Yesterday was the final performance of Kinetics Academy of Dance's 2013 show, "Rose Red". A fairytale ballet It followed the classic Grimm tale Snow-White and Rose-Red. Not to be confused with the dwarf wrangler of Disney, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Although there is a very mean and grumpy dwarf in Rose Red.
KAD's show encompasses pretty much all the classes offered at the dance studio, 2 yr. olds to 16 yr. olds, as well as all the styles- ballet, tap, hip hop and lyrical. We've done a storybook ballet format before, having a narration of parts of a story as a voiceover mixed with music. But this year we went bigger and bolder. We had more solos for our dancers on pointe and more elaborate dramatic sequences, bringing in a young male actor who submitted to being in a big bear suit (who then got to show that a handsome prince dwelled within the whole time!), and a young lady to play the part of the angry dwarf. She got the joy of wearing a long fake beard. Our actors used their bodies to tell the story, our dancers brought out their acting skills.
It took a lot of extra time and effort to pull this larger than previous years endeavor. But worth every second. I had forgotten how much I loved working on the dramatic sequences of ballets. Of course, I loved working on the ensemble pieces as well.
As for working on all the solos for the pointe girls, I really enjoyed the transitions between choreographer and dance/ performance coaching. Trying to pull the best out of each dancer and their given roles was an educating experience. Since no two dancers are alike, corrections, suggestions, challenges and the like must, at times, be custom fitted. They stepped up to the challenge. Each one grew. And the ones who had the extra challenges of acting grew in that aspect as well. I feel like we can do anything!
Here are some of the things I worked on the most;
Work those arms from the middle of your back! Don't work them from just the shoulders, but imagine that they are actually attached in the mid back. That way the muscles of the back help support the movements of the arms and give that strength + grace quality of movement (I sense a tutorial on that concept!).
Stay off your heels! Most of ballet work is done on the front to mid part of the foot, even if the dancer is not on releve (perched up and balanced on the ball of the foot or feet). The heels work more as an assisting stabilizer to the rest of the foot. This is true whether you are executing a dance step, walking or running. Even in jumps, while the heels should make contact with the floor to ensure lengthening through the lower leg, ankles and feet, the weight of the body should not sink into the heels. Rather, a lengthening of the lower leg should happen while simultaneously the rest of the body lengthens away from the floor.
Dance past the mirror. The people in the back row spent good money on their tickets too! Plus, as a dancer, it is a wonderful feeling to project your soul into the atmosphere of the universe.
Flirt with your audience. Don't dance at them. Take them on a journey that you have designed (or rather, your choreographer has designed).
Don't dance as if you are anticipating failure. Make success your expected reality. Every dancer has come upon steps they struggle with. And while one of the joys of solo work is that things can be customized to a dancer's strengths, not everything can be made easier. It's just not the dancer way! It's the struggles that we overcome that help us to grow. This doesn't mean that you must become the best turner if turns are something you struggle with. Improving from where you started is where the gold is.
Smile! Smile! Smile! Or at least maintain a pleasant expression if that is in line with your character.
Okay, and I may have said "Ribbon ends and bows are the nipples of ballet slippers and pointe shoes. Best to keep them out of sight!". Hey, bold statements get remembered!
The one down side to the whole production, the whole dance year really, was...
Having to say good-bye to this beautiful young lady.
Helene is a foreign exchange student from Germany, who stayed with one of our dancers family. She wanted to continue her dance studies and it fit perfectly for her join her host "sister's" classes.
She started pointe with us...
I'm so grateful for Facebook.
I love these girls!! I am also so grateful to be able to do what I do! I'm also happy to say that they have some amazing moms and dads, who not only show their kids love and support, but they give us, their dance teachers, plenty as well!
Now what to focus on for summer...
Enjoy the dance that is life!