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How To Be A Better Dancer: Lessons From Top Ballet Performer David Hallberg

David Hallberg is a principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre and author of “A Body of Work.” We recruited his expertise to teach one of our video producers how to dance.

Kevin Reilly: I’m Kevin Reilly. I’m from Business Insider and I’m here to learn how to dance.

David Hallberg: I’m David Hallberg. I am a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre and I’m here to teach Kevin how to dance.

Reilly: When I go out to dance whether I’m going to a wedding or out to the club, I like to stay in my little space right like this and I’m comfortable right here, I don’t need to look around at all, and that’s all I want to do. But I hear constantly that I have no idea what I’m doing, that I am a terrible dancer. I learned everything from the movie “Hitch” and I need to improve on that.

Hallberg: First, I think you should snap at the same time you’re taking steps. I think that’s —I’m, so am I off on that?

That’s the first baby step.

When you touch your feet together, you snap at the same time. Good! Now we have a rhythm.

Reilly: Rhythm.

Hallberg: Exactly.

When you’re out on the dance floor, you wanna have some sort of presence. Instinctually I turn on the ballet switch and that includes shoulders and chest. So, it’s more shoulders back, not tight, but just a little like, just create a kind of — exactly! You saw what you did with your chin?

Reilly: Wow! That was it? See that, I’m an expert already!

Hallberg: That was you speaking, it wasn’t like me telling you what to do. You know?

Everyone knows what a waltz is. Maybe not everyone knows how to waltz. I’ll do it first and then kind of teach you how.

Reilly: Okay.

Hallberg: So balancé is like this. So, it can go all the way around the room. It can go with different arms. It can go here. We’re going to boil it down first.

Reilly: Okay, that sounds good.

Hallberg: So you go one, two, three, just follow me two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, good.

Reilly: If I’m in there with another person then, would I just be …

Hallberg: So you would be like waist, arm, and then you take a step back with that leg.

Reilly: Okay.

Hallberg: One, go to the side, two, three. And then you step this back, one, two, three. One, two, three. Good! You’re a fast learner!

I’m going to teach you a changement.

Reilly: A changement?

Hallberg: Yeah.

Reilly: Okay.

Hallberg: Which means to change.

Reilly: To change.

Hallberg: In French.

You start in fifth position like this

Reilly: Yeah that’s …

Hallberg: It’s alright. You’re here and you just go change. Change, change, change, change, change, change.

Here, grab my hand.

Reilly: Okay.

Hallberg: As a partner, first. Training wheels. And you plie and jump and change. Good. And again.

Reilly: Alright.

Hallberg: And again. Good.

Reilly: Teach me how to do a graceful bow.

Hallberg: So you take in the audience and then you bow your head, humbly.

Reilly: Humbly. Alright.

Hallberg: Take in the audience

Reilly: Take in the audience.

Hallberg: And humbly bow your head. Thank you. Yes, good.


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Business Insider is the fastest growing business news site in the US. Our mission: to tell you all you need to know about the big world around you. The BI Video team focuses on technology, strategy and science with an emphasis on unique storytelling and data that appeals to the next generation of leaders – the digital generation.

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