From its founding, Broadway Dance Center (BDC) has sought to act as a safe space for anyone and everyone to express themselves just as they are, through the art of dance, shares BDC Public Relations Director April Cook. In this way, its goals align with those of the New York City Pride March — in working toward a world in which everyone can feel accepted and supported for who they are. For the fourth consecutive year, members of the BDC community will participate in the March under BDC’s name this June 30.
If you don’t know the name “Richard Ellner”, you should. He is the man behind Broadway Dance Center and the reason why we’re able to enjoy dozens of fun classes with working choreographers and well-known teachers each week. Ellner was a life-long lover of the performing arts, although he didn’t take a dance class himself until the age of 52! He had visions of a home for dance in the heart of NYC, where dancers could receive diversified training from the best in the business, all under one roof. So, 35 years ago, in 1984, Ellner founded BDC.
To honor Ellner’s legacy and contribution to the dance community, BDC has announced recipients of the Richard Ellner Scholarships, awarded to three students of BDC’s Professional Semester Program. The generous Scholarships will cover half and full tuition costs for these dancers. Here, get to know the scholarship recipients and why they’re so thrilled to be training at BDC.
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.
The nominees for this year’s Best Choreography category are all so amazing and so different! We couldn’t pick a winner so now we want to hear from you!
”History from the Tony Awards.” TonyAwards.com. The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®, n.d. Web. 04 June 2016. <http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/history/index.html>.
”Tony Awards Facts & Trivia.” TonyAwards.com. The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®, n.d. Web. 04 June 2016. <http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/history/facts/index.html>.
In honor of National Tap Dance Day on May 25, we asked our Tap Faculty to 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
“Singing in the Rain” with Gene Kelly
“Too Darn Hot” with Ann Miller in Kiss Me Kate
For more tap dance footage visit our playlist on our YouTube channel!
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
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 wish all of our BDC moms a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
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.
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!