Don’t try this at home

Mr. James Rogers, ballet dancer with Kansas City Ballet, will not only be finishing up his first season this weekend but he will also be finishing up 1 season of doing Pilates and Conditioning with me every Monday!  I always held the 2:00 PM slot for him and he was here, rip – roaring – and ready to go!

I figured I had to challenge him for his last visit until August! Plus, he had an additional day off to recover so I gave him . . .

The S N A K E!

I attempted to show him until I realized that if I had my stomach probably would have landed and reverberated against the springs so I cued him instead.

James is performing this weekend in Jerome Robbin’s Interplay, Val Caniparoli’s The Lottery, and George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations!

Au revoir, James! Until August and we meet again for the 2017-2018 season!

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A Dancer’s Profile: Featuring the sweetly fierce Sarah Chun from Kansas City Ballet

Name: Sarah Chun

Vocation: Company dancer with Kansas City Ballet (4th season).

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Photo shoot featuring Eleve Leotards. Photo Credit: Kenny Johnson

Defining Moment on Stage to Date: The moment I danced Todd Bolender’s “The Still Point” was a defining moment on stage for me. I performed it this past May and it was a ballet that really let me express the hardships I was going through at the time. It really reminded me why I chose to become a professional ballet dancer.

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Septime Webre’s, Alice in Wonderland (2014). Photo Credit: Steve Wilson

Favorite Style of Dance: I appreciate all styles of dance because I love how each style makes me feel and grow differently. But I think my favorite would be contemporary/neo classical work. Even though I am classical trained, I feel that I can really let go and express myself to the fullest in contemporary movement. I have not performed Helen Pickett’s “Petal” yet but Kansas City Ballet had just learned it recently, and the movement in this ballet is very enjoyable to me.

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Inspiration: My inspiration would definitely be my parents. They immigrated from South Korea and worked for everything they have today. My parents are the most hard working, humble, supportive people I’ve ever met. They drive down to Kansas City to see every program I perform in and am inspired every time I see them

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Devon Carney’s restaging of Giselle (2015). Photo Credit: Steve WIlson

Favorite Dance Wear Brand: Lonereed Designs is my favorite custom dance wear brand!

Favorite Energy Breakfast: Toast with almond butter, scrambled eggs, and an apple! Yum!

Favorite thing to do on a “day off” from Work: On a day off of work, I love to go take a yoga class, spend time with friends, and read a book!

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 Todd Bolender’s The Nutcracker (2014). Photo Credit: Kenny Johnson

How do you blow off steam: Yoga Yoga Yoga is my way to blow off steam for sure! Ballerina Yogi for life!

Why do you think integration of dance and health is needed: I think it’s important to practice healthy eating as a dancer. Being a dancer is so mentally and physically demanding that eating healthy can really make a difference in our career. We depend on our bodies so much that it’s important for us to eat and exercise well so that we can prevent injuries and fatigue. I definitely believe in moderation when it comes to being healthy and a happy dancer!

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Michael Pink’s Dracula (2014). Photo Credit: Steve Wilson

What’s next for you: In the near future, Kansas City Ballet will be working on a brand new Nutcracker, choreographed by artistic director Devon Carney. So that’s exciting! In April, I will choreograph for Kansas City Ballet’s “New Moves” program! In the far future, I hope to still be dancing happily. In my next career, I hope to maybe own my own yoga studio and teach dance on the side.

Here is a little clip of Sarah Dancing in South Korea this summer on her off-season, exploring new movement, new people, new choreography and a new space. Thanks to Sarah Chun for interviewing with dancehealthier and I wish you a happy and healthy season!

 

 

Kansas City Dance Festival Time

Well I’m pretty humbled that I get to be the General Manager of this festival called Kansas City Dance Festival. Next weekend marks our 3rd annual Kansas City Dance Festival. Our mission is to provide cutting edge choreography to dancers from all over the world in the summer months. We love it all. We love our dancers, our choreographers, our sponsors, our supporters, our audience, our city, our community.  This year we are hiring dancers from Miami City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Wonderbound, Owen Cox Dance Group, and Kansas City Ballet. Enjoy some photos from KCDF year 1 & 2, and if you are in town I encourage you to come to the Folly Theater for performances at 7:30 PM.  Please visit our website to support and buy tickets and to just learn more about what exactly we do. Kansas City Dance Festival.

Photo credit to our brilliant photographer: Philip Koenig. Enjoy!

The Still Point

The Still Point

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Kansas City Dance Festival 2013

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A dancer’s Profile with Angelina Sansone – Kansas City Ballet

Happy Nutcracker time! Do Dancers out there need some inspiration to help your momentum accelerate during this Nutcracker season? Read from Angelina Sansone, who writes a beautiful interview about why she dancers, what motivates her as a dancer, and why she feels the source of health and dance integration is pivotal to the current and future world of dance.

Name: Angelina Sansone

Vocation: Professional ballet dancer with Kansas City Ballet
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Style: I hate to think of the dancer I’d be without the exposure I’ve had to many different styles of dance. Each style has required the honing of particular skills both technically and artistically. Having a career that has allowed for a variety of stylistic opportunities, has not only made me a more well rounded dancer physically, but mentally keeps me excited, learning, and inspired. It also has left me with a large list of choreographers I would love to learn from. Some ballets that have left a significant impact on my thought process as a dancer are Balanchine’s Mozartiana, Tudor’s Dark Elegies, Twyla’s Catherine Wheel, Giselle, and working with Gabrielle Lamb in the creation of a new work (Staged by Susan Pilarre, Donald Mahler, Shelley Washington, Karen Brown). I attribute a lot of these ballets lasting impact on me to some great stagers/choreographers. Their attention to detail and the knowledge they imparted has remained relevant to me throughout my career. They imprinted the style, mood, and intention of each piece so deeply that once I got to the stage, I was able to fully immerse myself into the roles.
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Inspiration: Simply put, my inspiration comes from something I read in an interview with Julie Kent as young dancer. She stated that dance was important because we added true beauty to the world. I really liked that though we aren’t solving world problems, or saving lives, we use our bodies to communicate beautiful fleeting moments that can move an audience in only the way dance can. That’s important to me.

Dancewear: Eleve Dancewear (Angie also Model’s for Lisa Choules company, Eleve).

Energy breakfast: Ok, I’m not great in the morning. Finding a quick easy breakfast food is a challenge. But, about a year ago my normal toaster oven broke and when looking to replace it I discovered the greatest invention. A toaster oven that not only toasts my bread but steams an egg and a piece of turkey or spinach. Breakfast sandwich made! Ready for the day.

What do you do to “Blow off Steam”?: I have learned that I am my happiest self when my world is larger than ballet. As much joy as this crazy job I have gives me, I think it’s important to like my life outside the studio too. In a career where achieving perfection is the end goal, there is an obsessive place that a dancer’s mind can fall into. Honestly, I think it takes some amount of that obsession to be an artist but, I’ve found that keeping my life open to different kinds of people, interests, and experiences gives me a wider perspective and keeps me on the healthy side of that line.
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Day off: Whatever makes me happy. …. crossing things off the To-do list, gardening, having a lazy day with my husband and furry babies, board games or movies marathons with friends, organizing my closet, calling home, craft projects. . . Bath, ice, massage, coconut oil and back to work.

Why integration health & dance integration is important? Health and dance need to be integrated fully in any dancer’s mind. We ask a lot from our bodies and listening to it and taking preventative measures to keep it injury free is good not only for our lives as a dancer, but life post ballet. I think you should be taught how to do your taxes in high school. Similarly, young dancers, would benefit tons from health integration in dance education. A basic knowledge of anatomy, comparisons between eastern and western approach to injury, knowledge of the benefits of physical therapy, massage, chiropractic work, acupuncture, cross training options, Pilates, Gyrotonics, swimming, and yoga is practical and needed. I also believe nutrition information catered to dancers, as well as honest and open conversations about mental health (ex: lows and highs of a dancers life) is a large missing component in this forum of education.

What’s next? Settling into the familiarity of Nutcracker season, winter ready the yard, finally making wedding photo album, and enjoying the festive celebrations all around KC.

A Dancer’s Profile, featuring Pennsylvania Ballet male dancer, Alexander Peters.

Name: Alexander Peters

Vocation: Soloist at Pennsylvania Ballet

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With dancer Elizabeth Mateer (of PAB) for Dancers Among Us. Photo credit: Jordan Matter

Defining Moment on Stage to Date: Having the opportunity to perform at the Vail International Dance Festival with that endless roster of international ballet stars, the open air amphitheater, and an audience who seems to simply live for dance, could not have been a more moving and defining moment for me thus far. What made the experience more personally remarkable were the ballets Damien Woetzel (Artistic Director of VIDF) chose to have the company bring. I was scheduled to perform three times, in four works, in which two of the works had just had their world premieres in Philadelphia only months prior. These were roles that were created just for me and to have the chance to not only dance them again, but also share them on this stage was an opportunity I couldn’t have dreamed of. The first, entitled “La Chasse”, was choreographed by Matthew Neenan, the Pennsylvania Ballet Resident Choreographer and Co-founder of Ballet X, and is a pas de deux set to a Schubert Piano Trio. I don’t think I will ever forget this ballet. It was created nearly 9 months prior to its premiere due to scheduling of the season, and went through so many transformations that the end result was like a culmination of how both Lauren Fadeley and I grew and developed as dancers from the inception of the piece. I was also promoted to Soloist at the premiere of this ballet. The second work, entitled “The Accidental”, was a piece for three couples divided into four parts. Each couple had a duet and the final section was a solo for myself. Trey McIntyre, the choreographer, essentially created this solo for me at the end of a long rehearsal day in just a few hours, throwing out ideas and phrases and I doing my best to interpret and absorb, but the end result was nothing like I could have imagined. It’s open and free, honest and pure, and there is a sincere sense of youthful longing for more that only he could create through movement. The New York Times called it “a bright dance, and yet what it keeps suggesting, very movingly, is youthful perplexity.” These sorts of ballets and moments on stage are in large a huge reason why we as dancers live and love what we do.

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 With Lauren Fadeley (dancer at PAB), in “La Chasse,” at VIDF Erin Baiano.  

Favorite Style of Dance: As I’m exposed to more and more styles and works of dance throughout my career, I’m drawn to new ways of moving, but the most natural and innate way of dancing will always be within the framework of my Balanchine styled training.

Inspiration: Music is always the most inspiring thing in my life. I always have headphones with me (often around my neck, worn like a scarf) so that music is always readily accessible. When I’m dancing, the music always comes first; it is the driving force that allows the movement to happen. Although cliché, its important that the viewer can “see the music”. I also make it a habit to see live music as much as possible. Luckily, Philadelphia has some of the best venues for concerts and there are always several options almost every night of the week.

Favorite Dance Wear Brand: I’m not one for purchasing high-end custom-made dancewear like Yumiko, and have actually accumulated a majority of my rehearsal gear via hand-me-downs from other dancers. Depending on the ballet I’m rehearsing, I sometimes opt to simply wear running shorts and a thermal top. My favorite warm-up attire always consists of a loose sweat pant and oversized sweater. And of course, I always have to wear fun socks.

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With dancer of KCB, Tempe Ostergren. Photo credit, Brett Pruitt.

Favorite Energy Breakfast: Two eggs (over easy), wheat toast, potatoes, orange juice, and coffee. Sometimes I’ll have a banana as well.

Favorite thing to do on a “day off” from Work: Almost every week, I frequent myfavorite restaurant and treat myself to brunch. I bring my New Yorker, New York Times, or a book to read and just relax with an excellent meal and endless coffee. If it’s nice out,then I’ll take an afternoon walk along the Schuylkill river park trail.

How do you blow off steam: If it’s been a particularly hard day, or week at work, a longhot bath (preferably with a glass of wine) does just the trick.

Why do you think integration of dance and health is needed: Our bodies are ourinstruments, and they must be finely tuned and taken care of. If you leave a pianounattended, the sound starts to get off key, the strings go bad, and the instrument couldbecome permanently damaged.

What’s next for you: We are beginning our 51st Season at Pennsylvania Ballet, under new Artistic Director Angel Corella, and there is so much excitement for all that lies ahead. My first program consists of the Principal in Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante, Ratmansky’s Jeu de Cartes, and the rare privilege of learning and working on Robbins’ Other Dances with the former Paris Opera Etoile, Isabelle Guerin.