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Adult Dance Intensive Experience at Alonzo LINES!

Oh dear readers, do we have a treat for you this week! Fellow adult dancer, Natalie, recently attended an amazing dance intensive for adults at Alonzo LINES Dance Center in San Francisco! She's written an incredibly inspiring post about her experience that will make you want to sign up immediately for next year's session (I know I want to!). Natalie, we are so excited you had this experience and wanted to share it with the community! Happy reading, friends!

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I had found it!  One day in March I was searching the internet and stumbled on a dance intensive for non-professional adult dancers…at Alonzo LINES Dance Center in San Francisco no less!   This opportunity arose at a select time in my life; I had recently lost my job and was busy alone trolling the internet and networking for the next career move.   Stumbling upon the advertisement for what would be a chance to embolden and practice my passion for dance left a light in me during the search process.  This chance to be connected to other dancers who danced most of their lives but didn’t choose it as a full-time profession excited me.  Dancers who love to dance and still need it to express themselves- and get in a good work out!  The decision to go was not an easy one. LINES is in San Francisco and I live on the East Coast (yes, I did try to find a similar dance intensive in NYC and couldn’t find anything!)   Also, LINES is mainly a ballet company and I am more of a jazz and modern/contemporary dancer.  However, I knew I could not pass this opportunity up.   Not only did I want to connect with other dancers but I also really liked how the intensive was made up of both technique classes AND composition classes, as well as a variety of electives- all types of classes that support, enrich, and challenge dancers besides “simple” technique.  Dance by nature is certainly athletic but it is also artistic.  Dancers of all ages need to be stretched in the creative process of dance.  How do we come up with the movement we are doing?  What other movement vocabulary can we pick up from other dance styles?  How can we strengthen our bodies in other ways besides our dance technique classes?

In June I made the cross-country voyage a day before the intensive started to explore Golden Gate Park and prepare for the intensive.  The next day (a Thursday) the intensive started at 5.  I was nervous.   The intensive was well-organized and the dancers were greeted with a folder containing a plethora of information and a water bottle.  To my surprise, I was joined by Bay Area and non-Bay Area dancers-a man from Baltimore, a woman from Jamaica, and even a woman from France- about 15 of us in all.  The first night we participated in a ballet class but we also had improv, a somatics class, and the first of four choreography and composition classes.  Day 1- check!  



On the second day we took another choreography class, as well as Alexander Technique, and we had a chance to explore an optional class.  I chose an Afro-Haitian class. The instructor did a great job of breaking down the moves we did across the floor (mainly in plié- yikes!).  She even brought several members of her family who watched, drummed, and in the case of the children, danced along! 

The weekend definitely tested me physically and mentally.  We met from 9-5 on both Saturday and Sunday.  We took ballet, modern, and composition each day, as well as repertory classes with current LINES dancers.  Some of the highlights of the weekend included a ballet class with Kathy Mata.  I was really looking to get back to basics with ballet and Kathy was an amazing teacher!  Her way of explaining plies, tendus, dégagés, etc was firm yet kind.  She wanted us to understand where the movement was coming from and was thus informative and supportive.  I encourage anyone in the Bay Area to check out her class and her adult ballet company (also for adult non-professional dancers!): http://kathymataballet.org/.  One of my favorite quotes from the weekend was from a choreography teacher who said that a spiral and opposition make everything more beautiful.  So true! Have you ever seen a more beautiful dancer than one whose head and arms reach spinning toward the heavens while feet are firmly planted in the ground?!  Another highlight was getting to spend time with Alonzo King, the founder of LINES Ballet!!  He had each of us perform improv one-by-one and, surprising all of us, prompted us with “fight the enemy”.  In the last part of his class we talked about doing versus being and discussed what sort of concepts we wanted the next generation to know about: humility, strength, and acceptance, to name a few.  By 5 o’clock on Sunday evening, I was exhausted but so glad I had made this trip!

I’m thankful for the staff at LINES for offering this intensive.  It’s not only important for adults to have a creative outlet, but it’s also important for adults to study with the vigor that we once had in our youth.  Just because we aren’t selling out crowds at Lincoln Center doesn’t mean we don’t strive to lift our leg higher, perform better, or find ways to express the pain or joy that comes with adult life.  On the flip side, I encourage adults to seek out opportunities to continue a childhood hobby or talent, especially dance.  Just because you aren’t professionally dancing doesn’t make the pursuit of your passion any less valid.  Seek out opportunities like this; see if you can teach at a local studio, find ways to volunteer to teach less fortunate children the magical power of dance.  

Thank you to the founders of Ballerinas by Night for building this community as well!

Side Notes:
For those of you in the DC area, the studio Joy of Motion has a particularly interesting program for adult trained dancers:
As I mentioned above I tried to look for a non-professional adult dance intensive in the NYC area but came up empty-handed!  If any Ballerinas by Night readers have ideas, please send them my way!


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If you'd like to connect with Natalie she can be reached either by email at nataliepankow@yahoo.com or on Facebook under Natalie Collet.

If you have an adult ballet or adult dance experience you'd like to share with the community, please send us an email at ballerinasbynight@gmail.com!

6 comments

Anonymous said...

Awesome post! Thank you for inspiring others and for encouraging us, adult dancers, to keep on pursuing our passion :)

Anonymous said...

Great article and a wonderful experience! I am especially happy that it mentions my wonderful ballet sensei, Kathy Mata.

Anonymous said...

BalletNova (where I take class) has an adult summer intensive. You can do four full days or two. I'm signed up, it looks like a lot of fun!

Here's the link in case anyone comes across this: http://balletnova.org/new/classes/?p_id=87

That'smysandwich said...

I would love an adult intensive at a beginner/intermediate level (I realize that defn varies by studio)--probably a "high" level beginner course. Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest would be awesome. :)

Keyle Rece said...

really most impressive article belong to Ballet's incredibly inspiring post about her experience that will make you want to sign up immediately for next year's session




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