Lorna Brown, Skate of the Art

By Jeffrey the Barak. An artist is an artist, so it is not unusual to find someone who is known for one type of art, to be prolific in another, or another two or three. In this case, the same mind that creates art through movement of a human on ice, has also produced paintings, jewelry…

Dancing on the Beach

By Karen Little. I’m a very private person, especially when it comes to doing something in public that is seemingly foolish. And what I regard as foolish is showing off my body in any way, dress, or motion in which it isn’t reasonable to be shown. I will not, for example, trot down my neighborhood…

College Dance and the “Real World”

By Natalie Walters. If you’ve hung out with a Senior in college lately, you’ve probably witnessed a least one breakdown or “freak-out”  about something along the lines of entering the vicious job competition underprepared and moneyless. If you’re hearing this from a Dance major, then they’re also worrying whether their body is pretty enough, strong enough,…

Why bother with an audience?

By Leda Meredith. “Why have an audience? Why not just create your art for art’s sake and dance it in, say, your living room?” That’s one of the first questions I ask students in my choreography classes. The initial answers always focus on what the audience does for the dancer/choreographer: The audience creates performance adrenalin, provides…

Is Ballet Humane?

By Leda Meredith Today one of the young student dancers I rehearsal direct in a Nutcracker production came up to me and pointed to her right foot. A bad blister had bled through her tights and through her pointe shoe. She looked up at me with wide eyes and a well-trained ballet-school smile and asked…

The Urban Tango Phenomenon Explained

An interview with Makela Brizuela, by Jeffrey the Barak. In 2006, a very different dance performance was first presented in Venice California. Entitled “URBAN TANGO, The Agony and Ecstasy of Amateur Tango – In Search of the Elusive Embrace”, it was different in many ways and attracted the attention of many in the dance community….

The Ballerina Interviews

By Kim Knode Published March 2004 Sven Toorvald’s life and his PBS documentary, The Ballerina Interviews, give an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the ballet world. Filmmaking is Sven’s passion. First and foremost, however, Sven is a danseur. Ballet “mesmerized” Sven at age fifteen. He signed up for classes at a local studio after seeing the…

Pushing the Amateurs

Pushing the Amateurs – How one woman is trying to create a chapter of USABDA By Jeffrey the Barak USABDA – The United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association. You might expect a big dancing town like Los Angeles to have a large chapter of USABDA, but in early 2003, there is only a mostly defunct…

The Church of Tango

By Cherie Magnus   It was known as La Cat’dral. Not easy to find in Buenos Aires’ dark side streets at three in the morning–no signs, no cars, no people in front. But once I climbed the stairs to the second floor of the old warehouse, I could hear the siren call of music. It…

Drunk on Tango in Argentina

By Kim Knode Award-winning filmmaker, Adam Boucher declares, “I like to make documentaries like Tango: The Obsession as a discovery process which I can share with the audience.” Apparently audiences take pleasure in exploring subjects such as tango in Argentina together with Boucher. After a showing at the Smithsonian Institute in 1999, the Argentine Embassy…

Tango in the Twilight

By Kim Knode At a recent Southern California United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers (USABDA) competition (held at the Glendale Civic Auditorium), I caught up with Dr. James Kleinrath.  The good doctor, a retired dentist, is the reigning three-time National Senior Smooth Champion along with his dance partner and love of four years, Melody Singleton. (They…

La Salsa Cubana Experience

By Cherie Magnus These days ladies alone do pretty well anywhere in the world they travel. The world has gotten used to women on their own in airports and hotels due to business traveling, and more recently, vacationing. I’ve traveled alone in many countries and I wholeheartedly recommend it for those decisive independents who don’t…

Ron Montez and Dan Radler

The Coast-to-Coast Meeting of the Champion Minds: Ron Montez and Dan Radler By Kim Knode Just So Stories author and Nobel Laureate in Literature Rudyard Kipling says,  “East is East, West is West and never the twain shall meet.”  However, when it comes to the how-tos of garnering championship titles in DanceSport, two top American…

A visit to the home of Ron Montez

Living and Dancing in San Diego with the Champions A visit to the home of Ron Montez By Kim Knode America is most familiar with Ron Montez as the co-host of the popular PBS series, Championship Ballroom Dancing. In the international DanceSport (ballroom dancing) community, the seven-time U.S. Latin champion is not just a handsome…

A Passion for the Dance

A Passion for the Dance:  Choreographer Francis Patrelle By Leda Meredith Photo Credit: Eduardo Patino There are few choreographers I know of that are as generous and loyal to their dancers as Francis Patrelle, or who care as much about making sure that each dancer is shown at their best. Dance is a verb, not…

Making It Your Own

By Leda Meredith Joni Petre-Scholz & Abdul Rasheed in Patrelle’s ‘The Yorkville Nutcracker’. Photo Credit: Eduardo Patino Here is a scene that any dancer would recognize: You are in a studio with a mirror, barres around the walls, a stereo system, a TV and VCR. There is an opening night coming up, and you don’t…

Passing the Torch

By Leda Meredith Photo by Eduardo Patino of Leda Meredith as Francis Patrelle’s Lady Macbeth I am standing in front of a full-wall tapestry in a museum. It is magnificent. Reading the museum’s pamphlet, I learn that it took three generations of craftsmen to complete. Did they stick to the original design, or add their…

For Love Or Money

By Leda Meredith “If you care so much about the money, you must not care about your art.” That astonishing statement was made by the executive director of a dance company with whom I was about to embark on a six week tour. It was in response to a question I’d asked about when we…

Part Four of The Essential Imagination Series

Living Other Lives Part Four of the Essential Imagination Series by Leda Meredith Photo by Tom Caravaglia, of Leda Meredith and Michael Jahoda in Jennifer Muller’s ‘The Spotted Owl’ This is the article that inspired my quest to bring Leda Meredith to the-vu Jeffrey the Barak, Publisher. Stepping onto the stage, I am living two…

Part Three of The Essential Imagination Series

Make Believe By Leda Meredith Photo by Eduardo Patino of Leda Meredith in Francis Patrelle’s ‘Macbeth’ Several years ago I was coaching a young dancer in a dramatic role and I asked what her interpretation of the character was. She looked at me with utter confusion and then described the mood of the entire ballet….

Part Two of The Essential Imagination Series

Detail and Nuance by Leda Meredith photo: Tom Caravaglia Make believe No, not fantasy, but truly how to make someone believe. How to make an audience suspend disbelief in what they are witnessing long enough to be moved by what they have seen and to think about it for years afterward. What do you remember…

Confessions of a Closet Dancer

By C A Crossman Oh Please, Don’t Make Me Dance… (Confessions of a Closet Dancer) I am not a dancer. Oh I’ve dreamed of dancing, longed for dancing, but more often than not, I have found myself clinging to a table leg and saying in an agonized voice to a confused escort: Don’t make me…

Part One of The Essential Imagination Series

Essential Imagination By Leda Meredith “It’s just your imagination.” Was there ever a more detrimental thing to say to a child, especially a child who may someday wish to be a performer? Think about it: the computer screen you are looking at would not exist if someone hadn’t imagined it first. The design of the…

Technique Is Only The Beginning.

By Leda Meredith photo by Bill Hedberg “There was a child went forth every day, And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day, Or for many years or stretching cycles of years…” When I was…

How Often Do You Get It?

by Leda Meredith photo by Tom Caravaglia What if you were to walk down the street and randomly interview passersby with the question, “How often do you buy tickets for dance performances?” Now imagine asking the people who sometimes do, what would motivate them to buy tickets more often. Then imagine asking the ones who…

Lynne Taylor-Corbett – the-vu from the top of the castle

A July 2000 Interview with SWING Choreographer/Director, Lynne Taylor-Corbett By Kim Knode Seated among the rows of celebrity caricature portraits at the renowned Sardis Restaurant in New York City, two-time Tony nominated, SWING Choreographer/Director, Lynne Taylor-Corbett explains, “like a baseball player getting out of the ghetto, dance was my way out.” She began her journey…

Solo Tango in Buenos Aires

By Cherie Magnus It’s just before dawn, and our small group of Argentines and Americans are tired and filled with reverie after a night of tango. We’re drooped over cafes con leche on an old wooden table in a run-down nineteenth-century coffee shop. The large party over by the dark windows also look like they’ve…

Gail Arias, The Dancing Queen: Mrs. California International 2000

By Kim Knode Watkinson Mrs. California International 2000, Gail Arias, one of the final ten in the Mrs. U.S. International Pageant is ready to hold court in her living room. She sits with perfect posture on the edge of her easy chair. Her thick dark hair minus a tiara is combed to silky smoothness. Not a stray…