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Autumn Term 2017 at React Dance Academy

Thank you all so much for a wonderful Intro week last week – we are so excited to get down to dancing now! So here is a brief overview of what is happening this term!

Important Dates

So we work as much as we can with school terms so we are on our half term break from ‘regular classes’ from October 23rd to 29th. But we will be confirming 3 workshops that week in the next couple of weeks.

So term has started properly and we are focusing on developing our technique. There may be lots of new words and phrases (some French) to learn, as well as practicing at home. Have patience – practice will help!

Half term workshops

  • Monday 23rd October – Ballet and lyrical
  • Wednesday 25th October – Modern Jazz and Street
  • Thursday 26th October – Musical Mayhem – Play in an afternoon!

Christmas Showcase (times tbc)

  • Run through rehearsal – all cast Saturday 9th December 11am to 1pm
  • Dress rehearsal – all cast – Thursday 14th December 4pm to 6pm
  • Show Day – Saturday 16th December – attendance from 1pm to 7pm. Shows at 2pm and 5pm

Term focus

This first half of the term we will be working on technique – building our confidence with exercises, steps, and phrases. After half term we are in SHOWMODE!

Christmas will be here as we prepare for our “Christmas Memories” Christmas Tale – inspired by A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, The Grinch who stole Christmas, The Elves and the Shoemaker – filled with dance and christmas magic!

Uniform

As mentioned – we’d love all dancers to have our leotard – two orders will be placed before they are required wear at our show (estimated prices £15-£20) so there is time to save or offer as a birthday present. Certain classes will requires shoes – ballet and tap especially, ideally all to have their own jazz shoes too

Order forms will be available at each class and via email – any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Attendance

Attendance as often as possible is required for your dancer to get the most out of being part of our group, and also so they can keep up. Please do get in touch if regular attendance may be an issue!

Welcoming more dancers

We always love to welcome new dancers into our group – feel free to share your experiences with friends, on Facebook page, check in at class – the more dancers we have the better – they bring new ideas, energy, inspiration and friendship!

 

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Understanding … Ballet

Our little series on explaining the basics of  the main forms of dance that we teach at React Dance – today is Ballet.

Interesting Facts about Ballet

  • Ballet began about 500 years ago in Italy as a form of entertainment in the courts.
  • The first full-scale ballet was staged in Paris on 15th October, 1581.
  • When ballet first started the dancers wore masks and heavy costumes that were difficult to move in.
  • Women weren’t allowed to dance in public until 1681.
  • The word Ballet comes from the word “dance” in Latin.
  • There are four levels of dancers in a ballet company. At the bottom is the largest group, called the ‘corps de ballet’. Next are the ‘corphees’ who lead the corps de ballet and sometimes dance the smaller parts. Then there are the ‘soloists’ who dance alone. And at the top are the ‘principals’ who dance the lead roles.
  • COOL FACT: A male dancer lifts over 1-1/2 tons worth of ballerinas during a performance. That’s like lifting 1,350 big bags of sugar!
  • Pointe shoes are handmade. Their toe boxes are painted or “blocked” with glue, then baked in ovens to stiffen and strengthen them. Some professional dancers can go through 20 pairs of ballet shoes a week; in fact, some can wear out a pair of pointe shoes in one hour. On average, England’s Royal Ballet troupe goes through 15,000 pairs of pointe shoes a year!
  • Before a ballet class you rub ‘rosin’ on your shoes to stop them from slipping. This is a yellow powdered crystal that comes from pine trees and is the same substance that cellists, bassists and violinists rub on their bows to improve their instruments’ sound.
  • A prima ballerina can complete 32 fouette turns (a complicated turn where they whip their leg around), while staying in exactly the same spot on the floor. After the turns, her pointe shoe tip is hot to touch and it is so worn out that it is only then used in rehearsals.
  • IMPORTANT: You DO NOT have to be tall and slim with super long legs to be a ballerina.

Ballet links you may like

The English National Ballet is one of the world’s great ballet companies.

The Ballet Association gives active support to the Royal Ballet companies and promotes interest in all aspects of their work.

The British Ballet Organisation has devised a safe and developmental program of dance study.

The British Theatre Dance Association for teachers and examiners.

Why should you child study ballet?

  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Focus/Concentration
  • Agility
  • Strength
  • Stamina
  • Endurance
  • Posture
  • Flexibility
  • Precision
  • Gross motor skills
  • Rhythm
  • Physical fitness
  • Learn to follow instruction
  • A sense of discipline through learning new positions and steps.

Ballet is a great way for a child to keep fit, strengthen core muscles and a lovely way for him/her to explore their imagination through the magic of dance. They gain a sense of self-confidence and pride in their bodies and what they can accomplish through practice.

The skills learnt in ballet are useful for other forms of dancing like tap or jazz if they want to try something different at a later stage.

Famous Ballet Dancers

Anna Pavlova (1881-1931) was one of the most celebrated and influential ballet dancers of her time. Her performances in La Fille Mal Gardée and The Dying Swan were critically acclaimed and inspired many future generations of dancers.

Mikhail Baryshnikov (born January 27, 1948) is a Soviet-born Russian American dancer and choreographer, one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century.

Margot Fonteyn (1919-1991) is known as the greatest English ballerina. She was born in Reigate, Surrey. Her most famous partner was Nureyev.

Darcey Andrea Bussell CBE (born April 27, 1969) is a retired English ballerina. She was Principle Dancer at the Royal Ballet School and is considered to be one of the greatest English ballerinas of all time. She attended her first ballet lessons only because her friends were going and often spent more time under the piano then actually doing the ballet class!

Watch Ballet online

A ballet dance video. “Anaheim Ballet: More Than Dance…”

Young ballet dancers audition for the London Children’s Ballet 2009 production of Snow White (Peacock Theatre, in London’s West End).

Children between 7 and 11 years old performing a little choreography for their parents – very sweet.

An insight into the English National Ballet.

Improvisation

Improvisation is key to being a good dancer. It comes from being able to listen to music, and interpret the emotions and story through movement.

It is also done with very little preparation – there are no hours of choreography to do, no weeks of research – it’s about reaction and feeling.

You will know – sometimes a song comes on and you get a certain urge to move. This is especially true for dancers – though it is not simply a wiggle or step and tap. You hear accents that require leaps, or crescendos that require expansive moves.

Your body reacts to show whether the song portrays hurt or joy.

Talking through what a song makes you feel – is a great way to introduce even the littlest ones to improvisation. Does it make them happy? Do they think they should run or jump? Should they float like a fairy? Does it sound angry and stampy?

This is just one way dance is amazing for a child’s development – especially their emotional well being. Being able to understand and recognise feelings that come from events and sounds.

Pick some of your favourite songs and ask them what they think. Things like the music from “Frozen” or “Aladdin” by Disney are great as they are designed to evoke feelings.