Daniel Ulbricht on Teaching
Energy is about being alive. Without energy, without musicality, there is no dance. When students come to class with that attitude, they bring extra adrenaline and they pay extra attention. A dancer should look energetic—that is, ready to go—just standing at the barre. You have to keep pushing your best students because they tend to be content with how good they are. I want every student to develop a love of dancing. Everyone deserves that experience of having worked hard at something they love. Maybe in the future they will support dancing because they remember what it felt like to dance and how much they loved it. Success to me is if somebody says, ‘I received the best training possible.’ I want to instill that passion so that they can enjoy dance at any time in their life.
Daniel is a unique and wonderful teacher. What makes him so special to his students is the way he treats them in the classroom. He is gentle, but strong, humorous at times, but always in control, and his class is a beautiful combination of technique, corrections, and, so important, real communication with his students. When Daniel walks into the classroom for the first time the students are in awe of him. But with his gentle manner and sense of humor he lets them know, without even saying so, that he is here to teach. And teach he does! His combinations are inspiring! Just watching him demonstrate gives his students an understanding of the hard work they have to put in to accomplish what he asks of them. His corrections are amazing and he has a unique way of reaching his students on their level – be it a beginning class with young children or a advanced class with teenagers – because in the classroom, he is Daniel the caring, loving, and amazing teacher. Even after all these years my students get so excited when they know Daniel will teach them. His classes are a total experience for the students and they walk away from them more determined, more eager, with a clearer understanding –and maybe a little bit in love!
Director of American Academy of Ballet, Buffalo, New York