en l'air

Miles Pertl
February 24, 2010, 9:45 am
Filed under: In The Studio

Miles Pertl, an American from Kirkland, Washington is a student at the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany. In his third year and in the highest level, Miles tells us what it’s like to be a foreign student in a German ballet school.

en l’air: What other schools have you been to?

Miles Pertl: I attended PNB (Pacific Northwest Ballet) for a couple years and then switched in 2004, I switched to IBT (International Ballet Theater). I switched because there was better training and more performance opportunities. I also went to SFBS (San Francisco Ballet School) summer sessions in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

en l’air: How did you get to Germany?

Miles Pertl: In 2007 I participated in YAGP and did well. Mr. Matacz (the director of the school in Stuttgart) offered me a spot immediately after seeing my modern solo there. It took a lot of thought to decide where to go (I also had offers at ABT studio company and SFBS trainee program). In the end, I decided to come to Stuttgart because it had and stronger school and the obvious…it was in Europe!!!

en l’air: What is your basic day schedule like?

MP: Everyday is different, but right now, we start at 8:30 and have a two and a half hour ballet class. We then rehearse for the upcoming shows. I am doing “In and Out” by Hans van Manen, “Concerto” by Macmillan, “Words Unsaid” by Sascha Rivera and “Pineapple Poll” by John Cranko. Not to mention that soon we will have to perform a hip hop number and a 15 min flamenco piece. So with all of these pieces we rehearse a lot! On top of these rehearsals we have pas de deux/variations every week. We also have modern workshops scattered throughout the year. There are very few days that we finish early.

en l’air:Who are your main teachers?

MP: My main teachers are Peter Pestov. He is an 80 year old man from Moscow. He is the teacher of Vladimir Malakhov, Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Possokhov, Sascha Radetsky, Mikhail Kaniskin, Gennadi Saveliev, Nikolai Tsiskaridze and many many more. He is a legend and he proves it everyday we take class with him. He pushes you harder than anyone else would, and makes you work in ways that no one else could.

en l’air: What’s your status with Academic School?

MP: I graduated from Lake washington High school in 2007 with a diploma. I finished High school just in time to come to Stuttgart.

en l’air: Favorite Male and Female dancer?

MP: I have so many favorite dancers. my favorite classical ballet dancers are Mikhail Baryshnikov and Sylvie Guillem. But my favorite dancer of all time is Ana Laguna. She is a true dance artist that can make you upset or cry just by doing a simple tendu.

en l’air: Favorite ballet to watch?

MP: Carmen By “Mats Ek”. Each time I watch it, I see something new and feel something new (and I’ve watched it a lot!) This choreography looks so simple but has so many layers underneath. It has an arc to it: from beginning everything connects to what was before it and what was after it, but it still has the abilty to surprise.

en l’air: What are 5 Ballets you have to do before retiring?

“Petit Mort” By Kylian
“Poeme de l’Extase” By Cranko
Anything new that Forsythe creates
La Maison de Bernarda Alba” By Mats Ek
and something by Jasmin Vardimon
( I really want to be a part of new pieces being created)

en l’air: Why do you like ballet?

MP: I love being on stage. Its an answer that everyone gives to this type of question but it is true. The experience of being backstage and feeling that atmosphere is very specifically unique to the world of dance. Thats what I love most about ballet.

en l’air: Most played on your iPod recently?

MP: Blind Pilot -Three rounds and a sound (the whole album kicks ass)
Bon Iver – for Emma forever ago
Modest Mouse – Good news for people who love bad news
Kaiser Chiefs

en l’air: Random things in your locker/bag right now (besides dance clothes)?

MP: A lot of chocolate. hot hands (hand warmers), my ticket to Sylvie Guillem’s show last month.

en l’air: Things you like other than ballet?

MP: My girlfriend! Music, baseball, football, soccer, basketball, coffee, pizza, and rootbeer.

en l’air: What are you most looking forward to?

MP: Im really looking forward to dancing new pieces and participating in the creation of new ballets

en l’air: What do you like most about your school in particular?

MP: I love how international our school is. We have kids from all over the world (Italy, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France, Armenia, Turkey, the U.S., England, Serbia, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Holland, and Ukraine) having such a mix really improves everyone’s dancing and their knowledge of the dance world. Plus you are able to make friends that will last a lifetime from around the world!

Spencer Badesch
February 16, 2010, 7:11 pm
Filed under: In The Studio

This year is the first year of the Joffrey Ballet’s Academy of Dance. We asked Spencer Badesch, a trainee  with Academy of Dance, what it is like at the new school.

en l’air: Where are you from?

Spencer Badesch: I was born in Columbia, South Carolina. Grew up in West Palm Beach, Fl and went to high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts. I like to consider myself from North Carolina

en l’air: Schools you’ve attended?

Spencer Badesch: Academy of Ballet Florida, The North Carolina School of the Arts, The Washington Ballet School, and the Joffrey Academy of Dance

en l’air: How many years?

SB: Like ten years at Ballet Florida, 4 amazing years at NCSA, and a year at Washington Ballet

en l’air: Summer Programs?

SB: Ballet Austin, The Harid Conservatory, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, ABT NYC

en l’air: What is your schedule like at Joffrey?

SB: Basic Day. Joffrey Ballet’s Trainees’ have class from 1 to 6 every weekday and 10 to 4 on Saturdays. We begin with techique class, followed by men’s class, partnering, contemporary, rehearsals, etc. The trainees take class with the company on a rotating schedule and when casted in a company production, rehearse with the company each day.

en l’air: Who are some of your teachers?

SB: At Joffrey we have Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev. The teachers that have meant the most to me are Donna Morgan, Christine Spizzo, Nina Danivola, Kee-Juan Han and Carlos Varcarcel. There is nothing better then finding a good teacher. My teachers not only taught me the fundementals of ballet, but also influced who I am as a person today.

en l’air: What is some repetory you have done this year in class? Unfortunately, I have spent the majority of this year sidelined by a knee injury. The Joffrey trainees get to learn tons of good rep. Once I get back to dancing, I hope to learn more Aprino ballets as well as anything classical.

en l’air: What is your Academic School status?

SB: I graduated North Carolina School of the Arts

en l’air: Favorite Male and Female dancer? Favorite male would probably be David Hallberg. His musicality, ability to make everything look so effortless, and the way be really becomes the chartacter he is portraying really make him stand out. Not of mention, he was blessed with a perfect ballet facility. I have many favorite female dancers! I love to watch anything Diana Vishneva dances. She is the definition of beauty. Also I really enjoy Tamara Rojo’s dancing. After I saw her dance MacMillian’s Manon this summer, I can’t get enough of her.

en l’air: Favorite ballet to watch?

SB:Classical.. it would be between Giselle and Romeo and Juliet. I also love to watch anything by Alonzo King or Jiri Kylian

en l’air: 6 Ballets you have to do before retiring?

SB: Albrecht in Giselle, Romeo and R&J, Siegfried in Swan Lake, anything by Alonzo King and Kylian, and many Chris Wheeldon ballets…

en l’air: Why do you like ballet?

SB: I feel free when I’m dancing, its so relaxing. I enjoy all the work that goes into making everything look effortless

en l’air: Most Played on your iPod recently?

SB: anything classical

en l’air: Things you like other than ballet?

SB: computers, politics, business, electronics

en l’air: What are you most looking forward to?

SB: hopefully joining a company soon

en l’air: Hardest part of being a student?

SB: dress code!

Sebastian Serra
January 4, 2010, 5:01 am
Filed under: In The Studio

Our first “In The Studio” dancer is Boston Ballet School’s Sebastian Serra. In his second year as a Trainee at Boston Ballet School, Sebastian started ballet at the age of 9 in his home country, Puerto Rico. Starting at a small school, then to a school that mixed academics and ballet, after that he went to Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico and finally stayed in the states after a summer program at Boston Ballet. We asked Sebastian questions about his life as a student at a professional school and being part of a “Trainee Program”.

en l’air: So how did you end up staying in Boston?

Sebastian Serra : During the summer program I got to dance the lead in the men’s regiment in Stars and Stripes (by George Balanchine) and they offered me a spot in their trainee program. By then I had finished my high school because I graduated a year early and already had done one year of college. So it was an easier decision for my parents to let me go since I was a step ahead in my academics.

en l’air: What other summer programs have you been to?

SS: Virginia School of the Arts, Orlando Ballet School, School of American Ballet, The Rock School, Boston Ballet and San Francisco Ballet

en l’air: What’s the basic day of a Trainee?

SS:A normal day in the live of a BB trainee would start at 10:00 am with a technique class (boys and girls together, which is kinda lame) then girls would have pointe class and men a men’s technique class. And after that it could be another class like modern, character or partnering depending on the day. After that rehearsals with the company that could go on until 8:00 pm! Yes, we have no lives.

en l’air: What kind of stuff do the trainees work on in classes?

SS: In class right now we’ve been working in different classical variations like Corsaire, Coppelia, Nutcracker, Duattino (a ballet from SFB) and some of Napoli variations. But we also have done some contemporary stuff like In the Middle of Somewhat Elevated, which is a lot of fun.

en l’air: What’s the hardest part of being a student?

SS: Dancers never stop being students. We always keep learning but while in school the hardest part is trying to stay focus on why you’re there. Because when you are with the same teachers all day long, doing the same combinations every week and wearing the same dress code all year long school can get very repetitive and frustrating. And sometimes you don’t have the freedom to express your self at the maximum through dancing in school.

en l’air: Favorite male and female dancers?

SS: My favorite male dancer would be Rolando Sarabia (when he was younger and awesome) Now I need to do some research and find an all time favorite but I do really like Roberto Bolle because he’s not just a dancer but does different things outside of ballet. Davit Karapetyan from SFB and Ivan Vasiiev. His jump is ridiculous. Favorite female, Sylvie Guillem. Actually my friend in BB2 made a hilarious fan group for Sylve on facebook called Sylvie Does It.  Even now that she does only contemporary, she is beautiful. Also Alina Cojocaru and Marianela Nunez I think are incredibly perfect and beautiful.

en l’air: Favorite ballet to watch?

SS: James Kudelka’s Cinderella, Jorma Elo’s Carmen and Jimmy Gamonet’s Carmen too.

en l’air: What are 5 ballets that you have to do before you retire?

SS: Romeo and Juliet, In The Upper Room (Tharp), Don Quixote, Symphony in C (Balanchine) and anything by Jerome Robbins

en l’air: Whats on your iPod?

SS: John Mayer is always playing. Also Owl City

en l’air: Random things in your dance bag?

SS: If you look in my bag right now you would find an incredibly large collection of fake grapes. I took them from Giselle props backstage in Boston. I squeeze them to relieve stress. I also have an invisible ink pen and for some reason a ton of crackers and candy canes.

en l’air: What other things do you like to do outside of ballet?

SS: I don’t have much time for things outside of ballet, but I like painting and doing crafts. I made my Halloween costumes for the past 2 years out of cardboard. I made a crab one year and this year I was a giraffe. I also like to watch movies and cook. One of my roommates got an easy recipes book and we have been trying a lot of the recipes out in our apartment. My favorite thing to make is alfredo pasta with chicken.

en l’air: What are you most looking forward to?

Right now there is a rumor going around that Jorma Elo (Boston Ballet’s resident choreographer) is going to work with the trainees on a new piece for our spring showcase…and that would be awesome.

Good luck to Sebastian in his search to jump from student to professional. We hope all goes well for him during audition season. Catch him and the rest of the Boston Ballet School trainees in the company’s major productions as well as their end of the year performance perhaps in a new Jorma Elo ballet.