Posts tagged ‘weekend’

Idyllwild Arts Students Participate in Pacific Inland Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” By: Madison Marlow, Student Body President and member of IAA Dance Department

Like many other children, I was first exposed to the world of dance when my parents took me to see Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at age three. To this day, I remain enchanted by this ballet for various reasons: Clara’s determination to save the Nutcracker, the waltzing of the flowers, the realistic snowflakes that gently swirl in the air and land on the dancers during the snow piece, and the Grand Pas De Deux music – so beautiful it could melt your heart. But above all, it is the hours of discipline and training of the dancers that shine through in their technique when they step on the stage.

“The Nutcracker” is a ballet in two acts about a young girl named Clara. During her family’s annual Christmas party, Clara is given a Nutcracker by her mysterious Godfather Drosselmeyer, the toymaker. After Clara has fallen asleep that night, she awakes to a frightening scene when the clock strikes midnight. Out of nowhere a Mouse King appears along with his mice, only to be slain by the Nutcracker, who has turned into a real-life prince. Clara thanks the prince for saving her from the hands of the Mouse King. Clara and the prince take a magical sleigh ride through the forest to the Land of Sweets. Different types of candies and sweets dance for Clara and the prince, out of gratitude for slaying the Mouse King. At the end of the festivities, Clara returns home and wishes the prince good-night. Clara wakes up the next morning underneath the Christmas tree to find the Nutcracker still in her arms.

Jonathan Sharp, faculty member of the Idyllwild Dance Department, is also faculty member of Inland Pacific Ballet as well as a principal dancer with their company. He presented the opportunity to the dancers of Idyllwild to audition for Inland Pacific Ballet Company’s Nutcracker season. With a small number of dancers accepted after the audition (Mauricio, Ricardo, and myself), rehearsals began immediately. For a few weeks, every Tuesday and Saturday were spent driving down the hill, taking class at Inland Pacific, rehearsing a few hours, and then returning to Idyllwild. Every single day of Thanksgiving break (with the exception of Thanksgiving Day), the three of us and Jonathan spent seven to eight hours a day rehearsing. We invested so much time and energy into “The Nutcracker,” and have enjoyed it every step of the way.

Idyllwild Arts Dance majors participate in the Inland Pacific Ballet's "Nutcracker". Pictured are Ricardo,Madison, Gina & Mauricio

The experience was nothing like I expected it would be, but I have learned so much from it. Every week, I have had the opportunity to take company class with company members from the ballet. The classes are taught by highly professional ballet teachers (including Jonathan) who have spent years in companies and the dance world themselves. The girls that I dance with are mostly my age and they are all incredibly beautiful ballerinas. The environment is very friendly, but everyone is so focused and disciplined. The dancers are strictly there to dance and learn how to improve their technique. I already feel stronger as a ballerina, especially after watching the other dancers and picking up on their good habits to exhibit in my own dancing.

I am so full of gratitude for being able to participate in Inland Pacific Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Mauricio, Ricardo, and I are so thankful for this opportunity that Jonathan has given us. Sometimes I feel a little claustrophobic in a small arts school on top of a mountain, and it is more than refreshing to dance with a company that exposes me to the true nature of the dance world. Going into college next year for dance, I now have a better sense of what to expect and the competition out there. By establishing relationships with the teachers and dancers at Inland, I now have even more connections in the dance world and I have made friends that I hope to dance again with someday.

The next performances of Inland Pacific Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will be on the 10th, 11th, 17th, and 18th, at Big Bridges Auditorium on the campus of Pomona College in Claremont, California. Please come and watch the performance! To find out more information, please visit http://www.ipballet.org.

December 9, 2011 at 10:43 am 1 comment

What a weekend.

What a weekend.  Where could you have heard jazz played by a member of Frank Zappa’s band, a member of Miles Davis’s band, a member a Lee Ritenour’s band, along with the Dean of Students, the Director of the Academy and the Director of Residential Life; heard the world premiere of a new work for violin and piano; seen farm animals made from a bullet ridden car door, ladies shoes, and pink feathers; and seen a one-woman show from one of Broadway’s veteran performers?

The answer, of course, is Idyllwild Arts Academy.  It was our first weekend of the year, a closed weekend, which means don’t go home this weekend, stay here and be a part of our magnificently rich community and experience what you came here for.

Friday night our jazz faculty played at Café Aroma, a local restaurant operated by one of our parents.  Behind them, at a long table, sat virtually our entire group of jazz students, listening, asking questions between sets, learning to play by learning to hear.

But before that we had the opening of the Visual Arts Faculty Show.  This was not a place to see pretty photos of mountains, nice vases of flowers, or pottery you might use on the dining table.  These people challenge us to appreciate or at least consider that panty hose might have some sort of symbolic meaning beyond warmth or beauty, that the structure of cars and animals might have some spiritual relationship, that there really is a bee farm on the way to Hemet…

Saturday night’s Faculty Concert was provocative in different ways:  who would have expected that the opportunity to see teachers on the stage (some in unexpected roles– administrators on percussion, academic faculty reading original poetry and fiction) would have inspired such enthusiasm!  I felt like a rock star!  Even so, I was reminded that we have many jobs here:  it’s just not okay to get up and walk out of a concert even if your friends ARE expecting you in Pierson commons.  They should have been at the concert, too!  It’s part of why they came here.  And besides, you’re being rude to the performers.  It’s a little weird, accepting congratulations and thanks for your performance and then immediately telling that same congratulatory student to be considerate and get back in their seat.  But it’s what we do here every day.  We have educating to do about being a respectful consumer of art as well as being a good producer of art.  More on that later.

Singer/Actress Teri Ralston shared songs and stories on Sunday afternoon as only a true first lady of theatre can:  an original Broadway cast member of Company and A Little Night Music, she can deliver her Sondheim with complete authority.  Why not?  She got it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.  How many performers can say that?  Since she taught a class on Saturday as well, all of our kids can now say they got it straight from her.  She told stories about Glynis Johns and Hermione Gingold. And boy can she belt.  I think they heard her in Banning(!)

I officially moved into my new Dean’s office today.  I have a desk, filing cabinets, microwave, Steinway, and an excellent Italian espresso maker.  Stop by and I’ll make you a cup.

September 16, 2008 at 5:09 pm 1 comment


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