Happy New Year, dance teachers!
As you head back to the studio after a much-needed holiday break, I hope you’re feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on the new semester.
With the changing of calendars comes a great opportunity for us to reflect on our teaching practices and set goals for the next 12 months and beyond. And as we embark on 2023 together, we at Dance Teacher are committed to bringing you all the tips and tools you need to create a lasting impact on your students and make the most of the year ahead!
How to Encourage Your Students to Try an Unfamiliar Style at Summer Intensives: Learning various dance styles is an important part of a dancer’s development, and with summer intensive auditions fast-approaching, now’s the perfect time to encourage them to broaden their horizons. Here, we share insights on how diversifying your dancers’ training can be eye-opening and influential for their future training and career—benefits that can last beyond a single summer.
Moving Gracefully Through Retirement: Preparing for and moving through the experience of retirement is a meaningful, often overwhelming life transition for dance teachers. Turning to other retirees for advice and camaraderie can help smoothen the inevitable mental, physical and financial challenges that pop up before and during the retirement process. Dance Teacher spoke with three longtime dance educators about their experiences and hopes for the future.
How Master Tap Teacher Brenda Bufalino Keeps her Material Fresh: Whether you’ve been teaching dance for two or 20 years, you know what it feels like to be stagnant and out of new ideas. So how do you continue to grow and keep your classes fresh? In this article, legendary tap dancer and educator Brenda Bufalino, who’s been dancing and teaching for 80 years, shares how she continues to find new ways to inspire and guide her dancers to achieve their own unique style. Use Bufalino’s ideas to keep yourself in tip-top teaching form.
Health & Body
Steering clear of New Year diet trends: Dance educators are constantly bombarded with new dietary fads or workout trends especially at the start of a new year. Registered dietitian nutritionist, Rachel Fine, (MS, RD, CSSD), recommends that it’s best to instead focus on developing healthy, sustainable habits to ensure the long-term benefits to your health.
A Physical Therapist’s Tips for Helping Your Students Get Stronger, Longer Balances: Though balancing comes easier to some dancers than others, the elements that make for long, strong balances are less mysterious than they may seem: “It really comes down to your visual, vestibular and somatosensory input, or your proprioceptors,” says Dr. Emily Becker, a physical therapist who works with dancers at her practice in Jacksonville, Florida. Get more expert tips from Becker on how to help your dancers integrate and improve on each of these elements.
Bijayini Satpathy Teaches an Odissi Step: Odissi is said to be the oldest of all of India’s classical dances. But for Bijayini Satpathy, one of the form’s foremost interpreters and influential teachers, that doesn’t mean the way Odissi is taught shouldn’t evolve. Satpathy, who has been teaching since 1997, serving as the prestigious Nrityagram School’s director of training and outreach for 20 of those years, has revolutionized the Odissi curriculum. For her lesson plan, she teaches a weight shift for intermediate-to-advanced students that are already well-versed in Odissi’s basic positions and hand gestures.
Celebrating Dance Luminaries
Demi Remick: Demi Remick was born to be a tap dance sensation. Having trained with experts like Michelle Dorrance, Josh Hilberman, Pam Raff and Aaron Tolson Remick has recently toured the world with Postmodern Jukebox, a rotating musical collective known for its viral YouTube videos. In our Dancer Diary column, she shares the most helpful correction she’s ever received, the biggest turning point in her training and her most influential teacher.
Billy Griffin: For musical theater dancers in New York City, Billy Griffin’s class is a breath of fresh air. Amidst the daily grind of auditions, striving to achieve goals, and coping with the inevitability of rejection, he offers a space void of judgment. “I want dancers to leave having fallen in love with themselves,” he says of his class. This sensitivity, coupled with his ultra-clever choreography, has students selling out his classes more often than not. Here, Griffin shares some of his favorite teaching tools for working with professional dancers in NYC.
Houssni Mijem: In this month’s What My Teacher Taught Me column, Compagnie Herve Koubi’s Houssni Mijem shares why Mehdi Ichar, leader of dance crew Ichar Style, has been the greatest influence in his dance career.
I hope you enjoy reading these stories and share what you’ve learned from them with your students this month. Let’s make 2023 the best year yet, both in the studio and out!