Since the dance world changed overnight due to COVID-19, we've been bringing you constant content on how our community is adapting to the pandemic—from following dancers who are #SocialDisDancing to asking the experts for tips on taking class at home.
Now, we're launching Dance Media Live!, a curated class series with everything from ballet to Pilates to cardio to jazz, featuring some of our favorite teachers.
So join us on Zoom, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2 pm ET, beginning May 7. Classes are $10 each.
Sign up here, and see the full class schedule below:
Courtesy Cary Ballet Conservatory<p>Join Cary Ballet Conservatory faculty member and Youth America Grand Prix judge Timour Bourtasenkov for <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=CaryBalletJune2" target="_blank">an advanced/pre-professional level ballet class</a>.</p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=CaryBalletJune2" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
En Lin, Courtesy Stys<p>Natalie Stys, a New York City-based dancer and choreographer, will teach <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=NatalieJune4" target="_blank">a contemporary jazz class designed to push students to cultivate their artistic voice</a>. Class will include a conditioning-focused warm-up, guided improvisations and a combination with influences from hip hop, jazz, ballet and theater.</p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=NatalieJune4" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Alex Scurr, Courtesy Gay Men's Dance Company<p>Join Gay Men's Dance Company member Tony Tran for <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=GayMensDanceJune9" target="_blank">an open-level vogue femme class.</a> </p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=GayMensDanceJune9" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Courtesy Kagan<p>Degas Dance Studio faculty member Savea Kagan will teach <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=ImprovFlowJune11" target="_blank">an improv flow class</a>, a guided exploration that encourages dancers to take risks, let go, and get out of their habitual ways of moving.</p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=ImprovFlowJune11" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Bradford Rogne, Courtesy Joffrey Academy of Dance<p>Join José Carayol, head of the Joffrey Academy of Dance's studio company and trainee program, for <a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=AdvancedBalletJune16" target="_blank">an advanced ballet class and Q&A.</a></p><p><a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=AdvancedBalletJune16" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Mindy Garfinkle Photography<p>Erica Hornthal, dance/movement therapist and professional counselor, will lead a <a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=MovementMedicineJune18" target="_blank">guided movement meditation</a> designed to reduce stress and prioritize self care.</p><p><a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=MovementMedicineJune18" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Joseph Miller, Courtesy Flexistretcher<p>Join Rein Short for a <a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=FlexibilityTrainingJune23" target="_blank">60-minute stretch and strength class</a> specifically designed to address the needs of the dancer using the Flexistretcher tool.</p><p><a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=FlexibilityTrainingJune23" target="_blank">Sign up now</a>.</p>
Chris Kendig Photography, Courtesy BalletX<p>BalletX dancer and Princess Grace Award-winner Stanley Glover will teach a <a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=VogueJune25" target="_blank">vogue femme class for all levels</a>, including vogue basics and a vogue history lesson.</p><p><a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=VogueJune25" target="_blank">Sign up now</a>.</p>
Chasity Strickland/YOUnique Photography, Courtesy Beasley<p>Join Alyssa Beasley, regional director of Fusion National Dance Competition, for a <a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=TechniqueConditioningJune30" target="_blank">technique-inspired conditioning and stretching class</a>.</p><p><span></span><a href="https://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=TechniqueConditioningJune30" target="_blank">Sign up now</a>.</p>
Rob Ferrell, Courtesy Goucher<p>Elizabeth Lowe Ahearn, dance professor and founding director of the Pilates Center at Goucher College, will teach <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=GoucherMay28" target="_blank">a Classical Pilates mat class</a> designed to improve stretch, strength and control. </p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=GoucherMay28" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Sammi Pfieffer, Courtesy Koresh<p>Join Melissa Rector, assistant artistic director of Koresh Dance Company, for <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=KoreshDanceCompanyMay26" target="_blank">an intermediate contemporary class </a>focused on groundedness, breath, body percussion, stylized gesture and quick transitions. </p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=KoreshDanceCompanyMay26" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Corey Rives, Courtesy Revel Dance Convention<p>Courtney Ortiz, owner of Impact Dance Adjudicators and a professional dancer, teacher and competition judge, will teach <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=ImpactDanceMay19" target="_blank">a jazz class designed for small spaces</a> geared towards intermediate/advanced dancers and teachers. The class will be followed by a Q&A session with Ortiz, where participants can ask her advice on a professional dance career. </p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=ImpactDanceMay19" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Kathy Howard Portrait, Courtesy The Dancer's Workout<p>Join Jules Szabo, founder of The Dancer's Workout, for <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=TDWMay14" target="_blank">a dance fitness class targeted to dancers</a> and incorporating ballet, jazz and contemporary dance.</p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=TDWMay14" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
Courtesy Baker<p>Professional dancer-turned-bodybuilder and International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness Olympian Jaclyn Baker will lead <a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=IFBBMay12" target="_blank">a 30-minute cardio sweat session</a>, focused on increasing stamina. Suitable for all fitness levels and ages. </p><p><a href="http://listings.dancemagazine.com/vds/?class=IFBBMay12" target="_blank">Sign up here.</a></p>
May 7: Improving Grand Allegro with Hiroto Saito<a href="http://" ><img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzE2ODk4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwODU4MTcwM30.V1S8KyXkeiIz7b6BZvpMXtlKnw_VtQ14kr5wESJ7U2M/img.jpg?width=980" id="77cfe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bcdccf6b177353666e1b3a1c53b74547" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /></a>
Courtesy Canada's Ballet Jörgen<p>Join Ballet Jörgen ballet master Hiroto Saito for a ballet barre designed to support your jumps—including a special strength-training session to help you build jumping power when you're not able to jump at home.</p>
Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."
Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.
Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.
Spruce Up Your Dance Space<p>It can be frustrating to train at home when the space doesn't feel like a studio. But changing the room up a little can help. Dancers are coming up with creative solutions: setting up mirrors for self-correction, laying down a square of Marley flooring, even building barres from PVC piping. Creating a makeshift "studio space" can make it easier to get your head into the zone.</p>
Make a To-Do List<p>Try creating a list of what you want to achieve each week to help you stay on track. Dancers tend to be creatures of habit, so following a schedule can provide normalcy during a very unusual time. If creating a weekly schedule feels overwhelming, make a daily one instead. It's fine to take things a day at a time! </p><p>"After feeling a bit lost and unmotivated, I decided to start making daily checklists of things to do so that I had some kind of set schedule each day," says Anamarie McGinn, a company dancer with Orlando Ballet. "Even listing simple things like giving myself class, going for a walk or recording a live workout video for social media keeps me feeling motivated and helps pass the time." </p>
Try the Buddy System<p>It's easier to stick to a schedule when you're not alone in your efforts. "Dancers have talked to me about not wanting to do class and feeling unmotivated," says Renee Aguilera, ballet mistress at Roanoke Ballet Theatre. "I recommend finding a 'dance friend' to act as an accountability partner that you can do class with," she says. Reach out to a colleague or fellow student (or even a friend you made at a summer intensive) and agree to take a few classes together virtually. Having someone you trust and admire to keep you accountable can help you maintain class attendance and will likely strengthen your friendship, as well.</p>
Get Specific<p>Zoning in on small goals can give you a sense of purpose. Without rehearsals or choreography projects to factor for, you have extra time to focus on specific weaknesses or details in your technique. Perhaps now is the time to concentrate on that lifted hip correction, or address the positioning and detail of your arms and fingers. Ahuero has begun cross-training and working on building muscle. Returning to the basics is so essential, yet frequently overlooked. When you go back to the studio you will be a more well-rounded dancer—and your teachers will be thrilled, as well!</p>
When your dance studio is your second home, taking class in your actual home just isn't the same. But if there's one silver lining to the current situation, it's that some of the biggest dance stars from stage and screen have gone online to lead barres, host dance parties, demonstrate combos, and teach technique classes—some of which are completely free.
"Students can learn so much from working with the pros directly," says American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who teaches on Zoom through Universal Ballet Competition as well as offering the Cindies Ballet Class on Instagram Live with fellow ABT principal James Whiteside. "It's inspiring and eye-opening to connect with dancers all over the world."
So what benefits do these virtual master classes offer? How do they fit into your overall training regimen? And how do you even navigate all of the content that's out there? Read on for advice from the pros.
Be Choosy<p>Is there a teacher you've always wanted to take from, but couldn't get to in person? Are dancers from your dream company or summer intensive offering online classes? Lisa Pelliteri, owner of Plumb Performing Arts Center in Scottsdale, AZ, encourages seeking out virtual classes that will help you explore your career goals. "I tell my students, 'Please experiment!'" she says. "Learn what's out there. See what a style feels like on your body. Try something different." Celeb master classes can count as research toward your future.</p>
Dana Wilson teaching an online class (courtesy Wilson)
Plan How You'll Learn<p>For virtual workshops, let go of the pressure to get every detail right. "Focus on broad strokes first," says commercial performer Dana Wilson, who teaches for New York City Dance Alliance, including NYCDA's ongoing Virtual Dance Experience. If the teacher posts YouTube videos, prep for success in the live session by watching them, to get a feel for their style. Also, on a platform like Instagram Live where the teacher can't see you, "feel empowered to do a bit of your own thing," Wilson says. "A hidden gem here is that you can exercise your creativity."</p>
Francesca Hayward leading a Zoom class for UBC (courtesy UBC)
Take It Home<p>"Online master classes aren't a replacement for your studio classes," cautions Pelliteri. Even in a time when physical contact isn't an option, your regular teachers know you on a personal level. "We know what you're working on and can give more precise corrections," Pelliteri says. If a comment in a master class resonates with you, bring it to your studio teacher to dig deeper.</p>
It's impossible to miss Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Jillian Davis onstage. Tall and glamorous, her commanding stage presence, luxurious movement quality and intuitive musicality have made her one of the company's standout stars. But her road to Complexions was anything but linear. The 6'2" dancer worked tirelessly over several years to find her place in the dance world, ultimately reinventing herself and creating her own path to success. At a time when many early career dancers may be facing uncertainty, her story shows the power of resiliency.
Davis grew up on a dairy farm in Kutzstown, Pennsylvania, where she studied dance at a local studio and in the Philadelphia area, and took private lessons at home. She also started growing, shooting up seven inches over one summer. At 13, she and her family decided to take her daily training up a notch, commuting 100 miles each way to the Princeton Dance & Theater Studio, where she studied under Risa Kaplowitz and Susan Jaffe. By then she was already 5'7", and she soon realized—especially as she started learning how to partner—that her height might be an issue if she wanted to dance ballet professionally.
Jillian Davis and Kayr Muhammad in Dwight Rhoden's Love Rocks
Justin Chao, Courtesy Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Jillian Davis with Brandon Gray in Dwight Rhoden's BACH 25
Steve Vacariello, Courtesy Complexions Contemporary Ballet<p>Within two weeks of her arrival Davis broke her foot, delaying her ability to audition for several months. She started waiting tables and bartending to make ends meet, and once she healed took on small projects with pick-up companies around the city. She also attended Complexions master classes and workshops whenever she could. "I knew about them and loved everything I saw, but I didn't fully comprehend the physicality required to do their work," she says.</p><p>Two years passed, and Davis still wasn't performing consistently. "I was getting frustrated—I just wanted to dance, and serving people at restaurants was not my goal," she says. That's when she decided to take matters into her own hands. She had dabbled in choreography while in San Francisco, and had recently created a solo for Missouri Valley College's Emerging Choreographer's Showcase. "I decided if I can't dance somewhere, I'll do my own stuff," says Davis. She started the Jillian Davis Dance Project in 2014, after being selected as a finalist in a choreographic competition. "I worked mainly with friends since I couldn't really pay anyone," she says. "But creating work gave me the chance to be in a place where I wanted to be."</p>
As told to Rachel Caldwell
Finding the right pre-professional training program can be daunting. Then once you're there, what should you focus on in order to succeed? To shine some light on the topic, we talked to five leading teachers and directors who have seen scores of students move on to flourishing ballet careers. Here's what they suggested for young dancers on the pre-professional track.
Chan Hon Goh, Director Goh Ballet<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MjI3MS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTIxMTEyN30.lH540Ncx5WFnFWyv7vSjkae7ywgyOuddtpbAXNrWdIU/img.png?width=980" id="2f5b0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5891140aaafff07f097bac10c62b632a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Goh stands at the barre in a pink painted studio, adjusting a young ballet student's arm. She wears a knitted shawl wrapped around her waist and white legwarmers." />
"Prioritize artistic interpretation and musicality." —Chan Hon Goh
David Cooper, Courtesy Goh Academy<p>When choosing where to train, think about what your career objectives are. Do your research and look for a program that is well-rounded and has a proven track record of producing dancers that have gone on to a variety of companies. There's an abundance of schools and information out there, so it can be quite baffling—everyone mentions similar things to entice students to join their programs. Refer back to the school's track record, as well as what opportunities will be offered to you during the course of the next several years. Looking at the backgrounds of the teachers and the director is also immensely valuable—that information is usually readily available on organizations' websites.</p><p>If you know you want to explore a career in classical ballet, make sure you get enough of a technical buildup. Prioritize artistic interpretation and musicality. In a world where we're easily impressed by how high the leg is and how many turns one can do, we sometimes fail to see the artistry: the artistic interpretation of a story or a character, and how to bring that character to life. That will add to your dancing immensely.</p>
Alfonso Martin, Artistic Manager and Ballet Master, Tulsa Ballet II<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MjI4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTQxODIwM30.HoHVgXf_TIXP5Xq2gryKLr6I7BYr2xusUB4IYJFUytk/img.jpg?width=980" id="6b802" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d6a581ca8c8c8ea3ada91e26dfae7d3d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Martin stands onstage with two dancers, using his hands to demonstrate in rehearsal." />
"Give your body the best fuel and care it needs to dance again the next day." —Alfonso Martin
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet<p>First, know what type of dancer you are and what you see yourself dancing. Focus on training that will get you to where you'd like to end up, career-wise. There's a great pool of companies out there, so everybody can find their place. </p><p>Nowadays, most companies look for artists who can dance everything. Find the most complete pre-professional training possible—training that offers classes not only in classical ballet, but contemporary ballet, repertory, nutrition and physical conditioning, and that has performance opportunities.</p><p>Take care of your body. Dancers often forget to make the most of their time after a full day of classes, rehearsals and performances. It's so important to give your body the best fuel and care it needs to dance again the next day.</p><p>Remember that a dance career is a marathon, not a 100-meter race—every day will be different. Set daily goals, try your best and learn as much as you can from everyone around you. There is always something to learn, and you never know who or what will make a difference in your dancing.</p>
Melissa Allen Bowman, Director Houston Ballet Academy<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MjMwMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjU3Nzg1NX0.eWqGldXtYnfxD91gkJpEm5LtX-L5v4IlmaYSEMaa-zE/img.jpg?width=980" id="11dc1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e6a188646b7f39b28d6319590f4f3bcd" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Bowman stands in the studio in warm-up pants and a jacket, adjusting the head of a dancer standing in a front tendu in a roomful of teenage ballet students in pointe shoes, pink tights and black leotards." />
"Be open to new ideas and ways of learning." —Melissa Allen Bowman
Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet<p>Nowadays you need to be as versatile and informed as possible. Learn as much as you can about different styles, from classical to contemporary. Absorb what you can from each experience and teacher so that you can see what works for you and build on it. Not everything is going to be a perfect fit, and that's okay.</p><p>Being able to adapt to different styles and techniques and work with a variety of choreographers will take you far. I find that a lot of dancers come in with preconceived notions, and it's hard for them to take in what they're learning and work with it. Immersing yourself in one technique when you're young sets a strong base, but as you get older it's important to be open to new ideas and ways of learning. It helps you to become a better, well-rounded dancer and more comfortable and confident as an artist.</p><p>I often see students fall short because they don't understand something but are too embarrassed to ask questions or are afraid to fail. But that is how you learn.</p>
Victoria Schneider, Ballet Faculty The Harid Conservatory<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MjMyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTUyNDIxOX0.2fsDbHZ_dVDUfZr5ynJosrRrptWr9faEpia-tJ1l1Do/img.jpg?width=980" id="0902b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7408b54218381aa924c782deec6cab5d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Schneider adjusts the head of young ballet student in a studio. A ballet close stands posed in rehearsal in white tutus and black leotards." />
"Look for a program that offers various dance forms, not just ballet." —Victoria Schneider
Mariana Raya, Courtesy Harid Conservatory<p>Each school will have its own selection criteria; you won't be accepted into every institution, but that doesn't mean you won't have a professional career. Remain open-minded. A "no" in one place is not necessarily a "no" in your life.</p><p>Look for a program that offers various dance forms, not just ballet. I do believe that students should study one particular ballet technique at a time, not mix techniques. I think that working with one teacher consistently is much more productive than switching teachers on a daily basis.</p><p>Use your pre-professional years to gain an understanding of how the entire body coordinates together, rather than just focusing on legs and feet. The upper body must be equally developed with the lower body. Also, musicality! Finding musical training will be to your advantage. Artistry, musicality and the mechanics of movement all go hand in hand.</p><p>The best preparation for pre-professional training is learning independence. It starts with sewing your own shoes, packing your dance bag every day, being responsible, getting yourself back and forth from ballet class, if possible. It's important to develop as a whole human being.</p>
Michael Vernon, Chair Emeritus Indiana University Ballet Department<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MjQyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTIxMzM3MX0.Z-rwsslvMLUW5rewp2zvda7v_ys--1kNEv0KDsxivWk/img.jpg?width=980" id="63101" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9d11883f55cd1a270deffae85f92c6ce" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Vernon stands in a studio, gesturing with his left hand." />
"Learn how to work on your weaknesses, not just your strengths." —Michael Vernon
Christophe Buszkiewicz, Courtesy Vernon<p>College dance programs today are really different than what they were 10 and 20 years ago—they offer really good pre-professional training. When deciding on a program, research the faculty. Not having heard a teacher's name before doesn't say anything about the standard of their teaching, so really look into their backgrounds. </p><p>Wherever you decide to go, performing should be a very important part of the curriculum—not just the amount of performance opportunities, but the repertoire that's offered and the style of the company the school feeds into. Through performing, dancers also learn how to be part of a team, because that's what it's like in a company. </p><p>It's also vital that a dancer learn to take corrections very objectively and to be open to suggestions. Learn to take care of your health. These aspects are becoming more and more important as the demands of choreography become more challenging. Learn how to work on your weaknesses, not just your strengths. Become aware of yourself, because everyone has weaknesses, even the greatest dancers. </p><p>Tip: "A lot of dancers use summer programs as a way to choose a school," says Vernon. "Directors also use them to scout talent, so an intensive can be a great way to make an introduction"</p>