Inspiration      At Dance Island we value the creativity and inspiration of our dancers. Yes, they need to work on technique. There is no getting around the fact that barre work is absolutely essential and that a classical foundation, even for our young students, must be mastered to create and grow.      At the same time, we want our ballet dancers, even in their early stages of study, to expand their horizons beyond technique. As Rudolf Nureyev understood, "Technique is what you fall back on when you run out of inspiration."      In a structured, accepting, and supportive learning environment, students can actually practice inspiration. In a wide range of workshops our dancers are      1. given abridged music selections to experiment with at home,      2. allowed to develop and lead portions of our time at the barre      3. challenged with improvisations      4. given elements to interweave into a Reverence      5. asked to attach words to the moods and motifs of our ballets, and      6. challenged to see ballet in the wider context of the lively arts This video is an example of just one opportunity a student had to express and practice developing her powers of inspiration share her choreography with other students, and then perform. Click on the arrow below to watch the video here in our website or click here to watch our student choreographer in YouTube I'm Not That Girl Improv. Click here to view I'm Not That Girl in YouTube      This student choreography is from a Saturday Ballet 2-3 workshop. It is one of three improvs. our young students put together in five minutes. The ballet dancers were only given these directions:    1. Quickly chose your music track from the two tracks given to your group.    2. For this ballet, use a ballet barre.    3. Be ready to perform for the other two groups in five minutes.        So, did the dancers put this together with only minutes of preparation time? The same can be asked of musicians who improvise music "in the moment" or painters who cover a large canvas in fire-flash of inspiration. Are these artists creating "on the spot" without preparation?  Of course not.        Dancers, musicians, and other artists prepare for years to be able to apply their skills in improvisation.  Artists need nurturing and accepting (and structured) environments where basic technique and skills are taught, and where, at the same time, they have opportunities to respond to their own creativity, inspiration, and imaginings.        Some folks who study how we learn to dance think that we actively direct only a small percentage of our ballet movement.  It could be that most of how we move in any one combination is already programmed into us from our years of study at the barre, from the corner, in center, and in our choreographic explorations.  Thus, each time we put away bad habits, focus on refinement, and push back our boundaries, we are all the more ready for what our next choreographer will throw at us.        As we teach, we do not expect that students will be perfect in their explorations, only patient and persistent.  We want to have a school where dancers do not have to be without flaw, only ever full of that internal creative force which leads to fulfillment in each of the moments of their life as a ballet dancer.        In this type of artistic environment, students learn from their teachers and from their fellow students.  Teachers learn from their students, and everyone delights in each other's growth as artists.