Friday, July 29, 2011

What I Did On Summer Break...

Just because the BalletMet season hasn’t started yet, doesn’t mean that our dancers haven’t been keeping busy. Recently I had a chance to connect with Adrienne Benz (pictured left), who is returning for her ninth season with BalletMet, to discuss how she’s been spending her summer. Adrienne was lucky enough to be asked by Darrell Moultrie to perform in his piece at Summer Stage in New York City. Summer Stage is a spectacular event set up in Central Park with a fun outdoor concert vibe that spans the entirety of the summer and is free to the public. For those of you who have never heard the name Darrell Moultrie, get to know it. Moultrie is quickly becoming one of the most sought after choreographers, doing everything from Broadway to ballet to commercials. Learn more about Moultrie here.

“Melting Pot” is the name of Moultrie’s Summer Stage performance and is a collection of ensemble pieces meant to resemble his personal experiences growing up. This is not the first time Adrienne has collaborated with Moultrie; BalletMet has been lucky enough to have him choreograph a piece called “Square Off” in 2008, “Simply Sammy” in the American Legends production in 2010, and “Wrath” as part of 7 Deadly Sins this past April. Of Moultrie, Adrienne says:

"Darrell has a crazy energy in the studio and I feel like we bonded the minute we worked together…his choreography feels comfortable to me but somehow he always seems to put a new twist on his work!"

This experience also allowed Adrienne to collaborate with a “melting pot” of dancers from all over the country who are a part of Dance Grand Moultrie, a new pick-up company using dancers that Moultrie loves whenever they are available. Summer Stage was their premier company performance. Check out more of Moultrie’s choreography here.

But it wasn’t all work and no play for Miss Benz. Being a New Jersey native, she was able to catch up with friends and family during her New York trip, and earlier this year she got married! Congratulations to Adrienne on all her accomplishments. We’re glad to have her back in Columbus!

What do you think about Adrienne’s experience? Have you seen any of Moultrie’s work before?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This Summer is Getting Intense!

The BalletMet Summer Intensive is in full swing this week. For 4-5 weeks, young dancers are thrown into an experience that will better them not only as dancers, but as people. Obviously, the Summer Intensive focuses on improving each student’s physical ability. A typical day in the life of a BalletMet dancer begins around 8:30 when they arrive at the studio to warm-up. Throughout the day, they’ll take about six classes. These classes include, modern, jazz, Pilates, flamenco, yoga, and of course ballet.

What sets BalletMet’s Summer Intensive Program apart from others is its outreach beyond just dance. BalletMet believes in “training the whole dancer”. This means not only improving their technique, but developing skills they will need should they choose a career in dance. Classes that address these skills include injury prevention, proper pointe-shoe fitting, acting, and make-up. BalletMet has a very important partnership with The Ohio State University that allows Intensive students to go through an assessment which measures their physical imbalances and provides exercises to fix them. This is the same assessment the BalletMet Company dancers go through. On top of that, BalletMet’s students participate in a number of “enrichment” classes that will prepare them for life regardless what they do in the future including self-defense, nutrition, and interviewing skills. The faculty is also a key player in creating the BalletMet experience. Maybe it’s the Midwestern attitude, but the people behind this program make a point to get to know each student, and make themselves easily available if those students encounter a problem.

When the Summer Intensive students leave, they will come away with so much more than just a better sense of how to execute a triple pirouette; they will have become responsible adults. After all, these are future dancers who will carry on the name of BalletMet. Some may even find themselves a job in a familiar place, like Jimmy Orrante, Annie Mallonee, Samantha Lewis, and Olivia Clark who are all BalletMet Company dancers who once spent their summer in the BalletMet Summer Intensive Program.

BalletMet Summer Intensive 2011 in Numbers:

Number of students: 114
Number of male students: 3
Youngest student: 11
Oldest student: 20
Number of students not yet old enough to drive: 43
Number of states represented: 22
Total approximate miles traveled: 52,597
Number of students from Ohio: 65
Number of students from the Columbus area: 47
Average number of classes taken per day: 6
Approximate hours spent dancing per week: 35 (that’s almost a full-time job!)

What do you think about these numbers? Are you surprised at how many local students there are?