Los Angeles

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nutcracker Magic

Some wonderful little moments.  Thanks to Don for sharing.

Sorry I haven't been blogging.  There has just been too much going on.  It never fails that December is always the busiest month of the year.  But I will try to get back on blogging schedule this week.



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Out of Shape, But Shaping Up!

It's hard to be a retired, old, out of shape dancer who still occasionally likes to get up onstage and dance, but can't commit to training the way she used to do.  I did a bit of dancing this evening and it damn near killed me!  I can't help but feel lousy  when I know what to do and how it should be done, but my body refuses to keep up.  Tonight it was as though my feet just wouldn't move correctly.  

The boy says that this is what I always say after I've been away from ballet for a while, but honestly, it hasn't been THAT long and I can usually snap back a bit faster.  I think this is just what happens with age.  You have to stay on top of your technique all the more if you intend to keep it.  Such a drag.

I have a couple of little performances coming up in the next two weeks and I want to at least look decent.  But I think the only way to build my confidence is to get to class and just keep working through all my stiffness.  But getting myself to class always proves to be a challenge! 

This is one of the pieces I will be performing soon.  My dad recorded this years ago...I was pretty out of shape then too!  I choreographed it for a documentary he was filming at the time, but now I will dance it at my Grandfather's memorial service.  I think it's the perfect piece for such an event. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tutu Cute!

I just finished making a new collection of holiday tutus for little ones and I just had to share as I think they are TUTU cute!

Maybe it's because it's all the Nutcracker rehearsals, but I tried to make each tutu reflect a character from the beloved ballet.  I think my favorites are this one:
A Snowflake
And this one:
Sugar Plum Fairy
 These are going be on sale at Brentwood Dance and Activewear, but if you want a special holiday tutu for your little one, email me and let me know!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Black Swan

I was lucky enough to get to see an advanced screening of the new Darren Aranofsky film Black Swan this past weekend and it was quite an experience.  I felt like it didn't quite live up to my expectations.  It's not that much about ballet as it is a psychological thriller that just happens to be set in the ballet world.  And I left wanting to have gotten a better look at the ballet world and all the interesting people who inhabit it.  This film just fell flat and was so over the top, it seemed just plain silly.  But like all of Aranofsky's films, Black Swan has stayed with me this week.  I cannot stop thinking about it. 

All the actors are great, but Natalie Portman's performance is spot on perfection.  She becomes that character.  The film did a decent job of conveying the isolation, the need for perfection and the stress that comes with being a ballet dancer.  But it also relies on every trite, ridiculous stereotype in the ballet book - Crazy stage mom, lecherous artistic director, fragile ballerinas, and so on.  It's annoying because it only enforces a negative perception of the ballet world to the public.  It felt cheap, un-researched and ultimately uninteresting.

It's definitely a film to see, but don't expect to leave with the feeling to put on your pointe shoes and perform....it's not that kind of dance film!

That little review leads me to my real reason for posting - these posters!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fluff n' Stuff

Hello Lovelies,

I have been doing a lot of thinking in regards to my Etsy shop.  I haven't been that successful with it and I am considering scrapping the whole thing and selling my wares solely from the dance-wear store at which I have a consignment deal.  But of course, there are some things that aren't selling that well there either.  In any case, I am thinking of re-branding my shop on Etsy and adding the tutus that I have been selling at the dance store.  

I also want to add a whole bunch of holiday items, but naturally haven't found the time.  In any case, I want to know what you think.  Any suggestions, thoughts or words of wisdom?  

Here are some of the tutus I've made and am going to add to the shop later this week~

Also, as a passionate dancer and dance teacher, I have decided that for every item that I sell I am going to donate two dollars of the proceeds to the Dizzy Feet Foundation. This inspiring group helps underprivileged and at-risk youth find self-esteem, artistic expression and healthy life skills through the art of dance.  I am a big believer in the power of the arts, so I feel personally motivated to donate to their cause.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Just Mark It

I thought ballet dancers were good at marking choreography with their hands!  This video is amazing...I kinda hope my tap teacher has seen it!

P.S.  I love the wallpaper and pictures in the background.  How cute!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tips for Repurposing Legwarmers into your Everyday Look

Legs get cold, even here in Los Angeles.  So what better way to warm up your leggies than with legwarmers, right?  Yeah, I know what you are thinking.  It's all well and good to wear legwarmers in the dance studio, but sporting them on the street requires a bit more moxy than most. 

Here's a few tips for how to get away with wearing legwarmers among civilians without looking like a fashion tragedy from the 80's. 

Firstly you have to pick good legwarmers.  If they are two corny or two bright they are going to be harder to pull off.  I suggest easing into legwarmer fashion by starting with a few basics, like black or dark maroon.  Also there are a bunch of really cool legwarmers on the market right now that use things like ruched seams or embroidered details to add a bit of style. 

Secondly, do NOT wear your legwarmers with sneakers.  You will look like you are in a 1980's workout video no matter what, so just don't even go there.  I recommend wearing legwarmers with heels or nice looking flats a la Audrey Hepburn.  If you pick heels try to pair them with stirrup legwarmers, so you can tuck the legwarmers under the heel on your arch.  This will make your legs look longer!  

Finally, while I think this look works best with a dress or skirt, not pants, I wouldn't recommend rocking this look with bare legs.  Tights, particularly black ones, will help complete the look.  This is one of those fashion choices that works better if you acknowledge where it's coming from.  Tights not only help the conversion from dress to legwarmers, they also help to invoke a dancer chic that complements the legwarmers, thus negating any tacky fashion faux pas.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How to do a Messy Ballet Bun

If you have ever taken a real ballet class you know that there is a strict dress code and that includes hair.  Ballerinas are called bunheads for a reason.  A ballet bun is not a simple updo you can do in a couple seconds.  A proper bun requires pins, hairnets and lots and lots of hairspray!  Not one strand should be out of place, and the bun should be as perfectly symmetrical as possible...like a Cinnabun! 

Putting my hair in a bun day after day was maybe the thing that I grew to hate the most about ballet.  When you are doing it everyday it can take a major toll on your locks.  Not to mention, I spent the majority of my life telling hair dressers not to cut my hair too short.  "I have to be able to get it into a bun!"  That was my haircut mantra.

On that rebellious note, I give you the 3rd installment of the Bad Ballerina Series: 

The Messy Bun!
Disclaimer: do not try this in ballet class, your teacher will have a fit! ;) 

Here is the how to~

* Gather hair into a high ponytail, but do not pull the strand all the way through the last time so you are left with a loop of hair.

* Pull sides of loop to make rubber band extra tight and fan out your loop of hair as much as possible.
* Take bottom of the loop and loosely flatten against scalp in front of rubber band.

* Take just a few bobby pins and pin loop of hair randomly to head and in different directions.

* Pull out a few strands of hair to give your bun even more of a messy look.

* Skip the hairspray ;)

 And there you go!  A messy ballet bun up-do that could make Anna Pavlova cry!

Monday, September 6, 2010

How to make The No-Sew Tutu (for little ballerinas)

Welcome to the 2nd installment of the Bad Ballerina Series! This time I will be giving you a quick DIY on how to make your own "No-Sew Tutu" for little ballerinas!  (Actually, there is a teeny tiny bit of sewing required, but just a few stitches and can be done quickly by hand.)   Here is an example of the finished product. I made my tutu with blue and gold UCLA colors. Kind of makes me wish I knew of a little Bruin to give it to... Ah maybe one day!

What you'll need:
* Spools of Tulle - preferably in multiple colors  ;)
* Strip of 1 and 1/2 inch white elastic
*Good music and a smile

What to Do:
* Burn the edges of the elastic so they won't fray and sew the two edges together.  You can let the overlap about 1/2 inch.  Of course, for larger ballerinas, make the elastic larger and for smaller ones you can make it smaller!

* Cut about 50 strips of tulle in alternating colors.  The strips should be about a foot in length, although you will be folding in half making the length of the tutu roughly 3 and 1/2 inches from the center.  If you want a longer tutu, just make the strips longer and visa versa for a shorter tutu. 

* Tie one strip in a knot along the outside of the elastic, pulling so the ends are as even as possible (they don't need to be perfectly even, a bit of variety actually gives the tutu more depth.) 

* Continue tying tulle all around the perimeter of the elastic.  Remember to alternate colors! 

And voila!  You have a simple and adorable handmade tutu without having to break out the sewing machine!

Here is another one I made using some different colors.  Looks like Neapolitan ice cream!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Repurposing A Basic Ballet Wrap Sweater

The best of my pro-ballet dancing days are pretty much entirely behind me, but I still have a certain affinity and love for all things ballet-related. I still take class and like to sport a classic leo, tights and basic ballet skirt. I respect the art-form and I sport the ballerina image with as much style and grace as I can muster. Although sometimes, I feel like I have to shake it up and break free of my stuffy ballet background. I mean, I am not perfect, and I think every dancer/former dancer has a bad side. So I give you~

So for my first entry into ballerina bad-ass-ness, I am going to show how you can take a basic ballet wrap-sweater from the barre to the street with a little flair and imagination. 

I love a soft wrap sweater when I am warming up before class, but what about after?

photo from discount dance supply
 Here I have added just a few punk-ish embellishments to give this wrap sweater a bit of a rock-n-roll edge.  A few interesting badges (not too big mind you or you could risk loosing your mystique) and a row of basic safety pins and you are good to go.  Wear with your favorite jeans, t-shirt and heels.

Another take on this wrap sweater is to play up the very thing that makes it uncool.  That is to say, Embrace the "Granny Chic!"  Pair it with a vintage dress and add a few mix-matched unusual brooches.  If nothing else, you are creating an awesome conversation starter and staying on-top of a new fashion trend!  Plus, your ballet wrap sweater will keep you warm without lending any bulk to your outfit. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hippos in Tutus

Somehow last night, the boy and I started talking about Disney's Fantasia.  We both commented on how it's been ages since we've seen it, and how there are specific pieces of music that now when we hear it, we can only think of that Fantasia segment.  For the boy it's the Dinosaur section set to The Rite of Spring, and for me it's those fabulous dancing hippos set to Dance of the Hours.  I love that segment (as I think most ballerinas would) cause it just cracks me up every time!  

I found these cool pictures from a Fantasia book~

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