She is versed in the ballet ‘cross-training’ | Life
With the official launch of the Moscow Movement Arts Center on Monday, instructor Rachel Dodson said she offers local dancers or aspiring dancers of all ages a combination of accessible mentorship and world-class ballet training.
Dodson said she currently teaches at two locations on White Avenue and the classes offer a range of options and schedules. She said her youngest student was 2 years old and her oldest was around 70 years old. She said the time students spend in her studio depends on their age and level of engagement.
For those who want to dance recreationally, Dodson said she offers programs that require a relatively light commitment, but those who want a more focused and regulated type of training have the option of attending classes more frequently. Classes range from teaching ballet technique and one-off work to more specialized training methodologies.
“We have a conservatory program for the most targeted students, and those students take several days a week, sometimes several hours a day,” Dodson said. “They take ballet technique and occasional work lessons. They also take classes on those alternative training methods that I am certified for, called “progressive ballet technique” and “master stretch”. “
Dodson said these two methods are known as “cross-training” techniques. She said the main stretch is a kind of workout that involves a specialized shoe that helps dancers lengthen the backs of their legs, relax their muscles, and avoid straining the joints while encouraging fluidity of movement. .
Dodson describes the progressive ballet technique as a conditioning method that gradually trains the body to safely endure the rigors of dancing while minimizing the risk of injury.
“We are not made for (ballet) as humans,” she said. “So cross training in a way that strengthens those parts of the body that are really used abnormally for your average pedestrian… you can’t rate how well that complements the normal technique class. “
Dodson said she wants her classes to be accessible to anyone who wants to learn. Although she provides a professional level of training for those who want it, she said that dancing can give people a valuable medium that cannot be found anywhere else, even if they don’t have the plan to join a professional dance company.
Originally from California, Dodson has spent more than 30 years teaching and training dance, with a particular emphasis on ballet, but students have said his classes are not the typical and formidable fare.
“She has the ability to make the classroom safer, which is very, very strange for a dance environment,” said student Melissa Godfrey, whose daughter also trains with Dodson. “It’s a very safe and loving environment to make mistakes and grow – and in ballet you are expected to be perfect.”
Carmel Minogue, another adult Dodson student, said that Dodson’s training methods, especially the progressive ballet technique, helped her advance her technique relatively quickly.
Minogue said that for those who grew up doing it, dancing becomes an irreplaceable part of life. She said for her it’s both a hobby and a passion.
“It’s almost like a form of meditation in a way,” Minogue said. “You really have to focus with your body, with the music, and you always have to work in groups.”