5th position at the barre
1-2 Brush to 45° devant, plié in 4th – arm 5th en avant
3 Straighten knees and carry working foot to 2nd at 45° á la seconde, arm to 2nd position
4 Plié in 2nd
5-6 Carry working foot to 45° devant, close 5th position front – arm 5th en haut
&7&8 Degagé devant 2x closing 5th front both times
1-2 Degagé side, plié in 2nd position – arm 5th en avant
3 Carry working foot to back 45° and straighten knee – arm 2nd
4 Demi plié in 4th position – arm en avant
5-6 Carry working foot to 45° side, close 5th back – arm 2nd
&7&8 Degagé side 2x closing 5th front, 5th back
1-16 Repeat all from back with arm in arabesque instead of 5th en haut
5th position at the barre
Begin 1st position
1 Tendu devant, or front
2 Flex foot at ankle
3 Point foot
4 Turn in 4
5 Turn out
6 Close 5th position plié
7-8 Chassé devant, point tendu inside foot back, close 5th
1-2 Tendu devant, close 5th position
3-4 Petit passé (ankle height) to close back in 5th
4-6 Tendu side close 5th front
7-8 Petit passé to close in 5th back.
1-16 Repeat all from back
1 Tendu a la seconde, or side
2-3 Flex and point tendu side
4-5 Turn in, turn out
6 Close 5th position front in plié
7-8 Chassé away from the barre to the side, close 5th front
1-8 Repeat last 8 counts with inside leg, finishing with chassé toward barre
1-8 Demi plié relevé to cou de pied (foot at front of ankle, not wrapped), balance arms 5th en avant
It’s interesting how dance can consume a person. I wrote a post about how some people just have a passion for dancing that cannot be ignored, and how this passion drives us to push ourselves through trial and error and pain and suffering (sometimes, from injuries). But at some point, our bodies age and we have to move on…if we’re lucky enough to continue working in the field we love, we become teachers or choreographers. However, for some of us, we move into a completely different arena. We become mothers and fathers, we work jobs with regular people…that is, people who don’t have flashbacks of Nutcracker performances when they hear Tchaikovsky’s score on the radio or in the mall. We find dance career alternatives.
When I first stopped dancing it was because of Achilles tendinitis. I also had a husband and a new baby that naturally changed my priorities in life. We lived in Lexington, Kentucky where I had performed a little with the ballet company, so when we went to performances I was watching all my old dance friends on stage. I cried every single time we sat in the audience to watch a performance. Deep inside I was grieving the loss of dance in my life. Sure, I was teaching. We started a dancewear store so I was in contact with dancers all the time. But I knew that I would never again put on my pointe shoes and dance on stage. It was like a part of me—a huge part—had died and would never come back. [Read more...]
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.
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. [Read more...]
I was reading someone’s blog the other day, and one of the comments was from a young dancer who was having trouble remembering combinations in ballet class. I thought this would make a great blog post because I, too, was one of those dancers who stood in the back and tried to blend in. Eventually I became one of the quickest to pick up combinations and was no longer afraid to stand in the first spot at the barre or go with the first group in the center. Here are some of my ideas about how you can pick up combinations quickly. [Read more...]
1-2 Tendu R to side (á la seconde)
3-4 Close into 5th position front in plié
5 Tendu R to side
6 Close to 5th position front in plié
7-8 Pirouette en dehors and close 5th back
1-8 Repeat 1-8 to the left
1-2 Tendu R croisé devant, place into 4th position pirouette prep
3-4 Relevé passé bringing back foot (L) to front of knee and closing 5th croisé devant
5-8 Repeat last 4 counts on opposite side
1-8 Repeat last 8 counts but add pirouette en dedans
I’ve been thinking lately about how dancing can affect someone’s life in general, whether they continue to dance past high school and college or not. As a teacher I had many talented students who went on to study dance at the university level. Some found their way to NYC and Broadway, others are teaching dance, but many have gone into separate fields altogether. When I was younger I used to think that I had to be involved in dance or else all the hours I’d spent perfecting my craft were for naught. But is it true that what we learn in the dance studio can’t apply somehow toward our life in general? That there aren’t lessons about working hard, little by little, to see a change several weeks or months down the road that can help us no matter where we end up?
It saddens me that I’m no longer involved in dance the way I used to be. When my family moved away from Kentucky to live closer to my husband’s family in North Carolina, we left behind a thriving dance supply store (Dance Essentials, Inc.) and I left a wonderful teaching post as director of the ballet program at Town and Village School of Dance in Paris, Kentucky. My parents kept the store running for a few more years before selling it and joining us in North Carolina, and on a recent trip through Kentucky we stopped to find that the store had closed for good. It was sad to see our small legacy stamped out, so to speak. But I believe there was a higher purpose for our lives and it was time to move on.
Three years after moving to North Carolina, my father-in-law developed an aggressive, malignant brain tumor. We lived a short drive away—we could even walk if we had to—and it was a blessing to be available if he fell down and needed help. We were at his side when he passed from this world, and though we miss him terribly, we feel blessed that we were given those few years to spend with him. We witnessed a most impressive and dignified journey toward the end of life as he knew it, and saw his faith in God and the world-to-come gently bud and flower.
When we came here it was necessary for me to find a “real” job immediately, since my husband had not found work yet. I landed a job with First Union Bank (which became Wachovia, then became Wells Fargo) doing support work and developing simple reports in Excel and PowerPoint. From there I learned how to manipulate some simple Access database back ends, and started building a few new databases to make the reporting I was doing more automated.My father-in-law was not surprised by my interest and ability to jump right into software development. He was a project manager working on IT-related projects at Bank of America and elsewhere, and he encouraged me to move into the IT field full force. He saw that software development had a creative side and dancing had a technical side, so the two fields in his mind were a perfect fit, and the transition wasn’t as difficult for me as you might think.
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Begin in 1st position
1-4 4 degagé to the side with R
5-6 Flex R foot and bounce low to floor to R side
7&8 2 quick piqué to right side and close 1st
1-8 Repeat to the left
1-4 Degagé en cloche w/R leg front, back, front (finish last one in fondu) hold count 4
5-8 Degagé en cloche back, front, back (ending in fondu)
1-2 Pull R to retiré, straightening standing leg
3-4 Extend 45° side in fondu
5-6 Relevé passé
7-8 Lower and close to 1st position
1-32 Repeat all beginning L