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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Throwback Thursday and the Winter Sisters



Throwback Thursday and the Winter Sisters

The three Winter Sisters, Effie, Mae and Dorothy began performing after their father died to earn extra money for the family. They developed a dance, acrobatic and tumbling act and worked in vaudeville during the 1930s and 1940s.

They appeared with Jimmy Durantethe Ink Spots, and Edith Piaf at her premiere US appearance at the Rialto Theatre New York City. They also traveled with Bob Hope’s USO Tour. They performed with many notable entertainers of the day.In addition, they trained to be trick pony riders and performed on Broadway in the production of Jumbo.

One evening in the late 1940s, while appearing at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago, they received a note backstage. It invited them to meet a man after their performance. It must have been a good meeting because Mae went on to marry him! They had three children and lived in Chicago for more than 40 years.

Effie lived on the outskirts of New York City and Dorothy, the youngest of the three, settled near Gainesville Florida where she taught dance classes for many years.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #293:
“The three Winter Sisters performed in vaudeville and Broadway.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“It was the sibling thing, I suppose. I was fascinated by the intricate tangle of love and duty and resentment that tied them together. The glances they exchanged; the complicated balance of power established over decades; the games I would never play with rules I would never fully understand. And perhaps that was key: they were such a natural group that they made me feel remarkably singular by comparison. To watch them together was to know strongly, painfully, all that I'd been missing.”
― Kate Morton, The Distant Hours
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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wacky Wednesday Long Neck



Wacky Wednesday Long Neck

Sometimes in an effort to get the leg higher in attitude or arabesque, the neck and shoulders compress. Scary. Remember Ballet Secret #32: There are no turtlenecks in ballet.

This is particularly true in attitude and arabesque since having the leg up in the back will tend to pinch the neck unless there is an equal energy going up. Not to mention that  pinching the neck area ruins the line and isn’t exactly comfortable. Instead, as you bring the leg up, imagine elongating the neck all the way up into the back of the head.

Adding that much needed equal and opposite energy now produces a beautiful line!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #18r:
“Elongate the neck in attitude and arabesque.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“When you stretch your mind, you stretch the world around you.”
― Gustavo Razzetti, Stretch Your Mind: How to conquer your comfort zone one stretch at a time

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Terminology Tuesday Sautillé



Terminology Tuesday Sautillé

The word sautillé or sautillée [soh-tee-YAY] means hopped or hopping. When this term is added to a step it means the step is performed with hops. For example, grand pirouette sautillé. For more detailed information, see my previous blog: http://balletwebb.blogspot.com/search?q=Sautill%C3%A9

But, you may ask, how is sautillé different than sauté which means jumped or jumping (and is probably more familiar to most dancers)? Jumping means that the step reaches full height with a fully pointed foot in the air, whereas hopping skirts close to the floor. A subtle, but important difference. See today’s Link of the Day below at 0:37 for an example of the small hops of sautillé.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Terminology Secret #63:
“Sautillé means hopped or hopping.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Those who don't jump will never fly.”
― Leena Ahmad Almashat, Harmony Letters

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Mad Monday Word



Mad Monday Word

Sometimes a single word is all it takes to unlock a new sensation and improve technique.

Today’s word is elongate. The definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “to draw out to greater length; lengthen; extend”. I can think of many instances where elongating could be beneficial in ballet. Elongate the spine, elongate the feet, elongate the neck, etc.

In other words, elongate is another way of saying “stretch”. And dancers know all about that.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #30a:
Elongate is a great word for improving posture.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Creativity expands the mind, stretches it beyond ordinary human comprehension, resulting in the mind being elastic and capable of transcending and discerning complex ideas.”
― Michael Bassey Johnson, The Infinity Sign

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Power



Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Intention is the mother of all change.”
― Abhijit Naskar, All For Acceptance

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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Saturday Superstition Wrong Side



Saturday Superstition Wrong Side

Most people are familiar with the idea that getting up on the “wrong side of the bed” is unlucky. But how did this well-known superstition get started?

It may come from the ancient Egyptians. They believed that the left side of the bed is the side to avoid since the left side of anything was thought to belong to evil forces. The Romans also believed that arising on the left side of the bed was bad luck as was stepping out with the left foot first.

However, according to https://grammarist.com/idiom/get-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed-and-wake-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed/The earliest citation in the Oxford English Dictionary of the idioms get up on the wrong side of the bed and wake up on the wrong side of the bed is from 1801.”


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstition #175:
“Getting up on the wrong side of the bed is believed to bring bad luck.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
Every bed has a right and a wrong side,” said Mary Poppins, primly. “Not mine—it’s next the wall.” “That makes no difference. It’s still a side,” scoffed Mary Poppins. “Well, is the wrong side the left side or is the wrong side the right side? Because I got out on the right side, so how can it be wrong?”
― P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Fun Friday Hands on Hips



Fun Friday Hands on Hips

Problems with pirouettes often happen with the arms and torso, presuming the preparation (with the legs and feet) is correct. But there’s an easy way to diagnose and treat the problem. Put your hands on your hips and keep them there for the prep and the turn.

Doing this will help keep the body untwisted, help you feel the strength in the back and abdominals, and force the plié preparation to work as it should. If you can’t do a single turn with your hands on your hips, the problem is likely in the use of the plié.

But when the turn improves simply by having the hands on the hips, you’ll know the problem is in the upper body – too much force in the arms throwing the balance off, or a weak abdominal and/or back area.

Pirouette diagnostics!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #14nnn:
“Hands on hips can help with pirouette problems.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:

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