Ballet Dancer in Training

Ballet Dancer in Training

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ballet Shoe Emergency

Let's try on a pair of ballet shoes.

Salem's RAD Ballet exams are on Sunday so I painted his white ballet shoes with the proper leather shoe paint.
His ballet shoes were looking worse for wear and all the colour was worn off in big patches.
So I painted his shoes according to the instructions on Tuesday night.
Wednesday afternoon I checked the shoes and took the paper out of them that I used to keep them in shape and the paint cracked...... they cracked a lot!!!!!
No good for class let alone his exams.

Not quite the right fit.

So today as Salem had no ballet classes, we caught the train into Wellington to by him a new pair of ballet shoes.
We don't have any dance wear shops out here in Kapiti.
So it was off to our favourite shop Gubb's.


Salem had to try on quite a few pairs of shoes to get the right fit.
He has quite narrow feet and luckily they had an older pair of Paul Wright ballet shoes which was a perfect fit and a better quality leather.  The newer pairs have very different leather and a slightly different coloured white.
It ended up being a size smaller than his last pair which was a Bloch pair (an old pair of his brothers).
But we have a pair which will be worn in tomorrow, Salem can walk about the house with them on and we are going up to the gym tomorrow for a last practice before his exams.
The day off dancing today did him a lot of good and he is more relaxed.
We went to the Wellington Botanic Gardens and he took lots of photos with his film camera and he had a great time hanging out with the ducks and pigeons.
A good mental health day ;^)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Practice, Boys Class,Pointe Shoes and Ballet Exams

Hard at practice

This is a very busy time for Salem.
He has been getting ready for his RAD Grade 5 exam and his RAD Performance Award exam.
We have been up at the gym in the dance studio nearly every day.
Salem has had his normal classes plus a mock exam on the weekend.
He knows it all and now we are working on polishing up everything.

Glen Harris

The day after his last performances of Giselle, he went to the Boys Ballet Class with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
His teacher was Glen Harris who is the RNZB's ballet master for the moment.
Salem really enjoyed the class and Glen gave the boys lots of good tips which Salem has found very useful.
He has been practicing one of the dances from Giselle that Glen taught the boys.

Getting ready for his Intermediate
Foundation Class

Salem loves his blue pointe shoes and has been using them in his Intermediate Foundation class.
He is becoming more confident with them and is doing centre work with them on.

His blue pointe shoes

His pointe shoes still need a bit more wearing in.

So exams are on Sunday and his examiner is his old ballet teacher from Wellington.
I know he will do very well!!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Master Class and Two Performances - Giselle

Me and Loughlan Prior

Ballet Diaries - Giselle
By Salem

A Master Class and Two Performances in One Day
10th November 2012

We had to get up very early in the morning and had to catch the 7am train into Wellington.
I had a Master Class with the Royal New Zealand Ballet at their studios at the St James at 8.30am.
It was a real rush to get there in time but we did it!!!!!
Loughlan Prior, one of the RNZB dancers took the Senior class which I was in.
It was a real fun class and we did some exercises and lots of combinations.
He was a really good teacher.

After that, me and Mum stayed in the green room for a while and had a cuppa and a biscuit to eat.
It had been quite a while since we had breakfast.
Then we went for a walk to upper Cuba Street to have brunch at Arthur's Cafe and to meet up with a photographer to have some photos taken of us for a newspaper story.

Visiting Jonte in his dressing room

A bit later we had to go back to the St James and up to my dressing room and Mum put on my make-up as usual and I got into my costume.  We were doing a matinee show this afternoon.
I went back downstairs and visited Jonte (Sir Jon Trimmer) in his dressing room.  He let me choose one of his costume rings for me to have.  I chose a big green one.  Thank you Jonte, I love it.

I went and got some more autographs in my Giselle program.  I just knocked on the dressing room doors.
All the dancers are lovely and signed my program.  I think they are used to me doing this now, except for the new dancers though.

Knocking on the dressing room door to get more

I went back up to my dressing room and Mum went into the St James as she was watching the show in the audience again.
Me, Paris and Jaida mucked around until we were called to go down to backstage.
Our performance went well and I got some souvenirs, some of the leaves from the trees had fallen off so I picked some up and put them in my pants until I got up to the dressing room.
As usual, I quickly got changed and went downstairs to chat to Lindsay until Mum picked me up at intermission to take me into the theatre so I could watch Act Two.
I got to watch Lucy Green as Giselle and Kohei Iwamoto as Albrecht.
They did really well and everyone danced brilliantly, but Antonia Hewitt and Andrew Bowan are my favourite Giselle and Albrecht.
Giselle is such a great ballet!!!!!

Me and Bronte Kelly

Between the shows we had a pot of tea at The Jimmy and then went and hung out in my dressing room and relaxed.
But on the way up to the dressing room, Ethan Stiefel came and waited to go up in the lift as well.  I needed his autograph so I ran up the stairs (the lift takes too long) to get my program for him to sign while Mum chatted to him while he waited for me to come back down.  Yay, I finally have his autograph.

I also finished getting all my autographs, Maree White's was the last one I needed and I finally tracked her down.

On our way down to backstage.

Later, I got back into my costume for the last time and Mum did a quick fix-up of my make-up.
Then I took Paris and Jaida downstairs to the dressing rooms to get autographs in their programs.
We had heaps of fun doing that.
Back up in our dressing rooms, we were feeling a bit sad as this was to be our last performance.

The Peasant Men

Our performance went very well as usual but it was sad.
I wanted to stay on stage as usual with my "family".

Back up in the dressing room, we all got changed and said our goodbyes.
Paris and Jaida gave me a little present of lollies for being a good "brother".
We gave each other hugs and then it was time to go.
We will all see each other again at future master classes and competitions.
It will be nice to see my friends again.

I was a very tired and sad boy and needed to get home to bed.
Jonte was on the train with us again and both of us caught some zzzzzzzzzzzz's on the ride home.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My First "Real" Performance of Giselle 8th October 2012

Paris, Jaida and Me

Tonight was our first "proper" performance.
I was very excited especially since I had a message this morning from Richard Bowman, Andrew Bowman's brother (who is also a ballet dancer), wishing me good luck.

Me being silly in the St James Theatre

Before I went up to my dressing room, I went autograph hunting and managed to track down a few dancers to sign my Giselle program.
It has become a tradition of mine and some of the other kids who have been in the Royal New Zealand Ballet's productions, to get all the dancers to sign the show's program booklet for the show that I am in.
I have got programs signed from The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and now Giselle.

The Peasant Children

I went upstairs and Mum put my make-up on me and then I got dressed into my costume.
Then Paris and Jaida came in and we had a bit of a play until we were called to go backstage.

Everything went very smoothly on stage, I had so much fun.
It's sad that I only have two more performances left to do.
I have two shows on Saturday.
I'm doing the matinee at 2.30pm and the night time show.
It's going to be a busy day as I have a RNZB master class early in the morning.

Act One which I am in but this is with the other cast with Gillian and Qi

I got changed straight away after we left the stage and me and Mum went and chatted to Lyndsay and watched the rest of Act One on the monitor in Lyndsay's little room.
Then at intermission I went to some of the dressing rooms to catch everyone for their autographs.

Salem with Andrew Bowman

I got to meet Andrew Bowman and we had a quick chat and he signed my program for me.
I was so excited to meet him and felt a bit awe-struck.
I didn't know what to say to him so Mum had to help a bit.

I went into my old dressing room from Cinderella and got all the guy's autographs.
Mac Hopper, who is new to the company, said that he had never been asked for his autograph before.

Outside the St James Theatre earlier that day

Then we dashed into the St James to get a cast list before going home.
That is another tradition of mine, to get a cast list for every show I am in.
I was recognised by some people who had been watching the performance, it was still intermission, they said hello to me.

On the train ride home, we sat with Jonte (Sir Jon Trimmer) and chatted until he got off at his stop.
I was so tired.

I can't wait until Saturday!!!!!!

Boys of Ballet - Giselle

Giselle Act Two

Televison New Zealand's "Close Up" interviewed the 'boys of ballet' working on Royal New Zealand Ballet's new production of Giselle: Ethan, Johan, Andrew and Dimitri.
"You've got to be a man to do this." ~ Andrew Bowman

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Full Dress Rehearsal - Giselle

In my peasant costume

Ballet Diaries - Giselle
By Salem

The Full Dress Rehearsal  6th November 2012

Tonight was the Full Dress Rehearsal!!!!
Mum came up to the dressing room with me and put my make-up on me after I had put on my costume.
I was sooo excited!!!!!!
I share my dressing room with two adult men extras, Nigel Boyes and Thomas Drent, so when Thomas arrived Mum left to go and watch the performance in the theatre.

With the men's peasant costumes

After Mum left, I looked out the window that overlooks the car park and saw Daniel get out of his mum's car.  He came up to the dressing room and he had all his make-up on.
I told him that it wasn't his night for performing, so he left.

I had a bit of a chat with the guys in my dressing room.  Thomas said that he thought he looked like a Mexican in his costume.

My dressing room

Then my "Mother" asked if I wanted to go and join her and the girls (Paris and Jaida) in their dressing room, so I went and joined them.
We took some photos of each other and had a bit of a rehearsal.
Then it was time to go downstairs backstage to wait for our turn on stage.

Me in the audience to watch Act Two

Miriam came and told us that it was time to go on stage and our performance began.
I had lots of fun and it was so cool having a full audience watching us.
It was over too quickly, I wanted to stay on for longer.

I quickly went upstairs and got changed into my normal clothes then went downstairs and chatted to Lindsay until Mum came to pick me up at intermission.
She took me to sit in the audience so I could watch Act Two.

The curtain before Act Two

It was so cool and I loved the graveyard scene.  There was mist everywhere.
The Wilis danced beautifully sending me into a trance.
It is such a sad story!!!!!
Giselle (Antonia Hewitt) was so lovely as a ghost, she was so sad.
Andrew Bowan"s (Albrecht) dancing was so amazing when the Wilis tried to make him dance to his death.
His Entrechat really blew me away.
I hope that I will dance like Andrew when I am older.

I am so lucky that I got to perform with this cast, and to watch it too!!!!

Can't wait for my next performance on Thursday night!!!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Variety Fight Night Fundraiser

Tanya Pease

Variety's Gold Heart Scholarship program awards up to 20 scholarships annually to children who are excelling in sport, the arts or education but who may be facing challenges or obstacles which restrict them. 
Salem is a recipient of a Gold Heart Scholarship and it has really been a huge help in Salem doing so well this year.

Variety provides up to $5,000 a year and a mentor to support our scholars,
and with Ringside NZ, they have been to be able to offer our
 scholars this additional opportunity to pair up with a contender who is embarking on their own challenging journey, so that they can inspire, support and raise money to create brighter futures for Kiwi kids.
The Contenders who take part in Fight Night require commitment, hard work, determination and physical and mental stamina to reach their goals – just like the Gold Heart Scholars.

Salem is thrilled that he has been teamed up with Tanya Pease.
Tanya works at Les Mills and looks after the Group Fitness Department.  
She often finds herself taking on new challenges. 
Tanya had open heart surgery as a teenager so never takes her fitness for granted. 
Getting in the ring is her latest challenge.... "it's been a tough journey but I'm enjoying it and am looking forward to the Fight Night :) Next year it'll be the marathon!"

She has a great passion for children, so finding out that Variety was the charity Ringside supported made her challenge all the more serious!

Check out her fundraising page at

Feel free to make a donation, every little bit helps.
All funds raised will be going towards Variety's Gold Heart Scholarship program to fund future GH scholars.

"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life"                                - Muhammad Ali 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Saturday's Rehearsal for Giselle

Dimitri Kleioris as Hilarion

Ballet Diaries - Giselle
By Salem

Saturday's Rehearsal  3rd November 2012

This afternoon was our first proper rehearsal.
Turid came and got us from our dressing rooms right at the beginning of the rehearsal of Act One so we could watch what was happening.
So we sat in the auditorium until it was our turn to go up on stage.

It did take a while to get past the opening scene as Ethan kept stopping things and the curtains had to be re-set to begin again.
This happened about five or six times.

When we were on stage Turid and the stage manager told us what we had to do.
We had to stand with our "mother" and watch and react to what everyone was doing around us.
I was being nosey and my "mother" was keeping me in line.
It was fun play acting and it felt like I was really in the village.
I wish I was on stage longer.

Andrew Bowman

Andrew Bowman is the guest dancer who is playing Count Albrecht.
Andrew is originally from Palmerston North and he has been dancing since he was 4 years old. 
For the last fifteen years he has been dancing with the Royal Danish Ballet as a principal dancer. 

Andrew was really good at being Albrecht.  I thought he looked very mischievious and almost boy-like.
I enjoyed watching him a lot.
He is such a good dancer and was very tall and strong.
I thought he made the best Albrecht, sorry Qi!!!!

Antonia Hewitt

Antonia Hewitt was Giselle, she was fabulous as Giselle in the rehearsal.
I can't wait to see her dance in Act Two.

Dimitri Kleioris was so good at being Hilarion, the game keeper.
He really looked the part.

I enjoyed watching all of Act One, except I couldn't watch when I was on stage.
Mum said that me, Paris and Jaida did a good job.

Next is the full-dress rehearsal in front of a full audience on Tuesday night.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

First Rehearsal for Giselle

Playing with my cards in the dressing room

Ballet Diaries - Giselle
By Salem

Our First Rehearsal  2nd November 2012

Today was the first rehearsal for us kids.
We were in two groups, Daniel and two girls, one of which was in Cinderella.
I was with Paris and her little sister Jaida.
Paris and I used to be in the same ballet class last year at Paula Hunt Dance School.
Their dad is Shannon who is the RNZB Educator.

Daniel and I played with my cards making buildings and roads with my packets of cards I always bring with me.  We had to wait in our dressing room which is the rehearsal room upstairs until we were needed.

Gillian and Qi

We had a bit of a wait before Turid came to take us down to the auditorium.
We watched all the dancers rehearse Act One until it was time for Daniel's group to go up on stage.
They were told what to do and got to have a practice.

My group got to watch everything so that we knew what to do when it came to our turn.
We just got a quick run through because our practice is tomorrow.

Gillian Murphy as Giselle

Gillian Murphy was Giselle and Qi Huan was Count Albrecht at this rehearsal.
Gillian looked very lovely as Giselle.
The stage set looked so cool, there where two peasant houses, they were wooden, they would look very good in my backyard for me to have them as play huts.  I would live in them!!!!!
The scenery was sort of foresty.
It was really cool when I was up on stage.

We continued watching the rehearsal until it was time for the dancers to have a break, dinner time I think.
Then we could go home.
So it was a quick dash to get a bus to the Railway Station.