Where Time Is on Your Side

MANCC visiting artist Liz Lerman

“The thing that choreographers really need is time and space to do some thinking and experimentation, without the constraints or burden of having to carry a teaching load,” says Carla Peterson, the new head of Florida State University’s Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography. MANCC, which is the only center for choreography in the world housed within a major research university, provides just that—time and space without constraints—to 12–14 artists-in-residence each year. Travel, housing, per diem and an artist’s fee are all awarded to those selected for a typical two-week residency.

One of MANCC’s recent visiting artists was choreographer Liz Lerman. Over the course of two residencies, Lerman created Healing Wars, a piece dealing with American military conflicts, which premiered in June in Washington, DC. Thanks to its university setting, MANCC gave Lerman access to unique research subjects: A professor specializing in the functionality of prosthetic limbs, the director of FSU’s Veterans Center, a history professor and a student veteran all spoke with her to provide context and personal experiences for Healing Wars.

Healing Wars as a work-in-progress

MANCC’s residencies also offer FSU dance students a chance to interact with and learn from well-known choreographers like Lerman. Emily Wolfe, a spring 2014 graduate of the FSU department of dance, served as Lerman’s rehearsal assistant during her residencies. Immediately upon her graduation, Wolfe joined Lerman and her cast in DC as an assistant and understudy. “It’s been great to be inside of the material and understand her research just by observing,” says Wolfe. “It’s taught me about professional life and existing in a company like Liz’s that’s so collaborative.”




Photos from top: by Lise Metzger; by Chris Cameron, both courtesy of MANCC

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

Keep reading... Show less
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.