You Know You're a Dance Teacher When...

Oh, dance teachers, you are a talented, organized and slightly insane bunch, and we ABSOLUTELY love you for it! Here are 12 things only dance teachers will relate to. Check 'em out!

1. 90 percent of your wardrobe is black athleisure.

It's flattering and comfy. Why would we wear anything else??

2. Pedicures are completely wasted on your toes.

Honestly, why even bother?

3. Saturdays are the most stressful day of your week.

Three private lessons, one production rehearsal, two ballet classes, one technique class, hip-hop rehearsal, small group rehearsal, trio rehearsal, mini company rehearsal, junior company rehearsal, teen company rehearsal, senior company rehearsal (somebody stop us—this list will go on forever).

4. Whether you're on the freeway or stopped at a red light, you're constantly choreographing in the car.

You don't even want to know how many people have filmed your car choreography and posted it to their Instagram stories. You're probably famous on the internet by now.

5. You sneakily use the Shazam app everywhere you go.

"What is this random song playing at Anthropologie? It would be perfect for a sassy jazz trio!"

6. You know all of your dancers' routines, but mirrored.

Yeah, you're basically a savant 💁♀️.

7. Tiny children ask you socially unacceptable, personal questions every day.

"Miss Suzie, why aren't you married?" or "Miss Janet, do you have a baby in your tummy?"

8. When you get in the car, Apple Maps automatically tells you how long it will take you to get to the studio.

Honestly, you practically live there.

9. You spend so much time wading through a minefield of sensitive dancer feelings, you've basically earned yourself an honorary psychology degree.

"I've talked dancers through the trauma that comes from falling down onstage. I can do anything."

10. Your loved ones have to remind you to talk about something other than your dancers.

"Oh, have I been talking about how much mini company has improved for the past hour and a half? Sorry, not sorry."

11. You have an emotional breakdown at the end of every dance year when you have to say goodbye to your graduating seniors.

They spent more time at your studio than anywhere else. How are you supposed to just say goodbye??

12. You love your job more than the average person.

There truly is no better profession out there. Lucky you ❤️.

Layeelah Muhammad, courtesy DAYPC

This summer's outcry to fully see and celebrate Black lives was a wake-up call to dance organizations.

And while many dance education programs are newly inspired to incorporate social justice into their curriculums, four in the San Francisco Bay area have been elevating marginalized youth and focusing on social change for decades.

GIRLFLY, Grrrl Brigade, The Alphabet Rockers and Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company fuse dance with education around race, gender, climate change and more, empowering young artists to become leaders in their communities. Here's how they do it.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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