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A ballet-master of many years’ experience, Woytek Lowski was uniquely qualified in the art of teaching classical ballet to both students and professionals, in class and in rehearsal. Participants in his classes have included such outstanding international dancers as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova, Gelsey Kirkland, Anthony Dowell and Sylvie Guillem.
The Art of Teaching Classical Ballet passes on Lowski’s considerable expertise on all aspects of teaching classical ballet. After detailed observation and analysis of classwork and ballet technique, Lowski goes on to assess the general purpose of classwork, the responsibilities of both teachers and students, and gives helpful, often humorous advice for the student. He also considers the problems that the aspiring student is likely to encounter on entering the dance profession, such as the demands of adapting to different dance styles and traditions, stage fright, and diet. Finally, a sample class for advanced students is given in full.
More than just a teaching manual, The Art of Teaching Classical Ballet goes considerably beyond the technical aspects of ballet, and provides a muchneeded link between the worlds of the aspiring student and the professional dancer. It will prove to be an invaluable all-round guide for teachers, students and performers of classical ballet.
Woytek Lowski studied at the Warsaw Ballet School and at the Vaganova Choreographic School in Leningrad. He joined the Warsaw Opera Ballet in 1958, and in 1964 won the silver medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition. From 1966-71 he danced with Maurice Béjart’s Ballet of the Twentieth Century, creating roles in Béjart’s Romeo and Juliet, Baudelaire, and Actus Tragicus, amongst others. After appearing with Tanz-Forum in Cologne and the Ballet de Marseille, he became a premier danseur at the Boston Ballet, 1973-79. Later he held the post of ballet-master at American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and English National Ballet, and taught widely in countries all over the world. After his death in 1995, the Woytek Lowski Foundation was set up in Poland to help aspiring young dancers.
Woytek Lowski was a legend, quite simply one of the most knowledgeable and inspiring ballet teachers I have ever known. I was lucky enough to be taught by him and since his untimely death I have missed his classes and his presence - any dancer who worked with him will say the same.
I have soaked every bit of advice contained within this book. I just wish it was a bit longer, but every line is precious.
The last part consists of a transcript of a whole ballet class, for which a tape recording by Jonathan Still once existed. Sadly the recording is no longer available but the exercises can be used with different music, though it would have been good to hear the exact speed that Lowski had set.
Naturally I can't recommend this book enough and I do believe it should be made available as an e-book, along with the recording.