Nancy Wozny is editor in chief of Arts + Culture Texas, the only print Texas arts magazine in the state. She is also frequent contributor to Pointe Magazine, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine, where she is also a contributing editor. Her byline has appeared in The Houston Chronicle, Dance USA's The Green Room, Culturemap, and numerous other publications. She is the winner of the Gary Parks Award from the DCA, an NEA Fellow at ADF, and the recipient of numerous grants for her work in dance, somatics and creativity. She has taught and written about Feldenkrais and somatics in dance for two decades and is currently teaching at Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She also has served as a Scholar in Residence at Jacob's Pillow since 2010.
Teaching Alexander Technique (by Natalie Fiol, courtesy of AmSAT)
Broadening your skill set is always a good idea—and a great way to increase your income and offerings to your students. But undertaking a training program is a big decision, requiring a major investment of time and money. And finding the best fit will take some homework. There's the length and location of the training to consider, the tuition and how the modality will fit into your teaching goals and studio environment.
Whether you want to become certified in a popular form like Pilates, add a new dance exercise class to your teaching resumé or pursue a mind-body somatic modality, there is a huge range in cost and time commitment. After a one-day training, for instance, you are ready to teach Zumba, while you should plan a much longer process for Gyrotonic.
Injuries can be devastating to a dance career, but you can reduce their occurrence or avoid them—if you know what to look for. To learn why certain injuries happen and what can be done to prevent them, we consulted a group of experts: Jacqui Greene Hass, director of Pilates and Dance Medicine at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Therapy Services; Marijeanne Liederbach, director of research and education at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries; Jennifer Deckert, assistant professor at University of Wyoming (holds an MFA in ballet pedagogy and has presented at the International Association for Medicine and Science); and Michael Kelly Bruce, associate professor at The Ohio State University (certified in Pilates and specializes in conditioning).
Photo by John Lindquist, Houghton Library, Harvard University (Courtesy of Jacob's Pillow Archives)
When Kathleen Crofton arrived in the unlikely destination of Buffalo, in 1967, she carried with her an astonishing legacy. Many of her students at the Ballet Center of Buffalo, myself included, had no idea that she had danced in Anna Pavlova's company (1924–28) and was a close colleague of Bronislava Nijinska. We were unaware that she had partnered with Frederic Franklin in the Markova-Dolin Ballet, had performed with the Opéra Russe à Paris where Nijinska was ballet master/choreographer, and taught at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York and The Royal Ballet in London. Crofton didn't boast that Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev were frequent drop-ins at the school she owned in London for more than 15 years.
Mary Six Rupert (center) is spokeswoman for the American Association of Physical Activity and Recreation's "Get a Kick Out of Life" knee-health campaign. Photo courtesy of Rupert
Mary Six Rupert remembers the exact day when demonstrating pullbacks in her tap class didn't quite feel right. The former Rockette then noticed that walking up the subway stairs caused sharp pain in her knees. In the beginning the pain only occurred during activity, but it soon became so constant that she needed a demonstrator for class. “Six shows a day seven days a week with high heels and high kicking will take a toll on anyone's knees," says Rupert, referring to her 13-year stint in the famous Radio City kick line. In her 50s, she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees—an arthritic condition common among dancers where the protective cartilage at the ends of bones gradually deteriorates and the knee loses shock absorption. In extreme cases, bones can rub against each other.
Houston dance legend Maxine Silberstein with her students at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston. Photo courtesy of the ERJCC Houston
On any given afternoon, you might find the downstairs studio at Houston's Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center (the J) filled to the brim with tapping adults or tiny tots taking their first dance class.
During the height of Hurricane Harvey, it was filled with toxic water.
Seeing tiny tots covered in bling while gyrating to a suggestive song is a hot-button issue for judges, teachers and parents alike. Particularly when that's the number that wins top honors at competition. Just how much of a factor is age-appropriate choreography, costuming and music in scoring? Or to put it bluntly, why do the judges continue to reward behavior that makes nearly everyone cringe?