Whether you are a seasoned pro or simply a tutu aficionado, Princeton University Ballet invites you to participate in their PUB 101 beginner ballet class on Saturday, Nov. 12. The class, which will take place in New South Dance Studio from 5 to 7 p.m., is the first of two open workshops PUB holds during the academic year, with PUB 102 offered in the spring.
The class is taught at the beginner’s level in the truest sense, as Emily Avery ’17, president of PUB, explained, “Everyone is welcome. Literally everyone… That’s the best part about PUB 101.”
She noted that she particularly enjoys the biannual workshop because “it gives people a chance to try ballet, to experience ballet in a way that they never would just from watching… It’s totally different to watch the moves on stage and then to try it yourself.”
The class is designed to give participants an idea of what the basics of ballet are, focusing on fundamentals such as barre work, turns, jumps, and partnering. Avery described the class as a space that is “more for fun than it is for cultivating and audition crop of dancers.”
Previous PUB 101 sessions have attracted a wide array of students, with athletes and members of other dance groups attending the workshops as returning participants each year. Approximately 50 students take part in each session, according to Avery. She also mentioned that typically more males participate than females, but the gender balance is fairly even. While there has been a presence of dancers trained in other styles like hip-hop in previous sessions, no experience in dance is required.
She attributed the high turnout of students with little or no dance background to a kind of childhood nostalgia. Avery shared how she thinks many students had a childhood dream of trying ballet, or perhaps were able to do so once, but stopped by the time they were six years old. ”So it’s a little bit nostalgic in that way,” she remarked.
William Keiser ’19, publicity chair of PUB, sees the class as an opportunity for peers to develop a deeper understanding of and connection with ballet. “Ballet is built on this very simple set of rules, and once you learn those rules and exercises, your appreciation for the art form goes up tremendously,” he explained.
He also highlighted the sense of community PUB 101 has to offer. “We want to show the fun side of our company and share what we do with other people, because we’re not, like, staunchy and pretentious,” he noted.
Even though PUB boasts an impressive level of talent, Keiser finds the beginner’s class valuable to all dancers, regardless of skill. “Ballet is meant to look really easy. It’s meant to look effortless. But it’s really, really difficult… The hardest classes are the simple, easy classes,” he said. “[Ballet] is not always the most intuitive art form, so we want to demystify it a little bit,” he added.
For Keiser, it is important that the company offers this class because “[PUB dancers] love our audience and want them to be able to connect with us.”
The two-hour class promises tutus and classic ballet music, and concludes with a pizza party. As Avery described of the workshop, “It’s the highlight of the semester for so many of us, and we really hope that a lot of people come out and give it a shot.”
No prior registration is necessary for PUB 101.