“Dancers from companies around the world,” according to the Feb. 16, Wall Street Journal, seek the 73 year old former ballet dancer’s expertise and instruction, and “make pilgrimages to his 10:30 a.m. class, where they subject themselves to his careful eye and sharp tongue.”
The high interest in Burmann’s instruction is not the very affordable cost of his instruction at a mere $17 per 90 minute lesson; the big draw is “his ability to deepen onstage presentation and personality in movement.”
His easy-on-the-pocketbook lessons, however, often come at a very high price - to one’s ego. The German born Burmann often “delivers cutting, direct observations” in his clipped, Mittel-European accent.
The man who once danced with the New York City Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet, seeks greater musicality from his dance students – “the process by which a dancer gives more or less emphasis to certain movements—just as a pianist plays certain notes louder or softer.”
"It's not about the steps. It's how you put it to music," he said. "I love good, honest dancing—people who have something that you cannot explain."
He believes the connection of dance to movement should not be a measured even approach. "It's not one, two, three, four. It's one, two, three, fooooour. Or one, two, threeeeee, four. Nothing should be chopped up, like a machine," he said.
Burmann is not a lovable sort of teacher; he is very demanding and often offensive. But those that tolerate his often calloused approach inevitably end up much better dancers.
Check out all my examiner columns:
Subscribe to get email updates when new articles are published!