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.