Many of you have heard that we are beginning to teach a program called Progressing Ballet Technique over the summer.
I wanted to take this opportunity to explain a little bit more about the program and why we are so excited to adopt it as a new part of our advanced classical ballet training at Ballet 5:8. Progressing Ballet Technique was developed by Marie Walton-Mahon, based on her passion for safe dance training. After a professional career dancing with Les Ballet de Marseilles in France, she opened Marie Walton-Mahon Dance Academy. The development of the program began as a way to help her own students form the very specific muscle memory needed for classical ballet as well as develop core strength - as she began to see success in her dancers and after the encouragement of other dance educators she began to make her program available through a series of DVD’s, online training videos, and workshops.
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend one of her workshops and to be certified to teach the Progressing Ballet Technique program during Ballet 5:8 Studio Company’s trip to the National RDA Festival this past May.
I expected the program to be good, but I have to say that it surpassed my expectations! Most of the exercises are performed on an exercise ball or with a resistance band - the exercises are carefully developed to help students find correct muscle engagement without gripping. The use of the ball also gives the dancers instant feedback - what I mean by this is that it is difficult to perform the exercises incorrectly and keep the ball from rolling away! I was also pleased that the program specifically addressed weaknesses that are very common to students and are more difficult to tackle. These weaknesses can take a long time to address when the students is only taking ballet.
The wonderful thing about cross training in general is that it can give your body the extra strength, flexibility, endurance, or muscle memory needed to overcome its individual weaknesses and make class work more effective.
Progressing Ballet Technique accomplishes this in a very effective way for classical dance because it was designed specifically to address the muscle groups that are crucial to perform ballet technique safely and effectively. This is a wonderful tool to add to our student’s education in ballet. I am very excited to get started and see how quickly the dancer’s improve!
This blog post's author, Ms. Lauren Ader-Cumpston, is the founding Director of Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts' Conservatory Program and performed with Ballet 5:8 from 2012-2017. Progressing Ballet Technique will be included in Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts syllabus beginning at Summer Intensive, 2017.