Life as an NYCB Apprentice

Are you in love with all things Balanchine? Do you adore NYCB and dream of joining the company one day? Then you have to watch the AOL Originals series “city.ballet”, available on youtube.

There’s a lot to criticize about the School of American Ballet and the dancers of New York City Ballet, but the Balanchine style, the school and the company live on – thrive – with good reason. For some it’s the only choice. Balanchine’s choreography is all that’s worth pursuing in ballet. Other find it later in life and search for spinoff companies (like PNB and Maimi) where they can have a chance to perform the work without having attended SAB. But if an NYCB apprenticeship is in your dreams, SAB is the only path and here is your sneek peek at what you can expect from life of as an NYCB apprentice and everything after.

PS – Do you love the swishy skirts on many of the female dancers? Check out the BalletScoop tutorial for the classic SAB diy skirt.

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My Liebster Blog Award

Sincerest thank you to dearest UK blogger NimbleMouse for nominating me for the ubiquitous yet mysterious Liebster Blog Award! For those of you unfamiliar (and for my 5 nominees), this is a delightfully unofficial award bestowed from one blogger to another, which requires the following:

1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer the 11 questions given by the person who nominated you.
3. You must post 11 random facts about yourself.
4. You have to pick 5 (or 3 or 11, depending whom you ask) nominees (sometimes with a follower limit) to answer your questions.
5. You can’t nominate the person who nominated you.
6. You must tell the nominees that they have been nominated by you.

So here goes!

1. Which blogs inspired you to start your own blog? Why?

I actually didn’t read blogs before starting BalletScoop! I was inspired to learn how to make a website and maybe learn HTML, so I figured I’d play around with WordPress. Then I realized it would be a good way to post information that I don’t get time to tell my students during class, so I decided to make it ballet-focused. I created the name classicalballetteacher (real original, lol), thinking I would just change it to something cooler later on. It became the url for two years before I finally ponied up the funds to get a “real” domain!

Since then, I’ve created and written content for many sites for friends both in and outside of dance, including www.liveoakdance.com, and the soon to be published total revision next month of

2. Favourite quote?

Oh man, so many good ones. You’ve put me on the spot! But here’s one of my favorites:

Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.Martha Graham

3. What do you like to read about on other blogs?

Ballet of course, but also many other things like classical music, art, science, and video games.

(Many people who know me from dance don’t know that by day I work at a video game studio where I hire programmers, artists and game designers. I’ve been a gamer since childhood, and I also have an blog on a video game industry site for professional game developers.)

4. Where do you want to be in 5 years time?

Doing more of the same, but hopefully better at all of it! I love my current life. I have a wonderful boyfriend and apartment with two adorable kittens. Wherever they are is where I want to be!

One thing I want to change is that I am currently working on getting back in dance shape. A number of injuries have been holding me back, but many are now heading into recovery, so I hope to be taking my own classes regularly (so yes, possibly teaching a lot less…) for my own enjoyment. I’ll never be able to do what I was doing at 18 or 19, but I just enjoy taking class for it’s own sake. I absolutely freaking love moving to music. There’s just nothing like it!

5. What is your dream job?

Hm… tester for a dance video game? (Which is funny because I don’t play dance video games at home. Also, the testers make no money!)

At one point in life, I definitely would have said principal dancer for blah blah blah company, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I liked performing well enough, but I’ve discovered with maturity that like dancing for myself a whole heck of a lot more than for an audience. Also, I would have hated the financial constraints!

6. How are you feeling?

Pretty good overall!

I love my life. However because I do so many things, I feel like there’s never enough time to devote to everyone and everything in it (my students, my blog readers for dance, my blog readers for games, my day job, my boyfriend, my cats, my apartment which always needs cleaning – thanks cats, my body, my mind, my soul…) So I am very aware right now that I have too many commitments, so I’m not able to do any one thing as well as I feel I should.

7. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

Getting to share my opinion without having to get anyone’s approval! After teaching for so long, I have found that there is no school where you can have all things done your way all the time and where everyone agrees with your philosophies, so there’s real value for me in being able to have a little world of my own where it’s all based in my opinion.

There’s a lot big responsibility there to make sure my facts are correct and that my opinions are based in correct facts, but I like the challenge that presents to make sure I’m on top of my game and a respectable authority on whatever I’m talking about.

8. Who is your idol?

Brenda Romero

9. What is your favourite thing to do?

Enjoy a great feel-good ballet class or video game. Just had a spectacular class at Alonzo King LINES with Sandra Chinn - visit her class if you’re in SF. Right now, my favorite game is the gorgeous Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch by Studio Ghibli and Namco Bandai Games.

10. Do you have any regrets?

Not learning how to code. Actually, I just signed up for Code Academy, which offers baby-level coding courses online for free. Programming is the most promising career of the future, and its fascinating. Too many people avoid it because they think it’s impossibly hard. If you can learn other stuff, you can learn coding.

I wouldn’t call it easy, but will be one of the most useful and rewarding things you do. It’s too late for me to want to pursue it as a career, but I want to learn HTML eventually so I can do more nifty stuff with BalletScoop for you guys!

11. What makes you  smile every day?

My amazing boyfriend, Brendan, who makes me feel so great about myself and taught me to enjoy life! Our two delightful kittens, Ponyo (there’s another Studio Ghibli reference) and Robin (as in Nightwing, as in Batman’s sidekick, naturally) are nonstop smile-generators. Also my coworkers at Gameloft are hilarious, and that makes work stress so much easier. Finally, my students. They always have something unexpectedly funny to say, and they help me not take myself too seriously, thank god.

My 5 nominees! (who have probably already been nominated at some point, but too bad, answer anyway guys!) :

  1. Adult Beginner
  2. Henrik at Tights & Tiaras
  3. Dave at DaveTriesBallet
  4. Tara at GnarlyToeboots
  5. Steve at YouDanceFunny

And my questions (some stolen from NimbleMouse because she had some good ones!):

  1. How did you end up starting a blog?
  2. What was your first ballet class like?
  3. What do you love most about dance?
  4. What has been your favorite moment of your dance training or performing career so far?
  5. Who is your favorite (live or recorded) accompianist?
  6. What is your favorite piece of music you have performed to and why?
  7. Who is your idol in dance or in life?
  8. How are you feeling?
  9. What’s your favorite, I-feel-awesome dance class outfit?
  10. What’s a little known fact about you?
  11. When are you happiest?

Support BalletScoop’s Image Dancer & Anastasis Ballet Company!

Anastasis BalletKickstarters are the ideal way to show your support (or not!) for the arts today.  The US is not known for it’s excellent government arts programs. Despite what some folks think, we don’t compare to Europe’s contributions, leaving the burden to you and I if we truly want to see great companies producing great programs! Today, I backed Anastasis Ballet Company, a polished group of classically trained dancers (including the official BalletScoop image dancer Lindsey Salvadalena!) performing classical and contemporary ballet on the westcoast, for their project PRISM, bringing exciting and entertaining new choreography to their arts community.

If you are a dancer or dance enthusiast, SUPPORT THE ARTS TODAY! I don’t care if it’s Anastasis or NYCB  - well, maybe I care a little ;) –  just please don’t forget that without financial support, good quality art in the US will go extinct. That means fewer or even no jobs for all the dancers reading this blog today. Since the 2008 recession, I have been witness to too many incredibly talented dancers never showing their talent to the world because there simply were no jobs. We can’t let that happen! I’m starting to see that turn around, so let’s keep it going: Back projects, go to performances, and put your money and time where your mouth is so we can continue to enjoy our amazing artists of today. See you at the theatre!

Lindsey Fitzmorris, 2010

Should I Audition for a Summer Program?

I’ve talked about so many aspects of summer training, including preparation for summer auditions, choosing between types of programs, finding the best men’s ballet training, choosing between different audition opportunities, auditioning by video, what audition judges are looking for, choosing between school‘s you’ve been accepted to and even interpreting scholarship offers.

One of the questions I haven’t answered is whether these summer programs make financial sense to consider in the first place. For me, it’s a foregone conclusion that you have decided they are if you are here reading about them, but ultimately that is up to the individual – it will be different for everyone depending on what’s already available locally, what you can afford, your goals, and so many other things. However, Dance Channel TV has made a great video that’s a wonderful starting point for considering the issues surrounding this topic. Enjoy!

2014 Dance Teacher Training Programs

Peter Martins teaching at SAB taken by Rosalie O'ConnorYEP, ANOTHER UPDATE: The Classical Dance Alliance just announced their 2014 program, added below. Juliette 4/21/14

You know this blog is really dedicated to all those hardworking students out there, but all you teachers out there like me are still students too, right? A dancer’s learning never ends! For all my fellow teachers then, here’s a new list I’ve come up with of upcoming summer training for teachers in 2014. There’s also a few longer-term programs on the list. For any professional dancers or dancers over the age of 18, technique programs for you were included in the 2014 summer intensives list article from last month. The programs I’m listing here are specifically for teaching dancers how to train others. Best wishes to all my readers for the New Year!

Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet
John White Teacher’s Vaganova Seminar
By the renowned author of Teaching Classical Ballet & Advanced Principles of Teaching Classical Ballet
2014 Dates TBA at publication

Bolshoi Ballet Academy
Teacher Certification Program NYC
Presented by the Russian American Foundation
Present-day Vaganova Method

Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
Teacher’s Workshop
Marcia Dale Weary’s renowned methods

American Academy of Ballet
Teachers Intensive

American Ballet Theatre
National Training Curriculum & Certification
2/14/14/-2/22/14 (Session #1: Pre-Primary Level through Level 3 in NY)
2/15/14-2/20/14 (Session #2: Levels 4 and 5 in New York, NY)
3/15/14-3/23/14 (Session #1: Pre-Primary Level – Level 3 in OK)
7/14/14-7/19/14 (Session #2: Levels 4 and 5 in NY)
7/21/14-7/26/14 (Session #3: Levels 6, 7 & Partnering in NY)
7/29/14-8/6/14 (Session #1: Pre-Primary Level through Level 3 in NY)

Classical Dance Alliance
2014 BarreRaise Ballet Pedagogy Blended Learning Intensive
June 27 through July 4, 2014 First Class
July 5 through July 12, 2014 Second Class
July 14 through July 19, 2014 Third Class
July 21 through July 26, 2014 Fourth Class

Akjun Ballet Theatre
Dance Teachers & Student Teachers Program
Eligible for Certification & University credits
Term 1: Oct/Nov/Dec
Term 2: Mar/Apr/May
Term 3: July/Aug

Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida
Vaganova Method (actual VBA faculty, pretty cool)

Ballet Magnificat!
Heavily focused on Christian faith

Canada’s National Ballet School
Teacher Training Program
RAD, Cecchetti or ISTD Certification
3-year, 5-year part-time options

Broadway Dance Center/The Pulse
14th Annual Teacher Workshop

Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop
Teachers Continuing Education Certificate
2014 dates TBA

Cosmopolitan Ballet Theatre
Vaganova Syllabus Teacher Programs
2014 Dates TBA at publication

Cornish College of the Arts
Teacher Workshops
Certificate of Completion
8/7/14-8/8/14 (How Joints Work With Muscles in a Dance Class)
8/4/14-8/6/14 (Teaching the Fundamentals of Children’s Ballet)

Ecole Superieure de Danse de Cannes
Dance Teacher Certification
Fluent French required
2014 Dates TBA at publication

Finis Jhung @ The Ailey Studios
The Fundamentals Of Ballet Technique: Teacher & Adult Student Workshop

Lori Belilove’s Isadora Duncan Dance Theatre
Certification Program
2014 Dates TBA at publication

Teaching Contemporary Limón 2014
7/7/14-7/18/14 (NYC)
7/21/14-8/1/14 (Dresden)
8/4/14-8/15/14 (Montreal)

Peridance Capezio Center
GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® & Steele Pilates
Various Dates

Pacific Northwest Ballet School
Teacher’s Seminar

Open World Dance Foundation
First Annual Teachers Training & Conference
Vaganova Method  (including three students of Vaganova)

Northwest Dance Intensive
Teacher’s Workshop
With Beamish BodyMind Balancing® creator

Royal Academy of Dance
2014 Courses for Teachers
Various Dates

The Royal Ballet School
Various Dates (Teacher Training Program)
Various Dates (Dance Teacher Observation Programme)
3/9/14 (Dance Teacher’s Workshop)
4/14/14-4/16/14 (Seminar for Ballet Teachers at Richmond Ballet)

Royal Winnipeg Ballet
2-year Teacher Training Program
7/7/14-7/11/14 Teachers’ Summer Workshop

Dance Masters of America
Teachers Training School
Multi-Year Program

Cecchetti Council of America
Diploma Course