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The mind/body connection and the practice of classical ballet

by Emma Dixon
Research in Dance Education ()
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This paper examines two very different approaches to dance training, ballet technique and the somatic discipline of Topf technique ('TT'). It explores and evaluates the application of TT to ballet training. Initially, what is meant by the term 'mind/body connection' is discussed, and then the paper examines, in a theoretical and a practical sense, how TT can enhance ballet training in order to make the discovery of the mind/body connection a possibility. It considers the advantages, disadvantages and practicality of this application. At times the paper generates far more questions than it is able to answer, such as: 'how do we educate somatically aware teachers?', but it neverthe-less presents a viable and convincing argument in favour of this approach to dance education. This paper is limited to considering the application of one somatic discipline to ballet technique and should be viewed as an introductory exploration of this complex issue.

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