Week 5: Bolle

This past week has been very spectacular, on so many different levels!

Saturday:

I had the privilege of going over to a great friend of mine, Lauren (amazing dancer and person!), with my other great friend, Raoni (also amazing dancer and crazy but good person), to have pancakes and watch Beasts of the Southern Wild!! This was an amazing start to a great weekend. Β Lauren is a great cook, and her pancakes were spectacular! Actually, I am doing what she does now: adding nutella and/or peanut butter along with jelly to pancakes, rather than using syrup, which is not necessarily my favorite. πŸ™‚ Β I think we all had a blast! I worked the rest of my Saturday away, which was great because it flew by so quickly!

Sunday:

Not much to say, just worked. It was quite slow at the LEGO store.

Monday:

Started the day with Beruite’s ballet class, which was a great class, but I just couldn’t get into it. Β I got into the ballet, but my body wasn’t warming up, which kind of reeked for me this class. Otherwise, it was a phenomenal class, as usual. I just couldn’t get my body warm..

Next we had Lizzie… Oh my gosh, talk about tear jerker! She gave an extravagant class, with a lot of improvisation, followed by an extraordinarily emotional phrase at the end. It was a beautifully set dance to a very emotional spoken word song. I was holding back tears the entire class, but my nose wouldn’t lie.. it kept running the entire time. To me, this phrase was about body image and disabilities.. It reminded me of all the people I’ve known in my life with these issues, which touches me deeply within. I really connected with this work.

I finished the day with the slowest day at LEGO.. I was surprised with how slow everything was at the store. But, I got through it and went home to rest!

Tuesday:

Claire’s ballet class was great, however, once again I couldn’t get my body warm. I did appreciate her having me “demonstrate” the petite allegro. I obviously didn’t do it so well, and we kept starting over, and we did it snail slow..BUUUUUT, I did it πŸ™‚ I’m starting to get into those quick little movements.. It excites me so much. By the end of class my body was externally warm, but internally cold! She suggested that I focus more on rolling out my muscles first, a lot, then warming up, since rolling out the muscles will get the blood flowing to all areas of the body and thus produce heat when needed.

Victor’s class was very fun. He taught some new technique phrases, some more difficult, some more fun. I love his classes. He even had a new soundtrack! I really loved this so much! He always plays very nice, fun music, but his new soundtrack was super amazing!!

Raoni came over to watch Hunger Games and the Fountain. We had a sleepover, ate some pizza, and watched some Sylvie Guillem… πŸ™‚ It was super duper fun!!

Wednesday:

I took Claire’s advice and rolled out, which proved to be very effective in Laura’s class. I felt much more secure in my body, and mind. Β Laura’s biggest correction for me this day was to not look down, I do that A LOT. I guess its more of a confidence thing, which you need when dancing ballet. I appreciate all of the corrections I’ve been getting, since they help me out so much!

Kristina’s class was superb! We explored some more spirals, rib cage, and head-tail connection. Her class had me sweating like a mad man, but it also relaxed all my muscles while working them out.. It is very hard to describe, but I enjoy it πŸ™‚

Beruite’s class was phenomenal for me! After having Kristina, I felt more in tune with my body. She told me that my ballet posture had come a long way, which makes me sooo happy!!!!! Today I got my nickname changed from Remy (from Ratatouille) to Bolle (the amazing ballet dancer, Roberto Bolle), I am EXCEPTIONALLY happy with this. I got the nickname, not because of the dancing, but because of the face she says. Either way, I am inspired!! πŸ˜€

We all had our conferences with Claire this week, where she gives us a review on how we’ve been doing. I got my notes and will immediately begin to apply them!

Thursday:

We had Eric, from who-knows-where, who gave SUCH AN AMAZING BALLET CLASS!!! We focused on turns, tours, et cetera. I was able to barely manage to get a double tour!!! I’ve never been able to do that, but this class got me to do it. I was also more managed in the petite allegro. My second turns felt good in this class. I was very on my leg, and as extended as I could be. I took Claire’s advice and have been focusing on my 5th position, turn out, and fundamentals of ballet.

Frankies class was a composition class again. Everyone created such amazing work, which I enjoyed watching and being a part of!

Work work work.

Friday:

Began the day with Claire’s ballet class. I felt super amazing today, since I focused on rolling out all my muscles, stretching lightly and warming up before class. Claire’s class seemed exceptionally difficult today, but I loved that about it! I loved every exercise that we did, so beautiful and full. I felt so much more accomplished, even though I know there is more to work on. I also appreciate all the corrections she’s begun to give me now in class. I know that this will push me further than ever.

Next we had Jackie again. I loved this class. I felt bad because Raoni and I turned at the same time but hit each others arms.. It hurt pretty badly. Her phrase was amazing!!!! I love having her.

Claires pilates class was detailed and difficult, just the way I like it.Β When I was at work, I sneezed and felt all my abdominal muscle’s tense and the soreness began… Even now, on Saturday morning right before clocking into work… I sneeze and they are extremely sore. Thanks for that πŸ™‚

I made pancakes for breakfast with nutella, peanut butter and jelly πŸ™‚

Week 4: The Hunger Games

Such an interesting week it’s been, but all full of good stuff!!!

Weekend:

Saturday I went to the DanceWorks Chicago workshop, which was phenomenal. Unfortunately, I was still not feeling it, so ballet didn’t come out so good, even though it was a great class.. But rep was fantastic! We quickly learned sections of three of their works, one of which was first set on Hubbard Street 2!! I enjoyed the “light tunnel” phrase, which had very interesting choreography. The last phrase was fun, but it was a jazz number and a female solo, so all I can say is that I tried my best. πŸ˜‰ I couldn’t stay after rep though, since I had to work at LEGO. 😦 I’d say the highlight of this day was seeing Sarah, a previous scholarship student who convinced me to do it, she now dances with them… She’s amazing πŸ™‚

Sunday was just another work day, not much else happened.

Monday:

We kicked the week off with Mrs. Beruite’s ballet class, which as always, is fantastic. She has such a wealth of knowledge, but unfortunately I still wasn’t feeling it. I tried to take in information, even though my body didn’t want to correspond. Being a dancer with no motivation is tough, it sets you back, majorly.

Lizzie’s contemporary class was kick butt!!!! It was nice to have her teach again. She gave such a beautiful combination which, to me, revolved around the focus of the eyes and opening doors. She gave us freedom to play with it and find new ways of doing things, so long as we hit specific cues. She also emphasized the separation between the strictness of ballet while dancing contemporary.

We ended this day with a photo shoot!!! It was for the Lou Conte Dance Studio. It was a very fun shoot. Five guys and two girls. I had a lot of fun shooting with a dance photographer, even though having Claire and him analyze our technique was very nerve-racking. Can’t wait to see the pics!!!

Tuesday:

Claire’s ballet class was great, except my body again and mind. The exercises at barre and center were so luxurious and wonderful if I could just get the motivation in my body!

Victors class was very fun and fluid. He challenged us with dive rolls today!!! Ahhhh I certainly love challenges, especially those that are a bit more risky! As usual, he made it all look easy while we all… πŸ™‚

Work ended my day today.

Wednesday:

Laura’s classes are usually some of my favorite, but today was the worst. Not the class, but me… I could releve or turn or developpe! My body completely stopped… And it was a great class too πŸ˜₯ it was here that I decided not to take it anymore. I am going to make a change! And change I did…

Kristina’s class is what my body years for midweek. I usually feel more accomplished and relaxed, also more in tune with my body after her classes. This is the class where I learn to enter… The twilight zone πŸ˜‰ kidding. It’s where I learn to dance three dimensionally!

After a new found flame within, I took Beruite’s ballet after… I rocked my socks in this class. Not only had I found my motivation again, BUT I finally finished my first ever FULL PETITE ALLEGRO combination!!!! I was so stoked! Not that I did it completely perfectly, but I was able to execute all steps until the finish line! Also.. According to Beruite, I look like ratatouille! Haha, she said that he’s a cute mouse and I will just say that I’ll take it as a compliment! πŸ˜€ I felt amazing in this class, really. Her speech at the end of class, about letting go of the idea of being perfect was what we all needed to hear.

Thursday:

We had a miss Courtney guest teach. My passion was back, so I felt great in class, however I just didn’t feel her style of teaching for me, personally. She was very mellow and didn’t give out many corrections, but that’s okay, class was good. And more importantly, I was back!

Frankie’s class was great. Warm up then we spent the rest of the class trying to create a dance. It was very beautiful, and Hunger Games themed, I think! ;-D

Work, work work. But on my good note about work, after one day on register, I got a shout out by a customer online! I gave great customer service! Seven more then I get a free meal, or to make my own schedule. πŸ™‚

Friday:

Ballet with Claire wasFANTASTIC! I felt great, even though I wasn’t perfect, I felt great. Like a dancer.. A real one. She had me do a section of the petite allegro step by step, by myself, and it helped a lot! I also ALMOST finished another petite allegro! Booya! Very soon, I’ll be skippin and a hoppin! This entire class felt great!

Horton with Erin was great! She’s funny, and amazing and everything! I can’t believe she always has the power to make us so cheerful! Otherwise, her class hurts in a good way.

Pilates with Claire was painful, but I can see its effects in my dancing and body. Pilates is so essential to a dancers vitality and longevity.. It also completely skyrockets the technique! It’s amazing! And Claire is a fantastic instructor, we are so lucky to have her. πŸ™‚

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Okay so you might be wondering why I titled this post “The Hunger Games”? Well, other than the fact that I just finished reading the first book (thank you CTA), I have noticed my life has been like the story… Meaning, I’m OBSESSED!!!!!!!!!!!

Firstly: I volunteered to come to chicago, from a very poor background with hardly as much dance training as the other scholarship students. I consider some of these guys to be from districts 1,2,3 and 4. The careers.

Secondly: I’ve needed tiger balm, excessive amounts lately, which is like the use of the medicine given by the sponsors.

Thirdly: I’d say I’m more of a peeta, a guy who is nice and romantic. πŸ™‚ and I have my rue, katniss, prim, and gale in the scholarship program.

Fourthly: I’ve been scarily low on funds lately, so much so that each time I spend I get closer to not having money to pay a bill… This is like the rations which leads to your name being thrown in multiple times into the reaping jar!

Fifthly: I promised everyone back home that I’d be successful. Of course I want everyone to be, but I promised that I’d be… I haven’t forgotten about everyone back home. I miss you and love you all, very much.

I have drive and motivation.

I am, Ruben, the boy on FIRE!!

Week 3: inFluence

Such a loooong but amazing week!

So last weekend, I took basic ballet, had a photo-shoot and relaxed, somewhat!
Here are some of the pics that I took:

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He’s a genius πŸ™‚ also here is the video:

I really enjoyed myself that weekend. Also went through a few personal changes, but nothing that I can’t overcome. πŸ™‚

Monday:

Bruite is a genius! She has a very delicate way of explaining things that make it all ‘just click’. Not sure if many of you out there have had that, but I do at this studio everyday! It’s awesome!! Today’s class was more focused on our weight placement over our feet. It was great the difference it makes to shift the weight from the ankle rather than tip the body or hips. Genius.

Next we had a sub, Ricky, who taught an amazing contemporary class. It was more focused on breathing with the body and extending through infinity to have these movements be fulfilled. I guess that’s what all of dance should be like…. But we forget. He also focused on giving the arms meaning, rather than just flailing them around wildly.

Tuesday:

I got there early to take the adv/pro Pilates at 9am. I must say that my focus, after this class and the entire week, was to make sure that I was pressing away with my lower back to strengthen the abdominals and the lower back. It prevents the unnecessary arching and crunching which helps with lower back pain.

Next we had Claire! Her ballet class was fantastic. She even threw in an andedans a la seconde turn in one of the center phrases! It’s hard not to turn in or raise the hip while doing it. I also had an epiphany in this class, which is common sense to all dancers, except me: turn out more in each and every pliΓ©!!!! Halllaaaakazzuuuuuuuuuuuuu!! Amazing things happen when you do this… It also hurts more.

I had my first day at LEGO, which was soooooo fun. It’s not really work, it’s just fun πŸ™‚

Wednesday:

Ballet with Laura is always a treat. She just ‘gets it’. She also has ways of explaining things that just give you a different approach to ballet technique. She makes it all look so effortlessly. πŸ˜‰ I enjoy her classes because they give you an opportunity to move. Plus, I experiment a lot in these ballet classes…. Why not?

I would say that this was an emotional day for me. When I took Kristina’s class, I asked her how I could move without looking like a dancing 2-D stick.. She gave such great advice, and feedback. I enjoy her classes more and more. She’s very intelligent about movement analysis due to the Laban-Bartenieff approach to her dance methods. I felt great afterwards. I just need to dance in all the dimension and spatially dynamic. I also learned about effort… Stop forcing everything and just MOVE. I’ve been forcing a lot of dancing which has led to choppiness, and stiffness. Allowing myself and body to flow like body feels great and gives me a great quality. I like πŸ™‚

Next I took Beruite’s int ballet class, immediately following Kristina’s class. Note that I haven’t done three consecutive classes since the intensive, so this was new and it’s own challenge. I entered this class with thoughts of the one prior.. Moving with a flow like butter.. Soft and smooth.. My body was relaxed and I felt amazing! Also Beruite’s exercises on releasing the butt muscle and turning out from the back of the legs, not the front, and drawing the back of the knees together when you pliΓ© was great! Such huge differences I thoughts and executions!

Thursday:

Started my day with Terry as our guest ballet instructor. I always enjoy his classes. I feel more free on Thursdays ballet classes. Maybe because they usually have more of a contemporary flare to them… Who knows. All I know is that I need to work on my petite allegro, very badly.

Next we had Frankie again. He recycled his phrase from the class he taught before he went away. It was a great class! Always gets me sweaty. He challenged us by using different music each time for the same phrase.

I finished my training at LEGO and even got a certificate of completion!! Ohhhhhhhh yea πŸ™‚

Friday:

Today started good… I got myself a copy of The Hunger Games, so I can start reading while on the CTA. I read it during my commute to class, arrived extra early with time to warm up, felt pumped, then…. Drained, instantly. I tried to warm up but I was lacking motivation… It’s really hard to push yourself to do anything when this happens.

Unfortunately, I reaped the anti rewards of this during Claire’s ballet class. 😦 I wasn’t able to engage any muscle correctly, I felt like I was just going through the motions, and my body wouldn’t warm up. I felt dry and unmotivated. I also began to look around and start thinking that I was the only one NOT improving :-/ I know that’s not true, I’ve improved tremendously, but I was in such a limbo state and couldn’t get out of it. It lasted the entire class. Maybe it was because it was an off day or because I was still hungry or maybe because I went to bed late last night.. Either way, it affected me badly.

Erin taught her Horton class. I needed her perkiness to get my spirits to lift. It helped but still no motivation or drive. It’s a bit hard to go through classes this way. I noticed myself fluctuating in and out of positive and negative in this class. She always makes me laugh and smile hard, so I’m grateful for this. She’s a hoot!

Lastly, Claire’s scholarship Pilates. I wish I could’ve begun my day with this… I totally felt my juices flowing, and my body warming up. It hurt, obviously, but I felt more awake afterwards. I also felt more in pain, ha!

I went to Goodwill with Lauren, another scholarship student (she’s amazing, inside and out, they all are). I found some cool stuff, dropped it off at the studio, and headed for downtown. I hung out there until it was time for……..

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HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO!!!!!! Fall concert πŸ™‚ as said before, scholarship/training students get one comp ticket, in the orchestra level!!!!!

The show is FANTASTIC! I seriously look up to them so much!!

The show began with Robyn’s new work Fluence. A very visually stunning work, with a lot of great use of space, lighting, special effects and choreography, of course. I’d say the leading dancer, in this ensemble, was the spectacular Meredith, who did an amazing job at stunning and wowing the audience. Every time she moved it was silent. This work was very interesting, with moments of depth, then disconnection from the dancers, then they’d bring it back. Very well done, with a stunning visual surprise at the end. πŸ˜‰ must see.

Next was a crowd favorite, Alejandro’s new work Cloudless. A powerful female duet. The set was great, as well as the music, choreography and the intimacy between dancers. These are two ferocious women who can dance… But the best moments we those where they were so extremely close… It was tender and beautiful, even quite emotional.

Ohads duet.. I cannot spell and too lazy to copy it from the internet or program, :-p was spectacularly great! He is a genius with music and choreography. I’d say it was a romantic comedy πŸ˜€ the dancers did great, having the audience laugh a whole lot.. I think this was English’s favorite, at least I think she really enjoyed it. Very funny and cute πŸ™‚

Lastly, but certainly not least, was Mats Ek Casi-Casa…. TO DIE FOR! Not just because we learned the rep in the summer intensive, but because Mats Ek is… Something else. This work is enchanting, in every way. I really love seeing it come to life. I find the choreography to be so unique and enticing as an audience member and a dancer! Who wouldn’t want to do this work?! It was a great finish to an amazing show!

Just like that, my motivation is back. I look up to this company, a lot, and want to have at least a portion of their talent. I will work harder now. My flame is kindled and I am on fire!! We have a workshop tomorrow morning with Chicago DanceWorks. I’m excited. Now… Time for rest.

Ruben

Week 2: Molding the Body

So I’ve completed the required second week of the scholarship. I say required because weekends are open for us to train free, but not mandatory..

Last weekend:

I took Melinda’s basic ballet, which was KILLER!! Oh my gosh.. Sometimes the introductory classes can hurt much more than the advanced/pro classes. I enjoyed her class very much. It is a mixture of Paris school of opera styled teaching, along with Balanchine (not a huge fan of his, but learning to love it). I must say that the adults just starting to dance fill me with so much appreciation and joy, I love them! They are so eager and happy to be there! Sometimes we forget the amazing things we can do with our bodies, even if we have much more to work on.

Next I took Ethan’s intermediate modern class. I enjoyed it very much! He has a great ‘flow’ styled class, with a lot of floor work, which is something I love very much. He is an amazing instructor and dancer, being a former HS2 company member.

On Sunday I took Jackie’s yoga class. I must say that THIS is what Sunday yoga should be like. Restorative, while still working, but focusing on the self. Pure bliss. I highly recommend.

Monday:

Beruite started off the week with her intense ballet class. Not easy but I felt more in the body. She told us that we should DANCE, and explained it in such a compelling and profound way that it just forced everyone, including myself, to just dance ballet. I love when they tell us not to fear a barre combination.. It’s just ballet, after all.

Next we had Lizzie’s contemporary class. I REALLY love her classes. She has an interesting way of moving and initiating her movement. It’s very appealing. I also love learning her movement phrases, they’re always lushous.

Lastly, I took beginning ballet with Melinda. It was another difficult class. I highly enjoyed her movement combination at the end. Even though it was fairly difficult and not at all beginner. πŸ˜‰

I moved into my new place with a fantastic family that night. Unfortunately my previous living situation wasn’t working out so well.

Tuesday:

Claire taught ballet, and gave some extremely confusing barre combinations. I’m telling you, you’d think the physics degree would help me problem solve some of these shifting of leg weight exercises! It was a good class. Each ballet class I see that I still have SO LONG until I can finally feel comfortable with dancing.

Next we had Victor and his Cuban contemporary. Another challenging class but I’m starting to get into the swing of it all. I love his movement, it flows like waves in an ocean. When he demonstrates it’s just astounding, there is no end to the movement. I can’t say that I begin to do it in such a way that it comes close to that but I’m trying.

I came back that night and took yoga, which released a lot of stress and tension. I enjoy yoga, but it just wish they had more of the classes at LCDS. I can’t wait to start making money so I can take Helens yoga classes at corepower.

Ended up calling it a night after basic ballet with Melinda again. I enjoy he basics.. They always show you that you’ve forgotten how to do everything correctly, HA!

Wednesday:

Laura’s ballet class was exceptionally well. I enjoyed her correction of having the hips directly over the heels by tilting a bit forward with them. She said it would open up the hips and rotators more, which I need.

Kristina’s Laban inspired modern classes are always a challenge, but one that I enjoy. Today was a very self learning class. I think I’m starting to tap into my bodies flow and movement patterns. I will continue to explore, thank goodness for her.

Unfortunately, I called it a day after modern because I to hives this morning. I’m unsure if it’s due to stress, the switching of detergents or something I’m eating. All I know is that it itches and it’s bothersome.

Thursday:

Today’s guests name I cannot pronounce or spell. I call her Mrs. Y. She is a former HSDC company member and usually takes classes with us. She now performs with the lyric opera. I’ve enjoyed watching her in classes but her class was fantastic. Such beautiful endless movement. She really pushed us to open ourselves up to ballet and not be bounded by its preconceived borders. Love her.

Next we had a guest for Frankie, which was Dionna. I loved her class, even though it is reminiscent of EDGE PAC, it felt like home. She is definitely an EDGE PAC qualified instructor: quick teaching, stylized fun class, and high attention to musicality. Her class had me drenched!

Friday:

Claire’s ballet class showed me that I’d improved some in the last two weeks.. At least I think so. It also had me realize that I’m two weeks into training so I will not hold back from difficult tasks anymore: options to take releve at barre, etc.

We had a miss Jackie as our guest contemporary instructor. I DIED in her class. She has an amazing sense of movement and openness. I will take her class again, soon.

Ended my week with Claire’s scholarship Pilates class. Very difficult but I felt great after. I need to work on my flexibility, connection of movements and flow, and back malleability, it’s very tense and stiff.

I hope to take class this weekend and find some new strength. I’m excited to begin at the LEGO store next Tuesday! And most excited to watch HSDC in their Fall show! It’s going to be amazing.. I know because I’ve been watching them rehearse between my classes. I melt and get very emotional when I see them. They are my inspiration, and to become even 1% of them would make everything worthwhile.

Ruben