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Student dancers learn from the pros

Ballet Victoria artistic director Paul Destrooper conducts a dance workshop at Chemainus secondary school on Thursday, Oct. 20. - Andrew Leong
Ballet Victoria artistic director Paul Destrooper conducts a dance workshop at Chemainus secondary school on Thursday, Oct. 20.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Moves you can use were recently shared by elite members of Ballet Victoria with Chemainus high school dancers.

Two workshops, hosted Oct. 20 by dance-drama teacher Sarah Lane, starred BV’s choreographer Paul Destrooper, and Sandrine Cassini — the corps’ recent acquisition from France.

They also appeared in the Ballet Rocks show a few days later in Duncan — attended by Lane’s student Sarah Lavine, 16.

“We learned different skills and techniques,” she said of BV’s sessions for 39 pupils.

“Since they’re professionals, they showed us some of the most important stuff for when you’re dancing. “

Stuff such as posture, positions and more.

“When we do our dance classes, it helps knowing what to do, like holding your stomach tighter,” explained Lavine. “They showed us their warm up too.

“It helps so people are more flexible and more in balance.”

She’d welcome BV dancers back.

“They’re fun to work with and have different ballet styles we don’t really get into,” she said, noting Ballet Rocks’ gracefulness.

“It seemed everything they do is perfect and hard to improve on.”

But Lane wants improvement among her students through BV and other pros.

“Students found the quality of the teaching and dance to be outstanding.”

Lane’s claim follows 28 years of dancing amid workshops with the Royal Winnipeg and National Ballet schools, and elsewhere.

“It was important to bring that calibre of instruction to my students.”

Destrooper and Cassini also led demonstrations of footwork, plies (leg bends), tendues (foot pointing), battemant (kicks), pirouettes (turns), chainees (travelling turns), plus body alignment and arm positions.

Cross-floor routines and some short dance sequences happened too during BV’s $200 debut visit paid by the parents advisory committee.

“It’s all applied immediately during the next class,” Lane said of ballet smarts imparted.

“It was really good for my students to get this perspective.”

Results can be seen during the school’s Jan. 19 year-end showcase.

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