Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

What is the Breaking Pointe?

May 30, 2012

I’m not a big fan of reality television shows, but I have high hopes for the new ballet show, “Breaking Pointe”.

This new show follows Salt Lake City’s Ballet West (BW) company dancers. Supposedly it will set the record straight about the real behind the scenes work of dance and will erase misconceptions created by the movie “Black Swan”. The BW Artistic Director, Adam Sklute, is a creative consultant for the show and plans to make sure that this is the case.

I hope that there will be lots of dance and that the show will foster an appreciation of ballet. We’ll see tomorrow night when the show premieres on the CW (May 31st).

If you watch it, share your impression of the show.


New Dance Movie to Open

May 10, 2012

I’m excited about a new ballet movie, “First Position“, that opens on May 11, 2012.  I’m not sure if it will be as popular as “Black Swan” was, since this new movie is a documentary.

“First Position”, directed by Bess Kargman, follows six young dancers as they prepare and then compete in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). The YAGP is the world’s largest student ballet competition that provides scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. This prestigious competition is held annually around the world and in New York City.

I had the opportunity to view a couple of stories about the movie on Good Morning America and Nightline. The dancing looks out of this world! And the reviews are remarkable.

For those of you that are in the Capital District/Saratoga NY area, there will be a screening at the Saratoga Film Forum on Sunday, June 24, 2012, 7:30 pm, as part of the Film Festival of Dance (some other great dance films will also be shown during the four day festival). I can’t wait to attend this screening in June!

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:

Must See Ballet Performance on PBS

October 27, 2011

I was very happy to see that WMHT, the local PBS station has several dance performances included in the PBS Arts Fall Festival. The first one, Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp, airs tomorrow night at 9pm.
I had the pleasure of seeing Miami City Ballet perform at SPAC several years ago and I am looking forward to seeing the show on TV.
Here is a link to a video clip about the show

In addition, there is a wonderful interview with Edward Villella, Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet:
Don’t miss it!

Book of Foot Strengthening Exercises

October 18, 2011

The Perfect Pointe Book , by Lisa Howell, has many excellent foot strengthening exercises. Included with the book are video clips of students who demonstrate the exercises.

As you can guess by the title, it is geared towards dancers who are preparing to go on pointe for the first time. However, the exercises are great for any dancer or athlete. We don’t always think of strengthening the feet, but it is important.

All my younger dancers that are preparing for pointe work or who are already studying pointe do these strengthening exercises. I also incorporate them into my Balletone classes, which is a barefoot workout.

Do you exercise your feet?

Tribute to 9/11 at Lincoln Center

September 11, 2011

One hundred dancers drawn from the New York City dance community performed a public tribute at the plaza Lincoln Center to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. The video is very moving. I can only imagine what the live performance was like.

Please watch

What Do You Think about So You Think?

August 8, 2011

Yesterday, there was an article in the NY Times about “So You Think You Can Dance”. Five NYC professional dancers comment as they watch an episode of the Fox’s popular TV show.

I started watching the show three or four years ago. Before that I was reluctant to watch it, but then decided that it was important for me to stay on top of the dance world and know what my students were watching.

I have to admit that I don’t watch much of the show. I see the dancers dance and then fast forward through the commercials, the up close and personal clips, and the judges’ reactions. And I see even less on the day that they eliminate dancers. I watch the special guest star, and then catch the dancers “dance for their life’ (this is where they are in jeopardy of getting kicked off, so they dance a solo to try to stay in). All I see is the dancing.

I believe that the show has helped make dance more mainstream. But is it helping to cultivate a dance audience for live performances? I’ve noticed that the attendance at local dance performances is dwindling. It’s sad because the venues and companies are not going to be able survive without the audience. And there is nothing like a live performance!
At least the show does include performances by renowned dance companies. It’s just a tiny part of the show, though.

And of course with my love of ballet, I wish there was more ballet. The dancers are required to do many different genres of dance, but they don’t include ballet.

Do you watch the show? What do you think about it?

Simple, Yet Breathtaking

July 10, 2011

Have you ever seen the opening of George Balanchine’s Serenade? It is absolutely breathtaking! The movement is very simple; mostly arms. Yet, you are drawn to the beauty.

I have told my young students that it is not always about the spectacular steps.  Yes, it’s important to be able to do multiple turns without falling out of them. And the leg lifted to split-like heights is amazing to see. But, there is so much more to dance.

I wish my students were at the NYC Ballet performance of Serenade at Saratoga Performing Arts Center the other night.  Then they would understand what I keep telling them.

I did find a YouTube video of Pacific Northwest Ballet performing the opening. However it doesn’t do it justice. It is more beautiful when you see it live.

Video clip of  opening piece of Serenade

Freedom to Soar!

June 19, 2011

My plan was to write about the importance of cross-training, but that will be a later post. This one is dedicated to my sister-in-law who fought a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She was in a wheel chair for many years and got to the point where she could only move her arms if someone assisted her.

This makes me think about how much I enjoy dancing. I can’t imagine not being able to move. Dance, no matter what form, brings such joy to me. My body feels wonderful and so does my mind!

Fortunately programs such as Chair Yoga, have started to catch on. This gives participants a chance to stretch and move even though they are seated.

There are also dance performing opportunities and dance classes available for those with disabilities. Axis Dance Company creates and performs contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without disabilities. I have not had the chance to see this company live, but have viewed performance videos on YouTube. It is amazing how the pieces include dancers in wheelchairs or with crutches.

I’m thankful that I am able to move and hope that more of these programs will catch on so that those with disabilities can experience the joy of dance.  And to my sister-in-law, now you are free to soar!

Tips for Tying Pointe Shoe Ribbons

January 6, 2011

There are many different ways to tie pointe shoes. I’m not sure if the ‘one ribbon at a time” or ‘both together’ is the best method. I do know that the following tips should be followed:

  • Ribbons must be tight enough to hold shoe on and provide support.
  • Ribbons must also be tied tight enough so that there is no gap when the dancer is on flat.
  • Tie the knot right in back of the ankle bone, but not all the way in back of the foot.
  • Ribbons must be tucked in securely, so that they do not hang out.
  • Tie ribbons as close to the ankle as possible. They should not go high up on the leg.
  • Use elastics on the back of the shoe to help keep the shoe on the foot.


Here are links to two excellent videos that show you how to properly tie the pointe shoe ribbons:

Lisa Howell, who has an excellent book and blog on pointe shoe training has a video about tying pointe shoes at

The Aneheim Ballet also has a good video that show two different methods for tying point shoes at It also includes some other pointers.

Let me know if these tips helped. And I’m also curious about which method you use to tie your pointe shoes.