Surprisingly, it seems, we’ve already passed the halfway mark in the summer program and we're already working on completing our fourth week at San Francisco Ballet. Students are still working hard and having a lot of fun. In the past week most of us have experienced the “Meet the Artist” lecture and the water park trip, memories that we’ll take back home with us. But perhaps the most valuable part of our stay here that we’ll remember is taking part in the Forsythe workshop.
William Forsythe is an amazing choreographer who has created a style of dancing that is exciting, beautiful, and inspirational. Amy Raymond is a second year teacher at the summer intensive who is teaching us both the style and choreography. For most of us, classical ballet is the only form that we partake in, making Forsythe a definite challenge. We’ve expanded our knowledge of dance and have gone outside of the box. We’ve learned improv, isolation and choreographing our own sequences. I'm not one to improv and it seems I’ve been pushed outside of the box. Luckily everyone is so inviting and passes no judgment that before long even I was able to improv and take risk with ease. Or at least with more ease than I am used to, haha.
This week we focused on taking Forsythe choreography from “Enemy in the Figure” and creating our own sequences. By rearranging steps, changing levels and directions, creating different musical accents and even adding in our own steps, everyone in the class was able to create their own choreography. I definitely found it the most inspiring and fun class that we’ve had all summer. It showed me at least that everyone has a choreographer in them. Last year as a trainee at San Francisco Ballet I didn’t partake in the optional choreography workshop, but this year I might just change my mind. As Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” The essence of this quote is something I feel that I have taken from this workshop. I've been able to learn Forsythe technique and choreography while also learning to expand my talents and experience new territories.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?