A first-hand account of ballet training by former Principal Soloist and current Ballet Master. An exploration of movement training...
Principal & Process, a pedagogy of classical ballet technique
The intent of this book is to elucidate the underlying reasons for how classical ballet technique serves as the basis for nearly all dance forms, and might also be the basis for improving prodigy sports training.
Books on ballet training are, or have been, written in a way that demonstrates the positions of ballet as a form and in general without the insight of the actual mechanics of movement. The goal of writing this book is to offer personal insight and explain the process of training, rather than just the end result, i.e. the science of movement rather than the science of positions. The qualities of training from the classical idiom, not simply as conceived within the classical form, yet also how and where it relates to other forms of training. The classical perspective on training as a pedagogy rather than as a syllabus is the next step towards advancement because it opens the potential for competency of skill instead of just adhering to aesthetic rules.
Ballet has often been viewed as "unnatural" because of its strict aesthetic requirements, however like any movement form, whether in sports, martial arts, or any dance form the human body is "naturally capable" of the movements required or invented, i.e. the body is naturally capable of lateral movement because of its muscle and skeletal structure. What is often unnatural is the rigor of training required to accomplish the goal (be it competitive or expressive), and the regime for maintaining the physical prowess to execute movement at the very edge of human physical potential. I.e. The push for more, and the expanding of limits, which can only happen with an understanding of both the training and the form being trained. This idea is understood in the professional realm, however in the commercial realm there is still a lack of consideration for, and understanding of, the necessity of functional foundational training for children and teens before they are placed in the performance arena.
In the USA, there is (still) an attitude that 'professional training' is something that happens later, after a child has "learned to have fun", and yet the fundamentals that promote proper skill development and that sense of fun that comes from competency all happen in the earliest levels of training. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of dance studios where (I hope) this book, if utilized, will profoundly advance the potential development of young dancers (and athletes).
This rendering of classical technique is an attempt at exploring the human form's capable physical potential... because, if we simply understood all the laws of the physical realm - where would we be?
The classical technique evolved from ethnic, military, and social forms of dance (movement training); as well as from the physical social training that involved manners, and functional normative behavior for royalty, courtly jurisprudence, and various feudal class system expectations.
The basis of classical training comes from the early schools in France and Italy, where procedural concepts of line, steps in sequence, positional movement, postural stance, and musical expression coupled with characterization were codified into syllabi for training others.
The evolution of the Art advanced from performances staged by and for royal households, diplomatic engagements, and finally for public spectical. These performances became more elaborate and required a complete training regiment, which would allow its participants a greater range of movement, characterization, and theatrical presence. This training regiment was first elucidated and codified in France at the Paris Opera Ballet, sponsored by King Louis XIV (the Sun King). His patronage of the "newly established art" ensured its place in the Opera House, however, it took nearly 80 years before ballet was an established art form across Europe. The original schools of this early period were based upon individual dance-master's understanding of human movement, musicality and theatrical presentation. Thus, ballet technique became a codified system, established in Paris by the best dance-masters; and the art-form grew in social acceptance, and then students of these dance-masters began adding their own elements. The diverging stylistic nuances, based upon nationalistic, ethnic, and conceptual values propelled the training of dancers forward into greater feats of athletic artistic prowess, and theatrical splendor.
Today's systematic training reflects the core concepts of the early schools in style, poise and affect, however the regiment, and clarity of physical development has become more focused and refined; while fundamentally still the same in steps and positions, it is the execution and range of skill development that has become the earmark of professional ballet training, today. The precision and awareness of what the human body is capable of when effectively and properly trained is as much the Art-form as the expression of personality and character that individual dancers demonstrate through that training. The fundamental concepts of training evolved from and through the original syllabi, which were passed on from dancer to teacher to dancer in Paris, La Scala, Copenhagen, Stuttgart, London, Saint Petersburg, Monaco, and then to America and the rest of the world, are no less valuable to the future of the Art then when it was first established, and in fact the classical concept of training might be the most important element in the future of not only dance, yet also other related forms of movement from physical therapy to prodigy sports cross-training.
The fundamental concept of instructing positional movement based upon structural line naturally evolves into expression through the freedom of movement. Classical technique is the refinement of human functional physicality. Freedom of movement is based upon the laws of physics, (gravity, design, angular and linear momentum, etc...), functional anatomical bio-mechanics (which contain certain extremes and limits in form), and the expression of personal character, and incorporate the emotional qualities that are representative, and/or personifications of 'idea through form and/or movement.' Movement is expression, the freedom of movement allows "complete" expressiveness; which is the goal of classical ballet training (in my opinion) because only with the skill provided through training does the human form reach its potential as an expressive entity able to utilize every nuance of form and gesture to communicate (non-verbal) human concepts, emotions, relationships, and ideas.
This book is an exploration of that goal, please help adavce the Art of Dance by sponsering this project. Thank you.
Visit www.ballettrainingcentre.com if you'd like to contact the author. All Rights Reserved (c) 2012 AEUnltd
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The school-aged children's reader "Back on Track." A short story for children and their parents, along with poems and life-lesson thoughts on finding one's own purpose through simplicity. (Published by Artistic Endeavors Unlimited in 2007). [Allow 6 to 8 wks for printing and delivery]Estimated delivery:
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1 week of training lessons and/or career consulting for dancers... or sport-specific cross-training lessons. Details can be negotiated. Online lessons might be possible through skype or real-time video chat. On-site lessons can be arranged at the author's The Training Centre in Reno, NV.Estimated delivery:
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