Still from a film by Project Home, one of our 2021 "25 to Watch." Photo by Timo Dettmers, courtesy Project Home

Letter from the Editor: As 2021 Begins, I'm Feeling Grateful

I've been thinking a lot lately about how lucky the dance community is. I know, I know. That's a tricky thing to say after the devastating year we've had, and given the enormous challenges still ahead. But as 2020 drew to a close, I kept coming back to how fortunate we are to be in a profession filled with such resilient, thoughtful, dedicated, intelligent people.

For instance, I'm continually awed by the brilliance of people like Sydney Skybetter and Maya Man, who illuminate the intersection of dance and tech in mind-blowing ways. I'm encouraged by the care so many have taken to make sure this industry survives, whether that means reimagining institutional systems to make dance more inclusive or building creative alternatives when mainstays—like traditional summer intensives or, you know, proscenium stage performances—prove impossible.

Maybe more than anything, I'm struck by the never-ending creativity of dance artists, which is on full display in "25 to Watch," Dance Magazine's annual list of the up-and-comers we see as the future of this field.

As we ring in the new year, I think it's worth taking a moment to be grateful for dance artists' massive reserves of talent and drive. They are what's going to get the dance world through to the other end of this crisis—and help us thrive as we build back stronger than ever.

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Photo by Ernest Gregory, Courtesy Fleming

How This Tap-Dancer-Turned-Composer Stays True to His Jazz Roots

From Riverdance to HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," tap dancer DeWitt Fleming Jr. has proved to be a triple threat on the stage and screen. He's also an entrepreneur, selling his own line of wireless microphones, DeW It Right Tap Mics. Last year, he added "composer" to his resumé with the release of Sax and Taps INTERSPLOSION!, the first tap dance and jazz album recorded at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club. One of the songs, co-written with jazz saxophonist Erica von Kleist, was a finalist for last year's Unsigned Only music competition.

"When you're invited to dance with a jazz band, it's always assumed that, as a tap dancer, you're going to be a feature. If you go all the way back to New Orleans' Congo Square, and even before then, dance was a part of the music. I wanted to stick to those roots and create an album where everything was intertwined."

He recently spoke with Dance Magazine about his collaboration with von Kleist and the creation of their album.

January 2021