Should Dance Students Get to Choose Their Own Variations?
Do students get a say in choosing their competition variations? It depends on the coach's philosophy:
Always: Stephanie and Bo Spassoff of The Rock School
Stephanie Spassoff, PC Catherine Park
"We ask dancers to look at different variations and let us know what they feel they can handle," says Stephanie. "The coach and student then assess the feasibility together," says Bo. "We believe we get the best out of our dancers when they are part of a process that's collaborative and congenial."
Sometimes: Ilka Doubek of Litchfield Dance Arts Academy
Litchfield Dance Arts Academy, PC Jacqueline Pettie
Doubek allows dancers to weigh in, but ultimately it's up to the coach. "Often I find when kids come to you and say they want to do a specific variation, you may have to water it down or simply say it's unrealistic," says Doubek. "For someone tall with long legs, I like to give them something to show off those lines, but a perky soubrette personality is well matched for something like Coppélia or Flames of Paris."
Never: Claudio Muñoz of Houston Ballet II
Claudio Muñoz, PC Jaime Lagdameo
"The student never chooses the variation. You need them to trust you to do it," says Claudio Muñoz. "The proper material for competition has to reflect ability and taste. So, it's up to the coach to look at the dancer in front of him and assess."
Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.