Dance is comprised of so many little parts… each of which has its own importance and value to what it is as a whole. With my contribution to the Apolla Blog, we’re going to be diving into subsets of our current ‘culture’ – education, training, performing, goings-ones, etc. I cannot wait to get our conversation started!
My first topic is something I feel very strongly about; the importance of (correctly) warming up dancers and instilling in them the imperativeness of doing it on their own, if needed, as well. My teenage self was a very guilty party of doing some abs and rolling through my second split before proudly declaring that I was ready to go onstage. Was I, actually? Absolutely not… there should have been (at bare minimum for the styles I was dancing) some plies, a tendue/degage, some rond de jambes, and grande battements, perhaps… and I should have known that I needed to do it for myself, not because someone was telling me to. This is where instilling a mindset in our students is so important. I’m a firm believer in explaining ‘why’ to my students. I’m asking them to do this because… and then insert my valid reasoning. I have found with this approach that they are much more willing to hear me, and in turn, more likely to utilize whatever the information they are being given is. If this helps even one dancer, then the explanation was well worth the time it took to offer it.
I know, often, warm-up time is the sacrificial lamb, so to speak, in a classroom or rehearsal (or even pre-performance) where time is at a premium and needed for other things, but I offer up this question and hope to hear your feedback and replies. Can we afford to sacrifice warm-up time if it potentially leaves our students at risk of injury…which then could have a long recovery time? Do we take the extra 20(ish) minutes to ensure a thorough warm-up, or do we risk a dancer being out for 3 months when something like their tracking is off because we were ‘penny wise and pound foolish’ with our studio time?
For me, I would rather take the time. I’ve included a short video of clips from my warm-up with some of my dancers and hope it might provide a touch of inspiration to find the fun in the challenge we face in prioritizing our classrooms.
Safe dancing is smart dancing, and technique is freedom… I can’t wait to hear from you!
Emily Bufferd is the Producer of The Young Choreographer’s Festival, an annual event in NYC presenting the most up-and-coming choreographers, described by Dance Spirit Magazine as, "The perfect way to get inspired.” An Educator in NYC she has taught for World Dance Movement – The International Workshop/Switzerland, University of Alabama, Jazz on Tap – Atlanta, The Eglevsky Ballet, First-Act in Paris, Google Headquarters, 360 Dance Festival, and The Annual Teacher Workshop presented by The Pulse On Tour, among others.
As the Choreographer for Made to Dance in Burning Buildings presented by Joe’s Pub at The Public, OnStageBlog.com, “The show was choreographed brilliantly…”. Emily’s concert choreography (BEings) has been presented at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joyce SoHo, Symphony Space, the 92nd St. Y, New York Moves, The Giving Tree Benefit, The Showcase Series, The Choreographer’s Canvas, The Elan Summer Dance Festival, and Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, among others. Described as, “technically superb and amazingly emotive.” -Examiner.com, and “a display of versatility…” -The DancEnthusiast. Her award-winning work continues to be commissioned by dance companies and private studios around the country and abroad.
Emily has served on the selection panel for Dumbo Dance Festival/Wave Rising Series (2010-2019), as guest host for the Hatch Presenting Series at The Works Studio, and is the former Co-Producer of APAP at Peridance. She was the Production Coordinator for Director Wes Veldink, Aimee G.’s 2017 Spring Line, and Assistant Choreographer to Pascal Rekoert, Berenik’s Fall 2017 Fashion Week.
Emily has performed at venues Teatro Galileo (Spain), Carnegie Hall, The Kravis Center, and Lincoln Center, the documentary ‘The 20Something Project’, The View with Outkast, Westy Films ‘Dancebreak’ choreographed by Ginger Cox, and The Beanstalk Foundation/Michele Assaf, among others.
Emily has been featured by Dance Spirit, Dance Informa, Dance Mogul Magazine, Dance Studio Life Magazine, The Dance Podcast, and the television show Inside NYC Dance, and Apolla is proud to bring her on our team of writers for our blog, The Muse, aimed at giving dancers the education they need to have long and strong dance careers and lives!