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Dance Blaze Academy, 2nd floor, 7A, Phone +60 16-225 5141

Dance Blaze Academy










Address 2nd floor, 7A, Jalan Bangsar, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Metro KL Sentral 0.89km
Phone +60 16-225 5141


Hours 10:00-00:00
Website danceblazeacademy.com
Categories Dance School
Rating

4. 5 8 reviews

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Dance Blaze Academy reviews

8

user

11 December 2020 4:03

Dance Blaze has some wonderful teachers, particularly Amar and Prabha who are very accommodating and make classes super fun. Dance Blaze is more than a dance studio, it is a community.

user

10 December 2020 0:30

One of the best dance class you’ll ever get. No one does salsa class like amar and Prabha. Love their bachata lessons and Dominican bachata classes.
Dance blaze is definitely the place to go for Latin dance classes in Kl

user

06 December 2020 2:22

Looking to enroll dance classes for Dominician Bachata, Cuban Salsa & Reggeaton?
Then you should go to this fabulous dance school DANCE BLAZE ACADEMY!
The both Amar & Prabha are the TOP NOTCH instructors! They are very patient, kind, encouraging and really gifted at tailoring the instruction to the needs of the student. Both the private lessons and group classes are great & fun. You will feel like part of the dance family immediately.
This dance academy is located in Bangsar, it’s a very strategic place. There’s public transportation (train) nearby the academy, ample of restaurant to hangout before or after class.
Dance Blaze Academy is my happy place & HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Gowri

27 November 2019 23:26

Best dance studio for Cuban salsa, bachata and kizomba. One of the most reasonably priced studios too, given the location and quality of teachers. Everyone is like a family here, instructors are super friendly, approachable, and accommodating. They also have a free practice session on Sundays 3pm – which is not only limited to students, but open to everyone!

Jia

18 June 2019 2:51

Thank you Mr Amar, the founder of Dance Blaze Academy for your kindness in helping us to make Xpress Yourself Talent Competition 2019 a success by volunteering as one of the judges in the event.
Your wonderful experience and profile really amazed us. Looking forward for more exciting events from your academy!

Mustafa

15 January 2019 22:24

Dance Blaze is the best dancing school you will find in this globe, I can’t imagine that within 3 months I can go now for social dancing and do many moves, The Teachers are so friendly and they really passion about sharing the knowledge of dancing. It’s a true please to learn from dance blaze teachers. Totally recommended for any one who is looking for learning dancing in kl.

shruti

13 January 2019 21:33

They gave me time at 11 AM but when I reached the place for the trial class nobody was there. I called multiple times but nobody responded. Highly disappointed with this unprofessional attitude.

Apoorva

26 October 2017 6:14

The best dance school in Kuala Lumpur. The trainers care about your experience inside and outside the class. You will definitely meet your new best friends here.

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Just Blaze | Red Bull Music Academy

Hosted by Torsten Schmidt Audio Only Version Transcript:

Torsten Schmidt

Mr Justin [Smith]… Now, I mean I can totally understand since Schmidt [or Smith] is only the most common name in the world apart from one… [turns to Jeff Chang sitting in the audience] Jeff, you got any idea what that name would be?

Jeff Chang

Probably Jeff…

Torsten Schmidt

And Chang, yeah.

Just Blaze

You sure it’s not Chin?

Torsten Schmidt

No, Chang. Changs are ruling the world. But I mean, I can totally see that you have that urge to, you know… because I mean everyone thinks that they’re special and if you’re in an environment where people have small egos like President Carter [Jay-Z], it’s almost the same kind of thing. But who on earth came up with the Just Blaze?

Just Blaze

Well, firstly I’ve got to say that out of everybody that I’ve dealt with, as crazy as it is, even although Jay is one of the biggest artists I’ve ever dealt with, he probably has, or I probably have the least amount of ego problems. I got more ego problems with artists who haven’t sold five records than somebody who’s sold 20 million. It’s crazy, because I was always used to rappers and their egos and whatever and 90% of them are like little schoolgirls. You say something the wrong way and they’re like [mimics crying].

But dealing with him, he could have been the one artists who come at me a certain way, speak to me a certain way or whatever. He never did. He was one of the first artists to be like, “So what do you think?” And I’m like, “You’re asking me? Really?” So, that was a really a major factor in me realizing my own personal worth as a producer. But, what was your question? That wasn’t even your question…

Torsten Schmidt

The question was still, who came up with “Just Blaze”?

Just Blaze

Who came up with that? Gosh. I was in a session with Joe Budden we were doing “Pump It Up” and it was like, I don’t really like talking, I don’t like being on records and things like that. At the same time, I had people saying my name on records and at one point in particular we were doing the Joe Budden “Pump It Up” record, he’s like, “Go ahead and say your name.” And I’m like, “I don’t say my name.” So, I say, “You’ve got to say my name,” and he’s like, “I’m not saying your name, you have to say it.”

So, I kept making fun of him that night, because he had that song – what was that first song he had? – “Focus” and in the song, he goes, [deep voice] “Mon-day, Satur-day, Fri-day,” so I was making fun of him, going all night. So, then he was like, [deep voice] “Just-Blaze” and it kind of just stuck from there, so he’s like, “Say it, just like that.” I was like, “No.” He wasn’t going to do it, I knew the record was going to be a huge record and I’d be a fool not to have my name at the beginning of the record so, to be honest, I don’t really do it that much anymore. I never really liked it.

Torsten Schmidt

Who came up with it in the first place? Because, I mean, the great philosopher by the name of Chris Rock was wondering one day like, “Smokey Robinson wasn’t singing about Motown, The Isleys weren’t going…”?

Just Blaze

Oh, you mean the name itself, I thought you the way it gets said at the beginning of records.

Torsten Schmidt

No, the whole thing of tagging every track that you do as a producer.

Just Blaze

Actually, the very first person who did it was Amil, a female rapper signed to Roc-A-Fella, but it was so low you couldn’t hear it. The first person to say it where it actually mattered was Cam’ron. But he didn’t, it was right at the beginning of “Oh Boy” if you listen. [points to laptop] You have it right there? Two times.

Torsten Schmidt

Three times. From the top.

Cam’ron feat Juelz Santana – “Oh Boy”

(music: Cam’ron feat Juelz Santana – “Oh Boy”)

Just Blaze

OK, so… Like, he didn’t put it right there, but I asked him to say my name on the record and there was that blank space right there, so I was just like “opportunity.” “Put it right there where there’s nothing else being heard but that.” Because a lot of times up until that point it’d be, either it would be the beat was going on, there was the intro going on or somebody else was talking. So, at that point it was just like a perfect space right at the beginning of the record. And that kind of became the blueprint for where we always end up getting plays. But, for me, it was always like, “So I’m not rapping, I’m not dancing in videos, and I’m not doing ad-libs but I have to do something to kind of brand myself.” Because it’s all about the perception. You make yourself look bigger than you are, you will eventually become that.

It was like, “Alright, if I know I’m about to have five or six big records out and at the beginning of the record every song starts out with somebody saying ‘Just Blaze,’ people might not even know who I am or that it’s a person, but eventually they’ll catch on.” I met people who were like, “I just thought rappers had decided to come up with a new phrase for smoking weed and they put it at the beginning of their records.” And I was like, “Yeah, I don’t personally care if you didn’t know that I was a person, but you knew the phrase and eventually you realized that it was me. ” So, that was me kind of me making my mark because I had already done tons of records at that point, but everything changed, and all of a sudden you heard the name every five minutes on the radio at the beginning of a song. So, it was just me taking my opportunity to do that for myself.

Torsten Schmidt

I mean, with some producers you might argue that they do that to sell their energy drink, their apparel, even their pimples cream and whatnot.

Just Blaze

Who sells pimple cream? [laughter]

Torsten Schmidt

The Diddy. The D, the I, the D…

Just Blaze

Oh god, what does he say? “Preserve the sexy?” That’s his thing. I mean he’s a… He’s an all-around… he does what he does. Me, I’m not really outgoing like that. I’m not a salesman and that was my thing, it was like, “How can I get my name out there and get it well-known and get it popular without having to sell myself?” Because I hate just having to be like, “Hey, I make beats,” or, “Hey, wanna listen to my beats?” I just don’t like to do that. My thing is just always like, I’d rather have people come to me because they want me.

So, like I said, having all those records out at one time and having my name all over the place, just all of a sudden made the perception of me that much bigger, where all of a sudden it got to the point where I’m working with artists and they’re asking me, “So, are you putting Just Blaze at the beginning of the song?” And I’d be like, “Oh no, that’s old.” “No, no, no, could you please put it there?” Artists were starting to tell me that it was like people were checking or they were paying more attention to a song when they would hear that at the beginning because it already catches their attention so they’ll stop and listen for two seconds. So, in some instances artists were asking me to put it on there, even when I wanted to stop doing it. So, that’s basically where it started and where it’s at now. Like now, I only do it if the artist really, really… if the artist asks me specifically or it just fits.

Torsten Schmidt

But excuse my ignorance, wouldn’t it make more sense to have like a trademark
sound instead of a trademark tag?

Just Blaze

The thing is that tag kind of became a sound in itself and the thing about it is that tags don’t work. Like Sean Smith, a good friend of mine, he had [the sound of] tumbling dice back in the late ’90s and me as a producer, I knew it that when you heard the [mimics sound of shaking and throwing dice], alright that’s some Sean Smith track. The average 16-year-old on the corner did not know that. So, it was like, my thing is you can’t assume that people are going to hear the dice sound or a fire alarm or whatever and assume alright, “We know it, that’s such and such.” Because as much as all of us in here see and look at the credits we’re a very small minority of what really goes on in the world. I tell people all the time it’s 2% of that of people in the world who know what goes on in the making of a record and maybe 1% that actually care.

Torsten Schmidt

But since you’re only the producer do you really have to cater to those other 98% because the ones that would want to go and buy a beat of you they would know anyway, right?

Just Blaze

Right, but at the same time that does actually drive your worth up because then what happens is the more you become… I haven’t become a full-fledged public figure and that’s by choice, but I have to a certain degree, and the more of a public figure you are the more your worth is and the more you can charge people. That’s not to say that I do it for the money because there’s certain artists that I work with for next to nothing. There are other artists that I’ll turn ’round and charge 70/80 grand for a record.

But if I didn’t have that string of records that I did with my name all over them and my trademark all over them, then I might not have been able to charge those artists that amount of money because my name might not hold as much weight. It’s one thing when you have four or five records out at once, and they’re doing good and the industry will know who you are; when you actually have the general public knowing who you are it’s almost akin to having an artist feature on a track because the industry nowadays is so producer-driven.

Ten years ago, I knew that The Bomb Squad did Public Enemy’s albums, the average kid didn’t. So you look at album covers now and before anything else you’ll probably see: production by Just Blaze, Rockwilder, Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Jermaine Dupri, Timbaland and Dr Dre and everybody else. Ten years ago, you looked at X-Clan’s first album it said, “Featuring the smash single ‘Heed The Word Of The Brother’ and ‘Funkin’ Lesson.’” You looked at Public Enemy’s album it said, “Features ‘Miuzi Weighs A Ton,’ ‘Timebomb,’” and whatever the other single was. All of a sudden that changed to what the focus became, more so, on the producers almost than the artists of the songs themselves. So, if you want to survive in that game, you got to try and play along with it.

Torsten Schmidt

How do you play along with it and still maintain some integrity for you as an artist, because you were one of the few — when we talk about President Carter, for example — that kind of were there in the moment when he, who was one of the most gifted MCs who were still alive, finally made an album, which he didn’t really do ever since his debut album, because he was just churning out so much stuff. And then, for the first time The Blueprint was like, “Oh, here’s a concise album, the way that we knew it, like a concise vision.” How do you maintain or create such a vision if you have a team of 20-plus people working there?

Just Blaze

It’s hard because it’s like on one hand you listen to 90% of what’s winning on the radio and what’s on 106 & Park and whatever else and what have you and you say to yourself, “Alright, I could make these beats all day.” I’ll pull out Fruity Loops or something and just [mimics making a beat], you know? And you can do those all day. But at the same time – and this is no disrespect to any of the producers who are doing those kind of records – but at the same time, I bet you a lot of those dudes will be here today, gone tomorrow.

What you always have to try to do is go against the grain a little bit and realize that because of what we do, the art form that we treat it as, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, because the kind of records I do you can’t just cookie-cut and throw out. It takes time. I may come up with the basic groove of the record in five or ten minutes and then I might be working on it for a week to get it to where it’s at.

Torsten Schmidt

So this whole, “Hey, look at me how cool I am. I did this beat in like five minutes,” that’s just the basic idea and then you’ve got the hard work.

Just Blaze

What happens is, for example, and I was going to use this as an example, “Show Me What You Got,” the new Jay single, I got a lot of calls from lots of people who loved it, I got a lot of calls from people who were like, or DJs who were like, “Yo, I like this record but maybe you guys should get in the club a little bit more and see what’s going on at the club, because right now you guys seem like you’re on the left.” And I’m like, “Yeah.” That was the point.

Like, I don’t believe you as a DJ who is supposed to be part of this culture is sitting here telling me I should have went to the club and listened to the other 20 records that are winning that all sound the same right now and do something that fits into that mold. When I made the beat I purposely said I want to go a little left, try something different. Nobody’s really done the up-tempo, live-band-type-of-feeling record in hip-hop, not in a long time.

Torsten Schmidt

A long time being a pretty relative term there.

Just Blaze

Yeah. I mean, to be honest, I’m not going to say it’s never been done. I don’t think it’s ever been done like that, where you have a fusion of a whole live band and samples going on, on a track that up-tempo. And that’s also part of what I was talking about as far as balancing, because with the success you’ve got to try and take chances sometimes. Who knows, the record may bomb. I pray to God it doesn’t… It doesn’t look like it’s going to but you never know.

You just kind of have to take chances because we did with The Blueprint, we said, “You know what? Forget all the keyboard geek beats, forget all that. Let’s just go back to where we all started from. Let’s go back and start digging in the records and get the drum loops out and do it that way. ” And look what we did! We changed the face of what hip-hop was sounding like for the next couple of years. So, if we hadn’t have done that, who knows where we’d be right now?

Torsten Schmidt

But then, by the same token, you were already in a bit of a privileged position because if you take “Show Me What You Got” and there’s like three major samples in there. If I was to ring up the publishers to clear them, they would just go like [laughs]…

Just Blaze

The thing is, you would have probably ended up in the same situation that we did, which is nobody’s making any money off of that record. I’m not making any money off of it, in the sense that when you play it on the radio, I’m not getting any royalties. When it gets played on the radio, Jay’s not getting any royalties. There is no publishing left in that record because Johnny Pate took something like 55%. [to himself] Uh, what’s the other one? The Lafayette Afro Rock Band’s “Darkest Light”, the horn sample is somewhere in the area of 35 to 40% — it’s actually over. Basically, the publishers came back they wanted a 125 or 135% on the record. There’s only a 100% to give away.

Everybody sees my name and they see Jay’s name, and they get the dollar signs in their eyes. To me, the funny thing about that record is the Public Enemy, the whole Public Enemy thing wasn’t even intentional. What happened was Jay had the record and he’s in one room and he’s got this hook called “Show Me What You Got.” I’m in the other room and I’m messing with the horns from “Darkest Light,” which PE used for “Show ’Em Whatcha Got” on Nation of Millions. I didn’t know what he was thinking, he didn’t know what I was thinking. So, when I walked in the room and he’s sitting there doing the, you know: [sings] “Show me what ya got / Show me what ya got,” and I’m like, “Wait a minute.” I’m in the other room with the horns, so I was like, “Alright, this is something that has to be.”

Torsten Schmidt

What you call collective conscience, right?

Just Blaze

Exactly, and once we put it all together I had to go in there and do the Flavor Flav part or it don’t make any sense, but that in turn made Public Enemy come back and say, “Alright, we need 35%. ” And I mean, really, I could have just taken that line out and that would have been that, I wouldn’t have had to give them any money, but it’s like sometimes you can’t let that money dictate what’s going to be best for the record.

A lot of times what people do, if they have a sample and the sample sounds crazy, they’ll go back afterwards and say, “Alright, let’s take the sample out and get it replayed.” Just for the sake of getting it replayed so they can keep their publishing. Now you’re sacrificing your artistic integrity for a dollar. And the thing is as long as you have that artistic integrity, and you can maintain that respect, those dollars will always be there.

Because even though I’m not seeing any major money off of that record, besides what I got paid to do the beat, because I have Jay-Z’s comeback single, his first record in three years out, because I have a Puff Daddy and Christina Aguilera single about to drop at the same time, along with one of the biggest and best records on The Game’s album, now that’s three records that are all going to be big records that will keep me in business for another year. As long as you have one or two hot records you’ll always get those calls. It’s when all of a sudden you haven’t had anything out in two or three years, people are like, “Oh, what happened to him? Guess he ran out.”

Torsten Schmidt

And I think the same gamble goes for the artists as well because when they say you’re the go-to guy when it comes to arena anthems. I mean, if you want to sell out an arena like, even if it’s “only” [Melbourne’s] Rod Laver Arena, which Jay’s going to play tomorrow, it’s still 15/18,000, it needs something which holds up there. So, can you probably enlighten us how the process of
clearing and publishing works when you take another arena anthem like [Kanye West’s] “Touch The Sky,” for example?

Just Blaze

“Touch The Sky” was actually very… you know, the funny thing is, as popular as “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield is, I’d never heard that song before and so I think I found a CD in my house or something, I had a Greatest Hits and I just threw it on, threw it on my iTunes and I heard that and I was like, “What’s this?” And I’d heard every other song on that CD before but I had never heard that one. Now, had I heard it and knew how popular it was, I probably wouldn’t have touched it. But I did it, I did the record, Kanye came… I did that record in about 20 minutes before Kanye got to the studio, or did the beat anyway. He took it, did it and when it came down to getting it cleared, Curtom Records was actually very easy, about sample clearances.

One thing that producers should always try to do, which is difficult when you’re a new producer, but the way I do my deals is you’ve got to remember that these days, being that sampling has become back in chic, en vogue, off the top you could have the smallest two-second sample and publishers are still saying, “We want 50% off the top.” Now, most deals are traditionally structured where the song is 100%, the producer gets 50, artist gets 50. That sample that you brought to the table takes 50% and there goes your publishing, the artist gets their 50 and they keep it moving.

What I’ve been fortunate and blessed enough to be able to have now is because I have the name that I have I can say if the sample takes 50%, we’re splitting the other 50, 25/25, which I can do most of the time now, only because of the track record that I have. But I would still suggest to new producers to at least try and get that. If you have good representation or good relationships, because at the end of the day the artist can say, “Alright, it was your choice to put the sample in there why have I got to take the hit?” But then you can also turn around and say, “Alright, well, it was my choice to pick the sample, it was your choice to pick the beat from it. You must have liked the beat.”

And you know, once we started realizing, I was like, “Hold on, why am I taking the hit every time? No!” Just as much as it was my choice to say, “Alright I’m going to loop this up, chop this up,” whatever I’m doing with it and throw it in my MP[C] and do whatever I do with it, the artist had to hear that beat and be like, “Oh, you know what? I like this. I’m going to rhyme to it, I want to do a record to it.” I really feel like the hit should be taken on both ends. But, like I said, for the most part dealing with Curtom and Curtis Mayfield’s catalogue, in all the experiences I’ve had it’s never been a problem. Now, where I did have a huge problem was “Breathe” for Fabolous, which I sampled a late ’70s/early ’80s rock group by the name of
Supertramp. They don’t even clear samples, first of all, but… [looks for the track on his laptop to play] I think I just bought it off iTunes.

Torsten Schmidt

It’s always a good promo measure as well, like buying your own shit? Like the old days.

Just Blaze

Yeah.

Fabolous – “Breathe”

(music: Fabolous – “Breathe”)

Just Blaze

And like they said, the song did well, it got burned all over New York City radio, became this street anthem practically overnight. Problem was they hadn’t negotiated the sample clearance. So you’re already dealing with a group who are known to turn down samples and you put the record out before the sample was cleared. Now they can come back and say, “We want it all,” which is exactly what they did, and the thing is, what made it even worse was that we were working on getting that sample replayed, not necessarily to save money, but because we didn’t think that it was going to get cleared. And the problem is that, let’s say you do a record, it has a sample in it, you throw it out before a sample’s cleared and then it gets denied? Now, they can not only demand everything but they can sue you because you’re basically releasing their material without having clearance from them.

So they came back and were like, “Hmm, give us a 100 grand.” And I think they thought that because it was hip-hop we were just going to baulk and be like, “Oh, never mind.” [Shakes head] We gave them a hundred grand. So then, when they go to shoot a video, they were like, “Oh, wait a minute, no. You guys want to shoot a video? We need another five grand.” Which didn’t make any sense. We just gave you a $100,000 and now because we want to shoot a video to it you want an extra five? I personally think that the group had nothing to do with that, that was probably just their lawyer padding his pockets a little bit, or putting the downpayment on a car or something, daughter might need new shoes, I don’t know. But we had a call from, not me myself, but Fab had the call to put an extra five grand just to shoot a video for it and then on top of that they took a 100% of the publishing on the record. And that could have easily been avoided had they maybe just waited a week.

Torsten Schmidt

Held their horses a little bit.

Just Blaze:

Exactly. The same thing happened with “Oh Boy.” That record was literally on the radio ten minutes after it was recorded. Not mixed, not mastered, nothing. Cam did the record and I got a phone call that he was doing [the radio]… I got to the studio about half an hour later and by the time I got to the studio it was on the radio in the studio. And there was only one thing that really needed to be removed because you can’t… in the original song that I sampled, which was Rose Royce “I’m Going Down,” she never actually says “Oh boy” in the song. She says, “Oh” and “Baby”…

(music: Cam’Ron – “Oh Boy”)

Just Blaze

So really, in that whole song the only thing I would have really had to clear would have been the intro, the intro horns, which are obviously instantly recognizable. I was going to change that and take that out. Instead the record got rushed to the radio and there’s no denying it, it was a hit record, but it would have been a hit record without that intro. So they came down to it, again you have another record that’s on the radio and the sample hasn’t properly been cleared yet, so now they come back and they want 70, 80%. And all they wanted it for was the… [sings intro], which we could have easily taken and had a horn section come and do something of.

So, point is, sample clearances can be a nightmare, they don’t have to be if they’re done properly. The problem is, is labels, artists have a hot record on their hands and that’s all they see, that’s their goal just to get the hot record out. As a producer, I want the hot record out, too, but don’t kill us in the end. Because it is a business, this is how we make a living. Why shoot yourself in the foot to have a record out a week early?

Torsten Schmidt

The Jersey that you come from, is it that the Tony Humphries Jersey, the Bon Jovi Jersey, The Sopranos Jersey or the Kevin Smith Jersey?

Just Blaze

The Sopranos Jersey, actually. [To someone off camera] Isn’t that strip club right about Route 46 or something? The club Bada Bing, it’s really close to something else, but that’s kind of right where I’m from really, Northern New Jersey, right near New York. I grew up in Paterson. Paterson’s weird, it’s crazy. I mean, since I’ve been gone it’s changed a lot. The basic average city is still the same, like any other big city on the outskirts is suburbs or the nicer areas and then the further in you get the grimier it gets. I grew up in a nice neighborhood but if I wanted to go out and buy some crack, it was three blocks away. But I just wasn’t buying crack.

Torsten Schmidt

You’re not drinking either, right?

Just Blaze

No, no.

Torsten Schmidt

So your momma raised you well?

Just Blaze

You know what the funny thing is? My mother, everybody sat down and said, “Don’t drink, don’t do drugs.” We never really had that conversation.

Torsten Schmidt

But she held the cables underneath the table when you were DJing?

Just Blaze

Yeah. My mother was more the type “free reign to a certain extent,” but I think it was more just the values she instilled in us, and like you said, she was very supportive. When I was 15, doing this one big party in Wayne, New Jersey, big huge backyard party, and my speakers blew, she came down. She had just bought this Kenwood stereo system when they used to have the big systems with the big tower speakers. She came down with hers that she had just bought from Sears or something and the cable wasn’t long enough, so she actually sat there under the table as I was DJing [mimes holding wires] and held the wires together for the last two hours of the party. There’s not too many kids whose moms would do something like that. I didn’t even want to bother her because she’d already drove us to the party.

All my other friends that I was with called their parents and they were like, “Uh, nah, party’s over then.” She went, drove 45 minutes, lugged it all in the car herself and sat there and did that. Like I said, when you have that proper support structure at home you don’t have to get the “Don’t do drugs” talk, you’re were just raised in a good environment. And plus, I’m at the point now where I’m almost 30-years-old, and if you ain’t been doing it this long… I don’t know, I personally don’t see anything wrong with it, but I’m a creature of habit, I’m not really into trying new things, outside of when it comes to music.

Torsten Schmidt

So, how do you maneuver that reasonable upbringing and reasonable mindset in an
area where it’s all like, “Hey, look how grimy I can be”?

Just Blaze

Most of my friends had enough respect not to bring that around my house when they would come by. Because everyone knew that I was the DJ/producer or whatever, so they would always want to come and rap. We would make our own little tapes and there was only one kid that ever tried it, it was like, “Yo, can I…?” My mother used to have an old car in the back, an old Honda Accord. “Can I go and smoke weed in the [yard?]” “Nah, B. And don’t ever ask me that again. Don’t disrespect my crib, my crib or my moms.” And that was one time and that was pretty much it. My friends knew not to bring it around, plus my mother was a high school principal. So she already had that like [mimes being stern]. So you weren’t going to bring it around the crib.

And outside of that, I was just so wrapped up in my music that I didn’t really care about nothing else. Like, you know how some kids lead a sheltered life, they want to go outside but they can’t? I didn’t want to bother. All I wanted to do was get out of school, go to the record store, spend my little $25 every day or whatever I had on records and go home and make my tapes. I had my little Casio SK-5 with the four seconds of sampling time, I was good. And by the time I got to the age when I could go out and could come and go pretty much as I pleased, all I was doing was going to DJ. I really just did what I wanted to do at an early age. Before I even knew what producing was. It was just something I wanted to do.

Torsten Schmidt

Does that create any tension when you deal with people that you’ve been dealing with for a long time, like Saigon, who claims to have a slightly different past?

Just Blaze

Not really, because there’s a couple of different factors that come into play. It’s like, I deal with certain artists, it’s like, “Alright, we both know that if it wasn’t for music, me and you would not be hanging out.” We don’t try to treat it as such either. That’s not to say that we don’t hang out, but we’re not trying to sit there saying we go back to whatever, whatever, because when I was 15 I was just chasing the next Special Ed album, you might be just chasing or running from some gun shots. I didn’t grow up like that, so it’s more of a respect thing when I deal with these artists. They know, or they can tell the background that I come from. I know the background they come from, and it doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day I give them what they need, they give me what I need, when it comes to music, and we just do our records.

Torsten Schmidt

But sometimes that whole life comes to you like at the recent Busta Rhymes video shoot, for example?

Just Blaze

If I don’t need to be there, I’m not there. It’s like, there were five people on that song. There were 50 people on the video shoot. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Like I said, it’s not for me. I’m not going to the awards show if I’m not nominated. I’m not going to the party if I had nothing to do with the album. I might not even go to the party if I had something to do with the album. Because a lot of times, 90% of the people at those parties are just trying to get their face seen, or trying to stay in some kind of a mix. That’s not that everyone’s there serving that purpose, they’re also there to party and have a good time, but a lot of people, in all honesty, going to these parties is just like going to work. They work the party circuit. I’d rather work the computer.

And if, at the end of the day, I can count on one hand the amount of industry parties I’ve ever been to. Ever. And I think part of that is the reason why I’m still here eight years later. Some people, they get caught up in the party scene or they get caught up in their own hype – and that’s not to say you can’t party and maintain what you do, it’s just not for me.

Plus, like I was telling you last night, I’m awkward at a party, because I’ve come from that element of DJing for so long, I’m in the middle of the crowd and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m just kind of sitting there, lingering by the DJ booth watching his records, saying, “God, I wish that was me playing those records.” Clubs are for people who drink, dance, all of that. I can still do a little, you know [dances in chair] whatever, but I don’t drink, I don’t really partake in that element, so it’s just not for me. When I’m not working I’d rather just be home, watching TV, hanging out with my dogs or listening to records to go back to work on.

Torsten Schmidt

So, how do you survive being at the forefront in a business, keeping it real, while everyone else is faking it to the max?

Just Blaze

I don’t think they’re all faking it. At the end of the day, the music speaks for itself. When you can turn around and say, “These are the records I’ve done,” that’s really all that matters. And I don’t need to work the club scene I don’t need to kiss anybody’s behind, I don’t need to buy somebody 20 drinks to get them drunk enough to agree to a deal or schmooze them on a dancefloor or whatever. And again, I don’t have any problem with that, I just come from the other side. I come from the DJ element, so that’s where my comfortability is. It’s on the creative end, not so much on the party end. I’d rather make the music for y’all to go and get drunk and dance to than partake in it. To each his own.

There’s actually a lot of folks like that. If you ever notice, you go to these parties and a lot of times the most, most, most successful people who had something to do with that record, they’re not there. Think about how many times you might go to a record release party for such and such an artist and the artist never shows up. The artist is home, tired from working on the album or he’s out on vacation because he just got finished working on the album, or he’ll stop by the party for 20 minutes, show his face and be out.

Torsten Schmidt

So, when you speak about the workflow, how does it start with, let’s say, let’s start with picking the beat maybe, how does an artist pick the beat? Because the closest the general public ever got to it is probably to watch Fade To Black to see what that process is like, but that’s already a fairly exceptional situation.

Just Blaze

It’s always different. I mean, a lot of times because of my schedule I kind of have to prioritize things and say, “OK, this person’s going to pay me upfront before having even heard a beat.” It’s got to be somebody that I would want to work with still. Then you have this person, who I know is not going to do that but I know we’re going to make a great record. So, you have to prioritize who you’re going to go in with then. .. I like to have the artist in close quarters, because usually what I try to do is create with the artist there. I don’t like to have them over my shoulder, but I like to have them in close quarters.

So I can go in, and they might just be in the next room when I’m working on something and then I can just go call them. That’s what I usually do with Jay. We worked, for those three or four albums together at the Bassline. I would be in the B room, he would be in the A room, doing his vocals, and I would just call him in and be like, “Yo, come and listen to this.” It’s pretty much the same process with any other artist, certain beats for certain artists. Like, when I did the original beat for “The Champ” for Ghostface, I was like, “OK, Ghostface has to rap on this, nobody else can and I wouldn’t want anybody else to.” Made the phone call and that was that.

Torsten Schmidt

You’re already in the privileged position where you can envisage something and get the right MC for it. But how many mediocre rappers do you have to go through until you get to that stage?

Just Blaze

I was on the B team for a long time. I would say the first three years of my career. I worked with some really good artists like Pun, like Killah Priest, Tragedy Khadafi. But then there were others like the A&R or the manager of the group would be selling them crazy hard, like “Yo,” telling you they’re going to be the ones, they’re going to do this, going to do that, they’ve got such and such a manager, they’re on such and such a label, and I’d go into the studio and I don’t remember how many times I would just be like… “That’s… him? That’s the greatest of all time?”

Torsten Schmidt

How do you keep your cool in that second?

Just Blaze:

There’s not much you can do about it, because you’re a new producer so people aren’t really going to be looking at you for your opinion. Although they might not turn it away it’s just kind of awkward you being a nobody telling such and such, who’s kind of still maybe a nobody, too, but is a little bit more of a nobody because he has a record deal — at least that’s how I used to see feel — like, “Nah that doesn’t sound good. ” But after a while I start to realize that nothing he’s doing sounds good. The guy just sucks. But you don’t have the luxury of saying I’m going to take my beat back.

Torsten Schmidt

Did you ever turn down something at that stage?

Just Blaze

No. Because I had to pay the rent, I had never really been on my own like that. Even up until I was at college, I was still commuting back and forth and moms was helping out, so all of a sudden… I came out to New York barely with $40 in my pocket and with her help [points offstage], my manager, she was a college student, so she’s broke, too, so it was kind of like we struggled on our own to do it

And that being the case, I used to sneak in and out of her dorm and take showers and sleep, so when they caught us and they banned us, or they banned me from NYU, it was like, “Alright, you’re officially homeless.” I had to sleep at the studio that I interned at, I had to sleep on the couch for a week. Luckily, I found an apartment about a week later and then it was, “Alright, now you got to pay rent. ” And at the time $1,400 a month was a lot of money, so I couldn’t turn anybody down, even if the record came out terribly. You know what? I made so many records that never even came out, thank God, because the artist was so terrible.

Torsten Schmidt

Can you then technically recycle the beats and use them for someone else?

Just Blaze

I wouldn’t recycle old beats. I’ve grown so much since then. You know, part of me once in a while just likes to revisit them, just to listen to them but more so just for me to realize how much I’ve grown as a producer. Maybe one day I’ll put them all out, if I can round them all up, those tapes are all over the place because back then there was no Pro Tools, everyone was doing two-inch tape. I was trying to get people to record in Pro Tools back then and nobody would. They were all like, “Computers? Nah, nah, nah.” Everybody had these big two-inch reels, you know? So, God knows where the tapes are.

Torsten Schmidt

But since you were already in New York, you were already in a relatively privileged position. Now, let’s say I’m somewhere else. Be it Jamaica, Novosibirsk, Germany, wherever, and I’ve got ten beats on my hard drive. How do I get them to where I want them to be?

Just Blaze

That’s hard for me to answer, because the area that I grew up in you just had to go where it was at, and you kind of still do. At the end of the day, if you want to be in the movie business, you’ve got to go to LA, you want to be in the music business, you’ve got to go to New York and, to a certain extent, LA as well.

Then you might just have to play the party scene, get a good manager, at the end of the day you get somebody who believes in you, you may not need to go out there but they might have to be. They might have to be the one to play the party scene and constantly blow your name up and bug everybody until somebody listens. And if what you have is good, it’ll get heard and get noticed eventually. And that’s the thing, a lot of people think, “Oh…” Like I’ve heard this about myself, “I’m not even going to bother to give Jay any beats, because I know he just has it on lock already, he’s in the industry with Jay every day.

Jay wouldn’t care if your grandmother walked in with beats. If she had a hot beat? He was rapping on it right then and there. And he’d make sure you get your check right away. And it’s the same with a lot of rappers. As much as the industry is producer-driven, think about it, who doesn’t want to get a hot record from a new producer that they might only have to pay three grand for? As opposed to paying someone else 30, 40, 50 grand. The hard part is more getting it into their hands.

Obviously, that’s the hard part, but you really just need to be where it’s at. Now, the Internet has changed that a little bit, you have things like MySpace, which do make it a little bit easier to get your music out. It also makes things a little more annoying for people like me because I try to listen to a lot of what’s out there but a lot of it just isn’t that good or the people are just so rude you don’t want to listen.

That’s another thing, when you do have a chance, like now when you have things like MySpace. And, believe it or not, a lot of these artists who do have pages they’ll check them themselves and they will listen to things every once in a while. Don’t sit there and hit them seven, eight times in an hour. Or people will play the game, they’ll send you a message and then they’ll check to see if you read the message because they can see if you read it, and if you didn’t respond to them then they just send you a crazy, nasty letter cursing you out.

This one dude told me the other day, he said, what did he say? He said, “At least act like you want to help me, stop being a fag.” I was like, “Word?” First of all, I get 14 to 15 pages of messages a day. I have an assistant who wades through them for me and forwards me the ones that maybe look like they may be something decent. And that’s still five pages worth. Then I have to actually find the time to look through them every couple of days.

So, you don’t know who I am, you don’t know what my schedule is, you don’t know anything about me other than the fact you want me to help you, and you’re telling me to stop being a fag? And I’ve seen so many people do that, they blow chances by losing their temper or feeling that they need to be heard above everybody else. We were all in that same position, we all know what it’s like but don’t take that one chance you have.

You only get that first introduction once, so when you tell me on our first introduction – apparently, he had been trying to hit me but I wasn’t getting the messages, now I’m not sitting at a computer all day “add, add, add…” None of us are! When our first interaction or our first introduction is you telling me to stop being a fag, you know? I let him know what I thought of him nicely, told him he may want to reconsider his approach. Sent the message and that was that.

Torsten Schmidt

So you still do get annoyed on a personal level?

Just Blaze

You can’t help it. You know, when I was in that position I couldn’t even dream of coming at somebody like that. I would have been happy just to be in the same building, let alone the same room with anybody who was doing something. So I’m sitting there trying to picture myself saying to somebody, “Quit being a fag and listen to my beats. ” I wouldn’t even think of something like that. Even to this point, even now, when I get certain phone calls I’m grateful.

Like, I was just out in LA working with – looks like Dr Dre is finally going to do the Detox album ‒ I went out there and gave him one of the first records he was ready to do vocals to. They’d cut a bunch of records but I don’t think he’s actually done much with a lot of them. And I’m blown, because this is Dr Dre, the greatest hip-hop producer of our time, asking me for records. And loved what I gave him at the same time. So I still have this level of humility. Who is this dude telling me to stop being a fag?

And sometimes it’s like, you can be persistent without being annoying. I have tons of dudes who sit out the front. Well, I shouldn’t say tons, but there have been a few who have just sat outside my studio and have just waited, and waited, and waited for somebody to listen. I don’t always have time to stop and listen but if they’re persistent enough, then eventually I have to give the kid some notice because that could have been me.

There was this one dude who drove up from Mississippi ‒ and I’ve talked about this in another interview I did ‒ dude drove up from Mississippi and was standing out front of the Bassline for about an hour-and-a-half. I mean, I’m sorry, no, for about 12-and-a-half hours. Because I drove past at 2.30 in the afternoon, drive back there at 2.30 in the morning or one o’clock in the morning and that same truck was still outside.

So he says, “All I want to do is just play you some beats, tell me what you think.” So we went upstairs, he played me some beats, and I told him what I thought. They weren’t really that good. But I also gave some pointers on what I felt he could do to make them better. His problem was he was trying to do too much. It’s that common mistake when you get five new keyboards and you want to make them do everything they can all at once. And that’s what he was doing. You know, somebody blasted me for that, I did some interview and he was like, “The dude waited for 12 hours and all you did was give him advice?” Well, what else was I going to do? Sign him? No! At the same time, I recognize his hunger and I admire his humility in waiting there for another man outside for 12 hours.

So, of course, I’m going to give him an hour or two of my time and just sit with him. I don’t know what he’s doing now, but I’m sure he’s at least a little bit better off for that experience and that’s not me just being cocky. That’s just me recognizing that if I was in that position, and I met another established producer who gave me advice, anybody in the game, I would be grateful for that, so I felt like I did my piece for him.

And I’m always willing to do that as much as I can, probably more than I should. I’ve even got burned for it a couple of times, to the point where I feel like I shouldn’t even help anybody but it’s not really in my nature to feel that way. Or to live like that. So, I do as much as I can to help people, you just got to work for it. You can’t just throw out your hand and say, “I want to make beats and you’ve got to help me.” You’ve got to have some talent too. As long as you’ve got some talent I’m more than willing to help.

Torsten Schmidt

This whole thing about being burned at some stage in your production career, many people, especially off-the-record, have these stories about the system, which at times sounds almost medieval, feudal landlords.

Just Blaze

It is. It’s like, this producer, back in ’85 had an underling who he jerked, so in ’91 when that producer got hot he jerked another underling. And then in ’97, ’98 when he got hot, he jerked somebody else, who’s now one of the hottest dudes right now. I’m just using that as an example, but that’s just like that cycle and you see it so much it’s crazy. Because every producer I know who has gone through that is having it done to them by somebody who had it done to them. One of the things I’ve always prided myself on is trying to do and maintain good business.

Torsten Schmidt

Good business meaning good relationships?

Just Blaze

Not screwing anybody over. If you did this on this record? I’m going to give you credit. If you gave me the idea for the sample or if you brought me the sample? Here’s a couple of grand or something. And, depending on what you contributed, I might even give you an additional production credit just because you gave me the idea for the record. In other words you might have said, you might have had nothing to do with the beat, but if you hadn’t given me that, I might not have the thought of it. You gave me the idea so I’ve got to compensate you for it, one way or another.

Torsten Schmidt

With record dealers?

Just Blaze

No, not so much with record dealers, but there are other producers that I know who either have great records but don’t make great beats, or that particular beat isn’t coming out the way they want it to. So they’ll be like, “Why don’t you just give it a try?” I appreciate the lookout but I’m still going to break you off something, just because it’s only right. Not so much with record dealers. That’s one thing I hate, is record dealers who try to come back like… alright, you work in a record store, it is your job to sell records, that’s what you do.

For example, to give you another example, I collect vintage Polo, Ralph Lauren. I’m dealing with this one kid whose older brother had a big collection and he was going to sell some of his stuff. So I went and bought three or four sweaters from him and the kid comes to me and says, “Hey, so what’s this for?” I say, “It’s for a photoshoot or something.” He says, “You think you can give me a stylist credit?” For what? You didn’t put the outfit together. There is no outfit, I’m buying a sweater from you. I’m not wearing all those sweaters at once. If I bought the same sweater at Macy’s, am I giving the salesperson a stylist credit? No!

So on that same token, you work at a record store. You sell me records. I pay $50, $40, $30, whatever it is, you get your $5 an hour, the boss gets his cut, the rent gets paid and that’s how it works. Why would I give you credit? And I’ve come across that with a few dealers, where it’s like a producer’s name will come up and he’s like, “Aw, he’s a jerk.” “Why?” “I gave him the sample for such and such and he didn’t give me anything.” Well, then why didn’t you make the beat yourself?

You know, but those who can do, do, and those who can’t sell the records to those who can. And if it’s that serious for you, go get yourself some software or a beat machine or whatever and go make a beat. A lot of people think that it’s the sample that makes the beat. It’s not. It’s not even the machine, it’s the brain behind it all. You could make the craziest beat in the world on a Boss SP505 sampler, maybe. Or you could have all the equipment in the world and all the samples in the world and not be able to make anything.

Torsten Schmidt

You are in the studio now, it’s late hours, people get a little more creative once they are past a certain point, no matter whether they are tired or they’re high or whatever, how do you keep etiquette in these situations, especially when it can be delicate?

Just Blaze

I mean, usually when it gets to that point, I’m by myself. I’m blessed to have the luxury of just having my own studio, so I just have my two assistants who are outside. If I need anything, give them a ring. I’m sitting there by myself. I do find that I’m at my most creative when I’m half asleep, or even when I’m just laying in bed half asleep or being in the studio sitting there like this [mimes being half asleep at computer]… and then the idea hits you because the brain just starts to work a little bit differently.

As far as etiquette, I don’t think there’s necessarily an etiquette thing involved, but what I will say is one thing that drives me up the wall is just people that talk too much. It’s like, on one hand, obviously, you need communication or whatever, but when you’re in the studio and you’re in there for hours talking about nothing that has to do with what’s going on? After a while I say, “Alright, you gotta shut up. Or leave.” I’m not a slave-driver or a work horse, I’m not saying we can’t kick it, I just don’t like wasting time like that for eight, nine hours. If I wanted going to be here, sitting talking with you about, you know, whatever…?

Torsten Schmidt

The latest Polo collection?

Just Blaze

Yeah, the latest Polo collection’s a good thing, we can talk about that, but if we’re talking about, I don’t know… somebody’s shot somebody, I don’t care. Like, I could have been home or just out doing something more constructive. So, that’s just something that does personally get on my nerves after a while.

Torsten Schmidt

So, have you got the big signs out there that say “Entourage this way”?

Just Blaze

I try of make my sessions as entourage-free as possible. I hate the entourage. “What y’all here for? You don’t rap, you don’t sing and you ain’t really that much a security. Beat it!” The only people that need to be in this session, really, is the artist, producer, engineer. I mean, the artist manager… I prefer managers to stay out the way but that’s cool. But just like your mans and them and them and them… “Nah, are you kidding? Beat it!” Because first of all, 90% of the time, y’all are a bunch of yes men.

If you’ve got one or two dudes that you keep as your right-hand man, right-hand men, or peoples or whatever that will sit there and tell you when something’s not hot? Who? But when I’m sitting there trying to tell you to do your verse over for a reason, because I feel that it needs to be done over or I want you to change something and your man’s sitting there like, “Nah, B, that’s hot!” “Beat it!”

Or the artist will set there and look at them like, after I tell them it was wack, and go, “Hey, you think that was wack?” He don’t matter! You know? He’s not a signed artist and he’s not a producer. That’s not to say that peoples can’t give their opinion, but at the end of the day, a lot of the time you have these yes men in these sessions, and they serve no purpose, they actually hurt the purpose. And you have rappers that might trust their “yes” men more than other people around. They don’t even realize the artist is a “yes” man, or they kind of know it but they fall back, so it’s just like…

Torsten Schmidt

How do you get rid of the yes man in a diplomatic manner?

Just Blaze

There’s been times when I’ve just pulled the manager to the side, if the managers around, and been like, “Yo, can you clear the room?” Or sometimes you just tell the artist, like, “Yo, you should probably clear the room now, it’s getting a little hectic in here.” There’s been other times when I had to stop the session and be like, “Yo, y’a’ll wanna talk? Y’all wanna hang out? Go outside. Go to the lounge, we got a pool table, we got every video game system ever imaginable, we got the Internet, let us have the studio. ” And most times they’ll respect it because they don’t expect it coming… most times they’ll just respect it and keep it moving. But, every once in a while, you have an irate drunk one and you just have to move them out and that’s that.

Torsten Schmidt

If you were to rewrite the dictionary how would you define “producer” these days?

Just Blaze

I don’t know, the term is very twisted in hip-hop and it really is that way because of our roots and how it came about. Back then, we didn’t have instruments, we didn’t have bands to direct. We had two turntables, so the producer eventually became the person who was looping the beat up. Same way as the DJ was looping up on the turntables, the producer was looping it up in the MP[C]. So, eventually that’s what it became known as in hip-hop, whereas in any other form of music… dance music is kind of like that too.

But hip-hop and dance music are the only forms of music where a lot of times there’s just one person on a keyboard or drum machine or whatever doing it. You look at any other genre of music, country, rap, classical, whatever, a lot of the time the producer never touches a knob, except maybe some EQs on the console, but he’s not sitting there playing the guitar himself, programming drums. He’s directing everybody. It always makes that B a better producer, like say a Quincy Jones…

Torsten Schmidt

I guess, playing the horn fairly alright does kind of help in his case.

Just Blaze

Exactly. So he can jump in and say, “No, don’t play it like that, play it like this,” and play the part. Or go to the piano and say, “Play it like this.” So, how I would define producer is just somebody who basically shapes the overall product or the overall record. Now, do I feel kind of funny when I see on a hip-hop record, “Produced by such and such” and I know that person didn’t touch anything? Yeah. Because by nature, I’m a button guy, that’s what I do, but at the same time you’ve got to let that part go and realize that a lot of these people don’t need to sit there and push a button to shape a record.

Torsten Schmidt

What are your favorite buttons as a button guy?

Just Blaze

My favorite buttons these days? I recently, within the past couple of months, swore off the MPC. My first piece of machinery, real piece of machinery, was the ASR-10 and I moved from there to the MP…

Torsten Schmidt

…which is not one of the most easy to maneuver when you start learning?

Just Blaze

Yeah, the ASR-10… it took me a couple of days, but once I’d got it I got it.

Torsten Schmidt

In what circumstances were you using the ASR?

Just Blaze

I just had the ASR, no extended memory, no SCSI, I think maybe I had the SCSI, though obviously everything was on Zip disc… I mean floppy discs… two outputs and my headphones in my mother’s living room. And that was that. Eventually, as things got more serious, I moved on to the MP and I stuck with the MP until I had every one. I had the 60, the 62, the 3000, the 4000, every 2000, 2500, but I got to the point now where I’m done with them.

Hardware, computer hardware has finally caught up with the software. I know that sounds backwards but it’s actually what it is. We’ve had sample tanks, GigaSampler and Battery and Reason and all these things for years, but up until recently at least, portable computers, laptops, really didn’t have the power to really take advantage of what you can do with these instruments. You had to have the crazy desktop set-up in order to do that. Me, I was stuck on the MP… I was old-school, that’s what I used, but eventually, I got to the point where I wanted to be able to just pack it up and take it with me. Just take it wherever I had to go, so I just gave it a shot over a weekend.

I did a couple of records for Jay in Logic where I, this is a long time ago, I was sequencing Logic and I had the Digidesign – which makes Samplecell – hardware, the cards. I would trigger the Samplecell cards using the Logic sequencer, and it was all kind of complicated and what-not but even still you couldn’t have Samplecell [on a laptop]. Digidesign owes me money. When I used to be like, “I want to do a Pro Tools laptop set up,” they would be like, “No way, it’ll never happen.” So, I’m like, “Listen, you can get this expansive chassis, which works with this particular G3 laptop, blah blah blah…” “We don’t support it. Probably not going to work. You might blow up your computer.”

I go ahead and get all the parts and build this big system based on a laptop, call Digidesign, call people at Manny’s, they’re saying I should let them know… a week later Digidesign is advertising, “Pro Tools now works with laptops.” I saw that and I was like, “Alright.” But, like I said, it was still something that was this big [stretches out arms]. You had to have the expansion chassis there was no 002, 001 end box… So, it didn’t really make any sense. Now it’s like, you can have your G4, not even G4 uses it because I’ve tried it on a G4, the G4s don’t even do it that well, the laptop. Unless you want to start freezing stuff, I don’t know. I want to be able to just do whatever, I want to do whenever, I want to do it. I tried on my G4, it didn’t work out too well, but I saw the possibilities of what I could do given I had a better computer.

So I went out and bought the top-of-the-line Vaio because nothing was working for the MacBooks yet, none of the plug-ins were working, none of the VSTs were working yet, so I went out and bought the best Vaio you could buy and I’ve been rocking it ever since. I felt kind of funny because I’ve been on Macs for years, to all of a sudden be running it on a PC but I was like, “You know what? Pro Tools is Pro Tools”

Torsten Schmidt

But are you migrating back now with the pro books and stuff?

Just Blaze

It works, I already have everything installed, and you know, PCs, you got them cracks for it! [Laughter] You can’t get those on a Mac.

Torsten Schmidt

You might make the odd dollar or two now to buy a piece of software.

Just Blaze:

I’ve bought the entire Native Instruments Komplete. Even though they ended up hooking me up with stuff later, I went out and bought it. I bought Hypersonic, too, I’ve bought a lot of stuff. But there was just a lot of programs that I didn’t know about. There’s a lot of programs you can get on a PC that you don’t get on a Mac. Which bugs me out, because I’m like, everybody assumes that Macs are for the music or whatever. But my man comes to me with a DVD with like a hundred plug-ins on it that I’d never heard of, so I’m like, “Oh, wow, alright. Let’s do it.”

Torsten Schmidt

How do you keep your shit clear of plug-in confusion?

Just Blaze

Really, it’s straightforward, as long as you’re well-organized. You’ve got to have a little organization to it. The more organized you are, the better your work is going to end up being, to a certain degree. Like, that’s not to say I don’t have stacks of records thrown everywhere in the studio but when I’m in the computer that’s the one place I like to stay organized. So, basically, what I’ll do is I’ll start out and I’ll have, I know Pro Tools does instrument tracks now like Logic, but I don’t do it that way — it’s really just me, no other reason, but I’ll set up four aux tracks, or I have a template; four aux tracks, 16 MIDI tracks, an audio track to sample whatever sample I want to sample into it, and a click track. And then I’ll have two instances of Battery, one for my samples one for my drums, if I’m using programmed drums, this other program called, it looks like a virtual Triton almost, “Ravity”? Something like that? “Purity”? And then I’ll open up just a sample tank.

Those are like the basic tools, but you’ve just got to stay as organized as possible because it is easy to get lost. When you start adding MIDI tracks, like when I was doing [“Show Me What You Got,”] we did that entirely in the computer from beginning to the end from the time I made the beat to the mix it was all done in this laptop. So, I had two different engineers recording, then I’m doing MIDI sequencing on my own and I went back to look at it and I’m like [head in hands]… they’ve got half of the drum programming over here, half of it over here, it’s just you have to keep it organized because you can get lost really quickly. I think everybody should just come up with their own method. What works for me best is probably not going to work for him.

Torsten Schmidt

Are you ever afraid of losing the warmth or the grit that you love about the music by filtering it?

Just Blaze

Like I always say, it’s the man not the machine. Don’t get me wrong, certain machines are better, but at the same time, certain machines have their sound. Alright, Madlib, for example, I see him with all these little machines, but I can tell he does a lot of his beats on that SP-505 or whatever, the little Roland. I know that the majority of that Madvillain album would not sound like it did if it was made in here [points to laptop], or on an SP-1200. You know, because that machine specifically has its tonal qualities, particularly when he does his pitch-shifting thing, because it has the real-time shift pitch and it breaks it up and it sounds all crazy. That album wouldn’t sound like that. But again, that’s a case of it being the man knowing to use that machine to get that sound.

Torsten Schmidt

Because if I was to use it, it would sound totally stupid compared to him reprogramming whatever kind of record that might be two minutes.

Just Blaze:

You also have to be smart enough to know what tools you should use for the job. My thing is, for me, coming from the MP, there’s not much difference with this because I can take my samples, dump them in Battery, chop them up way faster than I ever would on an MP and more efficiently and be able to do more with them. So, the more I started to do stuff in the computer, the more I was like, “Why would I go back to an MP again?” I’ll probably buy that little 500, just to have it. But I doubt I’ll ever use it on anything. As far as the warmth, it just goes back to the man. If you know how to EQ and compress the right way you can get any sounds you want, you’ve just got to know how to make it happen.

And that’s what I always tell producers — you don’t just need to know how to make a beat, you’ve got to know how to engineer it too. Because even if you’re not going to mix it and engineer it yourself, you’ve got to be able to say to the engineer, “Bring me up at 30kHz,” or, “I need you to bring down that compression threshold a little more.” You’ve got to be able to speak to them in their language. You don’t have to sit there and be super-technical and talk about semi-conductors in the VCAs, but you’ve got to be able to give them the basis of what you want it to sound like, because the more you can do that the more you can eventually be able to do it yourself and make it sound like the way you want it, or the way you hear it in your head.

Torsten Schmidt

Speaking of making it sound how you want it, I don’t know if there’s anyone in here who is interested in a little more specifics but there might be a chance of just watching the Pro Tools session of “Show Me What You Got” and, maybe, play the full track before we break it down into sessions?

Just Blaze

Sure.

Jay-Z – “Show Me What You Got”

(music: Jay-Z – “Show Me What You Got”)

Torsten Schmidt

Arrangement is something that people get lost in now and again. I mean, it’s not like this is the sparsest tune in the world.

Just Blaze

There’s a lot going on. Basically, my approach to this record was I wanted it to feel live but at the same time it has to have something steady to it. So my thing was for the most part… Let me take out his vocals.

[Plays instrumental track in Pro Tools]

I kept it relatively steady for most of the song until we got to the end. As the song goes on, I’m getting a little bit looser with it, so the drum rolls are starting to get a little bit more intense. By the time you get to the end, now drummers can’t do that the whole way down the song or people will be in the club like [mimics confusion]… But when he’s on stage performing now he has a nice little spot to give the drummer something, let the band showcase and do their thing and put a little music into it as opposed to having the same four- or eight-bar sequence going over and over. So, basically, what I did was as the song went on, you’ll see what I started to do was, after, a while I just started little by little gradually riding the drums up and then at certain points where he’s really doing his thing just totally turned them all the way up.

[Plays drum track in Pro Tools]

But if you listen to a lot of records from other genres like rock, they mix for the dynamic and for the feeling of that moment. That’s something I realized that was wrong with a lot of hip-hop records getting mixed and even some dance records – electronic music in general – I’ve noticed really lacks a lot of depth in terms of mixes in the sense that this is your kick level [raises hand] and then that’s it. I have always done the same thing, once you get your kick level, your snare level, your hi-hat, alright, that’s it, you’re just doing your drops. Anyway, I started to realize there’s no law that says that you can’t – in the middle of a song, when you want your feeling to get a little more intense – that you can’t turn your kick drum up. Or you can’t turn your snare up or your hi-hats up, or maybe the guitars are all of a sudden a lot louder.

So I don’t have the Pro Tools session here, but on the Puffy and Christina Aguilera record that I did, there was one part where a lot of the instruments broke down. There was just the drums, her singing and the strings, so we just turned the drums up. We turned the drums up a lot, like a good three or four decibels, but it felt good and I was like, “Why haven’t we been doing this?” if that’s where the excitement is supposed to build up, or that’s where it’s supposed to break down. On a funk record, you might have the drummer drumming regular all the way through. As soon as it’s time to get a drum solo, all of a sudden he’s loud and his hi-hat is crashing and the kicks are smacking and the snares are going, then he falls back into his pocket.

So, I started feeling that we should be able to do the same kind of thing with rap music or whatever form of music in general that we do. Because we get so stuck inside the computer that we don’t take it there, which is why I feel like production has gotten a little — I won’t even say stagnant — just a little predictable. I’m just trying to do something different, that was just my little contribution to doing something different, just basically adding a little of a live dynamic to the music. I don’t think there’s that much more interesting to see from the session.

Torsten Schmidt

A couple of loops?

Just Blaze

This is the sample. This song is made up of three samples, we talked about it earlier. This is the “Shaft In Africa” sample, I took the first bar of it. It’s actually off in terms of rap – we usually do four bars or eight bars. This is six bars, but it felt good so I left it. That’s one of the things I’ve really been going for, if it feels good just do it. You know, when “Electric Relaxation” came out by A Tribe Called Quest nobody was sitting there saying, “Hey, the beat’s only three bars.” Everybody just liked the song. Tribe was one of the groups that would do things like that.

Johnny Pate – “Shaft in Africa”

(music: Johnny Pate – “Shaft in Africa”)

Torsten Schmidt

You’re not too much into the strategic part of, “OK, we have to do this mixtape, we have to do that commercial”?

Just Blaze

I would want to do that all. I’m not saying that I don’t want to do it, I have to do it, but I’ve realized I don’t enjoy it as much as the process of being creative. The problem is, it’s the honest truth, is a lot of these executives, they don’t know what they’re doing. Half of them don’t know anything about the music they’re trying to sell. And I see it more and more. I’m not even talking about the Saigon situation, I’m talking about my everyday observance of the industry. In a perfect world, or when you first come into this business, you’re green and you’re all just happy to be here, you think everybody loves music just as much as you. Half these people, they don’t know the history of the music they’re selling. They don’t know why the record that has sold in the past sold.

Torsten Schmidt

And then you’re going to sit them down and teach them?

Just Blaze

But you’re cutting my check… how am I teaching you? And then some of them have the attitude where you can’t teach them because they signed such and such, they did XYZ. If that’s the case, if you were that hot, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking. You would be out sitting on a beach or somewhere, calling in orders instead of sitting there struggling trying to get this next album off the ground. That’s the one part of the industry where I can say I’ve become slightly jaded, just realizing how many people do not know what they’re doing. From the administrative side of it to the creative side of it, it’s like, “You want to do marketing? What?” You have a hardcore street artist and you’re going to make lollipops with his name on? OK. Just little things like that it’s like, “Think!”

A lot of them don’t and I think it’s honestly because a lot of them don’t understand the music or the culture, they just understand what’s worked before. Like, in other words, alright, 50 Cent came from the mixtape world and destroyed it and that’s where he started his claim to fame. It doesn’t mean that every artist has to have 20,000 mixtapes out. And then, when the time comes to record an album, they’ve given all their best material to the mixtapes. There’s definitely a lack of creativity and knowledge on the label side of things with a lot of folks. I’ve seen so many records that I’ve worked on and I was just like, “Why? Why did you do that?” I’ll give you a perfect example. I did a record with Allen Anthony called “Alright,” it was an artist on Roc-A-Fella records. Great, it was going to be his first single, blah blah blah, turn around two weeks before the record was supposed to be out or whatever, and now Freeway went from featuring on the song to its now his first single. It’s an R&B record.

Freeway is a hardcore street rap artist. He’s now rhyming on an R&B remake of “Electric Relaxation.” Hmm. Video. They’re shooting two videos for it, one for his… one for Allen’s, and one for Freeway’s, off of one budget. Hmm. You sit there and say, why? Allen’s video, Allen’s record was a great record, the concept for the video was great, the treatment was great, perfect. For him, for a soul/R&B artist. On one hand, I’m thinking this idea’s almost genius, two records with the same beat, with the same two artists on it, with videos shot in the same location, it’s almost genius but at the same time it’s almost like, huh? If there’s one extra piece to this puzzle, it could be cool. But instead, it doesn’t make any sense.

I personally ended up growing to like – not that I didn’t like it – but Freeway’s version eventually grew on me to the point where I listened to it, but I’m like, that is not his first single. His obvious first single was “Flipside” and “What We Do” with Beanie [Sigel] and Jay. Now, granted “Flipside” didn’t become Flipside until the 11th hour. Jay wanted to do an R&B version of “Rock The Mic” with Beyoncé, so long story short, the beat that became “Flipside” was supposed to be the breakdown where Jay was going to rap on the “Rock The Mic” remix with Beyoncé. That remix never happened, Freeway got his hands on the beat and he brought it back to me and I’m like, “Yo, this is crazy but we need to do it over.” So it wasn’t as crazy as it ended up becoming at first. So, once they heard it that should have been it, switch the video, switch the single, this needs to go out right now. Instead, two videos with the same beat, the same song. It’s just little things like that that I’m like, “I see what’s coming. Everybody else that’s here sees it coming. Why?”

Torsten Schmidt

But you’re in the fortunate position that you can somehow get away with a loss now and then because you’ve got other things that will support you.

Just Blaze:

During that time in my career all I could do was go back and be like, “Noooo!” Then the train just goes right past you and it’s done. Now, at least in this particular situation, I can make more of a decision about it but I don’t have a plan. This whole time I’ve just gone wherever life took me. See where it ends up.

Torsten Schmidt

Speaking of where it ends up, can we get a short glimpse of any Saigon stuff?

Just Blaze

I don’t think I have any of it on this hard drive at all. If I had known that it was going to be a thing where you play music and stuff, I would have brought the whole album.

Torsten Schmidt

I guess, we were probably just afraid of the excess baggage, eight hundred hard drives.

Just Blaze

Nah, you see how I travel, B. Everything that I’m working on right now is on this. [Picks up and drops portable hard drive] Ohhhh, it was on this drive.

Torsten Schmidt

You’re literally working on it. You do mixes on the plane?

Just Blaze

It came to a point where we weren’t sure if we were going to leak the “Kingdom Come record or “Show Me What You Got” first for Jay, so we had to mix both records at the same time. I have a two-room facility, one room is the SSL 4000 G+ the other room is just the regular ProTools TDM room. So, I had already started…

You know, when I make a beat as I’m making the beat I’m rough mixing it. So, I already had the rough of the beat in the laptop, I don’t have those same plug-ins on my G4 tower in the B room. And in the A, room we had already started mixing “Kingdom Come.” So I told my engineer Ryan, “Listen, take my laptop and start mixing it in this laptop.” “What about the outboard gear?” “No outboard gear. Just do it in the laptop. We’ll just use the monitors in the room and the laptop will be the console.” [Points to the laptop]

Torsten Schmidt

You got it on there?

Just Blaze

Well, that’s what we just looked at, that’s the stems of what we were just listening to. So he did that, and then what we did was once we finished mixing “Kingdom Come” we did what we called stems. [To audience] I don’t know if you guys are familiar with that, but what stems are is, after we mix a record, say, for example, you mix a record using the console and you use the outboard gear and everything else, what happens if you need to fix something on that record? You’re going to have to do a recall. When you have a studio like I do you’ve got about 150 pieces of outboard gear to recall, not to mention every channel on the console, and recalls never come back the same. So, what we do now is re-record each track back into ProTools, mixed. So in other words, solo the kick back into the console. Once the rapper’s done rapping
with the record, solo the kick, record that back into ProTools, solo the snare, solo the…

Torsten Schmidt

How many interns do you have to do that? It’s time-consuming.

Just Blaze

To be honest, there’s tricks around it. Say, you have a five-minute song, and let’s say on a five-minute, song you have 20 tracks on the song, just for example, so 100 minutes, so really, between about an hour and 40 minutes. But it will save you ten hours’ work later to try and recall it. So, it makes more sense to take that hour-and-a-half, do your stems and then you can turn around and say, “Alright, I never have to worry about a recall,” because, that’s the exact mix. If you take all those things you re-record back into Pro Tools and bring all the faders up to zero, you’ll have the exact same mix you left with. Now, on top of that, in Pro Tools, and I know Logic has a grid mode as well, when I do my beats, even when I was sequencing in the MP, I would do the same thing.

When I had an eight-bar sequence I would line up the MP to ProTools and then have it in grid mode. If my tempo was 90 in the MP, my tempo was 90 in Pro Tools. I would record eight bars of each sound and then I can just copy and paste them all the way down. You can take that same approach to the stems, minus the vocals, but if your beat doesn’t change, like if your kick doesn’t change or your snare doesn’t change throughout the whole song, or even if it does, minus the parts that do change, I can just take eight bars of the kick mixed, eight bars of the snare mixed. In that case, you’re now taking eight seconds versus five minutes, eight or nine seconds.

So, you can theoretically even maybe do stems in a half hour, except for the vocals, which you’ve still got to do full tracks of. But again, you’re doing an hour’s worth of work and you don’t ever have to worry about a recall ever again. So when an artist comes back and says, “My adlibs are a little too low in this one particular part,” now you’ve got to go back and recall every piece of outboard gear and everything else that was going on. So, it’s just trying to make your life easier, which is what we did with this record. After we mixed it in the laptop in the B room, took it back over to the A room, ran it through the SSL just to give it a little bit more warmth and then dumped it. Those same stems back into the laptop, took them on the plane with me to Hong Kong and finished mixing the record on the plane.

Torsten Schmidt

These are your three minutes to praise the X-Clan…

Just Blaze

That’s one of my favorite rap groups of all time. To me, even though they only had the two albums, I wouldn’t say they had the same impact publicly or worldwide as Public Enemy, but personally, definitely, they’re right there. I couldn’t name my top-five rap groups off the top of my head right now, but if I had to, in no order, it’s EPMD, Wu-Tang, X Clan, Public Enemy and Run DMC probably. But then, Tribe [Called Quest] has to be in there somewhere, too, top six. When you listen to their albums, for the most part their albums felt like you were at a house party listening to somebody rhyming, because most of their beats were other people’s beats. If you ever listen to them you’ll realize 90% of the beats they were rapping on were just rapped on in the past year.

Which is kind of funny, but at the same time it just gave it more of a house-party type of vibe. Like, it was really just a collection of freestyles more so than brand new songs. The only thing that kind of bugs me, it’s still one of my favorite songs, is when they took the same “Not Just Knee Deep” that De La had just used for “Me, Myself And I,” they took the second four bars and then they took the same “Rapper, Dapper, Snapper” drums and put them on it. I remember being like 11 years old and being like, “Something’s not right.” And then, eventually, as I got a bit older I just went, “Oh, so basically they just got the same break and threw the same drums on it.” But whatever, I liked it. Brother J at that time had a flow like no other.

People laugh at me about it to this day but I had on at some photoshoot I did, I had on the Blackwatch T-shirt on, I made the shirt. People from X Clan were hitting me like, “Where did you get that shirt?” I’m like, “I made it.” I just wanted to show a little respect after Professor X died, so I just rocked it in a couple of photoshoots, that’s all. But yeah, they’re definitely top-five for me.

Torsten Schmidt

They definitely had a bit of an agenda as well and now you have to listen to the odd rhyme now and then when you’re in your studio, which might not be intellectually on a par with what they were trying to say, and the records that really got you going, how do you survive that recording process and how do you keep your poker face?

Just Blaze

I kind of gave up on the poker face thing. I think I’ve gotten to the point in my career now… and it may not be the best thing.

Torsten Schmidt

But what’s bad about honesty?

Just Blaze

It’s one thing to be honest and say, “You know what? I think you can do that better.” Or, “Yo, that was wack, it was terrible.” Sometimes you don’t have to put things a certain way. You can put things a certain way but artists might be more receptive to it. But I think I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m just going to tell you exactly how I feel in most cases. Sometimes I don’t even intentionally do it. [To manager] She’ll pat me on the side and be like, “Do you know what you just sounded like?” And I’ll be like, “I didn’t mean to, it was just that bad!”

You’ve got to be as honest as you can when it comes to records. That poker face thing I’ve come to realize a lot of it is like a sugar coating and when you sugar-coat things people tend to think, “Well, alright maybe it’s not as bad as he says it is.” But if I’m stopping you and telling you to do it again, it is. Luckily, I’ve been blessed to work with really talented artists, so I don’t have to deal with it that much.

And also, I’ve picked and chosen who I wanted to work with the past two years, so I find myself in that situation a lot less, so it doesn’t get too aggravating. There’s nobody I’ve been forced to work with. There are some people where I’ve kind of got to do it, but I don’t really mind doing it, but if I can get a little political undertone to it for whatever reason. But I’m not working with anybody that I flat-out don’t want to work with or I don’t think is talented.

When you get to a certain point you can say that. “Why do I have to give your artist a beat? If I don’t creatively like him or feel him like that then… I don’t have a problem with you, I don’t even have a problem with him, it’s just either we’ve done it before and it didn’t work out well or I just don’t think he’s that great.” And, you know, just keep it moving. Some artists take offence to that, and I can understand why, but at the same time nobody’s going to take every beat I give them either. If I felt like that and bugged out every time I got rejected, I wouldn’t have any relationships, I wouldn’t have any friends, I wouldn’t have any records.

You’ve got to take the rejection and keep going. It’s hard at first, because you’re like, “I know these beats are it,” and they get rejected and you tend to put down on yourself. When I sold my first two or three beats I was just about to quit. I had a year of college left and I was about to go back. The day I made that decision I got the phone call, “Yo, I think he’s going to take two of your joints.” And I think two or three days later, I sold another beat and then I met with these other two artists who I ended up doing some work with and it all just started happening as soon as I was about to give up on myself.

But at the same time I go back and listen to a lot of those beats that I thought were the ones, and I go back and listen and I’m like, “Oh, these beats were terrible, man.” I was bugging. Sometimes you’re not going to see that in yourself at the time, because you’re sitting listening to everybody else going, “Yo, I know what I’ve got is better than this.” But it might not be. It’s just your untrained ear. Or sometimes people are just sleeping on you, it goes both ways.

Torsten Schmidt

Is there any chance we could get a sneak preview on “Kingdom Come”?

Just Blaze

I really don’t have anything on this computer except, let me see what I have here, I don’t think I have much. The most I can play is the other song that leaked. What’s that? Oh, no. That’s actually this record I did for this dude, Edison Chen from Hong Kong.

Torsten Schmidt

The Hong Kong thing is another thing, there’s the “big yellow scare” all over the world, and, “They’re all amongst us already,” but if you look at it, opportunities?

Just Blaze

When I started traveling overseas a lot, I would go to Japan, and when I would go to do radio or whatever, they would play whatever current hot record I have out in the background, or whatever record is hot right now in the background. I go to Japan and they’re playing the breaks that I have sampled in the background. The equivalent of your hottest, urban [radio station]. Now, we have Hot 97 in New York, you would never see anything like that on Hot 97 New York. When somebody is playing the original breaks in the background that’s when I started to realize that a lot of the cultural side of what we do gets taken for granted in the US.

There is a lot more appreciation for it outside of there, especially in Europe and Asia, in Japan and Hong Kong, in London, in France, in Germany. There’s a lot more respect for the art form itself. So now I’m starting to see that I’m like, you know what? They may not be as advanced as we are with it yet but that’s because we’ve had it for 25 years. Some of these places have only had it for five years. They don’t have hip-hop clubs in Shanghai, they just opened the first one. To be able to be there and be a part of the beginning of their culture, who wouldn’t take that opportunity?

Torsten Schmidt

It’s setting you up for a good career for 15 years to come, right?

Just Blaze

Exactly. To be able to go see the world, for one, experience different cultures, lifestyles, and be part of a culture that’s just beginning to take root over there, you’d be crazy not to do it. You can’t expect to go into the studio with these guys and get the Asian version of Jay-Z, there is no Asian version of Jay-Z. Jay-Z is Jay-Z. This dude is going to be who he is. The one barrier that I have when it comes to either dealing with foreign artists or just trying to vibe with them is that one thing they haven’t necessarily picked up yet or mastered yet is the concept that it’s not just what you say but how you say it.

That’s what gets 60, 70, 80% of the US rappers by. It’s how they say it much more than what they are saying. Now, the problem is because they’ve only had it five or six years they don’t necessarily have the concept of the flow down yet, they’re still adapting that. Our flow is based on our language patterns. Their language patterns are obviously different. There are times I’ll be like, “I don’t know what you just said but say it like this.” There are times I’ll be sitting there like [mimics Chinese language pattern]. I don’t know what that means but I know the flow of it should be [mimics Chinese language pattern] not [mimics Chinese language pattern]. At first he’s looking at me laughing at me but eventually he gets what I’m saying.

Torsten Schmidt

You take, as an American culture, and trying to match Asian and American cultures, but do you match the subversive aspect, the rebellious aspect, how that actually gets exported and…

Just Blaze

It’s crazy. Different regions I go to it seems like everybody’s picked up on different things. It seems like the Japanese, it’s been in Japan the longest anywhere in Asia, has picked up more appreciation for the art side of it, the DJ and the MC and the graffiti, the b-boy, that whole movement, the style of it. In Hong Kong, I see that they’ve picked up more on the dance side of it. I see dudes who have never been outside Hong Kong house dancing and breaking, and I’m like, “How did you learn that?” “The Internet.” Wow! And then, like I was telling Benji yesterday, I haven’t even been to Europe like that, but over there it’s been out there a lot longer, so everyone picks up on different things and then, eventually, what happens is what has happened in Europe, where all of a sudden now they’ve got five or six different genres of what they do.

They’ve got the grime or whatever and what have you. So I just like to see it branch out the way it has. I’m not really going to be sitting there in my house listening to it, because I can’t really understand what they are saying, but I do know there have been times where I’ve been able to appreciate where some dude has indirectly mastered the concept of the flow. So, I can’t understand what they are saying but I know that they sound good saying it.

Torsten Schmidt

What’s the percentage of your average East London grime record that you do understand?

Just Blaze

No, East London is different because I can physically understand what they’re saying. I don’t identify with it all. I haven’t listened to a lot of that stuff. I just been recently trying to catch up and figure out what it’s all about because you just hear about it and hear about it and hear about it, but I never get to listen to much American music any more much less music from halfway across the world.

It all started when I was up at XXL and this one girl’s like, “You got to listen to The Streets. You got to listen to The Streets,” and it comes on. I just walk back in the audience office like, “Turn that garbage off.” I still don’t like that song, “Push Things Forward” whatever. I’m like, “He’s rapping off beat.” Push what forward? The beat is [mimics pattern].

Torsten Schmidt

Here we’re talking of Mike Skinner who, in 2006, officially hasn’t heard of Jay Dee yet.

Just Blaze

Oh really, right. Then, I found a copy somewhere of that album and I went past that track and I think it was track six or seven where he’s rhyming about how he can’t be late to meet his girl again because if he does she’s out. I’m like, “Yeah, I know that.” I did that. I start listening to the song and I’m like, “Wow, this is me.” He got caught in the rain, then he forgot his keys, and then other drama where he forgot his keys, he can’t return the DVDs or he’s just going through his whole day how it’s all screwed up. I’m like, “I’ve had days like that.” I can get past the fact that he’s rapping off beat but I just start listening to him and I’m like, “All right, I feel him.” From there, I started listening, I would go buy all the CDs with the intention of listening to these artists. I said a hundred times, like I blow up the Dizzee Rascals and a couple of the French crews and all that. I honestly want to give it all a listen.

Torsten Schmidt

I think it’s our time to say thank you very much for joining us.

[Applause]

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Blaze Dance Team | Carroll University








Home Campus and Student Life RecSports Blaze Dance Team

The Carroll University Blaze Dance Team performs at halftime and during timeouts at all home football and basketball games when school is in session. The Blaze is a signature group at Carroll, contributing to the fun and excitement of being a Carroll sports fan and athlete. Being a member of the Blaze requires a significant commitment, but brings with it a lot of fun and many personal rewards and growth. Members of the Blaze learn and perform 10 or more different dance routines during the season, including a variety of styles of dance, including pom, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and kickline. The routines are choreographed by the team members on a volunteer basis and by guest choreographers.




Auditions for the Blaze are held during move-in weekend immediately before the start of the fall semester. Dancers interested in receiving audition information should contact Dr. Rapps by email by the first week of August. Details regarding auditions will be sent out by email to interested students a minimum of one week before freshman move-in. Audition events begin with an informational meeting regarding the Blaze and auditions, followed by two required audition clinics. The audition routine is taught at the clinics and the dance skills evaluated during auditions are reviewed. Auditions are held after the second audition clinic and consist of performing the audition routine, a short kick line sequence and dance skills including leaps, double pirouettes and toe touches. Auditions are judged by three to four outside judges with extensive dance expertise. The team roster is determined by cutting off where there is a large break in scores to ensure that all members of the Blaze are of relatively similar ability.



Practices are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 3:30–6 p.m. in the Ganfield Gymnasium Dance Studio. Team members must be available for practice between 4–5:50 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Additional practices are held as needed for blocking on the football field and the basketball court. Attendance is mandatory at all home football games, homecoming activities and home men’s and women’s basketball games during the fall and spring semesters. Each year the Blaze performs at four to five Saturday football games in September, October and November. Basketball games occur in the evenings and on weekend afternoons in November, December, January and February. The only acceptable excuse for missing a game is being ill or attending an evening class during a weekday basketball game.



Team members are required to provide their own shoes and personal uniform items. New team members must purchase jazz shoes, shorts, tights, earrings and team warm ups at the beginning of the season at an approximate cost of $170. Hip-hop shoes are purchased later in the season and cost about $30. The university provides poms, uniforms and backpacks that must be returned in acceptable condition at the end of the season.



Dr. Julie Rapps is the Head Coach of the Blaze and also teaches in the Exercise Science program. She has served as coach of the Blaze for 15+ years. Dr. Rapps has trained in jazz, hip-hop, modern, ballet and tap since she was young. She minored in dance in college and performed professionally in Branson, Missouri. Dr. Rapps has more than 20 years of dance teaching and choreography experience. She has also served as a judge for regional and state WACPC dance team competitions. For more information about the team, email Head Coach Dr. Julie Rapps.





Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas – Poems

It was the schooner Hesperus,
      That sailed the wintery sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughtér,
      To bear him company.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,
      Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
      That ope in the month of May.

The Skipper he stood beside the helm,
      His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
      The smoke now West, now South.

Then up and spake an old Sailór,
      Had sailed the Spanish Main,
“I pray thee, put into yonder port,
      for I fear a hurricane.

“Last night the moon had a golden ring,
      And to-night no moon we see!”
The skipper, he blew whiff from his pipe,
      And a scornful laugh laughed he.

Colder and louder blew the wind,
      A gale from the Northeast,
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
      And the billows frothed like yeast.

Down came the storm, and smote amain
      The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
      Then leaped her cable’s length.

“Come hither! come hither! my little daughtér,
      And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
      That ever wind did blow.”

He wrapped her warm in his seaman’s coat
      Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
      And bound her to the mast.

“O father! I hear the church bells ring,
      O, say, what may it be?”
“ ’Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!” —
      And he steered for the open sea.

“O father! I hear the sound of guns;
      O, say, what may it be?”
“Some ship in distress, that cannot live
      In such an angry sea!”

“O father! I see a gleaming light.
      O say, what may it be?”
But the father answered never a word,
      A frozen corpse was he.

Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
      With his face turned to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
      On his fixed and glassy eyes.

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
      That savéd she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
      On the Lake of Galilee.

And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
      Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
      Tow’rds the reef of Norman’s Woe.

And ever the fitful gusts between
      A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf,
      On the rocks and hard sea-sand.

The breakers were right beneath her bows,
      She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
      Like icicles from her deck.

She struck where the white and fleecy waves
      Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
      Like the horns of an angry bull.

Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
      With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
      Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
      A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
      Lashed close to a drifting mast.

The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
      The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
      On the billows fall and rise.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
      In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
      On the reef of Norman’s Woe!

“It Was Studio 54 On Wheels”: A New Book Captures the Magic of Los Angeles’s Most Star-Studded 1980s Roller Rink

In a way, immortalizing Flipper’s now is timely, though Liberty has been working on the project for years. Roller skating has enjoyed a boom since the pandemic. At one point, there was a world-wide shortage of skates since demand was so high. The freedom and energy that comes from skating has proven infectious—even if you’re just watching TikTok videos of skaters doing their thing.

Craig Cisco Dietz

The book taps into that desire for freedom by providing plentiful visual inspiration: skaters of all ages and races in catsuits and leotards, a woman lacing up her boots and flashing her music note-printed underwear in the process, Cher in a skin-tight red catsuit with white boots. The singer is quoted in the book as saying, “Flipper’s was amazing. All the girls would get into their best bojangles and tightest, smallest cut-off tank top. You could go there and lose your mind in skating. Be free to get out of your own head.” 

Ivy NeyIvy Ney

Dern, pictured in the book with an impressively high side ponytail, was somewhat of a regular during her early teen years. In an interview with Liberty’s brother, Atticus (an Academy Award winning composer and Nine Inch Nails musician), she describes Flipper’s as, “[a] creative space that was safe.” “It really was a huge part of my upbringing, in terms of my thinking as an artist, thinking outside the box, and wanting a boundary less artistic experience; but also in terms of who I surrounded myself with, and the friendships I had,” she says. “It meant the world to me on those levels. That is, culturally: not just as a place to be that was fun, or a spectacle.” 

David Allen

But it was ephemeral by nature. “These things with the biggest impact aren’t able to sustain themselves for too long,” Liberty says, adding that the rink’s legacy falls into the “if you know, you know” category. Flipper likens the last night, Halloween in 1981, to Nero watching Rome burn. “Flipper’s was not designed to crash and burn, but to explode like a rocket that goes up,” he says. “It’s definitely better to burn out than fade away.” The 250 photo-packed pages of Liberty’s book certainly capture that “you just had to be there” feeling (though anachronistic, I got Prince’s “Kiss” stuck in my head while flipping through the pages; that’s how palpable the energy is). It’s available now at Dover Street Markets or online, if you want to capture some of the magic for yourself.

Three Fort Bend Christian standouts sign with Division I schools

Fort Bend Christian Academy celebrated the early period of National Signing Day with three of its top senior student-athletes, all signing with NCAA Division I colleges.

Bailey Hanner signed a National Letter of Intent to attend and continue her volleyball career at Texas State University, while Reagan Heflin and Avery Hodge signed with softball scholarships with the Nicholls State University and the University of Oklahoma, respectively.

“I am very proud of all three of these athletes,” FBCA Director of Athletics Kelly Carroll said. “All three are extremely talented, and make the FBCA community proud. These ladies have worked hard and sacrificed to achieve this honor today. In the Bible, Hebrews 12:1-3 reminds us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. That is exactly what these athletes have done here. We are very excited to see what lies ahead for Bailey, Reagan and Avery — on and off the field.”

Hanner is a four-year veteran of the Eagles’ varsity volleyball team, which took a 32-4 record and an undefeated District 7-5A championship into its TAPPS regional playoff Saturday against Victoria St. Joseph. This season, Hanner has recorded 472 kills (4.7 per set), 54 aces (0.5), 41 blocks (0.4) and 203 digs (2.0).

Hanner is a TAPPS all-state and two-time all-district selection, as well as a finalist for 2021 VYPE Private School Player of the Year. She was honored as Greater Houston Volleyball Coaches Association Player Of the Year, is part of the USA Volleyball A1 High Performance Training Program, and is a three-time member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Phenom All-American Watchlist.

Hanner plays club volleyball for Houston Skyline, winning the 15 Open national championship. She will join a Texas State team that recently improved to 16-11 overall and 12-2 record in the Sun Belt Conference, leading the West Division. The Bobcats won their third consecutive conference title during the fall season last year, then advanced in the NCAA Tournament during the spring.

Heflin and Hodge led the Eagles softball team to the TAPPS Division II state semifinals in their first year at FBCA. Both were voted TAPPS first-team all-state, with Hodge adding district Most Valuable Player honors after hitting .778 with 25 RBIs and 25 runs. Heflin also made TAPPS academic all-state and received FBCA Athletics’ Joshua 1:9 Award.

Both have shown an ability to excel at different levels, ranking among the Katy ISD leaders in 2020 while sophomores at Tompkins. Hodge led the district with seven doubles, five triples, 25 runs and 16 steals while batting 553. Heflin as among the leaders with three home runs, 16 RBIs, 13 runs, 67 innings pitched and 24 strikeouts.

A 14-year softball player, Hodge plays select ball for Texas Bombers Gold and was a member of the USA U-17 National Team that won the gold medal in Columbia in 2019. She joins an Oklahoma program that finished 56-4 and won its fifth NCAA championship.

Heflin has played softball for 12 years and plays select for Blaze United. She joins a Nicholls State program that played in consecutive Southland Conference championship games in 2018 and 2019.

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90,000 Victory of the dancing Stakhanovites – Newspaper Kommersant No. 162 (5435) dated 09/10/2014

Premiere ballet

The Mikhailovsky Theater opened the season with a ballet troika. At the first performance of the new theatrical year, the anthem was not played, no speeches were made in front of the curtain. But right away, right off the bat, they showed the premiere: the legendary “Class Concert” choreographed by Asaf Messerer, who was transferred to the stage of the Mikhailovsky Theater by the heir to the family’s dance values, Mikhail Messerer.The first performance of the 2014/15 season was attended by OLGA FEDORCHENKO.

“Class Concert”, keeping the chronological logic of the evening (ballets of the XIX-XX-XXI centuries), was placed in the center of the “troika”: it was preceded by a nice little comic trifle by Marius Petipa “Halt of the Cavalry”, and the recent premiere of “White Darkness” by Nacho Duato the role of psychedelic postludes. The “Class Concert” played its role as the emotional core: the festively dressed audience (the most elegant spectators were captured in the main lobby of the theater by a photo chronicler of one of the secular publications) howled and squealed like teenagers at a rock concert.

Mikhail Messerer, the chief choreographer of the theater, “withstood” and “trained” his artists on the examples of the Soviet classics he renewed himself for several years. Only after having worked out a kind of dance “corvee” with the old Moscow “Swan Lake”, saturated with the Soviet heroics of “Laurencia” and “The Flames of Paris”, the troupe was able to concentrate on a plotless 35-minute about its daily routine. And they presented this daily routine as a fascinating story quest along the most important highways of classical dance.The locomotive raced at full steam from the plie platform, on which the younger students of the Academy of Russian Ballet performed basic exercises at the stick with swan zeal. I didn’t go astray at the junctions of all kinds of rhône-de-jambov performed by middle-class students (among whom very significant uplifts were noticed) and dashing grand batmen. Deliberately slowed down on the picturesque plains of the parterre adagio. Systematically accelerated so that, in the inevitably increasing intensity of jumps, spins, jumps on fingers, pirouettes and fouettes, amid victorious fanfare, arrive at the central station for a ceremonial meeting of the foremost choreographic producers.

“Class Concert” is a victorious movement of the dancing Stakhanovites and a shock dose of Soviet plastic optimism. The image of an ideal dancer is forged by the well-coordinated collective work of ballerinas. In the purest lines of the adagio of Anastasia Soboleva; in the frenzied flights of Natalya Osipova, who, with a frenzied courage, twirled her trademark double co-de-basque in the final of the jump diagonal; in a dispassionate fouet by Ekaterina Borchenko, performed without any “embellishment” in the form of double turns or diagonal movement; in the sly and very feminine pas de burre and trills of the skids of Angelina Vorontsova.There is healthy competition in the men’s team. A cold prevented Ivan Vasiliev from setting new records: the average double rounds in the air and a jet in a circle, without additional complication by Ivan-Vasiliev’s “squiggles”, to which he taught grateful spectators, look very, very common in the dancer’s performance. Although no, in an instantly changing kaleidoscope of final jumps and rotations of the eyes he pulled out Ivan Vasiliev’s triple co-de-basque, but a series of unsuccessful landings in the diagonal and loosely relaxed performances of the other soloists of the “Class Concert” blocked this really important and significant technical achievement.New recruit Nikita Nazarov (a graduate of the Russian Ballet Academy this year) soared in the most elegant way in the antrasha-sis, which just ask to be inserted into a frame with the caption: “Perfect performance”. Viktor Lebedev, who was rapidly gaining weight as the premier, flawlessly combined double rounds in the air with double parterre fouettés. With a couple of jumps, Friedemann Vogel covered the stage space. Then, like fireworks, ballerinas tossed into the air one after the other are spinning in double “fish”, they carry someone in support on one hand, the word is the banner of victory in socialist competition, and to thunderous applause, stamping of feet and non-academic screams of the auditorium – the whole troupe freezes for a group photo of the finale.

A fair portion of the audience’s delight was intended that evening for Leonid Sarafanov, who cemented all three acts with his presence. His savvy Peter in “The Rest of the Cavalry” is undoubtedly a close relative of Colin from “Vain Precaution”: with Casanova’s habits he maneuvers between women in love with him, playing a subtle game full of erotic allusions. In the “Class Concert”, he, equal among the best, in an effortless circle of double assemblies, flawless in form 32 large pirouettes, embodied the ideal romantic style of pathetic Soviet choreography.And his existential solo of a narcotic dope in Nacho Duato’s “White Darkness” unambiguously puts Mr. Sarafanov in the supposed leaders of the beginning theatrical season.

90,000 Flynn, Bernadette is … What is Flynn, Bernadette?

Bernadette Mary Flynn (English Bernadette Mary Flynn ) is an Irish dancer known for her participation in the dance shows Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames.

Biography

Bernadette Flynn was born on August 1, 1979 in Nina [1] , County Tipperary in Ireland.Her parents, Mary (English Mary Flynn ) and Andy (English Andy ), were the owners of the local pub “Andy Flynn’s” (now a bistro). Bernadette has an older brother Andrew (eng. Andrew ) and three sisters: elder Elaine (eng. Elaine ) and younger twins Katriona (eng. Catriona ) and Maria (eng. Maria ). From the age of four, Bernadette attended the Browne Academy of Dance , at first she was helped by her sister Elaine [2] to teach Irish dance.

Until 1996 Bernadette Flynn won 6 first place in the World Irish Dance Championship, 7 titles in the All-Ireland Championship and 9 in Munster. Due to her hobby for dancing, Flynn did not graduate from high school ( St. Mary Secondary school ), instead of preparing for exams in her last year of study, 16-year-old Flynn performed with the lead role in the show “Lord of the Dance”, along with Michael Flatley [2] . Flatley cast Bernadette for the role of Saoirse (eng. Saoirse, the Irish Colleen ).In the reworked version of Feet of Flames, Flynn also sang the role of Saoirs. In this role, she has appeared on all the original versions released on DVD. As part of the first troupe, Bernadette toured the United States and Europe (including visits to Russia [3] [4] ).

Bernadette’s husband is Damien O’Kane (born Damien O’Kane ), also a dancer and has been with Michael Flatley’s troupe since 1996 (O’Kane played the role of Lord of the Dance after Flatley left). Bernadette and Damien started dating in 2003, and got married on December 28, 2005.The Flynn and O’Kane duo represented Ireland on the NBC reality show [5] – “Superstars of Dance” in 2009 [6] .

Notes

References

90,000 Moving towards. The Catherine’s Meeting hosted a modern dance evening

svetlana dansberg

Culture

June 23, 2021


The Catherine’s Meeting hosted an evening of contemporary dance “Dialogues.Dance and Music of Korea and Russia ”. The event took place as part of the K-FEST 2021 festival and was timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.

PHOTOS by Katharina KORSIKAS provided by the organizers of the festival

In 2018 and 2019, the performance of the leading dance companies from South Korea became a high-profile event of the festival. Then, online festivals of Korean dance in Russia and Russian dance in Korea took place.Young St. Petersburg choreographers have become participants in the current project, each of whom managed to find their own key to comprehending another culture.

The production of “The Day” by Valeria Kasparova made a strong impression. The performance opened with an expressive solo by Evgenia Saburova, as if born from the music itself performed by Seo Chong-min – its ragged rhythm and expressive, broken melody. The abrupt, rigid movements of the body, wrapped, as if in a cocoon, in a red translucent fabric, the sculptural drawing of the plastic created an image of a revived statue, hypnotic in terms of the force of impact.

The choreographer was inspired by the Korean national flag and its color symbols. The main visual accents were red and blue wide belts, used in an unusually diverse way. This is both the barrier between the soloist and the mass, and the net entangling the body, and the tongues of the raging flame, and the leash from which the heroine eventually breaks away. In ritual whirls, ecstatic body deflections, contrasts of statics and dynamics, the motives of the interaction of opposing forces and energies, the continuous movement of natural elements and human life, characteristic of the South Korean flag, arose.Valeria Kasparova’s talent as a choreographer and director manifested itself in the lexically diverse dance language, organically combining modern plastic expression with ethnic elements, in the multi-figured spatial compositional constructions.

The play “Rose of Sharon” by Margarita Tsareva is of a different plan. In it, emotions are muted, and the action unfolds with a meditative slowness. Rose of Sharon (in different cultures – hibiscus, hibiscus, red rose, okra, kenaf) is the flower of immortality that adorns the Korean coat of arms.Its five stylized petals corresponded to the same number of dancers who were in constant interaction with each other. Often, the interweaving of their bodies formed a dynamic pentagram resembling the outline of a cherished flower.

To the music of Kim Jae Duk, a polyphony of musical and plastic images unfolded on the stage, which contrasted, interacted, and modified. Circular, spiral, zigzag lines of the dance pattern, sometimes freely flowing, sometimes intermittent movements, embodied the cycle of life and death, the harmonious relationship of contrasting elements and emotional states.

The miniature “Diary of a Lost Soldier” by Balazh Baranyai looked somewhat predictable in its staging techniques. Born in Hungary, dancer at the Ballet Preljocaj, the Lyon Opera and other European dance companies, Baranyay is today the teacher and choreographer of the Boris Eifman Academy of Dance. The tragic theme of the Korean War is solved by the choreographer as a lyric and dramatic monologue of a woman who has lost her husband, performed by Arina Che, a pupil of the Russian-Korean dance academy.Her quivering, eloquent dance, devoid of acting anguish, is the most vivid impression of the production.

A real hit of the evening was the performance “1990+” (choreography by Alisa Panchenko in collaboration with the artists), dedicated to Viktor Tsoi. In the stage interpretation of the songs of the legendary musician, Alice was not interested in the meaning of the text, but in the emotional nerve, the mood caused by the music, which made it possible to avoid illustrativeness and dependence of the dance on the word. The choreographer, together with the artists, managed to create a surprisingly lively, positive performance about how Tsoi’s songs resonate in the heart and attitude of a modern person.

The genre of the production can be designated as a choreographic concert: there is no dramatic coherence in it, and the development of the action is likened to the change of relatively finished ensemble and solo numbers. The performance contains many vivid lexical findings, unexpected imaginative solutions. Is it possible to perform break-dance to Tsoi’s “Sadness”? And how! Dima Shark’s improvised solo TOP 9 / MZK not only demonstrated rhythmic coincidences with the named song, but also revealed its hidden drama.

The Dialogues project is the first summer Open Look event. A number of interesting dance events are planned ahead, culminating in the festival itself in August.

The material was published in the newspaper “St. Petersburg Vedomosti” No. 113 (6951) from 24.06.2021 under the heading “Moving towards”.

Materials of the heading

90,000 Competition: “Why do I love to dance ?!”

Dancers of different styles wrote their thoughts about why they love to dance.The most detailed, interesting, complete answer, in which there was a soul, won! Why do you like to dance?

Prize: free subscription to the Dance Academy for 8 lessons.
Time : August 2010
Winner: Vladimir Yashin
Winning review:
They say that a person lives while he moves. Dancing is not just a movement, it is a movement of the soul and body in their harmony. I love to dance, because dance for me is an opportunity to be in harmony with myself … and even with those who are next to me.

Feedback from participants in the competition:

In dance I express myself, my emotions, my style, character. And when I dance, I feel confident, strong and go into a state of euphoria. I love Hip-Hop and my dream is to be successful in it!

Olga
Dancing helps to reveal potential, makes you look at things from a different angle. I love dancing because my muscles are in constant tone, it was dancing that helped me get rid of depression after a divorce and regain my former posture and self-confidence! Thanks!

Anastasia
Dancing is a different world.You immerse yourself in this world and forget about the problems of life. You don’t care about your studies, work, quarrels with friends. You just relax, enjoy the music … you dance! Dancing is life!
Dance is freedom, relaxation, pleasure, fulfillment of dreams, self-expression, life, fun, style, individuality, sex, love, development, happiness, relaxedness, soul!

Gulnara
Dance is freedom, it is drive, it is pleasure, it is beauty! I love to dance!!!!

Lyudmila
Fun, develops plastic.Thanks to Salsa, I got to know a new culture, a new country – Cuba! Salsa rules!

Eric
I love to dance because dance gives me wings. While I’m dancing – I can fly!

Oksana
Dance is when the movements merge with the music, the heart beats in time with the rhythm, and the mind and soul sound in unison with the melody. That’s why I love to dance!

Kristina
I love dancing, because it is liberating, with the help of dancing you can find new friends, expand your circle of friends.

Aleksey
Life in motion is cool, and life in the rhythm of dance is generally space!

Anna B.
Because this is sport, positive, fun!

Vlad
Because dance cheers you up!

Mikhail
If I knew?

Arthur
Dancing is cool, positive, a lot of joy, communication!

Pavel
Dance is not only a splash of emotions and a way of self-expression, but also a lifestyle! Dance is a union of two souls.Dance!

Elena
I can’t live without dance!

Anna Il.
I just love to dance!

Alexander
I love to dance, because dance is an expression of feelings, because for me dancing is pleasure and happiness!

Olga S.
Dance is love without words! Dancing is fashionable and modern!

Sergey E.
I love to dance because it is consistent with the aspirations of my soul.

Gregory
Because it’s great !!! I love to hug!

Andrey
During the dance I plunge into the world of new sensations – freedom and sensuality, beauty, plasticity. I become free !!!

Olga A.
Dance breaks out of my soul and it is impossible to realize the movement – to extinguish the “flame of passion” in the soul … So the soul dances, and with it the body!

Anna Ch.
I live, which means I dance!

Ekaterina
When I dance, I do not want to eat or drink, I dream of becoming famous and moving to New York.

Lucy
Because it’s fun, cool, cool. I love it!

Alena
In the dance, the framework of what is permitted disappears, hidden possibilities open up; you become more confident in yourself.

Sergey V.
Because it cheers you up, energizes and positive!

Elizabeth
Dance has been my life since childhood. Dance is my life! Like the air through a dance, I can express my emotions!

Galina
Because this is passion, energy, self-expression!

Dinara
I love music – dancing is my life!

Maxim
I liberate myself, dissolve in music and feel pleasure when I move! I love to dance when I’m alone and when they look at me.

Marina
I love to dance, because dancing is my life! Very few people can say that dancing is a different life! When you dance, you forget about everyday problems.

Anton
Dance for me is something unearthly, the best way of self-expression, self-realization in my opinion, so you can express all your emotions, feelings and just not think about anything, but move to fiery rhythms!

Maria
When I dance, I can fully give out and show all my feelings!

Ksenia
Dancing is my life, it develops me, gives me pleasure!

Oksana K.

90,000 “Fire needs air to keep the flame from going out. This kind of air is given to me by my partner. ” The amazing story of the Russian-Spanish duo

Interview of the dancing couple Sarah Hurtado – Kirill Khalyavin.

Interview of the dancing couple Sarah Hurtado – Kirill Khalyavin.

We met with the best dance duet in Spain – Sara Hurtado – Kirill Khalyavin – on April 11 at a cozy skating rink that replaces the Olimpiyskiy, which was closed for reconstruction, for Alexander Zhulin’s group.We talked about plans for the new season, the difficulties of skating, important partner qualities and how the attitude of spectators in Spain to figure skating has changed.

Openness is rare by today’s standards – the athletes not only easily agreed to a conversation, but also invited the journalist to a training session, then warmed them up in their locker room and treated them to coffee. In this human relation, in fact, the personalities of Sarah and Cyril are best revealed.

Match TV dossier

Kirill Khalyavin is 28 years old, was born in Kirov.He moved to Moscow 10 years ago with his partner Ksenia Monko. The couple played for Russia, they became two-time winners of the junior Grand Prix finals, world junior champions and silver medalists of the Russian championship.

Ksenia retired in 2015 due to injury. In the spring of 2016, Kirill paired up with the Spanish figure skater Sarah Hurtado.

Sarah Hurtado is 26 years old. She was born in Madrid and acted as a loner until the age of 14. Together with Adria Diaz, they raised the level of Spanish ice dancing to unprecedented heights – 5th in the European Championships and 13th in the Olympic Games.In 2015, the duo broke up, Adria paired up with Olivia Smart.

Sarah Hurtado and Kirill Khalyavin / Photo: © globallookpress.com

When we met, Kirill warned that he was rolling out new skates – this is always a painful, painful process, so there will be no work on the elements in training this time.

There are only 6 people on the ice, but the composition is very symbolic. On the one hand, there are the adult olympionics Hurtado – Khalyavin, on the other hand, the Russian junior dance couple, which is just about to grow into masters.There is also a girl of about eight years old, a coach is working with her individually.

Cyril and Sarah cut circles separately, while constantly talking – discussing music and movements.

They communicate with each other in neutral English, although Sarah tries to learn Russian, and Cyril – Spanish.

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Sarah Hurtado’s smile is a real Pyrenean sun in the middle of a blizzard Moscow spring. But when the music begins to play – it is difficult to identify the composer by ear, something with a distinctly Spanish flavor and dramatic violins – Sarah transforms.She detachedly tries different steps to the music, as if she is silently reciting the sequence of elements and seems to be an artist who paints a picture – she is not interested in anything but a canvas and a brush.

They are the last to leave training, Kirill carefully calls to the locker room to warm up. I ask – how long does it take to spend on the ice to stop freezing even in a sweater and coat?

– You need to move, only then it won’t be cold. Immunity cannot be developed here.

When everyone has changed and gathered, Kirill calls a taxi.We go closer to the metro – there is a cafe where you can talk in a comfortable environment.

Sarah Hurtado and Kirill Khalyavin / Photo: © Anastasia Panina

“If later the production turns out to be different music – do not be surprised”

– Figure skating fans last saw you at the World Championships in Saitama. It’s been almost a month now. How did you conduct it?

Sara: – We went to Madrid, dealt with issues related to the promotion of our couple. They shot a video, recorded a short interview.This is all very important for the Spanish federation and for us. We feel responsible because we represent Spain in international competitions. Sharing our story, our feelings on a sporting journey is part of the profession and one of the ways to express our gratitude for the support we are being given.

We also had a few days to rest. Kirill and Ksyusha (Ksenia Monko – Kirill Khalyavin’s wife – Match TV) went to Malaga, and I spent time with my family. This is all an invaluable resource that will give us strength to fight in the next season.

– Was this your entire off-season vacation, or is there another vacation planned?

Kirill: – There will be a break of three weeks in early June due to the fact that we will not have ice. While we are thinking about how to spend time with benefit – perhaps we will tightly engage in choreography.

Sara: – And we’ll get out somewhere to renew the tan ( laughs ).

Kirill: – We originally planned that after the World Cup we will have a rest. At least a week. Taking into account previous experience, it is better to take a short break and then do the productions.All the same, there is a slight decline in form – we have been training intensively for a whole month, bringing our programs into the form in which it was not a shame to show them at the World Championships. After Minsk (European Championship. – “Match TV”) we made a lot of rentals. There were, as they say, gorged.

In this sense, talking to the press in Madrid, my trip to Malaga with my wife and Sarah’s vacation with her family were a reboot. We’re back refreshed and ready to get started.

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– Is there already certainty regarding music, themes, images for new programs?

Sara: – We’re close to that.We have a couple of styles in our head that we would like to bring to life. We have already tried contemporary in our first free dance, tried Spanish classics in Don Quixote, this year we had a modern Pink Floyd. This is a valuable experience, and now I want to do something different that will be a challenge for us, but at the same time will rely on our strengths.

– You played music in training today – must be one of the options for free dance? Sounds pretty dramatic.

– This is a special topic for us – the music for the film by Pedro Almodovar. He is a lump of Spanish culture, and the opportunity to touch this music, behind which is great art, is honorable and difficult.

Kirill: – I want to say that this is just one of our options. We do not hide the fact that we are still in the process of choosing, so if later another music turns out to be in the production, do not be surprised ( smiles ).

Sara: – The creative process is always like this, it is impossible to predict anything.

– In the next season, the International Skating Union wants to see musicals as rhythm dance – bright stories and characteristic roles. Any ideas how to solve this difficult task?

Kirill: – There are always ways out and unusual solutions. Like this year – like the obligatory dance was tango, and someone added flamenco, paso doble, hip-hop to it.

The finnstep pattern relies on musicals, and the main thing here is to learn the steps and feel comfortable on the ice. And there are a lot of musicals and suitable themes.

– Have you decided on a rhythm dance choreographer?

– Unfortunately, we cannot say even an approximate one yet. There are options, but they are all at work. Our coach (Alexander Zhulin. – Match TV) is now at Team Trophy. When he returns, we will decide.

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– How long does it usually take to stage a turnkey dance? Starting with the choice of music seems to be a long process.

– Differently. Sometimes all the elements are already ready, all that remains is to choreograph, combine and roll.And sometimes, at first there is work on the choreography, then you try to add elements, the process is delayed. Everything becomes confusing, and the program can be considered ready only by the middle of the season – in the truest sense of the word.

Sarah: – For me personally, the longest and most difficult is the choice of music. I look for her everywhere. I start well before the season ends, adding song after song to my playlist.

Kirill: – At the same time, we all have our own stock of ideas that we exchange.

Sara: – And it also happens that you chose music, put on and dashed off the program, and at the first competition in the fall they tell you that the rhythm does not correspond to the rules ( both laugh ). Then everything starts all over again.

Music should sound good on ice, fit us, comply with the rules, have accents where elements can be placed. It is very difficult to choose.

“It was a revelation to the Spanish audience that figure skating is not just a way to entertain children on weekends.”

– This season’s Pink Floyd is, in my opinion, an example of a good choice.It sounded stylish and modern. Who brought this music?

– This was my idea. I always offer many different options, and I am lucky in the sense that Kirill accepts my ideas without judgment. He will not say: “Nonsense, you are out of your mind.” He will say: “I feel this music, we can try it” or “I don’t feel this music, we’ll see something else”. I know that I am not locked in a cage of creativity, but I can search and offer us different things.

– Who designs the costumes for you?

Sarah ( raises his hand ): – Me too.I have a lot of ideas with which we go to our tailor. He is usually terrified ( laughs ). Says: “I can’t do this, and I can’t do this either.” We are like: “Maybe we can fix it like this?” ( Sarah shows herself the suggested ways to fasten the bodice of the dress. ) – “It will not hold on to you, it will fall.” As a result, it turns out that Kirill helps me with the translation of my wishes, we find some kind of compromise so that it is close to the idea, but meets the requirements of the ISU.

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This year we will try to work with a new young designer from Spain, his name is Juan Vidal. He saw us on TV and wrote to me himself that he dreamed of making us costumes. I’m looking forward to it.

– In your show room with modern flamenco, some special individuality of the couple is manifested. What is this song about?

– This is a medieval poem that was transformed into flamenco rhythms and then covered by Rosalia.It is about the night, about the stars, about the reflection of the moon in water – there are many metaphors. It sounds amazingly beautiful in Spanish.

Kirill: – If we have a lot of work with staging competitive programs, we can ride a little more to Rosalia ( laughs ). But we have already made ourselves a second show with a different music, and both numbers were presented at the Javier Fernandez show in Spain.

Open video

Sarah: – I love the energy of dancing to Rosalia, and I love the flamenco skirt.But twice, when we rode Revolution on ice, I clung to the blade of the skate with it. In front of an audience of 17 thousand people! They all watch, and I try to untangle ( Sarah skillfully depicts the process of freeing the skate from the hem of the skirt ).

The second time Cyril could not help laughing. Because in the morning in training, I promised him that this time I will not be 100% hooked. But it happened again! True, I released the skirt much faster – training here, as in everything else, gives results ( laughs ).

Kirill: – By the way, I owe Sarah 5 euros. At the European Championships, we argued – she said that she would definitely not catch on to the skate, but I did not believe it. Sarah eventually tamed her skirt, and towards the end of the number I thought only about the fact that I got money ( laughs ).

– I heard right – 17 thousand people really gathered at the ice show in Spain?

Sara: – Indeed. The show took place at the 17,000-seat bullfighting stadium, and it was full.In addition, the organizers added a second show after all tickets for the first were sold out, and the second was also sold out.

Kirill: – This, of course, is a huge merit of Xavi (Javier Fernandez. – Match TV).

Sarah: – Yes, Javier, with his talent and work, attracted all these thousands of people to the stadiums, and it was evident how shocked they were with figure skating. They realized how exciting, beautiful and different it can be.

Other countries with rich traditions of figure skating have their own similar projects – Stars on ice, Art on ice, many different shows in Russia.People know it exists. For Spanish audiences, it was a revelation that figure skating was not just a way to entertain children on weekends. That it could be a real show with acrobats, live music, strong artists and skaters. Javier took great care of the lighting and decorations – everything was top notch.

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– You seem to have very much coincided in some parameters important for ice dancing, if you skated well in a fairly short time and even won the Spanish Championship, getting the right to go to the European Championship.

– I prepared myself for the fact that it would be super difficult, super long and absolutely different from what it used to be. Therefore, on the one hand, I was ready for all the problems of rolling, and on the other, the time flew by unnoticed. Probably, we were so focused on one goal that we overcame all obstacles. It was even a special pleasure to start from scratch and learn something new every day.

Kirill: – I can only add that Alexander Vyacheslavovich helped us a lot in skating. We worked a lot on the sameness – to hold positions, arms, push at the same time, put the skate on the ice.Many thanks to Oleg Volkov. When we started skating, he worked in our group. Without such professional help, all this could have taken significantly longer.

Sarah and I are both trainees, so everything turned out the way it did, although at first it was difficult.

“Olympics – the quintessence of happiness”

– The 2018 Olympics has become like the most logical reward for you in 2 years of hard work. Share your impressions of the Games. What surprised you? What will you tell your children and grandchildren many years later?

Sara: – At the Olympics itself, everything deserves attention.Everything seems beautiful there. But the best thing about it is the path that you take to be among its participants. For me, the second Olympics – with Kirill – seems especially significant, because there was a moment when I believed that there would be no more Olympic Games in my life.

It was a real gift of fate – to return there, feel this atmosphere and be involved in the holiday of sports. Such … the quintessence of happiness.

But the most ambitious thing I saw there was the historical medal of Javier Fernandez.For 25 years, Spanish athletes could not win a medal in the Winter Games. We all lived this moment together.

Being a part of history is probably what I will tell my grandchildren about in many, many years.

Kirill ( ponders aloud ): – What do you remember, what you liked …

Sarah: Free McDonald’s? ( Laughs. )

Kirill: – So I didn’t take anything except coffee there. Well, and a little potatoes on the last evening ( smiles ).

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– I have not been to the 2014 Olympic Games, although I have come to Sochi many times. All experienced athletes say that the very atmosphere at the Sochi Olympics was better than in Pyeongchang. I have nothing to compare with, so I will not undertake to judge. In Pyeongchang, we lived in our own village and, in principle, did not go outside of it anywhere. Only on the last day did they find out that there was a bar and a Czech House across the street. We were far from the ski village, there was no time for the trip, so we couldn’t see anything especially.

From other sports, I hit the short track finals ( laughs ). We had just left after training when I heard a terrible rumble in the main arena. I thought that I should go and see – the final, like the Russians should be in the race. I come to the stadium, and there they are already reviewing the photo finish, the competition, in fact, is over.

Oh yes. We also watched the men’s free program.

Sarah: – Yes, I cried like a child.

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Kirill: – Most of all I liked to compete at the Games.Even from training, I got a lot of pleasant emotions. There were no random couples – everyone arrived super ready. I stayed to watch everyone, did not miss a single warm-up.

There was no excitement in either the short or the free dance. And the realization that a huge number of people around the world are watching all this on TV at the moment, only added a sense of celebration.

– Do you dream that the Spanish national team will be able to take part in the team tournament at the next Olympics?

Sarah: – Of course! In 2018, our team qualified there according to the rating, but according to the second criterion, we were unable to participate.It was a shame. (Another criterion is the presence of Olympic licenses in at least three types of programs. The Spanish national team had only two – ice dancing and men’s singles. – Match TV.)

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“A year before we won the first final of the Junior Grand Prix, our pair with Ksenia might not have been”

– As far as I know, your pairing was somewhat of a Christmas miracle. Tell us about it.

Kirill: – At that time, Ksenia Monko and I could no longer skate together (due to injury, Ksenia ended her career.- “Match TV”). We also knew that Sarah and Adria (Adria Diaz – former partner of Sarah Hurtado – Match TV) no longer skate in pairs.

I didn’t feel then that I could do everything that I would like to learn. I did not feel that I had done everything I was capable of in sports.

During the New Year holidays, Ksyusha invited me to write to Sarah. Sarah agreed to come to audition.

– Sarah, have you already been to Moscow then?

Sara: – Yes, I came to the 2011 World Cup with Adria.We didn’t get into the free dance ( laughs ).

Kirill: – So you have a lot of time left to get to know the city? ( Smiles. )

Sara: – Of course, I managed to see something, but Moscow has changed so much. Even the area around Megasport (the arena where the 2011 World Cup was held – Match TV) has changed. Now I live nearby in a new house that was not even built in 2011.

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– What did you think when you opened the messenger and saw Kirill’s message?

– Thought it was a joke! ( Laughs contagiously.) Where am I, who am I, what is going on? Seriously, I didn’t expect this. I know how hard it is to decide on such changes and start all over again. Cyril made a very bold decision. There was catastrophically little time left before the Olympic Games, and I was happy that I might get a chance to compete with such a strong partner as Kirill. This was not the best scenario, if only because it was caused by Ksyusha’s injury, and no one in their right mind wants to build their happiness on the misfortune of another. But the injury had already happened, Ksyusha could no longer skate.At the same time, she did not doom Cyril to the mandatory end of her career.

It was nice to meet Kirill and understand that we have the same view on many things – where to go, how to go. We realized how much more we can say in figure skating, and decided to say it together.

– Did you have any other options with whom to work, except for Alexander Zhulin?

– Since the trial, there was no doubt. It seemed to both of us equally right to train with Sasha. Cyril skated with him for a long time, and I immediately felt support.

– How did your families react to the formation of a new couple who will train in Moscow and represent Spain?

– My family said: “Hmm, this is closer than Montreal” ( laughs ).

In general, they warmly supported our decision, thanks to them for that. They saw that I was passionate and in love with what I was doing. I didn’t lose anything, I could only gain new experience and knowledge. In a word, from the first to the last step, those close to me believed in me.

Kirill: – First of all, I wouldn’t listen anyway if someone was against it.But Ksyusha, my parents and coaches supported me, and that was enough for me.

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– All these changes happened to you at a fairly adult age. Do you think it would have been more difficult if it happened when you were 17-18 years old? After all, such useful partner qualities as patience, compliance, understanding come with experience.

Sara: – That’s a good question. ( Pause. ) I have something to compare with, because at the age of 16 I also had changes in my life.I moved from single skating to ice dancing.

Kirill: – By and large, there was no choice. The change did not happen because we ourselves wanted it. This is how the circumstances developed. And we could only try to outplay them in our favor.

By the way, Xenia and I had something similar just at this age. I’m not sure if we ever voiced this publicly at all. A year before we won the first final of the Junior Grand Prix, our pair might not have become if there was a certain castling.

I remember that moment – I breathed out a sigh of relief when we hadn’t changed anything and just started working. Everything fell apart then, I don’t know what would have happened to me now.

I will say this. Change is harder when you have something to lose. Age is secondary in this case.

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“Sarah understands a number of questions about Russian culture better”

– Continuing the theme of Christmas miracles. Cyril, you sometimes celebrate this holiday with Sarah’s family.Can you name any unusual national traditions?

– Every year we have been celebrating Christmas with Sarah’s family for three years now. As for traditions, here you need to think about …

This is a family holiday in Spain. In Russia, we have symbols of the New Year and Christmas – Santa Claus, snowflakes, trees and snowmen, and in Spain these are three kings, Christmas installations with Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

There is usually a family dinner. Sarah, what other Christmas traditions do you have?

Sarah: – At this moment I can’t stop thinking about food ( laughs ).In fact, many things are similar to Russia. The family gathers at home at the festive table, exchanges gifts, watches the appeal of the King of Spain. Oh, we have a Christmas lottery!

Kirill: – Exactly. In Spain, in principle, lotteries are very popular, but Christmas breaks all records. People buy lottery tickets for the whole family, work colleagues, friends. One of the happiest places to buy tickets is the kiosk in the center of Madrid, with people queuing up a couple of hundred meters long.

Sarah: – And then the day comes when everyone gathers to announce the results of the lottery. You must definitely dress in a carnival costume – a clown, a hare, a mermaid, anyone. And then some lucky clown starts shouting all over the street: “I won !!!” If he won the main prize, he may not work for the rest of his life – there will be enough money.

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– Have you ever won?

Kirill: – A couple of times the ticket price was refunded.They are not cheap, by the way – 10-15 euros per ticket.

– What’s the main Christmas dish on the table?

Sarah: – In general, there are no strict canons. Someone cooks turkey, someone – lamb, someone – seafood. There are always sweets – like marzipan.

Our family serves marinara soup for Christmas.

Kirill: – It looks like mussels in white sauce, but only like soup. More broth, richer taste – due to onions, spices, chili. Very tasty.

– Sarah, did you manage to get acquainted with the traditional dishes of the New Year’s table in Russia? Olivier, herring under a fur coat, that’s all.

Sarah: – Olivier, as far as I know, is called Russian salad all over the world, only here it is prepared without sausage – with tuna. I tried herring under a fur coat, I liked it. The more mayonnaise, the better ( laughs ).

Kirill: – Sarah is not only familiar with Russian cuisine, but also understands a number of issues about Russian culture better than I do. I am ashamed to admit, but, for example, I learned about the existence of a wonderful dancer Sergei Polunin from her.

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– What quality in each other do you like best?

Sarah: – Answer first, please ( laughs ).

Kirill: – I like that Sarah is energetic. She energizes me. If something goes wrong, I’m sure she cares. Therefore, I do not have apathy from problems and failures – I always remember that I need to attach my motivation to Sarah’s aspiration, and then everything will be fine.

Sarah: – I like that Kirill is calm. This is a property of his character, not boredom and indifference.I need it because I am different. His poise gives me a sense of security. He is a great friend, he knows how to listen and support. I feel like I can trust him in everything. Do you know how fire needs air to keep the flame from extinguishing? This is the kind of air my partner gives me.

Read also:

90,000 Students of the best ballet schools in Russia performed at Sirius

On July 31, Sirius hosted the premiere of the ballet project staged by ballet masters Vladimir Malakhov and Yuri Burlaka.105 pupils of the July educational program performed on the same stage, presenting fragments of famous ballet parts.

In July, a summer ballet school was held at Sirius, with 105 students from Russian ballet institutions taking part. Among them are students of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, the Lavrovsky Moscow State Choreographic School, the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, the Boris Eifman Dance Academy, the Perm State Choreographic School, the Novosibirsk State Choreographic School.The curriculum included classes in classical, folk-stage and historical-everyday dance, as well as lessons in acting. The theoretical block included disciplines on the history of theater, history of choreographic art, and musical literature. At the same time, the schedule of the guys includes rehearsals and work on a ballet project.

The artistic director of the Boris Eifman Dance Academy, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Yuri Burlaka and ballet dancer, choreographer Vladimir Malakhov were involved in the training of young dancers.On August 31, the participants presented their reporting creative project “The Heritage of Russian Ballet”. The program included more than 30 ballet numbers, including excerpts from the famous performances La Bayadere, Raymonda, Coppelia, The Flame of Paris, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Don Quixote, etc. They are connected by a common idea: to show the audience the formation of an artist from a ballet barre to entering a professional theater stage.

People’s Artist of the Russian Federation, prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater Svetlana Zakharova and the rector of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography, People’s Artist of Russia, Professor Marina Leonova were included in the expert council of the choreography program.

“I told the participants not just to perform movements, but to work for the viewer to feel the dance. The main thing is that the dancer understands for whom and for what he is dancing. After all, they have to perform rather complex and well-known parts, you cannot do it mechanically. I explained. that even during rehearsals they should work as if they were dancing in a full hall. Emotionally and like the last time, “said the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater, co-founder of the board of trustees of the Sirius Educational Center, People’s Artist of Russia Svetlana Zakharova.

“We wanted to show the richest ballet heritage that underlies all dance art and ballet education. And the students who touched it worked as consciously and well as possible. We tried not to interfere with the methodology of their teachers and fill the repertoire with new content and vision with aspects of our theatrical experience. Now I can say that we have got a serious project worthy of a professional stage, “said Yuri Burlaka.

The educational program in choreographic art is included in the list of the main directions of the Sirius educational center in the “Art” section.Over the past year, 570 people from all over Russia have participated in the program. Leading teachers from the Moscow State Academy of Arts, premieres and soloists of the State Academic Bolshoi Theater of Russia and the State Academic Mariinsky Theater, legendary dancers and choreographers, ballet artists – Vladimir Vasiliev, Vladimir Malakhov, Alexander Vetrov, Yuri Burlaka, Igor Kolb, Nina Zmievets acted as ballet teachers.

According to the head of the Educational Center Elena Shmeleva, in two years the Higher School of Ballet will appear in Sirius, which will apply the best pedagogical practices in the field of classical choreography, and the program itself will cover the full cycle of continuous education: from primary to professional.The school will be headed by Svetlana Zakharova.

For several seasons, Svetlana Zakharova has been the host of the Russia-Culture TV channel Big and Small. The programs of the second season can be seen on the air of the channel on Saturdays at 12:30. The premiere of the third season of Big and Small is already in September.

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