Letter From the Editor: Getting Back to School
September 1, 2022

Dear DT+ Community, 

Heading back to the studio or classroom after a fun-filled summer can feel exciting and challenging. Whether you have spent the last few weeks enjoying a much-needed break or have been teaching nonstop at intensives, it’s time to return to your regular routine.

This month on DanceTeacher+, you’ll find a variety of content that will help you start off the school year strong. Here are the top stories we’ll be rolling out throughout September: 

Easing your students’ back-to-school transitions: Between fall registrations and class placements, this time of year can feel overwhelming for both you and your students, who have to balance academic coursework with their busy dance schedules. We’ve got you covered with advice on how you can ease your students’ back-to-school transitions and create a healthy studio environment.

Setting the “temperature” of the studio: When your students walk into the studio, would you like your class to feel upbeat and lively? Reflective and calming? As a dance teacher, you are the thermostat that sets the temperature, energy and atmosphere of the classroom. We’re bringing you tips on to make this metaphor a reality.

Technique & Artistry tips on spotting: Spotting is an essential skill that can be difficult to teach across styles. Whether your students are doing one or 100 turns, spotting is key to exhibiting precision and drama. Kathak dancer and teacher Rachna Nivas and Pacific Northwest Ballet School faculty member Dana Hanson share ideas for how you can help your students spot more effectively.

Kyle Abraham’s playlist: The renowned choreographer and artistic director of A.I.M by Kyle Abraham shares his four key factors to musicality: intentionality, authenticity, trust and freedom. Get more insights into Abraham’s creative process and tune into the playlist of songs that give him (and will surely give you) a confidence boost.

Lesson Plans: This month, we’re bringing you two new lesson plans. First up, performer, teacher and activist Princess Lockerooo teaches a waacking posing drill. And later this month, master tap teacher Debbi Dee shares how she teaches a tap Latin rhythm turn. “They’re such an added bonus in any choreography, and I don’t see them enough,” she says, noting how popular they were with Hollywood hoofers like Eleanor Powell and Ann Miller.

Dance history profile on Edwin Denby: An iconic American dance critic and poet, Denby (1903–1983) published two volumes of dance criticism, Looking at the Dance (1949) and Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets (1965). Learn about the life and work of this perceptive dance writer who wrote beautifully about legendary American choreographers such as George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and Jerome Robbins.

The physical signs of anxiety: The intense environment of a dance class can be anxiety-inducing for dancers, and it’s important to spot the physical signs and to know how to address them appropriately. Psychologist Dr. Nadine Kaslow and University of North Carolina School of the Arts faculty member Laura Martin provide professional advice on how you can manage this common condition.

Hispanic Heritage Month: We’re spotlighting San Francisco Ballet’s Isaac Hernández, who talks fondly of his father and dance mentor, Hector Hernández, as well as multidisciplinary artist and tap extraordinaire Amanda Castro, who reveals the advice that has made all the difference in her dance career. 

Higher ed: We’re also sharing tips for how you can transition back to being a student—either during or after a teaching career—and highlighting the differences between an MA and MFA and why you might choose one degree over the other.

Finding work–life balance: Hear from five school directors about how they’re taking charge of their leadership skills to manage the weight of running large-scale dance education organizations while attempting to maintain personal time for themselves and their families.

I wish you a very happy and healthy school year! 

With excitement,

Reanne Rodrigues
[email protected] 

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