2 3 Ballet Webb: August 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wacky Wednesday Hard to Beat



Wacky Wednesday Hard to Beat

Yesterday I talked about the word entrechat and how the French definition means “between cat”. Today I’m focusing on how to improve these beats.

Those pesky beats! The feet always want to go around (front to back) instead of cleanly sideways. What to do? Here’s a good way to practice: jump from fifth to second, then come in and beat, then return to second. Keep doing this, landing back in second every time until it feels relatively comfortable.

Then make the second position smaller. Keep reducing the width of the second position until it becomes fifth – voila! Beats that goes side-to-side instead of front-to-back.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #15qqq:
“ Practice jumping from second position to improve beats.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
― George Bernard Shaw

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Terminology Tuesday Entrechat



Terminology Tuesday Entrechat

The French word entrechat literally means between cat. Hmmm. Did this word evolve as French ballet masters reworked or distorted the Italian word intrecciare (pronounced like intre-charay)? Intrecciare means “to interweave, interlace”. Maybe.

Gail Grant, in Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet defines “entrechat” (ahn-truh-SHAH) as meaning interweaving or braiding.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines entrechat as: “a leap in which a ballet dancer repeatedly crosses the legs and sometimes beats them together”.

From this source
comes the word’s orgin:
“… from French, from earlier entrechase, changed by folk etymology from Italian (capriolaintrecciata, literally: entwined (caper), from intrecciare to interlace, from in-2 + treccia tress.”

Therefore, the take-away from all this is that the literal French definiton of the word entrechat is different than the balletic term entrechat.

Isn’t this fun?!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #30e:
“The French word “entrechat” literally means ‘between cat’.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
― Patrick RothfussThe Name of the Wind

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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday Fun and New



Sunday Fun and New

Dancers are very driven people – to say the least. No surprise here. We tend to focus with laser intensity on anything and everything related to ballet every single day. And that’s okay. But to keep your motivation high it helps to divert your focus onto something totally different once in awhile.

Learn something fun and new every day. In this age of computers it’s easy. For instance, here are some fun facts:  In 2017 an eighth continent may have been discovered, beneath New Zealand. Scientists call it Zealandia. I’m not making this up. http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/27/3/article/GSATG321A.1.htm

Or, this one: Astronomers discovered seven planets outside our solar system (40 light years away), and three of them are in the “habitable zone”. Hmmmm. https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-telescope-reveals-largest-batch-of-earth-size-habitable-zone-planets-around

Or, yet another one: In Panama, scientists discovered loud shrimp. Seriously. These shrimp use their large claw to make a noise equal to 210 decibels (a rock concert is 110-140 decibels). What did the scientists name this new shrimp?  Synalpheus pinkfloydi – because the scientists love Pink Floyd. https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/04/12/523577797/a-shrimp-that-can-kill-with-sound-is-named-after-pink-floyd

There you have it. Look for things that are fun and new – things you can’t make up!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Motivational Secret #143:
“ Learn something fun and new outside of your field every day.”

Link of the Day:
https://www.facebook.com/universaldancebr/videos/2002301750013810/?hc_ref=ARQz4Qfq9P0m837BsQUxTXCwN84gQjjcHYAKDR4lFkimn2aCfKCG8FS_Z-R8VCNyuLY

Quote of the Day:
“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday Rituals



Saturday Rituals

As silly as it sounds, especially in this age of science and technology, pre-performance rituals can be important and serve a very useful purpose.

It doesn’t matter what the ritual is, or how silly or odd it may appear, a ritual is helpful for student dancers as well as professionals. A ritual clears the mind and creates a mindset of leaving outside problems outside the theater. A ritual is comforting, producing a calmness that helps mental focus.

A collective ritual, like having cast members form a circle and hold hands just before the opening curtain, brings everyone together and fosters cohesiveness, unity of purpose, and helps boost confidence.

 It really doesn’t matter what the ritual is, just that it is.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #134:
“Creating pre-performance rituals can be important.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things.”
― Muriel BarberyThe Elegance of the Hedgehog

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Fun Friday Ballet Superpower



Fun Friday Ballet Superpower

Ah the lowly, unappreciated tendu. It is actually Ballet Superpower #2. You will remember that Ballet Superpower #1 is plié (Ballet Secret #2u: One Ballet Superpower is plié.)

Consider all the things tendus do. They strengthen the feet. They train the dancer to articulate the feet. They appear, like secret agents,  in every degagé, every grand battement, and every single step where the foot leaves the floor thus preventing a floppy, unpointed foot. What a glorious step!

Never underestitmate the superpower of a tendu!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #4y:
“ Ballet Superpower #2 is tendu.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Invisibility can be good as a superpower. But psychiatry reveals people don't like it very much.”
― Joyce Rachelle
 
  
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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Throwback Thursday and Nathalie Krassovska



Throwback Thursday and Nathalie Krassovska

Born on June 3, 1917, in Russia, Russian-Scottish Nathalie Leslie Krassovska grew up in Western Europe and received her dance training in Paris and London. She danced in Balanchine’s short-lived Les Ballets 1933, but first gained recognition  in 1936 as a member of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Here she met Michel Fokine who coached her in many of his pieces.

In 1938 this company merged with a company called the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and Nathalie Krassovska became one of its principal dancers. The company soon established its base in the United States.

She first performed Giselle in Montreal in 1949, and it soon became her signature role. Acclaimed as a great beauty, she was known for her lyricism and purity of style but also performed unexpected roles such as characters in comedies by Massine.

In 1950 she joined the London Festival Ballet, where sh remained until 1955. In Great Britain she danced under her given name, Natalie Leslie.

In 1963 she settled in Dallas where she established a school and student company called Ballet Jeunesse. She died from surgical complications on February 8, 2005 and is buried in Restland Memorial Park in Dallas.

From the  Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Factoid #144:
“Ballet Russes dancer Nathalie Krassovska was known for her lyricism.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
"It was a very hard decision…"
-         Nathalie Krassovska on turning down a movie contract from
David O. Selznick


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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wacky Wednesday Sing Sing Sing



Wacky Wednesday Sing Sing Sing

One of the most effective ways to learn anything is to put it into a rhyme ( think “thirty days hath September…”), or by setting it to music (think the alphabet song).

Therefore, one the best ways to learn choreography is to sing (in your head, of course), the steps to the tune of the music. For example, the beginning of Don Q Pas de Deux: “Tombé pas de boureeeee, glissade, pas de chat, boureeeeeee to fourth, pirouette, and so on …..” try it and sing along with today’s Link of the Day.

Now use it whenever you are learning a new combination or new choreography!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #21ss:
“Sing the steps to the tune of the music to learn choreography.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“He who sings scares away his woes.” 
― 
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Terminology Tuesday Tour Sautillé



Terminology Tuesday Tour Sautillé

Tour sautillé (tour soh-tee-YAY) is a term of the Russian school and it means a hopping turn. The French word sautillé means springing, and it is also a musical term meaning that the bow lightly rebounds off the strings.

In ballet it is a series of turns done with tiny hops in demi-plié on the supporting foot with the heel just barely leaving the floor. They are done en dedans in first and second arabesque and attitude effacé, and en dehors in third and fourth arabesque and attitude croisé.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #30d:
“Tour sautillé is a hopping turn.”

Link of the Day:

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

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Mad Monday Hang of It



Mad Monday Hang of It

Tension in the shoulders is a common problem. When this happens the shoulders lift, the neck muscles tense, and it’s not a pretty sight - nor is it effective.

To help relax the shoulders, imagine hanging a towel over your shoulders on each side of your neck. Feel how the towels hang with gravity, lengthening downward on the front and back of the body. Feel the weight of the towels and allow all the muscles in the neck and shoulder to relax.

Voilà! No more tension in the neck and shoulders.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #20v:
“Imagine a towel hanging over each shoulder.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Don't be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”
― Roy T. BennettThe Light in the Heart

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