Happy 2014!

I find myself writing again right before the Youth America Grand Prix competitions. This year I'll be accompanying four of my lovely students to the Atlanta, Georgia venue. They include: Kathryn Latham, Katherine Clevenger, Kate Russell and Emily Shellabarger. Akiko Kyong-McClain is going as my assistant, not only having choreographed a contemporary piece for Ms. Clevenger but also to be present as my right hand person. With all of her experience with competitions, she will be great support for everyone involved.

I've been keeping tirelessly busy with my teaching/writing project with Kate Buck Jr. and accompanist/composer, Clark Erickson. So busy that I can't seem to keep up writing for the website. But one of these days in the not-so-distant future, there will be much to read.

Looking forward to a very productive year!

Happy 2013!

Here we are again at the beginning of the year, with six of my students readying themselves for the ballet competition Youth America Grand Prix. They will be competing in the Dallas regional that will be held in early February. Joining Akiko Kyong-McClain are Laura Russell, Rachael Schwartz, Lauren-Frances Wood, Katie Clevenger and Rebekah Gee. I teach all of these lovely ladies at Shuffles & Ballet II in Little Rock, Arkansas (Directors: Jana Beard and Allison Stodola Wilson).

My all-time go-to composer and accompanist extraordinaire, Clark Erickson, will be playing at the workshop for YAGP. He will also be playing for the Bolshoi Academy auditions held the same weekend.

One of the highlights of my year was teaching a master class in Davenport, Iowa for Ballet Quad Cities led by the inimitable Artistic Director, Courtney Walrath Lyon. It was a rewarding two hours: the dancers were open-minded, hungry to learn and willing to approach the technique in different ways. Naturally, such enthusiasm and trust brought tears to my eyes when we were doing the réverence. I look forward to my next trip back!

During the summer, I filmed a segment for “Arts Alive!” at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter High School in Midland, Pennsylvania. Gavan Pamer, Director of Dance and Theatre, asked me to speak about how I integrate science into the dance classroom.

In late July, I staged the first movement of my piece, Erickson’s Counterpointe, for the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet in Louisiana (Artistic Director: Kendra Meiki). The dancers were gracious, quick studies and performed the piece well in September.

The biggest news: Since August I have been busy writing my technique book, the SuganoSystem Approach to Ballet. Kate Buck Jr. is acting as Project Manager, and Jonathan Bostick, Jennifer (Chambers) Litaker, Molly (Glynn) Puryear and Rachel (Hill) Lymbery are all generously helping in the editing department. Akiko Kyong-McClain has been an invaluable technique “model” that helps me visualize the techniques in action.

The new year holds much promise and excitement. Looking forward to it all!

Book Release!

Physics and the Art of Dance is now available for purchase!
Synopsis (courtesy of Oxford University Press):
Physics and the Art of Dance gives all who enjoy dance - whether as dancers, students, teachers, or fans - an opportunity to understand what happens when human bodies move in the remarkable ways we call dance. How, for instance, do dancers create the illusion of defying gravity? Or of starting to spin when in the air with no source of force to act on their bodies? You may observe some dancers using their arms in a way that allows some to jump higher than others. What is that technique, and why does it work?

In this second edition, author Ken Laws - a physicist with years of professional dance training - teams with veteran dance instructor Arleen Sugano to provide new step-by-step experiments for dancers. "What you see" sections describe the way physical principles form the framework within which some movements exist. The complementary "What you do" sections allow dancers to experience how those physical analyses can provide them a more efficient means of learning how to carry out those movements. Throughout, the book shows how movements are first artistic expressions, and secondly movements of the body within the framework of easy-to-understand physical principles.

To read the entire synopsis and purchase the book, visit the OUP site or Amazon.com.