WATCH: Yannick Boquin on adding dynamics and musicality to your classes

Yannick’s back! He’s been on the blog countless times, so I’ll dispense with the long intro. Basically, he and our small team at the Staatsballett Berlin have made another video. And this time we’ve bumped up the quality.

This is a video that’s mainly directed towards teachers constructing a class, but in it are plenty of tips for dancers looking to spice up their combinations as well.

Just one thing, dancers: DO try this at home and make sure to ask your teacher before making changes, because your teacher may not appreciate you changing their combinations just because you feel like “adding dynamic” to the class they prepared.

 

 

Big shout-out to:

– Elisa Carrillo Cabrera for dancing

– Yannick Boquin for creating the choreography, organizing the project

– Vladislav Marinov for his countless hours of editing and re-editing

 

WATCH: Yannick Boquin on connecting barre with center, and using the arms to your advantage

We’ve shared Yannick Boquin’s insights about dancing and teaching a few times on this blog, but it always feels like something’s missing when we talk about ballet in pure text form. So Yannick and thought maybe we’d put together a video where you can actually see what he’s talking about!

One of the things we wanted to share was how the exercises at barre can and should relate to center. Why do we work the way we do at barre, if center seems completely different? This is to help explain.

In this particular video we’ll focus on Yannick’s thoughts on coordinating the arms with the rest of the body to make sure we’re that our whole body is moving in harmony. The port de bras may sometimes look different at barre than it does in the center, yet the principles remain the same. But enough of my commentary – I’ll let Yannick do the real talking…

Many thanks to Vladislav Marinov, another dancer at the Staatsballett Berlin for filming and editing the video, and to Aurora Dickie, for being a great example of what Yannick teaches. And of course a big shout out to Yannick, for developing the exercises and organizing a very large part of this project!

If you have other ideas for videos you’d like to see, let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe 🙂

 

 

Cora Bos-Kroese on the audition process for Kylian ballets and the skills necessary to be seen (and chosen)

Welcome back, everyone. Here we are with another interview, this time with Cora Bos-Kroese. Cora recently set Jiri Kylian’s Bella Figura on us at Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and she was a blast to work with. Back in the day she was a fantastic dancer who worked intimately with Jiri Kylian. These days she splits her time between setting his ballets all over the world and running her own dance projects in The Netherlands.

I sat down with her to have a conversation about what she’s learned from working with Kylian (and Forsythe!), advice she has for dancers, and her own personal projects in the dance world. I’ve broken up our conversation into three parts, which will come out when ready. In this first section, we talk about the audition process, and the qualities she looks for when running an audition for a Kylian ballet (hint: it’s not perfect ballet technique).

Continue reading “Cora Bos-Kroese on the audition process for Kylian ballets and the skills necessary to be seen (and chosen)”

5 perspectives on the life of a professional ballet dancer

What is it like to be a dancer? What do we strive for? What do we fear?

In my previous article, I wrote about my perspective of the pursuit of perfection in a ballet dancer’s life, and about what that might entail. I got a great response from all of you, but it made me wonder: “How would others describe their motivation for what they do? What do they see as their ultimate goal in being a dancer, and what might be some of their personal obstacles in the way of progressing towards that goal?”

So I decided to reach out to several friends of mine – each in different places in their life, different stages of their dancing career, and different kinds of ballet companies – to get an idea of just how our goals and obstacles in this dancing life might differ, and to see how they might compare.

Turns out there’s plenty of common ground in their answers. Let’s meet my contributors: Continue reading “5 perspectives on the life of a professional ballet dancer”

On dancing and the pursuit of perfection

Not too long ago, a friend aptly noticed that I often refer to our goal as dancers as “reaching as close as we can to perfection.” He wanted me to unpack that statement. What does that even mean? Are we talking about technical attainment? Power or finesse? Maybe something else?

As Steven put it, we’re transitional beings… we’re of this world, and whether we like it or not, perfection is not an option. Such a thing is an illusion.rainbow-background-1149610__180

But having a personal idea of perfection does present a way forward. It is the needle on our compass. What are we reaching for in ballet if not an ideal?

The fact that perfection is unreachable doesn’t mean that our work is meaningless. No, we’ll never reach that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but we will see many things on our journey. Continue reading “On dancing and the pursuit of perfection”

Yannick Boquin (part 2): lessons learned from a life dedicated to ballet

We’re back with Yannick Boquin for round two of our interview. If you missed the first part of the interview, catch it here – if not read on. Yannick has spent time in pretty much all of the corners of the ballet world. Whether as a principal dancer, guest teacher, ballet master, or choreographer, he’s done it all, and in this section we explore some of the insights he’s come away with during each of these careers.

Continue reading “Yannick Boquin (part 2): lessons learned from a life dedicated to ballet”

Yannick Boquin on ballet technique, physics, and how to teach a good class

Welcome! Today I’m trying something new. I thought it might be interesting to interview one of the most prominent guest teachers in the business (art form?) to see what knowledge he could share with us about ballet culture and his long experience as a dancer and teacher.

Yannick Boquin is a guest teacher at many of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world, including the Royal Swedish Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Dresden SemperOper Ballet, and of course, my home, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Educated at the Paris Opera Ballet School, and having danced as a principayannick-boquinl dancer with several companies, most notably the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Yannick has traveled the world and seen many of the similarities and differences between ballet company’s cultures and dance styles. Yannick has his finger on the pulse of the ballet world. He teaches a supremely well thought out class, and has identified a logically consistent view of ballet technique that he teaches in his company class. I recently had the chance to  sit down with him and ask him a bit about himself and about the wisdom he’s amassed through the years.

Continue reading “Yannick Boquin on ballet technique, physics, and how to teach a good class”