kurt lichtmann 607.266.0282 kurt@ithacadance.com

Heather Carlsen & KurtA few notes about ithacadance:

We believe that it is important for you to have TWO excellent instructors, a man and a lady. Students need to see the real dance, and they need to see a lot of it. Lady students need to see a good lady dancer and her movement styles, as well as experience dancing with a competent male leader, visa versa for a gentleman student. Students need to hear the perspectives of both sides of the dance partnership. Many solo instructors feel that, since they can show both the leader and follower part, that they can teach by themselves, using pickup students in the class - I hope you can see that a teaching team is much more effective.

My current co-teachers at Ithaca Dance - Kristi Sullivan and Becca Perini, are superb and fun trained dancers. They have had numerous years of dance, including ballet, acrobatics, contra, and jazz. They were custom trained in the dances we teach by myself, and continue to study and practice dance.

Students need to practice dancing to music both in class and at home. We use a lot of good music in class. We also provide lists of handpicked dance tunes for you to download from itunes, Amazon, etc.

Many students attend as singles, without partners. We match them up, rotating partners frequently, a common practice in partner dance classes. We recognize that some couples do not wish to rotate partners, and we undertand that - it is fine. We do not put pressure on couples to switch partners.

As a trained educator with Masters Degree in Music Education, who continues to be a student of many things, my instruction is very sympathetic to the student of any ability level. I have a keen awareness of the many individual styles of learning, and adapt my instruction to the moment. From what I have seen, it seems that many (not all!) partner dance instructors, including top pro performers and competitors who also teach, are unaware of the developments in effective music instruction that have occured in the last 1/2 century - Kodaly, Dalcroze, etc. For example, some students need to see a move demonstrated over and over again, some need counting, some need verbal descriptions, some need hands on, and so on. Instructors should not be afraid to touch students - this is the most direct and effective way to communicate movement ideas. Becoming knowledgeable and comfortable with socially acceptable forms of touch is indeed an important part of social dance. We work as much one-on-one as we can, and we encourage, not discourage, questions.

I bring to dance instruction the perspective of a musician, composer, and improvisor. I feel that satisfying dance comes from allowing yourself to be as much part of the music as you can - an extension of it - a co-creator of rhythm, melody, lyrics, phrasing, structure, dynamics. Relaxed natural rhythmic musical expression in the body is so pleasurable to watch, as well as to experience. Increasing students'
music awareness and body awareness is what I consider to be the thrust of my teaching research for the rest of my life. My continued work with the ancient Chinese tradition of Qigong movement (Sifu Maurice Haltom) has helped students to experience "abstruse" issues of centered movement, grounding, functional postures, body awareness and energy flow. Everything related to natural and energetic movement interests me: sports of every type, Pilates, Martial Arts, T'ai Ch'i, Yoga, Alexander Technique, African Dance, etc.


A word about myself, Kurt Lichtmann - I am recently retired from ten years of teaching credit classes in ballroom, swing and latin dance at Ithaca College, where I earned my Masters Degree in Music Education (Voice/Piano) in 1982, and from twelve years teaching at Cornell University. My music and pedagogy instructors at Ithaca College gave me much by personal example in their teaching styles, perspectives, and methods, but most of all by their personalities and charisma. I wish to pay particular homage to my inspirational Ithaca College School of Music Professors Leslie Bennett, Mary Arlin, Edward Swensen, David Riley, Ronald Regal, Elizabeth Regal, Gary Brodhead, Margorie Porterfield, Roland Bentley, Steven Mauk, Lawrence Doebbler, and my student teaching supervisor at Horseheads High School, Joseph Crupi.

The list of dance instructors I have personally studied with since 1993 is kind of vast, but feel free to peruse. I have attended numerous major regional dance competitions, and placed in semi-finals and finals in a few.

I am founding Faculty Advisor for three Swing Dance Clubs: one at Ithaca College, and two at Cornell. I taught dance for twelve years at my other alma mater, Cornell University, under the inspiring leadership of former Department Chair Alan Gantert. At Cornell, I founded and developed the Swing Dance Program, trained many teaching assistants, created the Ballroom Intensive class, and offered the unique, edgy Latin Intensive class. I also created and maintained the website for the Cornell Physical Education Department. My gratitude to Al Gantert is vast - with his encouragement and guidance, the Cornell dance programs grew and flourished, as did my teaching parnters and myself, both as a dancers and instructors.

Born in Highland Park NJ, I graduated Cornell University '70, B.A. in Physics. I am founder/ producer/ DJ for 93.5 WVBR Saturday Swing radio show, twelve years on the air. I founded the Whiton Chorale for the Ithaca Community School Of Music & Art (CSMA), and directed it for four years. Let's not forget ten glorious years giving hundreds of songwriting workshops at virtually every school district in Central New York, and writing hundreds of songs. I led the legendary regional rock 'n'roll band "The Corvettes" for eight glorious years (vocals, keyboards, guitar, saxophone). I have been DJ'ing weddings and banquets for fourteen years: Cayuga Pro DJ.

Thank you - Let's dance and have fun!

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