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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

What Would Balanchine Think? The Practice of Teaching Dancers as if They are Silent Bodies is Explored

This paper seeks to explore the relationship between George Balanchine and current pedagogical practices in classical ballet. While Balanchine's ballet classes were primarily a means to serve his choreography, many of his philosophical beliefs regarding training and the dancer's body, continue to impact current pedagogy. This presentation focuses on several aspects of Balanchine's approach, drawing particular attention to his beliefs regarding the cognitive and affective elements of the dancing body and his opinions about various practices in ballet training. Considering recent literature regarding ballet pedagogy, this paper examines the efficacy of more progressive educational models and seeks to understand the historical and contextual influences that continue to perpetuate the stereotype of the dancer as a silent and docile body.

Presenter: Kathleen Diehl (Graduate Student)
Topic: Dance
Location: Hartwell Dance Theater
Time: 9:20 am (Session I)