Gender sensitivity in the studio

Being sensitive to gender identity in the classroom

Gender identity can be a sensitive topic. It is an evolving and ongoing conversation, and at Broadway Dance Center, it’s something that’s respected a great deal. BDC strives to make all its students feel comfortable as they step into the studio, honoring them in the way they wish to be seen, while simultaneously providing an appropriate setting to grow, discover and learn. 

We caught up with several BDC teachers to hear how they approach sensitivity to all their students in the classroom, and how that awareness can have an impact on the dance community at large. 

From summer to fall: Heading back to school fresh

It’s always a bit sad when we sense that summer is coming to an end. Perhaps you had an incredible experience at a multi-week dance intensive, or ventured to various workshops to learn new things, or maybe you had some down time with your friends and family. No matter how you spent your summer, it’s almost time for back to school, and back to dance. This time of year can feel bittersweet – you’re excited to start a new year of dance, but you’re also grieving over the soon-to-be-gone dog days of summer. 

Well, these Broadway Dance Center teachers are here to help you start your new school year feeling fresh and inspired! 

Summer hydration for dancers

Summer sweat: How best to hydrate during the summer

Alex Gonzaga is a professional dancer with Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre and also a personal trainer to dancers and athletes with Proteus Fitness. “I still remember years ago when I took the Atlanta Ballet summer program,” he shares. “I was 18 years old and straight out of high school. The workload during that summer was a lot more intense than I had ever experienced. With my limited knowledge at the time, I did not think hydration would be a problem, but it was. Right around the second week of the program, I had an unusually hard day, and down I went. Due to dehydration, my body just completely shut down. I didn’t pass out, but I got extremely lightheaded and had to stop dancing for the day. An older company dancer at that time introduced me to this simple hydration drink where you mix sugar, salt and water together. That was my first experience with dehydration.”

Linda Farrell shares how to find your “fit” – in Pilates and in life

When Joseph Pilates immigrated to the United States and founded his signature strength training technique in the 1920s, he emphasized a holistic, interconnected approach to physical well-being. Pilates focuses on core strength, proper alignment, and full range of motion. The exercise form has experienced several renaissances in the last century, but has remained a tried-and-true method in more recent decades as people have come to recognize and respect the science-backed technique that personifies the song, “Dem Bones” (“The hip bone’s connected to the leg bone!”). All of our body parts are connected and any imbalance in one area can impact everything else (#everythinghurts).

senior dance students

Letting them go with love: How to say goodbye to your senior students

The recitals, exams, competitions and conventions are done. If you don’t have a summer program running, the studio might feel pretty quiet. Too quiet. Saying goodbye to your senior students can leave you with empty nest syndrome, but know that you’re not alone! 

Seán Curran (department chair of New York University’s Tisch dance program) and Aram Manukyan (teacher at the School of Alberta Ballet and previous artistic director of Alberta Ballet II), talk about the seniors they’ve seen off, and how they deal with goodbyes year after year. 

Dancers stretching at Broadway Dance Center

Tips for summer stretching!

Summer sunshine! A time for pools, hikes, ice cream, hangouts and sunscreen. Maybe you take time off, find an inspiring intensive or fill your weeks with workshops. Yet the one thing we pretty much all have, at least in the northern hemisphere, and especially in NYC, is heat! And I bet that if there is one thing you love about heat is that it helps with your warm-up and feeling stretchy! 

You probably already intuitively knew that being warm is really important for getting more stretch out of our muscles, so you can totally take advantage of the warmer weather and get a jump start on sweating it out and getting your heart rate up to prepare for dance! But what are some other things to keep in mind to get the most out of your stretch? Here are a few things to think about for your best summer stretching!

Boost your creativity this summer

Aaah, summertime — it makes us think of the beach, barbeques, sunscreen and watermelon. For dancers, it’s often a slower time with fewer classes, rehearsals and performances. You may be eager for the break. You may instead wish you could keep the high-speed train going, continuing to refine your technique and artistry day-in and day-out. Yet there can be a way to grow as an artist as well as take a bit of a break — making your creativity flourish! Let’s look at some ways to boost creativity over the summer!

Dance and mental health

Dance/Movement makes mental health accessible to everyone

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Traditionally, resources focus on hotlines and 800 numbers that people can call if/when they feel like they have nowhere to turn for support. What about support for people who cannot speak? Do their mental health needs not matter? While not everyone can speak, everyone can move in some way, shape or form. 

Whether it is through eye movements, breathing or our heartbeat, the potential for movement as a form of expression is possible for everyone. Dance and movement is a form of communication, and for those whose language skills are compromised, not yet developed or inaccessible, that form of communication can make all the difference between having hope and feeling hopeless.  

pushy parents

Dance teachers: What to do about pushy parents

Teachers, directors, let us bow our heads for a moment and think about that time… that time before studio life, that time before ordering costumes, cleaning mirrors, filing business taxes, and that blissful time before pushy parents! We absolutely adore our students, and appreciate their incredible parents, but sometimes they just don’t understand, and we have to work together to make sure the dance can go on. 

Here, two of BDC’s amazing instructors who teach multiple genres all over the NYC area, as well as two studio owners from across the nation, explain how they best handle a range of scenarios that come up with parents. We hope that their sage advice can give you some new ideas and support.