Teaching Ballet

Following in the steps of our founder, Anneliese von Oettingen, I am excited to announce the Teacher Training Workshop  this summer.  We encourage  teenagers with a background in ballet and adults who desire to teach ballet to join me for the five day intensive .  We present the information for teaching pre-ballet students(ages three to six) and ballet one( beginning ballet ages six and up).  We intend  to continue the intensive  with ballet two and a pre-point workshop next summer.  We welcome students from other studios, parents, and any interested dancers to call for information.

In addition to dealing with the appropriate steps for each stage of learning we will organize the  new teacher to successfully teach through our methods.

No, this short workshop cannot replace years of correct ballet training, but everyone needs to start learning to teach correct ballet technique to reduce student injury.  Correct training can also reduce hours of retraining from bad habits.  I recommend a course like this for any teachers of dance or cheer that might want to improve their students’ technique.  Starting at the youngest ages with proper jump and foot technique will control both ankle and knee alignment.  Of course,  teachers must be meticulous in correcting  students from the first times they point their toes.  And we correct teachers, even as to what we mean when we use the word, “Corrections”.

It is often thought, that a correction is saying,”NO” , being harsh, and  causing everyone to run crying home to mama.  In our system, it is being kind by giving information to each student about the correct way to do each step, each way to properly place the foot or the body.  Sometimes we do the wrong way, then let the student move their own body into the right position, such as when we do turnout.  “Turn in, Turn out, Turn in, Turn out,”    is one way  we teach a correction so that students can realize the words and body positions when the term is learned.

Another element to teaching is the question of what to teach.  Our system has a specific structure, but allows for the teacher to develop their own artistic style, which we demonstrate  as part of the workshop, as well as discussing formation of lesson plans and bringing stories into the format of the classical ballet steps.

I would like to see any students from our advanced classes consider signing up for this seminar.  They would then be eligible to assist in any of my classes as an assistant, to later be asked to teach when ready.

Anneliese, my Mother’s,  words of wisedom  ring in my ears, as I leave this thought with you:

“Wherever you live in a city or town, however you find yourself, when you have learned a field of ART, you have a profession.  You, my daughter,  will learn ballet, and learn to teach, and you can always  collect the children in the neighborhood, move the chairs against the wall, turn on the music, teach ballet, and collect $10.  That will be your supper for tonight.  I give you food on the table, and you will never starve, and your children will have food.”

Words from a wise woman who carried two children across war-torn Germany and opened a ballet studio in Cincinnati in 1948.

Year End Performances

Parent volunteers for Firefly glow on stage
Parent volunteers for Firefly glow on stage

It is amazing how much our parents and friends raise the quality of our performances.  The applause roared during “The Lonely Firefly” as our parent volunteers entered with glowsticks, and the lonely firefly found her community of friends.  I particularly loved this story, as Miss Anna did a great job integrating the ideas of the firefly trying to find a friend when she sees the flashlight, the candle and then the fireworks.  The entire ballet, with the young dancers so in tune with the music, made their expressive dance such a pleasure to watch.

In so many ways, the volunteers deserve more than just a mention after the program after the last performance.  I think of the many hours our business manager spends emailing information to parents, the hours our Miss Anna spends preparing music, the hours Laura B. spends setting venues, the hours Laura H. spends on costumes, and even though SOME  of their work is compensated, many hours are donated beyond that.  How many hours did Mr. Frey spend with fixing and working in the studio or on props?  How many hours did Sammie spend working on the Ladybug duet? And the parents, they spent hours taping down the flooring at each performance, setting up the curtains, bringing costumes and props; bringing the dancers.

You can see, we need the volunteer, WE appreciate, we LOVE the volunteers, and we give them a big THANK YOU!

The Gazebo at DeSales Corner

Mother’s Day 2015 and Liz and I visited the Gazebo on Woodburn Avenue, the location of a lovely fountain of dancing nymphs at the exact spot of the first Anneliese von Oettingen School of Ballet in Cincinnati.  I recall the tiny store front, the ally on the side, the barre and single mirror on one wall, and the year we began class.  The neighbors from down the street, Trisch and Mellie Meretta, Sue Ellen Bowen, my cousins Peggy and Michael, my brother and I were the first students.   It all began in 1948.

Fifty  years later that building was demolished and a small green area was changed to a park.  The mayor of the city presented my Mother with a Key to the city, placed a memorial plaque on the brick walls, and dedicated the day to her.   When we returned to this site sometime later, the plaque was gone.

Laura Hughes later replaced the plaque, but instead of putting it into the park, installed it into the studio.  I’m sure students and parents have wondered about the plaque in the studio.  Here is a photo we took while visiting the park.  I think this visit a fitting endeavor for Mother’s Day, in honor of my mother, Anneliese von Oettingen.

gazebo      me behind fountain