The Magic of Beginning Ballet

I get asked a lot what my favorite class to teach is, and I can honestly say that I don’t have one!  I love teaching all styles, all ages, and all levels-each one presents its own challenges and triumphs and I love getting to know the students in each and every class.  But every time a teach a beginning ballet class, I feel a little bit of magic.

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Maybe it’s because ballet is the first dance class I ever took (fun fact-I took only ballet until 8th grade) and it’s what made me fall in love with dance.  I love teaching dancers their first ballet class (or maybe they’re coming back to it after a long break and falling in love with it all over again).  Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching all genres of dance, but there is something magical about spending an hour being a ballerina.  Ballet has been such a constant in my life-it’s so dependable in an ever-changing world!

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But there’s another reason why I love teaching beginning ballet classes so much-every time I teach them, I as a dancer improve so much!  Teaching those classes, explaining all the nitty gritty details and intricacies of body placement and épaulement, how to use your feet, and the shape of the hands and arms (oh man, ballet is SO detail oriented), makes me re-evaluate all those aspects of my technique.  Let’s face it, sometimes when we’re learning super fast combos and trying to do six million turns across the floor, little things like the angle of your head and the shape of your hands gets lost.  But in beginning ballet,  you have the time to adjust all those little details that make a good dancer into a great one.  I always think it’s interesting when dancers tell me they want to be in a higher level and “more challenging” ballet class, because I actually feel dancers improve most when they take it slow!  Brief story-spring semester my Junior year of college I studied abroad in Northern Ireland.  Melinda had passed away a couple of weeks before I left, and I decided I needed a break from dancing.  That lasted all of about two weeks before I asked the director of the dance department if there was a ballet class I could take.  She told me to take class with the seniors, so I was expecting a class like the kind I took at Skidmore.  Instead I learned the class was taught by a student and was definitely more of a beginning level class than I was expecting.  It was perfect though!  I worked my butt off in every class, and it was a great way to focus on things I wasn’t really working on at home.  I knew what I needed to work on, and I was really able to focus on those things.  It was a lot of fun too!

These are just a few of the reasons why I love teaching this class!  But I’d love to know-what’s your favorite class to take and why?  Please comment and let me know!

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Ways to Beat Summer Dance Withdrawal!

Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from dancing!  It can be good for our bodies and our minds to take a break.  But eventually the dance withdrawal sets in!  Here are some ideas to beat the no-dance-blues!

  1. Drop in to June classes!  ABDC has classes running through the end of the month and you can drop in, so come dance with us!
  2. Get out and move!  Even if dance classes are on break, you can take yoga, jazzercise, or just go for a run, bike ride, or walk!
  3. Have a dance party with some friends!  Gather some friends, play some music, and have a dance party!
  4. Watch dance movies!  There are lots of great choices-from documentaries like First Position, to movies like Step Up, Leap or movie musicals!  Pop some popcorn and dance along!
  5. Watch old recital videos!  There’s no better way to get excited about the upcoming dance year.
  6. Even without dance classes at the studio, you can still work on your technique!  I like Kathryn Morgan’s barre videos on Youtube! Grab a chair and get to work on those tendus!  We’ll also be doing some Facebook live videos this summer, so stay tuned for those!
  7. Stretch!!  Too nice to be inside?  Bring your yoga mat outside for an outdoor stretch session!
  8. Go see a show!  There are lots of great performances that will help you get your dance fix.

How long does it take before you are itching to get back to dance?  For me, it’s about 3 days 😛