We all know that we gravitate to the familiar. There’s something comforting about doing something you’ve done before because you know it works. My challenge to you for this week is to stop ‘getting in the groove’ and instead, decide that you’re ‘stuck in a rut’ of ease.
Every ballet teacher has their favorites. Maybe it’s a tango for your fondu exercise. Maybe it’s a 6/8 for your plies. Maybe it’s a horn pipe for your sautés. Let’s talk about what we can do differently for those exercises.
Rather than a tango for your fondu, what if you did a barcarole? A saraband? Or maybe a minuet? Or, maybe you want to have your fondu moving a bit quicker so you go with a waltz. Be careful with those waltzes though, the rhythm tends to lead your dancers to arrive quickly on the count rather than going through the movements thoughtfully and using all of the music!
As far as that plié discussion, rather than using an adagio 6/8, maybe you could be crazy and use a 4/4! I know, that’s super hard for some of you, but with a little bit of practice, I know that you can do it! Pli e down & slow ly press up, etc. You can do it! It will definitely challenge your students if you don’t usually use a 4.
Finally, hornpipes for sautés are great, but what if you could use something.. greater? My suggestion is to try a rag if you gravitate to horn pipes. They are typically the exact same speed and can be interchanged fairly easily. The benefit is, your exercise can be more syncopated in its design, and, it just feels fun! After a long hard ballet class, it will feel like a treat for your dancers.
So, rather than ‘getting in the groove’, I challenge you to not let yourself stay ‘stuck in a rut”!
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- Lorel L
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