Mancrush Monday: David Hallberg

Okay, I know it isn’t monday… but I couldn’t come up with a title… and I found myself surrounded by David Hallberg today.

David Hallberg A Ballet Education

The International Ballerino: David Hallberg
From Arizona Ballet School to the Paris Opera Ballet School… David Hallberg joined American Ballet Theatrein April of 2001 and rose to the rank of Principal in May 2005. While at ABT he won the Benois de la Danse Prize as best male dancer for Albrecht in Giselle. But it wasn’t enough to end there… in 2011 he became the first American to join the presitigious Bolshoi Ballet under the title Premier Dancer. In 2013 he made his debut at the Paris Opera and since has danced with numerous companies around the world. Notably last year he created the title: Resident Guest Artist at the Australian Ballet…But that isn’t enough… the fashion world adores him. From spreads in VOGUE, GQ, CR BOOK to being photographed by some of the most influential photographers of our time…  Landing covers of New York Magazine…and numerous others… the Nike Endorsement… The list goes on and on… But it wasn’t always easy for him, battling a serious injury…

David Hallberg

But, I am here now, on vacation, enjoying my time reading his book: A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back. (Kindle $14.99/Hardcover $18.30/Audible–Free click the image below to shop)

David Hallberg Dancer

The book is actually a pretty decent self reflection… FYI… no pictures.

And if that isn’t enough… Pathé Live just released the Art of David Hallberg… a two disc DVD set featuring his Sleeping Beauty with Svetlana Zakharova, choreography by Yuri Grigorovich and the allstar cast of Marco Spada (Hallberg, Obraztsova, Smirnova, Chudin, Tsvirko) by Pierre Lacotte.

And then there are these amazing 10 videos of his dancing online…

 

 

for more information on David Hallberg you can visit his website by clicking here.

 

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Ballet Shoes 411 for Boys

Happy New Year! Sorry I haven’t posted, after Nutcracker I needed a long vacation and removal from the world of ballet. So, I am back, and as requested and promised here is a guide on boy ballet shoes.  It is kind of long, so I apologize. I still haven’t figured out how to do all of this video work, and truthfully, I haven’t had time since I am focusing on a stellar issue 8.

Okay… so rundown for those of you who don’t want to watch this ridiculously long video of me talking about ballet shoes, and how to sew them. (key: brand >> style >> cost) Click to shop… most of them are all split sole. Just a preference for myself.

Capezio >> Romeo >> $


Pretty standard, not my favorite but the easiest to get. You will need to sew your own elastics. Comes in canvas and leather. Split sole.

Sansha >> Pro 1 >> $$

Another standard, probably everyone’s first pair of ballet of shoes. If you are going to go Sansha… and it is your first pair… this is probably the best to start in. Sansha offers many other ballet shoes in leather, but this is probably the most accessible for everyone.

SoDanca >> Canvas Men’s Ballet Shoe >> $
so danca mens ballet shoe
Newer product on the market, high vamp if you want to call it that… and narrower heel than most. Too thin for my taste, but a lot of dancers like really thin ballet flats to feel the floor. I don’t like feeling the seam where the sole and the shoe meet, so they were a no go for me.

Grishko >> Ultimate Model 1 or Model 6 >> $$$
grishko mens ballet shoe
This is a great shoe if you want to start customizing your ballet shoe. You will pick a size and width which is nice. The split sole on the bottom usually covers the entire ball of the foot which is nice. The performance shoe is better because it has an elastic arch and it is cut at a lower profile (model 6).

Sansha >> K.H. MARTIN >> $$$
kh martin ballet shoe
Call: (310) 271-3664, tell them David from a Ballet Education sent you and they will help you. These shoes come in a low heel and a full heel, the inner arch is cut much lower than most shoes and is 10 times more flattering than most. There is a right and left, so you don’t need to label. The elastics are pre sewn, but too far down for my taste but not a big deal. My new favorite pair of ballet shoes.

Wear Moi >> Split Sole >> $$$
wear moi barton boy ballet shoe
Comes in gray and white. Beautifully fit, makes the foot look amazing. One of my favorite products on the market. Split sole. Wear Moi also makes a full sole that is pretty decent. Just not a thing for my taste.

Body Wrappers >> Angelo Luzio >> $$
angelo luzio boy ballet shoe
The total stretch is cool, there is a left and right shoe. They are pre sewn which is nice, just they aren’t flattering on my feet, and the feel cheap.

Russian Pointe >> Vivante >> $$
russian pointe vivante men.png
Super stretchy, fully elastic shoe with wide sole on the bottom of the foot. Great shoe and makes the foot look good, doesn’t last a long time in my experience.

A Personal Journey… and the struggle with weight… even for a man.

There is so much pressure in ballet when it comes to weight. But the stereotype isn’t just for women/girls. There is a ton of pressure for men/boys to also have the right body proportions. From obsessive workouts to the right muscle tone, weight is constantly being evaluated. I think the first time I really became paranoid about weight was when I was measured for my first custom ballet costume. This paranoia was reinforced when I had to fit into another person’s ballet costume. And the third time was when a teacher made a remark that was something along the line of, “Aren’t Asians supposed to be super skinny?” Yup. This was only supported by teachers making general comments like, “Someone ate dessert last night.” While walking around the room. Or, “You probably had too much for dinner since you can’t close your fifth.” And for some reason that became normal.

Naturally, I am not built super thin, I am barrel chested and have broad shoulders. My body also puts weight on really fast. I can literally gain weight just by looking at cake, Just kidding. But, seriously, what I eat the day before drastically effects my body. So, unfortunately, like most dancers who feel the pressure of weight control, I did the most stupid thing anyone can do. I started skipping meals and when need be, purging. When a ballet that required white tights came around… the eating habits would get worse and worse. Still, to this day we don’t really talk about weight or nutrition, though it has gotten better, the pressure to be the right body still exists. Whether schools verbally enforce this or not, it is seen by who they accept and who is employed by a company. And for me, it became an obsession. When my Aunt who was a nurse asked me about my weight, I just said that I was working out really hard. A friend commented on my clavicles and ribs showing through my chest and I just said it was because I did a high amount of cardio. So, I started wearing oversized clothes and multiple layers, avoided photos, and then just said it was “genetics”. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t like withering away, I was still strong enough to lift girls and dance through ballet. I was just managing my weight the wrong way.

Back in the day, which wasn’t that long ago, they didn’t give you the resources needed to get it under control. Or at least propose healthy eating. At best we had the Dancer’s Body Book by Allegra Kent, which is horrible… Published in the 80’s, this book really was the only “dancer diet” resource available. The diet is restricting and really only geared towards petite naturally thin women.

What they didn’t tell you, is that by starving yourself, you mess up your metabolism, your kidneys, your skin and your overall health.

 

only good one copy
Yes… I know I should have turned out my standing leg, not winged my foot and pointed it. Pulled my back leg up, and not taken this picture with a disposable camera. 

 

Even after my ballet career ended, weight was a big paranoia for me. At first, I would eat everything in sight. Literally. But, the minute I saw myself gaining weight the paranoia set in again. Additionally, I joined the world of fashion, and at the time it was trendy for men to be underweight and the trend manorexic was in. So, I made sure to stay underweight at all costs; smoking, cutting meals, and cardio. It wasn’t until CJ pulled me aside at the club and said, “I can see your ribs and spine through the back of your shirt.” My response was an unhealthy, “Oh that’s good, that’s normal. I thought you were going to say I had a hole in my shirt or you hated my outfit.” Around the same time, I noticed I was getting major headaches, having body issues, and was constantly tired. This led to a slew of health problems, some permanent.

So, I started putting on weight and being healthy.

When my dad passed away I put on a ton of weight, over time almost 50 pounds pushing me over, much over, the 200-pound mark. It really hit me when my doctor marked me as obese on my 2015 physical. At the same time, I started this blog and the Instagram and created the character fat panda. One, to avoid writing using photos of myself, and Two turning overweight into something funny.

I got my weight under control but still wasn’t happy with how much weight I actually still had on me… don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to be my ballet weight skinny (125), but I wanted to be in a good weight category. (Mind you I stand at 5’10 and a half”)

It’s been a process, starting back in March on my 30th birthday… I mean you all know. I started going back to ballet classes and the gym. It has been a process, but I can finally say I am back to a normal healthy weight. It has taken 7 months, and the process has been slow.
weight loss

I went from being a 27″ to a 34″, and now to a 30″. I went from being an extra small shirt to a large, and now I am back to a small, but prefer a medium. But finally, in a place where I am comfortable… I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy, and I messed my body type up completely while dancing and constantly feeling the pressure of weight. I am not writing this for an applause, but simply to remind everyone that weight, body dysmorphia, and ballet pressures are real issues, even for boys and men. And, that there are major long-term consequences for taking shortcuts and giving into the pressures of the ideals.
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Top 5 Ballet Boys/Mens Programs (US)

As featured in Issue 6: It is funny that people still think there is a lack of male dancers in the US industry right now. In my opinion, there is a huge surplus of them, but they are flocking to five schools for sure. Sure, back in the day there were a few boys here and there, but now there are budding programs all over the US for these young men. They even have their own summer intensive. Now in Europe, that is a different story because male dancers are coming out left and right. Instagram proves that time and time again.

top ballet schools for boys

So… where are all the boys heading to and why? 

  1. San Francisco Ballet School, Patrick Armand (San Francisco) / THE SFB school has always attracted some of the best boys in the world to come train. Not only are the creating insane technicians, but they also are able to help the young men find their inner artistry. The young men that graduate SFB are usually all very noble looking (that bravura dancer), clean, and strong. (Click here to learn more)
  2. Boston Ballet School Men’s Division, Peter Stark (Boston) /  While the School at Boston has flourished over the years, and with their new studio opening this year, Boston Ballet School has attracted numerous boys into their summer course, where they are recruited for the year. Their boys are usually on the leaner side and known for their pretty lines, good feet, and ease. (Click here to learn more)
  3. School of American Ballet, Kay Mazzo (NYC) The School of American Ballet turns out one type of boy, and that is the long-limbed Balanchine boy. This program is not for everyone, in fact, unless it is your dream to dance at NYCB, this is not the school for you. Again, it really only creates one type of boy, and that is a Balanchine boy. So, unless you are going to a strictly Balanchine/Contemporary Company… this isn’t the school for you. (Click here to learn more)
  4. Houston Ballet Academy, Claudio Muñoz, James Gotesky, boys Program (Houston) HBA has always been a school that a lot of young men head out to. But recently, with the help of social media, HBA has been showcasing their insane technicians and ferocious turners. The HBA creates some of the strongest men out there. (Click Here to Learn More)
  5. The Rock School, Bo and Stephanie Spassoff (Philadelphia) The Rock School is not shy when it comes to showcasing their boys and young men. A school that has been long affiliated with the YAGP, the Rock School turns out some of the best turners and jumpers out there. (Click here to learn more)

So, what does this even mean? It means that the caliber of male dancers right now is incredible. You have to jump and turn, have perfect turnout, be a great actor, and partner. The list goes on and on. But, the silver lining here, is that the quality of male dancers out there right now is beyond exceptional. Don’t get it wrong either, there are tons of schools out there offering great male programs. These programs are A Ballet Education’s top picks here in the US. If you aren’t at one of these schools, don’t freak out you can still have a career from another school.  If you want a chance to go to one of these schools, don’t forget to audition for their summer courses/intensives and then ask/apply to stay for the year.

Keep up the good training!
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These schools are my picks based on several factors included ratio of students to teachers, ratio of male to female students, scholarships awarded, size of the school, graduate placement, perceived value, cost of education, and company contracts. And before everyone gets crazy, I made it clear that 1. It was only US and 2. It is my opinion.

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Untitled 2

Men’s Class… 5 things to overcome…

boys class mens class blaletMen’s Class… doing those pushups, doing those double saut de basques, working on double tours, 540’s and all of those other ridiculously wonderful, show stopping tricks… It was my least favorite class, no that’s a lie, conditioning class was my least favorite, but men’s class was pretty low on my list of favorites. It is one of the five things you have to get over as a younger dancer… keep reading.

Most ballet schools offer a men’s or boys’ program… If your school doesn’t offer it, and you are a male, you probably should start thinking of heading to another school. It is important to be around other male dancers, not for the masculinity factor but into the male competitive environment. A lot of guys in ballet get thrown into top classes simply because they are the only guy around, and that can be hurtful to their training career. Sometimes, slow and steady does win the race.

Okay, here we go… five problems to overcome in men’s class…

  1. Pressure. Men’s class creates that masculine alpha dog tension. Men’s class is the one time all of the guys are grouped together to learn ridiculously hard techniques. In class you have to fight to make it to the top. It is hard to not compare yourself when guys are pulling seven to ten pirouettes and you are in the corner working on a triple. The pressure can be intense. Just as intense as the women’s pointe class. The most important thing is to focus on yourself and try your best to not fall behind.
  2. Egos. Men’s class sometimes can bring out egos. Who has the most pirouettes, who has the highest jump or who can do the most tricks. It can be exhausting. It also shapes up how casting might unfold for school performances or end of the year showcases, or what boys will be asked into the company… Don’t fret. The universe rewards those who are patient and diligent. Stay on your own path.
  3. Strength versus Power. In men’s class you start to figure out if you are upper body or lower body dominate. Strength in your arms and back or power in your hips and legs. There is no secret to make a better jumper or better turner, some people are just gifted with natural ballon or the ability to spot. Sometimes, you figure if you are upper body dominant or lower. For me, I was lower body, in fact, I was criticized a lot for not using my arms as well as I could so I would have to do a ridiculous amount of pushups and upper body workouts to maintain even. Remember you want to be balanced throughout your body so you do n’t become an uneven dancer; proportionately or technically.
  4. Flexibility. Nowadays you need to be overly flexible. It is important to maintain a healthy stretching routine. It is easy for a man’s quads to become overdeveloped and if that does happen it can cause for a lower arabesque, a sub par saut de chat, or poor extensions. So, keep up your stretching and keeping a strong core.
  5. Finding who you are as a dancer. I struggled with this one the most. It is hard when teachers are telling you to dance one way and you want to dance another way. For me, I never wanted to be prince charming, I didn’t want to be Albrecht. I didn’t want to do a million pirouettes. I just wanted to dance to beautiful music. I didn’t dance effeminate or over the top, I just didn’t want to be prince charming or a knight in shining armor. It was a battle I constantly faced in ballet school. I remember we were doing Raymonda and I was thinking, “What the hell am I doing?” So, it wasn’t until I found a Balanchine school that I really hit my stride. You can be cavalier dancer without being a bravura dancer and still be successful.It is a hard balance trying to find who you are as a dancer and as a human. If growing up in ballet is hard, growing up as a boy in ballet might be just a little harder. It is a struggle, but a struggle worth it. I think the most important thing is to remember who you are, why you started dancing and what you love about dancing.

mens ballet guide

Click to buy the guide to male ballet. ($4.99)

 

Manly Ballet … pt 3

manly ballet.jpg

Tights. Dance Belts. Sequins…. the common things associated with male ballet dancers. And while all three of those things apply… There is a lot more underneath the costumes of male ballet dancers. There are tons of male variations out there in the world, and I definitely have posted quite a bit about it under my “manly ballet series” and … truthfully, I have been neglecting talking about men in ballet. Recently, I posted a video of Osiel Gouneo killin’ them turns on facebook questioning whether or not it is dancing or tricks… Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of his… I can verify that via old posts… But seriously… In today’s day and age… Tricks are a dime a dozen, and ten pirouettes are everywhere… Hell even young girls en pointe are killin’ 6 or more turns, and doing the craziest turn sequences… Instagram proves that…

So, it raises the question what is good male ballet dancing?

By old school standards it was that wonderful definition of male bravura… which later evolved and equated bravura with cockiness and tricks. This became the age of male superstars of the 70’s and 80’s… While this was happening, women were perfecting pointe technique and becoming ridiculously flexible and artistic directors were changing the shape to be a longer even leaner body type than what Balanchine created… In the 90’s we were given a generation of male superstars that headlined ABT, and not only were they amazing to watch, but they had ridiculous tricks… Tricks that have become the standard for men… Then in the early 2000’s ballet shifted back to the ballerina as the world became interested in the dynamics and quality a ballerina had… This became the age of overly flexible women, and brought back the Russian Prima to the world… aka Svetlana lol…

As we are in the teenage years of the 2000’s ballet is now once again shifting… Whether you are male or female, ballet dancers are becoming superstars off of social media by performing elaborate turning combinations, being ridiculously flexible and creating lines that only cartoons used to be able to do… Senior corps de ballet members are being overlooked for promotions as new, young, talented, and powerhouse apprentices are joining the ranks. It has already started happening all over the world… And audiences love it… we eat it up… we share their videos everywhere… We die over them… Ballet brands endorse young kids based off their followers… It is crazy…

So what does this mean though? What does it mean for men in ballet?

It means that if you want a job in ballet you need to be technically perfect and have a billion pirouettes… It means that you have to just as flexible as the girls around you… It means that over the next ten years there will be a shift towards male tricks or female tricks… It means that men who don’t have tricks will be obsolete, and being fundamentally interesting isn’t good enough anymore. This goes for females as well… Unfortunately… the more kids that come to ballet, the more options artistic directors have… and right now there is an abundance of talent in ballet and dance… This trend though has caused something extremely interesting for male dancers who are already dancing professionally… While they may have gotten their contracts off of body type and solid technique, and while they might have 4 or 5 pirouettes… They have become choreographers… movers… and have become fundamentally interesting dancers… While tricks might sell tickets… Men in ballet have become more interesting to watch over the past 5ish-10ish years than women… While the tricks are fun to watch, men have embraced a contemporary vocabulary of movement, removed the line between masculine and feminine vocabularies in ballet and thus have created a new archetype for male ballet dancers… I don’t know what to call it but it has happened gradually…

Marcello Gomes shifted his dancing maybe 5 years ago… Roberto Bolle shifted his dancing maybe 3 years ago… Sergei Polunin shifted his dancing  early on in his career and left Royal…. Daniil Simkin, Jeffrey Cirio and Robert Fairchild shifted their dancing endeavors since the beginning of their careers… Mathieu Ganio shifted his dancing in 2005 after winning the Benois de la danse for developing Proust. Frederico Bonelli of Royal Ballet shifted his dancing recently as well… (FYI baby daddy…) This new aesthetic of movement is both masculine and feminine and can be interpreted differently, but it is definitely happening and choreographers are taking advantage of it. Myles Thatcher and Justin Peck, have definitely capitalized off of it and have launched stellar choreographic careers.

So… there will always be the place for male bravura in male variations… but with the body type of male ballet dancers changing… Is it time for the choreography within these variations to change as well? Yes… you can manipulate the turn sequences and jumps but overall… does the aesthetic of these variations need to change?

POSTS on male dancing:

Manly Ballet… 5 misconceptions about male ballet dancers

Manly Ballet… Part Two

The New Ballet Bodies

Fantastic Five: 5 Really Great Male Variations

Let the boy dance

His face was pressed against in the glass,
Fingers spread wide, tapping to the muffled sound of the music.
His mind was racing back and forth between reality, and fantasy.
Finally, the door opened and the teacher asked, “Do you want to come in?”
Looking for his mom’s approval, she nodded.
He rushed in.
And that was that.

I always wondered why my mom didn’t put me into dance earlier? From age 3-7 I would religiously watch the Baryshnikov/Kirkland Nutcracker every day, a copy that my grandma gave me. When PBS aired PNB’s Nutcracker, my Grandma recorded it, via VHS and gave it to me as well. I was addicted. I hadn’t even started dance classes yet. There are pictures of me religiously watching it. After preschool, lunch and reading, my mom would try to make me take a nap with her as I would normally get into trouble somewhere in the early afternoon. When these naps came about I would purposefully would toss and turn, and this would lead my mom to let me go to the living room and watch the Nutcracker. Somewhere between Snow and Prologue she would come out, and insist I turn it off and do something educational. I would beg, because the real dancing hadn’t started yet and the clowns hadn’t even danced. Little did I know, that one of those clowns would become a coach later on. Then in PNB’s Nutcracker, I would become obsessed with flowers and snow. Then my life happened, the Nutcracker was going to be in theaters, the NYCB version with Darci Kistler. And that is when I knew that is how I wanted to dance… The problem was, I hadn’t even started dancing yet… My sister and cousins were all in dance… But I wasn’t. Despite the fact that I had to go watch my sisters take class all the time… I hadn’t been enrolled.

My grandma giving me the Nutcracker.
My grandma giving me the Nutcracker.
Me super turned in watching the Nutcracker ... in suspenders, stripes and shoes...
Me super turned in watching the Nutcracker … in suspenders, stripes and cute shoes…

Finally, when it came to be… I wasn’t allowed to do ballet. I did boys class which included jazz and tap.
Then, finally, I knew I wanted to do ballet and I finally got my wish.  It was so late. So late. After an excellent elementary school, I went to a performing arts middle school with the condition that I keep a GPA over 3.5, stayed in the GATE program, and did other extra curricular activities. Needless to say, I wasn’t getting the training I needed. Then Center Stage came out, and I knew that I wanted that life. With the condition that I kept up all my responsibilities, I was able to quite the dance program at the middle school and go to a pre professional school. Then high school came about, and I knew I had to dance more. So, I doubled up on classes, by my freshman year of high school, I enrolled at a junior college so I could accumulate more credits.  By the age of fifteen I had finished high school, differed from colleges to make my parents happy, but I did this so I could focus on ballet.

Then while at this pre professional school, a former principal from National Ballet of Canada told me I would never be a dancer. So, it shattered my world, and I was like, “Fuck. I gave up Uni for this…”
While at the junior college, I found out they offered ballet classes late at night. And I thought, this is perfect! I can double up on my ballet training. I juggled the two back and forth and by January, I had auditions. As rejection letters and acceptance letters came, I was really confused. I had done everything right… I did everything my parents asked me, and everything my teachers asked me but I didn’t get in anywhere that I really wanted. This being SAB.

audition photo
audition photo

Then, while under the advisement of the junior college professor, she told me to consider going to a university and majoring in dance. I knew this isn’t want I wanted, but what if the world didn’t have a ballet plan for me? I was taking class at a college here in soCal and as I finished adagio at center I was walking to the side when a man tapped his finger on the glass and told me to come over. I kind of shook my head, but then the music in class stopped and the professor told me I should go out there and talk to him. I didn’t know who he was. He basically asked me a couple questions and asked if I wanted to come to his school for the summer. I had no clue who he was… It was Alonzo King of LINES Ballet. This was before LINES was everywhere. Deadlines were coming up and my parents told me I had to make decisions… So, while eating my favorite chinese food reading about all these programs, I opened my fortune cookie and it said: You will dance to a different beat.

Fortune cookies are the best.
Fortune cookies are the best.

Being the crazy that I am, I was like THIS IS A SIGN. So, I went to LINES. And as beautiful as it was, and as glorious as it was… I knew that this isn’t how I wanted to dance. I didn’t care about what muscles moved what, I didn’t care about finesse and I didn’t care about how a plié made me feel. I knew I wanted to have long lines, and deep fourths. I wanted over crossed everything and I wanted to move fast… Every modern teacher said I was too Balanchine. Every ballet teacher said I didn’t have the body for ballet. It was really discouraging. Despite all of my kicking and dragging on at LINES I had met beautiful dancers who I still catch up with to this day. I came home discouraged, but my Grandma showed me this article about SoCal girls doing it up big. It was referring to Ashley Ellis and Misty Copeland, just coming off their spotlight awards, coca cola scholars and acceptances to ABT Studio company… So, I moved in with my grandma to train at their studio… The caliber of training was amazeballs… It was intense training… But, it was SOOOOOOO classical. Anything remotely unclassical was frowned upon, and the Balanchine was driven out. Then I went to CPYB, thinking okay, if all of the principals of NYCB have gone here… I must go, and they had a University in the same city, so I could keep going on with my education. The training was beyond exceptional, but this time… life handed me a different set of cards… I never thought I would experience racism in a ballet classroom, I never thought I would be the only asian male for miles, I never thought a lot of things would ever happen to me… and they did.  I grew up in Southern California, my parents are white, and my brothers and sisters are all from different countries. Growing up my best friend was half french half black, and my other best friend was half German half mexican. Racism was the furthest thing from my mind… So, when comments by teachers were made about me being oriental, or that I had to open my eyes bigger… I was like wtf. This was the first time race became utterly important, but it also crushed me. So, despite CPYB’s advice, I decided to go audition for companies and got in. I begged the school the company was associated with to let me come early and just be in the school so I could get out of CPYB. Dance ended but brought teaching… Teaching brought back hope for ballet for me. Watching students leave this summer to join companies, go to SAB, and other summer programs, go off to university to dance on scholarship… Makes me feel like I can really do this… which basically caused this retrospective…

Ten years later, here I am sitting down filling out company contracts, school curriculum and emailing theaters. Crazy. Right? Starting a ballet company where poverty is seen in 30 miles every direction, the average high school drop out rate is over 30%, and the only major theatre is for comedians. Insane right? No, because now I know how important it is to let someone dance. And as I start this crazy journey of starting a company I am loving it. Mostly because the dancers I have hired are beautiful people with beautiful stories and that makes them beautiful to watch.
Kelly is tall. Like really tall. And after having a pre pro scholarship at PNB, and dancing at numerous companies around the US- she was never really pushed into roles because she was so tall. Now, inspired to dance again after having kids, she is beyond gorgeous and has this ferocious tenacity, ridiculous dedication and now that she is pushing for herself she taking on roles with fire and having experienced everything she has gone through as a mom, as a tall dancer, and as a teacher she brings something extra to her dancing. Then there is Carlos, who was a student of mine, coming from the same area. Training him to get scholarship at the Rock School then continuing his education at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, he is back. After fighting his family to let him dance, he comes back gorgeous, strong and long. Jaquie was told she was never going to dance. The studio owner would tell her to her face that she would never dance. Then I came to her studio as a teacher. After pushing and stretching, and challenging her, she got into summer programs and attended. She then got a scholarship to go to University. She is going to commute back and forth to dance. Amanda did everything right in ballet. Went year round at the Rock School, spent every summer at SAB, but ballet life got to her, and she decided to become an RN. Now at a top ranked hospital in the US, she decided she missed dancing, and wanted to start again. These are just short abbreviated versions of their stories, but their stories are also just beginning. It is really that spectacular.
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