Training for dancers has a long history, and has changed considerably over time. Once it was the domain of the professional dancer only. Today, although the professional dancer must still have a specific physique, special talent, and application, the values of dance training are recognised for everyone.
The Laurel Martyn Dance System (LMDS) aims to allow every student, regardless of age or accomplishment, to move beautifully, musically and expressively. The body is considered at all times as a whole, with equal importance given to arms, head and eyes, legs and feet, and all the elements of dance.
LMDS develops understanding of what the body can achieve and the ability to use it as an instrument of expression. It is an organic and flexible program which is tailored by the teacher to suit the progression of their own students. By following this program, every body and mind can be prepared for physical activity, and each individual can achieve success.
Physical and cognitive development govern the progression of students through the program.
Children begin the LMDS Preparatory Program at the age of five, when they can understand clear, simple explanations, and can imitate demonstrated movements.
Instead of beginning with slow set exercises, enthusiastic young bodies are encouraged to move at natural speed, following innate movement patterns.
Through the 10 progressions of the Preparatory Program, speed is decreased as strength of posture, understanding of movement, and control are developed.
Students who have completed the Preparatory Program have a sound foundation for the introduction of the basics of technique (Fundamentals of Technique Program).
Classical technique is introduced at the age of nine or ten, only when the student has developed the physical skills and concentration required. Classical dance technique places considerable strain on muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. It also requires the ability to concentrate, and to comprehend complex movements, rhythms and spatial patterns.
Progress through the stages of the Fundamentals of Technique Program is flexible, depending on individual development and frequency of attendance.
The sequential progression of the components of the programs:
- develops an understanding of the best use of the body for ease of movement
- results in injury free training
- emphasises technical proficiency
- encourages individual artistry