Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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.


McCartney + Martins = Ocean’s Kingdom Ballet

September 21, 2011

Paul McCartney Ocean's Kingdom

A couple of years ago I read something about Peter Martins and Paul McCartney collaborating on a full length ballet and it caught my interest. Well, Ocean’s Kingdom will premier tomorrow night at the New York City Ballet (NYCB) Fall Gala.

How exciting to have two icons from different art forms working together!  In addition, Paul McCartney’s daughter, Stella has designed the costumes for this work.  Sir Paul has also released an album  which is due out October 2011.

I’m anxious to read the reviews and hear what one of my friends has to say about it (she will be attending the Gala).

Here’s a brief article and a video clip—Video