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 Post subject: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 5:16 am 
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in another thread, K8 posted: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>re "assistance, or guidance to help them create, or discover more within the work they are doing." - At 24, I know I certainly crave this. <P>More than anything else in ballet class, I want the instructor's guidance. And you're right, I don't necessarily want to learn a bunch more, harder steps, but would like to turn what I already know into real dancing.<P>My favorite steps in ballet are the most basic ones. You can teach any person off the street to execute a tendu, but it takes practice and training to DANCE a tendu. <P>And I have rarely encountered instructors who have truly shown me how to use my body to dance ballet rather than just 'do' ballet.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> <BR>Tip_toes posted in response:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>K 8. I am really interested in your last sentence ;<P>"I have rarely encountered instructors who have truly shown me how to use my body to dance ballet rather than just 'do' ballet".<P> When someone has shown you how to 'dance' how have they approached this in their teaching?. In what way have they been able to get the message across to you and also having that message 'played back' to them in your performance?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i have moved these comments so that a valuable point and question don't get lost in the middle of a different discussion. if you want to see the context it was extracted from, it's here:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000125.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000125.html</A> <P>K8, my first comment i suppose would be that unfortunately adult classes often don't go much beyond exercise, since that's what many adults are there for....but i noticed somewhere that there was an american dance camp for adults last summer, learning ballet repertoire and so on... maybe that would be your style? sounds fun (and good exercise!) Image<P>

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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 6:58 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I remember the first time my teacher said to me "Basheva, you have just danced your barre". It turned on a whole new world to me. The thought that I could dance a tendu!! I began to explore how it would be done in the romantic sense, or the neo-classic style. How would the head incline? Would the fingers change? <P>I tried to impart this to my adult students. Many of them came just for the exercise and stayed to dance. And, that was my aim. The music used has a great deal to do with this. Exciting music creates excitement. Why not use the music of the ballet for ballet class? Why not the wonderful ballroom music from Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev) for pas de Basque? Why not Gluck's music from "Orpheus and Eurydice" for an adage? "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof is a beautiful adage. Parts of Carmen for the grand pas? "Dance of the Clowns" for petite allegro? West Side Story - "Tonight, Tonight" for a sweeping combination? "Officer Krumpke" for petite allegro? I used the ompah-pah-pah piano music for ballet class - as little as possible. It bored me to distraction.<P>And what excited me - excited my students. Orchestral music also has the advantage of subtlety - rests, stops, arpeggios which was wonderful training to dance. The adults loved it, they wanted to flow with the music. When I took off a week of two and had a substitute one of their biggest complaints was the boring music the substitute used. <P>And under all the technique is the rhythm of breathing. The breath connects the steps and makes them dance. Robert Rodham (NYCB principal) taught me that. It's not just "counts" its "breath". That way the steps take on a pulse - and when that matches the music - dance happens. Basheva


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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2000 2:10 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I tried to impart this to my adult students. Many of them came just for the exercise and stayed to dance. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>what a marvellous post! sounds like you are just the teacher k8 should have!<P>also sounds to me as though you have a broad awareness of music which many teachers may not possess. in london i did classes with john o'brien, who has his own very particular style of work which i found very beneficial. his pianist would play medleys of old popular songs of the 1940's, 1950's etcetera, and it really carried the class along.<P>i also remember a nice moment in another studio in a sunday class, where the pianist started playing the 'lord of the dance' hymn (years before michael flatley made it part of our current popular culture) and that was a charming touch for a sunday. getting off-topic here...better stop! Image

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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2000 3:47 am 
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k8 - this might not be 'your style' at all, so forgive me if its a useless comment - but have you done much reading about either dance/ballet in general, or about technique? it occurs to me that you might find SOME of what you are looking for, in the background and historical information about technique development....<P>if you like reading....<P>also, another thought: i believe that conscious use of breathing is valuable in dancing a phrase of movement...i.e. at the barre, or elsewhere. let me know if you'd like us to expand on either of these ideas? Image

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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2000 8:53 am 
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Grace, I have to remind myself to breathe at all in ballet class sometimes, particularly during balances, and when I DO remember, things are always better. And exhaling when doing the little bend-backs seems to help too. <P>My very nice teacher who corrected my straying barre-side shoulder the other day during the aforementioned little bend-back was just talking about what it takes to have the ballet in ballet. She said ballet doesn't own these movements, they can happen in other types of dance, it's HOW you do them that makes it ballet. Reminding us of the historical context ballet has grown from (or shrunk from I suppose, depending on your mood) - how formal much of life was, with curtsies with arms (the appendage, not weapons) taking place in the street.<P>What she sort of recommended, and I find I find it useful was to imagine a tutu or tiara every once in a while to help find the particular ballet atmosphere that helps me look and feel like I'm doing it right.


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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2000 2:09 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Whenever I am taking ballet class, I never dance alone. I am always dancing from an image in my mind (usually Margot Fonteyn) and for an audience in a theater - even though the theater is only in my mind. <P>I have upon occasion given myself a ballet class in an empty studio - but - it was never empty in my mind. If nothing else the generations of dancers that danced before me filled the space. I have a responsibility to them - I was/am part of the continuum. <P>I try never to "put" my hand on the barre - I try to remember to "place" it on the barre - and so from that first moment -before the first plie' the dance begins. <P>The feet keep the time but it is the arms that speak (so says Maya Plisetskaya) and the best advice I ever got was that the arms should be slightly retarded - slightly behind the tempi of the feet that way the movement is legato, connected - a never ending song, seamless, breathing.<P>Tendu/arabesque/pirouette - is not a step- it is a history. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2000 3:16 pm 
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what lovely posts!<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>ballet doesn't own these movements, they can happen in other types of dance, it's HOW you do them that makes it ballet<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>that one is definitely worth remembering! Image and this one is noteworthy too:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The feet keep the time but it is the arms that speak (so says Maya Plisetskaya)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2000 7:55 pm 
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Grace (sorry, I've been away for a while), I really appreciate your suggestion about learning the history of ballet and 'reading up' on the subject in general. I'm a hopeless bookworm, but I've never picked up a book on ballet. I love to dance, but I don't know hardly anything beyond what I learn and do in the studio. I think I'll also look for some ballets on video. Great idea!<P>PS Yes, please expand on your ideas about using the breath in dance, etc! I'm studying Chinese medicine, and just the other night in class we were discussing how the breath is the bridge between the consious and subconscious.<p>[This message has been edited by K8 (edited October 17, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2000 8:56 am 
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KB - hello - <P>One of the best teachers I ever had - and I only took from him for a short time was the late Robert Rodham, principal dancer NYCB. He stressed the breath in dance and it became the breath and breadth of dance for me.<P>Your breath literally becomes part of the counts - the pulse of the music. For instance in a preparation for pirouette and then the pirouette itself it would be something like this: start in 5th position right foot in front, en face to the mirror. As you tendu to seconde - inhale; close to 4th position derriere - exhale; pirouette <BR>-inhale; finish pirouette - exhale. Notice that the inhalation occurs during the pirouette which helps to sustain you. Obeying all the other rules - like turnout, spotting etc. - you will find that this synchronization of breath adds life to the pirouette. <P>Nijinsky said that he inhaled at the height of his grand jetes'. This matching of breath to the pulse of the music is also very helpful in adage. It becomes infused and also suffuses the dance that you are presenting. Try it first in the simple pirouette combination I illustrated above. Takes some practice - and then it just becomes a part of you. <P>I was working on it in ballet class today - it just feels "right".<P><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited October 18, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2000 6:42 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>it just feels "right"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i agree.<P>i seem to be saying that a lot, these days.<P>having you here certainly cuts down on my typing, basheva! thanks! Image

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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 3:49 am 
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I think when someone dances something, it is putting your emotions and feelings into it. Yes i do think breathing is a big part of it, but when someone actually puts the emotion into it, it gives the movement a greater impact on the viewer. <BR>Like when someone is feeling upset 'you' can actually tell they are feeling upset, as oppsed to someone feeling happy. Also i think that is a big part of dancing, trying to make the audience feel what 'you' feel.

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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 4:32 am 
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hi again, elizabeth. Image what you said made me think about using different feelings in class too - not just on stage. K8, that is another idea - of really living the music in each piece - not EVERY piece - too exhausting by far! Image - but just SOME. -of really immersing oneself in particular selected exercises, as a real indulgence, to escape the cares of the world...always good therapy!<P>the focus on breathing also has this same effect, as well as the one basheva speaks of, of enhancing technique.

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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 5:46 am 
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As for me - I just can't imagine not dancing with emotion - even the barre. Actually especially the barre - because that is where it starts for me. From the first moment - as I approach the barre - and place my hand on it - it starts. I am in another world.<P>If it wasn't for the emotion it would be just exercise - and I hate "just exercise". I could never do something like a treadmill or ride a stationery bike. I ride a bike - but it's around a lake. <P>Dancing for me is precisely that - dancing. I am the music - at least in my heart. I always dance for an audience. In my mind there is always an audience present. It is a very giving thing from me - not a vanity thing. I offer my dance to a mystical audience. I just can't imagine it any other way.


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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 6:03 am 
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Thanks for that eloquent description of what it means to you to dance, Basheva. <P>In a different arena I remeber going to a matinee of a commercial Argentine Tango show. I half expected a less than full blast performance. But, soon I realised that these dedicated dancers could only go full pelt - the dance style meant so much to them, they had to do their technical and artistic best.


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 Post subject: Re: to 'dance' not just 'do'...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2000 3:44 pm 
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Stuart may I ask why you expected the Tango dancers to do less that "full out"? Was it because it was a matinee? That would be a logical reason.<P>However, dancers (and of course other artists) are not reasonable. I think that people who truly love what they are doing, like dancers (who surely don't do it for the money) will give their best no matter the time, the size of the audience or the venue. I am glad you were not disappointed Stuart !!


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