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Joan Acocella on Azari Plisetsky's master class

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The Oct. 16 issue of The New Yorker includes a "Talk of the Town" piece by Joan Acocella discussing Azari Plisetsky's master class ("classe de perfectionnement") at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City.

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/arti...a_talk_acocella

Among those taking class were Veronika Part and David Hallberg, with Mikhail Baryshnikov as translator.

Many of the corrections he gave had to do with the most basic principles of ballet; above all, with how to initiate the movement—from the middle of the body, not from the extremities. One dancer was told to pick up her left buttock, as well as her right, before turning. The whole class was told to plié from the pelvis, not from the ankles, and to pirouette from both legs, not just from the back leg. This centering of movement is what makes ballet look “classical”—unified, harmonious, natural—but everybody has to be reminded of it constantly.

In addition to basics, Plisetsky worked on tiny details. He quoted his uncle Asaf Messerer, another celebrated teacher: “The most expressive part of the body of a dancer, it’s the hand.” He took the students carefully through the configuration of the fingers during a plié: one design, palms down, as they were going down, and another, palms up, as they were coming up. As is often the case with master teachers, Plisetsky performed the step more beautifully than any of his students. They looked on earnestly, and tried to copy him.

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