For one of my dance classes I had to observe a Mercyhurst Faculty member teaching any class of my choice. I decided to watch Mr. Gleason teach mens class since I have never really watched the different of a normal ballet class compared to a mens class. Here were some of my notes!
How does the faculty member deal with the following in the class? Speak to specific references.
Watching men’s class was a very different perspective than watching a typical ballet class. The approach to combinations were emphasized differently, but since this semester woman were allowed to take and each student is at a different level it is interesting to see the approach each student takes to the combination.
- ALIGNMENT & PLACEMENT
- Has multiple tondue combinations to prepare the feet. Including one facing the barre to find placement prior to going to one leg.
- doing movement to the back automatically makes you want to tilt your pelvis, me need to still hold the core. You must learn to recover the moment as quick as possible.
- Turning from plié in second a là seconde up to pirouette in pasé. Using placement is key to stay in the second when finishing.
- Had students do petite allegro laying down to use the correct muscles
- WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION
- Had students come to a full fifth in between sides of fondue reliéve rather than keeping In sous sous to establish the weigh change.
- TURN OUT
- He had the dancers feel the inside of the thigh coming forward.
- In A là seconde he had the students turn in the and turn out the leg. Having the students realize what is correct and incorrect.
- THE FOOT
- Multiple tondue and degage combinations to prepare the foot for the center movement. This is especially needed in men’s class since jumps and turns are the main focus.
- Feeling the floor with the entire foot- more stability.
- THE ARMS
- He wants everyone in a wide second at the barre so that you just lift your hands you are already for center
- THE HEAD
- Did not focus on the head direction much at barre. You could tell the different levels in the room by how each student uses their head in class. The upper level students used their head automatically and the students in level two hesitated and did not focus on the head movement since it was not announced.
- Although not specifically requiring head movements, he tells the students to smile which automatically creates the appaulment
- BODY DIRECTIONS
- He did not focus on body directions throughout class.
- Different directions were used in combinations across the floor but was mainly for connecting steps. Was not a focus or discussed.
In your opinion does the instructor follow a codified syllabus or elements thereof and if so please identify and describe.
In addition to the above discuss how the instructor presented and worked with the following aspects of the class. (Demonstrating including working with the pianist musical aspects of the class, i.e. counts, phrasing, time signatures, dynamics, special requests such as mazurka, tango, etc.)
At the barre he demonstrated arms and parts of the combination as he spoke the combination. He also directed the pianist prior to combinations saying if he wanted a 2/4 or a ¾. If he did not direct the pianist, he did count in musical counts at point during teaching the combination.
Giving corrections to the entire class and individual members of the class.
He directed corrections individually but discussed them to the entire class as well. Positive reinforcement was given after combinations.
What other observations did you glean from this teacher’s teaching?
I always find it very beneficial to watch classes. Watching it from a teaching perspective is much different than a student perspective. Since I had Mr. Gleason for class for two different semesters I recall some of the combinations. I now see the purpose of the combination and what it helps with in training.