Click! Flash! – dancers go behind the camera

I got into photography when I first went to NYU and my mother (also a photographer) gave me her DSLR camera. Attending NYU was essentially like moving to New York City as an 18-year-old, which can be VERY scary; having the camera helped to distract me from the difficulties of adjusting to a very different and tiring lifestyle.

Since then, I have taken several photography courses both at NYU and around the city. I spent the summer of 2009 studying abroad in Italy and had my camera glued to my side at all times (I kept a photo blog that summer, unabellaestate.blogspot.com). Although I have been a photographer for a while, I didn’t think to start taking headshots until recently. I would see people post their headshots on facebook (knowing that they spent HUNDREDS of dollars getting them taken) and think “Hey…I can take that shot!” So I had a few pretty friends experiment with me, taught myself portrait retouching in photoshop, and viola! I was cranking out headshots no problem.

I offer headshots for a very affordable rate of $150. I want to help my fellow dancers/actors/singers get beautiful shots without paying a month’s rent to get them. I love being behind the camera and helping people to really shine through the photographs, and post production (which some photographers groan about) is a ton of fun for me. I am so excited to be able to turn this passion of mine into a small business – if I’m not on stage dancing, I want to be taking pictures!

www.lvphotoanddesign.com

Laura is an alum of the Summer Intern Program at Broadway Dance Center (2008).  This Fall she will be heading on tour to perform in “West Side Story.”

Ahoy! BDC at Sea

Jenifer Dillow (BDC Professional Semester, Fall 2011)

Cruise: Disney Magic

Role: Belle, dancer

Travel: We are traveling to Nassau, Bahamas, Caribbean, Key West, Port Canaveral, Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John,Canada, New Mexico, and more which I’m unsure of because we won’t start till later in the contract.

Performances: We have six shows plus two theme nights. Four of our shows are full on musicals while the other two are shorter compilations of different dances and songs. We have “Twice Charmed’, “Villian’s Tonight” which I have eight crazy quick changes in (I’m a dancer in that show), “Disney Dreams” where I am Belle, “Dream Goes On”, “Welcome Aboard Show”, and “Farewell Show”. I play many different roles in addition to Belle. I have about fifty costumes I believe. The theme nights are just short dances that we perform for the adults at night after the shows.

Audition: The audition was great! I went in to the singer call, and they gave me a callback that day for Belle. Then I came back in two days later and sang Belle’s songs and they made me do a short dance combo by myself. Then two weeks later they called me offering me the job!

Favorite part: My favorite part is performing every night and being given great opportunities. For example, I was asked to have a photo shoot taken as Belle to put photos and videos of me up on the Disney website. I also love being able to travel for free and meet a lot of people from different countries! Overall, I can’t imagine having a better senior year! I LOVE it!

Latoyia Everett (BDC Professional Semester, Fall 2011)

Cruise: Norwegian Jade

Role: dancer, dance captain

Travel: Throughout Europe – Venice, Barcelona, Santorini, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, Split, and Athens.

Performances: Two 45 minute shows, 1 “Cirque du Soleil” style show where I perform bungie from theatre ceiling. I’m also a magician’s assistant in another show. We perform everything from jazz to lyrical to Broadway to jazz funk.

Audition: I auditioned in the Fall of 2011 in NYC. The audition had over 150 people in attendance. For the first cut, they taught a strong jazz-style routine and we auditioned in groups of 10. Then they made a huge cut, down to 40. Next, they taught a small section from one of their shows, “Elements.” We auditioned about 5 at a time.  Soon they cut us down to the top 10. The audition was one of the most fun auditions I’ve ever been to. Everyone, including the panel, was incredibly supportive and friendly.

Favorite part: My favorite part of the working on the Norwegian Jade is visiting all the amazing ports and meeting people from around the world. We have such a diverse group of people on this cruise. Cruise ship workers are some of the most amazing and friendly people I have ever met.

 

Zanza Steinberg (BDC Professional Semester, Spring 2011)

Cruise: Royal Caribbean – Serenade

Role: dancer

Travel: We started off in the Caribbean and then travelled Transatlantic and are now in the Mediterranean alternating between a Greek Isles and Venice/Italy cruise.

Performances: Two shows – one Jazz and one Musical Theater.

Audition: My audition was for the Chicago show aboard the Allure of the seas, however the casting director found this a better fit for me and I am currently aboard Serenade of the Seas. The audition was extremely long. We were there for 9 hours in total, first an across the floor combo and then a cut, then another across the floor and cut. Then we learnt the original opening number from Chicago, another cut after that. Then we learnt a jazz routine and there was another cut and those of us who made it that far stayed to sing and read sides.

Favorite part: My favorite part is the work. Performing the shows with a live orchestra makes me so happy and I am a very proud member of the cast, grateful to be here. I am mostly just thankful to be a working dancer however the traveling is wonderful and learning to speak new languages has been great!

2012 Student Performance Showcase

The BDC community packed the house of the Symphony Space Theater for our annual Student Performance Showcase.  This is a tremendous opportunity for students to work closely with our esteemed faculty of teachers and choreographers.

Faculty Choreographers:

Justin Boccitto
Jacob Brent
Chio
Jim Cooney
Autumn Dones & Katherine Roarty
Jamie Jackson
Princess Lockeroo
Amira Mor
Q Pittman
Heather Rigg
Sue Samuels
Neil Schwartz
Bettina Sheppard & Diana Laurenson

The Showcase featured hip hop, contemporary, theater, tap, jazz, locking, and even singing and acting.  Princess Lockeroo choreographed a “Hunger Games” inspired waacking routine complete with waacking “battles” and fantastical costumes.  Q Pittman created a jazz funk/hip hop piece satirizing Alvin Ailey’s renowned “Revelations.”  And vocal teacher, Bettina Sheppard teamed up with theater teacher, Diana Laurenson to re-stage the original groovy Fosse choreography of Sweet Charity’s ‘The Rhythm of Life.”

Congratulations to all of the dancers and choreographers involved in this year’s Student Performance Showcase.  And a big “thank you” to April Cook for organizing the whole event.

Because of the great success of the Student Performance Showcase in the Spring, BDC is thrilled to announce the launch of a second Student Performance Showcase to take place in the Fall!  Stay tuned for more information!

Student Profile: Kelsey Stenta – Philadanco D2 Apprentice Company

Check out our newest blog entry by guest writer, Kelsey Stenta.  Kelsey graduated from BDC’s Professional Semester last December and was just cast in Philadanco’s apprentice company, D2.  Read all about her exciting audition experience and learn more on Kelsey’s own blog: www.straight2thepointe.blogspot.com!
Congratulations, Kelsey!

I have wonderful news…I got a contract for an apprenticeship with Philadanco! The apprentice company is called D2, and they take class, rehearse, and perform on a regular basis. D2 performs over 25 times a year and the dancers are sometimes included in Philadanco performances. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve seen many Philadanco performances and I always rant and rave about them. Now I get the chance to work and perform with them!One of the differences between Philadanco and D2 is that Philadanco dancers receive a salary and benefits, while D2 members get paid for performances. Even though I won’t be getting a salary, this is my first ever dance job, and I could not be more ecstatic! Dancer’s spend their entire lives dedicating themselves to training and practicing for this moment. Every experience up until now has been about paying to train so that eventually you can get paid to dance. I’ve finally reached that point where it’s the start of a career, and it feels so good. It’s like spending your whole life in school, and then finally getting a real job. I will not make a living by being in D2, but many dancers in apprentice companies work their way up to the professional company, which is the ultimate goal.I’m glad that I auditioned for the apprentice company first because I get to continue to enhance my technique, gain more performance experience, and work with professionals, all without paying a tuition. Also, the Philadanco dancers (including D2 and the youth program) are like a tight-knit family. It’s almost like the directors and company members are mentors to the other dancers, so they get to know each other very well. If you are already well-known and work hard in D2, you are more likely to get picked for the professional company. They have auditions in January and June, so I plan on auditioning for the professional company after I’ve had some experience in D2.

The audition experience seemed a lot tougher this year. Mrs. Brown (founder of the company) told us before the audition that they have had some funding cuts and therefore, did not have as many spots available. Despite having less openings, there were just as many dancers in the audition as there were last year. Last year, they never made any cuts, so all of the dancers were included in the entire audition, then at the end they called the numbers that they wanted to keep. There were at least a dozen dancers picked for D2, including myself. This year, they made a large cut after about 40 minutes, then another cut later on. The number of dancers picked for D2 this time was at least half compared to last year, if not less. I feel very fortunate and honored to have a second chance at being a part of this dynamic company.

 Friends Dann, Emily, and I before the audition!

Philadanco is a very traditional and strict company. It is mostly modern based with some ballet. In the auditions, Milton Myers always teaches a Horton class. If you don’t know the Horton style, I would describe it as extremely disciplined with linear movements that require a lot of strength. Although that is not the only style that the company does, I would say that it’s the foundation. This is a big change from the type of dancing I was doing in New York. I took a lot of jazz, contemporary, and lyrical, since that is what I concentrated in. Those genres are more new and less strict, whereas Philadanco and their style of dance has been around for decades. I believe that every dancer who wants to succeed should train in multiple styles so they become more versatile, so I am excited to see where my work with this company takes me.

Philadanco has a six week summer skills enhancement series for all of the companies. I start on July 9th, and each week focuses on different styles of dance. We have Graham, Ballet, African, Horton, Contemporary/Modern, and Dunham. We will be taking these classes Monday-Friday from 5:30-7. Then D2 and company members stay until 10:30 on Monday-Thursday for rehearsals. Our first show featuring the D2 dancers is in the beginning of September. After the 6 week intensive, we have our fall schedule, which is class Monday-Wednesday from 5:30-7, then rehearsals on Monday night, Wednesday night, and Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. So, with D2 we are dancing four days a week, but we still have time to fit in a work schedule.

Stay tuned to hear more about my experience with this amazing company. I will be posting updates as often as I can! I truly appreciate everyone’s genuine excitement and support; it really means a lot to me. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else 🙂

Mock It Out: ProSem Students Practice Audition Techniques

On Friday, March 16th the students of BDC’s Professional Semester woke up and arrived at the studio bright and early for their first mock audition of the program.  The series of four mock auditions (theater, company work, hip hop/commercial, and decade-themed) allow the students to experience a typical dance casting and also receive constructive feedback from a panel of experts including BDC faculty, talent agents, and casting directors.  Like a normal audition, the Professional Semester students are evaluated not only on their dance technique and style, but also on their headshots and resumes, physical appearance, attention to detail, and self-confidence.

Each audition begins with “slating,” a process in which each dancer steps forward to introduce his or her name and a memorable fact.  “Slating is the first opportunity for us to get to know you,” says Lakey Wolff, an agent from CESD Talent Agency.  “This is your chance to show your personality, energy, and enthusiasm.”

Natalie: “I can hula hoop with fire.”

Holly: “I have dual citizenship in the United States and Canada.”

Marleen: “My favorite toe is the big toe!”

The slating process also allows casting directors and choreographers to look at you.  Dance is a visual art, and how you present yourself physically is extremely important.  “I like clean lines and neat hair,” says Lakey, “Stand out with color or a unique leotard cut.  Oh! And no costume mishaps, please!”

Next up? Warm up!  “But don’t forget,” notes Eric Bourne of Parsons Dance Company, “even though we’re warming up, you’re still auditioning!”  Be sure to stay present and engaged throughout the organized warm-up because the panel is likely still watching you.  In the words of Bonnie Erickson, Educational Programs Director at the BDC, “Are you happy to be here and ready to work? Show us that you love dancing.”

Following warm-up, certain auditions will start with typing (early elimination based on looks, height, hair color, etc.) or a ballet cut.  The combination is often across the floor and fairly straightforward so that the choreographer can get a sense of your technical background.  Even when you’re learning the combination, always perform your arms full out.  Ask politely to switch lines; Even if you can pick up the combination from the back corner of the room, the panel probably isn’t able to see you.

Next, students learn a short combination in the style of the show.  Bonnie Erickson and Jim Cooney, who lead the Professional Semester program, highly encourage dancers to research the show and/or choreographer ahead of time to gain familiarity with the movement and style.  When learning the combination, be sure to focus in on the details of the movement.  Often, the choreographer will teach the movement without performing it full out.  In that case, the choreographer will usually have an assistant to demonstrate the movement alongside him or her.  Watch the assistant!  The choreographer, in an audition setting, will rarely give corrections (but if they do, you’d better apply it ASAP, even if the correction was made to another dancer).  The panel wants to know how much you are able to bring to the table without them having to pull it out of you – an approachable personality, strong dance technique, an eye for details, ability to pick up choreography, a respectful attitude, and professional demeanor.  

Before you know it, you will be split up into small groups to perform the combination (but this is not the “start” of the audition, as you are being watched from the moment you enter the room!).  “Pay attention to your spacing,” says Mishay Petronelli (BDC teacher and Assistant to the Director).  “If the audition coordinator tells you, ‘#1 downstage, #2 upstage, etc.,” you need to follow directions when you take the floor and hold that spacing throughout the combination.”  You’ll often get the opportunity to perform the choreography twice.  Dana Foglia (BDC teacher and choreographer for the Professional Semester commercial mock audition) remarked, “Sometimes you’ll be the best in your group and sometimes you’ll be in a group of beasts and have to fight for your life.”

Nowadays, freestyle is a huge part of the audition process, be it “Chicago” the musical or a Madonna international tour.  Sometimes you’ll just be asked to freestyle for the first cut – before you even learn a combination!  “For your freestyle, I appreciate when you move the way you are rather than simply conforming to the style,” says Dana Foglia.  Explore different levels, dynamics, and styles in your freestyle.  The best way to gain confidence and versatility in your freestyle, says Foglia, is to take diverse and challenging classes from a variety of teachers.

Today is the final dance of the Spring Professional Semester 2012 – “Merde!” to all of the dancers for their final mock audition today!

A day in the life of an ISVP

As I walk through the winding halls of Broadway Dance Center, whether its 9am or 9pm, my ears are filled with the the most beautiful languages from around the globe – Australian accents, Japanese hip hop rehearsals, and Swedish jokes that I wish I could understand.  The International Student Visa Program (ISVP) invites dancers from all over the world to experience unparalleled training at Broadway Dance Center.  ISVP students choose a program of 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year of intensive study at BDC – a schedule of 12 classes per week, closed master classes, immersion events, and performance opportunities.

Interested in becoming and ISVP?  Learn more about this incredible program, and take a look at “A Day in the Life” of some of our current ISVP students!

Maria Malmstrom

Hip Hop – Sweden

8:30am – Wake up and eat my usual Swedish breakfast of crisp bread, egg and caviar.

9:30am – Hop on the subway to Broadway Dance Center.

10:30am – Voguing class with Benny Ninja!

12:00pm – Eat lunch and chill with my ISVP friends.

3:00pm – Ballet with Peter Schabel, such a great teacher.

4:30pm – World jazz with Cecilia Marta.  This class is life-changing!

6:00pm – Take some time to stretch out my sore muscles.

8:30pm – Voguing rehearsal to the Performance Project.

11:00pm – Head to Brooklyn Bowl with some friends to dance our hearts out some more!

Pasqualino Beltempo

Ballet – Italy

6:45am – Wake up and eat some cereal for breakfast.

7:15am – Get ready and pack my backpack.

7:45am – Take the Q train from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

8:30am – Hope off at 42nd Street and grab a coffee as I head to BDC.

9:00am – Theater master class with Ricky Hinds.

10:30am – Ballet with Dorit Koppel.

12:00pm – Ballet with Dorit again!

1:45pm – Yoga with Amber Paul. Om.

3:00pm – Take a shower.

3:15pm – Take the subway home to eat and relax.

7:00pm – Head to Columbia University for a workshop with Donna McKechnie (the original Cassie from “A Chorus Line”)

11:00pm – Back home after a long day!

Maria Del Rosario Aviles

Contemporary – Bolivia

8:30am – Wake up, make breakfast, and prepare lunch and snacks for the day.

10:00am-2:00pm – Pushing Progress (contemporary training program) at DANY Studios.

2:00pm – Time to have a late lunch.

3:00pm – Hip hop class with Jared Jenkins.

4:30pm – World jazz with Cecilia Marta, one of my favorite teachers and human beings!

6:00pm – Eat some snacks and take a quick nap on the BDC bleachers.

7:30pm – Wacking with Princess Lockerooo.

9:00pm – Contemporary with Dana Foglia, another of my favorite teachers and choreographers!

10:30pm – Head home, shower, make a yummy milkshake (banana, strawberry, honey, ice cream, and milk!), spend time with my roommates.

1:00am – Finally go to asleep!

Chris Stuewe

Hip Hop – Canada

7:00am – Wake up, prepare lunch, and pack bag for the day.

7:45am – Eat breakfast and leave for BDC.

8:00am – Rehearsal for the Performance Project.

11:00am – Contemporary with Tracie Stanfield.

12:30 – Cool down and stretch on my own.

1:00pm – Grab lunch and return to BDC to eat and rest.

4::30pm – Hip hop with Luam.

6:00pm – Rehearsal with Autumn Dones for the Student Showcase.

7:30pm – Contemporary with Autumn Dones, too!

9:00pm – Hip hop with Brian and Scott Nicholson.

10:30pm – Leave BDC and walk home.

11:00pm – Shower, eat, check e-mail and Facebook, watch TV, and then go to bed.

Nallely Aguirre

Jazz – Mexico

7:00am – Wakeup.  Eat a bagel with cream cheese and a glass of orange juice for breakfast.

7:15am – Take a shower and get pretty for class.

8:20am – Walk to BDC!

9:00am – Lindy Hop Master Class.

11:00am – My favorite class with Tracie Stanfield!  We danced to “Shelter” from “The XX.”

12:30pm – Head home for a nap. Zzzzz

2:30pm – Grab lunch at Whole Foods (Union Square) with my fellow ISVP, Andy Caballero.  I’ve got a mango juice, some fruit, and a sandwich.

3:30pm – Shop at Forever 21 to find a costume for the April Performance Project.

4:15pm – Walk around Union Square (Barnes and Noble, dog park, etc.).

6:00pm – Take the subway back home to eat dinner and relax.

Megumi Nakao

Jazz – Japan

9:00am – Wakeup, eat breakfast (some cereal and black tea), and chill out.

12:00pm – Stiletto Heels class with Dana Foglia.

2:30pm – Jazz class with my mentor, Michelle Barber.

4:30pm – Pilates with Joy Karley.

6:00pm – Dinner with my ISVP friends from Japan at Izakaya (Japanese restaurant).

7:30pm – Rehearsal for Autumn Dones’ piece for the Student Showcase.

9:00pm – Home for bed!

On Tuesday, I wake up 9:00, eat breakfast and chill out, and go to take Dana’s heels, Michelle’s Jazz, Joy’s Pilates, rehasal of Autumn’s piece and sometimes go for dinner with JP friends afterwards

Where are they now?

Want to know what’s up with BDC’s Training Programs Alumni? Take a look and be amazed!

KEY: PS = Professional Semester, SIP = Summer Intern Program, ISVP = International Student Visa Program, TP = Training Program
  • Lexie Mollica (PS Fall ’11) is working as the backstage director for “Turn It Up Dance Challenge” competitions.
  • Matt Tremblay (PS Fall ’11) is heading a boys program at Downtown Dance Factory and was featured in TV commercials for Powerade and Bodyglide. Matt recently signed with Bloc Talent Agency.
  • Nicholas Caycedo (PS Fall ’11) was featured in the critically acclaimed Off-Off-Broadway premier of a new musical called, La Mama Cantata, celebrating the life of the late Miss Ellen Stewart, founder of La Mama E.T.C., by Tony-nominated composer-lyricist, Liz Swados. He also recorded a cast album which will be released shortly.
  • Jessica de la Cruz (PS Fall ’11) assisted Sheila Barker for BDC’s Winter Intensive.
  • Carissa Midkiff and Samantha Glennerster (PS Fall ’11) performed in Brice Mousset’s (BDC teacher) piece for the Peridance Faculty Showcase.
  • Rachel Ferretti and Emily Gallo-Lopez (PS Fall ’11) performed in BDC teacher, Jeremy McQueen’s company performance at Dancers Responding to Aids’ (DRA) “Dance From the Heart” event in January.  Both dancers will be heading out to sea on cruise ships soon;  Rachel will dance on Disney Cruise Line and Emily will perform on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

  • Olivia Conlin
     (PS Fall ’11) recently signed with Wehmann Agency for modeling and NUTS Talent Agency for acting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Jenifer Dillow (PS Fall ’11) will perform as Belle on Disney Cruise Line and travel to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada, and New England. She completed her many musical theater auditions for colleges and has already received several merit scholarships.
  • Kelsey Netting (PS Fall ’11) will be pursuing a dance major at Loyola Marymount University next fall. She is currently continuing her dance studies through BDC’s Training Program.  Check out Kelsey in dance apparel advertisement in Dance Magazine.
  • Latoyia Everett (PS Fall ’11) is now a Norwegian Jade Dancer and was just asked to be Dance Captain. She is currently in Tampa, Florida practicing and then will leave to Barcelona, Spain at theend of February and will be at sea until September.
  • Mary Callahan (PS Fall ’11) recently signed with MSA Agency and will be dancing during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and on tour with Lily Halpern. Mary is also pursuing a degree in Writing for Social Change at NYU.
  • Daniel Montera (PS Fall ’11) will be performing at the Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, opening a brand new dance revue show.
  • Kristie Ergas (SIP ’11) will be performing in a cabaret show at Don’t Tell Mama’s called “Get Happy: The Great Depression Then And Now.”
  • Tori Simeone (SIP ’11) performed at Fashion Week for Tommy Hilfiger and danced for Cara Quici (keep your eye out for Tori on “The Real Housewives of NYC”).
  • Zanza Steinberg (PS Spring ’11) will be embarking on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a dancer. Zanza is also artistic director of Alma NYC Theater Company.
  • Stephanie Brooks (PS Spring ’11) is currently dancing with Atmosphere, a company of Project Dance and is the co-founder of Alma NYC Theater Company with fellow Pro-Semester alumni Zanza Steinberg. She is represented by MSA Agency and also teaches dance, pilates, and zumba in NYC.
  • Jessica Seavor (PS Spring ’11) is heading to Fireside Theatre to perform as Maria in “9 to 5: The Musical.”
  • Tal Schapira (PS Spring ’11) and Lizz Picini (SIP ’11) are assistants at Radio City Music Hall for the Rockette Experience and Rockette Summer Intensive.
  • Alison DeVita (PS Spring ’11) is performing as a dancer with Dublin Worldwide Productions in “Dancing Queen” and “The Spirit of Christmas.”
  • Lexi Dysart(PS Fall ’11) was accepted to the Young Choreographer’s Festival in New York City.Nikki Croker (PS Fall ’11) was recently signed to MSA Agency.
  • Alexa Erbach (PS Fall ’11) will be performing in a new musical entitled, “Jack’s Back” at T. Scheiber Studio. Along with performing in the ensemble, Alexa is also assisting choreographer, Bronwen Carson on the project.
  • Ankush Arora (ISVP 2011-’12) is teaching Latin Dancing and Bollywood in 3 institutes in India,Kolkata. After returning from BDC he was also invited to 4th Chennai Salsa Festival (India) as a guest choreographer to teach a salsa workshop.
  • Erica Day (ISVP 2010-2011) is performing as Dance Captain on Norwegian Cruise line and worked with choreographers Rachelle Rak and Tiger Martina.
  • Nicole Klerer(PS Fall ’10) is a New Jersey Devils Cheerleader and works at BDC as the Educational Programs Student Advisor.

You can find out more about BDC’s Training Programs by clicking here!