Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Hey! Long time no see(or write). Between school, Nutcracker, and holiday busy-ness, I just haven't had time to update you guys. But now I have something! It's not really a big something, but it's a little something to hopefully make your day a little more interesting. So this year in my studio's Nutcracker, I was Clara's mother, marzipan(reed-flute, shepherdess, or candy canes depending on your studio) and the Sugar Plum Fairy. It was awesome-amazing-fun and torture at the same time. Our professional videos always take forever to get sent out, so I had my friend tape my variation backstage. You can hear her and one of my other friends being amazingly supportive the entire time I was onstage. When I first saw the video and heard them I almost cried. I don't think they know that. I have a very strong bond with the girls I dance with.
Come back soon!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Time Management Tips for Dancers!

       Hey, guys! Me again! Hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving breaks. In the spirit of the holiday season, I would just like to say that I am incredibly thankful for my family, my friends, my teachers (at school and dance), the standards of my education, the opportunities that my studio gives me, my studio as a whole, and my health and ability to dance and train as hard as I do.
Mini-me on Thanksgiving 7 years ago!
       As any dancer -any athlete, for that matter- will tell you, it’s not easy to get up at an ungodly hour, sit at a desk and waste time, go straight from sitting to warming up and practicing, then coming home late with piles of homework and chores waiting for you in a messy room that you never have time to clean, needing to eat, shower, and –oh, yeah- sleep.
      Fortunately for me, I've found some pretty good tips, and I’m going to share them with you. They’re from Toni Branner's The Care and Feeding of a Dancer. I know, it makes us sound like we’re pets or something. I’m pretty sure we own a book with the same title about caring for your Labradoodle. But she’s got some great tips. You can but her book on amazon here.

Time Management for Dancers
1.  First thing when you get home from dance, no matter how late it is, make yourself a snack. Doing this as soon as possible will help replace the glycogen in your muscles, and you’ll feel better in the morning. And I’m sure we’ve all heard that you should never eat a large meal late at night because it won’t metabolize as well, blah blah blah. As long as you’re not stuffing yourself to the gills, you’ll be ok. I recommend a smoothie or some oatmeal.

2.  Assess your homework situation and prioritize. One tip that I have found particularly helpful is Branner’s A-B-C prioritizing system. As are the things that absolutely have to be done tonight, Bs would be awesome if they could get done, but they can be worked on tomorrow or at school, and Cs are the things that you wish you had time for, but they can wait for the weekend. I use different colored highlighters in my planner to organize these.

3.  Take a shower. For me, this usually gets done almost as soon as I finish eating, because if I’m showering at 11:30, it keeps my whole family up. But some people like to shower last. Either way, it’s pretty straight-forward.

My desk
Control center, where I can see everything that needs to get done.
        In order for these tips to work for me, I like to make sure that my work space is organized. Mostly because I’m a little bit OCD, but also because it just makes life easier. I also get a lot of my homework done at school. We have a study hall right after first period, and when we don’t have a required activity during that hour, I use it to knock out some reading or study with friends.
          In order to keep myself from wasting too much time on Facebook or Instagram, I limit myself to 10 minutes of it before I start my homework, but after I prioritize. I’ve also found that if I try to do my homework with music on, it takes me twice as long to do, because I’m easily distracted.
        I hope these tips help you guys, and I hope you’re having a great holiday season! If you want to see what I’m up to, check out my Instagram here and be sure to comment down below telling me how you’re celebrating!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Nutcracker Tag!

Hey, guys! I'm super excited to announce that my first video, The Nutcracker Tag, is now up! I'm officially on YouTube, and I'm soooo excited! Hope you enjoy!

Healthy, Homemade Granola Bars

Hey, guys! I guess it's been a while since I made a really long post like this, and it'll probably be a while after this before I will again, but the good new is that most of my posts from here on out will be videos, and even better, I've got one uploading right now!
Any way, it is now November, and officially Nutcracker season! I absolutely love this time of year, I have so many great memories of the little period between fall and winter, when the weather is absolutely perfect and everyone is in a good mood.
Of course, the moods get a little crankier during Nutcracker rehearsals when everyone's tired, hungry, sore, and stressed out. Well, I can't help you with everything. But I can try to help out with the hunger!
One of the best snacks to eat during rehearsals(or even just a long day at the studio), are granola bars. If you can find the right ones, they can be healthy, delicious, and protein and energy packed. However, they are usually chock full of nuts. For most people, that's not a problem, but I happen to be allergic to nuts, and I'm sure several of you are as well. My solution? If I want to get any good nutrition from a granola bar, I have to make it myself.

 Start by gathering your ingredients. I used gluten-free whole-grain Rice Crispies, Quaker Quick Oats, Craisins, creamy peanut butter(I'm only allergic to tree-nuts), honey, and dark-chocolate chips. YOu can always add, remove or substitute ingredients. I've found that what you put in these doesn't really matter, as long as you have a good glue and base(I'll explain later).

These are my dry ingredients, or "base". They are the substance that the glue holds together. I took about 1& 1/2 cups of rice crispies, 1 cup of oats, and a generous handful of craisins, and added them to a large bowl, like this.
Make sure that you mix them together so that the craisins, or what ever other ingredients you decide to use, are spread evenly through the mixture.

These ingredients were my glue, and they all got thrown into a sauce pan on low heat, mixed together until they were sticky enough, then dumped on my base. I used about 1&1/2 generously large spoonfuls of peanut butter, 4 table spoons of honey, 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips, and 1 scoop of why protein. (This ended up being a bit thick, so I added about a 1/4 cup of milk as well.)
 This is what you'll end up with after you dump the glue onto the base. Make sure you mix this thoroughly, or the end result will not stick together!
Having had some issues with portion control in the past, (these are really good!) I put them into a paper-lined muffin tin. I ended up with 10 portions, but you can always double the recipe if you want/need more, or just not fill the cups as full as I did. When you have everything the way you want it, put in the fridge to solidfy for a few hours, and then they're ready to go! Hope you enjoy!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Fouette Progress

Hey guys, long time no see. Sorry that it's been so long, our computer crashed and wouldn't open this website, then I got really sick and honestly just didn't feel like posting. Sorry, life happens. But now I'm back, and I've got video importing right now, and it should be uploaded by tomorrow, so I thought that for now I would show you guys some more turn clips!

Fouettes are my second favorite type of turn. Piques are my absolute favorite, but fouettes run a close second. And they're improving! I'll try to get a slightly more recent video up soon, but this first one is from February, and the second video is from July.

Enjoy! Talk to you soon!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Love Turns!

Hey guys! Sorry about the gap between posts. I have some video for you this week!

So if you are going to continue to read this blog, you need to know that I LOVE turns. Like, really love them. Piques are the best, I could do them forever, and don't even get me started on fouettes. But pirouettes and I have kind of a love/hate relationship. Usually, they're pretty good. But not great. And I've started to plateau a bit, and haven't really been able to make them a lot better or stronger or faster. My friend recently bought a turn board, and we've been experimenting with it for the last couple weeks. Here is a clip from my first time on the turn board last week between dance classes.
Excuse the T-shirt, it was laundry day.
I'll be back next weekend with another few videos. Until then, keep dancing!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Back-to-Dance Must Haves!

Hey guys! I told you I'd be back. This week I'm going to share my must haves for the new season with you all, some of this stuff I got for Ballet West, but most of it I've accumulated through the last year or so, and used it up. All of these things I will definitely repurchase! So I guess lets get started!

 So first things first, I need to have a stretching and conditioning routine. If I don't have it laid out, it won't happen.
This wristlet is by Vera Bradley, and can be found here.
 The nest thing I need to have is a good sized wristlet. I carry around epi-pens and an inhaler at all times, so this transfers nicely from my backpack to my dance bag. It also holds my phone and a few dollars.

I am a shoe snob. I am always looking for the best fitting, most comfortable, most flattering shoe that I'm allowed to wear, and so far, these are the best I have found. My jazz shoes are Bloch Phantoms, a stretch-canvas shoe with a suede patch on the ball of the foot to make turning easier. I have them in black right now, but I'm ordering some nude ones for performance season as well. My ballet shoes are Grishko Model 6s. I think they're the performance style, but I'm not sure where you can find them online. I love those because they have elastic in the arch, which make my feet look much better than they are.

I also need my Pointe shoes and Pointe accessories! I like to start the year with at least 2 pairs of new shoes, because I go through them so quickly. Right now I'm wearing Suffolk Solo Prequels, in a 5 XXXN  with a soft shank.

To go along with my shoes, I need to have jet glue, rosin, and toe pads! I've found, actually, that most people don't like to wear toe pads. I guess it's a pride thing? I don't know. I personally am not too proud to admit that I feel pain, so I'm not giving up the Ouch Pouches anytime soon!

I love these band-aids! I don't actually wear them while I'm dancing, but they are great for wearing around the house or to school (because those are the only places I go) and healing your blisters! The only thing about these, is that I don't necessarily think they're worth the money.  I think I remember them being about $6 a piece, and they only have 6-8 bandages per box.... I wanted to try them out, but I don't think I'm desperate enough to repurchase them.

Last but not least, my foot lotion, Icy-Hot, and foot Rubz ball. I'll start with the ball. The thing is awesome! I do not have plantar fasciitis, but my arches do get really sore, so I spend a lot of time rolling them out. Especially after a long night at the studio. The lotion is great for the same thing, and it feels soooooo refreshing! It's full of peppermint oil, so it smells and feels great! I usually shower, stretch, roll out my everything, put lotion on my feet, pull on fuzzy socks (finish my homework), and go to bed. The Icy-Hot is awesome because it really works. It doesn't pull off any miracles, but it provides enough relief for me to get through that dreaded conditioning class or 3 hour pointe rehearsal. Kevin Semans, Ballet West's resident athletic trailer told us that while Icy-Hot, epsom salts, and Tiger Balm don't have any real benefits, they don't hurt you either, so if you think it works for you, go ahead!

I hope to have some video up soon, but for now I'm just posting on here. If I upload anything, I'll definitely let you guys know! Have a great week and don't forget to comment below and tell me what your back to dance must-haves are! If you have any video suggestions, I would love to hear those too!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Expectations for the New Season and Summer Recap.

So, my first day of school was today. I'm a Junior. It was pretty crazy (I go to a really big school), but it still kinda feels like the calm before the storm. The hurricane of confusion and flood of homework are going to come blowing in full force next week. I'm not really looking forward to that.

My "getting ready for school tomorrow" face.

I am, however, looking forward to starting a new level of ballet classes in a couple of days, and the new performance season in a few weeks!

My studio has a recreational program as well as an intensive program. I was in both intensive 8 and 9 last year, this year I am just in 9, but with elective technique classes on other days of the week. Right now I have Sundays and Wednesdays off for homework (and supposedly a social life :p), but I know that with performances and additional rehearsal I'll probably end up being there 7 days a week at some point.

Also, in addition to my studio's ballet company, this year I'm doing the jazz/contemporary company as well, to expand my performance opportunities and modern training. I'm not really sure what I'll get out of it yet, but my friends are there and I like the piece that we started last week, so I think it'll be fun.

An early morning at my studio with some Starbucks!
I suppose all in all I had a great (short) summer. I worked at my studio, went to Ballet West, added Utah and Arizona to my list of states I've visited, saw the Grand Canyon, visited family, and worked at my studio some more. An enjoyable 2 and a half months.

The Grand Canyon. I would have been much
more excited if I wasn't scared of heights.

 My fall back-to-dance essentials in the next post, and my goals for the fall session later next week! (Expect a surprise in one of those two posts!)
In the mean time, check out What Should We Call Ballet on tumblr! I don't know who runs it, but it is beyond hilarious, a must see for all dancers, especially bunheads.
Talk to you guys later,

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Update and Coming Soon...

Hey guys! So this is just a little update, I know that I haven’t posted anything in a while. I spent most of my summer in Salt Lake City, at the Ballet West summer intensive (really busy with really bad internet), so I wasn’t really able to post.

My attitude! Photo-shoot on the U of U campus with friends.

 Now I’m on vacation with no real internet or phone service either, so it’s kind of difficult to access anything online.
Sunset at the Great Salt Lake! Absolutely beautiful.
Luckily, we’re flying home tomorrow, so after that there will be a lot more up. I’m planning on launching a “New Dance Season” series in a week or so, which (if I can get a hold of a decent camera), should include some video. Also coming soon, “How to Survive the Nutcracker” and “Audition Tips.”  So stay tuned! Each series should include at least 1 DIY (since apparently you guys love those) and hopefully some video! In the meantime, please enjoy this video of Juliet Doherty (one of my favorites to watch on YouTube) in her variation from Grand Pas Classique. Keep an eye on those feet, and take notes on how well she handles falling out of her turns. 

Talk to you later!


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Favorite Competition Piece Ever!!!!

So, I know it's a Friday, but whatever. I told you I would surprise you later this week, so I am.

Meet Talia, Chryssa, and Ariana. These girls are fantastic. I'm not sure how old they all are, but these girls appear to be at about the same technical level. Their turns are flawlessly controlled, and their musicality is perfectly precise, while still seeming inherent. Not to mention the choreography... Props to Nick Lazzarini for completely outdoing himself on this piece.

I think I love everything about this dance. The choreography (There's that word again.), the dancers, the music, the costumes, everything. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! If you want to see more of these dancers, just check out YouTube- it's packed with their accomplishments!
Hope everyone's having a great summer!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Choreography for Beginners Part 1

      Hey guys! This weekend's (and next weekend's) post is a little different... It's not really about dancing, so much as choreographing.    
      This is actually something that (as a dancer) you'll run into a lot. most college and high school programs require some sort of choreography unit, whether you end up doing yours or someone else's. At my school, our dance program had a "What inspires you?" project, and we were required to write about the topic, choreograph a minimum 1:30 minute solo or duet, and perform it for the class.
   I was pretty intimidated when my teacher first gave us the assignment. I love to make up combinations with my friends and challenge myself with phrases that shouldn't really flow well together, but this was different. I was alone, and it was graded. I started by choosing my music. That wasn;t as hard as I thought it would be, I already had made a combo to "Listen" by Beyonce (from the movie Dreamgirls) so I just stuck with that one. Unfortunately, however....
Courtesy of Thanks-To-Dance Tumblr

     I got started. We had class-time to work on our pieces, and I chose to do mine as a solo, so I could practice at home, too. Honestly, the hardest part was not making the routine too difficult for me to do at the speed f the song. It isn't really fast, but packing too many movements could get complicated. I eventually completed the assignment, but one thing that I learned this year is that a piece is never really "done."
    I must have performed this thing 7-8 times this year, and every time I did it, something changed. There was a particularly challenging series of turns at the very end of the piece. The first time I did t, it went exactly as planned. The second time, I slipped and did a death-drop flat on my back in the middle of the stage. The third time, I couldn't hear the music over the applause (I know, right?) so I finished about 8 counts after the music ended and improv-ed the entire turn sequence. The very last time, the stage was too slippery for me to come out the way I wanted, so I planned on doing another kind-of knee-drop fall out of them. I started falling out of my turns before the phrase was over, so I jumped/fell too soon, had to roll out of it, and improv my walks off-stage.
     And those were just the mishaps that I remember.  :)  

There is more choreography chaos to come, meanwhile, enjoy this post, and I'll see if I can surprise you with a video later on this week. Don't forget to share and subscribe!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Hey guys! Me again. I know I don't usually post during the week, but school's out, so... what the heck.
A few posts ago, I mentioned my going on YouTube to film tutorials and such. Well, a couple weeks ago, I uploaded a video for school (filmed on my ancient Handicam). The quality sucked. Majorly.
So anyways, that won't be happening anytime soon (I'm saving up for a new camera.), but I will be posting much more regularly, and I have some new and exciting things coming up for you guys, so stay tuned.
Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Organization for Dancers

Hey guys! So I realize that it's been a really long time since I last updated this blog...  I learned a pretty hard lesson on time management and organization this month.  My spring show was coming up and I got hit with a boatload of rehearsals. School's almost out, so I had to study for my finals, not to mention the enormous amount of pressure that my parents and teachers (both at school and at dance) were putting on me to perform. Add my fear of disappointing any one of those people, and you've got one huge mess. Sound familiar?

I really should know by now, it's happened before. During Nutcracker season it's about 5 times worse!  So why wasn't I prepared?
I did some reading, and discovered that although I had been through this before and knew what I should do, my brain hadn't been following a routine of organization and time management, so it was a larger adjustment. As soon as I realized what the problem was, I started to take action (although I probably should have been doing homework). I created a folder/notebook system for school and a binder system for anything not-school-related (in other words, a dance binder).

For school I bought an accordion file from Target. In that, I keep extra papers and handouts from all of my classes, organized by subject (with an extra folder for loose-leaf paper). I have one composition notebook for each subject as well.
My notebooks and pencil case.

In my dance binder I have a lot more tabs. I have one for costumes, my future studio(My dream studio, that I will run when I'm 30.), my summer intensive, my blog stuff, extra paper, and a calendar.
Summer Intensive, Blog Stuff, Bunhead Heaven, Future Studio, Master Plan

Outside of both of these binders I have an agenda, where I right down performances, homework, extra rehearsals, things I need to get done, and my Discount Dance list.

In both of these binders I have various printable organizers that I've found on Pinterest and deemed useful.
You can find these below:

DIY Home Sweet Home

Pinch a Little Saves a Lot

Hope you enjoy, sorry for the delay, and see you next week!

P.S.  Feel free to comment below and tell me what kind of posts you would like to see more of! Product reviews, performance reviews, D.I.Y.s, etc. I'd love to help!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pointe Shoe Q&A Part 2

Hey guys, I'm back. Sorry about last weekend, my studio has been tacking on tons of extra rehearsals and performances, so I didn't have time to post. I am, however, in the process of scheduling posts for this summer so I don't have to worry about weekend busy-ness.

So back to the Pointe shoe-thing: I've been asking people at my studio what questions they would most like to have answered, since I didn't get very many responses here. :)  (Seriously guys, you can comment. I won't bite!) Anyways, I have some new questions, and some pretty good answers.*

*For those of you who (rightly) question my knowledge on this subject, I am not an expert. I have gotten loads of advice from teachers and my mom (who is a physical therapist), as well as professional shoe fitters and dance therapists.

Q) I'm over-weight. Can I still go on Pointe?
A) If you are strong enough and are getting the right training, there is nothing to stop you.

Q) What can i do to help strengthen my feet to get me ready for Pointe shoes?
A) Lots of things. You can make sure that you're at the right studio, so that they are teaching you how to strengthen your feet. You can buy a theraband, and try out some of them great exercises that Robbie Downy demonstrates here. And you can remember that strengthening you core is just as important as strengthening you feet. if you can't balance, it won't matter if your feet are strong enough or not. Pilates is an excellent way to do that without as much risk of injury, and it's relatively inexpensive.

Q) How do you sew Pointe shoes?
A) There are several different way s to do this, but Pointe Til You Drop has a very basic method that is fairly easy to master here.

Q) What are the parts of the Pointe shoe called? I always get confused.
A) I'm not sure where these are originally from, but I found these excellent pictures floating around on Pinterest and had to share them with you.

That's about all of the answers that I have so far, and that's about all of the questions as well. If you guys want to see anything new, different, unusual, etc, please let me know and I'll be sure to talk about it.

Talk to you all next week!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pointe Shoe FAQs and National Dance Week

Happy National Dane Week! It's actually National Dance Day, as well, I believe, although I didn't really plan for my post  to be on the same day. How are you all celebrating? My studio has a choreography competition, performance, and dance movie night, as well as  picture and essay contests going on for a while now. Where I come from, we just call it National Dance Month.
Dance has become sort of the infatuation of my generation. Whether it's break-dancing and "America's Best Dance Crew", "So You Think You Can Dance" (which has taken the commercial dance world by storm) or "Dancing with the Stars", people usually thinks it's pretty cool. Take Gangnam Style for instance. Sure it's an interesting song, but it would not have gotten nearly as much attention as it did, if not for the crazy dance moves featured in the official music video.
But one style of dance in particular that I feel has gotten more attention in the last century than almost any other time period in history, is ballet.
The picture speaks the truth, just ask Aria Alekzander. "It is really cool that we get to be part of something, manifested by man, that's like magic, like fairytale stuff." One of the things that adds to that ethereal aesthetic is the Pointe shoe.
 People are always asking me about my Pointe shoes.  I get younger girls at the studio who want to try them on, parents who want to know how expensive they are, and friends at school who are just amazed that it's possible for a human being to stand on their "tippy-toes." I though I would take some time to answer a few of your Pointe shoe questions. If you see anything that I forgot to mention, please leave me a comment, and I would be happy to address it.
So let's get started.

Q) How old do you have to be to go en Pointe?
A) This is not really something that has a definite answer. 11 seems to be a pretty common age, but it honestly depends on several things. How long you've been training, how strong you are, whether or no you have a medical condition that could prevent you from moving safely or correctly, even your height can be a factor. If you're unsure about your ability to safely and correctly execute steps en Pointe, talk to your dance instructor, or doctor. They will be able to give you much more personalized information.

Q) Does it hurt?
A) Sometimes. Blisters, corns, bunions, bruised toenails, and tendonitis can cause some pretty rough rehearsals. Luckily, most of these can be prevented by simply finding the right shoe and fit for your feet. This can be tricky, so ask your studio if they know of a reputable dancewear store that can help you.

Q) Is Pointe expensive?
A) Yes. My mom hates it. Every few weeks, we're back in the dance store to buy more shoes or tights, and it runs up quite the bill. Each pair of shoes is handmade, and you definitely pay for quality. I wear Suffolks, which tend to be on the more expensive side. They're also pretty soft, so they break-in and die faster. Most shoes are somewhere between $75-125.

Q) How long do Pointe shoes last? How do you know when they're dead?
A) This depends a lot on the strength of the shoe, the strength of your foot, and the number of hours you spend in your shoes. Most shoes will last for about 9-12 hours. Depending on how much you dance, this can be anywhere from 5 days to a month or more. When a shoe is dead, the shank will usually snap, making it harden to stay over the box, and then the box will go. Again, this depends a lot on what type of foot you have and how strong it is.Most of the time, though, you will be able to feel the floor through the platform of your shoe, which is extremely uncomfortable, and usually a sign that it's time to get new shoes.

I am completely out of time to write anything else today, but I will have more on Pointe shoes next weekend. If you have any questions that I haven't answered yet, please leave a comment and I will be happy to answer them next week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blog changes and upcoming posts

Hi there! It's me again.
By now you've probably noticed that my blog's title has changed. My friend and realized that our old title was also the title of a book, which could pose some problems later on, so we changed it. Our web address is the same, so all of our links should still work. If you're having any difficulties please let me know, and I will see what I can do. 
This has been a crazy weekend for me, so I don't really have a big post for today. My studio is gearing up for our spring performances and they've tacked on a ton of extra rehearsals, leaving me even less time to work on this blog.     :(
Fortunately though, one of my good friends recommended that I use the chaos of performance season to start a series of tips and tutorials on my blog. We've already come up with posts on stretching, dance hair and makeup tutorials, parent tips, stage presence advice, competition tips, and costume ideas.
Since I really don't have any pictures or substantial advice this week, I'll share a video with you. If you have never seen Brianna Haire dance, you need to check this out. This is a solo from a few years ago, so she's a bit older now, but even at this age the stage presence and performance quality is amazing. There won't be a test, but I highly recommend that you take notes.
Talk to you next week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

George Mason Dance Company 2013 Spring Gala (unofficial review)

A few weeks ago, I went with my mom and one of my friends to the George Mason Spring Gala. The associate director of our studio works there, and invited us to go and watch a performance. Up til then, I had  heard a lot about the school and its dance program, but I had never seen them perform, so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but they blew me out of the water!
I was absolutely shocked. Again, I am a total bunhead, and this was all modern dance, but I loved almost every minute of it. Almost.

The first piece they performed was Consumed. It was supposed to be about today's working class and their struggle to understand a global economy, or something like that. Well, I'm 16. The friend I took was 13. The topic of this dance went totally over our heads, and to be honest, I think it went over most of the dancers' heads, too. Maybe it's just because I didn't really understand the concept, but while I saw struggle and working class, I never fully got the whole global-economy thing. 
The first minute and 30 seconds or so was a solo, with acapella, screamy music(maybe with a drumbeat or two). She did great, and I could the technicality of the movements and the emotion behind them, but her costume was very distracting. She was wearing a suit with a sport-coat type thing over it, and it kept flapping all over the place when she would roll or turn. The second part was a group of maybe 10 people, in the same costume. I have to admit that it looked great on the group, because when they turned you could see the white shirts and the coat would open up, but when they had their backs to the audience, it was just a black coat. The dancing in this whole piece was great, but at the very end they left the entire audience confused when the first girl came on again wearing only a bra and booty shorts(?).
There was a duet called Berceuse that came afterwards, and to be honest it didn't really give me much of a lasting impression. It was good, but I think it lacked passion or something a little bit stronger. I don't know, it just didn't really stand out.
 The picture above shows my favorite piece, Topos. It was amazing. It was just balletic enough to satisfy me, but it was still decidedly modern. It was happy and it looked exhausting, but none of the dancers showed it. all of the movement seemed perfectly fitting to the music, and it was almost like they were accidentally dancing. I don't know why that struck me, but it did, and I loved how it looked. This piece was choreographed by William Smith III, a George mason alumnus, and he was actually sitting in the audience about 5 seats down from where we were. I would have loved to talk to him during the intermission, but unfortunately, several other people had the same idea.
The first piece after the intermission was Lareigne, a weird 90s-techno music piece with strange costumes and impossible looking choreography. For the first 2 minutes it was really neat. But it went on for about 5 more minutes after that, and I got kind of bored. So did my mom. As a dancer/choreographer, your job is to entertain the audience, which in this case happened to be mostly non-dancers. If they're falling asleep, you're not doing you job correctly.
The very last piece was about the rebuilding of the New Orleans community after hurricane Katrina. New Second Line was choreographed and first performed in 2006, so it was a pretty old piece. The music was very loud and Cajun, but very appealing to the ear. There were picture on the backdrop of New Orleans and damage that the hurricane caused. I couldn't find footage of any of the other pieces, but I managed to find this one. The video is from 2006, I believe, and it is slightly different from the one I saw performed. There were no props in the one I watched, and I think the staging was slightly different, because there were definitely more people in it. But the movement style and choreography are the same, and you can still see the images on the backdrop.
Thanks for reading, please come back next week!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Helpful (dance) Handouts

I'm still working on my George Mason review, so that'll be up next weekend, along with some more surprises (I hope).
A couple weeks ago, I told you that I would put up the links and pdf's of what I have in my dance folder. Well, I completely forgot, but here they are.

The first thing is a (very nice) blog topic organizer courtesy of Perideau Designs. It even has a wonderful explanation to go with it. You can find this free printable here.

The second is this fabulous picture from the February 2013 issue of Dance Spirit Magazine. 

Oh La La is right. I LOVE french twists, and this great picture gives you several variations.

The last two things are mostly health related, but helpful resources for ALL dancers. The Center for Dance Nutrition has some great resources. I believe I have the snack ideas pdf in my folder. I also have a few handouts from The Harkness Center for dance Injuries, which has great information on everything from shin splints to trigger toe.

I also have a laminated checklist of everything I keep in my dance bag and makeup case, along with hair and makeup options and instructions. I'm not very tech savvy, so I don't really know how to make that available to you yet, but when I figure it out, I'll let you know.   :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Break (And Other News)

I’m guessing that by now, a few of you are on spring break. Me too, finally. I needed a break. A nice long relaxing trip to the beach with my family, eating whatever I want, not forcing my body to stand in 5th position everyday… wait a minute…. dancers don’t get breaks.
I’ve been spending my spring break helping out at my studio and teaching the little kids. Not really relaxing, but very entertaining. Little kids say the strangest things. Yesterday they had a very controversial conversation about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, and introduced me to the Tube-Fairy (2 of the girls had had tubes in their ears when they were younger).  Not to mention, they’re all really cute.
Courtesy of Pinterest

Anyway, that was a learning experience. Three, four, even five-year-olds are difficult sometimes. They get tired very quickly and have short attention spans. Whenever one raises their hand because they “needagopotty,” five more decide they need to go, too. At that age, you can’t just tell them to hold it, so the whole class has to take-5. 

I decided to keep in shape by taking class with some of the younger intensive students. Most of them were in my company anyway, so we were used to dancing together. Sometimes I forget how young these girls are. I’m the oldest at 16 and the youngest is 8 or 9. That’s a pretty wide range, especially when you consider talent and ability, but most of these girls are polite, mature hard workers. We've had very few issues where someone couldn't perform what they were given.
I've been tempted to switch to larger studio several times before, but I really love the girls I dance with. I would miss them too much if I left.
Courtesy of Pinterest

Which brings me to my news: My friend and I are working on starting our own business-type-thing with dance related products. That’s not really much information, but I can tell you more once we've got everything set up. I’m also working on a YouTube channel (that will probably also feature my friend) for tutorials and tips, so I’ll have more news on that soon, too.
I know it’s already really late in the week, but this weekend I’ll have review of the George Mason Dance Program’s Spring Gala up for you to read. I went to see it last weekend, and it was beyond amazing.  I couldn't find any video, but I’ll try to describe it as best I can.

Again, sorry for the late post. No need to worry, as long as you keep coming back to read, I’ll keep coming back to write.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More on the Makeup Case (How I store it.)

Since yesterday's post was pretty long, I decided to save some other details for today. I spent this morning doing homework and getting all my pictures together, so I would be ready for a post by noon. Since I'm a little early, I'm going to work on next week's post later.   :)

Here's what i keep in my makeup case when I go to a performance:

  • my dance folder (I'll put up links to what I have in there later this week)
  • a small hanging organizer (with all of my make up)
  • a medium cosmetic bag (with brushes, applicators, and an eye shadow palette)
  • my hair stuff in its organizer
  • hair gel
This is how I do it:
 My hair gel (Garnier Fructis Style Curl Shaping Gel) goes in one of the pockets on the right side of the case.

Then I put in my hair organizer. One of the straps came off last weekend, but you get the idea.
After I strap that in, I add my dance folder, which is a pink binder/folder. It has brads on the inside so that you can hole-punch papers and put them in.
My cosmetic bag and hanging organizer are both Vera Bradley (a must for most dancers) in Very Berry Paisley.

They get layered in on top of my folder, to add cushion to the mirror(just in case).
And then I close it up.
At home, I leave out my dance folder and hair stuff, and keep those in my dance bag. I haven't decorated my makeup case yet(and it still looks like an old suitcase), but when I do I'll show you how I do it. I'm thinking rhinestones and spray paint.  :)  Let me know if you try this, how it works for you, what you think, how you decorated it.

Vera Bradley unfortunately doesn't carry the hanging organizer anymore, but you can find a very similar (slightly larger) one here.

My cosmetic bag can be found here.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

D.I.Y. Makeup Case (that WILL hold everything)

Whenever I go with my studio to performance venues (my studio doesn't compete, but we perform at various events 2-3 times a month), our company waltzes in carrying about 50 duffels, backpacks, garment bags, and makeup cases. For the most part, my teachers have not bothered to organize this chaos; they focus on the performance itself, rather than the preparation. A couple weeks ago, I saw this picture on Pinterest.
From what I can tell, it's a vintage suitcase with a mirror, some light bulbs, and a shelf. It looked to me a bit like a vanity-type-thing, and I thought, "Why not make something like this that can be carried from place to place?" I knew I had a performance coming up the next weekend so I decided to try my luck and see what would happen.

When I was little, my mom used to buy antiques from a local junk store, and for whatever reason, an old Samsonite suitcase was one of the few things from that store that we still have around.
After cleaning it out and disinfecting it, I removed some of the more rotten fabric and lining. It had two straps on one side to hold in clothing, and I removed the fabric, but kept the hardware.
I did have to purchase a few items, but the total was somewhere around $18, and I found everything I needed at Micheal's. I went out and bought a a 6 by 6 inch craft mirror, 3 yards of 1 inch ribbon, heavy duty stick on Velcro patches, and a bead organizer with removable dividers(the equivalent of a tackle-box).

The first thing I did was measure and sew the ribbon. I had to be long enough to not only span one side of the suitcase, but to hold a rather bulky object as well.

Because the two pieces of ribbon joined together, individually they didn't have to be quite as long. I used a regular stapler to attach the ribbon to the suitcase lining, but one of the straps came off while I was packing everything up after the performance, so I will update you on what I figure out. I had my dad help me get the mirror even, we but Velcro all on the edges of the mirror(with the other side attached) and stuck it to the suitcase. It is very strong, and has held up very well.

I also added a hook to the underside of one of the pouches in the suitcase to stand up my hanging organizer.

For the tackle box, I wrote my name on the outside in permanent marker, and organized my hair stuff inside it.

This is what the finished product looks like, I have more pictures and tips on how to store it that would just make this post too long, so I'll put those up later.