[Blog] Colburn School Dance Recital May 24: Danish “Flower Festival” to Cuban “Manteca” (+ Video)

[Blog] Colburn School Dance Recital May 24: Danish “Flower Festival” to Cuban “Manteca” (+ Video)

My 15-year-long ballet “career” has introduced me to astounding music, from Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C major” (from George Balanchine’s “Serenade”) to Danny Elfman’s “Beetlejuice” score (from a funky piece by my amazing Westside Ballet teacher Veronica Apodaca). Now, I’m again adding to the list. In a recital this Friday at The Colburn School’s Zipper Hall, I’ll perform two pieces with Colburn’s adult ballet class – and our music ranges from 19th century classical to 20th century Latin jazz. Continue reading

[LA Weekly] A Cabaret-Ballet Mash-up at the Swanky Alexandria Ballroom
Ballet / DANCE / Downtown / LA Weekly

[LA Weekly] A Cabaret-Ballet Mash-up at the Swanky Alexandria Ballroom

When the Blankenship Ballet Company performs Saturday, women will pirouette en pointeand fold their bodies into arabesques. Men will soar and spin, and lift dainty dancers onto their shoulders. But it won’t be a typical night at the ballet — far from it. The evening is being styled instead as cabaret theater. For creative producer Mark Blankenship and his wife, artistic director Bertha Suarez Blankenship, the event illustrates a commitment to time-honored classic technique in a way that is accessible and entertaining for audiences who aren’t necessarily ballet aficionados. Continue reading


A Sweaty Sunday

Ryan Heffington smacks my hands in a double-high five, then hugs my slimy body. Sweat is oozing out of every pore, but that’s the norm here. We’ve just concluded an hour-long session of “Sweaty Sundays,” Heffington’s weekly class that mixes ballet and jazz moves with constant motion – plus palpable enthusiasm in the form of shouts (“Oh yeah!” and “Oui oui!”), gestures (the slimy hug) and fashion (‘80s-style neon spandex galore).

I was one of 50 or 60 dancers busting moves in a spacious studio on Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake – the aptly named “Sweat Spot” that Heffington opened just a year ago. Continue reading


Los Angeles Ballet’s Dance of Success

Thordal Christensen transforms from Artistic Director to dancer as he roars “Bigger! Like this!” and demonstrates the Mouse King’s grand leap in the battle scene of The Nutcracker. Each detail of the move from deep plie to outstretched limbs is executed to precision, showcasing a fierce attack. The cast gathered in the rehearsal studio is transfixed, as is co-Artistic Director Colleen Neary. Although Christensen and Neary have danced in countless Nutcracker performances, this time they are focusing all efforts on their newly formed company, Los Angeles Ballet. Continue reading