School Notes: Character Dance Training for Teachers

When Kansas City Ballet School (KCBS) teacher Racheal Nye wanted to find a workshop to augment her character teaching, her searches came up empty.

As a full-time ballet teacher, character training is very important to really help students develop the nuances of character dances in ballets like Giselle, Swan Lake, among others. Typically character dances represent cultural regions and include subtle nuances that give clues to the lands and people they represent.

“Character Dance class is really only used for ballet, but when I couldn’t find any training courses out there for teachers I was still surprised. So, I did what anyone would do, I decided to find a way to create one,” Nye said.

Nye found a respected character expert, Inna Stabrova, and invited her to lead a 13-hour teaching workshop June 12-14 at the Bolender Center. This workshop is open to any interested dance teachers. At the completion of the workshop, teachers will earn certification in Character Dance.

Download the flier here. For more information on schedule, accommodations, or further questions please contact Racheal Nye at Rnye@kcballet.org.

To learn more about character dances, Dance Studio Life has an interesting article here.

who can benefit?

Lisa Sirridge, a teacher in Kansas City Ballet Schools Studio Division: “My interest in attending the Character Training Workshop stems from when I had the opportunity to perform character dance. It was first introduced to me through Tatiana Dokoudovska when I danced with the Kansas City Civic Ballet [which later became Kansas City Ballet]. It was always a style of dance I enjoyed along with ballet. I also have a very strong eastern European heritage and many of my family members were involved with the Tamburitzans, a group of Croatian musicians, singers and folk dancers. Growing up with this style of folk dance, I quickly saw a connection with character dance. Even though character dance is a subdivision of classical dance, you could still see a little bit of the eastern European flavor. My hope through this training is to learn the proper technique and to learn about the many different styles of character dance. Most of what was taught to me was through choreography and not in a formal class.”

It’s not just teachers who can benefit from character dance training. Yee-Sik Wong, an accompanist from Kansas City Ballet School also plans to attend: “I have never played for a character class before, but I know they use very specific music like Czardas, Russian dance music, Ukrainian music, etc. that are not very often used in a ballet class. I will have opportunity to play for character classes this summer, so I think it is time for me to learn more about the music used in character class and start building up my repertoire for character class.”

Inna Stabrova Biography

State Vaganova Ballet Academy

Vaganova School of Choreography

Master’s Degree: Odessa Choreographic Institute Ukraine

View clips of Inna’s Character Instructional Videos

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