The Training of Ballet Technique Courses
2 January 2018
Reports from the ISTD’s successful Imperial Ballet courses in Guildford and Italy
From Cathy Court
I attended the ISTD Imperial Ballet Summer School in August and was thrilled to be able to spend a day working with Helen Steggles to learn about The Training of Ballet Technique (TBT).
The day was so inspiring, with Helen’s clear and objective approach, which enabled me to immediately understand the benefits of each exercise and how to apply them to children and students of all ages and abilities at the various stages of their training.
Helen explained so clearly the importance of creating a ladder system to apply the fundamental skills, which are so important to train pupils safely throughout their development. The work is very clearly laid out in the course of study, concentrating on particular areas of ballet training and within those sections a clear method of progression. Helen also emphasised the importance of the use of suitable music to enhance the work.
I have been using TBT in all my classes this term, working up to Intermediate level. The students have responded very positively to the work. The exercises are simple but so effective and therefore the students can immediately feel the benefit of the exercise and apply it to their class work. I have found this has also encouraged the students to take ownership of their work in class as their understanding of how their own individual body works is increasing.
Thank you, Helen, for giving me the opportunity to develop my own understanding of the fundamental skills required for the teaching of classical ballet and to be able to pass this on in my teaching. Also, many thanks go to Debbi Parks who played so beautifully for us on the day.
From Judith Koppenleitner
I found The Training of Ballet Technique at the ISTD summer school not only enjoyable, but also very educational and beneficial. It was recommended to purchase the book and DVD prior to the course, which I found to be very helpful. The course of study comprises many short exercises, so to be able to gain an overview by watching the DVD and reading through the book before attending the course, certainly aided the understanding.
Helen Steggles who ran the course was passionate and presented even the simplest exercise in an interesting way. We learned, went over and discussed most of the exercises and how they progressed. I found it to be of great benefit to be able to actively try them out, working with a partner and practise and discuss teaching methods at the same time. The training concept is very user friendly and designed for any teacher to be able to incorporate it in their weekly classes.
During the day we had interesting discussions about a variety of aspects of ballet teaching and it has broadened my knowledge and given me new ideas. I have already started using many of the exercises recommended, not only with my younger students, but also with my full time vocational and DDE students. So far, I have found it to be extremely useful and well received by all of them.
From Diane Durant in Italy
The course in Bari, Italy was a great success. Many of the teachers attending had already gained their DDE or Licentiate status, but there were also some younger DDE students.
Initially, watching the DVD gave the teachers a good idea as to what they were looking for and eventually what they were hoping to achieve. The important aspect of these exercises is that they can be taught in everyday classes and without the use of any equipment.
The training exercises are prepared on three different levels, and for various age groups, from the young children to the more mature adult. The different sections from ports de bras to adage through to pirouettes and allegro make a very interesting variety of work. The teachers enjoyed working in pairs, which helped them understand more fully the technique of some of the exercises.
Helen Steggles was the lecturer on this occasion. She was very professional and full of information, which made the whole day profitable and enjoyable. The exercises were taught very clearly and with precision. At the end of the day Helen taught a junior ballet class, introducing some of the exercises from the programme. The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves and it was a lovely way to finish the day.