Ballet Dancer in Training

Ballet Dancer in Training

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Success At The Ribbon Festival Competition

Wellington Region Dance Teachers Competition Society Inc
Ribbon Festival
15th - 17th March 2013
Little Theatre, Lower Hutt

Back stage getting ready for the Restricted
Ballet Championship 

This weekend was very busy.
On Friday we made our way by buses and train to Lower Hutt for the Ribbon Festival.
We arrived quite early so hung around in the library reading some funny books.
The library was right next door to the Theatre.
Salem was a bit nervous about dancing that night as it was the first competition of the year.
The last one he was in was in October.
He wasn't expecting to win anything, just to have fun, but he did really well.

Alayna Ng

The adjudicator for the Ballet and Modern classes was Alayna Ng from the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
She has had a knee injury so she wasn't on tour with the RNZB so we were lucky to have her as adjudicator.

His first dance was his classical for the
Restricted Ballet Championship - Under 14 yrs.
He danced really well and was up against some stiff competition.
When all the competitors were lined up on the stage for the presentation, they were all given a bag of lollies which was really nice.
Then they started reading out the placings in reverse order, Salem's name hadn't been called out and they were up to the fist three placing, this was getting very exciting.
Third place - Elorah........Second was Georgia ....... First was Salem.
I could see the surprise on his face.
This was his first win.
Alayna put his sash on him and he was delighted.
I was very proud of my boy.

With his 1st place ballet Championship sash

He was so happy and excited when I went to the dressing room to help him into his next costume for the Junior Variation.
We forgot to take a photo of him with his sash in his classical costume so I took one of him with his sash in his variation costume.
He didn't get a placing for the variation but we didn't expect him to as he was competing against some very talented girls.

His reports for his dances contained good comments and pointers to make his performances better.
Some of his comments are:

Restricted Ballet Championship - Under 14 yrs.  First Place.
"You look very happy Salem, on stage.
I can see you're working your legs and feet very hard.
You showed off some good jumping strength, keep working hard on this."

Junior Ballet Variation
" You look good in white tights Salem.
Keep working hard on your jumps, really pushing hard off both legs to really get the power to get off the floor.
Good job."

Waiting to be called backstage for the
Junior Variation

We didn't get home that night until 12.30am due to lack of public transport.
Salem was very tired and we had to be back at the theatre at 8.30 Saturday morning, luckily we had a ride in with friends.
First up was the Restricted Jazz - 10yrs and over.
Salem was dancing Proud Mary in this.
This was to be his first jazz solo ever.
He was dancing against some very talented and older girls and was blown away when the results were announced..... he came third.
 We stayed and watched some of the other classes for a while then went off with friends for a pot of tea and something to eat.

The Junior Ballet Variation Award Presentation

That afternoon we were back  for him to do his classical dance again in the Restricted Classical Ballet Solo - 9 & under 13 yrs.
He danced very well again and as soon as he had finished I went and helped him get into his costume for the class that was up next.  Unfortunately due to the heat in the theatre, Salem had a bleeding nose so we had to do our best to stop it bleeding.
Luckily we were sucessful and stopped the bleeding.

He was doing his Du Hast dance in Contemporary/Modern Expressive - under 13 yrs. 
It was nice to see him do this dance on the stage.  It was very different compared to what the girls were dancing.
When he finished dancing he came and joined me to watch the others and wait for the results.
He got first place for the ballet and very highly commended for his contemporary.  A second place hadn't been awarded so in essence he was third.
He was absolutely thrilled.

Ready for his Proud Mary dance

After dinner it was back to the theatre again.
This time it was the Junior Modern Championship - under 13 years.
He was doing his contemporary Du Hast dance again.
He was very tired as it had been a very long day and a very late night last night.
But he danced very well again and all the other dancers were doing a jazz dance except for Elorah who did her Lyrical dance.  
Everyone danced really well.
After they had all danced, they were all up on stage again for their award ceremony.  
They were all given a bag of lollies again, Salem just loved that.
They said the placings in reverse order again, the first name up was Salem.  He came forth place.
He looked so happy and very surprised and was thrilled to get another sash.
He was a very happy boy.
We had a ride home so were home by 9.30pm.  Had a great nights sleep and we didn't have to be back at the theatre until 1pm the next day.

Salem with Elorah who placed 2nd

Restricted Jazz - 10yrs and over.  Third Place.
"Great song choice Salem!
It looked like you were enjoying yourself."

Restricted Classical Ballet Solo - 9 & under 13 yrs.  First Place.
"Your shoulders were better today but keep working hard on them.
Keep working hard.
Good Boy!"

Contemporary/Modern Expressive - under 13 yrs.   Very Highly Commended
"I think this is a great solo for you to keep working on and progress your skills."

Junior Modern Championship - under 13 years.  Forth Place.
"An improvement on this afternoon.
Keep up the good work on this."

We had a nice sleep in on Sunday morning, and we were lucky to have a ride in again.
First up was the Neo Classical - under 14 yrs.
Salem was doing his Bond on Bond dance for this.
We had a bit of a surprise to find that the ballet flooring was gone as it had to be taken up for the tap classes that were held in the morning.
Salem had to dance on a wooden floor which was slippery for him in his ballet shoes so it was a mad dash to the dressing room so I cold sand paper the soles of his ballet shoes and also wet them to stop him slipping on the wood floor.
I was in the audience watching him dance and he was doing a great job and he slipped and fell but he got straight up kept going without missing a beat.  He was so focused.
It was a quick change after that as he was in the next class, Modern Jazz Solo - 11 & under 13 yrs.
He was doing his Sh-Boom dance for this.
He was all ready to go but the theatre had gotten so hot that they had to have a ten minute break to open all the doors to cool the theatre and stage down.  It was so hot and humid.
I had to scratch up the soles of his jazz shoes as they were slippery on the wooden floor.
He danced well but didn't put as much energy into it as he was afraid of slipping again.

After watching the next two classes it was time for the last results and presentation of special awards.
They announced the results for the jazz but seemed to miss out the results for the neo classical.
Salem came second in the jazz, another surprise as his style of jazz is different to what the girls were doing.

He picked up his neo results when he got his ribbon and report for the jazz.
He was placed third for the neo even though he slipped over.  Well done Salem!!!!!
This was a very successful competition for him.
The next competitions after the Alana Haines Awards, he will be competing in the 13 years and over age groups.

Neo Classical - under 14 yrs.  Third place.
"Don't you look smart Salem!
A great action energy shown on the stage.
Nice tour.
Keep working hard.
Good Boy."

Modern Jazz Solo - 11 & under 13 yrs.  Second Place.
"It's all nice, neat and tidy.
Keep up the hard work."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Practice, Pointe Shoes and Praise

Straight after class

At lunch time today, Salem went down the road to get some bread for lunch from the shops.
On his way home he walks past the local primary school and today a group of boys came up to talk to him.
They said that they had seen him dance at the local talent quest and thought that his dance was really cool and that he was a great ballet dancer.  One of the boys even said that he would like to try ballet.
This was really nice for Salem to hear and apparently this happens from time to time when I'm not with him.

Then after a day off yesterday, it was back to work as usual.
Lots of practice at the gym and we concentrated a lot on his Peasant Pas variation.
It was mainly some contemporary to warm up with then it was on to the ballet.
This weekend is the Ribbon Festival at the Little Theatre in Lower Hutt and he will be performing all three days.

I've also discovered that I can upload my videos if they are short so below you have a bit of a taster of Salem's dances at practice today.

If you are getting my posts by email you will have to go directly to to see the videos.

At his Intermediate Foundation class this evening he was back in his pointe shoes, he stuffed lots of fleece around his toes so he didn't get another blister like last week.  The fleece worked well and there were no sore toes!!!!!

Warm-up exercise

Du Hast - Contemporary

Pas de Quatre Boy - Classical

Bond on Bond - Neo Classical

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Still Dancing....Classes, Injuries and at the Ballet

Since our last post Salem has been very busy.
He has had a contemporary class at Thistle Hall with Lyne Pringle.
He really enjoyed that class and thought that Lyne was a really good teacher and gave him a lot of pointers.

Lyne Pringle

On the 24th February he attended the Boys Class with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Martin Videl, the RNZ Ballet's new ballet master, took the class.
Salem didn't enjoy it as much as the previous Boy's Classes he has been to.
The boys didn't get to have a chat with the male company dancers this time and only got to see the company's class for a few minutes.

Then on the 2nd March, he attended the Senior Master Class with the RNZB.
Rory Fairweather-Naeylan took the class and Salem said he did a really good job and Salem enjoyed it a lot.  This was the second class that Salem has had with Rory.

Rory Fairweather-Neylan

The lovely people at the RNZB gave the kids who did the Master Classes, free double passes to see the Made To Move ballet that afternoon.
So we got to see the ballet.  Yay!!!!!!

Made to Move consisted of three very different ballets - "The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud" by Javier De Frutos;  "Of Days" by Andrew Simmons;  and "Bier Halle" by Ethan Stiefel.

We didn't like "The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud" at all and were quite bored with it.  It really wasn't our sort of tatste.  The only part we liked was listening to the wonderful songs by the Yandell Sisters.

"Of Days" was a lot better, beautiful dancing but we found that the projected writing was too distracting.
It was so high up that when you read it, you missed out on the dancing and vice-versa.  The lighting showed off the dancers impressive muscles amazingly.

"Bier Halle" was a bit of a light-hearted laugh.
It was very impressive to see Jonte (Sir Jon Trimmer) do a backward roll!!!!!!

Can't wait to see Swan Lake next season!!!!!!!!

Salem has been doing plenty of practice but has unfortunately has had an injury which has put him back a bit.
He has been over stretched which has affected his hips and thighs so we are working through this with gentle exercises and plenty of massage etc.....

He is still doing all his classes and preparing for the up-coming competitions, The Ribbon Festival and The Alana Haines Awards.