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Mid-Year Progress Report, 2017

You guys, WTF?!!!

IT IS ALMOST JULY, YOU GUYS. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN.

did-that-really-just-happen

This blog has now reached a point at which I can recycle images at will for almost any topic.

Anyway, as you know, ballet goals: I haz them.

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Some of my ballet goals, affixed to my copy of Tarasov’s (ahem) *man*ual pour les danseurs (Get it? *MAN*ual? Whomp, whomp, whooommmmmp… :V).

Anyway.  (Yup, it’s about to get long in here, so have a cutscene thingy.)

Read the rest of this entry

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PlayThink 2017!!!

I just got notification that we’re in for PlayThink’s performance showcase this year! 

It’s official!

I have a couple of months to teach D our choreography and work any kinks, which should be plenty of time.  

My inspiration! 😀

For this act, I’m putting together an acro/ballet/physical theater piece to Charles Trenet’s classic, “La Mer.” I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. The piece is built around a couple of bumbling tourists at the seashore. Since its 100% mine, I’ll post rehearsal clips once we start working on it.
You guys, I’m so excited! This will be our second year teaching, but our first year performing at PlayThink.

I can’t wait!

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.

Ballet Goals for 2017

We’re on break for the next couple of weeks, so this seems like a good time to sit down and set some ballet goals for next year.

I think I set some last year, but I’m not sure what they were (because I’m too lazy to look them up right now). Anyway, I may not have included all of these on whatever list I made, but I know these were all things I hoped to achieve in 2016:

  • Reliable double turns. Check.
  • Suck less at port de bras. Hella check. I realize now that this is a really, really vague, but still. The nice part about being actually terrible at something is that you can improve really fast if you put in the work.
  • Suck less at petit allegro. Kinda check? This one was too vague as well. I am less bad at petit allegro than I used to be, but it is not my forté. Not at all. Got beats, though, and at least least it’s usually just bad petit allegro these days and not the desperate flailings of a a baby giraffe on rollerskates. 
  • Barrel turns. Oddly enough, I did manage to learn these. I wouldn’t call them reliable—they’re still squarely in the “can do it if I don’t try to think about it” department. 
  • Tombé-coupé-jeté. See “barrel turns.”
  • Saut de basque. Check. Like a boss, mofos. I have one heck of a nice saut de basque. 
  • Ditto pas de chat Italien. I didn’t know this was a goal until someone asked me if I could do it. Then it was a goal for the 5 minutes it took me to remember how.
  • Ditto also renversé. I don’t know why it’s so hard to “get,” but once you really have it, you want to put it in everything. It’s like saffron or fleur du sel. 

So my first goal for 2017 is to make my goals for next year less vague (pretty sure that’s basically like wishing for more wishes).

So here we go.

Steps & Stuff

  • Double tours.
  • Double cabrioles avant and arrière (edit: see footnote 1)
  • Reliable triple turns.
  • Unreliable quarduples.
  • Reliable turns à la seconde.
  • Entrechats six et plus. This should be doable; my quatre is reliable.
  • Brisée—this needs to be reliable. Right now, it’s …. Yeah. Let’s not talk about that.
  • Maybe revoltade? I feel like fewer of my goals should be grand allegro pyrotechnics, since that’s basically playing to my strengths. 
  • Solve the infuriating problem of being good at circular/grand port de bras without the barre and less good with.
  • Overcome my turns-at-the-barre phobia. Seriously.
  • Balances. All of them. Today in Sunday class I slow-piquéd into a first arabesque, slowly brought my working leg up above 90, and just hung out there until my head pretty much exploded with amazement thanks to a very simple exercise that Aerial A gave us. Then I failli-ed out like it was no big deal. 
  • Temp de puisse. Stop turning it into a funky Sissone.
  • Sissones. Review them. ALL OF THEM. 

Specifically for BW:

  • Directional stuff. BW is basically the reason I can now reliably describe whether something is croisé or effacé without having to freaking well get up offa that thing and dance til ya feel better  out of my seat, draw my imaginary box, and then execute the movement in question. 
  • Strengthen them turnouts.
  • Use that crazy-high passé/retiré without having to think about it.
  • Dat sus-sous, though. I feel feel that BW will be happy with me when he never, ever has to remind me to tighten my sus-sous (for the record, he’s the one who helped me solve my sus-sous versus knees problem, so I’m glad he calls me out on it).
  • Effing devil turns.  Chainês. Be good at them, because I want BW to be proud of me, and whenever I do chainês he looks vaguely horrified. I think this is exacerbated by the fact fact that we usually precede them with My Favorite Thing, piqué turns, at which I rock 

Variations 

  • Revisit Albrecht’s variation. Work out the kinks. Specifically: connect the steps and passes better; get the arms sequenced so I don’t do stupid flappy hands after jumps.
  • Revisit the first act Peasant Pas from Giselle. See above. No flappy hands and no half-assing the balances. 
  • Learn at least 2 more solo or duo variations. This should be no problem. I should look at the repertoire and see what’s what. Probably not Le Corsaire, though miracles do happen. I could probably learn the trepak from one Nutcracker or another. Maybe something from Swan Lake? Or from La Dame aux Camélias.
  • Learn at least one pas de deux. This will probably depend on whether we get rep class and partnering class to happen; otherwise it’s just going to be a thing that maybe happens at summer intensive, I guess?

Choreography

  • Finish and stage “Work Song.” I should should be able to fully check this one off in March!
  • Finish at least the first act of Simon Crane. Possibly look into setting and staging a few pieces.
  • Finish Peace, set it, and perform it.

And, of course, I will endeavor to actually be good at port de bras and épaulement, in accordance with the scriptures, and to focus on making my petit allegro light, precise, and clean, instead of always approaching it as “grand allegro, but faster and with a million fussy steps.” (Read: tone down the elevation and the travel.)

That might prevent Eric Bruhn, Bournonville, and Vaganova visiting me from beyond the grave to stare at me in silent disappointment. Not that this has happened, of course, but I feel that it’s what should happen to bad little boys who don’t work on their petit allegro.

Lastly, I will attempt to remember that attacking turns does not mean we’re trying to kill them. Or, rather, to remember that when it counts, and not after class or in bed at 11 PM.

Um, that’s probably enough for one year.


  1. Turns out I can do double cabrioles arrière using the “hands on the barre (or shopping cart)” approach that we use to convince ourselves we can do any cabrioles at all as little kids. This doesn’t actually buy me any air time, so apparently this is entirely a mental thing. Avant on the other hand? Dunno yet.

    Bonus: it’s Hella fun doing shopping-cart double cabrioles across a parking lot in winter boots 😀

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