Ballet Chicago Summer Program…Day 1

Today was Day 1 (if it even counts…I will explain later) of my summer program at Ballet Chicago. It is a very Balanchine-based program, and it definitely shows in the teaching style!

Today was just our placement class for the faculty to assign us levels. They will post the level that I’m in later tonight. The way levels work for this program is the same they do for SAB…B1, B2, C1, C2, C3, and D. C3/D class is typically combined, judging by the schedule they provided for us.

One challenging thing about this summer intensive in Chicago is the commute…I take bike up to the train station (about a 5-8 minute bike ride), take a Metra train into downtown (about a 25 minute ride), and then walk to the studios on State Street. All in all, including waiting for the train, my commuting process takes about an hour, and that’s just one way! But, I can pass the time with reading and listening to music. Those two hours of my day are pretty relaxing, and I use it to catch up with my personal stuff. (like my blog!)

I had to take an early train there today because my placement class didn’t start until 3:30 (and they told us to be there at 2:30). I hung out at Starbucks for an hour or so and read to pass the time. It was pleasant, and I got a latte and a chocolate croissant out of it!

I made a few friends before class started (it will be easier to get to know people when our levels are assigned and we start taking real classes). The placement class felt less like a “class” and more like an audition…there was an entire panel of faculty there to watch us, including the two directors, Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair. We had numbers and everything. Tomorrow it will start to feel more like a summer intensive.

My dancing was fine…everything was great until we started to do turns across the floor. I’m used to doing combinations of piqué turns, soutenus, chaînés, etc. on a diagonal and spotting toward where I’m going, but Mrs. Blair had us do the combination straight across the floor sideways, and spotting front. It was a really awful adjustment for me…I definitely need to practice that.

The commute back home was fine. It will definitely take some getting used to, but once I get into the groove of things and figure out what works for me, it will be less stressful. The worst part for me was having to essentially jog back to Union Station to catch my train…I made it with only 3 minutes to spare, and if I missed that train I would have to wait an extra hour before the next one.

That’s my update for today, and I hope to write again tomorrow to inform you of my level and how my first real day of classes went. I can’t wait to get into the groove of things!

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4 thoughts on “Ballet Chicago Summer Program…Day 1

  1. Oh Ella dear, So excited for you & please be extremely careful because we all love you so much. Sounds like you’ll be learning lots and be exposed to new and challenging moves. Love you, Aunt Mary & Uncle Mike

  2. Those Balanchine-style front-spotted turns can be rough! Sounds like a good first day, though, for the most part. I hope the rest goes well.

  3. You are wonderful to blog to us because I have been wondering how it is going!
    I noticed how you are giving yourself time to find a communiting routine and realizing not every day will be as challenging as yesterday. I’m glad you have a backpack vs the huge bag you hauled to Nutcracker! Jogging would have been even trickier.
    You are a brave young lady to do all this on your own!

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