It has been a really long journey, and it took a lot out of me but, we did it. After a long four months, Redlands Dance Theatre premiered their first show The Beauty of Ballet. And it actually went pretty well. With the support of Dancing Images Dance Center and their amazing tech, and costume team we did it. First we pulled off Paquita, then Carlos Renteria premiered Self-Help, followed by our version of Nutcracker: A Midnight Fantasy.
It was really great to see such amazing people push to their limits and pull off a beautiful show.
Students from the School of dancing Images took on Paquita Polonaise and numerous supporting roles in Nutcracker. They really have come so far!
Now, we are pushing forward into the audition intensive. We only have a few spots left, so if you are interested you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now it is time to push forward to start raising money for THE SWAN LAKE, and the process of building our company’s 2016 season.
Thank you again everyone for your support of this blog and of Redlands Dance Theatre.
With a week away, I am almost done fundraising everything I need to… We just need to raise about $1,000 dollars by tomorrow. Everyone has worked extremely hard to put this show together. I really hope you could find it in your hearts to support the ballet company and school. Greatly appreciated.
Hello there world,
I just wanted to say thank for all of your support with Redlands Dance Theatre. It means a lot knowing that most of you reading this blog aren’t even in the Southern California area. We are days away before we enter the Theatre, and we are almost halfway to our goal of $5,000. Currently, we have raised $1,970. It would be amazing if I could finish raising these funds to support our ballet company. I know the holiday season is here, and money is tight. Anything helps, and thank you again. To donate via PayPal- please click the link below.
Nutcracker is just around the corner, and we are in desperate need of everyone’s help! We are three weeks away from Nutcracker and Redlands Dance Theatre has run into a financial bind. RDT needs to raise roughly $5,000 by December 5, 2015 to finish out the Winter Season. This $5,000 covers:
-Pointe Shoes for Dancers
-Small Stipends for Professional Dancers
-Costumes for Waltz and Snow
The journey to opening a ballet company has definitely been interesting. Sometimes, I think that I bit off more than I can chew. My nights used to be filled with extravagant dinners, and glamorous red carpet social events. Now, my nights are filled with insane rehearsal planning, figuring out staging details, fundraising events, schedules, choreography, venue negotiating and more. It is kind of insane how my life has flipped drastically. There are so many issues with being an AD (artistic director)… For example… When I first started hiring, I wanted super tall women, because I love their lines, their ability to take up space and more. The majority of the company women push 5’9” and taller… The problem… finding men who are 6’1” and not incredibly awkward…
Then, in my hiring, I hired women with the most beautifully arched feet… I wasn’t think that they kill dozens of pairs of pointe shoes… Aesthetically, I made the right choice. Financially now, I am like woah… this sucks…
I generally hate Nutcracker, so I devised a plan to ex out party and battle scene, and have created a new smaller version of Nutcracker that doesn’t involve crazy rat kings, or awkward fight scenes and is slightly twisted… Downside? There is no intermission as it only fills one act. Which means the corps has to rush from snow to marzipan to flowers. That sucks for them… but what sucks even more is first act of our first show is Paquita… Haha. Really sucks to be them, but I am like -___-
So now, I am faced with a billion choices, and blah blah blah. The plus side is that I have a date to have our official party to open the season, and small fundraiser. September 19. If you are in SoCal and want to check it out, visit our facebook page, the details are listed there. Also, Saturday, August 29 is our trainee program audition. If you are in SoCal and looking for a place to train that is focused on pure technique, with a hint of Balanchine ideology- like timing, phrasing, traveling, and turnout- come check it out. The audition is free. Oh, and I still have a contract for a tall male principal dancer, and soloist.
Redlands Dance Theatre is a non profit organization dedicated to the arts in the Inland Empire. Your contribution, no matter the size, provides Redlands Dance Theatre the means to further the arts in our community. Redlands Dance Theatre provides 8 full year round scholarships to Dancing Images Dance Center for under privileged children. The company provides exceptional performances for our community, and gives Inland Empire dancers a chance to grow and further their art form.
Unfortunately, employing ballet dancers does not come as an easy task. Redlands Dance Theatre goes through about 8 pairs of pointe shoes a week, running about $650. To finance our 2015-2016 season, Redlands Dance Theatre is looking to raise approximately $25,000 to support our dancers, students, performances, costuming, and other miscellaneous expenses.
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.
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.
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.
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. www.redlandsdancetheatre.org
facebook: REDLANDS DANCE THEATRE
I appreciate all of the support I have gotten from you all. And now, I am here to ask a small favor of you. I am in the process of opening up a ballet company and school in the Inland Empire, where I live… And I need your help… We all know ballet is expensive, and that ballet companies have a huge turn over, but I believe I truly do know ballet, and understand the world of ballet today. I think a lot of you would agree with me since you are following my blog… Regardless, if you could please share the information below on your social media, e-mail blasting your contacts, and so forth, I would greatly and humbly appreciate it.
Redlands Dance Theatre is a ballet school and company that is going to be opened by David King. If you are interested in supporting this ballet company and school please check out our campaign and website!
Currently, we hold our non profit EIN, and in the process/waiting for our 501(c)(3)
(This post has nothing really to do with ballet education.)
Emeralds. As the story goes Balanchine was inspired by the jewelers Van Cleef and Arpels. As an avid visitor to Van Cleef, I understand why he was so inspired. I am obsessed with the Balanchine ballets, probably more obsessed than I should be. But, when it comes to Jewels, I am able to reflect upon my own life and how it relates to me, and why I am the Emeralds phase of my life.
When I was a young dancer training, I hated Emeralds. I literally fell asleep the first time I went to go see it live. When I was younger, it was all about Rubies. The sexiness, the energy, and the relentless power and flexibility of the tall girl in Rubies. Like Stravinsky, when you are younger, there is this uncontrollable force that drives you: passion. As a young dancer it was about focusing on rapid turns, whacking out your battements, and being overly flexible. It was far the better choice compared to the other two. Diamonds just looked like ballet class to me, and just was pretty, and well classical.
Later, as a working dancer, I became obsessed with Diamonds. It was about the strive towards perfection. As a working dancer it starts the process of control, constraint, and restriction. It is taking everything you had learned in ballet school, and learning how to control it, finesse it, and do it with ease. Diamonds became my version of Swan Lake. It was the test of perfection within the choreography. As a young adult, that translated into my personal life. It was about being perfect, finding the perfect man, finding perfection within my life. Still, I am kind of there, but now I am transitioning to my thoughts on Emeralds…
Now, realizing that perfection is impossible, something to strive for, I have entered into a new phase of my life: Emeralds. Subtlety and romance. There is something so luxurious about Emeralds. The walking pas de trois is like strolling through the park, the variations are almost care free and relaxed. There is no rush. That is where I am at in my life right now. I know this has nothing to do with the actual story behind the ballet, but it shows how ballet can reflect life, and how audience viewers relate. Before, when I would watch ballets, I would be watching for technique, musicality, and lets be honest: dancer making mistakes. Now as I watch ballets, it is about how they relate to my life. Watching classical storybook ballets do nothing for me now. Now when I want to escape my own life and become involved in someone else’s I go to the movies and the achievements in cinema take me there.
As I have started to embark on my own ballet company and school, I have decided to let it take me wherever it takes me. I am not thinking my company and school will be anything equated to Balanchine. Far from it. But, I have taken everything I have learned in the phases of my life and implemented it into the curriculum and structure.