What a treat it was to attend a working rehearsal with Jill Johnson of Ballet Frankfurt fame, and Sy, a Cambodian-born, School of American Ballet–trained dancer. We joined them at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center for the final afternoon of rehearsal for a solo which Johnson had created for Sy (pronounced See) to perform at the Vail International Dance Festival in August. He told us this was his first exposure to Johnson’s Forsythe-influenced style—angular and off-centered, yet fluid and very pleasing to watch.
Johnson allowed our photographer Rachel Papo to click away while the two warmed up, and we left with fabulous shots for the cover and Michael Crabb’s feature story about Johnson’s newest role as head of dance at Harvard University. Her career move has sparked a few conversations: What exactly does it mean for a star like Johnson to join the faculty of a school where dance is largely a secondary pursuit? Her response may raise some eyebrows. We’ll certainly be watching her activity at Harvard with interest.
Speaking of second choices, many contemporary dancers arrive at college without much background in classical ballet. If you’re a ballet teacher, how can you engage their interest? Former professional ballet dancer Lorin Johnson, currently on the faculty of California State University–Long Beach, is a great example of a teacher struggling to relate to students who have training and goals that differ from his own. His thought-provoking article opens the annual Dance Teacher Higher Ed Guide.
September is a great time for fresh starts. This issue is filled with both inspiration and advice for the fall studio session ahead: a fun list adapted from the book Simply the Best: 29 Things Students Say the Best Teachers Do Around Relationships; Mindy Aloff’s new book on the writings of Agnes de Mille; the story of tap legend John Bubbles; making the best use of guest artists; and preparing your boys for safe partnering. Ana Marie Forsythe of The Ailey School demonstrates a core movement of Horton technique—the lateral T—and Broadway dancer Dana Foglia shares her top selections for dance class music.
Did you know Foglia is one of the dancers we follow this season on Dance212? New episodes start on September 19. The series is a great way to show your students what it takes to dance in New York City. www.dance212.com