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SERBA, and other regional festivals...


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#16 Pizza9

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Posted 14 May 2001 - 11:27 PM

Continuing with my review...Crockett-Deane Ballet (who joined RDA just last year) performed a piece called Mozart's Razor, and part of the time, they danced with razor scooters. My friend from the company told me about it beforehand, so I wasn't surprised by the scooters, but I think the rest of the audience got a kick out of it. The scooters didn't play a prominent role in the choreography, though, just occasionally, dancers would ride across the stage on one, doing an arabesque or attitude. I did like how they choreographed a little turn section, with one foot on the scooter and turing on one wheel (and that they didn't just limit it to gliding across the stage).

Penisula Dance Theatre (Washington) did a piece called "The Conversation". The music was a mix of this guy with a booming voice speaking in German and various sounds, which some other dancers said were gunshots. The stage was barely lit, so we could only see an outline of the dancers on stage, but the lights (I'm not sure what they were but they weren't the traditional lights) were such that the audience could see each other. I could totally see everyone in front of me watching the dancers. It reminded me a lot of the Stalin purges and other people said it reminded them of the Holocaust. Nobody I talked to understood the German, except that we did hear the words "Acid Rain" a couple of times (which is why some thought it was about the Holocaust). Someone else told me that the purpose of the piece was probably to make the audience think- that's why the audience was brighter than the stage so we could reflect about ourselves while watching the piece...

Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre's piece, Cancoes, was choreographed by Armando Duarte, who was our adjudicator last year. It was a modern piece and the steps were simple but fit together well. I didn't watch the whole thing, since I had just performed in the piece before it and I had to get changed. I thought they did a good job, especially considering that 8 of the dancers that were there last year have moved on, either graduated or gone off to companies, and other ballet schools.

For the emerging choreographers' concert, Crockett-Deane Ballet did a piece called Kulanjan. It wasn't really classical ballet, but not modern either. It was just really stylized ballet, I guess. One of the lead girls, Linda, really has stage presence, even when she's doing a simple step. We saw her dance last year, and were so awed by her stage presence.

Our company, South Bay Ballet, performed a piece called Tri Six 5,6 to music by Tchaikovsky. It's a neoclassical ballet and we opened on Gala night. I think we did fairly well, no one fell or made any major mistakes, as far as I remember, and I've heard that several other directors were impressed by the ballet. Our director, however, thought it could have been better (don't they always?!)

The stage at BYU was a good stage to dance on. It was larger than the one we usually perform on. The front edge of the stage, though, was really slippery even though there was marley (probably because no one usually dances on it). One girl, during the Long Beach Ballet Theatre's piece, slipped while dancing in that part and then because the floor was so slippery there, she slipped again and fell down.

I enjoyed watching men's class, although I was slightly disappointed by the level of dancing in it. There were 3 guys, 2 from California, 1 from Utah, that were really good- they had nice pointed feet, straight legs, clean lines, etc. Then there were about 3-4 (from my company) that weren't as clean but were able to pick up the steps and execute them. There were (I don't know exactly, but...) around 12 guys that probably hadn't been dancing for very long. A couple of them weren't able to pick up the combinations, which made one of the teachers kind of mad. Then a couple were also trying to do double pirouettes even thought they could barely do a single. The class was probably moving too quickly for them, and it wasn't really their fault- they just haven't danced for very long or whatever. One teacher, Attila Ficzere who teaches at the Univ of Utah, was teaching men's class one day and his biggest correction was for a double assemble- instead of being straight up and down for the jump, to be on a tilt like in a revoltade. The guys I talked to said that makes a huge difference.

I didn't get to see the honors class taught by Yoko Ichino, but I heard that it was very good. I did watch pas de deux class- each company sent 1 or 2 girls and all of their guys. Some companies didn't send any guys (even though they had some), but my company sent 6 guys and 2 girls. Alan Hineline who taught the class, lined up the girls by height and the guys by height and paired them off. I've heard that they're cautious about having pas class at festival because once before a guy dropped a girl and she was injured badly and couldn't dance. IMHO, I think each company should send couples, that way the guy and the girl would have had some experience dancing together previously, but I know that some companies don't have any guys and it's not really fair that they don't get to have a rep. at pas class. The class was very simple- they mostly worked on pirouettes from fourth and promenades.

#17 Allegro

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Posted 15 May 2001 - 01:30 PM

It is really cool hearing about your festival...
Who were your other teachers? We had OK one this year. Simon Dow was our first ballet class, in a freezing gym, early Thursday morning, and he did a great, slow, placed class. It really warmed us up in spite of the cold. Then we took a jazz class with Ashlie Solomon, who takes at Broadway Steps, and she is going to do ABT Georgia's summer program. She was so much fun, and we did a really fun jazz dance. To tell you the truth, I can't remember our other classes all that well, but we had many other teachers who were good. Kathy Thibideaux, the artistic director of Ballet Magnificat taught a fun class, as usual, but I was very disappointed that I had to leave it early because of our tech rehearsal.
I wish we had a pdd class, and although I don't think I would be the one to go, it would still be fun.
What about your audition class? Did you take it? Or do you even have them? we have a class where 109 girls and guys tried out for many scholarships they were giving out. I didn't get one, but it still was a good experience. They cut about 65-70 people in the middle of it, and I am glad I made that cut, even if I didn't get any money.
I could go on forever about the shows, and I already did somewhat, so I'll stop here.

#18 Pizza9

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Posted 15 May 2001 - 09:58 PM

I didn't go to the audition class, we had one for the Craft of Choreography Conference and one for scholarships to summer programs. Ron Cunningham (AD of Sacramento Ballet) taught the Craft audition (I didn't see it, but I auditioned last year and I liked his class. He moves quickly through barre- expects you to be fairly warmed up before audition class). One correction that he gave that I thought was neat was for dancers who habitually look down. He told us to "look for the birds"- i.e. not look down. I still remember that...

Steve Brule taught the scholarship audition class- I didn't get to see it either, but I watched him teach men's class. He seemed like a good teacher and I know some guys who worked hard in class trying to impress him.

I took ballet technique from Attila Ficzere (who now teaches at the Univ. of Utah), Jonas Kage (the AD of Ballet West) and Darla Hoover (who teaches at CPYB). I enjoyed Attila Ficzere's class the most, probably because he did a lot of pirouettes at the barre and center and grand allegro in the center. Jonas Kage was an okay teacher, but he spoke in a very soft voice and some of us couldn't hear him. Darla Hoover (who also taught our pointe/variation class) was an interesting teacher as well, except that she insisted that we cross our fifth positions all the time, even if for some reason we couldn't be as turned out as possible (if we weren't warm or whatever). One interesting correction she gave us was that when dancing on stage, dancers tend to pull their weight back. (Our class was on the BYU stage that day). She told us to think about staying forward on our legs so we wouldn't fall backwards.

Jeffrey Gribler (who taught ballet at the Choreography Conf. last summer) and Alan Hineline (who was the director of choreography at the Conf. last summer) also taught ballet technique, although I didn't get to take their class this year. I did watch Jeffrey Gribler's class, and he's a fun teacher to take class from.

I didn't take musicality class (taught by Jerome Begin) or modern class. I think it's so interesting watching class- you can learn a lot by watching other dancers. One dancer that I liked watching in class is Britnee Colledge Squires. She doesn't necessarily have the highest extension or whatever, but she's consistent and very clean. The Utah Regional Ballet girls (not the ones in URB II) wore their pointe shoes for class. One thing that always bothers me when watching performances is the arms. (My arms are kind of funny, particularly in turns) Some girls and guys break the line of their arms at the wrist and it's very noticeable. Another thing that I didn't particularly care for was how some guys (I don't know if any girls did this) would start a pirouette with their arms in an oval shape and then bring them in closer. I know they do that because it helps accelerate the turn, but I personally like having them in position (a nice round circle) for the whole turn.

#19 Allegro

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Posted 16 May 2001 - 09:37 AM

Scholarship and audition class...same thing.
Did you go to Craft of Choreography last year? If so, you might know our director. She went last year.

#20 Pizza9

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Posted 16 May 2001 - 11:34 AM

Yes, I went to the Choreography Conference last year- I've probably met your director. For anyone who doesn't know what it is- it's a 2 week program...dancers take a ballet class and a modern class each day in the morning. Then after lunch, dancers are assigned to choreographers and rehearse with them until dinner time. After dinner, everyone performs the new works. The choreographers take 1 class a day (either modern or ballet depending on which one they want to take) and then have a choreography session, where they learn about different techniques, using music, etc. Each choreographer is given an assignment, like to use the theme of falling, or use the lyrics of the song for inspiration, or don't use any ballet steps (which is usually given to choreographers who choreograph only ballet). They're also given a piece of music (it varies from Vivaldi, to Peter Gabriel to Phillip Glass, etc).

It's a good experience for dancers because they get a chance to learn what it's like being a professional dancer and having to perform each night and also to work on being able to pick up new choreography quickly. For the choreographers, it's a chance for them to choreograph something totally different from what they're used to and learning to work quickly if needed.

I've gone to the conference 3 times, once at the Univ. of Utah and 2 times when it was held at the Univ. of Texas, Austin. It will be held at the Univ. of Texas, Austin again this year. I forgot who the director of choreography will be- in Utah, it was Armondo Duarte, and in Austin (the past 2 times) it was Alan Hineline. Their job is to share ideas about choreography and stuff and to dole out assignments. The director of music is Jerome Begin (who was also there the past 2 times). He works with the choreographers on music, teaching about how to count music (especially music that isn't in straight 4's or 8's). The director of ballet this year is Thom Clower. He's the AD of Yuma Ballet Theater and he's a really nice and charismatic teacher. The director of modern is Lyn Elam, who teaches at the Univ. of Tx, Austin- she's a great teacher as well. This year, I think they're also going to have jazz.

I'm not going this year, but I think it's a good experience for dancers...It's also neat to watch the other dancers and new choreography. And definitely valuable to be a part of the choreographic process.

#21 Allegro

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Posted 17 May 2001 - 08:19 AM

My directors name is Amy Moore Morton...you might know of her. She did a percussive piece last year, and that's all I remember. I would love to go to the choreography conference. It has to be so much fun. But, I am not a lightning learner, so I might be thrown out! :) Thom Clower is a great teacher. His classes are really fun. He is going to be at our festival and be a teacher. I love him.
Tell me the pieces you were in at the Craft of Choreography!

#22 Pizza9

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Posted 17 May 2001 - 05:37 PM

Yeah, I do remember Amy Moore Morton. I didn't get to work with her, though. Supposedly, each dancer is supposed to work with a different choreographer each day...although there are times where the choreographer has a two-day assignment, so their dancers wouldn't perform on one day. That's how it was the first year I went. The second year, there were a lot of choreographers and not enough dancers. So we had to double up- dancers worked with 2 choreographers in the afternoon, and would show one of the pieces tonight and the other one tomorrow night. This year, there was enough dancers for the choreographers, but for some reason, Alan Hineline, the director of Choreography, decided to give the choreographers extended assignments. The first choreographer I worked with was Melinda Howe, from CPYB. That was a 1-day assignmnet, meaning we performed that day. We did a piece that she choreographed for the students at CPYB. The 2nd choreographer I worked with was Jamie Rossner, who was only 16 at the time. She choreographs for Georgia Youth Ballet. She set a piece to African music which was a totally new experience for her. I think she was used to only classical ballets. That was a 2-day assignment.
The 3rd choreographer I worked with was Melinda Howe again. I don't remember what her assignment was, maybe not to use classical ballet steps? That was a 3 day assignment, so we worked on it on friday, saturday, monday and showed it on monday. Then the 4th choreographer I worked with was Sandra Organ(sp?) who I think used to dance with Houston Ballet... She had a 4 day assignment, which we performed after the 2nd day, just as a work-in-progress and then on the final night of the conference. She was a tough choreographer to work with because she could do amazing (modern) things herself, and maybe didn't realize that we couldn't do exactly what she did. Plus, I think she might be used to working with older dancers/professionals or whatever and some of the dancers in the piece that I was in were fairly young and they didn't have that experience in learning quickly or duplicating what the choreographer wanted.

So, over the 2 weeks, I only got to work with 4 choreographers, which I felt jipped. The first year, I worked with 8 choreographers (had a couple of 2 day assignments), 2nd year I had 10 choreographers( but it was 2 per day) and this last year, I only had 4.

It really is a cool thing to do...even if you're not a super fast learner. It's also cool to see the other pieces- I remember a classical ballet that was set to music by Vivaldi. I really liked it. Also, you get to watch different types of pieces, that you might not get to see normally...like the african piece.

#23 julip

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Posted 18 May 2001 - 09:10 AM

do you have to be invited to be a choreographer at the craft of chor. confrence? can anyone do it? if so...how? thanks in advance.

#24 Pizza9

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Posted 19 May 2001 - 04:37 PM

I think anyone who wants to go to the conference as a choreographer can, as long as you've choreographed something before- you send in a videotape of some previous work (I think generally, they do accept everyone). You don't have to be invited.

The same with dancers- all you have to do, if you're an RDA member, is send in a photo in arabesque (although I've heard that some dancers don't even send one in). If you're not an RDA member, you have to send in a video tape of yourself dancing.

For more info, you can go to [url="http://"http://www.allegroballet.com"]www.allegroballet.com[/url] The AD of allegro ballet of Houston is the director of the conference, so if you have any questions, you can email her.


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