A revolution in dance training has arrived — OnStage Blog


Although she is only in her 30s, ballet star Kathryn Morgan has been ahead of her time for about a decade – apparently anticipating the extraordinary change that has taken place in dance training (thanks to the pandemic) d about seven years.

Kathryn was a member of the New York City Ballet where she had an extraordinary rise within the company. She danced roles such as Juliet, Aurora and The Sugar Plum Fairy right from the start and was promoted to soloist just three years after joining as an apprentice. She appeared on The Today Show, won the Wein Award, Movado Future Legends Award, Janice Levin Award, and continued to dance as a soloist with the Miami City Ballet and guest with many companies across the country. But perhaps what sets Kathryn apart the most is her online platform. After developing a medical condition that threatened to derail her career, Kathryn was (one of, if not the) first person in the dance industry to create an online channel that offered free classes, tutorials, tips and tricks, and a behind-the-scenes look. to be a professional dancer. Not only is she an amazing teacher, but she is a mentor and true inspiration to a huge and diverse online community and strives to change the conversation about mental health, sizeism and training within the arts community. in general.

And everyone thought she was “crazy” when she started.

“I think people,” Kathryn explains, “Especially a lot of my colleagues…there’s this vision of smoke and mirrors, that everything has to be perfect and seamless and we’re these ethereal beings, and I was pulling the webs spiders and pulling the curtains on it and I think people were a little scared… they were like, ‘I don’t know if this is a good idea, she’s going to ruin the ballet world! We’re not supposed to give clues, tips and tricks! (But) I remember being eleven years old and no one taught me how to sew or tie my pointe shoes… So everyone was a little worried. (Cut) seven years later… “

What Kathryn has ushered in is an era that allows you access to the best teachers in the world often for free (or if not, at very little cost.) Previously, you were locked into whatever training you could access locally, and what you could afford. If you wanted to learn the famous Vaganova technique, you had to be born in Russia and be accepted into the elite Vaganova Academy. You can now view a YouTube video with soloist and rising Mariinsky star (and recent Vaganova graduate) Maria Khorava. Do you like the Royal Ballet or the Paris Opera? Subscribe to their YouTube channel and you can take classes with the company. Fancy a Pilates cross-training or a stretching class, or really working on your advanced technique? Check out Claudia Dean or Kathryn Morgan and choose from a range of (free) full videos. Want to really hone your tap dancing skills? Rent a class or sign up for a virtual group class with current Broadway’s leading tapper, Danny Gardner. And some of those teachers (Morgan and Gardner for sure) are offering virtual private sessions.

But not only does it provide an easy way to take a course and improve access and quality of training, it literally changes the landscape of art and technique around the world. We are stepping out of the realm of dancers specializing in whatever technique they had access to – it is now possible to pair Vaganova shouldering with Balanchine footwork – Broadway style tap dancing with the intricacies of ‘hoofing’ . And dancers are starting to do it at younger and younger ages. The “secrets” of dance training are now open to the public, and it is exciting to imagine how this will change dance in the years to come. It also allows adult students or performers who are not primarily dancers (or some type of dancer) to access premium training. Many of the best ballet schools won’t let you take classes unless you’re preparing to become a professional ballerina…many ballet dancers may be too scared to jump into a tap class out of nowhere…adults, depending on their location and their profession, may find themselves in a no-mans-land of being too old to attend the kids’ classes, but not being a “pro” and having access to business class.

This new online landscape has improved my art and technique probably more than all the in-person classes I’ve taken in the past five years combined. I’ve learned secrets that were once known only to the in-person selected students of a specific teacher – and guess what? Some of the things I struggled with weren’t “just me”, it was that I didn’t have the “secret” varied approaches that a few have had for centuries. I can customize my daily training based on what I need, not what is available locally, and I can train anywhere, anytime, whether at home or in backstage (some shows and dance companies collectively host one of Kathryn’s classes to warm up together before a show.) I’m not suggesting that virtual classes should ever replace in-person ones (far from it! In-person corrections , the camaraderie and just the general atmosphere are priceless and a big part of why we’re dancing in the first place!) But I don’t think there’s ever been a rival extra tool in the history of dance as a structured art form.

I encourage both students and teachers to jump in and enjoy this wonderful new world that is opening up for us! Whether you are a seasoned professional or someone who just wants to dip a toe into the world of dance, and anyone in between, this is the future of dance training, and I look forward to see the incredible benefits it provides in both the short and long term future of technique, art and dance in general. Imagine if dancers across time could collaborate with each other, instead of trying to figure things out individually. This is the frontier we stand on now and I couldn’t be more excited!

Here are the artists I would most highly recommend:

Catherine Morgan

(Ballet (Balanchine)/Stretch/Pilates/Conditioning)

Chanel YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/c/Tutugirlkem

Website: https://kathrynmorganonline.com

Maria Khorava

(Ballet (Vaganova)/Stretching/Conditioning)

Chanel YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/c/MariaKhoreva

Danny Gardner


Rentable tap lessons on demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/dannygardnertapclasses

Weekly Virtual Class Live at Steps – Mondays, 5:30-7:00 PM EST: https://www.stepsnyc.com/faculty/bio/Danny-Gardner/

royal ballet

(Virtual ballet lessons as well as filmed coaching sessions focusing on intention, technique, and artistry in their rep’s pieces.)

Class example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNQWyWuvz_U&t=439s

Youtube channel : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHS5XKgf2FCBF8pZllE_bjw

You can find my full interview with Kathryn here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDNOROfpQYs&t=85s

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