CriticalDance Forum

Maggie Black
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Author:  OdileGB [ Mon Jul 16, 2001 8:44 am ]
Post subject:  Maggie Black

Could somebody please give me some information about Maggie Black? I only know that she is a ballet teacher and came across her name when I found out that my own balllet teacher is teaching a "Maggie Black" Barre.<BR>You might wonder why I do not ask my teacher and I have to say in the precious time he has to spare I'd rather talk about my technique questions. Is anyone able to help?<BR>

Author:  angela [ Mon Jul 16, 2001 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

From what I've read shes a reputable trainor;the first time I came across her name was in a bio of a former San Jose Cleveland dancer who was trained by her. I havent found any PERSONAL info about her as far as where she herself has danced.Only who shes trained. I'll keep looking.....

Author:  Cabriole [ Mon Jul 16, 2001 9:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

As far as I know, Maggie is still in retirement in Florida...<P>------------------<BR>It is not knowing the answer that matters, but what question to ask...

Author:  nancy [ Mon Jul 16, 2001 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

I studied with Maggie in New York about 25 years ago. She had a devoted following of professional dancers and others; there were often dancers from NYCB, ABT, and Eliot Feld in her classes. I believe Martine Van Hamel, Ross Stretton, Cheryl Yeager, and Suzanne Goldman were among the dancers who studied with her.<P>Maggie was a stickler for correct placement. Details are muddy in my mind at this point, but I believe I remember emphasis on the placement of the pelvis, and also work on a first position placement where the weight was kept more over the heel when you shifted from two feet to one in first position.<P>I believe she worked with Tudor. I don't remember a whole lot more and hope that others will be able to hop in here to verify what I've dredged up from the recesses of my mind, and add to this discussion.

Author:  angela [ Tue Jul 17, 2001 8:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

AWW-its too bad shes retired!!! I'd LOVE to have a teacher that REALLY emphasizes on correct placement....

Author:  trina [ Tue Jul 17, 2001 9:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

Maggie Black was a legendary ballet teacher in NYC in the 70's and 80's. Unusual in that she had a following amongst ballet dancers and modern dancers alike. I took company class with the Lubovitch company once on tour and they had an audio recording of her voice teaching a class which they followed! From what I remember, she kept up a constant patter of corrections, comments and placement cues when she taught. Her classes were not particularly intricate step wise, but more placement oriented. Maggie Black came out of the Tudor/Margaret Craske Cecchetti school. Her classes were packed, and she really liked it when people came steadily. That's all I can remember at the moment!! Oh, I think floor barre was the beginning of her class, I think a al Zena Rommett-ish.

Author:  nancy [ Tue Jul 17, 2001 3:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

When I studied with Maggie, I don't think there was any floor barre. With 120 students that summer, there would not have been room for all of us to lie down! She finally split the class in half, asked 60 to leave and kept 60 of us. Yes, I remember the constant string of corrections, delivered in really strident tones. But she had to scream -- she was competing with traffic and sirens on Broadway. What a scene! Yet I remember it fondly...

Author:  OdileGB [ Thu Jul 19, 2001 6:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

Thanks very much to everybody for these information.<BR>Now I understand even better why my teacher emphasised proper placement so much which is great. I have learnt and improved so much in the last 5 months.

Author:  trina [ Thu Jul 19, 2001 7:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

I stand corrected. I dont' think floor barre was a regular feature of M. Black's class. I was confusing two things together.

Author:  Misa_danseuse [ Thu Jul 19, 2001 12:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

My former teacher from Dance Theatre of Harlem used to take class regularly with her while in NYC. She loved Maggie's classes and used Maggie as an example of one of those wonderful teachers but had not been a great dancer...(you know the whole debate about..can you be a good teacher if you havn't been a professional or can you be a bad teacher and have been a great dancer? blah blah)And I'm not saying this to be mean but only to use as a reference...folks have said that Maggie's feet are like "hockey Pucks" but that she IS the BEST dance teacher ever (well according to the people I've talked to)! anyway.. Maggie Black is mentioned Gelsey Kirkland's "Dancing on My Grave" so you might check there as well.. Image<P>------------------<BR>The dignity of dance lies in the most noble of instruments, the living bodies of men and women.<BR>~Mary Wigman~<BR>

Author:  Ophelia [ Thu Jul 19, 2001 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

I studied with Maggie for 20 years. Although I was not always living in NYC I would make my,as often as possible trips to study with her which I said were akin to going to the doctor. She had an incredible memory for not only your name and where you came from but most importantly your problems and where you left off at your previous visit.This of course was amazing as there was always at least 50 students in class. Her attention to placement and purity of line and movement was incredibly thorough. Her teaching prolonged my career and will forever be a part of me. She demanded a commitment and focus on yourself as a dancer and artist that was unique and inspiring.

Author:  Basheva [ Thu Jul 19, 2001 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

What a wonderful tribue, Ophelia....<P>Here is what a search on Google yielded - about ten pages.<P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Maggie Black</B></A><P>Does anyone know her background? Where she studied?

Author:  DennisF [ Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

I studied with Maggie in the 1980s. There was no artifice in her manner or teaching techniques. She demanded the best from you and would tell you if you weren't fucusing on the class at hand. She was the most broadly appreciated teacher in NYC at that time. Her morning advanced class (working ballet dancers) was populated with principal and solist dancers from ABT, Joffrey, Eglevsky, Feld, City Ballet and more. Her afternoon intermediate class was populated mainly by working modern dancers from the companies of Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham, Lar Lubovich, Dan Wagoner, Trisha Brown, Lewis/Nikolai and others I can't remember. Among all of her other qualities, including mostly her incredible ability to see each person's body and how to steer them to physical optimization, her class was a lesson in focus and meditation. She could focus entire classrooms with a word (typical class size in both the morning and afternoon class was 50-60 dancers -- every day). There was nothing like those days when everyone was "on" and you were flying through her allegro and grand allegro combinations, and the entire class of mostly professional dancers was in the same moment with you.

Author:  Gina Ness [ Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

Thank you for your wonderful memories of an amazing teacher, DennisF, and welcome to CriticalDance. I never had the good fortune to study with her, but always heard her spoken of with great reverence and admiration.

Author:  usetodancetg [ Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maggie Black

I also studied with Maggie regularly in the '80's. I was a modern, -excuse me, "post modern" dancer so was in that class except on Saturday's when we were all thrown in together. The class was as much about life for me as for ballet(though she helped me become a very much stronger dancer). I had to take a class for her to look at me and when accepted had to wait several months to be able to attend due to the number of students. The barre was very "square" for us but did emphasize alignment and sending your energy "through the muscle" instead of locking. -A couple of favorite stories. About being real and present with yourself she said several times that I remember, "you know that feeling when your shoulders are behind your hips and you feel in back of yourself, or when your calf muscles cramp in releve? Well, YOU ARE, and THEY ARE!!! So, just fix it, change your alignment, send energy THROUGH the muscle, -now, -TODAY, don't tell yourself you'll do it tomorrow! Sorry so wordy, but this next one always made me laugh and said a lot about how Maggie really cared for us and didn't take herself too seriously. So, one Saturday I was in class with the real ballet dancers and a big tall guy from ABT was taking the barre with us. She clapped her hands to stop the exercise as she often did, came right up to the guy towering over her and emphatically said to him maybe even with her index finger pointing, something like, "how many times have I told you, get your butt UP on your legs, DAMN IT!!! He kind of nodded acceptingly and as I remember flinching a little upward away from her. She turned and stalked about 3 steps away from him and burst out laughing, I assumed as she just pictured the scene in her head, -the whole class roared whit her. She really seamed to care about her students, even minor one's like me, you felt that. I am now a physical therapist and I use/tell the first story, and another that involved me personally, several times every year(now 20 years). She was my very best teacher of anything, ever and I still love her for it. BY THE WAY, does anyone have a recording or two of her barre's that that they would share? I have lost mine a number of years ago and would still use it as best I could to keep my wife and I strong.

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