Ballet Classes, Ballet Tips, Dance, Dancers Life, Students

Correcting Posture Problems

I always have attention to details, I’m picky and I’m very careful with my students. I always like to lead them to do things well done and I don’t tend to let things “pass” just because they’re minor. These “minor things” can prevent them from evolving and getting better. I always say that is better less and good than much and bad. 

Today I have a good example. A student was working her arms by contracting her shoulder blades instead of lengthening them. The port de bras was good, but she was contracting her shoulders, as you can see in the image below. 


The best way to explain this to students is to make them place their arms in second position and then, in front of them, pull their arms wide apart to their diagonal lines (slightly forward). They will feel it immediately; their shoulder blades will lengthen and they will even feel a “weird pain” along their arms. This is the feeling that tells them they are placing their arms correctly. From here, tell them that everything in their port the bras is to be wide and always lengthening outwards. And you will have beautiful and well placed port de bras!

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Ballet Classes, Ballet Show, Ballet Tips, Dance, Dancers Life, Students, Uncategorized

Stage Basics

I had a show this past weekend. It was a school show, we had three sessions (Saturday at 16h and 21h; Sunday at 18h). As much as I have to say about what happened this weekend, I want to talk about a subject that is as important to a dancer as picking the right shoes or leotard: Stage Basics. 

When I talk about stage basics, I mean everything that makes you ready to go on stage flawless (like a ballerina should be 😉). Of course there’s your outfit, your tights and shoes and some warm up clothes (very important!!) but, how about the rest? What should you carry in your bag? 

Let’s start from the top:

Hairspray

– Hair gel

– Bobby pins 

– Rubber bands

Hairnet 

– Brush

– Comb

– Toothbrush

You must ensure that you have everything you need for your hair to be perfect, including head accessories if needed. Also, if you’re not having some expert doing your hair, you must know how to do it yourself. 

And, how about make-up? Every dancer or teacher has it’s tips and tricks but, here are the products that I find essential:

Primer

– Foundation

– Fixation Powder

– Bronzer

– Blush

Highlighter

– Eyelash curler

– Mascara

– Eyeliner

– (Other items maybe needed depending on various factors: lipstick, eyeshadow, glitter, etc…)

Here again, unless your makeup is too specific that needs to be done by an expert, you must do it yourself and make sure it’s stage ready. Don’t forget that, when you are on stage, your make up must be exaggerated. You will have many lights on you, and also you will sweat, a lot. So, enough is not enough. 

As a teacher, I expect my students to know this and to be always stage ready when I need them to be. I pass this on to them and it’s really nice to see that the older ones are now helping and teaching their tips and tricks to the younger ones. This is what makes a dancer. 

Last weekend, I couldn’t believe when the students approached me to help them with their ballet buns and their make up. And, most of them didn’t have their own make up! My fellow teacher never taught her students about this matters. 

This is my advice , teach your students everything that a dancer needs to know, not only technique, not only performance… Encourage them to have everything in their bags and encourage them to be responsible for themselves and their stuff. This way, a sense of maturity will grow within each one and they will feel even more fulfilled when it’s their turn to pass on some wisdom 😉

Dancers Life, Inspiration, Quotes

Feeling inspired…

A week ago I went to see the new movie, “La La Land” … I confess that it took me a long time to understand the fact that it was nominated for so many prizes.I do consider the great artists that worked on this film and it was really good on so many levels. I just didn’t think it was THAT good…
But there was a detail of the film that captivated me, which filled my heart, which inspired me: the musi!! Phenomenal! Excellent work by Justin Hurwitz, superb musicality and sensitivity … I may not have found “La La Land” the movie of the year, but the soundtrack is definitely the best I’ve ever heard. I have not tired of listening to the full album yet, and every day I feel inspired in different ways. Thank you so much to the artists who are able to touch us in the depth of our hearts and souls.

“Here’s to the ones who dream

Foolish as they may seem

Here’s to the hearts that ache

Here’s to the mess we make”

Ballet Classes, Ballet Tips, Dance, Dancers Life, Students

Planning Classes #2

Follow a syllabus or your own path?

The first thing I think about when planning my classes is the syllabus I’m going to follow. Will I be proposing students to ballet exams this year? Wich grades? Because I’m a RAD registered teacher and, in my country, ballet exams are highly valorized, most of the time, I teach with that purpose. 

I don’t think that teachers should think of the syllabus as a way to reach an end. I think that they should think of it as an end for wich we need to find our way. So, each time I’m going to teach a particular grade, I study the syllabus and then I creat my own exercises to introduce it to my students. I plan carefull goals for each grade and exercise and work with my students step by step. This way, the approach to the syllabus would be simpler and easier for them. They have already learned the technique and, therefore, they can concentrate on other aspects of their dancing. 



On the other hand, if you don’t follow any syllabus in your ballet classes, don’t leave planning aside. It’s important for you and it’s important for your students. For you because it helps you to keep track of each class and the evolution of your dancers. And for them because, that way, they can understand the “whys” and “hows” of each step and their progressions. Their work will be much better :) 

Ballet Classes, Dance, Dancers Life

It made my day ❤️

Do you know that feeling when the least thing you want to do is to get up and go to classes? Do you also have some of THOSE days? Well, I do. Not very often, fortunately, but every once in a while. I don’t like those days and today was one of those. 

Then, in my first class of the day, a little girl (about 4 years old) approaches me and says she wants to give me a gift because is almost International Womans Day (!!). And she  hands me a flower with the brightest smile on her face 😀 



Well, if I could receive a flower everytime I feel down, the world would be a much better place. Thank you to my students for making me feel happy, even when I don’t feel like teaching!! ❤️

Ballet Classes, Ballet Tips, Dance, Dance Trivia, Dancers Life, Uncategorized

Planning Classes #1

Planning for your classes

There are several things that, as a ballet teacher, need careful planning. Of those many things, classes are the most important. How can we plan our classes? How SHOULD we plan our classes? And what if something goes wrong with our meticulous planning? 

I think planning is the most important thing in my job and also what makes me love it the most. In paying attention to every single detail in our planning we are telling our students how much we care for them, their work and their evolution as dancers. It’s as simple as that. 

I have a rule of my own that is: plan month by month and never plan to much ahead because, sometimes (most of the times, actually), something is going to happen that will need a new or a different approach. So, every class I jot down a few notes about how it went, how the students were feeling and how they are adapting to the exercises and technique required. Then, at the end of the month, I study what needs to be changed for the next one. I’m not saying that I change every exercise, every month. The students won’t beneficiate from that, since ballet is a discipline based on repetition. But, sometimes we think that one approach is the correct one for a particular step and, turns out, it’s not. 

My advice, pay attention to your class and your students and adapt your planning to their needs 🙂