Monday, March 22, 2010

Non-major Dance Classes

I am a junior at SUNY Purchase and ever since I've been attending this school, I have been taking the non-major dance classes available to everyone. My first semester, I asked about Introduction to Ballet since I had been dancing ballet for 15 years at that point. I was told it was a good class to start off with and you will be able to learn the basics. I knew the basics but I thought maybe it would be okay and I would learn some new things as well. What a joke! Lesson learned - if you know ballet or if you have taken it before in your life, this class will be a bore. For me, this was a very slow moving class and because I had taken 15 years of it before, my teacher used me more as an assistant then a student. If she was stuck in traffic on the way there, she would call me and ask me to start class. It was definitely a good learning experience because I learned how to work with the pianist and make combinations for everyone abilities. I loved the class because at least I was dancing but it was hardly an exercise and wasn't worth getting up early for. BUT if you have never taken ballet or you did when you were very small and don't remember anything really, this is the class to take. They take it slow and show how to do each step until everyone in the class gets it.
After that, I tried Intermediate Ballet. This was what I was looking for when I took Intro. Although, I still find this class a little slow and easy, the professors usually give the more advanced students a harder version of a combination or add in extra steps to make it more difficult. This semester I am taking Intermediate for the second time, and I have had two different teachers. Both classes I like and even though it has been almost 18 years that I have been dancing, I am still learning new things from each teacher. I get a workout from this class. Both times I've taken it, there had been students who have never taken ballet or did when they were very small and they still can keep up with everyone else in the class. If I had to offer this class to a group of students, I would say it is definitely a good idea to know some kind of dance before taking this class because you will have more fun and not feel as though you are confused.
I have also taken Introduction to Modern Dance. I loved taking this class because I had also taken modern dance while I was growing up. For those of you who don't know what modern dance is, it is a more contemporary form of ballet but without the classical techniques and structure that comes along with ballet. In this class, you don't wear shoes, we learned cartwheels and handstands, how to roll on the ground without hurting yourself, and fun jumps that you would never see in a classical ballet piece. This class can be taken by anyone really. Its fun and can fit anyone's abilities even if you have never taken dance. It helps if you have some experience but it might be even more fun as a first dance class.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Time in the Spotlight

After high school when I stopped performing dance and just continued taking classes at Purchase, I thought that would be my time to step down from the spotlight and just enjoy the ride. Recently, a journalist from my home town newspaper contacted and said that she would like to write an article about me and my dancing. I was so excited but curious why all of a sudden they had contacted me out of blue. I'm still looking for an answer to that question but really honored to still be in the spotlight :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Other Dance Blogs

When I was making this blog for my viral marketing class, I really had no idea what to write about. Of course, I knew I could write about dance in general, but I didn't know if I would have trouble finding things to write about. Should I write about just ballet, or about professional companies, or certain steps? This week, our homework for class was to do some "blog reconnaissance" or find some blogs outside of Purchase College to follow and at some point comment on. I found a lot of blogs about dance that are both similar and different from mine. The first one I found interesting was a blog about ballet shoes and pointe shoes. It's obviously about ballet but it's also about steps, improving, healthy eating and where to take classes. The author of this blog made it very interesting and has a lot of categories such as links to ballet companies and exercises you can do to help your technique. She has been blogging since 2007 and I am now following it.

Another blog I found is about blog about reviews of performances and what is happening in the dance world. The writer doesn't have as much links and helpful websites as the first blog, but the information in each post is very interesting. She mostly writes about performances or shows she is in, but also related dance world happenings. Each place she goes she has a live blog where you can read basically a conversation between her and others about the audition that is happening.

Dance Advantage is I guess considered a blog but I feel it's more of an information station. There are different parts of the site where teachers can go, students, and parents also. It's a good site because all the information is very helpful. I personally want to get my Masters in Dance Education and this blog is about the education of students and studio owners. For me, I will definitely keep checking up on this site even if it is not exactly the stereotypical definition of a blog.

I've always been more involved in ballet and modern even though I have been trained in tap, hip-hop, and other types of dance. This next blog is pretty much all about hip-hop but it's awesome. The blogger has made it very attractive and knows how to get the interest of lots of dancers. There is information about upcoming summer intensives with the flyers posted so anyone who reads the blog can get the information. In 2009, DanceManila was nominated for the Philippine Blog Awards, which means people from all over the country are reading this blog.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dancers Now!

Click here to see some rehearsals!

Hannah Katz is one of my best friends who I've known for what seems like forever. She is currently a junior Dance major at UMASS/Amherst. Hannah and I danced together at the same studio and were basically never separated along with the other girls in our class. Even when it came to some pretty important performances, we split roles because our teachers couldn't decide who they wanted. Now she's a Dance major doing amazing performances with famous choreographers such as Paul Dennis (Limon Company), Chuck Davis, and Reggie Wilson and also members of Mark Morris Company and Ron K Brown's Company. In this video, she is the one in the white shirt. This dance is a senior project at UMASS and is actually performed "en pointe," which means that the dancers wear pointe shoes during the dance.

"Dancing used to be just a hobby but now it's a lifestyle." - Hannah Katz