Balanchine

Incorporating History into Dance Education

Posted by on 06.25.2015

Incorporating History into Dance Education

One of the great things about summer layoff, is that I have the wonderful opportunity to teach and coach the next generation of dancers.  Yesterday I sat down with my students and asked them if they had done the homework I had assigned to them on Monday.  A few hands shot up in the air with excitement.  “OK,” I told them, “Let’s talk about George Balanchine.” We started with his birth in 1904 in St. Petersburg, Russia and his death in New York in 1983 at age 79.  I asked them why they thought I had them research George Balanchine. That elicited some quick responses: “Because you want us to understand his style,” and “You wanted us to look up...

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Summer Teaching Diaries: Fostering Young Dancers’ Love for Ballet

Posted by on 07.22.2014

Summer Teaching Diaries: Fostering Young Dancers’ Love for Ballet

Dancers all know that more work is put in offstage than onstage.  The same goes for young people studying ballet.  Though they may not be assigned “homework” as they are in school, education outside the studio is just as important as the education they are receiving at the barre. There are many small dance studios across the country and around the world. Not every aspiring dancer has the great fortune of attending a professional school where the tradition of ballet surrounds them day in and day out. Not every student has access to professional quality performances, showcasing generations of beloved productions. However, in today’s high-tech society,...

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The Dancers’ Artistry: How We Are Evolving

Posted by on 05.11.2014

The Dancers’ Artistry: How We Are Evolving

I recently came across a very thought provoking article in Dance Magazine about the delicate balance between artistry and emphasizing the execution of  ballet steps with technical proficiency.  This is a big topic of conversation these days as reality television brings dance into our homes more than ever before.  On shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” we see remarkable tricks: daunting jumps, lifts, turns, etc.  It always amazes me what the audience chooses to react to on these shows: they clap and scream for a simple press lift, while seemingly missing the talent and artistry behind the fast footwork that follows.  In an effort to please an...

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Profile of a Great Ballet: La Valse

Posted by on 04.01.2013

Profile of a Great Ballet: La Valse

George Balanchine’s La Valse has been a staple of Miami City Ballet’s repertoire for years.  Not only have we performed this excellent work all across South Florida, we waltzed on the Parisian stage where the music premiered in 1920.  Since performing this ballet in a beautiful theater with such history, this Balanchine work has become incredibly close to our hearts. I recently decided to delve more into the story and premise in order to have a more complete understanding of Balanchine’s vision.  He choose to create a plot within this 30 minute work, but as is often the case with Balanchine choreography, the story is complex and open for...

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Profile of a Great Ballet: Apollo

Posted by on 01.19.2013

Profile of a Great Ballet: Apollo

I am ashamed to admit it, but until the beginning of this season, I had never seen George Balanchine’s Apollo. OK, well maybe I had seen it, but I had never really seen it.  Life changed for me on that Thursday evening sitting in the house of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it gave me a whole new respect for Balanchine’s choreography (and if you are a regular reader, you know I am already a big fan.) The morning after my first real viewing of Apollo, I sat with my coffee and my Balanchine books to study up on the ballet’s story and history before seeing it again that evening.  I...

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Timeless Pieces of Art.

Posted by on 09.12.2011

Timeless Pieces of Art.

The Mona Lisa sits in the Louvre in Paris and attracts over 6 million visitors a year.  The famously mysterious painting was created by Leonardo di Vinci circa 1503–1519.  The Mona Lisa, along with the 35,000 other works of art housed within the Louvre’s walls, are undeniably timeless. But would you limit the “timeless pieces of art” category to only paintings and sculptures?  What about ballets?  Full-length classical ballets are still appreciated in the 21st century though they are obviously dated.  Yet other choreography seems to be able to stand the test of time more effectively.  Specifically, what is it about Balanchine ballets that allow...

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