Monthly Archives: April 2016

Lauren Twomey, MYB Dancer

My name is Lauren Twomey and I am currently a senior at Kimberly High School. In the upcoming spring performance, I will dance alongside Bree Brzezinski, the other senior in the company, one last time.

My mother wanted me to be involved in some sort of group activity from a young age. And like most children, this meant sports and music classes. I excelled in my music classes, enjoying the sounds and the opportunity to move to a rhythm. I tried my share of sports, but was told that I simply twirled around the field and picked dandelions! So in connecting my desire to move and the adoration I had developed for music, I was enrolled in dance classes at the age of three and have not stopped since. I started my training at the Kim Janssen School of Dance and eventually transitioned to the world of competitive dancing. I have trained in several genres including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, and modern. At some point in this experience, I felt as though I wasn’t achieving my fullest artistic abilities. This is when I discovered that dance was my true passion. Through word of a friend, I chose to audition for The Makaroff School of Ballet. I remember my first class at the studio to be nerve-racking, but I felt as though I belonged. The other girls were nice and Ms. Makaroff was challenging as well as nurturing. I have been a part of The Makaroff School of Ballet and the Makaroff Youth Ballet for six years collectively, beginning at the age of 12. Having been trained at a competitive school that focuses primarily on the flashiness of the dances, I was very behind on my classical basic technique. I continued competitive dance for 3 years after I began training under Jeanette, and my dance skills had visibly improved. When I was accepted into the company at Makaroff’s, I made the decision to quit competitive dancing and pursue ballet full time.

I knew that ballet was something I loved to do and I found so much pleasure in being able to create such beauty in the form of movement. It was an escape coming to the studio everyday from all else that I had going on in my life.

Looking back on the young dancer I was then, to whom I have been shaped into now, makes me very proud. I have always been encouraged to challenge myself by my friends and fellow classmates, and have been so carefully guided by Jeanette so that I am able to attain the highest quality of ballet that I know I am capable of. I would never have known about the vast and exciting world of ballet if I hadn’t taken that first placement class and joined Ms. Makaroff and her studio. I have been a part of several Makaroff productions including the Nutcracker, Appalachian Spring, Holly and Ivy, and many more. Each time I performed a piece, I was able to create a new emotion and character out of the steps I was given. It has always been so magical.

My plans for next year are to attend Carroll University with a major in Exercise Science and work towards my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. I plan to keep music and dance parts of my life as I will be involved in choir at school, as well as theater and dance. The influence that The Makaroff School of Ballet and The Makaroff Youth Ballet have had on my life has been so positive and the art of ballet has taught me to be a strong yet always graceful person, no matter what steps I have to take to take to achieve my goal, both on my own and in a group. I have so much to be thankful for including all of my beautiful friends at the studio as well as my family for giving me the opportunity to live my dream. Leaving this studio will be so hard for me but I know that I will always have a home here.

Lauren Twomey
MYB Company Dancer, Senior

Photo: Ash & Ember, www.ashandember.com

Bree Brzezinski, MYB Dancer

My name is Bree Brzezinski and I am currently one of the two seniors in the company. I will soon be taking my final bow with the company and leaving behind a very large and significant part of my life.

When I was little, my mom would dance around the house with me on her hip. It is because of this that I slowly began to fall in love with movement. As I grew older, I started dancing to the theme song from The X-Files whenever it came on TV. It is this moment in time when my mom realized just how much I loved to move around and decided to sign me up for dance classes. At the age of three, I started taking tap, ballet, and gymnastic classes through Shirley Van’s Dance Studio. As a little kid, I had a hard time remembering choreography. I was the one that would watch the other girls throughout the entire dance and would end up behind the music because of it! When we started learning a dance to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, my mom went out and bought the CD and would help me practice the dance. Soon enough, I was able to remember it on my own and I didn’t have to look at anyone to remember what came next. Today, remembering choreography is easy for me.

By the time I was getting close to age seven, my mom realized that I needed to go to a school where I would be challenged more. She had me take a class at Green Bay School of Dance and soon enough I was signed up for classes. I had dropped both tap and gymnastics to focus more on ballet. By the time I turned 11, I started pointe. Then by age 12 I was preparing for my first performance on pointe. The choreographer was also my favorite teacher, Diane Danhieux. I liked her because she actually payed attention to me and wanted me to get better. I felt challenged in her classes. Soon enough, I was put into the highest level at the school by age 13. That’s when I got stuck in a rut. I didn’t have anything to work towards and wasn’t challenged in any of the classes I had with the other teachers. My mom noticed this.

At age 13, I took a placement class at the Makaroff School of Ballet. I instantly liked it much more than Green Bay and decided to start taking classes. I remember during my first class, Ms. Makaroff started with pre-barre as always and I had no clue what that was or what to do. Then one of the girls, Payton Bayer, came over to stand next to me and showed me what to do. The girls were much nicer at Makaroff’s and I knew I would be able to call this studio my home away from home. My first year was a little rough because I felt that I had to start from the beginning. Many of the corrections I received from Ms. Makaroff were things that I had never been corrected on before—things such as keeping your tailbone down or head placement. I was at the bottom of the food chain and knew I had to work my way up. I have now worked my way up and am proud of my hard work. I also now teach the pre-ballet classes at the studio and am happy to do it. It’s one way for me to help shape the next generation of Makaroff dancers.

I have now been in the company for six years. I’ve done several performances of The Nutcracker, performed on pointe after cutting off the tip of my toe the week before, and made my mother cry countless times. I have been given so many opportunities to show the community what I am capable of and I am thankful for that. At Makaroff’s, I have really been able to grow into the dancer I am today. Leaving this studio will be hard for me, seeing as I have learned so many valuable life skills here and made some lifelong friendships. I know I will have tears rolling down my face when I take my final bow beside my fellow senior, Lauren Twomey, and all of the beautiful dancers of the company. This is not the end of my dancing career. I will be attending UW-Stevens Point next year and have been accepted into their dance program, so expect to see me coming back to take classes during my breaks!

Bree Brzezinski
MYB Company Dancer and Senior

Photo: Jim Koepnick, www.koepnickphotography.com

Photo: Jim Koepnick, www.koepnickphotography.com