Thursday, June 25, 2009

Don't Give Up Dancing

For the past few weeks people have been telling me that I should go back to dancing. I’ve had interventions at work and in class about how I should pursue it again and not give up on it. They tell me if it’s my passion I should go back to it and that my eyes light up whenever I talk about ballet. They say not to be scared and I'm going to regret it when I get too old to go back to it. I know they are right but I’ve been too scared and it costs a lot of money. After so many people telling me and encouraging me I have started to consider it. The other day when I was presenting my blog to my online media and blog class everyone was practically yelling at me to do it and giving me so much support, and I guess that was the last straw for me.

I started to think seriously about it and even looked up some ballet schools. I also talked to my parents to see if they would help financially, since I am a broke college student and need someone to sponsor me for funding. While looking I started to get excited which was mixed with anxiety and skepticism of course. I emailed this one place and told them my story in a nutshell to see if they could give me some advice. Now I’m just waiting to hear back from them and ponder this decision a little more. It is going to be a big step for me and I’m kinda scared, but I guess well see what happens…

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ballet Gamonet

In this video Art 360 interviews premier choreographer Jimmy Gamonet of Ballet Gamonet as he takes the audience through the steps and moves of his latest creation. He describes the dance and the story behind it. Since dance isn’t told with words it has to be expressed through the body. The dancers look as light as a feather and they make it seem effortless.

He was a dancer before he became a teacher which gave him the knowledge and language of dance which helps him speak to his dancers. It is much easier for him to relate and teach his students with his prior knowledge. Carmen is the main character who meets with her lover but they fear getting caught by Don Jose.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


It was the top 20’s first performance together on Wednesday and it was pretty good but I wasn’t overall impressed. The dancers were chosen at random and they picked a style of dance out of a hat. The judges were, of course, Nigel, Mary, and Adam Shankman. There were all different styles of dances performed last night from bollywood to the foxtrot. My personal favorite dancer on the show would of course have to be the “naughty ballerina” Melissa, I have to support ballet. The best performance would have to be the bollywood one. It was different, quick, and hard but they nailed it with such ease. The most intriguing and memorable, in my opinion, would have to be the crash test dummies jazz routine. It was very unique and Nigel was right people will talk about that routine. Each performance was good, some better than others, but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt that it was the first night and they are just getting into the swing of things. I can’t wait for things to really start to heat up and get interesting.

The first couples up were Jeanine Mason & Phillip Chbeeb dancing hip-hop. All three judges agreed that they did a good job. Next up was Asuka Kondoh & Vitolio Jeune whose style of dance was Broadway. The judges thought they could have done better saying that they played it safe but it was danced well. Then it was Karla Garcia & Jonathan Plateros turn. They danced the cha-cha very well according to the judges who thought they did amazing. Randi Evans & Evan Kasprzak did a jazz dance. The judges loved them and thought it was fantastic and smoldering. Paris Torres & Tony Bellissimo also did hip-hop which they didn’t execute very well. All of the judges agreed that it was just good and not memorable. Caitlyn Kinney & Jason Glover did a fantastic bollywood number. They rocked it and the judge’s review was that it was strong and beautiful. Then it was Janette Manrara & Brandon Bryant’s turn to show off their moves in the foxtrot. They judges liked it calling it lovely and effortless but there was room for improvement. Another jazz dance was performed by Ashley Valerio & Kupono Aweau. The judges said it was different but marvelous. Melissa Sandvig (my favorite) & Ade Obayomi did a contemporary dance. The judges commented on their performance saying it was moving and it flowed well. Last but certainly not least, Kayla Rodomski & Max Kapitannikov danced the samba. They were brilliant and terrific and Mary even put them on the hot tamale train.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Is Ballet?

What is ballet?
Ballet is grace, precision, and discipline.
It's the soft pink ribbon wrapped around your ankle.
It's the way the tutu flows with your every move.
Ballet is the arch of your foot and the elegance of your arms.
What is ballet?
Ballet is art.
It's jumping so high that you can touch the stars.
It's the endless pirouettes, plies, and tour jetes.
Ballet is standing atop satin toes.
What is ballet?
Ballet is strength and power.
It's hair pulled tightly back into a bun.
It's the baby's breath in a bouquet of roses.
Ballet is expression and love.
What is ballet?
Ballet is the grace of an angel, the strength of a bull, and the discipline of a soldier.
What is ballet?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

In The Wings

I just finished reading the book, In the Wings behind the Scenes at the New York City Ballet by Kyle Froman, and it was wonderful. It really brought me back to when I was a dancer and I could relate to everything he was saying. It had me reminiscing on the long and grueling practices, the pain, fatigue, and injuries, and the joy and excitement of recitals. I felt as though I was living my life as a ballerina all over again. This book sums up a day in the life of a dancer; “These are the world’s finest dancers, and this is a chronicle of their struggles for perfection, and sometimes their struggles just to make it through the season able to walk” (Froman 1).

It starts off at 10:15am explaining a dancers daily routine before class begins and how they warm-up before warm-up. The dancers prepare their Pointe shoes and start their barre exercises. Everyone is rehearsing for their big show. It’s now 11:30am; he talks about how dancers have a physically demanding schedule and the importance of maintenance for their bodies. There is every kind of machine and therapist under the sun to help heal them from their toes to their hands. At 2:15pm the rehearsals become more demanding and nerve-racking. There are several run-throughs that help perfect the dance. “For dancers, there is nothing so transporting as hearing the orchestra for the first time and feeling the stage lights electrifying the stage. The overwhelming buzz we feel when everything finally comes together makes the tedious rehearsals before worth it” (Froman 57). 6:15pm superstition leads the way as each dancer performs their ritual before the show. The chaos behind the scenes is filled with excitement and anxiety as everyone scrambles to get ready. They prepare themselves and their shoes. It’s Showtime! “For all the work dancers do during the day, the reason we do it is that short time onstage” (Froman 95). As that curtain rises there is an unimaginable feeling that goes through each dancer. When the light hits their eyes the audience turns black and if feels as though you are dancing for yourself. As the music starts the dancers start the dance. The dancers feel and move as one. The show is tiring and seems never-ending but it is all worth it in the end.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Best Living Male Ballet Dancer

Does the name Mikhail “Misha” Baryshnikov ring a bell? Well, what if I told you he starred in the last season of Sex and the City? Ding, Ding, Ding, yes he was Carrie’s boyfriend better known as “the Russian.” I bet you didn’t know he is a famous Russian ballet dancer. He was born in 1948; twelve years later in the 60’s he began to study ballet. After only four years of training he was winning honors and leading roles. Baryshnikov danced for the New York City Ballet in 1978 and continued to get the leading roles. Two years later he became a director of the American Ballet Theater.

His production of the Nutcracker was aired by CBS in 1977, since it is the most popular creation. To this day it is the most popular and sought after performance. He received many awards and nominations throughout his career. Baryshnikov was in many films such as The Turning Point, White Nights, and Sex and the City, even though, he’s divorced, he has three children with a former partner and ballerina.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Positions of the Arms

This is an addition to the five basic foot positions. This video is going over some beginning ballet moves and positions. These are the positions for the arms. Your feet and arms follow the five steps together. If your feet are in 3rd position so are your arms. First position, the arms look like you are holding a big ball. Second position, your arms separate mimicking your feet. Third position, one arm goes above your head while the other one extends out to the side. Forth position, your one arm stays above your head while the side arm comes forward. Finally, fifth position both arms go up above your head.

While doing all five of these positions your elbows should stay slightly bent and round. It should be a nice flowing motion from one position to the next. Your arms and feet move together going from 1st position to 5th. It is all one unison movement that is elegant and flows smoothly.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

To Try Out Or Not To Try Out?

Like I've mentioned before, I wait every year for So You Think You Can Dance to start and every year I get very excited. I get very involved with the show and it is very intense, I feel as though I was one of those dancers up on that stage. Every summer when it comes on I always say I'm going to be on there, but of course every year I’m not and I’m just sitting on my couch watching it. Everyone is very encouraging and tells me that I should go if I love dancing so much. They have confidence in me but I don’t.

The truth is I’m scared out of my mind! I was watching SYTYCD last night and I realized why I am so petrified to tryout. The judges were grueling and harsh last night to even the best dancers. An amazing dancer was even kicked off and she had the choreography down pat and everything. I see and feel the emotional rollercoaster they go through and I don’t think I’d be able to endure it. The judges are downright mean and have no mercy. I am too shy to get in front of all those people and perform; ever since I stopped dancing I won’t let anyone see me perform, I only do it for myself now. I feel as though the harshness of the judges and emotional abuse would discourage me. Standing on that stage and hearing that you aren’t good enough would be crippling for me. I’m afraid that it would discourage me so much that I would never dance again, not even for myself. I would constantly think im not a good dancer and as if I were one of those people that they make a mockery of. I am afraid of rejection and losing my passion.

I Have To Move On...

Everyone tells me that I should pick up dancing again if I miss it so much, but they just don’t understand. I would love to start it up again but my fear and anxiety gets the best of me. I always hear from my grandmothers and parents that they loved to watch me dance and I looked so elegant and graceful on stage. They tell me they miss seeing me up there and the joy I had in my eyes.

After a few years of no formal training I would be embarrassed to walk back into the dance studio with all the other dedicated dancers. I fell as though that I gave up on my dream and just walked away from it all nonchalantly. My greatest fear would be feeling inadequate compared to the dancers beside me. Besides being terribly horrified, let’s just say… I don’t have my dancer’s body anymore. I might not be overweight but I’m defiantly not in shape anymore. So to sum it up I let my nerves get the best of me and I’m a scaredy cat.

The pointe shoes lie there
Calling for me to come dance
I have to move on
-Abby Taylor

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Retirement

The answer to everyone’s question, Why did you stop?...
Ever since I was a little girl I would tell my mom “I want to be like her. I want to be a prima ballerina.” She gave the motherly answer of: “Okay hunny. You can do anything you put your mind to, but you do know it’s a lot of hard work and dedication.”

Throughout my dancing career I went through three phases: quirky and cute little girl, the “I’m too cool for anything” phase, and then the loud and proud phase. As a little girl I started off with tap, jazz, and ballet, but I really took a liking to ballet (obviously). So I dropped the tap and jazz to focus on ballet. As I got older in the late elementary and middle school years I was ashamed of being a ballerina since everyone made fun of me for it. Then I grew out of that phase and was proud of being a ballerina and didn’t care what people said. It was my passion and it made me happy.

As I got older the classes increased in quality and quantity, and it feels like I’ve attended every dance school in and around Philadelphia. Practices were long and grueling but it was worth every second; the recitals were my drug and gave me a high. I felt on top of the world and it was the happiest day of my life. I was even able to perform in the Nutcracker; which was a breath taking experience. I worked hard every year for that one day that made me feel so good. For twelve years I went on that stage and performed my heart out. I got to a point in my life where I would have to go professional, and I wasn’t ready for that. I would have had to dedicate my life to nonstop practices, eat, sleep, and live in the studio. I didn’t feel like I would be able to juggle dance and school and give each 100%. After countless practices and twelve glorious recitals the prima ballerina called it quits.

Now I regret it and wish I could turn back time.