I think this dance studio should come with a disclaimer that it is JUST FOR FUN.
It's a ridiculous sham and they have been putting on recitals-posing-as-productions for an irritatingly long time, establishing for Hiloans what ballet looks like. In fact the so-called teacher instructs her dancers how to be not just aesthetically but dangerously bad (I'm surprised none of them have broken their ankles yet). Hilo thinks dance is this crap.
Miss Suen has in her possession a number of talented dancers full of potential--and she is ruining them. She does not teach technique; she teaches sparkles and "look Ma, I'm on my toes."
I find this "production" particularly offensive because back in 8th grade, when I was probably at the height of my ballet technique, studying under Nadia Cole, I performed, in her New World Youth Ballet company, the actual full-length production of the Kirov version of Sleeping Beauty. We rehearsed ourselves beyond toes and port de bras to musicality and performance quality; she taught us to be actors in a story through dancing. In other words, we rehearsed our asses off.
That year, I took a giant leap as a ballet dancer. I was put in the role of one of the first act's fairies (the pink one) as well as the gold one from the third act. The pink fairy's variation was the hardest role I had ever learned, and on pointe, no less. (Click link to see first act fairy variations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffAVOL7kPIY) It was a special achievement, being in level 4, while the rest were all in 5. I didn't have the foot strength or the technique comfortably under my belt yet, so it was a long, hard journey.
What we produced was a nearly-professional imitation of the entire Kirov ballet, and performed it six times. My whole community saw it and I believe it was the pride of my teacher's career. We paid the highest respect to classical ballet our little company could manage.
So when some little piece of shit dance business--for that is what it is, NOT an "academy," as the article would have you believe--comes along and butchers one of the greatest ballets of all time, well, it pisses me off. I want them to get their ugly hands off this masterpiece and leave it to people who actually want to dance, not skip around in a tutu.
Because sadly, I would be willing to bet none of these Island Dance Academy kids have ever seen a professional version of the ballet. Do they have any idea who Petipa was? When I used to take class there, because it was the only option in town, it became quickly apparent that the dancers never received any ballet education. Since they never saw how the steps should really be done, there were none they got right. None. Not even a tendu.
The only thing I have to be glad about in this kind of situation is that it gets me fired up enough to be motivated, and to be proud to be an educated, technical dancer. All I can really do is hope that one day these dancers' eyes will be opened.