Monday, July 26, 2010


This post doesn't really have much to do with cooking, crafting, or college (unless you're a dance major like myself) but I thought I would post some about the classes I am taking and experiences I am having right now at Bates Dance Festival for those interested and for my own keeping.

A day in the life of a Bates PTP student:
7:30AM - Wake up (usually before my alarm due in part to both the intense sunshine pouring in the windows in our third floor room in Chaney House, and my own fear of sleeping in.)

Cheney House - My home for 3 weeks

8:00AM - Walk to the Commons for an amazing breakfast (anything you want from organic and vegan to the cardiac arrest options, I try to keep it to the former...)

Amazing Eco-friendly dining commons

8:45AM - Head to Chase Studio for my first class of the day

Chase Hall - Home base, where the BDF office and store are located as well as the bookstore and Chase studio

9:00AM - My first class of the day, Ballet V with Rachel List and the amazing accompaniment of Peter Jones. I love starting the day with a fun and challenging ballet class. It is my breakfast, my wake up call. I love Rachel's dedication to classical ballet, and the way she makes it accessible even to purely modern dancers.

Here is Rachel's bio (just in case you are interested)
Rachel List has performed across the U.S., and in Canada, Mexico and Europe as a member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, The Vanaver Caravan, Partridge/Benford/Dance/Music and The New York Baroque Dance Company, with whom she is still performing. She directed and choreographed for her own company from 1985-1995 and was the founder and director of Manchester Dance, a summer workshop in Vermont, from 1987-1997. Ms. List holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee and has taught professional ballet classes in New York City since 1978 (currently at Peridance). She is the Director of the Dance Program at Hofstra University and has taught at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Barnard College, Queens College (CUNY), the Paul Taylor Summer Institute, the Balettakademien (Stockholm, Sweden) and Danse Projektet (Copenhagen, Denmark). Ms. List has presented master classes and lecture/demonstrations in Baroque dance at Juilliard, Columbia University, Swarthmore, Vassar, Bard Graduate Center and F.I.T. and has served as a period movement consultant and/or choreographer for the Pearl Theatre and the Bronx Opera Company. She is very pleased to be returning for her thirteenth summer at the Bates Dance Festival.
10:45AM - Head across campus to Plavin studio (usually while eating a banana or other piece of fruit stolen at breakfast)
11:00AM - Jazz IV with Cathy Young. After getting aligned in my body in ballet, jazz is really a class that gets my energy level up. Cathy is great at incorporating different styles of jazz and she is always doing something different, but at the same time, helps us understand that repetition is something we need to have as dancers in order to grow. I also love our musicians for this class; Carl and Shamou are amazing and can play any and everything from classical bluesy jazz, funky jazz, middle eastern jazz, and so on. It is always so fun to play off their energy in class.

Cathy Young's bio
Cathy Young received her BA magna cum laude from Harvard University in Sociology and Women’s Studies, and her MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois. She is nationally recognized as a master teacher of jazz dance and has conducted residencies at over 40 colleges around the country, as well as teaching at major U.S. festivals including Bates Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival and the international Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a performer, Cathy has danced with a number of companies including Zenon Dance Company and Danny Buraczeski’s JAZZDANCE! touring extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. For the past fifteen years she has been creating her own work, a dynamic mix of styles and dance forms that intermingles jazz, modern, contact improvisation and social dance. Cathy creates choreography for her own company, Cathy Young Dance, and has also been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Pennsylvania Dance Theatre, Zenon Dance Company, The Minnesota Opera and the Kannon Dance Company of St. Petersburg, Russia. Her choreography has been recognized with awards and grants from the McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Target Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, among others. She is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.

12:30PM - Back to the commons for lunch! By this point in the day I am usually starving, and always tell myself not to eat too much before my next class, but with the amazing food here it is hard.
1:30PM - Head to Alumni Gym to stretch, digest, and prepare for...

Alumni Gym

2:00PM - Contemporary with Cynthia Oliver. The name contemporary is confusing to many people (dancers included) because it can mean so many things. This contemporary class is a fusion of African, Afro-Cuban, and modern dance. I was a little nervous the first day because this movement is so foreign in my body, but Cynthia is amazing (as are the dancers in her company COCo Dance Theater who took class with us the first week!) and I am loving the challenge. After all, I'm here to grow and learn new things!

Photo Credit Arthur Fink

(Side note, Arthur Fink is a photographer who has been coming to Bates for years to capture beautiful pictures of dancers and he visited my contemporary class the other day. Hopefully he will take more that I can share on here during the last week of the festival)

Cynthia Oliver's Bio
Cynthia Oliver is a (New York Dance and Performance) BESSIE award-winning choreographer whose work - a melange of dance, theatre and the spoken word - incorporates textures of Caribbean performance with African and American aesthetic sensibilities. She has danced with numerous companies including the David Gordon Pick Up Co., Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and Bebe Miller Company. She was named "Outstanding Young Choreographer" by reviewer, Frank Werner, of the German magazine Ballet Tanz and has had her dance film, AfroSocialiteLifeDiva, aired on European television’s Canal Arte and 3sat. Cynthia has recently premiered her new work, Rigidigidim De Bamba De: Ruptured Calypso, which is touring the U.S. in 2009-2010. She holds a PhD. in performance studies from New York University and is an Associate Professor in the dance department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

4:00PM - Right next door to the Cage for Yoga with Ashley James.

The Cage Gym
Yoga is absolutely the most perfect way to end an intense day of dancing. This is my first real experience with a continuous yoga class (I have mostly been a Pilates girl) and it is so wonderful. I love the soothing quality of Ashley's voice guiding us through poses; stretching and breathing into my muscles that have worked so hard for me all day.

Ashley James' Bio
Ashley James is a Pilates and yoga instructor based in Durham, North Carolina. She completed a 200-hour, year-long teacher training with Yoga on High in Columbus, OH, with Martha Marcom. Her Pilates certification is through The Kane School, where she studied anatomy, classical Pilates equipment, and dynamic movement with Kelly Kane. In New York City she taught at Mark Morris Dance Center, Bridge Pilates, Sixth Street Pilates, The Yoga Room, as well as privately. In 2009 she taught at Bates Dance Festival and American Dance Festival. Ashley has had the honor of studying with Kathy Grant, Blossom Crawford, Tim Miller, Rodney Yee, Thomas Myers, Mark Whitwell, Dana Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi. She draws on her experience in fields as varied as Feldenkrais, Reiki, Thai Yoga Massage, Yamuna Body Rolling, and bodywork. Ashley’s classes are infused with awareness as the vehicle for exploratory fun.

5:30PM - Back to the Commons for dinner and a recap of the day. I love that everyone eats at the Commons together (students, musicians, and teachers alike) its like having family dinner table talk at the end of the day.

Dinner is usually followed (immediately) by a shower, and then something different every night. Things so far:
* Concert by Doug Varone and Dancers (the first night we got here)
* Global Exchange Panel (where the visiting artists Paniabra Gabriel Canda from Mozambique, Claudia Lavista and Omar Carrum from Mexico, and Michel Kouakou from the Ivory Coast talked to us about their work and showed some performance video clips)
* Performance by Cynthia Oliver's COCo Dance Theatre
* Live music and dance party with the musicians that play in our technique classes
* Musician's Concert (one of the BEST things about Bates is the abundance of amazing music. This concert that the musicians from our technique classes put on was really one of the best concerts of my life)
* Business of Dance Workshop with Kim Konikow (amazing information that every dancer needs to hear)
*Rehearsals for a student work that I am dancing in
* Informal showing of Doug Varone's new work Chapters of a Broken Novel (breathtaking. I WANT TO BE A VARONE DANCER!)
and many more to come...

Tomorrow we are going on a trip to Reid State Park Beach and I am so excited to see more of Maine! Then tomorrow night is a performance by Axis Dance Company (an amazing company that includes members both with and without disabilities doing such innovative work)

Today was our class switch day where you can try out other classes that you aren't enrolled in and I was able to take Pilates with Ashley James, Contact Improv with Chris Aiken, and Modern with Claudia Lavista. Such a motivating inspirational day.

This entire place and experience is so motivating and inspirational. We are so fully engaged in dance all week working with wonderful teachers and amazing dancers from all over the place. I love that we have some free time on the weekends to take it all in. To sit out by the pond and journal, or walk around the beautiful campus. It is the perfect place to reflect on the amazing things happening.
More to come! I can't wait to experience it and share it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moving Day

I cant believe how quickly the summer has flown by, or that I'm leaving for Maine tomorrow! But before the fun travel and dancing, I had to move everything to my uncles house for storage. Moving is always a pain, no matter how many times you do it (I have moved all my stuff a total of 8 times since starting college, not including this one...) I still never get over how difficult it is. That's why I was so grateful to have the help of Alex and Taisa and Taisa's truck yesterday to move all my furniture! I knew I needed to bake them something extra special for helping me out so muchSo I went with Alex's favorite Darn Good Chocolate Cupcakes!I love these bright colored cupcake liners too! So summery then I wanted to try out making a whipped ganache frosting, and it started out well...but when it came time to pipe it, the frosting was too thick and didn't look quite right on top... (in fact, it looked a little more like dog poo than delicious chocolate frosting)So I figured it would be a better filling! Rich dark chocolate cake with a thick ganache truffle filling! But then I ran into the problem of what to top the cupcakes with. I didn't have much around the house as I have been trying to use everything up before the move, but I did have some left over heavy cream from making the ganache, so I decided to make a thick vanilla whipped creamSo light and airy, the perfect contrast to a heavy rich cake. The whipped cream piped great, but I wasn't satisfied yet, I wanted these to look a little more special. I had a few chocolate chips left so I decided to make some decorations for the top.Just melted semisweet chocolate chips...piped with a plastic bag onto foil (or parchment, or wax paper...) set up in the fridge...
and put on top of the whipped cream!
Thanks for all your help guys!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Excited, Nervous, and Ready...

to dance! I'm so ready to leave for Lewiston, ME this weekend to attend Bates Dance Festival. This three week intensive professional training program in beautiful Maine is just what I need after a long summer of work and school.
I cannot wait to work with amazing teachers from around the world who will help me get back in my body and prepared for my final year of college.
To spark my creativity again, and inspire me to create movement for my senior exit concert.
And most of all, to explore dance with amazing creative individuals from all different walks of life.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Fourth...

Of July, that is! I was lucky enough to spend the weekend in the beautiful Callaway Gardens with Kristina's family and some close friends.When Kristina told me we could make dessert for Sunday night dinner, I immediately thought of this infamous cake by Martha. Although I made a few alterations. First, I cut the recipe in half, as it made a huge cake, and there weren't that many of us eating...
Second, the original recipe just calls for berries on the top of the cake, but I thought it needed some more color and texture, so I added some strawberries to the center layer as well. Then just carried on piping stars and adding fruit to create the flag on top.I had Kristina add some leftover raspberries and blueberries around the edge for a finishing touch!
Presenting the perfect patriotic cake in our festive red white and blue outfits! Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!