Sunday, November 11, 2018

My favorite class is...

...my Advanced Beginner class.

(Did you think I was going to name one of my own teachers, past or present? No way! I couldn't possibly pick a favorite!)

Of all the classes I teach, I think the Advanced Beginner class is the one I would most like to take for myself. This is not because of my students, although I do adore all of them, but rather because of the level of the class.

While I love the challenge of my Intermediate level class and the simplicity of my Beginner class, I think the one right in between is a great class; it's thorough from start to finish. It's an ideal "in-between" level for advanced dancers who need to spend a little more time on technique and for upcoming dancers who want to boost their vocabulary.

But I have heard dancers wonder what makes it "Advanced Beginner." It's not advanced, after all, and it certainly isn't beginner. I tell them it's not quite intermediate but if you are an intermediate level dancer you can certainly make it more challenging. However, a beginner dancer who hasn't had much training might struggle. I expect students in this class to understand some of the basics, even if they can't perform them technically perfectly (that's what I'm for!):

At the barre:
plie, tendu, degage, grand battement, rond de jambe, port de bras, developpe, frappe, passe, cou de pied, arabesque

In the center:
glissade, chasse, jete, changement, balance, pique, pas de bourree, grand jete developpe, pas de chat
Me with 2 Adv Beg students - I have no pictures of my class!

So what does it look like? 
*I'm usually consistent with this class in terms of vocabulary and technique building.
*I use classical music although from time to time, I shake things up with special holiday theme tunes.
*At the barre, I focus on cleanliness of technique, shifting weight from one leg to the other, and warming up the muscles sequentially.
*In the center, I focus on performance.
*I like to do what I call "dramadagio" (I should trademark that) to emphasize stage presence, especially with adagio combinations.
*However, I am also careful to correct technique: pirouettes are my number one focus in the center.
*I want you to get the most out of the barre work you did and apply it to the center.
*Allegro is about brain work and fast feet - I want people to shed their anxiety about small jumps and just try it!

My Advanced Beginner class structure:

Barre - 
1. Begin with standard simple warm-up from head through feet
2. Plie combination is set with 2 demi-plies and 2 grand plies to maximize stretch
3. Tendu combination from first, slowly and simply, with a balance
4. Tendu from fifth position a little faster, with a balance
5. Faster tendu from fifth position to get the feet moving faster
6. Slow degage combination with a full-body stretch and balance
7. Faster degage to challenge the brain
8. Rond de jambe a terre with a stretch and balance
9. Fondu developpe with rond de jambe en l'air, typically moderate tempo
10. Frappe with petit battement, balance and pirouette practice
11. Adagio
12. Grand battements

Center -
1. Tendu with pirouettes en dehors
2. Adagio
3. Waltzy turns across the floor, first right and then left, often with en dehors and en dedans pirouettes
4. Small jumps with or without grand battements to warm up and roll through feet
5. Petit allegro to challenge the brain
6. Grand allegro
7. Reverence

I hope this helps some of you determine if the class is right for you (it probably is! why don't you try it?).  Happy dancing~

Monday, November 5, 2018

Win a book just in time for the holidays!

Alert, alert! The holidays will be here before you know it!

If you're looking for a gift for a young person, one who likes to read, why not enter my giveaway for a middle grade novel? Prince Dustin and Clara: Deep in the Black Forest by Daniel Lee Nicholson is the first in a series that is based loosely on the ballet, The Nutcracker, which itself is based on a 19th century story by ETA Hoffmann.

I wrote a review on the website, Dance Advantage, but it's not up yet. When it is, I will post a link of it if you want to know what I think about it. Here is the Goodreads summary of it:

To escape the wrath of Egon, Clara finds herself Deep in the Black Forest. It is a world of mystery and magic; creatures and animals, fairy tale princesses, and a Snow Queen. Prince Dustin, the Nutcracker Prince, is determined to protect Clara from Egon. Vicious and vile, Egon is not far behind and determined on getting revenge. 

Clara, a sweet and timid 12-year old, soon discovers that her uncle is a wizard in this far away land and that he is at the center of the chain of events. This thrilling fantasy adventure re-tells the story of the fairy tale, The Nutcracker, taking the reader along for the ride…a classic for all seasons!


 I feel it's appropriate for a reader aged 8 and over. Lots of action, some violence, but no sexual innuendo and no profanity. You don't need to know the story of the Nutcracker in order to enjoy the book and you certainly don't need to be a dancer.

So how do you enter? Simply FOLLOW me, COMMENT nicely that you would like to win a free book, and SHARE this post with your friends. That's it! I have one (1) hardcover novel available and will be happy to send it to you wherever you live, as long as that's in the United States. Sorry but I can't afford to send the book outside the country.

Enter BEFORE November 30! I will randomly select a winner on December 1 and will let the winner know by email, so make sure you give me your email address so I can contact you for your physical address to send you the book. Good luck!

Monday, October 29, 2018

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!

Hello beautiful dancers!

Time to celebrate my favorite holiday - twice! 
By special request, this year I'll be doing special Halloween-themed classes on Tuesday 10/30 and Wednesday 10/31, with fun music and homemade treats. All other classes will be held as usual.

What: Halloween!
When/Where
Tuesday, 10/30 at 7PM, Dance Arts Academy
Wednesday 10/31 at 6:30PM and 8PM, Inspire Dance Studio

Feel free to dress up. Spook you in class!

In case you didn't get to my company's show last weekend, here are some fun photos from Rawl of the Dead and a video teaser from Vic Mendoza:






Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Schedule update!

Hello beautiful local dancers!

This is to let you know I will not be teaching next Monday 10/22 and Tuesday 10/23, which are the days immediately following my company's performances (see link below if you are interested!). My parents will be visiting from the East Coast so I will be spending some time with them before they return home.

ALL classes are as usual for the rest of the week and leading up to and including the morning of the first show. If you have any questions, just ask!



Happy dancing!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Help! I've got a cup of water in my pelvis!

I should totally write headlines for a living!

Okay, beautiful dancers, here is a tip to start your week off right:

Imagine you're holding a cup filled to the brim with water (or a cool beverage of your choice, nothing hot!) in the center of your pelvis, in the triangle formed by your pelvic bones and your pubic bone.

Each time you bend your knees for a jump or rise up to a releve, try to keep the cup level so the water doesn't spill. You want to avoid tilting forward or tucking under.

A perfectly level cup of water.
It will also help you keep your balance if you picture trying to keep the water level even. When you're at the barre for plies or working en fondue, imagine the cup in the center of your body, just below your torso, and try not to let it spill over. If you can glance in the mirror at your profile, you can often see what you can't necessarily feel.

Remember: neutral pelvis, neutral back, nothing hyperextended or tucked, and you will be able to balance more easily en releve. You will also be more likely to engage the inner thighs on the return to the standing position from a plie, rather than the larger gluteus muscles in your derriere.

Hope this helps! Happy dancing, everyone~