MJ

Science and Dance at Connecticut Science Museums

10 posts in this topic

Subject: Friends of Connecticut Ballet - Event Update!

May 2010

Greetings - My fellow Friends of Connecticut Ballet;

Over the next several months, Brett Raphael and the company's fabulous

dancers have many unique and special events in store for the Friends of

Connecticut Ballet. Access to these special gatherings is part of the

benefit of membership. I hope you will pencil these dates into your agendas

and join us.

"The Science of Dance" - Why does it look like magic!

Saturday, May 22nd: Connecticut Science Center, Hartford, 6:00-8:00 pm

Sunday, May 23rd: The Discovery Museum & Planetarium, Bridgeport,

5:00-7:00 pm

These two events are by invitation only for Museum and Science Center

patrons and the Friends of Connecticut Ballet. A reception and informal

tour of each venue will take place followed by a presentation by Professor

George D. Gollin on the "Physics of Dance" along with a sneak preview of a

new ballet by Connecticut Ballet dancers.

Please RSVP to the Museum & Science Center events as follows:

Kimberly Levesque, Company Manager, at: ctballet@ix.netcom.com or

203-964-1211 or 860-293-1039.

RSVP by Friday, May 21 So food and Beverages can be ordered.

****

New Ballet Fest - Come see the World Premieres of Connecticut Choreographers

Mitzi Adams and Ted Thomas and a former Zig Zag Ballet dancer, Brian Carey

Chung, performed by Connecticut Ballet's dancers.

Thursday, July 8th: Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts, Westport

6:30 pm - Picnic/8:00 pm - Performance

Back by popular demand is the Annual Friends of Connecticut Ballet Picnic in

the Park followed by a performance by Connecticut Ballet: New Ballet Fest.

Last years, picture perfect weather, stunning performance and festive picnic

were a night to remember. Bring a folding chair and bring a friend!

Picnic - exclusive for the Friends of Connecticut Ballet.

Performance - admission is free.

Saturday, July 17th: Riverfront Recapture, Mortensen River Plaza, Hartford

(Rain date - July 18th)

An annual tradition in Hartford, this evening includes a complimentary

ballroom dancing lesson from master instructor John Vitti at 6:30 pm

followed by the 'New Ballet Fest' performance at 7:30 pm.

Performance - Admission is free.

***

The sun may now be shining, but plans for the snow falling at the Palace

Theatre have already begun. Save the date: The 2010 Nutcracker Gala will be

on Saturday, December 11th at the Palace Theatre, Stamford.

Please feel free to email me with any questions about these events. I look

forward to sharing these fun and exciting engagements with all of you!

Sincerely,

Jeanne

Jeanne Hendrickson

President

Friends of Connecticut Ballet

(Posted by Mike Young, membership director)

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I don't understand... the CT Science Center has this:

Science of Dance Saturday, May 22: 1 - 4 PM

How do dancers create illusions of ‘floating’ jetes or control the rotational inertia in breathtaking multiple pirouettes?

Join us for participatory presentations by professionals in science, sports medicine and dance.

Presented with the Connecticut Ballet.

Included with general admission.

http://www.ctsciencecenter.org/things-to-do/calendar.aspx

But you seem to have it down as 6:00-8:00pm

When is it? Would like to come.

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I don't understand... the CT Science Center has this:
Science of Dance Saturday, May 22: 1 - 4 PM

How do dancers create illusions of ‘floating’ jetes or control the rotational inertia in breathtaking multiple pirouettes?

Join us for participatory presentations by professionals in science, sports medicine and dance.

Presented with the Connecticut Ballet.

Included with general admission.

http://www.ctsciencecenter.org/things-to-do/calendar.aspx

But you seem to have it down as 6:00-8:00pm

When is it? Would like to come.

The Flyer I have says 6-8pm, it is a private event for Friends of CT Ballet and Donors to the Museum.

I think there are two events, one public and one private. Call the museum to confirm. Should be interesting.

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Too bad this wasn't more clearly organized (by the museum?)... No one mans the phone on Saturdays at the museum. It's expensive, 40 miles away, and we've been there in the past year more than once, so I'm not inclined to go if the program isn't happening.

I'm going to see if I can reach anyone at Connecticut Ballet. Seems they would know.

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CT Ballet Hartford Office had the answer...

Dancers will be there doing workshops in the afternoon, but the performance isn't until the evening and is for donors.

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I hope whoever of you actually connects with this program posts a report. At first glance, it looks like bad marketing to me, another attempt to "explain" ballet, to demystify it, to take away the magic and the fun of it. Isn't there a code of silence among magicians to prevent any of them from giving away how they do their tricks? That way they can continue to amaze and delight us. Not a perfect analogy with ballet, but I think they've got the right idea about theater. My two cents.

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At first glance, it looks like bad marketing to me, another attempt to "explain" ballet, to demystify it, to take away the magic and the fun of it. Isn't there a code of silence among magicians to prevent any of them from giving away how they do their tricks? That way they can continue to amaze and delight us. Not a perfect analogy with ballet, but I think they've got the right idea about theater. My two cents.

You bring up an interesting perspective on this program. I'm pretty familiar with the application of Newtonian mechanics to human movement in general (biomechanics) and its specific applications in ballet training. This is a relatively new development in the field -- we came to this much later than the sports people did. There was some resistance from ballet teachers who felt that this kind of knowledge tipped the emphasis from the interpretive to the anatomical, and they certainly have a right to those opinions. But there were also a group of teachers who had been working all along with an incorrect understanding of human anatomy, and in fact were training at cross-purposes with the body, which would often result in injury in the near term and a shortened career in the long term. It's taken several years to affect these changes in teaching (and we are still making them) but I certainly don't regret pursuing this knowledge myself and encouraging other teachers to apply it as well.

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Actually this is a new program to bring Dance into schools while also exposing them to Science and Physics as well. Physics professor from U of Illinois attended, a Physical Therapist, a Sports doctor and a Skating Coach as well. Two short performances of the Summer season were premiered, a Contemporary Classic Piece and a Jitterbug-style piece, both by Connecticut Choreographers.

The New Cesar Pelli designed Connecticut Science Center is Stunning, a 100 million dollar masterpiece towering over the Connecticut River.

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Well, I did go... to the afternoon event... taking my daughter and at the last minute a friend of hers as well... The dance was free w/ admission, but museum admission & parking add up.

Originally I was interested because I heard Hartford's best dance physical therapist was going to speak... but there were no sports medicine or science professionals (what is a science professional?) present... Apparently that was only for the Evening by invitation event. The treat was that the dancers were very good, particularly considering the small size of the troupe and it's funding... They brought 3 men & 3 women. It seemed as if director Brett Raphael took his elementary school lec-demo material and transposed it to the science center (except that I saw one of their school lecture demos a few years back and the dancers were not so prime as these ... either the company is growing in health or they stepped it up for a more prestigious audience coming that evening, or both... They basically led whomever was watching in an exploration of flexibility & strength and talked slightly about what muscles were responsible (but in a child-audience-friendly way, rather than an anatomy-student-target-audience way)... they did do a nice demonstration of lifts... the bearded dancer who pressed the girl in arabesque did a beautiful job of lifting her high above our heads, walking around with her and then setting her down oh so gently... to my relief, no on in the audience accepted the director's invitation to give it a try... and then he had the dancers recite facts about nutrition & obesity... unfortunately the exhibit hall was so full of noisy recorded voice exhibits that it was impossible to hear much of what they said, even though I think I was all of 12 feet away.

Not many people were there (no surprise considering the minimal publicity)... but it really made me think about Mystic Seaport and how they do their "Educators Day" where it's free admission for school teachers (the idea being that the teachers explore for free and then are inspired to return the next year with their students on a field trip. I was wishing some educators were witnessing the nice lec-dem and would think to bring the ballet to their school.

2nd half took place in another quieter room and was called something like "How dances are made". This was nicer because we could see the dancers dancing and interact with them. Unfortunately, in the middle of it my cell phone rang off with emergency child re-arrangements for my guest. Had to deal with it via texting, but it was unfortunate to have to do in front of the dancers. My apologies to them if any are reading this. As usual, no one was asking questions... so I did. Too many, once again... I'm afraid... taking over the room too much. When no one asks questions, I figure it's good to ask one or two, to prime the well so to speak, to get the others started.. but then no one else volunteered a question... and i became too interested in the answers and asked more. Hard to bite the tongue in a silent room.

The dancers demonstrated a choreographic phrase in a circle and Mr. Raphael asked what could be done to make it more interesting... dead silence, so I couldn't resist suggesting "have the dancers almost collide" just before my phone exerted it's rudeness... the dancers didn't look pleased (and I regretted my suggestion), but it needed some tension somewhere... Wish instead I had suggested a canon of the phrase, would have been nice to see those cabrioles echoing around the circle.

They demonstrated some choreography by Brian Carey Chung (I think I have that right...), talking about how they arrived at the steps using improvisation compared to how one would be taught a Petipa ballet. There were some nice phrases. I could watch that bearded dancer improvise for quite a while longer than most dancers... so eloquent. The others were nice as well, but less physically expressive, more exploring their dancer physical posing possibilities.

They talked a little about memory, and how dancers have to remember a great many steps... but didn't get too deep into it... would love to hear a scientist co-present with them on THAT!

They also did some nice interweaving, getting the entire room to hold hands and wind around each other... I think Mr. Raphael should come up with a Double-Helix DNA demonstration dance for the school kids... could even talk about weak & strong chromosomes, considering the twisted positions some of the non-dancers got themselves entwined into...

It's so interesting to me how ballet dance training vs. modern dance training doesn't seem to exist anymore... they all seem to have extensive training in both, and many go to college. That used to be such a rare thing, and there was such a wall to get over when borders crossed. Now the wall is transparent. These dancers looked equally at home in traditional and contemporary choreography.

I would like to hear from someone who went to the evening presentation... I suspect it was more like what I what was hoping to see.

Best news was that the company is returning mid July to perform free-to-the-public in the performance space on the river. Sometime near 7/15, but not sure when... seems it was a Saturday.

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From connecticutballet.com:

Saturday, July 17, 2010 – 7:30pm*

Riverfront Recapture

Mortensen River Plaza, Hartford

Admission free *Rain date: Sunday, July 18, 2010

Special pre-performance complimentary ballroom class with master teacher

John Vitti - 6:30-7:15pm. Please wear comfortable shoes (no heels).

Amy I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Look for more Ballet in the Hartford area this Fall and Winter! We have some remarkable dancers!

We repeated the performance in Bridgeport today at the Discovery Museum, it was well attended also.

We made the evening events open to sponsors of Connecticut's Science museums and the Friends of Ct. Ballet.

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