SuganoSystemBallet is more than a pragmatic methodology of mastering professional classical ballet technique; it is also a “system” that will eventually include teaching aids such as CDs, DVDs, flash cards, lesson plans, and specially designed dancewear. The combination of these tools will serve to reinforce the essence of this philosophy: healthy technique. Borne out of 30 years of teaching, the essence of SuganoSystemBallet is learning exactly how to stand in the “turned-out ballet stance.” The role of the pelvis is key, and understanding the concept of its placement and dynamic movement transforms ballet technique from an insurmountable challenge into a pleasurable and attainable dance form. These differences from “traditional” technique are simple and subtle, but the ramifications are remarkable and significant.
This approach promotes a learning process that produces quicker results, maximizes individual body potential, reduces the risk of injury and develops streamlined bodies.
It also integrates science in an accessible, logical manner and empowers the student by encouraging self-discovery and an interactive role in assimilating concepts to produce ballet movement.
This knowledge base is a collection of data amassed from over three decades of meticulous research: teaching, participating in different dance disciplines (i.e., dancing professionally), examining and experiencing various methods of bodywork, and engaging in scientific inquiry and exploration with physicists, biomechanical engineers, kinesiologists, and healthcare professionals. SuganoSystemBallet provides substantive, scientific how’s and why’s that encourage deductive reasoning, thus engaging the student to become an active participant in mastering ballet technique. It takes the guesswork out of dancing for the student, replacing intimidation and mystery with self-confidence and a new, informed awareness.
When students experience changes in their dancing as a result of logical analysis and scientific application, they flourish with a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. This approach gives the dancer “wings” far sooner than the traditional methods, not only because of its scientific integration but because the dancer can effect bodily movement at will, making them want to boldly re-assert their new-found control over and over again.
Knowledge about the body has grown significantly over the years and many of the traditional ways of teaching seem less effective when compared to a scientific approach to dancing. Dancers in this day and age are keenly aware about the importance of their “instruments” and are constantly seeking ways in which to maximize their physical potential while decreasing the risk of injury and avoiding overdevelopment of muscles in an art form where the creation of “line” is important. Much of contemporary choreography has become physically demanding, requiring the body to produce movement that seemingly defies gravity. If a dancer is armed with the knowledge of how muscles work (anatomy/kinesiology) and how the body behaves in space with gravity (physics), that dancer is one that can maximize personal potential and establish career longevity in a healthy manner without creating unnecessary muscular bulk. By extension, those who are injured or are struggling with already overdeveloped legs find that this knowledge rehabilitates and protects their health while it streamlines their bodies, creating the long, lean physique desired by ballet dancers.
Each dancer is unique with individual physical attributes, personal histories, and thinking processes. Yet, collectively, all dancers are driven by passion and want desperately to assimilate any and all knowledge that will help them in their endeavor to dance with control and abandon (seemingly contradictory goals). With these scientific tools, students are able to apply universal concepts to their own individual circumstances, freeing themselves from unproductive habits and physical restrictions, consequently accelerating their development. Even with science, however, ballet mastery doesn’t happen overnight. On the other hand, armed with the SuganoSystemBallet method, dancers can experience dramatic improvements immediately, producing quick and positive results through a logical progression. This surpasses rote, tiring repetition of unaccommodating exercises that can have negative physical and psychological repercussions.
One can argue that incorporating science diminishes the “art” aspect of classical ballet. Dance is an art form where the moment of execution is paramount to articulating the proper expression and intent of the choreographer. The dancer must be able to make educated adjustments instantaneously in order to maintain healthy technique in the face of constant change. The application of science provides a consistent technical reference, independent of style or form. As a result, this allows the performer rock-solid technique with the freedom to devote more time to honing artistry and expression. Therefore, the science must be recognized as a valuable and integral partner in the grand scheme of things.
This approach will take the frustration and pain out of mastering ballet technique and create happier and healthier dancers. Certainly, ballet is about awe, magic, and the suspension of reality, but the creators of the illusion, the dancers, should be armed with knowledge of the 21st century, not shrouded in a cloud of mystery from centuries past. SuganoSystemBallet can help to make that a reality.