ballet

Choosing a Dance School

Fact: Dance training is expensive.

Fact: Dance training is a rather large time commitment.

Fact: Dance training is working with muscles/bones/developmental growth.

Fact: It is important that you research schools, ask questions and choose one that fits what you are looking for in a school and for your child.

This isn't the easiest task in the world to do, especially if you do not know a lot about dance. Perhaps you don't know the questions to ask or certain things to look for. Here is our guide to Choosing a Dance School! Plus download our special checklist for parents!

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Photo: Southeastern Regional Ballet Association - Photo by Richard Calmes


 

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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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


 

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.


 

Why Dance Matters.

So we're sitting with a friend at a local restaurant following a meeting about promoting arts education in the city. We had just completed a tour of our local theater, discussed its history and future plans. We sat there completely thrilled; our hearts were full, and we were living off the energy from everyone in the group and their dedication to the arts in our city.

A man comes over and introduces himself. Turns out, he is a supporter of the theater. This made us very happy until he asked: "Now, what is it you do?" We said, "Dance instructors!"

But then he said this.

"And you can make a living off of that?"

We answered, "Yes. We can. We do. And here is why we should."


 

Just Because I'm a Ballerina...

Let's get some of these ballerina stereotypes corrected.

Photo:  Katarina Sokolova


 

The Demonstrator

Dance Teacher Magazine recently asked an interesting question: How do you demonstrate ideals while still making all your students feel included?

Photo by: Richard Calmes (as featured by Dance Magazine)

We immediately drifted back to our early classroom days... the days where so-and-so could do the splits before us, or so-and-so hit that double pirouette with absolute perfection. So-and-so had a natural flexibility, and so-and-so, well... she was just perfect in every way.

As young dancers, these thoughts haunted me whether the teacher pointed out their perfection or not. We didn't really need it pointed out; we could see it with our own eyes that they were the poster-child example! {bitter tone intended}

In the classroom, this created two things within us:

1. A little fire that encouraged us to strive to be better.

2. Horrible thoughts on how we could alter our bodies to be more like that (whatever that may be). Confession: We truly believed at a young age that if we broke our ankles, that it would heal and then point the way a professional ballerina points.

It wasn't until high school that we accepted our turnout, our feet and our not-so-flexible back for what it is.


 

Things to Love About Teaching Dance

We'll share with you what we love about the life of being {dun dun dun} a dance teacher!

1. We love that we get to help students on their school projects! Whether it is being interviewed on a dance style or dance history, or calculating heart rates with a specific style of dance, or helping on a lesson about healthy eating for more dance energy... We're always willing to foster learning and pass on creativity mixed with curiosity in our world.


 

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