This summer, I was given the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a taste of West Coast dancing. I felt very fortunate to be accompanied by three of my friends and my dance instructor, Suzanne Saltmarsh. Ms. Saltmarsh was a valuable asset to have on our study. She introduced us to many of her past friends, whom she taught with at Lines Ballet and Marin Ballet, accompanied us at many classes, and was our personal tour guide. Ms. Saltmarsh has built many relationships with teachers and dancers in the San Francisco area and it overall positively affected my experience.
The night we arrived, we made our way to the Lines Ballet Summer Intensive performance. Lucky for us, one former dancer from our studio, Emily Rice, was performing. It was very exciting to see her dance, as well as the other dancers. I was amazed by the different styles of choreography and how each dancer approached their piece. The following morning, we took our first classes at Lines Ballet. At first, it was a little unsettling to be in such a large class with so many unfamiliar faces. The movement was challenging both to pick up and execute. However, as the days passed and my own relationships started to form, my nerves and startling feelings morphed into confidence and precision. I began to learn new concepts and mindsets. My teachers encouraged me to emphasize my port de bras and maximize my growth.
With new feedback and experiences, we took that to Marin Ballet. We took classes there for two days. The environment was very welcoming and gave an organized feel. Being a former faculty member, Ms. Saltmarsh has strong connections with Marin Ballet. I was fortunate enough to take a class with two of Mrs. Saltmarsh’s close friends: Artistic Director, Cynthia Lucas, and Pianist, Tim Murphey. What I enjoyed most was the teaching. My teachers took such care with everything from the musicality to the focus of the eyes. Breaking down the movements gave such a new perspective.
Overall, I feel our study in San Francisco was a great learning experience. I hope to continue to bring all of my new knowledge and insight to my dancing!