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(inactive user) // Teacher
IDOCs » Ernie Pagnano
Report of personal experience of a dance class with links to press article and references.

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Dance (as a performing art-form) comes in a tradition of limited orality and literacy. It has been transfered and evolved from one person to the next for the past few hundred years. On the subject of transfer of tacit knowledge, my academic research is currently focused on formulation ways of communicating implicit knowledge.

The description of this class can only make sense for those people who have an embodied knowledge of Ballet.

Ernie Pagnano

used to teach at Zena Rommett's studio on 20th Street, later at Dennis Wayne's Dancerschool at 400 Layfayette, NYC. Much like the popular and overcrowded Maggie Black classes, his were geared to the modern dancers of the early 1980s. Sometimes his lessons would last up to three hours.
His noon classes included Floor-Barre® followed by a regular ballet class. He infused a deep sense of rhythm in the floor centering and isolation work.
At the barre his sequences included an understanding of weight transfer and muscle-chains-work that is typical of the Cecchetti's Method. Many teachers later claiming to teach ballet to modern dancers, superficially 'cleaned' ballet technique from stylistic maneirisms, and reduced isolation work to a mechanical clarity, unaware that the head positions, for example, activates muscle chains that create support and organic fluidity and is intrinsic to balance.
The center combinations and adagios built on top of this flow-of-movement, always shifting the weight to save the body from exhaustion. This created flowing and secure adagios.
His jumps and across-the-floor combinations took advantage of this secured sense of centering, making it possible for the dancers to achieve secure turns, high seemingly effortless spiraling jumps.
At the end of these three hours I still had plenty of energy and a deep sense of accomplishment. As he used to say: "moving with the joy of a wild animal".

"There is an unspoken rule in the world of dance that is: you pass on what you know. This craft is at its best when is transfered from one person to the next. I remember all the corrections that he gave me - also because he repeated it so much. A teacher once told me: if you're not interested in repetition, don't be a dancer."
Ann Reinking about Bob Fosse in Mathew Diamond's filming of 'Fosse (2002)'


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polly wilkinson // Teacher
I studied with Ernie and every day I think of him in pliés. He was an extraordinary person and teacher. I remember when I left NYC and we said goodbuy, he was diagnosed and it was early on so there were no meds. Was the saddest day of my life.

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