10 Ballet Movies You Should Own…

There has been quite a great amount of exceptional ballet out there lately… and thankfully a lot of it has been recorded on film. Here are my 10 movies that I truly do enjoy… and have purchased. I reference them for style, for technique, for inspiration, and just to enjoy. Most of them are recent featuring dancers we all know and drool over. Click to shop.

New York City Ballet in Paris (Specifically for Sara Mearns in Walpurgisnacht and Everyone in Symphony in C)

Royal Ballet featuring a whole lot of goodness… Iana Salenko, Federico Bonelli, Carlos Acosta, Sarah Lamb, Steven McRae, Marinela Nunez…. do I need to say more?

Gala of the Stars… Basically everyone…

Royal Ballet’s Anastasia…

Royal Ballet’s Frankenstein… Liam Scarlett’s new full length ballet in partnership with San Francisco Ballet.

Marco Spada featuring Evguenia Obraztsova and Olga Smirnova, Semoin Chudin and Igor Tysvirko.

Mariinsky takes on Balanchine’s Jewels with the flawless Ulyana Lopatkina.

ABT: A History is a really inspiring movie and ridiculously well filmed.

The Turning Point will never get old… never.

And either will Center Stage…

 

Advertisements

Just Another Snowflake… surviving Nutcracker (2017 Edition)

Most professionals are in the midst of the exhaustion of the Nutcracker. For others, Nutcracker has just started… It is hard to survive the holiday season as a ballet dancer… Between rehearsals, performances, Christmas Shopping, Holiday festivities and family obligations, it seems to balance out Nutcracker is close to impossible…

nutcracker snow a ballet educationYes, it is a rough life… For some girls, this holiday season brings the tour de force of roles. In a single show you might dance Party Mom, Snow, Flowers and a divertissement.

During the holiday season you will go through the most pointe shoes and costume changes of season. You will dance the most consecutive shows and you want to die. You will dance five different spots in snow, and at least four different spots in flowers. Yup, it is the wonderful holiday season of the Nutcracker.

Okay, so how do you survive Nutcracker 2017?

  1. If you are old enough… looking forward to a good glass of wine on your day off.
  2. ibuprofen, Biofreeze, or Tigerbalm…
  3. Compression wear… Shop Zarely here.
  4. A really good playlist to listen to, so Nutcracker music doesn’t consume your life.
  5. Meal Prepping for lack of time.
  6. Having a ridiculously organized schedule.
  7. Eating enough to sustain you and staying hydrated.
  8. Vitamin C, B12 and other Vitamins…
  9. Laughing a lot with friends… and then posting memories on social media.
  10. Sleeping enough.

Still haven’t gotten your Nutcracker Gifts? Shop here.

 

You Know It’s Nutcracker Season When…

robbie downey dancer ballet
Robbie Downey as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Phoenix Ballet’s The Nutcracker

It is that time of the year again…. Nutcracker. Support your local ballet school or company by attending this wonderful holiday tradition. We are days away to close our Nutcracker Kickstarter campaign, and unforutnately, it doesn’t look like it will come to fruition. But, I will relaunch the campaign in the New Year, focusing on next year.

(Click Here to help our kickstarter campaign)

This season I was lucky enough to coach for beautiful Sugar Plums for Phoenix Ballet’s Nutcracker. They included social media star Robbie Downey, YAGP winner Mya Kresniak, YAGP winner Madison Penney, and the elegant Kenzie Thomas. All four young women are so different and took on the role so differently. It reminded me about how wonderful an oppertunitiy to dance a principal role is. These four girls are about to make their debut in Arizona and headline a show.

Now, I am on the opposite side of the country coaching talented young women for the YAGP. These roles are so difficult but it is so amazing to see the attack and dedication these young women have. While Baltimore is cold, the experience here has been amazing.

Finally, don’t forget Issue 8 is out!

(Repost)

Between the holiday parties  and preparing for Black Friday sales, the ballet world is faced with our dreaded, but magical annual tradition of The Nutcracker. Every year around this time, whether it be at Starbucks, the bank or even at some retail store, I am standing around minding my own business… and then it comes on the speakers. That dreadful tune that ushers in the Holiday Season.

While the majority of the world associates it with that one song from that one commercial, ballet dancers around the world hear it and immediately identify the composer, the act, the choreography and the costumes. Yes, it is the Nutcracker.

Recently, I was standing in line with my pas de deux partner, and the music for Snow Pas came on. While it is one of the most beautiful pieces composes for the Nutcracker, we immediately looked at each other with fear in our eyes. Yes, fear. We had just started rehearsals with new choreography knowing that the show goes up in three weeks. We both haven’t been on stage for more than four years, and we immediately decided to order skinny lattes knowing we are about to be in white tights. So, in the tradition of Nutcracker, and in a Ballet Education’s five things…

You Know It’s Nutcracker When…
1. You hear Nutcracker music outside of ballet and want to kill yourself.
2. 1/3 of your company is injured, or battling tendonitis, but still powering through ridiculously long rehearsals that you don’t want to be in.
3. You know every part of Nutcracker, but still are forced to rehearse, clean and tech it all. In fact, you have probably danced every part of Nutcracker at some point of your life and could probably stage it all, with your eyes closed.
4. This time of the year everyone is all about the holiday cheer and festivities, but you are the most tired you have ever been. You want to crawl into a ball and die. You still have to rehearse everything else outside of Nutcracker for the upcoming season’s bills, so your mind is on overload. It is just yucky.
5. You are a boy, and its Nut season and all you want to do is be Kyra Nichols as Dewdrop. Yes, you want to be Balanchine’s infamous Dewdrop and dance the most beautiful entrances, have the most swayed back ever, and dance to the loveliest of music.

Here are some of last year’s Nutcracker Posts:
THE BEAST THAT IS THE NUTCRACKER

5 AWFUL REALITIES OF NUTCRACKER

THE NUTTINESS OF NUTCRACKER

Bringing The Nutcracker To Life…

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So much support is pouring in from all of you readers. Watching people respond has been more than beautiful. Hearing stories from around the world has been really encouraging. After some encouragement and much needed “talking it out” I was advised to ask A Ballet Education’s readers to help me create My Version of the Nutcracker.

I didn’t think it was going to be super easy but come to find out, I was already halfway there. After some talking to different publishers, I found out I could print 50 Hardcover with Dust Jacket copies of the Nutcracker for $4,000, basically costing $80/unit + shipping to produce. Obviously… no one wants to pay $80 for a book… yet, alone a children’s book. Or… it would be $10,000 to print 250 copies and list in on Amazon, roughly totalling up to ($40/unit + shipping)

To have it printed by a  December 1 deadline, I would have to commit 10 days of purely working on the book with an editor and drawing like a madman… Is this something we even want? Losing out on a week’s worth of work will set me behind in the short term- but the pay off could be greater in the long run.

I was going to Kickstarter it, but it takes like 3 days to approve- so there is really no way to see if this is going to be possible. But, if you are interested in helping out… Here is what I can offer….

If you are interested in bringing this book to life… you can pledge at four levels:

Pledge $50 or more

I WANT THIS BOOK

Helping get a Ballet Education to print by pre-ordering the book.

INCLUDES:
  • A Ballet Education’s Nutcracker Book

Pledge $200 or more

I REALLY REALLY WANT THIS BOOK

I really want to get this book out there by pre-ordering 4 copies of the book

INCLUDES:
  • A Ballet Education’s Nutcracker Book (x4)

Pledge $1,000 or more

SUPPORT THIS BOOK

I want to help further this book to print.

INCLUDES:
  • Signed Copy
  • Your Name Printed in the Book in the Thank You Section

 

Pledge $2,000 or more

I want to be a part of this book!

I really want to help further this book by helping cover the costs of manufacturing.

INCLUDES:
  • Signed Copy (x4)
  • Your Name Printed in the Book in the Thank You Section
  • Illustration within the book, send me a face photo in side profile and straight on, and I will illustrate you into the book in either party scene, battle scene or another section. You will also receive a signed print of your illustration with your books.

If you want to commit please let me know, click here to email // If there are enough commitments- I will go ahead with it. If not, then I will just keep doodling on for my nieces’ Christmas gift. Again, this is just a thought and an idea.

Christmas Comes Early…

It is that time of year again… as cliché as that line is, in ballet, we cycle through each season and either love or dread this time of year. The day after Halloween usually means Christmas is already up in stores and there is a high probability of hearing this music outside the studios at least once a day at either a Starbucks, Department Store or on the Radio… Yup… It is Nutcracker time.

Tonight was a great night for me. Christmas definitely came early for me. You see, my day started off pretty lame, because of a meeting running over, I was missed Ballet Arizona‘s Performance of Swan Lake featuring ABE CoverGirl Mimi Tompkins. This also meant I missed out on hanging out with ABE’s Ashley Baker. Then I was bogged down by drama from my previous job, that I am staying out of. Needless to say, it basically has been the subject of my life for the past week. But then, while trying to figure out logistical things in my life, a random friend request came to me on the Facebook. At first, I was like who is this? Then I realized who it was and got excited. We started talking over Facebook and basically, it resulted in a dream come true for me. (If you are a ballet teacher, you will LOVE this, like die over it, drool over it, use it to death etc). Literally, it is a dream come true, for me… and for like thousands of ballet teachers out there… So excited.

If you aren’t following on Instagram- this week/month I am releasing all of the roles in the Nutcracker. (@aballeteducation)

Remember, during Nutcracker Season, with all of the rehearsals, just try not get injured. Stay warm in between rehearsals and runs. Arleo Backwarmers and Rubia Wear Legwarmers is the way to go… Also a Uniqlo Vest… and moon boots / booties. And while we are at it… a scarf, sweatpants, trash bags and you might as well get your stretchers out as well. With Nutcracker around the corner, it means the countdown to YAGP has started and auditions for Summer Courses…

Issue 8 for a Ballet Magazine is coming together nicely.

The Guide to Pas De Deux was Released Today/ On Sale for $9.99 / Click the Pic to Buy /
The Guide to Pas De Deux Cover

Taking a Risk… ballet as a business

ballet as a business

If there is one thing I have learned in the past 5 years as a business owner, it is the ability to have diligence and faith. Not all business ventures work out and most of the time you encounter the really difficult scenarios that no one can ever equip you for. I have been really lucky though to have successful CEO’s as friends and mentors. The most important thing I have found for a business to be successful is PR & Marketing… I hate to say it, but it is kind of true. In order for a business to thrive, you have to have a great network, whether that is social connections or a social media following… I’m at the age where friends I went to ballet school with are retiring from ballet and moving into other fields… A lot of them have started business, dance schools or even launched a product… A lot of these friends have asked for help and now that this blog has really taken off I can help even more…

Ballet is entertainment & art, therefore it falls into the same category as pop culture. Young students and dancers have built incredible followings as we follow their ballet journey. We cry for them when they get injured, we laugh alongside them when they fall, and we celebrate when they receive their contracts… We follow professionals because they have amazing photos, and we follow their careers… It’s just like celebrities… Here is the problem with this… The fashion industry that includes like everything in mainstream pop culture is monopolized by conde nast… don’t get me wrong… I subscribe to like 7 of their publications and love them all…. The dance world is monopolized by Dance Media (pointe, dance magazine, dance teacher, dance retailer, dance college guide, dance spirit) Like the fashion industry, ballet runs the same way… In order to land in the magazine a lot of campaigning goes on… Anyone can buy their way in, but it costs a great deal… The list goes on and on and on… The issue also is that these magazines can’t be biased because of their board, or their backers, or their financials… No one wants to be affiliated with my blog… totally don’t blame them because I am completely biased…. and I curse… and I frankly don’t care… The difference is, that my blog has turned out to be a success and I am really committed to it.

I have been very lucky and fortunate with this blog to be able to help individual students either financially or technically or give parents advice. I was also blessed with the ability to draw and illustrate and through that I have been extremely fortunate and am planning to help companies and projects around the ballet world with that. Now, a lot of business have asked for help as well… Here is the tricky part about that, and I am going to explain how instagram and facebook have turned into the newest marketing force for an individual ballet career or a business… People pay insta celebrities to feature their product… Or businesses gift away hundreds of dollars in product for people to use and feature on their instagram… This is totally great, but there is no way for a business to know how successful that was… which in turn makes advertising $ hard to track… it is always been that way… No one can say how many people came into the store based off a billboard… but they can say how many people saw it… Same with insta… You have to cast quite a huge net to catch one fish on online sales…

Here is how I am going to help everyone who has written in asking me to feature their product, blog, company or whatever… I am going to publish 1 massive digital issue a year. Something I have been wanting to do, but now I am in a position to. It is going to be called: a Ballet Christmas. This issue will be published in October 2016 and will feature the following:

a cover story… because that is what attracts people… which is great…
I will be featuring must have Christmas buys that are picked by me and professional dancers around the world…
Advertisements for Nutcracker….
Advertisements for Summer Programs, which might be hard because usually the national audition lists aren’t announced until December… buuuut, I am going to hope and pray that companies release them early to me because people need to plan financially….
Articles about summer programs… like how to financially save and raise money for them…
How to plan your auditions… how to audition… the list goes on and on…

You might be thinking I am dumb to leak the content publically because other magazines might steal them… buuuuuut, it is something I am going to have to risk for my first and hopefully annual issue… But the plan is to make this a commercial success for small businesses around the world because I will be introducing new companies, start ups and hopefully use this network to help other businesses. I mean sure… would it be nice to smack Olga Smirnova on my cover and interview her… sure. But reality is… probably not going to happen as this is basically going to be a magazine built for you… my reader… about all of the available products out there for your Christmas shopping… and remind you that from October – January is going to be the most crucial for your family to save for summer programs and all of that jazz… I am enlisting former employees and colleagues around the world to help me convince all of you business owners out there to become a part of my Ballet Christmas (which starts in October…) and help promote each other’s businesses. I started my fashion magazine five years ago to help new upcoming photographers, models, designers, MUAs, hairstylists in the LA area as a platform to launch their careers… I hope that a Ballet Christmas will also help launch a lot of ballet businesses, help increase Nutcracker-ticket-sales, and more… we shall the though… it is a risk I’m willing to take.

Okay, you also might think I’m crazy to start something in addition to the workload of this blog… but the reality is… I will not be the one doing all of the legwork for this… I am just overseeing the entire issue… I have now luckily enlisted quite a long list of great and talented individuals to help support this project- including a copy editor. haha.

To learn more about this digital issue click here. You can find our first draft media kit, and advertising rates. As the issue grows and as the project develops further, the pricing may change, but for all of those readers/business owners/companies out there who are willing to take the risk on me and my team I offer you 50% off your advertising deposit. Basically, it saves you $50 on your advertising package you build. So, if you are willing to make this commitment with just reading this post- and the media kit the coupon code is earlybird50

Again, thank you all for supporting this blog and all of these endeavors.