Lauren Lovette and Craig Hall in rehearsal

New York City Ballet is known for a lot of things—Balanchine’s choreography, no real “stars,” those extra-wide fourth positions—but none more so than putting the women up front and center. As Andy Veyette puts it (and as Balanchine himself put it, many years ago), “Ballet is woman” at NYCB. Again and again in this episode, the male dancers emphatically state that their main job as partners is to make the ladies look good. “It’s not about you,” says principal Amar Ramasar. “It’s about making the woman look beautiful.”

The dynamics of this attitude frankly fascinate me. I mean, maybe women have a historical position as always being right when it comes to their interactions and arguments with men, but the men of City Ballet are so finely attuned to their female counterparts, so ready to take the blame for any kind of onstage mishap, that they almost come across as devotional. I was fascinated by this article in the current issue of Pointe magazine where five leading male dancers remember School of American Ballet teacher (and former principal and partnering all-star) Jock Soto instructing them to always, always take the blame. No matter what.

I’m sort of touched by this attitude, even as I recognize the unfairness of it. (Let’s face it: At some point, it’s gotta be the woman’s fault when a bit of partnering goes wrong, right?) It’s a hybrid of modern-day chivalry, in a way. As Chase Finlay says, “It’s about making the woman feel safe.”

Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

Keep reading... Show less
How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored