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Therapeutic Barre


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#1 rshevin

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 09:47 PM

Today was my first day back in class after nearly 1 year. I was interviewing for jobs, moving, starting a new job, living with my parents, buying a condo, moving again, and all sorts of insane things during that time. So anyway, today was the first day of a new class in a "new" city. I was immensely glad not to see anyone I knew from when I was a kid, class went well overall, but I won't linger on this.

Class started out with something the teacher called "therapudic barre." Um, excuse me? I know I haven't danced in THAT many places (3 studios, but probably a dozen teachers over the years) and this is news to me! It's basically a track or two off the ballet CD where everyone stands at the bar and does whatever they want, kind of. There are a few movements everyone does together and then they drift off here, there, where ever, whatever. Am I missing something here? Anyone ever done/seen this?

#2 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 10:17 PM

There is a pre-barre warm up called Therapeutic Barre, which was created in the '60s by JoAnna Kneeland. It was taught at Harkness in NY, and many people who later taught, including some who are still teaching, use it. It is a very exact and very good sequence which runs about 7 minutes. It is absolutely NOT random and does not, if taught properly, ever allow students to "drift off here, there, wherever, whatever." I don't know what this teacher you had was doing, but it was not the Therapeutic Barre that I know.
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#3 rshevin

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 09:11 AM

I don't know what it was either! I'm guessing he used the word for what would best be described as 'warm-up to music.' It was very awkward for the new girl in class.

#4 rshevin

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 05:30 PM

Wow, guess it is unusual since only one person has even an inkling. It's the only class I've found in town though, but it seems to be great other than this one thing. It's a hair above my level, which I find perfect because it'll bring on improvement and hard work but not discouragement. In a 1.5 hour class, as the newbie, there was only 1 combination I had to sit out because I just didn't pick it up fast enough to follow the group. It was fun. I'll go back next week.

#5 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 05:33 PM

I would suggest that you ask the teacher to actually teach the Therapeutic Barre, and, if it is the "real" one, I think you will find it very helpful. But not knowing it, and not having anyone teach it to you could be very confusing indeed.
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#6 Guest_pink tights_*

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 06:10 PM

Wow, guess it is unusual since only one person has even an inkling. It's the only class I've found in town though, but it seems to be great other than this one thing. It's a hair above my level


I'm quite familiar with therapeutic barre, as are all of the faculty where I teach, so it's not that unusual. Yes, parts of it can be challenging, but overall, it's quite useful. :thumbsup:

I'm a bit rusty on it...I should ask my dd to go over it with me. :innocent:

#7 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 06:17 PM

Actually, it is pretty unusual, pinktights, as it is only taught by those who were trained at Harkness, or with JoAnna Kneeland or Ruth Petrinovic. Of course some of us trained by them may now have students out there who are also teaching it! :innocent:
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#8 Guest_pink tights_*

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 07:43 PM

Ah yes, my colleague studied with Ruth Petrinovic! That must be where she learned it. She taught it to the rest of the faculty where I teach--I remember being very sore for a few days afterwards (especially thru the front of the hips and lower abs). And it seemed familiar...Horton?

I've seen my daughter going thru the exercises before class, especially on days when I teach and she has time before her class begins. So I guess she is 3rd generation to the method? :thumbsup: :innocent:

#9 rshevin

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 08:13 PM

Is this conceptually similar to the Luigi exercises used in jazz at all?

#10 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 08:35 PM

The exercises are not all unique to JoAnna, and some are quite standard things that you might find in lots of places. It's more about the sequence or the organization of them, and of doing all them in order to warm up all of the joints and muscles. It is designed to get all of the parts of the body moving, stretched, ready to go. IF it is done correctly, it is great. If it is allowed to get sloppy or people change it, then it is not the same thing, and I have seen a great deal of that.

It is not intended to be done in full by beginning levels. Certain parts are eliminated at first, and added in later as the students reach an Intermediate level. It needs to be done with alignment and placement, but with no strain or force. You will see some dancers whacking the backs of their heads, for instance, in the leg swings to the back, but that is not the intention at all. It is not to be contorted or forced in any way.

I don't know if any of the exercises came specifically from Horton, Luigi, or anyone else, but it is certainly possible that some of the work is also used in modern classes. Maybe jazz, but I would think modern dance would be more likely.
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#11 jimpickles

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 10:05 PM

Is there any way the rest of us can learn about the Therapeutic Barre? Is it described in a book, or on a DVD anywhere?

Jim.

#12 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 24 May 2008 - 05:42 AM

No, Jim, it is not. You really need to learn it from someone who knows it.
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#13 WendyMichelle

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 05:15 AM

Hmmmm........it sounds very interesting and like something I may still be able to do. I had a layover in Atlanta in February. I should have looked you up and taken a class! (Ok, it was only an hour and a half layover......but I was still there!)

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#14 rshevin

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 05:32 PM

I guess you didn't understand the question but it's likely a moot point now. The second class went straight into plie and we have a new teacher for summer.

#15 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 05:36 PM

Which question did we not understand, reshevin? I answered your last question, or at least addressed it, in the post following that question.
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LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS...
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