July at the Joffery Ballet
My experience in LA at the Joffery Ballet Intensive was absolutely incredible. I can remember being on the flight there and feeling nothing but nerves. I couldn’t sleep for two nights before classes started! I was living without my parents for the first time, sharing a room with complete strangers, and taking class with new teachers in an unfamiliar city. However, many of my worries were unfounded, and by the end of the first week I felt completely at home. My roommates and I quickly became friends, and I grew accustomed to my new routine: breakfast at 6:30 in the cafeteria, then back to the dorms to check my schedule for the day and get ready. Walk to the studio at 8:15 for class at 9. Two 1.5 hour classes in the morning, an hour for lunch, and two 1.5 hour classes in the afternoon. During the last week and a half, rehearsals for the show began, which ran from 4:45-7. After rehearsal, we would walk back to the cafeteria for dinner around 7:30, and then back to the dorms for our curfew of 9. On Wednesdays, we would all stay in the cafeteria as late as possible to watch So You Think You Can Dance. That is one of my favourite memories!
Every day we had a different set of classes and teachers, which was really eye-opening for me because it exposed me to a lot of different teaching styles and techniques. It was hard for me to grasp some of the new concepts I was being taught, and a lot of classes were way outside my comfort zone, but I enjoyed the challenge and did my best to keep up. Some of my favourite classes were ballet with Josie Walsh, contemporary ballet with Alice Alyse, jazz with Mark Kanemura, Anh Dillon and Liz Imperio, Hip Hop with tWitch, and contemporary with Allison Holker. I liked these particular teachers because I felt like I really took something from their classes, aside from just a new combination. They pushed me without intimidating me, which I believe is an important quality in a teacher. And not only did their dancing inspire me, but so did their words of advice. I was hoping that going to this intensive would validate my desire to become a professional dancer, and it did. As exhausted, frustrated and sore as I might have been at the end of each day, I know there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
My friends and I spent the weekends going to all the touristy destinations around the city, and for me that was so exciting because I was doing something independent from my family. I really worried that I would struggle without my parents, but I loved being able to take care of myself! It made me much less apprehensive about the idea of moving away next year.
The last day was hard, because I had to say goodbye to all my new friends for the foreseeable future. It was such a bonding experience to go through and I didn’t want to leave! My closest friends were from Iowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Las Vegas, LA and Arizona. It is highly unlikely that we will all be together again, which was hard to accept. But we are all still in touch, and the dance world is small so I know I will see them again someday.
I am so thankful that I was given this opportunity, and I feel very humbled by this experience. There were so many incredible dancers and teachers to learn from, and I want to thank each and every one of them for making my time in LA as wonderful as it was. Thank you Joffrey West!
By Maggie Kelly
Maggie Kelly is a Senior Competitive dancer at Dance Extreme where she has been dancing for many years! We are so proud of Maggie and excited that she is able to pursue her passion for the art of dance and experience the life of a pre-professional dancer. We are happy for her to be back with us again this year, we are very proud of all of her accomplishments and wish her well during her swan song year at Dance Extreme.