Author Archives: Lacey Sasso

How to Source the Perfect Jazz Songs for Dance Class

If you are anything like me, you are constantly searching for new music. I perk up when I hear a good track in a film, while I’m shopping, and I find myself scribbling down artist names when my friends DJ for me in the car.

While I love discovering new artists and fun new jams, I am mostly trying to keep my playlist both current and appropriate for my students.

The hardest part about building a playlist is finding music that has variety and is catchy without being vulgar, suggestive, or laden with curse words.  Get the clean version you say?  In my experience sometimes the clean version simply swaps out one expletive for another that is somehow considered less offensive.

Having been a full time teacher for several years, I have found a formula in finding jazz songs for dance class and creating some killer playlists.

Here are some of my best tips and tricks to find jazz songs, and create a great playlist.

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Jenifer Ringer Dancing Through It Book Review

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dancing Through It: My Journey in the Ballet written by retired New York City Ballet (NYCB) Principal Dancer, Jenifer Ringer.

She writes openly, honestly, and with great grace about her lifetime of experiences in the world of ballet. She takes the reader on a journey from the time when she was a small girl and first started dancing, through her struggles with her body image, up until the apex of her impending retirement from NYCB.


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The Post Show Blues

Even with a successful season, you can’t make everyone happy. And, what even defines it as a success?

I am filled with a mix of emotions as I look back at the past season with Sasso & Company.  There have been a lot of hurdles along the way, but overall I would say we had a successful season.

Dance shows always leave me with this mix of euphoria and sadness; something that I call “the post show blues.”

There is a sense of wow we pulled this off.  We made dance and people paid to come out and see it.  Then you remember all of the little mistakes: a turn that didn’t go perfectly, a strap that fell off, hair that stuck in your lipstick, a lift that you thought was going to fall, and you start to wonder how the audience felt about the show.

If you have read some of my other posts, you’ll realize that the list of worries in the world of dance and live performance is seemingly longer than the list of positives.


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How to Really Run a Dance Show (and Sell Out)

What goes through your head when you are setting up a run of performances?  For me, I run the gamut of emotions. High on the list are excitement and fear – I get so excited to have the opportunity to share work with the world and get on stage and perform.

I also fear that no one will turn up to the performances and that I’ll put a ton of cash down and end up in the red.  While there is no guarantee that your show will be successful, I found a few things this season that helped make my shows a success and I would like to share them with you.

At the end of the day, running the show shouldn’t be terrifying. People will turn up if you prepare properly.

how to run a dance show

Everybody’s fear is not getting butts in seats

So, what’s the difference between a normal show and a Sasso & Company performance?

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Dancing the Distance: Near. Far. Together

I love chance technique.  I remember learning about Merce Cunningham for the first time when I was about eighteen and thinking how tough and ballsy his method sounded.  I was also terrified by the idea of not knowing the future (i.e. the next step or phrase).

As I have gotten older, I have really begun to fall in love with chance.  I find the entire experience exhilarating and thrilling.  You walk into the studio with an idea and then guide it slightly, or perhaps you  let it completely run wild.

Taking a chance in my work

My first experience using chance in my own choreography was in 2014 when I started creating a piece now called ‘Automatic Unconsciousness’.

To be really honest, I was struggling to come up with a storyline I wanted to tell, and was feeling a bit burnt out as a choreographer. But I went back to my roots and education, and I brought some tools to the studio.

For this piece, I used colored index cards labeled with a variety of things such as: Phrase A/Phrase B, invert, repeat, slow, fast, and more. First, I taught the phrases, then I had the dancers choose cards from each pile of: phrases, how to manipulate them, and speed suggestions.

We got to work and rather than ending up with too little material, we had far too many versions of all the phrases!  I was so intrigued and excited by how these simple manipulations created enough meat for an entire piece.

I believe that chance allows the dancers to have a deeper involvement in the creative process.  I also love knowing that we (as I believe chance often is a group process) can keep, discard, and further manipulate any material created.

Fast forward a couple of years and I have begun to challenge myself more and more to allow chance to be a part of my choreographic process.

Near Far Together Continue reading

Why I Love to Play Around in the Dance Studio

Yesterday I had the joy of walking into an empty dance studio with my good friend Charlotte. We had the intent of playing around with movement ideas and creating anything just because.

Neither of us had a deadline, an upcoming performance, a submission, or a specific idea burning to be created.  We simply got together and started moving and catching up on life. Continue reading

How Teaching Reframed My View of My Body Image

I still distinctly remember trying on my very first recital costume when I was 5. I went crying to my mother because my thighs didn’t fit in the legs of the leotard and they were being squashed by the elastic.

Little did I know that this would be the first of many experiences I would have with my body being ‘wrong’ for dance.

I have spent my whole life in front of the mirror.

I started dancing when I was 4 years old and I absolutely fell in love with being in the studio and learning how to perform on stage. Continue reading

Dancing The Distance with Sasso & Company this April!

As with any artistic project, what you start out to create takes on a life of its own and turns into exactly what it is meant to be.

While the creative journey may take a different path than originally expected, I find that the destination generally remains the same.  It is what we discover along the journey that clarifies our true intentions. Continue reading

Top 10 Dance Articles of 2015

As we move into a brand new dancing year, I want to share with you 10 articles that I truly enjoyed reading in 2015.

They are in no particular order and range from the announcement of Misty Copeland as a principal ballerina, to the strength that it takes to pursue your dream of becoming a dancer despite feeling that the odds may be stacked against you.

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Call to Artists – Come Dance with Us in April


Thank you for your interest in performing with Sasso & Company in our annual Spring Performance Series!

We are looking for established contemporary and modern dance artists from the Boston community to share an exciting variety of work with new and returning audiences. Sasso & Company aims to further the sense of connectivity in our local dance community through this collaborative performance opportunity. Continue reading