Dance diary: End of Workshop 1

Class notes

Last Saturday (May 28) was the last class in the four-week “absolute beginner” ballet workshop I’ve been taking. New stuff:

  • cambré
  • fondu
  • balancé: we actually started balancé in the previous class, but this time added the arms, changing from side to side
  • across the floor: polka steps (step, step, step, hop; most of my background is in jazz dance, but there’s a lot of crossover… I wanted to be all, “Oh, so chassé, hop?”)

As I mentioned last week, my teacher is on a ballet-related trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia, so I have a couple of weeks coming up without a regular class. She suggested a particular intro class, which I plan to drop in on tomorrow and the following Sunday. Then on June 19 she returns to lead the the next phase of her ballet workshop. I’d gone online yesterday to register for it and was disappointed to see it was already full. So I called the dance center, and apparently they’d gotten similar inquiries about it; they got back to me and said they would let a few additional people register, so I’m in. Yay!

Dance around town

San Francisco Ballet: I renewed our subscription for the 2012 season. I’m especially looking forward to Onegin and Don Quixote, as well as Chroma, which we didn’t see last season. We’ve been doing a partial-season subscription (five of eight programs) for the last few years; we’re doing the same for next season but we decided to forgo the LGBT Nite Out receptions. I appreciate them, but for us it just wasn’t worth the added expense for all three receptions as a package. We’ll maybe go to one à la carte, if friends are going.

Royal Danish Ballet: The RDB is currently on a U.S. tour and we saw them last week in Berkeley performing The Lesson and La Sylphide. They’re also performing a more modern program on other nights, but after reading about August Bournonville and the RDB origins of La Sylphide, I definitely wanted to see it, one of their signature works. They did not disappoint. Both pieces were lovely and entertaining, and I wish I could’ve come back to see their other program as well. During the Sylphide Act I reel, I leaned over to Thom and asked, “So when are we having our Scottish Highland-theme wedding party?”

La Sylphide

Men in tights? No, men in kilts! (Photo: SFGate.com)

SF Ballet’s Tiit Helimets and company to tour Estonia

San Francisco Ballet dancer Tiit Helimets is leading an ensemble of eleven dancers on a performance tour of his native Estonia this summer. Fellow SFB dancer (and photographer and videographer) Quinn Wharton filmed a great video preview of the project, for which they are also soliciting financial support.

I love videos of ballet class and rehearsals as much as, if not more than, those of final performances. So inspiring!

‘Swan Lake’ on ‘DWTS’

I’ve pretty much stopped watching Dancing with the Stars with this season, but now that I’m getting back into ballet I did catch this segment from last night’s episode, a piece “inspired,” if you will, by Swan Lake, featuring Lorena Feijoo (San Francisco Ballet), Lorna Feijoo (Boston Ballet), and José Manuel Carreño (American Ballet Theatre). Swan fight!

I will give DWTS credit for continuing to showcase diverse dance styles in their Macy’s Stars of Dance performances. Ballet on prime-time network television? Thank you!

Though, I do realize they’re riding the Black Swan wave. For some reason I’m not completely digging Swan Lake in this setting. I’m not saying that ballet needs to be compromised for a mass audience, but that I would’ve preferred maybe a more modern piece (or even just costuming) that pushes away from the frilly classical-ballet stereotype.