2 3 Ballet Webb: September 2018

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Terminology Tuesday Soulevé



Terminology Tuesday Soulevé

Soulevé or soulevée (sool-VAY) means raised and is used in conjunction with other terms, like rond de jambe soulevé (see Gail Grant’s Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet).

However, an internet search for a more detailed definition yielded little more information, and I have never encountered this word myself. It has apparently fallen out of common usage. It seems to be used most often in the French school of training.

But there you have it - another term to add to your vocabulary!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #30i:
“Soulevé or soulevée means raised.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Don’t just raise the bar… Raise the roof.”
― A.D. Posey

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Mad Monday Strong



Mad Monday Strong

This isn’t something new, but often phrasing something differently truly makes a difference.

When a dancer is having trouble with pirouettes the culprit is often the plié, or lack thereof. A wimpy plié simply won’t do! The plié powers the turn, and without sufficient power, the pirouette won’t work well.

If you follow my blog, you know Ballet Secret #2b: A plié is a movement, not a position, http://balletwebb.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-plie-is-movement.html
so a strong plie is dependent on making a deep, continuous movement without stopping at the bottom.

Therefore, whenever pirouettes aren’t working well, focus first on the plié.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #14ww:
“The stronger the plié, the stronger the pirouette.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sunday Bloom



Sunday Bloom

Enough said!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Motivational Secret #248:
“When you are feeling buried, you are preparing to bloom.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Disappointment is really just a term for our refusal to look on the bright side.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday Limelight



Saturday Limelight

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase in the limelight meaning that someone is being recognized for some accomplishment. But where did this phrase come from?

It was in 1808 when a British chemist, Sir Humphrey Davis, discovered that heating calcium oxide, or “lime”, to a high termperature produced a bright white light. Another source: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/11/origin-phrase-limelight/
states it was Goldsworth Gurney who discovered calcium lighting in the 1820s. Or, it was invented by Thomas Drummond (it’s sometimes called the Drummond Light). Hmmm.

 Regardless, this lime light soon became a popular form of stage lighting. Hence, over time limelight evolved to mean center of attention.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #138:
The phrase in the limelight dates from 1808 - maybe.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Confusion of a Writer - Sometimes I want all limelight to shine on me and sometimes I just want to vanish underneath the deep waters.”
― Nikita Dudani

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Fun Friday Feather



Fun Friday Feather

An image that works well for teaching slow, adagio type movements to children is this one: Move like a feather falling to earth. This can also be a great prop image if you bring an actual feather or something similar into the classrrom.

Students can observe how a feather moves as it drifts downward and then imitate this falling to earth movement with their bodies. It’s both fun and educational for them. They learn how to move slowly and deliberately through space.

And, as with so many things, this image works well for more advanced students too.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #11p:
“Move like a feather falling to earth.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“It's not enough to have the feathers.
You must dare to fly!”
― Cass van Krah

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Throwback Thursday and Miss Florence



Throwback Thursday and Miss Florence

No, this Miss Florence is not a hurricane, but since Hurricane Florence was in the news this month I thought I’d feature a different, kinder and gentler Florence.

Florence Kolinsky was born on July 4, 1906 in Philadelphia. Her father was a tailor and she often amused herself by dancing in front the big mirror in his shop. After seeing Pavlova dance, she began lessons with Miss Rose, and later by William J. Herman, an acrobatic dance instructor.

When choreographer Gertrude Hoffman sought new talent, Herman suggested Florence, and although only thirteen, she became a member of the Gertrude Hoffman Dance Troupe. In 1923 she went on to perform with the Zeigfeld Follies, and soon earned her own solo.

In 1927 she became a featured artist in Paris at the Casino de Paris, and was billed as “Miss Florence”. She soon teamed up with dancer Julio Alvarez and they performed together for many years in New York and Miami, and appeared in two films: MGM’s Student Tour (October 1934) with Nelson Eddy and Jimmy Durante and Warner Brother’s Murder with Reservations (1938).

In 1937 Florence married Dr. Henry Maslow and retired from performing soon after.

She died in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #249:
“Miss Florence was a famous dancer during the Jazz Age.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“But it is only through constant, faithful endeavor by the girl herself that the goal eventually is reached.”
- Florenz Ziegfeld

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wonderful Wednesday Kiss



Wonderful Wednesday Kiss

In searching back through my previous blogs, I discovered that kissing images show up quite often. If you search the word “kiss” in my blog you’ll find them.

Today’s kissing image is a basic one: When coming up from a plié, remember the knees must kiss. This is simple but important. If the back of the knees don’t connect (kiss), the legs never fully straighten (gasp!) and therefore there is no two-way energy being applied (double gasp!).

So show some love during pliés and make sure to have the knee kiss.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #2gg:
“When coming up from a plié, remember the knees must kiss.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“The sunlight claps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea: what are all these kissings worth, if thou kiss not me?”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Technical Tuesday Ailes de Pigeon



Technical Tuesday Ailes de Pigeon

Here is a term you may not have heard, although you probably know the step. Here is the definition from Gail Grant’s Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet:

“Ailes de pigeon [el duh pee-ZHAWN]. Pigeon’s wings. The dancer
performs a cabriole devant, then the legs change and beat again, then change
once more before the dancer lands on the leg he or she jumped from, leaving
the other leg extended in the air. Also known as pistolet.”

Can you tell from the defintion what step this is? It’s commonly called brisé volé and is famously seen in the coda of Bluebird pas de deux in Sleeping Beauty (see  Link of the Day below).


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Terminology Secret #30h:
“Ailes de pigeon means pigeon wings.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“They've moved me to a new office and I don't like it at all. Different pigeons come to the window.”
― Barbara Pym, Excellent Women

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Madcap Monday Mush



Madcap Monday Mush

The verb articulate means “express (an idea or feeling) fluently and coherently”. It can also be used to describe movement.

A dancer must articulate every step, making each one clear and yet never letting the audience see where one step ends and the other begins. All choreography or sets of steps must be seamless.

Often the difficulty lies in the linking steps, like glissade or chassé. These steps are often all but ignored, not articulated and thus the whole thing becomes mushy and out-of-focus. Scary.

When working on a piece of choreography, take time to work on smoothly transitioning between each step – regardless of how unimportant a single step may seem.

No mush!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #21vv:
“Articulate your movements.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Vivid simplicity is the articulation, the nature of genius.” 
― Criss Jami

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sunday Wonderful



Sunday Wonderful

The above quote is self-explanatory. To paraphrase it, you might say: be an example, or an inspiration to others. It is a great way to go through life.

Happy Sunday!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Motivational Secret #247:
“Do something wonderful, people might imitate it.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.”
― Josh Billings

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