Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stuff I've Been Working On.

Here's a video of a dance I've been working on in my Teen/Adult Lyrical class.

As soon as I heard Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" I fell in love with it and knew I had to use it for something.

Each week I try to add a bit more choreography while also cleaning up and trouble shooting steps I've already set.

Its a fun process. That is, when I don't have a deadline, like an upcoming performance date.

Ballet-Fit is another class that I teach. It is designed for the beginning teen or adult dance student, while also providing challenges for participants with previous dance training. I've always loved teaching beginning adult dancers. Over the last year or so I've been trying to really hone a class format that combines some classical ballet technique with a more action/fitness oriented movement vocabulary. For the last couple of months this is how I've been structuring it;

A little bit of pilates
A fair amount of Balletone: Sole Synthesis
Some classical ballet barre technique
Stretching and core

Because some people want "this" and others want "that" and others are fine with "this or that" and I want people who are going to be delighted to show up each week, I've had a few  hair-pulling moments trying pin down an exact format. While I don't want to lock myself into one style or vocabulary, I do want something that will have some consistency and familiarity (not reinventing the wheel every other week) that will also keep things exciting and effective.

I had posted a query on facebook a month or so ago in hopes of feedback;

Dancers, dance and fitness enthusiasts and anyone whose ever had an interest in ballet training, or not, really an interest in any kind of dance. I would love to get some feedback and opinions on something. For years I have taught various adult ballet classes. Over the last year or so I have brought in more strength training concepts into my dance instruction as well as of more recently the Ballet...
one format. Balletone combines fitness, ballet training techniques, pilates and yoga.
Okay, here's where I need feedback;
I would like to get a feel for what people are generally more interested in when looking for an intro to ballet technique training and concepts as a form of exercise.

A). More traditional ballet format; barre, centre, diag. across the floor work.
B). A more mid-intensity dance-fitness related program (like Balletone). Basically a less traditional approach than classical technique. No barre, everything done in the center.
Along with facebook, I've been asking colleagues and friends as well as current students. I've gotten some great feedback. The conversations always lead to revelations as well, which are always beneficial.
The last couple of weeks I have really focused on combining core elements from pilates, classical ballet barre techniques (not to toot my horn, but I've got some killer barre routines!) and some center combos related to Balletone to "test-drive" what was worked on at the barre.
The class I taught last night felt like the first step to really honing in on what I envision.
I started off with some pilates mat work that focused on alignment principles.
Then I used a few ballet barre combinations that related to those principles.
The final portion of the class was using some Balletone segments to challenge what we had worked on, but at a slightly faster pace. Sometimes the body just needs to move!
I was fortunate enough to have a great conversation with my participants afterwards. I talked a bit about the methods to my madness, and they gave me some great feedback.
We all agreed that nobody wants to be in "tendu hell" (the practice of only focusing on the technique of one step, for a really long time, until the students' eyes glaze over and their will to live is considerably diminished).
They shared with me what they felt was challenging and also where they felt they had improved from previous classes. Very valuable information to me!
So, I'm still knocking around in my ol' brain pan exactly how I want to structure my Ballet-Fit class. This I do know; it will never bore me, and the challenge will always keep me striving for newer and better ways to make the principles of dance training accessible, effective and fun. I love that!
Thanks for reading. I would love to get feedback on any of the subjects above. Leave a comment or visit my DanceFitErin facebook page. Be sure to click on the "like" button while you're there!
Enjoy the dance that is life!


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