Today I wanted to reflect on week 4 of my summer program at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago! Here’s what I thought about it:
Week 4 was a really great week. I thought I did well technically, especially in my pointework, and I excelled during contemporary and other types of classes that we had. I’m looking forward to an even better final week!
We continued working on our piece about Pompeii in contemporary repertoire. I’ve enjoyed learning all of the floorwork that we do – lots of rolling and body slamming into the floor – I’m very bruised! But, it’s worth it – the dance is coming together really well and I think it conveys a strong message when it’s all said and done.
In variations class we learned the female variation from Flower Festival in Gezano. It was very challenging, but I thought I danced it decently. It involved a lot of jumping in pointe shoes, which was difficult. I was surprised how I excelled at the quick footwork and pointework – that’s usually one of my weaknesses. It had lots of pas de bourrées and things.
We continued building and polishing the Fantastic Waltz from Raymonda in classical repertoire class. Being in the corps de ballet in a Raymonda piece is definitely a learning experience – it’s very challenging. We finished the piece on Wednesday and then continued cleaning and polishing on Thursday and today. We perform along with all the other pieces in exactly one week.
We just finished creating our character dance for the showcase – it’s a marathon! I think that character is difficult because you’re constantly moving across the stage doing small hops. The jumps aren’t huge and your leg isn’t by your head, but you never get a break! It is also a lot mentally, which is very challenging and has helped me improve in other forms of dance as well. I’m feeling stronger than ever both in my technique and my speed of picking up choreography.
Jazz is also going great – we started experimenting with contemporary parterning with the other girls in our class this week. We started with some basic shared core movements and then got into pivoting/rotation which can bring you into some really cool lifts and things. The msot difficult thing was giving your weight to that other person so they can support you, and knowing what to do next. Partnering improv is a lot of body language and just a pure mental connection – you have to be prepared and in the same mindeset before you can try a lift or something even somewhat dangerous. It’s very difficult!
We continued polishing off our basic skills in modern class. We had jazz 3 times this week and modern only once, so we didn’t get a lot of classes in, but that’s okay.
Our dance discussion or seminar this week was about the Joffrey Ballet and it’s repertoire. Ashely Wheater, the artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, led the discussion. We watched the company perform Tulle on video, which is a comedy about ballet – a satire if you will. It asks questions that reveal a deeper, more difficult side to ballet, such as: Is Don Quixote a circus act? Why do we wear hard shoes? skirts that stick straight out? It was really, really interesting.
Thanks for reading! Next week is week 5, so after that we will get back to our regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule with full blog posts every time. See you on Monday with another informational blog post 🙂
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