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About Hans

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  • Connection to/Interest in Ballet
    Ballet Teacher, Former Dancer
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  1. Just a couple of things--remember that in terre-à-terre and petit allegro the physical and musical accent is often on the landing rather than the highest point of the jump, so you must learn to "jump down" rather than jumping "up". Also, the upper body is not just decoration. Using your head properly helps you move in the direction you want to go. For example, if you do a jeté, your head should be turned in the direction of the ball of the supporting foot because if your weight is over the ball of that foot, it is easier both to land on it and to jump off of it again. When the teacher gives the exercise, do the arms and head full out and just mark the legs. It helps you learn what the whole body should do and makes it easier to get everything into your body's muscle memory. It won't happen perfectly the first time, but with persistent effort (as with anything in ballet) you should make some progress.
  2. It is true that boys develop later than girls do, and teachers need to be aware of that. In terms of strength training, it can be beneficial even if a boy has not yet reached puberty IF the trainer knows what s/he is doing. Regarding lifts...muscles are only part of the equation. The other part is the maturity of the boy's joints. There are some 13 and 14 year olds who are very strong, but if you give them big lifts that early, it can damage their growing joints, giving them shoulder and back problems later in life, so teachers need to be aware of that as well.
  3. At this age, I think general upper-body strength training should be fine. I would say about three days a week--but make sure the trainer understands how to work with a young teen, and that s/he starts slow and builds the schedule gradually. When he starts pas de deux (which should be at about age 15) the requirements start to become more specific.
  4. Great suggestions! I just want to add one more. You could also try placing your fingertips on your shoulders with your elbows extended straight out to the side from your shoulders. Make sure you are not lifting your shoulders. Then extend your forearms to 2nd.
  5. They are different dances.
  6. I believe the Bolshoi reconstruction is on Youtube with both Alexandrova and Osipova. It is an excellent production, and I recommend watching it!
  7. I would want to make sure he is exercising different muscle groups on Monday and Tuesday. Gcwhitewater might have more to add on the subject.
  8. It looks like a lot to me, too. I would say that normally one does not need two technique classes a day, much less three. If he wants to take an additional lower level class, in my opinion once a week would likely be enough. Are the men's classes structured like a regular ballet class, just focused more on men's work? If so, he probably doesn't need a later technique class, unless perhaps he wants to do barre in order to get warm for something afterward. It is great that he is so enthusiastic and motivated! But he needs to bear in mind that he has a lot of life ahead of him, and while hard work is good, he also needs to allow his body to recover from it so he doesn't burn out or get injured.
  9. Not all ballet partnering is just the man supporting the woman on pointe. Learning to move with another person is very important!
  10. Even if a child is unusually strong for his age, it is usually not a good idea to have him do lifts until he is in his mid teens and more physically mature. Doing too much too soon can damage growing joints. It is similar to the reasoning for not putting girls on pointe too soon. They have their whole careers ahead of them to do plenty of lifts when they are fully grown--why run the risk of injury when they are young?
  11. The ABT NTC recommends that boys be at least 15 when they start partnering classes--but that doesn't mean boys and girls can't learn how to dance together earlier. The Garland Waltz from Sleeping Beauty and the children's polonaise and mazurka from Paquita are two good examples.
  12. Well, there's no law against it, but depending on how old you are, it is probably more productive to focus on men's class. Both men's class and pointe work place a lot of strain on the lower legs, so doing both at once is usually not recommended as it could lead to overuse injuries.
  13. I'm not aware of any ballet schools offering a full-time training program on the Eastern Shore...the only one I know of is Ballet Theatre of Maryland's Eastern Shore location, which does not appear to offer classes 5 days a week: http://www.balletmaryland.org/School/tabid/609/Default.aspx
  14. I think the most correct answer is that the teacher should tell you how s/he wants it done. Sometimes we forget to mention small things like that, so it is perfectly polite to ask if you're not sure.
  15. It takes a lot of time to build up the habit of pointing your feet every time they leave the floor, but fortunately this is one of many qualities barre exercises are designed to improve. Keep going to class and working on your battements tendus, dégagés, and your ability to point your feet consistently will improve over time.