Dancers have a language all their own. From French technical terms to scatting out choreography dynamics, it's a wonder any nondancers understand a word we say! Perhaps some of the most confusing dancer terms are the various foods we use to describe our feet. To help dance outsiders out, DT broke down the foods that are commonplace in dancer lingo. Share them with your loved ones, so they can better understand the weird and wonderful breed of dancer that you are.
Julie Hammond White is an associate professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she directs the dance education BFA. Here, the mother of two (Townsend, 10, and Dominic, 7) takes us through a typical week of juggling her personal and professional life. We caught up with White in October on the first day of work after her fall break. —Jill Randall
6:30–10 am Up and trying to rouse the boys. Throw in a load of laundry, pack lunches, set out uniforms. Drop kids off at school and head to the library. Finish planning advanced ballet.
10:30–11 Read 99 (?!) work e-mails. Taking a few days off is a bad idea…
11 am–12:30 pm Teach advanced ballet. I'm doing what I call "vitamin phrases": 2- to 3-minute phrases that focus on one aspect of ballet (this week, petit allégro).
12:40–1:55 Teach Methods in Dance Education. This is a course that all juniors, regardless of their major (performance/choreography or dance ed), must take to learn how to effectively teach dance in K–12, studios, higher education or community programs.
3:30–4 Grab a quick salad at restaurant across the street. Read letters from the promotion committee—passed the first stage of being recommended for full professor!
4–6 Grade DED 360 papers. These take a while. DED 360 is one of two writing- and speaking-intensive classes for the major. In their papers, students comment on eight areas of diversity as defined by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and find a media resource that addresses each to compare and contrast their views.
7–8 Grocery: bread, cantaloupe, Go-GURTS, apples, bananas, peanut butter, Nutella, pasta, cheese and oatmeal.
8–9 Laundry. Three loads. Also do a quick pickup of the house.
9 Boys home from day with Dad. They shower, brush teeth and set out their clothes for tomorrow. I sign homework and read them a story. Hugs and kisses, then bed by 10 pm.
10–10:30 More e-mails. Bed.
Depending upon whom you ask, there are different approaches to mastering the art of turning. Whether it's fouetté turns or a single pirouette, every teacher tends to have their own unique way to break down the physics of pulling off balance, strong arms and quick spotting to students. And here's one more visual to consider, courtesy of master ballet teacher Finis Jhung.
Bottom line: There are never enough ways to describe how to do a pirouette.
I need to improve the height of my relevé. My teacher has suggested that I practice by going into a relevé, then moving into plié with a forced arch, and then straightening the legs without moving my heels. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep my heels from lowering. Why is this?
Over the past six years, Jessie James has established herself as an indispensable guest artist to competition studios across the country, thanks to her lively personality and character-filled choreography. She got her start by setting pieces as a resident teacher at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem, Utah, then moved on to Larkin Dance Studio in Maplewood, Minnesota, and Woodbury Dance Center in Woodbury, Minnesota. Her choreography has since been seen by studio owners around the country as her pieces have won local and national competitions. It didn't take long before dance studios from coast to coast were contacting her to set choreography and teach master classes. Now she works with roughly 15 studios yearly and is hoping to grow her practice even more in the future.
Certain ideas have floated around dance studios for so long that we don't even question them. But, no, it's not true that you need 180 degrees of turnout to be a professional dancer! Here are five such common pronouncements. Can we all agree it's time to put them to rest?
There's more to private lessons than one-on-one instruction. Consider these practical issues as you plan for your next session.
Some schools discourage private lessons and outside coaching for fear that these might contradict their training methods and confuse the student.
Deciding a RateGiphy
Rates range anywhere from $40 to $100 or more per hour, depending on the instructor. Some studios set a flat rate, offer a discounted package or offer need-based scholarships.
Dealing With the ParentsGiphy
Parents might ask to observe the lesson, but their presence could actually hinder the child's progress. "Students work better when their parents aren't watching," says Becky Erhart Moore, artistic coordinator at Marin Ballet. If they insist on peeking in, suggest that they only come for the last 15 minutes.
Scheduling can be tough, especially since most students aren't available outside of school hours. "If I have to turn down a student because of scheduling issues on my end, I refer them to someone on my staff who is available," says Cheryl Madeux-Abbott, ballet director at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts.
Your time is valuable, so encourage students to arrive ready for the lesson. "If they're practicing a variation, they need to have done class before," says Edward Ellison, director of Ellison Ballet. "But if we're working on fundamentals, then we can start at the beginning of barre and get warm as we go along."
Attitude turns have the potential for major wow factor—the position originated from sculptor Giambologna's famous bronze statue of the Roman god Mercury, after all—but many dancers struggle with this kind of pirouette. It's a tricky step, one that requires good placement, coordination and timing. Whether your students are learning this turn for the first time or working on doubles, it's helpful to go back to basics and break down the mechanics.