We're Headed to L.A.!

An unofficial westward migration is quietly taking place these days. If New York City is the dance capital of the U.S., then Los Angeles is its summer vacation home. The East Coast/West Coast debate is nothing new, of course. But as prominent as NYC is for concert dance and live musical theater, L.A., with its entertainment/media industry, is the place to be for commercial dancers.

Among L.A.’s newest residents is the beloved former New York City Ballet principal Jenifer Ringer and her husband James Fayette. We’re celebrating Ringer’s artistry and career this month with the Dance Teacher Lifetime Achievement Award. In “L.A. Story,” West Coast writer Caitlin Sims fills us in on Ringer’s new passion as director of the Colburn Dance Academy.

Speaking of summer vacations, Ringer will accept her award later this month at our Dance Teacher Summit, which takes place this year in, yes, California! Long Beach, to be exact. We’re excited to meet some of our more Pacific-leaning readers closer to their own turf. You’ll see a bit of geographic bias to the DT Awards this year, as well, when you read the inspirational stories of the four educators who will accept their awards along with Ringer.

No matter where your location, the Dance Annual Directory is a resource you’ll find useful year-round. It’s an easy-to-use compilation of all the products and services you need for your studio business—all in one place.

I hope to see you in Long Beach, July 28–30—the Dance Teacher Summit is where the pages of the magazine come to life. But never fear, the event will return to NYC next year. As will our intrepid editors—just in time for hot and sticky August in NYC.

 

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

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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