Doing Ballet and Dance Training the Right Way

The change that is waiting to be instituted in the age-old training concepts of ballet and dance is starting to unfold before our eyes, and rightly so. The dance teacher, choreographer, and artist extraordinaire Jo Anna Kneeland had done ballet and dance a favor when she chose the path less traveled and came up with unique concepts designed to change ballet training overnight. With a trusty dance partner, Ruth C. Petrinovic, at her side to write down her now-famous kinesthetic principles, the foundation of the Revolutionary Principles of Movement (RPM) was firmly entrenched.  

Joanna Kneeland’s Energy-Centered Approach

Kneeland’s principles emphasized the correct use of a dancer’s energy to free up and cue the body while doing dance movements. To achieve this aim, she put together the Therapeutic Barre, a set of pre-barre warm-up exercises to lengthen and expand the muscles. Once the body is fully-alive and ready, she focuses on enhancing the energy patterns that affect movements. An evolved methodology of teaching ballet and dance followed when Ruth C. Petrinovic compiled Kneeland’s training regimen into a syllabus. What sets the syllabus apart is its integration of the five different styles of training in classical ballet into one coherent whole.

Why RPM is Important for the New Generation of Dancers and Trainers

In this day and age when the desire to excel in ballet and dance continues to heat up unabated, especially for very young children and trainees, the Revolutionary Principles of Movement (RPM) brings a saner approach to training than what is being currently espoused and practiced in many dance schools in the US. The emphasis on getting to the higher dance levels in the soonest possible time is taking a toll on the children’s bodies in the form of career-threatening injuries due to overuse and overstrain of muscles and joints as well as ill-advised contortions to improve choreography. The dire situation need not be so and should change. With RPM, these reforms are on the way.

by Cheryl Ale

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