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How To Set Up A Core Barre Class


Studio Owner Article


Self-help and Life Enhancement Tips for the Business Owner

Every student can really benefit from the use of core barre exercises. Not only will they become very much stronger and less susceptible to injury but they will have a better understanding of how to place their bodies and will find, over a period of time that turns, leaps, arabesques and attitudes, releves, piques and basically any type of balancing movement will suddenly not be such a struggle. As I like to tell any student, "The art of Dance has been developed over centuries and is designed to work, it is only us dancers who forget or don't understand the basic principles of how to place our bodies that make our efforts sometimes extremely frustrating."

I have found that even adding some of these important exercises to a ballet, jazz or lyrical class will be beneficial and you will start to see more awareness in your students of how they can get their bodies to work for them in the most successful way. The other benefit to this type of class is that it really places the emphasis on relaxation. Oftentimes dancers seem to have a difficulty in applying relaxation to their work and of course one of the most important things they have to remember to do is BREATHE!

By using different apparatus in the Core Barre class it makes it not only a valuable class to take but also a fun one. Typically I use:

Resistance bands which are available in different levels, beginner through advanced. The most economical way to buy them is through one of the catalogs that sell sports equipment and I suggest getting at least two different levels. Normally it will come in a roll for each level of resistance and all you have to do is cut it to the required length, I recommend a minimum of 5 feet per band.

Ankle weights are also useful for building up strength in the ankles and legs. I have had great success buying them for a minimal amount at one of those discount stores that buys up large amounts of everything. I then sell them to the students for a small fee so that each of them has their own set of weights to work with. I do not actually place the weights around the ankle but instead I wrap them around the instep. This puts less strain on the ankle joint. These weights also come in varying heaviness, I recommend starting off with one or two pound weights and going no higher than five pounds for very strong and advanced level students.

I also use two types of balls. First a basketball size usually found at drug stores or toy stores which can be used both for exercises on the floor to strengthen and standing balance exercises. Secondly, I use the large exercise balls which come in different sizes using the smaller sizes for the shorter dancers and the larger ones for those that are taller. These can be found in dollar stores, sports stores and any store that sells exercise equipment. I certainly suggest that you invest in an electric pump which is usually sold to pump up wading pools, they cost around $10.00 and are well worth it because if you try to use the pump included with the ball, not only will it take you forever to blow the balls up but your legs will be killing you from that pumping action!!!

 Now that you have all the equipment it is a good idea to invest in some inexpensive yoga mats. I know that dancers are used to lying on the floor but more than anything I think it really sets the mood for the class and makes it that bit different in their eyes .

In the upcoming months I will be presenting CORE BARRE exercises in the "How To" section which will give you enough material for a variety of Core Barre classes . Once you have the right equipment, you will be all set to have a fantastic, fun class for your students. Oh, by the way, I also recommend playing some really relaxing music during the class to set the right mood.


Angela D'Valda Sirico

Angela D'Valda Sirico

Originally from England, Angela spent her early years in Hong Kong where she studied with Carol Bateman. She continued her training at Arts Educational Trust in England. After moving to New York City she continued her studies with Martha Graham and Matt Mattox. She appeared with the Matt Mattox Company and toured with the first Disney On Parade working with Disney and N.B.C. Contracted to the Teatro National of Buenos Aires she performed for one year and spent an additional year as a featured soloist at the Teatro Maipo, Argentina. Travelling to Madrid, Spain she worked for Spanish television in a weekly variety show Tarde Para Todos and from there decided to form her own Dance Company. With the Company she choreographed and performed throughout Spain in theatres, and on television. Angela met her husband Steve while working together on a television special The Valerie Peters Show filmed in Tampa, Florida. In 1979 they formed the Adagio act DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Angela and Steve have owned and directed their dance studio in Fairfield, CT. for the past twenty two years and in 2005 added music and vocal classes to their curriculum. Angela served as chairperson for the tri state panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and is Co-author of a Partner syllabus currently used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America. She continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations and choreographs for theatre, television and conventions and was commissioned by Boston Ballet 11 to choreograph the highly acclaimed Brother Can You Spare A Dime? DValda & Sirico are currently in production choreographing the opening to the National Speakers Association convention on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis for August of 2008. Angela is co-owner of Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

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