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“This video is a warm and conversational approach to building the strength and technique necessary to be an excellent male dancer. Nothing is omitted. Jhung teaches not only what the body should be doing and why, but also what the dancer should be thinking. “Feel the light on your chest, ears up and back, keep the energy turning and working out, balance with your entire body,” he encourages throughout. Eleven year old Joseph Harringon, newly cast as Billy Elliot, has been studying with Jhung for a year now and carries each exercise out with grace, ability and joy. A cherubic, long-legged young man, he listens attentively to Jhung’s every word. As the exercises become more challenging, Jhung analyzes and corrects, then Joseph repeats. They work without a barre so Joseph may better understand what the muscles are doing and where the weight is, directly in front of the camera as if it were the mirror. For the detailed tendu footwork required to build strong feet, the camera moves in close.

While this DVD is targeted to the boy ballet dancer, it can be a valuable tool for girls and adult ballet students and teachers. Jhung uses helpful props, such as a cord hanging down like a fishing line to demonstrate the importance of the supporting side, a spinning top to illustrate how the body must stretch up, twist and push down to turn, and a rubber bow and arrow that shows the trajectory (the cow jumped over the moon) and landing for leaps. “Jumping is emotional”, affirms Jhung, “It’s explosive, while turning is rational—two very different feelings that can be in the same dance and music.” At the end of the exercises Jhung interviews Joseph and the viewer gains further insight about the focus and commitment required to be a serious dancer. Jhung compliments him on his consistency, openness to learning and continued improvement. The mutual respect and admiration between teacher and student is a lesson unto itself.” – Giannella M. Garrett, New York City, NY
 
 


 

 

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