Archive for November, 2011

In the Back Row of Balletone Class

November 29, 2011

Instead of teaching Balletone yesterday, I got to take a class from Kathleen Riley. Kathleen was the Balletone Master Trainer for the Balletone Instructor Training workshop that I took in 2006. She no longer teaches the instructor workshops, but offers several Balletone classes at Benefitness located outside of Boston, MA.

I try to take Kathleen’s Balletone class whenever we take our son back to college in Cambridge, MA. It’s so much fun to take a class for a change! As an instructor I sometimes feel like I get stuck in a rut and offer the same sequences over and over in class.

I want to keep my students interested in class by keeping them challenged. Kathleen’s class has given me some new ideas and new material. Her choreography is always interesting and she pulls in movement that I would never  think of. The steps are tough, but fun.

I can’t wait to teach Balletone tonight so that I can share some new choreography!

Be prepared, students!

Balletone logo


A Chance to See Ballet Performances at Movie Theatres

November 20, 2011

Tickets are now on sale for New York City Ballet’s acclaimed production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ in 530 movie theaters in the United States for one night only on Tuesday, December 13. The production will be shown live at 6 p.m. in the Capital District Region at Crossgates Stadium 18. Tickets are $20 for adults and $16 for children.

This is a special live broadcast from Lincoln Center and will be shown in High Definition (HD) format. This is the first time that a New York City Ballet performance will be broadcast live in theatres. It gives families across the United States a chance to see the New York City Ballet perform this classic holiday tradition.

For more information about this performance go to

As I write this entry another live broadcast of is being shown at  Crossgates Stadium 18 and also Proctor’s in Schenectady, NY.  (I would have attended this if I had known sooner.)  It’s the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty and will be shown again this week.

As I was researching the live NYCB broadcast, I learned that there are several other ballet performances scheduled at both Crossgates Stadium 18 and Proctors. Here is a link to information about upcoming movie theatre ballet performance broadcasts in Albany and the surrounding area:

Amazing Dance Teacher, Pianist, and Seamstress

November 13, 2011

After reading J’acques D’Amboise’s latest book, I Was a Dancer, I started thinking more and more about one of my childhood ballet teachers, Madame Seda.  Jacques dedicates a whole chapter about Seda. She was the one to get him to try ballet. And then when Seda saw how talented Jacques and his sister were, she sent them off to The School of American Ballet so that they could get the training that they needed. Most teachers would have kept the students for themselves, but not Seda. She loved teaching ballet and was dedicated to her students and to the art of ballet.

We all loved her even though she was very strict. I was poked with her stick many times because my body was not in proper alignment. And boy would she yell if a student came to class with gum in their mouth! She always had a twinkle in her eye, though. And we would all rush up to hug her after class.

She didn’t miss a thing. Sometimes she would play the piano while teaching class. Somehow she still managed to see what we were doing and would yell out directions and corrections.

I also had the opportunity to take character dance classes from Seda. This is the type of dance that one sees in the peasant dance scenes in the full-length classical ballets such as Giselle and Swan Lake. We often performed the character dances at nursing homes or festivals. We wore beautiful costumes that were hand-sewn by Madame Seda.

I can still picture her teaching class;her stick pounding on the floor with the beat of the music and Seda calling out directions and corrections. How I would love to take class from her now. Or better yet, I’d love to have my students experience her class.


Photo of ballet class

Madame Seda teaching class in 1983.


Listen to an NPR interview of Jacques D’Amboise and Jennifer Homans, author of Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet. Jacques talks about Madame Seda in the interview.