My Lines Ballet Summer Intensive Audition

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This past Sunday, I made the trek down to Tucson, AZ with my good friend Ashley to Audition for the Alonzo King Line Ballet Summer Intensive! I’ve wanted to audition for a bit over a year, but this time around I actually had time and felt a bit prepared to do so. Little did I know that there was almost no preparing for this thing called Contemporary-Ballet

The class started off with me having a higher bit of confidence because I felt like my barre work was solid, and my musicality was on. The instructor of the class gave us the task of finding a more creative way to showing musicality at the barre, and through the rest of class really, and not become robots with our connection to the music. She said, “the pianist is giving you so much texture and quality to play with and emphasize so fill the space with that in mind but through your body, and don’t forget to still dance”.

My Lucky number for the Audition

My Lucky number for the Audition

We tried this task out on the tendu phrase and by the end I felt like I was getting the hang of it…. Nope. The instructor told us we were not achieving what she was asking of us and then spoke directly to by saying, “I need YOU to dance! Because, I know once I tell you to improvise across the floor you’ll be a completely different dancer. So show me that dancer at the barre.”

GAH! I loved and hated her for the publicly isolated feedback/encouragement, but it definitely inspired me to take more risks at the barre. I tried feeling the music, losing myself in the phrases, adding some more torso action, and letting my skin feel the texture of the space around me. Even though it felt awkward.

Through the rest of center and class I struggled where I struggled and focused on applying feedback whenever she gave it, even if I flopped in everything else in the phrase. But it wasn’t until improvisation across the floor that I felt fully confident.

She asked that we let go of the ballet, trick, extensions, and control because she had seen enough of it at that time and to show us something different. I immediately ripped off my ballet shoes, tossed them into my bag and let my bare feet kiss the cold marley below.

I was sixth to go across the floor, and besides my friend Ashley, who was second, no one took her suggestions to heart really. And you could tell when she lost interest in someone’s performance by whether or not she waited for the dancer to finish their improvisation or not before queing in the next dancer. She waited for my friend Ashley.

When I was called in, I turned on all of my sense and crumpled into the floor. I live for the ground. When I’m down so low I feel like I could safely fly, and flip, contort with ease and finesse. So, I brought out everything I could muster at that moment. I tried playing with timing, purposefully focusing with my eyes, different textures of movements, using angles and shapes in the most unorthodox way all before ending flipping off if the ground with a one armed back cartwheel from a sitting position. Everyone before me that had finished had wide-eyes.

After class, I thanked the woman and asked for her name (forgot it like a dunce). But, when I asked for clarification on some of her feedback she to explained and added that she believed I have great technique and to keep working on what I’m doing… “great technique” rang in my ears. I have never heard that honestly spoke from someone’s mouth at that level of professionalism and I am still in awe by it.

Hard work pays off! I’m crossing my fingers that I get that acceptance letter, because I know this will be a great fit for me. Why must I wait 2 weeks!? UGH!

Letter to Future Self

Dear J.,

            Hey dude what’s up? How have the ballet classes and training been? I really hope by the time your read this you’re some kind of ballet dancing divo! If not, you’re dead to me… just joking, I’m sure you’ve made much improvement and it is evident in what you do. I put us in a lot of ballet classes this semester, four to be exact and that’s 10 classes a week, and my goal for you is to be able to apply that ballet technique to contemporary dance. So make it happen, Chop-Chop!

            Right now I can tell we really get this whole contemporary/modern dance technique by having a grounded presence and efficiency in movement. We’ve grown from hating floor movement to being able literally fly and tumble on the floor as if we were under water. Took us a few years to get here and many goals we’ve set for ourselves when entering college has been met. My new goals for you, future J., is to get your movement to incorporate the ballet-esque contemporary dance style that Danny Tidwell is flawless at, while also adding aesthetic of an Ailey Dancer such as Anthony Douthit-Boyd. You can do it! These ballet/contemporary classes will do wonders for you and by adding these things will get you to out dance that amazingly talented dancer in our heads.

            Here are some things I’m going to need you to focus on the journey to complete these goals is are:

  • Fix your arms/port de bras! – There is so much that your movement can become when there is more intention and specificity in your arms.
  • Flexibility – You don’t need to be a contortionist, but a solid tilt and full split leap will serve you well
  • Applicable Strength – Now, flexibility is great but being able to hold your legs in positions, and sustain balances well would be pretty advisable.

         So, by the time you read this, Future J., I hope you have accomplished these goals and are looking back at videos of me like, “Ugh! My Lanta, I looked like that!?” because that would make me oh so proud! Keep being amazing and never forget your worth!

 

Sincerely,

Present J. (Jan. 2014)

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15 Truths About Being A Professional Dancer

15 Things that I have to remind myself of everyday! Such a great read for dancers and people who want to understand dancers a bit better.

5 6 7 8... TEACH!

written by Melanie Doskocil, original post found at her blog, Ballet Pages

1. Dance is hard. – No dancer ever became successful riding on their natural born talents only. Dancers are artists and athletes. The world of dance today is akin to an extreme sport. Natural ability and talent will only get us so far. Dancers must work hard and persevere. Dancers give years of their lives plus their sweat, tears and sometimes blood to have the honor and pleasure of performing on stage.

 

2. You won’t always get what you want. – We don’t always get the role we wanted, go on pointe when we want, get the job we want, hear the compliments we want, make the money we want, see companies run the way we want, etc., etc.  This teaches us humility and respect for the process, the art form and the masters we have chosen…

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Up and Attacking the Day!

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Yesterday I was feeling very sluggish and I needed the rest, even though I kind of fought it every step of the way. Today, I woke up with something to prove to myself and I’m proving it!

I am currently taking a rest from choreographing a solo for my class project in 3rd Year Creative Practices. But, before that I went to the gym and hacked out an hour of hard cardio and doing a chest, arms, and abs work out. And it was all to the musics of Rupaul and The Scissor Sisters!

PS: If you haven’t heard Lets’s Have a Kiki then I don’t know What you are doing with your life. Just sayin’.

Its currently only 10am here in Arizona and I have about 4 more hours of rehearsal ahead of me and a Contemporary dance class to teach tonight.

The motivation is back!!!

[[Ciao for Now]]