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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 7:06 am 
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well, likewise, you have more knowledge than i do about balanchine.....<P>maybe it is not so apparent where you are living, basheva, but the vaganova influence is very present in ballet teaching in the states now. in fact the two 'styles' i see the most questions or misunderstandings about at other boards, even from otherwise well-informed posters, are the RAD and the vaganova approaches. <P>presumably there are far fewer questions about balanchine-type approaches, because americans (who are most of the dance people on the net) know more about him, than about these other influences which are 'newer' to america.<P>re your comment on 'speed', i can relate this to balanchine having created the groundwork in american ballet which enabled forsythe, for example, (and tharp) to become themselves, as they are, in ballet today (with 'speed')....

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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 10:03 am 
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Let me ask this, then - from whence cometh this Vaganova influence? We know where the Balanchine influence came from- as well as RAD and Ceccheti. Are we getting more of Vaganova influence now in the US because of the fall of the Soviet Union and more Russian dancers settling here? Like the Kirov Academy here in the US?<P>When I was very heavily into teaching and studying - we were familiar with the Russian school - but it was mostly pre-dating Vaganova. The result of several teachers who were the student descendants of the original Russian dancers from the Diaghilev era.(my dictionary shows three spelling for his name !!) <P> We virtually never used the phrase "Vaganova School" as it is used now. Everyone had heard of her - knew about her - but that was about it.


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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 2:02 pm 
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Grace, actually i have never been to a performance, so i didnt pick up the impression there. I got the impression from seeing the way some people train. It seems to me all the intensive (full time) ballet schools, use the vaganova method. As they aree using the Vaganova method, and its concentrated on getting the 'perfect' 180, then thats what gave me the impression, that you 'have' to have the perfect 180. <BR>The thing that beats me is why would someone invent a certain way to do things/ ballet body (vaganova/balanchine), based on a small group of 'unique' people, when most other people just have normal limitations, and arent anything out of the ordinary?<BR>Because when people invent something like that, they should think that not only that 'special' group of people would use it, but other people would use it too. <BR>

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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 3:45 pm 
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excellent point, elizabeth...your observation is quite correct - i just wondered how you had formed it. and now i am wondering which school/s you have been watching! Image<P>really, re aggripina vaganova (that's her name - actually there's another equally wierd bit in the middle!).....she responded to the training needs in her country at the time, bearing in mind that the st petersburg school was the best ballet school in the world, taking in only the MOST highly selected group of children, chosen for their physiques and aptitude, to train for one company only - the Kirov/Mariinsky, whatever it was called then.....(there have been a number of changes of the company name, as the city also changed its name, in response to political change in russia).<P>vaganova looked at the training at the time, and streamlined it into a shorter, more compressed, more efficient training programme for its one purpose of producing ballet dancers for that company.<P>there would never have been any consideration of any possibility of it ever being used anywhere else for any other purpose - OK - wild generalistion, i admit - who knows what was in their brains at the time? --....but you get my drift, i'm sure. there really would have been no reason, to think it would ever escape the walls of the hallowed institution....<P>but, time marches on....<P>which brings us to basheva's question:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Are we getting more of Vaganova influence now in the US because of the fall of the Soviet Union and more Russian dancers settling here? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>this is certainly part of the reason - a big part, probably. other factors: the huge impression created worldwide by nureyev, makarov and baryshnikov - ALL graduates of that program.....people want to emulate their excellence, so inevitably ask 'how were they trained?'<P>the increasing pressure to achieve technical excellence (such as you have spoken of elsewhere, elizabeth) AND within a shorter time frame...has inevitably made people look to the vaganova approach, as well - since it was made for those purposes.<P>the exodus from russia, which basheva refers to, has enabled the adoption of this approach in more places, because now there ARE people, settled all over the world, who have that heritage, and know it is a saleable commodity.<P>also it probably should be mentioned that there are just a couple of truly excellent books, guides to the approach, as it were....which have helped disseminate understanding of it...but have probably also encouraged some who shouldn't be dabbling to claim to know what it's about....or to teach it. nevertheless they are superb resources and have been quietly available for many years now - just not so widely picked-up on, till the last ten years or so....<P>hoping this helps....

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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 3:31 am 
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Grace, just wanted to say a great reply.<P>Well, i have 'watched' and heard about school/s but i dont think i should say the names. <P>You say the st petersburg 'was' the best ballet school, that doesnt mean it is now. I would have thought that if it 'was' the best school, then why hadnt people started using the Vaganova method as frequently as people are using it now? Anyway, as you said about how they thought 'it wouldnt excape the walls of the hallowed institution', i will definately say that was a very 'wild' generalisation, like you said. <P>The thing is, there are going to be good people no matter what way they are trained. <BR>So i dont think, i know this might sound stupid, but i dont think people shoudl assume that one method is better than another unless they have all the statistics, e.g. how many people are good compared to bad, how likely injuries were, what kind of body type it was suited for. etc.<P>Grace, what books in particular do you think are the best?<P><BR>

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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 4:53 am 
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elizabeth, you are so right!<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>i know this might sound stupid, but i dont think people should assume that one method is better than another unless.....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>that's my view, too. and i suppose that's one thing that upsets me, is that people pick up on a 'method' for some reason - it's popular, or it's fashionable, or it seems presitigious, or 'everyone else is doing it', or whatever - without actually asking (or perhaps knowing anough to answer..) whether that method is right IN that circumstance, FOR those purposes, FOR those students.....<P>and then as well, there is the issue you also raise, that any method is only as good as it's teacher....<P>in answer to a couple of questions, i think there are a range of reasons why the vaganova approach was not used more, earlier - but that would be for yet another thread (!)...<P>and many people - maybe even MOST ballet teachers -would still regard the vaganova school as the best in the world. <P>from my experience and exposure, sometimes via third parties, i would be inclined to thinking there are a range of fine schools, which are all slightly different, rather than any one being "the best". also that some are better for different physiques, or for different aspects of training - the paris opera school, for example, has a reputation for having the finest pointe work....<P>you ask about books (and i feel another thread coming on Image .... ) - what sort of books? boks about what, specifically? i love books, and promise you plenty of suggestions. there are a couple of other 'book people' here too - so there will be no shortage of suggestions, when we know what you're after.<P>oh, yes: and the 'wild generalisation' it was mySELF i was accusing of doing THAT! Image

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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 6:13 am 
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ok - here goes - I think that someone who really wants to dance will avail her/himself of a variety of "schools". I certainly wouldn't be satisfied with one particular technique. I think they each bring something of value and an added dimension. And, I think dancers today need to walk through many doors and taste from many tables of dance food.<P>As for books - I have dozens on technique, but you can't learn to dance from a book. The books I find most valuable are books on the lives of famous dancers and dance history. It gives the dance - and actually the indivudal steps - meaning for me. I really do think of Louis of France when I do royale. I really do imagine the Basque people doing pas de Basque. <P>Knowing the history gives me a sense of "place" in the stream of dance history. I love reading about the great dancers in history and of our time, too. How my pointe shoes came to be - why I wear my hair in a bun.


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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 6:26 am 
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just one comment further to basheva's:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I think that someone who really wants to dance will avail her/himself of a variety of "schools".<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>reading between the lines here, i get the impression (and please correct me if i am wrong) that elizabeth may have a daughter in a vaganova-based training program...?<P>either way, (but especially if that is the case) i would add a qualifier to basheva's good advice, being that i would NOT recommend dabbling in different ballet methods until one has acquired a certain level of technique, AND a certain emotional maturity...for children, this is usually just too hard (i have come across the very rare exception who manages this well, usually due to complete focus on her needs from her parents, and really supportive teachers, but it's rare).<P>we COULD discuss this too - but i think it's another thread.... Image

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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 3:58 pm 
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Good point, Grace. I should have qualified my statement. I wasn't really thinking of a child or even of a beginner. You are right a child or a beginner adult should find the place that suits the needs and stay there till well grounded. But then, - begin to taste and acquire further insight and skills.<P>Another thing that might be considered is to find a studio with two teachers who compliment one another, aware of what each is offering, who teach similarly and take from both.<P>My concern here is that whether syllabus or not, if a single teacher misses something, is unintentionally remiss in one area - say, petite allegro for instance - the student suffers. I had that experience. My Cecchetti teacher was terrific and she had a justly earned reputation. However, after I had studied with her for a number of years (5)when I went somewhere else I discovered some things she had not covered adequately. No teacher is perfect. It took me some while to recover in these areas. <P>I also found that taking from others made me adapt to different ways of thinking. It improved my immediate memory for combinations. At the syllabus class the same combinations were worked on for examinations. However, with other teachers I was forced to learn floor combinations, of some complexity, instantly. The constant change was a real benefit in helping me to "get" the choreography of a ballet quickly and hopefully the first time (or second !!) it was given. When you are competing for a role at an audition this is very helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 4:15 pm 
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agree completely basheva! and this is a good suggestion, too:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Another thing that might be considered is to find a studio with two teachers who compliment one another, aware of what each is offering, who teach similarly and take from both.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>at present i have a tiny handful of excellent elementary level students (ages 14, 15), but i cannot provide the number of classes they need, nor the range (sorry - i DO need a life! there are only so many hours one can put in, basically unpaid, with only 1 or 2 kids in a class on any given day...due to their various other commitments...)<P>anyway, i have recommended them to go to several other teachers in the city, even though it means considerable time spent travelling, because there are no other quality teachers in this small town we live in. these other teachers are well-known to me, or at least the quality of the studio employing them is - so that vouches for THEIR quality.<P>it is only the ballet where we are teaching the same genre. (they do spanish, jazz and contemporary as well, at the other places.) this arrangement is working out beautifully.<P>they want to keep coming to me, but i can see the great benefit they are deriving from what is essentially an informal team-teaching approach. since the other ballet teachers are well-known to me, and i have taught either with or for them, i know what to expect the students will get there. the students are really flourishing, more so than they would with just me - and that was the whole point.... Image

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 Post subject: Re: QUESTIONS - QUESTIONS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 4:20 pm 
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regrettably, - as this thread has gone in all sorts of interesting directions! - this seems as good a time as any to close it, due to length...<P>it's easier for everyone if threads are relatively short so they load faster. it facilitates discussion. <P>could i ask <B>elizabeth</B> please to start a new thread with the details of what sort of book recommendations she is after?<P>and anyone else who wants to pick up on any topics begun here, to please do the same?<P>thanks all for a good dialogue here....thanks especially to basheva and elizabeth Image

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