Hitting the Books: Two Valuable Reads from Oxford University Press


Every so often, I meet a student who seems older than their years with interests far more sophisticated than those of their peers. Despite their young age- middle school, high school, early college- their understanding of the world and their desire to see the big pictures leaves an impression and sets a tone. For these students, I talk a little longer, share a little more, push a little further, and raise the bar in what I expect from them. I {Read More}

Historical Documentaries on DVD Help To Fill A Void In Academic Dance

German Lineage in Modern Dance: Solos by Wigman, Hoyer, Holm, Nikolais, Louis - Dancetime Productions

Two DVD titles from Dancetime Productions delve into the political, gender and social issues of their chosen era and reveal links between the dance of yesterday and today. Perhaps filling a void in dance education, these captivating educational documentaries combine historical data with practical examples.

“Black or White” to Black and White: Dance History and the Music Video

IMAGE Toe Stand in Black Boots IMAGE

“The only thing new in dance is you.” A friend shared that quote from an Ohio University professor years ago and it has stuck with me.  Every year I find myself chuckling to myself as I listen to kids claim movements as “their” choreography when really many are sampling from the limited palette of movement they’ve witnessed, usually music videos. The question inevitably becomes- How do I get them interested in expanding their bubble? In grad school, I had the {Read More}

The First Film To Tell The Joffrey Ballet Story — Autographed DVD

IMAGE The first film to tell the story of this groundbreaking company. www.joffreymovie.com IMAGE

You could own a signed DVD copy of Joffrey: Mavericks Of American Ballet, the first documentary film to tell the story of this groundbreaking dance company, considered the first truly American ballet company. Only 100 autographed copies for sale! Giveaway ends Feb 23, 2012.

History Moves: Using the Creative Process to Explore Dance History

IMAGE Blindfolded dancers in a group IMAGE

When working with students on choreography it’s possible to get them thinking beyond steps to a more robust concept of creative process that encourages thoughtful choices about all areas of production. Heather demonstrated this with her previous article. This time, she goes a step further, showing you ways to connect these ideas with dance history to enrich students’ understanding.

Tap Classics: Paddle and Roll Heroes, Lon Chaney & Bunny Briggs


Many contenders could claim to be “the king” of paddle and roll (also called paradiddles) but no other dancer is identified more with the tap step than tap icon, Lon Chaney. Bunny Briggs has also made his mark with the step, as have others. Learn more about paddle and roll and its origins.

Tap Classics: Frank Condos and 5-Count Wings

IMAGE About to begin the tap dance - painting IMAGE

In the 1920s, wings were all the rage, and many variations existed. The Pump, the Pendulum, the Saw, the Double Back… like time steps, most dancers had a signature wing variation. But there was one variation in particular that caught the public’s attention, and it was the 5-count wing, created by Frank Condos.

Tap Classic: Jimmy Slyde and his Signature Sliding


Sliding has long been a popular tap step. The novelty of the slide comes from the illusion that the floor has somehow developed a slick surface, giving the impression that the dancer is off balance and could fall at any minute. Discover how it’s done, view classic footage, and learn about the men who made the step famous.

What Do They Mean By ‘Contemporary’ On SYTYCD?

IMAGE Nicola Ayoub reaches a flexed foot in the air with clasped hands. IMAGE

Labels stink but we kind of need them. Contemporary dance is a label that could use a bit of clarification. So many are attempting to sort it all out. An educated guesser, I try to make sense of it all, question, reflect and hopefully inspire some clarity along the way.

Expand Your Library or Horizons: 13 Books on Dance and Culture


Dr. Renee Rothman, a dancer and cultural anthropologist, share 13 books that address the human meaning and experience of dancing in cultures throughout the world. Selected because they are easy for general audiences to read, these texts cover dance throughout history, Modern Dance, Jazz Dance, and Social Dance in America, Latin Dance, Middle Eastern Dance, and dance in China. Expand your dance library or your horizons with this reading list.

Past and Present Pillow at Your Fingertips

IMAGE In July 1933, Shawn and his Men Dancers started giving public "Tea Lecture Demonstrations" to promote their work. The first audience of 45 curiosity-seekers expanded weekly so that by summer's end, people were turned away: roots for what was to evolve into Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival were established. IMAGE

Three years feels too long since my last visit to Jacob’s Pillow. Dance Interactive is how I’ve been getting my Pillow fix lately. The website provides a tremendous opportunity for educating students and encouraging appreciation for dance on a global level. Drawing from the extensive Jacob Pillow Archives, it is a collection you won’t find elsewhere online.

The Desegregation of Dance and the Pioneers Who Made It Possible

IMAGE Arthur Mitchell rests his chin on folded arms. IMAGE

Dance Advantage contributor, Roger Lee reflects on Black History Month, focusing in particular on a time when dance, along with the rest of America, was segregated. Giving a brief history of ballet dancer and pioneer, Arthur Mitchell, Roger expresses the inspiration that Mitchell and other trailblazers have provided for young black dancers like himself.