Sunday, September 4, 2011

And All That Jazz

This is all of us ProSemmers before our Chicago master class...but I'll get to that later on :)

The second week of my stay in New York City started a day late due to the transportation issues from Irene, but nevertheless, it was a fantastic week. On Tuesday we got to meet dancers from all over the world in our meeting with the International Student Visa Program (ISVP). It’s so interesting to experience so many different cultures at once. There were dancers from all parts of Asia, Japan, India, Italy, Ireland, France, Spain, Mexico, Australia, Sweden, and more.

After the 'All Programs Meeting'

Wednesday was our headshot/resume workshop and I learned SO much. The instructors talked about the layout for a performance resume and what it should include. For a performer, it’s very beneficial to include another smaller headshot or dance photo on the top of the resume in addition to the headshot that is attached because that is a chance for you to show more of your range and maybe even a different style that you have. The most ideal way to attach your main headshot is to have it printed on the back of the paper that your resume is on. Another important and essential tip is to always use color for your pictures and make sure the picture and the resume are both 8’ by 10’. Normal paper is 8 ½’ by 11’, so it’s a pain in the behind, but you have to cut it down to the specified size in order for any casting director to take you seriously. These are just small details, but they are so essential for a resume and headshot to look professional. If you’re working on your resume, try to find a way for it to stand out by adding some color and an interesting font, for example. Just remember the font should always be easy to read. I found that inserting a table with three columns into the Word document was a great way to keep the resume clean and organized. The sections on my own resume are as follows: Performance experience, Awards, Training, and Special skills. Something to think about if you’re getting your headshots done is to make sure you are portraying your unique personal style. This means that the clothes, hair, makeup and poses all have to match and be true to you. You want something a little quirky that will stand out in a huge pile of headshots at a casting agency.

On Thursday I had to sing. The end of the National Anthem. By myself. In front of my vocal class. This has been one of my biggest fears for my whole entire life. But I did it! I know that when I’m alone I can sing ten times better than what I did that day, but I made it through, it wasn’t a disaster, and now every time I sing in front of people it will just get easier and easier. I seriously never thought anyone would hear me sing because I was so scared of doing it for some reason. The majority of the class felt the same way. As dancers, we all express ourselves with our movement and we never have to perform with our voices. This is not the case in the professional world because now a days, dancers have to be a triple threat in order to get work. This training is so important for that reason because even if none of us ever win American Idol, we’ll at least have enough training to be able to go to a singing call back and hold our own. In fact, our vocal teacher brought in a girl who had graduated from the program and just like us, when she started she had no singing experience whatsoever. By the end of the program, she got signed with an agency (this happened through one of the mock auditions at BDC!) and is now singing and dancing on tour. It’s amazing what can happen when you don’t confine yourself with limitations.

Friday’s master class was definitely my favorite this week. We were taught by David Kent; the dance captain for Chicago! He taught us choreography from the actual Broadway musical, and I fell in love. The style was right up my ally and it was so much fun to perform. The part of "All That Jazz" that we learned was very sexy in a subtle way. The idea is to actually make the audience feel uncomfortable and unsure of what is going to happen. The style is Fosse, which is sensual and fluid. With everyone in their heels, fishnets, and red lipstick, I felt like I was at the real audition.

Classes this week were incredible. I am so grateful that I get to take a variety of styles and teachers everyday. I think this will help to improve my range and versatility. It’s also helpful to get multiple opinions and corrections, which help to clarify what you need to work on. I always love taking ballet. The classes are just challenging enough to help you reach your highest potential while improving with every exercise. On Friday I took class with Matthew Powell and his class was just what I needed. He trained at the school of the New York City Ballet, so not only were his combinations fun to do, but he was inspiring to watch because he demonstrated so beautifully. I took the highest level contemporary jazz twice this week; once with Dana Foglia and once with Ade Chike from SYTYCD! Dana's class was challenging and exhausting, but I felt like I gained so much from it. Her combo was fast, hard-hitting, and required precision. Ade Chike's was more contemporary and relaxed, which comes more easily for me, but there were moments where the beat kicked in and the movement matched it. I think the highlight of my week was taking class with Robert Taylor Jr. (SYTYCD season 8). He taught a street jazz combo that made us find our own groove. The best part about it was how genuinely nice and sincere he was. He took the time to hug everyone and have individual conversations after the class was over. I could tell that he truly cares about his students and he loves what he does. He is also just as goofy and funny in person as he is on t.v. :)

This weekend, Brody and I went to the Museum of Natural History. For the first 40 minutes we were completely lost and had no clue where anything was, but we figured it out soon enough. The building has four floors, so even though we were there for over four hours, we still didn’t see everything it had to offer. What we did see were exhibits of mammals from around the world, sea animals, Indian and Asian customs, Geology, space and the Earth, and both of our favorites, the evolution of humans. It was so cool to see how our species came about and how we’re not much different from our primate ancestors. That night we ventured out to the Times Square Comedy Club, only to find that it had closed down. We kept walking down the street looking for something to do, when we heard a man yell out, "Free comedy show tonight!". I love how you can do anything at any time in this city. When one thing doesn’t work out, most likely you can find something else a couple blocks away. The man led us to an entrance in the side of a building where there was a small dining area and a tiny stage. Before we got there, there were only six other people so I was a little skeptical, but a couple more people showed up. It was very laid back, but some of the comedians they had were absolutely hilarious. One particular joke had me in tears! We had wonderful experiences that were on completely opposite sides of the tourist spectrum all in one day. I want to see it all, or at least try to. It just goes to show you that you can find a "hole in the wall" place or go with plan B instead of plan A and have a blast no matter what you do.

Here are some of my favorite pictures thus far:
 The diner used in Seinfeld!
 Lily, my new best friend :)
 chalk art
 Central Park
 The Reservoir in Central Park; The Upper East Side in the distance
 pretty buildings
 posing in front of The Reservoir
 Ground Zero
 Hey, a brick wall!
 The Hudson River
 The one and only Statue of Liberty
 Brody and I :)
 Running path on the Hudson
The Lincoln Center

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