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Westside School of Ballet announces a new line up of three divisions of boys-only ballet classes

Boys Ballet classes emphasize posture, alignment, proper execution, fundamentals, port de bras, strength, and classroom etiquette.

 

January 19, 2022

Todd Lechtik

Sawyer Jordan (14) dressed in a batman shirt during class during Halloween at Westside School of Ballet. A Freshman at SaMo, Sawyer is in the advanced Level 6 and hopes to one day dance professionally.

Watch out, Mikhail Baryshnikov! Westside School of Ballet has announced three divisions of boys-only ballet classes.

The 50-year legacy dance academy's website states: "The Boys-Only classes promote the knowledge and practice of ballet, with an emphasis on alignment, coordination and athleticism. While the basic syllabus is the same for beginning male and female students, the contrast between male and female dancing is increasingly emphasized as a student progresses. Boys Ballet classes emphasize posture, alignment, proper execution, fundamentals, port de bras, strength, and classroom etiquette. Includes attention to foot articulation and usage, and some stretching."

The third boys' division, 'Boys C,' focuses on Allegro, Pirouettes, variations and pas de deux for intermediate/ advanced male dancers (ages 12-18) with at least 4 years of previous ballet training. At this level, these classes are taken in addition to the co-ed program, and are offered Tuesdays and Thursday evenings.

To qualify for Westside Ballet's biannual performances-'The Nutcracker' and Spring Performances at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica-boys ages 8 and above are required to attend a full-time schedule of co-ed classes. Boys may be evaluated for these classes at an age appropriate level. This year's Spring show is scheduled for the weekend of Mother's Day, May 8th, at The Broad Stage.

Santa Monica resident Sawyer Jordan (14) has danced at Westside since he was five years old. "What I like about dancing is how you can never finish getting better. You can always find something that you can improve on," says Jordan. "A dancer needs to be strong and flexible but also smart because you have to know how to work and how to get the most out of every class. I like how much of a challenge ballet can be, I think that the challenge only makes it more fun."

Westside Ballet's 2021 "The Nutcracker" production recently showcased several elite male cast members in the 'Boys C' Division. Three Santa Monica residents (including Sawyer Jordan and Dylan Weinstein) shared the stage in the newly re-choreographed Russian dance, showcasing their Olympic-level athleticism with high jumps and perfected ballet form.

Artistic Director Martine Harley shares, "We are so proud of our advanced young male cast members, who train tirelessly––over 25 plus hours a week––and mastered the exuberant Russian dance to a level usually reserved for one professional guest soloist. The Russian dance has always been an audience favorite - and they were not disappointed! The house went wild with cheers after each performance at The Broad Stage."

When discussing the value of these performance opportunities, Harley continues: "We foster every aspect of their growth as dancers as they mature and become refined artists. Each time the curtain rises, they showcase the beauty of ballet to the audience and enchant people of all ages, which enriches not only their lives, but touches everyone around them.

"We are a non-audition school where anyone can join our curriculum and be trained to the highest pre-professional level. Whether they aspire to be a professional dancer or not, everyone is trained to the same elite level. Our pre-professional ballet company has been offering professional-caliber performing opportunities to generations of young dancers. Our dancers are given 'real-world' experiences - they learn all aspects of becoming a professional dancer, from preparation in the studio and backstage (dedication and planning), to learning to dance in a corps de ballet (team work), to the heady responsibility of carrying an entire ballet as the principal dancer. These assets are carried in them throughout their lives, in everything they do. Numerous alumni of Westside Ballet have gone on to dance in prestigious professional ballet companies all over the world, and we are committed to bringing the benefits of dance to everyone in the community."

Alumni -- Many professional male dancers have made their stage debuts in Westside's Nutcracker. A few of them include Andrew Veyette (NYCB); Francis Veyette (Pennsylvania Ballet); and Adrian Blake Mitchell (Mikhailovsky Ballet Company).

Heath Olvera (9) on fellow dancer and sister Lily's back at the Broad Stage after performing in Westside Ballet's Nutcracker. Heath performed the role of the naughty Fritz, Clara's brother.

Community Engagement -- The Broad Stage biannual productions at The Broad Stage are made possible in part by grants from Los Angeles County, the City of Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades Woman's Club –– and sponsorships from local Santa Monica individuals, businesses, and organizations such as Santa Monica College Public Policy Institute, The Huntley Hotel, Lyft Scooters, Urth Caffe, Morley Builders, and more.

Dancers Receive College Credit for Performing-- Under an education initiative launched in 2013, Westside's dancers who are high school students concurrently enrolled in Santa Monica College dance course 59A will receive credit for the performances. The credits are transferable to any of California's public four-year colleges and universities.

Westside School of Ballet announces a new line up of three divisions of boys-only ballet classes – with two introductory classes available on Sunday afternoons, beginning January 16. Boys ages 5-7 are offered 'Boys A' on Sundays from 12:30-1:30pm, with 'Boys B' (ages 8-10) immediately following at 1:30-2:30pm. . Boys Division Dress code: black footless tights, white T-shirt, white socks and white ballet shoes. More Info at: http://www.westsideballet.com/boys, or by phone (310) 828-2018.

 

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