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.

Jan 30, 2014

The Daily Inspiration

It takes a real actress to perform this scene. I always find that the best way to learn is to observe. So here's a little acting inspiration for those of you preparing for a dramatized role, like Giselle.

Jan 27, 2014

Update - Injuries and Other Things

Hello, all! Sorry I haven't been so consistent with posts the past few days but I promise I have a valid excuse...

So as some of you may know, I found out a couple weeks ago that I have severe ankle tendonitis and have been hobbling around with a boot for a couple weeks. I've been allowed to dance but whenever I'm not my doctor wanted me in the boot to hopefully help it heal.

Well, the tendonitis has healed but there's an ache further down in my fifth metatarsal that hasn't improved at all. I'm afraid that it may be a fracture. I have an appointment on Friday, so fingers crossed. :(

Maine State Ballet had our annual "Tap Tap Jazz" performance this past weekend in which I had a tap solo and I'm 99% certain that didn't help matters.

It's hard to know when you need to push and just do your job and when you need to hold back and take care of yourself. I'm prancing back and forth over the line of what I can and cannot handle. Even after having two stress fractures in my metatarsals in the past, it's still difficult to know your limits.

I'll be in touch with another update soon. Stay tuned for Wednesday's post in which I'll answer a question about how to make it in the dance world and how to prepare yourself for a job.

Thanks, lovelies!

Rhiannon -

Jan 21, 2014

Dancer S.O.S!

Today's question comes from Ali Smith.

What are some ways to get a better split? Specifically a center split, my hips go to a certain point and then just stop. How can I open them up?

This is an issue that I specifically can relate to. When I slide into a split, my hips go only to a certain degree. I'm not even feeling a stretch in my muscles, my hips just won't continue to open up. Over the years I've experimented with a couple different techinques/exercises to help this. Here are a few tips on getting your splits in general as well as working your center split.

- Warm up before you do them. It's not good to do any kind of stretching when you're cold. So whether you're doing some jumping jacks or running, get your blood pumping first.

- Do them often. If you do your splits once a week, you're not going to get anywhere. Do them at least once daily. Twice has proven to be more effective.

- Stretch in a position for at least 30 seconds. In order for any stretch to be permanent and have a lasting improvement on your muscle's elasticity, you need to do it for at least 30 seconds.

- Breathe. When I'm teaching and have my kids do their splits, often times I hear utter silence and see faces turning red because they're holding their breath. Your muscles need oxygen. Don't deprive yourself of it.

The Frog Stretch - Lay on your stomach and put your feet together with bent knees behind you and relax. Your goal is to get your pelvis on the floor.

So there you have it! Follow these tips and you'll have your splits in no time. If you have any questions or need advice leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail at: rhiannon@maine.rr.com.

Don't forget to follow and subscribe for e-mail updates on the right hand side!

Thanks for reading, lovelies.

Rhiannon Pelletier -

Jan 20, 2014

dancer profile {adiarys almeida}

On a warm summer's night several years ago, I found myself caught in what I like to call "the YouTube spiral." I had spent the last hour and a half sifting through ballet videos, watching, studying, gawking. I came across a video of the Le Corsaire pas de deux performed by Adiarys Almeida and Joseph Gatti at the USA International Ballet Competition. For the full ten minutes and thirty-two seconds of the video, my jaw hung open. To this day it is still one of the most impressive and dazzling renditions of this pas de deux I have ever seen. No scenery, no props, no story. Just pure, unadulterated ballet.

From that moment on, I was a fan of the power couple. And not just in the "oh, I like them" way; in the "I'm going to choose what ballet to see based on what roles they're dancing" kind of way because it's worth doing. Not to mention Adiarys and Joseph are dating, which makes their lifestyle all the more adorable and intriguing to us dance enthusiasts.

It's a pleasure and an honor to have the opportunity to conduct an online interview with one of my role models, Miss Adiarys.

What first inspired you to become a dancer and when did you begin dancing?

I started dancing at age 6 at "Casa de Cultura" (Culture Home) in Matanzas, Cuba, my hometown. I did 3 years of pre-ballet there, before I joined the Vocational Arts School "Alfonso Perez Isaac" when I was 9 years old. 

My biggest passion was painting. But I had the "artist" in me since I was very little. I was always giving shows, dressing up, dancing and singing around the house. 

 It all started one night at my grandmother's house. My aunt had invited a friend for dinner and she was a ballet instructor. She saw me painting on the floor in a full open split and said: "...she is very flexible... you should bring her to take ballet class..."  And my family did. I didn't like ballet right away, but the challenge of it and the freedom I feel when I dance made me fall in love with it.

What is your favorite place to perform?

   In Cuba! There is not audience like the Cuban audience. Ballet is big in my country. Is As big as Sports. People understand it and there is a huge appreciation for it. They go crazy at the theater! But.... I haven't performed in Cuba for over 10 years. I'm afraid I can't... Since I defected in the United States looking for the artistic freedom and the opportunity to bring my art to every possible place in the world. I hope one day before I retire I can dance in Cuba again.

What is your favorite on stage memory?

I have had many great memories on stage but to mention a few I could say: 
When I got to dance Victoria Morgan's "Romeo & Juliet" with the Cincinnati Ballet in 2008. My Romeo was my boyfriend, Joseph Michael Gatti, so I felt the story was even more real. It was very special and emotional. 

Also when I danced Natalia Makarova's "La Bayadere" in Liceo de Barcelona in 2009. I was Gamzatti and I got to share the stage with such stars and wonderful artists and people. Alina Cojocaru (one of my idols) was Nikiya and Ángel Corella was my Solor. I will never forget that performance. It was like a dream.

What is your most embarrassing stage moment?

     When I was 18 years old and I was just starting to rise at the Cuban National Ballet I got to dance "Munecos" one of my favorites Cuban ballets by choreographer Alberto Mendez. This performance was for a Gala in celebration of 4th of July and they where broadcasting the performance live on TV for the whole country. There were so many important people in the audience, even the president.  I slipped and I fell on the floor in the middle of my solo. I was so embarrassed.

What is your favorite role and why?

"Manon" by Kenneth McMillan I have never danced this role, but it is my very favorite. Manon is about a young girl corrupted by Parisian Society in the 18th Century. She falls in love for the fist time, but her life turns the wrong way and she ends up dying. I love the movement in the ballet and the amazing music score, but what I love the most is how McMillan describes the story with such dramatic scenes. To dance this  ballet is the biggest dream in my career.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

Not really. I just like to be around the theater and get ready with time. I don't like to rush before a performance. Doing my hair and make up makes me relax and I also like to have some extra time to visualize my performance, think about the role, etc...

I've heard that you love to dance story ballets particularly to add your own feeling and emotion to a character. Of the roles you've danced, which is your favorite to dance and which character do you relate most to?

 My favorites roles to dance are:

 Juliet (Romeo & Juliet)

 Giselle (Giselle)

 Nikiya (La Bayadere)

 I love these ballets because I can transport my self to a different world. It's more than dancing,  it's the acting in them that I love the most. It's so deep that it's like you are really living in these stories.

I relate my self to: 
"Carmen" (Carmen)

She is a very strong woman, very secure of her self. She was a gypsy a fortune teller. She knew her destiny from the beginning, but she still wanted her way, because she wanted to live her life the way she wanted, without caring about what others think... I'm a little bit like that. When I want something or I have a goal, I will go for it.

I also relate myself to: 

"Kitri" (Don Quixote)

 She is a very playful young girl that likes attention, have such an independent personality, a free spirit and she is fiercely stubborn.

I can be like that too... Lol...

With a wide variety of roles and awards under your belt, what are your goals and aspirations as a dancer from here on out?

      I just want to keep growing and become the best artist i can be and make every performance special in a different way. I want to touch people heart with my art and drive them to a different world.

What is it like working alongside the man you're dating?

It's great! But sometimes it's hard. The great part is that we get to dance together a lot and that is very special. We have great chemistry on stage and I love that we can share the adrenaline and energy in many performances. We also get to travel together most of the time and we have each other for support, something you need a lot through this career.

 The hard part is that we feel so comfortable with each other that sometimes while rehearsing together we get into small disagreements. We don't fight a lot like other dance couples I have seen... But sometimes we do... Also, it's very hard when one of us is injured because it can be very stressful for the other.

Describe the atmosphere of the Boston Ballet Company. What were the pros and cons of working there and why did you decide to leave and work for the Cincinnati Ballet?

I was very unfortunate my first year with the company. I had to deal with a bad injury and missed almost the whole season. But I came back from it stronger than before and didn't get hurt for the rest of the time I was there. Beside that...

 Boston Ballet wasn't the place for me. It was very hard and frustrating after being a principal dancer for five years with two different companies and finding my self dancing secondary roles. I was sitting in the audience for most of their opening nights, I wasn't cast for any contemporary work and the role I got to dance the most was "Chinese" in "The Nutcracker." 

Mentally, it was very hard for me because I felt I was at their principal level, technically and artistically. I constantly saw dancers getting promoted and fired within the same year and I didn't want to live with that stress for the rest of my career.  Every year to me was a big question of whether or not I would have my job back.  My boyfriend felt the same way so we both decided to take a break from company life and go on a freelancing adventure together. We resigned from Boston Ballet last February [February of 2013]. It's funny because after that, in a period of three months, Boston Ballet gave me all the principal roles...

The best things about Boston Ballet was that they not only have great dancers, but wonderful human beings. I made some really good friends there. For me particularly, working with Larissa Ponomarenko was incredible. She is an amazing coach and helped me so much.

We are now international guest artists and have been invited by Victoria Morgan to dance with the Cincinnati Ballet for three months during the company's 50th Anniversary Season.

What ballets/productions are you currently working on and what's next on the roster?

I'm working on a completely new production with new sets, costumes and music score. Victoria Morgan is creating a new "King Arthur's Camelot" for Cincinnati Ballet's 50th Anniversary season. I'm going to dance the role of Guinevere. I'm really excited about it!!! The premiere is February 13-16.

Describe a working day in your life.

If I'm in a company I take class for an hour and half, then most of the time I have a full day of rehearsals, 6 hours total. We have an hour for lunch in between that usually gets really busy for me. In my lunch time I have to eat, find time for some therapy if I need it, and sometimes I have to rehearse for my "guestings." It all depends... Sometimes rehearsal schedules can be rough. We can go from flat shoes, to pointe shoes, to character shoes.... It gets really crazy sometimes.

What is your inspiration/who has your role model been throughout your dance career?

I find inspiration in people, in life, in friends, and in family. I think that I can always learn something from each dancer. Every one of us has something special and unique. But I can also mention some of my favorite ballerinas, those who inspire me everyday through my career:

Lorna Feijoo Alexandra Ferri Alina Cojocaru Sylvie Guillem

What is the legacy you would like to leave? When you retire one day and people look back on your career, what do you hope they remember?

I hope they remember a true artist that's was able to touch their heart in a different way with every single performance. I think that is the most important. I will say 80% of the audience doesn't know about ballet technique, you have to make them feel something special with your artistry and the freedom of your movements. That's what they will always remember.

What advice would you give to aspiring professional ballerinas about making it in such a competitive field?

This is very difficult profession. You have to be very smart and to be the best dancer you can be you have to compete with your self. Work hard everyday and be open to listen to the ones can help you, don't ever think you know everything. In ballet you are always learning until the very last day of your career. At the end of it you will be happy and satisfied that you have tried your best and you have enjoyed the journey.

~ * ~

thank you, adiarys!

Jan 19, 2014

In This Moment

A little look into what's happening in my life right now...

Week one of school just came to a close and I'm already COVERED in homework! How many of you are in the same situation?

Happy Sunday and stay tuned for our awaited guest star interviewee tomorrow!

Rhiannon -

Jan 15, 2014

The Weekly Inspiration

So, no dancer S.O.S. submissions this week. :(
Don't hesitate to send me any of those dance questions, whether it's stretching tips or help handling drama, I'm here for you guys!

So instead of the advice column, I'm going to share a video that I've seen this week that has inspired me. Check this out!

Jan 13, 2014

Guest Post: Amanda Howard On Taking Care Of Your Feet

Today we have a guest appearance by 18-year-old, Amanda Howard. Like me, she's a ballet blogger, dance teacher, is in the process of writing a dance book, and even owns her own dance studio, Praise Him With a Dance. To view her blog, website, or Facebook page, see the links below.
As ballet dancers, we all know how important it is to have our feet in good shape. Carrying an entire body on a handful of little bones and ligaments in our toes, isn't something our bodies were designed to do. But how exactly can we better care for these hard working phalanges? Amanda can tell you.

Taking Care of Your Feet

How to Prevent Bunions

Bunions are caused by inflammation of the joint in the big toe. The inflammation causes an abnormal enlargement of the joint at the base of the toe. The first metatarsal is displaced and can move into or under the other four metatarsals, causing it to project.

Dancers who are en pointe are usually the ones who have the problem of bunions. This is because the box pushes all of your toes together, creating an unnatural position for them. Dancers who are using soft ballet shoes do not run into this problem because of the looser material.

One way to prevent bunions is by using toe spacers. Toe spacers allow a space in between the big toe and second toe preventing some of the ‘squishing.’ You can also do some simple tension exercises that will strengthen the muscles that keep the toes in place.

·         Put a thick rubber band on both of your big toes. Without moving your feet, start moving your big toes away from each other. Repeat four times.


·         Start with your feet flat on the floor. Start gripping your toes making a ‘bridge’ with your feet. This will strengthen your arch as well as your toes. Repeat five times.

Blister Prevention

Blisters occur when there is a constant rubbing against the exposed skin and when there is constant moisture to that same area. The friction causes the layers of skin below the epidermal layer to tear. A clear liquid is then excreted to help protect the skin underneath. Popped blisters can get infected and cause more of a problem than if they were left alone. Even though you might get the urge to pop you blister to get rid of it, stop! The liquid underneath actually prevents infection and is there to heal the skin underneath faster. The best thing to do is to avoid blisters all together.

Make sure your dance shoes (and everyday shoes) fit well and form to your feet. If they are too loose, they can cause friction between the shoe and your foot creating blisters. You also don’t want them to be too tight.

Every dancer has different spots on their feet where blisters tend to reappear, especially if you are en pointe. Protect your feet with toe tape, gel toe covers, or lamb’s wool to keep your toes from rubbing against your shoes. When you take your shoes off after class, take notice of the red spots on your feet. Those spots are the ones that will most likely get a blister.

When you dance, your feet sweat. There is no way to prevent it. If your feet are constantly in an environment where there is moisture, blisters can occur. Make sure you choose toe pads that will absorb the sweat so that your feet are dryer, such as lamb’s wool, Ouch Pouch, or foam. Gel toe pads tend to trap the sweat inside. If you do choose to use gel, however, make sure you wash your feet in between performances so that they stay dry.

If you do develop a blister in the middle of class or during the week, make sure you have items such as Antibacterial ointment, blister bandages, foot powder, and tights. Blisters aren’t always preventable, but it is a good idea to try to keep them away as much as possible. Dr. Scholl’s blister Band-Aids provide a thick covering over the blister to prevent it from popping during class.

Protecting Your Feet

Logical Shoe Choices—

Flip-Flops are usually what dancers choose to wear when they need to remove their shoes quickly. It is also very popular to wear them in the summer when you want your toes to breathe a little. The downsides to flip-flops are many and might make you think twice before wearing them every day. When you wear flip-flops, your toes have to grip tight in order to keep them on. There have also been links between flip-flops and tendonitis. The constant gripping of the toes tires the tendons out causing inflammation. In addition, they don’t provide any support. The arch tends to drop because there is no arch support built into the shoe. The great thing about this day and age is that more and more shoe companies are coming out with more supportive flip-flops. So before you decide to pick up a pair of flat flip-flops, try the new ones with arch support. They will make your feet feel so much better in the end.

If you are like me, high heels are your first choice for a fancy dinner, party, or event. High heels, however can cause problems with your calves, Achilles tendon, and toes. The constant position of being in ‘releve’ can shorten your muscles and make them contract giving you less motion in your calves and feet. They can also cause a lot of stress and contract the mobility of your joints and your Achilles tendon. When you shop for your high heels make sure they fit and are comfortable. “One test is to stand on the floor in the shoes with your knees straight, not locked. Raise yourself on your toes so there’s at least an inch of space under your heels. If you can’t do that, the heels are too high and you shouldn’t wear them,” says Stacy Barrows, PT, at Century City Physical Therapy in Los Angeles.

To give your feet a break between classes, sneakers or any stiff shoe are your best choices. They give your toes a rest by allowing them to just rest inside the shoe without gripping. Make sure your shoe of choice has an arch support to avoid flat feet. The best places to get arch supportive shoes are Payless and footsmart.com. They both provide a wide selection of comfortable shoes in all sorts of styles. My favorite brands are Airwalk, Dr. Scholl’s, and Aerosoles.


Pointe Shoes—

It is so important that dancers who are en pointe properly protect their feet while dancing. Use proper padding such as toe tape, toe wrap, pointe pads, toe separators, and lamb’s wool. It is also important to have band aids available for any injuries. Proper padding and protection will help your feet in the end. I recommend Pillows for Pointe Gel Tip Toe Pillows, Bunheads Ouch Pouch Jr. toe pads, Pillows for Pointe Lamb’s Wool, Body Wrappers Arch Enhancer Pads, Bunheads Toe Tape, and Gaynor Minden Toe Wrap Foam Tape.

Exercises and Relaxation

When you are done with classes, your feet could use a little TLC. Here are some exercises that you can do to stretch them out and relax the muscles. There are also some great at-home spa treatments that you can treat your feet to after a tough day of rehearsals.


The Exercises—

·         Put your feet flat on the floor. Lift your big toe up the stretch the muscle under your arch. The idea is to keep all of your other toes on the floor as you are doing this. Lower your toe back down to the floor with some tension. Repeat ten times.


·         Place your hands on the wall for support. Put the balls of your feet on the wall keeping your heel stationary on the floor. Bring your knee toward the wall slowly and hold for 30 seconds. Stop if you start to feel any pain. Repeat for three repetitions.


·         Tie a theraband around your ankles and around the barre. Move away from the barre to create tension. Raise onto half pointe keeping your ankles over your knees. Repeat twenty times making sure you’re not rolling out.

The muscle in the arch of your foot is called the tibialis posterior.  It starts at the lower end of the calf and connects to the bone of the arch. When the muscle gets tired, the arch will drop. To strengthen this muscle, you can perform standing calf raises. Walking barefoot is also very good for your feet. Walking on sand will allow your toes to spread, stretching them out and massaging the muscles. Another way to stretch the tibialis posterior is to perform rotation exercises.


·         Tie a theraband around the barre and wrap it around your foot. Sit on a chair parallel to the barre. Turn your toes inward creating a tension in your ankle and arch. Repeat ten times.


·         Clean you room with your feet! It sounds weird but it is very effective. Instead of picking things up off the floor with your hands, do it with your feet. It strengthens your toe muscles and actually helps with your motor skills.


At-Home Spa for Your Feet—

The constant jumping, pressure, stretching, and standing on your toes can make your feet look and feel very tired and sore. To rejuvenate your feet after a tough rehearsal, give them a warm bath. Fill a tub or large bowl with warm to hot water. Drop about 10 drops of lavender (relaxation), peppermint (rejuvenation), or citrus (awakening) oil in the water. You can also put a ½ cup of Epsom salts in for detox. You can get essential oils at mountainroseherbs.com along with any other Aromatherapy and Body Care products.

Massage your feet to release the tension in your muscles. Use a body butter or massage oil and work from your heel to your toes. Don’t forget to massage the top of your feet and your ankles, they need it too! To get the full effect, try these massaging techniques.

·         On the heel, use medium to heavy pressure with your thumbs. Move one thumb up and the other down. Repeat, always making sure you have one thumb up and the other down.

·         Make circles around your ankles with your fingers.

·         Use your knuckles to knead the arch. It tends to hold a lot of tension so use heavy pressure but be gentle.

·         Massage in between each toe. Then massage each pad of the toe with medium to light pressure.

·         On either side of the foot, use a pulling motion. Repeat ten times alternating hands with the pulling.

·         Massage the balls of your feet with your thumbs with the same motion as with the heel massage.

·         Massage the Achilles tendon and work up your calf releasing any tension.


If you are really sore, you can rub Dr. Christopher’s Complete Bone & Tissue into your skin. It will penetrate deep to heal and soothe the muscles and bones. It’s much more effective than any pain killer. You can purchase this product on drchristophersherbs.com. It works best when applied twice a day especially after a tough day of rehearsals.

Taking Care of Your Feet chapter taken from A Dancer’s Diary by Amanda E. Howard

Wonderful article. Thanks, Amanda!

Post comments and questions below or e-mail me at: rhiannon@maine.rr.com.

Stay tuned for Wednesday's Dancer S.O.S. advice column, and don't forget next Monday we have a famous guest interviewee!

Rhiannon -

Jan 10, 2014

Update: First Week Back and The Waiting Game

It's the first week back at Maine State Ballet after December break. After Nutcracker, I was only half alive. I was exhausted and barely functional having gone through weeks of rehearsals and performances. Some of you may remember, I was cast as the Dew Drop (the Balanchine rendition) and the Sugar Plum Fairy in our performances. It is REALLY difficult to have a high pressure role in every show. I know we all strive for perfection, getting a good role for every show, every performance run. But sometimes you can only take so much.

So here we are in 2014, well rested and ready to begin anew... And I'm injured. I had rather sever pain on the outside of my right ankle during Nutcracker rehearsals. During the shows it didn't bother me as much but I think the maximum doses of Advil I was taking may have had something to do with that. I was hoping after two weeks off it would either heal up or at the very least feel better. This Tuesday, (Monday classes were cancelled due to bad weather and the roof of our dance school was leaking because of the insane amounts of snow and freezing rain up here) I went back to class and it hurt even more.

Today, I went to see a doctor and he informed me that I have ankle tendonitis. It could be worse, however, tendonitis is extremely painful and can take a long time to heal. Thank goodness I'm still allowed to dance but when I'm not dancing I have to be in a boot to allow my ankle to rest. This reminds me of a quote from the YouTube video "S**t Ballerinas Say..." "I sprained my ankle, but I'll be fine by Friday."

On a better note, casting for our spring show, Cinderella, should be coming out soon. It's always so aggravating to wait, isn't it? You just want to know what you'll be working on. Whether you'll be elated or disappointed with the location of your name on the list. It'll drive a dancer mad!

Fortunately, I have back-to-school preparations to keep my mind off of things. Starting Monday, it's back into the full swing of things. Some of my school books were delivered today and they've been sitting here staring at me. Despite my best efforts to ignore and forget about them, I've engaged in the staring contest and I'm pretty sure they're winning.

Here we go again.

Monday we have a wonderful guest post from the intelligent, Amanda Howard. She'll be teaching us about the anatomy of our feet and how we can better take care of them. Something every dancer should know. And DRUM ROLL PLEASE! On Monday, the 20th, we'll have a guest interviewee! Can anyone guess who it is? Here are a few hints... She's currently a principal with the Cincinnati Ballet, former Boston Ballet principal, she's dating one of her partners, and is one of my personal favorite dancers. Stay tuned to find out and good luck!

Don't forget to follow me on Google+ by clicking the 'follow' button right beneath my profile picture and to "join this site" with the blue button below that!

Thanks for reading, lovelies!

Rhiannon -

Jan 8, 2014

The Daily Inspiration

No questions for Dancer S.O.S. in need of answering today, peeps (sad face). But on the bright side, I do have something to show you!

We all have those artistic pieces that latch onto a little part of our souls and walk with us wherever we go. I find that for me, A LOT of these pieces come from So You Think You Can Dance. One, called Wicked Game choreographed by Travis Wall, brought me to tears with the fluidity of the movement, musicality, and story. How could I not share?

Don't forget to follow me on Google+ by clicking the "follow" button near my profile picture and to "join this site" with the blue button right below that!



Rhiannon -

Jan 6, 2014


Wednesday's article is dedicated entirely to the Dancer S.O.S. advice column! So comment, comment, comment, and e-mail me those pressing problems! I'm here to help.

And don't forget to stay tuned to read my interview with a former Boston Ballet principle, current Cincinnati Ballet principle, and one of my personal favorite ballerinas. Can anyone guess who it is???
It will be posted on the 20th!
Don't forget to follow me on Google+ by clicking "follow" right underneath my picture and to "join this site" right below that!

All the best,

Rhiannon -

Audition Season

It's that time of year again, ladies and gentlemen. Grab your tights and put on your dancing shoes because it's audition season. While summer seems like a lifetime away to the "normal" people of the world, we dancers are already thinking ahead to where we'll be hanging our dance bags during the summer of 2014. Auditions can be daunting and nerve racking. The dance world is brutally competitive and everybody's hungry.

Last summer, I attended Boston Ballet's Summer Intensive. It was an amazing experience. I learned so much and met so many amazing people from all the walks of life. My four roommates were from Virginia, Cincinatti, Alaska, and France. A combo that made for some of the most interesting conversations and incredibly fun evenings filled with bubbles of laughter and jaw-dropping stories. 

Summer camps are an experience not to be missed. Aside from the social splendor, I got to stand before some of my favorite ballet dancers, such as Lia Cirio and Margaret Tracey, and learn from them. My technique had never been better.

Anyway, back to topic. Here are five tips to make your audition experience a positive one.

1. Show up early. By getting a low number, you'll be closer to the front near the panel of the staff running the audition and catching their eye will be easier.

2. Look nice, look clean. Keep your hair out of your face in a neat bun, give your cheeks that rosy glow, and wear clean dance attire. No rips, tears, stains, or wispies in your hair. You're trying to make a good first impression. A pleasant appearance that shows that you care and are trying never hurt.

3. Smile. If your knees are knocking in fear, that will come across in your dancing. So take a deep breath, smile, and dance with confidence.

4. Have a good meal before you audition. You'll want to be focused and energized. I usually like to have a healthy dose of protein. Enough so that you're not weighed down, by you're not hungry.

5. Have a healthy perspective and a realistic outcome in mind. For example, I walked into an audition for SAB knowing that I was not the best dancer there, but what they heck, right? I had nothing to lose just by auditioning and I didn't expect to be accepted, so the let down didn't affect my confidence level. Take a look around and know where you stand. I always find auditions to be a humbling experience and you can learn a thing or two by watching and talking to other dancers. 

Break a leg, everybody! What audition rituals/tips and tricks do you have? Leave a comment below to share and discuss!

Don't forget to share this post with your ballerina friends!

Jan 4, 2014

Happy Anniversary SAB

Happy 80th Anniversary to The School of American Ballet! The SAB Facebook page posted this photo today with the following caption:
The School opened its doors on Madison Avenue 80 years ago today! This ad appeared in Dance Magazine in early 1934 promoting "a complete education in the art of the dance toward the creation of an American Ballet Company." Happy Anniversary SAB!
The woman who trained me, Maine State Ballet's Artistic Director, Linda MacArthur Miele, started attending SAB at age 11 and was quickly placed in a class called "special class." Others in the small class included Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, and Paul Mejia to name a few. One special part of being in this class was having Mr. Balanchine come unannounced to teach every so often. Mrs. Miele was later accepted into New York City Ballet when she was 13 years old.
Little piece of history! Hope you're all having a wonderful week! Don't forget to follow on the right hand side or LIKE on Facebook!
Rhiannon -

Jan 3, 2014

Life and Other Things

Although I wasn't sure whether a personal article to be cast into the vast and frankly dangerous world of the internet every Friday was a good idea. But my desire to gab has superceeded my wariness. This is, after all, my personal blog. These posts will be about nothing and everything, whatever is happening at that time is what we'll talk about. It may or may not have to do with ballet, but I think at least one person out there will be able to relate, and that's what matters.

Today, on January second, we're reigning in 2014. A fresh start, a clean slate, an opportunity to let the bad of 2013 fade into the abyss of our minds and the good to be carried along with us. It's an opportunity to change, improve, and apply the lessons of last year to our lives.

To list all of my accumulated lessons from 2013 would take weeks. So, I'll focus on one.

Relationships are hard work. That's not a lesson, but a fact that I've learned and re-learned with every new year. I've come to find that the resolution to any situation or argument is the three "C's"... Consideration, Communication, and Compromise. Take consideration for the other person's feelings and perspective. Communicate about the issue clearly and concisely (ooh two more C's). Lastly, compromise to accommodate both parties and meet both of their needs. The lesson would
be acquiring the ability and know-how to apply this concept to a real life circumstance. Had I remembered that the last few days, maybe I wouldn't have spent New Year's Eve crying and kiss-less.

Here's an overview. It's New Year's Eve and I've been looking forward to my first midnight kiss since I became serious about my personal trainer/exercise science professor boyfriend, Travis. By 1:30, we ran into each other at the grocery store and I was informed that his buddy that happened to be visiting from Florida had invited himself over for the holiday. Apparently, he had nowhere to go and was without a vehicle (side note - Travis leaves on Tuesday to go down to Miami and visit him for four days). I knew that this wasn't Travis' fault and that he couldn't be blamed, until I watched as our evening plans unraveled before my eyes. He would be staying home with his bud, and I would get back from a family friend's party at 8:00, and Travis would not coming over afterwards to see me like I thought we had planned. I knew that's what would happen, so I lost my cool. When I become hurt, upset, or angry, I have the unstoppable impulse to start crying. Standing in the middle of a grocery store, I wasn't about to let that happen. So I acted like everything was okay, and that I wasn't fuming and weeping on the inside. Mistake. Communicate. I should've calmed down and told him then and there how I was feeling. That New Year's Eve was something special that I had really been looking forward to, and I still wanted to see him that evening.

On the other hand, did I need to take New Year's Eve seriously at all? Was it wrong of me to think that spending our first new year as a couple together was important? Should I have just been okay with dropping our plans and let him hang out with his friend?

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below to verify my (in)sanity!

Happy Friday!

Rhiannon -