FREE DANCE WORKSHOPS THIS MONTH!

FREE DANCE ALERT!! Here some free workshops happening this month! Love that these schools are giving back to the community! And yes, I know they are using it as a tool to get more students in the door, but still- who doesn’t love a free class!

AUGUST 13, 2019: HOUSTON, TEXAS – The Houston community is invited to learn more about Vitacca School for Dance Montorse at a FREE Community Dance Open House on Tuesday, August 13th from 4:30-8 PM featuring complimentary classes for ages 5-18, director meet and greet, and giveaways for the first 50 guests. All classes are open for parent/dancer observation. Vitacca offers creative movement, ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, theater, modern and contemporary. Find the right class for your student!

The facility is located in the Montrose section of Houston at 2311 Dunlavy. Free parking on site and street parking available.  Registration is now open for the 2019/20 season or if you have questions about the Open House contact us today: 713.205.0355 or MontroseAdmin@VitaccaDance.com. Find out more at www.VitaccaDance.com.

AUGUST 24, 2019: SAN DIEGO, CA – FREE BOYS MASTER WORKSHOP!

August 11-17, 2019, New York, New York – Battery Dance Festival 2019
Battery Dance performs on the world’s stages, teaches, presents, and advocates for the field of dance. Battery Dance is dedicated to the pursuit of artistic excellence and the availability of the Arts to everyone. An integral part of the fabric of New York City for 40 years, Battery supports the creative process; educates children in the New York City schools; enriches the general public through local programs and performances, national and international tours, and international arts exchange programs. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/battery-dance-festival-2019-free-dance-workshops-tickets-64983638813

OPEN LEVEL
August 11 • Laboration Art Company | France – 10:30am-12pm
August 12 • Battery Dance | USA – 10:30am-12pm 
August 13 • Mezopotamya Dans | Turkey – 10:30am-12pm
August 14 • Emma Evelein Dance | Netherlands – 10:30am-12pm
August 15 • SEAD Bodhi Project | Austria – 10:30am-12pm 
August 16• Manipuri Dance | India – 10:30am-12pm 
August 17• B~E | Lithuania – 10:30am – 12pm
August 17• Reuel Rogers I Curacao – 1:30 – 3pm 

August 26, 2019, Los Angeles, CA – LA Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Performing Arts Program
In conjunction with WAA’s conference theme of “Black Arts @ WAA”, the City of LA – Performing Arts Program is producing three Presenter Showcases and Networking Receptions.Black Dance in LA @ WAA – Presenter Showcase
Curated by Gayle Hooks (Dance @ The Holden and Ebony Repertory Theatre) and Pat Taylor (JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble)

Monday August 26, 8pm
(Pre Networking reception at 6:30pm at Nate Holden Cabaret Room)*
Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
4708 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

For more information contact Yvonne Farrow, yvonne.farrow@lacity.org or 213-202-5551

The legacy and contributions of Black choreographers and dancers in Los Angeles is historic and significant, and it is now a hotbed of some of the most creative and urgent works being created in the US and that celebrate the African diaspora.  Curated by two esteemed voices in the LA dance community, the Black Dance in LA @ WAA showcase will showcase established and emerging choreographic voices that showcase the breadth of the LA dance scene. Free and open to LA’s dance community and WAA attendees. This event is a 15/20 minute Uber/Lyft ride from the conference hotel.

Have a free workshop to offer for the month of September? Please send press releases here.

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Ballet for the Older Dancer… prologue

Ballet for the Older Dancer… prologue

Today, I decided I am going to get back in shape, not to be a professional dancer again, but to lose the weight I have put on from stress eating. I am also having those gay, turning 30 nerves. So, I got up early and decided to go to 9:00 AM class at Ballet Arizona… This isn’t the first time I have taken adult class, but this is the first time I have felt like a real adult. My body hurt, I am ridiculously out of shape, and haven’t taken class in months… So… here is what was in my dance bag:

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Bio Freeze, Foot Roller, Foot Stretcher, Apolla Performance Socks with Traction, Grishko canvas flats, back support brace, leg warmers, warm-ups, ibuprofen and a broken theraband.

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Typically, I hate Russian based classes. This was no different, but I have do have a point to this so bear with me. My body was exhausted by dégagés, and I decided to give up by adagio. On the way home I was thinking, “Wow you are out of shape” and “You must have looked ridiculous” and “Don’t embarrass yourself” but then I thought, “No, good for you. At this point in your life, ballet is something you should enjoy. You should just go with it, and help those around you.”

This is when I talked to Bethanne, and realized how limited adult ballet classes are.

So, as I was going home, I realized that the class I had just participated in was not designed for adults at all. Russian based classes are not designed for adults, and it just hurts your body. My hips were on fire and my back was shot. My feet were crampy but that was because I’m out of shape. Anyways, I am straying from what I actually want to talk about…

Okay, here is what you need to find for adult class… Someone who actually teaches and just doesn’t give class. Unfortunately, the teacher who was teaching class was teaching class as if it was company class. I actually don’t think a correction was given at barre. Second, you shouldn’t find a Russian class or go looking for a crazy ballet class… You should be looking for a teacher who is familiar with the somatic approach to ballet. You need to be able to attack the technique without constraining your body or hurting yourself. Thirdly, you need to have all of the tools and support to help you get through class.

Mentally, you have to take ballet class completely different. Normally, when I would take ballet class I would be pushing my turnout, and stretching the heck out of my feet and giving combinations 110%. This time around, my body was so against me dancing this early that I had to really pace myself. Pliés became about the music, tendus became about just articulating my feet and so on. Different combinations I had to think of different things… It was quite different.

Then came center… we did tendus and pirouettes first and then adagio. Adagio was super brutal. Normally, it is my favorite, but this time around in promenade attitude derriere my back started to pinch, and by the elongé my back was completely shot. It could be that the weight gain on the front of my body was pulling and putting more pressure on my knee, and the weight on the back side was causing my leg to not go up… You can’t get your leg up to the back with a back roll pressing down lol… It was pretty intense…

So, now I was just in pain… But, I could have listened to my body early on… I mean at fondus my body was already telling me that my pelvis and lower back were not in a bendy mood. I have gained so much weight this new year that cambré forward is almost impossible.  It was really depressing.

Now, onto the positive… So, I have decided to also start writing for the adult dancer… 

If you want to join me on this, feel free to follow along.

So, to get in shape I am going to start kind of dieting… I love food, sooooo, it isn’t going to really be about dieting, but more like portion control.

This evening, to prepare myself for the next ballet class I will write the alphabet with my ankle and foot, do theraband exercises, stretch and do some core work. This will be followed by 32 relevés in first and second. Sur le coup de pied exercises. Hip flexor stretches and some turnout exercises. You will probably want to get a pair of appolla performance socks as I do barre in them. If you are following along. They offer all the support of a ballet shoe but lets you feel the floor.

Then I am going to Epsom and lavender oil bath and rub some essential oils on.

stay tuned…

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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100 POSTS

a Ballet Education Celebrates 100 Posts

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE!!

We have officially done 100 Blog Posts.

As we approach our 1 year anniversary…

We have a lot in store and we are  so excited.
Thank you all for your support.

you know you are a ballet dancer if a ballet education

Vaganova School A Ballet Education

a ballet education balanchine

Dear Mr B

For the Moms…

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Dear Dance Moms (and dads),

I would just like to take the time today and say thank you. Thank you for forcing us to go to class when we didn’t want to, when we needed the shoulder to cry on because we don’t have perfect turnout, for driving us to and from class everyday, driving us to auditions, paying for summer programs, countless pairs of tights and shoes…. Thank you you for massaging out the knots, for all of the chiropractor appointments, for the sacrificing of the thousands of dollars it takes to study ballet, for rhinestoning all the tutus, for dying all of the random things, for buying me that leotard I needed to stand out at an audition in… Thank you for teaching me how to do a bun, for coming to every show, for paying me to fly all over the world to audition, and buying me those special protein bars that are low carb…

Without you & dad I would have never made it. Even though growing up I would accuse you of being a ballet mom, hovering at the window…

And so on… It is your day and I love and appreciate you.

NYT feature on SAB boys for Nutcracker.
NYT feature on SAB boys for Nutcracker.

Now, I would like to take the time and thank my mom who had no clue about ballet for letting me pursue it.  Then I would like to thank all of the moms who have helped me on my way. Thank you for all the rides, thank you for all the custom knit leg warmers and warm ups, thank you for all the advice you gave me and thank you for always helping me. I really did have a lot of ballet moms in my life, that I am very grateful for.

I hope all of you mom’s out there have a fantastic MOTHER’S DAY!!!

Manly Ballet 1

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Ballet Vocabulary: Lesson 1

A Ballet Education the best ballet schools

In the world of ballet, there are three languages. There is the language in which ballet was codified, French. Then there is the language in which interprets ballet, body language backed by emotion. And then there is a language that ballet dancers actually speak, a language of their own, and I’m not talking about French. So, here is the modern vocabulary list every ballet dancer/student should know (part one). These terms you will come across in class, gossiping among your fellow peers in ballet school, blogs like this one, or social media.

Mr. B (noun): AKA, George Balanchine, aka God (just kidding, not really)

  1. The founder of New York City Ballet, and probably the most influential choreographer of the 20th century.

What would Mr. B do?

4 T’s (noun): AKA The Four Temperaments

  1. Choreographed by George Balanchine in 1946 to music by Paul Hindemith.

Dancing 4T’s is really difficult if you aren’t trained Balanchine.

Buiscut (noun or adj):

  1. Dancers with “bad” feet or feet that don’t point.

She has biscuit feet, she’ll never go en pointe.

A La Sebesque, secabesque (noun):

  1. A non existent position in ballet that people with bad technique use. It is a combination of a la seconde, and arabesque.

You are doing a la sebesque dear, you aren’t in jazz class.

Bunhead (noun):

1. A dancer who is overly intense about ballet, to the point where it might be unhealthy.
Maureen is a bunhead, Eva is not.

Snatched (adj):

1. A dancer’s body in peak shape.
Her body is snatched, hence why she is rockin’ a unitard.

Whacked out (adj):
1. Ridiculously flexible
He is so whacked out… but only to the right.

AD (noun) aka Artistic Director:

1. The head of a ballet company.
She only got the part because she is sleeping with the AD.

Leo (noun) aka Leotard:

1. Appropriate ballet attire, made from mesh, nylon, spandex, lycra or another synthetic blend of fabric.
Who wears a white leo to an audition?

________ Hands (_____ (adj) + noun): 

1. Spatula Hands: hands that look like spatulas.
2. Oven mitt hands: hands that are shaped like an oven mitt.
3. Hamburger Hands: hands that are shaped like one is holding a hamburger.
She is definitely not getting into SAB because of her spatula hands.

Claws (noun):

1. Hands that have gone through rigorous Balanchine training and are the anti Russian hand.
He has claws, you think he is from SAB?

Nut Season (noun):
1. The part of the season in which one must dance in the annual production of the Nutcracker in which they will be overworked, and over rehearsed. Dancers may cringe, or cry if they are at the mall shopping and the Tchaikovsky score is being played during the holidays. The time of the season in which every dancer wants to quit.
It is Nut Season, I want to die.

Pancaking (verb):
1. The application of a mattifier to match ones skin tone and remove the shine or pink color.
2. When a ballet dancer goes to iHop and dreams of ordering pancakes but orders a salad instead.
Gaynor Mindens should always be pancaked, that way it isn’t obvious you are wearing them.

Floor Barre (noun):

1. An awful, but healthy alternative to taking class. It is the combination of ballet, yoga and pilates.
I would rather do character than floor barre.

This is just part one, and as I compile list two, please feel free to email me for suggestions.

BIG THINGS FOR A BALLET EDUCATION

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So, I have decided to launch a few big things for a Ballet Education, and I hope they are helpful… But, unfortunately it will take a little bit of capitol. If you have enjoyed reading my blog, minus the grammar mistakes, you can now donate so I can pay an editor to go back through and edit everything. I just don’t have the time. Even now, I am using SIRI to update this blog while driving to an event in Los Angeles.

Here is what I was thinking…

book cover mock up

yes, I would like to publish a book…

COMING SOON... available via iPhone, iPad, Android, Desktop, Digital Download
COMING SOON…
available via iPhone, iPad, Android, Desktop, Digital Download

and yes… I want to release digital books of things that are important…

And I would like to redesign the site.

And I would like to be able to start a youtube channel with how to do real ballet techniques…

Sooooo, if you are interested please donate or email me aballeteducation@gmail.com

Thanks.

The Return: A Ballet Education

… I thought I was going to be giving this up, and I thought I would leave my nightly rants to Facebook… BUT THEN a ballet company finally replied to my e-mail, and they did not have anything nice to say… So, with that being said, a Ballet Education is coming back full force… Don’t piss off a gaysian who works in PR. This is going to be fun. A lot of fun. And as it might black list me from ever going to see a performance, and I might lose a bunch of friends in the ballet world… I decided… It is worth it.

A lot of you wrote in why I was selling and stopping… Here is the truth:

I decided to stop a ballet education because despite all of my efforts in posting happy, feel good posts about classical ballets, dance companies and schools… Actual education posts… people really didn’t care to read them. The more honest I was, the more popular the posts became… And I felt that I was giving ballet kind of a bad reputation, despite the truth behind it—

Then, because of this blog major ballet companies wouldn’t consider hiring me for PR & Marketing, despite my proven success track in the world fashion and luxury. (Which I consider going to the ballet to be a luxury (ballet go-ers support the art, so I thought why not?) Even though they sent nice emails saying I wasn’t qualified, a friend had casually mentioned my blog had come up in an east coast conference room. I was like Mother F’rs did I just screw myself over?

Finally, I realized that i was spending way too much time talking about ballet and not enough time in the world of fashion, which pays my bills…

So here is why I am coming back… I’m cutting the BS out of ballet. It is time people starting talking truthfully and not politely… People keep wondering why ballet is dying? Because no one is afraid to say the truth, and well, since I am not going to be in the dance world any time soon… I have nothing to lose. GET READY… because it is coming!! 

JKO SCHOOL

There really is no secret formula to decide what ballet school is better. You have to remember that my top ten ballet schools was a reflection of history, careers, and outstanding teachers… A lot of people have written in on why I don’t talk about the JKO school, so here I am talking about the JKO on a Sunday Morning with my coffee…

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis school is a technical school that is fairly new compared to most ballet schools. American Ballet Theatre is a touring company, so it doesn’t really make sense to have a school… Despite ABT having their own curriculum. The JKO school is a the platform in which numerous students flock to, in hopes of one day joining the ranks of American Ballet Theatre… The problem? ABT is notorious for recruiting their ABT II members from huge competitions. ABTII feeds into American Ballet Theatre. While their students are promising, and a huge amount of talent comes there, I have not really been impressed with the school. Not to mention they are about to open a school in Orange County… Which isn’t a surprise, seeing who sponsored the school… William Gillespie is a huge ballet supporter in California, and sponsors tons of kids to pursue their dreams. Now, with schools on two coasts, it makes you wonder… ABT might just be that smart in terms of generating revenue… Which every ballet company needs…

1. Schools support companies in a huge way. Not only is it the chance to groom dancers to how you want them to be, they financially support the company.

2. Summer programs are huge money makers.. why does ABT have five locations? Joffery have two? Etc etc etc. Boston has two different programs running, and I think the Rock has a total of 3 over the summer…

The problem with big name schools? Their alumni reflects a huge amount of talent because the best of the best in the world are hoping to one day dance for the company. If you look at smaller schools, or schools not affiliated or that feed into a company… Those are great ways to determine how good a school is. I’m not saying JKO is a bad school, far from it. But, while you have all written in about getting accepted into ABT OC, ABT TX, you might need to stop and think about it… really.

maxresdefault eae66f35c26149c7ae6c3c9477f27ec2 American Ballet Theater American Ballet TheaterPhotos are of students at the JKO school by Rosalie O’Connor.

8 Ballet Schools that most people don’t know about, but should… (international)

Víctor Ullate Centro de Danza, Madrid, Spain (click here)

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Academie Princesse Grace, Montecarlo, Monaco (click here)

Ellison Ballet, New York City, United States (click here)

The John Cranko School. Stuttgart, Germany (click here)

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Ballettschule der Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna, Austria (click here)

Opernball-Ballettakademie

Escola de Danca Do ConservatoriaNacional, Lisbon, Portugal (click here)

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Teatro Colón Ballet School, Buenos Aires, Argentina (click here)

Ballet Nacional do Brasil, Brasil (click here)

The Beast that is the Nutcracker…

In the repertory of classical ballets, there is one ballet that trumps them all. It isn’t number one because of the physical demands, and it is definitely not number one because of artistic merit. In fact, this ballet probably is the most unartistic for any artist. It is probably the most recognized of score of any ballet music, from variations, to even the prologue, everyone knows it. It is the beast: THE NUTCRACKER.

It is no secret that most ballet companies make money twice a year. The first is by offering summer programs from June-August. The second comes in December and seats are sold out for their annual productions of the Nutcracker. For the majority of companies, the Nutcracker runs seamless. Everyone already knows all the parts, they are just waiting for the casting. Lighting, and costuming is already done for the most part, and just rely on tweaking things here and there. For marketing and PR, it is the best time to host fundraisers since everyone is in that holiday spirit of donating money. And for the audiences, it is that timeless, almost boring tradition, that doesn’t go away.

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PNB’s infamous Peacock. I probably prefer this variation more than the Balanchine one.

 

For most young aspiring dancers, the Nutcracker was the first ballet parents ever took us to.  Whether it was on VHS, directly talking about the Baryshnikov and Kirkland version, or PNB’s collaboration with Maurice Sendak. Or, the NYCB version featuring Macauly Culkin and Darci Kistler. So, for the majority of our young lives we prayed that one day we would get to dance in the Nutcracker. And then it happens… You get cast in your school’s version of the Nutcracker. You start as a child in Mother Ginger and party scene. You pray that you get picked to be Clara/Marie, and maybe you do. Then, you start to get smaller supporting roles, and finally you are in the corps of flowers and snow. By 13, you are dancing Marzipan/Mirlitons, and by 15 you are maybe Dew Drop. Next thing you know you are at a professional ballet school, and you never get to dance in Nutcracker again. Until, one day you are lucky enough to land yourself a company contract.

Five years later, after dancing professionally, you hear the music at department stores and cringe. Now you dread Nutcracker. It is the most boring of the ballets, and you dance it time and time again. If you are still a corps member you already know that you will be a party parent and in the same show you will have to dance in both snow and flowers. You hear the same corrections in flowers, “Bend more!” or “Watch your spacing.” In snow you already know that you need to move a little quicker than the music, and you watch the new apprentices and corps members struggle to keep up. Yup, it is that holiday tradition of being in a ballet company that brings dancers together. 

So, what is it about this ballet that is so charismatic and is performed every season?

hong kong ballet waltz of the flowers

5 reasons why the Nutcracker will never go away…

  1. Curse you Tchaikovsky! The score of Nutcracker is close to flawless in terms of musical genius. All of the music is relatable, catchy, and keeps the audience entertained. 
  2. It is magical, and is every little girl’s dream. Because it is the first ballet we ever see, it becomes engrained in us. It sparks the hope of millions of little girls to become ballet dancers.
  3. It is short and sweet. The shortest of the classical ballets, where the story is compressed into the first act and the second act is purely about the dancing. It is probably the only ballet your dad can sit through. Most little girls can’t sit through all of Swan Lake, or even get through act I without having to use the bathroom, get bored, or fall asleep.
  4. The test of a dancer. Dancers I think are tested a lot in the Nutcracker. Because you have so many performances, there are a lot more casting opportunities. If in a run of a regular program there may be only two or three casts. During Nutcracker, there are at least five casts, if not more. This gives the Artistic Director a chance to play around with their dancers. For an artistic director who wants to see something more dark and mysterious from a dancer, he will cast her in Arabian/Coffee. If they want to test a dancer’s stamina they put her Dew Drop. And if they want to see maturity, and ability they cast in her Sugar Plum. 
  5. It makes money! If it wasn’t for the Nutcracker, dancers wouldn’t have jobs for an entire season. So, we suck it up so we can dance all year round. 

Want extension? Tilt your hips!

Controversy. 

Everyone wants gorgeous extensions, and we all youtube and watch the most beautiful extensions happen around the world. We idolize Sylvie Guillem, and Svetlana Zakharova. Now the problem? In ballet class some teachers say keep your hip down, keep your hips square, keep blah blah blah blah blah… It goes on and on and on… In an ideal world, the hip should be down, the reality? No one really keeps their hips down in developpe side. It is like this secret no one really talks about.

The one and only Sylvie... TOOOOTAL hip up
The one and only Sylvie… TOOOOTAL hip up

Students at the JKO school in NYC.
Students at the JKO school in NYC.

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Svetlana... total hip up... Vaganova School and principal at Bolshoi.
Svetlana… total hip up… Vaganova School and principal at Bolshoi.

So, embrace it. This doesn’t mean get all wonky in your posture, in fact it means you have to be more focused on your torso and upper body so you don’t look all caddy-wompus. So, after careful examination and talk with numerous ballet teachers, we have decided that the correction: Keep your hip down and square is correct. The correction should also include, tilt your hips directly side, in second, and that is what makes the leg go higher, as if your pelvis is in center straddle. So, this means no gripping from behind, or some crazy lifted twerkin booty out, just simply take your hips and tilt them side.

As you all will be going crazy, and probably writing me hate mail… Examine the body’s anatomy, and ask yourself, why do you say hip down? Is it because someone told you to, or some old russian teacher from god knows when said so? Reality check.  That isn’t teaching, that is passing on information and it is like playing telephone, that game we played as kids. The reality is that extensions are required to be a dancer, so you have to look at each students’ body and see if they have the natural facility to developpe without compromising the hips. Very rarely have I seen bodies with the facility to do so.

With that being said, time to get legs up.