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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Technical Tuesday Fingernails


Technical Tuesday Fingernails

Fingernails are interesting things. Did you know that the nails on your dominant hand grow faster than on your other hand? Or that fingernails grow more in a month than do toenails, and they grow more in summer (warmer temperatures) than winter?

The part of the fingernail you see is really only part of the nail. There are many others: Proximal nail fold, Cuticle (Eponychium), Lunula, Nail, Plate, Nail bed, Lateral Nail Folds, Distal edge of Nail Plate and Hyponichium. The picture above makes all this easier to understand.

For dancers, the hands and fingers are some of the most expressive parts of the body. Avoid painting your nails before a performance, as dark colors especially, can make the fingers look short.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Anatomical Secret #26u:
“Fingernails grow an average of 3.5 millimeters per month, but toenails grow an average of 1.6 millimeters a month.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
You can tell a lot from a person's nails. When a life starts to unravel, they're among the first to go.”
Ian McEwan, Saturday

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Marvelous Monday Stretch

Marvelous Monday Stretch

Dancers seem to be constantly stretching. Constantly. This is usually a good thing, as long as the muscles are warm, and the dancer isn’t trying to stretch a cold muscle (scary).

But another common problem dancers have in stretching is breath holding. This is usually unconscious; because they are working so hard to stretch they forget to breathe.

DON’T: Hold your breath. Instead, send oxygen to your muscles by breathing slowly and evenly. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, even breaths help relax your body, increase blood flow and even remove the lactic acid that builds up when you exercise. Take a deep breath—it could be the easiest part of your dance fitness routine!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #21h:
“Remember to breathe during stretches.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.”
Amit Ray, Beautify your Breath - Beautify your Life

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Escalate


Sunday Escalate

There is no elevator to success. There’s not even an escalator. You must take the stairs. One bit at a time, consistently. And, there are days when you take one step up and two steps back. But gradually, over time, you will reach the top of the stairs if you just keep at it.

This is a good thing. Taking anything one step at a time, or one day at a time, makes life easier to handle. It prevents “borrowing trouble” and allows you to focus on just what you can accomplish today.

As long as the stairs are consistently climbed, regardless of setbacks, the top will be reached.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Motivational Secret #175:
“There is no elevator or escalator to success, you must take the stairs.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Silly Saturday Shoes


Silly Saturday Shoes

Dancers are a strange group. We are dedicated, passionate, hard working people. But we also seem to have a penchant for silliness.

I had a  wonderful roommate many years ago who said (with a grin), that if you put your shoes in a perfect fifth position every night when you take them off, that your turn-out will be improved by morning.

Silly, of course. But it is fun to do and anything that produces a laugh or a grin is always welcome – and can even promote good health!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Silly Secret #84:
Put your shoes in fifth position whenever you take them off.

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
Colette

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Fun Friday Pirouette Jeans


Fun Friday Pirouette Jeans

We have all had the experience of zipping up a tight pair of jeans. That sensation of lifting and sucking in the stomach is familiar to most of us.

Therefore, use this feeling during a pirouette preparation. As you plié, begin “zipping” up your jeans, and by the time you hit the top of the relevé, the jeans should be securely zipped and held there. This helps maintain the posture and alignment needed for successful turns.

For fun, you could even try wearing real jeans and try to zip them up during your preparation.

Have fun with ballet.
Pirouette jeans!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #15xxx:
“As you plié in a pirouette preparation, zip your jeans.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant.”
Yves Saint-Lauren

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Throwback Thursday and Busby Berkeley




Throwback Thursday and Busby Berkeley

William Enos Berkeley was born on November 29, 1895 in Los Angeles, California. His parents worked in the theater: Gertrude Berkeley was a stage actress and Francis Enos ran a stock theater company. It was another actress, Amy Busby, who is said to have given William the nickname “Busby” or “Buzz”. The origin of his nickname, however will remain a mystery, since the space on his birth certificate for “Child’s Name” is blank.

Busby Berkeley made his stage debut at age five; along with his family, but by 1917 he was working as advertising manager in Massachusetts. In World War I he was a field artillery lieutenant, and watching soldiers drill in formation may have inspired his later choreography.

In the 1920s, Berkeley was dance director for more than two dozen Broadway muscials, and his talent for choreographing complex kaleidoscopic movement patterns began. His pieces were some of the largest on Broadway.

His work in the movies began with Eddie Cantor musicals, where he introduced the “parade of faces”: close-ups of each chorus girl. He also began filming his choreography from above, a technique later used by June Taylor for her dancers on the Jackie Gleason television show.

Later he went on to direct films, such as Take Me Out to the Ballgame (1949), that starred Frank Sinatra and Esther Williams. In the early 1970s, he made a comeback, but died later that decade In Palm Springs, California on March 14, 1976.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Factoid #175:
“Busby Berkeley was a choreographer famous for his elaborate productions.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I wanted to make people happy, if only for an hour.”
-         Busby Berkeley

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wild Wednesday Chocolate


Wild Wednesday Chocolate

I’ve never met a dancer that didn’t like chocolate. And chocolate can be used (imaginarily), in many things in ballet. Calorie-free chocolate!

For example, in développés, to keep the movement smooth and seamless, imagine the leg moving through melted chocolate. This helps provide the all-important resistance so critical in many areas of ballet.

In fact, any melted substance of similar consistency – like butter – will work too. But I prefer chocolate, myself.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #11l:
 “In a developpé, imagine the leg moving through melted chocolate.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
Linda Grayson

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