Betty Oliphant: The Artistry of Teaching – A Series of Ballet Classes

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By Nadia Potts
DanceForms Illustrations by Rhonda Ryman

“At the age of seven I started studying with Miss Oliphant at her studio in Toronto. I immediately liked and responded to her teaching because I felt that I was learning the ‘real thing’ and that I could, by working hard on what she taught me, achieve tangible results.”

“I loved her dry British sense of humour, her logical approach, and her demand for perfection. I continued studying with her at the National Ballet School of Canada, when it first opened in 1959, until I joined the National Ballet Company seven years later at the age of eighteen. She taught me three to five times a week during those years and gave me an extraordinary foundation on which to build both as a dancer and as a teacher.”

Author Nadia Potts, former National Ballet of Canada principal dancer, was a student of Betty Oliphant’s for over a decade. Before her death, Oliphant spent five years recording her unique approach to ballet training in collaboration with Potts. Descriptions of the classes are accompanied by DanceForms figures, which serve to clearly illustrate the exercises. Oliphant’s views, observations and insights about teaching are offered along with a collection of captivating photographs.

About the Author and Illustrator
Nadia Potts studied with Betty Oliphant from the age of seven, joining The National Ballet of Canada in 1966 where she wa a principal dancer for seventeen years. Potts also appeared as a guest artist throughout Canada, the U.S. and Europe and was partnered by celebrated dancers including Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. After retiring from the stage, Potts launched into a full-time teaching career. She is currently director of the Dance Program at Ryerson University’s Theatre School.

Rhonda Ryman is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo. She has authored two books of classical ballet terminology. For the past ten years she has been working with Credo Interactive and Dance Collection Danse to promote the use of DanceForms choreography software as a means of chronicling dance. She is an interantionally respected expert in dance notation, and regularly presents her dance research work at conferences around the world.

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Softcover, 8.5". x 11",  268 pp.,  Includes numerous illustrations and photographs


ISBN 978-0-929003-62-7