2 3 Ballet Webb: 2019

Monday, July 22, 2019

Mad Monday Barrel



Mad Monday Barrel

Oh those squished arms in first position (fifth en avant)! It is so difficult to avoid and unpleasant to behold. And we all know there is no squishing in ballet.

Holding an imaginary beach ball is one way to prevent this, but here is another image: Imagine holding an empty barrel at the height of your rib cage. This is a heavier item and this heft may provide enough resistance for the position to work better.

Hold a barrel!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #6qqq:
“Imagine holding a barrel at rib cage height.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Most times, success does not come as tiny droplets of showers freely falling on every roof; it comes in heavy flows like a stream. Use the bigger dream barrels!”
― Israelmore Ayivor

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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday Trace




Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“A life isn't significant except for its impact on other lives.”
― Jackie Robinson

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday Superstition Charm



Saturday Superstition Charm

Many dancers have lucky items they always carry in their dance bag, and these objects are often placed in a specific spot on the dressing table before a performance. But some dancers go further.

They hide small charms on their body or sew them into their costume to assure good luck. Common ones are wedding rings or heirloom pieces of jewelry. There may also be a ritual involving these objects, such as sewing them in with thread of a particular color, or secreting them in a certain order along with other preparatory tasks.

Performers tend to be a superstitious group!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstition #163:
“Some dancers hide good luck charms under their costumes.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“If theater is ritual, then dance is too... It's as if the threads connecting us to the rest of the world were washed clean of preconceptions and fears.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Fun Friday Fouetté Away



Fun Friday Fouetté Away

No, I’m not talking about turns. I’m going to discuss the standard fouetté movement of changing positions from one direction to another – as in going from à la seconde to arabesque.

In this example, (which is a common movement), imagine the working leg sending energy outwards into space, while the body turns away from that leg. This helps maintain stability.

Once again, the all-important two-way energy is utilized and this concept can to transferred to other fouettés in other positions.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #14ggg:
“Turn the body away from the working leg in a standard fouetté.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Everything you can imagine is real.”
― Pablo Picasso

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Throwback Thursday and Dolores



Throwback Thursday and Dolores

Dolores, a famous Ziegfeld girl, was called the “Empress of Fashion and the Peacock Girl” since she often appeared with a 10‐foot‐wide multicolored fan. She performed with the Ziegfeld Follies from 1917 to the early 1920s. In addition to performing with the Follies, she appeared in the musical “Sally” that starred Marilyn Miller.

She was born Kathleen Mary Rose in 1892, the daughter of an English farmer and his wife. She received her education in England, and it was in a London fashion salon that she was discovered by Ziegfeld. 

In 1923 she left the Follies and married millionaire Tudor Wilkinson. From then on she and her husband lived a mostly quiet life in Paris – with one possible exception. There are accounts that during World War II she was arrested by the Germans and accused of aiding the Resistance. Is is said she went to prison where she remained until Paris was liberated.

Dolores Wilkinson died in 1975.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #230:
“Dolores was a performer with the Ziegfeld Follies.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Tut, tut — fame clearly isn't everything.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wild Wednesday Back Up



Wild Wednesday Back Up

In positions like attitude derrière and arabesque, a common problem is dropping the upper body (chest) down as the leg goes up. Unless one is performing a penchè, this is not good.

It is important to lift the chest up and slightly forward as the working leg lifts. This slightly forward alignment provides a counterweight to the working leg as does the slight forward shift in weight over the supporting leg.

It is also important to guard against moving the upper body backwards, as this crunches (ouch!) the arch of the back instead of elongating it.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #18q:
“Keep the chest up, not back, in attitude and arabesque.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Terminology Tuesday Elan



Terminology Tuesday Elan

The term élan [ay LAHN] may be familiar to you because it is also used in areas unrelated to ballet. In dance it means the way a dancer attacks a step – whether emotionally, physically or both.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “vigorous spirit or enthusiasm” and Vocabulary.com defines it as “enthusiastic and assured vigor and liveliness” as well as “distinctive and stylish elegance”.

It comes from the French word meaning “to dart”.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #50:
“The term élan means manner of attack.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”
― Yves Saint Laurent

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Marvelous Monday Promenade



Marvelous Monday Promenade

I love promenades. They are essentially turns that are broken down to their basic essence. But steering a promenade can pose problems.

In addition to the movement in the supporting leg that propels the step, the upper body is equally important. It must be properly placed and not twist or dip. In an en dedans promenade think of leading with the working side’s rib cage. Often this area lags back (or crunches) and this is what causes the position to twist.

This energy in the rib cage works in opposition to the energy in the working leg. There’s that equal and opposite thing again!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #14fff:
“Think of leading with the working side rib cage for en dedans promenades.”
Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.”
― Martha Graham

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Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Patient Persistence





Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“He that can have patience can have what he will.”
― Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Saturday Spill



Saturday Spill

Spilling water behind someone is said to bring good luck to them. The smooth fluidity of water is thought to be what makes it lucky.

In Serbia, people deliberately spill water behind friends who are taking a test, facing a job interview, embarking on a journey or about to do anything that might require a bit of extra good luck.

I’ve seen dancers spill water quite frequently, but never with the intention of using it to wish a colleague well.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstition #162:
 “Spilling water behind someone is said to bring good luck.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Sometimes,
when inspiration runs dry,
I drink classical music
until my words spill out.”
― Kamand Kojouri

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Fun Friday Fallacy



Fun Friday Fallacy

There are many myths and sayings in ballet. And some of them are just not true – they are fallacies. The definition of fallacy is: “a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.”

One of these unsound beliefs is the saying “no pain no gain”. We all know that ballet training is difficult and at times uncomfortable but pain is your body telling you that something is wrong. I tell my students there is a difference between pain and discomfort. I think of pain as severe physical discomfort. It is well beyond uncomfortable.

Therefore, there is no progress without sometimes feeling discomfort. But severe physical discomfort – pain – is simply not right. What we need is a catchy phrase for that.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Myth #1b:
“No pain no gain.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Art is to console those who are broken by life.”
― Vincent van Gogh

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