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Spanish, Viennese and Grand.. Waltzes Part 1

Dec 30, 2019

If you are a ballet teacher, you use waltzes ALL THE TIME! Whether you select them yourself for an unset class or it's set in the syllabus that you use! A waltz for your pointe class warm up, another for slow tendus, perhaps one for rond de jambes and yet another for grand battement/cloches. You've already used 4 waltzes and you're not even into centre practice yet! If you teach unset ballet classes on a regular basis, you've got your favourite recordings for each of those exercises, however, the...

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One of These Things is Not Like the Other!

Dec 16, 2019

Today's blog on codas/galops harks of the old Sesame Street song, "One of These Things is Not Like the Other". If you watched Sesame Street a lot as a child, you may remember it (Big Bird singing it). Below, I have 4 statements based on musician's terms, the game is for you to see if you know which one is not true!

4 Statements (based on musician's terms), which one is NOT true?

  • Chaines are fun!
  • 6/8s are for galops
  • Galops are for chaines
  • Codas are for chaines

Let's take a quick walk through each of...

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Thoughts on Gavottes

Nov 21, 2019

Those of you teachers who get to teach the infamous pas de bourree step are likely to be familiar with, at least partially, the traditional dance music called the gavotte.. if not, today is your lucky day! Read on if you're curious.. 

The gavotte is thought to originate from the peasants living in the French Alps (the gavots) and was considered the kissing dance of these French peasant people from the province of Dauphiné. It was most popular in the courts during the 17 and 18th...

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Stuck in a rut, or getting in the groove?

Nov 07, 2019

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...

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98% of All Music is Duple or Triple Metre. Say What?!

Nov 03, 2019

I'm going to share something with you today that is going to BLOW YOUR MIND if you haven't learned it already! Did you know that all music (well, 98% of it) is either duple (2 based) or triple (3 based) metre. Say what? You might be thinking right now.. 'obviously waltzes and minuets are triple metre, marches, hornpipes and polkas are duple metre.. but what about 5s and 7s? They're different! Oh and 9/8s.. they're different! Girl, you don't know anything..' am I reading your mind? It's all good! I used...

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Dancer counts vs. musicians counts: Basic Music Theory for Ballet Teachers

Oct 31, 2019

For years as a dance student, you listened to music. You heard it, you felt it, and you danced to it. Now, you’re a teacher and you have to use it but you’re unsure about the counts vs the beats that musicians use. Let me help!

Dancer counts are based on the feeling of the pulse. If a piece of music has a lot of notes, then you feel a pulse in it and that strong pulse is your dancer count. In between your dancer counts is filler that is either counted as an “&”, or...

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Teaching Children and 3 Activities that They Will Love!

Oct 03, 2019

Feeling tired just thinking about it?

Today is Saturday, and if you’re a dance teacher, you know that this day is GOLD for the studio. Finally the parent(s) and child is home and so they register their little one for ballet because they just know that little Stewart or Megan is going to be a ballet star one day (They’re so musical)! Or, maybe they just want to get that BIG morning energy out so they can enjoy their child for the rest of the day instead of trying to rein them in! Whatever the...

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March, One Way or Another!

Sep 23, 2019

I was considering what topic to blog about and came upon the march.. it’s a music type that everyone uses, but doesn’t always know what it is.

To shed a little light on the topic, there are many kinds! Your standard 4/4 march will be my first mini glance. This march can have 2 different accents to it. One which could be the accent on the 1 (Think Of Star Wars march), OR, alternatively, the accent could be on the + (a favourite of mine for this accent is the song “Do You Hear the People...

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Which Music Do I Want? A Quick 3/4 or a 6/8?

Sep 19, 2019

First, I want to say a HUGE shout out to all of you who commented and liked my last blog post about counting music! Please keep commenting and asking questions afterwards as I am totally enjoy the conversations we’re having!! One ballet teacher I was chatting with, Paul Chambers, (a dancer from days past at the Alberta Ballet and now a teacher in the Alberta Ballet School) brought up a question that he’s always been a little confused by.. How do I know what I want when I want something...

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Why Can't I Count a 4?

Sep 17, 2019

Did you know that we all have a music meter rhythm that resonates with our very souls? There is a musical rhythm that you feel in your body and connects with your mind and, as a ballet/dance teacher, makes you feel at ease and comfortable to use when you teach. Considering we all have hearts that beat at a consistent tempo, you’d think that we would all gravitate to the duple (2/4, 4/4) time signature; however, strangely that is not the case! In truth, each person will feel a connection with...

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