Students with differing levels of dance experience take advantage of the ballet classes Loyola offer
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013 14:10
Manterrinan Zehyoue, criminal justice junior, said she’s able to live out a portion of her dancing dream through Loyola’s ballet program.
“I always wanted to be a child dancer, but it just never worked out because I’m terrible at it,” Zehyoue said.
Zehyoue has now taken two semesters of ballet, and she is among many Loyola students who choose to take ballet as an extra elective.
Laura Zambrano, director of Loyola ballet, teaches ballet to a variety of students, from children to students with no prior dance experience to those minoring in ballet.
Zambrano’s ballet passion started before she was born. She said that her mother “loved” classical music and played it while pregnant with her.
“I think I’ve been dancing since I was in her womb,” Zambrano said.
In Venezuela, eight-year-old Zambrano heard classical music while walking toward the school bus. She turned and saw students doing ballet through the window.
“I went home, got stockings, booties, and I think it was a bathing suit. I brought it all with me, and I knocked on the door and said, ‘Can I join?’” Zambrano said.
Zambrano now channels this passion for ballet into the range of classes she teaches at Loyola.
“I have students that go from Ballet I all the way to Advanced Ballet,” Zambrano said. “It depends on ability, dedication — everyone’s different, but the opportunity is there if they’re up for the challenge.”
Derek Joseph, French language and culture junior, said his love for French and German culture first drew him toward ballet. Joseph thinks that ballet will also help with his back issues.
“I have scoliosis and a winged scapular,” Joseph said. “I think ballet is really strengthening the muscles, and I wish I could take it every day.”
Caitlin Vanderwolf, English freshman and columnist for The Maroon, said she was hoping ballet would give her the grace she lacked, but she wasn’t initially looking forward to the tights or leotards.
“I thought it was something that I’d be super self-conscious about, but I don’t even care. Now I walk around campus in my tights,” Vanderwolf said.
Sofia Alvarado, psychology senior, believes that ballet makes her feel relaxed and makes her less anxious.
“As a psych major, we are more worried about grades and studying. Most undergraduates, especially seniors, forget that they are actually people that have needs,” Alvardo said.
Daphne Pastard, mass communication freshman and ballet minor, said she’s been dancing on and off since she was eight. Even though she was trained in modern, jazz and ballet, that ballet experience didn’t prepare her for Zambrano’s Russian technique.
“It’s strict, but it is fun. I’m not used to the Russian technique,” Pastard said.
Zambrano believes that dancers must learn the Russian technique of ballet to become successful.
“The philosophy of the program is to dance ballets in the classical repertoires,” Zambrano said. “When you expose students to those ballets, they are technically very challenging, but that’s going to develop them as dancers.”
Philip Ramirez, psychology and pre-med senior, started taking ballet the spring semester of his sophomore year and has been in four of Loyola’s ballet performances since.
Ramirez said that Zambrano saw something special in him and put him on stage when he was just a beginner.
“I was completely lost, but I survived,” Ramirez said. “I was known as the boy without a shirt on stage.”
Ramirez loves that ballet provides a fun way to exercise.
“You get to work out, sweat and get that booty tight,” Ramirez said.
Along with an opportunity to pursue her dream of dancing, Zehyoue likes ballet because it’s different from the rest of her coursework.
“When I found that you could take dance here for free as an elective, I thought ‘Why not go for it?’” she said.
Diana Mirfiq can be reached at email@example.com