Since the opening of Broadway Dance Center in 1984, the studio has been a loud and proud supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. Continuing this legacy of acceptance, BDC will proudly walk in this Sunday’s NYC Pride March, an annual civil rights demonstration since 1970.
Over the years, the Pride March has broadened to include recognition of the fight against AIDS and to remember those who have lost their battle against illness, violence and neglect. Last year, over 450 marching contingents participated – nonprofits, community organizations, corporate partners, small businesses, political candidates and activists. The 2017 March, with over 110 floats traveling down Fifth Avenue, was one of the largest in history. Grand Marshals for the 2018 NYC Pride March are Billie Jean King, Lambda Legal, Tyler Ford and Kenita Placide.
Broadway Dance Center (BDC) strives to be a home for dance, providing world-class training to dancers far and wide in the heart of New York City. Dance Parade LLC has a similar mission, “to promote dance as an expressive and unifying art form by showcasing all forms of dance, educating the general public about the opportunities to experience dance, and celebrating diversity of dance in New York City by sponsoring a yearly city-wide dance parade and dance festival”. It’s a perfect match!
Greg Miller, Dance Parade Founder and Director, explains how Broadway Dance Center has been involved with Dance Parade from the start, twelve years ago. It grew from protest of New York City’s Cabaret Law, prohibiting dancing in crowds in public spaces. Dance Parade framed their efforts as a First Amendment Right in order to have legal clearing, and to obtain permitting to close city streets.
In honor of National Tap Dance Day on May 25, we asked our Tap Facultyto tell us their influences, inspirations and favorite things about tap dance.
What’s your advice for tap dancers in training?
In trying to grow in tap, don’t get caught up in Broadway tap versus rhythm tap. If there’s no rhythm, there’s no tap. Tap technique is the focus and you can get exceptional technique from so many teachers. Take classes with a variety of teachers to reach your full potential.~Aaron Tolson
Who are some of your favorite tap dancers throughout history?
The Nicholas Brothers, The Condos Brothers,The Berry Brothers, Vera Ellen, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Honi Coles ~Doug Shankman
Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Eleanor Powell, Ann Miller, Sammy Davis, Jr.~Lainie Munro
Lois Miller, Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, Baby Laurence, Bill Bailey, John Bubbles, Gregory Hines, Jeni Le Gon , Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lon Chaney, Ayodele Casel, Chuck Green, Coles & Atkins, Arthur Duncan, Jimmy Slyde, Bunny Briggs, Buster Brown, and the list goes on and on!~Jason E. Bernard
MODERN DAY MASTERS & TAP DANCERS CHANGING THE GAME
Savion Glover, Jason Samuels Smith, Randy Skinner, Nicholas Young, Dormeisha Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, Diane Walker, Curtis Holland, Michelle Dorrance, Jared Grimes
BEST TAP SEQUENCES ON FILM
“Begin the Beguine” with Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of 1940
“Challenge Scene” in Tap featuring Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis, Jr., Arthur Duncan, Bunny Briggs, Jimmy Slyde, Steve Condos, Harold Nicholas and Howard “Sandman” Sims
“Jump N Jive” with the Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather
“Pick Yourself Up” with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Swing Time
“Prove Me Wrong” with Gregory Hines & Mikhail Baryshnikov in White Nights
In honor of Mother’s Day, we sat down with some of our faculty and staff to find out what they love about being mothers.
Sue Samuels, Jazz Faculty
Mother’s Day is an important day to me because of my children Elka and Jason! My children were “studio children”, and were in my class sitting on the floor doing their homework after school every day. I didn’t even think they were watching the dancing. They never danced in my class at that time. Then, one day, Frank Hatchett invited me to teach in his children’s program, and for Elka and Jason to take classes. They haven’t stopped dancing since! Now my grandchildren are in my dance classes and in the BDC CTP! I love Broadway Dance Center for always supporting me and my family.
Allie Beach, Director of Youth Programming
Being a mom is the one of the greatest privileges on this earth. And I am SO grateful that my son has the opportunity to grow up in the studio around wonderfully diverse friends, and people who are artistic and creative and who care about him. There’s a lot of love for my son within those BDC walls, and I’m grateful that we can call our dance community family!
Nicole Falabella, Scheduling Director
The best part about being a mom is the moment your baby cracks their first smile, and all your sleepless nights and months of planning are forgotten!
Dawn Rumbaugh, Director of Operations
The best part of my life is my two beautiful amazing loving kids! Christy and Ryan — you have taught me so much about life and given me so much love and happiness!! I love you both more than words can express!
Ginger Cox, Jazz Faculty
I love being a mom! Jack and I have such a great time together. I’ve learned so much from my fellow moms (and dads) at BDC! I’m so thankful that I can bring him with me to the studio. Jack loves dance, loud music, and being at BDC. Except once, when he was 3 years old, he started having a tantrum, freaking out and taking off all his clothes! Thankfully Danielle (a past manager) rescued me, and took him for a walk to cool down!
Jill Kenney, Tap Faculty
Jill with her son Nolan
Jill with her son Nolan
I’ve only been a mom for 8 weeks, but there is nothing more amazing than holding my little bundle of joy and seeing him smile each day. Even his little pout is the cutest thing in the world to me! Sometimes I can’t handle how much I adore him. As a new mom, I’ve been bombarded with so many life changes, but he is well worth the challenges that each day brings. I love him to pieces and I think he’s starting to like me a little too.
Jessica Epting, Ballet Faculty
“Life is not only meant to be appreciated in retrospect . . . There is something each day to embrace and cherish.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I find motherhood an exhausting, thrilling, challenging and rewarding honor! I love living alongside these little people!
Shelly Hutchinson, Jazz Faculty
I used to be able to dedicate time each day to a creation station in the studio… and then I had 2 babies. So I make it work. Now we improv everyday wherever we can. Toddlers have the coolest, most rare movements and moments. Bringing the best of both of my worlds together — can’t go wrong with that!
Diane King, Executive Director
I love being a mom as it puts your own life in perspective and you have to shift your priorities. There’s nothing like the cuddles and love from my daughter!
We caught up with former Professional Semester students to see what they’ve been up to and how the program has impacted their dance careers.
Now a 4th year veteran, I am so excited to continue my journey as an NFL cheerleader for an amazing team. I love being a role model on and off the field. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication, but being able to perform for over 73,000 fans, inspire children, participate in community outreach and most of all knowing that I am walking in one of my God given gifts definitely makes it worth it.
I have always carried everything I learned about dance, the industry and crafting my own style. The program gave me a boost in being a well-rounded performer, knocked out any sense of doubt I had about myself and opened many doors in my career. To say the least, the program helped me be better prepared and more confident in myself.
[The Wizard of Oz Tour] has been a dream and the job is just as challenging as it is rewarding. It’s been an honor to work with individuals that are not only talented, but provide a daily example of professional standards that I strive to embody.
As a newcomer to the city, the Professional Semester not only offered unparalleled dance training, but the perfect segue to living in the city. Broadway Dance Center provided me the invaluable opportunity to sign with an agent, which made being a professional less of an aspiration and more of a reality.
The Professional Semester gives you the information most people have to learn through trial and error. It’s a safe place to make mistakes and ask questions, so that when you walk into an audition you can present the best version of yourself. By the end of the program, I developed lasting relationships with casting directors and choreographers, signed with an agency, and booked my first commercial. I loved the program and am so thankful for everything it gave me.
Touring with Santigold has been such blast. I’m always on my toes, because things can change very quickly, which can make the show even more exciting. It’s helped me learn more about myself as a performer.
I loved my time in the program. I made some lifelong friendships, and was mentored by some of the top teachers/choreographers in the world. Having that experience has helped me to this day. I would say to future Pro Sems: take advantage of all classes, even if its completely outside your genre. Give it a try regardless. You can learn something from everyone’s class. You just have to be open to the experience.
A few days after class, we would get an email from Katelin with an encouraging message, list of songs we used in class, and video links to iconic dances from the era. It was at this point that I realized Katelin is happily going above and beyond in teaching her first Absolute Beginner Workshop and I’m getting waaay more than my money’s worth!
This November, 12 Broadway Dance Center students went to China to represent Team USA and compete on a live dance show in Shanghai. We asked one of the dancers, Chloe Lafleur, to tell us about her time there. Check out what she had to say! (Above: Selfie time with Team USA and dance show judges)
Ni Hao! Or as we say, hello!
I think this was one of maybe three phrases I could even partially grasp in Chinese, but a very important one! The ten days in Shanghai was my second time traveling out of the country and first to Asia. I must say it was without a doubt an incredible trip. Not only did our group of twelve dancers get to perform on a live TV show, but we were fortunate enough to travel and tour the city – shout out to BDC and Tencent for providing this wonderful opportunity!
The exposure to such a cultural change was both humbling and eye-opening for many of us. I know for me personally, one of my most memorable takeaways was experiencing the power of dance as a universal language between groups of people from different cultures. Many of the Chinese dancers we were exposed to during our time there spoke very little English, and it was through dance that we were able to appreciate one another’s artistries and connect with each other. On the first day we came to the dance studios to meet the dancers, each group introduced themselves and shared an excerpt from their routine. We all sat in awe at the talent and applauded with excitement after each performance. All around the energy was so positive and encouraging. I could tell within five minutes that it was going to be a treat seeing all their faces every day – and they did not disappoint
Blogger Chloe posing with Chinese BBoys on set
Regardless of the language barrier, we always felt a warm welcome and this set the tone for the trip. For me it was never about the competition and more about the experience of performing and connecting with them! Even if this meant singing musical theater songs back and forth with a group of Chinese dancers in the dressing room on tech night (yes, this happened and it was awesome). Mainly, I feel fortunate to have been taken out of my comfort zone and placed somewhere fresh to share my passion and appreciate how other dancers express themselves.
Team USA “Showgirls” ready to take the stage in Shanghai
Another highlight of the trip was immersing ourselves in the culture. Thanks to our fabulous Tencent host Lisa, and tour guide Jenny, we ate at some of the most delicious, authentic Chinese restaurants, and saw some beautiful spots across the city. The running joke was we all turned into little dumplings because of how many we ate while we were there– good thing we were dancing so much! If you ever decide to travel to China, you must, I repeat must, eat Xiaolonbao or, Sheng Jian Bao, both “soup dumplings”, one is steamed and one is pan fried – these will change your life. Enough about food, although we enjoyed ourselves in that aspect of the trip!
Overall, community was essential in making this trip what it was. Our group not only grew closer through experiencing the trip together, but becoming friends with the Chinese dancers – even if it was a quick 10-day friendship! After the live performance, we spent the night celebrating a successful show with dinner and the most epic karaoke night. Put 12 Americans with 30 Chinese in a two story private karaoke room and what you get is a remarkable mix of Taylor Swift, Macy Gray, Adele and hilarious songs unknown to me in Chinese. It was a night I will never forget. We laughed, we sang and we danced the night away! Post-trip, I am feeling grateful for all the people I met while I was there and even more so inspired to travel with dance seeking out opportunities where it unites different parts of the world together. – BDC Guest Blogger, Chloe Lafleur