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Summer Progress!

Victoria Leigh

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  • Administrators

I would like to hear about all the things you learned this summer in your ballet intensives! What was good, not so good, what did you learn, how different were your classes from your regular classes, and do you feel that you made a lot of progress. Names of programs and teachers are totally optional, but just tell us about your experiences, especially in the area of technique and pointe, and maybe performances too :D

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  • Administrators

What? Has no one learned anything all summer??? Come, come dancers, let's have some thoughts about your summer classes, your progress, and especially what you feel you learned or things that were different for you at your SI! :cool:

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Guest sylphide*4ever

I couldn't go to an SI this year because of a family issue beyond my control, but my school had a summer program with different guest teachers from another part of the world. They brought dancers about our age (13-17) from their homeland. It was very fun communicating with dance students from a different place, about their schools, traditions, training, etc.


For the first two weeks, we were preparing for our summer concerts, containing Paquita, and other modern works. Everyone learned a little bit of the choreography beforehand, but most of it was put together in two weeks. We had classes and rehearsals from 9 in the morning until 6 at night. It was incredibly hectic and tiring, but well worth it. There were about 15 students from other parts of the world, combined with our 20 students. I've never had such a big technique class in my life~! (I know this sounds pretty corny, but once in class, we were all doing a cambre backwards, and the guest teacher told us to look in the mirrors. It looked so beautiful, 35 bodies completely in sync, I felt like crying. :) )


The remaining two weeks were much less hectic, and we got split up into different groups, and rotated through technique, pointe, pas de deux (for the more advanced 16-17), repertoire/variations, and modern. The groups were very small, so there was a lot of individual attention.


The technique and pointe classes were very interesting. Some guest teachers were R.A.D- trained (I'm also R.A.D-trained), and some were Russian-trained (Vaganova, if I remember correctly). It was a little bit confusing learning the different terminology in the Russian classes, even the names of the different arm positions were different!! Regardless of that, I finally learned what my true strengths (control, adage, pointework, pirouettes) and weaknesses (petit allegro, some grand allegro, not breathing properly) were. The teachers gave me some exercises to work on my beats, the ball of my foot , which is not relaxed enough during jumps, and more. There was one teacher who gave very tricky and long petit allegro and pirouette enchainments. That certainly strengthed my memory. Another teacher was very famous for giving extremely short and simple exercises. However, he expects almost perfection. It was very beneficial for us to focus on the basics in technique and try to perfect it.


I was almost the youngest girl in the whole program, so the pointe classes were a little difficult for me. Thankfully, when the older girls were throwing off triple pirouettes on pointe, the younger girls were allowed to stay with singles and doubles. In fact, I did my first nearly perfect double pirouette en pointe during this program. The trick is keeping it consistent . The teachers helped us improve many simple steps (transfering weight in pique turns, balancing in releves on one leg, etc.)


I learned a great deal of variations and repertoire in 4 weeks, including Paquita #1,2 and 4, the 3 in Les Sylphides, 4 Little Swans, and parts of Swan Lake corps. In the school year, we will work to polish each of them. I didn't get to participate in the Pas de Deux classes, because they were for the advanced students, but it was very fun watching them~!


This was the first time I've ever formally learned Jazz and modern. In modern, we did some Limon technique, and it was extremely different from ballet. For Jazz, I expected something similar to hip-hop dancing at school dances and parties. It turned out to be very different and pretty difficult. The teachers said that it was obvious that we were all ballet students because we were all stiff~!!



The extra-curricular activities were extremely fun too~!! We all went to one of our teacher's houses to watch ballet videos and talk (My teacher has a huge library of dance videos and books.) We brought the foreign students to the C.N Tower and Niagara Falls, the popular travellers' destinations for Toronto. It was very interesting getting to know people from other parts of the world, and also my usual ballet buddies and teachers, outside of our ballet classes.


Wow, that was a long description. Hope it wasn't too boring~



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Not a bit too long, Veronica!!!:) Just the sort of thing we were looking for, in fact. Not only is this sort of post informative to the rest of the YD crowd, but Ms. Leigh and I learn things from it, too!

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  • Administrators

Wonderful, Vernonica, thank you! It sounds like a really positive summer for you, and without even going away :) I appreciate your ability to write about it so well, and so detailed!


Edit: Just noticed after posting this that it was post number 7000! Yikes! I think I spend too much time here ;) :eek:

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Guest Medora

Hi everyone. I did not go to a summer intensive either, atlhough I really want to!! I did dance four nights a week at my school at home, however, and I think I have improved. I am starting to get my fouttes on pointe altough my coordination is still a little off, and I am now starting to do consistent double pirouettes and pique turns on pointe and flat. I am still having trouble with arabesque and attitude turns though. I have fell qutie a lot too, but I feel that that is a good thing now because now I am not so scared when I dance as I used to be, and I am making a greater effort and getting better at keeping my weight forward. I am still having trouble controlling my "loosy goose" body, but that is my weakness, and it is slowly but surely getting better.

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  • Administrators

Just bumping this up to the top ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Ballet_babe_123

This summer I only went to a two day intensive in a near by city. The teachers were from back east and it was great fun. There was about sixty girls who took both days and it was really neat to see not only the different teaching styles but also the different styles of dancing were of particular intrest to me.

My school stresses Vaganova and the teacher who taught the ballet classes taught RAD so it was very interesting to see how different and in some ways similar the two methods are. We did pointe and soft shoe technique and one of the teachers had us to pirouettes for a half an hour, just trying to turn and then stop turning and still be in a retiré position in perfect balance (if that makes any sense! :( ) Our pointe teacher also took a great deal of time on our turns and I can now say that I have lost all fear of turning. We didn't do any variations, but we had very long adagio combinations and very long but fast petite allegro. The classes were an hour and a half sometimes an hour and forty five minutes if we were really into something, and they were pretty hard. I was one of the younger students in the program so the classes were a struggle for me but all in all they were great.

During the jazz portion of the intensive we had one teacher who was VERY energetic and her class was all about how we should all let everything go and how it doesn't matter if we got ALL the steps right but as long as we let go and had a great time. I really took that message away with me and even now in my jazz classes it stays with me.

At the end of the two days we had a "showcase" which was every one performed the combinations they learned. It was a fun way to end a great two days. I met a lot of people and learned lots of new things. It was very interesting to meet people who share the same passion and interest that I do.


Hope that answers it all ... It was really long :)

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  • Administrators

Thanks for posting, Jen! It sounds like a great two days :( Hope that next year you can do a longer intensive!

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