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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2000 4:32 am 
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Location: Australia
p.s. what's ECE? Image<P>Tip-toes: DO feel free to give us guidance, as to how we are meeting your needs, and/or any areas you would like to look at more specifically, or in more depth?

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2000 6:22 am 
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Location: BC , Canada
Yes,an absolutley avid reader.<P>ECE= Early Childhood Education, area of specialization...physically changed children, often there is an existing learning disability associated with the physical one..(.I guess this is where the jargon comes from).<P>Anyone here who has questions about working with physically challenged or learning disabled children, I might be able to answer some questions for you. I have worked in studio with challenged children ranging from Spina Bifida to Downs Syndrom & A.D.D to Dyspraxia.

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2000 5:39 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Anyone here who has questions about working with physically challenged or learning disabled<BR> children, I might be able to answer some questions for you. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>THAT would be great, Rabbit! such questions may not come up very often here, but i sure hope YOU are around, when they DO. Image<P>interestingly, my friend who teaches that super-gifted little tot we spoke of in another thread, also has the early childhood specialisation in her education background. <P>as your are an avid reader, i imagine that the book trina mentions, in another recent thread may be of great interest to you - (trina is 'big' on dance books) - we have so many inter-related good discussions going, that i've lost track of what's where. email trina if in doubt!<P>i have a question for you, which i will now start another thread for. Image

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2000 7:06 pm 
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Location: New Zealand
Your replies are really fantastic ! I have just sat back and listened for a few days and thought about what has been said. There has been so much - I wish we could all be sitting in a room with a cup of coffee chewing these thoughts and ideas over.<P>There is so much 'good' manna here it is hard to know where to began.<P>The way we expand a set exercise will often differ but we all 'battle' to achieve the same end result.<P>As Jan mentioned, 'Students do get bored with the standard barre exercises " , however they do need to be often enough that settings are remembered in Examinations. I like many others change the music, change the rhythm, and at times do all of the barre in the centre. The grade 2's this year showed much improved Grands Battement devant when the whole exercise was taken on a rise - they had mastered the exercise for rises very well - so the lengthening of both legs in rises was transferred across to the grands battement exercise.<P>Maggie mentioned she was interested in 'how some people try to teach the idea of observation and artistry". I would be most interested to hear how she herself deals with this. Maggie what life's experiences do you attempt to draw out of say 9 = 10 year old children which will help. Do you do mime classes, creative movement etc ? I often make up a song to the set music which will help the presentation of an exercise. It not only helps with the breathing and facial expression but also helps the students to remember the exercise.<P>Angelica asked if I meant "performing in a ballet class in a syllabus. Is that something you want to happen ?. Well yes it is because if a student does not 'perform' or 'dance' the exercises in class it is a sure bet the examiner will see a lifeless, dull, uninspired presentation of the syllabus. So I would be interested to know how Angelica deals with this.<P>Dance is a performance just as life is a performance. What I am asking is how do we create a performance out of say, two battement tendu en croix, which will be appreciated by the audience ( whether it be the teacher or an audience<P>Rabbit is someone I admire for her wisdom and for having the ability to come up with another point of view. She is a 'laterally' thinking teacher - keep the discussion open.<P>I will pose another thread at the top with another discussion point - but please keep this one going.<P>Bye the way has Tuk 'tucked' himself away for the time being ?


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2000 11:01 pm 
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i've been wondering about tuk's whereabouts, myself, tip-toes... i hope he doesn't feel that he has to have the 'perfect' answer to everything to join in, just because his previous pieces have been so well researched. as much as i appreciate his articles, i really enjoy the brainstorming sort of effect we get by tossing (maybe 'imperfect') ideas between us, also. Image

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2000 12:30 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
My training includes several years of Cechetti with an exemplary teacher/examiner of that syllabus. The rest of my training included Vaganova/Russian with a teacher who was a student of Koslov and Baldina. I also took a great deal from various teachers who were products of NYCB. So my background is fairly varied. I appreciated the foundation of Cechettti and as a teacher (for 25 yrs) I used it to teach direction, body, head and arm positions. Also, to teach the student to see the ballet vocabulary as groupings, (all the variations of pas de boure for example) as well as a great grounding in use of the French terminology. However, I simply could not bear to teach a set syllabus and so declined an invitation to join the Cechetti Council. The idea of using the same music everyday would drive me to distraction - as it did when my Cechetti teacher used it. When I left my Cechetti teacher, I found that I could do the syllabus work very well - but given something novel - a new way to connect and I was at sea. It took me about a year to overcome that. It also occurred to me, in watching Cechetti students, that while they had a very clean technique, I didn't really see the artist. After the thrill of passing the examination was over, they were left with a sense of accomplishment, but not a sense of creativity. And, as I looked back over my own years as a Cechetti student, I don't ever remember once being asked to "shine through" the dance. That is very important to me. Basheva<p>[This message has been edited by ORZAK (edited September 28, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2000 3:13 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>being asked to "shine through" the dance.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i'm sure you would agree, basheva, given your very varied training background which does confer a broad perspective, that ANY syllabus is only as good as its teacher, and that the above aim should be in evidence in all of them.....

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2000 3:18 pm 
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this baldina must be the one who created the sylphides prelude - because she and koslov were in los angeles, and i believe you are in southern california as well, but this lady - i have looked up my ballet dictionary to see this - this lady was born in 1885 (in fact, september 27, 1885, so that's 115 years ago, YESTERDAY!) - how long ago was she teaching in los angeles, basheva? did YOU come across THEM? or only their student/your teacher?<p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited September 28, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2000 8:26 pm 
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I am not a teacher Tip_Toes. My friend is a teacher so as a former dancer I help her out sometimes. I just thouhght that class is for working and the stage is for performing, but as I say I am not really a teacher. I am more just an interested observer with a dance background. Everything here is interesting to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 11:21 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Grace - My first teacher, Marguerite Ellicott, was a major teacher/choreographer in Southern California until she died in the 1980's. I could find the exact date if you wish. HER teachers were Alexandra Baldina and Theodore Koslov, part of the original Russian dancers who left Russia with Diaghelev. They opened a studio in Los Angeles. As I understand it, after Koslov died, his wife, Alexandra Baldina kept on with the studio. She died in her 90's, still teaching. There was a writeup about it in Dance Magazine - don't ask me the date!! LOL.<P>Miss Ellicott opened a studio in San Diego,(where I live), I believe in the 1930's which attracted an entire generation of dancers in this area. She was also the leading choreographer for many stage shows and movies. <P> Miss Ellicott had a favorite stretch tendu/glissade exercise in the center that was ridiculously difficult. She told us she had learned it from Baldina. Years later when I saw the movie Children of Theater Street - I was astounded to see a sequence in which the students at the Kirov were doing that same exercise !!! Miss Ellicott was also a student of Belcher. I know a lot less about him. <P>I surely agree that the syllabus is only as good as the teacher behind it - but as someone else said, sometimes, and I emphasize sometimes, the syllabus provides a screen for the less than capable teacher. I don't mean to offend anyone - there are many, many wonderful teachers using syllabus methods. Basheva


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 2:03 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>the syllabus provides a screen for the less than capable teacher. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>this is unfortunately true, basheva. i have highlighted it, precisely because you seemed to be so hesitant and polite about saying it. i guess it's yet another way of saying that 'the syllabus is only as good as the teacher' - such a teacher as this, with even the best syllabus - can only take it so far. <P>i'm afraid i have an example of that in my hometown, where the excellent RAD syllabus is being used by a teacher who is in fact very good at dance composition, imaginative ideas, various aspects of dance school management, etc - but clearly has some limitations as a teacher. <P>her major level students consistently fail....a clear indication that even with all the classes they are doing, and with the simplest work being asked of them (because RAD pre-el & elem DO demand only the simplest work, but executed extremely well), they still cannot get a pass mark, year after year. <P>unfortunately, her enrolments are far far higher than mine (my students have never got anything other than honours and highly commended, but i should add that we are using a different, more accomodating syllabus). so, even with this repeated failure record, the kids still stay there because they love the competitions (i know - that's ANOTHER thread!).

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 2:20 pm 
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basheva (& others), you might also be interested in this thread in ISSUES, about dancers becoming teachers:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000103.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/000103.html</A>

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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 3:07 pm 
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Location: New Zealand
The quote you highlights Grace "A syllabus provides a 'screen' for the less than capable teacher" is so true.<P>I don't know whether or not I agree though that it says the same as - a syllabus is only as good as the teacher - <P>The screen could well be the fact the teacher nows the system and how it works and he or she in turn works that system. I know you can't work the system in RAD Majors but to a certain extent it can be worked in the grades.<P>Teachers know 1/3rd of the marks is Character, 1/3rd free movement and 1/3 Classical. A child who is absolutey hopeless at Classical can still pass by doing well in the Character and free movement sections.<P>The biggest problem I see is that many parents today are quite happy with a pass. 5 years ago things were different parents and children wanted more than a pass. This has come about by the education system in our country. Everyone gets a certificate for participating - so a 1st, 2nd or 3rd certificate in athletics, pet day, or the cross - country really means nothing because as every one is called up for their 'piece of paper' they are all winners.<P>I have a grade this year who are absolutely hopeless. They have actually been absolutely hopeless for the past 2 years. One child has a desire to better herself.<P> My eyes were finally opened to the problem at exam time last year when one child was awarded a commended and her mother threw the certificate back at me and said it "was not good enough, what was this doing to her child's self esteem!". Three of the mothers in that grade are school teachers in a system where nothing negative is allowed to be said and everything is wonderful. Because this child tried her 'best' she should have been given an A or in other words an Honours. No matter the mother never came to class to watch what should have been worked on at home. Free Movement was where this child picked up on her marks. This was the 'screen' for her when she should have failed on her classical technique.<P>After all that - I am interested in the syllabus you teach - is it an Australian syllabus ?


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 Post subject: Re: Teaching a Syllabus
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 3:42 pm 
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some excellent points, tip_toes. where to begin?!? Image<P>i completely agree with you, about this certificate thing - and the leveling effect it can have: everyone is OK! no matter what! real-life however (i.e jobs, etc) WILL sort the wheat from the chaff, and then how will these kids cope?<P>it's a worry as to the way we're sending the world!<P>re my own syllabus use - i am presently teaching 3 different ones in different settings.<P>i am a senior examiner for the AICD (Australian Institute of Classical Dance) which has two different exam streams. i am also teaching RAD elementary.<P>one is more traditional, called the Borovansky Ballet Examinations, after xenia borovansky who started it. her husband edouard, was the founder of the first australian ballet company, which preceded today's australian ballet company. as they were russian, the syllabus is older-style russian-based, but xenia adapted it to australian situation. of course it has been repeatedly updated since then (that was in the 1950's). <P>the other is the AICD Assessment stream, which is a new concept i think in ballet exams. it provides a guideline of steps for the teacher, as to what is considered appropriate at each level, then it is up to the teacher to devise the syllabus, completely as they see fit, with their own music, and varying from the guidelines if thought appropriate. <P>this is of course MUCH more of a challenge and time-consuming for the teacher as you have to find your own music (most of us can't afford pianists) and continually appraise and adjust your own work. <P>it IS of course, also more creative and can be more satisfying - it really depends on the individual teacher, as to whether they have the time & inclination to put in to doing it...<P>so far, this approach has not been taken up by many people, for the above reasons - the time and creativity issues.<P>as i mentioned somewhere else, when i do THAT, i feel very satisfied, but find it terribly time-consuming....and when i do the other (the set syllabus) i get REALLY frustrated by how often the students have to do things they're not ready to do, and then of course how BADLY they do them, but frankly, it's much EASIER!!!!<P>then too, when you get a good syllabus like the RAD one, it's a delight and an education in itself, to see how beautifully crafted the exercises and the progressions are, and how well a really good syllabus works (the same would hold true of the vaganova system, when applied to the right students - of which there are very few in this world!) Image<P>

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