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Intensive fuels ballet passion

August 24, 2005|By: Darleene Barrientos

Three weeks of rigorous ballet training at Media City Ballet's

summer intensive did not scare off Ryan Jones, who has been dancing

for about a year and a half and has participated in two previous

intensive workshops.

In fact, the workshop, which had him working with ballet

authorities such as Inna Strabova, Dmitry Tuboltsev and Askar

Kettebekov, Media City Ballet's principal dancer, served to fuel his

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passion -- so much so that he is considering moving from his home in

Palos Verdes to be closer to Media City Ballet.

"It's good for me, because they don't hesitate to make me do

things that are well above my skill level," Jones said.

Dancing alongside the company's principals is a challenge but also

good motivation, he said.

"It's intimidating, because you see what you have to be able to

do," Jones said. "But everybody is always so encouraging."

For several of the students at the Media City Ballet's first-ever

summer intensive, the workshop ended with Saturday's "Pasion de

Espana" at the Alex Theatre, featuring Spanish-themed excerpts from

"Don Quixote," "Bolero," "Carmen" and "Swan Lake." Students are

generally not invited to dance with the company's principals, but

about 12 danced in Saturday's production, artistic director Natasha

Middleton-Kettebekov said.

The summer intensive was a success, and the company plans to host

another one next year, Middleton-Kettebekov said.

"They did a fantastic job," she said. "They have all really

improved."

Friends Amara Baptist, 15, and Samantha DiMatteo, 16, have

participated in other summer intensive workshops during their five

years of dancing, but working with the Media City Ballet this year

was a challenge for them.

"It was tough," Amara said. "This one was all ballet."

Zaakirah Daniels, 12, had the honor of being the youngest student

in the workshop. She likes to participate in summer intensive

workshops because they present the opportunity to meet and work with

so many different people.

"In an intensive, you get to refine your skills with new teachers

other than those at the studios, and you get to meet people from all

over," Zaakirah said.

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