Ballet Dancer in Training

Ballet Dancer in Training

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ballet Amongst The Blooms

I love going to the Botanic Gardens in Wellington as often as I can.

The other weekend had all the tulips out in their full glory and it was such a beautiful day that I had to get some stretching done while enjoying all the beautiful colours.

These photos are more acro than ballet but stretching is good for all dance types.  And I prefer to stretch outdoors on a lovely day.

The photos didn't turn out of me doing jetes, too blurry.

I was doing some more stretches on the grassy lawn and two little girls, sisters. joined me and I gave them a ballet lesson, a very simple introduction, which they loved.

Their mum was very impressed and enjoyed watching.

After the ballet lesson I did some very basic contemporary exercises with them and their little friend, a boy, joined in too.

He had just as much fun as the girls.

Then I added in a little acro to finish things off, lots of rolling around and some gentle stretching.

I'm sure the kids could have gone on for longer but there were more flowers to see.

A great way to spend a sunny springtime afternoon.

Salem  :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Finalist for the 2015 Attitude Awards

Me and my Grade Ones photo courtesy of Hayley Johnson Dance Academy

Hi everyone,  it's been a while since I last did an up-date, been very busy with my dancing, exams etc and also having a few doses of the nasty flu's that have been doing the rounds.
It is now springtime over here in New Zealand so hope fully all the winter nasty's are behind us.
So I will be doing a bit of a catch up and here is my first lot of news...........

Stretching with the film crew doing their thing.

I have been lucky enough to be a finalist again this year for the Attitude Awards which are held in Auckland on the 3rd December - World Disability Day.
I had a fantastic time there last year and meet some amazing people.
It is such an honour to be one of three finalists for the Artistic Achievement Award.

The Lovely Grade Ones photo courtesy of Hayley Johnson Dance Academy

The Attitude film crew came to my grade one class at Hayley Johnson Academy of Dancing to do some filming, all the students had a great time in front of the camera, they all did very well and looked great.
They had all their hair neatly done, were on their best behavior and did all their exercises etc brilliantly.
It was a really good practice for exam time.

Crazy time with the Grade Ones courtesy of Hayley Johnson Dance Academy

I'm dying to know how the filming turns out and what they will be using for my piece at the awards.
My Grade Ones and their parents are dying to see it too.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Appearing in the New Zealand Woman's Day and Mentioned on TV

This is the article that appeared in the New Zealand Woman's Day magazine in June 2015.

I was interviewed while I was taking part in the Dance Art Competition in May and then did a photo shoot at the St James Theatre at a later date.
That was a whole new experience for me.

When the magazine with my article was out in the stands, I was mentioned on the "Good Morning" television show.
Mum videoed it off the telly

Ballet Boy NZ mentioned on Good Morning

Hopefully you can read the article from these photos.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Exams Soon and Old Dance Videos

It's not long now until exam time so I 've been doing lots of practice. 
I have my contemporary and two jazz exams, plus medal tests for jazz, ballet, contemporary and tap.

I was very sick on the weekend, couldn't get out of bed at all. I caught some bug that was going around, luckily it only lasted 48 hours but it meant I missed exam practice, the boys master class with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and going to see their latest production of A Midsummer Nights Dream.

I've been having a look through some videos of the old dance school productions I have been in. Some of them are so cute and some are just so funny. I will have to convert them all and put them up on You Tube.

Here is one I had already put up a while ago from 2009 when I was with Kapiti Dance Centre.

Colours of the Wind

And here's another old video that we just put up on You Tube, from 2010. 
It's of 6 dancers from the RNZB, they dance first and then it's us kids. I'm the skinny one dressed in black and wearing ballet shoes. Loved wearing my ballet shoes, now I prefer to dance in socks, no shoes.

This was part of The Nutcracker season, and I was lucky enough to have one of the children's parts in The Nutcracker. It was such a great experience and I knew then that I wanted a career as a ballet dancer.

Ballet at Te Papa 2010

I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane


Monday, July 20, 2015

Kapiti Comps 2015 and What I'm up to at the moment

Pas de deux - Giselle

It was the Dance Kapiti Competitions finally after a years break.  It was held at the Southwards Theatre, out here in Kapiti.  Nice and close, it was great not to have to travel.

It was held over four days, 11th to the 14th July.  I danced 16 times over the four days.


I had injured myself at practice the day before comps started and I wasn't too sure that I would be dancing at all.  I had hurt my big toe quite badly and it was quite swollen and very sore when putting any pressure at all on it.

But we put arnica on, ice packs and kept up a regime of anti-inflammatories and paracetamol when needed.
I managed to dance every dance, it did get quite sore at times, I couldn't do double tours so had to stick to singles and had to make adjustments to some of my dances.  Even had to wear different ballet shoes as my usual ones were a little too tight on my toe.

In make-up and wig for Miss Hannigan

But overall, I was really pleased with my performances, I had sooooo much fun with my jazz dances, especially the impromptu.  I just went out, put lots of humour in it and had a ball.  I wish it was videoed.
I was able to dance both of my jazz dances, Sh-Boom and White Trash.  White Trash was danced two times, it was the only repeat I had.

It was really nice to catch up with dancers that were not from the Wellington Region.  Some I hadn't seen since Palmerston North Comps from last year.

Having a bit of fun before Cold

This was my third competition of the year, and the last for this year.
I no longer have a scholarship for my dancing.  I had three years of Gold Heart Scholarships from Variety - The Children's Charity.  Three years is the limit and I was very lucky and honored to have that support.

So we can no longer afford to do as many competitions, I did eight last year, but that just means I can now concentrate more on my classes and work on technique.  Also do some more choreographies which I have so many ideas.  I will be working on a classical dance en pointe and a new variation as well.
Cold will be done en pointe next year!!!!!!

Getting into Classical mode

I'm fundraising to go over to the Boy's Ballet Summer School again this summer, I enjoyed it so much last time and learnt so much.  So when the weather gets drier and warmer, I will be busking in Wellington City at some of the inner city parks.  I can't do my dancing and acro on hard concrete so the grassy parks will do nicely.

Running Up That Hill

Term three starts today so it is back to classes in Tawa, can't wait to see my Grade One students today, and my Grade Two's tomorrow.  This term we are getting ready for exams.  I have exams for contemporary and jazz.  I am doing two jazz exams - Elementary and Intermediate.  I am also doing medals for jazz, contemporary, ballet and tap.

No ballet exams for me this year.  I am doing non syllabus ballet with Jacqui and Jonty and a mixture of advanced levels with Hayley.


Last term I got together with the lovely Miss Sophie to do the pas de deux from Giselle so we could perform it at the Kapiti Comps which we did and we got a Highly Commended (5th placing).

Not bad as we were in the Duo/Trio Any Style class so we were up against hip hop, jazz etc, no other ballet.
It was a lot of fun but over too quickly.

Practicing on stage before the Senior Championship

My other results were:

Classical  -  Third Place
Neo-Classical  -  Very Highly Commended (4th)
Character - Highly Commended (5th)
Demi-Character  - Highly Commended
Barefoot -  Commended (6th)
Impromptu Barefoot - Commended

Quiet moment before going back stage.

My favourite comment from the adjudicator was for White Trash in the Senior Jazz Champs, it was:

"I enjoyed your wild attitude."

Ready for James

I had a great four days at comps and can't wait for next year's.
I got lots of funny looks when I was in costume for Miss Hannigan, so funny!!!!!

So I will only be doing three competitions next year, same as this year.  Definitely one elsewhere, maybe Taupo or New Plymouth.  Should be fun.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Winter Cold and Weekend Competitions

On the train after my dance classes in Tawa.

Hi everyone,
I hope you are all keeping warm. Sooo cold at the moment!!!!!
Winter is well on it's way over here.
It has been very cold coming home late at night from my classes in Tawa.
I have to walk home from the railway station with all the frost setting in.
It's really nice when it's not windy or raining.

It's been a full on week or so for me, lots of practicing and of course all my classes.
Last week I had a photo shoot for a woman's magazine.
Phew, it takes a lot of time and we had to do re-take after re-take of jetes, pirouettes etc for a good action shot.  It took a few hours.

Last weekend I went to the Boy's Master Class with the Royal New Zealand Ballet which was taught by Massimo Murru from La Scala Ballet in Italy.
He is in New Zealand as guest Ballet Master for the RNZB.
It was such a great class and I really enjoyed it.
There was quite a lot of boys taking the class this time.

It's the Queen's Birthday Comps in Lower Hutt this weekend and I will be dancing all four days dancing thirteen of my dances.
I'm even entered in the song and dance class which is going to be funny as my voice is really croaky at the moment.
I will be doing Robin Hood for this.  It has become my musical theatre dance now as I have Miss Hannigan now for my demi-character.
I can't wait to do Miss Hannigan again.


Mum's made me some new costumes and added a few more details to my Ameno costume which meant I had to lie down on the floor with the heater on (coz it's so cold here), with my costume on while Mum painted it. Then she had to dry the paint with the hair dryer before I could take it off without paint going everywhere.
She also had to make me a new tunic for Robin Hood as I have grown out of my old one.

Looking forward to comps tonight, it's the variations tonight.  I'm in the Senior Championship.
This comp will be the last one that I will be doing at the Little theatre this year.
We can't afford to do any more than three competitions this year, so I'm making the most of them.
I'm doing thirteen dances this weekend, and none of them are repeats.

Next comps are the Kapiti Comps in July, the last for the year, and I will be dancing 16 times.
I'm going to be very tired but at least they are very close to home.
No Travelling!!!!!!

I'll be heading off to Lower Hutt soon, to go to the Little Theatre.
Wish me luck
                      Salem  :-)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dance Art Comps and I've finally done it!!!!!!!

Getting ready to dance Siegfried.

I had a very busy weekend just gone.  I had my first competition of the year and had been busy working on two new dances.
A new contemporary and a new demi-character.
I was so excited to debut them!!!!

I got a bit of a shock when seeing the size of the stage at the theatre which I have performed on so many times .......... it was so small .......... and I have grown soooo much.
I really had to concentrate on making my dances "smaller".

Stretching and warming up.

I was performing over three days, on Friday night I did my new contemporary dance " Running up that Hill".
The adjudicator commented "Beautiful flowing work showing good pathways...."
I was pleased with how I performed it for the first time and I was awarded 3rd Place.

Then I had my neo-classical "Cold" and was awarded 1st Place.
Wow, what a good first day!!!!

"James"  - La Sylphide Act II variation

It was bright and early to the theatre on Saturday morning, first my little friend Emma danced her demi-character which was so cute and then it was my turn to do my Krackowiak character dance.

It was so hard to dance this dance in such a small space.
I practice it in a large studio.
But I was really happy with it and was awarded 3rd Place.

Warming up for "Ameno"

My barefoot dance "Ameno" was next, I've been playing with the choreography for this a bit.
 Now I have three versions of this, and I like them all.
This time I danced version no.2 and got a Highly Commended (which is 5th Place).  Very pleased with that.


After having a break all afternoon, we came back for the evening session where I danced my lyrical and was in the Senior Championship dancing two variations

The variations I performed were "Siegfried" from Swan Lake, and "James" from La Sylphide Act II.
I always enjoy doing variations as they may be short but they are just full on.

I got Highly Commended for my lyrical and "Most Promising Senior Variation Dancer".  So cool!!!!

"Miss Hannigan"

It was back to the theatre and ready to perform by 8 am.  Oh boy was it so early.
To early in the morning especially as it was my birthday.
But I was very excited.  I was about to perform my new demi-character.

I had kept it a secret.  All anyone knew was that I was dancing en pointe.
My first time performing on stage, at a competition, en pointe!!!!!!!!

And I was performing as Miss Hannigan from "Annie".

The lovely Miss Hannigan :-)

It caused a bit of a stir and a lot of laughter as I like to do comedy demi-characters.
I had so much fun and it was over too soon.
But I had done it!!!!!!!!

I was awarded 1st Place.  I couldn't believe it.

Last up was my classical and I really enjoyed dancing that and I managed it fit it quite nicely on the stage.
I came 2nd Place for that.

I found out later that I also had won the Encouragement Special Award for 11 years and over.
A great way to end my birthday.

         **  Salem  **

Monday, March 9, 2015

Looking Back 2007

Exam day 2007

Sorry that it has been a while since I posted anything. I've been very busy with my dance lessons and have been enjoying helping to teach the grade one and grade two ballet classes at Hayley Johnson Academy of Dancing in Tawa. It's so funny being called "Mr Salem".
My lessons are going well and I have been getting home very late at night, 11 pm is my latest time for getting home. But it is all worth it.

There are signs of me doing acro even then.

This year. along with my one-on-one classes with the Trimmers, I am doing an open ballet class, advanced foundation ballet, another open ballet class with Kerry-Anne Gilberd, elementary jazz, intermediate jazz, contemporary level 4, tap grade 6, and I am working on my own stuff too.
I have finished choreographing my new demi- character dance and it is soooo funny.  I like putting humor in my demi's as there are so many serious ones.

Bring on the exam.

I thought I would share with you some photos of me when I was seven years old and warming up ready for my RAD primary ballet exam. I was so pleased to get distinction for my first "proper" ballet exam.
- Salem 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Ideas and Choreography

Sydney Harbour Bridge New Years 2015

Happy New Year every one!!!!!!!

I had a fantastic New Years, I was over in Sydney at the Boys Ballet Summer School.
It was held at the Shore School which had a great view of the Harbour Bridge.
We all stayed up to watch the fireworks and the next day we went to Wet'n'Wild.

Photo courtesy of the Boys Ballet Summer School

I had such a great time, wish it was for longer.  I am now saving and fundraising to go back next summer.

When I came back home, I only had a couple of days off dancing and have got back into the studio to practice.  I started back with lessons with Jacqui yesterday.

Today I finished my new contemporary choreography. 
I'm very pleased with it.  Now it needs lots of practice to make it look good.

I was so inspired from being at the Boys Ballet Summer School and had fantastic tutors - Jason Duff for jazz, Bill Pengelly for contemporary, and Christian Tatchev from the Queensland Ballet.

Bill gave me a load of new ideas and inspired me to create this new dance using lots of new moves that he taught us. Thanks Bill. And thanks to Jason and Christian too.

I also get to use a Kate Bush song which is a bonus.  I just love this song,

For those of you who recieve this by email, you can click on to watch the video.

Me and Mum will be doing more updates to catch up on everything.

Bye for now - Salem xx