Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Class Watch: iDANZ Undercover Reviews Class with Stephen Petronio

Stephen Petronio, Photography by Sarah Silver I am working undercover for iDANZ, taking a dance class with Steven Petronio, a New York choreographer who has worked in the business as long as I’ve existed.  Getting to Peridance’s new foster home at 890 Broadway is a challenge in itself, as I usually take class in midtown or upper west side part of the city.  Thankfully, the Peridance Studios are being redone (their new home 126 East 13th Street/one block south of Union Square)… Thankfully, I say because the studio that I just stepped into is worn studio with mirrors seemingly constructed with aluminum stretched over wooden frames.

The class consists of several company members, experienced dancers and some fresh novice types.  Most wear comfortable clothing: tank tops and yoga pants, sweat pants, t-shirts, socks or barefoot.  Before the class starts, dancers sprawl out on the floor, doing spinal twists or breathing through downward dog.   A few converse with Stephen Petronio, friendly banter with laughter. 

Petronio leads the class through a good center warm-up, no music but the accompaniment of his voice, sounds of piano from a ballet class wafting through the door.  I am surprised by his guided visualizations that lead me through the inner parts of my pelvis.  I am excited to have this opportunity to focus on grounding myself through this awareness of my pelvic floor, something I feel like I am lacking as most of my training comes from ballet.  Stephen Petronio uses some anatomical language I am unfamiliar with, I would have liked to write it down, but then I could have revealed my undercover status.  Though I have been known to take notes in other dance classes, I feel that this group in particular would identify me quickly for many of the dancers seem to have returned from the day before.  Though, there are a few other new faces mix in with me…

Are You A Dancer RED JS 336 Throughout the warm-up, I try along with the rest of the class, to connect between the pubic bone and the tailbone, and grasp the rotational relationship between both hips.  I am in concentration mode, but enjoying myself and the challenges being presented. 

Barrington Hines teaches an across the floor combination, followed by a sweet excerpt of choreography.  It is fun to see Stephen Petronio guiding Barrington, throwing in corrections and suggestions, asking him to refine certain movements.  We got to witness the choreographer test the dancer, as the dancer sought to convey the choreographer’s ideas-  the ultimate challenge!  An excellent combo, I find Petronio’s choreography to be fun and very challenging in itself, with highs and lows, changes in direction.  One certain movement requires us to swivel switch our feet as we travel backwards, wiggling our heads and using the weight of our heads to propel us through the movement trajectory.  Oh, Wow…  I am challenged in this movement, finding my center though off-balance.

The abstract vocabulary reflects some balletic pieces, perhaps because, as Stephen Petronio says, it has been originally set on a ballet company.  Everyone knows the choreography, some I think have worked on it the day before.  We then break off in groups to explore the space and dance the combo more fully.  This is the best part as I enjoy learning from watching the other dancers.  I enjoy myself so much, I want to continue dancing but alas, time is out; class over. 

Whew… I feel that Petronio’s class worked my body really well, though didn’t sweat too much- I rarely do.  My favorite part of the class is definitely doing the combo and working on the choreography.  Talking with some of the company dancers afterwards, I secretly learn that the victim (company dancer teaching choreography while being examined by Stephen Petronio) changes every day, sometimes every other day.  I would definitely love to attend this class again, if only I can get up and out of my house in time to make it there by 10am!

Petronio and Company members continue to present their month-long Master Class Series at Peridance Center, (890 Broadway).   Classes are Monday-Friday, October 12-November 6, 2009 from 10:00-11:30am.  Individual classes are $20, a full week (5 classes) is $90.  To register for classes go to www.peridance.com or call 212-505-0886.  Subsequent classes will be posted on the Company’s website – www.stephenpetronio.com and Facebook page.    Please note that Peridance will soon be moving to their new state-of-the-Art center at 126 East 13 Street (one block south of Union Square).

CLICK Here & CONNECT with the Members of the iDANZ Critix Corner!iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Class Review by Lea McGowan

Instructor/Choreographer:  Stephen Petronio
Studio:  Peridance @ 890 Broadway (Temporary Location)
Class Date:  October 21, 2009
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