The Company Connection
Dance departments run by choreographers with active companies
While many college programs provide good foundations for dancers hoping to work professionally, sometimes the leap from classwork to career can seem daunting. Some schools have created a natural bridge between the two by tapping choreographers who lead vibrant companies to head their dance departments. These directors’ groups frequently spend solid chunks of time on campus, giving students an up-close-and-personal view of company life. “It demystifies the idea of the professional dancer, but also exposes students to their rigor and discipline,” says Connecticut College dance chair David Dorfman. And occasionally, a student’s work in the dance department even leads to a job offer with the troupe—a significant career jumpstart. —Margaret Fuhrer
Located: New London, CT
Degrees offered: BA, minor in dance
No. of dance majors: About 40
No. of studios: 3
Dance department chair: David Dorfman
Affiliated company: David Dorfman Dance
Alumni who’ve joined the company: Several, including current company member Raja Kelly
Nature of the school/company relationship: Since the fall of 2007, David Dorfman Dance has been permanent company-in-residence at Connecticut College, which allows the troupe to spend several weeks on campus over the course of the year. Company members not only teach classes but also take them alongside students, and students are welcome to sit in on any DDD rehearsals. Each year DDD dancers also contribute to the seminar for senior dance majors, answering their questions about life in a professional company.
Above: David Dorfman leads class at Connecticut College. Photo by Adam Campos, Courtesy Connecticut College.
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Located: Minneapolis, MN
Degrees offered: BA, BFA in dance
No. of dance majors: 96
No. of studios: 4
Director of dance: Ananya Chatterjea
Affiliated company: Ananya Dance Theatre
Alumni who’ve joined the company: Three of ADT’s 10 current members
Nature of the school/company relationship: Though Ananya Dance Theatre has no set residency at the University of Minnesota, the company frequently rehearses on campus, allowing dance students to rub elbows with company members. This summer ADT will also host a summer intensive at UMN for the first time. ADT uses a specific vocabulary based on classical Indian dance, a style Chatterjea also teaches at UMN. Occasionally, she’ll mix students and company dancers in performance projects, including a showing at the Weisman Art Museum.
Above: Ananya Chatterjea corrects a University of Minnesota student. Photo by Brandon Stengel, Farm Kid Studios, Courtesy Ananya Dance Theatre.
Located: Princeton, NJ
Degrees offered: Certificate (minor) in dance
No. of dance certificates awarded annually: About 12
No. of studios: 4
Dance program director: Susan Marshall
Affiliated company: Susan Marshall & Company
Alumni who’ve joined the company: None yet, though students have appeared as volunteers in SMC performances in New York
Nature of the school/company relationship: Each year, Marshall teaches a special course as part of Princeton’s Atelier program, which is designed to allow professional artists to engage students in their creative practices. Susan Marshall & Company members usually participate in these courses. Last year, Marshall and SMC dancer Kristin Clotfelter worked with Princeton students on a duet that ultimately became part of Play/Pause, which SMC premiered and toured last fall.
Above: Susan Marshall works with Princeton students. Photo by Denise Applewhite, Courtesy Princeton University.
What do Percy Jackson, Princess Diana and Tina Turner have in common? They're all characters on Broadway this season. Throw in Michelle Dorrance's choreographic debut, Henry VIII's six diva-licious wives and the 1990s angst of Alanis Morissette, and the 2019–20 season is shaping up to be an exciting mix of past-meets-pop-culture-present.
Here's a look at the musicals hitting Broadway in the coming months. We're biding our time until opening night!
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
Ah, stretching. It seems so simple, and is yet so complicated.
For example: You don't want to overstretch, but you're not going to see results if you don't stretch enough. You want to focus on areas where you're tight, but you also can't neglect other areas or else you'll be imbalanced. You were taught to hold static stretches growing up, but now everyone is telling you never to hold a stretch longer than a few seconds?
Considering how important stretching correctly is for dancers, it's easy to get confused or overwhelmed. So we came up with 10 common stretching scenarios, and gave you the expert low-down.