Archive for October, 2009

by Andreas Kaas, Student, Royal Danish Ballet School

Royal Danish Ballet SchoolNow there are approx. 2 weeks to Canada and I’m very excited! I know that we all are here in Denmark.

Every time I think of what we have to show, I get the wildest butterflies in my stomach. It’s going to be really great to get out of Denmark, meet other young dancers on our age and perform on Toronto’s stage!

It’s my first time visiting Canada, so that makes it even more exciting! I really want to see Niagara Falls and the CN Tower, so I hope there will be some time to experience the city. But yeah… us in Denmark can’t wait!


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by Erin Brennan, Student, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School

Royal Winnipeg Ballet SchoolThe month of October is drawing to a close and the hype for the trip to Toronto is building! For the students coming from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the trip seems to be even sooner as we actually begin a performance tour the week before Assemblée Internationale.

Excitement is beginning to build and it seems the time crunch has hit us all as we suddenly realize just how close the festival is.

My fellow students and I are really looking forward to working with other young artists from around the world and of course to hit the stage. The nerves have not hit me yet, but I’m sure they will come in time.

I have been to Toronto many times before as my hometown is just outside the city. That being said, I really don’t know the city that well as I usually only go to see shows or meet up with friends. I am really looking forward to seeing the National Ballet of Canada perform The Sleeping Beauty. I grew up watching the National Ballet but have yet to see their production of Sleeping Beauty, so it will be a treat. For me, the most fun thing is going to be meeting people from all over the dance world and learning about different cultures and ways of training!

Can’t wait to see you all soon!

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by William Bracewell, Student, The Royal Ballet School, London

Royal Ballet School, LondonThe summer time for me means a lot of hard work rehearsing for our end of year performances. We’re lucky enough to have a run of five performances in the basement theatre of the Royal Opera House and one on the Main Stage, which is probably the highlight of the year.

Last year the performance consisted of Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, a new work titled Les Jeunes Hommes choreographed entirely for boys by Stanton Welch, a Lower School piece titled Reawakening choreographed by teacher Antonio Castilla, Ashley Page’s Larina Waltz and last but not least The Grand Defile.

The day after this performance we break up for our summer holidays, which normally last for eight weeks, however this year hopefully I will have a contract and may therefore get less time off, which is actually better as I can some times find it quite difficult to stay in shape. Over the summer holidays I try to get some sort of part time job to help fund a small holiday for myself or to go towards living in London. Last year I worked in a restaurant next to the sea with my two older sisters which was great because I don’t get to see them very often.

I love having my summer break because it gives me a chance to see all my family and really spend some quality time with them, however the one downside is being away from ballet for such a long time. As I live in a fairly small town there are no ballet or dance companies, so I have to find different ways to stay in shape, such as swimming, cycling, running and using the gym, which is great for my cardio vascular strength… but you just can’t beat that end of class feeling!

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by Sara Coffield, Student, Canada’s National Ballet School

NBS summer exchange - Australian Ballet SchoolI always look forward to summertime; the warm weather always feels so good. Although this past summer, I headed south to Melbourne and spent my July in “winter” (the Australian winter is very mild compared to Canada’s). I attended the Australian Ballet School for a summer exchange.

While I do enjoy the NBS summer school program, Australia was such a good experience. It’s always nice to have a change of teachers to get a different perspective of things. Melbourne was a beautiful city. It had amazing modern buildings that were mixed in with more historical buildings and small alleyways with great boutiques. It also had a café culture similar to Europe, which we unfortunately don’t have in Canada.

I did manage to get a bit of warm weather visiting some relatives in the USA and at home in Calgary. It was really nice to be able to spend August with my younger sister and catching up with friends. It was really exciting to return back to school though for my graduating year and to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary. We are currently rehearsing Swan Lake to perform at the Assemblée Internationale 2009. The rehearsals are demanding but the music is so beautiful that it is still enjoyable. We performed this in our Spring Showcase last year so most people are familiar with the steps that we are now just refining. We are all looking forward performing it in November!

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by Maria Demandt, Student, School of The Hamburg Ballet

Hamburg Ballet SchoolMy name is Maria Demandt, I go to John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet School in Germany. I originally come from the Netherlands, this is my second year in Hamburg.

I’ve been dancing since I can remember, but I started to do this on a real ‘ballet school’ when I was 10 years old. I made my decision to go for ballet after I saw the Dutch National Ballet performing ‘The Nutcracker’. I just loved everything about it and wanted to do that too.

An average day at school in Hamburg starts of course with a classical ballet class in the morning. Several days of the week the girls wear pointe shoes during class. After that there normally is another class, like modern or folklore, or variations. Most of the time we have rehearsals the rest of the day for upcoming shows with pieces by John Neumeier or choreographies by teachers from the school for sponsor performances. Actually there is always something going on for witch we need to rehears. Also, a lot of time goes to choreographies by the students and choreography class.

I like the fact that our schedule is actually never the same, no negative routine!

Germany is a very artistic country although it is not especially known for that. There are more then 60 dance companies in Germany, the government spends a lot of money on culture.

Learning a piece of choreography created by a fellow student is for me very inspiring, because it is closer to you, I mean, you are more on one level with the choreographer. The atmosphere is less tense I think, you learn something from your friend and you know how to treat each other well.  It happened to me a few times that you just can’t be serious anymore in a rehearsal, also the choreographer. I see this as a good thing; it adds something to the process of making the piece.

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by Jordan Hammond, Student, San Francisco Ballet School

My alarm goes off at 7:00 am when I crawl out of bed to begin getting ready for a busy day ahead. After getting myself together and eating breakfast, I’m out the door at 8:00 am to catch the bus that conveniently stops right in front of the Jackson House where I stay with other kids at SFBS. It’s a quick ride and I usually arrive at the studio around 8:30, where I warm up for my first technique class of the day which begins at 9:30.

What I love about the Trainee Program here is that there are only 11 students in the class so it makes it easier to work on corrections individually and learn from our teacher Jean-Yves Esquerre as well as from each other in a more closer environment.

When class ends at 11:15, we have a short break and then move right on into rehearsals which begin at 11:30. In our rehearsals we prepare for upcoming Trainee Performances around San Francisco and the Bay area. Our performances include a wide variety of repertoire from pieces choreographed by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, pieces by student choreographers in the school, and more contemporary pieces inspired by William Forsythe and Jiri Kylian. When rehearsals are over, we take a 2nd technique class of either pointe, variations, batterie for the boys, and pas de deux from 2:20 – 3:30.

Some days I am done for the day after 3:30, but other days I have rehearsals with the San Francisco Ballet when the Trainees are asked to understudy roles in the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, etc. Rehearsals can go as late as 6 or 7, and I catch the bus home, make dinner, squeeze in some homework, and am off to bed to catch lots of sleep so I’m well rested and ready for the next day ahead!

I absolutely love the training and daily schedule here at SFBS and I am so blessed to be a part of the Trainee Program where it never ceases to amaze me at how much I learn each day!

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by Andreas Kaas, Student, Royal Danish Ballet School

Summer at the Royal Danish Ballet SchoolI really like summertime. It’s warm and nice. The only summer school I’ve been on was a Bartholin week here at the theater. There were some young dancers from around the world who came and took part in the exchange program. It was a nice experience and it was the first time I tried something like that.

I had only three week’s vacation this summer, so there was room for only one week’s summer school, because I had two weeks in Turkey with my family, which was super cool! I hope that I can get some scholarships to go out and dance this summer. I would love to go to the U.S. with my best friend and take a summer school program. It could be so nice!

About ballet and academics, I do not do academics anymore, it’s completely finished. So now I’m apprentice at The Royal Danish Theater Ballet on full time. 10 am – 6 pm. I do not know what my favourite thing about ballet is. I think it’s a good mix between to move to the music, get the pulse up and strive to become a better dancer all the time. I strive a lot and I am determined!

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