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Simona Noja, Symposium Speech (Part 1) 2015

“Talent, Creativity and Efficiency in Ballet Schools” at the European Festival of Ballet Schools “Grand Assemblé” Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2015

I took over the leadership of the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera in September 2010, a school with a very rich past. The origins of the school go back until the 18th century. The school needed though, a new orientation. Together with Manuel Legris, the artistic director of Wiener Staatsballett and of the school, we elaborated a development plan.

Ballet Academy and Young Company and high employment rate

Therefore, a couple of years later, I can say that the plan brought us positive changes. Above all, the transformation from a ballet school into a ballet academy and the start of a young ballet company for our graduates! We started this young company with 8 dancers and now we have 12 dancers! This young ballet company has its own program and repertory, the dancers are guesting and touring in Austria and abroad. Due to this concept, we have managed an employment’s rate over 90 % for the graduates! 

Learning and memory development

We planed to develop further the tasks of our Ballet Academy, based on a wide concept. It was designed to highlight the particular issues of learning and memory development. In addition, the formation of the children and youth personalities dedicated to dance.

Today, more than ever before, we have the support of the new scientific discoveries in the knowledge of human physique and psyche. It allows us the insight of the very complex processes that take place in our brain, processes that distinguish us from other beings.

“Ongoing process of building the brain´s cerebral pathways”

  „Learning and creating memory are simply the process of chiseling, modeling, shaping, doing and redoing our brain’s diagrams …an ongoing process of building the brain’s cerebral pathways”… (neuroscientist Antonio Damasio 2010) 

“Language is only a little thing sitting on top of this huge ocean of movement”

Oliver Sacks, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Sacks

By all these processes, the brain becomes responsible for all aspects of existence, for emotional and cognitive aspects of our lives… This finding allows the neurologist Oliver Sacks to make observations of high interest, especially for education and culture…„Much more brain is devoted to movement than to language (referring to the verbal form of language)… Dance has the potential to be not only aesthetically interesting and enjoyable, but also generous in what it reveals about cognition, emotion, movement, brain plasticity and culture…Language is only a little thing sitting on top of this huge ocean of movement.“

Conclusion

“Body language, unlike verbal language, communicates rudimentary, elliptical, but extremely direct, and offers immediate knowledge. The gesture alone outperforms vocalization alone in terms of successful communication.” (J.L.Hanna, 2015) „Dancing to Learn” emphasizes the great influence of dance in the learning process and becomes a strong impulse to integrate more dancing in the educational field.

https://judithhanna.com/biography/

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