CriticalDance Forum

What's a better way?
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Author:  Priscilla [ Sun Nov 05, 2000 9:01 pm ]
Post subject:  What's a better way?

In Studio thread "Teaching Ballet in a Performing Arts High School", Basheva said:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The dance department began rehearsing in September, just days after the school term began, for a show/recital which would take place in January. This meant that after an entire summer layoff the students immediately went into rehearsal before getting back into shape from the summer recess of about two and a half months. Unbelievably this included the absolute beginners. The January show took place immediately after a layoff of two weeks for the holiday season. I was told that this schedule - which didn't make sense at all from a dance standpoint - was purposefully done so that the interest of the children would be focused on being on stage, which would keep them interested in the dance program. (This of course helped insure the teachers' jobs) And, it was shceduled immediately after the holiday layoff so that the students would come back.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>- and I'm wondering what would make more sense for a school's performance schedule. <P>Here are the perameters - school starts in September, has a three week long holiday break in December and a show a couple weeks into January - just about like in Basheva's example above. Sure there are other "moving parts" to this equation, but these are the only ones that are part of my little rules. Oh - and the students can be high school or college - just specify which or both.<P>The first thing that comes to mind for me is that classwork would be what the performance piece was to be. I'm not a teacher, and I don't know if this works for ballet, but while getting even brand-new-to-dance bodies going could they be practicing or creating movement to perform?<P>Or maybe the date of the show can be changed - should it be later? Perhaps there's a show before the holiday break that people who were around last year are in, and another one before summer break. Whatever, but if what's quoted above is not ideal - what is? If it's ok - why?<P>

Author:  grace [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 12:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's a better way?

well, priscilla, it seems a pretty cynical arrangement to me. basheva SEEMED to be suggesting that the school deliberately structured it this way (i.e. badly, from the dance point of view) to exert a certain 'hold' over the dance students.....<P>my approach to performance, in my ballet school, IS to make the year's work build towards the demonstration work, and i always include a demonstration of classwork, in order to show the progression of achievement at different levels.<P>so basically, work which has been done throughout the year, gets selected from, with decorative alterations, and rehearsed as a product in the final term.<P>

Author:  Basheva [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's a better way?

You are right Grace - the school's schedule was arranged to establish a hold on the children - it's also job security for the teachers. The performing arts section of the school is an adjunct to the regular high school curriculum.<P>Ideally I believe that the first weeks in the autumn should be devoted to getting back into shape after a long summer layoff and working on technique. Then after returning in January after the holiday layoff rehearsals should begin for the show/recital, which I would place in the late spring. <P>Since scholastic finals are in June - I think the dance recital should take place in May. That would give the autumn to totally work on technique. <P>The way it is arranged now - after the January recital there is a "let down" - nothing on the horizon to work for in the teenage mind. <P>There are two community colleges here with dance programs. One of them has its recital in the spring in early May. The other has a recital in October!! This second college also did this to capture the imagination of the students so they would enroll. Enrollment is always a battle for students in the community college as classes are required to have at least 25 students at every level - even beginners. Which, of course, is FAR too large a class.<P>If this sounds crazy - you should hear about the enrollment merry-go-round - as the teachers and students trade around because the school's policy won't let anyone take more than one semester of each dance genre for each level.

Author:  Priscilla [ Mon Nov 06, 2000 6:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's a better way?

I totally understand the after show letdown that happens when the recital/performance is held in January - the group I work with has struggled with that. <P>Eek - I have a class VERY soon, and better go!

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