From a Storybook to the Stage

 

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To celebrate the final days of Black History Month, “The Spirit of the Baobob Tree” makes its way back to the stage. This original black history “Dance-umentary” is an annual show presented by DancExcel, a performing arts education center in Gary, IN. “The Spirit of the Baobob Tree”  is a story about a young boy who was placed in a foster home. To escape the harsh realities, he becomes interested in drawing while life is happening around him. His imagination comes to life as a journey that uncovers the truth behind his drawings are seen through various aspects in history.

The story is written by Dionne Champion and Sherice Grant, the creative directors of the studio. This original folk-tale is told in modern day through dialogue and dance. Dance numbers include modern, ballet, hip hop and tap. Other acts will include musical breaks from other students enrolled at the center. The show highlights the traces of African American roots and culture, along with the most significant issues and perspectives in history. The lesson to be learned at the end is to understand where African Americans have been, where they are now and where they are headed.

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To the Hip, Hip Hop..Ya Don’t Stop

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Interested in learning how to pop lock, finger tut or break dance? Join Purdue University’s coed  hip-hop dance troupe this Saturday, March 1 for hip-hop workshops. The workshops will led by Andrew Phan, a member of the Puzzle League, Dance 2XS Chicago and FIA Modern, as well as Taylor Erwin, a member of Dance 2XS Purdue, Hip Connxion and J.Kim Project.  This event is a preview for Dance 2Xs’s Annual Urban Showcase in March. The showcase will feature 10 dance teams varying in background styles from all over the Midwest. Admittance to these workshops will allow free entry to the showcase and also a party that will be hosted by the organization.

What: Hip-Hop Dance Workshops

When: Saturday, March 1

Time: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Purdue University, France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center (COREC), Multipurpose Room 5

Cost: $10 for both classes (Includes free admission to the upcoming Urban Showcase and After party event)

Keep up with this organization through their Facebook page for updates, videos and pictures.

Gigantic Eye Dance

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Ever wondered what it would feel like to pose in a picture with your favorite dancer? Fans of New York City Ballet had the chance to somewhat experience this. Inside of the David H. Koch Theater, in New York, about 80 life size ballerinas are arranged  within a 6,500 square-foot vinyl gigantic eye. J R, who is a well known French street artist, was hired to make a masterpiece that would draw more fans to ballet.

The dance company has held three special performances in order to hopefully gain new ballet fans as well. Some fans buy seats that are cheaper and located higher up than on the floor just to get a better view of the art. During the intermissions, attendees actually lie on the floor and pose with the dancers as if they are their partner in a routine. Social media, such as Instagram, has been the biggest piece of feedback from the fans. The creativity  of pictures and videos that people are revealing on Instagram has J R impressed. Some videos include people dancing all over the art work interacting with different dancers. In an article with the NY Times, J R said, “It’s endless, that’s the thing. It’s an endless process”, in regards to furthering repeated actions to provide different realities.

Here’s your chance to feel connected with these talented dancers.

Dancers at Their Feet

Taking Hip Hop Way Back

The Cabbage Patch. The Kid ‘N Play. The Carlton. Twerking. How could Jimmy Fallon top both Michelle Obama and Justin Timberlake’s past evolution of dance segments on the “Tonight Show”? Well, he chose to take things back, hip hop style, and have Will Smith show off his moves. I can remember watching the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Will was always dancing around to his own beat, of course whenever music was playing. Jimmy wanted to feature the latest installment of dance history: The Evolution of Hip Hop Dancing.

To give a little background information, pop locking, break dancing, isolations all originated in the late 1960s in the ghettos in New York. Now, it is internationally known and adopted by many people in so many different ways. The hip hop culture finds itself being described in a variety of instances through music and dress as well. Is today’s society, dances like twerking and making it rain are finding themselves to be apart of this category.

See Fallon and Smith hilariously “cut a rug” in their overalls as they take us through some memorable moves in hip hop dance history.

Preparation, Anticipation and Execution..Who Will Wear the Crown?

Beauty, intelligence, talent, poise and passion. Who will earn the title of Miss Purdue University 2014?

This scholarship pageant will take place Sunday, February 16, 16 young women will compete in a variety of categories to wear this year’s crown and move on to be a preliminary contestant in the Miss America pageant. The categories include: talent, evening gown, an interview prior to the show, question and answer and swimsuit.

The show will begin promptly at 5 p.m. in Fowler Hall in the Stewart Center and tickets are $10 at the door. Months of preparation, anticipation and execution will determine the final outcome of the crowning ceremony.

No worries if you can’t make it. Join me tomorrow on Twitter @naudia_bradley  with the hashtag #misspurdueu2014 for live updates and pictures during the show.

Face It..You Were a Ballet Kid

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While searching the internet, I came across an article with facts that describe whether or not you were a ballet kid. Reading through some of the bullet points, I found myself nodding, shaking my head and smiling as I can recall doing some of these things. This list may be a bit exhaustive, but I’d like to bring back some old dance memories by sharing with you 19 signs that you were a ballet kid.

  • You learned how to craft your own bun before the age of five.
  • You’ve never been bored waiting in line. It’s the perfect time to practice choreography.
  • You can still demonstrate the primary positions in 2.2 seconds flat.
  • Your childhood closet contains more tulle than is physically possible. And sequins.
  • You have to hold yourself back from cutting holes in the feet of your tights.
  • Your friends think old yearbook photos are embarrassing. Then you show them old dance collages.
  • The phrase, “Let’s go across the floor,” haunts your nightmares.
  • You’re one of very few people who know how to properly spell barre. And pointe.
  • You claim to know beginner French, simply because of ballet classes.
  • Spotting.
  • You watched “Center Stage” and forever yearned for a pair of red pointe shoes.
  • You have no problem getting dressed in the back of a car.
  • You know the words to classic pop songs only because one of your ballet masters had a thing for Michael Jackson and Madonna.
  • The words “attitude” and “turnout” meant something very different growing up.
  • You could never rationalize spending money on weekly pedicures. You actually needed those callouses.
  • You didn’t dream of showing upto class naked as a kid. You dreamt of showing up to ballet in anything but a black leotard and pink tights.
  • You’ve caught yourself calling female teachers, professors or bosses “Miss [insert first name here].”
  • The highlight of your childhood was the moment you were given your first pair of pointe shoes.
  • You still dream of being a principal dancer at ABT. (American Ballet Theater)

If you’re like me, I think you could admit that you’ve done at least five of these things. I started dancing around age five and to this day, I can still relate. I still can wear a perfect bun to practice, I can pass the time by doing choreography and you would be surprised that I could still get ready for a night out if I changed clothes in the car.

I can appreciate these small, yet very disciplinary things today as a more mature dancer. As I think about it, these are small joys that I have been able to fit into every day life.

Another Problem in Sochi?

Olympics Opening ceremony controversy?

It seems that along with the celebrated opening portion for the games, came with many complaints about what was presented. Yes, another problem added in Sochi. Many felt that a particular portion from the 30 minute dance performance was not an authentic representation of Russian history. Daniel Ezralow, a Russian choreographer with a Broadway background went for a new idea with his choreography. Instead of shedding Russian culture in all of its glory, Ezralow wanted to execute a piece of the Soviet life. His main goal of the dance was to make sure that Russians were able to connect with the piece. As it turns out, the stadium was singing along with the music because the sound was so familiar to those of the culture.

Ezralow explained that a big challenge, but an asset of putting the entire show together was the different ideas from all choreographers involved. Once everyone was able to make their ideas concrete, they were able to start the creative process.  There’s a boundary in dance in which creativity and art is accepted in a variety of ways in how it is presented. Therefore, Ezralow thought that the idea to express and unify those of Russian culture, would be the best way to go. All he wanted was for people come together to celebrate, not feel that there was a division. The media, however brought about many political complaints that attempted to cloud the excitement of the winter games and not accept what was shown.

Get Ready. Get Set. Now, Dance.

You have an audition coming up. You’re nervous.

No worries..

Over the years, I have been to plenty of auditions and involved in many performances. Although I did research and asked questions about the do’s and don’ts of preparing for auditions, for example, there were many things I just happened to learn through the process. There is a list that I personally have compiled through my experiences and I want to share some helpful tips to get you ready for your first audition.

  • Get plenty of rest the night before. You want to have enough energy to be at your full potential.
  • Eat healthy meals prior. Stay away from heavy meals before you need to dance.
  • Warm up, warm up, warm up! STRETCHING! This so important to make sure your muscles and joints are moving smoothly.
  • Dress appropriately as the situation calls for. Be presentable in your choice of flattering clothes. Also, form fitting clothes are best to show how your body moves which is important for the audience to see.
  • Research the company, school or event that you are auditioning for.
  • Do the choreography as it is taught to you. Add your own small flare to the routine but NEVER change the choreography.
  • Be prepared with hair maintenance items, shoes, tights, if needed, extra shorts..just to be on the safe side.
  • Dance like you own the stage! Show whomever you are dancing for why you should earn a spot.
  • Smile and say thank you!
  • Be confident, relax and enjoy yourself!  Dance is about expressing yourself in your own way. It doesn’t always have to be so serious.

There are certainly more things that you may experience as you go through such a process. These basic tips, though, should get you started on the right foot!