NEWSLETTER — February 2016
by Kelly Damian
In the minutes before 4:00 pm on Thursday, November 19th the Fox Theater was abuzz with pre-performance anticipation. 69 children, at various stages of restlessness, sat in the seats, waiting to watch, what for many, would be their first live dance performance. Finally, the lights dimmed, the music rose and so began the Children’s Dance Education and Outreach Event, an afternoon conceived and coordinated by KDA with the goal of making a professionally produced live dance experience available to all populations of local children.
The first performance of the afternoon was an improvisational solo piece from the Mojave Movement Arts Center. Following that was a high-energy dance from the CSUB dance team and a thoughtful, lyrical piece from Dancer’s Turnout Academy. Experience Dance Studio presented a crowd-pleasing hip-hop duo and Bakersfield Dance Company finished off the performances with an emotional lyrical number. The lights came up to enthusiastic applause.
The hallmark of a great performance is one that ignites in the audience the desire to dance. From its inception, the evening’s event was meant to be a participatory experience. To this end, the 80 audience members from Garden Pathways, Boys and Girls Club, Bakersfield Homeless Center and CASA split into two groups and headed to different parts of the Fox Theater. They had less than an hour to learn a choreographed dance routine. As the audience members and leotard-clad dancers mingled together, the tables had turned. It was now the audience who was filled with pre-performance jitters. Any initial hesitation was soon dispelled by high energy music and the need to learn dance steps. Sweatshirts were thrown aside, shoelaces tightened and even the more reluctant dancers were swept up in the excitement of the opportunity.
After rehearsal the attendees made their way to the stage, abuzz with adrenaline ignited by the lights and music. The stage was soon crowded with dancers and the audience-turned-performers began their routine, some shyly some with unbridled enthusiasm. Somehow the dance that seemed so long during rehearsal felt disappointing short on stage. The routine ended but the music kept going, and an impromptu dance party erupted on stage.
After copious applause and one celebratory high-five followed by the splits, the attendees returned to their seats for a question and answer period with the dancers. The questions from the audience were plentiful: “How do you learn your dances?” “What helps you memorize your dances?” “What is the hardest part about dancing?” In line with the spirit of the event, the microphone was then turned over to the performers who asked their own questions of the audience.
All too soon, the event was over and the students filed onto buses, snacks in hand. Those in attendance agreed that the evening’s event would be the first in a long line of outreach events. KDA would like to thank The Arts Council of Kern, The David A. and Linda A. Cates Family Foundation for providing funding for the event. We’d like to thank Grimmway Farms for the healthy snacks. We also thank Garden Pathways, Bakersfield Homeless Center, Boys and Girls Club and CASA for sending such great audience members. Thanks also to the Fox Theater for providing a lovely venue.
With flu season in full swing, staying healthy is often at the top of every dancer’s mind. You probably already know that to stay healthy you should wash your hands often, avoid touching your face and get a full nights sleep, but did you know that cutting out refined sugar is a good way to prevent illness?
Sugar and Vitamin C are similar in chemical structure so when you eat sugar, it competes for space in your immune cells with Vitamin C. White blood cells need Vitamin C to destroy bacteria and viruses. The more sugar in your system, the less Vitamin C can get into your white blood cells.
In an orange or carrot, the sugar is packaged with nutrients, water, and fiber that help you digest it. When you strip the vitamins and minerals from corn to make high fructose corn syrup, your body has to take nutrients from your bones, skin, and vital systems to break down the concentrated sweetener. Your kidneys will stimulate more urine production to water down the sugar, which is dehydrating and speeds up signs of aging and disease.
Here is a recipe free of refined sugar to enjoy during this winter season!
7 cups apples – peeled, sliced
12 oz apple juice concentrate, frozen unsweetened (do not add the water, use it concentrated)
4 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoons vanilla
1 – 16 oz can crushed pineapple, unsweetened drained (optional)
To taste cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons margarine (optional)
Directions Pie Filling:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix corn starch into ¼ of the thawed apple juice concentrate
- In large pot put in all the pie filling ingredients, stir continually, till apples are 2/3 cooked
- Pour pie filling into a baking dish; remember to leave room for the topping
2 cups old fashion oats
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour ( use rice flour for gluten free)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup corn oil
1/3 cup water
1 C walnuts or pecans – chopped
6 -8 dates – pitted, chopped
Directions Topping Crust:
- In mixing bowl combine oats, flour, salt, oil and water, mix thoroughly
- Add in nuts and dates and mix well
- Sprinkle topping crust over pie filling
- Bake for 30 -40 minutes. Keep checking that the topping does not burn
by Amy Adams
Are you struggling with a particular aspect of performing? Whether you feel stuck by a major roadblock or just want a new perspective on an old problem, this regular column offers advice from a fellow performer who has been there before.
I have to do an emotional dance with a person who I have no connection with personally (and don’t particularly like). Is there any way I can have a great performance with a person who I don’t have a great relationship with? -Unenthusiastic on Stage
Wow, this is a tough one however, the answer is ‘yes’. As a performer our job is to focus first and foremost on conveying the story. Communicating emotions is not always easy to achieve with someone we don’t typically work very well with. The times I have faced this, I try to take myself out of the situation emotionally and focus on the physicality of what said “connection” would look like. When our internal connection to a piece is strong it is always much easier to achieve a powerful performance. We will not always be gifted with the knowledge and ability to easily connect with every piece or partner. One way you can overcome your aversion to this person is to change your perspective and focus on the things that you appreciate about your partner. Maybe you love his form, or technique, whatever it may be. Find a way to pull focus on the things you do like. If you say,”What if there are none?” you may be a bit unrealistic in your perspective.
As a professional performer it then becomes your job to not focus on the things that are in the way of you doing what you are hired to do. So if you would like to do this as a profession take the time to empower yourself and say that this task of connecting for the sake of the performance is something that you will learn from and grow from to be a more effective performer in the future. I also strongly encourage you to imagine a connection with your partner, and visualize said connection for the stage. Never forget that you are storyteller and the story you are telling is above all far more important than your personal opinion of your partner.
Social media is evolving. No longer just a way to communicate with friends and share photos, it has become an important tool that allows dancers to take control of their careers, expose themselves to a much larger fan base, and shape the way they are perceived by the world. A dancer with a well-developed online presence that reads like a resume, shows dedication, and personality, is much more likely to be cast over a similarly skilled dancer with no or poor online presence.
For better or worse, when you walk into an audition room, you’ve already been “Google’d”. It is up to you as a performing artist to build and shape your online presence in a fun a professional way that is uniquely YOU!
Think of your profile as your portfolio or resume. Share where you are studying, what you are working on, where you are performing, and who you are working with. Share with your followers your goals and share when you achieve them. Look at your profile as a whole. Does it accurately account for your dreams and accomplishments? Casting directors and company directors WILL look at these profiles. What does yours say about you?
Your profile should be professional, yet show your personality. Ask yourself: What is your unique message? What would YOU like to share with the world about dance? Be clear about that message and align your posts with it. Then, among those professional photos and updates, add the occasional behind-the-scenes moment that allows your followers into your world for a brief moment. What makes the dancers we most admire so endearing is that they are candid without being overly personal. What dancers do you admire? What performances have you seen and loved? What is your pre-performance meal? Share it!
Build your audience. The amount of followers you have is certainly no indicator of talent. However, those followers that are probably now just your friends and family can potentially grow to be your fan base. And the larger your fan base, the more intriguing you become to colleges, dance companies, and casting directors. Your fans are the people who come to see you perform and ultimately support your career in dance. As dancers, we have the benefit of capabilities that are very visual. Photos and videos are much more likely to be shared and followed on social media, so document everything! Use hashtags on EVERY POST. Hashtags are how new followers can find you. You might even consider creating your own signature hashtag to use in every post. How fun it will be for your followers to be able to contribute to your signature hashtag feed when they see you perform or are inspired by you! Lastly, think about targeting your audience. Who are the dancers you admire? Who are the companies you’d like to dance for? Where would you like to further your dance education? Follow them. Tag them in posts. Reach out and be diligent and you will see your audience of supporters grow dramatically.
Think before you post. There is a fine line between showing personality and being overly personal. Oftentimes, dancers will create two separate profiles, a professional dance social media account and a personal, private account. Although it is not necessary to do so, this can help alleviate any worry about crossing the fine line between a candid behind-the-scenes look into your world of dance and airing personal grievances or your opinion on polarizing topics unrelated to dance or your unique message. Before you post a status or a photo, ask yourself: Does this align with my ultimate goals as a dancer? Do I want a company director to know this about me? Do I want younger dancers who look up to me to see this? No matter how insignificant the post may seem, if you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, do not post it.
You are a package. Your technique, performance capabilities, and personality are what make you a whole, marketable package. Learn to see yourself as a valuable asset. Be able to verbalize it. No one knows you better than you. Every dancer has something that makes them unique and special. Own it, be confident, and learn to market yourself. Your social media profile should reflect this confidence.
Learn to make social media work for you and your career, but most importantly, have fun! For inspiration, check out the profiles of some of the most successful dancers to come out of Kern County: Sasha Mallory, Tiler Peck, and Mason Trueblood!
With over twenty years of costuming experience, Valerie Hashim has made costumes that transform dancers into swans, insects and Elizabethan courtesans. In this month’s newsletter she shows KDA members how to make a beautiful flower headband in seven minutes flat.
Don’t forget to share! If you make a headband share it with us via facebook, twitter, or instagram.
Whether you are a dancer, studio owner or arts connoisseur, KDA is here for you.
- HOW TO GET A SCHOLARSHIP: If you’re interested in receiving a scholarship for your school, a workshop or even a summer intensive programs, KDA can help. We offer scholarships up to $500 – apply directly on our website – click here!
- HOW TO GET EVENTS POSTED: Studios, organizations and students are all able to have any and all events added to the KDA calendar! All you need to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org about your event, include all details and any image you’d prefer and it will be posted on the KDA calendar. FYI: in the near future, you will be able to post events yourself directly to KDA’s event page
- HOW TO FIND OR POST A JOB: On KDA’s site we have a job board that lists casting, employment and internship opportunities! To have something added to the job board, please email email@example.com.
- HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER: Want to receive membership perks like tickets to great events? Want to be able to receive a scholarship? Want to collaborate and be involved with events that help arts and dance in our community? Want to be able to access all Kern County dance events in one place? It’s just $25/yr for individuals, $50/yr for organizations and $100/yr for venues. Become a member!
- HOW TO DONATE: Want to help KDA programming like the dance education and outreach program at The Fox Theater this fall? In November, KDA will host performance and dance classes for underprivileged children in partnership with Garden Pathways, The Boys and Girls Club and Bakersfield Homeless Center. Donate here or email us if you’d like to personally get involved!
- HOW TO SHARE WHAT KDA IS DOING: KDA would love you to share what we are doing! Follow us and share what’s going on – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and of course email links to our website or newsletter.
- HOW CAN KDA HELP YOU? If you want to collaborate, we have community connections and would be happy to help. Just shoot us a note and let us know what you as an individual or your organization needs help with, we will see what we can do!