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Variations Explained! Why we use classical ballet variations to supplement curriculum.

As this is a new thing this year, I've had several parents and students asking me about it, so I wanted to share.

First of all, what is a variation? A variation is a piece of choreography. It generally refers to solos that are sprinkled throughout full-length ballets. A variation stays true to the original choreography, but can be modified to fit different ages and abilities while still keeping the same feel / dynamics. I love modifying variations for my students. It's a great way to take the steps they are working on and translate them into something with personality and performance. It gives them a chance to learn about classic ballets, to practice characterization and artistry, and work on using the steps they learn in new and different ways. This year, these were the variations we learned: Beginning 1:

Peasant Girl Variation from Giselle

Red Riding Hood Variation from Sleeping Beauty

Beginning 2:

Fairy Doll Variation from Fairy Doll

Fairy of Generosity Variation from Sleeping Beauty

Intermediate 1:

Pas de Trois Variation 2 from Swan Lake

Shade Variation from La Bayadere

Intermediate 2:

Odalisque Variation from Le Corsaire

Princess Florine (Bluebird) variation from Sleeping Beauty

Cupid Variation from Don Quixote

Advanced 1 and 2:

Act 3 Variation from Paquita

Kitri Act 1 Variation from Don Quixote

Aurora Act 3 variation from Sleeping Beauty

Diana Variation from Diana and Acteon (Advanced 2 only)

We broke down the steps, worked on the techniques, and memorized the pieces in class. There are practice videos in the Band App so the students can practice on their own.

But after all this work, what can we do with these variations? The final project is to select representatives from each class to perform these variations in the spring recital. The students will audition in order to be considered for this.

The students are a little nervous about the idea of auditioning, and that's only natural. But learning how to prepare yourself, do your best, and then make the most of the results (Humbly being honored and working hard if they are chosen, or graciously accepting and cheering on their classmates if they are not chosen) is really really important experience and lesson that will serve them well in many situations.

I will be choosing two dancers for each variation. They will take turns performing in the 4 shows.

Auditions will take place during classes May 23-26. Please help your child be ready by encouraging them to watch and practice with the videos!

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