Monday, November 24, 2008

The Season Finale of DWTS

The samba smackdown revealed more than muscles underneath those bright yellow outfits. For the last time the samba showed how Warren is not up to par with Lance and Brooke. As much as I love the guy, he doesn't have the grace of Emmitt Smith. So the final smackdown now begins between Lance and Brooke. 

For some reason I just knew Brooke and Derek were going to do a Greece number! And they pulled it off with wardrobe changes, big leaps and tumbling tricks. Overall, she looked more confidence and graceful than I have ever seen her. Although I realize that female contestants do have to work a bit harder when competing in a ballroom competition, simply because of the focus on the female dancer, often I felt Brooke's movement was awkward and her performance quality was lacking. But tonight, thank goodness, she proved me wrong. 

Oh man, just saw Lance's didn't do much for me. The most interesting part was when they did the cha cha at the end. They should have just stuck with that and forgotten the hip hop. This is a ballroom competition you know. As much as I want him to win, because he's a great dancer (not just because I'm an Nsync fan) I think Brooke has him beat. 

I can't wait to find out the results tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Responsibilities of a Dancer's Parents

I came across a blog called The Dance Mom today that speaks directly to parents about how they can support and encourage their young dancer. One post has some great tips about how to best be a supportive parent of a dancer, without getting into studio politics or living vicariously through your child.

I would also add that it is a parent's responsibility to profile the credentials of the teachers at the studio or academy their child attends. I can not stress the importance of this enough. From sixth to 12th grade I attended a studio that did not have the most qualified teachers available. There I was taught improper placement and alignment, which I relearned while majoring in dance during my undergraduate study. If I had been taught properly in the first place, I would have not spent almost a year realigning my body, finding my natural turnout, etc., and could have focused more on improving my overall technique. I also attribute my two chronic injuries, a stress fracture in my lower back and snapping hip syndrome, directly to more than six years of study under teachers who only had studio experience and no knowledge of anatomy or strong ballet technique.

So parents, be careful about who your children study under, it could have long term effects.

Also, be sure to check out The Dance Mom's tips here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Billy Elliot: "The Best Gift from Britain Since Harry Potter" -- New York Post

Bill Elliot opened this weekend on Broadway, after wowing audiences in London. The New York Post says the show is "The Best Gift from Britain Since Harry Potter." Based on the 2000 film, the story examines the life of a young boy growing up in a working-class mining town in England during the 1980s. While his father and brother march to the picket lines for the historic 1984 miners strike, Billy discovers his gift for ballet and secretly begins to study the art. With the help of his liquor loving, chain-smoking dance teacher, Billy's gift blossoms and he aspires to be the first working-class boy to enter into the prestigious Royal Ballet School.

Three young triple threats play the lead role of Billy at alternating performances: David Alvarez (trained at the American Ballet Theatre), Trent Kowalik (the youngest American to win the World Irish Dancing Championship) and Kiril Kulish (prized ballet and ballroom dancer). Learn more about these 13 and 14-year-old budding stars here.

Elton John wrote the score, which should be particularly moving after listening to his work on broadway shows such as The Lion King and Aida. Helping John with the music was Lee Hall who wrote the lyrics. Director Stephen Daldry also directed the film, which was nominated for more than 40 awards worldwide. And Choreographer Peter Darling actually worked on the Lord of The Rings among other works on his extensive resume. 

This show is now on the top of my "must see" list. If you're not convinced that Billy might be worth seeing, check out the links above and below to watch videos and learn more about the musical. 

Watch the video of opening night here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Schwimmer Siblings Perform on Dancing With the Stars

Words can not express how good the Schwimmers are. Lacey and Benji performed together last night on Dancing with the Stars and threw out more turns and tricks then I've seen in a long time. And then, of course, they topped it off with their wonderful technique that comes from their father, Buddy, the king of swing. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bill T. Jones' Exploration of History, Focusing on the Civil War

With the bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth this February, Bill T. Jones' new piece "Another Evening: Serenade/The Proposition" examines our nation's history, focusing on the civil war. Jones' first section of a three-part series  again integrates multimedia work and voice with fluid, abstract choreography. To learn more about the piece, take a look at the review by my classmate Chelsey Philpot for Big Red & Shiny. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Simple Guide to Ballet History

Want a quick refresher on ballet history? Lisa T. McNeill of article19 wrote "The Idiots Guide to Classical Ballet," a fun post that talks about Petipa, Balanchine, Nureyev and Nijinsky--the key players in ballet's evolution.

If you want more details, I recommend the following links:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?...Old news but still fun to watch

Have you heard about Matt, the guy who travels around the world dancing the same dance? His videos have gone viral, making millions of people laugh, using the power and joy of dance. Take a peak:

Monday, November 3, 2008

High School Musical 3: B+ for Dance

So one of the advantages of having a birthday this fall is that I can drag my friends to see High School Musical 3 with me without feeling guilty. I sat down in the theater ready to be entertained, not really thinking much about the dancing. But it turned out, the hip hop, jazz and even waltz pieces in the movie were actually filled with technique.

The dancing truly has improved since HSM2. Zac Efron must be preparing for his role as Ren in "Footloose," because you can definitely see an improvement in his movement. He's less awkward than he was a few years ago. The hip hop piece he performed in the car/junk yard with Corbin Bleu had a lot of great ground work.

I was most impressed with Vanessa Hudgens. During the slow waltz with Efron she did a decent attitude promenade with him holding her. She looked steady on her feet...nice balance.

Overall, good show.