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!