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A concise reference site for classical ballet history, suggestions in training, and expectations of the profession. A must read for parents and young dancers. (suggested by a visitor to our LBC site)

Thank you Kayla.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The incorrigible MICE bring it all home for Nutcracker.

Never doubt the power of a Nutcracker Mouse.

 

Mice

 

and our endearing Ginger

Children
ginger kids

 

 

 

 

 

The faculty of LBC stresses the informed and consistent use of hip rotation for the classical training.

Many students and parents are unsure and confused with this expectation.

A discussion and explanation for this is included on this page.

 

fifth

 

Are you doing your homework?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

looking ahead

 

What comes after all these classes?
We don't just teach dance steps.

 

 

 

 

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Expression

SHClassb

Classical ballet is a frustratingly straightforward training. And yet. There is that element of magic that infuses even the most ordinary movement with a dynamic that brings it to life. This is called expression. It can be analyzed, and it can be taught, but mostly, it must be felt.

Each dancer comes to expression in a unique way. We are each unique individuals. However, the desire to share, the passion for that sharing, and the joy of moving to music are essential to bring this element out.

Encourage your dancer to be expressive. Endless time in front of a mirror is not always a waste of time. (You can always supply a toothbrush). But more importantly the privilege to experience music through the body without judgement is what leads to a freedom and a naturalness of expression. That happens outside the ballet classroom as well as in. There is no wasted time in this. It is development of an artist.

Team Players and the Nutcracker

It stands to reason that a ballet the size of the full-length Nutcracker needs more than the Sugar Plum Fairy to create its magic. The mulit-layered quality of its scenes and embedded roles are what create the atmosphere, the story, and the continuity of an evening or afternoon of entertainment.

Each Harlequin, each Mouse, each Soldier, and each Ginger Child are integral to the production. There is no better or "not so good" parts as far as the stage is concerned. We need them all to color our party, our dream, our enchantment.

This is a very hard concept to keep in mind when a few dancers gain center stage and are highlighted in the audience awareness. Every dancer puts in the hours of rehearsal, the planning and school workload to be able to devote the important time in rehearsal, and every dancer deserves the applause. Some are stronger technically, some are stronger dramatically, and together the mix inspires our determination to fill in our own personal gaps in whatever is lacking.

That is what the performance is all about: gaining strength and teamwork by learning from others, pacing with others, leading others, and ultimately bringing a dream Clara back to reality. It is the hard work which gains our respect, not a magical doll and a beautiful costume. Class everyday, and taking care of our bodies, (those instruments of "what might be"): this is our contract to ourselves and our futures as dancers.

Wherever you go in life, you will remember your dancing days with a vision of what is never perfect, but is oh, so rewarding. Be happy, and bring your joy and positive strength to a ballet which has nourished thousands of dancers, and entertained many more.

So, let's hear it for the MICE!
and the drummers
and the Ginger Kids

and the parents. Thank you.

The Importance of Turn-out in all ballet training.

"Turnout is derived from the rotation of the thighbone in the socket joint of the pelvis. Ideally, turnout in classical ballet is considered complete at 180° across the front of a first position. This rotation is trained in over the course of years of study, and maintained by study after the "flat turnout" is achieved. It's not something which can be taught in a single year, but a continuing item of interest in class throughout the dancer's class life. Even in the little bitty ones, a small amount of turnout may be introduced, but not a lot. Pre-ballet ages can't support the rotation yet. "Turnout" itself merely refers to where the feet end up on the floor. Many students, and unfortunately more than a few teachers try to force turnout, but that never works, as it imposes torsion on joints like the knee and ankle that were never intended to take much torque, and that can lead to injury.

Rotation of the thigh is supported by the hamstrings, the abdominals, the back muscles and a whole host of structures that you might never suspect. We start with introducing the idea of turnout from rotation on the youngest students and train it in over the years."

Thank you to Mel Johnson from:http://dancers.invisionzone.com/lofiversion
/index.php/t47304.html

For those of you who attended the summer session, a home-work assignment for the vacation was presented. Sit on a firm a chair with one leg extended (at the height of the chair seat) and the back straight.(other leg bent with the foot lat on the floor ).

Place the extended leg very straight directly out with the knee upward and tightened into the thigh muscle and with a pointed foot - then slowly rotate the hip in the socket toward the outside as far as possible without moving the leg to the side. Repeat 16 times. Do the other leg. Repeat with both legs 8 x. This is much more difficult as the body has to work very hard to remain upright in the chair.

Commitment and mastery vs. well-rounded. Which measures up best for college?

Parents are often concerned at what will look best for the eventual college entrance portfolio of their children. Often they look to present the biggest swath of activities and involvements to create a "well-rounded" look to the student experience and achievement.

There is no doubt that dancers are smart. Good dancers process verbal and visual information into kinetic movement, have a quick memory, have a stable emotional outlook so that constant correction does not translate into constant "put-down" and work beyond this basis to present an artistic performance which generally hides the incredible athleticism at its base.

An interesting article in the NY Times cited summer experiences as an essential part of presenting a unique personal essay for college entrance. True training in a serious school of dance is as easily “a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.” as the cited exotic and costly internships.

Training in dance is a "risk" which will only expand its richness in the determination gained, the focus achieved, and indeed a sense of mastery even as the pointe shoes are left as decorations in a college dorm room, and the enormity of the world's problem creep into our psyche. Dancers maintain an identity of who they are and what they have done to achieve this. It is applied to graphic design, programs for an MBA, film production, independent choreography, educating young children, going to medical school, or becoming immersed in a foreign culture. These are all achievements of our alumni from LBS and LBC, and we are proud of these proofs that good dancers make great contributing members to society. Not a bad track record.

Sandra Peticolas