2020 may not be the year you make it to NYC to study with your dance idols face to face, but that doesn't mean you have to give up on your summer dance dreams. Broadway Dance Center, a top training destination for professionals and students since 1984, is currently offering more than 75 online open classes every week, and on July 13th, the studio will launch its first-ever online summer program. Whether you're looking for drop-in classes to supplement what you're getting at your home studio or you want a structured summer course that will take your training to the next level, BDC is here for you.
Open Classes from the Pros<p>"BDC is the biggest commercial dance studio in NYC, and it has the most skilled teachers in that demographic," says hip-hop instructor AntBoogie, who's been with the studio for 20 years. Whether you're a beginner, an aspiring pro, or a working dancer trying to stay at the top of your game, there's a class on the <a href="https://www.broadwaydancecenter.com/schedule" target="_blank">online schedule</a> that's right for you. Take your pick from jazz, theater, contemporary, tap, ballet,<strong> </strong>street styles, and more.</p>
BDC Training Program student Brianna Rivera (Jayna Photography, courtesy BDC)
BDC Training Program student Maya Walker (Jayna Photography, courtesy BDC)
A New Kind of Intensive<p>Applications are due July 8th for <a href="https://www.broadwaydancecenter.com/training/online-summer-program" target="_blank">BDC's four-week online summer program</a> (for ages 18–35) and <a href="https://www.broadwaydancecenter.com/training/online-junior-summer-program" target="_blank">two-week junior programs</a> (for ages 10–18). In the <a href="https://www.broadwaydancecenter.com/training/online-summer-program" target="_blank">adult program</a>, you'll choose a track—contemporary, theater or street dance—and work with a faculty mentor and staff advisor to craft a schedule of seven weekly classes from the livestream offerings. "We'll give you tips on navigating our teachers and classes in a way that makes sense for what you're hoping to gain," says Emily Collin, BDC's director of educational programs. You'll also have a weekly master class or seminar that's only open to summer program enrollees. Planned seminar topics include navigating the NYC dance industry and doing self-taped auditions. </p>
BDC Training Program student Sai Nodboon (Jayna Photography, courtesy BDC)
Why BDC?<p>"This is a great time to dive deep into learning," Nicholson says. "There are fewer distractions. You have time to think and explore." A trusted school like BDC, with its diverse teaching roster of former and current professionals who are also committed educators, can give you the guidance you need. "Everyone at BDC really cares about the art," Nicholson says. "It's more than training the body."</p>
It is vital for BIPOC dancers to feel that the studio setting, physical or virtual, is safe and inclusive. Dance teachers and studio owners have most of the power when it comes to creating that environment, but students are not powerless. Master ballet teacher Preston Miller, known as The Dance Artist Coach, and jazz teacher Hollie Wright share how they've personally navigated racism within the dance studio, and what students can do if they experience or witness racially-driven interactions.
Ballet's Unfair Biases<p>For BIPOC dancers in the ballet world, in particular, these kinds of interactions are all too common. Many young Black ballerinas dream of joining the same classical companies as their white counterparts, but are faced with the unfair reality that the path isn't equally set. Frequently, they're pushed to consider non-ballet dance options. "I regularly have to hold uncomfortable conversations with my students of color," Miller says. "If you are ever in a predicament where you feel resistance in a classical ballet setting due to the color of your skin, speak from your perspective exclusively and express how you feel. You may not change your director's beliefs, but you will change their thought process."</p>
Preston Miller in the studio (courtesy Miller)
Hair and Dress Codes<p>Natural hair can also be a source of dance-studio tension. Halfway through class, Wright always encourages students to take their hair down to promote individuality. During one of her classes, she witnessed one Black student get teary and uncomfortable as white students swarmed to touch her hair. "I've seen this happen multiple times," shares Wright. "If you're ever in that type of situation, you have to speak up and let your peers know that it makes you extremely uncomfortable. Usually they don't mean any harm—they just don't know how it feels."</p>
Finding Allies and Using Your Voice<p>Since both Wright and Miller teach diverse student bodies, they've laid out steps young dancers can take to address race-based issues and help prevent them from continuing. Miller emphasizes the need for BIPOC dancers to find allies in the studio space. "If you, as a young Black student, need to talk about a racial occurrence, see who's in your friend circle to give you support," he says. "Those conversations are tough, and you shouldn't have them alone. Bring a friend or a parent." </p>
Hollie Wright (courtesy Wright)
Difficult Truths<p>It is also important to have frank conversations about the inequity that still pervades the professional dance world. "There is a harsh reality that dancers of color can't give anyone a reason to not hire them," says Wright. Being late, wearing the wrong outfit, or having the wrong tone can easily get BIPOC dancers labeled as difficult to work with. Each semester, Wright holds a mock audition to prepare her students for that unjust environment. </p>
Let's be honest: We're running out of ways to say that it's been no average school year, especially for high school juniors and seniors. Despite the circumstances, however, you all have barely missed a beat, keeping your technique, training, and love for dance alive in all kinds of online spaces. And New York City Dance Alliance wants to reward your efforts—and help maximize the pay-off—with virtual opportunities to invest in your college education and kickstart your professional dance career.
Audition Advice From a College Representative<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQyMDI2Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMjUyMTExMH0.1wz2pWIjec5bz8chJ2FGlHRpNVOQENjtdALUEl_MsJE/img.jpg?width=980" id="29a37" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="709d69d61fe1eb27de1c713487f86f3d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Dancers in last year's college scholarship auditions (courtesy NYCDA Foundation)<p>Katie Langan, chair of the Dance Department at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC, has a few tips on how students can stand out to her, and the other representatives from prestigious dance departments who'll be involved in NYCDA's scholarship audition.</p>
Prepare for the platform.<p>Unsure about Zoom dance class etiquette, especially in a high-pressure setting? Brush up on your skills during NYCDA's All-Access Virtual Summer Workshop. Be respectful onscreen, and treat each class you take during the week as preparation for audition day, Langan advises.</p>
Be ready to go, and ready for anything.<p>"Preparing at home is just as important as if you were going to the studio," Langan says. That includes looking the part, arriving to the Zoom waiting room on time or early, and handling any technical difficulties in a professional manner. At the same time, Langan and the other representatives empathize with the challenges of Zoom, from poor internet connections to music not syncing up correctly. "We understand that anything can happen, and we won't fault dancers for it, nor will we hold anything against those working in a less-than-ideal dance space," Langan explains.</p>
Listen (really listen) as you take class.<p>"I'll be closely watching how Ashley and Desmond teach their combinations, and then looking to see the students' execution in their videos, specifically how they interpret and apply both teachers' corrections," Langan says.</p>
Let your love for dance shine.<p>"Beyond seeing technique, we want to see your potential and who you are," Langan says. "Do what you do best, and don't be nervous. This is all about showing us your love for dance."<br></p>
So you've decided not to pursue a traditional professional dance path, but you still want to keep dancing after college. After all, dance is much more than just a hobby—you can't imagine your life without it. Here's how to find the right postgrad dance opportunity for you.
Start Social Dancing<p>Social dance is the noncompetitive version of ballroom dance. It involves many of the same styles, but without the pressure of judging. Georgia Grace Schrubbe, owner of the Holy City Salsa Dance Studio City in Charleston, SC, says many of her students who trained in other styles growing up got into dance genres like salsa and bachata after graduating.</p><p><span></span>The freestyle and partner aspects of these dances challenge your creativity and improve your musicality. Plus, you'll have the chance to meet people in new dance circles.<span></span></p>
Susan Trinh (front, left) dancing with Concept Artists (Joseph Lee, courtesy Susan Trinh)
Join an Adult Dance Team<p>For anyone looking to stay onstage after graduation, adult dance teams offer performance opportunities, as well as chances to teach workshops and choreograph. Joining a team is also a great way to meet other recent grads who share your love of dance.</p><p>To find the right group, We The Females member Susan Trinh recommends checking out classes taught by team members before auditioning. "It's a great way to get to know their style and learn what being part of the team would be like," she says. Ask questions about how often the team rehearses, and what the commitment level is like.</p><p><strong></strong><br></p>
Anastacia Clarke leading a 305 Fitness class at the Nike flagship store in NYC (Laura Fuchs, courtesy Anastacia Clarke)
Become a Fitness Instructor<p>If you thrive in front of a room full of people, consider becoming a dance fitness instructor. And no, we're not talking about your mom's Jazzercise class. Check out studios like AKT, Dance Body, and 305 Fitness, which offer high-intensity dance cardio workouts set to your favorite pop and hip-hop music. </p><p>You'll probably find that leading these classes challenges you as much as high-level dance classes did, says long-time 305 Fitness instructor Anastacia Clarke. "You have to memorize 40-plus dances and learn how to queue them while leading a class. It's a lot of information and you really have to stay focused," she says.</p>
Create Your Own Approach<p>If you can't find the exact opportunity you're looking for, you can create your own. For example, Boston-based dancer Branden Seng says he loves making concept videos because it allows him to use his imagination to tell people what's on his mind.</p><p>Concept videos are only one way to express yourself. If finding your own way in the dance world seems scary, reach out to college contacts for advice on how to break out on your own. Ask about forming the dance troupe of your dreams, applying for artistic grants, or renting studio space. There are tons of resources available for dancers looking to do their own thing. </p>
Congratulations to the June Cover Model Search Editors' Choice video winner, Jocelyn Wynn! Catch her solo below, and make sure to enter the Cover Model Search here.