Monday, July 6, 2015

ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2015- Week 2 by Robbie Downey

Week Two - Summer Intensive Update and Pics from the City 

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Me and Audrey at Steps for Mr. Ellison's class. 

On Sunday I took Mr. Ellison's Steps class with Audrey and some of my other friends. The class was hard, as expected! It was really nice to take his class again, I really missed them. After the class I stayed and talked with Mr. E for a bit.  

After I finished at Steps, my friend Jordan and I headed over to David H. Koch Theater to pick up some student rush tickets for Royal Ballet! Student rush tickets are only available to students and they are at a great price! We couldn't choose where we were sitting but I knew some of my other friends who got student rush tickets on the orchestra section. That's what we were hoping for! Once she handed us our tickets Jordan and I were in shock. We got orchestra second row to see the Royal Ballet! When I walked out of the building I stopped to take the picture below. Just after I took this picture my friends Christine and Danielle (from Ballet Arte) came up from behind and scared me! I talked to them for a bit and then headed to meet Audrey. 

Unbelievable student rush ticket! 

Audrey and I headed to Columbia University to check it out. It is so beautiful there! There were a lot of good places to take pictures. I loved all the trees and green areas. 

Ballet at Columbia University

Audrey the photographer! 

From Columbia I went straight home to to get ready for Royal. I met Jordan out front of the theater and we changed into our heels. Once we were at our seats we were already extremely excited. We were so close! We usually sit in the upper rings and it was just so amazing to be this close. We both said that is it super cool that we can hear them breathing. It sounds strange but I really like it.  

I was truly speechless after watching The Royal Ballet. They were so amazing!  All of their dancers are so clean and controlled and they also have great artistry.  

The first piece was called Infra and it was probably my favorite. The choreography was so well done. I really liked how there was a mix of sharp and more fluid movements. It was so beautiful. I would go and watch them perform over and over again. I absolutely love The Royal Ballet and if you ever have the opportunity to see them you should.  

The cast we got to see! Still in shock! 

Some quick pics after the show. 

With my friend, Jordan Kesler, after the show.

On Monday at ABT we had Susan Jaffe for technique. She is considered one of the leading ballerinas of her time and you can read her bio here... CLICK HERE. Her main focus throughout the class was to engage your butt and to also use your torso to help you. After class we then had Gabby Brown for pointe. She is hilarious and I really love her classes. She is also staging our rep (short for repertoire) . 

After lunch we then had rehearsal for La Sylphide where we worked on the corps de ballet. After rep we headed to Pilates class and then we were done for the day. 

On Tuesday we started out with Pilates class at 9am and then had technique class with Ethan Brown. We were combined with the boys for those two classes.  My hip was a little sore during this class but other than that the class was good! After class we headed upstairs for anatomy.  We were combined with a few other levels for this class so the room was pretty full. The two teachers used this app that allowed you to reveal different muscles. They would "take away" other muscles to uncover others and to show us which ones we use.  It was very interesting because you can actually see exactly where the muscles you are using begin.

Susan Jaffe working with Misty Copeland! © ABT

After lunch we had variations with Susan Jaffe. She taught us the second pas de trio variation from Swan Lake. Honestly, I like the first one better, but I had a lot of fun learning this one as well. Since we just did Swan Lake it was nice to work on it. The version she taught us it a little different than the one we used at my studio. This variation is challenging but I like it! After this we all headed to work on our rep piece.  By this time of the day my feet were hurting and I needed to pick up some toe tape! It's always good to wear toe tape because it can help prevent blisters. My shoes were starting to rub on my pinky toes and my right big toe.

Dancers feet.

Great video!  Susan Jaffe... A Ballerina's Career in a Nutshell

On Wednesday we had Ethan Stiefel for class! We were all very excited. I enjoyed his class and he gave us some great corrections. Jordan and I took a quick picture with him before partnering class. He was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre from 1997 till July 2012. He was the artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet from 2011 to 2014. You might remember him as one of the lead actors in the movie Center Stage

For partnering class we had Carlos Lopez as a teacher. He teaches ABT Studio Company class and I believe the ABT website says he is currently the Ballet Master for Studio Company as well. It's so great to have access to all of these people! For some reason most of the older boys were not there I am not exactly sure why. I did not have a partner so I ended up partnering with Austen Acevedo because he did not have a partner either. He is really good at partnering and obviously an amazing dancer. He placed second in Senior Men category at the 2015 Youth America Grand Prix- NYC Finals and was a 2015 Prix de Lausanne finalist. Visit his website here...

At Prix de Lausanne photo © Gregory Batardon

After lunch we had variations with Gabrielle Brown (former ABT soloist). She gave us a quick warm up since we just had a lunch break. We then worked on the variations that are in our rep piece. 
Our last class of the day was history. I actually really enjoyed this class! The teacher was very entertaining and passionate about dance. She basically talked about the history about ABT and it is great to know especially if you ever want to dance with ABT. She tried showing us some video clips but they would not load too well because of the slow wifi. :-/

Jordan looking good in her Merde shirt! You can get it at 

Once our classes finished up I headed home to get ready to go see ABT perform Cinderella. We watched Hee Seo and Cory Stearns perform, and they were both amazing! Misty Copeland was one of the fairies. For her variation the choreography seemed very hard but she made it look so easy. 
(PS she just got promoted to principal dancer along with Stella Abrera). The full list of promotions is here... CLICK HERE

Hee Seo and Cory Stearns. 

Jordan and me getting ready to watch the show

Me with Spencer and Jordan (my friends and ABT SI students) before the show started. We had orchestra seats for student price again!

After the show I met my friend Scout to give her a men's black merde shirt. One of her friends wanted one. Scout is in the ABT Corps de Ballet. After I talked with her and some other JKO students I headed home. I had to be at the studio at 9am the next day.

For Thursday we started out with Pilates and then had technique and pointe class with Lupe Serrano. You can CLICK HERE to read her bio. After lunch we had character with Olga Dvorovenko (former principal dancer and ballet mistress for the Ukrainian State Academic Dance Ensemble) . It is nice to have a character class since I do not have it at home. We had rep after character. I can't say enough how lucky we are to have access to these teachers. Please read about them HERE if you have time.

Jordan and me before character class. 

Pretty much almost half of our class was not there! Some were sick, injured and had family things! We all ran the two small variations. The way were are doing it is that one girl comes from each side. (We cross over each other) They do it this way to make sure everyone gets to do something. After about 45 minuets or so she told us to take off our pointe shoes. For the rest of class we attempted to figure out our  spot places. It was difficult because a lot of people were missing! My spot got changed and so did a few others. She said you should basically know every spot cause you never know what is going to happen for performances! In La Sylphide it is not too difficult because it is the same step, but one person is facing front and one is facing back. She said the spots could change, so nothing is really set yet.

We had Friday off for classes due to the Fourth of July weekend. My hip felt a bit "stuck" so I decided to not try and take a class elsewhere. I ended up meeting Spencer and his mom later in the afternoon. We headed to the Chelsea Market and got some crepes.

As we were walking around the city we walked by this car. I thought it was pretty cool! I like classic cars ;) 

Before I went home I stopped by Bed Bath and Beyond to grab some sort of a bucket for icing my feet. I ended up just grabbing a small storage bin that was big enough. It works just fine and was way cheaper than a normal bucket! It is a great idea to ice your feet every night no matter what.

I tried to sleep in on Saturday but I  woke up around 8:30. :( I didn't actually get out of bed until later though! (Hehe) at around 11 I met Audrey in Columbus Circle. We stopped by Juice Generation before heading to Central Park. We saw one of those stands and both thought the same buy a pretzel! We found the rock to sit on under some trees. It wasn't too nice out but I still loved sitting outside. Audrey decided to start feeding the birds some of her pretzel. I did the same! I actually loved feeding the birds. Some were brave and came really close to us! There was this one chubbier one that we would try to give bread too, but he seemed sort of lost and the other birds would steal the bread! You shouldn't really feed bread to birds because it fills them up and then they don't eat what they are supposed to so we didn't feed them for too long . But I'm thinking they must always find all kinds of "people" food in the city .

After Central Park we headed to Bed Bath and beyond. This may sound strange but I really love this store! I picked up some Icy Hot for my hip and hair color. Audrey wanted to get her hair cut so we called a couple of hair salons to see if any were open. We found one that was open and had available appointment. 

We were a little early for her appointment so we decided to stop in Claire's which was a block away. All of their Jewelry was on sale for super cheap! I came across this set of earrings and I had to get it for Kyla and me.  ALL CATS! We are huge cat freaks.

Audrey and me before her appointment. 
(Notice her hair before) 

After! I think she looks super cute with her hair this short! I would never be able to pull that off! Later in the day we met up with our friend, Spencer, and hung around in Tribeca.

Statue of Liberty is very small and on left side in the photo

Palm tress inside a mall. Not exactly California but close!

After hanging out with Spencer, Audrey and I headed to my apartment so I could dye my hair. 
We didn't feel like going out again and decided it would be too crowded so we watched some of the fireworks on TV. I have spent the last few summers watching fireworks by the Hudson River. We did pick up some fruit because we were really craving it and wanted something healthy. 

On Sunday I took Mr. E's class at Steps and it was pretty crowded. He gave me and some of his year round students some good corrections afterwards. He had us repeat after him, "I can, and I will." 
He was saying if you want 180 middle splits, for example, you can get there, but you have to work for it obviously. If you really want it you will make it happen. Mr. Ellison has always been a great source of motivation for me. I think everyone should train at Ellison Ballet at some point. If you can make it happen you should definitely do that. 

Audrey met me at Steps and we grabbed a salad from Fairway market and headed to eat in Central Park. We found this really nice place to eat. 

It was so pretty and very nice out on Sunday!
After we ate we went to Trader Joes to grab some groceries. My arms and shoulders were a bit sore from carrying my groceries back! City life problems. 

Some pictures from the sunset Sunday night. 

Thanks for reading about week two in the city at ABT. I hope it helps other dancers know what to expect and gives everyone an idea of what we do all summer! I have to say that I am LOVING the ABT summer intensive and am excited for the coming week. 

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