Tag Archives: recital dance

Trying another studio disloyal?

I’ve been taking ballet classes at the same school for the past eight years, but this summer I’m considering taking a ballet class or jazz class at a studio in a town a little closer to home (along with a couple of classes at my regular studio).

I’m considering it for a couple of reasons. No. 1, it is closer and will save me some on gas. No. 2, I honestly think I need a little change of pace.

I have no intention of leaving the ballet school I’ve called home for so many years, but the adult dancers seem to be getting fewer to almost non-existent in the morning open classes I take. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being in a class full of company wonders and I enjoy the pace. But I sort of miss the camaraderie of an actual adult class.

So the possibility is strong I’ll split the time between two studios this summer. Depending on how things go this summer, I might do the same during the regular year.

Part of me feels a little disloyal. There are people at the school I’ve called home who are like family;

As far as how things are going now, we’ve put the finishing touches on the school sketch dance. Only two more weeks before we perform it on stage. And it will be put on video,

I’m beginning to get a better handle on the dance. I finally got the timing down from the transition of the sissonnes-slide step to the saute basque turns, but I’m still a little sloppy during the part of the dance where we come forward alternating between en de hors and en de dans (hope I spelled that right) pirouettes. And for some reason, right after we come out of a tour jete and do step grande jetes to the right, I step on the wrong foot (I actually get it right on the left side).

It’s amazing fun, but rehearsing multiple times tonight has wiped me out,

When a dance comes together …

I’ll have to admit I was a little nervous heading into Monday night’s class.

Because tornadoes came ripping through our state last Monday (yet another wonderful, horrifying perk of living in the South), we didn’t have class.

So it had been two weeks since we rehearsed our school sketch down, and there was a part I really wasn’t sure of. And the ending hadn’t entirely been worked out. And we had only three class times to get it down before the school show at the end of this month.

Other than our dance ending poses, which we’ll work on next week, we knocked it our last night. And for the most part, I feel good about it. I need to work on the transition from a little jazz slide step at the end of two sissones to the side to two saute basques that go straight back, but other than that, I’m good, that is if I can remember which leg to step and grande jete on after we do a tour jete in the middle of the dance (step with the leg in back, leap with the leg facing the audience), but my timing is there.

I really want to dance well. This is my chance to prove to myself I can dance. And my chance to prove to others, I can, too. And the family will be watching.

Then add the fact that this is an opportunity to expose dance to people who might not otherwise come to a dance performance if they weren’t there to see their cute 5-year-old daughter, grand-daughter or niece and nephew look cute in the little dance they’re in despite how they mess up.

Dawn C. reminded us the school show should be taken as seriously as the company performances of the Nutcracker and Cinderella are. The school show is free, unlike company performances, and people are their to see their family members perform, but you wouldn’t otherwise get them through the door for the ballet.

And, of course, it’s pretty much a one-shot deal. Unlike Nutcracker, where we perform seven times, or Cinderella, where we performed three times, we’ll perform this dance only once, unless we are asked to perform it on both nights of the school show. They haven’t posted the schedule yet.

So it’s get it right the first time. There may not be another chance to get it right.

No pressure, huh? But seriously, it’s a fun dance.

It’s also pretty cardio so I’m trying to build up some stamina. When you rehearse it four times straight in class, you’re feeling a little winded and out of energy … or at least I am.

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,


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.

There are bourees in this dance?

That’s what I was thinking as we put the final steps in for our school sketch dance at the end of May.

Second thought? Guys aren’t supposed to do bourees.

There is a part of the dance where we come together in a triangle. As the lone male dancer in a group of 10, I am the center mark person,

We come on stage in groups, we do steps in our groups and then we come together in a triangle before the final steps (grande allegro).

At the end of our particular group’s steps, if we are not on our spot, we bouree to get there.

I did not protest. It actually makes since. And for me, it’s only about four or so, at most.

And really, as we were doing them, it actually looked cool.

And the school sketch crowd usually isn’t the cultured crowd that will see us perform Cinderella.

So I doubt very many people in the audience will be thinking: “Isn’t that a girl’s step.”

My timing was a little off tonight, in part because I was thinking my way through it. When I do that, I’m either too slow, or too fast. But the steps are doable and amazingly fun.

I honestly believe I’m looking forward to this dance more than I am performing in Cinderella.

That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to Cinderella. I am.

And we’re four weeks away from bringing it to the stage. It may be the most challenging story ballet we’ve ever done.

It’s the first full length ballet outside of Nutcracker that we’ve performed. We’ve done Romeo and Juliet, Dracula, Firebird and Billy the Kid, but we did shortened versions that lasted about 45 minutes.

Cinderella is two hours and two acts, although my time on stage is about 10 minutes. It’s going to be an amazing production.

And our rehearsals are going to really get intense leading up to production week.


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?