Misa’s Latest Bulletin from Spain: Beaches, Big Stages, and “Princessas”!

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.

One thing about touring is the challenge of being in different theatres each week. In Barcelona the stage was smaller than what we are used to, so we had to make some adjustments to our performances. San Sebastían we had a big stage again, and it felt wonderful. We also did in Santander, and I felt real freedom in my movement on that stage.

San Sebastían was beautiful and a change from Barcelona. It’s a smaller city; the hotel was great and the theatre beautiful. The dressing rooms had amazing chairs that were so comfortable to lie on. I wish I could take them back to my apartment!

On the last day in San Sebastian, as we were leaving, I was pulling my suitcase behind me when the handle broke. I yelled for James Whiteside to help me and he came to my rescue (Thank you James!).

On both nights in Santander I went to a restaurant, La Sal. It was by the water and the restaurant was really amazing—and a good way to end two long days. Our waiter was very nice, he explained to Rie Ichikawa and me every single item in English and he called us ‘princessas’! It was delicious food—the best I’ve had so far!

I’ve received some mail from some new Spanish fans, which is exciting. It’s so nice to hear from audience members who enjoyed the performance.

Yesterday we traveled again, with two flights—to Madrid and then to Las Palmas. A delay in Madrid made things interesting but surprisingly we all just read and relaxed. Now on to two performances in Las Palmas (I’ll dance Rubies tonight!) and hopefully some sun in between!

 

Ballet Careers
Lenai Alexis Wilkerson. Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Michelle Tabnick Public Relations.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Lenai Alexis Wilkerson graduated from University of Southern California with a BFA in dance (dance performance concentration) and a political science minor in 2019.

As Lenai Alexis Wilkerson looked at colleges, she wanted a school that would prepare her for two totally different professions: dancing and law. "I knew, pretty much when I was 16, that I wanted to go to law school," she says. "So I wanted the opportunity to have a dual college experience, where I could have a conservatory training style within a university and I could focus equally on my academics." When she auditioned for the inaugural class of University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, she knew it was the right fit.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Ballet Arizona
Tzu Chia Huang, Courtesy Ballet Arizona

These days, ballet dancers are asked to do more than they ever have—whether that's tackling versatile rep, taking on intense cross-training regimens or managing everything from their Instagram pages to their summer layoff gigs.

Without proper training, these demands can take a toll on both the mind and the body. But students can start preparing for them early—with the right summer intensive program.

The School of Ballet Arizona's summer intensive takes a well-rounded approach to training—not just focusing on technique and facility but nurturing overall dancer growth. "You cannot make a dancer just by screaming at them like they used to," says master ballet teacher Roberto Muñoz, who guests at the program every summer. "You have to take care of the person as well."

Keep reading... Show less
News
Nicolas Pelletier in Carmina Burana. Francisco Estevez, Courtesy Colorado Ballet.

Last week, Colorado Ballet interrupted Nutcracker rehearsals for an exciting announcement: Four dancers were being promoted. Though all made the jump from the company's corps de ballet, Nicolas Pelletier ascended directly to the rank of soloist, while Sean Omandam, Emily Speed and Melissa Zoebisch were promoted to demi-soloist. This news comes hot on the heels of last August's promotion of Francisco Estevez to principal.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy School of Pennsylvania Ballet

While many of us are deep in Nutcracker duties, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet director James Payne has been looking further ahead, finalizing preparations for the school's summer intensive programs. In January, he and his staff will embark on a 24-city audition tour to scour the country for the best young dancers, deciding whether or not to offer them a spot—maybe even a scholarship—in the school's rigorous 5-week intensive focused on high-caliber ballet instruction. Though he'll be evaluating aspirants, he urges that as a student, you should be equally selective in choosing programs that could galvanize your training—and possibly even your career.

We got Payne's advice on strategizing your summer intensive plan before the audition cycle kicks in:

Keep reading... Show less