Dancers at the barre

Interview with Ian Castenetto

30 May 2017

In this interview, Ian discusses his love of Ballet and what students will learn in Introduction to Ballet 2 – his brand new short course beginning Saturday 3 June.

1. When and how did you start dancing?

I started dancing after my sister told me I should come and try her dance class. She was (and is) a terrific dancer and teacher so I thought I’d give it a go. I was hooked right from the first 8 counts!

2. What were some of the highlights of your professional career?

When I was living in New York, a philanthropist and dance enthusiast sponsored a group of 12 dancers and choreographers to stay on her Martha’s Vineyard property for six weeks and create four original works, which were subsequently performed in New York City. It was an amazing artistic and personal experience which was memorable for me, making me appreciate the value of private philanthropy in society.

3. What do you enjoy most about Ballet?

One fascinating aspect of Ballet, for me, is that it provides a vehicle to discover the seemingly infinite potential which one’s body can realise. Improvement never seems to stop, be it stretching, strengthening or technical achievement. Plus you get to enjoy beautiful music while you do it.

4. What is the one correction you were always receiving as a dancer? What are the corrections you always find yourself giving when you’re teaching?

I seem to give a lot of corrections which are given to me during class. A common one is to pull the shoulders down using the muscles in the back rather than those in the neck and shoulders. When we start our Ballet journey we often neglect the upper body as we are concentrating so heavily on what the legs and feet are doing.

5. Why is Ballet so essential to all styles of dance?

Of course you can do some styles without Ballet training, but the posture training and body awareness you receive in a Ballet class is invaluable for certain technical feats, like turns. I think those without any Ballet training at all will always be at a disadvantage, even regarding correct terminology, often in French, which is used in all dance styles.

6. What will students learn from your Ballet 2 course? How will it differ from Ballet 1?

The Introduction 2 course will develop the barre exercises which participants started in Intro 1, so they will know what to expect in a typical Ballet class. Centre work will also progress and introduce port de bras combinations, preparations for pirouettes, and stationary and moving jumps.

Introduction to Ballet 2 with Ian runs every Saturday from 3 – 24 June, 8.30am – 10am.

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