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12.20.2013: Investing In The Arts

Attention CCDC Class of 2014! Are you an aspiring dancer, musician, actor or artist? Are you thinking of attending an in-state school to major in the arts? The state Arts Council is awarding $1500 scholarships for just that purpose. Check it out at IA Arts Council website. Merde! And, please pass the word!o)

12.19.2013: Refractions of Light

Got friends and family coming for the holidays? New opportunity for exposure to the arts as a giant-size light-cascading, kaleidoscoping sculpture gets installed in the Capital City area:
(Capital City News Service) – A new sculpture, Panoramic awareness pavilion, 2013, by Danish-born artist Olafur Eliasson, was created for and recently installed in the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. It is at once a large-scale light sculpture, which demands distance for proper appreciation, and a pavilion, which invites its audience to enter, explore, and engage with the work from within the structure.

The work is composed of twenty-three panes of partially silvered coloured glass, held upright by steel frames and installed in a circle with an opening on the north side. Each glass pane is treated with reflective coating so that the edges of the glass are opaque mirrors that fade to transparent coloured-glass strips at the center. Viewed from the outside, the work presents a circular colour spectrum interrupted by fragmentary perspectives of the surrounding sculpture park. At night, a fresnel lamp mounted on a tripod at the center of the sculpture illuminates the work from within, creating a kaleidoscopic rainbow effect and interacting with the city lights beyond.

12.18.2013: Performance Posting

Give the gift of live theater this holiday season:
WELLMARK BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD FAMILY SERIES Gears Up for Fifth Season Single tickets to this family-friendly series on sale

(Capital City News Service) – DsM Performing Arts is gearing up for the fifth season of fun and entertainment for families with the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series. Single tickets to THE FIREBIRD, SPIRIT OF UGANDA, STUART LITTLE, CIRQUE MECHANICS BIRDHOUSE FACTORY and LOVE go on sale Monday, Dec. 2 at 9 a.m.

Single tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at Season ticket packages starting at $35 are also available.

All Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series productions will be at the DsM Civic Center with the exception of LOVE, which will be at the Temple Theater (located in the Temple for Performing Arts).

About the Productions:

THE FIREBIRD with the Des Moines Symphony and Enchantment Theatre Company
Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Weaving together physical theatre, masks, puppetry, shadow play and magic with the evocative music of Igor Stravinsky’s THE FIREBIRD, Enchantment Theatre Co. eloquently tells this captivating tale of Prince Ivan, the wicked magician named Kaschei and the princess with whom Prince Ivan lives “happily ever after.”

Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 1 p.m.
The vibrant cast of 22 dancers and musicians, ages 8-18, share cultural traditions from East Africa and introduces some of the dynamic music and dance forms that are being created now. Ambassadors of Uganda's 2.7 million orphans, these children personally reflect the resilience and promise of Africa's next generation.

STUART LITTLE by the Dallas Children’s Theater on Tour
Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 1 p.m.
Based on the award-winning book by E.B. White and adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette, STUART LITTLE tells the surprising story of a most unusual mouse who happens to be born into an ordinary New York family. In no time at all, his life becomes a series of adventures and misadventures with a variety of colorful characters, including his best friend Margalo the bird and the not-so-friendly Snowbell the malevolent family cat.

Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 1 p.m.
BIRDHOUSE FACTORY, a nostalgic tale set in a 1930’s depression era widget factory, transformed by the resourcefulness and creativity of the American worker, went on to tour the United States and Europe inspiring and entertaining audiences and critics. The New York Times found Birdhouse Factory “exceptional, evocative, … and engrossingly entertaining.”

LOVE by the Terrapin Puppet Theatre, Australia
Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
*Please note that this production is in the Temple Theater.
Oslo Rogers has a very fun mum called Ruthy, and lives in a very fun town called Mellingong. Now a very unfun problem (called a big approaching storm) is forcing everyone to head for The Clondike, the big town hall on the hill, and they can only take a few important things each.

LOVE is brought to life with traditional puppets, digital puppetry, stunning music and Terrapin’s trademark silly business. Watch as the set unfolds and puppeteers control the animated images. LOVE is a heartfelt story that is thoroughly entertaining on many levels.

The WELLMARK BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD FAMILY SERIES is a wonderful way to introduce young people to the performing arts, with shows directed especially toward young theater goers. Extend the fun of the experience by attending the Discovery Party held one hour prior to the start of the show in the Nollen Lobby of the DsM Civic Center. Parents are encouraged to bring the entire family for arts and crafts, activities, demonstrations, and other fun programs. The Discovery Party is free to ticket holders.

12.17.2013: Tall Drink of Water

Tall principal danseur with specific exercise suggestion on how to strengthen your core for the rigors of ballet:

12.16.2013: Echoes of Snow Fall

Well-deserved kudos from one audience member to the 2013 IDT Snow Corps de Ballet ...and CCDC's Melissa Uyehara for her guidance:
"...Thank you for the wonderful Nutcracker! The snow scene was beautiful!! ..."

12.13.2013: Performance Posting!

Come hear the "voices of angels" this weekend...
Singers Soothe the Holiday-Weary Soul

On Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 5 pm, youthful singers will fill the Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust Street. Members of the IA Youth Chorus’ Concert Choir, Chorale and Chamber Singers will perform a candlelight 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. “Typically, the mood of this concert is so serene and soothing, the audience doesn’t even applaud between numbers. They don’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 the traditional favorite, “O Holy Night.”

The choirs are led by 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.

12.12.2013: RB Nutcracker

If you're still not Nutcracker-ed out, Jordan Creek Towncenter Theaters will show the Royal Ballet's version tonight: (If you're not already taking class at CCDC yourself, of course!o) Here's a video sneak peek:

12.12.2013: Performance Posting

"Dancember" amps up at the institution lovingly referred to as "Party Hearty U"!o)
Dance department presents graduate/undergraduate concerts

The University of Iowa Department of Dance will come to life on stage at the Graduate/Undergraduate Concert at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 12-14, in Space Place Theater, located at 101 North Hall on the UI campus.

The performance will include:

  • A Moonless Night, choreographed by Paula Lamamie de Clairac in collaboration with the dancers. Four women and a visitor challenge the logic of the world we are used to. Plasticity, music, and silence frame a space where the dancers provide with their gestures an undefinable meaning.
  • Tuna Noodle Surprise, choreographed by Lindsay Fisher in collaboration with Zach Bird. Tuna Noodle Surprise is a comment on gender roles and dynamics of the 1950s that gradually seeps into contemporary life.
  • Family Portrait, choreographed by Duane Holland, Amy Simonson, Melanie Swihart, and Maurice Watson.
  • HUA, choreographed by Jingqiu Guan. This dance invites the audience to experience a world of magic enhanced by the visual effects of flowers and flower petals.
  • your body and its bones, choreographed by Alex Bush in collaboration with the dancers. This work integrates video with live performance in an exploration of intimacy, power dynamics, and the influence of past experiences and current desires in relationships.
  • iced coffee and a cinnamon crunch bagel, choreographed by Zach Bird. This piece reveals the cyclical nature of family relationships and the dynamics brought on by its members.
  • Myagi Style, choreographed by Ethan Rome. This piece explores what we think we know and how our environment can shape us, either beneficially or negatively.
  • terra firma, choreographed by Melanie Swihart.
  • The Pressure: Boxing the Inside, choreographed by Maurice Watson.
Tickets are $12 ($6 for seniors, college students, and youth 17 and younger; free for UI students with valid ID), and are available through the Hancher Box Office at 319-335-1160 or 800-426-2437 or online at the Hancher Box Office website.

12.11.2013: Dance As Therapy

Effort underway at a midwest institution to use dance as therapy for kidz-at-risk:
"Dance is a way to re-claim agency over the body. By virtue of moving and creating, these girls can recover something they felt has been lost."
...Read the full article here. Hopefully, the program can continue somewhere even though the D.H.S. has announced plans this week to close the Toledo facility soon.

12.10.2013: CCDC Apparent Feedback

This is why we do what we do at Capital City Dance Center! Just got this input from proud new CCDC momma:
"...after watching her on stage tonite. I can tell a huge difference when she has had a full class beforehand. Thank you, Missy, for teaching her that lesson! Thank you for caring about my daughter and teaching her good practices. She has craved for so long to be in an environment in which she feels her instructors actually believe in her, will continually challenge and push her to higher levels and who actually care!!!

...I just wanted to thank you..... you make an incredible impression on my daughter and she feels pride to belong to the family of CCDC..."

12.09.2013: Fight Right

Rare opportunity for theater cross-training, if you're not already taking class at CCDC, that is!o) Looks good on the broadway resume!:
"...Stunt Fighting for Film

More and more film and TV productions are requiring actors to perform their own action on film. Whether sharpening your current abilities, or starting from zero, you will gain marketable skills and have a great time! Learn how a Hollywood fight scene is put together and performed, with hands-on training in this rare class!

Kendall Wells is a certified instructor of De Longis Performance & Combat Arts, created by world-renown Hollywood fight master Anthony De Longis, trainer/fight partner for Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jet Li, Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, and more.

Kendall’s work has been featured on such television shows as NBC’s Grimm, TNT’s Leverage, Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior, DirecTV, theatre productions such as Placido’s Domingo’s LA Opera, and more.

We’ll cover:

  • Safety & Set Etiquette
  • Fight Technique & Choreography
  • Hit Reactions
Date & Time: Monday, December 9th, 6PM - 8PM
Fee: Only $25

“Having over the years worked with countless fighting arts instructors, I can say Kendall is one of the best. Whatever level you’re at in your career, this class is a must!”
~ Keith Cox | Stunt Actor – Grimm, Leverage
For more info on me, please visit"

12.04.2013: Student Speaks

#CapitalCityDanceCenter students head into the theater tonight for the #IDT #Nutcracker performances this weekend. Here's an interview with the #CCDC student nicknamed "Carey" (real name edited out to protect her from more cyber-stalking weirdoz.)

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Speaking as someone who interviews hundreds of people each year, "Carey" did very well for her age. But, it's a skill you should develop if you plan on continuing in the performing arts. Just remember to answer the questions and don't forget to plug the show, website, facebook page, hashtag or twitter handle. Be your warm personable self, treat the microphone like a cell-phone...and SPEAK UP with confidence and charisma!o)

12.05.2013: Performance Posting

Dance performance at the institution we lovingly call "Party Hearty U"!o)
Find your own way at artists' collaborative performance

The UI Department of Dance will present The Work Between: Collaborative Performance 2013 at 8 p.m. Dec. 5-7 in Space Place Theater. The event features an interdisciplinary performance created through collaboration of student choreographers, musicians, composers, designers, and stage managers.

The event features an interdisciplinary performance created through collaboration of student choreographers, musicians, composers, designers, and stage managers from the UI Department of Dance, School of Music, School of Art and Art History, Department of Theatre Arts, and the Center for the Book.

For The Work Between: Collaborative Performance 2013, doors will open at 8 p.m., and the audience is invited to find their own path for exploring the work presented. Audience members are encouraged to move about the performance space, exploring multiple perspectives throughout the performance.

The performance will include:

  • Talking the Ziggurat, directed by artist Kuldeep Singh
  • We Three, an improvisational trio featuring choreographer Jeremy Blair, composer Alexandros Spyrou, and artist Kuldeep Singh
  • Terpsichore Conflicted, a collaboration of live music and dance created by choreographer Lindsay Fisher and musician Crystal Gillaspy
  • Traces of Everything, an improvisational trio featuring choreographer/dancers Jeremy Blair, Alex Bush, and Lindsay Fisher
  • Terra, a dance/performance art piece directed by artist Heidi Wiren Bartlett and choreographer Alex Bush
  • Various performance art and video installations
The Work Between: Collaborative Performance 2013 contains mature language and content, and may not be suitable for younger audiences.

12.03.2013: Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts

Before we finally leave last week's 2013 Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, here's a thoughtful T-Day message from a CCDC student:
"Happy Turkey day!! I am so thankful for what both of you do for me and everyone else at the studio. You guys make such a great impact on my life. I thank you guys for all my accomplishments and achievements! You are the best and I know I wouldn't be where I am today without you two. Have an amazing day and Missy take a nap(:..."
...What about me??? Don't I deserve a nap? Or...did she know I'm taking one no matter what? We're thankful for YOU, BalanchineBaby! (...Zzzz...)

12.02.2013: DWTSynopsis

Well, I've come to expect that the best "star"-dancer doesn't always win these reality TV competitions. And, that's what happened in the finale of Dancing With The Stars last week. Actor/Producer Corbin Bleu edged by chanteuse Amber Riley for the "coveted mirror-ball trophy". But, in a way the best "dancer/choreographer" DID win...and that's pro Derek Hough. Derek's ability to maximize his partner's abilities and his creative, appropriate choreography make for a tough-to-beat combination. And, as many ballroom teachers will tell you, all other things being equal, it's harder to to teach a man to lead than it is for a woman to follow. That wasn't Corbin's weakness this year, but, it was another substantial arrow in Derek's quiver most seasons. (How many wins is that for the "ruff, tuff Derek Hough"?) My only complaint with this season is that so many stronger dancers were eliminated early. Much as I appreciate the effort by Leah and Bill Engvall every week, only their popularity with the vast, unwashed, uneducated public kept them on the show past Snooki, Christina and, especially, Elisabeth. I would've loved to see a freestyle from any of that trio rather than "Mr. Cuban Pete". (And, tell Bill to keep his shirt on from now on! No one needs to see those flabby "moobs" more than once!) Now, speculation turns to the casting of next season. Who would you like to see on the show? Will we see Paris Hilton actually follow up her appearances on the sidelines? Is J-Lo too much of an A-list celebrity and too much a trained dancer to participate after her friend Leah paved the way? And, I hope the producers keep Corbin and Elisabeth in mind for the next All-Star Edition of DWTS!

11.27.2013: It's a Mmmadd, Mmmadd, Mmmadd World!!

She lives! Ming-Ming will soon be back in town!o) Here's the latest 2013 CCDC Alumni Survey submission!o)
1.Who are you and where are you now?
This is ("Mmmadd Skyllz") reporting from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And, I am training at the school of Pennsylvania Ballet and taking class with PB2.
2. How much dance training are you doing now? How many classes a week? What types or styles of dance are you taking? How is it different, how is it the same as what you got at CCDC?
I am dancing for about 35 to 40 hours a week. Even though almost all our classes are centered around ballet we do have modern and Pilates once a week. It is different from CCDC because here they look at you for their future dancers of the company, so even though at CCDC Missy and Emery expect a great amount of their dancers, it is still a whole other mind set. But they are very similar with the amount of artistry and technique they want from their students. Letting those "diamonds" around your neck or the extra hint of "perfume" towards your dancing. Also, depending on the class we receive fewer personal corrections than I did at CCDC.
3. How has CCDC dance training help prepare you for what you're doing now? How could we have helped better prepare you?
Like ("Maize") stated in her interview, CCDC has prepared me a lot in the prospects of my work ethic and technique. Also, how to bring love and kindness in a world filled with brutal competition. As a dancer, I have learned that your teachers can't always be with you forever and point the way every single time, but the teachers at CCDC have always given me guidance when I needed it most and reminded me of the importance of technique, intelligence, and passion for ballet whenever they could. And I could not have asked for anything more than that :)
4. If you're still dancing, what kind of corrections are you getting in class? What was the last correction you remember getting? What was the one that helped you the most?
In class, the corrections I get most would have to pertain to my arm placement and the need for speed. They have really tried to work out the habits of my weird pointy elbows and overall lengthening of my short arms! :) And push me at bar to find the ability and center to move fast.
5. Are you performing much? What styles, what choreography, what music? Any touring? What else are you looking forward to performing?
Pennsylvania Ballet is a VERY Balanchine-styled company. It was founded by Barbra Weisburger, who was one of the first students of Mr. B. George Balanchine personally approved this company to be constructed, so the rep is filled with his ballets. So far, I have seen the company perform the full version of Jewels. It was very, very beautiful and made me fall in love with this company and city even more. Recently, we have been rehearsing for George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, in which I will be playing the part of Spanish/ Hot Chocolate corps. I have also been dressing up as the Sugar Plum Fairy for promotional events. I even got to stand next to Roy Kaiser and shake the Mayor's hand!
6. Are you auditioning much? What for? Anything you can tell us?
I do plan on auditioning this year for companies, but most of them have not posted anything about audition tours yet or openings in the company, so I will have to see. But I plan on auditioning for as many places as I am able! ;)
7. Do you have roommates or apartment mates? Where are they from? Are they dancers as well?
Nope! Living the single life! :)
8. What's the best thing about where you're living now? What's the thing you miss the most about CCDC and the Capital City area in general?
I really love it here because the climate is very similar to Iowa (which you know I love sweater and parka weather),and dancing here brings a new spark to my heart. But, I deeply miss my family and my CCDC family as well. I am a home body, so being away can be hard sometimes:/
9. When will you be back in the Capital City area?
I will be back (by Wednesday); in time for some turkey!
10. What are your plans for the future? Short-term? Long-term?
I plan on auditioning for companies this year and seeing what my prospects are! But my ultimate goal would be to get a PB 2 contract for next season with Pennsylvania Ballet.
11. What message do you have for the CCDC dancers you left behind? Miss CCDC much? (sob!)
My two-cents would be to just take each day the way it is. Be in love with ballet or find another path because with ballet there is no fooling around. You may think you have so much time but in all actuality this career is short and so is life! Believe in yourself and have the passion to propel yourself into it! I miss every single one of you at CCDC and look forward to seeing you soon!
xoxoxoxo ("Mmmadd Skyllz")

11.26.2013: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Tuesday!

The final results of DWTS XVII are tonight on ABC. But, here's some of the dialogue generated from the last posting:
"...I too am ready to see Bill go. But I give Emma so much credit because she has made every dance fun to watch despite his lack of skill. That is saying something.

I was a fan of Leah but she was too timid last week sadly. Honestly I cannot decide between Corbin and Amber. I love them both so much. Dancing with Derek gives Amber an edge but Karina is really proving her mettle this season too. Last week I thought we were also reminded of why Cheryl has won twice. She also knows how to choreograph to her partner's strength (and Jack is just a charmer)..." which I replied:
"...Bill has already boldly gone where no comedian has gone before! He should be proud, but, he should be first to go tonight. He's danced well enough to out-last any other stand-up comic's tenure on the show. Remember how dreadful D-L Hughley (?) was last season and how we were BEGGING to be put out of his misery? The fact that it's hard to remember any other comedian over 17 seasons just speaks volumes about how lackluster they've been collectively on the show..."
...And, got this in from another fellow dance-aficionado:
"...Sorry, but I cannot watch Bill dance. It hurts my eyes..."
...that's what I said!

11.25.2013: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!

It's the beginning of the end of the popular reality dance competition:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
Ninth Elimination
Week Ten
The Semi-Finals

Guest judge Max? Opening number: big masked dance macabre. Dresses come off. Boys in bare armed tuxedos. Creative partnering.Sequential parting of the ways. Final mask comes off to reveal Derek and Sharna? Choreographed by Mandy Moore!

Four judges with Max. This is still Corbin's to lose...and then there were five couples left! Two dances and a "new" challenge.

Team Tonini: Paso Doble. Fight for the finals. Watch shoulders Leah! Needs more weight on those steps. But, she has improved over the weeks. Her face is giving the proper emotion, but, shee needs to have the body do the same thing!. Difference between trained and untrained dancers. Little stumble! Love her fighting spirit! I give her and eight. Real judges: Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8!

Team Corbina: Tango. He's so good! Druid celebration starts in the beginning. Robes come off. This is a Tango? Fast and fiery. Wow! Where did that glitter come from? Good body contact Dramatic drag at the end! I give him a ten! Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 9. Tougher criteria for the semi-finals!

Team Osburke: Jazz. Health concerns. but, the show must go on! He's still a competitor! Ballroom influenced jazz. He's bringing the intensity. I give him an eight. His mom is crying! Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 8! Kudos to his fighting spirit!

Team Engvallemma: Cha-cha. Trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Injuries take their toll! The spirit is willing, but, the flesh is week!Channeling eighties aerobics. Boy is not sexy and he knows it. No sense of line. Weak core. Bang stick fails to go off until the dance is over. I give him a seven. Len calls him the "people's challenge". Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7!

Team Amberek: Jazz. Derek is amping up the intricacy of the choreography. He's such a supportive. Starts off with a lotta tutting. They're seated so saves her knees. Lotta upper body that transitions to more dancing. Great attack. SHe FEELS this choreography. Great musicality. Girls not afraid to shake it! She gets a nine from me! She was definitely feeling this performance! Real judges: 10, 10, 9, 10!

Second Round:

Team Tonini: Argentine Tango. Strings on stage. Tony plays her like a cello! She has to learn how to dance while she's still. Kicks are a little small. Does seem a little careful and slow for my taste. Too safe. I give her an eight. Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 9 "It's a different eight, but, it's still an eight!"

Team Corbina: Rhumba. Once again. Hooded druid figure and blows glitter. He's bare-chested. Dramatic choreography. Passion is off the charts! This boy's intensity and control is off the charts! Leader in the clubhouse! Leader heading into the finals! Again, a ten from me! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! First forty in DWTS history!?

Team Osburke: Inspiration for all other MS sufferers. Good thing about this show is you get to learn about the contestants and draw inspiration from them! Argentine Tango. To another version of Roxanne. He's channeling his inner pimp! Controlled sensuality. Strong and deliberate. Little tentative on the foot work! I give him a nine or ten. Standing ovation. His family is ecstatic! Real judges: "Passion and precision". "Drama and drive!" Scores: 10, 9, 9, 10! He's wearing his Coat-vest again? No sleeve coat jacket? Guess it's to keep his shoulder pads from hunching up?

Team Engvallemma: emotional packages for each star. Emma stalks Bill seated on his chair. She's Sexy in a black stocking. But, he's tentative in his steps. weight is too high. I give him a seven. Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8.

Team Amberek: Viennese Waltz! Deceptively simple. Dramatic Waltz movements! Great rise and fall. Big girl not afraid to dance big. I give her a nine or ten. Real judges; 10, 10, 10, 10! Perfection for Amber heading into the finals!

Just on dancing alone I would eliminate Bill. But, it's not up to me. Corbin and Karina first to advance to the finals. Amber and Derek are the next to make it. THird couple in is Jack and Cheryl! Bill and Leah are left on the chopping block! Leah gets eliminated! Bill goes to the finals? Not fair in the eyes of this old dancer. She was better, but, by rights, Elisabeth should've been there over both of them! Even Snooki!

11.22.2013: 2014 Prix de Lausanne

Another competition in the "Olympics of Ballet" for young dancers shaping up:
Candidates Selected for the 2014 Prix de Lausanne

A total of 295 candidates (224 female and 71 male dancers), representing 35 different nationalities, applied for the Prix de Lausanne video selections that took place from November 14th to 17th, 2013.

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 71 young dancers to proceed to the next stage of the competition which will take place in Lausanne from January 27th to February 1st, 2014. The official list of candidates selected for the 2014 Prix de Lausanne is available on our website.

Dresden and Argentina Preselection Candidates

Two candidates were chosen at our preselection in Dresden, Germany. They are Sara Barbieri and Johannes Goldbach.

In addition, four candidates were selected at our preselection for Latin American candidates organised by Danzamerica, in Argentina. They are Bianca Gomes Vilarinho Teixeira, Maria Clara Marinho Coelho, Vinicius Silva and Pedro Caricato de Carvalho Salles.

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

The Prix de Lausanne would like to take this opportunity to thank all its partner schools, partner companies and summer schools for their support.

11.21.2013: Pay 4 Your Dance Education

Time for timely reminder, CCDC Grads and Grads2B:
DsM Women’s Club
Scholarships in Music, Dance, and Performing Arts 2014

Please tell your talented students who are musicians and dancers about our wonderful scholarship opportunities! The DsM Women’s Club offers the following scholarships:

  • An instrumental music scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in music -$1500
  • The Marjorie O’Braza Memorial Scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in vocal music - $1500
  • The Rose Lorenz Swartz Memorial Scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in music, dance, or performing arts - $1500
  • The Rose Lorenz Swartz Memorial Scholarship for college students currently pursuing a degree in music, dance, or performing arts - $1500
Applicants must be legal residents of or full-time, registered students in Polk, Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story, or Warren County.

Visit our website to learn more about eligibility requirements and download an application form. Contact our executive assistant at (515) 244-0507, ext. 211, with any questions.


11.20.2013: Asian Persuasion

Wondering why there's a poster of a Sri Lankan event in the CCDC lobby bulletin board? Explanation folos (Photo of poster on the FaceBook page):
"...Hi Missy/Emery

I put a little poster (first draft) for a dance workshop (Nikiya1) is doing for the American Embassy in Sri Lanka on the bulletin board--just for fun.

She wanted me to tell you that it is really a ballet workshop with some contemporary/modern across the floor, but she felt that would be too intimidating to call it ballet for interested attendees. also that she is not bragging about her credentials, just that it is important culturally in Sri Lanka to emphasize such things.

She is really excited about this, full of plans. there seems to be enough interest that she thinks it might be a regular series with a little show at the end for family members.

The other guy is sorta a self-trained "modern" dancer, who will be assisting her.


...Merde Nikiya1! Make us prouder!o)

11.19.2013: Down The Rabbit Hole

"Go ask Alice...when she's ten feet tall!" Another chance to catch world-class ballet in HD on the silver screen at Jordan Creek Town Center (double-check that location before you go!o) tonight...IF you're not already dancing at CCDC, of course!o)
Date: Tuesday, November 19
Time: 7:00 PM local time
Run Time: 3 hours 10 minutes (approximate)

Special Fathom Features: Get a special behind the scenes look at the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet with exclusive cast interviews.

NCM Fathom Events, The Royal Opera House and Arts Alliance Media invite you to experience a classic tale of magic and wonder when Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland comes to the big screen in a special one night event on Tuesday, November 19 at 7:00pm (local time) to select cinemas nationwide.

Based on Lewis Carroll’s timeless classic, join us as we follow Alice down the rabbit hole into the fantastical world of Wonderland and be carried away by the magic, comedy and intrigue that is this fantastical place.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland arrived on the stage in 2011 with a burst of color, theatrical magic and inventive choreography and was the Royal Ballet’s first full-length work since 1995. It was instantly acclaimed as a hit and soon to be classic.

In addition to Christopher Wheeldon’s superb choreography don’t miss Joby Talbot’s score combines sweeping melodies, which gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century, with contemporary effects and Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative sets and costumes, which draw on puppetry, projections and masks that bring Wonderland to life.

Escape to Wonderland alongside Alice and be carried away to another time and place for an evening. This one night opportunity is a not to be missed experience for the whole family.

11.18.2013: SYTYCD---The Quarter-Finals

The end is in sight.
The Post-Cher Debacle
The Final Half-Dozen
The Return of Len
Quarter Finals
Week Nine
Trio Challenge

Let the pruning begin!

Team Amberek: Quickstep. Struggling with weak knees. Throws a monkey wrench in Derek’s rehearsal schedule. Good frame. Shows no compromises because of injury at all. Great expression! Excellent musicality. I give her nine! Judges criticize lack of top-line and, perhaps, lack of rehearsal. Says this suffered from her previous body of work! Real Judges: 8, 8, 8.

Team Tonini: Tango. Gets heel stuck in her dress. Emphasis on the frame starting to pay off. He appears to be talking her through it. And, she’s taking the direction well. I give her an eight! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Outscoring Amber! Unprecedented!

Team Corbinoff: Slow Waltz. Great breath, great rise and fall. Very romantic! He’s leading like Clark Gable. Very Smooth, very suave! Emotion is palpable! I give him a nine. Real judges: “Poetry in motion.” “Enchanting!” “Breath taking!” Scores: 9, 9, 10! Leader in the clubhouse!

Team Osburke: Viennese Waltz. “Best Partner Ever Award”. He’s dancing big, bu controlled. Hard to follow Corbin’s waltz. Good Frame. Strong lead! Strong effort. I give him an eight, or nine. “Like watching a carousel.” “Your transformation is amazing!” Real judges: 10, 10, 9! Outscores Corbin at his own game! Highest score of the evening!

Team Engvallemma: Charleston. Realizes he needs to step up his game! Character driven choreography! Great relationship revealed in video package! He’s trying his hardest. But, he doesn’t have the body awareness and connection that the best contestants have. Lacks energy lacks attack! I give him a seven. Time for him to go home! “Timing is off!” “Enjoy watching you dance, but…”, “I like you, but…” Scores: 7, 7, 7. He’s done the best of any comedian-contestant, but, it’s time to take his act on the road!

Team Valisabeth: Viennese Waltz. Starting on top the wedding cake. Little contemporary action to begin. Now in hold, she completes the line like no other. Very emotional routine. Not sure that was enough waltz. I give her an eight. “Like that you take risks!” Real judges: 9, 8, 9! Decent scores.

Trio Challenge:

Amber/Derek/Mark: Battle of the choreographers. “Eat your heart out, America!” Salsa! She’s got a big knee wrap on. But, her expression is the crowning point to the routine. Girlfriend can move her hips! I give her a ten! She’s ebullient! Real judges: 9, 9, 9. Amber looks good, great in yellow!

Leah, Tony, Henry: Jive. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Hilarious send-off of the judges! Love the fake judges stand. Judges LOVING the satire. Tony does a spot-on Bruno! LOVED the concept! Dancing was OK! I give them an eight. “That was a GOOD strategy!” Scores: 9, 9, 9! That may have saved Leah for another week! I think the voting public is going to reward the team next week!

Corbin, Karina, Whitney: Jazz routine. Ambitious choreography. “Once it clicks it could be Awesome!” This guy is a trained Jazz dancer. Great attitude! Doing their best Usher imitation. His smile is worth extra points! Great attack! Little faux tap at the end! I give him a ten! “That may have been the best routine I’ve ever seen in 17 seasons!” Compares Corbin to Fosse! “Didn’t even see you girls!” High praise from the judges portend good scores. Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Perfect scores set the standards for the season!

Jack/Cheryl/Sharna: Samba. Based on the Jungle Book! “Need to let my hips take over!” Jack as jungle hero! Cheesy smile and a cheetah print shirt. There’s the bongo beating on the bums! Jack is outshaking Cheryl’s Bongos. Great bounce! The story is hilarious! I give him a nine! “Such a clever routine!” “The fun of it all was incredible!” “Certainly fun!” Real judges: 8, 8, 9.

Bill/Emma/Peta: Salsa. Willy Wonka and the Candy girls! “Dancing with the stars will never be the same after this.” …I’m speechless! This is every diabetic dancer’s dream…or nightmare! Sweet effort, but, the dancing still was mediocre! “Always entertaining, but, the dancing left something to be desired!” Hirajuku Girlz don’t quite make up for mediocre dancing. Real judges: 7, 7, 7.

Elisabeth/Val/Gleb: Salsa! Eastern European dudes doing the Latin thing! “What we do now will echo in eternity.” The Samba party on the beach. Little timing problems. This routine is soo fast during the fast parts that it’s easy to get behind. Shirts come flying off…much to the delight of the female viewers. “Girl on fire!” “Salsa superstar!” I give her an eight. Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Another perfect score? Were we watching the same dance?

The Elimination: First couple saved is…Corbin and Karina! Jack and Cheryl…saved! Elisabeth and Val in jeopardy??? Amber and Derek…Safe! Leah and Tony…advance to the semifinals. Bill and Emma in jeopardy. Seems like an obvious ejection….but… Emma is crying already! But, it’s Elisabeth and Val who get sent home. The gasps from the audience are palpable. Elisabeth is a gracious loser, calling it one of the best and greatest blessings on her life. This is a stunner! Unexpected because so many weaker dancers who deserve to be sent home long before her are still in the competition! With Elisabeth eliminated, all bets are off! Corbin becomes the prohibitive favorite, followed by Amber. But, the fickle voting public may not see what's so evident to real dance fans!

11.18.2013: Comedy Series

Tickets go on sale today:
Three More Shows Featured in the TEMPLE COMEDY SERIES
Tickets to the Temple favorite go on sale Nov. 18

(Capital City News Service) – Get ready for big laughs when tickets to the next three shows in the Temple Comedy Series go on sale. The Temple Comedy Series is a part of the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater Series presented by DsM Performing Arts.

Individual tickets to WHIRLED NEWS TONIGHT, INTERGALACTIC NEMESIS and POWER BALLADZ: ULTIMATE 80’S SING-ALONG go on sale Monday, Nov. 18 at 9 a.m. Season ticket packages to the Temple Comedy Series start at $82 and are available now at the Civic Center ticket office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at Groups of 10 or more should call (515) 246-2340.

About the Shows
Feb. 26 - March 9, 2014

WHIRLED NEWS TONIGHT strives to not only provide a satirical turn on current events, but to provide another, human, point of view of those stories.

When the audience arrives they will be brought to a table with several local and national publications where they can cut out any articles they are interested in and tack them onto several bulletin boards onstage. The cast will randomly choose articles on which to base their improvisation.

For more information, visit

Apr. 10 - 12, 2014

What song was playing when you had your first kiss? What about your first slow dance? How about during your first time? Chances are, it was a power ballad – you know, those songs that double as the soundtrack to your life? Those anthems that make you want to throw a lighter in the air and start singing along at the top of your lungs...

Celebrate the best music of the 70s, 80s, and 90s and unleash your inner rock star. POWER BALLADZ is part Wayne's World-like comedy, part interactive game show, and 90 minutes of wicked rock that'll melt your face off with its killer voices and wicked guitar solos.

Apr. 30 - May 11, 2014

INTERGALACTIC NEMESIS: LIVE ACTION GRAPHIC NOVEL is a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience that mashes up radio drama with comic books. Three actors voice dozens of characters; one Foley artist creates hundreds of sound effects; one keyboardist performs a score of thousands (yes, thousands!) of notes; while on a two-story high screen we project more than 1,250 individual, full-color, hand-drawn, hi-res, blow-your-mind comic book images to tell the story visually. LIVE.

Inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, and the pulp serials of the 1930s, INTERGALACTIC NEMESIS is a spectacle unlike any other and it's for the kid in everyone.

For more information, visit

DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY kicks off the Temple Comedy Series Dec. 4 – Dec. 29, 2013.
Tickets to this raucous Tupperware party are on sale now.

For more information, visit

11.15.2013: Bolshoi On Silver Screenz

Looking for something dance-related to do this weekend? Check this out:
Bolshoi Ballet's "Le Corsaire" this weekend!
Opens Sunday, November 17th

With a dashing pirate, a kidnapped maiden, and a dramatic shipwreck, Le Corsaire is a ballet that "bursts with dazzling ingredients" (The Washington Post). In this new staging from Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, famed choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, (recently named 2014 Mentor for Rolex Arts Initiative and 2013 MacArthur Fellow) and Yuri Burlaka refresh Petipa's original choreography, inspired by Lord Byron's poem, to make this classic a must-see for every ballet lover. Starring prima ballerina Svetlana Lunkina, Ruslan Skvortsov, Andrei Merkuriev, Nina Kaptsova.

Don't miss your chance to see one of the Bolshoi's most treasured ballets like you've never seen it before - find a venue near you!

...Unfortunately, an earlier listing for Jordan Creek has disappeared. It looks like you may have to drive to Cedar Falls to watch this one.

11.15.2013: Audition Action

Performance opportunities at the institution we affectionately call "Party Hearty U":
UI Theatre to hold auditions Nov. 16-21

The UI Department of Theatre Arts will hold open auditions Nov. 16-21 for five productions (including a Mainstage musical), one workshop, two readings, and three special projects. Casting will be announced starting at noon Friday, Nov. 22, with some shows beginning rehearsal on Monday, Dec. 2.

Find more information here.

11.14.2013: Pregnancy Rx

Hey all you expectant moms or prospective expectant mothers! Give your new child the best headstart on life: (CCDC Pilates or dance classes anyone?)
Exercise During Pregnancy Gives Newborn Brain Development a Head Start

(Capital City News Service) As little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise three times per week during pregnancy enhances the newborn child’s brain development, according to researchers. This head-start could have an impact on the child's entire life. “Our research indicates that exercise during pregnancy enhances the newborn child’s brain development,” explained Professor Dave Ellemberg, who led the study. “While animal studies have shown similar results, this is the first randomized controlled trial in humans to objectively measure the impact of exercise during pregnancy directly on the newborn’s brain. We hope these results will guide public health interventions and research on brain plasticity. Most of all, we are optimistic that this will encourage women to change their health habits, given that the simple act of exercising during pregnancy could make a difference for their child’s future.”

Not so long ago, obstetricians would tell women to take it easy and rest during their pregnancy. Recently, the tides have turned and it is now commonly accepted that inactivity is actually a health concern. “While being sedentary increases the risks of suffering complications during pregnancy, being active can ease post-partum recovery, make pregnancy more comfortable and reduce the risk of obesity in the children,” Curier explained. “Given that exercise has been demonstrated to be beneficial for the adult’s brain, we hypothesized that it could also be beneficial for the unborn child through the mother's actions.”

To verify this, starting at the beginning of their second trimester, women were randomly assigned to an exercise group or a sedentary group. Women in the exercise group had to perform at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times per week at a moderate intensity, which should lead to at least a slight shortness of breath. Women in the sedentary group did not exercise. The brain activity of the newborns was assessed between the ages of 8 to 12 days, by means of electroencephalography, which enables the recording of the electrical activity of the brain. “We used 124 soft electrodes placed on the infant's head and waited for the child to fall asleep on his or her mother's lap. We then measured auditory memory by means of the brain’s unconscious response to repeated and novel sounds,” Labonté-LeMoyne said. “Our results show that the babies born from the mothers who were physically active have a more mature cerebral activation, suggesting that their brains developed more rapidly.”

The researchers are now in the process of evaluating the children’s cognitive, motor and language development at age 1 to verify if these differences are maintained.

11.13.2013: "Darling Nikki"

Another submission in the 2013 Annual CCDC Alumni Survey! This one's from a CCDC student who has perhaps flown the furthest since leaving the nest. (Even further than a former student currently modeling in Tokyo.)
1. Who are you and where are you now?
I'm ("Nikiya1") and I am currently a Fulbright scholar in Sri Lanka. At the moment I'm living in the capital, Colombo, studying at the famous Chitrasena dancing school. Soon I'll be moving to Kandy to study with my guru, Master Peter Surasena.
2. How much dance training are you doing now? How many classes a week? What types or styles of dance are you taking? How is it different, how is it the same as what you got at CCDC?
My Fulbright research is on Kandyan dance, the most prominent traditional dance form in Sri Lanka. Right now I am taking 6-7 classes a week, 2-3 of them being private lessons. As you may have guessed, Kandyan dance is very different from what I got at CCDC. The basic stance from which all movement stems is a 2nd position grand plié. Everything is extremely grounded and there's a lot of foot stamping. However, etiquette is much the same as at a ballet school - good behavior and respect for teachers is demanded.
3. How has CCDC dance training help prepare you for what you're doing now? How could we have helped better prepare you?
Though the Kandyan dance style is very different from ballet, CCDC has certainly helped prepare me for this experience. First of all, my training at CCDC was instrumental in receiving the Fulbright grant. Also, the discipline I learned at CCDC is crucial here; I'm expected to memorize the syllabus and to work to the best of my ability at each lesson. I hold the philosophy that having a grasp of ballet will help with learning any style, and that's certainly true with Kandyan dance.
4. If you're still dancing, what kind of corrections are you getting in class? What was the last correction you remember getting? What was the one that helped you the most?
My number one correction is to stay down in that grand plié. It's an issue of building quad strength. Otherwise, I'm getting a lot of corrections on proper coordination of the legs, torso, and arms, which is different than in ballet. Funny how I've taken for granted how naturally ballet coordination comes to me because I've been doing it since I was four, now that I have to learn an entirely new style.
5. Are you performing much? What styles, what choreography, what music? Any touring? What else are you looking forward to performing?
I haven't performed yet, though we're thinking of putting on a very small show for my friends and family when they come to visit. I may perform 2 or 3 of the vannam, which are 5-7 minute traditional dances including the elephant, cobra, and gem dances. The only music used for Kandyan dancing is the Kandyan drum. Dancers must know how to drum, and the teachers play the drum for all my classes. I will hopefully learn how to drum as well.
6. Are you auditioning much? What for? Anything you can tell us?
Definitely not auditioning for anything at the moment. However, I might like to audition for some part-time modern/contemporary dance work when I get back to the States, wherever I happen to land.
7. Do you have roommates or apartment mates? Where are they from? Are they dancers as well?
Right now I live in an annex all by myself, which is rather lonely. When I get to Kandy in December, I'll be living with my teacher and his family. They have a dance studio right in their house.
8. What's the best thing about where you're living now? What's the thing you miss the most about CCDC and the Capital City area in general?
I miss cheese and not sweating all the time. However, the mangos here are delicious, and I can't complain too much about living in a tropical paradise for a year.
9. When will you be back in the Capital City area?
My grant lasts through June, during which time I'm not really allowed to leave Sri Lanka. So I'll be home at the beginning of July 2014.
10. What are your plans for the future? Short-term? Long-term?
When I get back to the US, I'm planning on finding a job somewhere for a year or two while I teach Kandyan dance workshops and apply for graduate school. I'm thinking of studying medical anthropology with a focus on mental health issues. But plans can always change, and I'm open to any opportunities which may come my way.
11. What message do you have for the CCDC dancers you left behind? Miss CCDC much? (sob!)
Work hard, but make sure that you're always enjoying yourself. You never know where your dance training will take you! Take classes in any and every dance style you can, and be open to the diversity of options you'll receive from having such excellent dance training. Even if you don't continue with dance, appreciate and put to use the skills you have learned at CCDC. And say hi to my mom.
...And, you can keep up to date with "Nikiya1" at her dance blog.

11.12.13: Lindy Hop

Second installment of the Annual CCDC Alumni Survey! (Remember to pass the word...esp. to alumni we haven't heard from in a long time!o)
Hi Missy and Emery!!!

1. This is ("Lindy Vander Emmen"), and I am working at Center on Halsted, an LGBTQ community center. I graduated from Princeton last year.

2. I’m not doing formal dance training, but I go to salsa clubs and am starting up with a tap group here. The tap is definitely more silly than the classes I got from Missy at CCDC!

3. Dance training has been incredibly influential. CCDC taught me respect, discipline and how to deal with hardship. If my body wasn’t behaving in class, I could either slow down, listen to it, and correct the course, or I could just give up. Yall made it hard to give up! And I am incredibly grateful.

4. Well, in a salsa club, I was told to get rid of my ballet hands! :P

5. I want to get into some modern dancing. I’ve been so busy at work that I haven’t given myself a bunch of time! I’ve been trying to be a gym rat. I ran a 5k last month!

6. I’m applying to law schools, so that’s a terrifying audition.

7. I have one roommate, and he is a terrible dancer. My roommate is a student, so we are living a similar diet of ramen and pb.

8. The city of Chicago is a great place to live. I get to be super involved with politics and activism, and there is always something to do. If anyone is coming near, I’d love to show you some of my new favourite haunts! I really miss the sense of family at CCDC. It was such a supportive environment. Here, I can be a little anonymous, but at CCDC, everyone knew everyone’s business (in a good way!)

9. I will be back Thanksgiving weekend. Hit me up!

10. Short term, I need to get through this month! We have a ton of programming at the center. Long term, I want to work in public interest law, specifically with sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.

11. I want to thank all the folks I interacted with. CCDC was a second home (sometimes first home) to me. I wear the ring Missy gave me daily, and my thoughts are with you always. Keep up the good work, and you are fabulous.


11.11.2013:Dance Series Tix On Sale TODAY!

Spectacular line-up coming for the 2014 Dance Series:
Fourth Season of THE DANCE SERIES Debuts in January
Tickets to this Civic Center series go on sale today

(Capital City News Service) – The beauty and brilliance of world-class ballet, modern and contemporary dance returns to the DsM Civic Center this winter when DsM Performing Arts kicks off the fourth season of The Dance Series, Jan. 17, 2014.

ALONZO KING LINES BALLET, ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER and TREY MCINTYRE make up the fourth season of The Dance Series. Season tickets start at just $42 for the three-show package.

Tickets go on sale today, at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center ticket office.

About the Shows
Jan. 17, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

ALONZO KING LINES BALLET is a celebrated contemporary ballet company that has been guided since 1982 by the unique artistic vision of Alonzo King. Collaborating with noted composers, musicians, and visual artists from around the world, Alonzo King creates works that draw on a diverse set of deeply rooted cultural traditions, imbuing classical ballet with new expressive potential. Alonzo King understands ballet as a science – founded on universal, geometric principles of energy and evolution – and continues to develop a new language of movement from its classical forms and techniques. Alonzo King’s visionary choreography, brought to life by the extraordinary LINES Ballet dancers, is renowned for connecting audiences to a profound sense of shared humanity.

For more information, visit

March 18, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER grew from a now-fabled performance in March 1958 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Led by Alvin Ailey and a group of young African-American modern dancers, that performance changed forever the perception of American dance. The Ailey company has gone on to perform for an estimated 23 million people at theaters in 48 states and 71 countries on six continents -- as well as millions more through television broadcasts. In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world,” one that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.

For more information, visit

May 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

TREY MCINTYRE PROJECT is a Boise-based nonprofit arts organization founded to nurture, support and produce the artistic vision of artist Trey McIntyre. They believe in the power of art and dance to transform, heal and enlighten. Through their groundbreaking and award-winning methods, they engage with communities and audiences across the globe every year.

For more information, visit

11.11.2013: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday

Little bit o' dancing to start your week off on a bright note! Here's a recap of last week's DWTS action:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
Seventh Elimination
Week Eight
Cher guest judges!
The Dance-offs!

Will Bill Engvall be able to dodge the bullet for another week?

Begins with a big lavish Vegas spectacle for Cher. Her own dancers begin the beguine. Audience on its feet and clapping. She's gotta be seventy something! Now the troupe comes out. Medley of Cher's greatest hits. Fireworks and glittering fire fall to end the spectacle. Even Ozzy and J-Lo on their feet in a show of respect. Stars dance to Cher's biggest hits? Team Corbina: He's producing a movie at the same time. Multi-tasker! Constant phone interruptions! Argentine Tango! dancing to Burlesque. Corbin still sets the standard for the season! He's masterful. Rehearsal interruptions not showing! He's strong in the lifts. She's not a "sack of potatoes" in his careful arms! Overhead lift spin Successful! I give him a ten! Or nine! Real judges: 9, 9, 9

Team Tonini: Viennese Waltz to "I Got You Babe". Tribute to the first meeting of Sonny and Cher. Leah's channeling the Young Cher. Audience applauds the crescendo. Nice promenade turn. Very sweet story. Just a little careful for my taste. She still needs to work on finishing the lines! She does a great slide to the floor. They saunter off at the ending. Well acted! Dancing was almost up to par. I give her an eight. High praise from Cher! Says dance captured a pivotal moment in her life! Real judges: 8, 9, 8!

Team Branteta: Fox Trot. Another distracted dancer during production of his TV show. This guy makes me smile when he dances. Maybe it's his smile. Good frame. Must be tough for the singers to sing a Cher song, while she's in the room! He's selling it! Love his commitment! Very likable guy! Big KISS to end the dance! I give him a nine...or ten! Bruno asks for more refinement! Get the make them better. Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Tied for the top!

Team Valisabeth: Jazz! Should be her forte! Looks like an exhausting week of rehearsals! I agree with her choice to change song to the seminal "Bang, bang!" WOW! Getting goose bumps. The combination of movement and music is toxic and intoxicating! And, having Cher in the house while it's going on adds extra Piquancy! Oh, pointe that front foot on the lift. She gets an effortless ten. Oops! They just censored Cher! Love that Elisabeth's so receptive to the criticism. Real judges: 8, 9, 8!

Team Engvallemma: It's disco night at the ballroom! Classic disco moves from the seventies. this should be Bill's wheelhouse. This is his era after all. But, the young Bill of the seventies...isn't quite upt to the task of disco in the 21st century. He picks her up and tosses her around. Good for the old guy. But, can he keep it up and can he get stronger the longer the routine goes. He ends with a wink at the camera and then goes crazy. Love his enthusiasm. I give him an eight! Channeling his inner Travolta! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! He may be dancing for his life in a few minutes!

Team Osburke: Argentine Tango. He knows what it's like when someone messes up his father's music. Added pressure. He did look better until he fell in the video package. Seminal song. "The Beat Goes on". Hard to dance down steps, yet pros keep choreographing it to their dancers. His frame is so MUCH better. Sonny and Cher classic! Good kicks and flicks. Strong heel leads. Good footwork. Ooh! He's good. The pimp and his pro! I give him a ten! Or, maybe nine! Real judges: 9, 9, 9. Tied for the lead?

Team Amberek: Straps on a huge knee wrap! Derek brings in a sub dancer for rehearsal process. She says she learns better as a visual learner. Rhumba. Derek loses his shirt. My boyz in shape! Remind me to work out a little more! Amber channeling her inner Cher, her inner diva. Look at those fierce expressions! She's loving this. What a performer. Love the fast, fast, SLOOW movements! Only a small sign of favoring her injury! She gets a nine or ten from me! Real judges: 9, 9, 10! Breaks the logjam at the top of the leaderboard!

The Dance Offz!o):

Team Corbina vs Team Valisabeth: Choosing cha-cha! Battle of the heavyweights! Corbin picks on someone his own size! Doesn't pick on a weaker opponent! Go BIG or go HOME! LOVE IT! Head to head, strength to strength. But, he's so GOOD! Val's not even watching working out his own routine. Corbin meanwhile, hitting it out of the park! Same exact song! Here comes Val and here comes Elsabeth. She's good but, not as strong as Corbin! Suffers only by comparison. fast turns ends with a drop. Now They're dancing together! True friendships develop on this show! Corbin and Karina win in a sweep!

Team Branteta picks on Team Tonini: Rhumba!

Brant: He's surprising everytime out! He's big and not holding back. strong lines! Strong and sexy! Leah Exact same song! She's selling it in her tasseled dress, but, it's too weak not strong enough. Suffers by comparison as well. Good moments. Not strong enough! Real judges disagree. Leah and Tony win two to one.

Team Osburke vs Team Engvallemma:

Jack: Timing a little off. strong. But, missing the fun of the piece. He's underrehearsed! Bill still weak. He's attacking. Needs to hold his shoulders down. They're doing the same routine they did earlier. He drops her like a ton of bricks to the floor! Battle of the cellar dwellers! Real judges choose: Jack and Cheryl in a sweep! But, Bergeron reveals Bill and Emma are SAFE! I was just going to ask if it was his time to go! So will it be Leah?

Elimination: Elisabeth saved. Corin advances to dance another day! Also safe, Leah! That means Jack or Brant are going to go. This will be bad for the viewers no matter who goes home tonight! Brant gets voted off the dance island. He needed those three points! He's going to be missed! Emotional leave taking! Brant was not just eye candy, he was a legitimate contender and a vastly improved dancer. Apparently PLL Fans not watching or voting! It better be Leah or Bill who leaves next week! Also next week: the Trio Challenge!

11.08.2013: She LIVEZ!oD

First of, hopefully, many replies to the Semi-Annual CCDC Alumni Survey!o)
1.Who are you and where are you now?

Hi everyone, its ("Maize Brosnan!") :) I am currently an apprentice with the Oklahoma City Ballet.

2. How much dance training are you doing now? How many classes a week? What types or styles of dance are you taking? How is it different, how is it the same as what you got at CCDC?

Our schedule is a Tuesday thru Saturday week instead of the usual Monday thru Friday. Every morning we have a ballet class from 930-11 before we start rehearsing from 1115-430. The ballet classes are usually pretty Americanized but they have been throwing in some Balanchine technique/ center combos to prepare us for Rubies.

3. How has CCDC dance training help prepare you for what you're doing now? How could we have helped better prepare you?

CCDC training has helped prepare me in so many ways. I feel like CCDC really shaped me into having a good work ethic; always working on the side of class in between combinations and going over choreography and corrections.

4. If you're still dancing, what kind of corrections are you getting in class? What was the last correction you remember getting? What was the one that helped you the most?

In class I actually get a lot of corrections. Not like CCDC but more than I expected to get in a company :) I get corrections on my arms a lot, and putting energy through them. Robert also always tells me to go after everything with more attack and not be so "soft".

5. Are you performing much? What styles, what choreography, what music? Any touring? What else are you looking forward to performing?

We finished up performing Mowgli and now we are rehearsing The Nutcracker. We were planning on touring to Arkansas the first couple weeks of December but rumor has it we might not be going anymore :( I am really looking forward to performing in a professional company's Nutcracker!

6. Are you auditioning much? What for? Anything you can tell us?

I haven't figured out any of my auditions yet but I plan on trying to audition! It is going to be hard to find time with work and money for transportation but I plan on trying to make as many as I can.

7. Do you have roommates or apartment mates? Where are they from? Are they dancers as well?

I have one roommate, Arianna, and she is from Maine. She was an apprentice last year and was promoted to a corps dancer!

8. What's the best thing about where you're living now? What's the thing you miss the most about CCDC and the Capital City area in general?

I love being part of a company and being able to dance all day everyday. I miss CCDC classes so much! I miss all the hands on corrections and just the intensity of the classes. I also really miss being able to see myself in the mirror at barre hahaha, I am tucked away in the corner!

9. When will you be back in the Capital City area?

I will be back home on Christmas Eve :)!

10. What are your plans for the future? Short-term? Long-term?

I plan on auditioning for companies more this year and if I don't have time to audition or if nothing comes from them then Id continue my training and audition next year :) I definitely want to keep being in a company though!

11. What message do you have for the CCDC dancers you left behind? Miss CCDC much? (sob!)

Work as hard as you can all the time! Appreciate the training you're getting and never take it for granted because you will miss it so much when youre gone ;) love you all!!
...Great answers, Maize! Remember to pass the word to all CCDC alumni! Enquiring minds wanna know!o)

11.07.2013: Smoke Signalz

...Don't smoke tobacco either!
Face It: Twins Who Smoke Look Older

(Capital City News Service) — Twins who smoke show more premature facial aging, compared to their nonsmoking identical twins, reports a study by members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

The study finds significant differences in facial aging between twins with as little as five years' difference in smoking history, says a new report by ASPS Member Dr. Bahman Guyuron. The results also suggest that the effects of smoking on facial aging are most apparent in the lower two-thirds of the face.

Facial Aging in Smoking vs Nonsmoking Twins

Taking advantage of the annual Twin Days Festival, held in Twinsburg, Ohio, the researchers identified pairs of identical twins who differed by smoking history. In each pair, either one twin smoked and the other did not, or one twin smoked at least five years longer. Fifty-seven of the 79 twin pairs studied were women; the average age 48 years.

A professional photographer took standardized, close-up photographs of each twin's face. The twins also completed questionnaires regarding their medical and lifestyle histories.

Without knowledge of the twins' smoking history, plastic surgeons analyzed the twins' facial features, including grading of wrinkles and age-related facial features. The goal was to identify "specific components of facial aging" that were affected by smoking.

Scores on several measures of facial aging were significantly worse for the smokers. The smokers had more sagging of the upper eyelids, as well as more bags of the lower eyelids and under the eyes. Twins who smoked also had higher scores for facial wrinkles, including more pronounced nasolabial folds (lines between the nose and mouth), wrinkling of the upper and lower lips and sagging jowls.

Among twins with more than five years' difference in smoking history, the average difference in smoking history was 13 years. Twins with a longer duration of smoking had worse scores for bags on the lower lids and under the eyes and lower lip wrinkles.

New Insights into Why Smokers Look Older

Most of the smoking-related differences affected the middle and lower thirds of the face. There were fewer differences in aging of the upper face, such as forehead lines or "crow's feet" around the eyes.

In most cases, the examiners were able to identify the smoking or longer-smoking twin based on the differences in facial aging, as rated in photographs. The twin pairs were similar in other environmental factors that can affect facial aging, including sunscreen use, alcohol intake, and work stress.

Smoking is one of several lifestyle factors that have been linked to premature facial aging. However, few previous studies have focused on those aspects of facial aging that are most affected by smoking. The Twin Days Festival provided a unique opportunity for detailed analysis of facial aging in twins who differed by smoking history.

The results show differences in several markers of facial aging for identical twins who differ by smoking history—especially in the middle and lower face. "It is noteworthy that even among sets of twins where both are smokers, a difference in five years or more of smoking duration can cause visibly identifiable changes in facial aging," Dr. Guyuron and coauthors write. The study also provides clues as to the cellular-level mechanisms by which smoking leads to premature aging, which may differ for different facial features.

11.06.2013: Enquiring Mindz Wanna Know!o)

It's that time of the year! Time for the annual CCDC Alumni Survey! It's open to all CCDC alumni and we especially encourage those of you we may have lost touch with to participate! Send the completed survey to Info@GoCCDC.Com. And, if you're in touch with any CCDC alum, be sure to let them know! Ready? 5, 6...5, 6, 7, 8...GO!o)
  1. Who are you and where are you now?
  2. How much dance training are you doing now? How many classes a week? What types or styles of dance are you taking? How is it different, how is it the same as what you got at CCDC?
  3. How has CCDC dance training help prepare you for what you're doing now? How could we have helped better prepare you?
  4. If you're still dancing, what kind of corrections are you getting in class? What was the last correction you remember getting? What was the one that helped you the most?
  5. Are you performing much? What styles, what choreography, what music? Any touring? What else are you looking forward to performing?
  6. Are you auditioning much? What for? Anything you can tell us?
  7. Do you have roommates or apartment mates? Where are they from? Are they dancers as well?
  8. What's the best thing about where you're living now? What's the thing you miss the most about CCDC and the Capital City area in general?
  9. When will you be back in the Capital City area?
  10. What are your plans for the future? Short-term? Long-term?
  11. What message do you have for the CCDC dancers you left behind? Miss CCDC much? (sob!)
...Remember to help spread the word to any CCDC alumni about the annual survey! The more, the merrier!o)

11.04.2013: Ballet in KC

#CCDC Adult #Ballet #dancer takes a #dance oriented field trip:
"...Birthday weekend in KC. at new KC Ballet building. Gorgeous. Industrial. open. Nice studios. Little loft over big company studio to watch. small dressing room. No place to warm up except on cement floor outside studio. I was the only one warming up. took open intermed/adv class. Mixed bag. No corrections. Not even general corrections. Couple probable former pros left after barre. I had to go front/ center n 1st across floor. Other students stepped back n teacher asked. Aargh. Pressure to remember combos. Despite level of students teacher did not change level of combos. Meh. But watched company class end of barre/ start of center. New artistic director teaching. Very little head/neck. Stare straight ahead = zombie dancers. A few smiles. N stretched/ breathed / held. My eyes stayed on them. Same as CCDC corrections -- straight knee in all arabesques. Point toes not just feet. Keep foot attached to leg up n down passé. Turn out supporting leg. Nice to know pros still work at stuff I do. Gonna try more to DANCE at barre n smile n pretend I'm in front even when I'm not..."

11.04.2013: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

Best thing about Monday for you non-NFL fans: Dancing With The Starz! Here's a recap of the latest action:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
Sixth Elimination
Week Seven
The First Team Competition

Opening Number: Faux fighting. Girlz vs boyz. Lotta Jazz walks! Strong dancing. As usual nice to see trained dancers doing what they love to do...and we love to watch! "Not looking for trouble, but, trouble looks for me!" Choreographed by Mandy Moore!

Intro follows! Preview of costumes to come and hint of routines! Will this be a double-elimination because of last week's snafuz? Tom Bergeron explains guest performance judge next week will be Cher...Underwhelmed!

Team Valisabeth: Quickstep. Focus on technique, Forcing better frame! He's a taskmaster! She's an eager student! Starts off with a little retro fifties End of the world spoof. Once in hold, will they stay as per Len's instructions? Better frame, but, still not all there. She's sharp and fast everywhere else, though! Needs to hold that core stronger as well. It's all connected it's all related. She's doing a good job following up on her perfect scores last week! I give her a nine! If she held better frame, I would've given her a ten! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Seems they agree with me. She's gonna be hard to beat!

Team Braneta: Jive. Speed and details his achilles heels! But, he's putting in homework! He is a goofball! Perfect for this number! He's improved so much! Watch those hyper extended elbows! He's very watchable! Great performer and good dancer as well! Lotta details he's getting right! Synchronicity is off the chartz! His kip up is better than the video pack promised! Oh, he slips on the skirt he just tossed on the floor! Probably, gonna cost him! Give him a nine from him! Real judges: 9, 9, 9. I think the slip might've cost him! "Toughest dance, yet," he says.

Team Tonini: Hard lifts! She's refreshing! Salsa. She's not afraid to use her hips! Just needs to work on the transitions out of the lifts. Hips are accentuated by those ruffles! Needs to focus up not slujmped over. She's losing her frame the longer she goes. Fatigue must be a factor with thises non pro dancers! Lotta tricks! Hallmark of Salsa! Ambitious routine done reasonably well. Needs to learn to hold on those lifts to avoid the "sack of potatoes" syndrome! I give her an eight! Real judges: 9, 8, 9. Me and Len are tight tonight! Rib injury revealed! Dang! The show must go on! Welcome to the dance world!

Team Osburke: Jive. Mid-season fatigue combined with his disease causing some doldrums. Country jive. He's got areat smile. Good attack . Has to watch what his second arm and hand does when he's concentrating on the other side. Adrenaline is the best antidote to fatigue! Run up the stairs isn't helping his exhaustion! Shots of his dad and mum and wife. I give him an eight. I didn't think he could match his sister's run to the finals. I'm starting to rethink that prediction. Real judges: 10, 8, 9! CarrieAnne breaks her paddle she's so enthusiastic! Good for him!

Team Amberek: Paso Doble! Dealing with injuries both pro and star! My back is sympathetically sore for poor Derek! But, she always delivers, they both always deliver. Look at that sharp solos! Wow! She's so good! Prowling the floor like an ebony panther! Strong! Smooth. Great facials! Good emotions! Great Drama. Excellent technique! She's not holding anything back! She's keeping up with Derek! She gets a ten! She deserves a perfect score!!! Rising above injuries! Real judges: 10, 10, 9! WWHAT? She deserves a ten. That's nitpicking to question her shoulders...even though he may be right!

Team Engvallemma: Quickstep. Back from the dead! They visit Las Vegas. Channeling his inner Elvis! His age is becoming a liability in his training! Viva Las Vegas. Frame still weak! leg movement still lazy and lacking! He's taking a few steps backwards this week! He could pay if he survives to next week! It's slow and that's accentuated by his being behind the music! This is no quick step. It't a lazy step! I give him a six or seven! Also, lukewarm comments from the...Real judges: 8, 7, 8. Once again Len and me on the same stage!

Team Snoosha: Samba! Channeling her inner Beyonce. She's dancing like a zombie! Lack of sleep from caring for her sick son is sapping her ability to pick up steps and choreography. The little chihuahua. No lack of energy. She needs to focus and look out. she's looking down too much. Moves well, but, her turns need to be crisper. Okay, now she's smiling. She's not afraid to shake it out on the dance floor. But, persists in focusing down. Performers focus out and up and makes eye contact with the audience. Gotta sell the performance, kids! I give her an eight. Real judges: 9, 9, 9!

Team Corbina: Cha cha. Hard for amateurs to deal with choreography not being set during rehearsal week. Korbin and Karina's the sun in canary yellow. He's good again! Fast and smooth. Sharp when he needs to be and quite the performer. There's some hip hop attack! Samba rolls! His athleticism is controlled and sure! He's actually outperforming the pro! I give him a nine! Missing a little something for the ten! Real judges: 10, 9, 10. Me and Len are broz!

Group Dancez:

Team Spooky Bom Bom: The cemetery caretaker. Halloween theme. Shouldn't have Bill in the center. Snooki shows off her tumbling skills. Lifts with Sasha. She looks like a little child. Spookier. Elisabeth, good attack. Leah has good attitude...but, weak movements. Soft core. Should be tighter. Bill and emma He's trying his best in his poofy, pirate shirt. Needs more strength and attack. Group dance. Better. But, bill suffers when dancing next to male pros!. Big toss for Snooki at the end! From her cheerleader days! I give them an eight...or seven! Tried hard, but still no cigar! Real judges: 9, 9, 9

Team FoxingAwesome: Free style! Derek has never lost a freestyle. Such a strong choreographer! Building on the webvid sensation: "What Does The Fox Say?". Hard to top the video. Derek has a foxtail! They all do. Brant strong, motivated Hilarious! What does the fox say? Foxing awesome Corbin! Amusing. Jack is the FOX! Can't help laughing and smiling at some of their choices! Now they're all in fox costumes! Referencing the video and making it their own! Not sure Len is going to get this. It was foxing hilarious! I give them a ten! Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Perfect score for a team! Derek's streak continues, but, they ALL contributed!

All members of Team Foxing Awesome declared safe. That means a Spooky Bom Bom will say goodbye! Elisabeth saved. Leah saved! Snooki and Bill on the chopping block. Ends up Team Snoosha eliminated. Bill's fans come through! Snooki's negatives have finally caught up with her. She's crying! She's so emotional at leaving her new found friends! Next week: Leah, Bill and Jack better watch out. They're on the soon-to-be-disappointed list. Amber, Corbin and Elisabeth are on the "Anointed list". Snooki's crying, but, she's changed some negative impressions she brought on herself with that "Jersey Shore" program. So, a successful run for the diminutive dancer. Cher next week! Not looking forward to it, TBH!o(

11.01.2013: Performance Posting

Chance to check out some dance at the institution we affectionately call "Party Hearty U":
UI dancers set works by international writers in motion

University of Iowa students in the Department of Dance have collaborated with writers in residence at the International Writing Program to choreograph new dances inspired by the writers’ works. A free, public performance showcasing their work will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in Space Place Theater in North Hall.

Collaborative works to be performed include:

  • "Ten" by Muhamed Abdelnabi (Egypt)
  • "My Voice, I Do Not Hear" by Sawsan Al-Areeque (Kuwait)
  • "Ejagham" by Corinne N'Guessan (Cote d'Ivoire)
  • "Adieu" by Oscar Ranzo (Uganda)
  • "Tangerines" by Wang Jiaxin (China)
This collaborative performance is the second-to-last public event of the 2013 IWP Fall Residency. On Monday, Nov. 4, the 34 writers from 31 countries who arrived in Iowa City in August for the annual 10-week residency will travel to Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City before returning to their home countries on Nov. 12.

The IWP Fall Residency is organized in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. Alumni of the program include many well-known international writers, including two recent Nobel Prize in Literature laureates: Mo Yan (China, IWP 2004) and Orhan Pamuk (Turkey, IWP 1985).

The IWP is a unique conduit for the world’s literatures, connecting well-established writers from around the globe, bringing international literature into classrooms, introducing American writers to other cultures through reading tours, and serving as a clearinghouse for literary news and a wealth of archival and pedagogical materials. Since 1967, more than 1,400 writers from more than 140 countries have been in residence at the UI.

10.31.2013: Cups

#CCDC's Rothbart sends along this webvideo tap send-up:

...And, if you like what you saw, don't forget to sign up for #CCDC Tap Dance Classes!o)

10.30.2013: "BARRE" Bars

Proper nutrition is fuel for a dancer's body. It's important to keep properly fueled and hydrated to be able to dance and perform well. But, as we all know, not all food or drink is created equal. So, I've been reading a lot of advance publicity about the new "barre" food bar. It's billed as "a real food bar developed by two professional dancers. (made with whole foods for real athletes)". I like to support my fellow dancers when I can, so, I thought I'd buy a bar or two of "barre" to take out for a test taste when I saw it on sale at the local health food store. This is part of what's printed on the wrapper:
"For dancers, striking a nutritional balance that provides energy and stamina is a challenging necessity. After trying nearly every bar available we decided it was high time to create our own using real whole foods. Enter stage left: Barre! Barre helps us stay in top performance shape without weighing us down. Try Barre before a ballet class, yoga, pilates or whenever you need to perform your best. We hope it becomes part of your repertoire as it has ours! --- Julia and Aaron"
...Find out more at The flavor I bought is called "ballerina spirulina". And, I snarfed it down before teaching class at CCDC one Friday and I enjoyed it. I think it tastes better with some hot tea to wash it down. But, the best thing was: I wasn't starving after teaching a full ballet class before dinner. The only hesitation for me would be the relatively high cost of health food snacks: $3.09 a barre at the store, $2.50 a barre on-line or a dozen for $27.48. For some reason, buying real wholesome, healthy food in America comes at a premium. So, I'd suggest waiting for a sale and stocking up then. You can find "barre" bars at New City Market on University just east of the golf course across from the Waveland Cafe. That's also a good place to get your nutrition and health food questions answered. Ask for certified nutritionist and former dancer Jim Raife.

10.29.2013: Something WICKED This Way Comes...Again!

Calling all starving artists and poor supporters of the arts (redundant, I know!) Chance for reduced price and FREE tickets to WICKED!
WICKED Announces Lottery for $25 Tickets

Capital City News Service – A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of orchestra seats will be held for WICKED, which is returning to the DsM Civic Center Wednesday, Oct. 30 through Sunday, Nov. 10.

Two and one-half hours prior to each performance, people who present themselves at the Civic Center ticket office will have their names placed in a lottery drum and 30 minutes later, names will be drawn for a limited number of orchestra seats at $25 each, cash only. This lottery is available only in-person at the ticket office, with a limit of two tickets per person. Lottery participants must have a valid photo ID when submitting their entry form and, if chosen, when purchasing tickets.

“We are thrilled to be hosting WICKED for the third time at the DsM Civic Center and on its 10th anniversary,” said DsM Performing Arts president and CEO Jeff Chelesvig. “Ten years on Broadway is an accomplishment shared by only a handful of other productions. We are so pleased to be celebrating that accomplishment here...”

In celebration of WICKED’s 10th anniversary, lottery tickets for the Wednesday, Oct. 30 performance only will be given away for FREE. Come rejocify and festivate as WICKED turns 10!

10.28.2013: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

The second half of the popular reality dance competition returns to ABC tonight. Here's a recap of last week's action...(spoiler alert!) or non-action:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
Switch-Up Challenge
Fifth Elimination
Half-way point of the competition!

Big opening number production to "Sing, Sing". Some of the partnering could be a little bit smoother. Otherwise, shades of MGM musicals! Busbee Berkley! Stars introduced during the big pro number. Choreographed by Lacey and Benji Schwimmer!

Side-by-side judge's challenge.

Team Engvallemma: Tango. Hard to choreograph to Jimmy Buffet. Redneck Tango! Shoulders drifting up. But, very creative approach to choreographic challenge. Hold that upper body, Engvall! Shoulders rolled back and under! Stand like a dancer! Not a standup comedian. TERRIBLE song to do a tango to! She MADE IT WORK! He went along for the ride!. I give him an eight. Real judges: 8, 8, 7.

Team Valisabeth: cha-cha. Talked about the punishment for her career choice of Showgirls. He's a supportive coach to her wounded inner dancer. Okay! Here's a once-ingenue now cougar on the prowl! Some fast turns! She's FULLY committed to this dance! Strong performance. She's having fun with it instead of trying to be sexy. I give her a nine! Real judges: 10, 10, 10!!! First perfect score of the season! Well-deserved!!!

Team Tonini: Quickstep. Reconnecting with the fun in dance! Wow! Much beter than last week's contemporary. She's a performer! Acting the heck out of this piece. Great facials! good, tight frame. Good synchronicity in the steps. But, the best part is: She IS HAVING FUN! Her best dance yet! I give her eight or nine for that! She's so sassy! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Len agrees "Your best dance!"

Team Braneta: Have fun doing it, so the audience will have fun watching it! Tango. Clean. "All we can control is our dancing!" This guy becomes more and more of a contender each week, doesn't he! Just a little more attack! There it is! Walking down stairs problematic. There's some ferocity. Excellent hold. Good attitude and attack! Just needs to hold those shoulders down a little bit more! Doesn't now how to come up from a lunge like a dancer! Gotta lotta little details right! Rehearsal shows. Little stumble on the ending pose! C'mon NAIL THE ENDING! I give him a nine! Real judges: 9, 10, 9 TEN FROM LEN! Watch for the scores to reset lower next week!

Team Amberek: Samba! Samba roll practice. Here's where it gets harder according to Derek. Starts in solo. She calls on the band to party! Samba! The party dance. Amber's ready to party! SHE IS THE PARTY , PEOPLE! Shoulders! Look at her sell the movement! Her body is singing like her voice does! She makes me smile! Drop at the end was so strong! I give her ten! Judges have been scoring fast and loose! She may also get a thirty! Amber-licious! Real judges: 10, 8, 10! What's up with Len?

Team Osburke: Paso Doble. Promising video pak. Needs more presentation and strength in his upper body. Promising, but, not really delivering! Good for him. BUt, Not the attack and strength that piece demanded! I give him an eight. Not quite there! Real judges: 8, 9, 8. Score inflation right there, IMNSHO!o)

Team Snoosha: Foxtrot. Good expression! Sometimes she looks like she's faking the facials. There's still a little bit of that. But, she's tapping into the enjoyment a little more. Nice lines. Good head placement. She's dancing big and good frame. Smooth and controlled! Her best dance . I give her a nine! Better than expected! Real judges: 9, 9, 9.

Team Corbina: Viennese Waltz to Game of Thrones? I'm afraid of this waltz. If creativity is the juxtaposition of disparate parts...than this is creative. But, is it worth watching? Unexpected. Was that a lift! Two more lifts? Have we learned nothing? He dies and she mounts the throne of swords! I didn't like the piece, but, it was well-done! I give him a nine. Real judges: 8, 7, 8. His lowest scores in a long time!

Switch up Challenge: Music changes while judges eliminate. I think the male pros have an advantage, they can lead the stars. Corbin and Karina win the first group. "Like being in a club!" Corbin is like a male pro, plus he needed the points. Improv points. Team Amberek win the second field. What? No Head-to-head?

Elimination: Bill and Emma at the bottom of the leader board. Could it be the popular comedian's time to go home? Jack and Cheryl are safe! WHAT? Bill and Emma are safe! Technical problems cause a voting snafu! THEREFORE! NO ONE GOES HOME! Yay! That was MEAN! Emma is crying openly! Does that mean two couples will go home next week? Just a matter of time before Leah and Bill have to say goodbye! Next week: scores carry over and team dances!

10.25.2013: Performance Posting

Show up and support CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Modern Instructor Kathleen Hurley and her fellow dancers this weekend:
"...Join Hurley & Dancers (Kathleen, Lana and Jen!) as they perform with live organ to Bach's "Taccata and Fugue" in Westminster Church's Halloween "Hoot N Howl" event this Saturday at 7 p.m., 4114 Allison Ave. in DsM. Free!

Carnival in the Fellowship Hall 5:30-7 p.m. Come in costume! For more information, call (515) 274-1534...."

10.24.2013: Trashing Tramps

Back away from tramp, Scamp!
Why Kids Should Not be Allowed on Trampolines
Pediatric orthopaedic surgeon says trampolines not worth injury risk

Capital City News Service - Less than two weeks after getting a new trampoline, 12-year-old Abbey Creamean broke her ankle when she landed awkwardly.

She wore a cast up to her mid-thigh. She had to cancel a dance recital, quit her softball team and give up swimming.

Abbey is among the more than 100 young patients that Dr. Terri Cappello of Loyola University Medical Center has treated during her 15 years as a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.

“A trampoline puts a child at risk for serious injuries,” Cappello said. “Kids sustain broken arms, legs and even break their necks which can lead to paralysis. Just as you would not let your child jump into a shallow swimming pool, you should not let them jump on a trampoline.”

Cappello agrees with a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that says safety measures such as enclosure nets and padding have not substantially reduced the risk. “Therefore, the home use of trampolines is strongly discouraged,” the Academy statement said.

The AAP estimated that in 2009, there were nearly 98,000 trampoline-related injuries in the United States. And injuries peak during the summer months.

Cappello said trampolines might be worth the risk only when used for training purposes by gymnasts and divers, under careful supervision.

The Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America said trampolines and moon bouncers are among the four main areas of preventable injuries in children. (The other areas are skateboards, ATVs and lawnmowers.)

Cappello said injuries typically occur when trampoline users land awkwardly. Common injuries include a broken ankle or a fracture of the tibia (shinbone) just below the knee. Users also can break their necks and become paralyzed.

Abbey was doing a forward flip when her foot grazed the enclosure net. She landed wrong and broke her right ankle.

Abbey had begged for years to get a trampoline. But now her mother says they are getting rid of it, and Abbey isn’t objecting.

“She doesn’t want it anymore,” said her mother, Renee Creamean. “She’s afraid of it now.”

10.23.2013: Dance Dialogue

Feedback to "Monday Night Footfall!" posting earlier this week:
"...It's (early) and I'm avoiding digging into my real work so I shall comment.

I agreed wholeheartedly with Julianne's comments last week that Mark out performs his "stars" and therefore makes it difficult for them to shine. That has always been my biggest gripe with him. I think he is over animated to the point of distraction. That being said I do not think Christina should have been sent home. She was a joy to watch.

I am a big fan of Leah Remini but that dance was awful. I think Tony doesn't know how to choreograph anything but ballroom. I like Tony but his first freestyle with Melissa Rycroft had the same disjointed feel. That being said I also think dancing contemporary would be the most difficult for a non-dancer and poor Leah proved it. Brant did much better even if you didn't like Peta's dance, which I felt was fine but didn't match the music choice at all.

Watching Amber the last two weeks just reminds me what an advantage it is to have Derek as a partner. The guy just choreographs the best stuff for whoever he is with. He is the man..."

10.22.2013: Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!

Recognizing local students participating in the real life GLEE!:
DsM Performing Arts Announces the Second Year of High School Musical Theater Awards
17 schools to participate in 2013-14 season

(Capital City News Service) – With the 2013-14 school year in full swing, DsM Performing Arts is kicking off the second season of the State High School Musical Theater Awards. The Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of young musical theater artists from high schools all over the central part of the state.

“We’re excited, once again, to be to celebrating the incredible talent of Iowa’s young musical theater performers,” said DsM Performing Arts Director of Programming and Education, Eric Olmscheid. “The State High Musical Theater Awards elevates the arts in our schools, creating an unmatched opportunity to recognize student achievements in musical theater in a non-competitive format.”

The State High School Musical Theater Awards is a year-long education initiative launched by DsM Performing Arts in the fall of 2012. Throughout the school year, performing arts professionals and educators serve as adjudicators to review musical productions and offer constructive feedback to each of the participating high schools.

Based on the adjudicators’ feedback, students and productions will be honored at an end-of-year Awards Showcase at the Des Moines Civic Center. Students and productions are acknowledged in several different categories including: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Lead and Supporting Performers, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Technical Achievement.

Nine high schools participated in last year’s inaugural State High School Musical Theater Awards. This year, all high schools within 90 miles of DsM Performing Arts were invited to participate. The 17 participating schools and their productions include:

  • Ankeny High School, Ankeny – To be announced
  • Ankeny Centennial High School, Ankeny – SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD
  • Bondurant-Farrar High School, Bondurant – THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
  • Dowling Catholic High School, West DsM – To be announced
  • East High School, DsM – HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
  • Hoover High School, DsM – ANYTHING GOES
  • Grinnell High School, Grinnell – BEAUTY & THE BEAST
  • Indianola High School, Indianola – INTO THE WOODS
  • Lincoln High School, DsM – FOOTLOOSE
  • Nevada High School, Nevada – To be announced
  • North Polk High School, Alleman – SEUSSICAL
  • Norwalk High School, Norwalk – WAND
  • Pella Christian High School, Pella – THE MUSIC MAN
  • Roosevelt High School, DsM – PIPPIN
  • Southeast Polk High School, Pleasant Hill – HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING
  • Urbandale High School, Urbandale – GUYS AND DOLLS
  • Waukee High School, Waukee – To be announced
Olmscheid said the intent of the State High School Musical Theater Awards is not about competition but about celebrating exceptional student achievement in musical theater.

“The awards are based on merit. Multiple honorees may be recognized in the same category as performances warrant,” he said. “As we witnessed last year, the celebratory nature of the program allowed the participating schools to support each other’s efforts and successes. We hope to foster that spirit of camaraderie and encouragement again this year.”

The State High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase will be held on June 2, 2014 at the DsM Civic Center and will feature entertainment from the more than 250 participating Iowa high school students. They will share excerpts from their musical productions and collaborative inter-school medleys while being recognized for their outstanding achievements.

For more information about the State High School Musical Theater Awards, visit, here.

10.21.2013: TGIDWTSM!!!

Who needs Monday Night Football when there's Monday Night FOOTFALL? Here's a recap of last week's surprise elimination:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
Return of Len
Moments of our Lives
Fourth Elimination

L.L.Black opens up the show. Lyrical, contemporary ballroom number with the Pros and the troupe. Pros not only have tochoreograph. They have to learn and rehearse this opening number. THey're being tasked to earn their money this week. Think L.L.Black didn't just sell some downloads? Choreography by Derek Hough.

Nine stars remain. Who will go home tonight? Tom reveals a female star could be eliminated tonight based on last week's vote. Puts the pressure on the women. Pressure and emotion.

Team Markhristina: The year of her daughter's birth, the year of her divorce. She shares her heartbreak. "Forget You". Message of female empowerment! Cha-cha. Girlfriend knows how to work her hips! She's a performer and spunky as all get out!. Fun piece. Her attitude is infectious. Little too sharp in her movements. Sharp ending pose. But, not locking out her legs enough. I give her an eight! My default good score! Real judges: 9, 10, 9! First ten of the season!

Team Jack/Cheryl: The year of his daughter's birth, marriage, house and diagnosis of MS. Wow! He's getting some supportive votes just on this emotional backstory! The Waltz! Nice rise and fall! He's a perfect gentleman. Moves well for a big guy!. Nice heel leads. The fundamentals have been well coached. makes excellent line. Just needs to extend them from his center. Has to watch on some of the lifts/drags...she's not a sack of potatoes! Just a little reserved. I think the emotion of the video piece may have put him on guard. He runs over to his wife for a kiss! I give him an eight. Nine for the emotional content! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! his highest scores of the season! He continues to surprise me!

Team Leah/Tony: The year of her departure from her religion. Contemporary dance. She suggests the metaphor of marionette. She's acting her life in this piece. Little flatfooted otherwise. some careful lifts. Liked the story, didn't love the dance. Choreography was a little simplistic! I give her a seven. Eight for the story! Real judges: 7, 7, 8. She could go home tonight!

Team Corbina: Foxtrot. His sister has scoliosis! A shooting star! Fantastic lift sequence into attitude promenade. fast tempo. THen, smooth, stately ballroom fall and rise. His heart is soaring in this number. He blows a kiss to his sister! Skirting the edge of a lift sequence! This week he gets another ten from me! Maybe the judges will finally agree! Real judges: 9, 9, 10! Finally! He deserves a ten all round! Great expectations a curse for Corbin!

Team Engvallemma: Dedicates his dance to his wife of thirty years. Viennese Waltz. He just got some votes there, didn't he! Expressing his love for his wife. Starts with some swaying. SImple, but, effective movements. Love the story again. You have to love the story, but...once again the dancing leaves a lot to be desired. too tentative. tender, but! It's entertaining! It's sweet! He also goes to his wife and gives her a hug and a kiss. She wipes a tear! I give him a seven! Doesn't mean I didn't like the dance. Real judges: 8, 8, 8!

Team Nicole/Sasha: Loves her son! Dancing Jazz for her son! Former party girl starts off with a club anthem. High energy start. She's so small. the drag becomes a lift. Good energy. She just needs to perform it a little more. Not selling the performance. Needs to find her old cheerleader face! She can't hold back! I give her an eight! Kudoz to the NEW Snooki! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Score inflation! She might be safe!o)

Team Braneta: Contemporary routine. Touching tribute to his father. The dance that celebrates his father's influence on his life. Nice push-pull contraction release. easy lifts. I expected smoother movements. Questionable choreography! The movements fight the music. They're fighting in the circle of lights dance floor. I give him an eight. Real judges: 9, 9, 9! What an emotional tour de force for the Pretty Little Liar! But, as a choreographer, I question the movements given by Peta!

Team Amberek: Dance of optimism. Hitting rock bottom. With Derek, the brilliant choreography is always a star! Not at the expense of the performers like Ballas' choreography. What a fun piece! Such energy, such excitement! What Ballroom technique! She's lip- synching at the end. They shoulda let her sing at the end! I give her a nine or ten! Real judges: 9, 7, 10. OMG! That could send her home!

Team Elisabeth/Chermokovsky: Jive. A scene out of saved by the bell. Some old eighties moves Shades of Flash dance! Did she hit her head in the crawl ? I guess not. Some old nostalgic moves! Audience, the older audience anyway, should be able to relate to all these moves! I give her a eight. Real judges; 8, 9, 9. Is that enough to save her?

Directly to the eliminations! Elizabeth announced in jeopardy! Christina and Leah are also in jeopardy. Elizabeth is saved. Top scores and lowest scores in the final two. Christina is eliminated! The audience is in shock! Such a good loser. She leaves with the first ten of the competition in her wheelhouse! Leah could be in trouble next week! Corbin should be safe. Bill Engvall is already in trouble. Nicole needs to step up her game. Brant may be punished for bad choreography. Amber should be safe. Elisabeth could also be punished for the tribute to the eighties! Do you think Julianne Hough's comments last week punished Christina this week? Mark Ballas doesn't generate a lot of votes on his own. We'll never know?

10.18.2013: Directive From David

Message from ABT/Bolshoi Ballet Principal Danseur about this weekend's performance coming to a silver screen near you:
David Hallberg Reports from Moscow: On Spartacus

There are few ballets in the repertoire of the classical dance world that are as laden with history as “Spartacus” is for Bolshoi Theatre. If any single ballet represents the pure stylistic blood of the Bolshoi, it is the way the company dances this gargantuan work. In “Spartacus” everything is bolshoi (in Russian the word “bolshoi” means “big”) — from the mass of dancers on stage and the movement to the acting and the jumps. All combined, the elements represent the signature style Yuri Grigorovich devised for Bolshoi when he created the ballet in 1968.

Grigorovich left one of the most important imprints on Bolshoi Theatre. The success of his ballets (“Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Giselle,” “Legend of Love”) is seen in the style of movement he instilled in the dancers under his direction. His influence during his 30-year reign as artistic director is still strongly intact and the preservation of his repertoire remains a focal point in the achievements of the Bolshoi and its history.

I witness this history daily in Moscow. From the Grigorovich ballets that I dance (“Swan Lake” last month, “Giselle” this month) to the works that have yet to enter my personal repertoire but that I witness from the audience, there is always an element of history occurring on the stage.

“Spartacus” is one of the works I have yet to tackle. Here in Moscow I will not have gained the full Bolshoi experience until I am able to participate in the power and spectacle that “Spartacus” embodies.

Although I will not dance this ballet in the near future, I will see a first-rate ensemble in the October 20th live broadcast. All the characters are individual, singular and of importance. Everyone is cast brilliantly: Lobukhin in the title role, Lantratov as Crassus, Zakharova as Aegina, Nikulina as Phrygia. This performance of “Spartacus” will show the world how this beautifully preserved historic ballet combines with the expression and dancing of today’s dancers to produce a work of great effectiveness, relevance and physical prowess: an amalgam of the Bolshoi Theatre of history and the Bolshoi Theatre of our time.

-David Hallberg

...Here's more info:
Sunday, October 20, 2013 @ 10:00AM CT
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 @ 7:00PM Local Time

All Seats $15.00


The powerful Roman consul Crassus returns to Rome in triumph from his conquest of Thrace. The Thracian king and queen, Spartacus and his wife Phrygia, are captives of the conquering general. As Phrygia is taken away to the harem of concubines kept by Crassus, Spartacus bids her a sorrowful farewell and mourns his captivity. To entertain Crassus and his entourage, Spartacus is sent into the gladiatorial arena and forced to kill a close friend. Horrified, Spartacus incites his fellow captives to rebellion.

While the escaped captives celebrate their freedom, Crassus entertains the Roman patricians with a lavish banquet, including fights between blindfolded gladiators. One of the concubines, the alluring Aegina, seduces the guests to begin an orgy. Spartacus and his comrades disrupt the orgy and rescue the slave women, including Phrygia, who, along with Spartacus, celebrates their escape (to the strains of the familiar “Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia.”)

Aegina discovers the rebels’ camp and sees the lovers Spartacus and Phrygia emerging from their tent in the morning. Aegina sends word to Crassus. His army pursues the rebels, who have succumbed to arguments and in-fighting. The Roman forces discover Spartacus and impale him on their spears. The hero’s closest followers retrieve his body and carry it off as Phrygia mourns her loss.


Spartacus: Mikhail Lobukhin
Phrygia: Anna Nikulina
Aegina: Svetlana Zakharova
Crassus: Vladislav Lantratov

Run Time:
215 Minutes


10.17.2013: Spartacus LIVES...and Dances!o)

Your chance to watch world-class ballet comes to a silver screen near you in the Capital City:
The Bolshoi Ballet's "Spartacus" is this weekend!
See it LIVE on October 20!

Spartacus premiered in 1968 at the Bolshoi Theatre. As in many Soviet-era ballets, Spartacus prominently featured themes of sacrifice in the face of power. However, at that time, the choreographic subtexts of the ballet transcended and subverted the literal interpretation, and as a result, stunned audiences and censors. Read about Grigorovich's 1968 premiere of Spartacus HERE.

See the cast list and read about their experience performing the Bolshoi's grandiose epic. Please note, there has been a cast change - Vladislav Lantratov will dance the role of Crassus.

Don't miss your chance to see one of the Bolshoi's most treasured ballets like you've never seen it before - find a venue near you!

10.16.2013: Pink Ribbon Campaign

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And, here's a sobering study, party people! (Somebody notify @Vodka_Samm!o)
School-Age Drinking Increases Breast Cancer Risk

(Capital City News Service) — Here’s a sobering fact for millions of young women heading back to school: The more alcohol they drink before motherhood, the greater their risk of future breast cancer.

That’s according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that, for the first time, links increased breast cancer risk to drinking between early adolescence and first full-term pregnancy. Previous studies have looked at breast cancer risk and alcohol consumption later in life or at the effect of adolescent drinking on noncancerous breast disease.

“More and more heavy drinking is occurring on college campuses and during adolescence, and not enough people are considering future risk. But, according to our research, the lesson is clear: If a female averages a drink per day between her first period and her first full-term pregnancy, she increases her risk of breast cancer by 13 percent,” said co-author Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH.

The study is published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The researchers also found that for every bottle of beer, glass of wine or shot of liquor consumed daily, a young woman increases her risk of proliferative benign breast disease by 15 percent. Although such lesions are noncancerous, their presence increases breast cancer risk by as much as 500 percent, Liu said.

“Parents should educate their daughters about the link between drinking and risk of breast cancer and breast disease,” she said. “That’s very important because this time period is very critical.”

The findings are based on a review of the health histories of 91,005 mothers enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II from 1989 to 2009. Colditz was key to the development and administration of that and similar studies that track disease risk in female nurses.

Colditz and Liu didn’t consider the effects of adolescent and early adulthood drinking on women who didn’t have a full-term pregnancy because not enough were represented among those studied, Liu said.

Breast tissue cells are particularly susceptible to cancer-causing substances as they undergo rapid proliferation during adolescence and later. Adding to the risk is the lengthening time frame between the average age of a girl’s first menstrual cycle and the average age of a woman’s first full-term pregnancy. Colditz doesn’t foresee any shortening of that, which is why young women should drink less, he said – to lower average daily consumption and, therefore, risk.

“Reducing drinking to less than one drink per day, especially during this time period, is a key strategy to reducing lifetime risk of breast cancer,” he said.

Colditz said the findings call for more research into what young women can do to counteract alcohol’s adverse effects if they choose to drink. Past studies that didn’t consider alcohol use suggest that eating more fiber and exercising more lowers cancer risk for everyone.

To learn more about breast cancer risk based on age and lifestyle factors, visit A related free iPad app, called Zuum, is available on iTunes .

10.15.2013: CCDC Family Feedback

A supportive CCDC mom just texted us this:
"...I support you 100%, you guys do so much for all of your dance students and I want you to know that you are appreciated!! <3 <3...You and Emery were very patient for a long time and I know you did it for the kids"
...And, here's a note from a CCDC alum
"...As I'm going in to this stressful Gala tech week I'm missing you and Emery right about now. Just wish we had someone here to clean this dance like you guys do! Lol miss you!!..."

10.14.2013: Judging The Starz!

TGIMondays! TGIDWTSM!: Here's last week's play-by-play:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
Return of Julianne

Enough blondes in this opening number? All the pros and the troupe! Great to see dancers getting paid to do what they work so hard to do all their lives! Introducing the stars by solo shots instead of having them walk down the stairs. Judges are introduced instead. Bruno and Carrie Anne and Julianne! What a star she is now instead of just a pro! Opening number by Ray Leeper? She has another film coming out? "Paradise", available on demand already!

Team Jackaroo: Quickstep. Video looks promising. Takes Corbin's name in vain! For a big man he's light on hes feet! Better frame. That training tool is starting to pay off! Still a little iffy, but better. loses it when he does his kicks. They are covering some floor space aren't they! Audience is eating it up! I think the judges will too! I give him an eight! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! "Jumping Jack Flash is a gas, gas, gas!"

Video previews show a dancer landing on her head! OUCH!

Team Elisabeth/Val: Argentine Tango. Looks like they have a good relationship. He's a musician and she's his muse! And, so, the dance begins. Candles on the stairs set a romantic undertone. her frame needs the work that Jack put in in the last number. Ooh, was that a lift? Her musicality is exquisite! Sense of timing is quite an asset! I give her an eight as well! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Leader in the CH!

Team Brandeta: Injured foot! Salsa! An old injury derails her plans for an overhead lift. Kids! Don't try those lifts at home WITHOUT A SPOTTER! First thing the acrobats taught me was spotter is essential. First lift is pretty simple. Pitbull is always a party time!. Off goes his shirt to the delight of the female audience! Ambitious isolation work for a non-dancer as well. . Needs more pop in his hips! Hips are his achilles' heel! I give him a 8. Real judges: 7, 7, 7.

Team Valerian: Viennese Waltz. Such a supportive partner is Tristan. He praises her heart. "I'm here for the party!" You GO, Girl! She's struggling with her disease aftereffects and the ravages of age. But, what a smile. Needs to work on finishing her lines. Her carriage needs work. But, what a heart! Everyone is pulling for her...even as she loses her way!. Tristan is dancing for both of them! Kudoz to her, but, especially, kudoz to her partner. Members of the audience are wiping away tears!. I give her a five for the dance, ten for the spirit! Real judges: 6, 6, 6. But, tens for her daring!

Team Leavolani: Cha-cha! Working for a nine! Showing off her weight loss in a fringed gold cat suit! Okay, here's the new sexy Leah! Take that Scientists! Tony's going with the fringe to accentuate the body movement. Movements should be bigger, but, at least she's moving the right body parts! She has good attitude. Nice drop pose to end the piece! I give her an eight. I give everybody an eight! Real judges: 8, 8, 8. Judges' scores remarkably consistent tonight even with a guest panelist!

Team Corbinoff: Paso Doble. Lift your center! Traditional dance of the bullfight. She's stressing the details! He's being forced to raise his game! This guy is gonna win. He's already at a ten. fabulous lines. Decent grand jete en tournant. Whew! look at that double attitude jump! Running slap to the face. He tears off his bolero and chases after the cape! Sharp, sharp and sustained. great stag leap! I give him a ten! Bill Nye in the audience is on his feet! Nothing but traditional steps and he knocked it out of the PARK! Real judges 9, 9, 9. I think he deserves a ten despite the criticisms!.

Team Nicole/Sasha: Jive. Reveals her bout with anorexia. Cheerleader background. I like her fighting spirit, but, the spirit is willing, but, the flesh is sick. She's sick and that's cutting into rehearsal time. Dancing to Micky! She does a front walkover. She's tapping into her cheerleader background. Back hand spring! She is a former gymnast/cheerleader, isn't she! good spirit. Very aerobic, acrobatic routine! I give her an eight again! Real judges: 8, 8, 8. Logjam in the scoring!

Team Christinallas: Foxtrot. She's hot in red evening dress behind bars. She IS a performer. Good frame. sharp head movements! She's very musical as you would expect from a singer!. Give her an eight! She's channeling her old-fashioned pin-up star. Whoo! Shot at Mark Ballas from Julianne, her old partner! Real judges: 8, 8, 8. Logjam continues!

Team Amberek: Her injury cuts into rehearsal time. Let's see how it affects her tango. Starts off in a solo entrance. great attitude. good frame. great sharp pictures. She's really holding the frame...even when the pace picks up. Audience is clapping along! Great tango facials. She abares her teth in the attack. No sign of her injury. (except the knee brace!) No sign of a lack of preparation. I give her a nine, ten! Real judges: 9, 9, 9.

Team Engvallemma: Samba! I'm here for the party! He's got a younger man's approach. Unfortunately, he's got an older man's upper body1 Lacks core tightness. Lacks upper body awareness. But, he does have a party person's dance. Great attitude. Again too much dancing by numbers from the outside in. Cuban Pete, he's not! But, maybe, Brazilian Bill! I give him a seven...eight for the happiness he brings. He's breathless!o) Real judges: 7, 7, 7!

Eliminations begin right away: booth tells Tom that Bill is safe. He's tearing up at the news! Don't tell me he doesn't wanna stay!

Three in trouble: Val, Snooki and Brant. Snooki gets saved. Then, they send home audience favorite: Valerie Harper. What a winner! She knew it was her time! She limps back onto the dance floor! What a gracious loser! What a winner! To recover from her cancer! Tristan is emotional as he describes how lucky he is to have Val as a partner. The hosts are effusive with praise. Now it gets some very good dancers will start going home. Leah and Brent and Snooki and Bill may not be able to keep up with the blistering pace set by Corbin and Elisabeth and Amber.

10.11.2013: Performance Posting

Update from CCDC Alum "GitUrFaShawn":
"...It's that time again! If anyone's somehow not busy this fall, Dance Gala is coming up mid-October... And I'll be making an appearance along with (@Sasher7)! The performances are on October 17-19th and 23-26th at 8:00 PM and October 20th at 2:00 PM. I will be dancing in a restaging of faculty member Jennifer Kayle's 2004 piece "A Million Fools on Fire" and also performing in visiting artist Esther Baker-Tarpaga's new work "How does th!$ app work? lol feels like I’m mi$behaving." (@Sasher7) will be a yet-to-be-titled piece choreographed by faculty member Eloy Barragan.

Get excited! More information here..."

10.10.2013: Globe Trotter

Keep up to date with a world-traveling CCDC alum and Fulbright scholar in Asia:
"...Dear family and friends,

I've created a blog chronicling my experiences in Sri Lanka. If you're interested, please check it out and feel free to leave comments. You can also contact me through email or facebook. I don't have the email addresses of some other friends and family members, so if you know anyone else who might be interested in this blog please send them the link.


10.09.2013: Apparent Ways In

Testimonial from CCDC parent:
"...I am a "dance mom" to 2 dancing daughters. We have known Missy and Emery for almost 20 years, and have followed them throughout their teaching careers around central Iowa. My girls have studied with every serious central Iowa ballet school and teacher over the years, and we kept coming back to Emery and Missy. When they opened CCDC, we were excited to be able to train under their undivided attention.

Why CCDC and Missy and Emery? Not only are they truly gifted teachers. but they are kind, conscientious, compassionate and fair to all their students. Each pupil is coached and instructed to perform to the best of their ability. All are included, all are encouraged, all are nurtured. Their students are so well-trained that doors open in dance for them. One of my daughters chose to dance at the college level, the other was able to join a professional ballet company. Other graduates pursue other interests, but their love of dance stays with them.

As a mom, my role is to give my children opportunities. Missy and Emery gave my children the skill and passion to pursue their dreams. And for that I am truly grateful..."

10.08.2013: The Student Reviews, Part Trois et Quartre

As part of the bargain for winning tickets to last weekend's performances of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, the winning CCDC students were required to write a short reaction piece. Here are the final two of four reviews:
"...Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty is extraordinarily different from the classical Sleeping Beauty. Maybe that is because it is a Gothic Romance, and not a fairy tale. But either way it is still a masterpiece. Right from the beginning it captures the audiences attention in a somewhat alarming way. It has humor, romance, evilness, and many more aspects. One of my favorite parts is at the beginning when the fairies come to baby Aurora. They have quirky yet beautiful movements in each variation that are different from the one before. The costumes are absolutely stunning and fit the story and time period perfectly. Another part that I enjoyed was the technology that they incorporated into the show. They used different colored lights and had many scene changes, there were mirrors used in the set and was even a conveyor belt. As the dancers moved they would sometimes stand on the conveyor belt and dance giving of a very interesting illusion of moving one way, but really going the other way. As for the choreography, there can be many different opinions. One could say that is was very good and fun to watch, or one could say that it was to weird and to different. But as it says, this is a Gothic Romance, not a classical ballet. So for this type of piece, the choreography was spot on. The movements would change as the scenes changed. There would be fast and sharp moves and then there would be soft, languid movements, so there was a variety of both, and even a little ballet in there here and there.

Along with the amazing choreography, there was the partnering. It was not just the guys lifting the girls, but it had the girls lifting girls, guys lifting other guys. And as all of that was happening it all looked effortless. Like every person was as light as air and could almost do it themselves it looked that good. So overall the performance may not have been what I was expecting or wanted, but it was still a fantastic show that inspired me to see the classical version of Sleeping Beauty so I could compare how different they are...."

...And, here's the last one:
"...Overall, I thought that it was a great show! It was not what I expected, but it was very good to experience something different. I thought the stage was very different, yet perfect. The use of the conveyer belt was perfect when the fairies were coming into Aurora's room to give her their gifts. Speaking of the fairies, I really enjoyed watching their variations. I thought each was very different and unique. For example, while one fairy kept falling in his variation, another was very quick and included many fast turns. The fairies' costumes were impeccable! They had a lot of detail and were all unique. In fact, all the costumes were excellent! My favorites were Aurora's birthday dress and the light purple fairy's costume.

My favorite act was Act ll--that was Aurora's birthday party in the courtyard. I liked how all the dancers showed a lot of emotion. They were all really happy! I also thought that scene was the easiest to follow, considering the show, as a whole, was difficult to follow. Especially toward the end when Prince Charming turned into a fairy and the evil man became involved. But overall, I really enjoyed attending the show and had a wonderful time..."

...If you have a review of a performance, submit it here.

10.07.2013: Reality Recap

Week Four of the reality dance competition continues tonight on ABC:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
Salute to Hollywood

Due to technical difficulties, we are unable to bring you a recap of the beginning of the show.

Team Leah/Tony: Rhumba. James Bond theme. Trying to tap into her inner seductress, inner Bond girl. Good sit spins. She cleans up well. Skyfall music. They end up in a clinch rolling on the floor...and cracking up! I give her a seven. Real judges: 8, 8, 8! High scores to start the night!

Lindsey (former pro) and Whitney, both of SYTYCD, lead us into the break. Little misstep, but, nice to see they're both still working dancerz!

Injury bugs hurting Brant, Bill Nye and Tyne.

Team Corbina: Quickstep. Challenging him with the speed of the choreography. Sepia toned start. The starlet seduces the director. Slow start. and then, we're off to the races!. Good frame, good hold, nice jumpes, Fast and musical! Great attitude! Quick kics and jumps. Not easy choreography and he's KEEPING UP!> Solo steps! He gets at least an eight, maybe a nine! Real judges: 9, 8, 9! Leader in the clubhouse!

Team Elizabeth/Val: Foxtrot! As predicted, her early dance training serving her in good stead. Blindfolded rehearsals. Great working relationship. Old Hollywood musical feel. Great ballroom frame. Very dramatic feel. Like an old time MGM musical! I give her an eight! Real judges: 8, 9, 8! She's a contender!

Team Braneta: Quickstep. Rehearsing in a boot doesn't help. Torn ligament? Robbed at gunpoint? He cleans up good. Old hollywood star look. Not doing too bad. Show must go on! Need more connection in that hold. He's not doing bad at all! Strong heel leads. Good character. Comfortable in his own skin. He gets an eight or nine from me! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! New leader in the glitter pit!

Team Valeristan: Grace kelly meets Freddie Mercury. His dancing is trying to distract from her tentativeness. She looks under-rehearsed. Not bringing the confidence. The audience is on its feet. He's trying to cover up her mistakes with a strong, strong lead! The question is whether her brain has been affected by her disorder. I give her a six. Real judges: 6, 5, 5! Honest scores. No sympathy, but a standing ovation from the judges.

Team Engvallma: Riff on the Lone Ranger. paso Doble. Okay. A little robotic Lone Ranger to the William Tell overture. Needs more stretch. But, he seems to be on the music. Just a little tentative, while she goes crazy around him. Love his attack, his commitment to iconic music. Glitter pit is on its feet! Standing ovation! I give him a six! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! He gets his eights!

Team Amberek: Charleston. What a trouper! What a performer despite a hectic, frantic rehearsal schedule! Derek brings his cartoon attack to the hiphop music. She's good with the character and the hiphop funk. She's dancing and being dramatic. Not easy music. The soundtrack is all over the place. I give her an eight or nine! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! She's still a contender.

Team Jack/Cheryl: 70's Hollywood. Cha-Cha. The pimp and his girl! He looks tentative. He's a little stiff and on his heels. Not making the steps his own. Little tentative. I give him a six. He looked nervous and uncomfortable! Real judges: 7, 7, 8! Proud parents in the house!

Team Christinallas: Charleston. Wow, whole story in this skit Charleston dance. Very ambitious of Mark. Good opportunity for him to show off some clown makeup. He needs to take the focus off him and put it on his star-partner. I give her an eight. Real judges: 9, 8, 9! Second highest scores of the night?

Team Nicole/Sasha: She's channeling her inner Marilyn Monroe. She's doing better. Need to hold those shoulders down. She's working it. The distance between them isn't strong enough. Sensational finish. She sold that one! I give her an eight. Real judges: 9, 8, 8! That puts her among the top scores of the night!

Team Bill Nyne: Torn quadriceps! Jazz. Bill Nye the Robot guy. Futuristic costumes. Mechanical dancing just to put a routine out on the floor. It's a little tragicomic. SAD! He gets a five for the dancing. Ten more for the effort! Real judges: 6, 5, 5. Ends with a well-deserved standing ovation for the Science Guy!

Elimination round: Brant, Christina and Bill on the chopping block. First they save Brant. Then, they pull the plug on the Science Guy. Boos from the crowd!

Next week: watch out Valerie, Bill and Jack. And, Julianne Hough handles the paddles tonight! Be still my beating heart!

10.04.2013: The Student Reviews, Part Un et Deux

As part of the bargain for winning tickets to this weekend's performances of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty, the winning CCDC students were required to write a short reaction piece. Here's the first two of what should be four reviews:
The Sleeping Beauty

"...I LOVED it. My favorite part was when all the fairies had their own solos. I liked that it wasn't strictly ballet, it was a lot of contemporary because I thought it added more emotion and made it unique. I didn't like that some parts were a little blurry. We were a little confused and we had to infer at some parts. In all it was really fun to watch and it was a beautiful performance..."

...Here's another:
"...Sleeping Beauty Review

I really liked the costumes in the show. They were really detailed and were all unique and interesting. I also really liked how the setting really contributed to the story of the ballet. Another thing I really liked was how dramatic the dancers were with their movements and expressions. I also liked all the props on the stage. All in all I really liked the show.

However, there were some things I didn't really like. I didn't like the choreography of the fairies that much. I wish they had danced more together when they were all on stage. I also think the movements could have gone a little more with the music at some points in the ballet. I also think some of the dancers needed to stretch their legs a little bit more.

I really liked the show though, thank you so much! It was a great experience..."

...Any other reviews or reaction pieces to any performances can always be submitted here.

10.03.2013: Message from Margaruite!

A former Capital City Dance Center student sends in this unsolicited testimonial:
"...Hello! I’m writing as a previous dancer with Capital City Dance Center. I studied under Melissa (Missy) and Emery Uyehara for eight years as a ballet dancer. I would love for this note to be viewed as a testament to Missy, Emery, and the CCDC faculty’s dedication, generosity, and knowledgeable guidance as teachers of dance and role models within and outside the studio doors. I am not dancing under a contract as a professional dancer, nor am I practicing ballet and dance on a daily basis; however my love for the art form and its many intricacies flourished under the guidance of Missy, Emery, and all faculty of CCDC.

My story as a ballet dancer and artist has many detours and moments of redirection. My passion for ballet sparked around the age of 14 and I dedicated myself to the art form for the next seven years of my life. I studied with various schools during the summer months, learning from teachers at the Kirov Academy, Houston Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. Throughout my travels, my home has always been under the wings of Missy and Emery Uyehara. Under their guidance, I learned the subtleties and beauty of classical ballet. I learned how to morph into a spritely cupid in Don Quixote, a mournfully deep Nikiya in La Bayadere, a grave Willi in Giselle, and a playful Sylph in La Sylphide among other roles. Missy and Emery gifted me with a strong technical ballet basis, and then showed me how to take those steps and become an expressive character. All CCDC teachers have challenged me as a contemporary artist as only the best teachers will do, and have helped me find a voice as a dancer and artist.

They have also guided me through harder lessons to learn as a dedicated dancer. Injuries are often unavoidable in such a physical art form; I am so grateful for the strength, positivity, and support from Missy, Emery, and CCDC faculty through various health challenges. Patience with the body is hard to learn; my ballet teachers were the first to help with this lesson. These lessons of patience, respect for the body, respect for fellow artists, finding the courage to perform, and allowing complete dedication to flow into any passion are all lessons I use as a young adult navigating life in a new city.

Thank you, Missy, Emery, and CCDC faculty for the years I spent growing as a ballet dancer, artist, and member of a creative community within your school. I’m so grateful for this springboard you’ve helped me build as I dive into new projects and art-inspired life. I’m sending all love, and I look forward to visiting around the Thanksgiving holiday!


10.02.2013: Student Feedback

Just got this texted to us from a CCDC PreProfessional Ballet Program student recently: (Made my week!o)
"...Today in English class we watched a video about happiness and letting people know we appreciate them. In the video they had to call the person that influences them the most. After watching the video we wrote about who influences us. I thought I should let you know I choose you guys! You do so much for everyone at the studio and I know that my abilities and achievements wouldn't be what they are today without you. Thank you so much for everything you do!(:..."

10.01.2013: Bourne's Beauty: The Review From @SirDanGuy

In one of the most memorable moments of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty at the DsM Civic Center this weekend, a ghostly, floating Princess Aurora can be seen dimly drifting in the air behind a scrim (the fabulous Hannah Vassallo carried aloft by other unseen dancers clad in black). She's just been put in a trance, a dream-state, she's floating in her century long slumber, but, even in sleep, she's calling to her love, the gamekeeper Leo (the equally impressive Dominic North) not to forget her or forsake her. He's locked outside of the gates of the palace and seeks extraordinary measures to stay alive for a hundred years of waiting for his true love to reawaken.

And, a similar ghost was haunting, wafting in the background, of at least some members of the audience this weekend. It was the spectre of the classic ballet: The Sleeping Beauty. Whenever the familiar strains of the Tchaikovsky music would begin, the ghost would whisper "Don't forget me! Don't forsake me!" For those of us who've seen, performed, coached or choreographed the ballet, it could have become a schizophrenic experience. And, it was apparently too much for at least one of my old running mates from the local professional company. She and her spouse sat directly behind us, but, were nowhere to be found after the interval. It must have been too much for some wedded to the classical ballet version to divorce themselves long enough to enjoy the Bourne version. This was not your grandfather's ballet! ...unless your grandfather is named Matthew Bourne!

Those who kept an open mind were not disappointed at the performances this weekend. And, there was enough classical dance technique among the New Adventures Dance Company to satisfy even the most demanding balletomanes. Count Lilac filled the bill most nicely, Christopher Marney's turns and balances and classic line and fine ballet training were clearly evident throughout the performance. And, he improved the longer the show went on. Tom Jackson Greaves as Carabosse and Caradoc was a brooding, dark, dramatic presence as either character. And, North was an engaging, very likable and accessible presence as Aurora's back-door suitor. But, it was a dramatic tour de force for Ms Vassallo as the sleeping beauty. Starting off as a young girl in the first act and dancing as a radiant young woman after the interval, she was always a consummate professional and charismatic presence. It was hard to take your eyes off her! Kudos also to Lez Brotherton's costuming and sets and Paule Constable'sdramatic lighting. (Loved the slidewalks upstage! What an excellent choreographic device!) The recorded music sounded a little tinny to my tin ears. Perhaps a boost in the bass would help the audio presence of the show.

But, the true star of the show was the mind of the master. Matthew Bourne's reverential reimagining of the classic ballet is an engaging tour de force for the award-winning choreographer. I tweeted afterwards "Thank you @MattBourne1, from an old Florimund, for allowing me to hear the music again for the first time in a long time!" He managed to seize Tchaikovsky's war-horse by the scruff, shake it around and clean it up. He took off the tutus and the pointe shoes and made the creaky, old legend even more relevant to a larger audience.

I still remain true to the ghost of the original ballet, The Sleeping Beauty, but, in this case, respecting and enjoying Petipa does not mean I can't enjoy the inventive, imaginative, incredible Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty as well!

But, perhaps, the biggest disappointment was in the audience for the show. Or, rather the lack, thereof. The upper rows of seats were curtained off, but, even then, only half of the 2700 seats appeared to be filled for the primetime Saturday evening performance. And, this was after an aggressive marketing campaign (How else could I get those interviews with the dancers and director before the show?), a markdown of ticket prices and a liberal give-away program to fill seats. (That's how CCDC managed to get four extra students in to see the show Saturday night. Watch for their reviews here soon!o) If Des Moines expects to be able to keep offering unique cultural opportunities like the North American premiere of a Bourne production, Des Moiniacs need to stop showing up disguised as empty seats!

09.30.2013: Dancing With The Starz!

The third episode, the second elimination the Salute to Hollywood of DWTS is tonight on ABC! Who's going to join Keyshawn on the sidelines? Here's a recap of last week and a prediction:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen
First Elimination

Stars and pros in big opening number. Little awkward poses during the intro. Some of the stars looked a little shell-shocked. Latin night! Team Elizabeth and Val: Samba. Her dramatic ability and her early dance training make her a contender. Looks hot in red! Okay! My girl can shake it!. Nice attack. Not afraid to use her hips! Great expression. Sharp!. Needs to hit the pose just a little bit longer, with more energy. She's going to act her way into the finalz, isn't she! I give her a nine! Real judges; 8, 9, 8!

Team Christina Milian/Val: Paso Doble. Love her attitude. To a Lady Gaga song. Lends itself to sharp and dramatic poses. This is her element! She's reveling in her inner dominatrix! Audience is on their feet! Little stronger frame. But, great attitude! Perhaps not enough Paso Doble, but a fun routine! Gaga lends itself to such a strong routine! Give her a nine as well! What a great personality she has! Not intimidated at all by her situation. Real judges: 9, 8, 8! Grabs a share of the lead!

Team Envallemma: Jive. She's stealing Derek's choreography! He's a performer. Great smile. Just a little stiff and old-seeming. But, for a seasoned citizen he's getting the crowd on their feet. For a comedian he's stellar. If this was an all comics show, he'd be Nicole Scherzinger! Dang! He put in a lot of work from that first video rehearsal. I give him a seven. Real judges: 7, 7, 7! Raises his scores across the board from last week!

Team Jack/Cheryl: Rhumba. His mom gives him advice to lose the look of terror. He's miles better than the early video package shows. Much smoother, Much better feeling! He's showing some tremendous potential. He's a teachable student!. He has a natural sense of line. Just needs to learn to breathe in the stillness. I give him an eight! His sister Kelly and parents are there to support him. Real judges: 8, 8, 8! He's not leaving the show anytime soon!

Team Keyshawrna: Samba. Nothing like a big man not afraid to dance big!. He's already proven he got the funk. He's not afraid to move those hips. She's choreographing to his strengths. Almost drops her at the end! But, he saves her! "This is harder than I anticipated!" I give him an eight! Or, seven! Bigger than life personality! Real judges: 6, 6, 6!

Team Nicole/Sasha: Rhumba. She's small...and dances a little small. She's flexible. But, feeling is lacking. No Sensuality, no passion!. She's a little dancing robot. Too careful, She's possibly intimidated by the thought of her fiance watching her get sultry. I give her a six. Real judges: 6, 7, 7. Point off for the lift from Carrie Anne.

Team Leah/Tony: Samba. Video preview looks good, promising! Her acting skills again give her an edge . Little weak in her upper body. Costume accentuates what little hip movements she has. Ruffles will do that for you. Best part is she did create a a character. Unlike Snooki. I give her a seven. Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Tied for second!

Team Bill Nyne: Paso Doble. Bill as Beethoven. He walks weird. Stiff in his shoulders. Decent musicality. He's a little hunched in his upper body. Was there much Paso Doble in that routine? I give him a five or six. Real judges: 6, 5, 6. Will he survive the night?

Team Corbina: Jive. Homage to High School Musical. "Super cute jive!" This guy is a contender. sharp, athletic, personality! Power, passion, Cool, charisma. flexible! What a smile! Crowd pleaser variation! i give him a nine! What a personality! Real juges: 9, 8, 9! New leader in the clubhouse! He's not going home anytime soon!o)

Team Valerie/Tristan: Paso Doble. Knee troubles. Love her attitude! Very inspiring! He's crying while watching her train! Oh, she's unsteady walking off. Bad knees hard to come down stairs. Flamenco faux beginning. He says he feels privileged to dance with her. He's trying to be as strong as possible for her. She's weak, but, game! Purely technical, she's deficient, But, her heart is HUGE! I give her an eight! Real judges: 6, 6, 7! She thanks the judges! Such a gracious competitor!

Team Branita: Rhumba. Well, she has world-class extension. He looks good, can dance a little. He gets better the longer he performs. Still has a ton of potential. I give him an eight. real judges: 8, 7, 8

Team Amberek: Jive. Girl can move! Not just good for a big girl, but, good for any size girl. Needs to open up the upper body. Cartwheel. Musicality of a fine singer! She's going to be a finalist! I give her an eight! Real judges: 8, 8, 8!

The elimination: Team Keysharna and Team Emmgval on the chopping block. Cue scary music! I picked Keyshawn to go last week if Nye didn't say good bye. So...drumroll, please!...Say goodbye to Keyshawn! The boys are gonna have a field day on ESPN! Next week, Bill and Bill will have to watch out. Snooki also failed to progress. But, Corbin blew the field away, didn't he! Team Amberek also have finalist written all over them! Salute to Hollywood next week!

09.27.2013: Bourne Ultimatum

The U-S premiere of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty is tonight in the Capital City! CCDC's @SirDanGuy sat down recently with Mr. Bourne for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the internationally renowned choreographer. Questions range from his thoughts on crowd-sourced choreography, his plans for the future, his advice for dancers and for choreographers and more. The 27-minute interview has been broken up into three nine-minute chunks. Here's the final installment:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...And, click here to hear an interview with Hannah Vassa Llo of New Adventures Dance Company as she prepares to perform as Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty's U.S. premiere tonight in the Capital City!
...CCDC Preprofessional Program Students! Be sure to attend your Saturday classes for a unique opportunity relating to Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty! Shh! I've said too much already...<:oP

09.26.2013: Bourne Supremacy

The North American premiere of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty is tomorrow in the Capital City. CCDC's @SirDanGuy sat down with Mr. Bourne for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the internationally renowned choreographer. Questions ranged from the difference in audiences and dancers in Europe and America, what he looks for when he auditions dancers, the future of ballet and his plans beyond SB. The 27-minute interview has been broken up into three nine-minute chunks. Here's the second part:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...And, click here to hear an interview with Domini C North of New Adventures Dance Company as he prepares to perform as Leo and Autumnus in Sleeping Beauty's U.S. premiere tomorrow night in the Capital City.

09.25.2013: Bourne Identity

The North American premiere of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty is this weekend in the Capital City. CCDC's @SirDanGuy sat down with Mr. Bourne for an exclusive one-on-one interview with the internationally renowned choreographer. Questions ranged from the difference in audiences and dancers in Europe and America, what he looks for when he auditions dancers, the future of ballet and his plans beyond SB. The 27-minute interview has been broken up into three nine-minute chunks and will be posted today, tomorrow and Friday. Here's the first part:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...And, click here to hear an interview with @ChrisMarney of New Adventures Dance Company as he prepares to perform as Count Lilac in Sleeping Beauty's U.S. premiere this weekend in the Capital City.

09.24.2013: A Beauty Is Bourne

Reminder of a unique opportunity tonight to hear more from choreographer award-winning choreographer Matthew Bourne. (Reminder that we'll be posting audio of a personal one-on-one interview with the internationally renowned Artistic Director later this week!):
With Matthew Bourne
Hosted by Jeff Chelesvig
Tuesday, Sept. 24 - 6pm
DsM Performing Arts - Temple Theater

As the Capital City prepares to welcome the North American Premiere of Matthew Bourne's "Sleeping Beauty", DsM Performing Arts' Jeff Chelesvig will host a one-hour conversation with Mr. Bourne. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from Bourne about his work, career and creative process. Bourne has been honored with more than 50 international awards for his choreography, including the Tony for the Broadway production of "Mary Poppins". The New York Times proclaims that "Sleeping Beauty" is "Bourne at his best".

RSVP required - Click here.

...Want to see "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty", but, you're a poor, starving artist? (redundant, I know!o) Here's a limited time offer to get tickets HALF OFF!
Help us kick-off our 2013-2014 Willis Broadway season with this

50% discount for all SLEEPING BEAUTY performances!

Available Monday, September 23 at 9 a.m. – Wednesday, September 25 at 9 a.m.
September 27 - September 28 • 2013

Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY sees Britain’s most famed choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake. Bourne is the only British artist to have won a Tony Award® on Broadway for both Best Choreographer and Best Director and has won over 50 international awards for his choreographic work, including the Broadway production of Mary Poppins.

Matthew Bourne’s haunting new scenario is a gothic tale for all ages; the traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story, across the decades, that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder.

The New York Times said “this is Bourne at his best” bringing in “huge audiences more associated with Broadway than ballet.”

For more information:

*If starting from home page, click on ‘BUY TICKETS’, scroll to ‘GROUP TICKETS’, click on ‘E-TICKETS’.

SELECT: Sleeping Beauty Special Offer (New browser will open)

Limited quantities available. Discounts available for Price Code A only. Offers available online only, no phone orders and not available at ticket office. All sales final. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. No refunds or exchanges. Prices subject to change without notice. E-mail or call 515-246-2340 if you need technical assistance when ordering.

...And, ICYMI, here's Matthew Bourne on a local radio program:

Courtesy WHO Radio

09.23.2013: TGIMonday! TGIDWTSM!

Okay! Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa! I was wrong! This is NOT the weakest field ever for DWTS. This could be the strongest opening episode since the All-Star season! Eye-opening start to the latest season of the elimination dance competition. And, as one other fan predicted, I'm a little less partial to tossing Snooki off the island after she started dancing! Shut me up! Put me in my place! "The hot mess" can dance! Here's the rest of the recap:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Seventeen

Big intro dance number! Choreographed by Mandy Moore! All new stars all new pros...

Brant Daugherty/Peta Murgatroyd: Cha-cha-cha. Good looking guy. Single threat hoping to step up into double threat. Little flat-footed. but, enthusiastic. Hips not connected to the rest of his body. Will get a lot of girls votes. This boy has potential. Just a little awkward. Makes a better and better impression the longer he dances. This guy will get the girls' votes...and will stick around. I give him a seven. Real judges: 7, 8, 7! "Eight outta the gate!"

Leah Remini/Tony Dovolani: "Just get out and do it!" Good credo! Fox trot. She looks good. She's "acting" like a good dancer. Her dramatic skills are saving her. Work on that dang frame! Nice feeling! What a performer! She can groove! She's more a dancer than she gives herself credit for! I give her an eight! Real judges: 7, 7,7 I thought she was better than Brant!

Corbin/Karina: Contemporary dance. Her first attempt ever. Expectations are huge! Big falls and failures in the rehearsal footage. His presence is off the charts. Coupe jete into attitude. This boy has training! Not just a rumor. Switch leap? WHO does that their first time out...or ever? Pressage lift! Who does that? Who CAN do that. I give him an eight! Another contestant with potential OFF THE CHARTS! Karina's hands are shaking. Nerves get the best of her! Real judges: 8, 8, 8 Leader in the clubhouse!

Jack Osbourne/Cheryl Burke: Multiple Sclerosis sufferer. He's dancing for more than himself and his family. Foxtrot. He is light on his feet. Good frame. needs to strengthen his core. Too much dancing by the numbers. But, that'll improve. Decent rise and fall. Great personality, great smile! Dang! I give him an eight, too! His mom is crying! Watch out, Kelly! Another potential dancer in the house! Real judges: 8, 8, 7

Amber Riley/Derek Hough: "Dancing for me is a dream deferred!" Cha-cha. Okay! She has potential in rehearsal footage! She's dancing for all the girls her size across the country! You go girl! Starts off in a solo. Okay. Girl can move and shake. That GLEE training starting to pay off! What a performer! She makes me smile! Unfair! She's such a good singer..she can DANCE, too! I give her an eight at least! She just served notice she's here to STAY! Rousing standing ovation! Real judges: 9, 9, 9 She sets a high barre! 27??? First week??? Unheard of!!!o)

Elizabeth Berkely/Val Chmerkovsky: She was a dancer! Contemporary! She's trained! She has a reservoir of training to draw upon! Reconnecting with her first love. Great lines! Nice feeling! If dancing is defined by stillness in the middle of movement. She has the ability to be still and then move. Effortless grace! Great feeling. Nice breath! Excellent first dance! She gets an eight...or more from me! Real judges: 8, 8, 8 Watch out for the original Showgirl!

Bill Nye/Tyne: Team Hot Knowledge! Cha-cha. An old swing dancer. Beauty and the Geek! Can he bring his prodigious IQ to the dance floor? Little stiff and disconnected...Oh, he may be the first to go! Brain power doesn't translate to watchable dance-ability! I give him a five or less. It's like watching "Big Bang Theory" on the dance floor! Real judges: 5, 4, 5

Team Keysharna!: Adversarial work relationship. Okay he can move. He's light on his feet. He got the funk...but, do he got the finesse? Hmm, maybe not. Height difference may be a problem. Give him a six! Real judges: 6, 5, 6 This guy has potential, if he'll just listen to his pro.

Christina Milian/Mark Ballas: Contemporary. Definitely Out of her comfort zone. Fog shrouded stage. Mark is challenging her. Wish she had better awareness of line. Contemporary technique good excuse. Not sure if she can pointe her feet and stretch her knees. I give her a seven. Real judges: 7, 7, 8 Another contestant with, yes, potential!

Bill Engvall/Emma Slater: Comedians have a poor track record on this show. Will the blue collar guy break the curse? Ooh, foxtrot may be out of his wheelhouse! Weak frame. He's trying REAL hard! that effort could pay off if he's not eliminated early. No connection in some of his movements! I give him a seven. Much better than predicted! Real judges: 6, 6, 6 Love that he's trying something that he's never done before...and on NATIONAL tv!

Val Harper/Tristan: Package reveals training as teenager. Former Radio City Music hall Ballerina. will she be able to tap into her childhood training? Once a dancer, always a dancer? Foxtrot. First moves are promising. She has rhythym. And she glows when she dances. The joy is infectious! This dance is taking the audience someplace special. The backstory is informing the performance. Her smile and joy are fabulous! Valerie Harper! You give me goose bumps! I give her a nine! "It's good to be alive! And it's even better to be DANCING!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7. I think the voting audience will respond to that stellar performance!

Nicole "Snooki"/Sasha Farber: Coat comes off. Her turns are iffy. But, her club dancing comes in handy. She can shake what her momma gave her. But, choreography! Such a weak ending! I give her a eight or seven. Real judges: 8, 8, 7. Expect her to surpass "The Situation" on the show!

Sorry, Science Guy! You're on my short list for elimination! The only thing that's going to save him is: he's such an audience favorite! If it's not him, Keyshawn better step it up and hope football fans are watching and voting!

09.20.2013: Bourne Identity

Next week, your humble ballet blogger, the CCDancedoC (@SirDanGuy), has confirmed a one-on-one interview with...wait for it...MATTHEW BOURNE! The internationally renowned choreographer will be in the Capital City to oversee the North American premiere of his reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. If you had a chance to talk with Mr. Bourne, what would you ask him? Send me any questions or suggestions of topics you'd like to explore. Audio of the interview will be posted here to help you prepare for the show.

And, in case you've been living in a ballet cave, here's some information his handlers sent me about Mr. Bourne and Sleeping Beauty:

Matthew Bourne,Sleeping Beauty director and choreographer

Sleeping Beauty is being presented at the DsM Civic Center Sept. 27 & 28 for three performances only.

The show kicks off the 2013-14 Willis Broadway Series.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is making its North American premiere in DsM.

It comes direct from a record-breaking season in London’s West End.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty is a supernatural love story of good versus evil, one that carries over time and appeals to all ages. Bourne’s version introduces several elements including new characters into the timeless fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years.

Bourne’s version begins with Aurora’s birth in 1890 (which happens to be the year the original ballet of Sleeping Beauty premiered). The ballet then moves to 1911 when Aurora is 21 and succumbs to the curse. Aurora awakens from her century-long slumber in the modern day (21st century).

Bourne returns to the music of Tchaikovsky, completing the composer’s trio of ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with The Nutcracker and, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.

Bourne is the only British artist to have won a Tony award for Best Choreographer and Best Director. He has won more than 50 international awards for his direction and choreography on productions that include Swan Lake, Cinderella, Mary Poppins and The Nutcracker.

09.19.2013: Media Backlash

Feedback on earlier snarky sight-unseen DWTS comments:
"...Let's start with SYTYCD. I missed much of the season and only caught a couple of episodes here and there so I never developed a fan favorite. But let's just say of the four in the finale, the two I liked best did not win. I thought the African American female (who's name is escaping me) was just stunning.

I did watch all but two dances of DWTS last night but missed the high score of the night unfortunately (putting the girls to bed). I can proudly say I have never ever watched an episode of Jersey Shore and could care less about Snooki -but, but she was good last night. I read she used to be a gymnast as a kid so maybe that's why. Anyway she may grow on you because as you say it's more fun to watch good dancing than bad and she was better than most..."

09.18.2013: Dance+Music $cholar$hip$

Hey, CCDC graduating seniors of the Class of 2014 and current college students! Local group wants to help you train to reach your performing arts dream:
DsM Women’s Club
Scholarships in Music, Dance and Performing Arts

Please tell your talented students who are musicians and dancers about our wonderful scholarship opportunities! The DsM Women’s Club offers the following scholarships:

  • An instrumental music scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in music -$1500
  • The Marjorie O’Braza Memorial Scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in vocal music - $1500
  • The Rose Lorenz Swartz Memorial Scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in music, dance or performing arts - $1500
  • The Rose Lorenz Swartz Memorial Scholarship for college students currently pursuing a degree in music, dance or performing arts - $1500
Applicants must be legal residents of or full-time, registered students in Polk, Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story or Warren County.

Visit our website and click on Scholarship to learn more about eligibility requirements and download an application form. Contact our executive assistant at (515) 244-0507, ext. 211, with any questions.


09.17.2013: Media Mentionz

This is how unexcited we are about Season 10 of SYTYCD: Still haven't finished watching the season finale. The results got tweeted to me soon after it went final last week, so no suspense there. Amy and Fik-Shun. Hats off to the smaller dancers! Did manage to watch a few routines of SYTYCD between football games this weekend, just made me realize how much I missed Malece, Makenzie, Tucker. Okay, I did like the tap routine between the three hoofers in the top twenty. But, the best thing was the announcement by @DizzyFeet that SYTYCD will be back for Season Eleven. Just wondering if more really good, really charismatic dancers will show up? Here's hoping Breaking Pointe makes a season three as well! That Allison is starting to grow on me. But, I think that Rex is way too good for her! But, the heart wants what the heart wants apparently.
...Also, we'll be posting recaps of DWTS soon. But, not too hopeful given the announced cast. Did hear that Corbin Bleu has some training, so, he's my pick sight unseen. Also, sight unseen, I hope Snooki gets voted off the dance island first! And, as a former DWTS fan was commiserating with me, that "all-star season" spoiled us both!
...Watched an episode of Derek Hough's Family Dance-Off. Like the "ruff, tuff Derek Hough" as a choreographer and performer. But, hopefully, he'll stick to teaching, choreographing and dancing and not hosting television shows. Leave it to the pros like the smooth, affable, unflappable Tom Bergeron! There's no one quicker with a quip than The Berg-meister!. Now, I like that families are encouraged to dance in the Family Dance Off, but, I don't necessarily want or need to watch mediocre, if enthusiastic, dancing.
...OMG! Can somebody ban bad ballet dancing on Miss America, please! Where did Miss California get that bad recital costume tutu this weekend? And, those shiny brand new pointe shoes? She performed Fokine's Dying Swan, and ...(Snark Alert)...I kept hoping she'd give up the ghost early and put us ALL out of her misery!o) Oh Emm Gee! Stop it!
...Also, finally got a chance to watch our copy of the movie Silver Linings Playbook. There's some dancing in there, but, it hardly qualifies as a dance film. Authentic, enthusiastic un-trained dancing is how I'd describe it. Watch it for the heart-warming, life affirming story with well-known actors, but, beg, borrow or steal Strictly Ballroom, First Position or Turning Pointe if you want to watch good dancing as well as an engaging story.

09.16.2013: Campus Dancing

Dance pioneer visiting the institution lovingly nicknamed "Party Hearty U". Hopefully, Vodka_Samm will stay home:
Contemporary dance pioneer is Ida Cordelia Beam Visiting Professor Sept. 16-18
.By: Erin Donohue

Liz Lerman, founding artistic director of the Dance Exchange and recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” will be in Iowa City as part of the Ida Cordelia Beam Visiting Professorships Program in September. The University of Iowa’s Division of Performing Arts and Hancher are collaborating for her visit.

Lerman will give an Ida Beam public lecture entitled "Creative Research: How Artists Work and its Impact on Knowledge-Building," on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Theatre B at the Theatre Building on the UI campus. The event is free and will include a reception with Lerman following her interactive presentation.

She will also spend time with students in the division, working with dance classes on choreography and improvisation techniques, teaching a critical response process workshop, and working with graduate students on collaboration across disciplines.

Lerman is known for her multi-generational work during her time at the Dance Exchange. Her process is highly focused on research, intensive collaboration with dancers, and utilizing ideas from a variety of disciplines. Several of her most recent works focus specifically on scientific themes including The Matter of Origins, inspired by the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and Ferocious Beauty: Genome, based on genetic research. Her work has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, the American Dance Festival, BalletMet, the Kennedy Center, and Harvard Law School, among others.

She is the author of several books including Hiking the Horizontal and co-author of Critical Response Process: A Method for Getting Useful Feedback on Anything you Make, from Dance to Dessert.

09.16.2013: Sneak Peek of "Beauty"

Unique opportunities this week and coming weeks to preview Matthew Bourne's "Sleeping Beauty":
Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY
BBC Documentary Screening
Tuesday, Sept. 17 - 6pm
DsM Arts Center - Levitt Auditorium

Join us for an exclusive screening of the recently released BBC documentary "A Beauty is Born: Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty". The 52-minute film follows Matthew Bourne - Great Britain's most commercially successful choreographer - through the rehearsal process and up to opening night of "Sleeping Beauty" in London. "Sleeping Beauty" completes the trilogy of Tchaikovsky ballets

Free and open to the public
No RSVP required

With Matthew Bourne

Hosted by Jeff Chelesvig
Tuesday, Sept. 24 - 6pm
DsM Performing Arts - Temple Theater

As the Capital City prepares to welcome the North American Premiere of Matthew Bourne's "Sleeping Beauty", DsM Performing Arts' Jeff Chelesvig will host a one-hour conversation with Mr. Bourne. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from Bourne about his work, career and creative process. Bourne has been honored with more than 50 international awards for hsi choreography, including the Tony for the Broadway production of "Mary Poppins". The New York Times proclaims that "Sleeping Beauty" is "Bourne at his best".

RSVP required - Click here.

09.16.2013: Final Breaking Pointe

The season finale of Breaking Pointe is tonight. Not a good sign that a season recap was cancelled by the network. Seems the numbers are bad for a third season. But, here's what happened last episode of "As The Fouette' Turns":
"Breaking Pointe"
Episode Huit

Recap: the hop, The fall. "silly mistake!" "It hurts so bad!"

Watching opening of Cinderella. Sumptuous costumes, excellent ancing. "My back is killing me!" Allison says she doesn't feel as if the relationshp is worth it. Chris and Christiana troubles continue. "Last chance to wow donors, foundation, people who want to see the arts succeed!" Ticket sales only cover about forty-percent of costs.

One day until closing night. "Daily class is part of the art form!" Rex puts it all on the line for possible promotion. Beckanne stresses about her relationship with Chase. Sayaka slips. Injries affect the entire cast. "Closing night has to be perfect!" Such standards dancers set for themselves. Katie! back in town to talk with BeckAnne for closing. "Sucks, This could be the last ballet Chase andI do together!" Therabands and ice baths! WElcome to the dancers' world. Josh's mom is comng to see him perform in the last show. "I miss my baby!" "We fasted because we didn't have food in the house."

Rex puts pressure o himself to have a perfect ending. The partnership extends off stage as well. "If I don't get promoted I dodn't want to stay!"

Josh's mom visits. "the second I discovered ballet I knew!" "My mom sacrificed a lot for me to get to where I'm at today."

Two hours until showtime. "Closing night" Notes from Adam. "Turn out!" Last minute sewing. Last minute make up. Shots of audienc milling around. Five minute call. Dancers scramble for places. Orchestra tunes up. Wow! Christiana is cold to Chris. Leave me alone. I just want to be left alone to prepare. "Adam wants tobe "a world class company". The overture sounds, the curtain rises. I've never wanted anything more than dancing in the company. "How many people in this world are 20 years old and living their dream?" Jester does some good turns! Nice clean entrechat six! in the Corps. "All I see is my mother in the audience!" Allison's variation begins. BUT, the scrim gets stuck. Tech problems! I'm thinking duck under or go around!

After break: "Oh, no!" "Start dancing and hope for the best!"Rex saves the day. Allison's the Ice Queen! "I want to do well for Rex." Seems like she's answered her own question about who really cares for her!. Rex saves the day! "What a princely thing to do!" Rex shows some nice turns! But, I just wish he would hold those shoulders down!. Nice tours, nice turns. He deserves a promotion. Demi soloist dancing principal roles! No brainer, Adam. Christiana, I want to be spectacular. Love watching Christiana dance. Proves Ballet West is th equal of a major professional company. Hard to do pressage without watching the girl!. Standing ovation for the company!

Rex signs autographs! Ugh! Zach wears Uggs! Touching moment between mom and son!. "It's all because of you, Mom! Forcing me to take class!" Closing night party: Wow! These dancers clean up really well. $100,000 check! "Took my breath away!" Really happy people! "Work the room. Go home!"

Next day: BeckAnne and Chase. Chase says he'll stay for another season with BeckAnne and Ballet WEst. Wow! BeckAnne is just glowing! Chris is walking alone to a bar. He's "Dying of a broken heart".

Adam and Rex start their conversation. "You have been an absolute pain in the a**!" He gets promoted to First Soloist. "You have always produced for me and I have a great belief in you." Adam again proves he has such a close relationship with his dancers. Honest, supportive and aboveboard! I wish I had that with my Artistic Directors!

Christiana moves out of her home with Chris. "I have to do this. Scariest thing I've done. but this is what needs to happen right now!"

Post Cinderella company class: The company rose to the challenge of Cinderella and the Ashton style. We're going to LA for a fundraiser. Ballet West takes small group to city of Los Angeles. Plus they get an extra day in LA.

Season finale: in LA. Allison professes her love for Rex? What's up with that? You need to be alone for awhile there, girl!

09.13.2013: Let This Be A Wild Kingdom

Arts happenings in the Capital City today:
Capital City News Service – On September 13, the DsM Art Center will open two new exhibitions, Wild Kingdom: Prints of Britain and Richard T. Walker’s let this be us (2012), part of the Art Center’s 2013 Single-channel series.

Wild Kingdom: Prints of Britain presents British works on paper spanning 300 years from the Art Center’s Permanent Collections. The exhibition compares and contrasts British artists’ rapturous visions of the natural world with dark and pessimistic visions of human nature. The natural world is beautiful and benign, but human society seems a veritable jungle, full of urgency and terror.

Artists include Henry Adlard, Thomas Allom, Robert Austin, J. Bakewell, William Blake, Carington Bowles, Leonora Carrington, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Richard Corbould, Alan Davie, Richard Deacon, Lucian Freud, James Gillray, John Gould, Richard Hamilton, David Hockney, William Hogarth, Gary Hume, Allen Jones, Anish Kapoor, Edith Lawrence, Chris Ofili, William Strang, and Joseph Mallord William Turner. Wild Kingdom: Prints of Britain is organized by Amy N. Worthen, curator of prints and drawings.

British artist Richard T. Walker makes videos, photographs, text works, and performances that reveal a frustrated, obsessive relationship with landscape and at the same time explores the complexity of human relations. Videos and photographs show the artist alone in the center of dramatic landscapes, occupying a position reminiscent of a classic romantic figure contemplating the infinite, awe-inspiring mysteries of an impersonal natural world.

Wild Kingdom runs through January 5, 2014; let this be us will be shown through November 17, 2013.

09.12.2013: Apparent Update

Maternal unit of a CCDC student-turned-professional sends along this update from her dancer:
"...(My daughter) is doing great. Just talked to her this morning. It’s really busy for her because in addition to rehearsing for Clara in Nutcracker, she will also be doing Chinese, Flowers, etc. in the performances in which she’s not Clara. They’re also rehearsing Phantom of the Opera now, and she’s in corps for that, as well as being one of the ballet dancers and a ‘Masquerade’ girl. She is loving every minute!! She’s also holding down two part-time jobs, so she dances from 8 til 4:30, then goes to one or both of her other jobs. Crazy schedule, but she was well-prepared for the life of a ballerina (as were we as her parents), so she is grateful and happy for the life she is living!..."
...That made me wax nostalgic...
"...I think I'm gonna tell the (CCDC dancers turned professionals) that even though one of them, for example, tweeted that she and her fellow apprentices took home all the left-over food from a fund-raiser to help pad their non-existent paychecks...that she's wondering if she'll find a paying job before she runs out of money...that she has to figure out how to make the groceries last that her Mom left with her...that these are still THE HAPPIEST DAYS OF THEIR LIVES. I remember working the lunch shift at the sushi bar in Chicago and training at nights at Maria Tallchief's school. I remember rehearsing all day and teaching all night at the Duluth Ballet. I remember working the graveyard shift at WHO Radio the summer I first got here and training during the evenings at the School of DsM Ballet. I look back with nostalgia at the struggle...and I smile wistfully! THOSE were the days. Oh, to be young and to be dancing for our lives while wondering how to pay for rent and our next meal again!o) Couldn't do it now...I will never be so dumb and so naive and so trusting again!..."
...I remember bussing tables at the Honolulu TGIFridays days and dancing and rehearsing at nights, performing on weekends! Howz that song go? "Those were the daze, my friends! We thought they'd never end..." The lesson: enjoy the journey! Don't wait to get to the destination! Revel in the process! Stop and smell the roses...and rosin!o)

...And, we all have those stories apparently. Got this back:
"...I completely agree and I think (my dancer) actually DOES appreciate this part of her life. She likes the ‘starving artist’ persona I think. My story is when I first started working in radio I, of course, had no money. I was between paychecks and literally went for 2 weeks eating nothing but rice and some tomatoes that someone had left at church for anyone to take home. I saved my checkbook register from that time because it showed that I had .09 to my name. I was really proud of myself for making it through without asking for help. I have told the kids that story many times and I think it may have sunk in with (my daughter) because she has referred to it when she talks about her dancing. You’re right – I don’t think I could do that again, although I do remember those times as being the best ever...."

09.11.2013: Playhouse Production

Support your fellow CCDC dancer currently "moonlighting" in this local production scheduled to end September 29th (I do expect an extension.):
"Fiddler On The Roof"
DsM Playhouse

Full disclosure: I've only seen one other production of "Fiddler On The Roof" (an ISU version at Stephens Auditorium to watch a former student perform the "bottle dance"), but, I've seen a number of Playhouse productions (as a member of the media we get offered comps quite often). And, I took them up on this offer of free tickets to watch a current CCDC student perform as "Shprintze" in this production, but, all that aside: this is one of the best productions I've ever seen at the theater on 42nd street. (Comparable to even to the Buddy Holly story/musical that blew everyone out of the water a few years ago.)

Sure it's community theater, but, I dare say this production could, for the most part, play the DsM Civic Center and withstand much higher expectations and ticket prices. The sets, curtain and backdrops are colorful and wonderful and the transitions from scene to scene, for the most part, seamless and unnoticeable. The lighting design is subtle and evocative. The music is live and never hit a wrong note, kudos to Conductor Mary Craven.

Kudos also to a strong cast. Some of the accents were more midwestern at times than Eastern European Yiddish, but, the leads were quite believable, all strong in voice and equally adept at comic and dramatic timing. A big tip of the yarmulke to Tim Wisgerhof (Tevye) and Preshia Paulding (Golda). Special accolades to Valley High School Junior Jada Smith who brought tears to my jaded eyes in Chava's confrontation with Wisgerhof. But, another daughter, while clear as a bell, needs to work on projecting to fill a theater with her singing voice more.

"Fiddler On The Roof" is an iconic musical with songs that have gone on to become standards beyond the stage. ("If I Were A Rich Man", "Sunrise, Sunset"...) The themes of tradition versus change and family versus faith resonate especially strongly even today. The Playhouse production is a stellar incarnation (And, not just because CCDC's Jillian Michelle G. is a charismatic star-in-waiting who is luminescent on stage!o) If you believe in shopping local and supporting local talent, catch the production at the theater on 42nd Street. It's scheduled to run until the end of the month. (And, if you go, silence your cell phone and LEAVE IT SILENCED AFTER INTERMISSION! Then, everyone won't turn and glare at you like they did to one inconsiderate callee Saturday night!o)

Dance note (here's the CCDC commercial!o): Since this is a dance blog, IMNSHO, Jillian's dance training helped make her stand out on stage. Dancers can stand differently than other people. There's more awareness of weight placement and internal presence/breath. Dancers are trained to actually breathe differently from singers and actors. (Nothing demonstrated this more than when a small company I watched recruited their costumer to do some simple steps on stage alongside other men in the company during the Knight's Dance in Romeo et Juliette. He was back on his heels with his arm stuck out to the side. All the trained dancers were up on the balls of their feet with arms stretched to the side and shoulders rolled under. He stuck out like a sore thumb!) Let this be a clue to other actors out there: If you want to distance yourself from your competition in auditions, consider taking dance training at CCDC, esp: the Musical Theater Class!

09.10.2013: America's Favorite Dancer!

Finals of SYTYCD X on Fox tonight! Just be aware the President's speech on Syria will delay the start. So, if you're recording the episode, be sure to add enough extra time at the end to compensate for the delay. Here's the recap of the last episode:

Hate to write it, but, this show has lost my interest. Not fond of any of the two remaining boys. Think Tucker or Paul should've won. Amy should win on the women's side. Something very likable about her always. Cat says, "Fever-Pitch in the studio tonight!" Ho-Hum "...hundred-thousand dollars up for grabs!" ...Yawn.. "Cover of Dance Spirit Magazine!" ...Zzzzz. Not invested in these dancers. Good dancers most of them, but...not exciting. Where's Makenzie and Malece when you need them? Guest judges: Paula Abdul and former Iowan Gabby Douglas. No wonder she moved to California! (Most of her comments turn out to be as insightful as you'd expect from a 17-year old non-dancer.)

Amy/Aaron: Ray Leeper Jazz. Non-stop Aerobic effort. Amy in Stenciled cut-out unitard. Fast movement. Amy dominating this. Aaron serving as foil and lifter. Don't really like this choreography. Ends with glares at the audience! How competition of them!o)

Jazmin/Fik-shun: Travis Wall Contemporary Routine. Fikshun has tall order in Jazmin due to the size difference. ("She's a tall drink of water...and I'm a THIRSTY man!") Good news is: It's Travis Wall! The choreographer's using her legs and placing them in positions that disguise their height differences. Still can't hide his lack of formal dance training however. His lack of upper body stretch only disappears when he does a bit of Street isolations. Nice choreography. Would've loved to see it with a better male partner!

Aaron/Melinda: Tap by Anthony. This must be fun. Wow! Some fast tapping as dialogue. Fast and clean. Like an old fashioned typewriter. Very musical. Very emotional. Double pirouette into fouette turns in tap shoes! Best tap I've seen in a long time on this show.

Jasmin/Comfort: Hiphop? Out of her genre! Extra pointes for ambition! Nappy Tabz! Hitting it hard and smooth. Sexy girls dancing hard! to Beyonce! Grrl Power! Jasmin revealing another side of her training, she was exposed to Dragon house after all! She's no neophyte. Keeping up with Comfort, no small task!

Amy/Fik-Shun: Argentine Tango. Miriam and Leonard number. Tango Doble! Great pictures and great poses. She's still a beast and he's keeping up. He has traveled far. Strong heel leads in Tango. only occasional fumbles and missteps and quickly covered. Wow! She's making him lift her correctly. Nice piece!

Jasmine Solo: There's nothing this dancer can't do...and do quite well, thank you. Extension, turns, control, flexibility, presence and personality!

Jasmine/Aaron: Samba! The party dance! Choreography with Dmitriy Chaplin! Spice, fire and magic! Starts with weak turns. sharp hips, though once she descends from raised stage. Trouble taking off outer skirt. That small, raised stage looks slick, slippery and dangerous for dancers. She's got a very commercial look! Long legs, great proportions. Oh, is that Aaron dancing as well?

Fik-Shun Solo: Street dancer. What a personality! "It's my world to control!" The guy is just chock full of charisma! Gangnam style. Sunglasses as prop. Cute choreography!

Amy Solo: Starts off with fabulous control and extension. Emotional content is off the chain and the technique is right there as well. Maybe not the best choreography. But, as performer, she's off the chart!

Fik-Shun/Twtich: hiphop. Swerve 500. Watch these hiphoppers work is like flawless! One is just a smaller or taller version of the other. Jackets come off. Hit it hard and clean! SOO musical and soo controlled. Great comic touches! Those guys were very good together!

Aaron Solo: Fast, clean musical tap. What's not to like? Timing and tempo. Big straddle leap!

Amy/Robert: Stacy Tookey Contemporary piece. Such big endless movements! Easy entry into endless lifts that intertwine into the next move and pose. She slips off the stage but he catches her. their lines are ridiculous! She's a short dancer that dances endlessly! Great emotional content! Great choreography!. She may have just won the competition right there!

Aaron/Fik-Shun: Tyce Diorio broadway piece. In the mean streets of the big city. Slidewalk baggage claim. I could see this on stage. All this broadway jazz. They can really sell their personalities in this number! Either one of the boys could win it here. But, I think Fik Shun might've had the edge there.

Amy/Jasmin: Jazz. Mark Kunimura routine? "Siamese twins from the fierce jungles of Saturn". The Diva Dance. Futuristic metal tutus and black pageboy wigs. Quirky just like Kunimura was. I think these two should win. They leave the boys in the dust!. Crotch shot ending. He's just krazy! In a very weird but good way!

Let the girls win and split the prizes! They both way out class the boys. But, otherwise, I think it's Amy and Fik-shun's to lose!

09.09.2013: Pointe of Braking!

It's TGIMonday! Mondaze we reach our collective Breaking Pointe! Here's a recap of the latest episode:
"Breaking Pointe"
Episode Sept

Venturing into uncharted territory with this seventh episode. Only a half-dozen last year. Starts off with recap of Jonathan and Allison, and Chris and Christiana.

Haven't seen much of Ronnie this year because of his injury. We open again with company class. "It's not really work. It's my love and my passion!" Ian plans his exit post-Cinderella. Big montage of a manege in center. Rex pulls into pirouettes, but, his shoulders need work. Christiana says she'll try to dance on her injured ankle. Christiana and Chris aren't talking at the studio. (There's got to be more going on than the producers are showing!) "I can't let anything stop me right now." She's going to rehearse with Rex. Two dancers, two injuries. Stubborn, much?

On stage rehearsals: "Always a little crazy!" Wigs fly. "Everyone's stressed out." The company is like a little family, a little school. Everyone knows everyone's business. They want to dance well for Adam. Allison declares if Jonathan doesn't come, it'll be a sign for her. "I really need to focus! I can't afford that!"

Dress Rehearsal: "Perfect way to find the weak spots in production!" Yeah, Ian! Trying to prove Adam made the wrong decision! Christiana ready to perform the lead with Rex. Full orchestra rehearsal. Christiana pushes through injury! Pushes through personal life. Ian breaks his thumb? He walks off stage unable to partner. "This ballet is cursed!". But, the show must go on!". Oh, disastrous slip on stage! Who was that? Cut to commercial!

Rex remembers his injury. He looks good in pigtails and white tights!. He's performing with a grim expression. They miss a routine shoulder sit! Bad dress, good performance! "Dress rehearsal was a disaster!"

Notes on stage before company class: "The lifts are the moments that stop the audience's hearts!" Ooh, good notes from Adam. "I can feel my foot swelling!" "Then, don't wear it!" Ian's girlfriend is in the audience. "I need to figure out how to not use one hand!" The year of the injuries for Ballet West. "All I wanted was for Allison to see me on stage!'s not going to happen!"

Beckanne's apartment: She's cracking every joint on waking. Josh has opening night jitters. Rex pours himself some coffee. His foot is cramping. Ronnie wakes up...but, he's not doing anything because of his injury. He straps on his boot. The company files into the theater. Make up montage. Ballet lines under their eyes...just like we teach! What? No "merdes"? Allie calls her mom in the dressing room. No family, no fiancé' in the audience. Look at her make-up "ballet lines" under her eyes! Thank you for educating the audience, CW!

Dang! That Rex has some nice soft effortless tours en l'air. Rex says he'll never be nervous for anything else again! Whatever happened to Rex's brother from last season? Allie leaves comp ticket for Jonathan! But, the seat is empty! "It's a big deal!" If he doesn't come, he doesn't deserve her!

Opening night: Would've loved to see this production. Shots of backstage as Beckanne hits strong balances. OMG! Allie's arches! Nice balances!

Ian watches as an injured dancer in the audience. Zach's wig falls off. Cover it up, man! Mistakes will happen! It's how you handle the aftermath that determines your professionalism. Christiana says her personal life is affecting her professional life. She falls off pointe during a fouette balance. That's going to bother her forever! They practice the shoulder sit with questionable consistency. C'mon guys! It's stupid shoulder sit! Cut to commercial!

The lift goes fine. (But, I'd grab her knee to make it safer and more consistent.) His variation is smooth and seamless. Christiana sets a standard of excellence for herself that is almost unattainable. Just like most dancers! Allie talks with Jonathan after the show. Disappointment dripping in her voice. "Sometimes there's too much hurt to keep pushing on!" Christiana has heart to heart with Allie. "Please learn from my mistakes. It's already over!" "It hurts SO BAD!"

Previews show tech problems and Christiana driving away, presumably, from her marriage. This show makes dancers very real. (Too real?) Join the push for season three of BP on CW!

09.06.2013: Hamer Hitz Homerz!o)

Did you miss CCDC Pilates/Jazz/Modern Instructor Alissa Hamer performing with Hurley and Dancers last month? Here's another opportunity:
In case you missed the first paddle board show, you have a second chance! We're performing "Water Balance Dance" at the Water Works Park Festival on Tuesday, September 10th at 6pm. For more details - see the press release below, or reply to this e-mail & I'll be happy to fill you in.

There will be a lot going on at the festival - it's a great opportunity to enjoy all the community has to offer.

Hope to see you there!

...Here's that press release:
Changes in the Works: Open House for Water Works Park Master Plan

(Capital City News Service) – DsM Water Works, in collaboration with Sasaki Associates and RDG Planning & Design, invites the public to see the exciting changes in the works for one of the largest urban parks in the nation. A public open house for the Water Works Park Master Plan will be held on September 10, 5:00-8:00 p.m., at Water Works Park’s event lawn (west end of the park off of George Flagg Parkway). Signs and volunteers will guide visitors to the site. Enjoy food, music and family-fun activities that will assist visitors to envision what’s on tap for Water Works Park.

The evening’s activities include paddleboarding and canoeing demonstrations, a water dance performance, a guided ecology bike tour, live music, fishing tips and tricks, and community eco-art projects for the whole family. See below for a complete list of activities and schedule. Enjoy free tacos from Tacopocalypse and free re-usable water bottles for the first 200 people. Your feedback on the park plan is the only request.

In the event of inclement weather, activities will be held at DsM Water Works’ general office building, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway.

Water Works Park Master Plan Open House, September 10, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Throughout the evening, from 5:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Enjoy free tacos from Tacopocalypse for the first 200 people.
  • Free re-usable water bottles for the first 200 people or bring your own re-usable water bottle and fill up at DsM Water Works’ mobile water station.
  • Live music.
  • Learn about Water Works Park’s future amenities and provide feedback on the plan.
  • View paddleboarding demonstrations by No Coast Stand Up.
  • Win a prize by participating in a scavenger hunt.
  • Share a picture of yourself next to a future park amenity in the photo booth and enter to win a prize if shared on the “Changes in the Works” Facebook site.
  • Learn tips and tricks for successful fishing by experts from Izaak Walton League.
  • Gain river paddling advice and demonstrations by Central Iowa Paddlers.
  • Hang with the horses from Irish Run Farms and learn about riding the bridle trails at Water Works Park.
  • Write your wish for the park and the river through the “wishing ribbons” eco-art project, hosted by Open Arts.
  • Participate in green arts activities, hosted by Metro Arts Alliance.
  • “Fish for Pollutants” by using a fishing pole to see how many pollutants like dirt, trash, fertilizer, pet waste and pesticides you can “fish” out of the water.
6:00 p.m.

Water Dance – Paddleboarding dance performance by modern dance company, Hurley and Dancers.

6:15 p.m.

Guided Ecology Bike Tour – Learn about the watersheds, flood plain forest ecosystems and the restoration of disturbed areas, including the infamous “Lost Planet.” A limited number of B-cycle Bikes from the Bike Collective will be available for use. Note: The trail is not strenuous, but participants will ride on asphalt, gravel and mowed grass.

09.05.2013: Sand, Which Is To Be Scene

Note: the Sacred Music and Dance listing: (MIght wanna check it out if you're not already dancing at CCDC!)
The Comparison Project at Drake University Presents:

Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India will be on Drake University’s campus September 9–13, 2013, creating a sand mandala and participating in a series of special cultural events that are free and open to the public.

The creation of the sand mandala is an artistic tradition for Tibetan Buddhists. The mandala is a symbolic picture of the universe and its purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones.

The mandala is created with millions of grains of colored sand, which is applied using small tube-like straws, funnels, and scrapers. Once completed, the mandala is destroyed, symbolizing the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life.

Visitors may view the ongoing construction of the sand mandala Monday through Friday in the Collier Heritage Room in Cowles Library between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Additional special events are listed below:

Monday, Sept. 9, 9 a.m. – Sand Mandala Opening Ceremony Collier Heritage Room, Cowles Library

Monday, Sept. 9, 7 p.m. – Path of the Bodhisattva, lecture Cowles Library Reading Room

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. – An Evening of Sacred Music and Dance Sheslow Auditorium

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. – World Peace and the Unity of all Religions, lecture Cowles Library Reading Room

Thursday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m. – Buddhist Community Dialogue Cowles Library Reading Room

Friday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m. – Sand Mandala Closing Ceremony Collier Heritage Room, Cowles Library

09.04.2013: Performance Posting

Fall4Performing Artz!o)
DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY Returns to the Temple Theater
Tickets to this raucous comedy go on sale Sept. 9

Capital City News Service– Be a part of the hottest ticket in town when DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY returns to the Temple Theater, Wednesday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY opens the Temple Comedy Series, a presentation of the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater Series presented by DsM Performing Arts.

DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY stars Dixie Longate, as the fast-talking Tupperware lady, who has packed up her catalogues, and left her children in an Alabama trailer park to journey across America. Critics and audiences howl with laughter as Dixie throws a good ol' fashioned Tupperware party filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, FREE giveaways, audience participation and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage!

Loaded with the most up-to-date products available for purchase, Ms. Longate will share how she became the number one Tupperware seller in the world, as she educates her guests on the many alternative uses she has discovered for her plastic products. NBC’s “Today Show” says DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY is “not your grandmother’s Tupperware party!”

Produced by Down South LLC and directed by Patrick Richwood, DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY will feature costumes designed by Miss Longate and lighting designed by Richard Winkler.

For more information on DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY, visit

09.03.2013: Back 2 Work, Back 2 Dance!o)

Grand Finale of SYTYCD 10 is tonight on Fox! Here's what happened last week:

No opening number? Still think Amy's going to win this. Paul does a decent double tour en l'air, but, where's Cheyon when you need him? Not a big fan of any of the remaining boys. Hundred-thousand dollar prize. No judge's saves. "No more Twitter battles!" Guest judge: Jesse Tyler Ferguson. "I'm on a new jury."

Okay, here's the Shawn Cheeseman opening number. Partner work. A Revelations type number. Swooping dresses dance along with the girls. Joyful music! Happy dancing! Very Jubilationish movements. Afro-Carribean celebration. Roll opening Credits again!

Paul/Katherine: Tyce Diorio Jazz routine. "Oldest story in the world!" Samba styled jazz. Huge dress start on stage. Starts off with his tumbling Wow, once again hard not to watch the all-star. But, Paul has already done enough to show me he can win this thing. Shake those shoulders! Move those hips! Sensual, passionate, tropical movements. The battle of the sexes plays out on stage!

Amy's Solo: Falls out of turn. But, she is fully committed to every movement. there are some good turns. She dances full out! No half-measures!

Hayley/Joshua: NappyTabz Hiphop fisticuffs pugilistic production. Starts off in the corner of a ring. Hayley has to hit it hard next to an all-star champ. "Girl fight" She suffers in comparison to the champion. Fast and hard number. Work hard, play hard. She embodies the ethic!

Fik-Shun Solo: This guy is so good at what he does. Animation? Humorous and technical. Master of movement illusion. And, that smile is a killer!

Aaron/Melanie: Spencer Liff Broadway number. Playful fight. CHallenging to be at the top of your game. Starts with lifts to George Michael. Her power is forcing him to step up his technique and expression. Character driven dance. His single tour is a little disappointment. But, nothing like a big man dancing big! MIssed a catch of the hand! They're still arguing at the end! He says injuries are no excuse for not dancing full out.

Jazmin Solo: She of the endless legs. Amazing goup. Strong hinge on fully pointed feet. I could see this girl dancing with Aileys. She'd fit right in with all those strong women of color!

Paul Solo: What a hot mom! great energy. Another Double tour. Very charismatic, energetic. Interesting double barrel turn!

Fik-Shun/Whitney: Foxtrot. Tough task keeping up with the ballroom diva. Great music, fun choreography! Watching his shoulders after the last judge's comments Lead is weak!. She's making him look weak. Whitney shows off her front walk-over!

Hayley Solo: Nice foot! Pulls out the competition dancer bag of tricks. Grand pirouettes into turns. Nothing too spectacular in the routine, but, clean and adequate. Will Adequate be enough?

Jazmin/Neal: Tyce Diorio contemporary. Global issues addressed. The suffering. Cinematic piece. Trash scuds across stage to start. Wind machine a physical representation of the abstract. Clouds speed across the back stage. Unorthodox life goes flawlessly. Anguished movements contrast to soft piano score. The contrast is sbulime. Extensions are breathtaking. Final rags scud across the stage in the ending tableaux. Very dramatic. Very powerful. Rousing standing ovation.

Aaron Solo: Okay. My dog can tap! Fast and clean! Sudden and still. Hops on his points with control. Very clean.

Amy/Alex: Bollywood. Story of forbidden love. Sexy, sensual, mature! . Wow! She looks good in sari! Alex! My boy been working out. Very energetic number as always. Effortless jump to the shoulder. No fear. Powerful. Sharp. Joyful. knee spins. Ouch! Those knee spins! Standing ovations! Amy is this season's beast!

Hayley/Paul: Dee Kaspary contemporary routine. Start in deep blue lit stage. Sliding, chasing movements of many different levels. Seamless movements that effortlessly change levels and meld movements into movement. lifts into air into ground back onto the feet. Very emotional. A boy pledges his troth, undying support. I think Hayles the underdog in the remaining troika.

Amy/Fik-Shun: Dave Scott hiphop number. Two krumpers in love. His natural genre. Her fabulous smile. Lone chair on stage. Love how she changes character to get into this dance. Hard not to just watch AMy in this number. He's disappearing! And, this is his genre. Smooth and hard hitting at the same time. Fast and then almost agonizingly slow! Outstanding routine. Still think it's Amy's to lose!

Jazmin/Aaron: Shawn Cheeseman Jazz routine. Non-stop. MIrror metaphor. Jazzmin in glittery unitard. Good thing she has no body issues. Roll up to straddle lift. She rips off his shirt. Her flexibility is OFF the charts. Something missing from this number. Very creative but, felt like it was missing something.

The elimination: Last cut is the deepest! First, the girls: Hayle, Jazmin, Amy. First in is Amy. Jasmin is next in. Say good by to Hayley, the all-american cutie. The boyz advance. First in is: Aaron. Fik-Shun is next in. My boy, Paul, is left on the outside looking in. Dang. I knew as soon as I made a pick he'd get eliminated!

09.02.2013: Reaching Hour Breaking Pointez!

Mondays are TGIBreakingPointe Mondaze! Here's a recap of Episode Six:
"Breaking Pointe"
Episode Six

"We should not talk at work."
"I'm going to leave if I don't get promoted!"
The drama of Chris and Christiana. Preparations for Cinderella. Company Class: Chris talks about the pressures of his dual roles. Christiana talks about the pressures of her personal and professional lives. Rex struggles with his injury and possible effect on his career. Allison talks about the amazing life she has...and the demands of her fiance. Zach shares his contract news. "Now, I can take a breath!" Spreads the news. Ian meanwhile suffers in silence. "Don't be too excited." Ian says they've lost one of the hardest working people in ballet.

In rehearsal: love to see Allie and Rex getting along so well. The unconditional connection remains...even if they're not together.

More rehearsal: Christiana worries about the fx of Rex's injury. "My foot is killing me." "I don't need injury, I NEED a new foot!" He's icing his foot.

"I'm in the autumn of my ballet career." Christiana quizzes her partner about his injury. "I don't need the extra pressure!" "I wanna get through my day today!" Part of the reality of the dancing life is learning to deal with injury."

Love the shots of company class! Stretching and all. Ruud rehearses the step-sisters role. Chris is torn between his many demands. Tough to dance well when you're heart is breaking.

In the waiting room: Beckanne and Allison are bonding. She announces plan of heading back to her old school: The Rock School. Needs to rediscover her passion. Allison shares that she is rediscovering her passion just as she contemplates retiring. Career versus personal life.

Josh's apartment: shooting a little pool. He hints about Allison. "We're always going to be friends!" But, "I could see how this could get messy!"

Philadelphia: Rock school for dance education. Get a glimpse of the returning dancers. "I always love going back to the Rock School." Wow! low barres. "No smiling in my class, please" See the dress code. Holy moley! Look at those turns! BeckAnne's living the dream she had when she was younger. Corrections from BeckAnne. Reconnects with...WOW! Some more turns! Pix with Katie Martin. Reinspired! "All this young talent is passing me by.!"

Back to Utah, back to the snow: Studio Elevn and publicity shots. Zach says he wants the audience to know him. Lotta flexibility. Some nice pix.

Zest: Allie goes out with Gloria. She trusts her opinion. "Why couldn't he come to you?" "He doesn't want me anywhere near Rex." "It's nice to have someone physically in front of you instead of on a screen." "Don't give up your dream for someone else's dream!" "I'm going with the flow," She's a good friend who has Allie's best interest at heart!

Allie and Rex: "I guess timing is really everything." He's just hanging around, willing to wait. "I really need Rex to be honest with me about how he feels." Christiana says he needs her to focus on rehearsal. She saves a balance all by herself. "A lot of my life is on display." Personal turmoil is increasingly painful for me. There's a reason she's a principal. "Sometimes it's way too much!" She calls her brother. "I'm just having a super bad day!" "Something's gotta give!" "It's just really scary!"

Rehearsal footage: Fatigue shows in Christiana's eyes. She sits outside alone. Until Allie comes to comfort her. Allie's being a good friend. "My job is to represent the company!" "You look amazing!" As a friend she's suffering along with her friend. Crying on camera. "For so long ballet has defined me. I want people to see me for myself."

Chris speaks with the Adam. AD is worried about his principal danseur. The responsibilities are weighing heavily on him. Dramatic shots from outside the building watching him working on his own.

Weather looks frightful in the Utah winter. "Ballet is a saving grace for me. The studio is a sanctuary!" But, Christiana suffers an injury. Rolled her ankle. "My personal life is falling apart, now my professional life is as well. I'm dancing on borrowed time. All I have left is my dancing!" "I'm beyond frightened!"

"Don't bring your personal problems into the studio!" "Frankly, I'm not sure how we're going to pull this one off!"

Previews: Jonathan problem. Christiana injury. Rex on stage. Zach's wig falls off. Someone slips. "This ballet is cursed."

08.30.2013: Ballet Buffet @ The Restaurant Roundtable

Now, back to the dancing! As we bid a fond farewell to the summer of 2013, here's the final installment of the roundtable of 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Instructors. It's a little noisy, but, very informative:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

08.29.2013: Fiddle Sticks

Recently had a chance to interview acclaimed Irish fiddler Tricia Hutton during an appearance in the Capital City. Now, this is not dance-related, but, is a performing art. Hutton is an ambassador of her culture and artform. And, the interview and excerpts from her lecture-demo are illuminating:

Courtesy Tricia Hutton

Courtesy Tricia Hutton

Courtesy Tricia Hutton

08.28.2013: Ice, Ice, Baby! ...Nice!o)

CCDC Modern/Contemporary/Jazz/Pilates Instructor Alissa Hamer delivering some much needed physical therapy last night. During a conversation, I asked her if she saw the latest article about the benefits of post-workout ice baths. She hadn't, so, I'm going to post it here for everyone to consider (Seems my daily cold showers may not be giving my muscles any extra benefit.):
Post-Run Ice Baths Not Beneficial for Strength, Soreness

(Capital City News Service) – Dunking in a tub of ice water after exercise – a surprisingly popular post-workout regimen used by athletes to reduce inflammation and speed recovery – is time consuming and bone-achingly painful. New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that it may not be effective, either.

In a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers report that research subjects who engaged in post-exercise cryotheraphy, or ice baths, showed no mitigation of post-exercise strength loss or decreased soreness compared to a control group.

“It doesn’t help you feel better and it doesn’t help you perform better,” says lead researcher Naomi Crystal ’11G. “Ice baths are very popular as a treatment, but the research is really mixed as to whether they’re beneficial. They’re miserable. If it doesn’t work, you don’t want to waste your time.”

For the study, the researchers recruited 20 recreationally active college-age men to run for 40 minutes downhill at a grade of -10 percent. Half the subjects then submitted to a 20-minute ice bath, standing in a tall recycling bin filled with thigh-high ice water cooled to a chilly five degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit). “That’s really cold,” Crystal admits. “I had some guys close to tears.”

Crystal was interested in the ice bath’s effect on soreness, strength, swelling and inflammation. The researchers conducted three post-exercise measures taken at intervals from one hour to three days: they measured the subjects’ perceived soreness while walking down stairs; tested quadriceps strength on a resistance machine; measured thigh circumference; and looked at the concentration of plasma chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), a marker for inflammation, in blood samples.

The researchers found no difference in strength or perceived soreness between the subjects who took ice baths and the control group. Thigh circumference did not change significantly for any of the subjects after the run.

Difference between the two groups’ CCL2 concentrations, while not statistically significant, showed a trend toward lower concentrations in the cryotherapy subjects, although this measure varied greatly between the subjects. “The study suggested that there might have been a mild reduction in inflammation, but it wasn’t conclusive,” says LaRoche, who was Crystal’s advisor.

The lack of difference between the control and the cryotherapy group surprised the researchers. “I expected to see an improvement in soreness, an improvement in strength with the ice bath,” says Crystal. She notes that research on ice baths has produced a range of results, in part because there’s no standard protocol for the treatment.

While the researchers state that their study does not support the use of cryotherapy for recovery from exercise, Crystal’s personal view is more moderated. “I’m not convinced that it doesn’t help at all,” she says. “Use them sparingly. Use them in tournament situations, use them with an athlete who has done something extraordinary. But for day-to-day athletes, I wouldn’t recommend them. They’re painful, and they’re time consuming.”

The article, “Effect of cryotherapy on muscle recovery and inflammation following a bout of damaging exercise,” is available online in the European Journal of Applied Physiology..."

08.27.2013: SYTuesYCDayz!

TGITuesday! Tuesdays are SYTYCD TUEZDAZE!:
Sweet Six Success

Opening number: Back lit circus performers. Circus macabre! Feathers and leathers. Hmm...are we missing somebody? Some devilish macabre movement! Where's Aaron? Choreographed by Mamma Mia!

Second week of All stars! But, they also get a chance to choreograph the routines for the first time. Guest judge is Jenna Elfman. (@JennaElfman). Real dancer. Former PNB student.

Four dancers in danger. Half the remaining field. Excellent pieces last week. But, who's in danger? Fik-Shun, Jenna,Tucker, Hayley. All four will dance for their lives.

Fik-Shun: This guy is so charismatic. Look at that smile! He's a master at what he does. But, is it enough? Athletic and technical enough?
Hayley: Nice extension. Sweet in white. Nice grand jete. Great lines! Sweet and sexy! Nice abs! Great feeling. Dances with humor!
Jenna: In a skirt that dances with her. Very intense and passionate. Tosses skirt aside and starts attacking the ballroom movement. She's a little scary! She's so intense!
Tucker: Chasse into aerial. Nice extensions and control! This guy's good. Arabian layout. he can tumble as well as dance. Little lackluster tour jete! But, he's pulling out the bag o tricks!
Aaron/Chelsea Hightower: Jive. Classic fifties moves. She's had some experience choreographing on DWTS. Great straddle leap. Very energetic piece!. Tricky hand leads. But hard not to watch Chelsea in all red. This a long piece. He IS a good partner, but, he's not my favorite dancer.

Fik-Shun/Allison: Looking forward to her choreography! One of my favorite SYTYCD dancers all-time! Explores the issue of biracial relationships. Diogenes lanterns to begin. Looking for the light metaphor. He jumps with a sickled foot. Dramatic roll off back. I will take care of you. Fast movements. Then, slow and long endless rond de jambe into promenade. Why do they separate at the end?

Tucker/Courtney Galliano: Jazz. Romeo and Juliet. Forbidden love. Risky lifts, risky loves. Symbolic risky crotch first jump into lift. Not sure all these moves fit together and reinforce the theme? We learn Courtney suffers from Multiple Sclerosis? A tribute to her that she's just dancing at all.

Paul/Comfort: Hiphop. Graffiti art theme. He needs to work on the aggressive attitude. Got the moves down. But, the feisty feeling is lacking. He's keeping up. Back handspring! Clever choreography. Very cute routine. But does cute go with urban street dance?

Hayley/Dmitry: Rhumba. Dmitry has had to choreograph on DWTS as well. that should help. Her extensions are effortless. very passionate movement. Dance of love and distrust! Sharp, big movements. The emotion and passion are off the charts. Great breath in to movement. Symbolically throws the engagement ring off and throws it away.

Jenna/Mark: Jazz. Enormous pair of lips grace the stage. Eyes as backdrop. Mark Kunimura. Style. New and Weird. Want it Bloody and raw. Very Gagaish. Very quirky and alien moves. Great attitude and LOVE THIS PIECE! Out gagaz Lady Gaga. Kunimura has a future as a choreographer. Tongue becomes red carpet. OMG! Sly and humorous! LOVED IT! And, she did it well. She went there with him as he challenged her. Great moments in that piece!

Jasmine/Twitch: Super hero of the streets. Super Twitch versus Flexy-GRRL! Very creative concept. She got the moves. She got the look. She got the lines. Creative concept well executed well danced, well performed. Sort of a weak ending, tho'!

Amy/Travis Wall: Great expectations for this contemporary routine. He's expert at making move continue into move. Unexpected lifts and shapes...and she's expert at delivering them. Who else uses a full nelson in choreography? Very musical as well. Dive off the back. Expert timing on their turns. Shrieks and screams from the audience at the quality of movements. Intense! and incredible! I'm not going out on a limb when I say I think she's going to win this thing!

Judges are late getting back. Tucker and Jenna are called out. They're eliminated. Where's the Tim Gunn save when we need it?!? Okay, I'm definitely not watching now! Not fond of any of the remaining boys. And, Amy should have this one in the bag! Leader (and BEAST!o) in the clubhouse!

08.26.2013: BW + BP = Monday!o)

TGIMonday! Not crazy, but, Mondays are Breaking Pointe MONDAZE!:
"Breaking Pointe"
Episode Cinq

Beckanne has an infectious laugh. Contract talks begin. Last season, we saw the news of Katie Martin's dismissal. Josh dances. Zach has a nice jump. Ian looks a little awkward. No wonder Spoiler alert...he doesn't get a contract offer. The head-to-head competition between Ian and Zack. Adam discusses the pluses and minuses of both danseurs. Problems with both.

Fairies rehearsal: Allison discusses her decision. But, she says she still loves to dance.

Beckanne's Apartment! It's KATIE MARTIN!o) Beckanne shares she's "the understudy of the understudy". They dish about Chase. "Long distance just sucks!" Loses best friend, could lose her boy friend! "No need to borrow trouble!"

Party at Josh's house: The girls like tall men!. Katie talks with Ian. He gets some advice from someone who understands exactly what she's going through! Always funny to see dancers dancing at a party! But, the contract talks weigh heavy on Ian's mind.

Morning warm-up: sewing shoes. The bane of the ballet dancer. "I never wanted anything more in my life." Zach and Ian both stressing about the possibility of their careers post BWII. Reality of the dancer life.

Star rehearsal: Beckanne has lost her motivation to do corps roles after a season of principal work. She needs to realize there are no small roles.

Principal rehearsals: Christiana and Rex rehearse the leads. Question of his stamina after recovering from injury. Tours into pirouettes into tours into pirouettes! Classic "Center Stage" moment.

Christiana talk with Adam . He praises her. During Ronnie's talk he says he will be back. Beckanne shares her frustration for what she sees as a stagnant stage in her career. Adam has a good relationship with his dancers. He says it isn't stagnation, but, calmer. She gets offered a promotion to full soloist. "I have a plan for Beckanne! She's my superstar in waiting!"

Christiana and Allison dish. She shares that she's been promoted to full soloist. She shares all the gory details of talk with Adam and Jonathan. "I feel torn-up! I want you to be in the audience for me!" "He should be here if he's asking you to walk away!" "This is the place that tested our relationship. All he sees is Rex here." Christiana, such a good friend giving such good advice! All I can do is to be there for her and listen. Just do your job! I want both in my perfect world. (I predict Jonathan will come to Salt Lake watch her dance and say he'll try to make it work.)

Zach stressing about his body. "I'm never going to be six inches taller. I'm never going to be ripped!" There's only one spot, it's either going to be Ian or me. Josh and Adam talk. The apprentice is hoping for a full company contract. He promises he has plans for principal roles for Josh, but, says he needs to stay as an apprentice for another year. Rex talks with Adam. He's hoping for a promotion. He says Rex needs to learn how to deal with injuries better. Adam says principals in his company are leaders...and he's waiting to see how Cinderella goes. Rex is thinking about going somewhere else.

Rex speaks with Allison. He says he probably won't be here next season. He's happy to hear about her promotion. He says don't cry or I'll start laughing. You'll know. "I'll always be here for you." What a good relationship they have! A good supportive relationship now they're not trying to be an item!

Park City: zip line in the snow. (That zip line looks like fun! Put on bucket list.) They make a cute couple! Stress relief from contract talks. Chase talks about the future elsewhere outside of BW II. "Distance tears people apart all the time. I don't wanna lose you!" "We'll make it work!" Famous last words!

Zach heads to his contract talk. "I want this day to be over so I can move on with my life! I just wanna know if this is going to be the best or worst day of my life. Make it or break it today!" He's wearing Uggs into the theater. Zach enters and Chris and Adam wait to talk with him. "I recognized your talent from day one!" Adam says he needs to focus. Just tell me! "You've grown tremendously!" You're ready for a professional career! It's time for you to join Ballet West!"

Ian talks with Chris and Adam. He says he wants to move ahead in his career as a professional danseur. Adam says he's proud of his advancement. But, no contract offer. He promises to fight to get back to Ballet West. As we know he's now dancing in Florida. "Ian has talent, but not ready for Ballet West yet!" One danseur's dreams are realized, another's are crushed! What a profession we deal with!

He's communicating the bad news to his girlfriend. "It sucks! But, if BW doesn't want me someone else will!"

Adam says he has a plan for all his dancers. Now that contract talks are over, he needs them to dance their very best in Cinderella. "I won't stop until BW is one of America's Premiere companies."

Preview hints at rapprochement between Allison and Rex. Tragedy strikes! Shot of Christiana's injury before Cinderella! Adam says, "I cannot afford to lose Christiana!"

08.23.2013: Dancer Update

We asked the mom of a CCDC alumni for an update as her daughter enters into her first full season with a professional ballet company. Got this back:
"...(My dancer) is doing great!!!! She LOVES what she is doing, and what I am particularly proud of/encouraged by, is that she enjoys having more advanced dancers that she wants to learn from. It’s a wonderful thing to see your child living their dream – and I’m sure it’s exciting for you to see your student doing that, too!

We’re hoping to be able to fly her home for Thanksgiving and then we’ll go see her in the Nutcracker in December and bring her home for her break. I can’t wait. I miss her a lot!..."

..."Proud" doesn't come close to describing the emotions one feels watching a student "living their dream".

08.22.2013: "Luxury" and "Dancer"

Here's the latest update on that survey a dancer/graduate student asked for our participation in last week. I took the survey and thought it really missed the mark. So, this is what I wrote back:
"...Alexis, here's some feedback after taking your survey: I think your criteria list is lacking what I would consider "luxury" or "luxurious". I think "facilities" should be listed. Studio size for example. Properly sprung, triple-basket weave underflooring, marley-type dance surface. Whether or not live music is provided would be another luxury item...considering most studios now use recorded music. Ample free parking and access is another consideration. Dressing room size and, this would truly be luxurious, access to showers, hot tub, ice bath, massage, physical therapy in the same building. Perhaps, staff with training and equipment for dancer injuries might be available. That all is secondary, however, to the quality of instruction. Experienced faculty who know how to challenge and mentor dancers would be my primary consideration for attendance. Luxury doesn't matter to me and most dancers...the effect on my dancing is paramount..."
...Anyone else take that survey? Any thoughts? E-mail input here.

08.21.2013: Putting the "L-A" in "DeLAney"

Here's the second and final installment of our one-on-one with CCDC Guest Lyrical/Hiphop Instructor Delaney Rhodes. As mentioned earlier, our recording equipment automatically cuts out the questions. But, a lot of good information given by the budding young dancer/choreographer. One of the questions was "What's your best advice for any dancer heading to LA?". Check it out!

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

08.20.2013: SYTYCD

Support dance on television! The national reality dance competition So You Think You Can Dance continues without two of my favorite girls! Here's how it happened:
Elite Eight Unveiled

The advent of the All-Starz! Opening number: Rocking chairs. Backlit. The elderly remembering their youth? Nice to see all the dancers and no one missing. Rocking chairs and movement as metaphor! Socks on floor make for tricky footing. Lotta lifts. Handstand to catch off the rocking chairs. Gloved hands give a genteel effect that contrasts with anguished, impassioned emotional dancing. End with single rocking chair rocking, backlit. Impressive choreography by Christopher Scott.

All stars mean the contestants need to raise their game or disappear in comparison. Guest judge today: Debbie Allen. I'm pulling for Tucker and Makenzie and Amy.

Whose in danger? Tucker, Makenzie, Niko, Jenna. No judge's saves? No solos? Their fate has been decided? Think it's Niko and jenna's time...

Amy/Brandon: Disco with Doriana Sanchez. As an old disco dancer myself, my standards are high. To Whitney Houston classic "I will always love you" set to disco beat. Great facials! Little frantic for my taste. assisted attitude turns! arabesque promenade goes into a lift. The dislocation is an overhead straight press. Suicide drop at the end for a dramatic finish! Amy is a beast. She can do anything. She's a chameleon as well! Able to adapt to any style, any choreographer! Judges concur.

Aaron/Katherine: Stacey Tookey contemporary routine: Smooth series of intertwining lifts to start off. Great emotion, great motion. Aaron raises his game with great partner, great choreographer. She trusts him implicitly and it shows in the dancing. When you fall, I will catch you. When you fall, I will pick you up! Great resonance. Standing ovation. He's already a winner to evolve his dancing to another level with this All-Star!

Fik-Shun/Melanie: Mandy Moore Jazz Routine. Go big or go home Fik-shun! You're dancing with the original Beast of SYTYCD. hard not to just watch her! This is truly Fik-Shun dancing with the star. Wow! Extravagant assisted straddle leap! Fik shun! raising his game!

Paul/Whitney: She's back from DWTS. Jean Marc Genereaux Cha-cha! Chemistry class. This should be good! This is their home genre. Sharp cha cha. Great hips . Once again hard to not just watch her blonde vivaciousness. Rough landing on that lift dismount. He's sharp as well. He's not afraid to use his hips! Sharp, smooth...Still with menace when he needs to be! Paul! Keeping up with the All Starz! Debbie praises the double tour en l'air. Chemistry volatile! says Nigel. Says he's going to challenge for the win!

Hayley/Twitch: Christopher Scott hiphop routine. The loan officer and the client. Okay, she's keeping up with the Twitch tutting and breaking. Sharp accents on the music. The glasses come off the hair comes out. The great look she was born with comes out and the dancing amps up! The flirtation quotient is off da chain!

Jenna/Neil: Mandy Moore contemporary piece. The break up on stage. Dramatic dance. Dramatic jump into flying lift. Over the shoulder lift to dismount behind the back. Great lines. Gift of choreography. I believe they're lovers at the end of a relationship. Fabulous lift sequence that descends to the floor! That piece might've just saved her from elimination. Let's see what Makenzie brings to the table!

Jazmin/Marko: Jazz routine. The synchronicity is important. But, all I can see are the misses. Fun routine! Nice movements! Fun music. Very MJ!. Parts, anyway. What a phun routine! Gender bending costuming for Jazmin! Looks great in shirt and tie! Reminiscent of Jack Cole and Bob Fosse!

Makenzie/Jakob: Spencer Liff Broadway routine. Jakob Karr is hard to keep up with it! Let's see . Look at her foot!!! She looks deadly in red! Look at those legs!. Extension in fondu that just stays! Great accents! Great pictures! Great extensions. Great lift series. He falls off his turns she stays on. Way to show up that all star! She just earned her way back onto the show IMHO! Great dancer, great routine!!

Niko/Comfort: Nappy Tabz routine. Reptilian hip hop. "Release the beast!" He's got his work cut out for him keeping up with the always dangerous Comfort. But, he's doing his job. He suffers by comparison. Lotta energy, just needs the stillness after the hit. She goes running off stage on all fours backwards!

Tucker/Robert: Travis Wall routine. Struggle of brothers. "Second chances are the bigest gift!" I expect nothing but challenging, emotional choreography from Mr. Wall. The two accident survivors draw on their real life experiences to bring an extra emotional resonance to the routine. The musicality and the technique and the movement are flawless. Tucker is more than keeping up with Robert. He ain't heavy he's my brother! Tucker's crying at the end! Standing ovation. Tucker just saved himself. Mary's crying at the end. Coming back from paralysis to dance in triumph. There's a backstory there that Debbie Allen just hints at between Travis and his brother. Niko's fate is sealed. Movement that transcends the steps.

Elimination: Makenzie and Niko are sent home! Okay, not watching anymore, Nigel! Two of my favorite girls get sent home back to back weeks! No Malece! No Makenzie! I'm done! ...Until next week anyway! Who's in danger in my opinion? NOT Amy, Not Hayley. Not Jenna. That means Jazmin. Dang Aaron and Fikshun brought it this week. So did Paul. So did Tucker! Of the four, Aaron and Fikshun need to watch out. Choreography by the All-stars next week?

08.19.2013: Pointe Break

The reality television show featuring real ballet dancers airs on the See-Dub tonight. Here's play-by-play reaction from the last Breaking Pointe episode:
"Breaking Pointe"
Episode Quartre

Post casting: The question of Rex. The future of Allie.

Post casting decisions. Watching company class. leg swings, parallel stretches. Zach revels in being cast as Napoleon. Prefers being out front rather than being cast in the corps. "Is Zach just the most obnoxious person?"

Allie tries to Skype with her fiancé at least once a day. Welcome to the 21st Century! Adam struggles with the injury to Rex. Rex tries to convince Adam that he'll be ready to go. He's preparing to run his variation. "I will sacrifice my body to make things work." Typical dancer attitude that needs to change.

Allie goes to get hair done. "I've tried for three years to make Jonathan and ballet work. And, it doesn't." Shares the good advice from Rex. "Give a hundred percent." Three day weekend coming. She's going to Michigan. "It's not about being fair. " "But, you shouldn't have to choose between your loves." Her friend is giving her good advice. She's not criticizing her decision, but telling her the other side.

Prince and Cinderella rehearsal. "I'm trying to mimic everything Wendy is showing us." "I want to be perfect every time." Rare chance to watch a principal ballerina rehearse her variation. "Everything is crumbling down around me."

Ronnie, meanwhile, is recovering from his foot injury. Getting his pump on at the gym. Girlz checking him out. Strengthening everything else, but, the injury. That's a dancer's approach to injury.

Chance to look inside Second company class. "Right now is go time." Ian gets an injury at the worst time possible for his career. (Ice that bad boy.) "I don't care how much pain I'm in!" One contract, two danseurs. "That's why we push ourselves to the brink!"

Back to the gym: but, Allie says "just say no!" when they ask if you go to the gym. Allie says she's not expecting to be promoted, so, she wants to get married and have kids. Would Adam understand? (I think Adam will be fine with it...if she's fine with it.)

Company class. Questions about the relationship between Chris and Christiana. "24 hours a day with spouse." Chris Ruud is hurting big time. Bringing personal life into their professional lives.

Adam struggles again with whether or not Rex should dance. Casting list goes up: Rex is nervous either way. His name is on the casting list. He wonders whether he can do it at less than a hundred percent. Three shows in one week.

Not only is Cinderella three weeks away, now contract talks begin. Adam meets with Allison. (He seems to have a good relationship with his dancers.) She says she's getting somewhere. Learned more in the last year than the last five. "What do you want with your future with Ballet West?" She fights tears. "do you still want to dance?" he must've heard something from someone. Very little stays a secret at a ballet company, no matter how large. "say the truth. It's okay!" "I love it here. I still want to dance." She says it. But, her life isn't entirely under her own control. Adam says he "adores" her. He offers her a promotion. And, she breaks down. This makes leaving that much harder. She wasn't going to tell him, but, "it doesn't go the way it was supposed to."

Costume fittings. Zach says "I'm the short guy who nobody wants to dance with." The battle of the bulge!

Allie leaves for Detroit to see Jonathan. Ah, she's torn between two loves. "He's not going to be happy that I've been promoted." If he truly loves her...he will be happy. She sits in the lobby waiting for him. "I want you here every lunch." She says she's going to tell him that she's still going to dance.

Now, they show exotic dancers? Boys night out. Dang, what the producers won't do to get guys to watch? Turns out one of the exotic dancers used to dance with BW. (Reminds me of a girl I used to dance with who became a stripper.)

Allie and Jonathan. He brings her flowers. "Trying to find the line between sacrifice and selfishness." He says "that's awesome" when told about her promotion. But, he wants to know what's going to happen to their future. He presses her for an end. Long distance relationship troubles. She declares, "I love dance!" She has to dance when she's young. She says I just want to see him in the audience. But, is he scared of Rex? The long-distance thing is getting old! "If you only saw me dance, you'd want me to keep dancing." "I promise you, you would be so proud of me." (This is why eventually I only had relationships with dancers. Everyone else just couldn't compete!) "I'm glad I came, but..." She's more confused than before she visited. AH, the path o love ne'er runs true..." She wants more support from Jonathan.

To be (vicariously) continued...

08.16.2013: Do The Luxury Dance?

So, here's some more information on that dancer/dance studio owner/worker survey request I posted yesterday. I sent this out reply to the earlier mass survey request:
"...Dear Alexis, I'd like your permission to print your e-mail in our dance studio's blog ( In return, as co-owner of Capital City Dance Center, I promise to fill out your survey and urge our dancers/readers to do the same. If it seems to be worthwhile for my subscribers, I'll tweet it out to my 200+ subscribers on my @SirDanGuy twitter account.

I'd also be interested in sharing an abstract of your research on the blog with links and proper attribution, of course.

Would you mind telling us some information about your background, interests and research? Aren't "luxury" and "dance" terms you don't usually find in the same sentence?...

...and, got this reply:
"...That sounds great! You have my permission. I am cutting off the survey in a few days, but I definitely will benefit from more participants if you can send it out very soon. I do not have the abstract for my dissertation complete because we were told to write it last. For a little about my self, I have been dancing since I was born, because my mom was a dancer, and in the studio since I was 14. I am currently a member of Just Cuz Crew at North Carolina State University. I have taken classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, breakdancing, house, African, Hula, lyrical, modern, contemporary, Bhangra, and many ballroom styles. I would like to work on the business and choreography side of the dance industry. Luxury and dance are terms that you don't usually find together. As a North Carolina State University Master of Global Luxury Management student, I wanted to research what luxury means to the industry.

Thank you so much!..."

...So, I filled out the survey and urge you to do the same. As she mentions, time is of the essence. Help a fella dancer out!o)

08.16.2013: Studio Owner and Dancer Survey

Just got this in the Capital City Dance Center emailbag. Dancer/student needs some help filling out a survey. If you're a dancer/teacher/studio owner, you're urged to take part in these brief questionnaires:

My name is Alexis H_____. I am a graduate student at North Carolina State University pursuing a Masters in Global Luxury Management. I am conducting research for my dissertation. I want to see how you define "luxury" in relation to the dance industry. There are no right or wrong answers! If you are a dance studio owner or employee at a dance studio, I would greatly appreciate if you could complete this short survey.

Also, please contact me if you would like to do a phone interview. I would greatly appreciate it.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me...or email me .

I am also conducting a short survey for dancers.

Thank you!
Ariel H...

...But, Ariel, aren't the terms "luxury" and "dancer" a contradiction in terms? Rarely used in the same sentence...except perhaps "A dancer needs to learn to live without luxury?" Maybe you'd get a better, more accurate response if you did a survey on "poverty-stricken" or "starving" with "dancer!o)

08.14.2013: L-A Dance Perspective

Here's the first part of an interview with 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Instructor Delaney Rhodes. She's the li'l sis of CCDC Lyrical/Contemporary/HipHop Instructor Roni McCann. I predict great things from Dee especially as a choreographer. I'm a big fan of her cutting edge, creative choreography. But, one note: You won't be able to hear my questions because the equipment at work automatically cuts out the reporter's side of the conversation. But, you should be able to gather great information from a dancer's view from inside ground zero in the City of Lost Angelz. :

Exclusive CCDC audio. All rights reserved.

...Part Two will be coming soon!

08.13.2013: SYTYCD

The reality television competition featuring promising young dancers continues on Fox tonight. The remaining ten dancers will pair up with the former contestants now featured as All-Stars. Expect the dancers to raise their game...or get left in the lurch. Here are some impressions jotted down during the last outing:
Top Ten Revealed

Bollywood beginning. Bright costumes Still missing a guy? Six girls and five guys? Wassup? Bollywood always aerobic, always a good time. Niko tumbles again after Jasmine does a solo run. Choreography by Nikol.

Another injury decimates the boys (literally). Tucker picks up an infection in his knee. No rehearsal, no performance. Guest judge is choreographer Kenny Ortega. Who's in danger? Jenna, Alan, Malece, Niko, Amy, Tucker Judges save Niko, Jenna. Why not save Amy? Seals Malece's fate.


Tucker: Only a single tour. Sticks his chin out too much. Is he still recovering from sickness/Injury?
Amy: What power, what intensity! What commitment! Great stretch! First chance to watch Amy do her own thing! Great Coupe jetes!
Malece: Nice lines! Great intensity as well. Just suffers only in comparison to the beast! Not as good a turner. can tumble. Looks good in red!
Alan: Good hips for a boy. nice rhthym and attack. Decent ballroom jete en tournant. fast leg switches.
Hayley/Niko: Broadway number by Shawn Cheeseman. Gypsy fortune teller steals a soul with a kiss. Tricky helicopter lift into a valdez in rehearsal. Not for the faint hearted. Kiss of the spider woman. Nice! choreography flows from lift into lift. tumbling run. his extension is comparable to hers. . Oh, they took out the helicopter! Very dramatic. Audience, judges, choreographers on their feet! Nigel calls it "one of the best routines" ever. Praises Niko's transitions. Mary calls it "outrageous", "loved every second of it". "instant chemistry". Praises "the passion" and "the power". Says her contribution to the lifts was noteworthy. Kenny praises the courage of the piece. Loved the "attack". "Took my breath away". Says "Chita Rivera would be proud".

Malece/Alan: Jazz routine by Mandy Moore. Old Hollywood. Retro. They sure look the part. BUT!...Not enough looking at each other! The power of looking into your partner's eyes...missing. Great shapes, excellent movement. No connection. Or too brief. Nice feeling, but... Kenny says Malece sparkles. She tears up at great praise. He says he felt the lack of chemistry. Nigel says it needs more plie and contractions. Style and chemistry lacking. Mary "fun and entertaining". But, uncomfortable. She's "on the fence" about the routine.

Jenna/Alex Wong!: Paso Doble by Jean Marc Genereaux. Pirate Paso Doble. Luck of the draw to get an All star as a partner. But, why not a ballroom boy to do ballroom? Effortless lifts in a row. Nice straddle leap, Alex. Strong partnering. Double tour to the knee! Great presence, but, she's keeping up. These all stars force the contestants to raise their game! Little bit of a problem with the final toss and catch. Mary says she "LOVED IT!" Says it was "blazing with passion". Jenna = "passion" and "precision". Kenny says "te quiero mucho mas". "Confidence and passion" "You're at the top for me". Great praise from a working choreographer. "Really tremendous!"

Makenzie/Paul: Mandy Moore contemporary routine. Story of the unlikely lovers. NOW THIS IS CONNECTION. THis is CHEMISTRY! There's the look of love! There's the breath! Great pictures. They're telling story with every movement. Look at the stretch of legs. Great suspension. Great stretch into endless lines. The feeling is momentous. Complicated, creative, lift sequence at the end. Another standing ovation from audience, judges, choreographers. Nigel says tremendous routine. The expanse was "Beautiful". Praises the breath! Mary says "Amazing routine!" Loved the transitions. Made it look effortless! She was "in it all the way"! Kenny praises choreography, calls them two of his favorite dancers in the competition. "Soulful connection" was powerful. Says Paul has a "Fire burning in your soul".

Amy/Fik-Shun: Vienna Waltz by Jean Marc Genereaux. Playing themselves. hard to play yourself. Ending the partnership on a high note. Elegance is a prerequisite. rise and fall lacking. They need to use the breath. Footwork needs work. looking forward to see both of them with all-stars next week. Ends on a strong emotional note. they needed that throughout the entire piece. Mary criticized the technical faux pas, but, forgives it all because of the strength of the relationship. Says Fik-Shun is really raising his game. Says Amy has been exquisite since day one. Kenny says everytime they dance is a love story. Amy is the "dancer in a music box". Nigel says Viennese Waltz is always difficult in this program. Not flashy, but, demands romantic feeling. Says they took him to Austria with him.

Jasmine/Aaron: Not my favorite couple. Hiphop with NappyTabz. hard for Tall dancers to move fast and sharp "gunz a blazin'" Love this music! Okay. They hitting it hard! can they keep it up? Gold Digger! Liked the piece! Another standing O! Great energy! Great swag! Kenny praises choreography! "Unbelievable. again and again and again!" Nigel says "She killed it tonight"!. "You nailed it!" Mary says Jasmine deserves all the money in the world. "Best Nappy Tabz routine ever. Hips and torso isolations were just crazy! We could feel it from up here!"

The Boyz: Nappy Tabz routine: The metaphor of a rope. This is a man's world. Fik shun should be separating himself in this hiphop based routine, but he's not. The other guys are just that good? Power and emotion in the song matched on stage. Nigel says Nappy Tabz never do a boring routine. Praises the chainne' turns in the beginning. Mary praises Alan and Paul solos. Kenny calls it male bonding in action. Praises Alan and Paul.

The Girlz: Stacy Tookey contemporary routine. Metaphor of the pursuit of youth and beauty. Girl power! Dramatic dark lighting. Great pictures and poses made by the women.Community of women lifting by committee. moving in unison and making pictures that only strong women can make together. "Will you still love me when I'm not still young and beautiful?" Mary says extraordinary lessons, extraordinary dancers, extraordinary choreography, "no weak links". Kenny calls them all "divas in the making". Nigel praises the Canadian choreographers. Canada's loss is America's gain. "All of you looked like professional contemporary dancers tonight!"

Final elimination: Nigel says all four danced their hearts out. Malece and Alan get eliminated. Tears start to flow! Group hug time. You can see every thought and emotion going through Malece's heart and mind reflected on her face. I have no doubt that Kenny Ortega will be telling her not to worry, he'll be keeping her in mind for future casting. I also am confident that producers of the tour will be happy to bring them both on board.

Next week: Fikshun, Alan, Jasmine could be in trouble.

08.12.2013: Pointe Break

The reality television series featuring the real dancers of Ballet West airs again tonight, the fourth of ten episodes. Here are some impressions jotted down during the last show.
Notes from "Breaking Pointe"
Casting Crownz

Problem of Race and perceptions in ballet. "Be better than Zach!"

To be continued picks up with the flare-up between Zach and Beckanne. What a baby! "You're the B!" What a drama queen! Me, me, me! Give it a rest! Seems like they've got it worked out! But, he lives for drama!

Casting has to be finalized. "Competition for roles is just part of the job!" An incredibly difficult decision. A glimpse, tantalizing as it is, into the rehearsal process for Cinderella. Chris Ruud needs to stop lifting his shoulders when he pulls into multiple pirouettes. Interesting to see all the factors that go into the casting decisions: height, injuries, ability...

Allie still struggling with retiring. Giving it all up for love. Her fiancé wants her to give up her career for him. But, is that real love? Wanting some one so much that they have to give up something? Isn't the definition of love wanting that other to be happy?

Ronnie struggling with injury and doing office work! "Hey, can you fax this and then get me a cup of coffee?" "It's killing him not to be dancing with the rest of us."

Demisoloist Beckanne is the lowest ranked dancer in the room in rehearsals for Cinderella. Ooh, Zach doesn't know who the Emperor Napoleon is? This is a Jessica Simpson moment! "Wait is this chicken or tuna?"

Role of Napoleon and Wellington rehearsal. The second company members are just hoping to get a shot at time on stage. Three complete casts. "It's all a jigsaw puzzle! And, sometimes there are surprises!"

The casting goes up: the writing is on the wall for some people. Josh. Role of the Prince is blank. Looking to see how Ron's injury heals. Interesting to see Ian's discussion of his future when it's been revealed in current media. "You could be me 15 years ago."

Josh questions his place in the company when Zach gets picked over him. That's what I mean...the writing's on the wall. There's a bar scene to discuss the casting. Ian may be over-thinking the casting. Analyzing everything in terms of competition. Ruud counsels Ian the best he can. Ballet is a true meritocracy.

Rex says injuries can change the situation in a heartbeat. Happens when you least expect it. Ian skypes his girlfriend. Shares he feels he failed. Contract talks are coming up. She pulls him back up. But, the dancing scenes with him show deficient technique. Tall, but, not stretched.

Fairy rehearsal. Beckanne says she's feeling unmotivated. Allie says, "Be a professional!"

Josh sets up a discussion with Adam. Shares his disappointment with casting. Adam says dancers need to learn to deal with the disappointments. "I'm gonna have to be really real with you right now..." Says he doesn't want the only african-american male to be the butt of all the jokes. Josh says he wants the audience to see his heart...not his skin color. Says it's sad. Adam wants a diverse company. Judge me on my talent and judge my dancing, he pleads. Adam says he made his decision with obviously wasn't easy for him. Very emotional.

"A dancer can work as hard as possible and still not get the role they want!" Episode ends with the black guy walking off into the white snowstorm...visual metaphor up the wazoo!

Preview shows Allie still struggling with walking away from dance. Everyone's dance career ends too early. Don't do it, Allie! If he truly loves you, he'll wait for you and be happy that you're happy...Don't do something you'll regret...and end up blaming him for later...

08.09.2013: Vast Waist Land

Latest research shows yet another reason you should enroll your kids in Capital City Dance Center classes this fall!
An Extra Hour of TV Beyond Recommendations Diminishes Toddlers’ Kindergarten Chances

Capital City News Service — Every hourly increase in daily television watching at 29 months of age is associated with diminished vocabulary and math skills, classroom engagement (which is largely determined by attention skills), victimization by classmates, and physical prowess at kindergarten, according to Professor Linda Pagani of the University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine children’s hospital. “This is the first time ever that a stringently controlled associational birth cohort study has looked at and found a relationship between too much toddler screen time and kindergarten risks for poor motor skills and psychosocial difficulties, like victimization by classmates,” Pagani said. “These findings suggest the need for better parental awareness and compliance with existing viewing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP discourages watching television during infancy and recommends not more than two hours per day beyond age 2. It seems that every extra hour beyond that has a remarkably negative influence.”

Question: Why did you conduct this study?

Pagani: Much of the research on school readiness has focused on how kindergarten characteristics predict later success. Kindergarten entry characteristics predict long-term psycho-social adjustment and economic characteristics like income and academic attainment. Being innovative, my focus has been to examine what predicts kindergarten entry characteristics. Adding further originality, I also wanted to focus on neglected yet crucial aspects of school readiness such as motor skills, which predict later physical activity and reading skills, likelihood of being “picked-on”, which predict social difficulties, and skills at linked to doing what you are supposed to be doing when having been given instructions, which are in turn linked to attention systems that are regulated by the brain’s frontal lobe development.

Question: Who participated in this study?

Pagani: 991 girls and 1006 boys in Quebec whose parents reported their television viewing behaviour as part of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development.

Question: How did you come up with the figure of an extra hour of TV?

Pagani: The standard deviation is a commonly used statistic tool that tells us what is within a normal range compared to the average. One standard deviation from the average daily amount of television viewed by thetoddlers in this sample (105 minutes) is 72 minutes. Some of the children who participated in the study were two or even three standard deviations away from the average, and their kindergarten indicators were correspondingly worse than those who were one standard deviation away.

Question: Where did you examine television viewing?

Pagani: This study only looks at the most common form of screen time, which is in the home. However, it may be an underestimate because many child care settings use television as an activity during care giving.

Question: Why would these results be important for everyday life?

Pagani: Because of kindergarten’s power to predict future productivity, the identification of modifiable factors that foretell not being ready for the transition to formal schooling represents an important goal for a productive society. By statistical standards, the results show highly controlled modest associations, yet these are net effects which suggest a developmental course which could ultimately compromise achievement, social relations, physical prowess, and preferences and habits toward a healthy lifestyle.

08.08.2013: Mmmadd Skyllz, Part Deux

The CCDC student nicknamed "Mmmadd Skyllz has a unique perspective of ballet training on a national level. She's trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet and the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Ballet. We sat down recently to take advantage of her experiences. This is the second and final part of this year's interview with "Ming the Merciful":

Check this out on Chirbit

...Still on tap, we have audio with the 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Ballet Instructors AND with contemporary choreographer Delaney Rhodes. We asked Dee her advice for anyone following her footsteps to dance in the city of Lost Angelz. Be watching for those!o)

08.07.2013: Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa

The new brochures for Capital City Dance Center 2013-2014 are out! (Pick up some the next time you're in the studio and pass them out to locations or families with kids that should be dancing at CCDC! We already have some at Zmariks!o) This year, the photos in the brochure feature three CCDC students moving on in their careers: One dancer will be performing with the Montgomery Ballet, another with the Oklahoma City Ballet and a third will be dancing on scholarship with the John Cranko Baletschule in Germany. That's where the two typographical errors come into play: It's the JOHN CRANKO SCHOOL, NOT what's misprinted in the caption. (Sorry about that, Mr Steel!) The only other typo in the brochure is in the CCDancedoC's Twitter handle. The correct handle is @SirDanGuy, NOT what's written in his bio! Irritating mistakes, yes. Deal-breakers, no. You can always make those corrections before you hand out those brochures. And, be sure to help spread the word about CCDC's mission statement of "excellent, affordable dance education for all"!o)

08.06.2013: SYTYCD Tuesday

The Dirty Dozenth episode of SYTYCD airs on tonight. Here's a look back at the last episode:
Fab Fourteen

Opening number: The girls on a diagonal. Malece in aerial work. Boys crawl on. Post apocalyptic costuming. Mad Max meets DWTS! Ballroom partner work. Dramatic music. Tumbling run by niko. Struggle between genders? Sharp, percussive movements. And, they all fall down! Choreography by Sonja and Dmitriy.

Bad news? Curtis damaged his shoulders in rehearsals? Two group numbers? Guest judge is Anna Kendrick?

Who's in danger? Jasmine, Alan, ALexis, Curtis, Makenzie (again?), Niko.
Judge's save: No saves, but, boys will decide on them later. Makenzie saved by judges! Have to agree with that.

Alexis solo: I think they're miking stage better. She's clean and fast in her tap work...and slow when she needs to be.
Jasmine solo: Endangered species. Good extensions, good energy, Incredible legs. Nice flexibility. Great look, great smile, but is it enough?

Jenna/Tyler: hiphop routine Adequate hiphop. Adequate attitude. Not hard enough not, Strong enough. "work it" is the name of the song. Need to "Work it" on stage. I dunno. Don't think they inhabited the roles enough. Nigel "unconvincing". "too upright" "unmemorable". Mary more charitable. says the style was challenging. Anna says it was a "little cute", loved the "personality." Tucker is still my dark horse. usually he can change his personality to fit the roles. He didn't change enough this time

Alexis/Niko: Contemporary by Sonja. Routine about relationships disintegrating. Too literal choreography. Running on running? Stabbing Emotionally invested in movements. Stabbing. Throwing away. Thought choreography was lacking. Mary says she bought into the stationary run. Says it was fearless. Liked the power in the piece. "Spectacular". Anna "lovely", "complex" piece. She saw the contempt and sorrow. Wonder if we're losing something watching through the TV? Nigel says it was the emotion of the piece that was "special".

Hayley/Not Curtis: Tango. Leonardo and Miriam. She gets the choreographer himself! Wow! what an advantage! His intensity is off the charts. Forcing her to dance well. Wow. He's MAKING her step up her game. Getting goose bumps. What a privilege to dance with him. To be fair. She is raising her game! She needs to! His experience shows! Lifts effortless. SHE absolutely lucked out! ANNA calls her compelling and emotional. Sexy and Cool. Nigel says she's raised her game! Stunning! Mary gave a standing ovation. Says "lucky" to dance with Leonardo.

Mackenzie/Paul: Sonja jazz. Sultry and sexy, strength and aggression. He starts off bare chested. She in a cut out outfit. Wriggling, undulating piece. Sharp accents that wind and rise and fall from one pose into another picture. Nigel calls it "brilliant". Can't understand why Mackenzie is threatened every week. Paul won the Armenian SYTYCD. Mary says she adores Makenzie. "Enjoyed every second". Anna calls paul an MVP. "Beautiful ability".

Jasmine/Aaron: Justin Giles contemporary routine. The story of the Giving Tree. Metaphor of giving and taking in a relationship. Tough working with an apple. Apple is distracting. Mary says "Interesting number". Says did well with the prop. Mary says Alan was endearing. Anna says the loss was "real". Nigel tells the back story of the Giving Tree. The story of unconditional love, the story of their dancing relationship. Touching.

Amy/FikShun: Chris Scott choreography. Crush, makes his move! Hiphop to Marving Gaye. They're so cute together! Ooh! She falls! Water on stage problematic! Great personality when they dance! Cute piece! Anna calls them "so cute". "My favorite human being on the planet". Piece was "made for you". Good cover! Show must go on! Nigel praises the cover of slip up as well. Nigel says their cumulative score is huge. But, they need to branch out in their characterization. Huge praise from Nigel comparing them to the strong partnerships from earlier years. Mary praises their professionalism. Puts them on the hot tamale train with "a first class ticket".

Malece/Alan: Salsa. Tricks are ridiculous. Strong partnering. This is his wheelhous and he's showing it. Tricky full backward flip with extension. She's got a stunning look. He's not ac. She could use a bit more weight in those hips. Lift sequence a little laborious. Nigel says the energy level required for this piece is "ridiculous". "Tremendous routine" well-danced". "Brilliant". "Well done the pair of you". Mary says the piece was "insane" "one of the fastest salsa routines ever on the show". "Flurry of lifts". Calls Malece "a huge surprise". "Yummy" rhthym. Calls Alan "best partner ever". Anna says that piece "made me want to take lessons or have an affair on a tropical island...or maybe just the second one".

Mini Group Routine: Spencer Liff routine. In a pool hall. Three boys four girls. No Curtis. Pool sticks used in choreography. Double tour en l'air for the boys! Strong, sensual piece.

Mini Group Routine II: Bonnie Story. Bullying story. Needs to stop. Metaphor of movement. Very pwoerful. Stark story that contrasts to the first piece.Amy stands out in a group piece. The dark colors against the light colors, Very emotional piece But, was it a little too literal?

The elimination: Unanimous decision. Alexis and Curtis get sent home. The two tappers get sent home! Judges give them a standing ovation.

Next week: Watch out Jasmine again. Tucker? Alan?

08.05.2013: Breaking Pointe Monday

The third episode of BP airs on the See Dub tonight. The Cinderella casting should be announced. Here are some quick notes jotted down while screening the last episode:
"Breaking Pointe"
Episode Deux

They do manage to make Salt Lake City in Winter look inviting. Waiting for casting. The problem of Zach.

Company class. corrections from Adam Sklute are instructive. Pirouette instructions from Chris Ruud also informative.

Touching scene between Ian, tall second company guy and his girlfriend. "If you are not convinced Ballet is not what you want to do, the uncertainty will tear you up." Their futures depend on the opinions of a few directors. (His future revealed in a spoiler FB posting.)

Dancers dealing with injuries. Both Rex and Ronnie recovering from foot injuries. Planning a party to release the stress of casting, waiting for casting. Wendy Ellis Somes. Sewing pointe shoes. Zach is a jealous little...ballet boy.

Summer Fairy Tryouts. Winter fairy. "supposed to look effortless". The amount of pain we put up with? "Every role you do in ballet is painful!" Ugly looking toes. Par for the course.

Cavalier tryouts. Four Cavaliers. Perfect unison. Josh the former hiphop dancer explains the difference and the appeal of the difficulty of the classical artform.

Competition is rife. Be better than your competition. Corrections with Chris Ruud at the second company class again instructive. Peek inside the professional dance process.

Insight into the casting process. Sklute wants BW to be a world class company.

Hot tub scene at the party. "You end up being competition with all these people you consider friends."

Wow! no hugs at the confrontation between former compadres. Awkward conversations. Zach rumors. "Cold-hearted devil"! To be continued..."

I would've love to seen more dancing and more of the rehearsal process. But, I also realize the producers need to attract a non-dancing audience. That's why so many shots of bikini-clad ballerinas doing body shots. That's why the emphasis on all the drama between Beckanne and Zach. Stay tuned and croise your fingers for more dancing..."

08.02.2013: Red Review

Instant reaction to the Red Tour through the Capital City last night from CCDC Lyrical/Hiphop/Jazz Instructor Roni McCann:
"...At the Taylor Swift concert. Too far away to take good pictures but there are some Girls on pointe and partnering that is very good!! Even if you don't want a career as a ballerina your technique and training can get you Many places!! :). CCDC is it..."
...Roni texted a picture, but, another CCDC dancer had a FRONT ROW seat. Her photo's going up on the FB page.

08.02.2013: Performance Posting

What are you doing Sunday?

(Capital City News Service) DsM Parks and Recreation and Hurley & Dancers, a professional modern dance company, invite you to attend “Water Balance Dance.” This land and water-based show will be performed on the peninsula shore and on stand-up paddle boards in Gray’s Lake Park. Two free showings will be held Sunday, Aug. 4, at 1 and 2 p.m. featuring live music from the Odyssey Trio complete with harp, cello and flute. (Rain date - Aug. 11). Attendees are advised to park at the beach parking lot and bring blankets and/or lawn chairs for seating.

Featured dancers are Kathleen Hurley, Lana Lyddon Hatten, Lisa Lewis and Elizabeth Ferrierra on stand-up paddle boards with David Decker, Katie Crouch, Jennifer Lapp and...


...dancing on land...."

08.02.2013: A Gothic Ballet

Mark (or input) your calendars, dancers! Huge opportunity to see a #ballet that's making waves in the #dance world. Tickets go on sale next week:
Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY Makes United States Debut at DsM Civic Center
Tickets to this classic tale re-imagined go on sale Aug. 5

(Capital City News Service) –DsM Performing Arts is pleased to host Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY in its United States debut at the Civic Center, Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. SLEEPING BEAUTY kicks off the 2013-2014 season of the Willis Broadway Series.

Tickets to SLEEPING BEAUTY go on sale Monday, Aug. 5 at the Civic Center ticket office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at Groups of 15 or more should call (515) 246-2340.


Friday Sept. 27 7:30 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 28 2:00 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 28 7:30 p.m.
Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY sees Britain’s most famed choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and continued in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake. Bourne is the only British artist to have won a Tony Award® on Broadway for both Best Choreographer and Best Director and has won over 50 international awards for his choreographic work, including the Broadway production of Mary Poppins.

Charles Perrault’s timeless fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for one hundred years was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa in 1890. Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, at the height of the fin-de-siecle period, when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman, we move forward in time to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era - a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century-long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day, a world more mysterious and wonderful than any fairy tale.

Bourne’s new scenario introduces several characters not seen in the fairy tale or in Petipa’s famous ballet. The Royal Family is presided over by King Benedict and Queen Eleanor. Princess Aurora’s romantic interest is not a Prince, but the royal gamekeeper, Leo. Representing the central forces of good and evil are Count Lilac (“the King of the Fairies”) and the Dark Fairy Carabosse. Bourne has created the character of Caradoc, the sinister but charming son of Carabosse. Princess Aurora’s Fairy Godparents are named Ardor, Hiberna, Autumnus, Feral and Tantrum.

Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY is a gothic romance for all ages: the traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story that even the passage of time cannot hinder.

For more information about Matthew Bourne’s SLEEPING BEAUTY, visit

08.01.2013: Postcards From The Edge

LAZARUS! COME FORTH!o) SHE LIVES! SHE DANCES! SHE...WRITES!!! CCDC's "Mmmadd Skyllz" has FINALLY been coerced into filling out the 2013 Dancer Diaspora Survey! Here are her answers:
  1. "...I am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania studying at the school of Pennsylvania Ballet. I have just completed my third week of the five week course, so don't worry if you miss this face I'll be home in two weeks! ;) The studios are nice, spacious, clean, and sprung. There are about 25 girls and 5 guys in class plus any company members wanting to stay in shape.

  2. I am in level 6 out of 6 (the highest level), but levels 5 and 6 are combined.

  3. I have my first class at 9;30 am so we are at the studio by 8;30 to warm-up. The first class is a hour and a half technique class, which is then followed by a hour variations/pointe class. Then we have a lunch break. After lunch we have another hour and a half technique class followed by either partnering, modern, or seminar class.

  4. There are several talented dancers here, many of which are year round student themselves and are very sweet. everyone in class has a very positive attitude and strives to better themselves and help one another. The one thing I wish I would have worked harder on before I came would probably be being myself in my dancing. I wasn't enjoying it as much as I thought because I was too wrapped up in my lack of confidence. Also to not bend my knees to close in fifth for fast tendus :)

  5. The hardest adjustment for me would probably be having to take all classes on pointe. My teachers are Arantxa Ochoa , William DeGregory, Roy Kaiser, Laura Bowman, Martha Chamberlain, Amy Aldridge, Julie Diana, Zachary Hench, and Alexander Iziliaev (Sasha). They are not really asking anything of me that I haven't heard, but I do want to keep growing and becoming a better dancer every class.

  6. I have no roomie :(.....but there are not many dancers living in the dorms.

  7. So far we have learned all variations from George Balanchine's Divertmento No. 15 and a variation from George Balanchine's Agon.

  8. Unfortunately the company is off right now so we can not see any performances, but we do get to take class with some company members which is quite wonderful and be taught by some as well.

  9. To be honest I don't do anything. I come home go to dinner, workout, shower, and go to bed. I did get to go to the Philadelphia Art Museum, which was absolutely stunning, but we only get Sunday's off so its a shame I don't see more of the city.

  10. To have faith in myself, in life, and in dance.

xoxoxo (Mmmadd Skyllz)..."

07.31.2013: The Original Jersey Shore

The touring production of "Jersey Boys" wraps up in the Capital City this weekend. If you have a chance, you should go. Here's CCDC's @SirDanGuy's review:
"...You're going to have to forgive people over the next few weeks if they start singing a Frankie Valli song or break out into a few dance steps. "Shhhaaareeee! Sharie, baybee!" Or, you're going to have to forgive me because all the "ear worm, brain-candy" songs from "Jersey Boys" will be echoing in my mind for the next few millennia. "Walk like a man, talk like a man, my sooooo-uh-uh-un!" Not that I'm complaining, I was getting goose bumps when some of the songs from historic rock 'n' roll were suddenly recreated on the DsM Civic Center stage last Friday night. "Um working muh waaay back to YOU girl!" The Tony award winning production is more than a musical, part rock-umentary, part drama, part musical concert. "You're just too good to be true...can't take my eyes offa you..." The harmonic convergence of memorable songs placed in historical context gives the music that much more power, hence the goose-bumps, the chicken-skin! "Mah eyes ah dored you...tho' I never laid a hand on you..." Jersey Boys is a must-see. "Such uh...RAAAAG DAHLLL!" Must be the RAGBRAI or Italian Festival effect because only just over half-a-house of the 27-hundred seat theater was there to enjoy the Friday evening performance. "Oh what uh night! Late December back in '63..." I'd think the Italian Festival goers would've headed over to catch the show since it's about four Italian-Americans who prove you can take the boy out da Jersey Shore...but, you can't take da Shore out 'da boy! "Who loves you, pretty baby? Who's gonna help you through the night?" And, parents take note; dialogue is authentic Jersey Shore, so, as signs in the lobby and program say: be forewarned. "C'mon, Mariannne!" There are two singers alternating the starring role of Frankie Valli, we caught Nick Cosgrove in the lead at our show. Hard to think that anyone besides the real Valli himself could do a better job! And, just by coincidence? The real Frankie Valli, himself, makes a stop in the Capital City later this year. I think the number of tickets sold to his show will skyrocket because of all the fans of "The Boys"! The show is divided into four parts, four "seasons", so to speak. And, as they say in the show, "apologies to Vivaldi!" The rest of the original Seasons are given a star turn by Brandon Andrus (Nick Massi), Nicolas Dromard (Tommy Devito) and Jason Kappus (Bob Gaudio). All with impressive credits in the program. Droll touches, breakneck pacing and, of course, that memorable music make "The Jersey Boys" a must-see, especially for those of a certain age...and all ages that remember that Jersey doo-wop sound that bridged the fifties with the sixties! I'm thinking I may have to download the best of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sometime soon. "Who loves you, pretty baby?" These songs just beg to be heard again!..."

07.30.2013: SYTYCD

The dance competition on SYTYCD continues on Fox tonight. Here's a recap of last week's episode:
Third Eliminations:
Sweet Sixteen

Opening number: to music by The Irrepressibles. All in red with one diva (Jasmine) in center: queen and subjects? Great use of the music, for example, a lift in ascending music. Nice accents of music and movement. Dancers gradually strip to reveal taupish numbers under their first costumes. That Amy stands out even in an ensemble! All with Mike Tynsonish face make-up! Nice number! Stacy Tookey and Peter Chu choreography according to Cat Deeley

Guest judge: Double Grammy award nominee Carly Rae "Call Me, Maybe" Jepsen. Seven Emmy nominations for the show. But, really, who are they up against besides DWT***?

Eliminations announced at the beginning: six dancers in trouble. Moriah, Alan, Makenzie, Bluprint, Jenna, Curtis. Judges' save: Jenna only. All boys will dance for their lives

Makenzie solo: She's got a great look. Good turns. Great feeling! Nice breath. great technician. Excellent feet! Is america putting her in trouble because she's model beautiful?

Alan: brings out a cape. Okay! Bringing some strength and passion to the stage. Great music! Return of the King. Choreographed to the music! Very powerful!

Curtis: tap to the pointe of his shoe. Wish they would mike the stage. Revolatade. sickle stomps.

Moriah: Crumper starts off strong and strong turns. Angry. Street. Ends a little early.

Bluprint: Animator to gramatik, Illusion of Choice. This guy is so good at what he does. Nice tutting and sit turn. Again very musical. Dances THRU the ending.

Just on the basis of the solos alone: I would vote to send Moriah home. Tie between Bluprint and Curtis for ejection.

The partner dancing begins:

Alexis/Nico: Jive routine set by Tony and Melanie. Stunt doubles in rehearsal. Strong kicks and flicks. Good hips. Good look. Little timing problem. Need to finish the line. Tentative approach to lift. Shouldn't worry when lifts happen, but... Little hand misplacement. Rehearsal issue? Overhead straddle spin. I think they're counting and trying to remember the choreography. Little too much waiting. I could see the potential of the choreography. Lacking in execution. Little history of the dance from Nigel. Says Half-way thru the couple lost energy. Mary says she enjoyed the routine. Liked the flicks and kicks. Advice on traveling triple steps. Need to work on the transitions in and out of the lifts. Carly was impressed. Likes the dress. Like the expressions. Injured foot revealed by Alexis and Cat. Never an excuse. Blatant attempt to influence voting?

Jenna/Tucker: Tucker's a "dark horse" to me, meaning he could come out of the pack to win the race at the end. Subtly impressive. Travis Wall contemporary piece. Tucker draws on his near-death experience. starts off with Jenna literally Hanging by a thread, the name of the song. Ooh, little misstep, but quickly covered up by the dancers. The struggle only amplified by the velcro straps. Interesting Aerial work. Excellent cover of the difficulty with the props. Strong, emotional piece. Mary takes Travis Wall's name in vain. calls it "spectacular". Calls it "a moment". Praises his strength and her vulnerability. Hot tamale train! Carly praises the emotion and choreography. Her opinions represent the vast viewing, voting audience. Nigel praises the nuances of the choreography. Predicts another nomination for Wall. "Just brilliant". Says Tucker wasn't overshadowed. Praises the metaphor of movement!. It's revealed they're under rehearsed with the velcro straps.

Moriah/Bluprint: Brian Freedman jazz piece. Fast and Hard. Start in silhouette. Futuristic and retro and mythological costuming and hair treatments. Flatfooted approach to steps. Lot of bells and whistles not Enough execution by insufficiently trained dancers. Lack of stretch by Moriah. Less than overwhelming. These two are going home! Carly calls it "fun". Nigel urges contestants to learn the history of the jazz genre. "Little clunky". Mary says spectacular outfits. Says he's "surprising", she's "good", little lacking in the end. His animation is spectacular to me, but, neither of them is showing the adaptability to get me to vote for them.

Malece/Alan: Hiphop by Steve Scott. Alien, robotic. It's hard not to just watch her. All right, He's hitting. Just need better synchronization. Bigger would be better. Don't see the alien-nation. But, liked the execution. Nigel calls her a "mean, little alien". But, Alan needs to "wear" the piece more. "Put on a mantle", "Put on the swag". "Little stiff". Mary "not crazy" about those pants. Agrees he didn't embrace "the groove". He suffered by comparison to Malece. Says her star is "shining bright". Carly says he's "adorable", but, Malece is "hard to take my eyes off of".

Haley/Curtis: Dee Kaspary routine. Fifteen foot high ladder. Smooth movements. Airs above the ground while holding on for dear life. Metaphor of "climbing the career ladder" and the f-x on relationships when you're in different places. Nice lift sequences. Timings just a little off at the beginning of lifts. Swooping camera work. Very creative choreography! Props are hard! They did well!. Hard for someone who professes a fear of height. Mary says she "loves" the number, very creative. Criticizes his shoulders. common complaint from instructors across different dance genres. Says Hayley was "spectacular". Made it look easy! "Wiggly" ladder. Carly praises the chemistry. Nigel praises the concept and the choreography. Echoes the shoulder criticism. Says it "ruined" the piece. Urges more dancing from "the core". Dance from the inside out. Criticizes Curtis' solo as well. Disappointed, but, Haley was magnificent.

Amy/Fikshun: Hobo jazz by Tyce Diorio. Start off in a trash pile. percussive start to song and movements. then it gets a little lyrical. Broadway jazz. Can see this on a broadway stage. There are the jazz hands. Shows off her flexibility. She's a beast...and he's keeping up. Trip and fall at the end. Funny characters! Carly says "absolutely adorable". Made it look easy. "My favorite routine so far". Nigel calls them "the couple to beat". They "light up the stage". Mary calls it "Sweet as a Twinkie", "adorable"! "tight and perfect"! Calls Amy "spectacular"! Puts them on board the "Hot tamale train".

Makenzie/Paul: Hip Hop with Dave Scott. 1930's. Front handspring to start off the Photo shoot. He takes of her shawl. Smooth, hip hop. Ooh, These guys are good. They have the length and strength and they hit it hard! NICE PIECE! Standing ovation from the judges. "Sexiest routine of the evening". New style of hip hop. Mary says "amazing partnership". praises Paul's "soul in the bowl". Calls her "sexy" and "classy". Carly calls it "incredible" and "sexy" and "it's getting hot and it's all YOUR FAULT"!

Jasmin/Aaron: The dreaded Quickstep. Tom-boy? One ofthe hardest quicksteps the choreographers have ever put together. They start off and immediately need stronger frame. Tricky footwork. Nice easy lift. Great legs a gift from her gene pool. but, she knows how to use them as well. Good energy in parts where they mug for the camera, but, a little lacking during the dance steps. Tricky lift sequence at the end. Mary "loved it"! Praises their fearless approach. Mostly good. Praises his expressions. She's beautiful as can be! They survived the "kiss of death". Carly describes Jasmin as "very sexy". Nigel praises "the vivaciousness". "magnificent couple"!

Eliminations: Nigel says it was more difficult with the guys. Praises Alan's solo, but, found him lacking in his partnership. Criticizes Curtis for not taking the notes. Blueprint praised for his animation. But, he gets the axe. Moriah is sobbing as she steps forward. Moriah gets sent home. Makenzie not going anywhere. More tears from the eliminated and the saved.

Watch out Alan! Curtis should be safe this week. Watch out Alexis and Nico!

07.29.2013: Back to the Pointe of, Yes, Return

Second episode of Breaking Pointe airs tonight. Here's a reaction to last week's premiere:
"...Breaking Pointe
The Premiere

The start of the reality series that stars real ballet dancers is underway, "Breaking Pointe, Season Deux", Monday nights on the CW. Fortunately, after watching the first episode, there seems to be some real dancing going on this well as all the superfluous, requisite off-stage drama. First impression just brings back recollections of my time in my various professional companies. First of all, you have to remember just how young everyone is: I remember one dancer and I used to whisper to each other "As The Fouette Turns" whenever the soap opera of our off-stage lives began to spill over into rehearsals or classes. As AD Adam Sklute points out, it is like high school. Only everyone is young and fit, still hormone-driven with only half-a-brain. I think that's why the producers of BP show so many scenes of body shots, saunas and pool parties. I'm willing to put up with all the non-dance complications just for some of the dance scenes. I like the corrections that Principal Danseur Chris Rudd is giving to his charges in BW II. I like listening in on the rehearsal tips during the Cinderella rehearsals. Unfortunately, I can't just avoid someone if I thought they were being a drama queen like when I was in the company. The show literally shoves them in your face. Interesting to read some of the tweets of the dancers involved during the broadcast of the show: @BeckanneSisk, for example. I'm pulling for her to get her shot at a principal role. I'm also hoping that Ronnie gets back on his feet. I know what it's like to be injured and push yourself to get back so much that you actually hamper recovery. Dancers are that way. Just one of the lessons observant dance students can absorb by reading between the scenes of "Breaking Pointe".

The title of the first episode was "It's Just Ballet...It's Not Brain Surgery". That reminds me of one of the statements a jaded old-time dancer used to tell me, "It's just ballet!" I used to to think to myself "It's not JUST BALLET! It's my life!" But, probably good to strike some sort of balance between the two extremes. Nothing is more real or more important than when you're on stage and 2-thousand plus people are watching, paying attention to just you. Yes, it's just ballet. No one will die, it's not brain surgery. But, YES, it is VERY IMPORTANT to real dancers.

Good news is ten episodes of "Breaking Pointe" this opposed to the half-dozen shown last year. But, the bad news is the paltry ratings the premiere got. Interesting to notice that #breakingpointe was actually a trending topic on Twitter premiere night, but, that failed to translate into ratings points for the show. Hopefully, that'll change over the next few weeks. Let's show there's an audience for real dance on network television...not that "Bunheads" teen drama that was fortunately cancelled on ABC Family...or "Dance Moms"! Text, tweet, FB, hashtag your friends!..."

07.26.2013: Can't Spell "Exercise" Without "Rx"!

Here's even more incentive to sign up for CCDC Pilates or Adult Dance Classes! Have you registered for CCDC 2013-2014 yet?
New Study Says Exercise Can Reduce Stroke Risk

(Capital City News Service) – A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is one of the first to study the relationship between exercise and stroke in a large biracial cohort of men and women in the United States. The findings are published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Using 27,000 stroke-free blacks and whites ages 45 and older in the United States from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study cohort, researchers examined the association of self-reported physical activity with incident of stroke.

Participants were classified at baseline as being in active (i.e., no workouts in a typical week), moderately active (workouts one to three times per week) or vigorously active (workouts more than four times per week), and they were followed for an average of 5.7 years.

The results showed that physical inactivity was reported by 33 percent of participants and was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of stroke. Those who reported they exercised at least four times a week were less likely to experience a stroke or mini-stroke. Among men, only those who exercised four or more times a week had a lower stroke risk. Among women, the relationship between stroke and frequency of activity was less clear.

“The protective effect of intense physical activity may be through its impact on traditional risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes,” explained Professor Virginia Howard.

“These findings confirm past results of studies done in only men or only women in limited geographical areas,” Howard said. “By using the REGARDS cohort, our study was able to use a larger and more diverse population to show that participating in regular physical activity is associated with lower stroke risk.”

Howard added that stroke is preventable, and physical activity is a major modifiable risk factor for stroke. “This should be emphasized more in routine physician check-ups, along with general education on the proven health benefits of regular physical activity on other stroke-risk factors including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity."

Study limitations highlighted include that the results are based on self-reported levels of physical activity, and self-reported data may not be a reflection of the truth. Also, investigators did not have data on the type or duration of the exercise in which people engaged, nor the number of sessions. Howard suggested future studies should consider different ways to measure physical activity through: use of more questions; devices such as accelerometers and heart monitors that can provide more objective data; and capturing information on other dimensions of physical activity such as frequency, intensity and duration.

This study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

07.24.2013: She (Also) LIVEZ! Pas de Trois!o)

HOSANNAH! HEY-ZANA! ZANA, ZANA-HO...HOSANNAH, HEY-ZANA! She (also) LIVEZ! She (also) has not forgotten us! SHE (ALSO) HAS NOT FORSAKEN US! The CCDC dancer nicknamed "2K2M" is the latest student (of, hopefully, many!o) who has replied to the blatant attempt to generate correspondence we posted, oh, so long ago!o) Here is her update:
"...Hello CCDC family! I miss you guys so much, here is my little update :)

Right now I am in Montgomery, Alabama in the midst of the 2013 season with the Montgomery Ballet! We are currently in a whirlwind of rehearsals for our next production of Don Quixote, which we will be performing next weekend. This ballet is so amazingly fun as I'm sure many of you remember from when we did it at CCDC. I'm cast as a townsperson and a gypsy. Being a gypsy is really challenging because I have to act in a different way. We are supposed to be really weird and creepy, the choreography definitely reflects that, so I am working hard at trying to put my character on top of it!

The summer here in Montgomery is actually pretty unique compared to most places. Right now, the company is also hosting our International Workshop. This is an opportunity for current professional dancers as well as aspiring professionals to spend the summer here dancing with Montgomery Ballet and performing in our summer production. With the company and International Workshop participants combined, the cast for Don Q. adds up to over 100 people! It is so cool dancing alongside so many talented people, and making new friends from all over the world! The International Workshop participants will be performing nymph corps in the dream scene and bridesmaids in act III, so rehearsal-wise I'm not quite as busy as I would normally be since there are so many more cast members this time around.

Other than Don Q., a couple of weeks ago I got the opportunity to perform Big Swans from Swan Lake with another company member for our Company Gala! It was so much fun, and I was definitely channeling (Carey, Graham Kracker and Super Model) the entire time :).

Other than ballet 24/7, I got a job at the dance store that is attached to the ballet company. It is so great, and not just because I get 50 percent off..hehe :).

So, that is a brief little update from me! I will be home in just a few short weeks and can't wait to be back smiling and dancing with you all, Sending so much love!


...And, woe to all the students away who ignore the survey at their own peril: Can you say "Repeat TWO more times on releve'? Do you understand "Now, SLOWER, BIGGER, with beats!"?)

07.23.2013: Performance Posting

Free performance in the Capital City:
Special Appearance by JERSEY BOYS Scheduled at Downtown DsM RAGBRAI Street Party

WHO: The cast of JERSEY BOYS, RAGBRAI Street Party attendees and DsM Performing Arts.

WHAT: Cast members from JERSEY BOYS, the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award Winning BEST MUSICAL, will perform numbers from the hit Broadway production at the Downtown DsM RAGBRAI Street Party.

In addition, the cast will participate in a special insiders Q&A to share backstage stories about the musical, based on the true stories of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

JERSEY BOYS is in DsM for a return two-week engagement at the Civic Center, July 24-Aug. 4.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Principal Pavilion Stage (Corner of Water Street & East Walnut Street)

07.23.2013: They CAN Dance!

SYTYCD took a break last week for the MLB All-**** Game. Here's a recap of the last performances to get us all back up to speed:
SYTYCD Second Eliminations

Opening sequence: tableaux of couples in white. Bluprint some nice sequential isolations. big set piece the dancers climb and run and jump off from. Slide. some pretty dramatic jumps off the back onto some sort of crash pad. Much to the audience's delight. Whoops and screams and hollers. Drums get more insistent. A revolution seems to be brewing. Ends in backlit tableaux. Interesting...but...

Turns out to be a Tayeh/Scott routine. Cat announces withdrawal of Jade due to meniscus operation.

Format change...cuts happen at the end of the show instead of the beginning. Judges include Nigel, Mary, Paula Abdul and Erin Andrews of Fox Sports and also formerly of DWT***. Does Malece get an All-Star? Or choreographer's assistant? Reveals who's in bottom three: Jazmin Mason, Blue print, Jenna, Curtis, Alexis and Jade. Two boys are saved because of Jade's injury. All three of the girls will dance for their lives.

Solos right away:
Alexis: tap shoes ready. Not really a miked stage. She goes up on her toes to tap. Finishes with a heel-toe pirouette of six turns
Jasmine: Passion and intensity. Needs to lengthen a little more. Dance bigger and longer.
Jenna: The ballroom dancer always at a disadvantage, but she's performing. Great extensions. Ends with a flourish. Lot of it looked the same, tho'

The competition begins:

Amy-Fikshutn: Jean Marc Generaux Paso Doble. "This is war!" Paso War! Strong lift to start. She's an animal. Strong music strong dancing. SLOOW motion drop. He needs to amp up the intensity. She's MEMORABLE!. Need to use the accents more in the music. Too much waiting and not enough hitting hard to the music. Needed more weight and more bend in the knees. But, ballroom expert likes it. Litany of complaints, but, she liked it. Erin calls them the ones to beat. Paula called it a dance of HATE. High praise for Amy. Paula points out that Fikshun is an alumni of her own show. Nigel says the pair demands attention, the mark of a good performer. But, echoes criticism of the shoulders!

Jasmine H/Alan: Spencer Liff broadway. The detective and the corpse. Song from Smash. Old school acting/musical theater! Love to see tall dancers dancing BIG! Such a built in advantage! Erin loves the choreography. Amazing legs! Has some, knows them when she sees them. Nothing but praise for the couple. Paula calls Alan a throwback to the old MGM dance stars. Says Jasmine reminds her of Cyd Charisse! Nigel says he was just back from Broadway...and that this couple would not have been out of place on the Great White Way. Mary says the couple displayed "style and class".

Makenzie/Paul: Lindsey Melco contemporary piece. Being challenged to transcend technique. Modified finger turns. Great flowing movements. Smooth lift sequence. Great costume design. Strong partnering. subtle understated, effective. Great breath. Goose bumps. Paula kudos to the choreographer. Says her work with terminally ill kids gave her resonance. Praises the characterizations. Nigel praises her technical work, but, says the steps did NOT get in the way in this piece! Mary says she loves the piece! Calls it "gentle, sweet, beautiful to watch". Calls Paul "a huge surprise"! She starts the waterworks! Erin says the look and the emotion got to her.

Jasmine/Alan: Shawn Cheeseman contemporary piece. The everyday lives of royals. Wow, she changes her look for this piece. Unorthodox lift to the shoulder! Nice creative lift sequences. Interesting choreography. Nigel says he loved the quirkiness, could've used more tho' and more fun. Mary loved the precision and lifts. Erin echoes the earlier points. Paula calls it a fun routine. Calls for more fun with the routine as well.

Jenna/Tucker: Keoni and Mari Madrid. Urban street dance. Love this song. LOVE this number. Could be hit a little harder. FRESH sassy choreography! Michael Jackson remix. Mary says Jenna can do everything. And Tucker was just as good. Erin compares Tucker to MJ. Paula says she loves the tribute "fluid and staccato". Calls Jenna "a movie star". Tucker is a chameleon. "Powerful couple". Nigel compares her to Audrey Hepburn. One of his favorite routines.

Malece/Marco: One of my favorites competitors this season. Sonya Tayeh contemporary routine. Could have no better partner than this all-star. Great pictures. Great partnering. His experience is challenging her to raise her game. The choreography is showing her off. Great pictures. Nice holds. Great poses. Great ending! One of the best routines of the night! Erin calls Malece a little fairy, a little Tinkerbelle. "Magickal". Paula with proper kudos to Jade. Says she "adores" Malece. The ebb and flow was "wonderful", "astonishing", Nigel with kudos to Jade as well. Nigel says Marco challenged and raised Malece to dance like "a woman"! Mary calls Marco "brilliant". Calls Malece "captivating", "Just Perfect"!

Haley/Curtis: Jean Marc Genereau's samba. Difficult routine. Could use more hips, bend of knees, weight in legs. Not enough attack or use of the hips like we used to seeing from ballroom dancers. Is she too embarassed to sell this piece? Not enough fun with this dance!. Good expression, but, I don't feel the passion. Paula says Haley was sexiness and sauciness. Wants more ferociousness. Says Curtis needs to be the MAN in the relationship. Mary criticizes the weight placement in the foot and the samba walks, passes and runs. Almost got the style! Says Haley showed tremendous growth. "The Fringe was FLYING!" Erin says "hello hips!"

Alexis/Niko: Spencer Liff Jazz routine. Mesmerizing routine. Nice aeriel walk-over, nice pirouettes. He's got good flexibility. Nigel then Paula wonders why Alexis is in the bottom three. Likes Niko's turns as well. Mary says she was hypnotized! Niko "brilliant". Alexis rose above her genre. Erin wonders why Alexis is in the bottom three.

Moriah/Bluprint: hiphop? Their own style? Crumper and animator! Talk about luck of the draw! Aerobic. Needs facials! Wow! non-stop aerobic number. Test of cardio fitness. Slows down a second to speed back up again. Hard and sassy! This couple knows how to hit it hard! No faking the street beat! Mary says Bluprint needs more performance facially. Says Moriah shines in her own style. Erin loved the routine. Says Moriah Shook it! Says she loved the abs! But, needs more of it! Paula says Bluprint is so good at the genre, but, is still holding back! Says Moriah's personality exploded on stage. Nigel says personality wins the day! Sabra over Danny. Benji over Travis! Just show off the personality on the stage!

Now, the elimination: Alexis, Jasmine, Jenna. I'd send home Jasmine. Judges save Jenna. Jasmine criticized for her self-doubt. Alexis says the corrections aren't sticking around long enough. (I'd boot her just for that!) But, Jasmine gets the hook.

Watch out after the all-star break: Bluprint, Curtis!

07.22.2013: He LIVEZ!

HOSANNAH! HEY-ZANA! ZANA, ZANA-HO...HOSANNAH, HEY-ZANA! He (also) LIVEZ! He (also) has not forgotten us! HE HAS NOT FORSAKEN US! The CCDC dancer nicknamed "Mister Steel" is the latest student (of, hopefully, many!o) who has replied to the blatant attempt to generate correspondence we posted last week!o) Here are his replies:
  1. National Ballet School of Canada! 4 weeks, but don't worry youll see me in just a week and a half! There are 14 studios here, and a stage in the building.
  2. I'm in the top level of 6 men's levels, and there are 20 boys in my class including lots of dancers from all around the world!
  3. I start my day at 10:20 with an upper body class which totally wipes me out, there are so many exercises I've never even seen before, it's such a hard class. Then I have a 2 hour ballet class, the ballet classes are so hard, taught by a strict russian teacher, we get yelled at a lot, but i definitely love his classes.Then I go to lunch. Then an hour and a half partnering class, I love partnering class, they are so challenging and we do lots of new things, but thanks to all of CCDC's partnering classes I've been told by a few girls that I'm the best partner in the class. Then I have an hour and a half class that could consist of either modern or improv. Then I go and eat dinner and rest and stretch and that's my day!
  4. Seen anybody good, YES! lots and lots of clean technique here! there is even a boy named Shizuru Kato who won the prix de lausanne in 2011! All the people here are insane! I'm not the least flexible person here but definitely not the most.. If I could've chose one thing to work on that would probably be it, but my friends have said that there are things I have that they wish they did. So Ive been pushing my flexibility and I feel I can catch up and push my limits if I just work on it constantly even though it's my weakness.
  5. My teacher is a 72 year old Russian man, so I haven't had to make any adjustments with style, but I've definitely gotten some useful corrections to work on.
  6. I have 2 roommates, both from Ottawa Ontario Canada. They are so cool, I'm so happy they're my roommates, they're both my age too so that makes things better.
  7. I definitely a good jumper and turner, I find myself at the top of the class in those categories. But when it comes to adagios at the barre, I'm one of the weaker ones.
  8. I'm not working on any pieces here with NBS, but there are other classes who do work on choreography, and even some year round students who choreograph on other students for a end of summer performance.
  9. I unfortunately haven't gotten to see any performances :(
  10. I normally will go hang out with friends in my down time, we go to the park or play games or something, and sometimes even go to a little ice cream shop or something like that.
  11. I've learned about a muscle can work and still be relaxed in my back and shoulders so I don't look so tense, I'm working on that because it's a hard concept, but I think I may have finally improved in my upper back and shoulder muscles!..."
...And, stay tuned, CCDC students, friends and family! We have received at least one other reply to our survey. (And, woe to all the students away who ignore the survey at their own peril: Can you say "Repeat one more time on releve'? Do you understand "Now, reverse it with beats!o)"?)

07.19.2013: Concussion Discussion

Latest tip on concussion treatment for dancers from the Harkness Center For Dance Injuries:
Tip of the Month

While the incidence of concussion in dance is not yet known, it does occur in dance. Concussions are complex pathophysiological injuries caused by traumatic forces to the head, face, neck, or elsewhere. The symptoms largely reflect functional rather than structural deficits and may be hard to detect. Therefore, it is critical that these injuries be recognized by all persons in the dance environment and that they are treated properly and immediately. Concussions do not necessarily present with loss of consciousness; in fact, loss of consciousness occurs in only 9-10% of cases. Each concussion is unique with symptoms varying between individuals and concussion events. Signs and symptoms may include headache, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, mood disturbance, fatigue, balance disturbances, sensitivity to light and noise, and nausea. Any dancer sustaining a concussion should immediately be removed from their activity. Current guidelines suggest no return to dance on the day of injury, even if symptoms resolve. The dancer should be evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in concussion management, and begin physical and cognitive rest. Clearance for physical and cognitive activity should only be given by a licensed healthcare provider experienced in concussion management, and the return-to-dance progression should be individualized, rather than based on a rigid timeline.

07.18.2013: She LIVEZ!, Part de Deux

HOSANNAH! HEY-ZANA! ZANA, ZANA-HO...HOSANNAH, HEY-ZANA! She (also) LIVEZ! She (also) has not forgotten us! SHE (also) HAS NOT FORSAKEN US! The CCDC dancer nicknamed "Chester" is the second student (of, hopefully, many!o) who has replied to the blatant attempt to generate correspondence we posted earlier this week!o) Here are her replies:
  1. I am at Boston Ballet this summer, I am here for 4 weeks and come home on July 28th. The studios are bigger than the ones we have at home but aren't crazy big, except for studio 7 which is about 3 times the size of ours. We started with 28 people in my class but two have been sent home due to injury.
  2. I am in level 3A. There is an A and B for levels one through four but only one class for level five.
  3. I have four classes a day. I start with a technique class, then I have pas/ pilates/ character or modern, then a pointe class and end the day with another technique
  4. Everyone in level five is amazing! Most of the people in that class go to SAB year round so I wouldn't expect anything less. My levels competition isn't too bad, I believe I am on of the better ones in my class.
  5. Most of the teachers here ask for some Balanchine things but its hard to remember which teachers want what and which teachers don't. My main teachers are Mrs. Cornejo, who is a dancer in the company and Mrs. Tracey
  6. One of my roommates is a girl from SAB last year and we requested each other, she is from Buffalo and my other roommate is from Texas. Bella and Ariel.
  7. I hold my placement a lot better than most of the others and my extensions are better too. A lot of girls in my class are really good turners, unlike me.
  8. We are not rehearsing for anything but in variations class we have learned Cupid, Giselle and a Balanchine variation. Also we learned Shades.
  9. We went to Jacob's Pillow and saw Cedar Lake, which is contemporary. I was so cool! I loved watching how every movement was different. They also had some really cool lifts!
  10. At the end of the day I usually hang out at the dorm with all my friends. On days that we end earlier we have one of the Resident Assistants take us on an adventure. We have gone shopping twice and seen a few sights.
  11. When I left I was expecting Boston to be much more classical technique then it is. In class we do straight leg pirouettes, some teachers ask for over crossed arms and for us to spot front.
I can't wait to see you guys! I miss you all!!
Love, ("Chester(:")
...And, we also have the survey in from Mister Steel. That'll be posted later this week. (Where are the REST of YOU, HMMMMM????) PLUS! Chester's written an actual snail-mail letter! That'll be posted on the CCDC lobby! Check it out along with Mister Peter's gracious note.

07.18.2013: Peter Pontificates, Part IV

CCDC students! Be sure to check out the lobby bulletin board to see a message from 2013 CCDC Guest Ballet/Character Dance Instructor Peter Palwashyn. And, you can listen to "Mister Peter" in a discussion of your dancing during the Summer Intensive by clicking below:

Check this out on Chirbit

...Still on deck, more conversation from the CCDC student who compares the training at PNB, SAB and MCB. Also in the pipeline, advice from a CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Instructor on how to survive and thrive in the City of Lost Angelz!o)

07.17.2013: She LIVEZ!

HOSANNAH! HEY-ZANA! ZANA, ZANA-HO...HOSANNAH, HEY-ZANA! She LIVEZ! She has not forgotten us! SHE HAS NOT FORSAKEN US! The CCDC dancer nicknamed "Brosnan" is the first student (of, hopefully, many!o) who has replied to the blatant attempt to generate correspondence we posted earlier this week!o) Here are her replies:
"...Hi everyone:) I miss you all but I will be home shortly! Here is an update on how things have been going!
  1. I am currently at the Oklahoma City Ballet summer intensive. I will be here a total of two weeks and will be home Sunday the 21st! There are two big studios but we have only been dancing in one of them everyday. My class has about 20 dancers but with some of the company members taking class there's around 30 or so each day.
  2. It is a pretty small intensive and there are only two levels. I am in the highest level.
  3. A typical day is dancing 9:30-5:30. We have Pilates every morning, yoga on Fridays, followed by technique and then either pointe, partnering, or variations class. Then we get a lunch break before returning to composition or modern followed by repertory and then either character or dance history.
  4. There are definitely a lot of talented girls in my class. There are also three other apprentices here who are all amazing. Compared to them I need to work on going for more turns and my extensions. Also on my artistry and performing more.
  5. We have had several different teachers but this week we have had Miki Kawamura who is the principal dancer with OKCB and Robert Mills, the artistic director of the company. Technically they teach a lot like what we get at CCDC. I have been trying to make myself look more like an artist rather than a student because Robert and Miki both talked about the importance of not just focusing on the technique but always performing combinations even in class.
  6. I have three roommates right now. One is a sophomore at OCU, she actually knows ("Brown Rice") :)! Another is from New Hampshire and my third roomie is from Nevada.
  7. I feel like the other girls are all more confident in going for multiple turns where as I usually tend to try and play it safe which I need to work on :/
  8. We have rehearsed a lot because at the end of each week have a performance. Last week we performed a character piece, sugar plum fairy variation, and a pointe contemporary piece choreographed by a guest dancer. This week we are performing a variation which we will learn tomorrow and another contemporary pointe piece choreographed by Miki. We also have composition class this week so we are self choreographing a piece as a class to perform.
  9. Haven't seen any performances
  10. I only got to spend one weekend here with my roommates but we went shopping and visited Bricktown which is in the heart of downtown.
  11. I wish I would have known how much competition id have being here. The other apprentices that are here now are beautiful dancers and it really is like an audition everyday because Robert is either teaching or he is watching, and the other company members are always watching too so it can be a little stressful at times!
Love you all! ("Brosnan" :)..."
...And, we also have the survey in from BBGrrl. That'll be posted later this week. (Where are the REST of YOU, HMMMMM????) PLUS! She's written an actual snail-mail letter! That'll be posted on the CCDC lobby! Check it out along with Mister Peter's gracious note.

07.16.2013: Tutu Tuesday

Glimpse inside Russian training for ballet:

07.15.2013: Outta Sight? Outta of Our Mindz!

The annual diaspora of CCDC dancers is underway. At least one returns this weekend. But, it's time for the annual lament! Here's a reprint from last year's posting (Text your friends and bug them to fill this out!o):
"...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)

07.12.2013: Tone It Down, MJ!o)

Feedback to earlier post:
"...I just read (Mr Steel's) update on the website. Please tell him to be careful when playing basketball. One of the danseurs at Boston was sent home after breaking his arm playing b-ball. Ugh!..."
...Let that be a warning to all CCDC students this summer and beyond! Have fun! But, be safe! And, yes, you CAN do both!o) (And, yes, we are your mother!o)

07.11.2013: New Chapters Beginning

Follow-up to the 2013 Prix de Lausanne:
"...Results of the 2013 Networking Forum

Dear Friends of the Prix de Lausanne,

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.

In 2013, 20 Prix de Lausanne partner institutions watched the audition class and had a meeting with 48 candidates who received one or more offers during those meetings, most of which were scholarships.

To date, 23 young dancers have informed us of their decision to study abroad in a new institution, thanks to the Networking Forum.

See the complete list of candidates who benefited from the networking forum available on our web site.

We wish them all the best for this exciting new stage of their career.

The Prix de Lausanne would like to take this opportunity to thank all its partner schools, partner companies and summer schools for their support.

Register now at

Deadline for registration: 30 septembre 2013...."

...And, that's obviously an incomplete list. Besides summering at Canada's National Ballet School, CCDC's Rocky Steel has also accepted a scholarship to the John Neumeier Balletschule starting this fall.

07.10.2013: First Daze

About a half-dozen CCDC students taking part in the annual dance diaspora known as the Summer Intensive process. Here are some texts from a few:
"...Classes were pretty good, trying to get the horse by the reins:) I like my teachers so far too! No one I know...there are a lot of commuters so there are only 20 people in the dorms! I enjoy having no roommate but it gets a little boring in the evening..."
...another texts:
"...Yesterday was the year round audition and I decided to do it just for the experience and to see what happens. There were so many girls, 110 and only 10 guys ..."
...Also, checked in with the CCDC alumni nicknamed "Bronson" earlier this week. I texted her asking how she survived her first daze at her company's school summer intensive:
"...Haha I'm alive! First day was pretty good. Jane Vorenberger taught our ballet class who is the school director and (Artistic Director) Robert Mills was coming in and out watching so that was a little scary. There is only one other apprentice here right now and she is injured but she's 21. Some of the company members took class so that was cool to watch them. We also had Pilates, pointe, rep, modern, and dance history today and we have a performance on Friday and one on Sunday in an outdoor theatre for an arts festival! Miss you guys :) ..."
...Later, Maize tweeted this out:
"...Getting the company schedule & seeing my name on the company website is too surreal #happy..."
...And, her listing on the website is still bare-bones (lacks her bio), but, you can find it here. Merde for performance, Maize! And, stay in touch everyone!o)

07.09.2013: SYTYCD Play By Play

@DizzyFeet tweets that Paula Abdul will be joining the judges on tonight's SYTYCD episode. Here's a recap of last week's action:
First elimination

Opening Number: Updated Coppelia. Dolls come to life. Childhood fantasy plays out on stage. Vaguely Wade Robsonian piece. Actually Choreographed by Tyce Diorio. Elimination at the beginning of the episode. Guest judge is Christina Applegate. The dancers come out prepared to dance for their lives!

Bottom six: Makenzie, Alan, Moriah, Jade, Britanny, Carlos

Judges'choice: save Alan and Makenzie

Dance For Their Lives:
Moriah: The hiphopper starts hard and angry. But is she showing enough? Oh, there's an aerial. Some Crump.
Carlos: Nice lines.. back kip into attitude turns. round-off back handspring layout. lotta strength. Split leap and another aerial
Brittany: Ballroom dancer. This is the girl who reminds me of a brunette Whitney from last season. needs to stretch her legs in those kicks. Oops! There's an aerial.
Jade: Hiphopper/crumper to Alicia Keys. Smooth smooth crump and animation. Almost lyrical animation. Great smile!

I'd keep Jade and Brittany. Nigel says he was disappointed in the solos. He says the decision is based on their body of work along with choreographers' input. Say Goodbye to: Carlos and Brittany. Moriah almost breaks down at the announcement. Must be a mixed blend of emotions at being saved and losing a friend.

Hailey/Curtis: Ray Leeper routine. Bad in all black. Femme fatale and her willing victim. She's got the attitude and the look. He's having trouble releasing his inner bad boy. some suggestive choreography. Lacks the passion, though. Supposed to be hot and steamy, but, left me a little cold. Nigel says She was sexy and a bad girl! Hard to take his eyes off Haley. Sexy start! Mary "loved it"! Calls Curtis a little "giggle bucket". Calls Haley an early Fourth of July fireworks. Christina says Curtis rose above his tap roots. Wanted more "oozing" into the words of the songs, not just the music!

Jasmine H./Aaron: Lyrical hiphop number? Nappy Tabz routine. Friends with benefits number. The music man returneth. SHe's hitting it hard. He's doing well for a tap dancer!. Old tale of irresistable compulsion meets resistance. Wow! hard lifts with such tall dancers. Mary says it was a chemistry lesson, Smokin'! Fans herself. Calls Jasmine a Star! Christina says it was sexy, nothing negative to say. Calls them the couple to beat! rose above their genres. Nigel says it was an honest routine. Calls Alan a "Major Asset to the show this year".

National Dance Day, July 27th. DizzyFeetFoundation.Org.

Malece/Jade: Bollywood by Nakul. Points for the rich costumes. Starts slow. Then speeds up. Bollywood is a feel good genre. Did I mention great costuming? Athletic cardio routine. Then, all of a sudden it's over. I'm sure they're missing some of the subtleties of the art form. Christina says it was fun and energetic. She exhorts him to leave it all on the dance floor. Nigel praises Malece's look. Curse and a blessing. Nigel challenges him to dance for his life better! Mary praises costuming and look as well. "Great job!"

Alexis/Nico: Stacey Tookey routine follows up on an earlier piece. Returning from war. Good turner, but lacks the depth and resonance to source his movements. Sorry! Not doing it for me! Lacks the emotion the choreographer said she wanted in the piece. Not enough breath. Dancing from the outside in...but, not deep enough! Nigel praises the choreography. says the tapper did very well. Mary says loves watching the piece. I disagree with her assessment, praising the "realness and honesty". Christina says the choreography changed from dress, from attitude turns to pirouettes...and calls ita good choice.

Brittany/Bluprint: First performance by an eliminated dancer. Spencer Liff Broadway routine. Animator has to step up his technique. She's got the look of an old-time beauty. He's got a very contemporary street look. library setting Slow, then fast, then slow then fast. Standing ovation for performance. Mary says she adored the piece. First cut is the deepest. Challenges Bluprint to step up his technique and performance. Christina praises Brittany for stepping it up. The Broadway veteran gives the animator some valuable coaching. Nigel says Broadway is all about "sell, sell, sell"! "Fake sincerity" "Sell the story".

Jasmine M/Alan: Tango. Miriam and Leonardo piece. Nice to see a ballroom dancer tackle his own genre. one arm lift right off the bat. She lacks the hit and stretch. needs to find the stillness in the movement. And the stretch. Ambitious lifts. Standing o from the judges. Christina says it was "beautiful" and "had a moment' Said he was shocked to have Alan in the bottom three. Likes Jasmine. Mary says the passion was outstanding. "Smoldering!"

Makenzie/Paul Sean Cheeseman routine. Fembot? mad scientist and his female robot. Nice extensions. THIS pair can do the stillness and movement. Best piece of the night, so far. She blinded me with science! Nigel "Naughty routine". Calls Makenze "a Star"! Mary says she loves it. Christina compares him to Patrick Dempsey! "Good stuff, guys"

Moriah/Carlos: Tookey routine. Great story behind the choreography. Excellent flowing, breathing choreography and lifts integral to the movement. seamless movement. If you fall I will catch you. Great emotion in this piece. Much more successful piece than the other Tookey routine. Calls Carlos' ouster "America's loss". Christina says Carlos deserves to stay. Interconnectedness was spectacular. Chemistry was unbelievable. Goosebumps all over. Nigel "brilliant emoting". "Exponential growth"!

Amy/FikShun: Nappy Tabs routine. Two Bellmen. Not Amy's genre but, she brings it hard popping and locking without effort. Getting Ratchet! I think she had fun! Christina: Loved it so much! Nigel: I knew I was going to love this routine! "You both light up the entire studio"! Mary: "It was a party on stage!" "Can't help but like these two!"

Jenna/Tucker: Dmitry Chaplin's cha-cha routine. She's a ballroom dancer. He's a chameleon. Well-done cha-cha. Should score high. Mary: She's a chameleon. Tucker needed more rhythmic action. "This girl's crazy!" Christina: I was thoroughly entertained. "Amazing!" "Raw and dirty!" Nigel: not enough cha-cha for me! Sending a message to the me the genre!..."

07.08.2013: Rocky Ritez!o)

Merde to all the CCDC students as we resume summer classes after the Independence Week break. AND! Merde to all the CCDC students away at national or international Summer Intensives over the next few weeks! We HIGHLY encourage DAILY updates! Like this from Danseur STEEL north of the border!o)
"...So here's my update on things so far.. I'm having a really awesome time here! Coming out of Prix de Lausanne I was automatically placed in the top level with the year round students and with people from big schools such as Hamburg ballet school, Boston ballet school, National Ballet Academy of Amsterdam, San Francisco Ballet School, Alvin Ailey School, Royal Swedish Ballet School, and I think there's even a couple I'm missing. Everyone here is working so hard in classes. We have an old Russian teacher, he's very strict and no matter how good you do he will tell you it's bad, it's intimidating but I like the push he gives. Every combinations at barre are long and challenging. He always stresses to us about how he wants our upper bodies held but not stiff. His combinations in center are very challenging and hard yet fun to do, I love his classes! We haven't done grande allegro jumps yet, but he says we are all working hard so we will start that next week. As for the studios and the facilities, amazing! The studios are not huge but definitely bigger than our big studio...The floors aren't too sticky or too slippery, and they are great for jumping on. The building is gorgeous, there is a pool, a workout room, a huge cafeteria with a very professional chef who cooks very good for all the kids, an in building stage, and 14 studios. The place is beautiful! The dorms are very spacious, I have 2 roommates (Alexi and Roberto) and I still have plenty of space. There's lots to do in the dorms and out. Outside there's lots of cool shops and restaurants and cool parks, I even got to go play basketball with friends. So overall, I'm having a very good time and it's a wonderful summer program. But I can't wait to come home and see everyone at CCDC! I miss and love everyone!

-(Mr Steel)..."

06.27.2013: Ballet in HD

Put these in your summer day-planner:
"...The Best of the Bolshoi: A Special Summer 2013 Series

For Summer 2013, Emerging Pictures and Ballet in Cinema have curated a very special three-ballet series, The Best of the Bolshoi.

From India to Scotland to Egypt...these three exotic and brilliantly colorful ballets transport audiences to the farthest corners of the world and the heights of dance ecstasy.

  • La Bayadere: The Bolshoi's prima ballerinas Svetlana Zakharova and Maria Alexandrova star in this story of a temple dancer and her warrior lover, set against the bakcdrop of lush, exotic India.

  • La Sylphide: One of the oldest of classic romantic ballet,s this tale of winged spirits in the human realm of a small Scottish village showcases the talents of ballet luminatries Ekaterina Krysanova, Vyacheslav Lopatin, Anna Rebetskaya and Denis Savin.

  • The Pharaoh's Daughter: An opium dream transports an English lord to ancient Pharaonic time sand the arms of an Egyptian princess, danced by Svetlana Zakharova, in a grandiose production by Pierre Lacotte.

Don't miss your chance to see classical ballet like you've never seen it before - find a venue near you!..."

06.27.2013: Putting the USA in Prix de Lausanne!

One of the few competitions heartily endorsed by Capital City Dance Center (You CAN get there from here!o)
"...Registration is now open!

A challenging, exciting and uplifting experience where everyone is a winner.
The Prix de Lausanne is more than a competition, it's a week full of inspiration, energy and learning:

It seeks to identify potential rather than reward achievement.
Through its scholarships, it opens the door to top international ballet companies and schools Non finalist candidates participate in an audition class (networking forum)

Register now at

Deadline for registration: 30 septembre 2013..."

06.26.2013: Sun Up to Sun Down

ONE-HUNDRED-AND-EIGHT Suryanamaskar! That's what I get for trying to live up to the standards I set for my students at CCDC. During the summer, I actually get a night off as opposed to the 7-daze a week regular teaching schedule. So, I like to bike to and from work and actually found a yoga class to take on Friday evenings. I always tell my students about the value of cross-training in other disciplines to inform and supplement your dance classes. So, last Friday before class, I was quietly showing off what flexibility I have left and pressing a few handstands (a legitimate yoga move, btw) when the teacher said we were going to celebrate the Summer Solstice and the super-moon by performing a traditional yogi summer salutation. And, that would consist of ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHT SUN SALUTES! Oh, we didn't have to do all of them. She'd let us know when the hour was up, but, we were all invited to stay and complete the ONE-HUNDRED-AND-EIGHT SUN SALUTATIONS! Now, in my optional Dancerz Warm-Up we do a few sun salutes, five variations on a theme to get the blood flowing and body oxygenated. But, I never have been asked to do ONE-HUNDRED-AND-EIGHT SURYANAMASKAR! To make a long story short, I got up to about sixty before I pulled the plug, stretched a few other things and practiced the shivasana, corpse pose. Many were still going on when I crept out the door. I iced my hammies, but, it's been a few days and my body is still complaining. Sucks to get old! For all you chuckling out there, you try ONE-HUNDRED-AND-EIGHT SUN SALUTATIONS! It's harder than it sounds and it sounds HARD! Just counting up that high would make me winded. Now, I still maintain that cross-training has its benefits, but, not all cross-training is created equal. So, I'd suggest CCDC Pilates classes as a good place to start. And, if any yogi ever suggests ONE-HUNDRED-AND-EIGHT SUN SALUTATIONS, just know what you're getting into! Now, excuse me while I go stretch out my ham strings!

06.25.2013: Tournament Begins

One of the (IMNSHO) best reality TV competition shows gets serious later tonight. It's SYTYCD, Season Ten. The auditions are over, Vegas week is done, the top twenty has been revealed. Thankfully, producers seemed to feature the really bad dancers less this time around. It'll take some time to get to learn the new contestants, but, here are some general guidelines we've found that'll be helpful in handicapping the contestants:
  • Age matters: All things being equal, look for the youngest contestants to be eliminated earliest. Maturity, personality, life-experience makes a difference in getting votes.
  • Choreographers matter: The best choreographers work within the limitations of the dancers they've drawn. Anyone who gets Mia, Stacey or Sonia has an advantage over the other contestants because of their ability to draw more out of their dancers. Likewise, I think Louie or even Nappy Tabz and that crazy, disco lady may be a liability.
  • Back Story matters: The more we learn about each of the contestants, the more invested we become in their success. As we meet their family and learn about the troubles and travails they've endured, the more likely we are to vote for them.
  • Technique/Genre matters (But, only to a point): I don't think a ballroom dancer has won since Benji. I don't think a tap dancer has EVER won the title. Contemporary dancers or well-trained street dancers always do well. Last season's sweep by two ballet dancers was a notable exception for that genre. Ballet dancers have done well, but, if you're strong at classical, you better be just as strong in contemporary.
...After all, the title is "America's Favorite Dancer" NOT "America's BEST dancer"! Let the competition begin!o)

06.24.2013: Interviewz 'r' Us

Interviewing all-day is what I do in my day-job, so, I bring those skills to my "night-job" as well. We'll get back to the continuing discussion with the 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Ballet Instructors soon. But, here's Part One of an interview with a CCDC dancer who's had the unique opportunity to compare training at PNB, SAB and MCB. Plus, I ask her for advice for any CCDC students heading to those programs:

Check this out on Chirbit

...And, look for a scheduled interview with another 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Instructor and her best advice for anyone heading to the bright lights and big city of Lost Angelz! Spread the word!o)

06.21.2013: Kimz Observationz

Here's more of the conversation recorded with the 2013 CCDC Guest Ballet Instructors:

Check this out on Chirbit

06.20.2013: AllyCat, The Ballet Cat

eInterview from Pointe Magazine
Diana Vishneva's Pet Project

It's not every day that you see Diana Vishneva in a cat tutu. The renowned ballerina guest stars in AllyCat the Ballet Cat, co-created by dancer Allyson Tang (a.k.a. AllyCat) and director Ash Baron Cohen. Set for release on August 13, the educational video is the first of what will ultimately be a series of films designed to get young children active and engaged in ballet. Pointe's e-news talked to Vishneva about the project.

How did you find out about AllyCat?

I heard that Allyson and Ash were fundraising to help a gifted young dancer, Kaylani Parks, attend Dance Theatre of Harlem's school. I have a foundation that supports ballet students in need, so I approached them, and ended up donating to their cause. I was touched when I heard that they also wanted to create a DVD that gave disadvantaged children who could not afford ballet classes access to the art form.

What was the inspiration behind the "ballet cats" idea?

AllyCat and my character, the Russian Royal Cat, engage children in an imaginative, non-intimidating way. We hope the cat characters can eventually be performed by dancers from around the world to unite children on a global level.

What are the film's goals?

To help children learn the beautiful art of ballet and believe in themselves. We also hope to help combat childhood obesity, which affects so many kids. And we want to make ballet a more fun, inclusive art form. Every child deserves this opportunity.

What is your advice for young dancers?

Love and respect your body. It is your instrument to create art. Listen to your parents, teachers and coaches, who are trying to help you be your best. Educate yourself; try to learn something new every day. And remember there is no one else like you.

06.19.2013: Post-Secondary Dance Training

2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Ballet Master Peter Pawlyshyn spoke to some of the PreProfessional Program students about "dance life after high school". He did so at my request. The truth is the vast majority of students will not pursue a professional dance career immediately after graduating from high school. Most will never go on to audition for companies at all. But, that doesn't mean you can't continue to train in the artform in college. There are a number of colleges and universities with national reputations for dance training: Butler University, North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Utah come to mind. But, I asked him to recommend some "hidden gems" that CCDC students heading to college may not have heard about. Here are the schools he mentioned: Towson University, MD; University of Arizona, Tucson; Colorado State University, Boulder; University of Oklahoma, Norman and Texas Christian University. He also says he was willing to be a continuing resource for CCDC students. If you'd like to ask him questions about college programs, pursuing a career in dance or other advice, have your parents contact us and we'll put you in touch with him.

06.18.2013: Peter Pontificates, Part de Deux

Took the 2013 CCDC Guest Ballet Instructors to dinner last week. Here's another part of that conversation:

Check this out on Chirbit

06.17.2013: Hancher Reimagined

A catalyst for the arts re-building at Party Hearty You:
"...Today it’s only a hole in the ground, but someday soon it will be a stunning, iconic and user-friendly Hancher Auditorium.

Moreover, the people who operate it will be doing business in new ways thanks to the partnerships they’ve formed with other arts organizations following the Flood of 2008, which rendered the original Hancher building useless and forced Hancher’s staff to find other venues for its artists and performances.

“A new building is going to give us the opportunity to do the large-scale productions again, which we missed,” says Chuck Swanson, Hancher executive director. “But this time away from the old building has given us the opportunity to forge new partnerships and to think creatively about our programming. Being able to merge the new space and all of our new endeavors—I think it’s golden. It’s just terrific.”

Swanson is pleased that the team helping design the new building, from the architects to the contractors, have been excellent listeners and made the most of comments from Hancher staffers and others.

“One thing that’s allowed us to do a great job of planning is that we have 40 years of history,” he notes. “We’ve had the opportunity to think back and put more thought into the design so that it can be user-friendly.”

For example:

  • The new theater will hold 1,800 seats, down from the 2,500 at the old building. There will be two balconies, but only eight rows in each. The result: a more intimate experience for artists and audiences. “The architect said that when we ended up with 1,800 seats, we hit a sweet spot architecturally, aesthetically, and acoustically,” Swanson explains.
  • The stage itself will be smaller but still big enough for the large-scale productions that helped Hancher develop a well-deserved reputation. Storage behind the stage will be better organized and sited than at the old building.
  • The site of the new building maintains the easy access from Interstate 80 and the plentiful parking, including close parking for persons with disabilities.
  • Amenities such as the lobby, café, and outdoor terrace are being designed to encourage people to “come early and stay late,” Swanson says. “The lobby will lend itself to a social opportunity that our customers have been eagerly awaiting. And the views from the terrace, of the river and the campus, will be glorious.

    “We didn’t even have a café when the original Hancher was built, but this time it’s very much a part of our thinking,” he adds. “I would love to see it available even outside of our performances. I see it as one of the hottest spots in town.”

  • The new building includes a rehearsal space that promises to become a creative hub for UI students, faculty, the Hancher staff, and the many other artistic collaborators that Hancher has nurtured while operating without a building of its own.

    “Take for instance our ‘Invisible Man’ project,” Swanson says. That project included UI faculty, students, a nationally known playwright, and more than a dozen UI offices and organizations. “We needed space for all of us to work together. This will make that possible.”

“The new Hancher will be iconic but very functional,” Swanson concludes. “We’ve struck the right balance between form and function. We’ve all waited so long—staff, artists, audiences, Iowans—that we want to squeeze every ounce of vitality out of it.”..."

06.14.2013: Kidz In The Hallberg

Here's more about that Hallberg video posted earlier:
"...Today, *Emerging Pictures* is proud to unveil the short film, "The Dancer", starring ballet superstar *David Hallberg*, Principal Dancer of the *Bolshoi Ballet* and *American Ballet Theatre*. The film launches him in his role as Ballet in Cinema's national spokesperson.

The film directed by Pierce Jackson, will open all Emerging Pictures' "Ballet in Cinema" and "Opera in Cinema" screenings through the remainder of 2013. In summer, 2011, Hallberg became the first American invited to join the famed Bolshoi Ballet as a Premier dancer. Since then, he has become a permanent fixture on both the international ballet stage and movie screens. His Bolshoi Ballet debut was broadcast worldwide in "The Sleeping Beauty", partnering prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova. He has also been a favorite subject in such media outlets as Carine Roitfeld's _CR Fashion Book_, _Vogue Magazine_, _Nowness_, and _The New York Times Style Magazine_. When we at Emerging Pictures first met with Hallberg to discuss the film, he was in New York City rehearsing for his 2012 Spring Season with American Ballet Theatre. We discussed what interests him both in and out of the world of dance, what he finds inspiring. His boundless curiosity about other arts forms assumes an important role in shaping his artistry. "What attract me most to dance, " says Hallberg, "is the perpetual search for perfection. You create this moment that share, not only with your partner but with the audience too...that one moment when you know everything has come together, that you've expressed everything you possibly can."

A week later, we were in the studio with Hallberg, preparing to film the rehearsal for his Third Act _La Bayadere_entrance. Watching an artist in the midst of his creative process was exhilarating: his focus was unwavering, his every muscle engaged. His portrayal of Solor was searing with each gesture reconciled in beautiful movment. And director Pierce Jackson brilliantly captured one particularly unique "moment" in the film which we are confident audiences will find exultant. Ballet in Cinema is thrilled to be working with David Hallberg and to share this film with you.

For more information about us, visit our website at . Our Summer Season has begun! Click here to see what's on this summer. Theatre schedules vary. *Check with your local theatre* for schedule and purchase tickets directly from your theatre, as you would for any other film...."

06.13.2013: Peter Pontificates

Took the 2013 CCDC Guest Ballet Instructors to dinner last night. Asked them several questions about our students strengths and weaknesses. Here's part one:

Check this out on Chirbit

...Check back for more!o)

06.12.2013: Artists Respond to Tragedy

Dancers and musicians respond to the EF5 tornado that hit the future and present home city of two CCDC alumni:
(Capital City News Service) Oklahoma City Ballet and soloists from the Oklahoma City Philharmonic to perform:
The Dying Swan
Choreography: Michael Fokine
Music: Camille Saint-Saens
Danced by: Miki Kawamura
Cello: Valorie Tatge
Piano: Peggy Payne

Le Corsaire Pas de deux
Choreography: After Marius Petipa
Staged by: Jacob Sparso
Music: Riccardo Drigo
Danced by: Ellany Abbott and Alvin Tovstogray

Black Swan Pas de deux
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Staged by: Jacob Sparso
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Danced by: Miki Kawamura and Yui Sato

(Created especially for this event)
Choreography: Robert Mills
Music: Jules Massenet
Danced by: Stephanie Foraker Pitts and Amanda Herd-Popejoy
Violin: Sam Formicola
Piano: Peggy Payne

Come see Oklahoma City Ballet's performances along with pieces from Hartel Dance Group, Perpetual Motion Dance and RACE Dance.

Tickets are available for $25 at Oklahoma City Ballet offices, 7421 N. Classen Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73116 until Friday, June 14, 2013 at 5:00 p.m or by phone by calling 405-843-9898. Tickets will also be available at the door starting 1 hour before the performance. All proceeds will be donated to the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross...”

06.11.2013: Dancing Queen

OMG! Scene this? The latest "dancing" video to go viral!

...Hmm. Gonna need a lotta get something like this this ready for HALLOWEEN!o) Who's in? Who wants to be my background dancer/puppetz?

06.10.2013: Gotta 'Ave 'Art!

Visit the Art Center this summer!
(Capital City News Service) – The DsM Art Center is proud to announce that in mid-March, it received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), formerly known as the American Association of Museums, headquartered in Washington, D.C. This coveted certification is extended to only 6% of museums out of approximately 17,000 museums nationwide. “By achieving accreditation, the DsM Art Center has confirmed something the people of the Capital City likely already knew: it is, simply, one of the best museums and facilities of its kind in the country,” said Ford W. Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums. “Accreditation means the DsM Art Center is excellent in everything it does – its public programs, its educational offerings, its governance and in its overall operations. It is a community anchor in the Capital City, of which the residents and of the entire state of Iowa should be extremely proud.”

AAM is a non-profit association that has brought museums together since its founding in 1906, helping develop best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and advocating on issues of concern to the museum community. AAM is the only organization representing the entire scope of museums and professionals in the nation. According to Art Center Director Jeff Fleming, “The Art Center is pleased to have applied to and then been awarded museum accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. This accreditation is a stamp of excellence from the museum world and confirms that our standards are amongst the highest in the field.”

06.07.2013: Host Families Wanted

This almost got lost in the rush to the CCDC Spring Showcase and Summer Intensive:
''...Good morning, My name is Lori E_____ and I work for CIEE (Council on International Education Exchange) and we have several foreign exchange students looking for American host homes and families. We place high school students and try to match them with families of simular interests. We have a 16 yr old young lady who is a dancer from Thailand that is an excellent student and speaks English well. I thought there may a family in your dance studio that would be interested in hosting her for the 2013-2014 school year. Would you be willing to pass out some info to your families? If so, you may contact me through my (e-mail and phone number available from blogmaster by request). I have a Texas number but am living in West DsM. Thanks for any help you can give.

Lori E_____..."

06.06.2013: Costume Conundrum

Plea just in from CCDC family:
"...(My daughter) had both her costumes in her plastic hanging bag on the hanging rack in the quick change hallway but when she went to get them at the end of the night the hanging rack was empty. Will you please let me know if anyone contacts you saying they accidentally picked it up? The plastic hang bag has her name on it. Or is there a way to post something on the web site?? Wainwright level A..."
...Did you accidentally pick up those costumes? Got something extra after the end of the show? Or are you missing something as well? Drop them off at the CCDC office or email us

06.06.2013: Dance Dialogue

Had a chance earlier this week to break bread (spear some sushi?) with CCDC's two latest dancers to sign contracts with professional ballet companies. Had a lotta fun sharing my chopstick expertise! Turned on the old digital recorder and asked them a few questions about their secrets to success. Click on this link to hear that thirteen minute interview. (Excuse all the restaurant noise and waitress interruptions!o) Or, click below:

Check this out on Chirbit

06.05.2013: CCDCommentary

Feedback from long-time CCDC family:
''...(I) had to tell you that the recital was absolutely amazing. The level of dancing that comes from that stage is incredible. We had a friend come last night to watch (my dancers) and she couldn't believe how good it was.

I really can't express to you how blessed we have felt having the girls attend CCDC. I always feel so safe and comfortable dropping them at your door and leaving them with their teacher and they enjoy going so much.

(One daughter) was near tears Friday night running up to get her letter and finding out she got "promoted" into Ballet 2. She's already talking about going to get jazz shoes. I'll get the girls registered for fall soon. (One dancer) in B2 and (the other) in Jazz B again (I don't think I could tear her away from Alissa even if I wanted to)...."

06.04.2013: Recital Review

Former dancer and former Associated Press reporter MacKenzie Elmer attended the 2013 CCDC Spring Showcase this past weekend. I asked her to write a review and she just sent this in:
(Capital City News Service) Capital City Dance Center’s rendition of The Legend of Swan Lake shows that dancers of all skill levels, under careful direction from their talented instructors, can together deliver a sound performance.

Kudos to the choreographers who found a way to make the complicated movements of this Tchaikovsky classic conquerable by each class of dancer. Though it was to the absolute pleasure of the audience, it is a miracle to have successfully shuffled the youngest “baby swans” on and off stage at all, let alone point their toes in unison. Brava!

Apart from the obvious jewels of the stage, Adrian Oldenburger and Cassidy Shedenhelm, each member of the company carried the show, bearing in mind that at any moment the gaze of the audience could fall upon their form. From the flirtatious townswomen to the serious swans, it was a rare moment when character broke.

Oldenburger is all leg. It seemed that every time Oldenburger leapt and had reached his peak, he caught a sudden extra gust. His talent and endurance stole the show, even from his perfect, porcelain co-star.

Shedenhelm, though, is indeed an example of exactness. Her control and poise was unmatched by any dancer.

The choreography of their duet evoked that classic tenderness of forbidden love between this fabled couple: Shendenhelm with her coy and fluttering steps and Oldenburger’s cautious coaxing.

Each of the dancers could improve on their dramatization of the piece, but the acting is secondary to the fact that these dance students are working hard to perfect an incredibly demanding physical art form.

I must draw attention to the costuming, for each handmaiden and courtier really looked their part. But most heavenly were each division of swan, swishing their feathered down like swaths of pastel paint across a canvas.

What’s more, and quite unexpected, these students of dance are as convincing twirling on their toes as they are busting a move to Katy Perry during the modern portion of the show.

I noted some of those elegant swans I had just seen flitting about on their toes were really in their element throwing their hips to throbbing bass. It’s refreshing to see these students are expected to use both sides of their dance brain, balancing the demands of traditional ballet and freeform modern dance.

Much applause to all the dancers and their dedicated instructors! I can’t wait to see what’s next!

06.03.2013: Jill-O-Gramz!

Just had this posted on our Face Book Page from CCDC Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
"...Ballet 2 student, Judith, has a grandma who danced in Boston Ballet and a mom who teaches ballet locally and choreographs for IDT. Judith's grandma closely supervises Judith's ballet training at the tender age of 7. She made the trip from Connecticut and could have been weary since her flight left at 6am Friday. But she was joyous when she told me backstage during intermission, "This is not a typical recital. This is real ballet." :) And she was so impressed with Adrian's recent accomplishments..."
...Director Andrews also posts this:
"...(CCDC Alumni) Sarah Zuber contacted me with the following news:
Hi Jill,

I auditioned for Metropolitan Ballet in Minneapolis recently and was offered a contract for this coming year and a job teaching at their school starting this summer.

Sarah attended Saturday night cheering on her biggest fans: Nina, CCDC Ballet 3 student, and Amara, CCDC Ballet 2 student..."

...Congrats to Odette1! Where's that photo for the CCDC Wall Of Fame, Spider-Woman?

05.31.2013: Dollar$4$cholarz

Why are there no dancers on this list?
Governor Presents 2013 Scholarship for the Arts

Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds presented the 2013 Iowa Scholarship for the Arts awards to five Iowa high school seniors during a ceremony at the State Capitol.

The Scholarship for the Arts is awarded annually to select high school students with a proven artistic ability in dance, literature, music, theater, traditional arts or visual arts who plan to attend an Iowa college or university during the next academic year and pursue a major in the arts. The students recognized will receive $1,500 toward his or her 2013-2014 college tuition and related expenses as a full-time undergraduate at a fully accredited Iowa college or university with a major in one or more of the disciplines considered for the award.

The Scholarship for the Arts award is administrated by the State Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. This year's recipients are:

  • Betsy Guthrie of Hopkinton (Maquoketa Valley Senior High School) will attend Drake University and major in Music.
  • Caitlin Brainard of Mason City (Mason City High School) will attend the University of Northern Iowa and major in Studio Art.
  • Caylin Graham of Ogden (Ogden High School will attend the University of Northern Iowa and major in Studio Art.
  • Kayla Pierce of Ames (Gilbert High School) will attend the University of Iowa and major in English and Theatre.
  • Luke Kottemann of Iowa City (Iowa City High School) will attend the University of Iowa and major in Music Composition and Engineering.
...maybe because all CCDC Class of 2013 are pursuing their dance careers outside of a local college or University?

05.30.2013: Pointe, Counter-Pointe

The last posting on DWT*** generated these responses:
"...So I'm a bit behind but here's my two cents worth. I had rooted for Zendaya all season. So spunky, so young, such a good head on her shoulders. But at the end I (think) Kelly and Derek's freestyle won me over. Zendaya's had too many styles and was a bit all over the place. Kelly in the contemporary piece was as good as many of the professionals we've seen. Derek is simply in a class of his own when it comes to choreography and having him as a partner is an amazing advantage.

One comment about Ally and Mark. She was not the best dancer but I don't believe anyone else on the show could have pulled off the African dance they did the week before (which you said was a one-note dance). Same thing with the poll dance in the freestyle. I was underwhelmed by the dancing but her strength and stamina were impressive!..."

...which engendered this reply:
"...I don’t watch enough of the show to be as authoritative as you two, but I watched the dance she & Derek did in the next-to-last week. Kelly & Derek were partially in silhouette and it was really impressive. She had tremendous lines (I’ve learned to say that under (GoCCDancedoC's) tutelage) and her final dance was spectacular..."
...So, any thoughts? How off-base are we? You can join the CCDC dance discussion here.

05.28.2013: Finally! The Finale!

Here's the play-by-play to the Season end:
DWT** The Finals! Well, we already know the results. Pretty hard to hide from learning the outcome as popular as the show has become. Athletic first number! Nice to see an asian guy in the professional ranks! Finally! Okay, part asian anyway.

Four in the finals this year. I guess they're just tweaking with the formula to keep it fresh. Val! Suffers a sharp elbow to the head. But, as i tell the CCDC partner class. If you ain't been hit, you ain't been partnering long!

Team Jacoby+Karina: Now it's the sprint to the finish! The last man standing. Personally coached by Len. "Kick a peanut"! Jacoby Jones! Call him the Swag-Man! He's got such a personality it's going to motivate callers into the show.

Unfortunately, for dance fans severe weather interrupts show coverage. Little moot now watching it nearly a week later!o( Now, we're checking to see if we can download the show via our satellite provider!

Okay, now, we're downloading the replay. No HD, no fast forward, least we get to watch the show!o)

Rewatching the opening. Dang! Everything looks worse after HD! "Dancing With The Stars" Cruise? Wow! Make money with that brand!

Team Jacoby+Karina: Judge's pick, The Jive. Pointe those feet Jacoby. Good action, Okay, now he's imroving those flippers. He's So cool, so musical. So big.. SO GOOD Fast and fancy footwork. C'mon bring it on home, Mister Jone! Jump onto the judges table for the finish! There's Emmet Smith in the audience! I give him a nine or ten! "The peanut won!" Real judges: 9, 9,9 Two more dances for the Swag-Man!

Team Aly+Mark: Judge's choice is a Samba! Coached by Bruno. Tapping into her inner Shakira. Shake it, girl! good attack, good energy. She's bringing the party to the performance! Great smile! There are the samba rolls! Oh, no turns in the roll. But, Not holding back in the passion department! No embarassment in the the shakes and crawling on the floor! I give her nine or ten from me. She's going to be a better gymnast because of her dance training. Real judges: 9, 9, 10

Team Kelly+Derek: Judges' choice: Quick Step. The grumpy judge is Len, "The Principal". Attach those "knobbly bits". She's going to duct tape themselves together "The more you sweat, the better you get". Jump was a little off count. Hold is better. Now she's back in the groove. Their knobbly bits aren't attached! As usual excellent Derek choreography! They accelerate as the music picks up. go smooth as the the music starts to swing! What a performance! She gets a ten from me! "A tour de force"! "Fantastic"Real Judges: 10, 10, 10 First perfect score in these finals! The momentum begins to build...

Team Zendaya/Val: Judge's pick: the Samba. How much will the injury make her hold back? Carrie Anne is judge's coach. Samba feel!Practicing in those foreign heels! "You gotta be ten times stronger in heels!" Team Z starts sultry and smooth! This girl is a star...unlike some of the other contestants. As always, sharp and smooth. Fiery in all red! Legs that go on forever! That smolderingsmile! Now that's the party girl. All eyes on Zendaya!! Val who? She's SO GOOD! Winner, winner chicken my book at least! She gets my eleven! "Incredibly fierce!" This girl is just 16?It's Z's world and we just live in it! Real Judges: 10, 10, 10! Gauntlet thrown down, picked up and slapped you upside the head!o)

Second round: The Cha-Cha Relay: starts off with Kelly! Sharp as usual. Swivel those hips, girl! This girl is a star aas well. show off tha flexibility. Jacoby jumps over the pair to start his forty seconds. The boy brings the swag and the passion. He slides under Aly and Mark to bring them on the floor. Oh, she's hopiing too much. needs to be more grounded with more stretched knees. Zendaya brings her personality and precision to the stage. She's slim and strong and Tall. Just her strut is riveting! Ends with a dramatic drop! I rank them zendaya, kelly, jacoby then Ally. This is a tough decision for the judges. These are the four that deserves to be in the final four. Reverse order: Jacoby, Ally, Kelly, Zendaya!

Supersized Freestyle round is all that remains: No rules RULES!

Team Jonesoff: Honoring New Orleans a flash mob. The big Easy. Jacoby choreographing his own moves. Jacoby! Bringing the PRODUCTION! Squad of stompers start off. He peels off his shirt. one-handed drop. Usually, I can watch the professional, but, Jacob y is difficult not to watch. Here are the kid tappers! It's that Sofia. I give him a ten just for the production and effort! Carrie says he was "lost in the shuffle", I disagree! Maybe it's different in person, but, to me the focus was always the big NFL wide receiver. "Personality and energy!" Real judges: 9 ,9, 9

Team Allas: vertical challenge. So Intense. His fear of heights comes into play. The futuristic fantas of Mark. Starts off with laser light show. Great Tour jete entrelace. Shows off her strength and flexibility. Run up on to the stage with poles. Will the apparatus over shadow the dancing? Those poles are wobbling an awful lot. Kind of a weak ending! I give them a nine or eight. Real judges: 10, 10, 10 I was underwhelmed...not the real judges apparently!

Team Picklough: Derek makes an artistic choice to pare it down to the essentials! big risk, big reward. No other dancers just them. contemporary piece in barefeet. Unbelievable lift and partnering. He's choreographed a story. Unbelievable supported lean. The dramatic intensity is off the charts! . He's overcome with emotion at the end. Amazing! Derek has out done himself! She gets an eleven from me! "Good dancing engages the brain. Great dancing engages the heart!" "Spell-binding beauty!" Standing ovations from Len! Real judges: 10, 10, 10. "Should be an eleven" "I agree!"

Team zendayovksy: she's amazing in white. There's the hiphop. Slows down she jumps into a fish carry. But, Kelly is a tough act to follow. Here come the kids! But, the focus as always is Z herself. Too short! I give her a ten, but, Kelly's a tough act to follow. Inspiring the kids! "Inspiring luminosity!" "Simply irresistible!" "You're cocky, you're're divine!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10

The finale of DWT***: Starts off with a reprise of the first number (Lacey Schwimmer choreographed) they started off with. Pitbull! Bad news is we have to sit through the eliminated dancers again. Encore dance is, of course, Kelly and Derek. It's even better the second time

Aly is the first to go. She says it was the best experience she's ever had! Better experience...than the Olympics? Again out of her comfort zone "Best student I've ever had" says Mark. Take that, Shawn! Ouch!

We get to watch Dorothy Hamill dance again. She was forced to withdraw from the competition early because of injury. Which is a shame since she would've been in the mix until the very end. Kristi Yamaguchi makes a cameo. How sweet! How touching! They may take it to the ice later, but, this was memorable! They're doing their best to make these reappearances more watchable. Adding Len to one dance. Adding a ton of dancer's to Andy Dick's Poker Face.

Instant dances:

Team Jacoby: Salsa. AUdience climbs to its feet. This boy can salsa. Smooth and sensual! Could open his shoulders up just abit. Big man dancing big...and well. Leap and catch. the camera was in the way! He does it again! I give him a ten or nine. He is like the Big Easy! Mother's demanding a TEN! "Not where you start, it's where you finish!" Heart of a champion! Real judges: 10, 10, 10 Strong finish! Demonstrates his touchdown dance! Stand aside Ravenation! Here comes the Jacobinator!o)

Team Kelly: Jive. Where has all this dancing ability been hiding? makes me wonder how many other godd dancers! Derek starts off with roundoff back layout! The boy is fully trained. Great energy, great atack. She's a doll! Enthusiasm up the wazoo. Look at those legs and extension! Last one gets a ten from me! "You remind me of Julianne Hough!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10 Put a cherry at the top of the sundae!

Team Zendaya: She's so sassy, so cool. Pink shoes and all!. She gets an eleven just with her first moves from me! Zendaya can do no wrong. She's inspirational to this old dancer! Great attack. great enthusiasm! Great expression! "You have such a magical quality!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10 Leader in the clubhouse, I think!

This is the way you follow up on the All-Star Season. With a bunch of finalists who could've won many other season of DWT***! Congrats to the winners... very deserving! Congrats to the runners-up. Zendaya would've won many other seasons! Wonder what Derek would've been able to do with her? The mind boggles! Congrats to the show for what finally turned out to be a worthy successor to the All-Star season!

05.24.2013: First-Rate, Second Company

Just got this in the old emailbag:
"...Learn more about the dancers who are working toward their dreams of making it big in New York City!..."
Dance212.Com is starting their new season of dance-oriented webisodes. This year they're focusing on young dancers in NYC in second companies. Including Skylar who's a dancer in ABT II under the direction of a guy who guested with my old ballet company, former ABT Principal Wes Chapman. Also, included are webisodes with dancers in Martha Graham II, Paul Taylor 2, Ailey II and others. Love that you don't have to wait for PBS to broadcast the odd show about ballet or Breaking Pointe to see some ballet on the small screen. Here's the latest.

05.23.2013: More From Moore

More from future ballet company of a CCDC student:
"...In Our Thoughts

Robyn (Stewart) Rojas grew up taking ballet lessons at The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet and eventually danced professionally as a member of the Oklahoma City Ballet for many years.

Recently married and expecting her first child with her husband Ivan, their home was completely destroyed by the Moore tornado. This gofund site was setup to raise funds to help this young couple rebuild their lives in anticipation of their baby. We know there are many people in need but we hope you would consider giving something to help this member of our Oklahoma City Ballet family.

Oklahoma City Ballet
7421 North Classen Boulevard
Oklahoma City , Oklahoma 73116

...If you'd like to help, contact the local Red Cross.

05.22.2013: OkCBallet Responds to Destruction

Future ballet company of a CCDC student reacts to this week's twister in their hometown:
"...Oklahoma City Ballet and The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet are deeply saddened by the destruction left in our community.

As friends and family gather at the Kirkpatrick Auditorium for the Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet Spring Performance, we encourage you to bring along a little something extra for those affected by recent storms.

We will have a truck ready to take in donations at our studios Thursday until 5:00 and then at the Kirkpatrick Auditorium from 6:00 p - 8:00 p. Financial contributions will also be accepted. Please help us load the truck as we regroup from this homefelt tragedy..."

...If you'd like to help, contact the local Red Cross.

05.21.2013: Trocks Rock?

The 2013 Dance Series wraps up tonight with the "boyz-in-drag" ballet company: "Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo". I'm not very excited about this selection and it was one of the reasons we chose not to subscribe this season. Look, I understand that of the three companies brought in every year, only one is a classical ballet company. But, I think the reason subscriptions are down this year (Just a guess on my part based on the desperate tone of some of the outreach) is for two reasons: One, dance students and teachers are busy dancing week nights. Last season, two out of three of the offerings were on Saturday night. That's the only night, we can attend, so we went ahead and subscribed. That's not the case this year, all the shows are on a weeknight. That makes it difficult for us to attend without cancelling classes or rehearsals. I understand that scheduling for weekends is tough, but, if you don't schedule them, we won't come. Secondly, if you're going to bring-in what most consider not-a-serious ballet company like the Trocks, BRING IN A REAL CLASSICAL COMPANY as well! Trocks don't "fill the quota" for ballet for me! Now, I'm sure "the ballerinos" in the BTdMC are very good dancers. I've trained en pointe, I know it's not easy. Men in drag, I'm sure, can be amusing and entertaining...But, for me, I don't see enough real and good and real good ballet to want to squander my time watching it be satirized. Call me a stick-in-the-mud, but, I'll spend my time and my money elsewhere. Are you listening Civic Center?

05.20.2013: Stars Come Out!

The 300th episode! The last of the deadwood gets trimmed:
DWT** The SemiFinals!

The new dance styles, two routines from each contestant. And, so, it begins...

Team Picklough: Argentine tango. "do everything you can do to win the day!" Starting with a red backdrop. In silhouette! Sharp and smooth. Very flexible girl. Excellent choreography we've come to expect from ruff, tuff, Derek Hough. Nice body contact and flicks and kicks! Less story and more steps. Derek is making up for last week. That's a ten from me! No flaws! "Welcome to the world of the sublime!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Their first perfect scores!

Team Ingym: Samba. Won't go down without a fight! Peaking at the right time? Hmm, don't know about that! But, he is getting better. She needs to straighten her knees in her rond de jambe kicks! Good hips. well-rehearsed. Good choreography. One of his best efforts, but, too little, too late IMHO. I give him an eight! Real judges: 8, 8, 8

Team Allas: AfroJazz for the first time. But, rhumba first. Her walk is a little pedestrian. She's better, but, the passion quotient is tentative. Higher heels would be better for her. Good choreography, but, a little basic for my taste. She gets an eight or nine. Real judge: 10, 10, 10 Her first perfect scores!

Team Jacobinoff: Injury during camera blocking just the day before. The show must go on. Tango. His strength and length are real assets in this dance. Karina's choreography shows off both. . Dramatic drop to the floor at the finish! I give him a nine or ten. Boy cleans up good, don't he! Real judges: 10, 10, 10 His first perfect scores. "Go kiss him, Momma!"

Team Zendayovsky: Quick step. fun story! Speed racer hits the ballroom. She has endless energy and she's not afraid to use it in this competition! But, the frame grows weaker the longer the dance goes! Not easy steps either. Her legs are endless! Her attitude reigns supreme! She gets a nine or ten from me! What an aerobic, artistic effort! Real judges: 8, 8, 9

Second round:

Team Kelly: Flamenco. An Americanized, ballroom version of authentic Spanish Flamenco. Good effort, hitting all the required stereotypes of the dance. Hand claps and rhythms, percussive foot stomps. A ballroom drop for a flourish to the finish! Very passionate and intense I give her a ten. Real judge: 9, 10, 9

Team Kimgo: He was a competitive skier at a young age. Charleston. He's pretty in pink! Plays a flapper Great energy!. Fun comic touches Did he over promise? Fun only goes so far! Not enough content. one-note routine. Not great, Gatsby! gets an eight from me! Real judges: 9, 9, 9 His highest scores!

Team Aly: Afro-Jazz! Powerful start. Stick wielding start. Mark sets a high standard of attack, but, Aly's staying right with him. Simplistic tribal choreography, but, done well. This again is a one-note routine. I'll give her a nine. Real judges: 10, 9, 10

Team Jacoby: Lindy Hop. Start off in the horn section. Routine begins with attack and power. This boy has some swag! Great energy!. He's a comic. Fast footwork! But so cool!. His expression kills me everytime! Dang! He's so cool! I give him a ten! Real judges: 10, 9, 10

Team Zendaya: Can Val keep ups with Zendaya is the question! Hip Hop Routine next! Shy at birth? Star struck youngster! Street girl meets straight guy routine! Wow! She's SO sharp and SO cool! Val's doing his best to keep up, but, she's like MJ so cool and so smooth.This is her element. She's home and she likes it! Impossible to take your eyes off her. Val might as well not be there! She could do a solo! She gets a ten from me! Real judges: 10, 10, 10!

Results show: Ingo is the underdog and ends up in the bottom two couples. Surprise is Zendaya is beside him. But, as expected, Ingo goes back to O'ahu, a real winner anyway. Now...For the first time in the finals, four couples! ...And, just as DWT** ends, SYTYCD begins!

05.17.2013: Rx For Exercise

Take two plie's and call me in the morning. Another argument for CCDC Adult Ballet or Pilates classes:
(Capital City News) — Exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD), both when used alone and in combination with other treatments. There's now sufficient research data to provide specific guidance on how to prescribe exercise for depressed patients, according to a report in the May Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

"Despite the substantial evidence supporting the use of exercise in the treatment of MDD, previous studies have not provided a clear indication of the proper dose of exercise needed to elicit an antidepressant effect," write Chad Rethorst, PhD, and Madhukar Trivedi, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. To fill this gap, the authors reviewed available data from randomized controlled trials, with the goal of developing specific and detailed recommendations for clinicians on how to prescribe exercise for their patients with MDD.

Randomized trials have shown that exercise is effective in reducing depressive symptoms in patients with MDD, on its own and in conjunction with other treatments, such as antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy. Exercise may help to meet the need for cost-effective and accessible alternative therapies for depressive disorders—particularly for the substantial number of patients who don’t recover with currently available treatments.

Based on the available data, aerobic exercise is the preferred form of exercise for patients with MDD—although there is also support for resistance training, Drs Rethorst and Trivedi note. In terms of session frequency and duration, they recommend that patients participate in three to five exercise sessions per week, for 45 to 60 minutes per session.

In terms of intensity, for aerobic exercise, they recommend achieving a heart rate that is 50 to 85 percent of the individual’s maximum heart rate (HRmax). For resistance training, they recommend a variety of upper and lower body exercises?three sets of eight repetitions at 80 percent of 1-repetition maximum (RM—that is, 80 percent of the maximum weight that the person can lift one time).

Data suggest that patients may experience improvement in depressive symptoms as little as four weeks after starting exercise. However, Drs Rethorst and Trivedi emphasize that the exercise program should be continued for at least ten to twelve weeks to achieve the greatest antidepressant effect.

Some people have questioned whether patients with MDD will be willing to participate in an exercise program. But Drs Rethorst and Trivedi note that, in the studies they reviewed, only about fifteen percent of patients dropped out of exercise programs—comparable to dropout rates in studies of medications and psychotherapy.

The authors discuss strategies that may help improve adherence to exercise programs, such as consulting patients about their preferred types of exercise and providing individualized educational materials and feedback. They also provide some practical tips for clinicians on how to estimate exercise intensity using readily available information.

Even if the depressed patient can't reach the target intensity and frequency levels, exercise can still be helpful. "Taken as a whole, these findings suggest that exercise doses below the current recommendations may still be beneficial for patients with MDD," Drs Rethorst and Trivedi add. "Therefore, clinicians should encourage patients to engage in at least some exercise, even if they do not exercise enough to meet current public health recommendations.”

05.16.2013: Small (Dance) World After All

Got way too much money and way too much time on your hands? Looking for something dance-related to do this fall in southern Asia? Just got this unsolicited invitation in the emailbag: (Contact them at your own risk!o)
To, Folk Dance Artist / Group,

International Folk dance Festival "SAAC FOLK" 2013, Gandhinagar, INDIA during 24th to 28th October 2013.

Shyama Academy of Arts and Culture is nonprofit Organisation (NGO) situated in Ahmedabad city, Gujarat State, India, Which aim is connection people through festivals of folk dance, Arts and Culture. Establishing culture cooperation, presentation, tradition between different cultures and nations from all over the world.

Mission of the festivals is to celebrate special events to bring together different cultures from all over the world through Music, dance, Arts, Culture and traditional national costumes of the nations.

The purpose of the festival is to put communication and cooperation between folk dance group and presentation of their own national culture, exchange experience and information’s getting new friendships, get to know new places.

With pleasure we Invite you to participate on International Folk dance Festival "SAAC FOLK" 2013, Gandhinagar, INDIA during 24th to 28th October 2013.

The intention of our Invitation is to invite you to celebrate together the festival and to present the culture tradition of different countries and to provide an opportunity for the members of groups to get together, to establish friendships and culture presentation through dance and music.

International folk dance festival Participante Information :

International folk dance workshop and Navratri Festival during 4th October to 18th October, 2013

Participant information :

Free Invitation Pass to visit the Festival for International Artist.

Shyama Academy Of Arts & Culture
C/o, Sun International
G-50, Navjeevan Mill compound,
Kalol-382721, Gandhinagar,
Gujarat State, INDIA.
E-mail Us :
General Inquiry:

Membership Information:

For Artist and Group Information:

For festival Information:

For Workshop Information:

For Invitation Letter and visa Information:

05.15.2013: Degrees of Dance

Hey, Class of 2013 and younger! Graduating from high school doesn't mean you need to hang up the dancing shoes. This resource might help you find a good post-secondary fit:
The Annual Dance Magazine College Guide for 2012-2013

Dance Magazine College Guide brings a dancer's perspective to college planning. Part guidance counselor, part search engine, the annual College Guide delivers it all in one convenient source. Put it to work for you today!

  • 600+ college and university dance programs
  • One-stop comparison searching
  • Financial solutions
  • Advice from current dance professionals

05.14.2013: Swan Synopsis

The 2013 CCDC Spring Showcase and Recital "Swan Lake...and More!" is just over two weeks away! To help you appreciate the plot developments in the ballet excerpts, here's a reprint from the last time we presented Swan Lake from the blog archives:

4.16.2007: The Legend of Swan Lake

Once upon a time, in a land far, far from farfegnugen (long before the automobile was even invented, in fact), there lived a handsome young prince. (And, no, that is not redundant. For every William, there is a Chuck after all!) And, all the young girls in the kingdom were all atwitter one fine day. Preparations were getting underway for Prince Siegfried's birthday celebration and the rumor was, now that he had come of age, the Queen would command him to take a bride! All the eligible young women in the country were hoping against hope that it would be them. So, they were busy helping each other frantically primp up for the Prince's arrival.

Suddenly, the royal trumpets sound the fanfare for the uncommon man. Siegfried is arriving earlier than expected! Bedlam breaks loose as last-minute preparations and prettifying hurriedly take place!

The Prince bursts on the scene and greets the townsfolk. A few tweak protocol and break ranks to introduce themselves to Siegfried. And, the big dance of the pleasant peasants pleases the Prince. But, before another step can be taken, another fanfare signals the arrival of the Queen and her young courtiers.

The Queen congratulates her son on coming of age. She commands a royal present to be revealed. It is a state of the art crossbow! But, as soon as it is uncovered, she waves it away. Enough time for hunting and weapons of war later. Instead, it's time for the big mother-to-son, Queen-to-Crown Prince heart-to-heart. She tells him now that he is old enough, it is time to pick a bride and produce a Royal Heir to the throne. The Queen dismisses his protests that he has not met anyone that he truly loves. She says true love is not always for heads of state. And, if he doesn't choose a proper bride, she will arrange a marriage for him. Then, she waves to the crowd and disappears inside the castle.

But, before the Prince can fully express his disappointment, the young courtiers begin to dance. And, then, two bold peasant girls convince him it is time to dance with them. And, because dancing is a joy to him, he can't dwell on maternal commands or demands while he is so engaged. But, one can't dance forever and reality intrudes when the trio is finished.

And, even in the middle of a crowded courtyard and frolicking festivities, the Prince feels isolated and alone. He cannot refuse the direct order of the Queen Mother, but, he only wishes to find his soul-mate, someone he can love with all his heart who will love him back as much. Why must life be so difficult? Siegfried is feeling the pressure of his situation, when two of the young courtiers return with his mother's gift: the crossbow!

But, even the state-of-the-art weaponry can distract him from his frustration only so long. He sets it aside and imagines meeting and dancing with a special someone. When he's done, the melancholy Prince retrieves his crossbow. That's when something high in the sky catches his eye. A flock of majestic swans, silhouetted above the sunset, is circling the courtyard. He watches the beautiful birds begin to land in a distant part of the forest that people seldom visit. There was a lake there rumored to be of a mother's tears. Siegfried would go there and hunt game to take his mind off his troubles.

Thus ends Act One. Act Two, is the meeting and courtship of Odette, the Queen of the Swans and Crown Prince Siegfried.

The Prince arrives in a deep and hidden part of the eternal forest. In the distance is a lake where the swans have landed. He is aiming at one of them when, suddenly, it morphs into a human being, a lovely young woman adorned with white feathers. What strange magick be this! He watches in wonder as all the swans transform into young women. Finally, the most beautiful of all the swans arrives. Surely it must be the Queen! Yes, it is Princess Odette and she turns into the most lovely of all the young lasses. Siegfried's heart melts. His prayers are answered, he is lost in love. He resolves to meet her.

But, that first meeting doesn't go well, Odette is frightened and tries to flee the handsome stranger. But, even as she tries to elude the Prince's grasp, she realizes, too, that her heart is also lost. Come with me, says the Prince. I cannot, says Odette. I am under a spell. That lake you see is made up of my mother's tears. The vile necromancer Rothbarta has condemned me to fly as a swan by day...and dance as a young girl all night. The only way the spell can be broken is by a true love that never strays. But, the Prince is nothing but persistent. And, finally, Odette realizes her heart overrules her head and she timidly approaches as he goes to bent knee.

But, just then, the dread sorceress Rothbarta bursts on the scene disguised as a gigantic owl. (Editor's note: Usually played by a man in most professional productions. Title IX strikes again!o) She is enraged! She had been planning to marry her own daughter, Odile, to the Crown Prince and Odette was ruining the best laid plans of sorceresses and necro-monsters. Rothbarta chases the Prince off in flurry of fury! She laughs mightily to herself once he's gone. Absolute power has driven her absolutely insane. Rothbarta summons the flock of swans to dance for her pleasure, finally revealed as young maidens all, transformed and enslaved by dread magick, most fowl.

The swans dance and dance and dance some more. But, unbeknownst to the Sorceress, the Prince returns to woo his troth to Odette. The act ends in a heartbreaking, yet, love affirming pas de deux. The final scene is a tableaux of tenderness and a tribute to love as the curtain falls.

Thus ends Act Two. The final one or two acts not performed tonight, tell the tale of the Sorceresses' Revenge. Rothbarta transforms her daughter into the Black Swan Queen, Odile. A duplicate in every detail of the White Swan Queen, Odette. (Editor's note: Most often, in modern professional productions, one ballerina portrays the duality. It is considered a pivotal, make-or-break role in the development of an aspiring young dancer. Just as Swan Lake is considered le blanc du blanc, la creme de la creme, the purest test of all the white ballets.) The famous 32 fouette' turns are performed in the ballroom scene as Odile bedazzles the Prince into swearing his love to her. That seals Odette's fate and the spell of the Swan Queen can never be broken. In most versions, she throws herself into the Lake of her mother's tears. And, the Prince, heartbroken at being tricked into betraying his one true love, soon follows. But, many modern versions dispense with the tradition of tragedy and show the lovers triumph instead. Whichever future full-length version you will hopefully watch and/or perform, know that Le Lac du Cygnes has a legacy that reaches back centuries, spans the continents and has survived the test of time, one dancer and audience member at a time.

05.13.2013: My Guilty Pleasure

Play-by-play of the latest DWT***:
Road to the semi-finals! Down to the final half-dozen! The deadwood is being trimmed. Two routines this week! Trio round is this week's twist.

Team Zendovsky: Val's asking for more details and more competitiveness in this foxtrot. Her smile is magickal. Makes me happy!. She's lovely in a shimmering floral print! Floats like a dream! Great frame and head line! She needs to forget this acting thing and concentrate on professional dancing! What great spirit! She deserves a ten! "You took my breath away!" Real judges: 9, 10, 9! "A TEN from LEN!"

Team Shawnatroyd: Tango. The Bachelor says he enjoys dancing and feels himself getting better everyday. That's the key right there. She's challenging him to bring more aggression...and PASSION! He knows he's dancing on borrowed time! Theme of a jilted lover to a Katy Perry song. He's improved. Stronger, Sharper, but is it too little too late? Frame is better but, his core is still loose. I'll give him an eight. "Took a step backwards." "Little bit ugly!" Sean does clean up well in that classic blonde Bond tuxedo! (Love these little dancing interludes they bump back into action with! The more dancing the better as far as I'm concerned!) Real judges: 7, 7, 7

Team Jakobina: Waltz. Karina coaching more finesse and technique to complement his natural charisma. Dang! He's got natural line. His sway needs some work. He's a natural dramatic dancer. Frame is better on the outside, but, not strong enough in the middle. He rips his shirt open to Carrie Ann's delight! Whoo! He picks Karina off the floor with no help! I'll give him a eight or nine! "Nice surprise!" "Waltz looks easy, but, is VERY, VERY hard!" "If momma likes it, LEN likes it!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9 Oooh, Momma not satisfied! And, she lets America know about it!

Team Kimgo: Survived the bottom two! Need to step it up in the foxtrot! The physical demands are proving to be a hurdle for the soap star. But, the bright lights bring out the performer in him! He starts with great elan and flair. The lights, the music, the costume, the crowd pushing him to a very good performance. Good heel leads. great expression. I give him an eight! "By far, your best posture!" "Looked like Gene Kelly!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8

Team Pickough: Viennese Waltz. Revealing her emotions. Dancing for her gramma! Honest emotion in her dancing. Nice arabesque line. smooth back and forth. Dancing in clouds of smoke. Some little, little moments of indecision. Are her emotions getting the best of her? Great metaphorical end as Kelly collapses to the floor! Technique gets a nine from me. Emotions get an eleven! "You went beyond the steps today!" Real Judges: 9, 9, 10

Team Alyss: Argentine Tango! Becoming the seductress. Play the harlot! Difficult for the young gymnast. But, she starts off dancing older than her eighteen years. Her flixibility and strength are a strong asset in the performance. Okay...a little lacking in the passion department! I give her an eight. "Mood and atmosphere!" "I had no idea you could be so good at being so...bad!" "Sensational!" Real judges: 9, 10, 10! Highest scores of the night!


Zendaya plus Gleb: Salsa with Princess Zendaya. Gleb says he feels like the third wheel in rehearsal. The actress starts off . She's in flat sneakers to keep her from towering over the shorter boys. Great energy! Great hips and shoulder shimmies! Her hiphop attack helps in her presentation. Her dancing makes me happy to watch! I'll give her a nine or ten! "You are the Queen of the Salsa!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! First perfect thirty of the season goes to the Disney star!

Sean plus Sharna: Jazz trio:Uh oh...the white boy approach to funk attack reappears! He's endearing in a goofy, flatfooted way. His isolations and body awareness needs work. I give him a seven in this one. "Attack came in...and style went out!" (Whitney featured in the bump back) Real judges: 7, 7, 7 Probably time to say goodbye to the Bachelor.

Jaoby plus Cheryl: Paso Doble! Strong natural arrogance! Feels like a tennis ball bouncing between the two girls in rehearsal. His competitiveness will take him far in this competition. Good strong walks. He COMMANDs the stage. Big and tall enough to dance with the far girl in a double girl hold. AND, he throws the girls around in the lifts. Tosses the cape at the feet of Cheryl who deftly manages to kick it aside. Runs for a jump and turns it into a slide! I give him a nine..or ten! Real judges: "You've become a contender tonight!" "It was like a Tarantino film!" 8, 9, 8 Crowd not happy!

Ingo adds Lindsey: Ingo plays the geek to the two hot blondes! He plays the role well with engaging charm. But, not the best jive technique. Very charming! I'll give him an eight! "Energy was great! Needs to be sharper!" Channeling his inner Andy Dick! Real judges: 8, 8, 8

Kelly adds Tristan: Paso Doble. "Dragging a lion out of a kitten!" Contines where the last dance left off! What a concept! Welcome to my world says Tristan, the UNDERWORLD! Audience leaps to its feet. SOO SHARP. Boyz are perfect and Kelly is not backing down! Strong attack. Watch those shoulders! The music is powerful and so are the dancing and the steps! She and the two gets Tenz! "That was Masterpiece Theater!" "OH MY GOD! That took my breath away!". Real judges: 10, 7, 10! Odd scoring! Uproar in the ballroom! Derek takes risks...gets some rewards!

Ally adds Henry: Jive. Counting impaired! Good! Sharp She's counting the music without showing us she's counting! She just needs to stop singing! She also needs to focus outward more and not down! Good performer for a gymnast! I give her a nine! "Consistent!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9

Results Show:

Not necessarily the bottom two. Sean and Jacoby taking the walk of shame. The script is being played out for all the drama they can squeeze out of it. But, it's a far gone conclusion: Cya Sean! Valiant attempt. A likable guy...but, the dancing didn't serve him in the end. Out of his comfort zone! Good for him stepping up to the challenge! "Humble and wonderful guy!" Now, Ingo looks to be living on borrowed time as we head into the end game! (And, don't forget the premiere of SYTYCD this week!o)

05.12.2013: Two-Wheel Tour

Biking event this Mother's Day:
2013 Bike Month “Bike to Art” Tour Announced
Tour Highlights DsM Architecture and Public Art

Capital City – Join the Architectural Foundation and the DsM Bicycle Collective for an afternoon of architecture and art on the third annual “Bike to Art” tour of downtown. The bicycle tour will take place on Sunday, May 12, 2013.

The two-hour guided ride provides an opportunity for local residents and visitors to appreciate the rich architectural heritage and public art of Iowa's capitol city. This year’s tour route will include many of downtown’s major attractions: Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Court Avenue Entertainment District, Principal Riverwalk, and the State Capitol Building and Grounds. Participants will learn about architectural detail, style, and elements, along with intriguing factoids and the historical significance of the buildings and works of art that shape the downtown skyline.

The tour will begin at the Lucas State Office Building (312 E. 12th Street) just east of the steps of the WWII Monument at 2:00 PM. The route is approximately 6.5 miles of easy peddling. A donation of $10.00 per person or $20.00 per family is recommended. The rain date is Sunday, June 2, 2013.

The “Bike to Art” tour is part of a series of events being held in May to honor Bike Month. “This is one of our favorite events to offer, because it allows participants to see the downtown area in a completely different way,” explained Tim Heilkema, event organizer. “The architecture and artwork come alive when you are riding a bike and really taking it all in.”

The Architectural Foundation is a charitable organization established in 1989 to promote awareness and appreciation of architecture and design. The Foundation pursues its mission through youth education programs, community design charrettes, architectural walking tours, and an annual lecture series.

The DsM Bicycle Collective is a nonprofit organization that promotes bicycling as a means of active transportation, wellness, and recreation. The Bike to Art event is part of the Passport game.

05.10.2013: Performance Posting

Dance haps this weekend at Party Hearty U:
Dance department presents undergrad concerts May 9-11

The University of Iowa Department of Dance will present an undergraduate dance concert at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, May 9-11 in Space Place Theater of North Hall.

The performance will feature:

  • Anticipatory Postural Adjustments, choreographed by Claire J. Mueller and featuring dancers Erin Corcoran, Irina Gass, Marisha Johnson, and Melissa Krienke.
  • (w)Hole. Being., choreographed by Elizabeth Dickson and featuring dancers Marie Brown and Ethan Rome.
  • “Excuse me, I have Complaints”, a duet, choreographed and performed by Topeka Ellis.
  • The First Thaw, choreographed by Emma Carson and featuring dancers Jingqiu Guan, Marie Mortensen, Michelle Sullivan, Katie Rosenberger, and Josh Raheim.
  • discrepancies of self, choreographed by Marisha Johnson and featuring dancers Madeline Curry, Ashley Michalek, and Arianna Russ.
  • Look at Her, choreographed by Madeline Curry and featuring dancers Danielle Beeman, Erin Corcoran, Kristen Vasilakos, and Chase Willman.
  • Quantum Poetics, choreographed by Lauren Linder and featuring dancers Carolyn Kalscheur and Arianna Russ.
  • Femme Fatale, choreographed by Makinze Meiners and featuring dancers Malinda Baty, Molly Lamb, Alee Ronchetto, Kristen Vasilakos, Chase A. Willman, and Lindsey Wong. TBA, choreographed by Ashley Michalek and featuring dancers Elizabeth Dickson, Topeka Ellis, Marisha Johnson, Carolyn Kalscheur, Claire Mueller, Arianna Russ, Anne Shalo, and Hope Spear.
Admission is $12 ($6 for senior citizens and youth, free to UI students with a valid UI ID); tickets are available in advance through the Hancher Box Office at 319-335-1160, 800-426-2437, or

05.09.2013: Crowd Control

Most young dancers start off their real performing career by being a "face in the crowd" in a story-ballet. And, many adult dancers can continue or begin their performing career by being a "super" on stage. Now, the old stage adage is: "there are no small parts" and I'm here to tell you that each role is what you make of it. Unlike the mind-numbing majority of most people's real lives, EVERY THING and EVERY MOMENT is important on stage! You should always "be someone" and "do something" all the time on stage. Acting is reacting! Everything the principals or soloists do should ripple out through the crowd and back. If you watch video of Russian ballets, the crowds are always acting and reacting to the action on center stage. (Russian supers are trained to raise their arms in salutation whenever a soloist dances nearby. Easy to do. Hard to teach to younger American dancers.) It's very difficult for directors or choreographers to set or suggest action and motivation for EVERY SINGLE PERSON during a big crowd scene. They'll usually provide broad strokes and it's up to the individuals to amplify. I remember getting praised for making up some action on the side while playing an adult in the party scene of one of my first Nutcrackers. I remember once asking my "wife" to faint when Fritz scampered by with a mouse in hand. I caught her and a few of the other adults and I walked her over to a chair where she "recovered" by fanning herself while I got her a drink of water. Now, you have to make sure you don't do so much that it distracts from the main narrative (it's called "upstaging"). But, otherwise, the more the merrier! Think marketplace scene in Romeo and Juliet! My go-to move was to gesture towards the soloist and turning in amazement as if to talk with anyone standing next to me. Introducing and greeting people on the side, slapping them on the back, bowing, curtsying, throwing hands up and laughing, all usually good crowd behavior. And, having fun with a small role will prepare you for when you actually get a larger role. And, parents, friends or siblings who think it might be fun to be on stage with their dancers: we can always use more people for the CCDC crowd scenes! Dads, brothers and boyfriends (even potential boyfriends) especially encouraged!o)

05.08.2013: Must C MTV

Update from CCDC's Rothbart on CCDC's Nikiya1:
" is the link to the music video "Aurora2" recently did--she has short hair now so that is how I recognized her. Apparently the band is pretty well known among folks who are not classical geeks like me.....

thought you might enjoy seeing it--

05.07.2013: Dia de los Madres

CCDC students! Mother's Day is this Sunday! No rehearsals or classes scheduled so you can spend some time with Mom. And, here's a suggestion if you're still searching for a Mother's Day gift: commit to spending some time with her improving her health! Sign her up for a CCDC Pilates Class and commit to going WITH her! Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings or BOTH! At least one CCDC mother-daughter combo already does this as their schedule allows. This is a real win-win-win for everyone concerned. YOU get to cross-train and improve your dancing. Your MOTHER gets more exercise that she needs and is always complaining about not getting. You BOTH spend more time together! You can buy a CCDC dance-card for her and the extra classes are no extra charge for you if you're already at the unlimited rate for classes. Try it for six weeks! Make good health a habit! Spend more time with Mom and help her reach her health goals! And, once you get her in the studio, you can work her up to CCDC Adult Ballet or other classes! ...Now, what about Father's Day...hmm...what's good for the gander...

05.06.2013: Mirror-Ballin'

The race to the DWT*** finals gets intense!
DWT*** Latin Night

Here whee go! Ole', Ole', Ole'!...Dance for immunity? What's that? Two rounds of competition? Juanes, I've vaguely heard of thanks to iTunes, but...

Team Jacobina: Salsa. One couple gets immunity. Those lifts look dangerous! Brutal rehearsals. Misses a day for massages and ice bath.Says his dance training regimen is harder than it is for professional football. Okay! Looks like he's a natural for salsa! Good tricky handwork and good hips. Very musical! Great feeling! Very watchable! Great entertainment. Good lifts! I give him a eight, maybe a nine. "You could fart salsa"? Really was that necessary? Real judges scores: 9, 9, 9

Team Radamonson: Rhumba. White man hips problem. Good work ethic! Good lines. He's better than we expected. Plays the leading man well. better line and sense of line. It's better! He's better! I give him an eight as well! Judges say he lost the connection. Real judges: 7, 8, 7

Team Picklough: Struggling with her performance schedule. Samba. Derek enters via minitramp a la faux Jacoby and has no shirt on a la faux Jacoby. Think he's emulating Jacoby? She's a performer! Sharp and smooth. great extensions, great swivel hips. Dance slows down dramatically and then speeds back up. Great expression! Great strong creative finishing series of lifts! I give her a ten! Real judges: 9, 10, 10

Team Sharnick: Rhumba. Basic movements, focusing on the technique. Needs to access his inner latin passion. Wow! She has NICE feet! He's playing the bumbling gringo to her Latin lover!. Still flat footed and she just makes him look silly. She's so good, he suffers by comparison! I give him a six, maybe a five. "A little spazzy!" He's listening intently to the comments, he wants to get better desperately! Real judges: 5, 6, 6

Team Ballman: Salsa! Shake your maracas, Ally! Mark suffers an injury, but, the show must go on! She starts with good enthusiasm! Nice bounce! Mark dancing despite injuries. Like her attack! Ouch! That can't be good for his back! non-stop energy on display. Mark limps over to the judges for their reaction. I give her an eight! Real judges: 10, 9, 10 Ally's highest scores! Tied with Kelly for tops this week!

Team Lowegatroyd: Rhumba. She brings in his fiance to feel the love. He's not an actor, but, we'll see if the training technique helps. He whips Peta around during the lift sequence. Boy is strong. A little better. But, still not feeling the love! Maybe he needs his fiance to improve his performance! I give him a six. Real judges: 8, 8, 8

Team Zendayovsky: Paso Doble. Dance of power and intensity. This girl starts off with intense castanet work. Opposite ends of the dance floor they stalk and pursue each other. Oh, SO GOOD!. Sharp accents. NICE! Big break in the music...and a false ending! WOW! SO STRONG! I give her a ten! Wow! Judges are nitpicking! Has she set too high a standard too early?Real judges: 9, 9, 9 She was ROBBED!

Round two: Dance-offs...Kelly and Derek immune

Ally vs Andy: Cha-cha. Ally starts off good in cha-cha! Good feeling, good expression. She's saucy she's sassy. Andy not so much. tentative. awkward. flat-footed. Again, his partner makes him look bad by contrast! Real judges: clean sweep for Aly+Mark

Zendaya vs Jacoby: Jive! Val no fear! He picks Jacoby! To be the best you gotta beat the best! Battle of the heavyweights! Love to watch her dance. Maybe not the most suitable for her long-limbed style, but she makes everything look good. She's so cool. But, Jacoby is good too! He's got feeling and flavor. Look at those legs go. This could be too close too call! Big straddle jump over Karina!. I give it to Zendaya because she was so good for so long. Real judges: Zenday and Val...clean sweep!

Ingo vs Sean: Rhumba. sean looks better in his second effort. Like the song...but, don't love the dancing. Ingo, much better line. much better feel by comparison. Hips are better. Making the most of his second chance. I give it to Ingo. Real judges: Ingo+Kym two, Sean+Peta one vote

Results show: touching story of the boston marathon amputee. Twitch and Allison Holker dance. Andy gets voted off the island. he should be proud of lasting as long as he did. Very emotional. Lasted until week seven! Tribute to his likeability....his dancing? Not so much! The tribe has spoken!

05.03.2013: Double-Dutch Dance

Thinking about matriculating at one of the two Universities that offered me a scholarship out of high school? Here's some webvid of what that experience at Party Hearty U is like for one double-major:

05.02.2013: Ballet Mime

The 2013 Capital City Dance Center "Spring Showcase and Recital" is coming up at the end of this month! It'll be here before you know it! CCDC dancers are busy preparing for performance! Act I+II of Swan Lake and contemporary, modern, tap, hiphop and other pieces will fill out the program at Drake University. And, in keeping with our mission statement of educating dancers and the audience about some of the traditions of the classical artform, here's a little primer on classical ballet mime you will see in our version:
  • "Let us dance": hands held overhead making rolling gesture around each other
  • "Prince" or "Princess": One flat hand makes the sign of a crown emanating from forehead
  • "King" or "Queen": Two flat hands make the sign of a crown emanating from forehead (alternative: one hand makes two signs of crown)
  • "You": gesture with one hand to person with palm up, sometimes with index finger almost fully extended
  • "Me": gesture to self with one hand
  • "Love": one or two open hands placed over upper chest or heart area, chin lifted
  • "To Marry": right hand gestures to left ring finger on flat hand extended palm-down to audience
  • "Tall": hand held flat over head rising
  • "Short": hand held flat closer to ground
  • "Beautiful": To describe a woman, back of hand makes half-circle from side of face to other side under jawline, chin raised
  • "Handsome": To describe a man, gesture starts in front of face with one open hand and ends below chin with closed fist as if stroking a beard
  • "To Think": tap or place one or two fingers to temple with thoughtful expression
  • "Comes here": point finger off in distance and make sweeping motion down to close ground
  • "No": raised flat hand to face of subject and/or shake head side-to-side, or cross two flexed hands in front of the body and seperate while shaking head.
  • "What" or "Why": two arms opening with palms up, questioning expression, raised eyebrows
  • "I Beg" or "I Plead": interlace fingers with palms facing each other, extend to subject with bent arms and a little shake, head tilt optional
  • "I order" or "You will": Point to subject with index finger full extended, fist facing palm down, chin lowered
...Impress your friends, kids or other relatives! Confound your enemies as you translate the most obscure ballet mime passages with ease! If our mini-mime descriptions aren't clear, ask a CCDC dancer or instructor to demonstrate! The more you know, the more you will be able to enjoy the classical ballet segments of the 2013 CCDC Spring Showcase: "Swan Lake"...And More!

05.01.2013: May (Day) We Show You Ballet?

Hey Gleekz o' da Weakz! In case you missed it, nice to see real ballet dancers (albeit too briefly) featured in everyone's guilty pleasure from Fox: (Not those "pretend" ballet dancers they show in the background at NYADA!o)

...And, here's a more traditional version of "At The Ballet" from Western Carolina University:

04.30.2013: Bonjour!

Time to practice your French! Or direct me to someplace that can translate this e-mailed performance announcement from a Swiss dance studio #TeamAdrian visited prior to the 2013 Prix de Lausanne:
"...Chers Danseurs, Amis, Elèves, Parents,

Nous sommes heureux de vous annoncer le spectacle du Studio de Danse Fusion qui aura lieu à la Grande salle d'Epalinges les 6-7-8 juin prochain !!

Le spectacle sera divisé en 2 parties:

Tout d'abord, l'école avec 80 participants qui danseront "l'Arc-En-Ciel" et dans la 2ème partie le Jeune Ballet vous présentera "Chaises Musicales" une chorégraphie commune à 5 chorégraphes.

Venez nombreux admirer l'enthousiasme et l'énergie des ces jeunes danseurs.

Les billets sont en vente dès aujourd hui directement au Studio, Rue Centrale 31.

L'accès à Epalinges se fait en métro et bus et il y a un immense parking derrière la salle de spectacle.

Nous nous réjouissons de vous présenter ce spectacle que nous préparons depuis des mois :)

A bientôt!!!!!

Daniella Serey, Clémentine Delay, Michal Mardas, Robert Russell, Luca Gianola et Pascale Gaud..."

04.29.2013: Dancing On The Tube

Rainy days and Mondays always get you down, Karen? Here's the antidote! Our recap of the haps from the happiest place on television...DWT***!
The Stevie Wonder Episode

Who's Hunter Hayes? And, why does he get to jam with Wonder? Am I out of it? Down to the Elite Eight! All music by Stevie Wonder! And the Team Competition!

Zendaya/Val: Cha-cha! "Funky flair!" Val is raising the barre!. Wow! Look at those legs! Great expression! Nice hips! The costume keeps dancing around her! She can shake and shimmy! She's flirting with the camera. Sharp and clean! Lotta turns! I give her a ten! "Snap, crackle and pop!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10! Sets the bar high!

Andy/Sharna: Samba "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" Flat-footed. Awkward! Lotta energy, but, clumsy. No sense of line. Little off rhythm. Yuck! I give him a five...maybe, a six. Real judges: 6, 6, 6 Puts him in the danger zone!

Sean/Peta: Samba. Problem with shimmying! He always has great enthusiasm. BUT! he's too bouncy, not grounded enough! Once again, it's dance by numbers! Peta takes his shirt off to try and distract from dancing.I give him a six, maybe, a seven! Real judges: 7, 7, 7

Aly/Mark: Fox Trot. She's dancing for her hometown of Boston. "Isn't she lovely!" Great smile. nice frame, good head angle. She looks like she's having fun. I actually like Mark's choreography. I give her an eight! "Heading towards perfection!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9

Ingo/Kym: Tango. Looks like he's putting in the work. better frame, better line. Yes, he's stepping it up this week! nice lines. Oops! just a little hunched. Hard to hold that frame for so long for an untrained dancers. But, he's better! I give him an eight for his birthday dance! "This dance really suited you!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8 His highest scores of the competition! "Bingo, Ingo! What a tango!"

Kelly/Derek: Quick Step. She's needs a little more enthusiasm, I think! Look at her frame! Great enthusiasm in the dance! Does very well with trick footwork. Good frame! Sharp legs, kicks and flicks! I'll give her a ten, maybe a nine! "Best dance of the season!" Real judges: 9, 10, 10 Len's first ten! Her highest scores! Derek has to buy her shoes now!

Victor/Lindsey: Rhumba. Victor not feeling the love. I want him to be better, but. He just not very good. Misstep he bangs into her. Great smile. No feeling in his body. Hesitant moves! May be time to say good bye to Victor. I give him a six. Real judges: 6, 6, 6

Jacoby/Karina: Quickstep! Pigeon-toes make him susceptible to low scores. Not bad first pass. strong frame. Sharp, decent attack. nice heel lead. Very musical. Boy got rhythm! Is that not PC? Great feeling! i enjoy watching him dance! His enthusiasm is contagious! I give him a nine! Real judges 8, 7, 8.

Awkward segment of lifts by Tony and Anna. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should! But, what a privilege to dance to live music with Stevie Wonder playing!

Team Paso: All the boys are shirtless. Zendaya is worth a couple of points all by herself. She's more than holding her own alongside the professionals. Victor is the weakest link. Ingo makes up for lack of technique with great enthusiasm!. Jacoby is a powerhouse! Great natural line...and world-class athleticism! Can't take my eyes off when her when Zendaya's on stage. She's a tigress...the camera loves her!. Skirts become capes! Strong routine, strong finish. I give them an eight. Real judges: 7, 8, 7

Team Samba: Disco era Samba. Strong Women. Guys mustache the question Why? Strong women and Aly is no slouch. Andy's strong suit is his enthusiasm and earnest attempt. Kelly doesn't suffer next to the pros as well. I give them and eight as well. Derek has never lost a team dance, I think his string of success is safe! Real judges: 8, 9, 8 Derek's string is safe! Amazing actually, a credit to his choreographic skills!

Results show:

Time to put Victor out of his and our misery! Andy gets saved first. Sean and Victor take "the walk of shame" down the stairs to the bottom two. He's been there before, it's his time to exit the competition. The champ gets kayoed!. "I had a blast! I made great friends!" What a classy competitor! He invites Cast 16 to be ringside at his next championship bout! It was his time! Lindsay did well for her first time as a pro on DWT**. Hope to see her performing in segments the rest of this season...and hope to see her again with a better contestant next fall! What a future lies ahead of her (Think Julianne Hough!) Lindsay's only 19!

04.26.2013: Pat On The (Feed) Back

Thinking about taking classes at Capital City Dance Center but, not sure about making the change? Just got this in from the parent of a student who switched to Capital City Dance Center recently:
"...I just wanted to keep you informed. (My dancer) HATES missing (her CCDC dance classes). In fact, she would rather go to dance instead of school!

Thank you for all you do with the students. We have really appreciated the hard work and dedication you and Emery put into CCDC. She is learning so much and I can tell she now views dance in different light. I'm looking forward to recital and Swan Lake. It will exciting to see how far she has progressed this year.

Thanks again
(CCDC parent)..."

04.25.2013: Performance Posting

Dance of inclusion beginning tonight:
"...Hancher celebrates physically integrated dance with AXIS Dance Company
Company challenges assumptions about the possibilites of movement.

The University of Iowa’s Hancher will present AXIS Dance Company on Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Space Place Theater, located on the first floor of North Hall on the UI campus. It is the company’s first Hancher performance.

Based in Oakland, Calif., AXIS Dance Company is one of the few companies that includes dancers with and without physical disabilities. The company grew out of a simple movement class which focused on exploring movement possibilities for people in wheelchairs. AXIS dancers have included people using wheelchairs, both power and manual, crutch users, and people with prosthetic limbs. The company has aimed to develop “physically integrated dance,” a dance form that uses physical limitations as a means to push choreographic boundaries, rather than viewing differences as an obstacle.

Redefining traditional notions of dance, AXIS Dance Company is committed to excellence in the physicality and creative content of their work. AXIS dances are virtuosic, athletic, unexpected, and thoughtful. The company has a repertoire of over 60 works, including collaborations with choreographers like Joe Goode, Margaret Jenkins, Bill T. Jones, and Stephen Petronio. The company’s performances have won numerous awards, and the company has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad. AXIS also offers a wide range of education programs for youth and adults of all abilities, encouraging people to problem solve, think creatively, and experience movement in a new way.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact Hancher in advance..."

04. 24.2013: Gottlieb Goes Bollywood!

The best dancers on the small screen return when the new season of SYTYCD premieres next month. Good time to catch up with an SYTYCD alumnus courtesy of Dance Informa:
"...Lauren Gottlieb has gone from So You Think You Can Dance to the silver screen, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon! Scoring a role in India’s first 3D dance film, Any Body Can Dance, Lauren is fulfilling her dreams of becoming an actress.

While in India at the premiere of the box office hit ABCD, Dance Informa caught up with the talented actress and dancer. Lauren filled us in on the difficulties in filming a Bollywood movie, career highlights such as working with Tom Cruise at the MTV Awards, and what the future may hold.

Congratulations on your role in Any Body Can Dance!

Thank you! I have been waiting for this moment my whole life. I started out my career in TV, but always had my heart set on film. The fact that my first lead role as an actress was also a dance film is just one of those things I call ‘fate’. As it’s India’s first 3D dance film it’s also a part of history, and I couldn’t be more thankful for such a wonderful life experience. The film released with smashing box office numbers and broke the record for being the highest grossing film-opening weekend with a non-star cast in the history of Indian cinema. A very proud moment in my life!

Can you tell us about the character you play?

I play ‘Rhea’, an Indian girl who comes from an upper class family and is a trained contemporary and ballet dancer. After an altercation with her teacher ‘Jehangir’ (Kay Kay Menon) she decides to follow her sir, ‘Vishnu’ (Prabhudeva), to a more underground urban dance crew in the slums. All in all, it’s a story about the underdogs rising to the top, and something I think the whole cast can relate to. Through hard work and dedication we all paved our way from nothing to seeing ourselves on the silver screen.

How was it working on an Indian film? Would you like to shoot again in India?

It was a huge risk taking this project on. I had to move from Hollywood to Bollywood and jump right into a new culture and lifestyle, and film my first movie not in my language. It was all so foreign to me and such a challenge to learn my Hindi dialogues so quickly, that at times I didn’t know if it was possible. I really turned to God to help keep me on track. I had an amazing Hindi coach, Kishor Sadhwani, and together we combined my Hindi script in my left hand and the English version in my right. Now after having months of experience living in India and learning more and more of the language everyday, I could only imagine my next Hindi film being ten times easier than the first. A huge part of my heart is in India and now I have a big platform as an actress and dancer. I’m excited for my next project in Bollywood!

You must feel grateful to So You Think You Can Dance for providing you with amazing opportunities.

I have always been extremely grateful for all the opportunities the show has brought me. It did wonders for me, the other contestants, and dance in general. Instead of dancing behind artists, we were the solo artists and our names were in lights. From there it gave me a platform to pursue other passions I had with acting, choreographing and teaching. The show has also played in 100 plus countries around the world, which is exactly how Bollywood found me!

What was it like choreographing for Tom Cruise at the MTV Awards?

Working with Tom taught me a lot! He showed me you could be extremely talented and successful, and still treat everyone with respect. He’s a very gracious man. What was also unexpected was how open he was with learning from me. I was assisting Tyce Diorio on the project, but when Tyce couldn’t make it, Tom was still all ears and worked harder than most so he could give the best performance possible.

Congratulations on being featured in Glee. Is the show as much fun as it looks?

Glee is terribly fun to work on! The choreographer, Zach Woodlee, is a dream. The rehearsals are a mixture of extreme intensity and downright silliness. We are either sweating it out or laughing our butts off, but usually we are doing both at the same time. I was in the pilot episode and most of the first season dancing with the hit rival crew ‘Vocal Adrenaline’. It was exciting to see a show go from the first episode where no one knew about it, to being a hit that everyone couldn’t stop talking about.

What’s next for you?

I’m at a huge crossroad not only in my career, but also in my personal life. I have accomplished so much as a dancer performing on stage, film, TV and movies. I now have a great platform as an actress, which is a direction I had always hoped my career would take. The life crossroad is Hollywood or Bollywood? I always let my intuition guide me. You’ll have to wait and see what the next step will be!

04.23.2013: Performance Posting

Heading to the 'Paris of the Plains' soon? Good opportunity to catch some ballet!o)
Going to Kansas City
May 3-12 at the Kauffman Center

Experience a night out on the town that takes you back to the era of nightclubs and dance halls when Kansas City was considered the 'Paris of the Plains.'

3 Hot Dances Put the Sizzle in Spring!
Order Your Tickets Today at
Call the Ballet Box Office at 816-931-2232 to order by phone.

Also featuring...

Energy Made Visible by Karole Armitage
A World Premiere
Internationally acclaimed choreographer Karole Armitage brings Kansas City Ballet a new work, in which Kansas City saxman Bobby Watson will perform live on stage, along with video impressions of the paintings of Jackson Pollock in this multimedia ballet.

William Shatner's Voice Rocks Margo Sappington's Ballet
Common People
Choreographed to the spicy vocals of actor William Shatner and music by Ben Folds, Common People will rock crowds with this nationally acclaimed piece..."

04.22.2013: DWT***

Latest post-mortem:
Starts off with tribute to Boston.
Halfway done with the competition!

Featuring the return of Maximumus ego Chermokovsky! For everyone who was missing his egregious ego. Dancing intro of the contestants to Pitbull choreographed by Lacey Schwimmer. Even in the group: Zendaya stands out in a good way along with Kelly...and Andy and D-L stick out like non-dancing well sore thumbs.

Challenge: "Len's side-by-side challenge". Same choreography along with the professional dancers! Bright side: Always something good to look at for the viewers! Down-side? Bad dancers will look even worse by comparison!

Team Ingym: Tony and Emma are the pro couple. Cha-cha! Ingo's hips are a liability! He's hoping to "skate by"...not a good tactic! Ahh...always nice to see the pros strutting their stuff! Steps are basic, but, done with an experienced professional's flair. Side-by-side reveals the weaknesses of the non-dancer. He's got good expression, but, the moves lack crispness and execution! Footwork is fumbly. His core needs even more work! Doesn't finish movements, but, I give him a seven. "Got the care, need the flair!" "No intimidation!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7. He sets the minimum level and is hoping the public will vote to save him!

Team Jacobina: Jive, is like the Skip! Jacoby is a competitor. And the competitiveness of Max is good for him! Looks like potential! Max and Anna show how it's done. Wow that jive is fast. Max isn't holding back a bit. Okay side by side. Jacoby has the chops to keeping up! Jacoby peels off his jacket and he's getting it done! great expression with occasional goofy looks. He's getting nines tonight> Wow HUGE Straddle jump over Karina!! The boys is an athlete! fast kicks good footwork! Geat expression. Plays to the crowd. Give this football player a pat on the back and a NINE! He crawls over to the judges! Standing ovation! Real judges 9, 8, 9!

Team Vixenzy: Tristan and Emma. Viennese Waltz. He's going through an emotional triangle during rehearsal. The one one one with a male lead really helps. Mannequins come to life as Tristan and Emma demonstrate the professional standard of waltz. Very musical. Nice rise and fall. Side by side. He promises to put the emotion of his break up to the performance. Not really seeing it. Will he be relegated to the bottom two again? He's a little better. Not as clumsy or vicious! She did that spin on the floor all by herself! I give him a seven, maybe a six. "Better than last week". Real judges: 7, 7, 7 Does that mean Carrie-Anne would've given him an eight without the lift?

Team Alark: Samba. Tony and Whitney are the pros. Pro couple helps inspire the star. Looks like the scoreboard leader has a chance to stay on the top. Pros are hitting IT! Side by side shows Aly was a good student! Mimickry is the sincerest form of flattery. Sharp! She clears her hair . What she was afraid of actually happened. Good hip action. Needs to finish straightening the legs! Little stumble on the rondies back. I give her an eight or maybe, a nine! Real judges: 8, 8, 9. Little step back for the Olympic gymnast. She tweets she dedicates her dance to everyone back home in Boston!

Stevie Wonder next week? Wow! What an opportunity for the stars, pros and audience!

Team Sheeta: Tristan and Chelsie. Again good for the guy to have a male show him the steps. He's mimicking the pro, but, revealing his weakness instead!. Quick Step. Side by side isn't too bad. Fortunately it's a small stage. When they go off, he starts off with gallumphing galloping chasses. But, he steps up! After that. Great smile. of course. Starts off with better frame, but, the longer it goes on, the weaker it gets. Better foot work True test of stamina. I give him a eight, maybe a seven. "Best dance so far"! Real judges 8, 8, 8,

Team Kellek: Fox Trot. Henry and Anna the pro couple. Nice to get a girl to give a girl tips! Pros, as expected, very good! Smooth and sophisticated. Head placement the ballroom extreme. Side by side. Kelly does not suffer by comparison at ALL! . She's GOOD! WOW! Little more expression all the way through would be my critique. Good if not spectacular frame. Doesn't need that wig. She's pretty enough on her own. She's an actress! during the performance at the end! Ten for the choreography! give her a nine or a ten! Real judges 9, 9, 9 Highest scores of the night! Back on top the leader board!

Team DeryL: Sasha and Chelsie are the pros. Tango. D-L needs to meet his body. Too much in his head. He needs to connect his core to his movements. He needs to listen to the music. he needs to FEEL the music! He needs to hold his shoulders down and back. I'll be surprised if he's not the one to go this week! Choreography was designed to disguise his lack of technique! "Like a decaff coffee!" I give him a six. "Comedians have poor track record on this show"! Real judges 6, 6, 6...the number of the beast! Could it spell the end?

Team Zendayal: Lotta Chermokovskys on the floor at once! Max and Anna are the pros. Argentine Tango. Both neophytes to the dance. "I want you to feel" "Teach a girl to be a woman" She's never been in love. But, she's an actress. Time to pull out the chops. Max may be an egomaniac ("May"?) But, he can dance! Always nice to see a big man dancing big! one-handed lift shows his strength. As I suspected Anna better watch her back in the side by side. Zendaya's the young turk. AH! There's the intensity. She's light enough for Val to life effortlessly! Hmm. little less anger and a little more passion is my suggestion for the expression! I give her a ten! Max is leading the applause! "Gem of a dance!" Real judges 10, 9, 10. First tens of the season!

Team Andarna: Paso Doble alongside Sasha and Emma. Playing Zorro! Three professionals and...Andy. Sharp professional performance. Sharp, fast and smooth. Andy Dick comes in on a zip line. Weak dancing. Andy does suffer by comparison. His upper body needs a lotta help. Lotta walking around instead of stalking. WEAK footwork. Flatfooted. All the special effects don't cover up the lack of core strength and he bounces in his last foot stomp. I give him a five or six. "More Pasa-dena than Pasa Doble!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6

Time to send one of the clowns home!

Results show: A nice pas de deux on a piano. Some Bollywood with Selena Gomez. And, D-L gets shown the door! He's a class act! Good sport loser. "I will always dance now"! That's what I like to hear! Now, time for Andy or Sean to go home. But, it might be Vicious, I'm afraid!

04.19.2013: Ballet In Cinema

If you don't have class, rehearsal or performance, the next best thing is watching ballet on the big HD screen. Here are some coming performances starting this weekend:
Carmike Wynnsong Johnston
5233 Stoney Creek Rd
(515) 331-3256

  • Esmeralda (Bolshoi Ballet): Apr 21: 2:00 pm, 23: 7:00 pm

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Ballet): May 5: 2:00 pm, 7: 7:00 pm

  • Giselle (Royal Ballet): May 19: 2:00 pm, 21: 7:00 pm

04.18.2013: Shawn of the Live

The CCDC alumnus, former professional dancer and 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Modern Instructor nicknamed "GitUrFaShawn" sends in this update from "Party Hearty U":
"...Hey! I know you guys are busy, but just so you know, next Thursday (April 25th) I'm having a independent show for part of my degree. It's an hour-long concert of my own choreography... more information here!..."
..."SABoy1" neglects to mention that another CCDC alum "Thai Dyer" will be performing in that "series of dance vignettes". Merde, guise!o)

04.17.2013: Memories of Maria

The passing of NYCB Principal ballerina Maria Tallchief last week brought back more than a few memories. The former Mrs Balanchine played a small, but, pivotal role in my dance career after I left my hometown for the bright lights of the big city. Her Chicago City Ballet company had folded, but, she still ran a school north of the loop. Soon after I arrived in the Windy City, other boys told me of a standing offer for free dance classes for any guys who signed up for the pas de deux classes. Well, the price was right, I was Balanchine-trained and I was new to the city. I auditioned for that tuition-waiver and was approved. I actually ended up substitute teaching that class before my stay there was over. I didn't take many classes from Maria, she taught mostly in the day time to a select group of hand-selected scholarship students. (The other dancers told me that Maria would often stare at the ceiling to consult with her dead ex-husband whenever she couldn't get them to perform a certain step to her standards.) I couldn't make that class because that's when I earned my keep at the Kampai Sushi Bar just west of the Merchandise Mart in the River North area of downtown Chicago. I took classes mainly from Maria's sister, Marjorie Tallchief and Anna Paskevska, Homer Bryant and Joel Hall. I do remember taking one class with Maria when she pointed me out as an example of the proper way to do Balanchine passe' (I'd just come from training for several years with another of Mr. B's proteges, Nolan Dingman in my home state.) But, I also remember her pulling a pas de troisfrom performance that I'd been rehearsing for months right after a dress rehearsal. Apparently, I didn't look good enough to represent the school or her legacy during the spring showcase. But, her school also proved to be the springboard to my first professional dancing gig on the mainland. A company contacted one of the instructors looking for men for their coming season. Homer Bryant said there was only one guy who was ready to go and he told me to contact them. I sent a videotape of that spring showcase and was hired on the spot. So, despite my disappointments at not performing for Maria, I owe my first professional contract to my involvement with her school. And, I can picture her now demonstrating to the angels how to dance Balanchine...and consulting with her husband when the heavenly host can't perform a step to her standards. Rest in peace, Maria Tallchief!

04.16.2013: The 2013 List

This official notice just sent out from the Prix de Lausanne:
Schools and Companies Chosen by the 2013 Prize Winners

The Prix de Lausanne is delighted to announce that the 2013 prize winners will continue their training in the following partner schools and companies:

Prize Winner
Country, Current School
Destination School or Company

  • (203) Mr Silva Adhonay,
    Brazil, Balé Jovem do Centro Cultural Gustav Ritter, Goiania
    John Cranko Schule (Germany)
    Scholarship provided by the Fondation Leenaards
  • (412) Mr Li Wentao,
    China, The Secondary Dance School Attached to Beijing Dance Academy
    Dutch National Ballet Junior Company (Netherlands)
    Apprenticeship provided by the Beau-Rivage Palace
  • (419) Mr Yamamoto Masaya,
    Japan, Yokokura Akiko Ballet School, Nomi; Australian Ballet School
    Royal Ballet (UK)
    Apprenticeship provided by Adveq
  • (114) Ms Domingues Leticia,
    Brazil, Petite Danse School of Dance, Rio
    Royal Ballet School (UK)
    Scholarship provided by Julius Bär
  • (212) Mr Corrales Cesar,
    Canada, Private lessons; Canada's National Ballet School
    San Francisco Ballet School (USA)
    Scholarship provided by the Oak Foundation
  • (423) Mr Woellner Joel,
    Australia, Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy Ettingshausens Dyn. Arts; Ac. Ballet/V. Attard
    Houston Ballet, (USA)
    Apprenticeship provided by Fondation Coromandel
  • (408) Mr Sebastião Francisco,
    Portugal, National Conservatory Dance School of Portugal, Lisbon
    San Francisco Ballet School Trainee Program (USA)
    Apprenticeship provided by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation
  • (407) Mr Zhang Jinhao,
    China, College of Design and Art Tong Ji University, Shanghai; Liaoning Ballet School
    English National Ballet School (UK)
    Scholarship provided by Harlequin Floors
...And, semi-finalists' selections weren't officially announced, so, we'd proudly like to add this information:
  • (207) Mr Oldenburger Adrian,
    USA, Capital City Dance Center PreProfessional Program, Des Moines
    John Cranko Schule (Germany)

04.15.2013: The Play-By-Play

Another week, another review of DWT***:
The Best Year Of My Life"!

No Lisa in the descent of the stars? Preview hinted of it being "all too much"? What's up? I'm sure we'll more in a second. No Zendaya in the cavalcade of stars? What gives? She's in the video line-up, but, not in the intros? Explanation, please! Okay, sickness fells the reality star on order of doctors.

Sean/Peta: Shares about his family life and relationship of his parents. Viennese Waltz. Just wish he was a better dancer. Smoke filled dance floor. Jason Mraz song. He still lumbers around, but, the feeling is genuine! Hesitant in the rise and fall. poor hold. But, good feeling. Frame is tentative. His solo is more stumbling, but, goose bumps in the final kiss with his fiance! I give him a seven. Real judges: 6, 7,7 Deductions for lifts.

Victor/Lindsay: Paso Doble. "We Will Rock You" by Queen. Talks about his hard-luck story to win the world crown! Starts off boxing... then box steps. He's singing the words. Good attack! Still a little flat-footed and his upper body lacking details. Fails to extend lines in reach. But, the song is overpowering...too bad his dancing isn't! Upper body needs a lotta work. But, I think I gotta do some push-ups! My boy makes me feel weak! I give him a seven as well...maybe, a six. Judges: 6, 6, 6. Hmm, Brooke explains solos required by stars? Could be problematic for some.

Jacoby/Karina: What a year! Superbowl and a baby son. Talks about his role as a father. To be better than his absent father. Foxtrot. " for you, Junior" Good grapevinews. Nice lines. He looks good in gray and pink vest and tie. Nice to see a big guy move big. solo is committed! He's dancing for his little boy and the joy is evident on his face and shining from his eyes. Oh, needs to hold that last pose! But, I'll give him an eight! Grammy is crying real tears! Real judges: 8, 8, 8

Aly/Mark: Contemporary. Recreating her Olympic year. Titanium. Starts with the solo. Her gymmnastics prowess gives her a leg up. Her emotion is evident. rach needs a little work. "I won't fall" during lift sequence. Good on Mark. Wow, there's some moves I'd planned on chroegraphing myself. B-roll shot of gymnasts in the crowd. (Gabby Douglas!o) I give her an eight. "I was mesmerized," says Carrie-Anne. Real judges: 9, 9, 9. "Highest scores of the competition so far," says Brooke!

Andy/Sharna: Dedicates his dance to his daughter Megan. His daughter used to dance for him. Now he gets a chance to dance for his daughter. Viennese Waltz to "Hallelujah!" Dance of Redemption. Hope the emotion doesn't overcome his technique. Line is incomplete. He's not feeling the music. Not breath in his rise and fall. Upper body is a little dead. His solo is tentative and weak. Would've loved to see his daughter a little more involved in more than the ending. He gets a six from me. Carrie-Anne is moved to tears by the dance. Calls it a haiku of a dance. Real judges: 7, 7, 7 His highest scores of the competition. Appealing back story.

Zendaya/Val: Samba. Party dance! "Channel your inner diva." Channeling her innner Beyonce! Starts with Solo. Her firs isolations are SO sharp. Her walks is a strut. Her proportions are incredible. Oh, The diva is back. She's so GOOD! Her expression and eyes are dancing! Her hips are sharp and her legs are endless in those heels! WOW! She could bea ballroom competitor. DAANG! SHE"S GOOD! I give her a ten! "You are baby Beyonce!" Real judges: 9, 8, 9 GIRL WUZ ROBBED!

Ingo/Kym: "A Thousand Years" by Christina Peri. Looks like Viennese Waltz. Tentative solo, genuine emotion and acting. Oh, he's acting better than he's dancing. Good heel lead. Frame starts well, but, loses something in the transitions. Lovely swooping lean back. . Ehiku is his wife's name, good Hawaiian name. I give him a seven. Real judges: 8, 7, 8

D.L./Cheryl: Fox trot. "Nothing says Compton like the Foxtrot!" H e starts off sitting. Cheryl dances for eight counts. He stays still, while Cheryl moves all around him. Good strategy, cuz when he does move its a little like watching the reason they instituted handicapped parking: they need help! Hughley needs help! He has no clue! I give him five or six. 7, 7, 7 His best scores! They tumble to the floor in shock! "That's higher than my SAT scores!"

Kelly/Derek: Rhumba to Kyle Jacobs. Her feet are incredible! Her legs are incredible. She dances the story of her love for her husband. Starts slow. Her stillness speaks volumes! Her shoulders need to open up a bit more. But, the dynamics are incredible. Fast then slow. She makes great pictures. Her extensions are world-class! her solo is a bit clumsy until she just walks towards her husband with a smile of pure JOY!o) I give her a nine. Real judges: 9, 8, 9. Ties with Zendaya for tops tonight! (whoops! second tops)

Lisa/Gleb: Cha-cha. Celebration. Starts by partially disrobing. Starts off pretty strong. Once again dancing by numbers. No feeling. Just do the steps. Okay. Gleb's shirt comes off. Here's the solo. Looks like an aging go-go dancer. This could be a prelude to an elimination. Gives it a game effort. Give her an extra point for continuing. She looks like she's about to do a Marie Osmond. I give her a five or six. Real judges: 6, 6,6 Pretty good for her!

Results show:

AT&T Spotlight dance: Brilynn/Derek: What an amazing, inspiring story. She's a blind ballerina. Nice line, good training. Bad placement. Good extensions. Inspired choreography! What a special pas de deux! Derek is struggling to speak afterwards, not just the physical, but, emotional exertion. Transcends normal television programming. I'm a sucker for a dancer struggling against the odds story. Gets me everytime!

Another pas de deux of voices also special afterwards as Andrea Bocelli performs a duet with Jennifer Lopez. Val and Anna dance a torrid duet as well. Is he blind? He's not looking at anything. Forgive my ignorance...

Say goodbye to Lisa! And, about time! The audience puts her out of her misery! Side-by-side challenge next week. Next out should be D-L.

04.12.2013: CCDC Alumni Update, Part Deux

SHE *ALSO* LIVES! SHE *ALSO* WRITES! Yet another CCDC graduate checks in with this update:
"...To My Dearest Bunheads-

Let me just start out by saying how much I miss all of you! I hope all of you are doing really well and that recital this year will be another fabulous one!!!!! I don’t know when the last time I sent out an email but I know it has been far too long!

All is well in the crazy city of Miami, we are also very busy with our upcoming showcase in May/June. I told you before that we are doing the ballet Paquita, and I was recently asked to do a variation in it, so I am UBER excited! We have it as the third variation, but some people know it as the 1st or 2nd, so it is hard to describe! It is the slow variation with the harp and lots of of course you know that is right up my alley! In doing this variation, I have also started to take more advanced classes as well, which is nice. With the variation, I also do the corps roles as well, and the adagio is killer! Besides ballet, we are also working on our jazz showcase. It frustrates me so much and makes me laugh all at the same time! Currently the same 4 girls are dancing all the pieces (and haha I am definitely not one of them)! I guess I didn’t get my little sister’s genes of knowing how to “get down”.

Second, over spring break, though I was sad I could not make it home, I was given the opportunity to be a demonstrator at a teacher syllabus session. It was taught by Darla Hoover, who is the co-artistic director of Ballet Academy East. She gave lots of great corrections and some helpful tips. I think the greatest thing I experienced though was the process of teaching. I really loved it, and by learning how to teach someone how to produce a step, it allowed me to recognize what I do right or wrong.

Third, I have decided I am going to Pennsylvania Ballet for their summer course this year. A new city and new experiences! I was placed in the highest level and hope to see where it leads. And then next year I will be auditioning for companies as well...SCARY!

Lastly, I have been working on top of dancing, so I am getting myself into the career world! I work at Madewell, which is a sister store to JCrew, so that has been interesting to meet people outside of the dance world! I has also worn me out though, so I will see how much I need to cut back when it come closer to showcase! My back has had some spasms, so I have been trying to get it rested up for show, and standing all day in the store doesn’t help too much

Well, I hope I didn’t bore you with my hodgepodge of things going on in my life, but I just wanted to check in on my family and see how you all were doing! Love you and miss you all!!!!!

~(Mmmadd Skyllz)<3 xoxoxoxo..."

...YAY! Miss ya lotz, Myrtha2! LOVE when CCDC alumni check in with us back here training in the studio! (Where's everyone else...hmmmm?!o)

04.12.2013: Performance Posting

Not hula auwana, no doubt, but, hula kahiko can overcome its kitschy connotations. (A-hem!o) If you're not rehearsing or training tonight, might wanna check this out:
"...After touring China 7 times, Japan twice, Abu Dhabi, Marshall Islands, Guam, 31 states
We are now bringing Hawaii to the Capital City Area! Polynesian Paradise Dancers
Date: April 12th 2013
Show time: 7:30PM (60 min. performance)
Location: Vaudeville Mews 212 4th Street
Tickets are $10 all ages welcome.
*family entertainment * a virtual vacation for the whole family!
The Hula Show

"POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE" is an enchanting show that will take you back on a vintage trip to the South Pacific. This vibrant performance of exotic hula dancing and heart pounding drum beats of the islands is truly an unforgettable show.

Sit back, relax and imagine it is the summer of 1959 and Hawaii has just joined the union and surf sand and hula is rockin the nation.

The Company

In 1993, Akemi Welsh started Polynesian Paradise (PPD), a professional Polynesian entertainment company specializing in the traditional dances and music of the Polynesian Islands.

Over the years, the company has had the honor of sharing the culture with audiences all over. They have visited 31 states, and had 10 international tours including Abu Dhabi, China, Japan, Guam, and the Marshall Islands.

Past performances include a daily 5-week run of the "Lilo & Stitch Hawaiian Party" at the El Capitan Theatre (Hollywood, CA) and nightly 8-week run at the Pageant of the Masters (Laguna Beach, CA). PPD has also performed for the celebrity red carpet premieres of Adam Sandler's 50 First Dates (Westwood, CA), and Disney's animated feature Lilo & Stitch (first in Hollywood, CA then at Elvis Presley's Graceland in Memphis, TN) in which our company director was hired as a consultant for the project. Polynesian Paradise Dancers can also be seen dancing in Adam Sandler's movie Bedtime Stories, and television shows as Glory Days, Backyard Nation, Tuckerville, My Tacky Room and Wizards of Waverly Place. Other highlights include performances at the Playboy Mansion, Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Studios, the homes of celebrities such as Rob Zombie, former mayor of Los Angeles, Jim Hahn, and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger..."

04.11.2013: Shades Of Glee

Local high school musicals and performers to be honored:
State High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase, June 3
Tickets now on sale for inaugural celebration of Central Iowa’s young musical theater artists

(Capital City News) – DsM Performing Arts announces an evening of celebration and entertainment with the inaugural State High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase at the Civic Center Monday, June 3, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. More than 300 students from nine local high schools will be honored for their outstanding achievements as young musical theater artists. The Awards Showcase will feature performances from the musical productions the students presented during the school year.

“We’re excited to celebrate the talent of young Iowans,” said DsM Performing Arts Director of Programming and Education, Eric Olmscheid. “The State High Musical Theater Awards celebrate the arts in our schools, creating an unmatched opportunity to recognize students’ achievements in musical theater.”

Tickets for the State High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase are on sale now for $10 at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online.

The Awards Showcase is the culmination of the High School Musical Theater Awards, a year-long education initiative that DsM Performing Arts launched last fall. Throughout the school year, performing arts professionals and educators served as adjudicators to review musical productions and offer constructive feedback to each of the participating high schools.

Based on the adjudicators’ feedback, awards will be presented at the Showcase including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Lead and Supporting Performers, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Technical Achievement. Olmscheid said the intent of the State High School Musical Theater Awards is not about competition, but about celebrating student achievement. “The awards are based on merit, and multiple schools and students can be recognized in the same category. We hope this will build a true celebration, rather than one winner being named.”

This year, the State High School Musical Theater Awards invited all high schools within 45 miles of DsM Performing Arts to participate, with the goal of expanding the program statewide in the coming years. Nine schools are participating in the inaugural season with productions occurring October through April. Participating schools:

  • Ankeny High School, Ankeny – SPAMALOT
  • Carlisle High School, Carlisle – SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS
  • Dowling Catholic High School, West DsM – DAMN YANKEES
  • East High School, DsM – LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
  • Nevada High School, Nevada – THE MUSIC MAN
  • Pella Christian High School, Pella – FOOTLOOSE
  • Roosevelt High School, DsM – CHICAGO
  • Urbandale High School, Urbandale – ONCE UPON A MATTRESS
  • Waukee High School, Waukee – GUYS AND DOLLS
National High School Musical Theater Awards

DsM Performing Arts was recently selected as a partner of the National High School Musical Theater Awards, which will hold its annual program in New York City Wednesday, June 26 - Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Two students from the IA High School Musical Theater Awards will represent the state at the National High School Musical Theater Awards, culminating with a Showcase on a Broadway stage (the Minskoff Theater, home of Disney’s THE LION KING) on Monday, July 1, 2013.

The two students selected to represent the state at the National High School Musical Theater Awards will be revealed at the State High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase on June 3. “DsM Performing Arts is fostering a direct link to Broadway for these students,” said Olmscheid. “They will be the first in a prestigious group of performers from Iowa in the years to come.”

For more information about the State High School Musical Theater Awards, visit on-line.

04.11.2013: Tiny Turner

For those of you doing turns in the CCDC Tap C piece, here's your competition:


Considering matriculating at Party Hearty U? Here's a backstage look at a recent performance:

04.09.2013: Play Misty For Me

Here's a reprint of an interview with a prominent ABT dancer e-mailed by Pointe Magazine:
American Ballet Theatre fans were disappointed when an injury sidelined soloist Misty Copeland at the end of last year's spring season. But the unexpected downtime allowed Copeland to pursue other projects--including a television commercial for Dr. Pepper, which is currently airing. Copeland talked to Pointe's e-news about her participation in the brand's "/1" campaign and preparing for ABT's upcoming season at the Metropolitan Opera House:
Why did the Dr. Pepper campaign appeal to you?
As a ballerina it's rare to get this kind of commercial exposure. I liked that the campaign was about one-of-a-kind stories, which are often hard for ballet dancers to tell. Trying to be an individual in a company of 80 isn't easy!
There's been some pushback on social media about a dancer advertising for a soft drink. What's your response to those kinds of comments?
I'm all about health, of course. But I always say that I never diet, and that I like to indulge in everything in moderation. Having an occasional soda is OK, the same way having an occasional cookie is OK.
Even now you're not yet fully recovered from your injury. How have you been coping with it?
Injuries always wake you up, in a way. You reassess your body, and you look at dance from a new perspective. Physically speaking, every day I do Pilates or Gyrotonic or hit the elliptical, and I'm finally starting ballet class again, to rev up for the Met season. They always say that when you're a dancer, the work never really ends until you retire.
What are you looking forward to dancing this season?
I'm doing the lead in the first movement of Symphony in C during the first week, and revisiting the part of Gulnare in Le Corsaire the second. I haven't really looked past that! I'm taking it one week at a time. I know a lot of it will be familiar. But even the roles I've danced for 10 years can be challenging.
A lot of ABT dancers are very famous within the ballet world, but you're unique in terms of the degree of fame you've achieved outside of it. Is that intimidating, or inspiring?
I feel like it's been organic for me. It's not like I was thrust into the spotlight overnight. From the moment I started dancing I had media all around me, first because I started so late and was black, and then as an adult because I was curvy. But I'm proud to be a role model. I like people to see me as a real person and not this untouchable ballerina.

04.08.2013: DWT***, Week 3!

Finally got a chance to watch our recording of my guilty pleasure:
Prom Night

Zendaya is probably too young to have had an opportunity to go to prom! Starts off with a big dance all together; group prom dance. Hmmm...spotlight on couples. DL is doing the robot? Sean does the worm? Andy does the garden sprinkler? Derek almost missed the catch. Jacoby always has a bewildered expression on his face. Jacoby does a mean...hmmm...don't know what to call it. Love Brooke's eighty's hair.

Ali/Mark: Wow! She's just eighteen. Starts off slow sitting on a bench. Give choreographer credit for creativity. Waltz. She's fairly smooth. Needs to work on holding frame. I give her a seven or eight. She does clean up well! April fools! Says the judges! "middle of the back" pull up! She's never been in love! But, she's "watched a lotta movies"! Good for her! Real judges: 7, 8, 8

Andy/Sharna: Cha-cha. Wow! Dance is therapy for Andy. Starts off without a lotta dancing. His timing is off. He's plodding around. This dance doesn't allow him to hide anything! i give him a five, maybe a six! Real judges: 6, 6, 6

Ingo/Kym: Paso Doble. Great risk, great reward. Injuries plaguing the forty-two-year old. Wardrobe malfunction with Kym's skirt...fails to come off at the beginning. He's attacking the movement. Just needs better shoulder awareness. Tricky partnering work. I give him a seven. Judges say core needs work. "more to cheer than jeer". Real judges: 7, 7, 7 Give him extra points for flashing the Hawaiian "shaka" sign!

Lisa/Gleb: Viennese Waltz. She's got good attitude. They look like they have a good working relationship. Smooth so far. I think she's better at this dance form. little mishandling with the hold. It's like they're fumbling for the hands! I give her a six. Real judges: 7, 7, 7

Kelly/Derek: Jive. He has to be careful not to make her look bad by comparison. Hard to do cause she's so good. He shows off her flexibility. She's a performer. Ends in a split?I give her an eight. She did seem nervous. Putting too much pressure on herself? Real judges: 8, 9, 8. Leader in the clubhouse!

Victor/Lindsay: Contemporary. He's got the right approach. He cleans up well. Bare feet contemporary. He's strong and makes the lifts look easy. Hmm, I guess I underestimated her choreographic skills. He's better this time! I give him a seven, maybe an eight. "Breathtaking!", says one judge. Real judges: 8, 7, 8 Tied for second.

DL/Cheryl: Salsa. He's got the attitude. But... Good move by Cheryl to put them on a smaller, raised dance floor. Excuse to limit movement. He still seems disconnected to his body! I give him a six or five. For a black guy, he dances like an old, nerdy, white guy! Real judges: 6, 5, 5

Jacoby/Karina: Rhumba. He's a joker, can he find his romantic side for the dance of love? nice line. Okay, light on his feet. Good hip action. He's stepping up. This is a revelation to see him dance this way!. Just picked her up from the floor! Well done! I give him an eight! Real judges: 8, 8 , 8

Wynona/Tony: Unleashing her inner tigress. Pole dancing! To Def Leppard! Tony actually makes pretty good rocker! But, it's still hard for a big girl to make big moves. She is doing better! Timing still an issue! She needs to attack it even MORE! I give her a seven. An eight for effort! Judges are harsh! "Sedated Samba"! She thought she was hitting it, but, let that be a lesson, she WASN'T! Real judges: 5, 5, 5 WOW! Low scores of the night!

Sean/Peta: Cha-cha! YMCA by the VIllage People. His awkwardness is endemic. Marching on to the iconic music. Peta is the Indian Princess! He needs more hip action. She's making him lift her. He's the male equivalant of Wynona. muscles too big to move easily! I give him a six. Ral judges: 7, 7, 7.

Zendaya/Val: Saving the best for last IMHO! Viennese Waltz! Meaningful for her grandmother's prom. Don't practice in socks, Zen-girl! Setting yourself up to slip! Que' Sera, Sera. Her natural line is incredible! She is effervescent in her movements! Love watching her dance! Great head placement. She's all line and great feeling! She could lead this wire to wire! Oops! Little stumble at the end! I give her a nine! "Silky Smooth!" "Incredible lyrical quality!" Precocious enfant terrible! She gives her grammy a hug before ascending to the fishbowl! Real judges: 8, 8, 8 She may be a victim of her own success!

Results show: Well, Zendaya's path to her coronation a trifle derailed. Huey Lewis' heart of rock 'n' roll still beating strong! Well, that Jacoby looks like he'd be fun to go clubbing with. Encore dance is one of the weak dancers: Sean. Enjoy it while you can, Bachelor-Boy! Not going to happen again...ever! Result: out the door is Wynonna. Hard for a big girl to dance big enough to stay on the show! I say Lisa or DL should be next to ride off into the sunset with no regret!o)

04.05.2013: CCDC Alumni Update

SHE LIVES! SHE WRITES! CCDC graduate provides an update on two rather unique opportunities:

It's update time! Biggest chunk of news: Yesterday I was notified that I have been selected for a Fulbright grant to study dance in Sri Lanka. The Fulbright grant serves to promote cross-cultural understanding through sending US students, scholars, and artists abroad and sending their foreign counterparts to the US. The grant completely covers airfare, tuition, cost of living, and all other expenses for one academic year. I plan to arrive in Sri Lanka on October first and return home 9 or 10 months later. While there, I will be studying classical Kandyan dance, which can be thought of as the traditional dance of Sri Lanka. I will be training with Master Peter Surasena for 3 months, who is widely known as the most proficient performer and teacher of Kandyan dance in Sri Lanka, and thereby in the world. Then I will move to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, to study with Chitrasena-Vajira Dance Company, the most renowned and acclaimed Sri Lankan dance company in the country/world. I hope to gain technical knowledge of Kandyan dance as well as insight into how this dance form relates to nationalism and identity in Sri Lanka. I am extremely excited for this amazing opportunity, and I couldn't have done it without my excellent dance training at CCDC!

In other news, I recently danced in a music video for the rather famous indie rock band Local Natives, who are from Los Angeles. I'll let you know when it comes out. I also have about a month left until I graduate from Macalester with a degree in anthropology! Woohoo! Then I'll be back in Iowa for a few days before going to Madison, WI to study Sinhala (Sri Lankan language) on scholarship at UW-Madison for 8 weeks this summer.

Major congrats to Adrian! His accomplishments are truly amazing and he's got a very bright future ahead of him. I hope Swan Lake rehearsals are going well. Perhaps I'll be able to stop by in June, but if not I'll be around in August and September too.

Miss you all, (Nikiya1)..."

...CONGRATULATIONS, "Nikiya1"! You are truly an inspiration! You also set the standard for CCDC alumna keeping us updated! (Where's everyone else...hmmmm?!o)

04.04.2013: This Club Is On Fiyah!

The DsM Social Club offers a glimpse of their new home tonight:
"...It's finally here! Don't miss this sneak-peek of the Firehouse at Food For Thought!
What: Food for Thought
When: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 5pm-9pm
Where: Firehouse, 900 Mulberry St.
Time to celebrate and get an exclusive sneak-peek of our AWESOME new home. Tickets to the event are now sold out! If your tickets are purchased and you plan on attending, you'll want to arrive around 5pm, and the BBQ and formal dinner will converge around 7:45pm for a full night of live music, guided tours, collaborative painting, fire pole sliding, wall smashing, and much more. This night will mark a significant step for the Des Moines Social Club and our arts & culture community. We can't wait to celebrate this momentous occasion with you.

Got questions? We've got answers. View our Food For Thought FAQs.

BBQ & Brews Party - $20/person - SOLD OUT
Formal Dinner - $100/person - $1,000/table - $1,700/VIP - SOLD OUT

Learn more about the firehouse..."

04.03.2013: Legacy of Lausanne

It's been just over a month since #TeamAdrian returned from the 2013 Prix de Lausanne competition. What an amazing trip! Immense gratitude again to everyone who made it possible! As posted earlier, Adrian made it to the semi-finals and received an amazing six offers of interest from national ballet schools or companies. As I told him at the time, he couldn't go wrong with any of the offers and he and his family just had to find out more about each situation to find the best fit. Now, Adrian says he'll be accepting an offer to train at the John Cranko Baletschule in Stuttgart, Germany this fall and attend the National Ballet School of Canada's Intensive this summer. He'll join at least one other Prix competitor in Canada and reunite with the overall winner and audience favorite in Stuttgart. When we were leaving the Theatre Beaulieu after the results were first announced, one of the staff made sure to tell Adrian that being named a finalist wasn't the only way to "win" at the Prix. He said, "We see it every year, those that don't make the finals sometimes end up with a better situation than the finalists." And, it seems that's what could be happening in Adrian's case. He'll be training alongside overall winner Adhonay Silva and what happens in the future is in his hands. The slate is wiped clean. Scores from the Prix don't carry over into real life. The experience and the friendships made and the opportunities gained are just the start of the real legacy of the 2013 Prix de Lausanne. We'll miss you, "Rocky Peterson"! Don't forget us here at CCDC! Remember to tweet at us! And, your last chance to see Adrian perform before he leaves for the summer and, eventually, the fall, will be in the 2013 CCDC Spring Showcase at Drake University this June!
...And, here's some advice for anyone considering competing in a future Prix de Lausanne (Looking at you, Kegger!): build yourself a raked stage. Get some plywood and spare marley. It doesn't have to be huge, just enough to do some pirouettes, fouettes and tours en l'air. Six, eight or ten feet square. You can stow it in pieces on the side of a regular studio. I'd build it as soon as you start planning on qualifying for the competition. Everyone had trouble with the rake at first, but, it seemed the dancers who went the furthest were the ones who adjusted the fastest to the rake. Of course, you need to get the best intensive training and coaching you can in ballet and modern dance like we offer here at CCDC, but, that rake is hard to prepare for otherwise. Adrian's family did locate an actual raked stage in a rural part of the state and he spent an hour or so acclimating himself to dancing on it one night. But, if I had to do it all over again, I'd build him a raked stage to practice on everyday.

04.02.2013: Performance Posting

Here's the announcement e-mailed out about the coming season at the Civic Center. Items of special interest to dancers have been put in bold:
"...Des Moines Performing Arts Announces 2013 - 2014 Season
  • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and WICKED make triumphant return to Des Moines
  • Current Tony Award® winners ONCE and THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS headline Willis Broadway Series
  • MATTHEW BOURNE’S SLEEPING BEAUTY premieres in Des Moines on its first North American tour
  • The Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series, The Dance Series and the Prairie Meadow Temple Comedy Series continue to offer diverse programming and educational experiences
  • Season ticket packages for the Willis Broadway Series go on sale April 29; all other series go on sale in summer 2013
Capital City News – Today Des Moines Performing Arts, Central Iowa’s premier not-for-profit performing arts organization, unveiled its highly anticipated 2013 - 2014 season. In all, 22 productions were announced as part of the Willis Broadway Series, the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series, The Dance Series and the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater Comedy Series.

“This is just a terrific season all the way around,” said Des Moines Performing Arts President and CEO Jeff Chelesvig. “We’re very proud to bring this world-class line-up because we know our audiences truly value and support high quality professional live theater and programs that create memorable experiences.”

For each of the series, season tickets are the only way to guarantee the best seats at locked-in prices. Season ticket packages for the Willis Broadway Series go on sale April 29, 2013 and start at $160 for the five-show package. All other series’ season ticket packages will go on sale in summer 2013.

The 2013 - 2014 five-show Season Ticket package features two current 2012 Tony Award winners. Best Musical ONCE (April 22 - 27, 2014) takes the stage in its first national tour, along with Best Revival of a Musical, THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS (April 1 - 6, 2014). A new adaptation of Broadway’s blockbuster, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Sept. 10 - 21, 2014), returns to the Civic Center for a two-week engagement. IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS (Dec. 10 - 15, 2013), the stage adaptation of the classic film, will create a cozy trip down memory lane over the holidays.

The fifth production in the package is the worldwide smash hit homage to iconic rock group Queen, WE WILL ROCK YOU (June 10 - 15, 2014).

In addition to the five-show package, a strong line-up of series add-ons is also programmed. Back by “popular” demand, Broadway’s blockbuster WICKED (Oct. 30 - Nov. 10, 2013) makes a triumphant two-week return. Premiering in Des Moines on its first North American tour is MATTHEW BOURNE’S SLEEPING BEAUTY (Sept. 27 & 28, 2013), which creates a new spin on a classic fairy tale. AMERICAN IDIOT (Jan. 24 & 25, 2014) is based on Green Day’s groundbreaking rock opera of the same name. BLUE MAN GROUP (Feb. 18 - 23, 2014), best known for its unique form of entertainment through music, comedy and technology, makes its Civic Center premier. Des Moines audience favorite, RAIN – A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES (Feb. 4 & 5, 2014), will return and celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles bringing their stardom to the United States.

“We’re able to attract these world-class Broadway tours because of our extraordinarily strong season ticket sales,” said Chelesvig, adding that this current season set a record of more than 12,000 packages. “Top Broadway producers love bringing their touring productions here because they will play to nicely-filled houses that genuinely embrace their performances.”

The 2013 - 2014 Willis Broadway Series represents 22 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Revival of a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Direction in a Musical, and Best Costume Design.

Des Moines Performing Arts also announced high-caliber line-ups in the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series, The Dance Series and the Prairie Meadows Temple Comedy Series.

“We’re committed to offering a variety of programs and shows that are exciting and accessible to everyone,” said Eric Olmscheid, Des Moines Performing Arts Director of Programming and Education. “Creating shared experiences is important to us.”

Celebrating its fifth season, the popular Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Family Series brings five fun-filled productions enjoyed by children between the ages 4 and 10. The series opens with THE FIREBIRD, featuring the Des Moines Symphony with the Enchantment Theatre Company (Jan. 11, 2014). The series also includes SPIRIT OF UGANDA (Feb. 8, 2014), STUART LITTLE (March 29, 2014), LOVE (May 17, 2014) and CIRQUE MECHANICS: BIRDHOUSE FACTORY (May 17, 2014). Audience members can also enhance their theater experience by attending the Discovery Party, a free event one hour before each performance.

The Des Moines Performing Arts’ Dance Series returns for its fourth season of presenting internationally acclaimed dance companies. ALONZO KING LINES BALLET (January 18, 2014) headlines the three-show series, joined by ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (March 18, 2014) and the TREY MCINTYRE PROJECT (May 1, 2014). Before and after each performance, audience members will have an opportunity to connect with the company’s artistic staff and dancers through DANCEtalks.

An eclectic mix of comedy involving Tupperware, news headlines and an intergalactic nemesis are part of the four-show package for the Prairie Meadows Temple Comedy Series. DIXIE’S TUPPERWARE PARTY (Dec. 4 - 29, 2013) will kick off the series with a return engagement to Des Moines. Also in the series is the improvisational comedy iO THEATER’S WHIRLED NEWS TONIGHT (Feb. 26 - March 9, 2014) and POWER BALLADZ: THE ULTIMATE 80’S SING-ALONG (April 10 - 12, 2014). Rounding out the series is the stage adaptation of the graphics hit novel, THE INTERGALACTIC NEMESIS BOOK ONE: TARGET EARTH (April 30 - May 11, 2014).

Des Moines Performing Arts estimates that all four series will attract more than 200,000 patrons for the 2013 - 2014 Season..."

04.01.2013: DWT**** Review

Second week, first elimination:
Week Two

Ingo/Kym: Quick Step. Looks good in vest and and hat. Not too bad. Hold is better. Little hunched. So, hold still needs more work. The longer he goes, the more the flaws start to show. But, Wow! He's improved! Good feeling! I give him a 7. "Bingo, Ingo!" Improvement! Real judges: 6, 7, 7

Dorothy/Tristan: Jive. We've learned Hamill has to withdraw from the competition. But, she shows she's knows what it means to compete in this second week. She seems a little tentative. He pushes her away to maintain spacing. She's in flats to help facilitate her injury. Ouch! Sympathy pains as I watch her dance. The dancing causes her to limp over to judge's comments. I have to give her a six. What a trouper! Criticism from judges based on injury. Real judges: 5, 5, 5. She's fighting back tears! What a shame!

Jacoby/Karina: Jazz. Starts off with gimmicks and tricks! Let's see some dancing. Unfortunately, reminds me of a minstrel show. But, Dang! He's got some charisma! He's hilarious! Audience on its feet! I give him an eight! Real judges: 8, 7, 8 He's the leader in the clubhouse!

Victor/Lindsey: Jive. Both look killer in red. Victor's finding out how hard it is to do good dancing. He needs to tighten up his core and find the line. He's a real performer. Still has that killer smile! It's hard for her to teach him, because she's so young herself. I give him a seven. Real judges: 6, 6, 6 Hope their rough patches are over and they come back strong.

Wynona/Tony: Quickstep. What's their budget for props? Come in on a pair of matching Segways? Start off with very basic, simple beginner steps. I'm not sure it's going to get votes with the audience. Slow pace. I give her a six. Real judges: 6, 6, 6 Carrie Ann is right, Wynona needs to take more risks to get more reward!

Zendaya/Mark: She's hilarious! Jive. Okay she sets a high standard! Look at the speed and attack! Great smile. Wow! She's sassy! Look at her shake and shimmy! She's amazing! Look at her attitude. WOW! She's good! YOUTH WILL BE SERVED! I give her a NINE! Real judges: 9, 8, 9 She's JUST 16!

Andy/Sharna: Jazz. Maybe this genre will be good for him. The Mad Hatter theme. This piece has great music, great props... hiding as much of his dancing as possible. Her choreography is showing his strengths and his quirkiness. He's running from place to place with attitude! I give him a seven. Real judges: 7, 6, 7

Sean/Peta: Jive. Take a shower, dude! Lifeguard theme . He has more muscles than he needs for dancing. Still little flat-footed. I think his fiance may reconsider when she sees the bachelor dance! I give him a six. Real judges: 7, 6, 7

Aly/Mark: Quickstep. Okay! Good hips, Selling the expression! Nice rise and fall. Good head. just hold those shoulders in place. Good flicks. Covering space with Mark's strong lead. Hold that frame stronger! I'll give her a seven, make that an eight. Real judges: 8, 8, 8 Second highest scores of the night. Another reminder: Youth WILL be served this season!

Lisa/Gleb: Jive. She's better. But, still not strong enough! She's trying to keep up with a dancer half her age...or a third! She doesn't have the fitness to do what he's asking. I give her a six...maybe a five. Real judges: 6, 6, 6

D-L/Cheryl: At least he realizes the problem! This dancing stuff isn't easy. She's choreographed another simple basic routine for him. He's doing better, but, he's bringing a slingshot to a gunfight! He's improved, but, he needs to be tighter, hold his center stronger. I give him a five, maybe, a six. Real judges: 5, 5, 6 Better scores, but, he's at risk of elimination.

Kelly/Derek: Saving one of the best for last. Jazz. His choreographic skills are taking advantage of the genre! VERY sharp! Great extensions! Former cheerleader is attacking this piece with great effect. Funky jazz walks. He's using her strengths to great advantage. Wow! What a flexible back! I give her a NINE! Standing O from Carrie Anne! Real judges: 9, 8, 9 Tied for the top score of the night!

Next week is "Prom Night? This could be very bad! Right now it's shaping up to be a three woman competition: It's Zendaya's race to lose. Kelly will give her a run for the money with Aly pushing them both. It's all going to depend on how the pros can coach and choreograph their stars to improve and shine. I like new pro Lindsey, but, the producers did her no favors pairing her with the charismatic, but, flat-footed and rhythmically challenged Vicious Ortiz. I don't think she's a good enough teacher or choreographer to make him go further than he should. Both, Cheryl and Sharna managed to hide their star's dance deficiencies for the moment. Both comedians are finding out they can't just joke their way through this competition. But, despite appealing back stories, their numbers should be up soon. And, If I were King of DWT***, I would send home the unlikeable Lisa.

Post results show: Well, say goodbye to Olympic Gold Medalist Dorothy Hamill! She makes the right decision to step out of the competition. It's sad because if she had remained healthy, she displayed tantalizing glimpses of becoming a potential contender.

03.29.2013: Video Friday

Seasons are over or wrapping up for ballet companies featuring CCDC alumni. Here are some video glimpses
...CCDC's 2K2M dances for this company:

...And, CCDC's Katya W was type-cast as Yelena The Beautiful in her company's Firebird: (Can you spot her?)

...Finally, here's a "ballet of boats" as seen from the palisades of Katya's new hometown:

03.28.2013: All That Jazz

Musicians to perform in Capital City area:
"...NYC jazz greats Jerry Dodgion and Rob Scheps in concert at Drake University

New York City jazz legends Jerry Dodgion and Rob Scheps will perform at Drake University with an acclaimed rhythm section from Kansas City. At the age of 80, this will be Dodgion’s Des Moines debut. The concert will be held on Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Drake University Turner Jazz Center, 2505 Carpenter Avenue. The concert is $15 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets may be purchased through the Drake University Fine Arts Box Office at 515-271-3841.

The concert will feature Jerry Dodgion on alto and soprano saxophone, Rob Scheps on tenor and soprano saxophone, Roger Wilder on piano, Bob “Dwight” Bowman on acoustic bass, and Brain Steever on the drums. Dodgion and Scheps have performed internationally with legendary artists. On April 9, all of the performers are available for private lessons in the afternoon before the concert. The cost is $65 for a one-hour lesson. Time slots are filling up quickly. To reserve a time, contact Rob Scheps at

About Jerry Dodgion and Rob Scheps:

Jerry Dodgion is one of the most renowned alto saxophonists in jazz history. He gained early experience in the 1950s with bands in the San Francisco Bay Area, and later toured with Frank Sinatra and Benny Goodman among other legends. In 1961, Dodgion settled in New York where he still lives today, performing and recording with jazz greats like Billie Holiday, Astrud Gilberto, Frank Wess, Count Basie, Ron Carter, Mel Lewis and Rosemary Clooney. Dodgion has made jazz history several times: He was a founding member of the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Band in 1966; he played on Benny Goodman's famous 1962 tour to Russia; and he played alto flute on Herbie Hancock's classic album on Blue Note records, “Speak Like A Child.” Drake University President David Maxwell served as a band boy on the Goodman trip to Russia, on which his father, famed jazz trumpeter Jimmy Maxwell, also preformed. Dodgion recently completed two tours in Japan, one with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and one with Ron Carter’s Big Band.

Rob Scheps received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory in 1986. In Boston, Scheps led his own groups, including the True Colors Big Band. When he moved to New York in 1988, he formed additional groups including the Rob Scheps Core-tet and Bartokking Heads. Scheps has been a clinician at many colleges, universities, and festivals, and has performed with many greats including: George Russell, Gil Evans Band, Hiram Bullock, Ray Charles, Linda Ronstadt, Buddy Rich, Julius Hemphill, Aretha Franklin, Sam Rivers, Louie Bellson, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Dave Holland, Liza Minnelli, Kenwood Dennard, Dave Liebman, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Cecil Taylor, Roswell Rudd, Al Grey, Clark Terry, Arturo Sandoval, Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, Mel Lewis, Dorothy Donegan, Joey Calderazzo, Jeff "Tain " Watts, Steve Swallow and John Scofield...."

03.27.2013: Shaping Sound On Tour

The boyz hit the road:
"...The dance dream that spawned Oxygen's hit show All The Right Moves goes from screen to stage: Shaping Sound premieres its first-ever live national tour! Experience the exhilarating collaboration of dance's new visionaries as they mash up music genres and styles in one explosive performance. Emmy- nominated choreographers and So You Think You Can Dance superstars Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson lead a dynamic company of contemporary dancers from SYTYCD, Dancing With The Stars, and international tours with recording artists and world-renowned dance companies. A visually stunning showcase of movement, speed, physical strength, and pure passion – don’t miss the brand new live experience that is Shaping Sound...."
...Find the master class and tour schedule here.

03.26.2013: Dancers Watching Dancerz

Students rate student rates:
"...Student Tickets Only $20!

Did you know you can purchase $20 tickets to performances in the Performing Arts Dance Series? Just visit the Civic Center Ticket Office at 221 Walnut with your student ID, and you can get up to two tickets at that price NOW. Below you’ll find information about the two remaining shows in the season, as well as the great master classes available for you to participate in with these world-renowned companies.

MOMIX: Botanica
Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Botanica, like other MOMIX creations, 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, 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.

Learn more: here

MASTER CLASSES - $25 or $15 with performance ticket

  • MOMIX Student Class: April 8 at 7:15 p.m. (for intermediate/advanced dancers 12 and up) - Learn more here
  • MOMIX Professional & Pre-professional Class: April 8 at 7:15 p.m. (for professional/pre-professional dancers 16 and up) – Learn more here.
Tuesday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Known affectionately as “The TROCKS”, this is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works. Comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts enhances rather than mocks the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novices, in the audiences.

Learn more here.

MASTER CLASSES - $25 or $15 with performance ticket

  • THE TROCKS Student Class: May 20 at 5:30 p.m. (for intermediate/advanced dancers 12 and up) - Learn more here.
  • THE TROCKS Professional & Pre-professional Class: May 20 at 7:30 p.m. (for professional/pre-professional dancers 16 and up) – Learn more here.

All performances in The Dance Series also include an exciting opportunity to deepen the dance experience with DANCEtalk for all ticket holders. Come one hour early and stay one hour late for a free Q&A with the companies' artistic staff and dance artists..."

03.25.2013: DWT**** Returns!o)

First blush:
"...DWT***, First Impressions...

Sight unseen: the gymnast, the Olympic ice dancer and the Disney Star are sight unseen favorites.

Kelly Picklar/Derek Hough: Any partner of Derek has a leg up. Love her southern accent. Looks like they already have a great relationship. The longer she stays the more his teaching can give her an edge. Cha Cha.. She's a performer! This is why it's dancing With the Stars and not Dancing with Any Schmo off the street! Sharp attack. She's having a lotta fun out there! Flexible . She can shake it and she can be still when she needs to. Good start and Derek is her secret weapon!. I give her a 7.0 Favorable comments from the judges. "Sass and Class!" She's vivacious! What a personality!. Judges: 7 ... 7...7

Victor Ortiz/Lindsay Arnold: From the mean steets. Looks bad in the preview.. No sense of line. only sticking his arms out there. dancing by numbers. plodding through steps. Not sure that Lindsay is a good enough teacher and coach to garner success. Okay, he can do the grapevine. Most boxers use that as a training tool. Good connection, but, don't have a good feeling. I give him a 6. But, just that smile is a winner! Judges: 6, 6, 6

Ingo Radamacher/Kym Johnson: Preview isn't very promising here either. Cringing! like her choreography, but, not sure she's going to be getting her to a third mirror ball. No sense of grace and feeling. He's dancing like it's only an athletic event. I like his dramatic intensity, but...his technique leaves a lot to be desired. I give him a five! Judges: 7, 6, 7

Lisa Vander Pump Gleb Schevchenko: Ooh, bad frame!. Nice smile, bad dancing. I'm not sure he's good looking enough to overcome her inferior dancing. Awkward...I give her a 4! Judges are kind...they're tactful, but, ...not good enough. judges: 6, 6, 6 Wow! They're being KIND!

D.L.Hughley/Cheryl Burke: Stick to comedy! Don't sing while you're dancing. Ooh! Uncomfortable watching him, Painful watching him dance so tentatively!. He's going to make everyone else look even better! I give him a 5. He's no contender, he's not even close to a pretender! Judges showing some Tough Love! Real judges: 4, 4, 4!

Zendaya/Val Chermokovsky: She's 16? Nice line! good feeling, Excellent attack. Bad Chainnes but. nice feet!. She's fearless! Gotta watch her shoulders! Okay! she's musical and has great feeling! Val has a potential winner! Give her an EIGHT! She just threw down the gauntlet! Judges: 8, 8, 8! Highest score of the night!

Sean Lowe/Peta Murgatroyd: Ooh! The preview looks like white guy sydrome. Muscle bound and flat-footed. Better line. Musclebound short lumbering movements! Some things not too bad, some things very bad! Can she keep him from being eliminated before he catches on and improves? i give hime a 6. Judges: 7, 6, 6

Aly Raisman/Mark Ballas: The gymnastics may be counterproducive! Can she give Shawn Johnson a run for her money. Not bad movement. Great smile. Can shake her bootie. Good musicality. Dancing with her eyes. If anyone can pull it out of her it's one of Shawn's old partners! I give her a 7. Judges: 7, 7, 7. She cleans up pretty nicely!

Dorothy Hamill/Tristan MacManus: WOW! Great attitude. Great natural sense of movement. Nice feeling, great smile. Wow! Barefeet. Contemporary. Good line. Great story She gets an 8 from me! Real judges: 7, 7, 7

Wynona Judd/Tony Dovolani: What a great story. Audience is already pulling for her. Great Presence!. Little stiff. Moves with authority. Okay shes using her musical ability to move. Little stiff and flat footed. Then she shows some groove. I think she had some fun! I give her a seven. Judges: 6, 6, 6

Andy Dick/Sharna Burgess: The new Andy Dick: Breakdown before ballroom already. He dances like Woody Allen. He's putting a serious effort into it. Okay nice ball-change. shoulder bad. I'm pulling for him because of his fight agaist addiction, but, the dancing or lack thereof speaks for itself. I give him a five or six. Real judges: 6, 5,6

Jacoby Jones/Karina Smirnoff: Showinga little a lack of control in the preview. Only one week of rehearsal! Good attack. His height could be an asset or an liability. I like his intensity. Good hip action. The guy has animal magnetism. The guy has oodles of charisma. Not much polish. I give him a 7. Real judges: 7, 6, 7...he's a HOOT! what a personality. He's a comedian!

...And, now that "the sights" have been seen, here's my early "anointed list": Picklar, Ortiz, Zendaya!, Aly, Dorothy ...(Zendaya had me from her first plie'-chasse'! Youth WILL be served this season!o)

...and, here's the "soon2bdisappointed list": Ingo, Lisa, DL, Sean, Wynonna, Andy, Jacoby..."

03.22.2013: Voices of Angels

Performance posting:
(Capital City News Service) Don’t miss bringing your family downtown on Saturday, April 6. The IA Youth Chorus will be presenting two free performances at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust. The 25 minute performances are at 1:30 pm and 3:15 pm.

The children have been practicing the Iowa Songburst concert for weeks. The entire program focuses on the state and includes the State Song, Corn Song, Music Man Medley and the IA Waltz which was composed by Ottumwa native, singer/song writer, Greg Brown. Readings and skits will also be included.

This performance features the Children’s Chorus and the Newton and Pella Outreach Choirs. Conductors include Kristen Stanton, Artistic/Executive Director, Natalie Steenson, Jane Johnson and Joe Tangen.

“It’s really been fun for us to immerse ourselves in songs about Iowa,” said Annika Baker, a Des Moines fifth grader and member of the Children’s Chorus. “I especially like the Iowa Waltz. It’s such a sweet song.”

This is the third Youth Chorus program that has incorporated a regional theme performed in a metro area venue. Other collaborations included Black History Month at the State Historical Museum and Prairie Songs at the Living History Farms.

...Find out more here

03.21.2013: Gambling Scholarships

Hey graduating CCDC Seniors! Deadline for applying for free money coming:
(Capital City News Service) — This is a reminder that the deadline to apply for a $2,500 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 of the following participating high schools in Polk County:

  • Ankeny High School
  • Bondurant Farrar High School
  • Dallas Center Grimes High School
  • Dowling Catholic High School
  • East High School
  • Harbor Alternative
  • Hoover High School
  • Johnston High School
  • Lincoln High School
  • Metro West Learning Academy
  • North High School
  • North Polk High School
  • Roosevelt High School
  • Saydel High School
  • Scavo High School
  • Southeast Polk High School
  • Urbandale High School
  • Valley High School
  • Walnut Creek Campus
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 central Iowa high school seniors to help them further their education in Iowa.

03.20.2013: Rocky State of Ballet

Heading to the great state of Colorado this summer? Might want to time it to coincide with this cultural event:
"...Dear Capital City Dance Center,

The Vail Valley Foundation invites you to the 2013 Vail International Dance Festival, which will begin July 28 and go through August 10 at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado and the Vial Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

The 25th Vail International Dance Festival will feature 11 riveting dance performances under the leadership of artistic director and former New York City Ballet principal dancer Damian Woetzel. Included in the program is a tribute performance featuring ballet sensation Sergei Polunin, along with a performance of George Balanchine’s Serenade with a full orchestra put on by the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Additionally, the program will feature the highly anticipated return of International Evenings of Dance on Friday, August 2 and Saturday, August 3, with performances showcasing modern dance, ballet, and ballroom classics. The festival closes with the popular Dance TV, with artists from “Dancing With the Stars,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “America’s Best Dance Crew” and more. This is surely an event that you will not want to miss!

We would love for your help promoting the event to your [students, members, readers, patrons]. A full schedule and ticket information can be found at Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, March 13 at 11 a.m., so hurry to reserve your spot!..."

03.19.2013: Ballet Class On Demand

Also got this in the emailbag: Is this the future of dance training? Should CCDC put "The Program", Barre Par Terre, ballet and pas de deux classes up as video on demand?
"...My name is _____ and I'm the founder of a web startup in NY called ________. I came across your business when I was searching for top dance studios.

What we do at ________ is help studios like yours extend their businesses online. Having an online studio allows you to work directly with students via live webcam, broadcast and record your in-studio classes, and upload recorded videos for your students to train on their own time. You can extend the reach of your local business and give new access and convenience to existing clients.

With _______, you're completely in control. You set your own schedule, topics, pricing, studio look-and-feel, and can work with students around the world from any location. You hear and see your students in real time, giving them the feedback, encouragement, and convenience they are looking for.

In addition to live group and one-on-one classes, we offer a complete business solution; recording classes, monetizing a video library, processing payments, scheduling sessions, social marketing, and managing client relationships. Whether you're new to teaching online, or have been offering videos or live webcam options for a while, ________ can help you manage and grow your business.

We'd love to invite you to create your online studio today! You can also read teacher testimonials and learn more about our services on the site.

We're looking forward to taking your classes! If you have any questions during the process, let me know and I'll be happy to help!..."

03.18.2013: Putting Out The Welcome, Matt!

Just got this in the e-mailbag:
"...I was curious if you have any intensive ballet workshops this summer which are open to students from other studios? I would love to send some of my students who want extra ballet training..."
...To this and all other studio owners or students interested in supplementing their ballet training: we encourage students from area studios to take advantage of the placement-based classical and contemporary dance technique offered at Capital City Dance Center. We have many students who compete or train at other studios who've been told to get more and better ballet training and sought us out. We work to accomodate their schedules around the requirements for the CCDC PreProfessional, Post-Secondary and Open Divisions. And, we often waive those requirements during the summer months for the annual two-week CCDC Summer Intensive and the CCDC Summer Workshops. We're excited about the guest faculty coming in to teach during the Intensive this year! For new students, we recommend a placement class depending on age and experience and a consultation after that with the experienced CCDC Faculty. We understand it may be a little intimidating for students to dance at another studio for the first time. But, we work to make sure all CCDC classes are welcoming and nurturing for all levels of dancers. (A good way to try a class might be during the Spring Break CCDC "Stay-In-Shape" classes this week!o) Remember, we're all just dancers striving to get better...the difference is the quality of the training you receive! Training or supplementing your training at CCDC can make a huge difference in your dancing. Questions? Contact us by e-mail!

03.15.2013: March Madness

Miss the London Olympics? Can't wait for Rio? Here's a chance to win a prize package to the "next closest" thing. Deadline TONIGHT!:
Dear Area Gymnastics Academies and Dance Studios,

ISU will host the Big 12 Gymnastics Championships Saturday, March 23 at 4 PM in Hilton Coliseum! The Cyclones will welcome West Virginia and Oklahoma.

We would like to present fans with the opportunity to win VIP treatment for the night, including limo service, tickets to the meet, VIP seating, a chance to meet the team and dinner afterwards! The winner can bring up to nine (9) friends to enjoy the opportunity! Enter to win this unique prize package by Friday, March 15 at 5 PM.

Additional tickets will be available to purchase for $5 adult/$1 student at the Hilton Coliseum Ticket Office on the day of the meet or in advance by calling the Iowa State Athletics Ticket Office at 515-294-1816. Doors and the Hilton Coliseum Ticket Office will open at 3 PM on March 23.

Let me know if you have any questions! Thank you and GO CYCLONES!..."

03.14.2013: Playing Across The Pond

Exporting the arts while exploring 'merrie old England' in the trip of a lifetime:
"...Local Student Orchestra to Perform in England and Wales

Capital City News — The WDsM Valley High School and Valley Southwoods orchestras are keeping the Olympic Dreams Live program alive in the district as they travel to England and Wales March 13-22 to visit and perform with students from one of the district’s partner schools from the program.

As part of Olympic Dreams Live, the British Council and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) selected 45 schools from around the world where athletes participating in the Olympics have attended and paired them with schools in the United Kingdom. Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson is a former student of each of the selected Iowa schools.

The orchestra will travel to Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Valley Southwoods’ partner school, to perform a combined concert with students at the school. They will continue a tour of the UK, visiting and performing in Wrexham, Bath, Oxford and London. A highlight of the trip will be when students enjoy a private tour of the Houses of Parliament in London with friends from Ysgol Bryn Alyn with a select group performing for the Houses.

“Trips overseas are invaluable learning opportunities for our students,” said Phil Peters, Valley orchestra director. “Not only will they have the pleasure (and pressure) to perform four concerts within a week but they will also be exposed to a new culture. Our students on this tour will travel in the footsteps of William Shakespeare and The Beatles. They will participate in a home-stay with the kind and generous people of Wrexham, Wales. They will tour the House of Parliament and spend time sightseeing in England. Their gifts of music will be shared with others and allow them to meet and make friends from “across the pond.”

Two of the concerts will be in Christchurch Cathedral in Oxford and at St. Sepulchre Church (the “Musician’s Church) in London. Additionally the group will join forces and play a joint concert with the Bath All-Comer’s Orchestra at St. Luke’s Church in Bath. They will also be visiting The Beatles Story in Liverpool, Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey and a guided coach tour of London.

The British Council is very impressed at the relationship between the WDMCS and the partner schools, a stand-out in the Olympic Dreams Live program.

“I cannot tell you how much it heartens me that this partnership which began with the World Olympic Dreams project has flourished into something really special for all involved – the teachers, the parents, the communities, and most importantly, the students,” praised Tim Rivera, project and partnerships officer for the British Council. “It’s not often that we get to see deep long-term impact that some of our programs can make,” Rivera said. “Everyone was quite moved and appreciative of the great outcome of this partnership.”

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations. They work in over 100 countries worldwide to build opportunity and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. The BBC is a public service broadcaster, established by a Royal Charter and funded by the license fee that is paid by UK households.

You can follow the group during the tour and enjoy photos and videos on Facebook>..."

03.13.2013: CCDC "Hidden Menu" Item

I got an e-mail recently from the guys over at Panera Bread. I'd signed up for their loyalty reward program and that allowed them to contact me with news and offers. They were trying to get me to try something that's "off-menu", a so-called "hidden menu" item. The whole idea was to get me to feel like an insider and try dishes the rest of the public may not know about because it's not on their menu display. And, it worked! Their chicken hummus salad is a real winner and it's now in my rotation of items I order whenever I end up at their restaurants. (Just tell the order-taker that you want to order something off their "hidden menu" and that's how you access it. Be sure you get a ramekin of balsamic vinagrette on the side to drizzle over the salad---My mouth is watering even as I type this!---The guys at my local Panera tell me I'm still one of the few customers that's ever ordered it! Bottom line, the promotion worked! I feel like an insider!) Now, it's not a new promotional idea, I understand Starbucks and other chains have similar "off-menu" items that you have to specifically ask to order. And, now, here's the part that I get to tell you blog-readers about CCDC's "hidden menu" item. (Those of you already in the know can head directly to SnapChat instead!o) It usually takes a while for new students to learn about the extra Sunday class because it's not on any schedule. It started back when I was dancing professionally because I wanted to dance on my off-day when most studios don't offer any classes. I would get a key and go into one of the studios where I was rehearsing or teaching during the week and give myself a class by myself. Somehow or another a few other dancers and students caught wind of the habit and asked if they could join me. The more the merrier, I say! It's always easier for me to get going when I know someone's going to be waiting for me! Pretty soon Sunday class was practically an institution. It's on the CCDC rehearsal schedule now, but, once rehearsals are over, they'll continue despite not being on any public schedule. So, now, you know! It's open to any CCDC Ballet IV/V/VI or Open Division student or comparable dancers from other studios. Normal charges apply. It usually runs from 1:00-2:45 on Sunday afternoons in Studio One, 1:00-2:30 when rehearsals follow. Be sure to check with me before you just show up because it's cancelled on Sundays I'm traveling. But, besides those rare occasions, be sure to take advantage of a "tasty" item off CCDC's "hidden menu"! Never mind "Sundays In The Park With George"! How about "Sundays In The Studio...With The CCDancedoC!

03.13.2013: Stage Movement

Keep getting these notices in the e-mailbag. Sign-up at your own risk!o)
"...International Physical Theatre Lab
  • May 13 - 17 Tuscany, Italy
  • May 27 - 31 Styria, Austria
The Lab is open to experienced dancers, actors of physical theatre, contemporary circus performers, choreographers and directors with professional stage experience working in various genres, techniques and styles. There are two different groups in Italy and Austria. Participants may choose one of the Labs.

There are several Scholarships available supported by ArtUniverse.
Each scholarship amount up to 300 EUR and covers the part of the participation fee.

Programme and registration details: Italy:

Photo gallery:"

03.11.2013: Lovely Hula Hands

If you can't go to Hawai'i this year, Hawai'i is coming to a location near you this spring:
"...We are bringing Hawaii to you.

The Polynesian Dance touring company has been featured on Dancing with the stars, Tuckerville, Wizards of Wavery Place and the movie Bedtime Stories starring Adam Sandler. Our mission is to bring the Hawaiian Experience to those who may not otherwise get the chance. Our show Postcards from Paradise is set during the summer of 1959. it is an enchanting show that will take you back on a vintage trip to the South Pacific. This Vibrant performance of exotic hula dancing and heart pounding drum beats of the islands is truly and unforgettable show.

Postcards from Paradise tour start April 6th in Tucson, AZ Check out our full tour dates on our web site.

Polynesian Paradise Dancers
2013 Spring Tour dates:

  • April 6th 2013 - Tucson, AZ
  • April 7th 2013 - Tucson, AZ
  • April 9th 2013 - Denver, Co
  • April 11th 2013 - Albert City, IA
  • April 12th 2013 - Des Moines, IA
  • April 14th 2013 - Skokie, IL
  • April 15th 2013 - Chicago, IL
  • April 16th 2013 - Chicago, IL
  • April 19th 2013 - Pittston, PA
  • April 20th 2013 - Westchester, NY
  • April 21st 2013 - Miami,FL
  • April 21st 2013 - Pottsville, PA
  • April 27th 2013 - Morenci, AZ
  • April 28th 2013 - Sedona, AZ
  • May 4th 2013 - Casper, WY
  • May 8th 2013 - Canyonville, OR

03.08.2013: Friday Video Day

In honor of the coming season: A fellow fan of DWT*** asked if I'd seen the Sears parody ad of the reality TV dance competition. I hadn't seen it since I DVR most of the shows I watch and skip over the commercials. So, she suggested I search YouTube for it. I did...and this is the result:

...Just a reminder of what I wrote all last season of the All-Stars: this season is going to suffer by comparison. But, something to look forward to is the new pro from SYTYCD, Lindsay Alexander. I thought she should've lasted longer on that show than she did...and apparently the producers of DWT*** agree with me and are hoping for some crossover buzz. Lindsay's paired with boxer Victor Ortiz. They tweet they're practicing up a storm. But, we'll withhold judgement until the premiere. Watch for the "CCDC Soon2BAnointed/Soon2BDisappointed" rankings shortly after that!

03.07.2013: Performance Posting

Support your fellow dancers! Reminder of performance this weekend:
"...I'm extending a special invitation to you and your studio since you have one or more students in this production. I very much appreciate you allowing Iowa Dance Theatre to bring the talent you trained to the stage in this way. For those of you who made special arrangements in order to share your dancers with our rehearsal process, I especially thank you!

As you know, having friends and mentors in the audience means so much to a performer. I hope you can attend a performance in support of your dancers and the more than 70 dancers who have worked hard to bring Kennet Oberly's choreography to life again this year. It would also be wonderful if you could encourage your students who are not in the performance to come enjoy this show as well. I think you'll find it humorous, beautiful and a good inspiration for your dancers to renew their dedication to their dance classes at their home studio. Feel free to call me with any questions: 979-6622

Cinderella Ballet
  • 03/09/2013 02:00:00 pm
  • 03/09/2013 07:00:00 pm
  • 03/10/2013 02:00:00 pm
at Urbandale Performing Arts Center
7111 Aurora Ave
Urbandale, IA 50322

Click here to purchase tickets online.
Click here for more information about this show and a downloadable poster.

If you do not have a poster at your studio and would like us to bring you one, please call me at 515-979-6622 and I'll arrange to get that to you ASAP! Or print the attached poster for your students!

You can also use the links above in your website and facebook pages to invite your students to join you at the performances!

Again, thank you for your continued collaboration with Iowa Dance Theatre. IDT's mission is to support your dancers and the work you do with them, so as always, feel free to contact us at any time to let us know how we can better serve you and the dance community in Central Iowa..."

03.06.2013: Barre Par Terre, Pt 2

Mixed reaction after finally getting around last week to viewing and following along with the Intermediate Floor Barre DVD in a series mentioned in an earlier post (See 02.25.2013 entry). There's a lot to like here, but, there are some portions that caused me to furrow my brow. But, because of hubris (and lack of time), I'd gone directly to the floor barre section without instruction. I think if I had to do it all over again, I'd at least watch the barre with instruction first. So, it seemed a little herky-jerky and I'm sure that peering over a shoulder to follow along with the monitor wasn't optimal for results. I liked the repitition of the exercises and the stretching section was challenging (and quick!). But, the port de bras requirement seemed a little counter-productive to me. And, sitting up and sitting down may strengthen the abdominals, but, I don't think it's conducive to alignment. But, it did remind me of the value I get from the floor barre I designed myself. So, this weekend, I led some students in an hour-long version of my regular floor barre followed by a quick half-hour traditional "Program" barre. And, one dancer said she could feel the difference in her retirre' balances. Other dancers have previously told me they're surprised at the results they get from floor barre in their next ballet classes. So, I'm still trying to figure out how to get my own floor barre DVD or downloads up for sale on the web. I think I'll call it: "The CCDancedoC Barre Par Terre". Whaddya think? I'll get to work on that right after I write my book, "Placement Based Ballet Technique". Watch for those eventually!o)

03.05.2013: Sister Sister

Love to hear this kind of feedback from CCDC families:
"...Even though the girls are in separate classes bringing (my younger daughter) has made (my older daughter) enjoy it even more. They love getting dressed together and then "practicing" when they get home... "

03.04.2013: Sean's Show

CCDC Alum, former professional dancer and 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Instructor Sean Laughead sends this along:
"Just an article on next weekend's performance I'm dancing in... It should be good!"
And, here's that article:
Dancers in Company to perform home concerts March 7-9
Student ensemble to tour state, Midwest later this spring
By: Christopher Clair

The University of Iowa Department of Dance will present home concerts for its resident touring company, Dancers in Company (DIC), at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 7-9, in Space Place Theater in North Hall.

The program will feature pieces by five UI faculty, one UI grad student, and guest artist Nicholas Leichter. Leichter’s piece, Bliss, originally commissioned and premiered by the Harkness Dance Project, was staged and developed on dancers of DIC in 2002. This reconstruction takes the central ideas and material of the piece and has been enhanced and reassembled for the current DIC members. The sound score was designed by Stefan Jacobs and incorporates samples and interpolations from music by Benn Watt, Donny Hathaway, Miles Davis, Tom Browne, Mariah Carey, Angie Stone, and Raphael Saadiq.

Other works on the program:

  • Khandjoura by Alan Sener, professor
  • Yep by Zoe Bennett, graduate student
  • Correnteza by Armando Duarte, professor
  • A Practical Ballet Dance for Six… by Deanna Carter, assistant professor
  • The Secret Name of the Universe by Jennifer Kayle, associate professor
  • Shilly-Shally by Charlotte Adams, associate professor and director of Dancers in Company
Tickets are $12 ($6 for seniors and youth 17 and younger; $5 for UI students with valid ID) and are available through the Hancher Box Office.

In addition, Dancers in Company will perform at the final Arts Share/Community Foundation of Johnson County concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10, in Space Place. The free concert will be one hour in length, and DIC will perform excerpts of its repertoire, which includes ballet, modern, and hip-hop.

“The DIC Arts Share concert is an event for children of all ages, exploring how dance and movement communicate ideas,” says Adams. “The company will present delightful and varied excerpts of dance works that excite your curiosity. The audience will enjoy participating in warming up to the ‘Funky Penguin,’ creating movement and giving their own ideas about making dances with the dancers.”

Dancers In Company, composed of undergraduates and graduate students, tours throughout Iowa and the Midwest each spring, performing live concerts and lecture demonstrations for audiences of all ages. The company reflects the mission of the department by training dancers in performance and choreography while providing them a top-notch liberal arts education. The company's repertory changes regularly and is selected from award-winning dances by faculty, guest artists, and emerging student choreographers.

The Dancers in Company cast, with hometowns in parentheses, features Zachary Bird (Dubuque, Iowa), Sophia Sednova (New York City), Stav Comay (Minnetonka, Minn.), Leann Gioia (Marengo, Ill.), Sean Laughead (West Des Moines, Iowa), Lauren Linder (Muncie, Ind.), Tyler Clark (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Katie Skinner (Brookfield, Ill.), Bianca Medina (Chicago), Jingqiu Guan (China), Molly Schuneman (Plainfield, Ill.), Dakota Gonzalez (Arlington Heights, Ill.), and understudy Ethan Rome (Dubuque, Iowa).

Dancers in Company’s 2013 tour will take them to the following locations:

  • March 13: Iowa Lakes Community College, Emmetsburg and Estherville, Iowa
  • March 27: Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa
  • April 4: Scott Community College, Bettendorf, Iowa
  • April 4: Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa
  • April 5: Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa
  • April 12: Hills Elementary School, Hills, Iowa
  • April 17: Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, Iowa
  • April 18: Larkin High School, Elgin, Ill.
  • April 19: University of Chicago Charter School, Woodlawn Campus, Chicago
  • April 19: Hubbard Street Dance Outreach, Lou Conte Dance Studio, Chicago
  • May 1: Harding and Franklin Middle Schools, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The Department of Dance is a part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For accommodations at the concert please contact the department at 319-335-2228. For a UI arts calendar and details about upcoming events visit the new Arts Iowa website.

03.01.2013: In Like A Lion

TGIFriday YouTube Day! Here's a 2013 Prix de Lausanne judge in performance.
Here's another 2013 Prix de Lausanne judge in performance:
Find another 2013 Prix de Lausanne judge in performance here. Can't embed player by request.

02.28.2013: Horner's Korner

"Do you recognize this person?"

I looked up from my tablet and squinted at the television. The picture had halted on a pretty brunette in mid-sentence. I scratched my head in confusion. Was this a trick question? "Is she that actress from Being Human?" I asked.

"No, silly! It's Kourtney Horner! Remember she used to teach for CCDC?"

My eyebrows shot up. Of course, I remembered Kourtney. She'd moved to Nashville to seek her fame and fortune a few years ago after teaching hip-hop for us. I'd heard she'd been in a few music videos, but, now, she had a speaking role in a major television series like Nashville? That was her opposite Hayden Panatierre! Good for Kourtney! Still teaching, still a role model! See! You CAN make it from here! Just can't wait to see what's in the future for Hanna and current CCDC Lyrical/Hip Hop Instructor Roni McCann! Kourtney's still setting the barre high for CCDC students AND faculty!o) Hmm...Wonder if she can get me an autograph...

02.27.2013: This Club Is In FIRE!

Supporting efforts to nurture the arts in the Capital City area:
Annual Fundraising Party
Food For Thought
Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 5:00 - 9:00 pm
DsM Social Club at the Firehouse
900 Mulberry Street
Tickets on sale 3/15 at 3:15 pm

Featuring two parties in the courtyard, music by Cashes Rivers, DJ 810, The River Monks, and Jordan Mayland, guided firehouse tours, slide down the fire pole, paint a collaborative mural, and much more!

Get tickets to the Formal Dinner or the BBQ & Brews Party on 3/15 at 3:15 pm at A very limited amount of tickets are available. Buying in advance is highly recommended to secure a spot at the event.

Formal Dinner
$100/person or $1,700/VIP Table (advance purchase only). Includes a three-course meal by Chef of the Year, Sean Wilson and wine pairings by Sommelier Zachary Mannheimer. VIP tables include bottles of champagne and priority seating. Purchase tables by contacting Julie at or 515-288-3672.

BBQ & Brews Party
$20/person (advance purchase recommended). Includes free BBQ and beer.

More Party Facts

  • Proceeds are donated to support the firehouse construction efforts and Social Club programming.
  • Make a pledge to slide down the fire pole, paint a collaborative mural, and start the construction by knocking down a wall.
  • Both parties kick off at 5:00 pm and converge together for a DJ 810 dance party at 7:45 pm.
  • An elevated stage will connect both parties with live music and a showcase of Social Club programming.
  • Special news about the firehouse will be released at the event.
  • Free food and drink!
  • Anyone is who anyone will be there.

Mark your calendars for 3/15 at 3:15 pm to buy tickets.

02.26.2013: Moon Unit

Someone sent me this astrological interpretation of this month's full moon recently:
"...The Sabian Symbol for this Full Moon is, "A girl takes her first dancing instruction." To me, "girl" suggests opening to your natural receptivity and innocence, "first...instruction" invites you to open to new experiences, and "dancing" points toward a joyful, fully embodied approach to life. How about it?..."
...But, I don't think we need to wait for astrologers to tell us when it's a good time for "first", "second" or "umpteenth" dancing instruction. I'd suggest whatever the "lunation", "full", "new", "waxing" or "waning" moon, is a good time for good "dancing instruction"!

02.25.2013: Barre Par Terre

Last week's snow day finally allowed me time to use a gift I received over the holidays. I'd seen an intriguing web posting praising a series of floor barre DVD's offered on the Yumiko website. When I was asked for gift suggestions, that popped into my mind. I'm now the proud owner of the three DVD set. Now, I've done my own floor barre and in person with Homer Bryant in Chicago and from a Zena Rommet DVD. They all have their different strengths and weaknesses and I appreciate the benefit I get from the practice. But, I wanted a DVD that I could just put in and follow, something perhaps a little shorter than the two-hours I normally spend on my own floor barre. So, I started my snow day by watching the Beginner level DVD with Stephane Dalle. But, after awhile, I was so intrigued, I restarted the DVD and began following along. He instructs young students from the John Cranko School in Germany in the technique. You can select (if you can see the on-screen indicator!) from floor barre with or without instruction and an interview with Dalle, another dancer and Yumiko herself. I enjoyed the presentation and I could feel the benefits, but, I could do without the pencil-in-the-hand to train the fingers or the hands-on-the-piano to feel the music exercises. But, there were some other excellent exercises and some stretches that really pushed me to my limit. And, as he says in his interview, proper repetition produces the result, so, I could've gone longer. I didn't time it, but, the long version with instruction felt like about 45 minutes. I'm looking forward to finding the time to doing the Intermediate and Advanced versions in the future. And, the rest of the Yumiko website has some intriguing hand-made or custom-order danceware products you might want to check out (including an Professional-Advanced Ballet Class DVD). If you're looking for a gift suggestion for your favorite dancer, you can't go wrong with a Yumiko leo or gift certificate. And, just to be clear, I haven't been compensated by the company for this endorsement, I'm a customer.

02.22.2013: Sky King

Not happy with your grand allegro? Here's a cross-training suggestion from Men's Health magazine:
"...With a vertical leap reportedly measuring more than 40 inches, LeBron James reigns as king of the air. Sure, great genes help. But any man can increase his hops with a little work. The secret is adding plyometric training—explosive power movements—to your workout, says Todd Durkin, C.S.C.S., author of The Body IMPACT! Plan. That's why Durkin created a high-powered challenge to increase your jumping gains.

Ready to give it a shot? Click here to try the drill that helps you leap like LeBron..."

02.21.2013: Performing Paquita

With not one, but, TWO snowstorms bearing down on the Capital City over the next few days, be sure to watch above for the latest updates on schedule changes due to inclement weather. And, don't look now, but, summer seems to be a loooong way off. But, one of the things you can look forward to when warmer weather returns (besides the 2013 CCDC Summer Intensive, Summer Workshops and CCDC Stay In Shape Classes! Ballet III and IV STRONGLY encouraged to attend BTW! You, too, V+VI!o) is the return of the seminal television series Breaking Pointe to the CW Network! This is the reality TV show that features stories from backstage at the ballet, specifically Utah's Ballet West. For those of you who can't wait or may be snowed in today, check out this webvideo of BW soloist and Breaking Pointe star @BeckanneSisk performing an excerpt from Paquita. Especially, watch her upper body as she dances. That's the presentation of the Russian back we ask for here at CCDC. Just make sure it doesn't get too affected or affect proper placement based classical technique! Got a favorite dance video you want to share with other snowed in CCDC students? Send me a note! But, not anything that has the words "Harlem" or "Shake" in them, K?

02.20.2013: Prix Post Script

One of the best things about the recent Prix de Lausanne were the friendships made. Here's an excerpt from an update from one of the moms of a member of Team USA:
"...Hi Emery!

...(My dancer) has decided on Hamburg for year round & Toronto for the summer. We are waiting to hear back from Hamburg, which I have emailed them twice since we got back...

...What a great experience that competition was & really glad to meet you! We are quite excited & very impressed with Hamburg. I have requested (my son) be in the dorms the 1st year. He will be in the highest level & have opportunities to dance with the company. I really like that Kevin Haigen will be (my son's) teacher & immediately said he was The Upper Body Specialist & it would be easy to fix his upper half to match the lower. He was very enthusiastic, as was Gigi Hyatt. Thought those were good signs so to speak!

Here's wishing you all the best!!
(Prix de Lausanne Mom)..."

02.19.2013: Snow Much Info

With two possible "Snowpacolypse" events looming on the horizon, I thought this would be a good time to review Capital City Dance Center's bad weather policy again. First and foremost is safety! If you ever think conditions in your area warrant keeping your child at home, please do so! CCDC draws from a wide geographic area, so classes may still be running at the studios even when bad weather isn't universal. You can make-up any missed classes due to weather at a comparable level class or check with your instructor. As to policy, CCDC will cancel classes whenever the Urbandale School District cancels classes due to weather. If school is not in session, like evenings, vacations, holidays or on weekends, CCDC will cancel classes and rehearsals when travel is dangerous or is predicted to become dangerous. Students and family will be notified several ways: on the home page crawl and at the top of the CCDC 'News 'n' Notes blog on the GoCCDC.Com website, on the CCDC FaceBook page, via the CCDC twitter feed (@SirDanGuy) and the CCDC office phone answering machine. We also attempt to notify the local media, but, that's always iffy. Please check one of these if you have any questions about weather cancellations. And, if there is some other way we can spread the word, please let us know! Remember! Safety first! Drive carefully out there!

02.18.2013: Letters From The Confederacy

We are NOT forgotten! She still lives! She still dances! AND! Better yet! SHE EVEN WRITES!o) Here are the answers to the CCDC Alumni Survey we sent out to the state's newest professional dancer, Ms 2K2M:
"...Hello everyone at CCDC! I MISS YOU ALL SO MUCH!

  1. I am thrilled to say that I just joined the Montgomery Ballet in Alabama for the 2013 season! We are currently a company of 30 dancers. Our season is a little different than most places in that it runs February-December, with a couple of months off sporadically. This is because the summer is tourist season here, so many of our performances are during that time.
    We just finished preparing for our season opener "Love is in the Air" which I got to perform in this past weekend. We did little excerpts from our big shows this season, along with some contemporary pieces, in our company studio which was turned into a black box theater type of setting, it was really cool! I lucked out and got to dance the beautiful Waltz of the Flowers from Nutcracker, because we all know that piece of music never gets old! (Insert sarcasm here) ;) Along with that, I got to perform in a little excerpt from Don Q. which was very fun and sassy! We are also rehearsing for our full length production of Sleeping Beauty which will be performed in late March.
    In addition to these shows, we are also doing Don Quixote this summer, a new production of Phantom of the Opera choreographed by my Artistic Director, Darren McIntyre, Nutcracker, as well as various other smaller shows we put on throughout Montgomery during the summer and fall. One of these is a performance the company does annually at the Montgomery Zoo entitled "Ballet and the Beasts", which could be absolutely terrifying considering the name!

  2. A typical day starts with company class for about an hour and a half, followed by a day full of rehearsals in preparation for upcoming performances! We start in the morning at 9, and usually run until about 4, but depending on the rehearsal schedule I could get done sooner or later than that. In the evenings and on weekends I enjoy taking extra classes with the school, or doing my PROGRAM BARRE complete with the PROGRAM CD courtesy of Emery! :)

  3. Fortunately, our director strongly encourages his dancers to keep auditioning, since it's kind of the name of the game for a dancer! So yes, I have a couple of auditions down south I will be taking advantage of while I am here. There are also some more in April that I will be going to once I get home. Lots of competition! There are some really beautiful, talented dancers in the company-lots to aspire to!

  4. No performances yet, however I am hoping to drive up to Nashville and catch a performance before I come home in late March.

  5. Company class is very different from the classes I am used to at home. The point of class is more to get warm and placed in preparation for rehearsals, not necessarily strength building. Not getting corrected as much during class is a very big change that I am trying to figure out how to adjust to, I was spoiled by CCDC! It's much more your responsibility to push yourself, not anyone else's. That is exciting and scary at the same time! Granted, I have gotten a few corrections from fellow company members as well as my director and ballet mistress, nothing extreme or radical there. I have had a couple of company members really take me under their wing and try to help me with my transition from student to professional because it is quite tricky and is going to take some time! However, continuing to take classes with the school at night has been great for me because it allows me to go back and focus on my corrections and technical issues, rather than getting freaked out dancing next to more experienced company members.

  6. I am currently living alone and don't have a roommate. However, when I move back down in June I will be rooming with a fellow company member named Carly who also happens to have a cat! Yay kitty cuddle time!

  7. The other company members are all wonderful, and fortunately I have some really great dancers to look up to here! In comparison to them, I definitely feel like I need to work hard to get to their level of confidence and technical advancement. They have years of experience on me, so thankfully they are all really nice and willing to help me get there. There are a couple of beautiful turners here, so I am constantly picking their brains and asking them to watch me turn and correct me! Haha. :) I think that a strength I have is my performance quality which my director and ballet mistress seem to really appreciate. My director likes watching people who love to dance, so I think he is happy with me in that regard!

  8. In my down time I am usually icing, talking to wonderful loved ones back home, sewing shoes, watching DVDs of the Royal Ballet, or reading the autobiography of Margot Fonteyn which I am currently obsessed with! I also found a lovely church to attend on Sundays and Wednesdays, so that is a great way to spend some of my week. :) Some little old ladies at church asked me if I wanted to join their domino group and choir on Thursday nights, so I will be probably be doing that if my schedule allows :) As you can see I'm getting pretty crazy down here..

  9. I can't really pinpoint one thing I wish I had known before I left, honestly! My training at CCDC, along with my experiences with injuries, has completely prepared my body and mind for a professional environment and how I need to work and take care of myself in the process. If I was to pick something it probably would be to have known how much it would rain here! We are going on about 3 straight days of rain, so I am wishing I would have packed an umbrella!

    I have only been a professional for a little over two weeks, so I don't think I am qualified to give good advice yet, but if I were to I would simply say to never forget why you love to dance. Your ability to dance can literally be taken away in an instant by an injury or something else scary, so never waste an opportunity to express yourself. Enjoy every challenge and every high point because they are all valuable to who you are as a dancer. I would also say to LISTEN TO YOUR TEACHERS and value having someone who gives as many corrections as Missy and Emery do, because you will miss them when they aren't screaming at you anymore!

    (Editor's note: Loneliness or over-consumption of okra and grits is obviously affecting 2K2M's memory because we DON'T scream in class! ...But, we WILL scream like little girls when she gets back!o)

  10. (Ms 2K2M)
    4524A Beth Manor Drive
    Montgomery, Alabama 36109
  11. You should all know that I have achieved quite an accomplishment in the fact I have not been to Starbucks ONCE since I was here..and that is with a Starbucks literally 2 steps from the ballet studio! I am pretty astounded by my willpower at this point.

  12. Of course I miss everyone so much! I have met some wonderful people here, but CCDC is where my family is and it is hard not having my loved ones here with me. I know you are all dancing beautifully, and I can't wait to be home to share more smiles, laughs, hugs, and of course DANCING with all of you!

Love you all!

02.14.2013: Genesis Generates Buzz

Milwaukee Ballet picks a sweetheart:
"...You came, you voted, and YOU helped decide a winner!

Last weekend Milwaukee Ballet staged three world premieres and invited you to vote for your favorite. The panel of guest judges crowned Gabrielle Lamb's Manifold the winner, but Lauren Edson's I Hit the Ground took home the Audience Favorite Award. Click here for more details on the winning pieces.

Read more of what the critics had to say about Genesis:
Milwaukee Ballet: Photo finish at the Genesis competition
--- ThirdCoast Digest

Pieces in Milwaukee Ballet's Genesis competition play to dancers' strengths
--- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Click here to see the photos from the production.

Encore Performance this Saturday!
You can see Gabrielle Lamb's winning piece, Manifold this weekend..."

02.13.2013: Pushing Thru Plateaus

Thought that the "February Doldrums" would be a good time to repost this
"...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. But, in conversations with other professionals, some of them have never felt that magic. More's the pity! Let me tell you now, pushing through the plateaus creates the possibility of attaining pinnacles during performance! Merde for your career!o)..."

02.12.2013: Threw The Looking Glass

Arts Center features glimmers through glass:
DsM Art Center presents Transparencies: Contemporary Art and A History of Glass

(Capital City News) — On February 22, 2013, the Art Center will open Transparencies: Contemporary Art and A History of Glass, which will be on view in the Anna K. Meredith Gallery and run through May 22, 2013. Transparencies brings together a group of international artists whose work explores glass as both medium and as subject matter. Each creates contemporary art that connects with the history of glasswork, from luxury objects such as chandeliers and mirrors to household items like drinking vessels and light bulbs. Many forms of glass are represented: delicate, hand-worked mirrors and industrial sheets of Plexiglass, as well as works that despite appearances are not made of glass at all. The artists selected for Transparencies come from around the world, and vary widely in their art-making practices. Some have always worked with glass, both actually and conceptually, while others have only explored it occasionally. Combining sculpture, video, and installation with traditional forms of artisan technique such as stained and blown glass, Transparencies explores the role of glass in today’s contemporary art world as well as in our everyday lives. Artists in the show include Jim Dingilian (U.S.), Matt Eskuche (U.S.), Monir Farmanfarmaian (Iran), Laura Fritz (U.S.), Rachel Lee Hovnanian (U.S.), Ran Hwang (Korea/U.S.), Luke Jerram (Great Britain), Karen LaMonte (U.S./Czech Republic), Judith Schaechter (U.S.), and Fred Wilson (U.S.). Transparencies is organized by Laura Burkhalter, associate curator.

Related Programs

Lecture: William Warmus
The Art and History of Glass
Sunday, March 10 / 2 pm / Levitt Auditorium
Reservations required*

The son of a glassblower, William Warmus has spent his life around glassmakers and glass masterpieces. He was the curator of modern glass at The Corning Museum of Glass, editor of Glass Quarterly, and is the author of more than a dozen books and over a hundred essays. In 2012, his writing appeared in books about Dale Chihuly, Bertil Vallien, and Narcissus Quagliata. The True History of Glass, an overview of the art, history, and sociology of contemporary glass, will appear in 2013. This lecture explores the fascinating history of glass from its beginnings to its modern development, from Tutankhamen to Tiffany, Chihuly, and beyond.
Yoga + Gallery Talk

Saturday, March 16 / 9 am
Lobby / Anna K. Meredith Gallery
Reservations required*
Limit 50; participants should provide their own yoga mats

Yoga novices and enthusiasts alike are invited to the lobby of the Art Center for a Saturday morning practice. Voted as Cityview’s 2011 Best Yoga Instructor in Des Moines, Ben Easter will lead a 60-minute session that starts the weekend off in the right direction. A 20-minute gallery talk about Transparencies immediately follows.
Artist Lecture: Fred Wilson

Opacities: The Unforgivable Beauty of Black Glass
Thursday, April 11 / 6:30 pm / Levitt Auditorium
Reservations required*

A 1999 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant as well as the 2003 American representative at the Venice Biennale, Fred Wilson is internationally known for his museum installations, in which he re-installs and re-labels objects owned by a museum for the purpose of creating new meanings and non-conventional narratives. Beyond bringing home the point that the way we view and “read” objects is conditioned by context and juxtaposition, Wilson’s site specific installations subvert, criticize, or poke fun at the unspoken assumptions that museums make about the social order, including such issues as class, gender, and ethnicity. Wilson began using glass in his work during a residency at the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle in 2001. Three of his glass pieces are featured in Transparencies: The Beginning of the End, 2009; Drips and Drabs, 2009; and Iago’s Mirror, 2009. Using historic and familiar forms, his glass works represent a continuing investigation into the symbolism and meaning of the color black, both historically and in contemporary times.
Gallery Talk Thursday, May 2 / 6:30 pm
Anna K. Meredith Gallery
Associate Curator Laura Burkhalter will lead an informal discussion of the exhibition.
*Space is limited for these free events. Reservations may be made at by clicking on the EVENT RESERVATIONS bubble on the homepage or by phone at 515.271.0313.

02.11.2013: Heart In Dixie

Gaah! I look away for just a second...I turn around...And, SHE'S GONE! (Sniff!) A brief trip across the pond and when we return, CCDC's 2K2M has LEFT THE BUILDING! In case you've been living in a cave, kudoz to Ms 2K2M for her contract with a professional ballet company down south! She'll be dancing with the company on a temporary contract for about six weeks until the end of the 2013 season. She'll then return this summer for the start of next season. Couldn't be prouder! And, in case you haven't been in the CCDC lobby recently to check out the "Wall of Fame" of CCDC graduates who've gone on to professional careers, her picture is the latest to go up. 2K says she's looked at the pictures on that wall since she was a little kid and to now be up on the wall next to her other role models is a little surreal! (Which begs the question: Who's next? Who wants to be next? Who's got the game and the gumption to shoot for the stars? Why not you, CCDC dancer? WHY NOT YOU!) So, today she's starting her second week as a professional dancer and I think it's high time we start pestering her for answers! Enquiring minds wanna know! So, I'm going to text her to answer the survey we sent out to CCDC graduates last fall. But, is there anything specific you'd like to ask? You can e-mail me here and I'll pass it on. Meanwhile, here's the survey, 2K! Merde for the week!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? What's your best advice for any CCDC dancer who dreams of following in your footsteps to becoming a professional dancer?
  10. What's your snail-mailing address?
  11. Anything else we should know about?
  12. Miss us at all? (Sniff!)

02.08.2013: "Y'gotta Have 'Art!"

Celebration of fine arts this weekend:
HeartFest ‘A Fine Art Show’!
February 9-10, 2013
Valley West Mall

HeartFest, a spring companion show to the June ArtFest Midwest.

· Fun “KidzDuArt” area—From 12-3 p.m. both days at Center Court
Free “Make-a-Puppet” workshop—

Design your very own Valentine puppet to take home! (no charge)
(Directed by VSA artist Gwynne Burke)

Face Painting & Henna Tatto Art (fee charged)

Ongoing artist demonstrations:
special Valentine caricatures

wire wrapping & gem setting (jewelry)
rivet forging (jewelry)
felt hat making
handpainting photographs using acrylics

  • Jan Fleming, author
  • 50 fine artists
  • Mediums: ceramics, fiber, glass, mixed media, painting, drawing, photography, jewelry, painting, wood, sculpture
  • Show hours: 10-9 p.m. Saturday, 11-6 p.m. Sunday
  • Free admission & parking

02.07.2013: Food For Dreams?

You sleep how you eat? New study suggests diet affects ability to "saw wood":
Eat to Dream: Study Shows Dietary Nutrients Associated with Certain Sleep Patterns Released

(Capital City News) — “You are what you eat,” the saying goes, but is what you eat playing a role in how much you sleep? Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. With the increasing prevalence of obesity and its consequences, sleep researchers have begun to explore the factors that predispose individuals to weight gain and ultimately obesity. Now, a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows for the first time that certain nutrients may play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration and that people who report eating a large variety of foods – an indicator of an overall healthy diet – had the healthiest sleep patterns. The new research is published online, ahead-of-print in the journal Appetite.

“Although many of us inherently recognize that there is a relationship between what we eat and how we sleep, there have been very few scientific studies that have explored this connection, especially in a real-world situation,” said Michael A. Grandner, PhD, instructor in Psychiatry and member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at Penn. “ In general, we know that those who report between 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night are most likely to experience better overall health and well being, so we simply asked the question "Are there differences in the diet of those who report shorter sleep, longer sleep, or standard sleep patterns?”

To answer this question, the research team analyzed data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NHANES includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions. The sample for the survey is selected to represent the U.S. population of all ages and demographics. For the current study, researchers used the survey question regarding how much sleep each participant reported getting each night to separate the sample into groups of different sleep patterns. Sleep patterns were broken out as “Very Short’’ (<5 h per night), ‘‘Short’’ (5–6 h per night), ‘‘Standard’ (7–8h per night), and ‘‘Long’’ (9 h or more per night). NHANES participants also sat down with specially trained staff who went over, in great detail, a full day's dietary intake. This included everything from the occasional glass of water to complete, detailed records of every part of each meal. With this data, the Penn research team analyzed whether each group differed from the 7-8 hour “standard” group on any nutrients and total caloric intake. They also looked at these associations after controlling for overall diet, demographics, socioeconomics, physical activity, obesity, and other factors that could have explained this relationship.

The authors found that total caloric intake varied across groups. Short sleepers consumed the most calories, followed by normal sleepers, followed by very short sleepers, followed by long sleepers. Food variety was highest in normal sleepers, and lowest in very short sleepers. Differences across groups were found for many types of nutrients, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

In a statistical analysis, the research team found that there were a number of dietary differences, but these were largely driven by a few key nutrients. They found that very short sleep was associated with less intake of tap water, lycopene (found in red- and orange-colored foods), and total carbohydrates, short sleep was associated with less vitamin C, tap water, selenium (found in nuts, meat and shellfish), and more lutein/zeaxanthin (found in green, leafy vegetables), and long sleep was associated with less intake of theobromine (found in chocolate and tea), dodecanoic acid (a saturated fat) choline (found in eggs and fatty meats), total carbohydrates, and more alcohol.

“Overall, people who sleep 7 - 8 hours each night differ in terms of their diet, compared to people who sleep less or more. We also found that short and long sleep are associated with lower food variety,” said Dr. Grandner. “What we still don’t know is if people altered their diets, would they be able to change their overall sleep pattern? This will be an important area to explore going forward as we know that short sleep duration is associated with weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Likewise, we know that people who sleep too long also experience negative health consequences. If we can pinpoint the ideal mix of nutrients and calories to promote healthy sleep, the healthcare community has the potential to make a major dent in obesity and other cardiometabolic risk factors.”

02.06.2013: Mmmadd Missive

Mmm, mmm, GOOD! She may be gone, but, we are NOT forgotten!o)
Dear CCDC-

Wow, it has been awhile since we have spoke! I heard about this year's ballet being Swan Lake, and I really hope I will be able to come see it :) Our showcases in Miami are in May and June so I have to start figuring out dates and times. The showcase in May is part of the jazz program...which is challenging since my teacher is an ultra diva and trying to figure out what he truly wants is a battle everyday. Our June showcase is the ballet Paquita and Allegro Brilliante! I am really sad because only Advanced 1 gets to do Allegro, which is by George Balanchine..wahhhh! In Paquita, I am a demi-soloist and I really like my part. The corps work is very hard, but its all for the experiences and feeling of togetherness, right? Missy didn't you say that your company was chosen as examples of brilliant corps work for Paquita?

Audition season is also here, as I am sure all of you know! HaHa. This year I am auditioning for PNB, Boston and Pennsylvania I am nervous and excited at the same time:)

How have all of everyone's auditions been going? How are Swan Lake rehearsals and who is who? I miss you all and I hope everyone is doing well!

Love you guys,
(Mmmadd Skyllz) <3

02.03.2013: Last Day

HOLD THE PRESSES! When last we left our hardy band of travelers, Adrian was preparing to consider offers from four schools at the final networking forum. Now, up that number to SIX! This is how it happened...

We were waiting in Studio Two for the school reps to set up, when one of the staff asked for silence because some extra offers were being made to SOME of the contestants. She then read off a list of numbers...but, #TeamAdrian's didn't come up. We were a little disappointed, like being told it was Christmas, but, getting no presents. THEN, she said, "Those were offers for the finalists, here are the extra offers for the rest of the competitors..." After what seemed like an interminable wait...she finally read off "Two-oh-seven1" That's Adrian's number and when he came back he was beaming from ear-to-ear! Another school and a company had made an extra offer!

So, then, we shuttled from table to table meeting with reps of six different organizations. There seemed to be about twenty tables set up for the schools. The ones we spoke with were all very cordial and complimentary of Adrian as you might expect. Lotta information and business cards and pamphlets exchanged hands. Forms in triplicate had to be filled out at each table detailing the offer and expiration date. Some schools offered more than others, some couldn't offer as much as others. They all sounded extraordinary and Adrian and his family will have a lot of numbers to crunch and information to glean and digest.

At one school's table, I asked about a student of ours that had attended and said complimentary things about her time there. The rep actually remembered her, telling us that the student had even collaborated with the school nutritionist to write a cookbook for dancers! I also asked about a CCDC summer intensive guest teacher who had trained at the school as well. The rep said he remembered him as well and said he was "quite a good teacher". Just goes to prove what a small ballet world it is after all!

Well, that's about it from sunny, cold Switzerland! What an AMAZING experience it's been! Thanks to everyone who made it possible, thanks to everyone who read this blog, the FaceBook page or the tweets, We'll be heading back bright and early tomorrow morning. And, fair warning to all my CCDC students, I've seen the best in your age group in the world...and I want us ALL to get there ASAP! Prepare for some challenging, but, inspiring classes when I get back! ...And, more stories and details that I can't put in a public forum!o)

...we now return you to regular programming.

02.02.2013: Networking Forum

Adrian! What a rascal! He came back from the networking forum informational meeting looking sad and told me he had NO OFFERS from any of the partner schools. I was at a loss for words! I was starting to think about hiding all the sharp objects in the room...I mean I was CERTAIN some school would recognize his potential, but...then, he told me he was kidding and that he'd gotten indications of interest from four schools! I could've STRANGLED him right there, but, I was too happy for him!

That means he'll meet with the four schools tomorrow and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of attending and get an opportunity to ask any questions he might have. He, then, will have a month to accept or decline any offers. The Prix de Lausanne website will make the official announcement at that time.

Later that day, we attended the finals of the 2013 Prix. Twenty dancers performed their classical and contemporary variations. Houston Ballet II performed an interesting piece while the scores were being tallied.

The piece was for four pairs of dancers and performed to a traditional music song called "Dancing in the Garden of Mirth". The women were in control in this piece, dressed in bare midriff tops and long skirts with a slit that revealed their boy shorts in front. They were seductive and sensual, the men were submissive and docile. It started with all four couples, went to a solo female, a pas de deux and pas de trois. It ended with everyone on stage again. In the background were a series of gobos lighting, evocative without overpowering. I'm not sure I agreed with the message, whether it was empowering or simply emasculating. Like I said, interesting choreography with some tricky partnering that I liked. Performed well, tho', so bravo, HBII!

The winner of the 2013 Prix was a boy from Brazil, Adhonay Silva. This is the guy who would consistently do four or five pirouettes and end on balance. Pirouettes were so good, I got goosebumps! His tours were rock solid, his technique was clear, clean and concise. He also won the Audience Favorite award, a precursor to his over all win. He deserved to win, but, the teacher and coach in me wishes he had shown a little more personality and playfulness in his Harlequinade variation. He's only fifteen, so he has time to develop a stronger stage personality. He has ALL the technical tools.

I can't quibble with Adhonay's win as audience favorite, but, I voted for another girl as my favorite: Kaho Yanagisawa. Her Swanilda was coquettish and playful. Her contemporary was limpid and lucid. She impressed me a lot for only fifteen as well.

I understand the web-stream was problematic, but, if you were there you heard the audience audibly gasp when three favorites stumbled or even fell. I believe most of the winners' video will be posted on the website. I don't think you're going to see these three anytime soon. If you missed it...that was the risk and reward of live theater and live ballet.

Interesting suggestion from the mother of one of the other female contestants who spoke to me at the post-performance party today, She was wondering if Adrian would consider partnering her daughter in a future competition. While he's not ruling anything out, he's hoping to be in a situation soon that rules out future competitions. But, I gave the mom my contact information and told her to stay in touch.

Also, I think Teddy Kumakawa thought I was a paparrazo when I approached him for a picture of him and Nina Ananiashvili today. He brusquely asked me who the picture would be for. I stammered something about my blog. He checked my credentials and was apparently satisfied that I wasn't going to sell the picture to the highest bidder. Just then Adrian walked up and I said I was his teacher. Kumakawa then became much more friendly and motioned Adrian into the picture with them. He even put him between the two of them. Adrian even got some extra personal corrections from the pair before they left the room. You can check out that picture on the CCDC FB page.

BTW, it finally started snowing here in southern Switzerland. The contestants from Florida were ecstatic! We, the weary veterans of winter were wondering what all the fuss was about until we found out they'd never seen snow before! Some of the Aussie dancers were out dancing and carousing in the snowfall. It was melting on the ground so their attempt to make a snowball was a miserable wet failure. Adrian did teach them to catch snowflakes on their tongues!

Two more sleeps and we're heading home! Brace yourself for our return, CCDC!

02.01.2013: The Results Are IN

...Well, let's cut to the chase: we didn't make the finals.

...But, the numbers that WERE taken were a little skewed. There were four who advanced from the younger girls, four who advanced from the younger boys, only TWO of the older girls moved on...but, TEN of the older boys! Does that mean the older boys were that much better? Or were the jurors trying to encourage more of the older men with potential scholarships? If they had taken five of Adrian's group...would he have gotten in? All questions I would like to ask the jury, but will probably never have the chance to do so.

Adrian now advances to the "Networking Forum". He takes an open class in the morning before representatives of partner schools. If they're interested in making some sort of offer, they'll pass a message on to him. He gets to talk with any of them he wants (assuming there's interest) on Sunday. But, also tomorrow he gets to meet with a member of the jury to get some feedback. (Did I mention Nina Ananiashvili(sp?) is on the jury along with Tetsuya Kumakawa, Li Cunxin, Tamara Rojo and others?)

Also, tomorrow is the finals. It's being live-streamed. You can find the weblink at the Prix de Lausanne website. I remember last year watching the finals live on the web. I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that just a year later I'd be in Switzerland watching the finals live! Strange where your dancing and teaching career will lead you.

But, earlier today were the semi-finals. If you're thinking of entering a ballet competition or auditioning for me or someone like me ever, here are some of the notes I scribbled in the margins of the list of contestants: "Very clean...she's a turner! ...Personality Plus!...OMG FEET! ...His turns are so good they give me goosebumps (This guy's been dancing only two years?)...He's dancing small. Took out those troublesome double tours en l'air...This guy's costume is too big! He's SWIMMING in it, Aquaman!...Nice turns, Tina! Get that back leg up in those jete's! HEY! Don't do the character only when it's convenient! You need to be the character in that difficult menage as well! ...Lift your back leg in those Bournonville jete's! ...Nice cabrioles! Weak tours...Whoops! Lost her releve' foot in those consecutive hops. ...nice feet! Nice Beats!...Wow! extra points for that Brazilian SMILE, girl from Ipanima! GOOD balances! GOOD turns! ...oops, lacks lifts in turns. Wow! the favorite fell out of his first pirouettes, but makes up for them with five or six a few steps later...STRONG dancer! Clear and CLEAN technique...OMG is that variation hard enough? Put in the kitchen sink while you're at it! Don't hop on your turns! ...NICE feeling! But, a little careful! Too small! Don't play it safe! Take a risk!...and so on and so forth!o)

Just as we left the building, a nice comment from one of the staff working the door. He told Adrian, "Don't worry. You can still win! Go to this networking forum! We see it every year: the non-finalists ending up with a better opportunity than some of the finalists!" Nice of him to say!

More ballet in a week than I usually see in a year! More GOOD BALLET and promising dancers in A DAY than I may see in a long, long while. We still have the rest of the weekend and I already truly believe, at Prix de Lausanne, there are no losers!

01.31.2013: Thursday Already?

Time is flying by here in southern Switzerland. I had to seriously ask what day it was to find out it was Thursday already. You lose track of time when you're watching good ballet! The weather has been uncharacteristically warm here. Got into the fifties with more sun than predicted. Glad to be out of that snowstorm back home!

Spent most of the day doing what I've been doing: watching #TeamAdrian when possible, watching the other classes and coaching sessions when we're chased out of the room. Like I wrote earlier, the public is not allowed into the area when the jury members are judging. Today, I watched the boys warm-up for forty-five minutes. Then I watched the junior boys get coached in their ballet variations. Then, I stuck around to watch the senior boys.

I like the advice the regisseur gave at the beginning: "Boys! This is classical ballet! Don't abandon your classical positions just for effect!" He said the classical positions would help their technique. He gave mostly the same corrections to most of the dancers: plie more in preparations...bring the second side around during flatter on the diagonals to keep the raked stage from building too much momentum downwards...keep your head up...strong frame, shoulders over hips...stretch arms more. My only criticism would be the corrections tended to be from the outside in...and, as we all know, good ballet technique starts from the inside out.

But, here are some of the consensus tips for dealing with a raked stage. First of all, find vertical and don't let the rake throw you off. Put more weight on the back leg and spot higher during pirouette. Stay further upstage to avoid over-reacting to the rake. During your pirouette think of falling backwards to finish with more weight on the back leg. Many of the dancers are falling forward the longer they turn. The idea is to find ways to get the rake to help, i.e. in big jumps. And, not to let it hurt everything else.

Tonight's Dance Dialogue was with Tamara Rojo, Principal Ballerina with the Royal and new head of the English National Ballet. I didn't have any questions for her, but, I would've liked to ask her about her passing criticism of artistic directors who get their jobs just because they're married to an American movie star. That remind you of anyone, Benjamin? She also shared that many of her most embarrassing moments on stage were at the hands of Carlos Acosta who "has the most ingenious ways to undress you on stage"! There's an insight you don't read in most blogs!

Rojo gave career advice to the many contestants in the audience. She says she was told it was better to be "the head of the mouse, rather than the tail of a lion". Meaning, she moved from small company to medium company to large company because she wasn't ready for the big time right away. She says likes working with ballet masters and choreographers, but, that she learned the most from her fellow ballerinas. She says Mats Ek was the best, most giving and gifted choreographer she's had the pleasure to work with. She told the contestants that they were "all winners already"...and that to this day, she relies on a network of friends she met at her first ballet competition in Paris.

The semi-finals are tomorrow. It's the only guaranteed performance for #TeamAdrian. The announcement of the finalists who will go on to perform this weekend will be made by six pm Swiss time. Adrian has to make top five of the fourteen in his group to go on. Merde! Toi toi toi! Keep your fingers croise', CCDC!o)

01.30.2013: The Saga Continues

Right now, I'm sitting in a Swiss laundromat, a laverie, waiting for my clothes to dry. Only brought about a week's worth of clothing with me...and it's either pay the hotel laundry service, start going "commando" or...sit in a Swiss laundromat. So, here I am...

Just heard a riveting presentation by Li Cunxin, the author and protagonist of Mao's Last Dancer. He has a future ahead of him as a motivational speaker if he ever gets tired of heading up the New Zealand Ballet. He described how, just by pure chance (or providence), he escaped abject communist poverty when he was selected to attend the Beijing National Ballet Academy. If you're familiar with his book or saw the movie, you know pretty much what he talked about...but, to hear his words and to look in his eyes as he spoke them was a rare, invaluable opportunity.

During the question and answer session, I started by thanking him for his speech and, then, asked: "I think most of us here have seen your movie, what do you think is the biggest misconception that you'd like to set straight about the film?" Cunxin had to think for a moment. He gave a long answer, but, ended by saying the film-makers had taken some liberties compressing so many years into just two hours, but, he was happy with the result. The screen writer had lived with him for A YEAR while writing the script. The filmmakers were highly lauded. He said the hardest part was finding a dancer who could act...and had movie star looks. So, there weren't really many misconceptions. But, then, the very next question, he admitted that the teacher in the movie was really a amalgamation of three of his teachers. So, the teacher that gave him the videotapes of Baryshnikov (The Turning Pointe and The Nutcracker with Gelsey Kirkland) who mentored him and was sent to a labor camp was really fiction based on three-part reality. So, I gave him an opportunity to set the record straight...and he waited until the next question to really answer it!

As soon as his presentation was over, I ran over to the table selling the book. I even picked up a hardcover because I intended to have him autograph it. There was quite a line to get his signature and have pictures taken with him. Finally, I got to the front. I thanked him for his presentation as I shook his hand. He autographed the book and I had Adrian take our picture. Look for it on FaceBook!o)

That wasn't the only conversation I had today: also spoke with the lady in charge of the entire Prix de Lausanne, Beth Krasna is her name. She welcomed me to the Prix. I told her I was from a small school in the middle of the U-S. She said that we were exactly the school they had in mind when they started the Prix. Krasna says they were looking for students from the hinterlands who needed an opportunity to get a scholarship to one of the national schools or schools affiliated with professional companies. I said exposure was the reason Adrian wanted to come. She says they're looking for potential. I tried to plant the seed that "potential" is Adrian's middle name. She seemed open to the idea! Croise' fingers!o)

Also, spoke with Miko Fogarty's mother. (She's the dancer featured in the movie First Position) Miko was asking her mom for some feedback on her dance and fluffed off when her mom couldn't offer her any. I overheard her and told Mrs. Fogarty to tell her she had done a good job in her variation from Coppelia. She asked me for some criticism because they had no coach or teacher with them. I really couldn't think of any, so I asked her to let me think about it. She said she'd ask me again later. (We're staying at the same hotel.) I think I'll tell her that there were such a swath of Swanildas that I couldn't really remember any feedback, but, that I'll watch her the next opportunity I get. I gave her my card and asked for contact information in case Miko would be available to guest for Nutcracker. She took the card. Mrs. Fogarty noticed my last name and asked me in Japanese if I was Nihonjin, or from Japan. I told her, Iie. Watashi wa Hawaii-jin desu!. That's the extant of my Japanese pretty much. It means, "No, I'm from Hawaii." Not the first time I wish I'd learned Japanese when I was younger...or studied harder at Spanish in high school. Being bi-or-tri-lingual is the new status symbol as far as I'm concerned here in Switzerland!

While I was watching the coaching session, interpreters would come out when needed for the regisseur. They didn't need him often because he spoke English, French and Italian. But, sometimes they needed as many as three translators with some of the more exotic dialects spoken in the competition! My meager command of English and smattering of Spanish and Japanese seem more and more paltry by the day, by the hour, by the way!o)

(BTW, that wasn't Jorma Elo I mistakenly tweeted about earlier, but, another choreographer Goyo Montez. What a dancer1 What a choreographer! What an illumination watching him perform his own choreography!o)

01.29.2013: Various Variations

Just got back from a long day of watching more ballet variations than you can serre' a pied at, as they say. It was the first day on stage for Prix de Lausanne contestants to run their classical variations. I watched Girls A, then, Girls B. I watched Adrian in Boys A. Then, we walked him back to the hotel. But, I walked back to watch the Boys B in the evening. It was scheduled at the same time as the Dance Dialogue, so, I missed that. But, I spoke to the presenter from the Nureyev Foundation. She says much of the information on maximizing health for dancers is downloadable from the website. When I find her card, I'll post that link.

But, back to the veritable smorgasbord of variations: lotta Basilios, Albrechts, James, and, even, a few Cavaliers in the older boys run-throughs. The rake on the stage was wreaking more than a little havoc with a lot of the turns. Adrian seems to be making the adjustment well. One of the moms even asked me to help her son with some advice because they brought no coach. I'm no expert on making the transition, but, I told them what one of the other teachers told me he told his dancer: Find vertical. Don't adjust! Just find vertical no matter what the floor is doing. Good advice on any stage! The only person who blew me away was a Chinese girl who did Kitri. WOW! For a tall, skinny girl she can JUMP! No more excuses from the taller girls I train from now on! Unexpected altitude on her jumps, unanticipated "attitude", coy and playful, in her performance. Keep an eye on 304. (Even as I write this another contingent of Chinese is in the lobby going over choreography and getting coached by their teachers. So much for the injunction against instruction! The people from the PRC are apparently "in it to win it"! But, can't complain, I'm sure MOST of the other teachers and coaches are doing it on the sly as well!o)

Spoke with the director of Long Beach Ballet School. He was talking to Adrian after contemporary class and commending him for being one of the few entrants NOT from a nationally known ballet school. I told him we were doing it for the exposure. He suggested YAGP. Made a convincing argument: apparently there is now an affiliation with the company and school Adrian wants to get into the most. An affiliation that the Prix doesn't have. I told him we were considering it. He says it may not be too late even for this year.

Okay, I just pulled out the two cards I was given today: The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Medical Website is at You can find out more about the Long Beach Ballet at www.LongBeachBallet.Com. And, I got my business cards in the mail today! So, I'll start passing them out to everyone I meet. Networking never hurt a small business or a small ballet studio! And, we're so good at it...NOT!o)

Oh, BTW, Adrian says there are several pictures of him available via the Prix app. I'm sure they'll be on their FaceBook page as well. I was also tweeted that the first #Prix2013 videos have also been posted. Good luck searching!

01.28.2013 The Judging Begins...

I'm sitting in the hotel lobby chowing down on a giant lamb...burrito, I guess. I got it from the Pizza/Shish Ka Bob place. They have a lot of them in Lausanne for some reason. (They also have something advertised as "Fondu Chinois". Not sure what that could be...Chinese don't usually have much use for cheese. They also serve a lotta "cheval" in local restaurants. Dancers and French speakers should be able to figure it out!)

Right now, one of the contestants is in the lobby facetiming one of last year's contestants. He's giving an update and asking for advice. It's a one-sided conversation because of his earbuds, so, I'm not able to espionage any tips! He does say judge Tamara Rojo is very pretty. Nice bangs, apparently!

The day started off with Adrian taking a juried ballet class. I settled in on the studio mezzanine eager to observe class. But, as I tweeted, we got chased out pretty quick. Apparently, the public is not allowed to watch while the jury is judging. I went to the other studio to watch the older boys' contemporary class. Enjoyed watching that class, especially watching the teacher demonstrate the movement. But, OMG! The warm-up was waaay long, I counted TWELVE eights, then repeat on the other side. Then, he followed with ANOTHER TWELVE counts of eight warm-up combination. And, the class continued that way. My mind was boggled. I'm going to have to get our contemporary teachers to start giving longer combinations to the more advanced students to prepare them for these kind of classes! The teacher did promise to repeat many of the same combinations as the week went on. That's good because contemporary class score is one-quarter of the total.

I didn't get a chance to watch any classical classes today. The jury was watching all those classes. I should be able to observe those classes later in the week. But, I did take my own ballet class at that studio we visited last week. I went to the website and checked the schedule. I e-mailed the director and asked if it would be okay to take class and how much it would be. She wrote back that I'd be welcome anytime and I qualified for the professional rate of chf 15 per class. Otherwise, I think the individual class rate is closer to chf 30....that's about $35.00! But, when I got there this evening she told me I could take the class for free. Score one for professional courtesy!

The instructor was a man this time. Still an excellent class despite it being the equivalent of the CCDC Adult Ballet. It felt good to be able to turn out, stretch, place and balance. After watching one Japanese boy rip off seven pirouettes on a consistent basis today, I was eager to try some turns. But, despite him making it look so simple, those dancing days have long passed for me. Three was the best I could manage. I blame the sticky, red floor!o)

Also, when I talked to Adrian after his class, he was "flying high". He said his turns and pirouettes were on. CLAIMED he stopped on balance on one side. He promised he was working on opening up the upper body and shaping the foot. I told him he needed to extend his line in the contemporary class I watched him in. He said that was the same correction that TETSUYA KUMAKAWA gave him while the judging was going on! #TeamAdrian will be officially judged and rated tomorrow in ballet class. Today was just a "get acquainted" session for the jurors. If Adrian has another good class, it could mean doors will open for him! The good thing is Rocky always responds well to pressure and to competition! Not all dancers do, so, that's a plus in his favor!

Oh, there was also the first installment of the Dance Dialogues today as well: choreographer Gilles Jobin gave a presentation in the lobby of the Theatre Beaulieu. I'd actually heard about this guy. He's been awarded the Cern Choreographic Award. The Cern super-accelerator is exploring the building blocks of matter...and apparently there's enough funding for them to offer a grant for a dance piece. His presentation was probably more interesting to other choreographers than it was to the dancers. #TeamAdrian admitted to being bored out of his mind! I asked one question during the q+a portion: "How do you keep your piece from becoming too representational? Just mimicking particles colliding and spinning?" He sorta "danced" around the question saying he would be using the principles of the forces involved rather than just illustrating the process. May be more interesting for dancers when Mao's Last Dancer and Tamara Rojo (and her bangs) speak!o)

01.27.2013: ...Let The Dancing Begin!

It's always a little disconcerting to go someplace you've only seen in pictures or videos...or meet someone you've only known from a movie. That happened all day to me today: Registration and Orientation day for the 2013 Prix de Lausanne.

The entrance was a little hard to find. The Theatre Beaulieu and the building where the classes were to be held are right next to each other and gigantic. But, we didn't know that. Our first clue we were headed the wrong way was when all the dancers were walking in the direction we had just come from. Now, were they confused or were we? We stopped and found a security guard who spoke a little English. He pointed us in the direction we were already heading, but, we decided he didn't sound confident enough, so we headed back where we came from. Turned out to be the correct decision.

We found the artists' entrance. Inside, I felt like a rat in a maze. Up these stairs, around this corner, through these curtains, down this hallway...until suddenly, we emerged into Studio One. I recognized it from pictures on the website. The mezzanine also allowed a higher viewpoint. On a raked stage were several barres filled with dancers of all different nationalities warming up. Nearly eighty dancers were at differing stages of barre. Very little room at the Squeeze-Inn for poor Adrian! He ended up hanging onto a dividing wall while I gave him class. I knew he was distracted because I kept giving him combinations and he kept doing something different. It must have been more than a little intimidating to see all those good dancers with good bodies and good training from Korea, China, Japan, Australia, U-S, etcetera. I told him to concentrate on what he was doing and take the time to warm-up. All his adrenaline was telling him the exact opposite. The crowded conditions didn't help. More than once, dancers hit each other. Not seriously, but, there wasn't a lot of room. Twice two dancers hit the floor when they slipped

Adrian said the floor was sticky and uneven in places, as if the floor were new. It was raked. I saw a lot dancers start off their turns and end by falling forward. I told Adrian to mark through his variations to find out how the rake would affect his performance. It was so crowded at first, we decided to wait for the first registration group from Asian countries to clear off. After they left, he had a better chance at working his tricks and making technical adjustments.

I introduced myself to Miko Fogarty. Anyone who's seen the ballet documentary "First Position" is familiar with her story. She was working hard at cleaning her variation. She said she was hoping to get an offer from the Royal Ballet. I wished her 'merde' and asked if we could take a picture later. She said yes. She was nice! Very sweet! No big head from being the most recognizable dancer at the competition! Her mother was also watching her in the room. I recognized her as well.

Also, while I was working with Adrian, another teacher walked over and introduced himself. Said I looked familiar and if we had performed together or taken class...I didn't think we had. He was from San Francisco and was working with a very good guy. No light bulbs went off, so I'm not convinced we'd ever met before. Friendly guy, though!

Adrian got in a good work-out today. I didn't want him to get too exhausted before judging begins tomorrow. During the orientation, we teachers were told no coaching, no teaching, no instructing. There were also signs that said no video-taping and no cameras. That may put a crimp in my plan to post pix, guys!o( Sorry! But, I guess I can always try to take pictures with my mind's eye! And, then paint word pictures for you here! I'll try anyway! Stay tuned for expanded blog postings here and tweets throughout the day. They do provide Wifi, so, I should be able to provide those. Any questions? Tweet, FB or e-mail me!

01.26.2013: ...I See France...

I had no idea when I woke up this morning that I would visit France before the day was over! I didn't see London, I didn't see someone's underpants...But, I can now say I have SEEN FRANCE!o) Adrian and I were counting up and that makes four countries in four days! Here they are in order: USA, the Netherlands (short airplane layover), Switzerland...and, now, la belle France! It started off like this...

Woke at about eight a-m...every day we're feeling a lot less jet-lagged than before. #TeamAdrian should be ready to hit the ground running when the Prix de Lausanne officially begins tomorrow. We took advantage of that excellent complimentary breakfast. Adrian ran into a friend of his from SAB, a dancer from Tampa. We also saw two other dancers in the hallways. The excitement is building!

The plan was to start using our free bus passes instead of walking so much like we did the day before. We made it to the metro center. Gary wanted to visit a museum of Roman relics and/or the Chateau d'Ouchy on the shores of Lake Lehman. (Apparently, that is NOT Lake Geneva that Lausanne shares with the city of Geneev!) We hopped on the train to the beach just on a whim. We got there and it was beautiful! Crisp and cold, but, the sun was starting to break through and the water was lake-calm with gulls, ducks and even a few swans swimming and feeding on the surface.

We ambled along the walkway beside the shore. We stumbled across a giant chess set in a park. Adrian let me win so I wouldn't pout...or was it the other way around?

The Chateau was now a hotel. We checked out what we could from the lobby, but, that was about it. The Olympic Musee was undergoing renovation, but, there was a temporary store selling merchandise we visited. Gary wanted to visit the botanical garden overlooking the city and the shore, so we walked up there. The view was impressive. While we were there the church bells rang out the noon hour. The peals lasted forever! An actual five minutes by our watches!

We walked back to the shore to lunch at a creperie that we'd spotted earlier. I had an Indian Curry Crepe that was excellent! The rest of #TeamAdrian had "salty crepes" for entrees and a scoop of homemade gelato for dessert. Pistachio and caramel. Four thumbs up from the sweets gourmand police!

From there, the tour director took us to try to catch a boat ride around the lake. What it turned out to be instead was the ferry from Ouchy to Evian. Yes! Evian, FRANCE! Where that water is bottled? We were going to France!o) I'd never been, so, now, I can partially check it off my bucket list! VERY KEWL!o)

We checked out the town for about an hour. Gary bought a cheap stocking cap that he can now tell everyone was "imported" from France! Adrian was going to buy an "Adrien" name tag, but, we decided he should wait until he could get the spelling right. We didn't do much, but, walk around, but, hey...IT'S FRANCE!o)

When we caught the ferry back to Ouchy, the mist had cleared and we had a magnificent view of the French Alps, resplendent in the late afternoon sunlight! Spectacular is all I can say!

Well, as you can expect, I was tuckered out and ready to call it a day, but, the adventure wasn't over just yet! Remember those Roman ruins, Gary wanted to visit? We headed out there and finally found the place and the museum after walking for what seemed at least a week! I was starting to worry all this walking would be bad for Adrian on the eve of the start of the competition. But, we got on the bus just in time...

...on the bus were some ladies and a girl talking English. They looked suspiciously like the female version of our all-male trio. One young dancer-looking type, one parental unit...and one devastatingly good looking ballet-instructor-type. (Okay, okay...she wasn't that good-looking...but, way better than me!o) They were speaking English in the back seats. Adrian and I looked at each other. We started speaking in loud voices about the Prix de Lausanne. They shut up and, then, started whispering to each other. But, they didn't approach us. I finally had to ask the girl if she was here for the Prix and, of course, she was. Turns out they're from Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. Seems like this wasn't the instructor's first rodeo...or first time at the Prix. She gave us some advice about the warm-up session that kicks off the competition tomorrow. We're going to put some of that helpful experience into practice tomorrow...

...And, so...let the dancing begin!o)

01.25.2013: First Class

We woke on Friday with no real plans except to try to get over any lingering jet lag. (Went to sleep around midnight local time, woke about six hours later.)

Took a shower and checked out the complimentary breakfast provided by the hotel. Wow! What a spread! I was told there was just going to be some fruit and some pastries...but, there were scrambled eggs with cheese, several breakfast meats, various fruits, various yogurts, breads, croissants, cereals and mueslix, fresh squeezed OJ and pink grapefruit juice, tea, milk and coffee. Stuffed myself in preparation for the day while reading the international edition of the NYT. Article about Benjamin Millepied's ascension to AD of POB. Also a story about the retirement of some modern dance choreographer. Just nice to see such coverage of the arts in a newspaper1

We decided to wander around the city. Gary had a hankering to check out a museum or two. I just wanted to look at architecture and explore. We passed several relics of ancient times. Anything old in the states is probably from two or three centuries ago. Here, we took pictures of a castle tower from the 1300's and visited a cathedral from I wanna say the 1500's?

But, in the middle of all that wandering around, Adrian's dad stumbled across a dance studio! What a coincidence! And, there just happened to be a "classique" dance class that started around noon. What a coincidence? Or providence? Whatever it was: I wanted to take a class. Adrian wanted to take a class. We decided to make it happen.

Walked back to the hotel and got our dance gear. (My legs are tired right now!o) Made it back with time to spare. However, no one told us that the trains may run on time in Switzerland, but, not this dance class! We rung the buzzer to get let in while we tried to warm-up on the sidewalk outside. No answer. People kept walking in and out of the building, so finally Gary just snuck the door open behind one exiting lady. We found the studio, but, another student was waiting outside on the steps.

The instructor finally arrived carrying her scooter after about ten minutes that felt like twenty. Fortunately, she spoke excellent english and let us in the studio. We explained that Adrian was competing in the Prix and she told us we could take class for free. And, one good thing about starting late: we got some extra stretch and crunching time!

Pascale Gaud was the name on the schedule. We assumed it was a man, but, she says "Pascale" is actually both a man's and woman's name in Switzerland. Whatever her name, she gave an excellent class! She tried to warn us beforehand that the class would be slow. But, it was perfect! Interesting combinations, but, not too hard or taxing. Started off with a facing the barre exercise, lots of tendus and degage's. She used a lot of breath to initiate movement. The pirouettes were demanding! I didn't do the petit allegro, but, it was tricky: lotta ballone's changing directions. Someone remind me to do that pas de bourre to seconde to coupe ballone' more often in class! Grand allegro and tours en diagonale for Adrian and we were done after about and hour-forty-five or more. Pascale later told me she did make the class harder than usual because of our presence. There were about ten or twelve ladies of varying ages and abilities in class. I think some were in shock at some of the combinations! I can imagine what would happen if two strange male dancers walked into an adult ballet class at CCDC!

Since she didn't charge us tuition, I thought we should "dance for our dinner". I left it up to Adrian when the teacher asked if the class could watch him perform his classical variation. I thought the audience would actually be good for him. (We both really needed that class after fifteen hours of travel that stretched across two days and seven time zones). He agreed and performed it to some odd grand allegro music Gaud had on her iphone. He did well and the ladies all seemed very appreciative. Hopefully, we'll be able to impress much more astute critics next week!

BTW, I'm having trouble downloading pictures, but, you can check them out on the CCDC FaceBook page. I'll try to keep posting here, there and on Twitter.

01.24.2013: Room With A View

Sitting in a small hotel room with three beds as I write this. Adrian and his dad are playing on their smart phones. We all just woke up from deep jet-lagged induced naps. Did I mention small room? I remember thinking, "Wow! This is what they mean by so small there isn't room to change your mind!" Another constant reminder that we're no longer in Kansas anymore, Toto!o)

Here are some notes jotted down during fifteen hours or so of travel:

Had some overcooked chicken katsu in motor city.
Meant to order oyaku don.
Taught Adrian how to use chopsticks
Team USA traveling with us?
(We never find out what sport these teenage girls were traveling to Cologne for.)

Finally figured out how to work video screen on seat back!
Here's a hint: controls on the arm rest, NOT a touch screen!
Watched "Big Bang Theory"

Lotta cars lotta traffic flying into Amsterdam!
Snow on the ground on runways.

It took literally "planes, train and automobiles" to get here to the Golden Tulip Inn! Car, taxi, three planes and one train. We get chased out of the first-class cabins on the train by the condescending conductor. No signs! Who knew?

Flying into Geneva was interesting on one side...and spectacular on the other. The majestic Alps and what I think is Mount Blanc pierced above the cloud cover on the horizon. Dang! My esteem for Hannibal who crossed the mountain chain with elephants just sky-rocketed!

We walked around Lausanne a little. The Theatre itself is just a few blocks away. Couldn't find a ticket office. Passer-by advises us to go on the internet. Hey Swiss Miss, if we could do it on the web, we wouldn't be looking for a bricks and mortar box office.

We had a meal (lunch? dinner? breakfast?) at an Italian fast food place. Adrian got a discount for being a Prix contestant. What I've seen of the city so far is: it's quaint, charming, hilly...and cold!

We're here! We got the schedule! Exciting to think we're walking the same streets, staying in the same hotels that Kumakawa, Acosta, Hallberg experienced when they were beginning their careers! Exciting to think we'll be in the same rooms and stages dozens of excellent dancers have trod before us! Who needs the Superbowl? WE'RE AT THE 2013 PRIX DE LAUSANNE!!!

For Immediate Release:

Emery Uyehara
Capital City Dance Center

Central Iowa Teen Selected For International Dance Competition

(Des Moines, Iowa) Step aside, Shawn Johnson! Move over, Gabby Douglas! Another central Iowa teenager is hoping to medal in international competition. Ballet dancer Adrian Oldenburger, 15, of Altoona has qualified for the what's considered "the Olympics of the dance world", the 41st annual Prix de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland early next year.

Oldenburger submitted a video application of his dancing to an international panel of judges along with hundreds of others from around the world. He was selected to advance to the competition round, one of only 41 boys internationally and one of only 6 males from the United States.

"My teachers say to be the best, you have to dance with the best," said Oldenburger, who trains at Capital City Dance Center in Urbandale. "Getting a chance to dance along side the very best dancers my age and older in the world is very exciting." He's already danced in some of the most prestigious national dance programs during summers at New York City Ballet's School of American Ballet and the Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy, both on full scholarship. "But, dancing in the Prix de Lausanne will be another step up."

The real life Billy Elliot first started taking dance classes when he was just 4 years old. Oldenburger trains more than thirty hours a week dancing ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and partnering classes at CCDC. "But, ballet is my first love," he says.

Adrian is one of seven home-schooled children. He mows lawns and shovels snow to help pay for his dance classes at CCDC where he's on a work-scholarship program in the Pre-Professional Program. Mother, LeAnn Oldenburger, says the family is organizing some local fund-raisers to help pay for Adrian's travel expenses. Click on for more information.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we'll be able to raise enough money to take advantage of this opportunity," said Oldenburger. "It's a tremendous honor to be one of a handful of Americans chosen to compete (in the Prix de Lausanne) this year. If I could be the first Iowan to ever do it in over forty years...that would be incredible."

Oldenburger said he's planning on dancing a variation from Coppelia as well as a contemporary number in Switzerland if fundraising is successful.


Adrian is available for interviews. Contact Capital City Dance Center at 515.276.1646, info@GoCCDC.Com, at WWW.GoCCDC.Com or on FaceBook.

01.22.2013: Alumni Accomplishmentz!

She lives! She dances! She WRITES!o)
Hi Emery, Missy, Alissa, and dancers!

I recently had some big news I'd like to share with you all. This summer, I applied for a Fulbright grant, which is a federally funded grant to go to the country of your choice for a year and do research. I applied under the arts division to study traditional Kandyan dance in Sri Lanka. I just found out that the national Fulbright committee has named me a finalist for the award, meaning my application will travel to Sri Lanka to be reviewed by their government. If the Sri Lankan government finds no problems with my proposal, I will be leaving for Sri Lanka in October 2013. This is an amazing opportunity and a huge honor for me, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without my excellent training in dance and my college education. Goes to show that you never know to what amazing places your dance education can take you!

Tip: I used my CCDC performance DVDs to make a compilation of my dancing for the Fulbright application. So get your performance DVDs, people! You never know when you might need them.

Much love and thanks,

PS: Good luck to Adrian at the Prix de Lausanne!

01.23.2013: Gambling On Mormon

Win reduced price tickets to see The Book of Mormon:

(Capital City)– THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the National Tour, which begins Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Civic Center in Des Moines as part of the Willis Broadway Series presented by Des Moines Performing Arts and plays a limited two week engagement through Sunday, Feb. 3. In Des Moines, the production will conduct a pre-show lottery at the ticket office, making a limited number of tickets available at $25 apiece.

The wildly popular lottery for the Broadway production has attracted as many as 800 entries at some performances. The producers of THE BOOK OF MORMON are pleased to offer low-priced lottery seats for every city on the National Tour.

Entries will be accepted at the Civic Center Ticket Office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each, cash only. Only one entry is allowed per person. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q. The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker.

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

01.21.2013: Performance Posting

Put this in your dayplanner:


Capital City News – DsM Performing Arts announces the national tour of the Broadway musical MILLION DOLLAR QUARTER, inspired by the electrifying true story, is coming to the Civic Center March 19-24 as part of the Willis Broadway Series presented by DsM Performing Arts.

Tickets for MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 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.


  • Tuesday March 19 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday March 20 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday March 21 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday March 22 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday March 23 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday March 23 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday March 24 1:00 p.m.
  • Sunday March 24 6:30 p.m.
The international smash hit musical, Million MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is set on December 4, 1956, when an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together. Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” who was responsible for launching the careers of each icon, brought the four legendary musicians together at the Sun Records storefront studio in Memphis for the first and only time. The resulting evening became known as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations featuring an eclectic score of rock, gospel, R&B and country hits including; “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog” and more.

Portraying these icons are, Derek Keeling as Johnny Cash, Cody Slaughter as Elvis Presley, Martin Kaye as Jerry Lee Lewis and Lee Ferris as Carl Perkins. Christopher Ryan Grant will play the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Sam Phillips. The cast also features Kelly Lamont as Dyanne, and musicians Billy Shaffer (Fluke, drums), and Chuck Zayas (Jay Perkins, bass). Rounding out the company is: Austin Cook, Scott F. Moreau, John Michael Presney, David Sonneborn, Alyssa Marie and Billy Woodward.

The show is directed by Eric Schaeffer and features a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. The design team includes: Derek McLane (scenic design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Kai Harada(sound design) and Chuck Mead (musical arrangements and supervision).

When the Broadway production opened in April 2010, critics and audiences leapt to their feet in unanimous praise. The New York Times called the show, “a buoyant new musical that whips the crowd into a frenzy,” New York Magazine labeled it, “a dazzling raucous spectacle that sounds like a million bucks,” and NY1 called it, “90 minutes of platinum grade entertainment.” The musical continues its successful New York engagement at New World Stages.

The Chicago production of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET opened in 2008 and is still playing to packed houses at the Apollo Theatre. The West End production is currently playing at the Noël Coward Theatre in London.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET won a Tony Award® for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical and received a Tony Award® nomination for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical (Colin Escott & Floyd Mutrux). The show received an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Musical Revue and three Drama League nominations including Distinguished Production of a Musical and Distinguished Performance.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology and Broadway Across America.

For more information, please visit the official MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET website.

01.18.2013: Steps To Success

The benefits of dance training will continue once you stop. The skills, the time management, the ability to defer gratification...Plus, you never know when your latent dance skills might serve you well in the spotlight. Check out this correspondent "stepping up" in a dance session on BBC:

01.16.2013: Shining, Gleaming, Flaxen, Waxen!

The Capital City always coughs up a good time with this annual event. Submission deadline soon:
Art Center Announces Big Hair Ball 2013 Salon Call for Entry

Capital City – The DsM Art Center and its member affiliate group, Art Noir, are proud to announce the sixth installment of the DsM Art Center Big Hair Ball on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the Art Center.

The DsM Art Center Big Hair Ball is an unforgettable evening of glamour and entertainment that celebrates hair as a form of contemporary self-expression. In 2013, the event will once again include a salon runway show, featuring modeled hair of all shapes, colors, and styles. More than 700 people attended the event in 2011.

In preparation for the 2013 Big Hair Ball, local salons are invited to submit a proposal for an individual runway program by January 28, 2013. Each runway program includes 8-10 models displaying extravagant hair, makeup, and costume looks, and should be choreographed to music. Salons may choose to include elements of video, dance, and other stage components. Each program will be 2-5 minutes in length. Up to six salons will be selected to participate.

The working title of the salon runway show is Masquerade…a Forbidden Fairytale. The title may change but the decor and feeling of the event will include dark and mysterious forest elements. Inspiration can be taken from a favorite fairytale, nature, mythical creatures, or the concept of masquerade. Guests will be encouraged to wear masques.

This theme should be used as a starting point when salons design their individual runway show. Entries will be reviewed by a committee of volunteers organizing the event. The organizers are seeking entirely unexpected visual representations of this theme.

Entries must be submitted digitally or delivered by post to the DsM Art Center by January 28, 2013 by 5 pm. Entries will not be accepted after the due date.

Salons selected to participate will be notified by February 15, 2013. All salons will be notified by late February 2013.

01.16.2013: Performance Posting

Chance to introduce your kids to performing arts:
DsM Performing Arts and DsM Symphony Present ‘Carnival of the Animals’

Capital City News– Jan. 7, 2013 – DsM Performing Arts, in cooperation with the DsM Symphony will present the “Carnival of the Animals” for one performance only, Saturday, Jan. 19.

“Carnival of the Animals” kicks off the 4th season of the Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield Family Series held at the DsM Performing Arts Civic Center. Showtime is at 1 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at Tickets start at $10. Check for ticket information and availability.

“Carnival of the Animals,” composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, and orchestrated by the Des Moines Symphony takes audiences on a journey through a marvelous universe known as the Carnival of the Animals. The music guides you through the spectacle where lions, kangaroos, turtles and other animals come to life through the use of small and large marionettes, each more surprising than the other. A true sound odyssey and a celebration of entertainment and joy, the production introduces young audiences to this classic composition. The production is infused with music, circus, theatre and stunning special effects suitable for children ages 4 and up.

DsM Symphony Music Director & Conductor Joseph Giunta says “Carnival of the Animals” is the perfect way to acquaint young audiences with classical music.

"The DsM Symphony is delighted to partner again with the DsM Performing Arts for a family concert featuring one of classical music's most iconic and beloved pieces,” he said. "This blend of music from a live, professional orchestra and theater creates a new and revitalized performance that is a great introduction to classical music for kids."

Further enhance the theater-going experience by attending the Discovery Party held one hour prior to the start of the show in the West Lobby of the Civic Center. Parents are encouraged to bring the entire family for arts and crafts, activities, demonstrations, and other fun programs. The Discovery Party is free to ticket holders.

The Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield Family Series, now in its fourth season, is a wonderful way to introduce young people to the performing arts, with shows directed especially toward young theater-goers. There are four shows in the Family Series package including: “Carnival of the Animals,” “The Ugly Ducking & the Tortoise and the Hare,” “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs Two” and two additional shows available to add–on to your family package: “Grug” and Boats.”

01.15.2013: Carol's Coming!

Your chance to interact with an American comedic icon:
Legendary Comedian Carol Burnett Returns to the Civic Center
“Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett” is a One-Day Only Event, May 19

Capital City – Legendary entertainer Carol Burnett returns to the Civic Center for an exclusive one-day engagement of her Q & A format, “LAUGHTER AND REFLECTION WITH CAROL BURNETT: A Conversation with Carol where the Audience Asks the Questions” on Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 3 p.m.

Tickets for LAUGHTER AND REFLECTION WITH CAROL BURNETT go on sale to the general public at 9 a.m. on Monday, February 4, 2013.

If there is one thing this renowned entertainer can do better than anyone else, it is talk at length, impromptu, before a live audience. “LAUGHTER AND REFLECTION WITH CAROL BURNETT: A Conversation with Carol where the Audience Asks the Questions”, Burnett’s off-the-cuff banter with the audience, is a format that grew out of the question-and-answer sessions she shared with her studio audience on each episode of “The Carol Burnett Show”. As a weekly visitor in America’s living rooms, Burnett always opened her show with a few minutes of hilarious banter with the audience. This is a rare opportunity to talk to Ms. Burnett in the same enjoyable and intimate audience-interactive format. Come with your questions and share in the fun with one of the country’s most loved and respected performers.

Following the 11-year run of “The Carol Burnett Show”, six-time Emmy Award winner Carol Burnett is now widely recognized for her dramatic abilities as well as her comedic and stage talents. In addition to being a best-selling author and a Grammy nominee, she is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Carol’s Burnett’s best-selling book “This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection”, was a New York Times best-seller as was her autobiography “One More Time”. Her latest book “Carrie and Me: A Mother/Daughter Love Story” will be published on April 9, 2013. Time/Life has just released DVD’s of “The Carol Burnett Show” for retail sale, and it has quickly become one of their most successful DVD releases.

Raised by her grandmother, first in her birthplace of San Antonio, then Hollywood, Ms. Burnett attended UCLA. Soon after, she started her career in New York, where she caught fire doing hilarious sketches on “The Garry Moore Show.” At night, she dashed to Broadway where she starred in the riotous fairy tale “Once Upon a Mattress.” She moved back to Los Angeles and began “The Carol Burnett Show”, which ran for 276 episodes on CBS from 1967 to 1978. Her show is generally regarded as the last successful major network variety show.

Carol Burnett has guest-starred on smash hit television shows such as “Glee”, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, for which she received an Emmy nomination; “Desperate Housewives”, and “Mad About You”. She stars in the 30th Anniversary DVD of “Annie” and can be heard in the animated adventure, Disney’s “The Secret World of Arrietty” and FOX’s animated film, “Horton Hears a Who!”.

01.14.2013: Performance Posting

Chance to relive the classic age of rock:


Capital City News– In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small-town girl met a big-city dreamer – and in L.A.’s most legendary rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the ‘80’s. It’s ROCK OF AGES, a hilarious, feel-good love story told through the hit songs of iconic rockers Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, Pat Benatar, Whitesnake and many more and it’s coming to the Civic Center April 26-27 as part of the Willis Broadway Series presented by DsM Performing Arts.

This 5 time Tony nominated musical, with a star studded motion picture in the works, is rockin' its way across the USA. Don't miss this awesomely good time about dreaming big, playing loud and partying on!

Tickets for ROCK OF AGES go on sale to the public at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-8000 and online.


  • Friday April 26 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday April 27 2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday April 27 7:30 p.m.

01.11.2013: Audition Advice

"Calm down! Take a deep breath!" ...that's my advice to all the CCDC students heading into audition season over the next few weeks. As one of my fellow dancers used to tell me when I was in the company, "It's just ballet!" I always hated that because I wanted to tell them, "It's NOT 'just ballet'! It's MY LIFE! Ballet is MY LIFE!" But, I understand the sentiment now. Ballet may be your life, but, relax! You can do this! It's ballet! You've trained for this all your life! Treat it just like another ballet class...with an edge! My standard advice this time of year is to "treat every class like an audition, treat every audition like another class"! Put the pressure on yourself everyday. When the day comes, take the pressure off! And, here are some other pointers to prepare for audition season: try to get to the city a day before, be rested, hydrated and nourished. (But, use the bathroom before you head into the audition studio!o) Try to schedule a practice visit to the audition site before you have to actually get there. It's always good to actually take a class in that studio the day before if you have a chance. Acclimate yourself. If not, no biggie! Get your rest, get some sleep! If you're nervous, floor barre the night before is a great way to calm down and rehearse your best placement beforehand. Get to the studio early, but, don't register or get a number until some other dancers have signed up before you. (I always used to tell the people at the desk that I wasn't sure if I was going to audition or not or that it was bad luck to be first. They'll bug you to sign up early! Be pleasant, but, ignore them!) That way you won't be alone in the front at the barre or in the first group in center when the auditioner makes you line-up and go numerically (or reverse numerically). Always better to have someone to follow when you're nervous. If you're tight, warm-up and stretch. If you're loose, warm-up, tighten-up and place. Crunches and planks always good for everyone! You could even do your own barre exercises beforehand because you never know how whacky the combinations will be. Get the combinations! Notice the details! Ask smart questions if you're not clear! Better to ask than guess and be wrong! Enjoy the process! Show your performance ability, not just your technique! Listen to all corrections and try to apply them. HAVE FUN! They're looking for dancers they'll enjoy working with! So, enjoy the process! You can do this! You'll be great! Text me after!o)

01.10.2013: Balanchine Ballerinas

In order to appreciate the artform, you must study its history. For those students unfamiliar with the man labeled "the greatest choreographer of the 20th century", Dancing for Mr. B, Six Balanchine Ballerinas is a good introduction. (Mahalo to SABGrr1 for the loan!o) Producer/Director Anne Belle interviews many quintessential dancers from NYCB, including Maria Tallchief, Mary Ellen Moylan, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Merrill Ashley and Darci Kistler about their recollections of the ballet master, choreographer and teacher. There are also illuminating excerpts from classic Balanchine pieces, including La Sonnambula, Serenade, Four Temperments, Concerto Barocco, Firebird, Apollo and others. Very instructive to hear the ballerinas speak about specific ballets and, then, to see them performing those pieces in their heyday. But, what resonated most for me were the interviews and rehearsals with Maria Tallchief. What she said was interesting enough, but, where she said it was even more personal. They took place in the same studios that I trained in when I was on scholarship with her school in Chicago. But, most conspicuous by her absence from the film was the woman who was Balanchine's "muse" through much of his later years before his death in 1984: No interview with Suzanne Farrell. Despite that huge hole, Dancing for Mr. B, Six Balanchine Ballerinas is well worth the watch for young student dancers, especially those interested in dancing at Balanchine's School of American Ballet or in one of the many companies that dance his style of ballet. The DVD is available from Kultur...or you could ask Stradivarius!o)

01.09.2013: Performance Posting

Note from CCDC Guest Instructor Kathleen Hurley:
"...Join us for live music and dance! Hurley & Dancers performs this (today)...12-12:30 p.m., at St. John's Fine Arts Series.

(The dancers)...perform to live music by Kimberly Fitch. 600 6th Ave., Des Moines. No admission. $6 lunch to follow in basement hall.

For more information, call (515) 243-7692 or visit"

01.08.2012: Dads 'N' Daughter Dance

Don't let the only time you dance with your little at her wedding! Tickets available starting today:

(Capital City) – Friday, January 04, 2013 – Get your tickets Tuesday for the 2013 Father Daughter Valentine Dance to be held at Blank Park Zoo’s Discovery Center . This annual event is sponsored by DsM Park and Recreation and Boesen The Florist.

Tickets are available for $15 per couple and $2 per additional child (daughter) for the dates below:

  • Friday, February 1 - 6:30 - 8:30
  • Thursday, February 7 - 6:00 - 8:00
  • Friday, February 8 - 6:30 - 8:30
They can ONLY be purchased at the DsM Park and Recreation Administration OFFICE (3226 University Avenue), Monday through Friday from 8am - 5pm. No phone orders will be taken and tickets will NOT be sold at the door.

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!

...AND! If your little munchkin is a little old for this...consider doing a father-daughter bonding time at a CCDC Pilates class...or CCDC pas de deux class!o) Remember! You don't want the only time you dance with your daughter to be when you give her away to some mohawk-wearing, nose-ringed, tattooed young punk at her wedding!o)

01.07.2013: Fire Sale

Did you miss out on this year's logoware fundraiser sale to help send CCDC's Adrian Oldenburger to compete in the 2013 Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition? Well, you're in luck! Organizers are about to put in a second order. But, you have to hurry, the deadline is this Friday, January 11. The good thing is if you were hesitant about the new CCDC yoga pants is that you can try on a pair or two now to get a feel for the sizing and fit. Contact Adrian's mother to order or donate to the cause...Speaking of: Thanks to everyone who came out to Sparks for the yoga fundraiser last Friday. Good turn-out reported and enough money was raised that Adrian may actually be able to afford to eat while he's in Switzerland!o) Beats the alternative of "dancing for his dinner" by panhandling between sessions!...And, I told a CCDC dancer that Tetsuya Kumakawa was announced as one of the judges for this year's Prix. She wasn't familiar with the former Royal Ballet virtuoso, so, I told her to go to YouTube to find some of his jaw-dropping variations. She did. Her jaw dropped. And, she put a link up on the CCDC FaceBook Page. Check it out if you're not familiar with the Japanese Baryshnikov! (This guy can "sky"...and turns like a top!o)

01.04.2012: Jail Break!o)

Having trouble nailing the "cat series" of steps in ballet?: pas de chat, saut de chat, tour de chat? Take inspiration from "Pumpkin and Squash" in this real-life "feline prison break" here.

01.03.2012: Where There's A Wili...

You can still help send Adrian to Switzerland! Fundraiser this Friday! Pass the word:
Spark a Dream Fundraiser Yoga Event with Pauline
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Friday, 4 January, 2013
Special Event - 60 mins Power Yoga Class
Practice to an amazing live cello and violin performance
Donation - sugg min $20 (but anything helps!)
Drinks and light refreshments provided after class.
“I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success - the earliest spark in the dreaming youth - is this: Dream a great dream.” John A. Appleman
Help 15 yr old Adrian Oldenburger achieve his dream. 100% of proceeds to help cover expenses to compete for a full scholarship at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, one of Europe’s most prestigious ballet competitions.

Find out more at

01.02.2013: Rake's Progress

Like most American-based dancers, I've had very little experience dancing on a "raked stage". These slanted stages are more common in Europe (They're higher in the back and lower in the front closer to the audience, hence the terms: upstage and downstage). The one experience I can recall is when my company was contracted to provide the dancing for the local opera company in a production of the bacchanal from Walpurgisnacht (sp?). I swear the mini-town square was set at a nearly a 40-degree angle. Dancing in a circle was so difficult it was hilarious! Heading downstage was pell-mell crazy, heading back upstage was ludicrously effortful! Trying to keep a formation was a constant struggle. So, that's my one experience performing on a raked stage. That's my limited background as I prepare to coach Adrian in the 2013 Prix de Lausanne. Fortunately, the stages that The Rock could be performing on are reportedly only about three-degrees. So, it was close to the "myopic leading the blind" when we motored out to Corning last week to rehearse on a raked stage. Adrian's mom had a conversation with a stagehand who said he had a family connection to an opera house with a raked stage in the southwest part of the state. So, that's how I found myself driving deep into windmill country in search of Johnny Carson's birthplace. I remember thinking to myself, "If Carson could make it to Hollywood starting from Corning, anyone could make it there from anywhere!" Head west for an hour, turn south for a half-hour, turn right after the world's smallest Hy-Vee and you're at the Opera House.

Dancing on a raked stage is like dancing outside in the rain. A principal danseur once told me, "Don't change anything!" when I asked him in the middle of a tropical monsoon how to perform while buckets of rain fell on the stage. That's the advice I used when I performed in the dirt at a racetrack at the Carlton County Fair in rural northern Minnesota. That's the advice I gave to Adrian as we began rehearsing on the stage. No changes, but, we did experiment. We start by shifting our weight to the heels with limited success. Russian training is based on performing on raked stages. Lotta weight in the heels in the pure Vaganova training, especially for men. That might be why the men turn from seconde rather than fourth position preparation. Start off even rather than with the back heel higher than the front. One thing that did help was figuring out how the rake could accentuate basic technique rather than hurt. We shaded each jump more downstage to take advantage of the extra hang-time. But, familiarity helps breed comfort. The more he rehearsed on stage, the more comfortable he felt. Near the end, it was close to "don't change anything". The unknown was scarier than the reality. With even more rehearsal time on raked dance-floors and raked stages, Adrian says he'll be fine. Let that be a lesson to anyone else preparing for that experience.

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