Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Step in the Dark

           The Step in the Dark dance program, our innovative curriculum for blind and visually-impaired children, began again this September at the Braille Institute of Orange County.  Through weekly classes, children ages 9-17 learn the basics of ballet, with an emphasis on confidence, posture, and building spatial awareness skills. 
Teachers and students alike had a wonderful time, and it’s fair to say that these very special children taught us as much, or more, than we taught them.  Their openness and eagerness to learn were a pleasure to work with, and their sheer joy whenever they conquered a new step was magical to watch.  Many of these kids with sight-impairments don’t get a chance to participate in everyday activities that most children their age take for granted, such as sports, art, or dance.  Even navigating the “normal” world can often be a challenge.  We helped bring them not only ballet, but confidence and self esteem. Watch the program in action...

After only four classes the kids were already doing real ballet moves.   Find out more at www.johncartballet.org and support us in our heartfelt mission to bring ballet into the lives of children with disabilities. Such opportunities are rare for children with sight impairments, and your donations make this and future programs for the deaf and wheel-chair bound a reality.  Without you, we could not provide these valuable and life-changing services for some of the most under served members of our communities.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meet Yoko!

Hello!  My name is Yoko Sasaki, and I am a member of the JohnC Art Ballet.  I was born and raised in Japan, but came to America seeking more opportunities for my career as a dancer. After my first class with John Welch, the artistic director, I immediately fell in love with the way this company moves.  Every single word from Mr.Welch makes it clear to me exactly what I really need to do to reach my true potential as an artist.  He takes me out of my mechanical, box-like way of thinking and moving.  He constantly challenges me to break the rules, even the limitations imposed on me from my personal culture.  This freedom has allowed me to transform as a dancer, and I am now on my way to becoming a virtuoso artist with the power to move audiences on a spiritual and emotional level.  Because we also train to be injury-free, (unheard of in the dance world), I know that my career with the JohnC Art Ballet won’t end until I decide to retire. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lady Katrrrrina...

Hi! I'm Katie and I was born in a small northern California town called Red Bluff. I began my ballet training at age 6.  My mom tells me that she put me in ballet after first trying gymnastics, because after each gymnastics lesson I would tell her how much I hated it. Guess I never complained about ballet, because I have been dancing ever since.  I started by training at the local studio and then in high school spent 2 hours in the car 5 days a week to train at Chico Community Ballet for two years. Gotta love moms who are willing to sacrifice their time and money for their kids -- thanks Mom!  I took my love of dance to UC Irvine where I graduated with a BA in Dance in 2000. In the summer of 2000, a friend of mine introduced me to John Welch’s training and after the first class I was hooked.  Hooked by the intensity of the training and the director, hooked by finally being told to dance a certain way for a real purpose (not just for looks), hooked by feeling of my Achilles tendonitis pain and chronic low back pain disappearing in just a few weeks, and hooked by a dream and a mission to bring excellence in dance training to anyone who desires it.  After years of being told I should settle for a different dance style, I have the opportunity to take my ballet training as far as I desire.  This is a place where not only the director pushes you and wants you to achieve excellence, but so do your fellow dancers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Midwest Girl!

Hey! My name is Sarah. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. After graduating college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance I auditioned for dance companies everywhere in the Midwest, but nothing seemed to fit.  After I auditioned at the JohnC Art Ballet, I knew that this was the place I needed to be.  I knew I was going to be challenged and that it wasn’t going to be easy – but I also knew I needed it. John Welch, the artistic director, seemed to know instantly what has been holding me back from being a great dancer.  Instead of believing in what I wanted, I was listening to everyone else around me telling me how I would fail.  The training here is unlike anything I have received, seen or heard of before.  Every day, John demands that we engage on a personal level with our art, so that we become more sensitive to the world around us.  John truly cares for and believes in each and every one of us. I have been with the company for almost three years now, and since then I have learned to finally and honestly dance from the heart.  The JohnC Art Ballet has made a huge impact on my life and I hope to share some of that with you!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Heeeere's Neekstar!

Hi, my name is Veronica, and I’ve been with the JohnC Art Ballet for ten years now.  I love this company so much for what it stands for, bringing art back into ballet.  Our director, John, constantly challenges us to go beyond what we think is possible, and that means every class is a chance to improve and discover how much more we have to give.  The standard here is very high, but there is an assumption that everyone has the potential to be great.  Which also means there are no excuses for not doing well.  You don’t get to excuse yourself from working just because you don’t have the “perfect” feet, or turnout, or the ideal “ballet body.”  While that’s what drew me to the company in the first place, it has also proved to be a lot harder than I thought.  Before this I danced with the Palms Springs Ballet and received my degree from UC Irvine in California, but I can honestly say that I didn’t really start dancing until I came here.  Even after so many years with the company, I’m still excited about the work we’re doing.  My own personal growth as an artist is very important to me, but so is watching my fellow dancers on their own journeys toward excellence. It’s been an amazing experience so far, so be sure to keep reading!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Meet Cassie!

 Hi, I’m Cassie.  I’ve been with JohnC Art Ballet for one and a half years now.  I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and also went to school there at The University of Arizona.  I moved to Southern California to join the company right after auditioning because from the first plie I did in that audition, I knew this was where I belonged.  Although my journey here has just started, I’ve already learned so much.  And it doesn’t end at learning how to REALLY do a plie and tendu.  I’m learning about who I really am, about the art and expression of ballet, about being aware and sensitive to everything in life.  I’m learning how to truly feel and embrace my art fully and become a true artist.  I never realized how unaware I was of my dancing -- the art in dancing, expressing, and really everything around me until I started dancing here.  I have a feeling blogging about my journey is going to help that much more.