Teaching Tips
Photo courtesy of Koelliker

Sick of doing the same old stuff in technique class? Needing some across-the-floor combo inspiration? We caught up with three teachers from different areas of the country to bring you some of their favorite material for their day-to-day classes.

You're welcome!


Nick Lanzisera: Millennium Dance Complex, Edge Performing Arts Center and Transcend Dance Convention

Go-to across-the-floor combo (perfect for a teen convention room!)

Photo by Aidan Gibney, courtesy of Lanzisera

1. Chassé arabesque.

2. Pass through passé and prepare.

3. Double or triple pirouette.

4. Plié chaîné into a sustained fankick, hold.

5. Break into an attitude.

6. Slide into a step, step grande jeté.

"The goal is to do it once normal, and then a second time but with movement quality added."


Karli Koelliker: Dance Academy USA, Cupertino, California

Simple across-the-floor to warm up turns

Photo courtesy of Koelliker

"I love this one because it is super-simple, but works a lot of things. I think sometimes kids just need to go back to basics before diving into really hard turns/tricks/etc. This combo will help them find their center, high relevé and control."

1. Start facing the mirror.

2. In plié (make sure they are working into the floor with strong arms) take four steps (right, then cross behind left, then right then into prep for pirouette) counts 1,2,3,4.

2. Hold passé for counts 5 and 6, then plié with a forced arch, and extend the arms to second on counts 7,8.

3. Repeat the initial four steps in plié facing the mirror.

4. Next, do a single pirouette (very slow and controlled) on counts 5,6, then hold and plié into forced arch with extended arms into second on counts 7,8.

5. Again, repeat the four steps in plié facing the mirror.

6. This time, do a double pirouette on counts 5,6, then stop and hold in forced arch with extended arms on counts 7,8.

7. Finally, repeat four steps in plié facing the mirror.

8. Go for a quad on 5,6,7,8.


Laila Hardman: Technique teacher at Studio C in Boise, Idaho. Founder of London Dance Project in London, England; and owner of The Dance Project SLC in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Favorite technique combination for spotting


"This combination helps dancers perfect spotting and directional changes, while challenging their minds to think."

1. Start with a pas de bourrée on your right foot facing the front.

2. Next, do a half pas de bourrée, which turns your body to face the back and lunge.

3. Single turn to the back with the balance.

4. Repeat steps but start facing the back, and finishing with a lunge to the front.

5. Do one-and-a-half turns to finish facing back.

6. Then do another pas de bourrée + half bourrée to lunge front.

7. Double pirouette to finish front.

8. Finally do another pas de bourrée plus half bourrée to lunge back.

9. Two-and-a-half pirouettes facing front to finish.

NYCB's Tiler Peck talks about her greatest mentor.

Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations

There's a reason New York City Ballet's Tiler Peck climbed from the corps de ballet to principal dancer in less than five years. She brings a fresh spark to each role she performs. In NYCB's "Tchaikovsky Celebration" (through February 24), Peck will dance everything from George Balanchine's bright and whimsical Allegro Brillante to tutu ballet Theme and Variations. She thanks Tina Caspary for giving her the ability to bring artistry to diverse repertoire. The two met at Studio C in California, where Peck trained from age 6 to 13.

"Tina made me a performer at a young age. She showed me that watching other dancers can give you so much knowledge. Collect what you like about their dancing in your head, then pick out what feels good and make it your own. It isn't the big steps that build the artistry of a role. The way you take your partner's hand and how you place your feet in sous-sus can mean so many different things."

Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of NYCB

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