Artistry for the Athlete
Q: Is the ballet training offered at Young EduArts different from a traditional ballet school?
Yes, absolutely. Traditional ballet schools are intended to produce ballet dancers. The Young EduArts program is designed to supplement and enhance the artistic discipline (i.e. figure skating) and is not intended to be a replacement for traditional ballet training.
Traditional ballet training requires students to be training, from a young age, many hours/times a week and for many years. Most figure skaters are not able to commit to a regular dance school schedule and are in need of key dance skills to translate onto the ice in a time effective manner: posture, movement quality, presentation, flexibility, etc. The Young EduArts program focuses on these elements. Instruction takes place @ Young EduArts Studio (Issaquah) and skating rinks.
Q: How many private lessons students do you accept?
The Young EduArts program accepts a limited number of figure skaters each program year & during the summer session (Sept - June; June - Aug). Previous dance experience is required unless a student demonstrates artistic potential (i.e qualifying FS level). Biweekly slots are designated for qualifying level competition skaters (Juvenile FS+, 60 mins). Intermediate FS+ have the option of 75 - 90 mins lessons. Students on the YEA roster have typically been in the program for many years therefore new slot openings are rare. Weekly slots are designated for select students only; non qualifying and high test students are allotted lesson slots on a case by case basis.
Q: What are the requirements for Young EduArts private lesson roster students?
Requirements are consistent attendance, continued progression in dance fundamentals and progress/commitment to skating goals. The Young EduArts program requires consistency and a hard work ethic applied both off and on the ice as that equates to progress and success. The instructor reserves the right to release a student from the roster for non compliance of requirements.
Q: What does a private lesson format consist of?
Private lessons are ballet/dance fundamentals focused. Program artistry, individual stretch training are incorporated and dance choreography is included if/when applicable.
Program Artistry: Coach's choreography is never altered or changed (unless requested) as the goal is for the skater to demonstrate their best artistic presentations given the skate program's choreography.
Q: What are the requirements for group class students in the Young EduArts program?
Group 1 class rosters are selective and all classes are skating/dance levelled. If a student is assigned to a group class roster (Dance/Choreography & Stretch), consistent attendance and progression are required. Group classes offered at skating rinks are skating level grouped aligning with the skating camp/program offered.
Q: What are the formats for group classes (Dance/Choreography & Stretch)?
Dance/Choreography class incorporates ballet/dance technique and choreography with incorporated dance styles such as ballet, lyrical, and jazz. Dance/choreography class improves fundamentals such as posture, turnout an overall artistry in terms of movement quality, expression, musicality, etc. Stretch class consists of floor, barre and center exercises (yoga mats, stretch bands, ankle weights are utilized).
Q: What is the dress code?
Private Lessons & Group Dance/Choreography & Stretch Classes: Private lesson: Form fitted top and bottom (black preferred), ballet shoes, dance sneakers, and hair pulled back neatly. Dance class: Form fitted top and bottom (black preferred), ballet shoes, dance sneakers, and hair pulled back neatly. Stretch class options: Form fitted clothing (black preferred) and hair pulled back.
Q: Why should Figure Skaters be taking Ballet? My perspective...
Many people ask the question whether ballet really enhances a figure skater's performance or on-ice technique? The answer to that question is a resounding,"yes!", by experienced skating coaches, professionals and ballet instructors/professionals.
While there are numerous benefits, these are the elements I have found to be most critical, while training and watching figure skaters’ progression through the years: posture/carriage, movement clarity/extension, flexibility/strength, projection/presentation and musicality.
Posture/Carriage: At the foundation of ballet is posture training and posture is essential to perform the artistic and technical elements of skating. The posture focused on in ballet is the same posture needed for figure skating; a neutral spine with the shoulders placed above the hips along with shoulders dropped to create a long line through the spine/neck/head. This emphasis on correct posture in ballet is essential for developing body awareness such as checking the shoulders against the hips in essential technical elements of skating.
Alongside posture is the development of core strength which is an essential aspect of skating. Ballet exercises emphasize the control/isolation of the upper and lower body to be utilized in movement. A strong carriage allows a figure skater to perform diverse and connected movements effortlessly while maintaining elegant posture/presence.
Movement clarity/Extension: Ballet is a precise art form that trains clarity of movements and extension of the body. Figure skaters learn body positions/lines that transform how they hold, move and give nuance to movements.
Flexibility/Strength: Exercises in ballet simultaneously train flexibility and strength. Figure skaters are in need of both to create diverse spin positions, transitions, extensions, etc.
Projection/Presentation: Communication and expression with the body is learned through the movement of ballet. Ballet training translates into a refined presentational quality for the figure skater.
Musicality: The integration of music and movement in ballet develops musicality. Musical figure skaters understand how to interpret music and illustrate the "story" of the program.
Q: Why other dance styles such as Lyrical, Jazz, etc. ?
Ballet is the foundation for many types of dance styles such as jazz, lyrical and contemporary. Will taking ballet give an artistic athlete the ability to perform choreography set to contemporary music or with contemporary movements? The answer is simply "no".
Other dance styles such as jazz require a different type of stylized body movements, interpretation of music, and a dynamic dance quality that is different from ballet. For some students that take ballet this is more innate. For others, it is as foreign as another language, because it is a different type of body language from classical ballet.
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