Category Archives: summer intensives

Summer Heats Up!

I know I said I was probably going to do Mam-Luft’s intensive again, but it turns out I’m not.

Instead, I’m taking a four-day ballet masterclass taught by BW right here at home. Huzzah!

I’m pretty excited about that (in case you weren’t sure what I meant by “Huzzah!”). They decided to individually evaluate students for eligibility and sent me an invitation, so w00t. Makes me feel fairly decent about myself, which is good, because yesterday after class I was like I CANNOT REMEMBER COMBINATIONS AND MY FOOT HURTS.

I went to the doc today for Regularly Scheduled Maintenance and discovered that A) they can now submit my prescription for Adderall electronically, B) …but I have to pee in a cup from time to time (which was only a problem because I was kinda dehydrated, but I juuuuust managed a sufficient sample) because Regulations[1], and C) my foot looks normal on X-rays, so it’s just soft tissue BS sorting itself out at this point.

  1. …Which is fine: honestly, it’s less onerous to be a person with ADHD who has to pee in a cup once in a while than one who has to remember to request a paper prescription, remember to go get the paper prescription, NOT LOSE THE PAPER PRESCRIPTION!!!, carry it by hand to a pharmacy, then remember to go back and pick up the medication later on … yeeeeeah.

As such, though it made me sad, I didn’t jump in BW’s class tonight (nor did anyone else, since I was All By My-seeeee-eee-eeeelf again). We opted instead for another stretch-n-kvetch, in which we discussed the assertion (made by neither of us) that dancers shouldn’t stretch, to which I responded that A] some dancers shouldn’t stretch some things (hip ligaments, kids), B] but we should stretch the other things, and C] if stretching wasn’t good, cats wouldn’t do it, because let’s be real, cats only do things that are really worth doing.

House cats, anyway. The ones that don’t have to worry about hunting and whatevs. The ones that are given their due as, at very least, minor deities, &c.

Merkah-Does-Laundry

Take Mercutious T. Lawndrey-Tubbs, here. Whatever he’s doing, it’s obviously worth doing, or he wouldn’t be doing it. Also, pretty sure he’s #UpToNoGood, based on those eyeballs.

We also did lots of fondu-y things, as ever, and at center a nice adagio that began with a backwards pas de basque (or, more formally, pas de basque en arrière).

This has been a week of combinations with interesting beginnings. We did one yesterday that began waltz turn and waltz turn, devloppé croissé avant, tombé… It was starting right into the waltz turns that was the interesting bit. We don’t do that very often (more often, one encounters balancé, balancé, waltz turn and waltz turn and…).

Personally, I quite like pas de basque en arrière as a way to launch a combination. It’s at once a bit diffident (since, by the very nature of the step, you’re kind of bowing to the audience and backing away from them) but also a bit impressive, as it’s one of those steps that looks like it should probably be difficult (and, of course, you get a nice  allongé effacé moment).

BW says I am making good progress, which makes me very happy. I actually felt like a more effective dancer today, particularly at the barre, where I was much more able to notice when my shoulders were being dumb and (literally) put them back in their place.

The interesting thing about not being able to jump is that it forces me to buckle down and work harder in the other parts of class (…imagine that ._.).

Revelations at the barre today: I can now feel when I’m temps-liéing into too wide a fourth. I also figured out what it does that makes life so terrifically difficult (beyond just having to tap basically All The Mana to get back up on your leg to do turns): it turns off your turnouts (and all the other stuff that holds you together as a ballet person).

A more obvious example of the same phenomenon involves doing grand plié in second until your butt drops below your knees. The rotators and … well, basically all the muscles that aren’t the quads … say, “Feck this noise, we’re outies,” and then it’s difficult to get back up, let alone anything useful. (Meanwhile, the quads be like “AIGHT WE GOT THIS BOYS! PULLLLLLLL!”)

Turns out that when your fourth is ridiculously big (because you are a travelly go-er who likes to absorb all the space), the same basic thing can happen.

Who knew?

…People who aren’t idiots. Specifically, I’m pretty sure Mikhail Baryshnikov wasn’t constantly unspooling his rotators.

Anyway, that’s what’s what for now.

During Masterclass Week, I plan to hit up my normal morning classes, unless my foot is like SCREW YOU NO. I’m hoping I’ll be back to normal by then, though. I plan to take a week or so to rest[2] it after Orpheus.

  1. …By which I probably mean “just do barre and flat center-work,” because let’s be reals.

Anyway, here’s my Updated Summer Plan:

  • Ballet Week At Home!!!
  • Lexington Ballet Intensive
  • Possibly Pilobolus (depending on finances and stuff)

BW said the Master Class will be “Hard, but good.” Which pretty much describes most classes with him, and is what I need anyway.

Whoa, This Summer Is Going To Be Intens(iv)e! 

I’m not going to any intensives on other continents this summer because, in short, I’m not even sure right now that I’ll be able to afford the ones I’ve planned on this continent (for positive reasons, though, which I won’t be discussing in this particular post because #ToKnowToWillToDareToKeepSilent). 

That said, in case you’re looking for dance intensives all over the planet, HERE THEY ARE. You can basically go anywhere and dance this summer (I know someone who’s going to the Canary Islands! #envy). 

It would take me all week to check all of these out and write them up on my Intensives page, so I’ll just add the link later on and call it good. 

BTW, I happened upon this link via Dancing Opportunities (@dancingopps) on the Tweeters, which which highly recommend following if you’re of dancing persuasion.

It’s a dance world, after all! [(c) Dancing Opportunities, via The Tweeters]

So there you have it. Intensives for everyone!!! Huzzah!  

One Moar For The Road

In the interest of reminding myself that, yes, I have progressed in the last six months, I cringed my way through the videos from last year’s ballet intensive the other night. Here are some screen shots so we can commiserate or what have you. 

First one is definitely from Albrecht’s variation (with Don Quixote hands because #fml); second one is also, I think, but from the opening sequence with the gigantic sissones ouverts of doom, maybe? I think it’s also the part where I’m going, “Oh, shizzle, I’m way down stage from my mark!” 

I used up too much of my ballet mojo in class and rehearsal, and my legs were dead (note complete turnout failure and shoulder feckery), but I did manage to swing the straight-pirouette-right-into-attitude-turn bit through sheer force of all our a minor miracle or something. And, yes, I looked 12 years old the whole time. I promise I’m not really 12.

I’m including this one as proof that you REALLY should always pull your tights up until the word “Nutcracker” takes on an entirely different meaning. Dat sag, doh. (Big obnoxious box is a screenshot-process artifact; stupid tablet.)

Off to Rep!

This Week, We’re Doing LINES

…I don’t mean lines, like scheduling has finally made D and me so insane that the only way to keep up is to use cocaine (heck, he’s so chill he’s still drinking decaf). I mean LINES, as in Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet(1).

  1. Which, by the way, runs an Adult Summer Intensive (it’s on the Workshops page; 2017 dates aren’t up yet). Taught (in part) by Alonzo King himself. OMG, you guys. I’ll add that to the list when I next get around to updating the list, which might be this evening?

Also Louisville Ballet’s Choreographers’ Showcase, Suspend’s Winter Showcase, and the dance team competition.

If I actually think about all this, I might really just explode, so I’m basically not thinking about it.

That said, I’m taking tonight off to try to do some cleaning, because the rest of this week is booked solid. I need to check in with Mr. BeastMode about the fact that I’m very probably going to miss our first rehearsal for the Spring Showcase performance because I’ll be at Choreographers’ Showcase. I’ll see him tomorrow, though, so no big deal there.

I think, in the interest of not dying of overscheduling, I’m also going to skip Thursday’s modern class this week. I’ll run that by LT tomorrow.

I will not, of course, be missing BW’s class or Killer Class. That said, I suspect my legs will appreciate having an evening off today.

Meanwhile, my cat is draped over my arm, impeding any further progress that doesn’t involve my computer. He will be very disappointed when I have to go to work.

Adult Dance Intensives, 2017

You guys! David King of A Ballet Education may be doing a summer program open to dancers ages 11-adult!

I’ve found his writings on technique to be helpful, and I think this could be a great opportunity. Click on over for more information.

Sadly, I probably won’t be going this year because I’ll be at Pilobolus’ summer program. …Unless, of course, one of you could lend me a Time-Turner and a private jet? 😉

Anyway, Monsieur King has me thinking about summer programs, so here are some options for adult dancers looking for intensives for this year. Because, at heart, ballet is my jam, I tend to focus on ballet programs and programs with strong ballet components, but the final version of this list will probably include some strictly modern options as well.

I’m not going to itemize all the individual Sun King options. There are a lot of them, they span the summer, and they have their own website for that! Besides, everyone knows about Sun King. That said, everyone always seems to have a blast at their intensives, so consider them duly linked 😉

For your planning pleasure, I’m organizing these by date. Here we go!

As always, if you know of a great summer program for adult dancers—anywhere in the world—and you’d like me to list it here, please drop the info in the comments!

Summer Intensives for Grown-Ass Adults, 2017


April

The Ballet Retreat, London

  • Dates: 29th – 30th April
  • Ages: 18+
  • Location: London, England, UK
  • Idiom: Ballet
  • Notes: This one has a LIVE PIANIST, you guys! Also, they feed you. The instruction sounds quite good, too. David Paul Kearce is from Australia, where apparently ballet is huge and adult ballet students are taken pretty seriously.
    • Honestly, the order of these attributes says a lot about how I’m feeling today: LIVE ACCOMPANIMENT OMG !!!!!111oneone, FOOOOOOD!!!, oh and they teach you ballet as well…

June

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet

  • Dates: 1-4 June; 8-11 June
  • Ages: 18+, I think? 
  • Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Idiom: Ballet, Modern
  • Notes: LINES’ Intensive is very on my radar for next year. If I had the funds and didn’t have a performance immediately after, I’d drop everything and go. BW takes class at LINES he visits his family in CA, and he speaks very highly of their classes … And he’s BW, so that’s saying that. And, I mean, it’s freaking LINES, is much dance-for-dancers. Please, somebody —go! And blog about so I can live vicariously through your words. 

Mam-Luft & Co Summer Modern Dance Workshop/Intensive for Adults (note: registration isn’t open yet)

  • Dates: June 5 – 9
  • Ages: 18+
  • Location: Cincinnati, OH
  • Idiom: Modern & Ballet
  • Notes: The full-day program is incredibly intense and incredibly worth it. Last year, it also functioned as a company audition (by choice; they weren’t like AUDITION OR GO HOME). I’m not 100% sure, but I think that’s their usual approach to auditions.

University of Utah SaltDanceFest

  • Dates: June 5 – 16
  • Ages: 18+
  • Idiom: Modern & Ballet
  • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Notes: This program has a ballet and yoga foundation and actually sounds pretty awesome. I will have to choose between this and Mam-Luft. Based on some of the class descriptions, here, that’s going to be a difficult decision.

Mark Morris Dance Group Summer Intensive (OMG, you guys, I might have to audition for this, you guys. If not, it’s on the radar for next year. Because MARK MORRIS OMG OMG OMG)

  • Dates: June 12-23 (dancers may attend first week only or both weeks)
  • Ages: 16+
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Idiom: Modern & Ballet
  • Notes: Admission to MMDG Summer Intensive is by audition.

DanceTeq Summer Intensives

  • Dates: June 19-23 (Beginner/Elementary); June 26-30 (Intermediate)
  • Ages: 18+? (specifically billed as an adult intensive)
  • Location: Toronto, ON!!! W00t!
  • Idiom: Ballet
  • Notes: Oh, Canada! DanceTeq specialies in teaching older teens and adults. Their regular program includes advanced class five days per week, developmental pointe classes, and a rep class for beginners. Their Intermediate intensive sounds very tempting… ^-^

Repertory Dance Theater SummerDance 2017

  • Dates: June26-30
  • Ages: 18+?
  • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Idiom: Limon Technique
  • Notes: One of three … THREE!!! … workshops in SLC this summer, which are working together to bring the dance. Good on ya, SLC.

July

Lexington Ballet Adult Summer Intensive (note: at the time of this writing, the 2016 info is still up, but the Adult Intensive is on the calendar sidebar)

  • Dates: July, TBA
  • Ages: 18+; IIRC students 16 – 17 can participate with permission of parent or guardian
  • Location: Lexington, KY
  • Idiom: JUST THE BALLETS
  • Notes: I loved this intensive last year. It sounds like it’s aimed specifically at beginners, but don’t let that fool you. They’ll meet you where you are as a dancer.

Pilobolus Summer Workshop Series

  • Dates: July 17 – August 4
  • Ages: 18+
  • Location: Bethlehem, CT
  • Idiom: Pilobolus!
  • Notes: Pilobolus is about as far from ballet as it gets—but the two workshops I’ve taken with Pilobolus haven’t just made me a better dancer, they’ve made me a better ballet dancer. If you feel like you have room for growth in body-awareness and partnering (hint: you do; everyone does), Pilobolus’ technique can help you grow.

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company Professional Workshop

  • Dates: July 25 – August 4
  • Ages: 18+?
  • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Idiom: Modern & Ballet
  • Notes: This isn’t specifically a ballet intensive, but it’s built around a daily 1.5-hour ballet class.

August

The Ballet Retreat, Leeds

  • 26 – 28 August
  • Ages: 18+
  • Location: London, England, UK
  • Idiom: Ballet
  • Notes: As with the Ballet Retreat, London, this one has a LIVE PIANIST and they feed you. Likewise, David Paul Kearce is in the house. If I wasn’t broke, I’d go.

At the moment, it looks like my summer intensive schedule will probably look like this:

  • June 5-9: Mam-Luft & Co
  • July ????: Lexington Ballet Adult Intensive
  • July 22: Pilobolus Pedagogy Workshop
  • July 24-28: Pilobolus Summer Workshop

I’m applying for a scholarship for Pilobolus. If I make the cut, I might be able to do more than one week.

Depending on the cost of attendance and a couple other factors, I’d love to hit DanceTeq’s Intermediate intensive.

I’d still love to do SunKing, because from what I’ve heard they usually have enough men to make men’s class and pas de deux really awesome, but it’s the most expensive of the summer program options out there for adult dancers, and probably still not really on the radar for this year.

Finally, A Thing 

So DanceTeam is going well (though I am still convinced that at any moment our dancers are going to realize that I have no idea what I’m doing and revolt/go rogue/possibly eat me). 

Ballet and modern were less than awesome last week, but the Pilobolus workshop made up for a lot of that, especially the part when one of the instructors tracked me down afterwards and told me I was a beautiful mover with a lot of presence. Definitely one of those “I can die happy now”  moments.

Likewise, today’s Open Fly, during which I started formally building a dance to Hozier’s “Work Song” that’s actually going to happen (Finally!), felt like a leap forward.
Including myself, I have four dancers lined up. Aerial A, who went to the Pilobolus workshop with me, is also in, as are my DanceTeam partner-in-crime and a fellow I know from acro (upon whose very high shoulders I have literally stood). We’ve got a tentative performance date early next year (the performance is a definite; it’s just the date that’s undecided). Aerial A happened along while I was working on choreography this afternoon and we stepped through the first 41 seconds of the dance — at least, as much as we could, since there’s some partnering stuff that requires our compatriots.

Aerial A likes what I’ve got, and I think it’s going to really work.

Needless to say, the explosion of dance stuff in my life is both exciting and a bit overwhelming. I’m still in that phase during which you just kind of white-knuckle it whilst you adjust to your new schedule. Hence less posting. I’m somehow managing to scrape paint off the trim in the midst of all this, also, because miracles evidently do occur. 

This week, we’ve got a dance event on Monday evening (a sort of “live interview” with Wendy Whelan), then I think a “normal” schedule again — wait, no, DanceTeam performs on Friday! 

Anyway, here’s hoping that in class this week I won’t do dumb things like choosing too shallow a line in a bidirectional combination and almost colliding with someone in the next group.

Intensive plans for next summer are also in the works. Aerial A and I are hoping to hit at least one of Pilobolus’ week-long workshops. In addition, I’ll probably go to Cinci and Lexington again. There’s a remote chance of doing Sun King if our finances are okay, but in the current economic climate it’s really hard to predict.

No worries there, though. If I don’t get to go til 2018, I’ll be even better prepared than I will next year.

There are also a few audition-y things on the radar, but let’s file those under, “To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent.” At least for now.

So that’s where I am at the moment. Still percolating other choreo projects, especially Simon Crane — but one of them is finally taking off. 

How to Survive Your Dance Intensive for Grown-A** Adults (Version 1)

Now that I’ve got a whopping two (2!! Like the number of exclamation points I just used!!) adult dance intensives under my belt, I have lots of facts intel opinions about things you should do to make sure you get through in one piece — and, of course, as your faithful Danseur Ignoble, I am duty bound to share them.

You know, for the good of humankind, or at least dancer-kind, and all that stuff.

So, without further ado, here they are.

~

First, know that you’re capable of more than you think you are.

Let me say that again, with fancy formatting:

You are capable of more than you think you are.

Read the rest of this entry

Ballet Intensive, Days Five and Six: Sleep Dep and Crazy (Arms) Mode

Friday was interesting: I had no zip in conditioning and technique because I was running on three hours of sleep (did I write about this already?); variations went well because in those three hours I seriously only dreamed about Albrecht’s variation.

Today’s performance was okay — I think I should have gone a bit easier last night; as such, my jumps weren’t awesome.

Also, I kept sort of forgetting what to do with my arms and just kind of waving them around in more or less the directions they were supposed to go, more or less. Jeez.

I know this because there’s video. I’m annoyed with myself for forgetting to just carry my arms through the opening two steps of Albrecht’s variation. Also for doing the world’s worst tour jeté and tiniest tours, but I understand why those happened.

That said, there are some nice moments in both pieces (one is the double turn that goes to attitude on the second rotation), and I’ll try to take KvN’s advice from Cincinnati and focus on those things!


Edit: I’m thinking now about ballet goals for the rest of this year, so I’m going to write them down.

  • STOP DOING THE CRAZY ARMS AS A DEFAULT.This is a big one. This happens in part because I don’t always mark the arms with any clarity when I’m just walking through things, and the arms decouple from the choreography, and if I’m tired, I lose them. This morning, I lost a really nice moment in Albrecht’s variation specifically because of this.

    The first rule of performance is: AS YOU REHEARSE, SO SHALL YOU PERFORM.

    So I need to stop rehearsing my arms incorrectly, duh.

    ~

  • Nail down the double cabrioles, because seriously, it would be good to have those in my balletic toolkit, and I think I should be able to get them down.~
  • Polish the frack out of Albrecht’s variation and get a good video posted. I should also do the other one. It would be less awesome with only one person, but maybe I could teach it to someone else?~
  • Get ballet video more often. For me, video makes a really good tool for analyzing and correcting my movement patterns.This week I discovered that I can learn and memorize demanding choreography pretty quickly; video can help me figure out how to make it cleaner and better.

    ~

  • Tune up the basics well enough that I continue to execute them correctly even when tired (I’m looking at you, tour jete and legs that opted not to stay particularly turned out during simple arabesque balances).~
  • Triple turns on tap.

So there you have my ballet goals.

Oh, and also: my turnout muscles are tired for realz. I suspect they’ll be very happy to know that they’re getting a day off on Monday.

One last edit: I think I actually forgot to do the turn from fourth to second at the end of my solo and subbed in a regular turn from fourth, but it worked out anyway.

Ballet Intensive, Day 4: In Which I Forget To Eat

(And then can’t stay asleep, either.)

Yesterday, I ate an early lunch, dithered around for a while (in the process remembering why I don’t bother with shopping malls even as places to take a walk when it’s abominably humid out), then transferred myself over to the hotel (which, alas, does not have a pool after all).

I then arranged my stuff, watched some videos of Albrecht’s variation, wrote a post about it and forgot to post it (hence the after-class posting), collected my dance junk, and finally rolled downtown just in time to be an hour early for class.

You’ll notice that I don’t mention food any time after lunch. You can guess why.

As such, technique class was … um. Interesting.

Things started out well, but by the time we got around to turns, I was feeling bonky. Not, mind you, bonk*ers* — I’m pretty sure that’s a normal state of affairs for me.

Rather, I was having issues with turns because my legs just didn’t want to passé — not at all a normal state of affairs; normally snapping right up to passé is one of the things I actually do well (my challenge in turns is a tendency to throw my head back).

Basically, my legs just didn’t want to go — and there was something remarkably familiar about the sensation.

That’s when it hit me: I was bonking like a Cat 5 climbing Alp D’Huez. Basically, I was out of gas. (In other news, balancés while bonking are hilarious, as is pas de bourée — “drunk step,” indeed.)

Between technique and variations I ate a granola bar with enough free sugar to get things ticking over again. Unfortunately, it was one of the caffeinated ones that Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time (what could possibly go wrong?). As such, I’ve been sleeping in dribs and drabs, alternately dreaming that I’m not asleep (which is incredibly annoying) and dreaming about Albrecht’s variation, whereupon I wake myself up trying to jump.

In my sleep.

Whilst lying face down.

You guys, that is no kind of way to cabriole (especially not avant).

Anyway, Variations involved a whole lot of marking coupled to a few impressive cabrioles. In sum, after running the duo three times, I blew my booster rockets on the first phrase of Albrecht’s variation.

Not my best day, though Mr. J remarked that I have the musicality down, and that first cabriole-assemblé-Sissone might actually have been worth it, because it was sufficiently high and light that it rather startled me.

The rest, however, was a bunch of flaily marking, though at least I was marking the right things at the right times.

Fortunately, I don’t have to go anywhere today until 11:30, when I’m wandering back to Louisville to collect Denis, so I can basically continue to attempt cabrioles in my sleep until 11 if push comes to shove.

Tonight will be our final full evening, and C and I promised that we would finally show the ladies our variations, so it should be fun. We’ll either knock their socks off or kill ourselves trying (or both — after all, dying at the end whilst surrounded by ghostly ladies is totally valid, and they are doing “Kingdom of the Shades,” which is at least kinda-sorta ghostly, though I think the Shades probably have a better deal than the Wilis).

Still going to try to hit at least one double cabriole, preferably in the second cabriole-assemblé-Sissone in that first phrase, because I think that makes more sense. The Wilis are like, “Dance!” and you’re like, “But it’s the middle of the night and I don’t see any champagne!” and then they’re like, “NO, SRSLY, DANCE!!!” And you’re like, “Dear G-d, my legs, what are they doing?”

Sorry, Albrecht — apparently, guilty get have way too much rhythm (but you’re still never gonna dance again, not if Mertha has her way).

Ballet Intensive Day 2: Albrechts, Pluriel

Yesterday, after a conditioning class in which I one again reflected on my gratitude for the grueling classes I take at Suspend and a technique class in which I had less-than-great balances but oh-my-G-d extensions and a fantastic time in terre-a-terre and grand allegro, our men’s class of two nailed down the rest of our first variation.

Mr. J then asked if we’d like to learn something else, and C requested something slower with beats — and so we found ourselves learning Albrecht’s variation (a little simplified, but not terribly so) from Gisele.

I had to mark my way through for the most part, as my right leg was feeling a little strain-y and I didn’t want to risk aggravating it, but I think I’m going to enjoy it immensely. Anything that opens with a lyrical croisée presentation and leaps immediately into cabriole avant is essentially right up my alley.

Also means we get to do a zillion tours en l’air, which I almost never get to do at home since we only very rarely do men’s technique.

So I’m quite excited about that, and it looks like we might perform Albrecht’s variation individually instead of the first one together.

Other exciting developments are taking place at home in my absence, which is lovely, though evidently my cat is extremely confused about my absence and keeps sort of despairingly loafing about, waiting for me to return. Poor kitty!

Anyway, I think I’ll come home from this week a better and more polished dancer than I arrived, which is the whole point.

Tonight I’ll probably keep my leg wrapped just in case, though I’ll see how it feels.

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