Friday, April 11, 2008

Step It Up

One of the common laments we hear from dance teachers in our travels is that many young students are not interested in classical ballet. Ballet is a long, slow process and they want to jump ahead and perform and compete. They are interested in music videos, they say, not Swan Lake.

"Ballet is the foundation," is Valery's constant mantra. Jazz dance is great. Modern is exciting. There's nothing wrong with tap or hip hop, but a good foundation of classical ballet makes any style of dance easier.

That message was repeated today by the dance mentor on Bravo TVs new reality dance competition Step It Up and Dance. On his blog for the series, Jerry Mitchell wrapped up last nights episode:

"There was a huge difference between the winning group and the elimination group in this week's Challenge. I think the winning group collectively had more technique. Cody, Mochi, Nick, Tovah and Oscar have all studied ballet and taken classes in technique. You could tell by their line and their ability to pick up Cati's audition steps and partner work. They had studied, on the whole, more than the elimination group... My experience, my eye tells me when a dancer walks into a room if they have taken a ballet class, or if they have ever taken a partner class. My eye told me the winning group had!"

I'm betting on a dancer with at least some kind of a ballet background to take the big prize.

While I'm here, I wanted to remind you that you have until Tuesday to submit questions for an interview with Valery Lantratov from Moscow. Remember the question he chooses as his favorite wins an autographed copy of A Child's Introduction to Ballet. Look for the link on the right for details.