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Assemblée Internationale 2009

Assemblée Internationale 09

8:00AM - 9:30AM
Currie Hall
10:00AM - 11:30AM
Ballet classes
Studios, Celia Franca Centre
11:45AM - 1:00PM
Rehearsals for existing repertoire Program B
Studios, Celia Franca Centre
1:00PM - 2:15PM
Lunch break for students & staff
Mona Campbell Square, Celia Franca Centre
1:15PM - 2:45PM
"Think Tank/Brainstorming Sessions" over lunch, all Artistic Directors
Academic Building
2:15PM - 4:15PM
Rehearsals for choreographic workshop
Studios, Celia Franca Centre
7:30PM - 10:30PM
PERFORMANCE: Existing repertoire Program B
Betty Oliphant Theatre
404 Jarvis Street

Interviews and Reports

AI09 Day 5

The Musician's Perspective
by Joanna Gertler, NBS' Director of Marketing & Communications

The mixed groupings of ballet classes this week have been so exciting to watch and I'm sure even moreso if you're a participant. Feeling equally excited are the musicians, who've been scheduled to play for these classes. I overheard Valentina Gurovsky ask Gailene Stock as she entered the studio in which she was teaching yesterday, "Fast or slow? You're European right, and European's like it fast, yes?"

My question to Rob Thaller, one of the musicians playing this week, was "how do you know what to play when you've a room filled with different students and a teacher you've never met before?" Rob says he takes his cues from the instructor, but also needs to take the pulse of the students too. As for the difference in the pace of music? He noticed in the class taught by Mark Annear, from Australia, that Mark began with a very slow warm-up, whereas when he played for Amanda Beck's (Amsterdam) class earlier in the week, the tempo was considerably quicker – especially for tendus. In fact he said, she had to prompt him to keep the pace up!

Everyone has had an opportunity to learn in these classes – from the younger NBS students and staff observing; the students dancing in class, as well as the musicians and teachers. It's truly an incredible experience!

AI09 Day 5

Sharing His Experience: David Nixon Visits Grade 8 & 9
by Kennedy Kraeling, Grade 9

During the exciting week of the Assemblée Internationale, my Grade 9 class and the Grade 8 class had the privilege of meeting David Nixon, who is an alumnus of the school, a successful professional dancer, choreographer and current Artistic Director of Northern Ballet Theatre in Leeds, England. Mr Nixon, is a very well-rounded and talented individual, talked bout his experiences here at our school as a student, and also of his experiences working around the world. While a student at NBS, he said that one of the classes he had taken with a guest teacher, Evgeny Valukhin, had impacted him greatly. He explained that the teacher demonstrated the most beautiful arabesque he had ever seen and that the picture of it was still planted in his head very clearly today. The class waited in anticipation, expecting that the arabesque would have been at an extreme height, but Mr Nixon said it was only at about 45 degrees. He made it clear that this arabesque made him realize that the height in extensions was not the most important thing, and that something so simple and pure can make a big statement in dance.

He also touched on some of the choreography he has created for the Northern Ballet Theatre dancers. Some of the works he mentioned include, A Midsummer's Night Dream and Peter Pan. We also watched some footage of a short contemporary-style ballet he created on some of his dancers in the Northern Ballet Theatre. From what we saw of this piece, we were able to see clarity and beauty that suited the dancers very well and showed their talents at their best. His choreography was very inspiring for the young, aspiring choreographers in the room, and was also a great example of creativity and hard work.

We were also able to ask Mr Nixon questions we had at the end of our meeting. This gave us the chance to hear David Nixon's opinions and thoughts – which were insightful – on issues and topics we had in mind. This was a wonderful opportunity for the Grade 8 & 9 classes and each one of us took away something special from this rare occasion.

AI09 Day 5

Chatting with Student Choreographers
by Katharine Harris, NBS' Media Relations & Communications Officer

Earlier in the week, I was lucky enough to sit in on a roundtable conversation set up between several of the visiting student choreographers. They are both nervous and excited about their time here at the AI. Listening to their conversations, I was intrigued by some of the things they said. As the student choreographers had their works recorded, distributed and learned by other dancers via DVD, I was curious to hear dancers talk about the positives and negatives of this system. Learning a work from DVD is quite typical for dancers these days, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy. The choreographers talked about the difficulties of recording their work but being unable to convey in the recording the foundation of the movement or the motivation behind their sequences. This information can only really be exchanged in studio.

Each of the choreographers talked about how different an experience it was to see their work performed by dancers other than those who had helped create it. They each also spoke of the contrast and differences in the styles of all the dancers. When they each created their works on their classmates, the styles of movement were quite consistent and familiar. Now, seeing their work danced by a cast of students from a variety of schools, each choreographer is quite pleased to see the impact of the differing styles of each of the students.

Today is Day Five of the Assemblée Internationale, and tomorrow features the first presentation of the student choreographic workshop pieces. I can't wait to see all the works, and know all our student choreographers are looking forward to seeing their work on stage danced by such an incredible and international cast.

AI09 Day 5

Watching the Rehearsal for Improvisation AI09 with Mihai Chirita, Grade 10
by Joanna Gertler, NBS' Director of Marketing & Communications

As I stepped out of Studio 5D, where Shaun Amyot's rehearsal for his choreographic piece was taking place, I came across another observer, Mihai Chirita. Mihai had participated in an earlier cast of this piece before our international guests arrived. When asked what was different with the mixed cast, Mihai told me that he sees quite a lot of changes. "When it was done only with NBS students, there was a similar style to our movements. But with the other students now involved, they each bring their own training and style to the work. The group that comes in at floor level – they enter so strongly, like they're not afraid of the ground and they're so connected to it!"

Mihai told me he was really impressed with Rotterdam's Duet #2 from Blue Dance (from Program A, performed last night) where he saw a very strong, physical style of movement expressed. Mihai says that seeing this style of movment makes him want to try it himself, but in the meantime, he'll use this week's influences to inspire his own work.

Day 5 in photographs

AI09 Day 5
AI09 Day 5

Cuban Dancers in Rehearsal

National Ballet School of Cuba
National Ballet School of Cuba rehearsing Majisimo, choreographed by Jorge Garcia. (03:28)

AI09 Blog

AI09 Blog

Read our AI09 blog & check back frequently for updates.

Passion, Power, Life

I can only say that the thoughts, ideas and passions expressed by word spoken and unspoken and danced have served to refresh and reaffirm the unique power and life energy of this great artform. The students have restored my faith in the future.

David Nixon,
Northern Ballet Theatre

Open & Inclusive

Many thanks once again for inviting me to participate in the Assemblée Internationale. I greatly admire the openness and inclusiveness that you brought to the event and was thrilled to see that the students were also given a voice, both as choreographers and in the student forum. These were truly remarkable events.

My warmest regards,
Mark Annear,
Australian Ballet School

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