Have you been dancing along with me through the Summer Dance Intensive? If so, are you a bit sore yet? 🙂 I hope you’re having fun and experiencing growth and transformation! Please remember that this program is meant to be taken in your own time, at your own pace.
Speaking for myself, I have definitely been feeling the effects of my personal “Adaptive Adult Summer Dance Intensive: since week one! I’ve got a rotation of tired and stiff muscles (which I love, because it means I’m getting stronger!) and am feeling noticeably more stable, secure, and fit to dance.
It’s amazing how minimal effort each day can yield noticeable gains in strength and stability, flexibility and range of motion, and general well-being.
This and the last three blogs (Adaptive Adult Summer Dance Intensive Weeks One, Two, & Three) have presented weekly suggested programs to develop body and mind, providing a complement or bridge to online or in-studio practice.
You can tailor the program to your needs, with anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 hours per day, choosing to participate in the recommended YouTube videos for specific exercises (great for cross-training and preventing injury alone or in combination with classes at your local studio), recorded classes and combinations, Live Online group classes and/or Live Online Private Lessons and Coaching or even join live in-person classes with me in Cologne, Germany!
Week Four Overview
Week four is all about continuing the work we’ve started, finishing strong, and getting complete on our efforts so far. We are fostering a Creative State of Being and connecting with the Element of Air.
We are practicing exercises to continue to condition the body for dance, expand dancing movement vocabulary, compose dances, describe & critique choreography.
This final week, we are setting up to keep your practice going after the “Intensive” is complete. The idea is to have a well-rounded conditioning and cross-training routine that requires a very small commitment of time. You can continue to add different movements slowly as well as take full-length classes with me online or through other teachers and live studios.
Recommended Viewing: Paris Opera Ballet’s “Cendrillon,” with choreography by Rudolf Nureyev and a golden age of Hollywood twist on the classic “Cinderella” ballet (link is to a trailer, I sadly can’t find a full-length version currently- happened to catch it on television via Arte).
Criticism: Use the Be a Dance Critic tool, which is a framework for dance criticism with questions to help write reviews of choreography and performance. Through this you will describe, analyze, and interpret your viewing of “Cendrillon” (above) or another dance work you’ve been looking forward to seeing.
Repertory: we will continue to learn the “Queen of the Dryads” variation from “Don Quixote:” I will share variations on this short choreography, and you can also create your own translation as a composition exercise.
Improvisation: “Egg” exercise from Twyla Tharp (below), dance freely to “Pluma” or your other favorite music of the moment, or do a study of what movements you associate with the dreamy character of the “Queen of the Dryads” (above) experimenting with your new dance vocabulary, or whatever freestyle movement floats your boat.
Tharp’s “Egg” Improvisation Instructions:
“I sit on the floor, bring my knees to my chest, curl my head down to my knees, and try to make myself as small as I can. In this minimalized shrunken state, I have nowhere else to go; I cannot become smaller, I can only expand and grow. And so it becomes a ritual of discovery for me. If I lift my head and straighten my back I become Tall Egg. If I stretch out my legs and point my toes, forming an L-shape, I become Jackknife Egg. I stick with it as long as it remains interesting, sometimes going through as many as a hundred positions. I’ve been doing this daily for years and I usually find something new in the process… I like the Egg routine because it is so basic. You don’t need to know anything or be in particularly good shape to do it (although some stretching is a definite help). The only requirement is a commitment to the process. The starting Egg position is your home base and you are setting out to see see how far you can travel from home…Egg is an exercise that teaches you how to accomplish the most difficult task in any creative endeavor: begin.” (The Creative Habit p.112-3)
Composition: translations of “Queen of the Dryads” variation (i.e. simplification, modifying elements of dance such as use of time, space, or use of the body, music…), or other classical variation or other theme of your choosing.
Reflection: since it is the final week of the Adaptive Adult Summer Dance Intensive and I want to support you in moving powerfully forward, it will serve us to reflect on the learning of the last four weeks and determine how to proceed from here, to free us of any could have/would have/should have or disempowering energy. To that end, you are invited to respond to the following prompts:
- What have you accomplished and what do you declare complete from this month-long intensive program?
- What is missing or incomplete?
- What is next to grow your dancing practice?
- What would you like to be acknowledged for?
Daily “Menu” for Week 4 +
For your daily program in Week Four and continuing, pick:
- A foot/ankle conditioner to get Grounded (Ankle ABC’s, Towel Toes, or Plush Paralleleves) or do a full yoga practice, or do self-massage with a foam roller and/or lacrosse or tennis ball
- A core activator to get Centered (Planking Pleasures, Beatific Boats, Oh Wow! Cat-Cow) or do a full dance warmup or do a micro-workout
- An axial (leg and/or arm) movement or dance step** to get Oriented or have a stretching session or do a full ballet barre or dance class AND/OR
- Learn Repertory/Improvise/Compose to get Creative AND/OR
- Watch/Describe/Analyze/Critique or Collaborate to get Related (might I suggest hopping on the A Blythe Coach Facebook Page and sharing your experiences?)
Choose an foot/ankle conditioner + core activator + axial movement or step**
and/or dance warmup/class, yoga practice, or stretching session
and/or improv, composition, repertory, collaboration, or criticism
** Arms: any of the excercises from weeks 1-3 or
Ballet Second Port de Bras – Cecchetti technique (4:26)
Port de Bras Story: 1st-4th Cecchetti Technique arm exercises (9:21)
** Leg work at the barre: any of the exercises from weeks 1-3 or
Plucky Petit Battements (12:29)
Frothy Frappé & Jeté (10:29)
Types of Jumps – Ballet & Modern Dance Allegro Categories (5:26)
Ebullient Battement & Passé (6:36)
Balletlicious Barre Leg Stretch (12:20)
** Centre work from weeks 1-3 or
Amazing Undercurves (8:52)
New Tantalizing Tendu, Pas de Cheval, & Undercurve Combination (9:47)
Embracing Ballet Balancé (11:03)
Articulate Adage – Ballet Centre Développé & Body Positions (14:04)
Glissade + Assemblé Jumps (7:01)
Chasing Chassé (8:17)
Ballet Révérence for all ages (4:58)
Yoga Cool-Down – Pigeon, Seated Stretch + Savasana (14:42),
6-Minute Hip Stretch for after ballet or sports, or your favorite relaxing/restorative practice.
Week Five On: Continuing Practice
After the “official” 4-week program is done at the end of July, you are encouraged to keep practicing into week 5 and beyond, to work with others to generate a Related State of Being through Partnering, Collaborative Choreography, Repertory, sharing and critiquing Choreography, or ongoing Technique development, and connect to the Element of Ether.
Resources for Your Personal Dance “Intensive“
The Ballet Movement Vocabulary Hyperdoc is an interactive syllabus of ballet steps, techniques, and concepts. The Student Profile & Intended Results form can be a reflective tool for you to formulate your objectives, as well as help me tailor content to fit your needs. For more information on designing training to achieve your dancing dreams, check out the Goal Setting for Dancers blog as well.
You can follow some or all of the daily plan above, or sample à la carte steps and exercises from the playlists below:
Practice Video Playlists
Body-Part Specific Conditioning & Cross-Training Video Playlists
- Concentrated Core Conditioning
- Foot & Ankle Conditioning
- Arm Artistry
- Legs, Legs, Legs
Yoga & Pranayama Video Playlists
Theory Video Playlists
Opportunities to Move Together Live
Sunday morning hybrid Yoga class online and in-studio at Tanzschule Tanzraum Zentrum in Cologne Germany @11:00 CEST, Tuesday morning online Yoga class @6:15 CEST, and Tuesday morning online Ballet class @8:00 CEST on Zoom (Tuesday morning German time is Monday evening in HI, late night on the US mainland).
Further group classes or private lessons available by request, schedule a consultation to discuss. I am also continuing to go “Live” every weekday on social media to practice the day’s movements together, talk about improv, repertory, and choreography practices and answer your questions, so join me there for more fun and support!
Acknowledgment & Completion Celebration
I want to acknowledge you for taking the time to read my blog, and those who watch and move along with my YouTube videos, subscribe to my email newsletter, listen to my podcast, or are live students and clients for your efforts, growth, commitment to learning, increased knowledge, skill, and confidence.
I hope you celebrate your personal efforts and progress, too! Your participation, support, feedback, love, and community are so needed at this difficult time for us all! Live it up, and contact me if you’d like a personal acknowledgment for the glorious being you are in the world!
What’s Next Post-Intensive?
There’s lots more to come on the topics of completion, rest & recovery, dealing with mistakes and failure, elements of dance, specific ballet movements, yoga flows, and more! Come on over and subscribe to the YouTube Channel and join my email newsletter to receive my latest free offerings, favorite resources from myself and others, joy, and inspiration 🙂
Blythe C. Stephens, MFA, Bliss Catalyst
A Blythe Coach: Dance Education & Coaching
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DISCLAIMER: A Blythe Coach recommends that you consult your physician regarding the applicability of any recommendations and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. When participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself.