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Stretch and Strength in Ballet - Suzanne Ouellette Explains

~ Interview by Lucas Batista, Marketing Associate at Ballegro Player

Suzanne, originally from Vancouver,  trained and danced with some of the world's finest ballet companies. From Germany’s Stuttgart Ballet to Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, London England’s Dance Centre to the Pacific Ballet Theatre, and being Ballet Mistress at Ballet BC for 5 years to being the founding director of Ballet BC’s Mentor Program under Artistic Director John Alleyne, Suzanne has done it all. She has worked as a rehearsal director for James Kudelka, Paul Taylor, Jean Grand Maitre, Reid Anderson, Anna Marie Holmes, Simone Orlando, Joshua Beamish and Jennifer Mascall.

Suzanne has also performed as a lead dancer, singer and actress in professional musicals with the Vancouver Playhouse, Calgary’s Stage West’s Nunsense, and several productions for TUTS, MUSSOC and Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage. She has guest taught and adjudicated...

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Here Is The Reason Why Musicality Is Crucial For Dancers

dance tips education music Apr 10, 2019

~ Written by Danielle Lee-Hogervorst, Outreach Coordinator at Ballegro Player, Dancer at Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program.

Musicality is a hot topic within every studio practice and rehearsal.  Why? Because it is the essence of all movement. It is always present, whether you are listening to the actual progression of notes or the spaces and silences in between.

As I began brainstorming for this post, I ended up asking myself the reverse question: What is dance without musicality? The answer I came up with: Nothing. You can choose to dance in all one, legato quality, but this is still a choice and is still a form of being musical.  You can choose to dance in silence, but this only heightens the importance of creating musicality inside of your body.  You can be still, but even when you are not moving in space there is a buzzing within you, whether it’s an emotion, sensation, thought, or experience.  So that is why musicality is important; because even...

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Do We Need to Update Our Approach to Ballet Technique?

~ Written by Danielle Lee-Hogervorst, Outreach Coordinator at Ballegro Player, Dancer at Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program

I took my first ballet class at 2.5 years old - a mother-daughter class - and have never stopped since.  Currently training at Arts Umbrella in their Graduate Program, I partake in the study of ballet 6 days a week. It is a never-ending practise.  One where you are constantly striving to be better than you were yesterday. One where you feel like you have gotten progressively worse since last week, but you nevertheless continue to show up everyday to persevere and challenge yourself, because you have a vision of what you can and hope to achieve.  One where you discover something new about your body, mind, relationship to others in space and time everyday.

 But is this practise and strife for consistency and possibly perfection giving us, as aspiring and professional dancers, everything we need to succeed in the 21st century dance world?...

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Progressing Ballet Technique: Beverley Bagg gives us an Introduction.

~ 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...

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Ballet Teachers, how well can you relate to these struggles with Music?

dance tips Jan 23, 2019

If you’re a ballet teacher, you’ve definitely been in this situation; your students are ready at the barre, and an awkward silence looms over the room as you desperately search for a song that fits the exercise. Even if you eventually find a proper song, your students have already lost their focus and the class is heading in a boring and unproductive direction. This is just one of the many nightmares a ballet teacher faces daily.

Ballet teachers usually share the same goal. We want a smooth, productive class, and we want our students to leave the room a better dancer than before they entered. If a student loses their focus during class, any chance of improvement goes out the window. When a teacher is constantly playing with the stereo, it’s impossible for a dancer to keep focused, and as teachers we feel like we haven’t done a proper job because we were too preoccupied with the music. Often times, even thirty short seconds of fiddling with your music is...

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How to Come Back STRONG After a Break from Dance

dance tips Jan 15, 2019

If you're like most dancers, you've probably just spent your winter break relaxing, eating, and binge-watching your favourite shows. This is nothing to feel bad about! Sometimes a healthy break is just what your dancing needs. However, getting back into dance after a break can be overwhelming, especially if you jump in too quickly. Here are a few stress-relieving tips for dancers to come back STRONG after a break, so you can be back at your best as soon as possible. 

Pre-Class Warmup

Getting back to dance can be a very exciting time, and many dancers want to go all-out right off the bat. It's important to slow down and tune in with your body, which means doing a proper self-warmup before class.

  • Make sure your hip joints and feet feel open and mobile. This will keep your quads and rotators from overworking, and also takes a lot of pressure off of your knees.
  • Take a muscle roller or tennis ball to your tight muscles, especially in your lower back and upper legs. Lay your tight...
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