I live in the American heartland and much of the dance instruction is not what those of us on this forum grew up with. However, the major companies of this country are hiring students from the competition dance world – the 1% of super talented students that will excel in spite of less than ideal circumstances. And obviously, some of these schools do employee skilled educators- don’t get me wrong.
But as a ballet teacher with a contemporary dance company, I am constantly challenged with presenting material that is both relevant and will cognitively stretch these dancers. So what do we keep and what do we leave behind? How does the classical dance world ‘stay in the game’ so to speak? Given the very few dance jobs in this country, I don’t think we have done a tremendous job advocating for why we should remain a part of a vibrant arts culture. And as the major orchestras of this country, yes – where the players are earning 6 figures – are now experiencing shortfalls and labor disputes, why has dance been relegated to the poor step child status? I have presented these questions to a group of esteemed colleagues and will add some of their comments below: