Tag Archives: Performing Arts

No Day Without A Line|Nulla Dies Sine Linea


art sudents league gallery

The Art Student’s League in Manhattan, used to be the center of a movement of art-which is not unlike movement characterized by dance or ballet. As a student in New York in the early 1980’s, I used to pass by it to and from meetings with my father. It sits on 57th Street, occupying a Northern exposure in a great deal of glorious architecture, that at once says, Federal, Belle Epoque, and a lot of other things to a curious student of art, passing by, which I was. What it says most importantly, is, “Come In.”

Once you are inside, there is usually a flurry to your right, clerks registering students, answering questions, giving directions, processing payments, scheduling classes, and doing other things, relevant to the increasing importance of a communications center in a sort of drop-in art school. To your left, there were benches, large sculptures, and in the rear (ground floor), a small art store. But the smell of art, one I remember as a child, pervades the hallways, and artists, as surely as those people at Steps are dancers, come and go, up and down, to and from the classes, in and out the doors. No doubt, it is different now, but it’s purpose is the same.

Central to the idea of having an art student’s league, a Steps, or any other facility which caters to the ideas and expression of a world of artists, is the motto they have restrung, “No Day Without A Line,” or ‘Nulla Dies Sine Linea’, originally attributed to the famous Greek painter Apelles by the historian Pliny the Elder, who recorded that Apelles would not let a day pass without at least drawing a line to practice his art.

asl image

I did not know this when I first walked into The Art Student’s  League, but I found it anyway, it beckoned to me, and it is this curiosity and drive which probably led others to find it, and why it is still open today. Upstairs is a rather large gallery, where anyone may go, during open hours which coincide with the school’s, and view the work of previous student artists, and this will prove interesting at some point for all people similarly situated, as no doubt, names and works of those whom you have studied, or come to love, or be inspired by, will be at some point hanging on the wall in front of you. You may think, ‘one day, a long time ago, this artist stood here as I am standing now’, with a future before them, questions about their comments or ideas on the encroaching world, and they painted drew, printed, sculpted or made art to reflect those impressions, creative processes or feelings, much as you stand there now doing; contemplating art-what to do.

As artists, songwriters, performers, dancers, writers, pass on, it is even more important to me now, that each day is lived, for no matter the day that you stop doing, it is what you have lived, what you have expressed, done and whom you have impacted, that matters. It matters most to those standing there looking at that wall now, and who knows what may emerge to influence them or represent the past,connect with the future, but it is all cyclical, and it is important to see it, to live it, to smell it, to hear it, to draw, paint, dance, say, write or express it, especially for those coming up who will be looking for it, just as I was, or you are now. It may be important to no one else, but this small difference can mean the world, as we artists have seen and felt-to know that someone before us, came down the same path, looked for the same signs, needed the same encouragement, and passed on even the advice, seemingly to us, “Nulla Dies SIne Linea.” Write that down-No Day Without A Line. An artist’s life begins with the habit of doing, looking, practicing, creating, or thinking-even writing. But, if we fail to see and exploit what is inside us, right in front of us, or invisible to the non-artist-we lose opportunity, and time, memories and experiences. Experiences make art better, more relevant, more interesting.

asl classroom

Above the local business and day-to-day running of a place for artists, and many of them find this place the same way I did, and then look it up, before going in, venturing forth, stretching out-are atelier studios for making art. Students sit together in groups, with a model center, each trying to preserve a vantage point of privacy, with their backs to the walls, while viewing the figure in front of them, and then casting onto their chosen form of paper, or communication, a line, then shadows, by various processes, at many different speeds, defining their own vision, what the world means to them, their own very essence of existence, their own opinion-what they SEE. Everybody sees differently, paints or draws or creates differently, and in the studio, above the people, the ceilings rose very high, as though to say, art has no limits, your freedom and expression have no boundaries, BE, LEARN, CREATE, LIVE!

For just 1 hour, maybe more, these people come together to make their lines, and this is as important to the soul of humanity as a Starbucks on every corner, a gym to define muscle and who we appear to be, or the checking of our Facebook accounts every five minutes or so, to see how important we are, or whether we truly have any friends. But here, artists are doing, making, extending themselves, confronting art and the world with it. It is much better to look inward and to relate, in whatever way, what is inside our heads, take it outside, discuss it, critique it, look at that which truly makes us unique, and can only serve to make us more interesting, than to repeat, repeat, repeat, than that which has occurred or gone before us, reposting, retweeting, reminding.

The Art Student’s League is one place to go and find something new about yourself-there are many. What you put in your pot, comes out of your pot through your pen, or foot, or other device. Apelles idea was to search himself every day, at least once, to remind himself that he was an artist, a thinker, a creator, and we are all creators essentially. The trick is to take the initiative, to find what you can create in any or every medium, and that requires searching oneself, daily, for ideas, inspiration and motivation. Sometimes this connects with life automatically, sometimes the slate seems blank, and sometimes with searching a little water is found to be in the well after all, whereas, other times, the water gushes forth and ideas need to be capped quickly, and saved in any form for later reference, just to add to those times when the well seems dry, but if you stop going back tot the well, it does not exactly dry up-NO-but it might begin to take a secondary place, and for an artist, this must never happen!

front

Think of what ideas and opportunities might be lost! Missed. Forgotten. Unsung. It is still in the pot-let it out, let it mingle, don’t be afraid. Perhaps a terrible bad idea can become a great one when viewed later. But a symphony, a ballet and any artwork or writing starts with a line. A dot, a thought, even a doodle can extend into an idea and become, with work, something meaningful, expressive and important.  It is not what we are able to accomplish as humans, sometimes it is the fact that we have a choice to do so, can take the initiative if we want to, that putting a pen to paper or a foot to tapping, is the beginning of something unique, or might be. To me, that is the greatest thing of all-possibility. It is exciting to think about what might be possible. To begin seeing, you only have to begin looking. Really looking.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Students_League_of_New_York

http://www.theartstudentsleague.org/events.aspx

 

 

 

Vote for The New York Ballet Institute to Receive Grant for Ballet Scholarships!



//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-5DBTHW
(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({‘gtm.start’:
new Date().getTime(),event:’gtm.js’});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],
j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!=’dataLayer’?’&l=’+l:”;j.async=true;j.src=
‘//www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id=’+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f);
})(window,document,’script’,’dataLayer’,’GTM-5DBTHW’);

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/b/64789

Please vote for NYBI to receive a $100,000 Mission Street Grant for programs to assist those of modest means. This grant will enable us to provide employment and scholarships for young dancers for the new program. Please visit and vote. We need 250 votes before June 19 to be considered. Share it with your friends. It doesn’t cost anything, but every vote counts!

https://thenewyorkballetinstitute.wordpress.com/…/vote-for-…

Please vote for NYBI to receive a $100,000 Mission Street Grant for programs to assist those of modest means. This grant will enable us to provide employment…
THENEWYORKBALLETINSTITUTE.WORDPRESS.COM

Is Dance training ONLY Elite dancers, and NOT Looking at the Bigger Pictures-Who Will Dance With Them? What Will They Dance? Is Education Suffering Too?


http://londondance.com/articles/news/dance-education-the-real-challenges/.

Guide to Ballet Training, Part 1 (for novices)



//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-5DBTHW
(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({‘gtm.start’:
new Date().getTime(),event:’gtm.js’});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],
j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!=’dataLayer’?’&l=’+l:”;j.async=true;j.src=
‘//www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id=’+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f);
})(window,document,’script’,’dataLayer’,’GTM-5DBTHW’);

Part I

I think useful information on ballet schools is a bit hard to find on the Internet. Information about the process, what to do, expect, avoid. It’s not truthful when you do find it. You just jump in. But there is a process if your child wants a career in dance. There are many factors, but if you are starting out as we did, there are some things you should know, and if you ever need someone to talk to, you can always ask me what to do. I’ll try to help. That may not be the best recommendation, as I am certainly no expert-no one can be-but at least I am not politicking for anyone. Yes, my daughter is in ballet. I think this is her sixth year, maybe going on seven, I may have lost track.

According to my teachers eleven was a fine age to start then (9 or 10 being the youngest to begin seriously), but you are always hearing professional dancers (and non) stating they started nearer their birth. In my opinion, it is wrong for dancers to tell other dancers that, because they should know better. I think the Russian methodology is the best, for one thing, most of their dancers can concede to the age of around 10, because that is the earliest those schools take them and they begin, seriously, to study ballet. You have to wonder about the truth of other statements when the serious study of anything cannot begin much earlier, and certainly not ballet. They do say, and correctly, too, that they studied or took other dancing, gymnastics, etc., and this is probably true, but even they know it is not like ballet and is different. It might have helped them, but they do not feel the need to relate that usually because the training at those schools is so formidable as to put into the shadows any previous lesser instruction. There is really no comparison. Why? This will become apparent in a later section of the article.

I think there is a truly correct and comprehensive method to the study of ballet. I am always searching for that in schools, teachers, pictures, videos, performances. It is what you have to learn to look at first. I do not think my daughter would have known, starting out, what was good for her, and I am aggressive about what I desire and look for in any educational situation which affects my children. I have 3, and I went to my first audition, with my son, at SAB, about twenty-one years ago. He was not accepted, but continued to dance in Russian schools in NY until he was about 12 years old. He lost interest in it and the outside pressures of being a boy in ballet just became too much for him. He did learn some things about ballet, and sitting down to watch a ballet performance now, brings all of that back to him. He has always been a dancer, though, and never shies from performing. He is a ham. I have followed ballet for about 40 years.

I know how to go about looking, though I was not a professional dancer, I danced, and the choices were easier when I was growing up, and I was lucky to get good instruction. I had opportunities to dance professionally, but I finally realized in college that I did not want to become a dancer exclusively. In all ways, that decision is very personal to the dancer. Proper instruction, correct instruction is probably the most important piece of the ballet, or dancing, puzzle. I do not know how I was so lucky to have had the teachers I did, when I did, and where I did. Part of the reason this occurred, because although my mother did not accompany me at all, she had schooled me in the basics of ballet and dance knowledge, cautioning me extensively, prior to my going out and signing up for classes and because she bought me books, or gave them to me, and I read them. I was not averse to reading or listening. She also researched and made suggestions where I could go, and I went there and she turned out, and they turned out, to be right for me. After that, I found things on my own. It is cyclical. Things change in ballet schools sometimes as often as they do in public schools, and programs-one year it is good, the next, not so. It depends on who is teaching there at the time, the program, mission or philosophy, and some other factors. More variables affect parent and student over time, but initially, it should not be too difficult to find good training, despite the vast differences between schools. I think this constant “polishing” of the process, program, and elevator effect does not benefit every generation or level of dancers at the same school, for usually, in this country, in most cities and towns, there is nowhere to go for top ballet training you find. The problem is continuity, but it is also cost, change, greed, and outside influences. But when it gets to a point, you have to take it into your own hands and find what you are looking for-what your child needs.

You can go to the horse’s mouth in New York City, but what if you are not accepted at ABT or SAB? Well, because it is New York City, there are other good teachers and schools to go to. It is an international and cosmopolitan city and there is no dearth of dancers there.You can also find good ballet teachers in other places, but it is a crapshoot sometimes. You do not necessarily know. They can be in the strangest and most unlikely places, or they can be right around the corner-for the time being, anyway. That is why I look for Russian now. It is just so much easier. I do not have to look at French, American, or British systems, because my daughter now makes the decision on where she wants to study and what. As a parent, Russian just makes more sense, because Russia has a system of ballet training- the Vaganova method. It focuses on correct placement, the correct technique and levels, but most importantly, probably, to me, as a parent, it also is designed to reduce the possibility of injury in what is a very difficult art. I said art. Not sport. It is not athletic. It is discipline. It is part science of movement, part muscle training and part art, then mostly art.

Some parents do not always care about injury enough. Some parents do not realize the risk of injury. Some parents will not accept that their child might not have the facility required for the correct and plausible performance of ballet, or have children who have not had good training or training in time. Some parents were dancers and know exactly what to do! I think a lot of Russians have come to the U.S. and other places to teach ballet in the Vaganova style and for whatever reasons, it is a wonderful opportunity to learn ballet with them as they truly know more about it, are passionate about training, and knowledgeable. They have to start somewhere, and sometimes their options are not always the options extended to those teachers at the actual Vaganova schools where the children are handpicked, out of hundreds or thousands, for the opportunity to study ballet at a state funded school. Here, we bring our (often) faulty children, without any gymnastics, bad feet, poor attitude, inflexible backs or legs, poor posture, and even more frequently, our money, to ballet schools, without having had even a physical, or x-rays, to determine their capability for such a regimen, and demand them to make stars out of them. This is NOT how it is in Europe, and worse we bring our sense of  entitlement.

In America, it is about the students you get whose parents can afford (or not) ballet training, the mentality is different, and until recently, due to so much promotion, and competitions, such as YAGP, ballet was not in the headlines. Only by promoting it, has it become more popular, for boys and for girls, or considered a career option. Respectable. A sport (to make it acceptable to some Americans). And a sense of it being far less demanding, complicated and fickle, than it really is. In America, until people become more aware of its difficult requirements, many people will continue to frown upon it, as they are basically uncultured and working-class people, who have considered for several decades, ballet as a starving art form, or dance as being “gay,” or not an intellectual pursuit, nor as having the prospect of wealth. In some cases, it is a middle class parent who aspires to have their child succeed as a team dancer, or competition dancer, who enrolls their child in ballet, gymnastics, and theatre, modelling, etc., and for ballet, this focus is not correct. It is not a good formula, not one based on knowledge of the art of ballet, what is required, the prospects, but only the early physical success and a trophy as proof. A ballet dancer’s career spans a lot longer time than most professional athletes, actually, and unlike sports, but as in theatre, maturity is required, and artistry. Artistry is not acquired in early stages of youth, such as the understanding of the emotions and stories involved in some mature ballets, or the sense of freedom required, by many years of practice, to express oneself uniquely in performance of mature subject matter, and to do so fluidly. It is this part of ballet, I believe, where most dancers with physical potential actually fail in ballet. They are not artists and perhaps never will be.

Ballet is competitive, but first it is discipline. As it was designed, it was discipline for the longest time and then possibly, much later, some success might be possible. Maybe. It is easy to forget, in the little ballet studio, that there are a world of other dancers out there, and that they might have several distinct advantages over Americans, in general. Training is number one. Ballet, of course, had its starting point, too, like all dancers, but then a Golden Age (occurring almost 200 years later), and more structure (another 100 years), then becoming almost scientific (50 years), and again a resurgence (50 years), again (20 years) and again now (20 years). There is a phenomenal (and interesting) history to the art of ballet, but it was never Shun Yen, or gymnastics, or jazz, or a sport- at anytime in its development. It never should be or will be really viewed as an art and a sport, or it will truly cease to be ballet. The movement to even discuss this is one to capitalize on the financial opportunities and promotion of it as a commodity and everyone seems to getting into that game, but the step to make it an Olympic sport, like discus throwing is absurd.  This might improve everyone’s physical health, increase advertising demand, create paycaps for “artists” or make it acceptable overall to men, and others, but it will do absolutely nothing for the art of ballet. Ballet like that is without art. It is without stories, music, entrepreneurs, shows,E and in that arena, no true art is possible. Just gladiators and lions.

Everybody dances (if you go to New York), but in many places in between the coastal cities, the only dancing done is at weddings or a folk ensemble at school, or not at all, depending on your sex, religion, persuasion and coolness factor. It was not until I went to New York, in college, that I had occasion to go to clubs in the city where all the men (almost) got up and danced. Where I grew up, all of the above applied. The only professional or aspiring dancers you saw were in local companies or at weddings. It was a physical impairment of men, that they “could not dance,” would claim they “had no rhythm,” and no one made an effort to persuade them. NO one challenged any of these false hoods. Even now, it is extreme to label a child as “trans” when it is normal to go through questions of individual sexuality. Dancing has nothing to do with that, except it is still seen, in the US, and other places, to be largely “feminine” to express oneself, and there is still a morbid (private) fear, in this country at least, to be considered feminine, or unmanly, in any regard, with young men. So ballet will probably always suffer due to the few boys who manage to find their way into it. It is no less athletic for girls, but in ballet, boys can excel more obviously in many areas where other boys, outside of ballet, just do not and cannot ever hope to reap the benefits from. So in one sense, I see a practicality of noting that ballet is the most athletic, and totally physically demanding of any physical activity they can do, in a sense. Only to encourage boys to try it because there are a lot of really bad male dancers out there, and people are always saying they are “really good” and they are not, and I think this leads to resentment by some females, who are, much better, really, and have to work much harder to get noticed. They have to be perfect, but a boy can definitely “have a career” if he is mediocre. A girl has to be beyond perfect.

In my time, or slightly before it, one dancer, Jaques D’Amboise, made the attempt, and temporarily succeeded, in making ballet a course option in New York City public schools, but that was not successful, unfortunately. He started a foundation, however, to educate inner-city (and all) children and their parents, the public, and everyone else, about how positively dance had helped him off the streets, gave him options to pursue a career in ballet, and the theatre, and how he learned to dance. He has tried, chiefly, all of his life, to share that information and knowledge about dance, and he has been somewhat successful in spreading the word, but mostly he has been successful at providing an afterschool environment that gives children the chance to try dance and to see if they like it. That’s all you can do. If they are successful, he helps them pursue it further. Lost momentum. NO. It was the beginning of change, which takes time. He is correct in all that he says about dance, and for this reason, if no other, dance should be available to study to anyone who wants to pursue it, free of charge, just like sports in most schools, but it is not.

In most countries, there is the respect for ballet that there is in Russia, and not just ballet, but arts. There is great funding to the arts in other countries, but as in so many other ways, we are behind in many of these areas. They are just more cultured and differently structured. Most foreign countries at were once aristocratic political systems. As such, the monarchies investiture in the arts, or their countries people, was to educate and make available to them entertainment, education and culture that otherwise they would not have the ability to underwrite-in fact his was one of the very large platforms of government, besides, security. It is a matter now of patriotism and history, especially as it relates to countries which had a formidable part in the creation or perpetuation of ballet. it is part of their iconoclasty-they cannot give it up, or be seen to, as people then say, “Why do we continue to have a monarchy?” And there is also a gradual uncovering of that, or change, such as in Russia, where the ballet has increasingly, or at least more purposefully, taken the backing of the highest bidder. But as a result of it having being made available to everyone, at least in the past, or the effort to continue its conference, everyone there at least understands its importance, artistic significance, or has some underlying understanding of it and accepts it, etc…and many more people pursue culture, are actually cultured, attend shows and are involved in the making of art on many different levels, not for the money, but for the art. It is seen as part of a good education, education at all and is underwritten or subsidized. It is getting increasingly harder for those countries to even afford to keep ballet companies together in this economy.

In this country, frequently, it is the private contributions which make the performance of it or viewing of it possible to people without a lot of money, and it is nearly always a political nightmare to get funding or to make new art. The states do not support artists, art or the training up of artists. I think one of the reasons we have government is to decide what is good for everyone and necessary and if art is not, then very little else matters. Art is like the hyacinth for the soul. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and philistines. How can the parents of these people know where to take their child for ballet, when in today’s culture, what they want is a cheap afterschool program for its babysitting possibilities. It does not mean that if the child is exposed to dance, somehow, that they will not become enamored with it. Most likely they would respond to some form of art, and along with humanities, reading, other forms of culture, such as the making of other kinds of art, this exposure cause us to search within ourselves for deeper feelings and emotions, answers and humanity. These are requirements for people, and in art, all of the shared commonalities of people exist. It is a higher plane of functioning, not on an intellectual level, but on an emotional and expressive one. That is why, in our country, these independently run ballet schools are so very important. All together, whether they act accordingly, they are responsible for the education of our children, edifying them about the importance of art in society and life. They do a big part of the job with no subsidies, no review boards, networks, administration, doctors, child psychologists, theatres, funding or even newspapers or promotion. With no one willing to champion them. Some of them are frauds, some of them provide healthful physical activity and a needed outlet in a community, and some of them provide a basis from which to pursue art, but we cannot make those schools Sports Authorities in an effort to create a funding tunnel, because in the history of ballet, when the technique and art suffers, the ballet loses historical importance, great artists, and attendees. People come to expect more in viewing ballet-more acrobatics, more violence, more intensity, more stimuli, and this is not art.

But most of all, you take your daughters or sons to ballet to learn character, discipline, and whether you know it or not, etiquette, respect, music, following directions, beauty, grace, strength, work ethic, survival, and working as a group. Many of the same things you learn in karate or sports, school or church, theatre or art, you learn in ballet. It is important to know why you take them, to know what they need to learn, and when, and most importantly, it is important to know whom is doing the teaching, and if you do not know that you do not really know anything at all. I have heard of more than one famous dancer who was taken to ballet to use muscles after a debilitating illness or injury, and who became devotee. A brother who accompanied sisters, a YMCA after school programmer who got the bug, the late starter, the street dancer or troubled youth, and most times the student of the little local school whom has been accepted to a top program (frequently in another country) which ought to , in itself, exhibit the problem in a nutshell. It offers something you do not find in any other place. I do not mean teamwork or competitions, or glamour. In fact, ballet is not glamorous at all, particularly, unless you consider a sweaty, calloused, haggard, starving, and beat-up artist, glamorous. I feel it is mostly a discipline, first, and an art second, and possibly a profession, and somewhat glamorous, third. In the end, no one will probably remember you and most likely you will not ever be a household name, unless you are on Instagram, or model, are self-promoting, and then you are not really a dancer, are you?

Not all dancers become artists, but all dancers become more disciplined, somewhat. I think this depends largely on the training because part of it is ballet etiquette and philosophy, part of it is physiology, and another part is perseverance, determination, hunger, hard work, reaching the sublime art of ballet and mastering that, and it continually learning, working and training. It just never stops. It is frought with injury, if you start out wrong, and just gets worse as you try to correct those things that should have been nipped in the bud, all the time with the studio turning a blind eye and just continuing to take money, pushing and over training at a very early age. It starts out as non-competitive, though in many countries, I could not say that, because there, they expect it to lead to greatness, or not. But again, they have a system and if you are accepted into it, there are reasons that you were, and according to them you have the facility for ballet, and then they provide the training. As you get older, it is much harder to get a consensus, and in some ways, to professionals, more obvious to see who is possibly talented and who is not. Competitions, in a way, make this worse.

But no matter when you come away from ballet, as an aspiring professional or not, you keep what you learned for the rest of your life, whether you continue to dance or not. You will always be a dancer. If you have been dancing for at least a few years, you are already a dancer, no matter whether you are famous or not, and more and more people pursue dance, or parts of it, for exercise, and movement, as adults and as non-dancers, than before and in some ways this is good, some ways not so good, or misleading. Perhaps this is okay if you understand what it is not, but it also takes away from the whole purpose of ballet training, if only part of the form of it is followed, or part of the technique, such as in Barre classes is done (badly), but it is not proper ballet training, is bound to cause injury through repetition, so it is ballet, but without any or all of the safeguards involved, without experienced or knowledgeable teachers, taught en masse, like gym class. That is not ballet. NOT ballet. NOT BALLET. Why not go to one of the MANY adult ballet classes offered at studios for that purpose. There is nothing wrong with barre exercises, but it is a component of other parts which are important. It is dangerous to give it credence, even a foothold in the world of a fitness craze mentality. These people will have children and will say, “I know something”-a little knowledge is sometimes very dangerous.

I do not believe that doing barre makes you a dancer and to an actual ballet dancer it is hard to separate it, explain it, impossible to rationalize, or to even acknowledge it at all because it should go against everything they have ever learned or will learn. Ballet dancers are snobs, sometimes. This is good and part of ballet, but it is also a discredit to the world of people who could be supportive of ballet and whom for that very reason sometimes, are not. Ballet should be for everyone, to a point. These types of activities also send the false message to average people, “You, too, can look like a ballet dancer, have a “ballet” body, be a part of that, do pointe, etc.,” and they are selling an image, a club, as false a claim as any claim could be, marketed as a sport, unintentionally or not, and untruthfully, that barre makes you as good as a dancer, and worse that anyone can dance, any part of dance, and that they will be accepted (eventually) into a dance class and be able to do all of the movements required. I do not have a problem with saying “they can obtain a good body,” but I do have a problem with them saying “a ballet body.” They are just exploiting the word “ballet.”

In that sense, dance training needs to be begun properly, with the correct outlook and perspective. This is really true no matter the age it is started. Often students who have “danced” for many years find they are not right for ballet or not accepted into a serious ballet training environment or company. This happens for a few reasons. 1) The training for ballet has not been correct or prolonged 2) Other training has taken place which you cannot easily get rid of the effects or muscle memory of, without great effort, and 3) great effort is required for serious study of ballet, focus, observations and correction, over time, 4) Enough money is not available, and 5) Companies have many dancers applying and they can only take one, or a few. But, with that goal in mind, if that is the plan, private or not, it cannot be accomplished any other way than as above stated, for only then will you even be in the running, and very few people will succeed among the very best. Only a literal few have come from other backgrounds entirely and been successful in ballet. In that sense, alone, it is viewed as an art. If you cannot get past the guardians-you cannot get past them. So, what, at a local school, or primary school do you need to look for so as not to further reduce your chances? Good teachers and guardians, or choreographers.

End of Part 1

Q&A with Patrick Armand 2014|Indiana City Ballet


Q&A with Patrick Armand 2014 from Indianapolisperforming arts

City Ballet on Vimeo.

via Q&A with Patrick Armand 2014 on Vimeo.

Ballet Test | Quizlet


Fun little test and several ways to do it!

Ballet Test | Quizlet.

 

PAY ATTENTION – A Short Documentary on Vimeo


PAY ATTENTION – A Short Documentary on Vimeo on Vimeo

via PAY ATTENTION – A Short Documentary on Vimeo.

Two NYC Dance Landmarks Poised to Close from Dance Magazine


Amsterdam Ballet and New York Ballet Theatre on verge of closing, read on…

Dance Magazine – If it’s happening in the world of dance, it’s happening in Dance Magazine..

New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival’s Two Free Evenings of Dance| Sept. 16 & 17….


NYC Dance Stuff

10th Anniversary Season of New York City Center’s

 FALL FOR DANCE FESTIVAL

Kicks Off with

 FREE Dance in Central Park, September 16 & 17

 Hosted by The Public Theater

New York City Center will celebrate the  10th Anniversary of its Fall for Dance Festival with two FREE evenings of dance at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park,hosted by The Public Theater, on September 16 and 17 at 8 p.m.(rain date, September 18).

The FREE performances at The Public’s Delacorte Theater will feature four Festival alumni:

New York City Ballet (Red Angels, 1994)

Paul Taylor Dance Company (Esplanade, 1975)

Ronald K. Brown/Evidence (Upside Down, 1998)

STREB Extreme Action Company (Human Fountain, 2011)

(The same program will be performed on both nights.)

Free tickets will be distributed, two per person, at The Public’s Delacorte Theater on the day…

View original post 12 more words

If David Howard said it…


Reposted from The Dancer’s Toolkit http://centeredstage.com

…it must be true.

I am a strong advocate for dancers developing more internal feedback based on what they feel rather than what they see in the mirror. (In part because a lot of dancers use the mirror as a crutch or enemy, rather than a tool…) It was wonderful to see the same sentiments in print from the master teacher himself (from the New York Times obituary published on August 18, 2013):

““Out of the feeling comes the form…Ninety percent of the time students are taught the form first. And then they’re expected, through some act of God, to get the feeling.”

Mr. Howard’s pedagogy, unorthodox in its day, entailed a kinesthetic approach, in which dancers were taught to rely less on external feedback from the mirror and more on the minute internal signals that telegraph the position of the head, limbs and torso in space.”

In a culture that…

View original post 109 more words

A CONVERSATION WITH CINCINNATI BALLET’S KAPLAN NEW WORKS CHOREOGRAPHER JAMES KULDELKA


Reposted from Valinkat

Valinkat

The Man in BlackCincinnati Ballet dancers Thomas Caleb Roberts, Danielle Bausinger, & Patric Palkens in James Kudelka’s “The Man in Black.”

 Photo by Peter Mueller.

 Recently I asked choreographers on the same bill (the upcoming Cincinnati Ballet Kaplan New Works, opening next Thursday, 9/12/13, at the Mickey Jarson Kaplan Performance Studio) questions: where they got inspiration for their work, and how doing a piece with quick lead and rehearsal time for a small venue stretched their choreographic chops. I asked them about their style and their music, and how music drove their movement. The resulting article appeared August 21, 2013, in CityBeat’s “Fall Arts Preview”: http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-28412-cincinnati_ballet_rings_in_50.html

The one choreographer I was not able to speak with personally (James Kudelka) recently responded through his agent with answers to questions I emailed him, trying to replicate the things I asked Heather Britt, Jodi Gates, Gina Patterson and Val Caniparoli about their “new works.” By…

View original post 1,616 more words

Love’s Limbo Lost



//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-5DBTHW
(function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({‘gtm.start’:
new Date().getTime(),event:’gtm.js’});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],
j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!=’dataLayer’?’&l=’+l:”;j.async=true;j.src=
‘//www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id=’+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f);
})(window,document,’script’,’dataLayer’,’GTM-5DBTHW’);

Picturing Shakespear. Mnsr. Vestris in  Les amans surpris / J. Roberts, del. ; Thornthwaite, sc. A favorite ballet of the time.
Picturing Shakespear. Mnsr. Vestris in Les amans surpris / J. Roberts, del. ; Thornthwaite, sc. A favorite ballet of the time.

http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=henry8&Act=5&Scene=3&Scope=scene           (Shakespeare, “Henry VIII,” act v, sc. 3)

http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/paradiselost/section11.rhtml   (Milton, “Paradise Lost,” III, 495)

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/hudibras-part-2-canto-i/    (Butler, “Hudibras,” part II, canto i)

(Late Latin limbus) a word of Teutonic derivation, meaning literally “hem” or “border,” as of a garment, or anything joined on (cf. Italian lembo or English limb).

Natural limbus infantium
Natural limbus infantium

In theological usage the name is applied to (a) the temporary place or state of the souls of the just who, although purified from sin, were excluded from the beatific vision until Christ’s triumphant ascension into Heaven  (the “limbus patrum“); or (b) to the permanent place or state of those unbaptized children and others who, dying without grievous personal sin, are excluded from the beatific vision on account of original sin alone (the “limbus infantium” or “puerorum”).

In literary usage the name is sometimes applied in a wider and more general sense to any place or state of restraint, confinement, or exclusion, and is practically equivalent to “prison” (see, e.g., Milton, “Paradise Lost,” III, 495; Butler, “Hudibras,” part II, canto i, and other English classics). The not unnatural transition from the theological to the literary usage is exemplified in Shakespeare, “Henry VIII,” act v, sc. 3.

Blake‘s epic poem tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is described dramatically and with laudatory praise that is so thickly applied as to be absurd, and the conceited and arrogant person is visible beneath. He is praised for his knowledge of logic despite appearing stupid throughout, but it is his religious fervor which is mainly attacked. Blake undoubtedly drew from Don Quixote for his witty satire about a man who thought he knew too much and gets repeatedly beaten for his views and interfering with the rest of the world’s vices. Unlike Don Quixote, who is humorous and draws our sympathy, Hudibras gets none. It was very popular in its time (1700’s), but was not a beloved story, for it spurred no ballets. However, many stories and art are descended from it. It’s main argument stems from political views and religious theorists at the time, sometimes combined into one group, and the public found this pairing amusing and ludicrous. Some writers and reviewers of the times felt Blake was too hard on certain puritan factions, so it did not please those everyone important.

My purpose in dredging up these hyperbolic entrails is that they serve to explain and accentuate my point the about idiocy of ballet politics, dance politics overall, and some characters of the world in general. It also underlines the fact that the attitude held by some teachers of ballet (certain people are destined for success and others aren’t) is fascist and not particularly conducive to the making of good dancers or art, at all. These people hold that they are the judge of the times. This self-appointed “hell” that parents pay for their children to be entombed in is called a competition studio, and not a ballet or (art) studio where expression and all great art is derived. Were it not for imperfection, there would be no art, as true art is not necessarily perfect. This is history repeated though, and nothing new occurs. It is part of the reason why it is impossible to achieve art in a school for young dancers and in many cases in a ballet theater, and probably some companies. Mothers and fathers, wooing administrators with money and work, fund raising efforts, and their own strings-attached beneficence result in the many studios I know of, which have some good elements, running a muck. At least in a ballet company these souls are excluded for the most part and the business of art may take place-and in most good ballet schools as well as in other types of other schools. At the studio my daughter was recently at, the operator had her own unique ideas about the dancers, their abilities and what sort she advanced into new levels. Each year she would change the levels around to accommodate her future plans without consideration for the families involved and especially the children whom she was hurting. If a parent was paying for more children, they got more attention, moved up, more and better roles, etc. If they contributed large sums of cash, those students could be expected to get privates and a lot of pushing even if they weren’t very good dancers, had poor technique, bad habits, arrogance, etc. A very few children, literally one or two out of each level, received her full attention and she would work with them for years, giving privates and coaching, lead roles, until she managed to get them something. She wouldn’t even give corrections (strike one) in class (especially my daughter) except to her very favorite few and she manipulated the entire class to evoke harder attempts from these few by using the others as comparisons. It was a very backward method, resulting in those few getting all the attention, etc., while the others continued to pay for the scraps leftover-even dancers who were quite good!

My daughter has spent the last several months in limbo, from an effort by this director to get her to leave. Her others students resented my daughter due to the attention she was getting from her Russian teacher, who no doubt was rewarding her hard work and effort. She also had privates with him, and in under a year was up to and in some cases better than her classmates. After six more months and more privates, she was better than her very best dancers-so she prevented her from doing YAGP- a punishment (strike 2)! Also, the other female teachers there would not giver her privates for fear she would compete with their prize students. They all held this attitude that each student belonged to a teacher-only one. It just happened that we had the best one and they ALL resented this. He also had the hardest working students and some of the younger ones and boys did competitions and they won. His won. But my daughter was not allowed by her. I did not realize it was the director controlling him, telling him to help other students who were willing to pay more money-who had more money, but it was. She would come out and not allow him to give my daughter privates when she was waiting, instead directing him to take someone else first/instead (Strike 3). Prison. Confinement, or so this mistress hoped, and by these actions she expected my daughter to be discouraged and repeatedly kept back and slowed down (2nd chance). Finally, I realized what was going on and we finished out the year-end performance and left. I did not pay her the last two of 12 equal payments for the year. Would you?

She may now yet again have a fair opportunity to enter the beatific vision of ballet Heaven. A school where she can dance hopefully unencumbered by these people who believe they hold the carrot and the key to her success. If the key is money and not art, not teaching, not learning, and performing is not possible without patronage at so early a level of training, then art sits in confinement, and talent is imprisoned, learning is sanctioned, and futures are undeveloped. There is no chance of my daughter growing into a beautiful dancer there, for the environment is evil and the hatred and jealousy running beneath the surface permeate the spirit of the dance. It was important to her to make these other students feel superior to my daughter and certain other students in an effort to keep the money coming in. My daughter was incredulous to find that she had been demoted (LAST STRAW) to a level with dancers who were ungainly (also ridiculed by her and humiliated in front of everyone else as an example-not to be overweight (seriously, in a little local ballet school????-yes, she actually calls herself a dance educator), did not even bother or try to learn (who could blame them?), and who showed zero interest in ballet (no wonder!), and whose families were not financially important (bingo). My daughter was age-level and training level appropriate for the higher level, but was being highly encouraged to leave, I would say…. I do not want to say much about the girls who were promoted, the previous takes into account their possible faults (false self-confidence, and their parents stupidity) being ignored in favor of monetary support, so I need not impune them further-wouldn’t be nice. Over time, we were able to see that each parent of each of these children held some advantage over the director, was useful, or was paying at least for two children. But my daughter was to be made miserable, to be cast down, by the director of the studio, whose arrogance rivaled Hudibras’, as if to say, “no matter how hard you try, you can never be better than my worst higher-paying student. it is a hard lesson for a teenager to learn-to see someone so cruel, and I can assure you, she was one of the best dancers in the class upon leaving. She was convinced it was a mistake, a cruel joke played by one of the parents who sent out the certificates and promotions, but when I realized it and called, I was told the director would “re-evaluate her” after the summer. The summer program there is usually pretty good, but for two years we have been unable to afford it. However, when we come back, my daughter is still more advanced than others, because she works very hard and continues her privates with her Russian teacher-who refused to teach anyone else who asked. I knew there was no evaluation or training issue, as some of the other girls in class are well behind my daughter in all areas, but I knew it had to do with money and politics. A child does not usually understand this, but my daughter readily saw the reasons for it, so it was not very hard to dispense with. She refused to go back.

This Summer that would have resulted in our being pretty much cut-off from her Russian teacher, but that dependence needed to be discouraged anyway for some other reasons. After about two weeks of this, she began to be led dancing into different directions. There were an inordinate amount of accessible master classes in the area-I wonder who was teaching at the intensives! Her vision must be pure as her luck was good! God never closes a door….

The mean Hudibras in the stocks.
The mean Hudibras in the stocks.

This kind of imposed limbo by the director was averted by the number of available classes to take. Quickly, she perked up, finding plenty of support from other teachers. The other aspect of this is that she is the kind of able, ready and polite student that everyone else wants to teach. Once they see her seriousness and rapid improvement and other good qualities they usually (not always) help her, encourage her and eventually become attached to her. Each school she went to and auditioned for this Summer she was accepted to, and she was placed in a suitably advanced level in. In each master class, the teachers praised her and helped her. She wanted to go to New York and audition for SAB, and I almost doubted her. I thought perhaps she was trying to overcome those bad qualities projected onto her by that director and frankly, I was worried that she would not be accepted. She needed to erase the self-doubt that this woman had placed in her mind deliberately. The baby in limbo infantium, innocent of real sin or error, but far away from the beatific vision sought by dancers everywhere, but I was wrong to doubt her and she has a lot more mettle than I had anticipated (as usual). You’d think I’d learn and have more faith. She did it everywhere she went. She got better seemingly without even trying-she stepped up a level, a notch in her professionalism and self-confidence. The nervous, shy young girl is mostly gone, but in her place is a beautiful, confident young lady of just 15 years old who knows all of her hard work has not been in vain, shaking the dust off of the bottom of her feet as she goes. She was happy to see the girls there and was truly pleased that most of them were happy to see her when she went back for a few classes at the end of the Summer with her Russian teacher. She is convinced once again that she is happiest while dancing, more competition is better, and she was able, while at these other studios to compare herself to their best dancers and to see where she was in comparison. She found herself close to or better than their best, different, better in ways they were not, learning more and new things, getting new corrections and insights, different stretches and work, new combinations, and working just as hard, and getting much better, being more relaxed and open, despite a shorter schedule and fewer classes. She is finally working smarter! It is as though she finally sees in herself-herself and not a victim, but a fighter (the best kind) and a catalyst. She is a dancer!

Perhaps I did not make her appear chastised enough and down-trodden, from the perspective that those mothers felt sorry for her-some of those students felt sorry for her too. It did seem as though a very few of them actually took solace from this, feeling that they were better, but some others sought me out and were very kind and understanding. None of them felt we would come back, and the director sought her out in one class to dwell upon her expression and to watch her to see whether she had improved or not over the Summer, and to witness her unhappiness. But broken spirit was not what they beheld. She was better and improved! One teacher literally glared at me when she drove up. But enough of that. The good that came from the experience, for one, outweighed the bad. In fact, she won, for she has been accepted into a very exclusive school in a large city! I would like to blame them, but I am having to be thankful for all of their actions and roles played in this would-be tragedy, except for the indomitable will, spirit and grace of my child, who is a far better person than I have ever been or probably will ever be. She met Jacques D’Amboise and then took a nearly three-hour class with him, a lifelong memory and inspiration from someone whose heart has always been in the right place-I think this inspired her to go do the Fall auditions. She decided she was interested in Balanchine and Cecchetti and she was inspired to read and research, herself, where these opportunities lay.

We were prepared to enroll her in classes with another Russian teacher who wanted to train her, and we had enrolled her into public high school, when the unavoidable happened to thwart those plans. We have had mold in our house due to some repairs from several leaks that the landlord has not made over the past several months. She was finding it difficult to breathe and I moved her into the living-room to sleep over the Summer. She complained of stomach pain, nausea and headaches as well which caused me to confront the landlord and seek to force the repairs. I have been sick, but no one else in the house has been and I did not think it was due to the mold until she was affected. So at the end of August, awaiting repairs, I sent her to a big city with family. She was already inspired to take classes and do auditions. I set them up, we took photos provided by a good friend for free and they were beautiful to see! She was accepted to a school of some prestige, but most importantly with a very good program including all of the things those here lack, and an environment and philosophy which might work out perfectly for her, AND she was placed in the advanced level, second from the top-the top being an actual company-of company-ready level performers, which she is not yet (at 15, seriously-who really is? But advanced! I just hope she can handle all of what she is about to undertake. There will be quite a learning curve considering the deficiencies at the school she has been attending. At this school, the students do get placed into companies and have numerous opportunities to dance! The faculty is really amazing and it is reportedly “not so cutthroat” as some others schools. She will have classes six days per week and one or two with the company-level dancers. She will have pilates, character, yoga, pointe everyday, partnering, technique everyday, and variations. She will learn choreography, the students have choreography done on them for performances and workshops regularly, and there are many master classes, guest teachers, workshops, rehearsals and performances. It was like God just said, there. How can I say no?  She (hopefully) can practice there, study and do her schoolwork. She has family there who also will support her and encourage her, but she will have to be a little more independent of me. No more limbo. You must keep on dancing!

Hubidbras vanquished and protected by Trulla-text supplied-in his confinement
Hubidbras vanquished and protected by Trulla-text supplied-in his confinement

Behind the ‘ballet is like porn’ headlines is a serious point about women in dance | Judith Mackrell


http://m.guardiannews.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/18/ballet-porn-tamara-rojo-headlines-women

 

Unique school in Mexico teaches ballet to boys | Boys and Ballet


Unique school in Mexico teaches ballet to boys | Boys and Ballet.

The Royal Ballet: just how ‘British’ do we want it to be? | Stage | guardian.co.uk


The Royal Ballet: just how ‘British’ do we want it to be? | Stage | guardian.co.uk.