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The New Year

Posted by Hans , 18 August 2007 · 138 views

This topic may be a little premature given that classes will probably not start for most of us for another two weeks, but having recently come from an extremely productive, positive faculty meeting I am very excited about the new ballet school year.  I still have some conferring to do with the other teachers, but I think that we are generally on the same...


"Swan Lake" - Deanna Seay and Mikhail Ilyin

Posted by Hans , 29 May 2007 · 525 views

On Sunday, May 27, I returned to my hometown to watch the ballet school where I started dancing perform "Swan Lake" with guest artists Deanna Seay and Mikhail Ilyin (principal dancers with Miami City Ballet) as Odette and Prince Siegfried.

Both danced beautifully.  Ilyin, trained at the Vaganova Academy, has clean lines, very fast, controlled...


A Message to the Students

Posted by Hans , 01 March 2007 · 186 views

Students sometimes say:

"I don't have feet like Alessandra Ferri.  Can I still be a professional?"

"My legs don't go as high as Sylvie Guillem's.  Will any companies hire me?"

The answer, dear students, is no.  

But not for the reasons you think.

The reason you won't be a professional is because you are too...



Posted by Hans , 03 December 2006 · 136 views

Since "The Red Shoes" (and probably before) popular culture has displayed the message that Ballet Is Difficult.  Sweaty, panting dancers remove tight, uncomfortable shoes to reveal bloody, blistering toes, and tyrannical teachers and artistic directors treat students as if they're soldiers and company members as if they're children.  The...



Posted by Hans , 27 November 2006 · 144 views

Unlike my first post, this is not a daydream.  I actually had a dream about teaching a ballet class, and I'm still not sure what that implies in terms of my sanity!  I was giving an adagio, and the really crazy part is that I remembered it when I woke up!  It's not the most interesting or creative combination ever, but I might use it for my...


Boys' Training

Posted by Hans , 05 November 2006 · 178 views

I'm growing (or perhaps just realizing that I always have been) disenchanted with the quality of boys' training.  I feel that in mixed-gender classes, they do not receive the same quality of instruction the girls do, and I don't think there's any reason for this.  Contributing to the problem, in my opinion, is the lax standard in terms of...


Changes in Ballet's Focus Regarding Petit Allegro

Posted by Hans , 18 September 2006 · 641 views

We have all heard, read, and seen in performance that petit allegro has started to fall by the wayside as dancers and choreographers focus on ever-higher extensions, larger jumps, and more pirouettes.  This is to an extent natural and necessary as costumes become more revealing and we learn more about the way the body works (movement emanating from the...


Good Feet

Posted by Hans , 17 August 2006 · 629 views

One hears a lot of talk about "good feet" in ballet, but what does that actually mean?  What makes the shape of one foot "better" than another?  What about those whose feet aren't particularly beautiful in themselves but who use them well?  

Following is a short, general guide for those without classroom experience regarding what...


Class 7/26/06

Posted by Hans , 27 July 2006 · 159 views

Class on Wednesday was a little less successful as far as applying corrections went--the students were in a giggly mood.  I can't blame them, as they've been dancing quite a bit for the past few weeks, so I didn't make things too difficult and just let them dance.  Not sure when I'll be teaching them again (hopefully soon).

I gave the...


Good Class

Posted by Hans , 19 July 2006 · 210 views

Class on Wednesday night was a success!

Alexandra Danilova wrote that in her opinion, a good class is one the student does not want to end, and judging by the eager response when I asked the students if they would mind doing the grand allegro combination again, I think it was a good class in the Danilova sense.  

I've noticed lately that I seem...

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