Last week at The New York City Dance Alliance Finals, former New York City Ballet soloist Kurt Froman and Andy Veyette, a current NYCB principal, led classes at the Outstanding Dancer scholarship auditions.
Although seasoned professionals, they both admit that teaching at a convention can be overwhelming.
“It was a very new experience to be holding a microphone while teaching,” says Veyette, who regularly teaches at the School of American Ballet. “I told my students I felt like I was a game-show host.”
Unlike a regular class with ballet barres, mirrors and sprung marley floors, Froman tailors a convention class by using chairs for stability and quickly moving to center work.
“All of these factors can be a bit disorienting to students who aren’t used to dancing at conventions,” says Froman, “so I try to emphasize core-muscle engagement as well as really holding their back muscles. This can help correct any swayback posture problems and give them a bit more control over their bodies for center work.”
“Conventions are a wonderful setup for me to pass on information to big groups of kids who I typically wouldn’t encounter in my classes at Steps,” says Froman, who’s now known for grooming Hollywood actresses to play ballerinas on screen, like Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman.
“In my experience as a dancer and a teacher, dancing well is about being efficient,” says Veyette. “Oftentimes we simply get in our own way. In this way teaching in a convention setting doesn’t change too much. However, it was a bit daunting looking out at such a large group of dancers,” he says. “But I can’t say enough about how hard the students of NYCDA worked for me in my brief time with them.”