Dancing In The Kitchen

This week, Boston Ballet hosts its first-ever Choreographic Intensive in Marblehead, MA. Student Leah Hirsch will be blogging daily from the Intensive for Pointe. Read Leah's first entry here, and stay tuned for more!

 

Sometimes the most non-traditional environments can provide the best breeding grounds for choreography.  

 

I have performed in a studio, I have performed on stage, I have performed in a gym and I have performed outside, but I have never performed in a kitchen...until today!  Instead of working solely with Helen Pickett, both Mr. Davis and Ms. Pickett thought it would be  beneficial to switch back and forth between the two pre-assigned groups of dancers. Mr. Davis instructed us to choreograph a short piece (with the use of an object) and to not necessarily create the movement in the confinement of the studio. As my group of three women looked around the room, the barres had been taken, the chairs had been taken, and all of the studios were being used. So, we focused our attention on the kitchen outside of Grand Studio A. We saw a microwave, a table, a refrigerator and a coffee pot. What more could a choreographer ask for? On Kitchen Stage, the housewares served as our props. We opened and closed the refrigerator between phrases, turned on the faucet and used the microwave as our music. We completed our final pose to the beep-beep-beep signaling the end of the microwave’s program. Quite comical and maybe a bit too outside of the box, our Kitchen Dance taught us that any setting is viable for choreographic interpretation.   

 

Furthermore, for our homework assignment on Monday, Ms. Pickett instructed us to watch William Forsythe's Synchronous Objects. The dance is chaotic in a seemingly organized way and the computer-generated graphics imposed on the video highlight the choreographic ingenuity. These visual animations give prominence to the mathematical and geometric qualities of the movement. It is truly amazing how such fast and expansive movement, performed by many people at opposing moments, can look so refined. To be learning the technique of such an ingenious and talented man is remarkable. I hope to continue learning and expanding my knowledge of Forsythe's choreography and work process as the week continues!

popular
Getty Images

During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

Keep reading... Show less
News
The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre's fall season at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater offers a chance to see the company in shorter works and mixed-repertoire programs. This year's October 16–27 run honors principal Herman Cornejo, who's celebrating his 20th anniversary with the company. Cornejo will be featured in a special celebratory program as well as a new work by Twyla Tharp (her 17th for the company), set to Johannes Brahms' String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111. The October 26 program will include Cornejo in a pas de deux with his sister, former ABT dancer Erica Cornejo.

Keep reading... Show less