These are just a few of the many American events of the great Nutcracker which is performed in December and January across the United States-find one near you! http://bit.ly/1PnUYIp
These are just a few of the many American events of the great Nutcracker which is performed in December and January across the United States-find one near you! http://bit.ly/1PnUYIp
There is, among us, a retinue of dancers moving forward in the battalion of dancing life that is ballet. I have been reading blogs, posts, books, and seeing firsthand what it takes to pursue a professional career of dancing. There are many stories of dancers and their personal challenges, sacrifices and this all becomes a part of their artistic achievements. When you read a book, you hold that life in your head. Dancers and their audience are connected by a thread, too, sometimes a tapestry in convolution. They will always say, the ballet world is small, but it is not-it is intimate, a world of the language of ballet or the other dance they share in a convivial spirit of dance. This is true. There seem to be good people all over who have committed their lives to practicing this altruism, passing down what they know and love, and mostly lovingly fostering the development of their students in the dance world. My view and perspective are very limited, and by force, practical. Each step that my own daughter has made has been with focus and direction toward attaining her goal of becoming a professional ballet dancer. This has not been easy for her, unlike Sylvie Guillem, who quips that her dedication and love of the art did not come because she was nurtured in a “ballet environment” from an early age, but because she made the conscious decision that this was something she could do, something that for her there was a place, and that she came to love it- was not the only perspective, but an important one, that I thought about this year.
My daughter, Aingeal, is seventeen, and she has been dancing since she was about eleven. It has certainly not been easy for her and a place has not always been offered, encouraged, or extended. She has consistently pursued a path, that while extremely challenging physically, has been fraught with many difficulties of other sorts, too. It has been a great learning experience that cannot be summed up by me, in a short or simple way. But, she has shown fortitude, and an unflinching spirit to continually learn and improve despite having to take and get what she needed in a not-so-consistent manner, she felt. At the bottom (or the top) of this is that little moon over the coast in Moldova, a giant moon to her, of bright light, shining from possibly a million miles away, and sometimes large enough to warm you in its iridescence. I can tell what guides her and keeps her focused on that wide beam of light which encompasses many contenders and rivals. It is sheer willpower and determination, not because she was a “natural” in the typical regards. Those kinds of descriptors have come to mean less and less to me as I see wide gaps in ability and effort, and motivation, with those who apparently have the sought after assets, but when push comes to shove, can’t really engage the viewer unpredictably, and are far less than “capable” of producing art. That giant moon can warm and also burn you, and ultimately, you have to be able to step very far back from the landscape it offers and reduce it’s magnitude and awesomeness in order to seemingly squeeze it between your fingers, and control it; this is what you must do to achieve anything, and you must be able to do it your own way. This ability enables you to keep on dancing-and that is another part of the journey, and without judgement by others of your path, this might be a lot easier. There might be valid reasons for taking a different, less traveled path, and my experience has been that the person on that path is the object and not some other voice of reason or logic, however insistent it’s dogmatism.
I have never blatantly exposed her to the public, and I am not going to now, not in this little piece or snatch of writing. She is too wonderful and too full of possibilities to post pictures of, although everybody does it. I believe, for one thing, that if you do something right, correctly, perfectly, you ought to be seen doing that thing while performing, and that you should not be an exhibitionist. I think photos are a bad way to experience dance and dancers. It reduces dancers to pin-up girls and boys, and doesn’t connect you with the art. Ballet is about movement and what is achieved in a moment of time, something wonderful and it needs to be done doing it, in a theater, on a stage, in a studio, and it is always a work in progress-all the time- forever changing, growing, never the same, not static, frozen, posed, for that is the antithesis of movement and ballet, really. The opposite. One difference is the dancer is not merely a tool, or a body, but is also an artist, all rolled up into one and this can best be experienced by watching a dancer dance, live, moving, improving, growing, changing, expressing, not just stopping in a pose, but moving through the pose-evolving. Dancers transition constantly, they become artists.
I am not saying that ballet photos are not beautiful to look at (and tutus), pointe shoes are shiny, muscles and contortions imply strength, but not necessarily good dancing; they just do not speak volumes to me, as they might to parents or fans of children or certain dancers, about that singular person-not a dancer, and only in a stark and cold way about that imagery, like the little doll on the music box that goes around and around and around, they are commercial. They only represent or remind one of of ballet, or gymnastics, or pole-dancing, or the circus-which also is changing and moving all the time, just not identifiable as “ballet”. They are like a totem pole, trussed up in the colors of a tribe with the stock faces or photos of what a tree looks like, or a pose, much like those art programs where an artist closed inside a room is drawing a landscape or a body and it is sort of by the book-they suggest that this is HOW you do it. It is not. It begins with seeing. Hearing. Feeling. Learning. Moving. Practicing and performing. So many things, thousands and thousands of variables, skills, and this is what makes it an art, all of the assimilation and expression, eventually, of this. It is not liked seeing an individual tree, or a particular body, moving and swaying in the breeze, to the music, or in any kind of “live” action, which you are a part of, when you draw a tree-you are “in drawing.” It is like this when your are dancing-you are removed and yet, in it, and the viewer is up-close and involved in that moment, too.
So, photos are without any real expression or feeling, it is not unique, or individual, though the “art”of photography may be. I do not think “ballet” is a series of flat photos depicting a pose. I think this is why people have come to work on their calisthenics more than their dancing and other aspects important in theater, like a text is less rich than a face-to-face discussion. These are more like reminders of what it is like “to talk”, such as those little twirling dolls, and even more limited. I think ballet is art, and the components of the ballet, starting with a dancer, a musical note, costume, light, libretto, choreography, scenery, and audience, all together create an individual moment in time, or a series of moments, and cannot be distilled into one flat moment, though some beautiful imagery using body parts, lighting and color are created; it is NOT ballet. So, I have waited for her to dance, and have watched her in class and in performances and am surprised when that feeling hits me but not why I did not capture it in a picture. In art 99 percent of what you do gets thrown out, or becomes meaningless extracted from it’s whole. When I watch ballet, I am looking for something else, something a picture cannot ever convey-that is why I go to the ballet.
I am looking for an artist, a masterpiece, and sometimes I can catch this through her, so I know she is an artist, that’s all. If I could convey my own meaning simply, and effortlessly, maybe, then I would be a writer, and I am not a great writer. I am not trying to be, though. But, I do know about the pursuit of art, and I have pursued it in one way or another all of my life, mine, and that of others, by which I am more frequently satisfied, though less often than I hope to be. Great art rises to the top, and really great art remains there forever, or for as long as it is relevant to people. All I could say for many years is how hard she worked, whether she was on the music, how she looked in a costume, that she was pretty, whether she was able to dance, and various other things like that-topical things-the ones on the surface. Now I see a few more of the deeper things, such as certain muscles, a precision, an air, attitude, a glance, a pose, and much movement, precision, and she is engaging, but some of the more important basic elements were there when she just danced or moved with the music, for that is what the eye and mind do, they look to relate. They find line, symmetry, patterns, fluidity, and other things, and they note when they are missing or not there. These things would not be apparent at all in a photo, and only a little more is visible in a video. The theater is the arena for dance.
While I was watching, and when I wasn’t, she grew into a young lady, and the dancer in her grew also, so that they became one being together, and while I love her very much, I cannot fawn on pictures, but it is her spiritual self which has changed into a dancer, and she has this beautiful way about her when she is dancing, and that is what I am so so happy and thankful for; that she is able to enjoy dancing and explore herself through the medium of dance. I would not want to capture this in a photo or a video because I do not need to. She has grown stronger and more appealing to others everyday because of her ability, but more because of something else which I do not think anyone can put their finger on exactly, and photos are not the best conduit for this. It is her, and this is her own intimate form of expression and course, and not mine to post on social media or to exploit. Hopefully, it is in part, what people would pay to see, or not, one day; and that may be the one harmful aspect of posting too much about oneself, or anyone on social media, as it results in oversaturation of one aspect of her abilities. Ballet is in her imagination and you can only see that while she is dancing.
In her opinion, it is for the stage only, in class, to practice, and for a lifetime of dancing, and those many thousands of moments cannot be encapsulated into one photo. But there is a feeling of memory which a photo can relate, but it is not plastic or alive, so I am not going to post accompanying photos to this post, or any other, as long as I can help it. Her journey began to be difficult at birth, and during delivery she had her arm broken in several places, and her shoulder, due to a poor medical plan on the part of my doctors. She should have been a cesarean delivery, and had she been, I might not be here, and she might not be there. But, for several months after birth, she wore a little sling and the arm healed, with no manipulation or encouragement of the bones except naturally. She was able to see no doctor about it after it occurred, such is the medical practice, as long as she gave her real name, and even now, until those doctors were convinced it was too late for us to sue, so there has been no further x-ray of it, or investigation or cures proposed. Only ballet and normal childhood activity.
When you have a child, and you worry about possible disfigurement at birth, crippling effects, and their health and happiness, the last thing, I think, that a normal parent worries about is suing anyone-you think, “I hope she is able to do all the things she normally would; pole vault, etc” and not, “How much can I get?” Or maybe that is just me. I watched her grow and remarked, when the sling was off for daily changings of her undershirt, which held it in position, pinned to her lapel, how the arm didn’t move very much, and how she tried to move it, and how freely the other one moved and worked normally. It was just that, that perceptible difference which marked her path, maybe, and what was required each day in order to do the things she desired to do, reach, play, and grab, but also hug, use fine motor skills and it was that added effort she applied which made it better each day, and not the talking about it or recording each daily change for posterity’s sake. She was perfect otherwise, beautiful, and would stand on the bench, inside and looking out into the yard, and I swear the little birds and animals would come right up to the window when she did, and had no fear of her. She sang, and rolled and lolled and when she could finally hold a pen, she wrote, and she wrote reams and reams and reams, just in one year, of scribbles across the pages, approximating something she was compelled to say, or do, or achieve, and daily the patterns became more clear, more intricate, and finally words emerged, then speech, and description and communication, which then became more and more perfect, organized and immaculately contained in stapled pages, then in journals, then notebooks, and diaries, and larger notebooks and she has continued writing, and progressing to a purpose of greater communication or ability, fluency, or possibly for many other purposes unfathomable to me.
This is what happened in dance, too. She endured a lot of pain then, at birth, and for her, pain was not something which daunted her or repelled her in dance, and she moved toward it, rather than away from it, to achieve literacy, what was on the other side. Perhaps from memory, too, she was not going to let a little pain stop her. I remember when she first went to ballet class, and I really had no plan, no design, none at all. I took her because my grandmother wanted to pay for her to take lessons, and because she was attending a little school with her friends in our town of Laguna Beach, CA. I had danced, and had a proper respect for the pedagogy and was going to instill it in her, too, because that is what some parents do. I had to find her a good teacher, I knew, of ballet only, and that was all. But, her perspective was likely much different. For one thing, she was skeptical, and did not know if she would like “ballet”-had never even seen ballet really, and though she always liked dressing up and dancing around the house with her brother, beyond that satisfactory experience, and her obsession with carry-alls and passports, as opposed to dolls and toys, I did not think she understood it at all, but she moved and liked to move, most. But we went to a class and they were at a more or less primary level, each in their little white leotards and white demi-skirts and she joined in, rather late in the year, looking perfectly suited, graceful and beautiful. I thought it more of a beginning to becoming a young lady, a rite of feminine passage, what people DO naturally, a way to develop poise, confidence, agility, but she immediately saw it as a means to an end of something she was in pursuit of and which I clearly knew nothing about.
I knew for me what it meant, had meant, and my own perspective was all I saw, but I did reason that others had different motivation, so I accepted hers as hers, that’s all, but even then, I did not recognize hers as greater than mine, more impassioned, more necessary possibly, and that would have been hard to imagine even if I had been more sensitive or smart. That was it, first class, hooked. A new language, something she had not mastered, like the fine motor skills with her hand, and use of her arm, and she began a journey that took her each day, week, month, and year, toward her own very personal goal. She approached it pretty much the same way she had everything else and it was a suitable endeavor for a lifetime it seems. But now I only see this looking back.
I will cut out the many (now) years in between and note that she led me where she wanted to or needed to go and I followed, not always the perfect accompaniment (myself): driver, mouthpiece, personal factotum, sounding board, bank, beggar, and loving mother, but she surpassed my knowledge in some regards very quickly and is now far beyond me. I no longer even service her needs really, because she is strong in her path and my advice, contrary to her own best instinct, perhaps, might lead her astray. It must be what she wants it to be, and so to blame no one else, I am not there to pressure or help her, except as I can, because this is never the path to greatness in art. Art is an individual path. Only great teachers or artists, may contribute to another hopeful; only they understand one another. I did not think to make my daughter an alien to me, far from it-my children are my only and greatest friends, and only they truly love me, know me, forgive me. But there is also a remoteness in the serious study of ballet which eludes me-I am not an artist of it. They have their own levels of personal achievement and placement, a pecking order, support and encouragement, things that we rarely learned about and she now occasionally experiences; they each have a place that is known to only that dancer, and is shared only by dancers with each other. It is truly passed down. That is her world- this is mine.
She has remained sweet, honest and nice to others, as she was on the bench in the window, but she has grown to fill that space inside completely and has a depth that I cannot fathom. She is stronger than I give her credit for, stronger than anyone will probably ever know and only the best will appreciate her fully, give her what she needs. She is an artist. She is a dancer. She has sought to express with her body, and to communicate in a language, though basic enough to all of us, is for her a special language to express, with that body of hers, feelings and emotions, patterns, and paragraphs, sentences and pictures, which to the artist and audience, have mutual conveyance and understanding, but it is an art-not a pose. There is more in a gesture, truly felt, and understood by all, seemingly simple and yet so complex, that we immediately understand. There is so much to it though, and it is continually challenging and demanding, that I cannot begin to be a part of it, nor do I understand from a distance that other side of it,which cannot be expressed in words, just how and why it is so completely different a place for dancers, an inner sanctum, but it is. So, in some sense, she is very quiet about it, and the more quiet she is, the more I know she is content, and happily working toward a proficiency in another language, which only little bubbles of excitement escape to share it’s life and depth, or apparent deep thought, open disappointment or frustration, even depression is all communicated physically, and anger might be the cause of other action. Elated, joyful, cat-like behavior and physical snuggles, resembling purring, but not a lot of talk. I hope it is a phase-it is so difficult, because I cannot share her spectrum of feelings, cannot communicate back-ward in this way to her, and only know it by a sort of recognition now, and begin to know that it is communication by its repeated appearance as such. In my house, people speak English, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, French, art, and ballet. It is great and you learn wondrous things from them about their culture, but that does not mean you become proficient in the language by watching (as critics and parents think)it yourself. But we try to understand, see another point of view. It means you are exposed to it, just like any other language, but you are not necessarily fluent, capable, or necessary. Being able to order in Chinese is a long, long way from writing a classic in it, or reading a classic with the deep understanding of a proficient. She and I have a long way to go, I much further and may never really fully understand. I am not fluent. I am really blind, deaf and dumb. She is becoming fluent in ballet and to some extent I am mute. I think this is wonderful for her and increasingly difficult for me to understand even. But when I watch her dance, then I am convinced once again, that this is her place, where she belongs, some place she can do something. What makes dancers dance?
When she is a great artist, if she reaches a point where she is competent, powerful, profound, famous, markedly different and you can’t take your eyes off her, ever (and I am sure even great artists are boring sometimes), then will that be truly something special for me to witness? Assuredly, it will be the same experience of art, and fame or validity of a public kind will not take that away or change it for me, or make less artistic or moving, that which I have always been privileged to see and have already witnessed, all those many thousands of moments, I remember. It begins to make more and more sense and I re-accept her commitment and dedication, and unswerving devotion and sacrifice to achieve and continue doing something she really loves and must do. A picture might trigger a certain memory, or stage of here continuum, but I would not be able to gain that from a photo, posed, poised to dance, but not dancing what I have in my head. That is where the picture, as her mother, comes to life. I could only see this from watching her dance, seeing her move, experiencing all of her, and seeing her voice, feeling it while she is performing on a stage. Then she is another person, a dancer, an artist, and I am moved the same way I am moved by any other great artist-this is how I know and how I have always known that it is not about competition, or praise, or photographs or fame. It is about art and the pursuit of it and a level of true artistry, performance, and imagination, but most importantly, it is about being able to communicate and being driven by the passion to do so.
It is a long journey to be a great artist, if that is what you want to be. It is as fleeting for a writer to find the perfect phrase, or for an artist to know in his own heart that indeed this work is a masterpiece, as it is for a ballet dancer to have that moment when there is catharsis, and the moment is perfection; like those few bars of music playing when we recognize perfection, and that tune has it’s lasting reverie and effect upon us once again. This is the singular power of art. It is like water to life-just that very instant, when life is summed up by something created and communicated by art, and even some people agree, that this hits the magical spot, even for a brief moment, a split second, but long enough to want to isolate that part and play it over and over again, until we tire of it, have our fill, and to feel that moment, or to see that vision, to feel that pathos, or to repeat that expression, and in ballet, too, or in dancing, that begins in the artist and they must have control over it to some extent to be able to perpetuate it, without set music, pat variations, recognizable scenery, for that is, in a way copying another moment of art, or just decoration, superfluous to the art of ballet itself-but it is not possible in a picture to capture, or a film any of that moment at all. But it is in that moment, for a dancer when it feels perfectly expressed and like fire, it catches everyone’s attention, and for the dancer, the journey to that split second, maybe, it was all simply worth it. They might wonder if anyone saw it, if anyone else shared that moment with them, but it does not decrease that moment if they did not. This is an artist.
But in some smaller ways, they must feel this all the time, or maybe more often and finally, very often, to continue. This is not to be confused with a student in class, who appears to be teachable, or who can afford to pay for privates, or does performance after performance by rote, dresses up, wears a costume, does a competition, photographs themselves, etc. It is how that artist alone floats in the water, survives, learns to paddle, and then weathers the elements and the storms to continue to dance originally, before they become recognizable, and how they can move you, communicate with you personally, and this requires you, as the audience, and the artist, as expressor to complete the circle. It isn’t static. Sure, you can say, viewing it again, it is right THERE, at 2:21 when you felt chills run down your spine and you practically leap out of your seat, moved to dance, but it is not the same as the actual moment when someone’s dancing really struck you, as different and unique on a live stage or the impact in context of the entire ballet or performance. There is no real magic otherwise, only perceived. It can never be the same for you, not the same as dancing, as it is for the person doing it, either, but it seems possible, and moves the paraplegic, the autistic, and others to do the same and to express themselves by using the language of ballet and movement. So, we all think we know about it, but the perspective for the dancer, what truly motivates them, aside from obsession, is not necessarily apparent. It is not meant to be. But in all great dancers, and those who continue to dance, it is there.
In class, people will say her upper body is beautiful, without realizing just how much work it takes to keep that shoulder down, or how much pain it causes one to dance, to hold one’s arms, and how when you are dancing, you forget that pain, and that in some way this is God’s blessing to you, that he enabled you to feel no pain in your feet, not wear even a toe pad, and how you have your teachers to thank for saying “all right, remove the wool-here we go!” and how you never looked back and just kept moving forward despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles and when you thought no one was interested-they were. It’s ironic that she should have such beautiful expression to me, that I can see her mastery and control of this instrument growing daily, and how long it has taken to perfect something more difficult than what she already has had to achieve, for her, and how much eternal joy can be gotten from moving at all, and being able to dance, and how that alone can be enough to propel you, and that you are unstoppable really, because nothing could hurt or be more difficult to overcome than those initial obstacles, and you achieved those. How those ballet muscles must literally be holding that little body together and without it, though I had never even contemplated it, how she might have suffered and been deformed, or had limitations, when now she has so few. How it has molded and shaped her, and helped her to overcome some things that might have seemed impossible had she stopped to actually think about it, or took cures, or dwelled on it, listened to any other voice than her own and the music, and how incredibly strong she is and has become, and how this strength suits her, and yet how she is also capable of expressing such vulnerability and how this, too, looks good on her.
If I took her to class and this was the result, only, I could find no fault with it, or our journey, only gratitude in it, from a mother’s perspective-ever. What could have been was far worse? So, she has always had to work hard, but not for the same reasons other people have, or the same ways, and maybe that is why I will never be able to fully speak her language, why it will always be a little alien to me, hers alone, really, because I took those things for granted, and I was not born with that same stick-to-it-tiveness, or determination, and I did not get up in the morning and say, “I have to dance!” But she does. I look at her, and I am so proud and happy for her, but I do not want to see pictures. They just do not communicate well enough the infinitesimal detail which she strives for, the expression which she ultimately seeks, or any of what I see or feel. So, I owe it to her to keep that journey private in a way, and to not interfere with her perception of herself, and to let her try to become what she wants, evidently, more than anything else, to do. I do not want her to look back too often and say,” that is what I was,” but instead, “this is what I am and will be.”
It isn’t what people think of your pictures, it is what they think of you in class, that you catch their imagination and hold onto it, hear your voice in your dancing, and are riveted by your performance, are inspired by your effort, see your very soul shining forth, your strength, your differences, and not your similarities-what you do differently from other people, and how that is unique. This is important, that you say something in a way that is distinctly you. People all communicate differently, and she is developing a way of speaking of her own, that comes with hard work and practice. Maybe something more, too, and maybe that is in all of us to some degree, but that is what makes ballet art, and never sport.
It is how you do something wonderful with the same pair of old shoes you draw, and how you make each performance and each step meaningful and vitally necessary. Art has an epitome, a reachable point of perfection. It is in our perception of it, not only others. There is a way to grab it between your fingers and control it, roll it around and ponder it, and then let go, stand back, and let it’s wide light engulf you. When she is comfortable in her ability to communicate, she soars, and I think that is what is important, and that journey is different for everyone, uniquely so. I do not believe that anyone who wants to do something, no matter their age, their ability, background, or their income level should matter-if they have a strong enough will, and an opportunity, I have found, they will find a way to accomplish it-despite all the advice, opinions, naysayers, competitors, dream-killers, and sad-sacks. It is the joy you seek, and some intangible reward, and that I know, which is the momentum for continuing. She is living proof of that many times over, and she literally needs to continue, no matter what. To continue is always a fight financially, and costly to keep moving ahead and progressing in level, it requires deftness and intelligence, too, but it has to be done somehow, and we have continued on, despite deadly setbacks, ridiculous politics, and other reasons which really have no place in ballet education, the arts, therapy, or communication. It shouldn’t be so difficult to pay for when someone really needs it, or wants it, to get the right education for you to continually get the extra help, encouragement, or opportunities that you need to go on and try, and each day is happier and happier still the closer you get to all of your goals, and to that place when you are better, and it’s reaching all of those little muscles, deployable now, and in your control, so you can speak ballet fluently, but it is very difficult and expensive just the same-part of the challenge. But, you have never shrunk from a challenge. I pray you get more!
“Gods often contradict
our fondest expectations.
What we anticipate
does not come to pass.
What we don’t expect
some god finds a way to make it happen.
So with this story”
As I talk to my children, and there are so many things I want to share with them, I find, more than anything, literature and not necessarily experience, is my guide. History repeats itself. At times, it becomes annoying to them, past annoying, a sort of zealous righteousness, they feel, where I am chief, not accustomed to being questioned, and I admit, I rule this way. Every mother must have a method, perhaps a style. For every woman is a Queen of her family and land, or should be. Some have voices, some do not and it is left for those who can to communicate what they can TRY to. Therefore, due to my own history, and thusly I love them. I have protected my own children to the best of my ability believing it is often better to run away, and live to fight another day, than to wear oneself out running in place-frankly, I just get bored with the scenery. I have been chastised for this, urged to let them make their own mistakes, as other parents do, but this dedication to them and the natural instinct of a mother conflicts with the story of Medea. Love does not equal murder, or does it? But, I have seen firsthand the failings of parents, and blame, that can come to them, for letting go too soon. In fact, there is a story in there somewhere. Mother’s and women in general, take a lot of blame. It’s not the blame we tell ourselves that will cause people to respect us, it is that pigeonhole we have been put in by society, and other women, too, which seems a paid critic of our actions and seeks to imbue us with other-worldly and impossible capabilities and qualities. In Medea, therefore, lies the greatest and most profound tragedies of all time. I do not believe it to be true, as I will explain.
There must me something inside me, as I am present today still, and they are, that passes this wisdom to me through the ages, some prophetic discourse, not just that which was passed down from my mother, and which makes me immune to their taunts and I know I must toddle on. I know I am right. As if led my some mysterious force, I teach my children, like the cat does hers to bird and climb, extending their circle of freedom and strength ever outward, or like a garden, helping them grow, I think. The ultimate result of this is that I am preparing them to ‘take over’ even if I am master of no land; I am master of myself. A survivor of the very beginning of man and this, too, must trickle down through the dna. It is proven, some of it does.
Now, as a young woman, and having read Medea and other ancient plays, it was inscrutable to me that Medea would take the lives of her own children. I am bent on changing this written persona, this character, drummed up by men and rabid women, who are determined to kill off other women-their competition. It is not that men do not also do this, but this ruthlessness is often attributed to women, like the apple and Eve, her sons actions, and all the problems of the world, can somehow, and usually are, blamed on women. Why except this? Considering a career in acting as a teenager, I thought, this was impossible to portray. Who would want to? It would be difficult to understand her pain, even if she were mad. What leniency does any women receive in giving up her children, let alone abandoning them, or leaving them to fend for themselves or worse, killing them. If possible, this was even more abhorrent to me, as a child, or alien, that any mother would be driven to kill her own children. That’s all. I think children do not read into literature, they take what they read at face value, or try to, and this is not a problem with children; it IS children.
They are unable to see what is before them, what lies ahead, life. I did not know, for instance, that there were several versions of the story, many in fact. In some, the outcome is completely different-she does not kill her children, or by untraceable means they are dead from some other cause, attributed to her, a sorceress and witch. What of the daughter of gods? Very likely that the memorials that remain to her on the island of Corinth are places of worship and devotion, and a place to pray for the safety of one’s children and in their passing, a place also to plead for their safe journey into the other world. As Medea herself says, “Alas! Alas! Often ere now-this is not the first time-my reputation has hurt me and done me grievous wrong. If a man’s really shrewd, he ought never to have his children taught too much. For over and above a name for usefulness that it will earn them, they incur the hostility and envy of their fellow men. Offer clever reforms to dullards, and you will be thought a useless fool yourself. And the reported wiseacres, feeling your superiority, will dislike you intensely. I myself have met this fate.” The book goes on to say that through dissumlation (guile) she was able to obtain Creon’s leave to stay in Corinth one more night, even though he feared her vengeance and her skill.
Why make Medea a source of an article on ballet? Because ballet is life, and art, and Medea, like other heroines of popular history, resurfaces again and again, and it should, though fewer people today study Greek or Latin, and those reputable translations of it go far back to when this leap was not so broad. But it surfaces for different reasons and every time I see, I say once again, oh, here goes, just like the attacks on Hillary Clinton and Cleopatra-any woman really. If anybody actually read this blog, I would probably get a lot of guff, but at least we know her daughter seems to be very well adjusted, and yes, she has had a good life. That might indicate a good mother. How could we elect a president who was a good mother? That might be bad for a country. How could a good mother be bad for a country? It has many, many mirrors of life within it’s very small text. Many stories in one. many parallels to the world today.
There are some stories that only maturity can make understandable, and Medea is one. For me almost every line is an epiphany and some relevance is macchiato-Sparknotes is not the way to understand it, but like many books and other works of art, one has to go back to the source and reread it, as I have been fortunate enough to have a cause to do and help to reexplain it to my children, or does one let them figure it our for themselves? I think it is important to shatter biases against women and obvious contradictions. That kind of behavior would be that of someone on The Jerry Springer show, and not someone as intelligent, talented, and powerful as Medea was likely to have been. But, this is how men see us. Still.
Medea is like an artwork one passes on frequent visits to a museum, when suddenly a meaning hits you, which you have not even been aware your mind was searching to connect to it with, or a ballet, which might be revised to demonstrate the passion with which life is lived and misunderstanding can result in the death of a hero, so how can it continue to be portrayed in the fashion that it is onstage? The choreography needs to change. It no longer represents what our culture knows about women to be UNTRUE and if we continue to let this dogma be regurgitated, then we are saying the same things, doubling back on our progress, and why would anyone want to act in such a play? But it is important. About as important as Bumpo is to Doctor Doolittle (which is now largely censored, but not Medea because it only insults women). It is important the way remembering The Holocaust is important, so not to repeat it, instead of repeating it to make it true. I think the whole world is confused sometimes.
What a woman suffers and how she is viewed then, as now, is also clear in Medea: “Life has lost its savor.” “Of all creatures that feel and think, we women are the unhappiest species,” and she goes on to elaborate the plight of women, which has only changed slightly in this day and age, and many of us can easily remember, or even know, her words are still the truth and she outline what devices and expertise a woman needs to make a man happy and contented, and how even when this is done well, beyond question, it will be twisted around, unappreciated, and that older age of a woman will turn a man’s head, then his heart, possibly, to another. He will abandon his own children and we see how men’s basest actions are upheld by others, as though being wrong, but acceptable, as they still are now, while a woman in many cultures may still be stoned for adultery.
Medea was one of the first modern women, not the first wisest woman, but as she says in the earlier part, superior and outspoken, envied, and hated. We know from other writers that this is true, though we refuse to look around us and acknowledge our own actions, suspect our motivation, or change our nature. And despite this rationality of her own words, we are then to suppose her a highly irrational and not only vengeful woman, but capable of great acts of evil and cruelty-infanticide. Unlikely that these two natures can exist in such a person. A mother. This is how people have existed forever and apparently how it has been acceptable to view women. I imagine female rulers would have been moved by this, and taught to think twice, as in a word of warning, or what NOT to do. There are no real changes to the nature of man or woman and there is little threat probably of a woman committing such an act-look around; not the most popular crime. But then, as well as now, it’s performance continues to fill theaters-even larger than this one.
Today, when a women speaks, stands up for herself, she is suspected of causing trouble and other women are too happy to abide and tolerate this wrong. What woman with children has not been steered into an unmanageable sea of troubles? And she gives guidance, too, for the strong woman, “it is not yet as bad as that, never think so.” Nevertheless, it enjoyed a lot of popularity, controversy and discussion, and not only has been made into more plays, poems and it’s references used most often of many plays, but there are nevertheless some very choice tidbits about learning and rational thought in this serious tragedy, and those SHOULD be passed on, so what gives? Well, you just cannot censor the authors, that’s all and everyone’s interpretation must be as wide as their differences. It’s all in the perspective, and that, I think, is the key to its everlasting popularity. Everyone, down through the ages, has had the same awareness of the theorem that is sets forth-is a woman capable of this? Why not? How? We are defined by motherhood and our views of the heath and home. Will it ever change, truly? Not as long as we give birth and nurture new lives, and if this is one of our purposes, and I believe it is. Where is intellect and can woman ever be described as having any by everyone, or we will continue to turn onto ourselves and others like us, forever? Maybe. Maybe this is nature, too, and about the survival of the fittest. Maybe this is our ANIMAL. And man’s is fornication. Ha.
Medea was the only tragedy that truly eluded me when I read it as a teenager. It is not a role for childless actors or inexperienced performers. I am not sure many ballet dancers even understand it. We are all some mother’s sons or children; and it has different meanings for everyone. Therefore I never considered it much and was quick to see one side of it, that a mother was wholly insane and allowed herself to become too tied up in her jealousy, and accused, as she is by Jason, as being only conscious of the sleight to her manner of affection, and being stung, turns on those most readily available, destroying all in the path of her righteous anger, monstrously killing her children to get even. Medea is described by Euripides as being vain and selfish and though capable of no good, adept at contriving “all manner of wickedness.”
Euripedes does not merely imply, but avers that women outlive their own usefulness and are perfidy itself, to the world. They are useful for bearing good children, perpetuating the line, that is all. Part of me wants this book banned, for my daughter and all other daughters of the future generations of the world, for unless we get beyond this image of ourselves, and discontinue to live it, then we will be viewed, or may be viewed this way forever. It is now down to interpretation by the theatrical group, or actors, and what they do with it, how they interpret this today, and no wonder it is not more widely performed as many of these views we are beginning to leave behind. But, like an idea, they can be reborn, in someone else, or in some other age, and are never really blotted out. I do not know which is worse now, as I grow older, this or the tale it tells basically. Perhaps this is one reason why people look to leave a world, when the one thing they have to look forward to, their vice, is taken away suddenly, there purpose, as they see it. It is good therefore, that women develop to some other purpose, to some other end of usefulness, and this could not state the reasons why better. This perhaps why it is a text widely used in Women’s studies across the world. This is probably the first example of misogynist literature that I can think of, and did I recognize this as a child? NO! And yet, dancers continue to dance it, artists continue to paint it and create about it, and writers continue to quote it, mostly as a warning, but also for the other intellectual and informative reasons that Euripedes words have a meaning today and many of the things he says are great things. You cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater. So one has to parse it down and not let it rest, discuss it, talk about it, unveil it, and for goodness’ sakes promote the other versions of the story and the facts remaining. History.
As in ballets or tragedies, or movies or any story, we are in the power of the author to give us facts and we must believe them, if this, then that. in that way, or there is no story. First a hatred of the man has to be developed and made to be the reasonable supposition by all, and sundry, and without THIS, the story really has no weight-we need to see, imagine, or know WHY or HOW she could have a motive, just like any crime story today, and this Jason does by defiling the sacred vow that stood between them, proper for this rage to build, and then, mistaking her anger for a benign, manageable one, typical (of a woman) and predictable, and twisting this into a cankerous wound which grows into the most vile of hatred and results in unimaginable evil (only attributable to a woman). Only a WOMAN is capable of this crime. In it’s singularity, it defines us, much in the same way that the worst man is a pedophile or rapist, as a woman may not do THAT. In the opposite sex neither crime seems as horrid, or ghastly,though they are. The rape being the epitomy of manhood’s dominant characteristic turned bad, and the killing of one’s own children, by a woman, the worst possible crime for a mother of the world. Both archetypes are bolstered by these pinnacles of high esteem, and therefore, the reverse is true, that our worst qualities are our best qualities turned inside out/reversed. So it is with Medea. This is natural, therefore in fact, and its genius lies in the opposition, in fact. Like good and evil, one cannot theoretically exist without the other.
But, by feminists (a 1960’s term) it is by this that we see women were subjugated to a position below men, due to their sex, frailty, weakness, and that men failed to see them as the warriors and fighters they are, and in at least Euripides version, Medea is going to act on the mannerisms and modes he has created her with, like Pygmalion, but for evil and not good. Otherwise his story would serve no purpose for his own ends-his audience, and whether is was famous for the same reasons it is today, then, is doubtful, but he must have been appealing to women everywhere to not let your jealousy get the better of you, so perhaps man’s means of becoming successful was always so. A Good Woman defined, and a Bad one. Easy. Good that the nature of women is to protect the home and the children at all costs, but according to Euripedes, not so with Medea. But likewise these dame demons rise up to thwart our success in powerful positions even today and it was not very long ago actually that women even got the vote, so our equality is not real, not for a long time. I doubt very much, except by some accident, that any men will vote for a woman for president when there is no history of one having been elected before. Men need to keep women beneath them in powerful positions, for what else do they have?
However, a Queen, at different times in history, has been a just ruler, delivered on the goods, and protected her country, just as a man has and in many countries women fight right alongside their men, when they have to, so why shouldn’t they be President. But here, if a women does not fight, she will not be President, but a man who is a conscientious objector will be elected President. Maybe the public believes that we cannot easily send people to their deaths, like Bond and Judy Dench as M, somehow the public wants to hear a man calling the shots and a woman is still a little ‘butch’ in office or in powerful positions. Some warrior queens, such a Cleopatra defied this mold, but the alternative was a sex symbol and men only willing to accept her power as being tied inextricably to her sexuality. A mother getting the ‘job done’ is likely not thinking about sex, any more than a ruler is when giving war orders. Maybe, just maybe, this is more tied to the idea of war being a man’s milieu and if it can be said that anyone is capable of fighting and killing, it is men. one little poisoning and woman is scarred forever, but men can kill and kill and kill-look at Rambo. The black widow was hardly as popular, or Lorena Bobbit. Viewed by men, hers is even more serious (or frightening) to men, than ALL the rapes, torture and female castration done in the world to women (or men). Odd that no one notices this. It doesn’t really matter who is President, as Obama’s terms have shown us. It is an office vacant of power, so why should men fear a woman as titular head of the country? She is a woman and that is enough, and Euripedes does repeat these views in 4,000 BC. How can we not tell this to our daughters and our sons? What is more important than for them to know that people are basically all very similar.
But, like Shakespeare, Euripedes uses a queen, and a descendant of the gods to derive his example, who were presumed to be vain and mighty anyway, and the gods could “get away’ with behavior mortals couldn’t, so surely, it appears, that Euripedes used this as a lesson to those mere mortals as the opposite of the way to behave. There is, however, so much between the lines, also spoken by Medea, which is true, and other things, relevant and concerning politics, that this is used as subterfuge to say something else, make a commentary on society, and Euripedes was no fool. Certainly this woman was a queen, by this age, were she in her own land, and Jason’s excuses are repeated in other versions of the story, that she acted in his behalf and even loved him because the gods forced her to, so in truth, these actions were foreseen and ordained. Her actions were preordained and she had some involvement, but not a lot, in his success in this version, for according to Jason, she is least powerful and also in use, by other more powerful forces, not only as a woman, but one forgets that it is just these arrogant godlike qualities she flaunts and he flippantly casts aside that cause the death of his children-his acts, not hers. But, she is less than a pure god, only derived of gods or part gods and the writer uses this to show the difference this one little bit of color in the blood can make, or here, the lack of a full does running in your veins. You are judged by men, if not by gods, for you are part of the realm of men, vulnerable. A god would not run, would not be mortal, killable, but she IS. And as a ruler, even related to the gods, women first, were held accountable, for even Jason seems to be above her. So is she really being painted as a murderer of children, or is her killing of her children, or Jason’s children a figurative death? The gods will get even after-all. Even Jason is not above the gods it says and she did ‘escape’ and did move on and on to future Kings, and kingdoms. Who is to say she murdered her own children, or not? It is more likely figurative language and not literally language which implies premeditation of a real sort. But, this story, it thought, logic and meanings also have a great impact on our laws, and define ‘the crime of passion.”
It comes down to us in many ways, and the ways we have chosen and our own interpretation of it as well, so likely, not in the same way it was viewed, then. Is time so far removed and differences in culture so varied, as to make it obsolete? No apparently, for all the use of it, even today. One is better able to ask if Chaucer’s Tales were an apt description of people in that era, and they were, but it does not say much about the man. And it is relevant today because it still goes on, and we understand perfectly the people, their descriptions, greed and larceny, and even their little personality traits and characteristics which define them as what they are, without even a full grasp of the language, conventions or differences in our cultures. So this is a form of propaganda and some of it is being chewed up and revealed to us in smaller pieces or in a single event, so that we have through communication, or art, become wiser, about perhaps what we already know, but did not know that we knew.
Typically, many questions begin to formulate in the reader’s mind. In one sense, I felt the same kind of thinking going on when I watched The Black Swan. Here was something not normally a part of ballets which we see, not focused on, not alluded to, but thought, sometimes, or unspoken, except perhaps in groups, among the intelligentsia after the theater. Thought provoking, and for that reason, Medea is important to all art and to ballet. Ballet should provoke thought. Was Jason only using her? Was man infinitely more sane and calm than a woman, maybe merely more intelligent? Was she acting commonly and not in a dignified manner? Was she wrong? Jason, a hero, by her hand, was certainly, even in those times, betraying her, but even so, she was expected and encouraged (by the writer) to handle this differently, and to quietly benefit from his increased power and position. Is it possible that in his statements there is any truth about his intentions or feelings for the daughter of the king? He is seen as a typical male now, a man, increasing his position and power to benefit his own family in the long run. Were a mother to play this role, it would be the opportunity to emote, express, the anguish and pain one must feel and in no way is this remotely believable to me. It is only imaginable by the man, and is a man’s story of what a jealous woman could do. But for all this, their is depth and emotion to play in the role, just not the usual rantings and ravings which accompany its performance, what the people want to see, or what actresses and actors on the stage think was the intention of the writer. How silly to overact it.
But it is wrong, for no woman would kill her own children, only a man would for the purpose of showing her frailty, her actual and basic human fault. Women were ruled by emotion and men by their clear use of their intelligence. It is a cautionary tale to men as well, though and advises them to not only be on guard with women, not to underestimate the extent of their wickedness, and cruelty, but also to underline the basic differences of the sexes-a woman’s underlying deceit and a man’s right to purveyed goods. natural. And yet, other writers have revised this story, or tale, and we have access to some of these versions, too, though they are not the most popular, may be more truthful in their assertions that she killed her children herself to avoid them being killed by others, that they were killed for some other political reason, by Creon for instance, or to atone for she and Jason’s past deeds, and one, historically important and with some credence, that they died of natural causes, not related at all to any of these other versions at all, and finally, that they did not die at all, as these other versions attest. But this is based on history and from what we know Medea was a real warrior queen, possibly perceived a witch, and had god-like powers and abilities, and was at the very least skilled in medical knowledge and natural powers.
It is hard to say what the truth was or is, but what is widely available is the current version of the history and story we have, and that this is fairly universally accepted as a fictional story, and we have all been fed this version or tragedy for many reasons, including those limited by academics and this has had a profound effect upon the world in ways we do not even realize. But, if we are to interpret stories, art and history through whatever medium, as artists, it is incumbent upon us to have our own understanding of this and other stories in ballet. Failing to see in the Greeks, the possibility of hope, which among them Seneca, viewed as one possibility, and that she was a traveler, and explorer, sort of, more of a warrior, who went on, it is also said, to start a kingdom somewhere else, and fared fine for a woman, is a major failing in the story as far as I am concerned, and I think women today, dancing the ballet, and choreographers, enacting the ballet should take these different viewpoints into account if they wish to impress audiences today.
In fact, of Seneca’s version, only a few lines are extant, a quote. Some writers have latched onto this quote, and it appears in not only Columbus’ own book, but also one of Washington Irving’s Books and a number of other older writings about travel to the new world, there being life beyond those islands unexplored, and curious, or mysterious, and for some reason Seneca discusses this in his Medea, most likely regarding Jason’s travels and nothing more, but possibilities do exist, so the history of Medea continues to be increasingly important in some ways, but not the same ways, as it ever was, and in linking us to our past. While this all occurred before 400 BC, it is hard not to recognize the Indians in the North American continent named the Seneca tribe, and wonder if the Greeks, in their travels, did not come to this country long before we would have ANY RECORD of that travel and imparted onto those people’s some connection or name which may in future tie the Greeks into our history more largely than mythology or writing already does. Who knows. But it is a story rich in comparisons and analogy. I can imagine this, and therefore that it is possible that other likelihoods could exist, and not to rule out any possibility until we know the truth and for now I will just believe in my own version, which is rather unlike the one that follows.
“In childbirth grief begins.”
“Better a humble heart, a lowly life. Untouched by greatness let me live – and live. Not too little, not too much: there safety lies.”
“O Zeus! why hast thou granted unto man clear signs to know the sham in gold, while on man’s brow no brand is stamped whereby to gauge the villain’s heart?”
“Amongst mortals no man is happy; wealth may pour in and make one luckier than another, but none can happy be.”
“Not yet do you feel it. Wait for the future.”
“I’d three times sooner go to war than suffer childbirth once.”
“It’s human; we all put self interest first.”
Medea in most tales was an enchantress, a sorceress, another tale of men, who when dealing with a woman with a woman of depth and intelligence, or power, quickly fears her. The chief way a man can hurt a woman is by tearing apart her heart, and breaking a sacred vow, which is not the accepted story of Medea. What all people forget, who read a story, is that it is we who kill Medea’s children, and not she, in our minds. Little is spoken about it really. It happens somewhere else. We are witnessing the conscience and guilt, or aftermath. The absolute worse thing that, in any culture, can be said about a woman, is that she killed her children, or figuratively, that she killed their chances. Each day this story is played out all over the world, by women themselves, who kill other people’s children’s chances, and not much is said at all. In fact, this is how women are seen everyday, as being capable and ready to thwart those who would stand in the way of their own children’s greatness. It doe snot say much for women at all, that we play this role without any thought about how we appear or fulfill the man’s prophecy that we will do anything to advance our own children, and it is the subject of many a black comedy when women openly and laughably exhibit these behaviors, exaggerated actions, but typical behaviors for some women. Secretly, they connive, and plot, to do anything that will harm another, for probably little reason, and they will devote time, actual time and thought to methods to accomplish this-things to say and do, and they teach their daughters to also do this. Perhaps it is a survival mechanism, but I have seen women do this my whole life, and I have watched. It is one of those associations, and with those people, that I do not wish to waste my time. But it is no wonder that men overall think women capable of such dastardly deeds, for women do more to harm other women and children then they would dare to harm a man. Women fear violence. And men represent violence, and unknown.
“For in other ways a woman is full of fear, defenseless, dreads the sight of cold steel; but, when once she is wronged in the matter of love, no other soul can hold so many thoughts of blood.”
Medea appears again and again in histories of the ancient world and represent women in general. Mysterious, plotting, magical, evil, capable of acting without honor, or ethics to get what she wants and to those in question these mighty words appear, Hell hath no fury like a women scorned.” Hell, even. Women are mighty powerful creatures, but “creatures” like the hydra or cyclops, or witches. Not women, super-human or sub-even, but never equals, and a women as an equal is the only woman that no man fears, because she does not exist. Medea, therefore existed on the water line of many tales and stories, and represents those characteristics of women which a man feared, even in his mother. Now, what mother has not experienced the faithlessness of a man, his inconsistency, his disloyalty, his betrayal? Even worse than the pain of betrayal, or being cast aside, is the betrayal of one’s own son. After a woman thinks that she can experience no greater pain in life than that inflicted by a soulmate, and equal, a partner, and one does, one is surprised to find that the even worse than the loss of one’s earthly lover, is the betrayal by the love that secretly was greatest of all, that of one’s children. That bond which forms when their eyes and yours first meet, can be the most defeating blow of all. No matter, by that time, we women are well-prepared and experienced in loss. This final blow is described in Euripedes play, or any tragedy at all, because none has been written by a women, and no one but a women and child can know that loss. It is slow and like bad policy, incremental, but eventually, we realize that which we have been living for is lost. It was as imaginary as any book, and all in our own imaginations, and sadly we have transferred that hope to our children, so they may hope again, but we will never.
“Mortal fate is hard. You’d best get used to it.”
No matter the story, a women is capable of doing great, evil, but great things for her man. She will even kill for him, if he will only take her away and marry her, as in the Argonautica of Apollonius. Of course, Jason agreed. Jason has to, like in most fairy tales, perform impossible deeds (only a true hero could perform) in order to accomplish the tasks (motif) which would enable him to carry away the princess. In real life, these would be equivalent to a good job and a home, setting aside bawdy and lustfully youthful pursuits and of course, the biggest knell of the marriage bell, other women. I think this is the “cold feet” that men get before a wedding. No other future liaisons. For woman, this is different. Most women. To obtain the fleece (the real jewel) as the woman is only born to accomplish the real mission. But without Medea, Jason could not have been successful in most stories, for it is her power through witchcraft, which enables or makes superhuman Jason, and this is what is needed to accomplish the tasks (in order to obtain the fleece). She annoints him with a salve-he is resistant to the fiery breath of fire-breathing oxen with which he has to plough a field. Medea provides him with a rock to throw into the field of soldiers created by the teeth of the dragon Jason then has to sow in the field. The soldiers attack each other, not knowing from where the rock has come. Medea then gives the dragon a potion of herbs, a thus asleep, Jason is able to fight and kill the dragon (drowsy or sleeping) which guards the fleece. Jason takes the fleece, and Medea (the booby prize) and sails away (on the ocean). Medea even kills her brother Absurtus to distract her father, so she could escape with Jason. In Apoollonius’ version Medea only helps Jason in the first place because Hera convinced Aphrodite or Eros to cause Medea to fall in love with him. This is a poor excuse in court today, but many women have tried it, and in France many a woman has been forgiven for a crime of passion committed at that time of the month.
“Of all creatures that can feel and think,
we women are the worst treated things alive”
Medea’s actions have been even more abhorrent in other versions, scattering her brother’s body parts across the island, so that her father would actually have to stoop and pick them up, which would delay him from his hot pursuit, and no mention is ever made of Medea’s conscience in these matters, or any softness to her. What is apparent is that it was conceivable, even in that day and age, to assume this behavior by a women would be believable. In another version, Absyrtus is killed by Jason (and Medea still loves him). So much for the adage, “a son is a son until he takes him a wife, a daughter a daughter the rest of her life.” But is all fairness, Medea is under a spell, not only of Jason, but one of the God’s, so unquestionably loyal (a given) and powerless against it. A women is also gullible and her mind can be controlled, therefore she is not worthy to lead, but will always remain a follower. In some stories, a stop is made on an island ruled by her aunt Circes (also a sorceress), to be cleansed of the murder of Absyrtus, presumably as she could not go on further with the guilt of her own deed. Forgiveness, and again the Roman’s were always big on the cleansing of guilt. There is nothing, virtually, which they cannot be forgiven for. And we see the tenets of early Catholicism already built into the culture, largely. So, it is also apparent that a women’s natural response to killing a loved one would be to end one’s own life. An eye for an eye, a chance for a chance, a tooth for a tooth, and in some American Indian tribal cultures, women whose sons were lost in battle wandered about the camp, their son no longer able to protect them, until they died in winter. No one would take them in and they took all of their belongings. Men have always been the providers and protectors in human culture. Except in rare cultures, where the women ruled and women did not treat other women this way. Rare.
“death is the only water to wash away this dirt”
Medea continues her treacherous and sometimes uncalled for cruelties and murder, killing the bronze man of Crete (Talus/Talos), who bars the port of Crete from Jason. In the Argonautica, Medea uses hypnotism, and drives him berserk, so that he kills himself. Talos’ death is a particularly symbolic one, in that he has one vein extending from his neck to his ankle, bound shut with a single nail. When the nail is removed by whatever means various stories tell, Talos is killed when this substance runs from his body. (Ichor is the ethereal golden fluid that is the blood of the gods/immortals.) Medea also made prophesies that came true, so not all of her myth was unreal, for Euphemus one day did actually rule over all of Libya, through Battus, his descendant. So such were the actions and the direct connection of success or failure felt strongly through even the later feats of one’s descendants. But the Argo rolled into port.
“Oh, say, how call ye this,
To face, and smile, the comrade whom his kiss
Betrayed? Scorn? Insult? Courage? None of these:
‘Tis but of all man’s inward sicknesses
The vilest, that he knoweth not of shame
Nor pity! Yet I praise him that he came . . .
To me it shall bring comfort, once to clear
My heart on thee, and thou shalt wince to hear.”
Medea also did good things, occasionally, with her magic, and one was to make Jason’s father, Aeson immortal, by giving him a transfusion (yes, they were performed even that far back in history), and it is fairly clear to me, that her wisdom was in her ability to heal, thus, she was a doctor, and we know that they were burned until the mid or late 1700’s in recent culture. So these qualities a woman might possess could do her good or evil. Only women have suffered this duality. A man is forever seen as straight and true. Still, Jason does fall in love with Medea eventually, and by the time they reached Iolus, Medea was able to conspire to convince Pelias’ own daughters to murder him. She convinced them that if they cut their father up in pieces, he would be reborn into a young version of himself. So they did. After killing Pelias (for Hera), they fled to Corinth. With Jason, Medea had five sons, and supposedly they were happy for over forty years.
“Do not grieve so much for a husband lost that it wastes away your life.”
It was here, in Corinth, where later, the trouble begins (as if the above were not shocking enough). Jason abandons Medea for the King’s daughter-and a younger woman-Glauce. Medea sends a dress to GLauce, covered in poison, which kills Glauce and her father, Creon. It is said, that two of her sons were murdered for their assistance in this crime. But Medea’s revenge continues, murdering two of their other sons, and leaving one remaining. She flies to Athens in a dragon-driven golden chariot, a gift by Helios (god of the sun) and her grandfather. In another version by the poet Eumelus, she kills her own children by accident, and in another story, the people of Corinth kill them (which I believe is more likely). Her murder of her own children seems to be strictly an invention of Euripides, though some scholars attribute it to Neophron. Her filicide was to become the accepted version in later or more recent fiction, however. And one writer, Pausanias, claims to have seen a monument to them in Corinth, ad records the five variants in his writings.
“Hast thou ice that thou shalt bind it
To thy breast, and make thee dead
To thy children, to thine own spirit’s pain?
When the hand knows what it dares,
When thine eyes look into theirs,
Shalt thou keep by tears unblinded
Thy dividing of the slain?
These be deeds Not for thee:
These be things that cannot be!”
Like a sensible women, fearing Jason”s wrath, she flees to Thebes in where she heals Heracles, a former Argonaut, from a curse which Hera has placed upon him, and led to his murder of his best friend, Iphitis. Despite Heracles protection and defense of her, the Thebans drive her from their land, so she is infamous for her deeds. In this version, she flees then to Athens where she meets and marries Aegeus and they have one son, Medus. Some writer’s believe this to be Jason’s surviving son with Medea, Hesiod. Never boring for long, Medea nearly convinces Aegeus to kill his own lost son, Theseus, and just as she is about to hand Theseus the poisoned cup, Aegeus recognizes that the sword Theseus has is his own, passed down to his own son. He averts the act. Not surprisingly Medea leaves once more, returns to her home, Colchis, and finding that her father, Aeetes has been deposed of by his brother, now King, Perses, kills her uncle, and restores the kingdom to her own father. In another version, she takes her son and flies in her golden chariot to some part of Iran, living among a culture known as Aryans, who then became the Medes.
“O what will she do, a soul bitten into with wrong?”
No less vividly represented today, the established view is not one of heroism, but rather one of filicidal tendencies and murderous methods, changing her good attributes, to those of the criminally insane, or at least evil. What is apparent is that she was a demi-god of some immortal persuasion, and that whether she lived for Jason, for a time, she moved on, and she was at least as great a warrior, with her less violent, but equally adept methods of winning battles, fearlessness, and cunning, shrewd tactics and strength of mental character, surviving the loss of her children, and in founding many cities, with which she is credited in actual history. And though intelligence in government was reduced to attempts to bring into power her own offspring, it seems as though she were caught, and suffered ostracism at times, but she always landed, like the Argo, somewhere new, like many women do. No one in art has been more represented or written about, or has surfaced in the poeems and writings of so many illustrious men, Ovid, Apollonius, Seneca, and all those poets above mentioned, employ her figure, and she rises again in literature as other warrior women do, such as Cleopatra, and Boadicea, and other Queens. What she appears to have been is an extremely brave and intelligent women, who is misunderstood by history, and cloaked in the same sort of contempt as women have been held in history by men, unable to relate to their personal battles and intelligence. Only a mother would know that Medea could not have killed her sons, even Jason’s sons, over jealousy; that is perhaps a man’s motif, but not possible of any woman, and certainly not the kind of resourceful and intelligent, even brilliant woman, Medea must have been. She is however, revered in art, staring back at us from vases and paintings, and widely apparent in Greek culture where women are revered as much as men in their chivalric deeds, and another reason why I will always be a fan of Greek culture. Medea is, like Gaia, or other earth goddesses, associated with death, and the grave, probably most evident in the chthonic culture and the due to the dramatic overtones of her slain children, and an actual sanctuary devoted to them in Corinth. The Greek word khthon is one of several for “earth” which literally refers to under the ground, or the interior of the soil, and not, like Gaia on the surface of the land. So, she is revered in death, and is probably a sub-god of Hades, or the female version.
“Stronger than lover’s love is lover’s hate. Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.”
Whether in drama, or poetry, history, or art, and especially in Music, Medea has always caused a sensation. Thousands of references occur and much is attributable to her, and many controversies are led by association of her mostly magical and evil side, so probably she has remained very popular because she represents a vivid and interesting possible interpretation, reviving classical themes to promote some personal opinion. She is allegory itself, in a way, and each of us, as we view our children running along a seashore, might be reminded of Medea who traveled much, did great, but possibly bad things, and was an actual person, I believe, who was raised to mythical status fro some reasons-stood out-because of her strength of character and positive attributes as a women, but whom through history men have decried as the worst type of woman. But, we should not do that to ourselves, or each other. One cannot help that believe her actions must have been those of a typically intelligent woman, who like Eve was blamed for the sins of man, thought to be naive and gullible, and dumb, and cunning, and snakelike. A woman who despite history, is found to have a story that all women can relate to, and as hard as it is to believe, was once a child who probably ran in the cold, barefoot, along the line of the shore, while her mother, picked up her shoes and followed, picking up and carrying her back to the house. It was always hard for me to picture her any other way, especially now, that I have been a mother and known that their is no greater loss in the world, at this point that of a lover or a friend, and that children will grow up and that we must continually fight to be understood, and not driven from the land, no matter how we are perceived, all women will do whatever they have to, for their children, but they would not kill them for a man.
“Tell me, how does it feel with my teeth in your heart?”
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A very rare gem my daughter’s Ballet Teacher staged a long time ago in Russia, which many of my friends might enjoy! This is significantly important, to history, believe it or not, and dance.
Here is also a very bad translation of the Russian language text underneath the video-sometime after he left the Kirov and Novosibirsk Opera ballet….and before his degree in choreography. Wow.
“”Staging [or starring] Ilya Gaft, Honored Artist of Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.[Not sure, he is a very modest man] “”In 1952 he graduated from the performers faculty of the Leningrad Choreographic School, where training in the specialty “ballet dancer” adopted children, who in the year of receipt is executed, usually 10 years. [He was not adopted, but this means, I think, he was ‘accepted’ into the school where he stayed 10 years, so he might as well have been adopted] He was a ballet dancer [also] in the Karelian musical theater in Petrozavodskm [also, the Kirov and Novosibirsk, where he was Principal]. In 1967, he headed a group choreography at the Leningrad State Theatre “Music Hall” (without choreographer diploma); Gaft in 1970 graduated from the Department of choreography at the Leningrad Conservatory;”” ENJOY!
Ballet Ariel’s world premiere of “Vincent Van Gogh”
Ballet Ariel’s world premiere of ‘Vincent Van Gogh’ opens on Saturday, May 2nd at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 3rd at 2:00 pm at the Lakewood Cultural Center. This dramatic ballet explores the turmoil and tragedy that marked the career of the genius artist Vincent Van Gogh. His unfulfilled love life and passionate follies are danced in a series of emotional duets. The tender and supportive relationship with his brother Theo is thoughtfully portrayed in the ballet. The tension in the ballet builds, while living together with Paul Gaugain in the south of France, he has his first episode of madness and self-mutilation. Choreographed by Ballet Ariel’s Director Ilena Norton, the ballet is danced to beautiful, original music by Israeli composer Irena Scalerica. Also on the program are excerpts from the gorgeous wedding scene in Act 3 of the classical ballet ‘Raymonda’, and the exciting, contemporary latin dance ‘Incantacion’ by former Colorado Ballet principal Gregory Gonzales. Ticket prices for the performance start at $20 and can be purchased at www.Lakewood.org/Tickets, 303-987-7845 or at the Lakewood Cultural Center Box Office, 470 S. Allison Parkway.
Irena Scalerica is a graduate of the Saint-Petersburg Conservatory and has won awards in the John Lennon international composer competition in 2001 and 2003. She has composed music for Vladimir Alenikov’s film the Princess War in 2013, which won 12 international film awards, and for Nariman Turebaev’s film Adventure in 2014. She has written music for three ballets, Van Gogh, Silver Goose, and Kambar Batyr. Her ballets combine classical and contemporary styles to create a complex and emotional expression of the story. This is the first time her ballet Van Gogh has been choreographed and presented by a ballet
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Blog for GoFundMe Donators.
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Arts Education Appeal by Aingeal Packes – GoFundMe.
She has raised a whole $20 and she is very excited it is underway! I know it does not sound like much but any donation is inspiring and considerate and appreciated!
She started her classes this weekend, although we have met with her teachers very often. She and they are very thrilled to begin work. She is a very hard worker and has already obtained a part-time job in the evenings.
Already she is learning that there are very strong difference in the technique and artistic styles and her teachers are very old school. I will leave those wide differences and contrasts to her to explain in her updates to her Appeal. If you should choose to subscribe or to donate, she will keep you posted!
On the other hand, of you donate to this blog (or both), I will put your investment to good use as as well. Currently, I’m planning to begin a ballet school in New York for underprivileged children. They will only pay what they can afford, if anything, for correct ballet training. If anyone is interested in assisting with this, please contact me directly.
As usual, if you want to read up on the Differences of Movement, check out my book on my blog under differencesofmovement.wordpress.com
Thank you and Keep On Dancing!
You have been dancing now for several weeks, after a long break, and you are not happy with yourself yet. Although you have developed better eating habits, hardly have time to eat some days, and even though you are definitely losing weight, and developing muscle, you are not exactly where you would like to be, there is still some fat around your hips and on your legs. A few pounds are gone, hopefully, if you have been sticking to your diet-which you have, and you haven’t! Do not rest for the worst of Winter is yet to come. It is most important to stay healthy. If you had listened to me and drank your lemon and honey teas, you might not have gotten sick! And how can you take your vitamins if you are out of them?? You might even look extremely thin on the upper body and face, but below there are still areas you need to address. They are improving, but you cannot quit working on them. Pretty soon, if you stick with it Be happy!!!!You are w they will be perfect and you can be proud.
You are well on your way to not only succeeding in your dieting plans for life, you are becoming a healthier eater, better and stronger person. One thing I notice is that like smoking, after a break of being really good, and not smoking, or a trauma (like your teacher yelling at you), we run back to our carbs for comfort. Like ice cream, bread, cookies, muffins, candy, anything we have been depriving ourselves of which we think is not really bad for us in small quantities. But after we have sated ourselves, then we feel guilty, or worse, we have started smoking again! It is not the weight, we can lose that again. It is the self-confidence and the discipline, which we have believed ourselves capable of that we undermine. It is important for your psyche in ballet, to believe in yourself, to be disciplined, and that takes training, too! If you discipline yourself to do something or to not do something, you take pride, and then it is not a job, but a purer way of life. A temple for your inner sanctum, where you can go and revel in the fact that you are you, not a cave where you dart and hide, hoarding goodies for when you feel bad or want to let down. Look at those foods that provided a minute’s solace. Did they really? Were they good tasting? Were they healthy? Were they worth it? Think about it.
Think about eating half a la a partridge in a pear tree- A giant vat of spinach, 10-12 medium-sized shrimp, 2 and one-half shiny red bell peppers, 2 and one-half small potatoes, a small plate of popcorn, A large handful of chickpeas, a small handful of raisins, a two-finger wide slice of salmon (maybe one-and-a half finger wide), one-half of a blueberry muffin, and a teaspoon of peanut or other nut butter. These are snack portions of these items-as part of a meal they are roughly the same size (for a dancer), but you can eat other things with them. The potatoes are raw, by the way, and not on your diet at all, yet. Except on cheat days and if every day is a cheat day, you do not get a cheat day! Nag, nag, nag. No, really, you don’t. If you don’t want to listen to me, try this app-it’s free for 7 days-a virtual nutritionist. She can support you in your weight loss endeavors, very nicely, if you don’t cheat, and suggest better food choices, or alternatives that are healthy!
But if you are eating things like this, and they satisfy you, then you already know that 1) your stomach is not that big, and 2) they provide you with energy and other vitamins and minerals you need-that is why they satisfy you. Let them. Learn from them. See what that can do before you tear off a big chunk of crusty bread and chow down. Try eating snack-sized portions of these tempting tasties instead of eating a whole one, a cup or a bowl, or a big plate of food. Try smaller portions, a smaller plate. If necessary, carry your plate around with you and fill it up instead. You know you cannot go over if you use a measure. And don’t say, pile it up. You can make a bigger pile of veggies or protein, slightly. This is a cute write-up of Holiday food portion sizes. Don’t know-take a look!
Gradually, you are building up your stamina so that instead of being exhausted on Thursday,you are exhausted on Friday. You are not only doing some things right, and you must continue your good progress, you are better able to see where your failings are occurring and you may now begin to consider what those are and how to address and change them. One, you are trying to give yourself energy to compete in a very highly demanding profession of dancing. it is a long journey. probably, you are still not giving your body adequate replacement of minerals and electrolytes lost. You may not be drinking enough water. If you are run down and getting sick then you need to work on this but continue to lose weight and build lean muscle. Maybe you have inflammation from dancing the Nutcracker, preparing for competitions or doing an entire season on your tippy toes- here are 10 foods that fight inflammation:
Also water and Turmeric.
Soon, you will face the onset of winter, you will need to heal and get adequate rest especially and as well as Nutcracker and auditions, you will be preparing for competitions (possibly), travel (maybe), and the stress from academic if not ballet exams and the deep deep winter months which will limit your other activity (possibly). You will have to face of and confront the holiday issues. I start by watching Bridgette Jones once and then the second part and then move on to Holiday and other chick flicks, because no where else will you actually see Renee Zellweger being eaten by Alsatians and scraping the mold off of cheese to prepare you for winter and the fact that you will not actually starve or freeze to death, but you may very well catch cold. So let’s consider that while you are on this fabulous plan to have a plan, you do not actually have one yet. let’s look at nutritious Fall and Winter foods and produce and try to find sustenance in pictures and produce departments-not necessarily more meat, but complete proteins are essential. Meat free meals can be less expensive, lower in calories, etc….A complete protein refers to proteins which contain ALL of the amino acids, but nine of them cannot be produced by the body alone, so vegetarians have to go an extra mile to get them without eating meat. These nine are called (not the ring bearers) the essential amino acids, as “it is essential for you to get them.” Meat and eggs are complete, beans and nuts are not. Humans do not need every essential amino acid in every mouthful or at every meal but we do need most of them everyday. Most dieticians believe that plant-based diets can provide enough. Here are some excellent recipes and foods which provide not only vegetarians, but also dancers with tasty food choices and plenty of protein. Try eating one plant-based meal one day per week and see if you notice raised energy (or feeling better levels) if you are a staunch meat-eater and need those amino acids every day. Notice most of these meals provide adequate, though not off the charts amounts of protein and you are looking for a plan that provides roughly 10 grams per meal or 1 gram for every pound of (actual) weight of your body per day. http://greatist.com/health/complete-vegetarian-proteins
A list of healthy go-to dinners is given here-not all of these will follow your diet exactly, but you can use alternative ingredients that you have on hand and they almost all work as a lunch!
Top foods in your diet should include:
Quinoa- (I like it mixed with lentils, a bit of tomato and chicken broth). It’s full of dancer needed vitamins and you can use it in baking, too; buckwheat. is not wheat at all, but in the rhubarb family.
Soba- (i.e noodlers) You can have it in pancakes, or like a cereal as in grits. It is very healthy, has antioxidant properties, may improve circulation and helps control blood glucose levels (helps you burn fat);
Hempseed- (contains significant amounts of all nine amino acids in question) may help to stave off the common cold and boost your immune system. It is also a rare source of essential fatty acids including omega-3s, which can help fight the winter blues. Hemp is popular in baking and cooking recipes;
Chia-add some to your diet or try making chia “gel” which can replace eggs in baking (!), and is delicious as a homemade refrigerator jam with blueberries and agave syrup-look it up. Chia doesn’t have a lot of protein per serving and you cannot or should not over indulge as it contains very high levels of phosphorus (good and bad) but it is the highest source of omega-3s and is full of trace minerals as well as antioxidants. Puddings, smoothies and a few in your favorite fruit beverage or juiced drink won’t hurt. They also look pretty on baked dishes as an accent like wheat germ and absorb liquid very quickly;
Soy- Not for everyone but is absolutely chocked full of protein no matter the type and 1/2 cup remains the typical serving. For protein choose the firmest tofu available.
I am leaving out Quorn as a lot of people are allergic to it-its a bit like a mushroom the way they grow it, and also Cricket Flour (as it is just gross); Rice and Beans, everyone knows about already, but does have a protein content on a par with meat and is very healthy and good to eat;
Ezekial 4:9 bread- and you can make your own! It contains all the amino acids and a lot of vegetarians swear by it. All bread should contain sprouted grains anyway, and trader Joe’s has plenty of those for less money than Whole Foods, though i am not dissing whole foods. They are awfully affordable on their sale goods, dairy and grass fed beef. Ezekial bread has 21 grams of protein and it is already complete so two slices is a serving (at breakfast/lunch).
Wheat gluten- gets demonized by a lot of people these days, but with the obvious exceptions of celiac-sufferers and the gluten intolerant, it’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, I have read that it is not necessarily to avoid gluten IF YOU ARE NOT ALLERGIC TO IT-
First created more than a thousand years ago as a meat substitute for Chinese Buddhist monks, Seitan is made by mixing gluten (the protein in wheat) with herbs and spices, hydrating it with water or stock, and simmering it in broth. But this one’s not complete on it’s own—it needs to be cooked in a soy sauce-rich broth to add gluten’s missing amino acid (lysine) to the chewy, very meat-like final product.
I like stores that make shopping interactive and fun while educating me about good nutrition options (at a fair price) and that is why God made Trader Joe’s. http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/shopping-list.asp He loves their shopping list feature as much as I do and most towns or areas now have one. If you had to, you could eat there entirely and still pay rent and afford coffee. You can send this list along with your shopper, email it, or use it for other things and it prints out, but you can also access it with your phone. Most health food stores have a newsletter and they are usually chock full of interesting information. I include 4:
Fresh Thyme/Sprouts/Henrys (their website also boasts a resource health page and a shopping list!) https://www.sprouts.com/web/guest/deals-of-the-month
Whole foods (too much on their website to list) http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/whole-deal
Balducci’s-it’s not strictly a health food store but the food is ridiculously good and healthy! (primarily a source for recipes and general food info) http://www.balduccis.com/recipes
Chances are you are depleting some of your fat reserves if you have been eating better. You might have an injury of you do not eat properly. What is beginning to happen at this time of year (with everyone) is common and your body is using up its usual reserves of various stores (winter, and yes, we do!) of nutrients. You are not drinking enough water. You are not eating the right things but you are eating a lot of calories, leaving you feeling hungry within hours of eating a big meal again. You are eating late at night and rushing out before having a good breakfast. You take whatever is available for lunches and snacks. You take a vitamin. You are not thinking about food-who has time? Let alone think about it, who has time to prepare it all? It is very important now to reread that first article and take stock of your habits. Cutting out the bad ones now will help you through the winter to the Spring, when people typically want to see the results of dieting and good health, but Winter is not conducive to it. We are not only going to survive Winter, we are going to give our bodies plenty of nutrients all winter long, and enough food!
Follow the clean eating concepts http://atthebarre.net/9-clean-eating-principles-for-a-ballerinas-diet/ which we discussed before to remind yourself that you are not eating processed foods. Without counting calories, this is one of the best methods of learning to eat healthy. Stable and proven, but will not exactly cause weight loss or the creation of lean muscle.
Great Fall and Winter foods (by design) give us the added vitamins and minerals to fight off sickness-some are : Pumpkin seeds (full of zinc); Tuna (helps protect cells from free-radical damage and boosts your immunity); Mushrooms (packed with beta glucans, which help the body fight infection); Sweet potatoes -now that you have lost your weight!-or substitute your weekly jacket potato for one of these (rich in vitamin A, which fights free radicals that could weaken your immune system); Green tea (hot cup of green tea has amazing antioxidant benefits); Greek yogurt -just cannot beat it for probiotic properties (found in yogurt and other naturally fermented foods, help maintain a healthy and strong immune system). And these are just a few that you should include in your Fall and Winter diets regularly to help build a stronger dancer and to enlist their super power strength and immune system building properties.
I have noticed that when a professional dancer is asked about her diet, she states she “eats whatever she wants.” I think this is largely hype, perpetuating the myth that she is just perfect and everyone wants to continue to be like her. Also, it cuts off the dreary conversation of weight control and refocuses on her perfectionism. But partly it’s true. Once you learn to eat right, you are likely not going to have to calorie count again. Eating right and good eating habits become habit, just like anything else. There is also always something they tell us is bad for us, then they come out with conflicting evidence that it is also good for us, hence variety is the spice of life, I think. Variety in diet also provides different sources of nutrients. Dancers who subsist on a diet of anything, are going to pay some price down the road. Also, as there should be some reward, everything in moderation, is a better motto than “I never eat_____,” unless ______is unpalatable to you, there is almost nothing you cannot eat in moderation. That should stop people who think they are going to have to cut out their favorite foods for life. I once had a NY-based voice coach who was an older Austrian man, of small stature and he said in order to watch his figure he dieted during the week, but on Sundays he ate whatever he wanted. I used this approach to maintaining a weight and found it largely successful as long as you did not overeat those things. The point is, food, and the kind you like, is always going to be readily available and believe me, after years of food experience, you do not run out of opportunities to eat. So what is good in foods for the Fall?
Some choices are obvious, but others less so, or less appetizing until you find recipes or have them prepared in ways that are appealing. A book I do like is Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet
Apples- apple picking season is upon us, as are other crops, hugely of value to dancers eating to work hard and stay healthy. They are good innumerable ways (perhaps the most widely reciped of all fruits) this is their season and apples picked now will last you all winter if not mixed among the bad. They are full of vitamin C. They are also full of natural pectin which helps the cardio vascular system. Apples with peanut butter are delicious though not the highest source of protein, they are a healthy snack. Baked, in yogurt, or first thing of the day, they help fight colds.
Pumpkin- is a prime source of vitamin A, which improves your vision, but it is also loaded with phytosterols, which decrease bad cholesterol, and are one of the most obvious beta-carotene (besides carrots), which help protect against free radicals which can lower your immune system. Trending now are hot and cold pumpkin drinks, smoothies and pumpkin smoothies. Stock up now and make your own pumpkin seeds, but it is also as nutritious canned. Explore the wide range of non-dessert uses of pumpkin and its seeds, it’s interesting and informative, as well as potentially delicious. No one has more knowledge of pumpkins than pumpkin growers https://www.google.com/search?q=pumpkin+growers+association&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb
Brussel Sprouts-brussel sprouts are a very good source of iron, which helps your body form red blood cells, and vitamin K, which can improve bone health. The mini cabbages just taste healthy but this would belie the fact that they are chocked full of vitamin C, for your immune system. Moe than one source of vitamin C daily is proven to assist in building immunity in cancer patients. Here are six quick and easy ways to eat Brussels sprouts and you can usually buy the trees at trader Joe’s (et al) right now as they are in season. I have frozen them before. 🙂
Figs-you do not have to eat solely bananas for potassium as figs contain a lot of it and more compact, therefore perfect for dance bags. This is an autumn fruit and anexcellent source of fiber, which helps decrease cholesterol, promote blood sugar control (lose fat), prevents constipation (!), AND keeps you feeling full longer. A win win win win. Figs are also packed with potassium, and that, as dancers know might make you feel a little less sore and exhausted, but did you know that it also helps control your blood pressure. Amazing little purdy fruit.
Cauliflower is getting a lot of positive attention lately as its white color deceives you into thinking it is a brain, but in reality this in-season veggie is just as nutritious as those dark leafy greens! Cauliflower is probably the top source of vitamins C and K, which helps to regulate your inflammatory response.Pay close attention professional dancers with chronic tendonitis! Rich in fiber and folate, which is crucial for any women thinking of conceiving since it helps prevent neural tube defects….in other words, it is one of those vegetable women are WISE to eat. It is one of those tricky little foods that picks up the flavors of those with it, so look no further than the Internet for loads of low fat recipes by which to transcend your previous knowledge and enjoyment of cauliflower. https://www.google.com/search?q=award+winning+cauliflower+recipes&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb
Though some people may forego BEETS, of all the root veggies, and veggies, this one alone is one dancers must find a way to eat. Why???? Weeeel, they contain a phytonutrient called betalains, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beets are also a good source of folate, potassium, and manganese, which helps with calcium absorption and blood clotting. Dancers are hard pressed to find another source so rich in beetness, and dancers need betalains to HEAL. Coupled with some of the other items on this list, they are bound to assist you with possibly even recurring conditions you thought you might have to suffer through life with as a dancer. i will not provide any beet recipes here as it has to be totally your choice, but beets are best uness you can find a Nopal cactus, Beets are it. Somebody knows about this http://betalains.wordpress.com/ and look no further because it is betalains that give beets their color…..
Pear. At this time of year, it might be good to stock up on pears as you will not find them so abundant as now, and to because they contain vitamin C (another source), copper (which may help prevent against certain cancers), and boron, a nutrient that helps the body retain calcium, also good for Winter.
There are many myths about eating. I remember one girl in ballet class who decided she was going to live on popcorn. She ended up in the hospital. She was definitely slightly voluptuous, but she was not eating any nutrition and of course this did NOT help her dancing career and she gained back all the weight she lost anyway. Once she recovered, her family got her professional help. When sugar or carbohydrate intake is not enough to maintain a certain glucose level, the body must turn to its own muscle tissue and skeletal tissue to supply the needed glucose. fat cannot be converted to sugars primarily and we operate on a high level of glucose, especially our brains. No sugar, no you! The body is geared toward survival and once you begin to eat again, even a normal amount of food, the body starts repleting its fat stores, preparing for when you may possibly starve it again. Winter is nothing if not a great testament to the fact that we as humans, must survive, as we see foliage and natural things around us die off, we prevail. As dancing activity depends on glycogen stored in muscles for fuel, not many calories are burned so winter is especially tricky for dancers. Fat is not used for high-intensity workouts because it cannot be broken down fast enough. Most dancers have an abnormally low caloric intake, so they are undernourished, yet overweight and usually feel guilty. Muscle is denser than fat, so inch by inch it does weigh more, or looking at it differently, the smaller, leaner you, may not actually weigh less, so a combination of intake and exercise has to balance to lose weight and to build lean muscle, if weight is a consideration. Some dancers are thin and have no visible muscles. If you gain a few pounds over the winter don’t sweat the small stuff! Your body has tricks for survival and even though you are eating somewhat less, without dancing everyday, you may tend to gain a few pounds which by the Spring will fly away once normal activity is resumed. This might be a perfect time to polish the stationery bicycle or dust the elliptical or get on the treadmill, just to make sure your calories burned equal or are greater than ones consumed. 15-25 minutes per day to start, and building up to 45 by mid-November or December should get you through the winter, and though the temptation may be great, avoid alcohol and traditional holiday dinners, cookies and cakes, but not the preparation or festivities. Drink waters, have a coffee or tea instead of hot cocoa and remember to succomb to your cheat day allowance regularly so that you do not feel cheated.
Calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates must blend together for an optimal and well-balanced diet. Obviously for every individual these amounts of each are going to need to vary and do. There is no amount that is agreed upon by practitioners, actually. Dancers are observed to have fairly large intake of fat. Typically a normal person should consume protein 10-20%, carbs 55-65% and fat 20-30%. But depending on your dance regimen and level of activity that should vary and differ by person slightly or seemingly more than, but remember those guys have faster metabolisms anyway. You do not want to Fall backwards! Some professional dancers in major companies have had reported fat levels of up to 50%, and this is in part due to what some people consider protein-rich foods, including cheese and peanut butter, which is actually very high in fat. Dancers like sweets and they like pasta. Other starvation diets have had proven effects upon the psychology of individuals, resulting in obsessions with food, psychosis, and extra fat storage. It is very important, especially in cold weather not to deprive or starve your body-it will rebel! In all, there is a connection to eating and there are famous experiments proving that the best way to lose weight is not to starve yourself. If a body is deprived of food, it calls upon every physiological and psychological mechanism it has to cause itself to eat and gain weight. DO not feel guilty about not being smarter than your body. Listen to it, instead of fighting it or depriving it. Give it what it needs-food more often if necessary but smaller portions. Drink plenty of water. You might even want to add a glass or two during winter in addition to your 8 glasses per day, that is.
There are several published guidelines for dancers and they affect how you should approach healthy eating habits. They are:
1) Dancers must maintain olympic-like physical condition all the time so there is only one way to approach a dancing life and that is to begin to eat healthily and get used to it. Make it a way of life and engage yourself in it. Enjoy food-buying it, preparing it, and eating it. Make what you enjoy and do not depend on others to adhere to your own personal guidelines. They won’t. Letting others take control only guarantees you are not in control of what or how it is prepared. If it is a child, get them involved in the whole process. It should be a family plan and not a lone wolf plan because that will only leave them feeling deprived and left out. It may also result in other children feeling you are leaving them out or that you care about another child more. Food is fun!
2) Dancer see, dancer do. If one dancer sees a lot of other dancers eating ice cream, or living on one or two items, or eating Nutella or subsisting on peanut butter and they look okay, it is common for them to repeat this for themselves and omit variety and eat a lot of bad things, or things that simply do not provide them with all their nutrients and energy required. It is important to eat what you like, but also to eat a variety of different foods and from different food groups. No one food is going to provide you with what you need and will result in problems later. This is an act of desperation. Don’t follow, lead, or at least use your common sense: How can a diet consisting of only one thing and omitting lots of other types of foods be healthy? Dancers have to be smart!
3) In normal weight loss, the last 5-15 pounds is considered the hardest to lose. This is doubly hard for some dancers because to achieve the perfect ballet body, considerably more than pounds is at stake. It is your career, and despite dancers being underweight or at least not incredibly overweight, they need to lose the pounds and achieve the toned body look to be successful and aesthetically pleasing, whatever that may be for the day. This is very exhausting and stressful mentally and possibly physically.
4) Dancers are in the studio all the time so what time remains, particularly for teenagers, limits the activities for cross-training available or possible. Once you have trained your muscles to dance, is it alright to train them to do anything else, used to be the question, but dancers have proved that other aerobic activity, such as swimming, walking and running, builds stamina, is cardio and sheds weight, as well as strengthening other muscles, preventing injury, not contributing to it, but of course you have to be careful not to “bulk up.” Certain activities would be off-limits for dancers struggling with this problem naturally, but others activities would be fine. The eliptical is a common and available tool to increase energy expenditure without causing any particular stress or bulking up to the body, and it can be done in increments to either lose weight or to warm-up, or to build stamina. Swimming is also a good Winter sport for dancers. I know one dancer who laps in the pool once per week in the Summer and 3 x per week in the Winter. So consider your body type and experience in absorbing this as it matters in your approach.
5) The dancer must always consider her goals and balance what is good for her professionally and what is good for her health, development and future. The two do not always coincide and it is most important in adolescents and young adults not to sacrifice too much for ballet. DO not cut corners with nutrients in Winter. Your health and future health govern the length of your dancing career. It can be shortened by not attending to your overall health. Choices, choices, choices. Stay warm.
Consider body builders for a moment. Though the connection between dancers and bodybuilders is not hugely noticeable it is in certain regards and the study of it has led many researchers in sports nutrition to divide types of desired looks in sports by types of exercise, and while it is know that ballet benefits athletes, bodybuilders set out to achieve a certain look the same way dancers do and their short spurts of exercise also develop lean muscle, though their intention is usually to bulk up a little, some are very slim and attractive. What do they do differently? Well, it starts with nutrition.
The entire article detailing these meal plans for one week can be followed below, but keep in mind this plan is based on the consumption of calories consumed per day of about 13-15 per pound of weight. S0, if you seek to lose weight and not bulk up, then you would want your food intake to be slightly different, and of course containing fewer calories, but if you activity level is very high, you might want to eat more food, so that you don’t lose weight.
They feel that the 15 best lean-muscle building foods are:
1) Beef (from grass-fed cattle)-it contains high levels of protein, cholesterol, zinc, b vitamins and iron. Also, beef from grass-fed cattle contains much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventionally raised beef, which gives you a boost in shedding body fat and building lean muscle. You are what they eat…..
2) Beets- contain a source of betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, and is a nutrient that enhances liver and joint repair, especially important for dancers, and also has been shown in research to increase strength and power. Dancers need those. They may enhance energy and aid recovery.
3) Brown rice-slowly digests and is a whole grain, giving you longer-lasting energy throughout the day and during actual workouts. It helps to increase your GH (growth hormone) levels, which are critical for encouraging lean muscle growth, fat loss and in gaining strength.
4) Oranges- eaten before a workout can boost lean muscle growth, strength and endurance.
5) Canteloupe- has a low fructose content and is one of the fruits that converts quickly meaning it is good to have in the morning and is one of the good fruits to eat after a workout.
6) Cottage Cheese (organic)-is rich in casein protein, an immediate protein source, and is especially good before bed. Casein protein is exceptionally slow digesting which means it prevents your muscles from being used as energy while you sleep.
7) Eggs- Known as the perfect protein, but their good for other reasons, including the yolks, where there is cholesterol. Egg cholesterol id proved to create lean muscle and decreases the bad cholesterol (LDL) particles associated with atherosclerosis.
8) Milk (organic)- ocntains about 70% more omega-3 fatty acids than normal milk and is rich in both casein protein and whey protein, as well as the amino acid glutamine.
9) Quinoa-besides being a complete protein and a slow digesting carb (like brown rice), it has been linked with (IGF-1), and insulin-like growth factor, associated with lean muscle and strength gain.
10) Wonka Pixy Stix- yes, contains dextrose, which requires no digestion, going straight to the bloodstream after a workout, for the fasted possible recovery, getting the carbs straight to your muscles.
11) Spinach-of course, you remember Pop-eye. Well, it is both a good source of glutamine, the amino acid responsible for lean muscle growth, and spinach can also assist muscle strength and endurance.
12) Apples-An apple contains Polyphenols which helps to increase muscle strength and prevent fatigue, allowing you to train harder and longer. They have fat-burning qualities as well and they are a good pre-workout carb source.
15) Wheat Germ-that old standby is still a top source of zinc, iron, selenium, potassium, B vitamins, is high in fiber and protein and also has a goodly amount of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) arginine and glutamine. It is not only a great source of slow-digesting carbs but is also a good quality protein that is great before workouts.
A Guide to Eating for Lean Muscle for one-week. Other plans can be purchased at the link below or spliced together from accumulated sources.
It states: “The following plan is designed for a woman weighing 140 pounds. When trying to gain lean muscle during a rigorous exercise program, a good rule of thumb is to shoot for an intake of about 13-15 calories per pound of bodyweight. So for a 110-pound woman, total daily calories would be between 1,430 to 1,650; for a 150-pound woman, about 1,950 to 2,250.” It notes additional supplements suggested for workout days.
|Serving Size 1/2 cup (110g)
Servings Per Container 4
|Amount Per Serving|
|Total Fat 2g||3%|
|Saturated Fat 1.5g||8%|
|Trans Fat 0g|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
2 tbsp (Mix salsa in cottage cheese if you want)
1/2 cup (Mix wheat germ in whey shake)
1/2 cup (Mix wheat germ in whey shake)
Note: Cheat Day for dancers is Sunday or ONE DAY and not two and the recipes are provided below-
Frittata A Recipe PDF (12 KB)
Stir-fry B Recipe PDF (54 KB)
Spaghetti and Meatballs C Recipe PDF (12 KB)
Breakfast Sandwich D Recipe PDF (12 KB)
My feelings about this meal plan is that it is too high in protein and calories for most dancers working from a significantly smaller frame. But it contains a lot of foods and gives examples of healthy ones which help to develop lean muscle, build strength, provide energy and reduce fatigue and aid in recovery. A lot of small meals is also ideal for dancers because of their class length and activity level, and of course they need many of the same slow-working carbs and protein, but not in necessarily such great amounts or number of servings per day. Much smaller, and somewhat servings and nothing after 6:30 would probably do the trick. But there are tremendous differences between a bodybuilder and a female dancer visually at least. She would not want to bulk up this way and as you can see by the type and number of proteins and powders, average weight speculated upon, that is what it takes to create and maintain a powerful looking frame. The minute this diet changes at all, so does the composition, these results begin to fade and muscle loss increases and bulk decreases, so you remember how people look when they deflate from bodybuilding. That’s the general idea here, too and as we stated a dancer trains everyday and needs a diet that can be flexible enough for time off, but also increased for heavy performance periods and longer workouts. And they don’t mention it here, but a lot of yogurt and cottage cheese makes you fat! These are all extremely healthy food choices for dancers, though and for the same reasons (nearly).