Letter From the Editor: Honoring AAPI Voices This May
May 1, 2023

Dear DT+ Community,

The school year is nearly over. And with recitals and end-of-year performances looming large, now’s the perfect time to take a step back from the chaos and make sure you’re viewing students’ needs—and your own—holistically. May is both National Mindfulness Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. To that end, we’re bringing you stories on mindful eating practices, working with students recovering from trauma, and navigating a negative body image when transitioning from the role of full-time dancer to full-time teacher. 

There’s also plenty to celebrate this time of year. We’re thrilled to honor Asian American Pacific Island Heritage Month by sharing a number of AAPI voices: Our dance history column this month is focused on butoh—the “dance of darkness”—and its founders, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. We’ll dive into how the dance theater form was created in Japan in the wake of World War II, sharing a concise lesson ready made for you to impart to your students. We’re also bringing you two editions of What My Teacher Taught Me: Former Graham star Miki Orihara shares the influence of her colleague Susan Kikuchi, and Gibney Company’s Kevin Pajarillaga delves into what he learned from his first contemporary teacher, Maleek Washington. We also have a playlist from commercial dancer, choreographer, and teacher Kenichi Kasamatsu. Known for collaborations with artists like Keone and Mari Madrid, Nappytabs, and Kyle Hanagami, Kasamatsu’s picks are sure to reinvigorate your listening habits. 

For Mother’s Day we spoke to three dance teachers who are also new mothers about coming back to the studio after giving birth. Speaking of which, I want to thank you all for your warm welcome as I fill in for Dance Teacher editor in chief Reanne Rodrigues, who’s out on maternity leave through mid-July. 

We have plenty more coming your way this month, from lesson plans to teaching tips to a new version of DT+ bringing you a host of exciting new features. So buckle in—we’re here to offer you the support you need to get through the end of the school year. See you on the other side! 

Best wishes,

Chava Pearl Lansky

[email protected]