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Let Them Dance: A Preparation for Dance and Life
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Movement is life. Things that grow in the soil or in the sea are stimulated by the elements. They are swayed by the wind or the tide and expand in the warmth of the sun. Animals rejoice in exerting themselves by running, jumping, swimming and flying. Very young children, in common with other young animals, experience great excitement in uncontrolled movement, but as they grow older they learn the necessity of harnessing their energy for specific purposes, such as sport or dancing. It is important that the joy of moving should be retained, even as it is brought under precise control.
In this book, Laurel Martyn brings to bear over thirty years experience in teaching both professional and amateur dancers. She shows how younger children, between the ages of five and ten, can learn the basic skills of movement and learn to control their movements within the capabilities of their age-groups. She proposes a system of clear and carefully graded exercises at the end of which a child can move easily into classical ballet classes, or have had the foundations laid for modern dance, jazz dance, folk dance, and indeed for life itself.
Laurel Martyn, born in Brisbane, was an early member of the Vic-Wells Ballet. She returned to Australia in 1938, joining the Borovansky Ballet and soon becoming its prima ballerina. In 1946 she began to stage ballets for the Melbourne Ballet Club, which grew into Ballet Victoria, of which for nearly thirty years Laurel Martyn was principal choreographer. She was also the director of Ballet Victoria’s school, and developed and perfected the teaching system explained in this book.
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