2 3 Ballet Webb: March 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Terminology Tuesday Étendu



Terminology Tuesday Étendu

Dancers are familiar with the word tendu and that it means stretched. But here is a new one: étendu. I know, it sounds like some oddly-pronounced computer lingo like e-commerce or something. But no.

Étendu [ay-than-DEW] means outstretched or extended. But it goes beyond that in ballet. Étendu is the second half of a pliéwhen the legs straighten.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that half of the plié had a name!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Terminology Secret #86:
“Étendu means extended.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
― Robert Frost

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Mad Monday Press Down Go Up



Mad Monday Press Down Go Up

Here is simple phrase to help you remember how to “activate” your pliés. That is, how to plié without just dropping downward into the knees (scary stuff). Here is the phrase: Press down to go up.

As Ballet Secret #2b states: A plié is a movement, not a position. Therefore it is active: the feet expand and press against the floor (the press down) as the body lifts (the up) and the knees bend. Ballet Secret #2c: A plié is actually an “up” movement (in energy), you only go downward because you are bending your knees.

To remember these secrets, during any plié, think press down to go up.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #2lll:
“Press down to go up.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Libraries were full of ideas—perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Fly


 

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.”
― C. JoyBell C.

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Superstitious Saturday Tchin Tchin



Superstitious Saturday Tchin Tchin

The phrase tchin tchin (chin chin) is a way to wish someone good luck. It originated in China and means please please - an invitation to have a drink – like saying cheers. The phrase was then passed on to soldiers in France which led to its current popularity.

I have occasionally heard tchin tchin used backstage as a different way to wish performers good luck, but it is most commonly used as a toast.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstitious Secret #200:
“Saying tchin tchin is a way to wish someone good luck.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“May we generally be happy, generally be witty, generally be honest, but above all always be interesting.”
― Daniel Handler, The Basic Eight

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Fun Friday Socks



Fun Friday Socks

One dance company I performed with required all dancers to wear socks over their dance shoes when walking from the dressing rooms to the stage. This policy was strictly enforced.

The goal was to prevent any slippery substances – particularly floor wax – from being tracked onto the stage where it could become hazardous. It also kept the shoes free of other dirt and grime that could also pose problems.

Not all companies had this policy but I always wore socks over my shoes. I simply removed them in the wings and replaced them before I went back to the dressing room. Nowadays I’d recommend socks with non-skid bottoms for this purpose, for obvious reasons.

Sock it to me!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #21eee:
“Wear socks over your pointe shoes to keep them clean.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Don't be quick to discard old socks because you receive new ones”
― Charmaine J Forde

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Throwback Thursday and Violetta Bovt



Throwback Thursday and Violetta Bovt

Born in Los Angeles on May 9, 1927 Violetta Trofinovna Bovt became a ballet dancer in the Soviet Union.

Her father was a communist sympathizer and he moved the family to what was then the Soviet Union. He died fighting near the front in Leningrad during WWII. He was in his 40s.

Violetta Bovt trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, graduated in 1944 and began performing at the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre in Moscow. Some of her roles included Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Esmeralda in La Esmeralda, among others.

Since she never gave up her American citizenship, Violetta Bovt was never accepted as a permanent performer with either the Bolshoi or the Maryinsky. She was also not permitted to dance in the United States. Instead she performed as a guest artist in Russia and worked at the Stanislavski theatre as a dancer and as a teacher. A film about her life entitled Interview that Never Happened was produced in 1968.

When the political climate changed she moved to Columbus, Ohio where she was hired by BalletMet.

Violetta Bovt died on April 22, 1995, aged 67 years.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #318:
“Violetta Bovt was an American citizen who danced in the Soviet Union.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”
― Henry Ward Beecher


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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Wacky Wednesday Wiggle



Wacky Wednesday Wiggle

Wiggling is not something that happens in ballet. Unless it is part of a particular piece of choreography, wiggling should be generally avoided.

And where is wiggling most often seen? When a dancer is getting into fifth position. This occurs in an  attempt to add turnout, but it only serves to twist the knees. Scary. It’s like turnout window dressing.

Wiggling into fifth is not attractive or productive. It prevents or impends rotating the legs from the hip sockets, thus effectively preventing developing greater turnout. Oh, it may look like the turnout is better, but in the long run it is counterproductive. Sigh.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #21ddd:
“Avoid wiggling into fifth position.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“String Theory describes energy and matter as being composed of tiny, wiggling strands of energy that look like strings. And the pitch of a string's vibration determines the nature of its effect.”

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Terminology Tuesday Monter



Terminology Tuesday Monter

The term monter [mawn-TAY] means “to rise” or “to mount”. It refers to moving (rising) onto demi-pointe or full pointe.

It is a term of the French school, and I have heard it used, but not frequently, in America.

But now you’ll recognize monter when and if you hear it!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #85:
Monter means to rise.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“The strong-minded rise to the challenge of their goals and dreams.”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Mad Monday to the Point



Mad Monday to the Point

It might seem like pointing the feet would be one of the simplest things to do in ballet. But no. This basic skill is fraught with pitfalls, the biggest one being the dreaded “sickled” foot.

Now although Ballet Secret 4g states: “Imagine a railroad track that runs on each side of the foot, and always stretch equally down each rail when pointing the foot”, today I’m added a caveat (a condition or limitation) to that.

Since most of us have more flexibility on the little toe side of the foot, think about stretching the big toe side of the foot a bit more. It’s still pretty equal, but that little extra length on the big toe side will help prevent the dreaded sickle.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Ballet Secret #4cc:
“Think of stretching the big toe side a bit extra.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“One thing I've learned about myself is that I can accomplish anything I want to. The caveat is that I have to want to do it. I've never been able to forge desire.”
― Crystal Woods, Write like no one is reading 3

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Storm


Sunday Storm



Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday Irish Good Luck



Saturday Irish Good Luck

Well, better late than never. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which was last Tuesday, I present some wonderful Irish good luck phrases.

-         May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.
-         May the wind always be at your back.
-         May your heart be light and happy, may your smile be big and wide, and may your pockets always have a coin or two inside.
-         May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.
-         May the roof above you never fall in and those gathered beneath it never fall out.
-    A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures.

And finally one of my favorites:
-  Don’t be breaking your shin on a stool that’s not in your way.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstitious Secret #199:
“There are many Irish good luck sayings.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.”
― Edna O'Brien

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