Summer Recap: From our Dancers

Melissa

Melissa

Martina

Martina

We’re happy to see our dancers back in the studios for the new season–but have you ever wondered what they do in their off time? We caught up with some of our company dancers to see how they spent their summers. Click on a dancer to hear from them!

Mario

Mario

Lauren

Lauren

Kim

Kim

Jamal

Jamal

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Dancer Travels: Lauren and Martina Visit Ecuador!

Martina and Lauren enjoying the outdoors.

After what has certainly been a packed touring schedule, our dancers finally had some time off to rest and relax and enjoy some summer! We love that so many of them still spend their off time with their fellow company dancers–can’t get enough of that #BHamor! We caught up with Lauren Alzamora, who recently spent time in Ecuador with Martina Calcagno:

I traveled to Ecuador for the first time 8 years ago, to visit my family and the birthplace of my father (Quito, Ecuador). I knew he hadn’t visited since he was 14, and he celebrated his 60th birthday this past February – I thought it would be a perfect excuse to plan a return trip, and now here we are together (along with some other family from the US). I invited my dear friend and fellow BH dancer Martina Calcagno and she has been fully initiated into the Alzamora family.

Always a dancer, wherever you go!

So far we have had two family reunions, represented BH at Mitad del Mundo (the equatorial line) and admired the beautiful buildings and churches of Quito Colonial. We observed the lush vegetation and colorful hummingbirds of Mindo, the rainforest. We took a long day trip to Otavalo for the famous artisan market and ate the typical food of the Andes. Still on the agenda: a trip to the majestic volcano Cotopáxi and a ride on the Teleférifo to view Quito from above. Luckily for us, in the midst of relishing all the local food and drinks of Ecuador, we have managed to locate a fully equipped Pilates studio to stay in shape 🙂 Not to mention, the Alzamora cousins will be taking us out for salsa dancing at a discoteca before we leave…. This vacation has been a wholly enriching experience and I can hardly wait to plan our next trip to Ecuador!

-Lauren Alzamora

Thanks for sharing, Lauren–can’t wait to have you girls both back in the studios!


Dancers in the Studio

Just because our season at The Joyce wrapped a couple of weeks ago, it doesn’t mean Ballet Hispanico has slowed down at all! Our School of Dance students are very busy preparing for their End of Year Recital at the beginning of June, and BH Company members have graciously lent a hand. For the past few weeks, our dancers have been visiting classrooms to help our students perform their very best!

Recently, Lauren Alzamora visited Ms. Kiri’s Spanish Class. This is what she had to say about her experience:

“I asked to see the girls run their dance for the recital.  This was outside of their normal routine, as it was in the first half hour of class, before practicing the piece in sections.  I was pretty pleased with the run, but since there is always room for improvement, I asked each girl to tell me a spot where they messed up or could have done better.  Every girl was aware of at least one or two self-corrections, and as suspected there were some commonalities. We had the girls time on their own to practice their individual self corrections.

I narrowed it down to three areas of focus and we worked on the clarity of steps and positions in those three sections.  Next time I visit we will work those three corrections at the beginning and run the footwork section before running the dance.  We will see what they held on to!

I love how every one of the girls demonstrated self awareness – it gives the teacher the opportunity to reinforce the virtue of self-responsibility.  We are teaching them how to use their self-awareness toward a better end result (by practicing their self corrections).

I realize it is important to give them clear goals to strive for in each section. And since they don’t come to class every day, reinforce what we spoke about each time – the power of repetition! Looking forward to next week!”

We’ll have more stories in the weeks leading up to the recital. Thank you to our students, teachers, and Company dancers!

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Anticipation for the Apollo

Here at Ballet Hispanico, we returned from a restful Thanksgiving holiday eager for our upcoming performance at the Apollo Theater! After months of preparation, our performance is just days away.

No one is as excited as our Company dancers. Let’s check in with Martina Calcagno, who makes her debut at the Apollo Theater on December 1, and Lauren Alzamora about why they cannot wait to take the stage.

Martina Calcagno:

“It’s my first season with the company, and I’m excited about so many aspects. It’s going to be my first show in New York, and I’m honored that it’s in a theater as historic as the Apollo.

“I’m excited about the ballets we are going to perform because they show the diversity and the versatility of the company and our repertoire.

“The Apollo is also a great venue to perform with live music. Our show will demonstrate how two different kinds of art can meld so perfectly together and create such a magical atmosphere.”

Lauren Alzamora:

“Thinking back on last year, I recall being excited and nervous for Ballet Hispanico’s premiere at the Apollo Theater.  I didn’t know what to expect, especially with the live music component for two pieces…. And also the pressure of having Mr. Vilaro’s world premiere of Asuka, his first piece choreographed for BH.  The experience turned out to be incredibly enthralling and quite memorable.  The energy from the audience was palpable before we even opened the curtain.

“I have never worked with Paquito D’Rivera before but I am very excited to do so. I have heard such great things about him!  I think his and the other musicians’ improvisations will add a whole new dimension to Danzón.

“When there is live music, we as dancers tune in much more intently – and if something takes us by surprise (as it most certainly will) we pull together that much stronger.

“The Apollo is just around the corner! I am curious to see how people respond to their performance this year, as the program is quite different from last year. It is definitely a consolation of sorts to be able to picture the stage and the beautiful house in my mind’s eye, as I re-live last year’s shows. I hope Ballet Hispanico returns year after year to conjure up and take part in the magic of this historic theater.”

We all look forward to making magic on December 1! Find complete program and ticket information on our website here.

 


Company Dancer Lauren Alzamora: How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation

All summer, we’ve been checking in on our dancers on their “vacations.” Up next, we hear from Company dancer Lauren Alzamora!

Hello friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying the summer as much as I have so far…… Since our final show of the season in Prospect Park, I have been catching up on some much needed rest and relaxation. I find that my body really appreciates some days at home where I can just lay low and hang out with my cat, Conan. In fact, I will include a picture of how he and I like to stay cool (well, mostly him…..).  He is a special needs cat, and sometimes he needs a little extra help bringing his body temperature down on these hot, humid days. I call it “kitty kooler” or “kitty on ice.”

After a day or two at home I feel the need to get moving again.  I teach Pilates and Gyrotonic year-round, as much as our rehearsal/performance/tour schedule will allow. But the summer is a particular time when I can teach a bit more and also take other teachers’ classes.  There is always something new to learn!  It is one of my favorite ways to cross-train during our season, as well as a great way to stay in shape off-season.

Something else that has kept me busy is assisting my friend Maryana Hordeychuk who has been pursuing her Masters in Digital Photography from the School of Visual Art in NYC.  After collaborating on a few projects last year, she asked me to be her thesis advisor for her final project. It has been wonderful to see the culmination of all her hard work, and it is satisfying to know that I was an integral part of the whole process.  This is a photo of some of the images from her thesis, entitled “Tabula Rasa,” which will be featured in a gallery exhibition in October 2012.

Maryana and I also drove out to Fort Tilden beach where we did a photo shoot with fellow company dancer, Mario Espinoza. Two of the images we caught are shown below.

I have also taken a few ballet technique classes with the advanced level at the Ballet Hispanico summer session – it is wonderful to see young dancers working hard and taking in all of the information that the BH faculty has to offer.  Caridad Martinez taught a particularly humbling 2-hour technique class on Monday….. I hope the students take advantage of being in her class  – she will make you strong and has such a wealth of knowledge to offer!

I am currently in Aspen, CO where I am visiting friends and also helping my boyfriend pack up to move to NYC! We are going to take about 4 days to drive across the country together.  This is a very exciting time for us and I am thrilled to share it with all of you!  So I guess that is about it….. drink your Coco water and take a visit to the beach if you have a free day. Some of the BH dancers and I took a trip to Long Beach and it was so lovely – even on Saturday, the crowds weren’t too bad and the ocean was heaven on earth!