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 Post subject: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 110
Location: USA (Midwest)
This might seem really random and unfortunately I'd rather not explain why I'm asking right now, but here goes: does anyone know of any reputable ballet schools where two different classical methods are taught in separate but equal fashion (like Cechetti and RAD; or Vaganova and 'American mix')? I know many big schools will have separate tracks for modern and classical students, but are there any you know of that do it with just classical? Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
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Location: Petaluma, California
Hi Jane...Well, this is the U.S.A., not England, France, Denmark, or Russia. Mixing "styles" or "schools" happens quite frequently here, in major schools as well. In our small school in the wine country in California, there is me (American "mix" I guess you would call me!);also, a former principal dancer with the Kirov (Vaganova), and two other instructors with RAD and Cecchetti backgrounds! It's not uncommon to find this in schools in this country. I think that the more styles a student becomes familiar with (this works better for upper-level students who will be less confused by the differences) the more prepared this dancer will be to work for American companies, where they will have to work with many different people, styles, etc.

<small>[ 06 January 2005, 11:23 PM: Message edited by: GN ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 6:05 am 
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Location: USA (Midwest)
Thanks, GN. I'm in the US, too, so I know what you're describing. Unfortunately I can't be too specific here but the situation I'm thinking of is sort of politically determined where mixing two styles would not be of interest to one of the "power players" so I'm trying to find precendents where two separate tracks have been successfully maintained in a school. (yeah, it's not an ideal situation but I'm doing everything I can to try and help the other power player do his magic so we don't have to send our daughter away to a residency program! :( )


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
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Location: Petaluma, California
Hi Jane...Well, it sounds as if there is some kind of strife or competition among the teachers in your school. This is not an ideal situation. If there are different styles being taught in the school, the teachers need to respect each other's way of doing things. After all, it's ALL ballet...no matter if Vaganova, RAD, whatever! This is the way we operate at our school, and the students (I believe) are benefitting from it. I believe I remember from previous posts that the school your child attends is going through a transition period. Sometimes it takes a while for the dust to settle. If there are good teachers there that she(?) enjoys working with, then stick it out for a while. This is the most important thing...

<small>[ 07 January 2005, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: GN ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
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Location: USA (Midwest)
I agree, GN, that learning different methods is very beneficial to students. My daughter's always found it a bit like being multi-lingual, and she enjoys knowing and mastering the differences. It's just an unusual situation where, as a parent, you wish you could help but I sense it's best to just stay out of the fray and hope for the best.


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 5:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: New England
Politics aside, I would say that mixing two different methods is generally a bad idea. Ballet is ballet, and all training methods seek that end. But they do it in different ways and different orders --- different paradigms. It's best to stick one all the way through, to the point that you have received a complete picture of ballet through the lens of that method of education. Then you can understand any other method of training ballet that you like.

These are not different "styles". A style is something a choreographer chooses and develops for a particular dance. Ideally, it will be different for every dance, or else the programs will be very boring. The well-trained dancer should be able to portray any stylistic elements desired by the choreographer, based on the mechanics learned from his or her training. I do not believe that early exposure to diversity will help the professional dancer achieve this end any better.

To put this in perspective: imagine a high school that can't agree on its curriculum, so each teacher teaches his or her own. The ninth grade math teacher thinks Geometry should be taught in ninth grade and Algebra II in tenth. The tenth grade math teacher thinks Algebra II should be taught in ninth grade, and Geometry in tenth. What's the result here? The poor students will get two years of Geometry but will miss Algebra II. And that does not benefit anyone.

<small>[ 10 January 2005, 06:54 AM: Message edited by: citibob ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 03, 2002 11:01 pm
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Location: USA
For what it is worth, I took this advice of studying from as many teachers and methods as possible and ended up with a life long injury. I agree with Citibob. Find a method that works and follow it faithfully, but don't mix different "ways of teaching," unless you wish to risk injury. Depending on how bad you are injured, after you are injured, you are lucky if you can return to your love of dancing without further problems from that injury. Many people today are conscious of how the body works and realize that "alignment" etc. are important, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Good luck. Take Citibob's advice, in my opinion. :)


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 8:32 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
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Location: USA (Midwest)
I appreciate the tangent this discussion has headed off in, but I also feel compelled to explain that the situation we're facing is not about one student getting trained in different methods. It's about whether one school can viably have one track of students studying one method (or curriculum) and then have another track studying a different one. No mixing, just two separate but equal classical tracks. I know it sounds odd, but the situation we're in is itself a little odd, and it occurred to me that, instead of watching the power players fight it out to see who will prevail, is it financially feasible for each player to get their own school basically within the umbrella of one school? If that has ever been done elsewhere, please let me know!


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 12:15 am 
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Location: USA
i guess the best way to answer is to ask another question. Are there two separate laws of physics when applied to how the body works? If there aren't, then how can there be co-existing ways of teaching a movement if their is one way to teach a movement when applied to the human body? I have always known that there is one way to teach a plie, for example, knees over the feet, insteps lifted, keep muscles pulled up and tight, don't sit at the bottom, etc. How is there physically another way to teach this? I guess this is why it is difficult to find two "methods" of teaching in one school, for ballet, that is. Ballet is universally known for being one technique, whereas Modern has many different kinds and is famous for this. Again, Citibob is right on target with his comments about ballet training. I don't know of any off hand, but I would be curious if such a thing exists and why? Good question.


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Jane in theory teaching two methods in one school to separate students should work. But as I think you have found often politics get in the way of what should and shouldn't work.

It sounds as if the majority of students at this school are well educated in the different schools of thought in ballet and have studied with one school of thought since inception and are carrying on with this with their respective teachers.

I think probably where problems arise is perhaps with new students - where to place them and also with inquisitive students/parents perhaps questioning which method is better. That puts the AD and the teachers in a difficult position. In an ideal world they would answer that both methods have their pluses and a student would be placed in the best method for them for a number of reasons (i.e. prior study, body type, career aspirations for the more serious students). The respective teachers would be confident in their own teaching abilities to respect the AD's decisions and not feel slighted by a student being placed in the other teachers class.

But as I said that is an ideal world and in reality this situation could cause many headaches for the AD and competition instead of a work together situation between teachers who can be a very insecure bunch.

It is a situation that could with thought, good communication and honesty provide a very successful and diverse school. On the flip side it could tear the school apart.

<small>[ 17 January 2005, 02:52 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: 2 methods in 1 school?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
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Location: USA (Midwest)
Thanks, all. I'm not trying to start a debate over whether such a two-track situation should be done in schools. I'm just asking if it ever has been done successfully, but if no examples are springing to anyone's minds, then I guess not. As I said earlier, I'm just thinking out loud about possible ways to keep our daughter dancing at home for as long as possible!


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