Ballet in Film: Breaking Legs

BreakingLegsFor each dancer who trains at a major dance academies, there are hundreds at humble local schools or living in towns where even basic dance classes are actually not available. Released April 25th on VOD and DVDBreaking Legs is a story for all the young dancers out there who are just trying to keep their dream alive, in the face of lacking culture, education, understanding of many around them.

Liv Southard stars as Bloom, and dancer/choreographer Mark Marchillo wrote, directed, and stars as her uncle. Southard’s natural facility leaves you wanting to see what more she can do, as her choreography seems limited to reflect the lack of training available according to the story. A dance highlight of the Breaking Legs is a completely iconic and incredibly difficult Kelly-esque classic dance sequence performed by Marchillo himself.

Both starring and supporting characters have complicated issues to address, and each have their own motivations, demons, and insecurities. Breaking Legs is a comedy, but actually addresses some dark human issues as well like addiction, child abuse, and infidelity. It offers no reassurances or solutions to those complexities, but somehow manages to walk a fine line to keep its comedic lightness throughout.

Presented with a vintage feel and nods to many of the decades of dance and film that have built to present day, this is a special cast and a quirky story with a ton of heart. Breaking Legs is a must-see for dance fans and students.

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YAGP is Upon Us!

It’s that time of year again when young dance talent from around the globe converge on New York City to compete in the largest international student dance competition in the world, the Youth America Grand Prix.

With hundreds of thousands of scholarship dollars on the line, these more than 1,000 dancers and their coaches have been working all year, often multiple years, to showcase their best work. Chosen from among many thousands who auditioned in the United States, Belgium, France, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, and China, these remaining dancers hope to earn their place in one of the many top schools and companies that will be scouting throughout the event.

Featuring Gala events at Lincoln Center and 30 countries represented in the 2017 Finals, the schedule for this week’s culmination includes:

  • April 12 – YAGP Final Round
  • April 13 – ‘Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow’ Gala
  • April 14 – ‘Julie Bocca: Tribute to a Dance Legend’ Birthday Celebration with International Stars

To call the series star-studded is a vast understatement, as dozens upon dozens of legendary ballerinas and danseurs will be in attendance with many performing in the Galas. And you can be sure to truly see the stars of tomorrow, considering that over 300 YAGP alumni are now dancing with companies around the world like ABT, NYCB, Ailey, Paris Opera, Royal, Stuttgart, Dutch National, and the list goes on. It’s not hard to see why:

A few tickets to these events remain available to the YAGP festivities and can be purchased at https://davidhkochtheater.com. Can’t make it to NY? Subscribe and watch events unfold on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/vamproductions.

 

Free Show 3/24 & 3/25 by HarttWorks

2017-harttworksBalletScoop readers have been offered free tickets to HarttWorks

On Friday March 24 and Saturday March 25 at 7:30pm at the Millard Auditorium at the University of Hartford, HarttWorks will present a special collaboration between the HCD dance and music departments. Scroll down for a special code good for free tickets.

Honors music composition student Xavier Blackwell-Lipkind, a sophomore at Conard High School in West Hartford, has composed original music that will be performed live during the modern segment at both performances. Hartt School alumna Rebecca DeNies (BFA, ‘14) choreographed the piece. Dancers will be accompanied by an advanced chamber music trio, Fibonacci Trio, comprised of Northwest Catholic High School senior Kate Jessen on clarinet, South Windsor High School sophomore Gabe Galley on viola, and Glastonbury High School senior Karlee Cummings on piano. The evening will also include a classical ballet staged by HCD Dance Chair Carol Roderick, a ballet premiere choreographed by Ballet Master Susannah Marchese, a musical theatre jazz and tap piece choreographed by Dance Faculty/Assistant Director of Dance Administration Melissa Chasse, and a modern piece choreographed by Hartt Professor of Dance Stephen Pier.

Passcode: HSHarttWorks17

ONLINE: www.hartford.edu/tickets and click on the Arts and Events Box Office link. Enter the above passcode where is asks if you have a code.

OVER THE PHONE: 860-768-4228 University of Hartford Box Office Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 am – 5 pm. Mention the above passcode when you are asked for payment information.

IN PERSON: Lincoln Theater, 200 Bloomfield Ave, West Hartford, CT 06117University of Hartford Box Office Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 am – 5 pm. Bring this pass with you.

This passcode does not guarantee tickets. Tickets are subject to availability. There are no refunds or exchanges once you redeem for tickets, all sales are final. This is not valid on previously purchased tickets. Everyone, regardless of age, entering the theater must have a ticket.

Ballet in Film: Prix de Lausanne Finals

Prix de Lausanne finals were posted on Youtube yesterday, complete with beautiful classical and contemporary classwork, performance montages, and coaching excerpts. Former prize recipient, former Royal Opera House creative director and current board member Deborah Bull is host and the faculty is equally world-class.

The footage quality is better every year and this is some of the best yet, with about 2.5 hours. See some of today’s best-trained and naturally promising young dance talent in the world at the Prix finals, and find out who rose to the top to receive prizes this year.

Ask BalletScoop: Visiting a U.S. Summer Program

Bolshoi SI students

Bolshoi US Summer Program students / Photo courtesy of Bolshoi Ballet Academy

Dear BalletScoop,

As we live in Europe, it is very difficult to ascertain the SI programs from others with similar experience – I am relying primarily on google reviews.

As we consider the different programs, apart from the list that you indicated of what one should look for in an SI, for me number one is safety for my young daughter – given that she will be so far away from home.

Is it possible to give a general advice on the schools we are considering?

  • Miami City
  • Bolshoi CT
  • CPBYP
  • SAB-NY

At all schools, safety is certainly a priority. The schools you are considering, particularly the last three, have an enormous amount of experience hosting students from other countries and an excellent track record of doing so safely.

My best advice to you is to arrange a call with each school and have a conversation with someone who is ultimately responsible for the care of the students and can speak with authority on their precautions and safety. I also advise creating an account and logging into Ballet Talk (http://dancers.invisionzone.com/) for more clear reviews on these schools. Best of luck!

 

 

2017 Summer Intensives – Top US Ballet Programs

Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Credit: Rosalie O’Connor

Happy Turkey Month! And what a busy month it is – Nutcracker rehearsals, finals and the start of audition season.

Last year BalletScoop discontinued the big list of all summer intensives. This was a tough decision, and I know how many of you enjoyed it and relied on it year to year. In the future I hope to collaborate with a colleague of mine to develop a truly interactive and more easily maintainable database of programs (stay tuned for more on that next year)!

In the meantime I’ll continue share with you links to the finest programs that every dancer should know. As far as these schools go, if you are within driving distance of an audition location, don’t think twice about – go!

 

American Ballet Theatre (NY, AL, TX, CA)

School of American Ballet (NY/CA)

Bolshoi Ballet (NY/CT) – Click here to learn about the BBS SI approach.

Pacific Northwest Ballet (WA)

San Francisco Ballet (CA) – This year’s site has had a beautiful overhaul!

Ellison Ballet (NY)

Boston Ballet (MA) – Also featuring a new updated website!

Houston Ballet (TX)

French Academie (NY)

Gelsey Kirkland Academy (NY)

Kirov Academy (DC)

The Rock School (PA)

Need to find a regional program? It’s worth looking at the Pointe Magazine list.  Keep in mind that it’s based purely on opt-in paid placement (so Pointe won’t list programs that don’t pay them money), but it’s still a solid starting point. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, feel free to drop me a line in the comments below and I’ll help you out if I can!