Interview with Diane King - The Dance Bible
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Broadway Dance Center, New York - A Culture

Diane King

Since 1984, Broadway Dance Center, has earned a reputation in the global dance community as a beacon of excellence in dance education. BDC is renowned for its unparalleled Faculty and for offering a diverse array of dance disciplines under one roof. Their continued dedication to the international dance community, state-of-the-art studios, and their location in the heart of the Broadway theater district in New York City make it the ultimate destination for dancers around the globe. 

It was an honour to chat with Diane King, the Executive Director of BDC and talk about the institute's rich history and their glorious future plans. Read on...

Q: It was the vision of one man, Richard Ellner, in early 1980s that has made Broadway Dance Center what it is today. He captured well the influx of aspiring dancers that primarily came to NYC to vie for the chance to dance on a Broadway stage, and gave them an institution where they could train in diverse dance styles. With such a rich history of BDC, how challenging has it been for you to keep BDC vision intact, and at the same time evolve with the changing times?

A: At BDC, one of the challenges we face is working to please a very diverse audience. Richard believed the adult recreational dancer could take class with the aspiring professional and the Broadway professional. We work hard daily to make sure we are providing the best experience for each of our students from beginner to advanced. We are constantly fine tuning our schedule to make sure we have an array of levels and disciplines. Keeping our traditions and balancing the demands of today’s audience. What’s a fad versus an enduring style? We are making sure we offer an exceptional dance class, and a warm and nurturing environment.

Q: BDC is not only one of the top danced institutes in New York, but has earned a reputation in the global dance community with its popular International Student Visa Program (ISVP). How do you ensure an enriching environment for dancers that leave their homes and come to BDC with huge aspirations? What other supports are given to international students?

A: Our ISVP is the largest of any dance school, and our program more comprehensive than any other, but it is the care and love we show our students, carefully creating a home away from home for all our dancers, that makes us the ultimate destination for dance worldwide. Our Education Department has a full team of staff to work with the International students from application process, a week long orientation schedule, and a student advisor to help them craft a personalized weekly schedule. Taking classes with the local students encourages the international students to work even harder!

Q: You believe in networking and forming strong partnerships through your master classes. After the Bloch Master Class Series featuring some of the dance industry’s top teachers and choreographers including Dave Scott, Kyle Hanagami, and Brian Friedman; BDC in Brooklyn Series featuring the Mark Morris Dance Group; Broadway Choreographer Series that allows dancers to learn current Broadway repertoire with cast members and/or the creative team from the show; what is your next focus?

A: We do seek to provide not only the classics in dance training but also to remain the name in cutting-edge dance experiences that makes our reputation. In the works we have many other training opportunities, including opening our elite training program, the Professional Semester, to international students to prepare them for careers in dance; an expansion of our Teacher Workshop to more Teacher Training Continuing Education opportunities; more development of our BookBDC and other efforts in bringing our legendary training on the road to dancers worldwide; and of course we will continue to bring in celebrated faculty and sought-after original choreography classes to offer our students the very best. 

Q: You have been a part of the Dance industry for such a long time and understand well the increasing pressures on dancers today. Being a good dancer does not suffice; they need to be excellent in their dance technique while maintain their stage presence and becoming a good performer. How does BDC help their students in this all round development? Also, personally do you feel that it is important these days to learn diverse dance styles rather than concentrating on just one or two dance disciplines?

A: We absolutely believe that it’s important for dancers to train in a diversified range of styles – truly never has this been more important. This is why all our full-time programs feature a concentration structure with mandatory ballet and diversity classes – they must take styles outside of their chosen concentrations. Our elite program, the Professional Semester, takes this idea even further and provides intensive training in all styles as well as mock auditions in Company Work, Commercial Dance, Theater, and then a final multi-disciplinary mock with a singing cut.

Q: BDC Gives, as the name suggests, is involved hugely in making positive contributions in the community. Tell us more about these BDC Gives Classes and what prompted you to start this?

A: With such a rich and varied community of dancers, many charitable causes have emerged as crucially important to our mission at BDC, and so we developed BDC Gives as a way to organize these efforts and match our clients’ contributions to many different worthwhile endeavours. We also donate scholarships to hundreds of partners worldwide to encourage young dancers’ dreams.

Q: This year BDC has launched a Professional Semester Audition Tour, traveling to Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Dallas. Tell us more about this; will this become an annual feature of BDC, and is India on your map any time soon?

A: At BDC we truly are dedicated to inspiring the world to dance, and so global outreach is a huge part of our mission. We have many ideas in the works and India is very much in the conversation – stay tuned! 

Q: Last words of advice to all aspiring dancers across the globe.

A: We’re fond of telling our students that it’s not enough to be a good dancer; you also have to be a good person. This is why at BDC we’ve sought to create a culture not only of excellence in dance education, but also one of kindness, a home away from home for dancers where they can strive to become the best, both as dancers, and as people!  

Thank you Diane for your time and valuable inputs!

Dear Dancers, have you ever been trained at BDC. Share with us your experiences and thoughts!

Disclaimer: All pictures have been provided to us by BDC, and they reserve the rights to them.

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