Magazine article Dance Teacher

Raising the Barre

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Raising the Barre

Article excerpt

American Ballet Theatre announces a new training initiative.

In December 2007, American Ballet Theatre unveiled its new National Training Curriculum, a program of ballet technique that combines sound training principles with the basics of dancer health and child development. The curriculum will be implemented through a series of teacher training intensives and a certification program to be conducted throughout the U.S. beginning in summer 2009.

Written and designed by Franco De Vita, principal of ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, and Raymond Lukens, artistic associate of the New York University/ABT Masters Program, the curriculum provides a comprehensive set of age-appropriate teaching guidelines that incorporates elements of the Russian, French and Italian schools of training. Also included is a resource guide for healthy training practices, created with the help of an advisory board of medical professionals in the fields of sports medicine, nutrition, physical therapy and orthopedics. "We were told that not even the sports people have a document like the medical advisory guidelines that accompany our curriculum," Lukens says. "This is great for anybody who works with children."

The idea is to give educators, whether teaching preprofessional or recreational students, tools to work appropriately with young dancers. The curriculum can be used as a supplement to existing syllabi. "We provide guidelines for what a child should be doing at a certain age, but it's up to the teacher to put together the exercises," Lukens says. …

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