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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Richmond (Sun King Dance) Survival Guide

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Thought it might be a good idea to start posting some general thoughts on surviving a week of dance. Keep in mind, there's 8+ hours of dance or dance related activity every day. So there's a few things you might want to keep in mind to make things easier on yourself:


1) Start building up to the demand of all that time dancing. Add more classes to your schedule as the intensive nears. By the time I went to last years intensive, I was taking two classes a day four times a week, and on Saturday I was doing three classes. The more prepared you are the less likely you are to injure yourself and you'll handle the days better.


2) Bring about every piece of dancewear you own. You'll find you may wish to change at lunch. It takes a long time to dry tights in a hotel shower, so you'll need lots of clothes.


3) Pack some dance clothes seperately and carry them with you on the plane. God help us if our bags go to Vanouver.


4) I stongly suggest a cheap, throw away cooler for the room when you arrive. Keep it full of ice and take the free shuttle to the grocery store to stock up when you arrive. You'll want to take lots of things to snack on to class every day. They have a refrigerator we can use to keep things cool if you want ot bring yogurt and such.


5) Water, water and more water.


6) Indulge. Eat like a pig. You'll be working very hard so don't deny your body. And don't even bother worrying about putting on weight. There is no way in the world you'll gain weight that week so don't even think about it.


7) Don't push, either. You'll be working harder than you're used to (unless you're a pro). Don't expect to handle 8 hours of dancing right away. Take a class off if you need to. They have videos. Relax. Enjoy. Make it home in one piece.


8) You're there to have fun. So have fun. The teachers don't put any pressure on you so don't put it on yourself.


9) Bring a camera.

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  • Hjete


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  • old shoe


As another Richmond veteran, I'd like to amplify and add to this series of suggestions (numbers correspond to the original post)


1. Building up your strength and endurance will help you to maximize your fun at summer camp. However, don't freak out if that doesn't work for you! I went to Richmond last year with zero classes for 2 weeks prior due to travel and work commitments. In fact, I had to take the red-eye arriving Sunday morning to even get there on time. Do what you can, but don't stress out if you can't.


2. We all know dance clothes wear out, so anticipate your next 6 months needs and buy in advance of going to Richmond. The more clothes you bring - the fewer evenings you'll spend laundering them. If you want to be really conservative, plan 2 sets of clothes per day. That is overkill, but having the option to change your clothes at lunch before going into pas de deux is wonderful for your partner. Don't forget your swimsuit if you want to participate in the hotel hot-tub "dancer stew" each evening.


3. One of my suitcases got lost in transit. Fortunately, it was the one with my civilian clothes in in it. For 3 days, all I had to wear was dance clothes, the clothes I flew in, and Richmond Ballet sweat pants, sweat shirts, and t-shirts I purchased from the nice lady from the ballet auxillery. (United Airlines eventually reimbursed me for these). Come prepared for airline disasters. I shudder to think what would have happened if my dance clothes were lost instead of my normal stuff. Can you imagine trying to buy technique shoes or men's tights on a Sunday in a strange town?


4: Because you will be expending so much energy, you'll need lots of nourishment to fuel your body. The in-room cooler idea is wonderful, because you are going to want drinks, yogurts, and so on randomly. Hotels are not equipped to deal with hungry dancers. The camp does a pretty decent job of helping you with nutrition during the day. They stock a refrigerator with various items but also expect you to pay for what you eat (honor system). No objections to people bringing their own favorites.


5: Drink, drink, drink. I live in Colorado, where everyone is used to the idea that water disappears from your body and everyone carries a water bottle. Get into the habit, because you need it.


6: When you go out to dinner, you'll probably want to "eat smart" because plie's the next morning may not feel too good on top of a half digested pork chop. But desserts rock! You can eat all you want and still keep that svelte dancer body.


7: Remember that a full week of dance class is a marathon, not a sprint. If that means sitting out a class, or even going back to the hotel to take a nap, don't stress out on what you are missing. You want to get through the week happy and healthy. You know your body's limitations. Push them but don't exceed what you can do.


8. This is adult summer camp, not an audition for NYCB! Have fun and take the time to meet your fellow campers.


9. Last year, we didn't have enough stills or video of the week. Heidi has promised a professional photographer to shoot the last day "performance", but be sure to bring your own camera and don't feel like you are imposing by asking another camper to shoot you in a pose. We found out the hard way that many of the new digital cameras have a serious lag time from the time you push the shutter until the time the picture gets taken. Lots of shots of the aftermath of a great movement!


I'm looking forward to another great week in Richmond. I'm happy to answer any questions that will help others decide whether to go, and then what to bring.

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Guest Danzure

Hearing all this makes me want to hop on a plane right now. I can't wait a coule of months. I have one question, I know there are character classes, what if I don't have character shoes or the skirt? Should I buy them? Thanks in advance.


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I would call or email the school or whomever is in charge of the SI just to make sure, but......


Generally for character classes you will need both shoes and skirt. The latter is extremely easy to make (or you may be able to borrow one before you go--I would not plan on borrowing anything once you are at the program.)

Definitely you will need shoes. Black, probably....but call and make sure.


Have fun---I am always happy to hear that someone is teaching character dance classes in this country! biggrin.gif

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Guest linsusanr

Were most things easily payable with plastic (food, etc)? Did you need to get cash constantly? It'd be nice to know how much cash I should try to bring with me initially ... tongue.gif Thanks for the great tips, guys!

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I'd put in a goodly supply of traveler's cheques. They're useful by themselves or readily convert to cash. smile.gif

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Cash, plastic, trade in small mammals, all accepted and easily handled. Anders, if I were you I'd use plastic and take advantage of the daily changes in exchange rates. Your credit cards will automatically adjust the rates for you.


Character and special clothing needs will be covered in the schedules and additional information Heidi sends out in a few weeks. The June people should be getting theirs soon. August should come out later. There was a dress code for the final performance last year, but it was basic: black tights and white T's for guys, I think Black and pink for women. It wasn't anything that should have been out of the ordinary for anyone attending.


For the character class I took, I didn't bother spending money on special shoes. I figured I'd rarely if ever use them again so why bother. Many of the ladies did invest in shoes and skirts for character classes (it did make it much more fun to watch).


Floors are all marley so you don't need to worry about rosin or special shoes for wood floors. If you haven't been on marley before, you might want to get a pair of technique shoes that don't have rosin on them so you won't stick to the floor.


Last year they had an arrangement with a local dance store to stay open late and to even be open the Sunday before the intensive began in case people needed to go buy anything last minute. They were able to offer intensive students a nice discount -- 10% I believe. I would imagine they would try the same arrangement again. Heidi doesn't miss much in her planning. smile.gif

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Last year, Heidi made arrangements with a massage place to come to the hotel and do massages for tired dancers. However, arrangements had to be made in advance of coming to Richmond. I'm a massage junkie, so I signed up for massage every other day and was glad I did. Others were scrambling for body work by the end of the week.


If massage is offered again this year, think seriously about reserving yours if it is something you've found beneficial in keeping your tired body moving.

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To take advantage of the honor system refrigerator, you'll need piles of one dollar bills (or else plop a twenty into the box the first day and keep track).


Everything else in Richmond is normal Amerika: plastic accepted everywhere, charge meals and sundries in the hotel to your room if you like.


When you go out to dinner with a large group, sometimes settling the bill becomes a hassle. Watch out for dining companions who guess how much they owe, and always guess low. They are the reason most restaurants add an automatic service charge for large groups so the poor wait staff doesn't get stiffed.

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Barre Talk, about you point on digital cameras... It really takes a long time from when you press the button til it reacts and takes the photo because it adjusts everything itself (the distance, light, colours...etc...)

What I would suggest you do when planning to take a photo is take your distance to the subject (they can just stand waiting, no need to go into arabesque just yet!) and press the button while pointing at one of the subject. The camera should make a noise, acknowledging your adjustments of colour/light/distance and the next time you press the photo (time for that arabesque!) the photo will be taken almost instantly...


You don't need to press very hard at first, as long as you hear a little 'click' or 'wrrrr' that's ok (and if you accidentaly press for too long, you can always delete it and restart again...) That was no advert by the way, it's just that my boyfriend is a digital camera geak, so he gave me this tip when I was struggling with this thing like you... biggrin.gif

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Guest Danzure

For those of you who want to save lots of money on dance clothes you can go to www.dannyswarehouse.com everything there is $10 or less. Tights are only $3. There website does not have much selection but for those of you who live near LA their warehouse caries tons of stuff. The only problem is that you have to look through tons of boxes to find what you want. But if you have the time it's worth it.


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  • 3 months later...

Just thought I'd repost this thread so those going in August can get some ideas.

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  • 5 months later...

I've been reading a lot here and elsewhere about the Richmond ADC and want some more info. After the ADC website is up I'll probably contact Heidi Pankoff if I'm still interested in the program, but in the meantime, I thought I'd get excellent info here since lots of you have attended the program. First of all, I'm only 18, so if I came, I would be one of the youngest, correct? Do you think I'd be "too young" for ADC? Were there many younger students in the past? I realize the program is for adults, but the whole philosophy seems right in line with what I want from my dance study....to improve as much as possible for me. I've had about 5 yrs of ballet with the last 2 in a pre-pro school, but I'm not planning to pursue a professional career. I dance for the love of it and plan to continue as long as my body permits me to! At my age, for most good teen SI's I would have to be amazing technically, and while I have a good base, I'm far from company quality. If I go to a summer program, I want to be stretched and also be sure that the training I'm receiving is high caliber. Both of these qualities seem present in the ADC program, and those are two things that attract me to it. If my age would be ok for the program, I'll probably have more questions, so please reply about that first. Thanks.

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Guest Aurelie


Hi there. If I remember correctly there were a few dancers last summer that were 18 and under. I thought I would be the youngest one at 20 but there were a few younger than me. ADC was a wonderful experience and I would recomend it to anyone who has a passion for ballet. What's nice about ADC is that although most of us will never be professionals the teachers treat us like serious dance students. I hope you decide to try it out, i'm sure you will have tons of fun.



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