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12.31.2011: Bootleg BalletHappy 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 TipzBlogpost 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 SeasonI 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):
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:
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 FeedbackMore 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..."...and...
"...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!...Thanks for all the nice feedback! Got more? Click this!
12.20.2011: Ballet BlowbackHere 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..."...What did you think? Comments welcome!o)
12.19.2011: Future TweetzHere 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!
12.15.2011: Performance PointerzHere 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!”
12.14.2011: Private PresenceSo, 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 CustomsYou 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?"...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 CrusadeI 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
12.08.2011: Seeing Is BelievingIn case you aren't already Nutcrackered out:
Dancer IS athlete:
...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 GameSaw 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 DeuxMissing 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 DreamzHad every dancer's worst nightmare the other night. I dreamt I was in the ba...um...busy 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 PerformzCCDC-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:
12.01.2011: Tipz To Turn, Tina!Ran across a blog posting on how to improve your turns. Here's an excerpt:
11.30.2011: Prodigalz PerformancezHe 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!
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!
11.23.2011: Big AirMore 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 EdgeHonestly 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!
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 HomeFormer 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
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 & DatesClick 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 HappeningsGot 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
11.11.2011: Birds Of A FeatherAnother 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: ArtsVoteJuncture 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.
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 LifeCapital 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.
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 DoctorIf 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 ComesAre you a poor, starving artist? Here's a chance to get WICKED for less!o):
WICKED ANNOUNCES LOTTERY FOR $25 SEATS
11.03.2011: Silver Screen SatellitemsHere's the schedule of ballet broadcasts coming to the Wynnsong Johnston Cinemas:
The Sleeping Beauty (Bolshoi): Nov 20, Dec 6...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 DanceHere's another way you can tell you have a little dancer living with you...
"...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 SeriesHere's the announcement of the Civic Center 2012 Dance Series:
THE CIVIC CENTER’S DANCE SERIES RETURNS FOR SECOND SEASON OF WORLD-CLASS DANCE PERFORMANCES
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 PerformsMerde 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 OpportunitySet 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.
10.20.2011: Taylor MadeMark your calendars!o):
"...Hancher to present Paul Taylor Dance Company at West High Nov. 1
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....and here's their video of an exercise to help loosen up your ability to squat or plie'!
10.18.2011: Dancer Writez of DanceFinally 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?...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!
10.13.2011: Can Of SpamJust got an e-mail that could be our ticket outta here:
"...Greetings,...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 ConsultantSo, 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.
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!
TICKETS ON SALE FOR "BILLY ELLIOT" TODAY, OCT. 10 AT 9 A.M.
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."...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 DiscourseSo, 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 PotentialWas 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 TimezJust 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.
09.29.2011: Message In A eBottleShe 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!...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:
NEW DATES FOR BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL AT THE CIVIC CENTER
09.27.2011: Not-So-Blues TravelerJust 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 LoveFollowing 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 InterviewHere'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 PersonalContinuing 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:
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.'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
09.14.2011: Getting Paid4UrPassion!Reminder2mark ur calendarz4this weak end:
"..."No More Starving Artists III" Conference
09.13.2011: Audition ActionStumbled 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 TipThe 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
09.09.2011: Dancing After GraduationAlready 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.
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 TimeAn email update from Capital City Dance Center Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
"...Okay....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, FartherDancerz! 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....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 4As 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...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!..."...and...
"...(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 ActionSo, 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)
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 ActionHere are the specifics for this weekend's Nutty auditions:
08.24.2011: M&M Speak, Pt 3No, 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....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: Shucking4ShekelzLearning how to get paid for pursuing your passion:
"..."No More Starving Artists III" Conference
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 ActionHeading 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
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 super...er...internet thingie!o) Have you registered yet? Tell your friends! Better yet, post it on your FaceBook page!o)
08.17.2011: Parental InputJust 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.
08.12.2011: Go2VanGoghNever 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]
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 here...as 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!
08.09.2011: Blast From 'Da PastA 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!...um...make 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."
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!!!...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:...Welcomes, your!o)
08.03.2011: Listening2DaLevinez! Part IIOkay! 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 UseParents! 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.
(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.
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.
07.28.2011: Leaving The NestHere'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:
07.27.2011: Messaging MillenialsIt'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
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 ComingMerde to several CCDC dancers who will be participating in this performance at the end of the week:
...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!
07.25.2011: Peeks@ValliTickets 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
07.22.2011: Sleepy In SeattleYou 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:
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....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!...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~...(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 ComingThis 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:
07.15.2011: Listening2DaLevinez Part 1Contrary 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 TranslationHey, 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:
"...zip 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!
07.12.2011: Inside InsightsA 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!
07.11.2011: Summer2RememberKudoz 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!"...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:
"...zip 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 PossibilityThis 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....watch 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 IIHere'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 flair...in short, work with the teacher to get better!o)
07.01.2011: PR PleaThis 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:
06.30.2011: A Time To TurnA 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 LoveLooking for a summer dance movie to watch next month? How about...
"...Giselle in 3D...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 IntensiveMore from your "fly on the wall" during 2011 CCDC Summer Intensive Variations Classes:
"Surf the music! Let it propel your movements!"
06.27.2011: Sayonara Summer IntensiveHere’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 LevinesAs 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 IntensiveDid 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!”
06.22.2011:Insight From Inside the CCDC Summer IntensiveOkay! 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!"
06.21.2011: Changement in PlanzI 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”
06.16.2011: One MoreOkay! 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 dancer...no 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 FeedbackReaction 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 PheedbackThe 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!
"...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...
"...you are so good in many, many ways that make everyone smile!!! you are an amazing teacher!!!!..."
"...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:
06.08.2011: Performance TipzAnother 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: Advice4DancerzGreat 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.)
...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 FotozCCDC 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 ParisHere'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 ThursdayPrice 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).
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"
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 SummerHappy T.G.I.*D*.F!o) Some of your hides already lookin' a little too leathery!:
Is Sunscreen Enough on “Don’t Fry Day”?
05.26.2011: eMail uPdatezRecent 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-PilateseMessage 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.
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 ProeUpdate 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)!
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:
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 BlogzOkay! 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 PitfallsPeople 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
05.10.2011: Stirred, Not ShakenIf 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.
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:
05.06.2011: Support Live Local PerformancesPrice is right for starving dancers:
StageWest Theatre Company presents "KILLADELPHIA"
...and, Tallgrass Theatre Company has just released its line-up for the 2011-2012 Season:
05.05.2011: More on ElliotHere'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....(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!
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 DayEVERY 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!
04.29.2011: Virtual Danceware DiscountDiscount 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!
04.27.2011: Simon SaysIn case you missed the national auditions, another chance for "reality TV fame":
04.26.2011: Serial Dancing In Cap CitySupport good dance or there will be no good dance to support:
THE DANCE SERIES...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:...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:
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 that...as 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
04.21.2011: Shadow PlayPerformance tip. Starts this weekend:
The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer
04.20.2011: Audition ActionEMail 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
04.13.2011: Summer ThreatSome 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.
...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: MustCTVFirst 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 MailThis 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 AngelzStrong 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-ddictionSpeaking of smartphones, here's some Food4thought about our kids---and our!---growing e-bsession...
"...Students Around the World are Addicted to Media...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 TranslationSo, 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:
04.08.2011: Give 'Em The Old Razzle-DazzleThe 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.
04.07.2011: Performance TipIf 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.
04.06.2011: Lost In TranslationSo, 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 TipThis lecture's happening over the lunch hour today at the downtown library:
"...European Street Theater; Alternative Political Expression
04.04.2011: Master ClassesMight be fun to do all of these! Might be expensive!:
Prix de Lausanne Master Class Series...What! No Des Moines, Iowa??? Wassup wid dat! (Oh...you 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 DayRan 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 FeedbackSome 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 AdjustmentNot 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:
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
03.28.2011: Performance TipPrice is rite4starving artists (If you're not already taking a dance class at CCDC, of course!o):
"...The Drake Center for Global Citizenship Presents:
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 GreatnessTwyla 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 DivideIs 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
03.23.2011: Simon SaysPersonal invitation from the man himself:
03.22.2011: "Hair" AffairIn 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.
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...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 TharpA legendary name in modern choreography is coming to the Capital City:
26th Lecturer Selected!
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.
03.16.2011: Mountain Comes to MohametDona Q shares this information:
PARIS OPERA BALLET LAUNCHES 2012 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR AT THE HARRIS THEATER!
03.15.2011: Japan In JeapordyWe interrupt this regularly scheduled ballet blogcast to bring you this update from our CCDC correspondent in Japan:
03.14.2011: Japanese In JeopardyA 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):
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):
Opening This Week
03.10.2011: Word WarriorzPower 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.
03.08.2011: "Show"+TellNever 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 MessageYet 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: Money4daMuseHappy Mon(ey)day, Artists! Take note of the following
Major Grants, Roster Deadlines April 1
03.04.2011: Be Steel, My Bleeting Hart!The best of latest tweets=bleetz!o):
03.03.2011: Free FilmPrice is right! (If you're not taking CCDC dance class, that is!):
Thursday, 7pm Bulldog Theater, Drake University. Free
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!
03.01.2011: Messagez From 'Da EdgezWhee! 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!
02.28.2011: The Way She WereWhat 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.
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 TipAnother chance to hear those "voices of angels":
IA Youth Chorus presents “Synergy” – a collaboration with the DMACC Chamber Ensemble.
02.21.2011: "I" Of The Camera"Expose" yourself to a film record of the times.
"...Art Center Exhibition Captures Candid Moments
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 www.iowadancetheatre.com.
02.17.2011: Dancer Vs CancerTake 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 TruthMama 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 AmorSeems 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 TrainingI 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 stalk...er...admirerz! 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:
02.08.2011: Audition ActionHey, thespianz! If you've been bitten by that acting bug, here's some scratch for that itch:
Tallgrass Theatre Company Audition Notice
02.07.2011: Messagez From 'Da EdgezShe 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!
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.
02.04.2011: New Head HonchoUp close and personal with the new Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs:
DCA Welcomes New Director Who Lives the Arts
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.
02.03.2011: Hamer Hitz Homerz, Part de DeuxAn insider's insights:
A snowy day's view from the inside of another successful Hurley & Dancers production:
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 PrixUpdate from one of the pre-eminent ballet competitions in the world:
Prix de Lausanne 2011 - Interlude
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),
01.27.2011:Insiderz InsightzEven more dance videoz4youse to peruse:
"...Get ready for summer!
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***!
"...5th ANNUAL CELEBRITY DANCE CHALLENGE
...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
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 DancerzJust 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....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 AcceptanceBelated 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 GaloreWhen 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 DancerzMore 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 MotherzOne 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: Money4NuttinSenior 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.
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"):...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: Live2DanceSo, 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 DeliteShe 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 closet...is 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 SuccessCongratulations 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 TipSupport live performance art! AND! A certain modest modern dance and Pilates teacher who is wildly popular at CCDC:
"...“Once in a Blues Moon”
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:
...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 PointeHere'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 HomeworkI 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:
...here's some slow-moh vid of ballet technique
01.04.2011: Christmas Presence
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
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)
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