Posts Tagged ‘student dancers’

Spring Dance Features Interesting Mix

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Cats consult with Cinderella about going to the ball

By Marcia E. Gawecki

The Idyllwild Arts Spring Dance Concert, held for three days this week, featured a nice mix of ballet, modern and jazz.

Standout pieces included Cinderella, and contemporary ballet and hip-hop pieces from two guest choreographers.

However, the final piece, featuring video and poetry from the seniors, was an emotional good-bye.

The show opened with a grand production of ‘Cinderella,’ with their own twists. After being told that she cannot go to the ball, Cinderella (Madison) consults with cats (instead of mice). But its the seasonal fairies who convince her to go. Big show stealers were male dancers Cemiyon and Gilbert, as the wicked stepsisters, with stepmother Gerard, all dressed in drag.

(from L) Cinderella (Madison) celebrates with Lani (fair godmother) and the fairies

The fairy godmother (Lani) and spring/summer/winter/fall fairies (Gina, Giovanna, Cheyenne and Adrianna) were all played beautifully by senior dancers.

The fairies’ ballet costumes were not the traditional starched variety, but colorful and flowing, making one yearn for spring. (Ten inches of snow arrived the day after the show’s end).

Will Dingledein, a 2011 dance grad, was in attendance for all three shows. He laughed his head off when Gerard, as stepmother, scolded Prince Charming (Mauricio).

“He stole the show!” Will said during the first intermission.

“Le Papillon,” a modern ballet by guest choreographer, Josie Walsh, was funded by a grant from the AEL Foundation. Given the title, one expected to see butterflies, but the opening showed dancers rolling other dancers wrapped in cocoon-like materials.

From 'Pas de Quoi'

The piece, which also featured the original music by Josie’s husband, Paul Rivera, Jr., featured sound effects like echoes, which piqued your interest.

'Lotus' was a hip-hop piece by guest choreographer Brandon Aiken

The costumes, sheer peach long dresses, were elegant, yet functional. In the end, dancers wrapped themselves in the same material as capes that were stepped on by other dancers.

It was artfully choreographed, and a treat to watch its transformation.

‘Lotus,’ by guest choreographer Brandon Aiken, told a different story. Borrowing from “West Side Story,” the hip-hop piece featured a dance-off contest between two rival dance gangs. Torn between the two were star-crossed lovers, played by Allison and Gilbert.

Paris, who was adamantly opposed to the pair, was perfectly theatrical. Hip-hop music by Chris Brown, Lil Jon, young Jeezy and Wale kept the crowd enthralled.

Senior dancers Giovanna and Mauricio

‘A Leaving,’ the last piece, featured an emotional good-bye from seniors, Adrianna, Cheyenne, Natalia, Lani, Mauricio, Gina, Giovanna, Delaney, Allison, Madison, Sorrelle and Gerard. Each took their turns at the microphone, citing poetry and memories over the past four years.

“I am a bird, high up in these trees,” Cheyenne said. “I am home.”

“We stuck our heads in the earth,” Delaney said in a voice over during her dance solo.

“Lizard dust fills my mouth,” Madison added. “Making it hard to say good-bye.”

Towards the end, a full-screened black-and-white video depicted the dance seniors walking away in the snow. Voice-overs talked about first loves, heartache, gratitude and self-actualization.

It was also peppered with humor.

Spring dance featured a nice mix of dance styles

“Even after four years, people still don’t know if I’m Gina or Giovanna,” Gina quipped.

At the final bow, the audience was on its feet, clapping, cheering and shedding some tears.

Wednesday night’s concert was featured on U Stream on the academy’s web site, www.idyllwildarts.org.

Angela, the school’s receptionist, was glad to be able to watch the dance concert from the comfort of her own home.

 

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Andy leaps in the air over his fellow dancers

 

 

Cemiyon in 'Pas de Quoi'

 

Spring Dance Concert Opens Tonight

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Spring Dance Concert will feature a guest ballet choreographer. 2011 photo courtesy Idyllwild Arts.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Idyllwild Arts’ Spring Dance Concert will showcase the choreographic talents of two guest artists, including hip hop and ballet.

The two-hour show opens tonight (Wednesday) and runs through Friday. Expect the dance students to be enthusiastic, not just because they love their craft, but because it’s only days before Spring Break.

Brandon was a recent guest artist in the Dance Department and choreographed the hip-hop piece.

“I”m not sure who Brandon was a backup dancer for,” said Gina, a senior. “Maybe Madonna, but he’s definitely a great dancer and choreographer.”

Becca, who knows about hip hop (but isn’t in Brandon’s piece), said, “It’s like Brandon recreated a club ‘dance off.”

Skye, a dancer from Santa Barbara, will be in four pieces, including the hip-hop, modern, jazz and ballet.

Cheyenne strikes a pose for the show poster

“Most of the dancers are in three or four pieces,” Skye said. “It’s going to be a long show, but it moves really fast.”

Gilbert, one of six male dancers at Idyllwild Arts, bought pantyhose in town for the Cinderella ballet piece. They were nude, Queen-sized with reinforced toes.

“I don’t want to spoil anything, but some of the male dancers will be dressed as women for the Cinderella piece,” Gilbert said. “It’s really funny. We’re going to be wearing wigs and full makeup.”

At 13 years old, Gilbert is the youngest student at Idyllwild Arts.

“You hae to come see the hip hop piece and the ballet piece,” said Gina. “It was really wonderful working with professionals.”

Both guest artists taught Master Classes and worked closely with the dance students with their choreographed pieces.

The Spring Dance Concerts starts tonight, Wednesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the IAF Theatre at Bowman. Like all events at Idyllwild Arts, it’s free and open to the public. But you might want to get there early to get a good seat. The show continues Thursday and Friday nights at 7:30 p.m.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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