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Richmond (Sun King Dance) Survival Guide

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Hilarion -

 

Yes, people do survive Richmond, even when they're not at 100%! You'll still have a wonderful time if you take it relatively easy, and "dance smart, not hard".

 

I know of at least one other person (an ADC veteran) who is on her way to Richmond with an injury that has kept her out of her regular ballet classes the past few weeks. She plans to go slowly, perhaps take class at a lower level than she normally would, and sit out the classes that she feels she can't handle. She'll take along a notebook and take notes as she observes the class and coaching. It's a great opportunity to learn, even if you aren't participating directly.

 

Be sure to talk to Heidi when you get there. Tell her about your accident, the extent of your injury, and what you've been doing for it. Although Heidi is not a physical therapist, she's very knowledgeable - and sympathetic - and will probably advise you on a sensible course of action during the week.

 

Have a great time, and let us know how you fare....

 

Carolyn ;o)

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BarreTalk

The RICHMOND SURVIVAL GUIDE is a "sticky" topic because it offers advice to dancers getting ready for their first ADC experience. To keep it interesting and useful, it would be nice if people who've written things that aren't of continuing general interest, like "I'm excited to be going, what flight are you on?" to remove those contributions. The Adult Buddy Board is a better location for those posts.

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BarreTalk

Some notes from the first August 2003 session:

 

The Crowne Plaza has been renovated, so the rooms are much nicer now. Getting an in-room refrigerator is still a struggle. Apparently, they just don't own enough of them. Part of the Group rate at the Crowne Plaza is access to a "meet and greet" room, which turns into a combination of party central and late-night rehearsal space each evening. The hotel put a couple refrigerators there, but they were overloaded. They still need to look up the definition of "hot" as applied to "hot tub", which was luke warm at best.

 

The hotel has an ATM ($3 fee!) and a business center with a computer, fax, and printer. I travel with my own laptop, so didn't investigate how expensive using their computer would be, but if you need to check e-mail, it's nice to know it is possible.

 

Hotels are famous for charging excessive fees for telephone access. I was glad to see my local calls to check e-mail were not charged for. You can avoid expensive long distance bills by using a calling card or your own celphone.

 

One participant cashed in his frequent stayer points to stay at another hotel. That meant he had to rent a car, and missed some of the camaraderie of the "dancer's dorm", but he came out ahead economically.

 

There's a new super-sized grocery store just uphill from Havana 59, much closer than the Carytown markets.

 

Ellman's dancewear stayed open late 2 nights for ADC students, and gave us a 20% discount. They sold lots of shoes! Be aware their men's department is non-existant.

 

The end-of-the-week party was held Saturday night, rather than Friday. This meant a more solid Saturday performance by dancers who didn't have to deal with hangovers. This is just one more great reason to plan to leave Richmond on Sunday, rather than running for a Saturday flight right after the performance ends.

 

Other danceforms like jazz and character are offered just to expose students to something other than ballet. Don't feel like you need to buy special shoes for these classes, if you won't be using them again.

 

Be sure to bring some convertible or footless tights, or shorts for stretching class and other times you don't want to wear ballet shoes.

 

Nobody has ever lost anything from the locker rooms at Richmond Ballet (to the best of my knowledge), but you might want to bring a padlock and claim a locker.

 

Be sure to bring a stretching or yoga mat.

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Hilarion
Some notes from the first August 2003 session:

 

The Crowne Plaza has been renovated, so the rooms are much nicer now. Getting an in-room refrigerator is still a struggle. Apparently, they just don't own enough of them. Part of the Group rate at the Crowne Plaza is access to a "meet and greet" room, which turns into a combination of party central and late-night rehearsal space each evening. The hotel put a couple refrigerators there, but they were overloaded. They still need to look up the definition of "hot" as applied to "hot tub", which was luke warm at best.

 

The hotel has an ATM ($3 fee!) and a business center with a computer, fax, and printer. I travel with my own laptop, so didn't investigate how expensive using their computer would be, but if you need to check e-mail, it's nice to know it is possible.

 

Hotels are famous for charging excessive fees for telephone access. I was glad to see my local calls to check e-mail were not charged for. You can avoid expensive long distance bills by using a calling card or your own celphone.

 

One participant cashed in his frequent stayer points to stay at another hotel. That meant he had to rent a car, and missed some of the camaraderie of the "dancer's dorm", but he came out ahead economically.

 

There's a new super-sized grocery store just uphill from Havana 59, much closer than the Carytown markets.

 

Ellman's dancewear stayed open late 2 nights for ADC students, and gave us a 20% discount. They sold lots of shoes! Be aware their men's department is non-existant.

 

The end-of-the-week party was held Saturday night, rather than Friday. This meant a more solid Saturday performance by dancers who didn't have to deal with hangovers. This is just one more great reason to plan to leave Richmond on Sunday, rather than running for a Saturday flight right after the performance ends.

 

Other danceforms like jazz and character are offered just to expose students to something other than ballet. Don't feel like you need to buy special shoes for these classes, if you won't be using them again.

 

Be sure to bring some convertible or footless tights, or shorts for stretching class and other times you don't want to wear ballet shoes.

 

Nobody has ever lost anything from the locker rooms at Richmond Ballet (to the best of my knowledge), but you might want to bring a padlock and claim a locker.

 

Be sure to bring a stretching or yoga mat.

Some mainly personal notes from the second August 2003 session:

 

This was my first time at ADC, and by the time the performance rolled around, I was enjoying myself thoroughly. Admittedly, I had some misgivings going into it, and these changed and multiplied the first few days.

 

My initial trepidation stemmed in part from an automobile accident I had been in about 4-1/2 weeks before the session. The pain and back spasms from the accident seemed very likely to make it necessary to cancel my trip. But liberal doses of valium and prescription ibuprofen and physical therapy and massage restored my ability to function, and I decided to go to Richmond after all. I never suffered so much as a twinge in my lower back while I was there.

 

Even if I had had no back problems at all, I would still have been worried about my ability to learn the material. My anxiety about this was not entirely unfounded - if the guy who styles himself online as "2 Left Feet" had not taken the name first, I surely would have it now. As it was, I spent the first 2-3 days with the Deer In The Headlights look on my face in class - that is, when I wasn't imitating Macaulay Culkin's facial expressions in those "Home Alone" movies. I did relax as the week progressed, though.

 

The Crowne Plaza couldn't be handier to Richmond Ballet (being next door). It meant that I could linger in bed until the last minute, yet still be on time for class. The hotel has a shuttle which is free and will take you wherever you wish, except to the airport. The drivers are paid wetback wages, so tips are both welcome and advisable (morally, at least). All of the staff at the CP are friendly and helpful and responsive, to a degree that I found unusual. My only quibble about the place is the cost. Not the overnight cost, which with the Dance Camp discount is low indeed, but all of the extras, meals most especially. I did eat in a lot, as there is no restaurant that I know of in the immediate vicinity, and I didn't want to take the time/trouble of going all the way to Carytown for dinner. By the time classes ended for the day I was plumb exhausted. By Wednesday, also, my feet were sore all of the time, and my big toes were unbelievably painful; conditions that militated against a night on the town.

 

The early advice in this thead proved most useful. As soon as I could, I bought a cheap styrofoam cooler at Kroger's in Carytown, and kept it supplied from the ice machine down the hall. From time to time I would trudge over to the 7-11 on Belvidere to replenish my stock of spring water. I kept leftovers in the cooler, as well. (I did not know about the grocery store in the Shockoe area near Havana 59 until I read the above email after I got home.) A few small refrigerators were available in the hospitality suite, but those in the know (alumnae/alumni) snagged these almost immediately.

 

Although I said, above, that I had felt a certain right to the 2 Left Feet screen name, I never imagined that my own, Hilarion, would ever be apt. Ironically, it is, now, in a way. One of the pieces that we performed at the Saturday afternoon performance was the Peasant Dance from Giselle. (Verily, by the time we got out of Grace Street Theatre I felt that I had danced to death.)

 

There was a great mismatch in the female/male ratio in the second August session - 38 women/4 men, so all of the choreography had to be somewhat jiggered to take this into account. One of the men, Scott, did not participate in the Giselle piece. Instead, he had a solo performance, taken, I believe, from "Stars and Stripes." Much to everyone's disappointment, he had to cancel this, owing to food poisoning he had contracted the night before the performance. But he did take part in the pas de deux later. This was also from "Stars and Stripes."

 

The men's variation, for three, was from "Cakewalk." Until we actually did it I never believed that I would be able to memorize the choreography for anything that I was in. When it came time to perform I was entirely confident of Giselle, but not nearly so much of Cakewalk, probably because I spent most of Giselle camouflaged by ballerinas, and in Cakewalk I was as visible as could be. But after Cakewalk was over I received so many compliments that I have to figure that I acquitted myself reasonably well.

 

The only thing I really didn't like was the pas de deux. We were only given two days both to learn the basics and the choreography. Admittedly, the choreography was simple enough, but partnering turned out to be much more difficult than it appears. I sprained both arms before I learned how that ballerinas are not barbells and that upper-body strength counts for less than knowing how to lift with one's legs. It was over mercifully quickly. I really cannot help but think that I would have been happier in a pas de ducks, since that was certainly more descriptive of my performance (but not of my two partners, I hasten to add).

 

I am an ADC addict now, so I am currently suffering from PDCD - Post Dance Camp Depression. A whole year until I get another fix? Heaven help me until the summer of 2004.

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BarreTalk

I'm just now realizing one of the best benefits of ADC - learning and remembering choreography much faster.

 

Adult Dance Camp classes start practicing their routines on Wednesday for a Saturday afternoon performance. Everyone knows that isn't enough time for professional polish. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! With another week, I woulda been perfect). That's a lot of choreography being thrown at you all at once!

 

Fast forward to now...

 

I accepted the part of Drosselmayer in our Nutcracker, knowing my work travel schedule would mean missing weeks of rehearsal. Last week I finally got to attack the part and rehearsed it almost every day. Wow! I actually learned the sequence of moves in the first day or so, so now I can concentrate on nuance. The movement-memory part of my brain seems to work much better than any previous part I've tried to learn.

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BarreTalk

Another important thing to remember about Adult Dance Camp...

 

The video you ordered will take several months to arrive.

 

Todd spends a lot of energy putting the videos together, but his real clients come first, so there is a huge delay between the end of camp and the receipt of your tape.

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Guest meliss83

question about this, i just heard about it... and i would really like to attend, dorming is not available, how expensive to the hotels run for the week?? just trying to figure out finances, or is there a way to call and find out?

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Hjete

The ADC website says, "Rooms are $72 per night + tax for single or double occupancy." If you didn't already find it, the website is www.adultdancecamps.com :innocent:

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Hilarion

Meliss, it so happens that the building that houses the Richmond Ballet is directly across the street from the Crowne Plaza Hotel Richmond. Last year, people who attended ADC were given a discount on rooms at the Crowne Plaza. I have in front of me my bill for the week of August 16-August 23, 2003. My room rate was $72.00 a day, plus sales tax of $3.24/day, plus occupancy tax of $5.76/day.

 

I don't think that there are any other hotels/motels in the immediate vicinity of Richmond Ballet, although I am not certain of that. While I could walk (by midweek my toes were very painful) I did some exploration of the area, and I didn't see any alternatives to the Crowne Plaza. Even if there were, it woud be highly unlikely that one could get a room rate that is less than the discounted rate at the Plaza.

 

The nearest restaurants are in an area called Schockoe Slip - a neighborhood of antebellum-vintage warehouses that have been rehabbed into trendy shops and eateries. I came into Richmond on Saturday, August 16. Heidi had rented a hospitality suite in the Plaza, where we all started to get to know our fellow dancers. From there, we all went down to a restaurant in Shockoe Slip. Very nice place, but a little on the high end, as are all of the restaurants in that area. Priced for the tourist trade, apparently.

 

For the most part later that week, if people were going to leave the hotel to eat, they would go to a neighborhood called Carytown, which is hip but more student-oriented than Shockoe Slip, so there are all sorts of restaurants in Carytown that won't break your personal bank. Another advantage to Carytown is that it has a dancewear store. (The advantage is relative, since it only caters to women. However, I was able to buy stuff for my feet that got me through the rest of the week.) Although Shockoe Slip is about a 20-25 minute walk from the hotel, Carytown is a good distance off, even by car. The hotel shuttle will take you just about anywhere you want to go, for free, though it is good form to tip the drivers, who are not otherwise well-paid for this service.

 

Every morning, I partook of the fixed price breakfast buffet at the hotel. One can order breakfast off the menu, but that would of course cost more, and the buffet was pretty good, as such things go, plus you can go back unlimited times for extra servings. According to my bill, the buffet cost $13.40 base, more for coffee.

 

As the week progressed, my enthusiasm to go to Carytown or Shockoe Slip for dinner rapidly declined. I missed the opportunities to socialize, but I really really really needed to get off my feet just as soon as classes were over for the day, so I hobbled back to the hotel to soak my aching gams in ice water. And then I ordered room service, and ended up paying much more for the privilege of dining in than if I had gone to one of the tie-and-jacket only restaurants in Shockoe Slip.

 

The hotel did not have a washer and drier for guest use, so I used the laundry service twice that week. My bill shows that I paid $28.95 the first time, and $29.05 the second time.

 

I also stayed an extra night, hoping to get in some tourist time for the brief remainder of my vacation. But because I had to catch the plane home, I didn't really have much time after all to see the city, (plus, my feet were still loudly protesting) so the extension of my stay turned out to be an impractical decision.

 

Anyhow, to make a long story short, my total bill from the Crowne Plaza that week came to $1,007.47.

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Guest meliss83

is that total not including the cost of the intensive program? this venture is starting to look a little to expensive for a poor college student :wink: but i shall do my best. :thumbsup:

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old shoe

If you share a room (Heidi will usually be able to help you get a roommate), buy food to make in the room for breakfast, eat at the diner up the street a lot and/or save half your lunch for dinner, your total bill will be considerably less! Although this year they (inconsistently) charged for individual microwaves and refrigerators, the hotel did make a common room with microwaves and refrigerators available to campers so it was possible to eat out infrequently or not at all. There are lots of people who only budget for one or two dinners out during the week.

 

There is a somewhat less expensive hotel about a block to the other side of Richmond Ballet from the Crowne Plaza.

 

I saved money at one session this past summer by driving instead of flying.

 

It is easy to have the total for camp and hotel/food reach $1,000, but I think there are a number of ways to keep it from reaching $1500.

 

Good luck-hope you can make it!

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Guest meliss83

how do i contact heidi to get a roomate? and doesn anyone know, for the third session, when money and applications are due by? thanks

-melissa

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old shoe

If you look at the tuition and enrollment section on the web site it will answer questions about dates and provide a link for downloading the application. There is a place on the application to indicate you would like them to find you a roommate.

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Hilarion

Old Shoe, thanks for your response about money-saving tips. I really needed some fresh thinking on ways to reduce my costs. Now I can plan better.

 

Which session are you going to? I ask because I see that you are driving, and that you are in Massachusetts. I'm in Quincy and I am going to the late August session, in all likelihood. If that's the same one you are heading to, and if you want to save even more money on gas & tolls, I'm offering myself as a driving companion.

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old shoe

Deleted at the request of Barre Talk.

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