Janet L. Springer
Springer’s first classical dance teacher was Maestro (Mikhail) Pianowski, who for thirteen years was the ballet master, from Poland, for Anna Pavlova’s Ballet Company. Anna Pavlova, of course, was trained in St. Petersburg, Russia and had her own ballet company which toured the world. Pianowski eventually went to Amarillo, TX to teach ballet at the Conservatory of Music and worked with Springer’s ballet teacher Neil Hess. Springer took private ballet lessons with Pianowski. Early on, she found herself teaching others around her and was constantly analyzing the movements she was studying. She spent three summers at The National Music Camp, Interlochen, Michigan with Sheila Reilly and Joe Kaminiski (Chicago Opera Ballet) and Gay Delanghe (Head, modern and choreographer/performer, Interlochen). After graduating high school in Amarillo, she studied ballet with Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekov (DeBasil’s Ballet Russe and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo), Maria de Baroncelli (Ballet Russe - original) and Rosella Hightower (guest) at the University of Oklahoma – the first fully accredited university dance program in the U.S. – receiving a B.F.A. in Dance.
She went on to receive training from Marina Svetlova (DeBasil’s Ballet Russe-Original), Jurgen Pagels (Character Dance, a student of Preobrajenska), John Kriza (American Ballet Theater), Kenneth Melville (London’s Festival Ballet) and Anton Dolin (Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe) at Indiana University – receiving an M.S. in Ballet. When finishing up at Indiana University, she took a teacher’s course with John Barker in New York City. He introduced her to the forms and logic connected to Kostrovitskaya’s Six Year Program and the “method of teaching classical dance” and she immediately understood the importance of it. (Springer attended all of Barker's teachers' courses until he closed his school. She then worked with him for more than 30 years afterwards.) Being 5’8” tall, and despite loving to perform, she decided then, to put her love of analyzing movement first. She stopped performing and decided to teach and direct. Three ballet schools and companies later, including ten years as Founder of the New York School of Classical Dance, New York, NY, she started Classical Dance Alliance, Inc. in 2002. She traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg to the Vaganova Ballet Academy eight times to attend ballet conferences and competitions, meeting with faculty and conferring with major pedagogical specialists.
Springer, as Executive Director of CDA, has produced international festivals, events, and courses for teachers in association with world renowned teaching artists and artistic directors. She hopes that all of her effort, and that of the Board of Directors, and teaching artists associated with CDA, will continue to inspire associates in America and beyond to master the art and craft of classical dance.
One cannot assume, that if a person has danced, they can automatically, in a coherent manner, pass on the information they know to students. However, it is possible to accomplish that when ballet teachers are thoroughly trained to teach. A dancer may or may not be brought to their fullest potential depending on the knowledge and experience of their teacher. This beautiful art form is passed onto the next generation of dancers through methodical training, dedication, and discipline in an art that is also a science. Today, we stand on the shoulders of giants and can take advantage of methodical instruction of the greatest sophistication. The methodology has already been thoroughly worked out and is, today, considered "state of the art" pedagogical information. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel with a new curriculum. The Six Year Program is Classical Dance itself.
CDA invites your interest and your participation. We are an alliance made up of likeminded professionals, patrons and collaborators who cherish Classical Dance. We seek to preserve and perpetuate the art form to the highest standards and build a base for future generations. We invite you to join us!
Barker, J. (1972). A visit to the tashkent choreographic school. In T. J. B. S. o. Ballet (Ed.), Soubresaut (Vol. Number Eight, pp. 12). New York, NY: John Barker Publication.
Kostrovitskaya, V. (1979). 101 classical dance lessons (J. Barker, Trans. First ed.). New York, NY: John Barker School of Classical Ballet.
Kostrovitskaya, V. (1994). The vaganova choreographic school during the war (J. Barker, Trans.). In Soubresaut (Vol. Eleven, pp. 16). New York, NY: John Barker.
Kostrovitskaya, V., & Pisarev, A. (1995). School of classical dance (J. Barker, Trans. 2nd ed.). London, UK, MPG Books Ltd.: Dance Books Ltd.