Magazine article Dance Teacher

Spotlight on Camille Rommett

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Spotlight on Camille Rommett

Article excerpt

In 1965, Zena Rommett was asked to teach her unique Floor-Barre method at the American Ballet Center by ballet legend Robert Joffrey. Her gentle-yet-effective technique inspired countless professional dancers over the years, who became faithful followers as a supplement to their dance training. From choreographer Lar Lubovitch to Tommy Tune, Patrick Swayze and Judith Jamison, many swear by the benefits of the technique. Rommett taught it until she was 90.

The summer after Rommett's death, her daughter Camille made her debut on the faculty of our Dance Teacher Summit. She describes teaching to a packed convention room as "a very humbling experience." Despite students often telling her she sounds similar to her mother, she's learned it's not about filling her mother's shoes, but keeping her mother's legacy-and the integrity of the technique-alive.

-Betsy Färber

Dance Teacher. Do you approach teaching the technique differently to teachers versus to dancers?

Camille Rommett: At the Summit, for instance, I give an introductory class because it's a very detailed and meticulous technique. It would be impossible to teach the whole curriculum in an hour. That's why we offer the teaching certification workshops. When I teach teachers, I emphasize what Zena was about: reinforcing correct alignment, strengthening the joints, lengthening the muscles and being gentle. The three movements I'm able to break down in an hour class always come back to these points. We don't say "exercises," we say "series of movements. …

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