The pure imagination of young dancers playing pretend games sometimes disappears before the age of fourteen or younger. It is replaced by self consciousness. It is a shame that this is what destroys the fun of mime in a character being portrayed in a ballet story. Can it be that the loss of imagination also be caused by too much “spoon feed” entertainment (tv, video games etc.) that dulls the need for dancers to create their own worlds of fantasy?
Ballet teachers have an important job. That is to avoid producing the super technical machines now being cultivated in this day and age for competition and sport and to place a little belief in fantsay to produce a ballet dancer to their most highest potential. The traditional mime of classical ballet is a very special art and it is becoming lost in the some of the neighborhood dance schools. In recent years,( since the weekly ballet class is not nearly long enough for any addition besides ballet techinque and choreogtaphy) a new type of class has cropped up. This class is beneficial in taking over where traditional mime class has been lost. This new class is called Musical Theater. Although the choreographic steps in a Musical Theater class, most times is either novelty or jazz, the fantasy in dance is brought back to the dancer by mime excerises and then included by second nature in their dance piece. Therefore, completing their ballet background.
The lesson plan of a Musical Theater class, besides a warm up for the body and legs, should always be devoted to making nonexistent objects beome visible. If for example, the excerise is to open a door with a key, the dancer must see what sort of key ring is taken out of the pocket and when it is returned to the pocket, the pocket must be in exactly the same place as before. Another excerise is showing weight of an imaginary object. Good creation of mime should also be small groups of the class or the entire the class working together on an image or idea with out prior rehearsal. Emotions are also part of the typical Musical Theater class.
Musical Theater class is an extention of Ballet class, where not just important technique is involved but the imagination, a very necessary ingredient in a dancer when being chosen as a character in a choreographic story ballet.