Classical Ballet- Refine Your Technique

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Heartwood in the Hills

Classical Ballet- Refine Your Technique

Students will work towards anatomical precision and physical geometry, as a self-disciplined practice. Classes include Floor, Barre, Centre, and Across-the-Floor work. Strict attention is given to the balance and design of bones and how best to move them efficiently and safely.

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Time is TBD

Heartwood in the Hills

About the event

My mother first took me to the Ballet in 1948 when I was seven years old. We saw the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performing “Les Sylphides”, “Gaiete Parisienne” and “Aurora’s Wedding” (“Sleeping Beauty” Act 2). I was smitten to the bone, completely enraptured. My great love at the time had been horses, and the dancers looked like horses to me, stepping around up on their pointes (that looked like hooves), long necks and powerful backs, perfect grace. I wanted to be one of them. My mother had read that nine years old was the best time for a child to begin ballet lessons, so I had to wait for two impatient years for my first lesson.

I began my studies with Lisa Gardiner and Mary Day at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington DC. Classes were conducted strictly according to the Cecchetti Method of training in Classical Ballet. When my family moved to Philadelphia five years later I enrolled at the Philadelphia Ballet Guild where I was exposed to a wide variety of approaches to ballet training, taking classes with teachers who commuted in from New York City and Delaware, including Antony Tudor, Alfredo Corvino and James Jamieson, along with my Philadelphia teachers. Over the years I continued studying, taking classes at the School of American Ballet in New York City, Austin Ballet Theatre School and the School for Movement Theatre, among others. I’ve always been interested in how ballet teachers each describe their own technical theories and practices for working with students. Written works that have particularly inspired and intrigued me include “Basic Principles of Classical Ballet – Russian Ballet Technique” by Agrippina Vaganova, “The Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet – Theory and Technique” by Cyril W. Beaumont, “The Flow of Movement” by Tamara Karsavina, “Bournonville and Ballet Technique” by Erik Bruhn and Lillian Moore and “Suki Schorer on Balanchine Technique”. During the 1960’s I studied Afro-Cuban dance with John Hines in Philadalphia, and Modern Dance as a guest student at the University of Michigan with Gaye Delanghe and Elizabeth Weill. This work opened me up to new feelings for dance.

I began studying anatomy in 1976 after a serious injury to my knee laid me low. I was 34 years old. The doctor said “You don’t want to dance any more at your age do you?” I realized that if in fact I did want to “dance at my age” I would have to take responsibility for my body and learn how it worked. What had actually happened under the skin to my knee, and why? Friends introduced me to the book “The Thinking Body” by Mabel Todd. Reading it opened up a brand new world to me, a world that existed inside of me that I had always taken for granted, never understood, and misused continually. I learned how I had injured my knee, through ignorance.

The Anatomy workshop in the morning will address basic principles of balance and movement as they apply to the dancer’s body, Comparative Anatomy is included, for example, the sternum of a bird and of a human, exploring the similarities between all vertebrates.

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