For those of us who know the philosophically-revealing significance of the question “Logan, Jess, or (ugh, really?) Dean?” something very special is happening. That something is called Bunheads, an ABC Spark series fromGilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, in which an ex-ballerina turned Vegas showgirl (basically Lorelai Gilmore in leg warmers and with an occasionally vexing mouth twitch) ends up teaching at a dance studio in small-town California RUN BY EMILY GILMORE! (Note: The dance studio is actually run by the actress who PLAYED Emily Gilmore playing a different character, but you feel me.)
Bunheads centres around the relationship between Michelle (the showgirl) and Fanny (the studio owner), and four ballerinas at the school: Sasha, Ginny, Mel and Boo. Sasha, the studio’s most gifted dancer, is a dead-ringer for Rory Gilmore, Bambi-eyes and all, but the character of Sasha is very different. Abandoned by her parents and known to act out, I like to think of her as “Dark Rory.” Ginny is a miniature Southern-Belle-looking A-Type with a crazy mother and intellectual depth, Mel is the long-limbed Roller Derby-ing lovable goof, and Boo is the eternally sweet and incredibly talented moral compass who struggles with her weight.
With Gilmore-style dialogue, the show brings back all the things we loved about Sherman-Palladino’s previous series (AND Paris AND Kirk AND a million other cameos AND the guy who played Jackson directs a bunch of episodes), plus one important thing: DANCE SEQUENCES! And not your average dance sequences, either, but surprising, creative, and interesting numbers. We love everything about Bunheads, but right now its future is up in the air. The show might not get a second season, so stand with us in solidarity and demand that ABC Spark BRING THE BUNS! After all, we don’t want to live in a world where we don’t get to see more coolness like this:
Etobicoke School of the Arts, Central Tech, Cardinal Carter, Jarvis, Branksome Hall, Central Commerce: Which GTA school has what it takes to get their dance video noticed?
Coca-Cola has come up with an awesome challenge: they’re asking high school students to show off their creativity by integrating Coca-Cola caps into a dance routine. (See this video to know what we are talking about.) The group of students that seriously impress the judges could win a personal choreography lesson with Luther Brown and the chance to perform at a Live Nation event! OMG!! This is awesome. Luther has worked with the best, including Nicki Minaj, Diddy, Janet Jackson, Shawn Desman and Jully Black. You may have caught him on So You Think You Can Dance Canada as both a choreographer and judge.
Guys, it’s time. Gather your posse, show off your Cap Dancing moves, make a video and share it. You could win BIG. The annual school Dance Show is always exciting…now it’s time to take it to the next level.
First Position follows a diverse group of young ballet dancers as they prepare for the ultimate, career-changing competition: The Youth America Grand Prix.
From passionate dedication to incredible precision, each of the students followed in the film inspire awe in different ways. 14 year old Michaela was born in Sierra Leone, and adopted by a family in Philadelphia after her parents were shot. 11 year old Aran shows off his BB gun and his foot stretcher. 17 year old Rebecca drives a car with a Princess license plate, 12 year old Miko displays an alarming self-possession. 16 year old Joan Sebastien lives alone in New York, cherishing rare visits home to Columbia to visit his family. 11 year old Gaya has a mesmerizing stage presence and an adorable romance with Aran.
Through the film, you watch as these young dancers push themselves to the limit to prepare for the Grand Prix, a contest where 5,000 dancers compete for a few hundred spots at the showcase in New York. The incredible power, and pain, of their art form is displayed, and from the first moments of the film, you’re invested in their success. The documentary uses a non-judgemental eye, presenting the ups and downs of the dancers’ lives. You’ll be blown away by their talent and drive, and moved by their performances.
This week, we got to sit in on a very cool dance class. Cast members from Dancap’s West Side Story instructed a group of musical theatre students from the Etobicoke School of the Arts in a fast-paced afternoon class to the up-tempo “America,” and the studio was a whirl of pointed toes and sassy hands as the students quickly caught on to the number with some serious attitude.
The class began with the students singing “Somewhere” from West Side Story. They performed their own version of the musical this year, so the material is familiar to them, but the Broadway Revival’s cast members brought new choreography for a new challenge. Students took to it with cheers and grins, applauding successful moves and groaning when particularly complicated combinations were introduced. But the moaning never lasted more than an instant—count them in, and the dancers were instantly professional and stage ready, putting on a great show for the Global TV cameras in attendance.
After the class, the cast members sat with the students and took questions, offering tips and advice from their years of experience. They also told the kids that their class was the best they’ve ever worked with, to resounding cheers. Check out our photo gallery and videos from the class, and for tickets to West Side Story, on until June 3rd, click here.
Heather Ogden in The Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Christopher Wahl.
March Break is less than a month away! What are your plans, ya’ll? If you’re sticking around the city, The National Ballet of Canada is putting on Sleeping Beauty during that exact week, March 10th to the 18th. Could be a nice thing to do with your mom and it’s a chance to see the Rudolf Nureyev adaptation staged by the doyenne of Canadian ballet herself, Karen Kain. No big deal.
Sleeping Beauty is the story of Princess Aurora, who is cursed by an evil witch on the day of her 16th birthday and falls into a death-like sleep until a handsome prince awakens her with a kiss. Nureyev adapted the original 19th century ballet, choreographed by Marius Petipa, and set it for The National Ballet of Canada in 1972. It’s a beautiful ballet to see and, if you’re around for the March Break, one worth checking out. Warning: major dance fever and a desire to pirouette continuously down the street after the performance may ensue.
Heather Ogden, Principal Dancer. Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.
Are you a ballet student? Do you dream of one day dancing the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker in front of thousands of people? Are you obsessed with movies like Center Stage, Step Up and Fame? Well, get this: This Sunday, January 15, Principal Dancer with The National Ballet of Canada, Guillaume Côté is teaching an open class as part of TNB’s Ballet Class with the Stars program! You can take a class with one of the biggest names in Canadian dance! Aaaaammaaaaaaazziiiiiiiiinnnggg!
TNB’s Ballet Class with the Stars program is an opportunity for young dancers like yourself to participate in classes taught by various Principal Dancers of The National Ballet of Canada. Soooo, in addition to Guillaume Côté, you can take a class with Greta Hodgkinson (Sunday, February 5), Aleksandar Antonijevic, (Sunday, April 22) and Heather Ogden, (Sunday, May 6) (also the beautiful ballerina who danced The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker this past Christmas, just saying), to name a few. An awesome opportunity??? We think so!
Who should sign up? Classes are open to dance students 14 years and older who have trained at an intermediate level or higher. BUT, even if you’re not a dancer, you can still go and watch. The cost is $40.00 and $35.00 for non CADA members and CADA members respectively; to book your spot, call The National Ballet’s Audience and Donor Services at 416. (toll-free 1.866) 345.9595. Classes run from 11am – 12:30pm at The Walter Carsen Centre for The National Ballet of Canada.