Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Royal Ballet - Romeo and Juliet with Steven McCrae and Sarah Lamb

With friends in NYC to see The Royal Ballet's Romeo and Juliet .
Scroll down for link to show times to see Royal Ballet in theaters. 

This past Sunday I went to go see The Royal Ballet's performance of Romeo and Juliet in the cinema. It was a recorded version of the performance.  Romeo was played by Steven McRae and Juliet was played by Sarah Lamb.

WOW! It was so amazing!! I absolutely loved it.  Romeo and Juliet is definitely one of my favorite ballets, along with Don Q.  It is a dream of mine to dance Juliet one day.  

The connection that Steven and Sarah had was beautiful.  They both portrayed the characters so well, it felt like I was actually there in the story with them.  One of my favorite moments in the ballet is when Romeo and Juliet connect eyes for the first time.  The music is just perfect for the moment. Here is a clip of Steven McRae and Miyako Yoshida in this moment. It happens around 50 seconds.

Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet was first performed in 1965 at the Covet Garden.  The first dancers to perform the lead roles were Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn.  I really fell in love with MacMillan's choreography.  It flows so nicely and has a great connection to the music.  It is really stunning to watch.  

Prokofiev's music is just brilliant. I do not think I could ever get tired of listening to his pieces.  One of my favorites is the Dance of The Knights from Romeo and Juliet.  I have been listening to this music over and over for the past few days along with watching many videos of Romeo and Juliet. Also, me and my friends have been watching a lot of Royal Ballet in general! 

For me artistry is what really makes watching a ballet so enjoyable.  Sure, if they can do multiple pirouettes, or have crazy extensions, or even have great technique that's something to see for sure but if you don't feel something while watching them perform, especially something like Romeo and Juliet, then it is not the same.  You could see the passion in Sarah's eyes.  There is one moment in the second act of the ballet when Juliet goes to sit on her bed and think.  She is sitting on her bed just staring at the audience.  Sarah portrays the blankness but you can also just feel her thinking about what to do next with her life. I really loved that moment.

Photo Credit and copyright Dave Morgan / Royal Ballet 

I could watch them perform this ballet over and over again! I guess you could say I am officially obsessed with Romeo and Juliet! Ahhh! =D

Here is a video to watch some of the rehearsals of the ballet with Sarah Lamb, Ryoichi Hirano, Alexander Campbell. It is interesting to hear about the process of getting into character.

Here is an article on Sarah from the UK Sunday Express

Photo Credit and copyright Dave Morgan / Royal Ballet

McRae showing all his talent with Violinist, Vasko Vassilev. Great bio in description as well.  

Royal Ballet's Steven McRae and Federico Bonelli with their babies =) Photo from Andre Uspenski’s (@dancersdiary) Instagram
Photo by Andre Uspenski 

Thanks for reading!



Read more about R&J from Royal Opera House! Click Here

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Guest Blogger- Timmorie Freeman

My First Month at Ballet West 

            Hi Everyone! My name is Timmorie Freeman and I am 17 years old. I have been dancing since I was about 5, but seriously since I was 10. I trained at the San Diego School of Ballet, until I moved to Chicago, where I trained with Madame Peff Modelski, for the 4 years I lived there, at the Faubourg School of Ballet and the Ruth Page School of Dance at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. For the next year, I will be training at the Ballet West Academy in the Professional Training Division!  I got this wonderful opportunity from attending the Youth America Grand Prix Finals this past year. Last week, I had officially finished my first month of training at Ballet West and I LOVE IT!!!

            I am lucky enough to be living in a house, which is about a mile and a half away from the BEAUTIFUL studios. There are 5 girls, including me, and we get along very well. We each have our own rooms and have 2 bathrooms to share. The girls who live downstairs have their own fridge, as do the girls upstairs, and we share the kitchen. Thankfully, we all knew each other from the Ballet West Summer Intensive, so there wasn't very much awkwardness. The girls and I are constantly laughing and joking, especially after long days of classes and rehearsals.

My Bed

            When the program started, we hit the ground running. We went straight into our full schedule with rehearsals and a few auditions. The schedule was quite an adjustment, after having a post-summer intensive break and not having many options for classes before I left for Utah. My daily schedule is as follows:


1:00-2:30- Technique

2:30-3:30- Stretch Class

4:00-5:30- Technique


1:00-2:30- Technique

2:30-3:30- Pas De Deux

4:00-5:45- Technique

6:45-8:00- Rehearsal


1:00-2:30- Technique

2:30-3:30- Variations

4:00-5:45- Technique


1:00-2:30- Technique

2:30-3:30- Pointe

4:00-5:30- Technique


11:45-1:00- Rehearsal

1:00-2:30- Technique

2:30-3:30- Modern

4:00-5:30- Technique en Pointe

6:00-7:00- Rehearsal

7:00-9:00- Gala Rehearsal


9:00-9:45- Movement Mentor Class

12:00-1:30- Technique

1:45-3:15- Contemporary

3:30-5:30- Nutcracker Rehearsals

Studio 2

            Throughout the week, we are taught by a few different teachers. We have Mr. Peter Merz, the Director the Academy, Ms. Jan Fugit, the Principal of the Academy, Ms. Heather Fryxell, Mr. Jeff Rodgers, Ms. Cati Snarr and Ms. Natalie Desch. All of these teachers have different backgrounds, while having strong ties to Ballet West. They each provide a different perspective and different corrections that you may not have heard before. With the way the building is designed, the school is well integrated with the company. Although they have their own floor, company members will often come to the Academy floor and watch classes or use open studios. You also never know who will walk by the studio windows to watch for a minute, Mr. Sklute included. Our teachers lovingly call this "Being under Sklute-iny".

            We are required to wear a uniform, which includes the kinds of tights, leotards and skirts that we wear. Our leotards are the Nadine style by Eleve, with the Ballet West Academy logo. The color of the leotard depends on your level and division. For example, the Elementary Division wears Periwinkle, the Intermediate Division wears Navy Blue, the Advanced Division wears Black and the Professional Training Division wears Gray. To distinguish levels within each division, we wear hip alignment belts that are different colors. The A's wear White belts, the B's wear Lilac belts, the C's wear Black belts, and if there's a D level, they wear Navy Blue belts.

Professional Training Division Uniform Front

Advanced Division Uniform Front

            I have found that having 2 technique classes a day, each day, is really taking a toll on my body. To combat the wear-and-tear of these classes, I make an ice bath for my feet in the morning and evening, followed by a contrast soak with warm water and Epsom salt. I also roll out before and after class with stretches to keep my ankles happy. If that doesn't work, I can always go to the PT room where they help us figure out what is going on and what we can do.

            Being in this program and spending so much time with the people in my class, I have already made some really great friends! We've had sleepovers, gone to dinners, gone to the mall, seen movies and made amazing memories. The program gives us the best of both worlds, the serious ballet training and a bit of a normal social life. One of my friends, Lucy, is even taking another one of my friends, Sabrina, to homecoming.

My Friends an Me

            In the Nutcracker, I will be a Page and a Vendor. The Vendor is in the First Act with the Party Scene and Pages are in the Second Act during the Opening and Finale. I am also in the A Cast which means that I get to tour to Ogden, about an hour away from Salt Lake City, to perform. Other performing opportunities include the Gala, Academy Invitational, Beauty and the Beast and the spring performance. The Gala is for the Company's opening night of Iconic Classics including Fancy Free, Symphony in C and Overgrown Path. The students with take part in a Grand DeFile to open the show! The Academy Invitational with be a show where students are able to perform variations. It is open to the public and tickets are free.

The Girls in My Class and Me at the Nutcracker Audition

One thing that has been easier than I had expected, was/is learning how to live "on my own" and take care of myself. The first weekend, I did have to replace a shower head and I felt like such an adult. Things like grocery shopping aren't that bad because you get to pick out things that you like and know what you have for meals for the week. Laundry also isn't bad; unless you let it pile up or forget to wash your uniform and have to wash it in the morning, then wear it slightly damp to class. Sometimes, if I come home late from classes, it's hard to make dinner because I'm so tired and just want the food to appear. One thing that I think is helping is having some food that is already cooked. For example, if I'm making chicken stir-fry, I cook the chicken all at once and then use it throughout the week. It's a lot easier than having to cook chicken every night.

Hannah Fixing the Swiffer
The Shower Head that I Fixed

            One thing that I am very excited for is seeing my family and puppies during the coming week of my fall break. As I'm writing this, I'm actually in the airport in Phoenix. I have found that to get out of Salt Lake City, most of the flights go through Phoenix. I have about a three hour layover and will get to Chicago at about 5:30 am, but it's worth it to have an extra day with my family. I think that it will also be nice to give my body a bit of a break from my regular schedule.

            Lastly, I want to give an ENORMOUS thank you to Robbie and Gina for having me as a Guest Blogger. I have never done something like this before and it was a lot of fun! It's nice to be able to share my thoughts, new experiences and pictures with you guys. I hope that you have enjoyed and I hope to be able to do this again at some point(e)! –Timmorie