Tuesday, October 30, 2012

“You’re not supposed to look like popcorn!”

Retired as a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet, Jock Soto filled the dance need in his life with teaching. I like some of the metaphors he uses with his students:
[W]hen you take a ballerina by the wrists it shouldn’t look like you are riding a motorcycle.

Never paddle a ballerina in a turn. Stir her discreetly with your finger in finger turns, not like you have a spoon and she is a pot of soup.

I can’t quite picture what paddling a ballerina would look like. But that probably just indicates how ignorant I am of the art. Plus maybe I like imagining a ballerina as a canoe?

Soto says he finds himself using cooking metaphors while he teaches. I imagine Soto quietly giving the advice above, then shouting when the boys are on the floor.
”Don’t stir her like a pot of soup! She is not a pot of soup!”

“Don’t stand there like a frozen fish stick!”

When an ensemble exercise with eighteen boys was horribly executed I stopped them and scolded: “You’re not supposed to look like popcorn!”

source: Every Step You Take: a memoir by Jock Soto

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