I missed two days of postings this weekend but oddly the work I have been doing over the last two days has been incredibly insightful and supportive of the work I will be presenting at the Corps de Ballet International Conference July 6-9. It has been a flurry of connections and linking of many aspects of my research. Super excited about sharing the work and welcoming folks into the history of the form in addition to the theories that inhabit the Elemental Body Alignment System.
I have shared this work with my students of course and have shared the form but I have often only shared the pedagogy perspective with students of the teacher training courses I host. Even there I have not shared a lot of the foundational work as there has not been enough time during our course to really get into that or from a feeling that it might be too controversial or too esoteric for folks simply wanting to embed the form into their training schools. I have not presented this material in a conference setting nor have found the right voice or theme to connect to. I am excited that this conference offers this opportunity and am very grateful to be invited to do so.
It has been an awfully long time trying to figure out how to share this information without it feeling like I am condemning the way ballet or technique has been taught. The work does ask us to reexamine how we present our material and what our values are behind our training practices. This in and of itself is a challenge especially in a form that historically focuses on the end aesthetic results and values a limited range of what constitutes success.
There have been folks in the field who have been practicing and teaching in a certain way for so long that to challenge that in any way might seem an affront or conflict for them. I often see this reflected in students who are reluctant to explore and experiment with different ways of doing material they have learned a certain way. Even if they are in pain or are uncomfortable with what it is they are doing. Ironically students don’t even know the how of what they are doing rather they just try and match a picture of what has been presented. Students mostly learn through imitation rather than sensation.
You can see that shifting the way in which they have participated in class or have been evaluated and praised is difficult for students. Even if they are interested in getting better at what it is they love to do, when they are challenged with change, they find it difficult. However, as soon as they “feel” movement from a different perspective which offers them more freedom of movement and range of motion and gives them the legs, feet, turns and jumps they want; the student begins to open up and explore how much more is possible for them. They are now empowered through this new vehicle and begin a new relationship with the form as well as with themselves as creative beings.
I am really excited to share this with folks who are the teachers of students from across so many demographics and am hoping this will be a bridge builder opportunity for more sharing and creative relationships. It is exciting to see the new ways that will be available for folks to access and dive into the information in new ways. The connections and layering of both eastern and western sciences and theories is clearer than ever and will hopefully make it easier for people to understand the how of EBAS and the fundamental concepts and principles of ballet.