Yoga in Times Square Welcomes Summer

Amidst the commotion of New York City, it might be easy to forget about the summer solstice—but not for yogis. Friday, June 21 was the longest day of 2013 and the first official day of summer. Yoga enthusiasts arrived in Times Square as the sun rose to usher in the new season, with a united-we-pose mindset.

Officially called “Solstice in Times Square: Athleta Mind Over Madness Yoga,” the 11th annual event offered a challenge to its participants: “Anyone can find tranquility on top of a mountain. Can you find it in the middle of Times Square?”

Yoga in Times Square means coping with pollution, crowding, surrounding noise. But the all-star team of instructors for the event knew how to bring everyone to a collective “Ohm” before long.

Five outdoor yoga classes were offered across five busy blocks of Broadway between 7:30am and 9:00pm, making good use of the ample daylight. Organizers granted free yoga mats to the first 1,200 to arrive to each class and hosted three 15-minute yoga-wear fashion shows throughout the course of the day.

By the end of the event, over 15,000 participants could meditate on their success of finding peace in the city that never sleeps.

Photo of participants by Lucas Jackson

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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."

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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."

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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.

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