Just a short entry to say- I am still here and dancing, but due to work constraints and my home pc expiring, I may be quiet for some time… I’m still around on twitter, and hope to restart blogging soon.
Keep pointing those feet folks!
Tags: ballet, dance, Learning, Teaching, Training
I’ve been thinking…
Don’t panic, its not thoughts of world domination.
It’s about teaching.
A large part of my day job is about developing and training people. In the past I have taught others to ride horses. Both my parents were in education. I’m a trained workplace coach.
As a trainer, I have been doing a lot of thinking about being the trainee (in this case, being a ballet student) how ballet teachers train and I learn.
Now let’s get this out of the way, this ISN’T a dig at teachers at all- all the teachers I work with are fab, I’m just curious at the difference in teaching styles.
To me, ballet seems incredibly prescriptive in the way it delivers training. It is always very exercise based- this is a good thing in one way, as nearly all people learn best by doing. And let’s be honest, I can’t think about a better way to learn to do something as kinetic as dancing in any other way.
My reservation to this style is it seems to be delivered mainly in large chunks. What I mean by this is an exercise is, lets say;
Coupe, chasse, pas de bourree, Assamble battu, glissade, releve.
Now that’s fairly simple exercise in (about) eight counts. However there are six very definite steps that you need to know to be able to perform that.
And here is my beef; sometimes I feel that an exercise like that gets thrown at you, and not broken down into more manageable sections so I end up struggling at one or more aspects of the sequence and messing the rest up because you are on the wrong foot/out of time/sequence.
To use an equestrian analogy, it would be like asking a horse and rider to jump a show jumping course, while still learning to trot, canter and jump. You just wouldn’t
Many (10+ years ago) I learnt to cabriole. My then teacher taught it in isolation, not in an exercise- certainly for me, it’s a style of teaching that works. Breaking down sequences into smaller sections to perfect the techniques. As a training technique, it worked for me as a pupil, and its one I use often in the day job. I’m baffled why more ballet teachers don’t do this.
I’d be really interested in others opinions on this one- so please pop me a message with your thoughts. I’d love to hear from both teachers and pupils.
Tags: Acheivement, ballet, dance, Pas de deux, positive, Royal Ballet School
As I sit here and listen to Don Quixote, (good ballet, can’t decide if I would be better as Don Q or Sancho) I think; golly and gosh, isn’t it a long time since I wrote?
I apologise. My real (i.e. non-ballet) life has been a little hectic to say the least!
I won’t bore you with that, as I’m certain you are not interested. (I know I’m not)
Dancing, yes, that is what we are here for; huge highlight occurred a few weeks ago where I was privileged, honoured and very, very lucky to have a chance to dance at the Royal Ballet School, being taught how to do pas de deux properly by the talented Henry St Clair.
I learned SO much that weekend, and ticked some special boxes I never dreamed I would achieve. Such as dancing with a partner on pointe, learning repertory from a “real” ballet (Swan Lake) for me, I had the tiniest taste of what a dancer’s life might be like.
The whole weekend brought home how far I have come in the last year.
A year or so ago, I took part in the first UKBTM class- after and hour and a half I was exhausted, and, if I’m honest, in well over my head.
Since then, I have listened and learnt from lots of people, not just teachers, but fellow dancers as well.
I got on a stage in front of real, fee paying audiences and danced.
I did 2 days of around 5 hours a day dancing. I could not have done that a year ago.
I know I have a lot further to go, but I have got further than I thought I would get.
Roll on September.
Well- what can I say? One tech rehearsal, three shows, it’s a week later and I’m still on a high!
We had a very shaky tech- no lighting at all, so the first time we “experienced” the lighting was in the first performance! Not ideal, as we had very dramatic lighting (including smoke effects), which made seeing where you were quite difficult!
The tech was probably the worst that we had done the piece, which was ominous…
Saturday’s performance came along faster than my nerves would have liked, so we went for it- you could tell from the other dancers we were all giving 110%! When we came off- what a high! If I’m honest it was a bit of a blur, but in a good way- I think I lowered one of the girls onto my foot in the pas de deux section, but I don’t think it noticed!
Sunday we did it all again… Twice!
I got a cheeky comment from the front of house staff about turning up late- apparently its VERY showbiz to turn up half way through if you are only in act two!
Matinee went well; apart from the nearest I have come to dropping someone! I didn’t though, so all was good!
We then got to watch the 2nd half of the show- fantastically talented dancers!
We managed to sneak into the auditorium for the first act of the evening show; it was a pleasure to watch all the dancers from the tiny to the slightly bigger!
Then for the final time… off we went. I honestly thing we saved the best till last- the steps seemed slicker, the lifts felt higher.
Then the finale! Lovely but slightly bittersweet, as our teacher is leaving. I’ll miss her loads, as she has really built my confidence and pushed me- I hope we did her proud.
Tags: ballet, dance, london, studio bookings, workshop
How are we all? Enjoying the very warm weather?
Just a quick post tonight (I’m trying to forget I have three performances in under a week!)
I’m looking to arrange a workshop later in the year, and am trying to gauge interest/what people want.
I’ll put forward some ideas and I would appreciate any thoughts or feedback; if you think it’s a pants idea, say so!
Location- It would likely to either be in London or Bedfordshire (subject to studio bookings)
Who will be teaching? Honestly I don’t know yet. I have a few ideas, but all are in very early stages. If the teachers I hope to get can do it, it will be a bit special. What would people be interested in learning?
Date/Time- Again, nothing decided yet, it will most likely be a weekend though.
So that’s where I am now. Currently very much in idea stage, but I really want to see what people think before I go to far- If it’s a non starter, then so be it.
Over to you!
Short but important one today. Congratulations to my ballet “big sis” Rebecca, for passing het RAD grade 6 with a Merit!
This fantastic lady has supported and encouraged me, and her reward for all her hard work is long overdue.
Well, it took us half a term, but we managed to choreograph our piece! It might only be four minutes but it’s a killer! We have pushed some dancers quite hard and I think there are probably challenges in there for all of us.
It has been an incredible experience to be involved in choreographing a piece- a first for me. Seeing an idea evolve from something talked about into a real piece of dance that people are going to pay to see.
I’m already very nervous and the performance is just under two months away. It’s a big deal for me, as I don’t want to let the others down, and I’m conscious that (If I’m honest) I’m the technically weakest dancer there. By a long way.
Unfortunately this has been playing on my mind for a while and I can’t shift it.
I look at people around me and they “get it” far quicker than me; its stupid stuff that I can’t seem to grasp- coupe chasse pas de bourrée. Waltz step. Both things that have foxed me.
I don’t know, perhaps I learn differently to others. Perhaps I should head back to pre-primary. Perhaps I should pack it all in (that’s not going to happen). Perhaps I’m having a bad couple of weeks. Usually being around people that are better than me I find a good thing, as I feed off their skill/knowledge, whereas at the moment it just feels that they are better and it’s somewhere I am never going to get.