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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What did you learn or improve at your SI?

Victoria Leigh

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  • Administrators

With the Summer Intensive programs winding down and the school year beginning soon, I would like to hear from our young dancers about things you learned and improved during the summer. Also, tell us about your goals for this school year. What can you do during the year to not only maintain what you learned, but continue to improve and learn? Tell us about technique, and also about things in the program which were new and different for you, like other dance forms or history of ballet, terminology/vocabulary, nutrition, or whatever was new and/or helpful to you! :):yes:

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I tried Modern for the first time in my life ever and I really liked it! It was just great, very good for my back and the teacher was lovely and very motivating.


In ballet class I got a sligh adjustment of my bad posture. I am getting physiotherapy at the moment and the lady was very satisfied with my back when I came back from SI. I could improve my extensions to front and side, not in height but it feels now much easier to lift my legs and I found out, that I can place my leg totally sidewards with an amazing rotation just with using my upper body properly. I just could not figure out how this works coming through a develope without the teacher adjusting my upper body. So this is really something I want to work on this year.


Then double piqué turns: Never could do them but now with the teacher showing me how to move properly in a single turn to prepare for doubles I hope to be able to do them by next year.


I could also improve my double turns, they are now much cleaner than before.


Otherwise I had my first RAD teacher ever and I never thought that it would be that different compared to the training I get at home. But it was a good experience.


Now I'd really like to find a studio where I could take beginner's classes in Modern, just once a week or so...

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  • Administrators

That is great stuff, Claude Catastrophique! It sounds like you really had a productive summer program, and learned a lot. Good that you liked the modern classes, too. Hope you can find a way to continue with that. :yes:

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For me the most enormous improvement was an attitude adjustment. I recently graduated from a dance school where I felt constantly degraded and devalued, especially in regards to my weight which fluctuated due to medication. At the beginning of the summer I was very close to quitting and felt extremely demoralized about dance. My experience this summer at the Boston Conservatory completely turned me around and brought the joy back into my dancing. I realized that I genuinely love ballet as an art form and that I can get away from the competitive nature of many pre-professional programs and enjoy dancing for its own sake. I absolutely adored my modern experiences this summer with Alberto Del Saz and Sean Curran, and realized that part of the reason I hadn't enjoyed modern had to do with the fact that my modern teachers had no professional experience and weren't well-educated in their art form. This summer has made me more aware of the enormous legacy of past dancers and the responsibility I have to educate myself and learn as much as I can about dance.

Basically, I feel completely and utterly revitalized and newly confident in myself. I went through a really tough period this spring, not only in dance, and this summer has reawakened my passion and desire to learn and explore the world around me. Dance is just so... cool! Seeing videos of the choreography of Mats Ek and Jiri Kylian absolutely blew my mind. I'm now sad that I will be taking three months off in the fall to travel to India, but I know that dance is there for me when I return.

In more physical terms, my pointework improved enormously because I spent three weeks in Donna Silva's remedial pointe bootcamp, which improved my placement and strength and allowed me to perfectly break in my shoes for Adriana Suarez's more advanced class second session where I was able to use my new strength to do many more fouettes than I ever dreamed possible for me! It was just a great summer in general.

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  • Administrators

Wow! That is amazing, dance through life! How great that the summer was that special for you! Thank you for sharing all of that with us. :o

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Hi! I would also like to say what I've learned, only not on my SI, but since I started to study dance in college; it sort of fits this SI post, but not quite. I decided to share my experience in it anyways (I hope that’s fine):



I had ALWAYS had ballet classes, ever since I can remember (maybe not proper technique classes they were called ballet, but the ones I took when I was younger should have been called dance). So ballet had always been an important part of my life, but never as a carreer since my "then" ballet teacher had once told me I did not have the turnout necessary to be a ballerina. Nevertheless I continued taking classes and taking it seriously despite my big dissapointment. In my last year of school I decided I would study dance in college, despite EVERYONE'S dissaproval.


It was the best dance university in my country, so I thought it would be so hard to pass the audition; however, from the 168 people that auditioned 20 were accepted into 1st year and another 5 (including me) were surprisingly accepted into 2nd year (based on a ballet technique class). My first year in college was torture; I have to admit I learned a lot (Leeder technique, contemporary, Laban Theory, Dance History, etc.), considering I had never tried another dance technique that wasn't ballet . The ballet class was great, there were no new steps for me to learn, but in terms of thechique, there was a whole new world I didn't know. That kept me going throughout the year, because even though the class was much slower than I was used to, I felt I was still learning, so it was ok.


After a year I ended up very dissapointed, seeing how my university didn't really match the profile I was going for. Because even though ballet was among the most important subjects throughout the carreer, the carreer is focused on modern technique.


Anyways, I don't know if realizing you were on the wrong place really counts as an achievement, but after a year and a half I finally did realize I just didn't want to be there anymore.


Next month I'm travelling to Cuba to take a 3 month ballet course to get back into training, because since I started college I never used my pointe shoes again, and to get used to faster and more demanding classes.


After that, I plan on auditioning. Here's where I'm clueless. I'm not sure what I should be auditioning for!! I'm too good to be in my dance college, and not good enough to be on our national ballet company/school. So what I thought made sense was to get into a ballet school, but very few, if any would accept me with 20 years (21 next year when I plan on auditioning) and poor technique. Auditioning for a ballet company should make more sense, but again, beeing poorly trained, I highly doubt I'll be accepted.


Anyways, I thought I'd audition abroad for a couple of trainee programs: in the U.S. (so far I've seen 1 that I like) and in the U.K. (also 1).

English is not a problem for me as a foreign student, since I have achieved a very high score on my TOEFL test, money is kind of a problem, but I could get a national scholarship; my biggest problem right now, is WHERE. (Obviously any suggestions are widely accepted)


Other than that, I am completely happy I am finally sort of on the right track, and much more calm, that I'll finally be doing what I've always dreamed of.



Those are my plans for next year :wub:


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What a nice topic for a thread!

I had a really great summer and feel like I learned a ton! The biggest thing i learned is that the company who's summer intensive i attended is one that i would definitely like to audition for when i graduate. It's always been on the list but now it's moved to the top. I love the city and the repertory/style of the company.


Technically, I feel like I've also improved significantly. I have always been somewhat of a weak turner. Before I could only consistently do clean double pirouettes en dehors and en dedans but now I can do triples. I can also do much cleaner double attitude turns en dedans and a la seconde turns. My batterie has also gotten a lot better! It is no longer a struggle for me to add beats to petit allegro and I can actually do an entrechat six now. I've gained a better control of my plie when jumping and my jump has gotten higher because of it. Physically I have also gotten a lot stronger so in pas de deux class I can lift the girls higher :firedevil:


One big thing that I worked on this summer was my face and neck. I tend drop my chin and look down when I get nervous while dancing. It's just a bad habit and it only presents itself in certain exercises and I've been trying to fix it for ages. I still have a ways to go until i can eliminate the problem entirely (because Its hard for me to realize when I'm doing it) but my summer intensive teachers have assured me that it is much much better than it was.


I also think my port de bras has gotten much nicer and more refined.


We have our final performances tomorrow, which will be a lot of fun, because I love performing. It's been a great summer and I cant wait to do it again next year! :wub:

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I suppose this works...

Today I started a mini-SI program to get me back in shape. I quit dancing a year ago, and I'm using this to get me back into it and ready for my new *dancing and choreographing!* job that starts in September. So, what I expect to accomplish: getting my dancer body back, enjoying ballet again, and getting the confidence I need to jump back in!

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