dancer body, at least temporarily. “Your ligaments get looser," as Dr. Bridget Quinn of Boston Ballet told Dance Magazine. “Your center of gravity changes. You become short of breath more easily. It's a lot for a dancer. But with diligent training, you can prepare for both a healthy labor and a quick recovery." In our Special Health and Wellness Section (“Supporting the Pregnant Dancer"), we share some useful advice for doing just that.
Pregnancy isn't the only thing that can shift your center of gravity. When Paula Frasz broke her leg (“How Injury Changed the Way I Teach"), she had to completely rethink her teaching strategy. The silver lining? She became a better teacher. And what if it's your student who becomes injured? They may think they're ready to return to class, but it's up to you to keep them safe. In “Bouncing Back," our experts outline the careful steps back to full class participation and point out some red flags that might interfere.
It seems more dancers than ever are becoming certified to teach Pilates and yoga. Such skills can complement a performance career, both financially and in physical practice. In “More Than a Backup Plan," we tell you where to get this training right alongside your college dance degree. Might be just what a reluctant parent needs, to finally say yes to majoring in dance.
Time certainly does fly. One day you decide to start a school, the next, it's been 25 years. When we reached out to Patricia Reedy and Nancy Ng about being on our cover and learned this is Luna Dance Institute's silver anniversary, it was a wonderful moment of serendipity. I think you'll be inspired by this passionate duo as seen through the eyes of writer Claudia Bauer in “Finding Their Own Way." Teacher training is an important part of their mission, and you'll find details about the Luna Dance Summer Institute among the 54 programs listed in our annual guide to continuing ed programs.
In compiling the Teacher Training Guide, I was struck by the diversity of offerings. From acro to somatics, from French to Russian styles, from jazz to Laban/Bartenieff, there's something to suit every dance educator. There's even a special interest group for men this summer. Regardless of which program you attend, we know how energizing it can be to simply change the scenery and do something nice for yourself. To that end, I asked several educators to write about their 2016 study experiences in “Field Report." Just as I was finalizing Thom Cobb's contribution, the news of his passing came (see DT Notes). It makes me treasure his report all the more. We will certainly miss him at our Dance Teacher Summit this year.
It's a little like preaching to the choir to mention here that one needs a lot more than a background in dance in order to teach—particularly when facing a room full of kids who don't necessarily want to dance. Nevertheless, in “4 Essential Skills for Teaching Artists," we asked our good friends at National Dance Institute, Dancing Classrooms and Island Moving Company how they do exactly that. Don't miss their best advice about what dancers must know to be successful in the classroom.
Speaking of time flying... February is still early enough to set your studio business vision for the year. Editor Rachel Rizzuto asked seven studio owners: “What's Up for You in 2017?" Some of their answers may surprise you.
Photo by Matthew Murphy
We may not have a woman in the Oval Office, but we do have a much-admired female leader in Washington in the form of Julie Kent. We've been following with great interest her actions as the new artistic director of The Washington Ballet. One of her first decisions was to invite Xiomara Reyes to become head of the venerable Washington School of Ballet.
The school has a storied past. Co-founded by Mary Day and directed by her from 1944 to 2003, presidential daughters Chelsea Clinton and Caroline Kennedy were both students there. While Day trained dancers who went on to highly visible careers outside TWB (Kevin McKenzie, Amanda McKerrow, Virginia Johnson and Patrick Corbin, to name a few), Kent has more ambitious goals. A strong school that offers a pathway into the company is a vital part of the vision. However, in “New in Town" Reyes makes it clear that TWSB is a place where not only pre-professional students will thrive.
Are your students making plans for their summer intensives? One of the ways I gauge the state of dance-studio business is by the size of our annual Summer Study Guide. This year, we have 16 pages of opportunities for you and your students—offerings that span the full spectrum of dance styles, with choices for technique, repertory, conditioning, history, wellness and much more. There truly is something for every dancer in this valuable resource.
Frederic M. Seegal, CEO, DanceMedia
Dance Teacher recently changed ownership. Here's a message from our new CEO:
“I'm excited by the opportunity to help the DanceMedia team, because this is an exciting time for dance. Never before has dance (and dancers) been in the public and media eye the way it is today, and, as a result, the needs of both dancers and dance companies are changing dramatically. The need for a trusted voice is more important than ever. We plan to continue to be at the center of it all and over time to extend our extraordinary magazines into the same position in the digital world.
“A little about me: Vice chairman of Peter J. Solomon Company, I have made my career advising major media, telecom and internet clients. I have a passion for the performing arts and have committed my time accordingly. I have served as president of American Ballet Theatre's Board of Trustees, and as trustee for New York City Center, San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera.
“The one thing I've learned from my experience is that people come to dance because of the dancers. Our mission is to make sure dancers are recognized, educated and rewarded. Without you there would be no dance."
From top: photo by Matthew Murphy; courtesy of Seegal
Every December when the editors select their favorite covers for this page, it becomes an opportunity to review the year. We're especially proud of 2016 and the inspiring range of artists and educators who graced Dance Teacher. We put a lot of love into each and every cover—and here is what stands out as we look back.
I wish I'd taken a photo of Suki Schorer's collection of gorgeous tango shoes at our cover shoot (DT, Feb 2012), but we did get this great shot of her wearing a pair. I remember very clearly the day we shot the cover images (Feb 2012) of Suki Schorer. The stylish Schorer had brought a number of clothing options into the studio for us to consider—including a row of glittery footwear. “Those are my tango shoes," she told me. That was when I learned how a few years ago, after her performance career dancing with New York City Ballet under George Balanchine and the important role she has played with the School of American Ballet, she became passionate about the tango. Good story idea, I thought. Then recently we heard from an enthusiastic student (who happens to be blind) about tango instructor Yuyú Herrera, and we knew we had found a compelling way to frame “A Dancer's Guide to Tango."
The improvisational aspect of the tango, with its give-and-take between leader and follower, makes me think about relationships in general. The beautiful men on our cover this month have chosen to share not only their personal lives but also their careers. Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd met and married while members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and when they retired a year ago, together accepted the position of artistic director for dance at the Center for Creative Arts in St. Louis. In their conversation with writer Alice Bloch for “Coming Home," and a series of photographs taken by Matthew Karas, they appear to be very comfortable with their particular version of the tango.
We're sure our annual Costume Guide will come in handy for your next tango-inspired choreography—and everything else you'll need for your year-end recital. And if you've been on the ordering end of costuming several dozen dancers, you've probably suffered at least one of the meltdowns Rachel Rizzuto describes in “5 Costume Complications, Resolved." Her solutions can eliminate at least one source of stress from your season.
Photos by Matthew Murphy
I'm writing this while still on a high from our Dance Teacher Summit in New York City. As I told those at the final session, the Summit is my annual dose of special inspiration. Yes, I talk with artists and educators every day. But what really fills my cup (I'm stealing that phrase directly from Kim Delgrosso and her DTS seminar on life balance) is to spend three full days face to face with the teachers who read our magazine. It's another reminder of, “Oh, this is why we do what we do!"
There were so many things that made me smile this year. Here are just a few.
- When Kathleen Isaac did a saucy little Latin step at the podium (in honor of the A.C.E. number we had just seen by Eugene Katsevman) after accepting her Dance Teacher Award for Higher Education.
- When Lisa Campbell Stuart, ballet teacher at CC & Co. Dance Complex, ran up to me, so excited that emerging choreographer and CC & Co. alumna Martha Nichols had just won the A.C.E. Award. I'd met the free-spirited Lisa the night before, dancing onstage after the fashion show!
- When Broadway choreographer Warren Carlyle taught a number from After Midnight without a demonstrator. A class for dance teachers is different than a class for dancers, he said. By demonstrating the movement in his own body, he could more directly access what it takes to teach the material. “Risk everything" was his motto, and I've been thinking about that ever since.
Introducing Robert Battle of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Checking in with our team of ambassadors always feels like the first day of summer camp. This group of longtime studio owners is available throughout the weekend to share their knowledge—either one-on-one or in panel discussions. (Producer Gil Stroming introduces them fondly the first morning as having about 3.2 billion years of combined experience between them.) And, of course, they are regular contributors here in the pages of Dance Teacher magazine—this month is no exception. Check out their advice on “Prepping for Competition and Convention Season."
By Sunday, I usually have time to walk the massive exhibit hall and check in with our dynamic community of product vendors and service providers. I always learn something new! And many of these people are now old friends. I hope you'll support them with your business. They make this magazine happen.
With every issue of Dance Teacher we carry forward the conversation with inspiring stories and flashes of brilliance. If you'd like to share a favorite moment from the Summit, please write me at email@example.com.
Photo by Rachel Papo
In past issues, we've touched on what it takes to teach particular populations of dancers, from children with autism to Parkinson's patients. But recently, we've been hearing more about the benefits of training dancers with disabilities in the same classroom as traditional students. So when AXIS Dance Company gathered interested parties to discuss access and visibility for dancers with disabilities at Gibney Studios in New York, Dance Teacher writer Lea Marshall was there. Read her thoughtful report, “Doing the Same Thing Differently." There are some remarkable stories of inspiration and transformation through physically integrated dance. Jenny Ouellette brings us one of these in “Teaching from a Wheelchair."
And for another but completely different kind of physical integration, Rachel Rizzuto talked with Joanna Mendl Shaw about pairing dancers with horses (“Horse Sense"). Shaw's story is captivating—especially what she's learned from equines that can help dancers in the studio.
In the realm of college dance, we were excited to learn about the work of Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is sharing her embodied knowledge of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company repertory with students there. Joseph Carman reports on the impact of this four-year project.
How many of your students will leave you for college at the end of this year? As their dance teacher, you can be a trusted advisor about the various options. Because we know it's not easy to stay up-to-date, this issue includes the Dance Teacher “Higher Ed Guide," one of our most popular resources. Use it as a quick state-by-state look at 149 popular dance-degree programs. When you need to drill down to the finer points, we recommend the Dance Magazine College Guide. Updated every year, there is no directory like it. Order your copy at dancemagazine.com/collegeguide.
Photo by Matthew Murphy