Video of the Month: Getting into Character

Congratulations to Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet (YGSB), the Editors’ Choice winner for Dance Teacher Video of the Month!

The video, featured in DT October, shows 12- to 14-year-old students from the Los Angeles–based studio rehearsing a Hungarian character dance for YGSB’s spring concert. The piece was choreographed and staged by faculty member Vladimir Kolesnikov, a former Kirov Ballet principal and teacher at the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, DC. He specializes in teaching character dance and ballet in the Vaganova method and is an avid proponent of the role of character in training a well-rounded dancer. The practice develops coordination and imparts essential knowledge when it comes to interpreting classical roles, he says. “Dancers must understand the difference between Spain and Hungary” in order to interpret roles in classics like Don Quixote and Raymonda. Students at YGSB typically take character dance once a week by the time they reach the intermediate level, and it shows: Dancers in the video exhibit clean lines, precise épaulement and a proud, European flare. Kolesnikov hopes other studios will follow suit. “The study of character dance should be mandatory,” he says. DT

Want to build buzz about your studio, workshop or class? Posting videos to the Dance Teacher Video of the Month Contest is quick, easy and free—and it’s a great way to get noticed. If your video is selected as Editors’ Choice, you’ll be featured on this page, and you’ll win a free one-year subscription to DT! Don’t miss out on a great opportunity—visit dancemedia.com, share your videos and vote for your favorites. Any and all kinds of dance are welcome.

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"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

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Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

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"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

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