A Dancers Life

New Black-Swan inspired mini-series to air this year!

NewsEnergetiksComment

For those of you still suffering from Dance Academy withdrawals (...who isn't?), we have good news!

A new ballet-focused mini series is currently in the works; described as a "dark and gritty drama that unflinchingly explores the dysfunction and glamour of the ballet world" - Starz' new drama series Flesh and Bone features dancer Sarah Hay (previously in Aronofsky's film Black Swan) who plays the role of a young ballet dancer making her way in a prestigious New York ballet company.

The cast boasts an impressive selection of professional and former professional dancers (the producers have stated they aimed to use as many real dancers as possible as opposed to actors with body doubles... hurrah!) including former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko, current American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky, and Ballet Arizona company dancer Raychel Diane Weiner. The series also sought out Ethan Stiefel, artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, who served as consultant and choreographer. He created 13 minutes of original ballet in addition to the other elaborate dancing involved in the series.

Certainly something to loo forward to for anyone who's a fan of dance dramas on the small screen! The mini-series is set to air on November 8th in the US, hopefully closely followed by an Australian release date!

Sarah Hay (left), Ethan Stiefel (centre) and Irina Dvorovenko (right).

Introducing...

Energetiks Dancer of the Month!Energetiks1 Comment
-1.jpg

Name: Daniel
Age: 24
How did you get into dancing, and how old were you? I got into dance through a local youth arts group, I was about 16 at the time.
What do you like about Energetiks? the STYLE!
Do you have a favourite style of dance? I love contemporary dance, the long flowing movements and the ease of storytelling
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? If I had it my way, I would be dancing every day, and acting in my spare time.
What do you like to do when you're not dancing? I act, I am currently learning lines for one play while writing a script for another play.
All-time favourite dance movie: Billy Elliot!
Best dance memory/moment: The very first time I danced in front of an audience (I have been on stage many times before but never for dance) the feeling was amazing, like nothing in the world mattered. The audience faded away, time slowed and the lights reflected off of the stage and my fellow dancers and we just moved... it was beautiful.
Food you can't live without: That's an easy one CHOCOLATE.
The person you'd most like to meet: I would have loved to have met Michael Jackson... he was an amazing artist.
Favourite saying or advice that inspires you: "If it is to be, it is up to me."

daniel.jpg

 

 

Congratulations Daniel, you've won an Energetiks Mystery Prize! Please email promotions@energetiks.com.au to receive your prize.

 

Would you like to be featured as our Energetiks Dancer of the Month?

 

Energetiks Dancer of the Month Questionaire

Name:
Age:
How did you get into dancing, and how old were you?
What do you like about Energetiks?
Do you have a favourite style of dance (if so what)?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What do you like to do when you're not dancing?
All-time favourite dance movie:
Best dance memory/moment:
Food you can't live without:
The person you'd most like to meet (living or dead):
Favourite saying or advice that inspires you:
Include a photo of yourself (dance related please)
 

Email your answers to promotions@energetiks.com.au for a chance to be featured!

Quality not quantity - Getting the most out of your dance training.

Dance Advice, The Dancer's DiaryEnergetiksComment

Full-time dancer and Energetiks model Layla shares her advice on seeing improvements sooner rather than later!


I am sure many readers will hear the phrase 'practise makes perfect', which in most cases can be the key to nailing a dance piece. But are you using your time wisely? Time not spent working to the best of your abilities can be time wasted or even worse time spent working yourself into an injury. My name is Layla Burgess and in this blog post I will be talking about how to safely manage your work time using quality rather than quantity. I have been dancing since I was 3 and I am currently in my second year of full time ballet on the gold coast. I am Classically trained but love all styles. I have definitely spent many hours tucked away in the studio. Days where I feel like I haven't even seen the sun, and days where I come home feeling like not a muscle in my body could support myself much longer. I have also suffered from a dislocated knee, which taught me to listen to my body. My body at that stage was tired and overworked, when I didn’t heed the warning signs it hit harder than expected. Coming back from my injury taught me with that within a short amount of time I could overwork my injury and that I really had to do the most important things in that time. Thinking before dancing can be a key step from moving up from just a dancer, to a great dancer.


Each dancer’s goal is to improve as quickly as possible but this doesn't necessarily mean racking up hours in the studio. Alternative ways to improve your dancing with a change of scenery can keep you on your toes and motivate to you work harder. For example if you lack a strong stamina and your new dance piece has you puffing half way through, try going for a brisk walk, light jog, or run through your local park or on the beach. Swimming is also great for building up stamina without putting weight on tired muscles. Use the outside fresh air and nature to clear your mind and give you strength to work on your stamina. The change of scenery can distract you from the dance and give you time to think about other things while actually still improving your dancing. If you're working on a ballet exam and your new adage and you're lacking the strength to hold positions then don't overwork yourself by holding them hundreds and hundreds of times. GO back to basics, think about the muscles you are using, or the muscles you should be using. Go back to the barre, hold on and try the positions slowly, look in the mirror and see for yourself if there is anything wrong that can be fixed. If you have found a key muscle that you think is too weak to hold the position, then work on that one muscle, do some pilates or other strength training on that specific muscle. There is no use practicing something if you're practising it wrong. Move slowly through the steps in your work and analyze each moment in your head before trying it. One hour of very focused work can mean so much more than 2 hours of time in the studio spent talking or not really trying as hard as you can.
 

My uncle once told me if you practised something for one hour a day you would become an expert in a year. You may not think this would apply to dancing as it is such a diverse sport/art, though in some ways certain elements do. The effectiveness of the time and effort we put in to our classes can improve our technique at different speeds. We think that committing to hours and hours of blood, sweat and tears will drastically improve our dancing. But the truth is it may not. Sometimes smaller portions of dance but with 110% effort and full focus can mean seeing the results you want quicker and safer.

Hope you enjoyed my first article and that this helps you see some improvements in your dancing!
 

Love Layla Xx
 

Follow Layla on Instagram: instagram.com/laylaburgess


Hot Cross Buns via The Healthy Chef

Delicious!EnergetiksComment
Photo courtesy of The Healthy Chef

Photo courtesy of The Healthy Chef

Now is the perfect time for making these delicious hot cross buns made from wholemeal spelt, oats, muscatel, honey, cinnamon and vanilla. This is not the light fluff style of hot cross bun you may be used to in the supermarkets made from white flour and refined sugar. My version is full of fibre and the oats give it a wonderful chewy density that marries perfectly with the cinnamon and vanilla.  I’ve used large muscatel raisins in this recipe, but they are also delicious with sun-dried figs, apple and walnuts or a combination of dried cherries and 85 % organic dark chocolate to give it that Easter touch.

For those who are gluten free or paleo, you will just love my gluten free version below the spelt, made from almonds and scented with orange, vanilla, cinnamon and honey with a light sprinkle of sun-dried cranberry and organic dark chocolate.

What’s good about them:
Whole-meal spelt is often tolerated with people who have digestive issues as it has a slightly lower gluten content and higher amino acid profile then traditional wheat based flours.  The beta-glucan fiber found in oats can help regulate your appetite and lower blood cholesterol. Macadamia nut and olive oils are anti-inflamatory and kind to the arteries. Cinnamon improves insulin’s efficiency, which lower and help to regulate blood sugar levels.

220g whole meal spelt or whole-wheat flour
50 g rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried yeast
125 ml (1/2 cup milk) your choice of dairy, almond, rice, oat, soy
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or 1/2 of paste
60 ml (1/4 cup) macadamia nut oil or olive oil
1 free range / organic egg, lightly beaten
80 g muscatels or raisins
50 g currants

Mix the wholemeal flour, oats, cinnamon, yeast and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.
Warm the milk, vanilla and honey just a little until just slightly warm, then pour into the mixing bowl along with the egg and  oil.
Mix the dough for about 6 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Add the dried fruits and mix through.
Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or glad wrap and leave the dough to double in size in a warm place for about 1 hour.
Knock back the dough and tip in onto your  working bench.
Kneed a little then shape into 10 rolls.
Cover lightly and allow to rise for another 30 minutes or until double in size.
Preheat your oven to 160 C.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
Cool then if you like pipe a cross made from either white or dark chocolate on top.
Enjoy.

Makes 10 hot cross buns
Nutritional info per bun:
Protein: 4.8 g
Carbs: 28 g
total fat: 7.6 g
Saturated: 1.2 g
Fibre: 3.5 g
Calories: 200
Kilojoules: 838

NOTES:
These buns are delicious lightly toasted with a light spread of macadamia nut butter
Add sun-dried cherries and dark chocolate in place of  raisins and currants.
Add sun-dried figs, apple and walnuts in place of raisins and currants.
Sprinkle with a few oat flakes before baking for a rustic effect or brush with egg wash before baking for a lovely glace finish.

 

GLUTEN FREE / PALEO HOT CROSS BUNS

300 g (3 cups) ground almonds
pinch sea salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda (baking soda)
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil or light flavoured olive oil
2 good tablespoons honey
zest from 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 free range / organic eggs
pinch cinnamon
80 g dried cranberries or cherries
50 g organic dark chocolate 85% + extra for crosses if you like.

Preheat oven to 160 C.
Combine all the ingredients and mix well, this includes the dried cherries and dark chocolate.
Scoop or spoon out 14 small portions onto a baking tray – I like to use a small ice cream scoop.
Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until golden.
Remove and cool.
Drizzle dark chocolate crosses on top if you like.
Enjoy.
Makes 14

Nutrition per bun:
Protein: 5.7 g
Carbs: 10 g
Total fat: 17.7 g
Saturated: 2.2 g
Fibre: 2.3 g
Calories: 218
kilojoules: 912

NOTES:
These last for 5 days in an airtight container.
Makes a delicious power snack.


Recipe credit to Teresa Cutter - The Healthy Chef www.thehealthychef.com

Rising stars: Energetiks Talks with Jacob Speakman and Joshua Arkey

Energetiks talks with:EnergetiksComment
Dancer Jacob Speakman                                                                                Image: Jordan Matter Photography, Dancers After Dark

Dancer Jacob Speakman                                                                                Image: Jordan Matter Photography, Dancers After Dark

www.dancersafterdark.com

If you're a fan of photographer Jordan Matter's breathtaking 'Dancers Among Us' series, and follow-up 'Dancers After Dark', then you've most likely admired a photo or two featuring talented American dancer Jacob Speakman, or his equally gifted best friend, Australian dancer Joshua Arkey.

Both boys are accomplished performers with a string of major roles in Musical Theatre and classical performances, as well as minor television appearances already under their belt. Jacob and Joshua took time out of their busy schedules to chat with us about dance, future goals and Dancers Among Us, read on!

Dawn Gilmore Photography

Dawn Gilmore Photography

Jacob Speakman

Jacob Speakman is currently a sophomore at the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School and Center for Performing and Fine Arts. He received his jazz and contemporary dance training from Gina Veith at Dance Fusion Performance Center and his classical training under the direction of Denis Gronostayskiy and Anastasia Babayeva at The Academy of International Ballet and their professional dance company International Ballet Classique.  Most recently, he attended the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in NYC on partial scholarship. Jacob also enjoys performing in musical theater with Center Stage Productions, including performances in Annie, Fame and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Joshua Arkey

Joshua was born in Sydney, Australia, and just recently finished his High School Certificate (HSC) and moved to Perth after being accepted into WAAPA, The Western Australian Academy Of Performing Arts, to complete a Bachelor of Arts (Dance). Joshua has danced for 15 years and has toured overseas, including America, performing at Downtown Disney, Universal Studios and on The Enchantment Of The Seas, and appearing in Jordan Matter's Dancers Among Us Project whilst in the States. He has also toured Singapore and Australia performing in various shows and appeared as an extra in the Channel 7 Television series Home and Away and Australia, The Story of Us

Energetiks:  Hi Jacob, Hi Joshua! So first off, what got you both started with dance, is anyone else in your family a dancer?

Jake: I have only been dancing for about 3 years.  Prior to dancing I was a gymnast.  I just started training to compete and both of my shoulders started to dislocate from the rings and high bar.  The orthopedic surgeon said that if I didn’t stop gymnastics now, by the time I was 16, I would need both of my shoulders fused.  So my gymnastics career was short lived.  A few years later I decided to try something new and I auditioned for the local middle school play.  The choreographer, Gina Veith owner of Dance Fusion Performance Center and an international dancer, saw something in me that I didn’t know was there.  She invited me to come to one of her dance classes and I have been dancing ever since.  As far as family members, my Grandfather had a cousin who was one of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall in the 1940’s.  My mom always says all my talent came from her side of the family.

Josh: I started dancing when I was 3 years old under the direction of Edward Rooke. My uncle started dance classes and I thought it would be awesome if I could do it also, so I joined up. No one else in my family are dancers but my parents were both athletes when they were younger.

Jacob shortly after starting dance as a teenager.

Jacob shortly after starting dance as a teenager.

Josh as an enthusiastic young dancer.

Josh as an enthusiastic young dancer.

Where did you grow up?

Jake: I grew up in Upper Chichester, which is a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the USA.

Josh: I grew up in Sydney Australia and have recently moved to Western Australia to study at WAAPA.


At what point did you realise that you wanted to pursue dance as a career?

Jake: I knew I wanted to dance from the time I took my very first dance class. 

Josh: As soon as I started dance classes at the age of three I knew that this is exactly what I wanted to do.

What has been the biggest challenge for you to overcome so far in pursuing dance, and what keeps you motivated?

Jake: My biggest challenge so far in dancing I would have to say would be the financial aspect of it.  Everyone who dances knows that dance lessons and training are not cheap.  Last summer my Instructors at The Academy of International Ballet, Anastasia Babayeva and Denis Gronostayskiy, who were trained at The Bolshoi Ballet in Russia encouraged me to audition for The Bolshoi Ballet Summer Intensive in New York City.  I decided to go just so I could get audition experience.  Since I have only been dancing for 2 years at that point I really didn’t think I would get in and I knew there was no way I could afford it.  However, to my surprise not only did I get in but I also received a 60% scholarship.  If there were not scholarship offers out there, there is no way I would have been able to attend such a prestigious program.  What keeps me motivated is just knowing that if there was something out there that I want to do, if I wanted it bad enough, things will fall into place one way or another.

Josh: One of the biggest challenges for me would be the financial side of dancing. As a lot of dancers know dance classes and tuition is immensely expensive. I was lucky enough to be given numerous Scholarships to help me pursue my career in dance. I’m thankful for being given numerous scholarships from Edward Rooke, National Institute Of Performing Arts and Loredo Malcolm. I’m a big fan of quotes (if you follow me on instagram you would know haha!) I find quotes really helpful to keep me motivated and to stay sane! Haha! 

Josh for Dancers Among Us.                                                                                                                 Image: Jordan Matter Photography

Josh for Dancers Among Us.                                                                                                                 Image: Jordan Matter Photography

www.dancersamongus.com

Josh, you had the amazing opportunity of playing the role of 'Benji' in the original cast of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert The Musical, what was the audition process like and how did you find the whole experience?

Josh: This is quite a funny story actually. The day of the audition I actually was invited to a birthday party and being an 8 year old guy, the party was obviously the more important alternative. Lucky enough my dad made me go to the audition instead of the birthday party. I turned up to the audition nervous as ever because all I could really think of was my friend’s birthday party. The first part of my audition was a song of our own choice that was accompanied by a pianist. I sang the song Karma Chameleon by Culture Club. The next part was the acting, I sat down with the producer and had to say lines from the script such as “Look Tick, that’s the pool, that’s my room, mums room and that’s where you and your boyfriend are going to live.”  Pointing at the Lego house that sat in front of me. We then had to improvise some dance moves which came quite naturally to me. After the audition had concluded, there was still enough time to go to my friends birthday party, there’s always enough time to fit everything in!  2 weeks later I came home from school and walked in through the front door to see a big sign that read “ GET READY TO HOP ON THE PRISCILLA BUS!” My parents threw me a surprise party and I literally ran up and down the street for 10 minutes because I was so overwhelmed. Rehearsals started a few weeks later and then onto the big stage I went. Walking out onto the stage every night to thousands of people to later hearing the sound of applause is seriously the best feeling ever! The whole cast was so friendly and loving towards the 4 Benji’s and to share a stage with them is something I will cherish forever.

Josh and his fellow Priscilla cast-mates.

Josh and his fellow Priscilla cast-mates.

Do you still keep in touch with any of your cast mates?

Josh: YES! Social media is such a wonderful thing. I’m able to stay in contact with a lot of the cast mates from Priscilla and even sometimes go out with them if they are in Perth in another show. It’s so great to know that even 10 years later, I am able to keep the relationship that I shared with a lot of the cast of Priscilla.

Jake, you’ve also been in several musical theater productions, which has been the most enjoyable production for you so far?

Jake: My most enjoyable theater production would have to be the role of Rooster in Annie.  It was a difficult role for me to play because I am not used to playing the villain.  However, the choreography was amazing and my dance skills allowed me to shine on the stage.  I will always remember the thunderous applause as we finished dancing and singing to Easy Street.

Jake in the role of Rooster.  Image: C&M Photography

Jake in the role of Rooster.  Image: C&M Photography

Musical theatre is quite a different discipline to ballet, do you find one more challenging than the other, and do you find one more rewarding than the other?

Jake: I actually believe ballet and musical theater are both challenging and both equally rewarding! They are all aspects of performing and I love them both! Ballet is very beautiful, and it is stunning to have a story told only through movement. Musical Theater is amazing because it brings the aspect of expressing yourself through words and through song and dance! I love performing on the stage in any way that I can.  It makes me happy!

Do either of you have any pre-performance rituals or superstitions, and if so what?

Jake: I do have a pre-performance ritual! Before every show I do a muscle relaxing exercise were I lie on the ground and tense every muscle; then relax my whole body. I repeat this 10 times. After doing this I feel relaxed and ready to perform to my best ability! 

Josh: I really love stretching. Whenever I get extremely nervous, I start to stretch. I’ll just throw a leg or even have a quick split.  Just remember that its okay to be nervous, it’s a way the body can prepare itself to perform to the best of its ability.

What are your plans for the future, where do you hope to see yourself in a couple of years time?

Jake: For the next couple of years I would really like to start auditioning for bigger theater companies and dance companies.  I want to start to build my resume and begin an amazing career as a performer.

Josh: In a couple of years time I hope to graduate from the Western Australian Academy Of Performing Arts (WAPPA) and hopefully move over to America (NEW YORK) to audition for musicals or maybe even a dance company.

What do you like to do when you’re not dancing?

Jake: When I am not dancing I am doing many things, as cliché as it sounds I actually spend most of my time stretching. If I’m not stretching then I am spending my time watching YouTube videos for beauty and cosmetology. In late 2015 I hope to save the money to buy a camera and begin a YouTube channel of my own!

Josh: I love exercise. I really love running, swimming, gymnastics and athletics. I’m quite fortunate to have been able to represent the state at Cross Country, High Jump, 800M and Swimming over the past few years. I really just love anything that

Josh, you have spent a fair amount of time overseas, what is your favourite place you’ve travelled to, and which holds the greatest dance memories for you?

Josh: My favorite place I’ve travelled to would definitely be New York City. Some of my greatest dance memories would be performing on “The Enchantment Of The Seas” and at Down Town Disney in Orlando, Florida. 

What style of dance are you most at home doing? What style do you find the most difficult?

Jake: The style I feel at home doing would be Broadway style jazz! I think it is fun to do and it makes me so happy to do it! I feel alive when performing it! A style of dance I find a difficult would be Hip-hop. I don’t know what it is but its almost funny to watch me do Hip-hop, I guess I don’t have swag! Haha!

Josh: I’m by far a ballet head. I really love ballet and Contemporary dance. I definitely find hip hop a challenge because I don’t like using my upper torso… haha!

On a journey: Josh captured for Dancers Among Us waiting for a bus at Port Authority.         Image: Jordan Matter Photography

On a journey: Josh captured for Dancers Among Us waiting for a bus at Port Authority.         Image: Jordan Matter Photography

And Jake, you haven’t been dancing all that long, what do you think was the most difficult part of mastering dance at a much later age than most performers, was it more the flexibility/turnout side of things, learning the technique, or something else?

Jake: In the time that I have started dancing I know there were challenges, but I believe that anything can be overcome with hard work, practice, and loving the challenge.  The only thing that I could even think of as being difficult would be maintaining the mindset and accepting that no one is perfect. No one has perfect hips or legs. Dancing is about expressing how you feel and telling stories. This past year I was diagnosed with depression, I went through a dark time where I began to hate dance and I never thought I would be good enough! Now with the support and love from Friends, Family, and Joshua, I know that I love what I do and I am beyond happy with where I have come as a dancer. 

You’ve both been featured as dancers in photographer Jordan Matter’s stunning ‘Dancers Among Us’ series, how did you get involved with this project?

Jake: This is actually a funny story!

Josh: So on my first trip to America I had seen some of Jordan’s work so I sent him an email asking if he would ever come to Australia (not knowing that I would return to America later that year) I ended up messaging him, letting him know I was coming to America and he said that he would love to shoot with me and that was that!

Jake: …and I’m a part of 'Dancers Among Us' only because of Joshua. He was given the opportunity to work with Jordan, and due to Joshua living with me in the U.S. at the time I came along with him. Being there Jordan asked if I was a dancer too and I respond with a big “Yes!” Jordan then asked if I wanted to take some pictures too and with even more enthusiasm I said “Yes” again. Later that week Jordan and I met and took the photo in the snow.  

Jacob's first shoot with photographer Jordan Matter for Dancers Among Us.                                Image: Jordan Matter Photography

Jacob's first shoot with photographer Jordan Matter for Dancers Among Us.                                Image: Jordan Matter Photography

We also know that you guys are really good friends, how did you meet?

Jake: Joshua and I actually met though Instagram. I know, its sounds crazy but Joshua has become my best friend and he has helped me through many hard moments I have faced in life. This past winter he traveled to the U.S. and spent Christmas and New Years here with me! I am so grateful to know him and I am beyond happy to have him in my life!

Josh: It’s quite hilarious actually because I had never met Jake until I flew across to the other side of the world to go and stay with him! I really believe that sometimes you need to take a step out of your comfort zone and do something that you never thought you were capable of doing. For me, this was the first time I had ever travelled by myself somewhere and it was the longest flight of my entire life!! But hey, it was all worth it in the end, it was one of the best experiences of my life and I can’t wait to be reunited with Jake on my return to America.

 Was shooting with Jordan fun?

Jake: Shooting with Jordan was a stunning experience! His spontaneity makes for lots of laughs and he can create such amazing photos by using the dancers abilities, his creative eye, and both of your love for the work! I am proud to be a part of such an amazing project!

It must be hard keeping in touch with the time difference and the distance between you guys, any plans for another trip to America Josh, or a trip to Australia Jake?

Jake: The time difference and distance is a little hard but we do what we can to make it work for us by chatting when we can! It has been difficult because sometimes we didn’t get to chat for a few days…

Josh: …But it’s got a lot easier now that I’m in Perth. We are exactly 12 hours different from each other and I try my best to face time Jake almost everyday. I mean it gets hard when your best friend lives on the other side of the world... but anything is possible as long as your committed! YES! I’m planning to go back to America at the end of this year again, I may even go and look at other parts of the world like Europe and Asia.

Jake: And I would really love to go to Australia to spend some time with him. I would love to go and meet his family and spend time where Josh grew up! I am trying to save what I can to get there or even help Josh come back to America!  

Do your families come to see you dance very often?

Jake: My family has been beyond supportive to my dancing and me. They almost never miss a performance!

Josh: Well, I don’t live with my parents any more since I’ve recently moved to Perth to study at WAAPA so its quite difficult to see my parents as they live on the East Coast.

Who inspires you?

Jake: Someone that truly inspires me everyday is honestly Joshua! He has been through many things in his life and no matter how tough or hard things get; he can always find something positive! He is the one person in any situation I know will find a light!

Josh: I’m inspired by life. I believe everyone has something to offer in this world and everyday someone and something new inspires me to be better then I already am.

Joshua with fellow dancer Jenna Turner in Times Square earlier this year for this gorgeous photoshoot. Image copyright of Photography by Leandra

Joshua with fellow dancer Jenna Turner in Times Square earlier this year for this gorgeous photoshoot. Image copyright of Photography by Leandra

www.photographybyleandra.com

www.facebook.com/photographybyleandra

What career would you pick if you didn’t dance?

Jake: If I did not dance I would be a makeup artist or an esthetician! I have grown fond of make up techniques and skin care over the year and I think it would be good for me to have an actual education in them.

Josh: If I wasn’t a dancer, I would most likely be a gymnast since I love acrobatics!

Are there any other activities you like doing (apart from dance) to keep fit?

Jake: I do not do many other activates other then dance but I do keep a stretching and conditioning routine that I try to follow before classes and days I am not at dance!

Josh: And I really love to run as I said earlier. It really gets my blood rushing and it makes me feel alive.

Young dancers (especially boys) can often cop some slack from their friends and peers, who don’t understand the passion and dedication that dance can inspire. Did either of you experience this when you were younger, and if so how did you deal with it?

Jake: Personally I have never had the problem, starting at an older age I was able to cut myself away from that sort of negativity. I think everyone gets a little bit though. I’ve gotten a few rude comments from people and it’s hard to hear it sometimes but I have an amazing group of friends that really care for me and they help me get though the negativity! I just have to say that I hate hearing of young dancers (especially boys) that end up quitting because of negative people! But I want to tell them all personally to just keep going! If you love it, do it! It doesn’t matter what other people say or think; it is your life! Never give up because someone else says you can’t, or you’re not good enough, or for boys if they say it’s for girls! If you are happy then keep doing it!

Josh: I believe that everyone goes through this at some time in their life and you know what... yes its going to be hard. I was lucky because I went to a Performing arts high school so it wasn’t as bad but to those who may experience it… Remember that you aren’t alone. Don’t let someone who gave up on his or her dreams talk you out of yours.

What was your New Year’s resolution this year?

Jake: This year (2015) my New Year’s resolution is just to grow as not only a dancer but as a human! I want to experience new things and new style! This world is amazing and I want to see it all! I want 2015 to be the start of it!

Josh: I don’t believe in new-year resolutions because I believe that everyday I need to aspire to better then the person I was yesterday. So therefore the new year is just another day that I can be better.

Do you have any special talents or party tricks?

Jake: A special talent I have I would say is my “C” jump, or as my family refers to is as my “O” jump.  It is something that you can see I mastered pretty quickly by the looks of my very first dance photo.  Having the training in gymnastics also helped with my flexibility.

Josh: I can do a back handspring.. Does that count?

Jacob captured mid-'C' jump outside of Jordan Matter's favourite coffee shop in New York.      Image: Jordan Matter Photography

Jacob captured mid-'C' jump outside of Jordan Matter's favourite coffee shop in New York.      Image: Jordan Matter Photography

Definitely!  If you could meet anyone, living or dead who would you choose?

Jake: If I could meet anyone I think I would love to meet Bob Fosse! I would love to learn all about his unique style of movement! He has impacted the Broadway world in such immense ways it would just be amazing to meet him and talk to him about what he has accomplished! 

Josh: I would choose to meet Hugh Jackman.. One day I aspire to be exactly like him.

What always makes you laugh?

Jake: Something or I should say someone that always makes me laugh is Joshua! He always knows how to make me laugh and make me happy! He is a funny guy and it’s really nice to have him in my life!

Josh: My friends make me laugh more then I could ever imagine.

Do you have any pets?

Jake: I have two dogs, Specs and Raven. Raven is a 10 year old black pug and Specs is my 2 year old Chiweenie!

Josh: Nope, no pets.

Song you keep listening to at the moment:

Jake: I have actually been listening to the 2006 cast recording of “A Chorus Line!” It is a beautiful show and I hope to be a part of it one day!

Josh: I really love the song “Corner Of The Sky” from “Pippin”.

Favourite dance movie:

Jake: My favorite dance movie is “Singin’ in the Rain!” When I first started taking interest in dance and theater this was one of the first things I saw and I just fell in love with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds!

Josh: I don’t really have a favorite dance movie because I love everything dance!

What’s your favorite part of class?

Jake: My favorite part of class is actually stretching and warming up! I don’t entirely know why but it is just nice to take time to yourself and relax!

Josh: I really love jumping and adage.

The best advice you’ve ever been given:

Jake: The best advice I have ever been given was “Never give up!” There have been many people that have told me this and it is something that I always keep in the back of my head!

Josh: The best advice I have ever been given is to BE YOU!  

Joshua whips out a perfect battement for this fantastic post-festive shot at the beginning of the year! Image: Jordan Matter Photography

Joshua whips out a perfect battement for this fantastic post-festive shot at the beginning of the year! Image: Jordan Matter Photography

Finally, do you have any advice for other aspiring dancers?

Jake: One thing what I want tell any aspiring dancer is truly NEVER GIVE UP!! No matter how hard a class was or if anyone ever tells you that you are not good enough, NEVER GIVE UP! Every single person is stunning in their own way and what you have no one else has. Without you the dance world loses an amazing talent that can’t be replaced! So, anyone who reads this; if you can only take one thing from anything I have said, I want it to be that! Never Give Up!

Josh: The only advice I have for everyone out there is to believe in yourself and do what makes you happy. Anything is possible because no dream is too small and no dream is too big! Live the life you’ve imagined! xxx

Thanks for chatting to us guys :) we’re wishing you all the success and accomplishments you deserve, and we can’t wait to see what you both get up to in the future!

Energetiks

Follow Jacob on Instagram.

Follow Joshua on Instagram.

Follow Leandra Photography on Instagram.

Follow Jordan Matter on Instagram
(Pssst! He's just photographed our Model Ashi Ross too, go have a look!).

For more incredible dance photography be sure to check out Jordan's Facebook as well as the website for his latest project, Dancers After Dark, which captures dancers at their most daring, in photographs that resonate with both power and vulnerability. Beautiful!

DANCERS AFTER DARK





The Australian Ballet farewells Principal Dancer Madeleine Eastoe

NewsEnergetiksComment

The Ballet World will be losing one of it's shining stars this year when The Australian Ballet's Principal artist Madeleine Eastoe retires. The 36 year old beauty will take her final bow after once more performing the role of Giselle, her christening role as a newly promoted principal in 2006. After 18 years of dancing with the Australian Ballet Madeleine will be focusing on spending more time with her family (husband and choreographer Tim Harbour and six year old daughter Ella); “I want to be around more for them. They have been extremely adaptable with my job.”

We wish you all the very best with your new path Madeleine, your presence on stage will be greatly missed!  

Introducing...

Energetiks Dancer of the Month!EnergetiksComment
-1.jpg

Name: Saskia

Age: 14

How did you get into dancing, and how old were you?
When I was 9 I invited my friend over to my house and she taught me the first few steps of her tap dance and I was hooked. I enrolled in the same classes as her.

What do you like about Energetiks Dancewear?
I like the vibrant colours. I think they really stand out against the usual black of most dancewear.

Do you have a favourite style of dance (if so what)?
I thinks its a tie between Jazz and Lyrical. I like the upbeat-ness of Jazz and the sass! And I like the emotion and the gracefulll-ness of Lyrical.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself doing music videos, photos shoots and teaching dance.

What do you like to do when you're not dancing?
I like to read and go shopping with my friends.

All-time favourite dance movie:
Footloose FOR SURE!!!!

Best dance memory/moment:
Coming off stage from my first duo in an eisteddfod and feeling like a different dancer.

Food you can't live without:
SULTANAS!

The person you'd most like to meet (living or dead):
Ashi Ross or JK Rowling.

Favourite saying or advice that inspires you:
I was feeling really self concious at one point and my friends asked me this. 'Do you care about what other people are wearing/doing?' And i said no. And she said 'Then they don't care about what you're wearing/doing.'

Saskia.jpg
 

Congratulations Saskia, you've won an Energetiks Mystery Prize! Please email promotions@energetiks.com.au to receive your prize.

Would you like to be featured as our Energetiks Dancer of the Month?

 

Energetiks Dancer of the Month Questionaire 

Name:
Age:
How did you get into dancing, and how old were you?
What do you like about
 Energetiks?
Do you have a favourite style of dance (if so what)?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What do you like to do when you're not dancing?
All-time favourite dance movie:
Best dance memory/moment:
Food you can't live without:
The person you'd most like to meet
 (living or dead):
Favourite saying or advice that inspires you:
Include a photo of yourself (dance related please)

 

Email your answers to promotions@energetiks.com.au for a chance to be featured!

A ballerina tribute

About dance, Things we LOVEEnergetiksComment

This is the grave of ballerina Marie Taglioni at the Montmartre cemetery in Paris, where young dancers still leave their dancing shoes and flowers. Marie Taglioni pioneered the en pointe style of dance in the 1800's which characterises ballet today.

What a lovely way to honour a dancer whose life & work had such great influence on the classical ballet artform.

Marie Taglioni  (1804 - 1884)

Marie Taglioni  (1804 - 1884)

Learn more about Marie here.

Dance talk: The pros and cons of having different teachers.

Dance Advice, About danceEnergetiksComment

When I was fifteen, and had been dedicating every waking moment to dance for long enough that my parents began to realise my ambitions of a career in ballet weren’t just childhood fantasies of tutus and tiaras (although, a tiara wouldn’t hurt..) and that one way or another I was determined to succeed beyond the limitations of my little country town dance school and get myself into a prestigious full-time ballet school in the city where I could hopefully forge my way into the dance industry and (pointe shoes crossed) a successful career. And after my dad had recovered from the disappointment that I wasn’t going to end up chasing sheep, and driving the family tractor around the farm like a (comical) protegé for him to mentor, and mum had accepted with thinly-veiled dismay that I would not be discovering the cure for cancer or a new, exotic species of animal (as my eager-to-please six year old self may have intimated on several occasions) then it became clear that in order to continue advancing my technique and skills I needed to be doing more dance classes.

I was already taking every available class with my current dance teacher, and helping teach several classes a week as well, so we decided it was time to try and find another teacher to give me the extra tuition I was looking for. Luckily, by some miraculous turn of events my mother literally bumped into a woman who was not only a highly regarded ballet teacher, she was from South Africa, had owned her own dance school, judged RAD classical exams for years and was notoriously strict. I began taking private lessons with her twice a week, on top of the 5 nights I spent at my original studio. These lessons were amazing, and my new teacher not only challenged me, she picked apart every aspect of my technique and put me back together again stronger and more determined than ever.

It wasn’t long though before I realised that as much as these private classes were helping, there was also some disadvantages. For one thing, the fact that I was taking classes with another dance teacher made me even more conspicuous to the other students of my dance school where I was already the odd 'bun' out in a sea of ponytails and t-shirts (the dress code at our school was very casual, and most of the students saw the classes as a bit of fun and somewhere to socialise with friends, whilst my approach was a little more serious), and I couldn’t help feeling a little excluded because of this (though this could have been just in my head, it still affected me). And before long I began to notice the many differences in the way my two teachers taught, and soon started to feel somewhat uncertain about what was the ‘right’ way. All this time I had never questioned the methods of my first teacher, but now that I had another one who I respected equally, yet who had different opinions on proper technique I became unsure, and this dilemma began to affect my confidence when dancing (‘In piqué turns is the passé foot held derriere, or at the side of the supporting knee like my other teacher said…), I’d go to do an exercise that once came naturally to me, and then remember that one of my teachers had told me I was doing a particular thing incorrectly, whilst the other one was happy with it. Then I’d panic, and stuff up.

Unfortunately, rather than being clever about it and talking to my teachers I decided to adapt my technique for each class, I respected them both so much, that younger me thought questioning their methods in any way would be unthinkably rude, instead of realising that a discussion about technique would not only be welcome, but most likely encouraged by any dance teacher.

  Class shouldn't be a stressful experience.

 

Class shouldn't be a stressful experience.

After all, their job is to teach you ballet (or jazz, or tap, or contemporary, or anything) technique, and dance teachers love dance every bit as much as their students do (and if they don’t then it’s time to find a new teacher!). Foolishly though, I took the hard route, and ‘adapted’ for several years, before auditioning, and moving on to a full-time school in the city (just like I'd always wanted too) where I was lucky enough to be taught by not one but six incredible teachers who taught me why it is so important not just to have correct technique, but to understand what makes it correct, and the technical variations between different styles of teaching. My confidence as a dancer had definitely suffered a little (due to my own not speaking up) and this was something that I had to work harder to un-do and eventually overcame, but for the sake of every other dancer out there who has or is thinking about taking lessons with more than the one teacher for each style of dance, don’t do things the hard way, make sure you keep these rules in mind to ensure you’re getting the absolute most out of ALL your classes:

1. Make sure that both/all teachers are aware of the areas that need work...

One of my classical teacher's noticed that I wasn't holding my relevé position firmly enough during double/triple pirouettes (i.e. I wasn't retaining the locked position, instead my foot would drift fractionally downwards - tut tut!), so I made sure to let my other teacher know so that she could pull me up on it as well, if I ever forgot. That way everything was in tune, I was walking into both classes with the same check -list securely in my mind. It's no good if you're putting all your energy into 'fixing your arms', 'faster spotting' and 'tighter fifths!' every class for one teacher and then throwing that out the window because you've got to be all about 'higher relevés!', 'tighter core muscles' and 'deeper plies!' for the other. This is unbalanced and confusing, the body and thought-process of a dancer should be in harmony when you're dancing in class, otherwise the added pressure and adrenaline as well as the addition of choreography to remember during performance time will more than likely overload your brain and negatively impact on your performance. Dance is supposed to be enjoyable, not stressful.

2. If there is an issue with what you are being told... 

- for example if Teacher 1's instructions conflict with Teacher 2's instruction for a particular exercise or step - let them know. Seriously now, you might think 'Oh, so what if I have to aim for flat turnout with Teacher 1, and Teacher 2 insists that I don't ever go past 120 Degrees, I can just swap for each class...' This may be true, but the reasoning behind any dance teacher's instruction **should** be well thought out, and designed with the prerogative of giving you the best possible technique, whilst looking out for your welfare. Therefore if you went and talked to Teacher 2 she might tell you that her aim in limiting your turnout is to first strengthen your ankles and loosen your hip sockets as she has noticed your tendency to roll in when you go past this range. It's easy enough to then explain this to Teacher 1 and ask her opinion, she might just tell you that when she barks 'That's not flat turnout!' what she's wanting is for you to be constantly aiming and pushing for flatter turnout, rather than just sitting in you comfort zone, and that she expects you to actively resist rolling.

Now you know the logic behind what your teachers are doing, and with an open discussion an agreement can be reached, either through mutual compromise or sometimes through one graciously agreeing with the logic of the other. However, if your teachers don't want to compromise then either way, you now have enough insight to make up your own decision about which method is safer and more effective. It is still important to be respectful of your teachers. They are trained experts, and there to guide you for a reason, but if outside of Teacher 1's class you think that you would rather adopt Teacher 2's approach whenever you're dancing, then you now have the power to decide for yourself.

3. Remember, it's about you...

Yes, it's great to be pals with the other students, and even better if you have a great relationship with your teacher, but ultimately you're here for you. Whatever your goals, whether you're dancing just as a fun way to stay fit and healthy,  you simply enjoy the discipline and challenge of mastering an art form,  you just LOVE dancing plain and simple, or perhaps you're ready to go all the way to the top and make a living from your passion. Whichever the case, you're doing this for yourself and it's important you make your own goals the priority. If you don't feel like you can talk to your teacher about what you want out of your classes,  if he/she doesn't respect your decision and understand that you could benefit from classes with another teacher then perhaps it's time to find a different school. Also keep in mind that in the dance world people can unfortunately be unnecessarily bitchy (it's what happens in any highly competitive and challenging environment). It's natural that there might be a little resentment from some of your classmates when they find out you're going to 'some other teacher' for classes. Most of us feel some kind of loyalty to our beloved schools, but a teacher should always have their students best interests at heart, and new experiences and the challenge of taking a new class and learning from a different teacher is all a part of helping you to grow as a dancer and performer, so trying new things isn't a betrayal to your school and it's important you realise that. In all likelihood some of the students will also be a little envious of you (in a sense you're getting double the skill set, and that might make them feel a little threatened), but just keep being your happy, positive self, focus on the dancing and they'll eventually get over it ...after all they're here for themselves too, and dance is a lot less fun if you spend all your time being jealous of another student.  

So what are the Pros? 

Well, aside from being a fun way to challenge yourself and mix things up...

  • It makes you more observant; 'Coup de Pied you say? Well I wonder if he means Vaganova Coup de Pied or Cecchetti Coup de Pied? Better check....' And just like that, you're doing an audition and after demonstrating as he calls out the instructions, the choreographer turns around to find you're the only one who noticed he meant Coup de Pied Derriere, not a Cecchetti Coup de Pied... you just got hired
     
  • You get a better idea of why, not just what. Like in the example above, finding points of difference between your teachers' teaching methods makes you aware of the different technique that can be applied, and the specific benefits of these differences. Vagonova (Russian) relevés, require you to 'pop' up onto pointe, where as Cecchetti (Italian) ones roll up to the relevé through the demi pointe. The Vaganova method requires more strength and puts more emphasis on preparation (tick!) but puts much greater strain on the ankle and could cause a weaker dancer to injure or sprain themselves (not-so good...), however the Cecchetti method requires more control, as you rise gradually and there's much less chance of strain/injury (tick!), but it also won't build your strength as effectively as Vaganova, and leaves more room for lazy 'demi relevés' (You know when you're not 100% pulled up on your pointe? Yeah, not good.). So now you are much more aware of your body and what you need to be doing in order to demonstrate proper technique, and you're also able to analyse your own weaknesses better.
  • You get more feedback - you're probably thinking 'well duh! ...double the teachers obviously means double the feedback, sheesh!' which is fair enough, but hold on because what I really mean is that it offers more thorough feedback. Yes, you could just double your lessons with your good old trusty teacher and hear 'Shoulders downnnn Elly!!! (**except with your name and not mine. That'd be weird...) seven more times a week than usual. Great, you're really going to be super on top of those shoulders now ('Shoulders, what shoulders Sir?') BUT! If you decided to make the effort and find another teacher, then I can guarantee that they WILL pick up on things that your first teacher has missed, because no-ones perfect. Teacher A might notice your shoulders, and Teacher B might have missed them creeping up towards your ears all day but only because she just noticed that you sickle your left foot every time you developé derriere and she's busy busting you for it. Now when you head back to class A you've got something new to focus on. Maybe Teacher B even also noticed that the reason your shoulders rise with more certainty than the sun in the morning is because you're taking the strain from all your allegro out on your neck, shoulders and upper torso, instead of channeling it out through your legs during preparation and 'take-off'. Voila, problem solved! 

*BUT*

Multiple teachers isn't for everyone... 

Some dancers only want to work with the one teacher that they trust and respect, and feel stressed and uncomfortable if they have to juggle two or more studios or classes.

They don't see the benefit in getting taught from someone with a different style or method, and if that's you then that's fine, after all you know better than anyone what works best for your body. I will say though, that in the highly competitive dance industry it's virtually unheard of for a dancer to only ever work with the one Director, or the one Choreographer. 

The reality is much more likely to be that you work with somewhere between a minimum of three Directors, fifteen choreographers and twenty or so 'teachers' taking class during your career, and that's just if you stay with the one company for the whole duration... if you're moving from job to job, and taking up different contracts each year then it's much more likely to be hundreds of directors and choreographers, all with their own methods and wishes, and their own style of 'instruction'. Some will be very polite and open to hearing your opinions and ideas and may even actively seek your input, and others will undoubtedly be very strong-minded and unwilling to accept any compromise or deviation from their directions. It's in these situations that having experience working with different personalities and teaching methods can give you an advantage over other dancers. You will adapt faster, because you're used to responding to different instruction and you're not 'stuck in your ways' which can be a huge asset when it comes to standing out in an audition; you will be the one jumping into action at an unexpected demand whilst your peers blink in surprise whilst thinking 'But my teacher never did it like that...'. You're more likely to have an awareness of the difference between Cecchetti, RAD, Vaganova, and Balanchine methods for example, and whilst your single-teacher friend might absolutely own her flowing, seamless (Cecchetti-based) Port de Bras, she suddenly loses all confidence and becomes awkward and uncertain when she's asked to 'Do it without the frills' by an impatient Vaganova-loving choreographer. You on the other hand are a master of all trades. And it's generally held that a well-trained dancer should be able to do any kind of port de bras.

So now you're aware of the drawbacks and the advantages of having more than one teacher when it comes to dance, and what to do about the issues that can arise. Hopefully you can apply this knowledge and use it to help you make the right decision for yourself (or your child) so that you're getting the most out of your own dancing that you possibly can. And I'll only say it this one more time (promise!) at the end of the day, the most important thing of ALL is that you're enjoying yourself, the rest comes second (or more accurately 'A la seconde' ... ;) hehe.).

So that's all for now guys, stay happy, keep dancing, and until next time... 

Bye for now! :)

Elly

Blog_T4!.png