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Performances on Pugliese
©:  Dance Forums

I am currently listening to quite a lot of Pugliese. I haven’t found it easy to discover many really good performances to his music. Would appreciate if you could post the ones you liked. Particularly interested in Negracha, Patetico and Gallo Ciego.

Where to start
©:  Dance Forums

Wanting to purchase a dance floor, has anybody done this, we need advise. We country two step and west coast swing. So thinking at least 30 ft. Long X 6

Here's Why You Should Credit TikTok Dance Creators—And How to Do It the Right Way
©:  Dance Spirit

Choreographers rarely get the recognition they deserve. The Tony Awards, for example, presents the award for Best Choreography during the Creative Arts Awards portion of the show, which usually isn't televised. In the final credits of the 2016 film La La Land, choreographer Mandy Moore was only recognized after 15 other members of the creative team. And on TikTok, the video-sharing app where dance crazes reign supreme, creators of even the most viral dances often aren't credited for their moves.

But while big-time choreographers for film and theater are at least compensated for their work and protected by unions, dancers on TikTok are often only up-and-coming creators, so when they aren't credited for their choreography–especially when it goes viral–they don't just lose out on recognition; they lose out on opportunity.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, TikToker Bryan Sanon, who created the 100 Racks Challenge, explains the importance of giving credit where it is due. "People have made [dancing on the app] a business, so give the dance credit," Sanon said to BuzzFeed. "It's like you make something and it comes from you and your soul or your brain, and someone else who is more popular or in a different position takes it and you don't get recognized for it."

The creators that Sanon says are in a "different position" are often white, rich—have you seen Charli D'Amelio's house? (See: her sister Dixie's "Be Happy" video)—and mega-popular, with followings in the millions. But the choreographers who create the dances, including Sanon and others, like Keara Wilson (who created the "Savage" dance) and Jalaiah Harmon (who created the now-iconic "Renegade" dance) often don't achieve the same level of popularity. These underpraised creators, also, tend to be Black.


##duet with @qgriggs love everyone showing love to my challenge <3 I would appreciate the big content creators to give credit tho !

♬ 100rackschallenge bryansanon - bryansanon

It's no surprise that many of the most viral dances on TikTok are choreographed by Black creators. The success of the app seems to hinge largely on aspects of Black American culture. The most famous TikTok creators' accounts regularly include lip-syncs and dances to hip hop, trap, and R&B music; the most viral dances are more social than exact—reminiscent of the vibes at your typical Black family reunion; and there seems to be a uniform among the most popular women on the app: Nike Air Force 1 sneakers, cropped tops, and stiletto nails, the sum of which evokes the aesthetics of the beautiful Black women who live in culturally-rich urban neighborhoods.

When you don't credit a choreographer on TikTok, especially one of color, you not only rob them of the opportunity to capitalize on the attention their dance is getting, but you also, whether inadvertently or not, whitewash the history and context of the choreography. To avoid making these costly mistakes, here are ways to credit the creators whose dance moves you see and replicate on the app.


##duet with @jadagomillion no cap need more folks like this on the app love it ✊�🖤

♬ 100rackschallenge bryansanon - bryansanon

Tag the Creator

This first option is really nonnegotiable, and it's the most efficient way to give credit to a choreographer. In the caption of your TikTok video, tag the original creator using their TikTok handle so that their account is easily accessible to others. Put "dc:" (meaning "dance credit") before the tag, so viewers know exactly why you're tagging that person. If you don't know who to give credit to, type the song that accompanies the dance in the search bar on the app. Under the category "Sounds," click the first music option that the search generates. If the song and dance are popular, you'll likely see a mosaic of dance videos, but usually, the creator of the dance is the first result to come up (in the top left-hand corner).

Duet With the Creator

"Duet-ing" on TikTok—where you and another creator appear on either side of a split screen and perform a prank, skit or dance together—can be super-fun to do with friends. But it can also be a powerful way to not only credit a choreographer, but also amplify their artistic voice by exposing a larger audience to the way they move. This option requires very little work: First, find the video of the creator performing their dance. On that video, click the "Share" icon, then hit "Duet." Then, record yourself dancing side by side with the creator. It's as easy as that. But remember: No matter what, you should always tag the creator in the caption of your video.

What Steven Spielberg Taught Dancer Kellie Drobnick on the Set of West Side Story
©:  Dance Magazine

After graduating from The Juilliard School in 2016, Kellie Drobnick immediately set about conquering the worlds of concert dance, Hollywood and musical theater. She spent two months dancing with MOMIX, toured in the Dirty Dancing musical, joined Twyla Tharp Dance and is a Jet in the much-anticipated West Side Story remake, directed by Steven Spielberg and choreographed by Justin Peck. Effortlessly elegant at 5' 8", Drobnick brings her sparklingly clear technique to every project, along with a glamour and stage presence that's reminiscent of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Age: 26

Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio

Training: NorthPointe Dance Academy in Ohio, The Juilliard School

Accolades: 2020 Clive Barnes Award finalist

A competitive advantage: Growing up, Drobnick lived for weekends at conventions like New York City Dance Alliance. "I've carried with me the versatility learned by taking a different style every hour and being forced to pick up choreography immediately," she says.

Kellie Drobnick leans her upper body to her left as she does a relev\u00e9 pass\u00e9 in character heels outside in front of a red brick wall.

The time of her life: Dancing in the ensemble and understudying Penny in Dirty Dancing nudged Drobnick out of her comfort zone. "Juilliard was so serious and structured," she says. "I always felt like I had to be perfect. So I basically cried the first time I had to sing in front of an audience! But the show ended up reminding me to dance for the joy of it and to entertain people."

Words from the wise: Drobnick says that making the West Side Story film was a master class in screen acting: "There's a moment when we have to look at the camera, and I did this little thing with my eyes. Steven said, 'Nope, just stare directly into the lens. Less is more with camera.' "

Dream jobs: Drobnick has her eye on originating a role in a dance-centric Broadway musical. She'd also love to do more contemporary work with Peck, along the lines of his The Times Are Racing. "I want to do more work that thrills me like that," she says.

What Patricia Delgado is saying: At the West Side Story audition, Delgado, an associate choreographer, recalls how Drobnick was one of the few dancers who nailed the sequence from the beginning. "It's so rare to find a dancer with both length and looseness, coordination and control," says Delgado. During rehearsals, Peck would have Drobnick and her partner, Kevin Csolak, demonstrate "to see if the movement was working, because, if not, Justin knew they'd find a way to fix it."

Next up: Drobnick's been cast as a swing in the developmental workshop of a tap-heavy musical directed and choreographed by Peck.

How are your practices going?
©:  Dance Forums

Our "how are your lessons going?" thread is a popular thread that allows everybody to share what they worked in their lessons, so I thought perhaps the same type of thread for practices might be nice.

Feel free to share thoughts, breakthroughs, frustrations, achievements, questions, fun stories, whatever about your practices....we'll see if the thread takes off!

West Coast Swing Basic?
©:  Dance Forums

I know absolutely nothing about WCS. I am trying to get a few basics down before an event in January, Help!

Is the "Sugar Push" considered the basic step? I have seen it danced/explained a few different ways from side steps to brush taps for the lead. I have danced some ECS if that matters.

Any insight or links to some of the basics would be a huge help… Thanks

Stephanie Miracle Is Preserving—and Challenging—Tradition at University of Iowa
©:  Dance Teacher magazine

When I first interviewed Stephanie Miracle, the University of Iowa visiting professor was headed into spring break—which quickly became a Zoom crash course, as the university migrated all of its classes online. The key parts of Miracle's teaching philosophy—establishing community and relationships, building awareness of the space around you—suddenly needed brand-new consideration and planning. "Taking that part of my curriculum into online teaching was really challenging," said Miracle, in a follow-up interview conducted after the spring semester's end. What she eventually came up with was characteristically thoughtful: She paired students with accountability partners each week, so that they might work on assignments together; asked dancers to journal about their experiences however they preferred—from bullet points to vlogs; and recorded audio lessons, so that students could take their class experiences outside. "Teaching on Zoom often felt like being in a cave—spatial memories were hard to create," says Miracle. "This brought a different kind of humanity to the experience."

During high school, Stephanie Miracle and her family moved to Germany for two years. She was thrown into German school, despite not knowing the language. "I failed all of my classes that first year," she says. But by year two, her immersion and commitment to learning German began to pay off: "I started to become fluent in German," she says. "It ended up being a triumphant experience. It was hugely rewarding, to feel that I could go through hardship and emerge with this new set of skills and insight into a culture."

Fifteen years later, Miracle found herself in Germany once again—this time as a Fulbright research fellow in dance, studying Pina Bausch's history and lineage at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen. Miracle assimilated quickly into the nearly 100-year-old institution, going quickly from taking classes to being offered a spot in The Folkwang Tanzstudio, the international touring company associated with the school.

At Folkwang, Miracle saw firsthand how older traditions battled with and sometimes gave way to newer methods in higher ed pedagogy. As an educator interested in questioning older approaches to dance curriculum, she knew her time at the university would be a valuable learning experience.

Four dancers in bright patterns and colors fall to the floor in gradual stages. One is mid-hand stand

"One of my motivations for studying there was a real interest in how traditions can be preserved without becoming stale," she says. "Those older forms come with some politics and ways of viewing the body that need to be evaluated, definitely. But there's also something in the power they've accumulated. If it's already stood the test of time, it's something strong. What is that, and how do we use that, and not let it just get buried in all the new ideas? How can we construct from that?"

Now, as a visiting professor at the University of Iowa, Miracle is able to translate what she learned at Folkwang to another institution with its own particular set of rules and traditions. She manages to straddle seemingly oppositional stances—she remains both respectful of tradition and unafraid to question long-held standards of dance in higher ed.

"I need a system of exchange with students."

Because she is a visiting professor, Miracle is uniquely positioned to both quietly observe and offer a fresh perspective. For Miracle, the time at Iowa is an opportunity to deepen her choreographic research and refine her teaching philosophy, which translates to spending a lot of time with the undergrads. "It feels mutually beneficial for me to offer them as much as I can, because that helps me better refine my craft," she says. "I don't think I have anything to lose in that, as long as I'm setting personal boundaries and not overloading myself."

Her contemporary technique classes often oppose typical dance studio etiquette—dancing with a group but acting as if you're a soloist, for example—and encourage students to question norms. "I've seen a trend in university dance department technique classes to pretend like you're alone in your own little box," says Miracle. "I like to think of technique studio time as research toward how we are in relationship to others and to space—differentiating between dancing as soloists who happen to be next to each other and when we dance truly together."

She frequently incorporates partnering, touch and floorwork into her classes. "I make use of different passageways in space—circles, for example—as opposed to just standing in the center of the room," says Miracle. "I'm interested in giving the space different attributes, playing with conjuring, a sorcery of manipulating space so it affects the other bodies in the room. I find that it changes how you train your body and also prepares you for performance."

Miracle, wearing a forest green dress, dances in tall grass, a vast landscape behind her

"My approach is about hooking in to the material—and then being able to play."

Another opportunity for Miracle to compare and contrast her time in the German university system is in teaching composition. "In Germany, the approach to choreography was, 'Get in the studio and just start working, and let's see if you come up with anything good,'" she says. "It was a little bit severe. I remember watching the adjudication process for some students and thinking, 'Oh my gosh, is there any room to fail?'"

Such high expectations, coupled with little pedagogical direction, could be daunting. "And while I do have issues with that approach," says Miracle, "I recognize that it did drive some students to work really hard. My approach, on the other hand, is about hooking in to the material and then being able to play." She gives her students space and time to reflect on their choreographic choices as they go. "I like to give students the chance to test those choices to see if they work, both in how the dance is being received by viewers and also if it elicits pleasure in the maker," she says.

It's thrilling when undergrads discover a penchant for choreography. "Some of these students have no idea they're choreographers," she says, "and it's as if their whole world is exploding—it's exciting!"

Inside Houston Ballet II: How the Second Company Gives Dancers a Taste of the Big Leagues
©:  Pointe Magazine

Before Houston Ballet's studios were forced to close down in March due to COVID-19, Jindallae Cho Bernard and Neal Burks were getting their first taste of George Balanchine's Serenade. The dancers, members of Houston Ballet II, were learning the ballet's waltz pas de deux, soaking up the details of Balanchine's signature style. "Finding a balance between the precise footwork and airy port de bras was the most challenging for me," says 16-year-old Bernard. "But the more we rehearsed, the more we fell in love with the ballet."

Like most second companies, HBII allows young dancers to experience what it's like to work in a professional company while they are still training and developing their artistry. It functions as a feeder into Houston Ballet, while maintaining its own identity as a touring troupe.

HBII's Monday-through-Saturday schedule includes classes, led by ballet master Claudio Muñoz and other faculty, in technique, pointe, variations, contemporary, modern, partnering, body conditioning and Yamuna Body Rolling. The rest of the dancers' time is split between working on HBII's own repertoire—where they practice solo, pas de deux and ensemble roles—and dancing with the corps de ballet in main company full-lengths.

Two couples rehearse in a bright studio, The men stand in a back tendu while the two women cover their eyes and hold their shoulders from behind.

Bryant adjusts the position of a group of dancers standing in a pose in the studio.

Topp holds the ankle of Panameno onstage during rehearsal, pulling him forward. He wears all black, while Topp wears polka dot pants and patterned socks.

Bernard lies on the floor of a studio on her side with one arm under her cheek.

Three male students stand in fifth position in the studio with their arms in fifth en bas.

Kawasaki sits on the floor of an exercise room, guiding Panameno through a Pilates exercise on a mat with a large orange ball.

"They are upstairs with the company so often, from day one really, that they become quite comfortable working with them," says Houston Ballet Academy director Melissa Allen Bowman. "Some even traveled to Dubai with them to perform Swan Lake."

Burks, now entering his second year with HBII, finds working alongside Houston Ballet's dancers to be incredibly motivating. "Once, principal Connor Walsh came up to me during company class to help me with a petit allégro combination," says Burks, 20. "He made me feel so at home, not like an outsider."

Bernard, also entering her second year, has gotten to explore a range of roles since joining last fall. In the company's production of Giselle, she played a mother to one of Giselle's friends. "I really improved my acting skills," she says. But she also got to dance center stage with HBII in the pas de deux from Raymonda. "It was a dream come true—it's technically challenging, fun and demands precision and stamina."

On average, 50 percent of HBII dancers advance into Houston Ballet. "They spend so much time with the company that when that transition finally happens, they know what it will be like," says Bowman. "That's our job: to hone and craft their skills so they have the tools they need to be successful in a company situation."

Keeping Fit while Keeping Distance
©:  Dance Forums

@scullystwin42 had a great idea: a thread where we can all keep track of what we're doing to stay fit and sharp during this period of social distancing. I'm shamelessly stealing it.

For many of us, all social dances, lessons, and practices are cancelled for the foreseeable future. But social distancing doesn't have to mean our growth as dancers needs to stop; there's always a Plan B! Post here whenever you do something active to fill the gap left by a cancelled...

Keeping Fit while Keeping Distance

Lazuli Sky
©:  Dancing Times

A new partnership has been confirmed between Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, which will see the two established companies combine creative forces to stage new dance works in the city. The partnership will be launched with four shows for live audiences in October, following the recent announcement by the government allowing socially distanced performances to happen in theatres.

The world premiere performances of Lazuli Sky, choreographed by Will Tuckett, as part of a triple bill of ballet with live music from the Royal Ballet Sinfonia will take place at The REP on October 22 – 24, with 150 tickets on sale to the public for each of four shows. The show will also be filmed at The REP for broadcast in November via pay-per-view media to audiences unable to attend the live shows. This new partnership has enabled both organisations to work together to find a way to entertain audiences and help revive Birmingham’s cultural life after lockdown.

Carlos Acosta, director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, said: “This year, Birmingham Royal Ballet celebrates 30 years of working in the heart of Birmingham. Whilst the company continues to enjoy strong bonds with its home venue, Birmingham Hippodrome, our work to bring back large-scale, classic ballets with them is not yet complete, and will require government approval. The new partnership between Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP will complement the relationship with Birmingham Hippodrome, and enhance creative development throughout this great city.�

Sean Foley, artistic director of The REP added: “Carlos Acosta and I are both honoured to be leading amazing cultural institutions in a great international city. It is part of our job to amplify, celebrate, and create work about that city, delivering excitement and artistic excellence for the people of Birmingham and wider afield – both nationally, and internationally. Particularly now, in order to survive and thrive, the arts must find new and inventive ways to collaborate and create new works. The REP has an unrivalled pioneering history in UK theatre – from staging the world’s first modern dress Shakespeare, to being a national leader in community development and creative learning, it has always been a theatre that seeks the cultural collisions that make extraordinary art for ordinary people. This is the beginning of an exciting partnership that will encompass full-scale productions, and new ways to create audiences together. Combining The REP’s own history with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s reputation for world-class ballet gives us both hope that we can help establish Birmingham as the very best city for theatre, for dance and the creative arts.â€�

Image: A publicity image for Lazuli Sky, featuring Max Maslen and Beatrice Parma. Credit: Nina Dunn, James Simpson and Samuel Wyer. 

The post Lazuli Sky appeared first on Dancing Times.

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