Friday, November 2, 2012

Tales from the Bathtub

okay, so today the little monster in the peacock costume laid a HUGE egg today. all over. everything. after going through a 1/2 pack of wipes and 2 diapers, I decided to stick her in the bathtub. here is our conversation for your enjoyment:



Me: Don't drink that. It's poopy water.

Rosie: *pretends to puke on her Minnie Mouse toy*

Rosie: MUAHAHAHA I'M THE BAD KING AND YOU ARE AN UGLY GIRAFFE

Me: ...um...thanks...

Rosie: You are my mommy.

Me: No. I am your sister. Don't tell people that I am your mommy because technically I am old enough to be. Sadly.

Rosie: You funny.

Me: Thanks....

Rosie: People are weird.

Me: You are a people, too.

Rosie: NO I'M THE BAD KING I'M NOT A PEOPLE. You people, Luke people, Sam people, Lilly people, Mommy people, Daddy people. Those people (points to soap bottles). Everybody people.

Me: Except you.

Rosie: No, I'm a people, too. Smokey (our black cat) is the bad king now.

Me: When do I get to be bad king?

Rosie: Some people are scary.

Me: Like Freddy and Jason?

Rosie: Yeah. They have orange hats and sing scary songs. Scary people are scary.

Me: *puts another dollar in the therapy jar* Right..... orange hats? Like sombreros?

Rosie: What do you like?

Me: I li-

Rosie: You like purple.

Me: I do like purple:

Rosie: Sing Never Ever Together.

Me: *begins to sing*

Rosie: MAKE IT STOOOOPPPP. Mommy, you are bad. Bad King. Go sit on the potty.

Me: okay 1) I am not your Mommy and 2) No. I'm the freakin' Bad King. I don't take orders from peasants.

Rosie: Read Sneetches on the Beaches.

Me: Fine. *reads Dr. Suess' The Sneetches and other Stories*

Rosie: Who is Jason?

Me: Ask Dad.

Rosie: My fingers are pruny. My toes pruny. My belly pruny. My fat cheeks are pruny. (proceeds to denounce every body part as pruny)

Me: Yep. You're pruny alright.

Rosie: Put more water in.

Me: No.

Rosie: Paint my nails.

Me: No.

Rosie: Go away.

Me: No.

Rosie: Bring me a snack.

Me: No.

Rosie: Get me out.

Me: Okay. *wraps her in a towel and takes her to her room*

Rosie: Becca, you are a boy.

Me: No, I'm not a boy.

Rosie: Fine, you are a fat doggie.

Me: ...thanks... 

Rosie: *starts sobbing*

Me: What's wrong??

Rosie: DON'T EAT MEEEEEE!

Me: I'm not going to eat you.....

Rosie: *stops crying and smiles*

Me: ....today.

Rosie: Boys can't eat Rosies

Me: Yes they can.

Rosie: Check it, bro.

Me: What did you just say?

Rosie: SEE YA SUCKAA *takes off naked* I'M A NAKEY NUT!

Me: aye aye aye

Rosie: *comes back* Becca will you Pirate Hair (side ponytail) on me?

Me: After we get your clothes on.

Rosie: Can I wear my babing suit?

Me: No.

Rosie: I'm hungry.

Me: Why don't you eat.... THE COLD HARD GROUND *pretends to piledrive her*

Rosie: *laughing uncontrollably*

Me: *carries her upsidedown to the bathroom*

Rosie: *immediately grabs hairspray and a nearby razor and pretends to shave* HEY LOOK I'M DADDY!

Me: Let's not.... *puts stuff away*

Rosie: You are a bad Bad King. I Bad King now. You are Mufasa.

Me: Okay. Hold still!

Rosie: *commences in Gangnam Style dance*

Me: How do you know how to do that?

Rosie: How do dogs breathe?

Me: Touche...

Rosie: How you do ballet?

Me: Magic.

Rosie: You are a Bad King.

Me: Yes! Go fetch the coach, poor insignificant peasant!

Rosie: HAHA you funny.

Me: Thanks, girlfriend.

Rosie: I love you.

Me: I love you, too.

Rosie: You look like Mother Gothel.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Importance of Dance


//
Expression
     For thousands of years, dance has been considered a classic art. Not only does this art hold longevity in history, but it is also born into every human being. Even babies begin to jiggle and hop to the sound of music at a young age. This improvisation of natural movements feels harmonious to the body and mind, and has been proved to increase brain activity and boost self-esteem. Dance is one of the most widely enjoyed sports, being able to express your personality and worldview through artistic emotion.
.
Contemporary
      While many may stand by the belief that dance is not a sport, the physical activity exercised while indulging in dance is just as much as more competitive, rigid sports such as football and baseball. These sports must follow narrow rules and are unbalanced between the body and mind. Dance is simply an artistic way of staying fit, and increases balance and spine alignment. A multitude dance forms, such as ballet and hip-hop are proven to release endorphins. Endorphin is a combination of endogenous and morphine, meaning a morphine-like substance originated from the body. These hormones bring a sense of power and control over the mind. Given the extreme physical exhaustion dance classes bring, it can only be concluded that dance is, in fact, a sport.
feisin'
Irish Dance
                      
          Depending on his personality, the dancer may choose Irish Dance over the cool, crisp, isolated movements of Animation. If he desires a more upbeat, festive, historical tempo, than the slow-and-steady protocol of ballet, Bollywood is the best choice for him, combining the fun and bouncy movements with ancient Indian tradition. Some of the widely enjoyed dance forms include: ballet, contemporary, musical theater, clogging, time period dance, ballroom dancing, Latin Heritage dance, African Jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, rhythmic gymnastics, and krump.
Elena Podymova as Death in Romeo and Juliet.
Ballet
     All forms of dance maintain the Greek Ideal: combining mental and physical activity into a harmonious balance. Also, all forms of dance can tell stories or bring morals to the audience. Contemporary almost always tells a story of love or sadness and other extreme emotions, while hip hop and krump show a competitive and exciting side of dance, bringing viewers to the edge of their seats. Ballet is a common form of dance that is performed in both public and private shows that is appreciated by an audience of all ages; whether dancers, or dance fanatics, or simply ones who soak up the beauty of all art. Classic tales such as Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, and nearly every nursery rhyme can be interpreted through EVERY style of dance. 
 

Fred & Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire
     The bravura sentiment of dance is what sets it apart from all other sports; making it one of the most pleasant of them all. The innate impulse of dance implemented in every human being can be directed into structured dance by taking classes of any of the myriad of dance styles. Retaining the Greek Ideal, dance brings balance to both the dancer and the audience, and thousands of people will gather at each show to pay homage to one of the oldest arts.





     

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Understanding Turnout: Anatomical Tips to Success


CRAZY TURNOUT! 

     I have created a couple of posts about turnout, but today, we are going to take a trip deeeep into anatomy class, Magic School Bus Style. So get your Ms. Frizzle wig on and put on your x-ray earrings. 

     Has your instructor ever told you: "Turnout from the HIPS!" or used the terms "turnout" and "hips" in the same sentence? I never quite understood what was meant by this until one of my teachers gave us a lesson on turnout from an anatomical perspective. She used the book Inside Ballet Technique, which used diagrams of the hips to demonstrate proper turnout. 


A Mental Battle

Perfect turnout is one of those seemingly impossible mountains that every dancer strives to climb. Among it is 32 fouettés en tournant, 180 extensions, and a perfect arch. And here is where I am going to get painfully honest: if you do not want to push yourself to the limits of sanity, you are not cut out for ballet. Ballet requires constant diligence and attention. This is perhaps what makes it both appealing and appalling. I can't count on my fingers the number of times I have cried over something relating to ballet. It is an emotional sport as well as the physical.

Now, let's just stop for a moment and think about why we dance. It's not easy. It doesn't feel "comfortable". Sometimes I would rather be sitting on the couch watching The Hunger Games and stuffing my face with Oreos than doing petit allégro. So why do we do it? The answer isn't as simple as you think. For anyone who TRULY loves dance, they know the answer. For those who are just doing it, well, just because... *channel inner Yoda*... search for it, you must. Every dancer may have a different answer, and mine is because I strive to challenge myself in every way possible and master what I begin.
[Tweet this]

Now that the guilt trip/crying bout/contemplation of life is over, let us begin today's lesson in anatomy.

Bones

     The first thing to understand is that some people are born with hips easier to turn out. See Figure 1. In Picture 1A, a normal hip is shown. 1B displays femoral anteversion. This means that the toes point inward, or the feet are pigeon-toed. This makes turnout difficult for the dancer, and the knees naturally point forward when turning out from the hips. 1C shows femoral retroversion, which is the exact opposite of anteversion. The dancer may have a natural turnout of up to 180 degrees. (From DanceAdvantage.net) In fact, Gayanne Grossman, associate professor of anatomy and kinesiology at Temple University suggests that “most dancers have a maximum rotation of 55 degrees in their hips.” [see this 2008 article from Dance Magazine]. This definitely plays into the individual turnout of dancers.

Figure 1

Ligaments

     Do not, however, mistake this as an excuse for not having good turnout. This simply explains why turnout is difficult for some dancers. Turnout is increased by the flexibility and strength of the three ligaments surrounding the ball-and-socket joint of the hip. These three ligaments are called the iliofemoral ligament (which connects the illium, the upper part of the pelvis, to the femur), the ischiofemoral ligament (which connects the ischium, the lower part of the pelvis, to the femur), and the pubofemoral ligament (which connects the pubic bone to the femur). All three of these become stretched in exercises like grande battement derriére, and become relaxed in exercises like grande battement devant. 

     The iliofemoral ligament stretches across the front of the joint, and is also the strongest ligament in the body. This ligament helps restrict full arabesque. The ischiofemoral ligament restricts movements of the leg crossing the midline. The pubofemoral ligament restricts à la seconde.

Muscles

Far too often, the gluteus maximus is used as the primary muscle of turnout. While it is the biggest muscle involved in proper turnout, the true ballerina muscles lie deep within. These six muscles are built exclusively through ballet and become a key part of a ballerina's technique. The sartorius muscle also aids in proper turnout.

Figure 2

I know that this quick study of the hip joint has helped me feel my turnout. Follow me for more anatomical summaries! I am more than happy to do the research!





Friday, October 26, 2012

11 things to make your day better.

i'm having a bad day today.

in the hopes that you are having one, too, i made this lovely compilation of things that make me feel better.

this guy got a text from a stranger and decided to play along with it! must read! I almost died from laughter, SO FUNNY.

1. read this.

I have never needed anything more

2. this t-shirt

Daily Odd Compliment

3. this compliment

Freshly washed ballerinas

4. this long-awaited ballerina meme

Ahahahaha!

5. and this other one

23 Easy Ways To Instantly Make Your Day Better. 14-18 I AM DYING

6. these ways to make one feel better

Shakespeare insult kit

7. this insult kit


8. note to self: never go on a ride with Janice.


9. this cracked me up. i'm still laughing

http://vimeo.com/29497176

10. THIS. trust me. just go. watch it.



11. WILL THEY JUST GET MARRIED AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, OKAY???


well, i hope that made your day better!

geez louise.

oh boy.

i'm a mess.

i have abandoned you once again.

so i ask to trespass upon your hospitality in hopes that you would accept me once again as the loving author of this bloggety blog.

CATCH-UP TIME!

1. I had a birthday. And let me just say so far this new year is pretty much NOT what I was hoping. DON'T GROW UP, CHILDREN! IT'S A TRAP!
2. I quit ballet for Irish Dance.
3. I quit Irish Dance for ballet.
4. I went camping.
5. I got an abhorrent case of poison ivy. Nasty nasty stuff.
6. I decided to put a little magic in my life and start blogging again!

so...... yeah. life of a ballerina. pretty uneventful, yet most agreeable.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hip-hopping Belly/Hula Krumper

Just gonna say it flat out: Taking other kinds of dance besides ballet is EXTREMELY important, and often the factors of getting accepted into a company hinge upon that. Being skilled or having training in other types of dance such as hula, hip-hop, contemporary, Bollywood, and musical theater greatly increases your success and versatility. I am currently taking contemporary and it has DEFINITELY helped me in ballet with expressionism and technique.

Contemporary:


Contemporary is very similar to ballet, loose and flowy with precise lines. The individual movements are more modern than classical ballet, many of them are made up on the spot by the choreographer. Unlike ballet, contemporary is easily translated into different moods, happy, sad, in love, dead, alive, hurt, angry, alien, etc.

Hip-Hop:



Hip-Hop is another form of expressionism. You can show you're hurt, in love, angry, etc. I personally find this form of dancing more fun to do and more entertaining to watch than contemporary. Hip-hop can consist of bboying, breaking, and also krumping has spurred from hip-hop movements.


Bollywood:




Bollywood dance is the classic dance of Indian culture. It can be used to songs from that culture, as the dance above, or to popular songs of today, combining cultures in an intriguing mashup of dances. This dancing build muscle and is very difficult, but provokes a happier being.

Hula Dancing:




Hula dancing is a different dance than most, and not many people outside of Hawaiian culture take it. I LOVE hula dancing and it builds control over separated part of the body, keeping still the top half of your body, while moving the bottom half. Isolation is key in ballet.


There are hundreds of styles of dance, and every one of them can help you in your dance training in becoming more versatile and strong.
Hey chickadees! Sorry for not posting recently.... I had a performance this past weekend :) But I'm up and running again so you haven't gotten rid of me yet!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hakuna Matata

It happens to ALL of us. We get nervous at productions or in classes or the like. Face it.

But hey, no judging.

I have simple instructions for this.

Hakuna Matata.

Yeah. No stress balls, psychologists, pills, nothing. These things just make it worse. They cloud your body and mind with artificial and harmful substances that just work to keep the nerves and feelings bottled inside, which doesn't help your case much.

Insane feet.

Just relax. I like to think of the worst and best case scenario. Examples:

Audition for a BIG part that would change your career.

Best Case Scenario: You do awesome and you get the part.

Worst Case Scenario: You do terrible and don't get the part, but learn from your mistakes and know what to look for in future auditions.

Now, looking at both the scenarios, you turn out okay in both. So why worry? Anything in between isn't going to be any worse. Statistically, being nervous actually HEIGHTENS your chance of failing. So just chill. Take some green tea with you and just, you know, hakuna matata.

Here's another example:

You are the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty.

Best Case Scenario: You do amazing and a talent scout happens to be in the audience.

Worst Case Scenario: You forget your piece, but since you read this blog, you know that the best things to do is to improv.

See? You could see the worst case scenario as failing terrible and ending your dance career, or you could choose to look at it in this light, making you less nervous, therefore through logical reasoning, less likely to fail.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend Everyone!


Friday, May 25, 2012

So a Ballerina Walks into a Barre......

Does anyone else feel like ballerinas are TERRIBLY clumsy outside the studio? Like when you walk into a door when all of your friends are watching and then unknowingly yell out "DOOR!". Yeah. Happens to the best of us.

BUT that is not what this article is about.

ballet

I am writing on the importance of barre class. If you feel tired or weighed down in the middle of class, it may be because you underestimate the importance of barre. Barre isn't just a portion of class to warm you up....it's like a class itself! Treat it like a peice you are learning; try to do your best. Make your plies deep, your frappes sharp, and your turnout steady and strong. This will improve your jumps, petite allegro, adagio, pointe, and stamina. Some of this also may be able to help with drowsiness.

dance

Barre is also a good thing to do at home in between ballet classes. It improves your memory, muscles, and stamina. You come to ballet class with a clean slate and your muscles have automatic memory to barre, which allows you to concentrate more on correcting mistakes. This saves time in class instead of scrambling to remember barre.

dance

30 minutes to an hour per day is all your body asks. Take this time to barre, stretch, anything else your body needs. It improves the sleek shape of the dancer and makes you over-all more healthy. Once I was asked, "So how long does it take to be good at ballet?" At first I thought they meant how long it takes to get to a professional level, but instead I answered, "Well, you never do. Dance is always about striving to be longer, healthier, more precise, better." And it's true.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Pointe Is...

Since I am very new on pointe (September 29, 2011 oh yes i still remember the date), I am still figuring out this freak of nature. I am convinced that humans were not meant to fly or stand on their toes, but it looks pretty so what the heck.

I use Russian Pointe Grandes, and this was my first pair. I recently purchased my second pair to wear for the concert next week. These are considerable harder than I remember, but they are supposedly EXACTLY the same. I have experimented with different padding, switching shoes, different warm-up techniques, everything! I didn't remember Pair 1 hurting this much; the only reason I got new ones were because Pair 1 was all torn-up and falling apart. They weren't dead, just ratty. I made a mistake. I put the old pair on today with fresh padding, and the felt like a second skin! Sooooo comfortable compared to my new shoes. I have spent all day today trying to soften my shoes up, with no success. Maybe I need to buy a softer shoe next time? I will not be getting Grandes again because 1) I am not happy with them and 2) they are discontinued. 

Pointe shoes should look like a part of your feet when you are wearing them. The picture shouldn't be a definite difference between the shoe and your feet. Here are some examples:

Michaela DePrince from First Position is one example I can give you. Watch her feet at 0:17.



Amazing, huh?

This is an example of a foot separate from the shoe.


See what I mean? During pointe class, think of your pointe shoes as part of your foot, not a shoe. They are extensions of your legs, not ballet apparel. You can get this look and feel through well-broken in shoes.
Did you know that a dancer generates a half pint of sweat in his/her feet per hour of dance class? I believe it, but ew.

Sleek Performance

WE ARE NOT CLOUDS.

For dancers, muscle building is key for professional development. I'm not talking about RRRRGGGGHHHH LOOK AT MY ARMS THEY'RE 5 TIMES AS BIG AS MY HEADDDDD. Dancers develop different muscles than many other sports and performing arts, ones that are more sculpted and sleek, less big and bulgy. Many of the muscles developed by dancers are inner muscles, such as the inner thigh, deep in the leg, or the core.  Muscle development varies directly to how many days (not hours) per week you are in the studio.

Misty Copeland

I only take classes on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, a total of 6 hours per week. Not a professional schedule, I know, but I appreciate not being locked up every day all day with no contact with sunlight. This upcoming year, because my schedule will stay the same, I am planning on taking a higher level class on Tuesday, and any other classes I can the rest of the week, even if they are levels below me. Dance development has nothing to do with how many hours per week you train, but everything to do with how many days per week you dance. Even if you cannot dance every day, there is nothing stopping you from giving yourself your own dance workout at home.


When selecting a dance workout, be careful as to what muscles they are building. Watch or read the instructions carefully and think about what muscles they may be building. It is best to warm up with a barre. I suggest Pure Barre videos, or Finis Jhung videos found on DVD and YouTube. Or you could use your own barre from class. Maybe create your own.


I also suggest teaching yourself a variation from a famous ballet. This improves your teaching, choreography, and dancing skills. You will learn how to adapt a dance from a video, which will come in very handy in the future. Well-known variations include The Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker, The Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty, and Swanhilda's variation in Coppelia

Core strength is extremely important for a dancer. Without core muscles, extensions would drop, leaps would be barely off the ground, balance would be nearly impossible, and pirouettes absurd. This expressed, you can NEVER have too much core strength. Crunches, 100s, sit-ups, planks, and the like must be on your workout schedule. 


Yoga and Pilates are considered very healthy for a ballerina, increasing balance, strength, and stamina. Try joining a club such as Groupon to get updates on special deals for yoga and Pilates classes. Special offers on Kindles are also very common. The other day I received coupon that included ten 90-minute yoga classes with a choice of a 15-minute massage or a 30-minute personal training session for only $30! Yoga is a very inexpensive and stress-relieving way to build muscle.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sole Mates

Jane Winkworth
Jane Winkworth, British shoe designer and founder of French Sole Shoes

Ballet shoes are known for their light, comfortable feel, so much so that a type of street shoes were created after them, ballet flats. These versatile shoes don't come easy; many brands make them dig into your heel, itchy,  slippy, you name it! Jane Winkworth may have solved that. 

Jane Winkworth had a background consisting of the arts, and had a great interest the art of dance. Her greatest inspiration was Josephine Baker, the first African American dancer to join Folies Bergere in Paris, who also was a key influential in the acceptance of African dance as one as whole as ballet.

Winkworth designed her entire line to mimic the lightness of ballet shoes. Her company is the first to specialize completely in ballet flats. Her shoes are said to be extremely comfortable by many reputable sources such as Princess Diana, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Moss, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Ballet-styled shoes are becoming very popular among the people everywhere, especially for their comfort and versatility. 



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tutu Tuesday

okay. close your eyes. think about your favorite tutu that you have worn. for me, it was this costume (me in the pink): 

i was a pretty snazzy stepsister, if i do say so myself.

pretty decked out, huh?

ANYWAY. Tutus are a very important part of ballet. Ballet is telling a story without using words, and costumes help us tell that story through theatricality. Many ballets requires specific costume for variations, the Sleeping Beauty ballet being one of them. The Bluebird variation requires a blue tutu with feather accents to insinuate bird-likeness, and Carabosse must wear dark clothing to signify evil. In Don Quixote, Kitri wears a Spanish tutu, usually red and black, to culturally match with the story.

There are many different kinds of tutus, such as Balanchine, Romantic, and classic Pancake.

Romantic Tutu
Love the Romantic Tutu.

Long and flowy, this ankle-length ballet skirt reflect it's time period. The tulle tutu is bell-shaped and free falling to emphasize lightness, and are in dark ballets such as Giselle and La Sylphide.

Pancake Tutu
♥Passe

This short, flat skirt is very full at the top, yet stiff with wires and hand tacking near the bottom layers. This kind of ballet tutu is used in countless variations, including the Lilac Fairy, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and many other principal parts.

Bell Tutu
La classe de danse-Edgar Degas

Bell tutus are one of the less common tutus, but are very popular at some old-fashioned dance companies. Slightly longer that a pancake, it is of the same construction but without wiring, kind of a cross between pancake and romantic. These tutus are often seen in paintings by Edgar Degas, as the one above.

Balanchine/Karinska Tutu
File:Barbara Karinska beit ariela.jpg

(Middle) Originally designed for the ballet of George Bizet's Symphony in C by Barbara Karinska, the "powder-puff" was often used by George Balanchine to extenuate the long legs of his dancers. With a similar anatomy of the pancake tutu, the Balanchine tutu has less layers of tulle than the pancake tutu, and no wiring, giving a flowy, soft look that expresses the length of the dancer's legs.

Platter tutu
dance

Platters are almost exactly like pancake tutus, except they are completely flat and less full at the top. These tutus are often used for ballet class.

Just by researching this topic I learned so much! I hope that you expanded you knowledge on ballet apparel :)

If you liked this, see my post on Ballet Leotards.

oh. my. porcupines.

I have done it ONCE AGAIN. Ignored ya'll for another semester! So sorry! But in my defense, HIGH SCHOOL IS SOME TOUGH STUFF. So glad freshman year is over. Time to start anew as a SOPHOMORE! Woot woot!!

Edit: SOPHOMORE YEAR IS TERRIBLE. DON'T GROW UP. GO BACK TO KINDERGARTEN WHERE WE ALL BELONG!

Okay. Another pledge I am going to make. And you can guess how it's going to go this time.

Whew. Here it goes.

I am going to blog throughout the summer.

Maybe even throughout the school year next year.

I don't know.

But I WILL BLOG IN THE SUMMER.

If I have enough time for Pinterest, I have enough time for Plies.

Love you guys, and thanks for being there for me :)

Since I'm a little rusty....... any ideas for blog posts?

What would YOU like to see at Plies?