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Tom Waddington, 8,  has secured a place as a junior associate at the Royal Ballet School (The Folkestone Herald) 2015


By D. Kilpatrick
The Folkestone herald
June 23, 2015


[Hythe, Hampshire, England] – A young boy from Hythe has secured a place as a junior associate at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden – and now hopes to perform in front of the Queen!

Tom Waddington, a pupil as Saltwood Primary, was handpicked from a large number of candidates last week and will now go up to London every Saturday to train at the country’s most famous ballet school.

Proud mother Karen Bridges told the Herald: “He has been doing ballet since he was four and has always wanted to do it after watching Angelina Ballerina on the television. It’s the top ballet school and it’s just fantastic news. We are quite gobsmacked because it doesn’t usually happen to people like us. He’s always been very energetic and I can see him making a career out of it.

“He constantly dances around the house and at school, trying out new steps and challenging himself further and always on the lookout for an audience to perform to.

“When they are aged eleven, he will be invited to do a summer course and from that group, they pick who is put forward for the White Lodge School. As a family, we are all very excited.”

The eight-year-old currently trains twice a week, including in Ashford where he is the only boy in the class.

He added: “I am really excited and am looking forward to the day I perform at the Royal Opera House and meet the Queen.”

Copyright © 2015 Local World.

Australian ballerina Lucinda Dunn pictured in her studios in St Leonards with her male pupils (The Daily Telegraph) 2015


By Lisa Mayoh
The Daily Telegraph
June 08, 2015


[Sydney, Australia]- Gone are the days of 20 girls and one lonesome boy in a Sydney ballet class — burly boys are kicking up their heels with the best ballerinas.

Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy artistic director Lucinda Dunn said it was becoming much more acceptable for young boys to enter the competitive industry, with the St Leonards-based academy having its own male class for full-time students, taught by a man.

“At this time in our lives I don’t think ballet and the arts is going to become equal in the prestige that sports hold for boys but ballet is more acceptable,” Ms Dunn said. “We all need male dancers to survive and, while there is a way to go yet, I am so thrilled to boast so many full-time boys at this academy.”

She said there were eight full-time male students aged 15 to 19 among 300 females, as well as 10 boys from the ages of five to 15 who danced part-time. “It’s certainly an improvement on past years and we are one of the academies that have a healthy number of males attending daily, which is wonderful,” Ms Dunn said. “We also have boys only classes where male teachers teach the males — it’s no longer one boy in a class of 20 girls.”

She said ballet was beneficial for strength, flexibility, confidence and creative expression. “Billy Elliot was a big inspiration at the time and gave us a boost and so were all the dance shows on television,” she said.

An Australian Ballet spokeswoman said boys dancing was a national trend. “As part of the Australian Ballet’s audience engagement programs, we’ve been running dedicated Boys’ Days for a number [of] years and these generally sell out,” the spokeswoman said.

“Boys’ Day takes the format of a class led by a current male dancer with The Australian Ballet, with the chance to ask him questions afterwards and also watch the full company taking their daily class.

“Last year we held six Boys’ Days across four cities and 123 boys participated in the program which has a maximum capacity of 24 boys per day.”


Copyright 2015 News Corp



Student ballet dancers from Tuloy Sa Don Bosco Street Children's Village do stretching exercises. Children from the school have earned scholarships to train at a higher level (South China Morning Post) 2015


Filmmaker seeks Kickstarter funding to finish documentary about a school that takes children living on Philippine capital’s mean streets and teaches them classical dance


By Mark Sharp
South China Morning Post
June 04, 2015


[Manila, Philippines] – Father Rocky Evangelista points to a scattering of pocket knives and ice picks surrendered by street children the Tuloy Foundation has rescued in the urban jungle of Metro Manila. “When they say ‘Father, I don’t need these any more’, that’s a victory,” he says. “They can’t find food in the garbage bins so they steal. They kill if necessary,” he says, recalling how one child told him he had stabbed a policeman in the stomach. “He said, ‘Father, you know, life is like that.'”

Despised as pests and preyed on by thugs, rapists, pimps and murderers,for tens of thousands of abandoned orphans and abused runaways life on the streets in the Philippine capital region is unspeakable misery. Amid the grinding poverty, they are easily lured into a life of crime and drug abuse, says Evangelista, founder of the Tuloy Foundation.

His charity cares for more than 200 former street children in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, providing them with food, shelter, clothing and an education at its school, Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children’s Village, which is also attended by hundreds of other poor children. But these provisions are mere necessities, he says. “A human needs to play, to laugh … needs to go to a higher level of living. If we want to train these children completely, we should bring them to the arts.”

Jovit Dino, 17, at the Academy One Music and Dance Centre (South China Morning Post) 2015No one knows what orphan Jovit Dino, 17, must have gone through, but he used to hide in a cupboard, squeak like a mouse and need hugs to calm him, says Joonee Garcia, the school’s choirmaster.

In recent years, Jovit has undergone a complete transformation, thanks to an opportunity to join ballet classes at the Academy One Music and Dance Centre, owned by Joonee’s sister, Cherish Garcia. “When he started ballet, he just got so into it. The next thing you knew he was teaching kids in school how to dance, and then he was choreographing,” Joonee says. “He is also with the choir. Every time I see him, if he is waiting for me, he’s got a leg on the balcony railing, stretching. If he’s going from point A to point B, he will do the grand jeté. It’s quite funny because he is just dancing his way throughout the day in school.”

At Joonee’s suggestion, Cherish offered ballet scholarships for 10 Tuloy children four years ago. Jovit is one of several who have flourished, earning scholarships for other ballet programmes in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Britain, and places at art school.

The children’s inspirational story – more Billy Elliot than Manny Pacquiao – is the subject of an ongoing documentary project called Street Dance, by Manila-based artist and creative director Andy Maluche. It was the idea of a filmmaker friend, Greg Garcia, who is also the sisters’ father. “I ran into a family conspiracy to trick me into doing the greatest project I have ever done,” Maluche says, laughing.

Scholarship winner Jovit Dino, 17 (South China Morning Post)The Garcia sisters introduced Maluche to Evangelista, who permitted him to film the children’s progress on the condition that he did not probe their past and cause them to relive any deep-rooted trauma. He will use footage of children still living rough to highlight the contrast between the subjects’ new lives and the appalling conditions they left behind.

“The story had everything – great visuals, a feel-good factor and the potential to become something very beautiful,” Maluche says, describing his first film project as a tale of resilience and overcoming the odds. He began filming at Academy One in June 2013. Bob Clark and Dale Tippin from One World Studios have now helped him launch a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter to finish the project. Maluche expects shooting to wrap up in late 2017 and hopes to release Street Dance in January 2018.

He aims to raise US$38,000 from the Kickstarter campaign, which closes on June 8. The funds will be used for repayments and to complete filming, which includes commissioning original music and hiring an assistant editor. Once the work is finished, he hopes to premiere Street Dance at major international film festivals, including Cannes and Sundance.

John Edmar Semera, 14, practises at the De La Salle Santiago Zobel School

“I am fascinated by how these kids are constantly changing and developing,” he says, citing the example of 14-year-old John Edmar Semera. John was timid when he joined ballet class a year ago as one of Academy One’s second intake of Tuloy students. He was a completely different person when Maluche interviewed him recently. “He sat down in front of me with the confidence of a CEO of a large corporation. In a month or so, he will go to The Royal Ballet School in London for a scholarship,” he says.

The children who have responded well to ballet have found inner reserves of the self-discipline its tough training demands, Cherish says. They have gained a sense of dignity and a newfound confidence, despite being initially withdrawn around their dance classmates from supportive families. “They realise that they can do these things well and their personality changes, especially after their first performance on stage,” she says.

“At first they were shy to wear their ballet outfits and talk to others. After a while they became very comfortable. They have made friends with the paying students, play games with them and share stories. Sometimes I have to tell them to go home because they like hanging out.”

Kezia Dianito, 15, wouldn’t speak or make eye contact before she started ballet. After her first lesson, Kezia told Joonee she also wanted to join her choir. “She started singing and the next thing you knew she was reading in church. Now she can go up to complete strangers and start a conversation.”

        Kezia Dianito, 15, stretches before class (South China Morning Post) 2015         Jovit Dino, 17, at the Academy One Music and Dance Centre (South China Morning Post) 2015-02          Celine Astrologo, 14, along with Jovit Dino, received a scholarship to the Philippine High School of the Arts (South China Morning Post) 2015

The once fearful Jovit has taken leaps and bounds in more ways than one, and Cherish believes she will see him on the stage one day. Jovit, along with Celine Astrologo, 14, are two of only six youngsters in the country to be offered places on the ballet programme of the Philippine High School for the Arts.

Other promising Tuloy youngsters include Raymond Salcedo and Rodney Catubay, both of whom turned 18 in April. The boys were awarded scholarships last year to Jean M. Wong School of Ballet’s International Summer Dance School in Hong Kong. They have now earned places at the Ballet Manila School, the educational arm of the national classical dance company.

“When you are a street child, there is only so much you can look for,” Cherish says. “Something like dance is an equal thing for everyone. Worst-case scenario, there are many dancers that get jobs on cruise ships, in Disneyland, Universal Studios. They make good money. And, of course, best-case is they join a serious ballet company abroad, in Europe or the United States.”

The ballet dancers have become the envy of Tuloy sa Don Bosco, Cherish says. “At the first audition four years ago, very few showed up. Last year they were lined up around the gym.”

When she admitted a second batch of Tuloy children last year, she accepted 15, rather than the 10 planned, because of the keen interest. Despite the demand, Cherish is discerning. “I look at their physique first and foremost. It is a sad reality that classical ballet requires a certain flexibility and turn-out at the hip sockets – nicely arched feet, too. Then I look at their presence; some kids have it from the get-go.”

Rodney Catubay, 18,  performs in a Christmas show in Manila by the De La Salle Santiago Zobel School (South China Morning Post) 2015

Not everyone who is handed the opportunity has the dedication or interest to stick it out, however. Tragically, for some children, the pull of the streets – where there is excitement and the illusion of freedom – is too strong. Cherish says four of the first group of 10 Tuloy children dropped out of ballet, either through a lack of commitment of disciplinary problems at the Tuloy school. She lost two students this year who were discharged from Tuloy sa Don Bosco after being given a number of chances.

Cherish remembers one boy, in particular. “He had fallen in with a bad crowd. We suspected he had started taking drugs and he was just a totally different child. He has come back since and hangs around sometimes, watching the class,” she says. “He was quite good, although a lot of times he was lazy and said he didn’t want to do ballet any more. Later, when everything was taken away from him, you could see the regret, and I think that’s sad. But it’s sadly also a life lesson you have to learn.”

Maluche is filming and interviewing all the Tuloy ballet students because, although there are notable stars, the story is still unfolding and the end is far from certain. “One of the beautiful things about this project is that it provides a great stage for so many possible stories to develop,” Maluche says. “As they do, the documentary might start to focus on specific kids, as opposed to all the kids. One personal story is more powerful than a general approach. Maybe there will be several stories. I have several terabytes of video.”


Copyright © 2015 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd

By Maggie Sharpe
The Contra Costa Times
June 03, 2015


Jedidiah Harwood, left, and Olivia Miller dance the Pas de Trois in the Conservatory of Classical Ballet's production of Swan Lake (Kerri Hamilton)[Oakland, California, USA] – A gifted young dancer is heading to Chicago this summer for a five-week intensive study with the prestigious Joffrey Ballet — followed by another three weeks of training with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in Los Angeles.

“My mother said I was pirouetting across the room when I was 2 years old,” said 13-year-old Jedidiah Harwood, who lives in Montclair with his parents, five siblings and maternal grandfather. “As soon as I started taking ballet lessons four years ago, it just felt like home. Ballet is my life — I just love it so much.”

Harwood was selected for the summer intensives out of thousands of applicants who auditioned. Not only did he land the spot, he received a full scholarship for tuition from Joffrey and 50-percent paid tuition from ABT.

However, with just a week to go before he boards the plane for Chicago, Harwood still needs to raise money for other expenses, such as room and board, airfare for himself and his mother — who will drop him off and pick him up in Chicago and Los Angeles — as well as hotel bills and special attire required by each ballet company.

“In January, we created a fundraising web page at GoFundMe ( with the goal of raising $10,000,” said Harwood’s mother Tamara Saunders. “We are now over $8,000, but the expenses keep mounting up — we just paid $617 for dance clothes he has to have for ABT — and we haven’t even bought his luggage yet.”

Saunders said she is deeply grateful for everyone’s generosity. “Ballet is Jed’s entire life, so we are willing to do whatever is necessary for him.

Jedidiah Harwood YAGP 2014 (VAM)“He works harder than anyone I know,” said Saunders, who supports her family of nine by giving private piano lessons, while her husband Kenneth Harwood, an engineer by trade, home-schools all six children — Jedidiah and his twin sister Leah, both of whom just graduated eighth-grade, and younger brothers Isaiah, 11, Judah, 10, Rocky, 9, and Misha, 7. “Kenneth juggles six levels of math, science and literature. He is completely dedicated to the children’s education.”

Harwood, who takes six or seven classes a week at the Conservatory of Classical Ballet in San Leandro, is one of the youngest students attending this year’s summer intensives at Joffrey and ABT.

“I’m both excited and nervous; it will be a whole new experience,” Harwood said. “I’m sad to leave my family because they’re always there for me, so it will be weird not having them around all the time.”

However, he looks forward to the opportunity of immersing himself in what he loves — he will be taking classes eight hours a day, five days a week in everything from technique to character interpretation.

“I just love how dance expresses music through motion; ballet is so fluid, all the steps just link together,” said Harwood, who is in rehearsal for the 2 p.m. June 6 performance of “Coppelia” at the San Leandro Performing Arts Center. (For tickets, visit under Events).

Ann Fisher is owner of the Conservatory of Classical Ballet and has been Harwood’s teacher for the past four years.

“Jed is extremely dedicated and would rather be dancing than doing anything else,” said Fisher, adding he has made tremendous strides since he started. “He has an inner sweetness that sets him apart and gives a romantic quality to his movements. He loves to act and did a wonderful character interpretation in our production of ‘The Nutcracker.’ A dance career is not easy, but I think he will go far — I think he has a big career ahead of him.”

   Jedidiah Harwood YAGP 2014-03 (VAM)  Jedidiah Harwood YAGP 2014-04 (VAM)  Jedidiah Harwood YAGP 2014-02 (VAM)


Saunders is thrilled for her son’s success and bright future, but says she’s “a wreck” because he’ll be gone all summer. “I didn’t expect to let go so soon,” she said. “Thankfully, I have five other children to keep me busy, but I will miss him terribly. We are such a tight-knit family, which makes his departure even more challenging. However, not many people get to live their lives in the arts in this way, so I’m very excited for him.”


Copyright © 2015 Contra Costa Times


Related Article: Teen’s ballet dream comes true


By Natalie Feulner
Bangor Daily News
June 05, 2015


Bangor Ballet's Zach Williams and Velstara Vardamis (Michael Hallahan, FinePrints Photo)[Bangor, Maine, USA] — With flawless posture and unspoken grace, young dancers Zach Williams and Velstara Vardamis glide across the floor. Glancing occasionally in the mirror, they dance otherwise in perfect unison, he lifting her high above his head before they flit away from each other.

Williams and Vardamis are just two of many students from Bangor Ballet Company who will take their talent and passion for dance to the dance floors of prestigious ballet programs throughout the country this summer.

For the second year, the renowned dance company Ballet Chicago chose Bangor Ballet as its only New England location for its summer program auditions. Several students auditioned, and four from Maine were selected to attend. Vardamis and Williams also received scholarships and acceptance into an additional two-week advance performance program.

Another 12 students auditioned and were accepted to other programs including American Ballet Theatre Alabama and Urbanity Dance Company in Boston.

Bangor Ballet dancers Zach Williams and Devin Hagerty  show off their graceful form in preparation for the Bangor Ballet 19th-century classical ballets, Les Sylphides and Coppelia (Michael Hallahan) 2015A burgeoning passion

For Williams, a rising junior at Old Town High School, dance is a way to express himself. Quiet and mellow, the teen started dancing two and a half years ago and immediately fell in love with the art. He studies dance mostly in ballet and lyrical classes, often spending upwards of 35 hours per week practicing.“It’s an emotional outlet for me. I’m not an outspoken person, so I dance,” Williams said.

Vardamis, a rising Bangor High School sophomore, started dancing much earlier than Williams, at age 4 or 5. It is fairly common for girls to start taking ballet classes before boys, Bangor Ballet Executive Director Jane Bragg said.

She said many boys have to gain the self-confidence needed to overcome societal pressures and gender stereotypes before starting dance classes. However, once they do, she said they often progress quickly and embrace the athleticism and skill it takes to lift young women high in the air while pivoting with precision and poise.

These days, Vardamis spends dozens of hours at the studio on State Street either in ballet or modern dance classes and in practices for Bangor Ballet’s many shows in which she’s often a soloist.

Both teens would like to pursue dance beyond high school, and neither is opposed to eventually dancing professionally. For Vardamis, her passion to make dance a career comes in part from a desire to encourage others to follow their dreams.

“I just want to be able to show people that they have what it takes, to show them how far they can go if they work hard,” Vardamis said.

She also loves that dance allows her to express her feelings without anyone judging her.

An intense summer

The flurry of excitement surrounding summer programs such as Ballet Chicago’s five-week training usually begins early in the spring with an intensive one-day audition.

Each audition works a little differently, but most require the students to learn a routine from start to finish and then perform it, a few dancers at a time. Instructors observe, then head back to their home companies, and the students’ waiting begins.

A month or two later, the names of those who made the cut are announced, and staff at Bangor Ballet notify media and dancers about their placement.

Williams’ mother, Diane Williams, said when news came that he’d been accepted to Ballet Chicago, he — appropriately enough — danced around the house. She was happy but also a little nervous. “I’m excited for him. … I hope he has fun, and I know he’ll learn so much, but it is hard to let him go. It’s far,” she said.

This isn’t the first time more than a dozen Bangor Ballet students have qualified for summer programs, however Bragg said it’s indicative of the level of training they receive and their dedication.

While they aren’t necessary for young dancers to attend, intense summer programs expedite the learning process and give them a chance to learn from instructors who may teach ballet in different ways. Zach Williams and Vardamis aren’t the only students at Bangor Ballet who aspire to dance professionally, and Bragg says summer programs give them a shot at doing so.

“[Summer programs are] something they should do if they want to do dance at a high level,” she said. “They will gain the tools they need to have the opportunity to go on if they want to.”

According to the Ballet Chicago website, the students who attend the summer program there will have several hours per day of technique, pointe, variations, pilates and pas de deux classes, among others. The advanced program will include dancers from throughout the country, Asia, South America and Europe and will help them “gain strength, purity of line, musicality, self-confidence and focus.” Many programs, including Ballet Chicago, end with a performance.

Both Williams and Vardamis said they look forward to the Chicago program’s intensity, but they said they know it will be a supportive and fun environment. After all, they will get to do something they love all day, everyday, alongside teens just as enthusiastic about ballet as they are.

“Everyone there is passionate about helping people reach their dreams,” Vardamis said.


Copyright 2015 Bangor Daily News


Originally posted on balletinthecity:

DSC_0001-001 (2) Ballet West principal dancer Christopher Ruud instructs young Lex at a Ballet in Cleveland all guys master class.

By Jacquelyn Bernard

Edited by Catharine Lewis

In an art form that has been traditionally defined as feminine and only appropriate for women, male dancers are continuing to reveal their aptitude and talent in the world of classical ballet. The following post is taken from an excerpt of Jacquelyn Bernard’s research paper and elaborates upon how males are viewed in dance. Bernard, a dance major and college student in Tulsa, Oklahoma, discovered Ballet in Cleveland through social media and has since connected with Guys Dance Too.

Ballet in Cleveland founder, Jessica Wallis (center) with Guys Dance Too teachers, students, and supporters Ballet in Cleveland founder, Jessica Wallis (center) with Guys Dance Too teachers, students, and supporters

Male dancers are strong, graceful, and beautiful to watch onstage, but the words that come to describe them are not of a masculine root. Maybe “strong” can be related to…

View original 968 more words

Originally posted on balletinthecity:


I could feel the awe, admiration and excitement in the airwaves. From my front row seat in the corner of the Cleveland Ballet Conservatory studio, I watched young dancers get the opportunity of a lifetime: intimate instruction from ballet great Carlos Lopez of American Ballet Theatre. Carlos visited the North Royalton ballet school April 27 to teach master classes in boys’ technique and partnering, the classes presented by Ballet in Cleveland, were open to all dancers.


 In the first class, a Guys Dance Too class (these classes are just for guys and are always led by male dancers), boys received instruction and learned skills perfecting their classical ballet technique. They stood strong and tall at the barre and on the floor as they eagerly looked to Carlos for instruction and intently watched their own reflections in the floor-to-ceiling studio mirrors.


“At first, I was nervous, but as class went on…

View original 289 more words

Originally posted on balletinthecity:

Guys Dance Too: Interview with Christopher Ruud of Ballet West

By Marcia Custer


Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christopher Ruud, principal dancer with Ballet West and one of the stars of the CW’s reality show Breaking Pointe. We discussed art, ballet, and of course, tasty (and healthy) snacks! He gave me the low-down on what it takes to be a pro ballet dancer, and gave some good advice to aspiring dancers and just about everyone else. Look for him at the First AnnualBallet in Cleveland Gala on Friday February 28th, 2014, as well as teaching master classes for Ballet in Cleveland (including special, FREEGuys Dance Too classes) at Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare on Saturday, March 1, along with fellow Ballet West stars Allison DeBona and Rex Tilton!

Marcia Custer : What first got you into ballet? Was it a show that you saw? Did you…

View original 1,710 more words


Guys Dance Too educates, supports, and empowers males
in the art of dance.

It frees the minds and potential of male dancers
and all who aspire to be one.

It breaks down gender barriers and stereotypes and
creates opportunities for self-expression for all through dance.


Guys Dance Too, Ballet in Cleveland


By Hannah Maria Hayes
Dance Teacher Magazine
April 1, 2015


The Portland Ballet Photo (Blaine Truitt Covert)When a young male dancer hits puberty, you’ll know the signs: “One day they look normal, the next they look like a string bean. They can get a little wonky for a while,” says Jim Lane, managing director for The Portland Ballet [of Oregon], a youth academy and company. “You’ll notice turns get out of whack, or they’ll trip doing an easy combination across the floor.”

Most boys begin puberty around age 11 or 12 and complete the process by 16 or 17. It is a physically awkward time; growth spurts can leave boys gawkily tall and unsure where their extremities end. This is especially tough on male dancers, who can temporarily lose their grace and coordination, as well as some flexibility. As their dance teacher, you can help them continue to train successfully, even as their bodies change.

Ballet San Jose artistic director José Manuel Carreño coaching a student at Ballet San Jose School ( Bari Lee, Ballet San Jose)Puberty marks an essential training period for males, says Ballet San Jose school director Dalia Rawson, because they begin developing their adult musculature and the necessary strength to hoist dance partners overhead. It’s especially important for them to develop stabilizing muscles in the shoulders, back and arms.

They also need to maintain flexibility. “I encourage students to be conservative but consistent in their stretching during and immediately after a growth spurt,” says Rawson. “It’s important not to overtax the muscles and tendons while they are catching up to bone growth.”

The Portland Ballet teaches the following body-weight-based workout to its boys around 11 or 12, to complete outside the studio on their own time. Rawson recommends similar body-weight exercises at Ballet San Jose, because they engage numerous joints and muscles at the same time, while challenging balance.

(Do exercises in one-minute intervals in a single circuit, three days a week.)

  • Sliding Forearm Presses: For chest, shoulders and core Press palms and forearms together in front of your face, with elbows as close together as possible without collapsing the ribcage or rounding the shoulders. With resistance, move arms up and down about four inches.


  • Triceps Kickbacks: For arms, especially triceps With feet hip-width-distance apart, bend your knees and lean forward slightly from the waist, keeping your back straight. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and pull them behind you, keeping arms close to your sides. With your hands in fists, slowly extend both arms backward until they are straight and slowly return, flexing the biceps once they are back at the starting position.


  • Chest Presses: For chest, shoulders and arms Lift your arms to second position and bend elbows up at 90-degree angles. Hands are in fists, pointing toward the ceiling. With resistance, move your arms to the front of the body, maintaining the “L” shapes, and return to the original position. (Prepare for all standing exercises with feet under the hips and core engaged.)


  • Arm Circles: For chest, arms and shoulders Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders to the sides. Draw small, controlled circles, 30 seconds in each direction.


  • Rhomboid Pulls: For shoulders With arms at your sides, pull the shoulder blades in toward each other and squeeze, hold and release. Make sure you do not arch your back. Visualize squeezing a tennis ball between the blades; this is purely a shoulder blade isolation exercise.


  • Prone Triceps Push-ups: For arms, core and chest Lying on the stomach and with the hands underneath the shoulders, engage the core and push up into a plank position. (If needed, start the exercise on the knees before moving to the toes.) Keep the elbows tucked into the sides of the body, and lower to about two inches above the floor before pushing back up to the plank.


Once you are strong enough to do at least one slow, full triceps push-up, move into the traditional push-up stance, with arms farther from the body and elbows pointing out for more emphasis on the chest. Or, place the hands in a diamond shape under the chest for additional emphasis on the triceps.

  • Wall Push-ups: For arms, core and chest Lean against the wall in a traditional push-up position, about an arm’s length away, and complete 30 seconds of slow wall push-ups. Add 30 seconds of pulses. Once you can do both the slow reps and pulses, you can move the exercise to the barre (if it is attached to the wall) for a steeper incline, and then to the floor. This progression is designed for students who haven’t yet built the upper-body strength to start from the traditional floor position. DT


Dance Belts and Body Odor

Growth spurts aren’t the only awkward part of puberty for male dancers. Talking about the need for a dance belt and how to control body odor is also important. But it can be embarrassing—for instructors as well as dancers. Here’s how to make those conversations a little easier.

  •        Include these personal topics in your studio handbook. Require dance belts to be part of the school uniform for boys ages 12 and older, and consider making deodorant and clean dance clothes mandatory for all students.


  •        During the first week of classes, reinforce the importance of proper attire, including undergarments. “You can address the topic with the entire class when you talk about expectations for the dress code and other school rules,” says Jason Davis, men’s instructor for The Portland Ballet.


  •        If a student fails to wear a dance belt when he needs it, pull him aside to have a short, matter-of-fact conversation. “Choose your words carefully, but you can let them know they need to properly hold their stuff together for their own safety,” Davis says, adding that he has his male students wear a dance belt or trunks as early as possible, even as young as 8, so it’s not a big deal when they actually need the support.


  •        For students (and parents) who are new to dance and don’t know what a dance belt is or where to buy one, Davis shows them a dance supply catalog and explains it’s just like a jockstrap, but instead of two straps in the back, there is one up the middle.


  •        Female teachers can have these chats, too, says Dalia Rawson, director of Ballet San Jose School. “Be open about it, because there is nothing mysterious or strange,” she says. “Telling a young man succinctly that he needs to wear a dance belt and to be sure to always wear clean dance clothes, as well as deodorant and antiperspirant, tends to go more smoothly when a teacher delivers this message as part of a friendly conversation. The boys tend to nod, say ‘OK’ and do it.”


Hannah Maria Hayes is a frequent contributor to Dance Teacher and has an MA in dance education from NYU.

Copyright © 2015 DanceMedia, LLC 


Related Articles:

Men at Work: Dance Training and Strengthening Upper Body (PDF)

Building Strength

Dancer Keeps in Shape With Leaps and Bounds (2006) (Doc)

Stretching Before Class(Doc)

The Warm-Up Before Class(Doc)

Young dancers learn to build their bone health (2007) (Doc)

Physiological Challenges of the Adolescent Dancer (PDF)

Puberty and the Growth Spurt in Dancers (Doc)


Alicia Patnelli, 12, Rowan Lightwood, 10, Troy Tipple, 11,  and Bethany Raine, 11 have been chosen to dance in the EYB's  Giselle (Morley Observer) 2015


The Moreley Observer and Advertiser
June 01, 2015


[West Yorkshire, England] – Four talented Morley dancers will be taking to the stage in a professional peformance of Giselle. Troy Tipple, 11, Rowan Lightwood, 10, Bethany Raine, 11 and Alicia Patnelli, 12, are currently having an amazing time rehearsing with the English Youth Ballet at St George’s Hall Bradford for the June 5-6 performance.

Nearly 200 young hopeful dancers turned up to two auditions with Troy, Rowan, Alicia and Bethany all impressing youth ballet director, Janet Lewis MBE.

This is the second time Troy will be performing with the youth ballet and is looking forward to dancing again with Rowan, who have previously danced together.

Bethany, a pupil at Morley Victoria School has been dancing for six years at the Rachael Swann School of Dancing and renaissance Arts in Leeds. Proud mum Jill said: “Bethany plays piano, loves sport and is involved in all aspects of school life. Being in Giselle is a great experience, and Bethany is loving the rehearsals. It’s fantastic that English Youth Ballet give young dancers from all over the country the chance to learn from and dance with professional ballerina’s.”

Alicia, who attended Churwell Primary School, is now a pupil sat Morley Academy. Mum Nichole said: “Alicia has been attending Rachael Swann school of dancing since she was three and took part in her first show six months after she started. She currently studies ballet, tap, modern and drama. She has auditioned for the Royal Ballet twice but unfortunately was unsuccessful. She successfully auditioned for Renaissance Arts in 2014 and is now close to completing her first year.”

Nichole said Alicia has wanted to be a Prima Ballerina since around the age of six when her teacher, Miss Rachael, first suggested that she had the talent to follow that path. “She is very petite for her age and one thing that stops her being upset about it is the fact that it will help her become a Prima Ballerina. Being selected for Giselle has been a dream come true for Alicia. She sincerely hopes that this is the start of a long career and the first job she can put on her dance CV.”

Julianne Rice-Oxley, English Youth Ballet Mistress, is coaching the young dancers in rehearsals. She said: “The young dancers are treated like professional dancers during rehearsals. We work them hard but the results are fantastic.They learn what the life of a professional dancer is like. They are living their dream and they just love it.”

The story of Giselle is set in the Edwardian era on an English country estate and tells the story of young governess, Giselle, who falls in love with the aristocrat Albert who betrays her. She dies of a broken heart but her ghost chooses to protect Albert and other of the town’s men folk as ghosts of other young women seek their revenge.


© 2015 Johnston Publishing Ltd.


Related Article: Boys win roles with English Youth Ballet

By Lydia Johnson
Worcester News
May 28, 2015


Benjamin Sears, 10, at the Birmingham Hippodrome[Worcester, England] – A young dancer is becoming a regular on the stage and his parents say they couldn’t be more proud.

Benjamin Sears, aged ten, who lives with family in Warndon Villages, was one of only a handful of dancers chosen from the Academy Dance School in Worcester to dance alongside professionals at last year’s performance of the Nutcracker at Birmingham Hippodrome. Ben took on the role of Fritz, and practised hard to make sure he was on form to perform before hundreds of people.

Now the St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School pupil has been asked back by the Birmingham Royal Ballet to appear in their performance of Sylvia at the Hippodrome, starting on June 24. The ballet tells the story of marital strife and takes a trip back in time to the age of mythical Rome in order to teach a lesson about love.

Benjamin Sears of Academy Dance was named Junior Champion at the Wyre Forest Dance Festival (Bryan Harris) 2015bBen’s father, Matt, said: “We are very proud of Ben. It was a great thing for him to get the Nutcracker role, which was bigger than the current production. He absolutely loved performing in the Nutcracker and is really excited about Sylvia too. “He will be rehearsing hard between now and when the show starts.

“After he finished the Nutcracker, Ben kept on saying ‘I wonder what’s next’. Then someone from the Royal Ballet attended one of his classes and we got a phone call a week later saying they were impressed by Ben and wanted him in Sylvia. He was thrilled.”

Ben’s mother, Helen Sears, set up the Academy Dance School 22 years ago. She said: “Ben just loves to dance, and sing, and to act. He loves the theatre. He loves watching ballet and the Academy is like his second home. He’s made a lot of good friends there and all of them are really proud of him. We just can’t wait to see him on stage.”


Copyright 2015 Newsquest, Ltd.


Related Article: Youngster will take centre stage in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker


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