All Content Copyright Capital City Dance Center
Unauthorized reproduction not permitted.

Visit the archives: 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016


12.18.2014: Peek At The Prix

Next best thing to being in Switzerland for the 2015 Prix de Lausanne:
Experience Prix de Lausanne live

For the first time ever, the Prix de Lausanne is live streaming the competition’s daily activities on our web site, thanks to the support of Harlequin Floors. The live streaming will allow dance fans the world over to experience the Prix de Lausanne from the inside.

...Wow! This is exciting news for balletomanes! Except for the pesky seven hour time difference, watching the best young dancers in the world can be very inspirational for other students and teachers. Watch the competition starting in February!oD Hopefully, they'll archive the video...

12.17.2014: Performance Posting

Tickets go on sale today:
TICKETS TO FOUR CONCERTS IN THE LIVE AT THE TEMPLE CONCERT SERIES GO ON SALE DEC. 17

(Capital City News Service) DsM Performing Arts is pleased to announce that tickets to four concerts in the 2014-2015 Live at the Temple Concert Series will go on sale Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m. The concerts are ANA GASTEYER, THE HOT SARDINES, THE PEDRITO MARTINEZ GROUP and THE GOOD LOVELIES. Tickets to the Live at the Temple Concert Series opener, BONNIE KOLOC, are currently on sale.

Tickets can be purchased at DesMoinesPerformingArts.org, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000. Season ticket packages for the five-show series are also available starting at $130.

Now in its seventh year, the Live at the Temple Concert Series offers audiences a unique concert-going experience with a diverse lineup of bold performing artists and songwriters ranging from jazz to indie folk and Cuban, Organizers say the Temple Theater’s excellent acoustics and intimate setting creates the best listening room experience in Des Moines.

About the Live at the Temple Concert Series:

The musicians below join jazz, folk, and blues singer, BONNIE KOLOC, who will kick off the concert series on Saturday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.

ANA GASTEYER
Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Best known from her six years on Saturday Night Live and her Broadway roles in WICKED and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, Ana Gasteyer is on tour! This concert celebrates the release of her first studio record, I’m Hip—a collection of jazz standards with Ana’s own twist. Ana delivers superstar vocals, humor, and a performance sure to dazzle audiences.

THE HOT SARDINES
Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

“Frisky.” “Funny.” “Gritty.” Considered “one of the best jazz bands in New York today” by Forbes Magazine, the eight-piece Hot Sardines play traditional American jazz with a modern touch and French undertone, courtesy of their Paris-native front woman, Miz Elizabeth.

THE PEDRITO MARTINEZ GROUP
Sunday, March 8, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Pedrito Martinez is one of the greatest voices in Cuban music today. The jazzy sounds of his Afro-Cuban roots will make you feel as if you’re in the streets of Havana! Wynton Marsalis proclaimed that “Pedrito is a genius; he is a revelation to me.”

THE GOOD LOVELIES
Friday, May 1, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

The Good Lovelies bring their entrancing three part harmonies, witty stage banter, and just a pinch of sass to Des Moines. Their newest album release, Live at Revolution—and winner of two 2013 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Best Vocal Group and Best Ensemble—highlights the energy and variety of their live shows.

All performances of the Live at the Temple Concert Series are performed at the Temple Theater in the Temple for Performing Arts located at Tenth and Locust Streets in downtown.

12.17.2014: Nutty Feedback

Before we leave Nutcracker in the rear-view mirror for another year, here's some feedback from various sources:
"...I wanted to tell you how much I REALLY enjoyed your Flower choreography in the Nutcracker! I think it was by far the most interesting and unique choreography in the whole show. I loved the floor work (the dancers looked like horizontally draped flowers with their tutus on the ground), I LOVED how you brought Clara and the Nutcracker Prince out for some theatrical storytelling moments, I delighted in the changing formations and I enjoyed the social dance elements.

It was pretty much the only 2nd act piece that tied Act I elements into Act II with a nice flourish.

And, of course, your students dancing in all the pieces looked as strong as ever.

Thank you for your high quality work and imaginative choreography!

All the best...
(A Fellow Choreographer)..."

...Also, this text:
"...Thanks for another amazing year of nutcracker and for everything you do(:..."

12.16.2014: Performance Posting

If you're not already busy attending or dancing in the 2014 Capital City Dance Center Observation Week, here's some more world-class ballet heading your way:
Date: Tuesday, December 16
Time: 7:00 p.m. (local time)
Run Time: 3 hours 25 minutes (approximate)
Ticketing: Tickets are available by clicking on the orange “Buy Tickets” button. If online ticketing is not available for your location, you can purchase your tickets by visiting the box office at your local participating cinema.

Special Fathom Features: Behind-the-scenes look at the Royal Opera House and exclusive interviews with artists from The Royal Ballet.

Fathom Events invites you to experience a classic tale of magic and wonder when Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is screened in select cinemas nationwide on Tuesday, December 16.

Christopher Wheeldon’s full-length ballet based on Lewis Carroll’s beloved book is an exuberant piece of storytelling featuring an instantly recognizable cast of characters, among them a tap-dancing Mad Hatter, a tetchy White Rabbit and a raucously bad-tempered Queen of Hearts.

Wheeldon, along with composer Joby Talbot and designer Bob Crowley, have created a genuine family ballet in the spirit of Carroll’s much-loved children’s classic. While regular ballet-goers can appreciate nods to other famous works – there’s a parody of the Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty, for example, with jam tarts instead of flowers – the ballet is above all a brilliant realization of Carroll’s zany dream-world featuring stunning choreography, a colorful score and ingenious stage-magic.

Click here for complete information about The 2014/15 Royal Ballet Cinema Season...."

12.15.2014: Now What?

Here's a repost from a few years ago about what to do after Nutcracker performance weekend:
(Anywhere, USA; CCDC News Service) Medical experts are confounded by an epidemic of malaise and ennui detected in thousands of former Nutcracker participants. Legions of parents and teachers reported wringing their hands and furrowing their brows as formerly goal-driven student dancers are like "idiots" out, wandering about, losing focus, easily distracted, hating all work and into indulgence. But, dance experts nod knowingly at the annual onslaught of "PPD"---"Post Performance Depression".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

###30###

12.10.2014: Crowd Source Dance Scholarship Funding Sought

Looking for an end-of-the-year charitable effort to donate to? Just got this reminder in the emailbag:
Prix de Lausanne Crowdfunding Scholarship

Your contribution will allow us to provide an additional scholarship to a deserving young dancer. By supporting us, you will directly help a young talented finalist begin their professional career. In addition to the scholarship, this dancer will earn the Prix de Lausanne prize winner title and enter the very prestigious Prix de Lausanne’s alumni circle. You will follow the dancer’s path and proudly know that you have given them the opportunity to begin their career. We need your help, every penny counts!

Prix de Lausanne Crowdfunding Scholarship

We need your help to raise 50’000 USD by January 19th 2015. If we don’t achieve our goal, every contribution will be refunded. It’s a huge goal to achieve but if we all join efforts, we can make it!

Prix de Lausanne Crowdfunding Scholarship

Let's give the opportunity to a deserving young dancer to complete their training free of charge for one year in one of the most prestigious international schools and companies!

Prix de Lausanne
43rd International Ballet Competition
01-08 February 2015
Finals Saturday February 7th

12.09.2014: Artists Wanted

Pass the word!o)
Call for Entries!
HeartFest ‘A Fine Art Show’
February 7-8, 2015
Valley West Mall

Looking for approximately 50 fine artists
Deadline for application: December 20, 2014
Contact Stookey Companies, P.O. Box 31083, Des Moines, IA;

www.stookeyshows.com, suestookey@att.net, 515.278.6200,

Apply now at www.Zapplication.org or email for application.

  • Partner show to June’s ArtFest Midwest ‘The Other Art Show’
  • 12th annual
  • KidzDuArt family art workshops—make your own Valentines!
  • Free admission!
  • Show hours: 10-9 Saturday, 11-6 Sunday
  • Booth rent: $185/10’ x 10’, electricity $25, corner fee $25
  • Mediums: ceramics, fiber, glass, mixed media, drawing, photography, jewelry, painting, wood and sculpture
  • Attention artists: If you do HeartFest Feb. 6-7 and are accepted to do ArtFest Midwest (June 26-27 in Des Moines, IA), you can earn a $50 credit toward your booth fee for ArtFest Midwest!

12.08.2014: Wrapping Up 'My Guilty Pleasure'!

All hail---spoiler alert!---Alfonso de Ribere (sp?) as King of the dance floor, winner of Season 19 of DWTS! He was the clear leader from day one, bursting out onto the stage with precision, attack and elan! His rendition of the Carlton earlier in the season was epic! His tap solo in the free-style was jaw-dropping! And, good for his fellow star Will Smith for actually staying away from the show in order not to take any of the limelight away from his longtime friend---that's despite on-air invitations from both Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. As for the top four, it was the strongest field with the strongest free-styles in recent memory IMNSHO. And, who could've imagined that five-time winner Derek Hough would be denied during the finals for the second season in a row? His partner Bethany was one of the most improved dancers in the field, perhaps second only to the seventeen-year old Duck Princess. Sadie's video-game finale brought a huge grin to my face! Hope to see both again in an All-Star edition! And, the Pretty Little Liar, Janelle was born to perform, she dances with such grace, investing all her heart and soul into every movement, enhanced by the obviously deepening personal relationship with partner Val Chermokovsky. I enjoyed Season 19 of DWTS and am looking forward to Season 20, the ten-year anniversary of the show! I'm still lobbying for Nastia Liukin to show Shawn Johnson how it's supposed to be done! Who else should be on the show? Michael Jordan? Greg Louganis? Tana Goertz? Mikhail Baryshnikov? Who would you like to see on the show? Start the dialogue here!

12.05.2014: Heavenly Host

Check this out after the Iowa Dance Theatre Nutcracker performances:
Iowa Youth Chorus Candlelight Concert

(Capital City News Service) On Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 7 pm, youthful singers will fill the Temple for Performing Arts, 1011 Locust Street. Members of the Iowa Youth Chorus' Concert Choir 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."

Special guests will be the ClearJoy chamber music ensemble playing a wide variety of classical and folk selections. For the concert finale the combined choirs will sing the traditional favorite, "O Holy Night."

The choirs are led by Iowa Youth Chorus conductors Jim Shutt and Jacob Barker.

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

12.04.2014: Performance Posting

They keep on dancing at the institution lovingly referred to as Party Hearty You!
Collaborative Performance: No Armistice

Presented by:
Department of Dance
Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 8:00pm
Friday, December 5, 2014 - 8:00pm
Saturday, December 6, 2014 - 8:00pm
Space Place Theater
20 W. Davenport St., Iowa City, IA

Department of Dance
dance@uiowa.edu
319.335.2228
Cost:
$0-$12
Tickets here
Presented by Department of Dance.
Doors open at 7:50 p.m.

Graduate and undergraduate students from various disciplines in the performing arts collaborate to create a performance at Space Place Theater.

This year's performance will include the following:

The Aggressor
The Street Soldiers
The Lovers
The Old Soldier
The Mothers
The Loss of Woodland
Affirmation
Tickets:
$12 Non-Students
$6 Seniors (65+)
$6 College Students & Youth
$FREE UI Students (with valid ID)

12.03.2014: Valse du Fleur

"I wasn't sure at first when all the girls started lying down..." This is how part of the conversation started when a former CCDC student and current professional dancer came back to the Capital City for the holidays. She popped into the studio to watch rehearsal and said, "...but, after a while, I got it. Your flowers are growing. I get it! I like it!"

That was music to my ears, because, as I told her, when you're choreographing or dancing in a piece, it's very hard to stay objective, you get too close. Hard to see the waltzing forest because of all the dancing trees! As readers of this blog know, I started listening and choreographing "Waltz of the Flowers" back at the end of summer. Now, after thousands of listens, we're just about set to go.

If you go to the Iowa Dance Theatre Nutcracker, Dec 13+14 at the DsM Civic Center, I hope you see the garlands and the blossoms built into the choreography. I hope you see the tribute to Iowa farmers and the lines and shapes of young flowers growing from shoots to blooms. I hope the younger kids in the audience laugh out loud at some of the comic interactions and dance in their seats along with the little pas de deux embedded in the dance. I hope the dancers smile for you and make the music come to life onstage for you! I hope you're entertained!

If you get some of the subtle layers of meaning etched into the choreography, that's great! But, if you only enjoy the pretty dancers, pretty music and pretty movement, that's great, too. Enjoy the show! Most of the dancers have put in a lot of effort. Hopefully, it'll all become clear on stage and you will say "I like it!" as well! Merde for the show!

12.02.2014: Class Notez

Recently began the process of upgrading my phone to a newer generation model. (Relax, Apple-fanGrrlz, still Android-Boy here!o) So, I had to go through some of the class notes or potential tweets I had stored on the older model because they won't transfer to the new phone. So, here are some observations I jotted down during a CCDC Summer Intensive Class taught by guest instructor Kathleen Hurley a few years ago:
Difference between proximal and distal stretching.

The simultaneous three count versus four count port de bras.

Fall forward into your big jumps.

"Think of plié as a verb!"

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

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

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

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

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

"Try your shoulder roll over the other shoulder!"

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

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

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

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

12.01.2014: Final Thanksgiving Thoughts

Because of all the rehearsals and holiday commitments this weekend, we had to choose between watching the mid-season finale of DWTS or...The Walking Dead! That means final thoughts on the "melee for the mirror-ball" will just have to wait! (And...WHOA!...didn't see that coming in WD!) Meanwhile, final Thanksgiving thoughts---Thanks to the CCDC students and alumni who took time drop in the studio to visit or for break classes or who texted us over the holidays:
"...Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful to have you two as my teachers and all you do for everyone at the studio. Happy eating and I hope you enjoyed your holiday(:..."
...and...
"...Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am thankful for all the gifts and love you have given me, just like every day! Love you, miss you....SO much! Xoxo ..."

11.25.2014: Performance Posting

Seasonal favorite returns to venue near you...
MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS 30th ANNIVERSARY TOUR ADDS PERFORMANCE AT CIVIC CENTER

(Capital City News Service: – DsM Performing Arts announced today that MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER will add one more performance to its Christmas 30th Anniversary Tour at the Des Moines Civic Center on Friday, Dec. 19 and Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. In addition to performances on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., the group has added a performance on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Christmas Tour and release of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, an album that revolutionized the Holiday Season music category. It’s also the 40th Anniversary of Davis’ first album in his Fresh Aire series, which pioneered the New Age music category.

Grammy Award® winner Chip Davis will direct and co-produce Tour performances with MagicSpace Entertainment. The show features classic Christmas hits from MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER and multimedia effects in an intimate setting.

In addition to being a holiday tradition for many families, the MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS regularly attracts repeat attendance from multi-generational guests and is one of the longest running tours in the music industry.

Davis plans to release a new album, Mannheim Steamroller 30/40, this fall. In celebration of the 30th Anniversary Christmas Tour, tracks will include Christmas fan favorites while selections from Davis’ iconic Fresh Aire series and recordings by his daughter, Elyse, will celebrate 40 years of ground-breaking sound.

MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER has sold more than 40 million albums, 28 million in the Christmas genre. With a total of 12 holiday CDs, an average of eight Mannheim Steamroller Christmas albums occupy Billboard’s Top Seasonal Chart every year.

11.24.2014: The End Is Near!

The season XIX Finals this week on "my guilty pleasure"!o) Here's a recap of the last episode:
"Dancing With The Stars"
Season Nineteen
Week Ten
The Semi-Finals

Four aces...and one Wild Card! One joker, more like it! Tommy's gotta go, if there's any justice in this dancing world! Individual rounds and unplugged versions!

Team Sadie/Mark: Survived huge brain fart last week! Put big pressure on herself! Quickstep and Argentine Tango! As they say bad dress, good run! She's vivacious as she starts the quick step! She makes me smile! Light and lovely. skimming smoothly across the floor! No problems with recalling the routine tonight! Nice rise and fall. great feeling. Upper body good for a non-trained dancer! She's ecstatic! I give her nine! "You're such a breath of fresh air!" "That was BRILLIANT!" Real judges: 9, 10, 9, 9! Sets a high standard out of the gate!

Team Tommie/Peta: "I'm the old guy staggering towards the finish line!" Tommy and Tainted Love! What a strange toxic brew! The septuagenarian doing a lot of setting on a chair in this routine. He's a half count behind everything! Still something remarkably likable about him! I give him a 7! Real judges? 7, 7, 7, 7! Ten from Erin!

Team Bethany/Derek: Derek dealing with creative block! Bethany becomes the coach to the professional. Samba. Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 classic. Derek does his best work bringing the best out of his charges. His choreography is always on pointe as well. Derek allows Bethany's natural vivaciousness flow out! Boys smack lips at the end of the dance! I give them a 9! She's so young, but, dances like an "old soul"! "Meltdown McGee"? Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9!

Team Janel/Val: Sweeet relationship! Stalking, sensual paso doble! Sultry in black lace! Great attack from both dancers! Her commitment is total! She's dancing with her EYES! Every sideways glance is full of hope, longing, doubt, mistrust and anger! SO SHARP! She gets a ten from me! "Hot and sexy!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! "I'm in it to win it!"

Team Alfonso/Witney: Struggling with injuries! When your back hurts, everything hurts! But, he's such a good dancer in this Argentine Tango, you can't see any evidence of an injury. It's her kicks that look short to me. He's the masterful pimp as he should be in this routine. Needs a little more weight in those heel leads, but, an electric presentation! I give him a nine! "Pain is temporary, GLORY is forever!""You are a fighter!" "Go safe, but, go hard!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! He has to power through another dance. "I'm not a quitter! I'm not gonna quit!"

Round Two: Same songs, different interpretations

Team Sadie/Mark: "Hats off to you, Ms Sadie!" Argentine Tango to unplugged version. Her's quiet and intense! a guitar between them Good choreography. The guitar is an integral part of the choreography. Just hold dem shoulders down girl! "You should e in the final! "You're just 17!" I give her a nine! She's a sweetheart! Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 9!

Team Tommy/Peta: unplugged rumba. Peta in snow globe! What a smile he has! He's infectious! Peta is dancing circles around him. She's given him minimal movements, but, he has such presence and pathos. Great gravitas! I thought he did very well. Peta is crying huge tears after the show! "You are a master!" Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 8! I think those are his best scores ever!

Team Bethany/Derek: Contemporary. Start with picture frame! Reaching and dancing within and outside of frame! Including and containing. Effortlessly flowing in and out of frame! Metaphors abound! She steps through the frame as he Reaches for her from behind! "It's a Picasso!" "You're breaking through every week!" "Picture perfect!" I give her another nine! Real judges; 10, 10, 10, 10! Perfect scores!

Team Janel/Val: Hawai'i girl! Relocating to City of Lost Angels! "Pretty Little Liar!" Argentine Tango. Val starts on violin! Sure looks like he's playing for real! Oops! Sour note! Janel is alone as Val approaches. He dedication to him and the choreography is palpable! So smooth. Needs to hold that core more in lifts, but, she's tiny enough that it doesn't matter much. Ugly dismount! She's such a performer! She's a hundred percent committed to the choreography! I give her another ten or nine! Okay a nine!" "Incredible intimacy!" She's an old-fashioned coquette in that young/old soul! Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 10

Team Alfonso/Witney: Contemporary. I'm wincing in sympathetic pain already! But, he's attacking the movement and all the lifts! He's dancing from his heart! kudos to him. I give him a nine! Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10!

Final Elimination: Final five! First to the finals is...Alfonso and Witney. First time so far for Witney. Next in...Janel and Val! Well-deserved. Joining them...Bethany annd Derek! Watch out for the master choreographer! Last couple out...is Tommy and Peta! Sadie and Mark get a chance to dance for the mirror-ball in the finals! Nothing against Tommy, but, it's time for him to rest! Excellent run, buddy! "Dancing makes you young!"

11.21.2014: Voicez of Angelz

Put this performance posting on your Holiday calendar:
"...IA Youth Chorus Candy Cane Concert

Capital City News Service - If you're interested in a great family event to usher in the holiday season, here's the date to save. The Youth Chorus will present its annual Candy Cane Concert on December 6, 2014 at 4 pm at the First Christian Church, 2500 University Avenue.

The chancel will be filled with children, ranging in age from 6 to 18, performing in four different choirs. Singing a variety of holiday music, audiences will hear a sampling from the advanced choirs as well as a rousing finale that includes all choir members.

"Experiencing the joy of the holidays through the faces and voices of children is always a delight," said Youth Chorus Artistic/Executive Director Kristen Stanton.

"We also have special guest performers, the St. John's Lutheran Church Adult Handbell Choir." The choruses will collaborate with the bell choir on the first and final pieces of the program.

Shop Early at the Silent Auction

The concert will be preceded by the Candy Cane Concert Silent Auction which begins at 1:30 pm.

This afternoon auction provides an opportunity for concertgoers to stop by early and shop for a good cause while enjoying seasonal cookies and hot chocolate.

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

The nonprofit Youth Chorus was founded in 1981 to encourage and foster a life-long love of music in children. Through classes for all ages, from early childhood through high school, the Chorus inspires personal development, celebrates diversity and fosters international goodwill. As the premier youth choral organization of central Iowa, young singers come from every suburb and surrounding communities including Ankeny, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights, Newton and Pella.

What began as Sunday afternoon rehearsals in a downtown auditorium has touched the lives of thousands of children, youth and adults - not just in Central Iowa but around the world..."

11.19.2014: Paul Taylor, The CCDC Student Reviews, Part Trois

Here's the final installment of a tryptich of CCDC student reviews of the recent PTDC performance...
"...I saw the Paul Taylor Dance Company perform at the Des Moines Civic Center on Saturday, November 8th. The performance included three works, Arden Court, Sea Lark, and Company B with intermissions between each work.

Arden Court was a nice introduction to the night, with it’s simple costumes and upbeat choreography. However, within the first few minutes of the performance, I was unimpressed. Sloppy footwork and unclear transitions made it obvious that these dancers could use a little more time in a ballet studio. The energy of the piece would be enjoyable for a non-dancer, but anyone with knowledge on dance was left wanting more.

The second act brought the World Premiere of Sea Lark, Paul Taylor’s newest choreography. I was even less impressed with the second work of the night, as it seemed far too simple and trivial. The piece appeared to be primarily about the dancers sailing in a boat, but beyond that I could not detect any deeper meaning. Again, a trained dancer could see that most of the dancers would benefit from more classical ballet training.

The third and final piece was Company B. This piece was by far my favorite of the night. The work was centered around music popular around the World War II time period and was originally performed in 1991. I detected some of the previous technique problems, but overall the choreography was simple and entertaining. My favorite piece from this section of the performance was “Tico-Tico” by dancer Francisco Graciano. His movements were clean and energetic, he seemed to have some of the best technique out of everyone in the company. I also enjoyed “Rum and Coca-Cola” which was a playful piece involving one female cast member with the male cast members. It was an entertaining and comedic dance but didn’t have much to offer choreographically.

Overall, I was unimpressed with the performance I saw. I think the dancers could improve immensely with further training, but it is also unrealistic to watch a modern dancer and expect ballet technique. I would definitely attend another Paul Taylor performance, given the chance, because of the promising choreography that was present in “Company B”..."

...Thanks to Maleficent, Prince(ss) Of Snarkness and Willow Fei for playing along! Thanks to CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews for contributing tickets to the kids for the performance!

11.18.2014: Paul Taylor, The CCDC Student Reviews, Part Deux

Here's the second of a trio of CCDC student reviews of the recent PTDC performance...
"...While watching Paul Taylor dance company I was not too impressed. I was not a fan of the first two dances, Sea Lark and Arden Court. I did like Company B though, I liked the "old" feel and style that it had with it. While watching the performance I could tell which dancers had ballet in their background and which ones didn't by their technique. All in all I would go see Paul Taylor again in hope that they have a better performance..."
...Agree? Disagree? Feedback welcome!.

11.18.2014: Paul Taylor, The CCDC Student Reviews

FINALLY they're starting to come in! Here's the first of three "unvarnished" CCDC student reviews:
"...The performance by Paul Taylor was a fairly enjoyable experience. As a whole the dances were fun because they were happy and upbeat with comedy built in. But as for technicality and difficulty of the dances there was not a lot to see. Everything was very simple and even the harder steps weren't very difficult. You could see some of the dancers falling out of turns and hopping in some, along with not a lot of turn out or pointed feet when there were supposed to be. Everyone's energy was high and all the dancers looked like they enjoyed performing for the audience, it's just that there was nothing very difficult about the choreography. I did like how some of the dancers would ignore other dancers while they were still on stage together while still dancing together. That was a nice contrast. But yes in general the performance was fun to watch because of all the dancers energies and enjoyment of performing, but there really was nothing technically challenging or any wow moments that companies like Alvin Ailey or Lines have and are known for..."
...More soon!o)

11.17.2014: T.G.I.M.G.P.M.

Thank Goodness It's My Guilty Pleasure Monday!oP
"Dancing With The Stars"
Season Nineteen
Week Nine
The Quarter-Finals
"America Chooses the Songs, Dances, Stars Night"

Start off with results: Advancing to semi-finals. TOMMY AND PETA! That means someone good is going to bite the bullet!

Team Whalefonso: Foxtrot. "Ain't That A Kick In The Head" Farmer's Markets going to focus group programming at the LA Farmer's Market. He's in White tails She's in a lacy red evening gown with barely there upper body. They are so GOOD! I just smile watching them dance! Very professional standard. Alfonso sets the standard for this season! I Give him a ten! "You channeled the sophistication of a by gone era!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 10!

Team Pommy: Viennese Waltz! Cyst punctured behind the knee! I think it's time for Tommy to go. He's charismatic and far exceeded expectations. But, the longer he stays, the more good dancers get banished. I say, let the best dancers remain!. He's doing good for a 76-year old. But, this charity case should be allowed to go home and rest! I give him a five. He did his best dance of the season so far, but, the calendar has passed on the old comedian. Kind comments from the judges! "You are my hero, old geezer!" Real Judges: 7, 8, 7, 7! Is that his first eight?

Team Arlea: Samba! Video package reveals a really strong working relationship. She's a tigress and still has some great dancer legs. Heels only three to four inches...not five to six. She's still in shape She's shaking her hips. I like that she smiles when she tries to be sultry. So many dancers think they have to LOOK sexy. I give her an eight! Bruno praises confidence! She's 53 and KLLING IT! Real judges: 8, 9, 8, 9! Boys liked it better than the girls.

Team Dethany: Viennese Waltz! She's such a chameleon! Dancing her private relationship on a public stage. She's in a floating champagne deep cut gown. He's in simple slacks and shirt. Little more rise needed. Not showing the commitment to line in this genre that she's shown in other outings. Wow! That seemed too short. I give her an eight! "Strength comes from vulnerability! It was beautiful!" "Honest emotion!" What's a fleckle! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Second in the standings so far.

Team Maydie: Jive! Mark downplays the production values and focuses on the dancing. Good choice! She's so good. Her personality is off the charts for such a young girl! Needs a little more attack and finish. Hard for such a tall girl to be sharp...she does a good job most of the time, but, occasionally...the effort. She's really good sometimes, really awkward at other times. I give her a nine. "Credit and respect for attempting such a difficult routine!" Real judges: 8, 9, 8, 8!

Team Vanele: Quickstep! Pressure from perfect scores! Pressure's building on Janel. "Don't start doubting yourself now!" After...she stumbles, but covers and recovers...strong start marred by that slip. She's covering and finishing strong with a smile...AND there's the KISS! I give her a nine! Val fesses up to the mistake! Patent leather shoes stuck together caused the slip up! Real judges: 9, 10, 10, 9! Even with the mistakes! "The best dance of the night!"

Trio Dances:

Alfonso, Whitney, Lindsey: Paso Doble! Starts in a big triangle! Turn Down For What! Turn OUT for THIS! Sharp. Popping locking elements. Shades of Matrix and dominatrix! Give him a TEN! Standing ovation from Carrie Anne! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10!

Sharna, Peta, Tommy: Samba! Fly the VERY Friendly skies! The Mike Walttrip formula of surrounding yourself with pretty girls and hope no one watches! Unfortunately. ...well, actually, samba is his forte! I give him a seven! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! "It was very hard!"

Lea, Artem, Henry: Paso Doble! The swirling capes. She's in black lace. But, her movements are too soft! Not enough Attack! Not enough passion. Her ballet training is betraying her in other forms of ballroom! NOT STRONG ENOUGH! I give her an eight, but... Judges like it more than I did! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Missed a chance!

Bethany, Derek, Tony: Argentine Tango! Derek's back is suffering! He takes a tule in the video pack! shades of s and M. She twines and intertwines between the two. Upper body placement is lacking. But, Derek's choreography is always interesting. They're a little off, though! Not enough rehearsal? Little underwhelming! I give her a seven! Real judges: 9, 10, 10, 9!

Sadie, Mark, Emma: What a risk choosing a female pro. Huge risk, huge reward? Hold those shoulders down! Sadie is holding her own. She's tres elegant! Shades of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons!! Go pick up Emma! "That's the best ttrio of the night!" She's SOO emotional! I give her a ten! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10!

Janelle, Val, Keo: Salsa! "all hail the queen!" Two men start off! She struts on! She owns the stage. She also needs to work on her shoulders. Fast paced routine. lotta hips, lotta foot work. Very synchronized! and ery syncopated Her intensity is total! Very committed! There are the Cirque lifts. I think they could've done without them! I give her a nine! Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10!

Final Eliminations: More results: Also safe is Alfonso and Whitney! Big reaction from her! Next, Bethany and Derek. Lea thinks it's her time to go. Janel and Val are safe. Lowest couples are Sadie and Lea. And the one to go is: Lea and Artem! That's depressing...she was a good dancer who should've lasted longer. Perhaps this will propell audience favorite Sadie to the finals! Time for Tommy to head out to pasture!

11.14.2014: Chasing The Dancer's Dream

Been sick the last couple of daze, so haven't been able to keep up the blog. So to make up for that here's another ALUMNI UPDATE!oD:
1. For all the youngins that may not know me, I'm Mmmadd Skyllz. I am currently on scholarship with the School of Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
2. Currently, we are in full Nutcracker swing right now so I am dancing 6 days and about 35 hours a week. I take two, sometimes three, technique classes a day along with a pointe, variation, modern, or adagio class following it. the break in the middle of the day that we usually have is filled with rehearsals. Probably the last correction I got was this morning, and it was to fully stretch my legs closing into fifth position during fast tendus. The most frequent correction I get though, is to not be so judgmental of myself when I'm dancing.
3. The biggest adjustment would quite frankly be living alone and having to take care of myself. I don't have my parents making me healthy meals or making sure I ice my feet. I have lived alone for awhile now, but its still something to get used to. The training at CCDC is a different style than here but the technical aspect of things is basically the same. I would have definitely tried to push myself to move a whole lot faster! And to always perform in class and BE ON THE MUSIC!
4. The last performance I saw was the company's first program of the season. They performed Allegro Brilliante by George Balanchine, Liturgy, a pas de deux by Christopher Wheeldon, Jeu de Cartes by Alexei Ratmunsky, and Other Dances, also a pas de deux, by Jerome Robbins. The most memorable part of the program had to be the two pas de deuxs. Lauren Fadeley and Ian Hussey performed Other Dances, and it made me so happy and feel at ease. And for Liturgy, a corps woman did Wendy Wheelan's original part and she did a brilliant job. Plus the partnering of it is challenging and interesting in itself to watch.
5. The best thing is I love my teachers, classmates, school, company, and city that I am in/at. The worst is that because we are dealing with a lot of changes in the company ( more good than bad), everything is up in the air and unknown of what the future holds.
6. Not everything in ballet is about pure talent; you must give all yourself, your passion, artistry, emotions, hard work, etc. Also, stop crying or feeling down on yourself in class! Its class! Its the time to work hard and maybe look terrible so your teachers can help you! your teachers don't want perfect, they want progress and working smart. Just put your whole self out there, you will most likely be pleasantly surprised with your outcome.
7. Currently I am apply at several different places.
8. I will be in Iowa during Thanksgiving, but I am not sure whether I will be visiting CCDC since I only have a few days home :(
9. I am living in a nice 1 bedroom in the museum district of Philadelphia.
10. As you may assume I don't have too big of a social life but, both of my close friends from Miami City Ballet are in the school and second company here now, so I love having them here!
11. He doesn't know yet but, currently I am engaged to Enrique Iglesias. As for kids I think I still have some time! hahaha :p
12. Always.
...That Enrique doesn't know how lucky he is!o)

11.14.2014: Paul Taylor, The Review

Still waiting for the #CCDC student reviews of the Paul Taylor #Dance Company performance last weekend. (Submit those here) Of course, nothing but silence or drivel from the daily rag, so, without further delay here's our "official" review:
It was an early salute to Veterans Day performed on the Des Moines Civic Center Stage this weekend. The Paul Taylor Dance Company performed two signature pieces and one world premiere in the debut of this years "Dance Series". The strongest piece was "Company B" set to music by the Andrews Sisters, a tribute to the greatest generation and their many sacrifices during World War Two. More on that later, but, let's begin at the beginning:

"Arden Court" was danced by six shirtless men and three women. It was an exploration of relationship dynamics between different couples and the group. In one section, a flirtatious young woman tries to capture the attention of a stoic indifferent male...or, maybe it wasn't. I found myself trying to figure out what the choreographer was attempting rather than letting the dancing speak to me. Is that my fault or the fault of the dancing? Or neither?

The world premiere was called "Sea Lark". And, it seemed to be just that, a lark. There's nothing wrong with watching young people have fun at a beach, sailing a boat on blue waters under a sunny, blue sky. But, other than one male dancer's unfortunate resemblance to the "Mister Clean" character, very little to recommend or remark on. As for the one double tour en l'air or the round-off into two back handsprings, the audience has seen better.

But, an entirely different sub-text and context to "Company B". The music is instantly recognizable, the dance steps iconic as well. The silhouetted young men marching to war in the background create a disquieting backdrop to the jitterbugging and jiving couple in the brightly lit foreground. Francisco Graciano in "Tico-Tico" was explosive and dynamic and, obviously, classically trained in his solo. Not as much for Robert Kleinendorst in "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". Heather McGinley and Sean Mahoney brought a nuanced portrayal of a woman whose man eventually joins those silhouetted distance dying soldiers in the background. Her absolute, resolute stillness spoke volumes at the end of her piece. "Company B" was choreographed over twenty years ago and references a time over seventy years ago, but, still resonates with meaning for a country still at war well into the 21st Century.

Standing ovation from the appreciative half-full Civic Center audience. And, a big roar of approval when the venerable Paul Taylor himself ambled out onto the stage during the bows. Well-deserved for a choreographer whose works range from an "Arden Court" to a "Sea Lark" to "Company B". Well deserved indeed.

11.10.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!o)

Still seperating the wheat from the chaff:
"Dancing With The Stars"
Season Nineteen
Week Eight
"Dynamic Duos Night"

One team gets immunity and the rest face head-to-head challenges!

Team Leartem: Bonnie and Clyde. Acting coach. Roll in classic car. Jass number. She tries to portray intensity by dropping her chin. That closes off her face! Not good for performance. Ooh! Unfortunate attempt at a helicopter lift. I give her a seven. "More jazz, less ballet!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8.

Team Emmichael: Tarzan and Jane. Foxtrot. She's emotional in the preview piece. I'd love to see Emma with someone who can really dance. Michael, still flatfooted and, great smile, but lack of body awareness. Very basic choreography. He's walking through the steps, not dancing. He lumbers through like a wounded bear!. Love their relationship, but... I give him a six. "Best I've seen you've done." Real judges: 6, 7, 6, 6.

Team Vanelle: Romeo and Juliet. Contemporary. Lotta lifts. They're barefooted. Their affection for each other is genuine and expresses itself on the dance floor. I give them an eight. Judges are uniformly enthusiastic! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Perfect scores!

Team Tommeta: Paso Doble as Johnny and June Cash. "In my mind, I'm Sixteen!" Peta challenges Tommy to raise his game. Poor guy is 76. He's stronger, more intense! Needs to hold his poses longer. Loses concentration for a second. When he's good, he's not bad. When he loses concentration, he shows his age. Sometimes Peta does all the dancing, he's just trying to remember steps. I give him a six. Peta helps him climb the stairs. Interview reveals calf injury! Real judges: 6, 7, 7, 6! Looks like he's heading to the dance off. He doesn't mine!

Team Sadark: Adam and Eve. "Do you have to put your hand on my butt?" Contemporary. Story reflects her beliefs. Her line is incredible. her commitment is total! Hmm. wonder if these wrap legs around Mark lifts are Dad approved? Shot of Dad in standing ovation in the audience. I give her an eight. Judges praise her new level of maturity! Everyone's eating apples in the celebraquarium. Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 10! Wow! Her best scores!

Team Whifonso: Batman and Robin, Cha-cha. Zip-line malfunction. Dancing to Prince! Didn't he also sing a batman song? Robin never looked better in tights than tonight! Dark Knight has lost some weight and taken some Dance Lessons! What injuries? Sharp and committed! Camp and fun! Very heroic! I give him a nine! Real judges: 10, 9, 9, 10!

Team Bethanerek: Lucy and Ricardo. Salsa. Fighting fatigue! She's researching her inner Lucy! I love the Lucy vignette! Fifties sitcom set. No lack of energy here! Derek always brings his q-game choreography. Tricky hand work that is signature salsa! Love her facials! She's going to town! Baba lou! I give her a ten!"Your versatility exceeds all my expectations!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 10!

Dance-Offs:

Alfonso picks Lea: Lea picks Jive. Alfonso takes the floor. He's sharp and focused! This routine brings a big smile to my face! GREAT attack! Lea and Artem take the floor. She's having fun! She's a competitor! Sharp flicks and kicks! Artem is coaching his star as they perform. I give a slight edge to Alfonso! But, ti could easily go either way for me! Tweets pick Alfonso. Real judges verdict: Unanimously for Alfonso!

Sadie picks Bethany: Bethany picks cha-cha-cha! Sadietakes the floor in red fringe. She's got such a infectious attitude. The dress shows off her long legs. Her commitment is is audacious. She an move her hips and use those long legs and she's got great facials! Bethany and Derek the floor. Same song! Little off timing! Sharp grapevines. Lack of rehearsal shows . I think Sadie wins in my mind! Close again!.. Twitter results narrowly give it to Bethany! I disagree. Real judges, It's tied! Head judge gets extra points.

Tommy versus Michael: Rumba is what's left. Tommy has reinjured his calf muscle! Peta is talking tommy through the steps. He's following, but, it's behind. Michael and Emma take the floor Michael starts to use his hips! For a tall guy he has no awareness of lines! He has white mans rigor mortis in his hips. He drops her leg like its hot at the end!. I give it to...neither. I LOVE that Michael tries. Twitter gives it overwhelmingly to Tommy. Real judges: unanimously for Tommy and Peta.

Final Elimination: First saved is Alfonso and Whitney. Next: Bethany and Derek. Still in the game: Sadie and Mark. Also, Lea and Artem. Tommy and Michael aret on the hot seat...and, Michael goes home! Love their relationship! He's a great sport! She says he's made her a better person! Last chance dance is truly emotional!

Next show: Tommy is on my 'ready to go' list. Anyone else would be an injustice! Time for the chaff to go!

11.07.2014: More Preview of PTDC

Planning on catching the Paul Taylor Dance Company performance Saturday night at the DsM Civic Center? Here's Part Two of an exclusive one-on-one interview with dancer Jamie Rae Walker.

Copyright 2014 Capital City Dance Center

...You can find Part One of the Jamie Rae Walker interview at the CCDC FaceBook page.

11.08.2014: Performance Posting

More dance happenings at the institution lovingly nicknamed "Party Hearty U":
UI Dance Alumni Event
Presented by: Department of Dance

Saturday, November 8, 2014 - 8:00pm
Space Place Theater
20 W. Davenport St., Iowa City, IA

Cost: Free Presented by Department of Dance. Several alumni of the University of Iowa Department of Dance will conclude a week of teaching and rehearsals with two performances of works they are creating and performing across the country. Alumni participating in the 2014 event include:

  • Anna Adams Stark (BFA 2008) (NYC, NY)
  • Jennifer Pray (BFA 2012) with Karen Christ (company member - BFA 2010) (Twin Cities, Minnesota)
  • Analia Alegre-Femenias (MFA 2007) (Cedar Rapids, IA) with Jesús ‘Chuy’ Renteria (company member – BA 2009)
  • Joanna Rosenthal (Read) (BFA 1996/MFA 2008) with Sarah Gonsiorowski (company member - BFA 2011) (Chicago, IL)
  • Audra Sokol (MFA 2002) (Muncie, IN)
This event is free and open to all. No tickets are required.

11.06.2014: Preview of Paul Taylor Dance Company

No dance class or rehearsals tonight? You might want to check out this pre-performance screening:
Documentary Screening: PAUL TAYLOR CREATIVE DOMAIN
November 6, 2014 7:00PM - 9:00PM

Temple Theater, 1011 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
Questions? 515-246-2358

As we prepare to host the WORLD PREMIERE of Mr. Taylor’s 144th dance, we invite you to join us for an exclusive screening of the recently released documentary PAUL TAYLOR CREATIVE DOMAIN. The 82-minute documentary gives you an inside look into Mr. Taylor’s creative process – specifically through the creation of his 133rd dance, Three Dubious Memories. The documentary follows the PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY from the very first rehearsal through its premiere.

Following the screening we invite you to join in a conversation with Andy LeBeau - Mr. Taylor’s assistant - and dancers from the company. This unique opportunity will provide even greater insight into the creation of this renowned choreographer’s work.

Free and open to the public | No RSVP required

11.05.2014: Dancing In Dixie!

Another alumni sighting! Popular recent Capital City Dance Center graduate reports she's "living the dream" as a professional ballet dancer!o)
  1. Hello to my CCDC family! My (nickname is 2K2M) and I am currently living in Montgomery, Alabama dancing with the Montgomery Ballet!
  2. My life is all ballet all the time! Right now, we are in full swing getting ready for The Nutcracker. Company class will usually begin at 9:30 in the morning, and most days I am in rehearsal until 3 PM. The company just recently went through a huge transition this past summer when our past Artistic Director, Darren McIntyre, resigned. After the summer, our new Artistic Director, Foye Dubose, was hired and began working with us immediately. Foye trained at PNB and comes from a very Balanchine background, which is making me think about my dancing in a whole new way!
  3. The hardest adjustment I have had to make is probably knowing when to push and when to listen to your body. My tendency has always been to want to push myself all the time...however, when you get to a professional level and demand so much of yourself on a daily basis, you have to learn when to back off! It is so important to eat right, sleep a lot, and take care of your body overall! In terms of what CCDC has done for me..I wouldn't be where I am today had it not been for the training I received. Right now, I am particularly thankful for Emery's Balanchine classes I received during Wednesday night level 6 classes. Although there are lots of different flavors of Balanchine, the arm placement I practiced in those classes are making the transition now a whole lot easier for me!
  4. There are so many fantastic ballet companies here in the South, so I have been lucky enough to see quite a few beautiful performances! My favorite so far was probably when I got the chance to see Atlanta Ballet's Romeo and Juliet last season.
  5. The best thing about my current situation is waking up every day and doing what I love. At the end of the day, that is what really matters! Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I can't believe that I get to go into the studio every day and get paid to do what I love most! One of the most difficult things is probably just the toll dancing takes on the body and the mind. Like my favorite teachers always told me, ballet will give you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows!
  6. If I could tell my former self something it would probably be to emphasize the importance of giving your body rest and love. You can't push all the time! I think a few of my past injuries could have been avoided had I told myself this. However, I wouldn't be the dancer I am today without all of those pesky injuries :) My best advice for students at CCDC would be to value and cherish your time with your teachers. Ballet, and all forms of dance, are so applicable to every aspect of life! Whether you go on to a professional career or not, the values and lessons we learn in the studio makes us better members of society and can be carried throughout life.
  7. Other than working with the professional company, I also teach at the Montgomery Ballet School at night, and at a studio called the Center for Performing Arts in the neighboring town. I have found another passion inside me for teaching and I am loving every second! I teach mainly the classes in the lower school, so Creative Movement and Ballet level 1. The kids are so cute and it is so fun being able to see the magic that ballet holds for them at the young of an age.
  8. I will be back in Des Moines right before Christmas, around the 23rd of December!
  9. I am currently living in what is considered the historic district of Montgomery called 'Old Cloverdale'. I live in an old house built in the 1920's that was recently converted into 4 separate units. It is so charming and has so much character! There are lots of quaint shops and cafes right in my neighborhood which are so fun to explore!
  10. My new director is awesome and actually gave me a boxing lesson after rehearsal a couple of weeks ago! I thought he was joking when he told me he was going to go out to his car and get his boxing gloves but NOPE he was serious! It was pretty awesome, even though he told me I punch like a girl!
  11. Definitely not married! As for now, ballet is my one true love :)
  12. I miss you all so much! CCDC will always hold a special place in my heart and I wouldn't be the person I am today without all of the support and training I got from Capital City! Can't wait to be back home to give hugs to you all!
...What about the rest of you, my missing CCDC Alumni? See the survey below and send your answers in to Info@GoCCDC.Com! Enquiring mindz wanna know!o) Stay in touch! We all miss you...whoever you are!o)

11.04.2014: Subsidizing Dance Scholarships

Hey CCDC Graduating Seniors! Going on to dance in college? Want some free money? Deadline to apply coming up in January:
Des Moines Women’s Club
$1500 Rose Lorenz Swartz Memorial Scholarship
in Music/Dance/Performing Arts
For Graduating High School Seniors
2014-2015

SCHOLARSHIP REQUIREMENTS

  • Applicant must be a graduating high school senior, female or male, who plans to study music and/or dance as a declared major or as a component of a Performing Arts major at a college, university, conservatory or dance institute.
  • Applicant may apply for only one Des Moines Women’s Club scholarship per year.
  • Applicant must be a legal resident of, or full-time, registered student in Polk County or one of the bordering counties: Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story or Warren.
  • Applicant must submit, with the application form, an audition DVD in one of the following categories: Dance; Music (vocal or instrumental).
  • The recording must be unedited. It must show a full-length image of the applicant and be in front of a neutral background. No changes in lighting during the performance are allowed. The length of the piece may not exceed five minutes.
  • All entries will be judged on the basis of interpretation, artistry, musicality, concentration, technique, and performance quality.
  • Application must include:
    1. Completed application form.
    2. Audition DVD.
    3. GPA as of January 1, 2015.
    4. Short essay (max 300 words) relating to your performance. Include biographical information and a summary of future goals.
    5. Letter of recommendation from high school teacher, or private instructor/director, with contact information.
  • Application must be postmarked by January 23, 2015.
  • Mail application to: Rose Lorenz Swartz Memorial Scholarship Committee, Des Moines Women’s Club, 1501 Woodland Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50315-3283.
  • DVD entries may be picked up at Hoyt Sherman Place after March 7, 2015. Entries left after March 31, 2015 will be the property of the Des Moines Women’s Club. A self-addressed, stamped, packing envelope may be included with entry for the return of the audition DVD.
  • Winner will be requested to appear at the Scholarship Awards program on April 15, 2015.
  • The Scholarship Award will be sent directly to the winner’s selected college or university upon verification of registration, and shall be applied toward tuition for the 2015 Fall semester.
...Click here to download the application form. Let us know if you need us to provide that letter of recommendation.

11.03.2014: Strictly Come Dancing, American-Style

It's T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)
"Dancing With The Stars
Season Nineteen
Week Seven
"First Team Dance Night"

Opening: HE"S BAAA-AACK! Halloween edition featuring the return of...Len! Knocking the door of a prototypical mansion. Moving pictures feature the stars and pros. Table macabre! White and black outfits. Sensual and sinister. Pale make-up. Ghostly eyes! Crowd on its feet as the dancers start dancing en masse. Everyone's dressed in their Halloween finest! Always nice to see the pros dancing with the pros...showing how it's meant to be done! Len steps out of the coffin with a maniacal laff! Choreography by Mandy Moore! Also featuring...She's BAAACK! Erin Andrews!

Team Petommy!: Quickstep! Will he continue to surprise us? Two dances to learn. Tommy loves to take breaks! He's 76! Can he keep up with the younger competitors! He may be losing votes out of sympathy! Knees are old! He's a fighter! "Peta starting to stress!" He dresses up good. AH! He's dancing tired! Not enough knee bend! He's trying, but, his age is catching up to him! Age is NOT just a number! Not in your seventies. Wrong arms, wrong leg! Still something very likable about him! Can only give him a six! Judges give him favorable comments! "One of your best routines so far!" He's the oldest celebrity to make it so far on DWTS! Peta in tears! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Let's see what he can do in the team dance!

Team Artea: Argentine Tango! Lea suffers emotional and physical breakdown! He's competitive, but, he seems like supportive partner. YES! Here's the Lea we were blown away with from the beginning. She just needs to perform it more. She's dancing well, but holding back the character. Questionable for an actress to suffer that mistake. Flicks and kicks a little soft! Needs more attack!. Intense facial expression only at the end! Needs to get back to her upper body ballet placement! I give her an eight! "Find the fun!" Bruno goes tumbling! Len says lacked chemistry! "Give yourself a break!" Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 9! New leader in the clubhouse!

Team Derethany: Paso Doble! Derek demanding better focus! Here comes the Queen of the DAMNED! And the RED DEATH! Taiko drums! Vampirella! Dressed in deep blood red! Strong! Love Derek's Choreography! Strong attack! He's in a red hood as are the drummers! She's channeling her inner bride of frankenstein! STRONG! STRONG! I give her a nine maybe a ten-minus. "You morph into a NEW BEING!" Hinting at tens! "Easy to get lost, but, you DID NOT GET LOST!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! She's the new leader! "Repetition is the mother of all skills!"

Team Chantonio: "I put a spell on you!" Cheryl at the bubbling cauldron! He lacks presence in his upper body! But, better awareness of line. Good rise and fall. They're covering a lot of space! He needs to show more angles! Frame is a little questionable. He poses with that great smile! at the end! Shot of his son and wife in the audience! I give him an eight! Cheryl says she's frustrated with him! "I'm uncomfortable watching you!" Real judges: 6, 7, 7, 7! Carrie Anne really frustrated! They scare Cheryl and have to censor her comments! Hilarious! I'm okay with someone else being scared!

Team Emmichael: Jive! He's so sickled and turned in! Basic placement is in the bad place! He's under pressure learning the jive and a team dance. "I can't do that!" Struggling with quick steps in the Jive! She's wracking her brain trying to find choreography that he can do and still deliver a performance! Charlie Daniels band. Smile is good. He's so uncoordinated! Hard to teach an old dog new tricks! He forgets some kicks. Lotta steps for a none dancer to learn. This may be his last week! I give him a five! Len says he's surprised he made it to Week 7! Struggling to find something kind to say! Real judges: 5, 5, 5, 5! Judges and I are in agreement!

Team Vanelle: Viennese Waltz! To "Pretty Little Liars!" She's dressed in sexy ivy! She does hypnotist spectacularly! Could use more rise and fall! She kills him in silhouette and gives a conspiratorial wink! I give her a nine! Judges disagrees! Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8!

Team Whitfonso: Suffering from injuries, he gets racked! Rumba! Shows no sign of injuries. Great upper body presence. I wince when he gets down in plie seconde. That groin injury not a factor, tho. Needs a flowy shirt. But, his hips need no such help!. He's doing well. Supported promenade and consecutive finger turns not easy for a non-dancer. Almost a lift. And, then he acts out the leave-taking. I give him A TEN! "The magic is happening!" "This is a proper rumba!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Son's first birthday! "We're having a baby!"

Team Sadark: Paso Doble! She sneaks into the cemetery! Mark's a zombie who comes out to dance with the victim! She can ACT! She can DANCE! She looks GOOD! She always surprises me! Strips off the outer skirt and shows off the blood red long skirt with grannie panties underneath! She's so committed to the dance! LOVE her! I give her a NINE! Okay, maybe a ten! Mark's contacts are spooky! Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 8! They wander off to change for the team dances!

Someone going home after Team dances:

Team Itsybitsy: Halloween theme continues. sequential movements. couples featured. Strong dancers first in the line-up. Then, Michael who had to miss a rehearsal. Using him as lifter. They blow a drop to spin!. Lea intense in her section.. Then the reprise! Big toss and catch in second. climbing up the web netting in the finale pose! Kiss of the spider women! I give them an eight. Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Leaving room for the other team to top these scores! Entire team is safe!

Team Kreepy!: Freestyle! From the Rocky Horror Picture Show! Entire team is in jeopardy! Tommy is the ringmaster! Plays the ringmaster! Mark the joker! Sadie is vivacious! Alfonso is impeccable as usual! Antonio shirtless as the strong man! Tommy Stepping up in this solo couple work! Antonio presses Cheryl up. That's hard with that wide arm placement. Alfonso is the mime clown and is fabulous. Sadie is energetic and just fun to watch. This Might beat Derek. Girls form kick line! They hid Tommy and used his idiosyncrasies as his strengths. This is Derek's down fall! I give them that ten! Real judges: 8, 8, 8,8! I was wrong! Derek's record is secure! Final eliminations: First safe is Alfonso and Whitney! Next safe is: Sadie and Mark! At risk are Antonio and Tommy! Think it's Tommy's time! But, It's Antonio who gets the ax! Cheryl's last season?

Who's next to go? Tommy at risk! Michael at risk! Not Alfonso! Not Sadie! Next show! The Dynamic Duos show!

10.31.2014: Performance Posting

Dance haps at the institution lovingly referred to as Party Hearty You
Dance/International Writing Program Collaborative Performance

Presented by: Department of Dance

Friday, October 31, 2014 - 7:30pm
Space Place Theater
20 W. Davenport St., Iowa City, IA

Cost: Free

Presented by Department of Dance and the International Writing Program.

Dance artists and writers from the UI Department of Dance and the International Writing Program present their work created in collaboration during the Fall 2014 semester.

The performance will include:

  • Orange Juice
    Choreographed and performed by Alex Bush, Rebekah Chappell, Emily McElwain, and Melanie Stewart
    Writer: Mamle Kabu
  • Rehearsals for Departure
    Choreographed and performed by: Emily Climer and Tori Lawrence
    Writer: Yeow Kai Chai
  • Furniture Music
    Choreographed and performed by: Katie Skinner and Amy Simonson
    Writer: Chen Li
  • Languid Hi
    Choreographed and performed by: Alex Bush and Paula Lamamié de Clairac
    Writer: Omar Pérez
Admission is free.
...Got any other performance information readers might be interested in? Submit notices here!

10.30.2014: Alumni Update

Checking in with the parental units of a Capital City Dance Center alumnus currently drawing a paycheck as A PROFESSIONAL DANCER!o):
"...She is so happy and we are very proud! She told me (and please share with Missy), that since (name) has arrived as Artistic Director she finally feels like she is getting training 'like Missy and Emery gave her.' She knows how lucky she is to have you as teachers and guides - and so do (we, her parents)!..."
...Now, if we could just get her and the rest of you to fill out that 2014 CCDC ALUMNI SURVEY!O) Then, we could all get caught up together!o)

10.29.2014: Ballet Company, Too!o)

Hey CCDC Class of 2015! and younger! A professional ballet company's second company can be an excellent transition to a performing career. Here's a link to a radio series on Milwaukee Ballet II:
"...If you’ve ever been to the ballet, you might have noticed the young dancers performing off to the sides of the stage, or filling out a crowd scene - the ones lined up in neat rows behind the prima ballerina.

These are usually the dancers of the second company. Most are between the ages of 17 and 22. All have finished their formal dance training and, as members of the second company, are part of an advanced trainee program - like the one run by the Milwaukee Ballet Company. This week on Lake Effect, we’ll find out what that experience is like.

Contributing producer Lucien Jung spent the last year following some of the dancers in the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program as they battled insecurities, injuries and the polar vortex all in the hope of launching their professional careers..."

10.28.2014: 2014 Annual CCDC Alumni Survey

HALLELUJAH!oD We have a CCDC alumni sighting! Here's the first of (hopefully!o) many Alumni Survey submissions! But, just to update, here are the questions followed by our first of (hopefully!o) many answers:
  1. Who are you and where are you now?
  2. Still dancing? If so, how many classes, what styles and how often? What was the last correction and the most frequent correction you're getting in dance classes?
  3. What was the hardest adjustment to make to where you are now? How did your training at CCDC help you adjust? What else could we have done to better prepare you for your current situation?
  4. Seen any performances? Attend any auditions? What was the most memorable?
  5. What's the best thing about your current situation? What's the worst?
  6. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were training at CCDC? What's your best advice for students about to leave CCDC?
  7. Working anyplace?
  8. Are you coming back to the Capital City anytime soon?
  9. Tell us about where you're living now.
  10. Anything exciting happening in your life? Funniest or most interesting thing that's happened to you recently?
  11. Married yet? How many kids?
  12. Miss us any? (Sniff!)
OKAY! 'Nuff delays! Here's 'a message in a bottle' from one of the members of CCDC Class of 2014!:
Hi CCDC!!

I just got your card in the mail yesterday-it made me smile :) It reminded me how much I miss you all!

So for the survey:

1. I am (nicknamed "Carey"), and I am at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2. Yep! I'm a ballet major, so I'm dancing everyday. We have technique Monday through Friday, pointe three days a week, character on the days we don't have pointe, and then rehearsals in the afternoon. I also had Pilates the first half of the semester. I'm not sure what my last correction was, but one of my teachers has really been on me about lengthening the front of my standing hip in arabesque and not rolling in on my feet while turning out.

3. It's definitely been an adjustment coming here. They are very Cecchetti, so that's been different. It's also weird because ballet classes are my school classes, so I'm being graded for my dancing. It adds another level of pressure that I didn't really have back home. However, they also focus a lot on technique, which CCDC most certainly prepared me for!

4. I got to go see the professional modern company in town, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and they were really good and fun to watch. I've also seen our Modern Department's fall show and the Ballet Department's student choreographed show. I got a glimpse of Ballet West rehearsing Giselle over fall break, but I'm not sure if I'm going to actually be able to see them perform it :( It's awesome being in a big city where there are actually professional companies and other performing arts to go and watch all the time!!

5. Honestly, I just love college life! It's super fun being to dance all the time while still getting to be on a college campus. The worst thing is probably that I'm almost one thousand miles away from all my friends and family.

6. I haven't been gone very long, so I'm not sure if there's anything I know now that I wish I had known before I left. But my advice to students about to leave is that they can do whatever they want to do with their dancing! It's really been cool to see in college all the different paths people take; you can go straight to a company out of high school, you can go and dance in college, you can leave ballet and go to modern or some other type of dance, you can stop dancing and still go to college for something like physical therapy that might still deal with dance. There are so many different opportunities out there!

7. Nope!

8. I'll be back for Christmas break! We get three weeks off, so as soon as my last final is done, I'll be flying back.

9. I'm currently living in the dorms on campus. I actually got super lucky, and have a really nice room. I'm in a suite style room with three other girls(who are awesome!) but we each get our own room and share a common living area and two bathrooms. My room has an awesome view of the mountains too :)

10. Just being away from home and being here is pretty exciting for me! I went on a hiking and camping trip with my roomies over fall break which was fun, and I'm getting ready for our big fall/winter performance in a couple of weeks!

11. No...

Miss you all lots and can't wait to see you when I come back!!

Love you guys!
("Carey")

...And, pass the word to any other CCDC alumni to give us an update. We're especially interested in updates from former students we haven't heard from in awhile. This year's survey isn't focused only on your dancing, but, your entire LIFE! Email your answers here!o).

10.27.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!o)

This show consistently takes me to my "happy place". PitBull takes it up a notch!o)
"Dancing With The Stars
Season Nineteen
Week Six
"PitBull Party"

Opening : Pitbull ON FIRE! Huge opening number. Lotta dancers. Master performer surrounded by the female contingent. Montage of PitBull's greatest hits! The Latino Partymeister! He got some party anthems, don't he! Conga line of DWTS beauties! Might've been some of his own dancers in the back! Lea Remini is back as the guest MC. Erin sidelining at the World Series. Mister 305 IN THE HOUSE!!! My boy has a TWINKLE in his eye! First eliminations: Safe is Tommy and Peta! He does a slow turn in shock! Janelle and Val in jeopardy! Jonathan and Allison in jeopardy!

Team Jonallison: Jazz! Allison pep talk! Jazz is her forte! Stressing the dynamism! He and I are huge fans of PitBull! Men in black. Jonathan's worked at this one! Nice lines. Easy lifts! Little stiff but better lines. Okay lifts are getting little harder!. Computer graphics on the screen! Tutting section! Sixties tribute fitting the Men in Black theme. Already better! I give him an eight! Great marriage of movement and music! She's ecstatic. He leaps on the table to give Julianne a big hug! Bruno says "the man in black has got his MOJO back!" He stayed in the "pocket" of the song and just did the choreography. Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! His best scores to date!

Team Vanelle: Samba! She's a playa and a big flirt. It's part of her cultural heritage and personality. That's why she's so great on the dance floor because of what she does in her real life. She's a party girl...samba is the party dance! Her dress is a party all by itself as it barely hangs on...or appears to be hanging on for dear life! Oh, she's getting dizzy in those spins. Val loses his shirt! Trolling for female votes? I give her an eight! Pit Bull say he loves Celia Cruz! But, he says he recognizes...a lack of passion! "not being mean...being real!" Love Janelle and Van's relationship! Whatever it is! Real judges: 8, 7, 9, 9! Wow! Impressive scores for the FIlipina flirt!

Team Tommeta: Foxtrot! Going for the recharge! Went to the desert! Sweat lodge! Earth, Wind and Fire song! "Do you remember!" Yes, I remember this song! Little more energy and attack but... Pitbull is on his feet at the Judges' table. Tommy's got better frame! Doing GREAT for a seventy year old pothead! Not bad except for the part he forgot! He cleans up well in that grey tuxedo! He is the people's candidate! "The most interesting man in the world!" He just needs to take his vitamins, drink his caffeine and get his sleep! I give him a 7! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Better than that five last week! "People love you!"

Eliminations continue: Lea and Artem, Sadie and Mark, Antonio and Cheryl...ALL SAFE!o)

Team Antoneryl: Salsa! His wheelhouse! That macho latin male. Not the Bollywood from last week, faux Aladdin! More like "A lad in...trouble!" Family problems preoccupy Cheryl. Tough to concentrate when her father has a seizure! This latin swagger is Antonio's life blood, his heritage! Shake those hips, caballero! Lift a little labored! He has macho spilling out of his veins! I give him an eight! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7!

Team Sadark: Rumba. Sexy dance! She'd rather be sweet! That's probably the best approach! Sadie's a giggler!. Battle over sensuality! She's making the best of something that makes her uncomfortable. Her line is incredible! She should get some dance training! She's a young girl in love...as she should be! But, once again her innate musicality and the effervescent line is palpable! GOOD Choreography! Good compromise! I give her a nine! I think she's glad it's over! Give Mark a ten for that choreographic effort! Real judges; 9, 10, 8, 8! Perfect scores! Sadie bursts into tears! Wow! She's so YOUNG!

Team Leartem: Salsa. Complex choreography. Don't panic! "Great is not an option! I need amazing!" She drops a scarf on the floor. I'm worried they'll slip on it. She's gotta watch that hunching over of the shoulders! Pit Bull song! Party anthem anew! Fast and slow movements to fast and slow choreography. Background dancers come on and help that lift to shoulder sit. Second guy helps keep her from falling! I give her an eight! "You're the girl to beat!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8!

Safety dance: Alfonso and Whitney! Bethany and Derek...also safe! Michael and Emma in jeopardy!

Team Mikemma: Scores sufferage! NASCAR nation supports Michael at Talladega! Racing is his JOB! Dancing is an afterthought. Tango! He starts off good...but, then starts to move and his flat-footedness and lack of knee bend betrays him again. There's genuine affection, but, that'll only take you so far. Very basic tango jazzed up with a few lifts and tricks! He has lipstick on his collar! I give him a seven! Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 7! Up and down scores! His highest scores yet! He's covered in lipstick!o)

Team Betherek: Flies to Australia! Thirty hour flight. Cramming in rehearsal! Jet lagged! Pressure packed performance! Bad dress, good performance. Laser lights. Tango She's MUCH MUCH better than the rehearsal footage. They must've rehearsed together or alone. She's in a mirrorball bodice split long skirt! Girl has legs! Good frame. She slips, but recovers because His frame saved her! Sharp. Controlled finish! I give her a nine! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Except for that slip and weak finish (lack of rehearsal) kept her from a ten!

Team Alfonitney: She's so young! She feels responsible for Michael's fives on the switch-up! He pulled his groin doing the Carlton! She gets her rib/back popped during rehearsal! No sign of injuries when they start their salsa! Smooth, sharp, sexy, sensual. SO GOOD! He's keeping up with the professionals. No sign of any hesitation or holding back because of injury. Show must go on! and it DOES! They're a ...hold my breath during the spin and drop! He suffers another groin pull during performance! Reinjures it! I give him a ten! THat's how you get spanked! I DON"T UNDERSTAND A WORD THAT PITBULL SAYS...AND IT DOESN'T MATTER! Real judges: 10, 10, 9, 10! Julianne wanted more salsa...little less hiphop!

Final elimination: I predict Jonathan will go home. First save is Michael and Emma! I think it's also a referendum on Allison as a pro...let's see: I was right...eliminated is...Jonathan and Allison! Right after the breakthrough performance! Next show, the boys once again are bringing up the bottom! As well as helping rule the roost! Hugs post-elimination show how close the cast has become! Some real sadness being shown! Len returns next show!

10.23.2014: ArtUps!

Mentoring opportunity for working artists just announced in this email:
"...THIS JUST IN

Introducing ArtUps!

The State Arts Council is pleased to announce a new series of professional development events presented for local artists, arts organizations and communities. ArtUps provide online and in-person learning and networking opportunities to enhance the quality and capacity of the arts field in Iowa. View the upcoming schedule below and stay tuned for additional opportunities. The complete schedule with event descriptions can be found on the IAC website. Have a suggestion for an event or topic? Let us know!..."

10.23.2014: 2014 Annual CCDC Alumni Survey

Still waiting for CCDC alumni to return the annual survey! Lotta contacts from graduates saying they'll send them in soon, but...still waiting! And, while we're waiting, I thought I'd show you how simple it is by filling out MY OWN SURVEY!o)
  1. Who are you and where are you now?
    They call me @SirDanGuy and I live and breathe in the Capital City!
  2. Still dancing? If so, how many classes, what styles and how often? What was the last correction and the most frequent correction you're getting in dance classes?
    I still try to do at least a ballet barre everyday, but, I'm far from "still dancing"! I don't get many corrections just the ones I give myself. Currently working on stabilizing my core in balances, utilizing shoulder blades, abdominals and seat muscles. Constant struggle!o)
  3. What was the hardest adjustment to make to where you are now? How did your training at CCDC help you adjust? What else could we have done to better prepare you for your current situation?
    Not sure this question really applies to me!o)
  4. Seen any performances? Attend any auditions? What was the most memorable?
    Not yet, but currently rehearsing for the world premiere of my Valse de Fleur for IDT and, also, just got tickets for Paul Taylor Dance Company in the 2014-2015 Dance Series!
  5. What's the best thing about your current situation? What's the worst?
    Still love helping the best kids become better dancers! Worst thing is when they won't let me help.
  6. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were training at CCDC? What's your best advice for students about to leave CCDC?
    Best advice is to train hard now to get ready for your future! It's almost too late to work hard when you're already auditioning or performing for something!
  7. Working anyplace?
    Still "slaving away over a hot microphone"! Working at the radio station before I get to teach the best kids to become better dancers!
  8. Are you coming back to the Capital City anytime soon?
    Never!o)
  9. Tell us about where you're living now.
    Capital City, baby!
  10. Anything exciting happening in your life? Funniest or most interesting thing that's happened to you recently?
    Working on the world premiere of Valse! Trying to figure out how to make everyone look good while having fun! Audience always enjoys watching dancers have a good time! Also working on a KILLER Halloween costume, but, having a hard time finding all the right props!o)
  11. Married yet? How many kids?
    Still blissfully married to my best friend! No actual kids but several hundred students!o)
  12. Miss us any? (Sniff!)
    NOT AT ALL! ...BECAUSE I'M HERE!oD
...See how easy it is? Took me less than twenty minutes! Pass the word to all the CCDC alumni to FILL OUT THE SURVEY!o)

10.22.2014: Whee! Provide Feedback!o)

I was asked by the publicist how the interview with Jamie Rae Walker of Paul Taylor Dance Company went the other day. It went well! Sent her this reaction:
"...Once we got connected, I thought the interview went well. She was charming, passionate and articulate! We hit the trifecta! And, as always, if you could provide musical excerpts, that would help punch up the story. I'll probably schedule the story to release (on WHO Radio and the IA Radio Network) the Friday and Saturday of performance. Hopefully, it'll help your walk-up ticket sales.

If you could let my interviewees know that we would prefer they call in on a land-line rather than cell-phone that would help avoid some of the difficulty we had establishing contact with Jamie Rae. (Who knew it would be so difficult for me to call her back at her hotel?) Land-lines provide better audio fidelity, but, if they can't, we'll take the cell call. We could always call them to prevent long-distance land-line charges when possible.

Thanks for arranging that call! Looking forward to other opportunities!..."

...We'll post that audio with Jamie Rae Walker in sections the week leading up to the Paul Taylor Dance Company performance. Talking with Jamie got me really excited to see the show. That's not normally my reaction being such "a bunhead", but, his choreography is frequently presented by professional ballet companies and her insights were intriguing!

10.21.2014: Whee! Get Feedback!o)

This recent text from a CCDC alum is the reason CCDC faculty does what it does: (It's NOT for the money, honey!o)
"...Today I get to perform (classic ballet role) at a holiday market performance in town. This is my first time doing this role and I wish you guys were here! Thank you for getting me to this point, I will be dancing with you both in my heart today just like always! I love you and thank you for everything you have given me!..."

10.20.2014: T.G.I.Guilty Pleasure Monday!o)

Look forward to Mondays for my two-hour CCDC Ballet 5 class...AND! DWTS on ABC!
"Dancing With The Stars
Season Nineteen
Week Five
"Switch Up Challenge"

Opening : Some big fails in practice lifts. Jesse J? Who's she? Long legs on top of those heels! Sky high! The most buff boyz join her on the little mini stage...a very phallic arrow! "I'm burning up!" Catchy, mash-up of danceable tunes! She's the guest judge! We see the new partnerships. Tommy flashes the shaka sign. He's from Hawai'i? Bollywood? Mambo?

Team Antonio/Allison: Bollywood? Pressure on the pros! Actually may be more of a level playing surface...because everyone's unfamiliar with Bollywood. He's half count behind! Lacks attack. Dancing too small not sharp enough!. Great smile will get some audience votes, but, will they be enough? He's looking at her to try to remember the steps! Not sure enough of the routine. He flies up off the stage. I give him a six. He forgot the choreography in the middle! Real judges: 8, 6, 7, 7! Jesse a tough scorer!

Team Bethany/Mark: Hip Hop! Gotta find her swag! Defining it the problem! Swag is confidence, says Mark! It's all attack focus this routine! Okay! This is more in her wheelhouse! Starts in restaurant with their original partners. Mark choreographs a kiss! Just to make Derek jealous, I bet. She's got some swag! for a non-dancer! Looks good in them tight pants and crop top bolero jacket! Ends up back at table texting with their original partners! Great concept! I give her an eight! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Judges agree with me for once!

Team Jonathan/Peta: Strict teacher to get him out of the cellar! Jitterbug. Starts off good and then gets off count!. gets it back. lotta good attack. lifts are tricky into consecutive lifts. Joey Fatone on the vocals. Messy lifts at the end! I give him a seven! Jesse was nervous during the lifts! Very apropos! Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 6. What? No elimination this week? Just noticed!

Team Alfonso/Cheryl: How do you follow up on The Carlton? Perfect scores? Flamenco. Oh, yeah he can tap! that starts off the Flamenco with some fast, heel drops and then, knee walks. Powder flies as he claps his hands! He is OWNING this dance! Strong presence and good attack just a little weak on his leg stretches and weight placement. Very rhythmic and musical. as to be expected. Little miscue in the hand grab, but,quickly covered! SO GOOD! Both the judges here give tens! Real judges nitpick, but, because he's set such a high standards previously! nobody goes home tonight! Scores carry over to next week! Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 8! Tough crowd! He wuz robbed!

Team Janelle/Artem: Burlesque? Dancing to the Jessie J song! She starts off with some barre dancing...then a hot lap dance. She's in sexy spangles. She's good at this as she tips the chair over! Very sexy sensual dance and she's good with it. Lotta difficult back breaking lifts! Her original partner Val is reduced to tears at the end! But, he applauds!. She apologizes to her father! Julianne questions the burlesque-ness quality! Jessie says she wrote that song about her MUM! Wow! Janelle's so telegenic! I give her a 9! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 9! Bruno likes the raunch!

Team Michael/Whitney: Disco. Whitney says she has high expectations. Working at the car wash! He got that Magnum PI look going on! He's from the disco era! Just needs to hold his shoulders down and feel the line. Car wash appropriate for the race car driver! This is probably his best dance. So, I'll give him a seven from this old disco dancer! Judges call him out for more content and less comedy! Real judges: 5, 5, 5, 5. Thumbs down from the judges!

Team Tommy/Emma: Adjustment period from Peta to the Emma! His short term memory is shot from so much drug use probably. The competition is real for him. Says he's going to step up his game! But, have we reached his ceiling? Tommy does bring the fun. Pass the dutchie on the left hand side for the stoner. He still seems like he's in a daze. Dancing the mambo in slow motion. flat footed. Wow! She does the drop and recover all by herself. Thought he did well. Everyone's wearing dreadlocks in the celebrarium! I give him a six! Real judges: 6, 6, 5, 6! I agree "at his age" he's doing fantastic!

Team Sadie/Derek: Charleston. She starts off in solo! She's always impressive! She's channeling her inner flapper Oh, some signature Hough tutting in the Charleston. She's good at this routine! She gets the flapper feeling. Great Gatsby! She's on the music and tough complicated lift. Fun routine! danced well! Just point that foot in the ending drop! I give her a nine! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! I expect to see her in the finals!

Team Lea/Val: Broadway routine! She's the nurse at the home for retired ballroom dancers. little peck of a kiss! Wow! She's good, too! She's having fun at this ! More of a kiss. Boyz come out in their walkers. Hilarious. Dancers dressed old showing off their flexibility, and agility on their walkers! Val limps over to the judges stand! I give her a nine! Val stays in character! I also noticed her impressive acting and dancing IN character! Real judges: 9, 8, 8, 9!

Back to old partners. Antonio has to worry! Jonathan and Michael also walking close to the edge! Tommy might've overstayed his welcome! Boys on the chopping block for elimination next show! Pit Bull next episode? Get ready to party, darling!

10.17.2014: Performance Posting

Several dance performances happening around the area this weekend. Here are some links to articles you can check out:
...Any other performances our readers should know about? Send notices here.

10.16.2014: Enquiring Minds Wanna Know

Still waiting for CCDC alumni to start flooding our email inbox with the 2014 Update Survey responses! (See below) But, meantime, while we're waiting, since I'm in a questioning frame of mind, here are a few I jotted down in advance of my interview with Jamie Rae Walker of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
  1. Ever been to Iowa or Des Moines before?
  2. Tell me about your dance training? Were you a 'bunhead' when you were younger?
  3. Talk about your metamorphosis from classical to neoclassical to modern dancer.
  4. What was the first Paul Taylor piece you performed. What was that like?
  5. Different forms of dance seem to express different parts of my soul. What parts of your soul does dancing Taylor express?
  6. How does Taylor technique differ from classical Graham or Limon or Cunningham or Horton?
  7. What do you tell people coming to see Paul Taylor Dance Company for the first time? How does that advice change if someone says they've seen a lot of modern dance or seen none at all?
  8. How are rehearsals going for the new Taylor piece? Any hints about what we'll see?
  9. What's the difference between dancing in a ballet company and a modern company?
  10. How valuable was your classical training to what you do now? How was it a drawback? Was it difficult to lose the ballet mannerisms while adjusting to contemporary choreography? Do you see a difference between ballet-trained modern dancers and only contemporary-trained dancers?
  11. What's your opinion of reality dance competitions? Would you ever consider participating in something like that?
  12. There seems to be a renewal of interest in ballet in media recently, any comments? Would you like to see something similar with a modern company like yours? Would you be interested in a reality TV show based on your company?
  13. What's your advice for dance students who want to follow in your footsteps? What's your advice for someone auditioning for your company? Any common mistakes applicants make?
  14. Why should the average person on the street come see you and your company perform?
  15. What are your future career plans?
  16. Any Twitter, Instagram, blog, FaceBook that we can learn more about you?
...Do you have any questions you want me to ask Jamie Rae Walker? Email them to me this week!

10.15.2014: 2014 Annual CCDC Alumni Survey

The change of the seasons reminds us to reach out to our growing group of alumni! It's time for the annual Capital City Dance Center Alumni Survey! Pass the word to any former student you're still in touch with and have them fill out and return this survey!
  1. Who are you and where are you now?
  2. Still dancing? If so, how many classes, what styles and how often? What was the last correction and the most frequent correction you're getting in dance classes?
  3. What was the hardest adjustment to make to where you are now? How did your training at CCDC help you adjust? What else could we have done to better prepare you for your current situation?
  4. Seen any performances? Attend any auditions? What was the most memorable?
  5. What's the best thing about your current situation? What's the worst?
  6. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were training at CCDC? What's your best advice for students about to leave CCDC?
  7. Working anyplace?
  8. Are you coming back to the Capital City anytime soon?
  9. Tell us about where you're living now.
  10. Anything exciting happening in your life? Funniest or most interesting thing that's happened to you recently?
  11. Married yet? How many divorces? How many kids you know of?
  12. Miss us any? (Sniff!)
...Pass the word! Alumni survey underway NOW!o) Somebody text Thief of Heartz, Carey, Giselle1, Sylkk da Shaka, Mmmadd Skyllz1, Maize, Koi McKewtie, Da Ashey Wren, Margaruite du Armaund, Thai Dyer, W00tang Clan, Lindy Vander Emmen, Sly, 2K2M, GitUrFaShawn, Nikiya1 and Nikiya2, Sleeping Beauty1 and Beauty2, etcetera!

10.14.2014: Performance Posting!

Wake up @VodkaSamm! The Dance Department at the institution lovingly referred to as "Party Hearty U" announcing its annual Fall Performance:
Come experience the best at Dance Gala 2014
This year's production opens Oct. 16 in Space Place Theatre
By: Kristan Hellige

The University of Iowa’s Dance Gala 2014 will feature the best in dance and choreography – powerful energy, graceful flight, and electrifying performances – including those led by internationally acclaimed Department of Dance faculty choreographers Charlotte Adams, Armando Duarte, Jennifer Kayle and Nichoals Leichter, along with special guest choreographer Esther Baker-Tarpaga.

Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Oct. 16-18 and 22-25 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 19. All performances will take place in Space Place Theatre of North Hall.

The following pieces will be performed during Dance Gala 2014:

  • Five Rejections and a Funeral, choreographed by Charlotte Adams. Five Rejections and a Funeral joins Dilbert in skewering the hardships, heartbreaks, and frustrations that seem to affect employees everywhere; peer reviews, letters of rejection, bureaucracies, bosses, firings, auditions, job applications, and more rejections that bring a “little death” with each receipt. Humorous in part, darker in intent, the piece becomes a way to dispel the message of “NO!” as it recognizes the weirdness of working predicaments and the laughter inherent in “yes.”
  • When Colour Aligns, choreographed by Nicholas Leichter.
  • Riding Mad Horses, choreographed by Jennifer Kayle.
  • De Antônio, de Brincante e Vira mundo, choreographed by Armando Duarte. De Antônio, de Brincante e Vira mundo is an abstract work based on the popular culture of “Frevo,” originally from the state of Pernambuco in Northeastern Brazil. The choreography is also inspired by the work of Antônio Nóbrega, one of the most important and influential artists of Brazil in the 20th century.
  • hands up DIS/UNITY-make this not us against them, choreographed by Esther Baker-Tarpaga. This is an installation performance created in a one-week residency with artists from dance, intermedia, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.
Following the Oct. 25 performance, Baker-Tarpaga will lead a talk back. Her environmental installation piecewas developed over a one-week residency in collaboration with the artists. Baker-Tarpaga and her team will talk about the piece and its development process.

This production includes adult language and the use of haze. The second half of this production (after intermission) contains adult content and partial nudity.

10.13.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

Best thing about Monday is DWTS! Here's a recap of the latest action:
"Dancing With The Stars
Season Nineteen
Week Four
"My Most Memorable Year"

Opening: Lindsey...writhing on the floor. Whitney. Big production values. Tricky Spin and lift with Lindsey! Cavalcade of stars. Bad production values at the beginning. Public can score performances. Early results: First safe is...Janelle and Val. Also safe is Jonathan and Allison! Betsey and Tony are in jeopardy.

Team Janelle/Val: Tough act to follow perfect scores. Grew up in Hawaii. Moved to LA to pursue her dream. Her mentor diagnosed with breast cancer. Regret is she never got to say goodbye. Starts off in solo. Rumba. Dance of Love. The stillness and sudden moves are done well. Her playful passion is off the charts. This sensual seductiveness is right in her wheelhouse! Her mentor shold be proud. My guest judge gives an eight as do I! She's a born performer! Wonder what her tattoo on her shoulder says? Real judges: 9, 9, 9! America: 9! What a pro! To handle such overwhelming emotion under such a spotlight!

Team Jonathan/Allison: Dressed in Christmas outfits? His mom dropped him off in NYC! Tribute to his parents. "This one's for you dad!" Jingle bell rock. Samba. Allison still needs to tone down her dancing so the focus can be on who the audience and judges will be scoring. Milkshake. Her ballroom lines aren't the best. Choreography is questionable. And...Questioning whether she really belongs on the show? I give him a seven. Real judges: 6, 6, 6 America 6! Depressing scores!

Team Betsey/Tony: Jive. 1975 and the birth of her daughter Lulu. Love will keep us together. Captain and Tenille. Her daughter brings her on! She's got a great personality! Tony capitalizing on her star power. But, she's losing the steps. Tony, not love, doing his best to keep it together! I give her a six! Real judges: 8, 7, 7 America: 7!

Switch-up night coming next! More results revealed: Next safe is Bethany and Derek! Antonio and Cheryl safe. Michael and Emma in Jeopardy. Lea and Artem safe!

Team Bethany/Derek: 2009. Turned to YouTube because of bullying. Rumba danced to a song by Colby Caillet. Perfect song for this story. She's living her life story. Words written on the screen behind morph from critical to supportive! Derek's choreography, as usual, spot on. "I love who I am" gets written in the finale of the song! Kiss and a handshake for Colby from Derek as he walks to get the scores! Julianne emotional as she praises her for being a role model. I give her an eight. Judges praise performance...question the content. Real judges: 8, 8, 8, America 9! Public trumps the judges!

Team Michael/Emma: Memorable year is 2001. Winning at Daytona! He remembers his mentor, Dale Earnhardt...Still to this day rues the memory. Doing the dance for Dale! Dancing for Dale, mess ups and all! Looks dapper in blue. Quickstep. She's too short for him! Makes him lose his frame too easily. FLat footed and galumphin' around. He's better, but, is he improving fast enough? Gives Emma a big hug at the end of it! I give him a six. Real judges: 6, 6, 6 America: 7!

Team Lea/Artem: Dedicates her dance to her dad! "The way he died taught me how to LIVE!" Her emotion and ballet training come together for this solo to open the contemporary dance. montage of pix of her dad in the back ground. swooping. I just wish for a little more passion. Little too careful for me. It's beautiful. I think it'll score well. But, I think she's capable of so much more. But, then, SHE TURNS IT ON! She's sobbing at the end. A truly cathartic dance. Wow! Started slow, but, turned into an emotional tour de force at the end! "I'll remember that dance forever!" I give her a ten for the whole thing! Started off slow, but...ended sublimely spectacular! Real judges: 10, 10, 10 America: 9!

Team Antonio/Cheryl: Stars in a Janet Jackson video. His mother comes to the rehearsals! He's a momma's boy. Antonio! nearly shirtless!~ My boy's in shape! Samba. Yeah! Anotonio brings the party. nice fast steps. Work those hips more my boy! Hips aren't limber enough. Too pigeon-toed, it's messing with his hip movement. I give him a seven. Real judges: 7, 7, 7 America the guest judge gives an eight!

More resuts: Next couple safe is Alfonso and Whitney. Sadie and Mark...Safe! Tommmy and Peta...in jeopardy!

Team Tommy/Peta: 2003. the year I went to prison. Learned to live each mooment at time! "Jive is a celebration of my freedom." Elvis. Love his spirit. Age iis just a number for Tommy. Except when he feels his years! But, he's dancing like a much younger man!. He can move his hips, but, lacks the focus and attack at theeend!. Pulls the keys out late! He got a little winded at the end. Seemed like he forgot the steps at the end as well. I give him a six! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, America 7!

Team Sadie/Mark: Duck Dynasty. "Family sticks together!" Samba. "Do it for the Robertsons!" Duck dynasty duck calls. She's the duck in plumage! Gosh! She's got such natural sass and attack. Perfect for the samba!. She's such a natural performer! Great lines cuz she's so long and lanky. WHy no heels for sadie? She's very musical! Right on the music! He catches his duck at the end. Duck calls in the audience! I give her a eight. Guest judge gives a nine! I just raised my score to a nine! "Perfect combinaion of Content and concept!" Real judges: 9, 10, 9 America: 9!

Team Alfonso/Whitney: Struggled with Carlton's effect on his career. Love/hate relationship with the role. He's teaching her the Carlton! Finally! getting the Carlton. SO iconic! It's like watching the Mona Lisa get painted! He's so good! Carlton!!!! Give it to us! Alfonso! That's a ten!!!o))) Two tens from here! That was FABULOUS! That needs to be an encore dance! The audience loves him! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, America 10!

Final elimination: Next saved is Tommy! Betsey and Michael are on the chopping block!! Betsey gets eliminated. She doesn't understand at first! Gracious thanks! "It's been a trip!" Excellent she got to end dancing with her daughter!

Next show/the switch up challenge: IMNSHO Jonathan has to watch out...Michael also at risk...Antonio has to work to get better...Tommy may have hit his ceiling.

10.10.2014: Up Close and Personnel, Part Deux

Progress report on Paul Taylor Dance Company interview:
"...Good news – a company member from Paul Taylor is available for an interview: Jamie Rae Walker

Can you talk with Jamie on ***************? She would call you, so please let me know your preferred number to call.

Here is Jamie’s bio and attached is her head shot:

JAMIE RAE WALKER began her ballet and Graham-based modern dance training at age eight in Levittown, Pennsylvania and later she performed with the Princeton Ballet, now American Repertory Ballet. In 1991 she began training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and in 1992 was awarded a scholarship by Violette Verdy at the Northeast Regional Dance Festival. Ms. Walker joined Miami City Ballet in 1994 and performed principal and soloist roles in Balanchine and Taylor dances until 2000. In 2001 she received a scholarship to attend The Taylor School and was part of the original cast of Twyla Tharp’s Broadway show, Movin’ Out. Ms. Walker joined the Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company in Fall 2003, and became a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Summer 2008.
Please let me know if this works and then I’ll confirm with the company..."
...Got any questions for Ms Walker? Tweet or email them to me.

10.09.2014: Chance to Glance at World-Class Dance

Speaking of that Dance Series
TICKETS FOR EACH PRODUCTION IN THE DANCE SERIES ON SALE

Capital City News Service – Don’t miss Des Moines Performing Arts’ fifth season of The Dance Series that features diverse, stunning movement and two WORLD PREMIERE performances! Tickets for each production of The Dance Series, which includes the PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY, DIAVOLO, and COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET, go on sale Monday, Oct. 6 at 9 a.m.

Tickets start at $15 for each production and can be purchased at DesMoinesPerformingArts.org, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000. Season ticket packages starting at $50 are also available.

The Dance Series offers world-class companies performing brilliant modern and contemporary dance, ballet and more. All productions in The Dance Series will be held on Saturday evenings at the Des Moines Civic Center.

About the Productions:

THE PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Led by legendary choreographer Paul Taylor, this world-renowned modern dance company is celebrating its 60th anniversary. A pioneer of American modern dance, Paul Taylor’s dynamic, thought-provoking work continues to push boundaries and remains “deeply communicative and wildly theatrical” (San Francisco Examiner). The program will feature three selections from Mr. Taylor’s diverse repertoire, including the WORLD PREMIERE of his 141st work, Sea Lark.

“Paul Taylor is without question the greatest living American choreographer.” –San Francisco Chronicle
DIAVOLO
Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
DIAVOLO reinvents dance, re-imagines theater, and redefines thrills. Using sculptural structures, DIAVOLO explores the relationship between the dangers of our environment and the fragility of the human body —fusing everyday movement with ballet, contemporary dance, acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, and hip-hop. The program will feature three dances, including the WORLD PREMIERE of a new work entitled Cubicle, co-commissioned by Des Moines Performing Arts.
“Diavolo has been called ‘the NFL of dance’ for its seriously athletic, often high-risk performance style.” –San Diego Union-Tribune
COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET
Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Founded by the two former ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER members, the company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries. COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET transcends the limiting traditions of a single style, period, or culture — creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of our world.

“Cross-cultural ballet with attitude…wearing toe shoes never looked so much fun.” –Washington Post
DANCEtalk

Each performance in The Dance Series also includes an exciting opportunity to deepen the dance experience with DANCEtalk. All ticket holders are invited to arrive one hour early and stay one hour late for a FREE question and answer session with the companies’ artistic staff and dancers.

10.08.2014: Up Close and Personnel

It looks like we'll have the opportunity to interview dancers and choreographers coming to town for the 2014-2015 Dance Series. Just got this offer via e-mail...
"...I wanted to let you know that preview interview opportunities are available with members of the PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY, who will perform at the Des Moines Civic Center on Saturday, Nov. 8. The most exciting part of this engagement is the world premiere of Paul Taylor’s 141st work, Sea Lark.

About Sea Lark:

With set and costumes by Alex Katz and a spirited score by Poulenc, Sea Lark depicts young friends enjoying a carefree sail. Their joyful interplay in and on the water at a beach makes for an idyllic afternoon.

Please let me know if you’re interested, and if you are, please let me know your available dates/times, as well as deadline. I do know that company members prefer interviews later in the day.

Thank you for your consideration!..."

10.07.2014: Performance Posting

Here's another "cheap date" cultural suggestion for later this fall: (It's FREE!o)
The Luther College Nordic Choir, one of the top a cappella college choirs in the nation, will perform several times at Lutheran Church of Hope, 925 Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines. The choir will sing at the 5 p.m. church service Saturday, Nov. 1, followed by a joint concert at 7:30 p.m. with the Valley Singers from West Des Moines Valley High School, led by Ryan Deignan Luther Class of 2010. The Nordic Choir will also participate in the 9 a.m. church service Sunday, Nov. 2.

All performances by the 74-member Nordic Choir are open to the public with no charge for admission.

The West Des Moines concert is a pre-cursor to the Nordic Choir's 2015 Midwest Tour. The choir tours annually and has performed around the world, appearing in Norway, England, Germany, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Baltic countries, Mexico and the Caribbean. Nordic Choir has also appeared throughout the United States, performing in well-known concert halls as Lincoln Center in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Allen Hightower, director of choral activities and professor of music at Luther, is the conductor of the Nordic Choir-preceded by Craig Arnold and the 57-year tenure of Weston Noble.

Luther is home to one of the largest collegiate music programs in the world with six choirs, three bands, three orchestras, two jazz bands and numerous chamber ensembles, totaling nearly 1,000 student musicians. Luther's students perform in large ensembles, faculty-coached chamber groups, private lessons and master classes. More than 300 music majors study music theory/ear training, history, education, composition, church music and performance.

10.06.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!o)

The new slimmed down one-night-a-week DWTS returns tonight! Here's the play-by-play from last week:
"Dancing With The Stars
Season Nineteen
Week Three
"Movie Night"

Opening: We get escorted to our seats! Popcorn is flying. Marilyn's recreated on the subway grate! Great! Cheryl loves diamonds and boys descending the spiral sta(i)rcase! Here come the cavalcade of stars! Choreography Flores and Farrel! Guest judge is Kevin Hart! Escorted by Lindsay and Sharna! Len will be missed! No more results show! Performance and elimination condensed into one show! Randy and karina in Jeopardy! What a downer!

Team Randy: His life is the story of the underdog! Homage to Sylvester Stallone! They start off in a ring. Kevin sounds the bell. Paso Doble! No English announcer His movements are too weak for this iconic soundtrack. He needs to bend his knees. He's getting worse not better from weak to Weak! Too tentative. Eye of the tiger is more like eye of the pussycat, the kitten! No crispness! No Finish to the movements!I I give him a five! Judges are giving him tough love! Not sure if that's enough to save him. Real judges: 7, 7, 6, 6! Will he be going home tonight?

Alfonso safe! Betsey safe again? Who's going home?

Team Alfonso: Quick step. Working on strengthening his frame! Starts off with Alfonso's minim me! Still needs to hold that upper body frame!. She's making him look bad! This is the hardest ballroom task he's faced yet in the show! Final pose is the Mike Myers. Is that his real son? I give him a Seven. Real Judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! I was hard on him! The curse of great expectation! "Welcome to DWTSTMI", says Tom!

Team Betsey: "Ghost" is her inspiration. Contemporary dance. She starts off in solo! Tony...or the ghost of Tony comes to visit her. Smooth gentle life But, she nneeds to learn how to pooint her feet so they don't look like stubs out there. Slightt stumble from a dismount. She slides down to a split! Tony disappears into the light! She's emotional at the end! I give her an eight! She exceeded my expectations! But, POINT THOSE TOES! "no one can bend it like Betsey!" Real judges: 7, 9, 6, 7! Civilian judge scoring with his heart not his head!

Switch up show two weeks from now? More elimination possibilities revealed. Michael safe? Also safe: Sadie! Antonio in jeopardy! Lea is safe!

Team Lea: Cha-cha! Back tothe Future! Her iconic film! They pop out of the BTF Delorean! Power of love! Good weight placement. Good leg work! Missed a hand. (And, a turn!) It's slow paced! She still has dancer legs! Little hunched over upper body. She gets an eight from me! Real judges: 7, 8, 8, 8! "Turn that frown upside down!"

Team Michael: Homage to Robin Hood! Waltz! His lack of body awareness is his bleak weakness! I think he's reached the limit of his dance abilities. he's just lumbering through the routine. His rise and fall is mediocre. But...Love his smile and personality. His dancing not so much! He could use a slightly taller partner. Nice emotion in the ending. Just lack of dancing will be his Achilles' heel! I give him a six! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! "I'm getting better!"

Next show: My most memorable year! Who's going to go? Judges take a selfie!

Team Antonio: Foxtrot. "Guardians of the Galaxy"! My boy can wear a tuxedo! Weights too far back on his heels! He's finding the fun! that's always good But, He's never had to connect to his body like a real trained dancer! He had fun,but the shoulders were up and not connected! I give him a seven. Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 8! Julianne yelling out corrections with her score!

Team Sadie: From the movie "Up"? "Ballroom is HARD!" Look at her frame! She's pretty in yellow! She gets into her balloons and lifts off! Is she OKAAY? They cut away from Sadie to help get her safely into the hoist! I give her an eight! Dad approved costume! LOVE her personality! Real judges; 8, 8, 8, 8! They agree with me! Is she the leader! Her dad really batted out of his league when he got married!

Final four: Jena Safe! Bethany safe! Tommy? Safe! Jonathan in jeopardy!

Team Jonathan: Great Gatsby Tango. I can see him in this piece at least. She still draws the eye. But, the competition is judging how well she teaches and improves Jonathan. We know she can dance. Not sure she's good enough at ballroom to bring out the best in her student! She may be going tonight! I give him a six! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Tied for the lead?

Team Janell: Jazz dance to "West Side Story"! But, can't refrence the movie and its choreography!. She attacks and looks always on the verge of losing control, but doesn't! She's channeling her inner Chita Rivera! I give her a nine! Make it work moment! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! She attained perfection! She's CRYING! WOW! Soo early in the season!

Team Tommie: "Scent of a Woman!' DANG! He knows his tango!! He's hilarious! He's channeling his inner Argentine Pimp! He's an aging pimp, but, still in control of his woman. Dang! This guy is a contender all of a sudden! He's not a one-trick pony! If he keeps dancing like this, he could stick around for a LONG time! He's a chameleon! That stoner facade is just a trick! Don't be fooled! I give him a nine! Real judges: 8, 10, 8, 8! Kevin Hart voting like an audience member!

Team Bethany: Jazz! "Singing in the Rain". She still has that ankle brace on! Props are so hard to control on stage with all the andrenaline! Derek channeling classic choreography! Listening to the music to determine the steps. She's keeping up with him because he choreographs to her strengths and not her weaknesses! Let that be a lesson to all dance-makers! I give that a eight or nine because it's Derek! and that prop-work! Real Judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Tied for the lead! "I have goose-bumps!"

Final elimination: I think it's going to be Jonathan! Let's see, shall we. Antonio and Cheryl live to dance another week. Randy gets sent home! What a great sport during the elimination! What a class act! Cya at the finale', fighter! Next show: Watch out Betsey and Michael!!

10.03.2014: Whee! Get Feedback!o)

Comment from pleased CCDC parent:
"...I can't begin to tell you how happy I am with the progress that she has made from being at your studio. Everyone notices the difference! And she loves coming to your classes. You and Emery are truly amazing teachers and we are blessed to have found you!:)..."
...And, still not too late to get your child started dancing at Capital City Dance Center! New students always welcome at CCDC! If it gets too late in 2015, we'll get you pre-registered for the next session!o)

10.02.2014: Day After The Day Before

Only good thing about being sick the last couple of days is that I was able to catch a few hours of the live stream of "World Ballet Day" the other day. Otherwise, I probably would've been more non-productive at work than usual trying to sneak peeks all day long at the Bolshoi, Royal, National Ballet of Canada, SFB and Australian B allet. I saw excerpts from RAkU, Don Q, a Tomasson piece and some others. I was able to peek in on company class at the NBC + SFB. (And, don't think similar combinations and corrections won't be showing up in my CCDC classes soon!o) I think I saw a former contestant from the 2013 Prix de Lausuanne in the National Ballet of Canada corps. Watching Carlos Acosta coach a young protoge' as Basilio was eye-opening! Even marking you could see the innate musicality and macho playfulness that the Cuban danseur brought to the role. (Remember this is the dancer that another principal complained about his creative ways to "undress you on stage"!o) But, I was still so hungry for good ballet after the livstream ended that I started watching an old recording I had stored on my DVR: SFB's The Little Mermaid. Yuan Yuan Tan was incredible in that PBS "Great Performance"! She was not afraid to be ugly and heart- breakingly vulnerable in her characterization. And, John Neumeier's choreography was brilliantly creative! The concept was genius! Using the character of Hans Chrisian Anderson as the spurned lover/poet. The Mermaid character resonates with everyone of us who has ever felt ugly, awkward and un-loved. And, LOVED that Sea-Witch character! Awesome costuming and staging! Brilliantly danced and portrayed! I'd search for that in the PBS archives or on the SFB YouTube account. Also, before we shut the door on 2014 World Ballet Day: the hosts say you can watch replays of the live-cast for the next 48 hours. Just head to the YouTube accounts of the Royal Ballet, Australian Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. If you're as hungry for good ballet as I am all the time, it'll be worth your while!o)

09.29.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M.!

Time for another installment of "my guilty pleasure"! Here's a recap of what happened last week:
"Dancing With The Stars
Season Nineteen
Week Two
"Favorite Songs Night"

Recap into opening number with Len and the Girls, Then Carrie Ann With the Boyz and the stars come on. Betsy has been made over. Here comes Bruno.Julianne, of course, gets a star turn as a returning dancer. Wow! That Duck Dynasty Daughter has been made over as well!

Team Randirina!: Cha-Cha-Cha! He's having fun! He's outworking the competition! His smile is killer. He's a little more careful with less rehearsal. But, when he uses his hips! It's all good! Silhouettes of planes on the dance floor! He can use that body! Needs to train what to do with his off arm! I give him a eight!! My guest judge gives a seven! "Well done to you Randy!" He served in the army for six years! Real judges: 7, 7,7,7. He sets the standard for the night after a fast-change from the opening number!

Team Janellal!: Foxtrot! In masks. Val's demanding the details! Seem to have agood personal and working relationship. Start off dancing with other partners but, then, end up dancing with each other at the masked ball. THIS is her favorite song? Memorable? Isn't this like just summer before last? She did better! I give her an eight! My guest judge gives another seven. Real judges: "You can dance! You can really dance!" She Beams! What a great look for TV. Real judges: 9, 8, 8, 9! Gets the scores that she wanted! She's the Filipina flash!o)

Team Leartem!: Jive! Her ballet background isn't helping her with this dance. She's channeling her inner tigress! Pony, maroney. Just a little heavy need to be lighter on her feet a little crisper in her footwork. He's making her look bad! I give her a six! Judges compare her to Ann Margaret in her prime! Real judges more enthusiastic than I am! She's gonna get good scores! High Scores! "Hot MAMA LEOPARD!" Artem is now a US citizen! Good for him! Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 9! Wow! They obviously weren't watching what I saw!

Team Michaemma: "Girls in Bikinis!" He is a character! Samba! Fun concept. Dancing like my grand dad!. He's dancing like everybody's dad! Flat-footed! He's having a good time singing along with the song! But, he has no hips. Great smile! I Give him a five! He's a race car driver? He dances like Dan Patrick! real judges: 6, 6, 6, 6. He promises to keep working hard!

Team Tavarna: On a book tour! He's being spread thin! She's freaking out!! They're rehearsing in elevators! He's protesting the complexity of the choreographyy! Boogie wonderland! He needs to lighten up! He's dancing by the numbers! He's taking a step back from last week. He's good in spots! But, the lack of rehearsal shows! I give him a six! Real judges disagree: Some were watching the good spots, some were focusing on the in between. Real Judges: 7, 7, 7, 7. That's an average score. Good for under-rehearsed! Let that be a lesson everyone rehearsing with mee!

Team Alfonsey: Samba! The pressure is getting to him! "It's good! But, it can be better!" Struggling in rehearsal. Dancing to Will Smith! Getting Jiggy WId it! Will Smith gotta show up for this show! Maybe perform! He's GOOD again! SHarp and JIGGY! Eat that, Will Smith! No WORRIES! He KILLED IT! I give him a TEN! He exceeded expectations! Real judges kill him on the lack of real samba moves! Real judges 8, 8, 8, 8!

Team Bethanerek: Fox Trot! Her ankle is giving out on her! She's using ice to cover up the injury! She needs a medical opinion. GOOD FRame! Derek always gets maximum technique even out of untrained contestants. Her ankle is heavily taped! Brace over the shoe! I give her an eight! Compliments from judges to Derek's choreography! Real Judges: 8, 9, 8, 8! Feeling no pain after those scores!

Team Betsony: Foxtrot. Tony looks good in a Tux! Second-lowest scores last week! She's got a GREAT spirit! Make Over! Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse! Here wwe come! "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun! She does clean up well! Looks good, still dances poorly. Better in hold! Great smile! Shows off great flexibility for a nearly octogenarian. Standing ovation from judges! Effusive praise! I give her a six! "It wwas timeless!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Hits for average!o) She's living her dream!

Team Antoneryl: Rhumba! Latin lover comes naturally to him! Latino Passion on parade! Like a big cat. he's better. lighter on his feet! Smoother! Females in the audience LOVING it! I give him an eight! "Subtle and smooth!" "Watch the off arm!" Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! Missed a little repartee during special news bulletin!

Team Tometa: Salsa! Has some salsa background! Tommy brings the party to the samba! He does have some moves for an old guy from the sixties! Who is this Tommy! Kewl Granmpa rips open his shirt! I give him an eight! He's SURPRISING! I wasn't expecting THAT at all! He's not going anywhere after that!! Dude is SEVENTY-SIX! Give him a standing ovation! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! He hits for average as well! Vote for him, he'll SAVE THE WORLD!

Team Jonathallison: Cha-Cha! Wow! She's got some tour jete! Hard to seee him in a black outfit and a dark background! Somehow I still see her as a contemporary dancer playing at ballroom! I didn't see him at all! She's in gold and fringe! Miscalculation on her part? I give him a question mark? "Not enough cha-cha!" She has to learn she's not the star of this show! She's dancing with "the star"! Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 8! She took risks and got some rewards for him!

Team Sadark: She's a natural performer! Country swag! She's a performerr! Wow! Natural attack! Great proportions! She's just seventeen! Dances like she's beeen dancing forever! What a performer? She did a cabriole? Kick of the heels? I give her an eight! She's a fresh faced ingenue! She got this from cheerleading? Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! OMG! What a dark horse!

Betsey and Michael better watch out, IMNSHO!


...Well, say good bye to the talk-show host/author. Tavis Smiley, we hardly knew ye! Good for him for getting out of his comfort zone and addressing his bucket list before he hits the big five-oh! I think his audience isn't watching the show and the ones who are were turned off by his apparent lack of commitment to the rehearsal process. But, also during the results show, Derek should've advised his sister discretion is the better part of valor when it comes to a flaunt-it-all costuming! And, very risky lift for Juliannewas less than decorous coming down! Great save on both parts...otherwise it could've been quick cut to commercial while paramedics tried to pick up the pieces after a crash landing on the dance floor!o) Tonight is "Movie Night"!

09.26.2014: Final Thotz

So, I told you about Julia Udine's (Christine, The Phantom of the Opera)) enthusiastic reaction to the interview we posted earlier, ("BEST interview EVER!) but, there's just a little bit more. Right after I shut off the digital recorder, we started talking about her ballet training. She went to a small school outside Philadelphia (Jersey City Ballet?) and is very familiar with the Pennsylvania Ballet. I told her a CCDC alum was doing a traineeship at the PB school and she asked for her name. I told her, but, she wasn't familiar with the girl we've nicknamed "Mmmadd Skyllz". We also talked about a former PB dancer who's now in the cast of Phantom. I said that must've been quite a shock going from contemporary Balanchine ballet to the very old-fasioned 19th century ballet style. She said, "YES! Our arms have to be like LIMP!" We commiserated and I promised to bring that stylistic point up to the weekly Balanchine class I teach to the advanced students at CCDC. Always practice for more, it's always easier to do less than it is to demand more!
...Had a great start to setting choreography last weekend for my all-new Flowers for Iowa Dance Theatre's Nutcracker this December at the Civic Center. Had to move a few cast members around to fill holes in casting, but, everyone pitched in without grumbling. My job is to take all these disparate parts and meld and mold them into a cohesive, classic corps de ballet. I have the underlying structure and a sense of how I want the choreography to look. The question is whether I can get the dancers to match the vision in my mind? Can I choreograph a dance that shows off the group and the individuals to their best? Croise' your fingers and toes!o)

09.25.2014: Performance Posting

Here's a "cheap date" multi-cultural suggestion for your Saturday night: (It's FREE!o)
Ms. Hu Meiling, Minzu University of China (Beijing)
Guest Recital:

Saturday, Sept. 27th. 7:30 p.m.
Sheslow Auditorium, Drake University
2507 University Ave.

Ms. Hu Meiling is a Lecturer at the School of Music, Minzu University of China, and Deputy Director of the Chinese Musicians Association’s Wind Instrument Studies Office. Ms. Hu has mastered playing techniques of more than 10 kinds of ethnic wind instruments, including the Suona, Sheng, Xiao, Hulusi, Bau and others.

Her recital will include a variety of traditional and ethnic Chinese music performed on various instruments to include collaboration with Drake University faculty and students.

09.24.2014: Performance Posting

If you're not already busy dancing at CCDC, classic films coming to the Fleur Cinema as soon as tomorrow:
Special screenings and new movies galore!

Classic '80s Double Feature This Thursday, 9/25 Thursday, 9/25 we'll show a classic '80s double feature of Sixteen Candles and Fast Times at Ridgemont High! Relive the best (and most awkward) years of your life with this pairing of two of the greatest coming-of-age stories from a decade packed with them. Both of these movies came close to winning our recent Viewers' Choice, so to appease the masses we will show them back-to-back in a totally tubular '80s double feature!

Sixteen Candles will start things off at 7 pm, then Fast Times at Ridgemont High will start at 9 following a brief intermission.

Tickets are $5 for one or $10 for both, so feel free to only see one if you're short on time.


Iowa Chapter of the Jane Austen Society Presents Pride and Prejudice Tuesday, 9/30 Tuesday, 9/30 we'll play host to the Iowa Chapter of the Jane Austen Society as they present a special screening of Pride and Prejudice (2005 version). The Jane Austen Society will have special prize giveaways as well as membership information for those interested.

Screening begins at 7 pm.
Normal admission prices apply.


We have all this, plus...

  • A special New York Film Critics Series advance screening of Gone Girl Thursday, 10/2 at 7:30 pm! The screening will be followed by an on-screen Q&A with Gone Girl author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn. Tickets are just $10 to this special event!
  • A special matinee presentation of the classic comedy Some Like It Hot Tuesday, 10/7 at 4 pm for just $5!
  • Three highly-anticipated new movies starting Friday!

09.23.2014: After Thoughtz

Some more thoughts on last week's DWTS: Since when did Lolo Jones turn into a bitter old maid? Very informative reading between the lines of the comments made by her professional partner Keo during the Olympian's elimination. Or, actually, What he DIDN'T say spoke volumes. Instead of saying, like so many other pros, "I've made a friend for life", "She was fabulous", "our time together was tremendous"...he said "It was interesting". Listen, Lolo, you're squandering a lot of good-will left over from the grace shown under tremendous pressure of that last-second loss in Beijing. That tremendous focus you've developed from chasing your Olympic dream needs to be kept in the training room or on the track. Loosen up! Lighten up! You're young, you're beautiful! Enjoy life a little! Or that shrewish old-maid attitude will start souring your tremendous "track record"...and YOUR LIFE! Don't end up the old-maid aunt living with forty cats in the attic!o)
...And, a final thought as The Phantom of the Opera puts the Capital City in the rear-view mirror: I posted the audio with Julia Udine, the star of the national touring company earlier. (She's only 21!) But, after I wrapped up my interview with her, the press was ushered into the theater to take photos or b-roll of the chandelier prep. I took a few shots and then headed back out to the lobby. Julia was walking up the stairs with her publicist and saw me. She pointed me out to her friend and said, "There he is! That was the BEST INTERVIEW EVER!" I smiled and told her I was going to quote her. She beamed back at me as she left and repeated, "Best interview ever!" So, there you go! No need to fear interviews with me anymore! (Looking at you Tanner!) I do this for a living. You're in the hands of a professional! It's my job to make you sound good!o)

09.22.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!

Dancing With The Stars returning to the small screen with big production values: Here's a recap of first show last week:
"Dancing With The Stars"
Season Nineteen
Week One

This show takes me to my happy place! It's my guilty pleasure! Big opening number. Julianne Hough returns as the fourth judge! Tom Bergeron with Erin Andrews. Allison Holker is a new pro??? Tommy Chong? How old is he??

Team Antonio Sabata/Burke: Cha-Cha! Cheryl's last season! Work those hips baby! Mister Machismo! Little raw. Needs to work on finishing his line and poses. Natural latino machismo! Like his intensity. He's enjoying the performance. Little stiff. Could get the female vote! I give him a seven to start. Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 7. First one out of the gate sets the standard.

Team Lea Thompson/Artem: I know she has a ballet background. Artem is a strictly come dancing winner in the UK kingdom. Foxtrot. OOh! She's good out of the gate. Needs to find her classical training roots! Spirit is willing, but, the body doesn't always agree! Great smile. Great feeling. Hold those shoulders down! I give her a seven. "One of the best first foxtrots I've ever seen!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Hits it out of the park!

Team Janele Parrish/Chmerkovsky: Jive. Uh-oh! She can perform. She's got some training! and can perform wit hthe best of them. Good attack!. Youth will be served in this energetic romp of a routine! She gets an eight from me! "You got great potential!" "Sharp and clean!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 8! I think she serves notice that she will not be ignored this season!

Team Lolo Jones/Keo: Cha cha. She's dancing by the numbers! Too nervous! Credit for getting out of her comfort zone! But, she's stiff and robotic! Painful watching her dance! That was PAINFUL! I give her a four! DANG! She's arguing with the judges! Tom tries to save it with a quip! Sit DOWN, girlfriend! She's so defensive! Real judges: 6, 6, 5, 5

Team Betsy Johnson/Dovolani: She's seventy-two! Good for her! BUT! Cha cha. Love her smile, but, the steps are simple and, she's taking careful. Prop problems sabotage the nding. She's tearing up. I give her a five. Real judges: 5, 5, 5, 5!

Team Tavis Smiley/Burgess: Foxtrot. Little heavy. too much weight on the heels. Good for a big guy. Needs to bend his knees more. Especially with the height difference. I gave him a six. Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 7.

Team Sadie Robinson/Ballas: Natural dancer at just 17. She's sassy! Great smile, great proportions. Girlfriend is selling it! Love her energy! Nice natural lankiness! I give her an eight! Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 9! New leader in the clubhouse!

Team Michael Waltrip/Slater: Package looks less than promising! Smooth talker, Johnny Walker! Cha cha. Michael is no Bill Engvall. Plodding instead of dancing! Great music. Fun choreography! Not too promising results! I give him a five! Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 6!

Team Jonathan Bennet/Holker: Dancing for his dear departed dad! Jive. Gonna be hard not to disappear with Allison Holker on the same stage. Her take on choreography will be interesting to see because of her contemporary background. He's doing well. When I glance over at him. Good job for both of them! I give him a seven! Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 8!

Team Tommy Chong/Murgatroyd: At least he's having fun! But all that pot might have fried his brain!. Doing much better than you expect for an old guy from the sixties and seventies hippy daze! Low rider in the background! He's got a sly smile! "Cool Grampa!" "He's funkier than Bruno!" Real judges: 7, 6, 7, 7.

Team Randy Couture/Smirnoff: Foxtrot. He's out of his comfort zone as well. Dance is his weakness. Big guy moving smooth! More graceful than you expect. Wow! animal magnetism and lighter on his feet than you expect. Great musicality and great smile! This guys a contender! Just watch those shoulders! I give him an eight! WOW! I give him a nine! Unexpectedly GOOD! Real judges! 8, 7, 8, 8!

Team Bethany Motta/Hough: Vlogger. She's just 18! Jive. Dancing in her room and along comes the Houghster. Dancing to Taylor Swift! She knows how to sell it. Great smile. Nice leg action...and of course, Derek is the ultimate choreographer and teacher and coach!. I give her an eight! My guest judge gives a seven. Judges criticize her transitions. But, that's something all dancers have to work on! She's very telegenic! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8. She's going to have a lot of voter support from her web subscribers.

Team Alfonso Ribeiro/Carlson: He does the Carlton and she's named Carson! He has a background in the dance world. Look at him go. UNEXPECEDLY GOOD! Sassy and classy. Fast and smooth! This guy is a CONTENDER! Eberyone else better watch out. He's setting the stage ON FIRE! Look At that Attack! I give him a nine! Jaws are dropping all around the country! EAT THAT< FRESH PRINCE! What's not to like! Real judges; 9, 9, 9, 9! If it wasn't the first week, he would've gotten tens! New Leader in the clubhouse!

**** Results show:Well, as we all probably know by now (***SPOILER ALERT***), Iowa's own Lolo Jones joins the Kenny Mane club of first to be eliminated. Everyone I've talked to says Jones sealed her own fate with her bitter reaction to her own flubs and to the judges' comments. She turned off any sympathy votes with her refusal to take responsibility. If she'd only shown the grace she displayed after her much more devastating loss in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I think the voters would've forgiven her and supported her return for another week. As it is, youth will be served if voting goes as I predict: Betty and Tommy will be the next on the endangered species list! But, what an eye-opening surprise "Carlton" was! Sharp, crisp, totally in command! He THREW the gauntlet down to the rest of the contestants! Right now, everyone's battling for second place with Lea, The MMA Fighter and the Duck Dynasty Daughter leading the pack!

09.19.2014: Performance Posting

The "Phantom of the Opera" wrapping up its ten-day run at the DsM Civic Center this weekend. Big 'thumbs up' from all the CCDC students who've caught a performance. If you're thinking about catching a performance, here's a one-on-one interview @SirDanGuy conducted with musical supervisor John Rigby:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

09.18.2014: Back Atcha!

Excerpt of correspondence with former CCDC student:
Hey, ("Blase')! What a pleasure to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words and you know it's going to end up anonymously on the blog somehow!

Speaking of Tanner, she's a senior now and serious about auditioning for ballet companies starting in January. Keep your fingers crossed! We've cast her as the "long stemmed American Rose", the lead in my new choreography for Flowers in this December's IDT "Nutcracker"...

Nice to hear you're still dancing and able to execute a tricky petit allegro. Here's one I gave in class this morning:

(and) Entrechat trois, (one) brise' devant to fifth (two), brise' derriere to fifth (three), entrechat quatre (four), (and five) brise' vole' en avant to cabriole (and six), brise' vole en arriere (and seven) to temps levee' battu' (and eight), coupe' ballonne' (and) battu under (one) repeat second side (and two), pas de bourre' (three), tendu cuisse ecarte' derriere (and four), contre temps devant (and five), ballotte' derriere (and six), coupe' (seven) assemble' devant (and eight).
Repeat second side and reverse..."
...Always nice to hear from our extended CCDC family! Wanna send an update?

09.17.2014: Up Close and Personal

Here are the answers to the questionnaire submitted to former professional danseur @SirDanGuy the other day from a CCDC student:
  1. Describe a typical work day.
    Wake up at six a.m. on workdays to get inside the studio to do an hour warm-up before company class at nine. Hour-half full ballet class to warm up. 15 minute break and then rehearsals up until five. These vary by the day. You could have a lot of breaks and little rehearsals. (In which case, I usually stuck around for an extra dance class with the students.) Or you could be there all day. During performances, typically you have about an hour warm-up on stage, then half-an-hour before first curtain. Once again, how much you perform depends on what roles you're cast in. Performance nights you get done around ten. Get something to eat and, then, do it again.
  2. Which seasons of the year toughest in your job?
    Our season typically lasted about 26-to-28 weeks. The hard part is surviving the summer months when you're not on contract. Fortunately, I had a part-time job at the radio station during the season and nearly full-time when I wasn't on contract. I waited tables at a sushi bar in Chicago in the time between two professional dance companies. Most dancers go on unemployment, but, I never had to do that. Also, you have to keep training to maintain your ability to dance at a professional level. I usually either did my own class using the company's facilities during the day or took class with the dance school at night.
  3. Are too many or too few people entering this field?
    I estimate there are about a thousand girls who start dance for every one professional dancer. The odds are better for boys, maybe fifty or a hundred to one. This is all guesswork, no hard statistics. But, the competition is fierce for women!
  4. If you could start all over again, would you change your career path in any way? Why?
    I would not. I think everything happens for a reason. I try to live my life with no regrets. Turn the page and move on. But, I sometimes wonder what would've happened if I accepted that scholarship offer to the Ailey school in New York City the summer before I started dancing with the Des Moines Ballet.
  5. What educational preparation would recommend for someone who wants to advance in this field?
    Get the best ballet training you can. Learn how to properly train and rest and obtain good nutrition. Cross-train in various physical disciplines. Take other styles of dance like modern, contemporary, hip hop and lyrical. Tap, would be nice. Gymnastics for boys. My martial arts training and smattering of gymnastics came in handy while working for different choreographers.
  6. What companies do you think I should target?
    Start with your dream companies, then, go where they offer you something. Most girls get only one offer if they get any. The very best companies get most of their female dancers from their own affiliated schools. The level below that takes dancers from those schools as well. The regional companies and smaller troupes could be a stepping stone. Specifically, go to Boston again and see if you can get an apprenticeship or traineeship for after high school. If you can't get in there, audition for companies like OKC, Milwaukee, Colorado, KC, etcetera. If you get nothing there, you could consider moving to a big city or staying at CCDC for an extra year of intensive post-secondary training.
  7. Considering all the people you've met in your career, what personal attributes are essential for success?
    You must be driven, you must be called. You will hear a thousand 'no's' for a chance, maybe, at a single 'yes'. I worked restaurants during the day and danced at night in Chicago before I got my first professional contract. Did it again before I got my second. Dancing must be a passion, an obsession. You must choose to dance and dance well, over lovers, wanna-be lovers, friends and wanna-be friends. That doesn't mean you can't have a social life, it just needs to come a distant fourth or fifth place.
  8. How does a person progress in your field?
    Get your pointe shoe in the door. Get a contract at any dance company that will have you. Build a resume and videotape. Network. Most dancers go from smaller company to mid-size company to big company, if they advance at all.
  9. What were the keys to your career advancement?
    I never gave up. I came close after not making the first cut at a major audition. But, I couldn't walk away from dance. Dance was my life. Did I mention 'a thousand no's'? I danced because it made me happy. Getting paid to work at my passion was a privilege I'll never forget.
  10. What is the average time for an employee to stay in the job?
    You have to dance when you're young. By the time you hit 25 or 30, you're normally making plans for a post-dance career. I've heard of dancers who've performed into their forties or fifties, but, they're few and far between. Plan on hanging up the tights at 35 or 40.
  11. How has this job affected your lifestyle?
    When I was younger, I thought I was going to be an engineer or an architect. When I was introduced to dance, I enjoyed it a lot. But, then, it became an obsession that led to a profession. Now, I own a studio where I'm privileged to share that passion with a new generation.

    PS...Dancers are different from other people. Everyone dances, but, to be able to say you were a professional dancer inducts you into rarified air. I can say that I was one of those unusual dancers that got into that magical zone, where everything was perfect. I actually attained perfection on stage two or three times in my career and how many people can say that? I am now an award-winning radio news broadcaster, a former stand-up comic, but, I would give it all up in a heartbeat to be able to dance like I once did. Having been there is more than most people ever have! I've been blessed. And, I still take a bit of a ballet class everyday to remain connected to that fragile fraternity of dancers.

09.16.2014: Dipping Into The E-Mailbag

Unexpected e-mail from former CCDC student:
Hi Emery (and Missy)!

I know it's been awhile, but today's dance class made me think of you guys. Thank you so much for teaching me how to keep up with a petite allegro.

The studio I'm at had a new ballet teacher today, and he was just "trying things out" to see where the class was. This was their pre-professional 4 class, the highest they have, and the girls really struggled with the combination, while I felt very comfortable with it. I credit this largely to the classes I had with you all those years ago.

It's been awhile, but I try to keep up with what's going on at CCDC via Facebook and the webpage. Can you tell me what ("Tanner") is doing now? She was one of my 7th grade students when I was teaching at Waukee.

I'm currently in Madison, Wisconsin. I got married last summer, and then we moved here for (my new husband's) residency at the University of Wisconsin hospitals. I'm teaching high school English in a small town outside of Madison and coaching the cheer/pom squad. It's quite fun!

I hope all is well. I just wanted to thank you for the training I received from you!

("'Da Blase' Grrl")

09.15.2014: Up Close and Personal

A CCDC student sent me this questionnaire the other day, part of a school assignment finding out information about a potential career path. She wanted to know what it was like to make a living as a professional dancer. These are the questions:
  1. Describe a typical work day
  2. Which seasons of the year toughest in your job?
  3. Are too many or too few people entering this field?
  4. If you could start all over again, would you change your career path in any way? Why?
  5. What educational preparation would recommend for someone who wants to advance in this field?
  6. What companies do you think I should target?
  7. Considering all the people you've met in your career, what personal attributes are essential for success?
  8. How does a person progress in your field?
  9. What were the keys to your career advancement?
  10. What is the average time for an employee to stay in the job?
  11. How has this job affected your lifestyle?
...And, I'll post my answers here in a few days. Meanwhile, any other current or former professional dancers who read this blog are invited to send their answers in as well. Help a fella dance student out!o)

09.12.2014: The Muse from the Music Of The Night

Had a chance to have a conversation with the female lead in The Phantom of the Opera this week. Turns out that Julia Udine has quite a background in dance and she credits her ballet-training for her success on the stage as a singer-actress. You can catch Ms Udine as Christine in the Phantom's 10-day run at the DsM Civic Center and you can hear @JuliaUdine in a conversation with Capital City Dance Center's @SirDanGuy here:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...There are student rush tickets available to all performances of Phantom. There's also a question-and-answer session with cast members after the Sunday evening performance. More information at the Civic Center website. (You can also catch an interview with the Director and the Phantom himself on the CCDC Facebook page!o)

09.11.20122: Last Chance 2 Dance!

Did you miss the chance to audition to dance in this year's Nutcracker at the DsM Civic Center? Never fear, Grasshopper! The "Second Chance" audition is this weekend:
Nutcracker Last Chance Audition

Sunday Sept. 14
1-3pm
at Westside Dance Studio in Waukee.

$15.00 Audition fee if you have not yet auditioned for the 2014 Nutcracker.

...Click here to head to the Iowa Dance Theatre website. And, be sure to put "Flowers" in your wish list if you want to help CCDC's @SirDanGuy create his "sly, playful, ultimately very musical" world-premiere choreography!o)

09.10.2014: Boys Will Be Boys, Part 3

Help fight the American stigma against boys dancing! Introduce your son to the demanding, physical art form that is ballet at Capital City Dance Center! Like what's happening at NYCB's School of American Ballet:

...Good opportunity to try a dance class at CCDC all this month! September is "Bring a Friend2Dance" Month at CCDC! No friends at CCDC yet? No problem! We're very friendly, just contact the office to arrange a free, no-obligation class or two for your son! Oh yeah, your girls might wanna try a dance class as well! And, don't forget that valuable bonding time you can spend by taking a CCDC Pilates class along side your child!o)

09.09.2014: Boyz Will Be Boys, Part 2

Just had this e-mailed to me out of the blue:
"...It’s no secret: boys don’t like to sit still, and the evidence is clear that they will continue to struggle in the classroom if we expect them to learn that way, says a veteran educator and international expert...

“Neuroscience has confirmed that boys develop more brain-wiring for movement than girls at early ages,” he says.

“This is why they love to move, fidget in class and want to be wherever the action is. It also explains why they can sit still for so long playing video games: those games are saturated with movement!”

Boys from every ethnic group and social class are far less likely than their sisters to have high academic aspirations and to feel connected to school or to earn good grades, according to various studies, including a recent one from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Most boys tend to struggle with their homework, writing, class involvement, assignment completion and cognition at far greater rates than girls.

So how can you help son have a brighter school year this year?..."

...The e-mail went on to suggest some solutions, but, WE at Capital City Dance Center suggest enrolling your boys in a dance class! Help fight the American macho social stigma over men dancing! Get the benefit of freedom found in discipline! Combine the physical with the musical, mental and, yes, spiritual benefits of dance classes here at Capital City Dance Center. September is "Bring A Friend2Dance" Month here at CCDC. Excellent opportunity to just try a class for free! And, parents! What about spending some bonding time with your dancer in a CCDC Pilates class? You're probably not going to keep up with them in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, Highland or hiphop class, but, maybe you can show them thing or two in Pilates? Okay, maybe not, but, remember, if you don't use it, you lose it!o)

09.08.2014: America's FAVORITE Danseur

SYTYCD Season 11 just wrapped up last week. Here's my play-by-play call of all the action:
So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11
Real Season Finale'

Zack, Jessica, Valerie, Ricky, the finalists. As I said last time, I think Ricky's the favorite, but, I wouldn't be sorry if Jessica wins...but, it would be an upset. Six judges tonight? Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman, Jenna Dewan Tatum and Debbie Allen on the panel, Along with @Dizzyfeet and MM.

Opening Number: Choreography by Warren Carlisle. Top twenty dance. Big band feel. Everyone in tuxedos and girls in tux tops and shots. Ragtime number. Faux twenties steps. Charleston and flappa steps. Little solos for the finalists. Oh, One of the dancers falls, but gets up quickly. The show must go on. Jazz hands everyone in the Big final pose!

Mary's Favorite: Dancers: Jessica and Casey. Travis Wall choreographer. Nice feet. Excellent natural movements. First kiss. Little unsteady on a whip around over the shoulder lift. Nice synchronous triple pirouettes. These two are natural turners. But, the technique takes a back seat to a rapturous feeling and portrayal!

Debbie Allen's Choice: Ricky and Valerie the dancers. Choreography by Pharside and Phenix. This piece is way outta their comfort zones. But, they're showing their adaptability and chameleon like quality, the enviable ability to lose themselves in a specific dance genre. Raggedy ann and andy were never this phunky!

Zack's Favorite: He gets a reprise with Amy. "Europe After the Rain" A dane about love and loss. Zack's emotional breakthrough moment with choreography by Sonia Taye. The first time I saw this number I said Zack was a winner already having the opportunity to perform this remarkable growing piece. The rain falls like tears...as he walks into the light! Very emotionally powerful piece!

Nigel's Pick: Rudy and Allison perform Ray Lieper choreography. Her strength is astounding. Rudy is raising his game or will be left in the dust. She jumps and wraps her legs around his neck without her hands. Wow! He couldn't do these lifts without total abandoned commitment from Allison. Modified helicopter was a testament to trust and pushing the boundaries!

Valerie's Favorite: Tap duet with Zack. Very cool to see two good tappers shuffle and slide their way across the stage and go up and down stars in synchronous movement. Very kewl how they combine the performance with the prodigious technical tapping demands. Rhythm and musicality on parade!

Ricky's favorite: Sonia Tayeh piece with Jessica. The Vow. Deep back bend tostart. once again it shows how she trusts her partner. Great extensions and great control Sideways dismount from shoulder sit. Such organic movements. Natural choreography. Such strong dancers and moving choreography!

America's Favorite: Serge and Karly. The hiphop skeletons.

Jenna's Favorite: Isn't she Channing Tatum's wife? Tanisha and Rudy. Sand M piece. All in red and black with lasers in the background. She strikes odd shapes and he carries her around. Big straddle jump and catch Soya must love her. She's willing to try all sorts of unusual and off-kilter movements.

Shankman Favorite: Pharside and Phenix. Two Kings. Ricky and Zack. Such unconventional choreography. Little tutting, krumping, twerking all going on in this piece.

First Results: Fourth place finisher is: Zack! Well done, Tapper-boy! Debbie Allen mouths "I love you!" This guy is such a lovable, likable performer. America hasn't seen the last of this guy. Future is bright for the Zack-ster!

Tara's Choice: Nappy Tab routine. Emilio and Jasmine dance it. Strong popping locking and hiphopp. Hard hitting for Nappy Tabz! I think they were able to push their dancers harder because they were more street knowledgeable.

Top Ten and the all stars: Bus or train station. People rush and push and then they stop and reach to each other. Emilio is a street dancer, I see Will. Catherine. Jessica and Jazmin. Such a collection of Dance talent on thatstage! What a message. Caring People matter!

Unimpressed with dance crew. Bollywood? Snorely-wood!

Jessica's favorite: Travis Wall routine. Dancing "when I Go" with Robert. The leave taking of lovers. Such a painful display. Painful, but, poignant. Almost bordering on domestic violence. Emotional violence if nothing less. Clinging and stalking. throwing and leaping. Get away. You'll never leave me!. I'm gone already. NO, I will leave you!

Second Elimination: Jessica gets the axe. I'm surprised! Valerie was always one of my early picks to leave. Third runner-up. You should be proud! What's her twitter handle?

Kat's Favorite: Ricky and Valerie. Fabulous Wall choreography. Ah! The one with her tremendous back bend from his thighs.

Final Elimination: Ricky is named the winner. Streams of confetti and glitter fall from the skies! What a well-deserved winner! He's crying! Look for him on the cover of Dance Spirit Mag and on Broadway! Congrats to this year's SYTYCD beast!

...And, as Nigel and Mary ride off into the sunset, we prepare for the premiere of DWTS! Word is another local girl will be in the starting line-up: Olympian Lolo Jones. But, as I said before, it's not where you come from that determines my allegiance and support, it's only the dancing that matters! Merde, contestants!o)

09.05.2014: Wasabi Wit SABoy

Take a memo, CCDC alumni! This is how you should keep the rest of us updated on your comings and goings:
"...Hey! Just wanted to let you know about what I'm up to! Over the next few weeks, I'm going on tour to present a series of Dance/Percussion duets and solos with Andy Thierauf - a doctoral student in the percussion school. We had a kick-off event a few weeks ago outside in Iowa City, and now we're off to perform at several Iowa colleges and a cafe in Illinois. You guys are welcome to come... Performance dates and other information are here:

stbdancing.com/tour
After that, I have a few more performances of some new work I'm making, and then headed to Philadelphia in October.

Hope everyone's doing well,

(GitUrFaShawn)..."

...So! For the rest of you CCDC alumni, what have YOU been up to lately?.

09.04.2014: Fall Feedback

Getting some favorable parental feedback to the start of Capital City Dance Center 2014-2015:
"...(My child) loves to dance with you, thank you for giving her something to be passionate about!..."
...and...
"...(My child) loves her dance classes this fall. She talks nonstop all the way home about them. So far, she's had a pretty good fall..."
...And, don't YOU know a child who would benefit from enrolling in CCDC classes? Remember, September is "Bring A Friend2Dance" Month at Capital City Dance Center! Pick up a few invitations from your dancer's instructor...or just bring your child's friend to dance class! We'd appreciate advance notice, but, even that's not mandatory! It's "Bring a Friend2Dance" Month all September at CCDC! (OR! You could be your own child's friend and try a Pilates class together!o)

09.03.2014: Performance Posting

Just got this timely reminder from those friendly folks over at the DsM Playhouse:
South Pacific: September 5-28
7:30 PM Wednesday-Saturday,
2:00 PM Sunday

This epic romantic musical centers on a group of American sailors and Navy nurses stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. Arkansas native Nellie Forbush (Amber Duimstra) befriends and quickly falls for Emile de Becque (Edward Corpus), a French plantation owner. Lt. Joe Cable (Jonathan Brugioni) finds himself in a passionate affair with Liat (Kourtney Richards), the young daughter of Bloody Mary (Patricia Uy-Westlund), the local grass-skirt peddler. As the war escalates, reality sets in for both Forbush and Cable, who struggle to reconcile their unconventional love affairs with their long-held prejudices and insecurities. Rodgers & Hammerstein's acclaimed musical features "Some Enchanted Evening," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair," "There is Nothing Like a Dame," "Younger Than Springtime," and the haunting "Bali Ha'i." South Pacific is sponsored by The Principal Group.

09.02.2014: So You Think U Can Critique!

Big Finale coming up this week!

So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11
Season Finals

Opening Number: Top 4 perform. Same gender love. Wind beneath my wings. All four in white. Everyone lifts Jennifer. Equal opportunity lifts... both girls and guys and then switch to same lifts and steps. All clean and pristine in white linen. Very dramatic steps lighting and staging. Fraternal and cross gender bonding. Travis Wall choreography.

$250,000 up for grabs! Guest judge: Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Team Valericky: African Jazz with Shawn Cheeseman. Survival of the fittest. Race and survival of the fittest. Shades of the Lion King. He matches her extension for extension! Very Frenetic pace. aerobic creative lifts. Energy seems to sag a little in the middle. Reverse pencil turn from Ricky. This boyz extension is off the chain. Ends in strong pose, hands on each other heads.

Kinda like those little learn-a-dance step interludes they throw in there!

Team Jessizach: Broadway with Spencer Liff. Hernando's Hidewaay. Jessica channels her inner forties vamp in red glittery gown. Dang. She's got an old-fashioned classic beauty. He's a true leading man. Partners well. Was that four pirouettes. Very cheeky! Very Charming! Very well-done! They SOLD it!

One more show for the finale?

Team Valerizach:Tyce Diorio contemporary. "Get lost in each other!" Intention behind the movements. Endless Love! Pearls by Sade. She's a blind girl. He lifts her with love. she tosses her cane aside. relying on him and his love instead. she stares off unseeing into space as he carries her and He's there for her as she takes tentative blind steps. He stops her from stepping into danger. She caresses her face and takes tentative steps away from him. I thought there were some moments that screamed for more. But, that piece was a gift to the dancers from the choreographer!

Team Jessicky: Ray Leeper. Exhausting rehearsals. She can wear anything. AND make it sing! These two are the class of the competition!. Sexy, cooly erotic movements! Wow! She lifts him into the final pose!

Team Valericca: Bollywood by Nikul. The Bollywood Divas. Classic Indian moves into the fun and funk ob modern Bollywood. As usual very taxing number. Great expressions fro both birls. Did I mention it was aerobic and very tiring> Odd to see a traditional ballet tombe pas de bourre pique arabesque in the middle of that number. Thought it ended too soon!

Team Zackaricky: Hip Hop with Phenix and Pharside. Two kings battle. Which of the two boys is a better street dancer. Ricky has some intensity. Do the boyz got the street cred to pull off this battle? Questionable to me! Maybe it's better to see in person? Audience on their feet! Judges on their feet as well! 'A' for effort! (Still like the original Two Kings with Travis Wall!)

Team Valerie:Tap with aaron! Sammy Davis Junior number. She's in her forties out fit. as is he, of course. Very cool. Excellent demanding technical tap. Synchronization is off the hook! They tap and response. Turning taps . Very clean. Great attitude. They make up and tap together. How FUN is this number! Puts a smile on my face! And, she's vivacious!

Ricky Solo: Great skills dancedwell. Sick extensions and flexiblity. Turns not so great tonight. But, he's hit them before. Oh, what a feeling! He's in tears at the end of his solo. Big hug with host.

Team Ricky: Katherine in Stacy Tookey choreography. Angels on earth. She catches and comforts him. She's in white with wings. We're losing him in dimly lit stage. Lighting is a drawback. I get that its twilight. Not sure about the ending metaphor. He's emotional at the end. He's almost sobbing!. Tookey is crying as well. Judges also in tears! "You take my breath away!" "You're a dream team!"

Valerie Solo: Something very likable about her. Girl can tap. Putting a lotta sounds into a small amount of time. Unfortunately hard to hear.

Team Zack: Also taps with Aaron! Let's hear some tapping. WOW! lotta sounds. Billy Joel. Tap and response! Edited Billy Joel. Still hard to hear the taps!. Hop overs land together. Synchronicity again is Excellent. Not only do they have to tap together they have to listen at the same time for the same thing! Nice feeling!

Jessica Solo: Music is "it's a man's world". But, it's NOT...It's Jessica's world. She fell of her turns this time!

Team Jessica: Wall choreography with Robert. Stop being safe!. Find her inner sensual being. Hard for a young girl to find that space. Very risky! Wow. hard lifts. movement rolls into movement evolves into another shape lift embrace and lift. THrow and leap and catch. Oh! She TOSSES HIM ASIDE LIKE YESTERDAY'S TRASH! YES! Props to Jessica! She deserves to win, even if it doesn't happen!

Zack Solo: Boy's already a winner. Better sounding taps. He's doing a rhythm tap solo. few claps. Very superstitious, writings on the wall. So cool! My resident tap expert says Zack is better than Aaron is better than Valerie.

Who's going to win? I think Ricky will win. If Jessica wins, I wouldn't complain, but, it would be an upset!

08.29.2014: Boys Will Be Boys!

Parents of boys! Read this and then bring your sons to CCDC encourage freedom in discipline!
(Capital City News Service) — It’s common knowledge that teenage boys seem predisposed to risky behaviors. Now, a series of new studies is shedding light on specific brain mechanisms that help to explain what might be going on inside juvenile male brains.

Florida State University College of Medicine Neuroscientist Pradeep Bhide brought together some of the world’s foremost researchers in a quest to explain why teenagers — boys, in particular — often behave erratically.

The result is a series of 19 studies that approached the question from multiple scientific domains, including psychology, neurochemistry, brain imaging, clinical neuroscience and neurobiology. The studies are published in a special volume of Developmental Neuroscience, “Teenage Brains: Think Different?”

“Psychologists, psychiatrists, educators, neuroscientists, criminal justice professionals and parents are engaged in a daily struggle to understand and solve the enigma of teenage risky behaviors,” Bhide said. “Such behaviors impact not only the teenagers who obviously put themselves at serious and lasting risk but also families and societies in general.

“The emotional and economic burdens of such behaviors are quite huge. The research described in this book offers clues to what may cause such maladaptive behaviors and how one may be able to devise methods of countering, avoiding or modifying these behaviors.”

An example of findings published in the book that provide new insights about the inner workings of a teenage boy’s brain:

  • Unlike children or adults, teenage boys show enhanced activity in the part of the brain that controls emotions when confronted with a threat. Magnetic resonance scanner readings in one study revealed that the level of activity in the limbic brain of adolescent males reacting to threat, even when they’ve been told not to respond to it, was strikingly different from that in adult men.
  • Using brain activity measurements, another team of researchers found that teenage boys were mostly immune to the threat of punishment but hypersensitive to the possibility of large gains from gambling. The results question the effectiveness of punishment as a deterrent for risky or deviant behavior in adolescent boys.
  • Another study demonstrated that a molecule known to be vital in developing fear of dangerous situations is less active in adolescent male brains. These findings point towards neurochemical differences between teenage and adult brains, which may underlie the complex behaviors exhibited by teenagers.
“The new studies illustrate the neurobiological basis of some of the more unusual but well-known behaviors exhibited by our teenagers,” Bhide said. “Stress, hormonal changes, complexities of psycho-social environment and peer-pressure all contribute to the challenges of assimilation faced by teenagers.

“These studies attempt to isolate, examine and understand some of these potential causes of a teenager’s complex conundrum. The research sheds light on how we may be able to better interact with teenagers at home or outside the home, how to design educational strategies and how best to treat or modify a teenager’s maladaptive behavior.”

Bhide conceived and edited “Teenage Brains: Think Different?” His co-editors were Barry Kasofsky and B.J. Casey, both of Weill Medical College at Cornell University. The book was published by Karger Medical and Scientific Publisher of Basel, Switzerland.


Read archived news articles

 

08.28.2014: R U Txtg?

Not really dance related, but, since you CCDC dancers communicate mainly by text nowadays:
"Hey, Digital Flirts: 58% of Men Hate Your 'Funky Spelling' When Texting."

Question: If I holla at u w/ flrty msge 4 possibull date, do u care 'bout my cr8tive spellin'?

According to a new 'Digital Flirting Rules' survey by Omlet [www.omlet.me] -- a super chat app developed by Stanford students that makes digital flirting, messaging, and communication more fun -- most men and women consider funky or very informal spelling to be their #1 biggest turnoff when receiving chat or text messages.

Survey results include:

TOP 5 BIGGEST 'DIGITAL FLIRTING' TURN OFFS FOR MEN

#1: Funky or very informal spelling (58% disapproval rating)
#2: Multiple exclamation points in chat messages!!!!! (47% disapprove)
#3: Lack of punctuation and grammar (46% disapprove)
#4: all lower case words (41% disapprove)
#5: Excessive slang -- LOL, BRB, WTF (40% disapprove)

TOP 5 BIGGEST 'DIGITAL FLIRTING' TURN OFFS FOR WOMEN

#1: Funky or very informal spelling (73% disapproval rating)
#2: Lack of punctuation and grammar (59% disapprove)
#3: Excessive slang (54% disapprove)
#4: Messages during sleeping hours (51% disapprove)
#5: all lower case words (50% disapprove)

Source: Omlet super chat and messaging app (www.omlet.me)

To conduct this survey, Omlet surveyed a sample representative of 1,000 adults and young people. Other interesting findings include:

A. EMOTICONS AND EMOJI RANK HIGH FOR BOTH SEXES:-)

31% of men and 38% of women prefer to receive chat and text messages with multiple emoticons and emojis -- so keep using those smileys and winks.

B. MEN AND WOMEN DIFFER ON EXCESSIVE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!

While only 38% of women have negative feelings towards "too excited" punctuation in chat messages, nearly 50% of men are annoyed by this. So ladies, keep those exclamations in check when messaging dudes.

C. DON'T MESSAGE WOMEN WHO ARE SLEEPING, GUYS OK WITH IT

While 21% of guys really like being messaged during non-waking hours (from 11pm to 7am), only 1% of women want to receive off-hour texts -- with 55% of women really disliking this. So men, think twice about that 2am "R U up?" text.

...AND! Your CCDC teachers always appreciate a text if you're running late or have to miss a class! Numbers to text are on the business cards at the front desk!o)

08.27.2014: Here Comes The Sun!

May be cloudy today, but, the unofficial end of summer is this weekend! And, never forget: Sunscreen is our friend!o)
Despite cancer warnings, fewer teens wearing sunscreen

(Courtesy CBS News) The number of U.S. teens using sunscreen dropped nearly 12 percent in the last decade, a new report shows.

During that same time period, the number of teens using indoor tanning beds barely decreased. Both indoor tanning and failure to use sunscreen increase the risk of skin cancers, including deadly melanomas, the researchers noted.

"Unfortunately, we found a decrease in the overall percentage of teens who reported wearing sunscreen, from 67.7 percent in 2001 to 56.1 percent in 2011," said lead researcher Corey Basch, an associate professor in the department of public health at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J.

"Using sun-protective behaviors like applying sunscreen and avoiding intentional exposure to tanning devices will be key [to lowering cancer risk]," she added.

Use of indoor tanning devices by white girls decreased only slightly, from 37 percent in 2009 to 29 percent in 2011, she said.

The reasons for the decreased use of sunscreen among teens aren't clear, Basch said, but she thinks future research should focus on finding out why.

"High school years are important years that can impact the future," Basch said. "High school students are starting to make decisions for themselves. This research and other research suggest that adolescents continue to put themselves at risk."

The report was published in the August issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Jeanine Daly, a dermatologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., said she was surprised at the drop in sunscreen use despite all the warnings about UV exposure leading to skin cancer.

"It's still in vogue to have that suntanned color," she said.

Daly thinks that the message that sun exposure can lead to skin cancer is still not getting through, especially to young girls. "No matter how hard we've been trying to get that message out, we need to keep at it and work harder," she said. "The bottom line is that skin cancer is largely preventable."

08.26.2014: Audition Action

So, as most of you know, I helped adjudicate Iowa Dance Theatre's Nutcracker auditions this past weekend. Final casting results aren't up to me, so don't ask! But, here's what happened from this side of the table: I was handed a stack of forms with numbers matching the auditioners down one side with room for "Notes" and "More Notes" on the other. There were five empty columns which we were free to label however we pleased. So, I wrote at the top of each form: Placement, Turnout, Proportions, Flexibility and Performance Quality. I graded as many auditioners as I could on a scale of one-to-five. Turns out, I really didn't have much use for "Turn Out", that section was rarely filled out on my forms. Proportions and Performance Quality got filled out almost every time. But, I did use the notes sections whenever I saw something good or...not-so-good. I thought it might be instructive to find out what at least one person was looking for on the other side of the audition table:
"...good hops...long legs...no clue, lacks confidence...sickled foot, lost the combination, good smile...decent turns, no finish...should travel sissones en pointe...Why no Balanchine pirouettes?...Weak balance...loose middle, GREAT SMILE...lacks use of turnout...imperial presence...nice feet, no beat in royale...long legs, decent dancer...no turnout...FINISH TURNS!...No sense of body directions...Lucky turns...loose tummy...bad tummy, bad releve'....better dancer, faille' assemble' weak...screws up mouth when screws up combination...better dancer, nice extensions, LOVE her enthusiasm!...no croise' awareness...better, good smile, messed up turns...better dancer...bad shoulders...better dancer...rolled up tights...weak center, good smile, bad shoulders, enthusiastic...drawstrings out, nice feeling, messed up turns...mirror-itis, bad placement, nice feet, better dancers...shorts on, bad placement, legs not stretched...bad technique, bad tummy, long legs...floppy! forgot turn combination...shorts...weak core...bad tummy, good smile...good smile, decent turns...smile...nice feet, long legs...tall...tall, bad placement...long legs, good smile...smile...performer, draws the eye...LEGS!...draws eye/smile needs work...good focus up...chicken wing arms, loose middle...tentative, bad tummy...draws the eye, smiles great...no pointe...bad pointe work, can't turn...tummy...good smile, bad placement, tummy out...smile...weak pointe work...tummy loose...great smile when reminded...no bun...smile, bad shoulders...smile, no body direction awareness...bad tummy...bootie shorts, bad ballet technique...no spotting...good height...thinks she's better than she is..."
...So, instead of trying to figure out which dancer triggered which note, think whether these corrections are something you could improve upon at the next audition! Merde for casting!o)

08.25.2014: So You Think You Can Recap!

Big finale' coming up this week:
So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11
Semi-Finals Round

Opening Number: Top 6 perform. darkened stage, Faux deejays playing with fake records. Wearing half masks as costumes. Little darth vaders. Hip hoppy number. black lights. Matrix style coats. Choreography by Nick Demoura.

Valerie, casey ,Jessica, Ricky, Jacque en pointe. Zack in taps. How did Val survive this long? Cat promises an "exhausting" evening. $250,000 up for grabs! Former dancer Christina Applegate back for guest judge turn.

Team Valericky: Broadway number by Spencer Liff. Technicolor dream. Will Ricky suffer by comparison to the all-stars she's danced with in the last few weeks? Starts off with gorgeous turns by Ricky! She's on a swing. Jeté through the swinging swing! He needs to look up on stage a little more. Don't show me the top of your head on stage! Good timing jumping through swinging ropes again. Great feeling! POWER COUPLE! He's cool in his blue shoes, she in turquoise!o) Cat shows rehearsal footage foul-ups! Makes her much more real! Very sweet number! Christina praises Val's honesty and Ricky's "enigma".

Team Jessicasey: Disco with Doriana Sanchez. As an old disco dancer! I'm prepared to be critical. Donna summer classic. Fast spins in this lay back lift. Denny Terio would be proud! Club dancers all over the world remember these movements. Disco was all about flash over substance. Disappointing dismount from a shoulder sit. But, he takes her into an yvette. Rather non-spectacular ending! Amazing stretch to her legs! Classic disco choreography!

Ricky Solo: big hops to dramatic music! big emotion. adequate turns. Not as fabulous turns as his duet with Val, but, stronger than you think! Extension is off the chain!

Team Jacque/Zach Attack: Foxtrot. Jean Marc Generroux. Back to 1950. American Foxtrot. Starts with a little softshoe. Classic Astaire-Rogers. He's quite the leading man. She's slinky in midnight blue. Decent frame! Can't look at each other in classic foxtrot hold! He stands out in that white coat! She should be in something brighter. Christina advises on the acting, Asking for more truth! "Dance from your souls first!"

Jessica Solo: Nice turns. She's still in curly hair from the disco number. Great turns for a girl! How do you hold it together like that after your family bares their soul to you on national TV?

Team Val and Twitch: Wildebeest hip hop choreography! Big praise from all-star twitch. The Wedding dance. Yeah by Usher. She shows her versatility and sexiness for a TAP dancer! Hard to dance next to the Twichster! Missed a catch of a prop. She carries on. Twerk it baby! Fun number Not afraid to commit to the funk! She's keeping up with Twitch and he's not holding back! Valerie's like the "all american girl!" Isn't she? What a sweet smile! "You're Swagerocious!"

Casey Solo: Wow! good looking parents! Good looking son! Nice 720. Don't cheat those seven pirouettes, son! Come on you're a better turner than that!

Valerie Solo: Tap solo starts drowned out by the song. Someone forgot to turn the stage mike up! Distracting from the dancing to say the least!

Team Jacquell: Shawn Cheeseman choreography about First love. Playing with the ball. Spirit of first love. Problems with props. 99 luftballones! playful and inventive choreography. Good extensions. Red balloons fall from the rafters. Needed more eye contact. More feeling!

Zack solo: Tap mike on from the beginning for him. Fast taps and slides. Clean as can be on marley. Good tap turns and ends right on the music!

Team Jessicade: Ray Leeper jazz choreography. Never been to a club? I don't think so! She's only 18! "boneless" Wow! She's a Hirajuku girl. He's a Hirajuku guy! Fun multi-colored costmes. Wow! Draiing choreogray. Dancing to almost no music at all! Popping a lift. She seems a little tentative needs to hit it as hard as she's dressed! She's got a very commercial look!

Jacque Solo: Dressed in faux military as she dances to classic andrews sister. Nice fouette' into double pirouette. Was it showy enough?

Team Ricky+Anya: Cha-cha. He's cuban. Cha-cha comes from Cuba! Needs to be stronger on his legs. Anjya isa lotaa woman. He needs to match. She's hot in red. He's getting his hips into the action. Snappy head rolls! There you go! Tapping into his latin heritage to smolder the girl around the dance floor! Matching intensity with intensity. He's proving his versatiliy in the latin dance form Easy and strong lift! Surprisingly good! He did NOT back down from that hot tamale' train! He's my favorite heading into the finale'!

Team Casey+Makenzie: Stacy Tookey contemporary routine. Losing your love. Hard for a young dancer to rise above the technique. Starts by she climbing all over him. Great pictures in those lifts. Smooth seamless choreography shifts from smooth movement in to smooth movement. They fight, they push each other away. they come back together. I felt that emotion as they turn to face the crowd together. Big hug at the end! He took another step in his evolution as a dancer tonight! Dang! He was a MAN up there tonight! Grew up right before our eyes on stage! This piece doesn't deserve to be judged! He's the real winner tonight! No matter what happens!

Team Zack-Fik-Shun: Hip hop by Phillip Shabib! Human Rorschach test. Copying fillip and Fik shun. Vital synchronicity. I see the pictures at the start. Two very different dancers mirroring each other. Zack is hard, but just the physics mean, Fik-Shun is going to be hitting it a lot harder. Do the hip hop worm after locking past each other. This time Zack suffers by comparison. Fik-Shun isn't holding back...Zack can't keep up this time, but, admittedly, does better than expected!

Eliminations: Jessica advances in her hirajuku clothes. First finalist. Ricky goes on to no one's surprise. Valerie goes on. Say bye to Jacque. Finally, Zack goes on. Casey goes home. Tears from Jacque. Casey saved the best for last. You can see them on tour. Two tappers in the finale'!

Who will win? Jennifer and Ricky will be finalists. With Ricky taking home the quarter-million dollar prize. That's my prediction! What do you think?

08.22.2014: Fall For CCDC Dance Classes!

Just got this in the emailbag after we sent out reminders for CCDC students to register for the 2014-2015 year. This parent says her child has a conflict this year, but...
"...She really enjoyed her class last year and we were really impressed with her teacher and the recital at the end of the year! Keep doing just what you are doing and I recommend your studio to anyone I know that is looking for dance classes..."
...How about you? Have you registered your children for CCDC classes yet? Remember! Classes start MONDAY!o) And, help us spread the word! Don't you know some kids who should be dancing?

08.21.2014: Nutty Auditions

WHERE has the Summer gone? Great State Fair is over and you know what that means, dance fans! Yes, back to school! AND! Nutcracker auditions are coming this weekend! Hope you've been taking the CCDC Stay In Shape classes the last few weeks to get ready. But, ready or not! Here they come: Click here to find out more information. And, if you want to dance in @SirDanGuy's brand new choreography for "Les Fleur", be sure to put "Flower corps, flower soloist or flower principal" on your wish list. Be sure to have fun! Toi, toi, toi and merde! (Also, we're scheduling an extra barre warm-up on Saturday morning from 11a-12pm for CCDC dancers who have to be in Waukee at 1:00! Regular 1pm class for everyone else!o)

08.20.2014: Ballet By The Lake

Here's a sneak peek at what's happening at the #ballet company where several #CCDC students spent their summer #dancing:

...Note the liberal use of gargliole and revelotade, advanced #CCDC #dancers!


08.19.2014: Sound Mind? Sound Body!

Remember to sign your kids up for a head start towards a lifetime of better health and fitness through dance at Capital City Dance Center!o)
(Capital City News Service) — As parents prepare to send their children back to school over the next few weeks, kinesiology professor Karin Richards at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, says now is the perfect time for them to create an exercise plan that suits their new family schedules.

“Forget New Year's resolutions, the start of a child’s school year can also be the start of a new fitness and exercise program for parents,” said Richards. “In preparation of a brand new school year filled with countless extracurricular activities, it’s important for mom and dad to plan ahead to make sure that they are getting the necessary amount of exercise.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should strive for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – such as brisk walking – each week. The agency also recommends incorporating muscle-strengthening activities into exercise routines at least two times per week.

“The dog days of summer are slowly coming to an end, and parents will soon be faced with schedule overload and afterschool activities,” said Richards. “But don’t let that keep you from adapting a healthy lifestyle; planning, organizing, and even mixing in a quick work out here and there, will have moms and dads well on their way to becoming more active and prioritizing exercise in their lives.”

...Fall classes begin next Monday at CCDC, August 25th! Help pass the word!o)

08.18.2014: Surviving SYTYCD

The end is in sight! Semifinals this week!
So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11
Sixth Elimination Round
The MJ Celebration Episode

Opening Number: Top 8 perform. Dressed in Silver unitards with black accents and saddle shoes or black boots. If you're doing MJ tribute you better bring it hard boys and girls! Tanisha gets it! Rudy brings the joy to the dance!They all melt into the final tableau. Choreographer Travis Payne! Nice turns Jennifer!?

Guest judge: Jenna Dewan Tatum of Witches of Eastwick.

Tanisha Solo: Nice ferocious attack. Throws in an aerial for good measure and turning cartwheel. Slides down to splits. Manages to cover up her lack of partner with ballroom expertise

Team Ricky+Jamie: Travis Wall Contemporary routine. Ode to the best friend. Extensions featured. "Smile" by MJ. Starts off with endless ala seconde extension. Boneless ripples. Turn into lift just a little bobble in the transition. Reaching, yearning extensions. Line is SICK! This is the guy to beat. Wall is a genius at making the transitions seamless and natural. He challenges me as a choreographer! He's a protege' of another former SYTYCD contestant! "you liquified MY bones tonight!" "You TRANSCEND technique!" He's safe from elimination. Ricky gets Anya next show!

Zack Solo: Fast clean taps Man. gets a lot of taps into a single move! Nice slides!

Team Valerie+Ryan: Jean Marc Genneroux Samba. The attack of the samba King and Queen. "Wanna Be Starting Something?" Aggressive hips and body rolls . Probably less clothes than she's used to wearing on stage. Lotta spangles and bangles that move when she moves and keeps moving when she stops. Overhead leg circles not quite successful. What a great smile! What a pleasant personality! "You were brilliant!" She's safe! And, gets Twitch next week!

Casey Solo: Nice jumps nice turns! Nice air, good attack. great smile! Good feeling!

Rudy Solo: Fauxhawk. Very powerful build, very powerful steps. Revelotade into aerial.

Team Casey+Comfort: Pharside and Phenix hip hop routine. eight legged love! Kiss of death! Starts spotlighted on a web as he struggles to escape. Comfort chases him with her lips. She's stealing attention and camera time while he's on the floor and lifting her. He's bringing the heat when he actually gets to dance by himself. Comfort is hard to dance next to but he's giving it the old college try. Ends with him trapped in her web. Elimination: endangered.

Jacque Solo: Nice extensions. nice feelings. double end hore piue turns. serviceable pirouettes on point. Great smile.

Team Tanisha+Nick Lazzarini: Stacey Tooky routine. Remembering the love lost. Wow! We haven't seen Lazzarini for a long time. I remember his endless turns. Spacing important in these lifts. costume doesn't help. Haven't seen turns like that in a while. Not since travis Wall himself. The emotion is powerful in this choreography! Tanisha has nice feet! "Stunningly gorgeous!" "You must be strong enough to share your weaknesses as well!" Elimination: endangered.

Jessica solo: committed attack. Selling that expression. excellent turner for a girl! Great feeling! She's my pick for top two!

Team Rudy+Allison: Ray Leeper routine of obsession. Unhealthy relationship. Aggression and vulnerability. Holker starts off. Rudy has his work cut out for him keeping up with one of my favorite all stars ever. Look at that attack! Mrs. Twitch has lost nothing since we last saw her. She's ultra committed to every movement. Making him look barely adequate. This routine will get more votes because of her than him is my guess. Helicopter to a full toss and catch!. Judges standing! Rudy is sucking wind after the performance! "Stay in the character while you're doing the technique!" He reveals he sacrificed himself to save his partner from falling! Gets extra points from me for that!o) Elimination: endangered.

Valerie Solo: More fast taps. Clean rhythm taps. Fast and slides.

Team Zack+Makenzie: Spencer Liff Broadway routine: Smooth talking city slicker and the ingenue. Starts with some powerful jumps. and turns. Makenzie from last season has only gotten better. Hard no to watch the all star, but, Zack is holding his own. Great smile! When you watch him hard not to like him. Needs to stop sticking his head forward while spotting! She's so cool! Not endangered! He's dancing with Fik-Shun next! Zack and Ricky look like the boyz to beat!

Ricky solo: boy has ridiculous hops and flexibility! Line for days and control. Doesn't lack for anything. Emotion and clarity of expression.

Team Jacque+Twitch: Dave Scott routine. Street Jacque. No ballerina doll! post apocolyptic routine set amid trash and debris of some disaster. This isn't old man twitch. Wow! Gotta hand it to Jacque. Her isolations, waves and commitment are unexpected for a ballet dancer. Little mishandle of the rond de jamb into the catch and push. "Jacque! You got swag!" You go, grrl!o) Elimination: endangered.

Team Jessica+Will: Mandy Moore contemporary routine. Battle of hippy guy versus urban girl. She's striking in red. He plows with her legs. Etraordinary pictures. WOW. LOVE THS ROUTINE! She's such an inspiration. Beautiful girl who can dance! What's not to like! She's not just a good looker! She's the complete package! She's going to be a tough out! She's safe! Next show she dances with Ade. "You are tremendous. You are MAGNIFICENT!"

Control Freakz: Unexpected popping, skating and locking to orchestral music! NICE!

Elimination: Tanisha and Rudy get sent home. Jacque and Casey advance. Rudy is openly weeping! Once again partners get sent home!

So who has to worry? Val and Casey need to get the vote out to survive. Casey gets makenzie next show. Jaque gets Will.

08.15.2014: Dancers Make Better Students

Parents! Get your kids involved in dance at Capital City Dance Center this school year!
(Capital City News Service) – Physically fit sixth-graders – especially girls – are less likely to report feeling depressed when they reach seventh grade, according to a study presented at the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention.

Even when researchers considered existing symptoms of depression and weight, sixth-grade girls who performed better on a cardiorespiratory fitness test were less likely to feel depressed when they were surveyed again in seventh grade. There was a smaller but similar effect on boys’ depression, according to the findings presented by Camilo Ruggero, PhD, of the University of North Texas.

Researchers surveyed 437 students, 55 percent of whom were girls, at six middle schools in a metropolitan county in North Texas as part of a larger, county-wide program to assess physical fitness. In sixth and seventh grades, participants answered questions about their symptoms of depression and fitness. They were also weighed and completed a shuttle-based run, which is a fitness testing procedure involving short bursts of speed. The sample was 89 percent white and 9 percent African-American, with 27 percent also identifying as Hispanic.

“A student’s physical activity level may change from week to week, whereas fitness is a result of more prolonged physical activity,” Ruggero said. “Assessing the students’ body mass index, how well they performed on a shuttle-run test and their own feelings of personal fitness helps to give us a more complete picture of each student’s fitness level.”

Twenty-eight percent of the girls in sixth grade and 29 percent in seventh grade had elevated symptoms of depression, said Ruggero. Among boys, 22 percent had elevated symptoms of depression in seventh grade and 19 percent in eighth grade. For boys and girls, the most powerful predictor of depression in seventh grade was having had symptoms of depression in sixth grade. However, once researchers controlled for this, fitness was an important factor in curbing students’ depression a year later.

Depression in adolescence is associated with a range of poor school and health outcomes later on and is the main cause of disability in this age group according to the World Health Organization, Ruggero said. “Depression that begins at this time can lead to chronic or recurring depression in later years,” he said. “Fitness programs are one way to help prevent depression in middle-schoolers, but schools should also use other interventions, such as one-on-one or group therapy, that more directly address symptom treatment among depressed adolescents.”

...Here's the link to the original press release.

08.14.2014: Inside The Intensive

See! Threats DO work! Here's another after-the-fact submission on feedback from the annual summer Dancer Diaspora:
1.My name is (Martha Graham Kracker). This summer I went to Nashville, Tennessee to dance with the Nashville Ballet.
2. There were 3 level: Intermediate, Advanced, and Pre-Professional. I was in Advanced. The dancers there were so good and very motivated.. everyone was really hard-working.
3.There were about 42 people: 36 girls and 6 guys in my level
4.We started the day off with floor barre or yoga and then had technique and pointe. In the afternoon we had a rotating schedule of parterning,variations, port de bras, stretch, rehearsals, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, afro-caribbean, and drama. The most different and difficult to get used to was port de bras because I'd never done anything like it before. but it was really helpful in finding my back muscles. The jazz class was really fun because we got to do some really cool combos.
5.The classes there were pretty pure classical technique. The technique they asked for was very similar to CCDC's except that they had us do flexed-foot frappes which were awkward for me to get used to. We got to learn the peasant pas variation from Giselle, Moriah's pas de trois variation from Swan Lake, and part of a variation from Paquita. A lot of my corrections were about being stronger and having more power throughout all of my dancing. I also got some really great help with finding new muscles that rotate and stretch my legs and support my arms that i didn't know I had!
6.We had a lot of teachers while we were there. My favorites were Nicole Keonig- the dean of the school, Sharyn Mahoney- the director of artistic operations, and Jon Upleger- a member of their company. Ms. Koenig reminded me of a combo of Missy and Emery: very particular in what she wants and very impassioned but also kind of crazy with strange but helpful analogies for corrections. SHe also gave us really long barres like @ CCDC. Ms. Mahoney made sure to give each person a bit of attention and made the class feel very personal. She was really funny too. Mr. Upleger's classes were just really enjoyable! He was really good about getting through lots of different combinations with lots of variety.
7.I wasn't too hard to adjust to having new teachers especially since many of them were so friendly and reminded me of CCDC teachers. While I was there we worked on a number of things but some of the main things were pelvic alignment, utilizing plie, not rolling on your feet, staying square especially in arabesque, having more supported arms, and a stronger spot.
8.I now know how much harder I have to push my body and how much more effort dancing correctly takes. I also know how to take a class to get everything out of it which I really wish I knew before I went to Nashville.
9.There were some fantastic dancers in Nashville. There were a couple girls there who had so much power and had amazing bounce in their petit allegro. Another guy in my level could probably grande jete over my head!
10.My suite-mates were from Virginia and West Virginia. Their names are Maddie and Emma-Rose. We got along so great and by the end of the 5 weeks we became best friends! In our spare time we like to walk to some of the nearby restaurants and we also like to have movie nights and play cards.
11.While I was there we got to see the company rehearsing for Swan Lake and Nutcracker. I even got to see the principals rehearsing the Act 2 pas de deux from Swan Lake which was gorgeous! For the performance my level did a waltz from Act 3 of Swan Lake set my Ms. Koenig. I had a featured role as part of 5 couples. We also did a contemporary piece that we got to help choreograph which was set by an awesome teacher named Mr. Horner.
12.I'm already back! But I did miss everyone at CCDC while I was gone.

08.13.2014: SYTYCD Recap

Another episode of "Must C Dance Tv" on tonight!o)
So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11

Fifth Elimination Round

Opening Number: Top 10 perform. Top ten Salon. Parasols. Technicolor Wild West costumes. Booty-poppin. Good time energetic numbers. Colors match-up. Lariat. Partnering. Technicolor set pieces as well. Big belt buckles. That Teddy can turn. Faux fighting. Lotta Banging going on stage. Jamal Sims choreography.

Dancers introduced: Bridget in bollywood attire. standing tuck from Emilio. Jacque in pointe shoes. Zach tapping. Jessica is america's sweetheart. Casey can turn. Valerie hoofs as well. Ricky displays his hops and extension. He's shorter than you might think!

All-stars are brought on board. Guest judge is Tara Lipinski, Olympic Gold medalist turned TV commentator.

Eliminations: bottom two guys and girls will be announced after performances.

Team Bridgette+Brandon: Bollywood disco routine. Aerobic number. East meets west. Nikool coreography. "Bollywood joy ride". Wow! I'm getting tired just watching the first few counts of eight. deep knee squats to jumps. Nightclub lights flashing on mirror ball style. more knee squats. Brandon bites Bridgette's skirt. Shoulder sit to cartwheel off a la my arabian. both perform aerials to final pose. Bridgette stunning in Arabic eye treatment! She was picked for her telegenic presence! Bridgette on the endangered species list! Not good since I know the other bottom girl survives!o(

Team Tanisha+Ryan: Tango is in her wheelhouse. Leonardo + Miriam Argentine tango. Ballroomers from Utah, the hotbed of ballroom. Great chance to show dancers' strengths. Getting goose bumps watching . STRONG number. great extensions, marvelous musicality. easy but spectacular lifts. Great hips and ganchos! She was born for this movement. Flashing leg work. They run hands all over each other at the end! She's declared safe based on last week's votes.

Team Emilio+Jasmine: Nappy tabs hip hop routine. Tutting and twerking is his wheelhouse. Sharp sits the king in his throne. Seductive is the serpent out of her basket! These two bring the hard into the hits. Jasmine hits hard, he keeps up. Twerk it, baby! Pop it boyz! Jasmine, big Push through straddle. These dancers have no weaknesses exposed in the dance routine. simultaneous tutting! Jump and he disappears into the basket. Big hug at the end! Eliminations? Emilio in the bottom two!

Team Valerie + Ade: Tyce Diorio Jazz routine. Not the sweet Valerie. "Don't be so nice!" Can she bring her inner witch? He's a strong lifter! She's no twig! Ade powerful presence. Ade is bigger than the last time he was on the show. But, it's all muscle. WOW! Down Push up with her on his back! Makes it look easy! Why wasn't she given her strength? The tapping? I think Zach will get the tap number and they may not have wanted two tap numbers. Elimination? Safe!o)

Team Rudy+Jenna: Louis Van Amstel cha-cha-cha routine. Maps by Maroon Five. She's a strong performer. He's a good partner holding a good frame. He got the style! Selling the sizzle as well. Did a good job! Watch out, Jacque! New flame in town. Eliminations: safe!

Team Jacque+Chehon: Travis Wall Contemporary ballet duet routine. Goal is effortless. Better than that faux Odile number from earlier this season. Music from TRON from Daft Punk? Pretty shapes in silhouette or back lit . Some shakiness in the partnering. Nice breath and release. As usual my standards for ballet technique and choreography are off the charts. This was a reasonable effort. Underwhelming, otherwise. Non-ballet dancing judges easily impressed by their comments. Eliminations: Endangered.

Team Ricky+Lauren: Mandy Moore Jazz routine. Rockabilly routine. Choreographer pushing his limits. Lauren is an all star for a reason, isn't she? She won for a reason! Whatta pro! But, he's keeping UP! Just graduated from high school and he's in the top ten. He's also deceptively strong! Dang! Look at that flexibility! He could WIN this thing! "Skills that pay the bills!", says Mary! Endangered? No! He's safe! "How shocking!" says Nigel.

Team Casey+Katherine: Spencer Liff Broadway routine. "He loves me, he loves me not" He'll have to show off his acting chops! Katherine the movie star. Casey, her leading man. WOW! Love this number. It's got me from the first few steps! His turns are off the chart. Wave of the hand to bring her over. Not even watching Katherine, one of my favorite dancers!. He's not just a boy dancer anymore! He's a man and a heartbreaker! He's a cad and cutie at the same time! Dang! Movie star looks and principal dancer tricks! Eliminations: "You're SAFE!"

Team Jessica +Twitch: Nappy Tabz Hip hop routine. Twitch is the dirty old man! She's the hot young thing! don't bother me! . She's hot in red hot pants. He's effortless! He's padded up to look like an old man's body! It's like watching bill Cosby dance with a young Cyd Charisse. Talk to the hand, old man! Oh, They're so good together! Jessica safe! She's got leading lady movie star looks!

Team Zack + Amy: Sonja Tayeh routine! Amy Yakima the original beast paired with this season's powerhouse boy! Playing the memory of a friend who passed. Taking it to another level. routine choreographed as a tribute to the passing of a friend. She leaps in to his arms as if she could revive the dead to the sound of thunder and rain. endless hugs and lifts and catches. flowing movements , flowing costume Embraces that separate! She chases him, tells him to come back, to wait for her. He says he has to go. The sound of thunder and rain a constant in the background. One final lift and embrace a near kiss...he walks into the light as she reaches after him! OMG! What a number! Sonya is crying! Zack is also on the endangered species list! Sonya commissioned to work with Martha Graham company. "You were absolutely STUNNING tonight!" He's still in afterglow minutes after the performance ended. I remember that feeling!

Final eliminations: Emilio and Bridgette sent packing. Cat tries to get the hugging to end to get to the video package. The original partners came in together and they go out together

Who should worry? Rudy. Not Ricky or Casey. Not Zack. Tanisha should be careful as well as Valerie could be the next to go. Not Jessica after that routine with Twitch!

Next show: Tanisha gets paired with Nick. Valerie dances with Ryan. Jacque gets Twitch. Rudy gets Allison Holker! Ricky gets Jamie. Casey gets Comfort. Jessica gets Will. Zack gets Mackenzie! OMG! Some of my perennial favorites return to the stage! Tribute to Michael Jackson! The ballroomers find each other in the closing credits. Twitch does his old man dance with Cat!

08.12.2014: Summer Retrospective

FINALLY! Better late than never! Here's a summer intensive survey filled out after the fact by a CCDC dancer!
1. My name is ("Princess Jasmine") and I am dancing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the Milwaukee Ballet.
2. I am in level 3 and there are 6 levels. The other girls are all very nice but are spread out between an area of technically sufficient to not so technically sufficient. The students in the upper levels all showed their personal strong suits and why they were put in the higher levels. Lots of the dancers had beautiful lines and feet and used them to their full extent.
3. There was around 24 people in my level. 19 girls and 5 guys.
4. I'm taking a wide range of dance classes. The first week I took an African class and then a few weeks later I was doing a composition class. The other classes I took were Afro-Cuban, jazz, Latin jazz, modern, and then variations and partnering. The hardest one to get used to was Afro-Cuban because the movement was nothing like I had done before. The coordination was very hard to get at first and the teacher would teach the combination once or twice and then tell us to go without really breaking down the movement. Only after we had all gone would the teacher show is how to do the movement correctly. I would have to say that Afro-Cuban was the hardest to get used to but was the most fun along with Latin jazz because on the last day the teacher taught us salsa. The class that reminded me of CCDC was composition because it was all improve and it reminded me of the work we did with Alissa in modern. I didn't feel as awkward or weird as some of the other dancers because I have had the experience of doing improve with people that I know and so when I did it there with people that I didn't really know that well, I was okay with it and comfortable with it.
5. All of the teachers I've had so far have given similar classes to Missy and Emery so it hasn't been very hard to adjust to the classes and teachers. My first teacher was Tatiana and I absolutely loved her. She was very encouraging and worked with the whole class giving everyone the correction even if it was for one person she would explain it to everyone. The first week Tatiana worked a lot with our upper body and having our arms strong and never marking our arms. Then the last week we had her she worked more with our footwork and I was complimented on my footwork :). One teacher I had gave me a correction for my turns that I hadn't gotten before and was really helpful. It was to keep my passé in one position from the beginning and to know where I was putting it from the start so that I could complete my turns and not come down too early.
6. Tatiana is the wife of one of the other teachers, Denis. She is a former dancer for Milwaukee i think and she used to dance in the Soviet Union when she was a kid. She is crazy fun and my favorite teacher that I had.
7. For me the transition hasn't been very hard because the teachers have been talking about lots of similar technical corrections that I got from Missy and Emery so that was nice to have that similarity. My advice for other dancers is to not expect the same kind of teaching environment and classroom environment that CCDC has. Some of the teachers are not as nice about giving corrections and are just very blunt about things and will just say that a person is the worst at doing something. It just is a very more direct way of teaching that is not like the teaching at CCDC. The atmosphere itself is also more competitive then what I was used to. Everyone is trying to get attention and corrections from teachers so you are always working to be noticed. Right now I am technically working on using my footwork more. Going through it and using it to my fullest capability. One of the last corrections I got was from my teacher Jennifer who is a current company dancer with the Milwaukee Ballet. She gave me the correction of pulling everything out and being the biggest I could be all the time just like what Emery and Missy tell me to do all the time:).
8. I wish I would have know just how much competition there would be. I knew there would be competing I just did not realize how much there would be and how much you would have to fight to be noticed and looked at by the teachers. Because there were girls there that go there all year round and so the teachers know them and will do more with them because they know them better. So that was something that I did not think about.
9. The best dancer I saw was in level 6 and she had beautiful lines and feet. Her legs were hyperextended and she had really good extension. She was Japanese and was one of the featured girls in the level 6 piece. She was one of the best because she extended everything through her body so that the line wouldn't just stop it would keep growing. She also had great turns and balances that set her apart from the other dancers.
10. My roommates name is Kelly O'Daniel. She is from Memphis, Tennessee and she dances with Ballet Memphis. I love my roommate she is crazy and fun! She is in the same level as me and we are constantly together. I have four other suit mates and they are all really nice and fun to hang out with. We usually hang out with other dancers doing different activities each night or we would just hang out in our dorm or watch tv together.
11. I have gotten to see the company do a special performance for us that they put together. I got to see company members that have been dancing with Milwaukee for a couple seasons and then I got to see other company members that have just recently joined. It was really fun to see because they performed a classical variation piece, a contemporary piece, and then a jazz one that some of the dancers themselves had choreographed. Then after the performance there was a Q&A where we could ask any questions about what life in the company was like, what did they do for a diet, and how they first heard and got started with Milwaukee Ballet. I didn't really get to see a lot of the city because we had certain boundaries we had to stay within but we did go on lots of trips to the zoo and then six flags and to the Dells. We also had a trip to the mall which was nice so we got to walk around there and explore what was available. For my rep piece I was chosen to be in a few little trip parts which was really fun and great to be in. I love my choreographer his name is Petr and I love his choreography. The movement flows from one thing to the next and is just very free feeling.
12. I'm already back from Milwaukee but I missed everyone soooo much!!! I'm so glad to be back and to be back with everyone again:)!!!!

08.08.2014: Windy City Winner

Pointe Magazine e-mailing out information on dancers giving back in Chicago:
Tchai Pas for Charity

Longtime Joffrey Ballet member, April Daly, knows dancing isn't all about the glamour--it's also about using your talents to give back. On August 16, she and other dancers from companies like Joffrey Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will do just that as they share the stage for Dance for Life Chicago. The evening raises funds for HIV/AIDS care, prevention and education. Pointe spoke with Daly about her involvement.

What will you be dancing?

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with Dylan Gutierrez from the Joffrey Ballet. It's very happy and uplifting--the music and the movement. I think it's a piece that celebrates life, so it's fitting for Dance for Life.

How did you get involved in the project?

I first heard about it through Joffrey and performed in it a couple of years ago, but I've also attended as an audience member. The energy in the theater is unbelievable, and it's different than any other performance we do. So when they asked me this summer if I'd be willing to be a part of it, I said 'Absolutely!'

Why is this cause important to you?

In the dance world, and in the world in general, I've had people come into my life who are HIV positive or had AIDS. It's incredible that this event helps so many people--those living with HIV and AIDS, as well as dancers with cancer or leukemia. The Dancers' Fund gives relief to dancers in the Chicago area.

What's it like performing with dancers from a variety of genres?

We're lucky that in Chicago we have so many companies representing different styles of dance. To have an evening where they're all brought together is exciting because I get to meet people that I don't know, and we get to support each other onstage. And it's really special for the Chicago community, too, to have one night where they get a little taste of everything.

What advice would you give to aspiring dancers who want to get involved in similar outreach projects?

As dancers, we work so hard to have a career at whatever capacity we can--it can be at a large or small company--but when you have an opportunity to give back to the community, it's really important. Sometimes you think, 'How can I get involved?'or 'I wish I had more money to give,' but it's nice to be able to help a cause by doing what you do best.

08.07.2014: Danceresearch

For Health care professionals and interested by-standers: a recent skim of the American Journal of Sports Medicine revealed some interesting research into professional and aspiring ballet dancers and how they differ from the general population:
"...A profile of the musculoskeletal characteristics of elite professional ballet dancers

Abstract

Twenty-eight principal dancers and soloists from America's two most famous ballet companies were examined for anthropometric measurements, including flexibility, muscle strength, and joint range of motion. Both male and female dancers were flexible, but not hyper- mobile, and did not differ significantly from each other. Marked differences were found between the range of motion of the hip and ankle in the dancers and the norms for the general population. The increased exter nal rotation of the hip in women was accompanied by a loss in internal rotation, resulting in an increased range of motion with an externally rotated orientation. The men, however, lost more internal rotation than they gained in external rotation. These data raise the pos sibility of a torsional component to the turned-out hip position in elite female professional ballet dancers. In addition, significant anatomic differences separate elite dancers of both sexes from the normal population..."

...Here's another:
"...Methods: The study population included 1320 female dancers, aged 8 to 16 years, who participated in different types of dancing classes (classical ballet, modern dance, jazz, etc) and 226 nondancers of similar age. Range of motion was measured for the hip, knee, ankle, foot, and spinal joints.

Results: The pattern of differences in range of motion with age varied in different joints and types of movement. (1) For combined ankle and foot plantar flexion (pointe), ankle plantar flexion, and hip external rotation, there was no change in range of motion in dancers, whereas range of motion diminished with age in the nondancers. (2) For ankle dorsiflexion, neither group showed any change with age, and range of motion was significantly greater in the nondancer group. (3) For knee flexion, hip flexion, and hip internal rotation, range of motion decreased with age in both groups. (4) For hip abduction, range of motion decreased with age in dancers and remained constant in the nondancers. (5) For hip extension, range of motion increased in both groups. (6) For lower back and hamstrings, range of motion increased among dancers with age and remained constant among nondancers..."

...Food for thoughtful dancers.

08.06.2014: Return of the All-Starz to SYTYCD

Second half of the season kicks off on "Must C Dance TV" tonight!
So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11

Fourth Elimination Round

Opening Number: Top 14 perform. Backlit in Gold. Dancers in togas. Dramatic lifts. Boy lifts boy. Girl lifts boy. Like Greek gods or Olympians on Olympus. accented with gold jewelry. Dramatic leap and catch. Ends with dancer wiping gold paint on his tunic. Some metaphor i'm missing? Stacey Tookey choreography.

Eliminating four dancers today. Guest judge? Christina Applegate, actress and former dance student, who looks ageless. Results? Who's on the chopping block?Cat reads names of those who advance: Bridgette, Emilio, Jacque, Ricky, Tanisha, Rudy, Valerie + Zach. Meaning Endangered dancers: half-dozen left...only two will survive to go on tour!

Team Bridgilio: Ray Leeper Jazz Routine. Mission from hell seeking soul to steal. Red spotlight and red costumes. Tie is an arrow pointing straight south for Emilio. Bridgette is very endearing for some reason. Dancers hit the routine HARD! Punch front tuck by Emilio. They need to concentrate on finishing with as much energy as they started...if not more. Applegate gives the acting tips. Intention will bring the emotion and message. Be the dance, don't dance the dance.

Team Tanudy: Mandy Moore contemporary routine. Seduction. The song is Seduces me by Celine Dion. starts off with lift into swooping turns. Then a lot more lifts and transitions. Flowing transitions. Hmm, not easy lifts and segues from one to the other. into a one- handed overhead lift. Kudos to Rudy for being there for his partner! Kudos for Tanisha for trusting implicitly!

Serge Solo: Always problematic for ballroom dancers to dance by themselves. Fast turns and attack. Strong hips. fast footwork. Drops to he floor on his knees. Blows a kiss to audience as he leaves.

Team Zachue: Jean Mark Gennerau Paso Doble. Vampiric Paso Doble. Zach be the man in command! Little stumble. Ferocious attack by both dancers. Skirt gets ripped off. Unfortunate crotch lift carry across the stage. Zach stepping up in this role! Tapping into his inner Bela Lugosi! Jacque doing her best in heels, I'm sure she's not used to. But, she looks good in blood red and black lace! Ends with a strong lift and freeze!

Karli Solo: Nice air and nice aeriels...Heck she can turn. Grand pirouette into a pull in. She's front-loaded her solo to show off some unexpected strengths. Slower at the end, little anti-climactic.

Team Emileddy: Warren Carlisle broadway routine. Cat and mouse routine. Music from Kiss Me Kate. She's channeling her sixties pin-up star. Teddy's doing his best James Dean. Big MGM musical fiale feel. Sexy Saxaphone. clasic jazz moves from an earlier era. She looks like Ann Margaret in her peacock inspired print outfit and sixties half bouffant hair-do. Both dancers are on the bubble and need to impress.

Casey Solo: big air...nice, impressive controlled turns. Making a case to stay. Aeriels. Great smile! Pulling out all the tricks from the toolbag!

Emily Solo: Pulling out the emotional stops as well as the turns and trick bag. Yearning piece.

Team Jessicasey: Travis Wall contemporary routine. Luck of the draw. Emmy award winner choreographer. Story and steps. Kiss on stage into an yvette inspired lift sequence. She's gorgeous in yellow. He's in simple t-shirt and jeans. Wow! He's making those lifts look effortless. She's floating! She cries afterwards! Judges on their feet afterwards. Christina praises Crystal clear intention! Best looking couple award! They may have just saved their lives! We'll see from the solo from her.

Teddy Solo: Quirky contemporary. Love his choreography! Isolations into sequential undulations.

Team Carlerge: Jean Mark Gennerau Quick step. The dreaded quick step! Water test! Strong still upper body, working legs! Serge's ballroom background should help this routine. She looks great in a cut out three quarter length teal gown. Ends with a kiss on the cheek! What a smile that Karly! Ballroom expert says it was "good to see"!

Jessica Solo: To Beyonce's Fever. She's so elegantly telegenic and she can dance. nice turns. nice flexibility. Endless turns that stop on balance! Good job!

Team Valericky: Pharside and Phoenix Witch Doctor routine. Voo doo hip hop. Love taking hip hop to another level! Story and character motivation and movement!. Synchronicity needs work. Ricky performs an aerial. Valerie has some control in her flexibility! . Exhausting routine! Well-done! Power couple!

Female routine: Mandy Moore choreography. Strong women dancing together. Challenging them to take it past pretty! Starts with wind machine blowing long dresses and loose tresses. Once again, yearning interspersed with explosive jumps and throws. LOVE it! Strong woman dancing strong. No fear! Women end by walking in unison!

Male Routine: Travis Wall routine. Practicing huge throw and catch. Boys ascend on stage Bare chested. strong formations lifting and falling and dragging, turning, spiraling shapes that coalesce and transform and suddenly vibrate into another formation. waves and waves of movement. Sudden scream and shout. There's that tremendous throw and catch. All the boys spiral off and fall off the edge of the stage.

Final eliminations: Judges save Jessica and Casey. Big hug. They were in total agreement. Serge, teddy, carly and emily are voted off the island. Who's next? Valerie and Tanisha not high on my list. Rudy and Emilio on the guy's short list. All-stars announced are truly an impressive all-stars list! (Whoa! Ballet dancer gets paired with Cheon? Time to step up your game, Dowling Catholic Girl!o)

...What do you think?

08.05.2014: "Ballet" Myth Conception

Just got this in the old e-mailbag recently. Tell me what you think:
"...A former WTA Tennis player doesn't think young girls should be forced to think of themselves as delicate ballerinas or princesses. Rather, (she) wants young girls to be able to think of themselves as athletes the same way boys are encouraged to. “Because of tennis, I was able to see the world and meet people from nearly every corner of the globe. I wanted to show children, and especially girls, just how much sports can offer them."

To achieve this goal, (she) wrote ... (an) inspiring and beautifully illustrated children's book about two twins who take a magical ride to the four Grand Slam events of tennis.

'There are tons of baseball, basketball, and football books for boys as well as ballet and 'girly' books for girls, but this book is meant for both boys and girls. It's meant to show that sports like tennis can help you make friends, get exercise, see new parts of your own country or foreign countries, learn sportsmanship, play a high school sport, get a college scholarship, and develop a skill that can last a lifetime,' (she) says..."

...This is what I think: DANCERS ARE ATHLETES! Anyone who thinks ballet dancers aren't working on power, stamina and strength every day is dealing with misguided misconceptions! And, ballet and dance can also "...help you make friends, get exercise, see new parts of your own country or foreign countries, learn sportsmanship...(participate in high school)...get a college scholarship and develop a skill that can last a lifetime..." Look, no disrespect to you budding Martina Navratilovaz (Looking at you Lani Liu), but, taking dance or ballet develops athletic skill as well as artistry! Lets put that "airy, fairy" take-on-ballet misconception to rest! What do you think? Comments welcome!

08.04.2014: Quadruple Threat!o)

Congrats to a CCDC student for being honored with a Dionysos Award from the DsM Playhouse recently!
...Outstanding Performance by a Young Actress in a Mainstage Musical: Jillian Michelle Gabby as Young Cosette in Les Misérables...

Jillian Michelle Gabby (Young Cosette) counts among her Playhouse credits Fiddler on the Roof (Shprintze), The Sound of Music (Brigitta von Trapp), and Annie (Tessie).

...Watch out Amy Adams! Here come the Gabby sisters!

08.01.2014: Emergency! See "Emergence"

Merde to the CCDC students performing in this end-of-the-summer-intensive performance:
"Emergence"
Friday, August 1, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

This family-friendly performance celebrating the culmination of the Summer Intensive Program showcases a wide variety of styles featuring original choreography by Milwaukee Ballet favorites Rolando Yanes, Nadia Thompson, Denis Malinkine, Petr Zahradnícek, Ryan Martin, Monica Isla and several international guest artists.

Tickets only $25! ($15 for children)
Click here for more information, or call the Wilson Center box office at (262) 781-9520.

...Toi, toi, toi for performance, dancers...then...TIME TO COME HOME ALREADY!oD

07.31.2014: Can't Spell 'Choreography' Without 'Chore'!

So, forgive me in advance if you're forced to listen in to what's playing on my iPod or in my car's sound system nowadays. I try to roll up my windows at stoplights so no one else will have to listen to endless renditions of "Waltz of the Flowers" from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Yes, it's on repeat, endless repeat, ENDLESS REPEAT and it's only Mid-summer. Now, why subject myself to music from the ballet that most dancers already have a love-hate relationship? It's all part of the choreographic process. I'm resetting an entirely brand-new La Valse du Fleur from scratch this fall and I have to be ready to go as early as possible (warning to any dancers cast in the Flower corps, we're starting sooner than anyone else!) My choreographic process involves listening to the music constantly, 24-7. Listen until my ears bleed...metaphorically, of course! I let it seep into my subconscious, past my critical, logical mind, into that place where creativity is unchained. It would be easy to just put steps to the music, I can do that already. But, it's important not to rush the process, not to just accept the first thing that comes to mind. Nor the second thing. Maybe, just maybe, the third or fourth or fifth... I'm already searching for a narrative, a framework on which to build my choreography around. In my Snow, for example, the Snow Corps constantly forms paths of protections for Clara and the Nutcracker to travel through the land where winter lives until they arrive to the Kingdom of the Sweets. My Arabian is the story of a slave trader who brings his favorite slave for sale into the market, but, ends up realizing he's in love and keeping her for himself. Now, as for Les Fleur, I think I have a germ of an idea, a seed, if you will, out of which my Waltzing Flowers will bloom. (Forgive all the fertilizer!o) Come see the show this December (or, better yet, DANCE in it!) and see how successful I am or if I give in to fear and time pressures and compromises. Meanwhile, my apologies if you happen to listen in to my iPod or my car stereo...Choreographer at work!o)

07.30.2014: Let Boys Do Ballet!

Ran across this post purportedly from a mom in the metro. Do you think it's real?
Gym
Des Moines, IA

(I have put my 11-year-old boy down for a ballet session at my local gym. I arrive there on the day to find the registrar already there.)

Registrar: Ah yes, Mrs [My Name]?

Me: (getting ID out) Yeah, that’s me.

Registrar: And this is [Son’s Name], is it?

Me: Yes.

Registrar: Well, the activities are upstairs. He has a choice of football, swimming, soccer or tennis. If you don’t have the right costume, that’s fine…

Me: I signed him up for ballet.

Registrar: (jokingly) Well, you don’t want him growing up to be a f**, do you?

Me:…Look, can I put him in ballet?

Registrar: (annoyed) Girls only!...

...I find it hard to believe this could still be going on in the 21st Century. Here's the link to the entire posting. Is it real? Or is it just a troll? What do you think? As a man, a former professional ballet dancer and current ballet instructor, I find it especially appalling either way. Parents! Bring your boys who want to dance ballet or any other dance form to CCDC! ...Oh, and you girls welcome too!o)

07.29.2014: Beantown Ballerina!

She LIVEZ! She WRITEZ! She's COMING HOME AT THE END OF THE WEAK!
1. Its ("Tanna") here coming to you from Boston! I am spending my summer here with Boston Ballet.

2. I am level 3A out of 5 levels. Everyone in my class is good and has their own strengths. They're good competition.

3. We have 29 students in our class.

4. Besides ballet I have character, modern, partnering, and pilates once a week. Character is the hardest because its so different. Partnering is always my favorite!

5. Most of my teachers here are Balanchine trained. Most of my corrections have been the same technique wise but they ask for different things style wise.

6. My main teacher and favorite, Ms. Ghiardi, trained at SAB and danced in BB2. Her classes are so Balanchine and fun!

7. It has been easy for me to get use to the teachers because I had them last year. For anyone who is taking class from someone new you just have to keep your mind open to new ideas! I miss everyone at CCDC and I definitely miss the loving atmosphere. The last correction I was given was to make my glissade smaller.

8. I already knew that you have to be pushy to get noticed but I forgot how intense some girls can be about it.

9. The best dancers I have seen here are all in level 5. They're all strong, and have the movement quality.

10. My roommate is my friend from SAB and Boston. We requested each other. She's in level 5 and trains at PNB year round. For fun we like to walk around the city, adventure, and sit by the docks.

11. We went on a trip to see NYCB perform in Saratoga. They performed 6 different pieces. They were all so beautiful but my favorite part was when Sara Mearns danced. I have no shame to admit I teared up at her beauty.

12. I return home on August 2nd so I'll see you all in a week! I can't wait(:

07.28.2014: So You Think You Can Review Reality TV

The summer reality dance competition continues:
So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11
Third Elimination Round

Opening Number: Top 16 perform. Capes flow in silohouette. Boys strut on backwards. Annie Lennox number. Capes stripped off and thrown away. Big toss to catch of one dancer. Sinuous and sensual partnering. A coda of individual strengths. Girls pose draped over stage edge. LOVE this piece. Love this choreography. Girls drop to the floor in a final pose. Who's the choreographer I wonder?

New partnerships unveiled in the intro. Mandy Moore routine! Okay! makes sense! Misty Copeland back again! @mistyonpointe is her twitter handle (I'm a subscriber and big fan!o)

Eliminations: Three girls and three guys in the endangered species list: Bridgette, Marquette, Brooklyn, Serge, Tanishia and Zach! Some for the first time, some for another stint in the danger zone!

Team Rickerie: Bollywood with Nikul. Valerie needs to find her inner sexy beast. Bollywood is always easily accessible to non dance audiences. The energy and attack is very telegenic. Wow. iffy lift. But, strong dismount that takes a lot of counter balance! elements of tutting. Not sure her inner sexy is coming out! Very aerobic, non stop number! Ends with Ricky showing off his flexibility, wide straddle split!! Misty praises tours from knee! Good effort. Should keep them from facing elimination next week.

During the first break, choreographers have been teaching elements of their style. Excellent idea! Hopefully, it'll get more people considering taking more dance classes!

Team Emiligette: Travis Wall contemporary number. Luck of the draw to get the Emmy award winner. Past comes back to haunt this dancer is the story. Nice extensions I hope Bridgette doesn't get sent home. I remember her story from the auditions. She's dancing for her father. Wall continues to push the boundaries and create unusual shapes and lifts. Powerful. emotional piece. Excellent transitions and use of the bed set piece. What a powerful story and performance! Bridgette may have just saved her life to dance another day.

Team Rudisha: Dave Scott hip hop routine. Will you die for a kiss! Punched in the face during rehearsal. Good kisser by Usher. Leather look for Tanisha! She's selling her inner sexy. Rudy's being overshadowed. Or is it the red boots this time and the see through cut outs in the skin-tight costume. Double pirouette from the Rudy. Out of his comfort zone! Then, shows off a side aerial. Misty praises "subtle sexiness". Credits Rudy channeling his inner Usher! I wish they would stop referring to the Jacqui-Rudy flirtation. What is this? Middle School? Even though a few months ago some of these contestants were just finishing off high school, we don't have to cater to the tweener audience all the time do we? DO WE?

Team Marquessa: Dmitriy Smooth foxtrot routine. Marquette's a ballroomer this should be his forte!. She'll have to keep up with him. But, she does start well. Very daring backless dress and gown that sparkles. Good frame. Nice moments of movement alternating with stillness. I like their stretch and sense of line. Plus she's flirting with him as she dances. Not just concerned with audience! She tosses him away and struts OFF! Okay! Mary is criticizing Marquette on the details from Latin versus American Smooth ballroom style. But, she praises Jessica's steps. Something endearing about this couple. But, will this be Marquette's swan song?

Team Serjarli: Mandy Moore contemporary routine. Desire in relationship: The Jerk and the smitten kitten. Foolish Games by Jewel. Blue lights. Mandy Moore also a choreographer who constantly challenges the status quo. NICE turns by Carli!. Smooth, effortless partnering. Not sure I see the tug of war previewed in the package. Excellent back bend to catch by Serge's foot! Serge may have just saved himself!

Team Emileddy: Oksana and Jonathan Salsa routine! Very acrobatic! Oh, she slips. Sense the uncomfortable approach by the dancers. lack of familiarity with this genre! They're better NOT in hold. Mishandling hand grabs. SLOW chainne' turns. This numbers seems interminible. Seemed A LOT uncomfortable to me! Nigel reveals an injury suffered by Emily. Praises their professionalism.

Team Zacqui: Sonya Tayeh jazz routine. Another luck of the draw! Sonya calls out Jacque. Beyonce's back to black. Zach takes off her her shoes. or rather she steps out of them as he holds on to them. She's in garter and hose. For a tapper, Zach is showing a plethora of training and versatility. Not my favorite Sonya piece. Zach is the all-american boy, isn't he!

Team Casooklyn: Wildebeest hip hop routine. "Be a Beast!" "Don't be clean and pretty!" Okay chance to show off Casey's pirouettes! While Brooklyn shakes her hips in the background!. Hmm...could use some power in their popping. More hitting in their hip hop. I think we could lose his gray shorts! Nigel comments on the costume! Calls on them to get down some more! My fellow judge at home says she stopped watching. Not a favorable prognosis for voting results next week!

Group One Piece: Sonya Tayeh choreography. "The Village of Broken People". Deep, dark and intense. "So Broken" Bjork. This might be the piece that took Sonja's attention away from her other pieces. More of a notion in motion here!. Stronger movements. Sharper lifts. More attack. A Silent scream from Tanishia. She stumbles and falls into Rudy's arms. Then, they all fall down! and struggle to come back! Group Lift of Rudy He's tossed and falls into waiting arm. This was the best piece of the evening! Well performed! Okay, maybe, tied with Travis' piece! Tanishia may have just saved herself. Tapped into some universal angst!

Group Two Piece: Travis Wall contemporary routine. Battle of the choreographers! Outlaws escaping the city. Nasty movement. One Republic "love Runs out". Powerful. All black costumes accented with leather and gloves Risky lift to fall and toss back. These dancers are committed to this piece. Maybe, too commercial? Ends with Ricky peering over the edge of a ledge held back from falling by his team members! Dancers dream of being in pieces like this!

Eliminations: Nigel says it'll get worse before it gets better and four dancers will be going home next week. Says the judges tend to go with America's votes unless a blockbuster performance. It's Marquette and Brooklyn who get their walking papers this week! So, Who's in trouble next week? Rudy? Serge hasn't caught on with the public. Teddy's salsa was weak to me. Casey's hp hop was also weak. Val's Bollywood was questionable. Jessica's foxtrot wasn't in her wheelhouse, tho she did it well. Her Q rating is off the charts, tho'! Could that work against her? Emily's injuries could open the door to dismissal? Four dancers go home next episode! Who will remain in the top ten?

07.25.2014: Lifting Shroud of Turning

NYCB Ballerina posts latest in her webvid series. This time, tips on improving your pirouette:

07.24.2014: "Solo For Two"

Even ballet superstars need to expand their dance horizons. Here's an update e-mailed courtesy Pointe Magazine:
Solo for Two Superstars

Globetrotting superstars Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev are at it again. Pointe spoke with the pair in a joint interview via e-mail as they put the final touches on their new program, Solo for Two. The daring triple bill, which features work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Ohad Naharin and Arthur Pita, premieres at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, July 25-27.

Why did you decide to work together on this project?

NO & IV: In 2011, we discussed the possibility of creating a special project. We'd been together as partners both onstage and in life. A lot of changes have occurred since then, but we never thought of changing the format--we believe it's made us even closer. The title has great significance to us: Solo for Two. What could be better?

How is the program broadening your palates?

NO & IV: We definitely feel that this project reveals new sides of us as dancers, even though we each have different previous experiences working with contemporary choreographers.

NO: I have danced with Mats Ek, Forsythe, McGregor, Bigonzetti, Duato, and each has been an amazing opportunity for artistic growth.

IV: I've had a bit less interaction with contemporary choreographers, but I'm always eager to venture into new experiences and challenges.

How did you choose the ballets and choreographers for Solo for Two?

NO & IV: We decided we needed to focus on more contemporary, even modern styles, and here we are--Larbi, Ohad, and Arthur are a dream team for us.

What was it like stepping into Naharin's Gaga style?

NO: Ohad has been a dream for me for at least the last six years. When Ivan saw video of Ohad's works, he too fell in love with it. But only in Tel Aviv did we both realize how difficult his style is.

NO & IV: Ohad insisted we come to Tel Aviv and take classes with his company. We had never seen Gaga classes, and for us it was something that, as mainly classical dancers, we probably never would have tried.

How much time did you get to spend with each choreographer?

NO & IV: One month. Rehearsals took place in Milan, London, Tel Aviv, Brussels and Antwerp, with our final rehearsals now in Costa Mesa at the Segerstrom Center.

What has this experience taught you?

NO & IV: It's good to be open-minded, and not to be afraid to take risks.

Check out Pointe's December/January issue for exclusive rehearsal photos and to hear more from Osipova and Vasiliev!

07.23.2014: Shrieking At Shrek

Check out this show! Buy local in your arts decisions! PR from The Playhouse:
Now through Aug. 3
7:30 PM Wednesday-Saturday, 2:00 PM Sunday

In a kingdom far, far away, things get ugly when an ogre, not a handsome prince, shows up to rescue a feisty Princess. Throw in a wisecracking Donkey, a villain with a short temper, a Gingerbread Man with attitude, and other fairy tale misfits, and you've got a mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily there's one on hand, and his name is Shrek. Shrek The Musical is part romance, part twisted fairy tale, and all irreverent fun.

"Be sure to include Shrek on your summer "must-do" list. This musical theatre escape will leave you revived with its energy and joy. You will give your grin muscles one heckuva workout." -- Michael Morain, The Des Moines Register

"Shrek at the Playhouse came off with zest. On opening night everyone had a ball. Ken-Matt Martin stood out, uncaging his inner Tina Turner..." -- John Domini, Cityview

"Jill Ziegler [Fiona] delivers her songs with a strong voice...every member of this supercharged cast earns high praise for their dedication to bringing this show to vibrant life."--John Busbee, The Culture Buzz

"Wearing an elaborate green mask and make-up the amiable Lance Noe [Shrek] looks surprisingly like his cartoon counterpart... It's rare to hear an audience actually howl with laughter. The songs are bursting with the same razzle-dazzle that Broadway companies save for the TV cameras in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." -- Michael Morain, The Des Moines Register

"Guaranteed to have young and old alike tapping their toes while alternately grabbing their sides from all the laughter...Mark Maddy [Lord Farquaad] knocks it out of the kingdom!" -- John Busbee, the Culture Buzz

...And, at least one CCDC student gives the show "two hooves" up!o)

07.22.2014: Dance Like You Mean It

Happened again. I was at a local restaurant being waited on by a young server the other day. She had excellent proportions for ballet, so, I couldn't help myself, I blurted out, "You should take ballet!" She smiled at the suggestion, but, then, told me something I dreaded: "I've danced for 18 years!" I asked her where and she told me. My eyebrows shot up and I withheld my disparaging comments. But, I guess I couldn't hide my expression and she said, "Yeah, I kinda wish I'd taken someplace a little more technical." After I introduced myself, she asked if CCDC offered Adult Ballet and I said we did and invited her to take some classes. But, that's so frustrating when someone with such potential wastes their time at a barely recreational approach to the artform. Very few kids are smart enough to realize at a young age they're not being taught correctly (But, at least one young dancer came to us after complaining to her mother that she wasn't learning anything at the same studio as my new waitress friend!). And, unless parents have some experience in dance, they're often clue-less at what constitutes good dance training and what is just stealing money from willing victims. I'll tell this story again that illustrates the same point: After I got out of the local professional ballet company, I continued to take classes at different studios around the area. At one reputable studio north of here, I met a young man who introduced himself before class and he told me he'd taken dance and ballet for 14 years...ever since he was three! I watched him in class and kept my thoughts to myself: that he'd been wasting his time for 14 years. After all, I wasn't his teacher. He wasn't my responsibility. But, he later told me this story: He turned 18 and auditioned for different college dance programs. He expected to be greeted with open arms, after all he was treated like "God's gift to ballet" at his dance studio. He told me he mentioned at every college that he'd been dancing for 15 years...ever since he was three. Finally, at one University, a frustrated professor snapped at him, "Son, you haven't been dancing for 15 years! You've been dancing one year fifteen times! Now, get off my stage!" The dancer told me he HATED his teachers now...and to my knowledge has never stepped foot back in that studio again. Now, the good news is because he was a guy and there are so few men in ballet, he managed to get accepted to a dance program. But, how much better would he have been if he had taken challenging, technical ballet classes for 15 years? You may never want to dance professionally, you may never want to dance in college, you may never dance again after high school, but, don't you deserve to be trained correctly? Come take my ballet class...or work your way up to take my ballet class at CCDC and let's get better together! And, bring some other dancers! Hopefully, you'll end up standing next to that waitress and my young dancer friend!

07.21.2014: So You Think You Can Watch Dance On TV

Two more dancers hit the road:
So You Think You Can Dance
Season 11
Second Elimination Round

Opening Number: Top 18 perform. Chess board. The White king stalks. Great concept. Stark contrast in costuming, but, similar steps. Checkerboard floor. Tanisha the black Queen! Ratchet moves! Tutting White pieces. straddle leap from black. LOVE this concept. Stylized battle, stylized movements! The White Queen and the Black Queen battle! The White Queen triumphant! Choreographed by dance-makers from the Academy of Villains!

Up for elimination. Ooh! Watch out for that Brooklyn! Yay! Misty Copeland (@Mistyonpointe) is BACK! Emmy nominations acknowledged! Four nominations for choreography! But, Really, besides DWTS what is the competition? Okay! Up for elimination: Bridgette, Emilio, Emily, Stanley, Jordan, Again!, Teddy. Deep breaths of relief for the dancers who survived as they walk off the stage!

Team Jacqack Attack: Keoni and Mari hip hop! Hip hop of relationship. The tapper and ballet dancer are being challenged. to Stay With Me by Sam Smith. Starts on the back with tutting. LOVE this choreography and concept. Not sure this couple's hip hop is their strong pointe. They were right to be worried, but, they give it the old college try!. Not quite the best sharpest hip hop but, excellent feeling! Good performance! From both. This is what the show is all about. Taking dancers out of their comfort zone. Something every dancer needs to explore!

Team Jordquette: Contemporary. Should be good for both of them. Marquette is a hiphopper as well! Watch out for this guy. Just needs to get comfortable with the intimate touching that occurs when you partner safely. Nice shapes, nice movements, effortless lifts and dismounts fluid in this piece. LOVe this piece as well. Jordan goes past six o'clock penche. The reaching and yearning exemplified by jordan's effortless extensions. Trust implicit in the way she throws herself into the lifts. Umbrella is metaphor for safety from the elements. Choreography by Dee Caspary! Excellent piece danced excellently. Judges disagree mostly. (Love Misty's corrective technical corrections!)

Team Jessicanley: Tyce Diorio Jazz piece. Magic Carpet Ride. Faux Bollywood? Funkier than a mosquito's Twitter. Big Grand jete en tournant from Stanley again. She's got a very commercial look. Well trained. Her costume flies in the wind machine. She's giving a lot of face. Advantage of blonde coloring and complexion is that it pops on TV! Misty calls both dancers out on the facials. Nygel criticizes Stanley on lack of core control. Can't disagree!

Team Bridgilio: Anya and Pasha jive. Ouch! Drops and hits in rehearsal. Happy by Pharrel. She looks great in that shiny light blue. She's very telegenic, Ill let the girls say whether he's the same. She's got a classic forties pin up look. Love to see Pasha and Anya demonstrate this routine. What great smile from both of them! Judges complimentary! Technical corrections for Emilio from the ballroom expert. Nigel praises Emilio for doing well out of his genre! Heartbroken that they're in the bottom six! Misty praises their lack of over-emoting in the facials!

Team Emileddy: Tyce Diorio contemporary piece. "Don't ever leave me!" Story of desperation. Ne me quitte Pas. Nice lines. nice suspension. excellent breath Love the movement to this familiar yet unfamiliar music. I've heard this in english before, but, the spanish makes it new. Emotion is off the charts. Story of some one dying and the sorrow of seperation. Ooh, she's crying! She's emotional! Misty says, "You were singing with your body tonight!" "Dance like you're barefoot every time!" Dang! he's a hiphopper! Teddy has matinee idol looks! He and Bridgette could star in their own movie!

Team Brookasey: Bonnie Story Jazz piece. Crazy Little Thinkg Called Love. No Technique face! Exact same correction I gave to Miko Fogarty in Lausanne last year. beats and cabrioles. You need ballet technique all the way through this routine. grand pirouette envelloppe down to a squat! What control! Nice emotion!. Nice connection. People love to see dancers having fun! I LOVE to see it! What a CUTE Couple!

National Dance Day = July 26th.

Team Valericky: Lacey Schwimmer Viennese Waltz. She tapes them together. Last week it was Benji, this week, his sister. They're showing a lot of the grace of the dance. The rise and fall needs a little work. The turns little tentative. Preparation into the lifts are being telegraphed. Last week's power couple being put to the test. nice lines in the separate section. My guest judge questions the stiffness in her upper body. My guest judge disagrees with the TV panel's effusiveness!

Team Carlerge: Luther Brown hiphop. Live skeleton people! Creepy gangsta choreography. Senile is the song they're dancing to. Yeah, she's already good at this. Serge is out of his ballroom comfort zone. She's hitting it harder than he is...but, that's to be expected given their background. She also has effortless extensions. Good for her, adequate from him. Judges disagree on dance quality and effort.

Team Tanishudy: Broadway routine by Warren Carlisle. Cane tricks! Soft shoe would be easy for a tapper to do. But, these are ballroom and contemporary/hiphop dancers. His turns are weak and not finished! She's got a nice back. Classic broadway. Great Sax riffs in the music. Just faking the soft shoe! Selling the routine. simultaneous aerials! They can sell a routine! Judges are standing! Tour de Force according to the judges.

Eliminations: Going with America's vote...Stanley and Jordan are eliminated. They were a couple earlier? No. Gracious losers. blowing kisses and caressing the stage. It was just a matter of time for Jordan. Never caught on with the voting public.

Whose next? Emilio had a weak showing. Casey is young. I didn't care for Ricky this time, but his body of work will likely save him. Serge was questionable. Valerie was questionable. Carly was strong. Tanisha had a tour de force! I think the younger dancers will be the first to go unless they're amazing.

07.18.2014: Rocky Mountain Dancing High

If you were dancing for the Colorado Ballet, you'd be preparing for this repertory next season:
A Midsummer Night's Dream
September 26- October 5
In the mood for a real romantic comedy? Tune in as Colorado Ballet’s dancers make your Midsummer Night’s Dream a fanciful reality. Set to Mendelssohn and performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra and the Colorado Children’s Chorale. Snuggle in at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

PWC Presents Dracula
October 31 - November 2
A great ballet never dies. Celebrate your Halloween weekend by sinking your teeth into Bram Stoker’s gothic horror. Featuring an eerie and beautiful score performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Grab your garlic necklace and head to the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

KeyBank Presents The Nutcracker
November 29- December 27
Leave your holiday have-to’s behind, and get lost in the dazzling spectacle of glittering snowflakes and shimmering sugarplums. Colorado Ballet presents the Nutcracker of all Nutcrackers. Set to Tchaikovsky and performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. An unforgettable holiday highlight.

Ballet MasterWorks
February 20 - March 1
Don’t miss your shot at seeing Colorado Ballet’s masterpiece of three short, innovative ballets. From classic to cutting edge, each of these productions showcases our dancers’ artistry and athleticism. Complete with powerful music performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.

Peter and the Wolf
March 27- 29
Forget your spring chores. Come dance with Peter and his animal friends as he tries to capture the infamous wolf. This classic children’s story is narrated and set to Prokofiev’s score. The fun-loving adventure begins with Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts.

07.17.2014: Air Time

If grand or petit allegro isn't your strong suit, here are some plyometric cross-training exercises reposted from Pointe Mag that should help:
"...Improve Your Power and Stamina: Tuck Jumps

Standing with your feet together, bend your knees and jump as high as you can, tucking your knees up to your chest. Land on both feet and immediately repeat, continuing the jumps for 30 seconds. “Tuck jumps help build the endurance dancers need for petit allégro,” says Alison Deleget, an athletic trainer with Harkness. They also improve lower body strength to help you develop explosive power. Deleget recommends two sets.

Improve Your Landing Control: Hop-Hop-Hold

Beginning in parallel, take two hops forward, traveling about a foot each time. After the second hop, hold in a squat landing position for five seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times in a row. During the hold, focus on maintaining proper hip, knee and ankle alignment. “The hold at the end helps strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quads for landing control,” says Deleget. Since most injuries occur during landings, proper alignment is vital.

Improve Your Push-Off Strength: Scissor Jumps

Starting in parallel, jump and split the legs, with one foot moving front and the other back. Land in a lunge with your front knee at a 90-degree angle (making sure it doesn’t veer to the inside) and the back knee also bent at 90 degrees, with weight on the ball of the foot. Then, scissor the legs in the air and land in a lunge on the opposite side. Alternate legs for 30 seconds.

Scissor jumps strengthen the quadriceps, which control the push-off and landing. Focus on articulating a toe-ball-heel roll-through as you land, and stretching your knees and pointing your feet in the air. Keep your core engaged, avoiding any tucking or arching of the pelvis.

Improve Your Air Time: Bounding

For the bounding exercise—which looks like an explosive, jumping jog—jump from one foot to the other as though you were running in place. Jump high into the air to create a long, vertical stride, and hike the front knee up as high as possible. Your arms can move in opposition as you alternate the legs. “At first, do this in place for 20 to 30 seconds,” says Marchitello. “In later weeks, you can progress to moving forward.” Bounding helps with catching the air and sustaining your position in jumps like grands jetés.

Improve Your In-Air Alignment: Parallel Sissonnes

Starting with feet together in parallel, sissonne side to side (holding the arms in second). Alternate legs for a total of five repetitions in each direction..."

...You can read the entire article, just click here.

07.16.2014: Time to Turn

How do your pirouette compare, CCDC students?

...Take THAT with your paltry 11 pirouette, Mischa!


...Big fan of this ballerina!

...that classic Tchaikovsky MUSIC, tho!o)

07.15.2014: Hallelujah, Chorus!

Local singers bring home international medal:
IA Youth Chorus continues award-winning tradition

Youth Chorus’ Chamber Singers continued its international reputation by placing 2nd in the Chamber Choir category of the Kathaumixw International Choral Festival.

Kathaumixw, hosted by the coastal city of Powell River, British Columbia is a 5-day festival filled with concerts, common song singing, choral and vocal solo competitions, conductor’s seminars and social events.

Chamber Singers were one of thirty choirs from around the globe that were invited to participate in this biennial festival. Chamber Singers perform a wide range of choral styles, sacred and secular, as well as spirituals, folk songs and jazz. Their award-winning performance included works by Antonio Vivaldi and Robert Schumann.

“We are so proud of the quality performance these young Iowans delivered on an international stage,” commented Kristen Stanton, Artistic/Executive Director. “The festival allowed our singers to not only display their accomplishments but also to meet and perform with choirs from all over the world, and experience first-hand the universality of the musical language.”

The nonprofit IA Youth Chorus was founded in 1981 to encourage and foster a life long love of music in children. Through classes for all ages, from early childhood through high school, the Chorus inspires personal development, celebrates diversity and fosters international goodwill. As the premier youth choral organization of central Iowa, young singers come from every suburb and surrounding communities including Ankeny, Des Moines, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights, Newton and Pella.

What began as Sunday afternoon rehearsals in a downtown auditorium has touched the lives of thousands of children, youth and adults – not just in Central Iowa but around the world.

Here's video of the award-winning performance:

07.14.2014: So U Think U Can Critique!

The competition gets serious with the first eliminations. Here's a play-by-play reaction:
So You Think You Can Dance
First Elimination Round

Opening number: Shades of "Fancy Free"! Three sailors out on the town. Obvious homage to the Jerome Robbins piece...and to many MGM musicals of the forties and fifties. When I first saw it, I thought Tyce Diorio, but, it turns out to be another broadway choreographer. Iconic Yankees solo, salesman, policeman, single ladies..all fill the stage with sass, splash and dash. Touchstone kiss from the end of the war recreated. Choreography by Josh McCowan.

Tanisha+Rudy: Choreographer Sonja Tayeh. Luck of the draw. Typically powerful and quirky routine. Signature sensual and kinky, pasionate. Shades of S+M. Nice extensions. Powerful straddle leap to catch. For ballroom dancer Tanisha, showing obvious forms of other training. Excellent extensions and control. Rudy makes the most of the choreography.

Valerie+Ricky: Choreographer Travis Wall in a contemporary piece. Start in spotlight. Wall always astonishes me with creative choreography. He's always showing inventive transitions and off-kilter shapes and lifts with unexpected endings. This is a POWER couple! He's amazing and She's keeping up! For a tapper, she's also showing training in other forms. Powerful backbend to the floor from atop his knees. The only thing is I didn't see the relationship they hinted about in the package. Excellent piece, strong dancers!

Wish we could see guest judge Misty Copeland dance!!!

Bridget+Emilio: Luther Brown hip-hop number. Bridget is out of her element. She strides on from offl-stage. Okay. She's hitting it . Oh, drops a bracelet. Emilio is in his element. She's needs to show more attitude. Shows a back handspring instead. Should get some votes!

Jessica+Nick: West Coast Swing by Benji! She suffers an injury in rehearsal. No story just fun dancing! She's VERY easy to watch. Spectacular fun dancing! And, they're SELLING it! Maybe just a little sharper, a little more hip action. This is a girl who had to dance for her life to survive the audition process, so good for her! Fun number. Nice to see Benji Schwimmer back!

Carly+Serge: Sonja contemporary routine about a love that is "unbreakable". Smoother than a normal Tayeh piece. Good control on the dismount from lift. There's a quirky crotch shot lift. Going for not beautiful, even in a beautiful number. Extensions and attack somewhat spotty. Hmm...not quite the emotional tour de force that was promised for me. Judges disagree. Misty ebullient, Nigel effusive. Mary emotional. Maybe it didn't translate through television as opposed to the live performance.

Emily+Teddy: Dave Scott hip-hop routine. Don't be so timid. Bites her during rehearsal. OKAY, these two are sharp and still. Hot attack. She's flirtatious! He's on the prowl. His chest isolations are ridiculous! She's keeping up in her saddle shoes. They're hitting their popping! Great interaction on stage! Nigel reveals she suffered back spasms during rehearsal! Put the dancers through their paces! Good-looking couple!

July 26th = National Dance Day! Fox.com/dance for routines. DizzyFeet Foundation fund-raiser before that!

Malena+Stanley: Spencer Liff broadway routine with props! Phones with cords. Huge Grand jete en tournant to bring him on stage. She looks like a classic Vargas pin-up. Nice hops from Stanley. She's selling the snesuality in those poses! Wrapped in cords suggestive! I could see her in the next Austin Powers film as a Killer Fem-bot. They avoided disaster with the props! Good for them!

Jordan+Marcquet: Shawn Cheeseman and the sexy interrogation jazz piece. Garters and stockings and gestapo outfit. Standing back flip from the ballroomer. I Expect the ballet trained dancer to translate well to other styles. But, hmm...lacked connection. Little underwhelming!

Brooklyn+Casey: Miriam and Leonardo Argentine Tango. Toxic relationship. Cute couple. She's sultry in red. Could be a little sharper Little more grounded. the mandatory heel leads are tough for most non ballroom trained dancers. Need more chemistry. Good extension, but, not enough prowling from him in those steps. I think she's out-dancing him! Or is it the red lace dress? They're both cute little baby-faces!

Jacqui+Zach: Shawn Cheeseman, African jazz routine. This is out of all of their comfort zones. Multi-coloured unitards reflect the stained glass like box in the background. This is one genre that ballet training doesn't help and may hurt. He stumbles after a jump. animalistic movements could always use a little more attack. Very aerobic steps test their conditioning. Energy needs to accelerate the longer they go on! Interesting make-up! Judges effusive again. WHAT? He's a tapper? EXCELLENT job!

Dance Crew Showcase---Syncopated Ladies: Nice to see trained tappers en masse. Bringing some fresh attitude to the classic dance form. Selling the sexy! One-footed draw backs. Goal is to sound like one tapper...and they're doing a good job. Wings look weak. Not bad.

Elimination: Girls first. Brooklyn, Jordan, Malena get the advice from Nigel. Malena gets the boot. Boys next: Nick, Serge, Casey. Say goodbye to Nick. He's emotional and gets a big group hug from the other two boys who leave the stage wiping away tears. Who else should worry? Emilio, Stanley, Casey...oops...my recording just stopped early! We'll take that as a sign and just stop right here as well!o)

07.11.2014: Tom Talks, Part Two

So, how does a country bumpkin like Tom Arnold make it from the boondocks to Beverly Hills? Here's the question and answer session from the actor/director/writer/comic's recent appearance in the capital city: (Again, not dance related, but, informative!o)

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

07.10.2014: Performance Posting

Not taking class at CCDC tonight? Here's news about a rescheduled FREE musical performance in the Capital City:
34th ARMY BAND’S SIDEWINDER CONCERT RESCHEDULED FOR JULY 10

Final Concert of the 2014 Summer Season at Historic Camp Dodge Pool Complex

The Adjutant General of Iowa, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, cordially invites you to Camp Dodge for the Adjutant General's Summer Concert Series at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston. Sidewinder, the 34th Army Band’s rock band, will play the final concert of this summer’s series on Thursday, July 10. The band features a nine-piece, modern pop and classic rock ensemble. This concert was previously scheduled for June 26 but was postponed due to severe weather.

The concert series, which is free and open to the public, consists of five concerts on Thursdays in May-July, beginning May 22 and ending July 10. Concerts start at 7 p.m. Please bring your lawn chairs. Coolers and picnic baskets are welcome. Concessions and concert series t-shirts are available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be rescheduled, if possible.

For more on the Adjutant General’s Summer Concert Series, samples of the featured performers, concert cancellations, or the latest news on the Iowa National Guard, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IowaNationalGuard or on Twitter; @IowaNatGuard or at www.iowanationalguard.com.


07.09.2014: So U Think U Have My Support...

Saying you're trained in ballet cuts you no slack with me. In fact, I'll probably be watching with even more of a critical eye than if you were, say, a tapper, contemporary, hiphop, crumper or ballroom dancer. But, if you're a good ballet dancer and you let your dancing speak for itself, I'll be a big backer. Past SYTYCD winner Cheon, for example, was a WORLD-CLASS danseur. LOVED his dancing! And, that guy whose name I forget from Season 2 who did amazing battle with Travis Wall in the Two Kings piece, HE was an amazing danseur! Alex Wong was a compelling contestant before his season-ending injury. Those three are the exception because I think the best ballet dancers are dancing in professional companies and not dabbling in reality television. (An exception that proves the rule: Maria Kotchetkova was a principal ballerina with SFB when she competed in and won the "World Championship of Dancing" TV Show.)

And, geography plays very little part in whose dancing I find most compelling. When local girl Shawn Johnson was competing in the Beijing Olympics, my eye was always drawn to Nastia Liukin instead. When Gabrielle Douglas did the same in London, I was backing Mikayla Maroney and her puzzling disappointment in the vault. When Johnson competed for the DWTS mirror-ball, I was a big supporter of Melissa Rycroft. So, geography doesn't dictate my allegiance either.

Having said that, a tip of the cap to local girl Jacque for surviving the grueling audition process to qualify for Season 11 of SYTYCD. Quite an accomplishment to be the first from the Capital City to book the show. I just wish she had better choreography and better music to show better training and technique last week. Nothing wrong with Odile's variation from Swan Lake, but, it's so iconic and, now, comes with all the baggage from the ill-received-by-dancers "Black Swan" film. Here's a tip, Jay-Dub, pointe your foot in ALL fifteen of your fouette' turns. And, why not consecutive Fouette' Itallienne as is customary with the best dancers? And, how about insisting on wearing tights under your off-the-shelf tutu?

I think Jay-Dub will do well once she's partnered up and asked to dance in other styles. Always easier to go from ballet to other forms than the other way around. Hopefully, she'll draw one of the powerhouse choreographers because you can only do so much with pedestrian choreography. (That Travis Wall contemporary piece last week was a show-stopper!o) The show to me has always been more about choreography showcasing charisma rather than the reverse. May the best dancer win!o) Still too early to say who that could be, but the black ballroom male dancer and the blond contemporary female dancer are my early favorites.

07.08.2014: Tom Talks, Part One

I was never a big fan of Tom Arnold until I heard him speak in the Capital City recently. But, apparently, he's not just some coat-tail riding, gold-digging sycophant that you read about in the tabloids. Arnold is just a really likeable guy! During his public interview before the official opening of the "Hollywood In The Heartland" exhibit, he constantly drops names and offers insider's insights from the bowels of Tinsel Town. You can't help but pull for the guy. Arnold also brought his young son, Jax on stage and shared about his quarter-century struggle to have children. It's not really about dance, but, the struggle to make it from Ottumwa, Iowa to the bright lights of the big city can be instructive. Listen and learn for yourself in Part One of a "Talk With Tom":

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

07.07.2014: Postcards From The Edge

WE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN! Here's the first CCDC student survey from the annual #dance diaspora! First of MANY, hopefully!
1. My name is (Panik Attack) and I am dancing with the Milwaukee Ballet School in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

2. I am in level 5 out of 6. The dancers in my level all have different strengths which is awesome to see and learn from.

3. Class size depends on the class and day. My ballet level of girls consistently has 24 in it. We switch between having the different levels of Men so class size changes. For our piece at the end of the program we have 6 members of Mens A, including (Solor2)!

4. Everyday we have ballet, pointe, and rehearsals for our ballet and style pieces. We switch off between having variations and partnering. The first week we learned the second act Dulcinea variation from Don Q and this week we have been doing partnering. The last class we have is a style class that changes every week. So far, we've had African and Afro Cuban. Both were very out of my comfort zone but they were fun to learn. Most of the classes that we have had so far have been pretty similar to what we have at CCDC, besides African and Afro Cuban.

5. The two main teachers my level has had for ballet and pointe have been from France and Russia. They both gave really similar classes to both Emery and Missy so it wasn't hard to get used to. Our first teacher gave almost no corrections, which was really hard to get used to. Our teacher for this week gives lots of corrections and I've received a few that I've gotten at CCDC :) We had the director of Milwaukee Ballet's Second Company teach us for one day and he was exactly like Emery, it was awesome!

6. Rolando is the director of the Second Company and is the one who taught us for a day. He is from Cuba and danced with several companies including the Milwaukee Ballet. I loved his class because he had so much energy and he gave tons of individual corrections. Tatiana is the teacher I currently have. She is crazy energetic and so caring to everyone in the class. I love having her! I can't find the name of the first teacher we had from France, but I believe she is associated with a school there. My level was the only one who got to have her, which was awesome!

7. The transition hasn't been very hard because there hasn't been many differences in technique. My best advice is to learn from your classmates but don't get overwhelmed by people who seem to be flawless. It can be hard to not compare yourself all the time but you have to remember that everyone is different and has their own strengths and weaknesses! I definitely miss the loving atmosphere of CCDC! Most of my classmates here are super awesome and caring but its nice to dance with people you've known for years and teachers who truly care about you. Right now I'm mostly working on my turns. Most people in my level have really nice turns and I've been trying to use that to my advantage in learning as I watch them. The last correction I was given was in pas class on a type of whip turn I've never done before. The coordination was strange but my partner and the teacher helped me figure it out, along with a little guidance from Emery :)

8. I wish I would've known that confidence is key and you kind of need to be pushy to get noticed. Even if you are not completely perfect at something, you need to be confident or teachers will just overlook you completely. Also, being a little pushy is good so that you can get towards the front of the class, especially when teachers don't specify to switch lines.

9. The best dancer I have seen so far is in the top level, one level above me. My class takes pointe class with that level so that is how I've seen her dance. She has a great facility, hyperextended legs, nice feet, a really awesome ballet body! She is very clean in her technique and so precise in everything she does. She is really fun to watch because she is so clean!

10. My roommate's name is Maddie, she is from Chicago. She is 16 and in level 3. Other than her, I have four other girls who have rooms connected to our suite. They are all awesome and we all get along really well! We all like to hang out in the lobby of our dorms with the rest of the dancers and just talk!

11. I haven't gotten to see any performances yet, but this Sunday there is a small showcase at the studios by some of the company members and year round students that I'm going to see. I haven't gotten to see much of Milwaukee other that what is in our boundaries, which is where the kids under 18 can go. We drive by the city on our way home from the studios, and I always admire the gorgeous skyline! My level is doing a contemporary ballet piece which has been really fun to learn so far. There are different sections so everyone gets to be highlighted, but I absolutely love the choreography since I haven't gotten to do very much with contemporary ballet. The other piece my level is doing is Afro Cuban. We just started the piece but it has a ton of energy and is fun!

12. I miss my CCDC family so much! I am driving home August 2nd and can't wait to see all of your beautiful faces :)

...So, where are the REST of Y'ALL, HMMMMMM????

06.27:2014: Performance Posting

Support the arts! Buy local! Here's a suggestion...
Bigger, Bolder, Braver: Adolescent Anarchy Presents
[title of show]

June 27 - June 29

7:30 PM Friday and Saturday
2:00 PM Sunday

TICKETS ARE $15

[title of show] is a musical about writing a musical. Hunter and Jeff, two run-of-the-mill guys, aspire to make it big in the NYC theatre world. To accomplish this, they decide to write an original musical for the New York Musical Theatre Festival. As the three-week deadline looms over the characters' shoulders, emotions grow tense - creating a fun, fast-paced, and comedic performance that is sure to entertain.

TrAAil Mix

TrAAil Mix is the 2014 concept by Adolescent Anarchy: A Theatrical Collaborative, at the DsM Community Playhouse. TrAAil Mix consists of three events: Equinox, June 13-15; [title of show], June 27-29; and Rasta Grandpa, the Anarchy improv troupe presented after each of the performances.

Adolescent Anarchy is made up of nine passionate and enthusiastic teens ready to take the world by storm. The group was inspired by the dedication and initiative taken by teens involved in the Playhouse education department's Pre-Intern Program (PIP). Their mission is to build a foundation of involvement for teens in the theatre by giving them the complete creative control to develop a fully realized, successful production. Last summer, Adolescent Anarchy produced the groundbreaking production of "Lord of the Flies". With mentoring from Playhouse professional staff, the teens were responsible for every aspect of production: direction, scenic design, costume design, finances, promotion, and ticket sales.

The Playhouse is Iowa's oldest and largest producing theatre. Located at the 42nd Street exit of I-235, the theatre has presented a full season of shows since 1919 and also offers a wide variety of educational experiences including classes for ages 4 to adult, theatre trips to New York, and volunteer opportunities onstage and backstage.

For more information about TrAAil Mix and Adolescent Anarchy, contact the Community Playhouse at 515-277-6261 or visit dmplayhouse.com

06.26.2014: Performance Posting

If you're not already busy with CCDC classes, chance to catch some free music this summer:
34th ARMY BAND’S SIDEWINDER ROCK BAND TO PLAY FINAL CONCERT OF THE SEASON AT HISTORIC CAMP DODGE POOL COMPLEX – JUNE 26

Major General Tim Orr, cordially invites you to Camp Dodge for the Adjutant General's Summer Concert Series at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston. Sidewinder, the 34th Army Band’s rock band, will play the final concert of this summer’s series on Thursday, June 26. The band features a nine-piece, modern pop and classic rock ensemble.

The concert series, which is free and open to the public, consists of five concerts on Thursdays in May and June, beginning May 22 and ending June 26. Concerts start at 7 p.m. Please bring your lawn chairs. Coolers and picnic baskets are welcome. Concessions are available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be rescheduled, if possible.

Visitors can enter Camp Dodge through either the main gate at 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston or the historic East Gate at 7700 NW Beaver Dr., Johnston. Photo identification (a driver's license is acceptable) is required for admittance to Camp Dodge for individuals 16 years of age and older.

For more on the Adjutant General’s Summer Concert Series, samples of the featured performers, concert cancellations, or the latest news on the National Guard, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IowaNationalGuard or on Twitter; @IowaNatGuard or at www.iowanationalguard.com.

06.25.2014: Summer Sojourns

The dust has barely settled from the first departures (couple more to go!o)...and, it's already time to check in with all the CCDC students who've dispersed in the annual summer dance diaspora! No matter if you're at a specific summer dance intensive---or just in Germany, Chicago or Canada for any other reason!---be sure to let us know how you're doing! Fill out this survey and send it to us after at least a week where you are now!
  1. Who are you and what city and country are you in this summer? Where are you taking dance classes?
  2. What level of how many levels in dance are you in this year? How are the other students?
  3. How many dancers in your classes? How many boys? How many girls?
  4. What types of dance classes are you taking? What's the hardest to get used to? What's the most fun? Most unusual? What reminds you most of CCDC?
  5. What type or style of ballet/pointe/variations/mens classes are you taking? What are the main differences in style or technique from CCDC? What are the most interesting, unexpected or thought provoking corrections you've gotten or heard so far?
  6. Who are your dance teachers? Their backgrounds? Who is your favorite? Least? Why?
  7. How hard has the adjustment to new teachers been? What's your best advice for any other CCDC dancers who might follow in your footsteps? What do you miss the most about CCDC? What are you working on technically right now? What was the last correction you were given?
  8. What do you know now that you wished you had known before you left?
  9. Who's the best dancer you've seen where you are this year? Why are they good? What did they do that impressed you?
  10. Tell us about your roomies! Tell us about your fellow dancers. What do you do in your spare time?
  11. Have you had a chance to see any performances or rehearsals? Have you had a chance to see much of the city yet? Tell us about your casting, if any. What pieces? What music? Whose choreography? How's that going?
  12. When do you come back to CCDC? (Sniff!) Do you miss us at all? (sob!)
...Any other questions burning in your craw, daddy? E-mail it to us and we'll pass it on!o)

06.24.2014: Ag Artz Opportunity

Calling all artists!
2014 CELEBRATION OF Agriculture Art Award

The Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Farm Bureau are pleased to announce an open call for local artists to submit their artwork for consideration in the 2014 Celebration of the state: Agriculture Art Award.

Theme

The Celebration of the state: Ag Art Award recognizes local artists and the state's role as a global leader in agriculture through the 2014 exhibition theme "Global Stewards".

Awards

Youth Division (17 years of age and under)

First Place: $1,000
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $250
Finalist Honorarium: $100
Finalist Honorarium: $100

Adult Division (18 years of age and older)

First Place: $1,500
Second Place: $1,000
Third Place: $750
Finalist Honorarium: $200
Finalist Honorarium: $200

Apply Now

The application and guidelines are online and easier than ever this year!...

06.23.2014: Bad Breakz

More information to safeguard your best dancing body:
Stress Fracture Risks May Be Modifiable

(Capital City News Service) – Programs to improve movement patterns may help prevent stress fractures in athletes and military personnel, say researchers.

“Several potentially modifiable muscular and biomechanical factors may be playing a part in the increased rates of stress fractures in athletes and military personnel,” said Kenneth L. Cameron. “It’s possible that injury prevention programs targeted to address these movement patterns can help reduce stress fracture risk.”

Cameron and his colleagues analyzed data from the JUMP-ACL cohort, which is an existing study of military cadets, detailing motion analysis during a jump landing task at the initiation of each participant’s military career. They studied 1,843 individuals from the class years of 2009-2012, with 94 subjects sustaining a lower extremity stress fracture during the follow-up period.

The incidence rate for stress fracture injuries among females was nearly three times greater when compared to males. Knee rotation and abduction angles when landing were both associated with the rates of lower-extremity stress fractures, as were reduced knee and hip flexion angles, and increased vertical and medial ground reaction forces.

“Lower extremity movement patterns and strength have previously been associated with stress fractures and overuse injuries; however, our study is one of the first to identify dynamic knee rotation and frontal plane angles as important prospective risk factors for lower extremity stress fractures. We hope that by better understanding the movement patterns associated with lower extremity stress fracture injury risk we can help create programs for prevention,” said Cameron.

06.20.2014: Intensive Insights

If you missed the #CCDC Summer Intensive, here's a fraction of what you missed:
"Your inner thighs should glide past each other like you slide paper into an envelope!"

"Roll thru the middle of the foot!"

"Keep devellopé leg behind you when you roll through fondú!"

"Release the feet during plié and fondú!"

"This is a kinda mean combination, but, it's like eating your spinach! It's good for you!"

"Remember! Attitude is fourth position!"

"Whack the leg in grand battement!"

"Don't rond de jambe in tendú or degagés en a la seconde."

"Keep your leg up!"

"Stay down between jumps!"

"Don't mumble when you speak! And, ENUNCIATE your #dancing!"

"Show me one toe, two heels in fifth sur le pointe!"

06.19.2014: Intensive Insights

If you missed the #CCDC Summer Intensive, here's a fraction of what you missed:
"Head is ten percent of the body weight! If it goes down, you're fighting to stay up!"

"Know the difference between tendu jeté and tendu degagé!"

"If your elbows are behind you, where are you?"

"Stand like there are CLOUDS under your arms!"

"If you jiggle, it's cuz you're not holding strong enough!"

"Tight tummy! Stronger standing side!"

"Find the oppositions through out your fouetté!"

"Squeeze your legs together like magnets!"

"Clear as mud on a foggy night?"

"On your backs! Pelvic arch!"

"If tendu means to stretch, why are you bending your knees?"

"If you want to dance better en pointe, you better use your demi pointe!"

"Boys' arms higher than girls' arms. Why? Boys' center of balance is higher!"

"Hold that posé stronger during promenade."

"Show me the classical glissade that GLIDES. NOT the more modern one that looks like sissone!"

"What are all the extra steps for?"

"Show me the difference between the two temps lié in this combination!"

"You only get THREE movements in pas de bourré! Don't give me extra!"

"YOU are the art! NOT the steps!"

"Why did you stop jumping? I SAID 684 times, didn't I?"

' "In this grand jeté, hips travel up and over like a rainbow!"

"Two types of ballotté! One through coupé, the other through fifth!"

"No sitting in the #pointe shoe! Lift out of it!"

"Well, you sorta got the combination!"

"You're probably THINKING about the correction, but, you're not DOING the correction enough!"

06.18.2014: Intensive Insights

If you missed the #CCDC Summer Intensive, here's a fraction of what you missed:
"Keep heel on floor longer to stretch your slow tendú!"

"Feel middle toe, little toe, to place and extend your tendú!"

"Cross your thighs and your feet will follow. Crossing your feet doesn't mean thighs are in place!"

"Supporting leg does all the work! Gesture leg gets all the glory!"

"Hit all 8 corners in grand port de bras arrondi!"

"Falling off balance isn't necessarily a bad thing. ...especially if that's the direction you're going anyway!"

"Finish the step you're doing before you go on to the next! Yet, the connecting steps provide your important transition!"

"Quicker foot! SNAP FOOT! Noooot foooooooot! Squeeze tushie!"

"Push that arabesque into the floor to power the chug!"

"Lift your guts up like there was a big fish hook lifting your intestines!"

"Nice seeing girls attempt the tours en l'air. Takes people off guard!"

"Faster grand battement into grand allegro matched with POWER from supporting leg! Feel piqué into the air! And, put your tummy on your thigh when you land from jeté en attitude! Serve a platter of food!"

"Wear a necklace of rubies! And the necklace wears YOU! You boys wear chain mail!"

"Every body has the same muscles. Use the right muscles you get good results!"

Bonus coverage: Fun petít allegro today: Entrechat Trois pdb ballonné pdb glissade petít jeté pdb en tournant chassé vaganova assemblé, repeat but after jeté three brisé en avant to take you to second side. Then reverse.

06.17.2014: Intensive Insights

If you missed the #CCDC Summer Intensive, here's a fraction of what you missed:
"It's a little thing, but, for the audience, it's EVERYTHING!"

"Slide through this movement like a finger slicing through the icing on a cake!"

"Perform this Viennese Waltz like pastries and coffee on a Sunday afternoon!"

"This en de dans turn is tierre du buchamps!"

"Use the basic positions of the body to help your #ballet technique!"

"It's just a half revelotade, not the full one. And don't think fouetté cabriole!"

"Don't think 'around' in tour en l'air! Think UP!"

"There are NO rond de jambe in saut de basque double! There are no rond de jambe in assemblé en tournant!"

"What is line in ballet? What used to be called 'ligne'? What is line in #ballet?"

"What position are you turning in? It's a CONE! And, the top turns FASTER than the bottom!"

"It's called muscle memory for a reason!"

"Bring back leg forward in tours en l'air!"

06.13.2014: Intensive Instructions

Heading to a national summer intensive anytime soon? Here are some tips for incoming students e-mailed recently by Colorado Ballet! (Good fodder for current CCDC Summer Intensive students heading into week two as well!o):
"...In about a week and a half, Colorado Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program begins. Throughout the duration of the program, more than 150 students from all over the US and the world will train at Colorado Ballet from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., six days a week. With such an intense schedule, we wanted to help participating students prepare before they arrive. If you are participating in Summer Intensive, please read your acceptance packet for a checklist of items to bring and additional information you will need to know before you start the program. We want to make sure that all participants stay healthy during their time with us.

We feel that healthy eating and sufficient rest is essential to succeeding in our program. As such, we will monitor the general well-being of all participants.

Nutrition is very important during Summer Intensive and all students will need to bring lunch (provided by DU if they are housing) and snacks with them every day. It is difficult to focus on Pliés on an empty stomach, so please bring nutritious snacks and avoid snacks and lunches that include nuts, peanut butter or other nut butters due to the number of students with severe nut allergies. Water is also very important, so bring a water bottle and hydrate frequently. Students from a lower altitude should drink more water to help avoid headaches and altitude sickness. It will take a few days to acclimate to Denver’s 5,280 feet above sea level!

Rest is also a key factor in recovering from the intense training. Students in the dorms will adhere to strict lights out policies, but students who are not staying in the dorms should also make sure to get enough sleep, at least 8-9 hours every night.

Injuries are a common concern for dancers and we want to ensure that all of our participants are healthy and injury free. As such, we reserve the right to stop any student from participating and ask for a doctor, physical therapist or other medical professional to evaluate any injury before allowing the student to return to classes. Please understand that this precaution is to prevent injuries to our students. We will have a physical therapist and massage therapist available by appointment to help our students work on and prevent injuries. Please check your acceptance packet for more information about the physical therapist and massage therapist.

We want all of our Summer Intensive students to have a healthy and productive time during the program. We look forward to seeing you at Summer Intensive!..."

06.12.2014: Performance Posting

Never mind Fault In Our Stars! Free musical concert tonight, if you're not already taking class or rehearsing at CCDC:
THE NADAS TO PLAY SUMMER CONCERT SERIES AT HISTORIC CAMP DODGE POOL COMPLEX – JUNE 12

The Adjutant General of Iowa, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, cordially invites you to Camp Dodge for the Adjutant General's Summer Concert Series at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston. Rock, alternative country and Americana band, The Nadas, play the concert series on Thursday, June 12.

The concert series, which is free and open to the public, consists of five concerts on Thursdays in May and June, beginning May 22 and ending June 26. Concerts start at 7 p.m. Please bring your lawn chairs. Coolers and picnic baskets are welcome. Concessions are available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be rescheduled, if possible.

Visitors can enter Camp Dodge through either the main gate at 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston or the historic East Gate at 7700 NW Beaver Dr., Johnston. Photo identification (a driver's license is acceptable) is required for admittance to Camp Dodge for individuals 16 years of age and older.

For more on the Adjutant General’s Summer Concert Series, samples of the featured performers, concert cancellations, or the latest news on the Iowa National Guard, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IowaNationalGuard or on Twitter; @IowaNatGuard or at www.iowanationalguard.com .

06.11.2014: Serious Dance Series

Tickets go on sale this week:
Fifth Season of THE DANCE SERIES Opens This November
Season tickets go on sale June 9

(Capital City News Service) – World-class ballet, modern and contemporary dance return to the DsM Civic Center when DsM Performing Arts kicks off the fifth season of The Dance Series this November.

PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY, DIAVOLO and COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET make up the 2014-15 season of The Dance Series. Season tickets start at just $50 for the three-show package.

Season tickets go on sale Monday, June 9 at 9 a.m. at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online.

About the Shows:

PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY
Nov. 8, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Led by the legendary choreographer Paul Taylor, the PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. A pioneer of American modern dance, Paul Taylor’s dynamic, thought-provoking work continues to push boundaries and remains “deeply communicative and wildly theatrical” (San Francisco Examiner). The program will feature three selections from Taylor’s diverse repertoire, including the WORLD PREMIERE of his 141st work.

“Paul Taylor is without question the greatest living American choreographer.” –San Francisco Chronicle

For more information, visit ptdc.org.

DIAVOLO
Jan. 24, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

DIAVOLO reinvents dance, reimagines theater, and redefines thrills. Using sculptural structures, DIAVOLO explores the relationship between the dangers of our environment and the fragility of the human body – fusing everyday movement with ballet, contemporary dance, acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, and hip-hop. The program will feature three dances, including the PREMIERE of a new work entitled Cubicle, co-commissioned by DsM Performing Arts.

“Diavolo has been called ‘the NFL of dance’ for its seriously athletic, often high-risk performance style.” –San Diego Union-Tribune

About Cubicle:
Set in an abstract, mid-20th century, corporate America, Cubicle explores the secrets, mystery, and competition of the workplace. The corporate culture of Mad Men begins to shape and define the workplace and dancer/workers manipulate abstract boxes, while themes emerge such as exclusion, solitude, and multi-tasking.

For more information, visit www.diavolo.org.

COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET
April 11, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Founded by two former ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER members, the company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries. COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET transcends the limiting traditions of a single style, period, or culture - creating an open, continually evolving form of dance that reflects the movement of our world.

“Cross-cultural ballet with attitude…wearing toe shoes never looked so much fun.” –Washington Post

For more information, visit www.complexionsdance.org.

The Dance Series Community Engagment

Before and after each performance, audience members will have an opportunity to connect with the company’s artistic staff and dancers through DANCEtalks. Local dancers will also get the unique opportunity to learn directly from members of each company at master dance classes.

06.10.2014: Feedback From Families

Here's more parental feedback from the CCDC 2014 Spring Showcase: "La Bayadere...And MORE!" this past weekend:
"...Hi. Missy, these last two days when I was watching (my dancer) perform, I almost cried! She is getting so good...The only thought in my mind is that (my dancer) is so lucky that she has you as her teacher and mentor! As a parent, I'm getting so much help from you! I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart! ..."
"...Thank you soo much for you and Emery's hard work for (my dancer)! The recital was a huge success. I told all my friends how great you are! I sent the video to my friends, they're all surprised at how professional she looked! Many of them came to watch the show live! They all enjoyed the recital a lot! Her success belongs to you guys!..."
...Got a reaction or comment to this weekend's show? Email it to us and we may use it anonymously on this blog. (All comments subject to editing!o)

06.09.2014: Family Feedback

Merde to all the dancers starting the Capital City Dance Center Summer Intensive today! And, here's some parental feedback from the CCDC 2014 Spring Showcase: "La Bayadere...And MORE!" this past weekend:
"...Recital was wonderful, as always. They seem to get better and better every year. So blessed to know that my girls are with you guys...."
...and...
"...Beautiful, beautiful ballet and more this week-end! You have so many talented dancers. I know how hard they and you work to get to this week-end, but on stage they make it seem so effortless. A bonus to recital week-end is the chance to see so many Capital City Dance Center alumni and former students. To have them come back each year to support the studio and its dancers, their friends, speaks volumes of CCDC. CCDC is one of a kind, and we are blessed to be a part of it!..."

06.03.2014: La Bayadere...Unrivaled!o), Part Deux

Confound your friends! Amaze your enemies! Listen to part two of the synopsis of La Bayadere and blithely explain the intricacies of the plot to the rapt throng around you!o)

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

06.02.2014: La Bayadere...Unraveled!o), Part Un

Amaze your friends! Confound your enemies! Listen to part one of the synopsis of La Bayadere and, then, blithely explain the intricacies of the plot to the bystanders in the rapt throng around you held captive by your dulcet tones!o)

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

06.04.2014: Silver Screen Summer

If you're not already busy with CCDC rehearsals or classes: Free family fun flicks (and cheap picnic dates!o) on tap this summer in and around the Capital City:
FREE FLICKS OUTDOOR MOVIE SERIES STARTS THIS WEEK
(Capital City News Service) – Free Flicks, the summer outdoor movie series is back, starting this Thursday, June 5. Free Flicks will show a variety of movies, new and old, at designated parks and facilities, kicking off with “Moonstruck” at the Des Moines Art Center (4700 Grand Ave).

Movies will begin after sunset (at approximately 9:00 p.m.) and be shown on our 25-foot inflatable movie screen. Feel free to bring blankets, lawn chairs, and movie snacks as no concessions are available. The complete schedule is listed below and also posted online at www.dmparks.org

  • 06/05/2014
    Moonstruck
    Art Center: 4700 Grand Avenue
  • 06/12/2014
    The Incredibles
    Ashby Park: 3200 38th Street
  • 06/19/2014
    Frozen
    Martin Luther King Jr. Park: 1650 Garfield Avenue
  • 06/26/2014
    Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
    Jordan Park: 600 E. Wall Ave
  • 06/27/2014
    The Gumball Rally (Drive-in)
    Cownie Soccer Park: 2600 E Hartford Avenue
  • 07/03/2014
    Gravity (PG-13)
    Witmer Park: 1610 34th Street
  • 07/05/2014
    Despicable Me 2
    EK Davis Park: 1400 Forest Avenue
  • 07/10/2014
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    Art Center: 4700 Grand Avenue
  • 07/17/2014
    The Smurfs 2
    Evergreen Park: 2135 E Park Avenue
  • 07/24/2014
    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
    Tower Park: 4900 Hickman Road
  • 07/31/2014
    The Lego Movie
    Good Park: 1103 17th Street
  • 08/07/2014
    The Pink Panther (1963)
    Art Center: 4700 Grand Avenue
  • 08/09/2014
    Despicable Me (STAR Party)
    Ewing Park: 5300 Indianola Road
  • 08/14/2014
    The Karate Kid (1984)
    Woodlawn Park: 3126 Twana Drive
  • 08/23/2014
    E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Restored)
    Hoyt Sherman Place: 1501 Woodland Avenue
  • 08/28/2014
    Ghostbusters
    Simon Estes: 75 East Locust Street
  • 09/04/2014
    Maltese Falcon
    Art Center: 4700 Grand Ave

06.05.2014: Performance Posting

If you're not already busy with CCDC rehearsals, chance to catch some free music this summer:
EL DORADOS TO PLAY SUMMER CONCERT SERIES AT HISTORIC CAMP DODGE POOL COMPLEX – JUNE 5

Cruise Night for all classic, vintage, custom, modified cars and motorcycles

(Capital City News Service) --- The Adjutant General of Iowa, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, cordially invites you to Camp Dodge for The Adjutant General's Summer Concert Series at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston. Vintage country, rockabilly, and jump-blues band, The El Dorados play the concert series on Thursday, June 5.

A Cruise Night for classic, vintage, custom, and modified cars and motorcycles will be held in conjunction with the concert. Cars and motorcycles of all years and makes are welcome and will be parked in a separate lot next to the pool (this special lot will be open starting at 4:30 p.m.).

Additionally, the adjacent Iowa Gold Star Military Museum will be open until 7 p.m. for all concertgoers and Cruise Night participants. The museum has more than 18,000 square feet of artifacts, exhibits, and vintage military vehicles, aircraft and equipment honoring the service of Iowans from all eras and branches of service. Museum admission is always free.

The concert series, which is free and open to the public, consists of five concerts on Thursdays in May and June, beginning May 22 and ending June 26. Concerts start at 7 p.m. Please bring your lawn chairs. Coolers and picnic baskets are welcome. Concessions are available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be rescheduled, if possible.

Visitors can enter Camp Dodge through either the main gate at 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston or the historic East Gate at 7700 NW Beaver Dr., Johnston. Photo identification (a driver's license is acceptable) is required for admittance to Camp Dodge for individuals 16 years of age and older.

For more on the Adjutant General’s Summer Concert Series, samples of the featured performers, concert cancellations, or the latest news on the Iowa National Guard, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IowaNationalGuard or on Twitter; @IowaNatGuard or at www.iowanationalguard.com .

06.06.2014: Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark

Classic Big Band sound returning to the Capital City:
GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA to Bring the Big Band Sound to DsM Civic Center, June 27
Tickets to this one-night only performance are on-sale now

(Capital City News Service)– Jazz and swing fans will celebrate when the legendary GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA performs for one-night only at the Des Moines Civic Center, Friday, June 27, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

Clarinda, Iowa-native GLENN MILLER is perhaps one of the most successful dance bandleaders of all time. Cutting his chops during the swing era of the 1930s and 40s, GLENN MILLER’s signature big band sound still resonates with audiences today.

On June 27, the 20 talented musicians and singers comprising the current GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA will bring this unforgettable sound to Des Moines audiences for one-night only.

Produced by Didier Morissonneau and lead by the charismatic Nick Hilscher, the GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA will regale audiences with timeless classics like: “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” “String of Pearls,” and “Tuxedo Junction. ”

The New York-based GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA has been touring consistently since its creation, playing an average of 300 live dates a year worldwide. It remains one of the most sought after big bands in the world today.

For more information, please click here.

05.30.2014: Air Farce

Publicist sends us these rave reviews for Boeing, Boeing currently at the DsM Playhouse:
"This production has the spot-on pace, timing, energy and talent of the best that any professional production could offer... Boeing Boeing is an irresistible getaway..." -- John Busbee, The Culture Buzz, KFMG

"...the show is a winner... All six actors have performed on various stages around town - often in more serious plays - so it's fun to see them tossed together for the weekend at Bernie's." -- Michael Morain, Des Moines Register

"Cannot recommend Boeing Boeing @DMPlayhouse highly enough!" -- Rachel, Twitter

"Great show! Laugh out loud funny! There were 6 of us and we all left on a laughter high!" -- Pamela, Facebook

05.29.2014: Performance Posting

Free performance in Johnston tonight if you're not already taking class at CCDC!o)
ABBY NORMAL TO PLAY SUMMER CONCERT SERIES AT HISTORIC CAMP DODGE POOL COMPLEX – MAY 29

The Adjutant General of Iowa, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, cordially invites you to Camp Dodge for The Adjutant General's Summer Concert Series at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex, 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston. Classic ‘80s rock band Abby Normal plays the concert series on Thursday, May 29 – come for the ‘80s block party and wear your favorite 1980s attire – parachute pants and mullet wigs encouraged!

The concert series, which is free and open to the public, consists of five concerts on Thursdays in May and June, beginning May 22 and ending June 26. Concerts start at 7 p.m. Please bring your lawn chairs. Coolers and picnic baskets are welcome. Concessions are available for purchase. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be rescheduled, if possible.

Visitors can enter Camp Dodge through either the main gate at 7105 NW 70th Ave., Johnston or the historic East Gate at 7700 NW Beaver Dr., Johnston. Photo identification (a driver's license is acceptable) is required for admittance to Camp Dodge for individuals 16 years of age and older.

Note that ALL motorcyclists (drivers and passengers) on Camp Dodge are required by Department of Defense policy to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) consisting of helmet, eye protection (full-face shield or goggles or sunglasses), gloves, long pants, long-sleeved shirt or jacket, and over-the-ankle footwear while traveling on Camp Dodge. Motorcyclists without the required PPE may park their motorcycles at the Beaver Drive gate turnaround and walk to the pool complex (approximately three blocks).

For more on the Adjutant General’s Summer Concert Series, samples of the featured performers, concert cancellations, or the latest news on the Iowa National Guard, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/IowaNationalGuard or on Twitter; @IowaNatGuard or at www.iowanationalguard.com .

05.28.2014: Dance On The Small Screen

I would have been happy if they tied. As it was, last week’s finale of DWTS saw the triumph of the Olympic Gold Medalist over the Paralympic Bronze Medalist. The best dancer won, which doesn’t always happen during reality competitions, but, a tip of the top hat to Meryl Davis for a well-deserved victory. She managed to overcome Amy Purdy’s jaw-dropping and inspirational dances. Davis also overcame her partner’s extreme negatives and Purdy’s “unfair” advantage of Derek Hough. I was never a big fan of Meryl. Of course, I celebrated the hard work it took to come from silver medalist to the top of the podium. But, the power of reality television is allowing the public to learn a little more of the personality and back story of the contestants. I am a HUGE fan now! She is such an empowering partner, I’m not sure that Charlie Davis could’ve won the ice-dancing gold with anyone else. But, I’m sure she could’ve made almost any other partner competitive. And, I’m not sure that Amy could’ve done as well as she did without the innovative ground-breaking choreography and the ability to “reinvent” dance technique that Hough brought to the dance floor. My only gripe is the too early elimination of James and the survival of weaker dancers. Hopefully, he and Charlie will get a second chance on the next All-Star Edition! But, I’ll be watching whatever happens this September! And, just in time for summer “must-see TV”: the return of SYTYCD!

05.27.2014: Sunscreen Is Our Friend

Here's some parent-friendly information as #CCDC students head into the summer sunning season:
Capital City News Service— Pharmacist Abby Yancey was recently looking for some child friendly sunscreen and was quickly confronted with a variety of potentially confusing choices for what should have been an easy and straight-forward decision. She had several questions including: “What is the best sunscreen for children?” and “What’s in my kid’s sunscreen?”

As a full-time working mom, I was extremely pleased that I had purchased my kids’ sunscreen prior to the daycare email reminding us to bring it in. Woo-hoo! I was finally ahead of the game with a double pack of Coppertone suntan spray! Then the reminder email came saying they prefer sunscreen without oxybenzone. Go figure. I bought a spray that contained oxybenzone. Back to Target I went. I love an excuse to go to Target, but as I was in the sunscreen aisle I noticed that almost all of the sunscreens contain oxybenzone. As any mom would, I Googled it and quickly became overwhelmed with all the information out there. I ended up just buying one of the first things I saw, which was crazy expensive and it came in a ridiculously small bottle for the cost.

Dr. Yancey shares her discoveries on the St. Louis College of Pharmacy blog.

05.23.2014: High School Musical...IA Style!

Kudos to all you GLEEkz!
Recipients Revealed for the 2013-14 IA High School Musical Theater Awards
Showcase and ceremony to be held June 2 at the DsM Civic Center

(Capital City News Service) – DsM Performing Arts has announced the recipients of the 2013-14 IA High School Musical Theater Awards. An Awards Showcase honoring the young thespians for their outstanding achievements in musical theater will be held at the DsM Civic Center on Monday, June 2, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets to the IA 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 wraps up the State High School Musical Awards, a year-long initiative presented by DsM Performing Arts. Throughout the school year, young artists performed in and produced 17 different musical theater productions. Productions were reviewed by a panel of adjudicators that included performing arts professionals and educators, among others.

Nine high schools participated in the inaugural IA High School Musical Theater Awards, which was launched in the fall of 2012. Now in its second 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 – GREASE
  • 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 Des Moines – 42ND STREET
  • East High School, Des Moines – Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
  • Hoover High School, Des Moines – ANYTHING GOES
  • Grinnell High School, Grinnell – Disney’s BEAUTY & THE BEAST
  • Indianola High School, Indianola – INTO THE WOODS
  • Lincoln High School, Des Moines – FOOTLOOSE
  • Nevada High School, Nevada – FOOTLOOSE
  • North Polk High School, Alleman – SEUSSICAL
  • Norwalk High School, Norwalk – WAND
  • Pella Christian High School, Pella – THE MUSIC MAN
  • Roosevelt High School, Des Moines – 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 – THE WIZARD OF OZ
In addition to the local awards, there will be a surprise announcement at the Awards Showcase revealing two students as the 2013-2014 Triple Threat Award recipients. The Triple Threat Award recipients will represent Iowa at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City, June 25 – July 1, 2014.

For more information about the IA High School Musical Theater Awards, visit here or “like” us on Facebook.

05.22.2014: Performance Posting

E-mail offer from The Playhouse good tonight only:
Boeing Boeing soars, May 23-June 8

Thanks to our sponsor, EMC Insurance, a limited number of tickets will be available for the 7:30 PM, Thursday, May 22, dress rehearsal for just $5. These can be purchased online beginning at 12:01 AM, Thursday, May 22, and at the Playhouse ticket office beginning at Noon, Thursday, May 22.

Swinging '60s, Paris. Playboy Bernard is engaged to Gloria. And Gabriella. And Gretchen. When bad weather grounds all three flight attendants, Bernard's supersonic life hits turbulence. His friend, Robert, has trouble remembering which lie to tell to which woman, and his housekeeper, Berthe, is fed up with the deception unless there's money in it for her.

Mistaken identities and slamming doors abound in this farce that is a prequel to Don't Dress for Dinner. Boeing Boeing, a hit in our 2009 season. won the 2008 Tony Award as Best Revival of a Play. The show is recommended for ages 13 and up due to some adult humor.

"This latest edition of a play named for an aircraft soars right out of its time zone and into some unpolluted stratosphere of classic physical comedy. Propelled by the same gutsy spirit that animated Commedia dell'Arte and the silent films of Keaton, Chaplin and Lloyd, [this] may be earthy, but it's seldom earthbound." ­- New York Times

05.22.2014: Art On The Campus

Arts supporters! Adjust your calendars:
CANCELED: Public Arts Advisory Commission Meeting
Date: 5/22/2014 5:30 PM Location: WDM City Hall - City Council Chambers
4200 Mills Civic Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265

On January 24, 2011 the West Des Moines City Council approved the formation of a Public Arts Program which included the establishment of a seven member, four year term Public Arts Advisory Commission. This commission advises the City on the selection and installation of public art throughout the city.

The West Des Moines Public Arts Advisory Commission meets monthly the fourth Thursday at 5:30pm. For information on the Commission please contact WDM Parks and Recreation at 222-3444.

** There will NOT be a May 2014 Public Arts Advisory Commission meeting, instead the Commission will host a Grand Opening for the 2014 Art on the Campus exhibit at the WDM City Hall, 4200 Mills Civic Parkway, from 6pm-7pm (a short ceremony will be held at 6pm and exhibit artists will be in attendance **

05.21.2014: State Arts Summit

You have until the end of this work week to sign up for the 2014 IA Arts Summit. Here's audio of the announcement from Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie talking about the June 6th symposium:

Credit to Capital City Dance Center

...You can find out more and register here.

05.20.2014: South Beach Ballet

Want to learn how to teach the Balanchine style of ballet? Here's an opportunity at Eddie Villela's old company:
Teaching Fellows
Department: Miami City Ballet School
Reports to: School Director

Miami City Ballet School is launching a Fellowship Program that offers teachers in the community the opportunity to learn our new ballet syllabus, train in the classroom, receive a certificate upon completion of the course, and receive a weekly stipend. Teachers will review Miami City Ballet School's Syllabus with the School Director and faculty, then join them in the classroom for hands-on work with the students.

Our new syllabus has been finely-tuned to train young dancers ages 7-12 to the best of their ability. Miami City Ballet School’s faculty has found it to be incredibly thorough, challenging and productive in its results. The School would like to provide other teachers with the opportunity to learn new insights, glean innovative approaches, and renew their love of teaching.

Those who complete the Fellowship Program will be considered for future employment at Miami City Ballet School. Applicants will be selected at the discretion of the School Director and Chairman of Faculty, Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez.

Applicants from a range of dance backgrounds -- from college dance majors to seasoned ballet teachers -- are encouraged to apply . The program runs from September 3, 2013 through May 30, 2014, with holiday breaks in conjunction with the school calendar. Each Fellowship Teacher will be assigned to one level of ballet classes a month. After completing a month at one level, the Fellowship Teachers will rotate levels so that each teacher will have the opportunity to work with students at every level in the program. Weekly attendance will be based on the number of required ballet classes for that level. Attendance days are negotiable.

Interested applicants should respond before August 25th by sending a cover letter and resume to Jennifer Pino at jennifer@miamicityballet.org with the subject “Fellowship Program”.

Find out more here Miamicityballet.org

05.19.2014-T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

Finals tonight and tomorrow of my "guilty pleasure"! Here's a recap from the semi-finals:
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen
Week Le Neuf
American Icons Night!

Opening Number: Final five! Intro seems so short! Sign of the times! From "High School Musical", "Dirty Dancing", judge Kenny Ortega. DANG! Candace is the weakest link! Why doesn't America vote her off the island! Meryl and Maks at the bottom of the leader board?

Team Candark: Candace wants some late eighties dance moves! Bring the JOY! She's crying talking to her mentor who reminds her to dance for the LORD!Walking on sweetly holding hands! Maybe I missed this song in the past! She's better but still loses her way in the turns. Upper body is still weak. Her movements are larger, but, still need to extend. Needs to work on those turns...a LOT!. Great feeling, tho! For a dancer, what an actress! She's emotional again! I give her an eight! Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 8. Sets the bar out of the gate! Candace revealed makes it to the finals! That means a STRONG star will be sacrificed!o(

More Results: Jeopardy = Amy+Derek. Charlie and Sharna...also in jeopardy!

Team Charna: Advice from Scott Hamilton, fellow gold medalist! Perfect scores last week. He feels the momentum in the home stretch! Hamilton preaches versatility, emotion and surprise. Samba to "Mo' Money, Mo' Probs"! Hip Hop doesn't fit on Charlie's body. "New York, New York" by Sinatra, Fox Trot. Some faux tap to start off the number. Little miss grab of handwork. Nice frame. This fox trot. He loses hold of a prop! DANG props! Great feel! Great ice-dance inspired solo to end the number! I give him a nine, maybe a ten for that number! "You started as Astaire and finished as Baryshnikov!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10!!! Charlie says the "Way you train is the way you dance!" Continues the string of perfect scores!o)

Team Amerek: Quickstep and jazz. Traveling adds another dimension. She puts on Carbon fiber legs. "It's so different!" Derek raises his game, his choreographic game! Oprah calls, Amy's inspiration! Quickstep! Carbon fiber lgs. Blade dancer. OMG! She is so AMAZING! To "Can't Hurry Love" by the Supremes. Military men are clapping along, standing and clapping! Bruno is on his feet watching, staring in disbelief at what she does! OMG! Once again, I give her a 20! She is such an INSPIRATION! "My jaw is dropping on the desk!" She moves me to tears! Real Judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! Len nitpicking again! Derek says: "Pressure doesn't really exist. It's something we put on ourselves!"

Final results: Meryl and Max...in jeopardy! Team Jeetah: SAFE! All three Olympians in trouble!

Team Jeetah: New Michael Jackson song! He puts the pressure on himself! L.A.Reid comes to visit. To give him some advice on winning! "You want to be the greatest, you have to put in the work!" CHa-cha-cha! To New Michael. in Spats! YES! He's sharp. Any missteps and those spats will show the problem! Brief moonwalk to deliver the tribute. He's sharp but, curiously not involved. Nice touch tossing the hat back to the camera! Paul Anka in the audience, co-writer of the song! I give James a nine or ten as well! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Hitting a high into the home stretch!

Team Merax: Gets advice from icon and DWTS winner Kristi Yamaguchi, fellow gold medalist Olympian! Pressure from being on the bottom. Meryl is so GOOD for Max. BUT, he's feeling pressure to keep up the standards. "You're making me very, very nervous!" He throws a tantrum! She talks him down off the ledge! She's So GOOD for him! I'm such a HUGE fan of hers now! Jive. You ain't nothing but a hound dog. Have I mentioned: She's so good for him? He has to keep up the standards of the dancing! She's a performer . SO sweet and un-self consciously sexy! Such a PERFORMER as well! DANG! AUdience on its feet. GREAT smile! Turns so fast! So Sweet! SO Strong! I give her a ten...or TWENTY! But, she's so good, I'd hate to be Max! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10!!! Well-deserved!

Macey's Stars of Dance tribute to Armed Forces and classic Holywood! So nice to see pros dancing. No Civilians. Flawless standards. No problems with tons of props and scene changes. Amazing to think Derek was rehearsing this as well as choreographing and teaching Amy two dances!

Round Two:

Team Candark: Jazz. Ms. Jackson. Candace needs to be bigger and sharper. She's trying well. But, taking on an American Icon like Ms Jackson. She's doing well. But, she should've been eliminated. The lift is awkward in the air!. Give her credit for trying, but, she should've been sent home and she knows it! Voting public got it wrong ...AGAIN! I give her an eight. Real judges: 9, 10, 10, 9! Whoa! Score inflation IMNSHO!

Team Charna: Samba to "Mo money, mo problems". White man over bite. He loses his top and gets tossed onto stage. Charlie missing the accents. Living up to his ethnic expectations! Technique is there. needs a little more POP! in that Hip Hop! Give him a ten for effort. Eight or nine for execution. "Lacks the FUNK!" Real Judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Judges wanted to give him more! Just didn't provide the excuse for better scores!

Team Amerek: Jazz. "Too Darn Hot" Amy sitting on a table. Wow! Derek lifts the table and she slides off! That's harder than it looks! He's strong! "Ruff, tuff, Derek Hough!" Once again Derek inventing whole new choreographic technique! I give her a ten! I give HIM the TWENTY! High praise from Kenny Ortega for Derek Hough! Real judges: 9, 10, 10, 10! WOW! That's nitpicking at a new level!

Team Jeetah: Rhumba. James is so good! Anyone who doesn't win this should come back for the all-star edition. His innate sense of line and style is breathtaking! Good hips! Not just for a white boy either! Country and western rhumba. Dramatic slide, He's everything you hope for when you ask a star to come on the show! I give him a ten...or nine! "You are the smartest competitor in the room!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Getting some separation among the leaders now!

Team Merax: Viennese Waltz. Starts in a somber scene. Big full pleated skirt. WOW! She looks at him with such affection! It makes me jealous! And, I don't even know her. She glows from within when she dances! Amazing Spin promenade. The speed is breathtaking! Her smile could launch a thousand ships! Line and layback are ridiculous. She breaks a thousand hearts by walking away from him! The only one who can beat Meryl is Amy! I give her a TEN! "You went for it one hundred percent!" "A beautiful explosion!" She's so wise in her statements! Real judges: 10, 10, 10,10! There's the seperation! 80 out of 80 possible!

FInal elimination: Three Olympians! If you don't vote, you can't complain! First safe...is Amy! I think Davis and White may have split the vote! You can see on her face, she may think she's going home because of last week's lowest scores! Charlie goes home!o( OMG! Unfair!!! He's such a good loser! Candace should've gone home. If she's not the first gone during the finals, there is no justice!! Meanwhile, I'm torn between hopping on board Team Merylax and Team Amerek! And Team Jeetah deserves consideration as well!

05.16.2014: Best of the Best

Keep your eyes on these dancers in the future. Final tally from the 2014 Prix de Lausanne:
Schools and Companies chosen by the 2014 Prize Winners

The Prix de Lausanne is delighted to announce that the 2014 prize winners will continue their training in the following partner schools and companies:

  • (404) Mr Haruo Niyama
    Japan, Hakucho Ballet Academy
    San Francisco Ballet School (USA)
    Scholarship provided by the Fondation Leenaards

  • (108) Ms Sae Maeda
    Japan, Mayumi Kinouchi Ballet Studio
    Royal Ballet School (UK)
    Scholarship provided by the Beau-Rivage Palace

  • (319) Ms Precious Adams,
    USA, Bolshoi Ballet Academy
    English National Ballet (UK)
    Apprenticeship provided by Adveq

  • (402) Mr David Fernando Navarro Yudes,
    Spain, Princess Grace Academy, Monte-Carlo
    Royal Ballet (UK)
    Apprenticeship provided by the Oak Foundation

  • (403) Mr Garegin Pogossian,
    France, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse, Lyon
    ABT's Studio Company (USA)
    Scholarship provided by the Fondation Coromandel

  • (413) Mr Mikio Kato,
    Japan, Princess Grace Academy, Monte-Carlo Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
    Apprenticeship provided by Harlequin Floors

05.15.2014: Real Wheel Art

Fine Arts happenings in the Capital City:
* PedalArt Opening Reception
* Friday, May 16, 2014 • 7:00 pm

The 2014 PedalArt Poster Show will be hosted by the Viaduct Gallery at the DsM Social Club in its new location in the historic Firehouse at 900 Mulberry Street from May 16 – June 1st. The bicycle-themed poster show will feature original artwork from 30 local and regional artists. The free art exhibition will happen May 16 – June 1st with a special opening reception on Friday, May 16 from 7:00pm – 10:00pm.

This year PedalArt will take place in the brand new Viaduct Gallery. All artwork will be available for purchase to take home for $30 each, with an edition of 30 prints per artist. This year’s PedalArt Poster Show features a mix of returning artists from the 2013 show and new artists from around our great state.

PedalArt DsM celebrates cyclists and artists alike, providing an unmatched forum to promote the importance of cycling in sustainable living, wellness, and the pure joy of riding a bike. Come enjoy the energetic atmosphere and take home your favorite posters!

PedalArt is brought to you by the DsM Social Club and the DsM Bicycle Collective. PedalArt is one of the many ways the DsM Social Club works to create opportunities for artistic growth by providing artists the opportunity to showcase their work, grow their audience and develop their craft.

Friday, May 16: 7:00pm – 10:00pm – Opening Reception

On exhibit at Viaduct Gallery, May 16 – June 1st.

05.14.2014: Cinderella

If you're not taking class or rehearsing at CCDC already, a professional ballet performance just a hop, skip and a grand jete' down the freeway this weekend:

...And, here's more from the rehearsal process:

05.13.2014: Video Tuesday

Putting the 'Air' in "La Corsaire"! Time for some @DaniilSimkin video partnering @BalletRusse

What were you doing when you were 16? Here's David Hallberg auditioning for POB School:

05.12.2014-T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

Semifinals tonight! Kenny Ortega guest judge! Here's a recap from last episode:
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen
Week Le Huit
Stars dance with Stars!

Abby Lee Miller is guest judge? Can't I get away from her? Opening Number: To Mark Ballas singing and not dancing? Mark Ballas Band? Ballas and the Ballers! He does dance with Whitney and then with backup boys in the band. Derek and other professionals. This looks like a FUN number to perform. Infectious dance music. Guess it takes a dancer to really lay the groove down! "Get My Name"? Available for download now? Oh, good! Amy's back? How is that back BTW? Little adhesive tape showing on décolletage for Sharna!

Eliminations begin: Charlie and Sharna first and SAFE!

Team Charna: Quickstep. Frustration cancelled out his innate positivity! His mom comes in to visit! Getting back to enjoying the process of the show! Charlie gives Sharna a flower which she quickly tosses aside. LOVE when he's relaxed and enjoying the performance. He's on his way to good scores! Good technique! Excellent expression! His smile is genuine! Gotta learn to fake that sincerity. I give him that ten! My guest judge gives him a ten. Dang! Abby Lee actually knows her dance technique. Charlie's changing focus from the scores to focusing on the performance! Good plan. Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Finally gets his perfect scores!

Eliminations: Meryl and Max are safe! Team Danical in jeopardy.

Team Danical: Tango! She's still fighting with her injury! Wow! Big chandelier to start. Dramatic eye make-up! Game of thrones start? Fighting over the crown. She needs to be harder on her own. Once in hold she improves. She's sharper and stronger in Val's arms. When they break, she's too soft again! I give her a nine. When she was in hold she was a ten! Real judges: 10, 9, 9, 10! Hmm, score inflation, a little?

Team Merylax: Rhumba! Dysfunctional relationship! Max's being challenged by Meryl to come up with some of his best choreography. Goose bumps! Fabulous hip movements! Story of an abusive dance relationship! Chicken skin. She has a great instrument and Great technique! OMG! Best fabulous choreography! He's being challenged to be fabulous! She gets fifteen from me! Abby spots her feet have been encased in ice boots for too long! Real judges: 9, 9, 8, 10!

Eliminations: Amy and Derek safe! James and Peta: in jeopardy! Team Candark also in jeopardy!

Team Candark: Fox Trot! Team turtle on roller blades! Her family is the source of her strength! Fifties theme Hmm, may not make the finals as she hopes. Little too much weight on the heels. You can have heel leads without putting weight on them! She's acting well. but the shoulders are weak! I give her a seven or eight! My guest judge gives a seven! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9!

Team Jeta: Viennese Waltz! Should be good for him! Cherry blossoms! He has such grace and natural line! He should make the finals. BUT...Weight's a little back. He's not living up to my expectations! Shoulders need to be rolled under! Too hunched! Better line when he seperates. Ooh, that's a lift! Carrie Anne won't be happy. Disappointing! I give him an eight! Real judges: 8, 9, 10, 9! Hmm...little home cooking?

Team Amerek: Flashback to her back spasms! Argentine tango! The tango aggravates her injury! She's perched on a stool. He lifts her off. Man! Derek is inventing a whole new style of choreography and dance technique. He covers her weaknesses and displays her strengths! She's dancing and still sitting. ...With enough partner work to satisfy judges! Missed a kick of the stool! She was supposed to catch stool! he didn't kick it hard enough! Dang props! I still give her a ten...or maybe a nine! NO mention from judges of missed tip and pick! Standing ovation! Derek carries her up the stairs! I predict the final will come to a showdown between Amy and Meryl! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Keeps pace with Charlie!!

Celebrity Dance Duel: This isn't fair! Meryl can dance next to a professional dancer and more than hold her own!

Meryl/Danica: Samba! Starts off with the two lolling on two lions! Hard to take your eyes off Meryl. Same with the two dancing next to each other. Meryl is a gold medalist. Danica is an actress. Nuff said! Real judges: 8, 9, 8, 9!

Charlie/Candace: Contemporary! Two girls start in lifts. Story of two couples. But, the two yearn for each other. Once they start dancing together it's all lifts! Using Charlie' s Understander experience in lifts! Wow! These guys took on a big challenge! Stars don't dance with stars like that! Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 10! Generous scores!

James/Amy: Jive! Wonder how James will be able to partner Amy? Derek is good enough that he can compensate to cover for Amy's handicap? Her injury also slowing down rehearsals! Dang! James keeping up with Derek! The stars dance now! James is taking care of Amy! And, still dancing up a storm! WOW! Amy keeping up with Peta! Real judges: 9, 10, 10, 10! One faux pas from perfection!

Final elimination: Candace and Mark safe? That means Danica is going? Hope it's not James! Advancing to semifinals: James! Danica calls it a season! Good loser! Next: the semifinals!

05.09.2014: Welcome, New Club On the Block!

The Des Moines Social Club grand opening is tomorrow. CCDC's @SirDanGuy took a sneak peek of the new facility based in the old firehouse. Here's the last two parts of an audio tour with the DMSC C-O-O Cyndi Pederson, former Director of Department of Cultural Affairs: (Best with headphones!o)

Copyright Capital City Dance Center


Copyright Capital City Dance Center

05.08.2014: Welcome, DsM Social Club!

The Des Moines Social Club grand opening is this weekend. CCDC's @SirDanGuy got to take a sneak peek of the new facility based in the old firehouse. Here's the first part of an audio tour with the DMSC C-O-O Cyndi Pederson, former Director of Department of Cultural Affairs: (Best with headphones!o)

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

05.07.2014: Artsummit

Reminder! Put this in your calendar app:
Save the Date: 2014 Arts Summit, June 6

The Arts Council, a division of the State Department of Cultural Affairs, is pleased to invite you to save the date, June 6, 2014, for the 2014 Arts Summit. The 2014 Arts Summit will be a daylong event held in the Capital City aimed at elevating the arts field in the area through professional development and networking opportunities. More information regarding summit content and registration will be announced soon. Spread the word! Share this invite with your peers and encourage them to sign up for summit updates..."

05.06.2014: Performance Posting

Dance concert this weekend at the institution lovingly referred to as "Party Hearty You", home of the newly sober @VodkaSamm:
Dance majors to perform in Undergraduate Concert May 8-10

Undergraduate dance majors in the University of Iowa Department of Dance will present their choreography to the public in the Undergraduate Concert at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 8-10, in Space Place Theatre (101 North Hall, UI campus).

The full performance will include:

  • The Vitality Within, choreography by Bianca Medina (dancers: Malinda Baty, Dakota Gonzalez, Anthony Pucci, Molly Schuneman, Kaelee Wittrock)
  • Mindful Sensibility, choreography by Tyler Clark (dancers: Mary O’Connor and Lindsey Wong)
  • Crosswords, choreography by Katie Skinner (dancer: Lauren Linder)
  • Resolve, choreography by Alee Ronchetto (dancers: Irina Gass, Sirena Lindsay, Emily McElwain, Anthony Pucci, Kristen Vasilakos)
  • Encountering Pieces of Glass, choreography by Sarah Finley (dancers: Sarah Finley and Brittany Zimmerman)
  • Shock Absorber, choreography by Anna Krupp (dancers: Venezia Manuel, Emily McElwain, Libby Westra)
  • Life’s Push and Pull, choreography by Brooke Robinson (dancers: Blake Boseneiler, Samantha Ensor, Bridget Heddens, Claire Lindstrom, Kelsey Lox, Brooke Robinson, Kaylee Snider, Ainsley Tharp)
  • Incredibox, choreography by Ethan Rome, (dancers: Dakota Gonzales, Tyler Nemmers, Anthony Pucci)
  • What? Why? Okay!, choreography by Devanshi Mishra (dancers: Bridget Heddens, Korinne Fangmann, Nicole Zozulia)
  • Mind Games, choreography by Irina Gass (dancers: Melissa Krienke and Kristen Vasilakos) Innersection of the Intersection, choreography by Carmen T. Stuart (dancers: Irina Gass and Libby Westra)
  • Psychogenic Effect, choreography by Nicole Zozulia (dancer: Nicole Zozulia) Transparansee, choreography by Sophia Sednova (dancers: Sophia Sednova and Zachary Bird)
  • Gli Oroscopi, choreography by Dakota Gonzalez (dancers: Irina Gass, Melissa Krienke, Bianca Medina, Anthony Pucci, Ethan Rome, Libby Westra)
Tickets for the Undergraduate Concert 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 website.

05.05.2014-T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

Mondaze always go better...with Dancing With The Starz!
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen
Week Le Sept
Latin Night

Opening number: Sexy, barely there costumes for the girls. Ricky Martin sings the opening number. Samba Party Nation! Dancers escort Ricki to the Judges desk/stage! "Todo la gente del mundo! Bailamos!" ...to quote another song. This is "We Are One!" Says he's looking for passion and focus and Entertainment! Stars come on. I think Meryl is a better dancer than Charlie is...She could win it all. Danica broke her ribs this week? But, the show must go on!o)

First results: creepy music! First couple safe is Team Danical! Team Jetain jeopardy? Is there no justice? Amy and Derek SAFE!

Team Amerek: Rhumba. Personal challenges to maintaining a relationship. "Derek is my support system now"! Do what it takes with sympathy and empathy! Ruff tuff Derek Hough!. Oooh! Smooth Sultry Sensual. Killing it on prosthetic legs! This girl remains an inspiration. Derek carefully hides what she can't do and challenges her to find even more. Can't even tell those legs aren't real! She's a performer...better than many of us with two full functioning legs! I give her a ten! That was AMAZING! My guest judge: 8. Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! What's it take to get a ten around here? Well, Carrie Anne says she took a point off. Maybe the other judges did as well?

Team Jameseta!: Samba! They have an excellent chemistry! Start in black and white. He's carrying tires. Shes a faux service station attendant. You know that's coming off. Meanwhile he does a kip up! Flawlessly! Boy got talent. Good hips. Upper body needs work. She reveals his six pack and peels off his tshirt. Samba rolls. She's in garter and belts in red sparkles. My boy has a body! Like me looking in a MIRROR! I give him a nine! My guest judge gives them an 8! Real judges: 9, 9, 8, 9!

Team Danical: Bruised ribs. Background dancers are a risky move. Putting her with professionals like @Dance9Lyndsey just makes her suffer by comparison! I'm worried for her, but, she's holding her own. Val does his own kip up. Ahh. she forgets choreography. Val is improvising. hard to change choreography for inexperienced dancers. Does she have a flesh colored bandage on? I give her an eight. Real judges; 8, 9, 8, 8! Ricki is giving her an extra point for sheer GUTS!

Team Candark is safe? Ooh, that means an unwelcome elimination! Team Charna in jeopardy? Team Merax safe. Team Tonene is in trouble!

Team Tonene: Argentine tango. adding more dancers! Using All the boys! Concentrating on technique! Good call! Her attitude is bigger than life! She knows how to play with the boys as well!. Rose in the teeth! Uh! The movements are a little too small for such a big dancer! Her movement too careful. Concentrating on technique has calmed her down too much! Len may like this, but, I need to see her live up to larger than life. Looks like she forgot the "money" symbol right at the end! I give her and seven or eight! Ten for performance, 7 for technique! Guest judge agrees. Real judges: 8, 8, 7, 8! They must be factoring in the performance factor?

Team Charna: He consults with Meryl to seek the perfect scores! She says she's the student all week, but, she's an equal partner on performance day. OKAY! He's attacking this. Strong. Sharp and tapping into his Olympic competitiveness. He's still not as good as Meryl, but, he's making a case for competitiveness. HIS shirt comes off ! And my boy is in shape DANG! Another Mirror! Strong ending! I give him that ten! Guest judge gives him a nine! Meryl is applauding her partner! "Take your shirt off Week!" May get a ten from Ricki! Real judges: 9, 10, 8, 9! Gets a ten! But, gets his ten from Ricki!

Team Candark: Psychological problems! Sports psychologist conference. Camera blocking! Type A perfectionism! Accept your imperfections! Wow! There's something there! Not disappointing her partner? Something in her past repeating itself in this show! Argentine Tango! "1970", Her upper body is tentative. Her gauchos are strong. Upper body isn't matching commitment of her lower body! Everything is strong except for her upper body. She needs to dance from her core strength up and out! I give her an eight! Guest judge gives an eight! Would be higher except for the upper body! Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 9! Break through scores! For HER!

Team Merylax: Salsa. Injuries to both of them! Meryl is a DANCER!. TIny girl packs punch! Don't really care for her hair like that! But, she's Hot and She can Salsa! . WOW! Athletic routine. Lotta turns. Ooh! She still needs to improve her chainne' turns. She does them like she's on skates. Energy is off the charts! Max tosses his shirt into the crowd! She just needs to look up and connect with the crowd! Sell the sizzle! Tosses Max aside like yesterday's news! I give her a nine or ten! Guest judge gives her a nine!! She DID "hold her own in front of six professional dancers! Rehearsing on tour! Real judges: 10, 10, 9, 10! She and Amy are on top of my "Anointed" list

Team Vida: Pressure of Ricky Martin judging! Team in sky blue parrot colors! Shaking those hips and shoulders! Tossing James around. The Boys are on fire! Now that samba. Once again, Nene is the weakest link technically. Knee spins and Peta over the shoulder for James. Charlie has good hips Lifting Nene? Good attack from charlie Great SONG! Drummers and open flames! Strong group dance. Nene is too flat-footed. I give them an eight! I like the technicolor costumes that POP on TV! Entire team is on jeopardy! Real judges: 8, 10, 8, 9!

Team Loca: Their costumes are subdued by comparison! Meryl doesn't use her feet like I'd like and I think that's because she's used to skates. Salsa! Candace tries to bring the party, but, is a lot in her head again! Daring step overs with Amy's false legs! Meryl constantly amazes! I wasn't a big fan before during the Olympics. Gracie Gold more my style, but, Meryl's winning me over now!. Derek has never lost one of these group dances and it doesn't look like he's going to start now! I give them a ten! Maybe a nine! Real judges: 10, 10, 9, 10! Team to beat! Derek's streak continues

Abby Lee Miller? WTHeck? Amy injured herself during her dance? Results coming up: First to be saved: Team Charna! I think I know whose going home between Nene and James! She knew it was her time! Next week may be time for Candace to call it a DWTS participation! Abby Lee Miller? WTHeck?

05.02.2014: Fizzy, Tasty Poison

Rethink your drink, CCDC dancerz!o)
UI study finds diet drinks associated with heart trouble for older women

Drinking two or more diet drinks a day may increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, in otherwise healthy postmenopausal women, according to a new University of Iowa study. The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington, D.C.

The study, which analyzed diet drink intake and cardiovascular health in almost 60,000 women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, found that compared to women who never or only rarely consume diet drinks, those who consume two or more a day are 30 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease.

"This is one of the largest studies on this topic, and our findings are consistent with some previous data, especially those linking diet drinks to the metabolic syndrome,” says Dr.Ankur Vyas, a fellow in cardiovascular disease at UI Hospitals and Clinics, and the lead investigator of the study.

About one in five people in the U.S. consume diet drinks on a given day, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009-10). But, according to Vyas, there is a relative lack of data about the cardiovascular health consequences of diet drinks.

Based on self-reported consumption of diet drinks over a three-month period, the researchers divided the 59,614 study participants into four consumption groups: two or more diet drinks a day, five to seven diet drinks per week, one to four diet drinks per week, and zero to three diet drinks per month. Each drink was defined as the equivalent of a 12-ounce beverage and included both diet sodas and diet fruit drinks.

After an average follow-up of 8.7 years, the primary outcome—defined as a composite of incident coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack, coronary revascularization procedure, ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiovascular death—occurred in 8.5 percent of the women consuming two or more diet drinks a day compared to 6.9 percent in the five-to-seven diet drinks per week group; 6.8 percent in the one-to-four drinks per week group; and 7.2 percent in the zero-to-three per month group.

The association persisted even after researchers adjusted the data to account for demographic characteristics and other cardiovascular risk factors, including body mass index, smoking, hormone therapy use, physical activity, energy intake, salt intake, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sugar-sweetened beverage intake. On average, women who consumed two or more diet drinks a day were younger, more likely to be smokers, and had a higher prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure, and higher body mass index.

But Vyas says the association between diet drinks and cardiovascular problems raises more questions than it answers, and should stimulate further research.

“We only found an association, so we can’t say that diet drinks cause these problems,” Vyas says, adding that there may be other factors about people who drink more diet drinks that could explain the connection.

“It’s too soon to tell people to change their behavior based on this study; however, based on these and other findings we have a responsibility to do more research to see what is going on and further define the relationship, if one truly exists,” he adds. “This could have major public health implications.”

Future research could include clinical studies, animal models, and even molecular and pharmacologic analyses to begin to explain what, if any, direct role diet drinks play in heart health.

05.01.2014: Pas de Trey!

One of the most celebrated choreographers on the national dance scene brings his company on its farewell tour through the Capital City tonight. I had a chance to speak dancer-on-dancer with Trey McIntyre recently. This is the last of a three-part interview.

Reminder that my questions are automatically cut out by my recording equipment so all you'll hear will be Mr. McIntyre's answers. Here are some of the questions I asked in this segment: What's your advice for dancers who want to dance for you? What's your advice for choreographers who want to follow in your footsteps? Are you on social media? How do we follow along with what's next for Trey McIntyre? What would you say to someone who's trying to decide whether or not to come see your performance tonight?



Copyright Capital City Dance Center


...And, for anyone attending tonight's performance, we'd welcome your short reviews or reactions. (Some of us are teaching and can't make it!o( Send them here.



04.30.2014: Much More McIntyre!

One of the most celebrated choreographers on the national dance scene brings his company on its farewell tour through the Capital City tomorrow. I had a chance to speak with Trey McIntyre recently and talk to him dancer-on-dancer. This is the second of a three-part interview.

Reminder that my questions are automatically cut out by my recording equipment so all you'll hear will be Mr. McIntyre's answers. Here are some of the questions I asked: What should the audience expect when they see your company? Or should they come with no expectations at all? How much do you depend on your dancers for inspiration for your choreography? How much do you ask from your audiences at your performances? Tell me one of your favorite comments from an audience member after they watched your company. Tell me about your decision to disband the Trey McIntyre Project after this tour. What's coming next for you?



Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Part de trois of a "Conversation with Trey" will be posted tomorrow.

04.29.2014: A Trey! From The Corner!

One of the most celebrated choreographers on the national dance scene brings his company on its farewell tour through the Capital City later this week. I had a chance to do a phone interview with Trey McIntyre recently and ask him about and for his inspiration. This is the first part of a three-part interview.

Reminder that my questions are automatically cut out by my recording equipment so all you'll hear will be Mr. McIntyre's answers. Here are some of the questions I asked: How many dancers in your company? How many males and females? How would you describe the choreograpy that you do? Modern? Post-Modern? Your influences: Limon, Graham, Horton? Talk about your transition from ballet dancer to contemporary choreographer. Tell us about the new piece that audiences in the Capital City will get to see ("The Vinegar Works").



Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Part de deux of a "Conversation with Trey" will be posted tomorrow.

04.28.2014-T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

Rainy daze and Mondays always get you down, Karen? DWTS has the antidote to what ails ya!o)
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen
Week Le Six
The Party Anthems

Opening number: Len sells tickets to Amy and Derek. Stars are built into the big opening number. Hmm, wonder if they're doing Grease. "Party in the USA" Max does the Hammer and hits the bell! Selfie ends the number! Choreographed by Mandy Moore! Guest judge is Redfoo from LMFAO. Big entrance as he dances his way on to the stage. Big hugs from the other judges. He says he's looking for something that rocks his sox off! First results starts off with Team Tonene safe!

Team Tonene: Salsa! She apologizes profusely for their tiff. Tony brings flowers! Dancing to Nelly's "It's getting Hot in HRR!" Good song for her outsizepersonality. Big GRRL got big Prrsonality. This is prrfect song for her. She FLRRRTING with the audience. Can't help but smile when I see her dance. Tony loses his SHRRT! Twerk it baby! Her husband loves it! I give her an eight! Or Nine! Real judge: 8, 9, 8, 8! Redfoo has his own CRRZY paddles!

More results: James and Peta SAFE! Team Candark...in jeopardy!

Team Candark: "I Love It"! Little mental confidence. lacks mental endurance. Cha-cha demands sexy hip movements. "Gotta SELL it!" Find the sexy character. "It's Tough!" "Confidence is sexy!" POW! Mark sharp in his silver shoes. She's a little off-balance. She's gonna be criticized for her weight placement and use of her knees! Her walks are strong and sexy! Shoulders still need work! I give her and eight or nine! Make that an eight. Real Judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! (Redfoo is the second score!)

Next Monday: Latin dances, Ricky Martin, guest judge and the return of the team dances!

Team James/Peta: Dancing to the "You're the One that I Want" from "Grease". Expectations for quickstep will be "skyhigh!" Classic greasers and pink ladies. Let's go Danny Zuko! Big jumps Good frame. Sharp movements Good rise and fall. He's using his musical ability to "sing" the steps. He's channeling his inner Zuko! Give him a nine! Or Ten! He's still a contender, but, I fear a backalsh from last week's perfection. Real judges: 9, 9, 8, 9! Top scores of the night...so far!

Midway point of the season. Package of the fatigue setting in! Macy's stars of dance. Walking on stage to "Animals" Choreography by Derek and Allison Holker. Dang! That looks like Phillip Habib out there . Now the ballroom starts! That is Phillip freestyling out there in a solo Strong street and contemporary dancing. Now to two couples Whitney and Lindsey? Nice sequence of flips by soloists and smoke spewing robo guitar players! Strong Vegas style number! Tom Bergeron also freestyling to the bump back.

More results: Meryl and Max are safe! Team Danical is in trouble!

Team Danical: Cha-cha to Whitney Houston! She credits Val for making her a contender! Celebrating her feminity! Her womanliness comes from strength! Starts off alone asking for someone to dance with her. Good leg extension! Val rips off her outer skirt! She's such a performer And! He's really taking care of her without overshadowing her. Real skill. Kisses her on the cheek. Have to smile at this performance as well. Playful pats on her bottom. Val is so sharp! Excellent number! I give her a nine or ten! How are they in jeopardy! "Just focus on the dance!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! No tens, but, leader in the clubhouse!

Team Meryl and Max: Wow! She is good for him! Dang! Max has to step up his game, his choreography, his belief in order to maximize her potential, so to speak! Powerful performance. She's more than keeping up with HIM! She's CHALLENGING him to keep up with her! She gets a ten from me! She's so sweet...and so STRONG! Redfoo has the ability to say nothin...with GREAT emotion!o) Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! She deserves elevens!oD

Team Drew/Cheryl: Tango to "Superfreak"! Two more girls to Pimp up Drew! Something very likeable about the Super freakishly Drew! Cheryl choreographed a safe tango. Slower and safer! He's doing well with it! His age is working against him! Hips don't lie! His hips showing his age! It was entertaining! I give him an eight! Seven or eight! Real judges: 8, 9, 7, 8! Widest range in scores of the night!

Redfoo performance. Everyone in glasses and mirrorball square head! This is a one man party anthem. He's freestyling! Tom Bergeron also in glasses!

Team Charna: Cha-cha! Sharna focusing on his bootie. He's got a great smile. Starts off with some basic tutting! Okay! His attack is much better. Hips better. Knee spin. Everybody Dance now! Lotta fast turns. Black light section. It's a rave! Her make-up glows! He's sucking gas at the end! I give him a nine! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9!

Team Amerek: Jive to Isley's "Shout" The competitor in her says it's time to make her move! The wedding crasher theme! What she does every week continues to astonish me! DANG! Little mishandling of the hands! She's on her own. How do her prostheses stay on? She does a cartwheel into a catch! Derek goes over the mistake before heading over to the judges stand! I give her a ten! She KILLS me! Real judges: 9, 10, 9, 10!

Final results: Team Drew and Cheryl are in trouble. Amy and Charlie survive and advance. Next couple safe is...Team Danical! Candace or Drew will head home! Is it time for Drew to go? Yes. He had a premonition that this was his time! He did well and has nothing to hang his head about! What a great sport!

Now we get to the tough outs. Amy, The Olympians, they're not going anywhere. Even Nene will be making a strong case to stay. May be time to say goodbye to Candace!

04.25.2014: Performance Posting

Visiting the institution affectionately nicknamed "Party Hearty You" this weekend? Here's a performance you might wanna check out:
Hancher presents Gallim Dance in Space Place Theater
.By: Erin Donohue

The University of Iowa’s Hancher will present Gallim Dance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24 and Friday, April 25, at Space Place Theater, located on the first floor of North Hall on the UI campus.

Founded in 2007, Gallim Dance is a Brooklyn–based contemporary dance company dedicated to creating and performing original work by Andrea Miller, former company member of Batsheva Dance in Israel. Dance Magazine named Miller one of its 25 to Watch (2009) and featured her on the cover of the April 2011 magazine, calling her a “wild child” of movement invention. The goals of her company are to nurture the careers of young artists and to stimulate the imagination of a diverse, international audience.

Gallim’s style, presented by an award-winning ensemble of dancers, quickly caught the attention of the dance community with its visceral movement and resonant imagery. Miller’s choreographic process includes physical research and improvisation, using games, stories, or focusing on details such as textures and ornamentation. These tasks reveal characters, movement motifs, and new themes in her work.

Gallim’s mission is “to play inside the imagination, to find juxtapositions of the mind and body that resonate in the soul, to investigate our limitations and pleasures, and to realize the endless human capacity for inspiration.”

The program for the company’s Hancher performances will feature two works: Sit, Kneel, Stand and Pupil Suite. Sit, Kneel, Stand is based on the myth of Sisyphus and explores heroism, absurdity, and the human experience. In contrast, Pupil Suite is a quirky, playful selection of works, set to the music of Balkan Beat Box.

Members of Gallim Dance will be in Iowa City throughout the week of the performances visiting UI classes and working with local dancers.

04.24.2014: Performance Posting

Happening in a few weeks, just a tombe', pas de bourre', glissade, grand jete' down the freeway:
"...May 9-18, 2014: Cinderella

LET THE STORY MOVE YOU

Cinderella is a magical celebration of dreams fulfilled and true love’s triumph. Victoria Morgan’s beautiful choreography accompanied by Prokofiev’s captivating music will bring this enchanting story to life. Featuring the Kansas City Symphony, this classic tale is filled with the sights and sounds of true beauty..."

...Find out more here.

04.23.2014: Batty For Acro

Back when I was a young, struggling dancer-wanna-be, a fellow dancer invited me to participate with a group called the Waikiki Acrobatics Troupe to hone my partnering skills. They worked out about a quarter-mile from world-famous Waikiki Beach, a group of tandem surfers who brought their skills to shore. Well, I enjoyed learning from that group so much, I stayed and honed my gymnastic and acrobatic skills with them for several years. (Holding a 140-pound woman over my head in one hand, learning to fall from standing four people on each others shoulders.) I actually choreographed a routine for them that placed second nationally in the mixed pairs competition. I use skills I learned with them almost everyday, but, haven't thought about them for years. Then, the other day, just to prove it's impossible to hide from anyone anymore, got this e-mail:
"...Hello (@SirDanGuy):

Some of us were reminiscing about the good old days of UH dance and your name came up. Carl F______ tracked you down via a Google search. You've done quite all right according to your biosketch. I can tell by your postings on the home pages of CCDC that you are still very conscientious about your dancers and dance instruction.

UH finally has a new dance studio (see photo) after years in the quarry. I'll be seeing their students' Spring Footholds performances next week as our spring semester wraps up.

The Waikiki Acrobatic Troupe marks 40 years of performances this year (42 years since we first began workouts on Waikiki Beach with the tandem surfers). I'm the only one of the originals still at it. Don H_______ had both knees replaced at the beginning of the month and is "out of commission" for a number of weeks. His brother, Mike, has 2 teenage daughters who have out-grown acrobatics, were in dance, and now have discovered horses (go figure!). While our numbers have fluctuated over the years, we have a nucleus of 6 "old timers" plus another dozen or so who gather regularly for workouts. We teach them and another score or so various acrobatic skills, some of which I picked up while active with the US Sports Acrobatics Federation and International Sports Acrobatics Federation. Our beach workouts have attracted a large number of ancillary practitioners of acro-yoga, slackline, juggling, hula-hooping, poi ball and related skills. At the UH gym we add aerial silks, lyre, and a stationary trapeze Somewhere, we have a facebook page, so you can look us up if interested.

Aloha,
Richard C_____ ..."

...If you ever go to Hawai'i and want to watch or work-out with the Waikiki Acrobatics Troupe, let me know and I'll give you directions to San Souci Beach just south of Kapiolani Park where they hold informal training sessions on Sunday afternoons. Those were fun times back when I was "batty for acro"!o)

04.22.2014: Tea For Two

Want to stay hydrated during CCDC dance classes? Men's Health magazine e-mailed this suggestion that could help if you're having trouble catching on to that tricky combination:
"...Guys who swallowed green tea extract showed immediate improvements in brain activity and connectivity, which led to a 14-percent jump in some aspects of working memory, the study data show. Working memory is the type of brainpower you employ to make smart decisions, problem-solve, and complete most of your other job-related tasks.

Green tea—whether in extract or liquid form—contains antioxidants called catechins. And these chemicals appear to activate certain pathways in your noodle that speed up information processing, the study authors explain. (Most studies you’ll read about focus on green tea extract, not the tea in liquid form. That’s because doses of extract are simpler for researchers to apportion and track, not because the tea in liquid form isn’t beneficial.)..."

04.21.2014-T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!o)

What an unexpected elimination!
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen
Week Le Cinq
The Disney Edition

Opens with well-known Disney Opening sequence! Tinker Belle Shows up to Sprinkle a little fairy dust on the proceedings. Opening number to "When You Wish Upon A Star". Montage of well known Disney Movie tunes. Not sure I like Lindsey's hair. Step in Time, Zip a doo-dah. Cheryl dressed as Princess Jasmine. Cody slips in his intro. Belle and Jasmine make their appearances. Stars back with their regular pros. Guest judge is Donny Osmond, former champion! Straight from his show in Vegas! "I feel like I'm HOME again!" Talks about his long history with Walt Disney! "I'm Captain Sheng from Mulan!" Eliminations begin from the beginning. Charlie and Sharna are safe. Drew and Cheryl are safe TOO!

Drew/Cheryl: Silver tongued devil! Dancing to Aladdin! Starts with a rubof the lamp! He has an astonished expression on his face that doesn't work for me. Frame still needs a lotta work. Animated characters appear on stage and distract from Drew's sub-par dancing. Okay, NOW he's having fun! His punches lack vigor. I give him a six or seven. His son is standing and cheering in the audience. Quick step not Donny's favorite style. Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7.

Team Charna: Zendaya in the audience. Jazz routine, Dancing to Mary Poppins. His competitive spirit challenged to head back up to the top of the leaderboard. Supercalifragilisticaliexpidocious! He's the total package. great expressions. Strong, athletic dancing. His technique is strong! Oh! Drops the cane! Trouble with dancing with props! Tempo speeds up and he manages to stay on time with strong finish! I give him an eight or nine. "You DROPPED the cane!' "That was almost perfect!" "You're like a WAVE OF HAPPINESS!" "EYE-POPPIN! SHOW STOPPIN' JAW DROPPING!" His Olympic partner is beaming in the background! Real judges: 9, 10, 9, 9! WOW! Len's first ten of the season!

More results: Amy and Derek are safe! Also safe: Danica and Val! Nene and Tony in trouble. Cody and Whitney ALSO in Jeopardy!

Team Danical: Quick Step! to "Be Our Guest"! Pick up that cupcake! Be our guest! Looks like a Disney spectacle come to life. This routine would be at home in the middle of the Disney parade! Great performance. Solid technique. Eights or nines from me. "Stupendous". "Feel like you're Mom!" "You were GORGEOUS!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! New leader in the clubhouse!

Amy/Derek: They make a great Cinderella and Prince Charming! "This whole experience makes me feel like a princess!" Ballroom dancing reinvented for a prostheses! Frustration with the technique. She's brought to tears! Hard for an amputee! They REALLY look the part. The waltz could be her downfall. I'm holding myu breath now that I understand the difficulty. Derek is RALLY carrying her and caring for her Is that a lift! I'm informed it's like the third lift! AUdience is enraptured. ALmost a kiss...and the glass slipper! The pre-teens in the audeince are enraptured! Even the mice are ecstatic! I give her an eight or nine! Derek was a perfect choice to take the style and technique to a new frontier! Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 9! What a continuing INSPIRATION! She's speechless!

Team Codney: Dancing to Lion King! Samba! One of the hardest dances! I am Simba! The new "Strict-ney" in training. He has nice finish. Just his shoulders and upper carriage held weak. Great presence. Great expression! This guy is a star for a reason. Just needs a little more discipline. His solo is strong! I give him an eight! Young girls in the audience are vocal and pleased. Donny's giving some strong and on point suggestions! "Come to the good fairy!" Real judges: 9, 8, 8, 9!

Team Tonene: Nene as Cruella Deville! Foxtrot. Derek is tough competition and hard comparison. She comes on Shaking what her momma gave her. Great attitude. She can sell that attitude! She's larger than life. Tony has to step up to keep from disappearing on stage! Excellent characger driven steps. She's got charisma out the ears! I give her an eight! "Match made in Dance Heaven!" "Your best dance!" She's emotional! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Best scores to date! She's so emotional! Not sure why!

James/Peta: From Frozen. His reaching out to a special needs fan just raised my esteem of him . Contepmorary piece. Excellent! emotionally invested. excellent line. Great emotional content Easy lift and dsimount. Big jump! ONe handed over head lift! I thought it showed him off well, choreographically. I give him a nine! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! First perfect scores of the season! Top of the leaderboard!

Team Merylax: Samba to Mowgli. She's seducing the man child. Okay! Max is NOT phoning it in in this performance. Nothing like a big man dancing big. She's got the chops to keep up with the big man! He's put in the samba rolls for his star pupil. She's got great technique and great emotion. She's so sweet! I like her more becaus eof getting to know her on the show. She always seemed a little distant before her competitions! I give her a nine or ten! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9!

Team Candark: Little Mermaid! She starts by combing her hair with a fork. Ah, A little careful She's beaming! But, the movements are little too little. The audience is on their feet! She needs to attack it more and needs to sell it more. Okay now she steps it up! Transitions need a little work! Good under the leg slide and flip to ending pose. I give her a seven. Real judges: 8, 9, 9, 9! Big scores!

Elimination: Next to be saved is Team Tonene. Meaning Candace or Cody will be going home. Don't think it'll be Cody with his vast voting public. But, do they watch the show? Do they vote? I'M WRONG! Cody gets sent home! Great loser! What a shocker! The young viewership may have just taken a big hit. Who'll go next show? Amy and Derek may win this thing. James just made his presence felt. The Olympic gold medalists aren't going anywhere anytime soon. May be time for Drew to go!

04.18.2014: Fried Green Tomatos?

Well, not "fried", but, turns out green tomatos may be extra good for dancers and other athletes...
Green is good.

Natural compound from green tomatoes increases muscle, protects against muscle wasting

As unlikely as it sounds, green tomatoes may hold the answer to bigger, stronger muscles.

Using a screening method that previously identified a compound in apple peel as a muscle-boosting agent, a team of University of Iowa scientists has now discovered that tomatidine, a compound from green tomatoes, is even more potent for building muscle and protecting against muscle atrophy.

Muscle atrophy, or wasting, is caused by aging and a variety of illnesses and injuries, including cancer, heart failure, and orthopedic injuries, to name a few. It makes people weak and fatigued, impairs physical activity and quality of life, and predisposes people to falls and fractures. The condition affects more than 50 million Americans annually, including 30 million people over age 60, and often forces people into nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities.

"Muscle atrophy causes many problems for people, their families, and the health care system in general," says Christopher Adams, associate professor of internal medicine and molecular physiology and biophysics in the UI Carver College of Medicine. "However, we lack an effective way to prevent or treat it. Exercise certainly helps, but it's not enough and not very possible for many people who are ill or injured."

More muscle, less fat

In a new study, published online April 9 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Adams searched for a small molecule compound that might be used to treat muscle atrophy. He zeroed in on tomatidine using a systems biology tool called the Connectivity Map, which was developed at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Adams discovered that tomatidine generates changes in gene expression that are essentially opposite to the changes that occur in muscle cells when people are affected by muscle atrophy.

After identifying tomatidine, Adams and his team tested its effects on skeletal muscle. They first discovered that tomatidine stimulates growth of cultured muscle cells from humans.

"That result was important because we are looking for something that can help people," says Adams, who also is a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center at the UI .

Their next step was to add tomatidine to the diet of mice. They found that healthy mice supplemented with tomatidine grew bigger muscles, became stronger and could exercise longer. And, most importantly, they found that tomatidine prevented and treated muscle atrophy.

Interestingly, although mice fed tomatidine had larger muscles, their overall body weight did not change due to a corresponding loss of fat, suggesting that the compound may also have potential for treating obesity.

Designing healthier foods

An attractive aspect of tomatidine is that it is a natural compound derived from tomatoes. It is produced when alpha-tomatine, which is found in tomato plants and in green tomatoes in particular, is digested in the gut.

"Green tomatoes are safe to eat in moderation. But we don't know how many green tomatoes a person would need to eat to get a dose of tomatidine similar to what we gave the mice. We also don't know if such a dose of tomatidine will be safe for people, or if it will have the same effect in people as it does in mice," Adams says. "We are working hard to answer these questions, hoping to find relatively simple ways that people can maintain muscle mass and function, or if necessary, regain it."

Adams and his team previously used this same research strategy to discover that ursolic acid, a compound from apple peels, promotes muscle growth.

"Tomatidine is significantly more potent than ursolic acid and appears to have a different mechanism of action. This is a step in the right direction," Adams says. "We are now very interested in the possibility that several food-based natural compounds such as tomatidine and ursolic acid might someday be combined into science-based supplements, or even simply incorporated into everyday foods to make them healthier."

In an effort to accelerate this research and translate it to people, Adams and his colleagues have founded a biotech company called Emmyon. The company recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop strategies for preserving muscle mass and function during the aging process. The company is also using tomatidine and ursolic acid as natural leads for new medicines targeting muscle atrophy and obesity.

04.17.2014: Performance Posting

Dance haps this weekend at the institution lovingly referred to as "Party Hearty You"...
Dance department to present 'Wild Ones' thesis concerts April 17-19

The University of Iowa Department of Dance will present Wild Ones, a Dance MFA thesis concert featuring the work of Marie Brown, Jingqiu Guan, Marie Mortensen and Dana Powers-Klooster at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 17-19, in Space Place Theatre, 101 North Hall.

The full performance will include:

  • Being in Motion (choreography improvised by Marie Spaabaek Mortensen; Marie Spaabaek Mortensen, dancer)
  • A new piece choreographed by Jennifer Kayle (dancers: Jingqiu Guan with Alex Bush, Raechel Hofsteadter, Anna Krupp, Lizz Mello, and Courtney Paulsen)
  • The Line of Surface and Sky (Dana Powers-Klooster and Jessica Anthony, choreography; Dana Powers-Klooster, dancer)
  • The Pathology of Love, (choreography by Charlotte Adams in creative collaboration with Tony Orrico and Nicole Wong; Marie Brown and Dakota Gonzalez, dancers)
  • unseen space (choreography by Duane Cyrus with assistance from Jingqiu Guan, who will also serve as dancer)
  • Wild Once (choreography by Shi Pratt; Marie Brown, JGuan, Marie Spaabaek Mortensen, and Dana Powers-Klooster, dancers)
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 website.

Brown moved to Philadelphia from Jacksonville, Fla., in 2005. While in Jacksonville, she trained at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and The Florida Ballet. In 2004, she graduated from Radford University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. During that time, she received dance scholarships to attend Bates Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival, where she was honored to work with Gerri Houlihan and Tatiana Bagnova. While in Philadelphia, she has worked with several companies such as Group Motion Dance Company, MacArthur Dance Project, Scrap Performance Group, StoneDepotDance Lab, OlivePrince Dance, and Merge Dance.

Guan grew up in Chengdu, China, where her love for dance was first ignited through the study of Chinese folk and classical dance. However, it was the exposure to modern dance after she came to the United States and to ballet when she was studying abroad in France that allowed her to discover that dancing had become her way of life. A recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship,Guanhas deepened her understanding of dance in the MFA program in dance performance at the UI. She performed with Dancers in Company in the 2012-13 season. She recently attended the American Dance Festival and had the great fortune to perform the lead female role in Martha Graham’s choreography Helios in Acts of Light, reconstructed by Duane Cyrus.

Spaabaek Mortensen was born in Denmark, where she started taking dance classes as a child. Deciding to pursue a career in dance, she completed the dance program at Heleneholm’s High School in Malmö, Sweden. While in high school, she attended summer intensives at the Ballet Academy in Stockholm and The Martha Graham School in New York City. Directly following high school, she continued her training at Danceworks Berlin in Germany. She moved to Iowa City in 2012, earning a Master of Fine Arts with emphasis on dance performance at the UI. In the Department of Dance, she has had the pleasure of teaching yoga, improvisation, and varying levels of modern dance, as well as serving as a teaching assistant in dance kinesiology.

Powers-Klooster is from Glen Cove, N.Y. She graduated cum laude from Kenyon College in 2006, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in dance and Spanish area studies. Following some post-graduation travel adventures, Dana moved to New York City where she lived for four years and performed works by Stephanie Liapis, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Oliver Steele, Jennifer Kain, Elizabeth Wilkinson, and Deb Silver. She moved to Iowa City in August 2011 to begin her graduate studies at the University of Iowa as an MFA candidate in dance with an emphasis in performance, where she was honored to be a recipient of the Iowa Arts Fellowship. As a teaching fellow at the University of Iowa, Dana has taught ballet and modern dance technique classes.

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

04.16.2014: World-Class Dance

Line-up for the next Dance Series just announced, including, not one, but, TWO world premieres:
The Dance Series 2014 - 2015

Now entering its fifth season, The Dance Series offers world-class companies performing brilliant modern and contemporary dance, ballet and more. Three Show Dance Series Season Ticket Packages start at just $50!

Season Tickets go on sale June 2014!
Support for The Dance Series has been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Paul Taylor Dance Company
(November 8) Led by legendary choreographer Paul Taylor, this world-renowned company is celebrating its 60th anniversary. A pioneer of American modern dance, Taylor’s dynamic, thought-provoking work continues to push boundaries. “Paul Taylor is without question the greatest living American choreographer” (San Francisco Chronicle). The program will feature three selections, including the WORLD PREMIERE of Mr. Taylor’s 141st dance.
DIAVOLO
(January 24, 2015) Using sculptural structures, Diavolo explores the relationship between the dangers of our environment and the fragility of the human body – fusing everyday movement with dance, acrobatics, gymnastics and martial arts. The program will feature the WORLD PREMIERE of Cubicle, a new work co-commissioned by DsM Performing Arts.
Complexions
(April 11, 2015) Founded by two former Alvin Ailey members, the company’s foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries. Complexions transcends the limiting traditions of a single style, period or culture. “Cross-cultural ballet with attitude . . .wearing toe shoes has never looked like so much fun”

...And, don't forget:
"...COME EARLY AND/OR STAY LATE FOR DANCEtalk!

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..."


04.15.2014: Performance Posting

CCDC alum's professional company preparing for this performance this weekend. Merde, Maizey!o)
Inspired by the original 1740 Barbot de Villeneuve story, Beauty and the Beast is a tale that has truly stood the test of time. Beauty and the Beast will amaze with a sumptuous new score from frequent Oklahoma City Ballet collaborator Kermit Poling. The Oklahoma City Philharmonic provides a live orchestra while dazzling sets, and elaborate, colorful costumes complete the scenery. Choreographed by Artistic Director Robert Mills, prepare to be emotionally swept away... without a dancing spoon in sight.


04.14.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!o)

This show takes me to my happy place...even on a snowy, cold Monday!o)
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen
Week Quartre
Switch Up Edition

Opening number. Julianne Hough as guest judge. Biggest challenges: Stars dance enter as Pros form files. Wonder if Drew is leaving today? Stars symbolically take leave from their old partners. Choreography by Mandy Moore. "What have you done?" Julianne Hough says it's "brutal". But...No one goes home this week?

Candace/Tony: Different approaches from different teachers. Tony is motivated as a new teacher. Quickstep. Looks like Tony was able to tap into a whole different level of Character-driven dance. Her strength is as an actress after all. Oops speed is making her lose her upper body strength. her old partner Mark is applauding! I give her a seven, maybe an eight. Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7.

James/Cheryl: Pressure's on Cheryl. Tango. Wow. Not afraid to have James do a big solo. Very powerful. Good attack! This guy's going to be a contender. Great hold and maybe needs just a little sharper head movements. His walk around needs the same aggression. Well-coached. Almost a kiss! I give him a nine! Dang! He's good! Real Judges: 9, 8, 9, 9! Cheryl keeps the barre set high!

Team Drewhitney: Is this the oldest contestant with the youngest pro? She goes from the youngest contestant to the most senior. Good experience for Whitney. "Creepy, but, cute!" Jumps to his knee. Doing his best James Brown? His age is catching up to him. But, still love his smile and attitude. Lacks line. Rips off a knee slide. Shows some attitude on his struts! Cheryl's right, it is a little shady! But, give him a seven. Big audience favorite! "Sugar daddy of Show biz!" Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 8! Good luck hugs from Cheryl!

Julianne Hough heading out on tour with Derek soon. Derek choreographed the next Macy's Stars of dance. Pro dancers with pro dancers. It's the star from Step it Up III. Katherine McCormick. Boys are shirtless and torsos pop in overhead lighting. Is this music from Rodrigo and Gabriela? Sure sounds like it. She's kicking the tent, her legs are so high. Great fast and slow. Very sensual and passionate steps. Part flamenco and part ballroom! Quite a foursome. Cut to video edit of a slowed down toss. Nice to see strong dancing pros with pros. Wonder if that's going to be in the Hough Family tour? Should be!?

Team Danicax: Switching Chermokovskys. Keeping it in the family. She's handling a transition from one teaching style to another. Jive. I think Val is the better teacher. Max depends on his prodigious skll to carry the partnership!. She's dancing with the troupe dancers. She loses her skirt. Val comes on at the last minute and ends up her old pro. I give her an eight. Real judges: 8, 8, 8 ,8!

Team Charleta: Rhumba. The new pimped out Charlie! Make that the new gigolo boy toy!. Nice line, nice smooth and attack! This guy is a contender. Great shapes! Great body awareness. Ooh, watch the second arm line. Drops character at the last moment! Is that his mom in the audience! I give him a ten! But, judge Len questions whether it's a rhumba or not. Judge's pick promised could be the rhumba. Peta defends her choreography. Real judge scores: 7, 8, 9, 9! Scores all over the board! What a dichotomy!

Team Amarky: Salsa. Figure out what works and what doesn't with her prostheses. Is that her real hair? Mark says, "It's the biggest challenge I've ever faced on the show!" "Pivoting is difficult" He checks in with Derek! WHAT A COMPETITOR! LOVE HER! She's dressed in a cropped, finge top to magnify the movement of the torso. He's giving her last minute corrections during the close up. He's the Man! She makes me happy just watching her dance! I'm in awe! She struts and he's there for her. Lift...and carefully put back on the ground! Her dancing makes me happy, just BECAUSE she's dancing! I give her a ten! Took risks! What an inspiration! Standing ovation! Huge hurdles! Real judges: 9, 8, 8, 9! Julianne apologizes! Yes, you did "mess up" the scoring, girl!

Team Cody/Sharna: Two Aussies! Fox trot! Focusing on his frame! Like dancing with "My MOM!" Starts off with him singing. Needs to hold those shoulders down. Hey, he can be smooth! Audience is clapping along! Very sweet! Another audience favorite! "Get those pants up! Get off my lawn!" Long limbs are criticized by judges! I give him an eight! Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8!

Team Nene/Derek: "Your munchkin awaits!" Jazz! Tony takes a peek! "Having a great time, boo-boo!" Wow! Whatta personality. Just needs more movement from the core! She's singing along with the music. Great energy. Derek wisely doesn't put her in hold because he is WAAY shorter than her. But, he choreographs to her outsize personaliy! Big straddle leap over the tall woman! She's FIERCE! I give her an eight! Standing ovations! Have I mentioned...What a personality! Live music messes up and she dances her way through it! Real judges; 8, 8, 8, 8! Boo's in the ballroom!

Team Meryl/Val: Switching Chermokovskys! Argentine Tango! Wow! She looks the part just standing there! Pimp and his working girl. Oh! She's so sharp! She's prowling! He's her PIMP! and strong! . SO strong GREAT attitude! Nice strong turns. Great trust into that fall! Leaves me wanting more! Give her a TEN! If not an eleven! Julianne says she wishes she could dance like Meryl! What a COMPLIMENT! Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! Once again, THE leader in the clubhouse!

May be time for Drew or Nene to go. Charlie Davis and Meryl White aren't going anywhere until the finale! Next show: Disney night!o) Wow! They're trying anything this season! Not sure I like it because I loved the old formula, but, the mix-up exceeded my expectations, so, I'm open to being pleasantly surprised!o)

04.11.2014: Chance to Chat With Trey

Today is the day I get to interview a nationally reknown choreographer who's bringing his dance company to the Capital City next month. We'll be posting that audio to the blog before the show, but, here are some of the questions I put together for my cheat sheet:
  • Name, title, organization?

  • How many dancers are you bringing with you? What do you look for when you audition a dancer for your company or for a piece?

  • Describe the type of dance you do? Modern? Post-modern? Contemporary? Horton-based? Limon? Graham?

  • You've been specifically commissioned to premiere a piece for your performance here, talk about your inspiration.

  • For anyone considering coming to see the show, what would you like to tell them in advance? Are there misconceptions you'd like to clear up?

  • Talk about your favorite audience feedback after performances?

  • This is the farewell concert tour for your company, talk about your decision to evolve beyond the company structure?

  • What's your best advice for students who want to dance for you or in one of your pieces? What's your best advice for aspiring choreographers? Is there a common weakness or strength you see in aspiring professionals these days?

  • What do you think about the spate of reality Dance-competitions you see on TV nowadays? Good or bad for what you do?

  • Finally, invite my listeners to come to see your show. Lotta things going on around the Capital City, why should they make the effort to see the Trey McIntyre Company?
...If there's a question you'd like me to ask, email me quickly. And, don't worry, I'm going to ask about his fallout with local dancer and CCDC Guest Instructor Jason Hurley while I'm not recording and write about it later.

04.10.2014: Performance Posting

Happening next month just a hop, skip and jete' down the road:
LET THE STORY MOVE YOU

Cinderella is a magical celebration of dreams fulfilled and true love’s triumph. Victoria Morgan’s beautiful choreography accompanied by Prokofiev’s captivating music will bring this enchanting story to life.

Enjoy a special twist on this favorite fairy tale where the characters are sure to delight. The Fairy Godmother, the pumpkin that becomes a carriage, fairies weaving spells, the handsome prince, the glass slipper, the clock striking 12 o’clock, and of course, the wicked stepmother and riotous, bumbling stepsisters all come together to tell this beautiful story.

Featuring the Kansas City Symphony, this classic tale is filled with the sights and sounds of true beauty.

Learn more about this show!

Plus, you can learn more about the show when you join us an hour before the performance for The Belger Footnotes Series.

Tickets are available online or by calling the Kansas City Ballet Box Office at 816-931-2232.

04.09.2014: Dancin' In The Music City

Why isn't there something like this in the Capital City?
Dancin' is Back!
Nashville Dancin' Returns for Second Season

The Free Eight-Week Block Party with Live Music Returns to the Riverfront,
June Headlining Performances by Houndmouth, Xavier Rudd and Will Hoge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(NASHVILLE, TN) - Nashville's beloved Thursday night summer celebration, Nashville Dancin' presented by Dollar General is back and ready to rock! Your hosts for this year are the hilarious duo Caroline and Jen from CBS's Amazing Race. Headlining acts for June include Houndmouth, Xavier Rudd and Will Hoge.

The free, family friendly eight-week event kicks off at Riverfront Park on June 12th at 5 p.m. and will run every Thursday continuing through July 31st. Those in attendance can expect to taste true Nashville through local chefs, distillers and artisans. Natives will be pleasantly reminded of Dancin' in the District, the bygone concert series that ran for 13 years on lower Broadway. Last year, event creator Tom Morales (TomKats Catering, the Southern, Loveless Cafe) revived the weekly series with a brand new spirit while staying true to the principals that had originally made Dancin' in the District a success.

Whether you're a professional working downtown, a family driving in from the suburbs, or a first time visitor looking to explore the capitol city's diverse entertainment district, Nashville Dancin' presented by Dollar General sure won't disappoint.

Nashville Dancin' presented by Dollar General is sponsored in part by State Water Heater, Bud Light, Ole Smoky Moonshine, Fox 17, Xfinity, 102.9 The Buzz and more.

Stay tuned for the July lineup and like us on facebook, follow us on twitter or visit www.nashvilledancin.com for more information.

  • Thursday, June 12: Houndmouth
  • Thursday, June 19: Xavier Rudd
  • Thursday, June 26: Will Hoge

04.08.2014: CCDC Les Whiz Miz Kidz!

Your chances to support CCDC students nicknamed "Movie Star" and sibling "Child Star" are dwindling to a precious few. Here's an update from The Playhouse
Les Misérables: Final 7 Performances!
7:30 PM, Tuesday, Apr. 8: Great seats available!
7:30 PM, Wednesday, Apr. 9: Limited availability
7:30 PM, Thursday, Apr. 10: Limited availability
7:30 PM, Friday, Apr. 11: Limited availability, call 515-277-6261
1:00 PM, Saturday, Apr. 12: Great seats available!
7:30 PM, Saturday, Apr. 12: Limited availability, call 515-277-6261
2:00 PM, Sunday, Apr. 13: Limited availability, call 515-277-6261
Critics say
"This production is a totally satisfying package - leading roles filled by talent leaving the audience to wonder why many of these performers hadn't pursued Broadway careers. Add exceptional production values especially scenic and costume designs, vibrant underscoring by a large orchestra and consider this performing arts gift magnifique. Add the Playhouse's trump card for this show: the intimate immersion in their performing hall, sure to gratify all, from first timers to experiences Les Mis fans." - John Busbee, The Culture Buzz, KFMG

"...the DsM Community Playhouse isn't just any local theater company. At a performance this week, the talented cast members not only met the production's challenges, they dazzled. In fact, some delivered performances as good as, if not better than, what I've seen on national stages." - Christine Riccelli, dsm magazine

"The Playhouse has raised the bar." - Michael Morain, Des Moines Register

"Seeing and hearing the Playhouse's Les Miz was like seeing and hearing it for the first time. There's little left to say about Les Misérables except go and see it, if you can get a ticket." - Margaret Ludington, Altoona Herald

Audiences say
"I'd seen [Les Miserables] five times at the Civic Center, but this was an absolute marvel. Well able to match if not better any of those performances... The performances, the staging, everything about it was fantastic." - Sheila, Facebook

"Amazing production. Bravo. I've seen it at the Civic Center many times and on Broadway. You guys don't take a back seat to any of 'em." - Barb, Facebook

"@DMPlayhouse Les Mis was amazing!! #betterthanbroadway" - Ann, Twitter

"Just saw Les Mis @DMPlayhouse. The set, the music, the talent. INCREDIBLE!!!" - Daryl, Twitter

...On the other hand, it'll be GREAT to get "Movie Star" and "Child Star" back in the studio!o) Be sure to double-check the casting for the performance you go to because Movie Star's ingenue role is double-cast.

04.07.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M.

Watching this show always takes me to my happy place...even on a Monday!o):
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen
Week Three

Dancing to "My most memorable year". Billy Dee is sitting out the entrance? Robin Roberts is guest judge? Escorted by the Chmerkovsky brothers. She says she's a big fan and a Tweeter! Personal stories are the theme tonight! Always a powerful show!

James/Peta: Sexy hall of famer! Chubby kid who was bullied. Switched schools. Overcame his modest beginnings. Jive. FAST! He really changed from his younger daze! Revelotade on a desk. Back flip off the desk! Guy has more skills than you first suspect. Fast kicks! Great attack!. Tie gets thrown off. Very aerobic routine. Nice! He's officially a contender! He gets an eight from me! Is he from Hawai'i? He keeps flashing the shaka sign? One week switch up next week? Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9!

New pairings being tweeted. Switch up coming! Either way it's going to be entertaining!

Billy Dee has a chronic back problem. Medical advice not to dance. It's time for him to pull out! Standing ovation for Lando Calrissian! Touching moment when his grandkids come out to hug their gramppy.

Team Tonyne: Rhumba to Whitney Houston. Dedicated to her first husband for the second time. She's so vivacious! Recreating their second attempt at matrimony. She doesn't really take advantage of her long limbs. Little carefully danced. But, doing well for a non-dancer. Wow! That last backbend can't be comfortable. She runs and hugs her husband. He gives Tony a bro hug as well. Wow! She's emotional. I give her a seven. She really drew from her personal experience for this performance...just like the best professionals! Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8!

Cody/Whitney: Talking about his "huge risk" coming to America. Dancing to one of his own songs "Surfboard". Dancing for his family. Jazz routine. Whitney looks cute in classic retro beach ware. He's comfortable for a big guy doing hip hop choreography . working to his advantage. I give him an eight. Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 9!

Danica/Val: Celebrating the birth of her son. Contemporary routine. "Lullabye". Ballroom influenced contemporary as you would expect. Liberal use of lifts and spins.. Love her attack. Excellent feeling! She runs and hugs her son and brings him on the dance floor! I give her a nine. Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! She's ecstatic!

Drew/Cheryl: Dancing for his son Connor. "Kid changes everything!" "I don't want my son to grow up without a father!" Starts off and his face is beaming. Such emotion laden steps! Great frame. SO much better! Have I mentioned great frame? Nice strong heel leads. Starts to lose a little as the dance goes on, but, strong first impression. Still great feeling. Looks for his son at the end and gives him a huge hug! "It's bring your kids to work day!" I give him an eight. Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 8

Meryl/Max: Dancing to the song "All Of Me" The Olympic Gold medal year. Fox Trot! Great rise and fall. Easy extensions. Fast and Slow. Great emotion. Another good frame. She's so strong! and emotional! Did they finally kiss? I give her a ten. Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! 39 out of 40!

Amy/Derek: 1999. The year she lost her legs. Her dad gave her one of her kidneys! Music motivated her to dance with her dad!. "If I can dance, I can walk. If I can walk, I can snow board. If I can do that, I can livea great life." Prostheses revealed! Recreating the moment she danced again. Tribute to her father. Pointed prostheses. She falls and Derek picks her up and swings her around. Such a story of triumph and tragedy. He carries her as she walks on air. Walks to hug her dad! I give her an eleven! Her dad is bawling! Amy is crying! She was so up front with her disability. Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9 I DISAGREE strongly, the emotional content alone was off the charts! Excellent choreography, effective without bordering on the sappy.

Charlie/Sharna: Going for gold! The journey! "Happy"! He's wearing the Pharrel hat. Charlie starts off stage, dancing all the way to Sharna. This routine makes me smile! The song is also happy. He's smooth and the hand jive segment featured on a small stage. Double pirouette in the middle. Only criticism is he needs to point his feet on the flicks. I give him a ten! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9

Candace/Mark: 1995. The year Full House ended and she got engaged. Mark is choreographing the crossroads. Jive. Elvis song as a tribute. She's dancing a little small. Mark as usual over choreographs for himself and not enough for his star. Her face is going to town but her body isn't keeping up. Her core is weak, so the dancing is weak. I give her a seven. I was underwhelmed. I think the real judges are going to over-score her from comments. Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8 Hmm, rampant score inflation, my previous scores notwithstanding.

Hmm...Who's on the jettison list now that Billy Dee is officially checked out? Next show, I think Nene may have to go. Drew showed me something tonight.

04.04.2014: Art Summit

Mark your calendarz!o)
"...2014 State Arts Summit Full Schedule Announced

The State Arts Council is pleased to announce the full schedule for the 2014 State Arts Summit. The schedule features 12 customized sessions including regional and national presenters, featured performances by Iowa artists and the presentation of the Governor's Arts Awards. A detailed description of sessions can be found at the Arts Summit website.

Full registration is now open at $45 per attendee. Sessions will fill up quickly, so don't delay to ensure you are able to attend the sessions of your choice. The 2014 State Arts Summit will be held from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Friday, June 6th in the Capital City at the Events Center..."

04.03.2014: The Boy Who Refuses To Grow Up

Just got this e-mail heads up from Pointe Magazine:
Milwaukee Ballet's Peter Pan Flies to PBS

PBS has broadcast a lot of impressive dance recently, but it hasn't featured a Milwaukee-based group in two decades. That'll change on April 18 at 8 pm CST, when the network airs a Milwaukee Ballet performance of Michael Pink's Peter Pan. Pointe talked to MB's Valerie Harmon, who plays Wendy in the broadcast, about dancing for the camera.

This performance was filmed a few years ago. What was that process like?

"The cameras were really unobtrusive, thankfully. We knew that there was one at foot level, and one closer to our faces, and one farther back, but we weren't conscious of them. It's interesting now to see what was chosen in terms of footage. There's so much richness in the ballet that you can take in from up close or far away and be equally happy."

Did the fact that you were dancing for film alter the way you approached the performance?

"You rehearse a little differently once you realize that every detail, both in terms of your expression and your dancing, could end up in the final footage. If you let down your character for a second, that's going to be vastly apparent with the closeness of the cameras. Luckily Michael is really into the storytelling aspect of ballet, so much of that work was integrated into the process from the beginning. But for the filming, even when my back was turned, I had to know exactly what my intentions were."

Why is this Peter Pan a good choice for a national broadcast?

"I think it will bring in people who are newer to dance. There is certainly a strong dance element, but the story is familiar to people, so they don't have to worry about "getting" it. These characters will show them a really human element of dancing, too. It's not a bunch of untouchable people--it's people you want to connect with, who pull you into the story."

What about Milwaukee Ballet will impress people new to the company?

"The individuality of each dancer. Even when we're dancing in unison--the whole cast of pirates, the whole cast of Indian braves--every time you see a close-up, you'll see that each person is totally vested in the dancing they're doing."

04.02.2014: Talks On Talks

Working on the possibility of a preview interview with a company that's been in the dance headlines recently. Here's how the email process is going:
"...DsM Performing Arts is pleased to welcome the Trey McIntyre Project to the Civic Center on Thursday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. This one-night only engagement is the final performance in the 2013-14 Dance Series.

We are currently scheduling advance interviews for members of the Trey McIntyre Project. If you are interested in scheduling an interview, please respond to this e-mail with your interest and availability.

As always, please let me know if you have any additional questions and thank you, in advance, for your support of DsM Performing Arts..."

...to which I replied:
"...I'm interested in this, but, am on the legislative beat until lawmakers gavel out. I have a narrow window of opportunity to conduct a short phone interview, Friday mornings from 8 to ten at the outside. If we can make it happen, I'll be happy to do the interview..."
...And, got this back:
"...Just wanted to circle back with you to let you know that I’ve sent an interview request to Trey’s team. I noted your window of availability and hope to hear back soon about whether or not he’ll be able to accommodate.

I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back. Thanks, as always, for your interest..."

...Croise' those fingers!o)

04.01.2014: Random Inquiry

Anyone interested? How much would you pay?
"...Hi,

my name is M______ G________ and I am the Artistic Director of S____ Dance Collective, Inc. My company is a contemporary fusion dance company located in Dayton, Ohio. I will be in (the Capital City) the week of _______ and was inquiring if you would be interested in me teaching a master class.

My bio and information about my company are located at _______. My background is as contemporary dancer with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. I have worked with notables such as Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Donald McKayle, Chuck Davis, Bobby Barnett, Eleo Pomare, Dwight Rhoden and many other incredible choreographers and teachers.

I hope to hear from you.

Thanks,

M_______ G________ Artistic Director, SDC, Inc...."

03.31.2014: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Best thing about rainy daze and Mondayz!o)
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen?
From Week Two

This week "Reality Sets In". Choosing their own dances. Then, everything changes. Whitney starts off. Lando Calrissian is sitting down in the open? Not a good sign. I'm glad Lindsay Alexander is still involved with the show. Opening number choreographed by Mandy Moore. Double elimination tonight? Surprise move. Drew and Cheryl safe off the bat?

Drew/Cheryl: The "Crowd Pleaser" of the season. Comfortable with an audience. Picked the Jive. May not have been a good choice for the aging Price is Right host. Starts off with a lot of energy. Strips his jacket and tries to attack the choreography. He is still the crowd pleaser. Audience on their feet. I give him a seven. Eight for effort. Real judges: 7, 7, 7

Billy Dee is safe? Oh no, not good for the field. also, safe, Meryl and Max! Danica and Val also safe. There is justice in the world after all!

Danica/Val: Samba. Ridiculous routine. Professional level. The pressure's getting to her. He's choreographed a sexy start for her. Janet Jackson song. Samba rolls She's a performer. Great smile. Not doing too badly with the steps. Trying to make them her own. She gets an eight from me. Real judges: 8, 8, 8

Billie Dee/Emma: He looks tired in training for the tango. His injuries are holding him back. How come he gets three girls? "Green Onions" He's plodding through the routine. Upper body and core are weak. Billy's Hey day has passed. I give him a five. "Unbelievable!" Real judges: 5, 5, 5 Fans saved him once, will they again?

Switch up vote via twitter.

Meryl/Max: Swing. Lotta lifts in the routine. Start in the celebraquarium. Love her attack and fearlessness! Great smile and great technique! She's got flair and is having fun! She gets a nine from me! Real judges: 8, 9, 8

More results: Amy and Derek survive. Candace and Mark safe. Diana and Henry eliminated without performing! Show shows "No Mercy"! She's such a good loser! Great personality. Then, she gets a chance to her farewell dance.

Diana/Henry: She's such a good sport. He's trying to choreograph to her strengths. Unfortunately, not a lot of those. Love her personality! She choreographed a slap at the end! Good sport!

Candace/Mark: Rhumba, the dance of love. She regrets her choice. Own your hotness. She wants to tone down the raunch. He's wearing a shirt. Control those shoulders girl. Wow! She's emoting like crazy in this dance. Using her acting chops to convey the emotion of the dance! I give her an eight! Real judges: 7, 7, 7

Amy/Derek: Swing. Legs could fly off when she's dancing. Derek puts her on a limited small dance floor. I worry about her legs! She's got a great feeling. "You're amazing! Well done!" I give her an eight! She's such an inspiration! Real judges: 8, 8, 8 Does she get subconscious extra points because she's a paraplegic! "It's not what you have, it's what you give!"

Eliminations continue: Charlie and Sharna, James and Peta BOTH safe!

James/Peta: Salsa! Like this team! They're aiming for Cody. Sexy start. Using her flexibility and taking open his shirt. What a good -looking couple. Okay, he can individual freestyle for sure. Just a little hunched sometime with his shoulders. I give him an eight. Ambitious routine! Real judges: 9, 8, 8

Charlie/Sharna: Bad boy lessons from Max? Go to the source.. Great frame. the acting was a little questionable. Nice heel leads. Not sure he makes a good bad boy. I give him a eight. Real judges: 9, 7, 9 Punished for breaking hold!

Last results: One couple will be eliminated of the remaining three.

Team Tonene: She has looong legs! Good personality! She's a performer for someone from reality TV. She's not the most accomplished dancer, but she makes me happy just watching her dance! I'll give her a seven. Real judges: 7, 7, 7

Sean/Karina: Salsa! Trying to find the fun! He's a little awkward. He's smiling to start the dance! Not doing too bad for a Hockey player. He's learned well. Fancy footwork not too bad. Needs to fix his off hand/arm. Finished before the music. I give him a seven. Real judges: 7, 7, 7 Improved over last week.

Cody/Whitney: Looks like they have a good working relationship. Lighted costumes! He's a little hunched in his upper body. Frame is weak. Kicks are acceptable. I give him an seven. Chose Tango because his parents did a tango at their wedding. Real judges: 7, 7, 8

Final elimination: Team Tonyne is safe. Sean and Karina get sent home, meaning Cody and Whitney live to dance another day! Next show, hopefully, the legion of Star Wars fans won't save Lando Calrissian!

03.28.2014: #Swagberg CCDC Scholarship

Congrats to "'da Mayor" and the ISU Cyclones for advancing to the Sweet Sixteen! And, seems like Coach Fred Hoiberg has all the right moves to make it in the "big dance"!

...Capital City Dance Center wishes coach and the team "merde" as they continue their romp through the NCAA Tourney. AND! CCDC would like to make a late jete' on the 'Clones' bandwagon by offering @ISUMayor32 a FULL SCHOLARSHIP to the CCDC Adult Dance Program! We know you're busy, Coach, but, squeezing in a few hip-hop, lyrical, modern, contemporary and, even, ballet classes at CCDC will really improve your street cred with potential recruits. (Your height will really come in handy during beginning pas de deux classes!o) By this time next year, you could bust out some really SWEET moves as you cut down the nets in your next tourney run! Imagine hitting a triple pirouette before working some INSIDIOUS twerking! But, seriously, Coach! Have your people call our people! ...And, tell your daughter and her prom date to take some lessons before their "big dance"! And, if you haven't seen Wyatt Rhoads' "prom-posal" yet...

...But, we DON'T offer voice lessons! SORRY!o)

03.27.2014: Git Ur Fash On

Another #CCDC alum checks in with this update:
"Hey!

I'm starting promotion of my B.F.A. show! Here's the Facebook event link for more information - it'll be at 8:00 PM on April 26th! It'd be cool if people could make it!

Also - if you're interested - my in-progress website: seanthomasboyt.weebly.com

- Sean..."

03.26.2014: Pearlz o' Wisdom

Recent texts with CCDC alumni:
"Constantly thankful for the discipline and class etiquette you taught me. Especially with my 3rd teaching job I started today...In other words, I am so thankful for your training on many ways!"
...This one is to motivate current students who want to join the professional ranks...
"The daily struggles are worth it in the end. Keep fighting for what you want everyday because you don't want to look back after an audition and think if only I had tried harder. Keep fighting..."
...last one...
"You're naive (not to take advantage) when you still have your teachers to push you, when you are out on your own and you have to push yourself it's hard to find the inspiration sometimes. I can't wait to come home and take class..."

03.25.2014: Alvin Ailey, The Review

Also as promised, here's my complete review of the recent Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance in the Capital City:
(Capital City News Service) The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance at the DsM Civic Center Tuesday night was "all that...AND a bag of chips." About a two-thirds full house, upwards of thirty dancers on stage and an actual "bag of chips" that made a brief appearance on stage as one dancer sauntered on in the first piece apparently munching a handful of snacks much to on-lookers' delight. (And, if the Ailey development team isn't trying to contact Frito-Lays or Doritos for a "product placement" opportunity, they're asleep at the wheel!) And, the eager audience "ate up" what the fifty-six-year old company was serving on stage in the second "course" in the 2014 Civic Center Dance Series.

That first number, "Another Night", was a rainbow of relevance choreographed by MacArthur Foundation Award winner Kyle Abraham. The brightly garbed dancers displayed the fluid power and precision control of contemporary dance that is a hallmark of the company. My scribbled notes say "feral grace" alternating with "moments of startling stillness". My only quibble was that the newest piece in the night's program (choreographed in 2012) seemed the most dated or period. Was that a deliberate decision in homage to "older" music by Dizzy Gillespie recorded by Art Blakely & The Jazz Messengers?

"Pas de Duke" from 1976 also shows its age. It was originally set on two of the most legendary dancers of the 20th century: Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov. The difference in training and culture and height were featured in the pas de deux to Duke Ellington music. Unfortunately, though Alicia Graf Mack more than adequately channels her inner Jamison, Antonio Douthit-Boyd relied more on personality and a winning smile to try to make up for his lack of classical Vaganova ballet training. It would be difficult for most full-time ballet "danseurs" to try and follow in "Misha's" footsteps, almost impossible for an aging part-time ballet and mostly modern dancer to come close.

The third number was more successful. "The River" uses a stream as the basis for movement-as-metaphor. It starts off at the source with "Spring", it then begins to "Meander" through "Giggling Rapids", hits the "Lake", through the "Falls", encounters a "Vortex" and finally arriving at "Riba" and the "Twin Cities". (If that's the twin cities north of here, that's quite a way from the gulf! Maybe "The River" empties into one of the ten-thousand lakes?) The best part of the river is Demetia Hopkins in her solo. Fluidity and control are two disparate qualities, but, Ms Hopkins has buckets of both! And, Ailey's choreography from 1976 provides a sly wink to the classical balletomanes in the audience: a group section unexpectedly morphs into the a playful version of Cygnets from "Swan Lake"!

The night wound up with Ailey's master-work, "Revelations". Choreographed in 1960, it is the company's signature piece and rightfully so. No other troupe can match the combination of loose-limbed attack and personality the Ailey dancers bring to the mix of the sacred and secular that is "Revelations". The highlight for me was the incredible line and extension and control of the aforementioned Graf Mack. She performed another duet with Douthit-Boyd, but, he might as well not have even been in the accompanying spotlight. I could watch her dance all day! And, the company was in its element in the Ailey classic. The audience clapped along as the dancers reveled in "Revelations'" final number, we were ALL standing and "a-rockin' our souls to the bosom of Abraham"!

Next time, I hope we'll get to see some of Artistic Director Robert Battle's own choreography and some of the more cutting-edge pieces that push the boundaries of what's been done before. Finally, it was nice to see the Capital City's African-American audience turn out to support the mostly ethnic company. A fellow audience member also says she saw license plates from Nebraska and Missouri parked around the venue. That's a testament to the powerful draw that Aileys has cultivated over more than a half-century in existence. But, the Capital City has to give up any pretension of being a sophisticated dance audience, not yet anyway. Last night's performance was marked by enthusiastic applause at the most routine movements: mediocre coupe' jete' turns, a pedestrian lift, an unremarkable penche' arabesque. The audience also started a standing ovation before the final piece even began, that's the first time I've ever seen that happen. I appreciate everyone's enthusiasm, I just wish it had been more appropriately displayed. As a performer, the more educated and perceptive the audience appeared, the more motivation for excellence for me and my fellow dancers. But, hopefully some of the first-time dance audience members last night will attend more performances in the future. And, the longer the Dance Series lasts, the more astute---and appropriately appreciative---the audience will become.

03.24.2014: First Weak Review

It's the return of T.G.I.D.W.T.S.M!o)
Dancing With The Stars
Season Eighteen?
Week One

Here we go again: "The wait is over!" Max is back! And, Whitney is now one of the pros! "Talk Dirty to Me!" with Jason Derulo. Tweets now constantly at the bottom of the screen. Sexy start to a new season! Gracie Gold in the audience. Erin Andrews co-hosting. Choreography by Mandy Moore. New band and new singers, new musical director Ray Chu. Same old judges. Ooh, Lando Calrissian has not aged well! New twists promised every week.

Nene/Tony: Wow! she does have personality! "I gotta lotta personality!" Aiming for "dose ice skaters"! WOW! Give her extra pointes for personality already. Got SOUL! Okay! Girl can shake it! She is Tall and has long legs! Tony has to STRETCH to do the passes over her head! I give her a seven! Solid start to the season. Guest judges promised every week. She's getting emotional at positive criticism. Tony has to dance big to keep up with this one! Real judges: 7, 7, 7. New paddles! Sets the bar for the season!

James Maslow/Peta Murgatroyd: Good looking guy with some history with his partner. Okay. He can move. Good line!. Light on his feet. obvious musicality! Reasonable flexibility. Extra points for that smile! "Holy moly! What just happened here?" This pair has some history already! I give him an 8. Real judges: 7, 7, 7 Keeping everyone at the same level. But, I think he danced much better than Nene did!

Danica/Val: She's a big fan of the show! Foxtrot. On a journey to find her womanhood. She obviously loves to dance. She makes me happy watching her dance! Good frame all the way up to her neck! Fast learner! Excellent attack! She'll probably get sevens, but, I'll give her that 8! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! New leader in the clubhouse!

Sean Avery/Karina Smirnoff: Threatens to come over desk for bad scores. Contemporary. Wow! Brings some intensity. Needs to control his hindquarters! . Good attempt at a switch leap! Boy is strong enough. Charges around the dance floor like a bull in a china shop! Needs to learn what to do with his second arm. Can't fault his commitment! I give him a seven. Real judges: 7, 6, 7 Lowest scores of the season.

Billy Dee/Emma Slater: Lando has aged in the years since Star Wars two and three. He's seventy-seven! He's doing GREAT! Cha-cha-cha! Tribute to Star Wars. Still has force of personality! She's dressed as Leia! Bagels and all! BUt, Lando is sleep walking through the dance. He may be the first to go! Give him credit for trying! For his age he's doing fabulous! I give him a six. Real judges: 5, 5, 5 May the force be more with him next episode!

Meryl Davis/Maxim Chermokovsky: Big audience applause for the gold medal winner. Package is exciting! WOW! She is exceeding my expectations! Her wide-legged chainne' turns show a little of her skating background. But, she's fabulous! Great expression and great line and feeling! Maksim needs to give more eye contact! I give her a nine! Real judges: "You're nice on ice, but you're good on wood!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8 She WUZ ROBBED! Two pro bros tied!

Candice Cameron-Bure/Mark Ballas: "Excuses are for losers!" Contemporary. Starts off on the floor and camera shots from overhead. She's fearless in a big lift, totally upside down. She's in shape for a mom of three! Her kids are all on board in the audience. I give her a seven or eight. Real Judges: 9, 8, 8

Cody Simpson/Whitney Carson: Aussie seventeen year old. He's a performer, but, more than a little geekie. Okay, he's a hip hopper, but, does that translate into Ballroom? Long legs and arms. Has to control those shoulders! His contemporary is SHARP! But, doesn't have the grace or finish at this point. Great energy! I give him an seven or eight. Real judges: 7, 7, 8 Scores reverting back to the norm. He has 6-million Twitter followers? He's going to be a tough out!o)

Drew Carey/Cheryl Burke: Good for geting out of your comfort zone, Drew! Dancing on a Monopoly Board! Lip Synching! Starts off with not bad form. Little flatfooted. She's doing a lot of dancing. He's standing around and beaming! Okay. better in hold! GOOD for him! I give him a six! LOVE his enthusiasm! (Nice to see Lindsay Alexander still in the troupe!) Real judges: 7, 7, 7 Reversion to the mean in scores. Audience booing! He lost 80-pounds! Dang! Good for him! What a great smile!

Amy Purdy/Derek Hough: She's a double amputee paraolympic bronze medalist snow boarder? Big challenge for Derek! Another Olympic medalist going for the mirror-ball! Great smile, but, I'm holding my breath. She's dressed in fringes to show off her movement. If anyone can take her further than anyone else, it's "ruff, tuff Derek Hough"! hard to push into the floor with prosthetics! If I could, I'd give her an eleven! What an inspiration! God bless her! OMG! Pure dancing she'll get a seven! Real judges: 8, 8, 8 She gets an ELEVEN for me! If I ever feel sorry for myself, remind me to PURDY myself!

Diana Nyad/Henry Bialikoff: Big fan of the show. Fox trot. Uncomfortable in heels. "Find a way!" "Never ever give up!" She's inspiring, but, perhaps not the best dancer. She's in sea blue. Very calm and gentle! Point that foot! Hold those shoulders back and down! She does make me smile! I give her a six! She exceeds my expectations. Surprises promised by Tom. Real judges: 6, 6, 6. Lotta upside. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish!" LOVE HER SPIRIT! Great spunk!

Charlie White/Sharna Burgess : He's very competitive. Awkward transition from ice to wood! Contemporary? Nice slow controlled lift! He's an excellent contemporary dancer! Strong Partnering! Great emoting! Sharna makes great shapes and pictures! Very good choreography! I give him an eight as well! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! New leader in the clubhouse! Take that, Meryl!

...Hmm. First surprise is each star gets to pick next style they dance. Should be interesting. But, say good by to Lando Calrissian next show! Force is NOT with him!

03.21.2014: Reviews 'R' Us!

Extra pointes for punctuality! Here's the second and final review of this week's performance of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from #CCDC student winners of free tickets:
Alvin Ailey Review

I really enjoyed all of the dances they did. One thing that stuck out to me is the passion they all had when they danced, and how they genuinely looked like they were enjoying themselves through the whole thing. I like the musicality of the corresponding movements to the various things in the music. It helped in making the dances more dynamic. The attack and sharpness in the first dances really impressed me, especially when they were able to balance in the midst of it all. Throughout the whole performance, the underlying balletic elements where prominent to me, like the allusions to swan lake and the cygnets. It goes to show how ballet is really the core for any style of dance.

...What did you think? Do you agree with this reviewer? How about the previous review? I'll post my complete review next week, but, I'm interested in other audience member's opinions as well. Submit any comments here.

03.20.2014: The Ailey Reviews

As promised! The winners of the free tickets to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance this past Tuesday have been tasked with providing a short review of their impressions. Here's the first of those submissions:
"...The performance by the Alvin Ailey modern company was a fantastic to watch and it was a very enjoyable experience.

There were three sections in the performance and all were very different from each other. The first part was more of a jazz theme with instrumental music more in the jazz category. The dancing was upbeat and the dancers hit different accents with the music to make the parts of the choreography stand out more. Now the second part of the performance was slower and the arm movements I thought were more Egyptian like, creating a smoother look to the choreography. Then for the final part, the music choices were religious and the dancing more part of the heritage of a race. Some were upbeat while others were more soulful.

The choreography itself was very inspirational because it was very different from ballet but it still incorporated ballet movements into it so there was a mix of modern and ballet. And even though the ballet was not necessarily the best technique or quality it was still enjoyable to watch because the dancers gave it their own special quality. They made the movements their own and gave them something special. In the pieces the choreographers incorporated humor as well which was enjoyable and a clever thing to do. Overall the performance was fantastic and the choreography, partnering, and dancers were all incredible. The dancers themselves were all very strong in their movements and they hit their balances very well. They would go from one movement straight into a balance and they would hold it without any wiggles.

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is a must see company and is incredible to watch..."

03.19.2014: Ailey Review Preview

In a few days, we should get reviews of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from CCDC student winners of free tickets to the performance last night. After we get those in and posted, I'll put my entire review up. But, here's a little preview of that review:
(Capital City News Service) The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance at the DsM Civic Center last night was "all that...AND a bag of chips." About a two-thirds full house, upwards of thirty dancers on stage and an actual "bag of chips" that made a brief appearance on stage as one dancer sauntered on in the first piece apparently munching a handful of snacks much to on-lookers' delight. (And, if the Ailey development team isn't trying to contact Frito-Lays or Doritos for a "product placement" opportunity, they're asleep at the wheel!) And, the eager audience "ate up" what the fifty-six-year old company was serving on stage in the second "course" in the 2014 Civic Center Dance Series...
...The entire review will be posted sometime next week.

03.18.2014: Final Battle

Here's the last segment of a four-part interview with AD Robert Battle of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Performance tonight in the Capital City.

Here are the missing questions in the interview: What can you say to my listeners that will get them out of the house on a cold winter's evening and into your audience? Talk about your presence on social Media. Facebook? Twitter?



Copyright Capital City Dance Center

03.17.2014: Ailey's Battle

Tomorrow, Artistic Director Robert Battle brings the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to the Capital City. I had a chance to interview Mr. Battle a few days ago.

Reminder as you listen, my recording equipment automatically cuts out the questions and only records the answers during interviews. So, questions in this third section range from: "What did Judith Jamison tell you when she handed over the reins of the company? What's your opinion of the return of reality dance to television? Good, bad or a bit of both? Etcetera...

So, here's the third of a four-part interview with the dancer-turned-choreographer-turned-Artistic-Director:


Copyright Capital City Dance Center
...And, we'll post the final segment of the interview with Mr. Robert Battle before tomorrow night's performance.

03.14.2014: Mouse In The House

Got kids? Check out this performance posting:
DsM Performing Arts Welcomes STUART LITTLE to the Civic Center, March 29

(Capital City News Service) – DsM Performing Arts will present the STUART LITTLE for one performance only, Saturday, March 29 at 1 p.m. at the DsM Civic Center. STUART LITTLE is part of the fifth season of the Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Family Series.

Based on the 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 happened 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.

After several escapades at home, Stuart must leave his family behind to go on his most thrilling adventure of all - to see the country and help find Margalo. Along the way, he encounters a variety of exciting situations that test his spirit. All the charm, wisdom, and joy of E. B. White’s classic novel are brought to life by the Dallas Children’s Theater Company as the mild-mannered Stuart learns to survive in his super-sized world of humans and discovers the true meaning of family, loyalty and friendship.

STUART LITTLE is recommended for children ages 4-10. Run time is one hour. Extend the theater-going experience by attending the Discovery Party held one hour prior to the start of the show in the Nollen Lobby and Prairie Meadows Lobby of the Des Moines 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. For more information on STUART LITTLE.

03.13.2014: Battle Over Ailey

Next Tuesday, Artistic Director Robert Battle brings the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to the Capital City. I had a chance to speak to Mr. Battle recently.

Reminder as you listen to the interview, my recording equipment automatically cuts out the questions and only records the answers during recordings. So, questions in this second section range from: "Is there a prototypical Ailey dancer? What do you look for when you audition dancers? Has there ever been a time a dancer was able to change your mind about cutting them at an audition? What is your advice to students who want to dance for your company? What's your best advice for choreographers who want to set pieces on your company? How difficult is it to keep challenging yourself as a choreographer? Ignore all the "yes-men"? Etcetera...

So, here's the second of a four-part interview with the dancer-turned-choreographer-turned-Artistic-Director:


Copyright Capital City Dance Center
...And, we'll post the rest of the segments of the interview with Mr. Robert Battle before next week's performance.

03.12.2014: DWTS Preview

You kidding me? After a quick glance at the line-up for the next DWTS, it seems like it'll come down to an inevitable battle between Olympic Gold Medalists Davis + White to place the mirror ball trophy next to their medals on their shelf. I mean COME ON! I'd hate to be anyone else in that field: Meryl Davis + Charlie White are young, strong, trained in dance and used to long hours of practice. Plus, they'll have HUGE name recognition coming off the Sochi games. It's a bad sign when I can't even remember who else is in the field. But, I'll keep watching for those unexpected contenders. Some start fast out of the gate, others put on a late surge...for some, slow and steady runs the race. Watch for improvement and never bet against "ruff, tuff Derek Hough". Never underestimate his choreographic and coaching expertise. (Also, never bet on "Maximus Ego" who tends to rub voters the wrong way.) A new twist during mid-season is the partner change. Producers apparently trying to tweak the old formula to recapture some of the old ratings magic. They're also trying to skew to younger demographics by replacing Brooke Bouma with Erin Andrews. That's show biz! Brooke was the better dancer, but, the jury's out on if Erin will be the better co-host. But, back to the field, if Davis or White don't "skate off" with the trophy, I'll...uh...I'll triple my axel, Tara Lipinski!o) Premiere next Monday on ABC!

03.06.2014: The Coming Battle

One week from today, Artistic Director Robert Battle brings his Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to the Capital City. I had a chance to speak to Mr. Battle recently.

Just remember, my recording equipment automatically cuts out the questions and only records the answers during interviews. Questions in this first section range from: "Ever been to Iowa or Des Moines? What do you remember? How do midwestern audiences differ from other regions or nations? What should audiences expect from next week's performances?" And, unprompted, he gives a preview of next week's program. "What are some of your favorite comments from audience members who perhaps were 'dragged' to the show?" Etcetera...

So, here's the first of a four-part interview with the dancer-turned-choreographer-turned-Artistic-Director:


Copyright Capital City Dance Center
...And, we'll post the rest of the interviews with Robert Battle leading up to next week's performance.

03.10.2014: Additional Apparent Accoladez

It's nice to know our efforts are being noticed:
"...I wanted to be sure to give a shout out to (@SirDanGuy) and you for all that you do for (my daughter). She has had quite a rewarding year from Nutcracker to summer intensive auditions to her most recent adventure...Your support, encouragement, training and discipline is second to none and has nurtured her into a confident and beautiful dancer. Thank you!..."
...And, a big "Thank YOU!" to you and all our CCDC families. We know that there are a lot of places and activities your children could be involved with and the fact you continue to choose CCDC for your dance instruction is deeply appreciated. We never take that for granted.

03.07.2014:Film Festival

Celebration of cinema in the Capital City,
(Capital City News Service) – On Friday March 14, and Saturday, March 15, the DsM Art Center will present the 33rd Black Maria International Film + Video Festival. This is the 14th visit Black Maria has made to Des Moines. Representing the best in cutting- edge, independent films, the Des Moines program will feature a total of 22 unique, short films. Both screenings are FREE of charge.

The Friday, March 14 program will be presented at 6:30 pm and will feature 15 films. The Saturday, March 15 program will begin at 1:30 pm and features 7 different films. Both programs will take place in the Art Center’s Levitt Auditorium. For the Saturday program, the filmmaker from Iowa City, Metrah Pashaee, director of Human Body Battleground Organ Organism, will present a brief Q & A at the end of his film.

Named after a key artifact of the history of motion pictures, the Black Maria (pronounced “muh-rye-uh”) takes its name from the world’s first film studio built by Thomas Edison in West Orange, NJ in 1893. Edison’s motion picture technology allowed previously unimagined expressive possibilities and freed creative individuals to interpret and represent, and audiences to experience the world as never before. “Our mission, in tribute to Mr. Edison’s accomplishment, is to support the vision of independent filmmakers,” said John Columbus, executive director and founder of the Festival. “It is the pioneering and adventuresome spirit of innovation and the pursuit of fresh, bold, insightful, passionate, and diverse independent filmmaking that drives the Festival’s work.”

The complete schedule of films, including descriptions, follows. Please note: films are not rated but were selected with an adult audience in mind.

Friday, March 14 at 6:30 pm (Running time = 105 minutes)

Montauk / 15 minutes
Vinz Feller, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Stellar Award

Elisabeth's husband commits suicide and his last wish is for her to travel to Montauk, NY, where they met and fell in love many years ago. To honor him and scatter his ashes, she embarks on a journey from her home in Switzerland to the United States. Her experience is filled with anger, acceptance, and reconciliation.

Autumn / 5 minutes
Eva Colmers, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Jury’s Choice

An editor works on his last film project about autumn. As he cuts and pastes, memories of his childhood flash into his consciousness. Images of the past collide with images from the present and weave themselves into a timeless fabric.

The Last Time - You Be the Judge / 5 minutes
Candy Kugel, New York, NY
Peoples’ Choice Award & Director’s Choice

For thirty-eight years, Vincent Cafarelli and Candy Kugel worked together on animated films. Then Vincent, after a day at work, went home, went to bed and never woke up. The Last Time is both a tribute to their collaboration and recognition of sudden, profound, and massive loss.

Close the Lid, Gently: A Home Document Scan / 5.5 minutes
Ariana Gerstein, Barton, NY
Jury’s Choice

This film is based on a video made entirely from two home desktop scanners—one a photo scanner, the other a refurbished low-end document scanner. Each has its own texture and sees the domestic environment in its own particular way, one scan at a time. The film deals with the deliberate misuse/re-purposing of commercial image producing machines for a slow, individual, low-tech approach to the motion picture making process.

Yield / 2 minutes
Caleb Wood, Deer River, MN
Director’s Choice

Road kill deaths mount up. The filmmaker documents and re-animates this collection of animal victims with a provocative result.

Watching, Waiting / 11 minutes
Wesley Strick, Los Angeles, CA
Director’s Choice

At a women's health clinic, a small, dedicated staff goes to work in the face of a subtle but pervasive sense of threat and danger. Watching, Waiting dramatizes an idealistic girl's first day of volunteer work with these caring professionals. Meanwhile, beyond the clinic's secure confines, a mysterious man is patiently watching and waiting. As the clock ticks and he moves from a hilltop perch to a sniper's nest behind a grove of mesquite trees, the tension steadily mounts. This film is a surprising look at the hot-button issue of women's reproductive rights by framing the controversy as a taut thriller.

Strange Wonderful / 4.5 minutes
Stephanie Swart, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Choice

In this unconventional, quirky animated film, Little Monster goes to school. She thinks, 'They probably call me snail face when I'm not around.' Sometimes she is lonely, but she begins to find happiness as she learns to accept being different.

Globe Trot / 4.5 minutes
Mitchell Rose, Worthington, OH
Director’s Choice

Fifty-four filmmakers on all seven continents each contribute two seconds of movement orchestrated by renowned choreographer Bebe Miller in this international, crowd-sourced, dance-film project.

Sidewalk / 4 minutes
Celia Bullwinkel, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Citation

A woman walks through life, but her real journey is deep within as she confronts her changing body and learns to love herself.

Spooners / 13.5 minutes
Bryan Horch, Pelham, MA
Director’s Choice

This is a romantic comedy about two men and their epic quest for a grown-up bed. After finally convincing his partner to retire their beloved futon, Nelson goes off by himself to shop for a proper replacement. Spooners is a playful and humorous film that brings to view the absurdities and contradictions of modern life.

Inquire Within / 4 minutes
Jay Rosenblatt, San Francisco, CA
Jury’s Choice

Inquire Within is a hypnotic, apocalyptic examination of false choices, double binds, vulnerability, and faith.

Place of Spirit / 6.5 minutes
Natalie Conn and Jay Weichun, Brooklyn, NY
Jury’s Choice

This is the story of Andrea Phillips, a Staten Island based artist, facing eviction from her home after 44 years. Rather than center itself on the policy issues associated with Andrea's eviction, Place of Spirit focuses on Andrea's emotional and spiritual relationship to her eccentric, unique, and uncommon home.

Chop / 6 minutes
Ariana Gerstein, Barton, NY
Director’s Choice

Chop is a thought-provoking film, contemplating the texture of wood, soy sauce, rice, the crack of a fortune cookie, and a to-go box, presented within the disturbing context of de-forestation. Still images created through macro photography are animated and integrated within the body of this documentary short.

Little Block of Cement with Disheveled Hair Containing the Sea / 15.5 minutes
Jorge Lopez Navarrete, Barcelona, Spain
Jury’s Choice

A German Shepherd dog and an adventurous mare embark upon a voyage together. With every step they take, the differences between them become clearer, and yet there is a profound connection and mutual knowledge developed over time. Invoking the spiritual and aesthetic style of Robert Bresson, this powerful film celebrates the luminous connections between horse and dog without one word of dialog.

Wise Choice or Lucky Guess / 3.5 minutes
Ellen Raines, Fox Point, WI
Director’s Choice

A recently deceased man has to make a choice between heaven and hell, while sitting on an escalator.

Saturday, March 15 at 1:30 pm (Running time = 124 minutes)

Every Day is a Holiday / 57 minutes
Theresa Loong, New York, NY
Jury’s Stellar Award

Growing up in suburban New Jersey, Chinese-American filmmaker Theresa Loong knew little about her father's past. One day, she discovered his secret diary, written when he was a teenager and POW in a Japanese work camp during World War II. In it, he vowed to make 'every day a holiday' if he survived. Every Day is a Holiday tells the painful, but life-affirming story of her father's unlikely journey from Chinese Malay teenager and Japanese POW to merchant seaman, Veterans Affairs doctor, and naturalized citizen of the country that liberated him—the United States. Using intimate conversations, rare archival footage and his wartime diary, the film traces how, through sheer strength of will, Paul Loong overcomes the horrors of war and obstacles as an immigrant.

Salmon Deadly Sins / 7 minutes
Steven Vander Meer, Arcata, CA
Jury’s Choice

Five thousand salmon colored index cards, the seven deadly sins, bizarre anagrams and a host of serendipitous occurrences mingle in the artist's imagination and emerge as Salmon Deadly Sins. With music by Leftover Salmon, this flipbook style film is a moving drawing—each frame was created individually, by hand, on a 3x5 inch index card. Envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath are the inspiration for each chapter in this ingenious animation.

Sleight of Hand / 10 minutes
Michael Cusack, Adelaide, Australia
Director’s Choice

Sleight of hand refers to skill in feats requiring quick and clever movements of the hands, especially for entertainment or deception, as in juggling, and card or coin magic, and with the intent to trick or deceive. Sleight of Hand is a stop-motion animated film about illusions. A man yearns to know his place in the world and how he fits in, when sometimes it's better not to know.

Human Body Battleground Organ Organism / 9.5 minutes
Metrah Pashaee, Iowa City, IA
Director’s Choice

This is an appropriated moving image collage investigating human sex organs as disembodied vessels. Utilizing a digital voice to narrate the scientific found footage, the filmmaker creates a witty, sarcastic, high camp romp through the juxtaposition of gender-specific sexual functions of the human body.

The Apothecary / 17 minutes
Helen Hood Scheer, Palo Alto, CA
Jury’s Choice

The Apothecary is a moving portrait of beloved druggist, Don Colcord, in a rural Colorado outpost. Don is a man who operates the only pharmacy within 4,000 square miles. He navigates a profound divide between his public persona and his personal life. To the community, he is jovial and heroic. At home, he is impotent and isolated due to his wife's disability. The film explores notions of individual duty and obligation in the face of privately held grief and ambivalence.

5 Ways 2 Die / 16.5 minutes
Daina Papadaki, Nicosia, Cyprus
Director’s Choice

How many ways are there to commit suicide? Can a suicide attempt be considered successful? One cuckolded husband over-analyzes this subject as he struggles to achieve his ideal result.

Virtuous Virtuell / 7.5 minutes
Thomas Stellmach, Hessen, Germany
Jury’s Citation

Hand crafted ink drawings inspired by the overture of the opera, “The Alchemist,” by Louis Spohr, serve as basis for this animation. The drawings play on the threshold between the figurative and abstract, thus allowing for a wide range of associations to form. Synchronized to the music, they grow and change. The drawings take on the characteristics and moods of the music and take the viewer on a journey into a musical world of pictures.

Jury’s Stellar Award = First Place
Jury’s Choice = Second Place
Jury’s Citation = Third Place
Director’s Choice = Fourth Place

03.06.2014: Battle Plans

Still working on editing interview with Artistic Director Robert Battle of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Tricky part is my equipment automatically blocks my questions and records only answers. So, to help you fill in the blanks (which I'll fill with musical excerpts provided by the company), here's part of my cheat sheet of questions I drew up before the interview:
  • Have you ever been to Des Moines? Or Iowa? Any of your dancers from Iowa?
  • What do you think you offer to non-dance fans? Can you tell me some of your favorite comments from audience members who weren't looking forward to seeing your show?
  • What did Judith Jamison say to you when she handed over the reins to the company?
  • What's your advice to my students who want to dance for Ailey? What's your advice to choreographers who want to choreograph on your company?
  • How is Horton different from Graham or Limon? How important is it for you to have dancers trained in Horton?
  • What's your opinion of reality TV dance competitions? Do you ever watch them and think "hmmm…I could use a dancer like that?"
  • Are you on Social media? Your opinion?
....Just keep in mind, I used these questions as a springboard to a conversation with the articulate Mr. Battle. I think the answers will be illuminating and I promise to post them before he brings his company to the Capital City.

03.05.2014: Hawai'i Calls

Truly in the midst of this, the winter of our discontent, time to consider turning our thoughts to a distant, tropical paradise:
"...Date: March 28th 2014
Show time: 7:00PM (60 min. performance)
Location: Vaudeville Mews 212 4th Street DsM, IA
Tickets are $10 all ages welcome.
*family entertainment * a virtual vacation for the whole family

...The year is 1959, and Hawaii has just joined the union. The new direct flights from the mainland to Honolulu have opened up the Hawaiian experience to a whole new generation.

The Theatrical Hula dance show POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE recreates this experience. This intimate production 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 drumbeats of the island is truly a unique and unforgettable show..."

03.04.2014: Virtual Dance Class

Just got this solicitiation in the old Capital City Dance Center emailbag. Is this something we should consider? Is on-line dance instruction the wave of the future?
"...In less than 10 minutes, you can do something awesome for your Dance Business. Set up an online studio using P_______ and start doing business 24/7.

P_______ allows you to teach live online classes, record and sell on-demand video, track your client's goals, and connect with potential clients all over the world..."

...Would you use web instruction? What would you pay for it? How about one-on-one Skype or FaceTime private lessons? Email us your thoughts, comments or suggestions.

03.03.2014: Apparent Approval

Capital City Dance Center mother weighs in with this input this weekend:
"...Thanks for how you run the studio: with enough push to make them grow but enough praise to make them feel like they are improving...(My daughter) seems to be loving class now and blossoming as a more confident young lady as well as a dancer..."

02.28.2014: Pats On 'De Back

Merde to CCDC's "BalanchineBaby" as she competes in YAGP this weekend! Also, Toi, toi, toi! to all the CCDC alumni auditioning for companies over the coming few weeks. Also, a pat on the back to "Carey" as she chooses between two prestigious university dance programs. (Double-majoring in dance and nuclear physics? Really?) And, more merde for current CCDC students working hard in rehearsals for the 2014 Spring Showcase this June. And, special CONGRATULATIONS to the one CCDC alum for the offer they texted me about earlier this week! Can't say much more until I get the okay, but, that could mean another picture going up on the CCDC Wall of Fame! soon!o) Kudos to everyone involved!o)

02.27.2014: Buying Into Bayadere

Capital City Dance Center students are rehearsing hard for the 2014 Spring Showcase, "La Bayadere"...And More!" If you're not familiar with the ballet, you can astound your friends and family with your knowledge by reading this synopsis from our last presentation of the ballet several years ago:
La Bayadere is a classic ballet about love and hate, about treachery and jealous betrayal, about the lust for power and of blinding ambition. But, overall it is a cautionary tale about the power of forgiveness and selfless devotion. The ballet was well known in Soviet Russia, but, was only relatively recently introduced to the west after a wave of defections pierced the old Iron Curtain. The serene "Kingdom of the Shades" scene is perhaps the most famous of the ballet.

First, what is a "bayadere"? That's the term for a "temple dancer" in the ancient India of legend. And, our story today is about one of the most beautiful and talented of all the bayaderes, Nikiya. She is in love with the mightiest Warrior Prince of the highest caste, his name is Solor. Before our ballet today begins, they've met in secret and vowed eternal love. But, they were overheard by the High Priestess of the temple (Editor's Note: Normally, the High Brahmin is played by a man who loves Nikiya himself). She's enraged because her plan was to marry her daughter, Gamzatti, to Solor, thereby cementing her power by raising the caste and status of her entire clan. The Priestess quickly arranges to have the Rajah command Solor to take Gamzatti as his wife and she vows to kill the impudent bayadere who was once her protoge'.

Act One:

As our ballet opens, the Grand Procession brings a myriad of castes to the garden courtyard of the palace to celebrate the official announcement of the betrothal of Solor and Gamzatti. Fan dancers, Parrot dancers, a group of talented townsfolk and miniature Golden Idols all perform with youthful enthusiasm. Just then, Manou, a purveyor of sweet spring water is pursued by two thirsty street urchins. More Indians and more townsfolk join in the revelry, but, the dancers all part with the entrance of Gamzatti and Solor. The Warrior-Prince cannot refuse his Rajah's command and Gamzatti's intoxicating beauty (coupled with a potent love potion (#9) administered by the High Priestess) have caused him to forget his vow to Nikiya. After their classic pas de deux, a bevy of the youngest bayaderes entertain the throng. But, soon, Solor returns with a mighty display of his power and prowess. And, Gamzatti follows with a breath-taking variation of her own before everyone joins in the merry-making.

But, in the middle of all the merriment, a melancholy note when Nikiya is summoned to perform at the engagement ceremony. Even as her heart is breaking, she dances a haunting expression of her pathos and angst. And, even though he is still under the power of the potent love potion (#9), Solor is troubled. But, Gamzatti does her best to distract him. Just then, Nikiya is presented with a basket of rare lovely flowers that she's told was sent by Solor. Her mood brightens instantly. She dances a much happier dance and ends by offering the loveliest bloom to the Warrior Prince. But, Nikiya has been betrayed! The basket of flowers was not sent by Solor, but, by the High Priestess and it contains a sinister and lethal surprise! The deadliest, most poisonous snake in the entire Indian sub-continent, the Black Mamba known as Kobe!

Nikiya screams a silent scream as the viperous reptile injects its deadly venom into her throat! A snake-charmer races into the courtyard and grabs the wriggling serpent. Nikiya stumbles and pleads with the shocked bystanders for help, the venom racing through her veins like acid! She ends up face-to-face with Gamzatti and accuses her of planting the snake. Gamzatti protests her innocence and pleads with Solor to believe her. The still-drugged Warrior Prince has no choice, even though the potion is beginning to wear off. The High Priestess orders the crowd to face away and she offers an antidote to Nikiya. La Bayadere grabs for the vial, but, the High Priestess warns her she must stop loving Solor to save her life. Nikiya seizes the vial with desperation, anything to stop the scorching venom in her veins! But, when she sees Solor begin to leave with Gamzatti, she drops the antidote to the ground. For Nikiya, life without love is worse than death. And, so, she chooses to end the pain rather than living a lifetime of suffering, despite the pleading of the High Priestess. And, the love potion begins to wear off as Solor begins to realize that Gamzatti might not have planted the serpent, but, that her own mother had. The prince rushes to Nikiya, but...it is too late. The curtain falls on a terrible tableau.

Act Two:

Prince Solor is crushed at the death of his one true beloved. He blames himself and cannot be consoled. But, as he mourns, the mesmerizing magic of a mysterious snake charmer and her little snake dancers offers an eerie pathway to a reunion with Nikiya. The Warrior-Prince is hypnotized and wakens in the Kingdom of the Shades, the land between light and darkness, where the recently dead dwell. This is the most famous scene of the entire ballet. Normally it's done on a series of ramps and is itself a hypnotizing and mesmerizing repetition that is one of the truest measures of a corps de ballet. It is in the Shade Kingdom that Solor and his love are reunited. The temple dancer and the Warrior Prince perform not just one, but, two classic pas de deux. And, they are joined by the shades, individually and in groups. But, this act ends with Nikiya disappearing into a dream as Solor desperately chases her.

Epilogue:

In the rest of the ballet, not performed tonight, visions of Nikiya continue to haunt Solor as he wakens and prepares for his wedding to Gamzatti. But, as they exchange their vows, the wrath of the gods is unleashed. The temple and all its inhabitants are destroyed. At the end, the ghost of Solor and Nikiya are reunited in eternal love. And, hopefully, you will perform and/or watch a full length professional performance of La Bayadere eventually and recall this Capital City Dance Center version with favor and fondness. Enjoy the show!

02.25.2014: Battle Plans

Looks like I'll have a chance to speak with the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater before their upcoming performances in the Capital City. Here's how the the interview was arranged:
"Hi @SirDanGuy,

I thought I'd check in with you about an interview with Alvin Ailey. I know you had an interest in the Dance Series artists and am in the midst of scheduling a few of those now. Please let me know if you want me to set up an advance for you. The show is March 18.

Thanks much. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
DsM Performing Arts..."

"...I'd love to do a short phone interview, but, I can only do it in a very narrow window: Friday mornings between 8-and-10am. Is that even possible?..."

"...Would you be available to do a phone interview with Robert Battle on Friday, Feb. 28 at 9:45 a.m. CST? I know it's short notice and it's cutting your 8-10 time frame close so please let me know if this works ASAP.

Thanks,
DsM Performing Arts..."

"...Yes, I'll make it work. Please confirm if it can happen..."

"...You are confirmed. Please contact Mr. Battle at ___-___-____ on ______ at _:__ CST. His bio and the news release are attached.

Please let me know if you need anything else..."

"...Excellent! I'm excited. I was offered a scholarship from Alvin AIley himself to his school back when I was an aspiring professional dancer. I ended up with the DsM Ballet instead. I often wonder what would've happened if I took him up on that offer..."

"...That is exciting! You’ll have to let me know how it goes..."

Good luck!
DsM Performing Arts..."

...And, if you had the chance to speak with Robert Battle, what would YOU ask him? E-mail me your questions before this Friday and I may use them in the interview.

02.24.2014: Forgotten Le Clercq Legacy

Anyone interested in seeing this movie about Balanchine's doomed muse? Let me know if you wanna go in a group at a possibly discounted rate. Pass the word! And, let us know quickly as it starts this weekend. I'm thinking Saturday night or Sunday evening, if available:
Hello,

On Feb. 28th, The Varsity Theatre will be showing the film, Afternoon Of A Faun. Click on the link for more information regarding the film and to watch the trailer. It’s about the unusual story of Tanaquil Le Clercq, Ballerina, Artist and Muse. We are planning on showing the film for a week through Thursday, March 6th. Although it may show longer (I’ll have more details at a later date).

As of today, the film has received 100% percent positive reviews from the approved Rotten Tomato Critics.

We thought the film may be of interest to your organization and are willing to offer a discount on group tickets for the evening shows. Is this something your organization is interested in?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Best,
Varsity Theatre..."



02.21.2014: Performance Posting

"Oh, you danced in college. How sweet!"
Dancers in Company to perform 'home concerts' Feb. 27-March 1

The University of Iowa’s premier touring repertory company, Dancers in Company, splashes onto campus with its hugely popular home concert at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 27-March 1, in Space Place Theater, 101 North Hall.

Now in its 30th year, the company of UI graduate and undergraduate dancers will perform its home concerts and then tour throughout Iowa and the Midwest, performing thrilling concerts and conducting outreach through lecture demonstrations for audiences of all ages.

This year’s Dancers in Company will also include a piece commissioned specifically for the concert by guest artist, Lisa Gonzales, an independent dance maker, performer, improviser, and associate professor at Columbia College, Chicago.

Interested in the complex array of meanings revealed by bodies moving in relationship to each other and their environment, Gonzales’ work often investigates some aspect of the power and frailty inherent in humanness. She has taught, performed, and shown her work in spaces as diverse as DTW in New York; The Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago; the historic Lu-Ling Theater in Taipei, Taiwan; at the Dostoyevsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia; in Helsinki, Finland; in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and in cities and spaces across the United States.

The full performance will include:

  • Bleed, choreographed by Lisa Gonzales
  • After All, choreographed by Eloy Barragán
  • Dream State: or Jung and the Restless, choreographed by George de la Peña in collaboration with the dancers
  • Seltsame Seligkeit (Strange Bliss), choreographed by Jennifer Kayle with collaborative movement development from the dancers
  • Box Play Eight Times Labor, choreographed by Esther-Baker Tarpaga and Olivier Tarpaga
  • Empty Mouth, choreographed by Armando Duarte in collaboration with the dancers
  • Myagi Style, choreographed by Ethan Rome
  • Undercover, choreographed by Charlotte Adams in collaboration with the dancers
Tickets for the Dancers in Company home concert are $12 ($6 for seniors, college students, and youth 17 and younger; $5 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 website.

02.20.2014: Nosferatutu

Reminder: This ballet begins its "reign of terror" this weekend just a hop, skip and jete' down the road:
SURRENDER TO THE HAUNTING BEAUTY

Fascinating, terrifying and romantic perfectly describe the marvel that is Michael Pink’s internationally acclaimed Dracula on the Kansas City Ballet. The spellbinding story of the nocturnal Count who survives on the blood of the living is a tale of seduction and surrender, sensuality and danger.

From the gripping original score’s beating heart effects, to the howls of wolves, to the thrilling sets and dazzling costumes, Dracula is a bravura work of dance theater. During the performance the Kansas City Symphony will perform Philip Feeney’s score.

Due to the intrinsic adult themes that the story of Dracula addresses it is advised that parents of younger children exercise parental discretion.

Please Note - Due to the special effects required for Dracula once the curtain goes up no one will be seated until intermission."

02.19.2014: Artsummit

You don't have to create your art in a vacuum:
Save the Date: 2014 Arts Summit, June 6

The Arts Council, a division of the State Department of Cultural Affairs, is pleased to invite you to save the date, June 6, 2014, for the 2014 Arts Summit. The 2014 Arts Summit will be a daylong event held in the Capital City aimed at elevating the arts field in the area through professional development and networking opportunities. More information regarding summit content and registration will be announced soon. Spread the word! Share this invite with your peers and encourage them to sign up for summit updates..."

02.18.2014: Community Theater

The Playhouse announcing next year's performance line-up:

...Support your local community arts organizations! Volunteer, attend, donate!o)

02.17.2014: Ballet With Bite

This #ballet performance happening just down the road a pace...might wanna catch a performance if you're going to be visiting the KC area.

02.14.2014: College Dance

#CCDC alum performing in this at the institution lovingly known as "Party Hearty You", home of @VodkaSamm:
"...Department of Dance to present Faculty/Graduate Concert

All works choreographed by faculty members and graduate students in the University of Iowa Department of Dance will come to life on stage at the Faculty/Graduate Concert at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 13-15, in Space Place Theater, 101 North Hall, on the UI campus. The performance will include:

  • Essência (2006), choreographed by Armando Duarte
  • Secret Sympathies, choreographed by Charlotte Adams
  • 5 Stage Reaction, choreographed by Jeremy Blair
  • 45 Seconds, choreographed by Eloy Barragán
  • Let Me Try This Again, choreographed by Dana Powers-Klooster in collaboration with Sophia Sednova
  • A Life in Motion, choreographed by Jennifer Kayle, with collaborative movement development from the dancers
  • Again Please Thank You No, choreographed by Alex Bush in collaboration with Lindsay Fisher and Dana Powers-Klooster
Tickets are $12 ($6 for seniors, college students, and youth; 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 website.

This event is part of the Series on Arts and Rights campaign. SOAR is a joint initiative of the UI Center for Human Rights and the Division of Performing Arts. The initiative’s goal is to engage and incorporate works that promote dialogue and critical thought, whether they explicitly address a human rights issue or whether they simply communicate ideas or concepts that question what it means to be human.

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

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you require reasonable accommodations in order to participate in this program, contact Hancher Accessibility Services in advance at 319-335-1158...."

02.07.2014: Dance Colleges

Not every CCDC student should, or even, wants to try to become a professional ballet dancer. But, there's more than one path to making a living in the performing arts. Here's some advice from a CCDC alum who's well on her own journey...
"...Sorry I have taken awhile to e-mail you! The beginning of the school year has been crazy and I wanted to do a little more research on your request. I have compiled a list of Programs for you to talk to ("Thief of Hearts") about. Knowing her possible Contemporary/Jazz (dance) focus, I picked some schools that do a great job emphasizing both. As far as whether these schools have already completed next years auditions/whether they let a student double major, is a different story. Most of them are also pretty costly considering they are out of state and some of them are private however, any good college dance program is going to be a bit costly. This is something she will have to discuss further with her parents and make decisions accordingly.

  • University of Arizona
  • TISCH
  • SUNY Purchase
  • Tulane
  • Emory University
  • University of Illinois
  • Indiana University
  • Fordham University
I believe that this list of schools would most suit ("TofH") as a dancer and most suit her path that she has picked (as far as she has told me). I do have more suggestions if none of these programs sound obtainable or desirable.

Let me know if I can help in any other way!

Sending love!!..."

...But, even if you're planning on becoming a modern, contemporary, hiphop or lyrical dancer, the fastest way to get better is: to take all your good CCDC ballet classes!o) (And, if you go to Emory University after attending "Emery University", tell them they're spelling it wrong!o)

02.11.2014: Training In The Tropix

She LIVES! She DANCEZ! Better still...SHE WRITEZ!!! Here's an update from the CCDC alumni nicknamed Nikiya1 from Sri Lanka:
"...Hello friends and family!

I hope this message finds you all well.

I wanted give you an update as I've been neglecting my blog recently. In just four days I will be performing Kandyan dance in my dancing school's show at Dharmaraja College in Kandy. I'm the first foreigner to perform in a show put on by the Surasena school, and the whole town seems to be pretty curious. The hall seats over a thousand people, and the Surasenas have sold tickets to everyone they know, which is basically everyone in town. Last weekend we had a photo day so I've included some photos from that. One of them appears on the banners around town which are advertising the show.

After the performance I plan on making visits to Colombo to find housing. I'm also scheduled to witness a ves initiation ceremony with the Surasenas in Hatton. This is a very important ceremony when a person officially earns his status as a full-fledged Kandyan ves dancer and receives the famous headdress. Then I'm off to India for the Fulbright researcher conference in Chennai, where I plan on performing Kandyan dance for the other Fulbrighters. Hopefully I'll get to stay in India for the holiday Holi. Upon my return in the middle of March I'm planning on moving back to Colombo, and that's all I have planned so far!

Looking forward to sharing my adventures with you all when I get home!..."

...We're efforting putting up those pictures on the CCDC FaceBook page! If they're not there yet, patience! Some of us gotta pretend to work for a living!o)

02.10.2014: Go West, Young Woman!

Update from former CCDC student relocated to the City of Lost Angels:
"...Hi, Missy! Just updating you on the academy we found for (my daughter). It is Southland Ballet Academy in Fountain Valley, CA. She has been amazed at the way you prepared her for this process. Your fees seem so reasonable compared to rates here. Unlimited classes will cost us $440 per month. You should consider raising your fees! ..."

02.07.2014: OMG! So, See Sochi!o)

Olympic opening ceremonies Must-See-TV tonight on NBC. Here's a note on some early Olympic action from a CCDC adult ballet dancer:
"...check out the epaulets on the Russian pairs figure skating guy tonight--no more uncertainty among the younger ones about what they are and what "epaulement' means!

also is it just my ballet brain thinking that the Russian skaters are more stretched, placed, use their backs (not just flap their arms around) and heads and even manage to kinda point their feet in those skates than anyone else because they cross-train in ballet?!? jus sayn!!..."

02.06.2014: Magic Lamp

Just got this interview via e-mail from Pointe Magazine:
Houston Ballet will present the American premiere of David Bintley's popular Aladdin later this month. Pointe spoke to principal Melody Mennite about learning the ballet's Lead Diamond role.
  • How does the Lead Diamond factor into the story?
    In the cave of wonders, she acts as a kind of master of ceremonies, leading Aladdin to the lamp. There are a bunch of jewel variations, and hers comes last. It's incredibly difficult--very long and full of jumps and turns. The first time I saw how she fit into the rest of the scene, I immediately thought, Lilac Fairy.
  • What does an Arabian Diamond costume look like?
    Not what you'd expect! I was surprised to be putting on a tutu at all for a production of Aladdin, but while it is a tutu, it's far from traditional. It has a futuristic feel. I think the skirt is supposed to look like the facets of a diamond--instead of a flat platter, it's three-dimensional. And the material feels almost industrial. There's no lace, nothing soft.
  • What are some of the ballet's most impressive special effects?
    We've just started doing full run-throughs in the studio, so I haven't seen all the stage magic in action yet. I did see some huge baskets with trap doors in them that I'm very curious about, though.
  • What's been surprising about the production?
    A lot of us in the company knew Aladdin through the Disney movie, but David went back to the original Aladdin story, from The Arabian Nights. At the end of the ballet, there's a big Chinese dragon, which was confusing--until we found out that in the Arabian Nights version, Aladdin is actually Chinese. There have been lots of discoveries like that. But people familiar with Disney's Aladdin will still know what's going on.

02.04.2012: Performance Posting

World music opportunity in the Capital City...
"...HABIB KOITÉ Takes the Stage at the Temple Theater Feb. 24
Tickets are on-sale now to this Live at the Temple Concert

(Capital City News Service) – DsM Performing Arts is pleased to welcome HABIB KOITÉ to the Temple Theater for one performance only, Monday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. HABIB KOITÉ is the second performer in the 2013-2014 Prairie Meadows Temple Theater Live at the Temple Concert Series.

HABIB KOITÉ is one of Africa’s most popular and recognized musicians. A modern troubadour with extraordinary appeal, KOITÉ’s musicianship, wit and wisdom translate across cultures.

Hailing from the musically prolific West African nation of Mali, the guitarist and composer has been named the biggest pop star of the region by Rolling Stone magazine and continues to delight audiences the world over, selling more than 250,000 albums. Over the past decade, his artistry and magnetic personality have made him an international star, and placed him firmly among the leading figures in contemporary world music.

KOITÉ’s 2014 release, Soô (which translates to home) looks squarely at his native land, a country torn apart by violence over the last two years, at a time when a real feeling of home couldn’t be more vital.

Blues singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt proclaimed, “First there was Hendrix, then Stevie Ray, and now Habib.”

Now in its sixth year, the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater Live at the Temple Concert Series offers audiences a unique concert-going experience with a diverse lineup of bold performing artists and songwriters ranging from jazz to zydeco to indie folk and western. This year’s lineup includes: JON BATISTE AND STAY HUMAN; HABIB KOITÉ; BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO; MOLLY RINGWALD; GABRIEL KAHANE WITH ROB MOOSE; and RIDERS IN THE SKY.

All performances of the Live at the Temple Concert Series are performed at the Temple Theater in the Temple for Performing Arts located at Tenth and Locust Streets in downtown.

The Live at the Temple Concert Series is a presentation of the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater Series.

For more information about HABIB KOITÉ, click here..."

02.03.2014: Alumni Update

We are NOT forgotten! We are NOT forsaken! CCDC alumnus nicknamed GitUrFaShawn took time out of his busy, busy, busy life to drop us this e:note:
"...Just wanted to do a little shout out about the shows I'll be in this semester at the good old University of Iowa!

The Faculty/Graduate Concert is February 13-15, where I'll be performing in a new work by Charlotte Adams. The weekend of April 3-5 I'll be dancing in MFA candidate Jeremy Blair's thesis. A collaborative work I created with DMA percussionist Andy Thierauf will be presented at a new music symposium on April 6. I will be having my own evening-length BFA show on April 26 which features my studies, dancing, and choreography. The final BFA event, which will feature seniors' BFA solos will be in the afternoon of May 10.

More updates can be found at my "professional" FaceBook page!

Miss you guys!..."

...and, I wonder what all the other CCDC alumni are up to nowadays? HMMMMMMM!!!???

01.31.2014: International Youth Ballet Competition

Have I mentioned that it's #2014Prix Week this week? Love the videos the staff is posting on the web. This one starts off slow...but, picks up dramatically!o)

...The finals of the 2014 Prix de Lausanne are tomorrow and will be livestreamed at their website..

01.30.2014: Sneak Peeks at the Prix

This time of year, I wish I could be two places at once. If that were possible, I'd leave one clone here teaching, rehearsing and developing promising dancers at CCDC. The other would, by hook or by crook, be in Switzerland for the annual Prix de Lausanne competition. Since that technology hasn't been developed yet, the next best thing is to stay in touch with the staff's videoblogs. Like this one:

...And, you can find more videos here!

01.29.2014: Sri Lanka Dansa!

Here's a e-message we just received from one of CCDC's first Nikiyas:
"...My mom said you wanted some of my dance pictures. Here's a good one from when my family came to visit me in Sri Lanka just a couple of weeks ago. In the center is my teacher Master Peter Surasena. On the right is his son/my host father Janaka Surasena, who is also a dancer and is wearing the traditional ves costume. On the left is the drummer, also in traditional costume.

I hear you're doing Bayadere again. Too bad I won't be home yet to see it. Best wishes to the new Nikiya and all the cast...."

...And, in order to conserve bandwidth, we're posting that picture on the CCDC FaceBook page! Check it out there!o)

01.28.2014: Prix Package

As I tweeted the other day, it seems hard to believe it's been a year already since the 2013 Prix de Lausanne competition. The annual international youth ballet competition gets underway again this week in Switzerland. Fortunately, they've become quite expert at keeping the web updated. Here's a video from Day One:

...I can see familiar faces, familiar places in the background of these reports. You should put the Prix on your bucket list if you're a die-hard balletomane. But, the finals will be livestreamed this Saturday. It's the next best thing to being there...especially if you can hook it up to a big screen HDTV! More good, inspiring ballet in a few hours than you'll find in a year on U-S network TV! Meanwhile, find more video here!

01.27.2014: Dance Doings in Duluth

Never mind DWTS! CCDC alum and current professional dancer Katya W00tang is preparing for this in the Northland:
"...Past winners return—with new choreography—to compete in what promises to be a barn-burner competition. Cheer your favorite couple in this ballroom battling of dance styles from hot to classy. While audience votes are counted to name the winning All-Star, enjoy the Ballet’s lively mini performance..."
...Gamzatti1 is also rehearsing this:
"...Fall under the spell of a moonlit evening in Elizabethan England, filled with star-crossed lovers, sprightly fairies, and delightful comic characters. There’s Puck, the classic mischief-maker whose antics include applying a love potion to the wrong lover. There’s Bottom, the tailor/would-be actor who’s turned into a donkey, and the beautiful little fairy Titania, who under a spell falls in love with him. There’s even a four-way lovers’ melee. Somehow—in true comedy tradition—all ends well. It’s Shakespeare’s most magical comedy told in sparkling dance and mime..."

01.24.2014: Such Sweet Sorrow

Just got this via the CCDC FaceBook Page from a family that recently relocated to SoCal:
"...We miss you so much! After trying many classes and studios in the LA area, we cannot find another studio as good as Capital City Dance Center. One studio described my CCDC dancer as having tremendous "finesse." The training she received with you was by far the best and we are forever grateful for the instruction you provided our dancer. One studio said she was too far advanced for their program! We will see you for summer intensives!
...Looking forward to having you both back in town!

01.23.2014: Olympics of Youth Ballet!

The "Superbowl" of youth ballet competitions is almost upon us! And, once again, you can follow along at home with the Prix de Lausanne's multi-media compilations. Here's more info:
This year Harlequin will once again support the videoblog competition which lets internet users share in the emotions of the candidates and get a glimpse behind the scenes at the Prix de Lausanne.

The idea behind the partnership between Prix de Lausanne and Harlequin is the shared interest in youngsters with a talent for dance. In fact, for over 40 years, the Prix de Lausanne and Harlequin have in turn supported future stars of the dance world. The Prix de Lausanne enables students to access a study grant whilst Harlequin provides top quality dance floors. Harlequin also leads an international awareness campaign on the importance of the correct dance floors in preventing injury to dancers.

Our first 2014 videoblog will be published on Tuesday, January 28th!

...Find even more info here. Anyone interested in a watch party for a live stream of the Prix finals?

01.22.2014: Wee-Feedback

Just got this in the old emailbag from CCDC Young Children's Division Director Jill Andrews:
I received the sweetest thank you note last night from one of CCDC's Ballet 1 students:
Dear Mrs. Jille,

You are the sweetest teacher ever. You are pretty every day. I like your smile. You smile every day.

From, Maddy

...Don't you know a child who should be training with "Mrs. Jille"? Or, with any other of the caring, experienced faculty of Capital City Dance Center? Help spread the word about the metro's best kept dance secret to your friends and family!o)

01.21.2014: Dance Injury Survey Invitation

Just got this in the old emailbag from CCDC Pilates/Modern/Jazz Instructor Alissa Hamer:
Hello,

I got this email...today. Thought you might be interested in participating if you have time. Also Emery, I don't know if you are interested in posting this on the website or not. It is for participants 18 years of age and older so it wouldn't apply to most of our students.

However, it may reach some our older adoring fans! :)

Thanks!
Alissa

...I think the more information we can get on dancer injury prevention and rehabilitation the better. So, here's the email and the link...
To whom it may concern:

...My name is M___ D____ and I am an undergraduate research assistant studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Our research is looking at the incidence of injury in dancers...We are conducting a short online survey, that should take no more than 10 minutes, for those individuals 18 and older. We are collecting responses from professional dancers, dance teachers, students, directors and choreographers. We ask that any interested candidates follow this link.

Also, if you could spread the word about this, it would be much appreciated. Our survey will expire for data collection on January 31. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. Thank you in advance for your time.

...Unfortunately, learning to deal with injuries comes along with any sort of physical activity. So, if you're an 18-or-over dancer or choreographer, you're encouraged to participate.

01.17.2014: Glittering Glances At Flittering Dances

Reminder of a rare chance to see Russian classical dancers attempt the neo-classicism of the ex-patriate, Georgi Balanchivadze, in a live broadcast this weekend. If you're not already dancing at CCDC yourself, of course!o)
Jewels (Bolshoi Ballet)

Performed LIVE at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
Choreographed by George Balanchine
2 hrs 30 mins approx

...Find more info here.

01.16.2014: Valentine's Boogie Man

Valentine's Day is less than a month away! But, if you're still single, don't spend another VD moping at home wishing you weren't A HUGE LOSER! (Kidding!o) But, don't spend it alone in your room...NOT when a seventies icon brings the party to the the palace in Altoona!o) Grab your leisure suit, Larry!
"...KC and the Sunshine Band 'Get Down' on Valentine's Night at The Meadows, February 14

(Capital City News Service) — KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND, whose up-tempo recordings have been featured on more than 200 motion picture soundtracks, makes a return second engagement at Prairie Meadows on Valentines’ Night, Friday, February 14.

Showtime is 8:00 p.m. [CT] in The Bishop Ballroom of The Meadows Event and Conference Center. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. Guests must be 21 or older and present a valid ID.

KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND QUICK FACTS

Whose music has been featured at EVERY major sporting event in the world including the Super Bowl and the World Series and nearly EVERY wedding, confirmation, and bar mitzvah in the world? Whose music has been featured on more than 200 motion picture film soundtracks? He is Harry Wayne Casey, better known as the founder and leader of KC and The Sunshine Band. Their first record, BLOW YOUR WHISTLE, made the top 15 on the R&B chart. Their second album, KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND, was released in 1975, went triple platinum and contained the #1 hits GET DOWN TONIGHT, THAT’S THE WAY (I LIKE IT), BOOGIE SHOES and ROCK YOUR BABY. Also in 1975, he won the American Music Award for Best R&B Artist. KC & The Sunshine Band became the first act to score four #1 pop singles in one 12-month period since the Beatles in 1964. Three of those singles crossed over to become #1 R&B, as well. KC’s third album, PART 3, released in 1976, also went triple platinum and contained the #1 singles I’M YOUR BOOGIE MAN, SHAKE YOUR BOOTY and KEEP IT COMIN’ LOVE. The band’s string of hit singles continued with BOOGIE SHOES, which was included on the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack, PLEASE DON’T GO, and YES, I’M READY. He also received Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, as well as Producer of the Year in 1978 for his work on the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack. In 2001, KC was honored with the NARAS Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by a chapter of the Academy. In 2002 KC received the coveted Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. KC's music is now being sampled by rappers, and whole new generations of fans have been introduced to his music. Harry Wayne Casey, a true icon of so many generations, gets people up and dancing, making everyone happy, his place at the top in the music world is secure and that is as it should be. KC and the Sunshine Band have been entertaining audiences around the world for over 37 years, and have sold in excess of 100 million records. On January 1, 2014, KC and The Sunshine Band were honorary guests aboard the Stella Rosa Wines parade entry that earned the Judges’’ Special Trophy for Outstanding Showmanship and Dramatic Impact in the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade. KC and The Sunshine Band made their first appearance at Prairie Meadows on June 23, 2011..."

01.15.2014: Fashion Passion

Good news for all you fashionista art lovers:
Art Center announces “Art Meets Fashion”
in conjunction with exhibition: Halston & Warhol: Silver & Suede

(Capital City News Service) – The DsM Art Center will present a series of fabulous art and fashion events this year in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition, Halston & Warhol: Silver & Suede, organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, and on view at the Art Center September 18, 2014 – January 18, 2015. Billed “Art Meets Fashion,” the events will take place throughout the metro area September 6 – 20. Also, in March 2014, a series of fashion films will be shown at the Art Center.

Events include:

  • Haute Couture Auction (date to be announced)
  • Fashion Night Out East Village Window Crawl (September 6)
  • Fashion-Themed “Window Dressing” in East Village shops (September 6 – 21)
  • Paws for Paparazzi: A Pet Fashion Show (September 13)
  • Eliel’s Closet — A Pop-Up Boutique Sneak Peek (September 15) and Pop-Up Boutique (September 15 – 21)
  • Fashion Fare Luncheon (September 17)
  • Exhibition Preview Party (September 18)
  • Black-Tie Gala (September 20)
  • Gala after-party: Finale 54
For additional information, contact Director of Events Debra Kurtz at 515.271.0336 or dkurtz@desmoinesartcenter.org.

01.14.2014: "...I Hope You Dance..."

CCDC Dadz! Don't let your daughter's wedding dance be the first time you dance with your little princess. Here's an opportunity (if she's not dancing at CCDC already!o)...
2014 FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

(Capital City News Service) – The 2014 Father Daughter Dance has some big changes happening. New this year, the dance will be held for one night only at the IA Events Center and tickets will only be sold online. Ticket sales for this year’s Father Daughter Dance are underway. The dance will be at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at the IA Events Center (730 3rd Street) on Friday, February 14 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $18 per couple and $5 per additional daughter.

Tickets can ONLY be purchased online. No phone orders will be taken, tickets will not be sold at the Parks and Recreation Administration Office as in previous years and tickets will NOT be sold at the door.

This event provides an evening of dancing, refreshments, photo opportunities and activities for fathers and their daughters. Dads don’t miss out on this memorable opportunity with your daughter(s). The Father Daughter Dance is sponsored by DsM Parks and Recreation, along with the Friends of DsM Parks and Boesen The Florist.

For additional information please visit our website, call 237-1386 or email parks@dmgov.org.

01.13.2014: King Abdicates

Well, dance-fans, doesn't look like that Alonzo King interview is going to happen. Just got this in the old emailbag:
"...I'm sorry that this has taken so long. We have had some difficulties in getting interviews scheduled with Alonzo King. I just received word from his publicist that they are not going to be able to arrange an interview in advance of the show.

Again, I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. Please let me know if there is anything else I can provide for an advance of the show (news release, photos, etc.) and I would be happy to send those along..."

...Yet, somehow they managed to provide an interview to the daily fish rag...and what a fiasco that was! Why assign someone who knows nothing about dance or ballet or Lines legacy itself to the story? And, a bad writer to boot? This is the same guy who admitted in a review that he didn't actually go to see the show he was reviewing? The Capital City deserves better!o(

01.10.2014: Weather Vain

Good time to review Capital City Dance Center's weather cancellation policy:
"...WEATHER CANCELLATIONS

CCDC will cancel classes whenever Urbandale Public Schools close due to inclement weather. Weather cancellations will be tweeted (@SirDanGuy), posted on the FaceBook page and on the GoCCDC.Com website home and "News and Notes" page. Check with your teachers to find out how to make up any missed CCDC classes..."

01.09.2014: "Bully Pulpit"

Local institution The DsM Playhouse putting on a production that makes an important pointe about the issue of classroom bullying:
The Hundred Dresses
Jan. 17-Feb. 2, 2014

Wanda Petronski (Maggie Matternas) wants to fit in to her new school. But the kids think she has a funny name and a funny accent. So when Wanda, who wears the same faded blue dress to school every day, says she has 100 dresses at home, the kids tease her.

The bullying gets so bad, Wanda and her family move away. One classmate, Maddie (Aviana Gedler), turns to her mother and teacher for advice. She learns that allowing her friends to be bullies is as bad as being a bully herself. Wanda is gone, but Maddie finds the courage to stand up for the elderly Mr. Svenson (Mark Pullen), another outcast in town.

The Hundred Dresses is based on the Newberry Honor book by Eleanor Estes. The Playhouse cast is directed by Kathy Pingel. The cast includes Chance Bender, Megan Eastwood, Brandon Lee, Karen Schaeffer, Gracie Stephens, Lisa Wiggins and Roan Withers.

The Hundred Dresses is suggested for ages 5 and up. The show runs 90 minutes and is performed with a 15-minute intermission.

01.08.2014: World-Class Ballet in HD

Put the chance to watch the best of Russian ballet on a silver screen near you on your "to-do" list: (Note the first one, Balanchine-fans!o)
Coming Soon
  • Jewels (Bolshoi Ballet): Jan 19, 21
  • Lost Illusions (Bolshoi Ballet): Feb 2, 4
  • The Golden Age (Bolshoi Ballet): Mar 30 , Apr 1
...More information at the "Ballet In Cinema" website.

01.07.2014: New Year Preview?

Trying to follow up on our exclusive interviews with Matthew Bourne in 2013...with exclusive one-on-one interviews with world-class choreographers for the GoCCDC.Com Ballet Blog in 2014. Here's an excerpt of that effort:
"Hey...any chance to interview Alonzo (King) or one of his dancers from Lines this week?

I'll also try to make time for the rest of the 2014 Dance Series preview interviews...

TIAloha,
The GoCCDancedoC..."

...Good news came back!:
"...I haven't forgotten about you! I just got an e-mail back from Alonzo's people this morning who just got back from their break and they're working frantically to see if they can make it happen this week. I'll be in touch just as soon as I get confirmation.

Thank you so much for checking in. I hope to know more soon..."

...Stay tuned for that possible "dance-maker-on-dance-maker" interview in 2014! (I actually used to take ballet classes with Alonzo King whenever I visited my brother in the City By The Bay. It'll be interesting to see if he remembers me after all these years!) So...keep your fingers croise' that the interview will happen!o)

01.06.2014: Performance Posting

Cold and cancelled classes shouldn't keep you from enjoying the arts in the Capital City!o)
LIVE AT THE TEMPLE Concert Series Announced

Capital City News Service – DsM Performing Arts is pleased to announce the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater LIVE AT THE TEMPLE concert series lineup.

Season ticket packages start at $138 at the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations, charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000 and online at DesMoinesPerformingArts.org.

There are six artists in the LIVE AT THE TEMPLE concert series and five of them are included in the season ticket package. They are: JON BATISTE AND THE STAY HUMAN BAND; HABIB KOITÉ; BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO; MOLLY RINGWALD; and GABRIEL KAHANE WITH ROB MOOSE. RIDERS IN THE SKY will be available as a concert series add-on.

About the Artists:


JON BATISTE AND THE STAY HUMAN BAND
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Rooted in the musical traditions of his native New Orleans, Jon Batiste has developed a uniquely current and playful brand of jazz. The group’s first studio album “Social Music” was released in the fall of 2013.

HABIB KOITÉ
Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Habib Koité is one of Africa’s most beloved and popular musicians. Rolling Stone magazine called Koité “Mali’s biggest pop star.”

BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO
Tuesday, March 11, 2104 at 7:30 p.m.
Buckwheat Zydeco is the pre-eminent ambassador of Louisiana Zydeco music. “One of the best bands in America. A down-home and high-powered celebration.”–The New York Times

MOLLY RINGWALD
Friday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Accomplished actress of stage and screen, Molly Ringwald returned to her musical roots (growing up with a jazz-pianist father) and released her first jazz album in April 2013 called “Except Sometimes.”

GABRIEL KAHANE WITH ROB MOOSE
Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Gabriel Kahane’s style is eclectic, most often mixing his classical background with modern folk-pop influences. He is often compared to Sufjan Stevens and Rufus Wainwright. Duo partner, violinist Rob Moose, is from Bon Iver and yMusic Ensemble.

RIDERS IN THE SKY
Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Often called “America’s favorite cowboys,” Riders In The Sky have been compared to the Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers in terms of keeping with the Western music genre. These modern-day icons infuse wacky humor and way-out Western wit, and all while encouraging fans to live life "The Cowboy Way!"
Now in its sixth year, the Prairie Meadows Temple Theater LIVE AT THE TEMPLE concert series offers audiences a unique concert-going experience with a diverse lineup of bold performing artists and songwriters ranging from jazz to zydeco to indie folk and western. Organizers say the Temple Theater’s excellent acoustics and intimate setting creates the best listening room experience in the Capital City.

All performances of the LIVE AT THE TEMPLE concert series are performed at the Temple Theater in the Temple for Performing Arts located at Tenth and Locust Streets downtown.

01.03.2014: Fond Farewell

A CCDC family is on its way out-of-state. Before they left, the mother asked for help finding a studio comparable to Capital City Dance Center. This is what I wrote:
Dear (Departing Family),

I took a look at the (performing arts high school) site. It's certainly hard to tell how the dance instruction might compare to with what you've become accustomed.

I've never heard of any of the faculty. Their list of training and certification isn't very definitive. One question you might ask is if the "Professional Experience" means membership in the company or a guest position or traineeship. There are a lot of ways to puff up a resume or CV to make it look more impressive as you know. But, I do like the fact that the director was honored for his partnering skills.

I also like that the school brings in other choreographers and guest teachers. Experience working with a wide variety of inputs will help the students gain versatility.

I don't really care for the costumes on their FB page photos. But, Missy's designs are a tough act to follow. Pictures of the dancers themselves were also not very impressive. I did like the deep back bends in one photo, but, that's probably genetic and hard to teach.

There are teachers with impressive resumes and the highest-level professional experience who are mediocre at best. And, there are hidden gems everywhere in a big city. My preference would be to find someone who has been a member of a professional ballet company and is continuing to teach for the love of the art form.

My recommendation would be to take a class. As (CCDC dancer-turned-professional) said to (your daughter) in the lobby the other day, "If they don't tell you to hold your middle, you probably should look elsewhere." I think (your dancer) has learned enough to get a sense for the "placement-based classical technique" taught at CCDC. She should be able to tell which studios or schools will be a good fit.

Here is the link to Long Beach Ballet School.

As I said, I met the Director in Lausanne earlier this year. I liked him and his adult son. His daughter was competitive with the other dancers. Again, it's hard to tell from a distance about the culture of a studio. My preference for (your daughter) would be a studio that does very little, if any, competition. (YAGP and Prix de Lausanne excepted.) As we've spoken, such an influence can be very disruptive in the training process of a young dancer/artist.

Hope this helps! Please let me know you received this and it didn't get lost in transmission! And, let me know if anything was unclear and stay in touch!...

Kulia I Ka Nu'u,
(GoCCDancedoC)
Capital City Dance Center

01.02.2014: Pay 4 Your Dance Education

Another timely reminder: Deadline coming up later this month for your chance for some free money, 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 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.

ALL SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS MUST BE POSTMARKED BY JANUARY 24, 2014.


All content copyright Capital City Dance Center