Ananya Chatterjea (here in Mohona: Estuaries of Desire) will be leading one of the conference's movement classes. Paul Virtucio, Courtesy Ananya Dance Theatre

Dance/USA's Pay-What-You-Can Virtual Conference Will Address Inequity and COVID-19

Dance/USA's annual conference is going all digital this year. And while you may have already developed a case of Zoom fatigue weeks ago, this is one online opportunity we're truly excited about.

Because artists can join from anywhere and attendance is pay-what-you-can, the June 17–19 Dance/USA Virtual Conference has the potential to reach far more people at a time when open conversation and resource sharing are imperative for our field.


The sessions couldn't be more relevant as our art form addresses racism as well as the impact of COVID-19. Preview some of the topics below, then register through June 12 at 5pm Eastern here.

  • Physical and Mental Health During COVID-19 and Making Work Environments Safe (moderated by Dance Magazine editor in chief Jennifer Stahl)
  • Dance Performances: Planning & Preparing for the 2020–2021 Season
  • Open Space: An Artist Connectivity Series. (This special edition will be presented by The International Association of Blacks in Dance, Sheffield Global Arts Management, KMP Artists and Dance/USA.)
  • Sharing and Making Dance Online in COVID-19 and Beyond
  • Addressing Inequity in Dance Now and for the Future (a two-part series)
  • Federal Advocacy During COVID-19
  • Addressing Climate Change, Business Adaptation, & Community Togetherness

Social activities and dance classes are also sprinkled throughout the schedule, and include a networking coffee and tea hour, a DJ dance party and a #Dance/USGay happy hour for Pride month.

Tickets range from $10 to $100 for three days of programming, and you do not have to be a registered member of Dance/USA to attend. (For those who are unable to pay due to financial constraints, email annualconference@danceusa.org.)

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020