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Archive | Classroom Planning

Five Tips for Transitioning Back to Work

Transitioning Back to Work

Teaching is hard. It is a selfless act requiring enormous amounts of patience and passion. It is no wonder that, after months of work, teachers feel as though they have transformed into zombies—crawling towards whatever break is on the horizon, grabbing desperately at the sweet release of freedom. It doesn’t mean we have lost our […]

Create Effective Yearly Goals

Discover Goals

Goals have the potential to be . . . Motivating Counterproductive Smart Overwhelming Accessible Unattainable Unwavering Fluid Restrictive Freeing Manipulative Organic And a host of other things . . . Basically, goals are complex. This makes them rather intimidating. Or rather, it makes setting goals intimidating. As teachers, we often find ourselves encouraging our students […]

Lessons in Ballet History

History of Ballet

I am thoroughly convinced there is never enough time in ballet class to teach everything we wish to teach. One year, I taught a three hour ballet class once a week to advanced dancers who were already taking many other ballet classes throughout the week. One would think in that scenario I would find three […]

Choosing Which Correction To Give

Corrections in Ballet Class

I had a teacher oh so many years ago who was helping me learn how to teach. She observed me giving class one day and afterwards we had a little chat: “So, Robyn. Well done. However, I noticed you didn’t correct the dancers often. Can you tell me why that was?” “Yeah. I noticed that, […]

The Order of Learning Ballet

Order of Learning Ballet

Order is beautiful to me. While I tend to live rather chaotically, I do ache for order. I believe this is one reason I was so drawn to ballet. The structure provided a solid framework for my creativity, and the discipline channeled my often scattered thoughts into clear, concise ideas. Ballet brought clarity to my […]

Teaching the 8 Body Positions

The Eight Ballet Body Positions

No build up necessary. We all know how vital it is that our students grasp the concepts of croisé, écarté, effacé, and en face. The aesthetic of ballet is based in large part on these positions. Regardless of the labels any particular teacher applies to these positions, the fundamentals remain the same. My Process for […]

Knobby Knees and Hyperextension

Knobby Knees and Hyperextension in Ballet

(Note: This article is written with the young dancer, beginning around age 5, in mind.) “Let’s all stand in First Position.” All students begin to move into position. “Wonderful!  Be sure your heels are touching.” All students move their heels together. “Well done! Uh oh. . . Looks like we have some bent knees. Let’s […]

Golden Rules for Barre Work

Golden Rules for Barre Work

It is common knowledge that barre work is the foundation for ballet.  Inevitably, where a dancer shows weakness at the barre, it will be magnified tenfold when they move to the centre. The essentials put in place through barre work hold so much transformative power that we often times keep our students at barre for […]

Exposing Students to Excellent Ballet

Exposing Students to Excellent Ballet

My dance training began when I was nine years old. A year later I saw a professional ballet dancer for the first time. It changed everything for me. In my eyes, this ballerina was perfection. I had no idea such exquisite grace existed. It was everything I could ever possibly dream of becoming. Of course, […]

My Approach to Tricks

My Approach to Tricks

The thirty-two fouettés. The manège of turns. The continuous entrechat six. These are but a few of the spectacular feats dancers are always trying to attain. And once they reach their goal, the bar is pushed that much higher. Thirty-two becomes sixty-four, the manège is capped off with a fantastic series of hops on pointe, […]