Notes on Effacé

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notes

Effacé, effacée [eh-fa-SAY/]. Shaded. One of the directions of épaulement (body directions to classify the arms, head, shoulders, legs in relation to the audience) in which the dancer stands at an slight angle to the audience so that a part of the body is taken back and almost hidden from the audience’s view. This direction is classically termed “ouvert” in the French Method. Effacé, most popularly is used to qualify a pose in which the legs are open (not crossed to the audience). This pose may be done devant (front) or derrière (back), either à terre (on the ground) or en l’air (in the air). Origin of the word is French, like all of the ballet vocabulary. The etymology behind the word takes “e-“ and “face” to create “effacer”, in the 15th century the “r” was dropped.

efface ballet education
Effacé is one of the most beautiful positions in ballet. Between the simplicity of the placement and the control of the body, this position is often overlooked. While the first body position at center we learn is en face, efface usually follows once the dancer understands stage direction, body alignment, and understanding. Effacé is one of the body positions we learn on the angle as a part of epaulment. This positioning makes up half of the lateral positions. The other being croisé.

In ballet, this position is used all the time. Effacé is the easiest and probably most used position, and this position revolves around steps moving down the diagonal of the room, “from the corner”, or “across the floor” exercises. Usually starting in B plus, this position is often used to transfer weight and travel. Which is why we often overlook this position. It is so important to always control your turnout, foot articulation and weight change through this position/step (tombé)…

We often forget that positions in ballet, are never really just a position. The movement or energy needed causes the position to grow, change, and expand. Based on artistic freedom you play with the timing, breath, and coordination of the position.

What makes effacé so great and so versatile is the stylized versions of effacé. Usually is actually changing the epaulment but holding the position of the legs, this position becomes so beautiful. Different ballets cause for different stylized versions. For example, in Giselle, the effacé position in Act I will be more peasant stylized, and the body is forward and the head is slightly cocked. Then in Act II, the position is extremely forward, and the eye line is very low.

Regardless of the style, effacé must be turned out at all times to show the cleanest line of the body. If your body doesn’t have a ton of rotation you can cheat the line but winging your working foot. If you still can’t get that clean position, you can cheat the hips in effacé devant. I don’t recommend this at all, but it is important to have a clean line in this position. To cheat it, slightly shift your weight into your standing leg. Slightly release your piriformis and shift your hips to allow the line to shift. This will allow you to change the line of your leg so you can really get the supporting hip heel up towards the ceiling. Don’t forget to pull your toes back to create/finish the line!


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Should You Homeschool?

There comes a point for a lot of dancers who have to make the choice of homeschooling. Ballet is so time-consuming, so there has to be a “give and take”. I myself, did high school online and finished in two years, third in my class and with my AA. So, if you are self-motivated it’s a great opportunity to balance dancing and education. The video below was made by a ballet student about her experiences with online school. (@chloechka_art) Props to her for animating at the age of 15, because I am like dying just doing 2D drawings.

 

So, how do you know when it is right to homeschool? There comes a point where the hours in the day are running short, and it seems that there aren’t enough hours in the day to balance school, homework, dance and rehearsals. For some, the answer is easy and it is to homeschool. While homeschool isn’t for everyone, for those who do want to pursue that option, it isn’t as hard as it seems. Nowadays, you just need to fill out an affidavit and set up your curriculum. If you can financially afford to purchase curriculum that’s probably the easiest way. If you can’t afford to buy a set curriculum, you can piece it yourself. But, one of the best things you can do is find an online charter school in your state.

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If you are ready to homeschool and don’t know how to talk to your parents about it, ask your dance teacher, and they should be able to help explain the reasons why, and provide you with proper guidance. If they can’t, you can show them this article.

Parents, if you are student shows you this article, or you yourself are considering homeschooling here are some reasons why homeschooling might be a better option for your child:

  • To be a part of a pre-pro program most start at 10:00 AM or 1:00 PM.
  • Most ballet dancers are self-sufficient and can work at a faster pace so they don’t waste time.
  • Homeschooling allows for more hours of dancing and rehearsals, not to mention if you are asked into a year-round school, it’s an easier transition.
  • Travel time. It also saves on travel time and chauffering around.
  • It allows dancers to excel at their own pace. Sometimes it is frustrating not being able to control the progress in the ballet studio, so having control of progress in education is a good feeling.

Finally, homeschool isn’t for everyone. Some schools will allow dancers to leave early and skip out on elective and PE classes in exchange for their dance school to sign off on hours. This allows for more hours of dance. And, you should never compromise the quality of education for your dancing because an education is something that no one can take away. You also will need it as a backup plan if you get injured or if you don’t get a contract.


The Guide to Pas De Deux Cover

The Guide to Pas De Deux

It’s here! The Guide to Pas De Deux!! The first book in the Ballet Education Standardized Ballet Training Curriculum. 24 pages of information including 15 illustrations, vocabulary and mapped out curriculum! Click the book below to purchase.
The Guide to Pas De Deux Cover

Or click here to buy!

Inspired…

They say when one door closes, another one opens. The problem with that saying is that sometimes you can’t just wait around for a door magically open. Sometimes you have to find the door yourself and push it open. So, that is what I am doing. After a bunch of job offers and numerous opportunities around the US, I’ve decided to really just work for myself. I didn’t really think of it before, don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for this blog, but why was I teaching, coaching, and working for other companies, when I could be investing in my own?

inspired series copy copy

So, I was looking for a sign, and then I started reading a bunch of different perspectives and stories from ballet. This inspired me, inspired me to really push forward with a Ballet Education. I decided to start drawing those who have inspired me, and they aren’t just ballet dancers. There is a mighty long list, so hopefully, maybe there will be numerous additions to the Inspired Collection.

ABE logo 1So, where does this lead me? The rebranding of A Ballet Education. Thank you to Lisbet Photography and Misfit Design. For helping me recreate and reinvent A Ballet Education.

Yup! It is happening and going full force! So, what does this mean? I am hitting the road again. I will be in Los Angeles again from October 12-18. Come take 10 hours of intense A Ballet Education classes, or come watch and take notes on the Ballet Education Curriculum at the Downtown Dance & Movement Studios.

Untitled 2Register today by clicking here!

TEACHERS: if you are intersted in sending your students and you are interested in coming to observe, if you have 3 students come to the intensive, you can watch for free.

 

YEAR 1 … Done.

FALL 2017

Issue 6 Featuring Tegan Chou

6 Issues 1 crazy year. When I started the magazine I was living in California, then Phoenix, and now issue six is published from Charleston. What a crazy whirlwind! But how wonderful! With so many subscribers and followers, we were able to lower the cost of the subscription to the magazine! Which is exciting!

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Still too expensive? Don’t worry, this entire month JOOmag Publishers are giving us 50% off, which means you get 50% off. Just use the coupon code: K0LBKWTVBUL4
Sorry, it is so long! But it is worth it.

This year a Ballet Education has five really big things coming up…
1. A Ballet Education’s YouTube Channel & Tutorials
2. A Ballet Education’s Teacher Workshops
3. A Ballet Education’s Master Class Series
4. A Ballet Education’s A Ballet Magazine getting even bigger
5. A Ballet Network’s great list of clients to work with.


sucess ballet

thug life

 

Days 1, 2 & 3 at ANB

It has been a whirlwind… A very chaotic whirlwind to get to American National Ballet, but I am here. Things are moving so fast for being a new company. SOOO fast. I arrived at the airport and because my flight was delayed I was immediately picked up, I had to leave my luggage behind and whisked away to work. Sooo, that was Saturday… I worked into the night Saturday, all day Sunday. Sunday consisted of photographing American National Ballet Principal Kara Zimmerman. Day 3, today consisted of a 13-hour workday and running around like a crazy person. Seriously there is so much work, but it is so exciting. As I am planning the trainee school year I am super stoked. Amazing and beautiful talented students are coming to train with me and I am truly humbled and excited to work with them. I only have 1 girl spot left and 2 boy spots left. So if you want to come train with me and the American National Ballet, don’t forget to email dking@americannationalballet.org kara 16

BIG NEWS! BIG THINGS! Just simply… well, BIG

Things have been happening so fast over here at a Ballet Education. Things have been coming in left and right, up and down. It is kind of chaotic. Between doodling what seems to be and endless amount of orders, the artwork for the children’s book, the magazine, the emails, the teaching, RDA Nationals in PHX, the list goes on and on… It is like mega overload… Super overload. Plus, the big secret we have been working on over here… It has just been ridiculously crazy. BUT I DO HAVE GOOD NEWS! LOTS OF IT!

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BEHIND THE SCENES OF ARIZONA DANCESTaimy Miranda, photographed by Ashley Baker // Ashley Lorraine Baker is coming to work for a Ballet Education full time. Why? Mostly because I need help and I like being around her. Okay, just kidding, because she is super talented and understands my madness.

ISSUE 4‘s crazy fiasco has been solved by the talented Vikki Sloviter. With the issue of the cover story falling through, an even better cover story has emerged and we are so excited to announce it soon. The magazine should be released May 10, at the latest… fingers crossed… But, if you have images that you want in the magazine, keep sending them over… we have lots to write about and need photos!

THE BIGGER NEWS!!
Recently, I have been getting a ton of emails from dance studio owners and business owners asking about how I am able to track my social media platforms, how I am able to juggle it all, and how can they use social media to the limitless potential it has… Well, remember, prior to my blog I was working in fashion and doing well in PR, Marketing, and Social Media. But, yes, I do know how the logarithms work and I also understand how social media, digital marketing, and content hold the future of ballet in their hands. So, I have been working together with a team of writers, editors, social media strategists, digital marketing gurus, PR powerhouses to make sure my theory worked… And it did. 

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What does this
mean?
It means… I can finally announce that a Ballet Education has created a Ballet Network.
A Ballet Network 
is now a network and resource for dance studios, product/apparel, and more to use. Feel free to go ahead and check it out!! I am pretty happy with it, well actually very happy with it. And now, everyone can have a large team working for them at an affordable price. I saw some of the prices out there, and read what people were paying with little or 0 results and was pretty shocked. But now, any small business can afford it!!


TRENDY: CJ of a Ballet Education has his own successful business and we love it!! The Bachelor Candle is one of the first to join the new A Ballet Network. Shop this week and get 20% off using the coupon code: 20OFF (It is the perfect gift for a male ballet dancer or male ballet teacher. The scents are strong, clean, kind of sexy and a lot of fun.)

The Bachelor Candle 1

 

FINALS @ the YAGP

YAGP FINAL ROUND // Elisabeth Beyer in Stantinella, photographed by VAM, courtesy of the YAGP.

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Sorry, the internet at the hotel is horrible… and they charge you… not to mention this crazy fiasco at the hotel over a pair of my shoes… Anyways…

Yesterday was the craziest day. Yesterday, Wednesday, I woke up and did my interview with Larissa Saveliev, founder and former Bolshoi ballerina. I then moved on to teach at PeriDance Capezio with Kat Wildish. I then photographed LAB SESSIONS/ ARTS ON SITE’s Roya Carreras. Following running back to the hotel, and then running into Tamara Rojo, director of English National Ballet. Last night’s finals were intense and on fire. My favorite dancer of the evening was Elisabeth Beyer. Her variation from Satanella was close to perfect. Though the audience went googoo ga-ga over a boy from the US’s DON Q… literally five-minute ovation. I was trying to upload all these videos from the live stream on instgram… buuuuuut the internet here is sucky. Tonight is the Stars of Tomorrow… and have ran into dozens of professional dancers who would blow your mind away.

I promise to update tonight with the winner!! Follow in instagram for live streams @aballeteducation

Notes on the Ideal Arabesque & Getting it Higher… part 1

In ballet, there is one position above all others. It is the dreaded, gorgeous and controversial placement known as arabesque. There are a million ways to approach and improve arabesque, but the most important thing about it is to maintain control and show constraint. Below is how I teach arabesque and how to achieve an ideal position.

Notes on ArabesqueArabesque, by definition, is in an Arabic fashion. In design, it refers to ornate patterns used quite frequently in textiles, interior design, and architecture. Okay, in ballet, it is when the dancer is standing (supporting) on one leg, while the second (working) leg is directly behind the body. Arabesque can be done in a variety of different positions based on where the arms are placed, and the facings of the bodies. It can be done at various different heights based on the working leg: a terre, en l’air at any varied of degrees, 45 degrees, 90 degrees and ridiculously high. The supporting leg can be in plié, but the back leg must remain straight and behind the body.

Okay… getting into arabesque… Some teachers like to teach arabesque from developpé while some teachers teach it from fondu. I prefer to teach it from tendu. I also use cambré back so I can combine basics and start teaching arabesque at a younger age. Secondly, I don’t teach arabesque until students can do the splits. Okidokie. Start off with plank for a bit, do some crutches, and the splits. Then the class is ready to move onto arabesque. Usually, my students are able to start and achieve arabesque quickly around the age of six. In the rare occasions, I have seen about eight five-year-olds able to achieve, understand and comprehend the ideal arabesque.

For younger students, I do two hands at the barre, for advanced students I do one hand at the barre at the end of a rond de jamb combination. (click here for rond de jambs)

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(a.)So, we start in fifth position and tendu back.
(b.)From there, lift through the back and cambré back. (You can see the notes to cambré in issue three, click here) Don’t push the hips forward, make sure the standing leg is supported and perpendicular to the floor. Maintain the neck and let the sternum press into the ceiling. Don’t let the hips tip and keep the pelvis in neutral.
(c.) While in this position, maintaining your core, lift the leg as high as you can. Don’t lift from the quad, rotate from the hip and spiral the leg up directly behind the spine. The more rotation from the hip, the higher the leg. Don’t pinch or sit in the back. To make more space, or if you feel like you are running out of space, channel energy through the top of the head and create more space.
(d.) Start from the bottom of your abs and pelvis, and start to contract, maintaining the height of the leg. Start coming up from the cambré, leading with the sternum and creating an arch through the top of your head moving forward. Leave the neck and head where it is.
(e.) Adjust the neck and head, ideally, you should be at a perfect 90-degree arabesque or higher. Your hips should still be in neutral. Your spine and standing leg should make a straight line, your hips shouldn’t need to tilt, spill over, at all, especially at 90 degrees.

Now, onto getting your leg higher…

Getting a higher arabesque

Second part of the exercise… 
(f.) Place the weight slightly forward as you are about to start the plié. I work the leg higher while in plié. This would be the more classical position, by adjusting the back so that the spine and the front of the standing leg are lined up. To do this, you will let your hips tilt slightly forward, adding pressure to the back. Depending on the flexibility of your back, the break in the back will vary. This position is much harder than the position above based on your back.
ideal classical position
(g.) Okay, So leave your foot where it is, exactly at 90. Plié. Leave your foot where it is, but you are adjusting the height of your body. This makes the angle smaller on top. Maintain proper alignment with the knee.
(h.) Plié even more while leaving your foot where it is in space. Keep the alignment behind your spine… I prefer behind the spine while others say behind the shoulder… I like everything over crossed as it creates a diagonal line, and makes the leg look longer. Preference. While at the bottom of the plié start to initiate the spine up and forward and high arabesqueoutwards. So, the energy is flowing slightly forward and then back. This is when I have the students really wing/bevel their foot, and say that the foot and the head are creating a circle and trying to connect.

(i.) Press to relevé and lengthen through the supporting leg. Press into the floor and maintain the position. Ideally, you won’t feel any pressure in the back as you are constantly creating space in the spine and rotation in the hips. Re-align the back so the spine and the front of the standing leg match to visually create a line. Once you are in this position you can slightly raise the arm and eye line.
(pas de bourré and then other side)

ARABESQUES

First arabesque is the most common. I prefer open first but it does put a strain on your spine as it causes you to disconnecting the upper back from your core and spiral open without changing your hip placement. Second Arabesque is the devil position. Third Arabesque is super pretty, especially when the leg is at 45 degrees.

Classical positions require strength and control, it adds quality and allows for musicality. Sometimes, you are allowed to whack the leg, sometimes during grand allegro, or in choreography, depends. Whacking can cause injury or misalignment so I don’t ever recommend it. I’m more of a place it one count. Classically, you want to show constraint with the height in the leg but generosity in the preparation, getting into the position and turn out. Stylistically, the arabesque will change with the placement of the hips, standing leg and back. Click here to see. 

For the older dancer, arabesque can be death. For me it is. My back is completely shot, and have to do Gyrotonics and pilates to even maintain a 90-degree line. Though I have figured a way to improve my arabesque but it’s complicated to draw, so I am going to make a video of my busted self later on.

For young dancers, I know there is so much pressure to have high legs, but I am telling you this method does work! Keep up the good work. Subscribe to the magazine this month for only $9.99
Mimi Tompkins Ballet Arizona Cover

And for those of you who have asked… the feeling Frieda prints ( each one is 8×10″) are now available. Both are available for $19.99 (click here to shop)
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NOTES ON ROND DE JAMBE…

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Notes on Rond De Jambes (a terre)

“Round of the leg on the ground”
poster available here in 3 sizes. (click here)

Eeesh. This is one of the hardest steps at barre in ballet. The exercise requires a ton of control and focus. In theory, this step should be really easy and a lot of people overlook how complicated rond de jambe is. Somewhere in between adagio qualities and stretching, rond de jambes are one of those things that you either have or you don’t.

Rond de jambes are versatile, you can do them en l’air, in a jump, on relevé, done en dehors or en dedans or even in fondu/plié. The list goes on. It can be done at varied heights, at varied speeds, or varied accents. Like most steps in ballet, you can do them any way you want.

So, let’s get to breaking down rond de jambe.

ron de jambe a terre
en dehors:
It is easier to learn rond de jambes from first. Standing very tall, you press through to tendu devant. Both legs are extremely straight without gripping the quad, and you need to focus on the inner hip socket. From this position, you hold the turnout and push to the side without changing the shape of the leg. Without gripping the quad you rotate the hip socket rotates even more and you continue the semi-circle to get to tendu devant. Nothing moves. I MEAN NOTHING! You keep the shape of the leg the entire time, the turn out, the shape, everything. Closing through the tendu and relaxing the toes, the heel gradually pushes forward and closes back to first. The important thing in rond de jambe is to keep the turn out active at all times. (Reality… you are supposed to keep your turn out active at all times but sometimes you just need to relax. Relax in first position if you need to relax.)

a. Standing in first position. If you need to get some tips on improving your first position. Click here >> (https://aballeteducation.com/2016/03/25/first-position-it-is-so-hard/)

b. Just like a tendu start pressing the heel forward and pushing through the floor. Because barre is built one step on top of the other, don’t miss out the notes on tendu. Click here >>(https://aballeteducation.com/2016/03/26/notes-on-tendu-well-tendu-devant/)

c. Reaching the maximum length of tendu devant, you have to extend even more in rond de jambe. You want to create enough length in the working leg to free up the hip socket. To do this, you have to push through your standing leg, or channel energy down into the floor on your supporting side.

ron de jambe balletd. This is the hardest part of rond de jambe… You have to start rotating the heel even more, and channel energy up into the hip sock and start to rotate the femur head in the socket outward. Don’t change the shape of the foot or leg, don’t relax the knee. Grow taller and start to carry to the side. You should feel a ton of tension pressing outwards in the supporting hip.

e. Keep carrying till you hit tendu a la seconde. A very long a la seconde. Keep lifting in the supporting side.

f. The next hardest part of rond de jambe is ridiculously hard. This is where a lot of people go a muck. Stabilize the hips by rotating outwards and channeling energy into the floor and start to rotate towards the back. Do not flip the hips or let the pelvis rock. Don’t sway in your back, don’t sit in your hips, don’t let your weight shift. You have to be even more mindful of your supporting leg. All while making the circle even larger.

ron de jambe ballet copy

g. Reach to tendu derriere

h. Relax your toes and press the heel forward leaving the toes behind.

i. Pull up harder into your standing leg and hip flexor. Lift even higher. The energy should never die in rond de jambe. You have to constantly grow and channel energy through each extremity of the body. As your relax your full foot on the floor your turn out should feel the deepest in the hip socket.

j. Reach back into a taller first.

Okay, here are some of the ridiculously hard things about rond de jambe… One, your body has to create tons of infinite circles that move through your space at barre. It is rather difficult, each time trying to make the circle bigger and bigger. Keeping the pelvis neutral and legs long. The best way is to keep your hamstrings constantly engaged without gripping into your quads and locking up your hip flexors. Another really difficult thing to do in rond de jambe is to keep the foot relaxed and not gripping.
ballet tool guide

Rond de Jambes for the young child…
It is a common imagery tool to teach kids to draw a half circle on the floor. The problem with this, is that kids will usually push most of the work and effort into the quad. I find it better to tell kids to make an egg-like shape with the foot. This keeps from adding too much pressure in the knee, and not letting the student grip in the quad.
ballet technique

Rond de Jambe for the adult dancer…
Nowadays, rond de jambe kills my hip. Like to the point of exhaustion. It is easier to work from a more turned in first than perfect first, and definitely in fifth position, it puts too much pressure to the knee… For me. I also find when being in a more turned in fifth position, I use my quad too much, so I rond de jambe from first. Less pressure all over, and my legs don’t die and I don’t grip in my quad.

Where in the world do you put your weight in rond de jambe… Classically speaking, rond de jambe should always be centered… meaning the weight is centered in your pelvis and the weight is placed over the arch. Some teachers allow weight to shift into the standing leg even more so that the hamstrings are longer. The weight then shifts so the center of the pelvis is above the arch and there is slight pressure in the ball of the foot. This frees up the working hip. The standing hip and leg then channels more energy.

a ballet education ballet techniqueThe stylistic rond de jambe… Some teachers teach to over cross the rond de jambe in tendu devant and derriere (over crossing meaning that the toe of the working foot lines up to the heel or arch. Some teachers, teach a more open rond de jambe that pushes the focus on the in between positions. Like half tendu front and half tendu back. Some teachers teach an exaggerated over crossing where the working toe lines up with the supporting toe. This definitely causes a weight shift.

Some final thoughts on rond de jambe…
Rond de jambe is hard, but don’t give up! The most important thing in rond de jambe is to open the hips and really create a connection through the space and floor. I always enjoy rond de jambe, and try to find really great musicality. Some teachers prefer accent front and back, some prefer accent side, and some prefer no accent and to keep the motion evenly. Depending on the song and the musicality and tempo, I accent in various places including first. Best of luck rond de jamming out… hahah

RON DE JAMBE POSTER AVAILABLE HERE…

The Top Ten Ballet Companies (2017 Edition)

Top 10 Ballet companies 2017

Ballet is progressing at such a fast rate that it seems impossible to keep up with all of the changes. This year, the idea of ballet has shifted even more. From spectacular premiers and wondrous PR Campaigns, ballet truly has a lot to honor this year. Every ballet company has something to offer the world, and nowadays, prestige or reputation isn’t enough. So, without further adieu, a Ballet Education’s TOP TEN BALLET COMPANIES 2017 EDITION.

1.The first company this year is English National Ballet for their premiere of Giselle. Sculpted by female artistic director Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet premiered their work of Akram Kahn’s Giselle. This has probably been the most innovative work the ballet world as seen in a long time. From primal movements to a new score, this new ballet captures the fundamentals of raw human emotions.


More info on Akram Khan’s Giselle: http://giselle.ballet.org.uk/

2 + 3 Royal Ballet & San Francisco Ballet // Liam Scarlett’s Frankenstein
http://www.roh.org.uk/about/the-royal-ballet
http://sfballet.org

4. New York City Ballet // Justin Peck’s The Times are Racing

http://nycballet.com

5. Het National Ballet // Night Fall

6. Staatsballett (Berlin)

7. Bolshoi Ballet

8. American Ballet Theatre

9. Paris Opera Ballet

10+11. The Australian Ballet, National Ballet of Canada

You can read more about these companies in the magazine by clicking here.
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In This Issue… Issue 2

Wonderfully put together, the second issue is finally out featuring collected thoughts on summer programs, auditions, race and more! What can you expect out of this issue? 15 summer programs that actually pay off, ballerinas today, and a wonderful review by Dorothy Crouch.

a-ballet-education-issue-2

And the envelope please… a Ballet Education’s Ballet Awards 2016

ballet awards

Each year as the season ends a history disappears. As a dancer, it means that the applause is over, that all of your hard work, hours of rehearsals, performances and stage time is gone… There is nothing left, there is no reliving the moment… Ballet is a performance art, so every performance is different, every moment is special. So, it is our job was ballet goers and ballet fans to celebrate a year of hard work. So before we go on about our favorites and all that jazz… Here is a huge round of applause to every dancer, artistic director, board member, stage hand, dresser, costume designer, lighting designer, usher, ticket person and more… everyone who was involved in making the ballet season around the world happen…. You are incredible and important in the giant cogwheel that moves ballet forward, innovates the art form, and allows dancers to share their art.

These blog awards were started as a result of having a very hard time ranking companies.I think it is easier to rank schools. But companies we are looking at artistry, and for that, we have to evaluate innovation, musicality, acting abilities and the ability to become something else… The ability to inspire and move audiences… performances to remember and so on…. Thus, I decided to create awards based on categories I think are relevant… I also just like the Oscars and the idea of pretty awards.

If you don’t know how it works… Each season I read tons of reviews and I see tons of ballet performances… Obviously, I am not flying around the world to see everything but I do read a lot and respect the opinions of other bloggers, publications, and reviewers. I also have the help of thousands of followers and ballet go-ers nominating and sending in reviews, comments, and nominations… From these, I kind of narrow it down and ask opinions of friends, colleagues and more… This allows me to decide who gets the award. Next year, it will be even better because if you subscribe to the magazine, you will actually get to vote on the top nominees in each category to select the winner alongside our editors.

This year has been another turning point for ballet… For race it has been a big deal, as Misty Copeland is truly becoming the face of Ballet in America making her rightfully the next American Ballerina, a long-standing position, usually by an ABT or NYCB darling. Other American Ballerinas in this history include Susan Jaffe, Darci Kistler, and Julie Kent and now we have Misty Copeland. This year was also a great year for choreography and innovation as premiers were happening left and right and almost impossible to keep up with. While the world of choreographers, artistic directors, and school directors are still dominated by men we look forward to a larger female presence in these jobs in this upcoming season. This year was spectacular and dancers around the world enhanced the art form, pushed the technique, and mastered the human body.

So, without further adieu, the envelope, please…


The first award of the night acknowledges our blog awards. It goes to any dancer, any company, any choreographer that our readers email about, have reviewed or have requested to see more of the blog. And this year there is a clean sweep. So I have combined categories into one award and this year’s a Ballet Education’s Blog Award goes to… BALLET WEST. With readers nominating Beckanne Sisk and Chase O’Connell for their pas de deux in Romeo and Juliet back in February… For requests to feature/opinion the company and school at Ballet West, and our readers favorite for the most follow-ups, shares, and comments on a blog post: CORPS DE BALLET CONFESSIONAL: Elizabeth Weldon. With much pleasure, they will be featured soon on our blog! Click here for more information on Ballet West. I promise I will go visit Ballet West this season and answer all of your questions…

A BALLET EDUCATION AWARD


COSTUME, SET, or LIGHTING DESIGN… and the award goes to:
Ian Falconer for the scenic and costume Designer for PNB’s New Production of George Balanchine’s the Nutcracker.


OTHER NOMINEES:
Lighting Design for Mammatus, Joffrey Ballet by Alexander V Nichols
Lighting design by David Finn for PNB’s Signature- editor’s pick Colette Posse
Set Designer John Macfarlane for Royal Ballet’s Frankenstein.
Design team behind  A Hero of our Time, Elana Zaitseva, Krill Serebrennikov, Simon Donger
Design team behind Teatro La Scala’s Cinderella: Carlo Cerri, Maurizio Millenotti, Carlo Cerri, Alessandro Grisendi, Marco Noviello


Best Reprisal of a Classic Work
American Ballet Theatre for La Fille Mal Gardée
(choreography by Fredrick Ashton,music by Ferdinand Herold, design by Osbert Lancaster, lighting by Brad Fields)
Click here for Synopsis

Other Nominees worth noting: English National Ballet’s Le Corsaire and  PNB’ take on George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.


Student of the Year
Joohyuk Jun, Royal Ballet School* winner of YAGP

Robbie Downey, BalletFreak/ Ballet Babble, Ellison
Hang Yu, China *winner of prix de lausanne*
Madison Young, Houston Ballet
Vincenzo di Primo, Italy
BallerinaAnna, SAB, owner of BunFlowerz
Kim, Hee Sun, South Korea *winner of the Helsinki IBC*
Kennedy Kallas, Ballet West *winner of the Natalia Makarova Award for Excellence*


Best Pas De Deux Couple
Iana Selenko (guest) & Steven McRae (Royal Ballet)

Video not from this year, but you kind of get to see the amazingness of the them…

Other Nominees in this huge category:
Missa Kuranaga (Boston Ballet) and Gonzalo Garcia (guest), Swan Lake
Beckanne Sisk (Ballet West) and Chase O’Connell (Ballet West), Romeo and Juliet*
Alessandra Ferri (guest) and Herman Cornejo (ABT), Giselle
Gillian Murphy (ABT) and Marcello Gomes (ABT), Swan Lake
Isabella Boylston (ABT) and Jeffrey Cirio (ABT), La Fille Mal Gardee
Polina Semoinova (guest) and Roberto Bolle (La Scala) , Cinderella
*winner of our blog favorite, picked by the readers of a Ballet Education*


Dancer of the Year
Kimin Kim, Mariinsky *won the prix de benois de la danse for the current year*

Honorable mentions from the huge list of dancers nominated
Anthony Huxley, NYCB
Hannah O’Niell, Paris Opera *also won the prix de benois de la danse for the current year*
Sara Mearns, NYCB
Alicia Amatriain, Stuttgart *also won the prix de benois de la danse for the current year*
Isabella Boylston, ABT
Iana Salenko, Berlin State Ballet
Olga Smirnova, Bolshoi Ballet
Misty Copeland, ABT
Steven McRae, Royal Ballet
Fredrico Bonelli, editor’s pick- David King


Company Contribution to the World
no nominations… sad face.



New or Returning Presence to the International Ballet Scene
Kathryn Morgan.
Presented by Ballet in the City and Bloch at the Kennedy Center
If you don’t follow her, she is a former soloist at NYCB, who was on the high rise to becoming a principal dancer when illness struck and took her away from ballet. Her blog and video blog exploded and now she is a ballet guru.
Click here for her massive empire

hon. mention: Alessandra Ferri returning to ABT’s Met Season in Romeo and Juliet. It is happening right now, and is coming in with killr reviews.


Choreographer of the Year
Yuri Possokhov, A Hero Of Our Time for Bolshoi *won the prix de benois de la danse*

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Mammatus for Joffrey
Justin Peck, multiple works
Travis Wall, multiple solo works
Alexi Ratmansky, Golden Cockerel, multiple works
Christopher Wheeldon, multiple works
Andrew Bartee
Myles Thatcher, Passengers
Mauro Bigonzetti, Cinderella for La Scala
Johan Inger, Carmen
Benjamin Millepied, Clear Loud Bright Forward for Paris Opera
Maxim Petrov, Divertissement of King for Mariinsky
Zhang Yunfeng, Emperor Yu Li
Garrett Smith
Guilherme Maciel


Most Innovative/Collaboration Company
New York City Ballet for their designer collaborations for their fall Gala, and for their collaboration with resident Dior Illustrator Jamie Lee Reardin.

Other Nominees:
Het/Dutch National Ballet
National Ballet of Canada for Le Petit Prince
Royal Sweedish Ballet
Stuttgart Ballet
Miami City Ballet
Australian Ballet
Bolshoi Ballet


Best Repertory for the 2015-2016 season
Het Nationale Ballet, Artistic Director Ted Brandsen

Thier next season looks pretty amazing as well…

For tickets…

Other Nominees:
Australian Ballet
Paris Opera Ballet
Royal Ballet
New York City Ballet
American Ballet Theatre
Stuttgart Ballet
Wiener Staatsoper
Semper Oper


Most Inspiring Company
Australian Ballet, editor’s pick Jacquelyn Bernard

Other Nominees:
Boston Ballet
Pacific Northwest Ballet
San Francisco Ballet
Bolshoi Ballet
Het National Ballet
New York City Ballet


And now for the final category, which I think is the strongest to represent a company as a reflection of the season. The Best Premiere of a New Work in the 2015-2016 season. To really produce a new work, these dancers are the first, they originate the roles, the emotions, the technique and the approach. It is a sign of innovation in a company, and the willingness to find new ways of moving, approaching the classics, and innovating the art form. It is also a huge collaboration between everyone involved in ballet, from the marketing and press to the dancers, choreographers, designers and audience… A new work is the true test of a company’s ability to innovate and be successful. It is always a risk to premiere a new work, as audiences might not be so keen on attending without a big name attached… But, this season we had amazing contributions to the ballet repertory and here are the nominees…

  • Royal Ballet in collaboration with San Francisco Ballet, Frankenstein, choreographed by Liam Scarlett, Music by Lowell Liebermann, Designer John Macfarlane, Lighting designer David Finn, and Projection designer Finn Ross. (May 17, 2016)

http://www.roh.org.uk/productions/frankenstein-by-liam-scarlett

  • National Ballet of Canada’s Le Petit Prince, based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, choreographed by Guillaume Côté, Composed by Kevin Lau, Sets and Costumes by Michael Levine, Lighting by David Finn, and Video design by Finn Ross. Creatively developed by Guillaume Cote and Michael Levine. (June 4, 2016)

http://national.ballet.ca/Productions/2015-2016-Season/Le-Petit-Prince

  • Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Signature, choreographed by Price Suddarth, Lighting design by Randall G Chiarelli, Costumes by Mark Zappone. (November 6, 2015)
  • Joffrey Ballet’s Mammatus choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Music by Michael Gordon, design work by DieuwekeVanReu, lighting design by Alexander V. Nichols
  • American Ballet Theatre’s The Golden Cockerel, original choreo by Michel Fokine and new choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, sets and costumes by Richard Hudson. Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and arranged by Yannis Samprovalakis
  • Bolshoi Ballet’s a Hero Of Our Time choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, music by Ilya Demutsky, costume design by Elana Zaitseva and Kirill Serebrennikov, lighting and video design by Simon Donger.

http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/performances/813

And the winner is…
TEATRO LA SCALA



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Creative Collaborations: Ballet Theatre of Indiana

ballet theatre of indiana

There is no question that ballet companies at large have a hard time managing their financial situations… Because of this, it causes companies to fold or collapse, and it is happening more and more in the US. It is scary. Without state funding, ballet companies have to survive on local communities and their support teams… A big issue is that most of these ballet companies don’t have the proper means, funds or resources to have a proper development or fundraising team. With that being said, dancers are becoming empowered to create change and it is slowly working. When a dancer opens a company they are forced to learn quickly that money, management and fundraising is hard, not to mention PR, Marketing, Social Media, the costs of theaters, music licenses, and insurance policies… and the list goes on and on. Over 50 companies have written in looking for financial help and unfortunately, I can’t help all of them, but here is one company that I do see a lot of potential in: Ballet Theatre of Indiana. Ballet Theatre of Indiana is the first of 8 ballet companies I have partnered with for 2016 to help raise funds for their organizations. But, what I find super amazing about this company, is that every ballet dancer brings something else to the table. Not only are they just dancers but they are directors, PR people, marketing, and more. They are pulling all of their resources to keep ballet alive, and that is amazing in itself. So, here is more about this amazing new company.

indiana ballet theatre

How did Ballet Theatre of Indiana come into existence?
We (Stirling & Sabrina Matheson, Artistic Directors) had been discussing how we would run a company since the very beginnings of our careers as dancers. Ballet Internationale, Indianapolis’ former professional company, folded in 2005 and that jump-started our conversations and planted the idea of starting a new company in Indy. When we moved back to Indianapolis in 2011 it was with the intention of founding a company. We spent a few years networking and building relationships, and then took the leap when Ron Morgan offered the use of his studio, Performer’s Edge. (click here for the company website)

stirling

How long have you been around? Founded? What did you do this past season?
BTI was founded in 2014 and we just completed our second season. We presented four mainstage productions: Macabre: A Night of Edgar Allan Poe Ballets, our first Nutcracker, the second annual Sun King Brewing Presents: Beer & Ballet, and an original version of The Firebird, which was performed alongside a new version of Les Biches and the grand pas de deux from Flames of Paris. 

What was the thought process in creating this company?
We saw a lot of inefficient use of money and abuse as dancers: companies where the highest-paid dancers were barely scraping the poverty line while eight full-time marketing staff worked on ads for just four productions; companies where dancers were pushed to dance on injured limbs despite the long-term consequences; companies where titles and promotions were used as weapons. This was not the world we wanted.

We wanted to create a company that valued dancers as people and treated them as long-term investments, rather than expendables. We knew that dancers could fill multiples roles within a company and that if we found the right people we could use our funding very efficiently.

What kind of dancers do you look for in hiring? Working with?
Having graduated from Butler University’s Department of Dance, we knew that dancers can do a lot more than just dance; we knew dancers with experience or degrees in everything from arts administration to costuming to fundraising. We hire dancers who can comfortably wear a lot of hats, like Audrey Robson, who manages our PR and Marketing in addition to performing roles such as the Firebird and Sugar Plum Fairy. We also look for dancers who can walk the line of taking their work seriously without taking themselves too seriously; we didn’t become artists hoping to be miserable all day.

What can you expect, or should you expect from a show from Ballet Theatre of Indiana?
A fun atmosphere and a focus on storytelling. Our goal is to communicate clearly with the audience, not leave them feeling confused, disconnected, or as if they should have read the synopsis before the show started.

How does ballet reflect or relate to your local community?
Indianapolis is undergoing a renaissance of art and culture at the moment, and more and more people are looking for things to do that aren’t the old standbys of bars and sports. We’re striving to make our shows accessible to these ballet newbies and enjoyable to the area’s balletomanes who remember Ballet Internationale or attend one of Indy’s many dance schools.

This collaboration between a Ballet Education and Ballet Theatre of Indiana is raising money for what?
We’re raising money for our third season’s many and varied production expenses. We’ll need new sets, new costumes, rented backdrops, music licenses, event insurance, contractors, and the usual host of small purchases that go into creating ballets.

Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
We would love to have all of our dancers making a livable wage so that they do not have to work a second job, as most dancers do. That may not happen in five years, but it’s at the top of our priority list and we are making headway with our new Artist Sponsorship Program. But in five years we definitely see BTI building deeper, more meaningful connections in the community and becoming a fixture in Indiana’s arts scene.

What is some advice you can give young dancers who are looking for a job in your area?
Talk to a lot of dancers – not people who danced 20 years ago, but people who are currently dancing or recently retired – and get their honest, no-holds-barred picture of what it’s like to be a dancer. If you can, talk to someone who “failed.” The dance world attaches a bizarre, unhealthy stigma to failure or early retirement, a perception that those who don’t “make it” just didn’t try hard enough. You can learn a lot from the reasons that people are willing to give up a dream they’ve had for so long. You need to prepare yourself for the reality of the dance world, with all its hardships, as well as the highs we like to focus on, and not just the dream of it.

ballet theatre of indiana

To commemorate their first performance, which was La Sylphide I have designed a shirt around this ballet. All proceeds from the shirt go towards Ballet Theatre of Indiana. The shirts are 100% spun poly to feel like cotton, and are machine washable. Available in sizes XS-XXL for $40.00. Click here to shop.

pink1

Super Dads…

ballet dads

Today is a sad day… Today is my Dad’s birthday and Father’s day week. I lost my dad two years ago to cancer. So, this post is dedicated to all the ballet dads out there. For the dads who drive everyone around, build props, finance summer intensives, brings you dinner, takes you shopping, pays your tuition, and pays for privates. For the dads who dance with their kids in the living room on Sunday mornings, to the dads who make you laugh, to the dads who try really hard to relate to your ballet problems but have no clue what they are talking about. To the dads who give you massages when your calves and cramping, to the dads who learn to sew to help you with your pointe shoes. To the dads who stick around all night at the studio, to the dads who are brave enough to let their kids leave home at 13ish. To the dads who bring you coffee and food. To the dads who are both mom and dad, and still make it possible for their kids to dance.  To the dads who silently sit and watch you, pretending they aren’t interested but don’t leave the studio because they want to know you are safe…

This post is dedicated to all the professional ballet dancers who are dads, who are raising their kids and dancing at the same time. To the ballet dancer dad who isn’t afraid to admit that they are professional ballet dancers, and make time to take their kids to school and still be in company class. To the ballet dancer dads who have a late night performance but facetime their kids before they are tucked into bed, while they are on intermission.

This is also for all of the men who aren’t dads, who can’t be dads… This is for spoiling your nieces and nephews. This is dedicated to the men who play dad to kids without dads. This post is dedicated to the men who are single, because they are selfish and strong enough to say that they aren’t ready, or want kids. That takes a lot of strength too.

This post is for the moms who have to be both mom and dad- this one is for you too.

This is also for all of the kids without dads- if you have lost a parent it is really hard. If you lost a parent while you are young, my heart is heavy for you. If you lost your dad recently, I am sorry because I know what it is like for the world to constantly seem too fast or too slow, or that because of his passing- all time is measured from the point you lost him. I’m sorry.

(Pic was colored in by my niece)

Be Proud Of Who You Are…

Untitled_Artwork 67

Today, I was deeply humbled and reminded of a few things… But first we have to start at the beginning of my day… In the mornings I enjoy turning on the news, reading emails and having my cup of coffee, it is a ritual of rituals, and is probably a ritual that a lot of people partake in. So, as I was answering tons of emails, I was thinking of what to doodle… And then, this morning I was planning to post my pride ballerina and then woke up to the horrible news. 50 dead and 50 wounded in the worst mass shooting in modern US history… This is not my time to talk politics, but I was deeply saddened, as the world makes me extremely sad, and I become depressed quite often about the world around me… This morning I had every intention of putting on my short shorts, and sheer oversized tank top, putting on my Prada sunglasses and sunscreen and hitting up Los Angeles Pride… But, it was so disturbing and I became so depressed, that instead Edgar and I decided to go to Korean BBQ. Thus it lead me to draw this new PROUD doodle… in which I turned to tank top because of popular request. I avoided social media today, mostly because I didn’t want to hear about the bodies in the club still with their cell phones ringing…. Disturbing I know… Then I started receiving tons of emails from France, the UK, and over Facebook messenger with parents asking me about their kids, kids asking about careers and so on… Then a good friend wrote me about how she was guesting at a small ballet company and was in a dressing room and kids were talking about my blog, with excitement. Then I realized that over the past two days my blog has reached over 40,000 people….  and on Facebook I reached over183,000 people… Then I was humbled and reminded about some things… That these people who say I am not credible or that my work is unprofessional and biased… that you shouldn’t take weight in what I am saying is trivial as hundreds of thousands still come to my blog… I was reminded that it is a profound opportunity to effect and reach so many aspiring dancers out there in the world… and that there is a chance, a slight chance, that I am impacting a child’s life, creating a conversation about ballet, or encouraging someone to try to go the distance… Then it cheered me up from my awful feeling day.

So, I wanted to remind everyone that this blog is just my personal opinion that is developed from reading, dancing professionally, choreographing, teaching and coaching… and sure… I might not be on faculty at Boston Ballet School or Orlando Ballet school, but my blog and reputation was built on my writings and drawings…. the job was not handed to me because I retired from that company…. (No shade or anything… but seriously… if you are going to slam my blog on your Facebook, you probably shouldn’t link it back to the blog…. because then I can see it)… I also started this blog out of frustration, I never really thought it would turn into what it is today…. I also wasn’t handed my dance career as I wasn’t born with a gifted body… I had to work extremely hard to change my body, muscles shape and feet…. Seriously I am like 2 inches from a biscuit… and my feet naturally sickle, so I have to wing that crap out of my feet…. Not to mention the way my calves are shaped can look super bulky if I am not fully rotated at all times… Like definitely… for reals… not a naturally gifted body… Had doors slammed in my face, was told I was chunky and didn’t have the right proportions, and someone from National Ballet of Canada told me that I should probably quit ballet because I was smart in school and focus on attending an IVY. To which… I did both… ballet and an IVY- he could suck my big toe at the moment. But not to sound bitter, but seriously though. If he didn’t tell me that, I wouldn’t have killed myself or pushed even harder… I also didn’t land magically at the YAGP because I have a Russian name, or come from Bolshoi, and I didn’t land choreographing because I was at a major company and started working with company mates… And yes, I created this blog on a whim, but have worked extremely hard to make it a successful business, while working full time and running a PR, Fashion and Aesthetics firm and magazine.

So yes, this humble journey does mean a lot to me… and while some might be at these elite schools teaching… only because that is the only job they could really transition into, or they didn’t know anything else… I want to say, thank you to you as well, because it fuels my fire to keep doing what I am doing, and build a career in ballet that isn’t traditional, that isn’t dancing, that is truly based on everything I know, and don’t know. So thank you. Your negativity, constructive criticism and blatant slander inspires me and reminds me… It is pride month…

So be proud of who you are… not just your sexuality, but your individual identity, your individual story, owning up to who you are and what you want out of life… Be proud of what you have accomplished, of what you dream of, and the pursuit of being a better person. Don’t hate, celebrate. Happy Pride.

PRE-ORDER YOUR PROUD TANK TOP (click the image to shop or click here)
proud

65 MUST SEE BALLETS…. for the beginner ballet audience…

BALLETOMANE

It is really hard to keep up with ballet repertory especially when choreographers are putting out brilliant works left and right. I mean this year alone we had like 50 new premiers on major companies… But recently I was asked, what are some of the must see ballets when starting out as a ballet go-er. Then I had to think of a list, and make sure I had the premier dates and musical score right… The list was actually a lot harder than I thought… What ballets to see, and what ballets to leave off… Then I thought, well no one should see boring ballets… and then I thought, well they might think they are lovely… So, I couldn’t really be biased. Then I had to look at what companies are performing… For example Les Noces is a brilliant ballet, but hardly in anyone’s repertory. Then again, so is the original Rite of Spring… but Rite of Spring might be more accessible… So… Including the classics, modern classics, and standards of today’s repertory… Here is a list of 65 ballets that new ballet enthusiasts should see!

If you are an experienced ballet go-er… play a game… 2 points if you have seen it live, 2 points of you have danced it.

AFTER THE RAIN
2005 CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON / ARVO PART, TABULA RASA, SPIEL IM SPIEGEL

after the rain

THE AFTERNOON OF A FAUN
1912 VASLAV NIJINSKY / CLAUDE DEBUSSY
1953 JEROME ROBBINS / CLAUDE DEBUSSY

AGON
1957 GEORGE BALANCHINE / IGOR STRAVINSKY

APOLLO
1928 GEORGE BALANCHINE / IGOR STRAVINSKY

APPALACHIAN SPRING
1944 MARTHA GRAHAM / AARON COPLAND

LA BAYADERE 
1877 MARIUS PETIPA / LUDWIG MINKUS
la bayadere cast 1
BEAUTIFUL DECAY 

2013 NICOLO FONTE /

BOLERO
1961 MARICE BEJART/ MAURICE RAVEL

CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS
2003 CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON / CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS

CHROMA
2006 WAYNE MCGREGOR / JOBY TALBOT, JACK WHITE, CHRISTOPHER AUSTIN

CINDERELLA 
1945  ROSTISLAV ZAKHAROV / SERGEI PROKOFIEV

COMPANY B
1991 PAUL TAYLOR / SUNG BY THE ANDREWS SISTERS

THE CONCERT
1956 JEROME ROBBINS / FREDERIC CHOPIN

CONCERTO BAROCCO 
1941 GEORGE BALANCHINE / JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
(ASHLEY LARACEY ON CONCERTO)

COPPELIA
1870 JOSEPH MAZILLIER / ADOLPHE ADAM

DANCES AT A GATHERING
1969 JEROME ROBBINS / FREDERIC CHOPIN

DON QUIXOTE
1869 MARIUS PETIPA / LUDWIG MINKUS

THE DREAM
1964 FREDERICK ASHTON / FELIX MENDELSSOHN

THE DYING SWAN
1905 MICHEL FOKINE / CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS

ETUDES
1948 HARALD LANDER/CARL CZERNY

FANCY FREE
1944 JEROME ROBBINS / LEONARD BERSTEIN

LA FILLE MAL GARDEE
1789, 1828 1960 FREDRICK ASHTON / FERDINAND HEROLD

THE FIREBIRD
1910 MICHEL FOKINE / IGOR STRAVINSKY
1949 GEORGE BALANCHINE / IGOR STRAVINSKY
2012 ALEXEI RATMANSKY / IGOR STRAVINSKY
Misty_cope_land_firebird

FLOWER FESTIVAL AT GENZANO
1858 AUGUSTE BOURNONVILLE / HOLGER SIMON PAULLI, EDVARD HELSTED, M. STREBINGER
(Henriette Muss and Johan Kobborg)

THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS
1946 GEORGE BALANCHINE / IGOR STRAVINSKY

GHOST DANCES
1981 CHRISTOPHER BRUCE / SOUTH AMERICAN FOLK SONGS

GISELLE
1841 JEAN CORALLI AND JULES PERROT / ADOLPHE ADAM

THE GREEN TABLE
1932 KURT JOOSS / FRITZ COHEN

IN THE MIDDLE, SOMEWHAT ELEVATED
1987 WILLIAM FORSYTHE / THOM WILLEMS

IN THE UPPER ROOM
1986 TWYLA THARP / PHILIP GLASS

JEWELS
1967 GEORGE BALANCHINE / FAURE, STRAVINSKY, PI TCHAIKOVSKY
fundraiser

LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS
1978 JOHN NEUMEIER / FREDERIC CHOPIN
1994 VAL CANIPORALI / FREDERIC CHOPIN

LE PETITE MORT
1991 JIRI KYLIAN / WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART

THE LEAVES ARE FADING
1975 ANTONY TUDOR / ANTON DVORAK

THE LITTLE MERMAID
2005 JOHN NEUMEIER / LERA AUERBACH

L’HISTOIRE DE MANON (AKA MANON)
1974 SIR KENNETH MACMILLAN / JULES MASSENET

MISSA BREVIS
1958 JOSE LIMON / ZOLTAN KODALY


THE MOOR’S PAVANE

1949 JOSE LIMON / HENRY PURCELL

NAPOLI
1842 AUGUST BOURNONVILLE / NIELS WILHELM GADE, EDVARD HELSTED, HOLGER SIMON PAULLI, CHRISTIAN LUMBYE

ONEGIN
1965 JOHN CRANKO / PI TCHAIKOVSKY
Onegin 1

OTHELLO
1997 LAR LUBOVITCH / ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL

PAS DE QUATRE
1845 JULES PERROT / CESARE PUGNI

LES PATINEURS
1937 FREDERICK ASHTON / GIACOMO MAYERBEER

PAZ DE LA JOLLA
2013 JUSTIN PECK / BOHUSLAV MARTINU

PETRUSHKA
1911 MICHEL FOKINE / IGOR STRAVINSKY

PILLAR OF FIRE
1942 ANTONY TUDOR / ARNOLD SCHONBERG

POLYPHONIA 
2001 CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON / GYORGY LIGETI
(CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON REHEARSING POLYPHONIA ON ROYAL BALLET)

RED GISELLE
1997 BORIS EIFMAN / TCHAIKOVSKY, SCHNITTKE, BIZET

REVELATIONS
1960 ALVIN AILEY / TRADITIONAL SPIRITUALS

RODEO
1942 AGNES DEMILLE / AARON COPLAND

ROMEO AND JULIET 
1965 KENNETH MACMILLAN / SERGEI PROKOFIEV
1955 FREDERICK ASHTON / SERGEI PROKOFIEV

RUTH, Ricordi per Due 
2004 GERALD ARPINO / THOMASSE ALBINNONI

LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS (RITE OF SPRING)
1913 VASLAV NIJINSKY / IGOR STRAVINSKY

SCHEHERAZADE
1910 MICHEL FOKINE . NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

SERENADE
1934 GEORGE BALANCHINE / P.I. TCHAIKOVSKY
Serenade_ballet

THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
1890 MARIUS PETIPA / P.I. TCHAIKOVSKY

LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE
1911 MICHELE FOKINE / CARL MARIA VON WEBER

SQUARE DANCE
1957 GEORGE BALANCHINE / ANTONIO VIVALDI, ARCANGELO CORELLI

SWAN LAKE
1895 MARIUS PETIPA AND LEV IVANOV / P.I. TCHAIKOVSKY
1995 MATTHEW BOURNE / P.I. TCHAIKOVSKY
1997 DEREK DEANE / P.I TCHAIKOVSKY (SWAN LAKE IN THE ROUND, ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET)

LA SYLPHIDE
1836 AUGUST BOURNONVILLE / HERMAN LOVENSKJOLD

LES SYLPHIDES
1909 MICHEL FOKINE / FREDERIC CHOPIN

THEME AND VARIATIONS
1947 GEORGE BALANCHINE / P.I. TCHAIKOVSKY

THE VERTIGINOUS THRILL OF EXACTITUDE 
1996 WILLIAM FORSYTHE / FRANZ SCHUBERT

YEAR OF THE RABIT
2012 JUSTIN PECK / SUFJAN STEVENS
SHOP A BALLET EDUCATION

Getting it together…

junk food squad

So, this week in ballet has been a great one. Tomorrow, National Ballet of Canada will premier Le Petit Prince which is almost completely sold out. Houston Ballet has been killing their triple bill program. And I am super behind with everything… But this week, a lot of my collaborative efforts paid off, so for me, this week has been really exciting.

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First, Lia Cirio snapped a photo of my work at the Met while watching her brother perform. The stationary sets for Cirio Collective have arrived and are on sale now. Click the photo below to shop ($15) Photo above and below are from Lia Cirio.
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Then, my collaborative efforts with Covet Dance came into fruition! Check out the first of the Fat Panda Screen Tees on Cotton…. Super cute! Pre-sale for $29.99!! Click the image below to shop.

 

My summer is filling up with great master classes. An open master class series that I will be doing is in collaboration with Fisher Fine Arts in the greater Phoenix area. I will be doing three master series while there. The first is for dance educators, the second for primary students, and the third for intermediate and advanced students. There are limited spaces available, so to reserve a spot please call 480.364.4650. It should be a lot of fun.

Also, I don’t know if it is open or not, but I will also be in Chicago in July… but I am not sure. Once I know the final details, I will let you know.

corps de ballet confessional: Elizabeth Weldon of Ballet West

By reputation, ballerinas are these willowy, elongated creatures that are unobtainable… That could pretty much sums up Elizabeth Weldon, a corps de ballet member at TV’s most popular ballet company, Ballet West.  With feet to die for, ideal body proportions and musicality that rivals most, she tops it off by being humble in her achievements, gracious in performances, intelligent in her choices and wise through experience. Not to mention she is a poster girl for Bloch.

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I first met Liz as a dancer through CPYB and worked together at Panera Bread. I just remember seeing these long legs hidden behind an apron and this great smile under this ugly khaki/olive colored hat. She had joined the school year later on, or maybe she was there since the beginning but I didn’t really know her or know of her until the later part.  LOL. Not sure, but regardless, our time was brief, but if there was one thing I remember, was how smart she was with the choices she made. So, for those who want to go to college, but people tell you, “You might not have a dance career”… Liz did it all…

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So, what is it like to be Elizabeth Weldon? Here we go!

Name: Elizabeth Weldon
Insta: lizaries13
Company: Ballet West
Company Position: Corps (official company position)
Years in the Company: 6
Previous Companies: Orlando Ballet Second Company
Ballet Education: Boston Ballet, CPYB
Age: 32
Height: 5’8

 

What is your favorite type of sandwich?
Probably a breakfast sandwich. Eggs, cheese, and sausage on an asiago or everything bagel.

You are sponsored by Bloch? Or a Bloch model? How does that happen? Especially as a corps de ballet member? (Don’t get me wrong, you are tall and gorgeous, but just so others know what modeling brings about) What pointe shoe do you wear?
This is an interesting story. A couple years ago I started having a lot of pain in my feet and discovered that my shoes no longer fit, my feet had grown. I was trying to find a shoe that fit my foot and contacted Bloch about being fitted for pointe shoes. They had me send pictures of my feet and after seeing the pictures I sent, they asked me if I would be available to come to NYC to do a photoshoot for their spring Mirella line 2015. It was such an incredible experience! I loved working with the Bloch team. I never would have imagined having the chance to do something like that. Everyone at Bloch was so nice and fun to work with. It’s an experience I will never forget.

I’m not sure what to include about my current shoe situation …. I currently wear Capezios. I am very lucky to have the feet I do, however sometimes it feels like a blessing and a curse. The shoes I currently wear don’t fit my feet and it’s been very frustrating because I feel like it’s the greatest obstacle in my career. I’ve been dancing on shoes that don’t fit for three seasons now. It’s very discouraging. ….   (Finding the right shoe is extremely difficult!)

 

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photo by Joshua, Liz in Nicolo Fonte’s Rite of Spring


What is in your dance bag?
Many, many, pointe shoes! Flat shoes, scissors, duct tape, a nail file, foot powder, and foam roller. I also carry a separate bag with snacks 🙂

 

What is your warm up routine, or process to get ready for class or show?
It changes depending on what we are working on or performing. Before class my warm up is very minimal, just simple stretching to loosen up, or exercises to activate certain muscles. I try to pay attention to my body and give it whatever it seems to need.

You went the nontraditional route… You went to college first. What was that like? Help or hinder?
The answer to this question is a little complex. I think in the big picture of life going to college first helped, but perhaps not for my dance career. However, I loved my experience at college. I made wonderful friends who are still in my life today. I loved learning, and having the chance to figure out who I was as an individual. It also helped me realize how much I love ballet and how much I missed having it in my life. After graduation was when I began to really pursue ballet as a career.

What do you want out of your dancing?
I recently saw a video of David Bowie and he said something that really resonated with me. “Always remember that the reason you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest it in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you coexist with the rest of society.’

Dream role?
I want to do it all! Haha just kidding 🙂 I would love to dance the pas de deux from Wheeldon’s After the Rain. Kylian’s Petite mort is another dream ballet.

What is it like being categorized as a tall dancer?
Oddly enough at Ballet West I’m in the middle height range for the girls. I’ve become accustomed to dancing among so many tall people at BW that I don’t think of myself as tall. We have girls who are over 6’ on pointe and men up to 6’7 tall so comparatively speaking, I’m not very tall.

Was Ballet West your dream company? How did you get your contract?
It’s a little strange to say, but when I started auditioning for companies I just had a feeling I was meant to be at Ballet West. I did the open audition in NYC and eventually ended up at Ballet West on an 11-week supplemental contract. They needed extra girls for Swan Lake and a Balanchine program. I was so happy to be dancing with such an amazing company and thankfully at the end of my supplemental contract they asked me to come back for a full season. This is now my sixth full season with Ballet West.

Who are some professional dancers you admire?
I honestly have admiration for anyone in this career. It’s very difficult and we all have our own unique stories. No dancer has it easy. We do what we love, but there are definitely sacrifices we have to make. Like anyone in the arts, we aren’t compensated nearly enough for all the hard work. We move to whatever part of world we can find a job, and give up holidays with our families. It’s a very difficult career physically and psychologically. However I think we all realize how unique our careers are, and how special it is to be a part of the ballet world. It’s an honor to be part of a traditional art form that’s so much bigger than yourself.

 

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Favorite place to go relax and decompress from ballet world?
I spend most of my free time at home in my apartment on my couch with my pug, Mogli. He’s my best bud.

 

Favorite book?
Moon Palace by Paul Auster. He’s my favorite author. I love all his books.

If you could go back to you 16-year-old self, what would you tell her? What would you do differently?
I don’t think I would do anything differently because then I wouldn’t be who I am today. Though I wish some things had perhaps been different, I value the experiences and life lessons I had to face along the way. There are things I have learned in my 30s that I don’t think my 16-year-old self would understand. Sometimes we need to learn through experience and all those lessons happen in the right timing in our life.  At least that’s what I believe.

What were some of the “negative” things you were told as a student? How did it affect you?
I think as a dancer it is inevitable you will hear negative things and it’s up to you to determine how you let it affect you. I remember being told I was too uncoordinated to be a dancer. I was told by a very well-respected physical therapist that my body wouldn’t be able to handle a career in dance – that I would always be injured. I was told that if I didn’t train for a career when I was young that I would never make it as a professional. I believe that you are the only person who can determine your limits. It’s your choice whether you’re a victim of circumstances or if you chose to make your own rules and live life on your own terms.

What is the biggest advice you can give aspiring dancers?
Follow your passion and do what feels right for you. Your life is your greatest gift and you can write whatever story you want. Always treat yourself with love and respect. Take care of your body and your mental health. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want, but very often our biggest challenges are also our greatest opportunities for growth.


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