Musings

Summer Teaching Diaries: Progressing Ballet Technique

Posted by on 08.27.2014

Summer Teaching Diaries: Progressing Ballet Technique

As a part of my research for my summer teaching over these last few months, I came across “Progressing Ballet Technique,” an innovating training program for classically trained ballet dancers.  Through my experience with my students, I observed a lot of weaknesses that I felt could be solved through pilates or other strength training techniques.  I knew that they needed some strengthening exercises added into their training to help with the elements of their technique that were lacking. Marie Walton-Mahon, a ballet educator for 39 years, decided to change the way her students approached their exercises.  Through her programs entitled “Progressing...

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Summer Teaching Diaries: Challenges of Being a Ballet Teacher

Posted by on 08.11.2014

Summer Teaching Diaries: Challenges of Being a Ballet Teacher

There are so few teaching opportunities out there at any given time, and even less for teachers who are young and not yet established.  Becoming a ballet teacher is a natural and common career transition for dancers as their careers come to a close.  Yet, so few dancers are able to really get a taste for teaching leading up to the inevitable transition.  So having the opportunity to start giving class as a current dancer, is a rare one. I learned long ago that just because you are, or used, to be a good dancer, does not make you a good teacher.  Please do not misunderstand, I am by no means calling myself a good dancer or a good teacher for that matter. I am just...

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Through a Social Media Movement, the ‘Bald Ballerina’ Raises Awareness of Breast Cancer in Young Women

Posted by on 07.27.2014

Through a Social Media Movement, the ‘Bald Ballerina’ Raises Awareness of Breast Cancer in Young Women

Meet Maggie Kudirka.  Some of you may know her from the Social Media movement, Bald Ballerina.  Maggie is a 23 year old ballet dancer, who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer 2 months ago.  If you have not seen her Facebook page, or don’t yet follow her on Instagram/Twitter (@BaldBallerina), you really should.  You will immediately recognize a strong woman with an amazing spirit about her.  She has quickly decided to turn her journey into something to help others by raising awareness “that anyone can get breast cancer, even a healthy and fit ballet dancer.” This is a story you will want to share with everyone you know.  Maggie, we wish you...

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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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A Letter to My Former Ballet Student-Self

Posted by on 07.20.2014

A Letter to My Former Ballet Student-Self

A Letter to My Former Ballet Student-Self: __________________________________________ Dear Rebecca, It has been over 8 years since we have met.  Since then I have become a corps de ballet dancer with an internationally renowned company, toured across the world, had the opportunity to dance many of classical ballet’s most beloved works, and worked with today’s leading choreographers.  How did this happen you ask?  Sometimes I wonder the same thing.  After picking up some teaching gigs this summer, I decided that I would like to send you a note filled with the lessons I have learned, because everything looks different from the front of the studio. First,...

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The Remarkable Story of a Ballerina’s Struggle for Life and Happiness: You, Fascinating You

Posted by on 06.08.2014

The Remarkable Story of a Ballerina’s Struggle for Life and Happiness: You, Fascinating You

There are many stories that touch our lives; many of which are portrayed through moments in history that many of us cannot even fathom.  Take for instance the story of Margit Wolf, a woman with her sights set on becoming a prima ballerina.  As a young woman she left home and travelled across Europe enjoying the thrills of performing.  After meeting her Prince Charming, an Italian songwriter, it became clear that global events would soon change their life.  As a Jewish woman, she would be separated from her son and husband, inspiring her “Maestro” to write the love song, Tu Solamente Tu in 1938.  Twenty-two years would pass before the two were...

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