For nearly a century, the training of ballet and modern dancers has followed two divergent paths. Modern practitioners felt ballet was artificial and injurious to the body; ballet teachers felt that modern dancers lacked the rigorous discipline and control that comes only from years of progressive training. Though dance kinesiologists and students of human motion have studied both techniques, their findings have rarely informed the teaching of either. Ballet Beyond Tradition seeks to reconcile these age-old conflicts and bring a new awareness to ballet teachers of the importance of a holistic training regimen that draws on the best that modern dance and movement-studies offers. Paskevska persuasively argues that ballet technique has itself evolved over the last three centuries; and that the most vital dance movement is one that absorbs outside influences as well as preserving its traditions. All dance forms use the body as their instrument, and all require flexibility, strength, control, awareness of intent and meaning, kinetic energy, musicality and rhythm.
Ballet Beyond Tradition offers new ways to understand the ballet vocabulary in terms of the most recent understan of the body and how it moves.
Anna Paskevska is the author of one of the best-regarded books on kinesiology and dance, Both Sides of the Mirror, first published in 1982, and issued in a 2nd edition in 1992. She also is the author of Ballet: From the First Plie to Mastery, a syllabus for ballet teaching (Routledge, 2002). She is past Chair of the Dance Department at the Chicago Academy of Arts.