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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What Kind of Acting Classes Would Be Most Beneficial for a Dancer?


mamabear

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Hello all,

 

I am toying with the idea of enrolling dd (11) in a spring break acting class, and possibly a week long class over the summer. There are a number children's of classes to choose from: musical theatre, improv, Shakespeare, and even classes that are supposedly based on the Staninslavski method.

 

I hope that someone can chime in with some wisdom as to what types of acting classes, tend to benefit dancers the most. Additional input on what to look for in an acting school (so I don't end up enrolling DD at a theatrical version of a Dolly Dinkle), would also be much appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

Edited to add: I'm in the Vancouver of BC, just in case anyone has specific suggestions.

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We have elective Musical Theater classes at our studio, and often during summer intensives one (or more) of the guest teachers will lead some classes in "ballet acting/pantomime" or improv. I would guess that musical theater is helpful to ballet in some way, ours is a pretty serious ballet school and I'd assume they wouldn't have that program there if they felt it was detrimental to the main goal (=ballet training) in any way. :)

I think any acting class would probably be helpful for being on stage and tell a story with facial expressions etc.... but I wouldn't have a clue as far as to what method is best. DD loves the musical theater classes at her studio but has no experience with taking "outside" acting classes.

Sounds like a lot of fun, hope your DD enjoys it!

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I'd add a little bit of Pantomime to that. I can't seem to locate the webpage, but there is some sort of performing arts school that is based on Mime called Corporeal Mime Society in Vancouver, so maybe check into that? Also, I found a man who teaches some sort of workshops in Vancouver, and according to his bio (which I would absolutely doublecheck) he was a ballet dancer so he may have some familiarity with what dancers require:

http://www.fantastic...e.com/about.htm

 

I'm not advocating for either of these places, because I am totally unfamiliar with Vancouver. Just trying to help point you in a direction where perhaps you can check for yourself their legitimacy.

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I spoke to a friend of mine who used to dance and now works in theatre, and she said that while Stanislavsky could be ok, you should make sure it is real Stanislavsky (not "method acting", for example). She also said Stanislavsky was not really what came to mind first for her considering that dancers are used to expressing themselves through movement rather than dialogue. She mentioned that Grotowski or Meisner techniques would probably be useful, as could Bogart's Viewpoint techniques--but that it also depends on the personality of the dancer/actor. Most reputable acting teachers today will teach a range of techniques so that people can use the ones they find helpful and discard those that don't work for them.

 

All this might be somewhat beyond an 11 year old, but I hope it helps give you some ideas of what might be helpful as you look through class offerings.

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My husband works in drama education. Beginning acting classes for this age typically involve lots of game-like exercises that encourage physical expressivity, responsiveness to others, timing, emotional openness, etc. All would be great to support dramatic expression in dancing. It would be unusual to have a class just on Stanislavski or Meisner methods for children.

 

Musical theatre is always fun and will involve singing and dancing, but she might find the dance pretty simplistic. Improv is also a great option. Shakespeare acting classes will be language-focused so perhaps not the best choice.

 

Children's Theatre companies (both those who hire professional actors to put on plays for children and those who put on productions with children) usually offer classes and frequently hire working artists.

 

We know plenty of kids who were studying dance, start taking acting classes and end up dropping the dance part because acting is such fun!

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I would follow your child's lead and sign them up for the type of acting that appeals most to them. My DS, for instance, would have run screaming from 'acting', but loved the idea of trying a children's Shakespeare workshop when I promised he'd get to pretend to be kings/knights/pirates and possibly use a sword.

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