Jul 16, 2016

thirty day blog challenge {day 4}

day 4: discuss your views on religion

Now, on this blog, I'm not sure this topic would be entirely relevant or if anyone out there would even care to listen to my thoughts on what might make the world go round. So, instead, I'm going to do a little update on what's happening in this silly little life of mine.

Yesterday, Maine State Ballet began their six-week summer intensive training program, for both students and company members. Every day from 9:30-2:30, we undergo vigorous training that not only gets us in shape for the summer ballet, but I believe keeps us strong all the way through the spring. Without this intense period of non-stop dancing, our bodies wouldn't be able to hold up against the performances we do.

We are so blessed to have Leigh-Ann Esty (former Miami City Ballet dancer and is now joining her twin sister, Sara, on tour with An American in Paris) here in Maine to teach for a handful of weeks. Her positivity, humor, and challenging repertoire that she teaches make the long hours of the day go by in a snap. And now we get to learn from her wonderful boyfriend, Andrei Chagas, of Miami City Ballet, too!

So we are done with week one and I am just barely walking... Stiff and sore, but so happy to be back dancing. I'm enjoying every minute.

This week, we learned a variation from Ballo Della Regina. Oh, Balanchine, how you bruise my toes! Check out this video of Megan Fairchild, who I'm pretty sure defied gravity in this variation. Eager to see what's in store for next week.

Jul 9, 2016

thirty day blog challenge {day 3}

3. what are your pet peeves?

Rapid fire, people:

1. Sickled feet

2. Society's version of the "ballet bun"

3. This                   

4. Being stabbed by a hairpin

5. When any of my students say this:

6. When I or others are running late to class

7. ... And this you just get use to!    

What are your pet peeves?

Jul 8, 2016

thirty day blog challenge {day 2}

Thirty day blog challenge... Take 2!

Let's pick up right where we left off...

2. where would you like to be in ten years?

Oh, what a pressing question. I could give the abstractly honest answer and just say that I want to be happy, but I feel like that's somewhat of a cop out.

I have a long list of things that I'd like to do and be and try, some more concrete and realistic than others. I encourage others to do this exercise with me and leave them in a comment below! That way I won't feel like I'm sending these thoughts into an abyss haha.


I want a job where I'm in control... Could I get any more type A? I want to be able to carpe the heck out of my diem, and spend my days doing work that both pays the bills, and feeds my soul. And you know what, I really don't think that's asking for too much... Right?

Recently, I tried my hand at a more traditional 9-5 job in an office. I lasted about six weeks. Now, this was largely due to an overwhelmingly jam-packed schedule. I realized I couldn't balance everything, so I had to let go of something. I love teaching dance. I love dancing myself. I love blogging. I love writing. I love organizing my own day. I love being my own boss... How can I let go of pursuing all of that, just so I can have the stability of a "normal" career?

you can take the girl out of the ballet studio, but you can't take the ballerina out of the girl

So to answer this question, I see myself in ten years being almost the age of thirty-one, I have two or three children, a wonderful, hilarious, and handsome husband, and a lovely home close to where Travis and I grew up in Southern Maine.  I would be open to living somewhere else for a time, but we're both Mainers through and through. I love this place and couldn't picture myself settling down anywhere else. We have two dogs: a cavalier spaniel mix and a french bulldog (they're all Trav can talk about). I work partially from home as a blogger, writer, and social media manager (I'm opening my own business, by the way. Did I forget to mention that? Firefly Social Media - keep an eye out for it!), I teach dance in the evenings, maybe even own and operate my own dance studio, I direct performances, and have a running series of published novels called the "Becoming" series that center around dance (more to come on that later). 

I'm a big believer in the law of attraction. Like attracts like. Positive thoughts, energy, and emotions attract more to themselves. This was actually a really great exercise for me to truly visualize what life should and will be like in the future. I'll let you know in ten years how it goes ;)

Jun 24, 2016

better late than never?...

I'm bad at this, I know. And there are no excuses. But nevertheless, here I am, so write-on I will.


Life has been nothing short of insane since graduation. The last time I wrote personally was May 1... Over a month ago. I was still a college student then and I had this thing called "spare time," which I remember being completely lovely. I'm not trying to be dramatic here, guys (ok, maybe a little bit). Life has just been topsy-turvy lately

Right out of school (literally, I graduated on Saturday, May 14 and started work on Monday), I began working an internship at a local corporation. They're global, but the headquarters are right nearby. My dad actually works there too, but in a completely separate world. Not sure if I've ever written much about him, but he's a Harvard/MIT trained engineer... Yeah, my ballerina/writer/social media inclined/kinesthetically intelligent/artistic mind doesn't operate the same way.

I'm in human resources. It's certainly different from anything else I've ever done and I've come to learn the world of corporate America takes some getting use to. But the money is good and the hours are flexible, which has been a godsend with everything else going on lately.


I love teaching dance. I assisted a class for the first time when I was thirteen or fourteen, and six years later I love it just as much. It's so exciting to be able to share my passion for dance with the next generation, and be able to spark their passion in the same way my teachers did. A beautiful six-hundred year old cycle.

For those of you who don't know or may not remember, I teach at a studio nearer to my current home, as well as dance with a small company - Maine State Ballet. The years have passed and at twenty-years-old, I decided that would be the cut off for participating in MSB's annual recital. Company members are usually invited to join in the top level's recital piece, but I decided to leave it as a time for students to showcase their talents/learned skills. As it should be, right? I get opportunities to perform every few months, and now it's their turn.

So with that, I embarked as a full-fledged member of the crew with Center Stage's annual recital.


And of course... What would I be without my ballet career? Sleeping Beauty was over in a flash, but I have found that it is one of the few ballets that truly became a part of me. I think of it often and miss it whenever I do. 

"The fleeting moments that don't last more than a moment are what makes each day that much more special. I think that's why I love dance so much. They are just moments that go as soon as you dance them." - Janet Davis 

(Courtesy of @madelinemiele)

A photo posted by Rhiannon Pelletier (@rhiannonkpelletier) on

Moving forward (the only thing we can do), we are taking on two ballets in one show for the summer... Raymonda (a classic tutu ballet) with Can Can Parisian (a Parisian bar scene filled with shenanigans, bar fights, love triangles, the whole nine). Polar opposites that compliment each other perfectly in one blissful evening. I am so excited to say that I will be dancing opposite my sister as one of the leads in Can Can.

Summer intensives begin just after the 4th of July for Maine State Ballet, and I start teaching at another next week. 

Deep breath.

May 4, 2016

7 reasons to focus on your hips and knees in ballroom dance {guest post}

Alright readers, we're going to skip over #4 on the thirty day blog challenge. Instead, today we have a charming and informative guest post from Steve Platt, a proud owner of five different Arthur Murray Riverside franchises.

~ * ~

There’s a lot to think about during ballroom dance lessons. You are learning a lot of skills in a short period of time. If you are new to dance, it can get overwhelming. What should you be focusing on? What’s more important, the music, the steps, the holds, or the positions? Whether you are a beginner or an experienced dancer, one of the most important things to focus on is positioning your body correctly as you move and that begins with your knees and hips.
When we’re learning a new dance, most dancers are tempted to look at their feet or at our partner’s feet, but it’s more important to focus on your knees and hips. They are key to some of the most important aspects of dance including posture, balance, timing, motion, endurance, and joint health. Proper knee and hip movement also helps you create a solid foundation so you can learn more advanced moves quickly and easily.
Posture is key to ballroom dancing, and good body mechanics results in good dancing. Dance positions and holds change from dance to dance but they all have one thing in common: Posture. Your spine, hips, legs and knees need to be properly aligned while you move. For beginners, this may seem like a lot to think about, but the knees and hips are where it all starts. Focusing on them will also help you position your torso, pelvis, ankles, and feet properly.

Bad knee and hip movement can also really throw off your balance. When you bend forward at the knees, your hips and feet need to stay in line with each other. To maintain your balance, you’ll need to lengthen your torso at the same time. Otherwise, your pelvis may tuck under or stick out backward, which will throw you off-balance. Never lock your knees; slightly flexed knees also allow for quicker movements. This is especially important in Swing dancing when the moves require you to reverse directions quickly.
In many dances, knee and hip movement is key to good timing. Focusing on your knees and hips ensures that you are timing your movements with the correct beat. This is especially important in Latin dances, where the hip motion is a result of alternating between bending and straightening the knees. For beginners, this might be a little tricky at first as it requires isolating the spine from the hips instead of swaying your whole body. But, if your knee action is proper, good isolation of the hips comes naturally.
For instance, when dancing the Samba the whole beat and half beat mark the point at which body changes direction. The characteristic Samba Bounce is achieved by a slight flexing of the knees coupled with a forward pelvic pendulum movement on the first half of the beat. On the second half of the beat, the knees are straightened slightly and the pelvic pendulum moves back. The knees motivate the hip motion.

When most people think of knee and hip movement, they think of the Latin dances. But proper knee and hip motion is important to all styles of dance. When you are moving in time and have proper balance and posture, dancing with a partner is much easier and it will feel smooth and natural.
Your hips and knees are central to your motion. As you move on the dance floor, your knees and hips need to absorb the shock, or your dancing will seem choppy or mechanical. Whether you are leading or following, fluid motion keeps the look and feel of the dance effortless.
Dance is requires a lot of activity and tons of practice. Proper posture and movement let you move your body more efficiently. If you aren’t moving your knees and hips correctly, you will waste a lot of effort and tire faster. Poor body position also causes tension in other parts of the body which can sap your energy or cause you pain, making it difficult to dance as much as you need to. Focusing on the knees and hips will help ensure your posture is proper so you’ll have the energy to dance the whole night away.
Joint health
Dancing is a fun way to get some exercise, but it can also be very demanding. Proper posture keeps all your joints healthy and prevents injury. If you aren’t properly moving your hips and knees, you can suffer from repetitive motion injuries such as tendonitis or bursitis, which are painful and often require rest and rehab. Improper movement also makes you more susceptible to sprains and strains, which can take you off the dance floor for weeks or months. Moreover, tension in your lower body travels and can cause tension in your back, shoulders and neck.

Learning to dance is like learning any new motor skill: it requires practice and repetition until it becomes automatic. When you are taking ballroom dance lessons, it’s important to learn the moves right the first time so you have a strong foundation to build on. Pay attention to the position of your body as you move to ensure you haven’t picked up any bad habits. If you do, more advanced moves will be difficult, awkward or impossible, which will slow you down later on.
When you are just beginning, you are building muscle memory. If you train your muscles right the first time, many things will come more naturally. If you train yourself to move incorrectly, you will have to unlearn and relearn moves, which is a difficult process. There is a lot to focus on during your dance lessons. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced dancer, don’t stare at your toes. Instead, pay attention to your knees and hips. They are key to building a solid foundation and maintaining good posture. They are also central to balance, timing, motion, endurance and joint health. If you master proper knee and hip movement, you’ll be able to learn more advanced moves quickly and easily and your whole body will be healthier.