Choreography by Stephen Mills
Photo by Tony Spielberg
If you’re reading this, you’ve managed to survived the 100+ degree temperatures July has hit us with every single day this month. Congratulations!
Because we know just how hard it is to enjoy just about anything in this oven-like heat, Ballet Austin and Austin Film Festival are teaming up one last time this Sunday to bring you the final film in our Dance Film Series, “Center Stage”. Cinephiles and dancers alike won’t want to miss this event! Your $10 admission to the film not only guarantees you a seat in our perfectly air-conditioned AustinVentures StudioTheater, but it also gets you a spot on the dance floor in our Ballet class, taught by Ballet Austin Company member Chris Swaim. What could be better than a movie AND a chance to get some exercise away from the glaring rays of the Texas sun? Scroll down for more information on “Center Stage”, the Ballet class, Sunday’s instructor Chris Swaim and an article about the event published in the Austin Post.
Center Stage (2000)
For most of her young adult life, Jody Sawyer has dreamed of becoming one of American Ballet Company’s “perfect little ballerinas” and now she is going to get her shot. The only problem is many others share that same dream and she find herself competing with them all. Center Stage allowed audiences to enter the world of Ballet and understand the rigors and stress that these young adults must endure to be successful while at the same time managing the burden and complications of coming into their own.
Our Ballet class introduces basic ballet vocabulary and steps. If you have always wanted to learn ballet, or if you took ballet as a child years ago, this is a great class. Classes are set to live accompaniment. Much of the class includes barre work with an introduction to dancing center floor.
Christopher Swaim, BCS Instructor and Company member,
is originally from Bryant, AR, where he began his training with Kirt and Linda Hathaway at the Academy of Ballet Arkansas. After graduating with distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a B.F.A. in Ballet Pedagogy, he joined Ballet Austin II in 2004 before joining Ballet Austin in 2006. Mr. Swaim has danced principal roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, and Valse Fantasie, and has been featured in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Stephen Mills, Thaddeus Davis, Amy Seiwert, James Clouser, Sidra Bell, Miguel Terekhov, Septime Webre, Nelly Van Bommel, Gina Patterson, Nicolo Fonte, and Ben Stevenson. He has also performed at the 2010 San Francisco International Arts Festival as a guest with Amy Seiwert’s company im’ij-re and with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in 2008. Mr. Swaim teaches in the Butler Community School and across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
For more info, please view our Ballet Austin Dance Film Series page.
To purchase tickets, please go here.
Greetings from Ballet Austin’s newest intern!
Hello all Ballet Austin blog followers! My name is Caitlin Conran, and I’m Ballet Austin’s Marketing intern for the summer of 2011. All summer long I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work in Ballet Austin’s marketing department working on this blog and our other social media sites, and taking any and all varieties of dance classes that Butler Community School has to offer. Last week I decided that it was about time I get out of the office and into the studio, so I set out to sample two BCS classes and report back on the blog!
Now, to start, let me be honest: I’ve never really been a dancer. I took some ballet classes before the age of 6, and I attended a few BCS classes prior to my internship, but I’ve never danced consistently, so I wouldn’t consider myself an “experienced” dancer. I’m more of a yoga girl myself, so while I’ve been able to master the gracefulness of certain poses, I’ve never really been able to combine grace with aerobic activity, such as prancing across a stage or plieing without tripping over myself.
Inexperience aside, I decided to begin my BCS class-sampling with a Ballet Fit (Teen/Adult) evening course, taught by Elise Pekarek.
The class promised the gracefulness of ballet fused with a sweat-tastic series of aerobic exercises, and my goodness was it sweaty. In lieu of the recent burn ban in Austin, Elise deemed the theme of our class “Rain Dance,” and rain it did – I can’t remember the last time I sweat so much. But it was a fabulous, much-appreciated sweat. The class taught me all about plies, tondues, releves, and also managed to get me down on the floor doing close to fifty push-ups (how did you get me to do that, Elise?!). I worked every muscle in my legs, arms, and abdominals… which is essentially every muscle in my body (ouch!). Set to groovy, upbeat tunes, and an all-around great energy, this class was a perfect opportunity for me – the inexperienced dancer – to learn a few moves and also get an awesome aerobic workout! It was set at a perfect pace so that I was able to follow along and still keep my heart rate up. I’d recommend this class to anyone who loves fast-paced exercise, such as running, and is looking to mix up their routine!
For my next class I decided, under the persuasion of my sore muscles, to slow down the pace and check out an Elementary Ballet (Teen/Adult) class.
I dusted off my old ballet slippers and hit the dance floor in a tank top and yoga shorts. I was relieved to find that a leotard and tutu were not a necessity – however, basic knowledge of ballet vocabulary was. The Ballet Fit class had introduced me to the staple poses of ballet, so luckily I was able to recognize a lot of the movements and keep up with the rest of the class. Elementary Ballet at the BCS is one level above the Beginning Ballet course, offered to individuals with little to no experience dancing ballet. Both ballet courses offer a wonderful combination of on the bar and off the bar dance routines, all of which are set to the tune of live piano accompaniment! I absolutely loved the change of pace in the ballet class. I was able to get a good workout without working up too much of a sweat. Elementary Ballet really stretched, strengthened and toned my muscles with graceful, low-intensity movements that left me feeling empowered and inspired to try more!
And so concludes my BCS class-sampling, but not my love for BCS dance classes! As my internship here at Ballet Austin continues, so will my attendance of the wide range of classes the Butler Community School has to offer, along with, of course, my growing love of dance. So come on out to the BCS this summer and challenge your regular workout routine with me at any and all of these wonderful dance classes!