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  • Writer's pictureLaren Cavicchio

Technical Training for Growth

The definition of technique as it applies to dance encompasses quite a broad scope. I see posts on social media where the host of the video is teaching, "how to do the firebird" and the content is positioned as "technical training", yet it is only a step-by-step instructional post/video on what to do to execute the firebird. And I wondered... how many people are confused about what technical training is?

Let me put it another way... I can find a lot of posts and videos on how to suture (for surgeons). These videos are labeled "for beginners", but it's clear that you need to know a lot more before you could truly suture like a med student, at the least.

So, does one or two videos, or a short video on "technique" in any skill make someone capable? And what, or who, defines "capable"?

Has the definition of "technique" been confused with "instructional video" with the rise of social media?

Technique is something you learn first, and then practice for the rest of your life. My goodness, there is so much going on with the "firebird". How you prepare for it, what the body needs to do to go into and out of it with grace and strength. The ballon....

And, unless the person reading the post or watching the video has a body advanced enough to perform the firebird (which was originally performed by a very well trained ballerina) instructions on how to do it will not be enough. In fact, anyone can watch a professional perform the firebird, and understand what is going on in the movement. The step-by-step is not the mystery. It's the technical training behind it, which requires many many classes.

Dance requires so much of the body; and requires a body that is finely tuned to perform physically, on time, in correct alignment, with proper top line, with stamina and flexibility... it is crucial that each dance student is working with a teacher who can include the training that gets the body going into, and out of, movement correctly.

Every sport has a warm up, and then multiple drills that condition the body to the exact skill that each athlete needs. So, why is it that in dance, a post or video on social media is enough to teach technique?

Learned Skills Vs. Instructions

You buy a table in a store and on the box it is written "assembly required". You bring the box home and open it where you find a wrench of some sort, screws and pegs, and written instructions, which are brief and have correlating pictures. Perhaps there is a link to a video for fast and east set-up as well.

The instructions tell you how to put the table together, and that's it. That is the limit to those instructions. It's a one-time build, and the tools you were provided (which included instructions and pictures, sometimes an online video for clarification) guaranteed your success rate, for the most part.

You would not call yourself a carpenter from these experiences. However, if these experiences inspired you to learn carpentry, you would go to school, learn about wood and different compositions of wood, learn about all the tools, how to use them, how to read a blue print, how to understand designs, etc...

Following instructions is different than learning a skill.

Dance and Technical Training

Every dancer has to learn how, in order to dance well, and every studio should offer technique in every class, and not just stop at PBT (which is an ancillary training program), stretching techniques, or turning techniques. Students should also learn each dance style's vocabulary, its unique history, and its own way of being done (its own technique). There is always so much to learn, and so much to practice.

When a teacher provides step-by-step instructions only, or is the type to tell the student to go "higher in your relevé", or "lift your leg higher", but cannot teach the student how to do either of these things... well... technical training solves these problems, so perhaps it is time to find a technique class. 😊

Training changes everything,

- Miss Laren



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