So, it’s Saturday night currently, and week 1 of my summer program is done. This year I’m at Ballet Chicago, which is a very Balanchine-based program. I wrote on this blog after my very first day, which you can read here.
Now, the first week has come to a close (I can’t tell if it went by really fast or really slow). So, I thought I would share some of my experiences here and my favorite parts of the program so far.
We have a technique class every morning from 11:00-12:30, but sometimes we will have Pilates or Gyrokinesis from 9:30-10:30. These days are a bit harder for me, because I have to get a 8:12 train in order to get there on time. (I know it’s not that early, but I’m a total wimp and never want to get out of bed in the morning.) The days we start later, we have fewer breaks in our schedule throughout the day. We always end at 5:30 pm.
I love all the teachers and everything I am learning here. Almost every correction I’ve gotten, I’ve never heard before. This shows the true extent to which I’m learning new things. Also, every correction I receive is extremely helpful to my dancing. I feel like I’ve improved aesthetically by a lot just within this first week. Now that my teachers are more comfortable with me and they are aware of my strengths and weaknesses, I will be able to improve even more in the remainder of my time here in Chicago.
The program is a really good fit for me. These are some reasons why I’m having a really good time here:
The girls in my class are really amazing. I’m in the second highest level (C3), which is combined with D (the highest level) for every class. Essentially, I take class with the highest level every day. There are some older dancers there that I really look up to; their specific technique, artistry, and quality to their dancing is quite beautiful, and it’s something you can learn just from watching. It’s been a really enriching experience to be around them and be able to watch them dance every day.
Second, I love the way the program is designed and the time we get outside of class. I feel like part of this is due to the fact that there’s no attached company to the School of Ballet Chicago, so they really give their highest priority and care to the students. They respect the dancers here, and provide us with lots of opportunities to get better. For example, there is a mini ballet library in the studios, and we can read the books whenever we have a few moments on break. The dressing rooms are spectacular; the lockers are giant and there’s lots of room for stretching and warming up. In my various repertoire of classes I’ve had so far, I’ve learned loads of helpful tips and tricks for staying healthy, dancing my best, and taking care of my body. The atmosphere in the studios is very hard working; it makes you excited for the day ahead. The space and the program is really designed to make the dancers the best they can possibly be, and it shows!
Finally, every class I take is truly informative. They are just challenging and strenuous enough that I’m tired when I get home after a full day, but they aren’t exhausting to the point where my muscles begin to compensate and I’m just trying to “get through it” rather than really focus on getting better. At this program, there’s a perfect balance of push and care; they really think about the dancers’ needs, rather than making money or running a practical course.
Everything I’m learning is really spectacular, and I can’t wait to share more with you. I hope to do a big post at the end of the program with everything I have learned and my biggest take-aways from this experience. So, make sure to subscribe to this blog to follow along with my little Chicago journey. But for now, hopefully I will write again next week!