Finding the Correct Muscles
Stephanie Saland, Former Principal Dancer NYCB

Finding the Correct Muscles

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Stephanie Saland, former Pricipal Dancer with NYCB, shares her method for correcting a students muscle memory by destabilizing their relationship to gravity.


Stephanie Saland was born in Brooklyn NY, and entered The School of American Ballet just before her 15th birthday. Three years later she was invited by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet for the remarkable Stravinsky Festival. She was promoted to the rank of principal dancer in 1984. In a 21 year career with City Ballet, she was showcased in leading roles under Balanchine’s direction, as well as principal roles in Jerome Robbins’ repertoire. Guest performances included Nureyev and Friends, Giselle with Alexander Gudonov and numerous Live From Lincoln Center and Dance in America films. Before moving to Seattle in the fall of 1993, she taught movement for student actors at Playwrights’ Horizons and helped develop a body-awareness class for actors with theater teacher Caymichael Patten. Since finishing her performance career, Ms.Saland has been a freelance instructor traveling to teach in NY, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Madrid, Mallorca, Mexico and Canada. In 2005 she was invited to judge and teach for the burgeoning Youth America Grand Prix in both the regional and final Competitions, and has been with the organization ever since. Some of her strongest influences were from ballet teachers such as Stanley Williams, Maggie Black and Tina Bernal. The coaching Stephanie received from Gelsey Kirkland has profoundly shaped the classwork and performance values and remains one of the indelible parts of a long career. She has been equally inspired and informed through other non-ballet sources including Gyrotonics, Pilates, and Zeena Romett floor barre. The influences of having been treated in of a variety of modalities including cranial-sacral, physical therapy, network chiropractic, soma and Aston Patterning also plays out into her classes. In Seattle, the classes in Body Balancing with Mark Kane and Qi Gong with Marc Heusner sustain and feed insights. Another critical resource in instruction comes from Eva Nemeth and Sustainable Movement. Ms.Saland offers a class that is synthesis of information from these systems.


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