~ Interview by Ben Waters, Marketing Assistant at Ballegro Player, Dancer at Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program
This week we had the pleasure to learn a little bit more about PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) with Beverley Bagg. PBT is a modern trend in the Dance World that progressively trains the muscle memory required to develop a strong Ballet Technique.
This program was created by Marie Walton-Mahon, with the objective to develop a further Ballet Technique in her students and having them achieve their absolutely best. She began developing this technique through her 10-year-old students using stability balls. After 3 months, she noticed that the students were much more aware of their weight-placement, alignment, and posture; This inspired Marie to experiment more, and surely enough PBT became a world phenomena. Beverley Bagg is one of the pioneers of this technique in Canada, and we are incredibly excited to feature her in our blog today.
Beverley is an independent Master Ballet Teacher, and formerly mistress at Alberta Ballet and Ballet BC. We are going to be talking a little bit about PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique), and the benefits it can have on the next generation of dancers. It is an absolute honour for Ballegro to be in close contact with Beverley.
Hi, thank you so much, Ben! It's an honour and a privilege for me to introduce this amazing program that I'm so passionate about. It was devised by the founder of Progressing Ballet Technique, Marie Walton-Mahon. She lives in Australia, and with a team of physiotherapists they formed this unique and remarkable support program, a conditioning program for dancers. It's a program that focuses on strengths, weaknesses, and gives dancers a really great support system for their classical ballet technique.
As the dance world is evolving and with new repertoire being performed worldwide, do you think classical ballet training alone is enough to meet the needs of today's dancers?
Well, classical ballet has evolved way beyond Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. Choreographers are demanding physicality, they're demanding strength, they're demanding power from these dancers. I think it's really important that they become the "super-elite athletes" that they are called. Classical ballet does not really prepare them for that enough. I think to have a conditioning program to supplement your classical ballet program is a gift.
How would you incorporate PBT into the training of a busy professional dancer?
I would use it as a warm-up for their professional ballet class, as it could be very useful. I know that in some professional ballet companies, ballet class is optional. Although you should be doing ballet class as a professional dancer, PBT could easily replace a classical ballet class once or twice a week. In a school, I think PBT should be a fundamental part of the curriculum.
What does PBT do for dancers that classical ballet training does not?
PBT teaches you core stability, pelvic stability, muscle memory, muscle control, and proprioception in a very focused and concentrated way. You will do exercises that focus on certain aspects of your ballet technique that either require strengthening weaknesses or maintaining strengths. If you're injured, PBT is a wonderful tool to maintain your muscle tone and your technique, without having to bear weight on your injury. I think PBT is a very useful tool for a dancer to compliment their classical ballet technique.
From your experience, what are some common strengths and weaknesses in dancers that are classically trained?
It could be determined by structure, genetics, and natural facility. I think the brilliance of this program is that the team looked at every aspect of physicality as a dancer. We tend to dwell on our weaknesses and revel in our strengths. Perhaps if an intelligent and insightful dancer can change that kind of thinking, we can strengthen our weaknesses, maintain our strengths, and that could make a very well-rounded, informed dancer.
What advice would you give to a dancer in training to keep their body safe?
To be informed and educated, to be creative and open-minded. Understand that there's so much research being done today on how to keep dancers safe and healthy. You can have a long career, and prevent injuries throughout your career. I think it's important for us as teachers and professionals to understand that there are different ways of doing things. We can dance in a healthy way. We don't have to have injuries when we are 14 years old. Young dancers are aspiring to do so much, even things not appropriate to their age level, and they find themselves getting injured. Young dancers having hip replacements at 14 years old is unconscionable and should not be happening. I think that this program can give them hope, and can give them an opportunity to be the best dancer they can be!
We would like to give a huge thank you to Beverley, and to Progressing Ballet Technique for making this interview possible. Our Ballegro App is launching this week, and it is perfect for PBT dancers, click here to learn more. If you want to experiment with PBT, you can start your FREE trial of PBT Training by following the link below! Access helpful video tutorials taught by licensed instructors, or get your PBT Certification today!
Progressing Ballet Technique Official Website
About Beverley Bagg