Monday, July 13, 2015

ABT NYC Summer Intensive 2015- Week 3 by Robbie Downey

Week Three - Summer Intensive Update: Year round audition for JKO School, Final show casting, New Gaynor Girl Status and more fun photos! 

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On Monday we had technique and pointe with Lupe Serrano again. Lupe Serrano has taught at The Juilliard School since 1997. She also currently teaches company class for American Ballet Theatre, ABT’s Studio Company, Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech and The Metropolitan Opera Dancers. She joined ABT in 1953 as a principal dancer and was awarded prima ballerina status!! The class went well and once again I find myself just completely blown away by the staff that is teaching our classes! I think I said this before but that should be a deciding factor when you are choosing a program. Class size and teachers.

Photo: Lupe Serrano in The Combat. Photo courtesy of ABT Archives. 

After lunch we had another technique class with Rosanna Servalli (Danced with ABT for 11 years and reached the rank of soloist). I really liked her class and she was very entertaining. During the class she had sheets of paper and seemed to be writing things down. I think it was for people who were auditioning for the year round program at the JKO School (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) which is attached to ABT and often feeds dancers into ABT Studio Company and then the company. Acceptance is by audition only. After class we then had variations with Kate Lydon. Kate is the Director of the ABT Studio Company. We learned Aurora act 3. She said she would just mix and match different versions together. I had fun learning this variation and I really enjoy working with Kate and look forward to when she is teaching class. 

On Tuesday we started out with Pilates in the morning. We then had class with Gemma Bond, a Corps de Ballet dancer with ABT. It was really cool because she was wearing one of my Merde shirts! She is really nice and I enjoyed her class. Next we had pas de deux class! Pas would have to be my favorite class. It was taught by Charles Askegard. I partnered with Shaakir (a year round student at the JKO school) and Austen Acevedo again. After pas class we stayed in the studio and practiced for a bit. After lunch we had Ballet History class again. She showed us some videos of Natalia Osipova doing Giselle and also Tamara Rojo and Steven McRae doing La Sylphide.

Here is a video of Shaakir and his twin brother Naazir. Misty Copeland is featured talking about them! >> Click here

After history we had rep (repertoire) . Casting was finally decided for the final performance at the end of week 5. I am in the corps and I get to do a short variation with another dancer.  I am happy with my parts and excited for the performance. My friend, Austen will be the male lead in my cast. 

While walking to the Subway Wednesday morning I saw this nice little Tesla. I love to drive and I love cars!

On Wednesday we had technique class and pointe with Ms. Seravalli. I thought it was a good class! Also, this past week I have been talking with Paige from Gaynor Minden. They are starting this new program called Gaynor Girls and they asked me to be a part of it. They have invited less than 20 pre-professional dancers to participate. I am really excited because I really do love my Gaynor Minden pointe shoes so I'm happy to promote them! I feel honored that they chose me. It's a great opportunity for me.

After lunch we had character class. It was a pretty challenging class. The teacher liked to move through combinations fast. If you don't have character at your home studio your summer intensive may be the only place you get it. This is the case for me and I have been lucky enough to have it every summer since my first intensive at ABT NYC at age 12. Character is like folk dancing and appears in classical ballets like Coppelia, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. The SAB website says it also appears in contemporary works and companies are doing more and more contemporary these days. So you better learn it =) If you are not familiar you can search it on youtube. 

Our last class of the day was variations class with Harriet Clark. We learned Copellia Act 3. We did the version with the toe hops. I like this version but I also like jumping a lot so doing it with jumps would have been nice too.

On Wednesday night I went to go watch the Sunset. It was soooo pretty! 

Thursday we had class with Melissa Bowman. I REALLY love her classes and teaching style and I remember liking them even back when I was 12. I had a real dedication to my Russian teacher then and it was not often that enjoyed anyone else's classes! We also had pointe class with her. During pointe class I was doing a combination in my group and Kevin McKenzie, THE Artistic Director of ABT, watched it in the doorway! It was to the left and we were about to do a pirouette. I did a triple to the left! My friend Spencer said Kevin McKenzie watched his whole pas class!! 

After lunch we had music class with one of the pianists who plays for ABT.  Our last class was rep. In this class I didn't do too much because the teacher was working with the other cast. Also she let us go early because she needed to work with the soloists.  I stayed and watched because I had to stay for the JKO year round audition.  JKO is the associate school attached to American Ballet Theatre. 

The audition was originally supposed to go from 5:30-7:30 but they changed it to only an hour! Franco De Vita, Principal of the JKO school, taught the class and Melissa Bowman watched. I was number 22 and there were a few other girls from my level auditioning with me. I thought it went really well! The combinations were pretty simple and it went by fast! I don't think we find out until after the program. Waiting to hear is so hard! 

On Friday we get to wear colored leotards! I decided to wear my long sleeve pinkish Yumiko. It's one of my favorites. I have a very generous person that sponsors ALL of my Yumiko leotards and I am very grateful. =) I'll be making another leotard collection video soon! I can't always reply to all the comments on my youtube videos but I do see the requests!

Me and Sheridian, a girl in my level, were twinning. Well basically it was just reversed so I guess we were mirroring. :)

We took these pictures at the end of the day. 

After class on Friday I headed to the Gaynor Minden store, which is super close to ABT. I met Paige and some other girls that worked there. They were all very nice and helpful. I told them I wanted to try a custom pair so they are going to cut down the sides and tweak some things. I should get that pair in about a month and will make a video about the process and how the shoes turn out. It's really difficult to even attempt custom pairs when your foot is still growing because you have to wait for them and you don't know how they will be. My feet are done growing... well they better be. I have big and wide feet. 

Since I needed to get a new pair anyways I got this pair pictured below. It is a bit different than my current pair. It is a 5 box and medium width. I like them a lot and can't wait for my custom pair! 

On Saturday my roommates and I went out to breakfast and then basically chilled the rest of the day. Later in the evening Melissa Chapski and I headed to So Ho to try out this gelato place. We both got this hot panino with cookie dough gelato. It was incredible. I met Melissa at Ellison Ballet a few years ago. She's a great dancer and you've probably seen her modeling for a lot of ballet products and Discount Dance. She placed top 12 in Senior Women at YAGP Final Round NYC 2015. You can find her on Instagram @ballerinachi. We like to eat! One of my first photos with her is at a bakery eating a giant piece of cake! 

I love the little dumplings filter for photos ;) 

On Sunday I took Mr. Ellison's class at Steps and it was surprisingly not as crowded as the week before. His class is popular, just like him. I met some girls going to his intensive and they told me they watched some of my YouTube videos! They were really nice and I loved meeting them! 

After Steps class my friend Audrey and I headed to Brooklyn. We went to the New York Transit Museum. It was cool because we got to see all these old subway cars! 

Probably my favorite subway car. 

Audrey doing some ballet in the Subway.

Some interesting color choices! 

Audrey and I honestly had no idea where we were going but we eventually made it to the water. We met this cute little poodle along the way! I love animals =) 

Some pictures by the water. 

I eventually headed back home. I did some laundry and attempted to sew the rest of my new pair of Gaynors. I can't believe there are only 2 weeks left. I really do not want it to end. I am loving this intensive!

Thanks for reading about week three 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! 

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