Blogs

When I stop and think about all the long years I've been studying ballet (20, to be exact), I always realize how much it has influenced the person I've become since I started.  It's unavoidable, when you've been working on something so hard for so long.  But since ballet has both its positives and negatives as a discipline, it's shaped me, and everyone else, I'm sure, in both good and not-so-good ways.

 

On Wednesday, I attended a photo shoot with Misty Copeland, a soloist at American Ballet Theatre.  Misty started ballet at 13, which is pretty late for a woman, but fell in love with it and made the choice to pursue it as a career.  It's a good thing she did, too, since she's an absolutely beautiful and amazingly talented dancer.

 

Since I last wrote from Las Palmas so much has happened!

In Las Palmas, I danced "Rubies" in our Ultimate Balanchine program. There were a few casting changes and I ended up with James as my partner (James to the rescue again!).  The change came right before the performance, and James and I had only a little time to rehearse together that day. It was a little scary but also a lot of fun for us.  

As a red-headed guy, you’re going to stand out on stage anyway; it might as well be for the right reasons. Nineteen-year-old Alexander Peters had that covered at the School of American Ballet’s annual workshop performances in June. Peters showed off his immaculate technique in Wheeldon’s Scènes de Ballet and then turned in a remarkable, crowd-pleasing performance in Balanchine’s Bourrée Fantasque. The Pennsylvania native has won the Princess Grace and Mae L. Wien awards and will start at Kansas City Ballet in August.

People say that the real star of Balanchine’s ballets is the corps, and I think that’s right—they’re always dancing, and they never get a break, like in so many classical ballets. Last night, Western Symphony definitely proved that point for me, as I found myself watching the corps more than the soloists. The patterns they formed were so fun and intricate, and their energy was unflagging as they smiled and pranced from one shape to another.

I’m now in Las Palmas and writing to you from the pool at the hotel. We had our first free day today!

This past week we’ve been in San Sebastían and Santander. We were in both cities for only two days and they went by so quickly! It was chilly in both but there were incredible beaches. I danced in all of the performances so I was very busy.

Whether you're training in an elite academy, a wealthy suburban conservatory or a studio in the middle of Rio de Janiero's dirt poor favelas, the path to becoming a professional dancer is never easy.

 

Nashville Ballet is adding a new element to their second company this fall: a pre-professional training division for advanced dancers looking to hone their skills. The new program is designed as an entry level into the performing division of Nashville Ballet 2. The cost is $1000 a year for in-depth training, performance opportunities and mentoring from faculty.

Unless you’re a professional dancer with an incredibly grueling schedule, teachers often advise not taking any real time off from ballet, because for every week off, you will need two to get back what you lost. Or so I’ve heard. The general idea, I guess, is that anything that takes time away from working, working, working on your dancing is bad. Having just come back from two weeks away, though, I can say that time off has been hugely beneficial to me as a dancer.