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Ballet Barre None, 2010

 

In a nutshell: A unique approach to teaching pre-ballet

 

As opposed to glossy videos featuring scripted lessons and students who’ve already perfected their technique, Eileen Juric gives viewers an inside look at three of her actual children’s ballet classes (ages 3–5, 5–7 and 7–9). This three-DVD series showcases a pre-ballet curriculum that works.

 

The system, developed by Joffrey Ballet School’s Dorothy Lister, is designed to take advantage of the most critical times in a child’s development without overwhelming them. In each lesson, students start with stretching on the floor and move straight to center work without ever touching the barre. They get lost in a world of magic caves, astronaut adventures and castles in the sky, not even realizing that they’re preparing for a lifetime of good alignment and correct ballet technique. Moving from “Demi-Diamond Pliés” to “Scoopy, Doopy, Doo” tendus, tiny ballerinas’ progress is visible as they actually hold in their stomachs and turn out from the hip. Kids are engaged, completing Juric’s sentences and moving seamlessly from one exercise to the next. And when there are mishaps in class—an overly chatty student or “Santa-Coming-to-Town Bellies”—Juric’s entertaining and natural rapport with students is inspirational.

 

The DVDs can be purchased individually or as a set, and teachers can access an online Quiptionary and list of NOtable NO’s to keep track of fun phrases.

Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

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Getty Images

The term "body shaming" might bring up memories of that instructor from your own training who made critical remarks about—or even poked and prodded—dancers' bodies.

Thankfully, we're (mostly) past the days when authority figures felt free to openly mock a dancer's appearance. But body shaming remains a toxic presence in the studio, says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, psychologist for Atlanta Ballet: "It's just more hidden and more subtle." Here's how to make sure your teaching isn't part of the problem.

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Courtesy Russell

Gregg Russell, an Emmy-nominated choreographer known for his passionate and energetic teaching, passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, November 22, at the age of 48.

While perhaps most revered as a master tap instructor and performer, Russell also frequently taught hip-hop and musical theater classes, showcasing a versatility that secured him a successful career onstage and in film and television, both nationally and abroad.

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