Teaching Tips
Pamela Montgomery, courtesy Kerollis

When it comes to teaching dance, few tools are more effective than hands-on corrections. As the COVID-19 pandemic has overtaken the globe, dance classes have either shifted to virtual platforms or socially distant classrooms where no physical contact is allowed. We've all had to adapt our teaching styles to ensure students continue to improve until we can return to business as usual.

For me, this has meant finding creative ways to have my ballet students self-correct issues that I'd normally address with a touch-based correction. Here are some of my favorite contactless "hands on" corrections I've been using:

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Ballet instructor Michael Cusumano has a secret identity that even his mother didn't encounter until recently.

When he's not teaching at Pace University or editing funny videos on YouTube, he's transforming into his alter ego Madame Olga, a feisty Russian ballet star who claimed part of his brain and a lot of his closet.

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Duell teaching at the School of American Ballet. Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy of Ballet Chicago

The music comes first for Patricia Blair and Daniel Duell, the couple who co-direct Ballet Chicago. "We get inspired first and foremost by the music that we are listening to, looking at it analytically and structurally," Duell says about their choreographic process. "In our choreography, we always feel a need to provide a thematic shape—a beginning, a development and a conclusion, the way a piece of music goes."

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