On this episode of Book Journeys, Vice President for The Author Incubator, Jenn McRobbie, interviews Cheryl Ale, author of The Spark: The Legacy that Changed the Dance World.
Cheryl Ale was a classical ballet dancer who originally thought that her book was redundant, as it was based on principles of movement that were brought out some sixty years ago, particularly such concepts as motivation and breathing. Cheryl was surprised to discover that these principles weren’t presently taught by most dance teachers, who taught the physical aspects of dance rather than the kinesthetic aspects, and that this was having a devastating effect on some of their students, who suffered dance-related injuries in one form or another.
Cheryl points out that, in the United States, anyone who wants to dance can join a dance group and learn, while in places like Russia and Cuba, where the dance teachers there select only those students who have a certain body type to join their companies. The wide variety of body types which then learn dancing in the United States means that the kind of moves that would work for one body type wouldn’t work for other body types, and that attempting to make one body type move the way another body type does results in the aforementioned injuries. Cheryl herself notes that, when she started dancing at the age of six, she had a disability and a bowed leg, but since she was taught the principles she speaks of in her book she was able to pursue a career in dancing and theater.
Cheryl points out that she speaks of patterns of energy where dance is concerned which, she admits, dance teachers might find questionable. That said, Cheryl pointed out that, in the sixties, someone filmed how the greatest dancers of the day danced, and she caught, frame by frame, the techniques they used, including motivation (which is the preparatory movement done prior to executing the primary move itself) and breathing.
Cheryl felt that she needed to write a book on the legacy and techniques of movement and motivation, and was thankful for signing up with the Author Incubator to write the book. She started off by taking her time writing out three chapters, as she was always concerned about word count, and it was after she spoke with her editor on the Author Incubator that she realized that she was the one holding herself back where writing was concerned. It was after that realization that she wrote out six chapters in three days, and Cheryl admits that participating in the Author Incubator program actually allowed her book to become a reality, rather than just being a journal in her nightstand. She noted that the program was “disciplined and decisive,” and that writing the book out required determination and stamina from her.
Cheryl has traveled around, to various dance companies and studios, to teach what she wrote in her book, which has given her the opportunity to see for herself what a difference the principles she speaks of makes in those who use these. She can be found on Facebook at “Ballet for Everybody,” or balletforeverybody.com or rpmdance.com.
DOWNLOAD the PDF: Book Journeys Author Interview – Cheryl Ale – Mar. 30, 2017