Well, the American Ballet Theatre principal is ready to share some insights. Take a free online class with the cover star of our February issue through Dance Media Live! On Wednesday, March 3, at 4 pm ET, Brandt will teach a 45-minute ballet barre, followed by a short Q&A with participants.
Despite major pandemic shutdowns in New York City, Alexandra Hutchinson has been HIIT-ing her stride. Between company class with Dance Theater of Harlem and projects like the viral video "Dancing Through Harlem"—which she co-directed with roommate and fellow DTH dancer Derek Brockington—Hutchinson has still found time to cross-train. She shares her motivation behind her killer high-intensity interval training at Studio IX on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
Viktoria Maley, Courtesy DTH
As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.
It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.
Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.
Know any extraordinary dance educators? (We're guessing the answer is yes.)
Nominate them for a Dance Teacher Award! Every year, we recognize excellence in teaching by honoring four educators for their contributions to the field.
We are currently accepting nominations for the 2021 Dance Teacher Awards, and are looking for dance educators who:
- Have a unique or outsized impact on their students and/or community
- Strive to bring out the best in their students as dancers and people
- Have a thoughtful and forward-thinking approach to pedagogy
- Are dedicated to their own continued learning
- Have a body-positive teaching style
- Prioritize dancers' mental and physical health and safety
- Are committed to anti-racism, equity and inclusion inside and outside the studio
Dance educators of all kinds are eligible to receive the Dance Teacher Award, including those working in private studios, K–12 schools, conservatories, higher education institutions and more. Nominations will be reviewed holistically based on their alignment with the above criteria. Nominations must be submitted by March 31.
Cicely Tyson, the legendary 96-year-old Black actress whose February 16 funeral at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church was attended by, among others, Tyler Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, is remembered for performances that transcended stereotypes and made an indelible impression on a nation's heart and soul.
Among the most fondly remembered is her breakout role in the 1972 movie Sounder, which depicts a Black sharecropper family's struggle to survive in the Jim Crow South. The role catapulted Tyson to stardom, winning her an Academy Award nomination and a reputation as someone committed to enhancing Blacks' representation in the arts. Throughout a seven-decade career, countless critically acclaimed, award-winning roles in films, onstage and on television reaffirmed that image. Yet one role reflecting the depth of that commitment is much less visible—the supporting one she played working with longtime friend Arthur Mitchell when he envisioned, shaped and established the groundbreaking Dance Theatre of Harlem.
In foreground, from left: Karel Shook, Tyson and costume designer Zelda Wynn Valdes
Thaddeus Goven, Jr., Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem