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.
If you haven't seen this yet, please enjoy this clip of Martha Graham Dance Company artistic director Janet Eilber (she's a former Graham principal) teaching the students of Harvard Law School an excerpt of Lamentation. (You'd recognize the piece—it's perhaps Graham's most famous, in which she's constrained by a stretchy piece of fabric.) The video was taken by Damian Woetzel, who co-teaches The Law and the Performing Arts with Jeannie Suk Gersen.
Following the introduction to Martha Graham through movement, Janet and Graham executive director LaRue Allen spoke to the class about dance and copyright and other legal issues.
Want to see the OG version? Here's Graham doing excerpts from the piece in 1934, at Bennington College:
Hands-on teaching needs to be approached in a delicate fashion, according to MOST dance teachers. But in a recent video that surfaced online, a ballet teacher is correcting a student's turnout, which is one of the most common corrections given, and appears to have gone too far.
Because of his own hyperextended knees, Mark Morris Dance Group member Billy Smith pays particular attention to the condition in his students. Locked knees, he says, lead to locked hips, denying your full mobility. This combination requires a straight and stable supporting leg through both a rond de jambe en l'air and a promenade. Softening behind the knees to counteract hyperextension allows you to fully access your turnout and stand easier.
In DT's featured Video of the Month, Sara Ordway, ballet teacher at MBA, the official school of the Manassas Ballet Theatre in Virginia, gives the viewer a glimpse inside the Youth Ballet. When she started the program in 2015, she intended to give students an insight into company life. But the program has proved to be more than just an experience for students to see what it's like to be a professional dancer.
Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine, when viewed from the back, has one or more curves. The vertebrae are abnormally rotated, which creates twisting and more prominent visibility of the rib cage on one side, and it is most commonly seen in adolescents ages 10 and older. Most cases cannot be reversed, but they can be controlled, for example dancer Paige Fraser who despite suffering from severe scoliosis, has thrived as a dancer. Dance teachers can play an essential role in spotting the condition at an early stage.
“Teachers can help to notice that scoliosis is there in the first place," says Sophia Fatouros, a New York City–based dance teacher and and former professional ballet dancer who has struggled with scoliosis since she was 12. “Parents do not always see their children in tight clothes, like leotards."
In garba, be-thali (pronounced "beh-tahlee") is the basic step used to travel around the circle counterclockwise and clockwise. Be-thali translates to "two clap." (The phrase in its entirety is a daudiyu, which loosely translates to "running step."It includes multiple steps, like two-clap, three-clap, pivots and turns that are linked as the dancer travels around the circle.) "It's a fun dance, but it's also a communal experience, and you kind of lose yourself in it once you do it for a long time," says Parijat Desai.