CORPS de Ballet and the Tudor Curriculum
Awards, Conference, Workshops
22, 23, 24, 25 June 2011
Grande Street Cafe, UMKC Dance Division PAC 103, 128 and KC Ballet Studios
1 - The Awards Banquet
Grande Street Cafe, at 47th and Grand, behind Winsteads, had some of dance and dance education's heavy hitters for dinner, Wednesday night the 22cnd. This was the 13th annual CORPS conference and featured a major emphasis on introducing the Antony Tudor curriculum for schools. CORPS de Ballet is an acronym/word name - Council of Organized Researchers for the Pedagogical Study of Ballet. That's a handle. I'll just spell it "CORPS," in caps.
UMKC's own Paula Weber, chair of the dance division within the Conservatory is president of CORPS. KC Ballet
KC Ballet's Artistic Director William Whitener gave the opening address. CORPS president and UMKC dance division chair, Paula Weber is on the left.
Dance author Judith Chazin-Bennahum opens her lifetime acheivement award, presented by Paula Weber.
A display of Judith Chazin-Bennahum's latest book.
Left, David Curwen, listens to speeches in honor of his Service Award as wife, Sharon Garber, reacts.
In these pictures, the awards banquet is hearing a comicly garbled email message David sent several years ago, while on painkillers for a bad back sprain.
He had been heading toward an earlier conference when he was injured.Determined not to let down the conference, and barely able to walk un-aided (after first having to be lifted) he was prescribed pain and anti-inflammatory medications, which influenced his perceptions for several days and brought hilarity to this conference. Maybe he should also get the "good sport" award?
The couple teach in the dance department at Western Michigan University where Sharon Garber and David Curwen are both Associate Professors. (http://www.wmich.edu/dance)
Sally Brayley Bliss, from the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust and executrix of the Tudor Estate, addresses the group. She recounted her ealy history dancing for Tudor and Balanchine.
Current and past presidents of CORPS: Paula Weber, ..., David Curwen, Christine Knoblauch-O'Neal, Sharon Garber
2 - The Workshops and Summer Intensive
Introducing the Tudor Curriculum to ballet educators in the CORPS conference (Here at UMKC, room 128 in PAC - Performing Arts Center) the morning of the first day, 23 June 2011.
The resignation seciton from "Dark Elegies" by Antony Tudor during performance/lecture demo on Saturday afternoon the 25th of June 2011 combining dancers from Webster University in St. Louis and from UMKC dance division.
Tudor class in KC Ballet School's summer intensive. Here I've stitch two shots of the same ballerina (from Webster) in Arabesque. She is not twins.
Left to right: KC Ballet dancer Kimberly Cowen, Tudor Trust's Sally Brayley Bliss,
watch a Tudor Curriculum class demo in the KC Ballet Studios (Studio 3)
Workshop with ballet teachers in a section from "Dark Elegies" repetiteur and KCB Ballet Masterr James Jorden (center, in black) leads the exercise.
Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner accept flowers for their teaching and guidance in the summer intensive with KCB
James Jordan, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner surrounded by students from the summer intensive with KCB
The Can Can number in Antony Tudor's Offenbach and the Underworld.
Part of the class / demo at KC Ballet in Studio 3. The dancers are in the KC Ballet School Summer Intensive.
Workshop run throughs for Tudor's Continuo (at KC Ballet Studios)
The same moments from resignation section of Dark Elegies by Antony Tudor where a husband and wife in the grieving village touch. At lLeft in a demonstration performance where UMKC student and grads reprised their roles from the UMKC Spring concert (here, Gavin Stewart, Rose Taylor-Spann) along with Webster University students. At right in a workshop with ballet teachers repetiteur and KCB Ballet Master James Jorden (center, in black) leads the exercise.
One of three groups in a short sequence from Continuo by Tudor - Here in White Recital Hall, UMKC, Saturday lecture/demo
A number of the Kansas City Ballet School's Summer Intensive (2011) students line up on stage in White Recital Hall for a photograph. Husband and wife dancers, Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner are in the center back.
Photographing this piece again gave me an opportunity to repeat a sequence of shots. The dancer is Alyssa Gold (UMKC). She had done these jetés for performance two months earlier in the Spring 2011 concert.
Here she was again, reprising the role and hitting the same spots.
In spring I took exactly four shots for the seqence shown here on the right (frame numbers, 2888, 89, 90 and 91).
On the left, I shot the same places, again with four clicks of the camera and Alyssa Gold was exactly the same again (frame numbers, 3229, 30, 31, 32).
This seemed like a good opportunity to create an example of shooting at the right moment, rather than what I usually see from media shooters, which is to "machine gun" the camera in hopes of getting something.
Continuous drive (motor drive) is the worst way to shoot. At several frames per second you would not get either one of these two sequences, let alone both.
I have yet to see a camera which can listen to music, watch the dancer and learn from rehearsals. I've been asked for tips and I have to say there really are no tips. Dance photography is neither concert photography nor motion/action photography, despite surface similarities. Underneath you need what is called "subject knowledge" and there is no simple formulation for subject knowledge. No checklist will get you there.
I always say that listening is more important than looking. That the dance and dancer are more important than any "graphic" or "photographic" sense. Any graphics should derive and emerge from the dance itself. The same with "tips" for the camera, the come directly from an understanding of the subject matter, not as an imposition of "rules" and techniques of photography.
Dance Division moments between studio classes
With staff and guest choreography
Other Dance Concerts and Dance Division Events at UMKC
Held every April with staff and visiting choreography. A showcase for the year.
CORPS de Ballet 2011 Conference with the introduction of the Tudor Curriculum
Battleworks Concert - 25 October 2008
UMKC Master Class with Robert Battle - 20-24 Oct 2008
Note: as of spring 2011 Robert Battle took over as Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey from the retiring Judith Jamison.
Master Class with Donald McKayle - August 2006
100th Year Anniversaryof the Conservatory - April 2006
These are held in the winter semester and the graduating seniors begin signups and rehearsals early in the fall semester. This is one of their last graded works. Each senior choreographs and directs a group piece and performs in a solo which may be self-choreography or another's and may also be a duet if there is a large enough mix of solo to duet.
There are a number of recital concerts, depending on the total number of seniors. Generally the mid-week concerts have in-town seniors while those with families out of town are scheduled for Saturdays so relatives can attend.
Senior Recital 2012
Senior Recital 2011
Senior Recital 2008
Senior Recital 2007
Senior Recital 2005
Non-UMKC events which have UMKC dancers, staff or visiting artists.
Don McKayle talk 24 Jan 2008 at Public Library, KCMO about Kansas City Ballet piece he was commisioned to create.
UMKC guys in Romeo and Juliet at Kansas City Ballet Spring 2008 backstage in costumes.
Wylliams/Henry Sept 2006 and "Games ," choreography Donald McKayle.
For some of the least expensive, good dance entertainment in Kansas City the University of Missouri Kansas City's Conservatory of Dance and Music's Dance Division offers some of the best young adult dancers in the area. UMKC's Dance Division is among the top dance schools in the country. Those of us who live in this area often miss that distinction but people elsewhere know (isn't it always so?).