Ballet News

Archive of: July, 2010

"Julia is not just learning about ballet....."

It's been so exciting to hear the fun stories from our girls who are attending Jillana's Summer Intensive. It's also been rewarding to hear from their parent's who are sharing their thoughts about sending their daughters away to a 4-week Summer Intensive. Julia Dunlop, Ballet Idaho Academy Student The flight down was typical, but the 3 hour drive from Albuquerque was very bare and boring. Once in the ski valley there are lots of trees and mountains all around. Im excited to drive home and see all the canyon lands and stuff. The first week was very exciting and hard. Partially because of the altitude (about 9,500 ft) and the classes are simple but very fast which really makes you use your muscles a new way. This week (3rd) is going very well, personally my favorite so far. I’m getting used to things and some things are getting easier but the teachers are still pushing us and we are still working. Plus I can already tell I'm getting stronger and hopefully better. My favorite things about being here are the classes. Teachers make the classes fun and the variations we are doing are very exciting. Plus we get to perform Serenade which is very very pretty. I've learned just general ballet things, and very pretty Balanchine choreography. We have learned the variations Stars and Stripes, Esmerelda, Tchaikovsky Pas, Russian Pas, and Calliope the muse of poetry. I really like them all but Stars and Stripes is definitely the hardest. Some of the hardest things I’ve had to do are the combinations. They're very fast and not always in the order you would expect and we do a lot of beats. Plus being away for so long is weird. In our free time, we just relax with our roommates, sit in the hot tubs, and have watched soooo many movies. There are girls from all over; mainly from California and Texas. I have a roommate from South Carolina. For class Jillana has made sign language for if we need to go to the bathroom, rest, get water, no more bar, and many more plus she’s pretty straight forward. Sometimes she just tells us "that sucked". It’s really cool meeting Jillana, such a great ballerina. She is very entertaining and understands the challenges we have. I would definitely consider doing this intensive again. It definitely builds the strength you need. Today Jillana had us do a marathon bar where you do a 20-30 minute bar without stopping so when we are about to finish one combination Jillana yells out the next combination while we are still dancing so it is continuous. Patricia Dunlop, Julia's Mom In some ways it is good that is it far away, so that when they get tired or homesick you can't rush off and look after them. It is nice being in the same time zone, thank goodness for cell phones. We have also sent a few care packages, mostly food and movies! I think it has been a good experience, but Julia would also like to audition for other camps. A range of experiences and exposures to different techniques is a good thing. I think Julia would highly recommend this camp to others. Julia has talked about becoming stronger and faster. Balanchine technique is very fast and very precise, so that is a great thing to learn from Jillana. To have a connection with one of Balanchine’s stars is very special and something I think they will always treasure. Jillana is very approachable, but also a no nonsense person. Apparently, she rides her bike to the studio every day. Julia is not just learning about ballet, but also about living with other girls, eating institutional food, dealing with homesickness, and just generally looking after herself. We are excited to see the final performance. We will be driving down to arrive on Thursday, so we may even be able to watch a class or two. We are taking the opportunity to drive back through Utah and see the sights around the Moab area. I think Julia will benefit from a few days of enforced rest while driving back from Taos. Stay tuned for more...........

Where is Jared?

I was curious to find out what our dancers were doing this summer. I found Company Principal, Jared Hunt, in San Francisco dancing with a new company called Post:Ballet. Here's a word from Jared: There is an African Proverb that states “When the music changes, so does the dance.” Well, in my case, when the city changes, so does the dance. This summer I have had the wonderful opportunity of dancing for an old friend of mine, Robert Dekkers, who I met as a ballet student in the Boston Ballet School. Now he lives in San Francisco and is trying to start a dance company of his own. He brought several of his very talented friends from all over the country to perform in his inaugural season and I was flattered that I was involved. He is an amazing choreographer and I really enjoy his work! It’s very athletic and is as contemporary as it gets. It was really wonderful expressing myself through this very different type of movement. I love classical ballet and the aesthetic it offers, but I also love to challenge myself, mentally and physically, by exploring other types of dance. The new company is called Post:Ballet and we performed at the Cowell Theatre in the Fort Mason Center. It was an amazing facility with an amazing view. The stage door was literally inches away from the bay and had a panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the beautiful rolling fog. We also rehearsed in some of the great dance studios in San Francisco. Over the past month I have fallen in love with the “city by the bay,” but I truly left my heart in Boise and I can’t wait to return for the upcoming Ballet Idaho season! That’s the beauty of travel… you leave home and enjoy every minute of it, but it sure is nice to come back! -Jared Hunt Read the reviews: and

Hannah's Thoughts from Wizards & Wands Summer Dance Camp

A huge smile crept across my face and I am ever so slightly embarrassed to say a small tear appeared in my eye as I saw the parents join their budding ballerinas on stage for the finale of the end of camp performance. As they leapt into their parents arms or twirled around, smiles across their faces, I realized the true value of this experience. Each girl had blossomed in front of me, from maybe shy, withdrawn, or slightly rebellious to more confident, approachable, and good-natured. Watching them discover the wondrous ways our bodies can move. The twinkles in their eyes when they Grande Jete over Mr. Alligator or learn how to Port de bras their arms and while doing a tondue showed me not only the joy of dance and ballet, but of learning. The basic joy of experiencing something new, of figuring it out, trying and failing and trying and succeeding is one of greatest things we can experience. It is such a rewarding feeling at the end of the day, even when I am tired and my feet are sore, to know that I am helping them to experience and appreciate dance, something that has given me such joy. It has also given me a new perspective; I am better able to find the joy, beauty, and simplicity in what I am doing. It is a marvelous thing to be able to look at world with that child like wonder and open my mind to the beauty around me. Hannah Dunlop, Instructor with Ballet Idaho Summer Dance Camps

Camp Fancy Feet!

First week of Pre Ballet Camps – what a journey! Every summer brings new excitement and new dancers to begin the love of ballet. This past week we had two camps for ages 2-3, as well as ages 3-5. Each one of these camps started out with a lot of excitement and nerves on the first day, as the week went by the dancers soon became aware of their surroundings and comfortable with the concept of ballet. Each dancer gained the knowledge of how to behave in a studio and how to interact with instructors plus other students. At the end of the week the dancers earned the opportunity to perform on stage. During the performance the room filled with sounds of dancing feet and sweet words from the audience. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start of the camps than with this group of kids. Thank you for a wonderful week. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the next three weeks of camp! -Lacey Vander Boegh [flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157624380115999"]

Ditch the Boring Workout!

Ditch the Workout—Join the Party! On Tuesday June 22nd Ballet Idaho’s Natalie Gallegos Wickstrom and guest instructor from Seattle, Washington set up studio 1 at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy with live drummers and 30 guests for some intense, energy-induced Zumba! Natalie is high energy and an extremely talented dancer and instructor! She gets in the class and you immediately feel that energy she brings in with her. She brought with her John Delapena, her fellow Zumba and Ballroom Dance Instructor from Seattle with equal. matching energy and exuberance. Together they were extraordinary! I had the privilege of being a guest at this remarkable event. At first I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to go or what to expect. About 10 minutes before it started, the drummers showed up with African style drums. They were so excited to be here and be a part of this event. Then the guests started arriving. I wasn’t sure how many we would have, but was hopeful we would have a good turnout. Well, they kept arriving….I was thrilled to have so much support for Ballet Idaho and Natalie and John. Pretty soon the music started and the drummers began warming up and it was truly electrifying! And the guests were still coming! At that point we had about 15 people which was great. I went in to the studio to take a peak and John and Natalie were doing a Tango, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Ballroom combo together that was simply beautiful! The guests just stood and stared in amazement watching them warm-up. And the guests kept coming! We were about to 25 people at this point. WOW! They went ahead and started the class. They started out with explaining a little bit about Zumba: watch?v=BZwhfbaOB08 What is Zumba®? Working out can be healthy, rewarding and beneficial and now it can also be an exhilarating experience! The Zumba® program fuses hypnotic Latin rhythms and easy-to-follow moves to create a one-of-a-kind fitness program that will blow you away. The goal is simple: We want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. Zumba® Fanatics achieve long-term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exiting hour of calorie-burning, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate for life! The routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Add some Latin flavor and international zest into the mix and you've got a Zumba® class! Now I must add here that as they are talking about Zumba, they are all over the place, dancing jumping and moving. They just do not ever stop shaking! And the guests were STILL coming. We ended up with about 35 people for this event. Amazing! And every guest that came had the SAME energy! Are seeing where this is heading? This building had so much energy it could have lifted off the ground. Truly! At this point I remembered that Ballet Idaho was having a Board Meeting upstairs. I thought to myself, oh no, they aren’t going to be able to focus on their meeting. And then I thought to myself, what a great opportunity for our Board Members to witness such a spectacular event. As the class got started and the guests started movin’ and shakin’ and the drums started beating and Natalie and John started hollering, there was no going back. All I can say now looking back on it is OMG!!!! This was one of the most fun and exciting dance fitness class I have ever been to. Everyone one was having such a great time. It didn’t matter who you are, how old you are, what size you are or even if you have ever done Zumba before as many had not. They all had a great time and I saw nothing but a sea of smiling, happy faces and lots of laughs as well. I finished up the class feeling like I just could not wait for another one. And with a new found energy that and excitement that would not calm for about a week after. Everyone needs to experience Zumba! Oh, and the Board Members, Well they couldn’t helpbut to come down to see what all the noise was and watched for a few minutes, they too could feel the energy in their little board room upstairs and they could do nothing but smile. -Durea Thrall

Reflections on the 2010 Summer Intensive

This year's Ballet Idaho Summer Intensive had a lot of interesting students from Idaho, Montana, New Jersey and British Columbia, Canada. In a previous blog you can read what Madison Cole's mom said about their experience here in Boise at the Summer Intensive. Madison is going to be 12 years old soon and she comes from the same school in New Jersey, The Academy of Dance Arts, that Jessica Sulikowski came from. Jessia is a professional dancer in our company and I worked with her many years ago on The Nutcracker in New Jersey when she was a child. See how good training can lead to great things? watch?v=HKC1Kewfbe8 Madison was a real standout this year. But we had lots of others, too. Two girls came to us on scholarships awarded through Montana Dance Association. I was happy to provide them with these places as we're seeking to include students from other Inter Mountain states in our programs. It reminds us that Ballet Idaho is the only professional ballet company with an academy in the Inter Mountain West. All the students had wonderful experiences with familiar and new teachers. Heather Hawk, Racheal Nole, Jared Hunt and Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti are well known dancers and teachers here, but at the Summer Intensive they pushed their students farther than usual. Our own Ballet Idaho Academy students LOVED what they did for them, both technique-wise and in choreography. The guest students loved the special attention these teachers provided and worked very hard in some really challenging material. Jared's Jazz class was a HUGE hit with all the students. Racheal and Jared staged the "Garland Waltz" from Sleeping Beauty. Racheal knows a version of the original choreography and shaped it on the students at hand. She mixed several different levels and came up with a beautiful and cohesive work that involved some pretty striking patterns and beautiful steps. Everyone looked great at the performance on the last day. Heather and I staged the Fairy variations from the Sleeping Beauty Prologue. It's a beautiful scene, where each Fairy enters and bestows a gift on the infant Aurora at her Christening. The gifts are not the standard fare, they are attributes the child will take with her as she grows. The Fairy of Grace provides beauty of movement, the Breadcrumb Fairy provides that the child will never go hungry, The Songbird Fairy gives the child a beautiful voice, Fairy Violante gives her energy! And the Lilac Fairy gives her Wisdom. In Russian folklore the Lilac is a symbol of wisdom. We had two completely different casts for this scene, one of tall girls, one of shorter girls. They all did splendidly! I think the audience on hand was very surprised how difficult and demanding this material was. The girls knew it, of course! They worked very hard to perfect the technical requirements as well as the choreographic intent of each different quality. This was a good introduction for our own Academy students, too, because Ballet Idaho will be dancing the full-length Sleeping Beauty next season and we will be using lots of students from our school. It's going to be as big as Nutcracker! In the second week of the Intensive we had the rare privilege of having Nicholas Ade teach our students. Nicholas was a dancer in Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle and after a distinguished career, went on to become first a teacher, then a principal in their school. Nick is a phenomenal teacher! He's unique! He has a very meticulous and careful method of teaching --- at first his class seems incredibly slow, until the student figures out that he's probing deep into every muscle and bone to explain how technique works. It's exactly the kind of training I want to have here at Ballet Idaho, so his method really helped the students understand how their bodies are supposed to work. He explains everything so well, and he has great stories and he's really funny! The kids all loved working with him. After teaching a full load of classes, Nick coached the girls dancing Sleeping Beauty variations. His advice and counsel were invaluable to them and I think they all took a tremendous lesson with them. It was sad to see everyone go after spending such an intense and focused two weeks. We hope our students left with lots of knowledge, insight, eagerness to do better and a sense of themselves as dancers. I know they left exhausted but exhilarated! We hope to see many of them back next year. Thanks to everyone for all your hard work and dedication. -Peter Anastos
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