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12.21.2012: Publicity, Please!

It's getting harder to find the webvideo of CCDC's Adrian Oldenburger's interview with WHO-TV. Help pass the word: Here's the direct link:

12.20.2012: Judges And Jury Prix-View

These are some of the ballet luminaries, CCDC's Adrian Oldenburger will be performing in front of soon:
The Jury, Teachers, Coaches and Musicians of the 2013 Prix de Lausanne President of the Jury

The Prix de Lausanne is delighted to announce that Frank Andersen, former director of the Royal Danish Ballet and international teacher and ballet master, will chair the 2013 Prix de Lausanne jury.

From the Bolshoi to the Royal Winnipeg

While the jury of the 2013 Prix de Lausanne is remarkable in its geographic diversity, the collective prestige and renown of its members is nothing short of awe-inspiring: from Li Cunxin whose career spurred the box-office hit Mao's Last Dancer to the sublime Tamara Rojo of the English National Ballet, and 1989 Prix de Lausanne prize winner and youngest principal ever at the Royal Ballet, Tetsuya Kumakawa. See the complete list of the 2013 jury members.

Teachers, Coaches, and Musicians

Goyo Montero (Artistic Director, Nürnberg Ballet), Monique Loudières (former Etoile, Paris National Opera Ballet), and Patrick Armand (former Etoile, director of the San Francisco Ballet School), are just a few of the world-renowned artists that will be on hand at this year's Prix. See the complete list of the 2013 teachers, coaches and musicians.

...Kumakawa! ...No pressure or nothing, Adrian!o)

12.19.2012: Stormy Weather

Thought this would be a good time to review Capital City Dance Center policy on what could happen during the coming and any future "snowpacolypse" events:

CCDC will cancel classes whenever Urbandale Public Schools close due to inclement weather. Weather cancellations will be announced to local media and be on the phone answering machine and the GoCCDC.Com front page. Check with your teachers to find out how to make up any missed CCDC classes.

...You can also stay updated on class schedule changes on the CCDC FaceBook Page and via tweets by subscribing to @SirDanGuy. But, as always, think safety first! If conditions in your area are not safe to drive, stay at home and dance another day.

12.18.2012: "Prix"-View

Some of what lies ahead for CCDC's Adrian Oldenburger:
From January 27th to February 2, 2013
The World Capital of Dance

For ballet fans residing in or near Lausanne, or for visitors arriving from abroad, there is nothing more exciting than seeing firsthand the 41st annual Prix de Lausanne competition. Here is a glimpse of what's in store for you!

Daily Dance Dialogues - New!

Dance celebrities Li Cunxin, Tamara Rojo and others will discuss their careers and take questions from the public in a intimate and informal setting. Every afternoon in the Foyer of the Théâtre de Beauieu. Free of charge and open to the public. More information.

Classes and Warm-Ups

Feel all the exuberance and heartache of the 2013 candidates as they are put through their paces by world-renowned teachers and coaches. Open to the public. Tickets available on the day of the event at the Théâtre de Beaulieu. More information.


The exciting semi-finals of the competition, featuring classical and contemporary variations performed by all 2013 candidates before the jury. Friday, February 1st, 2013. Tickets now available in person only at the Opéra de Lausanne's box office . From January 28th to February 1st, tickets available in person only at the Théâtre de Beaulieu. More information.


The 20 finalists chosen during the selections are once again in the spotlight as they perform before a filled-to-the rafters crowd. While the jury members deliberate, enjoy the Interlude performance given by special guest artists (to be announced). Tickets now available online on our web site or at the Opéra de Lausanne box office in person or by telephone at +41 (0)21 315 40 20. More information.

For the up-to-the minute news and information about tickets, events and schedule for the 2013 Prix de Lausanne, see the tickets and information section on our website.


12.17.2012: Air Apparent

Want to add more vert to your jumps? Check out this excerpt from Men's Health magazine: (For dancers, just substitute "plie'" when they write "squat")
"...So German researchers put this hypothesis to the test. They recruited 60 people with minimal training experience and asked each to complete squat exercises two days a week for 10 weeks. Some of the study participants completed quarter-drop squats while others completed deep squats in which they lowered their butt to a point below the kneecap. Everybody completed three sets of 12 squat reps during the workouts. After 10 weeks, they measured the change in their vertical.

Which method worked? Among those completing deep squats, average vertical leap improved roughly 8 percent, from 15.1 inches to 16.2 inches. There was no jumping improvement among those completing quarter squats, the study says..."

...Here's the link to the entire article. And, here's a companion article.

12.14.2012: Use It Or Lose It!

Hey CCDC Mom! Hey CCDC Dad! How about taking those CCDC Pilates classes alongside your student dancer? (Great parent-child bonding time as well!o) 2012 Observation Week would be a great time to take a look! :
Exercise Can Extend Your Life by as Much as Five Years

(Courtesy Health Behavior News Service) — Adults who include at least 150 minutes of physical activity in their routines each week live longer than those who don’t, finds a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Promoting the years of life that can be gained from moderate activity may be a better motivator to get Americans moving, said study author Ian Janssen.

Janssen and his team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the National Health Interview Study mortality linkage and U.S. Life Tables to estimate and compare the life expectancy at each age for adults who were inactive, somewhat-active and active. “Active” was defined as doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

They found that men at age 20 were estimated to gain as much as 2.4 years of life from moderate activity. Women at age 20 gained about 3 additional years from engaging in moderate activity. The biggest benefit from physical activity was seen in non-Hispanic black women, who gained as many as 5.5 potential years of life.

Janssen hopes the positive message of the study can help health officials better relay the importance of exercise to the public.

“Research has shown that the health messages that have the greatest effect on changing people’s behaviors need to be easy to understand, specific to the individual, and be phrased in a gained-framed and positive manner,” he explained.

“The messages on longevity gains associated with physical activity that were developed in this paper meet all three of those characteristics,” Janssen added. “That is, people will understand what it means if you tell them they will live 2½ years longer if they become active.”

Sara Bleich, Ph.D. said presenting the issue as “years of life gained” versus “years of life loss” raises the classic issue of the carrot or the stick, that is, when it comes to behavior change, do people prefer to be rewarded or penalized?

“For healthy behavior changes such as dieting or smoking, rewards have been shown to effectively motivate behavior change,” she continued. “From the current research, it is unclear whether rewards or penalties are more effective at motivating behavior change, but it is clear that rewards do work.”


12.13.2012: Attitude of Gratitude

Thanks from a proud poppa of a CCDC alum who made her professional principal ballerina debut this weekend:
"...Just a quick note to say thank you. (Katya) was, in a word, spectacular, in her performances over the weekend. She was radiant as the Sugar Plum and danced her role like you would have expected. She was poised, prepared, confident and it was clear she was really enjoying herself. Her Ice Fairy was stunning, especially her turns, which are something Duluth hasn't seen in a long time. No less than Allen Fields, who did the original choreography, said she was his favorite Sugar Plum and "made me forget (a long-time principal ballerina)". He also said that her single, single, double double fouette's (sp?) were "something girls just can't do, but, (Katya) did them flawlessly".

She has learned her art from you and Emery and you should be very proud. While she may have a special gift, it was your teaching, dedication and commitment to excellence that has made her the dancer she is today. Quite simply, she wouldn't be performing at the level she is without you two. So, from the dad, thank you..."

12.12.2012: From The (War) Horse's Mouth...

The national touring company of WarHorse has begun its 6-day run at the DsM Civic Center. CCDC had a chance to talk with a native son making his return to the state with the show. Topics range from how Alex Morf of Mount Vernon feels as he prepares to perform in front of friends and his advice for young performers who want to follow in his footsteps to the "Great White Way". Click here to hear that interview with Alex Morf.

12.11.2012: Seasonal Performance Posting

Chance to hear "voices of angels" this weekend...
Enjoy Soothing Youthful Singers

On Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm, more than 6 dozen youthful singers will fill the Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust Street. Members of the Youth Chorus’ Concert Choir, Chorale and Chamber Singers will perform a candle light holiday concert filled with joyful seasonal music.

The Grand Hall will resound with a wide variety of secular and religious music befitting the intimacy of the Hall. “Last year the mood was so serene and soothing, the audience didn’t even applaud between numbers. They didn’t want to spoil the atmosphere,” said Tilda Brown Swanson, president of the Chorus’ Board of Directors. “We hope to repeat that serenity again this year.”

For the concert finale, the combined choirs will sing 2 traditional favorites, “The First Noel” and “O Holy Night.”

The choirs are led by Iowa Youth Chorus Artistic/Executive Director Kristen Stanton and assistant conductor, Jim Shutt.

Tickets will be available at the door for this concert. Adult tickets are $10.00, children 3-18 at $5.00.

This concert is the end cap of an 8-day tour to Italy in June, 2012. The thirty five combined Chamber Singers/Chorale choir performed for the noon mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican and for another mass at St. Francis Basilica, Assisi. They also presented full concerts at St. Eustachio, Rome, Chiesa dello Spirito Santo, Prato, and San Giovanni Elemosinario, Venice.

12.10.2012: Reprinting Prescription for Post Performance Depression

(Anywhere, USA; CCDC News Service) Medical experts are confounded by an epidemic of malaise and ennui detected in thousands of former Nutcracker participants. Legions of parents and teachers reported wringing their hands and furrowing their brows as formerly goal-driven student dancers are like "idiots"-out-wandering-about, (I.O.W.A.) losing focus, easily distracted, hating-all-work-and-into-indulgence (H.A.W.A.I.I). But, dance experts nod knowingly at the annual onslaught of "PPD"---"Post Performance Depression".

"I just don't know what to do with myself," sniffed one dancer who wishes to remain anonymous. "My parents ignore me even though I'm home more often now. I find myself deliberately messing up combinations in class just to get some love from my teachers!."

"It's a common occurence," says CCDC ballet instructor Emery Uyehara. "After rehearsing for three to four months on Nutcracker, performances are over and now they're at their wits end. Too much time on their hands and no new goals."

"I agree," says CCDC Artistic Director Melissa Uyehara. "Young dancers sometimes forget to set new goals after Nutcracker to give them something else to shoot for."

Holiday activities help fill some of the void. Making up missed time with family is very important as well as keeping up the grades. But, for dancers, experts say getting back to working hard in class is key to surviving PPD.

"It's strange, but I actually MISS rehearsal and all my friends I never see except during Nutcracker season," says another charter member of PPD Anonymous. "Especially that dreamy, cute guy who did Winter Wynd!"

"I can't wait until next year!" agrees another unnamed CCDC dancer. "I'm hoping to get even bigger and better roles!"

"Well, it's important to get back into training hard now, if you want to graduate to bigger and better parts," said Emery. "Learn from what you did well during performance and what you want to improve on next year. You want to head back into that audition next fall and have all the judges, directors or choreographers go 'Whoa! LOOK how much better he or she got!' Not 'What happened?'"

"For most people it's harder to dance on stage than in the studio," said Missy. "The goal should be strengthening proper placement and technique so you don't fall apart in performance, but, actually get better, handle choreography more easily."

The Uyeharas went on to say setting new short-term and long-term goals will help focus dancers and defeat the onset of PPD. "Do you have Summer Program or Spring performance auditions coming up?" asked Emery. "Those are easy to use to motivate you out of that PPD funk."

"Watching good dancing, live or Memorex is another good antidote," he went on. "As you watch, ask yourself 'Why not me?' and then, head back into class and start making it happen."

Experts are now reportedly frantically prescribing good dance classes as the proper antidote to the pandemic of PPD.


12.7.2012: Reprinting 'Surviving Nutcracker'

Hundreds of local dancers will be performing in the three simultaneous (Don't get me started!) productions of Nutcracker this weekend. Here are some tips on how to put yourself in the best position to not only survive, but, thrive:
  • Take Class-Make sure your placement and technique are strengthened and honed daily. If your studio, company or performing group doesn't offer class or warm-up, make sure you give yourself a complete barre backstage someplace. Use the stage only if stagehands or tech crew aren't working on it. (See "Get Used To The Stage" below)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


12.05.2012: Performance Tips

Many CCDC students and faculty are heading into the theater this week for rehearsals leading up to performances this weekend. We'll be reposting some performance tips from earlier years. Here's the first installment:
"Don't rush! The music is slow for a reason! Smooth, continuous. We'll go faster in a second. Never stop moving. Never stop growing. Never stop turning out."

"Lengthen that lower back. Roll those shoulders under. Lengthen that neck. Inhale and use your back to lift that chin. Focus higher. Do all the things that seperate dancers from non-dancers."

"Y'all have long legs, but, that's not good enough! They have to be stretched!"

"You can be the longest light bulb in the box, but, if you don't show some energy, show some electricity, you'll just be a dim bulb! And, no lighting director will ever cast you in the spotlight!"

"Train now, get ready NOW, for your next audition, next performance."

"I'm still waiting for no weight in your heels!"

"Don't drop just because you finish your jump! Be like Baryshnikov! Don't stop trying to go up just because you're coming down!"

"Faster than you wanna go. Slower than you wanna go. Higher, farther, quicker, deeper. Cleaner than you wanna be. Get outta your comfort zone!"

"Don't make it easy for someone to cut you at an audition. The first cuts are always the easiest. Someone shows bad technique, forgets or can't get a combination. Those are the first to go. Don't ever give them an excuse to cut you! Be a better and more complete dancer than your competition will ever be!"

"You can begin today. It starts right now. It starts right here."

12.04.2012: Performance Posting

Just got this in the emailbag:

Join us for the Festival of Lessons and Carols, Faith Lutheran Church’s gift of music to the Capital City area, at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. December 16, at Faith Lutheran Church, 10395 University Avenue, Clive.

The festival will consist of music, scripture readings, poetry readings and carols. Performances will be given by the children’s choirs, the handbell choirs, the Brass Consort, the Winds of Faith flute choir, the chancel choir and senior organist Beverly Duffy. A free-will offering will be taken.

12.03.2012: The All-**** DWT****

Season 14 wrap-up:
The Grand Finale!

All female Finale'!

The Favorites Redances:

Kelly/Val: Paso Doble. Aiming for perfection. Stiving for the first ten of her all-star season. The huge cape and el Traje De Luz. The Donning of the bolero jacket...Sharp! This girls is innit to winnit! Oh, Did they miss a hand grab? They cover and go on with flair and finesse and ATTACK. But...They're not changing the movements to match the changes in music! Definitely better than the first time! I'd give her a 9.5! Good judges comments could indicate good stores: "a thing of beauty". "you deserve to be here". Audience is spoiled with this all-star season. Next season will suffer by comparison! Scores: 9.5, 10, 10 = 29.5 First tens of her season! She delivers right when she needs it!

Melissa/Tony: The injury-ridden season. The Samba redux! Time for Tony to redeem his weak last chance with her. Tricky back bend partnering. Crowd surges to its feet! She's performing the heck outta this piece. Great lines, great attack, great smile! Excellent action. Infectious smile! I give her a 10! Real Judges: Favorable comments as well. Praises performance quality...and Abs! "Carnival Queen!" "Fabulous" Scores: 10, 10,10 = continues her string of perfect or near-perfect scores!

Shawn/Derek: Quick Step. Statement Dance. Breaking the rules! Great Risk, great reward! Breaking hold. Derek shows off his trampolining skills. This couple is fast and furious. But, smooth and slow when the music breaks demand it! Highly percussive music. Shawn just flies in a lift and throw "Pachuco!" Crowd-pleaser!. What a strong relationship they have. She belives in him and he believes in her!. Judges scold the pair! Lifts and holds force the judges' hand! Scores are bound by the rules! I give them a ten! I'm not bound by the rules! 9, 8.5, 9.5 = 27.0! They're trusting in the audience.

The Free Style: Where mirror-balls are won and lost!

Kelly/Val: Supersized. Starts off with aerial work while being serenaded. She can make some pretty pictures. Shades of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray! Homage to the movie and the choreography. Ends with the iconic angel lift! She gets a ten from me! ...Such a tribute to the film and the actor! Chemistry was palpable! 10, 9.5, 10 = 29.50!

Melissa/Tony: Supersized! Scary lifts for her in practice! Starts in bird lift where Kelly Monaco's piece left off . Tony has choreographed some smooth transitions of lift into lift. multi-level stage as huge prop. The lifts. Lotta lifts! Enough dancing? I give her a 9.5. Judges say : "With great risk comes great reward!" Redemption is sweet revenge! Real scores: 10, 10, 10 = Stratospheric scores!

Shawn/Derek: With the Fierce Five! Redemption for Shawn's failed Olympic encore. Medal round! Starts off by showing her flexibility and strength. Olympic teammates! Some tutting! Derek is Shawn's Hough in the hole. Dang! Derek can tumble. Round-off back handspring back tuck! Give her a ten from me! Judges say "medley of greatest hits". Gold medal performance! Shawn's getting teary-eyed and emotional! "Smells like a thirty!" says Tom! Her voice is quavering. Real scores: 10, 10 again, 10 again! Team Shawnuff shows up!

The Instant Dances:

Kelly/Val: Jive. Does the guy own a shirt? High energy to their jive. Good attack. Shows off their relationship! Oops there goes his shirt They walk off the floor! It's a walk-off! I give her a 9.5! Real judges effusive in praise: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.50

Melissa/Tony: Cha-cha! Almost outta control. This girl has been a performer from the get-go. Slow tempo could be problematic, but also gives them a chance to show off some technique. I give her a 9.5! "You have been my greatest pleasure to watch!" 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5

Shawn/Derek: Cha-cha! Such ATTACK! She's a little spitfire, a fireball! Derek actually has to step it up to keep up with Shawn and her Olympic caliber athleticism! Ends with death-defying leap to drop. I give her a ten! Way to end a show! Way to wrap up a season! Real judges: 10, 10, 10 = Spectacular way to end the All*** Season!

Crowning a champion of champions! No matter who wins...the audience are the final winners this season! The next season cannot help but be anticlimactic. Kelly gets eliminated and leaves with a final "Dirty Dancing" lift from the movie. And, excellent effort from Shawn, but, Melissa pulls one out at the end! AND! Tony finally wins one! Melissa gets redemption from her season of finishing third to Gilles and Shawn! CYa in the spring!o) Prepare to be underwhelmed!o(

11.30.2012: Winter Wind And Crystal Snow

This is the choreographer's reimagining of the snow scene of Nutcracker appearing Dec 7, 8+9 at the DsM Civic Center near you:
Every autumn, the first snow crystal of the season is magical. Winter Wind waits patiently through the long spring, summer and fall for the return of his eternal lover who fades away each spring. And, as the nights grow longer and days grow bitter, one bright, cold and clear morning, she returns. Crystal Snow is reborn renewed. Winter Wind rejoices and gently carries her to review their snowy, rimey realm. He wafts her gently through sheer mountains of diamonds, glittery cliffs of jewels, vast vistas of silver hoarfrost...this is the land of eternal snow storms that surrounds and protects the Kingdom of Sweets! And, Winter Wind and Crystal Snow are reunited in their eternal troth once again. But, one Candlemas night, the rulers of the Land of Snow also receive the long-lost Prince of the Sugary Kingdom. The prince had been kidnapped and transmogrified into a wooden Nutcracker puppet. He was spirited away and lost in the land of the muggles nigh unto a century. The necromancer, Dross L. Meyer, finally located the prince and broke the spell, but, not without a long, deadly struggle against the dread Rodent Queen and her mousy hordes. But, that is a tale for another time. The Prince brings with him his rescuer, a mortal girl. He beseeches safe passage through the perilous Winter Straits. Permission is granted, of course, but, Winter Wind and Crystal Snow know that the Prince is still weakened from his long ensorcelment. He is distracted also by his concern and love for the young girl. They continuously stray from the paths the Snow Corps creates through the eternal winter storms. But, each time they wander off the path, Winter Wind and Crystal Snow reappear to guide them safely through the boister and bluster. Finally, they reach the shared border of their two kingdoms. The corps assembles into a giant shimmering snow crystal as Crystal Snow and Winter Wind wave their final goodbyes. The Prince and the mortal consort turn and wave before they ascend to the shining castle on the hill.

11.29.2012: Watch A Chance

Lately been catching up on the episodes of Ovation TV's Chance To Dance. Highly recommmended reality tv series about dance. It's produced by Nigel Lythgoe of SYTYCD and AI. He's tasked two British choreographers to audition, choreograph and stage a performance with twelve unknown dancers in just four weeks. Their comments and asides are illuminating. Follow along if you have a chance. (Wish I had something similar when I was dancing!o) Here are some excerpts I found on YouTube.Com:
...Billy and Michael meet Allison Holker:

...Allison's audition tips:

...More from Chance to Dance Episode One: What I was taught as "the dancer game", now called "flocking":

...The company in the entire finale:

11.28.2012: From The Heart Of Africa

Another opportunity for "starving dancers" to feed their soul with art: no admission charge to this event:
The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship Presents:
November 30, Striving for Eternal Life Choir
Topic: Choral performance
Location: Sheslow Auditorium, Old Main
Time: 8 - 9:30 p.m.
Co-sponsor: Drake University School of Education
Organized by Drake University student Vincent Niyokwizera, the Striving for Eternal Life Choir is composed of young refugees from Burundi who spent much of their childhoods in refugee camps in Tanzania before making their way to the United States in 2007/08. Inspired by religious faith, the members of the choir share their experiences through song and dance that they have written and choreographed.

11.26.2012: Media Monday

The Grand Finale of the All-**** Season of DWT**** is this week. Here's a recap of reaction from last week:
Week The Ninth
Con-Fusion: The Semi-Finals to the music of Michael Jackson

Cave-Man Hustle? Quarter Century of MJ's "Bad" album? Now iconic music reimagined and reinvented for the 21st Century. Still fresh sounding pop 25 years later! Tribute to his troubled musical genius.

Down to the final five! All former champions except for Melissa. (Who did she lose to?) Melissa/Tony: Caveman/Hustle? Well...rife for great risk and great reward? Barefeet hustle? Wil card is how Tony's injury will affect their performances tonight? Lifts don't seem affected. She's always fun to watch. gives it one hundred and ten percent! Give her a 9.5 from this reviewer! Something just very likable about her! Yabba-dabba-doo! Regular judges: 9, 9.5, 9 = 27.5

Shawn/Derek: Knight Rider/bangra? Hard o judge ethnic Indian dance for western eyes. Have to admire their synchronicity and commitment and energy, however. Very athletic, aerobic...very tiring. Wor, I'm getting tired just watching. Ends with a strong inverted Shawn. I give her a 9.5! Rest of the scores: 10, 10, 10 = way to make a case for the finalz!o)

Apolo/Karina: Big Top/Jazz? (What random assignments! I guess that's the fun! Outta your comfort zone, pros and starz!o) The Olympic athlete is promising to outwork the rest of the competition! Welcome to the world of the dancer. Oh! he slips, but covers quickly! Lotta lifets will challenge his aerobic fitness as well. Seems like he's thinking too much. Some moves a little too careful. What did she throw away in the middle of the piece? Uneven effort gets a 8.5 for me. He's a winner no matter what happens! 8.5, 9, 9.5 = 27

Emmit/Cheryl: Espionage/Lindy Hop? Already outta Emmit's comfort zone! Be a cartoon character? All in or all out, Big man! Series of lifts no problem for the former athlete! He's more comfortable with the dancing than the acting. Amusing choreography and plot-line by Cheryl! I give him a 9.0. Real judges are cracking up! 9, 9, 9 = 27.

Kelly/Val: Surfer/Flamenco? Pressure is building. Hard for dancers to realize how hard it is for non-dancers to pick up choreography. Their love-hate relationship is perfectly encapsulated in this dance! he rips his shirt off. strong, powerful pictures...just as advertised! Energy builds as music acceerates She seems a little winded. They strip to swimsuits. Stomp in water to accentuate flamenco footwork! Wasn't too bad, I give him a 9! Real judges: 8, 9, 8.5 = 25.5 Lowest scores of the night!

Melissa/Tony: Argentine Tango! Love her work ethic! Pushes through injury and fatigue! She's also a winner in my book, no matter what happens in the pursuit of the mirror ball. "Dirty Diana" Starts off witha nice extension en avant. Her training is giving her an edge. I could go witha little crisper tango movements. Tony is selling it as much as possible. She makes effortless lines and extensions! Little more attack on those flicks and kicks would finish the deal. Okay! She left it all on the dance floor! She gets a 9.5 from me. Standing ovation, unanimous praise from the judges. Real judges: 10, 10, 10 = strong statement for the finals!

Shawn/Derek: Argentine tango to "Bad". Intense psychological coaching from the Houghster! She is a fighter, a competitor...and A LOCK for the finals, if not more. They start by stalking each other. Look at her flexibility and strength! Now there are some sharp kicks. Frame so strong it could cut diamonds. Starts off at a high level and pushes higher! Well-rehearsed, confident! Well-trained we--taught. SLow and strong stealthy on the slow parts. fast and passionate on the speedier parts! Give her a TEN from me! RJ = 9, 10, 10 = 29! Carrie Anne is quibbling!

Apolo/Karina: Rhumba to "Man In The Mirror". He's trying to amp up the emotional content. Take it to aplace you'e never shared, Ono! Starts off facing a mirror. Very gentle, smooth and flowing! Yes! He's stepping up. Great music, excellent performance. Excellent lines! stretched to the maximum! Great accents to the well-known music. good, smooth hip action~ Energy builds and the dancing reflects it!. Give my boy a ten! Judges: 10, 10, 10 = Another case for the finals!

Emmit/Cheryl: Ballroom Tango to "Quit Dogging Me"? Former pro prepares for the performance playoffs. Cool descent to the stage. Seems atrifle robotic. tango is supposed to bestrong andforceful, not mechanical. Passion quaotient missing. Okay, here it is . strong kicks. Hold is a little weak! I give him a 9. Real judges: 9, 9, 9 = another 27

Kelly/Val: Rhumba to "Can't Stop Loving You". Hard for the actress to express intimacy? Get over it! YES! smooth and sharp. very passionate. Dancing from the inside out. Kelly stepping up for the best performance of hers in two seasons. crowd is on its feet. Give her a ten! Excellent! 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5 Hmmmm!

The Results:

Apolo and Karina get the spotlight encore. "Twice as nice" the second night!

First up on the chopping block: Shawn and Derek. They get their tickets punched! Still my leader in the clubhouse!

Apolo/Karina and Melissa/tony: Who goes home tonight! Sadness either way. Apolo goes home! Melissa gets her ticket punched! Good loser. "consummate professional! Says all the right things about the benefits of the competition.

Kelly/Val and Emmit/Cheryl: Emmit sounds like he expects to be eliminated. And...he is. Kelly exceeds expectations. But, hope we get to see Emmit bring his kids to the ballroom! Melissa is my sentimental choice. But, Shawn has her Derek up the sleeve and should run away with her second mirror-ball!

11.21.2012: Money For The Art$

Arts funding opportunity:
THIS JUST IN | Funding opportunity announced

The Arts Council is pleased to announce a mid-year, project funding opportunity. Applications must be received by Monday, Jan. 7, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. for eligible projects occurring between March 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013. More than a Mini Grant but not quite a Major Grant, applicants may request between $1,000 and $5,000.

Applicants who received an FY2013 IAC Major Grant or FY2013 Community Cultural Grant will not be eligible to submit a request for funding during this round. Updated application materials as well as more detailed eligibility guidelines and criteria will be made available online in December.

11.20.2012: Out Of The Mouths Of Pharmacists

So, I finally got a flu-shot the other weekend. (This after being turned away from another store that advertised flu shots, but, was too understaffed to get me immunized. Don't get me started! Attention, store managers! If you don't have the staff, put up a sign saying 'No Flu Shots Today'. That way I don't have to wait through two customers before your pharmacist finally tells me he couldn't poke the needle in my arm because he couldn't leave the counter unattended!) So, I'm ready for flu season teaching studios with an occasional sickly, sniffling student!o), but, that's only a side-bar to the story. I had on my CCDC t-shirt and the pharmacist asked me about it. I told her I taught at the studio in Urbandale. She asked me if my students were competing in the big competition in town that weekend. I said, oh, no, we're not a competition studio. Her eyes lit up and she said she wished her daughter didn't go to a competition studio either. I nodded and said a lot of parents feel that way. That's all I said to her, but, parents, doesn't that make you wonder? Of course, you do what you do for your kids. But, many times what they want to do isn't the best thing for them. Okay, most of the time what they want to do isn't the best thing for them! But, someone has to be the parent here! If you have doubts about the value your child is getting "shaking her bootie" in a questionable costume in some here-today, gone-tomorrow competition! It's time! It's time to put your foot down! It's time to consider quality dance training in a friendly, quality environment! It's time to consider...a-hem...CAPITAL CITY DANCE CENTER!!! 'Nuff said! Well, this one other thing: break classes are a good way to get a taste of what the CCDC environment is like. Okay, NOW, 'nuff said...Time for me to ice my arm. I was doing okay until somebody playfully punched it the other day...OUCH!

11.19.2012: Me in Media Monday

Now, the good die young:
Week The Eighth

Veterans Day Show: Leading into double eliminations!

Shawn and Derek: Viennese Waltz. Challenged again to show her vulnerable side. Great story choreographed by the Houghster. Spectacular rise and fall! The arms of an Angel. Dances like an angel! They walk together into the light! ( ??? Seems short???) I give her a nine. Okay! 9.5! Oh, heck! She gets a ten! Real judges? 10, 9.5, 10 = 29.5!

Apolo/Karina: Tango! Determined to not play it safe. Zip-line in rehearsal. Good attack! travels all over the floor. Strong heel leads. good frame. Could use a little sharper use of upper body. Speedy. Seems like the routines are being shortened this week I give him a 9! Extra points for bringing his guns to the show! Real judges: 10, 9.5, 10 =29.5!

Kirstie/Maxie: Viennese Waltz. Max seems a little less vitriolic in his coaching this week. Powerful song ...hard to mess it up. Piece of cake for the actress to tap in to the emotional significance of the piece! She did well...for Kirstie! I give her an eight. Real judges: 9, 9, 9 = 27. Dances are short, scores are high this week!

Kelly/Val: Viennese Waltz. Seems a much faster tempo than the other songs. Hmm...good attack! Nice rise and fall. Shoulders need to be rolled under. Excellent emotional content. I give her a 9. Real judges: 9.5, 9, 9.5 = 28!

Gilles/Peta: Quick step! Going for the details. Costume doesn't give him a chance to show control of upper body. The piece is so fast! Gilles is occasionally behind...but, occasionally solidly on! It's called quick step for a reason! I'll give him a 9. Real judges: 9.5, 10, 10 = 29.5

Emmit/Cheryl: Viennese Waltz! He's light on his feet. Still needs to work on opening the upper body and controlling those shoulders. Needs a little more up on his rise and fall! Very smooth! Give him a 9.5! Other judges: 9, 9.5, 95 = 28

Melissa/Tony: Quick Step! FAST! Boogie woogie bugle boy! She's a quarter count late on parts of it. She's a great performer. Excellent energy to the routine! I give her a ten! Could be a chance to retain her perfect scores! 10, 10, 10 = ANOTHER perfect score!

Shawn/Mark/Derek: Samba! Tribal boundary pushing! Great risk creates great reward! Looking for power! She's a little powerhouse! The dancing is savage primal and powerful. Sharp isolations! mark just needs to learn to dance as part of a group...not a group of soloists. STRONG STRONG PIECE! She gets a ten from ME! 10, 7, 9 = 26! SEVEN???

Apolo/Karina/Sasha: Jive. Greased Lightning! iconic song with iconic greaser look! They changed the jumps! Needed a stronger ending! Give him a nine! Real judges: 9.5, 9.5, 10 = 29

Kirstie/Max/Tristen: Paso Doble. Evanescence song. Another song about the wings of an angel. Symbolism is rife in this piece...but, the dancing is lacking. Hmm. Max just disappears in opening section. Not sure that this is the best use of a trio, two partners. She punches like a girl! I give her a 7! Judges: 8, 8, 8 = 24

Kelly/Valouie: jive. split timing on that drop. sharp attack. Shirts go flying. Could do without the high water pants. Ends with a blatant appeal to the judges! Give her a nine. Reel judges: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5

Gilles/Peta/Chelsea: Salsa! harder to choreograph and partner with two than you might think! Very inventive. He needs just a little more presentation with his upper body. He almost stepped on one girl. The blondes look like twins! Give him a 9.5 from me. The other judges: 9.5, 10, 9.5 = 29!

Emmit/Cheryl/Kym: Salsa! Emmitt solo is strong and smooth. Hips are getting workout. Good hold and pause and movement. Very musical! He was COMMAND! Give him a 9.5! Real judges: 10, 10, 10 = another perfect score!!!

Melissa/Tony/Henry: Paso Doble! She needs to find her inner dominatrix! Nice long, lines! to the classic Adele song. Good stag leap. She did nail the attitude and character! She gets a ten from ME! 10, 10, 10 = Two perfect scores

Results show:

Brooke looks well for someone who just tweeted confirmation of her sickness. Kylie Minogue starts off with her original cover of Locomotion. Dancers spring to life. Troupe and professionals. Kym johnson must be in Aussie heaven! She must've grown up with Minogue on the radio!

Melissa gets her ticket punched for the semifinals! So, does Shawn!

Newsies perform "Sieze the Day". this was the show Alex Wong was in before he left for greener pastures/got injured? Wow! Everyone does double pirouettes to double tours en l'air! Some strong tumbling and dancing with this professional troupe. Very creative choreography. These are all very well trained...meaning classically trained danseurs. Single tours with arms in second. Skater turns. Spins like an ice dancer. Wow this number must bring the house down. Thanks to Macy's for the stars of dance performance!

Neyo performs next. Audience gets to flood the dance floor.Spectacular lights. strong dancers!. Singing sounds a little flat. Are his IFB's level too low? Is the audience too loud for him to hear his monitors. Good performer! Too bad!

Kirstie gets eliminated. But, does that mean Apolo will be the second to be shown the door?

Dance styles and themes picked for competitors?

NYCB principals tiler peck and robert fairchild. Pointe work on this wood floor with varnish? Asking for trouble!Very romantic lyrical choreography. Smooth powerful lifts! Val and Anna! What a strange mix of ballroom and ballet!

First the good news: Into the semifinals is Emmitt! Still at risk: Apolo and Gilles! Gilles knew he was going to go! OMG! What bizarro world are we living in? Sorry, Kelly, it shoulda been you!

...What do you think? Deposit your two cents worth here!o)

11.15.2012: Free Money!o)

Money for nuttin'! Getcher grand battements for free...
Capital City News Service—The deadline to apply for a Prairie Meadows Scholarship is Friday, April 5, 2013.

Prairie Meadows offers every high school in Polk County two $2,500 scholarships to graduating seniors who will be enrolling at an accredited Iowa institution for the fall 2013 semester.

Applications are available online at, and they are also available at each participating high school in Polk County.

To qualify, applicants must be a graduating senior of a participating Polk County high school; accepted at an accredited Iowa institution; enrolling as a full-time student (12 credit hours or more) in the fall of 2013; a United States citizen or permanent resident for at least two consecutive years; and have a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Since 2001, Prairie Meadows has awarded 427 scholarships to graduating local high school seniors to help them further their education in Iowa.

11.14.2012: Artists Invited!

Degas-wanna beez! Sell your wares!
Call for Entries!
HeartFest ‘A Fine Art Show’
February 9-10, 2013
Valley West Mall

Looking for approximately 45 fine artists
Deadline for application December 15, 2012

Apply now at

  • Partner show to June’s ArtFest Midwest ‘The Other Art Show’
  • 9th annual
  • KidzDuArt family art workshops—make your own Valentines!
  • Free admission
  • Show hours: 10-9 Saturday, 11-6 Sunday
  • Booth rent: $185/10’ x 10’, electricity $25, corner fee $25
  • Mediums: ceramics, fiber, glass, mixed media, painting, drawing, photography, jewelry, painting, wood and sculpture

11.13.2012: Monday Media Replay, Pt 2

The DWT***:A*** debate rates on:
"...I really enjoyed Shawn's dance but missed Derek as I always feel like Mark's overly elaborate facial expressions are a distraction.

I actually really enjoyed Val and Kelly this week. Maybe it was the music choice but it was fun.

I was shocked Shawn was eliminated from the swing dance marathon so soon, but I think they were holding back. I think she really does really well with choreography but not freestyle. I wonder if things would have been different with Derek..."

"...Agree or disagree with those power rankings?"

"...I'd rank them like this. But I fear my ranking has more to do with personal preference than who will win. My favorites are Shawn, Melissa, and Apolo. But I agree with you that Giles will edge Melissa and Apolo out. Peta has proven a worthy coach. I say superior technique, Derek's choreography, and the teen vote will make Shawn a repeat winner.

  1. Shawn Johnson
  2. Melissa Rycroft
  3. Gilles Marini
  4. Apolo Ohno
  5. Emmit Smith
  6. Kelly Monaco
  7. Kirstie Alley..."
"...My own power rankings are based on the combination of my impressions of the team's choreography, performance and technical dance ability, NOT popularity with the voters. So, they're not really intended to be a prediction of who will win. I DO think Shawn will end up hoisting another mirror-ball, but, as Sabrina's dismissal the other week proves, the voting public holds all the trump cards. And, I don't think I can argue against your personal picks. Really neck-and-neck, 'muddled in that middle' four!o)..."
...What do YOU think? Dive into the dance discussion here!

11.12.2012: Monday Media Replay

Here's the analysis, dance fans!o)
Week The Seventh
Fusion Night

What an awful way to start! Horrendous face plant shown on the teaser! Yelling 'no' as a dancer in slow-mo falls head-first to a mat. Made me wince! Show starts off with the professionals and troupe mixing and splicing dance DNA. Stars take a note: This is how it's done. Crisp , clean formations sharp dancing. Hips on fire. effortless lifts. Great picture at the end! ABC's "Day of Giving" featured on the show.

Judges say choreography will be important! I say: choreography is ALWAYS important! Let the dancing commence!o):

Apolo/Karina: Cha-cha/Paso Doble: Can he build on a breakthrough preformance last week? Perfect scores. Team Smirono making their move to the front of the pack? Is he starting to burn out? Let's see the dance: Needs more atack with his hips. Should stop singing along as well. Great attack. Rips off his jacket. Very powerful antagonistic movements. There's the mandatory tour jete for the male! Not bad. Final Pose! My boy's been working out! Ono! Brings his 6-pack to the attack! I give him a nine. Real judges: 9, 9, 9 = 27

Emmit/Cheryl: Rhumba/Samba! He's a hard worker! Nice to see him with his family! he's a family man! Starts off with that killer smile! This boy is SMOOTH! The guy is a mover! Excellent hips! Bouncing back and forth between Dance styles. No wonder he was confused. It'd be hard for a professional to keep the steps and styles seperate sharp and straight and seperate. The styles changed every two measures! But, he pulled it off. I give the boy a nine as well. Real Judges: 8.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 27.5

Kirstie/Max: Quick Step/Samba! Wonder if the Hurricane Relief will cut into the rehearsal time? Little misstep lack of balance control. Max is guiding her around and keeping it to more simplified versions of the dances. Not very exciting. I give her a 6. Max biting his tongue during comments. She's lucky no eliminations this week. Real Judges: 8, 8, 8 = 24 Over-scoring much?

These negative political ad spoofs are hilarious!o)

Kelly/Val: Fox Trot/Cha Cha! Her strength is her ability to create a mood and character. She has decent attack, but, Val may not be able to get her to over-achieve. She's not bad, but, not as exciting as some of the other contestants! Their working relationship and chemistry is palpable, however! I give her an 8. Real judges: 9, 9, 9 Hmmm...nine must be the new seven.

Melissa/Tony: What a strong relationship revealed in the package. Great attack for the tango portion. Exactly as needed. Shows off good flexibility and excellent line and awareness. Quick change to the cha cha. Just a little too careful...okay, there goes the upper body attack! Needs to lengthen and put some power in the middle sections in the cha cha as much as she did in the tango. Started so strong in the tango, but, was underrehearsed for the cha cha. I'd give her an eight. Judges comments are perplexing? Did they watch the same dance that I did? Are they trying to sway the voters? 10, 9.5, 9.5 = 29. Highest scores of the night???

Shawn/Mark: Argentine Tango/Pas Doble! Confusion for the gymnast as too many choreographers could spoil the rehearsal! Ohh! Strong music, strong dancing! Lethal combination. She's better than you have a right to expect! Wow, sharp and well-coached and well-danced. STRONG frame. sharp tango head movements. She's good with Derek, but, she doesn't miss a step or skip a beat with Mark, her old partner. Make that great music and great dancing! I give her a ten! She gets the choreography of Derek Hough as her secret weapon danced by Derek's doppelganger, Mark Ballas! 10, 10, 10 = perfect scores! She's the front-runner for the season! Proven winner until someone steps up their game. Derek's gonna win this one for Shawn!

Gilles/Peta: Argentine tango/Samba? Gilles will go as far as Peta can out-choreograph Derek. Starts off with the samba quick change into the tango sharpness. PARTY and then formal tango steps. Something (costume accessory? Microphone?) got kicked to the curb? Gilles is the only one who can give Shawn a run for her money! This is a replay of the season Shawn edged out the actor! I give him a ten! Real judges seem poised to follow suit: 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 28.5. Hmmm...were they using the same standards as I was? Apparently, not

Preview of young rising stars: Nothing like watching well-trained young dancers attack some not-bad choreography! Future of country's dance may be coming from Utah if this is any indication of what's available there. Interesting postapocalyptic story being played out. Standing ovation from the judges and audience.

Swing Dance Marathon: EVeryone on stage at the same time. Judges eliminate, up to ten points up for grabs. Stamina is being defined as the survival of the fittest! Aerobic fitness will be tested! The older dancers are at a disadvantage! Older pros at a disadvantage as well! Good thing Louie's not in this! Shawn is doing some gymnastic routines elements as Mark is freestyling! Oh, Shawn is eliminated...let's see. who has the gumption to finish this strong! Melissa and Tony! Survival of the fittest indeed!

So now we can post our first Power rankings of the All **** season:

  1. Shawn Johnson
  2. Gilles Marini
  3. Melissa Rycroft
  4. Emmit Smith
  5. Apolo Ohno
  6. Kelly Monaco
  7. Kirstie Alley
...The wild card, as always, is the fickle voting public! Should be interesting. Enjoy it while you can, dance fans! The dancing will never be as good as it is this season unless the producers finally get an all champions season underway. One can only hope...

11.09.2012: Audition Action

Ah! The roar of the greasepaint! The smell of the crowd...
"...University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will hold open auditions Nov. 10-15 for more than 75 roles in 10 spring productions. General auditions will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and from 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. Callbacks will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, Nov. 12-15.

Auditions for UI Theatre productions are open to everyone. For academic considerations, priority is given to theater majors first, and then all other students of the UI, but members of the community are also strongly encouraged to audition. Numerous nonmajors and actors from the community are cast each season. "Nontraditional" casting is the norm for all directors in all productions, except those in which race, gender, disability, or age is the explicit issue. Casting is "nontraditional" when all roles in a script are open to casting without bias in terms of race, gender, disability or age, so long as the actor can fulfill the artistic requirements of the role.

For additional information, visit or email

The Department of Theatre Arts is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences..."

11.08.2012: Sold Out

Don't bother trying to buy tickets to the Pilobolus performance at Party Hearty You:
"...The second of Hancher’s four designated 40th anniversary events is sold out.

The University of Iowa’s performing arts presenter will present Pilobolus Dance Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and 14 in Space Place Theater on the UI campus.

This will be the company’s eighth Hancher appearance. Since its first appearance in 1975, Pilobolus has performed for 19,810 people under Hancher’s auspices. These 40th anniversary performances, however, will be the most intimate the company has ever performed in Iowa City because Space Place seats fewer than 250 people..."

11.07.2012: International Ballet Competition

Congrats, "Rocky" and family! Here's the official notification from Prix de Lausanne:
Candidates Selected for the 2013 Prix de Lausanne

A total of 254 candidates (189 female and 65 male dancers), representing 32 different nationalities, applied for the Prix de Lausanne video selections that took place from October 25th to 28th, 2012.

The assessing panel for this qualifying round of the competition was made up of the Prix's artistic director and a group of dance experts, each of whom meets the criteria for membership in a Prix de Lausanne jury.

After deliberation, the panel selected 81 young dancers, representing 19 different nationalities, to proceed with the next stage of the competition which will take place in Lausanne from January 27th to February 2nd, 2013. The official list of candidates selected for the 2013 Prix de Lausanne is available on our website.

In addition, three candidates were selected at our pre-selection session for Latin American candidates organised by Danzamerica, in Argentina. They are Bianca Gomes Vilarinho Teixeira, Adhonay Soares da Silva and Veronica Vasconcelos da Silva.

We would like to congratulate all the selected candidates and wish them all the best for their preparation in the next coming months.

11.06.2012: Dance Disorders

From the GoCCDancedoC Archives:
(Courtesy CCDancedoC) A rapidly spreading pandemic of "knee"-sles has been confirmed in dance studios across the country. Noted CCDC Ballet Mistress Melissa Uyehara says the disorder is often fatal to an aspiring dancer's career. She defines "knee-sles" as the apparent inability to FULLY STRETCH the knee when it's located behind the body. "Positions like arabesque or tendu derriere shouldn't be 'out of sight, out of mind'. They should be some of the longest lines in the classical repertory," she said. "That back knee needs to be not just straight, but, stretched." She added, "Remember that old ballet adage: It's not how long your leg's how you make your leg long."

But, experts also report a rash of other dance disorders persisting despite the best efforts of good instructors. In an effort to inoculate the dance community from the spread of further deficiencies, Capital City Dance Center and the Federal Bureau of Ballet Standards today released the following list:

Over fixation on staring at self in the mirror. Often causes loss of proper tilts and turns of the head.

Chronic inability to completely point the pedal extremities. Can lead to terminal arch-nophobia, improper use or lack of use of the entire foot and ankle.

Chicken Pox or, more fully, Chicken Wing Pox:
Dropped elbows and fingers causes sufferers to look like they're extending sad, plucked little 'chicken wings' to the side.

Epaule' Virus:
Inability to spiral body gracefully to address the shoulders with an uplifted chin and focus. Shoulder blades need to remain engaged and under.

Chronic Cranial Absencia or Sporadic Space Case-dness:
Lack of concentration or attention when teacher is giving combination or corrections. Leads to lack of retention. Sometimes known as "In One Ear And Out The Other" Syndrome.

Posterior Protrusion usually accompanied by Abdominal Obtrusion:
Often caused by improper pelvic placement. Symptoms are self-explanatory...and will only get bigger.

Inexplicable disappearing act during pirouettes. Instead of lifting more by pushing into the floor and speeding up the turns by getting taller and tighter, sufferers just waste away during the end of turns.

Selective Hearing:
Similar to Chronic Cranial Absencia. When students stop listening after only hearing part of a correction or compliment. Often leads to misunderstandings.

Floor-us Fixation:
An unexplained fascination with looking down at one's feet. Occasionally accompanied by hiccups.

Fellow Fever or Fellow Spotted Fever:
Reduces many otherwise serious dancers to giggling messes and flirtatious behavior when new, hot guy takes class. (Even not-hot-guys! And, if this isn't incentive for you boyz 2 men to volunteer for partnering class, I don't know how to spell it out plainer!) But, girls, if it's not Channing Tatum, Bloom or Depp, bat your eyelashes on your own time!o)

11.05.2012: Media Monday

Unexpected results in the most recent episode:
Week The Sixth
Country Night

C+W not my favorite musical genre...let's leave it at that! Slow, twangy start by the in-house dance troupe to live music. Ho-hum...Little Big Town?

Down to the final eight. Scores carry over from last week. All stars get solos? Freestyle group as well.

Gilles/Peta: French actor and New Zealand dancer need to channel their inner country and westerners! Country cha-cha? Hopefully, they're gonna minimize the country aspects. Dance to Shania Twain classic. This couple has the best lines in the competition. Her choreography is sharp and entertaining...perhaps not as creative as Derek, but...could get the job done! Gilles cuts the rug by himself. Good presence. He brings a performer's panache to the outing. despite conflict in rehearsal schedules. I give it an 8.5. Judges like it...official scores: "T-Rex hands?" Scores: 9, 9, 9.5 = 27.5

Sabrina/Louie: Rhumba. Toppa the leader board! Can she capitalize on her success? She shares her relationship problems with a drug-addicted boyfriends. He's asking her to be even more vulnerability. "Raw and real"!Promises to be memorable. Needs to watch her shoulders. lifting shoulders common mistake in trying to portray emotion. Her solo comes at the beginning. A triky sequence that winds through his legs. Strong emotional content informs the dance throughout. Audience gives a deserving standing ovation. Her fellow contestants also applauding. watching her during the judges comments...she's still in the zone, Louie as well! There are tears in her eyes! "Chills"! Len loves the textures and contrasts! I'd give her a 9.5...think judges are going to be more generous! Scores: 10, 10, 10 = perfect scores! Stars shout out to East Coast!

Kelly/Val: Tango. Bottom of the leader board. She's fighting a lack of rehearsal times. Will the chermokovsky tough love pay off for the season one winner? She's asking for more rehearsal time. Good for her! Hold that frame! Tango technique is tough on her! Starts of with a sultry solo. Val joins her...a fast pace to begin. She's working hard. Sharp!. Still looks like she could use a little more rehearsal to smooth out some of the rough edges! She's working hard! Ends with big lip lock! Crowd on its feet! I give her 8.5. Judges will be more generous according to their comments. 9, 9, 9 = 27.

Melisssa/Tony: Viennese Waltz to country? Her injury could be a factor if voters want to protect her! Starts off in an iconic campfire scene.Her solo is very technical. Pique turns and balances. segues seamlessly into the partnered portion. One hand supported promenade. She can make some pretty, well-trained lines. SIgn of a well-trained dancer! I'd give her a nine! Strong comeback dance. I'd give her 9.5. She's a strong performer! 9.5, 10, 10 = 29.5.

Fusion dances next week?

Shawn/Derek: She reinjures her knee. The same one that forced her retirement from the Olympics. She comes on in a john deere greene tractor. Iowa girl has a cow in the background. She doesn't have a wrap or bandage on. "She thinks my tractor's sexy" Her solo shows off her flexibility! Country cha-cha-cha! I give her 9.5. Real judges: 9.5, 8.5, ?? (recording glitch prevents getting last number)

Kirstie/Maximum: Rhumba. More Chermokovsky tough love! Age is not just a number for the sixty-year old. Smoke covered dance floor. Max choreographed to her strengths. She's not afraid to use her hips!. Solo is full of a woman's movements. Not bad...for Kirstie! give her a 7.5. Real judges: 9.5, 8.5, 9.5 = 27.5

Apolo/Karina: Another country Viennese Waltz. She's trying to coach emotions out of him. He's talking a good game. Uh-o h...this looks likea break through for the olympic gold medalist! Emotional and strong connection. Needs more eye contact. Look at your partner, Apolo! His lines are flawless! Hmmm! This could be Apolo's best dance EVER! Give him a ten from me! Judges are favorable: I agree with Carrie Anne: a breakthrough number for the ice skater! Apolos says the dance was for his family members who fought cancer. Real judges: 10, 10, 10 = perfect scores!

Emmit/Cheryl: Foxtrot. His athletic background is serving him in this competition. . Smooth big man again. needs to pay attention to his back arm. Nice rise and fall. Crowd is clapping and on its feet. Big man dancing well...hard to beat. Just hold those shoulders, big man! His smile is infectious and he's having fun out there. Presents flowers to his wife after a knee slide at the end. I give him a 9. Cowboy can cut a rug! Real judges: 8.5, 8.5, 9.5 = 26.5

Group dance: Freestyle. Bonus points up for grabs! Big and rich with "save a horse, ride a cowboy" Starts off with girls on the stairs. Hard for the stars to keep up with the pros. Same for when the boyz come on. Emmit starts off solos. Lotta lifts, Gilles. kirstie...sabrina. Meliss has a little hiccup...Kelly's easy to lift...tricky lifts and risky. Who gets the bonus points? Lotta energy!Kirstie and Max gets bonus points?

Results show: eliminations next week due to no results show...and you can blame that on the election. Emmit's safe. Kelly scores low, but, is safe from elimination. Say goodbye to Sabrina! Again! No finals for the promising contestant! If Sabrina gets the boot after one of the first perfect scores of the season, that mean no one is safe! She takes the high road in her comments. What a class act! Some comments I'm reading in the blogosphere blame the after-effects of Superstorm Sandy. No power, no phones, no votes for the Cheetah Girl? That's the rationale behind no eliminations on election week, but, y'all should know who I'm eager to see hit the road! Big question mark: how will the injury to RTDH affect Shawn's outing? Fusion should really test the pro's choreographic ability. Let the mash-upz begin!

11.02.2012: Putting the "USA" in "Prix de Lausanne"!

More kudoz in order for Capital City Dance Center students: The CCDC Preprofessional Program student nicknamed "Achilles" has just been accepted to the 2013 International Prix de Lausanne Ballet Competition! The preliminary screening included a 15-minute video of barre and center and medical clearance. The next round will be held in Switzerland in a few months. Here are photos from previous competitions. "Rocky" adds this latest honor after spending the last two summers on scholarship at the prestigious School of American Ballet and the Houston Ballet Summer Intensives. Sponsors and donors are being sought to help defray the cost of travel and lodging. Join me in congratulating "Mister Neulenfurter" and family for making it past the first round of screening. As I texted him after the announcement: "Now the hard work begins"!o)
...Also, nice to see "Tenille" back in the studio this week. She's recovering from a non-dance related injury suffered this summer on a "golf cart gone wild". She says doctors tell her she's healing well. Must be nice to be young and a "fast healer"!o) Welcome back, Tenille! Here's your "bubble-wrap"!

11.02.2012: Fancy Dancing

Late feedback from DWT***:A**** "Guilty Pleasures Week"
"...Like you I LOVED Shawn and Derek's "Titanic" dance and was stunned when they didn't get all tens.

I also really like Apolo's dance and didn't understand Carrie Ann's criticism. They praise Emmet for the same exact stuff. Go figure.

Sabrina's dance was fine but didn't excite me that much. Kirstie is now out of her league and Kelly definetely went down a notch this week with a dance that looked very tentative to me.

As for the team dance there was no comparison. I think the song Gangnam style made the team appear better than they were. The Call me Maybe team wiped the floor with them..."

11.01.2012: Say 'Yes' To 'KES'

Local high school thespians tackle timely topic:
(Capital City) – WDsM Valley High School will present the play “KES” on Nov. 2 and 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 2:00 p.m.

KES is the story of teenage Billy who is bullied on all sides: at school, at home and in the community. His father disappeared when he was six and his mother leaves him to fend for himself. Judd, his bullying older brother, works in the local coalmine and Billy is expected to follow in his footsteps. He then finds a kestrel chick, which is a type of falcon, that he raises and trains.

As Billy's relationship with the soaring bird grows, so too does his spirit. Billy discovers a passion that gives him an escape from the harsh reality of his life. The play is Lawrence Till’s adaptation of the 1968 novel “A Kestrel for a Knave” by Barry Hines.

More than 100 Valley students will be a part of this important play with an important message.

10.31.2012: Demand on Art

New arts exhibition opening this week:
(Capital City) – On November 2, the DsM Art Center will open Thomas Demand: Animations, which runs through December 16, 2012 in the I. M. Pei building and Levitt Auditorium. An opening reception with complimentary beverages and light hors d’oeuvres will take place from 5 -7 pm, with brief remarks on the artist’s work at 6 pm by Director Jeff Fleming.

Thomas Demand: Animations is the artist’s first project to focus solely on his film or video works. Well known for his large-scale color photographs, which Demand creates by merging sculpture, architecture, and photography, this exhibition includes three major videos, all originating in paper constructions, displayed in the Art Center’s I. M. Pei building. Camera, 2007, presents a surveillance camera as it pans a public space, complete with ambient sound, projected where such a camera might be placed within our Pei galleries. Rain, 2008, is a mesmerizing depiction of the sights and sounds of raindrops hitting a hard surface during a downpour. Pacific Sun, 2012, Demand’s latest work, is a tour de force. He bases this video on YouTube footage taken in the bar of the cruise ship, Pacific Sun, during a violent storm off the coast of New Zealand in 2008. Using stop-motion animation, the two-minute video depicts chairs and tables, along with a bowl of lemons and the bar’s cash register, violently shifting from side to side as the ship rocks in the waves.

The Art Center produced a major catalog with an essay by Michael Fried, J.R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities and the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University, and writer Bruce Sterling to accompany this exhibition, organized by Director Jeff Fleming.

10.30.2012: Rice Does Okay!

If you haven't heard yet, it's time to text some kudos to CCDC alum "Brown Rice"! She recently auditioned for a prestigious university dance program and was accepted...with a scholarship worth thousands of dollars! Hundreds auditioned, but, she was one of a handful of dancers who performed a solo en pointe and all her "placement-based" technical training here at CCDC must've made the difference. Of the hundreds that auditioned, only a fraction were accepted, so her achievement (acceptance and scholarship) is something to be celebrated! Hats off to "Brown Rice"! Merde for your new opportunity!o) Hopefully her accomplishment will serve as incentive for other CCDC dancers who are considering dancing beyond high school!

10.29.2012: Media Monday

Things are getting interesting on the best-produced dance competition on television:
Week the fifth

"Guilty Pleasures" Week! How ironic my guilty pleasure features guilty pleasures this week!o) Hmm...the debate shortened episode. Ambulance in package preview...not good sign!o( Team Freestyle...thigh pads and cheerleader outfits

Kelly and Val: Samba. Great theme to the words of the dance. Samba rolls. wonder how good she could be if she didn't have that other full-time gig? Not bad. Could've used a little bit more rehearsal and commitment. Judges lukewarm. Predicting 7.5s...Scores? 8, 8, 8.5 = 24.5 "Have fun!" Great advice from any choreographer to his dancers!

Giles/Peta: Another viewer advised me to watch for Peta's lines in this piece. Rhumba, dance of love to Whitney Houston. Both of them have great lines. And, yes, Murgatroyd knows how to show classical lines in this piece. What a great memorable song, Hard to choreograph wrong...just avoid too cheesy! Excellent job! That's why he's on top of the leaderboard. Judge's effusive! Carrie Anne gets so carried away she falls off of her chair! Oh, help me! Says Bruno! Looks like tens...10, 9.5, 10 = 29.5!

Kirstie/Max: Quickstep. Cougar's dream. Boy, frustration as recent as the day before performances...she's showing her weaknesses. Max blows her a kiss before the music starts. Trying to instill some confidence. Routine seems a little basic. Did he simplify the routine to cut her stress level? Seems like a safe, if non exciting piece. Pedantic. Dare I Say BORING? Wake me when this segment is over! Audience of ladies living vicariously through Kristie gives her a standing O. Judges are more reassuring. I'd give her sevens. But, it sounds like judges will be more generous: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5 = 25.5. Kirstie starts crying

Emmit/Cheryl: Samba. Good strategy to keep laughing through tough rehearsals! What iconic music. "At The Copa!" Emmit is singing along. The audience is on its feet clapping along! Great energy! Great smile! Great expressions! He makes me laugh he's so exuberant! Standing O! Give him my high scores of the night! (along with Gilles!o) Give him an 9.5 from me. Judges give him: 9.5, 9.5, 10 = 29! Highest scores of his competition!

Team Call Me Maybe Precision formations. Big toss and catch. now the couple solos. Big assisted aerial. Valdez from derek. Half valdez anyway.. Apolos lift doesn't quite lock out, but he covers. Girls popout of the lockerz. Great theme, excellent execution. WOW! Throw down the gauntlet! Give them a 9.5 from me. Have to save room for the other group to meet or exceed. Choreography has derek's fingerprints all over it. Judges loved it. 9.5, 10, 10 = 29.5!

Night Two:

Melisssa/Tony: Argentine Tango to Toxic. The frame and hold is foreign language to her. But Rycroft suffers from lingering injury. Second thoughts. Not the best upper body frame. legs are tentative. My favorite contestant is letting me down. Tango should be sharp and sensual. Feels a little under-rehearsed as well. Judges taking it easy on her because of the neck injury. I disagree with the favorable comments. I expect more from the well-trained and experienced former Bachelor contestant. Still love her smile, but what's with the wig? 9, 9, 9 = 27!

Shawn/Derek: The Iowa girl is hesitant to show some sensuality. She's getting acting lessons from Derek, What a good coach! Rhumba. Theme from Titanic. This song is everyone's guilty pleasure. She's stepping up...growing up from the teenager to a young woman in front of our eyes. Goose bumps. the movement, the emotion and the music are giving me goose bumps! Iconic disappearance at the end! Give them a ten! Great risk, great reward!!! Judges disagree! Marked down from the lift judge! Hmm, Len criticizes lack of content. Should be interesting 9, 8, 10 = 27. "Vulnerability can be strength" Derek's gonna MAKE Shawn win this thing

Apolo/Karina: Samba. Little slow getting into it. But, okay, there's the mirror-ball winner from before. Apolo great lines. Funky music, sexy samba steps!. And, Ono, he din't! He's a showmanship on sale on the funky ocean! Judges disagree again! I'd give him a 8.5. Real judges? 8.5, 9.5,9 + 27. Agree with Carrie Anne, He's been good, but he hasn't broken through to the upper echelon. Will he do it before he's eliminated?

Sabrina/Louie: Waltz. Louie trying to do the same coaching we saw Derek do on Shawn. Not just fast and furious...can Sabrina soften the exterior? Reveal the interior. Nice rise and fall. Nice outward and upward focus. good neck line! Smooth choreography. Clock strikes midnight and she flies up the stairs. Where a shoe has been pre set! Good, but, not her best effort! I'd give her a nine. Real paid judges: 10, 9.5, 9.5 = 29

Team Gangnam: Team Freestyle: Bringing the fun! Wow! unveiling rather odd costume choices Little wardrobe disrobe malfunction for Kirstie. WOw. Nice legs, Peta! ...and we all fall down! . I would give them 29 at most. Judges say they love the fun. 9, 9, 9 = 27

...Kelly and Val are on the bottom? Will voters punish them for their torrid on-screen grope-a-thon? Well, I put Shawn+Gilles in the "anointed" list. Lock for the finals! Put Kirstie in the "please put us out of her misery" list. Apolo+Kelly are also on the "soon-to-be-disappointed" compilation. Melissa, Sabrina + Emmit should fight it out to be in the finals. They'll go as far as their professional partners are able to out-choreograph the "ruff, tuff Derek Hough! That's how I see it right now. What about you? Email me your thoughts!

10.26.2012: Día De Los Muertos

The Latino equivalant of Halloween celebrated in the Capital City this weekend: (Price is right for starving dancers...who aren't in rehearsals!o)
The Art Center celebrates its 12th Annual Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) on Sunday, October 28 from 1 to 4 pm at 4700 Grand Avenue. To mark the 12th anniversary of the event, the Art Center will remember the lives of local Latinos who strengthened and protected the nation by serving in the Armed Forces. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Day of the Dead is a moving ritual that is playful, yet respectful of death, and ultimately affirms human life. It has been celebrated in parts of Latin America dating to pre-colonial Mesoamerican times. Families honor their ancestors and the recently deceased with commemorative altars (ofrendas), special foods, visits to grave sites, and other activities. During this festive time of year, it is believed that souls return this day to enjoy earthly pleasures.

Festivities at the Art Center will include live music by Mariachi Zapata, family art workshops inspired by Day of the Dead folk art traditions, a bilingual puppet show video, an interactive remembrance wall, and student performances and artwork. Day of the Dead art by children and adults will also be on view in the Adrienne & Charles Herbert Galleries. Traditional refreshments including pan de muertos (Day of the Dead bread) and Mexican hot chocolate will be offered. An authentic Mexican lunch will be available for purchase in the Art Center Restaurant.

Celebration Schedule of Events

1 – 4 pm: Music by Mariachi Zapata, Art Center lobby
1:40 pm: Musical procession with Military Honor Guard from lobby to Levitt Auditorium
2 & 3 pm: Presentation and Film, Levitt Auditorium 1 – 3:30 pm: Create objects for a Day of the Dead altar, Brennan Studio 1
1 – 3:30 pm: Calaveras Sonrientes/Smiling Skulls, Brennan Studio 2 & Principal East Studio 6
1 – 3:30 pm: Day of the Dead Performances and Artwork, Principal West Studio 5
1 – 3:30 pm: Bilingual Puppet Show Video, Lower Education/Levitt Auditorium Reception area Traditional Refreshments
1 – 3:30 pm: Day of the Dead bread and Mexican hot chocolate (FREE), courtyard
1 – 3:30 pm: Mexican lunch available for purchase, Art Center Restaurant
1 – 3:30 pm: Cash bar, courtyard
On Exhibit
Day of the Dead Artwork October 20 – November 11, Adrienne and Charles Herbert Galleries

Day of the Dead Altar October 28 – November 4, lobby

10.25.2012: Dance Gala

Support the CCDC alumni involved in this annual production starting tonight:
Dance Gala 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 8:00pm
Friday, October 26, 2012 - 8:00pm
Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 8:00pm
Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 2:00pm
Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 8:00pm
Friday, November 2, 2012 - 8:00pm
Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 8:00pm
Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 2:00pm
Space Place Theatre
Dance Gala 2012: Jennifer Muller's "Speeds," World Premieres, and More!

Jennifer Muller's signature piece "Speeds" was premiered by the Louis Falco Dance Company on May 22, 1974, at Alice Tully Hall in New York City and continues to be re–staged throughout the world. Now the legendary Ms. Muller has brought "Speeds" to Iowa City for Dance Gala 2012.

A graduate of Juilliard and an artistic force in dance for more than 40 years, Muller’s work has been seen on stage in 41 countries and on television in the United States, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Russia, Costa Rica, Australia, China, and Japan. With a history of notable collaborations, she has worked with such artists as Louis Falco, Keith Jarrett, Keith Haring, and Yoko Ono.

Muller, who has been in residence at the University of Iowa as an Ida Cordelia Beam Visiting Professor, describes some aspects of "Speeds": “Dance works at that time were often based on grand themes and historical figures—Othello, Clytemnestra, and the Emperor Jones—or alternatively, formal constructions choreographed to ‘serious’ composers such as Bach. And here came 'Speeds', an elaborate theme and variation that combined virtuosic dancing with a celebratory but casual atmosphere—emphasis on casual. The performers related to each other, not as dancers but as people: jaunty, romantic, competitive but, most often, cheerful, smiling to beat the band, at each other, and the audience. The music by Burt Alcantara was revolutionary—confusing in its mix of genres and composed on a self–constructed synthesizer. The piece was quirky, irreverent, even humorous.”

The UI restaging of "Speeds" combines the efforts of Muller, two members of her Jennifer Muller/The Works dance company, Jennifer Peters and Duane Gosa, Jr., UI Dance costume designer Margaret Wenk–Kuchlbauer, lighting designer Laurel Shoemaker, and elite UI dancers.

The Dance Gala 2012 program features:

–"Speeds", a restaging of Jennifer Muller’s 1974 modern classic

–"Bach Concerto Re–work for Nine Women," a reconstruction choreographed by faculty choreographer Deanna Carter

–"in three easy steps," a premiere by faculty choreographer Jennifer Kayle

–"Untitled Dance," a premiere by faculty choreographer Alan Sener

–"Beyond Anatomy," a premiere by faculty choreographer Charlotte Adams

–"Bajo los Puentes del Silencio – Under the Bridges of Silence," a premiere by faculty choreographer Eloy Barragan

–"Noiva," a premiere by faculty choreographer Armando Duarte

UI Dance faculty member Deanna Carter’s Bach Concerto Re–work for Nine Women is a reconstruction of her Gala 2005 premiere featuring the UI Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Eneldo Oliviera, featuring oboe soloist Mark Weiger and violinist Scott Conklin. Weiger has since passed away, and the reconstruction is dedicated to his memory. The original work was for three men and nine women and was performed at the Hancher Auditorium. Carter says, “I am revisiting ideas from my original work for this rework. I have approached it as a laboratory for my ballet students to apply what they are learning in class to the choreography.”

Seen at first through the eyes of the novice, Jennifer Kayle's "in three easy steps", takes its inspiration from the merengue and bachata music and dance forms of the Dominican Republic. This work revels in the exhilaration and the awkwardness of learning something new, and plays with the dynamics and chemistries that make social dance…"social."

Offering a musically–inspired focus, UI Dance faculty choreographer Alan Sener will premiere his “Untitled Dance,” which is inspired by composer Kevin Keller’s “Riding the Purple Twilight”, recorded by UI favorite JACK Quartet.

"Beyond Anatomy", a new work by Charlotte Adams, utilizes the science of the body to transform the stage into a visual anatomy lesson. Opening with a "lecture" on human anatomy, veering gleefully to talking and waltzing skeletons, and descending to bodies out of control, the piece, created to music ranging from Patti Page to Stephen Foster to Circus Contraption, ponders that we are more than the sum of our parts.

Bajo los Puentes del Silencio – Under the Bridges of Silence, the premiere by UI Dance faculty choreographer Eloy Barragan features American Sign Language and the songs “Falling Spaniels” by Rob Burger and “The Cause” by Avi Belleli. Belleli has been the lead vocalist and bass player of the Tel Aviv–based rock band Nikmat Hatraktor (Tractor's Revenge) since its formation in 1988. Lyrics for “The Cause” (translated from Hebrew) begin, “I must cry, but these are cruel tears…”

"Noiva," choreographed by Armando Duarte in collaboration with his cast, investigates rituals related to social engagements, particularly focusing on weddings. The theme is being investigated from different perspectives by the choreographer. The superb musical scores ranges from compositions created by J.S. Bach to David Lang.

...Get more info here.

10.23.2012: RxErcise

Another argument for taking CCDC dance classes...besides "The day you stop dancing is the day you start dying!o)...
Exercise May Trump Mental Activity in Protecting Against Brain Shrinkage

(Capital City News Service)– Exercising regularly in old age may better protect against brain shrinkage than engaging in mental or social activities, according to a new study. Research suggests that brain shrinkage may lead to problems with memory and thinking.

“People in their seventies who participated in more physical exercise, including walking several times a week, had less brain shrinkage and other signs of aging in the brain than those who were less physically active,” said study author Alan J. Gow. “On the other hand, our study showed no real benefit to participating in mentally and socially stimulating activities on brain size, as seen on MRI scans, over the three-year time frame.”

The group gave details about their exercise habits, ranging from moving only in connection with necessary household chores to keeping fit with heavy exercise or participating in competitive sports several times per week. They also reported their participation in social and mentally stimulating activities.

The study found that after three years, people who participated in more physical activity experienced less brain shrinkage than those who exercised minimally.

“Our results show that regularly exercising in old age is potentially important to protecting the brain as we age,” said Gow.

10.22.2012: DWT*** Dialogue

Back and forth over last week's DWT***:A*** episode:
"...I too was so glad to see Bristol go. Nice enough girl but no fire and not worthy of this competition..."

"...I notice your silence about my call for Kirstie's ouster (She being your fiesty home grrl and all!o) Who would you send home next?..."

"...Oh no I totally agree with you she should go next. I can appreciate her spunk but I prefer the strong dancers remain. After her I'd cut Emmet loose. He's starting to look repetitive to me. And while I like Kelly, I hate Val. I enjoy their dancing but their constant groping during rehearsals is getting old. The hint of a relationship is fun - making out on camera not fun!..."

"...I suspect voters might remember and punish Apolo because of Karina's slip-up. Remember that Helio was ejected after he stepped on Chelsea's dress. With most of the dancers at such a high level, one bad outing, as they say, may make them vulnerable. It all depends on the "guilty pleasures" session, tho'. Kelly's contemporary piece (last week) was a revelation to me. I don't care for the Chermokovskys either, but, I appreciate her actor's ability to transcend the steps to create a story. Emmit is also still able to surprise me as a big man dancing better than I expect. Still think Derek and Shawn are a tough, tough combination of good teacher/choreographer/mentor and hard-working athlete/performer! He's making her look even better this time than her last mirror-ball win! She's my leader based on the strength of their partnership. Also, still partial to the well trained Melissa. She will go as far as Tony is able to out-choreograph the "ruff, tuff Derek Hough"! Ya think?..."

"...My money is on Shawn. I also like Melissa and have always enjoyed Tony. But from my non-dance background, Derek's chorography is a cut above the rest. And unlike the young ladies in the audience I do not find Derek attractive. But he's just so damn good..."

"...BTW, is it funny, ironic or coincidental that DWT*****, my 'guilty pleasure', is featuring a segment on 'guilty pleasures' this week?..."

...ABTW how cool was it to see the segments DWT****recorded in the Capital City last week? That Mikayla Maroney should be on the next season she's eligible for DWT***!o) Put her on the list of possibles along with Nastia Liukin and the rest of the Furious Five!

10.22.2012: Media Monday

Some eminently watchable routines in the last DWT*****! AND! America finally gets its right in the "eject" voting:
DWT****: A*****
Week The Fourth

Dancing the dances selected by their opposition...And! Paula Abdul in 'da HOOOOW-ZE!!! Will another former champ bite the dust again? Wow!, Paula got some deltz! My Grrl works out!

Kirstie/Max: The Charleston. Kirstie jumps...okay. clambers out of a giant cake. Mad Max as the mad Cake decorator. 42nd Street. Great music at least. Dancing, not so much. Good performance if nothing else. What happened to the cartwheel? Did I miss it? Not sure Max will ever have a championship run. Not a good enough choreographer, teacher or coach. Judges and audience are totally on board, but, think scores aren't going to be very good. 7.5, 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 = 30.0

Bristol/Mark: Rock 'n' Roll. Don't be a joke! Don't dress up in an animal costume. Don't dumb down the routine! At least, Mark's not in a bunny costume. "At The Hop" She's too straight up and down. Okay, showing a little personality. Not an all-star personality, but, better for her. She's showing a lot more energy and attack...for her. And, then, she fails to deliver ... Better... for her. What a careful drop at the end...mixed bag for Bristol. what a lackluster interview as well! No wonder she can't unleash her personality on the dancefloor...SHE DOESN'T HAVE ONE! 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32

Sabrina/Louie: Disco. Have a feeling all that cover-up she's starting off in will be coming off soon. Okay! Louis lived through the seventies. Looking forward to some authentic club dancing. Okay, there goes the cover up. there's a lift that was invented after the seventies. lighted dance floor ...sparkly gold costumes. They're taking the lifts up past what they did back in the disco era itself, while remaining true to the spirit of the era!. Dang! Almost a drop at the end. But. he's stronger than he looks and saves the suicide drop. Audience LOVES it! I loved it a lot myself! Remind me of my clubbing daze! Big disagreements among the judges. Takes Len back to his club daze as well! (Tweet mentions 1970...but, disco was around for only a year: 1978!) 9, 9, 8.5, 9 = 35.5

Emmit/Cheryl: The Bolero. Cheryl learns and teaches bolero. Brings in some experts to help. He complains about too much information. Emmitt is a competitor and a hard worker. Listen to your daughter, Cowboy! His presence is remarkable. easy lift to start and then straight into another. He's such a man when he dances. He's a better performer than he gives himslef credit for. Very smooth, elegant and manly. Strong attack. Powerful lifts. and the boy can move his hips! Decent lines. He may be a Ford 150, but, that old rig can still roll! Judges are favorable: "sexy beast!" says Paula. Bruno's a bit creepy with his "Fleshy flavor" praise!o) 9, 9, 9, 9 = 36 Highest scores of the night! Shout out to his daughter! That was so much better than I thought it would be!

Gilles/Peta: Bollywooood, Baby! She brings in an expert. He says he wants the hard version! Good for him! She choreographs with help from the experts. Frustration is evident in the video package. Let's see what they can bring to the dance floor. start in silhouette. Jai Ho. Something always very energetic about his performance. His inside barrel turns are a little weak. The partners always look good together, But the content seems a little lackadaisical. He's giving it a great attempt. Hope he's not injured. Crowd loves it. I think they're happy they survived. Looks of relief on their faces. Audience ate it up! The advantage is the Judges aren't experts at Bollywood either. Bruno writhes as Paula propositions Gille. Judges universally praise the performance. Great risk, great reward? 10, 9.5, 10, 10! = 39.5! First tens of the season

Melissa/Tony: Jitterbug. They're targeting Shawn! Hard to compete with a gold medal Olympic gymnast who's been training all her life. Classic soda jerk costumes straight out of the fifties! Juke box and soda fountain start. starts with jumps and flip. She's a performer as well. Big lifts! Tony follows throughon his promise to push her and not hold back. they cover up a little mishandling. Think the ending could've been stronger. Don't just collapse on the soda fountain. "Amazing dancer!" "Glitter bug!" say the Judges. Go big or go home! again great risk great reward: 9, 9, 9.5, 9.5 = 37!

Shawn/Derek: The mambo. Big bongos. The gauntlet has been thrown. how does Hough/Johnson respond. She's gonna get some tens. this is fast and furious on the dance floor. the audience is already on its feet and clapping along. Shawn is no slouch as a performer either. GREAT Freeze in the middle of the routine! Gauntlet picked up and slapped in Melissa/Tony's face! Not just tricks say the judges: But, the dancing , speed and attack! Rhythm and timing. First forty of the season? Out of Shawn's comfort zone rewarded with 10, 9.5, 10, 10 = 39.5

Apolo/Karina: Hip hop...need to have Smirnoff get ghetto help. Bring up Signature swag. Expectations are high for the gold medal speed skater. ""Feel like a faker!" Wow. starts off with some old school. Hip Pop! Ooh she slips and falls. they try to cover up, but, she's clearly shaken for a pro. Lost her footing in the fan kick. can't blame it on the heels. she's got flat thigh high boots on. Her pride is injured! Judges try to soothe her ego. If you never fall, you've never pushed yourself enough. It's not If, it's what happens WHEN you fall. But, she wasn't very professional about covering it up. 8.5, 9, 8.5, 8.5 = 34.5

Kelly/Val: Contemporary. Val is drawing on her dramatic ability. Can she deliver on the dance floor. Nice. She's easy to lift, easy to like. Trusts her partner implicitly. The story of a relationship disintegrating through no one's fault. Wow. some tough lifts! That's all him lifting her from the floor to overhead. Powerful, emotional piece. "Biggest revelation of the season." Broken toe wasn't a barrier. "Be proud, my darling!" "You laid your heart out on the dance floor" Val carries her up the stairs to care for her injury. 9, 9.5, 9.5, 9.5 = 37.5

...So, it turns out the bottom two are my bottom two: Bristol and Kirstie. Is American finally paying attention to the dancing and not the personalities? Or in the case of Bristol...the lack of a performer's personality? Say goodbye to Sarah Palin's daughter, she rode the coattails of her famous mom as someone "off the street". She did well...for her. But, she's no star on an All-Star competition., let's vote for anyone besides Kirstie!o)

10.18.2012: Forsooth! Forsythe!

Insights from a BB ballerina on performing Forsythe, courtesy Pointe Magazine:
Boston Ballet's fall program features the return of William Forsythe's The Second Detail, which the company danced for the first time last year. Pointe's e-news talked with soloist Whitney Jensen about tackling the popular ballet.

Does the Forsythe style come naturally to you?

"I've done a lot of contemporary work, but The Second Detail was my first experience with Forsythe, so it's definitely something I've had to work on. Jill Johnson, who set the ballet on us, said the key was not to throw anything away--to hit all the classical lines, even though the style appears very relaxed. She also pointed out that every movement is a lengthening movement. Nothing is short--everything's bigger and longer and out of yourself, out of the socket."

What's most challenging about your part in Second Detail?

"I'm basically dancing for the entire ballet. There's one bit where I'm sitting on a stool, but otherwise, I'm going and going! I also have an improv moment that I like to experiment with. Sometimes I'll incorporate parts of my solo or a group dance. Sometimes I'll pick out steps that other people do in the piece, things I like, and re-use them. But I try to make it different every time."

How has your interpretation grown and changed since you first performed the ballet?

"It's been easier this time around because I've figured out how to pace myself. I've found moments in the choreography where I don't have to go all-out. It's hard, because the music is telling you to make everything strong and bold. But I've discovered that sometimes using a little less energy actually lets your body move bigger--it frees you up."

Why do you think audiences love Forsythe ballets?

"They have an amazing energy--there's this sense of community onstage. Jill told us be generous, to remember that we're essentially an ensemble of principals working together. I think audiences really respond to that."

10.17.2012: Dance Feast In 'da East!

CCDC Alum GitUrFaShawn checks in with this update from the institution lovingly referred to as Party Hearty You!
"Hey! Just some more updates from Iowa City.

Dance Gala is coming up next weekend - get your tickets soon! I have a slightly bigger part in one of the pieces in the shows on October 25 and 27 and November 2 and 4, so I recommend going to those shows, personally. Here's the event on Facebook for more information.

In other news, my friend Andy Thierauf's percussion recital is on Friday, November 9th at 7:30 PM at Riverside Recital Hall in Iowa City. Two of my choreographic works will be shown - one even features (Natasha's Niece) and me! I made a short teaser video of my pieces... Enjoy.

Everyone should check them both out! Lots of fun here over here at the University of Iowa!..."

10.16.2012: Remembering Ming!o)

Aaaah! Does anyone else miss CCDC's Mmmadd Skyllz??? Here's an update from the Sunshine State:
Dearest Bunheads~

I'm so sorry I haven't been very informative lately. It has been a busy past couple of weeks for me, but I am sure it has been for all of you as well! Right now, we are still rehearsing for our upcoming show of carnival of the animals in which I am a dragonfly, butterfly, and city scene person for. It seems as though I am always catching the eye of our rehersal mistress in class and rehersal...which is a bad and a good thing. It keeps me on my feet and provides me with a work ethic to achieve nothing less than excellence. Some nights its tough to take everything and the corrections feel like insults, but thats when i take a step back and just dance it off :) I love the warm weather but I miss wearing all of my famous sweaters and watching the leaves fall. I also miss all of you at CCDC so much and I want to award all of you with how welcoming of an atmosphere you always provide for new students, that is definitely not the way it is around here!

I am also taking jazz classes which have continued to try and get me out of my comfort zone and shake things up. They have an incredible jazz program here and I am really excited to continure with classes and strive to incorporate the free spirit of it into my ballet. Along with all these classes and rehersals i have been rehearsing for Tea in the company's Nutcracker. I love my rehearsal director, his corrections and energy have been really helpful, even though I am one of the alternates because of my height. Speaking of which....everyone here is short!

Hope everything is going well for everyone back at CCDC and those of you doing Nutcracker, I wish you amazing luck in your rehersals and performances! Always let your passion shine through you:)

Miss and love you all,
(Mmmadd Skyllz) <3

10.15.2012: Media Monday

Finally! A hectic weekend that still allows me to catch up on some of the dance in the DVR:
Week Three:

The double-elimination week, the Night of Suprisez. Thought the rescue factor would help Drew in the battle between popular and prowess...But, I was wrong! The iconic routines revisited. (Will try to do more personal reaction versus recounting the replay)

Drew and Anna: From Season one, Joey del Grasso routine. Concert and pyro? B-boy in cha cha? Needs to work on his shoulders and upper body presentation still. Like the production values, but, looking for more substance than style points. The b-boyin' needed a little help IMHO. Thought it was a little underwhelming. Judges liked it: 8, 8, 8...24 highest score of the season for him.

Gilles/Peta: Marinni goes up in wires for iconic dance week. Redoing Erin Andrews and Max tango. Gilles wants to fly. Gilles fingerprints are all over this concept. Flies in.. sweet dreams. Such intensity. This is shaping up to be a memorable dance. Good attack. Sizzling slow then fast. Just when it gets too slow it starts to pick up! She throws him on the bed at the end. He wakens as if from a liquid dream. That was impressive! Very theatrical. Judges praise the production, but, question some of the tango technique: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5 = 25.5

Melissa/Tony remake J.R. Martinez routine. Love her go for it attitude! Samba Tricky partnering to Miami Sound Machine classic. Samba rolls. So far not anything we haven't seen before. Done well...but. where's the pushing the boundaries? Building to a surprise ending? Well, They didn't do the flip they were practicing. Judges like it better than I did: Sounds like nines 9, 9, 9 = 27...highest scores of the SEASON.

Apolo/Karina: redoing Gilles foxtrot. Emulate his sexiness. The Pygmalion myth come to life. Good lines are sublime. Stepping out of his good boy image. Such strong technique. He's strong yet gentle, forceful, but controlled. The boy has become man. Judges: 9, 8, 8.5 (25.2) Highest score of his again!

Kelly and Val: She's in it to win it. Redo Max and Leila's Paso Doble. Inciting a little fraternal rivalry. Big red cape. putting on the bolero and the "traje' de luz". strong and forceful as well. theatrical without being cheesy. Latin flair and attack. Needs to keep her shoulders down. Hit those accents harder. Almost loses her spot in the turns. Looks a little dizzy. losing a little of the attack. An uneven production, but the audience is galvanized. She just went from dark horse to contender! Judges scores: 9, 9, 9 (27)...ties for top score of the season.

Guest judge next week: Paula Abdul! Her dance credentials are impeccable!

Kirstie and Max: Be fearless! Wants to redo Carson Presley's iconic Moves like jagger. Okay, this is entertaining. Those pants are tight. Max is getting into character. Don't even notice Kirstie. Maybe that's good. Okay now she dances like Jagger! She collapses to floor after the final kiss. Lotta fun if nothing else. Audience is cracking up! As are the judges. Max was channeling his inner Carson channeling his inner Jagger! 8, 8, 8 + 24. Everyone's getting their highest scores of the season!

Sabrina/Louis: Redoing Max and Mel B's Paso Doble. Strong presentation. She is focused on redeeming her early exit. forceful presentation. Good lines. S and M undertones. Audience is on its feet. Luke warm reaction from Carrie Ann: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5 25.5

Emmit/Cheryl: What's this? Livestock on stage? Redoing his old rival Mario Lopez's iconic dance. Emmit does what he does well, but, challenged to step out of his comfort zone. Swirling capes at a southwestern cantina. Smith and partner in old gold and black. Seems like he's stepping up a bit. But, have we hit Emmit's ceiling? Does he have more to give? Or will he be the first to be eliminated? Did love his long slide to stage right! Audience loved it as well. Judges praise his presence, but, need more finesse and shoulders down. Scores: 8.5, 8, 8.5 = 25

Helio/Chelsie: Quickstep...will the rebound factor help the Racecar driver? Sharp zoot-suit with pinstripes and saddle shoes. Still got that great smile!. Maybe horizontal stripes not good for Chelsie. Up the stairs without problems... down again. Little bobble on the step over. Stepped on her dress. Little too long? Judge praises joy, but, went downhill after the mishap. Hard for even professionals to cover up a faux pas...amateurs don't have the experience. Scores: 8.5, 8.5, 8.5 = 25.5

Bristol/Mark: Paso Doble. Chess pieces on a checkerboard floor. despite the video pack highlighting missed rehearsals and a flare-up of tension, they start off well. She's doing well for...her....Oh! ends with regicide and mark lying in a pool of blood. Blood on the dancefloor! 7.5, 7.5, 7.5 = 22.5

Shawn/Derek: redoing Helio's quickstep. minitramp entrance. back up brass dancers. Showing flexibility with side by side splits. Big air with shawn on a supported series of jimps. Ends with suicide dives off the stairs! Audience on their feet. Two out of three judges on their feet! High praise from the judges! "Best dance ever"...despite breaking the rules. Deducting points, 9, 8, 9.5 = 26.5.

...So, three good dancers are riding off into the sunset...and two remain who prove the power of popularity to trump good dancing. That's what so frustrating and, I guess, so appealing about this competition. Still put Bristol and Kirstie on my "Eliminate First" list! Everyone else should stay in this heavyweight battle royale!o) Wonder if they can factor in a surprise re-entry for at least one of the two former winners?

10.12.2012: Free Friday Films

Price is right for starving dancers...and dates! ...(Once you're done with your CCDC ballet classes, of course!o):
The final Free Flicks movie of the year will be the first of its kind! Join DsM Park and Recreation as we show “American Graffiti” on the big screen at Cownie Soccer Complex (2600 E Hartford) October 12, starting at 7:30pm. Enjoy the movie from the comfort of your vehicle as the sound will be piped in through the radio. Concessions will be available for purchase. Parking spots are limited, so get there early to be guaranteed a spot.

10.11.2012: There's An App For That

FINALLY! If you have an iPod, iPad, iTouch or iPhone, this blog post is for you. (I haven't been able to find a similar Android offer yet.) I downloaded a free app called "AppsGoneFree" a week or so ago. Everyday it tells me about paid apps that are being offered for free for a limited time. (And, if you know me, you know I LOVE a deal!) Well, that paid off big time for the dance teacher/choreographer in me! An app called "Jam Player" is/was being offered for free, normally $3.99. It's originally designed for musicians to slow down and analyze riffs in their music. But, what it does for me is act as pitch or speed control for any ballet song I'm using for class or choreographing. So, all the ballet music I have can be played back as much as one-hundred-percent slower or faster than originally recorded! That means I can hook up my iPad (possible iTouch) to my stereo equipment, select a tune from my library and play it back for class and fine-tune the speed to the ability of the dancers. So far, I haven't been able to download it to anything but my iPad, but, if your iPod supports apps, you might wanna head to iTunes Store and search for "Jam Player". I know there are several other apps (including one offered by CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Instructor Michael Levine) that do the same thing. But, the "Jam Player's" interface is simple, loading songs is simple...and you can even loop sections of the music you want to repeat. AND! Right now, the price is right for starving dancers! I think you can download the app to your laptop and it should be able to work there as well. So, there you go. "Jam Player". Go save yourself four-bucks before the offer expires.

10.10.2012: When Worlds Collide

Intersection of dance and gymnastics stars and all-stars in the Capital City this weekend:
Better Than TV: See Shawn Dance in DSM
ABC5 News Team

Four-time 2008 Olympic-medalist Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines, Iowa, and Dancing with the Stars dance partner Derek Hough will be special guests at the Kellogg's® Tour of Gymnastics Champions on Oct. 12 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. At the show, hometown hero Johnson and her DWTS dance partner will join in on the action with one of the show's many choreographed numbers.

"I am so proud of what our team did in London this past summer, and excited to be a part of their post-Olympic celebration in Des Moines," said Johnson, who won the DWTS Mirror Ball trophy in 2009. "Derek and I are so thankful for the support we are receiving on ‘Dancing with the Stars' and excited to be involved in the Kellogg's Tour stop in my hometown. It is going to be a lot of fun."

Johnson, who won balance beam gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, has advanced to the third round of the DWTS all-star show with partner Hough. This Friday's Des Moines show will be the duo's second appearance at the 2012 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.

Tickets for the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions at Wells Fargo Arena this Friday may be purchased through, at any area Dahl's Foods location, by phone at 866-55-DAHLS or at the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office. Ticket prices range from $27-$202. Platinum and Gold VIP Packages are available and include special athlete access and a commemorative gold medal. For a complete cast roster for the Kellogg's Tour, visit

The star-studded cast of the Kellogg's Tour features: members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, which includes members of the women's 2012 Olympic gold-medal team (Gabrielle Douglas, Alexandra Raisman, Jordyn Wieber), JakeDalton, Jonathan Horton, Steven Gluckstein, John Orozco, Savannah Vinsant and Julie Zetlin; 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin, and 2008 Olympic silver medalists Chellsie Memmel and Alicia Sacramone; and World medalists Kristin Allen, Rebecca Bross, Steven Legendre, Alex Naddour, Michael Rodrigues, Sabrina Vega and Brandon Wynn. Due to athletes' schedules and personal commitments, the cast will vary from stop to stop. 1996 Olympian John Macready and 2004 Olympian Mary Sanders are also part of the Kellogg's Tour. The cast of gymnastics champions will be joined by local gymnasts at each tour stop.

10.09.2012: Sunscreen Is Our Friend!o)

CCDC alum "Fried Rice" may be gone (pursuing her performing career)...but, she's not forgotten. We post this in her (And, Sasher's soon to be wrinkly!o) honor as Winter Formal season approaches!o)
Tanning Beds Linked to Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

(CCDC News Service) — Indoor tanning beds can cause non-melanoma skin cancer – and the risk is greater the earlier one starts tanning.

Indoor tanning is already an established risk factor for malignant melanoma, the less common but deadliest form of skin cancer. Now, the new study confirms that indoor tanning significantly increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers, the most common human skin cancers.

In the most extensive examination of published findings on the subject, the researchers estimate that indoor tanning is responsible for more than 170,000 new cases annually of non-melanoma skin cancers in the United States – and many more worldwide.

Young people who patronize tanning salons before age 25 have a significantly higher risk of developing basal cell carcinomas compared to those who never use the popular tanning booths, the researchers reported.

“The numbers are striking – hundreds of thousands of cancers each year are attributed to tanning beds,’’ said dermatologist Eleni Linos, MD. “This creates a huge opportunity for cancer prevention.’’

The popularity of indoor tanning in the United States first began in the 1970s, and now millions of people annually patronize tanning salons. The National Cancer Institute and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 reported that 5.6 percent of the American public used indoor tanning during the prior year, with higher rates among women, whites, and young adults.

Currently, there are some 19,000 indoor tanning businesses, according to an industry trade organization.

The World Health Organization has said that ultraviolet tanning devices cause cancer in people and the International Agency for Research on Cancer considers indoor tanning a “Class 1’’ carcinogen. Government officials in the U.S. and abroad are increasingly restricting and regulating tanning facilities.

The new study adds to the mounting evidence on the harms of indoor tanning, showing significant elevated risk of the most common forms of skin cancer.

“Australia and Europe have already led the way in banning tanning beds for children and teenagers, and Brazil has completely banned tanning beds for all ages,’’ Linos said. “I hope that our study supports policy and public health campaigns to limit this carcinogen in the United States.’’

10.08.2012: Me in Media Monday

Finally had a chance to jot down some impressions from last week's performance episode:
Week Two

Jive with Melissa Rycroft/Tony Dovolani:. What a performer! She can sell a song with her dancing! Redeems her jive after three years away from the dance floor. But, choreography seems to be lacking something to me. Okay here, comes the sizzle! The lead-off position is the weakest vote getter though. "Excellent" says Bruno. Flat-footed. Len tells him to shut up! Carrie Ann says "you were made to jive". And, praises the choreography. 8 8 7.5

Bristol Palin/Mark Ballas, quick step: Red-neck woman. Starts off tentative but she's got a little more attack than last time she competed. Helps that she likes this song. Is breaking hold allowed in quick step? Hmm, Len may not like the theatrical ending. "Quickstep gang-nam style! But, frame not good", according to Bruno. Bristol has come so far says Carrie. Can't break hold! Will be penalized. 6 6 6

Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower: do the jive: This guy sells personality plus! Sharp flicks and kicks. Wow, he has so much fun on the floor. Can't help but have a good time watching him. Charming dance says Carrie. "Style with a smile" says Len. "Joy, fun and entertainment." "Fabulous". "Delicious treat of a jive". 8 7.5 7.5

Apolo Ohno, Karina Smirnoff...Needs frame work. Fabulous hyperextended top line in his upper body. Ooh, he's putting the quick into quickstep isn't her! Clean, lean dancing machine! Footwork gets applause from knowledgeable audience. Yeah! He's keeping up with the professional. Quick, sharp, strong frame now! GOLD MEDAL says Len. Speed with control! Determination, focus and hardwork pays off says Bruno. "Wonderful! Truly driving the dance!" says Carrie Ann. 8.5 8 8 New leader in the clubhouse.

Sabrina Bryant, Louis Van Amstel: Good neck, Classic ballroom frame...Black Betty? She's selling this performance, isn't she! Dancing with her eyes and a sly sidelong glance! Whoa! Black Betty! He made sure he had her on that last drop pose. Bruno calls her Ginger Rogers. "A Dazzler". Carrie says it was "ridiculous" Incredible lines" Awesome! Len says "the hits just keeps on coming" "Well done" says Len. 9 8.5 8.5 New leader. First nine of season.

Kirstie Allie/Maxim Chermokovsky in Jive: Not expecting much, but she starts off with some promise. Dressed in a costume that dances! She can still sell a performance, can't she? Ages is just a number. "Flirty, dirty, Kirstie" says Len. "Great Improvement" says Len. Bruno says "get paid first". Bruno says she played it beautifully. Kirsty says she's just trying to be herself! Good strategy! 7 7 7

Emmit Smith/Cheryl Burke, dancing quick step. DANG! This guy has some sweet moves. Still needs work on holding a stronger frame. Speed on kicks lacking. But, when he takes off, there ain't no stopping him. So strong and smooth. I think he's better than he was last time! Cool cat says Len! He criticizes a little lack of technique. Emmit gets called out by Carrie Ann! "Step it up, all-star!" 7.5 7.5 7.5

Drew Lachey, Anna Trebunskaya, jive: Needs to work on extending his line. Doesn't come naturally to him or other shorter dancers. Good attack, but, lacking finesse. Rock and roll jive! Crowd pleaser...and Bruno likes it. Must be the guy-liner! Criticizes the flat-footed placement. "Welcome home" says Carrie Ann. Len echoes the criticism, but, says "Bottom two Drew...not this week!" 7.5 7.5 7.5

Joey Fatone/Kym Johnson, Quickstep: Fatone as Chaplin? Funny choreography...odd lyrics, odd story. "Fantastic performance!" Len says, "really enjoyed it". Bruno says he was an entertainer, lady and the tramp. Work on the technique! Eliminate the mistakes! 7.5 7.5 7.5

Shawn Johnson/Derek Hough, Jive from Hairspray, She's stepping up. Derek is pushing her! Fun piece. Sophisticated steps. Hot routine! "Vibrant, exhilirating, eye popping!" say judges. Synchronicity was amazing. Carrie Ann calls them the all-star sweethearts. 8.5 8 8.5

Kelly Monaco, Valentin Chermokovsky, acting the dance as the princess in pink in this number to the quickstep piece. Nice layout at the ending. Pretty in pink! Bruno asks for better upper frame and top-line. Carrie asks for longer lines, must dance bigger, longer. Less hunchy-crunch stuff says Len. 7.5 7 7.5

Gilles Marini, Peta Murgatroyd: Dancing through hamstring injury. Jive. Ow! Suffering sympathy pain as Gilles pushes the limits in a passionate performance. Not compromising any movement at all. Carrie praises kicks and flicks. Compares him to Travolta. Dynamic says Len. Bruno says "let the good times roll! 8.5 8.5 8.5

...Still haven't watched last week's results show, but, I'm thinking Kirstie and Bristol belong on the "Soon2BDisapppointed" list. They don't have the dance chops to keep up with the rest of the all-starz! Perhaps more commentary later!o)

10.05.2012: CCDC Alumni Update

This is what CCDC alum and current professional dancer Katya W00tang is rehearsing currently:
Minnesota Ballet Presents Dracula

Friday, October 19, 2012: 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 20, 2012: 7 p.m.
DECC Symphony Hall

Descend to the darkest of magic and mystery in the Minnesota Ballet's chilling production of Dracula, following the grand tradition of Bram Stoker's Gothic tale of compulsion, suspense, seduction, and love. Thrill to the magical powers of the vampire-count, who leaves his castle in Transylvania to travel to England in search of new victims, and to mortals who struggle to overcome the mysterious blood-lust beings.

"A bloody good time" -- Duluth News Tribune
Buy Dracula tickets online!
...So, don't be surprised if Katerina starts texting "Ivan 2 duh-link you blood!" to you nowadays!

10.04.2012: Media Monday "Backlash"

Here's some feedback from fellow followers of DWT***A***:
"...I agree America got it right last week sending Pamela Anderson home. She wasn't dancing on the same level as the rest of group. Sadly America got it wrong this week and we will be far less entertained this season because of it. I won't say more as not to ruin it for you.

I also agree that while Emmet is fun he was not as good as Mario or Stacey and I can't figure why neither of them is back unless it was because they were too busy with "Extra" hosting duties and being George's arm candy.

Otherwise I'm pretty happy with the compilation..."

...Here's more:
"...So let me just say the Placido & Katherine performance last night was a five compared to the TEN I give Nicole Kidman & Ewan McGregor for their performance of “Come What May” in Moulin Rouge..."
...What do you think? Feedback always welcome! (Just remember, we're so busy dancing, teaching, rehearsing and choreographing during the week that we time-shift the show to the weekend. So, please don't spoil it for us!o)

10.03.2012: Performance Posting

Local modern company headed up by CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Instructor Kathleen Hurley will be performing this weekend. If you look closely, you may notice another shy and humble CCDC faculty member also listed in the cast:

Sunday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m.

Hurley & Dancers performs “American Masters: Hurley & Dancers” in the Westminster Fine Arts Series on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4114 Allison Ave., with the sound of modern American music. Join us for the music of Michael Schelle, Steve Reich, William Grant-Still and Aaron Copeland and choreography by Kathleen Hurley. Free admission.

Performers include: Elizabeth Feirrera, Kathleen Hurley, Jennifer Lapp, Lana Lyddon Hatten, Paula McArthur...and...

***>>>ALISSA HAMER<<<***!!!

For more information, call (515) 274-1534 or click here.
...Download a poster here.

10.02.2012: Pronounced Dee Studio

Like street dance, b-boyin', breakin', poppin' or lockin'? Check out this email:
Dear Capital City Dance Center,

The ultimate Bboy competition is coming to YouTube! Starting Monday, October 1st, we're bringing you THE ARENA, with new Bboy battles every week until only one is left standing. Check out the trailer!

THE ARENA's judges are three of the world's most epic breakers: CRAZY LEGS, ASIA ONE, and ABSTRAK. It's hosted by Flipz and Angela Sun... and you'll meet the Bboys on Monday!!

Along with THE ARENA, next week is the start of new S2DIO CITY episodes, new MASTERCLASS routines, and the YouTube premiere of Season 2 of The LXD!

And have you been watching DS2DIO 360? It's our new series with co-hosts Stephen "tWitch" Boss (So You Think You Can Dance, Step Up Revolution) and Cameron Goodman (Wild 'n Out, 90210). 360 is a dance lifestyle guide that covers anything and everything dance!

Some episodes will feature up-and-coming dancers from around the country. Do you know someone who should be featured?? Tweet us ideas: @DS2DIO on Twitter.

With three new DS2DIO 360 episodes every week and new dance shows four times a week, make sure you're subscribed to DS2DIO on YouTube for all the updates: Subscribe!

Thank you for subscribing to our emails and being part of the DS2DIO movement - promoting dance and storytelling!

10.01.2012: Media Monday

Random thoughts from DWT*** All *** Edition, Week 1: Well, not very much disappointment to learn the first to be jettisoned from the show this season is actress Pam Anderson. The ingenue-turned-cougar has gotten long in the tooth and lost her bite. I remember thinking the former Baywatch star had turned into a caricature of herself as I watched her tentative turn on the dance floor. But, I was very surprised to learn that former season two mirror-ball winner was also one of the lowest vote-getters. Drew Lachey is still a good dancer, but, the level of technique on the show is at such an unusually high level that he could very well be the first former winner to hit the road. I hope not. I think that Kirstie and, perhaps, Bristol should be next up on the chopping block. I usually try to analyze the contestants based on my professional dancing, teaching and choreograping background. So, put those two on the "Soon2Bdisappointed" list. On the "Anointed" list: has to go "The Big Easy". I'd forgotten how much of a good mover Emmit Smith was and still is...his easy, lop-sided grin and macho, electric moves make him a real contender for the first winner to repeat. (But, I still think he wasn't as good as Mario or even Stacey Kiebler the year he won.) Put Gilles, Melissa, Apolo on the watch list as well. Local regional favorite Shawn Johnson goes on the Anointed list because of her secret weapon: Derek Hough. This may be Derek's last season according to blogosphere rumor, but, he has a proven ability to get the most out of his dancers and his choreography. The West Des Moines gymnast is nothing if not a hard worker, so, don't bet against that combination! (Now, if Melissa had the'd be interesting to see how he would use her obvious training!) But, what about Helio, Monaco, Joey or The Cheetah Girl? We'll have to see how Sabrina can do in the smoother styles, but, she is driven...perhaps TOO much to redeem herself from her surprising earlier exit. How about you? Any thoughts on DWT***-A***? E-mail me here!

09.28.2012: CCDC Alumni Survey Continues

GAAH! (Clutches chest. Back of hand to forehead.) She LIVES! She DANCES! She WRITES!oD...
  1. Who are you? Where are you? What are you doing? How much dancing or performing are you involved with? How many people in your classes or company?
    (This has to be better turn around than last year for me!!) Hi everyone, It’s (Katya W00tang!) I am currently a second year company member with the Minnesota Ballet and I’ve been dancing like crazy lately! We just had our first performances last weekend and they went really well. It was a variety of 5 very different pieces ranging from Modern to Classical to Neoclassical to Contemporary. It really showed off the new company well and showed how diverse we can be. There are 12 company members, 2 apprentices, and 1 trainee in the company this season!!
  2. Describe a typical day or week's schedule. What dance classes are you taking? How are the other dancers?
    Class is at 930 every morning and then it is on to rehearsal! Currently we are working on Dracula, which we perform in late October and I must say being scary is really fun. The other dancers are simply beautiful. This is definitely my favorite group thus far. We are all different but can dance well together which is a rare but wonderful thing.
  3. Done any auditions lately? Planning on any? How's the competition?
    No auditions and I have no idea what is going on past tomorrow. :)
  4. Seen any performances? Planning on seeing anything promising?
    No, sadly I haven’t seen anything. I wish there were other ballet performance opportunities here.
  5. What's the biggest difference in dance classes you take now from CCDC classes? Hardest adjustment you've had to make technically to where you are? Who are your teachers? Are they asking for something radically different?
    Biggest difference is corrections. Once you hit professional status correctons are few and far between. It is expected of you that you are capable of fixing things without being reminded. I constantly pretend I have a little Missy and Emery on my shoulders. Robert Gardner is my main teacher and also my Artistic Director. We have also had Nancy Gibson and Laura Goodman.
  6. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
    Still living in the same place with the same roommate, the lovely Molly Smith from Elk River, MN. We have very opposite schedules so we don’t get to see much of each other, which really stinks. She is great.
  7. Compare yourself to the other dancers? Weaknesses and strengths? What do they do better than you? What do you do better than them?
    The company is so different and there is a spark and energy this year that makes me keep pushing myself. They all have different qualities and traits that I am noticing and then trying to implement into my dancing. Some are just natural dancers, others have beautiful placed insane extension. There are also some nice feet this year. They boys all make me want to jump more. Turns are still my thing. I love pirouettes and fouettes more each day.
  8. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
    I have barely any downtime. Besides being at ballet all day, I then go and serve or bartend at a restaurant downtown in Duluth called the Zeitgeist Arts Café. But I love it there, they have become my family and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is such a nice outlet from the ballet world. I like having them be separate entities because it keeps my world in balance. If I do have any downtime, I’m doing homework or sleeping.
  9. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
    It really is possible. But don’t get comfortable. Everyday, prove yourself wrong. Prove that you can be better than yesterday. Also, some advice for my CCDCers back home, trust Missy and Emery. They know what they are doing and if you let them, they will make you into the best dancer you can be. I would not be here without them. It is all about the people in your life and your connections along the way. Have faith in yourself, in your dancing, but especially in your parents and teachers.
  10. What's your snail-mailing address?
    602 E.5th Street Apt 410
    Duluth, MN 55805
  11. Anything else we should know about?
    The Fall here is absolutely breathtaking. The view of Lake Superior right now is mesmerizing.
  12. Miss us at all? (Sniff!)
    I miss you all more than words can describe; so much love and appreciation for every single one of you. :)

09.27.2012: From Opera...To Ballet!

This ballet company hasn't been doing nothing since CCDC's Rapunzel was there this summer:
Michael Pink Celebrates 10th Anniversary with World Premiere of La Bohème
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What was once conveyed through voice and words is now told solely with movement...

Turning a world famous opera into a world-premiere ballet is a challenge only master storyteller Michael Pink could take on. This season also marks Mr. Pink-s 10th anniversary with Milwaukee Ballet, making him the longest serving Artistic Director, at the helm for a quarter of the organization-s existence. The storyline follows the romance of Rodolfo and Mimi falling in and out of love amid poverty in a tale as aching and rapturous as ever, all without the use of words. Puccini-s epic score is played live by the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra.

Pink-s production of La Bohème is unique in that this is one of the only times the story will be told as a full-length ballet. He sees it as a long-overdue adaptation of a beautiful love story. Pink has also added a fifth scene at the end of the second act that better describes an often omitted part of the story. The production is staged in 1950s bohemian Paris and comes to life through elaborate scenery and costumes, all being created in-house by Milwaukee Ballet.

Want an insider's look into the studio? See rehearsal photos on our Facebook page!

La Bohème runs October 18-21
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
Buy online, or call the Ballet's Box Office at (414) 902-2103.
Ask how you can save with our six flexible subscription packages.

09.26.2012: Dance Degree?

Dancing shouldn't stop just because you graduate from high school. Here's information that could guide you into a college dance-program of your dreams:
12/13 Dance Magazine College Guide

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09.25.2012: Putting 'USA' in 'Lausanne'

Thinking about competing in the 2013 Prix de Lausanne? Here's their latest update:
The Prix de Lausanne is happy to announce the names of the three choreographers who have generously offered their contemporary variations to the candidates of the 2013 competition: Didy Veldman, Goyo Montero and Jorma Elo. All three artists have well-established, international reputations.

In the coming months, filmed versions of the choreographers' works will be made available online to the 2013 candidates who will then select one of the variations for presentation in Lausanne.

Information and Registration for the 2013 Prix de Lausanne

During the week of the Prix, the candidates will receive training and advice from the choreographers or their assistants. The chance to work closely with a renowned choreographer is one of the hallmarks of the Prix de Lausanne, and an extremely rich and rewarding experience for the young dancers.

The talent and artistry of Didy Veldman, Goyo Montero and Jorma Elo will no doubt have a lasting impact on the candidates' personal style. The Prix de Lausanne is extremely grateful for their generous contribution to the success of the 2013 competition.

Registrations for 2013 Prix de Lausanne will be accepted until September 30th, 2012.

09.24.2012: Sculpture Symphonic Sounds

Arts a'brewin' in the Capital City:
(September 2012) — On Thursday, September 27, at 7 pm, Minnesota composer Steve Heitzeg will present a lecture at the DsM Art Center, which offers a musical preview of his new composition, Symphony in Sculpture, inspired by the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. A complimentary reception hosted by John and Mary Pappajohn is open to all guests immediately following the lecture in the Art Center lobby. The DsM Symphony’s 75th Anniversary Season will debut with the world premiere of the piece on September 29 and 30 at the Civic Center. The lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.*

Heitzeg has written more than 100 works in his career, garnering an Emmy Award as well as Bush and McKnight fellowships. His compositions have been performed by leading orchestras, ensembles, and ballet companies, and have served as the soundtrack for several documentaries, including PBS’ A Marriage: Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Heitzeg’s four-movement Symphony to the Prairie Farm was commissioned by the World Food Prize and premiered by the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra in 2002. According to Heitzeg, “My aspiration in ‘collaborating’ with the sculptures has been to portray them through sound, perhaps adding a further dimension to these intriguing works. Symphony in Sculpture is dedicated to John and Mary Pappajohn for their vision and deep understanding of the power of art to change a culture and a community in a positive way.”

The following sculptures inspired Heitzeg to compose the piece and create corresponding movements:

  1. MOONRISE. east. January., 2005 and MOONRISE. east. august. 2006. (Ugo Rondinone)
  2. Spider, 1997 (Louise Bourgeois)
  3. Back of a Snowman (White), 2002 and Back of a Snowman (Black), 2002 (Gary Hume)
  4. Ancient Forest, 2009 (Deborah Butterfield)
  5. Post-Balzac, 1990 (Judith Shea)
  6. T-8, 1985 (Mark di Suvero)
  7. White Ghost, 2010 (Yoshitomo Nara)
  8. Thinker on a Rock, 1997 (Barry Flanagan)
  9. Nomade, 2007 (Jaume Plensa)

The DsM Art Center, in partnership with the DsM Symphony, will also offer free drop-in tours in conjunction with this historic and monumental art and music collaboration on September 24, 26, and 28 from noon – 1 pm. These music and art-themed tours of the park will be led by Art Center docents and feature a DsM Symphony musician performing excerpts of the Heitzeg commission next to the sculptures that inspired them. All tours begin at the corner of 15th and Locust Streets next to the donor panel, and take place rain or shine.

09.21.2012: Mmmadd Skyllz Got Mad Skills!o)

Back to CCDC alumni updates!o):
  1. Who are you? Where are you? What are you doing? How much dancing or performing are you involved with? How many people in your classes or company?
    I am Miss (Mmmadd Skyllz) and I am currently living in Miami Beach, Florida (South beach). I am a student with Miami City Ballet School. I am dancing 6, sometimes 7 days a week; taking classes and having rehearsals. There are about 20 people in my level. We are preparing for a performance of Carnival of the Animals for late October and into early November. Also, I have started rehearsing Tea (Chinese) for the company’s Nutcracker in December.
  2. Describe a typical day or week's schedule. What dance classes are you taking? How are the other dancers?
    I wake up and go to my first technique class at 9:30 am, and I take technique for 2 hours. then have a pointe class, and then following that I have a morning rehearsal. Then, I have at 3pm, another technique class following another pointe class and rehearsal until about 8ish.
  3. Done any auditions lately? Planning on any? How's the competition?
    This is my first year here so everyday is like an audition :) There are a lot of passionate people here and the competition is very high and frequent.
  4. Seen any performances? Planning on seeing anything promising?
    As a student, we get FREE tickets to the company’s I am REALLY looking forward to the many to come!!!!
  5. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
    I live with three other girls. One does not speak English, while my other roommate is tri-lingual, so she is our translator! the other roommate is from Massachusetts and is 16, while the other two are from Mexico and Venezuela, and are 16 and 15.
  6. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
    I honestly haven’t had a lot of down time. Which stinks because I am in gorgeous South beach :(((( I mostly sleep and load on the ice and tiger balm!!!! Also, I have been trying to learn Spanish for my roommates and have been knitting when I can.
  7. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
    How to cast off in knitting!!! hahaha But honestly, to control my nerves...I have always been a nervous dancer and learning how to cope with the stress when I am away from home.
  8. What's your snail-mailing address?
    (Mmmadd Skyllz)
    2365 Pine Tree Drive
    Building 1, Rm: 117
    Miami Beach, Fl 33139
  9. Anything else we should know about?
    They really do give you parts like a tree or a rock! hahaha There are two trees in Carnival of the Animals:) Just saying....
  10. Miss us at all? (Sniff!)
    I miss you guys everyday! I miss the atmosphere there, and all of your spirits and smiles:) Please skype me or call or text whenever....I may not respond right away,but I will always call back!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09.20.2012: Film Festival

Your opportunity to catch two showings of an indie film fest. Price is right for "starving dancers"! FREE!o):
(Capital City News Service) — The DsM Art Center is honored to once again host the MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival—the world’s first global film festival—on Friday, September 28, 2012. Due to popular demand, a second viewing date of Friday, October 5 has been added, and is a repeat of the 9/28 program. The films begin at 6:30 pm and will run approximately two hours. This program is FREE and will be held in Levitt Auditorium. The films are not rated, but are intended for adult audiences.

Established in New York City in 1997, The MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival received more than 520 entries from 49 countries this year, with films from Norway, The Netherlands, Russia, England, Ireland, Peru, France, Romania, USA, and Spain making up the 10 finalists. Audiences from around the world will unite not only to view the films, but to vote on them as well. (Attendees at both the 9/28 and 10/5 Art Center viewing may vote.) MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival will announce the winner on Sunday, October 7 at 10 pm EST and the Art Center will also post the results at

According to Nicholas Mason, founding director of the festival “. . .unfailing enthusiasm for brilliant films and most of all the participation of the public throughout the world, have made MANHATTAN SHORT become what it is today. As one reporter called it, it is 'The World's most people powered Film Festival.’ That reporter got it right.”

The Finalists for 2012 are as follows. For more detailed information click here.

THE DEVIL’S BALLROOM, Henrik M. Dahlsbrakken, director, Norway 15:30 minutes On a perilous journey to the North Pole, an Arctic explorer makes a critical decision with lifelong consequences.

A CURIOUS CONJUNCTION OF COINCIDENCES, Joost Reijmers, director, The Netherlands, 8:34 minutes Bad luck connects three men together even though they live in different centuries.

WHERE DOES THE SEA FLOW,* Vitaly Soltykov, director, Russia, 14:00 minutes A mother comes to grips with a precocious young daughter and the violent circumstances of her birth.

TWO & TWO,** Babak Anvari, director, United Kingdom, 8:25 minutes In a school run by an authoritarian regime, a seemingly ridiculous decree becomes a syllabus for terror.

CLUCK, Michael Lavelle, director, Ireland, 18:57 minutes Feathers are ruffled at the orphanage when a new arrival threatens to upset the pecking order.

BEHIND THE MIRRORS, Julio O. Ramos, director, Peru, 12:10 minutes When one of the night's customers at a disreputable motel leaves an unexpected mess, the young manager sees an opportunity that may change his family's fortunes forever.

THE ELABORATE END OF ROBERT EBB, Clement Bolla, FX Goby, and Matthieu Landour, directors, France/United Kingdom, 12:50 minutes A monster terrorizes a town and induces collective hysteria with hilarious results.

SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN OR BATMAN, Tudor Giurgiu, director, Romania, 11:00 minutes Inspired by his favorite comic book heroes, a young boy tries to save the day.

'92 SKYBOX ALONZO MOURNING ROOKIE CARD, Todd Sklar, director, USA, 12:00 minutes Brothers Jim and Dave sort out their differences in extreme fashion when their father dies.

VOICE OVER, Martin Rosete, director, Spain, 9:50 minutes A series of life-threatening experiences pale in comparison to a situation that requires real courage.

09.19.2012: Note From Nikiya

Latest installment of "Wassup Wid 'da CCDC Gradz?":
  1. Who are you? Where are you? What are you doing? How much dancing or performing are you involved with? How many people in your classes or company?
    I am Sleeping Cutie/Dozing Kewtie/Nikiya/La Sonambula. I am in Saint Paul, MN at Macalester College. Right now I am sitting at a coffee shop avoiding doing my homework. Right now I'm not doing a lot of dancing because of my totally bananas schedule. But hopefully in a couple of weeks I will start a study of an Indian dance company in Minneapolis, with whom I will take some technique classes.
  2. Describe a typical day or week's schedule. What dance classes are you taking? How are the other dancers?
    I usually have a couple of classes a day. I also tutor math to kids and writing to college students. I frequent this coffee shop every day to do homework and other important bizness. I have been taking ballet a couple times a week at Macalester. To be honest, all but one of the other dancers were not well-trained, but they didn't come here to major in ballet. We're all just getting exercise and having a good time.
  3. Done any auditions lately? Planning on any? How's the competition?
    This Sunday I am planning on auditioning yet again for Bodacious, the campus hip hop group. This years my year, I just know it. I spent all summer accumulating swag, so how can they turn me down?
  4. Seen any performances? Planning on seeing anything promising?
    I get to see Billy Elliot as part of the freshman anthropology course I'm assisting with. The professor wants me to lead a discussion about the anthropology of ballet.
  5. What's the biggest difference in dance classes you take now from CCDC classes? Hardest adjustment you've had to make technically to where you are? Who are your teachers? Are they asking for something radically different?
    Biggest difference - they're easier. But I still hurt after because I'm not in the shape I was at CCDC. Hardest adjustment I've had to make was lowering my expectations for myself and what I'm able to do physically. I no longer have the opportunity or the time for the intensive schedule available at CCDC.
  6. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
    I live in a house with 3 roommates - Liz from Dubuque, Samilee from Minneapolis, and Aaron, who eats a lot of chicken and keeps to himself.
  7. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
    Sleep. In this regard I have not changed at all. My monikers still hold true.
  8. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
    There are a lot of ways to incorporate dance into your life. Being a professional in a full-time ballet company is not the only option.
  9. What's your snail-mailing address?
    1561 St. Clair Ave
    St. Paul, MN 55105
  10. Anything else we should know about?
    I'm applying for a Fulbright grant ($25,000) to study dance in Sri Lanka. Who wants a workshop when I get back?!
  11. Miss us at all? (Sniff!)
    I miss your cats.

09.18.2012: Animation Update!o)

Another installment of "Wassup Wid CCDC Alumz"?
  1. I am (Princess Anime) and I go to school at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. I am majoring in dietetics. I joined a dance hip hop club called Dub H and am considering joining ballroom dancing club.

  2. I am taking Chemistry, Biology, Math, and two Intro to Human Nutrition classes. I have class bright and early at 8:00 AM every morning. Normally I have a break during the late morning early afternoon where I do homework and study, then the rest of my classes after lunch.

  3. No, I have not had any formal auditions. I have had two workshops for Dub H, but you do not have to audition to be in the club.

  4. I have not seen any performances yet, but I am hoping to go to something at Stephens Auditorium here in Ames.

  5. The workshop I was involved was somewhat like learning a combination from an open division class at CCDC. The movements were given in counts by the instructor and we learned part of two different dances. After learning, we cleaned the dances. In the second workshop, all the different choreographers did a section of their dance and we rated which dances we would like to be in.

  6. My wonderful roommate is from Cedar Rapids and my two suite mates are from Marshalltown and Chicago!

  7. Since Dub H is not an auditioned group, there are all levels mixed together. There are people with lots of experience and people who have never danced before. I am about in the middle. It has been a long time since I have done hip hop!

  8. I love going to the gym with my free time. The building is basically brand new and I can see it from my dorm window so it is very convenient. I love taking zumba, dance fit, and pilates classes! Other than that...sleep.

  9. You have lots of time in-between classes in college, use that time to study and get things done so your nights are free. I also wish I would have looked into the dance opportunities offered before I moved in. There was a modern company that I was interested in auditioning for, but didn't find out about it until the auditions were over.

  10. 1162 Eaton Woodrow
    Ames, Iowa 50012

  11. I will keep everyone updated on if I decide to do ballroom dancing!

  12. Yes!!!!! I miss CCDC so much!!!! I hope to come visit soon!! :)

09.17.2012: Rice Is Right!

We'll get back to "Putting 'Da 'Me' in 'Media'" Mondaze updates sometime soon, but, I KNOW CCDC dancers and families would rather hear what our recent graduates are doing. Here's another CCDC Alumni Update:
  1. Who are you? Where are you? What are you doing? How much dancing or performing are you involved with? How many people in your classes or company?
    Hey! I am (Brown Rice)! I am at Western Michigan University. I am double majoring in Dance Performance and Elementary Education with a minor in German. I am currently dancing 5 days a week but in about a month it will be 7 days a week! My next performance is in November and the two bigger performances are in January and March! I am in ballet 2 out of 3 and there are about 25 girls and 8 guys in my class and 30ish people in both of my jazz classes.
  2. Describe a typical day or week's schedule. What dance classes are you taking? How are the other dancers?
    I take ballet 4 days a week for 2 hours with pointe class after each ballet class. I have jazz class 5 days a week for 4 hours a day. The other dancers are great! I have had more technique training than most of the girls in ballet class but they really excel in jazz class with some great performance quality and jazz technique.
  3. Done any auditions lately? Planning on any? How's the competition?
    I have had 6 auditions so far. Most of them are for the student concert where students choreograph pieces for the show. The other one was for a modern piece that guest artist KT Nelson will choreograph. She is a professional modern dancer and choreographer from Chicago. It was a great experience to be with all of the upper classmen in one audition. They were all very good! Only juniors and seniors got cast in the piece but it was good to get my name out in the department! In October is the audition for the major ballet piece this year that will be taught to us by guest artist Willy Shives called Viva Vivaldi. It calls for 10 girls and 7 guys so I hope to get an understudy part at the least! My next two auditions are this weekend and they are for two different Hip-hop crews :)
  4. Seen any performances? Planning on seeing anything promising?
    I have not seen any performances yet but I will attend Hubbard Street and River North in Chicago as well as Grand Rapids Ballet with Sleeping Beauty and Tap Dogs in Detroit!
  5. What's the biggest difference in dance classes you take now from CCDC classes? Hardest adjustment you've had to make technically to where you are? Who are your teachers? Are they asking for something radically different?
    The biggest difference between CCDC and Western is the major Jazz emphasis they have at this school. They say this school is equally based on Ballet, Modern and Jazz, but Jazz is obviously the strong point. The hardest adjustment I've had to make is in ballet class. Our ballet classes here are about a level 5 class so I definitely miss my level 6 classes :) My ballet teachers are Sharon Garber and David Curwin. Sharon danced with Milwaukee, Fort Worth, Des Moines, Pittsburgh and Dallas ballet companies. David danced with Dallas and Milwaukee. My jazz teacher is Whitney Monkrief. Whitney has danced with Hubbard Street, ODC and in San Francisco. In Sharons ballet class, we do relaxed turn out which I am not particularly fond of.. We also do a very relaxed, dramatic upper body. However in David's class, it is Balanchine with a very strong upper body, over crossed EVERYTHING, a high, side of the leg passe', and a LOT of beats (thank God for Wednesday night Emery classes :)
  6. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
    My roommate is Danielle and she is from Chicago! She is a Theatre and Design major so she makes clothes for dance and theatre. She practices on me so I get dance costumes :)
  7. Compare yourself to the other dancers? Weaknesses and strengths?
    In ballet, I have more technique than most of the girls but am still getting used to the style they teach in. Extension is, of course, always something I need to keep working on compared to the other girls. However, I thank CCDC for my ability to JUMP! These girls don't know how to MOVE! Haha! I jump with the guys because the girls get in my way when they don't travel ;) As for jazz, I definitely have some work to do. I have most of the flexibility but am still learning the jazz technique. We work on a TON of strength training to I stretch a lot to make sure I don't bulk up!
  8. What do they do better than you? What do you do better than them?
    I jump better than most of the girls but, as I said, my extension is not as good. My ballet technique is up to par however my jazz technique lacks. There are some good natural turners here as well, so I will need to work on that!
  9. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
    Honestly, I haven't had hardly any down time yet! I have a couple of regular school classes that have bogged me down with homework and auditions at night! However, I am planning to go to most of the football games this year and I am going downtown this weekend to catch a movie and explore the city! Other than that I expect to spend most of my time in the studio!
  10. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
    I wish I would have expected how harsh some of the teachers would be. They do care about you but they will say what is on their minds.. This just means I need some thicker skin! I wish I would have known how competitive girls are even in class. However I caught on quickly and am figuring out how to get and keep the attention. Also you guys were totally right when you said every class is an audition! We have to work hard for the corrections and you have to put yourself out there every class or you will be overlooked.
  11. What's your snail-mailing address?
    My snail-mail address is:
    (Brown Rice)
    268 Siedschlag
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5368
  12. Miss us at all? (Sniff!)
    SO MUCH!! I'm not the best with change and this has definitely been a rough transition. But I'm so blessed to be where I am now! I do miss everyone there and I miss my old training but I am excited to learn new things and go places! I just found out that I am coming home for Thanksgiving so I hope to get a few classes in then! Miss you all SO much xoxo Much love, (Brown Rice)
...Click back soon for more surveys from CCDC alumni!o)

09.14.2012: Tiger Bomb?

We'll get back to posting updates from CCDC alumni soon, but, because many dancers use these ointments, here's a warning from the FDA:
Topical Pain Relievers May Cause Burns FDA is warning that some consumers have reported receiving serious skin injuries while using certain over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers applied to the skin to relieve mild muscle and joint pain. The injuries, while rare, have ranged from mild to severe chemical burns with use of such brand-name topical muscle and joint pain relievers as Icy Hot, Bengay, Capzasin, Flexall and Mentholatum.

Learn more about FDA's advice here.

09.14.2012: Slippery Slope To Success?

Wanna become a professional cheerleader? Are you over 18? Here's what could be a(n icy) stepping stone!o)
"...Good afternoon!

My name is Emily and I am the director of the upcoming DsM Buccaneers Ice Girls team. I am in search of young ladies 18 or older that would like to tryout to be a member of our Ice Girls team. I am emailing you because I am hoping to get interest from girls who have experience dancing and being in front of an audience. However, the auditions are not limited to only girls with those qualifications! :) I am attaching a flyer for information, and I would love it if you could pass on the message or hang up the flyer in your studio. Anyone interested can email me at The applications for tryouts will be on the DsM Buccaneers website soon! Tryouts will be Sept 22 and 23 at the Bucs arena, starting at 9am. This is a paid position for the girls, and they will be sponsored by multiple places such as a gym, tanning, etc. Thank you very much for your help, I greatly appreciate it! If you have any questions please email me. :)


09.13.2012: Updatez R Us!o)

Day three of my blatant appeal for blogposts! Thanks to everyone for playing along! Here's an update from another CCDC alum:
  1. Who are you? Where are you? What are you doing? How much dancing or performing are you involved with? How many people in your classes or company?
    I am (Koi McKewtie), and I go to school at St. Olaf College. I am no longer taking (dance) classes through school (well at least for this semester), but I am going to be in a few of my dance major friends’ choreography piece. Our company, however, has around 30 dancers.
  2. Describe a typical day or week's schedule. What dance classes are you taking? How are the other dancers?
    Class, homework, and sometimes sleep are the general consistencies of my day.
  3. Done any auditions lately? Planning on any? How's the competition?
    No and no thank you!
  4. Seen any performances? Planning on seeing anything promising?
    I saw CCDC’s lovely recital last spring, which was wonderful!
  5. What's the biggest difference in dance classes you take now from CCDC classes? Hardest adjustment you've had to make technically to where you are? Who are your teachers? Are they asking for something radically different?
    The dance classes I took last year (Modern and Ballet) are much shorter, so a lot is compressed into a very short amount of time. The hardest technique adjustment I had to make in ballet was using less turnout. My professor was very adamant about not forcing turnout, so she preferred if I stood in positions somewhat closer to parallel... not fun
  6. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
    I have 2 roommates, who are both wonderful and from Colorado. One has the most amazing feet ever, but she and I both decided the dance program here is not comparable to what we once had.
  7. Compare yourself to the other dancers? Weaknesses and strengths? What do they do better than you? What do you do better than them?
    There is such a wide variety of dancers here! Some have wonderful technique and some just decided to pursue dance. In ballet, I had stronger technique than a majority of other girls, but some of them were much better at tricks than I.
  8. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
    Haha. Down time... that’s a good one Emery!
  9. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
    Getting back into (dance) class is so difficult once you take time off. So if you think you want to give it up, be absolutely sure!
  10. What's your snail-mailing address?
    1500 St. Olaf Ave
    Northfield, MN 55057
  11. Anything else we should know about?
    Ballet club may or may not be coming my way
  12. Miss us at all? (Sniff!)
    I’m assuming this is a rhetorical question....

09.12.2012: Updatez R Us, Pt 2!o)

Second installment of my blatant plea for information! Here's the latest from CCDC alum @RissaRam:
1. I am (Rissaram). I am currently studying at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. This semester I am not able to take any dance classes this semester because it wouldn't fit in my schedule.
2. I am currently taking Biology, Sociology, Calculus, and a first term seminar on reality TV
3. I auditioned for my dance class placement the first week of school and I have another audition this week for a dance performance.
4. I haven't seen any performances yet but I really want to go to the Twin Cities some time to see a performance.
5. My audition for placement was a modern class. The class was actually pretty similar to modern classes at CCDC and I heard a lot of the same corrections that people get at CCDC. It was weird adjusting to a different studio and being with a bunch of people I didn't know.
6. My roommates name is Emily and she is from Edina, Minnesota.
7. I haven't really had a chance to compare myself to other dancers because the only dance class I have taken was my audition.
8. Well lately I haven't had a lot of down time but when I do have some free time I like to meet new people and go on adventures in Saint Peter and Mankato.
9. That high school does not prepare you for the amount of reading you have to do in college. Advice: go to a college that has your major and a college you love and don't go to a college just because your friend/boyfriend goes there.
10. 800 West College Avenue Saint Peter Minnesota 56082
11. Of course I miss everyone!!! I am hoping that I will have time to come visit during my fall break! :)


...Tomorrow an update from CCDC alumni Koi McKewtie! Don't wanna miss that!

09.11.2012: Updatez R Us!o)

My blatant plea for information has been successful! Here's the 411 from CCDC alum and professional-dancer-turned-student GitUrFaShawn:
"...Hey, as requested: Updates!

This summer I worked as the housing manager for Milwaukee Ballet School's summer program. There, I was in charge of 120 kids (including (CCDC student Rapunzel)!) and a staff of 10. Now that I'm back to college, I have a little less responsibility, but I'm dancing quite a bit more.

Life has been a little hectic with classes, rehearsals, and auditions these past few weeks. I've been cast in two Dance Gala pieces: one by Eloy Barragan, faculty at the University of Iowa, and I've also been selected to perform in Speeds by Jennifer Muller, founder of Jennifer Muller/The Works, a New York-based modern company. The piece was first performed in 1974, and Jennifer Muller and a few of her company members held a residency in Iowa for three weeks to teach modern classes and coach the work. Dance Gala is the last weekend of October and the first weekend of November. Get excited. ( More info here )

I also auditioned and got into the University of Iowa's Dancers In Company. It's a twelve-member dance troupe that focuses on performances and outreach across Iowa. Rehearsals start in November, and then next spring is our touring season.

This past weekend I was also cast in an undergrad work, which will hopefully be performed at some point. Much like a lot of juniors this year, I'm also starting my choreography classes, which brings me to my next point - I'm choreographing two ten-minute pieces set to live music for a friend of mine in the doctorate program for percussion here at the University. It's going to be quite the undertaking, but a good collaborative experience, I hope. His show will be in November, so more information on that later.

I'll try to keep you guys informed, and I'll try to get video of performances from last semester to you at some point.

Have a good start to the year!..."

...Good to get updated on CCDC's GitUrFaShawn, but, what we really wanna know: all the dirt on Rapunzel's escapades this summer!o) And, pass the word to all the other CCDC alums to stay in touch! Tomorrow, an update from CCDC alum RissaRam! "Get excited."

09.10.2012: 'Me' in 'Media' Monday!

Play-by-play recap of the next-to-last SYTYCD:

Opening number:to Scream by Kelis: Black tutus and parachute pants with silver dominos for the girls. Half dominos for boyz. Strange ritualized court dances. Dramatic drop out of one lift. Choreographed expressions as well. Fun piece. Larger than life characters, acrobatics and poses. Dramatic lighting and make up and costuming. Good start for the penultimate show of the season. Sonia Tayeh number.

Witney, Chehon, Tiffany, Cyrus, Eliana and Cole. Top Six. Who's going home. Dang Twitter! Know one already!. Finale is on Tuesday! Not Wednesday!

Christina Applegate is tonight's celebrity guest judge along with Nigel and Mary.

First up: Tiffany with Benji Schwimmer Jean-Marc Genereaux choreographs a jive.. Mister and mis Personality! Who's gonna vote against season two winner, Mr. Schwimmer? Wow, hard to watch her when Benji's back on stage! Chock-full of tricks are for kidz! High nrg routine! Standing O from the judges and audience! Nigel praises Benji and Jean Marc routine. Praises footwork and bounce steps. Mary, the ballroom expert, praises them "kicking their little patooties off!" Likes the energy of "the swing champion". Christina Applegate recognizes Benji from joint lyrical classes. Says Tiff managed not to disappear. Likes her flick kicks. Says Tiff Raised her game.

Witney solo: Malaguena by brian setzer and 68 comeback special. Girl's a performer. Should be in a Marilyn Monroe remake. Very intense passionate number.

Cole and Melanie Moore for Sonia Teayeh. Too Close by Alex Clare. Bare chested Cole is lifted by Mel. Eaual opportunity partnering. Some of the apartnering is being telegraphed too much. Not enough rehearsal. Let's not wait for the movements! Yall always have to be somebody doing something on stage: Take a note you younger dancers. Hmm...didn't think the piece was succesful. dancing was good. Choreography was trite! But, Mary praises it as "different". Praises Cole for commanding attention. "Great Job". Christina says Melanie gives her hope whenever she dances. Praises Cole's masterful dancing, respects his androgynous dancing. Criticizes his pirouette and then the censors take over. Nigel praises Sonia's bending normal gender roles in dancing. Also, likes Cole's ability to share his vulnerability.

Chehon solo: Way Back Home by District 78. Giant Switch kick. Double tour to seconde. huge air. Grand pirouettes. This guy has an arsenal of tricks. Should be dancing for ballet boyz or a major ballet company someplace.

Eliana with Twitch in Christopher Scott number:. Please Mr Postman, Marvalettes District 78 remix. Cigarette pants. back walkover. She hits it hard for a ballet trained dancer. Intricate contemporary choreography. Sexy, flirtatious number. Christina says Eliana may not star in the next Jay Z music video, but, says she'd watch her "dance the phone book". Nigel says Eliana is his favorite girl this season, but, this number was too much comedy and character and not enough dancing and technique. Mary says the number was fun and entertaining. Praises Eliana for being a "dance chameleon", calls her "memorable" and "on pointe".

Tiffany, Just the way you are by Carmen Reece. Great extension, lotta turns. She's better than you expect. Nice height in her grand jetes. Standing ovation.

Chehon and Katherine in a Tice Diorio number. Lived out a suitcase all his life. Eli, Eli by Sophie Milman How would you dance if all you had could fit into one suitcase...and you had nowhere else to go? Cat is affeced. The dancers are still in the zone. Nigel says the piece captured emotion perfectly. Calls it a paean to immigrants. The emotions of the dance were still on their faces in the closeups. Mary says Tyce should've been thrilled, one of the most "amazing" numbers, says the movement was so moving. Calls it a seminal moment in the dancers. Says it was an honor to watch. Christina says she likes Tyce's Broadway numbers, but, numbers like this were so profound. Christina says his movement was visceral, "masterful", "unbelievable".

Cole, Night of the wolf, by Nox arcana...I don't know why more martial artists don't make the transition to the performing arts. Because it's a natural transition to guys like me and Cole. Go Cole!o)

Witney and Marco by Ray Leeper. No nothing Curtes & Reinhard. Why don't I remember this all-star? Did he have hair before?. Nice feeling in the number. Danced with passion and attack. Left at the altar in an altered state! Mary praises Marco, says Witney is still a star. Christina calls it "beautiful" and that it's plain she's not just a ballroom dancer. Complained about too much "hairography". Nigel says it's been easy to save Witney because the choreographers all LOVE her.

Eliana solo: I WIll Follow YOu INto The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie, front aerial, balck walkover from a kneel. no pointe shoes this time. nice arabesque penche. What a smile!

Cyrus and Comfort with Chris Scott. DUbstep, hip hop. Dub-step. CLean and precise Cinema benny benassi SWhat a number! To have such good street dancers mastering choreeography by someone skilled in the genre. This is like watch Twitch make the transition to competitior on the show. Finally Cyrus is in his element. Just makes me wanna see his solo all the more. Love the story! Standing O from the judges. Good Ratchet says Cat Deeley! Christina says dub-step. Loved the choreography. Says it was carved out for you. Calls him "fantastic" and blows kisses. Nigel likes the style and the tutting like Jacobs ladder. Says America LOVES Cyrus. Mary says WE LOVE Cyrus! Says he's so special. Loved the concept as well. Says Cyrus was in his "Comfort Zone" .

WItney and Chehon do Cha-cha with Jean Marc genereux. Chemistry 101. The lady is dessert.Witneys in her comfort zone "Where Have You Been" by Rihana. She's good. he's keeping up!! But, almost a disaster in one of the first lifts. couldn't find the second leg. But, the dancing goes on. THe show must go on. Wonder if the judges will notice or comment? Mary says Latin dancing is not Chehon's cup of tea. Better than his samba, but, not that much better.Says "Lindsay" has the hips that mean business! Christina says it was "so sexy" she didn't notice any missteps. Nigel says Chehon managed to save the lift, but, not enough hips during the routine. Says the lifts were an attempt to hide Chehon's inability in latin dancing.

Cyrus, "Harem" by Sarah Brightman. Every nuance of every percussive not is reflected on stage! This guys is a master at his genre. Self-taught street can be bad...or it can be sublime when Cyrus does what he does best.

Cole and Eliana do a Mia Michael piece. trust between partners, hate and conflict between the characters. Adagio for strings Bruno Philharmonic Orchestra. isometric tension as rams do battle to string music. flailing throwing choreography literally butting heads, counter balances, punches and kicks thrown, interesting poses in promenade...ends with two silent screams and crawling off. Standing o again. Nigel says "wow". "Brilliant" routine. Vertical "Newton's cradle". "Brilliant" Mary says "Absolutely mesmerizing". Praises power and strength. Flawless transitions. CHristina says there are no words for Mia. Calls Eliana the "perfect dancer". Moving pictures while dancing.

Tiffany/Cyrus Spencer Liff. Treat me Rough (girl crazy) Slow strip tease to duet work His turns need work! Very sexy and flirtatious. Christina says routine was "splendid". Nigel calls it a terrific routine. Calls Tiff the "Girl next door". Calls Cyrus "inspirational" on an "incredible trip". Mary calls it the cutest number EVER!. Calls Tiff a superstar.

AXIS Dance company for disabled dancers. Panama Canal. The juxtaposition between differently abled dancers creates aen eye-opening dichotomy of dancing. Chair vs wheel chair. Legged versus not-able to use legs. The commitment of the level of dancing is unparalleled Violates all of our taboos on how we think we should treat the handicapped. Disturbing in an extraordinary way. Very very powerful!

Eliminations get underway: Witney, Tiffany, Eliana. Tiff is the first to make the finale. She seems unable to believe the news as she walks off the stage. Eliana is just as schocked as she gets a warm embrace from Witney.

Chehon, Cole, Cyrus: Chehon is the first to make it through. Finalist. Cyrus makes it through. Say Goodbye to my fellow martial and performing artist, Cole!

Finals are next Tuesday: For the first time ever, a ballet boy and a ballet girl are in the finals. And remember they're picking two winners this season. Hopefully, it's not the last time. Hopefully, it's not the last season!

09.07.2012: Enquiring Mindz Wanna Know!o)

So, just heard that CCDC graduate Fried Rice auditioned for her collegiate dance program this week...with more to come! I think this might be a good time to get an update from all the recent CCDC graduates! Here's a questionnaire modeled after the one we sent out this summer: And, don't take forever sending it back, please! (Looking at you, Katya W00tang!o)
  1. Who are you? Where are you? What are you doing? How much dancing or performing are you involved with? How many people in your classes or company?
  2. Describe a typical day or week's schedule. What dance classes are you taking? How are the other dancers?
  3. Done any auditions lately? Planning on any? How's the competition?
  4. Seen any performances? Planning on seeing anything promising?
  5. What's the biggest difference in dance classes you take now from CCDC classes? Hardest adjustment you've had to make technically to where you are? Who are your teachers? Are they asking for something radically different?
  6. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
  7. Compare yourself to the other dancers? Weaknesses and strengths? What do they do better than you? What do you do better than them?
  8. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
  9. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
  10. What's your snail-mailing address?
  11. Anything else we should know about?
  12. Miss us at all? (Sniff!)

09.06.2012: Can't Spell 'Media' Without 'ME'

Haven't been able to write much about "MustCDanceTV" because of the start-up of the fall semester here at CCDC. (You can still register your child here!o)) But, there are several shows going on of interest to dancers. First off is SYTYCD: Wasn't happy when Amelia and Lindsay were voted off the FOX TV show, but, the level of competition is very high this season. George was also a surprise elimination. Both he and Chehon need to learn that technique is no substitute for bringing your personality to your performance. Speaking of Chehon, his solo was SPECTACULAR! The guy could and should be dancing soloist or principal roles for major ballet companies. I think the tears he shed when he danced for his mother probably helped save him. (A reminder: I haven't watched the latest eliminations from this week. Have to DVR shows until the weekend!o) Also, the All-Star format allows us hard-core dance fans another chance to watch perennial favorites like Allison Holker, Alex Wong, etc. Have to admit I'm pulling for Cole, the dancer/martial artist from my hometown! (Have I mentioned recently that I'm trained in dance and martial arts?) And, that Witney reminds more than a few viewers of a young Marilyn Monroe. And, Eliana may be able to go where no other ballet-trained dancer has gone before on the show. But, there's something very likeable about Lindsay...I'm also watching Chance To Dance on Ovation TV. That's the show with the Ballet Boyz auditioning dancing unknowns to form a company in 28 days that'll tour the country. Love the dry British humor! Love the emphasis on ballet technique serving as the backbone during the audition tour!...Also, watching that show about Shaping Sound. That's the Travis Wall and Nick Lazarini contemporary dance company they're forming in LA. (There's actually another guy involved, but, haven't learned his name.) There's more reality TV drama involved than necessary, but, there's usually at least one serious dance number in every episode. Travis shared about his solo performance demons and doubts in the last show. It also focused on the running battle with one of his students-turned-professionals. Could do with a little less drama on who's kissing whom, but, the dance segments and the comments about choreographing will keep me watching! (The choreography session with Allison and Twitch was amazing!)...Also, starting to get tweets from local favorite Shawn Johnson as she teams up with "ruff, tuff Derek Hough" for the All-Star edition of DWT***. Any partner of Hough automatically has a leg up on the competition, but, the field is STACKED with excellent dancers this fall! Melissa Rycroft, Giles Marini, Helio Castroneves!...U kidding me? The dancing should approach world-class this fall! Can't wait!o) (And, have I mentioned that September is "BringAFriend2Dance" month at Capital City Dance Center?)

09.05.2012: Audition Aftermath

More random notes and thoughts during recent Nutcracker auditions: Part three of three: (You may see some of the snarkier comments tweeted out by @SirDanGuy)
Callback One Notes:
Remember to use your feet at the barre so you can use your feet in center.
Is it the responsibility of the audition giver to gear the complexity of the combinations to the level of the dancers? Or not?
Just four combinations at barre? Plie, degage's, stretch, grand battements?
Did I miss something?
Hard to surprise me in a good way anymore. I know how well you're going to dance when you walk in the studio. Having said that, I respect people who go for it during auditions.
I love to watch people who love to dance!
Don't throw your shoulders back in releve'! Bring your heart forward and up!
Never pique' onto soft or bent knees!

09.04.2012: Mmmadd Update!

Merde to CCDC graduate Mmmadd Skyllz as she begins the MCB preprofessional program this morning!o) I'm sure she'll make a great first impression! For those of us at CCDC who are left to struggle along without her, just remember, every dance class you take is a tribute to what she's doing and what you're doing. Do it together...just thousands of miles apart! At least that's how I'm going to survive without her in class. AND! To help you make it past the "absence makes the heart go fondu" stage, here's the third of a three-part interview with Mmmadd Skyllz! Merde for life, Ming! Merde for life!o)

08.31.2012: Audition Aftermath

Random notes and thoughts during recent Nutcracker auditions: Part two of three: (You may see some of the snarkier comments tweeted out by @SirDanGuy)
14-16 year olds audition
Someone remind me to correct that three-count-grandplié-in-four-counts error once and for all!
Show me your feet in all forced arches at the barre!
Don't automatically assume everyone faces front on both sides of the barre. The automatic default is left hand on the barre. If you're in doubt, ask!
??? Hmm....Do you want the boys to "bourre' around like a flower", too?
Someone remind me to practice progressive port de bras in class! Don't just slam it into place! Take your time and get there gradually through several steps in this combination.
Likewise: practice pas de chats en croise!
Emboite begins with soubresaut! NOT coupe'!
Five emboites MEANS five! Not four, not three and soutenou turn!! Five!!!!!
You know when SMILEY is dancing right next to you, you better bring your personality!

08.30.2012: Exit Interview

Latest text from CCDC graduate Mmmadd Skyllz says she did well in last night's audition for the Miami City Ballet PreProfessional Program. She'll find out the results in a day or two. (I texted her that I expected them to give her a scholarship!o) Meanwhile, we posted the first part of a three-part interview with Ming on the CCDC FB page. And, here's the second part of that interview. Very valuable information for anyone who hopes to attend SAB, PNB, MCB or any other Balanchine program. We'll put that third part up someplace after we find out how she did! Merde, Mmmadd Skyllz! Merde for life!o)

08.29.2012: Audition Aftermath

Random notes and thoughts during recent Nutcracker auditions: Part one of three: (You may see some of the snarkier comments tweeted out by @SirDanGuy)
"Nutcracker" Auditions

Always interesting to see your students "under fire" so to speak. Find out who steps up during the audition process and who steps back. Former Des Moines Ballet IA Ballet Mistress gives the pointe warm-up. Her problem comes from a fresh new batch of auditioners who haven't had class (ostensibly) are combined with the dancers who have had class.

Don't pivot with the weight on the heel!
Lotta misfitted pointe shoes.
Some dancers unfamiliar with the forced arch pointe warm-up.
Auditioner's trying to keep it light so dancers don't feel as tense.
Releve' should happen from the top up...not the bottom up! Lengthen up, not compress up!
You can tell a lot about a dancer's training by muscle tone and muscle development of the leg.
Try not to yawn openly in class...even if you are hiding in the back!
...and don't hang on to or slump at the barre!
Barres are awfully low for fully-grown dancers! Got to be careful not to hunch over or focus down to use the low barres.
Best not to FALL OFF the pointe shoe when finishing combinations!
Auditioner refuses to start music until everyone's in fifth with arms en bas! Good for her!
Interesting to see which dancers let their nerves get the better of them!
So simple: be still when you're supposed to be still! Move when you're supposed to move!
Control your ribbons! Don't let them come out! Do what you need to do!
Thinking: "You look like a dancer! ...Too bad you don't dance like one!"

08.28.2012: Parental Input

Wonder what a long-time CCDC parent is telling us about her children's experience at Capital City Dance Center? Here's an excerpt from an e-mail to CCDC Artistic Director Melissa Uyehara:
"...I so appreciate all your amazing work with these kids and your wonderful artistry and professionalism. You and Emery are amazing!!..."
...And, thank YOU to all the parents that entrust us with their children. We NEVER take that charge lightly! And, please take some fliers and pamphlets from the CCDC studio and help spread our message of creativity in a disciplined, encouraging framework of dance instruction! Don't you know a friend's child who would benefit from more dancing?

08.27.2012: Welcome Back! Let's DANCE!

Capital City Dance Center 2012-2013 classes begin today! Here are some commonly asked questions that will be moved to a FAQ page eventually:
  1. I am thinking about enrolling my child at CCDC. Should I wait until the beginning of the year or month or how does that work?
    We operate under what's called "continuous enrollment" which means you can begin at anytime in the school year. It's best, of course, to begin at the beginning of the school year or trimester. When it gets too close to the end of the year, we'll recommend waiting until the start of summer session or the next trimester.
  2. What is your dress code?
    In order to avoid the expense of buying all new color leotards and throwing out the old, CCDC female ballet dancers at all levels, except Preballet (all pink) , wear black leotards, pink tights and pink shoes. Males wear white T-shirt, black tights or shorts and optional white socks and shoes. No dance skirts, t-shirts, sweats, cover-ups or leg-warmers are allowed in class. First lesson in dancing: Take the instrument out of the case!o)
  3. My dancer has had some training, but, doesn't know which level to enroll in at CCDC. What do you recommend? Do you have placement classes?
    Applicants to the CCDC Preprofessional Division transferring from other studios are invited to take a Ballet IV class as placement. Typically, this is where most dancers begin serious training. Unfortunately, a lot of basic technical, vocabulary and placement issues usually need to be addressed before advancing to the higher level CCDC Preprofessional classes.
  4. What type of ballet do you teach?
    Our instructors have trained in Vaganova, Balanchine and Bournonville technique. We also use the best elements from the French, Ceccheti and Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. It's best described as "American Ballet".
  5. What is this suspended floor you write about? Why is it important?
    Dancer Union rules prohibit dancing on concrete or wood-laid-directly-over-concrete floors. To that end, CCDC has installed what's known as a triple-layer, basket-weave suspended dance floor with marley-like surface. It allows the greatest control without punishing dancers' bodies landing from small or big jumps.
  6. You're switching to a trimester payment schedule this year? How will that work? Can I still pay monthly?
    In order to hold down tuition costs and overhead, we're switching to a trimester payment schedule: fall, winter and spring. Monthly penalties for late payments still apply. You can still arrange to pay monthly for an extra charge.
  7. Can my child try out a few classes to see if CCDC is a good fit?
    We encourage this. Every potential new student can take up to two classes at no charge to see if CCDC is their studio of choice.
  8. How do we make up classes if there's a conflict?
    You can usually make up classes in the same or lower level at some other time in the week. Speak with your CCDC instructor for recommendations.
  9. How do we know if there's a weather delay or cancellation?
    Capital City Dance Center is located in the Urbandale school district and will follow their lead in cancellations. There will be no CCDC classes on the days that Urbandale School District cancels school. This notification will be on the CCDC FaceBook page, blogsite (GoCCDC.Com/news.htm), phone message and/or Twitter feed (@SirDanGuy).
  10. What if I have a question about CCDC that still hasn't been answered?
    Submit it here!

08.24.2012: The CCDC Message

Help us spread the Capital City Dance Center message of the joy in disciplined dance training! Don't you know a child who should be benefiting from structured and encouraging dance classes? We have brochures and fliers available in the lobby with this text:
From Pre-Professional!

For the best dance training from the most dedicated and caring former professional dancers teaching in the metro, there's only one choice: Capital City Dance Center, 2962 99th Street in Urbandale!

Parents! Get your children started "on the right foot" this school year! Don't let them sit in front of a TV or computer screen all day. Consider CCDC instead! Challenging and enjoyable dance instruction in ballet, pointe, tap, modern, contemporary, Pilates, jazz, lyrical or hiphop dance classes available for all ages, all levels, including Adult, recreational and late-starters!

Here are more reasons why CCDC rises above the pack:

  • Every CCDC ballet student from Creative Movement on up gets a chance to perform in the year-ending classical ballet!
  • CCDC students get trained right! Every year our students get accepted to national dance programs from around the country! Many with scholarships!
  • More CCDC students have gone on to professional dance careers than all other local dance studios combined! And, more get accepted to prestigious collegiate dance programs as well!
  • The focus at CCDC is always on the fun and the discipline of dance training and performing, NOT the expense of competing!

Check out our website at GoCCDC.Com or our FaceBook page! Tweets @SirDanGuy. Email us at Info@GoCCDC.Com. Or call 515.276.1646!

P.S.---And! Prospective students can always try one or two classes for free at CCDC! Check out CCDC for the BEST dance instruction for all ages in the area! You can register on-line at GoCCDC.Com!

08.23.2012: Post-Secondary Dance Opportunities

Merde to the CCDC graduates who auditioned for choreographers at Party Hearty You this past week. Here's a link to a calendar of events at the school. And, here's an old video of a documentary leading up to a previous performance:

...And, here's more from the faculty on the relationship between dance and acting:

08.22.2012: Do U Workout?

Another reason to consider signing up for Capital City Dance Center dance classes!
(Courtesy Newswise) — People who are obese and also have high blood pressure and other risk factors called metabolic abnormalities may experience a faster decline in their cognitive skills over time than others, according to a new study.

Metabolic abnormality was defined as having two or more of the following risk factors: high blood pressure or taking medication for it; low HDL or “good” cholesterol; high blood sugar or taking diabetes medication; and high triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood) or taking medication to lower cholesterol.

The study involved 6,401 people with an average age 50 at the start of the study. Information on body mass index (BMI) and the risk factors was gathered at the beginning of the study. The participants took tests on memory and other cognitive skills three times over the next 10 years.

A total of 31 percent of the participants had two or more metabolic abnormalities. Nine percent were obese and 38 percent were overweight. Of the 582 obese people, 350, or 60 percent, met the criteria for metabolic abnormality. The metabolically normal obese individuals also experienced more rapid decline.

Over the 10 years of the study, people who were both obese and metabolically abnormal experienced a 22.5 percent faster decline on their cognitive test scores than those who were of normal weight without metabolic abnormalities.

“More research is needed to look at the effects of genetic factors and also to take into account how long people have been obese and how long they have had these metabolic risk factors and also to look at cognitive test scores spanning adulthood to give us a better understanding of the link between obesity and cognitive function, such as thinking, reasoning and memory,” said study author Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD.

Singh-Manoux said the study also provides evidence against the concept of “metabolically healthy obesity” that has suggested that obese people without metabolic risk factors do not show negative cardiac and cognitive results compared to obese people with metabolic risk factors.

To learn more about maintaining a healthy brain, click here.

08.21.2012: Chance2Dance

New show on Ovation TV that you might wanna watch or record: Chance To Dance, Fridays at 9pm. It's produced by SYTYCD and AI's Nigel Lythgoe. He's tasked the Ballet Boyz to audition, choreograph, rehearse and perform a dance company of undiscovered 28 days! All while being recorded for reality television. Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt are no johnny-come-latelys to the dance world. They both danced with the RB and left to form their own dance company. But, even a professional company usually takes six weeks or longer to start from scratch to performance. This artificial time frame lends a little urgency to the matter as the Ballet Boyz and everyone concerned delight in saying "we must be mad" to think it could be done. The first installment featured one of my favorite SYTYCD alumni, Allison Holker taking Nunn and Trevitt around her hometown of Salt Lake City to audition dancers. Turned out to be a mixed bag: at one pointe during the audition, one turns to the other and said "I should cut them all" after a ballet combination. At another point, Nunn urges an auditioner to "open up her shoulders". I was screaming at the television "Yes! Yes! JUST LIKE I SAY IN CLASS!" Love this show! Love that real experienced, professional dancers are at the helm. Love their caustic, cutting comments at the audition. "Why did you mess that combination up?" So British! Love their little asides to each other: "Really, I've given him three chances at it already!" Sign me up for the ride! BTW, if you don't get Ovation TV, I understand from the Tweet-o-sphere, you can access Chance To Dance episodes via FaceBook and I'd search on iTunes to buy or rent the show. Watch it while you can, I understand ratings for the show were mediocre. Help spread the dance word!o) Use it to help motivate you to work in CCDC classes (Have you told your friends to register yet?)

08.20.2012: Post-Olympian Dancing

Back after the sports hiatus! Wait! WHO ARE these dancers?
Tribute2Mamma Mia!o) 3xEmmy Winner!

Four dancers to be eliminated!
I've nearly forgotten these people, it's been so long! Okay. I remember some of these dancers, now. All classic Mia routines!

Guest judges are the Ballet Boyz! Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt!

SYTYCD App! Congrats2NappyTabz4 baby!

Start with brand new Mia group routine: Starts off dark, with girls hanging onto ropes suspended from ceiling. A girl reaches with a rose. The girls swing and are partnered by the boys. More reaching roses. Boys in tails and girls in black ball gowns. Kisses upside down. Ropes are interesting props to help long looping suspended movements. Lots of dead roses and dead poses in the final tableaux.

Cyrus and Eliana do the Door routine: Katee and Twitch hard act to follow! Okay, they can kiss. He's got the presence to match Twitch. Not sure she's got the moxie to match Katee. She just makes me miss Katee! Nigel admits it's hard to disassociate the numbers from the original dancers. Criticizes Cyrus' shoulders. He likes Eliana. Says she's rising above her ballet genre! Mary says the two together are great together. She likes Eliana's intensity. Liked Cyrus. Loved his mischievous smile! Michael Nunn praises the strong performances. Billy says it was fantastic, loved the mix of genres!

Tiffani and George: Do a Katee and Joshua routine. Challenged by Mia to be better than the originals. Don't really remmeber this piece except for the assisted runs which are now changed to assisted jetes. Just a little telegraphing into the lifts that I could do without. Mary says "call 911 because they just MURDERED the routine!" Flawless lifts and soft and elegance. Says George "Elevated" the lift. Michael praises the energy, but came close to the point of two solos and not one duet. Nigel says George was tremendous and some of the subtle moves pulled him in immediately. Watch the face!

Amelia/Will: "The Butt Dance" disguised difficulty. Very sassy, sexy routine. taking off her shoes. She needs a little more fluidity and sensuality. Needs more organic movement. C'mon USE that personality! I thought she was a little uncomfortable. with it. Needed to rise above the awkwardness of the theme. Nigel says tough routine to critique. Remembers the original. Obsessed with Randy's Butt for three years. Says it demonstrates the range of the choreography of Mia. He wanted more coquettishness. Mary says she liked it. Says Will needed to rein in his expression. She likes Amelia's portrayal and her personality needed to be. Billy says very strong, musical and very endearing. Says a little subtlety wouldn't have gone amiss.

Janelle/Dareian: Carrington and Twitch in the bed routine. Mia changes and tailors choreography for the dancer. "Tell your story!" Love his expressiveness. Go and wreck my dreams! The angst of unrequited desire. Performed and choreographed well. Michael says he's heard about the piece, but, describes it as wonderful. Michael criticizes his feet. Wanted some more clarity from Janelle. Praises Twitch for originating the movement. Nigel says a full story and panoply of emotion displayed in a minute and a half. Almost a solo for Dareian. Tough job for Janelle. Better technique than Twitch. Mary stands up for Twitch. Says Janelle's hair got in the way of the emotion. Also, criticizes Dareian's feet.

Audrey and Matthew: Neil+Lacey...tribute to dead father. Meeting again in heaven. LOVE this piece! LOVE these dancers. They break my heart! Standing ovation! AN emotional Mary struggles to criticize. She wasn't partial to Matthew's portrayal. Loved Audrey. Billy praises Audrey's pirouette. Needs more focus to disguise the effort. Nigel wanted a little more of the story. Praises the dancing, but, wanted the backstory!

Witney/Kehon: The Bench routine. Travis+Heidi original dancers. Again tough act to follow. Effortless lift. Chehon seems to lack the finish and the commitment. Too careful. Prepares too much for the lifts! Nigel tells the backstory of a love that dares not breathe its name. Wanted the acting...and says they delivered. Mary says the routine is high choreography. Praises Chehon's pirouettes, but, wants to see the loss of control. Praises the jump! Michael says Whitney does Salt Lake proud. Michel offers Chehon a job on the spot!

Lindsey/Cole: The addiction number. Better than Kayla and Kapono. Ooh, he's good! Look at him lick her leg. Look at her fight the addiction! His character is flawless! Billy "Very impressed". Versatility was shown in bucketloads. Mary says it was Mia's best routine. Best performance of the night. Fascinated with watching the dancers. Calls Lindsey "Amazing". Nigel says he'd been a little disappointed at the routines of the night, but, this routine was the top. Calls Cole "Disturbingly psycho".

Now comes elimination time: George, Amelia, Janelle, Dareian, Matthew and Lindsey are in danger. Solos coming up!

Not sure if Belly dancing lends itself to impressive solos. Also hard for ballroom dancers, but, I think Lindsey deserves to be saved. I think George earned the exemption.

Lindsey is saved. Big loss of two memorable contestants. Two unique characters and personalities. Nigel saves George. Two strong boyz get cut. At this point only good dancers will get sent home. Only the most memorable get to stay.

I say: Watch out Will, Chehon, Audrey! Couples broken up and All-stars next week! Bring on Allison!

08.17.2012: Rhythmic Gumby-nastics!

So, I tweeted recently that watching the rhythmic gymnasts at the Olympics made me feel like I needed to start stretching a lot more! (Got a lot of retweets and replies on that one! ...Okay, one of each!o) When I asked how many CCDC students had a similar experience, I was surprised to learn that many of them hadn't even watched that part of the London Olympics. I suggested they YouTube "rhythmic gymnastics". But, since nobody ever listens to me, I've done that work for you. Best of what's available so far, it should give you an expanded sense of the capacity of the human body:

...And, don't think that rhythmic gymnasts aren't taking ballet classes everyday! Have you registered for CCDC 2012-2013 yet? Don't delay! Click the "Register" button to the left!

08.26.2012: Cuppa Joe

FINALLY! More of that interview with 2012 Capital City Dance Center Summer Intensive Guest Ballet Instructor Joseph Nygren-Cox courtesy of Chirbit. Joseph was a principal dancer with Louisville Ballet and is currently working on his masters at the University of Iowa.

08.15.2012: Digital Dance Mag

Just checked out the Dance Informa website. Here's a sampler of some articles of interest:
This one's for CCDC graduates heading to collegiate dance programs this fall:
"...August is back to school time and, for many dancers, that means starting your first year of college dance study. Dance Informa spoke with three university professors for advice on preparing for this transition..."
...Here's the direct link to that Dance Informa article.
...Let's hear it for the boyz2men!o):
"...Desmond Richardson, one of the world’s most acclaimed male dancers, gives his tips for the boys in town..."
...Here's the man2man Dance Informa article.
Got nerves? Suggestions from pros on how to "take a breath" and manage stage fright:
"...As we step onto stage or into that audition room, we all tend to get a rush of nerves. How do the professionals in the industry control their anxiety and nervousness? Dance Informa spoke with three talented performers to see how they cope when the pressure’s on..."
...Rest of the article from Dance Informa magazine
...And, here's interesting news about a SYTYCD choreographer we've all admired:
"...Celebrity, contemporary choreographer Stacey Tookey is starting her own dance company. A few weeks ago, she tweeted, “Happy to announce I am starting my own contemporary company. First company show will be this fall!! Stay tuned for audition details!!”..."
...Here's where to find that article courtesy of Dance Informa magazine.

08.14.2012: CCDC's Sylkk Skyllz Checks In!o)

SHE ALSO LIVEZ! Two CCDC students are still away this summer training in New York City. Here are her answers to our questionnaire from the one we nicknamed Maize:
  1. I am at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet. I am here for three weeks so I will be back Sunday the 19th! There are 19 girls in my class.

  2. I am in level 4 out of 5 levels.

  3. A typical day here is pretty intense:) we start out every morning with core dynamics which is a warm up designed to stretch us out and work our abs and inner thighs before class. Then we have a hour and forty five minute ballet class. After ballet we have an hour and a half of pointe class...which the last half hour we do variations. After pointe/variations we have a thirty minute break for lunch:) The last half of the day we have rehearsals and then either a character, stretch, or mime class.

  4. The competition is varied. There are girls here who don't have a lot of technique, but then there are girls who are really good too. I don't know if I should have worked harder on a specific thing.

  5. The technique here is hard to adjust to in general. It is very different and you have to focus a lot on coordination of arms and head. The hardest for me is turning here..Gelsey teaches arms in allonge second for preparation and right after you close your arms to first in a pirouette you open them back up it's like you are turning with your arms in allonge, sort of awkward! For ballet we switch off from having Gelsey and Misha (her husband) everyday. For pointe we have Gelsey or Ms. Lawler who is Australian. The rest of our teachers are Russian and can barely speak English..we have gotten used to hearing fluent Russian being spoken around the studios here :)

  6. My roommate Laura is from Oregon, she is super nice and we get along really well:) the first week we also roomed with Cecilia who was from the Kirov year round program but she left the second week of the pre professional program. After she left we got a new roommate, Katie, who is from California and she fits right in with us!

  7. I have better placement than other girls in my class. A lot of girls in my level are really good turners and have high extensions and that is something I need to work on.

  8. We have a show this Friday at the Alvin Ailey Theaters. We learned variations from Don Quixote and Raymonda that we are doing in the show. We also learned 4 minutes of Tarantella that we will be performing along with a character piece and a finale polonaise dance. So it's getting pretty hectic with rehearsals and keeping all the choreography straight this last week!

  9. I haven't gotten to see any performances.

  10. During the week in my down time I usually just relax and rest because we don't get back to the dorms until around 7 or 8 pm. Since we have the weekends off here we have a lot of time to do whatever we want! I have gone I Ellis island, the statue of liberty, central park, STEPS, times square, and lots of shops:) And of course (Ming-Ming) and I hang out all the time!

  11. There really isn't anything that I wish I would have known!

08.13.2012: Lazarus, Come Fourth!

SHE LIVEZ! A voice from CCDC past, Nikiya writes AT LAST!o) You can find her picture on the CCDC Wall o' Fame, where we post pictures of CCDC students who go on to professional careers!: (fourth from left, hence "Come Fourth"!o) (Now, where, oh, where, are our other li'l lost black sheeps? I'm looking at you: Giselle1!)
"...Hi Emery and Missy and Alyssa and CCDC,

I'm still alive! Just wanted to let you know that I'm still dancing and I still think of you!

Here's a quick run-down of my goings-on:

I've just finished teaching my summer ballet classes. I had levels 1, 2, and 3, which are 9-13 year olds. It was fun most of the time, but not something I'd like to do as a career. Just made me appreciate your patience and dedication all the more! I was asked to stay on as a teacher during the school year, but my schedule was just too packed.

I'm performing next week in a show called Rhythmically Speaking in a piece I've performed before with blue ponchos and mohawks. (By the way, I've cut off all my hair into sort of a faux-hawk. Goodbye, buns!) There's also break dance and Flamenco and African dance in the show, so it should be pretty cool. Then at the end of August I'm joining a modern company called Ray Terrill Dance Group. It is teeny tiny, but still professional. Score one for Alyssa!

My major preoccupation at the moment is the application for the Fulbright. The Fulbright is a grant awarded to post-graduate students to go to anotIher country and study a subject of their choice for a year. I'm applying to study dance in Sri Lanka. First, I have to apply to Macalester, who has to allow me to apply to the Fulbright committee. It's very competetive, but I think I've got a shot. I'm going to send them footage from (CCDC's) Bayadere and Don Quixote to prove I've got skillz. It's a nerve-wracking process, but very exciting!

Congratulations to all the students doing summer programs! (Yes, I read the blog religiously.) And congrats as well to those going off to college soon!

Miss you! Hugs all around!

...Will write back...uh...soonish, Nikiya! Real busy getting ready for CCDC 2012-2013! Parents! Have you registered your dancers yet?

08.10.2012: Friday Video

Chance to watch your future competition training in NYC courtesy of Dance212:
Watch today's episode, featuring Victoria Grempel:

Plus, enter the trivia contest every week for your chance to win!

Dance212's trivia prize pack features products from:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Broadway Dance Center, School of American Ballet, STEPS on Broadway, and more.
This week's question is:
What does Janelle Cambridge emphasize when teaching students to dance in heels?
Click here to enter.

Missed any episodes?
Visit to catch up.

...And, here's the link to watch rehearsal by students at JKO.

08.09.2012: Wanna B His Girlfriend?

Calling all FutureMrsBieberz! Wanna chance to dance for JBeebz himself? Just got this in the emailbag:
Dear Capital City Dance Center,

Want to dance for Justin Bieber and go on the worldwide BELIEVE TOUR!? Here's your chance! Justin, DS2DIO Founder & BELIEVE Creative Director Jon M. Chu, and BELIEVE choreographer Nick DeMoura are looking for the best dancers out there. This isn't a contest... it's an opportunity for us to open up the audition process and give everyone around the world a chance to show us what you got.

Justin was 12 years old when he started putting videos on YouTube. Six years later, he’s one of the most popular artists in the world and now, DS2DIO is giving you that same opportunity!!

Here's what you need to do:

Make a video of your dance. No rules, just show us your best moves in any style and why you're passionate about dance.
Download the DS2DIO BELIEVE TOUR logo and put it in front of your video so we know to look out for it! Here's the link: BELIEVEAUDITIONS
Title your video with #BELIEVETOURAUDITIONS and upload as a video response to this video: here
The DEADLINE to do your video response is AUGUST 17, 2012 by 9PM PST (U.S. time).

A BIG THANK YOU to Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun for helping us change the way things are done in finding talent all around the world!!

Don't forget to subscribe to DS2DIO on YouTube for updates on the audition process and information about other projects we're working on for you!

...Now, if you don't think your dancing is quite up to the bleeding edge, be sure to sign up for contemporary, lyrical or hip-hop classes with CCDC's Roni McCann! Master her classes and choreography and 'Da Beebz...uh, yourz!o)

08.08.2012: Kudos2Doze3

Congratulations to all the CCDC students accepted to national summer intensives this year! And, congrats to the five dancers who actually managed to attend an intensive over the last few months. And, big kudos to the three CCDC students invited to stay for their year-round programs! Go Maize-Inna-Shed, Ming-Ming and Rock Peterson! One of the reasons we encourage CCDC students to "get out of their comfort zone" during the summer is to expose them to national competition. The fact that a majority of our dancers were invited to stay for year-round programs demonstrates that CCDC dancers are, indeed, keeping up with preprofessional ballet dancers from bigger cities and more prestigious dance programs. Just like Olympic level gymnasts, you no longer have to leave the Capital City to compete on a world-class level! Now, your dancer may not be called to become a performing artist, but, the ballet training you receive shouldn't close that door to you. I tell our students: "You may never become a professional dancer, but, being able to dance like one is STILL a worthy goal!". So, don't forget to register your dancer for Capital City Dance Center 2012-2013! Click on the "Register" button to the left of this page! AND! Don't you know a child who would benefit from positive, encouraging, challenging dance classes at CCDC? Help spread the word about CCDC! Grab some brochures from the lobby and place them around the city! "Like" us on FB! Tweet, text and talk about CCDC!o)

08.07.2012: Message In A eBottle

Speaking of unreliable internet connections, just noticed this in the old emailbox. It's SABGrr!z answers to my survey! I know she's been back at home for awhile now, but, her answers are very informative...especially for any future CCDC students heading to SAB:
  1. I am at The School of American Ballet this summer for 5 weeks. I believe my first class back will be Monday July 30th. There are 7 studios but we only use 5 of them. Studio 1 is huge! The others are large as well but don't compare to studio 1. My class consists of 25 students

  2. I am on level 4 of 6

  3. My first class is always 9.30-11:30. On Monday's I then had class at 2:00-3:30 and pilates at 4:00. Tuesdays- Thursdays my second class is 4:00-5:30 and Fridays my second class is 2:30-4:00. I have ballet classes, which are en pointe, pointe classes, variations, partnering, and ballroom.

  4. Everyone in my class are good turners. Everyday on Jock Soto's class we do fouettés so I wish I was more prepared for those.

  5. My teachers are Jock Soto, Suzzan Pilarre, Suki Schorer and Kay Mazzo. They all say not to use our head at barre, lift our heals on plie, and to not go through our feet when closing. Ms. Pilarre often tells our class to look in the mirror during combinations (creepy eyes).

  6. My roommate is Shelby Whallon from California

  7. Believe it or not but, I hold my seat/ placement better than others(:

  8. Jock Soto is choreographing a dance for our class to show our parents on the last week.

  9. I saw swan lake by ABT, Spiderman, Memphis, and this week I am going to see Saratoga

  10. When not in class me and Shelby usually hang out here, watch movies with our other friends. I have gone to central park and top of the rock

  11. Before I left I thought everyone was going to be stuck up and I wish I knew that they weren't. Everyone is here is really nice.
Miss you guys!
Chester <3..."

08.06.2012: Lazarus! Come Forth!

She LIVES! And, EVEN BETTER! She has a trustworthy INTERNET CONNECTION!o) YAY! Here's an update from CCDC's Mmmadd Skyllz, still chasing a dream in NYC!o)
"...Hello my Fellow Bunheads!

My, have I had a journey these past couple of weeks! I hope all has gone well in your vacations and I hope you all are having fun with summer workshop. New York as always, is incredible and I am still trying to find my way around the subway...if you don’t know this, I am terrible with directions!! The adjustment to Balanchine has been the hardest part to classes. And since I am taking from teachers that want the same things with only the minor details different, I must write all things down and REALLY concentrate. I do really love the technique and though adjusting to it proved to be frustrating at times, I am in love with the different outcomes it had produced. It started to get really frustrating for me for the first two weeks and at times I would get very hard on myself, many a night wondering if they see me at all in class. Then as I rolled into the third week, I became more confident and more sore each day:) The teachers here, especially the first week understood that not all dancers knew Balanchine technique very well and really wanted to explain every inch of Mr. B’s work.

My favorite teacher would have to be Susan Pilarre, she scares the bajebees out of me, but the way she says things in her slightly rude and stern manner seem to always make sense to me. Plus she has a really good sense of humor…and we all know that I like a good laugh:). Suki Shoer is also another one of my favorites because she is patient with us and pushes us to what we think we cannot do. As well as, being one of the most energetic and fun 72 year olds I’ve ever seen! My classes are very large because we have some of the company taking with us plus all the new apprentices. We are also just the largest class in the program. Now that the company has moved to Saratoga for the summer though, the size has shrunk (only slightly), to 36 people!

Speaking of which, SAB went on a trip to see them in Symphony in C, concerto Barroco, The Waltz project, and Kammermusik. It was extremely hot and humid outside and the dancers looked like they had taken a shower they were so sweaty. Besides the climate and the 4 hour bus drive, it was worth it to see NYCB perform. Symphony in C was probably my favorite with Maria Kowroski, Ashley Bouder, and Erica Pereira. I have also got the opportunity to see ABT in Le Corsaire and Swan Lake; both beautiful and inspiring but lacking in the strength of the Corps de ballet. The most amazing, incredible, fierce, and utterly exuberating performance though, was Paris opera Ballet’s French Masters performance.

Overall, my first five weeks of this journey suited me well and SAB’S program turned out to be a welcoming place for me to try versatility. Again, I apologize for how incredibley late this e’mail has come to you!

(Part two- on to Gelsey Kirkland Academy with my trusted side-kick Maize –in a Shed !o) )

I must say that my first week here at Gelsey has been a rough transition. Her style is completely opposing towards any Balanchine work…there for I have been poked and prodded by Gelsey 24-7, but hey who says that’s a bad thing! :) The technique is very classical; many of the arms and heads refer back to the 18th century. This includes wilty arms, very bend port de bras, and overall sylph like qualities in everything. The studios are in the Upper East Side and slightly rustic looking. There are many Russian teachers here, all with fantastic accents and some can barely speak English! For our performance we are learning excerpts from Don Quixote and Raymonda. Also, character coming back to haunt me; Tarantella J But Maize and I are partners for it…so we are ready to kick some tarantula butt!

Again, I hope all of you have been enjoying your summer and dancing like crazy! I have been missing all of you so much and all the beautiful cards send have been GREATLY appreciated because of how long I have been away from beautiful Iowa and CCDC :) Feel free to text Maize or I you have our numbers so…’call us maybe?’

Love, Madskyllz, Ming-Ming, or anything else I go by!..."

...And, she wasn't kidding about not being good with directions. And, apparently, NYC newbie Maize not able to help out much either. When last she tweeted, they hadn't been able to find their way to Steps for a Sunday class. they did what any teenage girls would do instead...they went shopping! Hopefully, they'll be able to make that class next weekend! Merde, GKAGrrlz! We miss ya!o(

08.03.2012: Video Friday

I liked last week's "Pirouette Competition" video from YouTube so much, I searched for the term again. Came up with these interesting clips:
...Boy vs Girl. Who will win?

...Turn competition with socks on tile at Houston Ballet:

...and, @BalletGuru coaches pirouettes:

08.02.2012: No Biz Like Shoe Biz!

More unsolicited email. Just in case you're in the market for ballroom dance shoes! Order at your own risk! (Special offer if you buy more than fifty at a time!o):
Dear Sir or Madam,

I'm cdso yao from Cdso Dance International Co.,Ltd. Cdso dance was founded in June 2007. We are OEM dance footwear manufacturer & supplier and we also carry our own house brands where the emphasis is on high-end design dance shoes using premium materials. Since our beginning, the principle elements of our company have been focused on our service and delivery of quality products with affordable prices. As a result, Cdso dance has successfully became one of the largest dance shoes supplier in the Worldwide.

Please click the link to browse our website for more items about dance shoes,

Available:2-4 weeks
We can offer Us size,& different heel hight.
The price of most of our ladies shoes are 15.99$.

If you can order more than 50 pairs(mix style & assorted size,& heel,color),we will free to print your logo in shoes.

If you are interesting in dance shoes,Please feel free to contact us,we will let you know the pricelist & other informations,Thank you in advance.

Best Wishes,
Cdso Dance

Cdso Dance International Co.,Ltd.
CEO:Cdso Yao
Skype: cdsodance..."

08.01.2012: Dee-Liteful Dee-Studio Channel

Unsolicited email heads up:
"Dear Capital City Dance Center,

New episodes of DS2DIO's Masterclass premiere every Friday at 10AM PST.

On Masterclass Legends, learn the story of Wade Robson in an exclusive interview with host Galen Hooks.

Wade started his career as a choreographer at 14-years-old. By the time he was 18, he was choreographing for NSYNC's No Strings Attached world tour, and he's currently working as the creative director for Demi Lovato.

This week on Masterclass, he's taking you step-by-step through his routine for "Polite Dance Song" by The Bird and the Bee, with exclusive choreography for DS2DIO.

We'd love to see your dancers learning these moves. All you have to do is film it and post it as a Masterclass response video. Posting it will allow the DS2DIO audience to see what your dancers can bring to Wade's choreography!

On top of Masterclass, we're re-releasing every episode of The LXD for the first time on YouTube; pairing up dancers with musicians for unique collaborations on REMIXED (Executive Produced by GLEE's Harry Shum, Jr.); and exploring the world of S2DIO CITY, where the only language is movement!

DS2DIO (pronounced D-Studio) is co-founded by Director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 3D, The LXD, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never) and provides high-quality dance lifestyle content for everyone who loves dance... dancers and non-dancers alike!

Please subscribe to our channel, leave a comment, and continue to be a part of the DS2DIO movement - promoting dance and storytelling!..."

07.31.2012: "We're In The Money!"

Economic argument for the performing arts:

CAPITAL CITY – Today the Civic Center of Greater DsM announced ticket sales for the 2011-2012 Willis Broadway Series reached $8,896,893, generating a related economic impact of $31 million to the community.

Approximately 150,000 guests attended productions in the series, which was highlighted by the national tour launch of La Cage aux Folles, a sell-out engagement of West Side Story and the return of the Broadway hit Wicked.

“The success of the Willis Broadway Series – in attendance and ticket revenue – is largely due to the support of season ticket holders, this year setting record sales of 10,094 packages,” said Civic Center President & CEO Jeff Chelesvig. The Civic Center is one of only a few Broadway presenters of one-week engagements with a season ticket base of over 10,000 subscribers.

The $31 million economic impact total is derived from a formula developed by the Broadway League, the national trade association for the commercial theater industry, which calculates that every dollar of touring Broadway ticket revenue creates three and a half dollars of local economic impact - benefitting hotels, restaurants, retail, and other businesses in the Des Moines area.

“We’re proud to bring these world-class productions to DsM every year because it contributes to the quality of life for central Iowans, both culturally and economically,” said Chelesvig.

Chelesvig added the Civic Center is positioned to set yet another season ticket sales record for the upcoming 2012-2013 Willis Broadway Series, currently on sale. The five-show package includes Les Miserables, War Horse, The Book of Mormon, Jekyll & Hyde, and Million Dollar Quartet with optional add-ons Beauty and the Beast and Jersey Boys.

07.30.2012: Media Monday

Here's the article about the "All Star Edition" of DWT*** in case you've been texting in a cave. I think it's a mistake to mix winners with other former contestants. My suggestion to the producers would've been an "All Winners Show" and an "All Finalists Show". The winners can't win and the losers can't lose in the upcoming fall format! If, say, Apolo wins again, it's expected. He'd WON BEFORE! If he loses people will wonder what went wrong. If a loser, say Melissa, lose again, EVERYONE WILL SAY THE SAME THING! Producers should keep all the winners in one track and all the finalists in another track. And,'s another suggestion: KEEP BRISTOL PALIN OFF THE SHOW! Sure she may attract some lunatic fringe eyeballs who would normally never watch DWT***, but, that would alienate your core audience...AS IT DID BEFORE! So, someone tweet this suggestion to the brass over at ABC...and pull the plug on this disastrous season before it starts!
...And, here's the play-by-play recap of SYTYCD with snarky commentary interspersed:
Second eliminations

Only 16 are left! Starts off with Chaplinesque black and white number. Red umbrella. Good movement of soloists and groups, Chairs, blocks also used as props on stage. Kept me entertained. Tha's all I ask.

Top 16 introduced. Good time to reacquaint ourselves with dancers. Cat comes out looking very Harlo-esque. Tyce Diorio revealed as the choreographer for the opening number.

Two bits of bad news: two weeks before next SYTYCD. And, two more dancers get eliminated. Christina Applegate introduced as guest judge.

First up: Tiffany and George. Nappy Tabz routine: adventures in babysitting. Creative concept. Fast and intricate choreography! Sharp fast attack. Could do without the saggy crotch. Good attitude, strong interactions. Humorous approach to hip hop! Good job! Thumbs up from me!o) Nigel praises the choreography. Asks for more grungier in hip hop numbers. Says it's a marathon. Tiffany "got down!". V Happy. Mary says she's out of her mind over this couple. Praises the Seussian set. I could do without the screaming critiques. "Fabulous partnership". Christina says it was unexpectedly good. wants "soupier" slow movements. "X marks the spot!"

Amber and Brandon: "hot and steamy jazz routine" according to Cat Deeley. Ray Leeper the choreography. Brand, new couple. Aretha! Love her legs! Great lines! hyper extended knees and feet. He does some effortless lifts. She's got good attack. fearless jumpes into lift. Hot and sultry as promised! Chemistry out the laboratory! Mary fanning herself! Christina had to be censored. Says it was too intimate to watch. Felt like a voyeur! Amber has "gut" and "sexy" and "beautiful". Says Brandon stepped up beyond being a stepper. Murphy was sweating! "Soul in the bowl!" Says Amber was sultry and soulful. "Couldn't be more pleased!" Praises Brandon's "unforced masculinity". Nigel calls it "baby-making choreography". Agrees with Murph that Amber "let it out"! Praises Brandon's strength and careful, thoughtful partnering. Suggests he watch his shoulders hiking up. But, calls it excellent.

Darean and Janelle in the cha-cha. Pasha choreography. To Carly Rae Jesen "call me maybe" Needs to work on his hips and shoulders as well. Her belly dancing and flexibility gives her hip training. He's doing good partnering. Nice turns. Little lackadaisical in the line of the upper body. Mary calls it phenomenal choreography, but, nitpicks the turn in and lack of good dance hold. Calls it a hiccup along the way. Christina says it was a good effort. Says his hands were distracting. Nigel says the off-arm is the forgotten limb. Says the footwork needs help. Not sexy enough! Lacked connection.

Lindsey and Cole: Mandy Moore choreography. The battle of positivity and negativity. Let's hear it for love! Contemporary piece. Intense Struggle. Non-stop movment with flashes of brilliance. Wow! They're not stopping! Fascinating choreography! Who will win in the end? Breathing hard at the end! With emotion and exertion. Nigel praises the routine. And, the lighting! Says she stepped up her spirit, expanded beyond the juvenile and immature teen dancing. Cole called "brilliant" and "a genius". Mary says Lindsey has all the magic in the world, "mesmerizing". Cole praised for versatility. "Nailed it" privilege to watch him dance! Can't wait to see what he can do next. Christina praises the grand jete' in seconde. Praises the body speaking for her. Didn't even need to see her face! Watch out for this couple!o)

Amelia and Will: Mandy moore routine: Choreography is hot as expected unexpected lifts. Sharp and quirky. INtersting costumes. QUirky as well. Sly, slinky sequences. Great characters! Christina says a dream partnership. But, Nigel says it had no chemistry! WHAAT! Loves them both, but... Mary says she's in the middle. Wasn't their strongest routine, but, still at a high level. Says Will is the best partner in this competition. Amelia is "phenomenal"! Personally, I LOVED the piece!

Matthew and Audrey: Salsa with Liz Lira. Challenged by the salsa tricks. Beethoven's fifth of salsa? talk about your mash ups. Tricky trix interspersed throughout the routine. He's not doing too bad. Hold is and frame are touch weak. Shoulda kissed her at the end! Need a little more red in the costumes. Mary calls them one of her favorite couples. Chemistry lacked "fire". CA praised the dancers, questioned the dancing. Admits she was distracted with the music. Telegraphed the preparation for the pirouette. Nigel says it was slow and not enough going on. Questionable outing.

Whitney and Cheyon: Stacey Tookey number. An impossible love story. Organic movements grow and move effortlessly in and out of partnering. Helicopter lift was bad. The immortal Whitney Houston. Judges on their feet applauding. He hugs her over to Cat. Nigel's yelling Bravo. Christina moved to tears! One of the most beautiful things she's ever seen in her life. Her heart skipped a few beats. Mary says Stacey got her with this routine. Says they manifested Houston's iconic music. Emmy-nominated choreographer Nigel says it was "absolutely flawless". For someone who was on the chopping block last week, both Cheyon and Witney stepped up!. I'm challenged as a choreographer to think outside the box and to not accept the easy stuff.

Eliana and Cyrus do hip hop: Nappy Tabz. HE"S AMAZING! First few movements are mesmerizing. She's going to be challenged to step out of the ballet box and hit it hard. Hard to watch her because he's so powerful and charismatic in his hiphop . Strong number. Another standing ovation from the judges. Mary says it was "fabulous" choreography and "Fabulous" dancing. "Crazy good" "Buck"! Says Ms Ballet Got down out there. Both on the "train"! CA says she was worried about Eliana, but, shouldn't have been. Calls Cyrus "sublime". Lucky, but, sublime. Nigel says Eliana was the ballerina with "swag". OH, NO, HE DIN'T! Says Eliana was better than Cyrus in some elements!

Amber, Lindsey, Eliana, George, Brandon and Dareian are in danger! Four get the chance to dance again. Does that mean Lindsey and George are safe?

Amber solo: Great extensions. good jumps and turns. Strong dancer. sufficient balances. excellent attack! Great legs!

Brandon: hopping up and down. strong dancing. Knee spins. Strong music, strong dancing. Very masculine. Steps and claps in time to the music. Fast and strong and sharp. Turns not that good.

Eliana: Barefoot ballerina. Skyhigh extensions. Aerial. Whacks a six o'clock penche outta nowhere!

Darian: double chasse tour. strong dancer as well. attacks the movement and travels all over the stage. seven pirouettes pull in out of grand.

Judges look perplexed! Solos were all sick! If I had to choose, I'd like Eliana and Brandon go. We'll see.

Ailey men in The Hunt. Okay! This is how you do it Ameria. Strong male dancing. Nothing like the AIley men. Even in long dresses. Tribal hunt motif. Jungle drums match percussive choreography! Then, partnering in silence, Slow drumming builds up. Some of the movements a little too tentative to me. Energy builds Strutting, Posturing builds in intensity again. Ends with standing ovation from judges. Choreography from Robert Battle. I was a little underwhelmed.

Nigel says "shocked" these girls in the bottom three. But, Amber goes home. Lindsey and Eliana breathe a sigh of relief.

Nigel says TOUGH again. George is saved. SO TOUGH! Dareian isa magician. Says Brandon was Incredible...but, gets let go.

Who goes next? Amber. Audrey, Eliana need to watch out. George, Dareian, Matthew for the boys.

07.27.2012: Euro Dreams of Dancing!

Dance and train in a European castle? Is this email a scam?
Celebrate the Art of Theatre and enjoy the fabulous Christmas Eve in the circle of theatre colleagues and potential collaborators from all over the world!

We are meeting on December 17 - 21, 2012 at 15th century castle in Austria

International Conference "Theatre Between Tradition & Contemporaneity"
Practical workshops, presentations, performances, works-in-progress, lectures and discussions with performing arts experts and teachers from USA, Australia, Russia, Thailand, Turkey and United Kingdom.

Performers, actors, dancers, choreographers, performing arts educators, artists, playwrights, theatre critics, journalists, theatre researchers, arts managers, arts administrators, arts management educators and consultants, arts entrepreneurs, fundraisers, producers, arts agents and talent managers from all over the world.

Working language: English.

Travel and Accommodation
The nearest international airports are Graz and Vienna. The organizers help participants to organize comfortable accommodation and meals.

To apply for participation, candidates should send a brief cover letter with CV/resume to
Participation fee: 350 EUR (early reduced registration fee - if payment is made before August 10th);
550 EUR (if payment is made after August 10th).
The fee covers participation if all events of the the Conference programme.
Programme details: here.

07.26.2012: Not-So-Abstract Abstracts

The more you know, the more you know, y'know?:
Benefits of cross-training in yoga, CCDC dancerz:
"...UCLA researchers have found that practicing a certain form of yogic meditation for just 12 minutes daily leads to a reduction in the biological mechanisms responsible for an increase in the immune system’s inflammation response. Inflammation, if constantly activated, can contribute to a multitude of chronic health problems...."
...Here's the link for more.
...And, if you don't use enough sunscreen (I'm looking at you, Fried Rice+Sebathia Ryder!), this research may prove beneficial against skin cancer:
"...A protein extracted from the seeds of a legume tree that is native to parts of Asia has been found to inhibit cancer cell growth and also to discourage the spread of melanoma to other parts of the body in animal models. This tree has been used for centuries in traditional medicines..."
...Here's the link for more.
...You may not ever compete in the Olympics, but, adopting the secrets of world-class athletes can help you on your own path to "personal gold":
"...Persistence and sacrifice are central to success, says UAB expert who competed on the world stage as a teen..."
...Here's the link for more.

07.25.2012: Sizzlin' Summer 'O' Dance!

Be sure to make time for your child to dance at CCDC this fall...(Have you registered for CCDC 2012-2013 yet? Thank you, if you have! And, if you haven't, why not?:o) And! Be sure to pencil in some dance for next summer! Here are some recent comments about CCDC students beating the heat at CCDC and in studios around the country this summer:
"...She has been having a great time at (her national summer intensive). We are so blessed to have you guys support her and opportunities like summer intensives!..."
"...By the way, (my dancer) loved the (CCDC Summer) Dance Intensive! She is looking forward to being back tonight..."
"...(My daughter) is having the time of her life as I expected she would. She may miss us a bit here and there, but nothing worth mentioning...Thanks so much...for preparing her (and me) for this adventure..."

07.24.2012: YouTube=Time Suck

Dang! How much fun would it be to jump and turn like this danseur?

And---boys will be boys!---pirouette competition: ...or try this link
And, here's one from Daniil Simkin:

And, @BalletGuru coaches jumps:

07.23.2012: Monday DVRewind

Play-by-play and commentary of the latest SYTYCD:
First Elimination Show
Quadruple Elimination

Powerful opening number to Beautiful People...Play on the Magic Mirror from Sleeping Beauty. Cyrus in Half-skull face. Girls in red. Sharp, yet sensual, movements, Powerful beat...powerful movements. Thumbs up! Tayeh routine?

Big audience reaction for Lindsey and Cole. Hmmm...who's gonna go? Cat says it's a Nappy Tabs routine. They're evolving their choreography. Judges save one guy and one girl. Three couples under the gun.

Adam Shankman joins the panel of judges. Nigel publicizes National Dance day, July 28th. National Dance Day stamps. Wow! Zumba getting a lotta publicity in the planning for this national event!

Everyone dances, then, the elimination.

Christopher Scott choreographes Lindsey and Cole. Trip to the dentist. Little s-and-m elements. Cole actually plays nerdy geeky well. Fun comedic elements. Cole is actually effective portraying a patient under gas! Two thumbs up. Cole gets a lollipop. Nigel says it felt a little immature for Lindsey. Mary says the routine put a smile on her face. She says she appreciates the stretch that Lindsey brought to the table. Calls Cole "the nerd of all nerds". Adam urges Lindsey to sex it up a little more. Lindsey is such a likeable dancer. Cole is selling this geek portrayal a little too much!

Amelia and Will in a Sonia Tayeh routine: Her luminous complexion just illuminates the stage. Her movement is exemplary. Will needs to be a little gentler in his partnering. He disappears because she's so hard NOT to watch. Great commitment to movement. Okay, there's Will! Mary screams! Praises the portrayal! She praises the partnering! Where there's a Will, there's a way! Adam jumps to his feet to deliver a standing ovation. Says Amelia was brilliant. Says Will "Stepped It Up". BRILLIANT! LOVED IT! Nigel praises Sonia's development as a choreographer. Amelia tamed her quirkiness. Absolutely "brilliant dancers", Fantastic choreography, well executed.

Amber and Nick, in tango: "One body, four legs". Wow! She has some extension and attack. Headfirst dive shows implicit trust.LOVE his long coat. LOVE his intensity! But, ballroom is his strength!. Like the use of breath by her. Shes got some extension and line! Strong characters, strong dancing! They PROWL over to Kat! Adam says it was SOO hot! Says Amber was spectacular and fully inhabited the character. Mesmerizing! But, says Nick was so good, he deferred to his partner. Nigel says Amber made herself look good...not Nick! "Tremendous, Amber!" Nick was strong, but, in his element. Mary, the ballroom expert says the routine was difficult and demanding but the dancers made it look easy. Says she was in awe with Amber! "Hats off to Nick!" Nick's guy-liner should get him a few votes!

Audrey and Matthew: Another Tayeh piece. Aggression. Matt has worked out a little judging from that muscular development. Audrey gets her legs up effortlessly. Quirky choreography is Tayeh's hallmark and this piece is no exception. Wow! Showcasing her flexibility and attack! This means war! Matt rocking some guy-liner as well. Nigel praises the "stank steps"! Calls them one of America's favorite couples. Mary says she loves the way they dance. Maximizes their dancing! Little dancers, but, dance big. Adam says the night belongs to Sonia! Adam says he no longer has any doubts about Audrey. Shankman says Matthew is "fantastic"! Judging from the girls' reaction, he's a female favorite!

Janelle and Darien: The marriage proposal to the music of "My Girl" by the Temps! Classic Motown music. This couple has some strong chemistry! Ends with a loving lip lock! Chris Scott routine. Adam calls it a character-driven dance. Calling out Janelle to "live and breathe" the music. "Adorable". Nigel says so much depends on the choreography. Calls the choreography "uninspired". Says the dancers were under-served. Predicts tough number to generate phone calls. Adam fakes a stage kiss with Nigel. Mary says the routine was sweet, but..

Janaea+Brandon in a Sean Cheesman routine: Another bench routine. Girl chasing the boy. Very athletic number. ends with difficult lift sequence. She's cra cra! Adam praises "great job" in choreography. Character driven piece that was quite a "step up". Janaea was "great". Nigel says the dancers need to expand, as do the choreographers. Mary says Brandon stepped it up. Says they rose to the occasion. Calls it very entertaining! Janaea called "amazing"!

Eliana and Cyrus do the jive: Melanie and Tony routine. She's the ballerina. Her flexibility is quite an asset. Good timing. Hard routine! Nice attack! Mary says Cyrus' transitions and posture were weak! But, praises his partnering skills. Eliana praised as a phenomenal dancer. Adam says Cyrus was "fantastic". Says Eliana is the "hardest working woman in show business". Nigel says Cyrus needs to "fill in the blank spaces".

Alexa and Daniel with Dee Kaspara piece. Dancing with a bathtub. Movement as metaphor. Very flowing piece. Wearing costumes the color of water. Like this choreography. Movement into movement suspension and breath. Line and length. Effective use of the stage set bath tub. Very flowing piece! Apropos for water metaphor. Great lines and feeling!. Interesting choreography! Adam praises Dee choreography. harder than it looks. Very beautiful. Needed more passion or depth. Appreciated the technicality, but, not the emotional content. Mary says, "Do not try this at home!" Executed to a "t". But, missing some chemistry. Incredible dancers, amazing choreography. Nigel also praises choreography but sides with the rest of the judges. Connection to audience and each other "was lost". Brilliant training, brilliant dancing, but, lacking emotion. They're in danger if they're in the bottom three! Let that be a lesson to the other contestants! Technique not enough!

Tiffany and George: Tony and Meredith LaPatin Foxtrot. Years worth of knowledge in two weeks. Frame week. lacking tension. Nice feeling. This boy has some line and extension. She looks and dances lovely. Smooth routine. Nice layout! Good choreography, executed well. But, lacking ballroom skills. Mary claps, but, says foxtrot is one of the most difficult dances. Needs to glide and flow...and the dancers delivered. Praises top line and pivots. "Great routine" Praises Tiffany! "I adore you" George is "a great partner". Adam says he was "madly in love" with the piece. Compares it to the MGM musicals classic. "In-FREAKING-credible!" Nigel says he was pleased at the number. Liked the connection! Gave a lesson on "how to connect". "Made me feel happy!".

Step Up 4, the movie preview. Not sure about this plot. But, dancing looks more than watchable! Is a good plot with strong appealing characters too much to ask for? (grumble, mumble)

Explanation before elimination. Judges save people only. No eliminations. Hmm, no solos? Eliminated of the girls are: Alexa and Janaea get sent home. Of the boyz: Choreographers input. Cheyon Saved! After that bollywood number??? Nick and Daniel get sent home. Two strong boyz and two strong girlz get sent home! Who's in trouble next week: Janelle? Witney 's bollywood number didn't help her. Will might be in the same pickle. Cyrus might be vulnerable. And, Cheyon, of course, may have trouble connecting with voterz!

07.20.2012: $end Money!o)

The parent company where a CCDC student is training this summer is involved in constant fund-raising. But, aren't they all? Welcome to the world of the performing arts!
"...Since the day we began performing in 1970, Milwaukee Ballet's mission has been to inspire, to help reach all people, of all ages, no matter their circumstances-in order to make their eyes see the beauty that everyday circumstances may cloud...

To fulfill the expectations of a community which has made the Ballet part of its family for over 40 years; for us to do MORE in Milwaukee and reach MORE people, we simply ask that you consider what role YOU will play.

Your support of the Ballet is voluntary, but for us, necessary to ensure that we are fulfilling our promises to Milwaukee.

Nearly 50% of our budget comes from your donations.

If every person who has attended a performance, or free workshop, or participated in our Ballet School made a gift of $10 - Milwaukee Ballet would very quickly have over $500,000!

(To put this into perspective, $500,000 could underwrite the total cost of a brand new, full-length production. Or underwrite 2 full years of all community outreach activities. Or provide over 100 scholarships!)

We will close the curtain on the 2011-12 fiscal year on July 31. Do you want to continue to experience MORE of what the Ballet has to offer?

With Gratitude..."

07.19.2012: Hearing Is Believing

Before the guest instructors for the 2012 CCDC Summer Intensive rode off into the sunset last month, we sat them down for extended interviews on dance technique and advice for aspiring professional dancers. We've been posting the audio on-line in bits and pieces. And, you can catch up with Lynn Andlauer, Joseph and Kim Nygren-Cox on the CCDC FaceBook page. Now, here's some bonus audio exclusive to the CCDC ballet blog, the final installment from Kimmie. Lotta valuable insight and advice from master teachers and former professional dancers! Give them a listen!

07.18.2012: Gr8BallzOFire!o)

Move over Jerry Lee Lewis! Here comes a "blazing hot" show!
DsM Social Club Announces Fireball on August 16 and 17 at Simon Estes

(Capital City News Service) – The DsM Social Club announces Fireball, presented by Principal Financial Group and Community Choice Credit Union, on Thursday, August 16 and Friday, August 17 at 8pm at the Simon Estes Amphitheater. Fireball will feature an unforgettable production filled with acrobatic feats of fire with special performances by Flam Chen and Pyrotechniq, plus special guests. Tickets will go on sale Friday, July 20 at

Merging daredevil acrobatics, pyrotechnics and a mastery of light, air and fire, Flam Chen will provide the headlining entertainment through a delightful, dazzling public spectacle. Flam Chen, originally from Tuscan, Arizona, have been creating, performing, and touring new circus and fire theater since 1994. With combined technologies, creative engineering and effects, Flam Chen creates a sense of immersion, wrapping the audience in hypnotic visions. Pyrotechniq, the fire troupe that has played the Subjective Circus for four years, will open for Flam Chen, adding poise and style to the performances with their unique brand of pyrotechnic allure.

Fireball will also feature delicious food and drinks. This is an all ages, family friendly event with kids 12 and under admitted for free. Everyone is encouraged to come and enjoy a summer night in downtown Des Moines with spectacular talent!

“Never in my life have I seen such amazing spectacle and awe-inspiring energy. This is show not to be missed. The capital city has never seen anything like this before!” says DsM Social Club executive director, Zachary Mannheimer.

What: DsM Social Club presents Fireball
When: August 16 and 17, 2012, Doors: 7:30pm, Show: 8pm
Where: Simon Estes Amphitheater, Robert D. Ray Dr. and Locust St., Des Moines Early bird tickets: $15 per day (limited amount available) Buy early to save before the price goes up to $25

Kids 12 & under are free.
ON SALE: Friday, July 20 at 10am at

07.17.2012: She LIVEZ!oD

CCDC students and dancers! Squeaky wheel finally gets some grease!o) Be sure to check out the bulletin board in the lobby. We've posted a postcard and two letters from CCDC students training in far-off and exotic locations this summer. And, "Carey" asked if I still wanted her to reply to the survey I sent last week since she answered many of the same questions. My answer? "Yes, you did! But, yes, I do!o)":
"...Alright here it is.
  1. Where are you? How many weeks are you staying? When do we get to see you again? How are the studios? How many people in your classes?
    I'm at Milwaukee Ballet for six weeks this summer. I'll be back on Monday, July 30th. The studios are good. There is one very large one, a medium sized one, and then two small ones. The large one is the best, but the smaller ones are more like CCDC's. There are also two studios at a different location than than the regular Milwaukee Ballet, but I was only there for one week. There are 19 people in my level.
  2. What placement are you? What level out of how many levels?
    I'm in level 4 out of 6.
  3. Describe a typical day. What dance classes are you taking?
    We typically start around 9 and go to 4 or 5 o'clock. I have ballet, pointe, and variations in the morning, and then I have a style class and rehearsal in the afternoon. Levels 3-6 each got to do partnering for one week, so the third week I had partnering instead of variations. As for style classes, I've done African, Afro-Cuban, modern, jazz, and this week is composition.
  4. Seen anybody good? How's the competition? What should you have worked harder on to get ready for this summer?
    There are a lot of good dancers in the upper levels, and some in my level as well. I feel like I could have worked more on flexibility for this summer.
  5. What's the hardest adjustment you've had to make technically? Who are your teachers? Are they asking for something different?
    I've had a different teacher every week, and they all teach differently, so I think that is probably been the hardest. Each week, I have to figure out how the teacher teaches, what they like and what they don't like.
  6. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
    My roommates name is Emily and she is from Maryland. I'm in a suite though, so there are four other girls that I live with as well. They're from Kansas, Wisconsin, and California.
  7. What do you do better than the other students? What do they do better than you?
    I think I hold my placement better than some of the other girls, but often they are more flexible and can get their legs higher.
  8. Are you rehearsing for anything? What choreography? What music?
    I am rehearsing a ballet piece with the rest of my level for our end of the intensive show. It is being choreographed by Ryan Martin, a company member of Milwaukee Ballet. I'm not exactly sure what the music is, but I think he said it was African.
  9. Seen any performances? Who and what? What inspired you the most?
    Unfortunately, I haven't gotten to see any.
  10. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
    I've gotten to go to the beach, a baseball game, an amusement park, a mall, and just hang out with my roommates.
  11. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
    I don't think there's really anything that I wish I had known before I left that I know now.
Miss everyone!

<3 ("Princess Rapunzel")..."

...And, the remaining CCDC dancers away for the summer have texted they're trying to send the answers to the survey, but, their wi-fi and internet is "iffy" at best! So, keep your fingers crossed! And, remember to read the correspondence on the CCDC bulletin board!o)

07.16.2012: Media Monday

'Nuff with the auditions! Here come the live performances!
Top 20 Perform

Starts off with group typing pool number. Commentary on modern office culrture. Symphonic, staccato, many turns from one dancer. typing movements. But, what was the idea? Didn't go someplace? Christopher Scott routine.

Alexa, Brandon, Amber, Cheyon, Amerlia, Cole, Audrey, Cyrus, Eliana, Daniel, Janaya, Dareian, Janelle, George, Lindsay, Matthew, Tiffany, Nick, Witney, Will...Here are your girls! And here are your guys. Strut to center and hit a pose.

Kenny Ortega is guest judge along with Mary and Nigel. Celebrating his birthday. Talks about next week's elimination. Four people will get eliminated next week!

Witney Carson, 18, Cheyon, 23 year old Will do a latin samba with Louis Van Amsetel. Lets hear it for the ballet boyz. He's got the innate line. but, a little fumble with the upper body. Hard not to watch him! She's in her element. He looks a little stiff. Has to learn to sell the routine a little bit more if he intends to stick around.

Interesting comments on adapting ballet technique to the competition experience from Nigel. Mary criticizes weight placement. Praises his dynamics. Puts Witney on the hot tamale train. Kenny also full of praise, compares her to Marilyn Monroe. Advises Cheyon to trust the choreography.

Tiffany and George up next: Tiffany, 19, George Lawrence II, 19. Sonia tayeh routine. "The stars are aligned to become one". Smooth, sudden lifts and jumps. Long, languorous lines. rapid scuttling touch and release unfolding into unexpected lines and unexpected turns. Strong connection between the dancers.

Mary says it left her breathless. Says she saw the surrender to the choreography. Kenny praises the choreography. Says it celebrates young love and young passion, breath-taking! Nigel says Sonia is growing as a choreographer., declares the small dancers dance larger than life. "Very beautiful."

Janaya French, 20, Brandon, 27, stepper. Napoleon and Tabitha choreography. A piece on alcoholism and addiction and the toll it takes.. New hip hop genre, telling a story, sending a message. Need to hit a bit harder. Dond't see the message. Don't think it was successful.

Alexa and Daniel: Alexa Anderson, 19, Daniel Baker, 24, Aussie. Sean Cheesman. Difficult partnering. Climb down from scaffolding in red, hot outfits. Aerial out of nowhere. Wasn't enough there. Difficult to establish connection because of complex choreography. Not served well by the choreography. hard steps for the sake of hard steps? "Impressed with exercise, not impressed with the emotion or connection." Odd costuming choice...

Amber Jackson, 21, Nick Bloxsom-Cater, 20...Viennese Waltz, jason Glilikison. . Starts in a spiraling life. Costume dances. Both are lucky that one of them is a ballroom dancer. Especially the boy leading. Hard to teach proper ballroom lead. Mary calls it "dreamy", transitions were "melting". Kenny calls it fluid and flowing. So lovely. Nigel says Jason challenged Nick to step up.

Amelia Lowe, 18, Will Thomas, 19, Nappy Tabs. Character pop. Will starts off in the dumpster.. Looks like a fun piece to dance. Cute number, cute couple. Kenny says lovd it. Nigel says he likes the partnership. Says personality gets votes. A memorable routine. "Terrific" and "memorable". Mary's happy-meter was pegging. "Quirky little vixen".

Darrien and Janelle. Janelle Issis, 24, Dareian kujawa, 20. African Jazz with Sean Cheesman. Nice back! he looks right at home in this style. Some funky lifts and stretches in this piece. Press to handstand to round off back arabian? Is that african? Dancing then lift, dancing then drag. Not sure I liked this piece. Dariean is a little powerhouse. High praise from Kenny Ortega. Calls them two flames dancing across the stage!

Unlikely pairing up next: the ballerina and the b-boy.

National Dance day, July 28th. Zumba and hip hopper. Dance gala.

Eliana Girard, 21, Cyrus Spencer, 22, Tyce Diorio. Hairspray number. Cyrus has never done choreography. From Haispray. he can hit it hard. . He's got a personality. She's having a lotta fun. ...Knocked it outta the park!. Made the most of some simple choreography. THe joy and personality was something to watch on top of the technique!

Audrey and Matthew. Travis Wall choreography always very satisfying and challenging. WoW. she's a gumby!. Big jump. Dance with abandon and commitment. Great music, great movement. That Phil Spector wall of sound. Standing ovation from the judges. As a dancer, you pray for moments and choreography like that.

Lindsey and Cole:Lindsey Arnold, 18, Cole Horibe, 26. Calls himself a "Walking cliche". Jason Gilkinson. Paso Doble. My boys in shape!. Hit those accents. Don't see the story of poison hinted about in the package. Double tour to the knee. Didn't notice her. thought he could've done more, but, mary, the ballroom expert is emotional. The "Best Paso Doble" Nigel had ever seen in the show. Kudos to the boy from my hometown! Flashes the shaka sign.

Who would you send home? I think Cheyon, Janaya, Amber, Brandon have to watch out...

07.13.2012: Friday the 13th, Our Lucky Day!

HE LIVES!o) Less than an hour after I posted those snarky comments yesterday about being "forsaken and forgotten", CCDC's Rocky Peterson posted these answers! YAY! (His mom says you might wanna text him because he's resting a strain and just observing a lotta classes these days.):
  1. I am at Houston Ballet this summer. It is a 6 week program, I will be back on Monday July 30th. The studios here are amazing, there are 11 of them including a small indoor performing center. My level consists of 26 other boys.

  2. I have been placed in level 7 of 8 but I take almost all of my classes with the 8's

  3. A typical day is dance from 9am to 5 or 6pm. Everyday has a technique class, a repertoire class, at least one partnering class, and an extra class such as modern, character, weight training. This is the minimum in each day here with Houston.

  4. There are some good dancers here, but just like all places besides CCDC ;) there are some not so good dancers. But I have decided to push myself as far as possible this summer. I feel like I should've taken even more time to stretch before I got here, but now that I'm here I have been taking some time to stretch a little more often.

  5. The classes here are very similar to the ones at CCDC, I haven't had to make too many adjustments. But I have been told several times to calm down and not work too hard on my upper body because it looks stiff, that has been my hardest adjustment.

  6. I'm rooming with Valentin B_____, he is 14, in level 6 and he is from Argentina. He is a very nice kid and I'm happy he's my roommate.

  7. I have the biggest cabrioles here, and I am the highest jumper here. But there are kids here who don't have "(Neulenfurter) feet" ( if you know what I mean ) there are also some kids here who can turn way more than I can, but I have found that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, I've tried to apply the strengths and remove weaknesses.

  8. I am rehearsing a piece from La Bayadere, and 2 pieces choreographed by Stanton Welch, one named The Gentlemen and another called Clear.

  9. I had the opportunity to watch Romeo and Juliet, it really inspired me to put the passion and love in my dance for every second I'm on stage. And after the performance I even had the opportunity to stand on the stage and look into the audience seats.

  10. I've been able to go to water parks, NASA, a boardwalk, gone to the movies, but I haven't really taken tours around Houston.

  11. I have found that the respect put into CCDC has helped me get noticed for the respect that I have been able to show here in Houston. I'm glad to have my teachers at CCDC to have helped me throughout the way.
...NOW, where are those other CCDC dancers away at strange and exotic places this summer? HMMMMMMM??????

07.12.2012: Outta Sight? Outta Mind!

We have apparently been forgotten and forsaken, CCDC dancerz! The CCDC students off dancing in exotic and distant locales this summer are apparently having too much fun to remember to stay in touch with their legions of fans back home! (sniff!) Oh, I hear rumors of e-mails and letters home and such, but, as of today, NADA! NOTHING! ZILCH! (sob!) Well, in case they actually find the time to read this ballet blog, WE DON'T MISS YOU AT ALL! We're busy getting ready for the big STATE FAIR! There's a new square dance caller coming from Saint Louie who's supposed to be the cat's pajamas! There's a new rope and tire hung up at the swimmin' hole down by the crick and we're a-wastin' a lotta lazy summer afternoons just a-splashin' and a-playin' in the clear, clean river water! And, if it gets too hot, the new moving picture theater two towns over has that cold air machine cranked up to goose-bump level! SEEEE!!! WE'RE TOO BUSY TO MISS YA! ...But...just in case you wanna drop us a note, how about answering this short survey?
  1. Where are you? How many weeks are you staying? When do we get to see you again? How are the studios? How many people in your classes?
  2. What placement are you? What level out of how many levels?
  3. Describe a typical day. What dance classes are you taking?
  4. Seen anybody good? How's the competition? What should you have worked harder on to get ready for this summer?
  5. What's the hardest adjustment you've had to make technically? Who are your teachers? Are they asking for something different?
  6. Who are you rooming with? Where are they from?
  7. What do you do better than the other students? What do they do better than you?
  8. Are you rehearsing for anything? What choreography? What music?
  9. Seen any performances? Who and what? What inspired you the most?
  10. What do you do in your down time? Visit any tourist spots?
  11. What do you know now that you wish you had known before you left?
...Send your answers to Info@GoCCDC.Com and I'll post them here for everyone to share. Anyone else got any questions? Use the same address and I'll pass them along in the next survey!o)

07.11.2012: SYTYCD!

The return of live episodes of So You Think You Can Dance is on Fox tonight!o) Here's a video recalling some of the hottest moments from the reality dance TV competition:

...and here's the link to video interviews of the new Top 20!o)

07.10.2012: Tweet! Tweet! My Dancing Feat!o)

For those of you still not on Twitter or not subscribed to the Breaking Pointe dancers, here's an interesting tweet-versation on ballet technique:
"...Madison XiaoZheng @Jiangxiaozheng
"...Oh and any tips on how to improve my turns, or just my pointework in general? Aside from practice?"
Katie Martin @itskatiemartin
"(I wear) Freed. You'll have to ask Becks about turns! But for pointe, I'd say: Keep your ankles and toes strong!"
Beckanne Sisk @BeckanneSisk
"Turns are all about the butt! lol :) and I concur with what Katie said about pointe work!"
...Interesting! THAT'S why I'm on Twitter! Input on technique directly from professional dancers! "...Turns are all about the butt..." Try your turns and squeeze those high, back-seat muscles CCDC #ballet instructors are always talking about!o) Having trouble finding them? They're the same muscles you're constantly pulling the backs of your leotards down over! (Oh, and have I mentioned recently that @BeckanneSisk subscribes to CCDC's @SirDanGuy?:o) What are YOU waiting for?

07.09.2012: Eye-Full of Paris Opera Ballet

Personal account from a CCDC Adult Ballet dancer's sojourn to see POB:
"...Ballet road trip to Chicago last weekend for POB's Giselle and mixed rep of French faves. Saw Giselle on the 2nd night, expecting to be transfixed after glowing Chicago newspaper review. Many nice things...Most impresive was 2nd act. From my "cheap seat" up high, the corps was amazing--they truly breathed as one, not a finger or ear or line out of place, completely in unison. They wore wee little willi-wings. And, along with Myrtha, cool long veils during their entry which were magically whisked off their heads and floated offstage. TONS of silky-smooth bourees and pas de courrus (please pardon my bad french spelling and make corrections)--including an amazingly fast backwards pas de courrus offstage by Giselle. Giselle was really sublime, ghostly, lighter than air. And I noticed the ballerinas seemed to carry their wrists more limply, cross their hands when moving from 1st to high 5th, and have their wrists bent and hands crossed "on haut". I always thought that was Balanchine....

The first act of Giselle was a bit more tame than some. The background dancers were much more static, only moving or interacting when the soloists were NOT dancing. A major disappointment was the male who did peasant pas. Could not land his double-tours (getting only 3/4 around). a few battus at the start of each section of his variation, then none. big preparation for .....wait for it....double pirouette....nearly falling off his knee at the final pose. I did not want to judge an artist harshly, thinking that we all have off nights, maybe he was tired....but after seeing how strong and deep the company men are the following night--all executing tours, beats, jumps, turns, etc, one wonders...???!!!

The following night's bill was "epic French masterpieces". Opened with "suite en blanc" choreographed by Serge Lifar in 1943, about the time Balanchine was also experimenting with "non-story" ballets. It was a series of little dances, some seeming to have a hint of a story (women dressed as schoolgirls), one a nice little Mazurka. Much of it was classical ballet with some occasional odd/angular/sharp movements thrown in, sometimes looked a bit out of place.

L'Arlisienne was a fun piece to familiar music by Bizet, choreographed by Roland Petit in 1974. More contemporary, more energy, more dramatic. Boy meets girl story, of course.

The high point was Petit's Bolero, which came as a surprise to me because as a musician this is one old chestnut I really don't care if I ever hear again....and especially after the awful movie "10" with Bo Derek (youngsters, ask your parents). The piece featured 1 male starting with constant but somewhat repetitive movements in the middle of a large raised red circle mid-stage, and 40 (yes I counted!) men sitting in chairs in a row along the edges and back of the stage who gradually joined in the frenzy. The dancing grew in intensity and vigor and was really quite breathtaking--not to mention the costuming, which consisted of only slim black pants.

Interesting notes....program bios only for "etoiles" or stars, all of whom seem to be french and started training at POB around 12-13 years old, then seem to start in the corps (although program lists lowest level as "quadrilles"), worked their way up to "Coryphee", then "Sujet", then "Premiere danseuse/danseur" the "etoile". It seems that the promotion to "etoile" happens after a performance and is listed in each dancer's bio--sounds like a neat tradition. And many dancers toiled for 10+ years before the promotion (haha, no pun intended Emery). Many of the dancers in choice roles were at least in their mid-late 30s. Bolero guy was probably in his early 40s, so careers seem to last longer here. Interestingly, Mrs Giselle was played by a corps member (I'm assuming young) rather than the usual "old dancer still can't give up the thrill of being on stage" like me. And much of the choreography was remarkably like our recent performance!!! Personally I noticed that Mrs G moved around the stage more during her mime so I will try to incorporate that into my next opportunity to perform. The live music was great--looks like they brought their own conductor, and used local orchestra musicians. The program identifies this as the 759th performance of Giselle by POB, 205th of this production, and gives the same statistics for the other pieces.

Well, sorry this note is so wordy, but it was an amazing experience that only fellow-dancers can really understand and share--so thanks for letting me do so! And Emery, I knew you'd ask so I brought you a program...

07.06.2012: No Biz Like Shoe Biz!o)

Just got this in the e-mail box. Do you think it's a scam?
"...Dear Contributor,

We are a small dance shoe maker and supply dance shoes to people and communities mainly on a national basis at present. We have been in operation for only a few years but have seen the demand for dance shoes grow quite quickly as the dance phenomenon takes off around the world.

So far we have been supplying to the average higher end of the socio-economic spectrum, which is where the bulk of people who dance are sourced from. However, due to the high cost of dancing and learning to dance, it is quite prohibitive to the lower end of the socio-economic range and the poor and disadvantaged and they never end up being able to experience the health, social, self-esteem, and other benefits that are derived from this popular pasttime.

Our dream now is to bring dancing to this lower end of the spectrum and allow these people to finally participate in this great craze. The benefits it will bring will be immeasurable.

The only way we can achieve this goal is to ask everyday folk such as yourself to help with a contribution to get this project off the ground. We aim to have at least 10,000-20,000 new dancers around the underpriveleged world by the end of 2012, with many many more within the coming years (500,000 or more people). In order to do this we will need a fair amount of working capital (i.e. money), so we ask you to contribute what you can and hopefully we can raise an amount that can help us bring this dream to reality! Please help!

Other Ways You Can Help

Get in contact with us and let us know if you are able to help us spread this dream by letting us know of the local communities, people, or groups who we would be able to get involved in the dance craze who currently would not be able to due to being from a low socio-economic group, are disadvantaged, or otherwise unable to participate due to the high cost or lack of facilities in their area..."

07.05.2012 Yoga Barely Bearable

"What have you gotten yourself into this time?" I remember that thought drifting across my mind as I silently poured sweat out of every pore while locked quiveringly into a painful position. What on earth made me get out of a perfectly comfortable bed early on the Fourth of July to drive miles into a neighboring town to cross-train in a hot yoga class? Well, there were no ballet classes to be had---Are you kidding me? This is the OZARKS we're vacationing in!---So, I was actually glad to find a yoga studio that offered a class on the holiday. It wasn't Bikram Yoga, but, it was billed as "hot yoga". Great, I thought. How hard could it be? But, this is before I found myself stuffed into a small, stifling studio with 25 other fellow-sufferers and their yoga mats. Have I mentioned sweat pouring out of every pore? Make sure you wear clothing that wicks moisture away from the body or you'll end up driving home in sodden, salty shorts while sitting in a puddle of sweat like I did! I couldn't believe so many Ozarkians would voluntarily show up for such border-line torture and ACTUALLY GIVE SOMEONE MONEY to be panned, poked and prodded while holding prespiring preposterous positions! ...oh, wait a minute! That's what I do in CCDC ballet classes everyday, don't I? NEVAH MIND!o) Nothing to see here! Move along! Just some grumpy old ex-danseur trying to live up to his own cross-training-for-dancers recommendations! But, something remarkably liberating about giving up the fight to stay cool and not sweat! Think I'll go back Friday...Hmm...someone remind me to start giving cheap "Hot Ballet" classes at CCDC someday soon! I'll make a killing charging an ARM AND A LEG for cold water!o)

07.04.2012: Time4Time Management

Happy Independence Day! One of the lesser-known skills developed by CCDC students is time-management or developing the ability to free yourself from the tyranny of deadlines. (See what I did there?) Juggling requirements of academics and the arts and friends and family requires a strong ability to properly schedule adequate time for everything. The Milwaukee Ballet just recently sent out the success story of one of their graduates. We here at CCDC are just as proud of our students, but, we don't like to use proper names of minors for publicity, given the risks of the web (hence all the nicknames). So, here's their press release:
"...Amelia Foss recently graduated from Dominican High School as co-valedictorian and is headed to Princeton University in the fall.

Amelia has been a student at Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy for 9 years and credits the discipline, focus and confidence she learned through the study of dance as one of the reasons she was so successful academically.

"Studying ballet has taught me the discipline, dedication, and creativity essential to being successful academically. There is no way I could have achieved what I have without the invaluable benefits of ballet."

Many more children in the Milwaukee area can also rise to Amelia's level, if given the chance-..."

...It's the reverse of one of Murphy's Laws: Work expands to fill time available. There's usually more than enough time for everything, you just need to develop the discipline and time-management skills to get it all done. One of our CCDC students is taking her skills with her to train at the Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensive again this year and our younger dancers learn by example from the many role models here at Capital City Dance Center! Happy Independence Day!o)

07.03.2012: End Pointe?

Well, the season finale for the six-pack of episodes of my new favorite dance reality-tv show gets here this week. The CW only ordered a half-dozen episodes of Breaking Pointe, an up close and personal look behind the scenes at Utah's Ballet West. And, the sad news is that it doesn't look like the network will be renewing the show. Nielsen numbers are in the cellar and what doesn't sell doesn't stay on commercial television. There is an effort to persuade network executives with this on-line petition, but, the last time I checked 169 names aren't going to change anyone's minds. I didn't even bother signing. (Let me know if you think I'm wrong.) But, the good thing about social media these days is, even when the show is cancelled, I'll be able to stay apprised of what @ItsKatieMartin and @BeckanneSisk are up to since I subscribed to their twitter feeds. (I was a little shocked when @BeckanneSisk actually subscribed to my @SirDanGuy feed. I was hoping it was because of all the valuable dance information I tweet out on a daily basis, but, I think she's just being nice to her nearly 3-thousand followers!o) As for the show, every dance company I've been involved with has been a soap opera unto itself! I used to joke with other dancers that Ballet Hawai'i was an episode a day of As The Fouette' Turns! In fact, I was mired in a Sisyphean relationship at the time much like Ron and Allison are at BW on the CW. (Dude! GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE! There's someone better for ya just waiting for you to let go! If it's NOT working, exit gracefully stage left!o) And, apparently, we're being told that we'll find out which company @ItsKatieMartin ends up at in the season finale this week. I'll be watching...this and any other incarnation of Breaking Pointe. But, I just don't think the American TV watching audience is ready to embrace the dance world on the small silver screen...or live in theaters, for that matter. But, we do what we do because we have been called to do so. So, if we can't see dance on television, let's make sure we dance everyday for ourselves...and keep spreading that ballet message!o)

07.02.2012: Mi Dia De Me in 'da Media!o)

Season 9 Top Twenty Reveal!o)

Zooey Deschanel is the guest judge along with Mary and Nigel. (Love her in "New Girl")

Two winners at the end of the season: one male+one female!

Picks up at the end of Vegas Week: Breaking the news.

35 finalists attend the reveal. The Green Mile long walk. 15-will get sent home. Hinting at picking One ballroom girl, Have slots for dancers.

Alexa last to get cut last year, now the first to find out results. Judge's favorite, but, also frustrated with her. Gets the first ticket punched to get on the show.

George Lawrence II: "Born to dance". Earned high praise during Vegas Week. Becomes the second to get on the show.

Will Thomas gets on.

Megan Branch from the LA Audition. Gets cut. As well as Collin Fuller. Amber Jackson was cut in final round of season six. Didn't make it as far in Season seven try outs. She gets the good news...FINALLY!o)

Tyce Diorio number features the first four. Dancing on and around a bench like set piece. "We found a Love in a hopeless place". Strong girls. Well-trained guys! Complicated, convoluted choreography intertwines and winds around and through and under and over each other.

Nigel says "all the top 20 are superstars". Mary says each season gets better. She says the first number produced "exciting, exciting dancing". Zooey says the teamwork was incredible. Says can't wait to see more!

Looking for "one ballroom girl"...or is that just a ruse? Will they take the two roommates?

Whitney carson, lindsey arnold, Nick carter...Nick's emotional, moved to tears while waiting for the reveal. Says "this is my time! I know I can do this." Gets advanced to the Top Twenty.

Long-time friends and competitors: Whitney and Lindsey. Whitney gets through! Lindsey gets into top twenty as well! Producers too predictable.

"Dance again" Ballroom number. Nice to see Dancers in their areas of strength! Intricate ballroom. More ways to do a trio than expected. Mark Ballas choreography. Mary, the ballroom expert's jazzed by the three ballroom dancers in the top twenty. Hot tamales! Zooey calls the girls twins, synchronized dancing.

The 200th show of SYTYCD! The Top 20 reveal: three daniel baker, Eliana Lopez. Auditioned en pointe. "A cluster ball of emotions" The ballerina! I've got a soft spot in my heart and head for the classically trained dancers. Debbie says she's going on.

Two ballet boys have put their careers on hold to audition for the show. Daniel "sailed through every round". Nigel says Daniel exceeded every expectation. Keyon's solo was amazing. Consistency pays off. DANG! Both boys get through!. All three in a contemporary ballet piece. There's some lines and suspensions shown on that stage! She's on pointe again. Boys are jumping their behinds off. Nice to see a number where the boys outnumber the girls! 5 pirouettes. Strong powerful dancing. Choreography by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden of Complexions dance company.

Mary says "Ballet is going to have a huge voice this season!" Thumbs up for that!o)

Jazz dancers: tiffany mayo audrey case. Debbie calls her "a great racehorse" that came on strong at the end to make Season Nine. But, what about Audrey? Adam says she made it in! "Are you for sure?" Calls her mom! Abigail Roose gets cut. Katelyn, Rebecca. What about the belly dancer. "Star quality". Uncharted territory for a belly dancer!o) Gets welcomed to the top twenty! First belly dancer to make top twenty.

Sonia Tayeh routine starring Tiffany and Audrey. These girls are very similar strong, small dancers. Typical demanding, quirky choreography from Sonia. Good extensions, powerful dancers. Same height, same proportions. Dancing twins! Very similar! Belly dancers sitting this one out because of illness. Zooey says dancers were very supportive of each other. Made each other better! Nigel points out last several winners have been jazz-contemporary dancers like them.

Joshua Alexander had to be hospitalized after falling in a back somersault. Never had a chance to perform his solo. Gets rejected...along with Daniel.

Matthew, Top twenty, baby! Darrien Kajawa. with his lousy feet is called a powerhouse. Gets top 20. Janaea French of Colorado. Amelia Lowe and Jill Johnson are the last two girls left. Jill Johnson from Utah. Two spots for three girls!

A Stacey Tookey number. Another intricate number. Fast then slow. Very Musical. Hard, tough partnering. Interesting shapes. Full turn into a leaping catch. Energy ripples through all the dancers limbs! Rapturous reaction from choreographer and audience. "delicate and beautiful like a painting" Loved the Stacey Tookey routine! I wanna choreograph like her when I grow up! ...IF I grow up!o)

Seven guys for three spots: Carl Iribe of Honolulu. Good looking local boy. Gives Kung Fu salute to judges panel. Praises his martial arts attack. Gets the nod to be one of the few to go through. Two tappers are let go but urged to return.

Four boyz left for two spots. Both the steppers go through to judges together. "So Unreal!" Brandon and Devon. Brandon goes through, Devon goes down. They freestyle together in the hall.

One place left for two hiphoppers: Cyrus and Feliciano. Cyrus struggled in choreography. But, dance for life blew people away. Boy Hits it HARD! Feliciano conquered each style! I'd pick the better more all round dancer. But, Cyrus is AMAZING at what he can do. Dude! Let's do this1 Strong versatile un-trained dancer! Cyrus, as a master still retains the appetite for learning. Cyrus gets the thumbs up. Too special to pass up!

Brandon, Cole and Cyrus. Baeball themed number from Christopher scott. Break the bats. As a former martial artist, happy for the dancer from my hometown. Boyz hit it out of the park! Nigel says it's "thrilling", praises Choreographer for melding disparate styles in one piece. Commends Cyrus for being the last "Dragon House" member standing! Mary calls the three of her favorite dancers in the top twenty. Zooey says she was "astounding", praises the choreography! Top twenty is complete. Three more pieces coming!

Girls, then boys, then all together! Promo for third annual national dance day, promoted by Dizzyfeet Foundation. Two routines on the web. July 28TH or Big concert will be presented by DizzyFeet Foundation.

Travis Wall choreography uses door as metaphor. Travis says the girls acumen forced him to raise the barre for his choreography. Girls perform. Starts off smooth and flowing and Great pictures that flow into another more beautiful picture. They're leaving it all on the stage. Alexa steps it up! Hard not to notice her. Pale complected girl stands out. WOW! what a powerful piece. Nigel compares it to a frieze on a Greek vase. Praises the whoe body choreography. Likes Travis' growth from a contestant to a choreographer. Girls are radiant. Zooey calls it lovely and beautiful and wonderful. No eliminations tonight.

Boyz next from Sonia Tayeh: Cat promises a Mia Michaels routine to cap off the night!o) Return of Mama Mia! Can't WAIT.

Tayeh says it takes fight to stay on the show. Calling for blood, sweat and tears. "Release the wolves". Take off the shirt. Release the inner beast. Man on man partnering. "I love this group of men". "Release the beast!" Powerful movements. Strong attack. They throw guys around. little solos from big groups movements. Boys will bring it this year! Yeah! Lift that big boy off the ground! Powerful pictures! Girls scream! Judges and audience on their feet. Nigel says incredible boyz! Doesn't like the maternity pants costumes. Challenges the boys to "bring it!" this season. Zooey volunteeers to dance in that piece!

Stillness and movement! Pedestrian movements into dance technique. "Look into my eyes!" Big diagonal and strong working movements. Sequential movements in the strong diagonal. Now we break off into groups. Circling the big stage. Girls in leos with shades. Boyz in little jumpsuits. WOW! I wish it was longer. Wanted it to be a LOT longer. Momma Mia gests welcomed home by Nigel. Back on the 11th!

06.29.2012: Prix de Lausanne

One of the premiere international ballet competitions for young dancers is now accepting applications (Your chance to put "usa" in "Lausanne"!o)
"...Registration for the 41st Prix de Lausanne is now open!

A challenging, exciting and uplifting experience where everyone is a winner.

January 27 to February 2, 2013 in Lausanne, Switzerland

The Prix de Lausanne is more than a competition. It's a week full of inspiration, energy and learning:

The Prix seeks to identify potential rather than reward achievement. Through its scholarships, the Prix opens the door to top international ballet companies and schools.

Non finalists and finalists who do not receive a scholarship participate in a Networking Forum with the directors of our Partner schools and companies. The Networking Forum is an additional opportunity to join one of our Partner schools or companies.

Register at by 30 September 2012

Contact : or +41 21 643 24 06..."

06.28.2012: Helpful Hintz

Just got a tweet from a CCDC dancer at a summer intensive that indicates some trepidation at taking her first partnering class. Here's some advice for any other students in the same boat: First, when you start dancing with a partner, remember you're dividing up some of your usual dance duties. Safety first, of course, but, the girl's job is to make beautiful pictures. And, the boy's job is to keep her on balance. Girls need to be strong, stretched and still. Remember to pull in and lift up wherever the boy touches you. Arms should be engaged and attached to your back. DON'T try to keep yourself on balance! That's the boy's job! Boys shouldn't worry about looking good, the task is to make the girl feel safe, keep her on her leg and make her dance as beautifully as possible. Girls should SLOW DOWN and sustain any jumps. Females need to give the guy something to lift on jumps: Use your back! Roll those shoulder-blades under so it gives the guy something to hold on to. Guys need to get stronger in the upper body, but, most lifts come from the legs AND from closely following the girl's timing. Girls need to keep that back seat muscle squeezed and boys need to keep the back of the girl's supporting leg as straight up and down as possible. Remember! Together you're better! Together you can do things that you cannot do by yourself. Dance TOGETHER!o)
Also, here's some advice for dancers suffering from NNDC-itis* as they try to get back in shape during summer intensives or returning to regular dance classes. ICE ANYTHING THAT HURTS! Muscles, joints, what have you! Take V-Ice's suggestion and "Ice, ice, baby!" You might consider taking an ice bath: draw a bath of cool water and dump as many ice cubes as you can in it. 20 minutes and you're good to go! Or...good to crawl out shivering uncontrollably, but, remarkably free of muscular aches and pains! Girls could get guys to give them back and/or foot rubs. Guys should get girls to walk on their backs and upper thighs. Do that like this: lie down parallel to a ballet barre. Ask a female friend to walk on your back with bare feet. She holds on to the barre and puts her feet perpendicular to the spine. Trudge back and forth and up and down. Dig in the heels a little. You can walk on the upper thighs as well, but avoid putting direct weight on the hips, knees or spine. Thank the girl profusely after she's done. You owe her something healthy to eat or drink. (Having trained informally in shiatsu, reflexology and swedish massage, I became the de facto unofficial company masseur wherever I danced. I had to institute a policy: First few free, dancers, but, after that, you owe me a meal for massage sessions! Earned some food that way wherever I went!o)


...Feeling ignored in your summer intensive? Ask an intelligent question! Don't be obnoxious! But, don't be shy either, Wallflower!o) A dumb question would be: "What's the combination?" A smarter question would be: "You showed one way the first time and then changed it the second time, is that deliberate? Do you want that?" If the teacher says something like, "GOOD question, Carey! I'm glad you asked..." then, you're off to the races! Demonstrate to the teacher that you're MENTALLY engaged in getting better as well as physically. And, I usually am impressed when I see a correction being used right away in the classes I teach. I still remember one athlete who came in to my recreational dance classes: even as I said the correction, I could see the change happening right away. That really impressed me and made me want to give her more corrections. Most teachers are the same way. We respond to interest, energy and effort in our students. Do the corrections right away! Ask if anything's not clear! (But, don't pester the teacher! If you ask a question after every combination, I'm gonna shut you off!) When the teacher asks a question, give an answer! The correct answer preferably! Get to the studio early, stay late and work on corrections or choreography if you can. Send the teacher a message you're going to get better with or without personal attention---and, you'll probably get some attention. Merde for summer!

06.28.2012: Dancing on the Silver Screen

Chance to celebrate an iconic dance classic:
Turner Classic Movies Presents Singin’ in the Rain 60th Anniversary Event in Select Movie Theaters Nationwide on Thursday, July 12 at 7:00 PM (local time)*

The event begins with a Turner Classic Movies original production featuring TCM host Robert Osborne in an exclusive specially produced interview with star Debbie Reynolds. In this interview, audiences are taken behind the scenes of one of the greatest musicals of all time as Ms. Reynolds shares memories of working with the late great Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.

Immediately following these exclusive behind the scenes extras be carried away by the songs, story and romance of one of the greatest musicals of all time - Singin’ in the Rain - as it graces the silver screen for only one night fully re-mastered and more beautiful than it ever has been before!

We hope that you can help spread the word about this event to your network. You can find information on participating theaters and purchase tickets at

...And, the local theater is: Jordan Creek 20.

06.27.2012: My Bad!

...Wait. WHAAT? It wasn't SABGrr1 who went to ABT last night but the other CCDC dancer with the EXACT same name? WHAAAT??? What's Chellie doing in NYC? ...How embarassing! SEE! THIS is what happens when I don't get texted directly!!! Fortunately, no one actually READS this blog!o)...

06.27.2012: Summer Dribs and Drabs

Okay! As mentioned over on the CCDC FB page (which you should "like" btw!o), CCDC students in NYC for summer dance intensives got a chance to watch prima ballerina assoluta Polina Semionova in American Ballet Theater's Swan Lake last night. SABGrrl1 texts that Semionova was amazing! But, she admitted to being a little disappointed in the ABT corps de ballet...and with the men...Congrats to the CCDC dancer nicknamed Mmmadd Skyllz! She was placed in the highest level for the School of American Ballet Summer Intensive! GO Ming-Ming! (SABGrrl1 got Level 4 of 6, that's consistent with her age group!o)...Friends and fans of the CCDC student nicknamed "The Rock" are wasting their time trying to text him as he studies with the Houston Ballet. Peterson says the screen on his phone is "broken". You can still send him a text, but, he can't see it, can't read it. His phone works though, so you can still call him...Reminder to parents that the orders from the 2012 CCDC Photo Day are in! Pick them up at the studio. For some reason, the photographer "forgot" he was supposed to mail them to home addresses. What can you do? Please pass the word!...Before the CCDC Summer Intensive guest ballet faculty "rode off into the sunset", we subjected them to recorded audio interviews. We've been offering their insights over on the FB page (which you should "like" btw!o) and we'll post sections here as well. All part of a trick to drive traffic to both sites...And, have you subscribed to the CCDC Twitter feed as well? Getting close to 200 subscribers for @SirDanGuy! Lotta good daily technical corrections offered at 140 characters or less!o)...Welcome to the CCDC 2012 Sizzlin' Summer O' Dance!o)
...In fact, here's the second part of an exclusive one-on-one interview with former Louisville Ballet dancer Kim Nygren-Cox:

Check this out on Chirbit

06.26.2012: Impressions From A Session; Part de Cinq

Corrections noted while watching class with CCDC 2012 Summer Intensive Ballet Instructor and former Des Moines Ballet Principal Dancer Lynn Andlauer:
"Let those arms move like a porch swing on a hot summer day!"

"No breaks in the lines of the arms!"

"Bend your legs in PLIE'!"

"Look at all this flexibility you're not using!"

"Try to get those heels down before you push into the assemble'!"

"Move those arms independent of the legs in this jump! Leave the arms up on the finish! Think for a second!"

"If you watch and think about your ballet steps, studies show you can improve almost as much as actually physically practicing those steps! 93% as much!"

"Put a little lean into the top of this Bournonville jete'!"

"Circle your arms! They're your power in your jumps!"

06.25.2012: Me-Dia Monday

Getting closer to the live dancing!o):
Vegas Round

Four days, eight rounds of eliminations:
Solos, Groups, ballroom, contemporary, final solos "We're looking for genuine stars!"

Lil C, Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, Tyce Diorio, Mary, Nigel are the judges.

Eliminations right away "massive cuts", solo.

The exorcist. Longest standing ovation of the audition tour, Hampton Williams from Dallas auditions. Wow! His movement brings Adam to tears. Tyce is shocked. Such control! Such clean popping and locking! Judges are impressed. Dancers give him a standing audition.

Quick montage of solos. Jennifer and Brianna are cut. eight dancers move on to the next round.

Belly dancer Janelle Isis of Birmingham AL. Judges are receptive. Tyce says "I love her!". What a smile! Will she be able to sustain this level in ballroom and contemporary? Judges enthusiastic.

Another montage of solos. "Promises to be a very exciting season!" Judges are Ruthless! Martial artist gets cut.

Tease of choreography round...and dancers leaving in ambulance. "Only the strong will survive!"

Twitch and Comfort teach the hiphop. "Find the groove and the funk!". "Energy and character!" "You ain't sweating' you ain't doing it right!" Dragon House...can they do choreography? Hampton "the exorcist" prepares to toss in the towel! Hampton bows out of the competition.

Dragon House focus: "hardest thing I've ever had to do!" Prepares to leave. Hiphoppers reveal their weaknesses. Boris of Dragon House is first up. His partner can hiphop! He may have trouble with choreography. Boris gets the bad news. Praying Mantis goes home, Brie goes home. Belly dancer makes it past the hip hop round.

Last Dragon House Cyrus last of his group to attempt to go through...And...Everyone in his group makes it!

Next up Broadway round! Looks like Boris is going in the group round.

Vegas Week...breakfast buffet at Planet Hollywood! Broadway round with Tyce Diorio. Day two. "This routine, honestly, is SO hard!" Focus on two ballroom dancers! Roommates! Both in first group. Okay! nice attack. OKAY! Great attitude. They're doing fine in broadway. Good performance quality. They all move on! The rest of the morning looks good. Lotsa people making it through!

Spotlight on Alexa Anderson. Last dancer cut in last year's Final casting. Good energy and hits it hard. Judges confer. Adam says "So, tired of saving you!" "Dance like you want it". Urges her to connect with her partner. Emotional Alexa scraping through! 23 other dancers fail to make it through!

Montage of dancers who get cut. "Cya never!"

Sonia Tayeh is next! Well over half of the contestants have been cut. "Are you ready to fight for your right to stay?" "No marking" "Make the movement REAL!" Shafiq. Nothing worse than a dancer who gives up! Get your act together, Shafiq. Rachel Applehouse.. Typcial quirky Sonia choreography. Intense. "Don't show me you messed up!" Good advice from Nigel. Rachel and Shafiq get cut. Rachel makes a last-minute plea for clemency! Gets a chance to dance for her life. Shafiq is profane on his way out the door! Montage of cuts. "fear was in your eyes" Dancer gets kicked in the head! Giovanni gets cut for the kick. Amelia from NYC featured. Cyrus of Dragon House gets a close up now. He has some nice moves. Lindsey gets through. Amelia has to dance for her life. Only boys are left Cyrus gets through! Sonia says he needs to get into class so he can work on his lines!

Danielle gets taken to hospital.

Second day. fifteen more dancers have been let go. Dance for your life round. Rachel Applehans does her solo first. Unbuttons her shirt. Rachel gets the bad news. Debbie says don't depend on just sex. Amelia is next. Nice control. Excellent flexibility. Nice elevation. Adam Shankman is moved. Strong controlled pirouettes. She expresses such joy in her dance. Judges appear stunned. C says she's majestic. She promises even more next day!

Next is Group routine. random music selection. Pick your own group. Lack of sleep, fatigue, after a full day of auditioning comes the Navy Seal like test of endurance.

Day three: Two and a half hours of sleep. Acid test for dancers. Can you step up after fatigue? Danielle messes up by joining a group late. Four am they call it a day. Under rehearsed, tired and fatigued they go before judges. Nigel calls it "terrible" "You should all be sent home" More dancers get sent home "epic fail!" Dancers are emotional and fatigued.

The High Schoolers are next. They're going to Prom. Nice sustained turns. One girl in group. None of this is like my prom! Tyce calls it "one of the best group pieces" he's seen. "Yes to all of you!" Mood changes as more and more dancers make it through to next round! Last group is Wolf Pack. Adrian, Dres and Alexa made it to the last day of last cuts. Good group. "Glad You Came" Debbie calls it "lovely". Tyce picks on Alexa. Mary calls her out. Wants more FIRE! She starts to break down, Big tears start to fall!. Appeals to judges. Nigel calls for more emotion. Adam says the same. Wolf Pack makes it through!

Next comes pool time! Then, ballroom round!

61 dancers are left. Jason Gilkison sets the ballroom piece, cha-cha-cha. Hiphoppers will have a hard time with the cha cha. Cyrus refuses to be intimidated. Good expression. More enthusiasm than ballroom technique. Everyone makes it through. Cyrus is called out for struggling. He's forced to dance for his life. "I'm not going anywhere" Love his attitude! Aubrey Williams very expressive, v flexible. Doesn't make it through! So dejected and emotional. Sobs as she leaves. Devastating end to the week for Aubrey. Ballroom dancers are killing the ballroom. Hiphoppers can do ballroom!! Alexa Anderson dances in the final group of the day. Now she's stepping up. She's praised for "one of the best of the day". I think she's learned a lesson about stepping up her game! But, cyrus is left to dance for his life! "No better feeling than being myself!" Cannot WAIT to show the judges what I can bring to the stage!" Puts on his dance face!

51 dancers have survived. Cyrus is on the fence. "I got something the world needs to see". Sharp popping. Changes movement with tempo. DANG! he's stepping up! DANG! He's so good with his own choreography. Intense music, intense dancing. Audience is setting up to watch. DANT! He's stepping up. Audience rises to its feet!" Judges unanimous with yeses! Promises to reach a level he's not gotten to yet. Another round of choreography left. Contemporary round with Travis Wall! Leave it on the last round. one hour rehearsal. Wall says "I'm looking for perfection". Everyone is at their breaking pointe! Dancers are there for each other. "Every person in this building is amazing at what they do". Unexpected development as a boatload of dancers are called to the stage. Throw to break.

34 dancers called to stage. They're all through. 18 dancers then called. Judges not sure. they have to dance again. "This is the end of the journey!" Final group. Joshua and Moriah. She's not just a krumper!

Final solos are all that's left. Joshua Alexander slams his head on the floor attempting to learn a back tuck before the final solos. That was a hard hit!

Chehon has some exciting elevation. Ballet dancer. Wants to break out of the ballet mind set. From Switzerland. "That was great, dude!" All the boyz called to the stage. Cuts already. Nigel says "Great dancers" are being cut at this point. "Cruelest cut of all!" But, at least one dancer's a good sport for getting cut so late. Girls all called to stage. NO girls get cut! 35 dancers have made it through to the end of Vegas week! "party like rock stars". Season nine looks more than promising.

Next week the top twenty gets picked---And!---perform live!o)

06.22.2012: Impressions From A Session, Part de Quatre

More notes jotted while watching CCDC 2012 Summer Intensive Modern Instructor Kathleen Hurley teach::
"Think of plié as a verb!"

"Down on the down beat! Up on the up beat!"

"Swoosh, swoosh...into a cartwheel!"

"That's anatomically impossible, but, we do as much as possible anyway!"

"All of a sudden the bound energy changes to a release of energy. Love those textural changes!"

"If you can't back roll in pretty much a straight line, you're losing your abdominal control!"

"Try your shoulder roll over the other shoulder!"

"Visual artists make the best beginning dancers at the college I teach at...because they're so used to paying attention to the details!"

"Whenever you land an inversion, you're allowed to plié!"

"Let's purposely make eye contact in this improvisational exercise!"

"Dance the metronome of the bass! Interweave the movement of the vocals! Fill in the spaces with the piano! Relate to each other!"

06.21.2012: Impressions From A Summer Session, Part de Trois

Notes from 2012 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Ballet Master Joseph Nygren-Cox classes:
“Accent on one! On the 'o' of the one. Not the 'n', not the 'e'!”

“Strong core will help correct mistakes before they happen!”

He spent time breaking down the difference between Balanchine and classical pirouettes.

“Know your destination before you start out!”

Breaks down historical antecedent of renversé

“Jumps are "a constant negotiation with gravity!"

“Find the joy in jumps!”

He constantly uses the inhale of his breath to demonstrate balances

“Don’t let the leg bounce down at the end of big jumps! You fix that by lengthening body down and out!”

06.21.2012: Mini-Missive

SHE LIVES!o) Giselle’s Mom passes on a portion of an e-mail conversation she had with her other prodigal daughter, La Sonnambula:
”…free classes a perk for teaching ballet this summer, pointe shoes on for the first time in a long while, felt pretty good but need to get stronger, mom, could you order me a pair?
…of course! :)

...and check this photo out! (former ballet company's web site)…”

06.20.2012: Impressions From A Session, Part de Deux

Notes jotted while watching CCDC 2012 Summer Intensive Modern Class:
"Modern teacher very specific about technical demands even in first warmup. Much better than the 'nothing is wrong' dance classes I used to take!" specific exercises and demonstrations to expose weaknesses in modern technique! Love that! Wish more teachers in all #dance disciplines did that! ..."If you never fall, you never take enough risks!" ...Breaks down shape of hands in Limon technique...Drop that center of gravity closer to the floor in this combination!
...Reminder: Parents! Your 2012 CCDC Photo Day orders have arrived! Pick up your pix at the studio!o)

06.20.2012: Postcards From 'Da Edge

Update and review reaction from a CCDC Faculty Member:
"...Hi There,

My sister and I went and saw (Billy Elliot, The Musical) last Friday, and after reading your review, I’m glad D_____ and I weren’t the only ones that thought Mr. Elliott wasn’t up to par for the role….You and Missy are the experts in classical Ballet, but I know a bent leg when I see one, and that’s all I could look at when he was turning! I think my favorite dancing scene was with Billy and his friend playing dress up. Also, when grandma was singing about her dead husband, loved the slow motion choreography with the chairs.

Back to the bad dancing to the theme of Swan Lake..Can you turn a chair on one leg doing barre work?! I think that is very impressive. Show me sometime please! Hope you and Missy are well. Looking forward to getting back to the studio next week!..."

...I think the questions should be: can you turn a chair? Can you do a barre exercise without depending on the barre? Can you turn a chair and do a barre exercise? I think with practice it can be done by most ballet dancers. Neat, effective trick, nonetheless!

06.19.2012: Impressions From A Session

First of all, a reminder for all CCDC parents: Your photo orders from the 2012 Photo Day are in! Drop by the studio to pick up your memories today...Second week of the session is well underway, and as usual the Diaspora of departing dancers is also well underway. Rocky reports doing well his first day at Houston. Forty-five boys in the upper levels! (Hear that, you boy crazy ballerina? Yeah, u kno whom talkin bout!o) He also had a chance to watch a performance of the company in R+J. His one word review: "Uh-mazin'!" ...And, Carey is getting ensconced at Milwaukee. Hopefully, she can eventually get the same offer Missy got her last year there! (Just don't give it all up for love like she did!)...Watching the level of instruction during the 2012 Summer Intensive has been informative! ...literally! I learn so much just listening in on the classes: getting the nuance behind the movement in character dance class...watching the modern instructor correct an over curve during class or demonstrating how much control versus abandon she wants in a particular series...watching the sass and attack the lyrical teacher is coaxing out of budding ballerinas and danseurs! ...Finally, if you have a chance to talk with former Louisville and Cincinnati Ballet principal danseur Joseph Nygren- Cox, do it! The guy has a million stories about big names in ballet! And, he's not shy about naming names and dishing dirt and breaking down technique! He loves to talk ballet! Just ask him a question and he's off to the conversational races!o)

06.18,2012: MustCDanceTV!o)

Got a chance to sit down and jot some notes and reaction to the latest SYTYCD!
So You Think You Can Dance
The Utah Auditions---Salt Lake City

Final audition stop...SLC! Adam Shankman joins permanent panel of judges. No reaching, no self-worship, no demonstrated by Shankman! ...always good advice for dancers and choreographers.

Whitney Carson, Latin ballroom dancer. still has braces on. How old is she? She has to be at least 18 to compete? fast and crisp ballroom. Lift doesn't quite go one-handed, even though the 16-year old partner did a good faith effort. She has nice extensions. Cutaway shot of a big panel of supporters!. Judges rise to their feet in approval. Nigel compares her to Anya. Praises technique, legs and smoking hot face! Mary calls her a "hot tamale"! Adam says "shut UP. You're amazing!" Straight through to Vegas! Good start to SLC auditions. Video montage that promises some HOT dancing!

Lynn Gravatt...Alien space dancer. Pleiades dance form? "A force entered my body..." Claims she has three spirit guides: Devil Da Flame, Divine Da Flame and Rainbow Lite Bright? "When I dance I feel whole!" "Invincible!" She's over the age limit. Her dancing is a mix of free-form and club dancing. lotta chainne turns, celebratory Sufi, whirling dervish movement. Nigel says her happiness is a major goal. Mary calls her a "real sweetheart". Adam says there's a place in the world, if not in the show, for her!

Family support for auditioners Dee Tomasetta. Youngest girl in the family. "My boyfriend is dance nowadays." Flexible back shown in her layout. Good control. Sweet feeling. grand pirouette into an aeriel. Good control in the pirouette releve. Mary says she loved every single second of that! Beautiful dancer. Liked her breath, layers and nuances. Adam says she's "extremely special". For someone so young a great maturity in her dancing. Put through straight to Vegas!

Gene Lonardo will dance the life cycle of the male preying mantis. Promises to be very creative. Good flexibility in idiosyncratic movement. Some strong technique and flexibility hidden in odd choreography. Twitching, herky-jerky steps. Nigel called it intriguing and entertaining. Mary loved it. Adam says it was "sorta brilliant". Thought it was going to end "very badly". Said Sonia would love him. Goes back to Vegas!

Babes promised in next section!o)

Lindsey Arnold of Provo, Utah. Multi-dimensional ballroom. Just a little unsteady, but a quick cover. Spectacular hair. Strong technique. Good expression. Nigel says "absolutely fabulous". Mary, the ballroom expert, says she reminds her of Julianne Hough. Predicts ballroom championship someday. Adam says he knew when she walked out that she was going to be great! Goes to Vegas. Lotta ballroom dancing in Utah. "The Ballroom Blitz"

Little blonde girl krumping! Aspires for strength. Mariah Spears. starts off with roundoff back handspring. She hits it hard. Uses a lotta levels. Power and anger. Drops to her knee. Nigel says you're mean when you put that "stank face on". Adam alludes to her "time on the street". Calls her the best girl krumper he's ever seen. Mary calls it a "huge surprise". "Ruff and tuff", believable krumping. Calls for more variety. Nigel also says it took him totally by surprise, not "weak and white".

Murphy Yang. Mixed emotions since he was thrown out by his family for wanting to dance. He was disowned by his dad. No friends no family. Homeless. His girlfriend gave him a place to stay. interesting choice of big band music for his street dancing. Turned in entrechat quatre. crisp and clean. Then all of a sudden breaks out into some b-boying break dancing. Some comical touches! Has Vegas scrawled on his stomach! Nigel calls him an entertainer! Praises humor and thought. Wants more moves! Mary says loves Murphy's name. Wants more vocabulary. Says he has a gift. Adam says love and passion transcends technique. Says has a ton of upside. Gets sent to choreography round.

But, Murphy gets cut in choreography round. Krumper makes it through to Vegas.

Second day of SLC auditions. Dareian Kujawa from Saint Paul, MN. Crowded home life. Nothing to eat. Dance was his solace and escape. Nice hops! Lotta control ! lotta strength Pulls into five pirouettes from a la seconde. Wearing half socks for the turns. Shows evidence of good training. Round off into back tuck. Nigel says he was "absolutely fabulous". "Lousy feet". Mary says he's "just joy". "Great heart", "Great passion". Adam just screams and points. "You are what this show is all about!" Connected to the music, strong and passionate. Gets ticket punched for Vegas.

Johnny Ahn, ladies man. Partners with Whitney Hallam. He's a "Double Your Dating" graduate. Employs what he calls "Cocky comedy". Whitney says it works on other people! Routine starts off with smooth back dive off the shoulder. Smooth and fearless. V sharp. dancers. good expression. Mary comments on lack of eye contact. Ends with smooth vertical lift. Mary says Johnny is a ball of fire, but lacks chemistry. Nigel says it was enjoyable, says she was like Lady Gaga. Don't go "Oooh" all the time. Adam says charm level was higher than dance level. Go to choreography.

Returning dancers. Return to Vegas! "My mom's going to Vegas!" Adrian Lee, cut in the final round two years ago. "This is my dream" "This is my number one goal! Can't give up on your dream!" "My family doesn't know I'm here." Strong pirouettes. controlled. With accents. Hig coupe jete. Great expression. consecutive turn sequence that moves and stops and moves again. This guy is good! Adam "Unbelievable lines" "gained lotta confidence". Mary says it was hard to cut you. Praises command, presence and technique is all there. Doesn't like the self-worship! Gets another ticket to Vegas. Then gets a ticket for his Mom!

QUick montage of successful dancers. Rachel Applehans. Painfully shy as a youngster. But, not painfully shy anymore. Starts with simple walks forward. Okay, not shy anymore on the dancefloor. Plie in seconde, slow slides down to the floor. Silently mouths "I love you". Adam says if some things in his life were different he'd be moving to SLC. Wants to see more technique. Mary says she's gorgeous and wants to see more. Nigel says little too much burlesque not enough dancing. Gets sent to choreography.

First audition for big boy, Leroy Martinez of Sacramento, CA. From the Peacemakers Krew. Credits dance for keeping him safe from the streets. Only male in his family that hasn't been in jail or on drugs or with an illegitimate child. OKAY! Big Boy can move! Very light on his feet. Not afraid to move his body! Back handspring outta nowhere! Then does another to a headstand! Audience leaps to its feet. Standing O for Leroy! Adam says he was inspired by Leroy's dancing. Calls him a joy! Phenomenal! Calls him freaking awesome! Mary also calls him an absolute joy! Calls him a fighter, a positive influence in life. Nigel says the discipline and freedom of dance makes us better people. Says he embodies the spirit of dance. Says he was "shining and stunning". Gets a pass to the choreography round.

Choreography round: Johnny Ahn gets let go. Whitney gets let go. Rachel the burlesque dancer gets to go to the next round in Vegas. Leroy gets another standing ovation. Leroy gets the bad news, but, immense praise from the judges.

Next week: 181 dancerz vie for 20 spots in the City of Sin! It's Vegas week, baby! Come strong, y'all! 'Cuz this means WAR ON THE DANCE FLOOR!o)

06.17.2012: Not 'Ballet', Elliot!

Weekend review from the grumpy, old ex-danseur:
"Billy Elliot: The Musical"

The general consensus is: "If you've read the book, you won't be happy with the movie". But, dance fans who've seen the 1998? movie "Billy Elliott" need not be leery of the musical of the same name. The nearly full DsM Civic Center crowd gave the cast, crew and orchestra a well-deserved standing ovation this past Saturday night. And, CCDC students had extra incentive to cheer as they may have recognized one of their former fellow dancers in the cast as well: How you gonna keep Madison Barnes down on the Altoona farm now that she's danced around the country on the road with "Billy Elliot"? (Keep your eye on that girl! She was always a performer since a young age. She even lists a turn as "Annie" in the DsM Playhouse production in her program bio and gives thanks to her CCDC dance instructors!o)

My only caveat for "balletomanes" is, as I wrote in my original review of the movie: "Don't go to Billy Elliot expecting to see a lotta ballet, Elliot!" There's much more tap and contemporary/jazz dancing than there is ballet. And, the one scene that uses a lot of ballet, when Ty Forhan (Billy) dances with his older self, Maximilian Baud to the theme from "Swan Lake", was a little disappointing. Oh, Baud was competent enough, but, apparently, any better danseur is probably already performing in a school or company rather than road-show musical theater. Lotta hopping along, Cassidy, in those pull-in to pirouettes en de dans! (His bio says Baud "performed with" a list of major ballet companies. Hint: "Performing with" in a resume or bio usually means something like he was a child super in their Nutcracker. "Member of" would mean he was actually a member.)

But, Mr. Forhan gives a moving, luminescent portrayal of the title character fighting the turbulent times and his own family to find his own place in the world. Any American boy who's encountered societal or parental resistance to a desire to dance would easily relate to the young Brit's dilemma. His scene while singing about his dead mother's letter to the son she would never see grow up was heart-rending, a tear-jerker. But, catch Forhan in the title role quickly if you can. His voice broke in one strenuous song and dance number, a sure sign that the onset of approaching puberty will quickly age him out of the role.

The show itself spreads a message of tolerance and acceptance. The backdrop is the British eighties at a time when Margaret Thatcher was determined to break the back of the coal mining unions. (Think the recent stand-off between Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin public workers unions!) The final rousing encore number features a plethora of tapping men in tutus as if to say: if we can do it, you can do it! Not sure that will go very far in easing Dads' minds about their sons wanting to do ballet. One scene actually put Billy's dad (the effective Rich Hebert) opposite a grown male dancer to demonstrate the unease that many straight men have with a man in tights. The nervous laughter from the audience underscored that point. But, as Billy himself says, "Just 'cause I like ballet, doesn't mean I'm a POOF!" And, as he goes on to prove in the big cross-dressing number: what I wear also doesn't determine who I am!

Good lessons, good entertainment, rousing songs by Sir Elton John, tight, crisp set movement and lights, decent tapping...just a little more 'better ballet' and "Billy Elliot, the Musical" would've had the complete package for this grumpy old ex-danseur. Most everyone else had a great time. But, silly me! Remind me next time not to go to a broadway musical expecting to see much classical ballet at a high level!

06.15.2012: Dancers At Hancher

Over at the institution of higher learning we lovingly refer to as "Party Hearty U", Hancher has just released its line-up of dance offerings for next season:
"...Pilobolus Dance Theatre, a longtime Hancher favorite, will perform on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 13 and 14 in the intimate Space Place Theatre on the UI campus.

In addition to Pilobolus, dance fans will be treated to India Jazz Suites, which features master Indian dancer Pandit Chitresh Das and tap dance superstar Jason Samuels Smith in a cross-cultural collaboration (Thursday, March 7), and to AXIS Dance Company, which is an innovative ensemble of dancers with and without disabilities (Thursday and Friday, April 25-26)..."

...WHAAT? No ballet? Where's the Joffrey? Where's Hubbard Street? Kirov? Paris Opera? Oh, well, find the Hancher calendar of events here.

06.14.2012: Mouths Of Babes

CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews is apparently being flooded with positive feedback from the 2011-2012 year at Capital City Dance Center:
"...Here is a nice note from the mother of a young 4-year-old who just brought me a plant for my garden:
"...Thanks again! I am a high school teacher, but it takes a special someone to teach this age!

Thanks for having the patience to work with H____ and giving her inspiration to dance!


...Here is another nice note from a new family of a just completed first grader who will take her second year of Ballet 1 at CCDC:
"...Thank you for being such a great (and patient) teacher with H____ this year. We really enjoyed this studio and she is already looking forward to dancing again next fall. Have a great summer!..."
...From a creative movement dancer:
"...Miss Jill, Thank you for the necklace. You are the best Ballet teacher. You rock Miss Jill.

Love, H____..."

...From a little 8-year-old who is moving up to Ballet 3 next year:
Dear Miss Jill,

Thank you for being my teacher. I really enjoyed our class, dances, songs and last but not least, You! Your student, M____..."

...From a 9-year-old moving up to Ballet 3:
"Miss Jill,

Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with A____. She has great respect for you!

The T_____ Family..."

...From another 8-year-old moving up to Ballet 3 next year:
"...Thanks for being my awesome dance teacher! I hope it will be a good year next year too!

Sincerely, J____..."

...From her mom:

Thank you for teaching J____ and being so sweet with all my questions!

:) D_____

...From a 10-year-old moving up to Ballet 3:
"...Thank you! It was appreciated more than you know. Thank you. You have taught me forever! Thanks for your patience.

Love, A____

...From a little one who will do her second year of Ballet 2 next year:
"...Thanks, Mrs. Jill. Thank you for teaching me such cool dance moves. It was wonderful getting to do Jazz with you. I will hope to see you next year. From M_____..."
...From an 8-year-old moving up to Ballet 3:
"...Good bye! You're a great dance teacher. From P____..."
...But, (sniff) no such e-mails for (sob!) MEEEE!o((((Waaaa!o)

06.13.2012: Notes From The CCDC Faculty

On your toes, dancerz! CCDC 2012 Summer Intensive Guest Ballet Instructor Kim Nygren-Cox says she'll be giving a Balanchine class today. I told her that would be especially instructive for the two CCDC students preparing for their first summer intensive at the prestigious School of American Ballet soon. I told her to push ALL the students to work up to Balanchine speed and attack. Ms Kim says she performed quite a few of Mister B's ballets over her career (Serenade, Four Temperments, etc.) and that the foundation's regisseurs were quite demanding and specific about the differences in style and technique. As I tell all the students, if you continue dancing, you will encounter Balanchine choreography, former NYCB dancers/teachers and neo-and-post Balanchine choreographers. Get used to the speed and attack! Think cleaner, clearer, crisper dancing! On your toes, CCDC dancerz!o)
I asked Ms Nygren-Cox about her impressions of the weak and strong points of our current crop of students. Here are some of the notes I took during the conversation:
Work on stronger, swifter spotting
Work on turning out extensions, the higher they get the more turned-in.
Better than expected en de dans arabesque + attitude turns
Work on keeping heels down in petit allegro
Need more attack, speed
Stronger pointe work than last time she came to visit
Work on releasing tension in back and sides of neck
Didn't see bad shoulders up, a pet peeve of hers
Work on building core strength in her Pilates class
...Ms Kim also says she's promising to teach a Zumba warm-up on Friday! Party on the dance floor, people!o)

06.12.2012: Ballet Blowback

Starting to get some written reaction now to this weekend's performances of Giselle:
"...I just wanted to thank you and Missy for such a great recital Saturday night. My whole family thoroughly enjoyed the program. In fact my father had never been to a ballet before and told us it made him want to see another.

The young lady who played Giselle was so charming and the young man who played the male lead was amazing. But I was particularly taken with the young woman who played the queen (for lack of a better term) of the Wiles. She was so captivating. I loved her!..."

06.11.2012: Reflections From A Performance Weekend

So, I woke up to a flash-text-mob the day after the final CCDC performance. Fifteen text messages on my phone from students all saying "I love you"! What a GREAT way to start the day after a strenuous night of audio teching the performance, packing costumes+props and striking the floor. (Kudos to the Blackwells for providing the truck and so much sweat equity!) It had taken me quite awhile to fall asleep. I was second-guessing the technical faux pas and if there was anything else I could've done to help better prepare the performers. Never enough time! Never enough rehearsals! Never enough money! So, to get reassurances from dancers in the middle of the cast party was soul-satisfying at best. ...Only bad thing, no messages THIS morning!o(
"Many bodies, one breath.
Many minds, one movement.
Many souls, one song..."
...Thank you, 2012 CCDC Giselle Corps de Ballet!
Speaking of technical faux pas: blame the equipment! I know a good operator is never supposed to blame the equipment, BUT, a suddenly corrupt audio track fills the bill! But, a HUGE pat on the back to the dancers caught in the middle of audio difficulties! They started over not ONCE, but TWICE! And, kudos to the crowd for rewarding them with the hugest ovation of the evening!
Just spoke with former Louisville Ballet dancer Kim Nygren-Cox last night. She's in to teach the first week of the 2012 CCDC Summer Intensive getting underway this morning. She informed us she's not only trained in Pilates, but, certified in Zumba and yoga, as well. So, we told her to consider alternating the Pilates with some of the other disciplines to begin the daily warm-up. CCDC's Ballet Master Emery Uyehara will teach the second week. He says he'll be conducting floor barre and "The Dancerz Warm-up/Workout". (Kim will teach ballet, pointe and variations as well. Her husband, former Louisville Ballet principal dancer Joseph Nygren-Cox will teach ballet, variations and character next week!o) Kim was pleased to find a Nordic Track, Bosu, personal reformer, free weights and Total Gym at her temporary residence this week.
Pictures and bootleg video from CCDC's "Giselle...And MORE!" already up on our FB page. More will be coming soon!o)

06.11.2012: Focus On Media

Managed to sit and dissect dancing on SYTYCD from last week. Here's the play-by-play reaction:
Massive turnout in Georgia
Debbie Allen, guest judge
Home of last season's winner, Melanie Moore

Audrey Case from OK, "farts with her neck, lick her elbow, no boyfriend" And, then, DANG, she proves it! Hey, now lick your elbow!. Starts with good turns. Good extension. Nice jumps. Killer smile. Lotta competition tricks, but, good dancer nonetheless. Wears Tiger Paw-like half shoe on her left foot. Judges rise for standing O. Nigel calls her "magical", "stunning". Urges her to be versatile when she goes straight through to Vegas.

Glitch, Boris, Andre from Dragon House Dance Crew. Roommates, as well. No dining room at Dragon House, it's a dance studio. Boris brings the swag, first up. Intense look as he begins intricate popping to solo piano musc. Is HE versatile enough to do other choreography is the question that must be going through the Judges' minds. Another standing O from panel. Crowd is enthusiastically applauding. Nigel calls it "mesmerizing". Mary calls it "extraordinary". Debbie calls it "pure artistry". He's going to Vegas.

Joshua Alexander, 18-year old. Little bundle of energy and personality. Very fluid, focused energy.. Throws in an unexpected rond de jambe saute. "controlled freedom" in his dancing. Judges wave tree tickets for Vegas! Debbie says when he dances, it's like he's "testifying"!

Montage of a series of succesful auditioners.

Tim Conkle, karate instructor. Ten-time national champion, three-time international champion. Started dancing in freshman. He's not just a candidate for America's favorite dancer, he claims to be a candidate for America's Favorite Person! This guys a rascal, isn't he! Makes me smile. Incorporates a lotta tumbling. Nigel calls it exceptional. Mary says it explosive. Debi says he's charming, but naughty! Calls him "the wolfman". "Seven days of ballet". Balcony secene from Romeo and Juliet. He's mugging some fake ballet. Gets through to Vegas. I woulda put him to choreography.

Jackson Alvarez, b-boying. Nigel: "joy to watch". He does the wobble and cuban shuffle. Debi and Nigel start wobbling with the crowd.

Janelle Issis, belly- dancer from Birmingham, AL: Nigel loves her "sparkling eyes". Also trained in other contemporary forms of dance. Belly dance to hip-hop club music. She's not just a belly-dancer, she's an entertainer. Her face dances! her eyes dance. Nigel agrees. Mary says "You're a star!" Choreography round.

Danielle Dominguez: "Loves bacon" Eats it five days a week? What's the opposite of a vegetarian? Nigel calls her mom up for a cheer. "Weird dancer" I can hear the bacon sizzling in the background of this music. Nice figure for a non-stop bacon eater! I think she should go to choreography. Nigel says she's "unique" bacon-eating, good dancer! Mary: "Weirdo", but that's okay. Debi says it was Sexy. Straight to Vegas!

Rest of the Dragon House Krew is up: Andre Rucker. Dislocated isolations! This guy is better than the first one. His tutting and flexibility are much sharper. His machine-like isolations are intriguing. Judges: "incredible", "almost unbelievable", "beyond magical to mystical". Goes to Vegas.

Now, comes Cyrus Spencer: "robot, animated popper". Very musical accents. Expresses each beat and twitch of the music. This guy's better as well. Tut and mime. Face is incredible. Iso work is so clean and right on the music. He's got a sense of humor as well. Like he's being electrocuted in slow motion. Dances off stage! . Crowd and judges on their feet! Nigel "absolutely remarkable" "you followed and topped a genius". "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" Straight through to Vegas. Dragon House goes three for three!!!

Wobbler and belly dancer make it through. Martial artist? Not sure...

Day Two: Courtney Kirby brings her gramm, Evadine. Must be tough with your grandma sitting on the jdge's panel. Courtney has good gymnastics skills and decent dance skills. Powerful music, poerful daning. Needs to tighten up that middle to strengthen her grand pirouettes. Debi sys "magnificent" "Beauty and a beast". Mary says "gorgous and dynamic". one vote for Vegas, one vote for choreography. Deciding vote goes to Vegas. How can you say no to that gramma?

Asher Walker, Virginia. Wow! He's a good ol' boy from redneck country. Wants to be a back up dancer for the Beebz? Set some higher goals, Asher! self taught b-boy. Showing some innovation. Very musical as well. Lip synchs! That's usually a no-no. Debi says he's fresh and adorable. "Wonderful". Mary says he's not afraid to pause. "exudes personality and pure joy". Nigel praises entertainment factor and musicality. He gets a "generous" ticket to Vegas!

George Lawrence II. Gave up a promising athletic career for dance! Black billy Elliott!. Shows nice extension with a ton of ontrol. Good elevation on straddle jump. Presses to handstand...shows strength. Nigel praises the power. Says his Dad should be proud of his son. Mary says it was the best audition she's seen in Atl. Debi says he was born to dance. Gets his ticket punched.

Abigal Ruiz goes to Vegas. Calvin Turner with the blonde mohawk goes to Nevada. Aubrey Klinger gets a ticket. Happiness reigns supreme. And, the show now shows the turkeys. But, Brittney Ortner can't even say her own name. From Chicken town Florida, Oviedo, FL. Makes me feel like slapping. You can take ditzy too far. Good control in the dancing. Nice proportions. Legs go on for days. Tight hips. Dances better than she talks. Goes to choreography.

Brothers. Stole Les Twins choreography. Making excuses for stealing choreography. Not kewl ripping off steps. Deon and Damon. Claims it was a misunderstanding. But, Okay, the boyz can dance. Personality for daze. humorous bits all through their choreography. Debbie says "hilarious". Going to choreography round. Debbie says they need to be taken apart and put back together by the masters.

Deon cut in audition round. Damon goes to Vegas. chicken girl and 13 other dancers make it to Vegas.

Next week is Salt Lake City!o)

06.08.2012: Toi Toi!o)

Merde to all the Capital City Dance Center students participating in this weekend's 2012 Spring Showcase and Recital, "Giselle...And MORE!", 6:30pm, WDsM Valley High School Auditorium. I think we'll easily be able to match the favorable reaction from six years ago. Here's more:
More excerpts from recent e-mails:

"...I think the recital went very well! The location was perfect the show was delightful and very professional. We are a first time student. You made us feel welcome, well informed, and we enjoyed ourselves very much. Thanks for all your time, and efforts they are very much appreciated. Keep up the good work!"

"... Your students danced beautifully, the facility was wonderful, and (my daughter) enjoyed the camaraderie with the other girls. She commented on how sweet and wonderful everyone is at your studio. As a mom, I appreciate that. Our relatives who attended commented on how enjoyable "Giselle" was. It really added to the performance having the story read ahead of time so they could understand what the dances meant. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication..."

"...The recital was beautiful and my daughter had a wonderful year of dance at your studio. She learned so much this year from Jill; I still can't believe it. And she LOVES it, which is (in my opinion) the most important piece of the puzzle."

06.07.2012: Merde4FinalDress

The last time Capital City Dance Center presented Giselle was the first time six years ago. And, since then, we've upgraded at every position, every role: Giselle, Myrtha, lead and Corps de Ballet and, especially, Albrecht! (Sorry, John Anastos! Wherever you are!o) We've added on more for the mother, but, still no Hilarion. So, apologies to whoever was in that last Giselle, but, I think this one will be way better. BUT, that means we need to match---or surpass!---this sort of reaction from 2006:

5.31.2006: The Reviews Are In

Excerpts from some of the e-mails following "Giselle...And More!":

"...First and foremost, the recital was INCREDIBLE!! The ballet was so breathtaking --and the 2nd half was so awesome. I can't believe I could see that recital twice in two days & continue to be held in the spell of those great kids!! (we will definitely be owning the DVD!!) You could really see the phenomenal work that must have gone into those performances--& how much the teachers must really really care-- just very cool..."

"...The whole recital was amazingly beautiful...thanks so much...for an incredibly inspired year..."

"...Congratulations on another beautiful and entertaining recital! With all the roadblocks involved, it came off wonderfully!"

"...You guys do a wonderful job!"

...And, judging by what I'm seeing in rehearsals, you should be able to exceed expectations easily! And, the second half contemporary dancers are stepping it up as well! Choreographers, too!o) Capital City Dance Center, where the dancers just keep getting better and better every year!o) Maybe next time we revisit Giselle, we'll finally be able to put poor Hilarion back into the ballet!o)

06.06.2012: Annual Performance Pep Talk

Here's a repost of some rehearsal and performance tips for CCDC dancers as they head into theater rehearsals tonight:
" message to CCDC dancers before a previous performance. I think it bears repeating:
"...'Have fun out there!'
...that's what I told the dancers before the show. And, that's what many directors and choreographers tell their performers. You do all the hard work, you take all the classes, you rehearse and you rehearse and you rehearse. Then, you have to forget about all that and go out and HAVE SOME FUN ALREADY! Trust your work, trust your preparation, trust your self! The audience doesn't want to see you working. They're there to see you succeed. They WANT you to succeed! It's not like sports where at least half the people there want to see you lose! That's the great thing about the performing arts: when you win, EVERYBODY wins!o) So, HAVE SOME FUN ALREADY! (No apologies to the lottery!o)..." love to dance otherwise you wouldn't spend so much time at it! Now, it's time to share your love with those that you love and strangers who love what you love! So, go dance for the joy of good dancing!
...Here's some new stuff: THANK YOU to the dancers who are starting to take some initiative in the town square scene! Brown Rice, Princess Jadzmin among others! Now, I want you to start involving the younger dancers who are just standing around in the crowd scenes and engage them in some interaction! Remember to reach, wave or hail the dancers in the middle! Do it everytime! DON'T just be a mannequin on stage! Be someone! Otherwise, as one Lead Willy remarked, "It's so BORING otherwise!" EXACTLY! And, merde for performance. Toi, toi!o) (BTW, remember, there are TWO public performances! Sign of a mediocre amateur is one good show followed by a lack of energy in the next! Have a GRRREAT show, Tony! And, then! Have an EVEN BETTER one!o)

06.05.2012: The Plot Thickenz

We were shocked---SHOCKED, I tell you!---by the news that some of our younger dancers are still unfamiliar with the story of Giselle. So, we're reposting this semi-snarky synopsis of the ballet. Familiarize yourself with the plotline and you, too, can amaze your friends and family---and, even, I'm sad to say, clueless dancers:
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away---even further away than Nebraska or Michigan!---there lived a beautiful young maiden named Giselle. She was a happy girl who loved to dance, but, her mother worried about her because her heart was weak. Viral cardio myopathy comes to mind. Meanwhile, in a castle nearbye, lived a handsome prince named Albrecht. He wasn't as happy because his life was filled with boring court rituals and customs. And, to add to his unhappiness his mother had arranged for him to marry Princess Bathilde to seal a political alliance. But, all Albrecht longed to do was to escape all the demands and duties of the royal court and live the life of a carefree commoner.

So, one day, it happens. The prince manages to slip away from a hunting party and ditch the paparazzi. Albrecht enters a small village reveling in his anonymity. Once there, he recognizes the house where he's been told a great local beauty lives. He knocks on Giselle's door. But, wait, he thinks. What if this legendary beauty fails to live up to her reputation? After all, who hasn't been burned on a blind date or fifty with a "great personality", but, woof-woof looks that would give Bigfoot pause? Albrecht decides to hide before he buys a "pig in a poke".

But, when Giselle bursts out of her house, Albrecht is dazzled. If there is such a thing as love at first sight, the Prince is head over heels. He blows her a kiss from his hiding place, and, then, reveals himself. Giselle as well finds herself experiencing emotions she's never known. Albrecht is so overcome with his feelings, after a brief flirtation, he proposes. And, Giselle accepts and seals her fate.

Just, then, a crowd of peasants and villagers bursts on the scene to celebrate the harvest. Much joyful dancing ensues. But, Giselle's mother comes looking for her daughter. She warns her again about dancing with a weak heart. When Giselle asks why, she tells the tale of the Wilis, spirits of young women who rise at night and force men to dance til they die in vengeance for their faithlessness. Mom leads Giselle back to the cottage.

More dancing ensues. And, the Princess Bathilde wanders into the village from the royal hunt looking for Albrecht. Giselle is awe-struck by Bathilde's beauty and extreme, cutting edge 16th Century fashion sense. When Bathilde catches Giselle stroking the rich fabric of her gown, she's not angry, just amused. And, Bathilde gives her a necklace as a token of her appreciation and friendship. But, Bathilde's not as amused when she finally finds Albrecht with Giselle. Giselle tries to get the prince to acknowledge her, but, Albrecht chooses duty over love and turns away from her. Giselle dies of a broken heart. Thus, ends the first act.

(Editor's Note: This is a truncated version of Giselle. No Hilarion, no extended "mad scene", altered role for the mother. Hopefully, you will see or perform the full-length version someday.)
The Second Act begins with the appearance of the dread Queen of the Wilis and a corps of little spirits. And, woe to any man who is caught by the Myrta and the Wilis. For they will be cursed to dance until they die of exhaustion.

As they depart, we see the mourning mother who brings Giselle's favorite flowers to her daughter's gravesite. The spirits of lillies dance as the mother grieves.

After the mother leaves, the corps of Wilis reappears. Merciless Myrtha has sworn a mighty oath of vengeance on any man who crosses her path. She, too, died after she was betrayed by a faithless lover.

Albrecht comes to mourn at Giselle's grave and is caught by the Wilis and brought before their Queen. But, the spirit of Giselle returns to plead for forgiveness instead of vengeance. However, Myrta is not moved and curses him to dance to death. But, Giselle's enduring love is Albrecht's salvation. She dances with him and for him through the long, dark night. Dances until the morning church bells signal the return of the sun. The Wilis retreat. Myrta is defeated. But, Giselle also must fade with the coming of the dawn. She leaves Albrecht to a lifetime of regret and sorrow as little motes dance in the morning sunlight...

06.05.2012: Proper Preparation?

Eyes on the road. Mind on the ballet! Giselle's Mom says she's putting in the work to get ready for this weekend's performance:
"...listening to Giselle CD, visualizing my part, totally missed my highway exit (by 2!) for work this morning..."
...that's what we like to hear! Keep listening to your music, CCDC dancerz!o)

06.04.2012: Notez Noticed

Some random corrections noted during weekend rehearsals:
"...Turn out little more.
Heart forward, not shoulders back, shade to audience.
Everyone smile more!

More looking, searching, G!
Stick those balances!
Shoulders down. Timing! Work timing!
Interact more
Hand to chin occasionally on flower scene, Albrecht!

Peasant pas:

Keep her more forward, guy. Girl press down on him.
Little more forward still.
Squeeze those seat muscles, Girl!

Crowd! Raise arm in greeting whenever soloists come near! DON'T just reach!
Stronger middle, soloists . More chest up!
Spot your turns!


Watch formations!


06.03.2012: Putting the 'Me' in 'Media'!o)

Play-by-play of second audition sequence:
The Lost Angeles Auditions

Judges: Jesse Tyler Ferguson joins panel of Murph and Nigel. Mary says "No lip Synching, no bootie shaking, no feeling yourself up.." Unless you're auditioning for Jesse...says Jesse!

Alexa's back! She says she can relax and breathe more. Survivor of last season's the "green Mile", the last dancer cut before the live competition began. Alexa Anderson, 19, of Chandler Arizona. Wow! She's good! Commitment to sharp focused movement. This is the dancer Madi Robson should grow up to be. Big, open movement interspersed with small, intricate details. She went to a different place when she danced! Properly sent straight through to Vegas! Watch out for her!

Johnny Waacks Gibson. Singlehandedly bringing back Soul Train to Nigel! Lythgoe cracks himself up. The double entendres are flying thick and fast! Well, he's good at wacking, but, don't think he'll be good at anything else. What a performer! He milks the movement and works the crowd! Follows the footsteps of Princess Lockaroo! claims to be trained in hip hop and contemporary. Send him to choreography! Three yeses for choreography.

Wow! The teases are exciting!

Wow! Nice back! Cirque de soleil sash aerieist. aerial pole dancer, exotic dancer. Ouch, done badly it can rip the skin. She's a good dancer Eliana Girard 20, from West Palm Beach, former Joffrey School dancer, dances en pointe. Contempporary ballet dancer. Ballet legs!. Great musculature. Looks like she can put some emotion into her dancing, too!. Judges rise to their feet as one. Nigel takes the opportunity to praise her feeling and musicality and technique "Superb"!. "One of the best girls this year"! Mary says she was "feeling the music" a rare ballerina that danced with "soul". Jesse says it was privilege to watch that dance and compares her to Melanie. She does havea great smile!. Looking forward to see her in Vegas.

Montage of winners. Nigel, the old hoofer, loves the tap dancer. Wow! She looks like Sasha. uh-oh...looks a little of the twins can go a looong, looong way!

Ninja Twins...Flaming identical twin queens! Okay, they are amusing. Nick and James makes "Ninja" with attitude. "We'll dance!" Holla! A waiter and celebrity stylist. One was fired because "he was destined for greater things". 32? isn't that too old? Fierce attitude. Have some flixibility for some old dudez!o) Okay, they can tumble! Dance dedicated to their first dance teacher! Maybe someone will do that to us someday. Nigel breaks the bad news on the age limit, but, praises their humor and personality and dancing. "We may be over, but, we ain't dead! DANG!"

Sam Lenarz, 18, Supple back, strong feet. Her backstory is she was kicked out on the streets by her birth mother. nice Grand jete. Nice balance! Hit that, girl! Nigel urges more heart and passion. Mary loved her control. Judges are challenging her to take it to the next level. Tears flow as she shares her story. Jesse says she's a brilliant dancer, says dancing is her destiny, gifted. "Truly beautiful". Channel that emotion. Put her through to choreography. I would've put her to Vegas. La girls getting positive results.

Kayley Carr, 25. Surfer from Huntington Beach. Big porn stash , facial fur on his upper lip. He's gonna get gnarly with his tap! Dance teacher and bar back. ADHD kid Tap is good. Choreography is better. Jesse calls him a cliche, moustached surfer/tapper. Smile is illuminating. Mary praises his confidence in his tapping. Cool and fresh. Goes to choreography. Love his smile!

Megan Branch from Arizona. Broken family. Mom working extra jobs to support her daughter's dancing. Her choreography screams "competition" dancer. It's good. Nice control on the turns. Mary calls her a little butterfly. Jesse says she's gorgeous, with good energy. Nigel says she's a little firecracker. Fabulous feet and pure joy in dancing. Straight through to Vegas.

Cole Horibe. Martial artist dancer. Eurasian background. Looks like Keanu. Sharp, focused and graceful movements. And he turns. Clean pirouettes. Nigel compares him to Bruce Lee. Likes his speed. Junior Olympics Silver Medalist. Jesse calls him a classic over-acheiver. Says he's intrigued. Major presence. Mary says it was spectacular, Lightning fast and lethal legs. Cole gets through to Vegas.

David Matz, 27, from LA. Circus performer. "Whole world past ordinary circus." Steer wheel. "Cue music" partners the steel wheel with fluidity and grace. wow. Something unique and new. Constant turning and spinning. The possibilities are endless he says. Physics on parade. Amazing!. He's a performer as well, not just a trickster. Wow! It was a beautiful performance, says Jesse. "Really cool!" "Mesmerizing" says Mary. Calls him an artist! "Fantastic!" A first time for Mary! Put hi into Choreography round!

Steven Jacobson. Classical ballet with a twist. 17 years of ballet. No ballet shoes. Bare feet. There were some strong ballet tricks. From Cincinnati ballet. Nigel doesn't like the choreography. Gets to improv to another song. Nice switch leaps. Nice coupe jetes and double saut de basques. Throws in an aerial. Nigel loves his technique. Straight through to Vegas.

Old friend? Don't recognize him.

Lotsa shots of Santa Monica Pier. Montage of returning dancers.

Here's Jonathan Anzalone.. The arrogance. Says he's a changed man. Mia's freudian slip. The Italian Cat. B-Boy, I guess. Still got a lotta confidence. Very flexible. Boucing bunz. Drops to straddle split. Drops his top and Nigel waves him off. Jesse says he's going to end up in Vegas anyway. Nigel calls ita contortionist act. Dances with one of the girls who said she wanted to dance with him. Whoa! She can dance, too. Slap that caboose, baby! Jesse stuffs a dollar bill into his shorts. Angelique runs away. Confident, bordering on cockiness. Sends to choreography.

"One of the most shocking stories we've ever heard in nine seasons of SYTYCD..." NEXT!

18-year old Jasmine Mason. Watched her brother audition the last few years. Her brother sacrificed himself to save his sister in an auto accident. But, he lived. Marshea has a second chance. Lesson is to live life to the fullest. Jazz dancer. Wow! Good dancer!. Very sexy!. Triple jazz pirouette out of nowhere. Throws herself around in that competition style. Nigel says she dance "fantastically". Dances with maturity says Mary. Jesse says she has the talent to back up her beauty!

Just six weeks after his brush with death, Marshea Kidd takes the stage! "Cue Music". Smooth moves as his mother tears up. Six pirouettes , last with a rond dejambe into arabesque. Mary grabs a ticket to Vegas and holds it up. Judges say it was incredible. Six weeks after his accident, brother and sister get to Las Vegas. He was pronounced "Dead on Arrival.

Robert Roldan and...Courtney Galliano teach choreography round. David eliminates himself. Italian stallion gets cut. Johnny Wacks too weak.. 20 dancers go thru to Vegas.

This is shaping up to be a very very competitive field this season.

Next week see ya in Hotlanta!o)

06.01.2012: Job Opportunity

Pass the word! CCDC is NOT hiring currently, but, another studio has contacted us for help wanted:
"...I hope you have been well and all has been going great with your studio! I would love to come see your performance if it is coming up soon!

I am in need of a classical ballet instructor for the fall and wondered if you had anyone that I could contact?

Thanks so much for your time and I hope to hear from you soon -..."

05.31.2012: Ballet Buzz

FINALLY! Official confirmation of the premiere of the award-winning ballet documentary First Position in the Capital City! It's at the Fleur Cinemas starting tomorrow night:
First Position
Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Genre: Documentary
Cast: Jules Jarvis Fogarty, Aran Bell, Gaya Yemini, Miko Fogarty, Michaela DePrince, Joan Sebastian Zamora, Rebecca Houseknecht
Directed by: Bess Kargman

Fri: 4:50, 7:30, 9:40
Sat & Sun: 11:10, 2:00, 4:50, 7:30, 9:40
Mon - Thurs: 4:50, 7:30, 9:40

Winner: Best Documentary Feature, Dallas International Film Festival

For the young dancers at the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions, lifelong dreams are at stake. With hundreds competing for a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Bess Kargman's award-winning documentary, FIRST POSITION, follows six young dancers as they prepare for a chance to enter the world of professional ballet, struggling through bloodied feet, near exhaustion and debilitating injuries all while navigating the drama of adolescence. A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, FIRST POSITION paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted young ballet stars of tomorrow.

“First Position is an unabashedly inspirational portrait of what even very young people can accomplish with discipline and dedication.” Dana Stevens, Slate
...You can watch the trailers here IF you have Quicktime. Otherwise, they're available to watch on iTunes.

05.30.2012: Dance Back

Here's some reaction to the premiere of SYTYCD last week:
"...Thank you goodness you told me. I can't believe it's starting already. But they are spending too many weeks on auditions. I want to get to the good stuff!..."
...And, before we close the books on DWT*** Season 14, here's some input from the deserving winner. NFL wide receiver Donald Driver was asked how difficult dance was compared to football:
"...When you’re dancing, you have to think about and remember where every single part of your body should be at every moment. You have to move everything in unison. And, on top of all that, you have to worry about your facial expressions! I’m not going to say dancing is harder than football, but learning a dance is definitely harder than learning a [pass] route!..."
...And, here's the link to The Donald's Blog for the LATimes.

05.29.2012: So You Think You Can Review Dance!

Here's a play-by-play recap of the return of SYTYCD IX!
The return of SYTYCD!
Dallas/NYC auditions
"All year long your television has been dominated by singers. Isn't it about time for a little DANCE?"
Of course, the answer is YES.
So You Think You can dance!
Of course! the answer is yes!
Montage of dancers is exciting. Some nice elevation on those jumps! Let's see some pirouettes. Tours en l'air were pretty good.
NY audition starts with The twenties star: little cutie Hope she can dance, Amelia Lowe. Dancing since whe was three. Nice control. LOVE her feet. She loses her number for the audition. But, she's got everything else. Little tumbling in this contemporary solo. Good jumps. Good extension. Good energy. Dramatic music. Standing o from the judges as she retrieves her number. Straight through to Vegas, Baby!

Hip Hop Locker Popper Ballet? His ballet looks more like contortionist. Toshihiko Nakazawa! Dang, he looks like my brother. "Cue music." Very musical. Lotta fall and release. Judges let him go long just to see if he starts repeating himself. Turns are bad! Untrained street dancer. Nigel says he was entertained thoroughly. Compares him to Twitch. His English is worse than my Japanese. Tyce says his body is like a musical instrument. He has a gift. "Shee you ratah!"

21-year old Austin Freeman dances the wiggle. This looks like we should fast forward through this. His goal in life is to be a celebrity. "Freeman Fever" "Mister Wigglez". This guy has little clue of what dancing is. Wiggling, bad jumps. Producers put him on for comic effect. He doesn't know they're making fun of him. Everybody's laughing at him...not with him. Mary says he's not the guy he wants to see wiggle. Tyce says he made him sad. Nigel says it wasn't any good. Austin says he's going to use a different song when he comes back next year. Poor guy just doesn't get that he's the joke.

Season nine audition, quick montage of successful applicants straight through to Vegas.

22-year old philadelphian likes to flip. claims he can flip over eight chairs. Street dancer. Smooth street Shafeek Westbrook. Smooth. head spins. Seamless transitions from standing to contorting to spins and flares. Takes a ton of strength and speed . flexibility There's some physical prowess right there!. Nigel says "Show me something new" and Shafeek brings it. Mary says it was street taken to an artistic level. Strength and power. Tyce says he moves like "silk". Praises his artistry!. Says he was inspired by a friend who died during 9/11.

Time for the callbacks! Robert and Courtney teach. Toshihiko eliminates himself. More dancers proceed to Vegas!

Day Two: NYC, baby! Leo Reyes is auditioning for his Mom who attempted suicide. He's not as good as his ambitions. decent extension, flexibility. but, there's not enough there. Cross of show and street. Sharp isolations. Looks like the audience is overreacting with enthusiasm. judges send him through to Vegas. Don't know why. I might've put him in the callbacks. Nice split leaps.

Starts off with a montage of really bad dancing. Some people have no clue.

Keyon Chehon Wespi Tschopp is a ballet dancer but starts off with some contemporary. very nice double tour and strong jumps. Nice grand pirouettes finally gets on his leg. big air during jumps. Love that clean clean double saut de basque. . Strong crescent double. tyce calls it sick and amazing and incredible. He deserves to go through. Eleven more put through to callbacks. Hmmm... seems to be a little less of cat interviewing dancers?

Let's go to Texas! Dallas auditions: Lil' C is the judge. Full-time Mother of two. Returning dancer feels guilty. Bree Hafen, 29 years old. Has that ballet back. Seems a little small and careful. Mom does an aeriel out of nowhere. Her son gives a Vegas ticket to his mother. Mary is openly bawling. Nigel brings her baby up on stage! Oh, watch out! Her daughter is a little dancer, isn't she! The cutest thing!

Hanson "The Exorcist" and "The Zombie". Shouldn't they be auditioning for "Walking Dead".

Stepheon Stewart "Zombie popping and locking. Wow! Nice flexibility. Actually has some skills! Back bend walk down stairs. That was much better than I expected. Lil C is on Board! Nigel says "Very entertaining". Mary says he was able to follow a tough act: the kids. Lil C says he loves his job! He says the performers are the reason he does what he does. Straight thru to Vegas. He's got a theme, but, he's a real street dancer.

"The exorcist" is next: Hampton Williams. "Exorcist Style" Has some skills. popping and locking with supernatural intensity.. Mary crying. He knows how to hold an audience. Unusual music for a street dancer. He mimes staking his own heart. Ends by crawling towards the judges and backing away. He dies on stage, a killer performance! Again,, much better than expected Mary is losing it. Says she feels like she was just exorcised. Lil C says he wants to kick him in the a compliment. Freestyle from the soul says it was exceptional. He bows and says hats off all day. Enjoyed every millisecond of his performance!

Montage of winners:

Daniel Baker: From San Francisco. From Down Under. Ballet dancer with SFB. Comes out shirtless. From Newcastle, Australia. Dances barefoot. Big split jump. turns in bare feet. Sweet coupe jetes menage of turns. Good intensity. Lotta arm flailing. Don't like his shoulders. Girls certainly like him! Judges playing it cool, but, send him through to Vega. Yay for the ballet boyz!

Montage of girls who can dance. But, no. Oh, no! Another clueless auditioner. Autistic applicant. Nigel praises his ability to handle himself in this pressure situation. he's doing lyrical freestyle. Sam Shreffler. Something oddly appealing about his effort. Totally un-trained, but, authentic arm waving. "Whatever you do, don't stop dancing!" Nice no. Mary says no, but be proud. Lil C says he's the buckest individual he's seen all day. Standing ovation. Says he had "a great day".

Von "Legend" Kipper, B Boyz The Hamster gets the party started! Seems to be using Reverse psychology by criticizing the show. Boy can dance. But not anything we haven't seen before. Lil C says he lost his focus. he defends his intricate dancing. Nigel says he talked better than he danced. Advises him to concentrate on his dancing. Wow that was contentious!

Jarelle Rochelle "it rhymes". Mom's going blind. He's dancing so she can see before she loses her sight. Nigel brings his mother down to the front. He can pop. Quick and precise! Dances with emotion. put this guy through to Vegas! He's a choreographer too, isn't he? Nigel calls it "delightful". Smile is "engrossing". Lil C voice thick with emotion. Says he loves talent, but especially loves when talent meets skill. Mary calls it "complete entertainment". Nigel hands ticket to his mother to give to him.

LA audition preview looks exciting! CYa in LA!

05.28.2012: Last Look at DWT*** 14

Finally! Here's the play-by-play of the season finale:
DWT*** "The Finals!!!"
Season 14

Down to three. Emmit Smith in the house! Epaulets laden costume for Katherine and Mark...prelude to a Paso? Donnie Osmond in the crowd. There's Maria. The J Peterman actor. First up...

William Levy: Bruno Judge's pick. Calls him "sex on legs". Trying to get him to not slouch. Another chance at the Cha-cha-cha. Boyz hips have improved tremendously, but more impressed with his upper body. control and use of shoulders. Great smile! "Raise Your Glass" indeed to the Cubano with Machismo. He can strut he dance the Cuban walk. What an improvement! Len says "loud and proud". Says as good a cha cha as he's ever seen. Bruno says "intoxicating cocktail", he's "green with envy" with "good placement". Carrie Anne says the magic is now combined with sophistication. Drew Lachey tweets he's pulling for his old partner. Another tweeter praying for a wardrobe malfunction! 10 10 10...Another perfect score for the burning hunk of latin love.

Peta gets a bloody lip in the practice for lift! Ouch! Suffer for your art!

Katherine Jenkins: Len's the advisor. Could be a chance to get her first ten from Len. Wow! she starts with intensity and quickness. Epaulets don't help at finding line of upper body. She's holding her own during the knee walks. Marks obligatory Grand jete en tournant is a little too much flailing with loose knees. Bruno says it was vivid, lush artistry. Technical brilliance. Carrie Anne says she's the "prima diva of the dance floor". Len says it was like a buffet of Spanish tappers. I'd give her a thirty. She puts a lot of pressure on her self! So competitive! But, in a good way. Looks likes she's recovered from last week's back twinge 10 10 10...Katherine keeps pace with the leader. She looks good in that costume and dances better!

Donald Driver: Argentine Tango...Carrie Anne the advisor. Donald stepping up to the task! Starting to peak for the finals. She's got a good back. Not much of a costume but a good back. Wow. Smooth effortless lift. He's strong and smooth. And sharp. Dang what control in that final pose! Tom calls him a"smooth operator". Carrie Anne says she loved it before, loved it again. Len liked more content. Says it was a tad careful. Toughest critic!. Bruno praises the subtle and intimate movement. "very effective". 10 9 10

William: freestyle. Starts slow. Then shirt ripped open and intensity begins Wow! Not leaving much to the imagination. utilizing his hips to his advantage.. Man, He's strong too. William's exhorting the crowd into a frenzy. Len says he liked it...but, "too predictable". Bruno calls them two devils unleashed upon the earth. Carrie Anne LOVED it. Judges still arguing as we cutaway into the break. 10 9 10 Cheryl's happy they didn't get lower from Len.

Katherine, freestyle: Mark wants to show her range. putting in some tap. She works hard!. She starts by singing "Sing, sing, sing" What a voice! Fast choreography. She's a performer Evrything but the kitchen sink in the Welsh Wiggler's routine! Bruno says "Fast and flamboyant" "lotta content". "on the money". Carrie Anne praises her range, "dance of a champion"! 10 10 10 Len says "If I'm dreaming, don't wake me!" They go beserk!.

Donald in the freestyle. Dressed in his cowboy best. He's going to unveil the unexpected. Starts on a football field. "Playing Chicken with the train" Live music. WOW! Peta flies in a lift. Donald throws his partner around. Boy can Texas Two step. Got her up on a hidden platform for the lift. He's channeling his inner Drew Lachey. Carrie Anne's on the judge's table. Carrie Anne looks like she's ready to give a twenty. Her Favorite final ever. Len says chances win dances! Calls it "Fantastic". Bruno calls it a "TRIUMPH"! Donald gives a shout out to Cowboy Troy. Peta could be worst to first. 10 10 FINALLY 10 Finally a perfect score for Donald! The fact that he's a big fan of the show allowed him to strategize and appreciate the importance of the freestyle!

24-hours to listen to, choreograph, set, rehearse and perform a brand new dance. The pressure's on!


Pros start off. Lot of lifts and gymnastics...There comes the parade of castoffs. Maria, Roshon, Gladys, Martina, reunion of the stars.

Emmit Smith is back in the house. 24 hour routines! Coming up! Raise your glass to William Levy. He's a competitor. Katherine perfect score after perfect score. Donald was a tad careful. He just whips Peta around. What a fierce competitor!

Donald gets the freestyle encore selection. Two-step Chicken train Chicken. Good partnering. Strong partner. Cowboy Troy! Dang! Sets a new standard for free style finales!

Shari Shepard. "It's Raining Men" I could just watch her because of her amazing smile and personality. Shari Shepard and her boy harem!

Final Dances: Wow! I'm not sure it's wise to make the audience sit through dances from all the stars who were eliminated early. Well, I guess I can always watch the pros. JR Martinez in the house! Love those inflatable fish balloons in Gavin's reprise dance!

Gladys' dancing always makes me smile! Infectious enthusiasm. ..and she's a pretty decent dancer, too!

Jaleel White's back in the house channeling his inner Shaft. Oh! The lift struggling...doesn't make it up. Cut to an overhead shot so it's not as obvious. Ah, the danger of performing live!

Trio dance with the dancing Chermokovskys. That's it! Hold her shoulders down, boys! Roshon wants to do a freestyle. Getting into the hiphop roots! He's Mr. Personality! Solo for Mr. Fagan! He's okay. Makes up in enthusiasm what he lacks in eye popping technique. He's an actor not a dancer!

Kelly Clarkson performs. Once again a performer who got her start on a competition reality show drops by another competition reality show. Is that ironic? Or just interesting? Tristan, Anna, Kym and Tony perform. (The HD television is so clear you can read the tattoo on her right inner wrist). More dancers come out. Judges and audience belting out the chorus of "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Wow, she's become quite the polished performer, that Kelly Clarkson!

Season retrospective continues. Watch Katherine deal with that wardrobe malfunction and injury makes me realize what a string of bad luck she's had! Maria gets a chance to show off her stellar tango again!. That amazing walk down the stairs again! She and Derek had so many STRONG numbers. Just a testament to the strength of the field that she didn't make the finals! She's definitely most improved. Such a strong dancer now!. Give her a ten! What a smile! Bring her back for the all-star season!

All-Star seasons gets teased? WHAT? They're bringing back champions? NOOOO champions! They've had their moment in the spotlight, their moment at the top of the podium! Let's see the best of the rest!

"Nuff strolling down memory lane!" "Perfect dance to finish off the season." "Bitter-Sweet!"

William first. Audience rises to its feet, William can wiggle and as always is very macho and machismo. Surprising musicality. How come I've never noticed this before? Because I expect it from him? This guys a star!. Len says deserves a gold medal! Bruno flirts with William saying "Hips don't lie!" Carrie Anne praises his "true star quality". Former winner Emmit Smith gets a chance to tell him to keep the trophy out of the hands of that Packer. 10 10 10 Sets a high standard for all the other contestants.

Katherine now attempts to follow up on her perfect scores. Last rehearsal. Jive is such a happy dance for them. She gets sentimental during the final rehearsal. Big hop and back spin as Mark typically features himself during his choreography. Sharp enthusiastic start...she's the perfect sixties go go dancer. Little Barbie can dance! She's a star! Mark flings his jacket into the crowd! Bruno calls her the blonde bombshell, "One ofhte most wonderful competitors" in 14 years, "a stunning dancer". Carrie Anne agrees! Thanks the pair for setting the bar so high at the very beginning of the season. Len says Katherine is the "complete package". She wears her heart on her non existent sleeve as she gives her final comments. 10 10 10! Katherine continues her string of perfection. She doesn't score less than a ten in her last three dances. Donnie and Jane Seymore pop on to endorse Katherine's efforts.

Donald: Cha Cha. Audience leaps to their feet. Shirt comes off and my BOY IS RIPPED!. And, he can dance. Intense and passionate, but, smooth and sharp. He knows when to move and he knows when to be still. Dang! This guy looks like a professuional dancer! This in just 24 hours! Emmit Smith is on his feet in grudging respect! Donald's twice the dancer Emmit was. Carrie Anne says Donald is a winner! Len says no one is a loser tonight. Len says Donald is the best Footballer ever. Bruno calls him "Donald the Magnificent". Praises the strategy of a champion. Inspired performances and peaked at the right time! Dang! He must have like five percent body fat! Donald, a big fan of the show, praises his experience. 10 10 10. Perfect scores, all well-deserved. Donald's teammates hop on along with Green Bay management!

Gladys performs! WOW! Maybe we should have a sing off between Katherine, Gavin and Gladys! Contestants stand and watch as Ms Knight performs "The Way We Were". Catherine is openly weeping. Gladys is killing the song! She's a good dancers, but, she can sing the heck out of this song. Mark's crying! What a STAR turn! She just sold a ton of downloads there! Audience rewards her with a standing ovation!

William's fan base fails him in the end! Finishes third. His little boy is crying! William is still a class, class act. The man is a role model for a generation of young latinos! He calls it "one of the great experiences of his life". Still think that If Maria had made it to the finals, Derek Hough might have made a difference in the free style!

Finally the winner is announced and Donald goes crazy! Peta goes from worst to first. Katherine is a classy second-place finisher. Their happiness is complete! His family storms the floor! I like consistency so would've liked to see Katherine win, but, you have to give improvement its due! All hail the new Champion! See you on the football field!

05.26.2012: No First Position

Stand down! That premiere of the ballet documentary First Position has been pushed back in the Capital City. I checked with the theater that was supposed to start playing it yesterday...
"...The national website indicates the documentary "First Position" would open in Des Moines today (5/25). But, your newsletter indicates otherwise.

When do you expect to start showing this film?..."

...Got this back...
"...Four days ago the distributor pushed the date back. The new (tentative) opening date (according to the distributor) is June 8. However, I see now that the film's website now has us listed as opening on June 1st. Believe me, I wish this was easier.

All of our bookings are made on a weekly basis and are confirmed on Monday afternoon for the upcoming Friday. Check out our website on Monday afternoon or give us a call, and we can give you the most up-to-date info that we have.

Thanks! ..."

...So, my apologies to the hordes of blog-readers who camped out overnight at the theater to watch the midnight showing...whoops! Wait a minute! What do you mean there were no "hordes"...and no "midnight showing"...Gaah! More misinformation!o)

05.25.2012: Capital City Dance Theater

Don't miss CCDC's Annual Student Showcase and School Recital, June 8th+9th at WDsM Valley High School Auditorium, 3650 Woodland Ave. This year, we're restaging a condensed version of the ballet classic, Giselle...and, of course, the second half of the show will feature dancers from CCDC's modern, lyrical, hiphop, jazz and musical theatre classes. Here's some parental input emailed to us recently:
"...We are all so excited for the recital!...(My daughter) is absolutely loving dance and is so excited for the recital. She gave up an opportunity to go (on a summer trip) with a school group after school got out because she didn't want to miss the recital. She is totally committed and was worried about missing these practices....Let me know if there are other days she can come for make-ups..."
...That's the attitude we like to see in students enrolled in the CCDC PreProfessional Division!o)

05.24.2012: MustCDanceTV!o)

Don't worry, DanceTV Fanz! Say good bye to Tom and Brooke...But, say hello to Cat, Nygel and Mary Murphy and the REAL dancerz tonight!:
"’s how season 9 of So You Think You Can Dance will unfold:
May 24: Dallas and New York auditions
May 30: Los Angeles auditions
June 6: Atlanta auditions
June 13: Salt Lake City auditions
June 20: Las Vegas callbacks
June 27: Top 20 revealed and Meet the Top 20 performances during 200th episode
July 4: No show due to holiday
July 11: First performance show
July 18: Performance and first results show...
After tonight’s special Thursday evening airing at 8 p.m. on Fox, the show settles in on Wednesday’s next week..."
...Remember! No results show...and TWO winners this season! Find a link to the rest of that preview blog on the CCDC Facebook page.

05.23.2012: Conversation Continues

All hail...(****SPOILER ALERT*** If you don't want to know who won Season 14 of DWT***, stop reading here)...The Donald for winning the fabled mirror-ball! I'll break down the grand finale next week after I actually watch the show. But, speculation for next season of DWT*** has already begun. Here's an excerpt of an e-conversation with one blog reader:
"...You didn't answer the question, Larry King! Who would you like to see invited back to DWT*** All Star edition? No winners allowed. Who would you wanna see a second time? Wow! Getting excited for that already! I already said Stacey Kiebler. Others say Giles Marini. We also said Mel B should get a second chance. Who would you like to see?..."
...Got this answer:
"...Well I agree Stacey and Mel for sure. I actually thought Mel should have won that season over Helio even though I adored him.

Okay so here is my dream cast of 14...


  1. Stacey Kiebler
  2. Mel B
  3. Sabrina Bryan (The Cheeta girl singer who was voted off very prematurely)
  4. Misty May Traynor (who was injured prematurely),
  5. Melissa Rycroft (mandatory ABC personality who could totally dance)
  6. Kelly Osborne (biggest surprise ever)
  7. Sherri Sheppard (because she waited so long to be on and then was sent home too soon)

  1. Mario Lopez (I thought his freestyle deserved to win the trophy that season)
  2. Joey Fatone (made me smile)
  3. Cristian de la Fuente (mandatory hot latin)
  4. Warren Sapp (mandatory charismatic football player)
  5. Kyle Massey (made me smile)
  6. Giles Marini
  7. Jason Taylor (cause damn he's fine!)..."
...(low whistle of appreciation) Then, this response:
"...Excellent list! Did you just pull that off the top of your head or did you research that, encyclopedia-brain? You brought some names back from way down memory lane! I might quibble with Misty May. I don't remember being impressed with her dancing. Just whatever you do: don't bring back any of Hefner's ex-girlfriends or reality "stars" who haven't earned their fame. (I'm blocking their names already!) But, I could see more of the Disney stars getting a second-chance as well besides Kyle and Sabrina.

And, interesting that you didn't agree with my suggestion to eliminate William Levy. How much does the "latin hot hunk factor" play into that decision?

...To which she laughingly replied:
"...Okay so you know my weakness for hot Latin hunks. I totally cop to that. I also cop to looking up past rosters on wikipedia to make my list which was very fun. And finally I agree several other Disney stars came close to making my list, like Chelsea Kane and Roshon Feegan. Even Romeo Miller (little rapper guy) was fun.

But I am a sucker for those cut too soon or forced out because of injury which is why Misty May made the cut. For that reason I'd even give Leeza Gibbons a shot..."

...What about you? Any thoughts, any favorites from past DWT*** you'd like to see back? Too soon for Katherine, William or Maria "The Greek Goddess" Menounos to come back? Join the speculation and conversation here. And, don't forget SYCYCD starts tomorrow on Fox and Breaking Pointe could be "must-c-t-v" on the See-Dub starting later this month! (But, I also got a chance to watch a sneak peek of the premiere episode of Bunheads on ABC Family. A younger audience---and I mean YOUNG---might appreciate this one. This grizzled, grumpy old ex-professional dancer turned it off in the middle of the webcast!)

05.22.2012: Ailey Revelationz!

CCDC's Lyrical/Hip Hop Instructor Roni McCann texted me a picture recently of an Ailey couple in an impressive lift. Still trying to work on posting it here (how do you get a texted picture into HTML without blowing up the memory?), but, she did recommend I check out the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater website. They're in the middle of their national tour right now and will soon be heading overseas if you want to try and catch a live performance. But, also spotted this extended video look at some of the impressive male dancers from Ailey. (One of my biggest regrets is not taking up a full scholarship tuition offer from Alvin Ailey himself to his school after I auditioned for his company. Would I have been able to make it into Ailey after that extended audition? We'll never know!o):

05.21.2012: Putting the 'Me' In 'Media' Monday!

Monday morning quarterbacking play-by-play of Dancing With The Stars:
"...Semifinals DWT***

Anybody can win this...anyone can go home! Who will it be? Will it be the star with the smallest fan base? Katherine? Donald? Well, I know The Donald survived because it was mentioned on sports radio today! Two dances. Will it be the pro who hasn't won the mirror-ball? Peta?

William gets samba and tango. He's feeling the pressure to be excellent. Dancing tango to the Eurythmic classic. He's strong and determined. Naturally masculine. Inhabits the role of Argentine macho gaucho. Strong and sharp and intense. Right on the musicality. Tricky footwork mostly by Cheryl. They separate and he's still focused and intense. Naturally very masculine. Len says this is the best semifinals ever. Calls it terrific, great job. Bruno calls William the Master of the house. Dictator of the tango. Carrie Anne says he's not just a pretty face, says the chainne turns were a little sloppy. She's pushing for greatness, but... was amazing! He says he has to stay focused. 9 9 10

No weak dancers left! I agree that this is the best, strongest field for a semi-finals ever!o)

Katherine out to prove she didn't peak too soon. She says the "Journey is massive". She's radiant escaping from her little prison. Quick Step. She's dancing with her facial expression as well. Playing Bonnie and Clyde! Little Flapper action "The Dirty Boogie". Strong one-arm drop pose at the end. Very Enthusiastic audience. Bruno calls it "picture perfect", amazing technique. Carrie Anne says Katherine brought her "A-plus" game. She "loved it". Len says Katherine can sing...AND she can dance! Overall "a fabulous number"! 10 9 10!

How much effect will the pro's popularity have on the voting? Will Derek's popularity keep Maria in the running?

The Donald performs the Waltz and Samba. His masculinity is fighting the hip movement in the samba during the video preview. But, this is the waltz. He says he knows he has to bring his best effort to advance. Nice rise and fall!. He's mastered the emotional content. Music from the movie "Romeo and Juliet". Just a little hunch in the shoulders. No Shoulder pads to hide those, Donald!. Great dancing, great emotional content. THeir relationship is sizzling on the dance floor. Aaron Rodgers in the house! Carrie Anne says it was mesmerizing, but, too many small missteps. Beautiful emotional journey. Len says his dancing took him back to a different era. "big, ruff, tuff cream puff". Bruno says Donald impressed with the waltz, a difficult dance to score big with. "Fantastic job". A "romance blossomed in front of his eyes". 9 9 10.

Maria...Derek's putting a lot of pressure on himself to come up with appropriate choreography to feature his partner. Tango starts behind a curtain. Wow! Lifts her down the stairs with legs intertwined! She needs just a litle more strength and attack. Great leg lines. Her steps just a little tentative. But, poses are strong and she has great shoulder movement. Body contact is strong. Lifts are effortless. Shows a great relationship! Len says fabulous. Bruno says enticing and titillating! "Utterly fabulous!" Carrie Anne says beautiful and passionate dance, what a journey for Maria! Her emotions get the better of her during the judges' comments, but she keeps that passion disciplined and under control when she's performing. 10 10 10!!!! Perfect score! She leans over the railing and screams at the audience! Happy much?

William comes from a tough upbringing. Samba to Lion King? He BETTER be good at the original latino party song/dance.. Don't even notice Cheryl when Mr. Machismo Charismo's on the floor. Oops, did I just lose my man card? Man crush much? Ladies in the audience are fanning themselves. Bruno says sexy, throbbing, "bum envy". Carrie Anne says he had her at "hello". "Good job!" Len calls him "the hunk with the junk in the trunk". Praises his rhythm. If he doesn't get a thirty, I'll be surprised.!, 10 10 10 ...told ya!o)

Katherine from Neath, Wales. She performed first at four. Recovering from a broken heart! Salsa suffers in comparison to the bollywood Maria did last week. She's putting her all into all the wiggling. I don't like this choreography, Mark! Ballas may have just lost the competition for her! Slip up at the end has her shaken. Carrie says the Katherine got in touch with her inner Beyonce. Len says she was "great" and a "wonder woman". Bruno says Katherine "unleashed the harlot". ...all except for the end! She looks hurt or shaken up at least. Mark's helping her up the stairs. Back is sore. I think she needs to see the doctor. 9 9 9. Will she get sympathy voters or will she be too hurt to continue anyway?

The Donald...survived the rough streets of Houston. Nicknamed "quicky". Single mom, homeless, with five kids. Living under an underpass. Donald was sent to live with his grandparents. Selling and using drugs. What a love story. Donald and Betina Driver. Seventh round draft pick. "Not a quitter". Super Bowl Champion. Dancing the samba. Mr. Big Stuff. He's quick when he neds to be quick. He's smooth and slow when he needs to be. He's sharp...all the time! Blows a quick kiss to the judges. He can move his hips and he can groove a step when he needs to! Dang! My boy is BAAD! Gets his pocket picked at the end. What an actor! Sense of humor! Spot Clay Matthews in the house! Len liked it. Bruno says the risk was taken and worked beautifully. Carrie Anne says "A plus" game! What a back story he has! 10, 9, 10

Maria from Medford, Mass. Her parents worked as janitors...and she tagged along. Dancing to Janelle Monae song. Derek's choreography the star. Bruno says the jive was reinvented. Brilliant. Stunner! Says Carrie Anne "A Winner". Len says it wasn't a traditional jive, but he LIKED IT! 10 9 10! Just one point off of perfection by my count!

DANG! You can be very good and you can still end up going "very home!" Katherine might be on the chopping block. She doesn't look healthy in the final stand-up! Get the singer to the hospital!


William and Cheryl get the Encore spotlight. I would've preferred giving Katherine another shot, unless she's still injured. William's hips seem better. He's good enough to keep up with Cheryl. He likes to dance and it shows! I think his fan base is too strong to be eliminated.

Katherine first up to learn her fate. Tweaked her back. Wouldn't be surprised if she's in jeopardy. Tom draws it out...but, SHE"S SAFE. They jump around like madmen. Mark fakes a faint! I think the sympathy vote and her tremendous body of work qualified her for the finals. The bottom of the leader board advances to the finals!

Stars of dance presented by Macy's: Design-a-Dance: Tristan and Chelsea do a Samba. "End of Time" by Beyonce. As always nice to see the pros set free from amateurs and get a chance to do their own thing. "Let us show you how it's done" is the message.

Alanis Morissette is guest performer. Who knew she plays guitar? dancers start off a with a helicopter lift that didn't pop. but the guys does and amazing series of coupe jete's into split leaps. Very flexible for a guy. Who are these guys? She's wearing little cheater tiger paws for shoes. nice feet. Lotta lifts in this choreography. Done well!. Blake McGrath and Tyne Setline? are the dancers. Same Blake from SYTYCD?

Maria is definitely the most improved. In jeopardy? WHAT"S GOING ON? The Greek Goddess definitely deserves to advance to the finals!

Julianne Hough is back! She's certainly doing well for herself! Doesn't have to dance for a living anymore! She's an actress/dancer/singer! Great to see real dancers doing real well!

Excerpt from "Rock of Ages": Julianne Hough, Diego Banetta and Mary J Blige. Julianne Hough in fringe swim suit and big eighties hair! What a high energy show. Wow! They saving some money on Julianne's costume budget! Not much there. Double Wow! No Energy shortage here! Rock of Ages...choreographed by Mia Michaels! June 15th movie premiere. Hmm...mark the calendar?

So, Mario Lopez tweeted that he was asked to be on the Dancing With The Stars All Stars season. That made me think: who hasn't won that I'd like to see back. Stacy Kiebler came to mind for me. Others say Gil should be invited back. How about Scary Spice? What do you think? How about all the Spice Girls? Can they bend it like Beckham?

Carrie Underwood sings "Good Girl". My! They are stuffing these results show with promotional appearances. Interesting to see the winner of another reality competition on this reality competittion show. Troupe dances? Or is that Tristan?

Donald has charisma pouring out of his ears, doesn't he! William leaves it up to God! The pressure's on! Tension showing on the pro's faces. William is safe. Donald in jeopardy! If what I know comes true...NOT HAPPY!

SUCH a STRONG field. Maria and Donald at risk! What bizarro world are we living in? Maria goes home??? Boos rain down from the crowd. What a good loser! Good sport!. WOW! I would've preferred to see William go home...but that's not gonna happen with his fan base!...My preference is Donald or Katherine for the win next week. We shall see..."

...And, here's some early reaction heading into tonight's finals:
"...I agree that Maria had her best night of the competition so far so I was surprised to see her go. I would have rather seen Katherine or Donald go even though I like both of them. I just prefer Derek's choreography so would have liked to see Maria in the final..."
...Got some feedback? Who would you like to see in a DWT*** All-Star Edition? Input accepted here.

05.18.2012: Nutty Dreamz

So, one of the CCDC faculty e-mailed this to us recently:
"...So I have to share this dream with you guys I had last night, pretty funny...

You guys were putting on Nutcracker, it was outside with a 3 level stage, and the 3rd level was a trampoline. Missy, you were dressed in a Snow costume, and Emery was dressed for Chinese with a wig on.

You guys had given me the part of Russian but I had Pointe shoes on..(yeah scary) and I hadn't been to rehearsal so I had no idea what I was doing and everyone was teaching me the choreography backstage before I went on. I did it for Missy and she approved (thank goodness) We were waiting to go onstage for finale and the wind was so bad we were flipping on the netting on the sides surrounding the stage.

I woke up in a panic and so sweaty this morning!!!!!! It was so real! Not sure what this dream means, but there ya have it.

Have a good day..."

...Can you guess who sent it? So, I emailed this back:
"...Hilarious! I think every dancer had had that dream or similar! could start taking those CCDC prepointe or pointe classes soon!..."
...To which, she replied:
"...Me on pointe....Now that's funny.

When I trained in California, I really started to love ballet. So when I graduated my ballet mistress told me I could wear a tutu for class. Without pointe shoes, but it was awesome. In another life, I want to be a tall skinny, beautiful, ballerina....and a doctor. :)

...Sigmund Freud wrote "...dreams are the royal road to the subconscious..." So, psychoanalyze THAT, all you Doctor Phil-wanna-beez! (Hmm..."three level stage with a trampoline"? I think my Snow Corps or Merlitons would have much more of a Cirque de Soleil feel in that case...)

05.17.2012: Tanorexics! Remember! Sunscreen Is Our Friend!o)

"Lay out" on the "way out"? One can only hope, CCDC dancers! ("Kodachrome", "Fried Rice", "Lobster Grrl", "Fuji Film", "Solar Sell", "Whoa, Black Betty! Famalam"! I'm looking@UUUU!8o)
"...Dermatologists Give Young Adults Something to Tweet About: Tanning Is Out

(Courtesy Newswise) — Despite the fact that young adults are generally in constant communication via social media and texting, a new survey finds many in this age group are not getting the message that there is no such thing as a safe tan.

The survey, conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology determined that young adults are not aware of the dangers of tanning beds and how to properly protect their skin from sun damage.


  • Nearly one-half (45 percent) of young adult respondents agreed with the statement ‘I prefer to enjoy sunshine and not worry about what I should do to protect myself from it.’ compared with one-third of overall respondents.
  • Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of young adults were either unaware or unsure that tanning beds are not safer than the sun.
  • Only 35 percent of young adult respondents 18-29 knew that a base tan is not a healthy way to protect skin from sun damage.
  • Three in 10 (31 percent) young adults were either unsure or did not know that sun exposure can cause wrinkles.
    “It’s troubling that so many young adults do not fully understand the consequences of tanning – whether from tanning beds or natural sunlight – particularly in light of the trend of more young people developing skin cancer,” said dermatologist Amanda Friedrichs. “Our survey confirmed that age was highly associated with use of tanning beds, as respondents ages 18-29 years old were much more likely as those over age 30 to report using a tanning bed.”

    For young adults who insist on looking tan, Dr. Friedrichs recommends using a self-tanner rather than exposing one’s skin to harmful ultraviolet radiation. While in the past self-tanners had a reputation of turning skin orange, streaking and splotching, Dr. Friedrichs offered these basic tips for applying a self-tanner to get even coverage and longer-lasting results:

    • Exfoliate. Prior to applying a self-tanner, use a washcloth to exfoliate the skin. Using an exfoliating product also will help remove the dead skin cells. Spend a little more time exfoliating whether the skin is thickest, such as the ankles, knees and elbows.
    • Dry the skin. Drying your skin before you apply a self-tanner helps it go on evenly.
    • Apply in sections. Apply the self-tanner in sections, such as the arms, legs and torso. Massage the sunless tanner into the skin with a uniform circular motion. Lightly extend the tanner from the wrists to the hands and from the ankles to the feet, taking care not to treat the entire hands and feet, such as the palms and soles. Wash and dry your hands after applying self-tanner to each body part to avoid tanning your palms.
    • Dilute tanner on joints. Dilute the self-tanner on the knees, ankles and elbows since these areas tend to absorb more self-tanner than the rest of the skin. To dilute, lightly rub these areas with a damp towel or apply a lotion.
    • Allow time to dry. Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed. It is best to wear loose clothing and try to avoid sweating for the next three hours.
    “While self-tanning products will make you tan, it is important to remember that you still need to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when you are outdoors,” said Dr. Friedrichs. “While self-tanners are a safe alternative to tanning, people need to be vigilant about protecting the skin from sun exposure and avoid indoor tanning to reduce their risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin.”

    Dr. Friedrichs’ tips are demonstrated in Self-Tanner: How to Apply, a video posted to the Academy website and the Academy’s YouTube channel. This video is the first in the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series, which offers relatable videos that demonstrate tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series will be posted to the Academy website and the YouTube channel each month, beginning in May 2012. SKIN CANCER FACTS:

    • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for teens and young adults 15-29 years old.
    • Melanoma is increasing faster in females 15-29 years old than males in the same age group.
    • It is estimated that there will be about 131,810 new cases of melanoma in 2012 – 55,560 noninvasive (in situ) and 76,250 invasive (44,250 men and 32,000 women).
    • Exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma, especially in women aged 45 years or younger.
    • In females 15-29 years old, the torso/trunk is the most common location for developing melanoma, which may be due to high-risk tanning behaviors.
    In an effort to increase the public’s understanding of skin cancer and motivate people to change their behavior to prevent and detect skin cancer, the Academy launched the new SPOT Skin Cancer™ public awareness initiative this May. The campaign’s simple tagline – “Prevent. Detect. Live.” – focuses on the positive actions people can take to protect themselves from skin cancer, including seeing a dermatologist when appropriate..."

    05.16.2012: Not Just 'Me' In 'Media'

    Hey...Somebody ACTUALLY reads and reacts to my DWT*** posts!o)
    "...Okay so I realize I'm a bit behind but must add my two cents. I just won't vote for Maks when he behaves like that. I don't understand why his partners always defend him, the behavior is rude.

    As for the dance off. I was surprised to see William and Cheryl last so long. He was just sliding around. I thought Jaleel and Roshon were more more entertaining in that segment. Katherine and Mark also didn't wow me. I liked their earlier dance but in the group they didn't stand out to me. But the judges have their favorites.

    I missed this week's show...but enjoyed your post :)...

    ...What do you think? Any thoughts about DWT*** or GLEE, Smash, SYTYCD or Breaking Pointe? Insert your tuppence here.

    05.17.2012: Ballet On The Big Screen

    Here's a timely reminder: in case you're not dancing yourself at CCDC tonight or tomorrow, a chance to catch a world-class ballet on an HD movie screen:
    Ratmansky's The Bright Stream ( Bolshoi Ballet): May 15: 7:00 pm

    La Fille Mal Gardée (Royal Ballet): May 16, 29: 7:00 pm

    ...And, you might mark this on your calendar:
    Raymonda (Bolshoi): Jun 24: 10:00 am, 4:30 pm , Jul 10: 7:00 pm
    All at the...
    Carmike Wynnsong, Johnston
    5233 Stoney Creek Rd
    (515) 331-3256

    05.14.2012: Crunch Time On Prime Time

    Putting the 'Me' in 'Media':
    "...Dancing With The ***
    Prelude to the Semi-Finals

    Down to the Final Six!o)
    Two couples to be eliminated...Two dances to perform. Trio round. oh, how I hope it's Melissa...and, probably, Roshon. Time for the Disney star to fade to black.

    Donald is better than Emmit and maybe as good as the last NFL winner...what was his name? Heinz Ward! Ah, how soon we forget! My two new favorite wide receivers in the NFL! Peta putting him through his paces! Tango! He breaks down film! to get better. Killer attitude! Killer smile. Peta and Donald clean up well. Stevie Wonder Song...Higher Ground. Tight frame. Great attack. SOOO Good! Donald sets an impossible standard in this competition. See no mistakes and excellent, excellent start to the show! Give him a ten! Len LOVES it! Sets high standard! Bruno loves the aggression, power and disdain. Carrie Anne loves his shapes. But, she wants more drama, Mama! This guy deserves a THIRTY! 9 9 9 Pshaw! What's it take to get a ten from Len?

    Maria's next! Can she follow up on perfect scores from last week? Viennese Waltz. She's more sensitive than she looks. Pressure is building on the Greek Goddess. Derek's choreography is stunningly appropriate as usual. First-class lighting and staging and costumes, of course. She inhabits the role!. Strong emotional resonance in performance. Movements match lyrics so well. I give her a ten. Bruno calls it amazing. Maria's tearing up as she gets her feedback. Carrie says the dance sung to her, she heard angels sing when she danced! Len says Maria is the best in hold and Derek missed a real opportunity. Crowd disagrees. Len says he's disappointed. Maria's turning into quite an amazing performer...and into a legitimate contender! 10, 8, 10 Len's scores unexplainable!

    Melissa Fox Trot, tension building, profanities flying. I would have walked out on Maks a long time ago. Maggie May. Still too many missteps. Good hold and frame...but, it disappears at the worst times. She's dancing scared to me. SHOULDERS! Dancing too tentative. Carrie says best dance EVER? Was she blind? Len agrees, but, didn't like the missteps. Bruno says the presentation was the best to date. Love the way she forgives Maks, He promises to be better. Melissa says he's said that before. 888

    Will Katherine bring the heat this week? Former front-runner needs to step up her game! Viennese Waltz. LOVe her get back on the "bike" attitude! She runs downstairs to start the dance. Her line is hyperextended. She's a joy to watch! Her joy is infectious! Great upper body placement! Rough into the lift and rough finish. Len liked the hold, but, didn't like the "spinny thing". Bruno says the lady likes a little roughness from time to time. Bruno says she lost it for a second. Carrie Anne says her technique is astounding but, she lost her footing at times. 8 99 "First 8 in 4 weeks!"

    Roshon wants to stay out of the dance duel...or bottom two again! Fox Trot, Oh, yeah, no dance duel this week will save him. The grandmothers giving him advice. Sounded like nana had some training! They also clean up real good! Sweepea! Roshon is a good dancer, wonder why he's not getting the audience's votes? His demographic must not be voting. Bruno says Chelsea did good job! Nana's crying! Carrie Anne gives a shout out to the grannies! Says she's proud of Roshon. Len says "Good job, dawg!" 10 9 10. His highest scores of the season. Highest scores of THE NIGHT!o)

    William Fox Trot. Look left in hold. Look at me when not in hold. He doesn't like the rules. Finals are his goaL. He's sharp, proving once again he's not just a pretty face!. Audience on its feet. Well...some of the ladies, anyway. He cleans up good. Very sharp. Give him high scores! Crowd goes crazy! ladies love levy! Carrie says he was exquisite! Crowd agrees! Len says "care and flair". He LIKES it! Bruno calls him a heartbreaker and he hates him! 10, 10, 10 Third (?) thirty of the season. Highest scores of the night! Cheryl gets her birthday gift belated!

    Next the trio round: Karina joins the jive trio. Donald has to step up the speed. He's got a great attitude! He's not ready to see Jimmy Kimmel! Donald is all legs!. Shirt goes to show off the Gun Show!. The boy can dance!. Two pros on stage and he's dominating the dance floor! He's so strong! DANG! He's sooo good! What a COMPETITOR!o) Len says FUNx3! Bruno says the timing was in synch! Says Donald kept up with two firecrackers. Carrie Anne loves the menage a trois! Another TEN from me! The Donald says the adrenaline rush is the same as a football game in the NFL. 10, 9 9. So CLOSE yet so FAR!!

    Henry joins Maria and Derek for Samba. Bollywood! Great expression. She could be a Bollywood star! No Doubt. Slide was a little bit butt bumpy. Bollywood is her cuppa chai! Bruno says creatively incredible, calls her a jewel, but, she lost timing at times. calls it ab-fabulous. Carrie says few slip-ups. Len says lack of samba content. LOVE her laugh! 9, 7, 9 Len rains on Maria's parade! I LOVED the creativity of Derek's Bollywood number!

    Val joins Maks+Melissa. Brother act. Think Val helps supplement and gentle his brother's harsh teaching approach. Samba with two boys help hide some of Melissa's awkwardness. Still hate her shoulders. She looks like an aging cougar trying to keep up with two young lions. Carrie says she likes the Chermokovsky sandwich! Len calls it her best dance ever. Bruno says it takes two to get the best out of Melissa! 9 9 9 Her highest scores ever. I say "meh".

    Katherine, Mark+Tristan: Cha cha cha. She's got a captivating sparkle. She's a lady. Song certainly applies to her! Oooh,piece of costume stays on her shoe!!! Disaster lurks! ...But a few counts later she kicks it off during a step! Distracting from an excellent dance. She covered the wardrobe malfunction like a pro! Nicely done says Len, clean and clever. Bruno says sexy and cool, Hitchcock blonde. Carrie Anne says Katherine brought the fire. Praises the ability to cover the error without "missing a beat". I give her a ten! 10 9 10. Excellent dancing excellent scores. She sheds tears of joy! Boyz still handcuffed together.

    Sasha, Roshon and Chelsea. Sasha brings a winners attitude and gives one one one masculinity lessons for Roshon. Interesting choice to select a boy instead of an extra girl. Roshon's bringing his acting chops to mimic the professional. And he doesn't suffer by comparison in the performance. Good attitude, just need a little more amplitude. Knee walks impressive. He's so slight and spare though, he needs to find source of more strength. Love the message at the end when she tosses Sasha aside and chooses Roshon! Bruno says Roshon lost timing a few times. Carrie loves the concept but says he lost a step. Len LOVES it calls it "two skinny fries chasing the ketchup!" Will it help Roshon "catsup" to the leaders? 9 9 9 So far highest scores of the night! But, still think he's in trouble with the voters...

    Tony joins William and Cheryl. Strategy of getting a male dancer to force the star to step up to the challenge. Tony sets the standard. Paso Doble. Competitive juices start flowing in the rehearsal room. But, Levy does suffer by comparison in the opening flamenco footwork segment. When they dance just as a couple he's not bad. But, Tony tough act to dance alongise with. Fast footwork. William has the presence, but not the dancing chops...Carrie Anne is drowned out by the adoring fans. She says Levy does step up. Says the flamenco was deficient. Len salutes the trio with brio! Bruno says he couldn't ask for more performance...but, they lost synch. Looks like not another thirty. 999 Joint scores has Levy at the top of the leader board.

    Results show:

    Crossing my fingers America got it right and sending Melissa home. My guess Roshon is next.

    Encore dance is The Donald, Peta and Karina. Ooh, he's better the second time! The boy is all leg and and all attitude. Looks down a little too much, but, his sass is class! Audience on their feet and clapping. Donald jumps over the two girls to end the dance!

    Donald makes it to the semi-finals! Katherine and Mark are in JEOPARDY! Chris Brown performs. Boy dances so well almost makes me forget his attack on Rihanna...

    First eliminated is Roshon and Chelsea. Think you know when you're standing in the red spotlight next to William're saying bye-bye! He made his grammies proud!

    Maria's safe...Melissa in jeopardy. If Katherine goes home, it would be CRIMINAL! She's too good, she's too brittle. Tom says Melissa's going home. Not sad to see her go. She lasted past her time, her prime has come and gone!

    Melissa goes home on her BIRTHDAY!? Not a great birthday present! But, she rolls with the punches and goes out with grace! Now on to an epic finale!o)..."

    05.11.2012: Land Of Wonder, Land Down Under

    Ever wonder what's up down under? Here's a series on the Australian Ballet that we've featured over on FB.

    "...I love being challenged and the satisfaction you get after you walk off stage is a feeling I just love!..."
    ...Here's another interview with Ms Harris.

    05.10.2012: Trix4Turnz

    Okay, Kidz! Pop quiz time! Put your books away and answer this question: What do "banana pancakes" and pirouettes have in common? Here's a hint: which professional dancer said this?
    "...There is a double attitude turn in Aszure Barton's Untouched that really only happens successfully if I think "banana pancakes!"

    The background: I was practicing the turn before a run, and (a fellow dancer and good turner) said the trick to turning is to not think of turning at all, but to think of something else completely. I must have been hungry, because I said, I'm going to think about brunch...pancakes! But plain old pancakes didn't work, so I made them banana, et voilà! Banana pancakes! They solve any problem, really..."

    ...Follow this link to find out the answer!o) Meanwhile...pass the pure maple syrup!o)

    05.09.2012: Prizes From 'De Prix'

    If you have what it takes to challenge the best young dancers in the world, even if you don't win the top Prix de Lausanne award, your whole dancing life could change. Here's a press release from the international youth ballet competition:
    Schools and companies chosen by the Prix de Lausanne 2012 prize winners

    The Prix de Lausanne is proud to announce in which of our Partner Schools or Companies the 2012 prize winners will accomplish their scholarship year:

    Name of the prize winner: School or company chosen:
    (306) Ms Madoka Sugai, Japan
    Sasaki Ballet Academy, Yamato
    National Youth Ballet
    Hamburg, Germany
    (apprenticeship offered by Fondation Leenaards)

    (108) Ms Hannah Bettes, USA
    Next Generation Ballet Patel Conservatory, Tampa
    The Royal Ballet School
    London, Great Britain
    (scholarship offered by Beau-Rivage Palace)

    (406) Mr Edson Barbosa, Brazil
    Grupo Cultural de Dança-Ilha, Rio de Janeiro
    San Francisco Trainee Program
    San Francisco, USA
    (apprenticeship offered by Adveq Management SA)

    (422) Mr Nikolaus Tudorin, Australia
    Tanz Akademie Zurich
    Tanz Akademie Zurich
    Zurich, Switzerland
    (scholarship offered by Julius Baer Bank)

    (424) Mr Michael Grünecker, Germany
    Tanz Akademie Zurich
    Zurich Junior Ballet
    Zurich, Switzerland
    (apprenticeship offered by Oak Foundation)

    (120) Ms Sonia Vinograd, Spain
    Institut del Teatre de Barcelona, Conservatori Professional de Dansa Semperoper
    Dresden, Germany
    (apprenticeship offered by Fondation Coromandel)

    (407) Mr Wang Le, China
    Beijing Dance Academy
    NDT II
    The Hague, The Netherlands
    (apprenticeship offered by Fondation Pro Scientia et Arte)

    (401) Mr Wang Mingxuan, China
    Shanghai Dance Academy
    San Francisco Trainee Program
    San Francisco, USA
    (apprenticeship offered by N&C Women Prize)

    ...The 41st Prix de Lausanne will take place from January 27th to February 2nd, 2013.

    05.08.2012: First Chance@First Position

    May 25th at Fleur Cinema. That's the answer to the question tweeted recently: "Aaaaa! When is First Position going to be showing in the Capital City?" Did the legwork for ya! (Web work?) So, make your plans now. We've been posting a lot of reviews of the movie and even an interview with the director over at our FB page. Now, you can see what all the hoopla is all about and make up your own mind. Mark your calendars: May 25th, Fleur Cinema: First Position. Seventeen days...and counting!o)

    05.07.2012: 'Me'-Dia Me-ows!

    Play-by-play of the last DWT***:
    "...classical night on DWT***

    Troupe in ballroom gowns and violinists playing. Faux Amadeus. Joshua Bell on lead violin. 18 more musicians and vocalists to the Harold Wheeler Orchestra? Seven contestants left. Team contest coming up.

    Katherine Jenkins/Mark Ballas: Rhumba to Canon in D. her strength is classical music, should be her cup of tea. A year ago she was singing, this year she's dancing...and dancing well. A shirtless Mark performs with a Grecian Goddess. Nice attack.. Wow, good job at making the dance sorta fit the music! Len liked the style and elegance. Bruno praises "the unattainable object of desire", says "technically superb". Carrie Ann says she's "unmatched", but, passion lacking. 999

    Melissa/Maks: Argentine tango, Val standing by to step in for a possibly gimpy Maks. strong lift to start dance. Melissa missing half her costume! . Clumsy lifts. Bruno says brave attempt to master the tempos of Mozart. Not Clean. Carrie Anne says Cirque de Soleil gone "terribly wrong". Len says Marriage of Figaro was accurately portrayed. Says intensity caused a lack of dance quality. 777

    William/Cheryl: Viennese Waltz danced to 12-year old Jackie Evanko. Levy''s ankle a weak point. Ave Maria? Holy moley! Where's that voice coming from inside that little girl??? He seems a little detached. Not committed to the moves. Ballroom may not be his strength. Nice lines, little weak frame. Hmm, odd ending. Carrie Anne says that was "true content" and "true dancing". Bring the romance to life. Len says the performance took him, not quite to Vienna, but, at least to Austria! Says "Fiddler's elbow" is up this week. Bruno says William captured the vulnerability of the song, very touching. 999

    Roshon/Chelsea: Argentine Tango, Goes to Val to find the male strength. Starts with some strong, intricate lifts. So far lotta her, little of him. Odd end. Len liked the transitions into the lifts. Needed more Tension. Clean and confident. Bruno praises Roshon's slick line. Wants more strength in legs. "Great job" Carrie Anne welcomes Roshon to the competition! 988

    Donald/Peta: Viennese Waltz. Vittorio Grigorio sings. Very competitive. Professional grade routine. Boy, they both clean up well. "La Dona es Mobile" is the aria. 'The Don is mobile' is the dance! He starts off a little hoppy, but, soon settles into the zone. Good frame, he brings the joy with him. Ends with chaste kiss on hand. Bruno praises passion, "loved it". Carrie Anne loves his intensity and regal quality. Len says footwork and heel leads were praiseworthy. 999

    Maria/Derek: Paso Doble. Lady in red! Knight's dance from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. Plays a vampire. Love the tension between the two! Very inventive choreography! Tension is palpable and dripping between them as they dance! Okay...give her a ten! Give her ten tens! She DRAGS his corpse over to the judges! Carrie Anne says "it didn't suck". Says Katherine now needs to watch her back. Len says "you lived, it, I loved it". Bruno says the structure of dance was spell-binding! 10, 10, 10 First thirty of the season! And, well-deserved! Watch out for the girls this season, boyoz!

    Jaleel/Kym: have hard act to follow! Viennese waltz. Nice rise and fall. smooth, attack on choreography. See the content that Kym was working on. Len says he liked the feel, but, not the lack of footwork. Bruno says content was there, but, too much not executed as well as it could have been. Carrie Anne says there's no reason to lose confidence, but, to pay attention to the total picture. 888

    Where does that voice come from? Jackie Evanko performs again. Tristan and karina dance. She sings like an adult, looks like a little kid!

    Team Tango: Katherine, Jaleel, Maria...profanities flying, censors working overtime. Start in faux orchestra. Could stand losing the little hats on the ladies. Katherine still stands out. her hold and attention to detail is stellar. Roshon doing some tricky choreography and partnering. Liked that group choreography, had Derek written all over it. Len, "good, bad and ugly". Bruno loved the beginning and the end of the choreography. Carrie Ann bows to the group. 10, 8, 9

    Team Paso Doble: No boyz in this group, only MEN! Blonde, brunette+redhead! "Do not be the weakest link!" Show the dancing, NOT the six pack! Starts with the drag in of the dragon ladies! Powerful music! Melissa! always looks like she's frantically trying to keep up with Maks. William ISN'T just a pretty face. Boy CAN dance!. Donald is SO powerful. DANG! SO strong. Ah. there go the shirts, here come the capes! This routine could win the team dance-off. Not fair such STRONG music! Bruno compares them to the Avengers, superheroes! Carrie says it was ridiculous FUN! Fan favorite! Len says the boyz undressed to impress! Hot and cool performance! 9, 8, 9 Ballroom is upset with scores!

    Results show: Repeat dance: the Paso Doble from Maria and Derek. Such powerful music from Prokofiev! Doesn't hurt that I performed to the music. The knight's dance from Romeo and Juliet! Good memories. SOO powerful! Fabulous! We'll be seeing this dance with the vampire on repeats as long as this DWT*** remains on the air! The Queen of the damned! So INTENSE! LOVED IT!

    William+Cheryl first to be saved. The Donald is NOT fired! Katherine also saved! All deservedly through for next week! (Two couples to be eliminated next week? Pressure much?)

    AT&T Steelo Vasquez story...groovaloo dancer. Victim of brain aneurysm. "Nothing prepares you for seeing your husband helpless." In the hospital for six months. In rehab, dancing again was his goal. OMG! The video package is breaking my heart. His triumphant return to the dance floor. Groovaloo old-school break dancing. Steelo walks out on the dance floor flanked by his dance crew. he starts to bust a move with intensity and desire. tentative moves, but, with all the emotion and desire in the world! Hats off to the healing power of dance!

    Gavin Degraw returns with what he does best. Stick to the singing, Gavin! Hmmm...what's under the hat, Gav? Karina and Louie come out to perform a piece.

    Final rising stars dance-off. Fixes her cleavage. pony Maroney. Nice to see some young, rising stars of the ballroom scene. "What I like about you" Some strong lifts! Ms personality! Strong attack from all the dancers. Nice lift sequence! Hmm, probably need to go to ABC.Com to find out more about the background. Sharp fast and good job: Len. Bruno: loved the personality! Carrie Anne: says she could see the influence of the mentors. Third place is the team I picked to win. Alla and Allen win: Cheryl's team! Impressed with the fact they'd never danced together before.

    Maria and Derek next to be saved. Roshon goes to the dance duel. Melissa is next to be saved! Jaleel goes to the duel.

    Rhumba off!o) Jaleel has great attitude. Roshon rehearses early in the morning. Getting a little snippy! Old school versus the young fool! Jaleel getting into his zone! Game face on. Side-by-side dance duel just on the basis of tonight's body of work to influence decision. Will Roshon's experience tip the scales? Jaleel's chemistry criticized by Carrie. The duel is cruel says Len. Breaks his heart to send someone home. Bruno likes Roshon's movements and connection. Says Jaleel was stronger and arms were better. A matter of taste, he says...

    Unanimous decision! Jaleel gets the boot! He never got to live up to his promise! Got past his goal, his promise to his momma to do at least three dances...almost loses it as he praises his new friends and the experience. "I bow to the beast that is the dance floor!"

    Okay, party people!...Time to send Melissa home next week! Put Maks out of our misery! Two chances to send them packing. America! Do YOUR DUTY!..."

    05.04.2012: GitcherFaShawn Webcast!

    This just in from the institution lovingly referred to as Party Hearty You and the former CCDC dancer now known as UIBoy:
    "...Hey! I just received word that two shows at the University of Iowa will be Live Streamed tomorrow!

    The first at 2:00 PM CST is the BFA Event. This event showcases some of this year's graduating seniors. I have recently been admitted into the BFA program, so this is sort of a taste of what I could be doing in two years.

    Click here and here.

    The second at 8:00 PM CST is the Undergraduate Concert. This full-length dance show features fourteen works by undergraduate choreographers. I'll be performing in "I've got 99 Problems and a Bitch Ain't One," a Ménage à trois gone awry. It's in the second half, so I'll probably pop on screen around 9:15 or so.

    Click here and here. Both concerts can be seen here!

    I don't know what your evening looks like tomorrow night, but try to catch the show if you can!...

    05.04.2012: NDW 2012

    Your chance to see how others celebrated National Dance Week
    "...Thank You For Helping To Make National Dance Week a Success!

    Now it's time to vote!

    Thanks to everyone who participated in our first-ever flash mob, as well as anyone that did anything during National Dance Week to celebrate dance and promote fun fitness! This year's NDW was such a huge success, we are already looking forward to next year.

    For now, there still have to be ten winners chosen from all the great videos we've received and we need your help! Visit our website, to vote for your favorites starting May 4th and running through May 21st.

    According to the rules, you can vote for multiple videos but you only get 10 votes total - they can be used all for one video or ten different videos. With so many amazing videos to choose from, it will be challenging only choosing ten - but we want everyone who participated to know that they are all winners to everyone at National Dance Week!

    The winners will receive special gift baskets..."

    05.03.2012: Behind The First Position

    Lotta buzz in the ballet world around the new documentary about a classical dance competition titled First Position. We've posted some reviews over on the CCDC FB page. But, here's an excerpt from an article about the director, Bess Kargman, a former dance student...
    "...The first-time filmmaker chose the dancers featured in the film not only for their talent, but because each one defied a different stereotype about the ballet world. She wanted to show that not all ballet dancers are white, not all ballet dancers are rich, not all skinny ballerinas are anorexic, not all male dancers are gay, and not all stage parents are overbearing..."
    ...Read the entire article here.

    05.02.2012: Ballet Tipz, Part Deux

    Sometimes ballet students need someone else saying the same correction before it really starts to sink in. So, on the heels of the Finis tips, I decided to take a look at what other ballet corrections are floating out on the web. Here's some insightful input from the aptly named BalletTipsAndTricks.Com:
    "...Double pique turns are not hard. There’s a trick. The trick is to increase the speed of your turn.

    A single pique and a double pique take the same amount of time. The difference between them is the speed.

    You can try using more force to increase speed. But adding force to a turn will almost always throw it off.

    The best way to increase speed is to decrease the diameter of your turn.

    Imagine a necklace, a fine chain with a ballerina pendant on it. Unclasp the necklace and hold the two ends, one in each hand. Spin the necklace like a jump rope, so that the pendant is twirling around in nice big circles.

    Now pull the two ends of the chain outward. What happens? The diameter of the spinning circle quickly gets smaller and the pendant spins around very much FASTER!

    My husband is a rocket scientist. Rocket scientists know a lot about physics. I am always asking him questions because physics can really help with ballet.

    So I asked him about speeding up turns by decreasing the diameter.

    He said, “The polar moment of inertia equals mass times the radius squared.”

    Now, don’t get glassy eyed and go away! There is a translation:

    If you decrease the diameter of your turn by half, the speed of your turn will be almost FOUR TIMES FASTER!!!

    Of course, other factors like friction and air resistance come into play. But the bottom line is that if you use the SAME amout of force and make your turn SMALLER, your turn will spin FASTER.

    I explained that to a class I was teaching, and one of my students nodded her head emphatically and said, “Got it!” She then did a single pique followed by a quadruple!

    I have never in my life seen anyone do a quadruple pique turn until this student did it! How did she do it?

    You see ice skaters do it all the time. They are turning slowly with their arms out. Then they pull their arms in and their turns spin so fast, they are just a blur! They simply decreased the diameter of their turn. (or as my husband would say, “They decreased their polar moment of inertia.”)

    I knew a dancer named Jimmy Capp. He could do a 12-revolution pirouette! We (the other dancers in the company) were always pestering him to show us his pirouettes over and over again. He would start with his arms almost in second, like the skaters we talked about. As he turned, he would gradually pull his arms in. His turns actually sped up, so he was going faster on the twelfth revolution than when he started!..."

    ...Check out the rest of her tips here. Unfortunately, the website hasn't been updated in over two years, but, what's still there can be valuable.

    05.01.2012: Finding Finest Finis Fundamentals

    Just had this tweeted to me: a treasure trove of tips from @balletguru. Don't agree with all of them, but, you can discover value in all input. Find what works best for you in different situations:


    1. NEVER grip or pull on the barre. ALWAYS press down on it.
    2. NEVER relax into the demi-plié. ALWAYS work into it by clawing the floor with your toes and gripping and pulling with your foot.
    3. NEVER pull up or lift yourself up from the plié. ALWAYS push down to come up—as you do with your arms with push-ups on the floor.
    4. NEVER move your free foot or leg until you are completely placed on your supporting leg. ALWAYS connect your supporting toes to the floor before moving the free foot.


    1. NEVER be in a hurry to fall over. ALWAYS make sure you go to "The End of the Plié."
    2. NEVER rely on the closing of your arms to turn. ALWAYS open both arms as you turn the plié.
    3. NEVER move your supporting shoulder towards your head when making an outside turn. ALWAYS turn your head away from the supporting shoulder.
    4. NEVER inhale and pull up. ALWAYS exhale and push down.
    5. NEVER pull up from the floor. ALWAYS roll through both feet and push the floor.


    1. NEVER rely on momentum coming from your position foot and arm. ALWAYS turn your supporting arm and leg.
    2. NEVER move from the outside-in. ALWAYS move from the inside-out.
    3. NEVER pull your supporting knee back towards the heel. ALWAYS double the plié and push the supporting knee past the supporting toes.
    4. NEVER pull up from the floor. ALWAYS push down through the floor.


    1. NEVER move the toes of your supporting foot and pull up to straighten your knee. ALWAYS press the supporting knee past the supporting toes so you roll to half-toe. ALWAYS push down into the floor.
    2. NEVER move the position leg before the standing leg. ALWAYS time each relevé with the supporting leg.


    1. NEVER inhale and pull up from the floor. ALWAYS exhale, push down and point strongly.
    2. NEVER make a sound when you land. ALWAYS land silently by resisting the plié and rolling down toe-ball-heel.
    3. NEVER let your pelvis tilt forward while you jump. ALWAYS check your body placement and control by observing your changements working profile to the mirror.


    1. NEVER let the foot that brushes move your head or body. ALWAYS move from your supporting foot—push your body up and over, and then slide that pushing foot into fifth.
    2. NEVER lean into the sliding foot as you close in fifth. ALWAYS keep your head and body placed over the pushing foot.


    1. NEVER lift your foot off the floor. ALWAYS press down, push the floor, and roll the foot off the floor.
    2. NEVER lean over the foot that leaves the floor first. ALWAYS keep your head and body placed over the supporting leg.
    3. NEVER hold your arms stiffly in position. ALWAYS reach your supporting arm in opposition to the direction of the movement.


    1. NEVER lift your extended leg. ALWAYS jump diagonally away from it.
    2. NEVER hold your supporting arm. ALWAYS reach as far as possible away from your extended foot.

    04.30.2012: Putting 'Da 'Me' in 'Media'

    Here's the play-by-play of last week's DWT***:
    Dancing With The Stars:
    Motown Night!

    Smokey Robinson starts off the show with classic "Tears of a Clown". Little wide-eyed, spooky face-lift action going on there! Troupe dances. Martha Reeves, Vandella-less, performs on a little mini-stage. No Dancers. Followed by the Temptations perform "Get Ready". Dancers perform a quick step!

    Performing live to the original artists! Stars come walking out carefully down steps. Little camera snafu fails to show Roshon close-up. Costume themes tonight are a retro sixties look! Everyone looks very "Mad Men". Dance marathon for bonus points later on this show.

    Starting with the Empress of Soul, a Motown legend herself: Gladys Knight. She HAD to survive. Rhumbas to "My Girl". Rejoin is "Uptight" by Motown Special group, Human Nature.

    Gladys/Tristan: Temptations look like they haven't had enough rehearsal. Choreography off. (Or they can't hear the music) Gladys is in her element tonight. Dances with SOUL force!. Just needs to watch her shoulders in her duck unders. Her eyes are dancing. Her smile says it all! There's some choreography from the Pips resurfacing in the Rhumba. She's a JOY to watch. I give her an eight. Let's see what the judges think: Len says his heart gives the highest scores to her, the most charismatic dancer. Bruno praises her star-quality. Carrie Anne asking for more focus on top-line. But, admits she would PAY to watch Gladys do that number again! 777

    Maria/Derek/Martha Reeve: Fox Trot "pure classic" to "Jimmy Mack" Start off in Black and white. Derek is able to take good stars and make them better and better with his coaching and his choreography. Much better frame, very classy when she wants to be. very smooth! and, she's having fun. I love that she enjoys it so much. She sparkles when she dances! Give her an eight! Bruno and Carrie Anne compares it to a jewel. Len says hold was good! A "Joy to eyes and ears!" 899

    Roshon/Chelsea/Smokey: Rhumba. His youth may be a barrier to find his sensuality. But, they have great chemistry together! Smokey starts off in his best Luke skywalker outfit, complete with pleather plants. Nice line to Roshon's upper body. Music is "Cruisin' together" Like that he always performs. Love that he's leading Chelsea around. Think he needs to take a little lesson in sensuality from the Smoke! I give him eight, also. Carrie Anne complains about the lift. Len says clipped and jerky, dancing by numbers. Bruno asks for more fluidity less, Hip Poppy! 788

    Samba to "Can't get next to you", Katherine/Mark/Temptations. Seems to have a good attitude and work ethic. WOW! Katherine looks exactly like a sixties go-go dancer! Exactly how she should be looking. Beyonce watch out! here comes Katherine Jenkins. She should be on Shindig or as an extra on American Bandstand! There you go, girl! She gets a nine in my book! Okay, a ten! Len says she's "a midwife" because she delivers every week!. Bruno says he loves the marrriage of funk and samba. Carrie Anne says Katherine found that sweet samba spot. 10, 9, 10...New leader in the clubhouse!

    Driver/Murgatroyd: Temptations are his backstory. He grew up to them. Motivation to get a ten. Here's a hint, Don: Don't sing while you're dancing! Just keep flashing that Million watt smile!! Looks like he should be on stage singing as well as dancing. As good in hold as in the released steps. Little unsteady stumble in the drop and drag. But, I give him a nine! Bruno says Donald's a SHOWMAN! Carrie Anne says he was in the zone! Len says Donald EXPLODED in response to his challenge. 9, 9, 9

    Melissa/Maks/Smokey: Don't really agree with Maks' old-school, Russian Beat-em-down teaching style. Viennese Waltz. Shoulders, shoulders, shoulders...have I mentioned shoulders? She's better in the smoother ballroom styles. But, still very little sense of style or fluidity...and I don't think her pro is helping her find that sense of style and line. I think Maks is his own worst enemy and the biggest barrier to his winning. Carrie Anne praises artistry, but, also points out the problem with shoulders. Len and Bruno praises the improvement. I give her a 7 or 8. Judges? Melissa defends her partner. 888

    Jaleel/Kym: cha-cha-cha...Kym challenges his acting chops to become a ballroom dancer. "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" The new sharper, Jaleel makes his entrance. Yeah! There's a new attack. Just need to watch that top line and, yes, his shoulders. Second arm. He's a performer, and is putting a little juice into this dance. Just don't sing!. Give the boy a nine! Tom says Jaleels on the comeback trail. Len says Jaleel's BACK!. Bruno says Jaleel BURNED the floor. He's back BIG TIME! Carrie Anne says he needs to bring that sort of A-game EVERY TIME! 10, 9, 10 WOW! Tied for lead! He's definitely BACK!

    William/Cheryl/Smokey sings: Rhumba, Cheryl looking for sensuality and passion. He has good line for a big guy. Good theatrical sense of line. He's strong and controlled like a male dancer should be. Cheryls choreographed a sensual dance and Levy brings the heat. Foreplay on the dance floor! I give him a ten! Bruno says they're wired for sex! Carrie says thanks William on behalf of all the ladies and says he is more than just a pretty face. Len says a little too raunchy, "harsh and a tad hectic". Bruno prescribes a solution for Len. 9, 8, 10

    Val Chermokovsky and Anna Trebunskaya get the rare privilege of dancing to Smokey singing Tears of a Clown live. Can't lie. Little jealous. Okay, LOT jealous.

    Motown Dance Marathon: Four straight minutes of dancing? Three to ten points are on the line. Roshon is attacking his routine. Donald going to the lifts. As well as . Gladys First out. Maks takes Melissa in lift. Maria and Derek eliminated early. Donald Roshon and Chelsea eliminated . Mark goes to his knee. Melissa and Maks knocked out. Last four William Levy going to the ab moves and the floor slide. Donald tapped out. William hosts Cheryl up. Now stamina comes into play. Jaleel is tapped out. William just doing knee slides. William and Cheryl eliminated. Means Catherine and Mark are the last couple standing! She looks like she can freestyle!. I think she must have had some early ballet training (Almost de rigeur for every English girl).

    My Predix is Melissa better be prepared to dance for her life tomorrow. And, i'm afraid Gladys will have to duel as well!

    Results show: Motown Medley. dancers channel dream girls or supremes. On the small stage Val and Peta. Lotta dancing on a small space. Nothing wrong with watching good, fully trained dancers ply their craft.

    Michaela DePrince. From Sierra Leone, Africa. An orphan with belaigo skin disease. On Scholarship with ABT School. Natasha Bedenfield sings Wild Horses. Thank you for dancing en pointe. Small square of Marley on the otherwise too slippery stage. They run off stage to feature the singer. Return with partnering on the big stage. He's not in tights. TOO much for American TV viewers? Adechika her partner.

    Shaping sounds Dance Company. Spot Melanie of SYTYCD in group. Travis wall turns forever to start off the piece. Lyrical contemporary style. flowing dresses and outfits. including some aerial work with wires. up the stairs tough jumps for the men. Good camera work as well! Very pretty dance. Well done! Love to see them in concert.

    Anna Trebunskaya/Dmitriy dance to Boyz to Men.

    ...Say Goodbye to Gladys! Amazing competitor! What a spirit! What a dancer! What a class act!o) Sending her off by singing Midnight Train to Georgia? How dare you attempt to sing that song with Gladys in the house? She goes softly into that good Knight! Bye, G! Gonna miss that smile!

    04.27.2012: Bleetz!o)

    Friday Bleetz=Best, Latest, Tweetz:
    New Tap C costume idea?
    Toto, I don't think we're in tutus any more: A @gar... on 

    She's on FI-YAAH!
    Elegant fire: Royal Ballet's Sarah Lamb, photo'ed 
f... on Twitpic

    Improve those extensions! Like this dancer!
    Pure poetry: Lucia Lacarra of Bayerisches Staatsballet. Photo... 
on Twitpic

    Find the lines! Stretch those lines!
    Beauty in motion: former @TheAusBallet dancer Kirsty Martin. ... on 

    Work those jumps!
    Natalia Osipova performing at the @YAGPtweets gala in 2008: P... on 

    ...AAAAA! Wanna see this movie!
    Check out the poster for "First Position," the @YAG... on 

    What time is it? Time for six o'clock penche'!
    Classic elegance: @sfballet's G Nedvigine & F 
Chung ... on Twitpic

    Use your back and breath in ballet? Who knew?
    Friday vintage photo fun: Natalia Makarova as Juliet. Photo b... on 

    Rest those tootsies, Syl!
    Sylvie Guillem, 
taking a break at the @RoyalOperaHouse. Photo... on Twitpic

    04.26.2012: Ballet On The Big Screen

    Here's another reminder: in case you're not dancing yourself at CCDC on Sunday, your next chance to catch a world-class ballet on an HD movie screen:
    Ratmansky's The Bright Stream ( Bolshoi Ballet): Apr 29: 10:00 am, 4:30 pm , May 15: 7:00 pm
    ...More info here. And, you might mark these on your calendar:
    La Fille Mal Gardée (Royal Ballet): May 16, 29: 7:00 pm
    Raymonda (Bolshoi): Jun 24: 10:00 am, 4:30 pm , Jul 10: 7:00 pm
    All at the...
    Carmike Wynnsong, Johnston
    5233 Stoney Creek Rd
    (515) 331-3256

    04.24.2012: Prodigal Sun

    Fans of CCDC alum-turned-professional-dancer-turned-college-student GitcherFaShawn will be pleased to learn he's been staying busy...VERY busy:
    "...Hey! So a few more updates:
    1. The thesis show I was in, The American Dream, is finally over and was a huge success. The choreographer Chris Masters is working with videographer Nicolas Caramagno to create a documentary on the piece, and that should be available online this summer.

    2. The Grad Event show I mentioned in my last e-mail is at 7:00 PM this Saturday at Space Place in Iowa City. I'll be performing in two pieces by grad students. The first, by Michael Medcalf, is an identity-themed piece that touches on gender and race, and the other, by Zoe Bennett, is called "YOLO" and is a very loose and abstract narrative about going out on the town.

    3. Undergrad choreographer Erin Fitzgerald's piece that I'm in, "I've Got 99 Problems and a B**** Ain't One," was selected to be performed in the Undergraduate Concert, May 3-5. It's a super funny and athletic work, and I'm sure the rest of the show will be fantastic, too. More info here.

    4. Preliminary auditions for Dance Gala 2012 were a little while ago, and I'll be dancing in Eloy Barragan's piece again. I last danced for him during my freshman year Dance Gala. There will be more auditions this coming fall for other works in the show..."
    ...AND, if that weren't enough, you'll have a chance to watch UIBoy perform as a guest artist in the CCDC Spring Showcase/Recital in June. He's returning to partner current students in the classic Giselle! Sign up for extra tickets in the lobby now! And, sign up to volunteer as well! You KNOW you wanna help!o)

    04.24.2012: Performance Possibility

    See if you can spot the name of a wildly popular, but, humble CCDC instructor hidden in the following press release:
    "...Save the Date: Hurley & Dancers Celebrate 10th Anniversary Concert

    Hurley & Dancers is celebrating its 10th Anniversary Concert on Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 29 at 2 p.m. Performances will be held at 2150 Delavan, Suite 8, in West Des Moines. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children at the door. Seating is limited. For more information, visit or email

    Repertoire will include a mix of choreography by Lisa Lewis, Carla Hughes, Kathleen Hurley and...

    ***ALISSA HAMER!!!***

    Performers include Katie Crouch, Kathleen Hurley, Carla Hughes, Paula McArthur, Jennifer Lapp, Lana Lyddon-Hatten and...

    ***ALISSA HAMER!!!***

    04.23.2012: Putting 'da 'Me' In 'Media'

    Aw! Give your goodbyes to Gavin Degraw. He gave it a valiant effort last week, but, succumbed in the DWT**'s first Dance Duel. (Hmm, come to think of it, wasn't the follow-up to season one an extended dance duel? When J Peterman got his chance to upstage the soap star?) Gavin is a natural performer and a star in his own element. Give him credit for even attempting to get out of his comfort zone and confront his dance demons. (Far better than a lot of singers btw! YES, I'm looking at YOU, Michael Bolton!) He probably would've lasted far longer on any other season but this one. Here's my notes on last week's performances:
    Dancing With The Stars
    Noche del Latino
    Latin Night with Carlos Santana

    Open with classic Oye'! Como' va? Troupe Dancers perform trio of cha-cha-chas. blazing guitar solos then couple duets. High energy dancing and music! "That's how ya start off Latin Night!", says the host with the most, Tom Bergeron.

    Cavalcade of stars starts off with Maria in a huge headdress. Karina almost trips on her way down. Hmm. That Jaleel's in shape. Giving Donald a run for his money! Santana's applauding the orchestra!

    Jaleel/Johnson: Trying to pull up out of the downward spiral. Determined to step it up. Samba. Shake it like he's never shaken it before. Kym says he must have no inhibitions! Dance duel is motivation for the preparation. Samba to a slow rendition of Rhythym is gonna getcha. Good use of body and hips. . He shakes it like nobody's business! Totally committed to his dance craft. Needs to complete the picture with his other hand and arm, the last thing to get trained. Sharp and percussive, yet smooth and controlled. Very macho. Len stands to applaud before his feedback. Bruno also stands to comment on unstoppable wiggling. Carrie Anne likes the Passion and attack! She comments also on the far arm. That's what I said!. Jaleel does have an 8-pack...and scores 888...Nines are coming for this contender!

    Melissa/Maks: Back from her head injury stay at the hospital. Whiplash and mild concussion. They seem to have a good sense of humor together. Maks has to get Melissa to tap into her sensual side . Get outta that comfort zone! Her upper body is bad. shoulders hunched. Think Maks fails to choreograph to her strengths and tries to get her to fit his preconceived standards. She's wild, no control from center. tentative and weak from the neck down. Bruno likes her passion. Asks for more precision, more control. More edge to the movements. Carrie Anne praises her confidence. Little outta control is the comment. Len likes rhythm and feel, doesn't like the missteps. She asked for the move that gave her a concussion! Get back on that horse! 777 Shari leaving means anyone is vulnerable!

    Maria/Derek: She's losing weight judging from that first video. Salsa. Pleeez don't show me that injury video again!!!. She comes out in a helmet and bubble wrap. Love her attitude of no holds barred.. Seems just a little disassociated from the movements. Needs to show more passion and sultriness. Derek rips off his...Ohh! Okay! There's a kiss! Lips lock after Derek loses his shirt to the delight of the females in the audience. Fun routine, but she seemed like she was holding back a little. Wonder if it's all the injuries and fear of injuries. Big standing O at the end. Carrie Ann didn't like the kiss. Len says Good job! Bruno says he likes it sultry and hot!. leader in the clubhouse!

    Katherine/Mark: Argentine Tango. (Back with "Evil Ways" for the rejoin music.) No longer the leader wire-to-wire. Working hard to come back from a let-down. Hope his naughty bits can survive the rehearsals. Boy, she cleans up good! starts a little tentative. improves as the music intensity steps up. Hope lifts are allowed. Then it becomes little unsure and uncertain. when she's good, she's good. when she second guesses herself she loses the focus and intensity. Len calls it like rose and thorn. Bruno likes the choreography and acting and story telling. "Played to perfection". Carrie Anne says she has the best legs of any contestant, "poetry in motion"! 10, 9, 10. Back with a vengeance, I'd say!o) Back on top the leader board!

    Gavein/Karina: Samba. Needs to find inner sexy, little less awkward. He's "relying on his fans"...NOT a good strategy. Great lights and props for their number. Can't hide the fact he's still a little clumsy. Well-rehearsed, though. Needs to make the movements his own and not tacked on. Needs to commit his weight and movements. Bruno says he didn't know whether to laugh or cries. Carrie Anne says form was lacking. Loves his joyful attitude. Len calls it a "sham-ba" rather than a samba! "Gallant Effort"...667 Bottom-dweller may have to dance on the results show.

    Carlos Santana whips out his duel guitars in his "Maria, Maria" musical interlude. Louis Amstel and Anna Trebunskaya dance.

    William-Cheryl: Tango, Lotta pressure put on the Cuban born actor. Loosen Up my Buttons tango? Strong enough to whip Cheryl around in the lift sequence. Seems a little tentative at parts. Ends in an embrace on a chair. Screams from the audience. Carrie Anne has to take a moment before she can provide some feedback. "Latin dancing James Bond" is in the house! Len likes it...and Bruno goes a little over the top in his praise. Ligament was ripped off??? Esteem skyrockets for William! What trouper! 10, 9, 10... Now he's feeling no pain! Tied for the lead!

    Gladys/Tristan: Samba! Rehearsing on the road!. Late night rehearsals after midnight. She's bringing the party! But, just can't wait for the music to catch up to her. Hard to teach that concept. Love the music. The dancing not so much. Seems like granny dancing. A soulful, hotcha grammie, but a grammy nonetheless! She's a performer! Non-stop million watt smile. Little boring from the neck down. otherwise I like her...the dancing not so much. Len says, she's easy on the eyes, simple, but, effective. Bruno says she played to the audience and was "magic". Carrie Anne refers to a few little mistakes, but, praises her performance quality. Next week is Motown week. Gladys gotta make it through!!! 778

    Roshon/Chelsea: Was in the bottom two. Motivation. has to forgo the goofiness and find the sexy, masculine. Finding his inner Willliam Levy in this salsa. Yeah! Boy can shimmy and shake. smooth and commanding for such a small spare physique. Uses his small hips to good advantage. Whoops! wardrobe malfunction for Chelsea? Bruno praises the exhiliration and exuberance. Says it was unbelievable musicality. Carrie Anne says he doesn't need to try to become William. Also, praises his "mish mosh of beautiful dancing". Len likes his enthusiasm. Advises more calmness. ( for ballroom competition) 989 ...most likable, energetic couple!

    Donald/Peta: Argentine Tango. Donald breaks down tape like a football player. Aiming for tens. Very intense. sharp passionate, controlled, strong heel leads. nice shapes. easy lifts!. Tricky leg work. very sensual, smooth, sophisticated, passionate. HE's SO strong for a dancer! Have I mentioned that yet? Ridiculously good! . Fabulous! Carrie Anne calls it "Divine!" Praises his control. Len says lifts spectacular. Bruno says the build-up was amazing. Says "fantastic job". I give him tens! 10, 8, 9 ...scores all over the board.

    04.20.2012: Party Hearty Performance Possibility

    World dance comes to a midwestern venue near you today:
    Madhavapeddi Murthy, Dancers and Orchestra, April 20

    Madhavapeddi Murthy, Dancers and Orchestra from Chennai, India, will conclude a week-long residency at the University of Iowa with a performance of Indian classical music and dance at 7 p.m. Friday, April 20, in the Space Place Theater of North Hall.

    The performance will be preceded by a free Space Place lecture demonstration at 3:30 p.m.

    Madhavapeddi Murthy is the son of the veteran playback singer Madhavepeddi Sathyam and a senior disciple of the respected dance guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. Murthy has performed in all the major dance festivals in India and has toured the United States, Canada, France, Belgium, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the former USSR, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Mauritius.

    He is a regular performer in the dance productions of the Tamil film personality Hema Malini, and he is the founder-director of the Siva Foundation, a center for dance in Chennai that has received the Kalaimamani award from the Tamil Nadu Government.

    He is also the instructor who taught Indian classical dance for the 2010 – 2011 UI India Winterim course Introduction to Indian Classical Music and Dance of South India. A documentary, Cultural Connections Through The Performing Arts, was created by students who traveled to India to participate in the course. Tickets for the April 20 evening performance, available in advance from the Hancher Box Office are $10 general admission, $5 for students and free for children under 12. Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at Space Place Theater.

    The Madhavapeddi Murthy, Dancers and Orchestra residency is sponsored by India Association of Iowa City Area, CARTHA, The Samskriti Foundation (Chicago), The Siva Foundation (Chennai), the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UI International Programs, the South Asian Studies Program, the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, the UI Division of Performing Arts, UI School of Music and the UI Department of Dance.

    04.19.2012: "BLeetz"

    Best and latest pictures tweeted to me recently: "HIT that balance, girl!"

    Nao Sakuma (Birmingham Royal Ballet) - ''A Bela Ado... on Twitpic
    Here's another: "Show me that FOOT, Arch Angel!"

    Lovely Royal Ballet principal Tamara Rojo, photographed by Be... on Twitpic

    04.18.2012: The Agony+The Ecstasy...of ENB!o)

    Contribution from Giselle's Mother:
    "...check this out, yes it's an hour, but well worth it---beautiful, bittersweet and realistic..."
    ...And, I echo DQ's comments, the documentary on the ENB is "well-worth watching". Set aside some time for this instead of Dense Mumz: Miami! (And, mark your calendars for Breaking Pointe on the See-Dub! There's a preview over on the CCDC FB page! And, don't forget to "like" that bad boy!o)

    04.17.2012: Movement From Movies

    Answers to your favorite dance movie scenes question keep trickling in. And, GitUrFaShawn took the bait and sent in an update as well!o):
    "...To answer your question: After careful considerations, I'd say the ending scene from Burlesque.

    ALSO. I'll be sending my availability for after school gets out soon. I'm waiting on the rehearsal schedule for Dance Gala 2012 to be released/decided.

    In other news: The thesis concert I'm performing in is coming up this week on Thursday and Friday. Tickets are sold out, so this is more of a heads up. There's a possibility that it will be live-streamed, but due to the setting of the work (it's an interactive prom experience... so you kind of have to be there.), I'm not sure if it will transfer to video well.

    The next week, on an undisclosed evening, I'll be performing in the department's Grad Event. It's an informal showcase that allows graduate students to show the works they've been working on for the past year. I'll be dancing in works by first-year grads Zoe Bennett and Michael Medcalf (founding AD of Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre).

    Finally after the last week of classes (May 3, 4, 5), there's the Undergrad Concert. I'm not sure if I'll be in that one yet, as the adjudication isn't until next Saturday, but my hopes are high. I'm working on a trio choreographed by undergrad Erin Fitzgerald (who has had her work shown at ACDFA). It's pretty cool.

    So yeah... Updates from Iowa. ..."

    ...And, here's the answer to the dance movie question from CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
    "...Singin' in the Rain with Gene Kelley splashing away only because I got to meet him in person and shake his hand. He looked me in the eye and told me to always remember to dance from my heart. Then I had the privilege to perform for him with other University of Iowa Dance Company dancers.


    ...ditto Koi McKewtie:
    "...If it has to be a movie then I'm a fan of the don q scene in mao's last dancer and also have a soft spot in my heart for the man dance off in center stage..."
    ...So, I asked her: what if it didn't have to be a movie?
    "Well I'm kind of obsessed with three dances from sytycd: Jeanine and Jason's travis wall piece, kathryn and Jakob's piece to "at this moment" and Melanie and Marco's Travis wall piece to "turn to stone"
    ...excellent choices all! I told her one of my personal favorites was "The Flower" by Mia Michaels set on Travis Wall and Heidi, Benji's sister. And, here's more on the movie question from CCDC alum and professional dancer Ekaterine W00tang:
    "Gotta go with the classic Giselle scene from turning point."
    "...Its so funny!!"
    ...Is this where Leslie Browne's character was drunk on stage?
    "...Yes where she does all the arms wrong and backwards. Is that a bad answer?..."
    ...No! Great answer! I'd totally forgotten about that!o) And, here's more from CCDC Lyrical/HipHop/Contemporary Instructor Roni McCann:
    "Dance with me" w/ Vanessa Williams and Chayenne. 2 scenes. Salsa, Baila conmigo & magalenha. The dancing isn't the greatest but I love the music and feel."

    "...Burlesque, show me how you burlesque."

    "...Burlesque. Love the energy, costumes, lights, and choreography. Reminds me of my days in LA. Lots of sass and fun performing at lounges or clubs.

    "...And....step up 2. "last dance" in the rain. Intensity is great and choreography. And who can do that in the rain and on pavement?!?!

    "...Ok one more....Gregory Hines solo tap scene in white nights. How he relaxes his upper body but makes his feet sound crystal clear is amazing. Love the circle and slide in piano and utilizing the chairs and barre as he taps."

    "...I'm going to be thinking about movie scenes all day now!..."

    ...Okay! Great input, everyone! Are there more? Yes! Over on the CCDC FB page, we posted a link to an article with webvid of some classic dance movies! Check it out and let us know about your favorite dance scenes from the big screen, Anne O'Nimus!

    04.16.2012: Monday Media Mention

    No Smash, no GLEE! coverage today because of weekend rehearsals, audio editing demands and power outage. But, did manage to watch another week of DWT***:o)
    "...Dancing With the Stars:

    Rock Week! with KISS. Dancers come out in their Kiss ballroom outfits the guys suffer in comparison to the boys in the band! Outfits don't look very flattering on any of the dancers. Judges wave the elevens! Brooke dressed in her KISS tribute leather and studs. Rock to the extreme in the costumes for the dancers and their stars: Even orchestra leader Harold Wheeler in full Kiss garb!:

    Sherri Shepherd/Val Chermokovsky: Tango to Quiet Riot, "Shepherd" is faux tattooed on his fists. Starts up on the judge's rock table. Starts a little loose in the tango. Not enough fire. Not enough attack or passion. She's sleepwalking through the routine! Where's the personality we've come to expect? I agree with Carrie Anne: not enough exuberance and passion we've come to expect....777 Good comments from judges, but, low scores.

    Katherine Jenkins/Mark Ballas: "Welsh Warrior" is a challenge for the classically trained singer. Takes her to Mixed Martial Arts/Ultimate fighting training. "Girly-girl" suffers at Muay Thai Kick boxing. Dances a little tentative. Good expression. Lacks power. needs to bend her knees more. Power comes from the legs! She didn't quite carry it off. Judge asks for more control and finish. Her leadership status is threatened. She's a good sport about being out of her comfort zone...888...But, so much for leading wire-to-wire!

    Jaleel White/Kym Johnson: tango to the Stones. Channeling his inner Mick Jagger. Boy moves like Jagger. Got moves like Jagger. Turns a little tentative in the tango. Good frame. Work on that strength. strong hold. weight's too much in the heels even with the mandatory heel leads. They have good chemistry! Carrie Ann asks for more staccato movements. Len likes the humor, but, wants more attack. Loves the performance. More drive, more aggression wanted by Bruno. 877

    Melissa Gilbert/Max Chermokovsky: Paso Doble, Maximum passion and power, channeling her bad girl, Clumsy...Max is throwing her around like a sack of potatoes. She's stumbling through the fast footwork. Tough choreography, much too challenging for Melissa. Kind comments from the judges. 787 Only way Max will ever win is if he realizes, HE'S NOT THE STAR OF THE SHOW! Hard to realize when it's "his show".

    Donald Driver/Peta Murgatroyd: Purple Haze, What strong attitude! My dawgz in shape! Strong + masculine. Just whips her around!. He's so strong! but, not muscle bound. good kicks. strong attack. boy can act, too! strong movements, with strength and length. Just whips her to floor at the end, spins forever!. Must be the new leader! Good choreography! 999 Highest scores of the night, but, he's not satisfied! My man! Good job, dawg!

    Gladys Knight/Tristan MacManus: Tango to Bohemian Rhapsody. Granny got attitude! Intricate choreography and footwork. I'm not sure she can keep up with all the changing accents. Music is too hard too dance to for an amateur, maybe too hard for most professionals. Even the basic steps are too tentative. That was a hard, hard song to dance to...She looked like she just barely survived and not thrived through the routine. Bruno's right, Gladys is a 'class act'! 767 (six is the lowest score of the evening. Not her fault, that was a tough song to dance to!) week is Latin Week. and the start of the dance duel.

    William Levy/Cheryl Burke: Jive to Twisted Sister. Steel Panther is the Cuban's advisers. Nice kicks and flicks. footwork is strong and definite. He's very masculine. Mess up the leg swings doubles. Timing a shade off. Seems like he was affected by the mistake. Cheryl loses a hoof. Len advises William to nail the routine. Like Carrie Anne's advice to FOCUS! 778

    Roshon Fagan/Chelsea Hightower: Viennese Waltz? Needs to control his limbs. Wow, he's practiced. Nice and smooth. Good feeling. Nice frame, posture. Strong rise and fall. "Good job, dog!" 989...

    Maria Menounos/Derek Hough---Tango to School's Out. Stress fracture! Tough for amateur to deal with, tough for professional to deal with. Dang! Good atitude fo dealing with injuries. He's such a positive teacher. Derek in faux hawk hairdo. She sheds her little school girl outfit in the first four counts! Strong frame. sharp turns, good attack. Classical tango to hard can be done. Good attack! cute choreography. She's a professional in her approach to the performance! Forget those injuries. She's Greek! And, now, there's a MAN taking care of his partner! Carrying her UP TWO FLIGHTS OF STAIRS on his back? Best posture of all the ladies? What a great attitude! 989

    Gavin Degraw/Karina Smirnoff: Goes back to his rock roots to find his inner dancer. Tango to the Stones. When worlds collide. Rock and ballroom. Paint It Black. Good attitude, but, little loose , Weak center. Too much waiting not enough performing even while still. Weak accents. Decent choreography. But, wasn't sure he had enough technique to carry it off! 887

    Results show: Dang! Add Donald Driver to the list of competitors! My boy looks like he's sculpted out of black marble! Does even better in the Encore dance! So strong, too! Spins Peta like a top!

    Karina and Jose Manuel Carreno: In the results show: Starts off with six pirouettes and a barrel turn to the floor. When ballet collides with ballroom. Very passionate. Such strong attack. Effortless lifts. Whole new standard of professionalism on the show. Coupe jetes to double saut de basque. tricky, intertwining arm and leg work. Choreographed to their strengths...and a lot of strengths to show!

    Well, say goodbye to Shari Shepherd! Unfortunate casualty of the toughest season to be a competitor yet. But, she left an unforgettable passion and sweet charm to her too few dances. Her advice is to "run towards the thing that scares you the most". She gets this viewer's choice award for competitor with the biggest heart this season!o)..."

    04.13.2012: Performance Possibility

    CCDC alumz matriculating at Party Hearty You (including this guy) should consider putting this on the weekend calendar:
    "...Four dance students present thesis works April 12-14
    Mind the Gap features new choreography

    The University of Iowa Department of Dance will present Mind the Gap, a production featuring the thesis works of four graduate students, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 12-14, in the Space Place Theatre of North Hall.

    The event combines new works by Gabriel Anderson, Jiaxi Li, Kristin Marrs and Kevin Schroder.

    Anderson, who is a certified yoga teacher and holds a master's degree in public health, toured the world performing and teaching with ARENA Dance. His Love's Fool features his original music and lyrics, as well as music by School of Music graduate student Jason Gregory.

    Shanghai native Li has performed professionally with City Ballet of San Diego and Ballet Arizona, and her experience includes ballet, modern dance, Han folk dance, and Tibetan and Uigur dance. Her contribution to this production is Dream the Butterfly Dream.

    Marrs, an Iowa native who is also a yoga teacher, has performed professionally in the United States and Europe, including Columbus Dance Theatre, Ballet Quad Cities, Images and the Arova Contemporary Ballet. She choreographed A Poet's Love to music by Schumann.

    Schroder, the choreographer of the "digital dance" IC Solos, recorded in locations around Iowa City, has been a member of the companies of Merce Cunningham, Lar Lubovitch, Stephen Petronio and Donna Uchizono. View the piece online.

    Admission to Mind the Gap is free for UI students with a valid student ID, $12 general admission, and $6 for youth and senior citizens. Tickets are available from the Hancher box office or at the door..."

    04.12.2012: That's Dancing!o)

    Okay, over on the CCDC FB Page is a list of links to Dance Magazine staff's picks for best dance scenes from the movies. To each his own, but, there are a number of scenes that weren't mentioned that are on my personal list. Just a few offa da toppa da pointe part in no particular order:
    • Bollywood scenes from the movie Moulin Rouge: America's (that means me or my) first real exposure to the elaborate dance productions common to the Indian movie musicals.

    • Last dance from Strictly Ballroom: excellent payoff to the entire movie! Triumph of love and love for dance! How does she go from mousy to magnificent? And, who doesn't like Love Is In The Air? And, words to remember "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived!"

    • Mikhail Baryshnikov's eleven pirouettes in White Nights and his grand revolatade double from Turning Point. Both jaw-dropping feats that inspired a generation of young aspiring danseurs. Even his coaching scene from the less-than-stellar Dancers is his way of leaving a legacy to aspiring Albrechts and Giselles everywhere!

    • Sascha Radetsky's dance-off versus Ethan Stiefel in the otherwise simplistic Center Stage. Yeah, I'll take your double tour en l'air into double tour and raise you a double pirouette into tour! Dancing vicariously with the young aspiring professionals made me recall my own training days at CCB school in Chicago!

    • Final dance scene from Shall We Dance?. Not the U-S version, but, the original Japanese version. Such charisma from the leads! No disrespect to J Lo, but, "fly girl"-friend can't compare to the classically trained Japanese dancer! And, I love that the protagonist didn't leave his wife, but, rekindled his marriage by discovering and sharing his love for dance!
    ...So, I'll circulate an e-mail to the CCDC faculty and alumni to find out about their favorite dance scenes from movies. So, what about you? Tell me about yours! Don't wanna own up to your weakness for Havana Nights II? You can be anonymous!o)

    04.11.2012: SYTYCD Swan Song?

    Speaking of MustCTV: Just got this reminder from Fox Television. Apparently, the final season of SYTYCD:

    Back for a ninth season, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE kicks off with a two-hour premiere THU MAY 24 at 8/7c. Don't miss a beat as contestants compete to be named America's Favorite Dancer!

    And, you can click to their official website here. And, you can learn how to go "straight through to Vegas" (to a dance convention) here.

    04.10.2012: Star-Crossed Lovers

    In case you're not dancing yourself at CCDC tonight, here's a chance to catch my favorite ballet on an HD movie screen: (And, whenever you have to choose between dancing yourself or watching someone else dance, I hope you choose to dance!o)
    Now Playing
    Romeo and Juliet (Royal Ballet): Apr 10: 7:00 pm
    Starring Lauren Cuthbertson & Federico Bonelli
    Coming Soon
    The Bright Stream (Bolshoi): Apr 29: 10:00 am, 4:30 pm , May 15: 7:00pm
    La Fille Mal Gardée (Royal Ballet): May 16, 29: 7:00 pm
    Raymonda (Bolshoi): Jun 24: 10:00 am, 4:30 pm , Jul 10: 7:00pm
    At the Carmike Wynnsong, Johnston
    5233 Stoney Creek Rd
    (515) 331-3256

    04.09.2012: Putting 'da 'Me' In 'Media'

    Notes from a weekend of watching and catching up on DVR contents:

    Say goodby to Jack Wagner/Anna Trebunskaya, first up, second out! Danced a samba for his daughter he reunited with last year..he's better, "party people celebrate"! has hips and just a little wild, needs control of middle. needs to extend line. how old is he? Doing well for any age! 888

    Maria Menounos/Derek Hough, performs despite rib injury, dances for her immigrant parents, Samba to Material Girl by Madonna. "dance of love" Slow start to this rendition of song. good choreography ends up on the floor, very sexy moves. sizzling, layback needs work, shoulders...999...highest scores of the season so far...

    Gladys Knight/Tristan McManus: dancing foxtrot to the motown sound of Sam Cooke. Great smile! V. smooth and piquant. She LOVES to dance. light on her feet. Naturally graceful. Great sense of style. She must be nearly 70! Very cute routine! 888

    Roshon Fagan/Chelsea Hightower: Samba to Michel Jackson, MJ Choreographer Travis Payne is their secret weapon. Roshon is in his element!. Channels his inner Michael. Sharp and Smooth, Infectious grin. Big, movements, but controlled! Great outfit! Think he had great time! Standing ovation from his fellow contestants...889. judges seem to be scoring low tonight.

    Gavin Degraw/Karina Smirnoff: Dancing rhumba to Billy Joel "New York State of Mind", tribute to his family and his father. Starts a little flat footed, but, his hips are much better. His focus is better, better awareness of line, just a little hunched. Then he starts to lose a little conrol. So much better. Overcame his inner, innate clumsiness...Shares his triumph with his family and fellow contestants! Got emotional during answers. 888

    Katherine Jenkins/Mark Ballas: Top of the leaderboard. Waltz for her father who passed 1996. Emotions run high before the first step on a smoke covered stage. Moves with emotion but sublime control. Uses her heart and breath as we try to teach our dancers. her commitment to the movements is total. her line, musicality and timing are off the charts. She bursts into tears at the end. On-lookers are wiping their eyes. Judges are emotional as well. Well-deserved 10, 9, 10

    Shari Shepard/ Val Chermokovsky...Rhumba for her son. Putting a lot of pressure on herself to dance for Jeffrey. Sound of Heartbeats. Great commitment and emotion to the dances. Needs to control shoulders and not lose the choreography. Her effervescence is total. 888

    Melissa Gilbert/Maxim Chermokovsky: "I get to dance"...Jive to "Dog Daze Are Over", (New kinder Max)) Now I'm worried about her back after the package revealed she had surgery and physical therapy for a broken back. Legs look better than you might expect but her shoulders have a tendency to hunch with effort. From using a walker to DWT*** stage! How great is that! Good for her: 888 (Quite a logjam developing at 888!o)

    Jaleel White/Kym Johnson: Rhumba...channeling Stephon Urkel. Strong smooth, rhythm, shoulders and hips move together in the total package. SMOOTH, Excellent use of hips. Very Smooth, Great attitude!. He's Cool. Killer look at the end. COOL mode dee! 988

    William Levy/Cheryl Burke: Salsa, Will loses his shirt in the first eight counts. Little tight in his upper body, good hips and lower body rhythym, tricky stepover sequence, Little awkward sequence at the end. But, strong finish! Definitely an audience favorite! 9,9,10 Second to Katherine

    Donald Driver/Peta Murgatroyd, Rhumba: Dances to Moriah Carey in the memory of a close friend, "Live life to the fullest' Lifts Peta from a sitting position. How strong is he! That's waaay harder than it looks! He dances with full commitment! Lotta control. Some of the steps still seem foreign to him, but, he makes them his own. Such an emotional performance with such control! It's not easy balancing the two! 9, 8, 9

    ...Emotional show in the "Year to Remember" theme night at DWT***! Tour de force! Emotional content almost always improves the choreography if handled properly and most of the contestants did exactly that. This year has more strong contenders than several seasons in the past put together. Very watchable episodes. No score lower than 8! Five way tie for the bottom at 3x8! Jack would've survived much longer on any previous episode, but, no supermodels, no reality TV "stars", no ordinary people being passed off as celebrities has made this a hyper-competitive field. My only question is: will Katherine Jenkins be the rare leader "wire to wire"?..."

    ...the other "MustCTV" for dancers are the shows Smash and GLEE!: In NBC's Smash, Katharine McPhee plays an Iowa girl who's chasing her Broadway dream. Great inside look at the lives and loves of those who toil and work in the backstages of the Great White Way! At least, they didn't have barefoot boys and girls running in a dirt town square when they had the character return to what looks like Cedar Rapids. (I'm looking at you Julia Roberts and Sleeping With The Enemy!) I guess Iowa remains an icon of a backwater boondock to the rest of the country. My charge to CCDC students heading to New York City or Houston or Milwaukee this summer is to show them kids are getting good dance training in Iowa! It's not WHERE you train, it's HOW you train!o) Some people have called Smash: "GLEE! for grown-ups"! And, I can't disagree, but, does that make GLEE!: "Smash for kids?" Don't think so as the show is tackling some deeper, darker subjects recently: teen suicide, teen marriage, discrimination and, even, the potential deadly effects of texting while driving! I was yelling at the screen, "Quinn! QUINN! DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE!" But, of course, she didn't hear me until it was too late!o( Episodes of GLEE! resume this week on Fox!

    04.06.2012: Friday Videoz

    Over on the CCDC FB page, is a video interview with ABT Soloist Sascha Radetsky (Be sure to "like" the page and link to it if you can!o). It's a chance to catch up with the dancer/actor since he exploded on the dance scene in Center Stage several years ago. But, I thought I'd post a video of him dancing in that movie...and I stumbled across this deleted scene of his dancing! Enjoy! (Look at those CLEAN tour en l'air, Look at those FEET!o):

    04.05.2012: Footsteps of Apollo

    Excerpt from an interview with the AD of PNB as he coaches danseurs in his company to follow in his footsteps:
    ...What is the biggest challenge of dancing Apollo?
    "Dancers like to look good, to make nice positions and be on balance. But you can't do that as Apollo. It's important not to have a fully-formed character at the beginning of the ballet--you're supposed to be like a newborn colt with no understanding of your own legs. So you have to let yourself overstep, overexert, be a puppy. And that's always hard. I think dancers are naturally best at it when they're about 21, but at that age they're unwilling to go there. You don't figure out how to dance young until you're in your 30s! (emphasis added)..."
    ...Read the full interview with Peter Boal here.

    04.04.2012: Behind The Bamboo Curtain...With Ballet!

    Looking for something to do next summer? After the 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive, I mean?
    "...The Second Annual International Ballet and Choreography Competition is an international competition officially designated by the Ministry of Culture of China, supported by the Beijing Municipal Government, and hosted by the National Centre for the Performing Arts. The 2nd competition will be held at NCPA in Beijing from 5th to 13th July 2013.

    Tenet: To pick out promising ballet dancers and excellent choreographers, and to further promote international exchanges. Classical Ballet applicants should be 17–26 year old ..."

    ...Find out more information here. And, here's the direct link to the promotional video.

    04.03.2012: The Dance Series III

    The unveiling was made last night at the DsM Civic Center:

    The Civic Center’s Dance Series returns for its third season of presenting internationally acclaimed dance companies. “We’re proud to make these world-class dance experiences accessible to our audiences while maintaining an affordable price,” said CEO Jeff Chelesvig. “The strength of our Dance Series season ticket sales really helps drive the high caliber of companies we offer.” He added that the Civic Center is also grateful to the Iowa Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Microsoft and Civic Center Dance VIPs for their continued commitment to the Civic Center’s dance programming.

    The 2012 – 2013 season opens in February 2013 and features Garth Fagan Dance, Momix: Botanica (April 2013) and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (May 2013).

    All performances in The Dance Series offers exciting opportunities to deepen the dance experience with DANCEtalks at each performance. One hour before curtain time, audiences are invited to learn more about the troupe and repertoire they are about to see from the company’s artistic staff. An intimate in-theater conversation and Q&A with the dancers follows each performance. THE DANCE SERIES

    GARTH FAGAN DANCE (Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013) – Garth Fagan Dance is “unfailingly original” according to The New York Times, which also named the Company’s piece, Mudan 175/39, third of the top six dance watching moments of 2009. Tony award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan’s dancers communicate with energy the depth, precision and grace of his work. Fagan’s ever-evolving dance language draws on many sources: sense of weight in modern dance, torso-centered movement and energy of Afro-Caribbean, speed and precision of ballet, and the rule-breaking experimentation of the post-moderns.

    MOMIX: BOTANICA (Tuesday, April 9, 2013) – Always an audience favorite, MOMIX defies categorization as easily as its dancers defy gravity. Mesmerizing, magical and imaginative, MOMIX spellbinds audiences across the globe. Since debuting in Italy last winter, Botanica, MOMIX’s newest creation, has played to packed houses and rave reviews around the world. Like other MOMIX creations, Botanica creates a magical and ethereal world. MOMIX dancer-illusionists conjure a world of surrealistic images using light, shadow, props, humor and the human body. Beautiful and enthralling, Botanica is the perfect show for the entire family. The show features an eclectic score ranging from birdsongs to Vivaldi. It follows the rhythms of the seasons, the changing shape of life on Earth and the passing of a day. The performance is enhanced by spectacular costumes, projections and giant puppetry designed by Michael Curry, acclaimed production designer for Cirque du Soleil, Disney and the Metropolitan Opera.

    LES BALLETS TROCKADERO DE MONTE CARLO (THE TROCKS) (Tuesday, May 21, 2013) Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo is a dance troupe of all male ballerinas (aka mallerinas) who poke fun at the stuffy traditions of ballet and add a touch of drag to the mix. The Dying Swan gets replaced by the funky chicken, and movements of grace and poise are aped by muscled men. Yet their undeniable skills make the satirical romp a piece of avant-garde art, giving new life to what is often thought of as art form for dainty women. Hold on to your tights, toe-shoes and tutus.

    ...for the rest of next season's Civic Center repertoire, check here. So, what do you think? . Personally, I think the Civic Center should start a Saturday night *Strictly BALLET Series!* Nothing against modern/contemporary dance, but, I think this town is starving for the return of professional level ballet. Or, am I the lone voice crying out in the wilderness? (Ah-OOooOOOoh!o)

    04.02.2012: The Dance Series, Pt II

    Didn't see any review in the "newspaper the state depends upon", so, I thought I might as well write one:
    Royal Winnipeg Ballet
    "Moulin Rouge"

    The nearly full DsM Civic Center crowd gave a rousing standing ovation and several curtain calls to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet after the final scene of Moulin Rouge, The Ballet. Maybe they really enjoyed the show or maybe, like me, they were just glad to see professional ballet at the Civic Center in what seems like ages! (I missed James Sewell Ballet in last year's premiere of the Dance Series) Yes, Diavolo was diabolically impressive and Hubbard Street impressively contemporary, but, give me pointe shoes, danseurs and ballerinas and I'll "turn-out" for it every time!

    (I'm not using any names from the program because of unspecified cast changes. When I went looking for the changes that had been announced were posted in the lobby, couldn't find them. Two or three Civic Center workers couldn't find them for me either. Here's a hint, Civic Center, post a copy of the cast changes for those of us who come in the skywalk and never make it to the lobby level. Very important in this day and age of social media and blog reviews!)

    The plot is basic as it is in most ballets, mostly an excuse for the dancing. It's boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl...yadda, yadda...girl-gets-shot. Matthew is an aspiring artist drawn to the City of Lights like a moth to a flame. There he meets laundress-and-aspiring-can-can-dancer Nathalie and the two instantly fall in love. But, the oily impresario from the Moulin Rouge has his eye on the ingenue and a classic love triangle ends tragically. Along the way, there's some attempt at comic interludes as Toulouse Lautrec has dueling paintbrushes with Matthew and a effete tailor and corps of minions undresses and redresses our hero in a tuxedo to enter the cabaret.

    The most uplifting and lyrical part of the pastiche of styles and music that comprised the ballet was the central pas de deux between the dancers who portrayed the leads. It was swooping and effortless and set off a romantic resonance that transcended the tawdry backstreets of Paris and ventured near the rarified air of a legendary balcony in Verona. One particular lift sequence had Nathalie gliding from ground to air from shoulder to shoulder and lightly, softly back to the ground again. The very giddy, gliding, floating feeling of movement that sweeps you off your feet becomes a metaphor for young love itself.

    Lautrec's pas de deux with the green fairy brought to life that old adage: "absinthe makes the heart grow fonder"! With those legs and that corps of faeries, sales of the legendary liqueur must sky-rocket in every city the RWB tours through!o)

    Unfortunately, the rest of the choreography failed to deliver the goods. "Underwhelming" is written in my notes several times. I'm not sure how many casting changes forced dancers into unfamiliar roles, but, so much of the characters could've and should've been more bold, brazen and forceful. And, I know from experience that the Civic Center stage is not "dancer-friendly". There's no mezzanine to provide visual reference while turning or touring. Sure you can hang a spotting light or two or three, but, when the upper wall is curtained off, even that option is limited. But, the entire company's turns and pirouettes were off Saturday night and at least one of the leads was compensating by spotting down at the end of the stage. That might be the safe thing to do, but, it doesn't help the performance quality.

    The technicolor costumes and elaborate interchangeable set design helped with the production elements. But, I'd heard a lot of good things about Royal Winnipeg Ballet after their last tour through the Capital City area. (Wasn't it their Dracula that performed here a few years ago?) I'm not sure if this is just a smaller touring company, but, I wasn't impressed. You judge a regional ballet company on the strength of their men. (The overwhelming critique from CCDC ballet students afterwards was that the men were...well...underwhelming.) And, RWB failed to deliver the goods and failed to live up their reputation. Having said that, just watching professional ballet dancers makes me happy! Please just raise the barre next time, RWB!

    ...btw, big thanks to the donor who gave free tickets to some of our scholarship students to attend this weekend's ballet! If you or someone you know are ever are stuck with tickets you can't use to a performance or dance event, I hope you'll consider the same act of kindness! Just call the CCDC office or e-mail us. Also, a big thumbs down to the audience member in row S that refused to stop FB messaging until the very last second. Hey lady! Put away that smartphone for a few hours! What are you teaching your kid who was begging you to shut off the phone? So, don't text and drive! Don't FB and ballet!oP

    04.01.2012: Putting 'Da 'Me' In 'Media'!

    Say good-bye to Martina, joining Kenny Mane in the exclusive First Loserz Klub! Here are my notes from watching the recording of last week's DWT***:
    "...Dancing With The Starz Week Two:

    Katherine Jenkins and Jaleel In the finals? Early prediction

    Roshon Fagan and Chelsea Hightower: Quickstep, be a prince. HipHopper has swagger upgrade...Still Mister Personality. Does clean up well in a glittery tux. Sharp footwork. Quick learner. good posture. Frame needs work. Great smile. nice footwork and flicks. Jewelry fumble at the end. Reminds me of Greg Olayvar. ...989 Dimples worth extra points

    Sherry Shepard, Val Chermokovsky...Jive...Be interesting to see how her body changes as she keeps dancing through the weeks, good the HD. here's some advice: don't sing while you're dancing. She can shake what her momma gave her...messed up a trick . high energy!...She did cover the gaffe.... 878

    Melissa Gilbert/Max Chermokovsky: Quickstep, Little careful, shoulders need to be held under. Frame also needs work. Good foot work. Slip on the stage. Inconsistent....Good feedback from the judges...767

    Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya: Jive, tapping into his nightclub dance skills. Using his acting skills to put on a performance. coached well. Stamina a concern. Worried about his heart. He may be in good shape, but he's not in dancing shape!. Better than last week! good attitude for hard work...777

    Gladys Knight, Tristan MacManus=Quickstep, Holds herself to a high standard, happy to be on the most competitive season, How old is she! She's "feisty". She's a performer, too! Turns on for the crowd. Starts off safe and slow.complex lighting. MacManus trying to juice up his partner. little slow on footwork, starts off well but, energy drops longer it goes...turns off. She suffers from her high standard she set last week. Hard song to dance to...757

    Katherine Jenkins, Mark Ballas, Jive,Welsh Wiggler, fast attack, great gambling scene, she suffers from an unwarranted shyness of shaking her naught bits!. Beautiful legs. She's committed to the steps. Gets three judges at the final slot total.Audience favorite. She's sexy, but, even better, she can dance as well! 989. How long before she gets the first ten of the season?

    Jaleel White/Kym Johnson, Jive; Second arm, far arm needs work. little more tentative tis time out, still Mr. Personality, Little more careful this time. Makes me happy watching him dance. Didn't use his fabulous line as much. TENTATIVE, seemed less comfortable...maybe the lack of rehearsal time...778

    Maria Menounos/Derek Hough, Quick Step, injury, but, the show must go on. Like her attitude! better start, frame needs to be stronger (judges disagree), little floppy at the wrong parts, great smile, flicks slow and not accented, quarter count behind Derek in the faster footwork, It was better...889

    Martina Navratilova, Tony Dovolani, old injury flares up, costume designed to hide her upper body lack of line. loses time. poor Tony gets a non-contender again. Pants designed to accentuate her hip and lower body movement. careful choreography. Not quite painful to watch, but, not enjoyable either...Great attitude...656...again, respect her ability and willingness to step way, way out of her comfort zone.

    Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd, Quick Step, nicknamed 'Quicky', great smile, hard routine, love his excellent attitude! He cleans up nice, Joy to watch, good shoulders for an athlete, Strong footwork, effortless lifts! boy is strong. light on feet...May be one of the best athletes to ever compete and that includes mirrorball winner, Emmit Smith ...888

    Gavin Degraw, Karina Smirnoff, Jive, good split jump, little loose, but better attack. shoulders tend to creep up. doesn't hit and hold, but, better, definitely better. dances a little slack-jawed, watch that mouth, Gavin! (at least he's not singing) ..."13 extra hours of work", hard work makes up for a lot...777

    William Levy, Cheryl Burke, quickstep, freame work paying off. good foot work, flicks and kicks. timing gets little off. he's a performer. Latin heart throb gets busy! Audience gets loud! Screams drown out judges' comments. ...979 "ballroom is so hard" he comments! Welcome to the dance world, bill!

    ...This is the strongest season of DWT** ever. Several legitimate contenders. It's going to be up to the choreography and teaching ability of the pros to distance themselves from the pack..."

    03.30.2012: Sunscreen Is Our Friend!

    With eighty-degree temps this weekend and with prom and summer around the corner, here's a timely reminder to those of you CCDC dancers with photo-sensitive skin! (Hint! That's ALL of you!o):
    (Courtesy Newswise) — Prom season is right around the corner and with that comes dress shopping and trips to the local tanning booths for many girls. Nearly 70 percent of tanning salon patrons are Caucasian girls and women, primarily ages 16-29 years.

    “Indoor tanning is a legitimate health problem among this population,” said Rebecca Tung. “When a person visits a tanning booth, the body releases endorphins. These chemicals produce the same feelings of euphoria or well-being that entice drug addicts and alcoholics.”

    This may explain why the indoor tanning business is booming. Nearly 28 million people visit tanning salons in the United States each year despite the risk for wrinkles and the dangers of ultraviolet radiation. UV rays cause approximately 90 percent of all skin cancers, and the risk for melanoma increases by 75 percent if you tan indoors.

    “People are dying from their obsession with looking tan despite the fact that safe alternatives do exist to get that sun-kissed look,” Tung said. “We have to treat excessive tanning like any other addiction and educate young women and men about its dangers. At the state and national level, we as dermatologists continue to push for legislation to ban this potentially deadly practice for young people.”

    Dawn Meyers, 50, was a self-described sun-worshiper in her 20s. She spent time in tanning booths and outside under the sun with no protection from harmful UV rays. This habit came back to haunt her five years ago when precancerous cells were discovered on the tip of her nose and temple.

    Doctors treated the precancerous skin with liquid nitrogen. However, just last year, two sores on the tip of Meyers’ nose began bleeding regularly. She was busy with work and delayed seeing a dermatologist for several months. When Meyers did schedule an appointment, her fears were confirmed. The diagnosis was skin cancer.

    Because Meyers' cancer had progressed significantly, doctors had to remove a substantial portion of her nose. They worked closely with surgeons who created a flap to restore the architecture and contour of her nose back to its original shape. Six months after surgery, Meyers now has minimal scarring, and she has regained 95 percent of the feeling in her nose.

    Meyers now visits Dr. Tung every six months to monitor her skin for precancerous lesions and early signs of skin cancer. She also has undergone photodynamic therapy as a preventive measure. This technique uses a drug and a light to create oxygen radicals, which kills precancerous cells that may be present in the skin but are not visible to the eye.

    Meyers also has reformed her old ways. As an avid gardener, she now uses sunscreen and wears sunglasses, hats, gloves and long sleeves when she goes outside to walk or work in her garden.

    “If I could take it back now, I would have worn sunscreen while enjoying the great outdoors,” Meyers said. “It is my job now to use my experience to educate young people about the importance of protecting their skin from the sun.”

    03.29.2012: Post-Secondary Dancing

    Considering majoring or minoring in dance in college? You might wanna spring for this:
    Dance Magazine College Guide 2011-12
    600+ Dance Degree Programs
    All you need to know, compiled into one convenient source!
    Use the College Guide to find the right program for you!
    • Detailed dance degree program profiles
    • State by state list of programs with contact info
    • Comparison chart of program stats, tuition rates, audition dates and deadlines
    • Articles about life as a dance major from college students and faculty
    • Advice on applying and auditioning
    Bonus! Special Graduate Study Section: M.A., M.F.A., PhD programs
    ...You can order one here. OR, you can stay and enroll in CCDC's intensive post-secondary pre-professional program. Current professional dancer Katya W. did just that before getting an apprenticeship that led to her current gig. Talk to your CCDC teachers about the possibilities! And, merde for graduation!o)

    03.28.2012: Back2daBarre

    My last season as a full-time professional dancer was marked by an unexpected 6-week layoff near the end of the season. It wasn't a real hardship for me because I just increased the hours at my part-time job and stayed in shape by taking classes in the company's school. (I recall dancing 7-days a week, even going in on Sundays to give myself a full class.) Well, at least, I TRIED to stay in professional dance shape, but, there's a big difference between taking a class or two with students...and dancing, partnering and rehearsing for an eight-hour day. When the season resumed, I remember suffering a lot of soreness and walking around in a deep plie' for a week trying to stretch my calves out. And, that's part of the reason, CCDC offers "Stay In Shape" classes over the breaks in the school year. It's always easier to "stay in shape" than it is to "get back into shape". Resting is essential, of course, but, be careful not to "rest too long" or you'll "rust too long". Several pre-professional students are living examples of that this week. (First and second day back may not be too bad, but, watch out for that delayed muscle soreness!) But, here's a rule of thumb, figure one day of dancing for every day you take off to get back to where you were. If you took the full week off, figure a full-week to get back to where you were. But, be gentle with yourself! Don't beat yourself up, the muscles atrophy quickly. The mind is willing, but, the flesh has weakened. Here are a few other tips when trying to get back in shape: maximize your warm-up time and do a few stretches after class as well. Ice anything that's sore for twenty minutes...and, if you're extremely sore, consider an ice bath. (Fill a tub with cool or cold water and dump a few trays of ice cubes in with you. Again, 20-minutes max!) Use a foot or body roller or tennis ball to loosen up tight muscles, but, don't over do it. Too much of a good thing can be counter-productive when it comes to massage. Check with your parents or doctor about using ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatories. (One professional I danced with called them "dancer pills"!) Other dancers swear by arnica rubs, Tiger Balm, Mineral Ice or Icy-Hot before class. Just take your time getting back in shape, don't try to rush things! AND, consider taking more CCDC "Stay-In-Shape" classes next break!o) Merde for class!

    03.27.2012: Cattle Call

    Hey CCDC dancerz! Anyone ever say "you should model"? Here's an opportunity coming up in California from one our favorite dance merchandise sites! (You should contact them to check on compensation.):


    Female dancewear models, ages 3 to 18
    Ballerinas, dancers of all types, and gymnasts


    April 11th, 2012, 8am to 4pm
    5065 East Hunter Ave
    Anaheim, CA 92807 [MAP IT]


    B ra Top, Shorts & Jazz Shoes
    Hair down with light make-up


    All applicants must arrive with a completed
    Hill Corporation Application to be considered.
    Additional applications can be found at You are welcome to bring
    your best photograph for us to keep with your application. Depending on volume of applicants it may
    be a long day; please pack a lunch.


    Come prepared to be photographed and show us what makes you a star. We want to see your fun personality & dance technique in front of the camera! Traveling expenses to/from will not be reimbursed. All minors must be accompanied by parent or guardian. All auditions taken on first come, first serve basis.

    03.26.2012: Taste of the Grand Prix

    One of the few dance competitions endorsed by CCDC is offering an international Master Class Series:
    "...Prix de Lausanne Master Class Series

    Following the highly successful Master Class Series of 2011, the Prix de Lausanne is delighted to announce a new Series for 2012, offering participants a rare and exciting opportunity to take class with some of the world's most celebrated dancers – each one a Prix de Lausanne winner – and to hear directly from them about their experience of the Prix and it's impact on their careers.

    The Prix de Lausanne Master Class Series is intended for dance students who :

    • were born between January 1st, 1994 and December 31st, 1997
    • would like the inspirational experience of taking class with a renowned professional dancer
    • would like to know more about the Prix de Lausanne
    • are considering entering the Prix at some point in the future
    • curious to know what the Prix’s beliefs are in relation to dance training today
    Master Classes are available through an online registration process, on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, to male and female students who are aspiring to a career in dance. In every location there will be a junior and senior class. Each class will be followed by a short video presentation showing what a participant of the Prix de Lausanne experiences during the week of the Prix. Following the video presentation there will be a short “Question and Answer” session with the Prix de Lausanne winner who has taught the class as well as a representative from the Prix.

    Through its scholarships and apprenticeships, offered in partnership with 29 professional ballet schools and 24 ballet companies around the world, the Prix de Lausanne provides a unique and invaluable stepping stone for young talent. Over the 40 years of its history, 373 dancers have benefited from the award of a Prix on their way to a successful career in dance. Through this Master Class Series, we are opening up the life-enhancing experience of the Prix to more and more young dancers around the world.


    Only US location:

    San Francisco - May 6th, 2012
    San Francisco Ballet School
    Teacher: Maria Kochetkova and others from the San Francisco Ballet School
    Question and Answer : to be announced..."

    03.23.2012: Dancing With Wordz

    Kudoz to local budding artists:
    CAPITAL CITY – Six local students have received national recognition for poetry they submitted to the 2012 River of Words Environmental Poetry and Art Contest.

    Mitchell Oberfoell, 8, of West Des Moines was awarded the Monkey’s Raincoat Prize, which honors the best short poem in the haiku tradition. His poem, Pine Cones, was selected as the top haiku among all age groups.

    Five additional poems written by Iowa students were also selected from thousands of entries and recognized as national finalists.

    • Ethan Berning, 10, Boxholm

    • John Culver, 9, West Des Moines

    • Maya Freking, 8, West Des Moines

    • Erin Zeka, 9, Fort Dodge

    • Margaret Schultz, 18, Iowa City
    “Having an Iowa student selected for a special prize and so many finalists really shows the talent of Iowa’s youth and their appreciation for nature,” said Lisa Fascher, Iowa DNR River of Words coordinator. “Iowans should be proud of the accomplishments of these young people.”

    All national winners and finalists will be posted in April on the River of Words website.

    Following the national competition, all Iowa entries are returned to the IOWATER program, which holds an annual statewide contest. The national winners will be recognized along with the statewide winners at a ceremony this summer.

    The Iowa River of Words contest is coordinated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and IOWATER program.

    The annual River of Words contest is sponsored by St. Mary’s College in California and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

    For more information about the River of Words organization, go to

    03.22.2012: Sure Beats YouTube!

    Just posted this on FB as well, but, I think we need to spread the word: Your chance to watch the Royal Ballet perform the best of the Bard's ballets broadcast LIVE to Prokofiev's luminescent later TODAY!o):
    Carmike Wynnsong Johnston
    5233 Stoney Creek Rd
    (515) 331-3256
    Now Playing
    Romeo and Juliet (Royal Ballet): Mar 22: 2:30 pm

    Coming Soon
    Romeo and Juliet (Royal Ballet): Apr 10: 7:00 pm
    The Bright Stream (Bolshoi): Apr 29: 10:00 am, 4:30 pm , May 15: 7:00 pm
    La Fille Mal Gardée (Royal Ballet): May 16, 29: 7:00 pm
    Raymonda (Bolshoi): Jun 24: 10:00 am, 4:30 pm , Jul 10: 7:00 pm

    03.22.2012: Fracture Stress

    Dancers! Parents! Pay attention! This is important to the health of CCDC students. Here's an excerpt from the Archives of Pediatric Medicine:
    "...Conclusions: Vitamin D intake is associated with lower stress fracture risk among adolescent girls who engage in high levels of high-impact activity. Neither calcium intake nor dairy intake was prospectively associated with stress fracture risk..."
    ...Here's the link to an abstract of the study. Interesting to see NO relation between calcium and dairy intake to stress fracture prevention. If you don't want to spend the money on accessing the full study, Here's a free backgrounder.Talk to your doctor or nutritionist before making any health decisions, of course.

    03.21.2012: Putting 'da 'Me' In 'Media'!o)

    New season of DWT*** premiered this week. Normally, we have to wait to the weekend to watch our recording of the show because of our teaching schedule. BUT, since we have a reduced number of classes due to Spring Break, got to watch early. DON'T get used to it. Here are my notes and first impressions followed by scores:
    "...twitter feed is new. Like that a lot on screen!

    maria menounos was a lttle timid 777 (But, if anyone can capitalize on her good looks and proportions, it's triple-mirror-ball winner "ruff, tuff Derek Hough!"

    jack anna fox trot the old dog had a little trouble with new tricks 887

    donald driver peta murgatroyd: driver first glance can move upper body tight. But, got moves! mr. personality! contender! 777

    gavin degraw karina smirnoff, musician has problem with dance musicality? (Shades of Michael Bolton!) poor first impression, still better than you might have expected, credit his coach, But, what's he gonna do when he doesn't have 6 weeks to prepare?767

    roshon fegan and chelsea hightower , dont bet against the Disney star, hip hop dancer, what a personality!, lacks body awareness, lacks subtlety in movements. dances from the outside in. hiphop roots show. 878

    Sherri Shepard, Val Chermokovsky, Personality is larger than life, whatta smile! lost her middle at times, but, her face is dancing, her eyes are dancing. she's a blast to watch!!! 878

    Melissa Gilbert, Max Chermokovsky...little flat footed, shoulders are tight...good musicality. did well...costume choice questioned.....767

    William Levy...Mister latino machismo, Cheryl burke.., What? cuban can't do cuban walks? , muscles get in way of line. got cuban hips. got latin attack, but, some of upper body tentative, blame big muscles and tight shoulders. little off music. but, Rabid fans will vote ... killer smile will get alternative lifestyle vote. (What? He trained ten days instead of six weeks1 Verry unexpected 888 We have a leader in the clubhouse!

    Martina Navratilova, Tony Dovolani...fighter athlete. showing a different side. stretches out of comfort zone...breast cancer survivor. little awkward and uncomfortable. not following well. very simple basic choreography, great smile. choreography hid a lot of problems. he choreographed to her few strengths....767

    Katherine Jenkins/Mark Ballas...she can dance. great smile, very talented individual. great charisma, light on her feet and easy on the eyes, personality shines in a sunny, yellow dress, stunning first leader in the clubhouse!...989

    Gladys Knight/Tristan McManus...great attitude, girl got moves, girl got chops, dance chops...she can move her hips, not afraid. she's having fun! key to a winnert! tough act to follow and she's doing well. great personality! great confidence...kept dancing through the little mess ups!o) ...took the audience by surprise...wasn't expecting much, then got blown away 878

    Jaleel White/Kym Johnson..."be nice to the geeky boys because they grow up to become contenders on DWTS"... smooth heel leads, light on feet, charsimatic actor, he is leading Kym Johnson. Dancing like a man! nice frame. also dances with his face and eyes. smooth, incredible line...he's a contender. tough tough field!!!! 989

    STRONG FIELD! Excited for this season..."

    ...WOW! This is gonna be a tough competition. More than the usual number of real contenders...and even the weak dancers aren't abysmal! The real test will be when the stars DON'T have six weeks to prepare. And, it'll be interesting to see if any of the stronger dancers begin to falter when switching between ballroom and latin styles.

    03.20.2012: Company Class

    Don't be scared of company class! A CCDC student is auditioning this week for an apprenticeship with a professional ballet company. Of course, she's nervous. She'll be taking company class alongside professional dancers later this week. She told me she's never taken a company class before and didn't know what to expect. But, I told her she HAS taken "company class" before: the warm-up we give on stage or in studio before performance or rehearsal is a "company class". And, that a "company class" is usually much simpler or more basic than a school class. The idea is to warm-up and place rather than to teach. And, that reminds me (cue faraway look and cheesy soap opera organ music, quick montage of old ballet photos and calendar pages replacing themselves in background as wrinkles erase from my face...)...back when I was younger, I took several company classes as company or school auditions: SFB, Oakland come to mind. And, later, I took company class when my day-job took me around the country: Orlando, Milwaukee. The thing about almost every company class is...they always felt familiar to me, almost like I was coming home. If you dance ballet long enough, spend enough time in a studio, at a barre or on stage, that becomes "home" to you. Take a breath! You danced ballet all your life, it's JUST another class! Have fun! It's a privilege that few students ever and non-dancers never get. It's just like walking into a studio in another city (which I recommend heartily, btw!o), some people will be welcoming, most will be indifferent. Get there early if possible. Don't pick the best spot at the barre unless you're auditioning to become a principal dancer! But, usual protocol is first come, first served. Pick a good spot at the barre where you'll be able to follow someone if you're too nervous at picking up strange combinations. Do your usual warm-up (it's good to have a set routine that addresses your weaknesses early. If it's already set, you won't have to try and make up one in the presence of strangers.) A little bottle of water can be used in a pinch to moisten the heels of your shoes if the floor is slicker than you're used to. Pay attention to the little details that may be different from your normal ballet technique when combinations are demonstrated. You want to show your versatility. If they do Balanchine pirouette, do Balanchine pirouette. If they do Russian degage's, do Russian degage's. I might draw the line at flexed foot frappe's. (Who wants to dance in a company that trains that way anyway?) Most of all, have fun! Do what it is you do so well! And, merde for company class!o)

    03.19.2012: Did U Say "Plush"?

    If you attend the CCDC Spring Showcase this year, you'll have a chance to watch CCDC alumnus Sean Laughhead reprise his role in the Peasant Pas de Deux in excerpts from Giselle. (Rehearsals are looking fantastic!o) GitYurFaShawn is taking time off from his professional dance career to obtain his academic credentials at the institution we lovingly refer to as "Party Hearty You". I asked him about some performances we'd mentioned in this blog and he didn't seem too impressed. So, I asked him if he'd seen anything that "blew him away" recently. His eyes lit up and he mentioned Lucky Plush of Chicago. I'd said I'd never even heard of them and he said nobody had, but, they'd visited the school and knocked the socks off everyone who came to the show. So, I thought I'd check them out and put their links up here: This is their website and here's their YouTube Channel. Has anyone else seen them or even heard of them? And, what was the last thing you saw that "blew your socks off"? You can share your insights here.

    03.16.2012: Not-So-Strictly Ballroom!

    Fans of DWT*** might want to consider a roadtrip to KC to catch this show:
    May 18 – 20, 2012
    Muriel Kauffman Theatre

    Burn The Floor is the international dance sensation that takes ballroom dancing to a new height. Burn The Floor is comprised of the top ballroom dancers from all over the world, each of whom has spent a lifetime training to compete against other dance couples. Burn The Floor is mix of high energy, Latin-infused ballroom dance and popular music..."

    Here's a video preview:

    03.15.2012: Pushing Thru Plateaus

    All aspiring ballet students have to learn to deal with "plateaus in progress". That's where it seems as if nothing is improving or even as if things are degressing. When you first begin ballet, it's easy to get better: learn a new step, learn the terminology and you're better than before. But, after you've learned the steps, after you've learned the terminology for your level, the path to mastery is much more subtle. But, it's like building a house. When my parents opted to have a new home built, it seemed like a lot of nothing going on for a long time. But, then, in less than a week, the walls went up and the roof went on. Bang! There was our new house! But, then, a lot of nothing seemed to be going on again. To my young eyes, I couldn't see the foundation being laid, the wiring being installed, all the site prep that was going on. After I could see the structure go up, the cleaning and detailing was also less noticeable. Getting better at ballet is like that: you have to lay that foundation, you have to cure that cement, you have to dig down deep in order to build up later. Then, bang! You'll get better by leaps and bounds! What you struggled to master before will become easier. It happened to me! All of a sudden I could turn, all of a sudden, I could pique' and stay forever! Everything became less of a struggle! BUT, you have to keep working on it everyday you still dance. You're not wasting your time in plateaus. You're laying the groundwork to get better. Someday, you're going to just TAKE OFF. If it happened to me, it will happen to you...IF you keep working! IF you keep pushing! Later I'll write about the "pinnacles" in ballet, not just the plateaus. Those don't happen to everyone. I've shared about "being in the zone", actually ATTAINING PERFECTION during a performance with other professionals, some of them have never felt that. Let me tell you now, pushing through the plateaus creates the possibility of attaining pinnacles during performance! Merde for your career!o)

    03.14.2012: Dancer Upd8

    Ran into the father of a former local-student-turned-professional-dancer over the weekend. Was told CCDC Guest Instructor Jason Hartley has left the Trey McIntyre Project and is teaching around Boise (even though he was still listed on their website at last check.) His dad relayed an interesting story on their parting of ways, but, you'll have to get details from him. Mr. Hartley also says a former dancer with the company I was in has landed in Idaho: Emily W is teaching dance there after earning her masters at Party Hearty You, after having a few kids and after living in Italy for a few years. And, another guy I used to dance with way back when has apparently finally hung up his tights. Frank A is now a "professional dog walker" at last report! I'm sure he's teaching a few classes on the side, but, let that be a lesson, kidz! Dancing professionally is a short career so better be prepared to transition into another job once the performing is no longer an option. Much as I may complain about my day-job, not everyone slips smoothly into broadcast journalism like I did (cough, cough!o), so, unless you like walking dogs for a living, better have a fall-back or second calling. Promise me (and your parents!o) to make sure to continue or resume your education even if you do become a professional dancer! You can always teach dance if you've been a professional dancer, but, make sure you do it because of your passion for the artform...and not just your passion for a paycheck!o)

    03.13.2012: Favorable Impression

    Here's a huge, unsolicited "pat on the back" for one of our young CCDC dancers after he participated in IDT's Cinderella this weekend:
    "...I'm writing to compliment your young student CHARLIE, who I had the opportunity to perform with recently. Charlie knew his part well, of course. He never missed an entrance or cue on stage, and was always responsible and reliable with his props. He was quiet and attentive and respectful of the choreographer, ballet mistresses, and other cast members. He sat thru long (and sometimes boring rehearsals) and never had to be reminded to behave appropriately off stage, nor backstage during the performances. A number of the adults involved in this production commented on his professional attitude, responsibility and composure. You should be very proud of all he has learned from his teachers at CCDC..."

    03.12.2012: Parental Feedback

    Got this in the emailbag from a parent after CCDC Pointe Instructor Melissa U accompanied a student to fine-tune her pointe shoe selection:
    "... thank you so much for all your time and effort today! I can't even begin to tell you how much we appreciate all your work with (our dancer) and all the knowledge and experience that you have. I know (our dancer) would "hang out" with you all day if she could :)..."
    ...And, all CCDC students are closely monitored by Missy as they begin and continue their training en pointe. They benefit from her years of professional performing and training in several styles of ballet. Another fringe benefit of training at CCDC: No extra charge to have her accompany your dancer to pointe shoe fittings! She'd rather you do ballet right or not do it at all!o)

    03.09.2012: Pregnancy Performances

    Yet another chance for CCDC alums matriculating at "Party Hearty You" to lurch outta the bunk today or tomorrow afternoon to attend an affordable (FREE except for suggested donation) dance performance:
    March 10 UI performances will present thesis works in both dance and music

    Thesis works by both choreographer Johanna Kirk and composer Jason Gregory will be featured in a free University of Iowa Thesis Concert, "of air and amnion," at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in Old Brick, 26 E. Market St. in Iowa City. A free preview will also be performed for the UI Hospitals and Clinics Project Art at noon Friday, March 9, in the atrium of the hospital.

    The choreography by Kirk, a graduate student in the UI Department of Dance, is inspired by the biological and social aspects of pregnancy. It explores women's individual and communal experiences as they undergo the intricate creative process of generating life.

    The dance is set in the midst of silk paintings by birth-worker and UI Women's Studies graduate student Monica Brasile of Mapleseed Birth Services in Iowa City. Brasile was honored in 2011 with a fellowship in the UI Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy.

    The score by Gregory, a graduate student in the UI School of Music, for strings, percussion and electronic instruments will be performed live.

    A suggested $5 donation will support the Friends of Iowa Midwives in their efforts to promote safe natural birthing options.

    03.08.2012: Skinny Genes

    The dance twitter blogosphere blew up recently with this video of a commercial involving dancers from the Korean National Ballet. Loved the choreography!o) There's an art to that kind of casual, nonchalant artlessness. It's what I'm aspiring to in the piece I'm collaborating on with two CCDC dancers. Raises the barre for all of us! Hmm...maybe, I'll put them in jeans...

    03.07.2012: Home Sweet Dance Home

    There've been a lot of CCDC students who've been accepted to top national summer ballet intensive programs around the country this year: SAB, SFB, PNB, Boston, Houston, Milwaukee, ABT, Gelsey Kirkland's school, etc. And, we've talked about how you can tap into the experience of current CCDC students or alumni to help you make a decision on the best place for you to go this summer. But, here's an alternative if you didn't get into your "dream program" or if money and time are a consideration: stay and train intensively at CCDC this summer! The two week CCDC Summer Intensive is a great way to start the season! We always have top-notch guest instructors to challenge you and get you into shape! And, if you stay, you can continue that momentum with the CCDC Summer Workshop Series and "Stay In Shape Classes". If you want to amp up the intensity, you could possibly add on some private ballet, pointe, pas de deux, Stott Pilates or modern coaching sessions with the regular CCDC faculty as well. The advantage of going away is you get to focus on dance and you get exposed to a national level of competition. (A lot of students tell me they get to no longer be the only "ballet kid" at school.) But, ultimately, your only real competition at ballet and at dance is...yourself! So, if you can work hard in your own hometown, focus on improving and learn to constantly challenge yourself, a summer spent training intensively at CCDC with teachers who know and care for you already can be very beneficial. Just don't get distracted by friends or relatives who don't share your goal of becoming the very best dancer you can be! Merde for summer! (CCDC 2012 Summer Brochures now available! Pick some up and pass them on to kids or parents of kids who would benefit!o)

    03.06.2012: 'Ballet' Up To The Barre, Bro'!

    The other day, the older brother of a CCDC dancer came to a Ballet IV/V/VI Class. He had no dance training whatsoever and it was illuminating for me to see a totally "blank slate" body attempting to do the barre. Now, I don't recommend a newbie's first experience at ballet to be a pre-professional company class, but, he was only back in town for the weekend. And, his sister told me he'd always wanted to try what she was so involved in so I agreed with some deep reservations. He totally messed up many steps, but, got more than he had a right to (credit his sibling's quick tutorial!o). The best part was: he seemed to have fun. But, as sis told him, I was actually about his age when I took my first ballet class in college and I was able to go on to a professional career. But, now, here's the message to all you late starters: Don't start taking ballet classes with the idea you want to become a professional dancer. Take ballet because it's GREAT FUN! It's the only thing that can combine a mental, physical, musical, spiritual, emotional and aesthetic work-out every class, every exercise. Take ballet because it'll help everything else you ever do. I kept taking class as long as I was having fun. Started performing because it seemed like fun. I only started to aspire for a professional career because it seemed like fun! Getting paid to do what you would pay to do? Nothing whatsoever wrong with that! So, if you think it's too late to take your first ballet class, YOU'RE WRONG! Just have realistic expectations and brace yourself for some GREAT FUN in CCDC ballet classes! (Let that be a reminder to you long-time students as well!o) And, hope it's not the last time we see Ming-Mingz older bro'!

    03.05.2012: Eek! GLEEkz! It's Rachel's Mom!o)

    Hey, fellow GLEEkz! The singer/dancer/actress who plays Rachel's biological mother is coming to town!o):
    (Capital City) – Tony Award-winning actress, singer and songwriter Idina Menzel, star of the original Broadway productions of Wicked and Rent, will be performing her brand new live show in her very first appearance at the DsM Civic Center on Friday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for Civic Center Members and Willis Broadway Series Season Ticket Holders go on sale on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center Ticket Office and online at

    Garnering huge critical acclaim, Menzel reached superstardom on Broadway with her Tony Award-winning performance as Elphaba, the misunderstood green girl, in the blockbuster Wicked and in her Tony-nominated role as Maureen in the revolutionary Rent. This season, Menzel reprised her role on “Glee,” FOX’s smash hit television series, as Shelby Corcoran, Rachel’s biological mother.

    “I am so thrilled to be going back on tour this summer. I am eager to reconnect with my audience, perform my favorite songs and explore some exciting new material,” said Menzel.

    Menzel’s film credits include Disney’s romantic fable, Enchanted where she appeared opposite Susan Sarandon, Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams; Rent, in which she reprised her role as Maureen; and a co-starring role in Robert Towne’s Ask the Dust, opposite Selma Hayek and Colin Farrell.

    For more information, please visit

    03.02.2012: College Dance

    Dance concert underway at Party Hearty You
    UI Dancers in Company launches 2012 season March 1-3

    Dancers in Company, the University of Iowa Dance Department's touring repertory company, will kick off its 2012 season — its 28th — with a "home concert" at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 1-3, in Space/Place Theatre of UI North Hall.

    The company will also perform an hour of excerpts from the repertory in a free public Arts Share/Community Foundation of Johnson County concert for families at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, also at the Space/Place Theatre.

    The home concert will feature the restaging of Shortcut to My Friend by international choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo and the return of Clébio Oliveria’s The fantastic escape of a little buffalo. In addition, the event marks the world premieres of new pieces by UI faculty choreographers Alan Sener, Armando Duarte, Deanna Carter and Eloy Barragán.

    A native of Madrid, Alejandro Cerrudo trained at the Real Conservatorio Professional de Danza de Madrid. He has danced with Victor Ullate Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, and since 2005, with Hubbard Street Dance of Chicago. He became the Hubbard’s first Resident Choreographer in 2009. His works have been performed in the U.S., Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia.

    A Brazilian now living in Germany, Clébio Oliveira graduated from UniverCidade da Cidade, in Rio de Janeiro. He danced for four years for Deborah Colker’s Dance Company. As a choreographer, he has won more than fifteen prizes as best choreographer and dancer in different festivals in Brazil. Arts Share and the Dance Department are units of the UI Division of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Tickets may be purchased through the Hancher Box Office. Tickets are $12 general admission, $6 seniors/youth, and $5 for UI students (with valid ID). The Hancher Box Office, located on the first floor of the south end of the Old Capitol Town Center near the parking ramp, is open for phone (319-335-1160 or 800-HANCHER) or walk-up business from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Tickets may be ordered online. Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at the Iowa Memorial Union..."

    03.01.2012: Mural@Museum

    A seminal piece of art history coming to the Capital City:
    (February 2012) From April 5 – July 15, 2012, the DsM Art Center will exhibit American abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock’s 1943 groundbreaking painting, Mural. On loan from the University of Iowa Museum of Art, Mural has been said to be one of the most important modern American paintings.

    Jackson Pollock is considered by many art historians to be the quintessential American artist. He was a founding member of Abstract Expressionism, the movement that established the United States, and specifically New York City, as the center of Western culture after World War II. In 1947, the art critic Clement Greenberg called Pollock the “most powerful painter in contemporary America.” This is the painting that helped establish his career.

    The art dealer and patron Peggy Guggenheim gave Mural to the University of Iowa in 1951, in part as a response to the extraordinary work being accomplished by the art department at the University. Guggenheim had commissioned Pollock to create the painting to fill the entrance hall of her East Side New York City townhouse in 1943. In doing so, Pollock merged a myriad of sources and life experiences. He drew from his teacher, the Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton, as well as the art of Mexican muralists, such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and channeled the expansiveness of the American West. Here, Pollock redefined the possibilities of painting with an energy and inventiveness that were distinctly American.

    The DsM ArtCenter, located at 4700 Grand Avenue, offers FREE admission daily. The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 11 am – 4 pm; Thursday, 11 am – 9 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm; and Sunday, Noon – 4 pm; closed Monday.

    02.29.2012: Flash Dance

    More details on that coming national flash mob:
    "...National Dance Week Foundation's First Flash Mob!

    As part of its campaign to "celebrate dance and promote fun fitness," the National Dance Week Foundation (NDW) announces its first-ever Flash Mob, featuring a routine created by celebrity dancer and choreographer Geo Hubela. The foundation is encouraging anyone and everyone to initiate flash mobs across the country on Saturday, April 21, utilizing Hubela's routine.

    According to Hubela, "It's vital in today's world to get people, especially children, up and active with movement."

    That's why, he says, he is proud to be a representative for National Dance Week, a non-profit organization founded in 1981 to celebrate and gain recognition for the contributions of dance to our society. It's also why he has taken time out of his busy schedule to create the original choreography posted on NDW's website, as well as Facebook and YouTube, and make it available free of charge to anyone who wants to organize a flash mob.

    The country-wide group dance event is just a part of a week of activities from April 20th through 29th designed to bring mainstream exposure to dance as well as promote health awareness. Dance schools as well as organizations and individuals from around the country are encouraged to reach out to their communities to bring attention to the importance of exercise, and encourage physical activity to combat what many experts refer to as an "obesity epidemic." And dance is a great way to accomplish that.

    "So many of us spend too much time being sedentary, just sitting in front of the computer or television," Hubela points out. "National Dance Week's Flash Mob and other activities are designed to get people together with physical interaction that gets the blood flowing!"

    Hubela stresses that the most important thing for NDW's Flash Mob to succeed in its mission to "celebrate dance and promote fun fitness" is for everyone to practice the choreography and just participate.

    "Whenever I do a flash mob, the thing I see most are the smiles," he jokes. "You know it's fun and it feels good--so why not do it?"

    For more information about NDW's Flash Mob and other events, please visit, email them at, or call 888-267-4079..."

    02.28.2012: Lone Star Bound

    Well, apparently there's only one proud mama who reads CCDC News 'n' Notes that's bothered to respond to a request for information on summer acceptances. Here's her update on what Rocky Neulenfurter's been up to:
    "...ABT – full tuition scholarship
    Kirov – accepted (but they have lost their funding so I am not sure if this is why they did not offer him a scholarship or not; they did offer him one in the past)
    Milwaukee – full scholarship (tuition, room and board) with the request to come audition for MBII/company when he graduates (Men’s Level A)
    SAB – full tuition scholarship
    San Francisco – half tuition scholarship (Level 6 in the 3 week program) they did not even have any dorms left available....... but at least he was accepted, right?
    Boston – full scholarship (tuition, room and board) with an invitation to attend their year round program
    PNB – full tuition scholarship with wait list for room and board scholarship (the adjudicators wanted to give him room and board, but when they went back to Seattle they could not get them to give him one because he was so young, but he is on the wait list so if someone older turns theirs down then they will pass it on to him....... (He did get placed in the highest level which is Men’s Level VII/VII)
    Houston – full scholarship (tuition, room and board) where they worked with him privately for 5 minutes or so immediately after the audition and called personally to follow up on his scholarship offer at the audition. (He was placed in Men’s Level 7 out of 8 so he will have room to grow.....)

    and the winner is........ Houston. He will be attending the 6 week program in Houston and both Houston and (Rocky) have expressed how excited they are for the opportunity to work together.......

    (I will get you the girls' results later.....)..."

    02.27.2012: Testosterone En Pointe!o)

    CCDC male alumni! Didn't make it into Trocks? Here's another unusual opportunity:
    "...Men On Pointe is seeking male dancers to dance en pointe.

    We will be teaming with members of Guangdong Acrobats, Great Chinese Circus, in Artistic Director Brian Norris' production of Swan Lake for a Malaysian tour this summer. If you are a professional male dancer with advanced ballet technique we'd love to hear from you.

    Requirements: Be available May 21 to July 16 and have a valid U.S. passport. There are no height restrictions.

    To apply: Send resume and dance footage to or

    Cooper Station
    P.O. Box 97
    New York, NY 10276
    For more: Contact us at 646-360-2515 or"
    ...The deadline has just passed, but, how many applicants can there be?

    02.24.2012: Lunch Bunch

    Whee, get feedback from this post:
    "...I was hoping you could help us get the word out about Co’Motion Dance performing at The Temple Theatre, (today), Feb. 24 from Noon – 1 p.m. Co’Motion Dance will be performing as a part of an 8-week entertainment series called Lunch Unplugged. To find out more information about the series and to buy tickets, go to"
    ...And, on Wed, 22 Feb 2012 11:00:46 -0600, Mamavarius wrote:
    "...What do you know about this/them? Are they worth changing my lunch plan?"
    ...Sent her back this:
    "...Now, the answer in the form of a blog-post:

    Just generically, for any dance performance, the answer is "YES, OF COURSE, YOU SHOULD GO!" Now, specifically, in this case, your answer is: it depends.

    Valerie Williams is a modern, post-contemporary choreographer. Don't go expecting to see classical ballet. Go if you want to see an intelligent, creative, experienced dance designer who pushes the boundaries on a local and regional level. I'm not sure who her dancers will be, but, you could reasonably expect to see college-level dancers or some of the more seasoned professional or former professionals who work around the metro-area.

    This won't be on the level of Diavolo or any of the rest of the dance series you'd see at the Civic Center. This should be a step up from the Modern C students you see at the end of the year during the CCDC Spring Showcase.

    Here's a link to the only thing I could find of the choreographer during a fast search on YouTube.

    I'm sure she's on FB as well.

    A lot depends on how receptive you are to regional post-modern dance. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

    ...that didn't help at all, did it?

    Have a gr8 day!o)

    02.23.2012: Intensive Intentions

    Congrats to all the CCDC students who've been accepted to national summer dance intensives for later this year! If you drop me a note, I'm compiling a list to properly recognize your accomplishments. Please note any scholarship or placement level notifications. (I know some of you have been very good about this, just assume I've misplaced or accidentally deleted your mentions!o) But, now, for some of you, comes decision time! If you've been accepted to more than one place, how do you make your decision on where to go? Well, consulting with your teachers is always a good idea. There's a certain hierarchy of prestige and reputation with different programs. For example, when I was in the company, my ballet mistress told me any resumes that they got from dancers who'd attended SAB (School of American Ballet) was automatically put in the "invite to audition" pile. I'm sure there are other schools with similar national cachet: San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet come to mind, but, SAB is still the "king of the hill". Just below that level would be Kirov, Atlanta, Houston, PNB, etc. Everyone else fits in somewhere below those intensives. But, the goal is to widen your dance horizons, expose yourself to national competition and teachers with national reputations, get some recognition for your future resume, become a better, more well-rounded dancer...and make friends and have fun! Here's my suggestion: we have a lot of CCDC dancers and alumni who've been to many national summer intensives. All the schools previously mentioned and more, for example. You can talk or correspond with a CCDC student who's been at SFB and compare it to PNB or Atlanta. This could help you make a more informed decision. Need help finding someone? Talk to your CCDC ballet teachers. Also remember: Don't be afraid to take a chance! Get outta your comfort zone! "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived!" And congrats and merde for the CCDC summer intensive and wherever else you go this summer!o)

    02.22.2012: Attention! Chinese Checkerz!

    Never mind, Linn-sanity! All you CCDC alumnus matriculating at Party Hearty You might wanna stagger outta the bunk Saturday afternoon!o) and check this out:
    "...Chinese performing arts troupe to present free concert Feb. 25

    The East China Normal University Performing Arts Troupe will present a free concert Saturday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m. in First United Methodist Church of Iowa City, 214 East Jefferson St. This event is open to the public.

    The 27-member performing arts troupe from Shanghai, China, features folk dancing of Dai Minority and Uygher Minority, Tang and Han dynasty dance, Dunhuang dance, Sichuan opera, singing, and various instruments including the lute, erhu, flute, and piano.

    The event is sponsored by the UI Confucius Institute in International Programs, East China Normal University, and Hanban.

    For more information, contact Erin Mullins..."

    02.21.2012: Katsup On Koi!

    Rumors of her death have been greatly exaggerated!o):
    "... I wish everyone the best in audition season...Here's the survey you asked for...
    1-How many dance classes are you taking nowadays? Any ballet? How do they compare to what you're used to getting at CCDC?
    I am taking a ballet class this semester and I took a modern class last semester. I am also a member of Companydance, the modern based dance company at my school. Ballet is fairly similar to the training at CCDC, not quite as rigorous, but still technical enough that I enjoy it!
    2-What's the main difference between dancing in college and dancing in high school?
    The biggest difference for me is the time commitment. Instead of dancing everyday, I only have class twice a week, making it your responsibility to keep yourself in the best shape. There is also a major variation of training in every class I've taken; some people are very superbly trained and others.... not so much. However, I feel my teachers have done a really good job at accessing everyone on the level they came in to the class, as opposed to some generic standard.
    3-How many guys are in your dance classes? Anyone any good?
    There are no guys in my ballet class :( But there were 2 in my modern class. One was pretty good, very athletic and has really long arms. The other, well, lets just say he's very passionate about dancing!
    4-What aspect of your CCDC training helps you the most with what you're doing now? What aspect do you disregard nowadays?
    What I have found to be the most beneficial is not only reserved for the studio. The best aspect of CCDC's training is teaching students how to take constructive criticism and really apply to make yourself better. This is so useful in all parts of college school work, and professors really respect students who are consciously trying to improve by taking their notes to heart. I can't really think of any aspect I disregard now.... CCDC is excellent at getting its students prepared to train anywhere!
    5-What's the best advice you could give to anyone following in your footsteps from CCDC? What's your message to anyone still dancing in high school?
    Don't think you can't dance in college! Even if you don't want to be a dance major, there are so many schools with a wide variety of options that will allow you to keep pursuing your passion. Do some research and see what they have out there!

    For high school dancers: try and appreciate the juggling act you are already doing between school, dance, homework, social time, and, oh yeah, sleeping. It will not go away in college! However, if you develop a strong sense of priorities, you won't be so shell shocked when you get to college.

    6-Seen any memorable dance performances recently? What's the best thing you've seen where you are now? The worst?
    I was actually in a student choreographed piece in December, which was really amazing. The student had to collaborate with a music major who would compose the piece to match the dancer's vision. The piece was sort of like this dark, pent up aggression that was always on the verge of exploding out of you, and she did an incredible job of choreographing! We got to perform with live musicians from our school, which is also one of my favorite parts of St. Olaf; every class has an accompanist.

    the worst was another student's senior project... not all good dancers make good choreographers...

    7-What do you miss most about CCDC? What do you miss least? (Responses may be edited, especially if they mention bad jokes and over-use of nicknames!o)
    I definitely miss EVERYONE at CCDC the most! It's hard at first adjusting to a new dance environment where you aren't already comfortable with your dancer family. And though I do have a great group of dancer friends, there's no one here to call me Koi McCutie or poke me in the stomach.... wait maybe that's not a bad thing :)
    Thanks for sending this to me and keeping me informed on the studio! I miss you all sooo much!

    (Koi McKewtie)..."

    02.20.2012: Devil-May-Care Dance Company

    Here's my review of what we went to Saturday night after rehearsal:
    Diavolo Review

    There are stand-up comics and there are prop comics. Back when I was doing stand-up comedy (You think ballet is hard, try just you, a spotlight, a microphone and a belligerent audience!), the low order of the comedy totem pole were the so-called prop comics. (Carrot-top, I'm looking at you!) Now, I'm not saying it doesn't take some effort to hold up something and say funny things about it, but, it doesn't earn you a lot of respect on the comedy circuit.

    Choreographers who use props are generally thought of as lazy as well. (Never mind that spoken words and dancing in the audience hasn't been overused almost as much!) But, that wasn't the case this past Saturday night...(And, this is where the review really starts so I'm not accused of burying the lead...)

    A rollicking (actually rocking-and-rolling) good start to the 2012 Dance Series at the DsM Civic Center Saturday night. A nearly capacity crowd was treated to a post-modern tour de force with L-A's Diavolo Dance Theater. The ten-member troupe was clever, creative and dangerously inventive in five prop-based dance numbers. Anyone who thinks prop-based choreography is the last refuge of the incompetent hasn't seen Diavolo's diabolical creations! The program lists "all choreography by the company, under the direction of Jacques Heim". And, it must've been a brain-storming bash coming up with some of the sequences unleashed by the company on an unsuspecting audience!

    One number resembles nothing less than a human-sized pachinko machine, that Japanese gambling device with silver balls bouncing and ricocheting through a board of metal spikes. Another piece used an actual door as metaphor for a couple to perform under, over, through and around. A humorous battle over a bench turned out to be quite an athletic competition. And, an enormous juggernaut of a wheel served as a rolling jungle gym that served as equipment for the obviously gymnastic and acrobatically trained performers. (One of Heim's credits include a Cirque de Soleil show.)

    But, the high point of the evening was Trajectoire after the intermission. Program notes describe it as set on "an abstract twenty-first century galleon". But, it's basically a dance floor/gymnastics apparatus set on top of a half-pipe. This is where the rocking and rolling amplified traditional dance moves into an entirely different dimension. How often have you seen a stage tilt and the dancer slide to express a different movement as metaphor? The over-sized prop here served as launching point, actually and figuratively. Trajectoire did launch some dancers to diabolical new heights in trajectory, prompting gasps and applause from the appreciative audience. Fortunately, there were always other dancers there to catch them. Now, one could quibble with the choreography's intent to "depict the transcendence of the human soul against all odds" as it states in the program notes. To me, it resembled dolphins at play and had that intelligent, visceral beauty of movement amplified by applied physics and physiques. Find out more on FaceBook, Twitter or at WWW.Diavolo.Org.

    Diavolo Dance Theater threw down a huge gauntlet in the opening of the 2012 Dance Series. Tough act to follow for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and their production of Moulin Rouge in March and Parsons Dance in April, but, the audience will be the ultimate winners in this dance competition. Tickets still available.

    Here's a sampler of what you missed if you weren't there this weekend:

    02.17.2012: Performance Possibility

    Enter this local performance on your calendar app...and help spread the word:
    "...I was hoping you could help us get the word out about Co’Motion Dance performing at The Temple Theatre, next Friday, Feb. 24 from Noon – 1 p.m. Co’Motion Dance will be performing as a part of an 8-week entertainment series called Lunch Unplugged. To find out more information about the series and to buy tickets, go to"
    ...and, the choreographer is hiring dancers. Check it out here. There is pay.

    02.16.2012: Pina-ccle of Achievement

    Local modern dance community weighs in on the documentary about German Choreographer Pina Bausch:
    "...Gorgeous dancing! The film is poetic, passionate, inspiring, compelling. I loved seeing mature artists.
    Her work has always spoken to me, but it really lives in this movie.
    A beautifully filmed and touching homage to Pina. This is what 3d should be.

    I want to dance..."

    "...Go see Pina!

    It is up for an academy award for best documentarty about Pina Bausch.
    It's in 3D. It is playing at Jordan Creek until at least Thursday.
    You can't miss it. Spread the word.

    (The four of us) had the theater to ourselves yesterday..."

    ...Reminds me of the time I went to see a ballet movie and I and a friend were the only ones in the place! Support dance! If you're not dancing yourself, make time to see the movie. Otherwise, films won't get made and, if they do, they won't show here!

    02.15.2012: Message Inna Bottle

    Prepare to faint dead away CCDC students! Guess who's NOT dead? Guess who remembers us? Guess who actually writez!o)
    "...Hey...remember me?! I feel like it has been forever since i've been back to CCDC, which makes me really depressed! I miss you all so very much!

    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I started my first college ballet class today. They put me in the highest level (III), and I am surprisingly impressed by the credibility of the class. Maybe I'm already just extremely out of shape ( which is very, VERY likely) but the class really kicked my butt! I don't think I've taken that long of a break from class since I can't remember when!

    So now I'm beginning the processes of regaining my technique, strength, and of course holding my middle... Hopefully now when I come back and take class, it won't be quite as embarrassing with how out of CCDC shape I've become!

    I hope everything is going well at the studio and with Giselle rehearsals! I can't wait to come back and creep, but I don't think I'll be home until March? Thank you for all you taught me!

    (Koi McKewtie)..."

    ...and we sent along a copy of that alumni survey I've been meaning to disseminate. So, hopefully, we'll hear more from our coy McKewtie soon.

    02.14.2012: Costume Conversation

    Grateful CCDC parent sends in this valentine:
    "...Just wanted to thank you for another year of appropriate, cute, affordable costumes! (Especially appreciate the same pants for many of the "B" classes.) And where else can you let your daughter dance hip hop without cringing at the costumes and/or too sexy moves? Thank you, CCDC..."
    ...And, THANK YOU for taking the time to let us know when you think we're doing a good job! I know a lot of work goes on behind the scenes into choosing that appropriate costume selection. And, if you've never been to another typical local dance school's recital, you might wanna go to compare what's going on. Some of the costumes and some of the dance moves at other studios remind me too much of a mix of Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms and, even a little Jersey Shore! That's not even mentioning the lack of real dance technique in favor of dance "tricks"! Okay, don't get me started. (...Can't stop: One co-worker complains bitterly about the cost of the costumes he pays for his daughter every year at another studio. He compares it to "buying her dance teacher a small car" every year!)

    02.13.2012: If You Like Pina...

    I'd been looking for a good review of this movie since it's in the Capital City area and, lo and behold! CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Instructor Kathleen Hurley sends this feedback along. (Always prefer personal accounts! If you ever see some dance-related performances, send your reactions along!):
    "...You all HAVE TO see the movie PINA about German choreographer Pina Bausch that is playing RIGHT NOW at the Jordan Creek Cinema in 3D!! It's a really incredible film and in the 3D it feels like you are interacting with the dancers. Really really amazing and such an historic part of dance history. I am going to tell all my students to see it too. Not sure how long it is playing.

    Here's the trailer if you haven't already seen it.


    ...and, if Mao's Last Dancer is any indicator, you better go see this film quickly. Serious dance movies seem to flicker by like mayflies in winter!

    02.10.2012: Tiempo Para T.G.I.Fiesta

    If you're not already taking class at CCDC, Friday night dancing:
    CAPITAL CITY, IA (January 2012) – On Friday, February 10, 5 – 8 pm, the The Art Center and Salsa Des Moines will pair up to celebrate the start of the weekend with group Latin dance lessons in the lobby of the Art Center. Participants will enjoy the spicy flare of salsa, merengue, cha cha, and bachatta dance while sampling foods that bring their own heat. A sparkling wine sampling will also be included. Cash bar; complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Admission $10; members $5.

    New exhibitions Delicacies and Sideshow: Artists and the Circus will also open February 10..."

    02.09.2012: Post-FLOTUS Frenzy

    This story filed by pool reporter Mark Landler of the New York Times:
    (CCDC Newservice) First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off a three-day, four-state trip to mark the second anniversary of her signature initiative to reduce childhood obesity by promoting healthier eating and more active lifestyles.

    Her first stop was at the Wells Fargo Arena, where 14,000 kids helped FLOTUS celebrate the anniversary at a giant pep rally that featured speeches from sports celebrities like figure skater Michelle Kwan and Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson (a West Des Moines native). Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary and former Iowa governor, warmed up the crowd, before turning it over to local celebrities like Coach Fred Hoiberg of Iowa State University.

    The kids waved towels and placards that read "Get Movin.'"Before the first lady spoke, the crowd was treated to testimonials of kids living a healthier lifestyle. "We're going to drink milk!" said one boy. "We're going to eat fruits and vegetables!" said another.

    Katelyn Epperly, an American Idol top eight finalist, sang Coldplay's "The Scientist," while the kids waved glowing iPhones. Gov. Terry Branstad (R) then took the stage to proclaim today "Let's Move Day" in Iowa, which has set a goal of being the healthiest state in the nation by 2016, as measured by a Gallup poll (it is currently 16th).

    FLOTUS appeared at 11:15 to thunderous applause from the kids. "This is so cool!" she said. "Happy Birthday, let's move!" Mrs. Obama heaped praise on Iowa for being at the vanguard of the movement to be healthier. "I'm proud that you guys are eating your fruits and vegetables," she said, "I'm proud that you guys are walking to school instead of taking the bus."

    "We want every state in the country to do exactly what Iowa is doing," she said.FLOTUS described all the things she has done in the past two years to promote the initiative: hula hooping, flag football, dancing, jumping jacks. Mrs. Obama also said POTUS believed in physical fitness, working out nearly every morning before going to the Oval Office.

    (While FLOTUS was speaking, two boys sat down on the floor in the area in front of the stage. An adult nearby told them to get up and "show some respect.")

    FLOTUS then led the entire stadium in the "Interlude Dance." The kids and FLOTUS were very into it; Govs. Vilsack and Branstad, slightly less so. Afterward, a giant birthday cake made of oranges, bananas, and other fruit, was unveiled on the stage. After singing "Happy Birthday," confetti and balloons showered from the rafters, sending the young audience into a frenzy.

    On the way out, your pooler spoke to Grant Sheeler, 13, of Des Moines, who said he was going to take Mrs. Obama's message to heart and start doing 50 pushups every morning.

    FLOTUS is taping an interview with "Access Hollywood," after which she is leaving for Little Rock, Ark for an event built around healthier diets in the military.

    ...Not enough movement in your or your child's life? Consider enrolling in CCDC!o)
    Here's a copy of FLOTUS speech:
    REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AT "LET’S MOVE" DAY Wells Fargo Arena 11:17 A.M. CST MRS. OBAMA: This is so cool. Hey! (Applause.) Well, hello, everybody! It’s great to be here in Iowa! (Applause.) Happy birthday "Let’s Move!" Happy "Let’s Move" Day! This is terrific. (Applause.) Wow. I hear you guys have been having some fun, is that right?

    AUDIENCE: Yes!

    MRS. OBAMA: Good stuff. You’ve got a lot of energy because you all are eating your vegetables and exercising. This is terrific.

    Well, let me start by thanking the Governor for all that he’s done to make this day possible. I also want to thank Secretary Vilsack. I want to thank Mayor Cownie. I want to thank Coach Hoiberg, who has also done a lot for this day. And all the folks -- because there were so many people who helped make today possible. I want to thank everyone. But most of all, I want to thank all of you amazing, amazing young people for being here. Wow! (Applause.)

    This is so cool, isn’t it? (Applause.) This is a huge day. It is a huge day. We are celebrating the second anniversary of "Let’s Move." And we could have had this party anywhere in the country, right? We could have gone anywhere, but there is a reason why we wanted to come here to Iowa to be with all of you. (Applause.) And that’s because I am so proud of what you all are doing to make Iowa the healthiest state in this country by 2016.

    I am proud that you guys are starting community gardens, that you’re eating your fruits and vegetables. I’m proud that you guys are walking to school instead of taking the bus. I’m proud that you’re working hard to get that 60 minutes of activity a day, every day. I’m also proud of your government, and businesses like Hy-Vee, and community leaders across the state who are all coming together to help you guys get healthy, to keep moving.

    This is exactly what "Let’s Move" is all about. We want every single state in this country to do exactly what Iowa is doing. (Applause.) And so you guys are the model -- you are the model of what every state should be doing. So we’re working to make that happen. We’re working to get healthier food into your school breakfasts and lunches, as well as into restaurants and on grocery store shelves.

    We’ve invited folks like LeBron James, and Drew Brees, and Carl Edwards. (Applause.) We had the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team -- all of them have come to the White House to inspire kids just like you to get up and get active.

    And as you saw from that video, right, I’ve gotten active myself. I have hula-hooped, I’ve played flag football, I got to dance to Beyoncé, do a little "Dougie" in a flash mob -- that was so cool. I even joined kids across the country to help break the world record for people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period.

    And we actually did it. We blew the record out of the water. It was so much fun. So I have been having such a great time on this initiative, and it sounds like you all have been having a little fun, too, right? (Applause.) That is good. Because getting healthy is about having fun. And while we’re out there eating our good food and having a good time, it’s important to know that we’re not just making our bodies stronger, but we are making our minds sharper, too. And that is really key.

    I mean, you all probably already know that when you eat healthy foods instead of chips and candy, you feel better and you have more energy. You can run faster, you can play longer, you can perform better out on the basketball court or the soccer field.

    But did you know that exercises like running and hiking can actually help your brain work better, too? Did you know that?


    MRS. OBAMA: Well, believe it or not, if you eat healthy food, you’re actually more likely to pass your tests and to get good grades in school. It is absolutely true. Because being active and eating healthy are a big part of reaching all of your goals, both on the playing field and in the classroom. That’s why this is so important. This is so important for you all.

    So just look at some of your role models -- basketball players like Grant Hill. I mean, long before he was a seven-time NBA all-star or an Olympic gold medalist, he was just a kid like many of you, always outside playing soccer or basketball with his friends. And as he says -- and this is his quote -- he says, "Instead of playing" -- "Instead of staying home alone on the couch," he wants you to be outside having fun.

    Or take Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan -- you guys met Michelle earlier, right? (Applause.) She said that when she was a teenager, she stopped eating so much junk food, and as a result her skating improved immediately -- immediately. And today, what she says is, "If you don’t eat right, you don’t perform well." Plain and simple.

    And that’s true for me as well. I mean, one thing I know is that when I exercise and I eat right, I always feel better, and I always have more energy. And my husband is the same way, too. You heard of my husband, right? That guy, the President? (Applause.) Well, it’s important for you all to know that he works out at the gym almost every day before he heads to the Oval Office. Every day. That’s right -- the President of the United States exercises almost every day. So if the President of the United States can do it, we can all do it. And he plays basketball with his friends whenever he can.

    But let’s be clear, you do not have to be the President of the United States, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to make exercise a regular part of your life. You don’t even have to play a sport. I mean, this is important, because a lot of kids think they have to be athletes to keep moving, but you don’t. You can just turn on the radio and dance until you sweat. You can take a walk, you can ride a bike after school instead of sitting in front of the computer. You can just get a bunch of friends together and do the "interlude dance" or throw a Frisbee or play capture the flag.

    When it comes to eating right and exercising, you guys, it’s important for you to know that all of you are old enough -- you’re at an age where you can make good choices for yourselves in your lives. You guys are in the position to do that now. You’re already starting to decide so much about your lives, right? You don’t want your mother telling you what clothes to wear or who to hang out with, right? You guys are making those decisions about what clubs and sports you’re going to join, right? So you can also choose to eat healthier. That’s your decision. You can make the choice to be more active in your lives.

    And in fact, that’s what young people just like you are doing every day all across this state. For example, at Indianola Middle School -- (applause) -- there they are! You know what they’re doing there? Students have joined their school’s nutrition and wellness committee, so they’re helping to design and launch programs like healthy grab-and-go breakfasts, and they have open gym time at their school. Way to go, you guys! (Applause.) And at South Winneshiek High School -- we have any South Winneshiek High School people here? (Applause.) They organized a 5K fun run. And then, at Westridge Elementary School in West Des Moines -- (applause) -- Westridge, are you guys here? (Applause.) Students there are wearing pedometers to track how far they’ve walked. And today, they’ve walked more than 33,000 miles. Very cool. (Applause.)

    So today, I want to challenge all of you -- all of you here to be leaders just like that in your own schools, in your own communities. I want you guys to take the lead. I want you to think about ways that you can get your friends and your classes and your classmates involved. You can do anything, from starting a school garden club; you can organize hikes or weekend basketball tournaments over the summer. You can start a committee to make healthy recommendations for your school lunches or for your vending machines.

    But the thing that is important to know: If you all start doing this, if you make the decision to be healthier, you’re going to not just make your school and your community healthier, but you’re going to help to make the entire state healthy.

    And all you have to do is get to work. And you all are doing such a great job. You’ve gotten off to such a great start. But I know that we have a lot more work to do. We have a lot more work ahead if we’re going to make Iowa -- and all our states -- the healthiest that they can be. It’s going to take every one of us working together to achieve that goal, and we’re going to need all of you. Again, that’s why we wanted you to come. We’re going to need all of you to help lead the way.

    So my last question for you guys is, are you ready to do that?

    AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)

    MRS. OBAMA: Wait, I can’t hear you. Are you ready to do that?

    AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)

    MRS. OBAMA: Well, all right! Then "Let’s Move!" (Applause.)

    END 11:29 A.M. CST

    02.09.2012: Let's MOVE!o)

    "Mama Obama" in town today:
    "(Capital City News) First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off her three day national tour in the Capital City, to highlight the Healthiest State Initiative, a private-public partnership launched in August by Governor Terry Branstad and other government and business leaders to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016. More than 10,000 children grades 6 - 9 from Iowa schools will fill Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines to participate in a high-energy, interactive celebration of the Let’s Move! anniversary, hosted by Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative.

    Mrs. Obama will be joined by former Iowa Governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Iowa Governor Branstad, as well as NASCAR racing champion and member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Carl Edwards, Olympic figure skating champion and member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Michelle Kwan (who was recently inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame), Olympic champion gymnast Shawn Johnson, 2011 WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings, Health and Fitness Expert Bob Harper, and Iowa State University Basketball coach and former NBA player Fred Hoiberg – who are all committed to helping kids embrace good health, nutrition and physical fitness. Governor Branstad will sign a proclamation establishing February 9 as “Let’s Move! Day in Iowa” to celebrate the second anniversary.

    Local Iowan performers will also be on hand to celebrate Let’s Move! Day, including the Norwalk Show Choir, SE Polk High School Kick Team, Valley High School Competition Cheerleaders, Valley High School a cappella singing group, Storm Chasers Cheerleaders, Iowa Skippers, Waukee acappella singing group, University of Iowa Breakers, American Idol’s Katelyn Epperly, Isiserettes and the UNI Interlude creators. The Healthiest State Initiative will provide student attendees with a water bottle, jump rope, fruit and a healthy lunch.

    This event will begin at 10 AM CT and the First Lady’s remarks will begin at approximately 11:15 AM CT..."

    ...And, BTW, I would be remiss if I didn't mention CCDC dance classes are a GREAT antidote to the youth obesity epidemic! Don't you know someone who should be dancing?

    02.08.2012: Performance Post

    This looks like it'll be perfect for grandparents to take their little CCDC dancers to:
    "...Public Performances:
    Feb. 17-Mar. 4, 2012

    Stuart Little is a mouse born into a family of humans. Shy and thoughtful, Stuart is also a lover of adventure. When his friend, the bird Margalo, disappears, this heroic mouse travels in search of her..."

    ...More info here.

    02.07.2012: Audition Action

    Casting call going out for dancer/actress/ballerinas! Hopefully this project doesn't turn into Dance Momz inna tutu!o)
    "...Dark Toy Entertainment and ABC Family is producing a new one-hour scripted drama called "Bunheads", and casting calls have gone out to Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and also Canada. The producers are seeking a variety of teen girls who have strong Ballet Experience. They prefer girls who are 18 and above who can play 14 - 17 years of age, or girls under 18 who are emancipated, but it is not absolutely required. When submitting, please specify if you have the ability to dance on pointe, as several roles require this ability. They want girls with a small-town attitude. Shooting begins mid-November in Los Angeles..."
    ...Don't know how dated this post is, but..."small-town attitude"? That's YOU, isn't it!o) Here's the link to the original blogpost. And, here's another article.

    02.06.2012: Grand Prix, Part Deux

    I guess we are living in the future! This weekend I started off my Saturday morning by live-streaming the finals of the 2012 Prix de Lausanne...from SWITZERLAND!oD) (That's the annual international "Super Bowl" of youth ballet competitions to the uninitiated). Fascinating as a former dancer and current teacher/choreographer to watch! But, just the technology involved boggles the mind! HD video feed translated into code and webstreamed around the world and decoded onto the computer on my kitchen table! This is the first time I was able to see at what level some of the best young dancers in the world are able to perform. I saw prodigious potential with little flaws that betrayed their immaturity and youth. I went into class that day and challenged the most serious CCDC dancers to compare themselves to an international standard. Aim to be world-class, I told them! To be the best, compete with the best! If you don't make it, at least you tried! One thing I know, if you don't even make the attempt, you definitely won't achieve that goal! So, here's the video: (Watch it and think, "Why not me?")

    02.03.2012: Grand Prix

    Finals, 8am local time tomorrow morning:
    "...Created in 1973, the Prix de Lausanne is an annual international competition for young dancers aged 15 to 18. Its goal is to discover, promote and support the world’s finest young talents. 65 of the world’s most prestigious dance schools and companies, such as the Royal Ballet School of London, the School of American Ballet in New York, and the Béjart Ballet Lausanne, are associated with the Prix de Lausanne and support its activities.

    One of a kind, the Prix de Lausanne represents an exceptional platform for discovering youthful talents and is open to dance professionals who can observe and establish contacts with the candidates, thereby transforming Lausanne into the world’s capital for young dancers during the week of the competition...."

    ...Here's the link for streaming video.

    ...Participation in the Prix can mean opportunities even if you don't go to the finals:

    "...Organised during the competition week, the Networking Forum gives the candidates who are not selected for the Finals an opportunity to be seen by schools and company directors from all around the world.

    Following an audition class, meetings are organised for Prix de Lausanne Partner School and Company Directors who are interested in making an offer to one or more candidates. Meetings with finalists who do not receive a prize are also arranged after the prize-giving ceremony.

    In 2011, twenty-six Prix de Lausanne Partner Institutions watched the audition class and had a meeting with thirty-five candidates who received one or more offers during those meetings, most of which were scholarships. As far as the Prix de Lausanne is informed, seventeen young dancers decided to take the opportunity to study abroad in a new institution, thanks to the Networking Forum..."

    Here's one family's testimonial:
    "...We came to Lausanne for the 2009 event and we had a spectacular time with all the family, and our daughter, Claudia Dean had a memorable experience too! Claudia did not go through to the final selection, however she received 7 offers to attend companies/schools from all over the world, including the Royal Ballet School in London.

    In the Networking class for the non-finalist candidates of the Prix de Lausanne, Mr David Peden representing the Royal Ballet School invited Claudia to attend the school. The Director of the RBS, Ms. Gailene Stock AM, later confirmed Claudia’s commencement after winning the Alana Haines Australasian Supreme Award and scholarship to the school from September 2009, and Claudia has never looked back. From her dance beginnings with Carolyn Gilby Dance Centre, a Brisbane ballet school and Prudence Bowen’s Atelier on the Gold Coast to the Royal Ballet School are quite big steps. Claudia is also the recipient of the Genee International’s 2009 Gold Medal and Audience Choice Award.

    Within 2 months of starting 1st year at the Royal Ballet School, Claudia was promoted to 2nd year and successfully completed this in July 2010 culminating with her first Grand Defile performance at the Royal Opera House. Claudia commenced 3rd year (Graduating year) in September 2010, and by December, was the first Royal Ballet School graduate to receive contract offers from 3 world renowned companies, including the Royal Ballet company which she has accepted. Her contract commences in August...

    I simply wanted to share this with you and say many many thanks to the Prix de Lausanne for giving Claudia the start she needed for her professional career. Our family is very appreciative of the opportunity provided by the Prix de Lausanne and we encourage other young aspiring dancers to support your event..."

    ...You can get there from here.

    02.02.2012: The Mormons Are Coming! The Mormons Are Coming!

    Just in time for possible Mitt Romney overload, broadway comes to a theater near you...
    Capital City – The Civic Center announces the National Tour of THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, will play a strictly limited engagement at the Civic Center Thursday, Jan. 24 to Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 as part of the 2012-2013 Willis Broadway Series.

    Tickets for THE BOOK OF MORMON will go on sale next fall. As the Civic Center expects the show to quickly sell out, officials stress that the only way to guarantee seats is by renewing or purchasing Season Tickets for the 2012-2013 Willis Broadway Series. Season Ticket packages are scheduled to go on sale in April. The full line-up of the upcoming 2012-2013 season will be announced Monday, April 2.

    “We are thrilled to present THE BOOK OF MORMON in the first year of its national tour,” said Civic Center President & CEO Jeff Chelesvig. “This is the fastest a major blockbuster has made its way from Broadway to the Civic Center Stage – less than two years. It’s the strength the support of our over 10,000 Season Ticket Holders that has positioned the metro as a top destination for these world-class productions in their first national tours.” For more information about THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Civic Center, visit

    02.01.2012: "Smash" Hit! Or Myth?

    Just finished watching a sneak preview of the premiere of the new NBC television series Smash. You've probably seen the promos on the peacock network, maybe even read some other advance reviews. And, I have to agree with whoever said "this is GLEE for grown-ups!" It's a star-studded cast: Debra Messing, Angelica Huston, E-P Steven Spielberg. It's the classic story of a newbie trying to break in on the great White Way, up for the lead in a new musical about Marilyn Monroe. There's some expert singing and broadway style show choreography. What's not to like? If you're ready to graduate from Rachel, Mister Shoe, Sue Sylvester and the gang at McKinley High, make Smash "must see TV"! Set those DVR's now! Premiere is coming up this Monday after the SuperBowl. (Or you can download a preview like I did from iTunes, DirecTV or on-line!o)

    01.31.2012: Ballet Bowl

    Never mind the NFL! The "super bowl" of young ballet competitions will be held this weekend. You can follow along with all the sites linked below (or our FB page has direct links to photos and video!o):
    "...Prix de Lausanne 2012 - Blog, video and internet live broadcast.

    After the success of the previous years, the Prix de Lausanne is renewing its videoblog experience. Internet aficionados will be able to follow some candidates throughout the competition week, which will provide a different and more intimate view of the candidates’ experience of the Prix de Lausanne here.

    Emilia & Linda, the bloggers from "" will tweet about their experience during the week of the Prix de Lausanne. Follow them through the week of the Prix here.
    The Finals of the Prix de Lausanne 2012 will be broadcast live in high quality on our website on Saturday, February 4th starting at 3pm CET. here.

    This year the live streaming of the Finals will be commented in different languages by four of our former prize winners :

    Name Language Year Current company/position:
    Sylviane Bayard French 1973 Guest teacher, coach and balletmistress, first Prix de Lausanne prize winner
    Monica Zamora Spanish 1989 Teacher, former Principal with the Birmingham Royal Ballet
    Mizuka Ueno Japanese 1993 Principal, Tokyo Ballet Company, Japan
    Hannah O'Neill English 2009 Opéra national de Paris, France
    You will be able to send your questions by email, a selection will be forwarded to the commentators...."
    ...BTW, 3pm Central European Time is 8am Central Time in the U.S. That means you can start live streaming the finals of The Prix this Saturday morning at 8!o)

    01.30.2012: Early Kudoz2All!o)

    Congratulations to all the CCDC students reporting early acceptances, scholarships and room+board offers from nationally-known Summer Dance Intensives! Be sure to jot those down in a note or e-mail once you're done auditioning and I'll be sure to acknowledge those here eventually. (If you don't tell me more than once, don't blame me if you don't get listed!o) Meanwhile, here's a note from a parent who accompanied their dancer to recent audition:
    "..."...When we were leaving the audition a parent said it was obvious that our dancers were friends & that they r very supportive of each other. Gotta love CCDC!..." ..."

    01.27.2012: Search4Art

    Perhaps YOUR opportunity to exclaim, "At last my prints have come!o)":
    CAPITAL CITY (January 2012) This year, The Art Center invites artists living and working in the state to submit original works created from 2008 to the present that utilize print media. Works may include—but are by no means limited to—traditional printmaking media (such as relief, intaglio, lithography, screenprinting and stencil, including photography-based printmaking media, and monotypes). Works may be editioned or unique. Artists also are welcome to submit (for example) typographic works, including printed artist’s books and broadsides; artist’s postcards; printed fabric; digital prints; and mixed media works—including installations and videos—which contain printed elements or refer to printing; embossments; and printing matrices.

    Amy N. Worthen, the Art Center’s curator of prints and drawings, is the exhibition curator. An historian of prints, she is also a working artist. Worthen has organized over 50 exhibitions of works on paper for the Art Center.

    Print will be presented at the Art Center from October 5, 2012 – January 13, 2013.

    For additional information, please contact Laura Burkhalter, associate curator, at

    01.26.2012: Vidz 'r' Us!o)

    It's Video Thursday!o):
    DANG! I know I talk a lot while teaching my ballet classes, but, watch this Russian teacher in Perm! (Wouldn't you love to know what she's saying? Where's Dima when you need him!o)

    ...And, here's an excerpt from BRB's Beauty And The Beast:

    Birmingham Royal Ballet - Beauty and the Beast Act I Ravens from Rob Lindsay on Vimeo.

    ...And, here's some video from a not well-known summer intensive one of our CCDC dancers recently auditioned for...

    ...Here's what your future competition is doing right now half-a-world away...

    ...and here's a link to a glimpse inside another summer intensive several CCDC dancers auditioned for.
    ...Peek inside a Russian pas de deux class:

    01.25.2012: The Plot Quickens

    Three-thousand miles and three years apart, two nationally renowned ballet masters posed the exact same question in a ballet class I was taking. And, because of Nolan Dingman of the Honolulu City Dance Center (Note the resemblance and homage in my current studio's name), I was able to answer Larry Long of Ruth Page's question. So, what was the question, Larry King? It was: "Why is a ballet jump like a short story?" All kinds of answers and tangents flitted through my mind the first time I was asked that. Hmmm...because it should "elevate" you? Because without character development, there's no "lift"? If you can't "turn-out" a good plot-line, you'll fall flat? Was it a joke? Is there a punch-line? No, brise'-breath, it "turns out" the answer is..."A good ballet jump is like a short story because it has a beginning, a middle and an end". A good jump should show all three...a good story should take you from point A through Pointe B to pointe C. (BTW, the beginning and end of every jump is the same: a plie' or a fondu. Leave those out and the "story" of your jump will suffer!o) When the EXACT SAME question surfaced again in Larry Long's class years later, I was ready. I raised my hand and told him the answer. He was a little non-plussed, but, like the good teacher he was, he took it in stride and made his pointe. Posing the question was to force the students to think about the answer. Just telling the correction ("Show all three parts of every ballet jump!") wouldn't have had the same impact. Mister D made me think...and Mister L made me remember. And, now, YOU can answer that question whenever another ballet master asks it. Or, better yet, you can use the answer to improve your jumps, so no one EVER asks you that question at all! Merde for CCDC class, rehearsal and summer auditions!o)

    01.24.2012: "Mavericks of Dance"

    New movie coming out about the Joffrey...
    "...Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, the first film to chronicle the legendary Joffrey Ballet Company, is set to premiere in New York City at the Dance on Camera Festival January 27-28 2012. The feature length documentary takes a look at this ground-breaking cultural treasure, known as the first truly American dance company and chronicles how the Joffrey revolutionized American ballet by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet technique..."
    ...And, here's the trailer:

    ...but, I checked the website and, unless I missed it, there's no local screening! Wasabi wid 'dat? There's got to be more appetite for culture here than what's found at the bottom of a yogurt container! Isn't there? ISN'T THERE? isn't there?

    01.23.2012: Talez From 'da Hood!o)

    So, I've been sharing the story of the hardest audition I've ever done in CCDC dance classes recently and I thought I'd post it here...(Stop me if you've heard this one: Cue mysterious music, faraway look fading into quick montage of old black and white photos...) I was living in Chicago at the time. I had just finished a season as a principal dancer in that little northern hamlet I've written about . I was working days at the sushi bar, working nights training at the ballet barre and auditioning for everything interesting that blew through the Windy City. (You get better at auditioning by auditioning.) One day, word came that a very well-known contemporary choreographer was auditioning for dancers for her company. It wasn't strict ballet, but, I thought I'd give it a try because working with this internationally-renown choreographer would be a rare opportunity. Several hundred dancers showed up at the auditorium that day. It started off with a former soloist from ABT giving the ballet combination. (Almost all dancer auditions start with the ballet. Cuts are made and, then, other dance forms or choreography are given.) I worked my way up to the front of the crowd. Ballet was my forte and I wanted to make a strong first impression. I remember the auditioner (Did I mention former *ABT Soloist?*) telling me specifically "You don't have to jump so high!", but, that fell on deaf ears: ballon and elevation were my strength and I \ was dancing to impress. Then, the modern audition started. The other company dancers demonstrated repertory of contemporary choreography, 32 or so counts of mostly tricky footwork. I was barely able to remember it by assigning ballet names to most of the moves: This was an turned-in ballet echappe' that jumped to a contraction parallel retirre'...and so on and so forth. We worked on it and we went in groups to show what we could do with it. Then, we moved on (or so I thought) to a second combination. Mostly upper body, 32-or-so counts of mostly upper body movements. (You might be able to guess what happened later, but, let me tell the story as it happened!o) Hard to assign ballet moves to those: I had to use my martial arts background. Punch here, swing right arm there, push head, slap floor left hand, etc. Again we went in several groups. Again, I barely held my own. I thought we were nearly done for the day and that I had survived. But, then, they said, "Okay, put the two combinations together!" And, all the demonstrators sat down! It was up to us to connect the two disparate combinations! My heart sank! I felt myself backing away from the middle of the floor. Putting together the two would be difficult for dancers who trained exclusively in modern, nearly impossible for a ballet-focused performer like me. I tried, but, I could feel myself giving up. This was after several hours of dancing, I was tired, hungry and cold. My mind wasn't working and I could feel my resolve shrinking away. WHICH IS EXACTLY THE POINTE! The choreographer gave us a nearly impossible task to see how we would approach it! She wanted dancers who relished a challenge and would respond to difficulty. I'm ashamed to say I wasn't that dancer that day. She had every right to cut me and she did. (She did give every auditioner a ticket to the cheap seats of her performance that night, though!o) But, I want the dancers I train not to make the same mistake I did that day! If I give you something you think is nearly impossible to do, it's for a reason! Learn to show your auditioners you're willing and able to take on impossible choreographic tasks and can rise to the dance occasion with relish! Learn to cut the mustard! (Okay, 'nuff food references! I'm getting hungry!o) So, merde for your auditions!o)

    01.20.2012: Man Dancing

    When a professional danseur tweets you the link to a video you should take the time to watch. Here's some video that's a marvelous mix of movement, music...AND video editing and camera angles:

    ...The more you watch this, the more you appreciate! And, hey Peterson! THAT'S what we're working towards!o)

    01.20.2012: Use Ur Museum

    Not your father's Art Museum. Some interesting events scheduled for the DsM Art Center
    (Capital City) – On February 3, the Art Center will open Miguel Angel Rios: Walkabout, an exhibition that will run through April 22, 2012 in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery and video galleries.

    Since 2000, the New York- and Mexico City-based artist Miguel Angel Rios has been creating haunting and poetic works in video and mixed media. Walkabout presents a selection of five video and multimedia installations along with paintings and works on paper that demonstrates his unique relationship to the South American and Mexican landscapes. The title of the exhibition invokes the traditional associations to rites of passage, spiritual awakenings, and self-awareness that come from solitary encounters in the desert landscape..."

    Yoga + Gallery Talk
    Saturday, March 3 / 9 am
    Lobby / Anna K. Meredith Gallery
    Limit 50 participants
    Reservations required*

    Yoga novices and enthusiasts alike are invited to practice yoga in the lobby of the Art Center (participants should provide their own yoga mats). Voted as Cityview’s 2011 Best Yoga Instructor, Ben Easter will lead a 60-minute session, followed by a 45-minute gallery talk by Senior Curator Gilbert Vicario on the exhibition Walkabout..."

    Walkabout Film Series

    This eclectic film series, inspired by Rios’ exhibition, explores aspects of violence, human nature, and spirituality. All films will be shown in Levitt Auditorium. For descriptions of the films, visit

    Sunday, March 18 / 1 pm

    Simon of the Desert, 1965
    Luis Buñuel, director
    43 minutes, not rated

    Walkabout, 1971
    Nicolas Roeg, director
    95 minutes, not rated

    Sunday, March 25 / 1:30 pm
    Maria, Full of Grace, 2004
    Joshua Marston, director
    101 minutes, rated R

    01.19.2012: Money4Nuttin', Gitcher Battements4Free!

    Attention graduating CCDC Seniors:
    "...Capital City News—The deadline to apply for a Prairie Meadows Scholarship is Friday, April 6, 2012.

    Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino offers every high school in Polk County two $2,500 scholarships to graduating seniors who will be enrolling at an accredited Iowa institution for the fall 2012 semester.

    Applications are available online at and are also available at each participating high school in Polk County.

    To qualify, applicants must be a graduating senior of a participating Polk County high school; accepted at an accredited Iowa institution; enrolling as a full-time student (12 credit hours or more) in the fall of 2012; a United States citizen or permanent resident for at least two consecutive years; and have a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale..."

    01.19.2012: Game On!

    I'm teaching ballet "self-defense" classes at Capital City Dance Center this next week or so. What does that mean? Well, it's audition season and a lot of CCDC students have started or will be trying out soon for national summer intensives over the next few weeks. Sometimes this means taking class from caring, concerned teachers who are looking out for your best interests. But, it also means you could end up taking a class from someone who doesn't care for you and is determined to weed you out. That could mean a barre that doesn't allow you to properly place or warm-up for class. And, it could mean tricky combinations in center that would be difficult for even professional dancers to perform. In fact, one CCDC student came back from Chicago this weekend and told us she just had "the hardest audition" she'd ever taken! So, the faculty this next couple of weeks will be challenging the dancers to learn how to "defend" themselves from indifferent, apathetic or, even, hostile teachers. You can't always depend on your teachers or auditioners to worry about your placement and give appropriate combinations for your level or age-group like the CCDC faculty does. And, there are common "tricks" that auditioners like to give to test applicants (including some that we've been told just started showing up recently). We'll be giving those combinations in classes over the next few weeks. Like I say in class, we don't want the first time you try those steps or combinations to be during an audition! Merde and..."game on"!

    01.18.2012: Beauty And The Beast

    So, there I was this weekend watching Tom Brady and the Pats putting a beat-down on Tim and the Tebowz, when my Twitter started exploding with tweets about how well Miss Iowa was doing in the Miss America pageant. So, I dutifully switched from our recording of the boring game to ABC's more exciting live contest competition coverage. And, since this is the 21st Century, I was able to pause and rewind live television and watch most of Jessica Pray's rise to to the top ten. Good for her! She's also apparently a former dance student who participated in the IDT Nutcracker, but, because this is a #ballet blog, let's turn our attention to the abysmal dancing in the talent portion! Maybe former professional opera singers didn't like Saturday night's singers, but, except for some unfortunate screeching on the part of one contestant, I found nothing to complain about with the vocalists. (Memories in Italian? Why? Just because you can?) But, as a former professional dancer/current teacher/choreographer, I feel most of the dancers left a lot to be desired. I didn't mind the Irish dancer. At least she didn't show the easy-to-lampoon parts of Irish dancing: the wigs and stiff arms. But, as for the others, one was obviously a former competition dancer, her piece was chock full of standard competition trick dancing. Just moves, no artistry. But, my eyebrows shot to the ceiling during Black Swan's performance. I couldn't watch it! It gave me a headache! It should've been a Saturday Night Live parody, it was so ludicrous! And, then, she fumbled with her tutu and sprung "wings"! SHOOT ME NOW...was what I was thinking! I don't know how the judges didn't fall off their chairs from laughing or from clawing their own eyeballs out! (The panel included professional ballroom dancer Mark Ballas of DWT***!) The artform of ballet was set back a century by that ridiculous rendition of an odious Odile! I'll search for some video of the performance, but, when I compare your dancing in my classes to Miss California, IT'S *NOT* A COMPLIMENT!o( It's a vile insult!o)

    01.17.2012: Pick Pix Payoff

    Put that smartphone camera to good use!o):
    "Snapshot Iowa” Youth Photography Contest Announced

    (Capital City News) –The Iowa Architectural Foundation is pleased to announce the second annual “Snapshot Iowa,” a photography contest for 7th – 12th graders. This program is proudly sponsored by the Architecture in the Schools Committee of the Iowa Architectural Foundation, and is open to all Iowa students in these grades.

    The theme of this year’s contest is historic Iowa architecture. One $100 cash prize will be awarded to each of two categories: 7th – 9th grade and 10th – 12th grade.

    ...Download a poster with more info here

    01.16.2012: I Hope You Dance...

    Hey, CCDC Dads! Don't let her wedding dance be the first and last time you dance with your daughter(s)...
    "...Capital City – Get your tickets now for the 2012 Father/Daughter Valentine Dance to held at Blank Park Zoo’s Discovery Center. This annual event is sponsored by the City Parks and Recreation Department and Boesen The Florist.

    This is a great chance for Dads come out and spend an evening with your daughter(s) and enjoy desserts, soft drinks and much more! For more information contact the City Parks and Recreation department...."

    ..."Parks and Rec?" Wasn't that the valet service that just took your car keys? (Bah-da-bump-bump!o) Speaking of: remind me to write about the time I danced with a company that actually offered "ballet valet service" at their fundraiser to park cars!

    01.13.2012: Ballet By The Bay

    Here's what my favorite ballet company is up to later this month:

    01.12.2012: Lambada With La Luna? See!

    Another reminder! Never mind "dancing with the stars!" How about Dancing With The Moon?
    Sixth Annual State Playwrights Workshop Dancing with the Moon by Tom Deiker
    Directed by Jerry Eisenhour

    In Dancing with the Moon, earthy, middle-aged Kate, who is divorced and looking for love in all the wrong places, tutors virginal graduate student Francis on ways to woo women. In the process, they both get much more than they bargained for.

    7:30 p.m.
    Fridays and Saturdays
    January 20 – February 4

    Rex Mathes Auditorium
    1401 Vine Street

    More information here.
    Sign-language interpretation for February 4 performance available upon request.
    Tickets are $12, and may be purchased on-line.

    01.11.2012: Money4Nuttin', Gitcher Battements4Free!o)

    Here's where all your dance training may pay off if you're planning on majoring in the fine or performing arts in an in-state college. Hurry! Deadline's approaching:
    Scholarship for the Arts Applications Due Feb. 1

    Local high school students planning to enter college next fall with a major in an arts discipline can apply for a 2012 Scholarship for the Arts by Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012.

    The Arts Council offers the scholarship annually to Iowa students who will graduate from high school during the 2011-2012 academic year and have a proven artistic ability in dance, literature, music, theater, traditional arts or visual arts. The application is available at

    Each recipient will receive $1,000 toward his or her 2012-2013 college tuition and related expenses as a full-time undergraduate at a fully accredited in-state college or university with a major in one or more of the disciplines considered for the award.

    To be considered for the award, students must complete the scholarship application available at, write an essay about their future career goals in the arts, provide a work sample and include two letters of recommendation.

    ...CCDC students who need letters of recommendation should speak with their teachers or contact the office. Merde!

    01.09.2012: Audition Advice

    So, I tweeted out something like this after this weekend's auditions:
    " usual, some people succumbed to the pressure, but, some people danced much better than they had a right to expect! BE THAT DANCER!"
    ...140-characters more or is where I expand on that thought. (Eventually, I plan to write a book, The Tweets of CCDC's @SirDanGuy Explained. It'll have 365 of my favorite tweets with photo or video and an expanded explanation of the source of that advice. Be sure to order several copies!o) But, first, here's another tweet:
    "...At every audition or casting call, I look for the #dancers I can't take my eyes off! BE THAT DANCER! I CUT everyone else! "
    ...At every audition or performance, my eyes are attracted to certain dancers. Whatever the combination of training, talent or charisma, certain dancers stand out. Those are the people I watch, those are the people I cast. As an aspiring dancer, some things are out of your control. I plan to eventually tweet something like this again:
    "...the second-most important decision you will make in your #ballet career is choosing the best teachers. The first is...choosing the right parents..."
    ...But, DON'T let your mind play tricks on you. Dance with confidence. Dance with joy! If you make a mistake, laugh it off. Be a quick study! Practice mental and physical agility, alacrity and all your other technique in your daily classes. The time to stress about your dancing isn't during an audition, it's during your daily training. Don't hold back! You may only have one chance to show what you can do before cuts are made. Make sure you've had as much sleep, nutrition, hydration, warm-up and placement as you need. Auditioning well is a skill separate from dancing well. Try to schedule a few you don't care about before you head for THE BIG ONE! (Hmm...feels like another tweet coming on!o)

    01.09.2012: Ballet Backlog

    Just finished watching a bit of the ballet backlog on disc and DVR we've amassed over the last year: Black Swan and NYCB's Nutcracker. Just a few comments about each. Ballet in BS was just a backdrop for the psychological disintegration of Natalie Portman's Nina, the ballerina. The ballet was incidental and only filmed in passing. Anyone who's looking for a focus on ballet would be better served by accessing any of the recent documentaries on the Kirov or the Paris Opera Ballet (looking forward to finding the THREE HOURS to watch that!o) or even the old propaganda film, Children of Theater Street. The only thing BS was successful at was making me nervous to ever cut my fingernails again! (My resident ballet consultant was also aghast at the "backwards" headpiece Nina wore as Odette...Which also begs the question: why weren't the characters' actual roles names ever used? What's wrong with Odette/Odile except that most people aren't familiar with those roles? Whoops! Just answered my own question...) More balletic and much more familiar was the PBS live broadcast of Georgi Balanchivadze's seminal Nutcracker. I guess I've never actually sat through and watched most of his version (tho' I'm guilty of fast-forwarding through some of the oh-too-familiar party scene). I'm surprised that he puts the Sugar Plum Fairy variation in the very beginning and cuts the male variation. But, Balanchine is the one who famously said "Ballet is woman!". There's also some music that I'd never heard or seen used before between Marie/Clara's return to the living room and before the entry of the mice. If any choreographer is looking for more opportunities to put more dancers on stage, that might be something that should be explored. I know Balanchine is revered as the preeminent classical choreographer of the 20th century, but, I have to admit I wasn't overwhelmed with his choreography nor his variations. The traditional Karinska costumes also looked ill-fitting and out-dated. Every choreographer stands on the shoulders of the ones who came before so everyone thinks his own version improves on the others. I'm guilty of that as well. One wonders what Balanchine would do with the old warhorse now as opposed to then?

    01.06.2012: Gymnastics Hi-Gynx

    Save your shekels! Fans of Neil Haskell will want to see the SYTYCD alum perform in this starting next month:
    Capital City– BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL, the explosive new musical comedy that raises the stakes on over-the-top high school rivalries. Set against the world of competitive cheerleading, this powerhouse new show hilariously proves that winning isn’t everything when it means losing something – or someone – you really care about. BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL opens at the Civic Center on Tuesday, Feb. 28 to Sunday, March 4 for eight performances as part of the Willis Broadway Series.

    Tickets for BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL on sale at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-8000 and online at Groups of 15 or more should call (515) 246-2340.

    01.05.2012: The Play's The Thing...

    Performance tip:
    "...Sixth Annual Playwrights Workshop
    Dancing with the Moon
    by Tom Deiker
    Directed by Jerry Eisenhour

    In Dancing with the Moon, earthy, middle-aged Kate, who is divorced and looking for love in all the wrong places, tutors virginal graduate student Francis on ways to woo women. In the process, they both get much more than they bargained for.

    7:30 p.m.
    Fridays and Saturdays
    January 20 – February 4

    Rex Mathes Auditorium
    1401 Vine Street

    Contact Information
    (866) 745-4535

    Sign-language interpretation for the February 4 performance available upon request.
    Tickets are $12, and may be purchased at the door or at the website..."

    01.04.2012: Hydration Recommendation

    Tip of the month from the physicians over at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries:
    "...Dehydration can lead to many negative effects on the performing artist. Researchers have found evidence that muscle strength decreases with as little as 5% dehydration. Other studies show that dehydration can cause an increased perception of fatigue and diminished aerobic power. The National Athletic Trainers' Association recommends that all athletes (dancers included) be hydrated before beginning exercise, and that they replenish within two hours any fluid losses that occurs during exercise. Post-exercise rehydration should consist of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Researchers at McMaster University also advise that milk is an excellent post-exercise drink. They state that milk replaces the salt and other electrolytes we lose while sweating, helps the body retain fluid, and is a great source of protein and carbohydrates post-exercise..."
    ...And, you're always allowed to bring bottled water into the CCDC dance studios with you. Sports drinks are also allowed, but, please, no soda or sugared drinks. Bad for the dance surface when spilled.

    01.03.2012: Where Are They Now?

    Lotta CCDC alumna making an appearance at the studio during the winter break! I've been thinking about sending this out to the former students we haven't heard from lately:
    1. How many dance classes are you taking nowadays? Any ballet? How do they compare to what you're used to getting at CCDC?
    2. What's the main difference between dancing in college and dancing in high school?
    3. How many guys are in your dance classes? Anyone any good?
    4. What aspect of your CCDC training helps you the most with what you're doing now? What aspect do you disregard nowadays?
    5. What's the best advice you could give to anyone following in your footsteps from CCDC? What's your message to anyone still dancing in high school?
    6. Seen any memorable dance performances recently? What's the best thing you've seen where you are now? The worst?
    7. What do you miss most about CCDC? What do you miss least? (Responses may be edited, especially if they mention bad jokes and over-use of nicknames!o)
    ...Any other suggestions? And, who should we send this to? Input here!o)

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