Yvonne Rainer, Ushering in Postmodern Dance

In our August issue's History: Lesson Plan, we learn about Yvonne Rainer. Rainer is a New York City–based choreographer who was a leading member of Judson Dance Theater, the 1960s avant-garde dance collective that rejected modern dance. In 1965 Rainer wrote her famous "No Manifesto," a public dismissal of the qualities that exemplified then-current concert dance styles: spectacle, glamour, virtuosity.

Rainer in Trio A. Photo by Herb Migdoll, courtesy of Dance Magazine archives.

Watch Rainer in Trio A (1955), which epitomized the minimalist aesthetic of modern dance. This solo is a continuous four-and-a-half-minute phrase, in which Rainer avoided eye contact with the audience while performing an assorted array of arm gestures; walking patterns; small jumps; subtle articulations of the head, shoulders, hips, hands and feet; and frequent changes of facing and direction.

For more on Rainer, subscribe to Dance Teacher and receive the August issue.

Teacher Voices
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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.

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Health & Body
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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.

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Technique
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.

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