What's in Your Dance Bag?

Dance bags. These can be a dancer's best friend! On breaks, dancers rush to their bags, rummaging through for this or that. What is in our dance bags, is what helps us get through a full day of class, rehearsals, blocking and tech.

So what is the magic inside of these bags?

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Making Ballet Fun

"Ballet is so... serious."

"Ballet is so boring."

"Ballet moves too slow and the music is old."

"Ballet is too stiff for me."

These are all complaints that we've heard students say about ballet. Opinions of ballet have shifted as time has passed. It was during the post-modern period of dance, which began around 1960, that shifted the thoughts on ballet to more of a "conditioning" aspect of dance as a whole. Ballet was thought of as a way for dancers to stay in shape and become stronger dancers. Even today, it is thought by many that ballet is equated to taking vitamins.

How can we re-frame ballet in today's dance world? How can we rid ballet of the "why so serious?" feel that pushes many dancers away from it? We must teach them the positive aspects of ballet! We must show them how to find beauty, passion, drama and intrigue in ballet! We must show them how "cool" ballet is!

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Photo: Ashley Murphy, Dance Theatre of Harlem

Ballet Dance Identifications

Do you ever feel lost in dance conversations?

We're here to help you!

Here are some quick-and-simple Ballet Dance IDs of people in the dance world who made a difference.

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Girl-on-Girl Crime

Class was over. The little girl grabbed her dance bag and ran from the studio. When she found her mother outside waiting for her in the lobby, tears were streaming down her face. She wanted to go home. And now.

The mother stood bewildered. Her daughter had never left dance class before in such a state. She followed her daughter out of the studio. [Continue reading to find out what happened in this scenario].

Girl-on-girl crime can creep its way into many situations. Today, we will examine how girl-on-girl crime finds itself in dance studios and dance relationships; the effects of girl-on-girl crime, and how it can be prevented.

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Interview with New York City Ballet Principal Dancer, Sara Mearns

Read our interview with New York City Principal dancer, Sara Mearns as she discusses growing up in the ballet world, and the whirlwind of classes, schools, auditions and ballets that have come together to make her dreams come true. The interview is open, honest and truthful. A true look at the life of an American ballerina.

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Photo: Sara Mearns performing with New York City Ballet

Distorted Thinking

Have you ever started a day and you just don't feel there? Your mind is somewhere else, your body is exhausted or just can't do anything right, and you're left standing there, wide-eyed, saying something like: "I'm seriously not here today."

This could mean you're just over-stressed, or have too much going on. But maybe your lack of focus/strength/power/energy comes from the fact that it's leaking out in other areas of your life? Maybe the way you are thinking about a situation in your life is consuming your focus/strength/power/energy?

10 Things Dance Teachers Say

1. What we say: "Point your feet!"

What this really means: A beautiful pointed foot is not just about the toes. In fact, "scrunching" your toes is not a pointed foot at all! Scrunching toes can also lead to injuring a tendon in your foot. A good point, instead, lies in the instep (between your ankle and toes). Try exercises sitting down, pushing through demi pointe and then en pointe, using your entire foot. Also try standing, and thinking "pulling up through your arches" and "spreading the toes" out. This will help you feel the energy coming through your instep. Then, when you jump of lift the foot off the floor, the toes will come underneath in a beautiful point. Pointed feet exhibits a dancer's extensions and lines. It is also important for balance and strength.

Rest

It was one of those days.

One of those days you can feel your body straining, your mind jumping from here to there and everywhere but where it needed to be: right here, in ballet class, focused.

Why Create?

"Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives. Call it full-blast living."

A Great Teacher

"I have come to a frightening conclusion. I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt to heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or de-humanized." -Haim Ginott

This v. That: Ballet

In ballet, there are so many terms that either sound alike, look alike or seem eerily similar. They're the set of words that always get switched in your brain or make you think a little harder on which is which. Stress no more! We are here to help you see and feel the difference in seemingly similar ballet terms.


 

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