Princeton Ballet School Offering New Class During 2014-15 Academic Year

Princeton Ballet School Offering New Class During 2014-15 Academic Year

Princeton Ballet School will begin its 2014-2015 academic year on September 5, 2014. This year, the school is offering a new class: Conditioning for the Mind and Body, or CoMBo. CoMBo will join CardioBallet on the roster of Exercise and Movement classes for adult students.

CoMBo was developed by Dr. Kim Chandler Vaccaro, Director of Dance at Rider University and Westminster College of the Arts. It is a holistic movement system that integrates her knowledge of neuroscience, Pilates, yoga, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, dance movement therapy, Alexander Technique, Body Mind Centering, Ideokinesis, and many of the somatic modalities and dance forms that were introduced in the 20th century.

Throughout her academic career, Dr. Vaccaro's main research has related to stimulating and utilizing focus, imagery, and visualization in movement and dance. She has taught Pilates classes at Princeton Ballet School for several years, increasingly implementing concepts from her research into class, making them more "contemplative and introspective" over the years.

CoMBo is an extension of this exploration, informed by Dr. Vaccaro's recent research at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, where she spent a semester on sabbatical from Rider University. At Naropa, she studied the creative process and mindfulness in conjunction with neuroscience, which led to her development of the CoMBo curriculum.

"The science is so clear," she says. "We know that it's better for us to be mindful, focused, and in the moment when we move. So, how can we not teach movement like that? I needed to make my own curriculum to integrate these concepts."

As a daily practitioner of her own work, Dr. Vaccaro describes CoMBo as a class of "no pain, great gains." With careful attention to progression, CoMBo takes participants through contemplative practices, core strengthening exercises, and dance movement.

"CoMBo is like a dynamic Pilates class, targeting your deep core in an immersive way," says Dr. Vaccaro. "It's an experience. Anyone who has been to yoga, Zumba, or any fitness class can follow along. There is nothing the average non-dancer can't do, so I encourage everyone who wants more movement in their lives to give it a try."