Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ballet West Academy Behind the Scenes

My First Semester at the Ballet West Academy

Hello again! My name is Timmorie Freeman and I am back to do a guest blog about my first semester at the Ballet West Academy. Since my first month at Ballet West, a lot has happened. I have been able to perform, be a part of some amazing projects and have continued to train intensively. 

In reference to the amazing projects, I was able to take part in a car commercial in October. The commercial was for a new car by Lexus and it was quite the experience. We were driven out to the Salt Flats and while on the bus, had shoes to sew and pancake. Once we got to there, we were put into hair and makeup. The hair was a slicked-back bun and makeup included lots and lots of sparkles!!!!! We were soon called to put on costumes. Next, we learned choreography and waited. There were delays because of rain, but eventually, we were driven about 3 miles towards the mountains, on salt! Once we started shooting, everything was fast paced. We would shoot the same thing anywhere from 3-12 times. In certain sections, the car would drive within a few inches of us, so we had to be very aware. Sometimes as we danced, there was a drone flying over to film us, or colored smoke bombs going off. It was a lot of moving parts that had to be coordinated and work in harmony. The commercial just aired in Japan and if you would like to see it, here is the link:      

Me in costume at the Salt Flats

Getting lots of sparkles put on
My friends and I after arriving at the Salt Flats

The next week was the Opening Night for Ballet West’s Iconic Classics. Iconic Classics included Fancy Free, by Jerome Robbins, Overgrown Path, by Jiří Kylián and Symphony in C, by George Balanchine. The first two performances included the Grand de File from the Ballet West Academy. It was a really cool experience to be a part of a company’s opening night. You could feel the excitement backstage.

The rest of October and most of November was preparation for Nutcracker. I was a Page in A cast, which meant that I performed in Ogden, Utah and in Salt Lake City! Going to Ogden was so much fun! We would get on a bus and watch movies, rehearse, perform, get back on the bus and watch movies again. Ogden performances were actually the week of Thanksgiving, but we didn’t perform on Thursday. My parents, brother, grandma and puppy came out to see me too! We spent Thanksgiving together and they also saw me perform. It was so nice to see them. 

Between the shows in Ogden and the shows in Salt Lake City, we had the Ballet West Academy Invitational. In this, academy students were able to perform a variation, either as practice for YAGP or just for performing. We all got coaching on the stage and some students were selected to have a coaching session with Adam Sklute. I was able to have one of the coaching sessions and it was VERY beneficial. He gave corrections that you may not get normally and phrased the corrections in a way that made it easy to fix things. I performed Pharaoh’s Daughter and thought that it went well. 

Backstage during coaching sessions

Once I was done with the Nutcracker shows for my cast, I was a cover for B cast and C cast. This meant that I was at all of the shows, backstage, in case someone got sick or injured. I ended up going on twice. One time as a Page, in a different spot, and one time as a Servant. I had to learn the choreography and practice with the other Servants so that I could blend in.

Finally, we had made it to winter break!! I was with my family in Palm Springs for Christmas and we drove out to San Diego before my birthday. While I was in San Diego, I got to catch up with Robbie and Kyla! It was so great to see them and hear that things are going well <3 I was also promoted to Trainee, which was very exciting!!  

My Birthday Dinner

A picture I took in Palm Springs

My new schedule is very different and often changes from day to day, depending on what the company and second company are doing.
10:00-11:30 Technique en Pointe
11:45-12:45 Women’s Repertoire
2:00-3:30    Repertoire
9:45-11:30   Technique
11:45-12:45 Pointe
1:00-2:00    Jazz
2:00-2:30    Stretch
2:30-3:30    Conditioning
9:45-10:45   Somatics
11:00-12:45 Technique
1:00-2:00     Pointe
9:45-11:30   Technique en Pointe
11:45-12:45 Variations
10:00-11:30 Technique en Pointe
11:30-1:00   Pas de Deux
1:00-2:30    Modern
9:00-9:45     Movement Mentor
10:30-12:00 Technique
Company rehearsals or Ballet West II rehearsals fit into this anywhere from 11:45 to 6:45. Recently, rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet have been from 11:45 to 2:45 and 3:45-6:45, but this is because the show opens so soon!

It was slightly stressful coming back to Salt Lake City because I had about a week to rehearse, practice and prepare for the Vienna International Ballet Experience in Missoula, Montana. It was an amazing thing to be a part of, especially because it was their first time in America. After our classes on Monday, we drove up to Missoula. It was about 7 and a half hours, but it was absolutely gorgeous!! We got checked in and were given our information packets. I was competing as a soloist in the classical and neoclassical category. My classical variations were Flames of Paris and Pharaoh’s Daughter. My neoclassical was a piece called Power. Ballet West also sent a pas de deux to compete. Jackson and Ashleigh did the Satanella Pas de Deux and Variations.   

My Welcome Packet

I competed my neoclassical on Wednesday, and my two variations on Thursday. The pas de deux also competed on Thursday. I thought that my neoclassical went well and that Flames of Paris did too. Pharaoh’s Daughter however, was a little more rocky. Thursday night, the results were posted and all of us made it to the Finals! On Friday, I performed Pharaoh’s Daughter again because I wanted some redemption. The pas de deux was performed beautifully!

Ashleigh, Jackson, Peter Merz and I on stage after I performed my Neoclassical Piece

On Friday evening, we patiently waited for results to be posted. By patiently waiting, I mean sitting on my bed with my computer hitting refresh over and over and over again. On Saturday, I was awarded the Bronze Medal in the Junior 3 Category for Flames of Paris. I can’t thank my teachers and parents enough for all of their support, coaching and guidance.The three of us were also invited the compete in the same competition in Vienna and a competition in Korea. 

The Hotel Lobby

For the next semester, there is a lot coming up. We have Romeo and Juliet, Youth America Grand Prix, Beauty and the Beast, a trip to Berlin and our Spring performance of Cinderella. I’m excited to keep you guys updated with these blogs. Again, thank you to Robbie and Gina for having me back! -Timmorie

From the drive back to Salt Lake City

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