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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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Free People’s “Ballet” Campaign

Posted by on 05.19.2014

Free People’s “Ballet” Campaign

As many of you in the dance community have probably seen, the clothing company, Free People, has developed a ballet line.  But instead of considering the clothes, all we have been able to focus on for the last week are the photos and the videos published to promote the new line. The photos obviously indicate that the models had little to no ballet training, which is enough to upset professional dancers on it’s own.  Why would they choose to not use dancers when they likely had a large budget and could have done whenever they want?  As I monitored the social media response to these photos, my personal reaction was that there are a lot of similar ballet photos...

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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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