“Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching,” right? Even the greatest teachers strive to learn more. They research new developments in their field, they talk with their colleagues about what they’re teaching, and they have a passion to pass on this knowledge to their students. And even though they’re the teachers, it’s sometimes rejuvenating for them to become the students.
This month, New York City’s Broadway Dance Center (BDC) will begin to offer its Dance Educator Development Program, a series of continuing education workshops designed for dance teachers and led by BDC’s esteemed faculty and guest teachers. Throughout this program, BDC’s presenters will discuss new methodologies and interesting ways to keep students engaged, all with the hopes of reigniting creativity in the dance teachers.
The first three-day workshop will be held April 22-24, at the BDC studios, and will be open to teachers ages 21 and over. BDC expects to host no more than 50-75 teachers to keep the class sizes smaller and to provide a more intimate studio setting.
“Since the days of Frank Hatchett, at BDC, our fundamental focus has been excellence in dance education,” explains Bonnie E. Erickson, director of educational programming at BDC, “and so it felt like an obvious choice for us to offer training for dance teachers.”
Each day of the weekend-long program, teachers will have the option to attend any of the over 35 multidisciplinary classes scheduled. The classes will be held in two different studios, so participants can go from studio to studio, choosing what they’d most like to focus on. Classes will be offered in warm-up ideas, children’s ballet, theater, stiletto heels, progressions, breaking down hip hop movement, jazz and many more.
“We’ve reached out to some of our most accomplished and venerated teachers and asked them what they’d like to teach, what they think teachers are yearning to emphasize,” Erickson shares. “While we may offer discipline-specific events down the line, this first one is multi-disciplinary, featuring ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, musical theater and more. The other unique idea is that the classes will be structured to include both lecture and movement, giving the teachers the opportunity to talk and connect, as well as move and get new combinations and choreography.”
Faculty for the Dance Educator Development Program includes Sheila Barker, Tracie Stanfield, April Cook, Ray Hesselink, Josh Bergasse, Matthew Powell, Michele Assaf, Lane Napper, Ginger Cox, Derek Mitchell and more.
Erickson says BDC wanted to choose a wide range of teachers, all of whom are dedicated to their craft and to educating. “We tried to pick those who we felt represented different approaches to their discipline, an enormous integrity in pedagogy and an ability to connect with students,” she adds.
In addition to the program classes, teachers will also receive two complimentary classes from BDC’s drop-in schedule to use during the weekend, a catered breakfast each morning, access to locker rooms and a discount at the studio’s retail store. Plus, Erickson says she hopes out-of-town participants will take advantage of being in New York City by seeing a Broadway show or enjoying some shopping.
The cost of the three-day workshop is $275, with a discount available for groups of three or more. While there is currently no one-day option for this program, Erickson says that BDC is considering offering one closer to the date and to check the studio’s website for updated information. She also ensures that there will be future Dance Educator Development Program workshops, one of which is already scheduled for October 7-9.
BDC’s Dance Educator Development Program seems like a promising way for teachers to invest in themselves, to network with other educators and to leave feeling motivated and even more knowledgeable.
“Although the word has become a bit trite, truly we do hope teachers will leave feeling profoundly inspired, both in their love of our shared art and inspired to help their students reach new heights,” Erickson says. “We hope they’ll have new pragmatically valuable information but also a revitalized love of dance in their heart!”
For more information on the program and how to register, visit www.broadwaydancecenter.com/workshops/dance_educator/index.shtml.
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Dance teachers talk in class. Photo courtesy of Broadway Dance Center.