Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Self-motivated Summer Intensive

To begin, a snapshot took whilest still in London. This is Kris Walker, with me in Brixton on my last day in the UK. Brixton is a weird place, weird but fascinating. If you look past Kris' coolness, and fixate upon the oober coolness of these two Johnny Depp/Blues Brothers hybrids, you will realize just how bizarre Brixton is. If you have the means to, you should visit.

Henny Jurriens Foundation (HJS): am amazing hub.

Today I took class with Stephen Pier, master faculty member at The Julliard School. He has danced with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, The Jose Limon Company...among a few. I got to start off my morning in this stark white room, eat a bowl of cereal (though not too much, my stomach was nervous!) and take a beautiful walk through the west region of Amsterdam to get to HJS. Then I was able to dance for the next 5 hours. It began with Stephen. I am clearly not a ballerina, but he still showed interest in my progress, as well as the others in class. He also noted that I have a "lovely back", a huge self esteem booster coming from his impecibly trained eye.

Next class was with Martin Sonderkamp, a freelance dancer based in Berlin. His class is release-based and very challenging. I felt very good about my university training in this class. Thank you, Andee Scott! There was a moment when he ever so delicately threw his body into the ground and made no noise at all. A year ago I would have been baffled, but after Advance Contemporary Technique with Andee my last year at UT, I knew just how to accomplish this! It feels good to be over here in Europe and to feel like my dance training in competent. Yay UT Theatre and Dance!

My final class of the day (the woman at the desk was shocked I would take 3 classes in a row, but hey! this is what I'm here to do) was with Martin Meng. Now this is an interesting story: Martin and I have crossed paths in the past. Two summers ago in Cyprus, Martin was the ballet master at the tiny tiny installation of EDAS (European Dance Art Salzburg). The three weeks spent in Cyprus alongside 4 other UT dancers and a group of 6(?) young Israeli dancers is a whole different story...as there was a lot of unexpected circumstances and adjusting that was involved. And malnutrition. And diarrhea. But I learned a lot from Martin in those weeks. Teaching in strict Russian technique, he holds a completely different class than I am used to with the ballet at UT. I don't agree with it all, especially the idea of forced turn out and and incredibly stiff back. However, he helps me push my own length of limb and stretch my lines, something needed with my long torso and tiny stub legs. He also helps me in my balance. I know it sounds crazy to "balance from your fingertips", but the images he uses to explain balancing by stretching enormously through your pinky finger in your pique arabesque...Uhm, it freaking works. Love it. So we had a nice little reunion. He told me I looked good, I said he looked good. He said he hardly recongized me. I suppose this is good, as when I was in Cyprus I looked emaciated and was constantly soaking in my own piggy sweat.

The best part about Henny Jurriens Foundation: it shares the building with yet another dance center, Amsterdan Dance Centre. They have evening classes, all different types. I am going to check out schedules and fees tomorrow and will hopefully have some extra spare cash to take a few random classes here and there. Just bunk out at the studio all day...sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I am creating my own intensive workshop for myself. It feels great :)

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