Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based The Pointe Shop is taking her wares on a tour of the West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Lee is visiting dance schools along the way in her mobile pointe shoe van to fit ballet students. Check out her first five vlogs from the road, filled with picturesque scenery, fun facts and fitting tips—and stay tuned for the next round.
In "We Circle the Night," choreographer Thang Dao focuses on the story of two young lovers. Dao's vision begins with the couple being forced from their peaceful home in the middle of the night and taken to a foreign land—both places sharing the same night sky. It was filmed at the train station in Pietrasanta, Italy, and the dancers, Elise Pekarek and Oliver Greene Cramer of Ballet Austin, playfully execute Dao's style that combines pedestrian-like movements with ballet technique.
Incorporated into the piece, directed by Alberto Desirò and Luca Di Bartolo, is the station's sculpture, La Chiave del Sogno, by Kan Yasuda. The pas de deux weaves in and out of the figure's hollowed-out oval center, dancing and imagining life beyond their new reality.
"To understand youth optimism and flirtations of dreams and life, I had Elise and Oliver examine the other spectrum of the dance, which explores exile and loss," says Dao.
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Susan Hebach and Margaret Morrison believe it's important to get your beginning tappers moving through space with their flaps. An easy way to do this is with a traveling flap-heel. Remember to lift the knee and bring the leg with you as you travel forward.
The next phase? Take away the heel and replace it with a clap—this helps students develop enough foot strength and control to balance on the ball of the foot.
When Brandon Leffler isn't performing in Wicked on Broadway, he's choreographing. He's been with the production off and on for five years, but says it's only been in the last two that he's recognized his passion for creating movement. "Once a month, I get into the studio and challenge myself to create and record it."
The soutenu is a basic step often used in choreography as a transition between turning sequences or before more virtuosic movements. In class, Deanna McBrearty concentrates on the step's coordination.
For all intents and purposes, Stacey Tookey is a Disney princess. Her voice is like honey as she waltzes around the classroom exclaiming words of encouragement, she sees the best in all of her dancers from the front row to the back and she's absolutely beautiful. I mean, come one! Who get's to have a kid, hip surgery, years of wear and tear from dancing and still maintain eternally lovely lines that rotate into perfection?
What's more? She creates a nurturing environment in her classroom where dancers feel comfortable as they navigate challenging combinations and complex emotions. No matter what you're going through, dancing with Tookey is good for the soul.
Here are four takeaways from her class at Broadway Dance Center this past week. I hope they inspire you as much as they did me!
While choreographing the class combination “Waiting Game" for her intermediate and advanced contemporary students at the Tennessee Arts Conservatory in Spring Hill, TN, Story wanted to give dancers a chance to let their hair down (literally). Many of her students are serious ballet dancers who are used to slicked-back buns and leotards. She chose movement that would push them outside their comfort zones, using contractions and fluctuating between fluid and sharp motion.