Just the musings of a small-town professional ballerina, business owner, wife, and beagle mama as she attempts to make it through this thing called life.

Aug 25, 2010

A Level of Balance

Balancing your grades and social life as well as your dancing career is a very daunting task. You wake up, throw on some clothes, pop a banana in your mouth and head off to school. Then after 7-8 hours of exercising your brain, you head to ballet class to exercise everything else. After those two hours (Or more) of hardcore dancing, your body is exhausted and your brain is fried. But guess what! Now you get to go home and work on the pile of homework you have waiting for you. It's a rough lifestyle that usually only the fully committed can pull off.

The trick to it is this... Wait. First make sure everyone else in the room is gone. This is a BIG secret! Okay, are you alone? Good. The secret is...


Yup! That's all it is. Now here's what I'm going to ask you to do, take the major aspects of your life and put them on a scale. Take your family, your social life (outside of family), your dancing career, your education, your job, your other extracurricular activities, take it all! Now, one by one, weigh all of those important parts of your life.

As this is a metaphorical scale, you'll need to do some thinking. Every person's scale will reveal something different. Some people may not find their social life to be a vital part of their life, but find their dancing career to be a part of their very heart and soul. Some people may realize that their job is of greater importance to them, some people may realize their friends are the legs they stand on, some may realize their family will always come first, some may realize that their schooling is essential. The answers will most definitely vary.

After you've weighed all of that (which may take a while) act on your newly found information.

So here's an example, say you realize that your family, dancing career and schooling are the most important things to you. The goal is to balance all three things and to reach your standards for all three. That is something much easier said than done!

On weekdays you could go to school, go to dance class and when you come home to have dinner/do homework, you eat with your family and if you can manage it, do homework around your family members. Then on the weekends you can schedule family events such as dinners, movies, amusement parks etc. (No I'm serious)

I know it's tough and many people don't appreciate all of the hard work dancers put into their lives as well as the lives of others.

The other day I was at my brother's football practice and heard a man yell "they're looking like a bunch of ballerinas, you gotta suck it up!" I was highly offended. Ballet is one of the most physically demanding activities there are. I later Googled to see what officially was the most physically demanding sport but the problem is, many people don't consider ballet a sport. I personally disagree. A sport is a physical activity in which you can compete. Have these people ever heard of a dance competition?! I believe ballet is the ultimate activity because it doubles as a sport and an art. Not only do you have to do these extremely physically demanding movements, you have to look good and graceful while doing them.

So anyway, my point being that the life of a ballet dancer is no walk in the park. You have to be determined, committed and you need to shoot for the stars.

I wish you all luck!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, comments or requests please post a comment below or e-mail me at: twilightdancer3@yahoo.com


Aug 23, 2010

Check. It. Out.

As a dancer, I find the documentary "The Dancer" (Go figure) so inspirational. It always makes me want to get to the studio and start working. I would highly suggest buying it if you, in any way, enjoy ballet. Here's the link to it on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Dancer-Erland-Josephson/dp/B0007TKORI/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1282614575&sr=1-1

Or to watch it the more modern and cheaper way, here's the a link to the playlist on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilIm9G4ppPI&feature=PlayList&p=A234437152DC4F7C&index=0&playnext=1

^That's part one of a several part movie. The next video should automatically come up.^

Vacation Time

We all love it! A good amount of free time is more
often than not, just the ticket. But as you're sitting out in your lounger with a book in one hand and an iced tea in the other, there's that faint, nagging voice in the back of your head reminding you of what you probably should be doing...
During vacation it's always a good idea to still be stretching and working your muscles. Now this doesn't mean that you have to be doing full blown classes every day like you are during the school year, but a couple times a week you could find yourself an empty space to stretch and do a little barre. I asked the owner of a little dance school down the street from me (I don't take classes there) if I could use one of their studios for an hour and a half and I was so glad when she said I could. (I found myself spiraling into a depression about a week into vacation. Going from six weeks of nonstop dancing to absolutely no dancing at all is really tough.) After that hour and a half I felt so much better! I came out of the studio exhausted and sweaty but smiling brighter than I had in a while. You have no idea how much you love something until it's gone. (Cheesy, but true)
School is starting up soon! That also means Nutcracker auditions are a few mere days away. For a guide to help you out with those auditions, check out my article here: http://adancersdays.blogspot.com/2009/09/nutcracker-season-is-just-around-corner.html

Thanks for reading anyone! If you have any comments, suggestions or requests don't hesitate to post them below.

Thanks everyone!

Ballerinablogger ~

Aug 21, 2010

Novel - Sleeping Beauty

Check out this book:

Take a journey through the life of a real ballerina dancing for the incredible George Balanchine. Wonderfully written by Adrienne Sharp, Sleeping Beauty brings you inside the world of a professional dancer. (There is much inappropriate content in this book)

Aug 20, 2010

Quote of the Week

"I don't want dancers who want to dance, I want dancers who need to dance" -George Balanchine

Aug 19, 2010

Gaga and Ballerinas

This video is of such extreme epic proportions it made me fall out of my chair.

Aug 18, 2010

Black Swan

I've been planning to write about this for a while and now I finally am!

Black Swan, a new movie featuring Natalie Portman, is about a ballet dancer in New York City. Nina (Portman) is starring as the duplicitous Swan Queen and finds herself caught up in the competition against a rivaling ballerina.

I'm kind of freaking out about it. I can't wait to see it! Here's the trailer:

Aug 16, 2010

End of Summer camp performance

Alright, I have the final videos of the summer for you! I was so incredibly nervous during this and am surprised that I made it out alive!

Here is the Sugarplum variation:

And here is the Sugarplum pas de duex. I don't think I've ever been so nervous for a performance as this one!

This summer has been so incredibly amazing. I laughed, I cried, I sweat, I died. (I just made a rhyme! It had to be done) After that performance ^ we went out for lunch and were back in the building about an hour later. And moments later we were on stage again performing our last performance of Firebird/Bach. It went very well and I am so glad to have finally finished and get a break before school starts.

This weekend I invited all of my dancing gang out to my house and we had the most epic sleepover of my life. It was the most bazaar summer but I couldn't have asked for anything better. I absolutely love my friends and believe that the friends you have at dancing are the friends you'll have for a lifetime. How could I live without them?! (Shoutout! I love you Emily, Sara, Lindsay, Hannah, Michael, Maiki and Nathaniel!)

... Now I have to clean up after that amazing sleepover so... I'll hopefully post again soon. (Not that there will be much to write about with vacation just starting up)

Thanks for reading everyone!


Aug 14, 2010

End of Summer Camp 2010

The last Friday show is done. There will be no more twelve hour days of dancing and no more showing up to the school at 9:00 AM. No more learning dances in fifteen minutes and performing them with only three rehearsals. No more pushing yourself so hard you come out of class feeling like you'll throw up and definitely no more staying up until midnight running dances in my head. It's all over and done with.

Of course I'm heartbroken to see another summer go by, but I'm also excited to start a new chapter. To get on with my life and see what else it has to offer me. I feel that I improved a lot this summer can't wait to put that improvement to good use. I hope everyone enjoyed their summer as much as I did, I definitely think it was the most epic summer ever...

The Friday performance yesterday went fantastically. Considering I was doing the sugarplum pas, had a week to learn it and had never seen myself do it with a mirror, I think it went very well.

I'd like to thank every single one of my followers and anyone who has just been checking in. You guys are great and helped me accomplish my goal of thirty followers in half the time I had expected it to take! :)

And now let's go even farther, I'm resetting my goal. Let's try to reach 40 followers by January. I know we can do it but I'll need your help!
Tell your friends about me
Follow my blog

Thanks guys! You're awesome!


PS: Post your epic summer

Aug 12, 2010

Friday... Tomorrow?! Ahh!

Right now I am eating, sleeping and breathing that pas de deux. Whenever I think about it I get this knot in my stomach not because I'm unsure of my capability, but because the idea of the artistic director watching me perform the sugar plum pas on stage is so nerve racking! Very little choreography has been changed and I have had very little partnering experience. (Comparatively to this kind of stuff anyway) I feel like I've just been pushed into the deep end of the pool and now I have a choice: sink or swim. As far as I'm concerned I think I'm treading water... Hopefully anyway. ;)

Calming yourself before a performance can be a difficult job. Your nerves are flying off the walls and it seems as though nothing can harness them in. Here are a few tips for some quick ways to ease those butterflies in your stomach.

1: You need to visualize yourself doing well. Picturing yourself falling or slipping during a pique turn is not going to help you. Instead think of yourself doing that triple/quadruple pirouette, or imagine your grand jete as high and wide as it can be. This will give you a confidence boost and reminds you that you know you can do it.

2: For eight counts, breathe in, and then for eight counts breathe out. Repeat this three times. I’m not sure why but I have found that it always manages to calm me down and relax my body.

3: For many people, it helps to have a good luck charm with you. Although most of us have learned the lesson that the charm is not really what is helping us and it is simply giving us psychological confidence, it is still a nice way of reassuring yourself that you can do well. Some good charms may be: A favorite stuffed animal, a necklace, bracelet, ring, elastic or even a person. Maybe your mom or best friend is your good luck charm. It could be anything!

4: If you enjoy yoga or meditation that can also help a great deal. Calming your mind and slowing your heart rate is the secret behind any calming technique.

5: Sometimes, listening to music can calm your nerves and take you away for a moment. (Just make sure you come back in time!)

If you have your own techniques for calming your nerves post a comment about it below!

Thanks for reading everybody! :)


Aug 9, 2010

Week 6

Finally the Monday of week 6 has ended. It was a very long day for me. The theme for this week is "The Nutcracker" and on Friday I will be performing the following:

  • The Sugarplum Fairy Variation

  • The Lead Arabian role in the "Finale"

  • The Sugarplum Pas De Deux

(And remember that this is not an "actual" show. The really advanced partnering will be watered down for us newbies but the variations are still the same choreography as the real thing.)

Yeah you could say I'm pretty nervous. Luckily I have a great partner for the pas de deux and we have a lot of rehearsal time this week. As I am still only 14 I am not extpecting to do this pas as well as any principal dancer but I'm gonna give it all I have and pray for the best! Wish me luck! ;)

Thankfully there aren't many rehearsals this week as Bach/Firebird only has one cast. We have a run-through on Thursday but until then it's regular classes. (I can't believe it either)

Well, thanks for reading! I'm gonna go ice my entire body now.


PS: Advil is a dancer's best friend.

Aug 8, 2010

Pics From Firebird

^ National Purple Day! ^
(Some look kinda blue but I swear they are purple!)

^ First show = success! ^

^ Even dancers get an occasional treat ;) ^

^ Me and my sister ^
I was a princess in Firebird and she was a "creature"

^ We are so TIRED! ^

Aug 7, 2010

Week 5

Alriiight. Week 5 is over! ONLY ONE MORE!
I'll hopefully have the video of my variation up soon but right now it's a super busy day.
Last night was the opening night of Firebird/Bach Concerti. It went fabulously. I was really pleased with the overall night and I got to see a bunch of my friends and family. From here on out it's smooth sailing. (I think...)
There's one more show tonight at 7:00 and then we have a "break" until next Friday. Although that "break" is really the last week of summer camp, AKA, the week where we all lay down and die.
So yeah, it's bound to be fun! ;)
I'll be posting some pics soon, maybe even tonight and the variation video will be up at least by Monday.
Thanks to everyone who has stayed with me all summer and thanks to all you newcomers too! You guys are awesome!


Aug 2, 2010

Week 4

Sorry it took so long for me to get this post up! Busy, busy, busy!

Last week I chose to do the Black Swan variation. It was an incredible challenge but it was an amazing amount of fun. By the end of the variation my leg was numb! And then I had to go back on stage and do 32 fouettes!

To any prima ballerinas who have ever done the full roles of Odette/Odile, I have no idea how you do it! You guys are super-women!

Here's the variation:

This week is going to be insane. I have dress rehearsals for our upcoming show on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then Friday/Saturday we have shows. I'm going to be exhausted.

This is also my first tutu ballet! I'm finally going to get to wear those amazing tutus with all the glitter and glam! I'm so pumped!

Hopefully I'll get some pictures up soon.

Thanks for reading everyone! You guys are great! :)