Ballet Dancer in Training

Ballet Dancer in Training

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ballet Class with the Royal New Zealand Ballet

On Sunday morning we got up nice and early to travel into Wellington for the Boys Only Class with Shannon   and some other male dancers from the Royal New Zealand Ballet.  It was held in the dance studios at the St James Theatre in Wellington.  The photos I have put up are from a previous Boys Only class about a year or so ago.

Boys Only Class 22nd July 2012      
by Salem
There were heaps of boys this time, lots from out of town.  Shannon took the class.  First we did some barre work.   It was quite easy.  Then it was on to some pirouettes and tour en l'airs, followed by port de bras which was a lot harder because we had to do a lot of balancing.  We also did a tricky exercise doing sissones.
We were split up into two groups and had to make a circle with one person in the middle.  The middle person had to trust everybody to catch him when he fell backwards.  The catcher then had to push him back up so that he could fall back onto the next person.

After that, each group had to split into two lines with their hands out so that they could catch the one boy who fell into everyone's hands.  They he got thrown up into the air and caught again.  We all had turns.  It was lots of fun.  My group included Byron, David, Shannon, one of the RNZ Ballet dancers and some boys I didn't know before today.
We sat down at the end of the class so we could have a bit of question and answer time with the RNZ Ballet dancers.  It was a fun morning and I learnt quite a few things.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cinderella Diaries - First Rehearsal

Ballet Diaries - Cinderella    
 by Salem 
First Rehearsal   Friday 17th July 2012
Yay!!!  My first rehearsal.  I couldn't wait to see what I was going to do.  When we arrived, we waited up at reception until Turid (the ballet mistress) arrived to take us down to one of the studios along with the three girls.  There was a reporter there to take our photo for a local newspaper.  Me and Daniel were taken out of the studio to do a short interview.  She asked us about the other productions we have been in and Daniel said he had been in four when he had only been in three so I told the reporter.  She also asked us about our feelings for ballet and about being on stage.  The reporter took photos of us with the three girls.  We had to laugh at them.

Then we had to wait around in the studio while Jonte (Sir Jon Trimmer), Lucy Balfour and some of the male dancers did the funeral scene with the girls.  One of the girls was the young Cinderella and the other two where the young step sisters.  the dancers all had umbrellas for the funeral scene as it was supposed to be raining.  We also got to watch the rest of the company rehearse while we waited for our turn.

When it finally was our turn, Turid got me and Daniel to pull carts, that had oranges and a small orange tree in each, on to the stage and then to pass out the oranges to people.  Byron and Nicholas (the boys in the other cast) pretended to be the adult dancers that we had to give the oranges to.  Then we had to swap over so that Byron and Nicholas could practice too.  We had fun playing with the carts and being silly with the oranges.  We swapped roles many times before we could finish for the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cinderella Costume Fitting

Royal New Zealand Ballet Cinderella 2012

On Tuesday we went into Wellington for Salem's costume fitting for Cinderella.  All four boys (two for each cast) were there to get measured and try on costumes.  Salem said the costumes are "SOOOO COOL!!!!"  I which I got to see them but I will have to wait for the dress rehearsals.

Byron, Daniel and Salem
The Nutcracker 2010

The three other boys are Byron, Daniel and Nicholas.  Both Byron and Daniel were in The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty as well.  Nicholas was in The Nutcracker but was in B cast so Salem really doesn't know him at all.  The boys will be page boys in this production.  Byron and Salem are in A cast together.
It was a good chance to catch up with what everyone is up to.

Byron and Salem Sleeping Beauty 2011

Salem has kept a diary of his involvement in each ballet so I will start tonight with what he wrote about the costume fitting.  I will also write up his diaries of  being in The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty over the next few weeks.

Ballet Diaries - Cinderella     
by Salem
Costume Fitting   Tuesday 17th July 2012
"Yay, I've been chosen to be in Cinderella and I didn't even have to audition.  I'm also in A Cast.
I arrived up at the RNZB office 10 minutes early but we had to wait a bit longer because Daniel was late.
The Shoe Elf told me and Byron to get into some yellow tights.  Then he put on a light pink top with gold buttons on both of us.  It also had gold decorations all over it.  Then he also put a hat on us.  We had to then take off the hat and black top.  Byron had a little trouble with the sleeves.  We then got changed and had a chat before leaving."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Start of a new term so back to classes

Contemporary Medal Exam 2010
It was back to ballet, stretch and strength and contemporary classes this week as it was the end of the school holidays and into the new term.

There is the usual syllabus lessons for the RAD exams next term in October, getting ready for his Contemporary NZAMD exam and medal test .....and.... The Kapiti Dance Centre's Concert on the 25th August.
Plus there is Cinderella, the rehearsals and performances.

Letting off some steam, having some fun.

And of course there is the practices and workouts at the gym, it's always hard on the first week of term so he had a bit of fun on the swiss ball today.

He had his private lesson for his classical dance today and went over technique.
We were hoping to do his classical dance at the Rosewood Competitions in Lower Hutt on the 27th to 29th July but it conflicts with his Cinderella rehearsals which is a pity. He was looking forward to it as he was going to compete against his friend Byron, who is also in Cinderella, so both the boys will have to miss out.  But on the bright side, he can still do his contemporary dance which is scheduled for late Saturday 28th July sometime around 4pm.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

More Practice and a Personal Trainer

It's been a good week at the gym, on Tuesday Salem had his first session with a personal trainer to sort out a  program for him to help with balance and strength.  His trainer is Belinda and she is great.
She has sorted him out a program which is appropriate for his age and really works on his problem areas.  And it is really fun for Salem too.

In the studio we are working on audience interaction and using the mirror so that Salem can see what his hands are doing and to be aware of the shape of his hands.  There is already a big improvement.  Also even with only a few days of doing a bit of strength work for his balance, his arabesques are a lot more stable.

For his contemporary dance, "Du Hast", we have added a couple more hops in one part and it works really well, everything flows a lot better.  He is also making great eye contact with the audience and adding his own little quirks.  It's looking really good.

Having the studio space to ourselves has been invaluable for sorting out Salem's problems, I can talk to him straight away about any mistakes and it doesn't matter how long it takes.

Due to him having Aspergers, he takes things very literally and he gets very set in how he perceives his teachers instructions in class.  I have to do a lot of explaining.  He has been told in class over the years not to look in the mirror when he is dancing, not to look at his hands and many other things. So he will not look at all, which means that he hasn't been able to see what his body is doing while he has been dancing and doing exercises.
So we are now using the mirror as a tool, he can see what he is doing, what looks good and what doesn't, and we are using it as the audience.  He is improving every day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kapiti Dance Festival or The Kapiti Comps

Rehearsing for Sh-Boom.

What a long weekend it has been.  The Comps are still going now as I am writing this.  Thank goodness we only had three dances.  Others are there all weekend with sooooo many more.  There is so much waiting around, but at least you can go and watch the other dancers perform.

Sh-Boom, the group contemporary dance went well and they came second.  They looked really good on stage and you couldn't even tell that there were a few of the girls missing.

Du Hast - Contemporary Costume

The next morning Salem had his contemporary solo which is to Rammsteins "Du Hast" which made a nice change to all the "girly" music that the girls were dancing to.  I don't know what the judge made of it.

Salem and Caleb

Salem got a commended marking with the comments of "You have a good sense of line and a good sense of energy.  A promising performer."
That's not too bad considering that because of being nervous about being judged, Salem's mind went blank about his dance near the start so was basically doing an impromptu dance and not even his contemporary teacher noticed.  He managed to do the proper finish though.  I thought he did so well.  It also cured him of his nerves.

Kannan, Salem and Tegan

His classical dance went brilliantly and he was relaxed and confident.  His teacher was pleased with his performance and we got so many lovely comments afterwards from people we didn't even know.  And of course from people we did know :-)
Salem looks so grown up now.

Ready for his Classical Dance
He got another commended and the comments of "You have a strong presence on stage.  Nicely turned out legs and feet."
He was up against very tough competition, his friends and well seasoned competitors.
It was a very good experience for him and he can't wait until the next competitions.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Comps, Costumes and Practicing

Salem and the girls in Russian Winter -  Kapiti Comps 2010

I've been doing a lot of hand sewing for Salem's costumes to get ready for tomorrow and Monday.
I've had to put new elastic in his leggings so that they are tight enough and don't fall down.  And had to take in his old waist coat he wore in Russian Winter to make to more fitted and took off the buttons.
It's looking quite cool now.


He had another brilliant practice at the gym this afternoon and is really going to enjoy himself at the comps (Kapiti Dance Festival).
I'll let you know how he does with the group contemporary dance tomorrow.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kapiti Dance Festival and Practices are going well

Salem had  rehearsals for his group contemporary dance yesterday at Kapiti Dance Centre.  I think having a break from his usual dance practice did him good as he had a really good practice today and is feeling very confident.  And having cake and a cup of tea at Over the Tea Cups tea shop is always good for the soul.  He did everything perfectly, got all the timing sorted and smiled the whole time.
Roll on the comps!!!!

Record field for dance festival


A record number of dancers will perform this weekend for the 27th annual Dance Kapiti festival at Southward Theatre.
Colourful costumes and tutus will feature throughout the four-day festival starting on Saturday.
A record 722 items will be performed, featuring 145 individual dancers as well as groups.
Dancers will represent Judith Fuge Dance School, Kapiti Dance Centre and Praiz Studios in Kapiti, as well as studios from Wellington, Napier, Hastings, Hawera and Palmerston North.
Students will showcase a range of dance styles over four days, including ballet, lyrical, character, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop.
Kapiti Ballet Society spokeswoman Valerie Andrews said the festival was a great way to while away a couple of hours while watching a high standard of performers.
A highlight of the festival will be on Sunday evening where the top dancers will compete for a place in the National Young Performer Awards to be held in Invercargill in October.
The public are invited to attend the festival, with events running from 8.30am till 9pm over the four days, excluding breaks.
- Entrance by donation.
- Kapiti Observer

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In the Kapiti Observer Today

Success for Salem


  Splitting image: Paraparaumu's Salem Foxx, 12, has not let  Asperger's
Syndrome get in the way of his love for dancing.

Paraparaumu 12-year-old Salem Foxx has won a $5000 scholarship as he prepares to perform with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The youngster was asked to play a minor role in Cinderella, opening at Wellington's St James Theatre on August 3.
Salem performed with the RNZB in its production of Sleeping Beauty last year, and in The Nutcracker in 2010.
Dancing since he was a toddler, he started by copying his older brother Daemon, who was taking jazz and ballet lessons at the time.
His mother, Michelle Foxx, said it was hard to stop him from interrupting Daemon's classes.
"I had to [have] him strapped down in his pushchair because he just wanted to get up there and join in," she said.
Salem hopes to become a member of the RNZB and travel the world like his "pal" Sir Jon Trimmer, who he got to know while working in Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
Variety supported 21 New Zealand children with $5000 scholarships this year, including artists, dancers and sports stars who are physically or financially challenged.
Salem has Asperger's syndrome, although he regularly achieves merit or distinction in his ballet exams.
He is also a science star and has completed National Certificate of Educational Achievement level one papers while being home-schooled by his mother. Salem enjoys reading and comic books, but his main passion is ballet.
"I just love to be on stage. I like the steps and I guess it just feels good."
- Kapiti Observer

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Today's Practice and A Gold Heart Scholarship

Walking up to the gym

It was another good practice today up at the gym.  Salem is getting a bit tire though, still not 100% over his cold, so I think it will be a day off tomorrow.  He still has a rehearsal for his group contemporary dance tomorrow at his dance school, Kapiti Dance Centre, but that is in the afternoon and only for about half an hour.

We have been walking up to the gym and back while the weather has been nice, but cold, it's been a good way to warm up before practice and to blow the cobwebs out of our heads.  Today because he was tired, we caught the bus home.

Salem has been very lucky to have been chosen to receive a Gold Heart Scholarship from Variety - The Children's Charity.  This is going to be a big help and has meant that we could afford some private dance lessons so that Salem can do competitions now which he has wanted to do for a while.  It will be interesting to see who they are going to get to mentor Salem.  Can't wait.

Variety - The Children's Charity is helping 21 talented Kiwi kids to reach their full potential and overcome their personal challenges with a 2012 Variety Gold Heart Scholarship.
Gold Heart Scholarships form part of Variety's Future Kiwi Kids programme. For up to three years, Gold Heart scholarships support children who are physically or financially challenged to fulfill their dreams. This could include assisting with tuition fees, personal development, coaching, and the purchase of training equipment, travel or accommodation. Young people who already excel in the arts, sports or education are awarded financial support of up to $5,000 and matched with a mentor to help them achieve their life goals.
Recipients for 2012 include talented dancers, athletes and musicians, aged 8-17.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Back at the Gym and Cinderella Performances

It was back to the gym again today, his dances for the comps are going very well and are getting more polished.  A big improvement in his confidence and performance compared to last week.  He is getting more relaxed about it all.

He has been doing exercises to work on his balance.  Next week we will arrange a session with a personal trainer for more specific exercises.

To challenge himself, he is doing the "plank" a more challenging way.  He really felt it this time!!!

Royal New Zealand Ballet's "Cinderella" at the St. James Theatre, Wellington
2nd to the 11th August 2012

The performances that Salem is in are:

Wed 1 August                          7.30 pm   Dress Rehearsal in front of audience

Thurs 2 August                         7.30 pm  Performance - Opening Night

 Sat 4 August                           2.30 pm   Performance 
            7.30 pm   Performance
Wed 8 August                          7.30 pm   Performance

Fri 10 August                           6.30 pm   Performance

Sat 11 August                            7.30 pm   Performance - Closing Performance

Monday, July 2, 2012

Today at the gym and Kapiti Comps dates and times

After having a break from dancing over the weekend due to having a cold, Salem is back at the gym practising for the Kapiti Dance Comps.

Danny and Gene watched him do two of his dances.  It was good having an audience as it was a good opportunity to make sure that if he made a mistake he could keep going without anyone noticing.  He made a couple of little mistakes which would usually put him off a little but he kept his cool and no one could tell.
This is what we are working on this week.

Outside the studio where he practices his dancing

The studio is a perfect size for him and has some nicely placed fans which he really needed!!!!!

He then does a 5 minute program on the stationary bike then did some balance excercises, not too much today as he is still getting over his cold.  We did walk up to the gym and back home again, so he has done more than enough.  He just loves going to the gym!!!!

Salem with Danny and Gene from City Fitness

Now for his approximate dance times at the Kapiti Comps up at Southwards, Paraparaumu

Junior Contemporary Groups Under 13 yrs   Sunday sometime after 4.30pm, right at the end of the afternoon session.

Modern Expressive/Contemporary Under 13 yrs  Dancer no.8  Monday morning sometime after 10am, before the end of the morning session.

Classical Ballet 11 & Under 13 yrs  Dancer no.21  Monday around 2pm.

These are his first solos at a competition and this is mainly for experience and confidence, he is not expecting to win anything ...........this time  ;^)

Oh So Busy

Russian Winter - Kapiti Comps 2010

Hello everyone

Salem has had a very busy month doing his normal dance lessons and private lessons to get ready for the Kapiti Dance Competitions this coming weekend.

He has been practicing lots and will be dancing two solos and one group dance.  He is a bit nervous about this as this will be the first time he will be performing solo.  He has had a cold so I made him rest all weekend.  It's back to rehearsing again today.

He has been a very lucky boy and was given a free two month membership to one of our local gyms, City Fitness Paraparaumu, so he can use one of their large mirrored dance rooms for practicing his dance routines and to also use the equipment to work on his balance and strength which is essential for a ballet dancer.
So a big Thank you to Danny and everyone at City Fitness Paraparaumu.

Salem was interviewed by a reporter for one of our local papers, The Kapiti Observer on Friday so will be in the paper this week.

More good news for Salem, he was asked to be in the Royal New Zealand Ballet's "Cinderella" so will be starting rehearsals in Wellington on the 17th July.  He is very excited about that.

That is all for now, I will post his approx dance times for the Kapiti Comps later today.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Welcome to Ballet Boy New Zealand

Hello to anyone who finds this new blog.
I am starting this new blog for my son to chronicle his journey on the road to a career in the dance world.
Even though he is only twelve years of age, he has been dancing for nine of those years.
We have got some exciting news to share over the next few days and will be putting up dates and times when he will be performing.

So watch this space.