Posts Tagged ‘journal’


Rutgers Summer Dance Conservatory

July 28, 2011

On a few occasions in the last week, it has been my pleasure to assist Randy James in teaching his repertory class as part of the Rutgers Summer Dance Conservatory. I had taken his Modern Dance Repertory class at Mason Gross in June, and had learned excerpts from two pieces from the repertory of Randy James Dance Works. With the choreography fresh in my mind (and in my journal, just in case), I taught a few movement phrases to the conservatory students.

It has been a while since I had taught choreography to high school age students, and I must say that I missed it. Teaching younger dancers is always a great reminder of how much I’ve actually learned myself. And always, it’s a fun game of sorts to figure out just the right things to say and demonstrations to provide to get through to as many students at a time as possible. I was glad to find that my enthusiasm and patience were there to serve me and the students. I look forward to the next time I teach, whenever that will be!

I hope I’m able to attend their performance tomorrow afternoon to see what they and the rest of the conservatory have been working on these two weeks. Also presenting repertory works are Mason Gross Dance faculty members John Evans and Brian Brooks. The informal (probably free?) showing is tomorrow at 4:30pm, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater.

I have to give it to Barbara Bashaw and her camp/conservatory staff. They have a great summer program going on that demonstrates to prospective students the sort of instruction you get at Mason Gross Dance. It’s also VERY well organized. And, as you’ll come to learn, I’m a real stickler for that kind of attention…


Ballet at PDT Studio

July 5, 2011

Please allow me to comment on the weather. It started off quite nicely this morning. I drove down to Princeton with the windows down, and cool air pouring into the car. Now, in the afternoon, I’ve got two fans on in my room on the highest settings. Cool glasses of water are helping out the situation too.

I would now like to announce that I am currently in the second week of the Princeton Dance and Theater Studio Summer Intensive 2011. Altogether, I only attend the two-hour ballet technique classes in the mornings, and when they get started, I’ll be doing more work than I could dream of in the partnering classes (as the ballerina-danseur ratio is uneven, to say the least).

I must say that the PDT Studio is quite the lovely operation, with three studios and a knowledgeable staff of ballet instructors. Also, though I didn’t think it possible, I quite enjoy being surrounded by much younger ballet dancers. It’s a beautiful thing to see the students training so young. For me, this full immersion into ballet world is doing a real number on my learning curve. I absorb everything, from class etiquette, to the pace of the class, to watching others, taking all corrections… It’s a different monster from the more modern roots I have at Mason Gross.

In particular, I’ve already developed a heightened understanding of adduction of the legs, engagement of my core, my arms’ relationship to my back, and (most excitedly) the articulation of my feet. It feels as if the longer I’m here, the less gray area exists around ballet in my mind. I’ve discovered a certain craving for this clarity. I even wrote down all of the center floor combinations that Nora taught us today. I find that knowing the terminology and really trying to remember the movement helps me solidify the skills for the future.

Since I’ve been living in ballet land for a week now, and have four and a half more to go, I’ve looked up some videos online to try to get more exposure. Here is a video of the Bluebird Grand Pas de Deux (Sleeping Beauty), as performed by Leanne Benjamin & Errol Pickford of The Royal Ballet. Holy brisé volé!