During the twenty years that I have spent working as a professional dancer and teacher, I have come to develop an approach to teaching that emphasizes economy of movement. By guiding students to be analysts of their own body's movement, learning to take control by making decisions, I free them to be able to perform. They learn that the body can only move certain ways regardless of style or discipline. Training for strong, clean technique, free from the mannerisms of specific styles, allows the dancer to adapt more easily to different choreographic demands. Another benefit to an economy of movement approach is endurance. The dancer can sustain longer periods of dance without sacrificing the quality of performance. In turn, the value of entertainment is greater for the audience. After all, entertaining the audience and keeping them engaged, is the whole point!
I do not try to "reinvent the wheel" by designing a class that is outside of the expected class structure or selection of combinations when teaching ballet. What I do in all my classes, however is give corrections in a way that makes the dancer think about why and how to make movement easier and we often do fewer combinations with more repetition. Small successes are celebrated, and I encourage the dancers to continue forward every step of the way. With the amount of repetition that the dancer does every day, it is so important to enjoy, discover, and be challenged in small ways that are achievable in order to keep a high morale and build confidence. Success in teaching the dancer to focus on their work as a process, will give them a survival skill that is special...Optimism.
All the best,