The Necessity of Music and Art

Harry Ballan

It is possible to think of the necessity of art (especially music) for children in social terms.  Musicality (broadly defined) is the basis, ontogenetically and phylogenetically, of love and friendship, originating in infant-mother communications.  That is the thesis of Communicative Musicality (Oxford 2009), which is buttressed by an extensive and growing body of high quality, peer-reviewed studies in multiple disciplines.

The child is bombarded by stimuli from all seven senses (vestibular and proprioceptive, in addition to the traditional five), by the difficulty of selecting items for awareness or focused attention, and the difficulty of avoiding interference effects (e.g., vision interfering with hearing).  Consider the problems of attention deficits and sensory integration.

What happens during musicking?  The chaotic overflow becomes knowable as an awareness of surroundings, unthreatening, perhaps loving.  The competing and disordered stimuli are more and more matched by an array of attentional systems, as well as executive function, working memory, etc., to focus attention.  Details become more vivid, ordered, beautiful to the child’s developing self.

The consequence is that the child becomes conscious in a new way; self comes to mind; the elements of consciousness, awareness, attention and self-reference become refined and cooperative.  All of these blossom during musicking.

Think of the centrality of attention to everything human!  We cannot love unless we can attend to the other, nor be friends or have loyalties, commitments, vital interests.  Without attention, we’re hardly human; and without music and art, we may never learn to pay attention properly.

Hence the centrality of music and art to life.  They are indispensable!

Harry Ballon, contributor  Harry Ballan

Harry has been delivering therapeutic music in a variety of contexts for over thirty years. Through college and graduate school in music (BA, MA, Phil, Ph.D. from Yale), he continued to view music as having unique powers to heal and has put that in the service of people in need. His academic career went from music to law. As a lawyer and law professor, he has devoted thousands of hours to pro bono activities on behalf of numerous charities. Most important among his charitable commitments has been therapeutic music. He became a Director of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF, founded by Dr. Oliver Sacks) in 2013 and has devoted approximately 1000 hours a year to delivering therapy to patients there (420 inpatients and 5000 outpatients). He became Director of the PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury Program at IMNF and is active in the arts in early childhood education through Mind-Builders, a successful arts school in a poor neighborhood of the Bronx. In 2015, he was made a Salzburg Global Fellow in Neuroscience and the Arts, and later a Fellow in Early Childhood Development and Education. At IMNF, he continues to direct the PTSD program for veterans and is involved in programs for at-risk children and the elderly. He has been extensively involved with PTSD advocacy on Capitol Hill, as well as continuing expansion of the trauma-related program at IMNF, including trauma in children. He has great appreciation for the ability of music to heal and optimism about our ability, collectively, to create the informal partnerships and public-private institutional alliances to make the dream of therapeutic music a reality for millions of people, young and old, who would benefit from its healing power.

 

Center Pointe Work

Center Pointe
2/4 or 4/4

Begin sous-sus en face R foot front

1       Cou de pied R front
2        Lower foot to sous-sus
3        Cou de pied L back
4        Lower foot to sous-sus
&5     Pas de cheval R to point tendu side in fondu
&a6   Pas de bourrée to 5th position R foot front plié
&7     Royale
8        Sous-sus L front
1-8    Repeat all L

Rond de Jambe en l’air

4/4 Time Signature – Rond de Jambe en l’air
5th position, prepare arm 1st port de bras to 2nd position

1              Lift front leg 90ᵒ devant
2              Carry leg to á la seconde
3              Rond de jambe en l’air en dehors
4              Double rond de jambe en l’air en dehors
5              Double rond de jambe en l’air en dehors and finish fondu with leg éffacé devant
Arm to 5th en haut
6              Straighten supporting knee and carry leg á la seconde at 90ᵒ. arm to 2nd
7              Double rond de jambe en l’air en dehors
8              Close in sous-sus back
1              Hold
2              Lower standing led and brush working leg to 90ᵒ á la seconde
345         3 double rond de jambe en l’air en dedans
6              Retiré on demi pointe
7              Lower leg to sous-sus devant
&8          Half turn towards the barre to begin second side

Ballet Barre Stretch

Begin with outside leg in front and on the barre (croisé position)

1-2  Demi plié with arm 2nd to 5th en bas
3-4  Demi plié arm through 5th en avant and up to 5th en haut
5-8  Port de bras forward over leg and recover to arm 5th en haut
1-4  Port de bras back and recover with arm opening to 2nd position
5-8  Demi plié, relevé, and turn to face the barre with the leg a la seconde
1-4  Demi plié twice with both hands on the barre
5-8  Port de bras side towards the leg on the barre with opposite arm 5th en haut, recover to both
hands on the barre

1-4  Port de bras away from leg to the other side and recover to both hands on the barre
5-8  Slide leg down the barre like going into a split facing barre, and recover turning to face ¼ away from the barre w/leg in arabesque on the barre

1-2  Demi plié with arm 2nd to 5th en bas
3-4  Demi plié with arm through 5th en avant and up to 5th en haut
1-2  Port de bras forward over standing leg and recover with arm 5th en haut
3-4  Plié on the supporting leg at the bottom of the port de bras and straighten leg
5-8  Recover and port de bras back, recover

Lift leg off barre still in arabesque and lower to point tendu back facing the 2nd side
Turn toward the barre to the first side so that the tendu foot is now your front foot, and then slide down into splits

Grand Battement Mazurka 6/8

1-3     Grand Battement front, lower to point tendu, close 5th (arm 5th en haut)
4-6     Repeat side
1-6     Repeat back and side
1-2     Grand Battement front, close 5th (arm 5th en haut)
3-4     Grand Battement side, close 5th back (arm 2nd)
5-6     Grand Battement back, close 5th (arm to arabesque)
1-5     Cloche Battement with inside leg fbfbf
6         Close 5th position front
1-24   Repeat all from back

Medium Petit Allegro

2/4  Time Signature

Medium Petit Allegro
L foot front 5th en face

1-2     Glissade to R, close L foot front, petit jeté R over L
3-4     Coupé on L jeté battu w/R
5-6     Sauté ballonné R 90ᵒ side to cou de pied R back
7-8     2 Assemblé traveling en avant, R and L
1         Entrechat trois
&a2    Pas de bourrée LRL
3-4     2 brisés traveling R
5         Faillé over L
6         Pas de chat L
&a7    Pas de bourrée LRL to 5 position L front
8         Changement
1-16    Repeat all other side

Tendu at the Barre Time Signature 4/4 or 3/4 or 6/8

5th position, preparation 1 st port de bras

1-2          Tendu front, plié in 4th, arm en avant
3             Carry working foot to 2nd, arm 2nd
4             Straighten knee, plié in 2nd pos., arm 5th en avant
5-6         Carry working foot to point tendu front, close 5th front, arm 5th en haut
&7&8     Tendu front 2X closing 5th front both times, straight legs, arm 5th en haut
1-2          Tendu side plié in 2nd, arm 5th en avant
3-4         Carry working foot to back, straighten knee, plié in 4th pos, arm 5th en avant
5-6         Carry working foot to side, close 5th back, arm 2nd
&7&8     Tendu side 2X closing 5th front, 5th back
1-16        Repeat phrases 1 and 2 from back, arm in arabesque instead of 5th en haut

My Margot Ballet Book Review

My Margot book cover

From the LinkedIn group “Teachers of Classical Ballet” I learned that Ken Ludden had published a personal memoir and biography of Margot Fonteyn. I emailed Ken to ask if he would consider allowing me to interview him about his book, and he kindly accepted! (The interview will be posted next week.) I bought the book and it took about three or four weeks for me to read it, but that’s only because I didn’t have the luxury of foregoing all my daily duties (but I would have liked that!). I didn’t realize what a close relationship Ken had with Margot as one of her most trusted friends. If you want to get a close up look at this remarkable woman, this is the book to read.

I’ve posted a review of this book on Amazon. His book is available on Amazon using this link: http://amazon.com/My-Margot-Ken-Ludden/dp/1312075228/. It is also available in paperback!

Ken Ludden’s beautifully written memoir and biography of Margot Fonteyn offers the reader a glimpse into the life of one who was under the sheltering wing of one of the world’s most renowned and loved ballerinas. A touching tribute. No closer look into her life and character can be found. This book is not only fascinating but superbly written. Ken’s recollection of events and conversations is uncanny, and he writes in such a way that I could visualize the scenes as his stories unfolded.

Not only does he offer a peek into Margot Fonteyn’s world; he also shares a lot about Rudolph Nureyev—his childhood, defection, and his demeanor (which I was sad to hear was often quite rude). Throughout the book he mentions his interactions with many other famous dancers and teachers and schools, and I found every bit of it very interesting. His own life’s work would be enough to fill a book, but he expertly weaves the story so it always relates back to Margot.

Ken’s intrinsic goodness and humility are endearing. He shares a conversation with Tito, (Margot’s husband) where he reflects, “My basic view of my life is that it should be of service to others, and the idea that it was to make an impact on the world was very foreign to me. I still believe that being of service to the needs of others is the highest esteem, but I also see that carrying forward the legacy of Fonteyn is a higher service than nearly anything else I could do, and it does impact the world.”

I highly recommend this book, and I know that Margot herself would be quite pleased with it!

Grand Waltz 3/4

Grand Waltz from upstage L corner

1               Temps levé 1st arabesque on R leg
2               Faille L over
3               Glissade R closing L front
4               Assemblé R beating fbf to finish R front 5th
5               Tombé onto R facing upstage R corner
&6           Coupé L under, assemble R to close 5th back
7-8           2 entrechat six
&              Tombé onto L facing downstage L corner
1               Coupé R under and temps levé in 1st arabesque facing upstage R, arms 3rd
2               Chassé coupé chasse L to downstage
3-4           Assemblé en tournant arms 5th en haut finish R front 5th
5-6           Tombé onto R, pas de bourrée
7               Glissade to open 4th
8               Saute de chat with L arm 5th en haut, R arm 2nd

Teaching Creative Movement

Young dancer

Ballet class with children ages 3-5 is often called “creative movement” rather than ballet class. Then at age 6 it is sometimes referred to as “pre-ballet”, which is when they are usually ready to stand at the barre and learn the mechanics of alignment and ballet positions. Creative movement can be taught many different ways—none better or more effective than another—so I will just share some of the things I did with this age group (and felt were effective) when I was teaching them dance.

First of all, kids this age don’t have a very long attention span! Two minutes is about as long as you can stretch one activity before moving on to something else. I always felt that a 45 minute class was the absolute longest these kids could handle, unless you are combining it with some tap, too. I’d also say that if you have more than eight children in the class then you should probably have an assistant there to help you out.

Begin sitting in a circle — stretching and singing

I structured my creative movement classes more or less the same way each week. Kids do like repetition and it helps them feel more comfortable if they have a good idea what to expect. We would begin sitting on the floor in a circle, wide enough that when they put their arms out to the sides they wouldn’t touch their neighbor. At the beginning you can have them sit cross legged or with the soles of their feet together or their legs stretched out straight in front of them. Sitting cross legged is easiest for them, and when you want them to focus attention on sitting up straight and using good posture through their backs, necks long, and shoulders down, this is helpful.… Continue Reading …

The Necessity of Music and Art

Harry Ballan

It is possible to think of the necessity of art (especially music) for children in social terms.  Musicality (broadly defined) is the basis, ontogenetically and phylogenetically, of love and friendship, originating in infant-mother communications.  That is the thesis of Communicative Musicality (Oxford 2009), which is buttressed by an extensive and growing body of high quality, peer-reviewed studies in multiple disciplines.

The child is bombarded by stimuli from all seven senses (vestibular and proprioceptive, in addition to the traditional five), by the difficulty of selecting items for awareness or focused attention, and the difficulty of avoiding interference effects (e.g., vision interfering with hearing).  Consider the problems of attention deficits and sensory integration.

What happens during musicking?  The chaotic overflow becomes knowable as an awareness of surroundings, unthreatening, perhaps loving.  The competing and disordered stimuli are more and more matched by an array of attentional systems, as well as executive function, working memory, etc., to focus attention.  Details become more vivid, ordered, beautiful to the child’s developing self.

The consequence is that the child becomes conscious in a new way; self comes to mind; the elements of consciousness, awareness, attention and self-reference become refined and cooperative.  All of these blossom during musicking.

Think of the centrality of attention to everything human!  We cannot love unless we can attend to the other, nor be friends or have loyalties, commitments, vital interests.  Without attention, we’re hardly human; and without music and art, we may never learn to pay attention properly.

Hence the centrality of music and art to life.  They are indispensable!

Harry Ballon, contributor  Harry Ballan

Harry has been delivering therapeutic music in a variety of contexts for over thirty years. Through college and graduate school in music (BA, MA, Phil, Ph.D. from Yale), he continued to view music as having unique powers to heal and has put that in the service of people in need. His academic career went from music to law. As a lawyer and law professor, he has devoted thousands of hours to pro bono activities on behalf of numerous charities. Most important among his charitable commitments has been therapeutic music. He became a Director of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF, founded by Dr. Oliver Sacks) in 2013 and has devoted approximately 1000 hours a year to delivering therapy to patients there (420 inpatients and 5000 outpatients). He became Director of the PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury Program at IMNF and is active in the arts in early childhood education through Mind-Builders, a successful arts school in a poor neighborhood of the Bronx. In 2015, he was made a Salzburg Global Fellow in Neuroscience and the Arts, and later a Fellow in Early Childhood Development and Education. At IMNF, he continues to direct the PTSD program for veterans and is involved in programs for at-risk children and the elderly. He has been extensively involved with PTSD advocacy on Capitol Hill, as well as continuing expansion of the trauma-related program at IMNF, including trauma in children. He has great appreciation for the ability of music to heal and optimism about our ability, collectively, to create the informal partnerships and public-private institutional alliances to make the dream of therapeutic music a reality for millions of people, young and old, who would benefit from its healing power.

 

Center Pointe Work

Center Pointe
2/4 or 4/4

Begin sous-sus en face R foot front

1       Cou de pied R front
2        Lower foot to sous-sus
3        Cou de pied L back
4        Lower foot to sous-sus
&5     Pas de cheval R to point tendu side in fondu
&a6   Pas de bourrée to 5th position R foot front plié
&7     Royale
8        Sous-sus L front
1-8    Repeat all L

Rond de Jambe en l’air

4/4 Time Signature – Rond de Jambe en l’air
5th position, prepare arm 1st port de bras to 2nd position

1              Lift front leg 90ᵒ devant
2              Carry leg to á la seconde
3              Rond de jambe en l’air en dehors
4              Double rond de jambe en l’air en dehors
5              Double rond de jambe en l’air en dehors and finish fondu with leg éffacé devant
Arm to 5th en haut
6              Straighten supporting knee and carry leg á la seconde at 90ᵒ. arm to 2nd
7              Double rond de jambe en l’air en dehors
8              Close in sous-sus back
1              Hold
2              Lower standing led and brush working leg to 90ᵒ á la seconde
345         3 double rond de jambe en l’air en dedans
6              Retiré on demi pointe
7              Lower leg to sous-sus devant
&8          Half turn towards the barre to begin second side

Ballet Barre Stretch

Begin with outside leg in front and on the barre (croisé position)

1-2  Demi plié with arm 2nd to 5th en bas
3-4  Demi plié arm through 5th en avant and up to 5th en haut
5-8  Port de bras forward over leg and recover to arm 5th en haut
1-4  Port de bras back and recover with arm opening to 2nd position
5-8  Demi plié, relevé, and turn to face the barre with the leg a la seconde
1-4  Demi plié twice with both hands on the barre
5-8  Port de bras side towards the leg on the barre with opposite arm 5th en haut, recover to both
hands on the barre

1-4  Port de bras away from leg to the other side and recover to both hands on the barre
5-8  Slide leg down the barre like going into a split facing barre, and recover turning to face ¼ away from the barre w/leg in arabesque on the barre

1-2  Demi plié with arm 2nd to 5th en bas
3-4  Demi plié with arm through 5th en avant and up to 5th en haut
1-2  Port de bras forward over standing leg and recover with arm 5th en haut
3-4  Plié on the supporting leg at the bottom of the port de bras and straighten leg
5-8  Recover and port de bras back, recover

Lift leg off barre still in arabesque and lower to point tendu back facing the 2nd side
Turn toward the barre to the first side so that the tendu foot is now your front foot, and then slide down into splits

Grand Battement Mazurka 6/8

1-3     Grand Battement front, lower to point tendu, close 5th (arm 5th en haut)
4-6     Repeat side
1-6     Repeat back and side
1-2     Grand Battement front, close 5th (arm 5th en haut)
3-4     Grand Battement side, close 5th back (arm 2nd)
5-6     Grand Battement back, close 5th (arm to arabesque)
1-5     Cloche Battement with inside leg fbfbf
6         Close 5th position front
1-24   Repeat all from back

Medium Petit Allegro

2/4  Time Signature

Medium Petit Allegro
L foot front 5th en face

1-2     Glissade to R, close L foot front, petit jeté R over L
3-4     Coupé on L jeté battu w/R
5-6     Sauté ballonné R 90ᵒ side to cou de pied R back
7-8     2 Assemblé traveling en avant, R and L
1         Entrechat trois
&a2    Pas de bourrée LRL
3-4     2 brisés traveling R
5         Faillé over L
6         Pas de chat L
&a7    Pas de bourrée LRL to 5 position L front
8         Changement
1-16    Repeat all other side

Tendu at the Barre Time Signature 4/4 or 3/4 or 6/8

5th position, preparation 1 st port de bras

1-2          Tendu front, plié in 4th, arm en avant
3             Carry working foot to 2nd, arm 2nd
4             Straighten knee, plié in 2nd pos., arm 5th en avant
5-6         Carry working foot to point tendu front, close 5th front, arm 5th en haut
&7&8     Tendu front 2X closing 5th front both times, straight legs, arm 5th en haut
1-2          Tendu side plié in 2nd, arm 5th en avant
3-4         Carry working foot to back, straighten knee, plié in 4th pos, arm 5th en avant
5-6         Carry working foot to side, close 5th back, arm 2nd
&7&8     Tendu side 2X closing 5th front, 5th back
1-16        Repeat phrases 1 and 2 from back, arm in arabesque instead of 5th en haut

My Margot Ballet Book Review

My Margot book cover

From the LinkedIn group “Teachers of Classical Ballet” I learned that Ken Ludden had published a personal memoir and biography of Margot Fonteyn. I emailed Ken to ask if he would consider allowing me to interview him about his book, and he kindly accepted! (The interview will be posted next week.) I bought the book and it took about three or four weeks for me to read it, but that’s only because I didn’t have the luxury of foregoing all my daily duties (but I would have liked that!). I didn’t realize what a close relationship Ken had with Margot as one of her most trusted friends. If you want to get a close up look at this remarkable woman, this is the book to read.

I’ve posted a review of this book on Amazon. His book is available on Amazon using this link: http://amazon.com/My-Margot-Ken-Ludden/dp/1312075228/. It is also available in paperback!

Ken Ludden’s beautifully written memoir and biography of Margot Fonteyn offers the reader a glimpse into the life of one who was under the sheltering wing of one of the world’s most renowned and loved ballerinas. A touching tribute. No closer look into her life and character can be found. This book is not only fascinating but superbly written. Ken’s recollection of events and conversations is uncanny, and he writes in such a way that I could visualize the scenes as his stories unfolded.

Not only does he offer a peek into Margot Fonteyn’s world; he also shares a lot about Rudolph Nureyev—his childhood, defection, and his demeanor (which I was sad to hear was often quite rude). Throughout the book he mentions his interactions with many other famous dancers and teachers and schools, and I found every bit of it very interesting. His own life’s work would be enough to fill a book, but he expertly weaves the story so it always relates back to Margot.

Ken’s intrinsic goodness and humility are endearing. He shares a conversation with Tito, (Margot’s husband) where he reflects, “My basic view of my life is that it should be of service to others, and the idea that it was to make an impact on the world was very foreign to me. I still believe that being of service to the needs of others is the highest esteem, but I also see that carrying forward the legacy of Fonteyn is a higher service than nearly anything else I could do, and it does impact the world.”

I highly recommend this book, and I know that Margot herself would be quite pleased with it!

Grand Waltz 3/4

Grand Waltz from upstage L corner

1               Temps levé 1st arabesque on R leg
2               Faille L over
3               Glissade R closing L front
4               Assemblé R beating fbf to finish R front 5th
5               Tombé onto R facing upstage R corner
&6           Coupé L under, assemble R to close 5th back
7-8           2 entrechat six
&              Tombé onto L facing downstage L corner
1               Coupé R under and temps levé in 1st arabesque facing upstage R, arms 3rd
2               Chassé coupé chasse L to downstage
3-4           Assemblé en tournant arms 5th en haut finish R front 5th
5-6           Tombé onto R, pas de bourrée
7               Glissade to open 4th
8               Saute de chat with L arm 5th en haut, R arm 2nd

Teaching Creative Movement

Young dancer

Ballet class with children ages 3-5 is often called “creative movement” rather than ballet class. Then at age 6 it is sometimes referred to as “pre-ballet”, which is when they are usually ready to stand at the barre and learn the mechanics of alignment and ballet positions. Creative movement can be taught many different ways—none better or more effective than another—so I will just share some of the things I did with this age group (and felt were effective) when I was teaching them dance.

First of all, kids this age don’t have a very long attention span! Two minutes is about as long as you can stretch one activity before moving on to something else. I always felt that a 45 minute class was the absolute longest these kids could handle, unless you are combining it with some tap, too. I’d also say that if you have more than eight children in the class then you should probably have an assistant there to help you out.

Begin sitting in a circle — stretching and singing

I structured my creative movement classes more or less the same way each week. Kids do like repetition and it helps them feel more comfortable if they have a good idea what to expect. We would begin sitting on the floor in a circle, wide enough that when they put their arms out to the sides they wouldn’t touch their neighbor. At the beginning you can have them sit cross legged or with the soles of their feet together or their legs stretched out straight in front of them. Sitting cross legged is easiest for them, and when you want them to focus attention on sitting up straight and using good posture through their backs, necks long, and shoulders down, this is helpful.… Continue Reading …