Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ballet Babble Interview with Taylor Gordon a Freelance Dancer in NYC

Taylor Gordon
: 23

: 5'4"

: Massachusetts

Received training at
: Boston Ballet, The Rock School, Ballet Academy East, ABT, Miami City Ballet


Photo Credit Brian Mengini

Where did it all begin? A lot of dancers were hooked at their first Nutcracker viewing, what was it for you? My family owned and ran a local dance studio in my small hometown, so I grew up dancing as soon as I could walk! I took class with "the big girls" by age 3 and loved being onstage. I started getting serious after seeing Boston Ballet's Nutcracker around age 5 and then joined the school the following year.

What age were you put on pointe?
I started pointe class when I was 10 but just at barre. I was a young one in my level and started slow.

Did you have a teacher that inspired you or that you credit for most of your training?
My current teacher Kat Wildish has been an amazing inspiration, coach, and mentor. I started working with her after I completed my full ballet training, but she gave me the confidence and guidance to work professionally. She constantly challenges me, picking at my technique and artistic choices - but it's amazing to work with someone who knows you so well as both a dancer and a person.

I've seen dancers do crazy things to pointe shoes, even pour water all over them. What type of pointe shoes do you wear and do have a routine for them like ripping out the shank and gluing it back in, or....?
I wear Capezios and have my break-in routine down pat: first I rip the inner soles out so I can feel more grounded in the shoe. I cut down the shank a little lower than ¾ of the way down – I’ve always had “bad feet” and that helps me create better lines. After sewing on the ribbons I put the shoe on and wet all around the bunion area so it softens up and molds to my foot.

Do you use toe pads? Have you tried with out? Do you think there is any benefit to not wearing them?
I’ve been wearing these wonderful things called “Happy Toes” made by So Danca since my 2nd year of pointe after being required to use just lambswool (ouch). They are pink and only cover the top and tips of the toes instead of continuing under the ball of the foot like most toe pads, and I love how they let me feel the bottom of my shoe. They’re really hard to find in the US but they last a long time.

How do you handle blisters, I noticed you had one in the middle of your crazy Nutcracker schedule?
Luckily I hardly ever get blisters, but yes, I did have a bad one during my Nutcracker season. Using Orajel to numb the area around it helps as well as Second Skin or a normal blister band-aid. Mine was so bad on the bottom of my arch that I put 2 round corn pads over it so my shoe would rub against that instead of the open skin. Ow!

Do you consider yourself flexible? Do you have a stretching routine?
I’ve always been limber but I’m definitely not one of those gumby dancers, haha. The most important things for me to stretch are my hip flexors and my calves. I run around between dance jobs and desk jobs, so sitting down a lot makes my hips tight. I like to lay down with a yoga block under my pelvis, hug one knee into my chest, and let the other leg fall to the floor to release the front of the hip. I also love using a yoga strap to get deep into my quads and hamstrings (but don’t get to do that nearly as much as I’d like!)

Didn't you used to dance for the Rockettes? Where else have you danced and do you have a dream job? Yep, I danced in the ensemble of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular for two years. It was such a fun show in such a gorgeous, enormous theater! It was also a great experience to break out of the ballet realm and tap into musical theater more. Next up for me is The Metropolitan Opera Ballet this spring, which is definitely one of my dream jobs! That’s one of ballet’s greatest stages and I’m so excited to perform at Lincoln Center! Besides that I’ve danced with a ton of small companies around the city, including Exit 12 Dance Company, Ballet for Young Audiences, Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Albano Ballet, New American Youth Ballet, Untitled|Collective, Push Factor Dance Company, DTW's Studio Series/Oren Barnoy, Felice Lesser Dance Theater, and several independent choreographers. I’ve been in an episode of MTV’s MADE and have done promotional performances for XBOX Kinect, Dancing with the Stars, and others.

How do you manage your crazy schedule, can you tell us what roles you had this season?
It’s not easy! But there’s so much I want to do in life and so much I want to dance…I’m always happiest when I have just a little too much to do, haha. Luckily everyone I work with understands my insanity and is flexible with my schedule (thank goodness!). As for roles this fall season: a contemporary part in Jeremy McQueen’s “Concerto Nuovo,” a robot ballerina in Felice Lesser’s “Funding the Arts,” and 11 different parts in 2 productions of “The Nutcracker,” including Clara, 2 versions of doll, snow soloist, snow corps, Arabian, marzipan, Chinese, party parent, mouse, and waltz of the flowers.

Do you have a day job and how flexible are they with your dance schedule?
I work part-time at a publicity agency as office assistant. I’ve been here 2 years now and am extremely fortunate to have found a day job that will work around my audition and rehearsal schedule. I’ve never had to wait tables or anything like that, which is great because I have a college degree AND a master’s degree. I seem to have found a good balance between “starving artist” and being able to afford rent in NYC comfortably.

Don't you teach pilates? When did you get certified for that? Do you think it is a good "day" job for dancers? Yes! I received my certification from Pilates Academy International/Pilates on Fifth while I was recovering from having surgery on my Achilles. I had taken Pilates a lot while in ballet school but didn’t fully appreciate its benefits until facing an injury. Pilates has made me so much stronger and I love teaching and helping others find that strength. I teach regularly at Sanctuary Pilates, Gold’s Gym, and Synergy Fitness. You can see my full teaching schedule of 8 classes/week for 2012 here (https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=r5upuiao5i6i48pna0d2ckls04%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/New_York)

What about college? Doesn't seem to have a place in most dancer's lives?
I believe college is extremely important for dancers to become well-rounded people. My path was non-traditional: I graduated from high school at age 16, received my BA degree in Communication Arts from Marymount Manhattan college by age 19, and completed my master’s degree in publishing by age 20. I guess I’m a dork and have always loved school, haha. I miss it.

Was/is your family supportive of your dancing?
I am so grateful for all the support my family has given me over the years and I honestly would never be where I am now without them. My mom and grandmother ran our hometown dance studio, so it’s definitely a dance family. My whole family would drive me in and out of Boston an hour each way for ballet classes. They come to any performances they can. It’s wonderful.

Who is your favorite ballet dancer?
I don’t have just one! There are so many gorgeous artists out there and I feel like watching each of them gives you something to add to your own dancing.

What advice do you have for other girls wanting to dance in NYC? If they don’t get into a big company what are their options?
Dancing in NYC is difficult not only because the talent pool is rich and large but because living in NYC is hard enough alone. As young dancers we’re often trained to believe that our only goal is to be a prima ballerina in a major company, when in reality there are so many other options if you really want to dance. You have to be willing to put up with a LOT to do what you love. Audition for everything, take class with different people, meet everyone you can, take every opportunity at the beginning. Even if you start off dancing for free, if you stick it out a freelance career will grow.

Do you do other types of dance besides ballet?
Ballet has always been my main focus, but I love jazz and musical theater dance as well. I’ve done some lovely modern work as well, but that’s more challenging for me personally.

Have you had any bad experiences with diva type of dancers or demanding directors/choreographers ? They say you have to have thick skin for this industry, do you agree? You most definitely have to have thick skin in this industry. Unfortunately, because dance is a physical activity, our bodies are our tools. You have to find a way to separate your self-esteem in dance and in life, I think. It’s hard. Directors can be awful sometimes, but once you experience that you learn more about yourself and more about the kind of people you’d rather be working with. The nice ones are out there – you just have to look!

What is your dream role and why? And what is your favorite ballet?
Again, there are so many! I would love to dance Juliet in Romeo & Juliet. I think that’s probably my favorite ballet. Such gorgeous music. When ABT does it at the Met I super with them (ie. stand onstage as an extra) and I get to watch those top notch dancers up close in those roles. Right now I’m really intrigued by telling a story through dance, and developing my acting and artistry in a way that builds character onstage. This year I’ve gotten to dance the lead in 2 full-length ballets and that has given me the opportunity to flesh out ideas that I never had the chance to.

Do you listen to classical music at all outside of ballet? If not what do you like?
Classical music is always beautiful – especially if it’s NOT the music you hear over and over again in ballet class day in and day out, haha. Besides classical I like just general easy listening or pop – I’m not a great one to ask about current music, but whatever Pandora plays is usually good, haha.

What was it like shooting with Brian Mengini, do you enjoy photo shoots?
Brian is awesome! I had seen his photos online for a while and we connected on Twitter and really wanted to work together. I went down for his EmpoweredMe project and it was a great shoot. I NEVER like dance photos of myself – don’t have the pretty feet or hyperextended legs I’ve always wanted – but all of his photos were lovely! I was so impressed and I really hope I get to work with him again.

Photo Credit Brian Mengini

How did you get into writing/blogging?
I’ve done creative writing since about age 5 when I’d make up poems about dogs and ice cream. When I got to college I got more serious about it and I interned at Pointe Magazine. They let me write just small blurbs because I was just getting started, but after that I had so much to say about dance that I started my own blog (www.turnedin.blogspot.com) and contributed to The Winger (www.thewinger.com) when it was still so new. From there I slowly built up a portfolio of print clips in publications like Dance Teacher, Movmnt, and M Life Magazine Las Vegas. Things get so busy so I don’t always have as much time to pitch article ideas as I’d like, but I really enjoy the process of writing.

Would you ever dance anywhere besides NYC? Have you always been a city girl?
Actually I really badly want to dance in Europe! I love NYC and am most definitely a city girl, but I’m starting to feel like I may have more options elsewhere. I don’t really want to move to another city in the US (what’s better than NYC?! Haha) so I love the idea of going abroad. We’ll see!

Do you have time for a social life? If so what do you like to do?
My social life often takes a back seat to work, but when I do have free time I love exploring NYC, sitting in coffee shops, going to yummy Italian dinners, reading (dance autobiographies are a favorite), and going to see other performances. I’m also a big fan of Glee, Friends, and Sex & the City J

Your favorite quote?
‘Follow your dreams.’ But why be a follower when you can be a leader?

Please add anything else you'd like to say that I wouldn't know to ask about ;)
I’m beyond grateful to be doing what I love in the city of my dreams! Thanks for a great interview! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nutcracker 2011

I guess I should have been blogging the whole time but there just wasn't time. I was dancing about 25 hours a week and was at the studio 7 days a week, sometimes twice! Of course this year has to be named the best of all because I was cast as Clara. Honestly I was not expecting it because I am new to this studio. I was understudy last year at my old studio then my teacher relocated. So I had little hope of actually getting the part especially since my teacher was not involved in casting and he knows me best . Anyway I got it and it was amazing just like I thought it would be. Here I am with Miss Robin. She was one of the people that selected me for Clara :)

Unfortunately I did not get to dance with a good friend of mine who was cast as prince because I was an inch taller than him. But other than that I cannot complain at all. The dress was really pretty, a little heavy, but so pretty. I guess some Mom's had pitched in on a year prior to get a new dress. Glad they did. Saw the old one. Not pretty! :) Sorry but it wasn't, so I can see why they did that! I loved the nightgown too for Dream Scene, which was my favorite part by the way. I love the fog and the mice and it's so dramatic. I really am so happy I got to play this part and I would totally do it again ! I don't know how my mom would feel about rolling all those ringlets again for dress rehearsal and each show, 5 times this year counting the parade! Luckily they lasted overnight for the student show. She also had to do Kyla's ringlets for gingersnap and candy cane 9 times for every show and dress rehearsal.

Actually at San Diego Ballet they have the backstage volunteers roll hair for "quality" control. I guess not all moms can do it. But I couldn't get over it. I have never been at a studio where they do everyone's hair for curls. Pretty impressive.

As far as rehearsals I was usually there a couple hours on Saturday and all day Sunday mostly. Then of course there is a tech and dress rehearsal for each theater. Except for this Christmas festival we did. Now that was interesting. But I have to say very, very fun. First year they did it and I don't think they advertised too well because it was a smaller crowd but I'd dance in a parking lot for stray cats if I was given the choice to dance or not! So for me it was fun. The airport is right there and the planes were coming in just next to the giant stage . Kind of cool actually. Our dressing room was a tent and it was cold outside! But again... really, really fun.

The funniest things from this year was when this little boy Pearson had to stand in for the sheep that runs out and around a company dancer because the other sheep wasn't ready. So he runs out but not far enough around the dancer and he got kicked and you heard him yell out "hey" it was hilarious. Then one night, again with the sheep, we were rehearsing for the student show and the sheep were gone so 2 teen girls were goofing off and started to come out as the little sheep and Javier yells at the top of his lungs from a seat in the audience "No Messing Around" it was pretty funny :) Javier is the other Artistic director along with Robin. He also plays Drosselmeyer. He does teach one of my classes too. I like his class because he moves quickly. He is the other person that helped select me for Clara. Thank you Javier!

The final show was the best because w got a standing ovation and a lot of the student's parents were there and all my family was there. I got a ton of flowers and got to take photos after the show with some little kids in my costume. I hope they are inspired to stay with ballet like me!

Oh and the absolute best part of all of it was my teacher Mr. Max was Cavalier and I got to curtsey to him and bow with him and Sugar Plum played by Abby Avery. It was the most amazing experience ever! I didn't want it to end. I always feel that way, except the year I got soldier for the 2nd time :), but especially this year. I'd also like to say that Dew Drop played by
Stephanie Maiorano was perfect. You can click on their names or go to this link to see all of the company . The guys are very nice and funny too, especially Matt Carney.

So now we roll from Nutcracker into Summer Intensive Auditions and for some YAGP. I plan to do YAGP next year when I turn 14. I haven't felt totally ready up to this point but I think by this time next year I can do a good job not just an okay job. I'll keep blogging. Sorry it has been slow but we have been super busy and my mom has to help me so there you go. More coming soon! :)



Saturday, November 5, 2011


Ask me a question... http://www.formspring.me/balletfreak

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

YAGP documentary "First Position" is now touring film festivals - premiering in Toronto

A film by Bess Kargman

A year long journey following six ballet dancers as they prepare for YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix) the most prestigious international ballet competition for students. Watch as they sacrifice, struggle and succeed in the highly competitive world of ballet.


Unofficial Trailer

Facebook updates

UPDATE: FIRST POSITION'S world premiere will be on Sunday Sept 11 in Toronto. The theater seats 500 people and when tickets go on sale we will put up a link. There will be a second screening there on Sat Sept 17. Tickets for World Premier in Toronto go on sale 9/3/11. The third week in September the film will be screening in Boston and the 4th week in Vancouver.

ANNOUNCEMENT: First Position will be playing at film festivals in the following cities this fall/winter: Toronto, Boston, New York, Vancouver, San Francisco and Tel Aviv. This is a partial list. Other film festivals in cities around the country (and world) will be determined late August.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Superstars of ABT to perform Firebird in Orange County, CA Spring 2012!

Segerstrom Center will celebrate their 25th Anniversary Season with American Ballet Theatre's world premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's new production of The Firebird. March 29 - April 1, 2012 in Segerstrom Hall.

Scheduled to perform in The Firebird:

Natalia Osipova: Born in Moscow and a soloist at Bolshoi Ballet, 2009 Spring Season marked Osipova’s first appearance with American Ballet Theatre where she also currently performs as soloist.

Misty Copeland:
Misty Copeland took her first ballet class at the age of 13 in San Pedro, California at the San Pedro Dance Center. In 2007, Misty Copeland became a soloist at ABT.

Isabella Boylston: Started dancing at age 3.
Boylston won the 2009 Princess Grace Award and was nominated for the 2010 Prix Benois de la Danse. Recently promoted to ABT soloist this summer 6/2011!

Read more and get tickets - available to the individuals February 2012

Saturday, August 20, 2011

VIP Screening of Masha (Maria Kochetkova Documentary)

Wednesday night we were able to attend the screening of "Masha" . It's a documentary by Bronwen Parker-Rhodes following ballerina Maria Kochetkova as she prepares for a performance of a new solo work at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

We felt very privileged to be able to view 30 minutes of footage from the documentary which is still a work in progress. We had attended "Reflections - The Bolshoi Project" at OPAC (Orange County, CA) and were able to enjoy many behind the scenes footage from this show, including Maria using facetime during a fitting. She would describe the alterations using the video phone and then ship the costume back to the designer. Pretty cool =)

It was a small group of adults but the theater at Dolby Labs was pretty much full. Robbie was the only child. Maria had kindly left her a signed magazine at OPAC at the security desk months ago and remembered doing so. She was very sweet and gracious. Down to earth, beautiful and so tiny. As you can see not much bigger than Robbie who is 12! But, she is pure muscle and her divine artistry comes through in the film. She is a true artist and you can feel her passion for dancing and like many ballerinas, I think it is safe to say she is a perfectionist with an incredible work ethic. You have to buy the DVD just to see what she rolls out her muscles with and how she stretches her back! =)

She also let us know that San Francisco Ballet will be returning to Orange County to perform Romeo and Juliet this fall! Not sure yet which show she will be performing Juliet.

San Francisco Ballet
with Pacific Symphony

September 27, 28, 30 & Oct. 1, 2
Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Naturally we are very excited for the release of the completed documentary, seeing how we pretty have every ballet doc ever made! We have uploaded more photos, like Robbie with her Masha autographs, on www.facebook.com/balletbabble .

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Launching our new Barre Page on the blog!

We will embed videos on the BARRE page so you can practice at home and follow along! First up Elissa!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Final Performance and Headed Home!

Wow! Five weeks! I may have mentioned this but I told my mom I'm not ready to live here "YET". I'm so going to live here SOMEDAY! Okay final performance was amazing. So fun! I think we did a good job just me and one other girl were traveling backwards on this one part and we went into the screen kind of . But it was no big deal. What a cool looking school (Frank Sinatra) . The theater was nice and mostly full for the 12pm show. The older students are AMAZING! I mean AMAZING! If you ever hear anyone say ABT is too crowded or just a money maker (yah we heard that)  - they DO NOT have any idea what they are talking about. Totally amazing dancers and program. I will try out again. Yes I will. You should have seen the boys and their feet! Everyone was really, really good.

Congrats to everyone that got into JKO school. Even some people that did not fill out the form to be considered and evaluated were invited to JKO. My friend filled it out, she got in and she is hoping she can make the commute from New Jersey. It's about 45 minutes. I did not fill it out because it clearly states you have to relocate if you aren't in the area, of course. Someday I will fill it out!!!

People were crying. We all signed each others ABT SI t-shirts. The good byes were sad but I got a lot of phone numbers so we can all text each other ;) It would be great if we all came back next year! Praying!

I found out today that when me and my mom go to San Francisco we are getting our hair cuts at a salon there. If you have seen the pictures on facebook you will say hooray! My hair is so long and gross right now! I think I mentioned this already  but it is really bugging me.  I also hope I can get my braces off asap! Over it! I can not wait to sleep in my own bed tomorrow night!

Thanks to my mom for editing all the blogs for me ;) Goodnight!!!!!!! 



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wrapping up! Week 5!

Been really busy and tired so it has been hard to post! This week I started out with a sore foot from Friday so I caved in and took time out of class to go to PT (Physical Therapy) . It was a good idea because I learned some things about my positioning in turning out that I need to work on and I got some home work! I'll blog more about that when I get home and probably show a video in case anyone else has the same problem. But on Wed night my Mom asked how is your foot and I had totally forgot about it so you know what that means... it's fine! Phew!

We got our ABT SI T-shirts and some abt hair accessories on Wed. We are all taking the subway to Frank Sinatra School of Art for the Final Performance and we will be matching- that way we won't lose any bun heads hopefully.Our level red doesn't have any variations on pointe but they are still super fun. One reminds me of family scene/ party scene from Nutcracker because we get to do acting and it's like a party kind of with a prince etc. It's really fun! Yes we ordered a video. ;)

Wed night we went to the movies with some other girls from our class and saw Super 8. SCARY and sad. Our carpet is getting ripped out in the hall of our dorm too and it smells terrible. But over all I love the dorms! We got lucky because we really had no idea about anything and if it would be nice or not! I mean you hear horror stories about mice, bed bugs, loud people. It was nice and the food was good. I liked the roof top too and the tv room.

So there is an article in Pointe magazine (HERE) about how hard it is to get into ABT and NYCB and it lists some other choices of companies etc! AHHHHHHHHH! Scarier than Super 8. I know we have to have a plan B but I WANT to dance for ABT. I'll keep trying hard and I am going to audition for this SI again next year. My mom read on a forum that just because you went one year does not mean you will get accepted the next so you always have to be on your toes! Ha!! ;)

Soon I will be home with my cat, bunny, mom, dogs, sister and her new rat Mr. Nibbles. I can not wait to catch up on Vampire Diaries. I need to watch all of season 1 and part of season 2 before the new ones start! Oh and then we are going to San Francisco to see Maria Kochetkova's documentary screening and I'm also going to get a new hair cut there for school. My hair is soooooooo long!



Sunday, July 24, 2011

Final Week at ABT SI 2011!

Summary: Heat Wave! Tired! Foot hurts below the ankle on outside but it's okay- lots of ice- overworked! Final Performance at the end of the week! See the ad on abt.org- pretty cool!

Kyono's Mom treated us to Chinese food tonight for our hard work the last few weeks ;) We picked up some mad libs and that should keep us busy on the way home Saturday! I grabbed some I heart NY shirts and some last minute gifts today!

It has been sooooo hot! I will miss the city for sure but am very happy to go home and see my family and my pets. My cat will be so happy to see me I know that! Okay more updates through the last week. :)



Park Sae-eun (Korea) signs w/ the Paris Opera Ballet!

"This has been my dream since I was a child."

Prix de Lausanne '07

 Congratulations Park Sae-eun (Korea) for signing w/ the Paris Opera Ballet! POB is so exclusive that only 5 percent of its 180 dancers come from outside France! It's actually the law! She is the winner of Prix de Lausanne 2007 and IBC Varna 2010 and danced with ABT II for 2 years (her first place finish in Lausanne earned her that spot) . She is 22 years old and auditioned for the Paris Opera Ballet on July 4th. She finished third among more than 100 applicants. She received an offer to sign with the company the next day. The contract will last until the spring.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Week 4 ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2011 by Robbie

That's me on the left ;) I am going to miss my friends!

This week has been really fun and HOT and HUMID! 96 on Thursday! Classes have been great this week. I've had all my favorite teachers and tons of fun with my friends. We have been leaving for lunch and buying food at a nearby cafe typa place. Have I mentioned that I LOVE the city. I want to go back to see my family but other than that I really don't want to leave.

I found out that all my dances are in the early show next Friday which is good because they will be all on one video. Some people are spread across 2 shows. We do have dances in class on pointe but I don't think we are on pointe for the show at all. Only bummer about being in the day show only is my friend Ann from youtube can't make the day show. BUT she is visiting me tonight. She will pick me up at ABT and walk back with us to the dorm. I think we will grab some dinner on the way. She lives in NY and crosses the Manhattan bridge to go to school so she knows how to get around. 

The dorms are great. The food is good and last night we watched SYTYCD and night before that was Phantom of the Opera. Some girls brought some DVD's so now I know for next time if I come back. We also had a small fridge brought to our room so that helps and we have a/c of course!! You have to have it here!

I am still on my first pair of pointe shoes. I know it depends on your feet etc but I think most everyone is still on first pair so don't go crazy buying pointe shoes if you are in the 12/13 age group. I came with 3 Russian Pointes, 4 pair if you count my grishkos that were already pretty broken in but I'm not using those . Okay well I guess that is all for now! Class starts at 10 today because no yoga!

OH... I wanted to mention that one of the teachers, Kate Lydon is the Editor in Chief for Dance Spirit Magazine and Olga Dvorovenko is Irina's Mom ;) 



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Masha, a Portrait of Ballerina Maria Kochetkova - I'm so there!

A Documentary project in San Francisco, CA by Bronwen Parker-Rhodes

It's official! We are going to see the Masha Documentary in August! Beyond excited! Maria Kochetkova is one of my favorite dancers. I saw her at Reflections - The Bolshoi Project at OPAC where I had my pointe shoes signed by some famous dancers! Maria was so nice and left a signed magazine at security for me but I did not see her. I am so, so excited to be going to San Fran for even just one day to watch the movie screening and hopefully meet her! It's kind of a big deal because I have never been to San Fran and as you know I am spending 5 weeks in NY for ABT Summer Intensive. This is a huge surprise and I am so excited. I will for sure blog from there and take photos!! Fingers crossed I get my pointe shoes signed!



Monday, July 18, 2011

July 13-14 ABT Summer Intensive New York 2011 End of Week 3 post by Naomi

Getting silly... maybe week 3 is the breaking point ;)

 Today's blog is by Naomi - Kyono's Mom

I can't believe that our NY journey has already passed more than a half way through.  Just two more weeks indeed.

Since we've moved into Markles Residence we've met many more dancers of ABT summer intensive and have chance to speak to their moms as well, so we feel as we've got some team-mates.  Since my girls are the youngest of all they have given girls a warm attention.  Just let me explain about this facility to you.  This Markles Residence is built in 1923( I believe this is the year) by Mr. and Mrs. Markles who had compassion toward young artists and business women who couldn't afford to stay in an expensive hotels in NYC, but passionate about their dreams.  As a result they have made a great amount of donation to build this facility and they wanted this facility to be a evangeline residence where people who stay here can experience "Christ like love".   I have to say that we are so blessed to stay here.

About our special tour in NYC.  We went see one of the great Broadway show "Chicago" last weekend and it was sooooooo great and girls loved it very much.  Our seats are awesome orchestra seat and the theater was quite small, so we could almost feel actors body heat and their sweat.

Yesterday, girls and I went TKTS the discount tickets booth to buy the tickets of Billy Elliot show.  The one so famous especially among ballet dancers because of there are so much of dancing scenes and just a lot of fun watching it. Well, we know that the office opens at 11:00, so we got at a box office around 11:10, we saw more than 100 people in line......  We were in line for nearly 1.5 hours to get our tickets hoping that we get a great seats.  We got mezzanine tickets which was not bad, but we couldn't see actors facial expressions : (    People who are serious going to see a great broadway musical they must have been  at the line much much earlier than us, so next time we will know what to do.  Well, living in NYC is like anything else when we learn new thing..... Life is about learning!  Thanks to the Lord that you gave me an ability to learn things ; )  Anyways, Billy Elliot was 5 THUMBS UP!!!! for sure it was just great fun show, and we are shocked  by enormous energy of Billy and other wonderful actors.  It was totally worth for us lining 1.5hrs.  I want to go see it many more times and I definitely recommend to all of age groups.

Talking about learning, since we've lived for 3weeks, one of the things that I learned is about a cross walk.  Although when it's red New Yorkers go cross it as long as cars are not coming to run over you I think it's one of adaptations skills of us human.  When you've got to go you've got to go thing and I now follow them, so I became part New Yorkers, New Diegans (because I'm Sun Diegans by now).  Another thing I found of an good adaptation is a "dog park" here is located underneath of freeway.  It was very nice one by South Sea Port and it was covered by many gigantic dog toys made by cement and water drinking facility for Dogs.  Only thing I wish it was not so attractive was the entire park was barricaded by thick metal bars to the point it's hard to see inside.  I thought that dogs in San Diego are so blessed to be at open sky dog parks with a lot of sunshine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Week 3 ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2011 July 14-15 by Robbie

Could I live here! Yes! My Mom keeps reminding me that it gets cold, but that's okay. I just love the city and I love the view of all the buildings and I kinda know my way around ! I'm tired at the end of the week and I miss my family but I am still sad that there are only 2 weeks left. I'm already thinking about next year! Fingers crossed and praying that I get in again! So whatever you have heard about ABT you should know it's REALLY great, at least the NY location. For sure. I love it. I don't think the classes are too crowded or too big. I get really good training at home and I am not bored here. I think the teachers are all really good.

In variations we are doing the Peasant Dance from Swan Lake Act 1 on pointe. Everyone is pretty happy about that! I had to ice my heel/foot last night. It's fine but probably just overworked. A summer intensive is a good way to get a tiny idea of what professional dancers deal with, yah a TINY idea. ;)

My friend Brigitte is going to guest blog from the Young Dancers SAB Intensive in LA so be sure to follow so in August you can see that! We will upload pics too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 9-12 ABT Summer Intensive New York 2011 and Giselle 3D

Natalia Osipova after Reflections - The Bolshoi Project - Natalia stars in Giselle 3D from the Mariinsky!
by Robbie

Saturday we saw Chicago (pics on facebook at www.facebook.com/balletbabble ). I really liked it but, seriously, there was a guy playing a lady singing with a really high voice and I had no idea it was a guy! I think we will have musical theater at the SI coming up. I don't think I'm much of a singer so that should be interesting! Sunday we moved to the dorms. I like it! Back in the top bunk so I feel really at home. My bed at home is high up too. We can see the Empire State Building from here too! Our roommate is really nice she is in Law School, she's from Korea. We have A/C ! Can't live with out that! Also have a desk and drawers. And I have a bug bite on my leg ... it itches like crazy but I am NOT touching it.

Now we can walk to the studio with some of the other girls so that's cool . I stopped at Starbucks and got a panini to save for lunch. Also, realized some other kids came with friend's and their friend's Moms so I'm not the only one with out my Mom here.

I am loving the classes and we had Melissa Bowman finally and the class was sooo fun! I have had her before in California and I really like her a lot. She was also the person that oversaw the auditions in Long Beach and was going back and forth between rooms. Today for La Bayadere I had to dance both casts because my alternate was absent. I was really sweaty but it was fun! Of course extra dancing is always fun! ;)

We are going to Giselle 3D tonight (Tuesday) and my mom saw it earlier today and she loved it! I haven't seen it for a couple of years so I forgot a lot of it. I have never seen Natalia Osipova do a full ballet. I only saw her in Reflections. She is amazing!! I'll post how it was tomorrow!

Empire State Building - View from my dorm - more pics of me in NYC on facebook at www.facebook.com/balletbabble

Blog from Naomi (Kyono's Mom - Robbie's Chaperone)

Our move was done very smoothly with the help from Donna our friend who let us stay in her apartment.

We enjoyed our last walk to Central Park and girls purchased some nice paints from a Chinese gentleman and some carved miniature stone woks with animal figure from an old artist, we are all contented.

Although in our new place we don't have much space and freedom to cook, stretch in middle of the room : ),  watch TV and etc. we have a great view of Empire State Building right in front of our window and few more famous ones, and when we go up to the roof top of our building we have a whole jewels of the NYC : )
We also get to enjoy a great selection of buffet in each meal and those are absolutely yummy :-)  Also, people who work for this residence are very kind and as well as many of residences here are nice especially for my girls.

Lastly, but importantly I have to mention about our commute to the studio have got a lot easier than before.  It's a nice walk through many of the branding stores on 5th avenue and people are walking in fast pace most of the time.  The city is breathing all the time here.

Girls are doing very well, and they are gaining some confidences within the group of the competitive dancers.

It's time for me to find a local library and YMCA, so I can start my routine here.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Had to share the Press Release for the ABT NYC SI Final Performance!


Final performances for American Ballet Theatre’s New York Summer Intensive Program are scheduled for Friday, July 29, 2011 at 12 P.M. and 4 P.M. at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, New York.  The performances mark the conclusion of ABT’s 16th annual New York Summer Intensive, a five-week training program for dancers ages 12 to 22.

Summer Intensive students will perform selections from Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Giselle, and Le Corsaire, as well as an excerpt from Alexei Ratmansky’s
The Bright Stream. Additionally, original choreography by Erika Pujic, Adrienne Hurd, Joe Istre, Leslie Browne and Brian Reeder will be featured.

Participants in American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensives are chosen through a cross-country audition tour sponsored by Freed of London, LtdThis year, more than 4,000 students auditioned in 22 cities across the United States.  ABT’s 2011 Summer Intensives will reach over 1100 participants in New York City and through satellite programs in Michigan, Alabama, Texas and California.

250 students are currently participating in the 2011 New York Summer Intensive.  The annual program at ABT’s New York City studios is a comprehensive course that begins with daily ballet technique class and includes specialized classes in pointe work, partnering, choreography, jazz, character dance, modern dance, musical theater, Pilates and yoga for young dancers.  To complement the dancers’ training, lectures are offered on injury prevention, nutrition and dance history.

Under the direction of Melissa Allen Bowman, the 2011 New York Summer Intensive Program incorporates a faculty of ABT alumni, members of ABT’s Artistic Staff and renowned teachers, including Kevin McKenzie, Franco De Vita, Wes Chapman, Kate Lydon, Ethan Brown, Leslie Browne, Harriet Clark, Olga Dvorovenko, Brian Reeder, Lupe Serrano, David Howard and Rosanna Seravalli.

Scünci is the Official Hair Accessory of the ABT Summer Intensive. 

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts is located at 35-12 35th Avenue in Astoria,
New York.  For detailed directions, please visit http://www.franksinatraschoolofthearts.org.  Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and students and will go on sale to the public on Friday, July 29 at 11 A.M. in the theatre lobby.  For more information, please call the Summer Intensive Hotline at 212.477.3030, ext. 3416 or email summerintensive@abt.org.  Please visit www.abt.org for more information.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Time to catch up! July 3-8 by Robbie

July 3 -  We went swimming at the YMCA to relax tensed up muscles.  The YMCA that we went to was not the kind of YMCA we used to go to in San Diego. It was more like a luxurious hotel with hundreds of workout machines lined up by the giant windows and at the receptionist desk there were gentlemen dressed with black jackets and ties! We had fun swimming there, so hopefully we can swim at least once a week!

July 4 - No training today! We went out to "5th Avenue" for window shopping and later in the afternoon we were at Battery Park where we could see the Statue of Liberty.  Instead of going to the actual island by ferry we enjoyed walking by the water and talked with a fisherman ( he caught a giant blue fin) and a tourist from Brazil ( they said that they will stay there until the fireworks).  It was an absolutely gorgeous view of the ocean and the statue.  We decided to go back to our apartment on the upper east side and enjoy fireworks from the rooftop of the building.   It was pretty to look at the fireworks from between the skyscrapers in NYC and it was very special for us :-)

July 5-8  So we figured out that what we were calling the "Maple Dance" is actually the May Pole Dance! Too funny! Our schedule rotates around and the teachers change around too! Pas de deux is so much fun and I got to partner with 2 different boys this week because one had to leave. Also learning some interesting things in yoga like how to sort of gently hit your legs to loosen up the muscles. But I have a stick for that. I always forget to use it to roll out my legs before and after class! If you want to see what it looks like go to www.stretchology.com .

Franco De Vita (Principal of JKO School)

Jazz was a blast this week and we are learning more variations. We finally had Franco (Principal of JKO School)! At first he was a little "scary" at first but I loved his class. I always end up really liking the "scary" teachers. He asked us where we were from and after that he called us "San Diego" "Florida" etc. so maybe not so scary after all ;) I hope we have him again next week. So far I really like all the teachers and the other students. But getting a little homesick now. I hope my Mom can come out the last week. We have been skyping.

One of my new friends from New Jersey, we found out that I went to elementary school with her cousin in California. Small world! Many of us went to see Sleeping Beauty at the MET. I can't believe I saw a ABT at the MET in NYC! I hope to dance there someday. One of the boys in our class was in the party scene. I love the part where the evil witch arrives. They shoot in a light or fire ball of some type maybe like a firework and she appears in a puff of smoke . It's so cool. Hee Seo was Lilac Fairy (Princess Florine shown below). I love her. Last time I saw ABT do this show in LA she was Puss n Boots and I really love that costume! It is so cute! Irina was beyond great as usual!! She didn't dance with her husband this time though.

So Sunday we move to the dorms. I'm excited. Some other girls are staying there also and there are bunk beds but no kitchens so I guess we will be buying lunch the next 3 weeks. Today is Saturday and we are going to see Chicago! We are going to try to see Billy Elliot before we leave. Kiril Kulish and David Alvarez who have done Billy in the past- the year they won the Emmy- used to train with my dance teacher Maxim Tchernychev (he's amazing by the way) . Also I think Kiril is now at the JKO school along with another boy from my old studio (Beau).

My first pair of Russian Pointes are broken in but feel good so next week I am going to break in another pair so I have 2 I can alternate between. They rub a little on my pinky toes but I just tape them so NO blisters for me. I love these shoes!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 6 ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2011

It's a Saturday! Sure felt good to sleep in! Okay so Thursday and Friday were really fun. We started learning "The Maple Dance" in Rep and I think the music is from the first act of Swan Lake (?) Looks like Kyono and I are the only girls from California in this age group (12/13). Some others are from Florida, NY, New Jersey and Delaware, not sure where else.

Next week we get to see Irina Dvorovenko in ABT's Swan Lake and we get Franco De Vita for technique and pointe class I think! He is the principal of the JKO school so we are excited about that!

It is hot and humid here and today (Saturday) we are going bike riding in Central Park. Tomorrow some shopping I think and maybe Monday fireworks on the rooftop of our building. We are on the 13th floor but it's okay because that is Kyono's family's lucky number! Also we are in a great neighborhood.



Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 5 ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2011

Today's Blog is by Naomi- Kyono's Mom

Our girls finished this Friday with painful legs.  First Robbie came out of the building with an expression of being completely fatigued, then Kyono comes out with a frowning face.  Before I asked them how they were doing Kyono had told me that her right ankle was hurting so much...  I asked Kyono that if she needed medical attention, then she replied to me no need.  Then I asked Robbie if she had any painful parts in her body.  Then I found out that Robbie's right ankle was inflamed as well. :-(  I was afraid of them getting sick and how hopeless I would become.  I asked Kyono why she didn't go see a physical therapist at ABT, and she told me it started during the last class, so she didn't want to go see the physical therapist......

We took a rest on the benches on Broadway St. for a while.   I gave both girls a warm epson salt foot baths and heat compress for the achey ankles and knees as soon as we got to our apartment.
After a while the girls were much better in spirit because not only they felt better, but they knew that it's going to be a big three day weekend!!   They said "Yeah, we can sleep in till really late!  and we can go shopping!!"  Well I don't know about going shopping though..I thought these 3~4 days would be hard for girls because they are realizing how hard their courses are, and in the same time they started missing mom, dad, sister, brother, dogs, cat, bunny and rats?  I've got to be a patient, loving and wise mother with His help otherwise we will all sink.  

Update! Girls are completely back to 100% for class Tuesday! No serious problems. Three days off to recover from the first week was perfect!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 4 ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2011

More details tomorrow on Day 4... all I can say right now is tired and yoga tomorrow ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 3 ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2011

Day 3: FUN ! FUN! FUN! Pilates, Technique (had some new combinations), Pas de Deux (probably my favorite for the day and the boys were pretty good), Modern (very cool music - kind of like African drums), Choreography (worked on our variation for the show). 

Then after we went to H&M and I bought a cute skirt :) and I think we are going to go see ABT do Sleeping Beauty next week because we can get tix for $12! New pics up www.facebook.com/balletbabble

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

News Flash! ABT NYC SI Produces Black Swans! ;) Day 2 by Robbie

Okay so... not exactly! But definitely some Black Swans in the making. Today we had technique class, choreography and character. We started to learn a variation from La Bayadere for the final performance in choreography. In pointe class we were allowed to wear a wrap skirt if we wanted to and I wore my new Russian pointes and broke them in pretty well! There are 35 12-13 year olds in the RED group, my group. Five or 6 are boys. 

On the street we saw this guy acting like a robot and if you put some money in his jar and he made this weird robot noise with his mouth . Pics on facebook in the ABT album. Gotta love New York! Don't forget to follow on www.facebook.com/balletbabble and twitter at www.twitter.com/balletbabble.



Blog post from Kyono's Mom Naomi:
Day 2, Girls were so excited because they found that by audition they were placed in same group, Red group. They had a regular barre class, point shoes class, injury prevention lecture, choreography class and character dance class today, and they were absolutely tired, but happy.  They almost finished all of the lunch and snacks that I packed (it was a lot to eat for them), but they said they were hungry.  I was so thankful for their healthy bodies which allow them to dance so hard ALL DAY. Tomorrow they will have almost same class, but pilates class will be added instead of character dance.

My First 2 days in New York for ABT Summer Intensive! by Robbie

Okay so the flight wasn't that bad... but towards the end the pressure of the airplane did make my head feel like it was going to pop so we got off just in time! We have a nice little apartment for 2 weeks then we are moving to some dorms that are a few blocks away from ABT for the last 3 weeks. Right now we will take the subway. There is a CVS downstairs and we have already been to the CAPEZIO store! I also bought some cute slipper boots for the studio - you can see them on my facebook page along with all my other photos I'm uploading. www.facebook.com/balletbabble

The first day we had placement class it was half barre, half, center and 15 minutes of pointe. Melissa Bowman was the "judge". Then lunch then nutrition, injury prevention and orientation. I saw some girls I met at the winter SI prep class at CCD so it was nice to recognize a couple of people. Also I met 2 of the girls that played Clara at Radio City Hall last year. Okay I WOULD LOVE TO DO THAT! But I'm pretty sure you have to live in NYC and maybe even go to the JKO School, I'm not sure.

More tomorrow!



Blog post from Kyono's Mom Naomi:

First day, we were approaching the building around 8:15, then we saw over 100 of people (dancers and parents) already lining in front of the building anxiously waiting the door to be open.  There were definitely sparks all over the crowds. My 2 puny dancers were almost over whelmed by other dancers whom most likely had attended ABT summer intensive previously, but they were keeping each other so accountable and weren't fazed by the spark from others.  Yes, I was so proud of them.  Soon, the line became so much longer and by 8:30 it was just so many dancers and parents from all over the world.  Finally the door opened and dancers had disappeared into the building one by one and when my girls went inside it was my turn to deal with my own emotion...... I held my tears hard :-)

Last Sunday we tested riding the NYC subway system for purchasing city maps, last minute ballet gear shopping and etc.,    The subway system in NYC is so precise and you can pretty much to every where using subway, but there are so many stairs as long as you are in NYC subway and there are no escalators what so ever, so I felt as I had been climbing at least 1,000 stairs since we arrived in NYC. ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blogging from ABT SI NYC 2011

Robbie is going to call me each day and talk about her day and I will blog it for you. This should give all you dancers out there a really good idea of what to expect at an intensive! Stay tuned and be sure to follow the blog! ;)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

ABT New York Summer Intensive 2011 Housing Resource

I found a great post on Nichelle's Dance Advantage Blog from a Nina Amir who's son is a dancer and has been to ABT NY. The housing situation is clearly a topic of interest! If you want to read Nina's guest article go to http://danceadvantage.net/2010/03/01/summer-intensive-parents/#comment-4337 . Also there is an ABT NY Summer Intensive facebook group you can join at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_183885458317747  hopefully we can build it up with some parents and students headed to New York 2011 and share information!