Tag Archives: Variations

Interviews of Guest teachers for IBT’s Summer Intensive 2015

By Chaundra Wilson,

Gina Artese, of Kansas City, Missouri, is the guest instructor for week two of Imagine Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive. As a Balanchine-trained dancer, she describes her teaching style with one word—energy.

I am very different from the Danish style, which was the focus of the Bournonville Workshop with the Masters, which took place in Ogden the last week in June. “I am kind of old school style,” Artese smiles, “Black leotards, pink tights. Balanchine is very different. “

Artese, who began her professional dancing career at around 16 years old, set pieces from Balanchine’s repertoire last year for IBT’s summer intensive. This year, she brought her “energy” to the IBT studio with a rendition of Stars and Stripes. “This version is more theatrical and the counts are very important.”

Artese’s week of intense instruction comes on the heels of Oswaldo Muniz, who opened IBT’s month-long intensive. Artese was began guest teaching at IBT last summer when Muniz recommended her as a candidate to Artistic Director Raymond Van Mason.

Artese says her favorite part of her time at IBT is the specialized attention with each child. She enjoys the group “pointe shoe talks,” where she discusses the woes, triumphs, tips, and tricks of ballet’s most iconic equipment. “I enjoy getting to know each child and having a moment with them. I like helping them fix something when they were struggling.”

As well as being a member of many dance companies, Artese has been seen on the movie screen as a company member in the Academy Award-Winning production, Black Swan. “I didn’t know what was going on,” she recalls of filming the suspense-thriller. “My family saw it before I did. “ Artese remembers meeting and talking with some of the ballerinas whose stories peppered the plot of the movie. Artese speculates that the draw of the movie, which surprises viewers with a troubling and dark conclusion. “I think it is about the rebellion, because ballet is all about perfection.”Gina Artese

Bournonville in Ogden Utah led by Dinna Bjorn

Bournonville Workshop with the Masters Teaches Tradition of Joyful Movement

“I was already that kid who turned on classical music, moved all the furniture and just danced around the room to the music,” happily remembers Henning Albrechtsen, one of the master instructors teaching this week at Imagine Ballet Theatre in Ogden, Utah during the Bournonville Workshop with the Masters. “The first time I danced Bournonville, it felt liberating,” Albrechtsen smiles while talking about the technique famous for light and intricate footwork, “I remembered the reason I started dancing – to move to music, to express joy and freedom.”

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This week, students as young as age 7 spanning all the way to advanced teachers have enjoyed learning from Dinna Bjorn, Eric Viudes, Henning Albrechtsen, and Dianna Cuni Mancini, four master instructors of the techniques of Auguste Bournonville. Dinna Bjorn, who has been sharing her passion for Bournonville technique since 1975, is pleased to be teaching students of such varying ages. She says that it is wonderful to teach those that are so young, because they will then grow up with the knowledge. Bjorn recalls that in Denmark, education in Bournonville technique begins at age 8 and says that the students of the Ogden workshop are doing very well. “It is a very demanding technique when they are that young. It requires that you are already quite advanced in your ballet technique.”

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Bjorn says that the content of this workshop is unique because students are not only taking classes in technique and repertoire (choreography), but also in mime, which is a signature of Bournonville Ballet. “To do mime is really great,” Bjorn says enthusiastically, “You can relax and have fun playing a part.” She enjoys seeing the creativity of each individual student come out. Repertoire, as Albrechsten explains is exercises that are little perfect solos from a different century.

Mime is an important part of August Bournonville’s style because of the focus on storytelling. “Bournonville is ballet about normal, common people,” Bjorn explains. “It is always telling stories. It is joyful dancing and even if it is a bit dramatic, it always ends happy,” Bjorn shares. “Well, except La Sylphide,” she says under her breath with a smile.

“When I had my first taste of Bournonville, I did not fall in love,” says Eric Viudes, one of the quartet of master teachers visiting Utah. .” Viudes is the self-proclaimed “foreigner” of the group of instructors, yielding from France rather than Denmark. He jokes that this travelling group is a perfect union for him because he likes to dance and he likes to travel, but he doesn’t like to travel alone. “The more I got better in my profession, the more I know how important Bournonville is. It is a living tradition.” Viudes believes that the technique is ultimately important in the complete education of a good dancer. “It is like thinking you don’t need to write a language to speak it well.”

Albrechtsen praises the variety of age groups participating in the workshop. “It gives the little ones someone to look up to. If you are not looking up to anyone anymore, it is time for you to move on because you are the one being admired.”  After completing his education at Teachers Training Program for former professional dancers at the National Ballet School of Canada, Albrechtsen returned to the Royal Danish Ballet as full-time faculty. “I was surprised that they considered me a teacher,” Albrechtsen says of his invitation to join the touring team of Bournonville instructors, “Because I wasn’t a kid when I started and I am really too tall for Bournonville.” The key to teaching ballet is to tell them what TO DO and not always what NOT TO DO, Albrechtsen explains. “It is so fun to see when they surprise themselves—conquer an obstacle.”

The Bournonville Workshop with the Masters has been ongoing from June 20 through June 27, 2015. The event will conclude with a performance at Peery’s Egyptian Theatre Satuday, June 27, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Bjorn describes the evening as a little performance and informal presentation of the week’s work. She anticipates sharing a film or information about Bournonville, but the only performers will be the workshop’s participants. Seats can be reserved at http://www.egyptiantheaterogden.com/ for $10 and $15.

This Bournonville workshop was first taught outside Denmark six years ago in 2009. It has been taught in France, Tokyo, and now in Ogden, Utah. Bjorn has known Imagine Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Raymond Van Mason for many years due to IBT’s participation in the American Ballet Competition, who is co-sponsoring the event. Bjorn had been teaching seminars for teachers at ABC when Van Mason became interested in a Bournonville intensive for the students of his Ogden, Utah-based youth ballet company. Bjorn was enticed by the collaboration, “I had taught some Bournonville in 1985, in Michigan and I really wanted to do it again in America.” Both Bjorn and Van Mason are hoping to make the union and the intensive an ongoing event in Utah, perhaps with an earlier date to avoid other ballet instruction intensives and facilitate more participation for area dancers.

“If people want to learn something about Bournonville, you only have to know it is here and now in Ogden,” concludes Viudes.

Article by Chaundra Wilson

Ogden Art Stroll watch dancers perform solos for the American Ballet Competition in Boston.

YAGP 2014 SEATTLE SEMI-FINALS Dancers will be performing solos from Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Don Q., Flower Festival, as well as contemporary works created for this competition that will take place in Boston.  Please join us for a bit of dance along your stroll. Featured dancers are Danielle Dries, Catherine Aoki, Katerina Winkler, MaKayla Finlinson, Aleksandra Winkler and Sonya Krzhanovsky.

Christina Stockdale joins the faculty at Imagine Ballet Theatre.

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Christina began her training at the age of five in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At 11 she was accepted to train at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet where she was able to perform at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia with the Pennsylvania Ballet. In high school Ms. Stockdale also trained at the Academy of International Ballet and performed with International Ballet Classique.

After graduation high school in 2005, Christina Stockdale accepted a position at Manassas Ballet Theatre in Manassas Virginia. While she was there she performed as a soloist in many ballets including Mina in Dracula, The Butterfly in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Snow Queen and Flower Soloist in The Nutcracker and many others.

After two seasons with MBT, Ms. Stockdale decided to move cross country and dance for a ballet company in Washington state: Ballet Bellevue. Ms. Stockdale spent four years with the company as a principal dancer and teaching in the school. She also directed and choreographed several Ballet Bellevue School productions. Her featured roles while in the company were: Aurora and Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Jack Frost in the Ballet Bellevue premiere of The Snowman, Sugar Plum and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and many others including contemporary choreography by Stacy Lowenberg, Kabby Mitchell III, Jennifer Porter, Keith Derrick Randolph and Angela Sterling.

In 2011, Ms. Stockdale auditioned and was accepted as a company member in Nevada Ballet Theatre. While she was with the company she worked with world famous ballerina Cynthia Gregory and Tara Keating on Georege Balanchine’s Serenade. She also performed with Cirque du Soleil in an NBT Cirque du Soleil collaboration.

At the end of the season in 2012, Ms. Stockdale left Nevada Ballet Theatre and decided to pursue other areas of dance in the fabulous Las Vegas and auditioned and got a job dancing ten shows per week in the now longest running show on the strip: Tournament of Kings at Excalibur.

This year Ms. Stockdale followed her husband to Ogden UT when he was transferred to the military base here. She continues to work at the show as a swing whenever she is in Las Vegas and also guest performs with several ballet companies including Las Vegas Ballet Company, and Kelly Roth Dancers. 

Imagine Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive 2013 in full swing!

Mendez

Dance

The beauty of dance is beautiful as the universe, as the sun and shines every morning upon awakening, the dance is all passion and love for her, where you express your feelings, is that I’ve been in my soul. I encouraged at all time, if you concentrate and elevate your thought got here away let yourself go for the music and movements, the dancers are what make and give joy, is what the heart expresses do not let go live with her dance, live dance, enjoy it more and more , love dance.

Maria Alejandra Mendez from Bogota, Columbia age 14

 

 

 

I’ve Been Dancing for All My Life

by Abby Hardin

 

 

I’ve been dancing for all my life and what do I have to show:

 

some battered feet, a vulnerable heart, and an unassured ego.

 

You look in the mirror

 

and cringe in fear

 

of the image reflected back.

 

You make a mistake,

 

and your insides quake,

 

embarrassed of the skills that you lack.

 

 

As you stand in row,

 

your envy grows,

 

as everyone else seems to put on a show.

 

You think that you are progressing too slow,

 

and every critique feels like a final blow.

 

 

What am I doing?

 

Why am I here?

 

My heart is renewing

 

all my old fears.

 

Why do I do this day after day?

 

What has it brought me but stress and decay?

 

I should just leave without any delay.

 

But no matter what, I always will stay,

 

time after time, day after day.

 

I shrug on the leotard, pull on the tights,

 

and tell myself that it will turn out all right.

 

My own insecurities made me lose sight

 

of why I dance each and every night.

 

 

For when this first started,

 

when my first dance class began,

 

I had a dream of being the best dancer I can.

 

Visions of elegance and beauty swept through my head,

 

and I twirled ‘round my room instead of going to bed.

 

And now I’ve seen glimpses, a fleeting glance,

 

of how I’ve always wished I that could dance.

 

And every new day, I get the chance

 

to see how far that I can advance.

 

I’ve come a long way since I first began,

 

but I’m only beginning to understand

 

that dance may be hard and scary and tough.

 

It will beat you down before it builds you back up.

 

The journey is difficult, the road long.

 

But it’s worth every minute because it’s where I belong.

 

 

I’ve been dancing for all my life and what do I have to show:

 

some iron feet, a hopeful heart, and the boundless ability to grow.

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Gary Flannery

Gary Flannery will be joining IBT Summer Intensive next week so get your Fosse on!

DANCE

Dance to the waves of the sea
Dance with the wind in the sky
Dance to be all you can be
Dance for who knows why
Dance with the leaves in the breeze
Dance to the water in a brook
Dance let your mind be at ease
Dance close your eyes, don’t look
Dance with the light from the sun
Dance with the stars in the dark
Dance and spin until you’ve spun
Dance through the city and the park
Dance to the whistle of the weeds
Dance in the puddles of reflection
Dance to fill your needs
Dance to strive for perfection
Dance to the drops of rain
Dance with the birds in the trees
Dance because there’s something to gain
Dance just dance, please
By Danielle Lee Dreis

Danielle grand jete

“Performance”
By: McKayla Woods
Air filled with voices and the sound of shoes.
Up next the dance will be to a song of the blues.
The dancers look perfect their hair is just so.
They get in position, the music starts low.
Dancers move smoothly, lovely and grand.
The dance ends beautifully and the crowd cheer and stands.
Mckayla

Dance

Dancing is like a dream

where you can be anything.
From a swan, to Giselle
even a King!
So many aspects of dance
and just to name a few;
There’s modern, ballet, jazz and more
just make sure not to miss your cue!
By: Sierra Miles
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Costume Designs by Oswaldo Muniz, who is also here staging Pas De Quatre and First Regiment from Stars and Stripes.
He is also teaching for IBT Summer Intensive.  The costumes will be on display August 2, 2013 along with a program that starts at 7:00 pm featuring Costume Designs and Dance cost $5.00 as part of the Ogden First Friday Art Stroll.

Dancers as Art! at IBT Studio Theatre Feb 1, 2013 Ogden Art Stroll

Catherine Aoki
YAGP Denver 2011
Placed 3rd Classical and Contemporary

Please join us for the Ogden City Arts Stroll Feb 1, 2013 from 6:00 to 9:00 and and see Dancers as Art.  They will perform classical variations from Giselle, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and the Fairy Doll.  As well as new works created for the Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals in Los Angeles California.  We have 5 exceptional dancers that will be dancing for you Catherine Aoki, Emma Chase, Madeline Compas,  Danielle Dries, and Ashleigh Richardson.

 

Registration for 2012-2013 August 4th, 2012. New and Returning Students!

The School of Imagine Ballet Theatre will hold an Open House August 4th, 2012, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, to register New and Returning Students.  Please come and check out our studios in Downtown Ogden.  Classes will begin August 20th.

The Company will resume rehearsals August 24, 2012, and we will be performing at the Ogden City Farmers Market on Saturday 25, 2012.  We will be starting with new choreography for The Fairy Doll, Peter and The Wolf and rehearsing to dance with Laurie Sefton’s Clairobscur Dance Company from Los Angeles as part of The Rocky Mountain Choreography Festival.  Nutcracker Auditions will  be September 8, 2012, from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, at the IBT Studios.  The location is 2432 Washington Blvd. Ogden, Utah 84401.