Workshop with the Heinrich-Böll-Oberschule

The most renowned ballet is “Swan Lake“ with the music of Peter I. Tschaikowsky. But what is this piece actually about? And since when do people dance ballet?

These questions among others will be answered in a workshop, which Tanz ist KLASSE! e.V. offers to school classes. On Friday, January 19th2018 a school class of the Heinrich-Böll-Oberschule visited us to get an insight into the Staatsballett Berlin and to learn more about the production “Swan Lake” which they wanted to visit in the evening of the same day.

Our dance pedagogue Bettina Thiel welcomed the class in the Deutsche Oper Berlin where the Staatsballett Berlin has its dance studios.  

After the students had changed their clothes, Bettina Thiel took them to one of the new ballet studios. At first our pedagogue told the class a lot about the history of dance and especially ballet, she also talked about the Staatsballett Berlin.

After this theoretical part, Bettina Thiel started with the basic positions of the feet and arms which the students could try on their own, followed by a warm-up which serves to get the circulation going and to stretch the muscles.

After the warm-up the students went to the ballet barre where Bettina Thiel showed them the first exercise of the day of every dancer. The students could try the exercise “plié” in the different basic positions which they learned before.

A major part of ballet are jumps and turns. That is why the teenagers also accomplished different exercises, for example to jump as high and far as possible or to turn without feeling dizzy.

After those general exercises of ballet, Bettina Thiel focused on the production “Swan Lake” of the Staatsballett Berlin. Many of the participants were not familiar with the story of this piece in the production of Patrice Bart. Therefore, our pedagogue told them the short version of the story and showed them some stage pictures.

After that, Bettina Thiel studied with the class the part where Odette and Prince Siegfried meet for the first time. In this part, the dancers use a lot of gestures and mimes, the so-called ballet pantomime, which the students learned playfully during the workshop.

Just before the workshop was over, the students could visit a part of the daily training of the professional dancers and watch them in the ballet studio. With all the extra information the students could barely wait to visit the performance of “Swan Lake” in the Deutsche Oper Berlin and we hope they enjoyed it.

Text: Luka Katharina Zietemann (FSJ Kultur)