Artistry for the Athlete
Q: How many private lessons students do you accept?
Due to the high demand for private lesson instruction the Young EduArts program accepts figure skaters on a case by case basis (Regional competitors; high level MIF). Typically this averages to about 20 students/private lesson slots per year. Recreational skaters are welcome to attend all group formats.
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.
Students with previous beginning ballet experience are given acceptance priority. Group classes are best for those with no ballet experience.
It is highly encouraged that dance training begin from a young age (6 years & younger) in the form of creative movement @ regular dance schools. Typically when students are around 7 or 8 (dependent upon maturity) more formal ballet training can begin. Group classes are encouraged as most 7 & 8 year olds are beginning ballet students. After, when a student becomes focused in becoming a competition skater, with a need for personalized dance training, that is an optimal time for private lessons in the Young EduArts program.
Q: What does a private lesson format consist of?
A private lesson typically consists of 3 parts: program artistry, ballet/dance fundamentals and stretch. The most effective time frame to accomplish these 3 aspects is 60 mins. Students are encouraged to attend group ballet/dance and/or stretch to allow more time in the private lesson for components that may need particular focus, i.e. flexibility.
Q: What are the formats for group classes (Ballet, dance, stretch)?
Ballet class consists of barre, center and across the floor exercises. Barre stretch is an integral component of the Young EduArts ballet class. Dance class consists of center warm up, across the floor and choreography (lyrical, jazz, contemporary, etc.). Stretch class consists of floor, barre and center exercises (yoga mats, stretch bands, ankle weights are utilized).
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, depending on the age, 4+ 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, flexibility, presentation, movement, alignment, fluidity, etc. The Young EduArts program focuses on these elements. Instruction takes place @ Young EduArts Studio (Issaquah), Sno-King Renton, large group facility in Issaquah, and other skating rinks and facilities.
Q: What are the requirements (i.e. how many lessons/classes) in the Young EduArts program?
Since YEA is a supplemental dance program and not a traditional dance studio there are no requirements for hours of classes or days of lessons. Generally students that are on roster take at least 1 private lesson or 2 group classes (ballet/dance and stretch) and many students attend a variety of lesson formats.
Having worked with various figure skaters and judging the rate of their progress, students that attend 1 private and 1 set of group ballet/dance and stretch classes become better movers and performers.
Q: What is the dress code?
Private Lessons, Ballet/Dance A, Ballet/Dance B, Stretch II/III & Stretch I/II: Ballet class options: leotard, tights, ballet skirt, skating dress, skating skirt, fitted leggings, form fitted top (black preferred). Ballet shoes and hair in ballet bun (similar style) is required. Dance class options: Black preferred - form fitted top and bottom, ballet shoes, and sneakers (clean; worn only in dance studio). Hair pulled back (ponytail). No baggy clothing allowed.
Q: What are Off Ice and Side Ice lessons and why are they valuable?
Off Ice Artistry: The skater practices the program off-ice with music during the dance lesson. During these lessons the skater will be going over every aspect of artistry needed for their program. From head positions, facial expressions, arm movements, body carriage and musicality; the lesson is specifically tailored to focus on the presentation of the program.
Side Ice Artistry: The skater practices the program on-ice during the lesson and the same details from above are now practiced (skate coach must be present).
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. Skaters should gain approval from their skate coach if needed.
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, spirals, 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.
The more knowledge an artistic athlete has of other dance styles, the more multidimensional their artistry becomes, giving their technique/style a real dancer's edge.
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