Tag Archives: Dance History

  • Let's Celebrate: National Dance Week 2017

    NDWF logo transparent w name

    As a leader in the dance community, Curtain Call® is passionate about spreading positivity throughout the dance world! Every year, we celebrate National Dance Week by raising awareness about the benefits of dance and supporting our dance community. This year we spoke with Cathy Graziano, the Executive Director at National Dance Week Foundation, to learn more about their mission and how Curtain Call can help support it. We are excited to share this information with you and celebrate this year’s National Dance Week, February 24 – March 5, 2017. Mark your calendars!

    Can you tell us about the mission of the National Dance Week Foundation (NDWF)?
    The overall mission of NDWF is to expose and introduce as many people as possible to the enjoyment and benefits of dance through promoting dance in schools, expanding community awareness, and increasing professional development. To ensure this happens, we have created year-round dance activities and initiatives. NDWF encourages dancers and dance organizations to take the lead and use their power of dance to work together towards the greater good.

    A call to action has been sounded to first, take the lead in creating more dance opportunities for those with special needs- A Chance to Dance and to second, stand up against bullying – Kick for Kindness initiative. I am very passionate about both of these issues. All NDWF activities, like the Dance Mob, help create awareness about dance, while supporting and raising awareness for these important initiatives. Each year, the last Friday of February we begin our National Dance Week (NDW) celebration for ten days. Each day we promote a different scholarship winner, contest winner, or those who took part in dance activities and performances. It’s like the NDWF Academy Awards!

    What about your work inspires you to continue spreading this mission?
    What inspires me is the interchange of encouragement that comes from within the dance community. My efforts are continuously inspired by those whose lives are positively influenced by dance. I love hearing their stories!

    What can we, as members of the dance industry, do to help spread this message?
    The best way to spread this mission, is getting together today, and getting involved. The more we work together, the more effective we can be – I am a big believer in positive synergy. The easiest way to get involved is through our NDWF Ambassador volunteer program. These Ambassadors work throughout the United States to lead their communities toward our goals. Since NDWF is a non-profit, we rely on support and donations from other organizations, like United Dance Merchants of America (UDMA). A large portion of our support and donations come from t-shirt sales. Studios that purchase our t-shirts, directly fund our scholarship and educational programs.

    Can you explain the mission of A Chance to Dance?dance-week-shirt crop
    Realizing that so many children with special needs and learning differences are being excluded from dance class and knowing that most people understand the physical and emotional benefits of dance, really made me question why there aren’t more of these classes readily available.
    Since this realization, I have met many wonderful teachers who have been able to create a dance space specifically for this purpose, and many that weren’t exactly sure how to get the ball rolling. As a result, A Chance to Dance was born. Our missions is to first, create awareness and second, provide education through scholarships.

    So far, we have gained great awareness with our Mannequin Challenge and Photo Contests. In order to provide education, support, and the tools needed, we have teamed-up with Tricia Gomez's Rhythm Works Integrative Dance and Wingman for Dance. To fund the scholarship, we sell A Chance to Dance t-shirts and NDWF dancewear – the more we sell, the more scholarships we are able to give. In 2016, we were thrilled to award four scholarships.

    What do you wish other people knew about those with special needs or learning differences?
    I feel the fear of not knowing, or initial discomfort is probably why many have shied away from helping. What many don’t realize, EVERYONE benefits from this mission, not just those with special needs or learning differences. Learning to dance together will benefit all dancers and give everyone memories to cherish for the rest of their lives. Dance is meant for everyone!

    Why do you think this mission is so important to share?
    It is necessary! Right now, we have only been able to whisper, our goal is to be able roar! That roar can only happen if the A Chance to Dance initiative grows every year – and with your help, NDWF is going to work hard to make that happen!

  • Dancing Across Generations

    Old-School-TVSome things never go out of style: table manners, denim, birthday parties, little black dresses…..and dance! You may have noticed that recently, television and movie producers have been uniting generations by remaking classic, popular dance movies. Today’s top stars have joined these casts and crews, making these revivals relevant and exciting to younger audiences, while still giving more mature viewers a healthy dose of nostalgia. Summer provides some extra downtime to revisit these dance-centric films that have withstood the test of time:

    • Grease is the word: In January, FOX coordinated “Grease: LIVE”, a live television broadcast of the classic movie-musical that featured stars including Julianne Hough, Vanessa Hudgens and Mario Lopez. The 1978 American musical romantic comedy film was reimagined, but the style stayed largely the same. The bright red lipstick and black leather outfits wow-ed audiences of all ages and the letterman jackets stayed exactly as we remembered them. If you weren’t able to catch the live broadcast, check it out on Netflix!
    • No one puts baby in the corner: ABC is working on a three-hour musical version of the 1987 hit “Dirty Dancing,” the much-loved story of how good girl Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman falls for – and learns some serious dance moves from! --Johnny Castle, the dance instructor at her family’s Catskills summer resort. The host station of “Dancing with the Stars” will recreate the movie’s iconic dance lift that made everyone trust their dance partner. The cast includes Debra Messing, Nicole Scherzinger and Abigail Breslin.
    • Whatever you feel, just dance it: Lifetime is creating a sequel to the beloved 2000s classic “Center Stage.” This time around, the American Ballet Academy is tasked with incorporating more contemporary styles into its ballet repertoire, and Peter Gallagher will return as the stern director everyone loves to hate. The sequel will include “Dance Moms” alum Chloe Lukasiak, who stars as a young ballerina vying for a spot in the company. These cast choices will make new and old viewers excited to watch just how modern the classic art of ballet can get.
    • Kick off your Sunday shoes: Catch “Footloose,” the 1984 American musical drama turned 2011 contemporary movie, proving any generation can appreciate a good rebel. Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald take on this small town with a big city attitude.

    With your downtime this summer, consider reconnecting with old and new timeless favorites that remind us dance is a universal language that stretches across generations. Who knows, you just might get inspired to whip out some classic dance moves or choreograph to a retro song!

  • Ballets About Love: The Stories Behind the Movement

    Ballets about Love - Curtain Call Costumes

    On the heels of Valentine’s Day, romance lingers in the air, giving us the perfect excuse to talk about love.

    While most of us hope that the love we find for ourselves will be simple and unconditional, ballets explore love in all its forms, from silly and fun to dramatic and trying. In short, ballets feature romantic stories that run the gamut from true, to displaced to forbidden loves.

    Some ballets retell love stories found in literary classics, such as Shakespeare’s comedic and whimsical A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or his dramatic and tragic Romeo and Juliet, a tale of star-crossed lovers from rivaling families. On the other hand, some enchanting love stories, including Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, were fairy tales and ballets well before they were given new life as Disney classics.

    Many ballets feature romantic relationships, but some are lesser known. Yet that doesn’t mean their stories are any less poignant or powerful. Read on for the stories behind two of our favorite ballets in honor of Saint Valentine:

    Coppélia is a comical ballet in which Dr. Coppélius creates a life-size dancing doll (which shares the story’s name) that sits on a neighborhood balcony. The doll is so lifelike that Franz, a village boy, becomes infatuated with the doll and sets aside his true heart's desire, Swanhilda, to pursue Coppélia.

    One day, Dr. Coppélius drops his keys, giving Swanhilda the opportunity to sneak around and ultimately learn that Coppélia is indeed a doll and not a person. Separately, Franz makes an attempt to get closer to Coppélia, whom he believes to be a beautiful girl. Shortly after, Dr. Coppélius returns to find Franz in his home. Enraged, the doctor gives Franz sleeping powder to ultimately sacrifice Franz’s soul to give Coppélia life.

    Swanhilda, who has been hiding in the doctor’s workshop behind the doll, escapes with Franz who realizes his one true love will always be Swanhilda.

    In the final act, Swanhilda and Franz are about to exchange their wedding vows when the angry Dr. Coppélius appears, claiming damages, but the mayor pays him off and the celebration continues.


    See Curtain Call costumes inspired by Coppélia:

    Peasant Dance
    Wonderful World
    Today's Song
    Singing in Spring

    Swan Lake
    Despite its initial unpopularity, Swan Lake, inspired by Russian folk tales, is now one of the most beloved ballets.

    Prince Siegfried, upset about not being able to marry for love, sets off in hunt of swans with a group of friends. After being separated from the group, Siegfried becomes entranced when one of the swans transforms into a beautiful girl, Odette.

    Odette and the other swans are victims of a terrible spell cast by the evil, owl-like sorcerer Von Rothbart. By day they are turned into swans and only at night, with the tears of Odette's mother dropped in the lake, do they return to human form. The spell can only be broken if one who has never loved before swears to love Odette forever.

    Seeing that Siegfried and Odette are falling in love, a concerned Von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his enchantress daughter, Odile, who is transformed so that she appears identical to Odette. Siegfried looks to marry her thinking she is Odette. Odette is distraught at Siegfried’s mistake, accusing him of betrayal.

    Heartbroken, Siegfried chooses to die alongside Odette by leaping into the lake before ascending into the heavens together.

    No matter what type of love these stories feature—tragic or lighthearted, complicated or straightforward—the common thread is that each is told beautifully by ballet dancers.

    What’s your favorite ballet about love? Tell us in the comments below!


    See Curtain Call costumes inspired by Swan Lake:

    Shimmering Lights
    Matte Satin Bodice

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