Dance education

Tech raises the bar for dance education students | the life

Ballet is defined as an artistic dance that uses defined steps and gestures. It has become known to be beneficial to both physical and mental health.

Texas Tech students are offered ballet lessons, and Ryleigh deMontalvo, a freshman dance student from Dallas, said ballet was the reason she succeeded in her field.

“Everything you learn in a dance can be applied to some aspect of life. From teamwork to the ability to learn complex information in a short time and the ability to apply it physically or mentally, dance teaches you how to live life,” deMontalvo said. “I also think ballet and dance is something you can learn and start at any time in life.”

For most ballet students, they started following ballet at a young age and continue to pursue it throughout their college career.

“I actually started doing ballet at 18 months because I wanted to be in class with my older sister following it and I would keep crying until they let me dance,” deMontalvo said. “I think every child should be put into dancing from an early age. It helps in all aspects of life, such as memory, balance, coordination and a sense of expression which is important for all young children.

Kyla Olson, associate practice teacher and acting head of dance, said ballet classes are offered every semester and are taught by teachers.

Ballet classes are open to all majors, Olson said.

“All students can participate in placement juries and be placed in a technique class or enroll in our lower level classes. We have an introductory dance technique class that is offered every fall that any student can enroll in,” Olson said. “And that automatically allows you to take Ballet I, which is usually offered in the spring semester. So we try to offer dance lessons for non-majors, but since we have a lot of students to start with, we don’t always have the possibility of having outside students to take these lessons.

Olson said Tech is an institution of learning and always welcomes students who venture outside of their own field.

“They are able to progress, so it really depends on each person. I think ballet, especially at this time, is a very well-known style of dance,” Olson said. “It’s technically the oldest dance style, I guess, in terms of a codified system, but I think ballet is very recognizable in pop culture, and I think a lot of people see it and appreciate its value. They also like the grace of the ballet and I think that attracts a lot of people.

Most students who major in dance or have taken ballet classes continue to teach ballet, Olson said.

“A lot of them work for studios or go into the school system and teach and I’m sure ballet is one of them,” Olson said. “We have students pursuing non-dance related careers, but they’re still going to, you know, adult ballet classes and their local studios. And then, you know, we have a very small number of students pursuing and pursuing ballet as a profession, working with a small company or with a larger company.

There is a plethora of professional dancers who only started dancing in their early and late twenties, deMontalvo said.

Yvonne Racz Key, a ballet teacher at Tech, said she teaches her lessons based on anatomy to help students learn how ballet works.

“My own personal pedagogy involves a job involving the anatomy and anatomy of the body in ballet class so you know how your muscles and bones work and how to activate and access them safely, to prevent injury but also to promote strength and…to execute technique to the best of your ability and everyone is built differently,” Racz Key said. “Also in doing that, I’m also implementing a lot of musicality, because I believe that it brings out the artistry and emotion in the dance.” deMontalvo said that dance, especially ballet, is overlooked in many aspects of life.

“It helps everyone involved in so many ways and I think it can really help you express yourself, which I think is lacking in society right now,” deMontalvo said. “If you couldn’t say I love dance, but I want to express the importance it has on a person’s physical and mental well-being. It gives you a supportive community and an environment that helps you helps you keep improving, which is such a positive thing.