Posts Tagged ‘Idyllwild Arts Dance’

Fall Dance Concert Opens Tonight

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Delaney's dramatic pose graces the promotional posters. Courtesy photo.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Fall Dance Concert will open at the IAF Theater on the Idyllwild Arts campus.

There will be approximately nine dance numbers, including modern, jazz and classical pieces. One unusual ballet piece, choreographed by staff member Jonathan Sharp, has a modern twist.

“I’m so excited that I’ll be in Jonathan’s piece,” exclaimed Simian, a new dancer.

Originally from Mississippi, Simian earned a scholarship to attend the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program this past summer, and Jonathan recruited him for the academic year. In general, there are about five female dancers to every male dancer.

Simian explained that Jonathan’s ballet number is about cuisine, but also a love triangle.

“It’s about a pot, a potholder and a spatula,” Simian explained.

“It’s really funny,” another dancer said. “You should see Simian jump!”

Simian said that in one number, he leaps across the stage. A feat that not many dancers can achieve, I’m sure.

Gerard, a graduating senior, will be in three ballet numbers.

“It’s good practice for me,” Gerard said. “I’m looking forward to the show. It’s going to be great!”

Ellen Rosa, head of the Dance Department at Idyllwild Arts, is just back from maternity leave and looking sharp. In her absence, Jonathan Sharp was acting director.

Ballet dancers during student choreography last year.

Last week, Ellen said practice was going well, and the dancer on the poster was Delaney, a senior.

The Fall Dance Concert opens tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the IAF Theater (in the Bowman Building) on the Idyllwild Arts campus. The show runs Thursday and Friday nights. All concerts are free and open to the public, but arrive early to get a good seat.

For more information, visit www.idyllwildarts.org or call (951) 659-2171.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Nov 16, 2011 @ 16:47

 

Dance Students Prepare for “The Nutcracker”

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

(from L) Idyllwild Arts dance students Ricardo, Maddy, Gina and Mauricio prepare to dance in "The Nutcracker" with the Inland Pacific Ballet

By Marcia E. Gawecki

For many of us, “The Nutcracker” was our first introduction into the magical world of ballet. The Nutcracker prince, the Sugar Plum Fairy, flowers, snowflakes, dolls and soldiers–every fantasy came alive through dance.

This holiday season, dance students from the Idyllwild Arts Academy will be performing “The Nutcracker” with the Inland Pacific Ballet Company. The four teenagers, Gina, Madison, Mauricio and Ricardo, tried out in September and were accepted to perform.

“We got to audition because of Jonathan,” said Mauricio, a post-graduate dance student who had performed in “The Nutcracker” in Mexico.

Jonathan Sharp is the acting head of the Dance Department at Idyllwild Arts, and a professional dancer with the Inland Pacific Ballet Company. He also teaches ballet at their academy.

“I thought it would be a good experience for the Idyllwild Arts students to dance along with professional dancers in the company,” said Jonathan, who will be among them.

Twice a week until early December, the four dance students practice along with other students from the Inland Pacific Ballet Academy in Montclair. There, they take two classes, which last about three hours each.

In their Saturday class, they were learning how maneuver a Chinese Dragon.

Wait a minute! I don’t remember a Chinese Dragon appearing in “The Nutcracker” of my youth.

“There are many different versions of ‘The Nutcracker,’” Mauricio explained. “In this one, they have a Chinese Dragon.”

Th red, yellow and black Chinese Dragon, made of wire and material, had a large head, winged ears and a laughing mouth. A tall dancer was selected as the leader who would maneuver the dragon’s head. Behind him, the dragon stretched another 25 feet, held up by seven other dancers with sticks, including the guy handling the tail.

In this class, the instructor was teaching them how to throw their sections of the dragon over their heads, while they jumped over to the other side. These movements made the dragon move. However, each dancer had to be quick  and not step ahead or pull too hard on the dragon.

If they did everything right, the dragon looked like it was moving seamlessly across the stage.

“Nice feet!” the instructor yelled to Gina and Ricardo as they ran along with the other dancers. They had to exaggerate their “happy feet,” which looked like a straight-legged run.

Gina dances a modern piece during an Idyllwild Arts Student Choreography event last year

After a couple of times in which the teacher switched out the dancers, she brought them around her and gave a pep talk about the culture and dance.

“Remember, you are the dragon,” she said to them. “You are one with it.”

When the dancers laughed nervously at this comment, the instructor emphasized that they will always be visible to the audience.

“We can see your every move onstage,” she warned. “And all of the looks on your faces.”

Once the dance students got all got the twirling motions and jumping motions down, the instructor added “The Nutcracker” music to make it authentic.

At one point, the instructor showed Mauricio how to maneuver the dragon’s tail. She made slow, sweeping motions, like someone in a flag corps would do.

“I understand what she was expecting out of me,” Mauricio said. “But the other girls were pulling the dragon every which way!”

At times, the instructor would call the dance class over to look at her laptop of the Inland Ballet Company’s “Nutcracker” performance from 2010.

Although the Idyllwild Arts students are not getting paid for the nine “Nutcracker” performances held at the Bridges Auditorium and the Lewis Family Playhouse in Montclair from Dec. 3 to Dec. 18, Gina said they were fortunate.

“At least we don’t have to pay $300 to $400 dollars to be part of the production,” she said.

The dance students from the Inland Pacific Ballet Academy have to pay that amount to cover costs of their extra classes, costumes and various production costs.

Although the practice schedule is hectic and the Idyllwild Arts students must travel nearly two hours each way twice a week, they all agreed that it was worth it.

“It’s going to be really exciting to dance along with professional dancers,” Mauricio exclaimed.

Maddy, a National Honor Student and president of the senior class, made the most of her time in the school van by doing her homework.

“This is better than in my dorm room because there’s no distractions,” she said.

Looking ahead, Gina also thought it would look good on her resume when she applied for colleges.

The public performances for “The Nutcracker” by the Inland Pacific Ballet Company will be held from Dec. 3 to Dec. 8, with mostly 1 p.m. performances at the Bridges Auditorium and Lewis Family Playhouse in Montclair.

For more information, call (909) 482-1590 or visit www.ipballet.org.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Nov 1, 2011 @ 18:33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Seven Deadly Sins’ Student Dance Grant

Monday, January 17th, 2011

(from L) Ariann & Sorelle performing "Out of My Mind"

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“Out of My Mind, Back in Five Minutes,” was the title of Ariann’s choreographed dance piece at Idyllwild Arts Academy last year.

It could have been stated by any one of her fellow classmates after an ACT, SAT or TOEFL test. Yet, this clever title showcased young inmates dancing at an insane aslyum. While Ariann and the others danced, in torn straight jackets to techno music, an oversized duck ran around them.

The show was a hit, especially with the young ones.

“Every time Bonnie Carpenter’s son sees me, and he’s three years old, he shouts, ‘Duck!'” Ariann said. “No one has forgotten that show.”

Ariann got a grant to choreograph her own show

Maybe because the subject matter, insanity, ties neatly into common feelings at this arts boarding school where only the best young artists, actors, singers, musicians and dancers are accepted. They carry a full schedule, have night rehearsals and classes on weekends. Yet, it pays off when they get accepted to the top colleges in the country.

“I knew then that I wanted to be a choreographer,” Ariann said, after her “Out of My Mind” piece.

Now, just after three intense days of working with choreographer Chad Hall, who taught a Master Class at Idyllwild Arts, Ariann was exhausted, but happy.

She was looking forward to choreographing her own show.

leva as an insane person

She received a grant from the Transatlantic Arts Consortium (which is a collaboration between CalArts, The Dartington Hall Trust and Idyllwild Arts Academy) to perform dances to the ‘Seven Deadly Sins.’ It’s the second one-man show of its kind at the school since Cyndi choreographed ‘SiJi,’ (which means ‘Four Seasons’) about Chinese dance in 2010 (see blog post, ‘SiJi: A Night of Chinese Dance,’ from May 20,2010).

Ariann said that she asked the Transatlantic Arts Consortium for $5,000, but received half. But she’s happy and will work within that budget. Most of the grant money will go towards creating costumes, props and original music.

The  “Seven Deadly Sins” include pride, greed, envy, lust, sloth, anger and gluttony, and Ariann will portray them in nine different numbers. One of them will have as many as 20 dancers.

“I’m ready for the challenge,” Ariann said.

Bonnie Carpenter's son remembers the large duck

For the past few months, she’s been working with her friend, Axel, from Mexico, who is creating the original music for her ‘Deadly Sins’ performance.

“They (the grant people) told me to work with musicians at the school,” Ariann said. “But it’s too late. I’ve already begun working with Axel, and his music is great.”

Axel’s techo music is comprised of a guitar, drum and bass, Ariann explained. The beats are strong and fast, and they’re easy to dance to. But Axel also mixes this music with words.

This jibberish-and-music combo came out of a miscue from her “Out of My Mind, Back in Five Minutes” dance piece.

“Halfway through the piece, the music stopped. A nightmare for any choreographer,” Ariann recalled. “But the dancers didn’t stop. One-by-one, they each started talking jibberish. They saved the show, and no one in the audience was the wiser.”

Now, Ariann and Axel think the combination will work well for her ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ show.

A lot of the dances are forming in her head now, but she needs to get them down on paper. In the past, she performs the dances by herself until she worked them out.

“I get a lot of energy from the other dancers,” Ariann said. “I cannot wait until it all comes together!”

Her “Seven Deadly Sins” show is set for the spring, after student choreography, she said. No date has been set, but the work continues.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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IA Dancers Vie for Spotlight

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

(From L) Kira, Geneva, Sofia, Ariann and Natalia are five of the 7 IA dancers who auditioned for the Spotlight Awards

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“I felt good about this audition,” exclaimed Ariann, one of seven dancers from the Idyllwild Arts Academy who recently auditioned for the 23nd Annual Music Center Spotlight Awards. “No matter what happens, I was really motivated.”

Idyllwild Arts has a longstanding tradition of generating Spotlight winners and semi-finalists. Last year, seven students made it to the semi-finals in the instrumental music, visual art and dance categories. And, two years ago, Timmy, a classical pianist, captured first prize while Samuel, a classical vocalist, won the second prize.

Each year, hundreds of high school students from Southern California apply for the Spotlight awards in one of these six categories: ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental, and jazz instrumental. Then, the judges select 15 semifinalists in each category who attend master classes and vie to become one of the two finalists.

For the preliminary round held on Oct. 28 in Riverside, the Idyllwild Arts dancers included Ariann, Adrianna, Geneva, Kira, Marianna, Natalia and Sofia. This was the first time each of them had auditioned for the Spotlight Awards.

(From L) Natalia and Marianna warm up

Ariann was the first to audition from the group before the five judges.

“I went on five minutes after we arrived,” she said. “It was good because I didn’t have time to get nervous.”

The Idyllwild Arts dancers only had two weeks to learn their Spotlight routines and perform them. This audition was in addition to the many dance numbers they’re learning for their upcoming Fall Dance Concert at the IAF Theater on Nov. 17-19.

Marianna, a sophomore from Mexico, rushed into the waiting room lined with mirrors and toe bars.

“Guess what? After my audition, the judges kept me longer and asked me to do some things over for them,” Marianna said.

This was an unusual turn for the judges.

“First, they asked me to extend my legs, and really step into it,” Marianna explained. “Extend my legs? I’m petite! That’s as far as they go!”

“Then they asked me to extend my arms, and said that it was much better,” she added.

Marianna was worried that these comments from the judges weren’t a good sign.

“Why were they asking me to redo my routine?” Marianna asked the others. “I was so nervous!”

Veterans Adrianna and Geneva assured her that any conversation with the judges was a positive thing.

The preliminary Spotlight dance auditions were held in Riverside

“They’re likely to remember you,” Geneva said.

Sofia, a sophomore from Costa Rica, was quietly listening to Marianna. She said that her audition went OK, and that she was glad just to have the experience.

Although the Idyllwild Arts dancers auditioned on Oct. 28, it will be early December before they get the results.

“We’ll be on Christmas break,” Adrianna exclaimed. “Guess we’ll just have to wait until January to find out.”

If they make it past the semifinals, they will then compete at the Gala Performance next spring on  April 30, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Grand prize finalists, (1st place and runner-up), receive $5,000 and $4,000 in scholarships, while honorable mentions receive $250 in scholarships and semi-finalists receive $100 in scholarships.

Copyright 2010 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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