As she breaks down performance into its elements, Angeline offers tips and video examples that will help you breathe life into your ballet dancing whether for exams or the stage.
Begin with a very structured 4/4 song that does not have any strange segues or extra measures. Have all students beat their hands on their legs, clap or snap to the beat. Continue their time keeping, but have them now count out loud – “1..2..3..4”. Be sure you do not have them count “5..6..7..8”. This is a cardinal sin in the music world, as you’ll find out if you dance with live musicians! Explain to your students that each set of four counts is a measure, or a bar. I often use this with my elementary students who are learning addition and/or multiplication.
Most dancers (especially American dancers) are trained in ambiguous combinations of techniques that generally come from whatever their teachers learned from their teachers. The fabulous thing about this program is that there is no ambiguity. There are answers for everything, no shades of gray, and very little room for interpretation. Since some of the greatest dancers in history passed through Cecchetti’s own hands, he was obviously doing something right.
I begin with the goal, the endpoint, the ideal, and then decide how to get there. If I am designing curriculum for a workshop the aims may be fewer and less grand than if I’m planning curriculum for an eight-year course of study.