In our thirty-first snack you can taste the passion, experiences and ideas of ballet teacher and former ballet dancer Jane Lord. Jane is also one of the ‘readers’ of Ballet Recipes and now also helps with the English version.
Can you briefly tell who you are and what’s your background in dance?
I’m Jane Lord. I started dancing in California at 6yrs old and continued my ballet studies at the National Ballet School in Toronto from ages 14-18. I danced professionally with the Dutch National Ballet for my entire career, from 1979-2000 moving up the ranks from Aspirant to First Soloist. I started teaching after my retirement from dancing.
Have you followed dance teacher training? If so, where and what are your specializations?
I have followed short trainings, several summer trainings with Kalina Bogoeva in Amsterdam, a summer training at the National Ballet School of Canada and the Pre-primary-Level 1 course of the ABT National Training Curriculum.
What’s your motivation to teach classical ballet?
To pass on the knowledge and love of classical ballet from my years as a dancer. It is a beautiful profession.
What are your personal goals as a teacher?
Encourage and empower young dancers to dance with confidence, expression, clean lines, and technical purity.
What do you want to achieve with your students in this school year?
In my repertoire classes with the National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam, I strive to teach them the recent and actual repertoire of the company, so that they may confidently join in rehearsals with HNB and eventually perform.
What’s a good teacher in your opinion and why?
A teacher that positively encourages the hard working student and with individual attention to all in the class. One that strives to bring out the best in the student. One that has left their own needs and ego behind to be able to totally focus on the young student. One with an open mind who continues to learn about the technique of ballet and how best to communicate with the student.
Which dance subjects / disciplines beside classical ballet do you think a ballet student needs to become a better dancer?
I think character & world/dance is very important for the student to delve into group work with rhythm and coordination. Also Spanish flamenco has given me confidence and presence.
About what do you think when you read the title ‘Ballet recipes – The ingredients of classic ballet technique’?
Food, of course, and the ingredients needed to make a whole step or movement of ballet. It is a fun title and relates to baking and cooking. Another saying is….“You have to break a few eggs to make a cake”, relating to the hard work required to achieve good technique.
How classical ballet teachers can increase the involvement of their students in class and / or classical ballet in general?
Taking them to performances and giving them information about the ballets they see and learn. Sharing stories of when they danced themselves. Sharing what it is like to be at an academy or in a company and definitely sharing the exciting feeling a dancer can have while performing on stage.
If you have followed or are following further education/supplementary education, which one would you like to recommend to your colleagues and why?
Unfortunately, young teachers in Holland need to go elsewhere to find a good ballet training these days. The NBA provides short inspiring seminars to compliment the teacher’s knowledge, but one needs a thorough knowledge of training children. I think the ABT course has given me a very good in-depth training on how to develop the technique and exercises for the students through their development while the basics from Kalina Bogoeva in the Vaganova technique are a true gift of knowledge!
What is your favorite ballet company and who is/are your favorite dancer/dancers? And why?
The Dutch National Ballet has been and will remain my favorite company. I enjoy seeing it develop through the years. The technical level has soared and the direction is open to reach out to its audience. I like to see the individual dancers grow through the ranks and get chances to develop. My favorite dancer in the HNB is Anna Tsygankova and I admire Marianela Núñez of the Royal Ballet. Both are mature dancers with an amazing quality of movement.
Who do you recommend to ask for a next interview for the ‘snacks ’of Ballet Recipes? And which question you would like to ask to this person?
Ernst Meisner. What is it like for him to discover and develop talented dancers.