Ballet Dancer in Training

Ballet Dancer in Training

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Practice of 2013 and Plenty of Pointe

Today was Salem's last practice session for the year.
It's not open tomorrow either, pity as Salem really wants to do some work on his dances and to do some more pointe practice.

Normally he doesn't take his pointe shoes to the gym as the floor is incredibly slippery and he is constantly having to wet his normal ballet shoes so he isn't slipping all the time.  Unfortunately we can't use rosin there.

So we put yoga mats on the floor which worked quite well and used the step ladder as a barre.
Salem hasn't been doing as much pointe practice lately due to being so busy with all his other dancing but  is now very determined to put loads of practice in and to have a dance choreographed and ready for competitions towards the later part of 2014.

We are thinking a demi-character dance would be good.
Salem is now on to his third pair of pointe shoes and we aren't colouring them yet until we decide on costuming, that's if his feet don't grow before then.

His last two pairs of pointe shoes were Bloch Sylphide's but we decided to go for a Grishko pair, not sure what they are called but they fit him perfectly and have a slightly longer vamp and are nice and narrow.
He says they are very comfortable.  So we are sticking to these ones now.

Last Acro class of the year.

So we will end this year with a photo of Salem's Acro class, we hope you had a great Christmas and wish you
Happy New Year!!!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Last Class Of The Year For The Intermediates

Intermediates with teacher Michelle (centre).

Friday night was the last class of 2013 for the Intermediate Lyrical/Jazz/Acro class.
It was a very fun class with everything done to christmassy songs, lots of tinsel, pom poms and rewards of chocolate for doing the splits ....... always a good thing!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

T'was The Week Before Christmas.....

But it still means plenty of practice for a dancer.
This week Salem had two lessons with Jonty as Jacqui was away.
Jonty said that Salem's feet have improved so much in 5th position, is looking very good.
Thank you Michelle for all your work with getting Salem to position his feet correctly.

At Salem's practice sessions at the gym this week he has been going through all his competition dances, and some jazz, contemporary, barefoot and some impromptus for all styles.
And added in some acro for good measure too.  Always good at the end of a session as he is very warmed up and flexible.

Practicing Headstands

His acro is going well and is getting to master headstands.

Salem has just finished choreographing an acro dance to a good old 80's song, "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats.
Salem performed it for Jonty on Thursday and Jonty was most impressed.

Over the next week or so, Salem is having a break from lessons and just doing a couple of practices at the gym and some at home.  Our front lawn is great for practicing dances and acro.  If Salem doesn't do any dancing, he doesn't know what to do with himself!!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Boys Can Do This Too!!!

We see so many photos of girl dancers posing like this so Salem decided he was going to do it too.

So we got out the camera at the gym today and took some photos after a great practice session.

And this is a favorite stretch of Salem's.

"Boy Power!!!"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Last Class of the Year for the Grade One's

Salem and the Grade One Class

It was the last class for the Grade One Ballet Class for the year, so everyone was allowed to get dressed up for class.  Two of the class weren't there today but it looks like everyone had a good class.
Salem was Ballet Santa and at the end of the class Salem gave everyone a couple of little chocolates.

He has loved being teacher's assistant to this class this term and is looking forward to continuing next year.
Doing this class is also helping him learn what the BTDA syllabus is like for the younger grades and will be a big help for him when it comes to exam time when he does his BTDA Intermediate exam.

"Merry Christmas Grade One's!!!"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ballet for a Boy Fundraiser

I have just started a fundraiser for Salem to help raise the money for him to go the National Boy's Ballet Summer Camp in Sydney next summer.  This will help with air fares and the cost of the camp.

You can check it out at : .

Salem is very excited about the Summer Camp and it will be his first time overseas, actually he hasn't been out of the North Island of New Zealand.

He is looking forward to being with other boys who love ballet as much as he does.  And to make new friends.

If anyone would like to donate, we would be very appreciative as every little bit helps.

givealittle logo

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The National Boy's Ballet Summer School, Sydney

Here is a promotional video for the Boy's Summer School.
Salem can't go this summer, but we are planning on him going next summer.

It will be a great experience for him.

Nearly end of term for 2013 and 2014 is going to be even better.

Only one more week of this term for dance classes and then it is the xmas and summer holidays.

Not that Salem will be having much of a break as he will still be having his private lessons and working hard on his BTDA Intermediate syllabus.  He has really been enjoying the change from RAD.

This year so much has been happening, competing in the Alana Haines Australasia Awards (a great experience), doing well in competitions and with his exams.

Having private lessons with Lois Solino, Sir Jon Trimmer and Lady Jacqui Trimmer.  

And also changing dance schools and syllabi.  Taking up Acrobatic Dance and Lyrical, and being teacher's assistant to the Monday Grade One ballet class which he absolutely loves.

Was a second year recipient of a Variety Gold Heart Scholarship. .

Plus lots of other good things happening.

Next year is going to be even better!!!!!!

Salem has been accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance Associate programme as a Junior Associate Contemporary Major. .

We have just found out and it was totally unexpected.  Well done Salem!!!!

Salem has also been invited to be part of the Waikanae Dance School's Performance Team for 2014 which will be going up to Auckland to take part in the British Theatre Dance Association Festival in June 2014.

Waikanae Dance School's timetable for next year is up now at
Take a look if you are out here in Kapiti.  They are also offering vocational classes for jazz and ballet.

To top off next year, Salem will be going to The National Boy's Ballet Summer School in Sydney, Australia. .

We will be doing some fund raising to help with airfares and summer school fees.

So watch this space ...............

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Showtime - The Magic Toybox

Ready to perform in "The Lavender Story".

It was show day on Sunday for the DancePointe Academy and The ReelJig Irish Dancers.

We got to the Little theatre nice and early and settled into the boys dressing room to get into costume.
The younger boys didn't arrive until a bit later.

There was a bit of time before the rehearsal started and there were a few dancers practicing on stage while the music was being sorted out.

Salem had a bit of a practice of his jazz dance without his music then decided just to dance to the music that was being played and had a lot of fun with some ballet and jazz.

He seemed to entertain the parents in the auditorium and the other dancers on and off the stage.
I didn't seem that many of them had seen a boy dance like Salem.

Going Backstage.

The rehearsal was a bit chaotic and the show didn't start until about half an hour after it should have.
We both watched in the audience until a bit before Salem was to dance.

He was at the end of "The Lavender Story"which was between the Irish reels and the Irish hornpipes and jigs.  He really blew everyone away.

It was quite a buzz to overhear some parents say "That's Ballet Boy".

Jacqui was in the audience watching and was pleased with his performance.
Unfortunately she had to leave before seeing him dance in the second half.

Rehearsal time.

The second half was "The Magic Toybox which included both dance schools and Salem did his Krakowiak dance about three quarters of the way through.

People were very impressed with his costume when he was walking around and also when ducking into the auditorium to watch the other dancers.

His Krakowiak costume is very hot so he was getting very sweaty.

He performed his dance extremely well.  I don't think any of the kids had seen a dance like that before.
The boys definitely hadn't.

Watching the others.

He joined everyone for the final bow and stayed on stage for the trophy presentations as this was the end of year concert for both schools.

They put on a bit of an afternoon tea which was lovely, so we had some fruit and sponge cake with cream and strawberries to fortify us for our long journey home.

Salem was so tired, it was such a long day and it was straight to bed when we got home.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rehearsal For The Magic Toybox

Having a bit of fun in the trees.

Salem has been invited to perform two of his dances at the end of year concert for Dancepointe Academy and the Reeljig Irish Dancers who are both based in Khandallah.

They are doing a combined concert, "The Magic Toybox", at the Little Theatre in Lower Hutt tomorrow (Sunday).  Should be a lot of fun.

Tree Ballet

Sharon Vanese, the teacher at Dancepointe, came along to see Salem dance at his lesson with Jacqui on Thursday.

So yesterday, after his Intermediate class at Waikanae Dance School, we headed off into Wellington and then caught another train up to Khandallah for a rehearsal with everyone else at the Khandallah Presbyterian Church Hall.

Outside the church hall.

We went there a little early so we could have a look around the village and have a hot chocolate.
It is really a lovely little village.  Salem had fun climbing and dancing in the trees.


There was quite a long wait before Salem got to dance and he only did one of his dances, the jazz one.
There was the usual chaos in the waiting room, kids playing and being very loud, full of excitement.

Salem entertained many by practicing some acro.  Everyone impressed with his flexibility.

There were four young boys who were toy soldiers, they were wondering who this big boy dancer was.

It was a quick dash to the bus after he danced and we managed to get to Wellington Railway Station and on a train in just under 20 minutes.  We caught a very quick bus!!!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Acro, Intermediate, Grade 1, Swimming and on the Leader Board

Salem has been busy as usual with his dancing.  He has been having his lessons with Jacqui and Jonty as usual and his Acro class and Lyrical & Jazz class as well.

On Monday he started doing his BTDA Intermediate class with Michelle at Waikanae Dance School.  He was very excited about that and found it very different to the RAD syllabus.  He is enjoying this a lot more.
So he has been practicing his new exercises up at the gym before he gets into his own dances etc.

What was even more exciting for him, was being the teachers helper for the Grade 1 class afterwards.
He really enjoyed being with the younger kids and is looking forward to next week.
It's a good sized class with six girls and one boy.

He is enjoying the challenge of his acro class and is so pleased at being able to stand back up after doing a bridge and is working hard at doing a tidy walkover.  Luckily we have a large flat lawn, which we just had mowed, for him to practice on.

It's a bit scary watching him sometimes!!!!!!!

Salem has been having swimming lessons once a week with the Kapiti Homeschoolers at the Aquatic Centre and after two lessons, can swim a length of the pool, back stroke, without stopping and can swim freestyle a bit.  He gets in to the big pool and practices for over half an hour before his class starts.

Not bad for a kid who hadn't been in a pool for over five years.

It's great exercise for him, really gets those leg muscles working.

Every Wednesday at City Fitness, they have a 1 Minute Challenge which Salem has a go at.
Last week it was how many push-ups can you do in one minute.  Salem did 35 proper push-ups, which isn't too bad for a thirteen year old.  He made it up on to the leader board.

Then today, the challenge was how many sit-ups in one minute.  Salem did 50 which put him up on the leader board and was still there when we left two hours later.

Well done Salem!!!!!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dance Journal Entry No. 3

Salem's Dance Journal
Jazz Exams

When I was at Summer School at the New Zealand School of Dance in January, one of the classes was jazz.  I had not done jazz since I had finished doing Grade 2.  This class was a lot of fun so I thought I would do jazz again.

So this year I did Grade 5 NZAMD Jazz.  Jazz has more sharper moves than ballet but sometimes I slip back into ballet habits.  When I am practicing jazz up at the studio at th gym, Mum says "This is jazz, not ballet!!".  This makes me laugh.

On Thursday the 26th September I did my Grade 5 Jazz exam at KDC.  There were four of us in our exam group.  There was Hannah, Ainslie and Florance.

Our examiner was Mrs Patten.  She was very nice and made the exam very easy.

The next day I did my Intermediate Bronze Jazz Medal Award.  I had to do my jazz exam dance.  This time I was in a bigger exam group with my friend Bethany.  Our parents were allowed to watch us this time.  It was nice to have an audience.

Mrs Patten was very friendly and talked to us about our dancing and gave us tips too.  She presented us with our medals.

I got Distinction (95% +) for Grade 5 Jazz exam.  And I got Excellence Plus (highest mark) for my Intermediate Bronze Jazz Medal Award.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dance Journal Entry No. 2

Salem's Dance Journal
Intermediate Foundation Exam

Warming up in the dressing room.

The last time I was at the New Zealand School of Dance was when I did my RAD Intermediate Foundation exam on the 5th of September.  My examiner was Miss Wu.

I was very sick on exam day, I had been sick all week and in bed.  I didn't do as best as I could but I did pass my exam.

I did my exam with Josephine from Kapiti Dance Centre and two girls from Mary Rodgers Ballet School.
They did a few of the exercises very different than me and Josephine.

Ready for my exam.

This was my second year doing Intermediate Foundation, it was getting very boring.
My favourite exercises are the Adage and the third Allegro.
I am glad I was able to do the classical boys variation and not the other one.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Junior Associates Audition, ABTC Comps and Dance Journal

Practicing for Ameno.

Last weekend was very, very busy.
So much for a rest on Labour Weekend.
Friday evening it was class as usual and Salem had a very enjoyable class.
He is gaining more acrobatic skills.

He had to miss his Acrobatic class on Saturday as he attended the audition at the New Zealand School of Dance for the Junior Associates program.
We had to leave very early and got there in good time thanks to Grandma, so he could warm up in time for the classical class at 8.45am.

Salem will write more about that later in this post as he is now writing a dance journal as part of his work for doing BTDA Intermediate Ballet.

Being Siegfried.

After the audition we went out to the Hutt for the Associated Ballet & Theatre Club Inc's (ABTC) Competitions at the Little Theatre in Lower Hutt.

I had booked us into the Angus Inn as it was not worth going back and forward to Paraparaumu over the weekend.  This was so much easier.
Luckily they let us check in early as we had a few hours before Salem had his first dance.

It was so nice relaxing in a nice hotel room and not having to hang out in the dressing room for hours.
We enjoyed our stay there!!!!

Looking very Polish.

Salem did very well over the two days of comps especially as he was performing all new dances which he had choreographed himself.  Everyone commented on his Krakowiak costume which he loved wearing.

He has won another trophy for coming first for the Classical Impromptu.

His results are:

1st Place -  Classical Impromptu 12 years and over
3rd Place -  Barefoot Impromptu 12 years and over
3rd Place -  Character 13 years
VHC -  Classical 13 years
VHC -  Barefoot 13 years
VHC - Lyrical 12 years and over.

Salem will write more about the comps in another post soon.
Here is his first Journal entry:

Salem's Dance Journal
New Zealand School of Dance

On Saturday the 26th of October, I had to go to the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington, so I could audition to try to get into the Junior Associates.

I had to be there very early in the morning.  There was a lot of other dancers too.  There were four other boys as well but the rest were girls.

We had to get our numbers, I was number 37.  Then we went into one of the studios to have a warm up.

Eating my cheese and crackers.

Then we all went into Studio 1 for a ballet class.  All of us boys had to go down the back so we couldn't see what was happening very well.  The class went for one and a half hours then we had a break.  I had cheese and crackers.

After that we had a contemporary class which wasn't as long.  The best bit was doing an impromptu.  That was fun but the music choice was horrible.

UPDATE:  Salem was accepted on the New Zealand School of Dance Associate Programme.
He is now a NZSD Junior Associate Contemporary Major.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sad News

Paul (seated) and Louis
photo by Ross Giblin

This morning when I was looking at what was happening in the news on, I came across this article
It was a very sad way to start the day.

Paul Jenden is the partner of Louis who teaches Salem contemporary dance.
Louis had said that Paul was very sick in hospital but we were all hoping for the best.

We had last seen Paul perform in the pantomime "Cinderella" at the Circa Theatre where he played Sven from Sweden.  He was so funny and the panto was such fun.

Fairy Stories
Louis, Jonty and Paul in "Fairy Stories"
photo by Stephen A'Court

His last production was "C- The Musical" based on his personal experience with cancer and Louis was part of the cast.  Unfortunately we were not able to get to see it but have been told by friends that it was great.
Which he then followed by appearing in WOW before becoming ill.
A very creative, talented man.

Rest in Peace Paul.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Exam Results and Another Chance to Dance

Salem with Jonty after performing at the
Coastlands' Star Search.

Since our last post, about one and a half weeks ago, Salem has a lot of good practices, fun lessons with Jonty, performed at the Coastlands' Star search, had a really good lesson with Jacqui today and has received his contemporary and jazz exam results ...........

Very proud of his performance.

He was very pleased with his exam results:

NZAMD Jazz Grade 5 - Distinction 95% + pass
NZAMD Intermediate Bronze Jazz Medal Award - Excellence Plus (Highest Mark)

NZAMD Contemporary Level 2 - High Honours 90 - 94% pass
NZAMD Intermediate Silver Contemporary Medal Award - Excellence Plus

Last Thursday he performed at the Coastlands' Star Search.
He did his classical dance "Valse", which he choreographed himself, and dianced so well, I was very proud of him.
He managed to fit it on to the very small ricketty stage.

Excuse the video, it is very shaky.

With some of the other performers.

Jonty was there to watch him and was very happy with Salem's performance.
Salem didn't get a placing but he impressed a lot of people.  We had so many people coming up to us saying that Salem should have been a finalist, even some of the finalists themselves.
Salem just loved having the opportunity to dance up on the stage in front of lots of people.

Performing "Ameno" at Waikanae Dance School's Concert

I've posted his dance which he did at the Waikanae Dance School concert.  It is "Ameno" which he also choreographed himself.

If you are receiving this post by email you will have to go to :  to see the videos.

Tomorrow he is back to his Jazz/Lyrical class at Waikanae Dance School, and on Saturday he starts his Acrobatic class.

Also this weekend he is attending a Masterclass at the Royal New Zealand Ballet, then the weekend after that is the ABTC Comps at the Little Theatre in Lower Hutt.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Practicing in Costumes and More Acrobatics Practice

In most of his Krakowiak costume and the boots

Last week was very busy, lots of practice sessions at the gym as usual.
On Tuesday Salem had a great lesson with Jonte, Salem is improving all the time.
They went over his variations,Siegfried and James, and smoothed a couple of things out.

Practicing with kilt and sporran.

Then very bright and early on Wednesday morning we headed into Wellington to pop into the Royal New Zealand Ballet to borrow some boots for Salem to wear at the up-coming competitions on Labour Day, and also to watch a company class which was really fun.
Salem really watched the technique of the guys and would have loved to join in.
It was lovely to see everyone again and to see some new members of the company.

When we got back to Paraparaumu, we bought our tickets to see the RNZB's "Tutus On Tour" which will be at Southwards Theatre.

At the Acrobatic workshop.

On Thursday Salem went to the Acrobatic Workshop run by Michelle from Waikanae Dance School.
He had such a good time and learnt a few new things and enjoyed helping some of the younger ones too.
We parents got to see all the kids perform at the end of the class and we were all very impressed at what they had managed to achieve in one morning.  Their performance was so good!!!!!

The Bridge

So now at the end of every dance practice session, Salem practices some acrobatics and is doing things now which he though he wouldn't be able to do for quite a while.
He could do a bridge from the ground and now does it from standing up and goes all the way over too.

More Acrobatics Moves

Salem has entered in The Coastland's Star Search again this year, the heats have already started and Salem will be performing on Thursday.   
So he had a practice on the stage today, boy it is worse than last year, there is a lot of movement on some parts of it and is very uneven so the only dance he feels safe doing on it is Valse.  
He had a bit of an audience watching him today and got lots of claps.

James Variation Practice

This week Salem has been practicing in some of his costumes to get used to them for the comps.
He has been wearing his kilt and sporran for James.  His legs have gotten longer so his kilt is a little short for him but it will do for the mean time.  I'll get him a new one next year.

He has been wearing the heavy wool jacket, belt, hat and boots for his Krakowiak dance.  He gets really hot in them.  It will be great in winter!!!

Tomorrow he has a lesson with Jonte and we will be getting his exam results.
We are dying to know how he did.

To our friends who subscribe by email, you will have to go to:     to be able to watch the videos.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jazz and Contemporary Exams Then Acrobatics

Acrobatic practice

On Friday Salem had his NZAMD Contemporary exam along with his Jazz and Contemporary Medal tests.
This took up all morning with a break in between each one.
So we went to get him a snack at each break at a cafe just down the road, The Jolly Rodger, a very nice little cafe with really nice staff.

Receiving his jazz medal.

Exam day is always a cafe day and he needed to keep his energy up.

The examiner was very nice and Salem said she had good chats with them, was really friendly.
She also got through the exams very quickly and was ahead of the allocated time.

Ready for some contemporary.

Salem was pleased with his dancing and had fun doing the exams.
The medal tests were great because parents get to watch, so of course I watched and he danced very well.
Just have to wait for his results now.

Receiving his contemporary medal.

On Friday evening he had his last Lyrical/Jazz/Acrobatic class in Waikanae and had so much fun as they did a whole lot of acrobatics.

It's bendy boy!!!!

He ended up getting a really bad headache from doing hand stands up against the wall which he had never done before and was a bit nervous about it.  And he wasn't used to being up-side-down.

He learnt a few things and was ready to challenge himself and has been practicing the acrobatics at the end of his practice sessions at the gym.  He leaves doing the handstands until the end and is not getting the headache any more.

He has been working hard and is learning which muscles to use and is so happy at being able to achieve things he didn't think he could do so soon.

Waikanae Dance School is having an Acrobatic Workshop on Thursday morning and is really looking forward to going.