Congratulations Top Dance Blogs of 2013!

Nearly 3000 votes were counted!

Here are the Top 20 Dance Blogs of 2013:

Top Dance Blog 2013

UnlikelySalsero

Top Dance Blog 2013 – 26% of votes

2. The T.D.O.T. Blog

3. Dancing With Stefanie

4. Rince go Bragh

5. Odette’s Ordeal

6. On My Toes

7. Maria’s Movers

8. Jade Belly Dance

9. Tamara Bally Dance AND

Albany Dance Fitness

[Read more…]

Dance Bloggers Share Their Best Of

Welcome to the first Circle of 2013!

School House Rock - Counting FivesThis month I asked bloggers to submit a post that celebrated their own work! Their top 5 posts and, naturally, why they rock.

Access Dance For Life — Play it again!

These rockin’ posts from Access Dance for Life invite you to explore dance through the realm of dancing giraffes, disability, anatomy & alignment, and a fantastic, informative, and thoughtful newsletter. Whether you are a dance teacher/studio owner, dance parent, or dance students, or just interested in learning more about dance – you will find something to tweak your interest in this post and on accessdanceforlife.com.

The Healthy Dancer — The Many Faces Of The Healthy Dancer

This post offers snippets from The Healthy Dancer’s blog that explore the many ways that dance, science and health fit together to keep us all dancing longer, stronger & healthier.

One Crafty Lady — My Favorite-est Posts of All Time [Read more…]

Time To Vote! Top Dance Blogs 2013

It’s time, ladies and gents!

You choose the Top Dance Blogs of 2013

Dance Advantage Top Dance Blog Contest 2013

Here are the blogs that entered with a blog post about the contest:

2Pointe Social
Adult Ballerina Project
Albany Dance Fitness
Art Intercepts
Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins
Ballet Class With Leigh
Dance Commentary
Dancing With Stefanie
Inside Ballet Technique
Jade Belly Dance
Life of a Freelance Dancer
Maria’s Movers
My Son Can Dance
Odette’s Ordeal
On My Toes
Rince go Bragh
Tamara Bally Dance
The 109th Bead
The Dance Buzz
The Dance Training Project
The Healthy Dancer
The T.D.O.T. Blog
The Unlikely Salsero
Tippy Toes Ballet Blog
Your Daily Dance

Each did such a great job and received fabulous endorsements from their dedicated readers.

Now it’s time to vote for your favorites! [Read more…]

Enter Your Site In Our Top Dance Blog Contest

Dance bloggers, are you ready to start the year with a bang?

Participate in our contest and let your readers choose you as a 2013 Top Dance Blog.

Dance Advantage Top Dance Blog Contest 2013

Round ONE — Enter

Step 1 — Decide which of the following categories is the best fit for your blog:

  • Career Dancer (Pre-Pro/College/Professional) – Pros or pros-to-be discuss the dance lifestyle
  • Recreational Dancer – Teen or adult dancers discuss classes, making time for dance, and more
  • Dance Organization/Artist – Companies or choreographers talk performance, process, production
  • Teacher Talk (Education/Training/Instruction) – Dance class topics; teacher to teacher OR teacher to dancer
  • Speaking Dance (Dance News/Review/Criticism/Audience Education) – Covering the dance world for audiences
  • Industry Support – Business to business, marketing for dancers, and other dance industry shop talk.

Categorizing is never perfect but do your best to choose just ONE of these categories.

Editor’s Choice

From our participants, Nichelle will choose a blog she feels is noteworthy or up and coming, regardless of comment count or readership. This blog will receive the Editor’s Choice award.

Step 2: Publish a blog post about the contest.

In YOUR post, ask readers to show support of YOUR blog with a comment on YOUR post.

You have until Tuesday, January 22 to round up as much comment support as you can.

Step 3: Enter with a comment on this blog post (the one you’re reading now) and tell me…

  1. Which category you are entering under.
  2. The permalink to your blog post about the contest.

Round TWO — Finalists

As soon as you publish your post, start promoting it and encouraging comments!

Though any blog can enter, only blogs with the most comments on their post will be finalists in the voting round.

Comment support will be compared in all participating blogs. The 20 blogs with the most support will qualify as finalists and compete for the Top Dance Blog title.

The blogs that receive the most comments will also be eligible to compete for the top spot in their category.

Round THREE — Voting

On January 24, I will open the Top 20 and category finalist polls.

Even if your blog does not make it to this final round, you will be given special mention as a participant in the contest with a link to your blog.

From Jan 24 – 31, if you are a finalist, send as many people as possible to vote in our polls and secure your ranking.

Voting ends at 10pm EST on Jan 31st. Readers’ votes will be tallied and the results posted on February 2.

Dance Advantage Top Dance Blog Contest 2013

Dos and Don’ts (The Rules)

DO add our contest logo. (Right-click/Save-as the image above)

DO link back to this post. Here’s the URL: http://www.danceadvantage.net/2013/01/07/be-a-top-dance-blog

DO make it clear to readers that they should show their support by commenting on YOUR post about the competition (not mine).

DO encourage your commenters to share why they read your blog, what makes it special, or which are their favorite posts.

DO monitor and delete any duplicate comments from your readers.

DON’T be sneaky about comments. Please, do not offer incentives to commenters or pad your comment count in any way. Your blog will be disqualified.

DON’T mention competing blogs (positively or negatively) in your entry. Keep your post about you.

What do I get if I’m a Top Dance Blog winner?
  1. Engagement: Winner or not, every blog is noted as a participant and each is given an opportunity to engage their readers.

  2. A Badge: Winners receive a badge to display on their site. Those in the Top 20 receive a badge with their rank. Those with the most votes in their category receive a badge also.

  3. A Feature: Category winners will be highlighted together in an article on Dance Advantage. The Top 20 winner will receive their own dedicated feature.

Top Dance Blog #1 category_org

Got Questions?

A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on that page, feel free to comment below.

A Floor Barre DVD For Barre-Lovers

It’s my pleasure to introduce and welcome one of my favorite adult ballet bloggers, Lorry Perez of Bead109, as our guest to review a much asked about floor barre DVD — one of a series. If you love barre as much as Lorry does (or at least value what barre does for you), her thorough assessment is sure to be useful to you. I hope (visit her blog, and I think you’ll hope, too), that Lorry won’t be a stranger! ~N

So. by now everyone has heard of floor barre.

If you are like me, you’ve got an idea of what it’s about – working out lying on the floor, right?! Okay, maybe I didn’t really know much about floor barre after all.

I started searching the internet for more information about what floor barre really is and discovered that there is a lot of data out there. I watched lots of DVD clips and read reviews and summaries and immediately realized that there isn’t just one “floor barre.” There are different schools of thought in floor barre, just like in ballet, and there are different methodologies based on differing philosophies.  Then, of course, there are some people who just throw the word “barre” in there and make an exercise video.

Stephane Dalle's introduction of The Boris Kniaseff FLOOR BARRE METHOD.After some research I decided to try Stéphane Dalle’s video of The Boris Kniaseff Floor Barre Method (Beginner Level).

Let me start off by telling you why I chose this method over the others.

Stéphane Dalle explains that the Boris Kniaseff technique is basically barre class on the floor. I like barre. No, let me restate with emphasis, I love barre. I love it.

I’m a technique dancer. Give me beautiful, pure, clean technique over flash and bravado any day. I will jump at any opportunity to drill down, into my brain and body, deep barre technique. I can absolutely see how other pursuits, such as pilates or yoga, can really benefit your body for dancing but perhaps practicing ballet is the best way to really learn ballet.

The Kniaseff method is repetitive. You improve your plié by doing millions of perfect plies, that’s pretty much the way it is. Perfect in practice makes perfect!

I looked at the professional dancers and schools that have used this method for floor barre classes. The list is very impressive; dancers from Paris Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Royal Ballet of London, Stuttgart Ballet, Het National Ballet, English National Ballet, and San Jose Ballet. Pretty much all of the étoiles at Paris Opera have gone through this training.

This method [Read more…]

Three Horrifying Reasons To Go YouTubing This Week

Don’t freak out,

but Halloween is this week!

Just in case you’re a little confused by the chocolate Santas that have covertly crept into the candy aisle and the wreathes already darkening the doorstep of your local shopping center, I thought I’d share a video that is, without question, in the soul-snatching spirit of All Hallow’s Eve.

Beware ye faint of heart!

Two ghoulish figures haunt the hallways of a ship in search of The LXD.You’re about to come face to face with The LXD: RISING.

If you’re not familiar, The LXD is a popular three-season dance series, only recently released to a global audience on YouTube via the DS2DIO (D-studio) dance lifestyle channel and also available on Hulu, Amazon, and iTunes. Directed by Jon M. Chu (Step Up 3D), and choreographed by Harry Shum Jr., aka Mike Chang from “Glee” and Christopher Scott, it chronicles the journey of seemingly ordinary people who discover they have extraordinary powers (dance-fueled, of course) and must choose their place in an epic war between good and evil.

The haunting webisode features the supernatural talents of Jesse “Casper” Brown as Peetie/Fangz, and Adedamola “Nugget” Orisagbemi, Nicholas “Slick” Stewart, and Marc “Marvelous” Inniss as ‘The Eaters’.

This has to be our most terror-iffic addition to the Dance Advantage catalog. Watch at your own risk.

THE LXD: EP 13 – RISING [DS2DIO]

Watch this video on YouTube.

More Halloween Treats

If that’s not enough treats in your Jack-o-lantern bucket, stay tuned this week on Monday and Wednesday for two Halloween episodes on DS2DIO 360.

First up, at 10am PST on October 29, Cameron Goodman takes a look at dance-themed Halloween costumes that are both fun and funny on DS2DIO 360: DANCE LOOKS WITH CAMERON.

Then on Halloween, October 31, Cameron joins co-host tWitch (So You Think You Can Dance, Step Up: Revolution) to explore the scariest dance sequences in history on DS2DIO 360: WHEN DANCE GOES EVIL.

Be safe and enjoy your Halloween celebrations!

Tell us what you think of Rising and share what you’ll be dressing up as this year in our comments!

Dance Your PhD: Choreographer/Bioengineer Christopher Knowlton explores knee replacement through dance

If you ask any PhD student what his thesis is about, one of two things is likely to happen:

1. You get a long, drawn out paragraph of mumbo jumbo things that no one in the outside world will ever understand…

-or-

2. “It’s about electrons.”

That is to say, you get the watered-down, one word version and a subtle invitation to please stop asking questions because you wouldn’t understand it anyway.  But what if there was a way to communicate complex ideas, the stuff of PhD’s, without watering it down or shutting the rest of us out? 

Apparently there is…

What was once a little known video contest for PhD students to explain their research through dance has blown up into a full-scale online dance film fest.  Scientist/writer John Bohannon developed the Dance Your PhD contest as a way to make science accessible and understandable to everyone.

Plus, he sees this model as a way to attack some of the problems we face in the dance community. Bohannon gave this TED talk a few years ago, where he claims that dancers are a valuable and fragile resource.  Using dancers as a learning tool and a means of communicating lofty, inaccessible ideas could be one way to protect the fields of both dance AND science.

Science is hard. 

 

The Dance Your PhD project attempts to make really complex ideas a little more accessible to the outside world.  On top of that, it forces scientists to take a look at their work, step away from the numbers, and ask themselves, “So, what?”  Doing this is important to finding the big picture.  It’s a really healthy and cathartic process to force yourself to summarize your work in a way that everyone (including you) can “get”.  Scientists need to find the “Why” in what they do as much as dancers do.

 

If you know me, then you realize that these are ideas that I can get behind.

 

I got the chance to sit down with one of my favorite dancer/scientists Christopher Knowlton.  Ok, “sit down” is an exaggeration for an email conversation…..

photo of Christopher Knowlton by Kelly Rose, courtesy of Synapse Arts

 

Anyway, we chatted a bit about the pursuit of his PhD in Bioengineering, balanced against his life as a professional dancer/choreographer and Artistic Director of The Dance Team, and how he’s combined his two worlds to create a dance film for the Dance Your PhD contest.  Here’s the gist of our conversation:

 

LW – How did you learn about the Dance Your PhD project?

 

CK – Rachel Thorne Germond of RTG Dance, the first choreographer I worked with in Chicago, posted a link to the contest on Facebook a little over a year ago, and I took an immediate interest. It was too close to the contest deadline to participate, so I mentally (and browserly) bookmarked it, hoping it would happen again in 2012. Not long after, there was an explosion of posts among my dancer friends sharing a TED talk given by John Bohannon & Black Label Movement called “Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal“. Dancers were buzzing over the video’s use of stunning choreography to convey facts and data, in a way that lecture and performance really became inseparable. I’ve always been interested in movement conveying factual information as well as emotional, and since both my work as a scientist and my work as a choreographer have attempted to do those, I decided that I just had to participate. So my mental bookmark has now become a fulfilled New Year’s resolution.

 

LW – Explain your film a little bit, and how it relates to your thesis.

 

CK – The film takes the viewer through my thesis, as demonstrated through dance and subtitles. Much of the technical jargon that I work with on a daily basis, such as replacement, accumulation, isolation, inversion,  and alignment, also have meaning in dance. Sometimes these meanings are similar, sometimes they are different; in that way, much of the dance is somatic wordplay, and I hope that that is the glue that makes technical concepts stick with a broader audience. The subtitles help the viewer navigate the relationship between the movement and my research, but at different times I try to anticipate, match or follow up the movement. We actually created the choreography first, which we made in silence during three two hour rehearsals and filmed in six hours. The script was added during editing to provide more context, and music was slapped on for some continuity. I made the film for a very broad audience, and so I focus a lot on why my research is significant to the viewer. I wanted to add citations for each statement as you would in a research paper in order to appeal to those who wanted more technical information, but there simply wasn’t enough time. The competition is called Dance Your PhD, but in reality, the competition is Dance Film Your PhD – anyone who has made a dance and a dance film know how different those two things are. Our choreography was made for live performance, where the text would be spoken, but I feel it translated to camera fairly well.

 

LW – What, if anything, do you hope viewers take away from your film?

 

CK – If people understand my thesis and never have to ask me awkwardly again what I do, that would be great! But what I’d really like them to take away is how effective dance, or more appropriately, movement, is as a communicative tool. Scientists often lack the abilities to clearly, concisely and memorably explain complex ideas. Every career requires strong communication skills, but research needs a special combination of good technical and soft skills; even if you had a cure for cancer, it wouldn’t do any good unless you can translate that science into the real world. To me, dance and art are necessary components to any education so that problem solvers and innovators can learn to express effectively.

 

LW – What’s next for you?

 

CK – Dancerly, I have a lot happening next: I [premiered] a trio called Shelter for Synapse Arts Collective’s New Works this weekend at Hamlin Park, I’ll be premiering a quintet called The Bro-uble Standard in Links Hall’s Dances to Songs I Hate 2 at the end of October, and I am re-staging an evening-length work called Hub and Spoke in a show I put together called The Past Is Prologue in early November. (That’s not to mention projects I’m performing in for other people.) Scientifically, I’m currently writing my second and third academic research papers to submit for publication, and I plan to present my preliminary thesis defense in December. But more in the vein of this film, I’m in the process of writing a residency proposal to create a simple engineered suit to track and record motion. With it, I want try to better understand differences in dance movement styles, investigate the dancerly and scientific notions of ‘approximation’, and create a performative-lecture to explain the results.

 

It sounds like Chris is a pretty busy guy, and an ambitious one.

 

And now, here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for…the film:

 

 

NEAT! Want more? If you have a nice chunk of time and a hunger for learning, view the other 2012 Dance Your PhD entries here.

 —

Christopher Knowlton is a Ph.D. student in Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago and researches joint replacements in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Rush University Medical Center. Chris is honored to be choreographing in his second season with Synapse Arts Collective. Chris is also currently a collaborative performer for Mark Jeffrey & Judd Morrissey, Erica Mott, Katie Graves, We Stand Sideways and The Dance Team, a group for which he has acted as artistic director for the past year. Chris’s choreography credits include Shortest Distance, a solo performed at the Cincinnati Art Museum, The Box the Gift Came In, a solo premiered at the annual Links Hall benefit THAW and Hub and Spoke, an evening-length piece for The Dance Team premiered at the 2011 Chicago Fringe Festival.

Please, Join The Circle!

We want you to join our circle each month.

Bloggers, you can submit a post. (Find out more below)

Non-bloggers, you can share in the comments.

Together, we’ll give our thoughts, opinions, and ideas on a particular topic.

Join the Circle at Dance Advantage

Here are the upcoming topics, due dates, and relevant information:
September

Topic: The Qualities of a Great Teacher

Due: September 25

Submit Here

Look for it: October 1

——————————-

October

Topic: Wardrobe Wisdom (dance costume or dance fashion tips/ideas)

Due: October 23

Submit Here

Look for it: October 30

——————————-

November

Topic:Best Dance Gift EVER!

Due:November 13

Submit Here

Look for it: November 21

——————————-

January

Topic: Here are my Top 5 Blog Posts – This is why they rock!

(okay, this one’s especially for bloggers but everyone will get to brag a little)

Due: January 22

Submit Here

Look for it: January 30

——————————-

February

Topic: The Most Fabulous Performance I Ever Saw

Due: February 19

Submit Here

Look for it: February 27

——————————-

March

Topic: My Thoughts On Dance In The Mainstream

Due: March 19

Submit Here

Look for it: March 27

——————————-

April

Topic: My Fantasy Dance Class Playlist

Due: April 16

Submit Here

Look for it: April 24

——————————-

Blogger submission

What you DO NOT have to do:
  • You DO NOT have to write a brand new post if you already have avery relevant post on the subject. However, I do ask that the post be less than a year old. (If it’s not, you could always polish, update, and republish an older one.)
  • You DO NOT have to be a dance blogger to submit a post if it fits our topic and is appropriate for all ages.
  • You DO NOT even have to link back here if you don’t want to. Though linking is awesome for us both, it’s not required.
What you DO have to do:
  • Submit by the due date listed above
  • Submit using the form linked to above
  • Provide all of the necessary information
  • Enjoy yourself!

Hope to meet you in the Circle!

Want A Chance To Win? Watch A Chance To Dance!

I was recently asked my thoughts on why I thought seasoned dancers often had mixed feelings about dance shows on TV.

In a moment, I’ll give you the link to the interview, where you can read my full response but one small point I made was that lately there is a much broader variety of dance shows on television. With this, comes an increased opportunity (and responsibility) to invite new viewers of dance to tour the world and life of a dancer.

One new show I’ve been following closely, A Chance To Dance, will air its 4th episode on Ovation TV this week. I gave you a sneak peek of this with some video clips and tips before the show premiered on August 17. Since then, I’ve been tuning in and you may have noticed that Catherine from 4dancers and I are now helping to promote A Chance To Dance.

A Chance To Dance; Fridays on Ovation

What’s special about this one? Unlike most competition shows, it gives a pretty realistic view of the expectations dancers face as they seek to get hired and work within an ensemble. But, it also won’t put the uninitiated dance population to sleep. Already, the show has included the following lessons:

  • That work ethic, respect, and a great attitude are crucial and will set you apart in an audition.
  • That you need to show confidence but check your ego at the door.
  • That noticeable enthusiasm for and willingness to work can sometimes take you a bit further should some of your skills be lacking.
  • That the ability to be creative, to improvise, and give something of yourself to your movement is a desirable skill set, and not everyone has it.
  • That there is more to landing a job than just technical virtuosity or impressive tricks or… any ONE thing.
  • That you may have incredible strengths as a soloist or in a particular style of dance, but you’ll be limited without a strong technical foundation and ability to absorb quickly, especially when time is of the essence (and frankly, when is it not?)
  • And speaking of strong soloists…. if you can’t be accurate and precise in a group, you’ll end up p***ing people off upsetting those around you.

So, fellow teachers and dance tour guides, are you feeling me? I’d like to see more young dancers, seasoned dancers, and new viewers give A Chance To Dance a chance.

In the know about the show

What is A Chance To Dance?

  • It’s an original Ovation TV series by the creators of SYTYCD.
  • It follows Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, two of the UK’s most prominent contemporary dancers and choreographers (BalletBoyz), in their quest to create a new dance company for Nigel Lythgoe in just 28 days.
  • They’ve auditioned dancers from dance schools in Washington D.C.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Austin, TX.
  • The final group heads to the dance mecca of Jacob’s Pillow, where they must eliminate half the dancers and form a company for the grand finale: an original performance in New York.
  • A Chance To Dance airs Fridays at 10PM ET/7PM PT on Ovation.

Here’s a clip of Nunn and Trevitt explaining their feeling that this show brings some “reality” to reality.

The Dance Journey- A Chance to Dance

Watch this video on YouTube.

So, in case the above isn’t motivation enough to tune in, Catherine and I are sweetening the pot with some contests. Here’s the deal:

1. Twitter Trivia Swag Giveaway –

Answer our weekly trivia question on Twitter. Get a chance to win some swag!

Look for our trivia question starting now by searching #ACTDtrivia on Twitter. We’re doing a different giveaway each week based on the upcoming episode, so tune in this week (Friday) at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.

2. Dance Blogger Contest –

Watch the upcoming episode and write a blog post about it. Get a chance to win $25.

People have already submitted entries for this contest but to give more people the chance to answer we’ve extended our deadline. The details on how to enter are here. We’ll choose a random winner from the entries and promote your answer on our social media accounts. This is awesome publicity for you bloggers out there.

Here’s a preview of Episode 4 which airs this week on Ovation:

A Chance to Dance: Episode 4 Preview: Shepherd Struggles

Watch this video on YouTube.

Are you in?

There are 3 ways to watch A Chance To Dance:

1.  Got Ovation?  Watch it on TV.

Find Ovation In Your Area.

2.  Also available On Demand as part of your paid TV subscription.

Here are the listings.

3.  Watch on Facebook.

Rent it Now!

As promised…

Here’s my interview as Mom In The Spotlight at Mom’s New Stage, wherein I wax on televised dance reality, releasing my inner super mom, and what dance has taught me about blogging.

Enjoy! And, even if you aren’t entering our contests…

Let me know what you think of A Chance To Dance in the comments!

Documenting Dance History: Two DVD Musts For Your Collection

In America, trailblazing is part of our national identity.

Our own stories are built upon the legacies of pioneers, and that is ever true in American dance, which is filled with legends who carved their own paths. On occasion these groundbreaking artists create something that, against all odds, grows to be treasured by the entire nation.

Two recent documentaries each highlight an institution widely recognized as an American dance treasure and both are available to own on DVD.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance chronicles the Joffrey Ballet, from its humble beginnings touring the country in a borrowed station wagon, to becoming one of the world’s most exciting and prominent ballet companies.

Never Stand Still takes us to a farm in the Massachusetts Berkshires where visionary dance pioneer Ted Shawn founded Jacob’s Pillow in the 1930s and, through footage, stories, and interviews, places legendary choreographers alongside new innovators and classical ballet dancers next to vaudevillian performers to reveal the passion, discipline, and daring presented year after year at this idyllic mecca for artists.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance

I have been following the release and distribution of the Joffrey movie for some time and was fortunate to be present at Houston’s one-night-only screening earlier this year.

The Joffrey story is not told enough. Dancers value their history, however, I’m surprised at how infrequently the origins, characters, and events that make up the Joffrey Ballet narrative are discussed or taught. I found there was much to learn about this world-renown dance company.

The film immediately draws viewers into its tale with archival images and anecdotes from those who played their part in the Joffrey story. It is in turn, moving, funny, and inspiring. You will become immersed in the drama of the Joffrey company’s triumphs and failures, easily forgetting that you are watching an educational and historical documentary.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance DVD

CLICK HERE! Order the DVD or DVD packages via this Joffrey Movie affiliate link and receive a special discount offer.

Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino, the visionaries behind this company and many of its original ballets were instrumental to the development of contemporary dance in the United States. The underdogs of ballet, they exemplified their time by pushing dance forward artistically and socially with bold political statements, provocative choices, and daring redefinitions of the art form. Young dancers studying today are enjoying the ripple effect of their rendering of the American Dream through The Joffrey Ballet.

No dance program library or history class is complete without this documentary film. It’s that good.

Official trailer Joffrey Mavericks of American Dance

Watch this video on YouTube.

Never Stand Still

I feel very fortunate to have visited the Pillow several times over the last 8 years. The first time was as the leader of a group of young dance students who could not begin to understand the significance this mountain retreat held for me.

Never Stand Still: Dancing at Jacob's Pillow

Order via Amazon

Reverence for Jacob’s Pillow and those who’ve walked its gravel boulevards are a feature of this DVD. Photographs, brief footage, and interviews provide windows into the history of the site; into the minds of the male dancers who first called the picturesque retreat their dance home; and into the passions of Ted Shawn, the man who saw its potential. It also calls on those who have made work on the Pillow’s summer students, like Suzanne Farrell and Judith Jamison, and a few of the young pre-professionals, to share their stories and experiences.

While the significance of Jacob’s Pillow as a mecca for dance artists will not be lost on any viewer, the film also focuses on the lives and craft of dancers past and present. Rasta Thomas, the bad boy of ballet, gives his perspective on what it means to be a choreographer today compared to yesterday. Mark Morris describes the thrust of his work and why it is ‘not for everyone, but anyone.’ Paul Taylor asserts that a dancer chooses a difficult path.

Finally, Never Stand Still, as its title indicates, exposes the ever-evolving nature of dance and the diversity of movement and artistic modalities that are celebrated and brought together year, after year, after year at Jacob’s Pillow.

Well aware that I sound like a broken record, your dance program library is not complete without this film to bring awareness to the next generation of dancers.

But if you want more than my word, you can read Catherine Tully’s review at 4dancers, and watch the extended trailer below.

Never Stand Still – Extended Trailer

Watch this video on YouTube.

 

Have you seen either documentary?

What did you think?

What DVDs have been an indispensable part of your dance library?

Want A Chance To Dance? Tips from the pros of OvationTV’s new series.

Even though summer is winding down, dance-themed television programming isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.

On August 17 (tomorrow), the Ovation network will premiere a new reality/competition dance show from the producers of So You Think You Can Dance, Nigel and Simon Lythgoe.

A Chance To Dance premieres August 17

The premise of A Chance To Dance?

Two choreographers (Ballet Boyz founders, Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt) travel across America to audition dancers for an ensemble slated to perform in only 28 days at Dizzy Feet’s New York City Gala and will eventually bill on the SYTYCD tour.

Most dancers will recognize the high-stakes competition rhetoric (shattered dreams, invitation letters to ‘boot camp’, eliminations, “judges”) for what it is. In reality the dancers are participating in a rigorous audition before the artistic directors and choreographers of a new performance ensemble. Not as punchy, I suppose.

However, after previewing some upcoming episode clips, A Chance To Dance appears to offer viewers a better glance at the audition and creative processes than we’ve seen so far in televised dance reality. Nunn and Trevitt explain the qualities they value in performers, we watch them work during the selection process and in rehearsals, we see them utilizing the strengths of a diverse group of dancers who don’t always fit the mold, and we experience the highs and lows of assembling contemporary choreography.

There’s still plenty of ‘Brits in America’ camp as Nunn and Trevitt explore the cities in which they’re auditioning (see their adventures in a general store/boot and hat shop in Austin below). It remains to be seen if the show will strike an agreeable balance between illuminating the dance profession and entertaining the viewers, but I am encouraged by what I’ve seen so far.

Teachers will celebrate that, for young dancers watching, the show should provide insight into the expectations of performance, reinforcing work ethic, professionalism, and other key concepts.

Do You Want To Be A Dancer?

Billy Trevitt says:

Billy Trevitt's Dance Tips- A Chance to Dance

Watch this video on YouTube.

Planning For An Audition?

SYTYCD All-star, Allison Holker, who helps scout dancers in Salt Lake City, offers advice for dancers:

Billy Trevitt's Dance Tips- A Chance to Dance

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Some Fun In Texas

Being a Texas resident myself, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this clip of Michael and Billy’s adventures in Austin. It showcases the down-home culture that is a fun and essential part of the Texan identity.

I must comment that Austin, Houston, and other metropolitan areas also have amazing cultural opportunities of another sort. You just may not get to see it on television… ever. I invite you to discover these for yourself at some point!

Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt Shop in Texas- 10 Gallon Brits- A Chance to Dance

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Tune In

OvationTV - Be MovedWatch A Chance To Dance tomorrow night at 10pm ET on Ovation and let us know what you think!

If the Ovation network isn’t available in your area, stay tuned to Ovation on Facebook, where episodes will be simultaneously offered in a streaming format (a first for social platforms).

A Chance to Dance -Coming to Ovation on August 17th

Watch this video on YouTube.