Dance Studio Review: Dock 11, Berlin, Germany

April 30, 2011 § 6 Comments

Dock 11, Prenzlauerberg
U-Bahn: U8 Rosenthaler Platz or Senenfelder Platz
Kastanienallee 79
10435 Berlin
+49 30/4481222
http://www.dock11-berlin.de/index.php/cat/2_0_1/id/p3_Ballett.html

In a nutshell: good to great teachers, but the owners really need to make some improvements in the dance studios.

***I cannot stress enough how annoying the 2 ceiling support poles are, especially if the class gets to 10 people or more. It is super irritating trying to improve and you can never complete the combination because you are going to either run into a pole or another dancer. And worst of all, the barres are a homemade cheap-o affair: much too light curtain rods affixed with velcro to a curtain rod bracket. Yes, velcro. Curtain rods. They slide around constantly and feel really wobbly, it is really frustrating. Especially when you know someone could spend 30 minutes and find a cheap, simple, stable fix. In fact, I do not go to Dock 11 any longer unless I am forced to (summer break for many dance studios…). I really wish they would move the ballet classes into Saal 2 and fix the barres. I can’t take it any more! ***

Pros: Variety of teaching styles/clean, modern studios/ classes mornings & evenings/ morning classes are a steal at 7 Euro/ a small cozy cafe inside/nice big mirrors/warm community feeling/ well-ubicated near U Bahn and tram stops/all teachers speak English

Cons: main studio (Saal 1) has 2 big ceiling support poles that really get in the way/the barres are attached..with VELCRO, it is terribly unstable!/evening classes are pricey at 11 Euro drop-in/ no Saturday class/ to buy a month discount class card you must choose either only beginning or only intermediate

Teachers I’ve taken class with: Saskia Klepsch, Mevlana van Vark, Christian Schwann & Sven Seeger.
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Saskia Klepsch teaches Basic, Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Beginning Intermediate and Intermediate for adults. She teaches children’s classes too. Her style is definitely classical, though she plays mainly pop music. Personally, I am not fond of the pop music but she teaches well and gives individual corrections and lots of reminders about the basics! She’s Vaganova trained I am pretty sure. Such beautiful feet too!
Her combinations at the barre and in the center offer a lot of variety, she changes things up. She challenges you, is fun and gives a lot of energy. No grand/petit allegro in basic to advanced beginner (‘anfanger mit vork.’).
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Mevlana van Vark teaches only 2 times a week, beginner and advanced beginner. He is Vaganova trained also. I like that he focuses on the basics to build technique and repeats the same corrections and reminders every class. That said, I do wish he would change up his combinations from time to time, as they really are the same every class and it is boring. I know in many ballet schools that is the curriculum you are trained in your whole period of study…but we are ‘Erwachsene,’ adults! We need some variety especially if the music is the same every time. I like though that he plays mostly piano music, some of it is pop, but that is fine with me. I enjoy his classes a lot when I am feeling off or like I have plateaued. I think ballet IS really about basics so I appreciate Mevlana’s approach.
Plus he has sexy legs haha.
Simple grand & petit allegro in both classes so..while his classes are generally easier than Saskia’s, at least with his classes at the beginner level you get to practice big jumps and the small quick movements that make up petit allegro.
He focuses a lot on using in your ‘band,’ I think meaning the muscles that form a band around your chest and around your pelvis. He says it in German mostly but I think that is what he is saying.
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Christian Schwann teaches M-F, the GREAT 6 Euro morning ‘professional’ (Profitraining) classes, 1 Intermediate (Mittelstuffe) evening class and an Intermediate-Advanced evening class. I love his classes. He really wants you to move with feeling and fullness, to ‘use your drama,’ as he says! haha He’s a real ham, always dorking around, acting, being weird. His style is definitely NOT classical. He plays some funky music, like Whitney Houston (!!!), some hard rock songs…which I normally don’t like in ballet but it works in his classes. Though, important to note! He basically does not give any technical corrections; he focuses more on stage presence and artistry. Magic and fun, and I always feel like singing and jumping around for the rest of the day after his class.
Grand & petit allegro in all levels.

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Sven Seeger teaches only one class per week, Tuesday’s 7pm ‘Mittelstuffe’ class. I was sad as I took his class for the first time 2 weeks before I was to leave Berlin. So I only was able to attend his class twice. Boo! A challenging class, I would say a truly intermediate class on par with intermediate classes in the States. He’s very energetic and focused on lifting up, breathing and directional changes. A very athletic center portion of class, so be ready! Grand and petit allegro.

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§ 6 Responses to Dance Studio Review: Dock 11, Berlin, Germany

  • Claire says:

    Great post!

    I am moving to Berlin in September and finding this info is fantastic.

    Thank you!!

  • Amber says:

    Thanks so much for this!I’m a professional dancer from San Francisco traveling through Berlin this week. Much appreciated!

  • James says:

    Thanks! I’ll be in Berlin next week, so those tips were very welcome.

    • balletcougar says:

      Hi there! I have not written a review yet of probably what is now my preferred ballet studio in Berlin. I highly recommend Marameo for it’s extremely spacious studio (a rarity in Berlin). I have been going to the intermediate/advanced (M/F) class on Friday and also going to the beginner class (A) that follows. I just want to spend all day in this beautiful studio! I will try to sit down for 45 minutes or so to write my review…but look up Marameo and check it out. I am so sad though that the only open classes are these 2 classes on Fridays. There is professional class 7 days a week, but that is pretty intimidating for me!
      Have a great time in Berlin, and perhaps see you at Marameo on Friday! There is a screening of ‘Ballets Russes’ on Saturday September 10 there, from what I understand. Another excuse to spend time in their big beautiful dance studio hehe!

  • […] Want to go all out and give 100% in a small, crowded studio? Go for it, but you are going to smack someone upside the head with your jete’ entrelace’, or run into the mirror (see my review of Dock 11) […]

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