The Art of Ballet Coaching Sessions are based on the needs of the dancer. “How can I help?” is the first question I ask when beginning a session. Whether we are working on a particular step, a variation, or the quality of a character’s role, every dancer has their unique quality to bring forth. The goal of the session is to discover what that is.
I have found that coaching small groups is a different experience for students. Just by knowing they will be in closer proximity to the teacher, they arrive in a more attentive and engaged state. With encouragement to experiment with their own style, they feel their sense of importance on a deeper level.
One factor that distinguishes Coaching Sessions from a Master Class is that I veer away from general corrections and work with the individual artistry of each student. When one is treated with the assumption that they are intelligent and creative, they will, almost without fail, rise to the expectation.
Often when coaching students, we begin with a dialogue that explores a challenge they have with their dancing. With their willingness to explore WHY they find something challenging, I am able to assist them in the next step. An adjustment in the body and mind are both necessary to create lasting change. Together, the student and I work on releasing old memory patterns of being ’bad’ at a particular step and create excitement around change.
The physical change is often the easy part. The mental shift is where a whole new world opens up and surprising things begin to happen!
“Jean-Pierre’s coaching techniques cover all avenues. He covers the placement of your foot to your pinkie finger, and pushes your personal boundaries, inspiring you to accomplish what you never thought possible. I will always be grateful for the years spent under his tutelage."
Professional dancers will eventually come upon a part that causes doubt and insecurity. Sometimes it has to do with a quality that the dancer feels is lacking in them. Or maybe it is a pas de deux that requires a deep connection with their partner. Or a role that requires a strong acting presence. I use the same approach as with students; curiosity, exploration and dialogue.
I sometimes find that a seasoned professional dancer can have more resistance than a student, simply because they have settled into a style that is working for them. But that role that pushes them to break out of their comfortableness will inevitably come along, and it is up to them to take a chance or stay safe. As a dancer, I always chose to take risks. It excited me and made dance an adventure. I sought out the best acting coach in Paris to refine my roles. That diversity of training is what made me passionate about performing.
When working with professionals, I strive to create an atmosphere that entices them to be bold, to push their boundaries, to experience the fullness of their art. There is no greater satisfaction.
I work with dancers on a one-to-one basis. Be it for a particular role, a desire for inspiration, or a need to break through a mental block, private coaching sessions can be a just the thing to propel a dancer forward.
“The way Jean-Pierre sees hidden potential in dancers is truly a gift. He knows how to access the artist inside, nurturing individuality and creativity. He has an equally strong eye for refining technique, improving an artists effectiveness and power. He’s a master at helping an artist reach his or her full potential. The experiences I had working with Jean-Pierre during my career are invaluable.”
Jamie Dee Clifton
Principal Charlotte Ballet