Be Yourself in Dance

Interview with EléOnore Guérineau about her carreer and her blog

Introduction of Eléonore

Two years ago, I had the chance to meet Eléonore, usually a soloist at the Paris Opera Ballet, during her sabbatical at the Zurich Ballet.  Back in Paris, Eléonore recently created her own blog in which she tries to share her experience with other young dancers.  This gave me the opportunity for another interview with her.

 What was it like to return to the Ballet de Paris after your time in Zurich?

I was a little afraid of returning to the Paris Opera Corps de Ballet. Going from a rather intimate company to a big house again. At the end of my contract with the Zurich Ballet, my family joined me in Zurich until the end of July to enjoy the mild Zurich summer. Then we went back to Paris to prepare for the new school year and get back on our feet as a family, after a whole year cut short and separated from my daughter and husband. I was programmed on the new creation of Crystal Pite, Body and Soul. It was a great opportunity to work again in a creation with this incredible woman and choreographer! After dancing in her first creation Seasons‘ Canon with the Ballet de l’Opéra de Paris, I was really looking forward to going back to the studio with Crystal Pite for a new ballet. To discover what this new creation could bring us to discover even more of her work. And to live the final result on stage with great enthusiasm. So my return to the Paris Opera Ballet was more intimate than I had initially imagined, because the first rehearsals were those of pas de deux. Then it was the group rehearsals, with the famous energetic and supportive power of its work. And finally Garnier’s first return to the stage with this magnificent creation. A first series of very intense shows where I had the chance to dance a few pas de deux. Moreover during the series, Christian Spuck came to discover the new creation of Crystal Pite, and it made me very happy to be able to see him again after the show and exchange a few words since my departure from Zurich. 

Photo shoot in Jacquemart André Museum © Benoît Pitre

What experiences did you bring from Zurich?

Plenty! 

Human experiences, no doubt. The company is full of humanity, generosity and solidarity support. It is a family. A family that will remain forever engraved in my heart. Each dancer has a singular, authentic personality, and in the company, I have been able to find my place with deep mutual respect. On a human level, it was not only within the company but also outside. I met through acquaintances, Swiss people or people living in Switzerland with big hearts. With great generosity, artistic curiosity, passionate about the journey I was undertaking in Switzerland, these people supported me at every moment of this Zurich experience. I owe them a great debt of gratitude because they looked after me with such kindness and benevolence as I have never known before.

On an artistic level, it was also an unforgettable experience. Of course, there are always ups and downs, but I felt the benevolent trust that people gave me. This feeling is so precious. It allowed me to be more daring in my interpretations, as well as freeing me partly from the weight of judgment I felt when I was dancing in Paris. This liberation took place in several stages and I only enjoyed these effects after my return to Paris. 

It is truly an experience that I would repeat without hesitation. A part of my heart remained in Zurich and it is always with a very great, deep and intense emotion that I remember every moment I spent there.

Read our interview from 2018 about her start with Ballet Zurich https://balletloversblog.com/2018/10/07/ballerina-in-sabbatical/

Eléonore dancing Giselle with Ballet Zurich © Carlos Quezada

 What else did you like about living in Zurich?

Zurich is a really beautiful city, very pleasant to live in, with the lake, mountains and forest just a few minutes away. I often miss it compared to the dreariness of Paris. Nature has allowed me to recharge my batteries on a daily basis during my Zurich experience, especially with a dog! 

I liked everything about Zurich, the calm, security, respect and a certain feeling of serenity in the city. We will certainly return with the family for a few days with great pleasure.

Your blog helps young dancers through the experiences you have accumulated throughout your career.  What is the most important lesson you want to give to young dancers starting their career?

Reveal yourself! Be yourself in dance as much as you are in everyday life. The „how“ is a very personal path, so if something works on the person next door but not on you, don’t get bogged down, keep going. Get inspired but don’t try to copy, it’s impossible. Create yourself and reveal yourself. You are your worst flaw, but also and above all your best quality! Never forget that…

In your blog, you talked about the most common corrections in ballet.  I found it interesting that even experienced dancers still have to actively work on their techniques every day.  Which of the corrections you mentioned is still a problem for you?

I wouldn’t call it a problem, but rather a correction that still requires me to concentrate: tucking in your belly. But I would say that all moms have this concern after a pregnancy so I just stay attentive and vigilant.

But I would especially like to point out that we are always learning, no matter what our level is or how well we are recognized by the world of Dance. Learning and questioning are essential for a dancer if he wants to continue to evolve. 

Thus, in my blog I provide tools that allow more or less seasoned dancers to continue to improve their dance. I thus try to guide them, by an approach led by sensory images to find the sensations of reference to the right dance movement. It is the result of a personal journey over many years of work trying to understand Dance, my dance, and see how to help the younger ones not to lose many years of work that the older ones may have experienced at their expense. I don’t claim to have any infused science on Dance at all, on the contrary. I only share the conclusions of my reflections and personal experiences to make it a help for the future generations who wish it.

Eléonore dancing in Giselle with Paris Opéra Ballet © Agathe Poupeney

ElEonore’s Blog

You can read her blog in French here https://eleonoreguerineau.com/, or have a preview of it below in English.

Why this blog?

Since the beginning of my career as a professional dancer I have always been interested in movement analysis, in understanding the origin of a technical problem, a defect in my dance but also in that of others in order to try to solve them.

I have been awarded my State Diploma of Classical Dance Teacher since 2010 and I have personally experimented with various approaches or methods in the world of dance during my career, but also in complementary fields such as pilates, gyrotonic, for example… Since then, I coach and accompany pre-professional and professional dancers in order to improve the understanding of their dance and help them to correct their defects so that they continue to progress. This both in the technical field, but also by helping them to find their artistic personality.

Wishing to share my approach with as many people as possible in order to develop and enrich it, I wanted to share with you, through this blog, work and research tracks to help you evolve in your dance.

The aim is to allow you to acquire autonomy in your work and thus to give you a panel of tools and images for your daily dance.

My work is essentially based on sensations based on images to allow you to better project them in your body. These sensations become identifiable for you, and will then be easier to recognize and to search for at the right moment.

These sensations aim at correcting posture defects, technical errors and tend towards a more natural dance. 

This work is therefore a summary of all my years of experiences shared with many people in the world of dance and its surroundings, and will certainly continue to evolve with you and my new personal experiences.

THE 5 MOST COMMON CORRECTIONS GIVEN IN BALLET CLASSES: UNDERSTANDING THEM TO CORRECT THEM – April 16, 2020

 „Tuck your buttocks in“, „grow up“, „tuck your belly in“… 

If you have ever taken a ballet class, you might have heard some of these phrases that are typically part of the daily life of both amateur and professional dancers! 

But what do they really mean, how do you understand them, and how do you apply them?

Lets have a look together at the 5 most common ballet corrections:

1. Tuck in your belly,
2. Grow up,
3. Tuck your buttocks in,
4. Lower your shoulders,
5. Stretch your legs out.

Most of the time, these corrective sentences trigger, like a little wave of the wand of our dear old masters, a reflex action without any real reflection. Often chanted by the teacher at the sight of one of the defects corresponding to the correction or simply as a reminder to stay alert during the lesson, we rarely take the time to look at their meanings … But then why these corrections, and especially how to apply them?

These 5 corrections are the fundamentals to acquire the adequate posture in classical dance: a long body with beautiful leg lines. Unfortunately, often an action on one part of the body generates a „natural“ compensatory reaction on the 4 others.

These chain reactions are the result of superimposed corrections, which in some cases will only be the beginning of a long list.

How to apply these corrections?

Some of us will try to go deeper into the question on our own, through discussions with friends who are passionate about dance, through private lessons or through alternative methods (Pilates, Yoga, Gyrotonic, etc…). But is it adapted to your own abilities, to your body? Do you finally manage to apply them in class or in rehearsal?

What if you have your own solution? Running around in your own body and waiting to be used to allow you to continue to progress?

My tools

So that you can adapt these „famous“ corrections to your morphology, your defects and your own sensory perception of your body, I would propose you to use and visualize many images. This will allow you to create your own reference sensations, when you are in the right position, and to memorize it for each moment or similar movement.

I will thus propose you to use the sensory memory in order to create a body memory for each right movement of classical dance.

These memories are the keystones of all my work:
The long term goal is to avoid a long list of corrections for a single movement, but to try to focus on only one sensation for the whole movement through one or more learning images.

Proprioception will be one of the bases of this work, but not only, the use of imagination and visualization will be very important in this process. So keep an open mind, an alert body and shoes ready, your imagination will be your best ally to progress!

See Header Image: Body and Soul by Crystal Pite © Isabelle Aubert

Autor: ballettlovers

I danced ballet as child, albeit with little success. Despite this, my passion for ballet and dance has carried into adulthood. I still love to watch ballet performances and would love to share my passion with you.

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