Summer Dance (the novel) Giveaway

We’re celebrating our 800th post with a giveaway!

If you’re searching for summer reading, Lynn Swanson‘s Summer Dance, a delightful Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards winner, is a great choice for dance lovers of all ages.

Summer Dance by Lynn Swanson

Available for Kindle

Author Lynn Swanson portrays the hard-won accomplishments of tween and teenage girls as they cope with life-changing artistic and social events at a dance camp. Set in the northern Michigan woods, the novel tells the story of 13-year-old Sara, who has been accepted into an exclusive dance program for the summer, and how the challenges of boys, dance and friends help her realize what she wants in life and in a future dance career.

“Summer Dance” contains a glossary of dance terms and a study guide. It is filled with dance music readily available on the market to enhance readers’ experience of the story, such as “Swan Lake,” “Les Patineurs,” “Les Sylphides,” “Nutcracker” and Kronos Quartet’s “Pieces of Africa.” [More at PR NewsChannel]

One reviewer recently described the novel as “a gem,” with inspirational characters whose “abilities and dedication is inspirational, but done in a such a subtle manner that it is never preachy.”

I couldn’t agree more. This is what I had to say after reading Summer Dance: “In the midst of tough competition and very authentic episodes of teenage drama, the characters develop… well… character, learning and demonstrating ways to get along and even work together.”

Read more from my interview with Lynn Swanson to learn about the places, dance programs, and people who inspired Summer Dance.

If you’re spending this summer at home, you can still experience summer dance at Lakewood with Sara. If you’ll be away, this is definitely a book to pack in your summer intensive suitcase.

Summer Dance is sold at (paperback and for Kindle),,, and now dancewear stores across the U.S. and in England.

But you can win your very own copy right here at Dance Advantage.

Here’s how to enter:

Summer Dance by Lynn SwansonComment on this post, telling us about your best summer dance experience.

(If you haven’t ever had a summer dance experience, that’s ok, tell us which summer dance camp or program you’d like to attend someday.)

You have until NOON (EST) Tuesday, June 25 to leave your comment. At that time 2 winners will be randomly selected to receive one paperback copy of Summer Dance by Lynn Swanson.

The nitty gritty: You must live in the U.S. or Canada and be at least 18 years old to participate in this giveaway. Read our giveaway policy.

Best of luck!

Giving Thanks Giveaway 2012

There are many ways to say thank you but here at Dance Advantage, we like to thank our readers with giveaways!

So if you’re reading this right now, consider yourself invited to a whole week of them.

Details in 5, 4, 3…

December 3 - 8:


(sponsors in red are live links to the giveaway! click to enter)

Seek New York LLC [CLOSED]

Richard Maddock [CLOSED]

Ballet Barre None [CLOSED]

Tendus Under A Palm Tree [CLOSED]

International Dance Centre [CLOSED]

Papercutz [CLOSED]

Balletband [CLOSED]

When will it begin?

Monday, December 3.

When will it end?

Saturday, December 8.

What could I win?

We’ve got music, books, videos, and some surprises too! But stay tuned to this post because the links to each individual giveaway will be posted above in our sponsor list.

What will I have to do?

All you have to do is show up and sign into the Rafflecopter widget for the giveaway (or giveaways) of your choice — each giveaway has its own widget — then comment, and click ‘Did it” in the widget.

TWO new giveaways will go up daily so check our home page or check the sponsor list here for the links.

Each contest will be open for only 3 days so don’t wait to enter if you want to win!

What are my chances?

It depends. There will be up to three winners on each giveaway. Winners will be chosen randomly from those that enter.

If you want to improve your chances, there are extra tasks in the widget. For each task you complete, just let us know you ‘did it’ and you’ll get an additional entry!

What happens if I win?

After I randomly draw your winning entry, I’ll contact you via email. You’ll only have 48 hours to get back to me. So stay close to your email throughout the coming week (and a half). When I don’t hear back from a winner, I move on to the next drawn winner which makes another person happy (yay!) but another one pretty disappointed. I’d rather that no one be disappointed!!

Any other questions?

Ask now in the comments below!

And, before you go, please read our giveaway policy.

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…


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.

Got The Next Big Move? You Could Appear In a Fruit Of The Loom Ad

Fans of So You Think You Can Dance know that Jonathan “Legacy” Perez has some cr-aaaazy moves!

Like that hand-over-hand scuttle thing across the floor? Whaat?

If YOU have some signature moves, bust them out for The Next Big Move contest/audition.

Fruit of the Loom is looking for movers 5 and up (there’s a Child category and an Ingénue/Adult category for ages 16 and over) to be Grand Prize Winners in this contest and appear in a Fruit of the Loom advertisement.

Auditions have already been held in NYC, LA, and Chicago, but performers in the Atlanta and Dallas areas still have a chance to bust out their moves. Find out what you need to know about the auditions below.

And, if you are in the U.S. but not close enough to audition in person, between August 20th and October 1st, 2012, you can submit a video of your flashiest moves on Facebook instead.


Besides that attending the audition is sure to be a blast, there’s another bonus for showing up to the live event,

Legacy will be there!

In addition to being a Top 8 finalist on Season 6 of SYTYCD, Legacy has shared the stage with renowned performers including Rihanna, The Black Eyed Peas and was a featured dancer on Gwen Stefani’s world tour.

He’s performed in Hannah Montana The Movie, Dance Flick, Stomp the Yard, B-Girl, Step Up 3D, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and you may remember his work with The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (The LXD).

You can also see some of his moves here:

Watch this video on YouTube.

Legacy has taken a few moments from his busy schedule to talk with Dance Advantage…

Dance Advantage: In an audition, contest, or battle, a performer often may have only one shot to leave a strong enough impression to make the first cut. That’s certainly true for The Next Big Move contest. As a dancer, how do you prepare yourself for that moment?

Legacy: I believe that success is when opportunity meets hard work, and the best moment to be caught in when you dance and express yourself is in the moment. No matter what you do, it is felt by the audience and that’s the ultimate goal as a performer. Knowing you did your best is gratifying where even if you don’t make the first cut, you feel good about what you did and certainty plays a key role in the mindset. 

DA: Coming to So You Think You Can Dance as a b-boy, you did not have the technical dance experience of most of your competitors. Yet, you performed with a surprising amount of poise and sense of line. To what do you owe this ability to adapt? And are you studying any technical dance forms now?

Legacy: The one thing we as kids growing up lose is our imagination. Goal setting and dreaming plays an outstanding part in adapting and knowing you can do anything you want, as long as you help enough people get what they want. Having the freedom of knowing whatever happens is supposed to happen (certainty) created an opening for me to let go and just focus on the task at hand, not to mention loosening the grasp of all doubt in my true potential. I study different dance styles and I absolutely love the growth process.

DA: As a judge for this contest you are searching for The Next Big Move. Entertainers are always pushing the envelope and pushing themselves. From where does your inspiration and motivation to keep moving forward creatively come?

Legacy: Every time you are able to do what you do (your craft) the intention should be of wanting to do better than your last performance, it’s very difficult for some people to keep their inspiration and motivation to keep on keeping on (moving forward). The secret is, being able to make success and reflection from failures. A famous quote says, “I didn’t fail, I simply found 15,000 ways to not do something.”

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Live Auditions:

Local dancers, athletes and those that love to move are all invited!

  • Participants must be at least 5 years of age to compete; Participants under age 18 must be accompanied to the audition and to any related events with a parent/legal guardian.
  • Audition spaces are limited and appointments will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Only amateur acts will be seen. Acts with professional representation will not be eligible.
  • All acts must be family-friendly as shows will be open to all ages.


WHEN:    Thursday, September 20th from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

WHERE:   Wal-Mart: 210 Cobb Parkway South Marietta, GA


WHEN:   Thursday, September 27th from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

WHERE:  Wal-Mart: 2225 Interstate 20 Frontage Road, Grand Prairie, TX 75052

*Please note that individual scores will not be given on site. The dance auditions will be recorded and uploaded to Fruit of the Loom’s Facebook page, provided they meet all submission requirements, following the event.

Dance Advantage receives compensation for helping promote The Next Big Move audition

Spring Fever Giveaway 2011: SURPRISE!

This giveaway is now closed to new entries.

Check the Spring Fever main page to enter those still open.

Welcome to DAY SEVEN of the Spring Fever Giveaway 2011! Our final giveaway!

Today’s giveaway is a prize package from Dance Advantage with our friend Richard Maddock.

IMAGE Click here to get started IMAGENormally, I’d tell you a little bit about Dance Advantage in this space but you’re already here! So, I’m just going to encourage you, especially if you’re visiting for the first time, to explore. Clicking the Get Started button is an excellent place to begin. From there you can access some key components of the site. I recommend checking out our Cornerstone Content (featuring a mere sample of the nearly 500 articles on the site, plus how to navigate your way to more of the content you want), and our Facts and FAQs page.

Richard Maddock is an accomplished musician (see for yourself) as well as a seasoned dance class and exam accompanist. He is currently Head Accompanist at The Pia Bouman School of Creative Movement and Ballet, in Toronto, Canada. We talked to him last year about his years of experience as an accompanist.

His full-length CDs are well-known in the dance community. Music for Movement and Imaginations; Ballet Studio Inspirations: Volume Two, and Three; The Garden Within; and As Creation Unfolds: Part Three have all been reviewed (and given away) on this site before. Four of these albums have been digitally remastered and can now be found on iTunes and for download.

The Giveaway

IMAGE The Dancer's Way by Linda H. Hamilton IMAGETWO Dance Advantage readers will win:
  • A copy of The Dancer’s Way: The New York City Ballet Guide to Mind, Body, and Nutrition by former dancer, clinical psychologist, and key developer of NYCB’s wellness program, Linda H. Hamilton (also known for her popular advice column in Dance Magazine). This book is a comprehensive dancer’s companion. It provides truly practical advice and useful information for dancers of any age, any level of experience, and in any dance form.
  • Richard Maddock’s As Creation Unfolds: Part Three instrumental CD. Suitable for choreography or relaxation, this album takes the listener on a sometimes deliberate, sometimes meandering but always reassuring journey of reflection and memory.
  • A Dance Advantage micro-fiber sleeveless t-shirt featuring our basic logo design, available at Store.

IMAGE MUK LUKs Toggle design - colors/patterns will vary. IMAGE

ONE Grand Prize winner will get…

The above three prizes PLUS a pair of super-cute MUK LUKs. Keep those dancer feet cozy warm between classes and around the house.

IMAGE DA logo on micro-fiber tank top IMAGE

This grand prize package retails at over $80.

How To Enter:

Visit iTunes or and LIKE, Share, or Ping Richard’s downloadable music as a thanks for his continuing generosity to DA readers.
THEN, leave a comment at this post, answering the following question: What is the main reason you read Dance Advantage? (If you’re new, what do you like about what you’ve discovered so far?)

This giveaway is open to those in the United States and Canada and will close Wednesday, March 30 at Midnight EDT.

Winners will be randomly drawn and contacted within one week from today. We hope you’ll be one of them!

Some giveaways have ended but there’s still time to enter for some great prizes.
Check this Spring Fever page to check on giveaways still available!

Once contacted via the email used to comment, winners have only 48 hours to respond and claim their prize. Each giveaway is treated as a separate contest. Subscriber PLUS members are given daily opportunities to earn additional entries on each giveaway. PLEASE READ our giveaway policy before entering.