I love that David Hallberg brought his mother to the Dance Teacher cover shoot. While it’s always a privilege to watch an artist of his caliber warm up at the barre, the chance to see him take corrections from his formative ballet teacher and coach, Kee Juan Han, was a real treat. Especially, considering that it was the day following Hallberg’s last Sleeping Beauty for the American Ballet Theatre spring season, and he was scheduled to fly immediately to Moscow to perform with the Bolshoi Ballet. He made time to appear on our cover as a favor to his teacher. It’s his way of giving back—an example of the work ethic he acquired under Han’s tutelage.
I was curious about how Hallberg’s mom felt about the strict discipline that Han is known for. That, coupled with a droll sense of humor, can easily ruffle feathers—and has. For instance, one story Han likes to tell is about a parent who asked him to use more positive reinforcement, e.g., dogs do well when given treats—maybe he could offer more encouragement in a similar way. Han gave a sly smile and paused with perfect timing before delivering the punch line: “I’m training dancers, not dogs. Ballet is an aesthetic form—you have to be critical.” (For the record, Mrs. Hallberg is a fan. She said Han’s no-nonsense approach dovetailed with her parenting very well.)
In “A Matter of Respect,” Candice Thompson gives us a personal account (she was a student at the same time as Hallberg) of Han’s method and his role in Hallberg’s success. And for more about the special training needs of boys, Mary Ellen Hunt shares the strategies of five popular boys programs in “Boy Crazy.”
It’s costume-ordering season! If you’re overwhelmed with a cascade of catalogues, turn to page 60 for a sampling of our favorite trendsetting designs. Plus we’ve included a directory of trusted costume manufacturers for your ordering reference.
And for those who produce a holiday show, be sure to read “Getting the Most Out of Your Nutcracker Budget,” where editor Rachel Rizzuto shares expense details for three successful shows of varying sizes.
As always, Dance Teacher features a wide range of topics for teachers, including, in this issue:
• Are your body-image issues affecting your students? DT contributor Hannah Maria Hayes tells her compelling personal story.
• Should your college-bound students consider a BA in dance or a BFA?
• What is backward curriculum design? Hint: You may already be using it.
With gratitude, all of us at Dance Teacher wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Photos by Matthew Murphy