The Revolutionary Discovery - An Interview with Yehuda MaorInterview conducted by Mila Gorokhovich
September 30, 2000
In 1992, a new technique for dancers was invented in order to help them enhance in their improvement and training. It was the year that acclaimed ballet teacher Yehuda Maor came up with the idea of the Neoband(c), an adjustable elastic band covered with soft fabric that was specially made by Mr. Maor.
Yehuda Maor trained with Maggie Black and his dance career includes work with choreographers such as Lar Lubovitch, Alvin Ailey, and Anthony Tudor. He has performed with ballet and modern companies throughout the world. He was principal with the Bat Dor Dance company in Israel. In addition to teaching classical ballet worldwide, Mr. Maor founded his own company, Dancer's Stage, in San Francisco. In the last decade, he has been teaching in studios like Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, Peridance and the Alvin Ailey School in New York City, where he resides. Currently, he teaches in his own studio in Manhattan at the American Fitness Gym and at Steps on Broadway.
I was privileged to have been trained by Mr. Maor and experience the Neoband(c) throughout my ballet training. I interviewed Mr. Maor to explore his personal views towards the Neoband(c) and to find out more information about how the Neoband(c) works and why it is revolutionary for dancers of all styles and ages to develop in their training.
Mr. Maor came up with the idea for the Neoband(c) when he "noticed that dancers don't get paid enough and therefore don't get enough money to attend classes, thus having a hard time improving." He explained that ballet could eventually disappear from the average society because it is the upscale community that can afford it. This can be noticed when one attends a dance performance and tickets range from 30 to 75 dollars. Also, the price of a ballet class has increased over the last two years. In some places, a singe class costs as much as thirteen dollars. He felt that a new way to afford class everyday was through certain exercises needed to help the ballet technique. The point that Mr. Maor brings across is that with the Neoband(c), a dancer is able to maximize his/her training time to "create a solid base of technique with less cost and frustration."
The Neoband(c) is used by placing it over the barre and slipping one leg through it so that the band is around the upper part of the thigh. Afterwards, the dancer follows a routine of certain exercises, much like a basic ballet barre. By holding the upper thigh, the band improves the turn out and places the spine right above the leg so that it is in proper placement. The one-hour class that involves the Neoband(c) is called the Maor Placement Technique class. In addition to barre exercises, the band is used with a series of floor exercises that strengthen certain muscles to which normal ballet training does not attribute enough importance. However, this does not give the dancer a buff or too muscular a figure since all the exercises lengthen the muscles as well. Muscles emphasized include the abdominals, the buttocks, the biceps, the inner thighs and the back, to name a few. Such muscles are needed for ballet, but often aren't trained in ballet; the Neoband(c) provides a way to train such muscles. The class also includes a variety of intense stretching exercises to improve extension.
A ballet dancer demonstrates the Neoband.
The Maor Placement Technique class is for all types of dancers whether they are professional, beginning or recreational. It increases stamina and endurance for working longer and specifically for men, in lifting. It is also very helpful for injured dancers who are recovering because the dancer can maintain the basic technique and stay in shape. Because the Neoband(c) is portable, it can be used anywhere. Mr. Maor explained how even older people can use the Neoband(c) (in a supervised class) to help increase bone density and become physically stronger.
To input some personal thoughts about my own experience with the Neoband(c), I found it very helpful in my training. The Neoband(c) class made a tremendous difference in my extension and overall strength. From observing Mr. Maor in class, I always took notice on how well he treats new students who range from fourteen years old to about 60. He provides attention to each individual in the class and makes sure that the students work correctly, efficiently and most important, safely. My technique, flexibility and balance greatly improved over the three years that I have been attending the class and I only took about two classes a week.
Mr. Maor is currently conducting a Maor Placement Technique Teacher Certification Course for teachers (including ballet, modern, jazz or physical fitness in a gym) who would be interested in learning how to teach a Maor Placement Technique class. This workshop consists of 25 hours of training with the Neoband(c) and personalized sessions can be scheduled with flexibility.
When asked about the future of the Neoband(c), Mr. Maor stated, "Every dancer will use it because there won't be another choice. … It will be cheaper, affordable and will maximize their training time."
I agree with Mr. Maor's opinion through personal experience and I recommend it highly to anyone who would like to improve his or her dance technique or maintain a physical fitness regime.
For more information about the Neoband(c), call (212) 675-6741. American Fitness Gym is located at 128 8th Ave between 16th and 17th St. in Manhattan. Yehuda Maor gives daily ballet classes at 5 pm Monday through Friday and Maor Placement Technique is given on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:30 - 2:30 pm. On Sundays, a Neoband class at 12 pm is followed by a ballet class at 1 pm at Steps on Broadway, located on 2121 74th st and Broadway in Manhattan. For more information, visit their website at