How exciting is it to take a masterclass by a new teacher? Masterclasses are great opportunities to grow, expand your knowledge and get noticed as a dancer. But how can we make the most out of a masterclass? I’m sharing with you every piece of advice that I received from my teachers in this article!
Be open minded
Step into the class with a “fresh brain”. By that, I mean be open to anything and everything you’re about to experience. Go ahead and try something new, especially when you’re taking a masterclass with a teacher you don’t know. Forget about your current style and pay attention to what characterizes that teacher and their style. How do they step into a position to prepare for the exercise? Is there anything remarkable about their port de tete and port de bras? What music do they choose?
Of course, a plié will always be a plié. But you might find some minor nuances that make a big difference in the final result. The dynamics, for example. A simple plié can transmit softness and peace through a very even dynamic or it can be captivating and mysterious through a sharp and uneven dynamic. This concept reminds me of Noverre and his classification of movements. Have you ever heard of it? You can check it out here.
The purpose of a masterclass is to teach you something new, and inspire you. Most of the time, the person hosting the class shares much more than simply technical advice: they get more personal and talk about their own experience. That’s when a masterclass becomes very interesting to me.
Go beyond the dance and absorb information about the person, about their style and their values. All this information will enrich you as an artist, and that’s what you’re looking for. Notice if there is a particular sentence that the teacher often repeats, a message that they are trying to get across, an anecdote about themselves.
Review with perspective
After the masterclass, take a moment to rewind key moments. Note down sentences that caught your attention, combinations and exercises that you liked along with what you liked about them. It might seem obvious, but the more specific you are, the better you will remember and you’ll thank yourself for noting down “details” when you’ll go back to those notes in the future and they actually make sense.
Think of the main takeaways and reflect on how you can make use of them in your day to day life and in your dancing. In the end, if everything you learned only remains a sentence written somewhere, it’s not going to be very useful.
Class is not a warm-up
I remember taking a masterclass with Julio Bocca once. He kept saying that “class is not a warm up”, but I only discovered the true meaning of his words once I took the time to reflect on them.
“Class is not a warm up” means that I should arrive to the barre ready to work. How? This warm up routine or the “Everyday preparation” are my top favorites. ”Class is not a warm up” also means that I should work on my technique during this time, whether I am a student or an experienced dancer. The concrete actions I took after were to rethink the way I prepare for class and the intent I was setting myself for each practice session.
I hope that this article gave you some interesting ideas on how to make the most out of your next masterclass. What is your favorite piece of advice? What else would you add from your own experience? Let me know!