Ask the Experts: Ballet History Apps

Q: I want my students to get excited about ballet history. What apps do you suggest?

A: Teaching ballet and its history should be fun. There’s no shortage of ho-hum ballet apps that function like dictionaries, with pictures and names of positions. But a new app, Ballet Society: Conversations on Dance, takes an interesting approach.

Tap on a photo to see its caption. Dig deeper by either tapping on a brain icon to get a thoughtful question to stimulate discussion, or by touching the lowercase “i” to get detailed information about the picture. You can use this app when teaching ballet history to stimulate conversation and put it into context.

If you want to get your students just as excited about choreography, try Passe-Partout. It’s a fun, experiential app that allows the user to “choreograph” a contemporary ballet dance with New York City Ballet dancers Justin Peck and Daniel Ulbricht. There are five videos of dancers with music. You can watch (and listen) to each one on its own or overlay them (each one becomes translucent) to get a multiple-dance effect.

Save the dance you create and share it, or start all over to find a new way to configure the dancers. The possibilities are limitless.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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