What to expect at an Aspire Ballet Course?

In my last post I talked about how Aspire Ballet Intensives came about

My aims for the Aspire Ballet Summer course will be a focus on technique, in a supportive, nurturing and enjoyable environment. The day starts off with EBAS, led by Scott Putman, which helps the body prepare for the dance filled day ahead, getting the body aligned, feeling a sense of connection and being physically aware. Ballet technique class will then be a continuation of EBAS, bringing in the principles of alignment and applying it to ballet technique. As EBAS will be new to most participants, the ballet class will be geared at an intermediate level and will not be overly complex, so as to allow the body to adjust to a new way of working. Rest assured it will not, however, be "easy"! We still aim to challenge and improve and discover.

Pointe and Variations class will then follow, led by Natalie Krapf. We will split the class into two, to allow Natalie to give more individual attention. You will be asked to declare your pointe level in the application form, and I will be in contact with all participants before the course starts to talk about placement in the pointe class. It is not suitable for dancers with no previous pointe experience - you will be very welcome to take the class in soft ballet shoes and perform the exercises en demi-pointe. We would like to keep this class safe, enjoyable for all, while keeping a pace so we are able to use the time efficiently.

During the course of the week in this class Natalie will also teach a variation to be performed at the end of the week. We endeavour to choose a variation that will be level appropriate, to allow the dancers to be safely challenged, be able to perform with confidence, and feel they have improved their dancing and artistry through the learning of this variation. You will also have the option to do the pointe exercises in pointe shoes and change into soft shoes for the variation.

The day continues with workshops after lunch, led by Scott. We will have the luxury of taking the time to discuss finer details of technique. Sometimes when a teacher delivers a correction in class, I am also thinking about the next exercise, or it was during an exercise and I was busy dancing. This is the time and opportunity to dissect technique, to ask questions, to really find out how it should feel, and to try out different ways of performing a particular step. We have the following topics planned:

  • Alignment
  • Use of neck and head
  • Use of shoulder and arms
  • Pirouettes
  • Use of leg, knee and hip

Of course alignment will involve the neck and head to be aligned, or that the neck is connected to the shoulders, or that the use of shoulder and arms is crucial to pirouettes, but we will focus on each area each day.

Next we will bring the dance element back into the studio and move. Scott is a choreographer and will create an original piece of choreography on the group.

The day will conclude with a stretch and restorative session, incorporating various exercises from the EBAS stretch series plus others. This helps the body to wind down after a long dancing day, prepares for the next day and maintains the body for after the intensive week.

On the last day of the course we will film the variations and the group piece in studio so we get a chance to perform it. Performing in the variations is not compulsory but highly encouraged. We would appreciate if you are learning the group choreography that you will perform it, as the nature of group choreography means there will be a gap if you decide to withdraw..!

Ultimately my aim is for the participant to have had fun during the week. To have felt their technique has improved. To be able to take away tools and corrections which will help with their dancing through the year. Most importantly to listen to the body and not feel pressured to do anything you are not ready to do. Ballet and dance is an art form where you can continually progress and there is always the next level to achieve, and we want to enable that in a safe and nurturing environment.