Monday, April 11, 2011

Couple Starting Nonprofit Troupe

The Sun Sentinel printed an article on April 10, 2011 stating that in Wellington two local dancers are starting a dance studio for those who can't afford to go to dance classes. Rocky and Dorie Duvall are both classically trained dancers who have spent much of their lives dancing. In 2004, they opened the Dance Arts Conservatory in Wellington.

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They have a very diverse staff, including a teacher who taught one of my dance classes at Florida Atlantic University, filling in for Mr. Clarence Brooks. He was such an amazing teacher and I learned so much from him! It was such an honor to have such an amazing man who trained under Marie Hale at Ballet Florida, which is now closed, and toured with Klien Dance, another amazing studio which is no longer in business in Lake Worth.

If you would like to take classes at the studio their schedule is located on the website.

The mission of their new nonprofit troupe is, "The Wellington Ballet Theatre is a pre-professional dance company and Not-For-Profit charitable organization dedicated to providing the highest standards of classical training, dance education and performance to the South Florida area. Wellington Ballet Theater seeks to build self-esteem and professionalism in its dancers as well as to promote a deep appreciation of dance arts throughout the community. Their mission is to be an example of excellence for dancer development, providing intensive artistic and ballet experience in preparation for student’s entrance into professional ballet careers."

If you would like to support this wonderful organization you'll have different benifits such as:

$50-$149 Apprentice

  • Acknowledgement in season program

  • Subscription to WBT Company Newsletter

$150-$299 Corps de Ballet

  • All of the above, plus:

  • 2 Tickets to performance of choice

  • Advanced announcement of WBT Ballet Company performances

$300-$499 Soloist

  • All of the above, plus:

  • Season tickets for one

$500-$999 Principle’s Circle

  • All of the above, plus:

  • Additional season ticket (for a total of 2)

  • WBT Ballet Company e-mail updates throughout the year

  • Invitation for two guests to observe scheduled WBT Company rehearsal

$1,000-$2,499 Prima Ballerina’s Circle

  • All of the above, plus:

  • Additional season ticket (for a total of 3)

  • 2 Additional complimentary tickets to performance of choice

  • Admission to final dress rehearsal of WBT performances

  • Invitation to cast party and receptions following WBT performances

$2,500-$7,999 Director’s Circle

  • All of the above, plus:

  • Additional season ticket (for a total of 4)

  • Named sponsorship at each WBT event (verbally before performances)

  • Invitation to biannual luncheon with WBT directors and board members

$8,000 & Above Benefactor

  • All of the above, plus:

  • Additional season tickets (for a total of 5)

  • Add in season programs

  • Logo advertisement on WBT posters

"We want to create an enviornment that dancers can perform without breaking the bank and without difficulty," Dorie Duvall told the Sun Sentinel.

Please if you are willing to support those who can't find a way to fit into the arts please support this local dance company in their efforts to start a nonprofit troupe

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cirque du Soleil : La Nouba

For those of you who live in Orlando or are planning on visiting Orlando, you should take a trip to Downtown Disney and check out the best show they have to offer! Cirque du Soleil: Nouba has go to be the best show I've seen by far! I got the tickets as a Christmas present two years ago and have been dying to go back ever since! This show has everything you could want in it, ballet dancers, a juggler (which was featured on the Ellen Degeneres show), high wire, diablos (which are little Asian girls playing with yoyos, as they call them, throwing them in the air, an amazing sight), bike riders (boy were they crazy, they were jumping over people, on stairs, wow something I would be caught dead before trying), arial ballet, etc.

The tickets however are very expensive, but it really is worth every penny, my boyfriend, who isn't a huge dance fan and was kind of dragging his feet to see this show, was even impressed by everything these artists could do.

Doing what they do takes a lot of skill and practice, so if you don't have respect for these performers than well, you're crazy!

According to the website, "A door opens and two worlds collide. Enter the attic of make-believe, where the mundane meets the marvellous. Dreams and nightmares intertwine. La Nouba which calls on both individual and collective memory, is an unforgettable journey into a world at once threatening and exhilarating, frightening and familiar. La Nouba beckons to us, challenges us to uncover passions we thought we had lost long ago; to frolic in our childhood dreams and enter a place where the extraordinary transforms and overcomes the ordinary. La Nouba is the meeting of two worlds poles apart: the fantastic world of the circus artists–the Cirques (circus people), sporting bright, fluorescent colours–and that of the Urbains (urbanites), who wear dark, monochromatic outfits. When these two worlds first make contact, the magic and amazing feats of the one set fire to the pale mundanity of the other."

If you read the reviews that audience members have given you will see that my boyfriend and I weren't the only ones impressed with the show!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cirque du Soleil : Alegria

For those of you readers who aren't into sitting through a 2 plus hour long ballet show but still love to watch dancing, then I have something that intrigue you. Cirque Du Soleil is a mixture of dance and circus! I haven't yet had the chance to Alegria that will be arriving at the Bank Atlantic Center starting July 20, but I was giving the pleasure of seeing another Cirque performance! For those of you who have never heard of Cirque, then you really should go check it out, you will be on the edge of your seat the whole show! Tickets prices start out from $110.25 after taxes and go as low as $48.50 after taxes!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Attitude Dancewear

For those dancers who live in Coral Springs, Attitude Dancewear owned by Carlos is the best place to buy your dance needs! He is very personal and will answer any and all questions that you may have! I have known Carlos now for about 7 years and every time I go in there, even if it's just to say hey he has always been helpful and personal. This dance shop is different from Shape Shop, which I wrote about in my last blog because they have certain point shoes that the other one doesn't carry. Plus Carlos has a great relationship with the dance studios in that area, such as Magda's and International Ballet Academy.

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This plaza is located next to a movie theater and office depot among others! So why not get your shopping and movie going out of the way at the same time! So if you're willing to make the trip down, I know Carlos will make it the best trip for you! And if you're worried about the distance don't be because this dancewear shop is the best out there!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shape Shop

For those of you dancers, joggers, yoga buff and work out junkies living in Boca Raton boy do I have the place for you. Shape Shop located just west of the Turnpike has all your needs! From praise dance outfits to point shoes they have you covered. This locally owned dance studio, which used to be located just south of Glades Road on the Turnpike, has the best offers in Boca. All dance wear is 10% off and workout is 20%. Plus personally knowing the owner this is the best service you can get! I grew up going to Shape Shop for all my dancing needs and I have always had quick and attentive service, and they were also personal with me. Right when I walked in the door I was greeted, "Hello Jenna, how are you today?" I would answer right back, "Hello [employees name], I'm fine and you?" Of course all the employees I knew are now gone and have families of their own, but the staff they have now is just as friendly as before! So put down your mouse, jump in your car and head down to Shape Shop for all of your dance and workout needs!

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Not only does it have everything you need for dance, but Jewels dance is right next door, along with a gym, shoe outlet store, home goods, plus plenty of yummy restaurants!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Other studios

If hardcore, strict ballet teaching isn't your style, then there are other studios out there for you, especially in Boca Raton.

The first studio is one that has many memories for me! When I moved to Boca when I was four I had to find a new studio in order to continue my love for dancing. My mom stumbled upon Dance Academy of Boca Raton. When I attended here it was run by Ms. Shirly, however several years ago it was bought by someone else. This dance school has some interesting history within Boca Raton. It was established in 1963 and is the oldest dance school in Boca. They are currently accepting applications for fall registration. Call (561) 395-4797

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The second dance studio is Jewles Dance. This company is where I got my start, at least for a year, in competition dance. This studio wasn't one of my favorites due to the fact that with my extensive training I felt like I wasn't going anywhere. This studio is a good starting place for those who want to learn to dance and don't want to make it their life. One good thing I did see on their website was that Billy Bell from So You Think You Can Dance and a friend of mine from Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts is a guest teacher there! I'm trying to get more information on when he will be back to teach a class. Once I obtain that information, I'll get it to you!

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Another studio in Boca that I'm not too familiar with is Mrs. P's Dance & Acrobatic. I do know that they are dance studio who competes are local compeitions, other than that the website has been helpful in telling me more about this studio.

This studio is different from the rest because they don't offer juts ballet. They offer:
  • Ballet
  • Pointe
  • Jazz
  • Tap
  • Acrobatics
  • Hip Hop
  • Musical Theater
  • Lyrical
  • Voice
  • Modern
As a dancer I don't know why a dance studio would offer voice lessons because you NEVER use your voice in dance, but okay then!

This dance studio, like all the others, has a dress code, but this dress code is something I have never seen. For jazz and tap you are only allowed to wear tan shoes. That seems strange to me. I guess if I were to go back to dancing, this studio wouldn't be the one for me.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Best dance school in Fort Lauderdale

Magda Aunon School of Classical Ballet in Florida Lauderdale was one of the best experiences with dance that I have ever had. Granted it is also the place where my horrible injury happened when I was 12, but that's another story. I attended Magda's for four years and spent those years learning point and perfecting my technique.

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This school is hard to find, but once you do and take a class you will never want to leave.

Magda is an old school ballet teacher, but what she does really works. She kicks your butt and makes you work hard, but in the end you will love her for it.

At least when I was there the studio had no air conditioning, I don't know if it's the same today, but she does open the garage door so air gets let in.

Beg. for adults are Tuesday from 7P.M. to 8P.M.

I'm actually thinking of taking this class again, just so I could maybe get back into ballet! So hopefully if I come out, I'll see you guys there!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A different form of dance

Most of my blogs in the past have covered things about either ballet, jazz or modern. But I am leaving out a totally different form of dance all together. Most people wouldn't consider it dance due to the loud nature. But in my opinion both of these shows are a form of dance, just one in their own way. I had the privilege of seeing both these companies perform at the Kravis Center within the past 4 years.

The first show is STOMP. I know that this doesn't look very dancingish, but however, dance is defined as
  1. To move one's feet or body, or both, rhythmically in a pattern of steps, esp. to the accompaniment of music.
Now you tell me if you think this is dancing or not?

Granted they aren't in costumes or dance shoes, but that doesn't make the dancer.

STOMP along with TAP DOGS use different items to make sounds and aren't very conventional.

In STOMP they use 30 brooms, 8 trash can lids, 1 tall bin (in the UK), 5 short bins (in the US), 10 6ft 6in poles, 15 pounds of sand, 4 blocks of athlete's chalk, 12 pairs of drumsticks, 200 Litres of water, 8 bananas, and 12 boxes of matches.

For those of you in FL who want to see STOMP it will be in Ft. Myeres, April 29 to May 1.

Now onto Tap Dogs which is different but yet similar to STOMP.

With Tap Dogs, they have a purpose. They are construction workers who are trying to build something, but yet have fun while doing it. They use so many different objects to make noises, including their tap shoes. They use water, beams, basketballs, those things that make sparks fly when touching metal among others.

Tap Dogs is based out of Australia and you can also attend school there and learn how to do what they do. Unfortunately, it is a male dominated company, but they do offer different classes, such as:
  • Tap
  • Hip Hop
  • Boys Ballet
  • Jazz
  • Acrobatics
They also have the Newcastle Tap Pups.

They also have workshops conducted by Dein Perry who founded Tap Dogs.

The shoes that they wear are very unique and not normal tap shoes. While attending their performance at the Kravis Center we got to attend the lecture before the performance and got to hold the shoes that they wear. They are heavy and bulky, which is no wonder why you have to be a guy to wear these shoes!

If any of you out there have a chance to see either of these performances, I highly recommend you do. I wish they would come back down this way so I can see them again!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

For the "modern" dancer

There are many non-traditional dancers out there, and by non-traditional I mean have a love for something other than ballet.

The definition of modern is: A form of contemporary theatrical and concert dance employing a special technique for developing the use of the entire body in movements expressive of abstract ideas.

A brief background on who Alvin Ailey is and why this company is named after him.
He was born Jan. 5, 1930 and was an American choreographer and activist. He founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. He is creditited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African- American participation in 20th century concert dance.

On March 20 at the Queen Elizabeth Theater in Canada the Alvin Alley American Dance Theater will be performing four different dances. The show starts at 2
  • Anointed
  • In/Side
  • Dancing Spirit
  • Revelations (This is the picture that I have at the top of the page)
Not only will they be performing but they will also be holding public and professional classes as well.

On Friday March 25, the company will be back performing in the United States with Ailey II
They will be performing in Ardmore, Oklahoma at 7pm. Tickets prices range from free to $20. If you are a membership box office: Tuesday, March 1 tickets are free, but it's open to the gemeral public, Tuesday, March 15 and are $10 for students and $20 for adults. I have never seen the Tuesday with the date next to it, but I'm assuming that means it's the date the tickets go on sale.

On March 25, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be performing in Seattle, Washington at 8pm.

For those of us who live in Florida, it's very rare they actually do come down here, but if you want to see them perform at all, you can go to your public library and rent one of their performances on either VHS or DVD, or if you're willing to spend the money, go on their website find a show in a city you would like to visit and watch them live!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A summer/Fall-Spring Dance School

For all you dancers who want to become more serious about their dancing, then boy do I have the program for you. The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida has one of the most acclaimed dance programs in Boca. They are a local high school that focuses solely on dance, for your academic classes you attend Spanish River High School.

Of course like most schools they have a criteria for attending their school.

For the summer:
  • Must be in grades 8-11 (You can submit a DVD if you're an international student
  • A physique possessing the various attributes that are generally required for professional accomplishment in ballet
  • A reasonable level and quality of prior ballet training
  • A significant level of talent
  • Exempary work habits and deportment
  • A history of consistent academic achievement at an average or above-average level
  • Satisfactory medical history
Auditions for this past summer have already passed, but you can use the same information for next year. I don't know if they have different dates for the Academic Year, but according to how this looks, it seems like they do it in the winter as well.

It costs $20 for the audition fee. Plus you must bring a dance photo (tendue to second position and arms are in second as well). Registration begins 30 minutes prior to audition.

This is not only true for their school auditions, but for other summer intensive dance programs as well, which are held at the Harid as well during the winter!

I wish everyone good luck, and wish this could have been me, but with my injury, that wasn't going to happen!

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

A new local performance

Starting April 14 to the 16 the Kravis Center Presents the Koresh Dance Company. Having never heard of this company, nor knowing what kind of dance they do I found it interesting to see what kind of dancing they do. According to the information on the Kravis Center's Website, "Under the dynamic wing of Israeli-born choreographer and artistic director Ronen Koresh, Philadelphia's Koresh Dance Company is among the most original forces in contemporary dance. Critically acclai,ed for its exuberant, athletic and eclectic repertoire, this high-energy company displays unparalleled versatility and virtuosity in performances that range from exlposive and passionate to intimate and restrained. 'A vibrant ensemble that offered non-stop dynamism throughout it
s performance." This game from the Denver Post.

If you, as an audience member want to learn more about the company and what they do, or ask them any questions. Feel free to go to their free discussion by Steven Caras on April 14 at 6:15.

This show will be on:
  • Thursday, April 14 at 7:30 P.M.
  • Friday, April 15 at 7:30 P.M.
  • Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 P.M.
  • Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 P.M.
For those of you in Phili and want to go check out this dance school go check it out and let me know:
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Let's go over seas for a bit

So for those of you who wish that they could go to Russia to experience their culture compared to ours pr for those of you who are in Russia and want to experience American culture and how their art forms differ from yours, especially the ballet styles. Well whatever your case is, fret no more, the American Ballet Theater will be heading over to Russia March 29 to perform 4 different dances. They will be performing at the State Academic Bolshoi Theater of Russia in Moscow starting at 7.

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On March 29 and March 31 they dancers will be the same and on March 30 the second cast will be performing.

After this series is over they will be taking a break until May where they will be performing at the Metropolitan Opera House until July 9. July 14-17 they will be at the Los Angeles Music Center-Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The from July 21-28 they will be in Tokyo, Japan at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and on July 30 they will be in Nyogo, Japan at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center.

Our prayers will be with them when they travel to Japan with the recent crisis of the earthquakes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tour dates in April

For all of you New Yorkers, The New York City Ballet will be back in the beginning of April. Starting April 5, the dancers will be on tour in Washington D.C. They will be performing Balanchine's Black and White ballets with the New York City Ballet Orchestra.

April 5-10 they will be at the Kennedy Center and tickets range from $25 to $85. Plus if you buy the tickets on their website you can save money on Orchestra seats to another New York City Ballet performance.

Unfortunately The New York City Ballet will be on break until May 3 where they have a really busy schedule. So for all of you dance people in New York be sure to check it out and if you attend, feel free to comment and let me know how it goes, especially the amazing discussion which starts on May 3 on First Position.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Miami City Ballet

So for those of you who are living in the South Florida area, local dance company Miami City Ballet is getting ready to put on their most recent production, Romeo and Juliet. According to their twitter account, If you purchase a ticket until 5pm tomorrow night, $10 will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Tickets can be purchased on Miami City Ballet's website, if you would rather purchase them from the performances location, you can also get the schedule on the same site.

The dates of the shows and location are:
  • Adrienne Arsht Center March 25-27, 2011
    Friday, March 25 at 7:00 p.m.
    Saturday, March 26 at 2:00 p.m.
    & 8:00 p.m.
    Sunday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m
    & 7:30 p.m.
  • Tickets are as cheep as $20 for the 4th tier. And as expensive as $175 for the front orchestra seats.

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  • Kravis CenterApril 1-3, 2011
    Friday, April 1 at 8:00 p.m.
    Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
    Sunday, April 3 at 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
  • Pit tickets cost: $30. Orchestra seats cost: $89. The balcony is $20

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  • Broward CenterApril 29-May 1, 2011
    Friday, April 29 at 8:00 p.m.
    Saturday, April 30 at 2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
    Sunday, May 1 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Tickets range from $89 to $20

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Proper Theater Etiquette

Photo courtesy of jrj_guy on photobucket.
Also courtesy of the movie the Dark Knight

Many people don't know when to and when not to clap during a performance. While at Bak Middle School of the Arts dance concert, I noticed that a majority of the audience didn't know when to clap, or to yell, or to use their phones. I also noticed it yesterday at the Daniel Elsburg Lecture, that took place at Florida Atlantic Universities Boca Raton campus. Of course, these are two different shows, but the same rules apply.

The basics are:
1) No talking
2) No chewing up
3) No CELL phones, or TEXTING
4) Don't walk to your seat during a performance
5) Don't yell (their name, or whoot whoot) during the performance, save it till the end
6) Don't applaud till after the performance, or piece is done
7) Don't get up during the performance, or go to your seat
8) No drinks or food allowed in the theater, unless stated otherwise

During a performance, you can you can't really do much, but sit there and watch the show and enjoy the performance that is being put on. If you need to take notes, then do it quietly and don't make notice to yourself. You also shouldn't use your cell phone to put light on the paper or the playbill.

During the intermission you are of course allowed to do all of these things because that is when you are giving the break to stretch your legs and have a break. You can use your cell, do whatever you want. But once you see the lights flicker twice then you return to your seat and enjoy the remainder of the show.

These rules of course differ from theater to theater, and if the performance is outside or not, but these are the basic rules that I think everyone should apply to their lives before they go to a show, a graduation, or even class. It will not only make it more enjoyable for you, but for others around you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The father of Modern Jazz Choreographer

Many people have different opinions on who is the father of Modern Jazz, but in my opinion it all began with Bob Fosse.

He was born Robert Louis "Bob" Fosse on June 23, 1927 and died September 23, 1987. He was an actor, dancer, musical theater choreographer, director, screenwriter, film editor and film director. Many movies that we love today have originally been choreographed by Bob during his day.

Fosse was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a Norwegian father and an Irish mother and was the second youngest of six children.

Fosse teamed up with Charles Grass, another young dancer and began a collaboration under the name The Riff Brothers. They toured theaters through the Chicago area, and eventually Fosse was hired for Tough Situation, which toured military and naval bases in the Pacific.

Fosse later moved to New York with the ambition of being the next Fred Astaire. In 1953, Fosse got his early screen appearances in Give a Girl a Break, The Affairs of Dobie Gillis and Kiss Me Kate.

Fosse's career was cut short, due to premature balding, which limited the roles that he could take, and he was reluctant to move from Hollywood to theater. Nevertheless, he made the move, and in 1954, he choreographed his first musical. The Pajama Game, which was followed by Damn Yankees in 1955.

Fosse developed a jazz style that was immediately recognizable, exuding a stylized, cynical sexuality. Other notable distinctions of his style included the use of turned-in knees, sideways shuffling, and rolled shoulders. One of his best dances, in my opinion that shows his style the best is
This not only shows his dance style, but his signature movie with the hats.

One of Bob Fosse's most interesting pieces and in my opinion is his Mr. Bojangles piece. In his other pieces, he has the dance sing, but within this piece, the dancer doesn't sing. He has one dancer, Mr. Bojangles, do minimal movements, while another dancer is behind him dancing.

One song that most of us know today, Big Spender, was originally a Bob Fosse dance

In 1979, a semi-autobiographical film All that Jazz was created, and it was many of Fosse's different songs from his famous Broadway Shows within it. Bob Fosse also has his own Way in Chicago.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The next form of dance that we will be learning about is Jazz.

The formal definition of jazz is a dance form or dance that is matched to the rhytms and techniques of jazz music, developed by American blacks in the early part of the 20th century.

Jazz is broken down into two different categories, traditional and modern.

Traditional jazz: Until the mid 1950s, jazz dance referred to the dance styles that originated from the African American vernacular dance of the late 19th century to mid-20th century. Jazz dance is often referred to tap because tap dancing is also set to jazz music. Jazz dance has definitely evolved from when it first started due to the different social aspects and with the introduction of concert dance. When jazz first started, the popular dance forms included, the Cakewalk, Black Bottom, Charleston, Jitterbug, Boogie Woogie, Swing, and the Lindy Hop.

Granted a majority of these dance forms were dance styles of the 50s, but a majority of the steps we still use today.

The second form of Jazz is modern jazz. After the 1950s, pioneers such as Katherine Dunham took the essence of Caribbean traditional dance and made it into a performing art. With the growing domination of other forms of entertainment music, jazz dance had evolved onto Broadway. The performance style of jazz dance was popularized to a large extent by one of my favorite choreographers who many of you have probably heard of would be Bob Fosse who was one of the most famous Jazz choreographers. He uses movies from each one of these 50s dance styles. If any of you have ever seen All That Jazz you will know how he uses each.

For any of you who have seen Chicago, even the recent movie, you have a good understand of what modern jazz is.

Chicago isn't the only Broadway dance and a movie, that is modern jazz. Cabaret, Damn Yankees, and the Pajama Game are other forms of modern jazz as well.

Modern jazz is often performed with leather jazz shoes to help the dance move smoothly when executing turns, such as a pirouette.
Of course you can also wear Jazz boots

Jazz techniques are very similar to ballet techniques, and of course they both use the same steps and vocabulary, but the positioning of the feet is different. In ballet, the positions of the feet are turned out and in jazz you feet are turned in. So for example, in first position you leave your toes where they are in the turned out position but you just bring your heels back and align them with your toes. This goes for the other four positions as well.

Monday, February 7, 2011


The second form of dance that we are going to cover is Modern Dance.

The definition of modern is: A form of contemporary theatrical and concert dance employing a special technique for developing the use of the entire body in movements expressive of abstract ideas.

Modern dancing is relatively new and started in the early 1900s. The first modern dance school was founded in 1915 by Ruth Dorthy St. Denis and her husband Ted Shawn. They founded the Denishawn school in Los Angeles, California. Ruth was mainly responsible for the creative aspect and Ted Shawn was responsible for the teaching technique.

Modern is also danced without shoes so, as I was taught, you could feel more grounded.

Some of the famous modern dancers that we know and love today were students of the school and members of their dance company. Such as Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman.

Martha Graham went on to become a well known modern dancer and there is also a modern form named after her and Graham form is the most common known form.

This video is kinda low quality, as the person who posted it states, but it shows the gist of the Martha Graham style of modern.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Now that we have learned the basic feet and arm positions of ballet we can get into the different forms of dancing. There are many different forms of dance, but the first one that we are going to learn about is ballet.

There are many different definitions for ballet, but the two I feel are the most important are:
1) A classical dance form demanding grace and precision and employing formalized steps and gestures set in intricate, flowing patterns to create expression through movement.
2)a theatrical entertainment in which ballet dancing and music, often with scenery and costumes, combine to tell a story, establish an emotional atmosphere, etc.

Ballet didn't start recently, it has been around since the 15th Century. Ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts and it further developed in France, England and Russia as a concert dance form.

Ballet was presented in large chambers with most of the audience seated on tiers or galleries on three sides of the stage. Since then, it has become a highly technical form of dance with it's own vocabulary words. It is performed with the accompaniment of classical music and has influenced different forms of dance around the world.

In 1661, the first ballet school was opened in France. This dance school was started by King Louis XIV (the fourteenth). During this time period women were allowed to dance, this was also the same in theater, for those of you who know anything about that. In 1681, women were finally allowed to dance, however, they could only wear ankle-length dresses, as opposed to today.

From the start of ballet until 1789, ballet wasn't only danced, the performers also recited poems and sang songs.

Many of the dance terms that we know today originated when ballet first started, and a good majority of them still have the same names that were used then.

Ballet can also be danced with two different types of shoes. Either regular ballet shoes, or soft, and point.

Point is where the dance stands on the top of their toes.

The difference is quite noticeable.

These are soft shoes.

And these are point shoes. The first pair of point shoes were actually regular ballet slippers that were heavily darned at the tip. It would allow the girl to briefly stand on her toes to appear weightless. It was later converted to the hard box that is used today.

There are also three different forms of ballet: Classical, Neoclassical and Contemporary.

Classical Ballet is the most methodical of the ballet styles; it adheres to traditional ballet technique. There are variations relating to area of origin, such as Russian, French, Bournonville and Italian

Neoclassical Ballet is a ballet style that uses traditional ballet vocabulary but is less rigid than classical ballet. Spacing in neoclassical ballet is usually more modern or complex than in classical ballet.

Contemporary Ballet is a form of dance influenced by both classical ballet and modern dance. It takes it technique and use of point work from classical ballet, although it permits a greater range of movement that may not adhere to the strict body lines set forth by schools of ballet technique. Many concepts come from 20th century modern dance.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Things to know before your first dance class

Before you were to start even understanding the basics of any form of dance you need to know the five basic feet position and the five basic arm positions.

The basic five ballet positions were created in the 1600's by a French ballet teacher whose name was Beauchamps. These arm and leg positions helped the dancers to balance while still looking graceful. Most ballet steps and combinations begin with one of the basic positions.

The feet and arm positions coincide with each other. The names are, first position, second position, third position, fourth position and fifth position.

First Position:
The feet are aligned and touching heel to heel, making
as nearly a straight alignment as possible. The knees
are also touching with legs straightened. In beginners'
classes, most exercises at the barre start from first position

Second Position:The feet are aligned as in first
position, but with heels spaced approximately
twelve inches apart. The term seconde generally
means to or at the side.

Third Position: One foot is placed in front of the other
so that the heel of the front foot is near the arch of the back
foot. There are two third positions, depending on which foot
is in front. In beginners' classes this is a transition position in
the progress to fifth position, or when a dancer is physically
incapable of a fifth position (especially in adult beginners' classes)

Open and Closed Fourth Position:
There are two types of fourth position:
open and closed. In both cases, one foot
is placed approximately twelve inches
in front of the other. In open fourth
the heels are aligned, while in closed
forth the position of the front foot is
aligned with the toe of the back foot.
There are two variations of each type
of fourth position, as determined by which
foot is in front. The first picture is open,
and the second is closed fourth.

Fifth Position:
One foot is placed in front of,
and in contact with the other, with the heel of
one foot aligned with the toe of the other foot.
There are two fifth positions, depending on
which foot is in front.

There are also five basic arm position. But these aren't as easy to show due to the fact that they are different in each type of ballet, meaning Russian to French schools, there is also the Cecchetti method.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bak Dance Concert (Part 2)

After the 15 minute intermission the second half of the show started, so all the audience members threw their drinks away, stopped the conversation, some put their phones away and the lights went down, the curtain opened and the show began.

Double Violin a piece created by Heidi Sperounis to music by Johann Sebastian Bach was one of my favorite dance pieces. When watching this piece it seemed like I did the same dance back in the day, but regardless the music was amazing and the dancers weren't the best, but still you shouldn't expect much, they are in middle school.

Following the ballet piece was a modern piece by Hollond Schiller. Just for a Moment with music by George Benson was an interesting piece. The costumes were thus far were one of my favorites.

One of my favorite ballet pieces was next La Sylphide (I'll expain in another post a little more about the story behind this dance.) This piece was staged by Martha Satinoff, but based on the original by Filippe Taglioni and the reconstruction by Pierre Lacotte.
The following piece was Mi Amor another DeBarros piece. It was different than most of his other pieces, but it was still interesting. The music choice was odd for the name, but still enjoyable. The music choice was Pink.

Following Mi Amor came the most amazing DeBarros piece that I had to dedicate a whole blog post about it. Gossip had such a powerful message that I felt everyone should hear it and understand that gossip is real and it does hurt people's feelings.

Following Gossip came my mother's favorite piece. Cuban Sugar was a different version of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker. The costumes were exotic, very similar to what you would were when doing the tango, but somehow seemed to fit into ballet very nicely. (Note, not a fan of the hyperlink, but it gives you a gist of what the ballet is about. Says that the ballet was choreographed by Tchiakovsky, but he was the man who wrote the score, Sverre Indris Joner was the choreographer)
The last piece was Cycles. This piece was choreographed by Carlos DeBarros and has such an inspiring inspiration behind it. Him and his wife Kate about 16 weeks ago found out that they were having a baby. "This piece symbolizes the natural cycles of life and death and is dedicated to the LIFE of my unborn baby." I find that so touching and I hope one day his kid will see how luck he or she is to know that his or her father loved him or her the moment he found out! Congrats Carlos and Kate DeBarros!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bak Dance Concert (Part 1)

Bak Middle School of the Arts dance concert on Saturday January 29, 2011 was definitely different from any dance show that I have seen. They had an array of different dance styles, from modern to boggie, from jazz to ballet, even a little bit of lyrical was thrown in.

The show started off with a piece from Hollond Schiller titled Boggie Shoes, the music was by KC and the Sunshine Band. This piece was very cute and out of the ordinary. If you aren't a huge ballet/dance fan than this is defiantly the dance for you.

The second piece was a piece by Heidi Sperounis titled Embassy Waltz, music by Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. This piece was nicely done, I just felt personally, nothing against Mrs. Sperounis, but the girls and boys rushed this piece, they didn't listen to the beat of the music.

This piece was followed by another Schiller piece titled Shรถne with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I thought that this piece was interesting. Of course for some it might not have been as interesting as her first piece, but for a dance lover this is one of her better pieces.

The fourth piece was a piece that was choreographed by an outside choreographer named David Parsons of American Dance Legacy Institute, with music by Tony Powell. I found this piece very interesting and wish that we could have had something like this while I was attending MSOA, but I was still blessed to be able to see such a talented group of students put this piece on.

Valse Magique by Martha Satinoff (dean of the dance department) was next. This piece reminded me of something we did when I was in middle school. I even think it was the same music, Waltz from Magical Flute. Of course I don't remember, but it was still nice to see a Mrs. Satinoff piece again!

This next piece is a Carlos DeBarros piece. "This dance is for everyone who has ever felt like not getting up when the alarm goes off," as he stated in the program. To me this piece is a perfect example of what my class (back in 2000 to 2002) looked like every morning when we would roll into the dance studio first thing in the morning. This dance was so funny and I wish all of you had the chance to see it. This piece was set to music by Balkan Beat Box.

The first half of the show concluded with a piece from Martha Satinoff with music by Larry Carlton. In my opinion, this piece was slow but it was still good.

Overall the first half of the show was amazing, nothing like I remember Middle School of the Arts dance shows being, minus what we still call to this day, the Catchup and Mustard dance choreographed by Mr. Clarence Brooks who now teaches at FAU.