Just finished a great week of Master Classes in Tampa Bay to kick off the start of our efforts to bring “Gaspar – Ballet” back in Jan. 2012.
Thought it would be fun to have Alex Crozier Jackson who dances the title role of Gaspar be my guest Blogger for this week.
Please enjoy Alex’s observation’s below.
My best- The Traveling Ballet master
From Alex Crozier Jackson…
Well, here we go again! Gaspar 2012 has officially launched with the start of a weeklong series of master classes by Christopher Fleming around the Tampa Bay and St. Pete Area. I was so excited to come back to Florida for this week. Not only is the weather beautiful 24/7 but I always have fun when I’m here. I can go to the beach, tan by the pool, relax in the hot tub of Richard and Sharon Sanchez (the producers of the Gaspar ballet) or just relax and watch the dolphins play in the inter-coastal. This past week I’ve done exactly that as well as taking in some culture by going to see the new Dali Museum and the Florida Museum of Photographic Art. I saw some truly inspiring work at the Dali Museum and breathe taking photography at FMoPA. Of course, I didn’t just come down here for some R&R I came to dance!
The master class series started on Tuesday at New Tampa Dance Theater followed by St. Petersburg City Ballet on Wednesday, Patel Conservatory on Thursday, and St. Petersburg City Ballet again on Friday. Chris taught great classes at all of them, I got my butt back into shape after taking a month off, and we met some talented young dancers. Two moments from the week that stood out was when we met a girl around my age named Nanako Yamamoto at NTDT. A skilled dancer from Japan, Nanako trained at the prestigious Elmhurst Academy in Birmingham, England. Nanako dances beautifully and is definitely a great candidate for being cast in Gaspar. Though she is a native of Japan, Nanako speaks with an English accent, which caught me off guard because I was not expecting that accent to come out of her mouth when she first said hello to me. She has completely acclimated to culture in England down to her mannerisms and colloquial sayings. For example, I have a pair of tights that I wear on Fridays called my “Friday Tights”. They are black with white streaks that race up the front and back of them. I would describe them as fun or cool but when Nanako saw them she said, “Oh, I like your kinky tights.” I had to do a double take because we don’t exactly use the word “kinky” to express how quirky something is. I thought to myself, “I know there are people out there who have tights fetishes, I dated one once, but I didn’t really think Nanako had one.” After a few seconds I realized this is probably the way people in England describe unusual things like my tights and I just said “thanks” and started the pirouette combination.
The other moment that stood out on this trip was when we did a lecture/demo for kids at the local St. Pete YMCA. Chris and I demonstrated some stage combat skills and Sam and I demonstrated a pas de deux. We got the kids excited about the Gaspar ballet and we even found a girl that would be great for the Carnival Scene. I also was lucky enough to be able to give a master class in creative movement to the kids. On top of Ballet and Horton based Modern I teach classes in creative movement and structured improvisation. It was fun working with the kids and exploring how far I could push their minds to think about movement on a whole different level. I like to make the class fun through movement games and exercises that keep that keep the kids engaged and a lot of times they don’t even realize they’re dancing until the very end of class when I take everything I’ve taught and put it into a combination. After the class I handed out some autographed pictures from the show. It was great to talk with the kids and find out that several of them had actually seen the Gaspar ballet performed this past January. All in all we had a really successful week down here. We’re on our way back to Philly in a couple of hours and I’ve gotta finish packing. It’ll be sad to leave the sunshine state but we’ll be back soon!