I have taught my first class of the year, and I am afraid it is going to be an uphill battle. The first problem is that the students are only in ballet class once, or in some cases twice, a week, so building strength and coordination will be a challenge. I've decided to give them the same lesson for several weeks in a row so that they will be able to concentrate on correct technique while performing familiar exercises. They will also write down their classes so that they learn to spell and use ballet terms correctly.
For the first lesson, I was very strict about doing each exercise as perfectly as possible. This is not something that has been demanded of them before, and it took some getting used to: we ended up spending the entire 90 minutes at the barre. However, next week they will be more familiar with the exercises, and we will get to do center, and hopefully next week and the week after we will get through allegro. Then on to a new lesson!
I am also choreographing a dance for four girls to be performed in competitions and at the end of the year. I am considering using a section of 'Danse Macabre' by Camille Saint-Saens, as I am trying to get them to be more expressive in their dancing. Right now their idea of 'performing' tends to be gluing on a smile.
Unfortunately, all the competitions they do don't really leave much room for a Kennedy Center field trip to watch professional ballet, but I will still look for opportunities. I received nothing but positive comments when I took them to see Veronika Part in ABT's 'Swan Lake' last year. Maybe this year we can see something more unusual. The classics are important, but I want them to experience newer works as well.
I will update again when I've taught some more, seen a performance, or taken a class.