2 3 Ballet Webb: May 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Stonehenge



Saturday Stonehenge

In the ever expanding universe of props in a dance class, I offer yet another one.  This involves three square, hard plastic CD cases, (or three small boxes).

To explain how the body weight shifts when a dancer moves from two feet to one foot, place two boxes on edge, about three inches apart.  Place the third box so it spans the top – like Stonehenge.  This represents the body as it is when a dancer stands with their weight centered on two feet:  one box for each leg with the box across the top representing the pelvis and the torso.

Now move one “leg” box out.  Crash!  The whole structure falls apart.  Now rebuild it with the “torso” box centered over one “leg”.  Now the structure is balanced and will stand.  Little explanation is needed here – students readily grasp the idea that the torso must make a lateral shift to balance over the supporting leg.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #20d:  
 “Use CD cases or small boxes to illustrate how the body weight moves to achieve a secure balance on one leg.”


                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
-          Socrates

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun Friday Down and Out





Fun Friday Down and Out

It’s Fun Friday!  Everyone’s Favorite Day!  Let’s talk about looking at the floor.  This is a bad habit that many dancers have, and it can be a difficult one to change.  I remember my teacher threatening to paint eyeballs on the eyelids of anyone who kept looking at the floor, and now that I am a teacher I completely understand.

I suggest to my students that they consciously find something at eye level (or slightly above), in the room, or on the stage to look at.  This also helps them think about something specific and direct their thoughts so they won’t muddle about mentally worrying about lots of things – a common cause of looking down.

Looking at the floor is a problem because it causes a complete disruption of the posture:  if a dancer looks down, their seat will go out to counterbalance them – a natural response.  So now, not only have they altered the aesthetics of the position(s), they have also sabotaged their balance!  A double whammy.

So look up!  (A good lesson for life, too.)

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #16h:
“Looking at the floor causes the seat to go out and disrupts the postural alignment.  It also looks terrible!”

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down.  Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
-          G.K. Chesterton

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Thursday and Margot Fonteyn




Throwback Thursday and Margot Fonteyn   
       
Margot Fonteyn was born on May 18, 1919, and died on February 21, 1991.  She was lovely, lyrical English ballerina who had an unusually long performing career.   Her real name was Margaret Hookham, and she began her dance training in Hong Kong.  

She went on to study in London and at the Sadler’s Wells Ballet school.  She debuted with the Vic-Wells Ballet, and soon took over roles danced by Alicia Markova, such as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.   She was a muse for the great English choreographer Frederick Ashton, and he created many roles for her including Symphonic Variations, Daphnis and Chloe, and Ondine.

In 1955 she married Roberto Emilio Arias, former Panamanian ambassador to Great Britain, and around that same time (1954), she became president of the Royal Academy of Dancing.  In the early 1960s she began her famous partnership with Rudolph Nureyev, and she continued to dance into the 1970s when she began to cut back on her performing.

When she retired, she wrote books and remained active in the dance world until she died in 1991.
                                                                                    



Dance History Factoid #31:  
“Margot Fonteyn was a beautiful English ballerina.”


                Link of the Day:
(I love the way she runs down those stairs!)

Quote of the Day:
Don’t think or judge, just listen.”
-Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wednesday Wildness



Wednesday Wildness

I’m back on the subject of jumping again.  Today we’re going to discuss the problem of heavy jumps.  You know, the ones that make dancers look like they are wearing lead leotards.  The ones  that cause a loud thumping sound:  boom, boom,  boom.

To help with this problem, imagine being in a bouncing baby seat or walker – the kind that is attached to a frame and has the baby suspended just above the floor so that his feet barely brush the floor.  The child is supported at the pelvis and the legs and feet have to extend a bit to reach the ground.

The baby walker has a spring to it and that is how a dancer must feel when jumping – springy.  So whenever jumping, imagine being in a bouncy baby walker.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #15k:  
“Imagine being in a bouncy baby walker when jumping.”

                Link of the Day: 



Quote of the Day: 

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
-George S. Patton

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Twist


Tuesday Twist
One prop that can be used in the dance classroom is a metal spiral taken out of an old spiral notebook.  Removing it can sometimes be a challenge, but it is worth it and it will last forever.
I use one to illustrate how the spine should stretch upward, away from gravity.  Because the metal spiral has a great deal of stretch, it works well for this purpose.  Just hold it at one end and pull.  Voila! A super stretched spine!
The famous Slinky can also work for this purpose.  Exaggeration is often a great way to make a concept memorable, and either of these props stretches out in a wonderfully exaggerated way. 

 
From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #20c 
“A Slinky or a metal notebook spiral can be used as a teaching aid in the dance classroom.”

  

                Link of the Day:

 
Quote of the Day:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”
-Amelia Earhart

  

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Monday






Memorial Day Monday 

Oh gallant sons of glory,

Whose years were so precious few --

In payment for the debt I owe,

What would you have me do?



If only I could hear,

What question would you ask?

To pay this debt of honor,

Just what would be my task?



Could your immortal spirits

Meet me face to face,

What would you have me do

To calm your resting place?



Could I breach the chasm of death

And ask you to answer true,

In payment for the lives you gave,

What would you have me do?



-John Posey

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
 “Remember.”


                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.
-Daniel Webster

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