Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sunday, September 26, 2010

For the Love....

Short post, not like the marathon posts that I have been posting...

A lot of times we get caught in how HARD dance is and how MUCH work it is... Especially cause I've been telling you these things...

But it's very important to remember to enjoy your journey. You aren't dancing to be perfect, you aren't dancing to impress a boy, you aren't dancing to impress anyone... you are dancing because you genuinely enjoy it. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of that.

Personally, I love performing... I don't necessarily enjoy being watched so that I can impress people... I just love the feeling of sharing something that I've worked hard on... So when I'm in class and slumping it a little... it always helps to imagine myself on stage, with stage lights blaring on me, in full costume and make up and me dancing the heck out of my tendu's! And yeah... tendu's are rarely stage worthy, but I always just think of the fact that doing these endless tendu's will prepare me for that big stage moment... I promise... every dancer who has had that big stage moment, where "people pay 75 bucks a ticket to see you dance" (as I said on Saturday) has felt the boring-ness of a million tendu's... but they kept at it... for the love of what they do!

Please leave a comment of what you love most about dancing.. and how you are going to remember that after our third tendu combination at barre this week!

And the video of the week... Lilac fairy from Sleeping Beauty!!! *note the 4 pirouettes... AHHHH!!!*

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eating for Energy

Your assignment for this week... if you so choose to accept it... is to read the following post, watch the video, and keep a food journal. You can do this in a notebook, or if you have a fancy smartphone there are tons of apps to help you with that. Just being aware of what you normally eat will make a huge difference I promise...

Please comment with your favorite food to eat... and make it a REAL food!


As dancers, it's important that you have a well rounded healthy diet. Painters take care of their brushes, Musicians take care of their instruments, and we, as dancers, need to take care of our bodies. Get rid of any insecure self confidence issues about your body.. it's not about looking pretty or self worth or being skinny or fat.. .it's about taking care of yourself so you can do your best in class and in performance... it's more about being healthy than anything else! We dancers do a lot to our bodies and we need to treat them differently than our friends do. Being over/under weight causes us to be more likely to have an injury (especially dancers or athletes when injury is always a risk) and a weakened immune system (which means you will get sick more often). Be meticulous about what you let into your body and know the effects of what they will do.

Eat for energy....

I've recently read a book called "Food Rules". It was amazing!!!! So I'll share my knowledge... he basically gives 3 very important, very easy rules to live by in order to maintain a healthy weight, and along with that a healthy immune system.

1) Eat Food.
No really... it's that easy...
Well, Let's define food I guess. Food is anything that you could find in nature. You should be able to pronounce the food that you are eating. You're great (great) grandma should be able to recognize what you are eating as food... (what would she think of a go-gurt? Flavored toothpaste maybe?) Food should eventually rot (which means that the bacteria etc. got to the food before we did). If bugs and bacteria don't want it... why would you? Apples, Bananas, Broccoli, Carrots, Chicken, Cheese... whole wheat bread (not wonder bread) are all foods.

Then there is other kinds of food... the kinds of food that make up most of our diets now-a-days.... The sad thing is that this type of food isn't really food.... it's what's called "edible food-like substances". I'm going to call them EFS. EFS is technically food cause you can eat it and sustain life (for a short time) on them, but they provide very little real nutrients and it's difficult to find any whith untampered nutrients... Most of these products are created in a science lab and are made from soy and corn derivatives. Basically... they are not real. You can't grow dextrin, dextrose, fructo-olgosaccharides, ethoxylated diglycerides or xanthan gum in a garden can you? Does your mom carry a bottle of Ammonium sulfate in her pantry... I'm guessing not.  Go-gurt is not food. Skittles are not food. Fruit snacks are not food. Goldfish are not food.... they are all just EFS... and they will NOT give you the energy to maintain your lifestyles!

Now I know you are all young and don't go grocery shopping. Your parents do that for you and you may or may not have control over everything you are given to eat. But talk with your parents about what you would like to be eating. Ask for more fruits and vegetables instead of goldfish, at lunch go for the salad bar instead of the pizza aisle, or if you must, get in the habit of packing your own lunch. I do... every day, so that I can control what I put in my body! If your parents complain about the cost of fresh produce... have them go check out (This place has changed the way I eat... I'm never going back!)

2) Mostly Plants
This may sound weird, but when I think about what I need to eat, I think about Adam and Eve.... Could they go to the supermarket and pick up a pound of hamburger meat? Or go through the drive-thru for some chicken nuggets? Nope... in order to have meat, they had to find the animal, attack it, kill it, skin it, clean it, and cook it... only then could they enjoy meat. Do you think they ate meat very much... I'm guessing not. Even in the word of wisdom it says to eat meat sparingly. Now, meat is VERY important in your diet. You should have a good source of protein in every meal, but in general, people in our civilization and culture eat way more meat than we should, just because it's available.

Your diet should consist of mostly plants... fruits and vegetables, leaves like lettuce and cabbage, these are all REAL food, that will give you just as much if not more energy than a bag of skittles, with less than a quarter of the calories... plus you will not have the sugar crash an hour later.

3) Not too much.
In general our culture eats way too much. Our serving sizes are much bigger than our stomachs but we eat it all because it's given to us. A good rule of thumb is to not eat to fill up 100%, but just about 75% or something like that. Eat to get rid of hunger, not to be stuffed full. Eat slower... really enjoy what you are eating, don't scarf, even if you are in a hurry. Science fact... it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to release the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating. That's 20 minutes that you are filling your stomach with food you don't need. If you slow down, you are more likely to eat the right portions and be fully satisfied with less food than you thought you needed. Don't feel bad about leaving some food on your plate... and if your parents freak out about it, then just don't take as much, you can always go back for seconds if you need to.

As far as calorie counting goes, I say this. It works for me... it helps me a lot. Like a lot a lot... but it IS difficult and it is tedious. But let me tell you this...If you are following the three rules above... you will have NO problem eating too many calories. No need to count them. If you would like to talk further about this... email me and we'll talk!

There are special occasions in which you can eat whatever you want... but treat these as such.. special occasions.. Being ontime to class or getting a good grade on a quiz is not a special occasion... Christmas is a special occasion, but the 2 weeks before and after are not! Follow these rules as best as you can, and enjoy your special occasions, but don't let your "special Occasions" last for longer than 1 day! Get back on the horse after that!

As far as exercise goes, it surprises a lot of people to find that they may need more exercise than what they are getting in class... But think about it.. We are in a ballet class for an hour and a half... and unless we are moving at ridiculous speeds and you already know all the combinations, it's not likely that we will be dancing the whole hour and half. there is a lot of standing around time where we are talking about concepts and combinations.... Some extra exercise is healthy. Go for a bike ride, run or walk, do pilates... all very healthy and VERY helpful in dancing. They will give you the endurance and muscle strength you will need to endure long dances or long days. The lead dancer in La Sylphide in our company last year cross-trained (that's the word for doing other training besides your particular field - in this case dancing) with the elliptical last year. She was in every piece in our concert and La sylphide alone was a pure 20 minutes of dancing en pointe for her. She told me that she would NEVER have made it through the whole thing if it weren't for her endurance training she did on the elliptical. So get your tush off the couch and go for a bike ride! But read this next part first... most important part of the post:

Now... because we are dancers, I need to talk about this. Extreme methods in weight loss like Eating disorders and unhealthy workouts are a very real and very big deal, especially in the dance world. It started with George Balanchine (who was an amazing choreographer btw,) when he decided he wanted all of his ballerinas to look like little skinny twig baby girls... They are called baby ballerinas (no womanly curves like hips or chest or anything). Thats when it started and it was like that for a long time... sometimes it still lingers... but I'm here to tell you something.... THAT IS NOT WHAT IS VALUED ANYMORE. Oh sure you will get the occasional old fashioned choreographer that only likes the skinny chicks but what is really valued is athleticism. What is that?? It's healthy. They want dancers that can jump high, and turn for days... they want strong. And guess what... you CANNOT be strong if you aren't eating enough or destroying your body with an eating disorder. You WILL be weak and tired and you will suffer some major consequences.... I hope none of you are hurting yourself this way... but if anyone needs any help with this subject you are more than welcome to call or email me and we will talk.

In fact... Dancers should eat more than a normal person because food (real food) gives energy and dancers expend way more energy than the average person.... Anyway.. I'll stop. Again if you have any questions about diet and/or exercise call, text, or email me! Or just talk to me after class!

The video I chose for this week is awesome... But be sure to read the message at the end.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Let's begin!

Congratulations Pro Team!!! I'm very excited about this new year! So excited to see you guys so much this year!! We are gonna work our buns off!!

Just so you know, Sarah and I took a Ballet Pedagogy course over the summer (if you don't know what pedagogy is... it's teaching methods...) We created an 8 year curriculum and Sarah and I plan on putting each and every one of you through the curriculum... We are starting at Level 1. Which means for this next month (ish) our classes will be very simple... but that doesn't mean easy. I will be drilling technique and body concepts into you with plie's and tendus... once we get those technical concepts then we can move up the levels! So be prepared... know that I am waiting for a cue to move into the next level. If you feel we are moving too slowly... I encourage you to look at your dancing, because if we haven't moved on yet, it's because I'm not seeing what I need to see in order to move on!In other more blunt words, you're still doing it wrong! (Side note: if you feel like you are doing it correctly, or that you don't know what you are doing wrong... come ask me.. I'll tell you!)

Also along with this... I cannot express how important it is to go back to the basics!!! I took a beginning ballet class over the summer semester and came back so much stronger than I thought I would! Dance is a practice art form... you have to practice the same things over and over again to improve!! Note... you may get bored... but that just means your brain isn't working correctly because in ballet, there should be several things you need to think about in order to just stand correctly, let alone a tendu! If you find yourself getting bored... work harder, and invest your mind MORE into what you can do to improve that tendu!

Another note... Ballet is not fun. Well, not at least the "cruise-down-the-street-wich-yo-peeps" fun... it's more of the, "I'm-really-challenging-myself-and-it-will-eventually-pay-off" kind of fun. So don't compare them! Ballet is a discipline... which means that you have to discipline your body in order to reap the benefits! Discipline is a funny thing. It's hard... it's never what you "want" to do, but if you can control your body and mind into doing what you want it to do, the rewards of that will be so much deeper and meaningful than doing something only because it's "fun."

Also along the lines of discipline... Even if you don't plan on dancing for the rest of your life, discipline is something you can take with you to any area of your life... your schooling, your diets (which we will talk about in an upcoming blog), your habits, your careers... in every aspect of your life, if you can discipline yourself, you can do anything you want! 

With that in mind, we start the semester!! Please please please leave comments... I want to know people actually read these things and they are worth my time!! Love you all! See you soon!


This is a very famous contemporary ballet choreographer right now... back in the day Petipa was a famous choreographer... today we have Nacho Duato and Jiri Kilyan... Anyway, this is not usually Nacho's or any other ballet choreographers style to choreograph to a pop song, so I'm actually still deciding whether or not I like it... Nonetheless, the choreography is amazing! Enjoy! And no... they aren't naked.. they are nude costumes... I know.. it's all the trend now a days i guess!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    * Update: I looked it up cause it was really bothering me... Nacho Duato didn't actually choreograph to Beyonce's Halo... This is a piece from Por Bos Muero, a piece he did and someone just matched it to her music... still pretty interesting how well it goes together... you know a lot of times, especially in modern areas, choreographers won't set movement to music until the night of the show and the dancers are just supposed to "feel" it.... would freak me out personally but it's still interesting to see what you get!                                                                                                                                      

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer Ballet 2

Alright.. as we look at the center work... really try to see if the technique we've been working on (lengthening the leg line, using your rotation... and MOST OF ALL... Belly button to the spine!) sticks throughout center work. Check your chaine turns.... are you turning in at all? Is your belly button pulled in? Are your arms drooping or are they making a smooth circular shape??

Again, watch this with some things in mind... what are you doing that's good/bad... what are you doing you didn't know you were doing (good or bad).... and does anything I've been saying in class make more sense now?


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Ballet 1

Try to watch yourself with a few things in mind... what do you do well... and what can you work on... were there things (good or bad) that you didn't know you were doing? Does anything I've been saying make more sense now?? Feel free to leave a comment!

Plies through Rond de jambes

Battement Frappe through Floor Barre

Monday, March 22, 2010