August 12, 2015

Back to Being a Ballet Student



This is my teacher Marie Greve. Before she came to Helsinki, she was a Principal Dancer at the Royal Danish Ballet, and before that, she danced at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. She's danced all the big roles: Juliet, Giselle, Odette/Odile, as well as choreographies by Bournonville, Balanchine, and Forsythe (to name a few). Alexei Ratmansky created Anna Karenina on her, and John Neumeier his Little Mermaid. She has the most beautiful port de bras I've ever seen on any dancer, and mile-long legs that extend past six o'clock without any effort. She looks elegant in everything that she does. All of this would be impressive by itself, but Marie also happens to be the most nurturing teacher I've ever had.

I was already forty when I had my first classes with her, but she held my hand to help me with a balance on pointe and sat down onto the floor to shape my foot into a beautiful arch. In the past almost-five years, she's given countless corrections and adjustments, her patience and good humour never wavering. She saw potential where I saw obstacles. She's encouraged me to "play with my port de bras", to "colour" my dancing, and to make it interesting. Marie has made me work and dance in ways I did not know where even possible for a middle-aging late-starter ballet student like myself. It hasn't always been easy (but when is ballet ever easy?). At times, I've struggled, been frustrated, even negative. Not the kind of student you'd be happy to teach... Still, she did not give up on me. I had to learn my lessons, adjust my attitude and re-discover both the joy and discipline of ballet. Which is why I love her classes to bits. Today, Marie's back after a four-month long break - and I cannot wait to be her student once again!


This post is dedicated to all those wonderful ballet teachers who guide, correct, encourage, nurture, motivate and inspire us  - without you it would not be the same amazing experience. Thank you!





P.S. For readers and ballet students in the Helsinki area: Marie-Pierre Greve teaches at Tanssikeskus Footlight, Wednesday evenings (levels basic to advanced) and Tuesday & Thursday mornings (intermediate/advanced/pro). Note: This endorsment is completely unsolicited, I do not receive any benefits or class price reductions.

12 comments:

  1. Yes, there are those teachers who really make you grow. My current teacher is challenging me, but he is also extremely supportive. He has quite a temper, but he loves to teach. I am not the perfect student, either. I am shy, self-conscious, stubborn, sometimes slow, but at least never lazy. And my teacher appreciates hard work.

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    1. You can add shy and self-conscious to my list also... And just like you, I'm a hard worker! I can be the laziest person at home, but never in ballet class :). About your teacher with a temper: I'd rather take the temper & love for teaching, than a nice but indifferent teacher who gives class, instead of teaching it. I'm happy that you get to be challenged!

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  2. You make me want to visit Helsinki to just take one of her classes!:) I'm glad you have such a good teacher!

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    1. Thank you! And you're welcome any time! I'll save you a spot at the barre... :)

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  3. can't wait to hear more about how you've been getting on after the break, your blog is a real pleasure to follow :)

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    1. Thank you! Do you follow Point Til You Drop's facebook page? It's where my daily updates are, also about ballet class... :) https://www.facebook.com/PointeTilYouDrop

      - Johanna

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  4. I love your style of writing :) After this post I want to go to Helsinki for ballet class :)

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  5. What a wonderful teacher she sounds so amazing and what beautiful studios

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  6. Thank you both! Yes, she's definitely a wonderful teacher... Worth the trip to Helsinki! ;)

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  7. Its really appreciating work out i am so happy to see this you have very
    beautiful blog about ballet lots of people taking apart of ballet thanks .


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