Monthly Archives: January 2014

PNB Stepsisters

This is really similar to the scene that I’m in

And now a recital dance …

We were in for a little surprise Monday night class that I’m in.

I had my fourth Cinderella rehearsal in five days earlier in the day for performances coming up in April. I’ve been in company spring performances before.

Our school also has school sketches at the end of May where classes perform recital pieces. The company and open ballet classes I take normally don’t participate in it because the concentration is normally on the company’s spring performances. The only time I’ve been in  a recital dance was a hip-hop piece a couple of years ago.

Our teacher informed us tonight that we’ll be performing a recital piece. It will be interesting, because this is the class that I struggle in most. It is the class in which I am least in my comfort zone, the only adult and only male dancer in a class of teenage company girls.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of dance we’ll be doing.

This is the class, I’ll be honest, where I need the biggest confidence boost. I am still reliant on my better dancing classmates, but a lot of company leaders are not in this class. To be honest, the majority of the girls in this class are really close to my level.

Combinations I usually nail in other classes, I struggled with tonight. Our petite allegro was a variation from Giselle … glissade, assemble’, sissone, sissone, glissade, assemble’, pas de chat, pas de chat. I’ve done it before, but for some reason struggled tonight.

I can dance so much better than I did tonight. I can dance so much better than I’ve shown in this class. I need to prove it.

How can I be excelling in Cinderella rehearsal and not be able to do things in this class?

Most intense rehearsals I’ve been in

When I was cast in Cinderella, I really expected more of the same of the roles I’ve performed.

Like most roles, the hairdresser is mainly a character role mixed with some dancing. I expected rehearsals around once or twice a week until tech week.

I was mistaken.

We’ve had rehearsals for my scene every day since Thursday. Today is the first break away from the ballet studio. But I’ll be racing from college class to rehearsal again tomorrow.

There is a reason for the intense rehearsals. Most of the story ballets we’ve done during the spring have been condensed versions. I’ve been in Romeo and Juliet, Firebird, Dracula and Billy the Kid, and none of the versions have been more than 45 minutes long. The company only did Act 2 of Swan Lake a couple of years ago.

Cinderella, according to Mr. O., is the first full-length non-Nutcracker ballet he’s staged since his arrival here. It’s based on the version performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet. We’re changing some things around and trying to cut it from a three-act, three-hour version, to a two-act, two-hour version.

The ballet seems to be a little darker, but still sticks to the main theme. This version, the step-sisters are danced by company girls (not men in drag) who are quite comedic. And one of my teachers who also still dances is simply amazingly evil as the evil stepmother.

My scene involves them, a dancing master and a dressmaker. The dressmaker and I do a short dance around the stepmother when presenting our bills. We’ve got much of our scene staged, but there is still a bit to add. I’m still learning my music cues and trying not to botch the little polka step I have to do.

It’s exciting to watch it being put together, and really exciting to be a part of it.

As for class, I’m doing OK. The new schedule for the semester has taken some adjustment to get used to, and I’ve been a little sluggish. But I’m trying to get back into a routine.




Birmingham Royal Ballet Cinderella

This is the version of Cinderella we’re doing. Started rehearsing my part the last two days.

Fitting MKL Jr. tribute: The stunning Misty Copeland

She is one of my favorite ballerinas

The Sunshine Award

I’d like to thank all of you who nominated me. And don’t really know 10 people to nominate (since most of the ones I know have already been nominated by others).

But I will do the 10 Things about Me. So here goes:

1. I am a copy editor-page designer for two newspapers.

2. I am pursuing a second degree in art studio-graphic design.

3. Cinderella will be the sixth ballet I’ve performed in. I’ve been in The Nutcracker about seven times. I’ve also had parts in Romeo and Juliet, Firebird, Dracula and Billy the Kid.

4. I was bit by a Brown Recluse spider once, so like Disney, I can’t stand the creatures. Yeah, I’m scared of them. But I still kill them … because I’m a dad and that’s what we do.

5. I want to drive cross country to California.

6. I found out my great-grandmother was Jewish during Christmas Eve dinner … while we were eating ham.

7. The ballet studio is my favorite place on earth, even over the beach or the mountains.

8. My dream vacation would be a trip to Italy to tour the sites of ancient Rome and Renaissance buildings and works of art.

9. I have two wonderful kids who love me, a son and a daughter (this should probably be No. 1 on the list).

10. I’ve become addicted to the TV show “The Walking Dead.”

Ballet confession: I love “pretty” combinations

“Ballet is Woman” is a phrase used by the late, great George Balanchine.

It’s not entirely correct, even for Balanchine. Even Balanchine choreographed and taught steps that flew in the face of the stereotypes out there for men dancing. Ballet can be, and is, a “guy” thing as much as it is a “girl” thing.

But … there are aspects and dynamics that at times prove Balanchine correct.

You get a different vibe when there is a male teacher, or if there are multiple male dancers in the room.

Be the only male dancer in a room that also includes a female teacher … there are times when your class fits in the “Ballet is Woman” category.

That was the case in the last two classes I took this week, the visit to my old, slower class on Friday, and my Saturday class, where the other two male dancers were “no-shows.”

The classes were a bit on the “girly” side (Dawn C’s class on Monday also fits in that category).

Confession No. 1: I’m cool with that. Before Mr. O arrived, that was my adult ballet world.

Confession No. 2: I like dancy, “pretty” combinations.

Case in point: Pique turn, pique turn, ton be pas de bouree into fifth, then fourth, pirouette. That’s the combination Mr. O’s sister gave us Saturday. It was flowy, showy, but I loved it just the same.

She also gave us a balance’, balance’, balance turn (waltz turn), chaine turns where you went to passe (I can’t really explain the step) into an inside pirouette turn. It felt beautiful, and graceful, and I loved it so.

We did several combinations that were like that in her class.

Ballet was pretty, graceful.

It was a bit girly over the last two days.

Is it weird for me to say that it was OK by me?