So, we are here in New York City, and I’m about to pick Julian up after his second day at the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive. We arrived to find ourselves with a very, very, very small studio apartment as a sublet. This might be better than a dorm room at New York University, and it is cheaper, but it isn’t any larger I don’t think…or not by much. I’m sleep in a loft and Julian is on a blow up mattress. The kitchen is hardly big enough to cook in and terribly ill equipped for doing so. The place isn’t all too clean and it smelled like cat when we got here. We are, however, making do and adjusting. (I’m trying to figure out how to work in this space as well.)
As for ABT, we arrived early on Monday morning to find ourselves second in line. The kids aren’t allowed in until 8:30 a.m. , so a line forms all the way around the corner of the building and down a long city block. It’s pretty amazing actually. The kids are then let in right at 8:30 and walk up four flights of stairs sans parents. (Nope…We do not get to go in except on the two parent observation days.) They are not allowed to take the elevator.
Yesterday, they were split into two groups, older and younger, and those groups were split into two again. One group, Julian’s (the younger — under 16), had an orientation session before lunch while the second group had their placement class. Julian had his placement ballet class after lunch. This was taught by Kevin McKenzie, ABT artistic director, while other people (I’m assuming the rest of the staff) watched and evaluated. Kevin evaluated as well.
This morning, the kids arrived to find out into which “level” they had been placed: yellow, red, blue, green, aqua, fuchsia, and one more…(I’ll have to ask Julian when he gets back.) While the levels are not decided by age but by proficiency, more often than not kids of the same age tend to end up in the same level as well — with a few exceptions.
Julian was hoping for the green level (typically 16-18), which is the higher of the two middle levels, but said he would be okay with blue. He ended up in blue. I’ll know better how he felt about that when he gets back. I suppose it will depend upon his evaluation of the other boys in his level. He really wanted to be with a few boys he sees as “very good.” This was not just because he wanted to see himself as as good as them but because he wanted to learn from them.
Anyway, we are off to a running start. He seemed happy yesterday and eager to get back there today.
Last night we took a tour of Juilliard. That was informative and interesting. Julian still thinks he wants to attend a school with academics, rather than a conservatory, but we are keeping our minds open. After all Juilliard is the Harvard of dance.
We hope to go see an ABT performance on Friday. Julian is looking into getting discounted student tickets — a summer intensive perk. We plan on going to see Jared Grimes dance tomorrow night as well, if I can get tickets tonight on line. And, of course, we have our Billy Elliott tickets already…and we went up to Broadway and checked out the theater!
While Julian is getting “buff,” more flexible and in shape at ABT, I’m getting in shape just by virtue of being in New York. My legs are really sore from walking around the city. And I have a free one-week pass to a gym! Someone else told me they could get me another one for 10 days…maybe I’ll just get free passes to a bunch of gyms and actually get buff myself! (I’m a long way from that, I’ll tell you.)
More in a day or two…