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01.29.2016: Serious Dance Series

Possible interview coming up. Just got this email:
"...JESSICA LANG DANCE will perform the WORLD PREMIERE of a new work co-commissioned by Des Moines Performing Arts on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center. The piece, Thousand Yard Stare, sheds light on the theme of war and those who have been affected by it, most specifically veterans. In preparation for the work, award-winning choreographer, Jessica Lang, talked with numerous soldiers to learn about their experiences. Her research included themes of injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and arts-based therapies for veterans, to name a few.

Please help us share this amazing story and performance. Jessica Lang is available for advance interviews. Attached is a news release about the show. Please let me know if you are interested in scheduling an interview and your availability.

Thanks for your consideration!
Des Moines Performing Arts..."

...Keep your fingers croise'!o)

01.28.2016: Money For Nothing, Get Your Grand Battement For Free!

Scholarship application deadline fast approaching:

Deadline for Iowa Scholarship for the Arts Next Week

The deadline for application to the 2015-2016 Iowa Scholarship for the Arts program is February 1. The Iowa Scholarship for the Arts provides $1,500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors who excel in the arts and seek to pursue an education in the arts at an Iowa college

...FInd out more here.

01.29.2016: Performance Possibility

Check this out if you're not already dancing at CCDC!
Jan. 29 — Valley Choirs Perform at Vocal Jazz Summit

The Valley jazz choirs will perform a concert as part of the 2016 Valley Vocal Jazz Summit. Clinician and guest artist Ly Wilder from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music will also perform, along with jazz choirs from area high schools. Wilder is a contemporary vocal artist and educator who has performed with singers like Rosemary Clooney and Dianne Reeves and founded a K–12 community show choir program in Bloomington, Ind. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students, and they will be sold at the door.

LOCATION: Staplin Performing Arts Center, Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave, West Des Moines

01.27.2016: Tweetz 'r' Us!o)

Here's the latest expansion on tweets:
"For the sake of your future progeny, boys! Keep your hips back and safely out of the way when the girls about to turn!" #ballet #dance
...Going over pas de deux basics last night. Safety of the girl is job one, of course. But, boys need to protect themselves as well. You CAN'T stand next to a spinning object without making sure to keep various vulnerable body parts out of harms way. All it takes is one bad experience to drive that lesson harmfully home! I'd rather you learn from my painful experience than yours!
"More lift than turn is formula for better #ballet pirouette. More turn than lift is just spinning in #dance. 2 go fast or many, LIFT MORE!"
...More than any other dance forms or ice-skating, we have to present a picture as we perform athletic activities. The best ballet picture has the best height, turnout and stretch. Usually, people shrink or get smaller to turn. The best ballet dancers do the opposite. Once you've seen a good turner pirouette many times and slow down to stop on balance, you'll understand what we're working towards. Best ballet pirouette always has more lift than turn! If you have a lotta turns, you must have much more lift!

01.25.2016: LatesTweetz

Catching you up on the last few daze of daily tweetz from that CCDC's rascally @SirDanGuy:
"I'm gonna call you 'Stradivarius Too'! Because you have the instrument to make beautiful art, but, you can't play it well yet!" #ballet
...No disrespect intended for the dancer nicknamed 'Stradivarius' but, if you already LOOK like a dancer, you're already starting a step or two ahead of the competition. But, you still have to learn to DANCE like a dancer! Form does follow function up to a pointe. But, starting with long limbs and good proportions gives you a 'jambe' up on others not so blessed! BUT! It's not the be all end all. I've tweeted before, I'll tweet again: "A lot of hard work and a little talent will beat a lot of talent and little work EVERY TIME!o)"
"C'mon! It's called GRAND allegro for a reason! Because it's supposed to be BIG! Jump up! Jump out to STAND OUT during auditions! " #ballet
Slow and careful does not win the 'race to space'. You have to EXPLODE to get up in the air and try to linger longer. There should be a HUGE difference between 'petit allegro' and 'GRAND allegro'! How do you get better at big jumps! Jump higher, longer and more often to build the requisite, exquisite strength!o)
"Girls! Imagine tall handsome prince standing in front of you! Present ur cheek for a kiss, then, the other side for proper neck movement!"
Russians say the last thing you finish training in ballet is your neck! But, it's one of the subtle movements that separates the good from the great dancers. But, you can't just add it on afterwards. You have to begin training the neck with your very first plie's of the day! The way you do that is to offer your cheek for a kiss in the allonge' that begins plie' port de bras and, then, offer the other cheek for a kiss on the way back up. Do that in all four positions on one side and then the other. Continue to do that throughout the barre and continue through center, rehearsals, auditions and performances! Merde!

01.22.2016: Tweexplanationz

Here are the latest tweets from CCDC's @SirDanGuy:
"Do u even know what color the ceiling is? Because I KNOW you're familiar with every inch of the floor! Remember 2 focus UP when u #dance!"
...This is another self-explanatory one for dancers that LOVE to look down when they're #dancing! (Looking (down) at you Ginger Junior and Kay Dub!o) Ballet is a performance art. You perform for an audience! Make sure you make eye contact with "all the cute boys" sitting in the upper back row of the mezzanine! You have to practice performing (focusing up, projecting, smiling!o) because it will throw off your balances, turns and technique when you try to do it all of a sudden during an audition or on stage! Do more than you think! You have to prepare to be larger than life when you take center stage! It starts with training yourself to look up in class!
"Floor barre is excellent for #dancers with sway backs! If u can't find a floor barre class, do a few horizontal plié to engage deep core!"
...And, the truth is: we ALL have a tendency to sway back! We need to lengthen out of the normal habit of compressing our spines especially in the lumbar vertebrae. Good way to practice is during your daily crunches and planks. Think of pulling in your belly button to lengthen your lower back. Seperate every back bone from each other. Crunch refers to your abdominal muscles and not what you do to the bones! Long lengthened spine, engaged core makes for much better ballet turnout and technique.
"You can only do 1 class or 1 audition at a time. You can only do ONE exercise at a time! Make the one you're doing THE most important one!"
...We also all have a tendency to dwell on the past or worry about the future. It's human nature. But, you need to avoid being preoccupied during your plie', bothered at the barre! The best way to prepare for your future auditions and performances is to focus on improving the exercise you're doing NOW! Don't fret about what happened before, don't worry about what could happen in the future. Control what you can control! And, that is how hard you're working in the present, that is RIGHT NOW! It's an awesome way to incorporate a meditative mentality to your (hopefully) daily dance practice.

01.21.2016: Performance Possibility

Support the arts! (If you're not already going to take a dance class at CCDC, of course!)
Jan. 22 — Eighth-Grade Students Join Valley Pep Band Performance

The Stilwell Junior High Eighth-Grade Band will join the Valley High School Pep Band for a performance on Jan. 22, before the four basketball games taking place that night. The collaboration is an opportunity for the junior high students to interact with high school musicians and support the basketball teams. In preparation, the eighth-grade musicians have learned high-school level music and musicianship skills. LOCATION: Valley High School Fieldhouse, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines

01.20.2016: The Play(House) Is The Thing...

Happy B-day to The Playhouse!
The countdown is on to the Playhouse's 100th anniversary!

And we're starting the celebration early with a tribute to Playhouse and Broadway history. So dust off those go-go boots and old vinyls because it's time to get groovin' to the '60s and '70s with favorite show tunes performed by Playhouse actors past and present.

Celebratory event with hors d'oeuvres reception, specialty drinks and performance.

Celebratory performance and cash bar

Tickets: $35 - $97


01.19.2016: Tweetzplanationz

Latest tweets expounded:
"It's a constant battle between quantity + quality when it comes 2 #ballet pirouette. Working for 1 can negate the other. But, I want BOTH!"
...Focusing on just one of these goals while working on turns can be counterproductive to the other. Trying to turn a lot can destroy good placement and turnout. Just working on good placement and turnout rarely leads to a lot of turns. A good dancer works on both. Use good placement and turnout to do a lot of turns! Try doing one turn that stops on balance. Analyze what went wrong. Now try a lotta turns that stop on balance. Analyze what went wrong. I tell dancers: Do one. Do many. Do one. Do many. Lather, rinse, repeat as needed!

"At first, show you belong in the room. Second, demonstrate you're as good as any other #dancer! Last, show me you're the BEST in the room!"
...This is my suggestion for newbies: newbies to the corps, newbies to a company, newbies to a school. Don't show off! Don't hide in a corner! Show you belong in the room. But, belonging there should never be good enough! Show you're competitive and work to becoming the best in the room! Relates to an earlier tweet: "We are not here to just participate! We are here to DOMINATE!" Sorta self-explanatory!o)

"No offense to ordinary people, but, I vastly prefer the company of other #dancers! We share a divine obsession!" #ballet #dance
...I'm surprised I didn't get more reaction to this tweet. I think it encapsulates a profound truth. I belong to the fraternity of dancers. I can see it in the eyes of other dancers. We all share that common divine obsession! We may not speak the same language, eat the same food, pledge the same allegiance, but, underneath all that we are the same: we are all dancers! And, sorry, not sorry, I prefer the company of other dancers! No explanations needed!

"Listen! I want for you what you want for you in #ballet! But, why does it seem we're working at cross purposes during class?" #pullingteeth
...A teacher's job is to challenge students to get out of their comfort zone...and show them how! But, constantly asking for more can run into inertia and laziness and fatigue. A teacher has to be sensitive to those factors, but, the ultimate goal is to incentivize progress. I tweeted this to point out I'm trying to do for you what you want me to do for you! Quit resisting when I lead you to the water! Drink deeply, Chevalier!o)

01.15.2016: 140 Or More

Here are the latest tweetz from CCDC's @SirDanGuy:
""If I only knew then what I know now about #ballet! How much heartbreak + failure I could have avoided! This is what I'm trying to teach u!"
...I could actually substitute "life" for "ballet" and this tweet would make just as much sense. But, sometimes my students don't get the urgency of what I'm trying to impart in class. I always thought the better I danced, the more opportunities I would get. And, that's true up to a point. But, technique is just a tool for artistic expression. It's the performance that's important to the people who hire, the ends not the means. Just focusing on showing clean technique is not enough. It's also important to share your passion, share what makes you unique on stage. You have to dance in a way that makes everyone else in the room disappear! You have to excite and challenge the choreographer. Become their muse! Just being a technician or a prima donna won't make you a prima ballerina!

"My goal is to make your #ballet training so hard and challenging, your auditions and performances are easy by comparison!" #dance"
...We are not strong enough. We are not taking enough classes. We are not challenging ourselves enough in class to be competitive on a national or global stage. We need to work harder. When was the last time you sweat in class? When was the last time your muscles shook after an exercise? If it wasn't your last dance class, you're not working hard enough. If you go to an age-appropriate audition, it should be easy for you to master, to show-off, to stand out! That means we have to push for more in every class and every exercise! Merde!

01.13.2016: Tweeterz Ball

CCDC's @SirDanGuy expands on his latest tweet:
"My goal is to make your #ballet training so hard and challenging, your auditions and performances are easy by comparison!"
...And, then, in the comments on the FaceBook page, I added "...AND, enjoyable!" So, I want you to work hard and be challenged, but, to also enjoy taking your dancing up to a whole new level. I would consider myself a failure as a teacher, if you go to an age-appropriate audition and you found it difficult. We need to dance and cross-train to become stronger, better placed and better skilled! But, as I've tweeted before, it's not hard work if you enjoy what you're doing! If it's not enjoyable, you should find something that you will work hard at without complaining! Only a privileged few get to dance for a living. It starts with an intrinsic self-motivation! Enjoy the journey! It's not ALL about the destination!o)

01.12.2016: Tweaking Tweetz

CCDC's @SirDanGuy expounds on his latest tweet:
"#Dancing well is its own reward! #Dancing poorly is its own punishment! But, inflicting poor performing on others is cruel + unusual!"
...This is actually one instance when I had more characters than I needed. I often think the first two sentences to myself when dancers miss classes or rehearsals. I don't have to try to "punish them" or reward them when they put in extra effort: their dancing becomes their own payback. I added the last sentence because watching mediocre dancing can be tedious and watching bad dancing can be excruciating. Call it "water-boarding" for the soul! Truly a punishment that should be constitutionally outlawed! But, maybe they should try it at Gitmo!o)

01.11.2016: Greater Than 140

Just a few thoughts on the last few tweets from CCDC's @SirDanGuy:
"Two main types of #dancers: those who look better than they #dance, those who #dance better than they look. Be the rare 3rd type!" #ballet
...The rare third type, of course, are those who "look good, dance SPECTACULAR". This alludes back to an earlier tweet: look good standing still, look better when you dance!" Or, in other words, there are two main types of dancers in auditions: those who look like dancers who have to prove they can't dance...and those who don't look like dancers who have to prove they can dance. Once again, you want to make a good first impression standing still, make a BETTER second impression when you're dancing!o)
"Show good #ballet positions! Then, show BETTER transitions into next positions! Not just occasional flashes of brilliance! Always improve!"
...We have to learn to accentuate the classical positions, leave lingering impressions of pictures while we're dancing. BUT, we also have to be beautiful in the in-between transitions. Remember, you don't get time off for good behavior on stage! Someone is always watching (judging) you during a performance or auditions. Make good pictures, IMPROVE during transitions to a BETTER picture. Always Improving!
"Which is worse? That you don't remember, that you don't understand, or that you don't apply your corrections in #ballet class?" #dance
...They're all bad, of course! This will lead into another tweet down the road in which I talk about "chronic corrections", but, for now, you have to UNDERSTAND, you have to REMEMBER, you have to APPLY your corrections! It's on you! You want to get better, you have to do all three! Write down your corrections and review them periodically. Look for patterns and identify your "chronic corrections". And, WORK ON THEM, DON'T IGNORE THEM! New corrections are great, but, the old corrections can be gold! (Hmm...sounds like a future tweet to me!o)

01.08.2016: Tweexplanation or Tweexpansion

Here's latest tweet from CCDC's @SirDanGuy:
"Don't bother asking me why I still #dance! You should be asking yourself why you DON'T #dance more! Afraid you might like it too much?"
...@SirDanGuy explains: I was watching the Teen Vogue video clip posted on our FaceBook Page when one of the young dancers says someone always asks her why she dances so much. My answer to that question popped into my head before she went off in another direction. My REAL answer to anyone who asks me 'Are you still dancing?' is to ask 'Are you still breathing?' Meaning, the answer to both questions will be the same. The only thing I can add is that I considered using "anymore" instead of "more" in the posting. But, that would've limited the tweet to only former dancers. I think everyone dances in some form or another, whether you have good training or not. If you're still breathing, you should enjoy your dancing! If I had more characters, I would've hashtagged it "#HealthfulAddiction" for obvious reasons!o)

01.07.2016: More than 140

Here's latest tweet from CCDC's @SirDanGuy:
"Good #ballet pirouette are the opposite of sales! Instead of 'always be closing', you should 'always be opening'! Turn out to turn!"
...He explains: That comes from a correction I gave in class that we need to think of opening up to turn instead of closing to turn. That led me to think about the old sales adage 'Always be closing!', I think from "Glengerry Glen Ross"? I've never seen the movie, but, I thought salesmen are taught to 'always be closing the deal', but, ballet dancers need to 'always be opening'. Which left me enough room to add my perennial adage to 'Turn out to turn'! Additionally, fixing turns involves balancing turn-in with turn-out. We must allow part of the body to turn in while turning, but, too much turn-in produces poor classical technique. Ergo, 'Always be opening!' Really hard to turn out too much, really easy to turn in too much. So, turn out to turn! (Got one like and one retweet so far as my Twitter response. That's actually fairly decent. The one like was from a professional danseur in England. The retweet was from a former dancer who frequently retweets my pronouncements!o)

01.06.2016: A Ballerina's Life

It's @MistyCopeland's world and we're just living in it. The ABT ballerina to be featured on local media...
"Inside American Fitness" premiering on Iowa Public Television

Celebrity activist, daughter of a former Olympian & UN Ambassador and new Iowan Africa Yoon nee Engo to host television show.

Capital City News Service - Follow host Africa Yoon as she reveals the inspiring success stories behind some of America's most notable athletes and performers, and offers insights into the small adjustments anyone can make in their exercise and eating habits to help live a healthier lifestyle. Statewide Iowa Public Television will broadcast two episodes of "Inside American Fitness" in January.

The series premieres on Friday, January 1 at 6:30 p.m. on IPTV. Episode 1 features Iowa State Cyclone and NBA hopeful Georges Niang. This episode will also be broadcast on Sunday, January 3 at 6:30 a.m.

Episode 2 features Time Magazine's Most Influential Person of 2015: Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. The Copeland episode premieres Friday, January 8 at 6:30 p.m. on IPTV and re-airs on Sunday, January 10 at 6:30 a.m.

Yoon, formerly known as Africa Engo, is a world-renowned youth activist who came to wider prominence after she lost 110 pounds and ran from New York to Chicago, Italy to France and through parts of West and South Africa, raising awareness for various charities. Her blogs during her trip became an MTV documentary. Yoon has said her time running and connecting with people in the Midwest during her two month run to Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios in Chicago from the United Nations in New York inspired her to move her headquarters to southeast Iowa where she currently lives with her family.

Since beating her own personal battle with obesity, Yoon has made it her mission to educate and inspire Americans about health, food and fitness. "I used to spend my time fighting disease, and now I want to focus my energy on promoting health, because a healthy body is a disease's worst nightmare. So now I promote life," said Yoon.

Learn more at

...Put this in your phone calendar.

01.05.2016: >>>140 Characters

This was the latest tweet from CCDC's @SirDanGuy:
"Oh, sure! It's easy to work hard your first day back after layoff! First exercises, first classes, first rehearsals! Check back with me in a month, a year, a career!"
...He goes further in this post:
"I must say everyone was happy to get back to the barre and working very hard in the first official class of the new year. Everyone was motivated and listening and applying corrections. Many of the students have short term goals staring them in the face. They begin their Summer Intensive auditions as early as this weekend. But, the tweet is self-explanatory. (This was the original, I had to abbreviate it a bit to fit it into 140 characters when I actually tweeted it.) Everyone works hard at first. But, can you settle in for the long haul? It's the dancers who can work at a high level over a long period of time who will go the furthest. Can you do that? Check back with me later..."a month, a year...a CAREER!"

01.04.2016: New Resolve

Make this part of your new year's resolutions this year: dance more, dance better...and enjoy the process! Time to work off some holiday calories and get the metabolism fine-tuned and turbo-charged! No better way than by taking a CCDC dance class! Here's a tip from a yoga instructor from a class I took over the break: Set your intention! Before your dance class, think to yourself what you want to gain or retain from your training! For the first few classes back, it's okay to just resolve to get back in shape! For most of us, two weeks off without dance classes means two weeks to get back into shape! But, it's also an opportunity to put things back together BETTER than they were before! So, get back in shape, but, also set your intention to remember and work on your "chronic correction"! That's what I call the correction you get so many times you don't even hear it anymore! But, THAT"S exactly the one thing you need to concentrate on. I remember one correction my teacher gave me. I asked him when he wanted me to do it. He says EVERY TIME! I must have looked shocked because he then added "That means everything you do will get better!" I've never forgotten that. So, set your intention, pay attention, correct your chronic correction...and put it all back together BETTER than when you left! Merde, dancers! Now! LET'S DANCE!o))))))

12.18.2015: Competition Conundrum, Part II

So, just sent this off recently...
"...Dear Professor, I read with interest your sabbatical assignment to investigate the effect of competition training on American adolescent dance students. If you're looking for a studio that does NOT participate in typical competitions (Prix de Lausanne and YAGP the exceptions), I would like to invite you to observe or teach at Capital City Dance Center in Urbandale in the Des Moines metro area.

My wife and I are former professional dancers who took over a local dance studio to offer real professional training when the old Ballet Iowa/Des Moines Ballet school folded. We work other jobs to keep our tuition low. Our goal is to return to the art form what we were given. We are not driven by profit motive. We do not "gouge" our students for costumes, choreography or competition charges.

Several of our graduates have gone on to professional careers. I believe you have taught some of our graduates in your own dance program.

Please consider familiarizing yourself with Capital City Dance Center in your future research plans.

Emery Uyehara
Ballet Master
Capital City Dance Center

Also on Facebook and Twitter/Periscope ( @SirDanGuy )..."

...And, I got this reply back...
"...Thank you for your kind note. I am very interested to visit. I will write again soon..."
...So, we'll see what happens.

12.17.2015: Performance Posting

Last weekend to check this out, if you're not already dancing or rehearsing at CCDC!
What are people saying about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?
"We were beyond impressed with the professionalism and talent displayed on stage. We will most definitely be coming back, as your actors/ actresses won the night. We had an hour and half car ride after the show and could not stop talking about all of the characters and how much we enjoyed each and everyone. The Des Moines Community Playhouse has now gained a place in our family's fun day traditions." -- guest survey

"O my gosh the show was AWESOME!!!!! I WAS AMAZED! !! MY GRANDDAUGHTER LOVED IT ..." -- Patricia, Facebook

"I've seen it twice with plans to see it again! Great Show!" -- Andi, Facebook

"...totally wonderful day at the theater!! ....we couldn't have been more entertained & happy with the show & our entire experience.... the kids are still talking about it... we appreciate the cast members staying around after the performance to sign autographs....when the Childcatcher actor said that he was a 2nd grade teacher, my grandson beamed and replied "I'm in second grade" made his day even more baseball lingo, you hit a home run with the performance we saw...." -- guest survey

"Our family went last Wednesday. We really enjoyed it. Really impressed with Chitty. What a great innovative design." -- Pam, Facebook

12.16.2015: Performance Posting

Start spreading...the newsies!
Casting Announced for Disney’s NEWSIES
Broadway’s Tony® Award-Winning Smash Musical

Limited Premiere Engagement Plays
Tuesday, Jan. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016
at the Des Moines Civic Center

(Capital City News Service) Casting has been announced for the Des Moines engagement of Disney’s NEWSIES. The Tony® Award-winning production will begin performances at the Des Moines Civic Center on Tuesday, Jan. 12 for a limited engagement through Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. The Des Moines engagement of NEWSIES is presented by Des Moines Performing Arts and is part of the 2015-2016 Willis Broadway Series.

The production features Joey Barreiro as “Jack Kelly”, Steve Blanchard as “Joseph Pulitzer”, Morgan Keene as “Katherine”, Aisha de Haas as “Medda Larkin”, Stephen Michael Langton as “Davey”, Zachary Sayle as “Crutchie”, and John Michael Pitera and Ethan Steiner alternating the role of “Les.”

Rounding out the cast are Mark Aldrich, Josh Assor, Bill Bateman, Josh Burrage, Kevin Carolan, Benjamin Cook, DeMarius Copes, Nico DeJesus, JP Ferreri, Sky Flaherty, Kaitlyn Frank, Michael Gorman, Melissa Steadman Hart, Stephen Hernandez, Meredith Inglesby, James Judy, Eric Jon Mahlum, Nicholas Masson, Alex Prakken, Michael Ryan, Jordan Samuels, Andrew Wilson, Chaz Wolcott, Iain Young and Anthony Michael Zas.

In Des Moines, NEWSIES will play Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets, which start at $30, are available to purchase at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000. Groups of 12 or more should call (515) 246-2340.

Ticket buyers are reminded that Des Moines Performing Arts and Ticketmaster are the only official retail ticket outlets for all performances at the Civic Center. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that Des Moines Performing Arts is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.


NEWSIES, the new American musical, features a Tony® Award-winning score with music by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, a book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein and is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, NEWSIES is directed by Tony® nominee Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, who won a 2012 Tony Award® for his work. The entire creative team has reunited to bring the break-out smash musical to audiences across North America.

When it opened on March 29, 2012 NEWSIES was intended for a Broadway run of just 101 performances. The show’s fiercely devoted fans had other ideas, however; they propelled the show to a run of 1005 performances, attendance of more than 1 million and a gross of over $100M.

While on Broadway, NEWSIES set and broke seven Nederlander Theatre house records and became the highest-grossing show from the 2011-12 Broadway season. The show received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award® nods – and won Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Score and Choreography.

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, NEWSIES is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.

NEWSIES is inspired by the real-life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.

The stage version introduces seven brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman, including a song written specifically for the tour called ‘Letter from the Refuge,’ while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including ‘Carrying the Banner, ‘Seize the Day,’ ‘King of New York’ and ‘Santa Fe.’

Since the film’s 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD release, NEWSIES has grown into a cult phenomenon, and for years had been the single most requested title of all the Disney musical films not yet adapted for the stage. (The film featured a screenplay by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White (Tarzan, 102 Dalmatians).)

For more information, visit, and

12.15.2015: Prodigal Son

CCDC Alum nicknamed GitUrFaShawn sends along this update:
A unique, productive little snowflake...

I'm back. With tidings of good cheer, stories of the past season, and several pictures that will make you weep in their nonchalant beauty. It's been a busy fall, and it's shaping into a similarly hectic winter - a blizzard if you will. K. We'll start the holiday run-down with all the company work I've been up to!...

...Click here to read the rest!

12.10.2015: Performance Posting

Seasonal celebrations you can attend if you're not already performing or rehearsing with Capital City Dance Center:
WDMCS Choirs Collaborate with Musicians for Winter Concerts

(Capital City News Service) — WDsM Community Schools vocal music ensembles will feature district musicians in four concerts from Dec. 14–17. The concerts will showcase seasonal and traditional pieces, and popular songs from Broadway and the radio. All concerts are free and open to the public, and will be held in the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave.

The Stilwell Junior High seventh-grade choirs will present their Winter Concert at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. The treble clef choir, bass choir and a combined choir will all perform. Musical selections include “Winter Wonderland” as arranged by Joyce Eilers Bacak, Israeli folk song “Hava Hallelujah” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” the Blue Swede song recently heard in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” film.

The Stilwell Junior High eighth-grade vocal music concert will follow at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. The treble clef, bass clef and combined choirs will perform. Selections include “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” featuring student instrumentalists, a medley from Disney’s “Newsies” and “Silent Night” as arranged by pop a cappella group Pentatonix.

The Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School choirs will perform their concert at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15. Valley’s Concert Choir, A Cappella Choir, Select Treble Clef Choir and combined choir will all perform, as well as the Treble Clef and Bass Clef choirs from Valley Southwoods. Song selections include “Piae Cantones” featuring percussion from Valley band students and “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen. Valley band student will be featured during “Gloria, Movement I” by John Rutter.

Valley Singers and Southwoods Singers, the auditioned show choirs, will also perform. Southwoods Singers will sing three pieces including “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” arranged by Jay Rouse and featuring WDMCS orchestra teacher and Des Moines Symphony member Michele Senger on cello. Valley Singers will perform “This House of Peace” accompanied by Valley orchestra students. This piece was commissioned in 2008 to celebrate the grand opening of the Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon. The text was drawn from quotes from Sacred Heart caregivers and patients and their families.

Indian Hills Junior High will present its Winter Choir Concert at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 17. The seventh-grade choir, eighth-grade choir, treble clef choir and bass clef choir will be performing. Selections include “Yo Le Canto,” “Seize the Day,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

The Valley High School choirs are directed by Ryan Deignan and Haley Gibbons. The Valley Southwoods choirs are under the direction of Heather Nail. The Indian Hills Junior High choirs are under the direction of Cassondra Carpenter, and the Stilwell Junior High choirs are directed by Kathy Gedler. The vocal music departments offer a wide range of experiences for students interested in vocal music. The high school choirs also attend state and regional festivals and contests, and have opportunities to perform nationally and internationally. Students in the West Des Moines Community Schools can participate in choir in elementary school.

12.09.2015: Text Messaging

"OMG! SMH!" Since so many of you are constantly on your phones. "Txt M l8r!"
(Capital City News Service)– If you don’t want to send the wrong message, watch how you punctuate your texts. Text messages that end with a period are perceived to be less sincere than messages that do not, according to newly published research from Binghamton University.

A team of researchers led by Celia Klin, associate professor of psychology and associate dean at Binghamton University’s Harpur College, recruited 126 Binghamton undergraduates, who read a series of exchanges that appeared either as text messages or as handwritten notes. In the 16 experimental exchanges, the sender's message contained a statement followed by an invitation phrased as a question (e.g., Dave gave me his extra tickets. Wanna come?). The receiver's response was an affirmative one-word response (Okay, Sure, Yeah, Yup). There were two versions of each experimental exchange: one in which the receiver's response ended with a period and one in which it did not end with any punctuation. Based on the participants’ responses, text messages that ended with a period were rated as less sincere than text messages that did not end with a period.

According to Klin, these results indicate that punctuation influences the perceived meaning of text messages. Even though most of the important social and contextual cues were missing, the sincerity of the short messages was evaluated differently depending on the presence or absence of a period.

“Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on,” said Klin. “People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them — emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”

In some very recent follow-up work, Klin’s team found that a text response with an exclamation mark is interpreted as more, rather than less, sincere.

“That’s not surprising, but it broadens our claim,” said Klin. “Punctuation is used and understood by texters to convey emotions and other social and pragmatic information. Given that people are wonderfully adept at communicating complex and nuanced information in conversations, it’s not surprising that as texting evolves, people are finding ways to convey the same types of information in their texts.”

The study, “Texting insincerely: the role of the period in text messaging,” was published Nov. 22 in Computers in Human Behavior...."

...So wut hav w lrnd

12.07.2015: Celebrate IA Gala

Be sure to support your fellow CCDC dancers in the "Nutcracker" this weekend! Oh, and you might squeeze this in as well:
Enjoy Iowa's Art and History at the Celebrate Iowa Gala

Experience an evening filled with Iowa's arts, music, history, cuisine, cocktails and desserts from around the state from 7:00 - 11:00 PM, December 11 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. The 4th Annual Celebrate Iowa Gala will be packed full of new and unique experiences, including Portrait Studio, a traveling art experience that brings portrait making to the public; the Iowa Culture Experience, a tour of the new Iowa Culture mobile app; new museum exhibits, A Record of Service and First in the Nation as well as performances by Geneviève Salamone, Max Wellman and the Dandelion Stompers. Ticket information is available online. Proceeds benefit the Iowa Historical Foundation to support exhibits and programs of the State Historical Society and the State Historical Museum of Iowa.

12.04.2015: Dancer Doingz

Mom of a CCDC alumnus-turned-professional-dancer sends along this update:
"...(My dancer) is in full Nutcracker swing! I don’t know if she told you, but she was promoted from understudy to a part that was originally given to a dancer who is higher in the company. The other dancer became injured so (my dancer) took over. She told me that ‘Missy and Emery said to take understudy roles seriously because you never know when you’ll have to step in.’ She was very grateful she learned that!!!..."

12.03.2015: Performance Posting

Imagine yourself at this cultural offering if you're not already dancing or performing at CCDC:
Dec. 3 — High School Orchestras Pay Tribute to John Lennon

Join the Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School orchestras for their Winter Concert, a tribute to the music of John Lennon. The concert will feature video clips, music from his days with The Beatles, and medleys from his solo career. The audience is invited to sing along to “All You Need is Love” and “Imagine.”

12.02.2015: Available Art

Expand your Art horizons:
“Are We Global Yet?” Art Exhibit

The Anderson Gallery at Drake University (Fine Arts Center) is hosting an exhibit titled “Are We Global Yet? The Art and Politics of Public Space (including the virtual),” curated by Professor Lenore Metrick-Chen and students from her curatorial capstone seminar.

The exhibition, which runs through Feb. 12, 2016, brings together historical maps, student collaborations with homeless individuals in the community, and contemporary artwork from more than 15 artists to ask the question, “Are we global yet?”

The project began as an exploration by Metrick-Chen into the changing functions of public space in our digital world. “Public space is always a negotiation, usually contested,” Metrick-Chen said.” ‘Are We Global Yet?’ explores connections between technology and power and between surveillance, protection, and control; and raises awareness of different groups vying to define public space. The selected artworks augment our awareness of ethical issues associated with public spaces, which range from the local (for example, homelessness and political activism) to the global (implications of surveillance and how we represent ourselves and our location on maps).”

12.01.2015: Competition Conundrum

Interesting dance tidbit from the CityView's "Civic Skinny" this week:
"...George de la Pena, a $78,000-a-year professor, will spend a semester conducting research “on the physical, psychological, emotional and cognitive effects of concentrated dance training for competitions” among “adolescents aged 12-22..."
...I'm actually interested in the results of that study. You can read that full column here. (Not really much more details.)

12.01.2015: The End Of The Season, Pt II

Final review of the end:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Finals, Part Deux

Opening Number: Santa Claus opens the door to the professionals! A review of all the contestants. I'd forgotten some of these people started o the show? Chaka Kahn? Hayes? The Jockey! Live from the Grove! Erin in a white glittery sheath. Tom back in the ballroom! Three finalists introduced: Alek, Nick and Bindi! Retrospective of the previous night's dances! Emotions linger from Bindi's dance!

Retrospectives of former contestants.

Team Kim/Tony : The Missing I dream of Jeannie number. Hmm...should've stayed missing. Okay, the theme is a lotta fun and she looks the part!

Pro's dance: barefoot dances and couples. This is the pros with the pros. Dancers at a high level unleashed! Must be a preview of DWTS on Tour. As always, good to see professionals not held back by amateurs! This is what the stars aspire to! Nothing like watching well trained dancers set free! DWTSTour.Com!

Team Carlos: and the boys topless. Tribute to magic mike in Show christmas hats. My boy works out! The man grove in Grove tonight! Girls are happy. Erin is giddy surrounded by beefcake!

Team...Sorry not sorry fast-forwarding through bad dancers!:

Team Nick : Salsa tango fusion. Last time in this room! Chance to make up for a slip up last time. Her dream was to dance with a backstreet boy and she lived it this season. Will the lack of rehearsal show itself in the performance? Tie and skirt comes off. He forgets a step for a moment! Yes, lack of rehearsal shows up! Off hand is not polished. Details missing! Final pose is spectacular though! Good for 24 hours. I'll give him a nine! But, the judges will give him a ten! "red hot and flashy fusion!" "What's life without passion!" "I'm sad this is the last time we'll get to see you dance!" "You are the real deal! Never doubt that again!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Leaving the decision in the hands of America voting public! "You guys have given me the time of my life!"

Team Alek: "No matter what happens, I'll always be proud of you!" "This has been one of the best times of my life!" He's exceeded my expectations. Didn't progress enough, but, he's gotten so much better! cuddle, then let's DANCE! Lack of rehearsal shows in tentative steps! He's not experienced enough to sell under rehearsed steps. I give him an eight! And, that's generous! He messed up! "You have integrity!" "Your future is so bright!" Alek will be on the DWTS tour! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Crowd not happy, but, Alek is smiling!

Team Bindi : Cha cha/tango! Last rehearsal! "It was a brilliant few months!" "You can have struggles, but, she taught me you can struggle with JOY!" She is exceptional. Someone so young teaching us how to live our lives with fearlessness!!" She just makes me smile! Such flair! Such presence! Such joy! Judges on their feet! What a privilege to watch her dance! I'm in AWE! You can't teach what she has naturally! You can only enjoy it and aspire to it! She gets a TWENTY from me! There's so much on her shoulders, but she carries it so effortlessly and with such grace! SO phenomenal! Real judges. 10, 10, 10! Achieves perfection!

Final moments : Nick Carter performs his new single "I Will Wait For You!" His voice is in fine form! Montage of dance moments from this season! Live shots, Emotional retrospective! Adele who? Nick carter just sold a million downloads! First results: Third place. Big hugs. Big drumbeats. Alek goes home. I'm sure he was expecting this ..probably for the last few weeks. Lindsay's voice is cracking. "this has been the craziest ride of my life!" Then, back to the ballroom, for the final elimination: Final announcement! Let's make the coronation official! Winners and new champions of Dancing WIth the Stars are...Bindi and Derek! Big hugs...cast charges onto the dance floor!. Nick a good sport! Is this SIX for Derek? She's hoisted on the shoulders, Such a well-deserved champion! See you in March, DWTS! Is Len coming back because Julianne will be off making the remake of Grease? Can't wait!

11.30.2015: The End Of The DWTS Season, Pt I

First review of the end:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Finals

Opening Number: Montage of the Finalists. "It's almost the end!" Crunch time! Final Four! Meghan Trainor sings! Dancers in White top hats and tails! Girl dancers on chairs. Trainor a singer and not a dancer! More dancers come out Pits one side of the audience against the other in singing the refrain! Tropical feel! Casual, tropical feel juxtaposed with tights and tails! She must have a record available for sale!. Choreography by Mandy Moore! Erin Andrews in a spectacular metallic sheath gown with cutouts> Here come the stars! Alek in silver gray, Bindi, Carlos and Nick and their partners! This is the furthest Lindsay has ever made it. Two rounds of competition tonight, including the all important free style! Julianne gives advice: looking at freestyle choices.

Team : Carlos/Witney Almost perfect scores last week. Bruno is coaching Carlos. "It's not Gorillas in the Mist, it's Dancing with the stars! Arms come from the back! "We got the hardest dance!" "Nothing worth having comes easy!" Cascading curtain of red and smoke! Carlos much stronger frame. Coaching from the judges should come earlier in the season!. NICE! effective mix of fast and slow lingering movements. The side lift drags on the floor!. But, his back is much better! Finally pulls himself away from Witney and stalks off. Audience on its feet. I give him an eight! "That was so sexy!" Okay, maybe I give him a nine! "That's no way to treat a lady! But, that is the way to dance!" "Your footwork was...unrecognizable!" "You have proven you so deserve to be here tonight!" "You have commanded the stage tonight!" Okay maybe a ten! Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Finally gets his perfect scores! "That's the first one!"

Team Alek/Lindsay: Carrianne was the consulting coach this time. Perfect scores last week! Judges' pick: the rhumba. Walks to Lindsay to start. She refuses his advances but then comes back to him. Lindsay is amplifying his movements. But, he needs to do more on his own! Hips are better, but, still lacking! Just a moment, a look, and I guess I get goosebumps! I wish they'd hold and SELL the ending a little bit more, but, I expect he'll get nines or tens, which is what I'd give him today! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Still a chance to score more in the freestyle!

Team Nick/Sharna: Julianne coaches the former backstreet boy! "Life's gonna happen! It's responding to the challenges!" Jive is the pick! "Like you're dancing on lava!" Struggling with self doubt! This couple looks hot in red! Flicks and kicks are better. But, core needs to be held stronger! Shoulders need to stay down. Having said that! MUCH better. But, he'd better be in shape to do this dance! Kip up to his feet! Good energy! Needs to finish with a flourish! He's tossed to the floor! I give him a ten! Or nine! His brother is ecstatic! Nick is sucking wind! Judges giving knowing looks! "The finals have just begun!" "You look like Elvis and Ann Margaret!"Real judges: Enthusiastic applause! Real judges: 10, 1-, 10! Perfection! More scores coming up!

Team Bindi/Derek: Quickstep! Last girl remaining! This is the most difficult step! Derek regrets not taking Shawn to win the all stars mirror ball. Derek's really sick. He's on his knees in rehearsal footage! Bindi speaks or yells the intro! She's so good! It's her mirrorball to lose! Doing the Cherry Popping Daddie's classic Doctor Bones! Boys come out to amplify the central couple's movements! Dang! Does she ever do anything less than A TEN! Audience is ON THEIR FEET! "You are the energizer bunny!" "You DID NOT BREAK THE HOLD!" "That was A GEM!" "Gleaming like a brilliant cut diamond!" "When you dance, YOU'RE FEARLESS!" "You are in a class of your own!" "When I watch you, I think a star is born!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Matches the best scores of the night!

Freestyle Round: No rules! The most important dance of the season! "The last dance the audience sees before they vote! Go big or go home!

Team Carlitney: Nastia Liuken in the house! "I have to be just as good as the pro!" Carlos points out that it should be about US! Not the other dancers! Bringing back former contestants! He dances with HIS WIFE! Stars on their foreheads and in the palms of their hands! In jerseys with the score Ten on them. not so subtle suggestion to the judges! Hip hop salsa! There's Paula! There's that Hayes and then he dances with his wife! This was like family to Carlos and family's important. Presses Witney over head! That's so hard! Makes it look easy! YEAH! He's keeping up with the professionals! He gets a ten! from me! They are sharing the hugs, kisses and love after the number! "I think that worked!" The whole season was a celebration for you! Taking risks and SUCCEEDING! "Could've backfired but, it didn't!" "To be so generous at that important moment!" That was so fresh!" :We came to party and we PARTIED!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Achieved perfection tonight! "One million points!"

Team Alindsay: Obstacle course! His life is about overcoming obstacles! "I want to make Lindsay proud!" Camo outfits. The struggle to reach each other at the beginning! shoulder sit to back layout dismount. The symbolism is rampant on the ramp!That overhead press isn't easy! Climbs and leaps off the back. together they clim to the top and fall off backwards! With big smiles! I give them a ten! SoSymbolic! He's all American boy! "You took risks! It was a victory from beginning to the end!"" "Physically powerful, but emotionally powerful as well!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Chills!

Team Binderek: Freestyle is the most important dance ofthe season! My Dad is still with me! Cutting down the production values! She's enough, by herself! "This is you and me, kid!" "Dad is still with me...everyday!" Footprints in the sand! Dramatic dive to the floor. She trusts him implicitly! and It show Such an emotional journey! She looks up to the light that bathes them in a dramatic spinning lift. simple look and hands to the heart. She breaks down in tears and sobs at the end! Judges are crying. Unseen forces make footprints in the sand. audience is crying. Her mothers chin is trembling! "That was brilliant!" "You have been such a joy every week!" "You are so special!" "We're not just watching you, we're dancing with you!" "This entire experience has changed my life!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! "Now, we're all a mess!" Such a pure heart. She has naturally what we all train and aspire to!

Team Sharnick: This freestyle is a celebration of your involvement. "Larger than Life!" Light Sticks in the audience. Starts like a concert. Nick by himself and a line of dancers! Tutting section. Hayes and Ariana grande? in the background! All that's left is Nick standing at the end of a Vegas production! "Incredible night. Totally unexpected! Freaking awesome!" "you KILLED it!" Real judges; 10, 10, 10!

Elimination: Fusion challenge next night! Alek should probably go. But, the audience may save him yet! First saved is Alek and Lindsay! Of course! Next saved is Bindi and Derek. Still has the inside track. That means Carlos or Nick will go homee. Eliminated is...Carlos! He gave it a good shot! Nick is still stunned! Such a learningg experience! "My LIFE has changed from doing 'Dancing With The Stars'!

11.25.2015: You Are What You Eat

As you gird your loins for that Thanksgiving feast, remember: Nutritional research can give you an edge on dancers who don't eat well! Just keep in mind this story was sent to us by someone who sells the product:
Potassium Bicarbonate Is Good for Bones
New study shows benefits for neutralizing the body’s acid load

In a new study, veteran potassium researchers note that the acid load resultant from modern diets may have adverse effects on bone and muscle metabolism (Dawson-Hughes et al, 2015). High acid load is quite common in the American diet, which typically consists of higher ratios of cereal grain and protein to vegetables and fruits. Treatment with alkaline salts of potassium can neutralize the acid load, but the optimal amount of alkali hasn’t been established. The objective of the study was to determine the effectiveness of two doses of potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) compared with placebo on biochemical markers of bone turnover, and calcium and nitrogen excretion. The potassium bicarbonate capsules used in this study, along with the placebo, were obtained from Life Enhancement Products, Inc. Independent testing found that the contents of each capsule of KHCO3 contained 101% of the stated content.

...Read the entire article here.

11.24.2015: Lucky Artist

Public art installation just a hop, skip and GRAAAAND jete' from CCDC scheduled for today:
Lucky Clovers To Sprout TUESDAY At Iowa Lottery Headquarters

Installation Is Part Of The Art In State Buildings Program

WHO: Iowa Lottery officials and Des Moines artists TJ Moberg and Dennis Reynolds.
WHAT: Moberg and Reynolds, the team of artists who developed the 15 clovers that will comprise the lottery’s Art in State Buildings project, will install an initial round of the clovers at lottery headquarters.
WHEN: News conference at 1 p.m. on TUESDAY (Nov. 24) followed by artwork installation on site.
WHERE: Iowa Lottery headquarters, 13001 University Ave. in Clive, Iowa 50325 Phone: 515-725-7900.
WHY: The metal clover sculptures have been completed and are ready to install.
Additional background:

In March, the lottery selected a proposal from Moberg and Reynolds for its Art in State Buildings project, which was a required element of the lottery’s purchase and renovation of its headquarters location at 13001 University Ave. in Clive.

The lottery believes that the metal sculptures proposed by Moberg and Reynolds will provide a light-hearted, whimsical representation of lottery luck, while also creating eye-catching artwork.

The lottery art project will include a total of 15 metal clovers ranging in size from 12 inches up to 5 feet in diameter. Moberg and Reynolds selected a variety of materials and finish applications to bring additional depth of meaning to the project. For example, one of the clovers has five leaves that represent the five branches of the military and is printed with the logo for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund, which receives a portion of lottery proceeds each year.

Another clover represents homemade luck: It’s a three-leaf clover with a mismatched fourth leaf that someone could have attached in an attempt to produce a lucky clover. Pieces of metal on the clover represent tape and a Band-Aid that hold the fourth leaf in place.

Another clover is cut out of the top of a school bus, complete with some of the lights from the bus. It represents education, one of the largest recipients of money from the state General Fund, which receives a portion of lottery proceeds each year.

Still another clover is made from a repurposed fan to represent recycling while another is made from pieces of a corn crib to represent Iowa’s agricultural industry. Still others will be finished with paint that changes color depending upon the angle from which they are viewed, representing our constantly-changing world.

All of the clovers will be installed at lottery headquarters yet this fall, beginning with the initial installation slated for Tuesday.

The Art in State Buildings Program was enacted by state lawmakers in 1979 to ensure that fine arts are a part of eligible state building construction projects. It specifies that one half of one percent of the total cost of an eligible state building project will be used to include fine arts in the project.

The specified budget for the lottery’s fine arts project is $31,487, with an additional allowance of up to $10,000 provided by the lottery for site preparation.

11.23.2015: Light @ End 'o Dance Tunnel!

Only the strong (dancers) will survive! Finals this week!
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Semifinals

Opening Number: Spotlighted dancers dancing solo. Sparkly lace. Alternate coming in to dance with different partners in the center spotlight. Boys dance and then go on to their regular partners. No Alexa. No Tamar, Val by himself. Mandy Moore number choreographed. Tamar update. Three rounds of competition this night. Trio round!

Team Crock: "Best sister you could ever ask for" Carrying on her father's legacy! "You are the essence of joy!" Starting off in the circular stage. Crowd unison clapping. Salsa. She's in pink fringe sparkly dress. Derek in pink suit coat. Her excitement is palpable! Infectious enthusiasms. She ends crowd surfing and shot from above! Big hug at the end1 I give her a ten! "It's raining happiness!" You are so fibrant! So vivacious!" "I wanna see more edge!" Mother in matching pink! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! The nitpicking has begun!

Team American Hero: Retrospective of his Afghanistan tour! "Bring us that mirror ball" Salutes the flag. Alek pretty much stationary while Lindsay twirls around him. Waltz. She's done well with such raw material! His frame and expression need strengthening. Strong heel lead! GOOD job! The all american boy! I give him an eight! "My heart goes out to everybody in France!" "You were a gliding eagle!" "You've come so far!" GReets his Mom backstage. Real Judges: 10, 10, 10! OMG! So much for the nitpicking! Alek reaches perfection! WHAT?

Team Actor: From a broken family! Contemporary number! Wants to win for his wife! Shirtless. struggling. Have we seen this number before. Swinging on long rope! Struggle between male and female. She leaps on his back Big swings on the rope to end. I give him an eight! "I didn't quite get it!" "it was exciting and effective!" Real judges: 9, 9, 10!

Team Boy Bander: Tango. Coming from a dysfunctional family! Aaron Carter was his brother. "I thought money would be the answer!" "I was trying to hurt myself!" Lost his sister to OD! "I felt like a let down a lot of people!" Living a life of redemption now! Strong start. so smooth and masterful. Laking that upper body strength! They sing the words to each other staring into each other's eyes. Nice attack! Nice feeling and commitment! I give him a nine! "Mistakes do happen to the best of us!" We all have scars! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Wailing and boos from the audience!

The Dance Offs:

Alek versus Carlos : Cha- cha. ALek first. he point s to the judges. Lindsay leggy as usual. He starts off better but then gets a little plodding and back on his heels. Rips open his shirt to the judges!. Carlos' turn. Same music. Carlos got swag! and he dances with a sparkle in his eye that's hard for a civilian to match! I give it to Karlos! Judges pick carlos and Witney in a split judges' vote!

Bindi vs Nick:Bindi first. In a fringy dress. dancing with more e=intensity. Samba. Complex Derek choreography! Nick Sharna next! He has good attack andd phrasing. Making stank samba face! Very tough choice! Judges' choice: unanimous for Bindi and Derek! She's going to be a tough out. She could win!.

Trio Rounds

Team Bindi/Derek/Mark: Jazz routine! "You gotta take risk at this point in the competition!" It's really kind of scary!" Starts off during her best mime caught in aa cube. Edison bulb Tutting section. Lotta risk taking in this number Metaphor of a light on a rope and encased in cube. struggling to free herself and blowing out the light! Very interesting!. Not sure it was effective! "Little Ninja warrior princess!" I give her a ten! Real judges: 10, 10k 10! Can you say perfection tonight?

Team Alek/Lindsay/Emma: Argentine Tango! Trying to get his sexy back! Whenever Emma is within a hundred feet of me, it's hard to concentrate!" Alek puts his hand and runs it up and all over Lindsay. And in stalks Emma! Alek needs to match the pros intensity! Too much dancing by the numbers! It's one thing to have choreography! It's another to make the steps your own! I give him an eight! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Some of his best scores. But, he suffers in comparison with who's left!

Team Carlos/Whitney/Karina: Charleston! Stars off in sepia tones. Girls in dressing room. Flapper routine! Carlos is quite the performer! Shades of the roaring twenties! Carlos is holding center and strong! This guy is good and could win this if Bindi slips! I give him a ten! Tour de force! Show stopper! He's mister enthusiasm! Gosh! Real judges: 9, 10,10! A point away from perfection!

Team Nick/Sharna/Peta: Salsa. Starts in silhouette. Nick brings the PAETYY! Just a little in his head! His back street boy dance experience is serving him well. in this number! MJ groin grab! Work that smile more Nick!. He's better by himself than in hold, but, not bad there either! Strong number. I give him a nine! REal judges: 100, 10, 10! Good for him. He seems to relax for the first time!

Final Elimination: ONly four couples remain. First in is... Alek and Lindsay!? That means somebody good is going home. Also in is Carlos and Witney!!!! WHich means Bindi or Nick will go! BUT! Everyone is SAFE! We're all in the finals! Because Tamar had to drop out! Looks to me like Bindi will win, Alek will be first out. And Carlos and Nick will battle for second.

11.19.2015: Parental Plea

Here's a quote from a fellow former Hawai'i boy about raising his kids that a lot of CCDC parents will relate to:
"...And you just have to let go, you have to acknowledge that if you say to them, 'Hey, you want to go watch this movie?' or 'Hey, you want to go take a swim at the pool?' 'No, sorry, Daddy. I love you, though. See you tomorrow, ’cause I’m spending the night at somebody’s house.' The golden age is between, say, 6, 7, and 12, and they’re your buddies and they just want to hang out. And after that, they will love you, but they don’t have that much time for you. And my understanding is, based on friends of mine who have older kids, is that with a little bit of luck, as long as you’re not so completely annoying during these teenage years, they’ll come back to you around 23, 24, and actually want to hang out with you. But that stretch is painful. The compensation you get for the fact that they don’t have time for you is: Nothing beats watching your children become smarter and cooler than you are. And you suddenly will hear them say something or make a joke or have an insight and you go, 'Wow. I didn’t think of that'..."
...Read the entire article interview with President Barack Obama at the Huffington Post.

11.19.2015: Dance 4 Money! Money 4 Dance!

Hey, CCDC Gradz2Bee! More $1500 college scholarships up for grabs!o)
2015-2016 Scholarship for the Arts
Deadline: February 1, 2016

The Iowa Scholarship for the Arts supports the development of outstanding high school seniors who excel in the arts and are enrolled in accredited educational programs leading to careers in the arts.

Scholarships in the amount of $1,500 are awarded to support 2016-2017 academic year tuition expenses at Iowa colleges or universities.

Applicants must read the Scholarship for the Arts Guidelines prior to completing an application...

...Click here for more information! And, merde!

11.18.2015: Make Your Arts Training Pay You Back For College

CCDC Class of 2016, take note:
Des Moines Women’s Club Scholarships in Music and Dance 2016

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

  • An instrumental music scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a college degree in music - $1500
  • The Marjorie O’Braza Memorial Scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in vocal music - $2000
  • The Rose Lorenz Schwartz Memorial Scholarship for graduating high school seniors planning to pursue a degree in music or dance performance - $1500
  • The Rose Lorenz Schwartz memorial Scholarship for college students currently pursuing a degree in music or dance performance - $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 at and click on Scholarship to download an application form. Contact our administrative assistant at 515-244-0507 ext. 211, or email at, with any questions.

Scholarship applications must be postmarked by January 22, 2016.

...Pass the word!o)

11.17.2015: Performance Postings

Public Schools encouraging participation in the arts:
Nov. 20–22 — Western Hills Elementary Presents “Lion King Kids” Iowa Premiere

Western Hills Elementary Drama will present the premiere Iowa performance of “Lion King Kids,” an elementary school adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. Western Hills is the first Iowa elementary school to secure rights to perform “Lion King Kids.” Musical numbers in the adaptation include “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” “Be Prepared,” and other favorites from the 1994 film and the musical, now in its 17th year on Broadway. The set centers on a climbable Pride Rock, and handcrafted costumes from Coal City Middle School in Coal City, Illinois, include body-size puppets, masks, headpieces, and stilts.

LOCATION: Western Hills Elementary Gym, 600 39th St., West Des Moines

Nov. 21 — Barbershop Clinic

The Staplin Performing Arts Center will host the Pride of Iowa Chorus and the seventh annual Harmony Explosion Festival Workshop on Nov. 19, 2015. The current Barbershop harmony Society Gold Medal Champion Quartet, Saturday Evening Post, will be featured clinicians. Singers from Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and Valley High School, as well as other performers and groups from Wisconsin and the LEH Music Studio will attend.

LOCATION: Indian Hills Junior High Auditorium, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive

Nov. 23 — Jazz at the Hall

Join the Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School jazz bands for a night of music and dancing! Both bands will provide music as attendees eat dinner, dance, and socialize.

LOCATION: Staplin Performing Arts Center Lobby, Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave, West Des Moines

...Support local theater IF you're not already dancing or rehearsing at CCDC, that is!

11.16.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Here's the latest synopsis. Apologies for my mediocre keyboard mistakes!o)
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
Show Stopping Routines

Opening Number: Starts with intro of contestants: Alek and no shirt! Bindi in Mauve! Nick looking dapper. NO TAMAR! She was taken to the hospital? Might return in time...LOVE Live TV. Two new rounds of competition

Team Alek/Lindsay: She was surprised to be saved! To be honest Alek needs to exceed expectations. Salsa goes good with chips. Alek thinks he's not sexy back! Just not stage ready yet! Noah last season and Carlos this season. We wanna see this! Waxed his chest! Group hair waxing! His I'm Channing Tatum today! Feeling his bald chest! He's walking on! Here goes the Salsa! How can you not feel sexy with Lindsay in your arms? Okay, boy Work that smile! Strong flip and swing behind the back!. Show off some swag! Using the girls who he's asked out!!! He's making me smile! Just needs to use those hips a little more! Have more fun there, boy! You're surrounded by gorgeous girls, HAVE A LITTLE FUN! I give him an eight! "Use the floor to use your hips! "You been pimped! You like a Miami Vice...sow on TV before you were born!" "USE the music! FUSE the music!" "Flat footed on your heels!" Real judges: Alek sandwich between Erin and Lindsay!! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Some of his better scores! More hair on his chinny-chin-chin than on his chest!

Team Alexa/Mark: Contemporary "make it Rain!" Get out of the mental prison! Concept hits home for her! Her eating disorders! A Battle for six years! Bulimia disorder! Body insecurity! Big hug! Mark is using her life experiences to being her disorder. "I knew I would talk about it to help people!" God bless you! Her fight becomes like something out of SYTYCD! HE's the puppet master! She's struggling to escape. He drags her back in. Just when she thinks she's free. He pulls her back in again? Sound familiar? Her acting is serving her in good stead. WOW! dancing with raw emotion! She lost choreography for a moment. Her legs shake! She escapes towards the judges at the end! He claps for her. A kneeling ovation. Big hug at the end. Judges on their feet! As is the audience! So honest so raw! They get a ten from me! "You danced like a woman possessed!" "The choreography was BRILLIANT!" ""YOU DANCED LIKE I'VE NEVER SEEN YOU DANCE BEFORE! "You ripped the scab off that wound...and you let it heal!" "Where vulnerability comes in, strength is born!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! That was a privilege to watch!

Team Carlos/Witney: Sending a message from the near elimination. Argentine Tango! Mental block for Witney after being eliminated in Week Nine last season! Roles are reversed! "I'm not afraid of work!" "We're battered and bruised!" "I want to win this thing!" "I wanna beat my wife" Starts off behind door separating them! Hard to synchronize sight unseen. They were a little off. Argentine Tango allows lifts. Judges on their feet to watch. Turn the door and runs upper stage!. She's doing sharp milongas and he's matching! He's channeling his inner pimp! She's the seductress lady of the elegant night! She needs to be cast in a Marilyn Monroe biopic. He cleans her eyes! I give him a nine! "Really clean, but lacked impact!" Hard act to follow! Anyway! "This far in the season, you surprised me the most!' "That routine was GREAT, but you could've done much better!" "Lost the passion for me!" "Dysfunctional relationship! "Be careful with the Gaunchos!" Sharper hooks!" "Dig the concept!" "This was everything I got!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Okay, he's okay!

Team Bindi/Derek: Viennese Waltz! Analysis paralysis! Great scores comes great responsibility! Judges holding her to a higher standard! Mental blocks to inspiration! "I want to be good for her. Last season I let my star down!" "Can I help underthink it for me?" She's so supportive! She's SO good for him! Like Meryl for Max the season they won! She's blindfolded. She's dancing in blindfolds, but, she's performing anyway. He frees her from her blindfold, Beautiful rise and fall! She's so good with him and his strong lead. Good head. Decent frame. Emotional content is off the charts! She's Mauve-olous . Huge leap of faith off the floor! Nice under turns. frame improves as music slows. He puts the blindfold back on as she leaves her. What an emotional journey! The trust she has in him is extraordinary! She's being Helen Keller! Standing ovation! Her hands are shaking! This dance is so much. I can't stop shaking! "You are making me shake tonight!' "Tonight was so SPECIAL. you've grown so much from the beginning of the season. You never play it safe! "Thank you Derek!" I give her a ten! "My little diamond! This dance speaks for itself!" Your emotion was such purity, clarity and honesty! Watching you is like watching the sunrise!" "You are an extraordinary being!" "Your positivity was infectious!" Derek is putting a lotta pressure on himself! Real judges: 10, 10, 10 *blows a kiss*

Team Tamar/Val: Contemporary! Val feels the relationship is ready to do the dance! Val has never had so many challenges for any partnership...ever!" Scoring tape from dress rehearsal... According to the rules! She's got a professional dancing her part right next to her...suffers by comparison! Hope she knew this was her scoring round! Needs to work on shoulders. One of the last things dancers learn to control Yvette to Shoulder lift. Val shirtless. Lift didn't work. I give her an eight! Vaal says Tamar shouldn't have even been in dress rehearsal! Sick with pneumonia and fatigued. "I love how protective you are of your partners!"

Team Nick/Sharna: DWTSTour.Com for info and tix of the tour. Last week's perfect scores! "It's been a slow build for me! Greatest things in life don't come easy!" "I'm one of the only pros left who hasn't won a mirror-ball!" Nick's injury! "What does it mean?" We have so much work to do!" "Worst time when I'm starting to pick up momentum!" Little off timing. Jazz routine! Knocking on the brick wall. Sharna in her best Jessica Wabbit outfit! He's the cool cat. Quickstep! He's inhabiting the character. good fast steps in the so called quick step! fast turns clean grapevines. He pops those hat pops! The boys amplify his movement! He gets rejected in the end! But. this guy's a winner! I give him a ten! No sign of injury! "You lost no mojo from last week!" "You are in a one!" "Quarter of a second ahead...behind!" "Out of hold...that was straight out of Broadway!" Keep the same character and vibe in hold!" "I saw Nathan Detroit!" How Good is it to have the guys here? Real judges: 9, 9, 10!

Team Alek/Carlos: Take the cruise Anthem of the Seas! "We Will Rock You! "The broz unite! To Rock you! Classic Queen music. Dancers in white. Alek suffers by comparison to Carlos' Strength and attack! One handed lock out easy for Alek. Two handed until the very end for Carlos! Long knee slides and knee walks. Dual fan kicks. flip..and they run to the ultraviolet made up blonde girls. Girls dance together...and then the big kettle drum paint filled drumming to end off the piece!. Audience on feet! Alek happy! scrubbing their shoes before they. "Needed more aggression and anger!" "We love each other!" Paso Doble is all about Bulls! "Spanky and Ballsy!" "That's a big song and I don't think you filled the shoes!" You guys were a bit out of sync!" "It's a classic operatic song!" "You danced small compared to the song!" I give them a seven. Real judges 8, 8, 8!

Team Bindi/Alexa: Dancing to Ann Reinking's choreography to Chicago! Fosse jazz! Little time! Derek was getting anxious! Ah takes me back to my college days of doing Chicago! V sexy! Charleston is not the Carlton! Tops pull down and become fringy sparkly dresses. Okay she learned the Charleston and a box step classic. There's a supported cartwheel. For some reason, blonde wig? Hard not to keep watching Bindi! She's so expressive. It comes from deep within her soul. Alexa comes from her dramatic training! Big difference that apparently can't be taught! I give them a ten! 'Another Oscar nomination! "Reinvention at its finest!" "Yay, teamwork!" Perfect Velma and Roxie!" "I wish I was in that number with you!"" "I'd love to e in that number along with Erin! "It was so fun!" "I love you SO uch!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Both couples get perfect, perfect perfection! Tamar is in the building!

Team Tamar/Nick!: he returns from the hospital. Trained with Vegas show of Beatles' Love. Tamar looks like Diana Ross! "Hey Jude!" The finale from the show! aerialist and breaker! They need to do the Rhumba! Only team with male and female! Nick has to lead! Dancing along side professionals! Trying to look like a professional! "You guys are killing it!" Here Tamar there! She comes on! . Nick is very considerate of her. Very careful. AS you would be with someone just out of the hospital! the synchronicity is awesome!. Aerialist is phenomenal!. Hey Jude! Beatles alive and dead are smiling i their sleep! Umbrellas Such a strong beat. Just don't focus down Nick! As a seasoned performer you should know that. Tamar ends sitting on nick's lap at the end. Audience on their feet again! Petal strewn Tom sits them all down on the bench! "first of all, what were you thinking?!" I Give them a nine!"Nothing but respect for you!" "Drugs are good!" Strong team! "It's all about LOVE!" "Nick you stepped up to take care of your partner!" "What ARE YOU THINKING!" "It was like a psychedelic dream" All about love!" She's obviously suffering! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Judges have to judge what they see! OMG she's still woozy! Join the couples on the sage!

Final Eliminations: First safe is...Bindi! Perfect scoreS! Nick is next! Also advancing is...Alek and Lindsay! She's overjoyed! Tamar and Val are safe! That means the husband and wife are up against each other. Big hug before final announcement...right after this! During the break. Husband comforts wife! "This is SO awful!" No matter what happens they both lose! Tension builds! Carlos is crushed that his wife is leaving. "I wanted it to be me!" Carlos is openly weeping! "If we were going to go out!" "What a way to leave!" "Bravo to you!" "Go out with a bang!" Carlos is crushed! He's taking this harder than his wife! "It should've been me!"

Latest Developments: Since the show, we've learned that Tamar has withdrawn due to health concerns and the producers are considering bringing Alexa back. The only concern is that she'll have no votes, because everyone thought she was eliminated. Would it be fair to bring her back with Tamar's votes? Considering those scores were for a dress rehearsal? Or just wipe the slate clean and have on-line voting determine the outcomes for the semifinals. Whatever makes the best TV and the best ratings and the most money obviously is the answer! Alek better watch out! He's got more lives than a cat! He's playing with house money and is leading a charmed life! Wonder what he feels about the Paris attacks? Especially after the mass shooting at his own community college in Oregon! No matter how we try to insulate ourselves, the dirty nasty world tries to rudely intrude on our little happy place!

11.13.2015: Choosing Arts

The head of the National Endowment for the Arts was in the Capital City recently. Here's some raw audio of reporters questioning NEA Director Jane Chu:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

11.12.2015: Alumni Update

Texts like these from grateful former students are what keep the CCDC faculty going!o)
"...I was again reminded today of how lucky I am to have you two as my teachers! I took it upon myself to learn a Demi Soloist role for Nutcracker that I really liked. I got a couple of chances to run it in front of my director this past week and today she told me she is giving me a cast of it for our shows! Thank you for giving me the tools and mindset to succeed and teaching me how to understudy and rehearse properly!..."

11.11.2015: Performance Posting

If you're not already honing your craft at CCDC, consider supporting local theater!
Nov. 11 — Indian Hills Fall Mime Show

The Indian Hills Fall Mime Show, “Mime Through Time,” will take place at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 and Friday, Nov. 13. The show includes about twenty skits that cover a wide variety of situations, time periods, and realities. Sixty-five Indian Hills students are involved in this opportunity to explore mime. The mime show rehearsal is at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Nov. 11 — Stilwell Junior High Presents West Side Story

Stilwell Junior High presents the musical theater classic, “West Side Story,” Nov. 13-15. Directed by Nicole Crawford, recent recipient of the Golden Apple Award, the story of the rivalry between the Sharks and the Jets is performed by 225 cast and crew members. From acting to prop shopping and makeup, students handle every aspect of the production. A full dress rehearsal will take place at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 11. Performances are at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 and 14, and at 1 p.m. on Nov. 15.

11.10.2015: Pilobolus Preview

PILOBOLUS kicks off the 2015-2016 Dance Series tonight at the Civic Center. Here's the third part of a three-part series when CCDC's @SirDanGuy spoke with Shawn Ahern, dance captain of the company:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...If you're going to see PILOBOLUS, consider contributing a short (or long) review of the performance we can post here! Otherwise, see you at CCDC class tonight!

11.09.2015: Taste of Pilobolus

PILOBOLUS returns to the Capital City Tuesday Night. CCDC's @SirDanGuy had a chance to talk with Shawn Ahern, dance captain of the company. Here's Part Two of the three-part conversation:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...We'll post the final part of the conversation tomorrow! Please pass the word!

11.09.2015: Are You Ready For Some...Dancing?

Never mind Monday Night Football! 'Monday Night Footfall' is where the real athletic competition takes place!
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
Fight for immunity! And the Dance-Off!

Opening Number: Back lit Dancers. Stars pair off and shimmy on. gold jacketed boys and gold fringed glittered girls. Haven't Karina Smirnoff in a while! Good to see the pros with a chance to strut their stuff. There's Rycroft in the audience. featuring the return of Erin Andrews! Stars introduced! Music of Proud Mary! Only seven stars remain! Battle for immunity! The rest in the dance off!

Team Boy Bander/Actor!: Salsa! Getting back to Carlos' latin roots! His Icon is Marc Antony! "I'm teaching a latino to salsa!" "It's in your blood, buddy!" First salsa ever! There we go! It is in your blood, Can't spell dance without DNA! Big smile on his face and mine!. No problem with the overhead lift. Iittle unsteady in the toss and catch!. My boy is JACKED! Little lewd on the lift but nice strong finish! I give him a nine! "Really enjoyable to watch!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! "No shame!"

Team Train Attack Hero: Alek trying to live up to his image of a hero! Icon is Chris Kyle the American sniper. Recognized at the World Series with Lindsey along side him! Rolling with lifts and floor work. Jump to lifts. His stoicism isn't saving him now!. Lindsey taking risks. Symbolism of lifts and taking care of his partner. The other two from the train standing and clapping! I give him an eight.. "Gravity is a bitch!" Great risks! "You must rise to the challenge!" Wow! Skirted disaster in the misstep on the lift! Real judges: 9, 8, 8! He's in the dance off!

Team Pop Singer: Andy's idol is Stevie Wonder! "Isn't She Lovely!" It's for my mom! "My job was to make her laugh!" Such a mama's a good way!" Allison in lilac. They dance in front of a faux tree! Viennese Waltz! They have a world class singer doing this classic. Andy in plum jacket! Hi frame is weak. He stumbles. Rise and fall is deficient! The emotional content is off the charts. Andy sheds tears at the end of the dance! Audience members are wiping tears! I give him an eight! The emotional content gets a fifteen! Real judges: 8, 7, 7! Heading into the dance off!

Team Kid Actress: Icon is David from David and Goliath! Designing epic visuals! "My faith inspires me!" "Need intention and boldness!" She's psyching herself up for battle! She's strong in her solo! On comes Mark. they circle each other in the Argentine Tango!. Little careful with the flicks and kicks and in hold! Little stumble on the footwork! Whoops! Forgot the steps! It's how you recover! She's carried off in victory...after Mark is defeated! I give her an eight! Screams of frustration! Real judges: 9, 8, 8! Still in the dance off!

Team Former Boy bander: Motivated to get back on the horse! His idol is his wife! Using the symbolism of his effort to have his first child. Sharna plays his wife. Contemporary dance! excellent lifts and jump to shoulder. Boy is stronger than he looks! Or has a natural sense of timing! Nick drops to a knee in emotion! Such control in the face of such strong emotions! He runs to his wife for a kiss and a moment! Tom pulls Lauren the wife over! "That was a love poem!" "You took my breath away!" I give him a ten!" "You showed you were a dancer!" Embraces for the pianist and singer! Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Gains immunity! Learns the gender of his baby live on national TV?

Team Croc's daughter: Bindi's idol is grace kelly! Her feet are a mess! Herr knees are swollen! Fosse stye jazz beginning. She's vivacious! Foxtrot! Big slide and Busby Berkley moment on the floor! Derek's choreography is a star once again! But, Bindi is the best! Pulled back behind the curtains! I give her a ten! She's such a positive force in the world! "You're in a class of your own!" "You are a hollywood sweetheart!" She's 17! OMG! Real judges: 10, 9, 9!

Team Talk Show Hostess: Tamar and Val. She looks spectacular in red and ruffles! Her icon is her sister Toni Braxton! She's definitely got the best body in the competition. Paso Doble! She's regal and sophisticated and passionate! Nice attack in some parts and some holding back in other parts! She seems disinterested at times and intense at others. Needs to sustain the effort! I give her a nine! Real judges : 10, 9, 10!

Dance Off

Jive/Bindi/Carlos: Side by side. Wavering vote indicator. Nice big lift of Bindi. The vote indicator consistently shows Bindi winning! Live vote totals from. They trade partners at the end! Derek the trickster! Strength vs strength1 Judges clean sweep for Carlos and Witney, but America's choice goes to Binderek>

Alexa/Tamar/Cha Cha: Running vote total surges to Tamar but, then rebounds to Alex and mark. distracting to have two couples dancing and the vote totals in thee background! Val and Tamar doing a lot of dancing apart! Alexa's skirt goes flying Both girls have some LEGS! I give it to Alexa! Real judges: Split vote, two for Tamar and one for Alexa! American totals go to Alexa!

Samba/Alek/Andy: Lindsey in gold fringe pants that dance on their own! Lindsey's legs are worth a ten all on their own. But, Allison's gams holding their own. Andy doing the worm! Big sweep on the floor WIth Lindsay!. Real judges: clean seep for Any. And America's vote goes to Andy and Allison.

Final Elimination: Firstcouple safe behsides Nick is Bindi and Derek! Next safe is Tamar and Val! Also coming back is Alek and Lindsay! Definitely coming back is...Alexa and Mark! Carlos and Andy on the chopping block! I think Carlos has got to stay! Andy is adorable, but, a little geeky! Andy and Allison call it a season! He's leaving on a high note! His piece for his mother "it was fitting he leaves tonight!" Awesome friends! Leaves on a handspring and worm! Isn't he lovely? Watch out next week Alek. Alexa and Carlos not strong enough to contend! Big group hug at the end! Real affection among this cast! Nice to see!

11.06.2015: Dose of Pilobolus

The opening concert of the 2015-2016 Dance Series features the return of seminal modern dance company: PILOBOLUS next week. CCDC's @SirDanGuy had a chance to talk with Shawn Ahern, dance captain of the company. Here's Part One of the three-part conversation:

Copyright 2015 Capital City Dance Center

11.06.2015: Performance Posting

High, if you're not already taking class at CCDC, that is:
Valley High School Presents "The Crucible"

(Capital City News Service) Valley High School’s Theatre Department presents Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” a fictional retelling of the Salem Witch Trials, as its fall play.

Directed by Valley drama teacher Stacy Hansen, “The Crucible” features seniors Masha Smirnova as Betty Parris, Matthew Hrdlicka as Reverend Samuel Parris, Pearl Tate as Tituba and Lily DeTaeye as Abigail Williams. Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School students and staff make up the rest of the cast, crew and musicians, with seniors Kathryn Catellier as head stage manager, Grant Hillenbrand as head production assistant, Cody Thompson as master carpenter and Sam Berry as master electrician. Senior Curtis Craven is featured as a drummer, and senior Olympia Manning will be performing as a violinist.

Performances are at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7, and at 3 p.m. on Nov. 8, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center, Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. Tickets are $7 and $10, and can purchased through MIDWESTIX at or by calling 515-244-2771.

This play is presented through special arrangement with the Dramatists Play Service, Inc., in New York.

11.05.2015: Choosing Arts

Might be of interest, if you're not already taking class at CCDC, that is!o)
A Conversation with Chairman Jane Chu

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts

Thursday, November 5, 2015
4:30 - 6:00 PM

World Food Prize Hall of Laureates
100 Locust Street
Des Moines, Iowa

Join us for a town hall reception to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and welcome Jane Chu for her first official visit to Iowa. Remarks begin at 5:00 PM by Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and Mary Cownie, Director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, followed by a Q&A with attendees facilitated by Matthew Harris, Administrator of the Iowa Arts Council, and Sally Dix, Executive Director of Bravo Greater Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public with pre-registration required. The event will include hors d'oeuvres and refreshments.

11.04.2015: Injection of Pilobolus

That interview with a Pilobolus dance member coming up soon! Here are some of the questions on my 'cheat sheet':
  • Have you ever been to Des Moines or Iowa?
  • Where are you from and what's your training and background?
  • I've heard so many stories about the founding of Pilobolus, tell us the official mythology and the meaning and origin of the name.
  • For someone who says "I've seen an episode of 'So You Think You Can Dance' or 'Dancing With The Stars', I don't need to see Pilobolus!" What would you say to that person?
  • Who would you like more to have come see your performance: modern dance aficionados or people who don't normally watch dance?
  • Talk about the program you'll be presenting in Des Moines next week.
  • Tell me your favorite feedback of someone who wasn't excited about coming to see you, but, left happy they came.
  • If someone wanted to dance with Pilobolus, what sort of training do you suggest? What sort of advice would you give?
  • What's a common mistake you see in auditioners for your company?
  • Of all the different types of modern, which prepares you best for what you do? Talk about Horton, Limon, Graham styles? What about ballet, gymnastics, martial arts, boxing? Yoga? Pilates?
  • What do you look for when looking to hire dancers for your company? What's a big mistake? What are the traits you look for in a succesful Pilobolus member?
  • What social media is the company on?
...Is there a question you want me to ask? E-mail me quickly!

11.02.2015: Monday...Again!

Getting down to the #DWTS nitty-gritty. Only the better dancers remain:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Halloween Night Episode!

Opening Number: Gates swing open in a cemetery to monster mash costumed professionals. On come the stars in their characters! Using classic Thriller moves to dance to the song! Alek a little off! Leah Remini filling in for Erin again!

Team Sharnnick: Taking Carrianne's comments to heart! Stressful schedule! Finally the first rehearsal comes on a Wednesday! Argentine tango to Frankenstein and his bride. "I wanna be better so I can EARN that perfect score!" "This is a real Argentine tango!" "Practice makes perfect" Sharna starts off on a bed of blood red roses! Tentative steps to the tango. Need that strong heel lead! Danse Macabre! Smoky backdrop to lifts and flairs! She's in dramatic contact lens in her eyes! I give him an eight! Needs stronger heel leads! "I love your attitude!" "Next step is to get sharper!" "Did lose the flavor of the Argentine Tango." "It must have a stalking quality, must feel improvised!" "That was Frankinsexy!, BOY! "Keep growing!" Sharna makes sutures look sexy! "It's dear to my heart!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Sets the standard for the night! Team freestyle coming up!

Team Emmayes: Werewolf transformation! Waltz! "Looking for finesse!" Boy is just fifteen! Can't be 15 anymore. "Think like a dancer, not a 15 year old!" Can't disappoint my best friend! He's dancing distracted. Need that eye contact and intent. He looks like a demented Abe Lincoln and not a werewolf. His frame is weak. Last thing a beginner masters on his way to becoming a real dancer!. They walk away with a knife in her hidden hand! "Beautiful top lines!" "Tonight you were a leading man!" I give him an eight. Real judges: 8, 9, 9! Some of his best scores!

Team Marxa: Edward Scissorhands tribute. "Being at the bottom sucks!!" "I wanna do what it takes from this point!" Paso Doble! Mark doing his best to be an emotional support as well as a dance coach! "Lets go get that stupid step!" LOVE this concept. dancers dressed as topiary! Love the music as well! Strong frame! Maybe a little less anger and more flirtatiousness. Her effort is derailing the dance a tad!. I give her an nine! "That was so many things! Finally! You danced like there was no tomorrow!" Julianne asking for more consistent core strength! "You really captured Tim Burton's imagination!! "Everything you did had the flavor of Spain...and Tim Burton!" "It was time to rise to the occasion!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Scampering off to the Team dance preparation!

Team Valamar: Fun House! Do it full out! Full out in the rehearsal! "Make the hundred percent two hundred percent in performance!" "I'm probably the best dancer in the competition!" Tamar stunning as usual! In a fun house with twisted mirrors! She is dancing like the best dancer in the competition! Now that she's trusting and listening to Val. She can take it to another level! And, she is! That instrument and that intention! fabulous! Give her another ten! Amazing! The other dancers are on notice! "You were almost overdriven!" "they were for sure out of synch!" "You are the most natural mover, for sure!" "What we want to see is growth!" I did see a little growth, but, lotta bad moments!" Real Judges: 8, 8, 8! Hmm, maybe I should look at that performance again!

Team Allisondy: Paso Doble! Vampires! Showing the dark side of Andy! Starting off in Mausoleum! Stalking the night and the vampire brethren! Needs to hold that core as well. Frame, not bad. Just as I write that he lets it go! Seems to be thinking about the steps too much! Needs to hold those shoulders down! I give him an eight! He's still in character beats after the song ends! "You lose the shaping!" "Lift from your hips!" Real judges: 9, 9, 8! "I have a darker side!"

Team Derindy: "The interview with the Vampire!" Argentine Tango! Finding her inner scary vampireness!. "I'm not good at being scary!" Hoping to bring out the fierceness! "Never confuse kindness with weakness!" She walks through a hall of hands towards Derek! He can bring his sinister side for sure! Her flicks suffer by comparison to the star dancer, but, she's more than holding her own! She's revealing her fangs tonight! I give her a ten! "All hail the Queen of Darkness!" "That was exquisitely dance with passion!" "This thing was like unleashed!" "That was an Argentine Tango master class!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Another PERFECT score!

Team Lindsek: Viennese Waltz! Working with Artem! Being at the bottom. Artem teaching him how to be a man when he dances! He's standing better, Lindsey skates in on a hoverboard! AH! He's better! She needs to bring in a man sooner to teach her partners how a real man dances! He's better, but, still needs work! Lindsey snaps his neck at the end! He's better, but is it too little too late! He's been on my ready to be disappointed list for so long! "You had a passion and aggression!" I give him an eight! "Now you are a contender!" "You were half-heartedly doing your performance!" "Maybe the judges DO know what they're talking about!" Real judges: 9, 8, 8! His best scores, I think! Add on the Team scores for the rest of the night!

Team Witnex: Phantom of the ballroom! He thought he was overscored last week! Music from Carmina Burana! Paso Doble! Learning steps as well as cape work! "I'm not going to simplify! My wife is my competition in this thing! Floating on a boat on a lake of smoke, he unveils his prize! Alex is the Phantom. Plods off in an inauspicious beginning. But, the music picks up and so does he! Needs to learn to have energy even when the music doesn't. Needs to bend his knees more. That's a stalking movement not a step! energy is good. Sissone is weak! Ends with him staring at a mirror. I give him an eight! "I like the cape work. The chainnes!" "Almost perfect!" "You anticipated the beat a little bit!" "It was so much fun!" "It's awesome to be here!" Real judges: 9, 10, 9! Outscores his wife! Changing time! Team Nightmare: "That rehearsal was a nightmare!" Nick climbs on the table! Hays dancing big for everyone! "This is Halloween!" From Nightmare on Elm street? Allison first, group leads into Hays and Emma! He's been working on this one! Nick takes next solos! Tamar and Val! Tamar's size makes her hard to handle during lifts! Team nightmare! Give them a nine! "concept, choreography, hair and make up were so fun!" "One of the best team dances I've ever seen!" "Felt like I was watching a broadway show!" "storyline was crisp and clear!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10!!!! No room for error for the other team! "If I was them, I'd be pooping in my pants right about now!"

Team WhoYouGonnaCall: Short people team! Bindi can't talk trash to save her life! Alek doesn't want to be the weakest link!. Lifts on a hoverboard! "Could be a disaster!" Elevator opens on Team Ghost busters. Girls are the hungry ghosts. Shooting smoke. Alek is the weakest link. They're trying to hide the weaker male leads in the back. They're doing lifts but no hover boards! Alek all lifts strong. Alex and Witney on the hover boards able to do the lifts and well. Bindi and Derek are the piece de resistance! big group number. Big flip flop for Alexa! I give them a nine as well. Alek can be the reason Derek loses his first team. Real judges: 9, 10, 9! Derek loses for the first time! Group hug at the end!

Final Elimination:: Scary music appropriately! Hayes and Emma on the chopping block. Next couple is...Tamar and Val! Another team in trouble is...Alexa and Mark! Again! She cries...again! Everyone else is safe! Judges standing in disbelief! Final results! Couple eliminated is...Hays and Emma!. Big hug to end the run of thee media superstar! He's JUST FIFTEEN!" Tom keeps them on track! Who else has too worry? Nick wasn't that great. But who was? Alek has to watch out. Andy is still a little geeky as well. Derek will keep Bindy safe! Carlos needs help as well. Hays getting tons of hug therapy! at the end. Tears from the eliminated star! But, he's dancing at the end! Another gigantic group hug!

10.30.2015: Must Watch Dance T-V

Watch the opening credits of the new ballet series:

10.29.2015: Moving Movie

FREE dance flick (My treat!o), if you're not already dancing or rehearsing yourself this weekend:

Sunday, November 1
7:00 pm

Join us for an exclusive screening of STILL MOVING: PILOBOLUS AT FORTY presented by Des Moines Performing Arts. The 40-minute documentary gives you a glimpse into the life of one of America’s most cherished dance companies. Based in rural Connecticut, the company has been seen the world over in major theaters, commercials, and the Academy Awards!

This inside look will enrich your experience of the company's Civic Center performance on November 10, 2015.

Not Rated, 40 minutes
Free and open to the public | No RSVP required

Limited seating available. Seating and tickets are on first come, first served basis. Tickets will be available beginning at 11 AM on the day of the screening.

...Price is right for starving artists!o)

10.28.2015: Oh, The Places You Will Go...

Update on CCDC grad-turned-professional-dancer from her mother:
"...Said daughter just finished a weekend of her first performances with the ballet ‘Excalibur.’ She loved every second of it and has recently been called in a lot to substitute teach at the ballet school. She has come to really enjoy this. She’s hoping to get a permanent staff position next year. It is so much fun to watch her living out what she has dreamed of since she was little! Of course we all know you and Missy have and continue to play a critical role in her preparation and future successes. We’re so grateful!!!"

10.27.2015: Watch Closely...

The Illusionists, the review from CCDC's @SirDanGuy:
(Capital City News Service) When I was a student working my way through college, I worked part-time selling women's shoes at the Nordstrom's subsidiary of the Liberty House department store at the Ala Moana Center in my hometown of Honolulu. We worked on commission and the competition for sales was intense. One of the salesmen taught me how to palm a business card and make it appear as if I plucked it out of the hair or behind the ear of a potential customer. The hope was when she stopped looking and wanted to try on shoes, she'd pull out my card and ask for my help, thereby increasing my chances of increasing my commission. So, that (besides a disastrous fifth grade dabbling in magic) was as close as I came to a career in conjuring. So, I understand that coven of sorcerers and magicians and sleight-of-hand artists that took over and inhabited the DsM Civic Center this weekend were not really doing magick of any kind, but, it was mind-bendingly pleasant to actually give up trying to figure out how the trick was done and just enjoy the illusions conjured up by "The Illusionists---Live From Broadway" this weekend.

The show started off with what I call magic for the ADD-impaired. Trick after trick after trick in rapid succession. Blink and you'll miss the transubstantiation, the legerdermain, the subtle appearances and disappearances. Then, the show settled down and we got to see extended interactions with The Escapologist, The Weapon Master, The Daredevil, The Trickster, The Manipulator, The Inventor and The Anti-Conjuror. It included part history and part homage to classic magic from early vaudeville to Harry Houdini. There was even a rabbit pulled from a hat. Well, actually, The Anti-Conjuror yelled "Pull!" and a stuffed rabbit got tossed out of a hat while he shot it with glitter from a shotgun. Close enough for me!

The most mind-bending moment for me was much more subtle: when one magician made a paper rose dance on his hand, on an audience member's hand and in mid-air before getting lit on fire and turning into a genuine fake rose. Second, or tied for first was the classic man-chain-sawed in half and the legless torso then going on to terrorize a volunteer from the audience! Use of a cameraman and a video board allowed the entire audience to watch all the sleight of hand closely. But, they could've used a microscope, telescope, binoculars or a magnifying glass and I don't think it would've made much of a difference! No easy explanations! Also, a tip of the top hat to emcee Jeff Hobson, the Trickster. Hilarious! He could've made a living as a pickpocket as he kept returning watches and jewelry to audience members after a trip through the first few rows! And, don't bother holding your breath as The Escapologist renacts his idol Harry Houdini's straitjacket escape while submerged. I felt good for holding my breath for nearly a minute-and-a-half, but, I was just sitting there and not calmly trying to escape anything. It took nearly three minutes for Andrew Basso to undo the handcuffs, wriggle out of the leg manacles and the locked aquarium! Did I mention he was upside down and under water in a locked plexiglass box suspended 15 feet in the air?

A well-deserved standing ovation for "The Illusionists" from an audience that included, thankfully, a lot of kids. And, also, adults whose inner kids were left shaking their heads in wonder. If I could have done half these tricks when I was on the sales floor, my commissions would've been no "illusion"! That dancing rose would've killed!

10.26.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

This show makes me smile!o)
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
Famous Dances night!

Opening Number: Hmm. Not sure even the professionals all look good in leotards and tights. Iconic Flashdance sequence. Barre. Beyonce! Lindsey in the music and mirror sequence Chorus line flashback! Fred and ginger routine with Tony and Anna. There's Keo and the MC hammer flashback! Dancing in the rain! Mandy Moore number! Leah fills in for Erin because of the baseball playoffs! "Whitney Houston's Wanna dance with somebody! Paula as Marie Antoinette? Guest judge is Olivia Newton John! Recreating the iconic dances!

Team Hemma: Excerpt from Grease! He's too young to remember the movie! Iconic dance RIGHT IN FRONT OF OLIVIA! Channeling his inner John Travoltage! But, he doesn't know who they are! John has aged well over the years. Emma as Newton John! Jazz number! This is making me smile! Such an iconic dance. Lotta energy. little awkward, but, endearingly so! Recreating the movie Love his energy! handstand flip. He's a winner!. I give him an eight! "I want your shoes!" "I can't believe you're only fifteen. You're a baby john!" High praise! "star quality! Charisma!" "You must learn to splice the beat!" "you are such a stud!" "Just finesse some of your lines!" "Don't be flat Stanley!" "You're close and you have so much potential!" Julianne is going to recreate the Sandy role next January!" "Open those gorgeous eyes of yours!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Sets the barre for the evening! "You are my Danny Zuko!"

Team Andysson: Plays Gene Kelly! Over the couch ending! "It's tough!" Visits the widow of Gene Kelly! Making something contemporary and timeless! She hands them the torch! "Good morning!" Such great geeky energy! Skating on raincoats! Up the stairs sequence! Perfect! Takes some cardiovascular conditioning Had some helpers with that couch! They dive under to hide from the cameras! I give him a nine! Judges! Standing! "This is from the best musical of ALL TIME!" Those are the biggest shoes! "You are getting better and better every week! These other guys better watch out! "The most fun I ever had on these shows!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! "Officially a CONTENDER!" "Bar has been set at perfect!"

Team Alexark: Britney Spears' Slave routine. following up on perfect scores last week! Keep the snake calm! Caged Alexa! Alexa channeling her inner Britney! She's in tiger paws! This is changing her spy kids persona for sure! Very sexy sensual routine! Needs a little more smoothness in those hip rolls!. There's the snake! Mostly just strutting with the snake! Say hello to my little friend! Daisy the snake! Wow. She looks terrified! I give her a nine! "These weeks need to happen so you can grow from them!" "Don't hold back! Your free hand wobbles at times1" "Use the whole body!" "Step away from the snake!" Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 8! Some hard judging going on!

Team Binderek: Team Crikey is back! "Dirty Dancing" The time of your life! Nobody puts Bindi in the corner! "Scared of the lift! She's wearing white into that sewer of an LA lake? They get the lift...and then fall! Nobody puts baby in the corner. The time of my life! Derek channeling his inner Patrick Swayze in this number. Bindi is doing her best Jennifer Grey! WOW! Goose bumps! Audience is clapping along! Big jump off stage! And they do the march down the aisle! Here comes the lift. And they hit it and HOLD IT FOREVER! Big hug! Her spirit is so uplifting! Derek is PUMPED! Big hug for Tom Bergeron! "I've honestly never been more nervous in my whole life!" I give them a ten! "Your legs were on fire!" "You guys had every little detail!" "So much fun!" "You are enchanting! You touch my heart!" "Blindingly brilliant. In execution and interpretation! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Responds to the challenge!

Team Paulouie: Madonna's "Vogue" "let's get better!" Let's Vogue! Nothing but attitude! Let's walk around and vogue! Minimal arm movements! She's playing regal Very little dancing. Lotta voguing! Pose like a supermodel! Lotta attitude! She had fun judging from that smile! I give her a seven! "A rococo lampshade on wheels!" "The costumes overwhelmed you this week! Louie showing some dancer muscles in his short shorts! Real judge: 6, 6, 6, 6! Guess I should reconsider my score!

Team Carlitney: Coming off of nearly perfect scores! "I'm a contender again!" Dudes stripping! Don't wanna cross that line to being raunchy! :This dance has been so uncomfortable to me!" "Trouble in river city!" White hoodie gets pulled off.. Whitney gets pulled on stage! Body waves! . Boys walk chairs on stage! rips his shirt half way off. My boy has worked out How symbolic the shirt only comes halfway off. Is he only halfway into the dance! Bruno gets the shirt! Seven deadly sins! "You've answered my prayers!" "You owned it!" "That was probably the sexiest rumba I've ever seen!" "You have to own it!" "You nailed it!" "I think he's found hiss calling!" "There's a spot for you in Vegas if you want it!" Real judges: 10, 9, 9, 10! He's a contender! Dang my boy has an eight pack!

Team Sharnick: Trying to find some Travoltage this week! Saturday Night Fever! Everyone knows these dances! Iconic lighted dance floor! Trying his best. But that Travolta is so unique! He needs to have more fun with this piece! It's iconic Choreography is dated and yet still classic! Hello! Rock that mirror ball! I give him an 8! "Inconsistency!" You have to stay in the groove! "You brought disco back!" Kudos to the choreography! Seamless transitions! "Absolutely brilliant!" Tweets celebrate Monday Night Fever! Real judges: 9, 10, 10, 10!

Team Alekindsay: Jive to Presley's Jailhouse Rock. Giving some help Elvis has left the building! Black and white start. Not bad, but, he needs more attack. Lindsay long and leggy in some Daisy Dukes Alek needs to learn to buy and SELL the routine. Lindsay's legs are worth a ten on their own! He's doing better. But, Has he reached his ceiling? I give him an eight! "I wanna see you go BOOM!" "You have to be a terminator!" "You're just below being a contender right now! Need the flow! Real judges: 8, 8, 7, 7!

Team Team Valmar: Tamar gets sick misses two days of rehearsals! Val needs to build up her confidence and their chemistry! She croaks in confessional. She says she felt punched in the gut!. "Don't back up!" "I'm gonna rise to the occasion!" Fade to black...and white! Rhythm nation number! She's sharp and tough. Hard for big girls to dance that sharp and tight! Needs to be a little sharper. she gets better the longer it goes! She's feeling the confidence. Just a hair behind the beat. talking about splicing the beat! Big lift. Big hug at the end! "Don't break her now!" I give her an eight! "That is how you stage a comeback!" "Take a knock and deliver a KNOCKOUT!" "Tonight you delivered the hardest dance!" "It was intricate and fast, but, you didn't mess up!" "Ignore your head!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Another perfect score! Kudos to the Jackson choreography!

Final elimination: First in jeopardy is...Paula and Louie. And, joining them is...Alexa and Mark! She nods her head in resignation! Everyone else is safe! Alexa already in tears! Paula seems resigned! On the sixth week of competition...the couple leaving is Paula and Louie! Big hug from Hayes! "I get to go see my grandbabies!" "I've been like a fish out of water for six was wonderful!" Hayes needs to watch out. But, no surprise, Bindi (with Derek's coaching) could win this thing! Alek also needs to watch his back! Next, the Halloween special!

10.23.2015: Please Your Knees

Use it or lose it from the College of Knowledge!

Activity Could Help Keep Knees Lubricated
Researchers at the University of Delaware have discovered that joint motion provides a potential reuptake mechanism for maintaining fluid pressure in liquid-filled joints

(Capital City News Service) -- As you sit and read this at your desk, fluid is slowly leaking out of the porous cartilage in your knee into a membrane-walled cavity between your upper and lower leg bones. Cartilage is filled with fluid -- about 80% of the volume of the cartilage tissue -- that plays the essential roles of supporting weight and lubricating joint surfaces. Loss of this fluid, called synovial fluid, results in a gradual decrease in cartilage thickness and increase in friction, which is related to the degradation and joint pain of osteoarthritis.

Since cartilage is porous, fluid is readily squeezed out of the holes over time. Yet the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis usually take decades to develop.

“The important question is why cartilage doesn’t deflate over the course of days, months or years in our joints,” said David Burris, an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware. Burris and his colleagues have proposed a mechanism that explains how motion can cause cartilage to reabsorb liquid that leaks out. Burris will speak about his research during the AVS 62nd International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 18-23 in San Jose, Calif.

Burris and his colleagues are not the first to study cartilage deflation. In 1995, a group at Columbia led by Gerard Ateshian used theory to show that continuous knee movement could prevent the deflation process if it occurred faster than the fluid could respond. In 2008, Ateshian's group demonstrated this phenomenon for the first time using a small sphere articulated against a cartilage plug, showing that interstitial pressure was maintained indefinitely if the contact area moved faster than the diffusive speed of the synovial fluid.

"This study was the first direct evidence that interstitial pressure is a viable mechanism of long term load support and lubrication," Burris said. "However, it was unclear to us how our joints could prevent deflation given the long periods of time we spend sitting and standing each day without some active input mechanism." That is, there must be some way for the cartilage to reabsorb the fluid that leaks out when we're not moving.

Burris had a hunch that the reabsorption process was driven by hydrodynamic pressurization, which occurs whenever the relative motion of two surfaces causes fluid between them to accelerate in the shape of a triangular wedge. For example, when a normal tire travels over water at a high speed, pressure builds until a film forms to lubricate the interface; this is called hydroplaning, and results in a complete loss of frictional control. If the tire were porous, however, the exterior fluid pressure could force fluid back into the tire.

To investigate whether hydrodynamic pressurization could refill deflated cartilage, Burris and A.C. Moore, a Ph.D. student, placed larger-than-average cartilage samples against a glass flat to ensure the presence of the necessary wedge. They found that at slow sliding speeds (less than would occur in a joint at typical walking speeds) cartilage thinning and an increase in friction occurred over time, but as the sliding speed increased toward typical walking speeds, the effect was reversed.

Since their experiment involved stationary contacts -- in which contact between glass and cartilage occurs at a single site rather than moving across the entire surface of the cartilage plug -- their results couldn't be explained by migrating contact theory, like the Ateshian group's. Burris believes that hydrodynamic pressures, which force fluid flow into the cartilage, must have counteracted the fluid lost to exudation.

"We observed a dynamic competition between input and output [of synovial fluid]," Burris said. "We know that cartilage thickness is maintained over decades in the joint and this is the first direct insight into why. It is activity itself that combats the natural deflation process associated with interstitial lubrication."

Future work for Burris and his colleagues includes exploring the implications for osteoarthritis (OA), which is associated with the degradation of cartilage.

10.22.2015: Win Scholarship to Joffrey

Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive officials e-mailed me this recently:
Win a Full Tuition Scholarship in 3 Easy Steps!

Thank you for being part of the world-renowned Joffrey Ballet School Summer Program.

We have an amazing summer planned for the year 2016. We would like to provide you with an opportunity to win a Full Tuition Scholarship which includes Housing and Meals!

Step 1: Go to our scholarships page!

Step 2: Fill out and type your testimonial/essay on our online form. Be sure to upload your head shot.

Step 3: Submit and keep dancing!

...Merde! You can't win if you don't enter!o)

10.21.2015: The Wonder From Down Under

Former principal ballerina offers advice for aspiring professional dancers:
"The path to be brilliant at anything is a hard one; to be a successful businessman or sports person or musician is not an easy road...There is no quick fix."
...Catch the entire interview here.

10.20.2015: From Russia, With Joy

Thought this was informative: A Day In The Life Of A Principal Ballerina

...Poor girl! If she only had a little flexibility, she might have a future in dance! Keep working on it Tovarisch!. And, you can subscribe to Joy Womack's daily vlogs at YouTube.Com.

10.26.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Got this on my DVR record list every Monday! Here's the latest recap:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Switch-Up!

Opening Number: "Make it sexy!" Red glittering doors and girls in sexy pink! Definitely going after the young male demographic! Door gets stuck temporarily for Bindi! Stars come on and alternate dancing! Who switches up with whom? Derek with Alexa? Mark with Paula! Cavalcade of doors leading to the judges...along with MAX! There are the Dance Mom Kids in the audience! Tom Bergeron is back! Glad you're home! Chmerkovsky is back! But, he's not a fan of Abbie Lee! Alexa and Emma. Alex and Derek. Andy and Sharna. Bindy and Val. Carlos and Lindsey, Hayes and Allison! Nick and Whitney! Paula and Mark! Tamar and Louie! This should be interesting! "It's like Week One all over again!" Stars talking trash to their old partners!

Team Tamar/Louie: She's such a drama queen! Louis and Tamar! Coming off of all nines last week! Samba! "That's for me?" He's not holding back the technique and the choreography! This is not the week to hold back. Not taking it easy! "This is the toughest routine yet!" She's got the potential, will she deliver! Drum major outfits. Starts off with samba rolls. Little stiff through it. Need the samba bounce! OKAY! She's keeping up with a floor full of pros! She has the line to sell the moves. Just a little flat-footed! Needs to open up that epaulement! She winks at Louie and throws herself in to the final drop! I give her a nine! His own brother boos Max! Lacked a little connection! Needs to bend the knees to create the finish! and Bounce! "You own the dance floor every time you come out!" Kiss from her old partner! Week one all over again! "Longest and fastest number." Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 7! May have to reconsider my score?

Team Hayes/Allison: Coming off of three nines again! Viennese Waltz! "Puberty's not finished!" Showing off the sophisticated Hayes! Act like an adult! Starts off on a staircase! He's in gray tails. She's in antique blue lace and silver. He's focusing up, but shoulders and core still too loose!. Looks a little frantic! Movement initiates from breath! Or should anyway. He does clean up well! I give him a seven, maybe an eight! "Little bit kangorooish!" "I disagree!" "Sweet sophistication!" "Get rid of the chin dancing!" "That was a lotta steps, but not a lotta waltz!" Real judges: 8, 8, 7, 7! Now they say Bruno's score was an 8 instead of 7. Turns out to be a seven!

Team Paula/Mark: Who dreamed up this recipe! Coming off of triple sixes! "I'm so scared of you!" "Patience is tattooed on my wrist!" "Paula she's definitely wild!" "Taking some risks!" Mark's milk! Mark as a demented milkman! Kisses with the neighbors Jive! Making Paula shake that thang! Pretty safe and basic jive so far! Mark taking it easy on the aging southern cooking star! Her smile is effervescent and timeless, tho! Hip bumps Mark into the neighbor's house. I give her a seven as well! "That was your best dance ever!" "Mark brought the milk and you brought the cookies!" "Lotta fun!" "I wanna see more jive!" "Naughty, naughty Paula!" "Jive has to be done on the toes!" Olivia Newton John guest judge next week. (Strange looking guy with beard and mohawk in audience!) Real judges: 7, 7, 6,6! )

Team Alek/Emma: Rumba! Needs to start upping up her game! Her first rumba. Sexy dance week! Focusing is hard for him! Can get distracted very easily because of Emma!! Hard to keep a dopey smile off his face!' Nice lines, but has to not be afraid to use those hips more! Good rise and fall. There are the beginnings of some hip movement, but, not enough! There's that smile! Nice slide! Okay, he's getting into the feeling now! Needs to enjoy the dance, but not forget the steps. Nice! I give him an eight! "You're this close from going from here to there!" "You are the dark horse of the competition1" "Let emotions show!" "Don't step during the rumba, you caress the floor with your feet!" There's something very likable about Alek. He's the boy next door! He's got hidden swag! Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 7! Erin giving scores a boo!

Team Bindi/Val: Pressure on Val to follow up on the first ten of the season! That dance was breathtaking! Huge responsibility to continue the high scores. Cha cha! They're teaching each other! She's irrepressible! Her spirit is effervescent! You have to smile watching her dance! She's walking like a blue billed booby! Audience on its feet and clapping! She's sharp and sassy! Just needs to strengthen that core just a little bit more! Relationship is great! Val is enjoying this number! I give her a nine! If not another ten! Just hold that core and those shoulders! "Dance of the night!" "I smiled the entire dance!" "You lift my spirits like a bright summer's day!" "I saw new flair!" "It doesn't matter who you dance with, you are a ray of sunshine!" "Great potential represents great responsibility!" Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 9! Her second ten of the competition! I don't think I was ever so young and trusting and full of life and hope as Bindi is now!

Team Carlos/Lindsey: Two married star and pro! Lindsey doesn't know who the Dalai Lama is? She's working on holding his shoulders down! Wants to return to contender status. This boy has a lotta overt swag. Quickstep. Nice rise and fall! Lindsey's costume dances with her! He's having fun! He has no problem letting his emotions show on his face! And judging by his expression he's having the time of his life! This guy is a star! I give him a nine! If not a ten! Bouncing back from near elimination last week! "Top line, excuse me!" "Lindsey was exactly what you needed!" "It was an amazing quickstep!" This guy could be getting some tens, you think!? "We worked really hard this week!" Real judges! 10, 10, 9, 10! Highest scores of the season!

Team Alexa/Derek: Tango! Derek perhaps a more positive teacher than Mark. He's building her back up! His positivity is infectious! Post apocalyptic costumes and setting! Quasi militaristic approach to tango! She's responding to his strong lead. He's in a flak jacket inspired costume. Mad Max does tango! Her frame and head are exceptional. Teem comes on to do group Tango . They separate and rejoin each other! Exceptional as well! Give her a nine or ten as well! Way to bounce back! "There was an element of authenticity!" "You are the leading lady of the moment!" "Get out of your own head!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! First perfect scores of the season! "I could not do it without these three men right here!"

Team Andy/Sharna: Sharna. Argentine tango! Had to miss a concert. Show the sexy side of you! He's committing to the performance! Blackened stage with reed lasers! and smoke! He seems a little distracted. Needs to focus! OK. There's the intensity! Grabs her in the middle and lifts her onto his shoulders. sensuality rampant! I give him a nine! "Nailed it!" "you felt that! I felt that! Everybody in the room felt it!" "Performance value was amazing!" "You were James Dean this week!!" He's a rock star who doesn't own his swag!" Usually too nice to be passionate! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! "Balls and farts made this work!"

Team Nick/Whitney: Following all nines! My mom used to play them! not really my era! How can you follow up on Backstreet's back! She had a problem in her last switch up! Ooh, was that a lift? What style is this? Paso Doble! Ugh leading with his shoulders. Good attack! but, needs to lead with his heart and not his shoulders. Tuck his bum under! Kind of shuffling his steps! Good effort, technical problems! I give him an eight! "Up and lift!" "You found your way and stayed in the zone!" "Love your tenacity and commitment!" Real judges: 9, 9, 8, 9! Decent scores for the backstreet boy!

Final Eliminations: No eliminations this week. Olivia Newton John next show. Paula better watch out. And Alek needs to start stepping it up or face elimination.

10.16.2015: 'Beatles' With An 'A'!

Fans of the original 'Fab Four' have a chance to revel in nostalgia at The Playhouse this weekend!
You've got ONE WEEKEND to see what critics call "the hottest ticket in town!"

Rock to the music of The Beatles in an interactive concert experience unlike any other! With dead-on musical precision, Billy McGuigan (Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story; Rave On) and his band immerse the audience in the sights, sounds, and memories of the 1960s.

4 Shows Only!

7:30 PM Thursday, Oct. 15
7:30 PM Friday, Oct. 16
7:30 PM Saturday, Oct. 17
2:00 PM Sunday, Oct. 18
What makes Yesterday and Today different from every other Beatles show out there?

Two things:

  1. No wigs, no accents. Creator Billy McGuigan says, "Once you take those elements away, you get down to this most important part, the magical music."
  2. The requests. The band plays the entire Beatles catalogue note for note. The audience is encouraged to fill out a request form with their favorite Beatles song and reason why they chose the song. Those requests are organized five minutes before showtime. The audience's requests make the set list for the evening and their stories provide the evening's narrative.
Hear what everyone is saying about Yesterday and Today!
"So much more than a Beatles tribute. It is not just music... It is so much more than that!" - Largo Patch

"Foot stomping, clapping in unison, singing along and outright screaming from the audience." - Omaha City Weekly

"Smart enough not to tamper with the original class act, Billy and fellow musicians don't mess around with English accents... and they don't wear the Beatles' wigs or cut their hair like the Beatles. However they do deliver Beatles music in a BIG way." - The Republican-American

...Just have to say McGuigan's tribute to Buddy Holly was amazing! If this retrospective is even close, it'll be well worth the price of admission!

10.15.2015: Rolling Stone Gathers No PILOBOLUS

Watch this space! Arrangements underway for a one-on-one interview with seminal modern dance company PILOBOLUS about their coming performance in the Capital City. It started with this email:
"...A few days ago, I mentioned that I would be in touch with you about interview opportunities with PILOBOLUS, the dance company opening the 2015-2016 Dance Series at the Des Moines Civic Center on Tuesday, Nov. 10. I am personally very excited to see them perform, as I missed their previous engagement at the Civic Center almost five years ago in January 2011..."

Company members, both creative and cast, are available for interviews to talk about the Des Moines engagement and the works they will be performing, which are:

  • On the Nature of Things (2014) - Performed by three dancers balanced on a two-foot wide column rising above the stage, On The Nature Of Things explores the power of iconic bodies to tell a story about the birth of desire and its intertwined connection to shame and revenge.
  • Wednesday Morning, 11:45 (2015) – Created by Renée Jaworski, Matt Kent and ItamarKubovy, and with a score by Alex Dezen of The Damnwells, Wednesday Morning, 11:45 is the Pilobolus's newest shadow work which premiered in June at the American Dance Festival, Durham, NC.
  • Automaton (2012) - A collaboration with the internationally-renowned choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Automaton is a cyborg of a dance that questions the difference between human and machine.
  • Sweet Purgatory (1991) - Sweet Purgatory is a response to the music of Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, the remarkable orchestration for strings of his own 8th Quartet. The score suggests and the dance explores sequentially a hovering premonitory world, its descent into Hades, and the determined climb back toward Purgatory and finally, out of an ominous post-apocalyptic surroundings toward Hope.

You’ll notice they are performing relatively new works since their last engagement, including a classic work, Sweet Purgatory.

Attached is a media release with more details. Please let me know if you’re interested in setting up an interview and we’ll take it from there. And finally, if you’re interested in attending Pilobolus on the 10th, let me know! Thanks!..."

...I jete'd at the opportunity:
"I'm interested in an interview as well as access to clips of music that will be used in performance.

Tues-Friday mornings I'm usually available. Monday morning is usually the Governor's weekly news conference.

Afternoons tend to run up against voice-tracking and anchoring deadlines.

I'll be glad to do the interview..."

...And, got this note back...
"Great – thank you...I’ll submit an interview request, as well as music files. As soon as I hear back from PILOBOLUS, I’ll let you know."
...So, keep your fingers croise'! More updates as they become available!o)

10.14.2015: Company Celebration

CCDC graduate involved in this performance with her professional ballet company coming up. (CCDC Ballet Instructor @SirDanGuy also danced with the old Duluth Ballet before coming to Des Moines Ballet. He originated the lead male role in a piece mentioned below! How time flies!)
One Night Only!

Saturday, October 24, 2015, 7 p.m.
Symphony Hall, The DECC

Get your tickets online!

Featuring excerpts of past works, including Gilbert Reed’s 1977 poignant “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” Nancy Gibson’s 1988 visceral “Savannah,” and Robert Gardner’s 2009 contemporary ballet “Northern Lights.” Bravura works highlight the company’s strength, including the breathtaking pas de deux from “Don Quixote” and the grand pas de deux from “Swan Lake,” with the corps de ballet and live piano accompaniment by David Packa.

Pointing the way to the next half-century, the Ballet premieres a work by Artistic Director Gardner to Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major, its scherzo movement played live by the “Music to You” String Quartet from the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

The special evening includes a work to honor the school’s pivotal role in the ballet’s development, performed by School of the Minnesota Ballet students and choreographed by LilaAnn Coates White, former company member and recipient of the New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship. The evening ends with Allen Fields’ rousing “Rough Cut Swing,” accompanied live by the North Shore Big Band. Former ballet company members then join present company members onstage.

Interested in our history? Like us on facebook, and type "#50mnballet" into the search bar to see our "Throwback Thursday" posts!

10.13.2015: Ghosts of Giselle

Here's my review of Fathom Events presentation of the Bolshoi Ballet's Giselle this past weekend:
The Bolshoi Ballet's reputation may have preceded itself in my mind, but, not, apparently, in ticket sales. This Sunday's rebroadcast of Giselle was attended only by about a dozen people in the audience. It was nice to see some kids filling the stadium seating, this is the dance audience of the present and the future building their viewing habits. But, where were the CCDC students and families?

What they missed was the power and precision of the best Russian trained principals and corps de ballet. I've complained before about the framing problems of the cinematographers, so, I'll leave that off my review for the most part. Just saying it's not possible to observe the entire 32-member corps when only principal dancers fill the frame. Also, close-ups are not kind to ballerina Svetlana Zhakarova. She may still have the body of a lithe, lovely 16-year old, but, she no longer has that girl's face. She danced and played like a young ingenue in the first act, but, her face did not cooperate. A little distance would've helped maintain the illusion.

Having said that, Zhakorova is excellent, but, human. Her balances were minutely off, she took out the second arabesque to penche' when the first one was problematic. That's her prerogative, of course, but, true balletomanes will cluck with disapproval. Her port de bras in the second act was limpid and liquid, arms moving with breath as if they were boneless.

Sergei Polunin also starting to show his age as well as an impressive princely jaw-line. His multiple entrechat six barely crossed. He did many of them, he jumped high, but, he did not do them as well as I assume he did when he was younger. His tour en l'air landings were not clean. Having said that, his partnering was epic. Being able to put Zhakarova down en pointe after an overhead lift is no easy task no matter how light his partner was...and she appeared weightless. It takes a lot of effort and an excellent partnership to make the girl appear weightless.

As most balletomanes know "bolshoi" means "big" in Russian. And, this was a big production. From the eight full panels of marley, to the 32 corps dancers (all handpicked, trained and seemingly bred for beautiful ballet lines) to the stage-filling village scenes. The stage settings seemed a little sparse, but, that could've been an effect of the framing problems as well. What I was able to see of the corps was exemplary. Making lines with 32 bodies running into place is not as simple as you might think, but, the Russian corps delivered on its global reputation in my mind.

Another thing I loved was hearing ex-patriate Russians speaking their mother tongue discussing the dance in the lobby. I wish the passion for ballet in the former USSR could be imported to this country. I'd love nothing more than to be forced to fight for a seat at the next few productions to be broadcast soon. Note these in your Bolshoi Ballet day planner: rare chance to see the full-length Balanchine's Jewels on November 8th, Don Quixote on April tenth and Spartacus on March 13th. Let's get more dance fans to support these shows! As an old reviewer of mine used to write: Viva la dance!

10.13.2013: Performance Posting

Price is right for starving dancers IF you're not already busy taking classes at CCDC, that is!o)
Valley Southwoods Band, Choir Collaborate for Fall Concert

Capital City News Service — The Valley Southwoods Freshman High School Vocal Music and Band Departments will present their 2015 Fall Concert at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Staplin Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., in West Des Moines. This event is free and open to the public.

The Valley Southwoods chamber choir, Southwoods Singers, will perform songs from the OPUS Honor Choir, including “Ubi Caritas” by Richard Kidd, “Gift to be Simple,” arranged by Bob Chilcott and a selection from “Three Songs from a Shropshire Lad” by Rhobert Rhein. The choir will be under the direction of Southwoods choir director Heather Nail and student teacher Chloe Peterson. The freshman concert band, under new band director Samantha Beeman, will highlight the Halloween season with “Abracadabra” by Frank Ticheli, as well as the programmatic piece “Mt. Everest” and “Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite,” Karl King’s well-known circus march.

The Valley Southwoods Freshman High School band program has distinguished itself at local, regional and national events. Students may participate in various individual and small group music opportunities. The vocal music department offer a wide range of experiences for students interested in vocal music. The Valley Southwoods choirs are Treble Clef, Bass Clef and the Valley Southwoods Singers. Each ensemble presents three to four concerts a year. The choirs also attend state and regional festivals and contests, and have opportunities to perform nationally and internationally.

10.12.2015: Crying With The Stars

Monday means a chance to go to my happy place despite many tears this past week:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
My Most Significant Year

Opening Number: No Tom Bergeron sub host is Alfonso Rebeiro! Ten stars left. After tonight, nine! Alfonso looks very, very short next to Erin! Where's that stool?

Team Alexark: Conflicted with the competition and her relationship. The year she booked Spy Kids is her most memorable! Raised by a single Mom! Fox Trot, first ballroom dance of the season! Her family comes first. She cries as she tells her Mom she loves her. Aah! Faux rain. Momma said there'd be days like this! Mark offers umbrella. Her frame is good but is inconsistent. She makes Nerds look delicious in green! She's good in this. But, inconsistent in hold! I give her an eight or nine!. Did she lose her footing? "You missed the train, but, you found your way!" "Lift from the waist! Maintain the frame!" She takes direction well, and that could be because of her acting training! Real judges: 7, 7, 7! "It's better than a six, so, I'll take it!"

Team Garyanna: 1979, the year he starred in the Buddy Holly story! Traumatic head injury! Skull injury! Motorcycle accident! Gary as Buddy Holly! Anna's leading him through this dance! His brain injury is his handicap! I give him a six! He's a character! "Your passion for the character almost makes me forget the unique interpretation of the dance!" "Nail precision!" Real judges: 5, 6, 5! "Numbers are not the heart of the dance!'

Team Tamaral: 2012 almost lost her husband! Suffering from multiple blood clots! "How am I going to live without the love of my life by my side!" Dancing to her own song "King!" Rhumba. She's amazing in glittering icy blue and smokey gray costume slit up to almost there! Lacking smoothness and finesse. Is the moment too big for her? She walks away from him and gives a kiss and a hug to her husband! I give her an eight! Carrie Ann is fighting tears! "Such an incredible performance!" "Thank you for that dance!" "I've never seen you more beautiful, more vulnerable yet!? "Tonight your connection was wired to perfection!" "Lines clear as a whistle!" Sounds like good scores! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Leader in the clubhouse! Hugs her husband after the scores given!

Team Hay Emma: All the way to last year! "Had to come out of my shell!" Contemporary to Shawn Menendez Song! Edison bulb lit stage! He's musical and vulnerable. Right on the music. For a non-dancer! This boy has a future as a dancer, if he bothers to get some good training! What a Smile! Give him an eight! "What just happened!" "Get out of here! WHAT was that!" "Completely unexpected!" "Superstar!" "I was nervous in dress rehearsal!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9! His best scores yet!

Team Alekindsey: Umpqua, site of mass shooting, is his community college! The senseless killings struck too close to home for him! "I would have had classes that day!" "Even the train made more sense than this does!" Dedicating this routine to his community! Hope he experiences the catharsis of dance! Paso Doble! Oh, He's good! He's powerful and he's there for her! Lindsay gorgeous in copper! He still remembers the steps. He's focused and distracted at the same time! Is that even possible! "That was for them!" I give him an eight! "Well done!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Why are there empty chairs behind the judges? Symbolic? I hope Erin got her hug from Alek!

Team Nickarna: The year I joined the Backstreet boys! Dysfunctional family background! Wanted that movie family! It was hard! Never get over your childhood! Used the arts and performing to get out of that environment! "The boys saved me!""Go from the gut!"Jazz tribute to Backstreet! This is his element! These are all his old moves! Bet Sharna's loving this too! He gets a nine from me! Sharna busy kissing all the backstreet boys after the end of the piece! "You were good as a BackStreet, but, you're better now that you've had all that ballroom training!" "Ballroom helping me grow asa human being!" Everyone nodding in the celebraquarium! Real judges: 9, 9, 9! Nick blows kisses to the crowd and his fellow boys alumni! Making dreams come true! DWTS!

Team Carlitney: Picking Amazing Grace, 2012. Big Time Rush! Smoking a lot, dark place! Found God! "In one week my life changed forever!" Waltz! He's transcendent! What vocals! I give him an eight! His wife is beaming! "That was beautiful!" Work on those shoulders! "Your conviction in the performance was the best you've ever given!" "Totally mesmerizing!" Real judges: 9, 8, 8!

Team Paulouie: CHa cha. Embarrassed at her scores! 1989. The year she started her business after her divorce! "I got the goods, now, I need the self-confidence!" Strong confident woman! Dancing to Respect by Aretha! Buzzwords displayed on the dance floor! Much better confidence and attack! Louie saves her after misstep. Work on that core strength, Paula! Much better. I give her an eight! "Have more fun!" "Step in the right direction!" Switch up week next week! Real judges: 6, 6, 6!

Team Andysson: Mother had breast cancer! Two or three days to say goodbye! Lost In Los Angeles! Wrote a song! "I'm dancing for my mom!" He's dancing his life! His exuberance is infectious! "Good to be alive right about now!" Love his energy! How much cha cha was in there? I give him an eight! "This is crying with the stars tonight! Switch up next week! "My whole purpose is to dance for my mother!" Real judges: 7, 8, 8! Andy brushing off the poor scores!

Team Binderek: Contemporary routine! Dad died in 2006. Tribute to her dad! Died at 44! "I have the best daddy in the whole world! Video package is a tear jerker! OMG! She's dancing for her father! She ends with body wracking sobs! Her mother is in tears watching! I give her a ten! "This dance is for my dad and my family!" She dissolves in tears! "That took my breath away as well!" "That dance was breath taking!" "Your father was dancing with you EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!" "You dance the way you live your life!" Real judges: 9, 9, 10! First ten of the season! She hugs Bruno for that tribute and goes on to hug all the other judges! Derek says this is a very important season for him because of Bindi's spirit!

Final Elimination: First couple in jeopardy is...Carlos and Whitney! Joining them are...Gary and Anna! Couple leaving is...Gary and Anna!~ Think America got this right. Time for Gary to go! As usual he's wandering all over the stage, waxing poetic! Beautiful experience, but, his eyes seem to always be looking in two different directions! Next show: Watch out, Paula!

10.10.2015: Feedback, Schmeedback!

Remember this from the review I posted the other week?
"...But, here's my one complaint FATHOM! BACK OFF THE CLOSE-UPS! I want to see the dancers DANCE! I don't need to see details of the bottle of potion used by Juliet or Romeo. I don't need to be so close to Kotchetkova I CAN SEE HER BREATHING WHEN SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE FOOLING EVERYONE INTO THINKING SHE'S DEAD! I don't object to judicious use of camera work to heighten or spotlight a dance, but, SHOW THE BODY DURING THE BALLET! Corps de ballet actually means the 'body of the ballet'. Let us see the entire body dancing! It's as if you were broadcasting a symphony and only recorded a few instruments during group sections! It's obvious the director in charge of camera work does not have a ballet or dancer background. Ballet was designed to be seen from the distance of an orchestra pit. Getting uncomfortably close may reveal more of the facial expression, but, IT DOES NOT SERVE THE DANCING! That should always be the bottom line, Fathom!..."
...Well, I sent it in on the Fathom feedback site. And, got this back...
"...Thank you for contacting Fathom Events. We appreciate your feedback. We value your patronage and hope that you will attain future Fathom Events. Please know that we have shared your feedback with our content partner so that they can consider your comments for future events.

Thank you,
Fathom Events

...I expected something like that response. I assumed Fathom was not directly responsible for producing the ballet, only it's worldwide distribution. At least it was more than the auto-generated reply I first got back! Hopefully, we'll see an improvement in framing in the future. Probably not in time for this weekend's Giselle by the Bolshoi Ballet, but, maybe, further down the line. Let that be a lesson to all you budding dance film or video producers! Let the dancing breathe!

10.09.2015: DancExploration

At the intersection of dance and video:
Single-channel 5: Rashaad Newsome / Icon to open at Des Moines Art Center

(Capital City News Service) – On October 9, the Des Moines Art Center will open a new Single-channel exhibition, Single-channel 5: Dance, Rashaad Newsome / Icon, which will be on view in the Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey Gallery, Richard Meier building.

Single-channel* 5: Dance celebrates the various ways artists incorporate dance into their work, from simply celebrating the body in motion to expressions of complicated political thought. In Icon, Rashaad Newsome constructs a spinning, glittering world into which various dancers seduce the viewer. Drawing from pop culture and art history, the artist plays with ideas of status, power, and desirability. Combining moving bodies, jewels, stylish clothing, and baroque architecture, Icon is a bling collage that moves to an aggressive, danceable beat. A detailed Gallery Guide accompanies the exhibition. Single-channel 5: Dance is organized by Associate Curator Laura Burkhalter.

* Single-channel is a program dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of important single-channel video by contemporary artists. Each series is dedicated to a specific theme explored in unexpected and surprising ways by artists from around the world. The exhibition format presents one video for approximately 12 weeks in the Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey Gallery of the Richard Meier building.

10.08.2015: Arts Month

This heads up from the state arts council:
Celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month |

October 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of National Arts & Humanities Month, a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of arts & culture in America. Since 1985, the month of October has been designated to encourage all Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of active participation in the arts. Join the celebration and show your support of the arts

...Find out more here.

10.07.2015: Wili Or Won't He?

Don't bother heading to CCDC this Sunday for optional ballet classes! They're being cancelled so the instructors and students can ALL go see this!
"...Date: Sunday, October 11
Time: 12:55 p.m. (local time)
Run Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes (approximate)

Special Fathom Features: A special production captured from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Russia.

Fathom Events, BY Experience and Pathé Live are thrilled to bring the intense and romantic beauty of Giselle, performed and broadcast from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, to select cinemas nationwide on Sunday, October 11.

The young peasant girl Giselle dies when she learns that the man she loves, Albrecht, has betrayed her. Against her own will, she joins the wilis, vengeful spirits, who now turn against Albrecht and condemn him to dance until he dies of exhaustion. This treasure of romantic ballet is one of the oldest and greatest in classical repertoire, touching upon the great romantic themes: a doomed love affair ending in tragedy, a dive into fantasy, and ultimate redemption through the power of love. The Bolshoi is renowned for its intimate and emotionally intense interpretation of this beloved drama.

Don’t miss your chance to see this extraordinary event on the big screen!..."

...CCDC students and family highly encouraged to attend. Watch as much world-class ballet as you can to help yourself become a better dancer. Pass the word!o) More info here.

10.06.2015: Injury Time Out

We were not happy to see a CCDC student appear for dance class this past week strapped into a soft-cast boot because of growth-induced tendonitis. I tried to cheer her up by reminding her a CCDC alum-turned-professional dancer had to undergo the same thing SEVERAL times before she went on to get hired by, not just one, but, two professional ballet companies. So, I texted 2K2M and asked her to provide some counsel to our current student. This is what she wrote:
"...I am so sorry to hear about this because I know how heartbreaking injuries are, however every injury really is an opportunity for growth as a dancer. I don't regret or wish a single one of my injuries hadn't happened because they have shaped me and made me a stronger and more intelligent dancer! It is AMAZING how much you can learn from simply watching others dance. Grab a notebook and write down observations and corrections during class! You will be so glad you did ?? Don't let this get you down! A very special person once told me that ballet will give you the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. This is so true. This is a low point for you, but if you fight through this it will become a high point when you look back on your journey because it made you stronger."

"...Do your floor barre and Pilates/Yoga work every single day. It will help make the transition coming back so much easier. Also, I remember when I got injured at home Missy and Emery had me do arms/upper body on the floor during combinations. This was amazing for my back muscles and it also helps to keep your mind focused on combinations and sequence so you don't let your mind wander while sitting down!"

...I, then, asked her to comment on nutrition and supplements she recommended...
"... As far as nutritional goes, eat well and eat enough! I made the mistake once of thinking that since I was dancing less I should be eating less which is so far from the truth! Feed your body well so it has the nutrients to heal properly! ?? I always take a calcium supplement with vitamin D as part of my daily routine. I also take glucosamine and a natural anti-inflammatory but those are also something you want to make sure you don't take on an empty stomach!"
...Hopefully, this advice will help any other dancer recovering from injuries or illness.

10.05.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday

Best thing about Monday is DWTS!
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Television Themes

Opening Number: The Muppets in control room! "Better than our best!" Stars women in Mesh cutout outfits! Going for the male demographic? Tom Bergeron and...Ms. Piggy? Where's Erin? Tied up in the back someplace? Stars come out dressed as TV characters! My recording full of glitches at the beginning!

Team Carlos and Whitney: Theme from Golden Girls: Thank you for being a friend!. "I know how good you can be! That's why I'm pushing you!" "I'm not your friend I'm your teacher!" Dressed and made up as elderly! But, the dancing is full of vim and vigor! Sharp and full of sweet moments! This guy remains a contender! He could win this thing!~ He just needs to listen. Granny pants flashed in the lift! Fun, fun number! I give him an eight! Alfonso Rebeiro guest judge! "Best dance you've done since the beginning of the season!" "Dance BIGGER!" I wouldn't mind aging if I could dance like these two! Real judges: 7, 8, 8, 8!

Team Paula/Louis: Samba to Gilligan's Island! Her age is proving to be a handicap! "It's exhausting!" She's feeling sorry for herself. Very emotional. She shares her abandonment issues! There's the entire cast. Computer graphic storm! She still has a great feel and e aplomb. She's very dignified and exuberant! Boy, that theme brings back memories. Her grandsons bring roses to their grandma! What a moment! "You need to bounce in samba!" "Be proud of yourself!" Real MaryAnne in the audience! How cute are her grandkids?! I give her a seven! Real judges: 5, 5, 5, 5! Audience not happy!

Team Tamar/Val: Tango to theme from madmen! Back to holding frame! She has problems with his sexist approach to storyline! This is the sixties, baby! She's stunning in Red slit up to there dress! Good, not spectacular frame! Good focus. Needs to be higher!. Still lacking chemistry, but she's trying! That dress dances with her! I give her an eight! "Keep expanding the top line!" "That was Must See TV!" "You are a frontrunner!" Real judges: 8, 9, 8,8! "You are a frontrunner, baby!"

Team Alexa/Mark: Theme from "Breaking Bad". Jazz routine! Dressed in biohazard suits! Great video pack intro! Luminescent sets and props! Oxygen masks come off! Mark has hit a home run with this character driven dance! Struggle Makes me wanna see the show now! Very intense! Husband loves it!. Far from sexy outfits! "That was genius!" "AWE-some!" "You two can win!" "You guys were really a team tonight!" "I LOVED IT!" I give her a nine! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Highest scores of the season! Kudos for Mark's vision and Alexa for keeping it! Ms. Piggy attacks Derek in the bounce away!

Team Andy/Allison: Theme of American Bandstand! He's on tour while training for the show! Alison is on tour with him! He's in fifties plaid. She's in a big poodle style skirt! SHE needs to work on her ballroom frame! She's not ballroom trained and it shows! I give him a seven! Alfonso gives him some key corrections! "That was so much fun!" "You captured the time, but, you have to practice the precision!" "You're still in your head too much!" She's teaching him even as she leads Andy up the stairs! Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 7!

Team Gary/Anna: He's Gomez Addams! Tango! Gary wants to impress the judges and America! The power of repetition! He's feeling the pressure! Expect "perfection!" He's in character as a lumbering Lurch like dancer! Maybe he should've been lurch? I give him a six! "You have improved!" "Deliciously dysfunctional tribute to a dysfunctional family!" "There was a new found elegance!" "You are so much fun to watch!" "Academy award winning performance!" (Switch up in two weeks!) Real judges: 6, 7, 6, 6! Paula's grandson hands card back to Erin!

Team Alex/Lindsey: Theme from True Blood! Hilarious outtakes of him trying to prove he has game! Lindsey is wholesome sexiness. He's showing a little game,, but, when he dances, HE GOT GAME! He's sexy when he dances well...and he's dancing well! Never mind the character. It's secondary to the dance! I give him an eight! Kudos to Lindsey for taking him to the next level! "You got game now!" "You have the best technique of anyone in the competition!" Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 8! Lindsay is thrilled!

Team Kim/Tony: Learning the story behind the setback! Suffered a mini-stroke! "Stroke is nothing to mess around with!" "My health comes first!" Tony performs the routine with Jenna. This should be good! This is the way it should be done! Dancing to I dream of Jeannie! Actually nice to see two pros performing Tony's routines. This is the way it was always supposed to be! Skype from Atlanta! Cannot fly because of doctor. Rules state they must withdraw. "Family comes first,, Health comes first!"

Team Bindi/Derek: Theme from "Moving on Up" Quickstep! Had to change from Jetsons theme to Jeffersons. Injury also proving to be problematic! If anyone can get his partner looking good, it's Derek! And they start off like racehorses! She's exuberant as well! Energy is off the charts as it should be for this style! What do I know? Jeffersons stars IN THE HOUSE! I give them a nine! Especially because it had to be choreographed so late and lack of rehearsal! "Love your energy! but, have to control it!" Derek carries her up the stairs to spare her foot extra trauma! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Still a contender!

Team Nick/Sharna: From Downton Abby! "This challenges your soul!" Viennese Waltz! "This is not easy!" What a great mentor mentee relationship! other couples. Starts off with long looks into each other eyes! Establishes the relationship right away! Wow! This is deep! this is so good! adequate rise and fall. adequate frame. but, the feeling is off the charts!. The last look lingers! "nicely don, you two!" I give him a nine! "You were a leading man tonight!" "Best dance of the night!" "Exquisitely refined attention to details!" "One minute masterpiece theater!" He's transcending his boy band roots! "Something happens! The magic occurs when you let it all go!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! New leader in the clubhouse! "He was my real dance partner!"

Team Hayes/Emma: Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtle! Cowabunga! Jive! Push for the top spot! He's just 15! Start off in the alley! Ka Pow! He's a little tentative!! Maybe has something to do with that shell on his back and front? He's very musical. Most of the time! Turtle Power! I give him a seven! "Point your feet!" "Finish your arm movements!" Real judges: 7, 8, 7, 8!

Final Elimination: First in Jeopardy. Andy and Allison? Big gasp from crowd! Paula and Louis! He cringes! No one else is sent home! Ms Piggy waves good night! I think they should've had Erin tied up in a back room someplace at the beginning. Would've been hilarious!o) Speaking of...It's been fun, Gary! Enjoy your time off...soon, I hope!o)

10.02.2015: 2015 World Ballet Day

Amazing video broadcast for World Ballet Day yesterday. Bolshoi, Aussie, Royal, National and SFB. I'll try to post video as it becomes available. Here's the Royal Ballet's section:

...Don't dawdle! Video will only be available for 30 days!

10.01.2015: Global Glance At Worldwide Dance!

Happy 2015 World Ballet Day! Follow the livestream here:

..Pass the word!o)

09.30.2015: Fried, Green...Muscle Tissue?

Hey, all you dancers of a certain age! Intriguing story about keeping muscle tissue from "tarnishing" in your "not so golden years"...
Compounds in Apples, Green Tomatoes Can Reduce Muscle Loss in Seniors

(Capital City News Service) -- There may actually be a natural way to reduce muscle loss and weakness in your senior years. Researchers at the University of Iowa found that compounds in apple peel and green tomatoes can decrease the activity of the protein atf4, which is known to deplete muscle strength and mass as we age. They also learned those compounds could increase muscle mass by ten percent within just two months in experiments done on older mice. The study's results could lead to better therapies for keeping older adults physically fit and active...

...Excuse me while I go buy me a bushel o' certain fruits and green veggies!!o)

09.29.2015: Rocker Riker!

DWTS premiered the other week! Meanwhile, a former mirror-ball runner-up is bringing his band to the Capital City this spring! Be still your beating heart!o)
Pop-Rock Sensation R5 to Make First Stop at the Des Moines Civic Center on SOMETIME LAST NIGHT Headline Tour Tickets on sale to the general public.

CAPITAL CITY NEWS SERVICE– Des Moines Performing Arts is adding a popular pop-rock quintet to its 2015-2016 Season. R5, currently on their Sometime Last Night international headline tour, will make their first appearance at the Des Moines Civic Center for one night only on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 7 p.m. The tour will also feature Ryland as the opening act.

Tickets for R5 will go on sale Friday, Sept. 18 at 10 a.m. at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000.

The band’s extensive worldwide touring schedule has not been lost on fans and critics throughout the Sometime Last Night tour since its launch. The Arizona Republic described the band as energetic and “super-talented,” noting that they are “unique in today’s pop music scene, eschewing the use of samplers, pre-recorded beats and trendy bass drops, and relying instead on solid songwriting played with a traditional guitar-bass-drums-keys setup.” Boca Magazine adds that “R5 is not just for kids,” and describes their sound as a “high-energy blend of rock and pop.”

Led by vocalist/rhythm guitarist Ross Lynch, R5 came together in 2009 and is comprised of Lynch's siblings Riker (bass/vocals), Rocky (lead guitar/vocals) and Rydel (keyboard/vocals) and friend Ellington "Ratliff" (drums/vocals). R5 has rapidly emerged as an exciting new voice in the world of pop rock. The band has moved one step closer to world domination with the July 2015 release of their sophomore album, Sometime Last Night, the follow up to their hit debut album LOUDER, which rocketed to No. 1 on iTunes in 10 countries upon its Sept. 24, 2013 release. The band has recently appeared on Good Morning America, Ellen, LIVE! with Kelly & Michael and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Riker most recently finished as runner-up on Season 20 of ABC’s smash hit Dancing With The Stars, consistently receiving top scores from the judges and fans alike.

Ross currently stars as Austin Moon, one-half of an internet music duo, on the Disney Channel’s hit comedy series Austin & Ally, which is in its fourth and final season. Ross won his third consecutive Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite TV Actor for his role on the show and just received Teen Choice’s Choice TV Actor: Comedy nomination (he was nominated and won this category last year). This summer, fans will be able to catch him on the silver screen as modern day surfer Brady in the Disney Channel Original Movie Teen Beach 2, the sequel to 2013’s smash hit Teen Beach Movie.

The band self-released their first EP, Ready Set Rock in 2010 and signed with Hollywood Records in April of 2012 and released their second EP, Loud, on Feb. 19, 2013. The quintet starred in a 5-part VEVO series titled “R5 on R5,” which saw cameras follow them on a 2013 sold-out tour that included shows in the U.S., Canada, Australia, England and France. The band made a triumphant return to Europe in early 2014 and recently released a 6-part VEVO series, R5 Live in London, capturing the mania of R5 fans during a magnetic show in London this past March. The band recently brought R5: All Day, All Night to the big screen for one night only. The documentary takes a never-before-seen look at the band’s career from inception to the present and includes exclusive interviews, concert footage and footage from the band’s early years.

09.28.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Night One, Week Two was better:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Hometown Glory Edition

Opening Number: Montage of closeups of s=contestants and their hometowns listed. Direct to Tom and Erin! Kicking off two full nights of two full routines from each star! Double elimination! s

Team Nick/Shrna: Jive. He's from Tampa! Rise above his roots. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy! Dedicating performance to his hometown dance teacher. They start off in bed. Reveille sounds. He's a little behind the music. Fatal Flaw with this kind of song? Did he slip or did he fall? Or was that a choreographed move? He's being a little careful. Throws his shoes away in disgust. I give him a seven. Got in your head! Thought he lacked a little attack!. Still, favorable comments from the judges. "a little rough!" "Didn't expect nerves from such a seasoned performer!" It's all about how you recover! Cover up and don't let one mistake turn into two or three! Real judges: 7, 7, 7! Despite the slip! Good cover up!

Team Paula/Louis: Double dances in only the second week of the season! She needs to bounce back from low scores last week! She's dancing for her hometown pride! Step it up! Redeem yourself! Starting off right with the feeling! Howz the dancing? She's stately and graceful. Much better than last week. Louis choreographing to her strengths. Slow enough, yet enough variety to show her off ! Little unsteady in the lean. little careful in the ending drop! I'd give her a seven as well! Great smile at the end! "we went to Georgia, my darling!" She reveals she just started wearing heels last week? Real judges: 7, 6, 6! Some boos from the crowd!

Team Hayes/Emma: Social media maven! What a fresh faced north Carolina kid! "Don't cry, Mom!" He's a mama's boy, isn't he. Rides his own motor bike to enter the stage! Line needs some work, but, when he stretches he looks good! Frame is too weak!. I give him a seven! He runs to give his mom a big hug! Reveals the motorcycle was a bit of a struggle! "I couldn't stop smiling!" His eyes were better. "You remind me of a young Tom Cruise!" "Lines of a young ballet dancer!" What a cute little sister! Gives another shout out to his Mom! He keeps tearing up! Hometown meal! Real judges: 8, 7, 7! everyone's tearing up!

Team Chaka/Keo: Chicago is her hometown! Rough debut last week! Forgot some of the steps! Fox trot for her father! Hope the emotion doesn't overwhelm her. She's sitting for a longtime before she gets up... and Keo does a lot of dancing around her before she finally starts a few basic steps. She forgot steps again! Very careful. forgets the kicks! I give her a five! Hoping for an upward gradient! Is she not getting rehearsed enough? Her age is her great handicap! Real judges: 5, 5, 5! How much better would the scores be when she remembers the choreography?

Team Andy/Allison: Billy Joel "only The Good Die Young". You can look stupid in front of everybody! Allison in yellow He's got a refreshing energetic approach to Allison's high octane choreography! She almost slips and covers, recovers before anyone really notices. Fast flicks and kicks! Love his smile! i give him an eight for this! "You must be more precise!" "You must listen to the music! You're a musician, how did you get off beat?" Judges wag their fingers! Two dances mean under rehearsed for both performances! "Dancing is hard!" LOVE his personality! Real judges; 7, 7, 7! "I'll take that!" "You have no choice on this show!"

Team Kim/Tony: Lowest scores of the week. "I'm disappointed in myself!" Six kids is a struggle! "I'm a frazzled mess!" Tony feels the pressure! Start off in makeup chair. She's primping to begin. Okay! A little more energy, a little more personality! Little more attack! Little more facials! Much better! I give her a seven. "You are in the game Kim!" "That was just scratching at the surface!" "Most unexpected comeback since Lazarus!" Stars are stepping up this week! Love the quick step! Real judges: 7, 6, 6! Way better than 4's!

Team Alec/Lindsay: Jazz. "don't stop Believing! Sacramento! Sound effects helps him dance! Dang! They make me smile! nice smooth transitions to lifts and carries. This must be a form that works for him. One arm in the back overhead lift! Lotta lifts, not a lotta dancing!. This guy is likable and genuine! I give him an eight! "Last week was not a fluke!" "You combine power with grace!" "I was intoxicated with that performance!"" "There's something magical about you!" So real! Real judges: 8, 7, 8! Leader in thee clubhouse! Great student makes great teacher! (This show makes me smile!o) )

Team Alexa/Mark: Salsa! She's from Ocala, Florida! She's a leopard! Bringing her performing background to the piece! This salsa is her heritage! Her beginning walks a little tentative! Great hip action! especially barefoot. She tosses him aside! My fellow judge says that was WAAY better than last week! "Carlos is sweating now!" "Pantera Vega delivers wild and wonderful salsa!" I give her an eight! "You're not supposed to be so good in week two!" "We found the connection and partnership this week!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! New leader!

Team Victor/Karina: La Bamba! Not a dancer. He's from Hidalgo, Mexico! Lotta tradition to La Bamba! Hat falls off, was supposed to stick. He's on his kneees. not a lotta grace to his movements. Lotta attack, but not much refinement. I give him a five again! "Heavy outfit!" "That was so fun!" "You were like a Mexican jumping bean!" Jive! His goal is to have fun on the show! Real Judges: 6, 5, 6!

Team Tamar/Val: Cha cha to Sister Sledge! Thrusting not honoring her family for her! She's good! With a lotta sass! Sharp holds. Core should be a little stronger! She's got the body of a ballroom dancer! Expression is great! Bruno dancing in the judge's box! I give her a nine! "that was luminous and luscious! You know how to finish your moves!" "You are in a class of your own!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Tied for the lead!

Team Gary/Anna: Fox trot! "Double the dances! Double the chances to get eliminated!" Hometown is Tulsa, Oklahoma! "Tulsa is...Spark in my heart!" With the wild and crazy hair tamed. He starts off on the bench. Takes a while for the dancing to get going. He's better. Executes passable grapevine! Touch step not bad either. Big hug at the end! I give him a six! Better than last week! "I'm here to stay!" "She's sculpting me like fine clay!" "You're like a twelve year old boy! Well done!" Real judges: 6, 6,6! The number of the lumbering beast!

Team Carlos/Whitney: Fox trot! Hometown Columbia, Missouri! Wow! He's impressive from the very first steps! This guy could win the whole show! So musical, so fluid! Such lines. Smooth, masterful, in control and very macho! This guy gets nine from me! WOW! So GOOD! Watch out wife! "delicate and eloquent!" "ease and natural ability!" "Put a quarter between your shoulder blades! and never let them go!" "Don't confuse posture with frame!" Watch out wife! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Tied for the lead! He's a contender! Tied with the wife!

Team Bindi/Derek: Hometown Aussie! AC/DC. Aussie ROCK! Heavy metal! Wow! She has me from the get go! She's rocking...and rocking a steel colored dress! Black and bejeweled top! Her love of heavy metal shows off in this piece. Derek more than masterful at showing off and training his partner. camera work is a little questionable. Bindi fails to get her legs in the right place for the finish! But, she's so good! Only mistake of the entire piece. "I remember dancing to that song with Dad!" "You found your inner rock star!" "You're turning into Mad Maxx!" "Don't throw away your frame!" "YOU ROCK MY WORLD!" "That's the way to do it!" Real judges; 9, 8, 8! Steals the lead of the night!

First elimination: First in jeopardy is Chaka. Next is Gary. Everyone else is safe! Keo has bad luck of the draw! Chaka gets sent home. So much for the "upward gradient" strategy! She gets the Kenny Mane, first off anti-mirror ball

09.28.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Tuesday!

Night Two, Week Two dancing overdose:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Hometown Glory Edition

Second night:

Opening number: Emma and Mark start off. Showing the childhood video. Only stars to start off! I guess they figure the pros can remember a Mandy Moore number. One continuous tracking shot! Tom talks with Erin and then the tars come out! Gary in some sort of midievel outfit! Tamar in short skirt! Second night, second elimination

Team Hayes/Emma: Quick step!. Emma comes from Tamworth, England! Misses her sister and hometown! We went Banahnaz "The water in Majorca don't taste like it oughta!" Better frame! He's dressed as a proper Brit rocker. Footwork is good. Could point feet a little more. This guy's a performer! Cute quotient is off the charts! I understand why he's such a hit on social media! I give him a 7. "You were great!" Real judges; 8, 7, 8! His highest scores yet!

Team Carlos/Whitney: They start off sitting on a saloon bar! American Fork, Utah! "Two dances in Week Two? What the crap, guys?" Saloon doors swing open. You ain't nothing but a hound dog. Cha cha. I guess if Lindsey wasn't dancing with her own partner. she'd be in the background with Jenna! Carlos! Stepping up! His wife is beaming! Must be tough being a contestant and a spouse of a contestant! ""I love what you put into this!' "You missed a couple of steps and covered it up so well!" "You shortened all your steps to fit them all in!" "You have style and swag! Straighten those legs!" Was getting confused between the two styles of dances! Real judges: 7, 7, 7! Fall from grace!

Team Gary/Anna: Celebrating her Russian heritage! She's dressed as a Russian princess! Paso Doble! From Russia, with love!' 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky! Oh, he could go in the second elimination! He's trying his best. He's playing the role with all his ability. the seps are being preformed adequately. If with very little finesse and finish! His core is a pot belly! I give him a five! Crowd favorite! "I can't wait to see what you'll do next!" "The most entertaining man on television!" Real judges: 5, 5, 5!

Team Andy/Allison: Allison points to her daughter and husband! Contemporary dance. Her strength! Designed lift opening goes well. She lifts and throws him! Shoulder lift. His fan kick over her shoulders a little weak. needs to straighten legs! She reaches for the heavens. She dances with total commitment! He matches her as well as he can! I give him a seven! "Dancing is hard!" "Finish your arms. they are an extension of your body! Stretch until you can't stretch anymore!" "such a difficult routine! "You listened to our comments!" "I felt it tonight!" Allison goes and grabs her daughter! Real judges: 8, 8, 7!

Team Alexa/Mark: Rumba is the dance of love! Pressure is on to dedicate this routine to his parents! Dancing to the last song his parents danced to as a married couple! She gets how important this is to Mark! Their relationship is on parade in this routine! Smooth drag and turn! She's feeling the routine and the music! Wow! Didn't want this to end! Give her an eight, Make that a nine! That was special! "It was a classic rumba and it was beautiful!" Real judges: 7, 7, 8!

Team Paula,Louis: Amsterdam is very like Georgia! Tango. Still stately. But a little careful. Little basic! Okay, now stepping up! Her dignity is off the charts. Finally big smile at the end! I give her a seven! She says she's a deer in the headlights once the stage lights go on! Bruno gives her cooking instruction! "You are the creepiest chef ever!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6! "Seems a little harsh!"

Team Binderek: Waltz reconnecting his younger daze! What a good relationship between star and pro! She lifts him up from being beaten down. She has spectacular rise and fall! She's dancing this piece and the character is also off the charts. She understands what Derek is trying to do with this routine! Together they walk off into the light! They share a moment as the crowd holds up candles! I give her a nine! "That was two dancers dancing as one!' "You're such a blessing too all those girls out there!" "That was so moving! You are so pure!" Penalized for a lifft! Wasn't designed to be, but was! Pained expression from the lift judge! Such a gracious contestant! Real judges: 7, 8, 8! Penalized one point otherwise it would've been all eights!

Team Kim/Tony: He was born in Kosovo. Left because of the war! Dance was my escape! I think she realizes how serious the eliminations will be on her new friend and partner. She's a little flat-footed. New to heels really? She's stately in the supported promenade. Still very careful, but, better! I give her a six. "You need to be pushed, Kim!" "You area better dancer than you think you are!" Complete non-dancer who learned two dances in a week! tony stands up for his partner! Real judges: 6, 6, 6!

Team Alek/Lindsey: All-American girl. From Provo, Utah. Double dances are stressing himself! "You have to go full out all the time!" She's in white with red and blue flag accents. Nice rise and fall! This guy continues to surprise me! NO Training? He's a natural! Okay the footwork reveals some weaknesses! I see what Lindsey was trying to do. She did all lifts in one number and put all the steps in this second number! I give him a seven! "You're like a power couple!" He's just 22! "I'm gonna rename you Alek the great!" You were the only one who danced on your toes!" "You have such a commanding presence!" "This is the funnest thing I've done in a long, long time!" Real judges: 7, 7, 8!

Team Victorina: Rumba. Born in Ukraine! Culture shock moving to USA! It's amazing! Same struggles as her partner! "girl on Fire!" Take control of American Pharoah. Red stage with dry ice smoke flooding the stage! Rumba! He's better at this. He's not letting the height difference bother him. Uses material to do circle move on floor! Height difference and Because he's used to reins! I give him a seven! Danced like a giant tonight! "That was incredible!" "You were dominating!"" He could stick longer than I thought! Real judges: 7, 6, 7!

Team Nick/Sharna: Grew up in Oz! She misses her Aunt and Dad! Nick stressing to dance for his partner. Starts with sways ! Needs to watch his off hand to complete the line. I'm coming home! This is Sharna's ode to leaving her home country! He was definitely there for her! Very emotional piece! danced well! I give him an eight! Way to bounce back from the slip! "Nick back on track!" "Welcome back!" "there was poetry in your dancing tonight!" "Put a grapefruit under your chin, it'll bee a game-changer!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Night's leader!

Team Tamar/Val: She's got nice legs! He moved to U-S from Ukraine! He's living the American dream! Charleston. She gives a lotta attitude! She's like a professional dancer. Just needs to hold those shoulders and there'll be a new career for her! I'm gonna have to watch her show to see her in her element. Because she is good in this one! Wow! She has non-stop legs! I give her a nine! "That was the funkiest Charleston I've ever seen on this show!" "Your connection was so on point!" "that was so uplifting! So Energizing!" Real judges: 8, 8, 9! Leader in the clubhouse!

Second Elimination: Who's in jeopardy! Gary first in trouble. Second is Viktor. I think it's time for Gary to go! Viktor showed something tonight! Eliminated is...Viktor! That's why it's live TV! Should've known he was going to go right after showing some improvement!! "We are going to miss you so much!" Watch out next elimination, Kim! She took a step back tonight!

09.25.2015: Star Crossed Lovers Tribute

As @SirDanGuy tweeted last night: "A Romeo And Juliet for the ages..."
"Romeo and Juliet"
San Francisco Ballet

September 24, 2015

Brava Kotchekova! Bravo Karaptayan! And, bravissimo, San Francisco Ballet! I was a little hesitant heading in to watch SFB Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson's version of the venerable ballet "Romeo and Juliet" based on the classic Shakespearean play. After all, I cut my dancing teeth, so to speak, watching and venerating Michael Smuin's version from when he led the ballet company by the bay. Watching Evelyn Cisneros interpretation of the doomed Juliet was eye-opening. She evolved the character over the course of the ballet, from wide-eyed ingenue to a woman in love to an old soul who lost her one great love. It was instructive watching her portray the role. But, I shouldn't have worried. Maria Kotchekova was born to dance the female lead. She's luminescent and almost achingly expressive. Her liquid silk dancing enhanced by the floating lines of her costume. Her overwhelming love almost too big for her diminuitive frame. And, David Karaptayan (SP?) is effective as well as a classic tall, dark and well turned-out Romeo. The company is also in fine form technically (except for Mercutio's unfortunate tendency to hunch his shoulders). The Harlots are almost too beautiful to be seen as street walkers and have an expanded role in all the street scenes in Tomasson's version. The Neapolitan street dancers well-suited to show-off impressive technical tricks. Sets and props and lighting are all well-thought out and expertly serve to advance the plot.

But, here's my one complaint FATHOM! BACK OFF THE CLOSE-UPS! I want to see the dancers DANCE! I don't need to see details of the bottle of potion used by Juliet or Romeo. I don't need to be so close to Kotchetkova I CAN SEE HER BREATHING WHEN SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE FOOLING EVERYONE INTO THINKING SHE'S DEAD! I don't object to judicious use of camera work to heighten or spotlight a dance, but, SHOW THE BODY DURING THE BALLET! Corps de ballet actually means the 'body of the ballet'. Let us see the entire body dancing! It's as if you were broadcasting a symphony and only recorded a few instruments during group sections! It's obvious the director in charge of camera work does not have a ballet or dancer background. Ballet was designed to be seen from the distance of an orchestra pit. Getting uncomfortably close may reveal more of the facial expression, but, IT DOES NOT SERVE THE DANCING! That should always be the bottom line, Fathom!

And, speaking of symphony, the SFB Orchestra did amazing work to this untrained ear. Of course, how can you go wrong with that classic Prokofiev score! Throbbing and sensual at times, light, delicate, almost frothy at others. It's the one ballet score that I have in my CD collection that I specifically requested. What we called the Knight's Dance at the Capulet's Masked Ball is a powerhouse of pounding percussion as it should be! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to jot down the maestro's name, but, I'll try to search for it later ().

Only a handful of other people in the theater enjoyed what I saw Thursday night. If you, like most of the Capital City, missed this performance, Fathom has a "Giselle" coming up next month! Hopefully, they'll broadcast this next version by BACKING OFF THE CLOSE-UPS!O(

09.24.2015: Romeo and Juliet

My favorite ballet company performing my favorite ballet tonight! If you're not already dancing at CCDC this evening, meet me at the theater!
Date: Thursday, September 24
Time: 7:00 p.m. (local time)

Run Time: 2 hours (approximate)

Special Fathom Features: Behind-the-scenes look at San Francisco Ballet and exclusive interviews with the artists.

Fathom Events and Lincoln Center are thrilled to bring the timeless story of Romeo & Juliet performed by San Francisco Ballet to select cinemas nationwide onThursday, September 24.

With its passionate choreography, spine-tingling swordsmanship, and celebrated score by Sergei Prokofiev, this colorful and emotional retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has packed houses around the world. Helgi Tomasson’s bravura interpretation of the Bard’s greatest tragedy “lifts Shakespeare’s complex and familiar language off the gilded pages and translates it into lucid classical choreography that is visceral, fresh, and ultimately sublime.” (Huffington Post)

Lincoln Center at the Movies brings exceptional artistic performances to local movie theaters, with its first series, Great American Dance, offering a larger-than-life experience with some of America's most inspiring dance companies.

Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance is made possible by Founding Partners Jody and John Arnold and the Howard Gilman Foundation. Additional support provided by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Blavatnik Family Foundation Fund for Dance, Nora and James Orphanides/Orphanides & Associates LLC, and Stuart Coleman.

San Francisco Ballet’s production of Romeo & Juliet for Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance is made possible by Production Sponsor First Republic Bank.

Original production of Helgi Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet made possible by the E. L. Wiegand Foundation.

Click here for complete information about Lincoln Center at the Movies Series.

09.23.2015: HOT ticket

Tickets for the Dance Series going on sale TODAY! Buy early for best seating:

(Capital City News Service) - Don’t miss Des Moines Performing Arts’ sixth season of The Dance Series that features diverse, stunning movement from internationally acclaimed dance companies! Tickets to each production in the 2015-2016 Dance Series, which includes PILOBOLUS, JESSICA LANG DANCE and BODYTRAFFIC, will go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 at 9 a.m.

Tickets to each production start at $15 and can be purchased at, the Civic Center Ticket Office and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000. Season ticket packages are also available and start at $50 for a three-show package.

About the Productions:

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

Named after a barnyard fungus that propels its spores with extraordinary speed, accuracy and strength, PILOBOLUS is a dance company founded by a group of Dartmouth College students in 1971. PILOBOLUS continually forms diverse collaborations that break down barriers between disciplines and challenge the way we think about dance. Physically and intellectually, the company engages and inspires audiences around the world through performance, education and consultation.

The original company, Pilobolus Dance Theater, has been touring its 115 pieces of repertory to more than 64 countries over the last 42 years. Pilobolus Shadowland, the company’s evening length show currently touring Europe, the Middle East and Asia, has been seen by more than a half million people in the three years since it was created.

*This is a return engagement for PILOBOLUS. They first performed at the Civic Center in 2011 in the first season of The Dance Series.

Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Founded in 2011, JESSICA LANG DANCE (JLD) is a New York City-based dance company dedicated to creating and perform­ing the work of Jessica Lang. JLD enriches and inspires global audiences by immersing them in the beauty of movement and music.

Since the company’s inception, marked by Lang’s receipt of a Joyce Theater Artist Residency supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JLD has made rapid success performing at renowned venues and festivals throughout the country, including the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, TX where the company’s performance was chosen as the best dance event of 2013.

*As part of this engagement, JESSICA LANG DANCE will audition and select local dancers to restage a selection from the company's repertory. Auditions will be held in the fall of 2015 and the local dancers’ experience will culminate when they perform the restaged piece as the opening act for JESSICA LANG DANCE.

Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

BODYTRAFFIC’S sharp execution of both movement and character is fueled by their sheer passion for the art of dance. This young Los Angeles dance company seamlessly morphs in and out of the distinct visions of various choreographers, leaving audiences astounded at the diversity of their repertory and the breadth of their style and athleticism.

Founded by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett in 2007, BODYTRAFFIC has surged to the forefront of the concert dance world. The Company was chosen to travel to Israel and Jordan this fall for the fifth season of DanceMotion USA - an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, produced by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) to facilitate cultural exchange while showcasing the best in contemporary American dance. Known for commissioning today's most distinctive choreographers, BODYTRAFFIC will perform And at midnight, the green bride floated through the village square… by Barak Marshall, Victor Quijada’s Once Again, Before You Go, and Richard Siegal's exuberant o2Joy.

Praised for its “confident, hard-hitting” (LA Weekly) execution in a wide range of styles, BODYTRAFFIC was named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2013.


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.

Additionally, The Dance Series company members will lead interactive master dance classes with local dancers during their time in Des Moines.

09.22.2015: Can't See The Forest?

Favorable reviews sent to us by the Playhouse publicity peeps:
What are people saying about opening weekend of Into the Woods at the DsM Playhouse?
  • "Into the Woods at @DMPlayhouse had all the feels! The vocals were top notch too. Some of them should be on Broadway!" - Paul J. (Twitter)
  • "A wonderful time. The woman that played Cinderella was outstanding.....a future Disney star." - Paul M. (email)
  • "Loved seeing Into the Woods at the Playhouse! Always so much better on stage than a film." - Emily B. (Facebook)
  • "Loved the show, hope to see it again! Costumes were terrific and the scenery pretty cool! Actors fit their roles completely!!!" - Playhouse survey response
  • "As always, the talent in our community amazes me. Keep up the great work. And thank you to all the unseen volunteers also." - Playhouse survey response

09.21.2015: Return of DWTS!

Weak field introduced last week:
Dancing With The Stars!
Season Twenty-One
The Premiere

Opening Number: Andy Grammer, Bindi Irwin, Paula Deen, Victor Espinoza, Nick Carter, Carlos and Alexa Pena Vega, Hayes Grier, Kim Bierman, Alek Skarlatos, Chaka Khan, Gary Busey, Tamar Braxton introduced. Everyone dances with mixed degree of comfort! Mandy Moore choreographed the number.

Team Victor Espinoza/Karina Smirnoff: Height difference may be a problem. He says his concussions have damaged his short-term memory. She's using his horse background to choreograph the number. Oh, I don't think so...Hmm, let's put Victor in the "soon to be disappointed" category. He's enthusiastic, but, has no feeling for the dance! Stick to horse racing, Victor! And, I'm being kind! Judges are being kind!! I give him a six...or five! Real judges: 5, 5, 5! Comments are kind, the scores are cutting!

Team Tamar Braxton/Val Chermokovsky: Current champion! "She came to dance, honey!" Quickstep. Wow! She's good! NICE! sharp, quick, clean. She's serving notice: I'm one of the anointed! She dances with great attitude! Great spirit. I saw that LINE! I give her an 8! She cleans up well, doesn't she! Judges are very complimentary! "Smooth and graceful!" Real judges; 8, 7, 8! Sending a message by setting the barre!

Team Chaka Khan/Keo Motsepe: Ten Grammies! Reveals he's a prince! She replies "I'm queen of funk!" I don't know! Age is going to be a handicap! She has presence. But, too much on her heels! Weak core. Needs to find the funk! in the movement! Forgot the steps! Unforgivable! I give her a five or six! Judges are giving good advice! Cha cha technique broken down by Bruno! Work on the technique! Keo can only do so much! Real judges: 5, 4, 4! Sending a message with the scores! But, good comments about being willing to learn after the

Team Hayes Grier/Emma Slayter: Social media maven! He's about as good as you would expect an untrained 15 year old would be. Actually he's better. Youth is on his side. But, how good will he become? That's the question. He did good for 15! I give him a 7. Judges tell him to open his eyes! Real judges: 7, 7, 7! He's sticking around for awhile!

Team Andy Grammarr/Allison Holker: Doing it to honor his mother! Fox Trot! He has me with his first movement! Needs to work on his upper body frame! But, he has an innate sense of movement and musicality that isn't always apparent in a musician. He impressed less as it went on. But, he's someone to keep an eye on!! I give him a 7. Her lack of ballroom experience may be a handicap in this partnership! Real judges: 7, 7, 7!

Team Paula Deen/Louie Van Amstel: Can she cook up the recipe to win a mirror ball? Hmm, video package says...NO! Set opens up with piles of butter on a kitchen counter. Head's in the right place. But, the frame is weak! She's losing more and more frame the longer the dance continues! Put her in the soon to be disappointed category! I give her a four or five. Quickstep is a hard dance to start with! Real judges: 5, 5, 5! Needs to tame those nerves! Not sure she's going to bee here long. The one thing in her favor is so many bad dancers this season!

Team Carlos Penavega/Witney Carlson: Classic James Brown tune! GREAAT timing! Excellent musicality. nice sense of phrasing in his movements! He's making me watch him and forget Whitney...and that ain't easy! I give him an EIGHT! Scores after his wife performs! Real judges: 8, 8, 7!

Team Alexa PenaVega/Mark Ballas: Wow. Very sexy beginning! Work those hips! Oh, she's sending a message to her husband! I'm the dancer in this family! She's got good timing as well! I give her an eight as well! Real judges: 7, 7, 8!

Team Kim Zolciak/Berman/Tony Dovolani!: She's facing her demons. She's carried on. Annoyingly careful! Tony has another liability as a partner! So slow, so careful, so boring!!! I give the whole thing a five! I'm being generous in that score! She shouldn't be happy with that! Judges calling her out on lack of attack! Real judges: 4, 4, 4! Lowest scores of the last several season!

Team Bindi Irwin/Derek Hough: She's just 17! Love her personality already! Dancing, of course, to Crocodile Rock! Great expression! What a great spirit! With Derek, Are you kidding me? Just give her the mirror ball now!. I give her an eight or nine! "You are the wonder from down under!" "You are ADORABLE!" Judges LOVEE her! Real judges: 8, 8, 8!

Team Gary Busey/Anna Trebunskaya: His focus and short term memory is problematic! I'm glad she's got a good perspective, because I'm expecting the worst! He's lumbering and flat footed. He's off the music. No hip action! This is what it would look like if Tommy Chong had a lobotomy before he performed. I give him a five or four! He's a wild man! He's a real wild card! Dancing for his mom as well! Real judges: 5, 5, 5!

Team Alex Skarlotos/Lindsey Arnold: Fox Trot! Real American hero. Easy smile. Nice line. Great feeling. Nice rise and fall. Needs to keep his shoulders down, but, much better than expected. Nice off line arm! I give him a seven! "One of the best dances of the night!" "You took my breath away!" "You are the surprise of the night!" This guy's a contender! Real judges: 8, 7, 7!

Team Nick Carters/ Sharna Burgess: Former Backstreet Boy! Sharna's a fan girl. Start in silhouette! His performing background is working in his favor! Good attack! Sharp hitting those pictures. Good mix of dancing for the audience and connecting with his partner. This guy's a contender! I give him an eight! Real judges: 8, 8, 8! Tied for the lead!

Wow! Such a chasm between the good and the bad! Might be painful wading through the early eliminations. Are there more bad dancers than usual this season? Ouch!

09.18.2015: Where There's A 'Wili', There's A Way!

Want to compete in an international youth ballet competition, but, you're a poor, starving dancer from a poor, hard working family?
"...Past Genee medallists have gone on to dance for the Royal Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre and the English National Ballet, to name but a few.

But (Darcy) Bussell is keen to widen the talent pool, and for the first time this year, the RAD has offered nine bursaries - bearing Bussell's name - to dancers who would not otherwise be able to finance their trip to the competition.

The scheme is open to any individual from any country wishing to compete and will run for five years.

"There are lots of talented kids who can't afford to come to the competition. The bursary is to get them here. "I'm excited - it's back in London, and it's bigger and better than ever...."

...Click here for the entire article.

09.16.2015: Tendon Seize Tendencies

Here's a copy of my correspondence with a retired certified nutritionist that could be of interest to some dancers:
"...This is (@SirDanGuy) asking for information on behalf of one of my dancers. She's been growing a lot recently and has been diagnosed with tendonitis severe enough to hinder her ballet training.

I've suggested glucosamine and a general vitamin and mineral supplement. Is there anything else you can suggest to help her heal more quickly?

She's seeing a physical therapist, but, I believe a lot in the power of nutrition as the basis for optimum health. So I'm checking with my favorite nutritionist and former dancer for the latest research.

Sorry to bother you in the middle of your early retirement! Hope it's going well. Give my regards to (your wife)..."

...And, got this information in reply:
"...Salu and a padasha to you.

Systemic enzymes have shown good results in tendon inflammation. There's one, Wobenzyme, specifically designed for this, probably available at (a local health food store). Or just plain bromelain in a significant dosage. Systemic, or 'metabloic' enzymes have to be taken without food so they enter the blood stream and don't just digest food. Boswellian would be a good anti-inflammatory herb as well.

Good luck with it. Keep me informed to your shows/recitals, I'll try to make one..."

...And, the student told me her physical therapist did agree with my suggestion of the possible benefit of a glucosamine supplement. I've had good luck with a specific brand. My knees used to hurt after dancing, but, when I switched to a specific herbal glucosamine supplement, they haven't bothered me one bit. (If you want to know the brand, just ask.)

09.15.2015: Wherever You Go, There You Are!

A recent CCDC graduate just texted us the corrections she's getting at her new traineeship. Here they are:
"...Show fifth, ribs more forward, turn out while jumping, use my seat and arms to help me jump, roll through my foot coming down from pirouette, and more..."
...But, she admits they're nothing she hasn't heard before at Capital City Dance Center. Let this be a lesson to all you aspiring CCDC dancers! You don't have to wait to LEAVE before you start paying attention to corrections you should be working on right now!o)

09.14.2015: Wrapping SYTYCD!

Finally, finale on tap! Here's a recap of the final performances:
So You Think You Can Dance
Team Street Vs Team Stage
Top Six Perform: The Finals, Part One

Opening Number: No opening number! Virgil's the only guy left! Girls are so strong this year! Nigel is an OBE? Order of the British Empire?

Team Jaja/Hailee: Hiphop! Start on a ladder. Hiphop ninjas in bare midriffs! The roof is on fire! So fast that Jaja's natural advantage in this numbers is being negated. SHARP, sharp number. Hard hitting! Strong Women! They escape off stage! Swag off is a draw to me! Favorable comments from the judges!

Team Virgil/Gaby: Phillip Habib lyrical Hiphop number! Gaby plays beautiful memories! Start off playing patty-cake with hands then feet and legs. Virgil effortless lift of the taller Gaby. Love this choreography! Virgil has such an outsize personality he's not overshadowed by the irrepressible Gaby. Not an easy task! Demanding partnering carried off well by both dancers! "color, texture and dimension" praised by Paula. "Looked like a pretzel!" Good dancers rocking good choreography! "Perfect blend of street and stage!" World class choreography praised by judges! Very creative!

Team Jaja/Gaby: Nick and RJ jazz piece. Exploring duality that lies in all of us. Dealing with long dresses during demanding lifts. Love Gaby's upper body isolations! Strong. Jaja may be out of her element paired next to the iridescent Gaby. Or is it just my partiality showing? No, I really think Gaby's training is allowing her to overshadow Jaja. Gaby's pop in rib cage to begin the number set the tone. "takes tenacious spirit!"

Team Virgil/Jaja: Stacey Tookey's dance about farewells. Contemporary numbers.. Test of dance technique for the street trained dancers. She's wearing tape on her feet to help the turns and protect them from friction. Virgil does two street turns. Seems like a caricature of a stage trained dancer. You can't fake your way through good dance technique. But, you can't fake that smile she has and the breath. Better than I expected. "Jaja, you have been amazing this season!" "You rise above the lack of technique!"

Team Virgil/Hailee: Broadway number. Virgil the nightmare neighbor confronted. FUN number. This street character betrays less lack of technique Jive based dance steps. Virgil is irrepressible! "That just made me smile!" "Broadway is character driven!" Jason says some of the smiles were out of place! "You were truly Broadway babies!" (Nigel reveals Kat's pregnancy!)

Team Hailee/Gaby: Travis Wall number. About the fear of non-acceptance! Relationship driven choreography. Contact must be sincere. Love has no boundaries! Once again very creative intertwining and lifts that flow into and out of movement. Some of the best trained dancers of the season. the technique allows them to use movement as a vehicle for expression. What a number about love and acceptance. Travis is in Tears in the wings! They shared A MOMENT on stage! The emotional resonance was inspiring! Numbers like this is why dancers do what they do. As much as the audience got out of this piece, the dancers got even more.

Team Gaby Solo: She's such a vulnerable and honest dancer with strength and technique! Million dollar smile! Look at those eyes! look at that smile. Clean annd FAST sounds! She's not just a tapper! She's got my vote!

Team Virgil/Joshua: Guyz version of "Rule the World!" They're murdering it! OUCH! big drop to the knee! Big jumps! Power to the people! Virgil is a little package of dynamite! Virge returns to his roots! "You are such a FORCE!" "We getting JUICED!"

Team Virgil SOLO: A Beautiful Mine by RJD2. Here's more character driven hiphop. Some fast footwork! His solo is a vehicle for his personality!

Team Hailee/Marko: Ray Leeper Jazz! Last jazz dancer standing on the show! Janet Jackson number! Thigh high boots! she's selling the sizzle! Marko might as well not be there...even though he's fabulous! This is all about Hailee!!! She's KILLING this number! She got great attitude for this number! "You dance with such FEROCITY!" Intense Isolations!

Team Hailee Solo: Dancing to Paula Abdul! So flexible and so fierce! Shows turns and tumbling!

Team Jaja/CYRUS: Christopher Scott number. Cyrus and Twitch Battle! Animation 3.0. "Roam free, m friends, roam free! Love this concept! Jaja set free! She's unleashed. This story is so intriguing! This animation is OFF DA CHAIN! I'm smiling watching this! She's the terminators terminator. She shuts him back into that glass prison! Watch out world! JAJA IS FREE! GREAT ROUTINE! Paula is right: no other female could have done this number...except maybe Comfort!

Team Jaja solo: Back to the beginning! She's a groundbreaker! She's hard strong and STANK So musical! She crumps like nobody's business...and then that transcendent smile!

Team Gaby/Zach: Tap tribute. She doesn't fake her tap. This is tap at a high classic number! Hope the audience appreciates this tap number. When was the last time ou saw tap done like this and so well? This is not dumbed down tap! This routine. That was hard, demanding and difficult. "I knew this was the season I was meant to be on!" "You are very, VERY special!" Jason climbs up on the judges' table to deliver a standing ovation!

I think the title is Gaby's to lose, but Virgil will be tough competition. All four are worthy of winning the title!

09.11.2015: Audition To Dance In D.C.

Stumbled across this on the web recently:
The Washington Ballet auditions are intended for classically trained dancers with performance experience with a professional company or school. Repertoire includes George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Wheeldon, Trey McIntyre, among others.

  • new york
    School of American Ballet | 70 Lincoln Center Plaza | New York, NY 10023
    February 14, 2016
    12-1PM Registration | 1-4PM Audition

  • washington, dc
    England Studio | 3515 Wisconsin Ave, NW | Washington, DC 20016
    February 21, 2016
    12-1PM Registration | 1-4PM Audition

  • miami, fl
    Miami City Ballet | 2200 Liberty Ave. | Miami, FL 33139
    March 13, 2016
    12-1PM Registration | 1-3:30PM Audition

  • washington, dc
    England Studio | 3515 Wisconsin Ave, NW | Washington, DC 20016
    April 10, 2016
    12-1PM Registration | 1-4PM Audition

Online Pre-Registration (encouraged): $20 fee*
Onsite Registration: $25 fee*

All dancers must bring a résumé, dance photo, headshot, registration form and fee (by cash/check).

The Washington Ballet is a professional company and the artists of the Company are presented an American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) 35-week contract (min).

*AGMA members exempt

For any inquiries, please contact Company Manager, Abby Olson, at or 202.362.3606 x117.

...For more information, click here.

09.10.2015: Ballet To Be (Or Not To Be) Livestreamed!

Put this in your day planner, ye star-crossed lovers!
Romeo and Juliet rehearsal to be live-streamed on 11 September 2015

Insights event will feature Sarah Lamb and Ryoichi Hirano rehearsing the star-crossed lovers' pas de deux, and Alexander Campbell being coached through Mercutio's solos.


A Royal Ballet rehearsal of Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet will be live-streamed via YouTube and the Royal Opera House website from 7.15pm BST on 11 September 2015. The event — one of a number of upcoming live-streams from the Royal Opera House — will feature members of the Company rehearsing both pas de deux and solos, as well as being interviewed. Sarah Lamb and Ryoichi Hirano will rehearse the act one and three pas de deux, and Alexander Campbell will be coached through Mercutio's solos from acts one and two. The session will be led by Senior Ballet Master Christopher Saunders. MacMillan's ballet celebrates its 50th anniversary this Season and — as well as this streamed Insight — the production will be one of the focuses of The Royal Ballet's contribution to the live-streamed World Ballet Day event on 1 October. Subscribe to the ROH YouTube channel to receive notifications about future live-streams:

09.07.2015: SYTYCD Semis!

Down to the best of the best and good-bye to the rest!
So You Think You Can Dance
Team Street Vs Team Stage
Top Six Perform: The Semifinals

Opening Number: Dressed in rags. So few dancers left. Four girls and two boys. Two girls lift another. Gaby Throws jim. Stellar suspension and release. Symbolic breaking through of a barrier. Shifting shapes form and reform to coalesce, like waves on a shore! They end crawling into a line. Good feeling in the dance.

IT's Hailee and not Kailee? Should use clearer font! Surprise survivor for me is Megz. Everyone else could've been predicted to be here. Mandy Moore choreographed the opening number. Results of the team dances voting revealed. Will Team Stage end the three week streak? Stage breaks the street 55percent to 45 percent.

Team Gaby/Marko: Ray Leeper routine. No story, just technique style and energy. Flirtatious! Sexy, steamy and Booty-ography!. "Sorry dad!" Dressed in steampunk outfits. SHARP! movements! strutting, funking. Showing off gymnastics skills for both dancers. Good attack. Good technique. Featuring what's behind Gaby's prodigious technique and wonderful personality! "Hi! Dad!" Gaby could win this! Good technique, great looks, KILLER PERSONALITY! What's not to like? If Gaby shows up at an audition, other professionals better know they're in for a BATTLE! So genuine, not too full of herself. Confident, not cocky!

Team :Virgil Solo Mentor Clyde Evans! overall cutoff shorts and a wife beater next to a boombox. This guy is a star in a small package! His personality is almost too large for his body.

Team Jaja/Alex: Alzheimers Tessandra Chavez. Her dance technique will be challenged by the former professional ballet dancer. She leafs through her notebook. Forties coiffure. Who are you! The fear and the panic of losing her memories and sense of self is palpable! The questioning in her eyes when she forgets as opposed to the smile and the recognition when she remembers is a dramatic counter point. She is quite the actress! Judges and audience on their feet! Big hug from Alex as he exits. Paula says, "There's nothing you can't do!" Jason wipes away tears as he begins his feedback. She smiles with her eyes from her soul!


Team MEGZ/JOSHUA: Christopher Scott hiphop routine. Tutting a little challenging. Be free! I don't remember him at all. But, the piece and he are very musical. Strong beat and rhythm in choreography and dancing. Megz performing with her usual intensity and stank face! Ode to freedom! Who knew freedom was so painful, though! Not sure if Megz is going to make it to the final! Jason comments on the lack of time for rehearsal before performance. Nigel suggests she be cast in WEst Side Story.

Team :Gaby Solo The tapper. Judge tap on the cleanness of the sounds and the rhtyhn or syncopation of the taps. Also judge on the performance on top of the technique. Gaby, as I said, could win this thing.

Team Jim/Anya: Samba with Dmitry Chaplin. Sexy and cool. Getting comfortable with the shimmying and gyrating. She's a handful. Jim needs to command the stage to avoid being overshadowed by the raven haired all star. He's only partially successful. Hip action leaves a little to be desired. Not his most successful outing. Ends in a deep drop. Strong finish. Needs a little more of everything!. Nigel says "Pretty good". Paula says Strong partnering. Good balance in performing with partner and performing for audience. But, needs work on isolations. Loosen up those hips. Jason says he's surprised at the progress at getting DOWN>

Team Jaja Solo: She's so skilled at animating and robot skillz. Always offering something new. She embodies every beat and counter percussion of the music. She moves like a machine would move. She is an android, sim!

Team Virgil/Melanie: Justin Giles contemporary routine. Dealing with PTSD. Important issue right now. Playing with dogtags to start. Home again, but, half of him is still at war. he throws her hand away and then reaches for her and apologizes! Like the Alzheimer's piece this is about the havoc wreaked by the ravages of War or disease. She hugs him but is rebuffed. He Takes off the dogtags. The look they share communicates volumes! Audience and judges on feet! Virgil is still in the aftermath of revealing himself on stage. Paula says "Damn, you're good!" Jason praises the honesty in his dancing tha draws the audience in. NIgel says the cures is love, unconditional love.

Team Jim Solo: Thanking his mentor. Arabesque releve that goes higher than most girls. His elevation. world class. His extension! Six o'clock penche's are you kidding me?

Team Hailee/Robert: Jazz number. Angel of death. She isa vision of death come for Robert. He's in a leather harness. If she's the angel of death, I'm scared of death no longer!. See through mesh shorts with cutouts. Kissed. Kissed HARD! and Thrown aside! He rubs his lips. Jason says you murdered it. She could win this thing as well!. Paula says you're a perfect marriage of finesse and fury! "Wickedly seductive"!

Team Megz Solo: Fluid flowing, sharp and hard. Seductively strong. She ddances with a spark in her eyes!

Team Jim/Gaby: Broadway number. Man of her dreams in a fedora! What a sense of humor! Character development. action packed routine. Kick the camera! Wow! She makes a beautiful patient! That hospital gown comes off and reveals a fever red asymmetrical hemline see through dress. Pirouettes into grand jete'. Classic Was it a dream? What's this hat? Nigel questions the chemistry and the choreography! Fever left me a little cold! Paula says it lacked the passion. Nigel says they failed to find the character!

Team Hailee/Megz: Stacy Tookey Contemporary number. Two sisters reunited. showcasing Hailee's extensions and Megz strength. In long flowing skirts with leotard tops. Embraces lead to counterbalance lifts and drops. The embrace leads to an emotional departure! Emotionally strong. Disguised Megz lack of technique. Paula praises the connection. "You nailed it!"

Team Virgil/Jaja: Pharside and Phenix. The strong hip hoppers and outsize personalities. Jaja in Wonderland with the Cheshire Virgil. Her and his facial expressions are priceless Madcap take on Classic fairy tales. Find myself watching her a lot. They sit on the end of the stage. Such mischievous madcap antics.

Results: first to go through Jaja! Big hug from tWitch. Second finalist is Gaby! No surprises so far. Big hug from Travis. Virgil goes through, Megz goes home. Hailee goes through, Jim goes home! Big hug from Megz to Jim. Jim is openly weeping. I think he's second-guessing whether or not he should've left Houston for this risk. back from the video pack. Jim's chin is trembling. Tears flowing from his eyes.

Who's gonna win? I think it's a fight between Virgil and Gaby.

09.04.2015: Spanish Soliloquy

Here we go again! Apologies in advance to anyone who overhears my music when you're stopped next to me at an intersection. Endless repeat of a single song! Mind-numbing repetition of the Spanish Variation over and over! As I've written before, it's part of my choreographic process. Now, I know the post-modernists sniff at actually choreographing to music, but, as a classicist I'm carrying on a time-honored tradition. But, of course, I'll put my own twist on that tradition! I believe the best way for me to choreograph is to let my imagination play, let creativity course. I play with steps in my head and reject the obvious and trite. A million times I'll listen to the music, a million steps I will reject. What's left, hopefully, will be a playful, irreverent, yet respectful bow to ballet's best! Croisé your fingers and toes! And, once again, apologies in advance if you happen to overhear the mind-numbing, ear-bleeding, endless repetitions of a single song!

09.03.2015: More (Or Less) Audition Action

FYI: If you were planning on audition for the Joffrey Ballet:


The Joffrey Ballet does not intend to hold Open Auditions this year. Candidates who wish to audition for the Company are encouraged to send the following materials:

  • Resume: Please include performance experience, training, height, awards received and contact information.
  • Dance Photographs: Please include two to three different full body views (preferably not in black clothing) and a headshot.
  • Performance or Studio DVD
Submission of audition materials should be by mail or courier, only. Audition materials sent by e-mail will not be accepted. Audition materials cannot be returned. The Joffrey Ballet is committed to being a multicultural ballet company; dancers of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to send audition materials. Receipt of audition materials does not guarantee a class audition.

Please send materials to:

Joffrey Ballet Auditions
The Joffrey Ballet
Joffrey Tower
10 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
All inquiries regarding the audition process should be directed to

09.02.2015: More Free Flix!

Price is right for starving artists, IF you're not already taking classes at CCDC, that is!o)
Des Moines Performing Arts invites the general public to a series of exclusive film screenings at The Fleur Cinema & Cafe. The film screenings are free and will take place prior to engagements of several related productions at the Des Moines Civic Center. The free film screenings at the Fleur Cinema are:
  • Dirty Dancing – Thursday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.
  • Still Moving: Pilobolus at Forty – Sunday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.
  • The Bridges of Madison County – Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
  • The Wizard of Oz – Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.
We hope to see you at these fantastic free screenings courtesy of Des Moines Performing Arts

09.01.2015: Thoughts During Audition

Some notes jotted down during audition adjudicated this past weekend. Do these apply to you? How do you make a more favorable impression NEXT TIME?
"...Good Smile! Little turnout...Use your plié...Missed Plié combination...Need to travel...No body direction awareness...No use of turnout...Need to travel...Needs to stretch front leg in cambré back...No training...dangerous en pointe...nice back in arabesque...Great SMILEx3...Bad fifth, no clue...long legs, nice pirouettes, messed up use of head...bad placement...bad placement, pointe work...This dancer surprised me in a good way...long legs, pleasant expression...this is a stronger dancer...just BAD...basic technique, not a performer, lost pirouette combination...fell out of left turnout, bad shoulders, 3 pirouettes! ...bad fifth, clueless, no clue, no clue...good proportions...LOVES to look clue...performer...performer... Need to LIFT TO LOWER...Never mark arms, never mark FOCUS...Keep leg behind you in arabesque..."

08.31.2015: Crunch Time @ SYTYCD!

Only the better dancers are left in the running...with some favorites already sacrificed to the fickle great unwashed voting public! What can you do? Here's a recap of the last round of eliminations:
So You Think You Can Dance
Team Street Vs Team Stage
Top Eight Perform

Opening Number: Danse Macabre. Girls dressed as Wednesday Addams. Boys as Gomez. Neptune in front. Hard to distinguish girls from each other ...except that Kailee stands out above those pigtailed wigs. And, there's Gaby! Was that Pugsley Addams? Virgil also hard to hide! Jim as well. Okay, the personalities are starting to emerge from the costuming!. Fun number! Tyce choreography, obvious in retrospect. Gaby bouree's in pointe shoes. I think Derek and Megz need to watch out tonight.

Team voting has Team Street winning again with three in a row! Solos and partnering with an all-star on tap this episode. Three weeks from the finals. JLo contract one ofthe top prize! She's a dancer, she watches the show.

Team Virgil/Jasmine: Shawn Cheeseman African Jazz number. Challenging lifts. Starts in the tropical voodoo environs. tremendous backbend to the floor assisted by Virgil. Easy lift. Virgil in Shaman mode. He's not being overshadowed which is a real possibility with statuesque Jasmine as a partner. Tremendous freeze by the Virge Man. Wow! He's hard not to watch. and then Jasmine turns the table on the hoodoo man! I thought he would be overshadowed and I WAS WRONG! Jason says work on that sinister aspect. Results: Virgil safe again! He's irrepressible and could win this thing!

Team Jim's Solo: Four seasons "Summer" in bare feet , tights and topless. effortless 720's with more control than expected. Coupe' jete ballon is extreme! on second viewing! Technically the best dancer by far in the top eight!

Team Derek/Jaimie: Tyce Diorio contemporary number. Coaching feeling out of Derek!. Classic Stevie Wonder. Her emotional movement makes him look wooden. He's not bad, just suffers by comparison. Heart breaking ending as she takes her leave. I think his weaknesses were exposed. Judges, of course, disagree with me. Paula is effusive, Jason questioning the connection. This is the top eight, this is the nitty gritty! Nigel also underwhelmed. He says difficult to be vulnerable on stage! Results: In the bottom again!

Team Jaja Solo: Her animation is on point. Powerful, yet still beautiful. That smile after such intensity just underscores the breadth of her ability.

Team Kailee/FikShun: Luther Brown, Swag no, Flava, yes!! Sexy in pleather and oversize jackets and booties. Hard not to just watch FikShun, tho'. But, that tight body hugging suit helps attract the guys' eyes! Sky high extensions and controlled turns help as well. Lotta attack and fierce flava is also a plus. Jason! Going street describing as chicken and waffles as a party in his mouth! She does put a smile on my lips! She could win this thing as well! Results: Someone good is going in the bottom...and it's her! She's hilarious soliciting votes!. Dang! she looks good in pleather!

Team Gaby Solo: Tapper in ripped tight skinny jeans. Tapping to Santana's classic 'Oye Como Va'! Wow! So impressed with her feet I forgot to focus on that incredible smile!

Team Megz/Paul: Paso Doble! Jean Marc Genereaux! That cape work reminds me of what I was planning for the Matador in Nutz. Uh oh! This may be out of Megz' wheel house! Big jump from floor to waist. More black pleather in these costumes. She's trying but her shoulders are hunched and bringing too much street to what should be formal ballroom attack. Dang. Double tour en l'air from Paul. Dramatic ending with a crescent kick that ends in a lift. Nigel and Paula diplomatic. Paula says core needs strengthening. Results: I predict predicament! And...she's in dangeer.

Team Derek Solo: Statement to Two men in Love. nice turns, showing off tremendous flexibility and commitment for a guy. Great smile should be worth some points.

Team Neptune/Kaila: Ray Leeper on relationships! Dramatic greek goddess in bronze costuming for her. jeans and no shirt for him. Strong lifts This is the whole street versus stage encapsulated right in this partnership. She's challenging his technical level. Sensual body to body contact. Ends with leap to full body embrace.He's stepped up from his origins. Work on that technique, says Paula. Neptune is crowd favorite. Nigel says he has to put the work in, Stay hungry! Results: Final dancer in danger. But, I think he will survive to next week at least.

Team Virgil Solo: Irrepressible smile. flares classic rubber band boogying. little sly wink at the end.

Team Jim/Comfort : Pharside and Phoenix. Medusa myth. Told to connect last week, but, he can't look at Medusa or be turned to stone. She comes writhing out. Good attack for ballet dancer. Struggle is interesting to watch. Leg tutting is unique. Big attack. Comfort is being upstaged despite that new décolletage. Audience on their feet. Jason calls out his lack of swag. Says he has to fight his formal training and rediscover his roots. Nigel says needs to find funk factor! Results: he goes on to the top six! Not sure if he's going to be able to follow in Cheon's ballet steps and win the big prize and title!

Team Kailee Solo : She's strong and sexy and not too full of herself. She can tumble and has legs, feet, eyes and THAT SMILE tho'!

Team Gaby/Robert: Mandy Moore contemporary routine. Anxiety of the unknown. Tentative beginning steps a metaphor for uncertainty. The breath in this piece is soul stirring, juxtaposed with frantic urgency. Skirt is flowing in all the lifts and movement. Gaby is more than holding her own as shapes form coalesce and shift into other forms. Ends with him cradling her in an warm embrace. Judges on their feet. It was clear they shared a MOMENT on stage. She's still in a zone as she turns and stands for critiques! Nigel says the piece was in a class in itself. OUTSTANDING! Paula says she was WORLD CLASS!. Embodied angst and anxiety! Results: She's in the top six and could win this thing! What a smile! What a personality!

Team Megz Solo : Fierce and stank. kip ups She's so street. street tumbling. BANG! She HITS that ending!

Team Jaja/Ricky: Broadway number by Al Blackstone. She can rock that white dress. Ricky comes in from off a broadway stage and She actually cleans up very well. channeling her classic Bette Davis eyes or Betty Grable profile. Oh, there's her animating and his amazing grand jete en tournant! Almost beyond splits. Cute, funny number! Judges on their feet. Ubeda reminds us why again he won last season! Paula praising Jaja's ability to portray a character! High praise from Jason. Results: one of the top six dancers! Camera loves her smile and eyes!

Team Neptune Solo: Waving, popping, locking, bone breaking. There's some crumping! He's fierce and then breaks out in that Sly grin!

Team Street: Dave Scott routine. Hot day! Let's make it hot! Strong number. Megz lifts and throws Virgil. This is their wheel house. Virgil does his staank face! But, you know he don't mean it. Jaja animation SO CLEAN! Man, SO HHOT! SO GOOD! Team street may win the head to head once again!

Team Stage Sondra Chavez two couples in addictive relationships. clad in and spotlighted white, it starts. flirtatious ticking Clock hands at the mention of time. Waves stomach down on the ground. I don't quite see the addictiveness. Boys are sick flexible. Not sure this was successful choreographically!

Results: Hard to make these final eliminations, but, I think these cuts are obvious. Less obvious next week. Derek and NEPTUNE! I thought for sure it was Megz going! Obvious emotion in the embracing leavetaking.

Well, I think Megz is on the chopping block next week. Kailee making the case to stay. Jim having a hard time connecting with audience despite prodigious technique. Jaja making strong case to stay as well. But, Gaby and Virgil could be the last ones left standing.

08.27.2015: Audition Action

Iowa Dance Theatre auditions for The Nutcracker are THIS WEEKEND! (Just let your CCDC teacher or the office know your child could be missing Friday or Saturday class.) Merde! Here's the timetable:
NUTCRACKER AUDITIONS Friday, August 28th, 2015

4:30 Registration begins

  • 5:30-6:30pm – 8 & 9 year olds – Ballet
  • 6:30-7:00pm – Adults
  • 6:45-7:15pm – Acrobatics
  • 7:30-8:30pm – 12 years & up – NON-POINT ONLY
Saturday, August 29th, 2015

  • 11:30 Registration begins
  • 12:00-2:00pm – 10 & 11 year olds – Ballet
  • 2:00-4:00pm – 12 & 13 year olds – Ballet & Pointe
  • 4:00-4:30pm – BREAK
  • 4:30pm-6:30pm – 14 & 15 year olds – Ballet & Pointe
  • 6:30-8:00pm – 16 years & up – Ballet & Pointe
Sunday, August 30th, 2015

  • Callbacks – Only if necessary
Auditions held...4211 Fleur Dr., Des Moines IA 50321

Eileen Thomas, Adjudicator
Please attend the audition for your age as of December 1, 2015

Nutcracker performance dates:

  • Saturday, December 12th 2pm & 7pm
  • Sunday, December 13th 2pm
at the Des Moines Civic Center.
...Here's the link to the IDT website..

08.26.2015: Free Flix!

Price is right for starving artists, IF you're not already taking classes at CCDC, that is!o)
WDMCS Hosts Screening of “Most Likely to Succeed” Documentary

(Capital City News Service) — As students from around the metro area return to the classroom, the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) will host a screening of the documentary film, “Most Likely to Succeed.” The event will take place on Thursday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., in West Des Moines. No tickets are required for the screening. The event is free and open to the public.

An official selection of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, the feature-length documentary examines the history of education and shortcomings of outdated educational models, while also inspiring audiences with a sense of purpose and possibility about what students and teachers are capable of doing.

“The film is thought-provoking, and we want our community as a whole to think about how education can help all students succeed in an innovation economy that requires knowledge, but also skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and creativity,” said WDMCS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Remy.

The Hollywood Reporter states that “Most Likely to Succeed” does not focus on education reform from a political standpoint, but instead looks at parents, teachers and, most importantly, students.

For more information about the documentary, visit

08.25.2015: More Must C Dance TV

This just in, DWTS fans!

08.24.2015: Breaking Bad, Breaking Good, Breaking Fast

As students head back to classes at school and Capital City Dance Center: What you eat for breakfast could be as important as if you eat? Latest study:
Eating Protein-Packed Breakfast Prevents Body Fat Gain, Improves Glycemic Control in Overweight Teens
Controlling glucose levels reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease

(Capital City News service) Approximately 60 percent of young people habitually skip breakfast up to four times a week, previous research has shown. Although health experts recommend breakfast as a strategy to reduce an individual’s chance of obesity, little research has examined if the actual type of breakfast consumed plays a significant role in one’s health and weight management. University of Missouri researchers compared the benefits of consuming a normal-protein breakfast to a high-protein breakfast and found the high-protein breakfast – which contained 35 grams of protein – prevented gains of body fat, reduced daily food intake and feelings of hunger, and stabilized glucose levels among overweight teens who would normally skip breakfast.

Heather Leidy, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the MU School of Medicine and lead author of the study, says the key to eating 35 grams of protein is to consume a combination of high-quality proteins including milk, eggs, lean meats and Greek yogurt.

“This study examined if the type of breakfast consumed can improve weight management in young people who habitually skip breakfast,” said Leidy. “Generally, people establish eating behaviors during their teen years. If teens are able to develop good eating habits now, such as eating breakfast, it’s likely to continue the rest of their lives.”

Leidy and her colleagues fed two groups of overweight teens who reported skipping breakfast between five and seven times a week either normal-protein breakfast meals or high-protein breakfast meals. A third group of teens continued to skip breakfast for 12 weeks.

“The group of teens who ate high-protein breakfasts reduced their daily food intake by 400 calories and lost body fat mass, while the groups who ate normal-protein breakfast or continued to skip breakfast gained additional body fat,” Leidy said. “These results show that when individuals eat a high-protein breakfast, they voluntarily consume less food the rest of the day. In addition, teens who ate high-protein breakfast had more stable glucose levels than the other groups.”

Leidy says large fluctuations in glucose levels are associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes among young people, which can make health complications associated with weight gain more intense.

The normal-protein breakfast meal was milk and cereal and contained 13 grams of protein. The high-protein breakfast meals included eggs, dairy and lean pork that contained 35 grams of protein. Participants in the groups were instructed to report feelings of hunger and their daily intakes of food and beverages. Their body weight and body composition were measured at the beginning and end of the 12-week period. In addition, the participants wore a device that assessed minute-to-minute glucose levels throughout the day.

Leidy’s research recently was published in the Journal of Obesity and the Journal of International Obesity and was funded by the National Pork Board’s Pork Checkoff."

08.24.2015: Must C Dance TV

Down to crunch time at SYTYCD!
So You Think You Can Dance
Team Street Vs Team Stage
Top Ten Perform

Opening Number: Expect to see these numbers on tour. Boys in wrap skirts as well as the girls. Tribal, neo-primitive number. Ritualistic savage, primitive number. showing off a lot of extensions and bouncing to the pulsing drum beat. Savage lifts and pulsing rhythms? End in group in center. Hmmm, kailee by herself. Whom are we missing? And why? Derek in street clothes? Coaches escort Kat to center stage. Choreography by Sonja Tayeh. Results of team vote: Team Street wins again, 51 to 49-percent.

JJ injured and can't perform. Dancing is a full contact sport. If you're gonna dance you're gonna get hurt! Unfortunate, fact of life. All stars help compete tonight. JLo announcement says the winner will get a chance to dance in her Vegas revue! Extraordinary opportunity! Choreography to Empire music, Snippets of solos!

Team Virgil Gadsen: Says he's a Momma's boy! Young looking momma! Virgil ex-Broadway hoofer. Virgil does his solo to Empire number. Traditional back spin a la flash dance.

Team Kailee/Brandon: Broadway number. Fast and clean technique. She's got some gams! Brandon standing back tuck into a layout! He's got a conductor's baton. She's flirtatious in sequined micro shift and long white gloves! Non-stop energetic number! She seizes the baton. Choreographer Warren Carlyle is jumping up and down at the end! Paula says Kailee reminded her of Liza! What praise! Jason calls her "a star"! Praise effusive! Results: She should be safe, but, we're getting down to crunch time! She's SAFE!

Team Neptune: Wants to be a good father. Here's the solo. Classic wave and glide into bone breaking into crumping. Boy does all the styles of street and well!

Team Derek/Kaila: Jazz routine. Feel the heat. Sultry and sexy start. confrontation of desire and dance. Lotta pulling pushing and grabbing. Crotch and hip oriented movements. Fabulous flip off the back to split!. Stage turns red as it opens up and the dancing gets bigger. They mirror each other and end with her between hhis legs locked in soulful stare. Paula says she needs to see more passion. Damned wwith faint praise! Derulo also asking for more animalistic passion! Results: Derek may be on the edge because of his injury and last week's near elimination. He is in the bottom.

Team Gaby: Cubano. Percussionist father and dancer mom! Here's her solo. She taps nice turns as well. Sounds are important rhythm as well. She does well and her personality is always a PLUS!

Team JJ: Moved to LA. Started taking classes. No dancing because of injury. Results: She's on the endangered species list. That smile is still irresistible to me!

Team Virgil/Comfort: First night in their apartment. Temptation classic. WOOW! a lotta charisma up on that stage with these two. B-boying to smooth r-and-b is a little bit of stretch. But, there you go, boo! Very playful. Can't help but smile at this number! Christopher Scott number! Judges on their feet! Jason: "You're the one to beat!" Whoopi Goldberg in the audience! Paula comments on the creative juxtaposition of music and choreography! Results: He should be safe. He IS!

Team Jaja: Czech Republic. Says this is the year for her after getting cut last season! She's still unbelievable mechanical and intense in her dance style! Such a powerful dancer!

Team Megz/Marco: Jazz routine by Ray Leeper. Starts off on a yellow bench to music by Jamiroquai. Another spectacular fun number that brings asmile to my face. Dancers are having such a good time the audience can't help but play along! Good music! Fun dancing! Big jumps and tumbling. FUN, fun routine! Judges effusive again! Results: May be in trouble. She is in danger. She's survived longerr than I anticipated. Tonight's routine should help.

Team Jim: Solo. Says his birth defect made him stronger. Member of Houston Ballet, but, wanted more. His extension cannot be faulted! Nice elevation as well. Fast cabrioles grand pirouettes into saute turns. First time I've seen a garagliole on that stage!

Team Edson/Jamie: Travis Wall choreography. Demanding partnering! Challenging choreography! Starts with solo spotlight and jamie on the floor. Edson is keeping her from ascending to the light. The choreography and lifts are typically organic as Wall makes it. Intertwining pictures the grow, hole, and explode into another. WOW! Not easy partnering as promised. Wall choreography is so amazing! Judges and audience on their feet! Stunning number! Jason says it will become a classic SYTYCD piece! Results: Final dancer in danger! If he goes, he will leave on a high, HIGH note! Unfortunately, that seems to happen too much on this show!

Team Kailee: Utah girl. Parents divorcing. Says dance was her salvation. She attacks the choreography with abandon. Throws in some gymnastics. nice turns that stay on releve'. Her eyes are provocative on stage.

Team Neptune/Jasmine: Pharside and Phoenix choreography. When monsters fight, things get a little crazy! Monsters eating at table when the music starts going craaazy! Energy and attack in this routine is off the charts. They do back bridges and drags! partnered bone breaking. Again, judges and audience on feet! Jasmine an amazing bride of Frankenstein! "Y'all CRAAZY!" Paula says Neptune keeps getting better and better every week! "Marriage made in Transylvania!" Results: He's SAFE!

Team Derek: Says he was inspired by SYTYCD. His solo. Amazingly facile flexibility and attack in his jumps! front aerial! Great boyish smile!

Team Jim/Jessica: Choreography Dee Caspary. Huge challenge for Jim! High and soundless landings from huge jumps! Complicated, intricate, very creative choreography on a star lit stage. Dancers share a moment at the end of the performance. Nigel urges more connection and chemistry with partner! Judges say forget the technique and tell me the story! Results: Foregone conclusion, he's safe..

Team Megz: Solo. Parents were professional ballroom dancers. Quirky and odd attack.

Team Jaja/Alex: Bollywood! Gets to play a princess and its FAST! Alex has tremendous hops! Another former Ballet dancer who left the comfort of a company to challenge his artistic side. Wow! Fast tutting and knee spins as Alex does coupe; jete's into a double saut de basque. Pretends to lose a ring to distract her from her escape Chameleon charmer! jason says she kept up with Alex! Results: Endangered dancers already revealed. She's SAFE!

Team Edson: He was bullied for his cheerleading. His tumbling skills on display. As well as that killer smile! And model good looks

Team Gaby/Joshua: Pharside and Phoenix. Ninja and geisha! She's spectacular in red! Joshua in ninja black. Not sure I'm comfortable with these Asian caricatures and stereotypes. Her street moves don't match her kimono based costume. She got some swag. She ASSASSINATES him at the end! Judges on their feet again! High praise from Paula predicting a long career as professional dancer.

In trouble: JJ, Megz, Edson and Derek. Edson and JJ get sent home! Maybe a mercy for the injured JJ. I will miss the spark in her eye that JJ!

Who's in trouble? Not Kailee. Derek is having a hard time connecting to the audience. Gaby KILLED it tonight and virgil is an audience favorite. Megz might be ready to go. Audience loves Jaja! Derek and Megz my prediction for just delaying the inevitable next show!

08.21.2015: Arts Contests

Calling all you aspiring photographers and musicians!
Des Moines Performing Arts Presents Competitions for Local Artists Inspired By Themes from THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

(Capital City News Service) – Des Moines Performing Arts, in partnership with THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, is creating experiences for Iowans that go beyond the stage. The organization, who is opening the Tony Award®-winning musical Nov. 28-Dec. 5, 2015 at the Des Moines Civic Center, is presenting two competitions for local artists. The goal of these competitions is to engage Iowans with the unique themes and elements of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, which is set in their home state.

The two competitions, which are now open to the public, are “The World Inside a Frame” Photography Competition and the “Bridges Covered” Music Competition. Both competitions will culminate with gallery exhibits (“The World Inside a Frame”) and a concert (“Bridges Covered”). In addition to sharing their work with the public, featured photographers and musicians will receive a complimentary pair of tickets to THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.


In partnership with the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival organizers, Des Moines Performing Arts invites Iowa-based photographers, both amateur and professional, to submit original photographs that capture the beauty of Iowa’s landscapes and the historic Madison County covered bridges. Reviewed by a panel of professionals, photographs will be selected and curated at two gallery exhibitions.

It’s important to note that THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY’S character Robert Kincaid is a National Geographic photographer on assignment to photograph the famous covered bridges of Iowa’s Madison County. In the song “The World Inside a Frame,” Robert speaks to the way a photo’s composition can change the way you see the world and your surroundings.

Here is important information about “The World Inside a Frame” Photography Competition and Exhibit:

· Divisions:
o Adult (Over the age of 18)
o Youth (Ages 18 and under)

· Categories:

o There are five: Landscape, architecture, people and animals, home and immigration.

· Entry Fee:

o None

· Multiple Entries:

o Each photographer can enter up to five photos. There is a limit of one photo per category.

· Submission & Entry Deadline:

o All photos must be submitted online at by Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, 5 p.m. Central Time.

· Gallery Exhibits:

o Featured photographs will be publicly displayed at two gallery exhibits:

§ During the Covered Bridge Festival in Winterset, Iowa, Oct. 10-11, 2015. “The World Inside a Frame” gallery exhibit will be displayed in the downtown square.
§ During the run of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY at the Des Moines Civic Center, Nov. 28-Dec. 15, 2015.

· Featured Photographers Receive:

o In addition to having their work displayed, featured photographers will receive a pair of tickets to THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY’S first performance in Des Moines on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.

Interested photographers can review the complete list of entry rules and other information for “The World Inside a Frame” Photography Competition and Exhibit by visiting They can also contact Sarah Bannon at or (515) 246-2358.


Iowa-based musicians, both amateur and professional, are invited to submit their own artistic take on one of composer Jason Robert Brown’s songs from THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. From choral arrangements, jazz renditions, to hip-hop interpretations and all genres in between, local musicians are encouraged to bring their creativity and unique style to this celebrated score. Reviewed by a panel of theater and music professionals, the top submissions will be given two public platforms.

It’s important to note that Brown won two 2014 Tony Awards for his work on the musical, Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations. THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY’S gorgeous, soulful music is hailed by the Daily News as “one of Broadway’s best scores in the last decade.”

Here is important information about the “Bridges Covered” Music Competition and Concert:

· Divisions:

o Adult (Ages 25+)
o Young Artist (Ages 24 and under)

· Eligible Songs:

o “To Build a Home”
o “Temporarily Lost”
o “What Do You Call a Man Like That”
o “Another Life”
o “Wondering”
o “The World Inside a Frame”
o “Falling Into You”
o “Almost Real”
o “Before and After You”/”One Second and a Million Miles”
o “When I’m Gone”
o “It All Fades Away”
o “Always Better”

· Entry Fee:

o None

· Multiple Entries:

o Each musician or unique ensemble can enter up to three submissions. There is a limit of one submission per eligible song.

· Submission & Entry Deadline:

o All music entries must be submitted online at by Monday, Oct.12, 2015, 5 p.m. Central Time.

· Public Platforms:

o Featured music will be shared through two public platforms:

§ A professionally-produced concert performance that will be free to the general public at Des Moines Performing Arts’ Temple Theater on Tuesday, Nov.17, 2015.
§ A free digital distribution will be made available to all ticketholders attending the Nov. 28-Dec.5, 2015 run of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY at the Civic Center.

· Featured Musicians Receive:

o In addition to having their music shared on public platforms, featured musicians will receive a pair of tickets to THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY’S performance on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.

Interested musicians can review the complete list of entry rules and other information for “Bridges Covered” Competition and Concert by visiting They can also contact Sarah Bannon at or (515) 246-2358.

For more information about THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, visit or

08.20.2015: Familial Feedback

Parent of a participant in CCDC pas de deux classes sends this along:
"...Many many thanks to you both for helping be part of his dance family. He has gotten many compliments on his partnering skills and is ahead of his peers because of experiences you gave him. :)..."
...And, dancers! Stay tuned for more information on Fall partnering classes at Capital City Dance Center!

08.19.2015: No North, No Problem!

Hold on a minute! First it was, Meghan Trainor cancelling, now, comes this...A change in Dance Series programming:
Des Moines Performing Arts Welcomes BODYTRAFFIC to the 2015-2016 Dance Series
Programming change due to RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO cancelling tour

(Capital City News Service) - Des Moines Performing Arts announced today that due to RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO cancelling their tour, the dance company will no longer perform at the Des Moines Civic Center on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. This engagement was part of the 2015-2016 Dance Series.

In place of RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO, Des Moines Performing Arts has scheduled Los Angeles-based dance company BODYTRAFFIC at the Des Moines Civic Center on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., the same location, date and time as its predecessor.

Currently, only season ticket packages are available for the 2015-2016 Dance Series, which start at $50. Season Ticket Holders who have already purchased season ticket packages can use their RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO tickets for admission when they attend BODYTRAFFIC since Des Moines Performing Arts will not reprint these tickets.

If Season Ticket Holders have questions, they can contact the Civic Center Ticket Office at 515-246-2300.


BODYTRAFFIC’S sharp execution of both movement and character is fueled by their sheer passion for the art of dance. This young Los Angeles dance company seamlessly morphs in and out of the distinct visions of various choreographers, leaving audiences astounded at the diversity of their repertory and the breadth of their style and athleticism.

“It’s not every day that, even before a dance company finishes the first piece, I think; “And now I have a new company to love.” But that’s just what happened.” - Susan Broili, The Herald-Sun Review from American Dance Festival in Durham, NC

Founded by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett in 2007, BODYTRAFFIC has surged to the forefront of the concert dance world. The Company was chosen to travel to Israel and Jordan this fall for the fifth season of DanceMotion USA - an initiative of the U.S. Department of State, produced by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) to facilitate cultural exchange while showcasing the best in contemporary American dance. Known for commissioning today's most distinctive choreographers, BODYTRAFFIC will perform And at midnight, the green bride floated through the village square… by Barak Marshall, Victor Quijada’s Once Again, Before You Go, and Richard Siegal's exuberant o2Joy.

Praised for its “confident, hard-hitting” (LA Weekly) execution in a wide range of styles, [BODYTRAFFIC]BODYTRAFFIC was named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2013.

For more information about the 2015-2015 Dance Series and BODYTRAFFIC, visit

08.18.2015: Free Flicks!

Library system offering free public screenings! Price is right for starving dancers!:
Free Family Movies

Tuesday, August 18, 3:30 – 5:30 PM at North Side Library
Bring your blankets and pillows for this week's movie about Alexander and his terrible day. Popcorn while supplies last. You may bring your own pop (with lid).

Friday, August 21, 1:00 – 3:30 PM at North Side Library
Celebrate the Iowa State Fair and cool down with a movie about River City, Iowa and the musical trouble that happens when a con-man comes to town. Popcorn while supplies last. You may bring your own pop (with lid).

Friday, August 21, 1:00 – 2:30 PM at East Side Library
This week’s movie stars a green frog, a beautiful pig, a bear and a bird thing along with many famous cameos. The gang is back together touring the world, but is that all? A case of mistaken identity and a global theft ring lead them on another crazy adventure.

08.17.2015: Dancing On HDTV

Latest play-by-play!
So You Think You Can Dance
Team Street Vs Team Stage
Top Fourteen Perform

Opening Number: Eliminate four contestants. Faux Victorian costumes on heads are wigs. Edwardian steam punk outfits? Some strong solo tumbling? Is that...Who's that? Boys and candelabras! Fans and slow pivots. Hard to recognize the dancers in their wigs. Choreography closely follows the music, and that's not a bad thing! Dancer intros... not much time to get out of those outfits. Jaja can animate!Brian Friedman choreography. Nice to have BFree back in the house! Surprising loss for State team and their Ghost Light routine. Out of the judges' hands, tweets will determine who advances and who goes home! Jim injured this week? couldn't rehearse for the group number, but cleared for the individual competition?

Team Jim/Yurelis: Sonja Tayeh number. Touch triggers electricity. Feel the energy in this look. "Jim is the best dancer in the entire competition?" Starts with shirtless gym and Yorelis in cutout mosaic leotard and are legs. Wow! She can turn well! Expected from the ballet dancer, unexpected from the street dancer. Jim has some hops! Controlled turns! Jim and Yorelis not going anywhere after this piece. Benefit of Tayeh's choreography. Double attitude turns? Studio trained street dancer?Results: Jim in Top Ten. Yorelis in danger! Public could save her after that number!

Team Jaja/Edson: Misha Gabriel hiphop routine? Exciting matching. Two models! Step up sexy Jaja? Edsom searching for some street swag. Jaja primps to start. Boy, she can Hit those accents hard. SO CLEAN! Makes Edson disappear! She's tapping into her inner diva! She just draws the eye! Good attitude. Had to remind myself to watch Edson! Jason has some high, high standards for hiphop. Results: Both in TOP TEN! That means they tour! Coming soon to a venue not near you!

Team Virgil/Kailey: Tyce Diorio routine? Bitter ex girlfriend. Easy to crush onn Virgil. Creepy contemporary. Reckless routine! Start in solo spotlight. Dramatic lighting. Strong throws and pushes! Significes the relationship. Kailee's coloring helps her pop on a darkened stage. Virgil is playing this one straight. Not a smiley smiley ppiece. Backwards drag to finish the piece as she writhes in a solo spotlight again. Loved the concept and the execution! "Sometimes I forget that you're on the Street Team!" Results: Both should be through! And THEY ARE! She jumps for joy!

Team Alexa?aryanna: Tracy and Dominick burlesque number jazz. Sexy fish number. Quirky and sexy. Must Commit to the character. Travis coaching his charges well! Good commitment I think she missed one lift. Dancing in heels may be their Achille's heel! Thos are higher heels than standard charcter jazz heels. Started off good, kinda trailed off at the end. Loved the concept and the music. But, execution may have been a little ambitious.Nigel wanted more sinister. Good coaching from Paula "Fake it til you make it" from Kat. Results: they should be worried...Both in daanger! Six endanger

Team Derek/Megz: Dave Scott routine. She can actually play that brass1 DDerek struggling with the club moves. Quite overthinking it! Travis "I Can be sexy!!" Derek in his pimp suit! She's not as feminine as promised! Open mouth makes her look more like a fish than the last number! Derek better. Still needs more commitment and total attack. Nice try, not cigar! She doesn't have an idea of what sexy is. Didn't bring sexy back! Jason says Swag was MIA! Meh! Results: Megz in top ten. Derek in danger!

Team Gaby/Neptune:Stacey Tookey! Piece about Humanity. Prejudice and the good a samaritan. Chasing trust! Travis says "You should make us weep!" Out of Neptune's comfort zone. She has such a mature attitude in her approach to this piece. Take my hand! Her presence is palpable. Needed more feeling in that drop. Neptune STEPPING up! Smooth lift and dismount into promenade into more lifts!. I believe her as she develops this relationship. Wow! She's making him look bad even though he's doing well...for him!. Such emotional impact to this piece! Such a gift from the choreographer! That piece was an emotional journey! I repeat what a gift from Stacy! It was real for him. Hit close to him! Results: Neptune in danger. Gaby in the Top Ten!

Team JJ/Kate: B Free routine! USO girls! Pin up girls! JJ in heels! JJ conquered the day! "Be that pinup girl!" Kate's bringing a little more expression to it. She needs to next to Ms facial herself! Kate had better start stepping it up or get used to dancing in JJ's shadow. Good energy from both. little more focus and Attack better. Could see that was both out of their comfort zones. Results: Kate endangered. JJ safe! I would save Neptune and Derek

Team Stage: Sonja Teayeh routine. Drawing on memories. Robert steps in Jim! Wow what a step up. contorted headless bodies start off on stage. Wow! There's a reason he's an all-star. Smooth emotional lifts and poses! Straddle circular group lifts Lines and formations form and disappear. Whomever goes home...this is a good last number to be involved in! Spectacular Tayeh number! Ends with reach and collapse!

Team Street: Pharside and Phenix. Circus Diabollique. Freak show! Circus Macabre! Beardo woman! Strong them. Starts off with music box. Siamese twins get split apart. Strong man hoists performer in one hand supported lift. Bearded lady iis hilarious. Explodes off stage. Tight rope walker prances across proscenium. This choreography taking hiphop to the next level. End in the original pose with a doff of the top hat from the ring leader. everybody still in character.

Eliminations: Find out...after the break! I vote to keep the boys. Derek saved! He bursts into tears. Neptune saved by the piece tonight. He lets out a yell. Four ggirls get let go. Now we're down to the nitty gritty!.

Now who's in trouble? Will Jim's injury affect voting? Derek will have to watch out. Megz is on my soon to be disappointed list. JJ unfortunately may suffer because of the odd piece she was in.

08.14.2015: Arts Caucus

Learn to caucus for the Arts Friday
Iowa Arts Advocacy Caucus seeks to empower Iowa arts advocates

Coalition of local, state and national organizations educates Iowa arts leaders on Caucus process Friday

All 2016 presidential candidates invited to share arts policy positions

Press availability at 10:00 AM with Lt. Governor Reynolds, Mayor Cownie, national arts leaders

(Capital City) - More than 170 of Iowa’s top arts and culture leaders will gather for the Iowa Arts Advocacy Caucus on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Historical Building of Iowa, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines.

The event is co-hosted by a first-ever coalition of the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education, and Bravo Greater Des Moines, along with national partners Americans for the Arts, Americans for the Arts Action Fund, the National Association of Music Merchants, and the United States Conference of Mayors. A bipartisan group of business, nonprofit and civic leaders serve as the event Leadership Committee. All 2016 presidential candidates have been invited to attend the Iowa Arts Advocacy Caucus and offer their arts policy positions.

Timed to coincide with the opening weekend of the Iowa State Fair, representatives from the full spectrum of Iowa’s cultural community – from school districts and libraries to performing and visual arts organizations, artists and civic leaders alike – will learn how to become actively engaged as caucus-goers in the nation’s first presidential caucus state.

While more than 60 percent of registrants indicate they have previously attended at least one presidential caucus, the goal of the Iowa Arts Advocacy Caucus is to educate all registrants on how to become informed, engaged, and connected as caucus-goers, while learning how best to advance arts and arts education policies at the local, state, and federal levels.

The event will feature interactive training sessions presented by a mix of local and national arts advocates as well as political and media strategists. The Americans for the Arts Action Fund will release the “Why the Arts Matter in Iowa” fact sheet along with a series of customized ArtsVoteIowa web tools at the conference as part of their #ArtsVote2016 campaign. Keynote sessions will feature Robert L. Lynch, President & CEO of Americans for the Arts, as well as Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts Vice President of Research & Policy.

In addition, the agenda will feature additional remarks and/or presentations by:

  • Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds
  • Mary Cownie, Director, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Frank Cownie, Mayor, City of Des Moines
  • Simon Estes, Opera Singer, Philanthropist
  • State Senator Herman Quirmbach, Chair, Iowa Senate Education Committee
  • Linda Langston, Linn County Supervisor and Immediate Past President, National Association of Counties
  • Leon Kuehner, Executive Director, Iowa Alliance for Arts Education
  • Tom Cochran, Executive Director and CEO, United States Conference of Mayors
  • Mary Luehrsen, Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, National Association of Music Merchants
  • Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director, Americans for the Arts Action Fund
The day will also feature special performances by renowned Iowa operatic bass-baritone and Iowa native Simon Estes as well as selections from “Caucus! The Musical,” by Iowa playwright Robert John Ford.

The Iowa Arts Advocacy Caucus is free to attend, but pre-registration is required. For more information, and to register, go to

08.13.2015: Flowing, Flaxen, Waxen Hair Ball A'Comin!

"Hairy" time coming at the ball this weekend, Cinderella!
Art Center Big Hair Ball 2015 celebrates all things hair on August 15

(Capital City News Service) The Capital City's hottest event celebrating hair as a form of contemporary self-expression will take place on Saturday, August 15, 8 pm – midnight at the Art Center. An age 21+ event, this unforgettable evening of glamour and entertainment celebrates hair of all shapes, colors, and styles. The highlight of the evening is an hour-long choreographed runway program, produced entirely by local salons and a volunteer committee. The theme of the runway show is “A Big Hair Blowout,” conjuring cosmic collisions, epic exploration, and galactic grandeur, where the sky truly is the limit. Emcees are Nick Renkoski & Jen C. Music by Mickey Davis, DJ set by MAIDS. Local boutiques also participate in the event by offering hair, nail, and make-up artistry to event attendees. This event supports the Art Center’s FREE admission policy and educational and outreach programming. Participating salons include: Anani Salon and Spa, Aveda Institute Des Moines, Bella Salon & Spa, Blondie’s by T. Harris Salon, Bombshell Bettys Salon, Serenity Couture, and Trixies Salon. Independent stylists are: Amanda Marie Cory, Brianne Cummins, and Kodi Beverlin.

Members $50 general admission / $75 VIP Non-members $60 general admission / $85 VIP

Reservations can be made at by clicking on the EVENT RESERVATIONS bubble on the homepage or by visiting the Museum Shop during regular museum hours.

Follow Art Noir on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for event updates, photos, and more.

08.12.2015: 2Katching Up!

Capital City Dance Center dancer update. Just got this from the mother of a CCDC grad-turned-professional-dancer when I asked how her daughter was doing at her new company:
"...She is doing GREAT! Absolutely loves the ballet and the director. She had a featured role in the end-of-summer program performance. She sent me a video of it and it was beautiful. Of course, I couldn’t name anything she was doing. I just knew it looked good. ;)..."

08.11.2015: Survey Sample!

SHE (also) LIVEZZZ! Here's the fourth installment of a survey sent while this student was still far, far away:
  1. Hi! My (nickname is Princess Jadzmin) and I am in Chicago, IL this summer for the Joffrey Chicago summer intensive.
  2. I am in the highest out of 2 levels this summer. The other students are all extremely nice and hard-working. Everyone has their own strengths and depending on the person that means their strength is in a different style of dance other than ballet.
  3. There are around 20-25 girls in my levels out of a total of 53. Unfortunately there are absolutely no guys in this program, which made me very sad because I was looking forward to partnering.
  4. This summer I am taking modern, contemporary, character, Pilates, and jazz. The hardest class for me to get use to would be contemporary. The teacher for contemporary is named Ronn and he works with a bunch of different companies besides Joffrey as well as having a couple of companies of his own, one of them called CoCoDaCo which is a contemporary dance company. The thing that is hard for me to adjust to in his class is the type of movement and thinking he uses. He is very into knowing what your body is supposed to be doing and to feel the movement instead of just doing the movement. One way I would describe his choreography would be funky. When he dances he has a very grounded and a sort of hunched quality to his dancing, which make his style so unique and interesting to learn. His class would also have to be the most unusual class the program has this summer. The most fun class would be a tie between character and jazz. Both classes are pretty carefree and fun. They really brought everyone together and reduced some of the tension that was still there just because everyone still wasn't very comfortable with each other yet. Jazz and pilates remind me most of CCDC because of the way they are structured and taught. Contemporary is by far the most different from any class back home that I have taken.
  5. The two main styles of ballet that I am taking are Russian and Cecchetti. There aren't any huge differences.
  6. My ballet teachers are Karin Ellis-Wentz, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. Anna and Alexei are both trained and teach Russian style while Karin teaches a more Cecchetti style class. Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy as well as having danced and worked with the Moscow Festival Ballet. They are both also Artistic Directors of the Joffrey Ballet Academy. Karin Ellis-Wentz began at the Atlanta Ballet but later joined the Dutch National Ballet as well as Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theater. My favorite teacher would be Alexei because of his humor and because his classes are always fun and engaging. We do a lot of jumping which has its ups and downs but is helpful for strengthening and stamina. My least favorite teacher would be Karin but the only reason she is my least favorite is because of all the echappes that she does. Other than that I like her classes and just as much as my other teachers' classes.
  7. For me the adjustment to new teachers hasn't been that hard. Because I have had to adjust to new teachers before I know what it is like and have gotten familiar with the process of having a new teacher. The adjustment was also easy because the way all of the teachers teach here is so similar to back home that there is not any big adjustment needed. My advice to other CCDC dancers that are going away or just having to take from a new teacher is to pay attention to any slight differences that the teacher might have when doing a movement and to just work hard and be yourself. Don't be afraid of the teacher because then you'll be so anxious and worked up that you won't be able to focus on anything else, including trying to impress the new teacher. Right now I'm working technically on hanging on to my technique and also using the floor and going through the floor whenever possible. My teachers have been working with us on relaxing into our pliés so that they are not so jerky and so that they do not become cut short. This was one of the last corrections that I was given. But this correction is not only for jumping but for everything else as well, for every time a plié is used.
  8. What I wished I had known before I left would be what the program would be like. Because of the shortness of the program there is really no time for any of the extra classes that other programs have. For example there is not a variations classes or partnering class. Variations is replaced by repertoire because of the shortened time.
  9. All of the dancers have their own strengths and weaknesses. But there is one girl named Hannah who has very nice feet and legs and is a good turner and can balance pretty well too. When she turns her spot is very clean and sharp so it makes her able to turn faster. She can also lift out of turns pretty well too.
  10. My roommates names are Kaylee and Madeline. My third roomie is (nicknamed MaddSkyllz2) so everyone already knows her and what she's like. But, Kaylee and Madeline are so much fun and are both so nice. Usually after dinner we all just hangout in mine and (MaddSkyllz2's) room. We went on all of the planned activities together and we made posters and decorated our room with streamers together as well. On our outings we've been to the mall for shopping, the movies, the beach, we saw the Little Mermaid, and we even went in a boat tour of Chicago.
  11. The only performance we have seen is the Little Mermaid. It was a really cute local performance. Not a high quality production but it was fun for the families there and for us because all of the songs and acting were extremely fun and upbeat. We have not been able to see any company rehearsals. But I have seen a bunch of the company members walking around in their breaks and I have seen small pieces of them just messing around or rehearsing. We have been all over the city. We went to the bean the first day and we have been to Navy Pier and Oak Street beach as well as the fountain and Millennium Park. Our Classical Repertoire piece is Waltz of the Hours from Cinderella. The casting is based off of our performance of set pieces of choreography. We pretty much learned some of the base choreography and then "performed" and auditioned for some parts but then were just put into groups. The cleaning of the piece is a little stressful but it usually is that way and will make it worth the stress in the end because everything will be clean and clear.
  12. I miss everyone at CCDC so much! I can't wait to come back next week to see everyone!!

08.10.2015: Catching Up With SYTYCD

Here's a step-by-step recap of the latest eliminations:
So You Think You Can Dance
"Street Versus Stage

Eliminations, the Third

Opening number in tartan. There's JJ! Aggressive attack. Whose choreography? Strong, powerful movements in this piece! In your face, insolent, confrontational. Choreography by?? Why odd number of dancers. Should be top sixteen? why the disparity? Nick Flores and RJ Durell choreography. Team Stage edges Team Street in their group numbers. Derek was missing explained. Injury prevents him from competing and puts him automatically at risk. You dance, you will get injured. Sad fact of dancing life!

Team Kaylee and JaJa---She's engaged! What a year! Ray Leeper choreography. Piece about female empowerment. Team Hail-Ja! Wow! Stage is overflowing with charisma! Each demanding to be watched! They're both stars in their own right! Upstaging each other with their presence and technique!. Only Jaja sickle foot in the slide to the floor betrays her lack of training. Jaja can pick up that choreography! No weakness in either girl! Two of the best girls of the season! Judges are effusive with compliments! High praise from Paula for Kailee. Okay, here are some results. Both should be safe! Jaja safe! Both safe! After last week's alien Robot routine, I would've bee SHOCKED to learn Kailee was in trouble

Team Neptune/Alexia---Blind toy poodle and a daughter. Dave Scott routine.Pull off the crazy with a padded wall. Insane asylum straitjacket costuming. Black and white. Innate sensuality. Suggestive, provocative. THrowing each other against the padded wall. Screams in soundtrack. Fun piece. Little locks and keys in straitjacket. Results: Should both be safe? Yes! Both safe! Big hug! Wipe of the brow!

Team JJ---Is this where the injury comes into play? Derek hurt? Miriam and leonardo tango. Get your hips into it! Too sexy to watch! Voyeuristic. His back was sprained. Forced to take the rest of the week off. Sprained back? Gonna be tough to come back in just a week. dancing with the choreographer! What a stroke of luck. He's gonna challenge her to look good. Her frame is WEAK! He can only do som much! He has enough stage presence for both of them! She looks fabulous. Shows unexpected flexibility! Very intense and emotional! Great flicks and kicks. "You held your own, baby girl!" Danq! She cleans up well, doesn't she! Looks good in dusty rose! Both she and Derek are on endangered species list

Team Jim/Ariana---Sean Cheeseman routine. Struggling with depression . He relates with this routine. Sell the struggle. Dramatic lighting! Two discs serve as backdrops! They twine and intertwine. Roll and grapple! Struggle. Smart lights are blinding! Lorde's "Everybody Wants To Rule The World"! Dramatic lighting and music and choreography! Judges are on their feet! "Dance is one of the great weapons against depression and dementia! "You are absolutely brilliant!" More high praise from Paula! Results: Jim is safe! Ariana in trouble!

Team Virgil/Gaby---Meeting on the streets of NYC. Broadway number. Character Olympics! Her length is a problem for partnering! Shades of forties! Gorgeous in purple. What a classic beauty. She's not bad either! Nice attack. Love her flirtatious eyes! She's making him disappear! Classic broadway She's way tall for him, but, he's got such an outsize personality he's not overshadowed! Put on those glasses for a comic touch at the end! Very cute! Paula praises the choreography! "You are impeccable! "So well versed!" They're both on my favorite lists! Nigel praises musical choices. Sammy Davis' son in audience. Results: Should both be safe! They ARE!

Team Asaf/Kate---Sean Cheeseman jazz routine. They are the "in crowd"! "Be there for Kate in the lifts! "I'm scared every time!" They're hot in coral and lace.. She's trying to put more emotion into it. First lift down and done well. Asaf demonstrating a power move. Shirts are coming off. Spotty choreography. Too much stopping and starting. Disconnected, disjointed choreography. Asaf choreographer's praise his new work ethic. Results: Both in danger. No surprise. She's not connecting with the audience!

Team Marissa/Yorellis---Hard hitting routine. Hypnotic, mesmerizing routine. Starts off with pendulum swinging. placing her into a trance. Very musicl choreography. effective use of the musical accents. Stage dancer is hitting it like a street dancer. only a shade of difference between the two despite being home style of one over the other. Tumbling skills a showcase. Nigel says everyone stepping up too adapt the other styles. Jason says the dancers didn't utilize the potential of the music. Results: Marissa in danger.

Team Megs/Edson---Contemporary routine. By Talia Favia. Discovery of temptation. Street dancer facing technical demands. Metaphor of masked dancer. her suspension of balance is laudable. Her poses are incredible for a street dancer. She's dressed as a woman. Clever use of shirt to cover her eyes on the lyrics. The movement rose above the tricks, the obvious metaphors of covering her eyes and face. Standing ovation from judges and audience. High praise from Nigel and the rest of the panel. Results: Both SAFE!

Team Street Group Routine---Street hustler. Routine. Dressed in black and white. smooth start and then it gets for real! Nice mix of smooth and hard. Easy routines and formations. Asaf featured for a moment. Virgil and Yorellis stand out. Jaja and JJ hard to put in a corner!

Team Stage---Choreography by Travis. Ghost light. Promising concept. Someone's prop light isn't on. Ghostly flowing costumes with white in hair. Travis as usual pushing the boundaries and doing it Swell! I wanna see this ghost show if that's what's happening when the theater's dark! The ghost light lingers at the end. Audience on its feet. I think this is another win for Team Stage! How can you lose with this choreographer!

Results---Who's saved? Top 16 becomes Top 14. Twitter saved is: JJ and Derek. Sympathy vote or his body of work saved him? Should he have been saved? Will he heal fast enough? Judges save: Kate and not Asaf.

Who's in trouble? Alexia? JJ? Not Jim! Not Gaby or Virgil. Kate still is too unconnected to audience. Edson and Megz benefit from excellent choreography!

08.07.2015: Knights in White Satin

Support local theater:
Here's what audiences are saying:
"I highly recommend seeing "Spamalot" at the Des Moines Playhouse! It's a challenging show, but the cast, crew, and orchestra pulled it off famously, and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face during the show!" -- Dave C. (Facebook)

"Thanks to the Spamalot cast for a delightful evening. I had as much fun as I did when I saw this show in Broadway and in Chicago." -- Cristina W. (Facebook)

"The @DMPlayhouse production of #Spamalot is AMAZING! So hilarious! I'm dying laughing!" -- Tony T. (Twitter) Cloris Leachman Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Brett Spahr, Spamalot's Patsy, who has been nominated for an inaugural Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theater Arts Award!

DsM Playhouse
Now through Aug. 9
7:30 PM Wednesday-Saturday, 2:00 PM Sunday

Buy Tickets button


  • "It was hard to tell who was having more fun: the standing, clapping and singing audience at the Des Moines Community Playhouse or the dancing, clowning, and mugging troupe onstage." -- Don McLeese, The Des Moines Register
  • "The opening weekend appeared sold out. Better yet, the performance never flagged, with a built-in Energizer bunny, otherwise known as Mark Maddy, rollicking through the silliness, usually in the role of Sir Lancelot. Charlie Reese almost matched Maddy, too, with a giddy balance of underplaying and hamming things up. Plus - tap dancing!" --John Domini, Cityview
  • "Excellent direction matched with superb production team contributions, and a gifted ensemble to deliver the goods, this show is poised for a rambunctious, successful run."-- John Busbee, Culture Buzz

08.06.2015: Seminal Film Showing

Free film available for all you starving dancers after class tonight!
    Blade Runner, 1982
    Ridley Scott, director
    117 minutes / rated R

    A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. Stars Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer and Sean Young.

    DsM Art Center front lawn
    All films begin at dusk (approximately 9 pm)

08.05.2015: Ballet Of The Northland

CCDC Graduate will be involved in this milestone season for a CCDC Faculty member's old company:
"...Celebrate With Us All Season!

Golden Anniversary Season

For a half-century the Minnesota Ballet has been entertaining, enlightening, educating, training, inspiring and thrilling the Northland, the state and beyond. Whether you are a seasoned audience member and supporter, a new fan, an aspiring professional or an alum, there is an opportunity for you to be moved this historic season!

Interested in our history? Like us on facebook, and type "#50mnballet" into the search bar to see our "Throw Back Thursday" posts!..."

...Check that page to see if you can find some new photos of a CCDC graduate...and some old photos of an OLD CCDC faculty member!

08.04.2015: Message In A Bottle, Part III!o)

SHE (also) LIVVVEEZZZZ! Here's how it's done, kids! When you go away, just answer the questions, like this CCDC dancer did!
  1. Hey! I am (nicknamed MaddSkyllz2), and I am in Chicago, IL this summer for the Joffrey Chicago Intensive. Out of two levels, I am in the highest one. The other students range from the ages 15-19. Some are from the city while others are from around the world. For example, one girl in the program moved to America a little over a year ago from Venezuela.
  2. There are around 25 girls in our level and no boys.
  3. I am taking Ballet, Pointe, Classical Repertoire, Pilates, Contemporary, Character, Modern, and Jazz classes. The hardest class to get used to and the most unusual is Contemporary. The classes that are the most fun are Classical Repertoire and Modern. The classes that remind me most of CCDC are Ballet and Pointe because they are based on the Russian style. There is not much different compared to home, but if I had to choose something it would be the class size. They are significantly larger than the ones at home, and sometimes barre gets a little too crowded.
  4. Most of the classes that I am taking are Russian based. Some differences in technique/style are starting with your hands off the barre and doing frappes with a flexed foot. A thought provoking correction I heard was to widen your back by putting your shoulders forward. I asked about it later, and she said it is about finding the happy medium between putting your shoulders all the way forward and all the way back.
  5. My teachers are Alexei Kremnev (Academy Artistic Director), Anna Reznik (Academy Artistic Director), Karin Ellis-Wentz (Ballet teacher), Ronn Stewart (Contemporary teacher), Ludmila Lupu (Character teacher), Kate Vandivier (Modern teacher), and Jon Sloven (Jazz teacher). My favorite teachers are Alexei Kremnev, Anna Reznik and Kate Vandivier. I like Alexei and Anna because they remind me the most of home, and I like Kate because her modern class is really fun! :)
  6. The adjustment to new teachers was not as hard as I thought it would be because they teach the same concepts taught back home. My advice for younger dancers is to not be afraid to take the lead for barre or stand in the front. We are working on port de bras right now and using your whole body for movements. The last correction I got was to turn my shoulders more in croise fifth.
  7. Before I left, I wish I would’ve known that there would not be partnering class because that would have been a good experience.
  8. All of the dancers have their own strengths. Some of the girls have really good turn out while others strongly attack the movements.
  9. I LOVE MY ROOMIES!!!! I am rooming with (the dancer nicknamed Princess Jazmin) and two other girls. We got along right from the start. One of my room mates is also (nicknamed MaddSkyllz) which is really cool! They are both from Michigan, and are 16 years old. In our spare time, we explore the city, listen to music, draw, and just hang out! :)
  10. I have not had the chance to see any performances or rehearsals. ? They said we would have the chance to watch a company class which I am really looking forward to! The city is beautiful! I have seen quite a bit of it due to weekend activities and walking to and from the studios. For our ballet piece, we are performing Waltz of the Hours from Cinderella. Our choreographer is Anna Reznik, and I really enjoy working with her! We have rehearsal Monday through Friday for an hour after lunch. That hour seems to go by really fast!
  11. I come back August 8th or 9th, and I can’t wait to see the CCDC family! :)

08.03.2015: Random Thoughts During SYTYCD!

Finally! Battlebots is over and I can catch up with my DVR backlog! Here's a review I started two weeks ago and finished this weekend with the last half of SYTYCD. All comments are my own and do not necessarily reflect the policies and convictions of normal people
So You Think You Can Dance
"Street Versus Stage

Skipping the opening number and going immediately to reacting to performances: I think that JJ will be a tough out! Speaking of personality plus and the IT factor! She leaps off the screen with that contagious smile and sly, knowing expression. The other two she danced with may no last too long: Neptune has charisma in his interviews, but, nothing extraordinary about his dancing. And, the other girl may be too androgynous for voters to be comfortable with keeping...

Impressions from second eliminations:

That Jaja is going to be a tough out. Crumps like crazy and charismatic to boot!. I'm starting to agree with the other dance fan at the studio who says Cat's act is starting to wear a little thin!.

Team Jim/Moises/??: Hiphop again for Jim. Boy tapping into his inner swag man! Moises isn't dancing strong enough to relate with the audience! Interesting coaching from Coach! Stage! Hoodies. climbing on stage. cliche movements! Where's the creativity Mr. Choreographer? Both numbers so far not impressed and I'm usually a Stacey Tookey fan boy! Choreography too predictable, Mr Jaquel Knight! Paula calling out a lack of character! "Give me more!" Drop down into it, Boyz! "Your attitude is everything!" "You boyz were just back up dancers!" Nigel calling the choreography "iconic". rather than cliche'. Gotta find that attitude! Okay, who's in trouble? Moises in trouble again, as predicted. Could be saved by twitter voters.

Team JJ, edson, yorelis: Tovaris Wilson choreography. Triangle of dancers. Street vibe. MAN, that JJ is going to be a tough, tough out!. "Own your sex appeal!" These girls are well trained STREET ! Boom Kak!! I's fun already from that video package. These girls are SASSY! Classy and SEXY! Nasty GRRL! Edson is too small for these girls! I think Jason Derulo would have a hard time holding the center of this trio. Not enough attack Edson!. So far no one's blowing me away with choreography! Luke warm comments from the judges! "Don't be afraid to flirt!" "The groove was great!" "Use your innate sexuality!" Paula calling for more attention details. Voting results: Edson in danger. Girls are safe! Girls are both gonna be a tough out!

Team Marissa and Asaf!...Cha cha. WIth Jean Marc Genereaux!! He says she's a cha cha. Finally some ballroom!.. Is she a ballroomer? Using a plate to demonstrate the space. B-boy struggling with the ballroom! Keeping everything crossed for Asaf!. Boy is definitely easy on the girls' eyes as is she for the boys! Chemistry is palpable. But his cuban walks are laughable. Too much weight on the heels!. Asaf is in trouble if he survives this week! Lifts are easy, but, the dismount is clumsy! The transition into shoulder sit and lift and drop are tentative. It was obvious she didn't trust him in the lifts! Nigel asking for where the cha cha is...protecting the dancers instead of showing the dance! Marisa called out to be the fan girl! Asaf gets cred and props for working hard! I think he's leaving at the end of this show given the travails last week! Paula refusing to nitpick the details, but, said it didn't work, but gets an A for effort. She's erring on the side of kindness. Need more connection according to Jason. Flex for votes. Results: Marissa safe. Asaf in trouble again!

Team Gaby, Burim, Ariana doing Shawn Cheeseman choreography. Dance of the blood moon!. Not Canes, you have just really long arms! Gaby is one of my early favorites! Girls are beasting it! Look at her attack! ARIANA! B-boy is suffering from frustration. Creatures from the Blech Lagoon! Creatures of the Blood Red Moon! I can see these guys on Walking Dead!, the musical episode! Okay this is making me smile! Gaby!!! LOOVE HER! Beauty amongst the Beasts! Paula praising his package! We know what you meant, Abdul! Talk about your Freudian slip! You two are FIERCE! Refreshing and well done! "One of the best numbers of the night!" He's being taught second position in front of the nation! Results: In danger: Ariana and Burim. Gaby safe! She could've auditioned in a number of genres, not just tap, unlike some others. The girls are shaping up to be tough outs! Watch out boyz

Team Neptune and Kate: Justin Giles routine. Saying Goodbye. Related to life! Such a strong meaning! She's "too cool" according to the judges! Travis calling out her demure choices. Neptune ready to take it to another level. Saying goodbye, I see it from the strength of their embrace. She's another like Darien who was eliminated last week. She doesn't show her emotions on her face. She needs to take it up a huge amount. He's glancing at her all the time. Totally in character. Still not enough passion attack from her. If she's trying to change judge's evaluations. She's leaving too much room for interpretation. Better...but, still lacking. Neptune was on another planet! Choreography was praised. Jason says they filled in the spaces! You two are an item!! "Grade A" performance! My favorite performance from you. Neptune, you surprising me every week! "Very interesting routine!" Small in stature, expansive in emotion! "So much was said in that routine!" Paula praises the simplicity and the complexity! Results: Neptune safe, but, Kate endangered species! She may go tonight! I wanted more! China doll face isn't very expressive!

Team Virgil and Kailee! Pharside and Phenix robots from outer space!. Was not expected to be such a good roboalien. Virgil is a TOUGH out! Chemistry is insane! Robot hiphop. Wow! she makes a beautiful alien!. She's overshadowing Virgil. Tutting with the feet. Steps up over his shoulder and arm. this is a perfect routine! and perfectly executed. They're still in character. Virgil turns her chest light still on! "Crazy fun!" They're both safe! They're still in character! They're hilarious!!! Exit as robots!

Who would you save if this was live?

Rehearsal for team stage!. Building blocks of people! Lifts in slow motion. Show vulnerability! Boys shirtless. simple ragged shifts for girls. sequential lifts and drops!. Gaby dragged on her head? Or was it Marissa? Lifts evolve out of a single file. Very evocative and emotional. Love this choreography. Probably the best choreography of the night!. Softness explodes in emotional display!! Structures build and dissolve and collapse and reform! Loved the choreography! Travis the choreographer recognized the ability of the good choreography.

Team Street! Choreographer Mark. Original Gangster. Marty Kudelka. Natural funk! Keep it Kool! Cooler than a polar bear's toenail! Some are better at being cool than others! The foreign boys struggling. The foreign girls are at HOME!. YEAH, JAJA! Trying to be Nasty! Little twitching to start! OH, they are good at their own style! This may get more votes! Girls are Sick! Dang! That JJ still sticks out even in a group. And that Jaja! And Virgil! Fact that I know their names is instructive.

So, who's safe? Who's saved! Girls are saved. Boys are weaker. I think Moises and Asaf are going home. Okay! Final results! International flavor about to be subtracted from the show! Nigel praises potential. Asaf is saved. Edson saved.

I think Jim and Edson and Asaf will be on the endangered species list next week. Kate might have to watch out again. But, Kailee and Virgil aren't going anywhere for a long time! Moises is crying with a brave smile on his face. His team surges on stage and lifts him onto their shoulders!

07.31.2015: Webinar Redo

Video presentation on the latest research on staying healthy while dancing:
"...(The) webinar Safe Dance Practice: Enhancing Participation.

The recording is now available to view.

You will need to log into your HK online account or create an account to access the recording. This only takes a few minutes to complete and at the same time you can join HK Rewards and get 20% off the book Safe Dance Practice: Enhancing Participation, the free eBook version and free postage (Europe and North Africa only, other terms and conditions may apply elsewhere).

The presenters have also made a PDF of their slide presentation available and you can download it (here).

Please feel free to pass on these links to any colleagues, students or friends you think would like to view the recording.

I hope you will join us again for future Human Kinetics webinars..."

...Spread the word!

07.30.2015: Architecture Tour Sold-Out

Don't bother showing up for this weekend's tour of the Art Center unless you have previous reservations:
August 2, 2015 / 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

We apologize for any inconvenience.

The Des Moines Art Center is one of only a handful of museums in the world that boasts interconnected architecture by three field giants: Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei and Richard Meier. With this collection of buildings come some unique challenges, especially when balancing historical preservation with today’s accessibility standards and displaying ever-evolving art forms.

Join Architect and Art Center advisor Tim Hickman for a tour of the history of the buildings, recent projects, and future items of consideration (or concern).

Reservations required.* / Limit 25

This program is part of the Art Center's Minefields of the Museum series.

07.29.2015: College o' Knowledge

This beverage can't be beet, can it?
(Capital City News Service)—Beet juice is a dietary source of the molecule nitrate. When converted in the body, nitrate can dilate the blood vessels and increase blood flow, both important factors for exercise performance. In a new study from American Journal of Physiology–Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, healthy male subjects who drank beet juice for 15 days had lower blood pressure and more dilated blood vessels at rest and during exercise. Blood vessels also dilated more easily and the heart consumed less oxygen during exercise with beet juice consumption. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that beet juice can be used as a dietary nutraceutical supplement to enhance oxygen delivery to the muscles and reduce the work the heart does during exercise. Exercise can be “performed at a given workload for a longer period of time before the onset of fatigue,” the researchers added.

The article “Effects of Chronic Dietary Nitrate Supplementation on the Hemodynamic Response to Dynamic Exercise” is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology–Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

07.29.2015: Webinar, Spidey!

Dancers, relatives of dancers and healthcare professionals who take care of dancers take note!
Safe Dance Practice: Enhancing Participation

Presented by Edel Quin (MSc, FHEA), Sonia Rafferty (MSc, FHEA) and Charlotte Tomlinson (MSc, PGCE)
3:00 PM-4:00 PM BST,
Wednesday, 29th July, 2015


From primary school to professional dance companies, dancers of every age, ability and style should be able to engage fully in the act of dancing without risk of harm to the body or mind, while also being supported to achieve their full potential.

Developments in dance science and medicine research means that dance participation and training can now move beyond traditional approaches.

Application of research-informed recommendations should be readily incorporated into all dance experiences, with the aim of reducing injury risk, optimising dancer potential, promoting healthy practice and prolonging engagement.

This webinar introduces some key interrelated aspects of safe dance from a dance science perspective, while providing some 'take home' examples to put into practice.

Following this webinar you'll be able to:

  • Identify key aspects of Safe Dance Practice, as informed by research
  • Implement basic strategies for safe dance practice within any dance session
  • Explain the importance of being able to adapt safe practice principles in accordance with the needs of individuals and specific populations

Webinar recording
If you are unable to attend the live broadcast, register now and you will receive details of when and where you can access a recording of the webinar.

...Spread the word!

07.27.2015: More From The Spians!

Congrats to local actors who join a Capital City Dance Center student in winning the Dionysius Award:
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Kate Goldman Children's Theatre Play: Douglas Cochrane as Templeton in Charlotte's Web

Actor Douglas Cochrane
Douglas Cochrane has numerous Playhouse credits including Charlotte's Web (Templeton), The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood (Prince John), Disney's Alice in Wonderland Jr. (Caterpillar, 2014 Dionysos Award winner), Seussical the Musical TYA (Horton the Elephant, 2013 Dionysos Award winner), Sunset Boulevard (Max Von Mayerling), and Hairspray (Edna Turnblad, 2012 Dionysos Award winner). His favorite role, however, was El Gallo in The Fantasticks at the 46th St. Theatre in NYC. Douglas is a surgical lab tech and is studying actuarial science at Drake University.

Fellow Nominees:
Douglas Cochrane as Prince John in The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood
Will Donaghy as Wilbur in Charlotte's Web
Phil McLean as Little John in The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood
Cody Schug as Robin Hood in The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Kate Goldman Children's Theatre Play: Elizabeth Miglin as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker

Actor Ellie Miglin
Elizabeth Miglin is an eighth grader at Merrill Middle School. She has attended the Playhouse's summer Performance Academy, playing Baby Bear in Shrek Jr. and Laker Girl/French Taunter in Monty Python's Spamalot: Young at Part. Other stage experience includes Romeo and Juliet at Creek View Elementary. When not at school or the theatre, Ellie enjoys shopping and reading.

Fellow Nominees:
Paige Fahrenkrug as Imogene Herdman in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sarah Hinzman as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker
Annie Mielke as Charlotte in Charlotte's Web
Lily Spahr as Gladys Herdman in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Mainstage Musical: Edward Corpus as Emile de Becque in South Pacific

Actor Edward Corpus
Edward Corpus holds music degrees from Illinois State University and UNLV, with doctoral studies at the University of Iowa. He has served on the voice faculty at Drake University since 2007. Edward has performed roles with Cedar Rapids Opera, Opera Quad Cities, and Opera Illinois, as well as numerous orchestral performances in the Midwest. This season, Playhouse audiences saw him as Emile de Becque in South Pacific and Gomez Addams in The Addams Family. Ed lives in Des Moines with his wife, Rachel, and their three children.

Fellow Nominees:
Eric Deutz as Bert in Mary Poppins
Mark Maddy as Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical
Ken-Matt Martin as Donkey in Shrek the Musical

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Mainstage Musical: Amber Duimstra as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific

Actor Amber Duimstra,br> Amber Duimstra has appeared on the Playhouse stage as Maria in The Sound of Music (2012 Dionysos Award) and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Her favorite performances include Katherine in Proof at the Marshalltown Community Theatre and Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at StageWest. Amber is a substitute teacher and vocalist for Holland America Lines.

Fellow Nominees:
Dani Boal as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins
Rachel Forney and Eliza Tutty as Jane Banks in Mary Poppins
Patricia Uy-Westlund as Bloody Mary in South Pacific
Jill S. Ziegler as Fiona in Shrek the Musical

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Mainstage Play: Jason Rainwater as Passepartout in Around the World in 80 Days

Actor Jason Rainwater
Jason Rainwater is familiar to Playhouse audiences from Around the World in 80 Days, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Martini), Becky's New Car (Steve), Leading Ladies (Butch), and The Hobbit (his favorite role, Thorin Oakenshield). Jason is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He works at Lincoln Savings Bank. Jason enjoys reading, writing, and watching baseball, and spending time with his wife, Rebekah Boyd, and daughter, Rebecca.

Fellow Nominees:
Jamaal Gabriel Allan as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire
Peter Dean as Sheriff Tom Lane in Girls' Weekend
Cody Schug as Stephen in Girls' Weekend

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Mainstage Play: Kellie Kramer as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire

Actor Kellie Kramer
Kellie Kramer received a Playhouse Dionysos Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress for her roles in The 39 Steps. Other area stage credits include A Streetcar Named Desire (Blanche DuBois) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Nurse Ratched) at the Playhouse and her favorite, Diana in Next to Normal at StageWest. Kellie is the host of the Emmy-nominated "Iowa Outdoors" on IPTV and a traffic manager for Meredith Xcelerated Marketing. Rebecca Scholtec as Meg in Girls' Weekend
Vicky Stafford as Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire
Nancy Zubrod as Dot in Girls' Weekend

07.24.2015: College of Knowledge

Too much of a good thing?
(Capital City News Service) While the risks of dehydration are well known, new international guidelines seek to protect athletes from the serious health risks associated with drinking too many fluids while exercising.

Overhydrating with water or sports drinks can lead to a condition called exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), said Mitchell Rosner, MD, a kidney specialist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine who chaired the guideline development group. EAH occurs when the body has too much water relative to its salt level, Rosner said. When the salt level in the blood falls too low, he added, it leads to significant neurological problems and can be fatal.

Although EAH once occurred primarily among participants in endurance sports such as marathons and triathlons, Rosner said, physicians now see the condition in participants in a wider range of sports, leading to the new guidelines.

“We have documented at least 14 deaths [from EAH] since 1981, including two deaths last summer in young athletes playing football,” Rosner said. “The common feature in all cases is excessive water consumption during athletic events. This is driven by common misbeliefs that overhydration can improve performance and even prevent dehydration. It is worth noting that data demonstrates mild degrees of dehydration do not impair performance.”

Guided By Thirst

The key to preventing EAH, Rosner said, is to let your body tell you when you need a drink. “We recommend using your thirst as a guide,” he said. “If you drink when thirsty, you will not become hyponatremic and you will not suffer from significant dehydration.”

Rosner said this recommendation applies whether athletes are consuming water or sports drinks. “Overdrinking a sports beverage will still lead to hyponatremia,” he said. “They contain small amounts of sodium that may lessen the risk very slightly, but they are still mostly water.”

Recognizing the Symptoms

The initial mild symptoms of EAH can include cloudy thinking, nausea and headaches, Rosner said. In severe cases, symptoms include seizures, severe confusion and coma. If coaches or parents suspect an athlete is suffering from EAH, the most important steps are to stop them from drinking and call for medical assistance. For athletes with mild symptoms, limiting fluids and closely monitoring their condition will help them recover within a few hours, Rosner said, but more severe symptoms such as confusion require urgent medical attention.

International Guidelines Published

The new guidelines have been published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. Rosner was the chair of a group of 16 experts from four countries who drafted the guidelines.

07.23.2015: Banter Continues

More feedback on the SYTYCD post:
"...An Inconvenient Truth? Oops. That’s been used by Al Gore.

Incontrovertible Truth, maybe? Yes, good looks are often required for advancement in most professions...

I just don’t have the time these days to watch TV. I can hardly catch a full episode of DWTS. But what I have caught over the past few years shows what an asset a great choreographer is – and how some people just have “it"...

...Hmm...And, now, we're just getting silly:
"...If you could get the presidential candidates to compete in a dancing competition your job would be a lot more fun!...
...Still not too late to add your two cents worth. Join the conversation here!

07.22.2015: Artists Panel

Hear from the artists themselves:
Saturday, July 25, 2015 / 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

A Panel Discussion with
Dread Scott, John Sims and Jordan Weber

Levitt Auditorium
*Reservations required

Please join us as these three artists discuss their work in the context of
contemporary art practice, race, historical perspective and current events.

The Des Moines Art Center is committed to providing a public venue for
important discussions on the art of our time, and is proud to host these artists.

Their work can currently be seen in Make Their Gold Teeth Ache, curated by Jordan Weber.

*Please make your FREE reservation HERE.

07.21.2015: Chubby Children

More reason to sign your kids up for dance classes at Capital City Dance Center this summer..AND fall!
(Capital City News Service) In the fight against childhood obesity, summer is one of the most challenging times of the year.

During the school year, many students walk to school, go to gym class, play outside at recess and participate in after-school sports. They are allowed to eat only during designated times, and typically find little or no junk food in modern-day school cafeterias and vending machines.

“In school, you can’t keep snacking while you’re learning history,” said Lara Dugas, PhD, MPH, a physical activity epidemiologist who has studied childhood obesity. Dr. Dugas is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

But during the summer months, many children have relatively little structure or supervision. This is especially true in low-income households that can’t afford summer camps. Consequently, kids get less exercise and may have unlimited access to junk food all day long.

“Many children finish the school year in June fitter and leaner than when they go back to school in August,” Dr. Dugas said.

In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, the CDC said.

To help fight the summer obesity spike, Dr. Dugas recommends getting children involved in summer camps, sports teams and park district activities. “Such structured activities provide opportunities to benefit both their physical and cognitive development,” Dr. Dugas said.

Dr. Dugas also recommends parents try to limit the amount of junk food kids can eat. For example, she said, buy more fruits and vegetables and less salty snacks, and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. “Water is good enough,” she said.

07.20.2015: Sunscreen Is Our Friend

We haven't seen this practice in our studio, and we'd like to nip it in the bud before it blooms here:
(Capital City News Service) They may look neat, but the dangers of sunburn tattoos far outweigh the coolness factor.

The trend has some individuals creating temporary tattoos by using sunblock or sunscreen to either stencil or freehand designs onto their skin. Then, they sun themselves until their skin turns brown or red and contrasts with the protected skin.

While the resulting patterns can be intricate and impressive, the long-term effects of practicing this art are anything but cool.

“When you get any kind of unprotected sun exposure, you are doing damage to the DNA in your skin cells,” says Dr. Michael Ioffreda, a dermatologist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. “Your skin has memory, so the damage accumulates over time. Eventually, your body’s repair mechanisms can’t keep up and skin cancers erupt.” And while you may or may not get skin cancer – and maybe not for a couple of decades – there are more imminent, unappealing side effects of unprotected sunning.

Wrinkles are one thing. But strangely colored spots and irregular pigmentation of the skin can also occur. None of the outcomes involve the kind of healthy, radiant skin most people want.

While individuals who have some degree of natural pigmentation in their skin are less at risk for the harmful effects of unprotected sun exposure, damage can still be done.

“As dermatologists, our stance is that there is no safe level of sun exposure,” Ioffreda says. “We can’t say it’s OK to get a tan once a week because we don’t know what the threshold is.”

His recommendation is that everyone – male and female – use a daily moisturizer with sunscreen in it. For those who have more daily sun exposure than simply traveling among their house, car and workplace, he recommends a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Sunscreen should always be applied 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure so it has time to react chemically with your skin to form a protective shield. Ioffreda says it should be reapplied every hour and a half -- unless you are sweating or in water, in which case it should be reapplied more frequently.

If you’re impatient, use a sunblock such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide instead. “That’s the real white stuff that lifeguards use,” Ioffreda says. “It’s almost like putting paint on your skin but it works immediately to reflect the sun’s rays.”

Spending time outdoors in the early morning or later afternoon and evening instead of peak sunlight hours can help minimize exposure, as can wearing protective clothing such as long sleeves, a broad-brimmed hat and sitting beneath an umbrella if you plan to spend time on a patio or beach.

Although Ioffreda can see the appeal of this latest trend of sunburn tattoos – it doesn’t cost anything, you can do it yourself, you can use it to express your creativity – he can’t help but wonder: why not just use a self tanner or spray-on tanner? “You can get the same effect without the damage.”

07.17.2015: Dancing Rx For Youth

The earlier you start your kids dancing (at Capital City Dance Center, of course!o) the better, according to the latest study: (Bold highlights from editor)
(Capital City News Service) A new study provides a snapshot of health-related physical fitness levels for U.S. schoolchildren in grades first through 12th. Iowa State University researchers analyzing data collected nationally through the NFL PLAY 60 FITNESSGRAM Partnership Project found that fitness levels sharply declined as students got older. The study is published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Fitness levels varied greatly based on gender and age. For example, the percentage of boys meeting the requirements for healthy aerobic capacity ranged from 62.1 percent to 37.6 percent. Girls ranged from 50.8 percent to 26.1 percent. Aerobic capacity among boys started to decline in the sixth grade, while girls experienced a continual decline with age, researchers found.

There was less variation among boys and girls with a healthy body mass index. However, researchers say there is room for improvement in both BMI and aerobic capacity.V “These results reinforce the need for early intervention to prevent or delay the decline in physical activity during the early adolescent years,” said Yang Bai, lead author and a graduate research assistant in kinesiology at Iowa State.

FITNESSGRAM is a youth fitness assessment tool used in schools. The NFL PLAY 60 FITNESSGRAM Partnership Project, which is funded by the National Football League Foundation and managed by The Cooper Institute, tracks health and fitness data from more than 1,000 schools in the U.S.

The ISU team has worked with The Cooper Institute on the coordination and evaluation of this research project that involves schools from each of the 32 NFL franchise cities. The program provides support in the use of the FITNESSGRAM assessment program as well as assistance in helping schools incorporate more physical activity into the school day.

“Physical activity is important for healthy youth development. Schools benefit from creating healthy school environments and to also provide healthy opportunities for the students,” said Greg Welk, ISU professor of kinesiology. “NFL Play60 includes programming, but the real goal is for schools to embrace the broader philosophies and build on it over time.”

More than 192,000 students from 725 schools completed the FITNESSGRAM testing, which includes assessments of aerobic capacity, BMI, abdominal strength and endurance, trunk extensor strength and flexibility, upper body strength and endurance, and flexibility. The percentage of 4th through 12th graders meeting healthy requirements for five or six of the six tests ranged from 20.7 percent to 34.6 percent for boys, and 19.9 percent to 31.5 percent for girls.

In the paper, researchers also point out that only 48 percent of high school students went to PE classes on one or more days a week, according to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Bai says this is important to note because the fitness data collected in PE classes may not represent the entire high school population. Researchers plan to examine physical education requirements in future studies."

07.16.2015: Dancer Banter

Last post generated this response from a faithful reader:
"...You are not weird looking!! But I see your point that only the hotties are now making it through. But you know Twitch isn’t traditional “looker” but has charisma enough for three people.

As for the format I agree it’s strange. The first night of the actual show was amazing because everyone was dancing their style so they were off the hook! I can’t wait for you to see it (although those poor “ballet boys” had the worst costume –looked like they were made for girls). But the whole point is to see if they can’t dance out of their style so it will be interesting to see if the format changes.

Watch and blog!..."

...To which, I replied:
"...And, yet, Twitch is now starring alongside Channing Tatum in Magic Mike XXL! I think Twitch's eight-pack abs and 24-karat personality have proven itself enough to elevate him to "HOT" status in America's eyes! And, remember, it did take him THREE tries to actually get cast in the SYTYCD top twenty. (I'll be waiting for your review of MM XXL soon as well!o)

Looks are hard-wired into our genetic responses. Studies have shown even infants react more warmly to symmetrical faces (beautiful) than others. If you're channel-surfing and spot a "hottie" dancing, you're more likely to stop and watch even if you're not into dancing. I can't fault the producers who are struggling to keep an increasingly fickle audience from tuning out. Kudos to DWTS for casting veterans of foreign wars disfigured in action...WHICH IS STILL A PROGRAMMING DECISION! Compelling backstory trumps cosmetic appearance.

I just feel some empathy for some very good-dancers who don't make the cut because they're not dropping jaws outside the dance space. I've been cut at auditions because of my height, even though, IMNSHO, I was the best guy there! But, it's been going on forever: Remember the number called "Dance 10, Looks, 3" from "A Chorus Line"?

Your thoughts?..."

...What do you think? Join the conversation here!

07.15.2015: So You Think You Can Watch A Lotta TV

Got a tweet the other day wondering where my blog posts for SYTYCD have been. I have to confess I'm way behind on my DVR watching (I'm looking at you, American Ninja Warrior and you, too, Battle Bots!). I'm hoping to catch up on SYTYCD soon, but, I do have a few thoughts now that we've advanced beyond the auditions and before I catch up on the actual competition. First, I would never have made it past the preliminary screening if it had been held when I was still "young and hearty, looking for a party". Oh, I think my dancing was up to par, my ballet was competitive (I'd been a principal danseur at a small regional ballet company, after all), my jazz, contemporary and modern were sufficient as well and I'd even had experience at partner dancing with my six-step American and Latin hustle club experience. But, I don't have "the look". I'm too short and strange-looking. I was hoping that the hip-hopper "Standing O" would make it to the final round, but, it seems producers ruled her out because she's a "big girl". Look at all the recent finalists: they could all qualify as models or actors as well as dance. (One SYTYCD winner went on to actually dance and act and STAR in one of the Step Up movies) So, here's some advice to potential applicants: don't bother auditioning seriously unless you look as good or better than you can dance. Oh, you still have to dance well, but, if you're not going to attract viewers just standing still, don't bother. If you have a good story you might make it into one of the audition packages, but, just like other reality shows nowadays, you won't be cast. If you're old enough to recall when Bunim/Murray first pioneered reality TV with "Real World", you might recall the ordinary people who were cast in that first house. But, nowadays, "if you ain't hot, you ain't gotta shot", you aren't going to get cast. Better start live-streaming yourself on Periscope (Did you catch my barre broadcast?) or YouTube and bypass the networks. And, what do you think about this Stage Versus Street format change? My in-house celebrity judge says she doesn't like it. I'm glad they got rid of the screamer judge, but, I'll miss her ballroom expertise. I'm gonna reserve judgment on this new format until I've watched a few episodes. (I'll get right on that...right after I watch "Hammer Head" smash "Over Load" in round three of Battle Bots!)

07.14.2015: Another Message Inna Bottle

She ALSO LIVES! The second of (hopefully) many replies to our annual CCDC Summer Survey has been received! (All names of students have been changed to protect the guilty!o):
  1. (Dancer nicknamed BalanchineGrrl) here, coming to you live from the beautiful city of LA! This summer I am taking classes with Los Angeles Ballet
  2. I am level 4 of 4. The level above mine is for company members only. All the girls are beautiful dancers.
  3. It's a very small program so there is only five girls in my level but we take class with the company. Because we take class with the company the number of dancers changes everyday
  4. We have a technique, variations, and rep class every day. Once a week we also have contemporary, yoga, and partnering. The hardest thing to get used to is having different teachers.
  5. LAB is a completely Balanchine school. For me the hardest thing about Balanchine is not using upper body at the barre. All the other differences have become a lot easier to switch between. My main corrections consist of ones that I have heard at home; hold my stomach, don't cup my foot in pique's, show fifth, and don't put my foot down in pirouettes. On the first day I was reminded to spot front.
  6. We have four main teachers. Thordal Christensen is the artistic director of LAB and got his training from The Royal Danish Ballet and The School of American Ballet. Colleen Neary is also the artistic director trained with The School of American Ballet and danced with New York City Ballet. Allyssa Bross is a principal in LAB and was trained at SAB, PNB and North Carolina Dance Theatre. Dina Bilofsky is a Corps member with LAB and trained at SAB and PNB. Thordal and Colleen's classes kick my butt. I'd say that Dina's classes are my favorite because they're still hard but with more of a laid back atmosphere.
  7. Adjusting has not been very hard at all considering this is my fourth summer away. I highly suggest LAB if you're looking for a Balanchine school. It has a very home like atmosphere which is the reason why I am most excited to come here next year. My last correction was to use my feet in glissade.
  8. I wish I would have known how small this program is. There's a total of 45 students.
  9. The best dancer here is definitely Julia Cinquamani. She's a principal in the company and takes class with us every day. She is absolutely beautiful.
  10. My roommate is a girl that I know from three years ago at SAB. She's crazy but I love her. We spend our spare time at the pool on campus and on the weekends we go shopping and to the beach.
  11. We just saw Ballet Now. It was a performance of multiple pas and variations from different ballets. Paloma Herrera was one of the guest dancers and she was breath taking. The best part about the performance for me was that my main teacher from Boston Ballet, Erica Cornejo, was also a guest dancer. For our show case at the end of the summer we are doing the pas de quatre from La Bayadere.
  12. I'll be back in the studio July 26th! And of course I miss CCDC, I can't wait to see you all!! XOXO

07.13.2015: The Spians!

Buy! The Playhouse performance possibilities:
2015-16 Mainstage Season Tickets Now on Sale

A season ticket ensures you have your seats, now, for each of our shows in the coming season. If you like to plan ahead, or don't want the hassle of reserving seats for each individual show, this is the option for you! Shows in the Mainstage season ticket are Monty Python's Spamalot, Into the Woods, 12 Angry Men, Sister Act and You Can't Take It With You. 2015-16 season ticket holders can purchase discounted tickets for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Yesterday & Today.

2015-16 Kate Goldman Children's Theatre Season Tickets Now on Sale

A season ticket ensures you have your seats, now, for each of our shows in the coming season. (And, if you find you can't attend a show, contact us at least 24 hours prior to your performance for a free exchange.) Shows in the Kate Goldman Children's Theatre season ticket are Junie B. Jones, The Musical; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Sarah, Plain and Tall and Sideways Stories From Wayside School. 2015-16 season ticket holders can purchase discounted tickets now for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Yesterday & Today.

07.10.2015: Interview Continues

Here's part five of the exclusive interview with Capital City Dance Center Summer Intensive Guest Faculty: Colorado Ballet Principal Sharon Wehner and former Louisville Ballet dancer Kim Nygren-Cox. It starts off with the question: How to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that will come along in your career?

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Check for the final Part Six of our exit interview on the Capital City Dance Center FaceBook Page! Pass the word!o)

07.09.2015: Message Inna Bottle

She LIVES! The FIRST of (hopefully) many replies to our annual CCDC Summer Survey has been received! (All names have been changed to protect the innocent!o):
  1. Hi! This is (the dancer nicknamed Panek Attack) and I am dancing with the Nashville Ballet in Nashville Tennessee this summer.
  2. I am in the preprofessional level, which is the highest at Nashville. The other dancers are gorgeous!
  3. The company and second company take a lot of our classes so the numbers change daily but with just the summer students there are about 35 girls and 10 guys, give or take :)
  4. We have been focusing on ballet with technique, pointe, variations, and pas de deux classes but my level has also gotten the pleasure of taking irish, musical theatre, and indian dancing classes which have been a blast!
  5. The ballet classes we take are very classical, most of the teachers stress that they love neoclassical in choreography but not specifically during class. We’ve learned both of the main solos and the pas de deux from the Emperor and the Nightingale which is an outreach performance that the second company has been performing. We’ve also learned the cuckoo pas de deux from Carnival of the Animals, as well as the dying swan solo. Lastly we’ve learned the tchaikovsky pas de deux and the cadenza from allegro brilliante, both pushed me a little out of my comfort zone but they were so fun to learn! There haven’t been huge differences in technique or style, just different people explaining corrections in different ways :) Some of the more thought provoking corrections have come in our port de bras class, the teacher stresses the use of the correct back muscles so much so that she calls herself ‘psycho’ :)
  6. We have had several different teachers over the last few weeks! Allison Zamorski (ballet master), Nicole Koenig (school dean), Jon Upleger (dancer), Tim Yeager (ballet master), Krissy Dodge (faculty member), Sharyn Mahoney (director of artistic operations), Deondre Horner (contemporary teacher), and Paul Vasterling (artistic director and CEO). I can’t say that I have a particular favorite! They all push us in different ways and I’ve loved having such a diverse set of teachers.
  7. The adjustment hasn’t been hard. All of the teachers are so passionate and caring that they make Nashville feel like home :) My advice would be to just go for it! Don’t hold back on anything because the teachers don’t know you so you have to show everything you have. But if you work hard like we are taught at CCDC, you will learn so much! Although everyone here is so sweet, I definitely miss my CCDC family the most :) My class has been given the correction of knowing where your pelvis is at all times a ton! So I’ve been focusing on really knowing where I’m putting my weight especially at barre when combinations aren’t so complex. I’ve also been thinking a lot about my back muscles and putting my shoulders down, since I’ve gotten that correction a few times back home :) My last correction was in rehearsal for our end of the summer show (Sleeping Beauty corps…. my favorite!) and it was about the angle of my head when I was down on my knee.
  8. There isn’t really anything popping into my head right now! I was very well prepared by my dance parents back home!
  9. I honestly can’t pick out just one! The second company and full company members all have such amazing strengths and it is so cool to be able to watch and learn from them in class. There are a few girls here that can turn for days which is so awesome to watch but really everyone is so good in their own way!
  10. I live in a suite style dorm at Belmont University with four bedrooms. My roommates are Katie from back home, Emily, and Christiana. If you like the CCDC page on Facebook you’ve seen a picture of all four of us before class on the fourth of July! They are all so talented in their own unique ways and it is so fun to build off each others strengths. In our spare time we like to go out to eat, shop, and watch Netflix together. We also love going on walks because the Belmont campus is so close to Vanderbilt University, there is so much to do around us and the scenery is gorgeous!
  11. We haven’t gotten to see any performances but some of the company members have rehearsed between our classes so we’ve gotten to see a little bit of their rep. Since we’ve learned so much of the second company’s rep, we’ve gotten to see them dance it full out which is not exactly a performance but close enough :) We have explored the city a lot and it is so beautiful! I would highly recommend visiting Nashville if you’ve never been. We are performing Sleeping Beauty Corps and a contemporary piece at our show. We are only doing the strictly corps parts so their aren’t any soloists, so not much casting has been done! The choreography for corps is classical but we are doing contemporary to The Great Dictator’s Speech with choreography by our teacher Deondre. The piece is actually the speech by Charlie Chaplin, so it’s mainly words which makes it super powerful. We are cleaning both pieces and they are coming along very nicely!
  12. I will be driving back the weekend of the 18th and will be back in class on the 20th! I miss you all so much and I can’t wait to hug all of you in a week and a half!!! Love you all :)

07.08.2015: Mixed Messagez

This is frustrating. Just after blasting out on social media about the need for guys for the Capital City Dance Center pas de deux classes (or maybe it was our entry in the Urbandale Independence Day Parade?), we got a phone message Monday from a young man interested in dance classes. He left his first name and asked us to call him back with more information. UNFORTUNATELY! HE FAILED TO LEAVE A PHONE NUMBER FOR A CALL BACK! I know most cell phones now have built-in caller I-D and call history, but, OUR LAND-LINE DOES NOT! Please don't assume we're not interested in providing you with more information about CCDC dance classes. Just on the CHANCE that he or someone who knows him or someone like him reads this blog: GIVE US A CALL BACK! LEAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER! TRY UP TO TWO CLASSES *FOR FREE* AT CCDC! Also, just on the CHANCE, that wasn't you, but, you are interested in finding out more or trying a class or two at CCDC, give us a call! LEAVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER! Or, better yet, Email us! Especially you males who want to give dance, ballet and/or partnering classes a try! Pass the word! Give us a CHANCE!O)

07.07.2015: Summer Survey!

Speaking of interviews! It's that time again! With several Capital City Dance Center students already training at national summer intensives and with several more yet to go, time to dust off the annual SUMMER SURVEY! Stay in touch! Let us know how you're doing! Fill this out and e-mail it to us! C'mon! Enquiring minds wanna know!o)
  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? What's most different?
  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!)

07.06.2015: Interview Insights

Here's part three of the exclusive interview with Colorado Ballet Principal Sharon Wehner and former Louisville Ballet dancer Kim Nygren-Cox. It starts off with the question about seeking out the best training in your area:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Check for Part Four of our exit interview on the Capital City Dance Center FaceBook Page! Pass the word!o)

06.26.2015: Excite Interview

Here's part two of the exclusive interview with Colorado Ballet Principal Sharon Wehner and former Louisville Ballet dancer Kim Nygren-Cox. It starts off with the question: How important is to continue to challenge yourself as an artist and a dancer? Sharon talks about dancing Balanchine and Kim gives the advice: "Face the fear and do it anyway!":

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Check back for Part Three of our exit interview soon! Pass the word!o)

06.25.2015: Dance Medicine

Heading to the Big Apple next month?
Dance Healthier and Stronger

Join HCDI physical therapist, Yuriko Nabeta, PT, DPT, OCS and other NYULMC experts for an evening of discussion on how to become a healthier, stronger, lifelong dancer on Monday July 20, 2015 at the NYULMC Center for Musculoskeletal Care.

Topics include: prevention of common dance injuries; how technique affects dance longevity; the mind-body connection; tips to help audition and performance gap; fueling the dancer athlete; and nutrition for injury prevention.

Program Agenda: Registration starts at 6:00pm; Presentations start 6:30pm; Q&A start 7:30pm.

No fees are associated with this lecture, but seating is limited to the first 40 registrants. For questions please contact Rick Kassler or Mia Palazzo.

06.24.2015: Musings Of The Muse

Speaking of interviews: Hear from Balanchine's muse in her own words. Former NYCB Prima Ballerina Suzanne Farrell speaks about her collaboration with George Balanchine in this podcast from the New York Public Library:

06.23.2015: Cough It Up, Big Hair Ball

Shiny, lustrous event coming up! "Hair" are the deets!o)
(Capital City News Service) – Tickets to the city's hottest event celebrating hair as a form of contemporary self-expression are now on sale.*

The Art Center’s 7th Big Hair Ball

“A Big Hair Blowout”—will showcase the art of hair, makeup, and fashion on Saturday, August 15 from 8 pm – midnight.

This highly-anticipated, bi-annual event, known for its incredible modeled hairstyles, live music, and special performances, includes an hour-long choreographed runway program, produced entirely by local salons and a volunteer committee. Local boutiques also participate by offering hair, nail, and make-up artistry to event attendees.

This is an event for ages 21+

General Admission $60 ($50 member) / VIP Admission $85 ($75 member)

VIP Admission includes VIP entry, VIP seating along the runway, a VIP swag bag, and an extra drink ticket.

*Tickets can be purchased on the Art Center’s website by clicking on the EVENT RESERVATIONS bubble on the homepage or in the Museum Shop.

For event updates and announcements, follow Art Noir on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

06.22.2015: Exit Interview

Thanks to Capital City Dance Center Guest Ballet Instructors Sharon Wehner and Kim Nygren-Cox for teaching during the 2015 Summer Intensive the past few weeks. Before they left, they sat down with CCDC's @SirDanGuy to record an exit interview together. Part one includes the question: What are the CCDC dancers strengths and weaknesses?

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Check back for Part Two of our exit interview soon! Pass the word!o)

Follow SirDanGuy on Twitter

All content copyright Capital City Dance Center.

06.19.2015: Performance Posting

Support local theater! Save some money! Chekov your Father's Day gift requirements! Bond with your family!
2:00 PM, Sunday, June 21 GREAT SEATS AVAILABLE

Still looking for a present for dad? Buy the whole family tickets to The Addams Family! Use the code GOMEZ and receive 15% off tickets.*

"It was likely one of the best gifts I ever got! It made me laugh, smile, excited, and it even made me cry a bit." -- Jeremy, a dad (Facebook)
*Offer good for Father's Day, Sunday, June 21, only. Offer not valid on previously purchased tickets.

06.18.2015: Flamenco Film

Convergence of media and dance at the Arts Center:
Single-channel 5: Dance
Rosemarie Padovano - Paloma
June 19 – October 4, 2015
Video gallery, Richard Meier building

Single-channel is a program dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of important single-channel video by contemporary artists. Each series is dedicated to a specific theme explored in unexpected and surprising ways by artists from around the world. The exhibition format presents one video for approximately 12 weeks. Single-channel 5: Dance celebrates the various ways artists incorporate dance into their work, from simply celebrating the body in motion to expressions of complicated political thought.

“Paloma was filmed with the desire to turn the architecture of a mausoleum into a big drum for its inhabitant. A single flamenco dancer creates her own music using her hands and feet that resonate upon the stone.” This simple description of the video by the artist literally describes the content of Paloma, but does not convey the experience of the work. The dramatic soundscape created by the dancer, the intense movement of her body, and the solemn architecture and interior light of the mausoleum combine in an unexpected, moving, and celebratory exploration of death, ritual, and life.

...Find out more here.

06.17.2015: Pomp and Circumstance

Last bit of advice for the CCDC Class of 2015 from U-S Senator Chuck Grassley:
From the many exchanges I have with young Iowans, I’m inspired to share a few ideas with the Class of 2015.
°Times may change, but a tireless work ethic never falls out of fashion. Whether punching a time clock or working around-the-clock to start a business, Americans are blessed to live in a country where social and economic mobility encourages risk-takers to innovate and create the next big thing. The rewards make the risks worthwhile.

°You only live once (YOLO) is a popular refrain for Millennials. It’s not a license to freewheel through life. Don’t squander the opportunity or trivialize your chance to make your community and your country a better place to live.

The Class of 2015 belongs to the largest generation in the United States, representing one-third of the nation’s population. From an electoral perspective, this generation has an outsized opportunity and civic responsibility to influence public policy. Get involved and vote. One of my favorite aspects of my job is having dialogue with young Iowans each year in their classrooms and schools across Iowa.

°Integrity is a priceless measurement of success. Winning at any cost comes with an unaffordable price tag. Cheating scandals cheapen competition and erode principles of integrity and accountability in our society. Consider athletic heroes who don’t lose their halos in the public eye despite cheating to win, white-collar wrongdoers who do the crime but don’t do the time and tax cheats whose wrongdoing creates a bigger burden for law-abiding citizens.

As a longstanding champion for whistleblowers, I encourage the Class of 2015 to take a stand. You can thrive on the courage of your convictions without surrendering your dreams.

Finally, to the generation who grew up with the Internet and launched a selfie culture of loyal followers, by all means stay connected via social networks. But whichever path you take on the road to happiness, don’t disconnect from your moral compass. Lead by principle and live with purpose. Thank you for working to make America better and stronger for generations yet to come.

06.16.2015: Intensive Input

Overheard during first week of the 2015 Capital City Dance Center Summer Intensive:
"Do the single pirouette. Do the double pirouette. DO THE TRIPLE! Even if it looks like c***!"

"Sometimes the single pirouette is harder than the multiple!"

"Be present in your turns! Losing your spot is like closing your eyes during the pirouette!"

"Get on top of your supporting side during your turns and balances! Bring those opposite sides together like they're MAGNETIZED!"

"You just need to sharpen up your spot a little!"

"Don't skip out of your plié!"

"You think you're doing (the correct #ballet technique), but, you're not."

06.15.2015: Performance Postings

Capital City Public School events:
June 15-18 – Band Bash Rehearsal Band
West Des Moines Community Schools band students in grades 6-8 will meet for one hour each day to practice as a large group. Students will work on their rhythmic skills, strengthen their tone and playing technique, and polish their music reading skills to prepare for the next school year. They will play a wide variety of pieces that will help to develop their skills. A concert showcasing what they have learned will be held at 12:30 p.m. on June 18 at Indian Hills Junior High School.

LOCATION: Indian Hills Elementary, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive

June 15-18 – Summer Strings Orchestra Program
Summer Strings students will learn a variety of fun pieces that help to develop their playing and musicianship. Rehearsing for two hours every day, students in grades 5-9 will work in a large group and small sectionals to improve their skills and learn the new pieces. There are three different groups: entering fifth grade, entering sixth grade, and entering grades 7-9. A concert for all orchestras will be held at 10:45 a.m. on June 18.

LOCATION: Indian Hills Elementary, 9401 Indian Hills Drive, Clive

June 15-19 – Bring History Alive Re-enactment Workshop
Students will learn about historical events by bringing them to life in this Summer Enrichment Adventures class. The students will select historical events they are interested in, choosing from events like the trial of Joan of Arc, Louis XVI’s 1792 trial for treason, or the 1814-15 Vienna Congress. Students will learn about the event and how formal proceedings worked at the time, then create their own costumes and act out the scenes.

LOCATION: Western Hills Elementary, 600 39th St., West Des Moines

June 15-19 – Exploring Reptiles and Amphibians Class
Summer Enrichment Adventure students will learn about the habitats of reptiles and amphibians, as well as the roles these animals play in the ecosystem. They will participate in a variety of activities that will help them explore the world of reptiles and amphibians, then interact with the real creatures during live animal visits to the classroom.

LOCATION: Western Hills Elementary, 600 39th St., West Des Moines

June 15-19 – Go Green! Film-making Course
This Summer Enrichment Adventures class will help students tell stories in a unique way: using a green screen. Students will create their own stories, find or create a green screen background using their art skills, then write a storyboard, film and edit their movie and view it with an audience. Students will learn many film-making techniques and can act in their original films, all using a green screen to create any background they can come up with.

LOCATION: Western Hills Elementary, 600 39th St., West Des Moines June 15-19 – Hands-on Rocketry Class
Students will build two types of rockets in this Summer Enrichment Adventures class. Students will build a solid-fuel rocket, using the experience to learn basic terminology and how to create height and speed. Students will then take their new knowledge and create water-propelled rockets from everyday materials. The water-propelled rockets will be used to complete several challenges set to the students.

LOCATION: Western Hills Elementary, 600 39th St., West Des Moines

June 15-19 – Fascinating Forensics Exploration
Students become detectives in this Summer Enrichment Adventures class. They will learn about X-rays, fingerprinting techniques and develop their critical thinking skills while collecting information, clues and evidence. The class will perform experiments, play problem-solving games and act out plays and scenes to stretch their new forensics skills.

LOCATION: Western Hills Elementary, 600 39th St., West Des Moines

06.11.2015: Performance Posting

Don't bother heading to that free performance tonight:
Ladies and gentlemen:

Due to anticipated severe weather, tonight's (June 11) concert at Camp Dodge will be postponed. We are working with the Tony Valdez Large Band on scheduling a make-up date and will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available.

Thank you for your understanding and great support!

Col. Greg Hapgood

06.09.2015: Reviews 'R' In

#CCDC alum Dimitriy Komm checks in with this review of the Spring Showcase:
"...When asked how you spent your weekend, not many will say watching a live performance of ballet. I did just that, well I planted flowers too and bought a plum tree. I watched a ballet performance, not in New York city, and not ABT. I watched it here, in the heart of America, in Des Moines, IA, Capital City Dance Center's production La Sylphide. And, who knew I would get to be on the other side of stage, not as a dancer but a spectator ten years later at Drake University.

If I only had a few words to describe the performance I would choose athletic, colorful, precise and it was definitely time well spent. Even though it was a condensed version, however, it had just enough to captivate the audience and relate the story. You can read the synopsis in the blog. This is definitely hard work in action but the audience was appreciative and understanding what goes on stage might look easy but they might not know what goes behind the scenes to really make the production come alive.

I didn't expect to recognize many dancers since most of the dancers were probably ten years or younger when they saw me on stage in Capital City's Dance Center's production Sleeping Beauty many years ago. I did recognize one, Madge, who is going strong making her tribute and who in fact was very entertaining to watch. I thought the guest dancer from IBA was strong with his double pirouettes and effortless jumps. Kudos to the other gentleman for his willingness to concur the technique and those who actually tried ballet will truly appreciate the effort it takes to turn out, to lift up, to find your balance, to be flexible. My only suggestion from my experience is to look up, it forces the audience to look up as well versus concentrating on the feet. La Sylphide and Effie were superb. Although there is a saying, once a dancer, always a dancer, I wouldn't be able to perform to the same level as the dancers so it's easy to critique but yet it would be hard to do it myself and I used to dance 15 years of my life.

The performance is a condensed version so I wanted to be brief as well. I will say whoever was involved in the production from costume design, from setting up the choreography to hours of time spent rehearsing and yet attending many classes to polish the technique did an outstanding job presenting a final product to the audience. I didn't expect to see a world class ballet but I did have high expectations and I wasn't disappointed..."

06.08.2015: Apparent Feedback

#CCDC parent sends along this deeply appreciated note:
"...I wanted to tell you that we went to (my daughter's) friend's dance recital last weekend, and she noticed quite a difference in the way those girls danced and in the way she's been taught to dance. She kept saying it hurt her eyes to watch them! And she could tell me all of the different things they were doing incorrectly and how they should have been doing it. It is neat to see her be able to watch another dancer and notice her technique and what is correct and incorrect about it, and for her to see what poor technique makes a dancer look like. It certainly made her more aware of why proper technique is so important and made her extra appreciative of the great instruction she gets every class! 😃 Pretty cool!..."

Undated: Sneak Peek

Parents! Be prepared to explain the tragedy of La Sylphide to your youngest kids. (SPOILER ALERT!) There is no Disney ending to this classic ballet. The flawed protaganist ends in tears, the Sylph flies no more. Just like Romeo and Juliet, no one lives happily ever after. Forewarned, forearmed! Here's the synopsis from our first production:

05.14.2010: Sylphide Synopsis

Astound your friends! Confound your enemies! Read this preview synopsis of CCDC's version of La Sylphide (It's different from the full-length classical version!) and be prepared to explain the plot twists to your confused, semi-illiterate in-laws:
First of all, do not confuse the ballet, La Sylphide, with a similarly named ballet, Les Sylphides. They both deal with Sylphs, those dancing spirits of the air, but, they are entirely different ballets. In our condensed version of La Sylphide, just be aware there is no Gurn, no special effects, no backdrops, no kilts and sparse sets Hopefully, at some point, you will have a chance to see and/or perform in the full ballet.

La Sylphide: The Synopsis

The ballet opens in the home of James Reuben, a Scottish peasant. He has fallen asleep in a chair on the morning of his wedding. Into his dreams has slipped a beautiful Sylphide. But, is it a dream? When he wakes, the graceful creature is still there and dances for him as he seeks to hold her, to capture her. But, it is like trying to embrace smoke. She disappears, leaving him wondering if he had dreamed the entire episode.

Just, then, his intended enters. Effie and her mother share a quiet moment at the door. But, then, James clears his mind of his strange encounter and offers his betrothed a flower. He begs her to dance with him. Effie does, but, steals away to spend a last moment with her mother. James, meanwhile, is looking and wondering at the place he last saw the Sylph. Effie’s mother takes advantage of the opportunity to present the couple with the heirloom family rings that will be used in the wedding ceremony.

At that moment, Effie’s Friends enter, bearing gifts of more flowers. They’re all excited to be part of the wedding party. But, while they’re dancing and celebrating, Old Madge, the Village Witch, sneaks in to try to warm herself at the fire. James wants to throw her out, she wasn’t invited to the wedding after all. But, the friends intercede on her behalf. Old Madge says she will reward them by reading their palms. The girls get all giddy. Some want to have their fortunes told. Others say it’s all superstition and not to waste their time. But, eventually, they all fall under Madge’s spell.

But, it is Effie and James’ fortunes that Madge has come to foretell. She beckons the young bride-to-be to her side. When the Witch reads the young girl’s palm, she sees that Effie has “a great love”. She nods. But, who? Effie points to James who is lounging with great disdain and feigned disinterest on the other side of the room. Madge pulls Effie over to James’ side and grabs his palm. She looks at it, then, at Effie’s and back-and-forth again. Madge pulls the pair to the center of the room. Then, she tells James and Effie that they will never marry!

Effie runs to her mother and begins to cry. James stalks off to the other side of the room. Effie’s mother gently tells her daughter to ask Madge to read her other hand, for as everyone at the time knew, the less-dominant hand shows what traits one is given, while the dominant hand shows what one makes from those traits. Effie runs to Madge and interrupts her reading another girl’s palm. But, Madge gently tells her both her hands say she will never marry James. Desperate now, Effie begs James to have his other hand read, but, she runs to her mother because she fears the worst. Madge grabs James’ other hand. This will be her great vengeance on Clan Reuben for a long ago wrong. She tells him again that he will never marry Effie. James is enraged and throws the laughing Witch out of his house.

Despite the fiasco with the fortune-teller, the wedding preparations go on. But, in the middle of all the dancing, La Sylphide reappears. But, only James can see her. He becomes distracted in his dancing. Effie can sense something is wrong. She can tell she’s losing her lover. The Townsfolk dance, including a young flirtatious couple. Finally, James can take it no longer. When the Sylph leaves, he goes chasing off after her, leaving a distraught Effie and puzzled wedding guests.

Act 2

The second act opens during a night marked with the dancing of Little Stars. Old Madge and her coven of Little Witches are brewing a magic scarf. It’s harmless to everyone except creatures of the air like Sylphs. The magic forest is filled with the dancing of the enchanted and enchanting creatures of the air. James runs into a clearing of the Sylphs, seeking their Queen, his new love. They are reunited and much dancing ensues. But, once again, the Sylphs and their Queen disappear, leaving James alone and frustrated. He runs through the forest seeking her.

While he’s searching, Old Madge finds him. But, she must trick him into killing his great love. James wants La Sylphide to stay with him, to quit flitting about and flying away. Madge says she has just the thing and produces a beautiful scarf as a flock of Scarf Sprites appears. Wrap this around your Sylph, she says, and her wings will fall off and La Sylphide will fly no more. James is ecstatic and celebrates by dancing with the Little Scarves. But, unbeknownst to him, Madge switches the safe scarf with the poisoned one.

La Sylphide reappears and is entranced by the scarf. James teases her with it at first, but, at last, he wraps the deadly material around the Sylph’s shoulders. Her wings fall off one at a time. She dies. La Sylphide will never fly again because she has breathed her last. The Sylphs reappear as if by magic. They know their Queen has died and prepare to return her to the air from whence she came. And, Old Madge reappears as well. The Witch has won a final victory over unfaithful men everywhere. As she was betrayed in her youth, as she lured others to be unfaithful, she realizes she has come full circle. Her triumphant victory over Clan Reuben turns to ashes in her mouth, her vengeance as lifeless as the innocent Sylph Queen herself.

06.02.2015: Performance Posting

Well-rounded life creates well-rounded dancer, PLUS, the price is right for starving students:
World Premiere of “Providence” Honors Valley Performing Arts Center (Capital City News Service) — The Valley High School vocal department and orchestra are combining to perform the world premiere of “Providence” by Ola Gjeilo at 7 p.m. on June 9 in the Valley Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. The piece was commissioned by the Valley High School vocal and orchestral music departments and Manhattan Concert Productions to honor the opening of the Valley Performing Arts Center.

“Providence” is a 15-minute choral-orchestral piece by Gjeilo, a renowned contemporary composer from Norway, with text from the 1633 poem of the same name by George Herbert, an English poet and priest. The chorus and orchestra will also be performing “Providence” at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 15 as part of the Masterworks Festival.

The free performance will be at 7 p.m. on June 9 in the Valley Performing Arts Center. Other choral selections include “The Ground” by Gjeilo, “Hallelujah” (from “Christ on the Mount of Olives”) by Ludwig van Beethoven and “A Bronze Triptych” by Dan Forrest. The orchestra will perform Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 4 by Arcangelo Corelli, “Dance” (from “Brooke Green Suite”) by Gustav Holst and “Pavane” by Maurice Ravel.

06.01.2015: To The Winners, The Spoils

Final results of the 2015 Prix de Lausanne just released:
Schools and companies chosen by the Prix de Lausanne 2015 prize winners The Prix de Lausanne is proud to announce the 2015 prize winner’s choices of Partner Schools and Companies :
  1. Harrison Lee – Australia – School chosen: Royal Ballet School – Scholarship offered by Fondation Leenards

  2. Jisoo Park – South Korea – Company chosen: Stuttgart Ballet – Apprenticeship offered by Beau-Rivage Palace

  3. Mitsuru Ito – Japan – Company chosen: Birmingham Royal Ballet – Apprenticeship offered by Adveq

  4. Miguel Pinheiro Duarte – Portugal – was hired at Nederlands Dans Theatre II just days prior to competing in the Prix de Lausanne, and will not benefit from his prize. We wish him great success!

    The scholarship offered by Oak Foundation will be attributed. The recipient’s name and choice will be announced later.

  5. Rina Kanehara – Japan – Company chosen: English National Ballet – Apprenticeship offered by Fondation Coromandel

  6. Julian MacKay – USA – Company chosen: Royal Ballet – Apprenticeship offered by Harlequin Floors

05.28.2015: Performance Posting

Buy local entertainment:
DsM Playhouse
May 29-June 21

Morticia and Gomez Addams want to continue living amongst death, pain, and suffering, the way they always have. But when their eldest child, Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness, falls in love with a sweet, smart young man, Lucas Beineke, everything makes a sudden change. As if her flourishing love weren't enough, Wednesday confides in her father. Gomez must keep the secret from his beloved wife, Morticia, something he's never done before. This kooky musical proves how an entire family can change when a daughter falls in love.

The Addams Family is recommended for ages 13 and up.

...Buy tickets here.

05.27.2015: Performance Posting

If you're not already taking or rehearsing at CCDC, a classic feel-good dance film coming to a theater near you this week for one night only:


Thursday, May 28
7:30 pm
Tickets $5

Buy tickets HERE!

What a glorious feeling! We are proud to bring this all-time classic back to the big screen for one night only this Thursday, May 28 at 7:30 pm.

Join us Thursday for this special presentation of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, one of the greatest films of all time and your Viewers' Choice Winner.

05.26.2015: Farewell To The Starz!

Be careful what you wish for! Here's a synopsis of the finale' of DWTS!
"Dancing With The Stars'
Season 10
Week Ten
"Finally, the Finale!"

Parade of Stars! Riker as the Pirate of the Caribbean! Starting off with the repeats!

Team Noah/Sharna: Argentine Tango. I think we can do better. "What are you looking at?" I want to show my improvement. "I've got a shot at winning that mirror ball trophy!" Lot of improvement! Kudos to Sharna for getting him this far! He's focusing better. Just a little off timing!. Stumbles a little on the lift, but, he recovers and saves it!. This guy is always an inspiration. Little unsteady at the ending! Zendaya in audience! I give him an eight. "Don't moan if you don't phone!" "So much calmer, so much more confident!" "I'm worried about your nerves!" Applause in the red room as he joins Erin! "I got in my head!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Lower scores? "It's not how you start, it's how you finish!"

Team Riker/Allison: Highest scorer! Paso Doble! His favorite dance of the season! "He became a man on the dance floor!" "You cannot come with anything less!" "Captain Jack is BACK!" He stalks onto stage and is strong and in character! He and his dancing bringing a smile to my face. He's powerful and committed. Cannon fires off at the end! Dancing his heart out! I give him a ten! Len standing ovation! "have and control that energy!" "YOU are TRULY WORTHY of the FINALS!" "THAT was EPIC! I LOVED IT!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Set the standard He is SOO into character!

Team Rumer/Val: Fox trot! "Show how much you've grown!" "I'm so grateful for you!" "I got you!" From week one! Just a turn of her head and I'm lost! She's so good and she's so improved! Strong confident, sexy! Committed! She can take me to church anytime! I worship those moves! She's having so much fun! Her smile is infectious! Such a big hug at the end! Her mother is enthusiastic. Her father is on his feet! "You are dancing royalty!" I give her a ten! "Poetry in motions!" "Your dancing is so much better!" "Tonight was flawless!" Applause in the red room! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! The dancers set the standard! Bruce Willis is in tears!

The freestyle round!

Team Noarnah!: Showing the vulnerable side of of Noah! You have to go to the pain! "I bring something else!" "I think it's going to be powerful...because it's real!Dancers are acting as his limbs! I have goose bumps! One handed lift helped by the other dancers. He reaches and is helped and hindered by the others. He finishes standing alone in the light. His lips are trembling!. Big hugs! I give him a ten! Such an emotional journey! This guy is already a winner! "Your journey has been the hardest and the longest!" "That was amazing!" "It was so beautiful!" "You really transcended dance tonight!" Carrie Anne is fighting tears! "It's beyond words!" "You have shown us what art is every dance!" Is that his mother he goes to hug? Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Warrior finally gets his tens! "My mom's out there!"

Team Rykerson!: White top hat and tails! This guy is a show dancer, too? He's a leading man that's for sure! From Broadway to hip hop Table is threatening to come apart! He's comfortable doing that hip hop! He's getting jiggy with it! I give him a ten! "That was a true freestyle!" "Fred Astaire repackaged and reinvented!" "Fantastic!" "I'm proud of you Ryker!" "You pulled the past into the present!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! He's perfect heading into the final voting!

Team Rumal!: Toxic! Rumer sings, Val plays Violin! Val's made it to the finals three times, but, never won! Strip it down, just so Rumer! Single overhead light. Deep shadows. Backless, deep décolletage. Just them! No extra dancers! No frills! simple staging. bare bulbs. just honest dancing! Amazing choreography! Simple, evocative!. They stalk each other Passion on the prowl! "I think I'm ready now!" I give them a ten! "Bewitching intensity!" "That is OFF THE CHARTS!" "You are a dancer's dancer! "It was raw! It was real! It was so on point!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! "You deserve it!" Perfection maintained!

...So after much hoopla and the 24-hour fusion dances, Team Rumer takes home the golden mirror-ball. Chermokovsky brothers now have one apiece! As I said I can't quibble with any of the top four finishers...Nastia was my pick sight unseen, but, she failed to deliver on her awesome physical gifts, even partnered with perennial contender Derek Hough. I thought Noah won it when he sank to one knee to propose to his girlfriend. I wouldn't have argued if he won because he was always so inspirational. But, to have Julianne Hough say "you make me wanna be a better dancer"! No greater compliment could be given to Rumer Willis. For another judge to say "You're one of the best dancers EVER on DWTS", well, hats off to Bruce and Demi's daughter, now a star on her own right and not just birthright!

05.21.2015: Musical Series Underway

Performance posting:

Bands to Perform Five-Concert Series, May 21 – June 25

5th Anniversary for Concert Series

Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, cordially invites you to Camp Dodge for the 2015 Adjutant General's Summer Concert Series at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex, 7105 NW 70th Avenue, Johnston. This is the fifth consecutive season for the concert series, which is free and open to the public. Five concerts will be held on Thursday evenings in May and June, beginning May 21 and ending June 25. Concerts start at 7 p.m.

Concessions will be available and coolers, picnic baskets and tailgating are also welcome. Please bring your lawn chairs. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be rescheduled, if possible.

The bands playing at the historic Camp Dodge pool complex include:

  • May 21 – Christopher the Conquered-jazz-infused Indie rock
  • Summer Kickoff Block Party-come tailgate and bring your neighbors!
  • May 28 – Sons of Gladys Kravitz- ‘60s and‘70s progressive classic rock and B-side favorites
    -Classic car and motorcycle show-this concert will also include a classic car and motorcycle show starting at 4:30 p.m. with reserved parking for participating vehicles
  • June 4 – Brother Trucker-Roots/Americana/Alt. Country
    -Roots Iowa Night-this concert will also include an Arts Fair and Farmers Market starting at 4 p.m.
    -Artists, artisans and vendors interested in showing their art or selling their goods please contact the Iowa National Guard at (Contact link at the top of the webpage) or 515-252-4582
  • June 11 – Tony Valdez Large Band-Latin/classic rock
    -Patriot Night-wear your favorite Red, White and Blue!
  • June 25 – Sidewinder-Iowa National Guard’s 34th Army Band-pop and classic rock ensemble
    -Military Heritage Night
For more information about the concert series, Click here.

05.21.2015: Performance Posting

If you're not already in CCDC rehearsal or dance class, how a about supporting your local high school? Coming up week after Memorial Day:
The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, presented by Des Moines Performing Arts, celebrates the extraordinary achievements of young musical theater artists. The program aims to create visibility and support for high school musical theater programs and to highlight the importance of arts education.

Panels of community adjudicators comprised of performing arts educators and professionals attend and review each participating school's production. Students and directors receive valuable constructive feedback that can be used to grow and strengthen their future work. Based on reviews and scores, schools ultimately receive awards in honor of their achievements in categories ranging from choreography, design, supporting performer, lead performer, and overall musical production.

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards is designed to be celebratory rather than competitive in nature. Any student or school at an outstanding level is recognized for their achievement. Multiple honorees may be named in each category as performances merit.

The year culminates in a professionally produced Awards Showcase event held on the Civic Center stage featuring outstanding student performances.

05.20.2015: DWTS---Reacting To The Results

Well, congrats to Team Rumer for winning the tenth anniversary Golden Mirrorball Trophy last night. Her passion separated her from my preseason sight-unseen pick of Team Nasty Grrl (Not 'nasty' enough, apparently!o) And, I would've been happy with Team Riker winning, but, they were so good for so long I can't quibble with the results. I'm actually still waiting for some spare time this Memorial Day Weekend to watch the finals and results show, but, hard to miss all the hoopla on the internet when you're plugged in to the dance world. But, instead of jonesing for your weekly fix of ballroom dance, you might wanna pick up some tickets to the touring version of DWTS! Here's a video preview:

...And, thanks for coming to the state, producers! But, instead of wasting time in the Cornhusker state, why not to the Capital City itself? HMMMMM???

05.19.2015: American Ballet Theater, the Documentary

Here's my review of the ABT show that just aired this weekend on IPTV:
American Ballet Theater: A 75th Anniversary Retrospective
Public Broadcasting System

I first saw American Ballet Theater live more years ago than I care to admit. It was while I was still living in Honolulu. But, an upstart airline was offering $99 dollar fares one-way to LAX. I knew a dancer friend who had returned to LA and offered to put me up if I ever visited. I had just performed with a guest artist from ABT who was still with the company. And, did I mention $99 airfare? Even a starving dancer/waiter such as myself could afford that! Such was the confluence of events that ended up with me in California meeting a USC student who got me access to $5 rush tickets to the Shrine, me never hooking up with my former dancer friend for a place to stay, but, ending up sofa-surfing with a former waiter-friend now living in lower Beverly Hills. That student not only got me into more performances of ABT than I would ever been able to afford, but, also got me backstage at the Shrine Auditorium where I rubbed shoulders with Marianna Tcherkassky and saw Gelsey Kirkland. (I also did a pirouette on stage since I figured that was my only chance to dance at the Shrine Auditorium) And, I ended up taking class with Mikhail Baryshnikov at Stanley Holden's studio on West Pico, but, that's a story for another day.

This was ABT at the height of its powers: I saw Gelsey and Misha perform the Giselle that she would later write about in her autobiography Dancing On My Grave. I saw Fernando Bujones, Ross Stretton, Cynthia Gregory, Cynthia Harvey, Danilo Radojevic, Patrick Bissell, Valerie Madonia and countless other legendary dance stars in La Sylphide, Push Comes to Shove, Opus Jazz and other pieces. This is the ABT featured in the PBS documentary that aired this weekend!

It's long on history (It is a retrospective after all!o) and I could have used more dancing. But, oh, the DANCING! It's a mix of historical footage mixed with present-day super slow-mo HD. (Look for current wunderkind Daniil Simkin and Misty Copeland!) And, immediately after the variations were filmed, I read the producers would interview the dancers while they were still sweating, still out of breath, to explain what we had just seen. The goal was to show ABT like the audience had never seen or experienced before: We can't watch real life dancing in slow motion, we can no longer listen to ABT founder Lucia Chase or the spooky-looking Cuban principal ballerina Alicia Alonso. So, the documentary more than serves its purpose: I learned things and watched things and heard from people that would never have been possible without this film. Still, I could also been happier just watching a documentary on Daniil and his dancing. (Still crossing my fingers!)

Unfortunately, I haven't found any plans to show the film again. You can purchase a DVD from PBS as well as a companion book. I checked the "Other Showings" feature on my satellite TV service and came up with none. If I were a dance fan who missed the show, I'd check Hulu or iTunes or pester my local PBS station until they played it again. In the meantime, I'm hoarding my recording of ABT: A 75th Anniversary Retrospective and adding it to my memories of watching the company in all its inspiring, intimidating glory in the city of Lost Angels when I was a much younger dancer!

05.18.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Finally! The finale'! Here's a recap of the twists and turns from the semi that careened down the road last week!o)
"Dancing With The Stars'
Season 10
Week Nine
"The Semifinals"

The stress of the semifinals. "Into The Jungle"! Bowling theme to the opening number. Double tour from Val! The boy has some training! Lindsey pops off the screen in the middle of all the movement! Such energy from all the dancers! Where would the show be without all these SYTYCD alumni? Hand jive from Ryker! And, here we go! The Final four! All leaders only remaining! Judges' choice round coming up!

Team Rumer: "My magic elf!" "Her passion became greater than her fears!" Rumer spectacular in low plunging cutaway white gown. Fifty shades of ballroom dancing! Val forceful as he should be. But, he's also tender and caring. She's her usual spectacular self! Her tender moments are brusquely brushed aside by Val. Echoes of real life? Lighting is eerie and evocative. That double sided tape is working overtime on Rumer's décolletage! "That's how you start the semifinals!" Doesn't matter who your parents are! America falling in love with RUMER! "Dancing is like acting!" Interview with Demi backstage! "How could I NOT be in love with Rumer!" "I'm truly in awe!" I give her a ten. Real judges: 10, 9, 9, 10! THAT'S how you start the semifinals!

Team Noah: The story of his amputation. Mom said she was glad he was still alive and missing limbs, more than some other mothers. But, "I would much rather have died." Noah teaches us to take what life deals us...and make it a plus!" He's so smooth with the limbs he has remaining. I wonder...what a dancer he might've been before the explosion? He's still inspiring. Expanding our boundaries. Friend William Shatner (?) says He's expanding what I believe is possible for amputees...and non amputees! Kudos to Sharna's choreography. She's choreographed his limp into the choreography going up the steps! AMAZING! I give him a nine! "So natural! So honest!" "YOUR best dance yet and what a time to do it!" Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! Noah talking to his fiancé. He goes down to his knee and proposes! OMG! He just won the girl...AND THE MIRROR BALL RIGHT THERE!

Team Ryker: Oldest of five kids! Former Warbler from Glee! How can you dance after some of these emotional video packages? He starts on his knees and Allison comes to haunt his dreams? Is he a prisoner. Fabulous focus! His intensity is remarkable for a non-trained dancer. She's fearless and he more than matches. His attack, I credit to learning from one of the best. Would he be an entirely different dancer with a different pro? His affection and regard for Allison is palpable! I give him a ten! Judges seem impressed! "That, I'm telling you, was a great performance!" "I could NOT tell who was the pro in that dance!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! THAT'S the way to fly into the finals! "Sometimes it's good to do things that scare ya!"

Team Nastia: "We all have struggles, We all have frustrations! We all cry!" She's named Anastasia! Starts off in silhouette. Shaking what she's got! She's channeling Marilyn as she walks down to Sasha! Quickstep! QUICKSTEP! She's killing it, the graveyard of lesser stars! Fast and off momentarily, but gets right back on it. It's not if you make a mistake, it's how you recover! What a pro! She's also performing much better for the first time. Simultaneous one handed cartwheels holding on to her partner! Amazing! I give her a ten! "That was a showstopper!" "The secret to quickstep: move fast, but, don't hurry!" "You are now a dancer, not just a gymnast!" "You were like a bolt of lightning! You were a star out there!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10,, 10! Nastia keeps up with the standard!

Second round: The judges' choice dances:

Starts off with Rycroft and company! DWTSTour.Com for tickets! Couple of spots around the greater Capital City area! Why NOT here?

Team Rumer Val Bruno: She's dressed as the white swan. In faux white pointe shoes! Contemporary fusion to Swan Lake? Big risk, big failure! Hard to do Faux ballet for a non-trained dancer! Val rehearses shirtless and in white tights! Oooh! This could be bad ballet! That iconic Tchaikovsky music. She's in black. Waltz. She's holding back, dancing tentative! The ambitious scope of the piece may have intimidated her a bit! Over head press...DONE WELL! Ballroom dancers en pointe? What an iconic dance. He's not in tights! I give them an eight. Just because I'm a ballet dancer. If you don't know ballet, you probably enjoyed it more! "That was MAD GENIUS!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10!

Team Noah Sharna Carrie Anne: Paso Doble. "I hope I did them justice!" Sharna helps Noah on with the bolero jacket. he's leaning, obviously rooted to the floor. The four boys are in bulls horns!. They lift him to the dance floor. The red curtains are attached to their waists. Noah subdues the bulls! He's sharp and powerful. They're carefully supporting and partnering him. Noah loses his jacket and is lifted to the top of the small stage! Powerfully danced, powerfully acted! His best dance! I give him a ten! Superbly crafted dance! "You are the TOP BULL!" "Masterful!" "Sponsored by Kleenex!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10!

Team Ryker Allison Julianne: Team cousins! Argentine tango! She's a two-time mirror-ball champion! Julianne dances! Rare opportunity for Ryker. They fight for the hat. quickly picked up when dropped! He takes the hat back and tosses it off stage. Then, Julianne leaves. It's all about the couple now. Strong again! Tough again! ON POINTE again! Music box dancer electrified! His dancing makes me smile! SUCH A PERFORMER! Just needs to keep from pulling in his chin like that! I give him a ten! "Those two girls would've ripped anyone else to shreds!" "Flair, musicality and great technique!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! Perfect night! Heading into the finals!

Team Nastia Derek Len: Important for Len! "I'm really honored to dance with Len!" Len starts off looking at his photo book of memories! Turns out he used to be Derek? She's stunning in a forties style ball gown She's spectacular! Rise and fall is delightful! Her technique and extension is as advertised! . Spin in layback is fabulous! Len still has the charm and charisma! Big hug at the end! Live to Lela James! I give them a ten! Carrie Anne is in tears! "What an incredible semifinals!" "I was in tears!""I will remember this moment forever!" Julianne's voice is quavering. Len is beaming in the balcony! "Sublime refinement and skill!" "I am honored and humbled to be in your presence!" "So frustrating to be a former dancer!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10! She keeps pace with Ryker!

Results show: So, my Twitter feed practically exploded when Nastia was bounced in the results show. I think this is one of the closest, tightest, highest quality semi-final fields in the history off the show. But, I think Noah just won the mirror-ball when he sank to one knee and proposed to his now fiancé. Whose going to vote him off now? My personal mirror-ball would go to one of the other two, with Ryker getting the edge by a blonde whisker over the Rumer!

05.15.2015: Performance Posting

No instruments needed:
Tickets go on sale May 15

Capital City News Service - DsM Performing Arts is pleased to announce that the world famous a cappella group STRAIGHT NO CHASER will return to the Civic Center stage for their major North American tour, “The New Old Fashioned Tour.” STRAIGHT NO CHASER will perform for one night only on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. They last performed at the Civic Center in 2011.

Tickets for STRAIGHT NO CHASER, which range from $27.50 to $57.50, will go on sale Friday, May 15 at 10 a.m. at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000.

In addition to the North American tour, which sets off on Oct. 16 in Las Vegas, STRAIGHT NO CHASER, an Atlantic Records recording group, will release their fifth full-length album, The New Old Fashioned, in October. “The New Old Fashioned Tour” follows STRAIGHT NO CHASER’S recently concluded “The Happy Hour Tour,” an epic 2014/2015 world trek which saw the group perform over 67 shows in the US alone, as well as dates in more than 15 countries, including Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Austria, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom for more than 200,000 paying fans.

Additionally, STRAIGHT NO CHASER is set to take part in one of their home state of Indiana’s greatest traditions, the singing of “(Back Home Again In) Indiana” prior to the start of the annual Indianapolis 500. The group – which was founded in 1996 at Indiana University Bloomington – will perform “(Back Home Again In) Indiana” during the pre-race festivities, taking on the honor following legendary entertainer Jim Nabors’s 2014 retirement after having performed the song live 35 times since 1972. The Indianapolis 500 Pre-Race Show airs live on ABC on Sunday, May 24 at 11 a.m. Central Time.

STRAIGHT NO CHASER’S fourth full-length release, 2013’s Under the Influence, saw the renowned vocal group reimagining a selection of their all-time favorite songs alongside many of the superstar artists and undisputed music icons that made them famous. Produced by Mark Kibble (a founding member of the legendary a cappella group TAKE 6 and one of STRAIGHT NO CHASER’S primary influences), the album included unprecedented collaborations with some of popular music’s best and brightest – including Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Rob Thomas, Seal, Sara Bareilles, and Jason Mraz – as STRAIGHT NO CHASER put their distinctive and inimitable spin on songs known and loved the world over.

Long beloved for their trademark takes on Yuletide favorites, STRAIGHT NO CHASER celebrated this past Christmas with a newly released version of their hit EP, Under the Influence: Holiday Edition featuring “Text Me Merry Christmas (Feat. Kristen Bell).” Written by Emmy and GRAMMY® Award-winning writers David Javerbaum (The Daily Show) and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), the track proved an immediate holiday hit, garnering more than 1 million individual views in the 24 hours following its YouTube premiere ( Other highlights on Under the Influence: Holiday Edition include renditions of “White Christmas (Feat. Cee Lo Green),” “Merry Christmas Baby (Feat. Otis Redding),” and a timeless rendition of Paul McCartney’s classic “Wonderful Christmastime” that featured vocals by McCartney himself.

05.13.2015: Know Your Nutrition

Stressed out over recurring stress fractures? Tried Vitamin D supplementation already? Check out this quote from an article investigating another nutritional approach to prevention:
"...This meta-analysis confirms that supplementation with alkaline potassium salts leads to significant reduction in renal calcium excretion and acid excretion, compatible with the concept of increased buffering of hydrogen ions by raised circulating bicarbonate. The observed reduction in bone resorption indicates a potential benefit to bone health for both potassium bicarbonate and potassium citrate..."
...Access that full article with reference here.

05.13.2015: Brew City Ballet

Just got this from a ballet company where many of our dancers have spent many a summer! If you go from Waukee to Mil-Waukee, might wanna catch this performance:

The grand finale of our Season of Classics, Cinderella, opens Thursday!
Don't wait until the clock strikes midnight to buy your tickets, get them now.

Our Sunday Matinee is nearly SOLD OUT !
Performance Dates and Times:

Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 pm
Friday, May 15 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 16 at 1:30 pm BEST AVAILABILITY
Saturday, May 16 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 17 at 1:30 pm NEARLY SOLD OUT
If you have young children, please consider our Saturday Matinee at 1:30 pm.

Cinderella is the buzz around town

Read the previews:

San Miguel said Pink's re-characterization of CInderella's fairy godmother...brings to mind her own mother, living in Spain. "She can't be here to see me dance, but she is always in my heart." -Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"This version is absolutely changed from 2009," Pink says. "The second time you direct a show, it's closer to the version you want because you have more time to explore, to finesse things and nail them down."-John Schneider, Shepherd Express

"Cinderella is perhaps one of the most classic fairy tales imaginable, with its enchanted pumpkins, sparkling carriages and glass slippers. But Pink says it's important that there's always more than meets the eye when translating folk tales into fine art and theatre." -Julie Steinbach, Wisconsin Gazette

05.12.2015: Rocky Mountain High

Colorado Ballet Principal Dancer Sharon Wehner will be teaching ballet, pointe and repertory during the 2015 Capital City Dance Center Summer Intensive. (Have you registered yet? Have you told your friends to register yet?) Here's some information on what she'll be involved with once the summer's over (That first ballet should look familiar!o)
Colorado Ballet 2015-2016 season subscriptions on sale now

Colorado Ballet’s 2015-2016 season will include a romantic masterpiece that the Company has not performed in 20 years, the Colorado premiere of a ballet based on the adventures of a beloved literary character in a magical wonderland, contemporary premieres, and the 55th annual production of Colorado’s favorite holiday tradition, The Nutcracker.

La Sylphide
October 2 - October 11, 2015
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Choreography by August Bournonville
Music by Herman Severin Løvenskiold
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
A young Scotsman pursues a beautiful winged sylph (spirit) in our romantic season opener. For the first time in nearly 20 years, Colorado Ballet will perform the classical masterpiece.

KeyBank presents
The Nutcracker
November 28 - December 27, 2015
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Choreography after Marius Petipa
Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
Colorado Ballet’s 55th annual production of The Nutcracker features fantastic characters, brilliant dancing, exquisite sets, dazzling costumes, timeless choreography and Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary music.

PwC presents
Alice (in Wonderland)
February 19 - 28, 2016
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Choreography by Septime Webre
Music by Matthew Pierce
With live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra
Fall down the rabbit hole and join Alice on an adventure with the Colorado premiere of a ballet based on Lewis Carroll’s books. Experience a whimsical (wonder)land of eccentric characters.

Ballet Director's Choice
March 25 - 27, 2016
University of Denver's Newman Center for the Performing Arts
June Swaner Gates Concert Hall
Tango-inspired ballet choreographed by Lorita Travaglia, work choreographed by Dominic Walsh, and a ballet to be announced The season closer will highlight the talents of Colorado Ballet’s dancers in a diverse collection of contemporary works.

Season subscriptions are on sale now, single tickets will go on sale July 15.
Click here to purchase a subscription.

05.11.2015: Rainy Daze and Mondays...AND! DWTS!

This show takes me away! And, THE END is in sight!o(
"Dancing With The Stars'
Season 10
Week Eight
"Made in America"

Ballroom still reeling from the elimination of WIllow last week. Montage of shots of stars and contestants. Quarter finals, the race to the semifinals!

Team Noarna: Tango. Suggestions from the internet. Social media suggestions! He believes hard work makes a win possible. He looks sharp in white suit! Drummers in the background. He cleans up well! In an unshaven way. He's as smooth as a one legged man can be. He nixed the idea of a military uniform as a former military man. He's still amazing! But, has he reached the limit of what's possible for a double amputee? Have we reached the end of Sharna's inventive choreography? I give him an eight for the dance, 12 for the inspiration! Len wants more intensity! "Well done as well!", says Julianne! "You did Maintain the frame!" "That was good!" "Innovative and elegant!" says Carrie Anne. Erin Andrews' birthday? Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! Not as good as last week's ten, but, sets him up well for the trio round coming up!

Team Chitney:Contemporary routine. He thinks he has a shot at winning! They visit fans! Big hugs! Dark room with tons of candles! So far not much dancing from Chris. Finally a lift, but, not much technique. All Right. Big over head lift into another step over to the shoulder. that's not easy. good thing his partner trusts him.There wasn't a lot of dancing, but, the lifts he did well! I give him a seven or eight! "You're most improved!" "Your BEST dance!" "Best dance so far!" Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 8! I think that's his best scores yet!

Team Rykerson: Viennese Waltz to. Rihanna! Show emotions! Social media suggestions again! My boy cleans up real good, doesn't he! Allison emoting up a storm. He's trying to match. But, professionals would be hard pressed to keep up with Allison! He makes excellent lines. Has no problem with his off arm extending lines and energy! Not seeing much of the genuine emotion. I see some fake emotion, but, that tends to make him dance brittle! Audience is yelling TEN. I give him a nine! His emotion wasn't authentic! You gotta be able to FAKE sincerity! "Showing true self being vulnerable is true strength!" When asked to be vulnerable and emotional you can often veer into histrionics! Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! WHOA! 39! One of the best scores of the season! he promises a party for the trio round!

Team Robertym: Contemporary to Champagne Kisses. "This is a whole different level!" "Can't wait to dance this piece". They're at the top of a faux penthouse. He's waiting for her Running jumps and lifts. Wind blows her skirt a la Marilyn and Titanic! They run barefoot and look longingly past the horizon! There's a kiss and strong hip lift. Their finishing hug shows strong emotional commitment! I give him an eight! "You didn't need a wind machine up there, you have a big fan in me!" "You upped your game tonight!" "It was magic!" "It was like watching a deodorant commercial!" Surprise birthday cake for Erin! Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 8! Bottom dweller may be in trouble!

Team Nastierek: Paso Doble! Century by Fallout Boy! Facetime a fan! Gladiator motif! Derek as Caesar! Flags and swords! Strong fighting theme! her flexibility again off the charts! She's winning this war! She looks good in faux leather! Sharp! Flips her over. Thumbs down from Derek signifies the death of Sasha! I give her a nine! "Talk to the hand!" I've been lobbying for Nastia to be on the show for aa long time. But, she's not living up to her potential! Time for her to step up her game! So much potential, so little time! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 9! They'll be back as part of the trio round!

Team Rumeral: Rhumba! And, the softer side of Val! Classic rhumba! She's floating on clouds to start! Cheers for the first sensual, hip movements! She needs to be a little stronger in her upper body movements! Carriage isn't bad. arms a little too lax! She's stunning in a backless red dress. Blood red! He gives her a quick kiss at the end! Stunning! I give her nine or a ten! I think the judges will be favorable! "When you lead with love, look what happens!" Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! First perfect score of the season! She blows Riker out of the water!

Second Round:

Team Noah,Sharna,Emma: Salsa trio! "Between us we have five arms!" Love his fight. Silhouette . He's in a smoking jacket! Love his energy! I think he likes this menage a trois! Almost a disaster in the freeze lift. But he saves it! The addition of Emma has amplified the choreographic choices and decisions from Sharna! I give him an eight or nine! "That arm-ography was amazing!" Bruno so excited, he takes a spill from the judge's chair! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! He's going to need America's help too advance to the semis!

Team Chris/Witney/Lindsey: Unleash the beast! Paso Doble, round two! She's just BETING on him during the video pack. He's stalking with power. The two barbies are foils of his strength! His stare is a little spooky! He thinks intensity is manic! Strong hip thrusts! He's counting in his head! Knee walks strong! He dances with each girl in turn! He does he double floor spin! Very creative! I give him an eight! "The intensity was there, but, your BUTT was going in the wrong direction!" "You forgot the FLAIR!" Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 8! Double elimination staring him in the face!

Team Riker/Allison/Brittany: Jazz dance. Dancing in a group is in his background! His hiphop is on point! He just has a fun personality! Welcome to Riker's PARTY! Starts on a cat walk. Boy looks like a PLAYA! His hiphop training and background coming in handy in this routine. Strong lifts. He's strong dancing! Not even noticing the girls! The professional dancers! Move over PIT BULL! Here comes the Riker Party. Boy gets a TEN from me! Riker making a STATEMENT! "You were LEADING that routine!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! Second 39 in a row for the Riker! What kind of party does Len need!

Team Robert/Kym/Jenna: Samba to Cinema Italiano! Nineties super models! Whips off the sunglasses. Robert needs to command the situation a little more. He does better when he smiles! Little awkward! Little uncomfortable. Gets off step! He laughs at the end! His teenage self is living his fantasy with two women! I give him a seven! "Little messy!" "You recovered after the mistake!" Predict he's going to get sevens and eights. Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 7! He's on the endangered species list! Not getting better fast enough!

Team Nastia/Derek/Sasha: Jive. Love triangle! Trying to learn two dances in a week taking a toll on the nonprofessional. Two rooms , two guys! two dances! She's finally performing! This is a different Nastia. Derek! Don't lip synch! Now they're all in one room! Excellent choreography! I give her a nine or TEN!. Len says "That was fantastic!" Kiss on the cheek from Derek! "Most creative trio that I've ever seen!" "Metaphor for the whole season!" "You should be proud of yourself!" I'm thinking tens! Real judges: 10, 10, 10, 10! Matches the first perfect score! Nastia knows how to work hard and it shows up on the dance floor!o)

Team Rumer/Val/Artem: Paso Doble! Energy and chemistry OFF THE CHAIN! She wants them shirtless! But, "We're not a hunk of meat!" Val's choreography can be unexpectedly good in a traditional ballroom kind of way! Stage starts on fire already!. She's passionate! She's spectacular already! Great shapes and great relationships! Steps and shapes are incredible. The partnership. She's more than holding her own against the two strong male professionals! Needs to hold her head a little more back and up. Intensity does not mean focus down all the time! She gets another ten! That was fabulous! Real judges: 10,10, 10,10! A perfect night! She throws down the gauntlet! Val really showed her strengths!

Results: Hour-long show that ends in the elimination of the Shark and the Bachelor. They both had a ton of charisma and a lot of improvement. Just not enough to keep up or make any ground on the fast horses out of the starting gate! Should be an interesting semi-final: Who's going home? Time for Noah, I think. He's been an inspiration, but, his limitations may be catching up to him! And, I don't think he wants to win out of pity!

05.08.2015: Insights Into The Sylph

Timely Pointe Magazine interview as NYCB's Sterling Hiltin performs in La Sylphide:
What has embodying the Bournonville style in rehearsal been like?

It has been wonderful from beginning to end. I admit the first week was really tough, because we're not used to dancing exactly this way. To achieve the airiness, you have to jump without your arms because you're supposed to lift them on the descent. You're really taking it all in the legs.

How would you describe your character of the Sylph? Do you feel like you relate to her in any way?

The Sylph is innocent and pure. And she's all positivity. In general, I'm a really happy person, so I do relate to her in that sense. But I'm human, I have my bad days, so it's a little bit of mind over matter. You want to think about the positive instead of concentrating on the negative.

What are some of the challenges and hallmarks of the ballet?

You do need to have an extra awareness of the feet at all times, and always be on your guard about articulation. Something that's been really wonderful is getting to do more pantomime. To concentrate on not just meaning love, but "Do you love me? I need to know." I'm finding little nuances that I can add to my other roles--it will really trickle into all of the repertory.

What advice would you offer to other dancers who are learning a role for the first time?

My advice, which applies to me as well, is to enjoy every second of it. It's easy to get caught up--you want to do well, you're nervous--but you have to remember that this is why you work so hard every day. This is the fruit. You can't shy away from something you live for. Embrace it and enjoy it.

05.06.2015: More Performance Postings

"East Coast" Dance happenings at the institution affectionately referred to as "Party Hearty You!":
Undergraduate Dance Concert

Thursday, May 7 through May 9, 2015
Space Place Theater 20 W. Davenport St., Iowa City, IA

Presented by Department of Dance.
Undergraduate Dance majors in the U-I Department of Dance will have the opportunity to present their choreography to the public at Space Place Theater.

The concert will include performances of the following works:

  • but, hold your stance by Tyler Clark
  • Enframe by Jennifer Sarsfield
  • Stop. Go Again by Irina Gass
  • I AM A WOMAN AND I HAVE RIGHTS by Venezia Manuel
  • Awake in Time by Emily Medd
  • A Half Glass of Spilled Milk by Tyler Nemmers
  • m@rg!n of err0r by Courtney Paulsen
  • T{}L()R by Tyler Clark and Taylor Gillhouse
  • Endpoints by Irina Gass
  • A short long story. by Katie Skinner
  • 261,878,400 seconds by Brittany Zimmerman
  • S2: E3 “four lines and a curve” by Katie Skinner
$12 Non-Students
$6 Seniors (65+)
$6 College Students & Youth
FREE UI Students (with valid ID)

Tickets will be available through the Hancher Box Office by phone at 319.335.1160 or 1.800.HANCHER or online.

05.05.2015: Performance Postings

Local schools events calendar:
May 4 and 7 – Junior High School Spring Choir Concert

Indian Hills Junior High School choir will be performing this week. The Stilwell eighth-grade chorus concert will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 7, 2015. The combined bass clef, treble clef and mixed choirs will be performing.

LOCATION: Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave.

May 6 – Valley High School Design Studio Hosts “Stitched” Fashion Show

The Valley High School Design Studio class is hosting its annual end-of-year fashion show at 7 p.m. on May 6, 2015, in the Valley High School Performing Arts Center. Each design studio student creates a clothing collection, which are modeled by students from Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in the show. This year’s show, “Stitched,” will feature collections from seniors Dianna Anaya Chavez, Ali Baumann, Rebekah Conard, Allison Levis, Madison Oster and Dominique Senteza, and juniors Katharine Bergbreiter, Emily Carr, Adelyn Fallacaro, Madelyn Overton and Abigail Patterson

LOCATION: Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave.

05.04.2015: My Guilty Pleasure Mondays

Road to the Mirror-Ball trophy winds through Monday night eliminations! "LIVE! From Hollywood! It's..."
"Dancing With The Stars'
Season 10
Week Seven
"Eras Night"

MGM musical start to the show! Canary yellow gowns, men in tuxes. Girls bring out the top hats! Wow! Barrel turns spotting backwards? Sissone turns? And your stars. Sasha and no Derek! "Anything Goes!" the theme for tonight, I guess! Immunity up for grabs! double elimination moved to next week!

Team Riker/Allison: Celebrates at the top of the leaderboard! "You're only as good as your last dance!" 1920's baseball concept! Goal is to get a ten from Len! Quickstep is perfect for you! Home run for Riker. Tosses the bat away. Frame does need work! Wiggling! Go Riker! He's a fun and a competitor! Nice fast footwork Good facials as well! Boy is a star! My boy is FUN to watch! I give him a nine! Not sure if it's a ten from Len...but, Riker! "Home run from me!" Real judges: 9, 10!, 9, 9! Lone ten from Len!!!!

Team Chris/Whitney: 1940's foxtrot! Sinatra classic! "get into the story!" backstory could be the difference! Man! she looks like a WWII pinup girl! Her choreography is effective and really shows off his personality. Big salute at the end! I give him an eight! Iowa farmer is REPRESENTIN' "You got the momentum!" "You're the most exciting contestant for me from now!" Judges tell him to work on hold! Real judges; 8, 7, 8, 8! Same score as last week!

Team Rumer and Val: Jive!. Bruce Willis visits! What a proud papa he is! Talk about star power! Bruce Willis! Rehearsal injury illness? Fatigue! Prone to injury! Fifties Jive! She's also easy to watch. She's got a great spirit and joie de vire! Fast leg work! My neck hurt in sympathy to the last whip drop to sit ending! I give her a nine! "You're a great pair!" "Don't forget WHO you are!" Judges nitpicking! "Those dancers are pro athletes!" Real judges; 8, 9, 9, 9!

Team Noah/Sharna: Meets Amy Purdy! Fellow amputee! Advice from Amy! Show personality! Seventies pimp! Put it out o the line! LOVE it! Unleashing his inner superbad pimp! JAZZ! Foxy Brown! and Super pimp! Some tuttin! to add some 21st century flair! My boy is Pimpin! His best dance! I give him an eight or nine! He's still an inspiration! Judges and audience on their feet! WHAT! WAS! THAT! "You had swag! You had groove!" Real judges: 10, 8, 9, 9! His first TEN! Good for him! "Playaz don't cry!"

Team Robert and Kym: 80;s Argentine tango! "New lease on life!" We're gonna make a statement!" What a cute couple! Robert! what a pimp! Very intense,, passionate! Good use of the prop table. Just needs to hold that upper body a little more...but perhaps apropos for Argentine tango. Dang! Get a room! I give him an eight or nine! He has to be a lotta dancer to keep up with Kym, I agree! Real judges, 7, 8, 8, 8! Still low scores! With a double elimination coming up next week!

Team Nastia/Sasha: Derek injured, Sasha will step in. He still choreographs!Look for Derek! Nineties! Modern Charleston! Singing right on stage! What a privilege to have the singer performing right there. Kip up from Sasha! Tutting allows Derek to participate! Derek is back up dancer singer! Smooth dismount from around the neck spin! I give her a nine! "You were just dancing!" Real judge: 10, 9, 9, 10! They win immunity as of now!

Team Willow/Mark: Futuristic Jazz! Permission for Mark to go hog wild! Hilarious false dubbing package! Torii in the background! Looks like Ninja turtles inn black! Her lack of martial arts experience shows in the lack of focus on her jabs and kicks! They're dragged across the floor Falling leaves create sense of autumnal movement to their final salute. Choreography didn't live up to promise. I give her an eight! Real judges: 9, 9, 9, 10!

Derek's choreography grants immunity to Nastiasha!

The Dance-Off: Foxtrot, Cha-cha, Salsa...and what? Riker versus WIllow first. Strength versus strength! Allison whips off her skirt! Salsa! Complicated turns Jumps over Allison. What is she laughing for! Willow in a short fringy skirt! Wow! Channeling her inner sexy girl! Her HAIR is dancing along side her! Not a very flattering lift! I like her hip action! Down to almost a split! IT's a tease-fest from the Judges! Twitter is in favor of Riker! Real judges: willow, willow, willow, willow! Clean sweep and two extra points!

Dance off: Part 2...Noah takes Robert on! Cha- cha. He's using what he's got! Shakes his hip! That's so hard for someone with only one knee! Just the fact that he's dancing at all, well, my hats off to him! Great chemistry! Robert and Kym. She's got some legs! Robert is finally getting into it. Little too light on his feet! Needs a little more weight on his steps and movement! AH, a misstep. But, she covered for him! Judges are speechless. Noah and Sharna win the Twitter vote. But, they were wrong last time. Real judges: Robert, Noah, Noah, Robert! Len's got the deciding vote! Extra two points heading into the double elimination next week.

Dance Off, part III: Final round is Chris Versus Rumer. Foxtrot. Wow such a strong start! She' looks incredible in red! Rond de jambe is supersonic! When did she find time to rehearse it to this high a sheen! Extraordinary student of the genre! Chris' lack of rehearsal shows when not in hold! But, the longer it goes the stronger he gets!. Love his smile. Iowa boy doing the state good!. Real judges: Rumer, Rumer, Rumer, Rumer! Clean sweep!

Final Elimination: Nastia is safe, she's won immunity! First saved is...Noah and Sharna! Next: Robert and Kym! They're happily stunned, big hug! Also dancing next week: Chris and Whitney! Safe! They're even more stunned. High scorers are at risk. First saved is: Riker and Alison! Rumer versus Willow to be eliminated! Willow is sure it's her. It IS HER! She's crying. Mark's coaching her still! He's a veteran of unexpected eliminations! Audience is stunned! Tears are streaming down her face! Contestants are shocked as well! Mark is saying all the right things! Big hug for Willow from Tom Bergeron! Such a young girl. Willow is still sobbing in Mark's arms as we fade away!

05.01.2015: Performance Posting

THE LION KING returns to rule the roost:

(Capital City Dance News Service) – The Des Moines return of DISNEY’S THE LION KING opens this week at the Civic Center for a limited engagement of three weeks through Sunday, May 17, 2015. THE LION KING plays Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Thursday (May 14 only) matinees at 2:00 p.m.; and Sunday matinees at 1:00 p.m. “We’re thrilled to present THE LION KING for the third time at the Civic Center,” said Jeff Chelesvig, Des Moines Performing Arts President and CEO. “Thus far sales have exceeded our expectations, but there are still great seats available.”

Tickets to THE LION KING are available at, the Civic Center Ticket Office, all Ticketmaster locations and charge-by-phone at (800) 745-3000. Groups of 15 or more should call (515) 246-2340. Ticket prices for the engagement start as low as $30.50. Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

THE LION KING began as a 1994 animated feature-length film developed and produced by the Walt Disney Company. The story, a coming of age parable set among animals indigenous to its setting, the African savanna, tells the tale of Simba, the lion cub who rises to be the King of the jungle.

The production features Patrick R. Brown as “Scar”, L. Steven Taylor as “Mufasa”, Tshidi Manye as “Rafiki”, Cameron Pow as “Zazu”, Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa”, Nick Cordileone as “Timon”, Jelani Remy as “Simba”, Nia Holloway as “Nala”, Keith Bennett as “Banzai”, Jacquelyn Renae Hodges as “Shenzi” and Robb Sapp as “Ed.”

The role of “Young Simba” is alternated between JJ Batteast and Tré Jones and the role of “Young Nala” is alternated between Mikari Tarpley and Alexandra Underwood.

04.30.2015: Performance Posting

2015 Summer Intensive Guest Instructor Kathleen Hurley sends along this heads-up:
"...“Ten Room-inations”

"Ten Room-inations" is an original dance/theatre show created and performed by Mark Gruber and Kathleen Hurley. In ten different scenarios, the pair utilize text, dance and sound to create explorations of partnership. Scenes include near death by haircut, musings over whether to get a tattoo or a tutu, and the quintessential fight over a remote control.

Wednesday, May 6
12-12:30 p.m.
St. John’s Mid-Week Music Series
600 6th Ave

Free performance

Lunch following, $5..."

04.29.2015: Romeo Reviewed

Call me a traditionalist. Call me a classicist. Call me a romantic. (Just don't call me late for dinner!o) But! Don't call me a fan of the recent IPTV presentation of the Quad Cities Ballet's Romeo and Juliet! Okay, full disclosure here: I pulled a Morain and didn't sit through the whole thing. But, this version was nearly unwatchable! No costumes, no sets. It was like watching disparate, desperate modern dance pieces with Prokofiev's majestic score playing in the background! It started off with a modicum of promise, several 'Angels' with expressive torso work undulating on the floor. But, unfortunately, it went downhill from there. I've always said you judge a regional ballet company by the quality of their men. But, the danseur who played Romeo had neither the presence nor the technique to carry off the brash, impulsive, head-strong lead. Also, the dancer who played Juliet looked like she should've played the nurse or mother rather than a young girl on the brink of maturity. I'm not opposed to reinterpretations of classic Shakespearean plays. "West Side Story", for example, is the Montague versus Capulet feud reset in 1950's New York. I'm also not automatically condescending of regional ballet company's attempts at resetting the classics. Omaha Theater Ballet's Romeo and Juliet for example was worth the drive, especially with the stellar Avram Gold dancing the lead. And, I can understand a choreographer trying to hide a company's weaknesses with a different take. But, I've always said that R+J is my favorite ballet. (One of the only classical CD's I ever asked for for Christmas is San Francisco Ballet Orchestra's recording of the score. I had to take it back to exchange when I got the wrong composer's version. I felt oddly cultured when I told the clerk I wanted to exchange the Tchaikovsky for the Prokofiev CD!o) So, it takes a lot for me to turn off the television when the pulsating, passionate Prokofiev score is playing. But, the Quad Cities Ballet Romeo and Juliet was more miss than hit for me. I appreciate the effort, but, I don't applaud the result. Did you see it? Disagree? What do you think?

04.28.2015: Performance Posting

Support local theater! Here's an email offer from The Playhouse:
"...Our traditional season ticket package gives you all four Kate Goldman Children's Theatre shows for just $68 for adults, $54 for students. A season ticket ensures you have your seats, now, for each of our shows in the coming season. And, if you find you can't attend a show, contact us at least 24 hours prior to your performance for a free exchange to another performance time. Shows in the Kate Goldman Children's Theatre season ticket are Junie B. Jones, The Musical; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Sarah, Plain and Tall; and Sideways Stories From Wayside School..."

04.27.2015: Guilty Pleasure

"Dancing With The Stars'
Season 10
Week Six
"Spring Break"

Team Dance night. Intro features only the remaining stars and not the eliminated ones. This is new. Always intent on reinventing and retweaking the old formula. Double elimination next week?

Team Patti/Artem: Quick step. to Heat Wave by Martha Reeve and the Vandellas. Spring break new concept to both star and pro. She likey Spring Breakey! Continuation of last week's number! Now we're in the resort! For a bigger older woman, she's light on her feet! Hotel Del LaBelle! She's having fun. Kicks off a pump! Was that planned? They carry on without missing a step! Audience on its feet. She collapses on a recliner at the end. Crowd is loving it. I give her a seven! She walks sans shoes to the judging site. She's breathless! "best dance so far tonight!" "No one will have more fun tonight!" "You are the most consistent performer!" Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 7! Patti's Delight BBQ spices! Tom has shed his shoes in honor of MS. LaBelle!

Team Derekin: Tango. She's struggling with the demands! "I didn't realize it was going to be this grueling!" She's resplendent in white! She's strong in hold! Derek perfect frame for her strong dancing!. Great line and extensions! Great traveling. Maybe a little more work on the connection. She's been coached well! Almost a sigh of relief after the routine is finished. Spectacular floor spin in the middle! I give her an eight! Physically she's the most gifted of all the contestants. But, the emotional commitment is questionable. Carrie Anne challenges her to not be a gymnast when she dances! "Low, slow and go!" Real judges: 9, 8, 8, 9!

Team Willow/Mark: Salsa. Diagnosis is extra ribs! Good thing she's young! Tequila! Kids are out of school! Wow! She's got great legs! She's not afraid to shake it and shimmy them either! Shoulder lift goes well. Just a little disconnects in the non stop dancing and tricky and and foot work!. Okay! She does cartwheel off his legs into a split! Take that flexibility, Nastia! I give her and eight! Real judges: 9, 8, 8, 9!

Team Robert/Kym: Jive to Surfin' Safari. He's energized by last week's low scores! He's motivated! At the drive in. then pop out of the white Thunderbird. He''s enthusiastic. But. loses his line with too much enthusiasm! He's too slow for the fast beat! Not sure his scores are going to improve much! I give him a seven! "It's better than last week!" "Kym doesn't dumb down the choreography!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! "Better than last week!"

Team Noah/Sharna: Rhumba! "Really difficult dance for Noah!" Pressure is on to step up the choreography! Challenges Sharna's creativity! "Let's hug it out!" She's right! This dance reveals a lot of what he's struggling with. He's doing well. But, he is still an amputee! A stumble on a wrap around! They walk away from each other at the end. He's upset at the package. His jaw is ticcing. "You're an amazing guy!" I give him a seven. "You deserve to be here!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 8! "I'm happy!"

Team Rumer/Val: Bootylicious! Jazz! Val struggling with Jazz choreography!. Bus stop fantasy! Rumer! Channeling her inner early Beyonce! Too much focus oon Val in this piece! Well danced! I give her an eight! "It was hot, darling!" Judges disagreeing amongst themselves! "That's mr. WIllis to you, Val!: Real judges: 8, 8, 7, 9!

Team Chris/Whitney: Viennese Waltz to "Hopelessly Devoted To You" He'ss a farmer not a dancer!. He's listening to the music! Mr Footloose! My boy dresses upp good. Easy lift. Good connection. He's smoother. better musicality! He's betterr! So much taller than her! I give him an eight! His fiance! He's reinvented himself! "Work on the details!" Julianne was "blown away"! Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! Big hug at the scores!

Team Ryker/Allison: Missy Elliot song rejected by Allison! Samba. Almost a slip during a lift. But, he's strong! and commanding! He may be young, but, he's leading her and doing the man's role! He's not taking a back seat to the older professional dancer! I give him an eight! His musicality is his strength! "absolutely adored it!" Real judges: 10, 8, 9 10! New leader in the clubhouse!

First results: First safe are Nastia and Derek. Willow and Mark also safe! Noah and Robert at risk. Rumer is... safe! Chris and Witney...also safe! Patti and Ryker in trouble.

Team YOLO: Wipeout! Solos in dances. "Worst captain ever!" Missing out on a lot? Finally back in rehearsal. Derek facetiming choreography? Classic surf rock?? Beach balls and bikinis? what's not to like? First solo Willow and Mark? Lotta enthusiasm and around the back lift. Noah and Sharna shake it! Another one handed lift and ONE HANDED dismount? Robert takes Kym in a shoulder sit. First bump to finish. Nastia does front walkover and straddle split lift. Timing is good. I give them a nine! Lack of rehearsal together doesn't show much! Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! Derek's string looks safe!

Team Trouble: Breakfast Club meets Greece! We're all in suspension! "I feel bad for the other team!" "Someone's got to take Derek down, might as well be his cousin!" Teacher Patti! Trouble's in detention! Rumer first as the Greasers! Great acting. Chris and Whitney type cast as jock and cheerleader! Ryker and Allison as tthe sexy nerds! Team tut more like it! Then, Patti goes to town all dressed in re. Teacher taking the lead! Syncopated clapping! This routine just makes me smile! I give them a ten! Chris this is "your break through night!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! A TIE! Derekk still never has lost a team dance!

Final elimination: First safe is...Noah and Sharna! She's ecstatic! Also coming back next week...Ryker and Allison! At risk: Patti and Robert still. Going to miss either of them. Turns out to be Patti and Artem! Big hug! She's a classy loser! Audience is stunned! She learned a few steps and made a great friend! What a CLASS ACT!

Only strong dancers left. Just wondering if Noah has the chops to to stick. Also, wonder if Chris can keep stepping up his game! Say goodbye to the grand dame of season ten!

04.24.2014: Voicez of Angelz

Performance posting:
Spring Sing!
Iowa Youth Chorus Celebrates Spring with Song

(Capital City News Service) Iowa Youth Chorus will present its annual Spring Sing! on April 26 at 4:30 PM at First Christian Church, 2500 University Avenue, in Des Moines. This concert will showcase all choirs of the Iowa Youth Chorus with singers ranging in age from 6 to 18. These choirs include: Primary Choir, Children's Chorus, Concert Choir, and Chamber Singers as well as Outreach Choirs from Newton and Pella.

A wide range of repertoire will be presented including folk songs, spirituals, multicultural pieces and classic concert selections. The concert culminates with all choruses, together with Iowa Youth Chorus alumni, performing their signature song "Blessing" by Katie Moran Bart. Tickets are available by contacting the Iowa Youth Chorus office at 515-262-8312 or at the door. The price of admission is $10 ($5 for students).

"This is our annual showcase of choirs and serves as a culminating event to wrap up our performing season. It's always a joy to hear what the singers have accomplished over the course of the season," stated Kristen Stanton, Artistic & Executive Director.

The nonprofit Iowa 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, 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.

04.23.2015: Tangled Web

Hey, kids! Get off the web and into 'The Web'! Consider catching this Playhouse production!:
Based on the best selling children's book by E.B. White, Charlotte's Web tells a touching story about friendship and love. When Wilbur (Will Donaghy), a runty, but goodhearted young pig, finds out he's on course to meet the butcher, his friends in the barn come to his rescue: Templeton (Douglas Cochrane), the gluttonous rat who can occasionally be talked into a good deed, and of course, the extraordinary spider, Charlotte (Annie Mielke) who proves to be "a true friend and a good writer."

The Playhouse cast is directed by Anne Arthur Frett. The cast includes Cheryl Clark, Jason Crowley, Caitlyn Dean, Katie Dorrell, Darren Grote, Natalie Grote, Isaac Helton, Jay Helton, Josiah Howland, Julie Howland, Michael Howland, Sierra Howland, Jaxon Koehler, Tess Meggison, Julia Polson, Sophie Ruddy, Lisa Wiggins, Mary Ann Wilkerson and Molly Wilkerson.

Charlotte's Web is suggested for ages 5 and up. It is presented in the Kate Goldman Children's Theatre. The show runs 95 minutes including a 15-minute intermission.

...More information here.

04.22.2015: 'La Film' of 'La Fille'

All you 'poorly chaperoned girls' (or boys) may want to catch La Fille Mal Gardee if you don't have class or rehearsal at CCDC:
Date: Tuesday, May 5

Time: 7:00 p.m. (local time)

Run Time: 2 hours 45 minutes (approximate)

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 joyous tale when La Fille mal gardée is screened in select cinemas nationwide on Tuesday, May 5.

Based on an 1828 French ballet of the same name and inspired by choreographer Frederick Ashton’s love of the Suffolk countryside, La Fille mal gardée is one of the choreographer’s most joyous creations. Laced with good humor as a whirl of dancing chickens, grouchy guardians and halfwit suitors take to the stage, Ashton’s final full-length ballet incorporates some of his most virtuosic choreography to depict a charming, simple tale of boy meets girl. With elements of national folk dance incorporated throughout, from a Lancashire clog dance to a traditional maypole dance, this emphatically English work has remained a celebrated classic in The Royal Ballet's repertory since its successful premiere in 1960.

This brilliant work features music adapted by John Lanchbery from Ferdinand Hérold's original score and colorful designs by Osbert Lancaster that reinforce the robust wit of the lively production.

Click here for more information.

04.21.2015: Casting The KING

Casting announced:
Broadway’s Award-Winning Best Musical
Limited Return Engagement Plays
Tuesday, April 28 To Sunday, May 17 at The DsM Civic Center

(Capital City News Service) - Casting has been announced for the DsM engagement of Disney’s THE LION KING. Des Moines’ most eagerly awaited stage production ever will leap onto the Civic Center stage from Tuesday, April 28, 2015 to Sunday, May 17, 2015. The press opening night is Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. The show’s eight-week premiere engagement in 2006 played a sold-out run at the Civic Center. The Des Moines engagement of THE LION KING is presented by DsM Performing Arts and is part of the 2014-2015 Willis Broadway Series.

The production features Patrick R. Brown as “Scar”, L. Steven Taylor as “Mufasa”, Tshidi Manye as “Rafiki”, Drew Hirshfield as “Zazu”, Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa”, Nick Cordileone as “Timon”, Jelani Remy as “Simba”, Nia Holloway as “Nala”, Keith Bennett as “Banzai”, Rashada Dawan as “Shenzi” and Robbie Swift as “Ed.”

The role of “Young Simba” is alternated between Jamaal Batteast and Tré Jones and the role of “Young Nala” is alternated between Mikari Tarpley and Alexandra Underwood.

THE LION KING will play Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Thursday (May 14 only) matinees at 2:00 p.m.; and Sunday matinees at 1:00 p.m.

The North American touring productions of THE LION KING have been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers and grossed over $1 billion to date. Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its return to the Civic Center.


In its 18th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 75 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 112 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway, London’s West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sydney, Australia and on tour across North America, the U.K., and Japan. Having played 19 countries on every continent except Antarctica, THE LION KING’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards®: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. THE LION KING has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”

The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.

For more information worldwide, visit

04.20.2015: Guilty Pleasure Mondaze!o)

This show takes me to another place! Here's a recap of the last DWTS!
"Dancing With The Stars"
Season 10
Week Five
"Disney Night"

Micky and Minnie lead in a cast of Disney Characters! Tony dances next to Cinderella. Waltzing to It's a small world after all. Dumbo, Peter pan, Tinker Belle. Derek dances with Whitney. Nastia comes on. Not blonde anymore. Riker as Jack Sparrow, the Pirate of the Caribbean! Willow as Alice! Costumed characters invade the dance floor! halfway point of the competition already?

First results of the night: Safe are Robert and Kym. Suzanne and tony are in Jeopardy! and First up!

Team Suzzony: Jazz from Lady and the Tramp! Frustration in rehearsal. She's reached her breaking pointe! Tony coaching up a storm! Characters on stage with them. Scenes from an Italian restaurant! She's acting up a storm. Tony lifts her downstage. Like most untrained dancers, her shoulders are bad. Also forgets the routine. But, recovers! I give her a six! She explains heel got caught in her dress! "Lady was a vamp!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7. So would've been her highest scores yet except for the wardrobe malfunction!

Team Robertym: Quickstep. Mary Poppins. Wow! They're really going for a young Disney Demographic. Kym descends via harness. Needs to get unhooked while Robert dances with the ...ah, he's off timing. He's rushing the music. Also losing frame! She's lovely in red. He's performing the heck out of this. Good facials. His revolatade is sub par, but, that's a hard step for real dancers! Little stumble at the last pose. I give him a 7. Judges are criticizing him harshly. Audience likes him and will probably vote for him. Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 6! Big stumble in scores!

More eliminations: Chris in trouble...Willow and! Patti and Artem...also in jeopardy!

Team Patterm: Waltz! "Heck on Wheels!" Her knee is causing problems! When you wish upon a star! Dramatic lighting. Her big skirt flies away to reveal a canary yellow ball gown. He's dapper in gray tails. She's so dignified. Needs to lengthen neck. Very stately and graceful. Fun classic choreography. "I love watching you!" I give her a seven. Real judges: 7, 6, 7, 7!

Team WIllark: Historic scores last week. She makes a good Alice! Foxtrot to the March Hare. These animators are having fun! March Hare starts off in a fog with Alice lost in Wonderland. She's quite the actress as well as a good little dancer! She banishes the knaves of Hearts! Reunites with the March hare. Another of Mark's bold concept dances. He's resplendent in March Hare gear! They scurry off to Wonderland at the end! I give her an 8! She should dress as Alice every Halloween! "You're becoming a force to be reckoned with!" Bruno recommends "a couple ballet classes!" as do I! Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 9! Leader at this early point! "Best night ever!"

Team Iowa Boy/ Utah Girl: Absolute lowest score last week! He's struggling with the Quickstep! Arguments. Suffering difficulties! Suffered calf injury! Can he perform? Hercules pumps some iron! Hilarious! Carries Witney down the steps with that injury! It looks taped up to protect the calf! Give him kudos for even attempting the routine! I think they're going for sympathy votes. Give him an extra point for trying with that injury! Points to wrong camera. Think he's glad just to have it over! I give him a seven. Julianne says to have fun and work on the musicality. "Listen to the music"" says Bruno! Man! He's limping up those stairs! Hug from Alfonso! Real judges: 7, 6, 7, 7!

More results: Nastia and Derek...Rumer...Ryker...Noah...all safe!

Team Noarna: To Aladdin! Wow! She's coaching up a storm. She's telling him not to fixate on what's missing, but what he can control! GOOD ADVICE! He rides in on a flying carpet. Whole new world Well placed camera on partner while he's unbuckled and limping down the stairs. He can't rise and fall. but, he can hold his core and sway. He's doing what he can. Dang! He is always an inspiration. Give him a seven for the dance. OFF THE CHARTS for inspiration! "You make me believe in magic!" Remind me never to complain about my lot in life again! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7!

Team Rykersson: Paso Doble to Pirates of Caribbean. He's so into character. Strong and masculine Sparrow. Mirroring Allison. SOO STRONG! What a wench and her pirate. Enthusiastic drop to the floor! Intensity oozing out their pore!. Cannon fires off at the end! I give him an eight! Maybe a nine! Real judges: 10, 9, 9, 10! He's baack on top! First tens for him this season!

Team Rumeral: Samba. Ursula the sea witch! She's purple. Val's serpent green. Sharp samba! They did save the best for last! She's gonna get tens for this one! WOW! she's so good! Samba rolls! Wow! I give her a ten! Val has snake eye contacts in! "Best dance of the night!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! New leader! Ursula and the Eel!

Team Nastierek!: Salute to Frozen! She makes a great Disney character. Olaf scampers on stage with them. They are both excellent Disney Characters! She's strong dancer! "Love is an open door!" They get a ten from me! Real judges: 9, 9, 10, 10! Tied for second place! She could be an actress!

Final elimination: Chris, Patti and Suzanne on the chopping block! First saved is: Patti and Artem! He lifts her in a big hug! Say goodbye to Suzanne! She gets her wish to get eliminated! Not sad. It was time for her to go, she did well. Now back to those late night infomercials! The Iowa Boy and Patti need to up their game to stay in the competition IMNSHO! Patti's injury may lead the audience to put her on the sideline. But, strong dancers this season! I can't believe the tenth season is half-over ALREADY!o(

04.17.2014: Dance As Therapy

*** Parents strongly cautioned: The following link is to an article that references abuse. ***

Just read an inspiring HuffPost from a dancer:

"...If I'm having a bad day, even if I don't want to go in the studio and dance, I almost always feel better when I do. On the dance floor, I'm distracted from whatever stress I'm dealing with at the time. It is just a one on one conversation with me, my teacher and my body. Even if I'm struggling with a specific technique or choreography, when I'm at the barre or in center, I don't have to focus on anything else but that moment with the music and my body. Frustration, fear, anger, I can squash them on the dance floor, sweat them out of my system, leap over them to music. I never imagined that it could (be) so healing, sometimes dance feels as important to my vitality as breathing. Dance is my favorite therapy. I feel so alive and free when I dance, even with other people's steps...."
...Here's the link to the entire article.

*** Parents strongly cautioned: The link above is to an article that references abuse. ***

04.16.2015: Performance Posting

Reviews are in! The Playhouse apparently has another hit on its hands!
Your Passport to Adventure:
Around the World in 80 Days!
Now through Apr. 26
"What a talented cast. When it finally occurred to me that there were only five folks in the play it really got to be amazing." -- Paul Menzel

"The designers keep things visually interesting with exotic costumes (Susanna Douthit), evocative lighting (Virgil Kleinhesselink) and, during the trek through India, a steampunk elephant with bike-fender tusks and dryer-hose trunk... -- Des Moines Register

"Around the World in 80 of the best plays I have seen at the Playhouse. Not just one standout actor...they ALL gave an excellent performance. If you haven't seen it....go." -- Brian Bland

"Director John Viars' multi-tasking casting requirements were nicely filled by a quintet of capable thespians... Newcomer Eric Olson gives a fine turn... Passepartout [is] played with delightful energy and talent by Jason Rainwater... Tyler Kirkholm deftly ripples through a choir of characters... Kate Fitzgerald's Aouda is warm and sympathetic... Dakota Rachuy's Detective Fix becomes a great foil to Rainwater's Passepartout, creating some of the show's best scenes."-- KFMG

04.15.2015: Performance Posting

My favorite ballet returns to the small screen...
Iowa Public Television Presents Romeo + Juliet: A Performance by Ballet Quad Cities

(Capital City News Service) - Continuing its tradition of showcasing talented Iowans and sharing community performances with the entire state, Iowa Public Television will present a new production of Romeo + Juliet: A Performance by Ballet Quad Cities. The ballet will debut Friday, April 17 at 8:30 p.m., and will air again on April 20 at 9 p.m. on statewide Iowa Public Television.

The performers of Ballet Quad Cities bring Shakespeare to modern life. The brilliant musical score by Sergei Prokofiev and stunning choreography lure you in to a version of the tale that is driven by fate.

"We've covered many wonderful performances over the years but this one stands out," said IPTV Senior Producer/Director Deb Herbold. "It's deeper. It's multi-faceted. It is flat-out riveting."

Join us for this captivating and thought provoking performance from the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Moline, Illinois, recorded on February 27, 2015. The program includes behind the scenes interviews with the cast and choreographer.

Learn more at

...I have some trepidations after watching this organization's Nutcracker, but, I'll try to withhold judgement until after this latest performance.

04.14.2015: Choreographer In Residence

Get up close and personal with a rising young star on the choreographic scene: NYCB's Justin Peck:

04.13.2015: T.G.I.G.P.D.W.T.S.MONDAY!oD

My guilty pleasure Mondaze! No longer looks like a runaway for The Nasty Grrl! We's got us a DANCE competition!o)
"Dancing With The Stars'
Season 10
Week Four
"My Most Memorable Year"

Stars pass photos in a montage from one to the other! My most memorable year. Always an emotional tour de force for the show each season. Starts off with results. Nastia and Derek...SAFE! And, first up!

Team Gymnasterek: Her most memorable year was winning the gold in Beijing! "I'd never seen my Dad cry in my entire life!" Argentine Tango to the song she won the gold to! "The memories just flood back!" "Dreams do come true if you don't give up!"She stalks onto the floor under a ceiling of ribbons!. She's SO STRONG! Suitably intense. Her extension and flexibility paying off in spades tonight! A Thomas flair in the middle of the lifts! Bruno is on his feet staring at the couple! Ends in Fish. She's beaming! I give her a ten! "That was a fantastic dance!" "Captured the spirit of the Tango!" Whoops! Failed to capture the character! Not heartfelt! "Full of SHAPES and SHADES!" So good, I have to watch it again! Look at her feet! She has everything!Her intensity and commitment are total! She has the heart of a champion! Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 10! First ten of the season!

More eliminations: Seriously? Someone loses a tooth in rehearsal? Next couple safe is...Robert and Kym! Ryker and Allison are in Jeopardy! Michael and Peta...also in jeopardy!

Team Sameta: Sam's brother wasshot and killed. His father abandoned him and his family. Reconciled in college! He came out and lost his dad again! Dad's rejection stung him deeply! "This is your comeback week!" Rumba to "I'm not my Father's Son". There's a light at the end of the tunnel...and I'll walk into that light. soon disappears His emotional involvement is resonating with the audience! But, his lines are finished! He's too raw. Emotionally and physically. Big hug at the end. Big mman struggling with his emotion. I give him a seven. Julianne loves the dramatic display. Bruno is in tears! He praises the struggle! "Dance is so much more than movement!" "You were TRULY dancing tonight!" Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 8! His best scores yet?

Team RockStarlison: Tango. Resplendent in red suit! Tied for first last week! His most memorable year was last year. Heworked at his music, he's going to work on his dancing! Op art background. SHut Up and Dance With Me" is this his song? Great shapes. Strong frame! His intensity and commitment are improving every show as well! I give him a nine! Hard to choreograph a tango to that music! "Chemistry was off tonight!" "Tad hectic!" "better than last week" "Frame was too close1" "Can't teach that POP!" "Can't believe you guys are in jeopardy!" Real judges: 8, 8, 9, 9! His best scores as well?

Team Sharkym: 2006 was his most memorable year. Tribute to his mother and her ovarian cancer, stage four. She has a year to live. All his money can't buy him more time with his Mom! Doing DWTS for his Mother! Shares his last moment with his Mom! "This one's for you Mom!" Waltz! Finally! He's dapper in white tails. She in a soft flowy coral pink. Last Waltz for you! Needs to keep his shoulders rolled back and down! Was that a lift I see? DANG! They make me smile! I give him an eight! He's tearing up! "You have the best footwork of all the guys!" "Strictly ballroom and absolutely wonderful!" Real judges: 8, 9, 8, 9! His best scores ever! That was his Mom's favorite song he waltzed to!

More results: Chris, Patti and Ryker all safe!

Team Bacheloritney: Fiance Didn't want to be on a farm. Broke off engagement. Sister submitting brother to Bachelor program. Acoustic music by Gavin James performed live! light strewn dance floor. He's much improved. unsteady as a partner. But, He's so much better. My qualms about the Iowa farmer are being put to rest! I give him a seven or eight. "We can't enjoy your dancing unless YOU enjoy your dancing!" I"m pulling for him now!" Real judges: 7, 6, 7, 7!

Team Singartem: Most memorable year was 1973! Dancing to one of her own songs! This one's for you son! A billion dance steps! Jazz routine! Charleston into a box step. She's in fringe with a fan! There's that Patti Jive step that she does so well! She's got so much charisma and dignity! What a performer! I give her an eight! "The joint was jumping!" When I grow up, I wanna dance like Patti La Belle! Real judges: 8, 7, 7, 8! Another personal record from the dancers!

Team Rumeral: Parents and paparazzi. She was bullied in the media! "I've never felt so beautiful as I did last week on the show!" Dedicates the dance to all thee ones who've ever been bullied. Starts off prone and circling! Val lifts her up! She blooms into hold! her line is impeccable! The emotion is controlled and focused! What shapes! What focused energy! Her flow and attack are unmatched! Family is applauding in the stands! I give her a ten! Watch out Nastia! Just be YOU! "Your juxtaposition is amazing!" Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 9! Second place on the leader boardd!

More results: safe is...Noah and Sharna! Willow and jeopardy! Suzanne and! Whoops! results shoulda been different!

Team Somersony: 1977. Go on one more audition! Booked "Three's Company!" Remembers John Ritter. Her shoulders in her rehearsal are too hiked high! She's emotional in her package. Starts on the set of Three's company. Dancing to the theme from the TV show! She's BEAMING! Shoulders haven't improved since rehearsal. emotional content is off the charts though! I give her a seven! "I liked the concept. I liked the content!" Bruno echoes the shoulders criticism. Don't trip heading up those stairs! Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Tony not happy with the scores.

Team HungerGamark: Just 14. 2011, she's booked "The Hunger Games"! She says her youth is no longer a liability! "Once I get out on the floor, I am a fighterr!" Starts as statues coming to life. Staff work. Like Ninjas, they circle and What genre is this? Jazz? Contemporary? It's not ballroom. Not Latin? Little skit as Mark dies! Is the three finger scout salute symbolic of something? I give her a seven? "You're fierce and fearless!" Real judges: 10, 9, 10, 10! New leader, new high for the season!

Team Team Veterana: Recalls the explosion. Buried his anger at the devastation. "I had to make a change!" Dance represents the journey from the 'Mann I was" to the "Man I've become". Contemporary piece. He's looking in he mirror. He's shirtless. Lifts with one arm? Are you kidding me? One arm lift. He's powerful! Strong and steady!. Ends with his hand over his heart! What an emotional journey!! OMG! Judges beaming! I give him a ten! Julianne is emotional! One arm lift! "You area brilliant piece of art, like a Haiku!" "You are an inspiration!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8!

Final Results: Safe...Willow and Mark. Michael or Ryker? Too soon for both of them! But, it's time to say good bye to Michael! What a sport! Classy loser! That was unexpected! Guess I should vote to prevent exactly this kind of thing from happening?


CCDC's @SirDanGuy's review:
"COMPLEXIONS" Ballet Company

THIS is how you end a DANCE Series! Not a dud dancer among them, not a dud piece in the evening! The winning formula for "COMPLEXIONS" Ballet Company is simple enough, complex to execute: Jaw-dropping dancers, endlessly inventive and entertaining choreography, impeccable staging and lighting! Like I said, more easily said than done! Kudos to co-founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson for building a world-class company from scratch! COMPLEXIONS is the dance company that Dance Theater of Harlem and Alvin Ailey's WISHES they could be!

The evening started off with a piece that most lesser companies would hope to end an evening with: "Hissy Fit" (2006). Stark lighting profiling profound shapes and outlining stellar movement. Ten dancers in leotards and shorts for the women and shorts and black socks and shoes for the men performing the piece. Synchronous movement amplified by the group for the opening and closing with various duets and smaller groups in the middle. The evening starting off with a showstopper!

After the first of two intermissions of the night, various duets and solos in Act II of the evening. "Choke" (2007) featured a black man and a white man dancing in almost mirror image steps of each other. Endless legs and effortless extension clad in green leos with matching shorts! "Solo" (1998) was a tour de force for Terk Waters, he of the sexual androgyny, clad in a red off the shoulder camisole with matching shorts. If you want to dance for COMPLEXIONS, you better have amazing facility and flawless technique, and Terk, even though the program indicates he started dancing very late for a danseur at 17, has it in spades! Also, in Act II, "Testament" (2011) a duet for Ashley Mayeux and Andrew Brader to "Amazing Grace". He wore the skirt/kilt in this number. I remember a similar piece to "Ave Maria" from the last time COMPLEXIONS played the Capital City. The religious tenor may be the same, but, it appears to be not as overtly sexual as I remember the last edition being. Mixture of the sacred and profane is what I recalled. I asked Desmond Richardson about it before the show and he said we weren't going to see what we saw the last time.

Act III featured the iconic music of Stevie Wonder from "Fingertips" to "Inner Visions". This, no matter what Richardson said before the show, for COMPLEXIONS is like Joffrey Ballet's "BILLBOARDS" of the nineties to the music of another of my generation's icons: The Artist Once Again Known As Prince. "Come for the music, stay for the dancing!" Stevie Wonder's music is instantly recognizable to an entire generation< but, Rhoden's choreography amplifies and enhances with wonder-ful dancing (See what I did there?) The problem with BILLBOARDS is that the world-famous choreographers brought in to set the pieces probably had no knowledge nor affection for Prince. Not so with Rhoden and Wonder and, probably, the dancers. The music was treated with great respect, yet, the dances were performed with a sly wink and a nod! Babies were made to this music and the flirtatious, organic interactions on stage understood the significance of these songs to my own and other generations. Raucous well-deserved standing ovation by the half-full Civic Center crowd Saturday evening!

Kudos to Rhoden who has become an important choreographic voice in the post-Balanchine, post-Graham era. Kudos to the partnership of Rhoden and Richardson and the blind jete' of faith they made in founding a company in their own image 21 years ago. COMPLEXIONS continues to break new ground in proving once again that good dancing and an entertaining evening has no color and no ethnicity. Hopefully, it will not be another decade before COMPLEXIONS returns to shine once again in the Capital City.

04.10.2015: COMPLEXIONS Conversation, Part III

We've arranged this weekend's rehearsal schedule so CCDC students can attend the performance of COMPLEXIONS Contemporary Ballet Company. Here's the final part of an exclusive one-on-one interview with co-founder and Co-Artistic Director Desmond Richardson:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center 2015

...Watch for the only review of the COMPLEXIONS performance in the metro by a former professional dancer sometime next week!o)

04.09.2015: Complexity of Complexions

The final installment of the 2014-2015 Dance Series concludes this weekend with the arrival of COMPLEXIONS Contemporary Ballet Company on Saturday night. And, here's the second installment of a three-part series with dance supernova Desmond Richardson:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center 2015

...That's part two of three installments of the exclusive interview with Desmond Richardson. We'll post the final segment of the interview tomorrow.

04.08.2015: Audition Acclaim

Well, the early audition season appears to be winding down for another year. And, congratulations are in order for a number of Capital City Dance Center students! This year, CCDC students have auditioned for and been accepted to such prestigious national dance programs as: NYCB's School of American Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Washington Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Ruth Page Dance Foundation, Ballet Austin, Los Angeles Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theater summer intensives! Way to go, #dancers!o) You make us proud! Merde to all the CCDC dancers who'll be training elsewhere this summer. And, also, merde to all the CCDC dancers who'll be STAYING in the Capital City this summer to hone their craft! And, don't forget! We're bringing in some national caliber teachers to join our stellar permanent faculty for the 2015 CCDC Summer Intensive to get you in shape and ready to springboard into another fabulous summer o' dance! (Have you registered yet?) So, wherever you go, work hard, work smart...and HAVE FUN!oD
...And, this just in, congrats to the CCDCGrad2B for a traineeship offer from a Minnesota #ballet company!oD
...AND, been sitting on this for awhile, CONGRATS to the CCDC grad for a new offer from a second ballet company. SHHH! I'm not at liberty to SAY! So, don't ask me who! ...yet!oD

04.07.2015: Simplicity of Complexions

The final installment of the 2014-2015 Dance Series concludes this weekend with the arrival of COMPLEXIONS Dance Company on Saturday night. The company hasn't performed here in more than a decade. CCDC had a chance to do an exclusive interview with co-artistic director and ballet superstar Desmond Richardson to preview the performance (And, I must admit, I was nervous for this one!o):

Copyright Capital City Dance Center 2015

...That's part one of three installments of our exclusive interview with Desmond Richardson. We'll post the rest of the interviews in the days leading up to this Saturday night's performance.

04.06.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

My guilty pleasure returns to the screen tonight. Here's a recap of the last outing:
"Dancing With The Stars'
Season 10
Week Three
"Latin Night"

Starting on the catwalk...then mezzanine shot, do I recognize Lindsey, Val, Mark, Witney... Now full shot of dance floor. Where's Max when you need him? Dance floor features a fire pit! Four boys. Then Lindsey flips Serge! It would be real fun to dance as an extra on this show! Standing ovation from the judges and audience. Choreo by Mandy Moore! Hmm, she's not a ballroomer! Intro of remaining dancers. Ryker's got his hair out of face again. Much better look for him. Charlotte is dressed to show off her best assets!

Team Chermokoskumer: Disco Salsa? LIfts? As an old disco dancer, I question his inability to choreograph. Busted his lip on her crotch! Starts off in a big red boa. We lose that real fast! To Gloria Gaynor's Turn the beat around. Val resplendent in his travolta White Suit! Very energetic approach! Saturday night fever pointing! Ends with shoulder sit. I give her an eight. Crowd is on their feet. Other contestants glumly applauding! "Seventies was not easy!" "Best dance I've seen this season!" Julianne asks for more! "Monday Night Fever starts right here!" "Disco fabulous!" Val covers for his partner in the cannonball question! Val tosses his coat into the audience! Real judges: 8, 9, 8, 8! Was that the first nine of the season? Or were there some last week? Hmm...After checking, Nastia had two (?) nines last week.

Team Charlotteo: Dodged the bullet last week. Rumba. Left and right a problem with dyslexia. Her business contacts interfere with her rehearsal. "Put the phone down!" She's pretty, but, she's dancing on borrowed time! She does have amazing line with those endless legs. She's also very flexible for a civlian. But, her weight is too much on her heels! She demonstrates her flexibility again in a scorpion pose! Keo sheds his shirt. Equal time for the girls, I guess! I give her a seven! "Build your calluses," says Julianne! "You lose concentration!" Keo's nodding in agreement to judges' criticism. "We're being hard on you because of your incredible potential!" "I'm very proud of you!" "The more you sweat the better you get!" Real judges: 6, 5, 5, 6! Boy, for a dancer she was born to be a model!

Team Team Sameta: He's strong enough to do any lift she can imagine. She only weighs a hundred pounds. "I'm gonna break her!" Well, he's not going to have problems with any costume choices she has for him! Pit bull. Tricky handwork Not afraid to use his hips. Very musical. But, for such a big guy, he's dancing small! Too careful. That music he needs to ATTACK! I give him a seven! Women screaming in the audience! "Lost timing too many times!" "Hips flow from footwork!" "Little choppy!" "Next week come back and focus strong!" "Put your weight on your feet!" Safety was his main concern! Good choice! Real judges: 6, 6, 6,6! Disappointment in the scores!

Team Rykerson: Once again he cleans up good. "You have to be sexy. How would you feel about shirtless!" Rock 'n Roll sexiness! Dancing on an inca pyramid! WOW! He continually surprises me with how strong and smooth he can be! HE"S GOOD! Rips open his shirt at the very end! I give him a nine! He was that good! His band is cheering in the stands! "Be more of the man!" "You could be the BEST! Keep that flair! Work on that technique!" "That was a SALSA!" "Need more connection!" "Dance with your EYES!" They're getting more critique from Bruno who was cut off during the commercial break! Real judges: 9, 7, 9, 9! What a grump Len can be! Highest scores of the night! "We're gonna show Len next week!"

Team Suzony: She's listed as "TV Icon". Breaks out her own Fruit hat from the Moulin Rouge! Samba! 68-Year old is "busting her buns" on this show! Copacabana. Iconic music! Needs to work on holding stronger frame. Needs more energy and attack! I give her a six or seven! "Juicy, fruity and full of fun!" "You lost your footing, but, so much FUN!" "I want more depth from you!" Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 7!

Team Bachelorson: Argentine Tango! I think as a competitor he's challenged to do better! Bottom of the leaderboard! "You can't improve by feeling sorry for yourself!" "This is redemption week for me!" He's got a great face for TV. I can see why he's been on the air in one form or another the last three seasons! Yes! He's better already! Just needs to work on weight placement in those heel leads! His walks are amateurish. His lifts are good. I give him a seven or eight! Feeling was better, his walking let him down! "You are the "comeback Kid!" Lifts were stellar! Sparks flying! "You were really committed to the character! You were magnificent!" "You did exactly what you were supposed to do! That's the best dance you've ever done!" Scores should reward hard work. Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Good scores, but, not great!

Team Sharkym: Life about constant improvement! He hurt himself. His back is not cooperating. Having a hard time breathing! "You make me cry it's so beautiful!" The chemistry is palpable. He's gotten better as well! His Intensity is Pacinoesque! Scent of a Woman! Hip action gets yelps from the audience! Just needs to watch that tendency to hunch shoulders! His Intensity is palpable! No one else in the room, but them. I give him a nine! The shark is more than holding his own! Rumba is dance of love! Wow he's concentrating on the corrections from judges! "Rumba can be dance of death for guys!" "You need to break out of the middle of the pack!" "This was so raw and vulnerable! You were leading her!" Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 7!

Team Pattem: Cha cha to Santana. "Bye Felicia!" Checking into Hotel Latin Night! Bell boys form conga line! Lose the luggage! She's doing her best Tina Turner on the cart! She's so dignified! I give her a seven. Such an impressive carriage! Great charisma! Need more Patti swagger! "Need more dance content!" Patti twinkle toes! Boys lose all their shirts. Real judges: 6, 5, 5, 6!

Team Willark!: Hold your hips up! or we'll go down like a house of cards! Paso Double! "I'm fourteen!" Dang! She slams her head into the floor in a slide rehearsal. Pops her rib out in rehearsal! Okay! She's showing some intensity. needs to show strength from a stronger core. Doesn't have the core strength to move fast with speed and control. Dance of Fire and Ice! Skirts flare. They do the drop without any mishap. Then do the drop again to finish the show. Mark raises her arm in triumph at the end of the routine! Audience on feet! I give her an eight! "that's gonna be hard to beat!" "Slow and steady (improvement) wins the race!" "You're learning to express yourself with your body as well as your words!" Judges echo my weak core comment! Wow! Mark still has his game face on climbing the stairs! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8!

Team Noarnah: Trying a prosthetic arm. But, he throws it off during rehearsal! Argentine Tango. He's not doing much dancing so far. His prosthetic leg is serving him well. He's a little less refined than a full bodied contestant would be. One arm LIFT! Good thing she's strong as well. Balances on one leg in a lift to end the piece! This guy brings tears to my eyes! I give him an 8! TWELVE for performance! Sharna's choreography is key! "That was miraculous!" "Well done!" "You're my hero!" Kudos to the choreography as well! Speaking as a choreographer, that must be SO HARD!" All you see are the successes, but, the failures must be monumental! Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 8! His first eights, I believe! This guy is an audience favorite! Reaffurns my thought he's going to be a tough out!

Team Derekin: NYU classes and ten shows a week on Broadway interfere with rehearsals. She practices with a surrogate partner. That's gotta be tough for a non-professional , but, she's not quite "a civilian", she's got quite a performing and competing background to bring to the competition. She shows off her hyper extended legs in her opening pose. Shirtless Derek. Nastia needs to hold those shoulders down and control that gymnast back. Her flexibility put to good use. Her line is ridiculous. great samba rolls. Good hip action! Just needs to WORK IT MORE! Front walkover. I give her a nine! Real judges getting picky: finish your line! "You're a fantastic dancer!" "Less whacking of the arms!" Real judges: 9, 8, 9, 8!

FInal Elimination: Noah, Charlotte and Chris called out to the red spotlight! First saved is Noah! Sharna lets out a scream! Keo's bad luck continues! Super-Model is among the first to go as usual! She's tearing up expressing the value of their partnership! She says all the right things, but, the dancing has spoken. Well, the audience has spoken about the dancing!

Judging from the scores: Patti and the Bachelor are in a race to improve before elimination.

04.03.2015: Performance Postings

Dance happenings at the institution lovingly referred to as "Party Hearty You":
Dance thesis concert takes stage April 2-4
By: Kristan Hellige

The University of Iowa Department of Dance will present an M.F.A. thesis concert, “Moving Fire and Water,” featuring the work of Alex Bush and Paula Lamamié de Clairac at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 2-4, in Space Place Theater, 101 North Hall. Doors will open at 7:50 p.m.

This multimedia performance will feature:

  • Spark and Ruin: a Story of Re-beginning by Alex Bush
  • There was a sea by Paula Lamamié de Clairac
The performance will also include music by UI School of Music doctoral candidate Jason Palamara, and Flint, Michigan-based artist Mama Sol & Tha NUTS. Audience members are encouraged to bring their smartphones and/or data-enabled tablets to use during a participatory portion of this performance.

This production includes mature language that may not be suitable for younger audiences.

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.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the Hancher Box Office in advance at 319-335-1158.

04.02.2015: Land of the Rising Son

Not dancing at CCDC tonight? Here's a free opportunity to broaden your horizons at Drake University:
TONIGHT! April 2: International Film:
Like Father, Like Son
(Language: Japanese; subtitled)
Introduced by Chinatsu Sazawa
Location: Aliber Hall, Room 101
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Sponsors: Evans Foundation, World Languages and Cultures and PFGCGC

In this 2013 drama directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, Ryota Nonomiya is a successful businessman driven by money. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another child after birth, he must make a life-changing decision and choose his true son or the boy he raised as his own.

All events are free and open to the public

04.01.2015: Update On Summer Intensive Faculty

Season is wrapping up for one of the principal dancer guest instructors for CCDC's 2015 Summer Dance Intensive!
Thank you for an amazing season with Colorado Ballet!

You're invited to one more encore performance presented by the dancers you have come to love - Fancy Footwork!

Join us for Fancy Footwork - an exciting show put on by the Colorado Ballet dancers featuring pieces chosen by the dancers themselves.

Selections will range from excerpts of the great classics to new contemporary works by choreographers within the Colorado Ballet family. Guests attending the evening performance will also have the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind items and experiences in a silent auction, tailored by the Colorado Ballet dancers. All proceeds from the event will go towards Colorado Ballet’s career transition fund, Next Step.

We hope you will join us for what will surely be a great day of dancing and fun!

Fancy Footwork
Thursday, April 2nd
Two performances!
2 p.m and 7 p.m.
At Colorado Ballet's New Home - The Armstrong Center for Dance
Performances in the Black Box Theater
Cost: $20 general admission seating

03.31.2015: Summer Singers

Mark your calendars and day planners!o)
The DsM Arts Festival is pleased to announce headliners for the 2015 edition of the award-winning Festival!
Mat Kearney
Singer-songwriter to headline Hy-Vee Main Stage
Nashville-based singer-songwriter, Mat Kearney will headline a full day of non-stop music on the Hy-Vee Main Stage during the 2015 DsM Arts Festival. With breakout hits like "Nothing Left To Lose," "Undeniable," "Breathe In Breathe Out," Kearney is a mainstay on Top 40 charts and music stations. Kearney released his fifth album, Just Kids, in February, which features the chart-topping single, "Heartbeat."

WHEN: Friday, June 26 at 8:30 p.m.

Eddie Money
Rock Legend to Headline Saturday
We've got your two tickets to paradise! Saturday night, June 27, the DsM Arts Festival welcomes legendary rocker, Eddie Money to the Hy-Vee Main Stage. A native of New York, Money found success in the 70's and 80's with a string of hits including "Baby Hold On," "Think I'm in Love," "Take Me Home Tonight," and of course, "Two Tickets to Paradise."

WHEN: Saturday, June 27 at 8:30p.m.

03.30.2015: T.G.I.D.W.T.S.Monday!

Week Two of "my guilty pleasure"!o)
"Dancing With The Stars"
Season 10
Week Two
"My Jam Monday"

"Don't Believe me? Jus' Watch!" My Jam Monday! And, the first elimination!

Team Bacheloritney: Cha-Cha to Pit Bull! Cha cha technique is hard for him to pick up! Can't count the music like a dancer. Love his energy! Good-looking guy. Good enthusiasm. She's counting for him as they dance! He's also a better free styler than he is in hold! He's got some performance potential! I give him a six! His lack of dance experience is catching up with him. He expresses his disappointment at his own performance...that's a good sign. Real judges: 5, 6, 5, 5!

Team Suzonny: Unleashing her inner raunchiness! Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole lotta shakin' going on". She's in fringe to illustrate all that shakin' going on. lotta solo shaking! She's a bit better in this routine already. Shaking is more natural for her. She's a little cautious. I give her six or a seven! "Teasy, never sleazy!" She says it's "Not about the age, it's about your energy!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7,7!

Do I see even more SYTYCD alumni in this year's troupe?

Team Sharkym: Kym "cracking the whip" because there's less time for rehearsal! Foxtrot! Are these two an item? Starting in picnic. Then he's vivacious. Where did this performer side come from? He's also infectious energy! Smooth, innate sense of line! Good for him I give him a seven! Make a good couple! Praise for the rise and fall, prescription for hold from Julianne! Proper English gentleman only glancing down at his watch! Video message from Michale buble himself. Real judges:7, 7, 7, 7! Tied for the early lead!

Team SuperModeleo: Dancing to Katy Perry. Last week's tied-for-cellar dweller. Social media bullying her again! She's perfect for California Girls! Rock Lobsters prancing in the background. She looks good, but, the cha cha is a very technical dance as pointed out earlier. All the beach balls in the world can't distract enough. I'm not hard on her because she's pretty and blonde, but, she needs to learn how to dance better! I give her a six. "Be yourself and be happy with it!" Keo gets scolded by Bruno. Real Judges: 7, 6, 7, 6! Very good scores! She's pumped!

Team SamIameta: "I know I can do better!" He's focused on the NFL combine! Missteps in rehearsal! Game face on! Foxtrot! Lack of rehearsal is showing in lack of finesse and details! He gets better as the song progresses. Frame is better! He's remembering more as the song progresses. I give him a seven! Len has scarlet fever! "You are IN THE GAME this week, my friend!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Seems to be the ceiling so far! Three-way tie for first?

Team Rumeral: cha cha to Adele. Wants to stay on top the leaderboard! Start in fog. She stalks with power and panache. Yes! can be fast and slow! She's a performer! Rumer has it! OF COURSE! Rumer Has it All! WOW! That was too short! I give her another eight! Standing ovation! "You're a powerhouse!" "You STEP HARD!" Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Rumer is HOT!

Team Redfooemma: My Sharona by the Knack! Low scores last week..."lit a fire under me!" Emma in some daisy dukes! Once again he's good out of hold. In hold is a different story. Emma wisely stays out of hold as long as possible. Audience once again in Redfoo glasses. "You went from running on running on Plenty! I give him a six! "You been trained and not tamed!" Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! From bottom of the leaderboard to near the top!

Team HungerGameShields: Argentine Tango! WOW! She's fourteen? Needs to strengthen that core and upper body frame!. Mark is limited by what's appropriate with a fourteen year old. C'mon out of that painting! I give her an eight! "Age is just a number!" "You're a potential winner!" Her enthusiasm is infectious as well! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! New ceiling at the top of the leaderboard!

Team Sharnoah!: "Homegrown Honey" by Darius Rucker! Dance is dedicated to Jamie, his girlfriend! Why do I have a feeling she's going to be showing up sometime soon. Line dancing start! This guy is SO INSPIRING! Team #NoExcuses! DANG! I give him a seven for the dance...eleven for inspiring the masses! Standing ovation from the audience! Real judges: 7, 6, 7, 7! Hard to judge him with his handicaps! And, she shows up from behind the mirror! Not a dry eye in the house!! OMG! Hero's homecoming!

Team Derekin!: The passion quotient is difficult for her. She's not an actress. Dancing on the Brooklyn bridge. of love! Oh! She's so much better! And, she's containing that Gymnast back! She's still not getting totally into the emotional demands of the dance! But, She's faking it well enough! Derek's choreography is the star as usual!. Witney has goose bumps! I give her a nine! Weeek two "Your flow was flawless!" "Your quality of motion was spectacular!" Watching iit again She's SO GOOD! She's delivering on her awesome promise! This mirrorball is hers to lose! She just needs to look at him more! Real judges; 9, 8, 8, 9! New leader in the clubhouse!

Team Rykerson: Fox Trot! In second place! New hairstyle, new clothes. New Approach to an old dance! Dancing on the Bridge of sighs! Allison Holker is pushing the boundaries. Ryker cleans up good! Old school! Fast foxtrot! He's channeling old school cool! And he's looking good! I give him an eight or nine! Okay. I give him the nine! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8!

Team ArtemLaBelle: In The Club with Fitty Cent. Ah! The injuries mounting up for the senior citizen. Salsa. Such class and dignity. Ms LaBelle knows how to party and dance with a bevy of beefcake! Patti! She's emotional! No sign of any injury! Dang! Good for her! I give her a seven! Tom Bergeron is bowing to the diva! "You danced with soul!" "There's a baller in the ballroom! I wanna go to the club with the La Belle!" Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7!

Elimination: Very close voting: Redfoo, Chris, Suzanne, Charlotte resummoned to the chopping block! Next safe is Charlotte and Keo! Boy is he happy! Also safe: Chris and Witney! Eliminated is: say goodbye to your Redfoo! Boos from the audience! Shock in the stands! Graceful loser! "You gotta vote, folks!" Big pouty lower lip reveals the depth of Redfoo's emotion at elimination!

At this second week, the top seeds are starting to distance themselves from the field: Nastia, Rumer, Ryker, The Shark, Willow! The low seeds are scrambling to improve before they're eliminated: Suzanne, Patti, Charlotte, Michael, the fiance'. The Dark Horse is Team #NoExcuses! Let the competition REALLY begin!o)

03.27.2015: Housing Help Wanted

Passing along this email plea for housing help:
Guest Director Housing Needs

The Playhouse is looking forward to welcoming guest director, Jim Sohre, for our upcoming musical, The Addams Family. Jim is an accomplished international director and we are eager to seeing his artistic vision come to life on the Playhouse stage. Jim is not from the Des Moines community, so he needs a place to stay. We are reaching out to Playhouse friends and volunteers to see if you have a space within your home that would offer a bedroom, bath and privacy, but still afford the opportunity to interact, when possible, with the host family. While in Des Moines, Jim will be working most nights and doing correspondence during the day. Past home host volunteers have found the process to be rewarding, while helping the Playhouse bring new and varied talent to Des Moines. Housing is needed April 11 - May 30.

...Contact The Playhouse if you have a place.

03.26.2015: Artist Showing

Support local artists!o)
New Work by Kathranne Knight |
State Arts Council Artist Fellow Kathranne Knight will present new work in the solo exhibit, The End of the Line, at Transient Gallery in the Capital City. Originating with the care of her ailing father over the past year and his eventual death, Knight uses drawing, video, and other media to explore the forms of death and grief. She imagines these human certainties as material objects that are sudden and surprising or long and sticky filling the gallery space with questions and pathos. The opening reception for the exhibit will take place from 7:00 - 9:30 PM, Saturday, April 4. More information can be found at the Transient Gallery website.

03.25.2015: Jump To It

Blogger breaks down ballet jumps:
"...It’s true! You can do all the fancy-pants jumps you want but they each boil down to one of only five possible combinations:
  • Two feet to two feet
  • One foot to the same foot
  • One foot to the other foot
  • Two feet to one foot
  • One foot to two feet
...Read the rest here.

03.24.2015: Public School Events

Community happenings at local schools:
March 25 – Drake Professor Speaks at Des Moines S5 Event
Drake professor Daniel Alexander will speak at the third Des Moines Student-to-Student STEM Speaker Series event at 7 p.m. on March 25 at the West Des Moines Community Schools Learning Resource Center. Alexander’s lecture, “A Professor’s Personal Journey Through the History of Mathematics,” will focus on how history sparked his interest in math. The Des Moines S5 lectures are organized by three Valley High School students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math): Gabriel Mintzer, Arjun Ganga and Evan Eastin.
March 26 – Valley Hosts Community Forum on Race Relations
Valley High School will host a community forum on race relations in our schools and local community on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. The evening will include a panel discussion and break-out sessions. During the break-out sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to provide ideas on how Valley High School and our community can better address and solve racism. The ideas generated will assist the school in developing long-term action steps. Valley administrators will be at the open forum to talk with community members. Members of the panel are as follows:
  • Desmond Adams – An attorney, award-winning entrepreneur, public speaker, community activist and national leader for executive diversity and recruitment
  • Frank Meeinks – A former skinhead who now speaks on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League and partners with the Philadelphia Flyers for an innovative hate-prevention program called Harmony Through Hockey, with a similar program in Iowa.
  • Kittie Knauer – A long-time teacher, principal, consultant, adjunct-professor at Drake University and one of the first competitive female BMX racers in the United States.
  • H. Milton Cole – A retired Episcopal priest and member of the West Des Moines Community Schools Board of Education, who served on the state’s Persons With Disabilities Commission and participated in the Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights marches in 1965.
  • Wayne Ford – Executive director and founder of the nonprofit social service organization Urban Dreams that serves the needs of Des Moines' inner-city residents, owner of Wayne Ford & Associates that helps businesses throughout Iowa recruit and retain minority employees, and a former Iowa State Representative.
  • A Valley High School staff member and students will also serve as panelists
March 30 – Representatives West Des Moines’ Sister City Mateh Asher, Israel to Visit Valley High School & Hillside Elementary
Two individuals from Mateh Asher, Israel will visit Valley High School and Hillside on Monday, March 30, as part of the City of West Des Moines’ Sister City relationship. Miri Johnson and Ada Flor will learn about Hillside’s Artful Learning model of instruction, which is an arts-based school improvement model developed from the work and philosophy of Leonard Bernstein. They will also visit Valley High School’s Art Department and speak with teachers and students about the high school’s art curriculum and course offerings. The City of West Des Moines established a Sister Cities Commission in 2013, and consists of WDM residents interested in establishing meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with other cities around the globe.

The first Sister City relationship was established when the City of West Des Moines and Mateh Asher, Israel entered into a Sister Cities Partnership Agreement in January 2015. The mutual goals of this relationship are to promote regional economic development and entrepreneurial programs, as well as to promote the possible opportunities for the West Des Moines Community Schools to emphasize global connections with partner communities overseas. There are also possible opportunities to promote educational and cultural exchanges centered around music, dance and art festivals between institutions and citizens within our community. West Des Moines Sister City Members include: Jeff Lipman, Phyllis Staplin, Matt McKinney, Heather Perry, Matt Rosen and John Norwood.

03.23.2015: The Reel Big Dance!

My Monday's "guilty pleasure" is BAACK!oD:
"Dancing With The Stars' Season 10
Week One
"And, so, it begins..."

Opening: Starting in silhouette. Tenth anniversary, a montage of memories. Cast is trotted out, So, sight unseen no longer. Big group dance with all the pros. There's the duck princess Sadie Roberson in the audience. Starting the second decade of "everyone's favorite dance competition". Charlotte, Chris...Michael Sam...Nastia...Noah Galloway...Patti LaBelle... Redfoo...Riker Lynch...Robert Herjavec...Rumer Willis...Suzanne Somers...Willow Shields. Hmm, few glimpses of past winners and competitors in the crowd! Look, Kym Johnson is back, looking a little worse for wear!

Team Willow Shields/Mark Ballas: Youngest competitor ever? Introed with a play on Hunger Games. Hilarious. WOW! She's 14! Glimpse is tantalizing, promising! Let's see... Youth will be served! Good attitude! She does dance older than her chronological age! Nice hip action. Needs to hit and sell the endings of all the movement. Opening score is a 7. My guest judge gives a 6! Good comments and constructive criticism from judges. Len is back. Julianne is back. Willow could be a contender! Weak point may be how well Mark can bring her along. Also wonder if her fan base will help keep her in the race. She was just four when the show started! Real judges: 6, 6, 6, 7!

Team Robert Herjavec/Kym Johnson: "If we win this is yours"? Lamborghini? Are you kidding me? Start off on the shark tank set. He has some good attitude. Excellent smile! He's having fun! Needs to tighten that core. He's fun to watch. His enthusiasm is infectious! I give him a 7. Julianne agrees he's infectious! "You're effervescent!" Len warns about lower marks tonight. Real judges: 7, 7, 7, 7! Interesting comparing the first two series of scores! Does that mean he might normally have gotten 8's?

Team Riker Lynch/Allison Holker: Jive. He's from R5? Never heard of them! Brings a definite young vibe. Crowd surfs his way onto a rock stage! Very energetic dance! Channeling his inner Billy Idol! Love his energy! Has to watch out with those lips! I can see Allison's husband Twitch on the side! I give Riker a seven! He's huffing and puffing! Bruno references Billy Idol as well! Carrie Anne praises his "driving the beat" as a bass player. Wow! He's related to the Houghs! Real judges: 8, 7, 8, 8! New Leader in the club house!

Watching Lindsey Arnold in the bounceback. Wonder if she'll ever be a pro again?

Team Charlotte McKinney/Keo M: She looks good. She's enthusiastic. But, typical super model attempt at dancing. something very clumsy + awkward about her! I give her a six, my guest judge gives her a five! Real judges: 6, 5, 5, 6! She needs some work! Easy on the eyes, hard on the dancing!

Team Patti Labelle/Artem: As a singer, she should be musical. But, age may be a factor. Starts off with Lady Marmalade! She's beaming! She makes me smile or some reason. Her EYES are dancing! The rest of her is trying to keep up! She's having fun! But, I give her a six. She may not have the chops to last as long as she'll like. Crowd favorite, but... Judges are being kind. Oh, she's crying! Emotional response to favorable judges comments. Dang! She's "70 years young"! GREAT Job then! Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 6!

Team Chris Soules/Witney Carson: She must have been a Bachelor fan! They're dancing on an Iowa farm. Dancing to footloose, jive. Okay! He's not horrible. He has some potential! He could stick round longer than Lolo Jones! Dancing In the back of a rusty old pickup! I give him a six! "tons and tons of potential!" says Carrie Anne. Not as horrible as I dreaded. Love that he's so committed to the movement. He's awkwardly endearing? Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 7.

Team Michael Sam/Peta Murgatroyd: He's strong. Has some cardio challenges! Athlete's shoulders are too hunched. Good musicality. Decent hips move. Great smile! he's fun to watch as well! Ton of potential as well! I give him a seven. His background of training like an athlete will give him an advantage. Real judges 6, 6, 7, 7!

Team Nastia Liukin/Derek Hough: She's a competitor! She's here to win! Foxtrot! to New York, New York. Her flexibility and strength will be such an asset. Not sure about this version of the song!. I give her an eight! But...Wasn't as smooth as I'd like! Points off for a lift! Julianne is criticizing her gymnast back! My pet peeve as well! Real judges: 7, 7, 8, 8! point off for lift!

Team Redfoo/Emma Slater: Redfoo is a character!. Can he discipline his wild, unorthodox style to the dance floor? Starts off in Cha cha. Frame is too loose! Better in solo than in hold. He's a better freestyler than he is a partner. Everyone's wearing glasses in the audience and celbraquarium. i give him a six. Not sure if Emma's going to get her winner this season! LOVE his dedication Real judges: 6, 5, 5, 6! Dang! Tied for lowest scores of the night!

Team Noah Galloway/Sharna Burgess: Big challenge for her choreographic and coaching skills. Trying to follow in fellow amputee Amy Purdy's footsteps! He's a winner already! Missing an arm and a leg! OMG! How do you judge! this!. god bless him for trying! God Bless HIM! What an emotional tour de force! Judges are near tears! Bruce Willis on his feet, the whole crowd on their feet! I give him a seven for dancing! Give him an eleven for effort! Carrie Anne is thanking him and fighting tears! What a role model! His performance transcends the medium. Real judges: 7, 6, 6, 7! I know he doesn't want to be judged on his handicaps. #TeamNoExcuses I think he'll be a tough out, but, a lot is riding on Sharna's creativity and ability to transcend his challenges.

Team Suzanne Somers/Tony Dovolani: Cha-Cha. She's 68! Age is just a number! "Dumbest Women In America!" Thigh master class. Tony in vintage seventies aerobics gear. She's in good shape for just short of seventy. But, she's tentative. Shoulders are up around her ears! Looks like a beginner dance lesson. She may have time for more infomercials...REAL soon! I give her a five! Everyone has thigh masters in the celebraquarium! Real judges, 6, 6, 6, 7! Excellent attitude!

Team Rumer Willis/Val Chermokovsky: They're old friends of friends. She looks like she's had some dance training. "Calm down and just do it!" Foxtrot. Some nice attack! Still untrained shoulders. Very committed to her movements! "Take me To Church!" She's a show girl! Proud papa and mama in stands! Every time she tries to get intense, her shoulders ride up! She's Hollywood Royalty! I give her an eight! "You're the ones to watch!" The Rumer is TRUE! Dance Hard With a Vengeance! Real judges: 8, 8, 8, 8! Natasha WATCH OUT!

Rumer is the surprise leader. Nastia was good, but, perhaps didn't live up to expectations. Still don't count her out. If it weren't for the points off for the lift, Nastia could easily be tied with Rumer on top the leader board. This may be Val's best chance to win the GOLDEN mirror-ball since Zendaya. Super-model may be the first to go. Don't have the fan base to save them long enough to get better. The models tend to try to skate by on their looks in well as in this competition.

03.20.2015: Du Monde du Desmond

Love this aspect of my job! I had an opportunity to speak with Desmond Richardson of Complexions Contemporary Ballet this morning. The company is coming to the Capital City for a performance next month. Here's my cheat sheet of possible questions:
  • Name, title and organization?
  • You're bringing a piece called "Inner Visions" featuring the music of Stevie Wonder to the Capital City next month. Is this a case of trying to market to a non-dance audience by saying 'Come for the music, stay for the dance'?
  • What can you add to the music of Stevie Wonder? Doesn't it speak for itself?
  • Talk about the collaboration with Stevie Wonder. Is it odd that your composer can never actually watch the result of that collaboration? How do you handle that?
  • Talk about the genesis of "Inner Visions" the dance. I'm assuming you grew up listening to his music. Why choreograph to it, why now?
  • I remember seeing you in a duet to "Ava Maria" last time you performed in Des Moines. At the time, I called it a "subversive mix of the sacred and profane", will we see anything similar in "Inner Visions"?
  • Back in the 90's, Joffrey Ballet had a collaboration with the music of Prince called "Billboards". Is "Inner Visions" Complexions' 'Billboards'?
  • My criticism of "Billboards" was that the famous choreographers they brought in didn't seem to have any affection for Prince's music. I think the first time they heard his music was after they received the commission. How is that different from your approach to Stevie Wonder and his music?
  • What's your favorite audience reaction you can recall after a performance of "Inner Visions"?
  • Tell me about your company? Why do you call it "Complexions"? Is it a play on the complexity of race relations?
  • Why did you feel you needed to start a new company instead of remaining at Ailey's? Why start an upstart company rather than reform or change from within?
  • There's been some talk on the internet recently about race and ballet, Misty Copeland and Michaela Deprince. What's your commentary about perceived racism in the dance world. Is that why you left ABT?
  • Will we get a chance to see you perform in "Inner Visions"? It seems as if you're making the transition to dance education, becoming a teacher versus a performer. Tell me how you deal with students who are less gifted and less talented, perhaps, less motivated than you were at their age.
  • Do you envision yourself as someone who teaches fundamentals to younger dancers or someone who takes a technical dancer and turns them into an artist?
  • What is the best advice you got when you were a student? What advice do you give to someone who hopes to follow in your footsteps?
  • When you hold auditions for your company, what do you look for? What's the most common error you see? What's unforgivable and an instant disqualifier?
  • What complaint or praise do you have for the state of dance in America today?
  • Do you have a twitter account? Does the company have a webpage, instagram or facebook presence?
...That interview will be posted during the week leading up to the performance, Saturday April 11, 2015 at the DsM Civic Center.

03.19.2015: Brew City Ballet

Milwaukee Ballet posts this peek into Michael Pink's updated Giselle:

...Kudos to Michael Pink and the Milwaukee Ballet for attempting to breath new life into the timeless classic. Here's a link to more information. But, somehow it just makes me more nostalgic for the classic interpretation. What do you think?

03.18.2015: Conversation with COMPLEXIONS?

Trying to set up a preview interview with a member of COMPLEXIONS. Just got this email:
"...We are thrilled to announce that COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET will perform Innervisions, a piece that is set to the music of Stevie Wonder, at the Des Moines Civic Center on Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. COMPLEXIONS is part of The Dance Series, now celebrating its fifth season.

Company members from COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET are available for interviews. Here are a couple of ideas for a preview story:

  • The company's foremost innovation is that dance should be about removing boundaries, not reinforcing them. How do they convey this in dance?

  • COMPLEXIONS' groundbreaking mix of methods, styles, and cultures has created an entirely new and exciting vision of human movement. Can they expand on this?
Attached is a press release about the show. Please let me know if you are interested in scheduling an interview as well as your availability and deadline...."
...Croise' your fingers!o)

03.17.2015: Performance Posting

Put this local performance in your electronic calendar:
It’s all About Iowa Heroes.

Don’t miss bringing your family downtown on Saturday, April 11. The Youth Chorus will be presenting two performances at the Hall of Pride, 330 Park Street. The 25 minute performances are at 1:30 pm and 3:15 pm.

The entire program focuses on famous Iowans and their paths to success. These include Simon Estes, Norman Borlaug, Shawn Johnson, and Peggy Whitson. Interspersed between readings and skits will be inspirational songs on the themes of determination, goal-setting, and achieving your dreams.

This performance features the Children’s Choruses from Des Moines, Newton and Pella. Conductors include Natalie Steenson, Jane Johnson and Joe Tangen.

Admission to the Iowa Hall of Pride and the performance is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and all Iowa kids are free.

This is the fourth Iowa Youth Chorus program that has incorporated a regional theme performed in a metro area venue. Other collaborations included Black History Month and Iowa History at the State Historical Museum and Prairie Songs at the Living History Farms.

The performance has been sponsored, in part, by a Prairie Meadows Community Betterment Grant.

The nonprofit Iowa 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, 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.

03.16.2015: Starz Among Us

Well, it's seems like forever since the last DWTS and, now, the long wait is over, mirror-ball fans! Tonight, the real battle on the hard-wood begins, the real "Big Dance" gets underway! Never mind the "bracket racket" of the NCAA March Madness! For #dance fans, it's all about getting busy in the ballroom with ABC! This year's Kentucky of the field appears to be #TeamDerekin, the lethal combination of Olympic All Around Gold Medalist from Beijing, Nastia "the Nasty Grrl" Liukin and the perennial powerhouse coach of the "Ruff, Tuff Derek Hough". Can anyone upset this combination? Well, I hadn't heard much of the rest of the field, but, I just read an interview with Noah Galloway (posted on the #CCDC FaceBook page). He's an amputee who's following in the footsteps of another of Derek's partners (the Olympic snowboarder, name escapes me). Galloway hasn't had much dance experience, scratch that, hasn't had "any" dance experience! But, just by showing up, Noah's a winner to me already! I hope he can dance well! I hope he can inspire others as much as he's already inspired me! Because everyone of us is handicapped in some way, we all have our own struggles. Let's own it and inspire others by example! I'm calling this competition early for #TeamDerekin, but, hats off to #TeamSharnaway. I'll be posting my thoughts and play-by-play of the real "big dance" soon!o)

03.13.2015: Update on IA Arts

Just got these reminders emailed to CCDC from the good folk over at the state Arts Council:
New ArtUp Webinar for Arts Funders and Organizations

The Iowa Arts Council is pleased to add Grantmakers in the Arts' (GIA) Conversations on Capitalization and Community to the spring ArtUp webinar series. This ArtUp seeks to engage cultural funders and organizations in a dialogue about the financial health of nonprofit art groups and investigate how funders might better support capitalization principles for grantees. The webinar will look at what it means to be well-capitalized and how to achieve financial health and vibrancy within the local marketplace. Join the conversation at 2:00 PM, Thursday, April 23. Find additional spring ArtUps below.

  • 2 PM, March 26 | Grantseeking Basics for Individuals in the Arts with the Foundation Center
  • 2 PM, April 9 | Grantseeking Basics for Organizations in the Arts with the Foundation Center
  • 2PM, April 23 | Conversations on Capitalization and Community with Grantmakers in the Arts
Iowa Artists Sought for Artist Fellowship Program

The Iowa Arts Council invites Iowa artists to apply for the Artist Fellowship Program. The program provides support to individuals who demonstrate exceptional creativity in the arts and the capacity for continued contributions to the excellence and innovation of the arts in the state. Applicants must demonstrate the excellence and innovation and public value of their work as well as career readiness. More information can be found in the Artist Fellowship Program Guidelines. The deadline for application is May 1, 2015.

Iowa Next Update

Following last week's legislative funnel deadline, Iowa Next is expected to be taken up by the Senate Appropriations Committee with a revised bill introduced in the coming weeks. The Department of Cultural Affairs looks forward to working with legislative leaders, the Governor's Office as well as stakeholders to continue to advance Iowa Next through the legislative session. Stay tuned for additional updates as they become available.

Apply Now for the Iowa Women's Art Exhibit

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council are pleased to announce an open call for female Iowa artists to submit their artwork for the 2015 Iowa Women's Art Exhibit. The exhibit celebrates female Iowa Artists and their contributions to the cultural vitality and quality of life in Iowa. The exhibit will rotate semi-annually in the formal office of the Lieutenant Governor at the Iowa State Capitol and includes a stipend for selected artists. Program guidelines and the application form can be found online. The deadline for application is May 1, 2015.

Alleyne's Gretel Project

Take part in Iowa Arts Council Artist Fellow Lauren Alleyne's newest collaboration, The Gretel Project, a multimedia immersive experience that invites participants to reimagine the world through the eyes of Gretel--the heroine of the famous fairy tale Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm. Through this dynamic and thought-provoking experience, participants are compelled to reconsider the original fairy tale and what it reveals to and about contemporary society. Follow the breadcrumbs to the Babka Blackbox Theatre in the Heritage Center at the University of Dubuque, 2000 University Avenue, Dubuque on March 23-24 at 7:30 PM. Both events are free and open to the public; however, tickets are required.

03.12.2015: Training With The Starz

Premiere of DWTS is this coming Monday on ABC! But, producers are already allowing the public to livestream on-going rehearsals. ICYMI, here's a fascinating long look at a training session between my sight unseen favorite Nastia Liukin and perennial contender Derek Hough. Get a chance to watch the Houghster coach and choreograph the Olympic gold medalist. And, set your DVR's for Monday night!o)

...There are also links to sessions with other contestants including: Rumer Willis, Chris Soules and Michael Sam.

03.11.2015: Culture! ...Not Just Youghurt Anymore!

Update on cultural events happening in local schools. Public is invited:
March 12 – Westridge Elementary Fine Arts Event: Sheltered Reality Visit

The Sheltered Reality non-profit organization will be sharing their message of music, empowerment and character with Westridge Elementary for the school’s Fine Arts Event 2015. Most classes at Westridge will participate in Sheltered Reality clinics during their music classes throughout the week. These clinics will include drum exercises and lessons that build character through true stories about overcoming obstacles. Randomly selected third- through sixth-graders will perform with Sheltered Reality at a school assembly at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 12.
March 25 – KAKEHASHI Project Community Event

Four groups of Japanese exchange students being hosted by Valley High School, Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and Central Campus students will be giving presentations during the KAKEHASHI Project Community Event at 7 p.m. on March 25 in the Valley cafeteria. The 24 students are visiting the Des Moines area as part of The KAKEHASHI Project. The project organizes school exchange and homestay programs between Japan and the U.S. and is fully funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. A total of 356 participants from different areas in Japan are visiting the U.S. in March 2015.

The 12 students hosted by Valley and Valley Southwoods are from Mita Senior High School in Tokyo, and the 12 students hosted by Central Campus students are from Tokyo Metropolitan Kokusai High School. There will be a farewell potluck with the host families at 6 p.m., prior to the Community Event.

03.10.2015: Companies Coming

Just released, line-up for the next DANCE SERIES:
The Dance Series will celebrate its sixth season with these internationally acclaimed dance companies.
  • PILOBOLUS (Nov. 10, 2015 at the Civic Center) – Named after a barnyard fungus that propels its spores with extraordinary speed, accuracy and strength, PILOBOLUS forms diverse collaborations that break down barriers between disciplines and challenges the way people think about dance. They first performed at the Civic Center in 2011 in The Dance Series’ first season.
  • JESSICA LANG DANCE (Feb. 11, 2016 at the Civic Center) – Founded in 2011, JESSICA LANG DANCE is a New York City-based dance company dedicated to creating and performing the work of Jessica Lang. As part of this engagement, JESSICA LANG DANCE will audition and select local dancers to restage a selection from the company's repertory. Auditions will be held in the fall of 2015 and the local dancers’ experience will culminate when they perform the restaged piece as the opening act for JESSICA LANG DANCE.
  • RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO (April 21, 2016 at the Civic Center) – Led by Artistic Director, Frank Chaves, the company is currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary (2014-2015). Knock-out dancers, athletic prowess, bold music and commanding choreography are the hallmarks of this jazz-based company which has established itself as one of the Windy City’s leading dance companies and one of this country's most popular repertory companies.
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 dance master classes.

03.09.2015: DWTS Preview

Well, despite my one-man campaign against it, the Bachelor will apparently lace up his dancing boots and intrude into my fantasy world of not-so-reality television. And, now that Prince Farming Chris Soules will partner with Whitney Carlson on DWTS, here's hoping he's not horrible. But, let that be a lesson to all you potential contestants out there---and, yes, I'm talking to all you farm boys in the heartland! I don't imagine that as a young lad roaming the halls of Arlington High School, the Bachelor ever thought he'd be judged on dance routines on national television ever in his life. I don't think that as a young homeless girl in Des Moines, Lolo Jones ever thought she'd be lurching to the lambada on "must NOT see TV". And, I don't imagine when Shawn Johnson was duck-walking up the steps behind Chou's Gymnastics training as a young girl that she ever thought she'd be waltzing off with the mirror-ball trophy. So, the message is: whether you get there as a supermodel, an actor, a comedian, an athlete or as a reality show contestant, try to not to REPRESENT REPREHENSIBLY! How much better would Jones have done if she had taken a few dance classes at Capital City Dance Center before heading off to the Beijing Olympics? Do you think Shawn could've dethroned Melissa Rycroft in the battle of the all-stars if she had supplemented her gymnastics training with a few ballet classes at CCDC? You never know how you'll end up on Dancing WIth The Stars, but, it seems inevitable as they run out of 'B' and 'C' list celebrities, your name or your progeny's names will eventually come up!o) That's when you'll wish you or your kids had trained at CCDC for sure! If it's too late for you, make sure your next generation is ready for the possibility! Get your kids into dance classes at CCDC BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, BEFORE THEY SIGN TO DO THE SHOW! (And, reap all the benefits even if they never agree to be on TV!o) Dancing well is its own reward, dancing poorly is its own punishment! Pass the word!oD

03.06.2015: Fine Arts In IA Core Curriculum?

Lawmakers this week discussing a bill that would incorporate the fine and performing arts into the state's core curriculum. Capital City News Service microphones were there as Senators Herman Quirmbach, Liz Mathis and Amy Sinclair discussed the bill in subcomittee as well as taking input from lobbyists on the subject.

Copyright 2015, Capital City Dance Center

...Senate Study Bill 1234 did advance out of subcommittee unanimously and became eligible for full Education Committee consideration where it was expected to pass as well.

03.05.2015: Stress On Dance

Do you put too much stress on yourself in class, rehearsal, auditions or performances? If so, you could be putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage. Here are key findings from the latest study of the effects of stress on performance:
  • Stress generates competitive and economic inequality.
  • Competitive confidence is unaffected by trait anxiety under control conditions.
  • Stress makes low-anxiety individuals overconfident and high-anxious underconfident.
  • Stress affects self-confidence under high-uncertainty conditions.
...Access the entire study here. AND! Time to take a few calming breaths, don't you think, Madchen?

03.04.2015: Ballet Of The Northland

This is what's on the day-planner for a former CCDC student-turned-professional-dancer: (Merde, Katerine of the W00Tang Clan!!o)
Still to come at the Minnesota Ballet...

The Sleeping Beauty

Friday, March 27 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 28 at 7 p.m.
Symphony Hall, the DECC

Journey back in time to the Middle Ages, when richly-costumed dancers light up a starkly imposing stone castle and its drawbridge. The ballet brings to life all the story elements beginning with the christening of Baby Princess Rose, to the pricking of her finger on the forbidden spinning wheel, to her lying in enchanted sleep while faries battle over her fate and her prince struggles to rescue her from the Forest of Thorns.

03.03.2015: Intensive Intentions

More input for #CCDC Students considering attending national dance intensives. Here's an excerpt:
"...Whether you’re an intensive veteran or a first-timer, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking for the right program...So what is a dancer to do?..."
...And, click here for the full article from Dance Advantage.

03.02.2015: Lessons Learned, Stories Told

Performance possibility you might want to check out:
‘Life Lessons from Valley’ Features Student Stories of High School

(Capital City News Service) — Eleven students with a variety of backgrounds are headlining the first-ever “Life Lessons from Valley,” planned for March 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 2300 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines. West Des Moines Mayor and Valley graduate Steve Gaer will be a featured speaker. The event is free and open to the public.

Valley High School Senior Dani Lipman created the event for her Honors Program capstone project. The presentation allows students to share how their high school experiences shaped their lives.

Lipman presented the idea to teachers, who then nominated 50 students from all grade levels for the mini-talks. Students auditioned for a spot in the mini-talk series by pitching their ideas and providing a rough draft of their speech. From auditions, Lipman chose the final eleven speakers. The stories include students who have auditioned for a national television show, found support as a transgender student, persevered when no one else shared their passion for a hobby, and much more.

Lipman said planning the event helped her get to know her school community better and the stories students had to share. “In a way, it has made the school a little bigger for me, because of the stories I now see inside it,” Lipman said of the project. “I think people will be able to gain an insight on Valley and its people.”

To get the latest updates on the event, please follow @lifelessonsvhsevent on Twitter.

02.27.2015: Performance Posting

Intriguing possibility happening just a tombe', pas de bourre', glissade, pas de chat down the road!o)

Don't miss the chance to see ballet's first romantic classic - Giselle. A tale of of love, heartbreak and forgiveness, this stunning production from Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney honors the traditions of one of the dance world's true masterpieces.

Tickets are selling fast - purchase yours today for the best seats in the house!

Select your own seat online at or call the Ballet Box Office at 816.931.8993 today!

...Click here for more information.

02.26.2015: UI Dancers On Tour

Those "krazy kidz" from "Party Hearty You" plannin' on dancin' up storm:
Home concerts kick off Dancers in Company tour
University of Iowa shows scheduled for Feb. 26-28

By: Kristan Hellige

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. 26–28, in Space Place Theater, 101 North Hall.

Now in its 31st year, the company of UI graduate and undergraduate dancers tours throughout Iowa and the Midwest each year, performing concerts and conducting outreach through lecture demonstrations for audiences of all ages. The home performances kick off the tour for these talented dancers and choreographers.

The repertory features a mix of contemporary choreography, including a piece commissioned specifically for Dancers in Company by guest choreographer Melinda Myers, a former member of the renowned Tricia Brown Dance Company, current member of Lucky Plush in Chicago, and choreographer/performer of her own.

The full performance will include:

  • Terra Incognita (2014/2015), choreographed by Eleanor Goudie-Averill
  • Makinze in Between (2013), choreographed by Charlotte Adams in collaboration with Makinze Meiners
  • To Have and to Hold (2005/2015), choreographed by Armando Duarte
  • Ask the Beasts (premiere), choreographed by Kristin Marrs
  • Beauty Head (2007), choreographed by Jennifer Kayle
  • Giants Trump Wizards (2014), choreographed by Kristin Marrs
  • map of gazing (premiere), choreographed by Melinda Jean Myers in collaboration with the dancers
Tickets 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.

In addition to the "home concerts," Dancers in Company will perform at the Arts Share/Community Foundation of Johnson County concert at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28. The concert is free and will be held in Space Place Theater.

Other Dancers in Company appearances include the following:

  • March 4: Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa. Workshop from 3 to 5 p.m.; performance at 7:30 p.m.
  • March 9: Central Academy, Des Moines. The troupe will perform for students in grades 8 through 12, and then conduct a workshop with 30 high school students.
  • March 27: Donna Reed Theater, Dennison, Iowa. Performance at 7:30 p.m.
  • March 28: Orpheum Theatre, Marshalltown, Iowa. Performance time TBD.
  • April 9: Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa. Performance at 6 p.m.
  • April 23: CSPS Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Performance at 8 p.m.
  • April 29: West High School, Coralville/Iowa City. Events TBD.
...Here's a link to more information.

02.25.2015: DWTS Wishes

PLEASE! No "Prince Farming" on DWTS! I can't imagine the reputation of the state suffering more than seeing a well-intentioned country clodhopper shuffling half-heartedly while a professional dancer frantically dances all around him! I haven't watched the Bachelor and I'm sure Chris Soules is a worthy catch for some skanky reality show harpy. But, please spare us the possibility of a lumbering local making us all look bad by association! Kudos to Shawn Johnson for surprising me with her dancing ability and effervescent, effortless charisma in her two appearances on the show. But, I can't imagine Soules being much more than immediately relegated to the "put me out of my misery" list. The show announced its cast list for next season and I'm delighted to see my dream contestant FINALLY on the show. And, not only has Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin signed on...she's been assigned to partner with champion choreographer and coach Derek Hough! As I posted the other day, this competition is over before it begins! I'm looking forward to that, but, one slot still remains open on the DWTS dance card. Rumors are rife on the blogosphere that it'll be Iowa's own Chris Soules. I hope not. I think he'll more likely follow fellow Iowan Lolo Jones as first off rather than hoisting the mirror-ball like Johnson. Spare me the possibility!

02.24.2015: Countdown to DWTS

Fellow CCDC Instructor and DWTS fan texts this heads-up:
...DWTS starts March 16 and they reveal cast this Tuesday!!...
...Here's a link to more information. Be still my beating heart! Finally! Nastia Liukin is my pre-show favorite sight unseen!o) Can't wait to see her perform starting March 16th on ABC!

02.23.2015: Take Me To Church

Heads up from former CCDC danseur:
Hey Emery, ...Not sure if you've heard about Sergei Polunin, the ballet dancer born in Ukraine who was a principal dancer with British Royal Ballet. There was a video that came out recently with his amazing dancing. I didn't see it in your news on the website or perhaps I missed it. The video reminded me of my young years as a dancer and trying to work towards the technique that he possesses.

Here it is, very inspiring.

Best regards,

02.20.2015: Timely Reminder

Hey, Capital City Dance Center families! Put these dates in your day planner!o)
February 21st
Costume Bill Due

March 1st
Third Trimester Tuition Due

May 17th
1pm Smile! Picture Day

June 1-6th
Recital Week

June 8th-19th
2015 CCDC Summer Intensive for Level 3-6

...Please pass the word!

02.19.2015: "Stella! Stella!"

Final 5 Performances at The Playhouse!

7:30 PM Wednesday-Saturday, 2:00 PM Sunday

Southern aristocrat and former schoolteacher Blanche, down on her luck, is reduced to leaving her family plantation home and living with her sister, Stella, and Stella's pugnacious husband, Stanley, in New Orleans. Life in their tiny tenement apartment is unbearable until a kindly suitor appears and seems to offer Blanche a ticket to a better life. But Stanley, still seething at Blanche's high-handed dismissal of him, sets out to dismantle her genteel façade, hurtling them toward an epic clash in Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning classic. A Streetcar Named Desire is recommended for ages 16 and up, due to adult situations.

"The Playhouse has staged Streetcar twice before, in 1961 and 1978, but it's hard to imagine a better Blanche than [Kellie] Kramer, who has the upright bearing of a '40s movie star like Katharine Hepburn or Bette Davis." -- Michael Morain, The Des Moines Register

"[A Streetcar Named Desire] expresses the joy and sorrow of a whole way of life, the neighborhood served by the title streetcar, and this the Playhouse understands." -- John Domini, Cityview

"When one of America's finest community theaters chooses one of theater's most classic plays, it's a combination of bringing such a work to life on its stage, and challenging its creative team to meet the demands of an iconic work. " -- John Busbee, The Culture Buzz, KFMG

"Saw A Streetcar Named Desire this afternoon. Absolutely LOVED it. +5 year season ticket holder...on my top 5 list!" -- ValerieW, Twitter

"I found that the audience was tuned in. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop during both acts." --Jim Boyd, Facebook

02.18.2015: Headless Horseman, The Ballet

Pointe Magazine emailed article about Washington Ballet's Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow Takes the Stage

Washington Irving's spooky tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman has long enchanted readers. But until now, it has never graced a ballet stage. Today through Feb. 22, The Washington Ballet presents the world premiere of Septime Webre's full-length Sleepy Hollow at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The brand-new story ballet is sure to haunt with witches, ghosts, life-size horse puppets and, of course, a Headless Horseman.

Pointe spoke with TWB leading dancer Maki Onuki, who plays Katrina Van Tassel, before the premiere.

How would you describe this version of Sleepy Hollow?

It's a very fun production, and it feels more like a Broadway musical or a movie. There's a lot of wow factor in it, including two really big horse puppets operated by the dancers.
The ballet starts out with the Salem Witch Trials. How does that connect with the rest of the narrative?
The story of Sleepy Hollow is short, so Septime added the Salem witches as a backstory. It starts with three witches who get burned onstage, and their souls get stuck in a book that Ichabod Crane has. If he's having a dream, those witches always come to him.
What's the most challenging part of portraying Katrina?
The acting. She likes two men and she also has a pas de deux with the Headless Horseman, so I'm learning to show the different sides of her with each guy and in each pas de deux.
What's it like dancing with the Headless Horseman?
He doesn't want Katrina to see him because he doesn't want her to know that he has no head. So he's covering her eyes for the whole pas de deux. The movement is very slow, and it's more mysterious and softer.

02.17.2015: Book Bag?

Chance to win some ballet swag...or learn about a timely ballet book?
“dancergirl” Giveaway
Carol is generously giving away a copy of dancergirl to TWO lucky Dance Advantage readers (and hopefully Book Troupe chat participants)!

Here’s how to enter:

Comment on this post, sharing your favorite YouTube dance video (your own or someone else’s).

You have until NOON (EST) Wednesday, February 18 to leave your comment. At that time TWO winners will be randomly selected to receive one paperback copy of dancergirl.

The nitty gritty: You must live in the U.S. and be at least 18 years old to participate in this giveaway. Read our giveaway policy.

Best of luck!

...Here's the original email link.

02.16.2015: Performance Posting

Never mind your Fifty Shades! Here's a chance to sample some international cinema in the capital city:
February 19: International Film: In the Heat of the Sun (China; subtitled)
Introduced by Kirk Martin
Location: Aliber 101
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Language: Mandarin (with English subtitles)
Sponsors: Evans Foundation, WLC and PFGCGC

This Chinese film which chronicles the rites-of-passage of a group of adolescent men is based on Wang Shuo's 1991 novella and includes additional autobiographical anecdotes from writer/director Jiang Wen. The film is set in summertime Peking during the early '70s. The boys live in a military school compound. When not skipping their classes, they are getting into fights with rival groups and girl watching. Much of the story focuses upon group leader Liu Yiku and Monkey Ma (who is based on Jiang Wen). Liu Yiku is having a relationship with the free-wheeling Yu Beipei who is interested in Monkey Ma. Monkey Ma is too interested in the older gal, Mi Lan to notice.

02.13.2015: Performance Posting

Family fine arts opportunity:
"...Westminster is proud to invite Opera Iowa in to perform, Cinderella. It is a perfect show for children and families. Rossini's version of the classic-fairy tale is a vocal and comedic romp! A wise magician takes the place of the fairy godmother and the girl's father rants and raves instead of a wicked stepmother, but the nasty stepsisters, Prince Charming and a glass slipper prove, beyond all question, that this is the fairy tale we all know and love. When it's combined with hilarious characters and situations and set to some of Rossini's finest music, it becomes comic opera at its most exhilarating best! You are welcome to come dressed as your favorite prince or princess...
...Click here to find out more.

02.12.2015: Announcement Alert

Support local theater:
2015-16 Season Announcement Party
5:30-6:30 PM, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015

Mark your calendars now and join us Monday, Feb. 23, for the 2015-16 Season Announcement Party! Social hour with refreshments starts at 5:30 PM with the announcement at 6:15 PM. RSVP to Lee Ann Bakros at or 515-974-5358.

Donors who give $500 or more annually are invited to a special season sneak peek at 5:00 PM. The pre-event includes refreshments and a Q&A with director John Viars. Please RSVP to Nikki Syverson, development director, at or 515-974-5370.

02.10.2015: Gotta Have Art!

Just got this e-mailed to me by a local legislator making the case for expanded arts education:

(Capital City News Service) The Alliance for Arts Education sponsored its second annual Fine Arts Advocacy Day at the Statehouse, giving fine arts advocates the chance to talk with legislators about the importance of arts instruction in our schools.

Among the advocates was opera great Simon Estes, who has performed at the world’s major opera houses for presidents, popes and other world leaders. He told the Senate Education Committee that the arts are a core educational experience for all students.

The Committee also heard from Sarah Dougherty, the 2013 Outstanding Elementary Art Educator. She is currently the coordinator of the Turnaround Arts Program at Findley Elementary in Des Moines. The Turnaround Arts Program is a new initiative to help narrow the achievement gap and improve student engagement through the arts.

Findley was chosen to be one of eight schools featured in the program through a highly competitive national selection process, and will receive intensive arts education resources, expertise and the involvement of high-profile artists. Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker has been working with Findley for the past year, thanks to the Turnaround Arts Program.

Grant Ganzer of Johnston, a finalist on The Voice, told legislators that music in his school was important to his success in the TV music contest. Grant auditioned and was chosen by Blake Shelton to be a contestant on the show. For Grant, the experience has set the stage for what he hopes to accomplish here in Iowa: to inspire other young musicians to follow their dreams.

Research shows that:

  • Arts-engaged students are much more likely to have excellent attendance records and to be recognized for academic achievement.
  • At-risk students site arts engagement as a reason for staying in school.
  • High-poverty arts-engaged eighth graders score higher on reading and science assessments.
  • Students in the arts outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT by 91 points.
  • Arts-engaged students are more likely to participate in civic engagement and community building.

02.09.2015: Apres La Prix

So, ICYMI, here are the finalists for the 2015 Prix de Lausuanne:
102, Scudamore Bianca, Australia
105, Armstrong Sierra, USA
106, Park SeonMee, South Korea
107, Ray Amber, USA
108, Blenkinsop Rebecca, Australia
301, Kanehara Rina, Japan
302, Park Jisoo, South Korea
306, Spichtig Lou, Switzerland
320, Lee GaYeong, South Korea
202, Coppa Bret, USA
203, Acevedo Austen, USA
204, Lee Harrison, Australia
205, Turnbull Navrin, Australia
210, Curley Jarod, USA
401, Pinheiro Miguel, Portugal
402, MacKay Julian, USA
406, Thomas Jack, USA
409, Ito Mitsuru, Japan
416, Hayami Shogo, Japan
419, Garcia Syvert Lorenz, Norway
The list of honorees can be found here. But, just crunching some of the finalist numbers can be informative as well: the numbers indicate which group the judges found most promising. There are 11 male finalists and 9 female finalists. Is that because the finesse and artistry of the female variation is being overshadowed by the power and strength found in the typical male variation? Once again the most sparsely represented group are the 16-and-older Senior females with only four. The most over-represented are the Senior boys at six and the junior boys and junior girls each advanced five dancers apiece. There were 7 USA finalists, the largest national contingent, followed by four Aussies, three Japanese and three South Koreans. What might be most interesting is the failure of a 2013 finalist to advance to the last day. The perennial international ballet competitor failed to improve on her showing two years ago when she was a finalist and the best Swiss citizen competing (read 'only' Swiss finalist). I thought her experience on that raked Theatre Beaulieu stage would help her this year. Whispers in the international ballet community are that she's not building on her early promise, turning down a number of scholarships to prestigious schools to concentrate on competing for ballet honors instead. Let that be a lesson, kids! That's the downside of constant competition: focusing on winning and tricks rather than on the grunt work of honing and strengthening classical placement and technique. Be sure to visit the Prix page to check out their cornucopia of videos and to watch the finals again. Congrats to everyone who competed and, now, let's dance as if we're training to compete in the next Prix!o)

02.06.2015: Turn, Turn, Turn

We interrupt our non-stop, incessant coverage of the 2015 Prix de Lausanne to bring you this ballet bulletin: For all of you CCDC dancers perfecting your fouette' turns, here's how it's done: Watch @balletrusse keep her wrist over ankle and elbow over knee during her Don Q variation:

02.05.2015: CCDC Summer Intensive Intentions

We interrupt our non-stop, incessant coverage of the 2015 Prix de Lausanne this week to announce the coming of a Colorado Ballet Principal dancer to teach at the 2015 Capital City Dance Center Summer Intensive! Pass the word about your only chance in central Iowa to train under Sharon Wehner! Here's her bio from the Colorado Ballet website:
"...Sharon Wehner is originally from San Jose, California. She trained with Jody White and David Roxander, San Jose Dance Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and San Jose/Cleveland Ballet. Ms. Wehner joined Colorado Ballet in 1995 and was promoted to Principal in 1999, and in the last 18 years, has performed many lead roles with the Company. These include Kitri in Don Quixote, Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Medora in Le Corsaire, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppelia, Mina in Dracula, Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, the Cowgirl in Rodeo, the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Cinderella in Cinderella, Esmerelda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Principal couple in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Rubies and Theme and Variations, Antony Tudor’s Leaves are Fading and Twyla Tharpe’s In The Upper Room. She has been honored to have solos and pas de deuxs created on her by choreographers Val Caniparoli, Edwaard Liang, Mathew Neenan, Christopher Wheeldon, Darrel Grand Moultrie, Dwight Rhoden, Jessica Lang, Brian Reeder and Toru Shimazaki. In addition to Colorado Ballet, Ms. Wehner has also performed with The Washington Ballet, Oakland Ballet and Amy Seiwert’s Imagery. She has also been a guest artist at the Vail International Dance Festival and in Japan in the Aoyama Ballet Festival, and the National Ballet of Japan’s Golden Ballet Co-star. Sharon enjoys teaching dance to all ages and abilities, particularly Dance For Parkinson’s Disease...

02.04.2015: Local Listings

We interrupt our incessant, non-stop coverage of the 2015 Prix de Lausanne this week to bring you this announcement of local performance possibilities:
"...FYI - There are two upcoming dance performances that might be of interest to everyone. Tickets are free, but issued to students first. Here is a link.

Friday, Feb.6, 7:30 p.m. Olivier Tarpaga from Burkina Faso presents "Not Because You're African", Flanagan Theatre. In 2010 the majority of African states celebrated fifty years of independence. This piece explores the irony of the neocolonial presence and the so-called Francafrique alliances. This solo also reflects a collection of tiny stories inspired by events from life experiences as a world traveler with a third world passport and as an immigrant in the USA.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m. Joe Goode Performance Group, Roberts Theatre AWESOME AWESOME dance company -- definitely worth your drive to Grinnell!! Find more info here!..."

02.03.2015: Say Oui To The Prix

2015 Prix de Lausanne now underway! If you missed yesterday's live streaming of class and interviews, you can catch a recording here: (ballet rehearsals start about the 17 minute mark)

...Fascinating to see a candidate back at the Prix that I met back in 2013. You may know her as Miko Fogarty from the movie First Position. The perennial competitor is back to take another grab at the brass ring again! She competed as a junior two years ago and is back this year competing in the Senior Division. Interesting! Wonder if she'll improve on her finalist and honorable mention finish from when I was there? I think her experience on that raked stage will really give her a jambe up! Also, the interview with Chi Cao and file footage of him competing were really illuminating.

02.02.2015: Whee! Oui! It's Prix Week!

Hard to believe it was two years ago this week CCDC was represented at the Prix de Lausanne ballet competition in Switzerland! This year, the prestigious international youth ballet competition is offering livestreaming. Next best thing to being there (and put that on your ballet bucket list!o):
Experience the Prix de Lausanne live!
Live Streaming Schedule:
Monday February 2nd 4 pm (GMT +1)
Tuesday February 3rd 4pm (GMT +1)
Wednesday February 4th 4pm (GMT +1)
Thursday February 5th 4pm (GMT +1)
Friday February 6th Selections from 10 am to 5 pm – Results: 6pm (GMT+1)
Saturday February 7th Finals – 3pm (GMT +1)
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.

Connect on our website from Monday February 2nd to Friday February 6th to watch one hour a day of live coverage direct from backstage at the Prix de Lausanne. From your home, watch the candidates practice and give their best throughout this intense competition week. Additionally, we will feature some of the best moments from this year’s dance classes and coaching sessions taught by internationally renowned dancers. Our live streaming program will also include interviews with candidates, teachers, choreographers and jury members, all sharing their thoughts and experiences. Don’t miss our daily rendez-vous!

...Plus, there are all sorts of other ways to keep track of the competition. Check out their website for more information.

01.30.2015: International Ballet Competition?

Even as CCDC dancers keep an eye on the 2015 Prix de Lausanne next week, comes this invitation to another planned international ballet competition:
"...Let us inform you that the XIV Russian Open Ballet Competition ”ARABESQUE-2016” named after Ekaterina Maksimova will take place in the city of Perm, Russia in April, 14 – 24, 2016.

The competition includes two age groups: Juniors (aged 13-17) and Seniors (aged 18-25).

Within the second round the Competition of choreographers and contemporary choreography performers is held. The winners of the Contemporary choreography competition get the titles of Laureates of International Competition and are awarded special prizes.

We will be glad to see the students of your centre among the participants of our competition.

Applications may be sent by post or by e-mail from October 1, 2015 till February 10, 2016.

Detailed information you can find on our official site

We send you the clauses of the Competition and hope to see you in Perm.

Best wishes,
The management of Arabesque..."

...Of course, this could all be spam, so caveat emptor!

01.29.2015: Performance Posting

Support local theater!o)
DsM Playhouse
"A Streetcar Named Desire"

Public Performances: Feb. 6-22, 2015

Southern aristocrat and former schoolteacher Blanche (Kellie Kramer), down on her luck, is reduced to leaving her family plantation home and living with her sister, Stella (Vicky Stafford), and Stella's pugnacious blue-collar husband, Stanley (Jamaal Gabriel Allan), in New Orleans. Life with them in their tiny tenement apartment is unbearable until a kindly suitor appears and seems to offer Blanche a ticket to a better life. But Stanley, still seething at Blanche's high-handed dismissal of him, sets out to dismantle her genteel façade, hurtling them toward an epic clash in Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning classic.

The Playhouse cast is directed by Thomas Woldt. The cast includes Clifton Antoine Jr., Mary Good Chase, Mat Duey, Bridget Johnson, Rebecca Masucci, Justin Nuckolls, Steve Orazem and Josh Visnapuu.

A Streetcar Named Desire is suggested for ages 16 and up, due to adult situations. It is presented in the Mainstage. The show runs 2 hours and is performed with a 15-minute intermission.

...If you go to any show of possible interest, tell us what you thought! Don't be shy!o)

01.28.2015: Performance Possibility

Chance to check out the dancing just a glissade, assemble' up the road this weekend: (Especially for you CCDC students planning on attending The Mayor's school!o)
Date/Time 30 Jan 2015 7:00 pm - 01 Feb 2015 12:00 pm
Location Fisher Theater
Cost Ticket box office in theater - $10 for Iowa State Students; $12 for General Public
Phone 712-301-6037
Organization Orchesis I Dance Company
Barjche, (pronounced bar-Shay) Iowa State University’s annual modern dance concert, was first created in 1946 by three Iowa State students, Barbara, Jean and Charlotte. The founding members of ISU’s dance club Orchesis combined their three names and talents to create a modern dance concert. Since that time Barjche has been produced annually by the Orchesis I dance company. The theme for Barjche 2015 is Plugged In, a contemporary modern dance production based on technology and our human connections. Plugged In has multiple pieces by different individuals addressing how online connections influence our lives. Some of the dances are more abstract leaving the audience open to interpreting them, while other dances are more literal in there presentation.
...If you go, tell us what you think! Don't be shy!o)

01.27.2015: Weakened Dancing

Saw a lotta dancing this last weekend in the Capital City! Here's the second of two reviews on offerings on stage and screen the last few days. This is for the Bolshoi Ballet's Swan Lake broadcast in HD worldwide this past Sunday:
(Capital City News Service) There's something about the majestic music for Swan Lake that sends chills down my spine every time, goose-bumps, if not 'swan'-bumps when that iconic Tchaikovsky score begins. Having said that, just the reputation of Russian ballet would probably be enough for the average audience-member when Fathom Events broadcasts the seminal ballet worldwide as it did this weekend. However, I've been in the court retinue when prima ballerina Yoko Morishita unfurled her stunning Odile on the Honolulu International Center stage. I've seen Baryshnikov, Bissel, Bujones and Kirkland perform at their prime with American Ballet Theater. I've watched in awe as Evelyn Cisneros illuminated her roles with the San Francisco Ballet. I've even seen the Bolshoi Ballet at the Aerie Crown on one of its infrequent visits to the U-S. The downside of seeing the best perform is that everyone else pales by comparison. The downside of being a teacher and coach is you notice the flaws and cover-ups that escape most watchers. Not that the legendary Bolshoi corps was not worth the price of admission to the three hour performance this weekend. Twenty-four, and sometimes thirty, perfect bodies dancing as one illustrates the advantage of the old Soviet system of ballet training: that is, pick the best bodies, give them the best training, get rid of the ones that can't keep up and take a handful of the best into the company each year. Every swan had long limbs, supple neck and elegant repose. Every male was tall and princely, even the courtiers, trumpeters and lackeys-in-waiting. That's why it's galling when the Prince Siegfried falls back out of his pirouettes every time. When he fails to start every tour en l'air in a perfect fifth position. But, credit his world-class cabriole double, majestic line and effortless elevation. And, the chance to watch a modern prima ballerina assoluta in Svetlana Zakharova is also priceless. She's type-cast as the Swan Queen with her bird-like, sleek physique. Her portrayal of the duality in the two roles as Princess and doppelganger cannot be questioned. The famous 32-fouettes in the coda of the Black Swan was a little frantic for my taste, but, she performed them all. (Morishita, by contrast, would sprinkle doubles and triples into her turn sequence. Breathtaking control!) But, most galling is when one of the four Cygnets does a releve' instead of a pique' on to pointe in their variation. Now, I know that's the choreography when one of the Princesses woos Siegfried with her variation during the third scene. I don't have to like the choreography, but, it's a technical flaw when one of the Cygnets fails to perform a basic step correctly! It's like listening to a world-class orchestra and hearing a sour note! I could understand if a dancer fails to pull off an advanced step, but, the basics should be unnegotiable! Unforgiveable! Shape up, Bolshoi! Okay, end of lecture! And...end of review! (Hopefully, such technical flaws will be missing if I get a chance to see Fathom's presentation of R+J later this year!o)

01.26.2015: Weekend Dancing

Saw a lotta dancing this last weekend in the Capital City! Here's the first of two reviews on offerings on stage and screen the last few days.
(Capital City News Service) Take a note all you other dance companies who have come to or are planning on performing in the Capital City: THAT'S how you do a world premiere! (Looking at YOU, Paul Taylor!) And, that's how you follow up on an instant classic! I'm referring to Saturday night's performance by Diavolo, Architecture in Motion (formerly known as Diavolo Dance Theater). That was arguably the best performance by any dance troupe I've seen since The Dance Series began five years ago.

If you order a dish Diavolo at any good restaurant, you can expect a strong, spicy entree with more than a little heat. If you catch a performance by Diavolo, you can expect STRONG dancing with more than a little heat. That's what chef/Artistic Director Jacques Heim served up to a half-full Civic Center crowd in the second course of the 2014-2015 Dance Series. First up was the world premiere of Cubicle. It's a powerful piece chock-full of symbolism of the soul-crushing, mind-numbing possibilities of corporate workplaces. The dancers use large boxes as obvious symbolism of desks, chairs and, even, a soul-less commuter train at one point. Obvious, yes, but, cliche, NO! Dare I say it? The choreographers, composer and dancers managed to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOXES! There! Descending into rote to describe a creative tour de force! A neon lattice-work shines above the corporate drones, until, they manage to break free, shuck their business attire and turn their prison into a playground. But, do they? The end, as in the beginning, shows one worker bee in her box sucking mindlessly on an e-cigarette. Was it all just a fantastical daydream?

After a spoken word interlude (one offering would've been enough) by performance artist and former dancer Steve Connell, the other performers returned with Transit Space. THAT was a real rock concert with ramps and bridges and moveable quarter-pipes more familiar to skateboarders and x-gamers. I thought it was a perfect bookend to the night. If the worker bees managed to escape the corporate Orwellian dystopia in the first piece, the second piece was their bohemian playground. The performers have managed to raise the level of contact improv to new, improved creative heights never imagined when the genre was formalized by Mangrove a generation ago. Intertwining, continually playful ingenious interactions. Flipping, twisting, a boho blend of ballet and breaking at breathtaking speed. Well-deserved standing ovations both before and after each piece!

Bravo, Diavolo! Much better than even the last time you toured through the Capital City! Here's hoping you return with even more mind-challenging, death-defying dancing in your next incarnation!

...Nice to know this blog makes a difference in dancers' lives on occasion. Ran into a former student's Mom who said she used the blog to find a theater showing the Bolshoi near her daughter on Sunday. (That review is coming!o) That dancer ended up at the theater with several of her company members alongside her to watch the show! Now, how about you! Did you see any dance this weekend? Live or YouTube? Wanna share your thoughts? You will automatically be anonymized! We rarely use real names here to prevent internet stalking! Any contributions welcome here!

01.23.2015: Diavolo In The Details

Now, as promised, second part of a one-on-one interview with one of the members of Diavolo to preview their performance Saturday night. Here's the final part of our conversation with Chisa Yamaguchi:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...And because there were some problems with the last audio posting, here's another link to part one:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center
...CYa @ the show!

01.22.2015: Putting USA in Prix de Lausanne!

Just over a week before the 2015 Prix de Lausanne begins! And, take note below: next best thing to being in Switzerland!o)
Live Streaming This year's first-ever live streaming will allow dance fans the world over to experience the Prix de Lausanne from the inside, live on our website. Watch from Monday February 2nd to Saturday February 7th, a detailed schedule is available on our website. Our live streaming will include interviews with candidates, teachers and jury members, all sharing their experiences.
...Find out more information here. And, click here to view the trailer. If you don't blink and know where and when to look, you may see someone you recognize! (Helps that I was there at the time.)

01.21.2015: Hurley and Dancers

Mark your calendars to catch this free performance choreographed in part by CCDC Summer Intensive Guest Modern Instructor Kathleen Hurley:
Westminster Fine Arts Series presents Igor Stravinsky’s “L’Histoire du Soldat”/ “The Soldier’s Tale” on January 31 at 7:00 p.m. and February 1 at 3:00 p.m. Free admission, donations accepted. Westminster Presbyterian Church sanctuary, 4114 Allison Ave. in Des Moines. For information, call (515) 274-1534 or visit

Written during the First World War, Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” recounts the Faustian story of a weary soldier who sells his soul for riches only to find that life’s simplest pleasures are its most rewarding. This Russian folk tale comes alive with dance by Hurley & Dancers, narration by Des Moines actor Craig Peterson, and some of the most challenging music of the 20th century, played by members of Westminster and the Des Moines Symphony. Made possible by a grant from the Iowa Art Council.

Performers include: David Decker, Will Schneider, Kathleen Hurley and Craig Petersen.

Musicians include:

Scott Davis, trumpet
John Helmich, violin
Jeff Jensen, bass
Dan Krumm, percussion
Clayton Murphy, trombone
Julie Murphy, clarinet
Laura Thieben, bassoon
Conductor: John Cook

Director: Denis Hildreth

Choreographer: Kathleen Hurley and company

01.20.2015: Lac du Cygnes

Don't bother coming to take that optional ballet class at CCDC this Sunday, it's CANCELLED. I'll be watching the Bolshoi instead! Field trip NE1?
"...One Night Only Cinema Presentations

Captured live from the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Russia. Experience the excitement and the beauty of Swan Lake, broadcast to select cinemas nationwide on Sunday, January 25.

White swan by day, human by night, the beautiful Odette awaits an oath of true love to break the curse. The great legend of the enigmatic swan/woman is one of the most romantic classical ballets, appropriately set in the era of courtly romance and characterized by elegance, style and harmony.

Tickets are now on sale. Click here for more info..."

01.19.2015: Architecture In Motion

The second offering in the DsM Civic Center Dance Series is this weekend. Had a chance to do a one-on-one interview with one of the members of Diavolo to preview their performance in the Capital City. Here's part one of our conversation with Chisa Yamaguchi:

Copyright Capital City Dance Center

...Watch for the second part of our exclusive interview later this week!o)

01.16.2015: Performance Posting

Classic story coming to the DsM Playhouse:
Miracle Worker
Jan. 16-Feb. 1

7:00 PM Friday, 1:00 PM & 4:00 PM Saturday/Sunday

This classic drama is the story of Annie Sullivan and her student, blind and mute Helen Keller. Trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate, Helen is violent, spoiled, almost sub-human, and treated by her family as such. Only Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence. Annie's success with Helen finally comes with the utterance of a single, glorious word: water.

01.14.2015: Dealing With Diavolo

Still to come on this ballet blog: that exclusive one-on-one interview with the 'Diva from Diavolo'! But, might wanna mark your calendars for some other 'Dance-cational' events leading up to their performance later this month. Just got this e-mail notification:
"...I wanted to give you a heads up on a few community engagement events happening next week with Diavolo in town. You are more than welcome to attend any of these events, or mention them in your story if time permits. The one that I’m most excited about is the Community Look-In Event at the Des Moines Civic Center on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

Here are the details:

What: Free Community “Look-in” Event with Diavolo
When: Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, 5:15 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: Des Moines Civic Center
Who: Join Des Moines Performing Arts for an inside look into DIAVOLO and their collaborative process. Diavolo Institute Co-Director Chisa Yamaguchi will give you a unique glimpse into how the company creates its signature “Architecture in Motion”. She will also offer a backstage look at the structural elements in their newest work, CUBICLE, which will have its world premiere at the Des Moines Civic Center later in the week. Other: The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP required.
In addition to the “Look-In” event, we will have master classes on Friday, Jan. 23 on the Civic Center stage (which normally doesn’t happen – it’s usually at a dance studio) and a pre- and post-show Q&A the night of the show. Details here. (see “Education Opportunities” – left hand side of the web page)

And that’s not all! Diavolo will host several workshops (connecting curriculum and creative movement) at middle schools throughout the week and several of those students who participated in the workshops will catch their performance of Transit Space for the Applause Series on Thursday, Jan 22 and Friday, Jan. 23. Both Applause Series shows are at 10 a.m. and sold out..."

01.14.2015: Performance Posting

If you're planning to audition in or just visit the KC area during this time, might want to catch one of these performances:
February 6-14, 2015
Michael and Ginger Frost Studio Theater | Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity

New Moves is a chance for audiences to see the next big choreographer before they are considered the next big choreographer. It is a very up close and visceral experience for audience and dancer alike. Come see our Kansas City Ballet artists and emerging choreographers together discover bold new ways of expression. Be swept up in the BEAUTY, POWER and PASSION of never before seen new creations out on the edge!

...Find out more information here.

01.13.2015: Chance To Bond Dance

Dads! Take your little princess out to "trip the light fantastic"...or just TRIP! But, don't let her wedding be the only time you dance with your little girl!...

(Capital City News Service) The 2015 Father Daughter Dance is almost here. This year, the dance will be held at the Science Center of Iowa (401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy.). Ticket sales for this year’s Father Daughter Dance begin Monday, January 5. The dance, which also offers participants an all-access pass to the exciting SCI exhibits, will be held on February 7 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $20 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 Des Moines Parks and Recreation, along with the Friends of Des Moines Parks, University Photo, and Boesen The Florist.

Volunteers are still needed the night of the dance in a variety of capacities. If you are interested in volunteering, contack the Parks Department.

01.12.2015: Audition Admonition And Ammunition

Calm down! Take a deep breath! As that perennial Chicago Bear's "burr in the saddle" says: "RELAX! R-E-L-A-X!" That's my advice for all you newbies heading into audition season! Ballet is NOT life or death! Nobody's gonna DIE if you don't get in to the summer intensive of your choice! It just FEELS like it! But, don't psych yourself out! Don't succumb to mental pressure! You have to relax! Have FUN! It's just another ballet class...even if it FEELS like the end of the world! That's not the right attitude to take! Swill a chill pill! CALM DOWN! You've been doing ballet all your life. Treat the audition like a treat! It's a chance to take a workshop with someone new. It's a chance to see and take classes along side dancers you don't normally have a chance to associate with. Learn! Be observant! Show what you can do! Remember the technique that brought you to this place! Relax! It's a chance to share what you love with other people who share that love of dance! So, smile! Take a DEEP BREATH! And, HAVE FUN!o)

01.09.2015: Can't Spell 'Diavolo' Without 'Diva'!o)

Just completed my interview with Diavolo dancer, Chisa Yamaguchi and she was passionate and articulate. That recording's going to be posted here and on the FB page soon, but, here's a sneak peek at my cheat sheet for the interview:
  • You're a professional belly dancer? How does that help or hurt what you do with Diavolo?
  • I saw your last performance at the Civic Center and it was quite impressive. How do you describe what it is that Diavolo does?
  • Tell me about your training. How did you get involved with Diavolo? What's your best advice for performers who want to dance with your company?
  • How do you make sure that the apparatus you work with doesn't overshadow the story or message you're trying to convey?
  • How real is the possibility of injury during rehearsal or performance? How do you deal with the fear?
  • What's your favorite story of audience reaction after a performance? Are children especially impressed? Or do they make a tougher audience?
  • You're premiering a new piece in Des Moines, The Cubicle. How are rehearsals going? How many dancers and what sort of apparatus can we expect to see?
  • You're going to be holding workshops for local dancers. Do you use apparatus at those events? What sort of advice do you give to aspiring performers?
  • Talk directly to my listeners, Why should they come see your show?
  • Any special advice for Asian-American or minority dancers who wanna follow in your footsteps?
  • Do you have a FaceBook page, website, twitter, blog, instagram?
...Turns out Ms Yamaguchi and I have a few things in common: Both minorities and didn't take our first dance class until college! Hmm...could a gig with Diavolo be in my future?

01.08.2015: Diavolo Diva

Interview scheduled today with performer coming to town:
"...I wanted to let you know that company members from Diavolo are available for preview interviews to talk about their engagement at the Des Moines Civic Center on Jan. 24. If you recall, Diavolo’s engagement is particularly exciting because they will be performing the world premiere of Cubicle.

Also, if a preview story doesn’t fit in your members will be in Des Moines the week leading up to the engagement for tech work/rehearsals. Perhaps it’s easier to do an interview while they are in town?

Please let me know your thoughts and we’ll take it from there..."

...So, interview set up with this Diavolo member:
Chisa Yamaguchi, Diavolo Institute Co-Director and company member:

Chisa was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Education: UCLA- World Arts and Cultures & Asian American Studies, B.A., with training from Maria Gillespie, Shel Wagner, Tamra-Henna, Nyoman Cerita, and Germaine Acony. When not working with Diavolo, Chisa teaches recreational gymnastics and dances professionally as an Egyptian Belly dancer. She also travels the world as an international volunteer in countries such as New Zealand, Fiji, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Egypt and Portugal. Chisa has performed in Diavolo’s education programs since 2007 and joined the touring company in 2009. - See more here.

...We'll post that interview in its entirety in the days leading up to Diavolo's performance.

01.07.2015: Too Cold To Dance

As per CCDC policy, whenever the Urbandale School District cancels classes due to weather, Capital City Dance Center will follow suit. Here's that policy language:

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...

...So, all CCDC classes cancelled for today, Wednesday January 7th. Please stay warm!

01.06.2015: Boot Men

Took advantage of the snow day off yesterday to watch a dance movie I recorded on my DVR last week. It was an old one, "Boot Men" on the Audience Network offered by DirecTV. It was filmed in Oz back in 2000, so it appears a little dated. But, it's a dance movie, even if a little formula. Starts with a strapping Aussie lad who's not happy working in the local steel mill. He gets a chance to dance in a tap revue in Sydney using his childhood skills, but, (SPOILER ALERT!o) his dad isn't supportive. What a SHOCK! He meets a blonde Aussie lassie at a tap class/audition who apparently has a thing for tap dancers. They hit it off, but, (SPOILER ALERT!o) complications ensue. Bottom line: the tap dancing ranges from good to spectacular! I give it two thumbs up for the big dance finale alone! It made me wanna strap on my tap shoes and start hoofing on I-beams and steel grates while building something! (It reminded me of "Tap Dogs"! I wonder which came first?) Anyway, if there's another snow day anytime soon, do a search for "Boot Men" and settle in for a little dance diversion!o)

01.05.2015: Performance Publicity

Arts presentations around the state:
Beyond OnStage in Orange City

Arts Council grantee Orange City Arts Council (OCAC) will bring two remarkable performance groups to Orange City in January as part of the 2015 Beyond Onstage series. OCAC will present workshops and performances from January 11-16 by Shanren, a band from Yunnan Province, China that fuses modern styles with indigenous music. The series will continue with a performance of Full Still Hungry, the latest work by Contra Tiempo, an urban Latin dance group on January 31. Performances will take place at the Unity Christian Knight Center in Orange City. Ticket information is available online. The performances were supported, in part, by the State Arts Council.

12.19.2014: Money For Nothing!

Graduating CCDC Seniors! The Iowa Arts Council is offering $1500.00 scholarships if you're planning to major in the arts at an in state college or university. Not just dancers, but, musicians, painters, sculptors also eligible. Pass the word! Deadline to apply is February second:

...If you need letters of recommendation, let us know asap.

...AND! For you CCDC underclassmen! Thinking about participating in a National Summer Intensive in Dance in 2015? Not sure if your family can afford it? Here's a national scholarship opportunity aimed at high school students with "exceptional ability" in the arts, including dance:

...Hurry! Deadline is January 5th, 2015!

...And, this recent e-mail is for all you class clowns and cut-ups aiming for a career in stand-up comedy:
"...I was hoping you'd be interested in The Martin Grant. The first of its kind, the Martin Grant was established by Steve Hofstetter (Host and EP of Laughs, which airs on FOX and MyNet) in order to identify and reward up and coming stand-up comedians. It was inspired by the loss of his father (for whom the grant is named).

The grant will be awarded in order to aid a talented comedian with rent, car payments, or anything else that will help them focus on developing their art. A panel of some of the most influential television executives, comedy club owners, talent agents, and managers in the world will view applications and eventually decide a winner. It's a huge success - more than 500 comedians applied for the grant in the first week.

...You can see more about the grant here..."

...Don't ever say we're not your "full-service" ballet blog!o)

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