Rachel Straus - Dance Writer

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Juilliard Dance

 
Published: August 1, 2008
Category: technique

Improving your plie

By Rachel Straus

Like a recipe for quality of life, Risa Steinberg’s description of a good plie combines a philosophical approach, a touch of physics, and common sense: “It never ends. Once you know it’s going to help you do something better, you’ll love it.” She believes that the most constructive plies are passionate and voluptuous. []

Published: April 1, 2008
Category: technique

Mentoring student teachers: role models who bridge the gap between concept and practice

By Rachel Straus Not long ago only a couple of hundred dance studios, college dance departments, and public school dance classes existed in this country. Today there are thousands. Attendant to the boom in dance popularity, it seems that anyone with chutzpah can call themselves a dance teacher. Too often novices teach without proper training []

Published: February 20, 2008
Category: technique

Teacher's Wisdom: Eric Franklin

By Rachel Straus “If you want to change your body, first you have to change your mind.” Eric Franklin helps dancers to improve their technique by applying scientific principles, anatomical understanding, and the power of the imagination. The Swiss-born movement educator teaches workshops around the world, both at Pilates studios and at major dance institutions []

Published: January 1, 2008
Category: technique

Improving pirouettes: Five teachers' tips

by Rachel Straus

“A lot of careers are made from people’s ability to turn,” says WILHELM BURMANN, who teaches professional level ballet at Steps on Broadway. He advises the following for improving en dehors pirouettes.

* When you turn to the right, your left hand and fingers–which are in an elongated second position–should energetically move []

Published: November 1, 2007
Category: profile

Teacher's Wisdom: Zvi Gotheiner

By Rachel Straus

Zvi Gotheiner began studying dance in his native Israel and came to New York in 1978. He has performed with the Batsheva Dance Company, the Joyce Trisler Danscompany, and Feld Ballets/NY. In 1989 he founded ZviDance, which has performed his choreography at The Joyce, Jacob’s Pillow, and the American Dance Festival. Presently he []

Published: August 1, 2007
Category: technique

Teacher's Wisdom: Luigi

By Rachel Straus Luigi: “Even when you strike a pose, the movement goes on through the fingertips.” Eugene Louis Facciuto’s first career as a lead dancer in Hollywood was destroyed at age 21 by a near-fatal car accident. His doctors predicted that the former child star wouldn’t emerge from his coma, let alone rise again []

Published: July 6, 2007
Category: history

Luigi, Gus Giordano, and Matt Mattox: Jazz masters

By Rachel Straus

With syncopated hip, rib, and head isolations, jazz dance doesn’t ignore the body’s sexiness. It puts it front and center. The high-decibel energy trumpets cool confidence, regardless of whether the movement is lyrical, hard-edged, or silly. Like jazz music, jazz dance didn’t develop inside the conservatory or concert hall. But having drawn as []

Published: February 20, 2007
Category: history

The Hows of Horton: The Lester Horton Technique

By Rachel Straus

The Lester Horton technique constructs some of the best human skyscrapers in the dance world. And like good building design, the Horton technique’s emphasis on flat backs, pelvic hinges, and “lateral T’s” produces a long-muscled, powerhouse dancer–something not easily toppled. Uninitiated eyes widen the moment an advanced Horton dancer strikes a “lateral []

Published: March 1, 2005
Category: career talk

Passing the Torch: Coaching in the New York International Ballet Competition

Inside three New York City studios, 48 young ballet dancers work intensely, absorbing three vastly different pieces of choreography. Every second counts as all eyes focus on a coach. This figure—singing out counts, correcting, demonstrating, and encouraging with exclamations like “Breathe. Extend. Good!”—is giving each dancer an invaluable opportunity: A chance to shine at the []