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12.31.2011: Bootleg Ballet

Happy New Year! FINALLY we were able to upload that dress rehearsal footage of Snow Corps in action!o) Better late than never!oD:

12.29.2011: Touring Tipz

Blogpost advice for dancers on tour:
"...Dancing in a new place will be disorienting. Even if you hit the jackpot and tour to a place where the theater, studio and stage are ideal for dance, you will still need to adjust quickly to the unfamiliar surroundings. Try not to break in brand-new pointe shoes until you’ve tested the studio or stage and know if the floor is hard, slippery, sticky or uneven..."
...Link to full article.

12.28.2011: Videoz 'r' Us!o)

Let's give PNB some equal time shall we? This is how you do a dance photo shoot!o)

...Here's an interview with the ballerina in the last video:

...and here's a primer for stage make-up. (The only disappointment is she doesn't share the secret of "ballet lines" to make her eyes pop! Wasabi wid dat?)

12.27.2011: The Nutty Season

I have two Nutcrackers recorded and sitting on my DVR (NYCB and the movie version 'The Untold Story'), but, so much to watch, so little time! (Not to mention Santa just dropped off the entire run of Entourage in my stockingz!o) But, if you're tweeting that you're 'bored with nothing to do', check this out from those media masters at Anaheim Ballet:

...and here's a video about an entirely different ballet from SFB:

...I would make time to see this documentary about the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition:

12.26.2011:Don't Cramp My Style!

Yay! My not-so-subtle pleading finally pays off! Here's more information for the dance Mom from another studio who asked about leg cramps her dancer was suffering. I submitted my lay opinion in an earlier post. But, here's a real expert!o):
Hello GoCCDCDancedoC!

I was reading your post on the website from 12.11.2011 regarding muscle cramps and since I am a licensed phyiscal therapist assistant I figured I would "chime in"! All of the suggestions you mentioned are excellent suggestions. The most important thing is to stay hydrated and keep your body's sodium and potassium levels in balance. Some dancers find relief by eating a banana or a small handful of raisins before class to help minimize cramps. The dancer or their parents should consult their family physician if they are concerned about the cramps...

12.23.2011: Best Of The Season!o)

Best wishes to our international readers! Time to pat ourselves on the back! Here's some stats about the countries that checked out the CCDC Ballet Blog in the last seven daze:
Top 28 accessing countries
Amount Country
2506 United States
2092 (Unknown)
280 China
114 France
52 Canada
25 Germany
25 Netherlands
21 GB
20 Slovenia
15 Australia
9 Malaysia
5 Italy
5 Ukraine
3 Bosnia and Herzegowina
2 Czech Republic
2 Finland
2 Hong Kong
2 Romania
2 Russia
2 Spain
1 Indonesia
1 Israel
1 Moldova, Republic of
1 Poland
1 Singapore
1 Sweden
1 Thailand
1 Uruguay

12.22.2011: Dance Week? Dance Strong!

Preparations already underway for National Dance Week this spring. Here's a video about your coming opportunity to mark "dance in flash mob" off your bucket list:

...And, here's the link for more info.

12.21.2011: Ballet Feedback

More post-Nutty comments:
"...Thanks for all that you pour into each dancer; what you give to each of them really sets them apart from others. The Nutcracker experience is an awesome opportunity to see why CCDC is the right choice..."
"...I was very, very impressed with the CCDC dancers. I couldn’t wait for them to get back on stage...What a difference (good training) makes! The CCDC students didn’t just dance; they performed, and brought me in to the story of The Nutcracker. Thank you!

On a different note, I could really see the difference in training between (CCDC), and other studios. Holy cow!! I never had a love for ballet, and correct technique until I trained on my own in California. To know that I had the option for this training growing up and didn’t get it, kind of makes me mad!! ...Happy Holidays!..."

...Thanks for all the nice feedback! Got more? Click this!

12.20.2011: Ballet Blowback

Here are some of the comments we've received since this weekend's performance of The Nutcracker:
"...Snow brought me to tears. Your dancers did an amazing job. I am proud to be a part of (the CCDC) family..."

"...i was very proud of (the CCDC) dancers :) i was smiling the whole time they were up. heard a lot of snow compliments-so intricate and clean-their arabesque hops were very in sync! (2K) fouettes were spot on. (Mmmadd Skyllz) energy beautiful..."

"...Thank you for all the work you did on my made it so much more enjoyable. Also, loved doing snow. One of my favorite corps so far.:)..."

...What did you think? Comments welcome!o)

12.19.2011: Future Tweetz

Here are more notes, random thoughts and/or corrections I jotted down during this weekend's performance: (Just be aware some of these have been or will be tweeted out by @SirDanGuy eventually!o)
Don't dance off the marley! Stay in the light! Hit your marks! If anything falls onto the floor, pick it up or kick it into the wings!

"Sight lines! Sight lines! Sight lines! If you can see the audience, the audience can see you. +Sometimes they can see you when you CAN'T see them!"

Not that fake, plastic smile you use when you're thinking about something else! The real one that comes from heart!

Always be doing something on stage! NEVER just stand there waiting for the next music cue! Do what your character would do!

You're defenseless on stage! All you have is your training + rehearsals to keep the audience from turning on you...or worse yet, pitying you!

Second show in a run is always the hardest one!

12.15.2011: Performance Pointerz

Here are some of the thoughts and corrections I jotted down while watching Nutcracker class and rehearsal the other day. (Just be aware that some of these have been or will be tweeted out by @SirDanGuy eventually)
“Find the fun! Express the joy of dancing! Sometimes the concern about technique and choreography gets in the way! Be sure to share your love of dancing with the audience!”

“Find your front on stage even when you're facing the back! Show the basic body positions for your body no matter where you’re facing! Just don’t forget the audience! Perform with your back if you have to!”

“Don't stop the energy in your #ballet poses! Extend your lines beyond your body! Fill the stage!”

“Don't forget to put on your imaginary ‘#ballet belt’ before you go on stage! That ‘girdle of goodness’ is the #ballerina's secret that separates the best from the rest!”

"Energy and line are the great equalizers. You may be the smallest #dancer on stage, but, you can look the longest!"

“Be mentally prepared for things to go wrong on stage. Don't let it throw you off your game! Perform now! Make it better later!”

“Don't ever make the mistake of thinking getting paid makes you a professional dancer! Being a professional is a mindset of proper preparation and excellent execution!”

"Get used to the tutu! Costumes can throw you off unless you find a way to make it make you better!"

12.14.2011: Private Presence

So, I was at Trader Joe’s the other night trying to decide between the brown rice California sushi roll and the pesto chicken wrap when I ran into a CCDC dance mom. She wanted to give me a quick update on how much her daughter had improved since she switched studios. She said her old studio used to focus too much on the wrong things, like what name-brand dance bag which girl was carrying and so on. She praised CCDC’s focus on classical dance and that she was thinking about signing her child up for some private lessons or coaching. I suggested she give the “privates” as they’re called in the dance world as a Christmas present. The mom brightened and said she was going to give a leotard anyway and that including a card that promised the privates could go in that box. So, if you want to give a gift that keeps on giving to your young dancer, consider some private coaching sessions. Just email or call CCDC Artistic Director Melissa Uyehara to talk about availability. She’ll be able to schedule any of the CCDC Faculty for privates. So, if you want to take ballet, partnering or pas de deux with Emery, modern/contemporary/Stott Pilates with Alissa, lyrical/hip hop with Roni, ballet with Missy, Karina or Jill, get in touch! (Oh, and I ended up getting the California roll from TJ’z. Half the Kikkoman soy sauce spilled on my pants later that night and I had to teach class smelling like a Japanese restaurant…Wasabi with that!...but, that’s a story for another day!o)

12.13.2011: Dance Customs

You can find this posting in the archives, but, I thought it's high time I drag it out, dust it off and post it again!
Dear GoCCDancedoC: "I see on your ad inside the program...that you have 'Merde to our dancers!' What does this mean?"

GoCCDancedoC replies:"Most people know that it's "bad luck" to say "good luck" to actors and that "break a leg" is the preferred term used by well-wishers in the theater tradition. That custom is traced back to ancient thespians and an effort to "confuse" any eavesdropping spirits who would presumably target anyone who was wished good luck with the opposite.

However, it's also considered "bad luck" to wish dancers to "break a leg" because of the very real risk of injury. Instead, ballet dancers and, now, dancers of almost every discipline use the French vulgar term for excrement or "merde" to express good wishes before performances. A very superstitious dancer may actually just ignore anyone who wishes them "good luck" or "break a leg". The rationale is refusing to acknowledge the statement would "help" confuse the spirits. The old custom was to wish "merde" and spit over the shoulder, but, thankfully, that last part has been mostly abandoned. I expect our hyper-health conscious American society would frown on that expectorating custom, but, you may still run into it more frequently in Europe. But, even now, some dancers or former dancers in the USA will lick their thumbs and put a dab of saliva on the side of the dancer's neck after saying "merde". (I suggest you "mime" that action now!)

I also used to date an aspiring opera singer who told me they wished each other to "sprain a vocal cord" before their performances, but, that may just have been a regional affectation and adaptation.

BTW, when spoken, "merde" rhymes with "cared", but with a throaty, single-rolled 'r' and softer 'd', Mair-dt..."

...and, since I wrote this three years ago, I have learned of a new custom imported by dancers from Europe: following the classical opera tradition of wishing "Toi, toi!" for good luck. (Here's the explanation from UrbanDictionary.Com. You can also search for "merde" there, but, parents, it gets earthier than this posting. Interesting alternative explanation to the origin of the custom!) So, to all the dancers, actors and singers performing this weekend, "Merde! Toi, toi! And...sprain a vocal cord!o)"

12.11.2011: The CCDancedoC Is In!

I'm not a medical doctor, physician's assistant or licensed physical therapist (if you are please feel free to chime in here!), even though I do get to play on the radio everyday!o) So, the caveat is to always check with your physician first about any medical problems. BUT! I am a former professional dancer and can offer some insights, perhaps, into common maladies that trouble performers. In the emailbag, a mom from some other studio asks for tips on how to deal with her son's leg cramps during ballet classes. She says he warms up and stretches and stays hydrated and he still suffers the problem. Well, Dance Mom, I would suggest that if he's still getting cramps, he's not warming up, stretching and drinking water ENOUGH! I used to warm-up for an hour (since cut-down to half-hour) before taking company class when I was dancing in the company. The older you get, the more you have to warm-up and kids (and many adults) probably don't understand how to do that properly. If you haven't almost broken a sweat, you probably didn't warm up enough. I know with kids' schedules nowadays, it's tough to get them to the studio with that much time. In that case, you need to start warming up IN THE CAR! Isometrics and half-crunches and limited stretching can be done in a car seat. I know, I've done it in the driver's seat on my way to class! (NOT recommended btw! Drive safely!o) Other suggestions, think about adding more potassium to the diet. Avoid salty or high sodium foods before dance classes. Get a theraband or use stairs to strengthen and warm-up legs. Avoid caffeine as well. Check with your physician about any side-effects of OTC medications or prescriptions. Work with them to find alternatives if you suspect they make your son vulnerable to cramps. Orthotics in ballet slippers are rarely aesthetic, but, you might consider them in jazz shoes and everyday attire. You say he dances on marley on a suspended dance surface which should help, but, is it a problem with other dancers in your studio? Just make sure it's not too slippery. Also, you might get your son a foot roller to use to massage and loosen his legs and feet. HTH, Dance Mom!

12.08.2011: Culture Crusade

I don't have the time for this, but, maybe, you or someone you know does. We need more dance fans or balletomanes on board:
Call for ICC Board Members

The state Cultural Coalition has several open positions for new board members to fill by the end of the year. The ICC board consists of roughly 15 individuals representing people and organizations from diverse geographical areas within the state with a wide range of cultural interests, including, but not limited to historic preservation, visual arts, performing arts, arts education, museums, and film and video production.

Meetings are typically held by teleconference since board members are located throughout the state, with 1-2 "in person" meetings per year. Board members volunteer their time, without any compensation. Board members are required to maintain a paid membership in the ICC (Click herefor membership information).

Individuals interested in being considered for an open board position should email the ICC.

12.08.2011: Seeing Is Believing

In case you aren't already Nutcrackered out:

The Nutcracker from the New York City Ballet from Omniverse Vision on Vimeo.

Dancer IS athlete:

Sean James Student Athletes Foundation "Athlete Meets Artist" from Bunker Media on Vimeo.

...Here's some nice pirouettes sur la pointe. (Watch what she does just before the eight pirouettes!o):

...Here's the same dancer demonstrating how whip finger turns should be done:

...And, in case, you ever have to perform Aurora again, here's how that's done: embedding isn't allowed, but, you can click here.

12.07.2011: Back In The Game

Saw this tweeted recently...
"balletteachers: @balletteachers I wanna ask. Can we continue ballet again when we are 15 years old? Cause I stopped to ballet when I was 12 years old"
...The short answer is "yes, of course". You can begin dancing or resume dancing at any age. Legendary Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso is reputed to have performed well into her fifties and sixties. But, you must keep your goals realistic. You may never become a professional dancer, but, then, again, most dancers that start and continue from a young age never become professionals. But, they still reap the benefits. And, to me those are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. It's one of the few activities that challenges and rewards all parts of who you are. I never set out to become a professional dancer, I just kept taking more and more classes and performing at higher and higher levels until that became an option. (And, my first ballet class wasn't until I was in college!) So, if you miss dancing, take a few classes again. Do as much as you enjoy and scale back or stop when you aren't having fun anymore. Good advice for any dancer at any level!

12.06.2011: Dancing In My Teen Age Dreamz, Part Deux

Missing your Alex Wong fix? Here's some video tweeted out recently by the Prix de Lausanne. (Hey, Peterson! Can you do this?):

...Sharp eyed viewers will recognize choreography performed by Alex during his solos during qualifying rounds of Vegas Week on SYTYCD.
...Here's some video of last year's finals of the Prix de Lausanne. Back-to-back-to-back classical variations. THIS is what some of the best teenage ballet dancers in the world are doing. How do you compare, CCDC dancers? (Hey, EmCee Souper Grrl! You can do this!)

...Sharp eyed viewers will recognize Patricia Zhou who was featured on a DWT*** episode earlier this year. And, here's the latest picture tweeted by the new Royal Ballet member.
...And, here's a fascinating (for dancers!o) look at Royal Ballet dancers at different stages of their career:
"...The main difference between being a student and being in the corps is how independent you feel. You’re used to being told what to do. But in the company you have to decide how to pace yourself, when to push yourself...."
...You can read the entire article from the London Telegraph.

12.05.2011: Dancing In My Dreamz

Had every dancer's worst nightmare the other night. I dreamt I was in the backstage when I heard my music start playing. I rushed onto stage to perform my solo and realized I had no idea what the choreography was. I broke into a cold sweat and just started faking it, improvising anything I could think of on stage. I actually remember miming the action of petting a lion's silhouette over and over! (Psychoanalyze THAT, Sigmund!) I also distinctly remember thinking I shoulda worked harder during rehearsal and actually had MORE rehearsals. So, just a suggestion to everyone preparing for performances soon. Before you have to endure a REAL NIGHTMARE on stage: TAKE your classes and MAKE your rehearsals! Write down your corrections and listen to your music until your ears bleed! Visualize perfection to discipline your mind! DO all the work so when the time comes to perform, you can relax, enjoy and PLAY! And, you won't end up hoping it's just a bad dream that you'll wake up from eventually.

12.02.2011: Prodigal Performz

CCDC-student-turned-professional-dancer-turned-UI-student GitUrFaShawn premiered his latest performance last night. Here's the info if you're heading near the institution we affectionately refer to as Party Hearty You:

UI Department of Dance presents grad/undergrad concert Dec. 8-10

The University of Iowa Department of Dance will present a Graduate/Undergraduate Dance Concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 8-10 in the Space Place Theatre of North Hall.

The performance will feature:

--"Stars falling up the sky," an exploration of ritual, choreographed by Jennifer Harge.
--"Is the grass greener?" by Courtney Paulsen, who questions whether ignorance is really bliss?
--Hope Spear's "For a Diamond Ring," demonstrates the need women feel to constantly please the opposite sex.
--Kevin Schroder's "Weimar Duet," depicts a couple meeting in the woods before Kristallnacht.
--"Shift," set by Brittany Reuss to music by Loscil.
--Melinda Myers' "30 years ago, 40 years from now," featuring music by Eddie Money, John Waite, Ann Wilson and Mike Reno.
--The family portrait "Hearthside" by Michael Medcalf.
--"Call to Center" by Gabriel Anderson, inspired by the sculptural imagery of Andy Goldsworthy.
--The lighthearted "40, 70, 110, 180¼ ... " by Kristin Marrs, in which dancers interact with metronomes.
--"You…but Better: A Girl's Guide to Getting Gorgeous," in which Jennifer Pray was inspired by the advice given in Glamour magazines.
--"Thee-ology," by Ashley Michalek, who explores how we often don't understand why we act the way we do.
--"Big, dark," by Chris Masters, investigating hiding and being hidden inside gender and sexual identities.

Admission is $12, $6 for senior citizen and youth, and free to UI student with a valid UI ID. Tickets are available in advance through the Hancher Box Office at 319-335-1160, 1-800-HANCHER, or www.hancher.uiowa.

12.01.2011: Tipz To Turn, Tina!

Ran across a blog posting on how to improve your turns. Here's an excerpt:
  1. Spot to the beat of the music. Sharp quick head spots, in time with the music can help you finish that elusive double or triple turn.

  2. Hold your position just a little bit longer. Many times a dancer does not complete a turn (or the 2nd or 3rd turn) simply because the position falls apart. If you hold a little longer, you can get around to the front to complete the turn.

  3. Get your hips/shoulders around to your front. Wherever "front" is for your turn, make sure to follow your head spot with your hips and shoulders. If you are facing a mirror, SEE your whole body come around to the finish position before you come down. This goes hand in hand with number 2.

  4. Press your standing leg into the floor. Whatever type of turn you are working on, have a good solid connection to the floor. Imagine a drill going into a piece of wood. That is what your standing leg should feel like. If your working on an upright turn, then push your head into the ceiling at the same time. Feel like there is equal but opposite pressure down through the foot, up through the head.

  5. Count backwards. Instead of counting up to your desired number of turns, count backwards-3-2-1. Counting backwards can help motivate you to finish. When we count upwards it's easy to stop at two, but the ego doesn't like an incomplete count down.

A lot of the success of turning is about timing. Timing your head spot, arm position, thrust from the floor, momentum of the hips/shoulders. But it's also about strength. Centrifugal Force will pull the position apart if the dancer isn't strong enough to hold it. Strengthening your core and your back, being able to maintain a firm (not rigid) arm position and strengthening your standing leg can also help improve turns. Above all, practice, practice, practice!...

11.30.2011: Prodigalz Performancez

He livez! He writez! He performz! Gitcher updatez from GitUrFaShawn!o):
"...I'm performing in this year's Graduate/Undergraduate Concert. The show features choreography by students in the Department of Dance, and I'll be performing a duet made by choreography-track grad student Melinda Myers (a previous member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company). It should be a pretty fun show!

The show runs December 8th, 9th, and 10th at 8:00 PM. Here's the Facebook event page for more specifics!..."

11.29.2011: Putting 'Da 'Me' in 'Media'!o)

Just to put a bow on Season XIII of DWT***: J.R.'s backstory is truly inspiring and he had the dancing chops to deserve to hoist the mirror-ball in the end. What a triumphant journey! He admits he actually contemplated ending it all after he was scarred and disfigured in battlefield action. But, huge kudoz to Rikki Lake and the Kardashian Kid! She was a strong dancer from the beginning and I was surprised to see her finish third. But, Rob made a startling and unexpected transformation from shy klutz to smoooth killah! However, no disrespect, but, he was a child of privilege born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Yes, he did lose his dad at a young age, but, that doesn't begin to compare to the physical and emotional suffering you can see written on J.R.'s face. But, when Martinez dances, you can see his spirit shine and soar! In a weak field that got weaker over the waning weeks, J.R. was a deserving winner who overcame old and new injuries to reign on the dancefloor! And, kudoz also to Karina Smirnoff for her first finish at the top. (Just wondering why they didn't reprise that emotional tour de force performance that was their tribute to soldiers who don't make it back. I'm still predicting Emmy nomination, if not win, for that piece. Maybe they chose not to precisely because it was so special and so emotional?)

11.28.2011: Vidz 'R' Us!o)

Watch how the pros do it, kidz!

Birmingham Royal Ballet - Blue Bird rehearsals from Rob Lindsay on Vimeo.

Ambra Vallo rehearses The Sleeping Beauty from Rob Lindsay on Vimeo.

Birmingham Royal Ballet studio rehearsals - Snow pas de deux from Rob Lindsay on Vimeo.

Birmingham Royal Ballet - Nutcracker Grand Pas de deux studio rehearsal from Rob Lindsay on Vimeo.

11.23.2011: Big Air

More better, more bigger, more battu! We need to start increasing the amplitude, altitude and attitude during jumps and batterie in CCDC classes. This video should help inspire you. It's a slow-motion montage of jumps by professionals in PNB company class: (Make sure you watch all the way to the end!o)

11.22.2011: Postcards From The Edge

Honestly I had given up hope. She was gone and I was forgotten. BUT, 74 days, 12 hours, 3 minutes and 22 seconds (But, who's counting?) after sending Katya W00tang a questionnaire, we get some answers!o) And, the answers were well worth the wait!:
"...I am so so sorry it has taken me FOREVER to finish this. I have had quite a busy season thus far. Thank you for being so patient and enjoy!
  1. What ballets are you rehearsing currently? What's your planned repertory for this season? Any guest choreographers? Guest teachers? What's the differences between who teaches company class?
    We did 'Dracula' back in October which Robert Gardner (my artistic director) choreographed! Currently we are working on Nutcracker and working out the imperfections. After our tours we are planning to do Coppelia in the spring which I am very excited for! As of now no new choreographers or guest teachers for the season that we the dancers know of and Robert is the only one teaching us class everyday but we have occasionally had Suzanne Kritzberg on Saturdays for class with the students which has been very fun!
  2. What ballet or roles are you most looking forward to? Do you approach a part differently the second time around? Do you approach a part differently now that you're a professional dancer and not a student?
    I was cast as the Ice Fairy in this season's Nutcracker which has been a very fun role for me. I prepared before by watching the videos and taking notes but I also have been continually working on it and being coached by those who are willing to help me. It has been my favorite role so far because it has lots of jumps and turns which we all know are my favorite. I do some double fouettes with different arms and that has been fun for me to work on because it is a bit challenging. I definitely approach a part differently the second time around because now that I know the steps backwards and forwards I can add on my own artistry to the choreography and that comes with being a professional. It is one of the perks that I have learned in the last year is being able to truly come into my own and create my own sense of style in my dancing.
  3. Talk about the turn-over between the dancers in this year's company and last year's. Where have people trained and how did they end up in Duluth? Where did the old dancers go?
    3 of our new dancers came from Ballet San Antonio and ironically 2 of our past dancers went there. We also have 2 who trained at Atlanta Ballet and then we have two college graduate dancers; 1 from UMKC and 1 from Butler. They all ended up here either by choice or by chance. The other dancers from last year are dancing in Albany, NY, Nevada Ballet Theatre, and some are taking time off!
  4. After one season under your belt, how did you train differently in this off-season as opposed to last season when you had no idea what to expect? Were there any weaknesses you targeted? What advice would you give to new dancers in your company?
    Over my 'off-season' I worked long days at CCDC with both Missy and Emery. I tried to focus more on actually dancing in all of my class, starting at barre with my plies. It is something I never really thought about doing because barre feels like the preparation for center work, that I didn't let myself focus on anything beyond my placement and the quality of my movements. When I put my own breath and feeling into everything it felt very different, in a good way. We worked on my extension and improving my adagio and I am still working on both of these things. That is what I love about ballet, no matter how good you think it is it can always get better. Any advice I would give it to be open-minded and take the corrections whether you agree with them or not because you never know how it might change your dancing.
  5. Specifically, what cross-training did you do in the off-season? How much of that do you continue during the season? How much dance training did you do in the off-season?
    I feel like I never take more than 5-6 days off from ballet. I don't like taking more than that to be honest. I've been doing lots of pilates and yoga this season which is keeping me balanced. I like to do cross-training that is beneficial. I feel like going to the gym bulks me up but it works for others. You have to find what what makes you and your body feel good so it harmonizes with your ballet training. I danced all the time during my off season and I also took some hot yoga classes which was very different but very fun. I love them but I have yet to find a good studio up here in Duluth so I am looking forward to taking some over the holidays.
  6. What's your schedule like during a typical day? Typical week?
    We have ballet class in the morning then 2 sets of rehearsals, then a 45 minute lunch break then 3 rehearsals usually ending around 4- 4:30. It is like that everyday Monday - Friday but occasionally we have Saturday rehearsal with the school.
  7. What kind of touring do you have scheduled? Can you tell us more about your trip back through the state?
    Well, we just concluded our Cedar Falls tour and it was wonderful to have friends and family and Alissa Hamer come see me perform!! I will be home for Thanksgiving with my family, then we tour St. Josephs, MN, and lastly we head to Thunder Bay, Canada! I can't wait!
  8. What's the best part about living in the northland? What's the worst part? How do you keep busy when you're not rehearsing? More importantly, how's your social life? Any big announcements???!o)
    I love the snow! Contrary to popular belief, as I much love the sunshine, the snow is growing on me. I love to go skiing when I have free time. The worst part is the hills when driving and how homesick I get at times. There is nothing quite like Des Moines. I don't have too much of a social life but I have made some good friends at UMD. I also am now a part time hostess at the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe and I absolutely love my job there. The atmosphere, the people, and the food are all amazing!! Biggest announcement I can think of is that I will be home for 2 weeks in December so I better see all of you at break classes!!
Many hugs to share!! I can't wait to see all of you+can dance with you again! :)..."

11.21.2011: Putting 'Da 'Me' In 'Media'!

Hold the presses! Team Cherobb could win this thing! The caterpillar that was Kimz Kid Bro' has unexpectedly blossomed into a butterfly! All of a sudden, something has clicked with Mister Kardashian and he is dancing with confidence and charisma! Watching him dance I was thinking the same thing the judges would later say: "Who are you and what have you done with the real Rob Kardashian?" This new and improved dancer could mount a serious challenge for the mirror-ball trophy and what was an anticipated showdown between 'Da Lake and 'Da Vet is, all of a sudden, a three-way race. As for 'Da Goalie, all Hope was lost long ago. She overstayed her welcome and seemed more than a little bitter and hostile at the end. But, the finale of DWT*** looks like a real dance-fight! And, as usual, it'll all come down to the freestyle! AND, to the fickle voting public. Rikki still has some fans from her talk show daze and J.R. has the vet and military family vote locked up. Rob may suffer from Kardashian overload and backlash. At least the dancing should be memorable! Time to: Shut up and dance!o)

11.18.2011: Sometimes You Feel...

Nutcracker is the first and last production most American dancers perform in. So, keep dancing, girls, and you'll probably get a chance to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy variation at some pointe. Here's a glimpse at rehearsal of that role from the Birmingham Royal Ballet: (I'm lookin at you, Ming-Ming!)

The Sugar Plum Fairy solo from Peter Wright's production of The Nutcracker, cutting from Elisha Willis to Nao Sakuma to Jenna Roberts.

...And, since we're on the subject of all things "Nutty", read the San Francisco Examiner's review and round-up of the Christmas happenings around the bay area.

11.17.2011: Touring Near Home

Former CCDC student turned professional dancer Katya W embarks on a truly international tour over the next few weeks. And! If you're not rehearsing yourself, your closest chance to catch her performing with the Minnesota Ballet is this weekend:
Cedar Falls, Iowa
The Manhattan Nutcracker
Friday, November 18, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 19, at 2 p.m.
Sunday, November 20, at 2 p.m.
Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center
University of Northern Iowa
Tickets: 1-877-549-7469

St. Joseph, Minnesota
The Manhattan Nutcracker
Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 2 & 7 P.M.
Escher Auditorium
College of St. Benedict
Tickets: 320-363-5777

Thunder Bay, Ontario
The Manhattan Nutcracker
Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, at 7 P.M.
Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 P.M.
Thunder Bay Community Auditorium
1 Paul Shaffer Dr.,
Tickets: 807-684-4444

11.16.2011: Money4Nuttin! Gitcher Battements4free!o)

Calling all high school seniors and starving student artists! Majoring in dance or other art at an in-state college or University next fall? Howz an extra thousand bucks to tide you over sound?
"...Application Deadlines & Dates

Application Deadline: February 1st, annually.

The Arts Council must receive your application no later than 4:30 p.m. the day of the deadline listed above. This is NOT a postmark deadline. If the deadline falls on a state holiday or on a Saturday or Sunday, it will be extended to the next working day.

Scholarship Amount: $1,000

Scholarships are for college or university costs that will occur during the following academic year: 2012-2013

All finalists will be required to attend an interview at their own expense with a review panel at the Arts Council office in the capital city. Finalist candidates unable to attend the interview shall be considered ineligible for the scholarship..."

Click to the page here.

11.15.2011: Puttin' 'da 'Me' in 'Media'!o)

Ho-hum! Is it just me or is this one of the worst seasons of DWT*** ever? Or is this just part of the post-Pussycat Doll hangover? The loss of two stronger dancers early has left a mediocre field. I don't fast-forward through any of my recordings of the show, except sometimes the encore dances on results show or the finale', but, don't think I haven't thought about it! It's not that the dancers are horrible and not that Ricki or J.R. won't be a deserving winner, but, the talent pool drops off precipitously after that. Hope and Kardashian-Boy should've and would've been eliminated far sooner in most other years. My prediction is :1) Ricki 2) J.R. 3) Rob 4) Hope, but, I wouldn't be surprised if the first two and second two interchanged. But, the best news about this season of DWT*** I've heard recently is that SYTYCD auditions are starting soon! Jus' sayin!o)

11.14.2011: Local Dance Happenings

Got this performance tip in the emailbag recently. If you look closely, you might spot the name of a wildly popular CCDC Modern/Contemporary/Jazz/Pilates instructor:
"...Hello! Hurley & Dancers has two exciting collaborative performances this month, both with live music! Hope you can come!
St. John’s Fine Arts Series
Hurley & Dancers collaborates with Julie Murphy of Opus 3 for an afternoon of live music and dance
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 12-12:30 p.m.
600 6th Ave.,
Free admission
Dancers are: Katie Crouch, Kathleen Hurley and Jennifer Lapp
For more information, call 243-7691 or visit

The Diversity Chorus/Hurley & Dancers Fall 2011 Concert
Monday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Urbandale United Church of Christ
3530 70th Street, Urbandale, IA
Free admission/donations accepted
Dancers are: Katie Crouch, Carla Hughes Olson, Kathleen Hurley, Jennifer Lapp and

*** Alissa Hamer!!! ***

For more information, call 255-3576 or email"

11.11.2011: Birds Of A Feather

Another rite of passage for many professional dancers: The Bluebird Pas De Deux from The Sleeping Beauty. Here's some video of PNB dancers preparing for their chance to dance in the spotlight: (Choreography should look familiar to anyone who danced in or watched CCDC's production this past June!o):

...and Pacific Northwest Ballet is the summer intensive that CCDC's Mmmadd Skyllz had such a good time exploring Balanchine technique earlier this year.

11.10.2011: ArtsVote

Juncture of art and politics:
"...ArtsVoteIowa will present a series of free public events to help infuse the arts into the 2012 election cycle in advance of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses. It is an initiative of Americans for the Arts (AFTA) in partnership with Bravo Greater Des Moines, the Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Cultural Coalition, Iowa Alliance for Arts Education and with generous support from NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants.

AFTA Presidential Candidate Forum Moderated by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011
6-7:30 PM
Coralville Center for the Performing Arts' Jim L. Fausett Theatre
1301 Fifth Avenue, Coralville, Iowa

Advocacy Training Session with AFTA Arts State Policy Director Jay Dick and Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011
5-6 p.m.
Coralville Center for the Performing Arts' Jim L. Fausett Theatre
1301 Fifth Avenue, Coralville, Iowa

Advocacy Training Session with AFTA Arts State Policy Director Jay Dick
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
4-5 p.m.
State Historical Building
600 E. Locust, Des Moines, Iowa

All events are free and open to the public. RSVP online by Wednesday, Nov. 16 for event in Des Moines

Questions on ArtsVoteIowa can be directed to Victoria Murray Baatin at AFTA by calling (202) 371-2830 ext. 2075.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2010, Americans for the Arts is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts..."

11.09.2011: So U Wanna B A Rock Star!

Always wanted to be a thrash metal rock star? Here's a free lecture from someone who clambered to the top of the "maggot heap":
"...Music University and Drake University’s Entrepreneurship Program Present –
M. Shawn Crahan: On Living Your Dreams, Slipknot and Life
Capital City (Nov. 8, 2011) – Music University and Drake University’s Entrepreneurship Program present M. Shawn Crahan: On Living Your Dreams, Slipknot and Life. Shawn will share his experience with making your imagination into reality, the success of his work, and getting busy in life before it’s too late. He will also share many stories about his journey in the music industry. The free panel will be held at Drake University’s Meredith Hall Room #101 on Tuesday, November 15 from 6-7pm.

Shawn is the percussionist and founding member of the Grammy Award winning hard rock band, Slipknot. Crahan and Slipknot have had success paralleled by few in the hard rock genre, and this success has allowed Crahan to become even more prevalent in the music industry. Aside from Slipknot, Shawn has been a pivotal member in three other bands. In To My Surprise, who released one album (executively produced by Rick Rubin) on Roadrunner Records in 2004, Shawn produced, wrote, and played drums. Shawn also produced, wrote, and played drums in an alternative group, Dirty Little Rabbits. Most recently, Crahan can be heard from the drum kit in addition to writing, recording, and producing for the band The Black Dots of Death. Ever Since We Were Children, The Black Dots debut album hit stores in the spring of this year.

Outside his own music projects, Crahan has acted as producer and executive producer for bands such as Mudvayne, Gizmachi and Dirtfedd. He has also remixed songs for many artists including; Marylin Manson, Coheed and Cambria and Suicide Silence.

Aside from music, Shawn is very passionate about his family, photography, and film. Recently Shawn has taken to directing Slipknot’s videos, including all four from their latest record. He had his first gallery show in 2010, displaying paintings and other works of art. He has acted as a speaker, and panelist at seminars such as SXSW, and his first photo book of medium format Polaroids will be out in May 2012.

Music University: Shawn Crahan: On Living Your Dreams, Slipknot and Life
Tuesday, November 15
Meredith Hall Room #101, Drake University..."

11.08.2011: Outta Sight! Outta Mind!

Former CCDC student-turned-professional dancer Katya W. returned to the Capital City to visit her family and get some coaching from her old teachers this weekend. Photo posted on the FB page. And, then, the very next day, former CCDC student-turned-professional dancer GitcherFaShawn popped in to visit with friends still training at CCDC. His photo also posted on FB. I also texted that pic to Katya. And, then, once I had her attention, I texted "Questionnaire???" (It's only been about two months since I submitted it to her PR people!) She said she had forgotten all about it and would get right on it! Now I REALLY know where I rate on her hierarchy of importance! Just call me and my blog "low man on totem pole!o(

11.07.2011: Spin Doctor

If you define success like I do, that is: exceeding expectations, then, D'arquette had a successful run on DWT***. (But, under that same definition, Chynna and Cutlerz Ex were remarkably unsuccessful.) What are the expectations for the rest of the season? Anything less than the mirror-ball itself will be a let down for Team Rough Lake or Team Smirnoff Martini. (Edge once again to the "ruff, tuff Derek Hough" for his ability to get the very best out of his students and his creative choreography) But, The Attorney, Big Bum Boy and The Goalie have already "exceeded expectations". Anything else for them is gravy. (And, on the one hand, I was sympathetic to the cancer-surviving dancer's story. But, on the other, her dancing was very immature and the all-lift and all partnering choreography was designed to try to cover it up. Not everyone can get close to Patricia Zhou's level, but, even Zhou's solo was designed to show off her flexibility and spin-ability.)
Got a chance to watch a bit of our recording of the Miami City Ballet's performance of Balanchine's Square Dance on PBS' Great Performances the other day. Yeah! That's what I'm talking about! Excellent, very musical choreography and some very difficult technical moves made to look easy, tossed off with flair and elan! Gargouillades! And, gargouillades for the corps! Pas de chat jete'! Assemble' battu EN AVANT!? And, were those entrechat six or quatres for the women? And, the partnering was also more difficult than the dancers let on. Pique' backwards to arabesque? Give me more!o)

11.04.0211: Something WICKED This Way Comes

Are you a poor, starving artist? Here's a chance to get WICKED for less!o):

CAPITAL CITY – A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of orchestra seats will be held daily for WICKED, performing from Wednesday, November 9 through Sunday, December 4 at the Civic Center. Each day, beginning 2 1/2 hours prior to show time people who present themselves at the Civic Center Ticket Office will have their names placed in a lottery drum and then 30 minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each, cash only. This lottery is available only in-person at the Civic Center Ticket Office, with a limit of two tickets per person.

WICKED, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Disney’s Enchanted, Academy Award winner for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt) and book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once And Again” and “thirtysomething”), is based on the 1995 best-selling novel by Gregory Maguire. The musical is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues) and features musical staging by Tony Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who’s Tommy, How To Succeed…). WICKED, the untold story of the witches of Oz, is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One – born with emerald green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, how these two unlikely friends grow to become the WICKED Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

WICKED features set design by Tony Award winning Eugene Lee (Ragtime, Show Boat, Candide, Sweeney Todd), costume design by Tony winner Susan Hilferty (Spring Awakening, Into the Woods, Assassins), lighting design by Tony nominee Kenneth Posner (Tony Award winner for The Coast of Utopia, Hairspray) and sound design by Tony Meola (The Lion King). Stephen Oremus is the show’s music director. Orchestrations are by William David Brohn, with dance arrangements by James Lynn Abbott.

WICKED has “cast quite a spell” (Washington Post) throughout North America, breaking box office records in every city that it has played, including Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Philadelphia and Boston to name a few.

Called “a cultural phenomenon” by Variety, WICKED continues to thrill audiences around the world. There are currently seven productions of WICKED worldwide, including two North American tours, a Broadway production, London production, a Japanese-language production, a German-language production and Australian production. A Dutch-language production of WICKED will open in November 2011.

WICKED begins performances Wednesday, November. 9 at the Civic Center. Tickets are available for sale online at and, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster locations. Civic Center Members may purchase tickets by calling (515) 246-2300 or by clicking to a Members-only link on the Civic Center’s Web site. Groups of 20 or more should call (515) 246-2340.

Of course any seat is a great seat at the Civic Center, but you will find the best availability for tickets to WICKED at either of the 2 p.m. matinee performance on Thursday, November 10 or Friday, November 25 or at the 7:30 p.m. evening performances Tuesdays through Thursdays.

11.03.2011: Silver Screen Satellitems

Here's the schedule of ballet broadcasts coming to the Wynnsong Johnston Cinemas:
The Sleeping Beauty (Bolshoi): Nov 20, Dec 6
The Nutcracker (Royal Ballet): Dec 18, 20
Le Corsaire (Bolshoi): Mar 11, 20
Romeo and Juliet (Royal Ballet): Mar 22, Apr 10
The Bright Stream (Bolshoi): Apr 29, May 15
Raymonda (Bolshoi): Jun 24
...I copied this list from the Ballet In Cinema website so any inaccuracies are theirs. But, SB+R+J?! That piques my interest to maybe take a peek. Has anyone been to one of these yet? How is it? Worth the high ticket price? Clue us in!o) (They also have an offer to work the show for free tickets! Find out more here!o)

11.02.2011: Signs Of Dance

Here's another way you can tell you have a little dancer living with you...
" know I can tell she loves class because my nephews were in town and they were having a blast and she didn’t mind leaving to go to dance. I expected her to put up a fuss..."
...Thanks, CCDC Mom! Got any other signs you're raising a little dancer? Input here!o)

11.01.2011: Serious Series

Here's the announcement of the Civic Center 2012 Dance Series:


Capital City – The Civic Center’s THE DANCE SERIES returns for a second artistically ambitious season. With an overwhelming response to its inaugural seasons, the series far exceeded Civic Center expectations. From ballet to modern to contemporary, THE DANCE SERIES features three internationally recognized dance companies with tickets for each starting at just $25. Tickets for individual performances in THE DANCE SERIES go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-8000 and online at Groups of 10 or more should call (515) 246-2340.


Diavolo – Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Moulin Rouge – The Ballet – Saturday, March 31, 7:30 p.m.

Parsons Dance – Thursday, April 19, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

Ticket prices start at $25.00
All pricing includes a Building Restoration Fee of $2.50

  • DIAVOLO (Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012) – Diavolo was founded in 1992 in Los Angeles by Jacques Heim to create large-scale interdisciplinary performances which examine the funny and frightening ways individuals act with their environment. The company is comprised of dancers, gymnasts and actors who create performances collaboratively under the guidance of Heim, constantly changing the image presented to the audience. The sets created are outrageous and surrealistic and form an intrinsic part of each piece of work. Everyday items such as doors, chairs and stairways provide the back-drop for dramatic movement – leaping, flying, twirling – that creates metaphors for the challenge of relationships, the absurdities of life and the struggle to maintain our humanity in an increasingly technological world.

  • ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET: Moulin Rouge – The Ballet (Saturday, March 31, 2012) – Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet has been seen by close to 60,000 people across North America and has elicited cheers and ovations. Along with a rousing French soundtrack, the ballet features high-kicking choreography and a passionate story of love, ambition and heartbreak. In turn-of-the-century Paris, a city of exquisite contradiction, the elixir of personal freedom bred lifestyles both reckless and addictive. Drawn to Paris by the city’s passion, a flame fuelled by the hearts of lovers and the souls of poets, Matthew and Nathalie tempt fate as they seek love and destiny at the infamous cabaret – The Moulin Rouge.

  • PARSONS DANCE (Thursday, April 19, 2012) – The sexy, athleticism, exuberant personality and joyous movement that is Parsons Dance is comprised of 10 full-time dancers and maintains a repertory of over 60 works (20 with commissioned scores) choreographed by David Parsons. The company's style is a fusion of the gesture and movement that make up the modern dance vocabulary, and the discipline and precise execution one expects from a classical company.
All performances in The Dance Series offer an exciting opportunity to deepen the dance experience with DanceTalks prior to and following each performance. One hour before curtain time, audiences are invited to learn more about the troupe and repertoire they are about to see from the company’s artistic directors and local dance experts. An intimate in-theater conversation and Q&A with the dancers follows each performance...

10.31.2011: Monday 'Me' In 'Da 'Media'

What little "hope" Soccer goalie Solo had of winning or even surviving long into DWT*** was probably dashed by the "maximus" ego of her dancing partner, Chermokovsky, last weak. Now, granted, Max did try to take back his claim that "this is MY show" on the results show, but, the damage had already been done. My advice to Max? Shut up and dance! Let your partner's progress do your speaking for you! Tough love is fine, but, telling Hope that you're losing faith in her immediately disqualifies you as her teacher/coach/partner. My working definition of a teacher is: someone who believes you can do better and can show you how. Max now seems to be failing on both ends. It's just a good reminder for all teachers to remember that whatever beginners can't do is the teacher's fault. That's one reason the safe money's flowing to Team Rough Lake over Team Smirnoff Martini. Derek's a proven winner, excellent choreographer, good partner and patient teacher. Karina hasn't won before for a reason. If she ups her game, J.R. has the ability to win the mirror-ball. But, there's a reason why the Hough family has so many trophies on their mantel. As for Chaz, good run, but, it was way past time to rest that knee. Now, it's a race for the bottom between CocozDad and NoHope4Solo!

10.28.2011: CCDC Grad Performs

Merde to CCDC alumnus GitUrFaShawn! He's back performing at the institution we affectionately refer to as "Party Hearty You":
"...Dance Gala 2011, Oct. 27-Nov. 6, will feature elite UI Dance students performing a work by guest artist Trisha Brown, one of the nation's greatest modern dance choreographers. ..."
...More info here. And, a montage of photos. Alas! None of our prodigal son!o(

10.27.2011: MCB Opportunity

Set your DVRs! Rare chance to get a glimpse of what's cooking in southern Florida ballet. Check IPTV's schedule for the show tomorrow night. You can also read an article from Miami Herald. Or read a blog from one of the MCB ballerinaz!o)

10.26.2011: Future History

"So this is what the future looks like!" I remember thinking that thought as I was warming up before teaching ballet at CCDC the other day. I was doing crunches listening to live-streaming audio from a Miami radio station, Los Sonidos Jovenes de Miami. I use the "I Heart Radio" app from Clear Channel listening on my iTouch mp3 player streaming on a WiFi internet connection. Just a few years ago, I used to listen to a playlist set on random on that mp3 player. Before that I had a CD I could randomize for warm-up tunes. But, that got old pretty fast. And, back when I was in the company, whoever got into the studio first got to put the cassette of their choice into the audio system before company class. We knew which songs followed which before too long. Or, we used our own Sony Walkmans. And, back when I was just a student, the only options for warm-up music were local radio stations or the phonograph or 8-track player. So, this is what the future looks like nowadays! I just wanna know when I can press a button and be fully-warmed up and stretched and ready to dance! Then, I'll use all that extra time to put on my jet-pack or hop into my flying car and head down to Miami fo' real!o)

10.25.2011: Eek! It's Halloween Week!

The time has come for all good ghosts, gremlins and goblins to wear their costumes (or colored leotards) to dance classes for the annual Halloween Week at Capital City Dance Center! So far, Socks, the Shy Sheep (NOT Robbie the rabid rabbit!), Grecian Goddess Helen of Troy, Lady Baden Powell, several Fuzzy Bunnies, a few faeries, Flutterbye the Butterfly, Bounty Hunter, The Dog and Marion the Librarian have shown up in CCDC classes! Just keep in mind, students should be able to dance in their costumes. And, if you must bring treats, confine them to the lobby! We're posting pictures on our FaceBook page!o) (And, while I have your attention: Have you paid your CCDC family recital fee yet? It was due October first!)

10.24.2011: Putting 'da 'Me' in 'Media'!

Maybe now sanity has been restored to the parallel universe that is DWT***! The ouster of the kid, Carson last weak, based solely on dancing ability alone is a sign the apocalypse has been at least delayed. No disrespect to the QueerIGuy! He was an audience favorite who, as Len pointed out, put "the boy" into "flamboyant". But, the loss of two stronger dancers the last two weeks put the "eek" into "weak"! The field has been seriously sapped. Only two reasonably strong contenders remain: Team Smirnoff Martini and Team Rough Lake. Lotta mediocre dancing to endure while we wait for the chaff to be seperated from the wheat. Dancers in the audience will suffer. The mind wanders...the mind wonderz: Is there anyway we can cancel the rest of this season and schedule all-star rematches on DWT*** instead? Sure would like to see Stacey take on Nicole! Maybe, Mario versus Helio? Brooke vs Kristi? Apolo vs anybody? Producers, are you listening?

10.21.2011: He Livez!

He still lives! He still dances! He (occasionally) writes! I'm talking about CCDC Alum GitcherFaShawn!o):
"...Hey! Long time no talk! Just an update from Iowa City: I'll be in the University of Iowa's Dance Gala again this year, this time in a piece for Deanna Carter. The show seems like it'll be really cool, with choreography by a few faculty members as well as a re-staging of a Trisha Brown piece (by one of her former dancers) and a brand-new piece created for Hubbard Street 2.

Applicable links: here, here and here.

ALSO! There is big chance that I'll be in town (for the first time in months) on November 7th. I might even be able to take class!


10.20.2011: Taylor Made

Mark your calendars!o):
"...Hancher to present Paul Taylor Dance Company at West High Nov. 1

Led by arguably the most prolific living choreographer, the Paul Taylor Dance Company will return to Iowa City at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, for an evening of mixed repertoire. The performance will take place in the West High School Auditorium.

After graduating from Juilliard, Taylor began his performance career with the Martha Graham Dance Company. He started his own troupe in 1954 and ushered in a new era of groundbreaking choreography, musical choices, and artistic collaborations. Now 81 years old, Taylor has been creating work encompassing a wide range of topics and movement styles for the past 55 years. He has been awarded nearly every honor known to the artistic world, including an Emmy for his work, Speaking in Tongues, in 1992, and the National Medal of the Arts in 1993.

Bringing dance to diverse audiences around the world has remained a priority of the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Taylor's company has an extensive history with the University of Iowa; November's performance will be the eighth time Hancher has presented the company. Their 2004 visit marked the 50th anniversary of the company and a Hancher-commissioned piece, Dante Variations, was a highlight of the program.

The Nov. 1 performance will include three works choreographed by Taylor. Brandenburgs (1988) features music from Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. The Uncommitted is a new work created in honor Charles L. Reinhart, who was manager of the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1962 to 1968 and director of the American Dance Festival from 1968 to 2011. Company B (1991) features music by the Andrews Sisters and is an audience favorite..."

10.19.2011: Give A Squat!

Got this tip e-mailed to me from those fitness fanatics over at Men's Health Magazine. When you think about it: "gym squats" are just "ballet plie's" without turn-out.
"...Can you do a "real" squat? By real, we mean that you can lower your body until the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. (And lower is better.) If your answer is no, you're not alone. Because we spend much of our time sitting, many guys have tight hip muscles. This limits your range of motion and prevents you from being able to perform a good, deep squat. The upshot: You work less muscle with every rep, and your athletic performance suffers.

Ever seen a toddler squat? Most are able to lower themselves until their butt touches the backs of their ankles—and they're able to do it with ease. Unfortunately, as we age, many of us lose this ability. But you can start to regain your mobility with an exercise called "squat with prying." Try it before every workout, as part of your warmup. You'll be amazed at how good it will make you feel—and how effective it can be for helping you squat correctly..."

...and here's their video of an exercise to help loosen up your ability to squat or plie'!

10.18.2011: Dancer Writez of Dance

Finally found time to reply to a writer who asked for input on possible plot devices on a novel set in the world of professional ballet. Here's sections of that answer:
"...I can't find a copy of your plot sketch and questions. If you could resend or follow-up to below?

Here are some of the answers percolating from my first read:

There was a real life example of a world-famous choreographer who was besotten by a young dancer. He was a womanizer who married four times, each time it was with another younger dancer. He wanted to marry this last one, but, she ran away. But, this last example was a dancer with an amazing musicality. She inhabited the music and understood and challenged the older man's grasp of the composition. She was his muse. The result was some of the greatest choreography the man had ever produced. I think you might want to explore that possibility in your writing. A dancer who is not less technically proficient than the older dancers, just less experienced. But, someone who is an "old soul":

"...there's only one way I can explain it", he would later write. "(She) may have been young, but, she was an 'old soul'. I feel she must have danced in a previous lifetime. She inhabits the music at a level almost beyond where I can feel it. Her understanding challenged me to be a better choreographer. I had to raise my game so as not to insult her me..."
Young corps dancers may actually be technically more proficient than older dancers in world-class companies. But, the advantage the older dancers have is in experience. Recently, a well-known choreographer famously cast young dancers as the leads in his new version of Romeo et Juliet. But, he reportedly had to modify that experiment, not because of a lack of technical expertise, but, because his younger dancers couldn't convincingly portray overwhelming great love...because so few of them had experienced it.

(As for) The other injury question happened to me so I know it's possible: The Cliff Notes Version: During rehearsal, I was practicing an overhead lift with another couple. The choreographer told the other pair of dancers to "take five" while he worked with us. The other male was so tired he just sat down right where he was in the middle of the rehearsal studio. (Something he never should have done.) Meanwhile, the choreographer and I and my partner walked off to downstage right. We tried the overhead lift one more time. I ran upstage, watching my partner who I held overhead...and tripped over the other man who was sitting with his back to us! My partner fell from overhead all the way to the floor. Somehow, I managed to catch her and break her fall even as I fell. She was safe and uninjured, but, terribly shaken. I wasn't hurt as well, but, the thought that I may have hurt or allowed my partner to get injured was a terrible thing.

The other thought might be an overhead lift or toss where the woman doesn't hold and trust her partner. If she doesn't hold, the man can't know how to catch her safely. A helicopter lift, for exampe, tosses over the man's head in seconde and fouettes into a fish catch. If the woman doesn't hold, there's very little the man can do except try to catch his partner and break her fall.

HTH, follow-up questions invited..."

...and the odd thing about it is: that old partner of mine that I dropped (wasn't my fault!) is now teaching at CCDC!

10.17.2011: Puttin' 'da 'Me' in 'Media'!

So, got this hint of some rumblings on the dance floor last week:
"...This week Carrie Ann’s review of JR was so out of whack I wanted to pull her hair. When you watch we’ll talk..."
...And, yes, Carrie Anne's comments did seem to come out of left field, but, that was just a preview of some of the unexpected turns of events on DWT*** last week. Unfortunately, the second good-to-decent dancer in a row was dismissed from the show. And, Chynna's faux pas on the dance floor is every dancer's nightmare. But, as Tony pointed out, every dancer has blanked or forgotten choreography on stage. If Chynna forgot words to a song while she was singing, she would've had the experience to cover it up. But, she didn't have enough dancing experience to cover up forgotten choreography. Her immediate comments after were gracious, but, in interviews after that, she complained the show is more of a popularity contest than a measure of dancing ability. Well...duh! The last two weak results have proven that more than ever before. And, in earlier seasons, Bristol Palin and Kirstie Alley outlasted their dancing ability for various reasons. It's that uncertainty that adds an element of randomness that infuriates...and captivates!...DWT*** audience. But, as the show producers like to ask "Did you vote? If you didn't vote, you can't complain!" (That's not true, but, it does manage to shut most of us up!o) And, to repeat, just on dancing ability, Chaz, David and QueerI should go next. Rikki and JR should remain.

10.14.2011: I Vant2Bite Ur Neck!o)

What a creative promotional tie-in from my old company and CCDC alum Katya W's current troupe! Other companies should consider launching something similar...
"...Donate Blood at a Participating Blood Drive and receive a voucher for "Buy one, get one" Dracula tickets!

For more information on Dracula performances, visit The Minnesota Ballet's website.

Participating Blood Drives:

10/1 through 10/20/11 Memorial Blood Centers

10/5/11 Lake Superior College 10am - 2pm
10/6/11 UMD Kirby 8am - 4pm
10/6/11 US Bank 8am - 12pm
10/11/11 UWS-Superior 10am - 2pm
10/14/11 Superior Enbridge 8:30am - 4pm
10/15/11 Minnesota Air National Guard 7:30am - 11:30am
10/17/11 Lakeview Covenant Church 4pm - 7pm
10/19/11 Superior Senior High School 7:30am - 2:30pm
10/20/11 Minnesota Power & LHB 7:30am - 2:30pm..."

10.13.2011: Can Of Spam

Just got an e-mail that could be our ticket outta here:

I found your information while surfing for a dance instructor within
your ever,i want to believe you are a dance
teacher/instructor reliable with a good teaching experience.i have
been contracted to do this booking and it is my wish to book with you
for a group of 10 students coming from DUBAI,as they are preparing for
their contracted proposal to do danceing performance within your

kindly get back to me with the kind of dance you teach along side with
the cost for 2 weeks dance ever, they will be starting on
the date of 10TH NOVEMBER till 24TH of NOVEMBER 2010.

for 3 hours each day Monday to Saturday (morning hours) a total of 36 hrs.

Further more,they are all beginners.a prepayment will be made to you
as initial deposit for this booking via credit card once availability
is confirmed by you.hope you accept credit card?

Your prompt reply will be appreciated.

Bill Gordon..."

...Mister Bill Gordon's flashy offer (along with that Nigerian government official who wants our checking account number to quietly move millions!) is too good to be true! So long, worker beez! Once these kids get a load of my charismatic ballet teaching, get ready to forward my mail to...DUBAI!o)

10.12.2011: Call Me Consultant

So, as I blogged earlier, a writer tweeted me recently to ask me to answer some questions about ballet. Research for a novel apparently. Here are those questions and answers.
  1. What makes a great male dancer?
    ...Wow! Start off with an easy one why don't you? Why don't you ask me how to turn lead into gold while you're at it or the GPS location for the fountain of youth? Would you accept hard to define, easy to spot?

    So, what makes a great dancer regardless of gender? Hmm...How about great talent and unmistakable charisma that transcends a well-proportioned, flexible instrument and meticulous training and preparation? Passion AND intelligence AND a prodigious work ethic?

    What makes a great MALE dancer? An unmistakable, untameable masculine virility? Tendus reeking of testosterone? A courtly barbarian prince? Savage, yet smooth and suave? Or, am I just describing what I remember of watching Misha dance? He was an imp and a demi-god, a troll and a king, a rascal and a rake. A young Elvis or Jagger who looked good in tights! A larger-than-life soul who was mesmerizing on stage.

  2. How do you know someone has "talent." What do you spot as a young man?
    I define "success" as "exceeding expectations". Someone who has the talent to succeed has the will and training to consistently "exceed the physical limits of their body" or the "mental limits of their mind". How do you surpass those expectations? By that "meticulous physical preparation", rigorous ballet classes, challenging, intelligent rehearsals and choreography with "excellent coaching and vision".

    What do I look for in a young dancer? Good proportions and maturity and intelligence beyond their years. A well-formed inquisitive personality at an early age. The ability to delay gratification. Someone who enjoys and delights in hard-work and discipline. A student who knows what they want and is driven to achieve it.

  3. What make a great partner?
    From the male, safety first and safety last! Someone who can make the female dancer feel so safe and confident, she can take great risks while dancing without second thoughts. Male strength and confidence to challenge and support the ballerina through the most intricate, complex choreography with poise and aplomb. The man who can instinctively complete and extend the woman's line and poses to consistently make a whole greater than the sum of the parts.

    I tell my beginning partnering boys that their partner has to know they would "die" before letting any harm come to them. I tell my beginning boys that if you're standing over here and she's standing on the other side of the stage and she slips and falls, it's your fault.

...And, when you finally get on Twitter, remember to subscribe to my tweets: @SirDanGuy

10.11.2011: Puttin' 'Da 'Me' In2 'Media'

Bop me on the head with a mirror-ball if the Team Smirnoff Martini performance last week doesn't win an Emmy next year. J.R.'s emotional homage to soldiers who don't make it home was a "goose-bump/chicken-skin" moment. And, to hear him whisper an emotional "Thank you" to Karina as he prepared to ascend into the white light was surreal, a too obvious metaphor for real life and real death. Big props to the big guy for being able to harness potentially overwhelming emotion while executing the choreography flawlessly. It usually takes quite a disciplined performer to be so emotional with so much control while being watched by so many. Many of us in the audience, echo Karinaz comments that she would remember that dance as long as she lived. (As a former performer/choreographer, I'm envious!o) But, as one DWT*** aficionado mentioned: last week's show did seem like a bit of overload to have every contestant trying to tug on the audience's heartstrings with every performance. Inevitably, some of the outings would suffer by comparison. But, it seemed like a calculated effort by the producers to get the audience invested early in different contestants. The more involved the audience, the more likely good ratings...And, I'll take credit for calling last week's dismissal of the second ex-in a row. Check an earlier blog-post when I predicted the ex-Clooney GF and the ex-Cutler fiance would be the most vulnerable. Having said that, The Hillz Star'z dancing should have kept her on the show longer. But, for now, judging just on dance quality, it's time for Chaz to go. (Even though his mom's promised appearance would probably keep him from being dismissed this week.) Him or Coco's Darquette or 'da QueerI4daStr8Guy. As for the the opposite end of the Anointed/Soon2BDisappointed spectrum: JR as mentioned, along with The Asian Synger and The Talk Show Zinger continue to rule the roost.

10.10.2011: Bully4Billy!

First come, best served! Here's a tip: Choose center line seats and bring your opera glasses!

Capital City News – NETworks Presentations, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions bring the 2009 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Billy Elliot the Musical to the Civic Center, June 12-17, 2012 as part of the Willis Broadway Series. Based on the international smash-hit film and featuring music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, choreography by Peter Darling and direction by Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot the Musical has earned critical acclaim on Broadway including 10 Tony Awards.

Billy Elliot the Musical is the joyous celebration of one boy’s journey to make his dreams come true. Set in a small town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent that inspires his family and his whole community and changes his life forever.

In addition to the Tony Award for Best Musical, Billy Elliot the Musical received the award for Best Direction of a Musical (Stephen Daldry); Best Book of a Musical (Lee Hall); Best Choreography (Peter Darling); Best Orchestrations (Martin Koch); Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Ian MacNeil); Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Rick Fisher); Best Sound Design of a Musical (Paul Arditti); Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish); Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Gregory Jbara).

The production has been awarded 81 national and international awards including ten Tony Awards, Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle.

Ben Brantley of the New York Times says that Billy Elliot “Sends audiences into a mass swoon!” Time Out says it’s “The most electric and passionate show in years.” The Daily News calls Billy “So exhilarating that you feel like leaping!” Liz Smith calls the show “Absolutely awesome,” The New York Observer raves that Billy is “The best thing to happen to Broadway in a long while,” and WOR’s Dave Richardson cheers, “All I can say is WOW!”

The production features original direction by Stephen Daldry, choreography by Peter Darling, scenic design by Ian MacNeil, associate direction by Julian Webber, costume design by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch. Touring production direction by Justin Martin and choreography Kathryn Dunn.

Additional information about Billy Elliot the Musical is available at

Tickets for BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 10, 2011 at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-8000 and online at PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:

Tuesday June 12 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday June 13 7:30 p.m.
Thursday June 14 7:30 p.m.
Friday June 15 7:30 p.m.
Saturday June 16 2:00 p.m.
Saturday June 16 7:30 p.m.
Sunday June 17 1:00 p.m.
Sunday June 17 6:30 p.m.

Ticket prices start at $24.00 All pricing includes a Building Restoration Fee of $3.50.

10.07.2011: Author! Author!

A writer working on a novel set in the ballet world tweeted me recently asking if I would answer questions to help her with the details of her book. Nothing irks me more than inaccurate portrayals of ballet dancers so I said I would. Here's an excerpt of that tweetversation:
"Sure. If u send me questions, I'll send u the answers how u like but reserve right to post answers on my #ballet blog as well."

"Am following you now. So u can DM me questions."

"Would email be better? I need a day or two or three. I still formulating what to ask.. THANKS!"

"Read 100s of your tweets and borrowed "Great Pas de deux" from the library. Will watch it tomorrow. Wanted to tell U I doing my homework. :)..."

"1) What makes a great maledancer?
2) How do you know someone has "talent." What do you spot as a young man?
3) What make a great partner?"

"Got your questions. This will take a little time. What's your deadline? Will email answers."

"I don't have one. When you feel you want to give it to me. It doesn't have to be perfectly written. Just ideas..."

"In many ways, I am interested more in your thoughts as a ballet master. Your experiences rather than answers to my questions.. :)

...So, watch for those answers in the next few daze...And, if you're on Twitter, remember to subscribe to my tweets: @SirDanGuy.

10.06.2011: DWT*** Dance Discourse

So, here's an excerpt from a reaction to my earlier DWT*** post:
"...I agree that Vlad Chermokovsky was so unpleasant that I would have voted against them just to teach him a lesson. He makes Maks look like a pussy cat..."
...But, I wonder how much of that is culture clash, Boy George? Having taught and been taught by Eastern European directors or dancers, I know from first-hand experience and observation some of the differences between how teachers and instructors are treated in the former Iron Curtain countries and here in the U.S. And, also, I've been subjected to some of the withering criticism, vitriol and scorn from ballet masters from eastern cultures. I may search on YouTube for some examples later, but, take my word for it: all this concern for self-esteem and positive reinforcement this new generation expects was not the way dance was generally taught until just recently. So, not to excuse Vlad the Impaler from the way he skewers his students, but, perhaps we can understand that's standard-operating-procedure in the culture he comes from. But, I'm gonna bet the show's producers won'b bring Vlad back in the spring. We already have our "maximum" recommended daily allowance of Chermokovsky!

10.04.2011: Profit Potential

Was talking to a CCDC mom the other day. She said the director of another bigger, (much more profitable) dance studio was praising CCDC students. Reportedly, s/he said they just keep getting better and better every year. That gave me pause: don't the students at her/his own studio keep getting better and better every year? If not, what's the point of teaching them? I mean besides charging them tuition? It does remind me of what happened when I was taking classes at that very studio just after I completed my stint with the local professional company. (Stop me if you've heard this one!o) There was one other male, a teen-age boy, in the advanced ballet class. He came up to me as I was warming up and introduced himself. During the short conversation he managed to mention that he'd been dancing about 15-years, since he was three. (At the time that was longer than I'd been dancing!) I got the impression that he thought he was pretty good. (That can happen to the rare boys in a studio full of girls. They start buying into all the chatting and flattery and they don't have anyone to compare themselves to and get an inflated opinion of their worth. Take note, all u boyz2men!o) But, later, during class, his dancing "couldn't cash the check his mout' had just written". I didn't say anything, if he wanted to keep starring in his own fantasy world, who was I to burst his bubble? But, the day came when he graduated and confidently went off to audition for prestigious University dance programs around the country. So, he set off on his national tour and at every program, before he auditioned he managed to mention that he'd been dancing for about 15 years, ever since he was three. At most places, after they saw him dance, the auditioners thanked him and told him they'd let him know. Not quite the adulation or immediate scholarships and lavish praise he'd been accustomed to or been expecting. Finally, one exasperated ballet master told him bluntly, "You HAVEN'T been dancing for 15 years, you've danced ONE year, FIFTEEN times! Now, get offa my stage!" The boy was understandably upset, he was crushed. When I met him later, he confided in me that he hated his former teachers now and has never set foot in that studio since. (He finally got accepted into a dance program basically because of his y-chromosome---read, he was a boy, not because of his dancing!) The sad thing is his old studio used to teach dance students the right way. But, those owner-teachers gradually compromised their teaching in order to squeeze more profit out of their studio. They never had to work other full-time jobs just to keep the tuition affordable and to keep their studio from closing. Now, we may never be rich, but, when CCDC students dance well and succeed on their merits and good training...and NEVER have anyone tell them "You haven't been dancing 15 years, you've danced one year 15-times. Now get offa my stage!" THAT'S our reward! (...Now, if we could just cash that "reality check" at our bank...)

10.04.2011: Puttin' Da 'Me' in 'Media'!

Four strikes and you're out! Elizabetta, we hardly knew ye! But, then again, you shouldn't be surprised at your early departure: One, you're a super-model so you're at an automatic disadvantage in the DWT*** voting. Plus, you're an ITALIAN super-model, so unless the European Union is voting, you have little-to-no built-in constituency. And, you're thin-and-gorgeous, so the "hefty housewife" voting bloc that normally gravitates to "ruff, tuff" Derek Hough anyway is automatically gonna hate you even more! (Plus, you dated George Clooney, so the gay vote that isn't supporting Queer Eye4The Str8 Guy (or LGBT lobby that has votes left-over from one of their own) that normally would support you is bent on punishing you instead.) Plus, you're paired with a neophyte pro who just happens to be the kid brother of another polarizing professional, Maximus "Ego" Chermokovsky. (All that bickering on the video paks is also more than a little off-putting. Voters like a little romantic tension vis-a-vis Helio "The Brazilian Heart-Braker Casanova" Castroneves and The Blonde Bombshell! U think that extracurricular kiss didn't help him? And, as well as Mario Lopez' alleged straight shots of hot, steaming Smirnoff?) As we've already seen before, votes tend to gravitate to long-time professionals. (Kym Johnson's drought may have helped Donnie dance off with the mirror-ball at the end of that season.) Vlad's inexperience and lack of tact was the fourth strike against Elizabetta. Her improved judges scores couldn't compensate for the strikes against her! Not a good enough dancer, not a good enough improvement to overcome all those drawbacks! No wonder I didn't have trouble NOT learning the results of the show until I could watch my recording over the weekend! NOBODY cared enough to write/text/tweet/blog/bleet about Elizabetta's ouster! But, just wait for the firestorm and media frenzy to erupt when or if Chaz gets ejected! The voters may be preparing to put him out of his physical misery sooner than later! And, my leaders in the clubhouse remain The Chynnese Singer Who Doesn't Look Asian and The Motivational Speaker Who Can Move Mountainz. I thought Chynna might reveal some weaknesses in the more energetic, more passionate latin dances, and, unfortunately, she lived down to my expectations. And, JR would have scored much better if partner Karina hadn't thumbed her nose at the lift-judge. And, moving up the chartz with a bullet: The Not-So-Placid-Lake! Hate to be "size-ist", but, the more weight Rikki loses, the more voters will reward her hard work. And, the ace-up-her-sleeve is named Hough, good teacher, good choreographer, good-lookin'!...And, still have to put in a plug for BET's Born2Dance. You can download episodes from DirecTV and iTunes. The show features choreographer and former Fly Grrl LaurieAnn "Boom-Kack" Gibson looking for a dancer protoge' to mentor! These girlz can bring it hard! Talk about "blood on the dance floor!" Just watched the Boyz, Boyz, Boyz episode! All that athletic lindy-hoppin' had me jonezin' for the six-step American and Latin hustle, disco-touch-dancing at its best! Anybody up for a six-week special Hustle Session at CCDC? FB me! Grrlz! Start recruitin' 'dem Boyz, Boyz, Toyz!o)

10.03.2011: Taking the "Chore" Outta "Choreography"

An insider's look and insights from HSDC's collaboration with Twyla:

Here's more if you're unfamiliar with HSDC

And, it's not all HSDC all the time. Time to put some color into your Complexions:

09.30.2011: Sign 'O' De Timez

Just got this in the emailbag from a dancer whose performances I've favorably reviewed. (He also just completed a season with CCDC graduate Katya W00tang...whose completed questionnaire we're expecting any second now! Hint, HINT!o) Looking for a guest artist? You could do a LOT worse:
"...My name is Avram Gold and I am a Principal Dancer and Guest Artist. I am writing to inquire if you are in need of a guest dancer for any upcoming shows or for a guest master teacher. I have posted my bio, a link to my YouTube video and other documents below. I was with with the Houston Ballet and have been the principal dancer with the Omaha Theater Ballet & Minnesota Ballet. I have also taught at the professional level as well as the college level for Creighton University and have attached a letter of recommendation from them. My wife, Carrie Gold, is also a principal dancer and guest artist. We perform together a lot, including the Nutcracker Pas, and she is a wonderful teacher as well. Thank you for your consideration in this matter and please do not hesitate to call if I may be of service to you.

Avram Gold

P.S. Please feel free to contact me about any guest dancing or teaching collaborations that you may need. Thanks!..."

09.29.2011: Message In A eBottle

She LIVEZ! We R NOT 4gotten nor 4saken! eMail from the CCDC graduate we nicknamed KOI McKewtie!o):
"...I got your card in the mail, and it was so sweet! Thank you all so much; it really made my day Thursday. I bragged about it to all my friends (they didn't really appreciate that....)! I hope all is well at the studio. I'm sure things are getting busy with Nutcracker season starting up!

College is going really well, and i'm a very happy camper at (my school). I am taking a Modern class that actually is very similar to Alyssa's style of teaching, so go CCDC! I'm also in Companydance which is a "modern" based dance group technically but really it encompasses almost every style. Last week they brought in Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum who worked with us on like a rythmic, vocal style that was very foreign to me. The best way I can describe it is step dancing with poetry? but that''s still a little off. They're on youtube if you want to really understand!

It's so different having class only twice a week and no ballet (the classes were too full for a first year non-major like me), so i'm also in Ballroom club and i might try swing club because that's really big here!

I still really miss my CCDC classes and family though! I'll be home for Fall Break in the middle of October and I guarantee I'll find a way to visit the studio! Also, if anyone ever wants to make the drive up North, I would be happy to host a visitor in my itty-bitty dorm room!

Thank you all again for the card. I love and miss you all..."

...No, thank YOU, Koi!. And, to save you all the trouble I embedded some video of that choreographer she mentioned: (Looks intriguing! Well-done video pack.)

09.28.2011: Elliot Mess?

Got tickets for Billy Elliot yet? Here's information you need to know:

CAPITAL CITYThe Civic Center announced that due to changes in the tour schedule of BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL, the Civic Center’s engagement of BILLY ELLIOT will now be June 12-17, 2012. Current season ticket holders will be contacted by the Civic Center Ticket Office to reassign their tickets for the new dates. For questions, Civic Center season ticket holders may contact the Ticket Office.

Tuesday June 12 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday June 13 7:30 p.m.
Thursday June 14 7:30 p.m.
Friday June 15 7:30 p.m.
Saturday June 16 2:00 p.m.
Saturday June 16 7:30 p.m.
Sunday June 17 1:00 p.m.
Sunday June 17 6:30 p.m.
Billy Elliot the Musical is a joyous celebration of one young boy’s journey to make his dreams come true based on the smash-hit independent film of the same name with music by the legendary Elton John. Set in a small town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising passion that inspires his family and his whole community. On Broadway, the show won ten 2009 Tony® Awards including Best Musical and won praise from fans and critics alike, including Ben Brantley of The New York Times who called Billy Elliot, "the most inspiring show I've seen in years."

BILLY ELLIOT is a presentation of the 2011-2012 Willis Broadway Series and is included in the 5-show season ticket package on sale now at

09.27.2011: Not-So-Blues Traveler

Just had a conversation with new CCDC mom. She lives a not-insignificant distance from our studio, but, she brought her daughter to us because she wanted better quality of instruction than is available where she lives. There must be 15-to-20 dance studios closer to home for her, but, she chose CCDC because, among other things, she's a former instructor herself and understands not all teachers or studios are the same even at her daughter's young age. Now, it turns out that another family that lives close to her has begun taking at CCDC. She tells me that family had similar concerns about dance instruction in their town. One of the parents actually works in that school district with students who take from dance studios near them and isn't happy with the quality of instruction he sees. So, now, the two families are talking carpool. (And, if you're looking for carpool help, you can always post a notice on the CCDC lobby bulletin board or comment on our FB page. Also, could be a good place if you're looking for babysitters, au pair or nannies.) But, it continues a tradition of dancers seeking out challenging, quality instruction ending up here at Capital City Dance Center. We've had several from Ames, Ankeny, Norwalk, but, I think the Mad Traveler Award goes to the student we've nicknamed "the Mad Traveler". She commutes from a city 54.0 miles one way from the Capital City. (Anybody further than that?) Mad Traveler's on the injured-reserved list now after a temporary set-back at a national summer intensive, but, we're looking forward to welcoming her back ASAP. And, we appreciate all you parents who choose to bring your children to CCDC. We recognize you have many choices and value the chance to teach your dancers!

09.26.2011: Putting 'da 'Me' Back in 'Media'

Can't argue with the first elimination in last week's premiere DWT***. Metta World Peace had a lotta fun and a touch of funk, but, not much in the way of dance fundamentals. The Los Angeles Lakers forward will have a lotta 'splainin' to do in the locker room if this NBA walkout ever ends! And, so far no one has leapt out as the contender-to-beat this season. But, for me, the early favorites in the clubhouse are Chyna Phillips and J-R Martinez. Chyna used her obvious ballet training to good advantage in laid-back attitude promenades and pique' arabesques, but, will Tony Dovolani be able to bring out her sexy, slinky side in the latin dances? J-R's backstory as a war hero must've garenered him a lotta votes, but, he earned it with some nice lines, charisma and a great smile. Mister Personality awards also go out to the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy and Coco's Darquette. Here's an interesting analysis offered during a recent discussion: We know the bottom two aren't indicative of the voting, but, both the professionals in the risk of elimination were new this season: Tristan and Peta. Is the voting public also weighing in in favor of long-time professionals? Will that give an edge to Ricki Lake and the return of the eminently likable "ruff, tuff" Derek Hough? Never mind the fact that he's an excellent choreographer and teacher? My prediction of who's going next? Always easy to pick on the modelz and mannequinz for the early eXit: Clooney's Ex and Cutler's Ex...And, wrapping up soon, I've gotta put a plug in for BET's Born To Dance. The series features eliminations of hopefuls as choreographer Laurie Ann "Boom-Kack" Gibson looks for a dancer-protoge' to mentor and sponsor with a $50,000 prize. It's not ballet, but, some of the advice and "tough love" she hands out ring very true to this grumpy, old ex-dancer! Check it out. (Episodes available for free download on DirecTV for a limited time. I'm sure episodes are for sale on iTunes as well.)

09.23.2011: To Russia, With Love

Following this week's trend of more audio for balletomanes: An American principal dancer "defects" to Russia. Hear the NPR interview with David Hallberg here:

09.22.2011: Dance Interview

Here's the last of the interviews I stumbled over in the audio archives: a conversation with a dancer from the Joffrey Ballet before their performances in the capital city a few years ago (That yelling in the background is Pierre Lockett leading a public dance workshop):

Check this out on Chirbit

...And, if I haven't interviewed you yet, don't worry! Your time will come! It's what I do!o)

09.21.2011: Up Close And Personal

Continuing cleaning out the old audio archives today, here's an interview with Pierre Lockett of the Joffrey Ballet from a few years ago. I talked to him right after he conducted a public dance workshop during the company's "River To River" tour sponsored by Hancher Auditorium:

Check this out on Chirbit

...And, if I haven't interviewed you yet, don't worry, I'll get to ya! ...It's what I do!o)

09.20.2011: Flying Strong Now!

I was cleaning out the audio archives recently and stumbled across some old interviews that I'll be posting over the next few days. First off, a few questions I asked "Rocky" a few years ago before a Nutcracker performance. I recorded it on my BB and it turned out to be a difficult audio format that isn't compatible with very many OS. But, now it turns out that Chirbit.Com can handle .amr and was able to accept this "moldy oldie"! Ends a little abruptly because of formatting problems, but, enjoy!o) (Doesn't he sound young?)

Check this out on Chirbit

...And, if I haven't interviewed you yet, don't worry, I'll get to ya! ...It's what I do!o)

09.19.2011: Ask A Dancer!

It's high time we started pestering our recent CCDC graduates, don't you think? At least the one affectionately referred to as Katya W00tang!o) She's several weeks into her second professional season with the Minnesota Ballet! I'll be sending her a questionnaire soon. Do you have any suggestions? What would you like to ask? This is what I was thinking of just offa da toppa da pointy part:
  1. What ballets are you rehearsing currently? What's your planned repertory for this season? Any guest choreographers? Guest teachers? What's the differences between who teaches company class?
  2. What ballet or roles are you most looking forward to? Do you approach a part differently the second time around? Do you approach a part differently now that you're a professional dancer and not a student?
  3. Talk about the turn-over between the dancers in this year's company and last year's. Where have people trained and how did they end up in Duluth? Where did the old dancers go?
  4. After one season under your belt, how did you train differently in this off-season as opposed to last season when you had no idea what to expect? Were there any weaknesses you targeted? What advice would you give to new dancers in your company?
  5. Specifically, what cross-training did you do in the off-season? How much of that do you continue during the season? How much dance training did you do in the off-season?
  6. What's your schedule like during a typical day? Typical week?
  7. What kind of touring do you have scheduled? Can you tell us more about your trip back through the state?
  8. What's the best part about living in the northland? What's the worst part? How do you keep busy when you're not rehearsing? More importantly, how's your social life? Any big announcements???!o)
What do you wanna ask Ekaterina? Send your questions to me and I'll pass them along. And, if you have questions for other recent CCDC grads, send them along with their namez!

09.16.2011: "Let Them NOT Eat Cake!"

Happy (...or unhappy!) "National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month":
"...President Obama has marked September 2011 as the first National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, calling on all Americans to 'promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our nation’s children.'

'By taking action to address the issue of childhood obesity,' the president went on, “we can help America’s next generation reach their full potential.'..."

You can read the entire article here. And, here at CCDC, we think dancing can be part of the solution. But, it's also true that kids need good role models to adopt better lifestyles. How sad would it be if this next generation fails to out-live previous generations! Parents! How about trying an adult ballet or jazz or Pilates class? Remember, September is "Bring A Friend2Dance" Month at CCDC! How about taking a Pilates class with your dancer? Don't just talk the talk! Don't just walk the walk! How about dancing the dance? And, here's a ballet blog reminder: If you sign up for an adult class along with your child, remember to ask for the family discount!o)

09.15.2011: Moore Mel!

In case you haven't read any of the post-SYTYCD 8 interviews, this was just sent to me by the guys at Discount Dance:
Melanie’s Moment to Shine
By Deborah Searle

...And the winner of So You Think You Can Dance season 8 is…Melanie Moore! Hear what Melanie had to say after her convincing win.

  1. Did you go into the finale knowing that everyone really believed in you and that you could win?
    "Going into the finale I definitely thought I had a chance, but sitting there on stage next to Sasha, Marko and Tadd I really couldn’t pick a favorite because all of us are so great at the things that we do. I don’t know how America picked! It was such a hard decision. I definitely felt confident with what I did on the last show and what I had done in the course of the competition. I just tried to do what I could every week and really focus on the dances that were given to me and not look backward, not look forward, but really focus on what was going on and keep my head in the game. I didn’t want to put any extra pressure on myself by thinking that I was a favorite or I really had an amazing shot, but I always kept in my head that there was definitely a shot and it was worth going for."
  2. You won with 47% of the 11.5 million home viewer votes. That’s a huge margin given it was a four-way. Do you know why you had such strong support?
    "I really have no idea. I was just surprised. Wow. I tried to make sure that my personality really came through in everything that I was saying and I definitely think it had—I always laugh. I always laugh at myself. I can never take myself too seriously and I definitely think that came through. I hope that I’m relatable to people. I would hope that they see something in me that inspires them to get up and do something. Maybe that’s why, I don’t know."
  3. What are your plans for the $250,000 you won?
    "Everyone has said to sort of indulge myself on one thing and then put the rest of it away. This is so stupid and crazy, but I sort of want to get really nice carry-on luggage so I can feel really cool when I walk into the airport when I travel, or maybe like a nice ring or something and then I just want to put the rest of it away."
  4. You got some pretty interesting offers while you were on the show. Lady Gaga said she would love to have you on tour. Kenny Ortega said that you would make a great addition to Dirty Dancing while Nigel said that you could probably join any company that you wanted. Which three of those options appeal to you most? Joining a company, going on tour or maybe getting into movies?
    "I don’t know. I feel like my dream has always been to be in a company. My movement would be more suited for a company atmosphere. I would love to do tour work though. I’ve always said that I want to dance and I didn’t care what I am doing, I just want to be able to sustain a living dancing. That’s really what I’m hoping to do."
  5. Would you like to be in the remake of Dirty Dancing as was suggested on the show?
    "It’s one of my mom’s favorite movies! I feel like it would be electric to be a part of it. I have a friend who worked on the Footloose remake, and they said that everyone’s energy was just crazy because everyone knew how great the first one was, so they’re expecting so much from the second one. It would be so much fun and the choreography would be great because Kenny Ortega is absolutely amazing. It would just be a blast."
  6. What or who do you attribute your success to?
    "I feel like the reason why I did so well would probably be because of my partnership. I had an absolutely amazing partner from the beginning. Marko was so strong and I feel like we really carried each other. We fed off each other from the very beginning. Marko and I put so much hard work in. We were the only couple who rented studio space outside of the rehearsal time. We would be in rehearsals all day and then we would go to rehearse at night. I can definitely attribute my success both to Marko and our work ethics, because without those I don’t think we would have made it as far in the competition."
  7. The fans loved the large leap you performed with Neil in your Mandy Moore number. How do you gain so much trust in a partner in such a short period of time?
    "Neil and I sort of just clicked from the very beginning. He’s so funny and he made me feel so comfortable, so when Mandy told me that I was going to be sprinting across the stage and jumping into his arms I wasn’t too nervous. Neil’s got a lot of muscle. I knew he could handle it. We started out just a couple of steps away and within three tries I was across the room. We both said ‘let’s keep moving back’. We were sort of daredevils about it. I feel like whoever I’m partnering with I usually have complete trust in them, because I want them to have total trust in me. What you give is what you receive in that relationship."
  8. What’s going to be on your to-do-list after the So You Think You Can Dance tour?
    "Right now I’m thinking that I really want to go back to school but major in dance rather than art, just because I’m so inspired and people have asked me about choreography and things like that. I don’t consider myself a choreographer at all. I can improvise my solos but I’m definitely a dancer right now and not a choreographer. I look up to people like Stacey and Sonya so much. Maybe after some schooling and learning how to choreograph, and a little bit of growing up, I’ll really be able to choreograph. I’m definitely going to be auditioning though."
  9. If they ask you to be an All Star next session would you like to be one?
    "I have already told them that I don’t care what I have to do, I will be an All Star next session without a doubt. I told them that from the minute I got into the top ten. I said, “Okay, so here’s the thing. I got into the top ten. That means I have to be an All Star next year. I don’t care whether you put me in Bollywood. I don’t care whether you put me in disco”. I really want to be an All Star, and I’m hoping that I may be able to be like an assistant for some of the choreographers next year too."

09.14.2011: Getting Paid4UrPassion!

Reminder2mark ur calendarz4this weak end:
"..."No More Starving Artists III" Conference
Presented by the state Arts Council
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011
CSPS/Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids

The Arts Council presents its biennial No More Starving Artists Conference Sept. 17 in Cedar Rapids.

A dynamic learning and networking opportunity, No More Starving Artists is a one stop shop, professional development experience for artists of every discipline. Workshop sessions on business planning and marketing development, arts advocacy, grant writing and more will be offered.

Keynote panelists include Idris Goodwin, playwright and poet; Aaron Hilliard, comedy writer and TV producer; and Larassa Kabel a visual artist. Learn from local professionals in the field as well as national presenters from Springboard for the Arts of St. Paul, Minn. and Fractured Atlas of New York and customize your workshop schedule at this full-day event, hosted at the newly renovated CSPS/Legion Arts. Located in downtown Cedar Rapids, CSPS has been undergoing an exciting and unprecedented transformation to restore, renovate, and expand its historic facility..."

09.13.2011: Audition Action

Stumbled across this website from Pointe Magazine today! If you're a professional or aspiring professional looking for work (or will become one soon), bookmark that site. Sure, you may not want to audition for Alaska Dance Theater, (especially after watching that eerie movie The Fourth Kind over the weekend!o) but, other opportunities may look more promising. Dance in Europe? Perform in South Afrika? Become a member of the Trocks? Check it out!o) (And, get that owl outta here!)

09.12.2011: Performance Tip

The old cliche' is, from suffering, comes art. Here's a chance to see and hear that in real life tonight: (If you're not busy dancing or teaching at CCDC, that is!o)
"...You are invited to a performance of the Striving for Eternal Life Choir
Monday, September 12, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Location: Bulldog Auditorium, Olmsted Center, Drake University

Organized by Drake University student Vincent Niyokwizera, the Striving for Eternal Life Choir is composed of young refugees from Burundi who spent much of their childhoods in refugee camps in Tanzania before making their way to the United States in 2007/08. Inspired by religious faith, the members of the choir share their experiences through song and dance that they have written and choreographed.

Sponsors: The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship at Drake University and the Drake University School of Education..."

09.09.2011: Dancing After Graduation

Already posted this link on FB and even though my new rule is not to repeat exactly the same content (There are some people who just read the blog, others just follow on FB, still others just do the tweetz! We want you to stay current on all of them, of course!o): So, here's a link to a blog post with good advice for all the CCDC dancerz heading off to continue their performing careers in college! (Yes! I'm lookin at U, Koi!o).

09.08.2011: Yugo Yoga?

If you're not already taking class at CCDC, here's a opportunity to get your yoga on4free!o):
"...(August 2011) — On Thursday, September 8, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm, The Art Center will present “The Art of Yoga” in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Locust and 13th Street, in the downtown Western Gateway area.

Relaxing and slow paced, this meditative yoga class will focus on the human mind, body, and spirit. The one-hour class will be a hybrid of meditation, energy work, and gentle stretching, conducted by Denny Kelly, instructor of yoga and meditation. Kelly is also a Reiki Master/Teacher. No yoga experience is necessary, but participants are asked to bring their own yoga mat. There is no charge to attend.

This event is a collaborative effort between the City and the Art Center.

(In case of rain, the event will be canceled.)..."

09.07.2011: Dense Momz!

Okay, I watched one of the Dance Moms episodes we recorded off the Lifetime Channel this weekend and it proved as nauseating as advertised. For those of you blissfully ignorant of this show: (promo below) it features some of the worst aspects of a "competition dance studio". Now, as someone who works in broadcast media, I'm sure the editors chose the most controversial segments they had recorded and put it all together for air...That means all the tears and injuries and confrontations you can stomach. Studio owner Abby Lee actually had to call the police when an irate mother storms in to question why her daughter wasn't allowed to take class! I think all the CCDC families are a little more grateful for the entirely different focus and culture we foster in our studio. Because, (believe me!o) we are VERY GRATEFUL we don't have the "dance moms" at CCDC like are featured on that show! Good news is: we get to free up a lot of space in our DVR now!

...Here's a suggestion: September is "Bring A Friend2Dance Month" at CCDC. Help get those young kids started on the right foot!

09.06.2011: Bragging Time

An email update from Capital City Dance Center Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:

Some sweet news today from Princeton, NJ.

Kathi H. spoke to Shanon L. today on the phone. 7-year-old Greta and 9-year-old Anna had their placement classes at the Princeton Ballet School, one of the finest not-for-profit ballet schools in the nation that produces professional ballet dancers dancing all over the world.

Both girls aced their placement ballet class. The Director told Shanon that their past training has obviously been "top-notch". Both girls have wonderful placement and positioning.


P.S. Both girls started at CCDC as 3-year-olds. ..."

...And, don't you know some three-year olds who should be getting a gentle introduction to a lifetime of dancing under Ms Jill? Remember, September is "Bring A Friend2Dance Month" at Capital City Dance Center!

09.02.2011: Faster, Higher, Farther

Dancerz! Are your ballet teachers always bugging you about moving faster and cleaner? Well, just had this e-mailed to me: a fascinating article from Men's Health Magazine on the new 'Science of Speed'. Here's an excerpt...
"...The tendency of muscle to spiral may be rooted in our anatomy. It can be seen in the twisted strands of protein that slide together at the cellular level so muscles can contract and in the way muscles are twisted to attach to and move bones. It's also seen in the way some of the largest muscles wind in pathways connecting the front of your body to your back and even your opposite side.

'There's always a relationship in biomechanics between one shoulder and the opposite-side hip,' says Michol Dalcourt, adjunct professor of sports science at the University of San Francisco. 'The anatomy of the human lower body spirals as well...rotating your bones is the most energy-efficient way to move while upright on two legs.'..."

...Which raises the question: how does this affect our thinking about the more efficient use of 'turn-out' in classical dance training? Who 'spirals' more than ballet dancer using turn-out correctly? How do we incorporate this new focus on fascia to improve ballet technique? Read the entire article and make up your own minds! (Warning parents! At least one use of locker-room language! It *is* a men's magazine!)

09.01.2011: M&M Speak, Pt 4

As promised! Putting a bow on the "Sizzlin' Summer of 2011"! Here's the final Part IV of our wide-ranging interview with 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Instructors Michael Levine and Maia Wilkins (Reminder again: conversation was recorded at a noisy restaurant. Might be better with earbuds or headphones.) Or click below:

Check this out on Chirbit

08.31.2011: Tendinitis Treatment?

Suffer from sore tendons? Take two curries and call me in the morning, Anne!o)
"...Anti-Inflammatory Curry Extract May Help Reduce Tendinitis

Curcumin extract may be able to suppress biological mechanisms that spark inflammation in tendon diseases, according to new research.

The research, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, reveals that curcumin, which is known for giving turmeric its bright yellow color and its use as a food coloring ingredient, blocks important inflammatory pathways known to initiate tendinitis, preventing the initiation and promotion of inflammation in the tendons.

The international team of researchers said that the spice extract could offer new treatment hope for sufferers of tendinitis.

"Our research is not suggesting that curry, turmeric or curcumin are cures for inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis and arthritis…However, we believe that it could offer scientists an important new lead in the treatment of these painful conditions through nutrition," said Dr. Ali Mobasheri.

"Further research into curcumin, and chemically-modified versions of it, should be the subject of future investigations and complementary therapies aimed at reducing the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the only drugs currently available for the treatment of tendinitis and various forms of arthritis," he added.

Tendinitis is a form of tendon inflammation that causes pain and tenderness near joints. It is particularly common in the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, heels and wrists.

The authors noted that as the global population ages, and inflammatory diseases become more prevalent, the incidence of tendinitis has increased. It is also linked to other arthritic and rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Curcumin has been associated with anti-inflammatory responses, and has been successfully used to treat inflammatory conditions in experimental research and in clinical trials.

Recent studies in cell models have suggested that curcumin is able to target specific inflammatory signaling pathways.

Other research has linked curcumin to potential uses in treating arthritis and a range of rheumatic diseases. "However, the potential for the treatment of tendinitis has not been explored," said Mobasheri and his colleagues.

The new study used a culture model of human tendon inflammation to study the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin on tendon cells to assess the effects of curcumin on the inflammatory and degenerative signaling pathways.

"The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin included down-regulation of gene products that mediate matrix degradation, prostanoid production, apoptosis and stimulation of cell survival," said the researchers.

"These results demonstrate, for the first time, a potential role for curcumin in treating tendon inflammation," they added.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 286(32):28556-28566, 2011..."

...And, just had the Curry Chicken Special at the "Taste of Vietnam" at the Merle Hay Mall before this weekend's auditions. Very tasty! Surprised to find out it was a meat-fall-off-the-bone noodle soup! (I just tossed out the bamboo shoots and lotus leaves) Parents might want to check it out while they're waiting for kids to finish Nutcracker rehearsals. (It's a special dish, so it may not be available every day. Specials are listed on a menu at the register.) My tendons feel better already! (Just call me Placebo Domingo!o)

08.30.2011: Let's Get It Started, Pink!o)

Some familiar faces will be missing as classes resume at Capital City Dance Center this week. A few have graduated, others are no longer in the area:
"...(My dancer) loved her years with CCDC, as did I. We moved out of state, so she will no longer be a student there. Thank you to Miss Jill and Missy and all of the CCDC staff and students for a great experience!.."
...but, that just means an opportunity to bring new friends into the CCDC family! Remember, September is Bring A Friend2Dance month! Don't you know a child who should be dancing? At CCDC we say, everybody is a dancer! ...The difference is the quality of your training! Your friends and friends' kids are just hoping you'll ask!o) Make plans now to introduce a child to dance during Bring A Friend2Dance Month here at Capital City Dance Center! Friends don't let friends NOT dance!o)

08.29.2011: Fall4Dance!

Fall semester classes begin today at Capital City Dance Center! And, it's a good time to share a few recent comments submitted from the parents of CCDC students:
"...I just wanted to thank all of the teachers for the excellent training they are giving my daughter. She tried out for the Nutcracker for the first time and it went very well. She just started at your studio one year ago and her growth has been amazing!..."
"...(My child) Started with Ms. Jill--CCDC is the best dance studio ever!..."
...Thanks to all the CCDC parents who trust us with their children's dance education! It's a charge we never take lightly! And, you can help us keep our prices down! Tell your friends about CCDC! September is "Bring a Friend2Dance" Month at CCDC! "Like" us on FaceBook! Repost our status comments! Tweet about us! And, register for classes by pressing the "Register" button on the menu to your left. Mahalo nui loa!o)

08.27.2011: Audition Action

So, I just got back from observing the younger kids auditioning for Nutcracker. The good news is the CCDC students did very well and stood out from the rest IMNSHO! (Go Ryder! Go Tyler!) The bad news is: there wasn't much real competition in this age group. Here are some notes/corrections the teacher in me jotted down for the younger students there today (not necessarily the CCDC students)o:(And, some of these may be tweeted around the world soon!) (STOP HERE if easily offended by snarkiness and sarcasm!o)
  • "Don't break your wrists! Hands should continue the line of the forearms!"
  • "Look up! Look out! Don't be afraid to make eye contact!"
  • "Smile! ...Especially when the auditioner is asking for it!"
  • "Know your classical ballet body positions! Or at least know the difference between crossed and open legs!"
  • "No 'pendulum' arms in balance'! Side to side if you can't do good port de bras!"
  • "Spot taller in all turns! Each spot makes you taller!"
  • "Work your weak-side pirouettes!"
  • "Don't sit back in your pirouettes! Engage that high back seat muscle!"
  • "Looking like a #dancer doesn't hurt you during auditions, but, #dancing like a #dancer definitely helps!o)"
  • "LISTEN to the music! DANCE to the music! Your steps are like words to a song! Put them with the music!"
  • "Rehearsing discreetly on the side of the room is allowed, in fact, it's recommended!"
  • "Run like a dancer! Not like a drunk, lame Clem Kaddidlehopper that just fell offa da turnip truck!"
  • "DON'T wear t-shirts and cover-ups!"
  • "Show the CORRECT arms!"
  • "POINTE YOUR FEET! Point your feet to move your leg! And...POINTE YOUR FEET!"
  • "Deeper plie's, higher releve's, more pointed feet! Don't muddle in the middle!"
  • "Again...LISTEN TO THE MUSIC!"
  • "It's POINTE WORK! You're NOT stabbing knives into the floor! Try NOT to stab forks into my eyeballs!"
  • "If you ever step onto a bent knee in pique' turns...I don't even know who you are! Don't point at me when they ask who your teacher is. Wasn't me who taught you that...whatever it is you're doing!"
  • "It's PIQUE' TURNS! It's NOT brain-dead zombies lurching into a pole vault on a broken leg!"
  • "Once's hard to smile too much at an audition! It's hard to enjoy yourself too much! Just don't be pretentious and don't be obnoxious!"

08.26.2011: 4Feet2Beat!o)

Here's a suggestion from Pointe Magazine:
"...Have a bunch of dead pointe shoes left over from your summer intensive? Think twice before you throw them out. Dead shoes can be a great tool for strengthening your feet and ankles. Next time you do exercises with a Thera-Band, wear your shoes--the soft shank will add extra resistance for your feet to work through. (Plus, the soles provide a nice gripping surface!)..."
...and you can find the rest of their e-mail newsletter here.

08.25.2011: Audition Action

Here are the specifics for this weekend's Nutty auditions:

Don't forget, and mark your calendar now if you haven't already!

Auditions for Iowa Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker Ballet will be THIS WEEKEND: Sat, Aug 27 & Sun, Aug 28

Once again Iowa Dance Theatre's annual presentation of the timeless holiday classic ballet will be presented at Iowa's premiere venue, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines.

**ALL NEW THIS YEAR** A brand new larger audition space!

Auditions will be held in Suite 405 at the Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines. Enter through the mall’s main east doors and turn right after playland.

Come this weekend and audition for YOUR part in Iowa Dance Theatre's wonderful long-standing community ballet tradition.

We look forward to seeing you dance!

See the information below for specifics.

Dancers 8 years and older are invited to audition for IDT's Nutcracker Ballet.

We have utmost concern for dancer safety, thus, we ask that dancers ages 15 and under arrive with an adult and be released only to a permissible adult determined at registration.

This weekend's audition schedule:

*Please arrive and register one hour prior to dancer audition time*

Saturday, Aug. 27

Noon Registration Ages 8-9
1:00-2:00 Ballet Audition Ages 8-9

1:00 Registration Age 10 & 11
2:00-3:30 Ballet Audition Age 10 & 11

2:30 Registration Age 12
3:30-5:00 Ballet & Pointe Audition Age 12

4:00 Registration for Acro*
5:00-5:30 Acro Audition Age

4:30-5:00 Registration for Tap*
5:30-6:15 Tap Audition

*if registered for ballet, dancers do NOT need to re-register.

Sunday, Aug. 28

Noon-12:30 Registration for Adults
12:30-1:00 Audition for Adults

Noon Registration for Ages 13-14
1:00-2:00 Ballet Audition Ages 13-14

1:00 Registration Pointe for Ages 13+
2:00-3:00 Pointe Audition Ages 13+

2:00 Registration for Ballet Ages 15+
3:00-4:00 Ballet Audition Ages 15+

4:15-5:30 Call Backs: Soloists, Leads

Registration includes completion of audition form, photo taken, submission of audition fee ($15), audition number assignment.

Classic Ballet attire should be worn for all auditions.

For more information visit the Iowa Theatre website or call: 515-494-5611.

Performance Dates: December 17 & 18.

Our Mission: Iowa Dance Theatre is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to raise awareness, develop appreciation, increase opportunities and support dance as a performing art within our community

Iowa Dance Theatre, 6720 Hickman Rd, Des Moines, IA 50324..."

08.24.2011: M&M Speak, Pt 3

No, I have not forgotten that on-going post of our wide-ranging interview with 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Instructors Michael Levine and Maia Wilkins (that CCDC FAQ is still on the back-burner, too!o). Here's Part III (of IV) of "Lunching With The Levinez". Remind me to post the final part early next week! (Again: conversation was recorded at a noisy restaurant. Might be better with earbuds or headphones.)

08.22.2011: The 'R' Word!o)

Input from CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
"...Keep bugging folks about registering. Tons have told me they still need to register. Ask older kids to repost CCDC's FB posts onto their wall so we reach more people.

Thanks! J..."

...Which begs the question: Didja register for CCDC yet? Didja tell your friends? And, "...repost CCDC's FB posts" onto your wall..."

08.22.2011: Shucking4Shekelz

Learning how to get paid for pursuing your passion:
"..."No More Starving Artists III" Conference
Presented by the State Arts Council
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011
CSPS/Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids

****$45 Early bird price ends Aug. 25***

The State Arts Council presents its biennial No More Starving Artists Conference Sept. 17 in Cedar Rapids.

A dynamic learning and networking opportunity, No More Starving Artists is a one stop shop, professional development experience for artists of every discipline. Workshop sessions on business planning and marketing development, arts advocacy, grant writing and more will be offered.

Keynote panelists include Idris Goodwin, playwright and poet; Aaron Hilliard, comedy writer and TV producer; and Larassa Kabel, visual artist.

Learn from local professionals in the field as well as national presenters from Springboard for the Arts of St. Paul, Minn. and Fractured Atlas of New York and customize your workshop schedule at this full-day event, hosted at the newly renovated CSPS/Legion Arts. Located in downtown Cedar Rapids, CSPS has been undergoing an exciting and unprecedented transformation to restore, renovate, and expand its historic facility.

Register now at and enjoy $45 early bird pricing until Aug. 25, 2011, or $55 thereafter.

Hotel accommodations are available for $79.99 at Comfort Inn Cedar Rapids, 390 33rd Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404. Phone: (319) 363-7934.

See a full schedule or contact Sarah Ekstrand or (515) 281-4657 for more information..."

08.19.2011: GLEE-Full Movie!

A certain unnamed CCDC GLEEk says she LOVED this movie! Actually brought her to tears! Fellow GLEEks rejoice! All you non-GLEEk fanz, stay home with Sue Sylvester!o):

08.19.2011: Audition Action

Heading to the institution we affectionately refer to as "Party Hearty U" this fall? Here's some theater audition information:
"...Department of Theatre Arts holds auditions for fall productions

The Department of Theatre Arts will hold general auditions for a dozen productions and two readings Aug. 25-28 in Theatre B of the UI Theatre Building.

General auditions will be held 7-11 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 25 and 26. Callbacks will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 27-28. The audition may be viewed by acting faculty; directors of the Mainstage, Gallery, Workshop and reading sessions; and members of the directing classes and the Playwrights Workshop.

No affiliation with the UI or the department is required. The audition period is three minutes and, each person auditioning should prepare one or two monologues. To access additional information and sign up for an audition slot visit here..."

08.18.2011: Social Media Madness!o)

Okay, we've finally watched the movie Social Media and have begun to sip the Kool-Aid. Apparently, reluctantly, we've begun to realize this whole "information superhighway world-wide-web internet thingie" is NOT just a fad and a passing fancy. (Once burned, twice shy! We were so certain that whole hula-hoop thing would pay off big-time!o) So, yes, there is now an official authorized Capital City Dance Center page on FaceBook! (Kudoz to Amy "I'm NO Dance Mom" Deace for the help setting up and monitoring the page.) AND! We've also discovered "there's an app for that"! We've downloaded the free FB app into Sammi, the not-so-smart smartphone! Uploads and updates can now happen frighteningly fast. (Within five minutes of agreeing to schedule a supplementary pointe class tonight, it was posted to the page!) So, schedule changes or weather news will be updated on the FaceBook page first...or right after we tweet it on the @SirDanGuy account. All that info and more comprehensive details will always be available here on this ballet blog and on the phone message. So, what does that mean? That you should "like" us, of course! I don't think you can "friend" a business page, but, "liking" us will help spread the CCDC message of better ballet throughout the info thingie!o) Have you registered yet? Tell your friends! Better yet, post it on your FaceBook page!o)

08.17.2011: Parental Input

Just got this unsolicited pat-on-'de-back in the emailbag:
"...Flipped over to this show "Dance Moms" on Lifetime. Just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for you guys :-)..."
...and we want to let all the CCDC parents know how grateful we are to them! Thank you for letting us help you "pointe" your kids in the direction you want them to grow!o) Have you registered yet? Tell your friends!

08.16.2011: Prodigal Returnz!

Just had a conversation with the last CCDC "chicken to come home to roost" this summer. Hurricane Ming-Ming blew back into Capital City Dance Center last night from the Emerald City! (Check out her sporty new wheelz!o) Lotsa hugs and emotional reunions! Mmmadd Skyllz says she really enjoyed her time at the PNB intensive. She does say some of the Balanchine technique she was taught there differs from the Balanchine taught to the upper-level CCDC dancers. But, as I explain when I teach it, there's many different flavors of Balanchine depending on what era that training draws from. Mr. B was always tinkering and modifying his core Vaganova training to adapt to new dancers in his new country in the new world. Mmmadd Skyllz agreed with Rocky Top that losing the Russian and Cecchetti changing upper-body focus took some getting used to. (According to legend, Mr. B was reacting to the over-ostentatious mannerisms that had crept into the Russian technique over the centuries. "Just dance" was the famous correction passed down from teachers to dancers.) She also says the arm placement wasn't as pulled back at PNB, but, she says the speed was challenging. She had one teacher that insisted on "heels off the ground" during petit allegro, but, she had others that were more favorable to classical head and upper body placement. And, she LOVED her character teacher! I told her to keep practicing all the technique she's been exposed to this summer. I also told her to compare her experience at PNB with Rocky's exposure to SAB. And, Flow Rida says there were a lot of full-year SAB students who were taking the PNB summer session. She had a chance to watch some of the company dancers taking their class. And, she told me she was in awe of the "muscular development" in one of the guys who stood at her barre. (Not sure what she meant! What?!? More muscular than Rocky? Or GitUrFaShawn?) Now, that all the prodigals are back in the CCDC fold, we (and Mmadd Skyllz!o) are poised to start the fall semester with a huge jete' of enthusiasm!

08.15.2011: Sunscreen Is Our BFF!

Hey, Red Ryce, Blaque Strad and all you Leather Lizard Ladies! Does this help explain your complexion complex?
(Courtesy Newswise) — People who frequently use tanning beds may be spurred by an addictive trigger, researchers found in a pilot study.

This could explain why some people continue to use tanning beds despite the increased risk of developing melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer. The brain activity and corresponding blood flow tracked by scientists involved in the study is similar to that seen in people addicted to drugs and alcohol. (Editor's emphasis)

“Using tanning beds has rewarding effects in the brain so people may feel compelled to persist in the behavior even though it’s bad for them,” said Dr. Bryon Adinoff. “The implication is, ‘If it’s rewarding, then could it also be addictive?’ It’s an important question in the field.”

About 120,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. People younger than 30 who use a tanning bed 10 times a year have eight times the risk of developing malignant melanoma. While public knowledge of these dangers has grown, so has the regular use of tanning beds..."

08.12.2011: Go2VanGogh

Never mind Mona Lisa! Eat your heart out, Louvre! The only culture found in the midwest is NOT at the bottom of the nearest yogurt container! AND! Price is right for starving dancerz!o)
"...The Art Center lecture will address recent acquisition of Vincent van Gogh print, Portrait of Dr. Gachet (L’Homme á la Pipe) [Man Smoking a Pipe]

Capital City (August 2011) — On Thursday, August 25 at 6:30 pm, Amy N. Worthen, curator of prints and drawings at the The Art Center, will present a lecture entitled “How Does a Van Gogh Enter the Art Center’s Permanent Collection?” The lecture will take place in Levitt Auditorium, and is FREE; however space is limited and reservations are required.*

This lecture will be a reprise of the presentation Worthen delivered to the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees in April, 2011 with a behind-the-scenes look at the acquisition process. Worthen will impart expert knowledge about the only etching Van Gogh ever made, and his brief, but important relationship with the subject of the portrait, Dr. Paul-Ferdinand Gachet...."

08.11.2011: Who Can? Roni McCann!

Capital City Dance Center is pleased to announce Roni McCann will join Central Iowa's most caring, experienced and professional dance faculty for the 2011-2012 season/school year. Register for Roni's classes well as the rest of the comprehensive dance curriculum for all ages offered at CCDC! And, please join us in giving Roni a warm welcome to the CCDC family! Here's her bio:
"...Roni McCann grew up dancing in Des Moines at her mom’s dance studio. She was Captain of Varsity Cheerleading and Dance Team at Dowling Catholic High School. In 2003, she won State in the solo division for the Iowa Drill Team Competition with a perfect score. After high school, Roni moved to LA to pursue her dance career at the Performing Arts Center. She trained with Joseph Malone, Michelle Elkin, Charles Klapow, Jennifer Hamilton, Sallie Whalen, Mark Goodman, Bryan Anthony, Jerry Evans and Terri Yates. She took voice from Deborah Shulman, and acting from Joe Malone and Ann Anderson. Some of her credits include; PGA Industrial, Assistant to Charles Klapow for “Cheetah Girls 3” and Marie Serneholt’s, “I Need A House.” Backup dancer for Alex Bornstein’s “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” Bellagio Go-Go Dancer, Skeleton Crew for, “Boston Legal” and Broadway Show, “Lennon,” lead tap dancer with Mark Goodman in, “Red,” Trace Adkins' “Girls Love Country Boys,” Russian in, “Nutcracker” and performed in many Benefit Shows. After being in LA for 3 years, she went to dance with Princess Cruise Lines. She’s traveled to Hawaii, Alaska, the Caribbean, London, France, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Norway, Denmark and Germany. Roni decided to move back to Iowa and got married in 2011. She choreographed the Mega Millions Iowa Lottery commercial, “More, More, More” and judged for Talent On Parade, Symposium and other dance competitions. She’s also taught Master Classes at North Crest Gym & Dance in Minnesota. She’s choreographed many award winning pieces for her mom’s studio and is a member of Chapter 47 of Dance Masters of America. Roni is a New and Preowned Sales Assistant at Willis Auto Campus and teaches kickboxing at Farrell’s Extreme Body Shaping. Roni is really looking forward to being a part of the CCDC family!..."

08.10.2011: SHE LIVEZ!o)

Lazarus! Come forth! Long given up for comatose, Flow-Rydah FINALLY checks in with her long-suffering CCDC compadres with an e-mail from the Emerald City entitled: Long time no see:)
"...~Well here I am again!

I know, I know this e-mail is way past due but time seems to fly when you're having fun!o)

Speaking of which, it is my last week here in the wonderful city of Seattle, :oD and I have been filling my brain with new material. Since I have talked to you guys last I have learned the sections of Serenade leading up to Russian Girls and added character class to my curriculum. I have also creeped on CCDC’s new Facebook page! Like Adrian, Balanchine was definitely a change that takes time to absorb and get used to. I love it so much though! Serenade is absolutely breath-taking to dance and watch and with Russian girls I was chosen to be the middle girl who does a little more choreography than the others! ( Not much but I love the little extra I do) And since Russian girls becomes faster than I usually like it’s been a challenge. Today I was told to, “tone down your upper body...but do not lose it because that is something that is hard to train in a dancer and that they would rather tell me to calm it down than to crank it up...” I think that sounds extremely familiar? :o) Last week I had my first character class and......It was Sooo FUN!!!!!!!! My teacher was from Bulgaria and sort of sounded like Arnold Swarchenegger! HaAHaaHa He made us smile all the time and we danced to Enrique Iglesias remixes! We jumped right into the steps so fast that we didn’t even know what hit us. The next thing I knew, we were doing this Hungarian Compass!

In modern class last week we did an improve/choreography session and I had a blast with that (and) my partner ended up being...a fellow Iowan!o)

I know I am sort of skipping around to a lot of things and I promise when I get back I will fill everyone in on details I hope everything is going well at CCDC and that everyone is getting a good start to fall classes!

With Lots of Love,
Mmmadd Skyllz<3..."

08.09.2011: Blast From 'Da Past

A former student came in to teach a jazz workshop at CCDC last night. I'd taught her ballet while I was still in the company many moons ago. She went on to a successful career dancing in shows in Vegas, Paris and elsewhere in Europe. (I went on to...well...whatever it is I do!o) Fascinating to hear some of her insights from working Jubilee versus Lido de Paris. She says American dancers' work ethic is highly prized in the EU. That actually gave me hope for the future of the global economic competition the U-S is involved in! But, she emphasized the point that ballet is the foundation all dancers are expected to build upon. She says even the Vegas audition begins with classical ballet (except while wearing heels!) and follows up with jazz and tap. Same in Europe, except without the tap. She praised the size of the CCDC studio compared to the "closets" she danced in in New York and Europe! I actually performed with her once here in the Capital City, but, it was a little embarassing when I had to provide some details before she remembered! Apparently, she had successfully blocked that memory! Awkward!o) But, she did have some nice things to say about the ballet classes she took from me back when Des Moines Ballet/Ballet Iowa was more than just a memory. And, she had even nicer things to say about the quality of dancing and the dedication of the students here at CCDC!o)

08.08.2011: Putting 'Me' In 'Media'!o)

Downloaded and started watching Laurie Ann-Gibson's latest reality show, Born To Dance. Wasn't sure I was going to like it. She's a cutting edge funk choreographer who works with Gaga, Puffy and Hilson and she's a veteran of several reality TV shows (Making The Band, The Dance Scene). This latest effort on BET features Lady Boom-Kack searching for one dancer to win a $50,000 prize to help establish herself as a free-lance dancer. The first episode features the requisite auditions in Hotlanta, El Aye and Da Beeg Apple. I started buying into the show watching the dancers try out: DANG! These girls hit it HARD! Anyone who's planning to try for a career in music videos should watch how hard and fierce the current crop of dancers bring it to auditions! (BTW, don't bother trying to make a living dancing on MTV! When I was visiting LA, dancer-friends of mine say you might get paid well for a day or two of work on a music video---if you get it!---But, the work is too sporadic to pay the bills. Even well-known choreographers have to teach to make ends meet in the city of lost angels.) I think the show will get even more compelling the more we get to know the dancers. Previews show Gibson forcing the dancers to wear pink leotards and tights to take ballet class. Good for her! Best way to get better at all forms of dance: Take BALLET! that take ballet from someone who knows what they're doing!o)....I've also downloaded the much talked about Dance Moms, but, haven't made the time to watch the first show yet....Also, on SYTYCD, the surprise final four is Tadd. That guy's personality is outsized! Back in Hawai'i, Filipinos as a race are generalized as a very gregarious, very handsome and party people. He's a prime example! But, I still believe it's going to come down to Melanie and Marko. And, Marko may have won the title with his recent tearful confession on national television that he was not the best son and begged his mother's forgiveness as she sat in the audience. I think every Mom's heart just melted there. Plus, he can dance! Still, Melanie's amazing! And, to have Gaga say she would hire her tomorrow has to be some of the highest validation a dancer can get! Praise me all you want! Call me your 'favorite dancer'! But, let's talk about putting your money where your mouth is, @DizzyFeet!

08.05.2011: Weight, Weight! Don't Tell Me!

I've been hesitating to share this info from Men's Health Magazine because of dancers' prejudice against weight training, but, guys (and girls!o) who want to improve their elevation might want to consider all options (Remember that CCDC boys we send to SAB have to take weight training classes as part of their summer intensive curriculum. I doubt they did this one though!o):
"...Want to jump out of the gym? Then you need to perform explosive exercises such as the Olympic lifts. For years, strength coaches have known that the Olympic lifts are highly effective at improving strength, power, and overall athleticism. These are the movements—such as the snatch and the clean and jerk—that are used in competitive weightlifting. "When I worked at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, we measured vertical jumps of athletes in nearly every sport," says Michael Stone, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science. "And Olympic weight lifters had higher average jumps than all other groups—basketball players, gymnasts, sprinters, everybody."

Trouble is, the Olympic lifts are quite technical and hard to learn. So performing them without proper instruction can lead to injury. The good news: "In my experience, 95 percent of the benefits of Olympic lifts come from the pull phase, which is the simplest part of the movement," says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., weightlifting coach. That's why Cosgrove recommends a simpler, but equally effective exercise called the dumbbell hang pull. Want to try it? Click here to learn how to do the dumbbell hang pull with perfect form. It'll have you flying higher in no time..."

08.04.2011: Back2School!

Don't look now! But, it's almost time for Back2School! Have you registered for CCDC Classes yet? And, remember, tomorrow and Saturday is "No Sales Tax Day" around the state. Might be a good time to pass on this information from Mark's Dancewear:
"...Back to School Sale!!!

Save 15%*! Print off this coupon and bring it into the store to save 15% on all your back to school dance supplies!!

*Not valid on pointe shoes, sale items or with other offers. 15% off Katrina.

Offer Valid: August 1-14, 2011

Click here for printable coupon!

Clearance Blowout!!

Come into our store to receive dramatic savings on clearance items! Our clearance section is freshly stocked to make room for the new back to school lines! Come check it out!!..."

...also, just got this in the old emailbag. I think it's just for dance teachers, but, I'm sure no reasonable offer will be rejected!o):
"...Hello dance teachers:

Please be advised that IDT is holding a costume sale this weekend,

August 6, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and August 7, 1 to 3 p.m.

Groups of costumes and lots of singles are available. Some are old and some are new.

All are bargains!

Thanks you!..."

...Welcomes, your!o)

08.03.2011: Listening2DaLevinez! Part II

Okay! Here's Part 2 of the conversation with the 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Ballet Instructors and former Joffrey Ballet Principals Michael Levine and Maia Wilkins. You can find the first part of the answer to the question: "Talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the CCDC dancers" in an earlier post (07.15.2011) . This is the second part of a wide-ranging conversation. At least two more segments planned. As mentioned earlier, it was recorded with two kidz at the table in a crowded, noisy local restaurant, but, I think it's worth a listen or two. Any thoughts?

08.02.2011: He Livez!

Interesting discussion after the return of Rocky Balboafurter from the Big Apple this weekend: He says the boys under 15 and the boys over 15 were divided based solely on age. The 15-year olds were divvied up based on ability. The Rock says the hardest thing for him to adjust to was not using his head at all to supplement his line a la the Balanchine style. That's a big departure from the Russian and Vaganova style it originated from...and what we use a lot here at CCDC. Rocky says they actually asked him to make his battu *smaller*! But, he says the straight back leg pirouette prep didn't bother him, you can't just set in fourth position plie'. Apparently, there was one guy there who could just keep turning with no effort at all. (Must be tough!) Rock says the partnering was basic with no lifts or fish at all. He says his fifth position is better because Jock Soto would actually force his feet into a tighter fifth and, then, adjust turn-out from the hips. The good news is: Rocky was invited to audition again for SAB next year. But, he wasn't among the handful of boys asked to stay for the year, but, he says he thinks that's because the SAB faculty feels he's getting good enough training here at CCDC! Should be interesting to compare the differences between the Balanchine style taught to Rocky at SAB and the Balanchine style being taught to Mmmadd Skyllz at PNB. There are many different "flavors" of Balanchine because the choreographer was constantly changing and adapting his technique over his long career. I start teaching CCDC advanced students the Balanchine style I was taught that was taught to me by my teacher, Nolan Dingman. He was tutored by Mr. B, himself, during the Ford Foundation outreach program in the early sixties. Welcome back, Rocky Balboafurter! Well done! (CCDC students will be able to smell what The Rock's been cooking when he returns to more classes next week. He's on a well-deserved break this week!o)

08.01.2011: News U Can Use

Parents! Take note:
(Courtesy Newswise) — Parents should keep in mind key routines as they track their children’s health over the school year, says a University of Cincinnati professor of health promotion and education. In addition to physical activity, children need a good night’s sleep and a proper breakfast before they head to school.

Professor Randall Cottrell says the school year can cause children to decrease their physical activity in order to increase their study time. “All children need to maintain some level of physical activity when they go back to school. The mind works best when it’s physically stimulated.”

A proper diet will lower the risk of childhood obesity and increase the likelihood of academic success. Cottrell says it all begins with a proper breakfast. Without it, the blood sugar level falls, making children fatigued and less able to concentrate. “All children should have breakfast. If they don’t like cereal, they can have yogurt and toast, but they must have those calories. Studies have shown breakfast benefits learning.” Cottrell also suggests sending children to school with healthy snacks and if they pack their lunch, keep it healthy, avoiding high fat, high sugar and high salt foods...

(Courtesy Newswise) — It’s no secret that exercise has numerous beneficial effects on the body. However, a bevy of recent research suggests that these positive effects also extend to the brain, influencing cognition. In a new review article highlighting the results of more than a hundred recent human and animal studies on this topic, University of Illinois Professor Michelle W. Voss shows that both aerobic exercise and strength training play a vital role in maintaining brain and cognitive health throughout life.

“It is increasingly prevalent in the print media, television, and the Internet to be bombarded with advertisements for products and programs to enhance mental and physical health in a relatively painless fashion through miracle elixirs, computer-based training, or gaming programs, or brief exercise programs,” the authors write. “Although there is little convincing scientific evidence for such claims, there have been some promising developments in the scientific literature with regard to physical activity and exercise effects on cognitive and brain health.”

07.29.2011: Who's Your Role, Momma?

Gotta daughter? Interesting study...
(Courtesy Newswise) — How much do our children influence our consumption behavior? Much more than we thought.

A new study finds that teenage girls have a strong influence on the products their mothers buy for their own use, as in makeup or clothing, and that mothers have a much stronger tendency to mimic their daughters’ consumption behavior than vice versa.

“This finding provides initial support for the notion of reverse socialization and suggests that the impact adolescents have on their parents is much more profound than has been credited to them,” Dr. Ayalla A. Ruvio.

This phenomenon – an intentional decision-making process of whom to mimic and how – produced a new term and inspired the article’s title: the consumer doppelganger effect.

“It is not merely the mimicking act that is conscious,” the researchers wrote of the consumer doppelganger effect. “The findings clearly indicate that the subjects intentionally choose the figure they want to emulate and report their inclination to mimic their consumption behavior.”

The researchers found that if a mother is young at heart, has high fashion consciousness and views her daughter as a style expert, she will tend to doppelgang her daughter’s consumption behavior. However, even if the daughter has high interest in fashion and an older cognitive age –thinking she’s older than she is – she still is less likely to view her mother as a consumer role model and to doppelgang her.

07.28.2011: Leaving The Nest

Here's some tips courtesy of Ryerson University and NewsWise for when you go away to summer dance intensives. It also might be good to keep in mind for CCDC graduates leaving for college soon (that's who it was originally written for) or in their first season away dancing professionally:

  1. RELAX!

    You’re moving to a new place with new people and you’re really stressed out. Don’t worry! So is everyone else! You‘re about to move into a place with hundreds of people who are feeling exactly same way as you are. So go ahead and introduce yourself to someone new on your floor. Chances are they don’t know anyone else either!
  2. Be prepared

    Start your transition to living on your own when you’re still at home. Prepare for living in residence by making lists of what you need and being responsible for all the packing. Being independent while still at home will help reassure you (and your anxious parents) that you will be able to handle things on your own.
  3. Meet new people

    Now that you’re living away from your family, it’s up to you to create new support networks. When you move into residence, don’t spend all day in your dorm room. Residence offers the perfect point to branch off and explore the area. Don’t be shy! Get to know your roommate if you have one or meet your neighbors across the hallway. Building these friendships will help establish that much-needed support network that will keep those homesick blues at bay.
  4. Explore your new city

    Get on public transit and become familiar with different travel routes. Make friends with students who are from the local city. They can show you around and take you to all the cool spots to hang out. By getting to know the city better, you’ll feel more at home and be able to play tourist when your family and friends come to visit you.
  5. Ask for help!

    Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you’re all alone. If you need help, just ask someone! We all need a little help sometimes. You can talk to your residence advisor, or other residence staff to help guide you in the right direction. And don’t forget about your parents; they will love to help you and they know a lot!
  6. Keep a level head

    Don’t let independent living go to your head. Ice cream for dinner and late nights out are a good way to de-stress, but don’t forget that you are the one who is responsible for looking after yourself now. Make sure you’re keeping on top of dance, school and work and watch your budget!
  7. Take advantage of what the residence has to offer

    Residence has tons to offer, so take advantage of it! Freebies, programs, peer support, games and events are great ways to get out there and try new activities.
  8. Stay in touch

    Living away from home for the first time can mean feeling homesick and missing your friends and family. Call them up or send them emails from time to time to tell them how you’re doing. They’ll appreciate hearing from you and all the fun activities you’re getting involved with at school. Before you know it, time will have flown by and you'll be on your way home to see your family and friends again.

07.27.2011: Messaging Millenials

It's a common problem for arts organizations these days: how to engage and educate a younger audience for the performing arts. Is it enough for CCDC just to have a ballet blog, daily tweets, Google, YouTube and (coming) Facebook and Photobucket presence? I just downloaded a free e-book from iTunes on that very subject. Here's the blurb and link sent to me by the state arts organization:
"Tipping the Culture": How to Reach Young Audiences Chronicle of Philanthropy 06/28/2011

A new report on reaching people in their 20s was commissioned by Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago and the Nonprofit Finance Fund with a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The study, "Tipping the Culture," looks at the ways big consumer companies like J. Crew, PepsiCo and Starbucks, have successfully used social networks to reach young people, along with efforts pursued by a wide range of cultural organizations.

The most successful efforts boil down to a sort of mutual voyeurism, the report suggests: Companies and arts groups use social media to learn about their prospective consumers and then invite young people into the creative process.

The goal is that once the theater patrons, gallery goers, or consumers become "insiders," they will quickly share their enthusiasm with others and "bring in millennials as a tribe," according to Patricia Martin, a branding and marketing expert who wrote the report.

Download the full report here

07.26.2011: Celebrating CCDC Summer Youth Dance Camp!

This is what your little dancer missed if they weren't at the CCDC Summer Youth Dance Camp this past week:
"...thank you for such a wonderful experience!!!! (My daughter) loved your camp and is proudly displaying her ballerina self portrait on her door!!! What a wonderful week! Thanks again..."
...And, this is how CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews describes that camp...
"...This will be a fun week. We'll spend a little bit of time on the history of The Sleeping Beauty Ballet. We'll also learn about the ballet, Giselle, and watch some of the more famous dances from the ballet. We'll read the story and do some fun related art projects. We'll also work on spelling and learning our dance vocabulary words such as: arabesque, devant, a terre, attitude, derriere, en l'air, croise, en croix, assemble, en tournant, etc. We'll also review how music is written and review pitch. We will incorporate different words, moods, feelings into our movement. We'll focus on good nutrition learning about minerals (i.e. iron). We'll also do some anatomy reviewing important bones and muscles for dancing (scapula, cranium, pelvis, tibia, patella, vertebrae, femur, clavicle, fibula, humerus, sternum, ribs, deltoid, triceps, biceps, gluteus maximus, rectus femoris, lateral vastus, vastus medialus, sternocleidomastoid, latissimus dorsi, rectus abdominus, sartorius, gastrocnemius, etc ). We'll spend some time on Dance History going back to ballet's roots in the Diaghilev Era and learn about Anna Pavlova and Michel Fokine and Vaslav Nijinsky. We'll also have fun with ballet pantomime and creative dramatics. We'll review ballet grooming and learn how to put their own hair up into their own 'successful' buns. We will also make life-size dancers of ourselves in a dance pose. We'll also make cute ballerina puppets. We'll also make a little dance scrapbook to hold all of the work from the week within. And of course we'll dance! Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Pilates...."
...Mark your calendars for the CCDC Youth Dance Camp, CCDC Summer Intensive and Summer Workshops for next summer! And, of course, that's assuming you've already registered for the fall semester! If not, consider this your invitation!o)

07.25.2011: Performances Coming

Merde to several CCDC dancers who will be participating in this performance at the end of the week:
Emergence 2011
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Friday, July 29
4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts Mark your calendars for Emergence, the showcase of Milwaukee Ballet-s Summer Intensive program sponsored by Hupy & Abraham s.c.. See classical and contemporary work performed by dedicated pre-professional students who are the future of dance!

Performances are at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. Call 262-781-9520 for tickets or click here to purchase them online...

...And, here's a notice sent by one of my old companies (And, btw, CCDC Alum Katya W00tangz will be graciously signing autographs at this event! Paparazzi, take note!o):
"...The students in the Summer School of the Minnesota Ballet would like to show you what they have learned!

The School of the Minnesota Ballet's Student Summer Showcase

Spend lunch hour with the School of the Minnesota Ballet students as they demonstrate ballet, modern, jazz, tap and character (European folk dance) technique and present their own works-in-progress.

Duluth Public Library Plaza

The Minnesota Ballet participating in the Depot Summer Arts Street Festival

Saturday, July 30
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
(Minnesota Ballet performance at 11:30 on the Duluth Public Library Plaza)
The Depot, 506 West Michigan Street

This is a free event where local artists are collaborating with activities that are fun for all ages.
Art vendors
Performances on 3 stages (including company members and students from the School of the Minnesota Ballet)
Food Vendors
Free access to all museums
Much, much more!

Thank you for supporting the School of the Minnesota Ballet!

07.25.2011: Peeks@Valli

Tickets on sale today, July 25 at 9am:
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons bring their musical legacy to the Civic Center for a must-see evening of legendary hits

The original Jersey Boy Frankie Valli will headline a one-night-only concert for his first-time-ever appearance at the Civic Center on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. With his three-and-a-half-octave vocal range, over 100 million records sold and a multi-decade career, iconic Frankie Valli, along with his The Four Seasons, demonstrate why they are still the hottest ticket in town with a catalog of hits like: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Grease,” “Dawn,” “Let’s Hang On,” “Sherry,” “December 1963 (Oh What a Night)” and so many more.

Tickets go on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 25 at the Civic Center Ticket Office...

07.22.2011: Sleepy In Seattle

You can blame me if we don't hear from Mmmadd Skyllz any more this summer! This is what I wrote back to Ming The Merciful:
"...Mmmadd Skyllz!!!

First off, I LOVE your enthusiasm and your e-mailz.
But, I want you to prioritize while you're away!
That means don't sacrifice your sleeping and energy just to write your FABULOUS letters and e-mailz!

DON'T get me wrong! We all LOVE to hear all the details, dish and dirt about
what you're doing, (any kewt guys you crushing on?) but, we want you to enjoy your
experience. And, if that means we don't get as many messages...well, you'll just have to
tell us all about it when you finally get back to CCDC, Flo-Rina of Flo-Rydah!

Not much has happened here: Well...A big tree did fall and crush our garage and ding our SUV,
but, other than that, not much.

I went to a yoga studio in Bentonville, AR when I was vactioning with Missy's family.
HOT YOGA! (Did you like that Rodney Yee DVD btw?) I was sweating buckets! But, I got
very loose and very flexible! So, I tried to find a similar class in the capital city once I got back.
But, because I'm teaching so much, I only found one regular yoga class on the Fridays I have
off. Last week, I went to my first one. It was pretty crowded. I didn't enjoy it as much.
I think I like to have more structure and more repetition. More sun salute and less inversions
and arm balances. I think I'll try it again this Friday. They rotate instructors, so I'll see how I like
the other teachers' classes. Wish me merde!o)

In class, I'm working a lot of presenting the turn-out in preparatory steps
(tombe', temps lie', pique', chasse', pas de bourre').
Pushing the heels forward from the top of the leg. I'm also
getting back to emphasizing some basics: bringing the seat in, not the feet in whenever
returning the foot in from the back. And, "friction is the ballet dancer's BFF!"

Here's a petit allegro combination I gave the 5/6 last night:

glissade CHANGING, coupe', rond de jambe en l'air double en dehors, pas de bourre', temps du cuisse, sissone ouverte, pas de bourre', brise' vole en avant and derriere, coupe' change ballotte' efface' devant, derriere, devant into tombe' pas de bourre', contre temps battu, tombe' pas de bourre'...repeat second side and reverse.
...Have FUN, Mmmadd Skyllz! Miss ya lotz!o(..."

07.21.2011: Keep 'Dem Cardz+Letters Comin!

Just got this a-p-b from a local radio station (Not the one I'm affiliated with!o):
"...Fellow Dancers! Here's information on Dance Flash mobs coming up in the area. Lets try to see how many of us we can get to participate.

Kids and Adults are invited so come one, come ALL!..."

...And, also got tweeted this link to a new blog from an adult ballet student committing herself to getting "back to the barre". Took me a bit to learn how to navigate to the very first entry, but, very illuminating and inspiring! And, here's a site that tweets some amazing dance photos on a regular basis. And, that led me to the source of some of those pix. Also, don't forget that one of the CCDC Summer Intensive guest ballet instructors is a photographer and you can access Michael S. Levine's website here. (And, here's a direct link to a video excerpt from Kettentanz, a ballet taught in repertory class during the CCDC Summer Intensive.)

07.20.2011: MarkUrCalendarz!

Chance to see a very popular, very accessible dance group coming this fall for a very popular, very accessible price: free!o):
"...Sunday, September 4, 7 pm — Hancher Green FREE!

Welcome our 2011–12 season with a celebration of Hancher's treasured past and promising future! In the vein of our 35th anniversary festivities featuring the Joffrey Ballet, Hancher is throwing a party with the ground-breaking contemporary dancers of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. This free, outdoor performance will serve as an official farewell to our original facility, as well as a formal greeting to budding excitement on the horizon..."

...And, there's also an opportunity to watch the HSDC II in action. As well as the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

07.19.2011: Mmmessage From Mmminggg!!!!!

WE R NOT 4GOTTEN NOR 4SAKEN!o) Ming-Ming in the big city has not 4gotten where she comez from and sends us this detailed update! Subject line: First Week!!!!!!!! (The only thing "lost in translation" is: while copying and pasting the text for the website, all the endearing "smiley faces" she refers to were left behind!o( So, wherever you see one of these ":o)" or ";o)" just imagine Princess Florina's beaming mug!o)
"...Dear My Beloved Bun heads~

First off, I miss you guys sooooooooooo much.:o( But I am absolutely loving it here in the beautiful, earthy city of Seattle! Every teacher at PNBS has a different interpretation of dancing and teaching, some more extreme Balanchine and others just look for more of the delicious subtlety of ballet. Don’t worry Emery, I’ll tell you all about the Balanchine style here later in this e-mail! YEAH!o)

The classes I have had so far are; technique, pointe, rep, flamenco, jazz, modern, Pilates mat, and Pilates reformer classes. Of course ballet will always be my fav, but I think modern comes in a close second; or maybe fierce flamenco? And get this, one of my teachers (Dana Hanson) was in the Balanchine book Emery let me borrow! In addition to helping me learn a new technique, she has given me a lot of personal corrections and good comments! I have many different teachers and I love them all; including Mr. Wells who kicks my butt in remembering combos because he never shows them and kind of raps them I guess? Haha :o) I also have a teacher (Ms. Bauer) who likes how I lift to lower in my balances...GO CCDC !0)

Overall, I am having an amazing time and learning so many new things and remembering all of the old. I have also been trying to stay in touch with you guys and Harry Potter (hehe) I don’t think I am succeeding yet in either. I’m sorry that I haven’t sent something at least everyday but by the time I get home I basically crash. After all , you all know I need my 8 hours or else I am a wee bit loony. More letters and emails are coming soon, I hope I can dance as fast as I will write:o).... as you can see I also like smiley faces!o)

The Balanchine differences and technique here are amazing and I am learning a lot about the inner beauty of it all. As well as the things I don’t like about it. I am still getting used to the pirouettes from fourth but I feel it makes me get a grip on my regular pirouettes we do at home (both challenging don’t get me wrong). They also actually want lower arms and not behind us at all. Another thing they do is really lift their pas de chevals and look front at the barre at all times when the arm is in a la seconde ( with just the presence of your chest directly front). And then there are the givens with the spotting front and crossed legs too.:o)

Anywhoo, I will try to send an email at the end of each week and get caught up with you guys. Please, please,please keep me posted on what has been going on at CCDC and whatever else is amazingly entangled in your lives!o) I love you all so so very much and miss you bunches!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Mmmadd Skyllz) <3

P.S.- I’m sorry for my horrible spell/grammar mistakes!..."

...(Editor's note: very few of those "horrible spell/grammar mistakes". But, remind me to start posting more terms on the CCDC bulletin board so we all get more familiar with actual spelling and definition of the french terms we normally just verbalize!o)

07.18.2011: Putting 'da "Me" in "Media"!

Haven't written a lot about SYTYCD this season. Still taking time to get to know the dancers. Some very good contestants, but, nobody's leaping off the screen to me! Alex's Dance4UrLife ballet was just sub-par! His line was nice, but, the movement was mediocre! And, the just-eliminated Ryan did not live up to her early promise. Most of her artistic decisions seemed immature and not well-thought out to me. (Don't smile when you're dancing about heartbreak, even if you're channeling an earlier memory! Portraying a movie star from the golden age of Hollywood doesn't mean playing her like Lady Gaga!) And, most of my early favorites (Melissa, Ashley) were eliminated early, but, I have to say Marko, Melanie and Sasha could win this thing...Sad news when Alex Wong tweeted confirmation of a new injury last week. And, @DizzyFeet confirmed on the show that the former Miami City Ballet danseur suffered the same injury that knocked him out of SYTYCD 7. So, he's not going to be one of the All-Stars that'll work alongside the current crop of contestants. Curious what "other dance show" he was auditioning for at the time? But, the good news is we get to see more of Season Two's Allison Holker. But, where's Neal Haskell when you need him?...And, did anyone else miss the premiere of Dance Moms? This blog entry from the Marietta Times makes it sound like it gives all dance teachers a bad name. Just to reiterate the obvious: Like most national level programs, CCDC is NOT involved in such dance competition training.

07.17.2011: Performances Coming

This just in the old emailbag! Performances (starting TONIGHT!o) featuring a wildly popular CCDC Stott Pilates Instructor+Modern dancer :
"...Hope you can join us for our upcoming events:

Hurley & Dancers perform in “Art and Soul”, A benefit for the After School Arts Program
Sunday, July 17 at Ritual Cafe´
(downtown on 13th between Grand & Locust)

6 p.m. Rob Lumbard
6:45 p.m. Asphalt & Stained Glass with Hurley & Dancers
7:30 p.m. Brian Joens
8:15 p.m. Java Jews

For more information, visit here.

Hurley & Dancers perform “Twirl into a Tale”
Interactive children’s theater and dance events
Clive Public Library, Thursday, July 21, 6-6:45 p.m.
(Visit here to register)
West DsM Public Library, Friday, July 22
9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
(Visit here to register)

07.15.2011: Listening2DaLevinez Part 1

Contrary to popular belief, I DO remember to follow-up on earlier posts and promises (occasionally!o). So, today, I finally figured out how to post an audio clip to this ballet blog. (Thanks to Chirbit.Com!) We won't have to wait for me to get someone to transcribe our interviews any longer. So, here is Part One of a conversation we had with CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Instructors and former Joffrey Ballet Principals Michael Levine and Maia Wilkins. It was a little noisy in the restaurant, but, I think you'll be able to understand their comments. (Headphones or ear buds might be best.) Very illuminating discussion, I thought! Let me know if there's any problems or if you have any reaction!o) More segments coming soon!.

07.14.2011: Found In Translation

Hey, kidz! Time once again to play "Are U Smarter Than A SmartPhone?"! Every now and then I'll dictate a petit allegro combination into my Samsung Galaxy S phone and see what English words the French gets transcribed into. This last combination was from former Joffrey Ballet Principal Maia Wilkins class during the CCDC Summer Intensive. And, for those of us who've forgotten, this is how Sami 'da Phone heard what I said:
" code cupid cupid bubble name okay cupid bottleneck bolum a s*** day shipping..."
...And, once again I have to insist that I didn't say anything that needed to be censored like th***! But, here's Maia's real combination:
"...Petít Jeté over, coupé, coupé, Ballonné over, coupé, coupé, Ballonné under, jeté over, jeté over, assemblé Dessous. Second side, then, with battu forward + back...."
...And, we'll probably be doing one of those combinations in CCDC advanced ballet classes soon!o) Practice your "...s*** day shipping!"

07.13.2011: WeRNot4Gotten!

If you haven't seen them already, several actual letters from CCDC students away at national summer dance intensives are posted on the bulletin board in the lobby. We've also gotten a few phone calls from those who haven't written. Seems like everyone is dancing hard and doing well! And, here's the latest, a virtual "message in a bottle" from Princess Florina who just left to dance in "the Emerald City":
"...Hey guys just wanted to let you know a long email at the end of this week is coming and of course my snail mail letters through out my stay in the beautiful city of Seattle!

i love you guys and already miss you unimaginably:(

Love~ (Mmmadd Skyllz)..."

07.12.2011: Inside Insights

A CCDC dancer/teacher/performer/choreographer/pt writes:
"...I saw your plea for a post-performance review of the show this weekend and I have a free moment before I "jete" off to bed, so here it is!

"Barefoot in the Park" was a great success! Hurley & Dancers put on the show at Sylvan Theater in Greenwood Park, behind the Art Center. We presented 10 pieces, including pieces from several past shows as well as works created just for this performance. There was a good blend of pieces. The show included some slow, luxurious adagio pieces (including my solo - can you believe I did a modern adagio???) as well as some spunky, quick, witty pieces and everything in between. The audience was very receptive to all the works. The company is currently home to eight dancers and all of us performed in the show. It was amazing to work with some of the dancers who have been in the company since its formation as well as new company members who were with us for the first time.

Performing in any venue other than a theatre presents its own set of advantages as well as challenges. Of course in (the Capital City), weather is always a factor. It was hot, but the clouds and rain stayed away and the day turned out perfect. Because of the large venue we did not have to limit audience size. Many people packed picnics and just enjoyed the show from the lawn. Kathleen has invested in some soft cushioning to put underneath our marley floor so that we are not jumping and partnering on concrete. Setting up and striking a venue of that nature always takes time. However, we were very fortunate to have some dedicated family and friends help us out. Unfortunately I was not a very smart dancer and ended up with heat exhaustion! Word to the wise: keep hydrated on those hot...summer days!!!

Special thanks to a few dedicated CCDC students who came out to watch the show, including Thai Dyer and Ms Rambos. And a HUGE thank you to Eli Gunsho for running sound for the show. There is little rest for the weary. Hurley and Dancers is performing again this Sunday, July 17th at the Ritual Cafe. But, like you always say, it's not hard work if you love what you do!..."

07.11.2011: Summer2Remember

Kudoz to CCDC's Mmmadd Skylzz as she becomes the first of our students in our young history to attend this national summer ballet intensive:

...Ming-Ming was also the second CCDC student and first female to attend this national summer ballet intensive:

...and, Rocky becomes the second CCDC dancer to attend this national summer ballet intensive:

07.08.2011: Son of Overheard@TheCCDCSummerIntensive!

Okay! It's been two weeks since the 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive came to a successful conclusion. Here's the last bit of "fly on the wall" corrections and coaching overheard during the former Joffrey Ballet Principals' ballet classes:
"Move fast here so you can move slower here! Pirouette prep, for example!"

"Ooh! Lift your stomach in attitude turns!"

"Start all the way back! There's marley back here as well, (Bob!)"

"Petít allegro four times please! Stamina!"

"Use your ballón! Not your balloon!"

"Your second leg is soft in battu!"

"That's right! Just too slow!"

"Use your butt+back to jump! You can hide your behind! It's hard to hide big quads!"

"Dance for everyone by thinking no one's watching you!"

"Fall back as if someone punched you in the pit of your stomach!"

"Not just a port de bras, but, a plea for help!"

"Take the time here! I want to see the 'care'!"

...And, I also jotted down an interesting petit allegro combination that was put together in a way the regular CCDC faculty rarely does. But, instead of just writing it down here for you, I thought we'd play ("Cue the music, Don Pardo!") another installment of "Are you smarter than a Smartphone?" That's when I take a ballet combination and dictate it into my Samsung Galaxy 4S. The only trouble is: Sammie doesn't speak any french! So, it took a number of tries for the software to even attempt to translate my dictations, but, here's what it finally came up with:
" code cupid cupid bubble name okay cupid bottleneck bolum a s*** day shipping..."
...And, I did NOT say anything that should be censored! Whatever the software thought I said, it was mistaken! So, can you figure out what the combination was? I'll post it here eventually, meanwhile you practice your "zip code cupid cupiding"!o) Have a gr8weakend!

07.08.2011: Performance Possibility

This reminder just in to the CCDC newsroom: (See if you even notice the name of a wildly popular CCDC Modern Dance aficionado in the copy!o)
"...(The Capital City area's) professional modern dance company, Hurley & Dancers, presents Barefoot in the Park, an evening of free live dance at the Sylvan Theater in Greenwood Park, Saturday, July 9 at 7-8 p.m. The Sylvan Theater is located on the west side of 45th Street, one block south of Grand Ave. in Greenwood Park. This event is sponsored in part by the Park and Recreation Department.

Hurley & Dancers will present the best of their 2010-2011 dances, with some new works to spice up the repertoire. Audience members can bring a blanket and picnic, or sit on the newly renovated ampitheater benches.

Dancers include:

>>>A*l*i*s*s*a*H*a*m*e*r!!! <<<

Hope you can join us!

Kathleen Hurley..." here for possible post-performance reviews from a wildly popular CCDC Stott Pilates Instructor and newly-minted PT!o)

07.07.2011: Rocky Top!

Big article about a CCDC student emailed us by a proud parental unit! Find it at the Altoona Herald website! Feel free to link to it and "like it"!o) Good job working in CCDC studio mentions, Rocky! Let that be a lesson to all you CCDC students out there on how to use the media to spread CCDC's "excellent and affordable ballet/dance technique and training" message!o)

07.06.2011: You Go, Yogi!o)

Okay, as I sit writing this I feel as if I just survived having my body methodically pummeled and beaten by large Russian military women bearing sweat-soaked mops! I'm tired, but, a good tired! Took my first Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class from Yoga Story. About twenty students crammed into a tiny 20'-by-20' hole-in-the-wall studio just south of the main square in Bentonville. They shut the doors and turned on the heat...and it was already 99-degrees outside! But, something refreshing about giving up the fight not to sweat and letting yourself perspire freely. "Release the toxins!", the instructor ordered us. And, toxic or not, the sweat flowed freely! And, just as I expected, I was able to slip into poses I usually struggle with without much effort. (But, I have to rein in my competitive nature from trying to "beat" the other guys in class! Calm mind. Calm spirit. Namaste! The older guy next to me tried to keep up with me, but, he packed up his mat and left in the middle of class! The only other guy looked like a University of Arkansas athlete and was about as flexible as you might expect.) The class was more of a work-out than I thought. I decided halfway through it that I wasn't going to be following up with a ballet barre that night! I asked the instructor how I could improve my yoga and she put me in a reverse triangle pose and squared my hips! What's normally a not-so-difficult pose for me immediately started stretching something new! To feel a new stretch for a ballet dancer who's been working on flexibility all his life is a revelation! And, in my conversation with one of the CCDC guest intensive ballet instructors, former Joffrey Ballet Principal Michael Levine recommended cross-training in yoga for dancers. I asked him how often he took his bikram yoga class. He said "three times a week" during the season and "everyday" during layoffs. He said it helped reverse the flexibility loss that comes with age. Now, to be clear, what I took Tuesday night was NOT bikram yoga. That's a copyrighted and franchised set of asanas and hot-studio conditions that is specifically trademarked. I'll be looking for those classes when I get back to the Capital City. But, "hot yoga" has become popularized and it'll be interesting to see how my ballet class feels the next day. One thing I might try adopting: turning off the air conditioning at CCDC in some of my classes this summer and exhorting the students to "release the toxins!" (Hey, Shiney One! I will PAY for you to take a hot yoga class with me when I get back! Let's get over this perspiration phobia!o) Another thing is finding the time to take a good yoga class to supplement my dance training once I get back to town. Maybe we can share our CCDC space with a good yogi?

07.05.2011: Resting? Or Rusting?

This week we're vacationing at the in-laws' "Ozark's bed-n-breakfast" during rare downtime from the studio. So, what do I do? I contacted the local dance and yoga studios looking for classes to take. And, I may actually get to take a hot yoga class tonight. (The local dance studios are all also on break for July 4th weak!o) I used to travel a lot for my day-job and, wherever I went, I took ballet classes. San Francisco, LA, San Jose, Houston, New York City, Milwaukee, Orlando, etc. (But, nothing in Tampa, Albany and Memphis the weak I was there.) Back when I was in shape, nothing better than pulling up to a strange barre and out-dancing the local yokels! But, more than feed my ego, it was a chance to meet local dancers in a strange city and get exposed to different combinations and teaching styles. So, if you CCDC students travel someplace this summer, I know it may be hard to find the time away from family, but, consider taking a ballet class wherever you go. (Do it while your dad is golfing!o) Big city studios are used to drop-in dancers. Back in my hometown, we got visiting dancers from time-to-time...including some from ABT, SFB...and the daughter of one of the members of folk-rock legends, Peter, Paul and Mary! I used to plop open the Yellow Pages on the road, but, nowadays, you can Google Map "ballet studios" ahead of time and e-mail for schedule, location and rates. Otherwise, I've brought a bagful of work-out tapes and DVDs with me. I did an aerobic interval work-out yesterday followed by "the CCDC program" barre. I'm planning on alternating aerobics with yoga tapes followed by a ballet barre. My philosophy is "if you don't use it, you lose it!" So, rest if you wanna during Independence Day brake, just know that it's always more painful getting back into dancing shape than staying in shape! And, as I've written before, I like Tom Holland's aerobic+weight training interval work-outs, but, it may be too intense upper-body work for females. And, I really like Rodney Yee's Yoga Training For Athletes. He's Oprah's favorite yogi and used to dance with Oakland Ballet and train in gymnastics. You can get his stuff at Gaiam.Com or I've seen them at Target or Borders. If you don't have good work-outs of your own, head to the local library and check them out for free! Or, your local used or half-price bookstore for cheep!o)

07.04.2011: SABoy II

Here's a link to an extended video and article about School of American Ballet. (And, here's a link to the school's own webvids.) That's the summer intensive that CCDC's Rocky Balborger is attending these next few weeks . It's a very competitive institution to get into. It's widely considered one of, if not, the premiere ballet school in the country and, generally, only among its graduates does NYCB hire. And, just had a text conversation with CCDCSABoy II. He talked about being "the favorite" of one teacher and having a misunderstanding with another and being ignored by a third. Maybe the question was misunderstood ("How are things going?"), but, I think whether the teacher likes you or not is the wrong focus. It really shouldn't matter if you're "the favorite" or not. Everyone likes to be liked, but, the purpose is not to win the title of "teacher's pet" in any ballet class! The idea is to learn, to get better and, more importantly, learn HOW to get better! You may not get a personal correction in some of the best dance classes in the world. Ballet Master David Howard is famous for saying the way he puts his combinations together ARE his corrections. In some classes you will be the favorite, in most, you won't. Don't judge a class or a teacher by that, don't even aspire to that end. Declare your independence from such short-sighted ambitions this July Fourth! Aspire higher!o) Aspire to become a better dancer! Every day! Every exercise! (And, btw, if you want to become "a favorite" of teachers, don't worry about it and do this: outwork everyone else, pay more attention, apply corrections faster, get the combinations quicker, add your own nuance and short, work with the teacher to get better!o)

07.01.2011: PR Plea

This just in from an anonymous wildly popular CCDC Stott Pilates Instructor:
"...Will you please post this on the CCDC website? Thank you! ..."
...This was on her attachment:

Art Soul

A benefit concert for the After School Arts Program
Mary McAdams
Asphalt & Stained Glass
Hurley & Dancers
Brian Joens
Java Jews
Small Dog Productions

Sunday, July 17th at Ritual Café

ASAP, the After School Arts Program, is a multi-disciplinary arts enrichment program for 3rd–5th graders in the Mid City area. Since 2007, ASAP has connected more than 700 students with teaching artists in studios ranging from painting, ceramics, and photography to poetry, playwriting, drumming, dance, handbell choir, and much more. ASAP is making a positive difference in Mid City kids’ lives and, by extension, in the community, but we need help to keep the program running.

ASAP costs about $180 per child per 7-week session, including art supplies and equipment, quality instruction, volunteer training, administrative leadership, round-trip transportation, insurance, healthy snacks, and a closing reception. ASAP families are asked to contribute $5 of that amount each session, as a commitment fee. ASAP makes up the rest through grants and donations.

Please join us for a benefit concert Sunday evening, July 17, at Ritual Cafe, featuring local performers and information about ASAP. Bring your checkbook or credit card, and enjoy an evening of local music!

5:30 p.m. Doors open. Ritual offers coffee, soft drinks, beer, and wine.
6:00 p.m. Mary McAdams, singer/songwriter
6:45 p.m. Asphalt & Stained Glass with Hurley & Dancers
7:30 p.m. Brian Joens, singer/songwriter
8:15 p.m. Java Jews, klezmer/jazz band

If you cannot join us that evening, please make a donation online.

06.30.2011: A Time To Turn

A CCDC student came up to me the other day to excitedly share that she had just watched a web-video of a dancer performing "14 fouette' turns". I told her that was nothing to be overly impressed with considering 32-fouette' or "whip-turns" is part of the traditional choreography for Odile's variation in Swan Lake. I told her to get back on the web and search for "32 fouette's" and send me the link. But, then, I thought I should "eliminate the middle man" and do the work myself. So, I did and let me tell you there are some bad fouette's out there! But, here's a few that made my eyebrows eleve':

...Now that you've watched those, I won't bore you with my experience of being on stage while Japan's Living National Treasure Prima Ballerina Assoluta Yoko Morishita performed her 32-single, double, triple fouette' turns in Swan Lake! (Ask me about her arabesque balance trick someday! Or, how the diminuitive dancer towered over me as Odile!o) Hopefully, you will have the chance to be in the audience, on stage...or performing them yourself eventually! Start practicing now!o)

06.29.2011: From Russia, With Love

Looking for a summer dance movie to watch next month? How about...
"...Giselle in 3D

07/12/2011 The world’s first ballet in 3D is coming to select movie theaters this summer. NCM Fathom and More2Screen proudly present Giselle in 3D from the historic Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. Experience the beauty and movement of each graceful step in a whole new dimension on Tuesday, July 12th at 12:00pm or 7:30pm (local time). This tale of love and heartbreak will capture the hearts of audiences of all ages...."

...Coming soon to a theater near you! No, really! The nearest one is...
"...Jordan Creek 20, 50266..."
...Click to watch a video trailer:

...Or, more info here. Ballet in 3D? Whaddya thinking? Good idea? Or excellent idea gone terribly wrong? Anybody got that day or night off? Tuesday, July 12th! Mark your calendars!o) How about a weekend next time?

06.28.2011: Overheard During Intensive

More from your "fly on the wall" during 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive Variations Classes:
"Surf the music! Let it propel your movements!"

"Let your energy linger like the endless contrail of a distant jet stretched across the summer sky!"

"Share the shapes! Find and share your favorite poses in this combination!"

"Feel two legs fused into one in fifth position. Spine long and centered above that strong leg."

"Remember to put the 'develop' into 'develloppes'!"

"Show me a little more of the opposite thigh in your pirouette!"

"Feel like you're carrying beautiful, smooth stones that've been warmed by the sun in your hands!"

"This movement is so exhale on one, so you can inhale on two."

"Fingers move here because the body breathes."

"Little more crispness with the legs, little more floating with the upper body!"

"Stamp your foot here like a child throwing a tantrum!"

"Run off as if you hear your friends laughing up ahead around the bend...and you want to catch up!"

06.27.2011: Sayonara Summer Intensive

Here’s some input from a grateful parent that I believe summarizes the general feeling from the 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive participants this past fortnight ("Puts a bow on it"):
“…Thanks for a wonderful summer intensive the last two weeks. (My dancer) had an absolute blast!!! Thanks!...”
…and, now, it’s on to the 2011 CCDC Summer Dance Workshop Series! Not too late to sign up! Just click the Summer button to the left!
…And! We are NOT forgotten!o) Here’s an update from Princezz Rapunzel dancing in the District this summer:
”…Everything's going great! The classes are very different and Russian, but I like them. They put you in levels based on your age so I'm in the highest level. Most of the girls seem about my level. I also get to take Pilates, character, contemporary, flamenco, and some classroom classes. I like getting to take classes that I've never really taken before. My roommate's super nice and I've met some other girls in my level. On Sunday, I went out with some people around D.C. We got to see a lot of thez sights downtown. I miss everybody there!…”

06.24.2011: Listening to the Levines

As I sit here writing this, I am listening to a recording I made last night of a conversation after dinner with the 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Ballet Instructors. (Order the barbecue roasted boneless duck in egg noodle soup at A Dong with vegetarian spring roll appetizers! Excellent!o) It’s a wide-ranging discussion about all aspects of ballet and dance training. Some of the questions I asked were about the strengths and weaknesses of CCDC dancers, benefits of specific types of cross-training, best advice or correction they’ve ever gotten, how to specifically train for bigger jumps, etc. They even name names of specific students!o) So much information! As anyone who’s taken their classes can tell, both Maia Wilkins and Michael Levine have tremendous experience and background to draw on and both have obviously thought long and hard about ballet training and how to pass on that information. It’s about a half-hour recording that stands up to more than one listen. Some of the off-hand, throw-away comments in the conversation could be the most valuable. It was a noisy restaurant and we had two kids at the table and we knocked over the recorder once, but, if I post this right, it should be well worth the effort to give a listen to the Levines. (And, NO transcriptions! Gonna find a website that’ll host the audio and I’ll post a link!) It’ll be ‘duck soup’!o)

06.23.2011: More Inside the Intensive

Did you ever want to be a “fly on the wall” during the CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Repertory Class? Former Joffrey Ballet Principal and CCDC Summer Guest instructor Maia Wilkins is a veritable “fount of knowledge”, a "cornucopia of coaching", as she sets Caroline from Tudor’s Lilac Garden and excerpts from Arpino’s Confetti and Light Rain on CCDC Summer Intensive participants:
"Continue the quality of the arm through the back and leg!”

"Catch the accelerando in the music!"

"Find the little choke before you stifle a silent scream!"

"Pull yourself together here and hide behind your fan!"

"Walk, walk, walk...faint!"

"It's like you're ARE lost! Make a tear drop, not a 'U'!"

"Hide your technique! Tudor is harder than just, BAM, 32 fouéttés!"

"Shoosh! Swoosh! I should hear your chassés!"

"It's not a tombé! It's a PULL into a chassé!"

"Dance so your dress doesn't swing at all!"

"It's like Picasso! His technique changed radically over his lifetime to express different concepts! Same as your dancing must adapt to the choreography!"

06.22.2011:Insight From Inside the CCDC Summer Intensive

Okay! Finally figured out how to get notes off the too-smart-phone and into the computer. (Hint: Use Dropbox.Com) So, here are some coaching tips overheard during CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Repertory Class. Former Joffrey Ballet Principal and CCDC Guest instructor Maia Wilkins is teaching excerpts from Tudor’s Lilac Garden and Arpino’s Confetti and Light Rain. Kudoz to the students for stepping up performing professional-level choreography!
"Step like you're stepping on jello! Don't break through the surface!"

"Stillness like a still pond. No ripples!”

"Turn your head and look like 'What was that'?"

"Turn just the wrist! Very subtle!"

"Not the ballet thing! The real person thing!"

"Tightness physically to reveal the tightness emotionally!"

"Hide the technique! Be the character!"

"Reach out! But, not high, not low. Right there!"

“When I set this piece on a company, it’s so interesting to see them change their ballet technique like they’re changing into a different costume.”

06.21.2011: Changement in Planz

I was going to post an “Overheard At The CCDC Summer Intensive” entry today, but, apparently the Android formatted attachment wouldn’t handshake with MacBook. Instead, that makes it a good time to post this: Got a tip from Carabosse in the emailbag recently. She spotted a familiar face on the web! CCDC alumnus Sleepy Kewtiez bio is up on the Saint Paul City Ballet dancers’ webpage. Page down once you click on the link. Be sure to look for Kewtie's face and form in other pix on the site! And, merde to SarAurorah II as she combines her evolving dance career with her academics in the Twin Cities!

06.20.2011: Light Up The Sky Like A Flame!

We’ve been catching up on a backlog of recordings and DVD’s ever since we transitioned to the CCDC summer schedule the other weekend. That’s why I’m only now writing about the latest blue-ray version of Fame: Nice to see SYTYCD alum Kherington Payne building on her stint on the show. (She was also featured in the reality show The Dance Scene recently.) And, good to see Debbie Allen reprising her role from the earlier version and television series. (One of the dancers from my studio was a background dancer on the television show. It was amazing to watch an episode and think, “I know him! I danced with him!”) And, maybe it’s just the grumpy, old ex-dancer complaining, but, it seems the original FAME was “more original” and had more heart. Maybe my failing memory is glamorizing my recollection, but, I remember the lunchroom jam session as being WAY funkier in the earlier version, the subway scene had much more potential pathos and it just seemed more grittier and real IMNSHO!o) But, the thing I want to complain about is why the non-talented ballet dancer had to come from here of all places? What kind of reputation do we have in the national consciousness? That we’re just a state full of country bumpkins, Clem Kadiddlehoppers who just fell off the back of that turnip truck? We may be good at raising hogs, beans, pigs and vetting presidential candidates, but, boy, don’t even think about classical dancing! So, I’m telling all the CCDC boys (and girls) heading to the coasts and the big cities this summer: the reputation of the state is riding on your capable shoulders! You have to dance so well that the next movie Hollywood thinks about doing they’ll write the not-so-good dancer part for the boy from…say, Nebraska! Can’t be any good dancers from there, can there? (Especially since Omaha Theater Ballet just folded!)…Oh, and I’ve just opened up an account in the cloud to store CCDC and work photos. It’ll be a private account open only to people who have the password. Once it’s ready for you to look at, I’ll let you know what site and make the password available.

06.17.2011: Hamer Hitz Homerz!

Got this invitation from CCDC Modern/Stott Pilates/Contemporary/Jazz Instructor/Physical Therapist Alissa Hamer in the emailbag. (See if you can spot her discrete, yet, discreet mention in the following message!o)
Hello all! Here is the info for Hurley & Dancers' July show. Hope you can make it! :)
“Barefoot in the Park”
Dance Performance
Sylvan Theater in Greenwood Park

Contact: Kathleen Hurley, Artistic Director
Hurley & Dancers

The Capital City's professional modern dance company, Hurley & Dancers, presents “Barefoot in the Park,” an evening of free live dance at the Sylvan Theater in Greenwood Park on Saturday, July 9 at 7-8 p.m. The Sylvan Theater is located on the west side of 45th Street, one block south of Grand Ave. in Greenwood Park. This event is sponsored in part by the Park and Recreation Department.

Hurley & Dancers will present the best of their 2010-2011 dances, with some new works to spice up the repertoire. Audience members can bring a blanket and picnic, or sit on the newly renovated ampitheater benches.

Dancers are: Katie Crouch, Carla Hughes-Olson, Kathleen Hurley, Paula McArthur, Jennifer Lapp, Lisa Lewis, Lana Lyddon-Hatten and...

>>>*** Alissa Hamer!!!***<<<

Kathleen Hurley is an adjunct instructor of Dance at Grinnell College and the Artistic Director of Hurley & Dancers. Hurley danced professionally in New York City and Europe before moving to the Capital City to start her own modern dance company. More information about Hurley & Dancers can be found at

06.16.2011: One More

Okay! Not only one more reaction to this weekend's show, but, to the entire 2010-2011 CCDC school year! I think this puts a nice bow on it:
"...Thank you so much for all you do! You are leading your students and teaching them so many important lessons not only in dance but also in life..."
...Thanks for all the nice feedback! Kudoz to all the dancers, parents and volunteers for all their effort!

06.15.2011: Looking Back...And Forward!o)

Another note about CCDC's "The Sleeping Beauty"...And More!:
"...All the dancers did a great job for the recital. It takes all hands to make a show like that be so successful. Great job to instructors, directors and volunteers. I especially liked the creative choreography!..."
...And, as an intermediate hoofer, I really liked that Tap C number in the Spring Showcase. I'm just not sure that the non-dancers and not-tappers in the audience caught all the subtleties involved. One thing real obvious: just like a good chorus should sound like one voice, a good gaggle of tappers should sound like one matter how fast or frenetic the tempo! And, the dancers did an excellent job at that!...And, thanks to all the volunteers who helped things run smoothly and allowed the dancers and choreographers to concentrate on putting the best product on stage! Mahalo nui loa!...And, some observations from the 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive getting underway this week: Really love that evocative choreography evolving in the Advanced Modern Classes taught by Karina. Koi McKewtie and others really going to town in those classes...Our dancers' core ballet technique is being tested and challenged in Jenna's Jazz/Lyrical/Contemporary classes...Real rare opportunity in the Intensive Variation's classes: former Joffrey Principal Dancer Maia Wilkins is an authorized repiteur for the Arpino Foundation! That means she gets hired by professional dance companies to set genuine Gerald Arpino choreography...and our dancers are getting that professional-level input in the CCDC Summer Intensive this week and next! From her and her former Joffrey Principal husband, Michael Levine...And, due to demand, CCDC considering adding some summer Ballroom/Disco Touch Dance classes. Interested? Drop us a note if you're interested!. Start batting your eyelashes, girls! We'll need some guys to learn the men's part! And, where's Rocky when you need him? Syk Skyllz! You in?

06.14.2011: Mo Feedback

Reaction to this weekend's performances keeps rolling in:
"...Great show by your troops...Keep up the wonderful work you do..."


"...Sleeping Beauty and More was a beautiful way to end the year. Thanks for all that you do. (My daughter) is truly blessed to be at such an amazing studio. It goes without saying that CCDC is filled with talented instructors and dancers, but what some may not know is how much the instructors and dancers care and look out for one another. (My daughter) is fortunate to have so many great role models and good friends in one place..."

...And, what did you think? Let us know by clicking here. The more you contribute, the less reminiscing by grumpy old ex-dancers!o)

06.13.2011: Post-Performance Pheedback

The reviews are in! Thumbs are heading skywards all around the Capital City after CCDC's "The Sleeping Beauty"...And More! performances this weekend:
"...Congratulations for another wonderful show! It was awesome and successful!

Thank you so much for teaching these kids, especially (my daughter)! She made wonderful progress as usual!

I can not wait for another year! Thank you for guiding (my daughter)...We Really appreciate it!..."


"...What a wonderful night! You did a fabulous job teaching those kids. " ..."

And, this was written specifically about CCDC Young Children's Director Jill Andrews, but, we believe it applies to the entire CCDC faculty...

" are so good in many, many ways that make everyone smile!!! you are an amazing teacher!!!!..."

...and, finally...

"...CCDC puts on one heck of gorgeous ballet!!!!!! can't wait to see the whole thing on Friday night!!!!..."

...This was the second time CCDC has put on The Sleeping Beauty in our history and the improvement in the entire school over the last seven years was evident on stage. The complexity of the choreography and the technical demands (especially for the corps de ballet) are light-years ahead of our last edition. I think the addition of the classical mime sections added to the texture and versimilitude of the show. Kudos to all the dancers, especially guest artists Catherine Wootten of the Minnesota Ballet, stepping in for the injured 2K2M, and Ian Servin of the University of Iowa! What did you think? Click here to submit your comments!

06.10.2011: It All Comes Together!

Merde for performance this weekend, dancerz! Here are some tweetz or soon-to-be-tweetz I wrote down while watching rehearsals:
  • “Work hard today at transforming yesterdays ceiling into tomorrows floor! #Ballet is all about the passionate pursuit of perfection!"

  • "A troubled lake can not properly reflect the beauty of the full moon, Grasshopper! Calm your troubled mind to reflect the beauty of the #ballet!"
  • "Start thinking of the correction BEFORE the mistake in #ballet! Not after!"
  • "Don't be a pest on stage! Show some zest! Don't make #ballet harder on stage! React with ARDOR!"
  • "Roll with the punches! Something's gonna go wrong on the way from the #ballet rehearsal to the stage! Expect it! Use it to make you better!"
  • "On stage, more than ever, your #ballet legs need to start from your neck! Make all your movements radiate out from your heart!"
  • "Corps dancers! Watch your lines in transitions! Anyone can hold a formation standing still! The good ones show continuous lines from one pose to the next!"
  • "Be happy with your performance, but, don't be satisfied!"
  • "Be a pro! Hit your marks on stage without showing you're looking for them! Peripheral vision should be your main focus!"
  • "If you don't smile, all that pressure's gonna build up and blow out the other end! Don't do it, dancerz!"

06.08.2011: Performance Tipz

Another good run last night, dancerz! But, if your cheeks aren’t sore from smiling after performance or rehearsal, you haven’t been smiling enough! And, if your other ‘cheeks’ aren’t sore from squeezin’, you haven’t been holding your turn-out enough!o) Here’s another tip as we head on stage today: Don’t stand in the wings and let yourself be seen by the audience! Nothing more amateurish than that! That also includes not letting your costume be seen (Tough in a tutu, I know, deal with it!) Develop awareness of sight-lines: If you can see the audience, they can see you! And, if you can’t see the audience, sometimes they can still see you or your costume! Also work on stage awareness: Don’t stand directly downstage or upstage of someone else if you’re not in a line and you can help it. Let the audience see you and let the audience see the other performers on stage. And, it goes without saying, don’t face up stage and bend over if you can help it. No one needs to see ‘the south rise up again’! And, you older ones need to help the younger ones! I can see the more experienced dancers working to hold their corps lines and reacting on stage and staying out of sight when they’re off stage. But, y’all need to make sure the less-experienced dancers benefit from your experience. Oh, and MUCH BETTER at acknowledging the people performing last night! Keep raising the arms in greeting…and SMILE so much you have to ice your cheeks, Maurice! Both pairs!o)

06.07.2011: Advice4Dancerz

Great first-run-through last night, CCDC dancers! Nice to see all the seperate elements come together! And, big kudos to the younger kids, especially Wolf and 'Da Hoodz! And, just a reminder to people on stage to raise the arm closest to dancers as they move close to you. (The Russian dancers are all well-trained in this. Watch a DVD or YouTube some time!) You are NOT just mannequins on stage! You are people at a wedding! You can gossip and talk and react to what's happening in the courtyard! And, speaking of wedding, remind me NOT to attend any nuptials with most of you! Why so somber! It's not a funeral! It's a royal wedding! A once-in-a-lifetime occasion! Imagine you were invited to Kate+Harry's wedding! How happy and exuberant was that crowd? Be that joyous when you dance and perform! Be happy and congenial even when you're just sitting or standing on the sides! You should react with astonishment and amazement when the performers first appear! You should gasp with excitement when they dance! You should whisper excitedly with your friends! Raise your arms in greeting when they approach! Remember the first rule of acting is reacting! There are no small roles. The more you support the dancers in the middle, the better they will be able to perform! AND, the more they will support you when you dance! HAVE FUN! This is why you train so hard and for so long! SHARE YOUR LOVE OF DANCING WITH THE AUDIENCE! It should glow from within to the very back of the auditorium...and beyond!o) The more fun you pretend to have...the more fun you WILL have! The more you smile, the more others will smile back at you! The more you give the audience, the more the audience will give back to you! It should be a LOVE-FEST on stage! Controlled and focused EXCITEMENT! Don't make it harder on stage, react with ARDOR on stage!o)

06.06.2011: Performance Week? Performance STRONG!

Rather than "reinvent the wheel" (or retread or rewrite it!o), I've reprinted some advice for rehearsal+performance week from the archives. I originally wrote it for dancers involved in Nutcracker, but, the principles remain the same for any performance. (Oh, and I added one word, can you spot it? The answer's below.)
  • Take Class-Make sure your placement and technique are strengthened and honed daily. If your studio, company or performing group doesn't offer class or warm-up, make sure you give yourself a complete barre backstage someplace. Use the stage only if stagehands or tech crew aren't working on it. (See "Get Used To The Stage" below)

  • Calm down-A lot of younger dancers start running around from dressing room to dressing room trying to find their friends. Don't mistake excitement and adrenaline for a good placement warm-up. Start acting like a professional now. Save your energy and enthusiasm for performance. Especially don't pester the older dancers or guest professionals. Be polite. Wait until after performance to ask for autographs or to take pictures. If you're brave enough you might ask for and score a pair of autographed pointe shoes that otherwise would've been tossed out.

  • Warm up and try to stay warm-This is different from taking that daily class or warm-up. There's a lot of sitting around and waiting during rehearsals. This is the time for all the sweats, leg warmers, cover-ups and booties you shouldn't wear in class. I used to wear an old terry-cloth bath robe over my costume. Quick to put on or take off, but keep in mind you'll probably get make-up on it. Also, be sure to warm up before you go on if you've been sitting around for awhile. I used to lean against a wall and do inclined push-ups with my arms while running in place at an angle for a quick warm-up.

  • Get rest and sleep-Rehearsal week can be a drain. Long nights after long days. Try to get your studying or homework done at school or while you're being driven to the theater. Shoot for eight or nine hours of sleep and take what you can get.

  • Take supplies-Bottled water or juice boxes, bars or fruit for snacks. (Just remember snacks should never take the place of real meals! You need good fuel for performances. Candy don't cut it.) You should already have a sewing kit and safety pins in your dance bag. Foot roller, aspirin, I-Pod, Kindle or paperback book, cell. Whatever you think you might need and don't mind carrying back and forth. (Don't leave anything in the theater between performances if you can help it. Even if they say they lock the dressing rooms.)

  • Get used to the stage-Performing on stage is A LOT different from taking class. Try to take class on stage. Practice the poses, turns and balances you do during your part, preferably with the house lights out. The tendency is to pull back from the big empty space that is the audience. Make sure you make the adjustment from looking at your reflection in studio mirrors to smiling into darkness with bright lights in your face.

  • Performance tips-Enjoy yourself! You dance because you love to dance. Share your love with the audience! Also, remember, that's not "you" out there. It's the role you're portraying. Whether it's Arabian, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Mirliton, Party Child or guest, Flower, Ginger or Clara/Marie, you get to pretend to be somebody else! I used to develop and repeat a mantra for every character I would portray. When I was the Cavalier it was "I am the ruler of the Kingdom of Candy. And, the Sugar Plum is my love". When I was Snow King, it was something like "I am the Winter Wind. Strong and clean and cold." It's part of developing the character. Find your mantra and let it bring you onto stage. That's not you out there. It's the part of you that's the character. Oh, and smile! Enjoy yourself.

  • Customs-Don't whistle in the theater. Don't say the name of that Scottish Play. Don't block the lights or stand in the wings when someone has to get on or off quickly. When you exit the stage, keep going off. Don't stop in the wings especially if a "blizzard" of snowflakes is following you off. Don't say "good luck" or "break a leg" to a dancer. Say "merde" instead. (Most Americans pronounce it like it rhymes with "aired") Give your partner a small gift. (called a merde gift) You can also give them to your friends in the cast. Give flowers, cards or merde gifts before the first performance. Or, if you can't make that, before or after the last performance.

  • Enjoy the experience-Don't worry. If you've done all the work, taken all your classes, worked hard at all the rehearsals, you'll do well. Even if you haven't, you'll probably do as well as you normally do. Don't let all the extra adrenaline throw you off. Take a deep breath, remember to smile. Everything you do in front of an audience is important, but, it'll be over before you know it. So stretch, turn-out, hold your seat and stomach in and point those feet!


...I added the word after "iPod" in the fifth paragraph. When I first wrote this advice just five years ago, 'kindle' was what you did to start a fire, I think.

06.03.2011: Friday Fotoz

CCDC staff just finished reviewing some excellent pictures for inclusion in the Fall brochure and Spring Showcase program. But, apparently we're not the only ones working on picking pix for new publications, check out this plethora of pictures from Pacific Northwest Ballet. Love that Don Q pose! But, those are the ones that DIDN'T make it into PNB's fall brochure! Something for CCDC dancers to think about and aspire to as we take pictures during The Sleeping Beauty...And More! run and rehearsals over the next few daze! Merde* to all!

(*Once again, according to ballet custom, it's bad luck to wish good luck to dancers before a performance. Merde, a French vulgarity, is used instead. Or Toi, toi! If you wish to be authentic, you're supposed to spit over the shoulder and grind the spittle into the sawdust. But, that's frowned upon nowadays!o)

06.02.2011: Fame of Paris

Here's a tip from Carabosse about a ballet rarely seen in the west, Flames Of Paris:
"...OK, trying to send you a link to one of the most amazing things I've seen recently--a friend of mine just saw it live at the Bolshoi--let's see if this link works..."
...Or, you can watch below

06.02.2011: Free Film Thursday

Price is right for starving dancers not in class or rehearsal:
"...The Art Center, in partnership with the city, is presenting a series of four free films on the front lawn of the Art Center the first Thursday evenings of June, July, August, and September. To kick off the series, on June 2, the Art Center will be screening Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) starring Gene Wilder, directed by Mel Stuart, rated PG (100 minutes).

Also, at 7 pm join us for these pre-film activities:

  • A Golden Ticket competition – five lucky participants will hold the Golden Ticket –
    these fortunate five will win a fabulous prize.*
  • Bubble gum blowing contest
  • Guess the number of jelly beans in the jar game
  • Oompa loompa mask-making activity
  • Burping match

Bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets, sit back, and enjoy an eclectic mix of cinematic classics. All films start at dusk. (In case of rain, the films will be canceled; check the Art Center website for updates.)

*The owner of Suzette’s Candies will conduct a behind-the-scenes tour of his candy factory for the five lucky people who receive the golden ticket in their Wonka candy bar.

Upcoming films:

  • July 7 Jaws (1975)
    Steven Spielberg, director / rated PG-13

  • August 4 Annie Hall (1977)
    Woody Allen, director / rated PG-13

  • September 1 Casablanca (1942)
    Michael Curtiz, director / rated PG..."

06.01.2011: Ballet Cliff Notes, Heath!

Read this preview synopsis and, then, Amaze+Astound your friends and family with your deep, in-depth knowledge of this ballet classic:
"The Legend of the Sleeping Beauty"

Everyone is familiar with the story of the Sleeping Beauty, but, there are several important differences when you watch or perform the ballet as opposed to viewing the Disney animation or reading the fable which preceded it. And, of course, there are some accomodations in our version because of a lack of men, boys, supernumerarys, sets, props and funding.

In our excerpts from the full-length ballet, we start with the Curse of Carabosse at the christening of the baby Aurora. Not very many people are familiar with the ballet mime used in this scene, but, we include it to educate our dance students and the audience to an essential part of the artform of ballet.

Carabosse enters the crowded courtyard disguised as a wild animal. She starts to scare some of the townsfolk, but, notices they are dressed in their Sunday finest. She transforms herself back to human and, through gestures, asks the King and Queen why she was not invited to the festivities. They claim it was just an oversight. Angered, the sorceress tells the royals and then the townsfolk that they must all listen to what she has to say. Carabosse says Aurora will grow and be and long-limbed and beautiful, yes, she will. But, at her 16th birthday, she will poke her finger with a spindle, be poisoned and die. Carabosse shrieks in laughter at the thought.

But, her sister, the Lilac Fairy appears out of the crowd. She was about to present her blessing to the child when Carabosse interrupted. She modifies the curse to say Aurora will not die, but, sleep for a hundred years. And, then, a handsome and mighty Prince will come and awaken her with a kiss to break the enchantment. The Sleeping Beauty Princess Aurora will awaken and they will live happily ever after.

Nigh unto a century later, little Stars and little Faeries lead Prince Desire into the site of a supernatural vision scene. He was melancholy because the Queen Mother had commanded him to take a wife. But, all his life he had felt as if someone was calling him, asking him to help her, to rescue love and to marry. And, in the Vision Scene, Desire finally sees the woman whose cries have been haunting him since birth. The Lilac Fairy reveals to him the vision of Aurora. He follows the vision, and, through the Lilac Fairy's magic, as he chases, he travels across many leagues and through many lands at the speed of thought. The corps of Nymphs assist in the magicking of the Prince through the power of dance. Finally, in a scene not seen tonight, Desire fights Carabosse and, after a mighty battle, vanquishes the dread necromancer. He sees his beloved sleeping Aurora and breaks the spell with a gentle kiss.

Once the spell is broken, the entire Magic Kingdom awakens to the joyous news of Princess Aurora’s betrothal. Plans are quickly made…peasants and royalty alike are all summoned.  And all the residents of the Enchanted Forest will gather to celebrate the royal nuptials…including the little girls in their Red Riding Hoods and the Big Bad Wolf, the Prince and Princess of the Blue Birds and their entire flock, the White Cat and her brood of Kittens who lost their mittens, the Gold, the Silver, the Sapphire and the Diamond Fairy.  And, Prince Desire and Princess Aurora will celebrate their wedding vows with the Grand Pas de Deux. Watch now…the Wedding Scene from The Sleeping Beauty

…And, thus ends the legend of the “The Sleeping Beauty”. And I must add…they all…lived happily …ever after.

05.31.2011: Puttin' 'Da 'Me' in 'Media'!

Just in time for the grand finale of DWT*** comes the premiere of the summer season of SYTYCD! (And, that's probably not a coincidence, producers of one are hoping the huge ratings of the other will find their format.) First, all hail Team Kard! The NFL Superstar started off strong and finished big for Steeler Nation! Hines exhibited unexpected performance qualities, a winning smile and consummate musicality. He deserved to win and he did! But, Team Chalice deserved to be runner-up. I had no idea who Chelsea Kane was before this season, but, now, I'm a huge fan! Her energy, enthusiasm and willingness to push the boundaries were evident from the beginning, but, her ability to inhabit the dancing and insinuate more passion and sensuality into the steps grew better and stronger as the season progressed. And, not a big fan of Kirstie or Max! BUT! SYTYCD! WTHeck! I remembered now why I fell in love with the show in the first place! Glimpses and hints of strong dancers are whetting my appetite for more and setting the stage for a strong season. And, all that time spent on the really bad dancers isn't wasted, it just makes the better dancers shine that much more in comparison!  Blogosphere hints are that there will be a top twenty AND a return of the all-stars once that gets whittled down to a top ten. Also, hints that Alex Wong (Who should've run away from the field...and from eventual winner Lauren F) will return as one of the all-stars. Really looking forward to this season!o)

05.27.2011: Unofficial Start of Summer

Happy T.G.I.*D*.F!o) Some of your hides already lookin' a little too leathery!:
Is Sunscreen Enough on “Don’t Fry Day”?

(Courtesy Newswise) — Despite skin cancer’s being largely preventable, it remains by far the most common type of cancer in the United States. There are over two million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed annually, which is more than new cases of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined. To help reduce rising rates of skin cancer, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention designated the Friday before Memorial Day, May 27, 2011, as “Don’t Fry Day."

This year, the National Council urges everyone to think beyond sunscreen to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors. While generous sunscreen usage is an important way to protect your skin from the sun, there are additional sun safety measures that can help prevent skin cancer:

  • Avoid sun burning, intentional tanning, and using tanning beds;
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses;
  • Seek shade;
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand;
  • Get vitamin D safely through food and vitamin D supplements.

“As millions of Americans head outdoors for family fun on Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial kick-off to summer – “Don’t Fry Day” is an important reminder for the public to protect their skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation while enjoying the outdoors,” said Dr/ Sandra I. Read. “While most everyone enjoys a sunny day, keeping your skin safe from overexposure to UV radiation can be easy by practicing simple sun-safety tips.”

The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone “Slip! Slop! Slap!®...and Wrap” - slip on a shirt; slop on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher; slap on a hat; and wrap on sunglasses.

The UV Index forecast is a helpful resource to learn your daily risk of overexposure to the sun. Developed by the National Weather Service and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the UV Index forecasts the strength of solar UV radiation on a scale from 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high). Simply log on to the EPA website at to see the National UV map, download a free UV Index widget for your website, or download a free mobile application for your smart phone. The predicted UV level can be used as a guide for appropriate sun-protective measures to prevent overexposure to UV radiation.

Skin cancer is on the rise in the U.S. Here are some statistics:

  • The American Cancer Society estimates that, 68,130 cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, were diagnosed in 2010.
  • One American dies of melanoma almost every hour.
  • While the incidence of many common cancers is falling, the incidence of melanoma continues to rise.
  • Melanoma is now one of the most common cancers among young adults ages 15-29.

To minimize the harmful effects of too much UV exposure, the National Council advocates that comprehensive protection from UV radiation should be a life-long practice for everyone.

05.26.2011: eMail uPdatez

Recent CCDComments and feedback. Remember this is YOUR dance blog!
"...Thanks again. She loves dance, (and I) think you are doing a great job with her..."

"...she can focus on preparing for the recital! She is so excited, and I cannot wait too. Thank you so much for all you do for (my dancer)..."
...if you have any dance news, kudos or constructive criticism, submit them here.
Hurry! Sign up to order limited edition CCDC 2011 The Sleeping Beauty...And More! T-shirts ends this weekend! Order form posted in the CCDC lobby! And, if you haven't checked out the CCDC 2011 Summer Intensive Guest Faculty bios, they've just been posted on the "Faculty" page. To get there just click the menu on the left of your screen! (In normal format!o) (Having difficulty with HTML intra-website linking!o)(...And...lazy!o)

05.25.2011: What's Inna Name, Nick?

CCDC's Victoria Excelente asked me the other day who Victoria Excelente was! WHAAT! Are these nicknames still too hard for people to figure out? Let me repeat here that we rarely post proper names of minors. That way anyone cyber-stalking you won't find you mentioned on our website. But, the theory is that anyone who needs to know should be able to figure out who everyone is...but, if that's not happening, just ask!o) Don't want to be too clever to communicate! For example, don't know who Hermione Katemonson is? Here's a hint: she's not a loan from Granger, Kimo Sabe! Cereberus Illuminatus! That should do it! Lady Mixxalot? It's not just because "baby got back!" Ming Ming? She's not a "flash in the pan", Gordon! Lady Rapunzel? Yes, it's the wind-blown hair, Godiva! And, last clue, Victoria Excelente is a play on someone's surname, Sir! You CAN figure it out! You CAN win good, my Knight's Clubby!o)

05.24.2011: Plyo-Pilates

eMessage from CCDC Young Children's Division Dance Director Jill Andrews:
"...I just noticed the blurb on plyometrics in the CCDC news section. I just wanted to let you know that I have a no-impact plyometrics Stott Pilates workout designed for me to use with dancers. Moira Stott Merrithew designed the workout per my request. You lie on your back using the Stott Pilates Jumpboard. It's really wonderful and super safe - a great way for dancers to crosstrain.

Studio 3 Pilates in Johnston (near CCDC) has special rates for high school and college students. I have special rates for CCDC dancers out of my home on my own V2Max Plus Reformer. I also train Prairie Life members at Prairie Life (Athletic Club). I have a few clients at the Y Healthy Living Center for Y members.

So I'll...put a few of my Pilates cards in the lobby so kids can call me if they would like a safe plyometrics workout they do lying down.

After an accomplished career as principal dancer with the City Ballet of Toronto and the Atlantic Ballet Company, Moira Merrithew went on to retrain and certify as a Pilates instructor under the tutelage of Romana Kryzanowska at the original studio founded by the late Joseph H. Pilates.

This is Moira's own plyometrics workout I would be sharing with the kids.

All the best,
Jill E. Andrews

P.S. I got to see Moira doing plyometrics at Stott Pilates headquarters in November while I finished up my Cadillac, Chair and Barrels training. She is super fit. This June I will be heading to Chicago and St. Paul to finish my Advanced Mat and Advanced Cadillac, Chair and Barrels training. In August I head back to St. Paul to tackle my Advanced Stott Pilates Reformer training..."

05.23.2011: Putting 'Me' In 'Media'

The big finale for DWT*** is this week and I have to say it's Team Kard's to lose. The judges seem to agree with me after giving K(ym Johnson+Hines W)ard two perfect scores of thirty points last week. His combination of masculinity and surprisingly consistent musicality coupled with a strong work ethic and competitive spirit should leave him hoisting the mirror-ball trophy at the end. Team Chalice is improving, but, not fast enough to close the gap on the front-runner. Ch(elsea Kane+Mark B)allas have consistent technique and challenging choreography. But, unless youthful enthusiasm and energy makes up for the lack of sophistication and experience in the minds of the voters (a la Shawn Johnson), Kane will end up limping into second place. And, Team Maxie has overachieved by just making it to the finals in this grumpy old ex-dancer's eyes. And, is it just me? Or is Max Chermokovsky's old-school, over-bearing, belittling and berating style of teaching getting a little grating? Who would've blamed Kirstie for just cursing out Mister Sex-On-A-Stick and storming out of the studio? Kudos to her for sticking it out and making it this far! And...SYTYCD coming this week to an HDTV near you!o)

05.20.2011: Zhou, You Think You Can Dance!

What were or what will you be doing when you're 17? As we blogged earlier, Patricia Zhou was busy performing on this season's DWT***. She's the dancer being hyped as "the newest sensation in the ballet world" after only *four years* of training. And, now, you can read an interview with the newest member of the Royal Ballet from Ballet News. You can catch up with her late starter/early bloomer status on her blog. You might wanna bookmark that to see how her first year in the company goes. Must be tough being so talented, so gifted and so young with such a bright future ahead of her! Not jealous...much!o) In case you missed her performance on DWT***, click below:

...and here's Zhou in something more classical...

05.20.2011: Another CCDC Alumnus Turns Pro

eUpdate from CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
"...Rumor has it (from a very reliable source - Thai Dyer)......Zuper Grrl has been chosen as the newest member of Ballet Quad Cities (BQC)! She auditioned fairly late in the season and made it. Pretty exciting stuff. Sarah also just received her Bachelor's degree in Dance from (Party Hearty U). Now she can start making money instead of paying money out. So I guess we'll need to get her photo up in the lobby at CCDC. :) Go (Odette)!

She's going to be close enough for us to hop in the car to go see perform. Plus, BQC does quite a bit of travelling around..."

05.19.2011: "Ve Vant 2 Jump You Up!"

World-class athletes have been using plyometrics for a while now to improve their performances. And, it's "high" time that dancers who wanna-be world-class start cross-training to improve their performances as well. And, to that end, here's a series of exercises you might wanna try from researchers writing in Dance Spirit Magazine. Or, we'll probably be adapting these to specific CCDC ballet classes soon anyway!

05.18.2011: B Steel My Bleeting Hart!

Backlog of Bleetz: ...and in case you haven't seen it yet, Prima Ballerina Polina Semionova:

05.17.2011: TuffAxe2Folo!

Nice to run into several CCDC alum back from their various institutions of higher learning this week and weekend. Kelzabella and Dozing Kewtie, for example. But, little disappointed to hear the dancer we like to call Thai Dyer says she's cutting back on ballet classes next semester. Some of it has to do with lingering physical problems, but, some has to do with the poor quality of instruction in the ballet classes she's been getting at Party Hearty U. I told her that we like to think CCDC faculty are a "tough act to follow". She agreed emphatically. But, no truth to the rumor that CCDC instructors are considering teaching poorly, indifferently and with little regard to proper placement-based technique to prepare graduates for the majority of classes they'll get after they leave the studio! Because if you want bad training, we're not going to try and duplicate what a lot of other so-called dance teachers are already doing all around the country!o)

05.16.2011: Puttin' 'da 'Me' in 'Media'

On last week's DWT***, Romeo was the apple that fell far from his father's non-dancing tree. If sire Master P deserved to be axed earlier, then, his scion and Team Chemo deserved to be kept on longer. The younger rapper was a breath of fresh urban air to the somewhat stultified stratosphere of stars that normally populate DWT***. He was there for a reason (to publicize his movie, his albums and his foundation), but, I believe he gained much more than he signed up for. Oh, Romeo, Romeo...wherefore art thou to leave us so soon? (Bet he's never heard that one before!o) But, as to the remaining field, this old ex-dancer's eyes (and ears) were really opened to the innate macho musicality that the NFL All Star possesses! I believe his ability to inabit the musicality will be the difference that propels Hines to the mirror-ball trophy in the end. As, Judge Len said, "If that's cheese...", make mine Cheeze-Whizz! And, unfortunately, I think the injury to Team Marina could be their Achille's heel this weak. Unless Macchio is a fast healer (and, face it, as we all get older, the longer it takes to recover from dancing's bumps and bruises!), his knee is going to hamper the training and rehearsal required to stay competitive. The sympathy vote and like-ability factor may get them past Team Maxie Tuesday night, but, that wouldn't be the same as getting in on their merits. So this is still my quintilla to win, place and show: Team Kard to edge Team Chalice (a lot still depends on the freestyle, of course!) and the remaining two to battle it out for third. What do you think? Email me.

05.13.2011: Adult Beginner Blogz

Okay! This blog, AdultBeginner, is hilarious! It's written by, as the title indicates, an adult beginner who's being put en pointe! No matter what you think about the wisdom of that, it provides interesting insights (and photos!o). And, I was clued into that site from the blog, DaveTriesBallet.Com. His latest posting concerns his first performance as a dancing villager in Coppelia. And, he also recommends BalletCougar. (Love that title! She actually offers an international perspective.) She offers hope for all despairing dancers, especially those of a certain age. And, a note to all you lurkers out there: Reading those entries should encourage more of you adults to try the Capital City Dance Center Adult Ballet Classes! Don't you think it's time you started or got back to ballet? Or you could start off with the CCDC Pilates classes to help you get back in better shape and, then, work up to more dance classes later! Remember, you'll never be younger than you are now!o)

05.12.2011: Prodigy Pitfalls

People have been asking about my reaction to the "newest sensation on the ballet scene" who performed in last week's DWT*** results show. (Okay, no one actually asked, but, I have to write about something!o) Forgot her name, but, I have to admit I was impressed with what the 17-year old was able to accomplish in just three years of training, but a little dismayed at all the hyperbole! Some of us (:oD) are just born with bodies that make ballet easier: great extension, excellent proportions, more-than-adequate flexibility, hyper-extension and good feet. Plus, she's easy on the eyes!o) But, just because someone hands you a Stradivarius, it doesn't automatically make you a world-class violinist! The tools are all there and she's getting the challenging training she needs. Her upside is tremendous, but, it takes more than talent to make an artist. Sometimes the best dancers are the ones who've had to face greater challenges to accomplish their vision. And, sometimes, when everything comes easy, the prodigy doesn't develop the tenacity to persevere when the going gets tough. And, believe me, the struggles will come. No matter how talented or how gifted you are, you can't skate into becoming a good dancer, Michelle Kwan! (Okay...Maybe if you're Apolo Ohno or Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic gold medalists AND DWT*** winners!o) Once all the low-hanging fruit has been harvested, we'll see how this wunderkind "ripens" as an artist! And, that's true for all you aspiring dancers as well! You will all face a similar struggle on some level! Merde with that!o)

05.11.2011: Money $aving Coupon!

Never mind Groupon! Talk to the hand, Mobideals! But, thought I should pass this on before it expires. Support your local brick-and-mortar vendors!
Mark's Dancewear Recital Sale

15% OFF
~May 6-15, 2011~

Save 15%
Print off this coupon and bring it into the store to save 15% on your recital supplies!!

**Sale items and pointe shoes excluded. 10% off Katrinawear.
In store only. Not valid with other offers.

05.10.2011: Stirred, Not Shaken

If I didn't dance, I'd wanna sing like these guys...
"...(Capital City) – A cappella group STRAIGHT NO CHASER returns to the Capital City after a sold out concert last fall. Making their Civic Center debut, the musical group will appear for one night only on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Founded at Indiana University in the fall of 1996, Straight No Chaser’s goal was to expand the boundaries of the traditional college a cappella group. From the start, they viewed themselves more like a local band that just happened to use their voices as their instruments. As original member Randy Stine comments, “We take the music very seriously; we just don’t take ourselves too seriously.” In the process, they are reinventing the idea of a cappella on the modern pop landscape.

In 1999, the graduating members of Straight No Chaser chose their replacements, ensuring that the new tradition they had created would continue on with successive generations of IU undergrads. Then, in 2006, the unexpected happened – Indiana University decided to host a reunion concert for the original members. In honor of the event, Stine posted footage from one of their 1998 concerts online and to the group’s surprise, their version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” – interpolating Toto’s “Africa” – became the hottest viral video of the holiday season. Among the millions of viewers was Atlantic Records Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman, who tracked Straight No Chaser down and promptly signed them to the label.

Three full-length albums and one EP have since followed, cumulatively selling more than half a million copies. The group has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, HLN and Today, among others. Straight No Chaser’s third and most recent album, “WITH A TWIST,” marked the group’s highest chart debut to date, entering the Billboard 200 at #29 upon its April 2010 release. The group celebrated the success of “WITH A TWIST” with a memorable appearance on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, where they performed an homage to ABC’s famed “TGIF” line-up...."

05.09.2011: Putting 'Me' In 'Media'

This is the time of the season when only the strongest will survive, but, an old ex-dancer's analysis of the remaining stars on DWT*** shows potentially fatal flaws in all the contestants. Won't waste a lotta time on the latest cast-off, basically Kate-With-Bigger-Implants (that's a little harsh, but, still, glad to hear the last of The Strumpet's whining and whinnying laughter!o) Here's a breakdown of strengths and weaknesses:
  1. Team Kard: The combination of Kym and Ward could be the last dancers standing at the end of the day. His smooth charismatic style displays strong masculinity that commands audience attention. But, sometimes his dancing is a little uneven. And, being forced to try to polish two dances over the next few weeks could be a stumbling block that could make Hines vulnerable to a tumble.
  2. Team Chalice: Chelsea and Ballas have everything they need to take home the mirror-ball trophy. Powerful, energetic dancing and innovative choreography. But, ah, the brashness of youth: He just needs to tone down his desire to get in the judges' faces. (Mark's been watching too much Strictly Ballroom apparently!o) And, she needs to start displaying a little more nuance and texture to her performances! (More Black Swan not White!) You're an actress, Chelsea! Create a deeper character when you perform, don't just be a Disney Princess!
  3. Team Marina: Macchio and Karina have had tremendous ups and downs in their outings. When he's on, The Karate Kid creates memorable lines, convincing characters and palpable chemistry. When he's off, he's still good, but, cursed with hunched shoulders and plodding steps. If the Good Ralph performs down the the homestretch, it'll make us forget all about Bad Ralphie. BUT! Vice versa is also true
  4. Team Chemo: Chelseaand Romeo have chemistry and charisma up the yin-yang! But, he has to resist the temptation to bring too much street to the ballroom! If he finds the upper-body line and adds the cool urban feel, he has the potential to charm the sox off the judges and voters!
  5. Team Maxie:: Max and Kirstie are an unlikely couple of contenders and that's why they're on the bottom of my list. So far, her performance ability as an actress has more than made up for her lack of stamina and dance training. But, unless Kirstie steps up her game, I see her stepping back to making more reality television shows about losing weight before too long!
...And, just as DWT*** starts to wind down, intriguing promos for SYTYCD starting to air on Fox! End of the month! (I've been recording The Dance Scene and ABDC, but, I'll have to wait until some marathon dance watching day to "catsup" on everything, but, Hines and company!o)

05.06.2011: Support Live Local Performances

Price is right for starving dancers:
StageWest Theatre Company presents "KILLADELPHIA"
Written and Performed by Sean Christopher Lewis
Tuesday, May 24th at 7:00 PM
Location: First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Avenue
Tickets: FREE. Doors open at 6:30 PM

In the Summer of 2008, it was often said that Philadelphia had “more bodies than days.” The city was in the midst of a murder epidemic that put it on par with some third-world countries.

Determined to take an unflinching look at the causes of the crime rate and its effect on the community, playwright/performer Sean Christopher Lewis introduces us to the inmates of Graterford Prison – men employed to beautify the city even as they serve out life sentences.

The voices of the prisoners, their victims, Mayor Nutter, local rappers, conservative talk show hosts, trauma surgeons, and the citizens of the City of Brotherly Love crowd the stage to say their piece.

Played by Lewis, a performer described by the New York Press as “explicitly authentic," these voices combine for a shocking document of life in America’s toughest town. Relevant to our time and city, a post-performance discussion will be held, moderated by the author/actor. Scheduled guest panelists include State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines, Wayne Ford of Urban Dreams, Felipe Gallardo of the local school board, Lieutenant Joe Gonzales of the Capital City Police Department, John Terpkosh of Parks and Recreation, and Chris Ostlund and Sherry Knox of the County Crisis and Advocacy Center. Each person will explain how their organization is addressing violence in the Capital City and engage in a dialogue with the audience.

Free-will donations for the Junior Police Explorer Program will be accepted at the event.

...and, Tallgrass Theatre Company has just released its line-up for the 2011-2012 Season:
Lonely Planet by Steven Dietz
September 30 – October 15, 2011
This compassionate play reveals friendship and fear in the age of AIDS. Not one for the outside world, Jody stays in his map store all the time. His friend, Carl begins bringing chairs into the store and leaving them there. Pretty soon, the store is littered with chairs, and it is revealed that every chair was owned by someone they knew in their community who had died from the epidemic. Through Jody and Carl’s interaction, the two realize how grateful they are to have such a strong lasting friendship.

6th Annual Iowa Playwrights Workshop
January 20 – February 4, 2012
A fresh new work by a local playwright—the script will be announced on October 1, 2011.

The Sylvia Rep
Sylvia by A.R. Gurney and The Goat or Who is Sylvia? by Edward Albee
April 27 – May 12, 2012
Sylvia: Greg and Kate have just moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-raising in the suburbs. One day, Greg brings home a dog he finds in the park bearing only the name Sylvia on her name tag. A street-smart mixture of Lab and Poodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between husband and wife—will a compromise be found, or will Sylvia take over?

The Goat or Who is Sylvia: (Winner of the 2001 Tony Award) On his 50th birthday, Martin, a world-famous architect, prepares for a recorded interview by an old friend in the TV business, but in the course of the conversation a secret emerges that threatens to turn celebration to tragedy. The Goat is hugely enjoyable parable that plumbs the deepest questions of social constraints on the individual expression of love.

05.05.2011: More on Elliot

Here's some feedback from a CCDC parent:
"...Just a note regarding your news comments on the musical "Billy Elliot". I've not only seen the film, but I attended the musical in London. I can confirm that there isn't much more ballet in the stage version, save for one short number with Billy and an older male dancer. The girls in ballet class are hilariously bad, but that's the point. The rest is musical theatre/tap. But I still loved every minute as it has real heart -- and fabulous songs by Elton John! I am hoping to take (my dancer) when it arrives here. A word of warning to those with young children or certain sensitivities: there is a LOT of swearing (the f-bomb is frequent, even in the songs) and there is a gay character who likes to wear dresses, though it isn't really dwelt on past the one musical number. Thought this might help. :)..."

05.04.2011: Curse Of The Nutcracker, Man!

This e-headline caught my eye: "No Nuts For Nutcracker Man", so I thought it had to be about me and my many roles in the annual, perennial ballet. Here's an excerpt...
(Courtesy Newswise) — For decades, a 2.3 million- to 1.2 million-year-old human relative named Paranthropus boisei has been nicknamed Nutcracker Man because of his big, flat molar teeth and thick, powerful jaw. But a definitive new University of Utah study shows that Nutcracker Man didn’t eat nuts, but instead chewed grasses and possibly sedges – a discovery that upsets conventional wisdom about early humanity’s diet.

“It most likely was eating grass, and most definitely was not cracking nuts,” says geochemist Thure Cerling, lead author of the study published in the May 2 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...

...(Sometimes I was so hungry after a Nut performance, I would NOT have eschewed nuts either!) In a related development, dance researchers discover too many men are still saying "nuts" to Nutcracker! Film at eleven. (For the record, I'm not "2.3-million- to 1.2 million" years old...I just look that way! Ridden hard and put up wet far too many times!o)

05.03.2011: Be Steal My Bleeting Hart!

Best of the latest tweetz!=Bleetz!
  • Conversation with an ABT principal from Ballet News
  • Getting costumed soon? Read about the 'Power of costumes' from Pointe Magazine
  • An anatomical discussion of a dancer's spine at Dance Mag
  • Someone tell aspiring choreographers about these opportunities Dance Mag
  • Planning on performing in Giselle ever? PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal comments in Dance Teacher Magazine
  • Free dance classes for all? Check it out from Dance Teacher Mag
  • And, for you aspiring hooferz, catsup on a international tapper from Dance Teacher

05.02.2011: Putting 'Me' In 'Media'!

Sound the rams horn trumpet! The mighty Jericho has fallen on DWT***! And, even as The Strumpet was trying to "shake what her mama and her surgeon gave her", I was predicting the Samba would save Kendra to dance another day. It seemed pretty obvious the "party dance" would save the "party girl"! But, what's it going to take to blast the bimbo out of the show? Reminds me of the "I H8Kate" messages that began clogging the blogosphere last season. (Won't lie. I was responsible for most of 'em!) Look, I appreciate the unpretentiousness appeal of Hefz Ex, but, just because she's well-known and over-exposed doesn't make her a star! Whereas Chris Jericho is a star! (A multi-talented and disciplined star who improved his dancing from day one, suffered from one bad outing and paid the price!) And, this is quite an evenly-matched season, no Nicole Scherzinger nor Kristy Yamaguchi to runaway and hide. But, I'm starting to think that Team Chalice has the requisite audience and judge appeal and could pull a Shawn Johnson out at the end and edge out Team Kard and Team Chemo for the gaudy trophy. (Just wish Disney's Chelsea would be less "piston-like" in her dancing and a touch more passionate. That'll start coming with more maturity, but, not sure it'll happen before the end of the season.) And, loved that Macy's Stars of Dance presentation on the results show. I saw the 'death scene' coming, but, it was effective, moving and not over-done all at the same time. (AND! SYTYCD starts end of this month! Intriguing promos already on Fox!o)

04.29.2011: National Dance Day

EVERY day should be National Dance Day! EVERY week should be National Dance Week! But, here's a celebration announcement for this weekend from the organization that evolved out of the company I danced with for a season. (Also, where CCDC's Katya W00tang just completed her first season with a professional company.)
Don't miss this FREE family event!
Help us celebrate National Dance Week!

1:30 - 3:30 P.M.

The School of the Minnesota Ballet celebrates National Dance Week and May Day with demonstrations of ballet and jazz technique, a maypole dance and a social dance lesson.


04.29.2011: Virtual Danceware Discount

Discount Dance Supply is giving away virtual scratch tickets for discounts on their merchandise. Plus, they're featuring markdowns on the Capezio ABT Collection. Limited time offers.

04.28.2011: From "Tendus Under A Palm Tree"

Updates from the reigning ballet social network Queen, Miami City Ballet's Bex King:
"...New Posts are up!
  1. Dance Study Habits
    Here is a question for you ballet-goers out there in Internet Land... When you go to see the ballet, do you take a moment to think about what goes into performance preparations? I am sure you have thought about it on some level or another, but I assure you, the actual amount of work put into performances would surprise you.
  2. Publicizing Ballet
    As I was reading Suzanne Farrell's book, "Holding On to the Air", an interesting passage caught my attention. Ms. Farrell talks about the publicity that a new Balanchine ballet would generate. She says that Balanchine did not like to give the press backstage information, as he believed that it ruined the magic of the stage; the details of the dancer's lives should not be laid out for the public to see.
  3. A Virtual Romeo and Juliet
    As you may know, a few weeks ago Miami City Ballet treated South Florida to John Cranko's _Romeo and Juliet, _and thanks to the wonders of the internet, even if you were not able to attend, you can feel as if you were there. Again, I would like to take you behind the lens of MCB dancer, Leigh-Ann Esty.
  4. And, here's my "Year of Auditions" Blog

  5. And, My Audition Story (Editor's Note: 2K2M, read this one!o)..."

04.27.2011: Simon Says

In case you missed the national auditions, another chance for "reality TV fame":

Do you or someone you know have what it takes to win a $5 million recording contract? THE X FACTOR is creating more opportunities to find out -- we're extending our auditions to six more cities via cutting edge virtual audition stations in major shopping malls. If you live near Anchorage, Denver, Honolulu, Kansas City, Phoenix, or Nashville, this is your chance!

"We think MyStudio are a brilliant way to audition for those people who haven't been able to make it to the open calls in the first six cities." - Simon Cowell America has the best talent in the world and we're looking for the best of the best. We believe the next global superstar is out there waiting to be discovered, so for the first time ever we opened up audition booths in six additional cities, placing the specially built recording studios in designated malls.

Throughout the month of April, anyone 12 years old or over - both solo artists and vocal groups - can use the state-of-the-art studios to audio - and video-record their a cappella audition and state why they think they have what it takes to be a global superstar.

Everyone should turn out and have fun!

Andrew Llinares and Rob Wade
Executive Producers

P.S. The studios will remain open until Saturday, April 30.


Honolulu, HI Pearlridge Center Uptown
Phoenix, AZ Arizona Mills
Nashville, TN Coolsprings Galleria
Anchorage, AK Dimond Center
Kansas City, KS Oak Park Mall
Denver, CO Colorado Mills..."

04.26.2011: Serial Dancing In Cap City

Support good dance or there will be no good dance to support:

The Civic Center’s Dance Series will return for a second artistically ambitious season. “Response to our inaugural season of the Dance Series far exceeded our expectations,” said CEO Jeff Chelesvig, adding that the Civic Center received a tremendous amount of positive feedback. “We are committed to presenting the very best in all of the performing arts,” said Chelesvig, “and our community appreciates these internationally-recognized dance companies right here and at an affordable price. You don’t have to go to Chicago or Minneapolis for world-class dance.”

The 2011-2012 Dance Series three-show Season Ticket package features:

  • Diavolo – Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
  • Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Moulin Rouge – The Ballet – Saturday, March 31
  • Parsons Dance – Thursday, April 19, 2012

The prices for the three-show Dance Series Season Ticket Packages is $105.

Dance Series VIP Packages are also available for $500 which includes two Dance Series Season Ticket packages with premium seating, behind-the-scenes access to all Dance Series cast parties and recognition in the Dance Series playbill. A portion of the VIP package is a tax-deductible donation supporting Civic Center Dance programming.

All performances in The Dance Series offer an exciting opportunity to deepen the dance experience with DanceTalks prior to and following each performance. One hour before curtain time, audiences are invited to learn more about the troupe and repertoire they are about to see from the company’s artistic directors and local dance experts. An intimate in-theater conversation and Q&A with the dancers follows each performance...

...And, this musical based on a movie is also of interest to dancers:
"...Among the five offerings from the 2011-2012 Willis Broadway Series is:
  • Billy Elliot the Musical – June 6-17, 2012..."
...Hopefully, it'll have more ballet than the original film. Since I'm having trouble remembering the HTML code to link to the earliest archived copy, here's a repost of my original review from approximately ten years ago:

2001(?):"BILLY ELLIOT"...A Dancer's View

Don't bother going to see Billy Elliot expecting to see a lot of expert dancing. For the ballet aficionado, Billy is no Center Stage, no Turning Point...not even a White Nights. Do go to see Billy Elliott if you want to see a heart-warming story of a boy's struggle with society and family to find his place in the world.

In Roger Ebert's review of the film, he says Billy is the gender opposite of the movie Girl Fight...and the parallels are obvious. In one, a misfit girl battles macho stereotypes to take up the sport of pugilism. In the other, a boy gives up boxing to pursue the art of ballet. But, to my mind, Billy Elliot is more a modern cinematic remake of The Ugly Duckling meets Swan Lake.

Set against the backdrop of the English coal miners' strike in the Orwellian year of 1984, 11-year old Billy Elliot is existing in a life of Dickensian dreariness. (Played by the remarkable Jamie Bell. His rare smiles light up the screen.) His mother is dead and his father and older brother are angry strikers. The only thing that brings him happiness is playing his brother's forbidden records (remember those?) and dancing and jumping for joy on his bed. His father scrapes together fifty pence a week to send Billy to boxing lessons where he often ends up on the canvas. Then, one day, a ballet teacher starts to rent half of the gym to teach her students. And, inexorably, Billy falls under the spell of dance. Soon, that fifty pence is paying for ballet lessons.

Watching the scenes where the boy learns to dance is presumably like watching the ugly duckling trying to fit into the flock. Unlike most studios, these girls get to wear tutus to they're even more bird-like than real students. (Another minor irritant for at least one dancer in the audience: the students keep going from barre to center back to barre back to center...unlike classes in the real world. I don't think even English dancers are that crazy!) There's even another scene where the feathers really start flying. The instructor teaches ballet like a boxing coach...chain-smoking like a chimney and growling "Do it again!" over and over. No corrections, no feedback...except for a few instances that are a tad more sensual than they need be.

Billy Elliott is the male equivalant of Odette from Swan Lake. For a few hours each night, she's released from Rothbart's spell and is allowed to change from Swan to become human. For a few hours each day, Billy's released from the spell of spirit-numbing poverty to become human in his ballet class. Dancing, he says, is like "electricity". And, so the inevitable confrontation with family and the "Flashdance"-like audition build to a predictable, yet satisfying, climax.

My only two quibbles with the film: There isn't enough real dancing. Except for a few tantalizing glimpses of Royal Ballet students framed through a doorway...and a brief section during the credits...most of the dancing is performed---and depressingly realistically, I might add---by beginning students. And, the lower class English accent takes the American ear a little getting used to. (If you could understand either of the Montys: The Full or the Python, you'll be okay.) Ebert and I both agree the "R" rating is a little harsh...but, there's as much swearing as you might expect from a coal miner's father. Ultimately, Billy Elliot gets a thumbs up...four stars out of five. I would've given it five if only it was a little more *Ballet* Elliot. (Varsity Theater, 'R' rating)

04.28.2011: Putting 'Me' Into 'Media'

Regarding DWT***: Some stars leave too early (Petra+Ray). Some stars shine brightly, then, fade quickly (Ralph's dancing arc mirrors his career arc). Other so-called stars over-stay their welcome and should've been jettisoned weeks ago (Hefz Ex! I'm calling you out!). Kendra has all the subtlety and grace of the pole-dancing, ex-stripper she used to be! Accused of lacking elegance, she starts swearing like a sailor! The proof is in the profanity! Who is voting for this girl? She and Kirstie should be the next to endure the dreaded red spotlight! On the other hand, Team Chalice and Team Kard remain my front-runners, with the edge going to the NFL Star. The only way Chelsea will "catsup" with Hines is if she starts developing a touch more sensuality to her samba, a bit more passion to her paso! She has a ton of attack, but, her steps lack quality and depth. I blame her youth and lack of life experience. She already has an endearing quality and she'll just get better and better! (Tell that Ballas to show off less and show her more!) Hines on the other hand, is a revelation! Emmit who? Jason what? Who knew the killer athlete on the gridiron would exhibit such grace and skill on the dance floor? His controlled competitive nature and diligent work habits should be a lesson to all aspiring dancers! And, as the dancers and stars make the far turn, I'll call Team Kard the leader by a length, the favorite to the finish line! (And, SYTYCD starts again end of May!o)

04.22.2011: 2PointorNot22Pointe!

I used to work the door at a popular nightclub in my hometown called The Point or more properly The Point After, a sports themed dance club. (That didn't last long!) I also used to write a column for the Des Moines Ballet/Ballet Iowa newsletter and it was called Pointe of View. (I understand those newsletters are archived at the State Historical Museum. I'll have to try to get over there, copy some of those columns and post them on this blog sometime. Add that to the list of things---like the FAQ!---that I'll get on as soon as I have more time!o) All of this is apropos of nothing, just random thoughts (tap dancing!o) as I post a link this morning to the latest Club Pointe Newsletter. Interesting Q+A with Lines Artistic Director Alonzo King. I used to take his classes whenever I was in San Francisco. I'll write about soon as I find more time!o)

04.21.2011: Whip It GOOD!

Taking a page out of the Devo handbook:
"...'Whip It': Milwaukee Ballet's 32 Fouettés Project
What's Your Count?

The pinnacle of strength, stamina and achievement for every dancer is the ability to perform 32 fouettés-the hallmark of dedication and commitment achieved through practice and repetition.

Participation in The 32 Fouettés Project, Milwaukee Ballet's monthly giving opportunity, is a simple way to show your dedication to the strength and stability of Milwaukee Ballet. Keep our company on their toes with a gift of $15 a month to underwrite Julianne Kepley's pointe shoes, or $35 a month which funds a scholarship for in-need students at Milwaukee Ballet School. Signing up for a monthly gift? A lot easier than doing a fouetté...

Education Director Alyson Chavez shares insight into the significance of the fouetté, and this new initiative in the Company blog..."

04.21.2011: Shadow Play

Performance tip. Starts this weekend:
The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer
Directed by Daryl Vitali

Winner of the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize, The Shadow Box centers around three terminal cancer patients dwelling in separate cottages on a hospital’s grounds. The work interweaves the lives of the three dramatically different patients and their loved ones to give a dynamic, well-rounded perspective of death and dying.

7:30 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays
April 22 – May 7
Interviewer: Jodi Johnson
Joe: Bob Baskerville
Maggie: Jeanette Bodermann
Steve: Aaron Scholtec
Agnes: Maranda Turner
Felicity: Mary Farrell
Brian: Tom Perrine
Mark: Brian Kramer
Beverly: Becky Scholtec

Rex Mathes Auditorium
1401 Vine Street

More information here

04.20.2011: Audition Action

EMail heads-up from CCDC Summer Intensive Modern Instructor Kathleen Hurley:
"...Audition notice for one of my favorite modern dance companies. Please forward to anyone you think might be interested:)
Trisha Brown Dance Company


Dear Fellow Dancers, Friends of Dancers, and Dance Aficianados -

TBDC is holding auditions two weeks from now! Please see details below and help us spread the word to anyone who might be interested.

All the best,
Trisha Brown Dance Company


This is a long-term apprenticeship with rehearsal stipend to one of the world's leading modern dance companies.
MAY 4, 2011
130 West 56th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues

9:30am Sign In/Warm Up
10:15am Women's Audition
12:15pm End of Audition

12:15pm Sign In/Warm Up
1:00pm Men's Audition
3:00pm End of Audition

Auditionees must be available for callbacks
May 5 & 6: 10am-1pm, and
May 9-13: afternoon

To register: please email Company Manager Carrie Brown


Trisha Brown Dance Company..."

04.13.2011: Summer Threat

Some of you dancers already looking a little leathery! Don't let our annual advice fall on deaf ears...and on unprotected epidermis! (I'm looking at you, Fried Rice!) Remember, sunscreen is our friend!o):
(Courtesy Newswise) — Summertime means plenty of fun in the sun for many. “I would burn on Saturday and Sunday, peel by Wednesday and be back on the water by the next Saturday doing the same thing,” says Thomas Randall, a man in his 70s who spent much of his youth at a lake or a beach trying to tan a pale complexion. But countless hours of sun exposure have taken a toll on his skin, and he now needs regular examinations to search for pre-cancerous moles. “I had two moles cut off my chest and a major incision on my left leg to remove another mole,” Kendall says. He’s also had lesions removed from his face and both ears.

Doctor Craig Elmets says protecting skin from the sun's ultraviolet radiation, is the number one way to avoid potential skin problems. "Sunscreen should be worn daily and re-applied often, even if the sky is cloudy. A hat and sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection also protect against melanoma, a form of skin cancer than can occur anywhere on the body, even in the eye," Elmets explains. Keeping a check on moles is also important, and any changes in moles shape, color or texture should be brought to the attention of a dermatologist.

...and tanning beds are NOT a safer alternative...
(Courtesy Newswise) — As the temperatures warm up across the United States, many people head to the tanning bed to get their pre-summer glow, to prevent getting burned. But, dermatologist Marian Northington, M.D. says there's no safe tan, and the results can go from bad to worse. “Excessive tanning – either from the sun or tanning beds – will cause skin cancers, and it also is going to cause wrinkles, sun spots and a coarse texture."

04.18.2011: MustCTV

First off, I'm just happy to see ballet on commercial television at all. Real classically trained dancers performing on a decent sized stage with marley over a suspended wood floor. I can't remember the last time that happened! Ed Sullivan, maybe? And, I guess we have the Black Swan phenomenom to thank for the Reader's Digest condensed version of Swan Lake performed on the last DWT*** results show. (Meanwhile the did-she-or-didn't-she-dance Natalie Portman kerfluffle continues to simmer on the entertainment networks. Sara Lane making her comments on ABC's 20/20 program this past weekend*. But, real dancers already know Portman didn't dance on the film. There is no way anyone can train for just a year and do ballet anywhere close to a professional level.) But, the first thing that came to my mind was "Where are the tights?" Carlos Acosta was forced to dance classical ballet wearing some sort of trousers! But, having been a television producer (weekend morning news), I guess the decision was made by the higher-ups not to have a man in traditional tights. (Nice quintuple pirouettes!) Wouldn't wanna alienate the audience! But, such a double-standard! You can have the ballroom ladies stripped down to barely there spangles and sequins, and the men all shaved, spray-tanned, ripping off their shirts to dance bare-chested...but, you can't have a man in tights! I can understand the school-show summarization of the plot and what appeared to be over-emoting on camera close-ups...But, heaven forbid, a guy in tights! And, having said all that, I'm just happy to see ballet on commercial television at all! (Does any but me remember Patrick Bissel's huge faux pas during a live PBS performance of R+J? When he came running on to the tragic tomb scene...and he'd forgotten to take off his sweat pants? He died with his legs pointing up stage to minimize the exposure! But, Makarova could barely contain her laughter during what should have been the emotional highlight of the ballet! Is that on YouTube? Or only in my fading memories?)...Oh, and as far as the DWT*** competition itself goes: past time for Kendra to go and I predict Team Chalice and Team Kard will dance-battle it out at the end for the mirror-ball!
*...And, here's that report from 20/20 courtesy of ABC:

04.15.2011: Fan Mail

This is the kind of thing that keeps the CCDC faculty going. From the comment submission form:
"...(my dancer's) technique has improved a great deal this year and I am so grateful to CCDC for that. She absolutely loves coming to ballet every week and cannot wait until recital. Thanks again!..."

04.15.2011: Voices of Angelz

Strong performance tip in the emailbag for this weak end:
"...Hello...I am the marketing manager at the Youth Chorus. Just wanted you to know about our upcoming event. Saturday April 16th at Valley Evangelical Free Church at 4:00 PM we are having our annual Spring Sing Concert. This is a wonderful opportunity for people from the community to come and listen to all the many choirs of the Youth Chorus come together and sing their hearts out. This concert is a celebration of the efforts of all our choirs - Primary Choir, Children's Chorus, Concert Choir, Chorale, Youth Chorale and our Newton and Pella Outreach Choirs. The audience can delight in American folk songs, international repertoire from Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as pieces from the opera and classical tradition. The massed 240-voice choir will join forces for the finale and the traditional singing of the Irish Blessing. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at the Youth Chorus office or at the door. You can find tickets at our website..."

04.14.2011: e-ddiction

Speaking of smartphones, here's some Food4thought about our kids---and our!---growing e-bsession...
"...Students Around the World are Addicted to Media

(Courtesy Newswise) — College students around the world report that they are 'addicted' to media, describing in vivid terms their cravings, their anxieties and their depression when they have to abstain from using media. The findings are all part of a new global study. As an American student noted: "I was itching, like a crackhead, because I could not use my phone." "Media is my drug; without it I was lost. I am an addict," said a student from the UK. A student from China said: "I can say without exaggeration, I was almost freaking out." A student from Argentina observed: "Sometimes I felt 'dead.'" And a student from Slovakia simply noted: "I felt sad, lonely and depressed."

"The world Unplugged" study, concludes that most college students, whether in developed or developing countries, are strikingly similar in how they use media - and how 'addicted' they are to it. Student after student spoke about their generation's utter dependency on media - especially the mobile phone. "My dependence on media is absolutely sickening," said a student from Lebanon. "I felt like there was a problem with me," wrote a student from Uganda. "Because I became so addicted," observed a student from Hong Kong, "I have less time for my studies and face-to-face meetings with my friends."

The study asked around 1000 students in 10 countries on five continents to give up all media for 24 hours. After their daylong abstinence, the students recorded their experiences. In total, students wrote almost half a million words: in aggregate, about the same number of words as Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. Students also completed a demographic survey.

The study shows: If you are under 25, it doesn't matter if you live in the U.S. or Chile or China, Slovakia, Mexico or Lebanon: you not only can't imagine life without your cell phone, laptop and mp3 player, you can't function without them.

"Five hours in and my typically relaxed Sunday has had the adverse effect. Raised heart rate, increased anxiety. I'm panicking not knowing what is going on in not just the outside world but also my world. My friends, my family, my life." - UK
Digital Natives Have No Passports

"Perhaps naively, we assumed that we would find substantial differences among the students who took part in this study," noted project director Susan D. Moeller. "After all, our partner universities come from very different regions - Chile, Slovakia and Hong Kong, for example - and from countries with great disparities in economic development, culture and political governance - for instance, Uganda, Lebanon and mainland China."

"But it quickly became apparent from looking at the student demographics and the students' narrative comments," said Moeller, "that all the student-responders in this study are digital natives. It was then that we realized that digital natives have no passports: if we had covered up the place name of a student's comment we would have had no idea of the student's nationality."

The study documented that taken as country-based groups, the students reacted almost identically to going without media for 24 hours. Most students from all countries failed to go the full 24 hours without media, and they all used virtually the same words to describe their reactions, including: Fretful, Confused, Anxious, Irritable, Insecure, Nervous, Restless, Crazy, Addicted, Panicked, Jealous, Angry, Lonely, Dependent, Depressed, Jittery and Paranoid.

The study shows: Students were blind-sided by how much media have come to dominate their lives. They had thought of media as just a convenience; a way to communicate with friends and get news. After going without media, they came to recognize that they literally construct their identities through media. Going unplugged, therefore, was like losing part of themselves.

"I felt like a helpless man on a lonely deserted island in the big ocean." - China
It was striking to us," said researcher Sergei Golitsinski, "how many students around the world wrote that going without media not only severed their connections to their friends, but challenged their sense of self. Who were they, if they weren't plugged in? Media are not just tools for students to communicate - students reported that how they use media shapes the way others think of them and the way they think about themselves."

"We were surprised, too," noted Golitsinski, "that again and again students around the world said that media - and their phones, especially - were both emotionally and even physically comforting. In effect, cell phones have become this generation's security blanket."

"After a while I missed holding my cell phone so much that I actually left my battery in my bag and held my phone in my hand. It is almost like a comfort to hold and just know it was there." - USA
The study shows: No matter where they live, students no longer search for news; the news finds them. They inhale, almost unconsciously, the news that is served up on the sidebar of their email account, that is on friends' Facebook walls, that comes through on Twitter and via chat.

"We are used to having information about everything on the planet and this information we have to have in an unbelievable time. Our generation doesn't need certified and acknowledged information. More important is quantity, not quality of news." - Slovakia

News to Students Means "Anything That Just Happened"

"Students now get their news in chunks of 140 characters or from Facebook posts. Students want and get their news as it is breaking, with few filters," observed PhD student Jessica Roberts..."

...So, parents! That means if you wanna discipline your kids, consider taking away their cellphones rather than keeping them away from CCDC dance classes!

04.12.2011: Still Lost In Translation

So, before I forget the original combination. First, the not-so-smartphone translation of a ballet petit allegro combination I posted a few daze ago:
"...glee side see song miley side see soon possibly but to ship a bot to potter blu ray on tour not freezing vol a good reelfoot day capitals but thanks..."
...You're welcome! Well, at least it's polite! The real combination goes like this: (face en avant, travel de cote'):
"...glissade sissone, glissade sissone, assemble' battu, (petit) jete' battu, pas de bourre' en tournant (to face RAD corner 4/Vaganova direction 7), brise' vole' (en avant), brise' vole (derriere), faille' through) fouette' cabriole (quarter-turn) fouette' cabriole (finish half-turn back to front), coupe', rond de jambe en l'air double, coupe', gargliole..."
...repeat second side and reverse. ...But, thanks!

04.12.2011: Puttin' 'Da 'Me' In 'Media'

A plethora (A flock? A corps?) of reality dance shows making their way to a television near you nowadays. Besides the time-tested DWT*** (And, Team Kard just keeps getting better and better! But, that clunkiness I warned about earlier rising up to kick the Karate Kid in the derriere), there are at least two other shows currently airing---with another intriguing entry on the horizon! The Dance Scene on E! premiered this weekend. I haven't had a chance to watch it, but, I'd downloaded a preview earlier and am more than willing to give it a chance. It features Laurie Ann "Boom Kack!" Gibson whom you might've seen in Puff's reality show about Danity Kane. And, there's another familiar face: dancer Kherington "Blonde Bombshell" Payne (sp?) who we last saw in a few dance movies as well as finishing in the top ten of a SYTYCD. Also, Mario Lopez is back to host ABDC! Finally! Some powerful dancing in the premiere on MTV last week. (Several other SYTYCD alum involved in this incarnation: D Trix of Quest Krew is a judge. And, Phillip Gerardo is back leading his own krew of "brain-busting" tutters and poppers! Also, Tight Eyez of the dance documentary Rize is leading his own powerful krumpin' krew called Street Kingdom). It seems that Hollywood is getting the message about compelling dance making compelling television! Keep an eye out for the premiere of Grace on ABC TV. It involves several SYTYCD alum, including choreographer "Mamma" Mia Michaels, dancers Allison and Neal among others.

04.11.2011: Bleet City!

Ballet News has released a plethora, a flock, a corps of interviews with professional dancers from several continents:
  • Interview with a Birmingham Royal Ballet danseur from BalletNews
  • Interview with a Royal Danish Ballet dancer (Note the proper use of "ballet lines" in her eye underliner!o) BalletNews
  • Interview with an English National Ballet danseur from BalletNews
  • Interview with an American Ballet Theater dancer from BalletNews
  • Interview with an English National Ballet dancer from BalletNews

04.08.2011: Give 'Em The Old Razzle-Dazzle

The eventual winner of DWT*** I, the J Peterman actor, is coming to a theater near you!
Capital City – The Civic Center announced one of television’s busiest and most versatile actors and feature film stars John O’Hurley will lead the cast as Billy Flynn in the Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical CHICAGO.

Now celebrating 13 glorious years of girls, glitz and glamour on the Great White Way, the record-breaking smash hit musical CHICAGO is now the sixth longest-running musical production in Broadway history – and shows no sign of ever slowing down – and it’s returning to the Civic Center for a limited engagement Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5, 2011 as part of the Willis Broadway Series.

John O’Hurley (Billy Flynn) is one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive,” and has become one of television’s most versatile actors, show hosts, advertising heroes, and feature film stars. The award-winning actor is best known as "J. Peterman" on "Seinfeld," which is now the #1 syndicated series in the world in 85 countries. He danced his way into the hearts of America as the ultimate champion of the highly rated ABC show “Dancing with the Stars,” starred on Broadway in Chicago, as the male lead “Billy Flynn” and starred in a two-year stint as the head of the Round Table, King Arthur, in Eric Idle’s hilarious musical comedy “Monty Python’s Spamalot” in Las Vegas. On the small screen he can be seen weekly on the popular syndicated show “Family Feud.” As a follow-up to his Billboard chart topping CD Peace of Our Minds (which was the first independently produced CD to ever reach #13 on the Billboard Music charts), O’Hurley recently released Secrets from the Lake, a collaboration of his piano compositions with cellist Marston Smith. O’Hurley has written 2 books including his New York Times Bestseller called It’s OK to Miss the Bed on the First Jump: And Other Life Lessons Learned from Dogs and Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have To Do It. When not performing, John maintains his single digit gold handicap by playing on the Celebrity Players Tour.

Murder. Greed. Corruption. Violence. Exploitation. Adultery. Treachery. Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who maliciously murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids. With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, CHICAGO is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.

CHICAGO is a production not to be missed. And all the reviewers agree. Time Magazine calls it “A Triumph,” Newsweek raves “Smashing” and Entertainment Weekly sums it up by calling CHICAGO “Broadway’s Most Electrifying Show.”

04.07.2011: Performance Tip

If you're not already taking class at CCDC, the price is right for starving dancers:
"...CGC International Movie Series. The Official Story. Spanish (Argentina). 1986.

Thursday, April 7, 7:00pm, Harvey Ingham 104.

A married couple struggles after their country, Argentina, has been torn apart by the campaign of killings and torture. The Dirty War period sent thousands of accused political leftists to unmarked graves in the mid 1970s. The film begins five years after Alicia (Norma Aleandro), a History high school teacher and, Roberto (Héctor Alterio), a wealthy businessman and lawyer with close ties to the military junta, had adopted a baby girl named Gaby (Analia Castro). Alicia starts wondering about the real parents of Gaby, a topic her husband has told her to forget as it was a condition of the adoption. Yet, he knows the story of his daughter's adoption. While hard to believe, Alicia, as other members of the Argentine middle class, are not aware of how much killing and suffering has gone on in the country, until her students begin to complain that the "government approved" history books given to them were written by the regime's "assassins".
The film is free and open to the public..."

04.06.2011: Lost In Translation

So, I've been playing around with my latest toy, a Samsung Galaxy S smartphone (And, if anyone knows of an app that'll allow copying and pasting from e-mails, PLEEZ let me know!) Love the new Swipe function that speeds up the texting input process! But, I've been experimenting with the voice input system with mixed results. I tried dictating a petit allegro combination that I put together for the advanced ballet class tonight. And, as you can see from the following, French ballet terms not so well translated:
"...glee side see song miley side see soon possibly but to ship a bot to potter blu ray on tour not freezing vol a good reelfoot day capitals but thanks..."
...Can you figure out the real ballet terms from the scrambled? I'll post the real combination after I spring it on the advanced CCDC dancers in class.

04.05.2011: Putting Up With 'Me' in 'Media'

Just some quick impressions from last week's DWT***: I thought Heinz Ward stepped up his game tremendously! Anoint that man as now a contender! What a competitor! Smooth footwork, strong lead, good posture and frame! Killer smile! Dogz a playa! Ward's clutch on the gridiron and, now, he's showing he can double-clutch on the dance floor as well! And, Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou offspring of Master P? Really? As host with the most, Tom Bergeron mentioned, Romeo's dancing ability must've come from his momma! And, Team Chalice took a risk and took a tumble. But, I've said it before and Chelsea Kane is no exception to the rule: Watch out for products of the Disney star system! And, what's not to like about The Karate Kid? I said I was waiting to see if Macchio could sustain his tremendous start and he did deliver. The Wrestler, The Actress and The Super-Model are also endearing and engaging in their own way. So is the The Talk Show Hostess, but, I'm not trying to be snarky when I ask if I'm the only one who thinks Wendy dresses, looks and dances like a man in drag? Sugar Ray's toughest opponent may be his age. Hard to teach an old dog new trix! And, the producers tried to get the audience to sympathize with Hefz Ex by showing Kendra in tears at one pointe. But, a little less clunkiness and a more held middle would go a long way towards getting this grumpy ex-dancer on the Playboy Bunnyz support staff. And, I'll miss Mike Catherwood's personality and sense of humor...but, not his dancing! ...And, on another subject, I've been reading a lotta tweetz from dancerz about this Grace project. Here's an article with more info.

04.05.2011: Performance Tip

This lecture's happening over the lunch hour today at the downtown library:
"...European Street Theater; Alternative Political Expression

Tuesday (April 5th)
Presented by Dr. Susan Haedicke

Every summer hundreds of thousands of spectators flock to the street to experience the multitude of performances at European street theater festivals, from stilt walking, living statues, puppetry, to the theatre of fire! Dr. Susan Haedicke examines the use of provocative content and performances to examine social taboos.

Please join us for a dialogue on a form of entertainment and education rarely seen locally..."

04.04.2011: Master Classes

Might be fun to do all of these! Might be expensive!:
Prix de Lausanne Master Class Series

As the Prix embarks upon its fifth decade, as part of the celebrations, a series of Master Classes will be offered to bring the philosophy of the Prix to the four corners of the world.

Aimed to increase the accessibility of the healthy learning environment fostered by the Prix, these Master Classes will be taught by former prize winners, followed by a video presentation of what it is like to participate in the Prix de Lausanne and a question and answer period. The Prix winner will be joined by a member of the Artistic Committee of the Prix to provide information on how to apply for the upcoming 40th anniversary competition.

The objective is to provide an opportunity to participate in a classical ballet class taught by renowned dancers and through the Question and Answer following to hear directly about their experience at the Prix and to discuss what it meant for them to participate It is a chance to ask them about their experience in Lausanne, which doors were opened and how this affected their career.

Are you considering entering the Prix? Curious to know what this might mean for you or just curious to know what the Prix’s beliefs are in relation to dance training for our time?

The initial Master Class Series will be held on all continents for ballet students aspiring to a professional career.

Online registration will be available as of April 2011.

Master Class Teachers, Dates & Locations
Sydney, Australia - May 15th, 2011
Sydney Opera House
Teachers: Olivia Bell & Lucinda Dunn
Question and Answer hosted by Darcey Bussell and David McAllister

Tokyo, Japan - July 3rd, 2011
Architanz Tokyo
Teacher: Steven McRae

Cape Town, South Africa - July 10th 2011
Cape Town City Ballet
Teacher: to be announced Sao Paolo, Brazil - August 7th 2011
Sao Paolo Dance Company
Teacher: Marcelo Gomes

New York, USA - August 7th 2011
School of American Ballet
Teacher: Wim Vanlessen

Amsterdam, The Netherlands - August 21st 2011
Het Muziktheater
Teacher: Federico Bonneli

Zurich, Switzerland - September 4th 2011
Tanz Akademie Zürich
Teacher: Sue-Jin Kang

...What! No Des Moines, Iowa??? Wassup wid dat! ( say the training is so good here at CCDC we don't need no stinkin' master classes?! Okay! Carry on...!

04.01.2011: Wasn't Built In A Day

Ran across this item about a girl I used to partner back at Hawai'i State Ballet School. And, here's an old article that talked about her former gig as a principal at Boston Ballet. And, here's her blog. I actually partnered Romi in the Pas de deux from Swan Lake in a performance before the wife of a visiting deposed head of state. She was very young but was still a powerful dancer even then. The article says she's retiring from performing to open a new ballet school back in Honolulu. I hope she knows what she's getting into! (She'll probably be in direct competition with her old teacher and my former artistic director John Landovsky.) But, I wish my once-upon-a-time partner merde on her new endeavor!

03.31.2011: Free The Black Swan!

Well, at least the price is right for starving dancers!o) ("Hold on to your money, honey!") Here's a chance to win a copy of Aronofsky's Black Swan from TheHDRoom.Com. I'm just a little hesitant about entering my e-mail willy-nilly on the web. But, if you're not! Enter away! And, buena suerte! And, here's an insightful take on the great Did-She-Or-Did-She-Not-Dance debate raging in the media. And, (late add) you can read a take straight from the "reel" Black Swan's beak!o)

03.30.2011: DWTS Feedback

Some feedback to my DWT*** analysis:
"...You are looking for the winner right off the bat. But the journey is fun too! And I thought Kirstie was the most fun the first night and the biggest surprise..."
...Well, I guess for most people watching bad dancing can be like watching a car wreck happen in spandex and spangles! Hard to turn away from such questionable entertainment value. But, to me and to the teacher in me, watching bad dancing is actually a painful experience! I recoil at a rancid rhumba! I fear a flaccid foxtrot! I chafe and cringe in chagrin at chancy cha-cha's! As I tell my students often, "Good dancing is its own reward! Bad dancing is its own punishment!" Only on DWT***, it's community punishment amplified for me and for millions!...And, I tried as hard as I could to avoid learning the results of last night's elimination show. But, that's like a fool's errand in this interconnected digital age! I skipped tweets, reading blogs and news stories...until the result leapt out of a headline on my new smartphone this morning! I'm not going to post the result here in case you want to watch a recording of the show and I'll post my analysis later.

03.29.2011: Puttin' The 'Me' In 'Media'!

All hail the return of DWT*** XV! And, as usual, there were some quick out of the gate last week, there were some left in the lurch and there were others who offered a tantalizing glimpse of potential. Sure, The Karate Kid had the highest scores, but, Macchio also showed some signs of potential clunkiness. I'm not anointing him the favorite until he shows he can shine in the latin dances! Romeo distanced himself from his father's D-N-A ("Dances Not@All") with a solid and promising first outing. Heinz Ward may be the one the other contestants want to "catch-up" to at the end! (Sorry, couldn't resist!o) The NFL All-Pro channeled his inner Emmit Smith in a strong, masculine and charismatic outing! Sugar Ray was not as sweet as his moniker, he has to "fight" that tendency to hunch over so much. And, never bet against the products of the Disney star system, Chelsea Kane has good genes, good looks and youth on her side. On the other end, The Wrestler, The Talk Show Hosts, Hefz Exxx, The Supermodel and The Actress are just biding their time before their emotional bye-byes. True, Kirstie Alley wasn't the "hot mess" I feared she might be. But, I still put her in the "soon2bdisappointed" rather than the "anointed" category. (And, remember, I DVR these shows to watch on the weak ends, so don't be telling me who got eliminated!o)

03.29.2011: Attitude Adjustment

Not much dancing reported in this film (from the same author of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?) at the Fleur, but, it may be much-more palatable than that other recent ballet movie:

Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us?

Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he's ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York.

On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)--a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself--the men of The Adjustment Bureau--who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path...or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.

Based on a story by Philip K. Dick, the acclaimed author whose literary works were the basis of Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report.

"Big Brother fantasy with style and real feeling, courtesy of an excellent Matt Damon-Emily Blunt pairing. George Nofi pulls off a relative rarity in his feature film debut by creating a genuinely romantic fantasy suspense thriller."-The Hollywood reporter

03.28.2011: Performance Tip

Price is rite4starving artists (If you're not already taking a dance class at CCDC, of course!o):
"...The Drake Center for Global Citizenship Presents:

Tuesday, March 29 7:00pm, Harman Fine Arts Center Auditorium, Drake University

Tommy Sands "The Troubles through the Eyes of a Troubadour: A Northern Ireland Perspective." The event is free and open to the public.

Sands' concert with his two children includes a new 75-minute historical program about the struggles of his Northern Ireland homeland is a story-through-song. It's a story many of us have shared, the journey of troubles amidst seemingly unending conflict, and the challenge of how to seek peace within differences. This musical program showcases songs about peacemaking, Northern Ireland, and ultimately, a message of hope and healing.

A native of north Ireland, Sands demonstrates that in a tumultuous political environment, his music speaks louder than violence. Touring the world with his music of peace, Sands has traveled to Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan and Cuba where he has brought messages of peace to the people and politicians. An exceptional artist, Sands' music draws the audience into the compelling tales of Ireland's great loves, conflicts and its playful and unbreakable spirit. The U.S. magazine “Sing Out!” regards Sands as “The most powerful songwriter in Ireland if not the rest of the world.” Sands just released a collection of new songs entitled “Arising from the Troubles.”

For a complete calendar, please visit our website..."

03.26.2011: Panic Attack!

Kid Panik sends along this suggestion:
"...Saw this (article) and thought it was interesting..."
...Saw that article too! And, I just watched a podcast interview with Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky. He admitted that anyone who trained hard in ballet probably wouldn't buy into the "suspension of disbelief" required to accept Natalie Portman as a world-class ballerina. But, he says for the majority of the movie-going public, that wouldn't be a problem. So, if you know and love good ballet, don't go to Black Swan expecting to see much technical dancing from the actors involved. (The best dancing may be happening on the edges!) I think the movie's more accurately portrayed as a psychological horror-film set in the ballet-world. And, if you want to see that interview with Aronofsky, it's available on iTunes. Just search "Black Swan" in Podcasts. (Now, more to the pointe, who can help me find someplace that'll tell me how to sync my new Android phone with work MicroSoft Express e-mail, contacts and calendar? Advice accepted here!o)

03.25.2011: Brush With Greatness

Twyla Tharp is coming to the Capitol City for a lecture next week. More info here. Meanwhile, I thought I might share about the one interaction I had with the internationally renowned choreographer (Put hand on chin, cue thoughtful faraway look and quick misty montage of memories): Back when I was younger and even dumber, I was working as a waiter at a Chicago sushi bar across from the Merchandise Mart, training daily at a ballet barre...and looking for my next professional dance company after my one season at the Duluth Ballet. Word came one day to the dancers at Ruth Page's and Tallchief's that the Tharp company would be holding open auditions during their run at the Auditorium Theater. I decided to go, even though modern dance wasn't my forte. I knew, for example, that ballet danseur Gil Boggs of ABT had taken a season off to dance with Tharp's company. I figured if he could do it, so could I. What happened next turned out to be. the. single. hardest. audition. I've. EVER. taken! It started off simply enough. Boggs, himself, taught the ballet class which I could've done in my sleep. I maneuvered myself into the front and danced as big and clean as I could. I remember Boggs telling me "you don't have to jump so high" at one pointe! But, I was determined to show what I could do because Ms Tharp, herself, was sitting in a chair downstage center! Then, some of her company stood up and taught us a 25-count modern combination of contemporary jumps and leaps. It wasn't too bad. If I translated it to myself into "turned in ballet", I could just do the combination. We performed it as one big group several times. Then, they taught us another 25-count modern combination heavy on the upper body: arm circles, reaches and gestures. We performed that several times. Then, (and you can probably guess this part) they told us to put them together! And, the entire company sat down leaving us to work-it out entirely on our own! My mind just blanked! I tried! But, my unfamiliarity with modern turned out to be my downfall! I'd pair up the first several moves together, but, when I tried to move on, I found I'd forgotten the first part! When I reworked the first part, I'd forgotten the second part! I retreated from the front all the way to the back. Very, very frustrating! ...Which was the pointe of it all! Tharp presented us with a problem and watched as we tried to solve it. Most of us failed to arrive at the solution, but, most of us also failed to present the proper attempt to solve the problem. I'll say that again: "...*I* failed to present the proper attempt to solve the problem"! But, one or two dancers actually worked out the entire combination WITH the proper process and I applaud them to this day! I, on the other hand, demonstrated to Ms Tharp that I wasn't up to her standards. It was more than a little ego-deflating after my season as principal dancer in the Northland. But, I also remember that every dancer that auditioned that day was given the chance to get a comp ticket to her company's performance that night! It was just a $5 ticket way up in the rafters, but, I thought it was a thoughtful gesture! As I watched her mesmerizing In The Upper Room later that evening, I vowed to myself never to let myself get so intimidated at an audition again! And, even today, I'm working to get every CCDC student to be physically and mentally better prepared than I was at my one encounter with Twyla Tharp!

03.24.2011: Crossing The Wide Divide

Is there any interest for this sort of thing locally? Because we could probably open the CCDC rehearsal process to even more dance aficionados and volunteers:
"...Dialogue for Dance

In this fresh new format, Milwaukee Ballet opens the doors to a live rehearsal where only subscribers can see the Company dancers up close, hear instruction and feedback from the choreographer, and experience the true rehearsal process. There are only 20 seats available per session and reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. Subscribers are invited to bring one guest..."

03.23.2011: Simon Says

Personal invitation from the man himself:

Do you, a friend or a family member have what it takes to become a global superstar? I'm looking for the next singing sensation, someone with that special something - 'The X Factor.'

The X Factor is my new show launching this Fall on Fox. It's a make-it-or-break-it singing competition, and this time there are no restrictions. Solo singers, vocal groups and anyone over the age of 12 have the chance to win a $5 million recording deal with Sony Music. There's NO upper age limit!

If you think you've got what it takes, we encourage you to audition. The search starts in Los Angeles on March 27th, and then continues on to Miami, Newark, Seattle, and Chicago, ending in Dallas. We are looking for people who know they can be superstars and have the raw talent to back it up.

Now is your chance, who knows, you or your group could walk away with a $5 million recording contract and a lifetime of stardom.

Good luck,
Simon Cowell

...For further information, please visit our website. Or call the toll free information line: 855 345 5678..."

03.22.2011: "Hair" Affair

In pursuit of all things hirsute, we 'tease' you with notice of this 'hairy' affair...
(March 2011) – Tickets are now on sale for the capital city's hottest event celebrating hair as a form of contemporary self-expression! The Art Center’s 5th Big Hair Ball will showcase the art of hair, makeup, and fashion on Saturday, April 23 from 8 pm – midnight.

General tickets are $50 ($45 members) in advance and $60 at the door and include two drink tickets. A limited number of VIP tickets, which include front-row or gallery seating and a special cocktail, are available for $75.

This highly anticipated, bi-annual event will feature local boutiques offering hair, nail, and make-up artistry; music and visual effects by DJ John Solarz; appetizers from Occasions Made Right; and beverages from Pearl Vodka and Doll Distributing. This year’s runway theme is Glitter and Grease, and the evening will culminate in a spectacular runway show, featuring modeled hair and short programs designed by local salons, and special performances by Keescamp and the Metro Opera. Participating salons include: Aveda Institute, Bella Salon, Blondie’s, Rebelle Salon and Sahar’s.

For information and updates, click here.

03.21.2011: Bottom's Up!o)

Got this e-mail minder for this last weekend from the company I used to dance with...and the company that CCDC alum Katya W00tang is with finishing her first season as a professional dancer:
"...Join us at UMD's Marshall Performing Arts Center for an enchanting performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Don't miss the world premiere of Robert Gardner's production of Shakespeare's most magical comedy, set in a moonlit, enchanted wood of Elizabethan England. In the classic comedy tradition, lovers quarrel, separate, under magic spells are attracted to the wrong ones, and yet somehow end up with the right ones. Fairies abound, along with comic characters from Puck, the classic mischief-maker, to Bottom, who ends up famously and temporarily wearing a donkey head..."

...And, that reminds me of a time when I was younger and dumber and danced the role of Bottom in a local youth production of A Midsummer Night's Eve in my hometown. I offered to dance the role en pointe to mimic the hooves of the spell-bound equine animal---It's the only role in the classical repertoire that I know of where the man does dance en pointe, in the original Balanchine version at least.---But, I was told I'd have to supply my own pointe shoes, so, that ended that conversation. (I was training en pointe at the time in a moderately successful attempt to improve my feet.) But, even though I was dancing less than classical steps while wearing a papier mache' donkey's head, I took it as a challenge to shine in the role. I wasn't just a country bumpkin that danced like he had a pumpkin on his head! I developed a character and expressed fear, sadness, delight, and, yes, even fondness for delicious, tasty hay in my portrayal! Yum! (YOU try doing that while wearing a Bottom on your top!o) Of course, I'd rather been dancing Oberon or Puck, but, I got compliments afterward for "stealing the show". Proving once again, no such thing as "small roles"...only small dancers!

03.18.2011: Sharp Tharp

A legendary name in modern choreography is coming to the Capital City:
26th Lecturer Selected!

It is with great excitement and anticipation that we announce Twyla Tharp, groundbreaking choreographer for the 26th Martin Bucksbaum Lectureship Series on Monday, April 4, 2011. The event will occur in the Drake Knapp Center at 7 p.m. Current plans include a book signing immediately following the lecture.

Since graduating from Barnard College in 1963, Ms. Tharp has choreographed more than 135 dances, five Hollywood movies, directed and choreographed four Broadway shows. She received one Tony Award, two Emmy Awards, nineteen honorary doctorates, the Vietnam Veterans of America President's Award, the 2004 National Medal of the Arts, the 2008 Jerome Robbins Prize, a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor. Her many grants include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In 1965 Ms. Tharp founded her dance company, Twyla Tharp Dance. In addition to choreographing for her own company, she has created dances for The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Miami City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Ms. Tharp's work first appeared on Broadway in 1980 with When We Were Very Young, followed in 1981 by her collaboration with David Byrne on The Catherine Wheel at the Winter Garden. Her 1985 production of Singin’ in the Rain played at the Gershwin and was followed by an extensive national tour. In 2002, Ms. Tharp’s award-winning dance musical Movin’ Out, set to the music and lyrics of Billy Joel, premiered at the Richard Rodgers, where it ran for three years. A national tour opened in 2004 and also ran for three years. For Movin’ Out Ms. Tharp received the 2003 Tony Award, the 2003 Astaire Award, the Drama League Award for Sustained Achievement in Musical Theater; and both the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Choreography. For the London production Ms. Tharp won Best Choreography (Musical Theatre) Award of the UK's Critics' Circle National Dance Awards 2006. In 2006, Ms. Tharp worked with Bob Dylan’s music and lyrics to create The Times They Are A-Changin’ which played at the Brooks Atkinson. Her most recent Broadway show is Come Fly Away, based on the music of Frank Sinatra, which is playing at the Marquis Theater.

In film Ms. Tharp has collaborated with director Milos Forman on Hair in 1978, Ragtime in 1980, and Amadeus in 1984, with Taylor Hackford on White Nights in 1985 and with James Brooks on I’ll Do Anything in 1994.

Her television credits include choreographing Sue’s Leg for the inaugural episode of PBS' Dance in America, co-producing and directing Making the Television Dance, which won the Chicago International Film Festival Award; and directing The Catherine Wheel for BBC Television. Ms. Tharp co-directed the television special Baryshnikov by Tharp, which won two Emmy Awards as well as the Director's Guild of America Award for Outstanding Director Achievement.

In 1992, Ms. Tharp wrote her autobiography Push Comes to Shove. In 2003 she wrote, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. In 2009 she wrote, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together, both of which were published by Simon and Schuster.

Today Ms. Tharp continues to create. More info here.

03.18.2011: Get In Van! Go4Van Gogh!

Worth a field trip:
(March 2011) – The Art Center has acquired the Portrait of Dr. Gachet (L’Homme à la pipe) [Man smoking a Pipe], 1890, an etching by Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853–1890). The print is currently on view in Blank Two Gallery.

This work is the only etching that Vincent van Gogh ever made and is a great rarity. Van Gogh created the etching when he was at the height of his artistic powers and fullness of emotional expression. This extraordinary work depicts Dr. Paul-Ferdinand Gachet (1828–1909), a man intimately connected with the final months of the artist’s life. The etching conveys all the intensity of van Gogh’s art. He drew the doctor’s face as if pressed up close to the picture plane. The surging, squirming lines and contours generate a pulsing energy. By expressively distorting naturalistic form, van Gogh achieved a powerful psychological effect. As in his paintings, the viewer not only sees—but also feels— the power of this etching.

Created less than two months before van Gogh took his own life, the etching is a tangible product of some of the artist’s last moments of happiness. Following his release from the mental hospital at Saint-Rémy in May 1890, van Gogh went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise, a country town northwest of Paris. He went there to be under the care of Dr. Gachet, a homeopathic physician with an interest in mental illness. Gachet was a friend of artists, a collector, and an amateur etcher who had a press at his home. Since 1873, Gachet had made prints with many of his artist friends, including Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro. It was Gachet himself who invited van Gogh to try his hand at etching. After lunch one Sunday, (probably on June 15), Vincent etched this portrait of Gachet and the doctor printed impressions on his own press. As Vincent wrote in letters to his brother, he hoped to distribute the works, so he gave Gachet the freedom to print his plate to give to friends and to museums. After Vincent mortally wounded himself on July 27, Gachet cared for him, drew a remarkable deathbed portrait of van Gogh, and spoke at his funeral. Dr. Gachet died in 1909. His son, Paul-Louis Gachet, printed additional impressions before donating the printing plate to the Louvre Museum in Paris. As recorded by the Van Gogh Foundation (Amsterdam), 60 impressions of the etching are known. The Art Center’s present impression is richly printed on thin Japanese paper. It bears the Gachet family collector’s stamp, a red cat.

During van Gogh's lifetime, his extraordinary artistic achievement was mostly ignored, but once his work became better known after his death, his work became central to the formation of modern art. van Gogh's expressive distortions, use of line, rhythm, and color inspired artists from French and German Expressionists, to post-war Expressionists, to the artists of our own time. Utterly striking and historically significant, van Gogh's Portrait of Dr. Gachet enriches the Art Center’s presentation of the historical foundations of modern and contemporary art.

The print was purchased with funds from the Mildred M. Bohen Deaccessioning Fund, and with funds from Harriet S. Macomber in memory of J. Locke Macomber.

03.16.2011: Mountain Comes to Mohamet

Dona Q shares this information:


The Paris Opéra Ballet, considered the world's finest dance company launches their 2012 North American Tour, with the company's first American performances in more than a decade. The full 154-member company will perform two diverse programs - Giselle, and a program of mixed repertoire to include Suite en blanc, Petit's L'Arlésienne and Béjart's Le Boléro all accompanied by the Grant Park Orchestra in a first-ever collaboration.

Program A: Giselle
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 7:30pm
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 7:30pm
Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Program B: Mixed Repertoire
Lifar's Suite en blanc / Petit's L'Arlésienne / Béjart's Le Boléro
Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm
Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

03.15.2011: Japan In Jeapordy

We interrupt this regularly scheduled ballet blogcast to bring you this update from our CCDC correspondent in Japan:
"...Thank you!

I am doing fine for now. The recent news about the radiation is pretty scary. I guess the winds have been carrying it so now tokyo might be in danger...which mean yamanashi might be in danger too....yikes!

The country is in full panic mode and we are now experiencing tons of shortages. The power plants have created mass confusion. We are supposed to have planned blackouts every day through out April to conserve energy, but so far that has completely failed (the power outages don't happen at the scheduled time and places who really need power, like the tsunami areas, have lost power etc) There is a great shortage on gasoline and there is a traffic jam every morning at the gas station. All of the stores have officially run out of tissues, toilet paper, water, and instant noodles. Hopefully people start to calm down a little bit more to calmly take action during this crisis.

After the earthquakes and tsunami, I have found great respect for the people of Japan. I don't think there is another country that can handle this type of disaster with the preciseness of Japan. I have only seen amazing reports of people helping each other during the hardships. Everyone calmly remains in line for things, and there is no one looting or showing any violence towards each other like we saw in hurricane katrina. Im hoping and praying everyday that Japan gets back on track soon.

Thank you so much for the vibes!!! It really helps to know that people care :)


03.14.2011: Japanese In Jeopardy

A former CCDC student was in Japan at the time of last Friday's quake. You can read about her experiences near the bottom of this Des Moines Register article. Our e-mails to Syllk 'da Shaka have gone unanswered at this pointe. Thoughts and prayers go out to her and the entire island nation still reeling in the impact of the triple-threats of tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown. Did you see the video coverage of the wall of water flooding a coastal Japanese town? It looked like something out of a disaster movie! Boats thrown over seawalls into overpasses and bridges! Some of the photos are heart-rending as well. Kudos to U-S television network coverage that put a human face on the disaster: showing a desperate father reuniting with child and a woman with her mother. Japanese rarely hug nor display emotion so publicly in that formal and stratified society. But, hugs and tears were flowing freely in the wake of the disasters. Help out if you can.

03.11.2011: Be Steel, My Bleeting Hart!

The best of latest tweets=bleetz!o): ...and got this webvid of Don Q tweeted to me as well:

Starts off slow, but, turns into intriguing glimpse of world-class dancers in company class:

Video ad for 3D-HD broadcast of Giselle from the Maryinsky starring Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov. (Unfortunately, not available in the USA):
...and here's another website dedicated to bringing ballet broadcasts to the masses. And, here's the schedule from the Carmike Wynnsong Johnston 16
Opening This Week
Encore Don Quixote (Bolshoi): Mar 16: 7:30 pm
Coming Soon
LIVE: Mar. 28, 2011 Coppelia (Paris Opera Ballet): Mar 28: 12:30 pm, Apr 6: 7:30 pm
LIVE: May 29, 2011 Coppelia (Bolshoi): May 29: 10:00 am, Jun 8: 7:30 pm
LIVE: Jul. 9, 2011 Children of Paradise (Paris Opera Ballet): Jul 9: 12:30 pm, 20

03.10.2011: Word Warriorz

Power of the pen...amplified!
Join us at the Central Library (Meeting Room One) for an exhibit and poetry reading of poems written by local poets and displayed on DART Buses on Sunday, April 3 from 1:00 PM-3:30 PM. This is a great opportunity to see local writings and find out how you can be published on a local DART bus.

Tess Durkin is the coordinator of the project. She first conceived the idea in 2009, when she stumbled across a few other cities in America who used local poems and artwork to decorate their buses. She then developed a set of guidelines and contacted Metro Area Regional Transit Authority. This year, nineteen local poets received the honor of displaying their work, which includes poems, haikus, and three liners on the various buses in the capital city.

03.08.2011: "Show"+Tell

Never mind GLEE!! Traveled a little north this weekend to watch one of our students dance in a local ritual known as "show choir" concert. Turned out a number of former, intermittent+current CCDC students were involved besides Koi McKay, including Emmi Sansor, Sandy Emvold, Robi Madson and Longtle Sal E IV. (Let's get back in class, grrlz!o) Emmi did a dance solo that showed her strengths, even though the stage was small and looked mighty slippery. Good to see her perform well (as they say on SYTYCD) "in her own style". "Show Choir" choreography appears to be its own specialized genre: there's not a lot of room on stage and the traveling transitions could've been a nightmare. But, all went well and the packed Saturday night crowd was very supportive with standing ovations after every segment. Mixed feelings watching Koi perform so expertly at something she obviously enjoys so much. Next year this time, she'll have moved on and forgotten and forsaken us! (Oh, they say they'll write and visit, but, it's never the same. Every year our hearts get ripped out and trampled on...But, I digress!) She did well and there were some real gems in the show. (No programs! Wassup wid dat?!) The soloist who performed Gravity was stunning! Chance of Rain was very good! Nice to see so many tappers in one segment! (Koi, you good+goofy li'l hoofer, you!o) But, one question kept running through my mind: why aren't all these boys on stage showing up for CCDC partnering class? I could tailor a class for the guys to learn show-choir lifts safely if you want. (Koi, remind me to show you the boy's hand position on the one-hand drop again.) There's my standing offer for any show-choir group in the capital city. Waddya say, 2K2M? Thief of Hearts? Countess Bacall? Princess Anime? Koi? Hermione Caymanson? And any other CCDC dancer involved in local show choirs! Let's get those guys to put their toes in the dance water! C'mon in, boyz! More good-lookin' girls than in all your adolescent dreams! Take the plunge, gentlemen! The water's fine!

03.08.2011: Mom's Message

Yet another satisfied customer! A parent sends in this feedback regarding CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
"...thank you for a wonderful dance experience for (my dancer) this year. She is growing so much in her self awareness and in her love of dance. THANK YOU, JILL, for your gentle spirit and role modeling...."
...BUT...still NO new unsolicited or even solicited testimonials about MY "gentle spirit and role modeling"! (Sniff! No, no...I'll be all right! *Sob* Sniffle...Waaah!)

03.06.2011: Money4daMuse

Happy Mon(ey)day, Artists! Take note of the following
Major Grants, Roster Deadlines April 1

The State Arts Council is reminding artists, individuals, schools and organizations that the deadline to submit applications for its Major Grants program and the teaching and performing artist rosters is April 1, 2011.

Applications for Major Grant projects occurring in Fiscal Year 2012 (July 1, 2011-July 31, 2012) must be received by 4:30 p.m., Friday, April 1, 2011, in the IAC office.

Major Grants deliver the arts through a range of programs and educational outreach. Applicants may request up to $10,000 in funding, which they must match dollar for dollar.

Major Grants are available in the following five categories:

  • Artist Major Grants - Artist-initiated projects that advance artists' artistic work and career
  • Arts in Education Major Grants - Education projects that create new programs, new partnerships, and expand and/or enhance existing programs in Iowa schools and communities
  • Folk & Traditional Arts Major Grants - Projects that promote living cultural traditions
  • Organization Major Grants - A wide variety of arts-related projects and programs that engage communities and/or audiences.
  • Public Art Major Grants - High quality public art projects.

Teaching & Performing Artists Rosters

Applications and all supporting materials must be received in the IAC office by 4:30 p.m., Friday, April 1, 2011.

Individuals and groups on the performing or teaching artists rosters are excellent and experienced artists available to communities, schools and other venues. Applicants for IAC grants often look first to these rosters when seeking artists.

Applicants to IAC's EZ 1-2-3 grant program are required to work with IAC's rostered artists. EZ 1-2-3 grants support short-term experiences with artists in schools and communities.

Click here for more information.

03.04.2011: Be Steel, My Bleeting Hart!

The best of latest tweets=bleetz!o):
  • Everyone's doing Alice, even the Scottish Ballet according to the Ballet News. It includes a make-up tutorial (but, it doesn't include tips on "ballet lines"!) And, even more from Dance Mag
  • Here's more on that other Alice from the New York Times and from The Independent.
  • Also from Ballet News, a student recovers from injuries and gets her first professional contract.
  • A NYCB Principal talks about dancing Balanchine during a photo shoot from DanceMedia.Com
  • Another dancer blogs about the long, slow recovery from injury at Blogspot.Com
  • You should bookmark Dance212 and keep up with weekly video posts. Like this one featuring scenes from inside SAB and Suki Schorer's variations class. Watch how they spot front on the diaganol, but, *don't* do the classic Balanchine retirre'.

03.03.2011: Free Film

Price is right! (If you're not taking CCDC dance class, that is!):
Thursday, 7pm Bulldog Theater, Drake University. Free

Join us for this 2006 Oscar nominee for best Foreign Language film sponsored by Drake Center for Global Citizenship:

"Paradise Now", Arabic & English (Israel, Netherlands) 2004. Said (Kais Nashef) and Khaled (Ali Suliman), best friends from childhood, belong to a terrorist cell in Nablus on the West Bank that is about to undertake its first suicide mission in two years. The film was directed by Hany Abu-Assad, an Israeli-born Palestinian, from a screenplay he wrote with Bero Beyer, the film's Dutch producer, follows them over the two days leading up to the climactic deed. The New York Times writes, ""Paradise Now" sustains a mood of breathless suspense. Politics aside, the movie is a superior thriller whose shrewdly inserted plot twists and emotional wrinkles are calculated to put your heart in your throat and keep it there." Facilitated by Drake Digital Media Specialist Aaron Jaco.

03.03.2011: DWT***

Happy Japanese Girls Day! Okay, I'm a little late to the DWT*** XII party! I think I was teaching a pointe class when the cast announcement was made. But, fortunately, you can find almost anything on the web now! In case you missed it too, here's the link for the new stars line-up! Surprised to learn Hines Ward is part-Korean! But, sight unseen and based on nothing but a hunch: I say watch out for Pop Singer/Rapper and the Disney Channel Star! And, as usual, look for the super-models to be the first out the door. And, Hefz Ex will lurch in the stilletto tracks of other Playboy Playmates. Also, something tells me Kirstie Alley will be "a hot mess". I hope not, but, sometimes the first to be eliminated can be painful to watch. (That's what fast-forward button's for!o) When was that first two hour live show? Monday, March 21st? Get it in the DVR!

03.02.2011: Gotcher Back Atcha!

Here's the politically correct version of my reply to Lilac Fairy I:
"...Great to hear from you! Also, great to hear you're back dancing! Merde for your performances! YouTube possible? Still regret that you missed your Senior year dancing!

Sitting here in the CCDC office on our dial-up connection. We're supposed to have Wi-Fi now provided by the landlord, but, it's iffy and spotty, so we'll see if this gets through to you. I'm listening to The Sleeping Beauty music in my headphones. Later today, I'll go over Bluebird Pas and set Bluebird variation...

Interesting to hear your former fellow students are all dancing professionally with small companies in Japan. But, if I remember correctly, Japanese professional companies are not like U-S companies. Japanese companies are almost all affiliated with schools and the pay comes from tickets they're required to sell or classes they teach. Correct me if I'm wrong. I actually investigated going to Japan from Hawaii because I figured that I could compete better against Asian bodies than Caucasian or Negroid bodies. But, unless you have a name or reputation already established, I found it was difficult to break into the Japanese hierarchy in such a structured society. Has that changed?

I remember when I was in Tokyo and taking class, how much the insular favoritism astounded me! (That and being able to buy Pocari Sweat drink from vending machines after class! Later I saw the Sweat actually mentioned in a William Gibson novel!) But, the teacher didn't like the fact that I could come in and show up her favorite male dancer-student. You know me! We had a few run-ins that teacher and I! (Forget her name.) I knew just enough Japanese to get in trouble, but, I had strange status because I was "gaijin Nihonjin" but could dance so well. Well, good enough to make some people notice the stranger anyway!

Remember (Gil Fothermike)? Ever run into him? I hear he's living and choreographing in Japan with his Japanese wife. I think his wife and his resume (ABT, Milwaukee Ballet) were enough to get his foot in the door...

Also, an old teacher of mine from Honolulu ended up in Tokyo with his Japanese citizen wife. James McCuen? Apparently, started a school and guested a few places. This was a long time ago, but, have you ever heard of him or his school?

Stay in touch! Merde4Perfz!
Piece out!..."

03.01.2011: Messagez From 'Da Edgez

Whee! Get upd8z! Here's an e-mail from across the international dateline, from the original CCDC Lilac Fairy:
"...I have been continuing to take classes with my old ballet teacher and she has asked me to be in the spring performance. I will be taking part in the waltz of the flowers (never thought I would dance that again!) and will be performing the Esmeralda variation. It was tough at first getting back into the swing of things and starting pointe work again but it's almost like riding a bike. Your body never really forgets how ballet is supposed to work. It's just a matter of muscles readjusting again, which took a great deal of time. I have also had lots of opportunities to go see wonderful dance performances. My friends that I used to take class with when I was little, have all gone onto become professionals in smaller Japanese companies. Just last week I watched a collection of Balanchine works and it was really great!

Japan has been getting incredibly warm and some of the flowers are starting to bloom. A complete change from (back home) weather in February. I have my final research presentation for school next week, so I have been working around the terrible internet connection in order to get my power point slides completed. I will be extremely relieved when it is all over.

I heard that CCDC will be performing The Sleeping Beauty once again! I'm sad to say that I will have to miss it, but I wish merde to all of the dancers!

(the original Lilac Fairy)..."

02.28.2011: The Way She Were

What were you doing when you were 15? This is what Oscar winner Natalie Portman was doing at a summer theater camp. Guess that means I should go see the film now! But, have you noticed how the movie's title has already crept into the popular lexicon? People are tweeting and blogging about how someone needs to be "more Black Swan than White"! Guess that means "more aggressive" and "to the pointe"! So, now, I say to all you CCDC students: how about practicing a little more "black swan" in ballet class today, as well as your usual too-often-bland blanc? (Without going to the pointe of hallucinations and mental disorders! ...what you say? Too late? Bells? What bells?)

02.25.2011: Be Steal, My Bleeting Hart!

The best of latest tweets=bleetz!o):

02.24.2011: Read A BOOK!

When you're not dancing, you should be stretching. And, while you're stretching, you might as well expand your mind and read something. Here's some info on an author all you Team Edward and Team Jacob fans might consider meeting (if all y'all don't have dance class at the same time!o):
"...Author of the New York Times bestseller Black Magic Sanction, Kim Harrison will stop by the East Side Library at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, March 1 on tour for her newest book, Pale Demon. It is the story of what happens when an elf, pixie, a living vampire, and a witch who dabbles in black magic are forced to travel 2300 miles cross-country (in three days or less), jammed into an ’89 Buick.

Harrison is one of the leading voices in urban fantasy with more than 2.5 million copies currently in print, including her bestselling Hollows novels. Fantasy readers may be more familiar with Harrison’s writings under the pen name of Dawn Cook, where she is known for her Decoy Princess and Truth series, published in the first few years of the 21st century. As Kim Harrison, she is best known for her Rachel Morgan urban fantasy series set in an alternate history where a worldwide pandemic caused by genetically modified tomatoes led to the death of a large portion of the world's human population. In 2008, Harrison was described by HarperCollins Voyager Publishing Director Jane Johnson as the best example of the urban fantasy sub-genre which she described as, "the supernatural erupting into the everyday—tongue-in-cheek, post-modern.”

Kim Harrison was born and raised in the upper Midwest. After gaining a Bachelor degree in the sciences, she moved to South Carolina, where she remained until recently moving back to Michigan because she missed the snow. She is currently developing a young adult series between working on the Hollows books and a Hollows-based graphic novel. Harrison is a member of both the Romance Writers of America and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. When not at her desk, she is most likely to be found landscaping her new/old Victorian home, or scouring antique shops to fill it.

According to her blog, Kim was, “the only girl in a large family of boys and invented the first Brigadier General Barbie in self-defense.” She notes that she “shoots a very bad game of pool and rolls a very good game of dice.” When not at her keyboard, she enjoys lounging on the couch with a bowl of popcorn watching action movies with The-Guy-In-The-Leather-Jacket. She plays her Ashiko drum when no one is listening, and is hard to find when the moon is new.

Beaverdale Books will have copies available for sale and signing following this event..."

02.23.2011: Big Deal, Odile!

Some non-dancing friends asked me recently if I'd seen Black Swan yet, and, I had to admit that I hadn't. I told them that I was a little leery of watching a purported "ballet movie" that featured an actress instead of a real dancer, no matter how many "weeks" or "months" they've trained! (My teacher insisted he could take a non-dancer and get them ready to audition in just three years and I've seen him do it. But, that's IF they take two classes a day, six days a week, for three years. Most times figure on ten years to get close to a professional level of ballet.) That's when one co-worker piped up, "Well, I'm no expert, but, I thought the dancing was excellent!" But, aye, there's the rub, I AM an expert on ballet and it's hard to find that "suspension of disbelief" when a heel leads or the muscles are wrongly shaped or a foot is sickled. And, I suppose military veterans feel Hollywood gets war movies wrong. I guess that doctors think Grey's Anatomy is totally unrealistic. I think even aliens would dismiss "E.T." as too phony! But, I tell my students, the more you train, the more you discern. Your threshold for garbage goes way down, but, your appreciation of true artistry skyrockets. So, don't fear becoming a gourmand for good dancing or an expert on ballet execution! Child please, Julia! It's well worth it!

02.22.2011: Performance Tip

Another chance to hear those "voices of angels":
IA Youth Chorus presents “Synergy” – a collaboration with the DMACC Chamber Ensemble.

syn-er-gy: combined effort being greater than the parts

Date: Feb. 27, 2011
Time: 4 pm
Location: Temple for the Performing Arts, 1011 Locust, 4th Floor Grand Hall
Admission: General admission - $5 ages 3 and up, under 3 free

IYC’s Concert Choir, Chorale and Youth Chorale together with DMACC’s Chamber Ensemble will perform “Come Travel with Me”, a collection of pieces from all parts of the globe. Works will include international folk songs as well as classical pieces by César Franck, Orlando di Lasso and Randall Stroope.

02.21.2011: "I" Of The Camera

"Expose" yourself to a film record of the times.
"...Art Center Exhibition Captures Candid Moments

(February 2011) – In a continuing effort to expand awareness of its permanent collection, The Art Center will open an exhibition on March 4 entitled Off Guard: Street Photography from the Permanent Collection, which runs through May 22, 2011 in the Blank One Gallery.

Off Guard highlights street photography of the 20th century generously donated to the Art Center by Jeff Perry. Street photography concentrates on ordinary people caught in candid yet decisive moments, and provides a compelling visual record of contemporary social life in the United States. Artists include Harry Callahan, Larry Fink and Gary Winogrand.

Off Guard is organized by Gilbert Vicario, senior curator..."

02.18.2011: Performance Tip!

Kudoz to CCDC Guest Faculty Kathleen Hurley! And, put this in your weekend calendar...
"...See Hurley & Dancers' performance in two upcoming performances! Artistic Director Kathleen Hurley will be honored with a choreography award and the company will perform at Iowa Dance Theatre's "Pink Carpet Affair" this Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Temple for the Performing Arts, 4-6 p.m. Tickets are $30 through Iowa Dance Theatre, (515) 979-6622 or visit

Also! Kathleen Hurley and Lana Lyddon Hatten will perform a duet in Co' Motion Dance Theater's production of "Falling", a modern dance concert, at Ames City Auditorium on February 25 and 26 at 8 pm. Dancers describe the world with their bodies; their movements evoke feelings. For this concert of dances, they have been asked to consider the many ways in which the word “falling” is used, physically, socially and emotionally, and form dances from those meanings. Suitable for the entire family, tickets are affordably priced at $15, $10 for students and seniors, and will be available at the door. Family tickets (2 adults and any number of children) are available for $35..."

02.17.2011: Dancer Vs Cancer

Take two dance classes and call me in the morning!
"...“Whether you’re undergoing treatment or trying to avoid developing cancer, exercise makes your body stronger,” said Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D. “By choosing a fun workout, like dance classes, it’s easier to get the 30 minutes of daily exercise you need to maintain a healthy weight, which may reduce your chances for some types of cancer..."
...more info here.

02.16.2011: Guise of Truth

Mama Neulenfurter sends in this contribution:
"...Thought you might find this article interesting...""
...and, the article does offer food for thought. Once you can do the steps, you have to imbue them with meaning and motivation. It's a lot to ask a young dancer to train in the most physically demanding performance art...and, then, become a convincing actor as well. Become good at TWO performing arts! (Never mind the musical artistry demanded of world-class ballet dancers!) But, I think the author's demand for "more virility" in male dancers is because so many are raised surrounded by women. And, I've seen guys who subconsciously start imitating their female teachers and female students too much. "Dance like a man!" I always demand of my male students. "Women can dance on the tips of their toes, but, men RULE the air! With masculine strength and feral grace! DANCE LIKE A KING TODAY!"

02.15.2011: My Cherry Amor

Seems like I've posted something about this earlier, but, this e-mailed tip bears repeating:
"...In other news, those who exercise regularly will be interested in a report coming out of London. Researchers there have found that juice made from Montmorency cherries appears to boost muscle strength recovery after intensive exercise..."
...More info on that here. Now, who chopped down that cherry tree, George?

02.14.2011: Cross Training

I emailed this update to the CCDC Alumni recently:
"...I got a late-Christmas workout DVD on back-order finally! And, this thing KICKED my apparently flabby butt! I feel like a University of Iowa football player waking up in the hospital! My calves were killing me afterwards! It's not exactly what I wanted, but, apparently what I needed! I was looking for a good interval training work-out. "Interval" is the new buzzword in cross-training. Alternates high-intensity with medium-and-low intensity exercises. Supposed to "torch fat", boost metabolism and maximize cardio benefits. But, the DVD I got was copyright 1990! WHAT! They didn't even know about "interval training" back then! So, all I got was that old Israeli dude on the beach in Hawai'i doing a conventional high-intensity work-out. I didn't have the time to finish it before I had to teach Ballet VI. Good thing I didn't, because I've been suffering since! How old am I!..."

02.10.2011: Jose', Can U C?

Got this sent to me from Men's Health Magazine recently. (It sorta verifies what I read in Linus Pauling's book. When people ask me why I bother to supplement my daily diet with ascorbic acid, I tell them I'd rather listen to a Nobel Prize winner's advice than theirs!):
"...Did You Know? Take 500 mg of Vitamin C every day and you'll burn 39 percent more fat when you work out. And pop the pill in the morning with 17 ounces of water—and you'll boost your metabolism 25 percent for 90 minutes!..."
...and, just anectodotally, I'll tell you that I've gotten fewer colds since I started popping Vitamin C. (Not helping with this current bout of icky sickness, tho!o() Reminds me of that old joke: What did the puma do when the handsome young supplement salesman showed up on her doorstep? Why, vitamin, of course! (Thanks to the walking urban dictionary for the definition of "puma"! Helps my street cred!o)

02.09.2011: What's In A Name?

One of our frequent contributors complained the other day that she couldn't quite figure out the true identities for everyone we mention in this "dance-tastic" ballet blog. So, I had to give her a few hints on how to figure out just who's who in the CCDC "News 'n' Notez". (And, we do this deliberately to stay off the grid. If anyone searches specifically for your proper name, it won't show up here. Can't be too safe on the "wild, wild web"!) So, here we go again: Vague obscure pop culture, dance, geographical references, puns and/or paraphrases are my stock in trade for assigning Nick namez. (If your name is Brandy, I'm gonna call you Looking Glass or Glass Girl! If your name is Leila, I'm gonna call you Erica, Clapton! If you travel long distances to take class with us, you're The Mad Traveler!) And, one name can lead to another as well! Stradivarius, for example, is my pet name for one talented dancer. That shortened to Strad, and, of course, we had to play off of the infamous Vlad the Impaler of legend and now call her Strad the Impaler (because she "kills me" when she doesn't get a combination or work up to her potential!o) Speaking of not getting combinations, Honorary Blonde knows who she is! (No offense to fair-haired dancers everywhere!) Yes, she gets more than one nickname, just to confuse her many! She's not the only one: Mmmadd Skyllz is also Flo Ridah on occasion. (And, there's a reason it's spelled that way! She's also Princess Florina from now on!) And, a lot of casting decisions often result in permanent nicknames: Giselle was born to play that role, Effie is better known as Thai Dyer, Don Q was cast in that ballet and Princess Aurora I was the first to dance the lead in that CCDC production. And, now, 2K2M will also get the designation: Princess Aurora III. (There's another dancer who was also called Sleeping Beauty II, but, it had more to do with her ability to sleep a hundred years at a stretch than her casting!o) Long live, Princess Aurora III! All hail, The Sleeping Beauty!
...And, now, the pop quiz! Who does this refer to and why?:
"...(Kalm Wind) has been accepted to all the places she auditioned for:
  • Milwaukee 6 week program
  • Atlanta 5 week program
  • Boston Ballet 5 week program
  • Kirov 3 or 6 week program.
...Thanks for your help..."

02.08.2011: Audition Action

Hey, thespianz! If you've been bitten by that acting bug, here's some scratch for that itch:
Tallgrass Theatre Company Audition Notice

The Shadow Box
By Michael Cristofer
Directed by Daryl Vitali

Winner of the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize, centers around three terminal cancer patients dwelling in separate cottages on a hospital’s grounds. The work interweaves the lives of the three dramatically different patients and their loved ones to give a dynamic, well-rounded perspective of death and dying.

February 21 and 22
7:00 p.m.
Arrive early to complete information sheet. Prepared monologues not required.

Cast Requirements

  • Men: One, age 16-21; Three, age 25+
  • Women: Three, age 25+; One, age 50+
  • One character, no gender/age requirement

Rex Mathes Auditorium 1401 Vine Street

Performances to be held April 22 – May 7

More information available at

02.07.2011: Messagez From 'Da Edgez

She LIVEZ! AND! Better yet! She WRITEZ! Thai Dyer chex in from the school lovingly known as Party Hearty U!o):
"...I'm so excited for The Sleeping Beauty. It looks like a great cast, everyone will be great in their roles! I can't wait to come back and watch it, get the audience perspective!

Second semester's going good so far. I just got done with dance marathon, a 24 hour dance party for kids with cancer at the UI hospital. It was probably one of the best experiences I have ever had, very inspirational. I will definitely be doing it again in the future.

A couple of weeks ago there was an audition for second semester dance projects/shows. I got into two. One is a grad students MFA independent project. There are five of us in it and he's doing a dance/film project. It should be interesting to see how it turns out. It will be a different process to learn movement and then have him film it...The second thing I got into is a choreography 4 piece. We are not going to start rehearsals until mid-semster so I don't know very much about it yet, but it's a trio and most likely will be modern based. I don't know if that will be in a performance or if its just for her class, but I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Tell everyone hi for me, I miss you all!..."

02.04.2011: Grand Prix!

The Super Bowl of Youth Ballet Competitions will be this Sunday!
"...Reminder, the Finals of the Prix de Lausanne 2011 will be broadcast live in high quality on our website on Sunday 6th February starting at 3pm CET.

IPad, iPhone and iPod touch owners will also be able to watch the Finals directly on their devices by downloading the free Prix de Lausanne application..."

02.04.2011: New Head Honcho

Up close and personal with the new Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs:
DCA Welcomes New Director Who Lives the Arts

Before joining the Department of Cultural Affairs as director, Mary Cownie worked in the Office of Presidential Advance at the White House under President George W. Bush, then returned to the state in 2007 to become communications director for the Republican Party and a community relations specialist for Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. Cownie was born and raised in Des Moines. She is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What influenced your decision to move back to the state?

A state where the quality of life is one-of-a-kind and the opportunities for young professionals are endless!

What inspires you most about the state?

The people. We have the most giving, kind people and anyone you talk to outside of Iowa will be sure to point that out.

What are you looking forward to most in your new position?

Getting to know everyone in the department and learning about all of the incredible things we do statewide.

Who's your favorite local artist?

Mauricio Lasansky...I know not a native, but he’s been here long enough to be!

What did you do last Friday night?

We went over to a friend’s house for dinner.

If you didn't live in here - where would you live and why?

Washington, DC - love the history and the fast pace!

02.03.2011: Hamer Hitz Homerz, Part Uno!o)

I never saw a review in the paper, so, I bugged a wildly popular and extremely busy Modern/Contemporary/Jazz/Pilates instructor here at CCDC to jot down her impressions. And, as usual, AH "under-promises and over-delivers"!:
The Civic Center has finally caught on to what its audiences want to see: large professional dance companies coming to the Capital City metro area. Thanks to this new revelation, the dance lovers in the state have the privilege of seeing three professional companies this year on the main stage. The opening of the new Dance Series started off with a bang when Pilobolus came to the city on January 26th.

Started by four men at Dartmouth College in 1971 who had no formal dance training, Pilobolus is celebrating its 40th year and is a world-renowned company. They are known for their organic movement style and partnering capabilities. Seeing their work in person was a great honor. Without letting this review get too lengthy, their work is nothing short of amazing. The choreographic process involves all dancers, not just one. Each piece is a collaboration between all company members. They performed six pieces which included new works that were premiered in 2009 all the way back to an original company work from 1971. Each piece had its own unique flair which brought variety to the show, but they also had a cohesiveness in their precision and execution. I loved every minute of the show. My favorite piece is Redline (2009). It was all about pushing the envelope and seeing how far and how fast can the company go. Pirated YouTube video here. I also attended the pre-show talk with the rehearsal director (Andrew Herro) and the post-show talk with the dancers. It was amazing to get an inside view of the company and how they work. I was shocked to hear that they had over 450 people at their last audition for only 2 open positions. Talk about needing to take extra dance and Pilates classes for even a glimmer of hope at that chance! The Civic Center continuing education director was there and said they had a tremendous turnout (no pun intended) for the inaugural season of the Dance Series. Hopefully this is something we can look forward to in the future.

The final two performances in the Dance Series will be the Martha Graham Dance Company on March 5th and James Sewell Ballet on April 28th. The dance community can best voice its desire for more professional dance in the Capital City by attending these shows. If you haven't gotten tickets yet for the next two shows, its not too late!

02.03.2011: Hamer Hitz Homerz, Part de Deux

An insider's insights:
A snowy day's view from the inside of another successful Hurley & Dancers production:

Having two snow days in a row has given me a chance to get caught up on all of that which I have been neglecting, including a raving review per request by the Wise Man at CCDC. Hurley & Dancers started off 2011 with a wildly popular show entitled "Once in a Blues Moon" that was graciously supported by the Fine Arts Series at St. John's Lutheran Church. This show provided the Hurley & Dancers a unique opportunity to work with live jazz music provided by Asphalt and Stained Glass. The process of putting together a show with live music always provides new challenges. Will the tempo be what we had rehearsed? Will it sound the same? What happens if they play a note or chord wrong or skip a verse? Fortunately the show had very few technical and musical glitches, none of which were even detected by anyone who had not been involved in the rehearsal process of the show.

The dancing itself provided a lot of variety. There were solos, duets, and group pieces of all tempos and themes. I was fortunate enough to be included in four pieces, including a solo, trio, group choreographed piece and (brace yourself my modern students...) a group structured improvisational piece. Each piece was an amazing opportunity. My solo was an adagio (GASP!) set to "My Funny Valentine." I loved dancing it. I really worked on stretching through all the lines, keeping in my head the corrections I get from ballet class. The trio was a beautiful work set to "Georgia on my Mind." The music was slow but much of the movement was fast, creating an interesting juxtaposition.

The group improvisation was one of my favorites. The audience was invited to write down verbs ending in -ing on pieces of paper and we scattered them on the stage. At certain moments in the dance, the group would stop and pick up the piece of paper closest to them and have to improv to that word. Talk about having to think on the spot! I love the spontaneity of the moments like that. The large group piece I participated in was a quirky dance with some wooden kitchen chairs choreographed by Lisa Lewis. Since (Artistic director and principal choreographer) Kathleen and I have similar movement vocabularies and styles, it was awesome to stretch outside of my box and move in a way that was unfamiliar to me.

The performance was a huge success. Although our venue was not very big, there was standing room only about 10 minutes before the show started. The audience was extremely receptive and had great compliments. Special thanks to Eli Gunsho and Clubby Bon Victoria for attending!

02.02.2011: Kudoz2Doze CCDC Dancerz!

Congrats to The Sleeping Beauty III! Not only the lead in this spring's CCDC ballet, but, also accepted to the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive. And! Placed in the highest pre-professional level! ...And, congratulations to Princess (What Time is it?) Casio! Not only selected as one of the fine, furry, feline understudies and first-time full corps de ballet member, but accepted to the Atlanta Ballet Summer Intensive as well! More to come for all, I'm sure!o)

02.02.2011: Be Steal, My Bleeting Hart!

The best of latest tweets=bleetz!o):

02.01.2011: Grand Prix

Update from one of the pre-eminent ballet competitions in the world:
Prix de Lausanne 2011 - Interlude
Sunday, February 6

During the jury deliberations, the audience can watch a short performance by former prizewinners and dancers from our Partner institutions.

This year the Prix de Lausanne is honoured to welcome dancers from two Partner Schools and Principals from two Partner Companies.
Hamburg Ballett – John Neumeier

Born in Latvia in 1983, Anna Laudere studied Ballet at the Riga Ballet School, then with The School of The Hamburg Ballet. She was engaged to The Hamburg Ballet in 2001 and promoted to Soloist in 2008.

Born in Ukraine in 1983, Edvin Revazov studied Ballet in Moscow then with The School of The Hamburg Ballet. He was engaged to The Hamburg Ballet in 2003, promoted to Soloist in 2007 and Principal in 2010.

Choreography: John Neumeier
Composer: Gustave Mahler
Steven McRae, Royal Ballet, London

Steven was born in Sydney. He won a scholarship at the Prix de Lausanne in 2003. He trained at The Royal Ballet School (2003–2004), joined The Royal Ballet in 2004, was promoted to Soloist in 2006, First Soloist in 2008 and Principal in 2009.

Les Lutins
Choreography: Johan Kobborg
Composer: Henryk Wieniawski

Something Different
Choreography: Steven McRae
Composer: Louis Prima
John Cranko Schule, Stuttgart

The John Cranko School, named after its founder in 1974, was officially opened on December 1st, 1971. Since 1999, the John Cranko School, affiliated to the Stuttgart Ballet, has been under the direction of Tadeusz Matacz and is one of the most renowned ballet schools in the world. The John Cranko Ballet School has been a Partner School of the Prix de Lausanne since 1992.

Choreography: Louis Stiens
Composer: Tori Amos
Dancer: Robert Robinson

Solo du 1er acte de La Bayadère"
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Composer: Leon Minkus
Dancer: Takahiro Tamagawa

Porto que sinto
Choreography: Catarina Antunes Moreira
Music title: Porto Santo
Composer: Carlos Paredes
Dancers: Gustavo Echevarria, Theophilus Vesely
Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower

Since its creation in 1961 the Ecole Superieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower has become one of the world's premier professional dance schools in terms of classical ballet, contemporary dance and Jazz training. Paola Cantalupo has been the Artistic Director and Director of Education since 2009. ESDC has been a Partner School of the Prix de Lausanne since 1973. Opus 40
Choreography: Jean-Christophe Maillot (Prix de Lausanne Prize winner in 1977) Composer: Meredith Monk
Music title: Volcano
Voices: Meredith Monk & Katie Geissinger
Dancers: Giulia Vennari, Toshikata Nakamura, Ruben Julliard, Tatsuki Takada (Prix de Lausanne Prize winner in 2009)

01.31.2011: Yugo, We Go, TanGo!

Tired of the old "meat market"? You could go learn the tango at the "Meet Market"!
(January 2011) – On Friday, February 11 (5 – 8 pm), as part of the Art Center’s new quarterly Friday night event, Meet Market, learn the art of Argentine Tango. Dance instructor Valerie Williams and her dance troupe extraordinaire will be performing the Tango and giving group lessons throughout the evening (you do not need a partner for the lessons). Williams will demystify this dance by providing 15-minute lessons. The Argentine Tango is a rich and complex improvisational dance that can improve balance, focus, and sensitivity. Hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available. A sparkling wine sampling will be provided by WineStyles of West Glen. The Museum Shop will be open for your shopping pleasure – it’s the perfect place to pick up that special Valentine’s Day gift. Start your weekend off right. Meet with friends; meet new friends. Admission $10; members $5. Also, enjoy the exhibitions on view in the galleries: Anselm Reyle, 1911, and Henry Ossawa Tanner and his Contemporaries. ..."

01.30.2011: Kudoz2Doz CCDC Dancerz!

Congrats to Mmmadd Skyllz for being accepted to the wait list for SAB! Likewise, big pat on de back to Panic Attack and Kalm Wind for acceptance to Boston Ballet Summer Intensive!

01.28.2011: Messages From The Edges!

She LIVEZ! And, even better! SAurorah II WRITEZ!o)8:
"...Hi Missy and Emery (and everyone who reads the website),

I've officially started school again, and things are going great. I'm now a declared anthropology major and am taking a class on research methods that requires me to interview someone 7 times and then write a 30 page paper on their microculture. I'm hopefully going to convince someone from the professional wrestling community to talk to me, which is going to be fascinating beyond belief. I'm also taking classes on Native Americans, primates, and computer science (for my statistics minor). As for dancing... Tonight I have my first breakdance class of the semester, so I'm excited for that, but I'm going to be in worlds of pain tomorrow - breakdancing uses decidedly different muscles from ballet. I also have a professional gig for which the performance is in April. The show is called Kinetic Kitchen, and it's something that happens every year. A bunch of choreographers are given 15 minutes to make dance(s) to, and then they put them together in several shows. Someone I know from Saint Paul City Ballet asked me to be in her piece. I've only had 1 rehearsal so far, but it is some of the most fun dancing I've ever had. It's modern/contemporary, and we're wearing giant see-through blue ponchos from Niagara Falls. It looks really cool because you can see the silhouette of your body inside the great blue roominess of the poncho. It's going to be a very athletic piece and is set to music by Placebo, which is best described as heavy rock. Last rehearsal, she had us just play around in the ponchos to get ideas, which was outrageously entertaining. Finally I get to dance like an alien, which is actually quite natural for me. In addition to school and dance, I got a job tutoring math to K-12 kids at a local tutoring place called Mathnasium, which is pretty fun. I hear you're doing Sleeping Beauty again this year... the same parts we did before? Tell my Kitty successor to have fun with it and revel in the furry adorableness. But I've performed Lilac fairy, diamond fairy (sans solo variation), and Little Red Riding hood, so I'll be interested to see how things turn out. Hopefully I can make it to recital this year!

Miss you both,
(Sleepy Kewtie) ..."

01.27.2011:Insiderz Insightz

Even more dance videoz4youse to peruse:
"...Get ready for summer!

The hit reality web series is back for its fourth season.

Dance212, Summer Intensives gives you never-before-seen access into 5 of NYC's most exclusive programs.

Watch each daily episode and enter the trivia contest every Friday for your shot to win!

Arrive in style this summer with a Sizzlin' Summer Intensive Prize Pack - featuring products from Discount Dance Supply, Eurotard, Just for Kix, Prima Soft and Russian Pointe. Plus one year subscriptions to Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit and Pointe!.

Watch the season premiere now!..."

01.25.2011: Dancing In2 Duluth! Toodle-ooh!

Keeping in touch with how Katya W00tangz company keeps themselves in the public eye...and keeps the donations rolling in: a take-off on DWT***!

Northland celebrities pair with Minnesota Ballet company dancers in this for-fun competition that has the whole Twin Ports speculating and the audience voting for the winning couple. Celebs rehearse for weeks their dance style from kicky swing to Broadyway jazz to tap. And while the votes are counted, the Minnesota Ballet presents a lively mini performance..."

...And, here's how another professional company tries to introduce a new generation to our classical artform: (Hint: Stealth "edu-tainment"!o)
"...Milwaukee Ballet II Presents: Billy's Dancing Dairy Farm A Performance Specially Made To Bring To You
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Turn your school gym, library or community center into a theatre complete with special dance flooring, a sound system, costumes and the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II dancers with Billy's Dancing Dairy Farm!

The show takes place at the Dancing Cow Dairy Farm in Wisconsin where Billy, our main character, lives. His sister Bonnie is an accomplished dance student. When Billy sees her recital he can't get the music out of his head or the movement out of his body. Bonnie and her friends, Robin, Violet and Lulu, start to teach Billy about ballet. His interest is piqued and suddenly, he is seeing dance everywhere he goes, from the swans that fly overhead to the mice in the barn and the cats that chase them away. Billy's sports loving friends don't understand at first, but with Lulu's encouragement, Billy decides to start taking ballet class. When his friends see him doing some exciting tricks and dancing with Lulu, not only are they impressed, they come to his show and cheer him on!

This interactive show will focus on the athleticism of ballet and the important role boys play in the art form. It will also include an educational Study Guide (available January 24) featuring fun facts about Wisconsin dairy farms, real-life inspiration Company dancer Michael Linsmeier) and a section about the art of Schomer Lichtner whose work frequently featured cows and ballerinas inspired by Milwaukee Ballet dancers! Join us for any of our public peformances!..."

01.25.2011: Putting 'Us'+'USA' in 'Lausanne'!

Of interest to ballet dancers worldwide, the annual Prix de Lausanne competition begins next week, February 1-6. (Here's the Wikipedia entry.) Some of the very best of the world's young dancers, ages 15-to-18, meet in a classical competition in Switzerland. It's comparable to the prestigious Tchaikovsky or Van Cliburn Piano Compeititon for young musicians and singers. Here are some of the early entrants. Thanks to the web, there are ways to watch and be amazed! Check out their videos from last year, including a video montage from last year's competition. What a gift shared by ones so young and so talented! CCDC students! This is your future competition if you want to compete at a world-class level! And, that is what you should be aspiring to!o)

...And, hey! If you're going to be watching some of these videos next week anyway, might as well click here to learn how you could win some swag!
And, CNN did a fairly non-informative piece on dance injuries recently. Here's the link.

01.24.2011: Mo Kudoz2Doze Dancerz

Just got this in the old e-mailbag:
"...Hope, Rocky and Carmen were accepted to their first location of choice for ABT (which incidentally was Texas) and Rocky Balletboya received full tuition scholarship.

Thanks for helping them succeed!..."

...and merde to all CCDC dancers in their auditions for summer intensives this season! (Kirov was challenging, I hear!o) And, a special toi-toi to the Intermediate-Advanced Pre-Professional Division students in their auditions for the 2011 Spring Showcase tonight! And, here's a hint on what ballet we'll be performing this spring...oh, wait! If I told you now, someone would have to kill me!o) You laugh, but...ACK! Gurgle...

01.21.2011: Litany of Acceptance

Belated late kudoz also to Chelly, Wind, Ryder and other CCDC students for acceptances to 2011 Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensive. Just remember! If you don't tell me, I don't know if you've been accepted anywhere or not! But, also remember, tell me and you tell the world! (If we define the world as the few people who bother to read this ballet blog!o)

01.21.2011: MustCTV!o)

I'm thinking at least a regional Emmy for my latest dramatic portrayal on local television! True, it's not a dancing role, but, as I transition to more thespian-only roles, I believe I'm starting to reveal my (a-hem!) range. Now, do I nominate myself or do I depend on anonymous members of the academy?

01.20.2011: Gadgets Galore

When I was dancing full-time, I stopped weight-training and most of my cross-training because my main objective was to rest my body. But, since I'm not dancing full-time anymore, I'm a big proponent of "If you don't use it, you lose it!" So, here's an update on the work-out or physical therapy items Santa left along with all the coal in my stocking last month. Specifically, the Bosu and the rumble roller. Bosu apparently stands for "both sides utilized". I describe it as a Swiss ball cut in half and welded to a board. The purpose is to produce instability during exercise. Proponents claim it strengthens the stabilizing core muscles and improves balance. So, I tried the accompanying DVD workout. It wasn't too taxing compared to the Tom Holland DVD interval-weight training workout I use to supplement my daily ballet training. I did notice I apparently tweaked a muscle during the work-out on the Bosu during a misstep, but, it was nothing major. But, I missed the resistance training I've gotten used to in my old work-out! So, during my next session, I actually incorporated the Bosu into the Holland session. That actually seemed to increase the intensity a notch. My theory is that anything that strengthens the stabilizers will help my dancing...And, big thumbs up for the rumble roller! It's about the size of a small log with "bumps" all over it. The brochure shows ten procedures you can use to release muscular tension in different body parts. Some of the positions are a little awkward, but, I was surprised to find so much tenderness in pressure pointes in my calves! And, I find I love to work out the tension in my turn-out muscles. And, it feels great on the back! I just have to find the time to "rumble-roll" on a more consistent basis...I've also gotten a DVD version of the Yoga Workout For Athletes by Rodney Yee. He's the former ballet-dancer-turned-yoga-instructor who's appeared on Oprah. That's my go-to workout for cross-training in flexibility and when I'm too tired for aerobic interval training...Also, on order that hasn't been delivered yet, a new interval training DVD. When that comes in, I'll post a review. It's gotta be good to wean me off that Holland or Yee work-out!

01.20.2011: Kudoz2Doze Dancerz

More congrats in order for CCDC-trained dancerz today! Kudos to The Mad Traveler, Hope Charity, 2K2M, Princess Jadzmin and Carmen Neulenfurter for acceptances to Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensive! Congratulations! And, here's to many more!o)

01.19.2010: Middle Kingdom Motherz

One super-mom sends this along:
"...I thought you might find this interesting: I found this part interesting (and true):
What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it's math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more...."

01.18.2011: Audition Congratulation!

So, before this audition season, I told Rocky Balletboya the goal was not just to get accepted, but, to get a full-ride scholarship into a summer intensive. And, just the other day, we got this text from him:
"...This is (Rocky) and i got accepted into sab full scholarship plane and everything ..."
...And, for those of you not familiar with the hierarchy of summer intensives, School of American Ballet is widely regarded as the most prestigious. They don't just take any Tom, Dick or Hadrian. In fact, the ballet mistress of my company said, when she got a resume from a dancer that had SAB on it, it went into a seperate pile and guaranteed at least a "look-see", if not a real audition. And, only SAB graduates have a realistic chance to get into New York City Ballet. (Other than, usually, men from European state schools!) So, big congrats to Rocky Balletboya! He's only the second CCDC student in our young history to get into SAB! First with a scholarship, I believe! (Does this mean I get to call him SABoy II from now on?)

01.17.2011: Watch And Learn, Grasshopper!

A SYTYCD All Star demonstrates improv:

Two other SYTYCD alumni dance here:

Okay, one more called Turn Tips From Travis Wall(!):

01.14.2011: Money4Nuttin

Senior dancers! Planning on majoring in dance or other arts this fall? How about some scratch for the itch?
Arts Scholarship Applications Due Feb. 1 High school students planning to enter college next fall with a major in an arts discipline can apply for a 2011 State Scholarship for the Arts by Monday, Feb. 1, 2011.

The State Arts Council offers the scholarship annually to local students who will graduate from high school during the 2010-2011 academic year and have a proven artistic ability in dance, literature, music, theater, traditional arts or visual arts. The application is available at

Each recipient will receive $1,000 toward his or her 2011-2012 college tuition and related expenses as a full-time undergraduate at a fully accredited state college or university with a major in one or more of the disciplines considered for the award.

To be considered for the award, students must complete the scholarship application available at, write an essay about their future career goals in the arts, provide a work sample and include two letters of recommendation.

For more information and an application, visit

01.13.2011: Floodgates Fall4FAQ!

Ask and ye shall receive!
"...Here were some of my questions (and a few I get asked a bit by the "new mommies"):

  • How much do the recital costumes cost?
  • If my child takes a ballet/tap combination class then will they dance ballet or tap in the recital?
  • Do you offer a discount for more than one sibling enrolled in classes?
  • Do you train boys? Have a boys class?
  • Do you offer discount/scholarships for boys?
  • How much do the recital tickets cost? How many will I get for my child?
  • How do I know which level will be best to place my child?
  • How many dancers are in each class?
  • How do you handle moving dancers from one level to another?
  • Can I watch the ballet classes?
  • What style of classical ballet do you teach?
  • When do you place your dancers on pointe?
  • Can anyone take the summer intensive or do they have to be from your studio?
  • Have you had any dancers go professional?
  • Do all of your dancers have to be serious about ballet? Can they take classes for fun or fitness?

That should get you started........ :)..."

...Okay! Don't expect that FAQ to be up all at once! Or, even soon! I think I'll go through and post short answers and, then, expand on them when I have more time.

01.12.2011: Live2Dance

So, here are some random recollections from last week's new dance show from Paula Abdul: Live2Dance! (Remember, I DVR the shows whie I'm teaching and only have a chance to watch on the weak ends! These reviews will be up to a week or more late!o) Just personally I hope the couple from Smuin Ballet get in. Of course, I'm prejudiced for classically trained dancers and they fill the bill admirably: nice line, supple extensions, innovative lifts and choreography. I don't think the little girl and little boy should've been allowed to compete. Just generally, I believe competition at too young an age fosters too many bad habits and compromises an inexperienced dancer's development. And, besides, what are we rewarding here? Cuteness? Or good dancing? Like I tell my students all the time, "Y'all kewt! Don't get me wrong! But, how about putting some good dancing on top of that?!" Don't JUST b kewt!o)

01.12.2011: Tapperz Delite

She LIVEZ! AND! She WRITEZ!o) Update from the Princeton Princess Lindy Vander Emmen:
"...In true me fashion, I've barely had a free minute since I left home. My tap show was this past weekend, and I think it went very well. It was great being on stage for 8+ hours of rehearsal a day again! I am told the videos from the show will be viral soon. Once I hear word, I will forward on the links. Of the ones I feel I look technical enough in. Although, I was dressed as Toad from Mario for one of the pieces, so no big promises there. I kept both of your wise words in mind during rehearsals and performances and rolled with the punches, and throughout all the glitches a student-run show is bound to encounter. I never thought I could think higher of you, but I have even more respect for you guys in regards to the professionalism of the show. I had to help throw together costumes last minute, and I wished for the organization at the studio. Our costume a literal disaster. Speaking of shows, is there any news about this year? It's too soon to tell if I'll be able to be back for this year, but I am excited for you nonetheless. I hope things are well at the studio and all...."

01.11.2011: Early Success

Congratulations are due to all the CCDC dancers who laid it all on the line this weekend! But, special kudoz are in order to Souper Grrl! She was one of only four dancers offered an immediate scholarship at the summer intensive audition this weekend! Mmmadd Skyllz says she felt really comfortable at the audition, especially since we've been working Balanchine technique since the fall. But, both she, Shiny Anon and Princess (What Time Is It?) Casio mentioned being asked to perform a step typically reserved for men. So, guess what we'll be working on starting this week in CCDC Level VI? You guessed it! Advanced battu up the wazoo!

01.11.2011: Dance Tip

Support live performance art! AND! A certain modest modern dance and Pilates teacher who is wildly popular at CCDC:
"...“Once in a Blues Moon”
Live Music and Dance!
Saturday, January 15 @ 7 p.m.

Hurley & Dancers collaborates with St. John’s new garage band called “Asphalt & Stained Glass” for a performance of live music and dance on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. in the St. John’s multi-purpose room (turned into a performance stage with dance floor and lights!) at 600 6th Ave. Refreshments will be served during intermission. Admission is free and open to the public, and a free-will offering will be received.

But what do the eclectic band and the modern dance company have in common besides “&” in their names? They both like to color outside the lines and defy conventional categories. Asphalt & Stained Glass' playlists typically veer through jazz, folk rock, country rock, straight up rock ‘n roll, and standards from the “American Songbook” to Tin Pan Alley sing-a-long songs from 100 years ago.

Hurley & Dancers is famous for showing up at unusual venues such as ArtStop and Fringe Festivals around the country. Unexpected collaborations are another trademark of the dance troupe who have worked with acoustic blues guitar by Rob Lumbard, pianist Tamara Sanikidze, the Gay Men's Chorus, Westminster Fine Arts Series, St. John’s Oratoria Choir and more.

Dancers for “Once in a Blue Moon” are: Kathleen Hurley, Brigham Hoegh, Lisa Lewis, Lana Lyddon-Hatten, Lindsay Schwab, Carla Hughes-Olson and...

*****Alissa Hamer!!!*****

This event is sponsored and supported by donations from Friends of the Arts at St. John’s. For more information, click here...."


01.10.2010: Request4Qz?

One of my goals for this website this year (besides installing more spam-proofing measures!) is adding a "FAQ" or "Frequently Asked Questions" section. Here are a few potential questions offa da toppa da pointy part:
  • Do I have to wait for the beginning of the semester to enroll my child at CCDC?
  • Is participation in the annual CCDC recital optional or mandatory?
  • What is the CCDC dress code?
  • Are there specific brands or specific makers you recommend or mandate for dress code leotards or shoes?
  • Is CCDC a "competition school"?
  • How early can I start my child at CCDC?
  • Do you have adult beginner classes?
  • I'm an adult now, but, trained extensively when I was younger, what classes should I take at CCDC?
  • My child currently dances at another studio we're not happy with. Can I have my dancer try some classes at CCDC to see if it's a good fit?
  • We're moving to your area soon, why should we consider CCDC for our dancers?
  • While we're at it...what is the meaning of life? How do I know if it's true love? What is the secret to happiness? How do you turn lead into gold?
...Parents! Do you remember what questions you had before you decided to bring your student to Capital City Dance Center? Do you have friends who are wondering about CCDC? Submit those suggested questions here. And, mahalo nui loa!

01.06.2011: Be Steal, My Bleeting Hart!

The best of latest tweets=bleetz!o):

01.06.2011: Give Me The Wilis!

Coming soon to a theater near you!

01.06.2011: Sticking Pointe

Here's an infomercial about an alternative to Jet Glue to extend the life of your pointe shoes. No endorsement by CCDC expressed or implied.

01.05.2010: Ballet Homework

I don't just suggest you surf YouTube for ballet videos, I also do all (some!o) of the work and post them here! Here's some very creative, percussive contemporary ballet dancing and partnering:

...And, here's some awesome corps de ballet work! The principals ain't too shabby either:

...And, I tried posting this video before. Hopefully, it sticks this time:

...and, here's a glimpse inside a Russian pas de deux class:'s some slow-moh vid of ballet technique

01.04.2011: Christmas Presence

Okay! Santa was very generous to me this year: I got a BOSU (It's like half-a-Swiss-balance-ball-on-a-board), a body roller and some workout DVD's. (Some other fun stuff, too!o) The apparatus may eventually end up at CCDC for everyone to use, but, I'm going to start cross-training on the BOSU at home first. I want to see if it helps my balances in ballet class and core strength. But, if you CCDC dancers haven't started using what's already in Studio A, you should check it out. One's a foot roller that helps relieve tension and pressure points the bottom and instep of the foot. You can actually use it with ballet slippers or pointe shoes still on. I've also seen dancers use it on other parts of the body (that's what the body roller is designed for). There's also a foot stretcher/strengthener left in the studio. You can easily assemble one of these at home. In fact, the one in the studio was built for me by my former dancer-roommate back in Chicago. Get an old strong belt and a piece of a two-by-four. Cut the belt to fit and nail it to the board. You can pad the board with an old quilt if you like. Warm up the foot with foot-curls and flexes. Then, contract and stretch. You can't change your foot very much, but, you need to maximize what you've got to improve the presentation of your pedal extremities. And, I'll keep this blog updated on the new cross-training and therapy tools.

01.03.2011: Dance, Dance Resolution!

Not too late! Here's a suggestion for a dancer's New Year's Resolution: do something extra everyday to become a better dancer. If you just take class, that doesn't count. But, just showing up is the first step to becoming a better dancer. Can you do what Russian students do? (Remember, if you want to become a world-class dancer, Russians are your future competition!o) Students there say, "If you're not dancing, you should be stretching." Stretch while you're doing your homework, stretch while you're watching TV, stretch while you're updating FB, tweeting or texting!o) Also, don't let ballet class be the first time in your day you start to place or lift or stand like a dancer. Set an alarm on your watch or smart phone or ipod, stand like a dancer once an hour during the day. All that little effort accumulates over time. Make it a habit to stand like a dancer! And, if you're not writing down your corrections in a ballet notebook yet, you should start. And, while you're stretching and surfing the web this year, click on over to YouTube and search for ballet videos. The more you watch, the more good dancing you're exposed to, the higher you can aspire. Hau'oli makahiki ho'u! Shinnen omedetoo gozaimasu! Happy New Year!o)

All content copyright Capital City Dance Center