Dec 17, 2010
With Christmas right around the corner, I figured people are going to need some gift ideas whether it's for a teacher, friend or family member. So here are some great gift-related finds for this week. :)
We all have our favorite dancers. Those artists whom we look up to and admire and continue to help us work harder everyday. I learn new names and watch new talent all the time, but these five dancers are the ones that never fail to impress me and take my breath away. Here are my top five role models :)
5: Lucia Lacarra
Lucia is a principal ballet dancer with the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich. Her gorgeous lines and captivating expressions have bewildered me since I saw this video.
4: Alina Cojocaru
A member of the Royal Ballet, Alina guest performs with artists worldwide and has performed practically every role in the book. My favorite of hers being her adorable and innocent portrayal of "Aurora" in the "Sleeping Beauty."
3: Sylvie Guillem
Sylvie Guillem is arguably the definition of the perfect ballerina. Her legs extend for miles and her feet are more arched than any other foot I've ever seen. Her body seems to move without ever touching the ground. This was the first video I ever saw of her and my jaw literally dropped.
2: Svetlana Zakharova
Svetlana is a principle dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow as well as a guest performer around the globe. Built similarly to Sylvie Guillem with her arched feet and long lines, she is a gorgeous dancer but I think what captivated me was her amazing acting ability. She devotes herself to a role completely, body, mind and soul.
1: Polina Semionova
Polina has become a bit of an Internet sensation in the ballet world. As she dances in a music video that she was fortunate enough to be cast in, feeling just seeps out from her body with every perfect point of her foot or develope of her leg. I've never found another dance video that celebrates the human body quite as well. Polina has a beautiful womanly shape and is made up of practically nothing but muscle. Her genuine expressions transform her into a totally believable character. She is without a doubt my favorite ballerina.
Who's your greatest role model? What ballerina do you watch when you're in need of inspiration? Post a comment below to let us know :)
Thanks for reading!
Dec 15, 2010
Here are some pics of our backstage fun! :)
Dec 14, 2010
Hey readers! I was recently left a comment regarding a competition for the "Top Dance Blog" and would like to send a thank-you to the blogger who left it. Thank you! :)
Well ANYWAY, here's the link to the contest in case any of you other ballet-bloggers wanted to submit your blog: http://danceadvantage.net/2010/12/08/top-dance-blog/
You can support my blog in the contest by voting! All you have to do is post a comment below! Just something short and sweet would be awesome! :D To help any further you can spread the word about my blog on Facebook/Twitter or even in person to your friends. Don't forget to tell them to vote too! :)
Thank you to every last one of my readers, you guys are truly awesome!
Christmas vacation is coming right up! (Where has the time gone?!) Over vacation we tend to lose a lot of the capability we had worked so hard for all year. First you lose your fouettes, then your turning ability, then slowly, your flexibility goes down the drain. Auditions for many schools and summer camps are in January, not long after vacation. You'll want to be in tip top shape when those auditions roll around. Of course you should take time to slow down and enjoy the holidays while they're here, but here are some easy things you can do to keep some of that much-worked-for dexterity.
- Stretch. While you're sitting down in your living room watching the super bowl or some cheesy holiday special, lay yourself in a split. Stay there for a few minutes before switching to the other side. You'd be surprised how infulential stretching over vacation can be.
- Jog. Keep that stamina up. After your big holiday feasts grab a few family members/friends and jog around your festively decked town. It's actually a LOT more fun than it sounds, I promise. :)
- Plie. Stand at a window, hold onto a chair/table, whatever could suit as a barre and do a short barre. This is also a good time to correct any habits that you previously had as your body will forget how exactly to do things and it's a lot easier to correct those no-no's all we all have.
- Rest yourself. We have vacation for a reason, we need to give our hardworking bodies a break. Don't go overboard with any exercises/stretches as that defeats the purpose of the much needed rest. ;) It's the most wonderful time of the year... Enjoy it.
Dec 13, 2010
Sorry I haven't written a while guys. Life's been crazy. Nutcracker has just finished and I started drivers ed the day after the first show. Gah! Busy busy...
There should be more up soon, but as of right now that's all I could get a hold of. :)
I thought I was gonna be really nervous to perform this role. I mean for my first solo... That's a pretty big task at hand. But as I was waiting in the wings, putting some rosin on my shoes and pacing like I always do before a show, I stopped and realized that I wasn't nervous at all. It was the strangest thing because usually before a performance I can get quite jittery and those butterflies in my stomach are really apparent. But it was awesome to take my partners hand, hear that incredibly climactic music and feel completely ready to run out on that stage.
I think the trick to calming those nerves is to not have to think. After months of running that dance over... and over... and over again, I was quite confident that I knew it. So before going on stage I wasn't constantly running it in my head. In fact, I wasn't thinking about it at all. I was just watching the dancers before me, going about my pre-performance routine completely calm. Maybe at a certain point you have enough experience to not worry as much anymore. Obviously it's not good to not worry AT ALL but you want to feel prepared and confident that you can go out there and perform to the best of your ability.
Thanks for reading/checking in guys! I'll post ASAP!
Nov 16, 2010
These lashes are my absolute favorite. They are comfortable, cheap and look awesome on a stage. I wear false eyelashes for every performance and have had a great experience with these every time. They're a little long for my eye so I have to trim the edges down a little bit but other than that they're perfect! :) I would highly recommend these.
So as you may already know, I will be performing in the Nutcracker in 11 days now. (Yikes!) With all of the rehearsing going on, I've been doing the same steps over... And over... And over again. Somehow I managed to tear a muscle in my inner thigh... NOT good! Whenever I put my right leg back into an attitude I can feel it pulling and it hurts so incredibly bad. And the worst part is, I'll be performing the role of Lead Spanish so I'm doing a lot of attitudes. I'm in quite the sticky spot.
Sometimes you have to know when to preserve yourself. Although the shows are a mere 11 days away, I'd prefer to mark (marking is when you pretend to do the movements without doing them full out) those specific steps now rather than doing them full out and my muscle being even worse for the performances. When you have an injury it's really important to allow it to heal. If you injure yourself right before a performance and still find yourself going onstage despite it, thankfully we have those powerful adrenaline rushes to keep us going.
One year I had a fracture in my left foot that was probably the most physically painful thing I've ever gone through. I was performing Waltz of the Flowers which is a remarkably long dance. At the beginning I would step onstage and feel just fine. The adrenaline had kicked in and I hardly noticed the pain at all. As the dance continued and the adrenaline began to wear off, I could feel the fracture more and more. By the end of the dance I literally wanted to drop dead. After the performances were all through I took a much needed vacation and allowed the fracture to heal.
Injuries during a show are no fun at all but they do happen. Sometimes you can prevent them and sometimes it's just an unfortunate twist of fate. Once you've pinpointed an injury, it's crucial that you take it easy. There's NO way I'm giving up my role in the Nutcracker so for the next few days I'm going to be as cautious as I can and hopefully it'll be better in time for the show.
Thanks for reading everyone!
Nov 10, 2010
I don't know about you, but I don't go ANYWHERE without my water bottle. I even put mine on the edge of the auditorium stage during rehearsals. And during actual shows it's right in the wings for me to grab as soon as I come off. I drink a lot of water... Like A LOT! A couple of my friends have this bottle and love it. It's an average size and doesn't alter the taste of the water. I think everyone should have a water bottle with them when doing any kind of dancing.
Nov 3, 2010
This time of year a ballerina's feet get completely butchered. All the hours of classes and rehearsals start to really add up. And it's not just the holiday season/ballet dancers. Competitions can take a serious toll on all kinds of dancers and any performance, period, means extra hours of dancing and rehearsing. It's inevitable that your feet will get beat up, but there are ways to take care of them so you can prevent internal injuries as well as external.
I've been on pointe for six years now. I was looking through some photos and I found a picture of my feet after my first week on pointe. And I thought it was bad then! HA!
After six years of pointe:Holy crap my bunions have gotten bad...
ANYWAY, here are some great tips and products for keeping your feet in tip-top-shape.
- Dr. Roth's Foot Fixer Kit: http://www.drroths.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.footfixer
- Roll a tennis ball underneath the ball of your foot to massage those muscles. It feels awesome!
- Take a foot bath. It really helps tremendously.
- Although it may seem as though it wouldn't really do much, washing your feet can feel fantastic and also relieves your family members of that not-so-pleasant smell. This foot wash makes my feet feel so much better afterwards and I love that minty smell. :) http://www.drroths.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/products.footwash
- Keep your feet wrapped up in something warm. When your muscles are cold they don't function as smoothly and can even tend to crack.
- Warm your feet up before dancing. Stretch them out, flex them and do a few ankle roles before you begin your day of dancing.
I hope these help! Dancing is such hard work and sometimes we dancers forget to take care of ourselves. Always take time to care for your body.
Oct 25, 2010
If you feel you have trouble breathing while you dancer or perform any kind of physical activity please speak to your doctor. Keep in mind that many people have asthma and still find ways to do the activities that they love.
Oct 20, 2010
Hey everyone! I know I haven't been posting a lot recently, Nutcracker rehearsals plus the "Night of Broadway" plus schoolwork has me really wrapped up. I have a couple of articles coming up for ya that I think you'll all really enjoy. Just bear with me and I'll have them up soon!
Thanks for sticking around!
Oct 18, 2010
This week's find is:
Oct 12, 2010
Hand Knit Mukluks Link 1: http://www.mexicaliblues.com/Winter-Accessories/Hand-Knit-Mukluks/PAKFADPIKPGPMKHI/3037-3084/Product
Mukluks are basically like slippers and I use mine almost on a daily basis. They are so warm and comfortable! During shows when I'm at the auditorium all day, I'll wear these around the dressing room and even over my pointe shoes to keep my feet warm. Although they are fairly durable, I would not suggest wearing them outside. I've had mine for almost four years and they're still going strong! Some people disagree, but I find that putting them through the washer/dryer on a gentle cycle helps a lot. It almost restores them to their original quality. These things are affordable and awesome and they make amazing presents! For our Secret Santa we do at the ballet school every year, most dancers buy these. :P They come in a bunch of different colors and I've never seen two exactly alike.
Mukluks can be bought in various stores but the best/cheapest, in my opinion, you can buy at the links above.
Thanks for reading guys!
Oct 3, 2010
"How much is too much?"
A fantastic question.
I'm sure that many of you out there wish you could be dancing 24/7. Don't worry, cuz you're not alone. I wish I had a wide open space in my house where I could dance every day for as long as I want. But there's one problem... I'm human.
Humans aren't meant to keep going and going, never having a break, never tiring. There's a very specific line that we all have and frequently cross. This line is the line of exhaustion and when you cross it you're not the happiest camper in the world. It's important to know where this line is because pushing yourself too hard can result in injury.
I've definitely crossed that exhaustion line before and it resulted as a fracture in my left foot... Two years in a row. Both fractures occurred around Nutcracker season when rehearsal time was pushed to the max and classes were shifted into full gear. I learned where my "line" is the hard way. Hopefully none of you will have to learn about your body the same way I did so I'm gonna share some tips on not only how to know your body, but also how to know when your rehearsal schedule is taking a serious toll on the other aspects of your life.
Number 1: Pay attention!
That tingling feeling in your legs that is making them move like jelly is no accident. Your body is clearly telling you something. Now this doesn't mean that you get to go take off your pointe shoes in the middle of class and then watch for the rest of it. This just means that when you feel you have reached your line, slow yourself down.
Number 2: Listen to your family members.
When your family is constantly complaining about how you're always at dancing and never have time for anything else, chances are it's getting to be a little too much. Life is short and I promise you that you'll find things other than dancing that you will want to do whether it conflicts with your schedule or not.
For the past few weeks I had been rehearsing for three different shows at once on top of regular classes. Now, I obviously love dancing but this was WAY too much for me. Thankfully we finished up with one show on Saturday and now I only have two shows to worry about. Even still, this is a lot of work. One of the shows is our traditional Nutcracker and the other is a "Night of Broadway" where singers/dancers from all around the state come together to put on a fabulous performance with over 40 numbers. I'm only in 3 or 4 numbers (I don't even know what I'm in yet... This is getting scary!) but you should know that Nutcracker is first and foremost, my priority. Night of Broadway is a performance I was asked (more like begged) to be in and I knew when I committed to it that I wouldn't be able to make it to many of the rehearsals because they overlap with Nutcracker rehearsals. The director of the show wanted me in the performance so badly, he wants to rehearse with me in the hallways whenever I have free time!
So clearly that's a lot of occupied time and I, like many others, have a hard time saying "no" especially when someone really needs/wants me in a show. I'm a relatively quick learner and am confident that I can learn this dance in no time which is the main reason why I agreed. Saying no can be extremely difficult but sometimes it's for the best. Not only can rehearsing overwork your body, it can overwork your mind. Having twenty different dances floating around up there can be very stressful and can make it very hard to focus.
All in all, saying no is NOT a bad thing and sometimes you have to put your own/your families well-being first.
Thanks for reading guys!
Sep 29, 2010
Here's the featured dance supply item for this week:
Sep 27, 2010
Yeah we're silly and stupid, but we're best friends! And we're teenagers which explains a lot! :P
Sep 26, 2010
Around this time, the time when Nutcracker is beginning to start up and that tiny hint of holiday festiveness is in the air, we have all just begun school and for some have recently resumed ballet classes. It can be tough to feel "into" the awesomeness that is Nutcracker when you're so busy. Here are some things that I do just to remind myself why this is the most wonderful time of the year:
- Listen to the music! How can you hear the Waltz of the Flowers or the Sugarplum variation and not get a little excited? It works like a charm every year and it has never once failed to give me butterflies!
- Watch the movies. A lot of you probably have the classic Nutcrackers on DVD or video. I have the New York City Ballet version and watched it a few days ago. It just pulls you back into the sweet little story and makes you feel like a fascinated little kid again. If you don't already have it... GET IT! You can find it on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Nutcracker-Macaulay-Culkin/dp/B001CW802A/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1285691968&sr=1-1
- Look at the pictures. Whenever I'm feeling down I just look back to the times that I was happiest. Which is usually around Nutcracker time. :) Here are some pics from 09's Nutcracker:
^Let's just not go there... :P ^
Guys, it is really hard for me to concentrate right now when I'm so excited! This year is gonna be so awesome and I'm planning to make a video of my adventures so be sure to stick around! :)
I absolutely love Nutcracker! There's nothing else like it because it's a definite holiday tradition and I grew up performing it from the time I was a little page (A role for to7-9 year olds) to now when I'm dancing in the corps de ballet and am going to be performing Lead Spanish! Everything just feels awesome.
I hope everyone is having a great start to fall! :D
Thanks for all of you who have continued to check in and all of you who are awesome enough to check in for the first time! :)
Sep 23, 2010
It's finally here! The waiting is OVER! So *drum roll* here it is:
I am a full time Snowflake, a full time flower in Waltz of the Flowers, understudy Marzapan and full time as the lead Spanish dancer!!! I'm so excited!
Lead Spanish is done with a boy so I'll be partnering! SO EXCITED! I could not have asked for anything more! :D
Everything is turning out better than I could have ever imagined!
Thanks for reading but it's a school night and I gotta get some work done!
Sep 19, 2010
By now everyone has gone to their Nutcracker auditions and we're all waiting to hear the exciting, or disappointing news. The anticipation is thriving in all of us and we wrestle it with every passing second. You want to know more than anything else exactly what role you'll be learning and performing.
^ Make like this moose and walk it off! ^
Waiting sucks. There's no doubt about it. So I'm sorry to not have some great advice to offer you about reeling in that anxiousness, but instead we can exchange our mutual feelings of excitedness/anticipation.
Thanks for reading!
Sep 13, 2010
It's my birthday! Yay!
Sep 10, 2010
I cannot stress how important it is in a performance to emotionally connect with your partner and/or yourself on a very high level. Here are some of my favorite, highly emotional, dance numbers: