Summer Ballet Workshops

Unknown-1Summer is here again and so are dance camps! I offer a variety of classes that I custom design for each studio based on interest and skill level of your dancers. I even offer staff training and classroom observation so the learning continues year round. Choose from:

  • 7 different conditioning classes
  • 6 different technique classes
  • 3 different wellness for dancers classes

I’ve spent my entire career exploring the latest research on best practices by some of the leading authorities in the field of dance medicine, wellness, injury prevention, improving technique, Pilates, fascial release, and conditioning.

Audition Weeks challenge dancers to demonstrate their technical and artistic skills, and are another great time to bring in guest instructors for focused learning.

Contact me today about these or other workshop ideas!

“You were more than just my ballet teacher, you were my biggest advocate. You will always have a special place in my heart.” student Elizabeth

Competition Dance and the Three Little Pigs

Like it or not, competition dance is built on the strong foundation developed by the classical art form ballet.  It could be argued that it is a different animal all together by aligning itself more with the entertainment industry however just as a sentence cannot be constructed before learning the alphabet and a sonata cannot be composed without knowledge of music theory, to learn to dance a form based in Western cultures, studying classical ballet is a prerequisite.

IMG_0289Ultimately, the responsibility is on the parents to educate themselves as to what constitutes a good school just as you would research any private institution you entrust your children to.  Sadly, I’ve heard it from kids and adults alike dozens of times – they thought they were learning to dance all those years they were paying for lessons when in fact, they were being misled. There is nothing more heartbreaking than turning students away from high school and college auditions because their training was sub-par.

Dance is an art form. Along with the other visual and performing arts, it demands knowledge of material that requires long hours of focused study to develop. There are no cliff notes or short cuts. Classes aren’t always fun, exciting, or alluring. But the rewards are huge – becoming a skilled dancer is limited to the students who do work hard. The ‘fun’ is in the achievement!!!  As I tell my dancers – it’s a lot more fun being good (skilled) than not being good! AND, the endless hours of repetition, practice, and skill development creates students with better executive functioning -cognitive flexibility, working memory, processing speed and verbal fluency. For more on those claims see https://carolschwarzkopf.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1227&action=edit

These are the reasons that I continue to teach dance. It’s a tough career and the competition is brutal but I teach because all children should have the opportunity to be well-rounded, focused, and bright. All children deserve to know the joy of movement. The thrill of being an exceptional dancer is limited to the very few.

I know there will be phone calls from parents saying ballet isn’t fun. “Sally isn’t happy – can we fix that?” Well playing piano scales, practicing the times tables, sports drills, or brushing your teeth aren’t ‘fun’ either but being a skilled dancer is. Understanding this is part of maturing. The thrill of dancing with your peers, becoming accomplished, and having options in life is liberating. While the first two little pigs went off to the fair, the third little pig took the long view and built something that would last. I’m glad my parents did.

Most of my students will not become professional dancers and certainly not ballet dancers. But I tell them I want them to have the option of going anywhere in the world to take a dance class and understand the expectations of dress, vocabulary, and respectful behavior. They deserve that and nothing less. Someday they might contact me as so many students have and thank me for having consistently high expectations of them even before they understood what that was.

Teaching Pirouettes

All City Opera's production of Cinderella
All City Opera’s production of Cinderella

I teach a lot of pirouettes from 5th position because, as my theory goes (and you’re welcome to weigh in), a pirouette is a balance that turns. Therefore, you must find that balance over the supporting leg first. At an advanced level, Continue reading

The Changing Face of American Dance

I live in the American heartland and much of the dance instruction is not what those of us on this forum grew up with. However, the major companies of this country are hiring students Continue reading