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
@jayplayimagery, courtesy Kerollis

In the spring of 2012, Barry Kerollis was abruptly forced into treating his career as a small business. Having just moved cross-country to join BalletX, he got injured and was soon let go.

"I'd only ever danced with big companies before," the now-freelance dance-teacher-choreographer-podcaster recalls. "That desperation factor drove me to approach freelancing with a business model and a business plan."

As Kerollis acknowledges, getting the business of you off the ground ("you" as a freelance dance educator, that is) can be filled with unexpected challenges—even for the most seasoned of gigging dancers. But becoming your own CEO can make your work–life balance more sustainable, help you make more money, keep you organized, and get potential employers to offer you more respect and improved working conditions. Here's how to get smart now about branding, finances and other crucial ways to tell the dance world that you mean business.

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Courtesy Oleson

American dance educator Shannon Oleson was teaching recreational ballet and street-dance classes in London when the pandemic hit. As she watched many of her fellow U.S. friends pack up and return home from their international adventures, she made the difficult choice to stick with her students (as well as her own training—she was midway through her MFA at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

Despite shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders, she was able to maintain a teaching schedule that kept her working with her dancers through Zoom, as well as lead some private, in-home acro classes following government guidelines. But keeping rec students interested in the face of pandemic fatigue hasn't been easy.

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Jill Randall

Whether you're in need of some wintertime inspiration or searching for new material for your classes, these six titles—ranging from personal stories, classroom materials, detailed essays and coursebooks—are worthy picks to add to your pedagogy bookshelf.

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