Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's Time to Leap and Twirl!

Leap and Twirl,
BalletMet's new children's book
Last week was the book launch for BalletMet’s own children’s book, Leap and Twirl!  There was a great turnout with kids, parents, and community members coming together to celebrate this wonderful picture book conceived by Ambre Emory- Maier, written by author Steven C. Anderson and illustrated by Sarah DeAngulo Hout.

Author and Illustrator,
Anderson and Hout
It might seem a little strange to have a children’s book as part of a dance education program, and it is. Leap and Twirl is the only children’s book associated with a dance company. The book is apart of the Magic in Movement- Grow up Great! Program, which is a collaboration between BalletMet, PNC Foundation, and the Columbus Urban League. The program is starting its third year as a way to develop and improve social growth and literacy skills, foster creative expression and better prepare children for kindergarten.

To start off the event, Ambre Emory-Maier, the Director of Education, and Cheri Mitchell, the Executive Director, talked about the numerous educational programs that BalletMet has, and how important dance and education is to BalletMet. Cheri summed up BalletMet’s mission statement by saying they believe that “dance is for everyone and everyone should have to chance and opportunity to experience it.”

After hearing about the book and programs, the audience finally got a chance to see the book as Steven Anderson read the book aloud, inviting all of the children in the audience to join him. We heard all about Leap and Twirl’s week at school, and how they got experience the joy of dance in their life. After the reading, the audience got a special treat as children from the Columbus Urban League gave a little demonstration of how the book is being used in the educational programs. The kids moved around to live music as they pretended to be butterflies, and bears, and to leap like a frog and twirl like a squirrel, which was inspired by the characters in the book.

The book launch was a great success, and I think all of the kids in the audience enjoyed it. If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of the book, visit our website at https://www.balletmet.org/dance-education/education/education-materials.
Leap and Twirl, the title characters
And don’t forget, as Steven Anderson writes in Leap and Twirl, “Every day is a day to dance!” 

- Mackenzie :) 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dance, Friends, and Fun - It's Summer Camp!

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year again – Summer Camp! Here at BalletMet, the Summer Dance Camp is well underway. It’s only the second day, but the studio is already bustling with students ready to get their tap shoes on, and leap and twirl across the floor. For me, summer camp was always my favorite part of the summer. New friends, new experiences, and most importantly, a whole lot of fun! Since I can hear them downstairs already best friends with each other, I think it’s safe to assume they’re having fun.

This week there are two camps going on here at the Downtown location. For the 4-6 year olds, there is the Fancy Nancy Tea Party class, inspired by the book series. From 9-11 am every day this week they are enjoying a full on adventure complete with tiaras, fairy wings, tutus and more! There probably aren’t too many boys in this camp, but for a little girl it will sure be a week for her to remember! This same camp will be offered again for kids aged 3-5 at the Vista Plaza-Gahanna location from July 16-20.

For our campers that are a little bit older, there’s the Summer Celebration! This camp is a full day of dance for boys and girls ages 7-12. They’ll spend the whole week learning various types of dance like Ballet, Tap, and Jazz, and even get to do a little Improvisational Acting, Drumming and other cool things! I know this morning they were learning a tap dance to Yankee Doodle with flags as props. It sure looked like a lot of fun to me! These dedicated campers are here all day from 9am-4pm experiencing the joys of dance. This afternoon they even got a special treat with a guest appearance from BalletMet Company dancer, Olivia Clark! She showed them a few dances as well as answered a lot of questions about dancing, Pointe shoes, and her career with the Company. The kids even pressured her into showing them a fouette turn, right after admitting it was one of the hardest moves she’s ever learned, and that she still struggles with them.      

Summertime is a great time for kids to get out there and make new friends, try new experiences, and just be kids. Summer Camp is the place to make all of that happen. If your child loves dance, it’s also the perfect time for them to try out new styles, improve their technique, and spend time doing what they love! If you haven’t signed up for one of our Summer Dance Camps yet and you feel like you’re missing out, don’t fear. There’s still time! This is the only week camp will be at the Downtown location, but there are still camps going on in July and August at the Gahanna and Reynoldsburg locations. For more information, check out https://www.balletmet.org/images/documents/summer_main.pdf

- Mackenzie :) 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ballet on Television!

Before I dive into the heart of this post, let me take a minute to introduce myself. My name is Alyssa. I am one of the marketing and communications interns and I am thrilled to be part of the BalletMet team for the summer.  As of yesterday, I am a graduate of THE Ohio State University with a BFA in dance and a minor in arts entrepreneurship. This statement is normally followed with ever present questions such as, “So, what’s next for you?” or (my personal favorite) “A dance major?? So…what do you want to do with that?” Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m still figuring that out for myself. What I do know is that dance will continue to be a part of my life for a very long time. I may not be sure what the future holds for me, but I could not be happier with my decision to major in dance. Yes, many assume that a dance major means getting credit for prancing around like a fairy and stretching all day, but I know quite different. The knowledge, discipline, and experience I have gained in these past four years are invaluable to me.
As a Columbus native, I have always admired the work BalletMet is doing, both on the stage and in the community. Having been on the performance side of dance for quite some time now, I am very excited to learn about the administrative and marketing aspects of dance. Now that you know a little bit about me, let’s turn our attention to the recent boom ballet is making in television!
Until recently, most dance on television has been commercialized with contests and celebrities. Does this mean there is no room for the timeless art of classical ballet on television? Upcoming shows and documentaries such as “Breaking Pointe”, “Bunheads”, and FIRST POSITION say differently. These shows are giving real life insight into the different aspects of being a classical ballet dancer. This gives audiences who are used to popular shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” a new appreciation for classical dance. These shows are aiming to break the notion of ballet being old-fashioned and outdated. Let’s face it; a good majority of people in the U.S. do not attend classical ballets on a regular basis. Seeing ballet on modern day television may give classical dance performances the boost in attendance we’d all like to see.
The CW recently premiered “Breaking Pointe”, a reality show following the behind the scenes operations of Salt Lake City company, Ballet West. The show focuses on the dedication, vigor, and strength it takes to be a professional ballet dancer by following the dancers in class and rehearsals. In addition to life inside the studio, the dancers’ social lives are also documented, focusing on their relationships with one another and how they manage their careers as dancers. You can even watch full episodes on the CW website! The ABC Family original series “Bunheads” is also set to premiere on June 11th (as in tonight!!), focusing on a Las Vegas dancer who ends up taking a position at a ballet school. The series will follow her growth as a teacher and journey with the students. Episodes of this will also be available online.
And let's not forget to check out the upcoming documentary, FIRST POSITION at BalletMet night on June 14th at 7:30 PM at the Drexel movie theater. This film follows six young ballerinas on their journey to the Youth American Grand Prix, one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world. Their sacrifices, dedication, and perseverance give the dancers a glimpse into the life of a professional ballerina. Call (614) 231-1050 for tickets, or visit http://www.drexel.net/.

Now let’s give it up for ballet making it on the big screen. Bravo, ballet. Bravo!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Start of Summer!

Summertime may mean lots of sunshine, days by the pool and cool nights catching fireflies, but it doesn’t mean the work has stopped! BalletMet is hard at work preparing for its next season and it looks like it’s going to be a good one! I’m Mackenzie, the new marketing intern for BalletMet this summer, and I’m ecstatic to get to spend my summer working here. A little bit about myself, I’m a Marketing major with a minor in Communications at The University of Toledo, GO ROCKETS! While I go to school up in Toledo, I grew up here in Central Ohio and get to spend my summers back home.

So far in school, it’s seemed that people often equate business students with plain personalities and a rather dull list of interests. I’ll be the first to tell you that is most definitely not true, as seen with my love of dance. I started dancing when I was only two years old, only stopping for a brief hiatus when I moved from Southern California to Ohio in preschool. Throughout the years I dabbled in various styles such as ballet, lyrical, baton, jazz, and even clogging! While I may have thought about quitting from time to time during the teenage years, I don’t regret sticking with it for an instant. I won’t lie, I definitely wasn’t the greatest dancer, nowhere near good enough to get into a company per say, but my dance studio was always my home away from home. I’m sure every dancer can agree with me on this one, that there’s just something magical about performing where you feel outside of yourself. Oftentimes I wish I would have pushed myself a little harder, practiced a little more, and been a little better than I was, but it in the end I still enjoyed it nonetheless.

Since dancing was such a huge part of my childhood, it was tremendously hard for me to quit when I moved off to college. With that, I couldn’t imagine a better place to be interning for the summer. Since I’m only home for the summer, however, it unfortunately means I won’t get to see any of the performances during the season. Disappointing, I know. I can only hope to catch a showing of The Nutcracker over Christmas break! Throughout the summer I’ll highlight all of the upcoming shows for the season, so stay tuned!

- Mackenzie J