Editors’ Picks

What to Listen to: Our Top 3 Dance Podcast Picks

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What's better on your morning commute than listening to a podcast, you ask? We'd say, listening to a dance podcast!

Lucky for us, there are more dance podcasts than ever. We're here to provide a guide to our current top dance podcast picks.


Conversations on Dance

Started just over three years ago, Conversations on Dance, hosted by former Miami City Ballet dancers Rebecca King Ferraro and Michael Breeden, provides a thoughtful look into the ballet world. On a close to weekly basis, the pair interviews "the ballet world's best and brightest," including choreographers, dancers, critics, designers, teachers, artistic directors and more.

Conversations on Dance also has close relationships with Vail Dance Festival and The Kennedy Center, and has recorded a number of episodes live at both. At Vail this year, King Ferraro and Breeden spoke with festival artistic director Damian Woetzel; ballet stars from either side of Lincoln Center's plaza including Herman Cornejo, Roman Mejia, Tiler Peck and James Whiteside; and choreographer Pam Tanowitz.

Dance and Stuff

For a lighthearted, insider look into the dance world, tune in to Dance and Stuff. Reid Bartelme and Jack Ferver, both multi-hyphenates of the dance world who have known each other since their high school days at Interlochen, host the show. While they can tend to talk more about the "stuff" than the "dance," this doesn't make the podcast any less enjoyable (especially if you like movies, which they discuss a lot).

When they get down to business, their candor, combined with Reid's rich knowledge about the ballet world and Ferver's social commentary, leads to compelling conversations about the worlds of dance and performance. With a diverse network of communities between them, from the downtown performance art scene to the uptown classical ballet ecosystem, their guests bring a wide range of experiences, insights and stories.

PillowVoices: Dance Through Time

As podcasts grow ever more popular, some dance institutions are bringing them in-house. For over a year, The Joyce Theater has been offering episodes featuring conversations with guests either performing on or choreographing for the Joyce stage on its podcast Still Spinning. Earlier this summer, Jacob's Pillow launched its own: PillowVoices: Dance Through Time.

PillowVoices shakes up the typical host and guest structure, allowing various Pillow people to shape their own episodes and curate a sampling of archival recordings from the Pillow's collection to share. So far, episodes have been thoughtfully assembled by director of preservation Norton Owen, associate archivist Patsy Gay and scholar-in-residence Brian Schaefer, and include audio featuring dance greats Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham and Ohad Naharin.

These days it's easy to access these podcasts on a number of platforms, so start listening!

Health & Body
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Dancers are understandably obsessed with food. In both an aesthetic and athletic profession, you know you're judged on your body shape, but you need proper fuel to perform your best. Meanwhile, you're inundated with questionable diet advice.

"My 'favorite' was the ABC diet," says registered dietitian nutritionist Kristin Koskinen, who trained in dance seriously but was convinced her body type wouldn't allow her to pursue it professionally. "On the first day you eat only foods starting with the letter A, on the second day only B, and so on."

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Sponsored by NYCDA
Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.

"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."

Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.

Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:

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The Creative Process
Rehearsal of Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets. Photo by Paula Court, Courtesy Performa.

Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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