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Dominique

Neff
E-Mail:
neffdy@mail.uc.edu
College: University of
Cincinnati College
Conservatory of Music
Major: Ballet
Title of Project: Counselor
at Burklyn Ballet Theater
Thematic Area: Creative
Arts
Expected Project Start
Date: July, 2014
Expected Project End
Date: August, 2014
Web:
dominiqueneff.weebly.com




March 2014 HONORS EXPERIENCE

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1. Abstract

For the past two summers, Ive attended a ballet intensive, Burklyn Ballet Theater, in Johnson, Vermont. This year,
I was invited back as a counselor. The intensive, unlike most others, is focused on developing dancers as good people as well
as good dancers. I will go for four to six weeks and not only take classes and perform myself, but I will also be a mentor for
younger girls and boys with a similar passion. This experience would happen over June, July, and August of 2014; although
the schedule varies, the typical day will include at least 4 hours of dance classes, followed by several hours of rehearsals. I
will also spend several hours with the children to whom I am counselor. All of this will be in preparation for a performance
at the end of every week. Furthermore, I will have responsibilities on Sundays such as registering new dancers and managing
office work for BBT.

A sample Itinerary:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Ballet (2 hr) Ballet (2 hr) Ballet (2 hr) Ballet (2 hr) Ballet (2 hr) SHOW Counseling
(varies)
Pointe (1 hr) Partnering (1
hr)
Pointe (1 hr) Partnering (1
hr)
Interviews
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Modern (1.5
hr)
Modern (1.5
hr)
Modern (1.5 hr) Modern (1.5
hr)
Modern (1.5
hr)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Rehearsal (2
hr)
Rehearsal (2
hr)
Rehearsal (2 hr) Rehearsal (2
hr)
Rehearsal (2
hr)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)
Counseling
(varies)

I plan on using Burklyn Ballet Theaters summer intensive as my honors experience for this year. I will be training
all year in preparation for this; these short, rigorous intensives can mean a world of difference in a dancers technical
abilities. I am excited for it to not only improve my dancing in a physical and artistic aspect, but also help expose me to new
people as a form of networking in the dance world. Furthermore, I hope it will help me become a better teacher through the
experience of mentoring children in a dance atmosphere. As a reflection, I would like to create a blog with daily photos and
journal type entries. Furthermore, I would like to have enough video footage to create a short movie to further document the
experience. As a follow up to the project (and perhaps my experience for next year), I was considering starting a dance class
over the summer at the local city mission. Dance is an expensive art form to pursue officially, but I dont think that only the
people who can afford it should be exposed to it. It has changed my life and I want everyone to have that opportunity.



2. Learning Outcomes
Acquires or further develops competencies within a particular creative domain.
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As I previously stated, summer intensives are a crucial part of a dancers training. The sheer amount of hours spent
practicing and honing the craft at Burklyn Ballet Theater will help me to become a stronger, more technically proficient
dancer. The art form of dance is vastly reliant on teachers explaining complicated concepts in a way that clicks, in their
students minds and bodies; I have discovered, through personal experience, that, often, the exposure to new teachers will lead
to revelations simply because they use different verbiage that is more compatible with my thought process. I hope to
become more technically proficient through exposure to a multitude of past and present professional dancers. I will be able
to watch wonderful dancers take class, and take class along side them from incredible teachers.
Demonstrates/takes appropriate risk in successfully completing project (i.e. going beyond
original parameters of assignment, introducing new materials and forms, tackling controversial
topics, advocating unpopular ideas or solutions, etc.).
Burklyn Ballet Theater is unique in that it brings in instructors from all over the country, even world. These
instructors are extremely helpful resources as all of them have had successful careers in professional companies. They are
able to give recommendations, advice, thoughts, and assistance in planning your future. Overall, they are simply incredibly
valuable people to know. I hope, that after spending four weeks working with them, they will help me expand my network in
the dance world and be a valuable asset to my future. Not only are the instructors helpful, but also the fellow counselors are
very viable resources. The stipulation to become a counselor is that one has to either be a professional dancer or a dance
major in a college. They all have insights into what is currently happening in the dance world, and also are great at sharing
information about their journey to where they are. By the end of the summer, I hope to have video interviews with many of
the teachers and counselors about their individual paths to their professional careers.
Possesses ability to embrace contradictions and integrate alternate, divergent, or
contradictory perspectives.
Lastly, a unique privilege and responsibility of a counselor is that you are required to be a mentor to younger
children who share your passion. I love teaching dance and sharing the knowledge Ive gained thus far. I think that by
having a professional experience mentoring children, I will grow as a person and as an instructor. Dance careers dont last
forever; a possible path for post-professional dancing would be to become an instructor. By working with Burklyn Ballet
Theater, I will acquire experience in exploring dance in a healthy way. Despite the perfection that is achieved on stage, the
dance world has its flaws. Eating disorders plague dancers of all ages, as does an unhealthy type of competition. Because
the dance world is so rigorous and unrelenting, I believe that we need a healthy, supportive type of competition (not the type
where ballerinas put glass in each others pointe shoes, etcetera). This is a value that Burklyn Ballet shares. I would like to
help them enforce these ideas in the younger dancers who I will be counseling so that they will have long, happy, healthy
dance careers.
In short, I will gain technical proficiency, a better understanding of the pedagogy of dance, and will build a network
between myself and other dancers from across the country.

3. Goals and Academic Theories
Dance is a bit different from other academic fields in that a degree in dance is superfluous. That is, as long as you
can dance, you dont need one. Hence, a career in dance is built almost entirely on ability. Dancers are required to spend
hours daily exercising physically and mentally. We have immense amounts of choreography stored away in our heads that
tell us exactly where to put each part of our bodies, down to the pinky finger. Dancers need not only be physically
coordinated and mentally focused, but to appear professional in the dance world, one has to know the rich history that
surrounds it. Directors of ballet companies want to work with intelligent dancersones who will help in the creative
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process, ones who know the background to what theyre doing, ones who will add to the culture of dance. In preparation
for my experience, I will be reading the critically acclaimed book, Apollos Angels: A History of Ballet, by Jennifer Homans.
By reading this book, I will have insights into ballet history that will help me understand the development, controversies, and
successes of the professional ballet world. By studying the history of ballet, I will have a greater understanding of where my
art form has been and can use the inspiration from great dancers to take my technique to the next level. Furthermore, since I
am attending this program as a counselor, I will be able to share what I have learned with the younger dancers in the program.
I wish I had been given information about ballet history when I was younger; now, I may be able to give these motivated
young people what I never had. By having the knowledge that this book contains, I will enter more fully into the dialogue of
professional dancers and have a more complete understanding of the evolution of my art form. And, by blogging about what
Ive learned, hopefully whomever reads my blog (hopefully the younger girls at my home studio) will have an extra edge
academically as they near their auditions for a professional career.

4. Initiative, Independence, and Creativity
I came from a small dance studio and am the first person from there to pursue dance at a higher level. As a result,
there werent many resources on how to do that at my disposal. However, having been to Burklyn Ballet Theater, I have
found many people who are valuable resources as I stated before. They are the teachers who danced professionally, the
counselors who are dancing professionally, the artistic director who has networked globally, and the children who have spent
hours on end researching their dream to become professional dancers. I would like to video interviews with these people as
they tell stories of their journey thus far. By the end, I will hopefully have an accessible, easy to understand resource for
young people that dont come from a studio with a plethora of information on how to take their extracurricular to the next
level. I will present this video to interested dancers at my home studio in hopes that their transition into the professional
world will be less daunting and seem more attainable than mine.
5. Reflection:
I plan to keep a blog of my experiences; I will upload videos, photographs, and journal entries. I also plan to share
some of my findings from Apollos Angels, in a shorter, more basic way. This blog will help me to recall all of my findings
as well as to preserve them in an accessible format as a resource for the younger dancers from my home studio.
6. Dissemination:
At the end of the summer, I would like to teach a master class at my home studio to help the dancers develop a plan
for their future careers. They will be able to learn from my successes and failures and feel more confident in their future
plans as dancers.
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7. Advisor
Michael Tevlin
Associate Professor of Dance
Phone: 513-556-9455
Email: michael.tevlin@ucmail.uc.edu
Office: Corbett Center 3719
8. Budget
Tuition and Room and Board for 4 Weeks: $4,710
Approximate Airfare (Charleston, WV to Burlington, VT): $400
Total: $5,110


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Thank you for your consideration.