Video of the Month: Hip Hop from the Heart

Congratulations to Cristian Faxola, the latest Editors’ Choice winner for the Dance Teacher Video of the Month!

In a living room lit warmly by a single dome-shaped lamp, a lean, compact dancer pops, locks and glides his way over shining wood floors to the soulful R&B of Mary J. Blige. Faxola, who lives in Brazil but tours internationally with hip-hop company Compagnie Käfig, recorded the video from his apartment during a recent trip to France, where the company is based. It is a gift to the loved ones he left at home, he says. “When I travel, I miss my family, my friends and my girlfriend so much. I always try to talk with them, but it’s not the same. In this video I can express what I feel, what I need to say.”

In his master classes at hip-hop festivals around the world, Faxola asks students to think more about their emotions than actions. Even when he demonstrates a particular movement, he prompts dancers to consider their internal motivation. A suspended moment with a raised arm, for example, might express the feeling of longing for a solution to a problem and the relief of finding it. “When you have the arm raised,” he says, “think about reaching for something, and when you grab it, you can breathe again.”

Though he speaks Portuguese, French and English, Faxola faces language barriers with some students. He depends on instrumental cues and distinctive lyrics as markers in the music. And he repeats combinations as many times as it takes, as slowly as he needs to, he says. “I try to show the students every single arc in the music with the movement.”

Want to build buzz about your studio, workshop or class? Posting videos to the Dance Teacher Video of the Month Contest is quick, easy and free—and a great way to get noticed. If your video is selected as Editors’ Choice, you’ll be featured on this page! The Viewers’ Choice winner will be announced in DT’s newsletter and on our social-media pages. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity—visit, share your videos and vote for your favorites. Any and all kinds of dance are welcome.

Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.