Monthly Archives: April 2014

Cinderella photos as promised

Just a few shots of our performance of Cinderella a couple of weeks ago. I’m the Benjamin Franklin looking dude who needs to lose a few pounds. It was such an amazing production.ImageImageImageImageImage

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School sketch dance simplified … somewhat

The stressing I did over a potential solo part of our piece with a dance step that I’m somewhat sloppy will not come to pass.

Our Monday teacher, Dawn C., tweaked a couple of parts of our dance, including the ending, which was put in place today.

Instead of doing jete, coupe, assemble while the girls break apart and do their own thing, we end up forming a circle. We expand the circle with two pique turns, two saute basque turns and two envelope’ turns, and then reverse it to shrink the circle … the girls end up doing ballet runs in a circle while I ended up doing two changements and an echape about six times.

Wished I could describe the rest of the dance leading up to that point, but there are so many elements involved.

We went over the dance about four times tonight. It is an intense cardio piece and I am a bit worn out. The seven girls I’m in the piece with are in much better shape than I! It was the most cardio of a workout I’ve had in a while … I am not complaining, I needed it.

We have four more classes to get the piece down before the school show. I’m feeling a lot more confident about this piece than the hip hop piece I was in the last time I was in the school show a couple of years ago,

My costume for this piece is really a throwback to another time. I’ve got to get jazz pants and a black t-shirt. I haven’t worn jazz pants since I took jazz when I was 16.

It really is a fun piece. I’m really looking forward to it,

 


Ten questions, Ten answers

 

This questionnaire.comes from an amazing blog at http://pointetilyoudrop.blogspot.com/. Thought I’d take a few minutes to answer one of my own.

1. What is your favorite time for ballet class? 

The time I usually can’t take class, at night. I have one night class, Monday from 5-6:30. I love having a night class to wrap up a stressful day. I sleep better following a night class. But I do love my morning classes, a good way to start the day.

2. How many classes do you take on a weekly basis?

Between three and four classes a week. I’d prefer four, but college classes have cut into my dancing. I have done as many as five per week.

3. What do you eat before class?

Before my morning classes, a light breakfast such as a bowl of cereal, or something on a biscuit. I always eat a light snack like banana or trail mix before a night class. Can’t dance on a full stomach, but I need fuel. Supper comes after class.

4. What’s inside your ballet bag?

Three pairs of tights, two dance belts, two pairs of ballet shoes, jazz shoes, two t-shirts, two pairs of sweat pants, a comb and deodorant. I seem to be packing more these days than I used to.

5. How do you prepare for class?

Basically, I take a few minutes to stretch before class. That’s pretty much the ritual.

6. What’s your favorite part of class?

I love all of it, but seriously, it’s grande allegro. It’s my strength, it’s where I get to fly, and any combination that gets us dancing across the floor.

7. What’s your biggest challenge in class?

My turns. My double pirouettes aren’t consistent, and I’ve only done one triple, and in the years I’ve been dancing, I should be able to do more. Also need work on the transition steps.

8. What is your level?

Pretty much intermediate, although I find myself in advanced classes because of the lack of adult intermediate students at our school. Because of the varying degrees of what you’ll find in our beginning open classes … I find myself the remedial one in company level classes. I can do what they do most of the time, just not as technically clean.

9. Describe a “moment” you had in class.

It usually comes when I nail a combination I didn’t think I can do. Or when my turns are spot on and the teacher notices it.

10. What is it that you love about taking ballet class? 

I’ve heard others mention it. When I’m at the studio, I’m home. It sets me free mentally. I can’t really describe it. There’s no greater feeling than to be in a combination that you have down, and you want to do the combination over and over. In a class like that, you don’t want the feeling to end. Really, I could write an entire book on what I love about class.


Confidence, musicality and jetes

Jete, coupe, assemble’ seems like a pretty easy combination, right?

My jetes have never been as clean as I’d want them to be, but they are improving.

Well, tonight the bombshell was dropped as we were learning parts of our school sketch (recital) dance. We’re about 90 percent of the way through, it’s kind of hard to describe except that it’s set to Requiem for a Dream (from Lord of the Rings: The Twin Towers) and includes elements of adagio, petite allegro and grande allegro with a lot of cool steps that I love (tour jetes, pirouettes, sissonnes, Russian pas de chats, ect…).

And despite the fact that some of the combinations are a little complicated and advanced (for me at least), I think I’ve done pretty well so far … the key phrase being so far,

So far, we’ve done all of the steps together as a group.

Then the bombshell was dropped.

Evidently, I have a short solo part where I come front and center. The girls split off to the sides with their own little short combination.

I come front with the jete, coupe, assemble’ right and left combination.

That means upping my game in the next month in three areas that need work: Confidence, musicality and jetes.

I found I do much better in a group. When it’s me out there, the confidence drops. I did see this coming. When you’re the only male in a dance, there comes that point in time where you become the center of attention. And that hasn’t happened since I was in a pas de deux in an in-studio performance.

And this time I’ll be on the same stage where we performed Cinderella this past weekend. And we’ll be in front of a larger audience than the one I performed in a pas de deux in front of.

My musicality is improving. It’s much better than I thought … but when I’m nervous I rush things, and when I think too much I go too slow. It’s so much easier for me to stay on the music when I’m in the group.

Now, if I can just clean up those jetes.

You’d think I’d have a little more confidence considering the roles I’ve performed in Nutcracker and a few of the other ballets I’ve been in.

But this is by far the most complicated dance I’ve been in. And this one puts me front and center.

It’s a fun dance, but at the same time, a little scary.


Getting a “good job” from the artistic director

Somehow the words “good job” from the artistic director makes it all worth it.

I had a small part compared to others, but I had a fun time. And it was an honor to be in such an amazing production. I got to perform with so many people so much more talented than I. Hard to believe we’re done.

The girl who danced Cinderella was gorgeous. The two girls who danced the step sisters role were hilarious. And the friend of mine who is my age who danced the role of the evil stepmother might have stolen the show. She was incredible.

And I was in complete awe of the guest artist who played the prince. He was amazingly athletic. If I could jump as high, do tours like him, or as many pirouettes, I’d be happy. But to do what he did, I probably need to be 20 years younger, and a few pounds lighter.

But I was pleased with what I was able to do. Thought I did well with my pantomime. Thought my gestures were big enough. I hit my cues and the last two shows, I thought my dance steps were as good as they’ve been since we started rehearsing in January.

The sets were beautiful, the costumes were amazing. And the choreography was completely mind blowing … especially the part involving the little girls who were our “clock dancers”. They raced around an elaborate huge clock carrying roman numerals in a circle. From the wings it looked extremely awesome.

Hard to believe it’s over so soon. Withdrawals have set in.

Fortunately, there’s the school sketch dance in a little more than a month, where I’ll be dancing far more than I did during Cinderella.

I’ll post more pics when I get them. Image


Opening night

Officially, the two public shows of our performances of Cinderella are tomorrow.

But tonight, we take the stage for a special performance as part of an event that honors the outstanding contributor to the art community.

Today is a little bit of a chill day before I head to the theater for warmups at 6:15. Curtain goes up at 7:30.

I’m sort of glad it’s a chill day. The rehearsals have run really long this week. There’s been a lot of stopping and going for the tech crew to figure out the lighting, the timing of the backdrops and the pulling off of props during the change of scenes.

We’ve even tweaked scenes as well, probably more so for Cinderella than in Nutcracker.

Throw in the fact that I’ve still been going to university classes and working on class projects, and this week has been an exhausting one. But it’s been fun, anyway.

As for my part, other than a malfunction when trying to adjust the evil stepmother’s wig on Tuesday, it’s going pretty well. I’ve hit my cues, and have done well with my dance steps (the few that I have). It’s amazing how fast the week has gone.

After going to ballet class in the morning, university class at midday and the theater late afternoon well into the night yesterday, I feel a little more refreshed getting to sleep in this morning. I hit the bed early last night.

Here’s hoping for a good first run tonight.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I wished I was able to be in two different places at once Wednesday.

I had a graphic design piece entered in the university art show. I was amazed it was picked to be in the show, since a large number of pieces were rejected. They had a reception for students with pieces in the show and an awards ceremony … at the exact same time we were rehearsing Act I of Cinderella.

I was stunned to find out my piece placed second in its category. I wished I could have been there … but my first love in art is dance (well, ballet) and I was where I needed to be.

Shot a couple of shots of Cinderella’s carriage and the clock from my smartphone from the wings. Wished I could better photos, but I wanted to share a little from the experience.ImageImage


It’s theater week!

Today is sort of the calm before the storm, a chill day.

It is the only day since Friday where I don’t have ballet class or rehearsal between now and our performances Friday night and Saturday morning.

As was the case with Nutcracker, the head of the theater department at the university where I take classes has been brought in as production manager, and with that came changes at this past weekend’s rehearsals. I’ve now got more to do with my character role, which I don’t mind. It makes it more fun to do.

This weekend’s rehearsals were more intense, as they usually during our last rehearsals before hitting the theater. Sunday’s rehearsal was a half-dress rehearsal. I wore my jacket and pants to see how I moved in them (I have yet to put on the wig, that and the makeup won’t come on until dress rehearsal on Thursday).

Things will pick up tomorrow. I’ve got two rehearsals at the theater. I’ll be rushing from my graphic design class to the first one in the early afternoon, a scene rehearsal. Then, we do the full run through tomorrow night, and then a run-through Wednesday before dress rehearsal on Thursday, followed by shows on Friday and Saturday.

We’ve been rehearsing since January. Hard to believe Cinderella performance week is finally here.

Class-wise, Saturday’s class was fun, but challenging. The guest artist who is playing the prince taught the class. He gave some very challenging combinations, and he’s from Latin America, so there was a bit of a language barrier. But I hung in there, and really like his class a lot.

Other than warmups, there will only be two classes this week, Thursday morning and Saturday morning before our matinee show. They’ll be more the laid back, therapeutic kind, but I don’t mind.

Even though I’ve taken off work like I usually do, production can be tiring. And that’s especially the case since my college classes are still going on, and I’ve got projects to work on with the end of the semester fast approaching.