Tombe’ Pas de Bouree: ‘The Gateway’ and Kicking Yourself in the Butt :O)

September 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have been learning so much these past few months going between various teachers in several ballet studios in Berlin! Now it is nice to finally sit down and share one of the things that I discovered is super-important in moving from beginner’s technique into intermediate and advanced technique.

It seems so easy, it is a series of steps we always do and forget to focus on improving…perhaps we feel it is just a way to get from point A to point B, rather than an important part of the dance itself. It is the wonderful transitional step, the traveling tombee pas de bouree (let’s abbreviate it to ‘TpdB’ from now on, yikes!). Remember, in this post I am talking about a traveling TpdB that often leads up to a pirouette, or in grand allegro, not the smaller pas de bourre’ by itself in petit allegro.

There were 2 big TpdB things that I learned recently in Matthew Thomas‘ 3-day adagio summer ballet workshop in Berlin:

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Don’t Make Your Ballet Teacher Depressed: Give 100%

May 20, 2011 § 6 Comments

I know, it sounds funny, but it is something I never have thought about. Thanks to my current teacher, Mirco Fila at Escuela de Danza María Carbonell  in Valencia, Spain for quite vocally showing his frustration at the class today for looking like zombies just going through the motions. I appreciated this as it shows he cares about our progress and thinks we can DO IT.

Many teachers spend much of the day teaching, or if not, perhaps they have a day job from which the come to do something hopefully fun and engaging. Imagine spending all day watching students not giving 100%, looking dead when they execute steps (and not dance!)….that must be depressing!!!

But trying to keep your adult beginner ballet teacher off the anti-depressants not only benefits her/him, it benefits YOU. « Read the rest of this entry »

WIll I Ever Be At Least an OK Dancer?

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

This is a little anxiety question that likely lurks in the back of the minds of many of us who take or have taken adult beginning ballet classes. Naturally if we have an interest in starting ballet at an er, advanced age, chances are we have seen some kind of professional ballet dancing. We see the bodies of professional ballet dancers and see they are perfectly tuned instruments to bring music to life, and they make everything look so easy.

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Dance Studio Review: Pro-Stage, Kreuzberg, Berlin

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

U-Bahn: U7 or U8, Hermannplatz

Urbanstrasse 71
10967 Berlin

+49 30/61209261

(note: the review below is of the old studio on Mehringdamm; once I take a class in the NEW finished Urbanstrasse studio I will update! I did take the very first class in the new studio, but the construction was not yet complete so I can’t give a fair observation of the space.)

Pros: nice morning classes to start your day/Matthew/bright unobstructed studio/great price

Cons: studio is a little small (see note above)/not a lot of variety in teaching styles

Teacher: Matthew Thomas- English National Ballet

I can only say good things about Pro-Stage, really. Matthew Thomas is the main ballet teacher and teaches 4 days a week. I wish there were other classes to take, but I think the studio is starting out and still operating on a small scale. The only bad thing is that the studio is kind of small, but Matthew seems to create the combinations with that in mind (contretemps!) so it really isn’t an issue. Plus the prices are reasonable. 7 euro to try any class for the 1st time, then 9 euro after.

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Dance Studio Review: Domus Danza, Buenos Aires, Argentina

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

Tacuari 477 at Venezuela
Barrio: San Telmo/Monserrat
Subte: Independencia
4334 6379

Yes! WOOD FLOORS! And great teachers….who teach in flip-fops and jeans :O) They can still do 4 pirouettes in flip-flops, it is incredible.

Another great thing is the price. You can buy an ‘abono mensual’ (monthly pass) choosing 1, 2, 3, or 4 classes a week. I buy the 3 classes a week pass, so I get 12 classes a month for 260 pesos (currently about $65 US)….that works out to less than $5.50 US a class! A one time drop-in class is 40 pesos, or $10 US.

This is my favorite adult ballet school in Buenos Aires. And my second favorite in the world. Alas, it is hard to beat the dilapidated Centre de la Danse du Marais in Paris when doing dance studio reviews.

Sala 1:

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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

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

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Ballet Photo & Video Dictionary

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

You have started your classes and are now being inundated with all these….moves…and…French words! What is a person in adult beginner ballet to do to make sense of all of it?

Here is one of the most handy-dandy resources I have ever found online. It is a wonderful photo and video ballet dictionary put together by the wonderful American Ballet Theater. Want to see how a certain movement or pose that you are having trouble with is done correctly, by a professional ballet dancer?

American Ballet Theatre’s Ballet Dictionary

A dictionary of videos of ballet moves! And the descriptions help a lot too.

I know if I keep watching that jete’ entrelace’ video over and over I will finally get it!

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