A new crop of Zumba studios have taken root in South LA, helping people lose weight and transform their lives.
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.
Melissa Barak, ballet dancer and choreographer, sees dance as L.A.’s “next artistic frontier.”
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.
“The first time I danced I felt that I had found my voice,” says Misty Copeland in this Payless shoes advertisement. I’ve been reading about Misty Copeland in the pages of Pointe and Dance magazines for years. She is not a little bit unique for being a black ballet dancer in a prominent company, American …
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.
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.
The audience holds its breath: Melissa Barak is balancing on the toes of one foot while sweeping a long blood-red velvet cape around her thigh. The leg alone is a sight – sculpted, thin muscles bulging even under the thick white tights. A miniscule skirt of thin white pleats covers the bottom of her leotard. …
My roommates and I spent the first night at our dorm chatting and decorating. We talked about boys, played with our hair, ate popcorn and put up posters. It was so typical. Except the boys we talked about were the ones that would lift us over their heads tomorrow in pas de deux class. We …