YoungArts Finalists Announced

When it comes to nurturing young artistic talent and confidence, a week of immersion with prestigious master teachers goes a long way. Since its founding in 1981, YoungArts has established itself as a springboard for high school artists on the rise. Covering 10 disciplines in the literary, design, visual and performing arts, the program offers participants a week of boundary-pushing mentorship and performing experience, plus eligibility for scholarships and monetary prizes that extend far beyond the weeklong program.

Nearly 200 finalists (21 are dancers) will attend the 34th annual National YoungArts Week in Miami, January 4–11. Winners (786 total) in categories of finalists, honorable mention and merit are eligible to attend regional five-day programs in Los Angeles, Miami and New York City during the first part of 2015.

At YoungArts Week, students train with renowned artists in their fields to create and perform new work in the evenings. Master dance teachers have included Bill T. Jones (who is an artistic advisor to the program), Desmond Richardson (a YoungArts alumnus), Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d’Amboise and former Bill T. Jones dancer Leah Cox, who spoke to DT earlier this year about her interdisciplinary approach to leading a YoungArts master class.

Applications for the 2016 YoungArts program open in spring 2015.

About YoungArts:

Photo courtesy of YoungArts

Music
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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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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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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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