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The Combinations About Killed Me!

The first week at the intensive was just sort of adjusting to new classes, teachers, and habits. You take a placement class that's just like the audition, so anyone who's interested in coming here can just relax and take a technique class, like it's no big deal (but of course look your best!) The first week is a little hard because of how much dancing you do! Considering I hadn't danced in about a month I was very sore, but by the second week I wasn't even getting out of breath in combinations that had killed me in the first week! This third week now is good, it goes by so fast! With technique in the morning, then usaually a break, lunch, then pointe (hard!) then pilates and modern it's a full day with sometimes rehearsal at the end. (plus dinner, I forgot that) Some of my favorite things are probably the activities on the weekend, and dancing! You can go horsebackriding, rafting, go to Taos the town, and ride the chairlift to the top of a mountian with a really pretty view! I've learned a lot from being here, tons of new Balanchine technique things, and variations. What are the hardest things... everything? Just kidding...the first week was really hard because the altitude just slowed you down and made you so tired! I still remember the first grande batma combination, (the kicks, french is so hard!) it was four in each direction and then turn around and do it again on releve! I was dying! But now when we do that sort of combination I'm perfectly fine! Spare time is used for nothing but resting, some soaking and icing, and also watching tons of movies with my roomates who are really fun. Yeah, I'm rooming with girls from North Dakota, Minnesota, and Kansas! Lots of girls in level 4 are from Texas, and I've met girls from as far as Florida and South Carolina. Jillana is just amazing and really a different person-she loves the color purple and wears it all the time! She has gone from an intimidating, prima ballerina, to a caring teacher who just wants her students to get better! She really cares about us, even when she gives us impossible combinations. I think I might, if chosen and given the chance, come back. I know what it's like and what to prepare for and I feel like I'm improving so much! I would recommend this to anyone who just wanted to improve their dancing and learn what it's like to be on your own for a bit! Sara Meyers, Ballet Idaho Academy Student

"I Just Love Dance!"

The Wizards and Wands Summer Dance Camp sure put a spell on me. The two groups of dancers we had for each camp were truly amazing. Many of the dancers have never danced before and were completely in awe of the whole experience. The others who had taken dance previously found a new realm of enjoyment. Each day progressed to a new level, and every dancer was able to keep up with the movement, choreography, and overall attention span of the two hours. I will never forget one dancer looking me in the eye, sighing while saying, “I Just Love dance!” These precious moments will forever last in my mind, as I’m sure the week of magical spells of dance steps will last in the dancers’. -Lacey Vander Boegh, Pre-Ballet Coordinator [flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157624711964880"]

Nerves & Excitement at the Jillana School

I auditioned for the Jillana School of ballet on February 14 when Jillana came to Boise and was accepted. The Jillana School is in Taos, New Mexico in the ski valley. It was so beautiful and surrounded by mountains. We lived in condos during our stay and mine was called the Powderhorn. Some condos had up to eight girls to a room, but I was lucky to room with only four. There were three teachers, Jillana, Wendy, and Sara and I liked them all, but I personally liked Jillana the best. There were also counselors that checked us in at every class and every meal, they also checked to make sure we were all there in bed by bed check, which was at nine-thirty. Sometimes they took class with us too:). Mornings started early and we got up before six o’clock and got ready for breakfast that started at seven. After we ate, we would go to stretch class to warm up our muscles for about twenty minutes. After stretch we had technique class (which is like a regular ballet class) until lunch time. After lunch we had Modern, Point, and Pilates; each for about an hour. At five-thirty we had dinner, and then we had one to two hours of rehearsal until 8:30 p.m... During the four weeks we worked on all kinds of ballet technique, Pilates, and modern. In Pilates we worked on our stomach muscles a lot. It was hard work and my stomach hurt afterward. In modern we didn’t do a class, we just worked on our dance for the performance. The pointe class was probably the hardest for me. We did lots of center and coming from the corner. Jillana also gave me the solo of the canary fairy from Sleeping Beauty. It was hard at first but then I got the hang of it and it felt so easy. There were eighty-seven girls and only six got solos! At the performance when my solo came up I was nervous, but it was so fun. I was proud of myself and so was my mom. I look forward to going back to the Jillana School. DJ Massingale, Ballet Idaho Academy Student [flickr-gallery mode="photoset" photoset="72157624587444357"]

Who is this exotic creature with one name?

Jillana! I remember the first time I saw her name on a New York City Ballet poster and wondered, Who is this exotic creature with one name? This was WAAAAY before Cher or Madonna coined their own one-name celebrity status. As a collector of early NYCB memorabilia, I followed her name through foreign tours, premieres, New York seasons and books written about the period. Finally, years later, I met her here in Boise when she came to audition for her summer intensive. That was a great honor and she turned out to be as wonderful and interesting as I imagined. What's more, she honored us by choosing 5 of our Ballet Idaho Academy students for her summer course. My road trip to New Mexico this summer included a 3-day visit to Jillana's School in the Taos Ski Valley. I wanted to see how our girls were doing and to observe first-hand Jillana's teaching methods and the performance she planned for her students. It was a great thrill to see her classes; the purity and deceptively simple Balanchine style is like fresh spring water for the students. Very simple exercises, focused to get the most from each muscle, graded to increase clarity and musicality, strength-building, rewarding. The students faces tell it all. But the real revelation was the performance. Instead of cuteness and over-rehearsed "routines" it was a very focused and quite difficult showing of just how much the students learned this summer. Amazing! Classical variations, Balanchine variations, beautifully modulated ballet works, modern dance works and a wonderful excerpt from Serenade one of Balanchine's most beautiful ballets. The girls looked fabulous! Each and every one of them made huge strides forward. Especially rewarding was to see Marianne and Sarah Meyers in Serenade -- they looked beautiful as any Balanchine dancers! And Julia Dunlop scored a personal triumph in both Serenade and part of the Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux Variation. DJ Massingale did wonderfully in the Songbird Fairy variation from Sleeping Beauty and --- somehow, I don't know how! --- Jillana's faculty created a moment of surprising comedy and hilarious theatricality for Cristina Zimmerman! How did they tap her personality so quickly? All in all, a great trip! The scenery of northern New Mexico and southern Utah had nothing on the spectacular sight of our Ballet Idaho students working with Jillana. It was a fantastic experience seeing their hard work turned into such beauty! Peter Anastos

It’s a….Home!!!

Principal Dancer, Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti shares some wisdom about buying a new house! Read all about it.... You know that someone is from the south when they have a Miss Manners edict book that actually has ear marked pages. Mine is sitting within easy reach, by my dining room table. Why am I talking about this book that has some fabulously ridiculous rules in it, such as the proper way to eat long neck clams, and whether you should call someone out if they are stuffing dessert in their purse at the White House? This book also has a list of appropriate gifts for anniversaries, i.e. year 1 = paper, year 2 = cotton…year 10 = tin/aluminum. (So romantic). So when Frank’s and my 5-year anniversary came along this summer, who knew that, our gift of wood would be a house! Yes, my first home. As a dancer, this is not the norm. We can travel from city to city in our careers always trying to find the perfect fit. I myself have moved 16 times in my career with only 3 of them being in the last 7 years. It is not just moving cities, it is moving apartments, when you loose a roomie, or a more affordable place comes along. I became talented at calling home anywhere my pillow was, including the lovely Downtown Motel in Eugene. So I can talk forever on everything that happened to us in the purchase our home and everything that we are planning on tackling, but I though I would give some words of wisdom to potential new buyers. Here are a few things that I have learned this summer. 1. There is no greater oxymoron than the term “Short Sale”. 2. Just because you have an automatic garage door does not mean it opens automatically. 3. No matter what, the directions on how to put your toilet back together are right. Never deviate. 4. When something states, “some assembly required”, it means call three of your most patient friends. You will need them. 5. Duct tape still fixes everything. (Except that toilet that you didn’t follow the directions on) 6. A garbage disposal is way pickier than your trash can. 7. Even though a paintbrush says “for oil paint”. If you use it for oil paint you will have to throw it away. 8. Always check the mirror before you leave. A facemask might help dust stay away from your face, but if you are spray painting, the inside of your nose will be a color sample. 9. No matter how much you check your recycling schedule you will always be wrong. 10. Dandelions and goats heads are the state flowers. 11. Just because your stud finder says there is a stud, don’t hang a twenty-pound mirror without a mattress to catch it. 12. Not all shovels are created equally. 13. The ladder that you have is never tall enough. 14. I can find my baby rattle, but I can’t find my ironing board. 15. There are doorstops on your baseboards for a reason. If you have to take them off, put them back on ASAP. 16. The rumors are true. Dark wood shows EVERYTHING! 17. I LOVE MY HOUSE!!!!!! Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti, Principal Dancer Ballet Idaho

An Inspiring Week at Summer Dance Camp

The last week of Pre-Ballet camps could not have gone better. As an instructor it is always nice to end on a positive note, and that’s exactly what the week of Angelina Ballerina was for myself and the other instructors. The students were so eager to learn that we moved on to harder and more advanced dance steps. I was impressed each day by their determination and spirited energy. These camps are a great way to introduce your child to dance. These week long camps offer inspiration for a longer career in ballet. The warm, fun, and ballet defined camps are also what drive our yearly classes. I look forward to seeing each one of the ballet campers again on a weekly schedule! -Lacey Vander Beogh, Pre-Ballet Coordinator

Love & Hate the Summer Layoff

I think every dancer has a love/hate relationship with the long summer layoff. What's great is that you can do all those things you've been putting off when rehearsals and shows were the priority. What's sad is that I really miss the excitement and discipline of dancing everyday for my job; to wake up each morning with a specific goal ahead. So this year, I resolved to keep busy and find some great ways to still feel close to ballet... lots and lots of teaching! I was honored to be asked to teach at the Regional Dance America Festival 2010 in Washington. I taught pantomime (the art of using gestures to tell a story) to about 300 students. Since I saw each class of 20-30 students only once, I gave the same lesson plan 13 times! I have to admit by the end of the weekend I was having a total groundhog day experience! But I think everyone really enjoyed the class and one student interviewed me for an essay she was writing on women in dance. Our students from Ballet Idaho did great and got to see students their own age from all over the pacific northwest. The faculty was great and I got to meet some new friends as well as reconnect with some old ones. I even got to hear a lecture given by our own Peter Anastos! Next it was back to Boise where I picked up my schedule as a pilates instructor for Forte Pilates. It is an amazing studio and I really enjoy my coworkers and clients. My favorite part about teaching pilates is that I am constantly learning about the body, how it works, and getting it to work efficiently. It is incredibly helpful to my own body as a dancer and I am thankful to have a second job that goes hand in hand so well with ballet. In June we held the Ballet Idaho Summer Intensive which was great fun and then it was time to return to Washington for the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet's Intensive. There I worked with students ages 8-18 in ballet, pointe, repertoire, pantomime, and pilates. They even offered the kids a "Glee" class which I was dying to try out myself! A really special moment for me was working with the advanced girls on the mad scene from Giselle. If I can inspire even one person to find the actress within themselves I have accomplished my goal! Between classes I even managed to do some boating on the Columbia River! It was really beautiful. Thanks to Debra Rogo and Tri-Cities for a wonderful time! Going into August I am planning to enjoy Boise and the gorgeous weather, teaching and getting in shape for September 16th! I can hardly wait! Racheal Nole, Ballet Idaho Principal Dancer

"Julia is not just learning about ballet....."

It's been so exciting to hear the fun stories from our girls who are attending Jillana's Summer Intensive. It's also been rewarding to hear from their parent's who are sharing their thoughts about sending their daughters away to a 4-week Summer Intensive. Julia Dunlop, Ballet Idaho Academy Student The flight down was typical, but the 3 hour drive from Albuquerque was very bare and boring. Once in the ski valley there are lots of trees and mountains all around. Im excited to drive home and see all the canyon lands and stuff. The first week was very exciting and hard. Partially because of the altitude (about 9,500 ft) and the classes are simple but very fast which really makes you use your muscles a new way. This week (3rd) is going very well, personally my favorite so far. I’m getting used to things and some things are getting easier but the teachers are still pushing us and we are still working. Plus I can already tell I'm getting stronger and hopefully better. My favorite things about being here are the classes. Teachers make the classes fun and the variations we are doing are very exciting. Plus we get to perform Serenade which is very very pretty. I've learned just general ballet things, and very pretty Balanchine choreography. We have learned the variations Stars and Stripes, Esmerelda, Tchaikovsky Pas, Russian Pas, and Calliope the muse of poetry. I really like them all but Stars and Stripes is definitely the hardest. Some of the hardest things I’ve had to do are the combinations. They're very fast and not always in the order you would expect and we do a lot of beats. Plus being away for so long is weird. In our free time, we just relax with our roommates, sit in the hot tubs, and have watched soooo many movies. There are girls from all over; mainly from California and Texas. I have a roommate from South Carolina. For class Jillana has made sign language for if we need to go to the bathroom, rest, get water, no more bar, and many more plus she’s pretty straight forward. Sometimes she just tells us "that sucked". It’s really cool meeting Jillana, such a great ballerina. She is very entertaining and understands the challenges we have. I would definitely consider doing this intensive again. It definitely builds the strength you need. Today Jillana had us do a marathon bar where you do a 20-30 minute bar without stopping so when we are about to finish one combination Jillana yells out the next combination while we are still dancing so it is continuous. Patricia Dunlop, Julia's Mom In some ways it is good that is it far away, so that when they get tired or homesick you can't rush off and look after them. It is nice being in the same time zone, thank goodness for cell phones. We have also sent a few care packages, mostly food and movies! I think it has been a good experience, but Julia would also like to audition for other camps. A range of experiences and exposures to different techniques is a good thing. I think Julia would highly recommend this camp to others. Julia has talked about becoming stronger and faster. Balanchine technique is very fast and very precise, so that is a great thing to learn from Jillana. To have a connection with one of Balanchine’s stars is very special and something I think they will always treasure. Jillana is very approachable, but also a no nonsense person. Apparently, she rides her bike to the studio every day. Julia is not just learning about ballet, but also about living with other girls, eating institutional food, dealing with homesickness, and just generally looking after herself. We are excited to see the final performance. We will be driving down to arrive on Thursday, so we may even be able to watch a class or two. We are taking the opportunity to drive back through Utah and see the sights around the Moab area. I think Julia will benefit from a few days of enforced rest while driving back from Taos. Stay tuned for more...........

Where is Jared?

I was curious to find out what our dancers were doing this summer. I found Company Principal, Jared Hunt, in San Francisco dancing with a new company called Post:Ballet. Here's a word from Jared: There is an African Proverb that states “When the music changes, so does the dance.” Well, in my case, when the city changes, so does the dance. This summer I have had the wonderful opportunity of dancing for an old friend of mine, Robert Dekkers, who I met as a ballet student in the Boston Ballet School. Now he lives in San Francisco and is trying to start a dance company of his own. He brought several of his very talented friends from all over the country to perform in his inaugural season and I was flattered that I was involved. He is an amazing choreographer and I really enjoy his work! It’s very athletic and is as contemporary as it gets. It was really wonderful expressing myself through this very different type of movement. I love classical ballet and the aesthetic it offers, but I also love to challenge myself, mentally and physically, by exploring other types of dance. The new company is called Post:Ballet and we performed at the Cowell Theatre in the Fort Mason Center. It was an amazing facility with an amazing view. The stage door was literally inches away from the bay and had a panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the beautiful rolling fog. We also rehearsed in some of the great dance studios in San Francisco. Over the past month I have fallen in love with the “city by the bay,” but I truly left my heart in Boise and I can’t wait to return for the upcoming Ballet Idaho season! That’s the beauty of travel… you leave home and enjoy every minute of it, but it sure is nice to come back! -Jared Hunt Read the reviews: and

Hannah's Thoughts from Wizards & Wands Summer Dance Camp

A huge smile crept across my face and I am ever so slightly embarrassed to say a small tear appeared in my eye as I saw the parents join their budding ballerinas on stage for the finale of the end of camp performance. As they leapt into their parents arms or twirled around, smiles across their faces, I realized the true value of this experience. Each girl had blossomed in front of me, from maybe shy, withdrawn, or slightly rebellious to more confident, approachable, and good-natured. Watching them discover the wondrous ways our bodies can move. The twinkles in their eyes when they Grande Jete over Mr. Alligator or learn how to Port de bras their arms and while doing a tondue showed me not only the joy of dance and ballet, but of learning. The basic joy of experiencing something new, of figuring it out, trying and failing and trying and succeeding is one of greatest things we can experience. It is such a rewarding feeling at the end of the day, even when I am tired and my feet are sore, to know that I am helping them to experience and appreciate dance, something that has given me such joy. It has also given me a new perspective; I am better able to find the joy, beauty, and simplicity in what I am doing. It is a marvelous thing to be able to look at world with that child like wonder and open my mind to the beauty around me. Hannah Dunlop, Instructor with Ballet Idaho Summer Dance Camps
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