Stories and Perspectives

214 ~ Pirouettes from the Past – Chapter Seven, European Ballet Teachers in America.

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This episode discusses the important role European ballet teachers played in America, especially during the last decades of the nineteenth century and first decades of the twentieth century.

Dr. Melissa R. Klapper is Professor of History and former Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. She teaches American and women’s history, with a focus on the late 19th and early 20th century and additional research interests in the history of childhood, the history of education, and American Jewish history. Dr. Klapper is the author ofJewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 (NYU Press, 2005); Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880-1925 (Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2007); and Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women’s Activism, 1890-1940 (NYU Press,2013). Her scholarship has been awarded grants and fellowships from an array of sources, including the American Jewish Archives, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women at Harvard University, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

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The Importance of Cross-Training for Dancers ~ by, Gillian Lastinger

Cross-training is very common among professional athletes such as hockey, baseball, football, and basketball players. As dancers we spend so much time working on our ballet technique, pointe shoes, rehearsals, and classes when do we have time for another activity?

However more and more we are finding that to get the most out of those rehearsals and classes is to cross-train.

What is cross training?

Cross training is training in two or more sports in order to improve fitness and performance, especially in a main sport.

What is cross training for dancers?

Cross-training is a very broad term used to explain diversifying your training. However with dancers there are many levels for cross-training depending on how broad you want to go. For our ballet dancers I’m just going to break it down into 3 levels.

 Level 1: Diversification in Ballet – Cross-training in styles of ballet

This level of cross-training is the most common in ballet dancers. It is good to get experiences with different styles of ballet whether it is classical, contemporary, neo-classical, Balachine technique, Vagnova technique, etc.

There are lots of different ballets and lots of different styles. It is good to cross-train in different styles to become a stronger dancer. A classical ballet can teach you artistry, while a contemporary ballet might work on your technique more.

This level of cross-training is pretty simple, now let’s explore more.

Level 2: Diversification in Dance – Cross-training in styles of dance

Going a little bit further out of our comfort zones, it is good for dancers to explore other styles of dance. Ballet is the basis of all dance. Every other style of dance is rewarded by learning and studying ballet. However artistry and movement for ballerinas is improved by learning and studying other [...]

Netflix for Ballet Dancers ~ by Gillian Lastinger

Five Dances (2013)

83 Minutes

Netflix description: Real dance Phenom show their acting chops in this tale about a prodigy from Kansas hoping to make it big in New York City.

My Notes: This is a fictional story about a young dancer traveling to NYC. This movie does not have much of a plot and is about a young dancer growing and learning to open himself up. Mostly, I watched this for the beautiful dancing and that is why you should watch it too.

 

Ballet 422 (2014)

75 Minutes

Netflix description: Go backstage at the New York City Ballet, from first rehearsal to world premiere, as choreographer Justin Peck readies a new piece

My Notes: Ballet 422 is a documentary with no narration. It is a unique look at all the work that goes into a new ballet. I loved watching the story

of this ballet come together and think you will too.

First Position (2011)

94 Minutes

Netflix description: Follow dancers training for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, where the stakes are high.

My Notes: For someone like me who has never gone to the Youth America Grand Prix, this is a great look into the world of competitive ballet competitions. I loved seeing the story of these dancers as they compete and grow. What is also interesting about this documentary is how much these dancers have grown since it was filmed. Take a minute and search each of their names and you can see how far they have come since this movie (hint: check the balancing pointe podcast archives)

Ballerina (2009)

76 Minutes

Netflix Description: This 2009 documentary profiles five Russian ballerinas from the Mariinsky Theatre, following them from rehearsals to performances around the globe.

My Notes: It is no [...]

20 ~ Becoming Ballet, Featuring Regina Montgomery ~ Summer Intensives and Year Round Programs

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Welcome to Becoming Ballet!
On this show you will experience life with a REAL dancer in REAL time.  Each featured dancer will take you on their journey as they work hard toward realizing their dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Today Regina discusses her experiences with auditioning for Summer Intensives, which ones she chose to attend and why as well as her experiences at each of the ones she attended.  Regina also discusses her experiences with Year Round training programs.

Becoming Ballet is produced by Kimberly Falker, founder and CEO of Premier Dance Network and the host of Balancing Pointe Podcast.  Becoming Ballet is co-produced by Madeleine Gardella who was Becoming Ballet’s first featured dancer.

Leave Becoming Ballet a 5 Star Rating and Review on Itunes

Becoming Ballet Website

Regina Montgomery on Instagram

Maddie Gardella on Instagram

Balancing Pointe on Instagram

Tulsa Ballet website

The Rock School of Ballet

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01 ~ Pas de Chat: Talking Dance ~ Meet your Host Barry Kerollis

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Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a dance studio at one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world? Or wondered what was going through Giselle’s mind as she lifted her leg to her ear? There is a lot more to the politics of dance than lithe women wearing pointe shoes being hoisted into the air by men in tights. Listen in for a weekly conversation on all aspects of the professional dance world as Barry Kerollis, freelance choreographer and popular blogger, candidly shares his experiences and thoughts on the workings of the dance world as he travels the globe creating ballets, teaching future generations of dancers, and performing for audiences.

Pas de Chát’s host Barry Kerollis is an award-winning choreographer, instructor, and dancer with over 13 years experience in the dance world. His career includes directing Alaska Dance Theatre, dancing for Pacific Northwest Ballet, and traveling the country as a nationally-touring freelance artist. He also runs the popular blog, Life of a Freelance Dancer.

Barry Kerollis website

Life of a Freelance Dancer Blog

Barry Kerollis You Tube Channel

Core-ography Youtube Channel

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169 ~ Ask Megan! What do the professionals think of Ballet Competitions?

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On each episode Megan answers YOUR questions each and every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Today’s question come from:

Sarah who wants to know what the professionals and Artistic Directors think about Ballet Competitions.

Megan’s answer is very thoughtful!

Find Megan Fairchild ~ 
website/Twitter/Instagram
Do you have a question about Ballet?
YOU can be a part of the show by sending us your questions by clicking HERE:
 BalancingPointe.com 
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Please leave Rate and Review this show

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The Balancing Act

The Balancing Act

When I was in undergrad, I attended Florida State University.  While there, I participated in the FSU Flying High Circus where I performed in the Double Trapeze, the Mexican Cloud Swing, the Teeterboard and the High Wire.

One of the reasons I chose to try out for the High Wire was because the act terrified me.  Not because of the height – I loved being up high while swinging or spinning, but because I had to move SO slowly.  To stay correctly balanced while crossing the wire on top of my partner’s shoulders, while he rode a bicycle or walked on stilts required slow and purposeful movement; which was completely nerve wrecking.

Part of what scared me was that keeping in proper balance was critical to staying ON the wire and not falling INTO the net 20 or more feet below.  (Not to mention falling into the net from the high wire included falling with all of the other equipment that we used such as, the poles, bike, chair, stilts etc.)

Moving slowly, carefully and thoughtfully went against my natural state of being and therefore was a enormous challenge each and every time I climbed up the supporting poles to the small platform to practice or perform the High Wire.
Keeping in a calm and focused balance always seemed somewhat impossible.
Keeping in balance is still my greatest challenge.  In my day-to-day life, I find that focusing on balance is almost as difficult as walking on the high wire.

Likewise, I see this same challenge for my daughter and her peers; or any aspiring dancer for that matter.  Staying in balance is an enormous challenge ~ and this has nothing to do with balancing on her toes “en [...]

Audition Anxiety

Auditioning for Ballet Intensives is grueling, stressful, emotional and more than anything completeley draining.
Worst of all is waiting for the results.  The email comes…..the email is opened.
Tears of joy, tears of elation, tears of disappointment.

A LOT of tears.
And then hours and hours of self doubt.
What could I have done differently?  What could I have done better?  What should I do next time ~ for the next audition?
Should I have signed her up for a different city?  Should we have flown to a different audition?  Should I have bought her a new leotard?  How should I change my pre-audition pep-talk.? Or my post audition advice?  Should I talk more? Should I shut up?

HOW can I help?
As a Mom, I am supposed to be strong and have the “perfect” advice.  Guess what?
I failed!
For all of you aspiring dancers, please understand that auditions affect us too.  As a parent of an aspiring dancer ~ counting on the summer intensives to help create her ballet “resume” and pave her way into the world of professional ballet; auditions are wrought with anxiety.

OUR anxiety
Sure, we understand that you are feeling stress ~ BIG TIME.~ much more than we will ever understand.  Please know we are feeling stress too.
Please understand that we too cry ourselves to sleep when we see your dreams dashed.  Please know that just like you, we  scream into our pillows when we read the “polite” but cold -hearted rejection saying ~ “best of luck in your future endeavors”.

No one puts MY baby in a corner.
Isn’t there someone I can call?  Isn’t there a way to have a do-over?  Certainly there must be a mistake….could the audition numbers be mixed up? [...]

Ballet’s Social Media Generation ~ Rainsford Alexandra

Ballet’s Social Media Generation
Rainesford Alexandra

When I was twelve or so, I would write letters to my favorite dancers—the ones who inspired me, who made me see ballet in a different light. At the time, it just seemed cool—who wouldn’t want to reach out to people they idolized?—but now, given the intersection between the arts and technology, I see that as my way of connecting with the ballet world beyond my local studio.

Now, at twenty-one, I follow some of my favorite dancers on Instagram and Twitter. It’s the ultimate backstage-pass, no longer just a glimpse behind the curtain, but access that allows us to see not only clips and pictures of rehearsals, but what someone snacked on at breakfast or the outfit they sported on their day off.

It’s no secret that ballet is breaking open, pulling us through the metaphorical stage door and into a world that isn’t just about tulle and fairy princesses after all: Features in publications like Teen Vogue and Elle Magazine, ballerinas popping up in commercials and ads, like Misty Copeland for Under Armor and Maria Kochetkova multitasking Nutcracker-style for VISA Checkout, and collaborations like the one between Cole Haan and a group of New York City Ballet dancers.

And you can see all this without ever looking up from your smartphone.

There’s a lot of newness emerging in ballet, probably the most monumental being the fact that, for arguably the first time in the history of this art form, ballet is accessible. Dancers want to be followed, and we want to follow dancers. Why wouldn’t we? It’s edgy. It’s chic. Ballet isn’t just classic—it’s cool, and it is the performers themselves who are responsible for keeping ballet’s integrity thriving while allowing [...]

Living in Neverland

 

My daughter began taking classes at her pre-professional program when she was 8 years old. At the end of her first year, there was a small group of top level 14 and 15 year old dancers who moved away to attend year round programs all over the country.  Some of the dancers moved away on their own to live in a dorm or with a host family.  There were also a few dancers whose entire family moved to provide their child the best opportunity to pursue their dream as a professional ballerina.

At the time, I was both shocked and intrigued.  Mostly though, I thought these parents were certifiably crazy!

I chanted loud and proud,  “I will NEVER allow my daughter to move away at such a young age…no matter how much she loves ballet or how talented she may be.  And for certain, our family will NEVER move away because of ballet!”
Guess where my family is currently living?
NEVER-land
(AKA Florida)

If you had told me that exactly one year from the start date of my Podcast  I would be sitting in a coffee shop in Florida….having moved cross country because of ballet, I would have proclaimed loud and proud that would NEVER happen!
I should have known that these words would come back to bite me.  Many who know me well, know that my favorite mantra is, “NEVER say never”.  This is because it seems that each and every time I proclaim that I would NEVER do something ~ it has come back to bite me.
Some of my previous life’s proclamations include:

“I will NEVER live in a city/state where winter is the longest season of the year”; (These words bit me for almost 18 years);
“I will NEVER live the suburbs”;  (this bite was not [...]