Ballet Creole believes there are three essential elements in a dance-training program: Technical, Exploration, and Application.
Various movement techniques and practices engage the students in the essential task of alignment and conditioning and are designed to promote endurance, suppleness, awareness, economy, and precision in moving. These exercises are also intended to reduce injuries; including excessive tension, awkward gestures, a casual carriage, and inexpressive mobility. Studies in anatomy further the student's self-awareness and provide practical knowledge for safe and effective use of the body.
Studies in space, time, energy, gesture, and emotion, in which students explore their inner nature and relationship to the world and other people in terms of movement. Through improvisations and guided experimentation in a variety of movement practices students will explore the interrelationship of mind, spirit, and body.
Students will be given the opportunity to apply their technical and explorative lessons through Ensemble classes. These “performance driven” classes expose dancers to the process of training and rehearsing for professional performances. Each year, the students will also perform in a Showcase Performance at a theatre in Toronto.
The Dunham Technique is the cornerstone of the professional training offered at the Ballet Creole School. It is distinctive as there are only a small number of professors qualified to teach this modern technique in Canada. This discipline is supported by other strong dance techniques which include Graham, Horton and Ballet. In addition Afro-Caribbean, Cuban and Jazz also round out the program to develop a diversified technically trained dancer.
The Dunham technique was developed by internationally renowned dancer/choreographer Katherine Dunham as a result of her anthropological studies in Africa and the Caribbean. The technique draws from Classical Ballet as well as traditional African/Caribbean movement, forging a cultural link between Africa and North America.
This codified movement vocabulary focuses on the isolation of individual body parts, in preparation for execution of a polymovement structure that is reminiscent of African dance and music. Dancers are trained to control all body parts, becoming excellent dance masters; training that prepares them for a career in the professional world of dance.
Training in the Dunham technique includes the following components:
- Form and Function
- Socialization through the Arts
- Exploration of Traditional Rhythms
These classes employ modern dance techniques, body-mind centering, and contact improvisation. This unique and challenging blend will enhance flexibility and strength while encouraging and accommodating all dance abilities. The Dunham, Horton, Limon and Graham Techniques will be explored.
These classes include contemporary African-Caribbean dance, contemporary Brazilian dance, and Afro-Cuban dance. Special workshops are provided periodically in Jazz and Indian dance, and periodic master classes are offered with international teachers who specialize in a particular form.