The Teach-Learn Connection

By Leigh, Merrill; Halquist, Don et al. | Dance Magazine, October 2001 | Go to article overview

The Teach-Learn Connection


Leigh, Merrill, Halquist, Don, Becker, Dan, Dance Magazine


Ann Barzel, Sybil Shearer, and Margot Koche, were honored by Focus on the Arts in Highland Park, Illinois, in April. Focus on the Arts is devoted to artistic excellence and arts education, exemplified by these three Chicago grande dames of dance. They are accompanied by Ginny Siano-Eck. [] Dance Magazine's senior dance critic, Barzel taught ballet and Hebrew for many years and "daylighted" as a math teacher in the Chicago public schools while she collected an extensive library of dance books, periodicals, and more than 50,000 feet of dance film, which now resides at the Newberry Library in Chicago. [] Shearer studied dance in New York with Hanya Holm, performed with the Humphrey-Weidman dance group, and worked with Agnes de Mille as assistant choreographer. Critics hailed Shearer for her solo recital at Carnegie Hall. After moving to Illinois, she was sought after as a dancemaker and teacher. [] Dancer and dance director Margot Koche earned the title "Queen of the Mud Opera" because she presented full-costumed, "high-toned entertainment" to general audiences at county fairs [Dance Magazine, 1933].

Back to School

Marjorie Thompson has been appointed director of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. Thompson comes from the Seattle area, where she has held the position of director of therapy and conditioning for Pacific Northwest Ballet School since 1999. She danced with the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine from 1964 to 1971, when injuries turned her toward the study of anatomy and kinesiology. Thompson replaces David Holladay, who resigned as school director for PBT last spring.

Thompson will be responsible for planning, directing, and overseeing all artistic and educational aspects of the PBT school, as well as creating the syllabus and curriculum in accordance with Artistic Director Terrence Orr's vision for the 300 students who attend.

--Merrill Leigh

Degree for Teacher Training

Canada's National Ballet School (Toronto) and Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts (Vancouver) have announced an agreement that will allow graduates of NBS's full-time Teacher Training Program to continue their education at SFU, earning an undergraduate degree in two more years. NBS also has a joint program with the York University dance department (Toronto). …

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