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Chicken or the egg?
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Author:  Lindsey [ Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:14 am ]
Post subject:  Chicken or the egg?

I've been reading a selection of books on teaching dance and find some thoughts very conflicting. This may be somewhat over-simplified but the question is: Do you teach the movement with emphasis on the correct style or flavour so that the correct muscles will engage naturally of themselves. Or do you teach a movement with emphasis on engaging the correct muscle group? :?:

Author:  Dean Speer [ Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chicken or the egg?

I think you have to balance both. A basic pliƩ combination, even at the lowest level of a class [say Ballet I or II] is informed by your school/company "style." What's the rhythmic emphasis? Where do you put the stays and holds? What do you want these students to look like four or five levels/years from now?

Even if you're the person at the top...and perhaps especially so...you need to think about and plan your classes with an end goal in mind. If you collaborate with other teachers and share students and levels, it becomes equally important to ensure you're all on the page and have a similar intent and approach.

Style and approach are embedded from day one. How does your school want the figures to be held? Where is the student's gaze to be at the end of each exercise? Do you want the "center" of the pose to stick on the center of the downbeat or maybe a little before? Once a pose resolves, do you want the port de bras to trail and finish (typically)?

While urging, supporting, and cajoling student on, you also have to balance this with age, level, and ability. If, for example, you insist that a nine-year old student have a "perfect" pliƩ and to be perfectly placed, then they'll never move. You have to urge technical refinement in tandem with moving.

It's complex but also clear if your roadmap is laid out.

Hope this helps!

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