Dear DT+ Community,
It’s nearly here, my favorite time of the year: summer!
Apart from the sunshiny days ahead, it’s an especially exciting time for your students who are heading to summer intensives.
But, for many dance educators, summertime can be bittersweet. After laying the groundwork for your students’ success over many years, some are graduating, on the brink of professional careers, or have outgrown your program. So how do you tell when it’s time to help your students evolve outside your studios and classrooms? What can you do to help them? And when do you begin the discussion? In our upcoming story, “How to Help Your Students Go Pro,” you’ll find guidance on how to navigate this time of transition.
Summer intensives also put your dancers in a highly competitive environment, which exacerbates the potential for self-doubt and negative body image. In our Health & Body column, you’ll get professional advice on how to cultivate a healthy, supportive framework to help your dancers to combat these common struggles.
In this month’s Technique & Artistry column, you’ll learn how to help your students channel the power of stillness. It may sound like a simple concept. But being still can have a range of qualities and compositional purposes just like movement can. And to fully tap into the power of stillness, dancers need to approach it with intention. Our accompanying video tutorial will be led by Vangeline, a teacher, dancer and choreographer who specializes in Japanese butoh. She demonstrates a special breathing meditation and Noguchi Taiso exercise that you can use to help your students center their bodies and calm their nervous systems to hone in on the power of stillness.
In celebration of Pride Month, it’s the perfect time to discuss the case for creating gender-affirming spaces within dance education. We’ll guide you to reflect on what type of language to use and how to make your classroom a welcoming and safe space for all your dancers.
Another topic we’ll be tackling this month is “obedience.” Are your dancers too obedient? How much obedience is too much? And where do you draw the line to ensure you’re not robbing students of the freedom to express their individuality? The so-called traditional way of cultivating obedience in dance training can be counterproductive as it doesn’t prepare dancers for life as professionals where they’ll be expected to be creative and independent. By nurturing autonomy and motivation in your students, they will learn more, be better prepared for professional life and be happier, healthier dancers.
Our dance history profile this month spotlights Enrico Cecchetti, founder of the revolutionary Cecchetti method of ballet training. And you’ll also get access to American Ballet Theatre principal Skylar Brandt’s teaching playlist.
For those of you who are running a summer camp at your studio or are just looking to teach fun, free-spirited lessons, you’ll find all the tips and tricks you need to both begin and end a creative movement dance class.
And later this month, we’ll be taking you into the deep jungles of the Amazon rainforest in Peru where dance educator Barbara Land is bringing ballet to the local community.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading all these stories on DanceTeacher+. If you have suggestions for what you’d like to see featured in the coming months, please drop me a line at [email protected].
P.S. It’s time we got to know each other even better! We’ll be hosting our first-ever DanceTeacher+ members Meet & Greet later this summer and you’re invited to join us virtually. Stay tuned for more details.