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The Spark: The Legacy that Changed the Dance World

The Spark: The Legacy that Changed the Dance World

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The Spark: The Legacy that Changed the Dance World

107 pages
1 heure
Mar 13, 2018


The Spark will help create a legacy dance students will never forget!

The Spark: The Legacy that Changed the Dance World is about the journey of creative artists and dancers-turned-teachers who are now struggling with the complexities of teaching. Choosing a ballet program that juggles all styles, techniques, and methodologies and that all levels of students will progressively love is a daunting task. In this book, dance teachers will discover what the greatest masters have always known: the true essence of dancing. Quite simply, they will learn how to teach pure, fluid movement with an age-appropriate curriculum proven for the past 60 years to effectively transcend any limiting beliefs about the basis for all dance.

If you’re looking for an empowered learning community with the perfect balance of discipline, integrity, and a curriculum that forms lifetime bonds with students, teachers, and parents, you’ve come to the right place. Celebrate your “sparkdom”!

Mar 13, 2018

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The Spark - Cheryl Ale



I am a Dancer

I believe that we learn by practice

Whether it means to learn to dance

by practicing dancing

or to learn to live

by practicing living….

In each it is the performance of

a dedicated precise set of acts,

physical or intellectual, from which

comes shape of achievement,

a sense of one’s being,

a satisfaction of spirit.

~Martha Graham

This book is for you, my wonderfully passionate, creative artist! You, like me, dreamed of being great dancers and in many ways we have continued to live that dream. You and I love the pure artistry of dancing and want to embody this passion in our lives, even if we’re no longer dancing professionally. Let’s really dig deep here for a moment and self-reflect: who are you now – why did you make the choices you made? What is stopping you now from living your greatest dream?

I really didn’t know who I was when I left Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. At that time I didn’t have a whole lot of money in the bank to pursue a degree in dance. And, really, who wants to sit in a classroom for four years of academia after a life of freedom, performing, and traveling?

And then there’s the idea of learning how to teach from a ballet master. Where would we find the time? Once we’ve left the world of ballet companies or musical theater, our resources dwindle quickly, and waitressing (or whatever gig we can find at night) exhausts the body, so the next day we can hardly stand in ballet class for eight hours while we learn how to teach.

If you were a celebrated principal in a ballet company, you almost want to leap to some other career entirely rather than reveal that although you are a superb artist, teaching feels daunting. You are overwhelmed by the prospect of teaching a myriad of ages, levels, and styles with all the layered complexities of this art and the ever-changing dance world of today.

You may be in pain because you feel a bit kicked to the curb by the dance industry, like so many of us. We are left with no real basis for an income, no pension, just, Oh, you were fabulous. Don’t let that stage door hit you in the derriere when you go… see yaaa! Our beloved world of dance comes with many cruel, cold realities you probably never imagined you would be experiencing.

Eventually, it comes down to this: you have a family, or children, or other responsibilities. Maybe you think you have to leave dance, the love of your life, and go do what the world is asking you to do to make the money necessary to provide a substantial living.

I did that. I went into real estate, and I was surprised and stung to be judged for my art: How could you be good in business, what could a dancer know about that? For the most part, I was not taken seriously, so I didn’t talk much about dancing or my ballet company past. When you have to survive in this world as an artist with this kind of thinking, you may choose not to reveal the past 30 years of your life, like I did, since the evidential response is detrimental to you being able to make a living.

But how long can you go on like that, with the pain of stuffing down your feelings and masking your true superpower? You feel like you wanna tear off your suit and just be who you were born to be on this planet, right?

Let’s talk about The Spark. That inner light that makes you, YOU – and that is what you’re here to share! With our collective creative integrity and our authentic selves in place, whether as teachers of dance or in any other vocation, we are capable of anything.

Many of us return to the dance world after a hiatus spent in some other vocation. Some of us land a dream job heading up a large school where a company resides, and that can feel a little like being a deer in the headlights – now what?!

However you came to teaching, you are likely struggling with developing a curriculum, because you can see that what’s being taught is not working either for the school or the students; you are not producing a finished dancer who is diverse enough to have the choice of where they would like to dance. Transitioning from dancer to teacher is a big responsibility, especially at the large-school level. It can sometimes feel like the dancer’s nightmare so many of us have experienced. You know the one, where you’re thrown into a new position or piece in a ballet with little or no rehearsal, have to rush to put your makeup on because you are already running behind, and then arrive on stage feeling anxiety-ridden because you barely know the choreography and there you are, performing in front of a live audience. Makes my heart pound just thinking about it! And yet this same kind of anxiety, of feeling befuddled and under-prepared, is very real for teachers and studio owners looking for tools to guide faculty and mentor hundreds of students.

Being intelligent and resourceful, you know you need guidance, whether you have been elected to a position so many had been vying to attain, or you are looking to take your dance studio to the next level. You know that in order to be a leader you must expand your knowledge base in order to create a real difference in this enormous body of work, the ever-changing performing

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