2 3 Ballet Webb: 2019

Sunday, May 19, 2019

No Limits





Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Set forth no limits, keep in mind that your potential is boundless.”
― Sal Martinez

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Superstitious Saturday Knock



Superstitious Saturday Knock

A ritual I’ve seen many times prior to a performance is a dancer leaning down to knock on the floor. This is related to the common superstition that knocking on wood brings good luck.

This superstition may go back to medieval times when parishioners would touch wood believed to come from the cross to ensure a divine connection and thus, good luck.

Or, it may come from an even earlier time when ancient Europeans believed that trees housed spirits. Therefore touching or knocking on a tree would either invoke a blessing from the spirit within or prevent an evil spirit from doing harm.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstition #153:
“Knocking on wood (usually the floor) is said to bring good luck to dancers.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“My,' she said. 'We're lucky that you found the place.'
We're always lucky,' I said and like a fool I did not knock on wood. There was wood everywhere in that apartment to knock on too.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Fun Friday Flop




Fun Friday Flop

The verb “flop” means: to fall, move, or hang in a heavy, loose and ungainly way. For a performer or a show it means: be completely unsuccessful; fail totally.

Whew! This is why there is no flopping in ballet! No flopping in technique or the scary thought of having a performance flop. No ungainly movements, No shows that flop. There is no flopping in ballet, period.

Of course, at the end of a long, hard day flopping on the sofa or into bed is permitted.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Statute #152:
“There is no flopping in ballet.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”
― Jack London

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Throwback Thursday and Boots Mallory



Throwback Thursday and Boots Mallory

Born in 1913, Patricia Boots Mallory grew up in Mobile, Alabama. At age twelve she played banjo in an all-girl band, and went on to work as a dancer in vaudeville. 

While working as an usher in a movie theater she was discovered by Ziegfeld and appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1931. She went on to work in the early talkies, which followed the silent movie era. Her films included: Walking Down Broadway, Handle with Care (1932), and Hello Sister! (1933) which received negative reviews and almost ended her career. She went on to perform in several “B” movies including The Wolf Dog (1933), Carnival Lady (1934) and Here’s Flash Casey (1936). Her final appearance on film was in an uncredited role in Laurel and Hardy’s Swiss Miss (1938).

She was married first at age sixteen, and by 1932 she wed her second husband. He was actor and producer William Cagney, brother of James. Her third marriage to Herbert Marshall in 1947 lasted until her death.

She died of lung cancer on December 1, 1958 in Santa Monica, California. She was only 45 years old.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #223:
“Boots Mallory was discovered by Ziegfeld while she worked as an usher.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“People who do a job that claims to be creative have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative. For people like me, solitude is a victory.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Wild Wednesday Rigid Wrist



Wild Wednesday Rigid Wrist

An often overlooked area in dance involves the wrists. How often have you heard anything about this area of the arms and hands? I thought so. Unless there is undue tension and/or extreme flexing you hear little about them.

That’s too bad because the wrists are important for the execution of lovely port de bras. The wrists allow beautiful, lyrical movement. Try doing any port de bras with rigid or flexed wrists and you’ll see what I mean.

The wrists are never rigid and/or locked into position, instead, they move in a subtle, but definite way, following the lead the hands in whatever port de bras is being performed. The best way to see this is to watch videos of dancers with lovely port de bras. You’ll notice that the wrists aren’t rigidly held, nor are they overly flexed.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #6ppp:
“The wrists are gently moveable, never rigid.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Тhe gentle overcomes the rigid.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Terminology Tuesday Raccourci



Terminology Tuesday Raccourci

The word raccourci [ra-koor-SEE] means shortened, and it is a term of the French school. It is used by itself to mean a position in which the thigh is raised to second en l’air, with the knee bent and working toe on the knee of the supporting leg (essentially a retiré).

The term also means any sharp bending movement of the knee and is seen in battement raccourci, fouetté raccourci. raccourci devant and derrière, and others.

And although there is usually no “short” in ballet (see
steps that involve raccourci are the exceptions.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Terminology Secret #41:
Raccourci means shortened.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Nature provides exceptions to every rule.”
― Margaret Fuller

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Mad Monday Barre Arm



Mad Monday Barre Arm

Pity the poor barre arm. It never gets attention. But it is just as important as the rest of the body.

The arm on the barre should be slightly in front of you – never behind. The elbow is relaxed, but there is a gentle downward pressure of the hand against the barre which allows the body to lift upward against it. There’s that two-way energy again. The emphasis here is gentle. There should never be aggressive pressure.

Always think of the barre as your partner – treat it with kindness and respect.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #21ww:
“The arm on the barre should be slightly in front of you.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“A pas de deux is a dialogue of love. How can there be conversation if one partner is dumb?” 
-Rudolf Nureyev

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day





Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
― Washington Irving

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

Saturday Trip Superstition



Saturday Trip Superstition

In the category of “Things That Are Obvious” comes today’s superstition: It is bad luck to trip over something, especially for dancers.

This comes from the book:  What They Say in New England, a book published in 1896. But there is a remedy should you be so unlucky, and that is to go back and walk safely over the item that tripped you. But if you tripped over a stone, you must go back and touch it.

Of course, most dancers I know don’t usually trip over an actual physical object. We tend to trip over nothing. I don’t know if there’s a remedy for that.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstition #151:
“It is bad luck to trip over something.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Even now one rarely hears of people achieving great things unless they first stumble in some respect.”
― Meister Eckhart

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Fun Friday Flip



Fun Friday Flip

Let’s turn things upside down today. Flip things upside-down on Friday.

To find the side-to-side feeling and resistance of beats, practice them by lying down on the floor with the legs straight, feet in the air. It also allows you to see what’s going on as well as feel it – always helpful. You can do these practice beats with the feet flexed and then pointed.

Start by opening the legs sideways to a relatively wide position, then bring them back to a nice upside-down fifth, feeling resistance as you do so. Keep decreasing the width of the outward position until it is where it will be when you are actually jumping. Always maintain the side-to-side action (never around).

Any time your beats aren’t working well, flip it! Lie down on the floor and hone the beats that way.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #15vvv:
“Practice beats lying down on the floor.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Everything visible has a flip side, like a coin.”
― Sunday Adelaja

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Throwback Thursday and Alex Romero



Throwback Thursday and Alex Romero

Alejandro Bernardo Quiroga was born in San Antonio, Texas on August 20, 1913. Better known as Alex Romero, he was a dancer and choreographer who worked for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) during the 1940s and 50s.

His career began in the 1920s as a dancer in silent films at Pathé Studios and in movie shorts with Buster Keaton. In 1923 he appeared in Universal Pictures’ Dancing Cheat and Lights Out. In Lights Out his tango performance earned him the title of “The Second Valentino”.

He went on to work with notables like Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Hermes Pan and Michael Kidd in movies such as An American in Paris in which he himself performed in ballet numbers.

Other movies included Easter Parade, Seven Bridges for Seven Brothers and Kiss Me Kate, as well as television shows. But he is probably best known for working with Elvis Presley in the movie Jailhouse Rock.

He lived to be 94 years old and died on September 8, 2007 in Woodland Hills, California. There is a book about his life by Mark Knowles entitled The Man who Made the Jailhouse Rock: Alex Romero, Hollywood Choreographer.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #222:
“Alex Romero was a choreographer for MGM in the 1940s and 50s.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.”
― Jason Fried, Rework

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