Deputy School Director Nicholas Villeneuve and some of the Ballet Hispanico Company members have traveled down to Louisiana to teach at the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA) for their summer residency.
Nicholas has been teaching in New Orleans for the past week. He comes back to New York this week, but he will return to NOBA for the final showings of the summer. He has shared his experience so far:
Nestled in a quaint corner on St. Charles Ave. in a spectacular old guest house, I have been here for a week enjoying warm southern hospitality. Ballet Hispanico and the New Orleans Ballet Association have partnered once again to lend some of New York’s strongest tutelage to New Orleans. Later this year, Ballet Hispanico is slated to perform on on NOBA’s bill. The NOBA summer residency consists of two members of Ballet Hispanico’s main company, Vanessa Valecillos and Jamal Callendar, along with myself teaching technique classes and creating works that will be showcased in their final performance at NOCCA on Sunday, August 4th.
Our presenter Jenny Hamilton has arranged quite the schedule as students are rotating on four individual tracks similar to our own intensive in NYC. I have had the pleasure of working with the more advanced student groups. While Richard Chen See, formerly of the Paul Taylor Company (and an Instituto Coreográfico panelist!), is setting an excerpt of Esplanade on the green track, I have created a new work for the purple track titled “Incantations.” The work explores a calling of souls and chanting to new life while paying homage to the deep rooted rituals and spirituality of the south.
Such rich and vast plethora of cultures exists here, you can feel it in the streets as you drive by the stunning mansions, churches and old buildings along every street. I have enjoyed thoroughly my experience this last week and will be returning to NYC this week to revisit our own summer intensive with Director, AnaMaria Correa. Fortunately for me, I will be coming back to NOLA to see my students’ performance on the 4th. This experience is a great opportunity for both the students of NOBA and the organizations. The students in New Orleans are privy to a wide variety of highly trained and accomplished artists and companies. Ballet Hispanico and NOBA bring much knowledge to these young dancers and aid their professional development throughout the four-week dance residency.
Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro has had a long standing relationship with NOBA and pledges to deliver only the best to each community that his company visits. I would say this residency is on its way to success, and I can’t wait to see the final performances. I have handed off my work to the amazing dancers of Ballet Hispanico today. I know when I return it will be terrific.The students have attended all my classes thus far with an eagerness and a fire that inspires me. Each day I am able to see them improve a bit at a time. I enjoy teaching and I am honored to pass on the legacy that was once given to me!
Till next week, NOLA!
Reporting from the beautiful sunny south,
Deputy Director, Nicholas Villeneuve
Since we ended the season in June, doing some amazing work with George Cespedes, it has been quite the eventful summer! The main event would certainly be teaching at the BH Summer Intensive here in New York for all of July. I taught men’s ballet technique, elementary modern, and three levels of improvisation… and though challenges came from different places then I expected to find them, I loved learning from my students and in turn helping them grow. Check out my blog post HERE to read about some remarkable work done by my advanced improv class.
In the evenings while I was teaching, I had the amazing opportunity to work at the Metropolitan Opera House, presenting flowers to principal dancers from ABT and the Mariinsky company onstage during the bows following each performance. After watching them perform from the wings, I congratulated these unbelievable artists in front of over 4,000 people every night for 3 weeks (and practically wore out my tuxedo ☺). I also stayed in shape by taking different open ballet classes, and doing a mix of Pilates and Gyrotonic instructed by fellow BH dancer Lauren Alzamora. In the midst of this, I managed to find some much needed breaks from the frenetic energy of New York and traveled with family to Cape Cod and the Caymen Islands, which was a real treat to have time with both my family and in such beautiful places.
Now, I am so excited to be back and busy in the studio… there’s nothing like being reenergized after a break to really help kick into high gear!
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