Mock It Out: ProSem Students Practice Audition Techniques

On Friday, March 16th the students of BDC’s Professional Semester woke up and arrived at the studio bright and early for their first mock audition of the program.  The series of four mock auditions (theater, company work, hip hop/commercial, and decade-themed) allow the students to experience a typical dance casting and also receive constructive feedback from a panel of experts including BDC faculty, talent agents, and casting directors.  Like a normal audition, the Professional Semester students are evaluated not only on their dance technique and style, but also on their headshots and resumes, physical appearance, attention to detail, and self-confidence.

Each audition begins with “slating,” a process in which each dancer steps forward to introduce his or her name and a memorable fact.  “Slating is the first opportunity for us to get to know you,” says Lakey Wolff, an agent from CESD Talent Agency.  “This is your chance to show your personality, energy, and enthusiasm.”

Natalie: “I can hula hoop with fire.”

Holly: “I have dual citizenship in the United States and Canada.”

Marleen: “My favorite toe is the big toe!”

The slating process also allows casting directors and choreographers to look at you.  Dance is a visual art, and how you present yourself physically is extremely important.  “I like clean lines and neat hair,” says Lakey, “Stand out with color or a unique leotard cut.  Oh! And no costume mishaps, please!”

Next up? Warm up!  “But don’t forget,” notes Eric Bourne of Parsons Dance Company, “even though we’re warming up, you’re still auditioning!”  Be sure to stay present and engaged throughout the organized warm-up because the panel is likely still watching you.  In the words of Bonnie Erickson, Educational Programs Director at the BDC, “Are you happy to be here and ready to work? Show us that you love dancing.”

Following warm-up, certain auditions will start with typing (early elimination based on looks, height, hair color, etc.) or a ballet cut.  The combination is often across the floor and fairly straightforward so that the choreographer can get a sense of your technical background.  Even when you’re learning the combination, always perform your arms full out.  Ask politely to switch lines; Even if you can pick up the combination from the back corner of the room, the panel probably isn’t able to see you.

Next, students learn a short combination in the style of the show.  Bonnie Erickson and Jim Cooney, who lead the Professional Semester program, highly encourage dancers to research the show and/or choreographer ahead of time to gain familiarity with the movement and style.  When learning the combination, be sure to focus in on the details of the movement.  Often, the choreographer will teach the movement without performing it full out.  In that case, the choreographer will usually have an assistant to demonstrate the movement alongside him or her.  Watch the assistant!  The choreographer, in an audition setting, will rarely give corrections (but if they do, you’d better apply it ASAP, even if the correction was made to another dancer).  The panel wants to know how much you are able to bring to the table without them having to pull it out of you – an approachable personality, strong dance technique, an eye for details, ability to pick up choreography, a respectful attitude, and professional demeanor.  

Before you know it, you will be split up into small groups to perform the combination (but this is not the “start” of the audition, as you are being watched from the moment you enter the room!).  “Pay attention to your spacing,” says Mishay Petronelli (BDC teacher and Assistant to the Director).  “If the audition coordinator tells you, ‘#1 downstage, #2 upstage, etc.,” you need to follow directions when you take the floor and hold that spacing throughout the combination.”  You’ll often get the opportunity to perform the choreography twice.  Dana Foglia (BDC teacher and choreographer for the Professional Semester commercial mock audition) remarked, “Sometimes you’ll be the best in your group and sometimes you’ll be in a group of beasts and have to fight for your life.”

Nowadays, freestyle is a huge part of the audition process, be it “Chicago” the musical or a Madonna international tour.  Sometimes you’ll just be asked to freestyle for the first cut – before you even learn a combination!  “For your freestyle, I appreciate when you move the way you are rather than simply conforming to the style,” says Dana Foglia.  Explore different levels, dynamics, and styles in your freestyle.  The best way to gain confidence and versatility in your freestyle, says Foglia, is to take diverse and challenging classes from a variety of teachers.

Today is the final dance of the Spring Professional Semester 2012 – “Merde!” to all of the dancers for their final mock audition today!

Agency Auditions

Hear about two of BDC’s Professional Semester Alumni who recently signed with two of the top talent agencies in New York City.  Congratulations, Nikki and Matt!  We’re so proud of you!


Nikki Croker – MSA Agency

Why did you choose to go to the audition?

I chose to go to the MSA open call because it has been the agency that I’ve been looking to sign with since moving to New York. They have a lot of really skilled, talented performers and choreographers signed with them, including some of  my favourite choreographers – Al Blackstone, Josh Bergasse, Derek Mitchell, and Maria Torres. 

How did you prepare for the audition?

I trained really hard all last year taking classes in a variety of styles including Ballet, Theatre, Tap, Hip Hop, Latin Jazz, Gymnastics, Voice and Acting. I completed the Fall Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center in which we completed 12 classes a week and had helpful seminars regarding headshots and resumes, nutrition, and mock auditions for all different styles. I received a vast amount feedback from this semester that helped me grow tremendously! 

What was the audition environment like?

The audition was at Pearl Studios. There were hundreds of people!  We lined up to get our numbers and you could either audition for ‘commercial’ or ‘theatre’. I decided to audition for both so I was there from about 11am-6.30pm. We learned each combination in about 15 minutes and then performed it in small groups of 5. For the theatre audition we also had to sing a 16 bar cut. 

How did you feel the audition went?

I felt good about the audition –  I had met Lucille at Josh Bergasse’s Music Theatre Summer Program and also at a Professional Semester mock audition, which eased my nerves a little. I had prepared the best way I could before the audition and knew that I gave my best, no matter the outcome.

When did you receive the call?

 I received the call about 10 days later. I was puppy-sitting at the time and I was playing with the dog Captain when my phone started ringing. I don’t think I’ll forget the day – I was so excited!

Matt Tremblay – Bloc/NYC Agency

Why did you choose to go to the audition?

I chose to go to the audition for the experience. Auditions are a perfect learning atmosphere to figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to move forward.

How did you prepare for the audition?

I did my research on which choreographers the agency represents because I knew some of them would be teaching the audition combinations. I was sure to hit the gym and take class a lot prior to the audition.  I also did a lot of positive-thinking and reflecting to be mentally ready.

What was the audition environment like?

The studios were packed with dancers! We were typed cast right away.  I felt like it was quite competitive in there until we got to the last few cuts; After a long day, the atmosphere became more supportive.

How did you feel the audition went?

I felt extremly hyped and full of energy all day. As the day went by and I was asked to stay, I surprisingly become more relaxed! This completely shoked me, but I realized that it was just a matter of giving everything I have and hoping for the best.

When did you receive the call?

I was informed 5 days later, Friday at 5:30pm.  I remember the entire conversation!  That was the longest 5 days of my life!  I was so happy and I couldn’t believe it at first. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t a dream until I signed my contract and I heard “Welcome to Bloc.”

Broadway Big Brother/Big Sister Program

Studio 10D at Ripley-Grier was abuzz with excitement – it was the final rehearsal of the 2012 Broadway Big Brother/Big Sister program.  The students from Broadway Dance Center’s Children and Teen Program were clad in color coordinated T-shirts matching their Broadway star big brother or sister.

In the center of the room, “little orange” was teaching her Big Sis a complicated handshake like the one in “The Parent Trap.”  “Big blue” was stage left, reviewing choreography with her “mini me.”

At 9:15pm sharp, Lainie Munro, founder and choreographer of the Broadway Big Brother/Big Sister Program, called “places” for the final run-through.

The jazzy song began, “Dancin’ Fool” from Copacabana, and the dancers began tap-dancin’ away.  The energy of the room was as bright as the dancers’ neon T-shirts.  Each pair of siblings got a chance to strut their stuff on stage before the entire cast broke into unison.  Their tapping feet and smiling faces seemed so contagious that the audience of parents found themselves clapping and cheering along with the dancers.

“I’m having a lot of fun!” said Ayonna, a Little Sister.  “Lainie pushed me further than I knew I could go as a dancer.”

Ms. Munro does challenge the young dancers with complex tap technique and character choices – but the kids step up to the plate and shine next to their Broadway siblings.

“I’m a big sister – I was always teaching my little sister and rehearsing her.  I guess I was born to be a teacher!” said Munro, who also teaches tap and theater classes at Broadway Dance Center.  “But I always longed for a big sister, or mentor, of my own to show me the ropes of becoming a Broadway performer.”

After performing in national tours and regional theaters across the country, Ms. Munro started working at Broadway Dance Center in the Children and Teen’s Program (CTP).  “It was there,” said Munro, “that I realized how talented those young dancers were and was motivated to match the kids up with professional Broadway mentors.”

Inspired by the original Big Brother/Big Sister Program, Ms. Munro founded the Broadway Big Brother/ Big Sister Program in 2001 to provide aspiring young performers ages 9-17 a unique opportunity to work with Broadway professionals one-on-one, through rehearsals and performance of a production number.

“The children gain an invaluable experience,” said Munro.  “They learn about performing/acting with a partner, staging, and professional work ethics. They learn a lot about the ‘business’ of show business and the hard work and discipline involved in making a career as a professional performer.”

“Lainie is the best – there’s truly no one like her,” said Marie, whose daughter, Mariah is in her final year at BDC’s CTP and will be heading to study pre-med at Drew University next fall.  “Lainie brings out the best in her dancers.  If you watch Lainie’s class, you think you’re watching a Broadway rehearsal.”

It is no surprise that Ms. Munro was selected as a finalist for the 2003 Woman’s Day Magazine Awards, “Women That Inspire Us”, for her work with the Broadway Big Brother/ Big Sister Program.

After an audition in the spring, children from BDC’s CTP are selected and matched with a professional dancer whose own personality, style and interests compliment the child – a true “Big Brother” or “Big Sister.”

“It’s a very personal process,” explained Munro. ” I start with picking the kids and then I go out into the theater community and try to match each kid with a performer.   I’ll call up friends or e-mail performers I’ve seen in shows or deliver a letter to the stage door.”

“Even his mom thinks Henry and I are brothers,” said Jeremy Benton, who starred in Broadway’s “42nd Street” and “The Producers” film.  “When I dance with him, I get flashbacks to when I was his age.  It’s such a gratifying experience.  And Henry’s a great little tapper – I have to work to keep up with him!”

The children meet on 4 Sunday evenings (a total of just 8 hours), rehearsing side-by-side with their Big Brother or Big Sister.  The program is entirely volunteer-based and the professionals from the Broadway and NY dance community donate their time and talent to mentor and dance with a child or teenager.

Since the Program’s inception in 2001, 115 Broadway dancers have participated as Big Brothers and Sisters. Many Little Brothers and Sisters have already gone on to professional careers in dance, such as one of this year’s Big Sisters, Gabrielle Salvatto (Dance Theatre of Harlem, Juilliard grad and Little Sister alum 2001) and Lily Balogh (New York City Ballet and Little Sister alum 2004).

“I am so proud of my daughter, Amanda,” said her father, Luis.  “Amanda has dreamt of becoming a dancer ever since we relocated to New York from Puerto Rico.  Her confidence and joy have increased so much.  The Broadway Big Brother/Big Sister program is an incredible opportunity for her, a step closer to her dream to dance on Broadway.”

We are thrilled to announce the 2012 cast of the Broadway Big Brother/Big Sister Program!

2012 Big Brothers and Sisters:

JEREMY BENTON

SUMMER BROYHILL

DENA DIGIACINTO

KELLY JACOBS

JULIA KNITEL

LEA KOHL

MICHELLE LOUCADOUX

DANELLE MORGAN

JANELLE NEAL

GABRIELLE SALVATTO

Collectively the above performers are currently appearing in or have appeared in the following Broadway shows and dance companies:

42ND STREET (Broadway Revival and 1st National Tour)

ANYTHING GOES

MARY POPPINS (Broadway and 1st National Tour)

A CHORUS LINE (Revival)

WHITE CHRISTMAS (1st National Tour)

BYE BYE BIRDIE

HAIRSPRAY

THE LITTLE MERMAID

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1st National Tour)

THE PRODUCERS (movie)

DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM

and

THE RADIO CITY ROCKETTES

The Little Brothers and Sisters range in age from 9 years old to 17 years old, and are enrolled in BDC’s Children/Teen Program:

SOFIE ABBOUD

CHEYENNE DIXON

MARIAH EUGIENIA FERRANTE

KATARINA FRADENBURG

HENRY HECHT-FELELLA

IRELAND HORAN

ANGELICA LOPEZ

AMANDA MARRERO

AYONNA SULLIVAN

MAYA WRIGHT

Lainie Munro’s Broadway Big Brother/Big Sister Program in New York City will perform in the “Choreographer’s Canvas” on Thursday May 10 at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center at 8:30pm; and also in the Broadway Dance Center Student Showcase Sunday May 13th at Symphony Space at 4:30pm and 8pm.

**For tickets, visit www.choreographerscanvas.com and www.broadwaydancecenter.com.**

If you are interested in auditioning for the program, volunteering as a Big Brother or Sister, or booking this year’s cast for a performance, please contact Lainie Munro at: Lainie@LainieMunro.com

I Want to Be a Rockette! – The Rockette Experience

If you’ve ever had dreams of performing in the Christmas Spectacular as one of the famous Radio City Rockettes, here’s your chance to experience the magic!

The Rockette Experience gives students an inside look into the world of The Radio City Rockettes.

The Experience starts with a  3-hour workshop taught by a Radio City Rockette where you will learn tap, jazz, and the world-famous Rockette kick line choreography.  You will also get to go through a “mock audition,” and have a Q&A session and Photo Op with a Rockette.  Then take the amazing Stage Door Tour of Radio City Music Hall and get tickets to see the Christmas Spectacular,  “#1 holiday show in America” — live, on stage**!

“The Rockette Experience provides valuable insight into the meticulous and exacting precision technique. Dancers are afforded the opportunity to learn authentic choreography from a Rockette and get to hone their audition skills in a non-judgmental environment.” – Tal Schapira, BDC Professional Semester alumni and assistant for the Rockette Experience

“The Rockette Experience provides each aspiring student an exciting opportunity to dance for a day in the heels of a Radio City Rockette and brings them one step closer to actually achieving that dream.”  – Lizz Picini, BDC Summer Intern Program alumni and assistant for the Rockette Experience

Requirements: Dancers must be ages 10 and up and have previous dance training in tap and jazz.  All dancers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

2012 Spring/Summer dates for the Rockette Experience:
Saturday, April 7
Saturday, April 14

Saturday, May 19
Saturday, May 20
Saturday, May 26
Sunday, May 27

Saturday, June 2
Sunday, June 3
Saturday, June 9
Sunday, June 10
Saturday June 16
Sunday, June 17
Saturday, June 23
Saturday, June 30

Saturday, July 7
Saturday, July 14
Saturday, July 21
Saturday, July 28

Saturday, August 4
Sunday, August 5
Saturday, August 11
Sunday, August 12

For more information on The Rockette Experience, Broadway Dance Center, registration materials, please contact Megan Shuffle at (212) 582-9304 Ext. 79 or email your questions to Rockette@bwydance.com.

**Tickets to the Christmas Spectacular are only available during the show’s November/December season.

Cross Training for Dancers

Cross training is just what is sounds like: crossing over to train in difference disciplines.  Cross training is often attributed to athletes, but it’s just as important for dancers.  “In dance, fatigue is a factor in 90% of injuries and overuse contributes to 65% of dance injuries. Fatigue and overuse injuries can become chronic problems that trouble the dancer daily. Cross training can help reduce risk of these types of injuries by balancing out the muscles of the body and providing relief to the muscles that are constantly worked.” – Leigh Heflin (MSc Dance Science).

Here are some popular aerobic and anaerobic exercises, but feel free to share how you cross train, too!

Aerobic – develop stamina

  Running: Running is a great cardiovascular exercise that is cheap (all you need are some sneakers!).  Running strengthens completely different muscles than those used in ballet (this can be good to an extent, but over-development of the quads and calves may cause stress on a dancer’s hamstrings).  Since running on concrete can cause wear and tear on a dancer’s knees, especially if you run with turned-out feet, dance science specialists recommend cross-training on an elliptical machine to avoid stress on the joints.

Cycling/spinning:  Cycling is also a popular cardiovascular exercise, especially because many gyms now provide personal televisions on the bike machines!  In moderation, cycling can greatly increase a dancer’s endurance, but try to “seated” bike machines so that you can prevent curving your lumbar spine for a long period of time.

  Swimming:  Swimming is probably the #1 recommended form of cross-training for any athlete.  Swimming is a zero-impact sport and is great for dancers recovering from injuries.  The variety of swimming strokes strengthen muscles of the entire body, and requires the athlete to focus on his/her breathing pattern.  The only issue? You’re going to need a pool, so find a friend with a pool or join your local gym.

Anaerobic – develop muscle strength and power

Weight-training:  If you have access to gym machines or free weights, don’t be afraid to take advantage of them!  If not, go for “isometric exercises” (ones that utilize your own body weight) such as push-ups, planks, lunges, and sit-ups.  Weight training will not make you bulk up unless you’re deliberately trying to by drinking protein shakes and taking supplements.  Low-resistence, high-repetition exercises will rev up your metabolism and tone up your muscles.

  Yoga: No matter what area you’re looking to strengthen (balance, flexibility, lung capacity, stamina, strength, or stress relief), there is probably a form of yoga for you!  In yoga, there is a special focus on the relationship between the body and the mind, which is sure to benefit you in your dance classes as well.  Types of yoga.

  Pilates: Pilates was specifically created to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility without building bulk.  Pilates is often the “cross-training of choice” for dance companies and schools across the globe.  While dancers often take mat classes which utilize one’s own body weight, Pilates also employs use of special machines such as the “reformer” and the “chair” to help strengthen long, lean muscles.

  Gyrotonic:  Gyrotonic is similar to Pilates in that it utilizes special equipment to develop one’s strength, flexibility, and breath.  The main difference between the two forms is that Pilates is very “linear” while Gyrotonic is more “circular” (it was actually developed by a swimmer).


Bar Method:  This new craze actually focuses on dance-training.  In a bar method class, you’ll strengthen your “dancer” muscles through a series of physical therapy and ballet-inspired exercises.

Drew Jacoby, “dance goddess”

BDC welcomed Drew Jacoby to teach a series of Contemporary master classes in April.  The tall beauty, hailed by Dance Magazine as a “dance goddess,” began her professional career as a principal dancer for Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet.  She won a 2005 Princess Grace Award and in 2006 was voted Dance Magazine’s “It Girl.”  In 2007, she moved to New York City to begin her freelance career and market herself independently from a ballet company.  In 2008, Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk co-founded their own company (Jacoby & Pronk) which has performed all over the world. In 2010, she founded a media website called DancePulp which features HD video interviews of the world’s top dance industry professionals.

“[Drew Jacoby] is contemporary ballet royalty and a dancer that I’ve always looked up to.  She has such a unique style and effortless way of moving. She really cared about helping out the class and gave every person specific corrections.” – Emily Gallo-Lopez (BDC student)

“I was initially nervous to take an advanced contemporary class, but it was incredible.  As a tall dancer, I often feel awkward with my head poking out atop the class’s or my limbs flying in every direction.  But Drew Jacoby is even taller than me, and it was amazing to see how she ‘doesn’t apologize’ for taking up space when she dances.  Her movement was so full and virtuosic – it felt great on my body and I am going to apply it to my other classes!” – Mary Callahan (BDC student)

“Drew Jacoby is one of those truly transcendent dancers — she scarcely seems real. At BDC we seek always to bring the finest in dance instruction for our students, and having Drew teach here was very much a coup in that endeavor.” – Bonnie Erickson (BDC Director of Educational Programming)

Industry Insider: Succeeding as a Professional Dancer

On Friday, April 20th, Broadway Dance Center hosted Industry Insider: Succeeding as a Professional Dancer.  The Industry Insider offers a behind-the-scenes look at “the business.”  From Broadway Shows, to Concert Dance, to Music Videos, to Film, this ongoing series covers a wide range of events and gives dancers the chance to delve deeper into the ever-expanding entertainment industry.

In conjunction with National Dance Week, Broadway Dance Center and Bloc Talent Agency have brought together a panel of experts, including Bloc NYC agents Jim Daly and Fatima Wilson as well as professional dancers Shernita Anderson (Kanye West, Jill Scott), Autavia Bailey (J. Lo, Lady Gaga, Beyonce), Tyrone Jackson (“Memphis,” “Smash”), and Alex Wong (ABT, SYTYCD, “Newsies”).

BDC students crammed into the 8th floor annex to ask questions about how to succeed as a professional dancer – not just in New York, but in LA and around the globe! Here’s what the esteemed panel had to say:

“I was primarily a musical theater dancer.  When I wanted to branch out into the commercial side, I couldn’t decide between moving to New York or Los Angeles.  My friend helped me out.  He wrote ‘NY’ on one piece of paper and ‘LA’ on another.  Then he turned off the lights and threw the papers in the air.  I had to search for one in the dark…and it was LA!” – Tyrone Jackson

“Get your ‘look’ together.  You have to look the part in order to get the part.  You are a product – you have to market yourself.” – Autavia Bailey

“If you want to be a serious dancer, you have to take ballet.” – Alex Wong

“From my performing arts high school, I got the impression that I had to be a ballerina or I was nothing – but I’ve learned that’s anything but true.” – Shernita Anderson

“Go to ALL auditions, even if you’re not the ‘type’ they’re looking for.  Casting directors will see you and call you for other jobs that you do fit.” – Tyrone Jackson

“Your word is important.  When I made it through SYTYCD, I had already signed a year-long contract with Miami City Ballet.  I honored that contract and auditioned for SYTYCD the following year.  You have to realize that the dance world is so small, and your reputation is really important.” – Alex Wong

“Back then, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, and Debbie Allen did it all [dancing, singing, and acting]…so they did it all!  The same goes for today.  Invest in yourself [voice lessons, dance classes, acting workshops, etc.].” – Shernita Anderson

“Own who you are.  I am an African-American male.  I could go in for hip-hop calls, but I would be acting.  I’m an all-American black male – that’s my true ‘type.’  So that’s how I market myself.” – Tyrone Jackson

“Look at Backstage Magazine, Playbill.com, and Actor’s Equity.  Read the articles, watch the videos, learn as much as you can.  Be a knowledgeable dancer and do your research.” – Jim Daly

“The dance industry is 90% business and 10% talent.  Don’t just take class.  Know the business.  Educate yourself.  Be marketable.  Network.  And girls, always have your heels!” – Fatima Wilson

How to I get an agent?

  • Go to open agency calls.
  • Through recommendations from that agency’s dancers and choreographers.
  • If an agent is coming to support his/her agency’s dancer in a show, shoot the agent an e-mail so they’ll look out for you.
  • Hustle!  If you’re consistently booking jobs and networking, agents will keep hearing your name and approach you.

Dancers Without Borders: BDC goes to Australia

Check out this article from “Dance Informa,” written by our own  Bonnie E. Erickson, Director of Educational Programming at Broadway Dance Center:

As Broadway Dance Center master theater teacher Jim Cooney and I looked around the room, we saw lovely young dancers standing in groups with other dancers in the identical leotards of their respective studios, with arms crossed, hips out, and expressions of trepidation – we looked at each other and smiled: a beautiful blank canvas for our work!

Jim and I had come to Australia for two weeks of workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast, and we were excited to bring our message of kindness between dancers, of supporting one another in the classroom, at the audition, and on the stage to Australia’s dancers, and especially to fellowship with other dance educators to bring the dance world ever closer. Jim is the Faculty Advisor for our Educational Programming and I am the Director of Educational Programming at BDC – in these roles, Jim and I teach this message to all the dancers who come through our full-time programs at BDC, creating dancers who are “Happy to be here, and ready to work!” – a quote I must properly attribute to the extraordinary Lucille DiCampli of MSA dance agency, with whom we work on our mock auditions.

At each of the eight workshops we taught, it was exhilarating to watch these dancers go around the room, shaking hands with other dancers to get acquainted and to get past their fears, and then expanding that energy as they learned Jim’s wonderful musical theater choreography to cheer for one another, to see their hearts and minds open, and to see them fully enthralled in the joy of dance.

We were fortunate enough to secure a segment on Australia’s popular television show The Circle, and at the behest of the show’s producers, Jim quickly put together a flash mob for the show, recruiting dancers we’d met at our Melbourne workshops through the lovely directors of the studios The Space and Dancescape to perform on the show. It was so gratifying to be able to immediately put into practice that which we’d taught them – life is the audition, and you never know what might lead to a gig in this industry, and quite simply being nice can get you the job.

After each of the workshops we had a talk-back with the students, answering their questions about Broadway Dance Center and New York, especially excited to announce the planned opening in April of two new studios on the first and second floors of the building, bringing us to seven state-of-the-art studios. The students were, as you can imagine, ecstatic to imagine a schedule of over 300 classes a week in ballet, contemporary, jazz, theater, hip-hop, tap, yoga, pilates, flexibility, belly-dancing, acting, Latin, partnering, and so many more. We also spoke of our new offerings, the Original Broadway Choreography Series, the Contemporary Variations Series, our Industry Insider Series, and the exciting introduction of Parsons Dance in Residence at BDC.

While BDC’s main demographic is and always has been the walk-in dancer — New Yorkers and others who come in and simply sign up for whatever classes they want to take that day — we’re also home to four full-time programs: the International Student Visa Program, the largest and eldest of the programs; the BDC Training Program, its counterpart for American dancers of varying levels; and our two professional elite training programs for US dancers, the Summer Intern Program and the Professional Semester. The students of the ISVP hail from more than 35 countries worldwide, and comprise a vibrant community of talented, multicultural dancers who take 12 classes weekly, enjoy special master classes, rehearsals, and performances, the benefit of a full-time staff, including a student advisor, as well as one-on-one faculty mentoring. They join us for three months, six months, or a year initially, and then can extend their programs for up to three years. It is quite simply a joy to watch these students progress as they study closely with our world-class faculty, many of whom are working choreographers — often they offer the students incredible performance opportunities available only through their participation in the program.

A recent graduate of the ISVP, Jess Orcsik, is herself a studio owner in Sydney, Australia, an ambitious young entrepreneur, as well as a lovely dancer indeed. Jess loved her time at BDC, as do of course virtually all our students, and upon her return to Australia felt that the training she’d received at BDC was so powerful that she wanted to find a way to share it with the dancers of her country, perhaps during shorter visits to New York. When she contacted me with her idea, we jumped at the chance to work with her to develop The Australian Intensive, a program designed by Jess through her J.O. International Productions, whereby groups of young dancers can come to BDC to study intensively in a similar structure to the rigorous ISVP course.

As a longtime Australiophile — I have a sister who lives in Yeerongpilly, Brisbane — I had a trip planned to take a respite from New York’s winter months to the lovely Aussie summer, and so in chatting to Jess about my trip, it became obvious to both of us straightaway that we ought to combine pleasure with business and offer some workshops and do some outreach into the burgeoning dance community of Australia. We’ve had many Aussie dancers in the ISVP through the years, and have been delighted to watch them getting better and better — the training in Australia is clearly on the rise; we’ve had gorgeous dancers like Amy Campbell from So You Think You Can Dance and Dena Kaplan from Dance Academy come through the program, and we’re seeing more and more dancers of their caliber apply to the program.

I like to think that the founder of BDC, the late Richard Ellner, would feel that his dream of one all-encompassing studio, with the best dance faculty in the world, offering the finest dance instruction at all levels for all people who want to dance, a veritable “home away from home” for dancers, is indeed thriving here in the heart of the Broadway theater district. Even more, I hope he’d feel proud to see that rather than resting on our laurels, we’re all working hard to further this dream and welcome ever more dancers from around the world into the BDC-red hallways of our studios. It is now ever more important to all of us at BDC that we be inspiring the world to dance!

A day in the life of an ISVP

As I walk through the winding halls of Broadway Dance Center, whether its 9am or 9pm, my ears are filled with the the most beautiful languages from around the globe – Australian accents, Japanese hip hop rehearsals, and Swedish jokes that I wish I could understand.  The International Student Visa Program (ISVP) invites dancers from all over the world to experience unparalleled training at Broadway Dance Center.  ISVP students choose a program of 3 months, 6 months, or 1 year of intensive study at BDC – a schedule of 12 classes per week, closed master classes, immersion events, and performance opportunities.

Interested in becoming and ISVP?  Learn more about this incredible program, and take a look at “A Day in the Life” of some of our current ISVP students!

Maria Malmstrom

Hip Hop – Sweden

8:30am – Wake up and eat my usual Swedish breakfast of crisp bread, egg and caviar.

9:30am – Hop on the subway to Broadway Dance Center.

10:30am – Voguing class with Benny Ninja!

12:00pm – Eat lunch and chill with my ISVP friends.

3:00pm – Ballet with Peter Schabel, such a great teacher.

4:30pm – World jazz with Cecilia Marta.  This class is life-changing!

6:00pm – Take some time to stretch out my sore muscles.

8:30pm – Voguing rehearsal to the Performance Project.

11:00pm – Head to Brooklyn Bowl with some friends to dance our hearts out some more!

Pasqualino Beltempo

Ballet – Italy

6:45am – Wake up and eat some cereal for breakfast.

7:15am – Get ready and pack my backpack.

7:45am – Take the Q train from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

8:30am – Hope off at 42nd Street and grab a coffee as I head to BDC.

9:00am – Theater master class with Ricky Hinds.

10:30am – Ballet with Dorit Koppel.

12:00pm – Ballet with Dorit again!

1:45pm – Yoga with Amber Paul. Om.

3:00pm – Take a shower.

3:15pm – Take the subway home to eat and relax.

7:00pm – Head to Columbia University for a workshop with Donna McKechnie (the original Cassie from “A Chorus Line”)

11:00pm – Back home after a long day!

Maria Del Rosario Aviles

Contemporary – Bolivia

8:30am – Wake up, make breakfast, and prepare lunch and snacks for the day.

10:00am-2:00pm – Pushing Progress (contemporary training program) at DANY Studios.

2:00pm – Time to have a late lunch.

3:00pm – Hip hop class with Jared Jenkins.

4:30pm – World jazz with Cecilia Marta, one of my favorite teachers and human beings!

6:00pm – Eat some snacks and take a quick nap on the BDC bleachers.

7:30pm – Wacking with Princess Lockerooo.

9:00pm – Contemporary with Dana Foglia, another of my favorite teachers and choreographers!

10:30pm – Head home, shower, make a yummy milkshake (banana, strawberry, honey, ice cream, and milk!), spend time with my roommates.

1:00am – Finally go to asleep!

Chris Stuewe

Hip Hop – Canada

7:00am – Wake up, prepare lunch, and pack bag for the day.

7:45am – Eat breakfast and leave for BDC.

8:00am – Rehearsal for the Performance Project.

11:00am – Contemporary with Tracie Stanfield.

12:30 – Cool down and stretch on my own.

1:00pm – Grab lunch and return to BDC to eat and rest.

4::30pm – Hip hop with Luam.

6:00pm – Rehearsal with Autumn Dones for the Student Showcase.

7:30pm – Contemporary with Autumn Dones, too!

9:00pm – Hip hop with Brian and Scott Nicholson.

10:30pm – Leave BDC and walk home.

11:00pm – Shower, eat, check e-mail and Facebook, watch TV, and then go to bed.

Nallely Aguirre

Jazz – Mexico

7:00am – Wakeup.  Eat a bagel with cream cheese and a glass of orange juice for breakfast.

7:15am – Take a shower and get pretty for class.

8:20am – Walk to BDC!

9:00am – Lindy Hop Master Class.

11:00am – My favorite class with Tracie Stanfield!  We danced to “Shelter” from “The XX.”

12:30pm – Head home for a nap. Zzzzz

2:30pm – Grab lunch at Whole Foods (Union Square) with my fellow ISVP, Andy Caballero.  I’ve got a mango juice, some fruit, and a sandwich.

3:30pm – Shop at Forever 21 to find a costume for the April Performance Project.

4:15pm – Walk around Union Square (Barnes and Noble, dog park, etc.).

6:00pm – Take the subway back home to eat dinner and relax.

Megumi Nakao

Jazz – Japan

9:00am – Wakeup, eat breakfast (some cereal and black tea), and chill out.

12:00pm – Stiletto Heels class with Dana Foglia.

2:30pm – Jazz class with my mentor, Michelle Barber.

4:30pm – Pilates with Joy Karley.

6:00pm – Dinner with my ISVP friends from Japan at Izakaya (Japanese restaurant).

7:30pm – Rehearsal for Autumn Dones’ piece for the Student Showcase.

9:00pm – Home for bed!

On Tuesday, I wake up 9:00, eat breakfast and chill out, and go to take Dana’s heels, Michelle’s Jazz, Joy’s Pilates, rehasal of Autumn’s piece and sometimes go for dinner with JP friends afterwards