Train Your Brain and Activate the Body Mind Connection by Watching the Best Ballet Movies
Posted Sep 07 2008 2:00am
When schedules are tight, dvd movies can offer a wonderful form of entertainment and escape. Whether you're in the mood for action adventure, romance, comedy, drama or the grueling technical moves and ballet positions, the world of ballet movies provides all.
Knowing that you can watch a movie in the spare time you choose for that, can give you something to look forward to. Even if, like many ballet students, you use the same time frame to sit on the floor and stretch, ice sore muscles or sew your ballet shoes or pointe shoes.
You can buy dvd movies nearly anywhere-many supermarkets, book stores, computer and gadget stores or specialty movie stores. Ebay and other online stores such as Amazon sell ballet movies.
Typical movie and game chain stores rent them by the day or week. But it is even more convenient to rent dvds through a mail-order service. These services allow you to drop the movies into a mail box. Many dvd movies contain added sections that show "the making of", interviews and out-takes - the mistakes that are made while filming the movie.
One of the reasons I encourage students to watch ballet DVDs is because they can view the technique they are trying to learn. Most teachers do not demonstrate with the finesse of a ballerina (unless they are one, and I mean at the top of the profession, since the term ballerina can get very loosely applied), and some teachers believe they should demonstrate very little, in advanced classes.
Firstly of course, you want to view the ballet story for its drama or comedy. Get swept away. That's what you want to do as a performer. Stop time, suspend thought, take your audience on a dramatic journey, or hypnotise them with spell-binding choreography and its flawless rendition.
Secondly, view it again and focus on the best technical parts. Maybe the dancers you admire have not trained the way you are training now. They execute dance in a different technical style. However, you can train your brain by watching and feeling the steps you focus on. Training your eye to spot technical points and excellent ballet positions is part of training your brain.
Another quality to watch for and enjoy is musicality. Professional dancers changed musical phrasing to hide technical shortcomings in some cases, and to highlight their strengths. Some good jumpers need more time in the air. Some ballerinas can do more turns. There is an art in their phrasing of the preparation steps, which then give the time they need.
Being sensitive to this element will improve your own work, ultimately.
The historical element of ballet is viewable now. Dance on film, particularly from old Russian productions, is available. You can watch the teachers of your teachers' teachers. One of my favorites is The Ballets Russes, a newer production with old footage and interviews with surviving ballerinas who escaped Bolshevik Russia and regrouped in Europe under Diaghilev.
The new productions and modern ballets are all there in the stores - particularly the online libraries.