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Friday, January 24, 2020

Fun Friday Balloon Hug



Fun Friday Balloon Hug

Sometimes the only problem with a pirouette is the use (or lack thereof) of the port de bras. Often, when turns don’t work well it is because the arms are limp or droopy -and we all know there is no drooping in ballet.

Or, less frequently, it is because the arms are too tense – the opposite side of the port de bras spectrum. This usually happens when the dancer is trying too hard.

Here is a thought that will work for both: Imagine hugging a giant balloon. Hug it hard enough to hold it, but not hard enough to pop it. Even better, if you have a large balloon (or even a plastic ball ) the correct size, have the dancers pirouette while holding it.

Hug it, but don't pop it or drop it!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #14sss:
“Imagine hugging a big balloon without popping it.

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“[H]er mind was like a balloon with static cling, attracting random ideas as they floated by[.]”
― Jonathan Franzen, Purity

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Throwback Thursday and Jenny Hasselquist



Throwback Thursday and Jenny Hasselquist

Born on July 31, 1894 in Stockholm, Sweden, Jenny Matilda Elisabet Hasselquist was a dancer and actress in silent movies. She received her training from the Swedish Opera’s ballet school. She went on to perform with the Royal Ballet and in 1913 Michel Fokine noticed her and she then began performing soloist roles in ballets like La Sylphide. In 1915 she became a prima ballerina. The Link of the Day below shows her performing The White Rose, a solo strikingly similar to The Dying Swan made famous by Pavlova.

She made her movie debut in the 1916 film Balettprimadonnan.  She also acted in the movies  Sumurun (1920), Johan (1921), The Saga of Gösta Berling (1924) with Greta Garbo, and The Hell Ship (1923). Unfortunately, like so many other actors of the silent film era, the advent of “talking pictures” marked the end of her career in film.

In the 1930s she had her own school in Stockholm and she also taught for the Stockholm Opera’s ballet academy.

She died on June 8, 1978.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #308:
“Jenny Hasselquist was a ballerina and film actress.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:

“Hope is not about everything turning out okay; it is about being okay no matter how things turn out.”

- Carol Kodish-Butt

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wacky Wednesday Late Leg



Wacky Wednesday Late Leg

You may remember Ballet Secret #15m: A pas de chat is two passés. The problem arises when the second passé is late.

The second leg must come off the floor quickly – not at the same time as the first leg (that would be like an Italian changement) - but thinking about taking the second leg off the floor at almost the same time as the first is very helpful in preventing Late Leg Syndrome.

So imagine hitting that second passé at almost, but not quite the same time as the first passé.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #15jjj:
“No late leg in pas de chat.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“How did it get so late so soon?”
― Dr. Seuss

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Terminology Tuesday Angel



Terminology Tuesday Angel

The term saut de l’ange [soh duh lahnzh] means angel’s step. It is the same as temps de l’ange.

It is similar to a temps de poisson, but the legs are bent instead of straight and the knees are slightly open. The back is arched, the head is back and the arms are up. 
The dancer doesn’t move in any direction except up and lands the jump in the same place he/she started.

The phrase is also translated as “swan dive”.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Terminology Secret #77:
“Saut de l’ange means angel’s step.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Rejection is an opportunity for your selection.”
― Bernard Branson

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Mad Monday Heels Down



Mad Monday Heels Down

Something dancers hear all the time is this: “Heels down! Heels down!”. This is directed at students during jump combinations. And it’s important.

I’ve also heard variations on this, and there are those who believe keeping the heels down isn’t always necessary. Hmmm…I beg to differ and today’s Link of the Day below is a great article that provides scientific data as to why keeping your heels down is so critical.

Here is one quote from the article: “A dancer that uses their plié and keeps their heels down will generate more power and be more physiologically efficient because they are properly utilizing and transferring their energy.”

So please, continue to work on landing jumps with your heels down.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #15iii:
“Land jumps with your heels down.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.”
― Philip K. Dick, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Kindness Loan




 Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all
of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo F. Buscaglia

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Superstitious Saturday Dancer’s Curse



Superstitious Saturday Dancer’s Curse

A 1500 year-old-tablet discovered in a theater in the early 1950s has finally been translated. It was unearthed by an Italian archaeological group in Israel, but until recently the writings on it were a mystery. The theater where it was found, Caesarea Maritima was originally built by King Herod the Great during the Roman Empire (see today's Link of the Day below).

Computer software finally allowed the enigmatic inscription on the tablet to be translated. Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) creates many photographs of an artifact from different angles and thus allows the image to be enhanced enough to be deciphered. What was found is fascinating.

Written in Greek, the tablet contains a curse, 110 lines long that is directed to a specific dancer named Manna. It was intended to damage his ability to perform well and states the he would “move slowly and lose his equilibrium” and also contained the phrase “tie the feet together”.

Curses like this were common in the Greco-Roman world, and the curse may have been designed so Manna would lose some sort of competition. Also, since the tablet was discovered in a theater, it may indicate that Manna was famous, or at least locally well-known.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstitious Secret #190:
“An ancient tablet was translated to reveal a dancer’s curse.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“The writer's curse is that even in solitude, no matter its duration, he never grows lonely or bored.”
― Criss Jami, Killosophy

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