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.

Dec 29, 2011

American Ballet Theatre: David Hallberg Interview

David Hallberg - American Ballet Theater Soloist Featured at the Bolshoi

Here is a re-posted article from  http://www.cbsnews.com about American ballerina, David Hallberg's historic trip to dance with the Bolshoi in Russia.

An American dancer's leap of faith

Ballet dancer Daniel Hallberg is the first American to be the premier dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet. (CBS)

(CBS News)  
For an American ballet dancer to be applauded and honored in Russia requires an enormous LEAP OF FAITH by a performer - not to mention phenomenal talent. As Martha Teichner reports, David Hallberg also had some explaining to do for Steven Colbert:

He's been called by faux-conservative talk show host Stephen Colbert "Benedict Arnold with slightly tighter pants."
Ballet dancer David Hallberg returned home from Moscow earlier this month just in time to appear on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report."
"You're with the Russian Bolshoi and the American Ballet Theatre at the same time," Colbert said. "What are you, a double agent?"
It's been a wild three months for Hallberg . . . after the startling news that he had been asked to become a premier dancer with Russia's famous Bolshoi Ballet, the first American ever.
"It was such a bold offer because all of the premier dancers with the Bolshoi are Russian," Hallberg told Teichner. "So it was unbelievably historical, which I realized right away."
Until now, the traffic has mostly been the other way. There was Rudolph Nureyev, who defected from the Soviet Union in 1961, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, who followed in 1974.
In the middle of the Cold War, their defections were a huge propaganda victory for the West.
The Cold War is over, but David Hallberg took on the Bolshoi position, only too aware of what was at stake ... still.
"I see myself as an ambassador," he said.
"Did you feel you had to hold up your end as 'The American'?" Teichner asked.
"Always. I always felt a responsibility."
We met Hallberg in October in his New York apartment, as he was packing for Russia..
On the day he left, his parents, Bruce and Colleen Hallberg, were there from Phoenix, where he grew up, to send him on his way - with a little moral support.
"We never imagined it," Colleen said. "He had two goldfish he named Fred and Ginger. I mean, we just thought it was cute, and it was. Then he asked for tap shoes for a birthday, and we said 'Sure, why not?'"
That's how it began for Hallberg at the age of eight.
"No one around me was obsessed with Fred Astaire, except for me," Hallberg said. "It just snowballed, really. I started with tap lessons. When I didn't have tap shoes, I taped nickels on the bottom of my penny loafers."
A local production of "The Nutcracker" led him to ballet. And then the bullying started . . .
"It was really hard," he said. "It was really kind of scarring couple of years."
"But it didn't stop you from dancing," said Teichner.
He joined New York's American Ballet Theater at age 19. Five years later he was a principal dancer, one of his generation's best dancers in one of the world's best companies.
"Do you ever get out there onstage and think, 'If only I could see those kids who were mean to me now?'" asked Teichner.
"Yes, I do actually. If I can relay anything, it's that, if someone has a dream and it isn't the norm of what others are doing around you, it doesn't matter. Reach for it, go for it, because I'm a shining example of that."
Which answers the question: Why risk joining the Bolshoi?
The historic old Bolshoi Theater had just held its grand re-opening after a 6-year, approximately $700 million renovation, when David Hallberg arrived in Moscow.
Bolshoi means big, and everything about the reaction to his presence was outsized.
"I have never experienced expectation and pressure like that in my life," he said. "And I felt like I could handle it and really focus on the task at hand."
He would need focus. President Dmitry Medvedev took a special interest. The gala opening on November 18 of the first new production in the newly-refurbished theater - "Sleeping Beauty," with its American prince - was a very big deal in Russia.
And for David Hallberg, a triumph. The reviews were adoring. His parents were there to share the moment.
Then, two days later came the second performance, broadcast live around the world.
"I could still hear the trail of the entrance applause," recalled Hallberg, "and I twisted my ankle going into a jump and sprained it. It hurt so bad, but tens of thousands of people are watching. You go into this tunnel vision, you don't see anything else but to finish the performance and to finish it well."
No one knew, not until after the last curtain call.
"The pressure was over, and so I could be a human being again."
But the show must go on!
Two weeks later, he was fit enough to dance - with Stephen Colbert.
Ever the ambassador for American ballet, he put on his "Nutcracker" prince outfit and danced to the music: "It was a lot of fun!"
© 2011 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

Dec 26, 2011

"I Hate My Job"

Dancers with the Boston Ballet perform in this ridiculously awesome video. Can we take a moment to acknowledge their legs?!

M by Misty

Misty Copeland, a curvacious, beautiful young dancer with the American Ballet Theatre is releasing a line of dance clothing specifically for dancers that have been graced with a curvy body. Upon hearing this I let out a huge sigh of relief, I, like many other dancers I'm sure, have waited for this for a looooong time. Thank you, Misty!

To read more about it, click HERE.

Dec 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my dear followers X)
I hope you all have a wonderful day!
Ballerinabloggeer ~

Question of the Week (December 25 - January 1)

First off, Merry Christmas! So last week you were asked what dancer you'd like to be for a day. Over the past week I've been completely obsessed with Romeo and Juliet's balcony scene pas de deux and I came to the realization that I'd like to perform that more than any other dance in any ballet.

So here's my question: If YOU could perform any role, any scene in any ballet, what would you choose and why? 

Let us know in a comment below or e-mail me HERE.

Thanks guys!

Ballerinablogger ~

Dec 24, 2011

Question of the Week RESPONSE (December 18-25)

This week's question: If you could be one famous dancer for a day, who would you be?

You guys commented and e-mailed and the dancer that took the cake was by far, Natalia Osipova. For those of you that don't know Natalia, watch this video and that will say enough. She is a firecracker of a dancer who is best known for practically flying across the stage with her impressive jumps. Her extensive repertoire has earned her critical acclaim and... Let's be honest.... Who wouldn't love to be her for a day?

Natalia Osipova - Bolshoi Ballet
Natalia Osipova was born in Moscow on May 18, 1986. Decided to pursue a career as a gymnast when she was a child, Osipova only turned to ballet because of a back problem. From 1996 until 2004 she studied at the Moscow Choreographic Academy with Marina Kotova and Marina Leonova. While still a pupil at the Academy, in April 2003, she won the "Grand Prix" at the International Ballet Competition in Luxemburg, dancing variations from "La Bayadère", "Don Quixote", "Esmeralda" and "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux", as well as the especially created contemporary piece "Liturgy" by Yegor Druzhinin. 

Upon graduation in 2004 Natalia joined the Bolshoi Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet. Alongside corps de ballet work she was immediately given solo parts. Already in September 2004 she performed the Peasant pas de deux in "Giselle" with Vyacheslav Lopatin. In November 2004, Natalia was cast as leading dancer in "Bolero", a creation by artistic director Alexei Ratmansky, set during the first Bolshoi Theatre's workshop. Initially Natalia was coached by Ludmilla Semenyaka but subsequently started working with Marina Kondratieva. 

Further solo roles, notably the Spanish doll in "The Nutcracker", the Spanish Bride in Yuri Grigorovich's "Swan Lake" and the 1st variation in the Grand Pas of "Don Quixote", readily emphasized her magnificent high jump and ballon. At the same time she also created smaller roles in Ratmansky's version of Dmitry Shostakovich's "Bolt", as well as in the Bolshoi Theatre premieres of John Neumeier's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Mustardseed) and Leonide Massine's "Gaité parisienne" (as Cancan soloist). In the latter Massine-programme Natalia was also cast as Frivolity in "Les Présages", which highlighted her technical ease and quality of movement. 

In June 2005, at the end of her first Bolshoi season, Natalia took part in the Xth Moscow International Ballet Competition, an engagement she had to alternate with continuing performances at the Bolshoi Theatre (among others, she debuted in the leading role of the 3rd movement of George Balanchine's "Symphony in C" during the Competition). Competing with pas de deux from "Flames of Paris", "Diane and Actaeon", "Don Quixote" and contemporary work, Natalia eventually won a bronze medal in the category of duets. 

Natalia's debut as Kitri in "Don Quixote" on 7 November 2005 (with Andrei Bolotin) ignited her career considerably. She imbued the old classic with a rarely seen electrifying energy. Her technical flamboyance and carefree daredevilry earned her accolades from the critics and secured great acclaim with the audience. When Natalia danced the role during the Bolshoi's tour to London in August 2006, very few realized she was still a member of the corps de ballet. Financial Times critic Clement Crisp compared Natalia's performance to Maya Plisetskaya's for its "electric vitality" and "airy bravura". In further performances of "Don Quixote" she was cast opposite Ivan Vasiliev, the young graduate from Minsk who had recently joined the Bolshoi and matches her in bravura. Before she was even promoted to soloist, Natalia's Kitri had already gained classic status. 

In her second Bolshoi season Natalia created roles in Alexei Ratmansky's version of Igor Stravinsky's "Card Game" as well as Fairy Autumn in Yuri Posokhov's new production of Sergei Prokofiev's "Cinderella", and made her debut as Ramze in Pierre Lacotte's "The Pharaoh's Daughter." 

In August 2006, during the Bolshoi tour in London, Natalia also debuted as Aspiccia in "The Pharaoh's Daughter." In her third Bolshoi season she was cast as Gamzatti in "La Bayadère", as The Classical Ballerina in Ratmansky's "Bright Stream" and in "Middle Duet", and featured prominently in the new American choreographers program at the Bolshoi in February 2007, dancing soloist roles in Balanchine's "Serenade" and Twyla Tharp's "In The Upper Room." 

Natalia has been touring extensively with the Bolshoi Ballet, notably to New York, Washington, London, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Brussels, Monte Carlo, Baden-Baden, Munich, Milan, Turin and Paris. In April 2007 she appeared in the Mariinsky Festival, dancing "Don Quixote" (with the Mariinsky's Leonid Sarafanov), a performance in which she had to repeat the fouettés in the final pas de deux at the request of an enraptured audience, and the pas de deux from "Le Corsaire". 

On 22 November 2007 Natalia made her debut as Giselle in Yuri Grigorovich's staging of the ballet. Her partner was Andrei Merkuriev. On 20 February 2008 she was chosen by Johan Kobborg to dance the title role at the premiere in his staging of "La Sylphide" at the Bolshoi Theatre. Further leading roles at the Bolshoi that year included Medora in "Le Corsaire" in April (in the new production by Alexei Ratmansky and Yuri Burlaka), and Jeanne in "The Flames of Paris" in July, a rework staged by Ratmansky of the famous dram-ballet from Vassili Vainonen. 

In 2007 Natalia received the prize "Rising Star" from the Ballet magazine (Moscow) and was selected "Female Dancer of the Year" by the German magazine "Ballet-Tanz" (Berlin). On 22 January 2008, at the 2007 UK National Dance Awards, she received the Richard Sherrington Award for Best Female Dancer. On 15 April 2008 Natalia was awarded the Golden Mask as Best Female Dancer for her performance of Twyla Tharp's "In The Upper Room" and on 6 September of that year she received the Positano Dance Award Leonide Massine (Italy). 

The following year she was awarded the Special Prize of the Golden Mask jury (for best duet in "La Sylphide" in the 2007/8 season, with Vyacheslav Lopatin) as well as the Benois de la danse International Dance Association prize for her interpretation of the roles of Sylphide, Giselle, Medora ("Le Corsaire"), Jeanne ("The Flames of Paris"). 

At the end of the 2008/2009 season Natalia danced her debut with American Ballet Theatre, appearing at the Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in "Giselle" (13 June 2009) and "La Sylphide" (15 June 2009). 

In the 2009/2010 season Natalia further expanded her repertory at the Bolshoi Theatre with leading roles in "Coppélia", "La Bayadère" and "La Esmeralda". 

On December 16, 2009 she performed in the Paris-Moscow gala, joining artists from the Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet, at the Palais Garnier in Paris, debuting as the Ballerina in "Petrushka". The following January 8 Natalia appeared again with the Paris Opera, this time as Clara in Rudolf Nureyev's version of "The Nutcracker" at the Opéra Bastille. On February 13 she debuted with La Scala in Milan in Nureyev's "Don Quixote". 

On 18 October 2008 Natalia was promoted to Leading Soloist, on 1 May 2010 to Principal Dancer of the Bolshoi Theatre. 

Official website Natalia Osipova: www.natalia-osipova.com 
Copyright © 2010
Text of  Natalia Osipova Copyright © 2010 Marc Haegeman. All rights reserved.

Dec 21, 2011

Photos From Arabian

Here are some shots of me and my partner performing/rehearsing Arabian in The Nutcracker.

Dec 19, 2011

Dec 18, 2011

Question of the Week (December 18-25)

So, here's my plan: every week I'll come up with one question regarding dance to ask you guys. It could be about  favorite dance steps, healthy diets for dancers, partnering, your favorite performances over the ages... Anything! You can answer these questions by posting a comment below, by e-mailing me HERE or by commenting on A Dancer's Days Facebook page. (If you have any questions or comments then you can contact me in the same places.) At the end of each week I will pick one person's answer and do a post in response/more in depth on that answer so go ahead and comment, comment, comment! Let's do this...

You ready?... Ok,

Question: If you could be one famous dancer for a day, who would it be?

Go ahead and start answering and thanks for reading!

Ballerinablogger ~

5 Tips to Make Pointe Shoes Last

  1. Jet Glue. When you can feel your box getting soft put a few drips of "Jet Glue" inside your shoe, it works wonders.
  2. Put them in the dryer. Make sure they're on a drying rack, you don't want your shoes to tumble inside the dryer. This sucks the moisture out of your shoes, making them not as squishy and prolonging their lifespan.
  3. Keep them outside of your dance bag. When you're done with your pointe shoes for the day do NOT put them in your dance bag. Being in a confined, non-breathable space can squish them and doesn't allow the moisture from the shoes to escape.
  4. Put nails (also known as tacks) in the shank. If you don't know how to do this then most pointe shoe/dance stores will have the equipment to do so and can show you how. Take a short, small nail and pound it into the shank with a hammer. This makes the shank much stronger.
  5. Rotate your shoes. Rather than wearing the same pair every day, alternate. This gives your shoes a chance to rest and dry out.

Thanks for reading! If you have any comments, requests or suggestions then please leave a comment below or e-mail me HERE.

Best wishes, my dear followers,

Ballerinablogger ~

    Dec 14, 2011

    Nutcracker Update

    The Nutcracker, for me at least, has come to an abrupt close. I had the absolute time of my life and being with my best friends made it all the more special. Here are just a few pictures from the performance run.

    People frequently ask me why the end of the Nutcracker is so sad. Many of my friend are graduating and going out of state/country for college. We're a tight-knit little gang and I'm going to miss them so much.
    (I'll post some pictures from the actual performance as soon as the photographer uploads them to the internet as well as more backstage photos)

    Dec 11, 2011

    Answers for Jane

    Hi there! I just found you blog online and I was really excited to see that people could contact you for questions and stuff...
    So... I decided to ask some questions about going en pointe, first of all I am 13 years old I have 3 years of ballet experience take 2 classes a week, one advanced teen class (hour long) and a technique class (1 and a half hours). I can't wait to get en pointe but it seems like no one in the studio is on pointe except a few high-schoolers, but i know they have pointe classes, anyway I am very nervous about asking my teacher about going en pointe because I just don't want to hear I am not good enough (which i have heard a lot for example: softball, karate, swim team, jazz dance, band...) So I looked to ballet as my way to be really good at something, I stopped all other activities so I could focus on getting en pointe. Anyway... my questions are...
    Am I taking enough classes?
    Do I have enough experience?
    What are some tips on asking a teacher?
    What are some things you NEED to know when getting en pointe?
    Moves to practice?
    Things you need to be able to do before getting en pointe?
    -Sorry about all the questions I'm just really anxious to get en pointe.
    Oh P.S loved the photo gallery, really cool pictures!


    Hi Jane!
    Alright, I definitely understand/empathize with your situation so I'm going to give you completely honest advice. Please know that this is based off of personal experience and I'm really just trying to help X)
    I would definitely suggest taking more classes. Two classes a week will make going en pointe much harder. I'd suggest 4-5 classes a week and if that isn't doable then at least three.
    Pointe isn't necessarily about experience, as long as your technique is where it should be to make going en pointe safe then it's perfectly okay.
    When asking your teacher about going en pointe just know that they're going to try to do what's best for you. If they don't feel that you're ready yet then (however hard it may be) it's best to trust their judgment.
    Well, you need to know the basics of the ballet technique. With three years of experience you know ballet steps, positions and basic corrections. All of this applies when en pointe times ten. Your knees must be even tighter and your toes pointed even harder.
    Relevee's. Do lots and lots of relevees but make sure you're doing them correctly. Your legs are turned out and your knees are straight and you're getting all the way up to pointe.
    There aren't any specific steps you need to be able to do in order to go on pointe but you need to be able to cleanly execute basic dance steps. The five positions, plies, relevees, tendus... Essentially a full barre.
    Haha no worries! I love answering questions like these. Going en pointe is extremely exciting, it's a big step in your ballet career and I wish you the best of luck! Break a leg!
    Ballerinablogger ~
    Hehe and thank you :)

    If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below or e-mail me here! Thanks, followers and keep on dancing!