It’s official. Ballet is big on the competition circuit. Our trend watchers report that pointe shoes and tutus made an impressive showing at Nationals this year. Of course, as educators, we know that a strong ballet foundation is essential for all styles of dance. But we can also understand why youngsters with “SYTYCD” stars in their eyes might consider it a chore.
There are ways to make your jazz, hip-hop and contemporary dancers look forward to ballet class. And who else to gather the great advice you’ll see in “It’s Not a Popularity Contest,” but frequent DT contributor Julie Diana, retired principal of Pennsylvania Ballet. Diana is taking her own ballet foundation into another realm this fall. She and her husband, fellow principal dancer Zachary Hench, are now directors of Juneau Dance Theatre in Alaska.
In the 2015 Competition and Convention Guide, we’ve gathered the essential details for 112 of the best events of the coming season. And in “The Ultimate Front-Row Dancer,” you’ll hear about participation in this vital scene from a slightly different perspective—the teaching assistants who demonstrate for convention teachers. These are the dancers your students emulate. You’ll want to know what this path requires and whether or not to encourage your star student to go for it.
We’ve been feeling inspired recently by those who take their dance training into public schools. This month we talked to movement therapist Jessica Zippin, who stole our hearts at The Astaire Awards earlier this year with a presentation featuring some of her special needs students. You’ll understand why, once you read Lauren Kay’s story, “The Power of Dance.”
I hope your fall season is off to a great start!
Photos by Joe Toreno