Posts

Hamstring Connection to Arabesque

I was at TCU this past fall and Elizabeth Gillaspy and I were sharing ideas, concepts, challenges and training tips as we often do.  I was talking about how it was often surprising to find hamstring weakness in upper level dancers.  I was showing Elizabeth an exercise I was using for strengthening and she immediately jumped in about how the hamstring weakness shows up in arabesque – and before you know it – we created a hamstring/arabesque exercise to train dancers how to feel the connection of the hamstring while doing arabesque.

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A Somatic Perspective on Ballet

I’ve returned from TCU where I annually teach an intensive course for their freshman dance majors.  What a pleasure it is – (and what an amazing new facility they have after massive renovations last year!)  My good friend, Elizabeth Gillaspy is a professor of ballet at TCU consented to sit down and allow me to tape a conversation with her.  The first are her thoughts for new ballet teachers and the importance of exploring teaching methods and ideas beyond ‘look like this’ – which is understandably the most common way we all began in our early ballet education.  (The clip is approximately 10 minutes, so it will take a minute or 2 to load)

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This second clip is discussing how important it is to explore the ballet form from a somatic base.  This conversation took place because of my appreciation of how Elizabeth can take young adult dancers and so lovingly help them make changes in their technique.  It is hard to rework patterns of turning out from the knees down, or muscling your way through an exercise – and Elizabeth does it beautifully.  Here are some of her philosophical thoughts on how looking at ballet as a somatic practice.  Be patient, as it is about 10 minutes it will take a few moments to load!

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