Friday, July 30, 2010

A Tale of Two Dancers

Take a look at the summer intensive experiences of two dancers, one a student from BalletMet Academy, the other a visiting student living in the dorms!

Wow! This year's summer intensive has been such an exciting experience. While the long days in the studios are pretty exhausting, they are also exhilarating since all of the dancers love what they do. The BalletMet summer experience is more than just sweat, blisters, and rehearsals. Throughout the five weeks, we have grown together as more than just roommates and peers, but as lifelong friends. From "So You Think You Can Dance"viewing parties, to having an impromptu photo shoot in the garden outside of our dormitory, we never had trouble finding fun things to do at night after a day of classes or on lazy Sunday afternoons.

But the dorm chaperones made sure to keep us busy with an array of weekend outings. We celebrated our country's independence at Red, White, and Boom, the acclaimed Columbus fireworks spectacle and slid down swirling slides at the water park Fort Rapids. We watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" and the classic musical "My Fair Lady" in the beautiful Ohio Theatre and were treated to a live performance of "The Producers" by the Columbus Children's Theatre. We even were lucky enough to have a few delicious ice cream socials in the cafeteria. And-of course-who could forget our epic, double whammy, back-to-back weekend trips to the Easton Town Center mall?

We've been named the greatest, and best behaved, group to ever grace the hallowed halls of the Schottenstein dormitory at Columbus College of Art and Design. But we'd like to think that what the chaperones don't know won't hurt them…. Only kidding of course!! It's been an unforgettable summer session, and the memories and friendships I've made here in C-bus I will always cherish.

-Shelby Shenkman

This is the last week of the pre-professional intensive, so my schedule is a little different than it was the past 4 weeks. My day starts at about 7 a.m every morning Monday through Friday and sometimes Saturday. I do my hair, then eat a healthy breakfast and I am out the door by 7:55 a.m. for the 15-20 minute commute to the Academy. First I check the schedule to confirm there weren't any changes, and then head to the dressing room where my locker awaits me. The reason I have a locker is because I am a year round student in the Pre-Professional (Pre-Pro) Program. I grab my warm ups and I head into the studio to warm up my muscles. Since this is Week 5, the Pre-Pros are living a typical week as a member of BalletMet's company. Most of the days we start out with a Ballet class which ranges from an hour and a half to a two hour long class. After that we get a 15 minute break to maybe grab a snack and to refill your water bottle.
We have two separate rehearsals that are either one hour or an hour and fifteen minutes. After dancing the morning away we get a 45 minute lunch break. Next we have yet another rehearsal for one hour, and lately we have been having a Flamenco class for one hour. To end the day we have a Modern class for one hour and thirty minutes. Yesterday, I took part in some demonstrations for the BalletMet Dance Academy Open House and was at the studio until 8:30pm! Once my day is over I go home eat some dinner, take a cold shower to refresh myself, then I relax and recharge for the day ahead.

Weeks 1-4 my day still started at 7am and was full of a variety of classes. Instead of long rehearsals, we had set classes like Ballet, Variations, Modern, Corps, and Enrichment, which could be anything from Yoga to Dance History. We get to work with the Artistic staff a lot which is an amazing experience.

I like the Summer Intensive because I get to meet people from all over the country as well as see people from past years. Last weekend I got to have a friend over who I met last year who I became very close friends with because she was moved up into the 5 week program. There wasn't a dorm room open so she spent the week at my house. She came over for a sleepover this year, and we went and saw the Titanic exhibit at COSI, accompanied by one of the other students that is in the intensive who is from Italy!!! After boarding the Titanic we went to Polaris and shopped a bit, came home had dinner and then we took them back to the dorms.

I really enjoy being a local student and having the opportunity to dance in my home studio, but with some different faces.

-Sarah Wilson

Monday, July 19, 2010

Macho Dancing Men

Male dancers have become more and more prominent in society over the past few years. With television shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance?, not to mention blockbuster hits like Step Up, the perception of the male dancer has been reborn. No longer is dance thought of as strictly a feminine art, but as a multi-faceted, strong and athletic art form that requires both a strong mind and body. Because of this, many men who are non-dancers have found that dancing, especially ballet, is a great way to increase strength and flexibility, and help them improve on and off the field.

To prepare for their 2007 season, The Ohio State University football team participated in a yoga class at BalletMet twice a week over the summer. Kirk Barton, an offensive lineman, said that the more flexible he is, the more powerful he can be on the field without risk of injury. “Flexibility is key, you never saw Gumby tear an ACL. Yoga also uses controlled breathing to maintain mental focus, which can be key under pressure,” Kirk said. OSU football coach, Jim Tressel, even took a few fitness classes at BalletMet!

Ohio State isn’t unique in this idea -- the Cleveland Browns players and the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Lynn Swann, are known for their cross training in ballet. They found it gave them more flexibility in their hips and even helped prevent injury! Swann took tap, ballet, and jazz classes as a young man and also while in college. He attributes his athletic skill to the strength he built in dance. "Certain dance movements are fundamental to the movements you need to make in sports. A basketball player can't jump without doing a plie. It may not be graceful and deep with your feet turned out, but it's the same thing,” Swann said (Dance Magazine, Jan. 2004)

But what about male ballet dancers? What sparked their interest in dance at a young age? We asked a few male BalletMet dancers why they began dancing. David Tlaiye, a BalletMet dancer of five years, began dancing when he was 11 years old. “I began dancing because my sister danced and I had to wait for her in the waiting room, leaving me with nothing to do. So I started dancing because I was bored,” David said. He improved at a fast pace, which allowed him to move up into more advanced classes. David was convinced to keep dancing once he realized the advantage of being around ladies all the time.

Jimmy Orrante, a BalletMet dancer of fifteen years, began dancing when he was in high school. “I began dancing to meet girls,” Jimmy said. In fact, Jimmy’s ties to dance led him to his future wife! Former BalletMet dancer and wife of Jimmy, Sonia Welker Orrante, met Jimmy at a BalletMet Summer Intensive Program. BalletMet Academy dancer, Chris Evans, began dancing at age 4 and has studied in the pre-professional program at BalletMet for three years. Read more about Chris’ experience in our post about “How To Become A Professional Dancer". In the future, Chris hopes to dance for a ballet company abroad.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What it means to be a Nonprofit Organization


Nonprofit (adj.) - not established for the purpose of making a profit; not entered into for money

We hear this word a lot in our community and culture, but what does it really mean to be a nonprofit organization? Well, a whole lot more than a definition can explain.

Let’s break it down:

For-Profit Organization

Goal: generate profit

Organization is run by the owner or a group of shareholders.

Owner and/or shareholders keep the profit.

Non-Profit Organization

Goal: provide a particular service to a community

Organization is run by a board of trustees who have no monetary investment in the organization.

Profit is used to provide the service in which the nonprofit was formed to offer.

Both need to generate profit in order to grow and survive.

What is BalletMet’s particular service to the community?

BalletMet’s mission is to celebrate dance by engaging the community through quality performances, instruction, education programs and creation of new work. We want to share our love of art with others, and hope that they are inspired and entertained by it. It is our hope that people will experience movement and feel a connection – whether it be taking classes, attending shows, or supporting our company.

How does BalletMet engage the community?

BalletMet is actively working to encourage appreciation and participation in the arts in the Columbus community. BalletMet offers reduced ticket prices for schools to attend a “Morning at the Ballet,” and students who may have never seen dance before have the chance to enjoy a performance and learn theatre etiquette. High School students have access to "High 5" tickets available at Kroger, and can buy a ticket to one of our shows for only five dollars!

BalletMet also engages students in dance by providing dance programs in schools. The staff work with teachers to incorporate dance into educational curriculum, and BalletMet Academy students travel to schools in the inner city and all over Columbus to perform. We have special programs such as our Momentum program and Moving into Literacy that engage students in dance and music that encourage wellness, discipline, and education. It is BalletMet’s hope that the public will realize that dance is for everyone, and a love that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

That’s why the Academy provides many dance scholarships for students, especially those that may be underprivileged and wouldn’t normally be able to experience dance. From beginner dance scholarships to scholarships for the Summer Intensive Program, BalletMet strives to make dance available to all who are interested.

If you have any questions about the programs we offer don't hesitate to contact us. We would love to start a program at your school!