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By Gail Thorell Schilling
Around Concord Magazine
Summer 2014

Pages 45-51


By Chelsea Davis
Coos Bay World
January 2, 2015


[Coos Bay, Oregon, USA] – — Dance is not just for girls.

Dance Umbrella for South Coast Oregon was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Charlotte Martin Foundation, a private, independent foundation that caters to athletics, culture and education endeavors, especially in underserved areas like Coos County, as well as wildlife and habitat protection.

London Boardman, 5, front, a student at Pacific School of Dance (Amanda Loman, The World) 2015With this grant, Pacific School of Dance is launching a tuition-free dance program for boys ages 9-18. The class will meet weekly starting Feb. 3, providing formal training in beginning, intermediate and advanced ballet — “because ballet is the base of all dance,” said Pacific administrative director Pam Chaney — as well as partnering and contemporary dance.


“We want to see more boys developed into dance for Ballet Pacific (Dance Umbrella’s student performing company),” Chaney said. “We want to encourage male dancers by offering a free class.”

The class will be taught by Maria Rosman-Allison, a Pacific instructor since 2007 with an extensive dance background. The school also plans to bring in male guest teachers.

Chaney hopes to model the program after the Oregon Ballet Academy‘s free boys program in Eugene, taught by OBA director and former Houston Ballet, New York City Ballet and Joffrey Ballet dancer John Grensback.

Connor Hammond is an up-and-coming local dancer with his sights set on a career in dance (Wee Photos)Pacific has established itself as a successful training grounds for dancers, both female and male. Trevor Miles now has a career in dance and modeling, and Nick Peregrino dances for BalletFleming in Philadelphia and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Washington, D.C. One current student, Connor Hammond, “has his eyes on the prize,” Chaney said. He’s already received several offers, attended a summer intensive in Philadelphia and is focused on launching his career in dance after graduation.

“The whole goal here is to raise awareness of boys’ importance to dance,” Chaney said.

Pacific has seen its roster of boys grow over the years. The popularity of TV shows and movies like Step Up and So You Think You Can Dance have been a boost for dance programs, she said. “It shows that dance is a viable athletic endeavor and a way to make a living,” she said.

Dance Umbrella was established in 1994 to support dance education, provide performance opportunities and enrich cultural and arts awareness and appreciation throughout Coos and Curry counties.


Sign Up

There are openings for up to 10 young men from ages 9 to 18. Registration is highly recommended by calling 541-269-7163.

The program begins Feb. 3, and will run from 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday



© Copyright 2015, Coos Bay World

Islington Gazette reporter Rory Brigstock-Barron visits London Boys Ballet School


By Rory Brigstock-Barron
The Islington Gazette
January 2, 2015

A Man walks into a barre...he eats his words 2014-01

A Man walks into a barre...he eats his words 2014-02



By Kathleen Mellen
The Daily Hampshire Gazette, Hampshire Life
December 11, 2014


Caleb Ballentine, 12, during a ballet class at the Amherst Ballet (Yoshitaka Hamada) 2014-01[Amherst, Massachuets, USA] – Caleb Ballantine is still pretty young — 12 — but he already knows what he wants to do with his life: dance. He’s been dancing since he was just 2 or 3, he reports, when he was moved by music at a wedding. “I loved dance ever since,” the Amherst youngster says. Caleb comes by the passion honestly: His grandmother, Peggy Schwarz, is a professor emeritus of dance at the University of Massachusetts. But, dance isn’t his only means of communication: He’s an actor, a singer and a choreographer. And, oh, yes. He also does gymnastics.

Hampshire Life: Describe the work you are doing now.

Calab Ballantine: The dance techniques I am working on learning currently include hip-hop and ballet. I am in the Electric Boyz, a group of dancers at Pineapple Dance in Amherst that performs throughout the Valley and just had a show last month. I am also studying at Amherst Ballet, where I am focused on strength training, learning new moves and preparing for a spring performance.

H.L.: What were your early influences?

C.B.: I remember my first hip-hop class when I was about 4 years old. A few years later, I saw the musical “Billy Elliot” on Broadway with my grammy, Peggy Schwartz. I watched the dancer’s moves throughout the whole production and decided I wanted to be just like him. I started studying ballet and modern dance at that point in my life and have continued ever since.

Caleb Ballentine, 12, during a ballet class at the Amherst Ballet (Yoshitaka Hamada) 2014-02

HL: What do you think the audience sees when they watch you dance?

C.B. When I dance, the audience experiences a calm and exciting style at the same exact time.

H.L.: What is your creative process like when you are making up your own steps?

C.B.: I usually listen intently to music and my feet and my body start moving to the rhythm of the music, and I just dance. When I start to move, I feel like a bundle of energy inside that leads me to pop, move, bounce and fly throughout the stage, expressing my feelings and thoughts through my body.

H.L.: How do you know you’re on the right track?

C.B.: I know I am on the right track when the moves just come together and my body knows the whole dance or piece I am working on learning or creating.

H.L.: What do you do when you get stuck?

C.B.: I think about the move that comes ahead and try to reach for that movement and keep on going.

Caleb Ballentine, 12, during a ballet class at the Amherst Ballet (Yoshitaka Hamada) 2014-03

H.L.: What did you do recently that relates to your art?

C.B.: Most recently I performed in Pineapple Dance’s show at Amherst Regional High School. I was in two pieces: “If You Crump Stand Up” and “All I Do Is Win.”

H.L.: What are your dreams for your future?

C.B.: My dreams include going to dance school in New York City, performing on Broadway and at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Whenever I go to Jacob’s Pillow the dancing is amazing and it feels like home. I am traveling to Israel in December and plan to visit the Susanne Dahlal Center for Dance in Tel Aviv. I think I was born to dance.



JoJean Retrum teaching the Boys' class at Monona Academy of Dance (JoJean Retrum) 2014


By Andrea Marks
Dance Teacher Magazine
December 25, 2014


[Monona, Wisconsin, USA] – Within the Wisconsin dance community, JoJean Retrum is known for her boys’ program. As director of the Monona Academy of Dance, she is particularly proud to have trained former American Ballet Theatre principal Ethan Stiefel when he was a child. And plenty of her other male students have gone on to professional careers, performing with companies from The Washington Ballet to the cross-dressing Trockaderos. “I’ve always had a lot of guys in my studio,” she says. “I don’t know what I do, but I have this knack for attracting boys.”

They could be drawn to the way she makes boys’ classes a challenge. Before barre, they hit the floor to burn their way through muscle-building push-ups and crunches. During regular barre exercises, Retrum drives home the difficulty of getting ballet right. She makes constant hands-on corrections, so no one gets away with slacking. “I get down on the floor and guide their tendus and dégagés and make them feel it,” she says.

Or, it could be the way she lets them soar during center combinations. One day, boys may try the Russian dance from The Nutcracker and the next, a routine from Newsies. “There isn’t a ballet company that does just ballet anymore,” she says, so incorporating jazz and musical theater skills into technique classes isn’t just a good time—it’s essential.

And she eases new dancers’ nerves. Whether a male begins as a toddler or a teen, she gives him the option to take beginner ballet in a boys-only class before introducing him to coed technique classes. Partnering starts as young as 11, but begins very simply: The boy puts his hands on the girl’s waist and practices tilting her side to side on two feet.

Retrum credits her late mother, who founded the studio in 1948, with teaching her to find every dancer’s potential. “She would help each individual child, and that’s something I try to do,” she says. “You don’t just let someone who’s struggling keep struggling. You give them extra help so they feel like they’re a part of it. Anyone can learn how to dance. You just have to work a lot harder with some of the kids.” DT


Pre-class routine: Retrum keeps it simple, warming herself up with pliés and relevés.

Footwear: Capezio Pedini

Weight training: “Sometimes I make students hold weights (or soup cans) so they realize they need to have strength in their backs to hold their arms up.”

To motivate young males: Retrum suggests Center Stage, starring her former student Ethan Stiefel.

Favorite inspirational read: Mao’s Last Dancer, by Li Cunxin. “What inspired me were the trials and tribulations he went through to achieve his dreams. I had him guest for my Nutcracker twice.”

Outside the studio: Retrum likes to unwind with a round of golf.


Copyright © 2014 DanceMedia, LLC


Mom, dad and 3 sons involved in Nutcracker production


CBC News
December 18, 2014


Orlando, 9; Victor, 16; and Lorenza, 13, all have roles in The Nutcracker. Their parents also work in the production[Saskatchewan, Canada] – For one Regina family The Nutcracker — the ballet production that is a holiday classic — has become a family affair. Julio, Shaylene, Victor, Lorenzo and Orlando Salazar have roles to play on stage and behind-the-scenes.

“We have a lot of fun and we can talk about it after,” Victor Salazar, 16, told CBC News. “It’s just a lot of family time together.”

His parents, Julio and Shaylene, have been involved in the show for several years. Then Victor earned a role in the ballet’s ensemble and — this year — his younger brothers also landed parts.

“It’s very special that we are able to do that,” Julio Salazar, the boys’ father, said. “I think as parents we would like to have that connection with our kids in some manner during our relationships. So hopefully this is something that we can some day look back on and say those are some of the most special moments.”

While the Salazar boys and their father have on-stage roles, Shaylene Salazar is part of the production’s behind-the-scenes team.

“Having fun, that’s really the main thing of this production,” Lorenzo Salazar, 13, said. “I just love it. I can’t really describe it.”

This season’s Nutcracker ballet was presented at the Conexus Arts Centre in Regina.


Copyright © CBC 2014



AOL Originals
City Ballet – Season 2 Episode 8
November 3, 2014


Ballet Academy East De L'Innocence (BAE, Rosalie O'Connor) 2003

After a serious injury and hiatus, Chase Finlay talks about his determination and perseverance to return to the NYCB. Chase reveals how his family’s strong support and his impressive inroads helped him rise up and become the youngest principal dancer in the company.



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