Tag Archives: London

Language of dance speaks at London’s Russian Institute | Russia Beyond The Headlines

Language of dance speaks at London’s Russian Institute | Russia Beyond The Headlines.

Looking For the Perfect Ballet Summer Intensive? A Visual Viewfinder for you….

new Date().getTime(),event:’gtm.js’});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],

pinterest interest: summer intensives…….

Here is my profile

My new favorite pin appears in the right sidebar of the homepage….click on that image in future for updates information on Summer Intensives. Thank you.


For the next bit of time, I will respond to many readers interests by comparing and contrasting unique, trendy, off-the-beaten path, professional and learned (as well as the visually stimulating) summer intensives that might otherwise be forgotten in the dancers mad rush to prepare portfolios, pictures, resumes and now dvds for the usual Summer Intensives. VISUALLY.

Where do I go??? (Should be one of the considerations for any dancer professional or not) And spend the least amount of money for the most improvement, fun and holiday? Dance can be fun. Should be. Must be.

Too often, it is the triad of schools for the American dancer (SAB, ABT, SFB). Internationally, but not international, we think of Paris, Kirov, Bolshoi, Royal, NYCB, which are not just a destination, but are also most frequently observed as a method of teaching by those in the know. There are other pathways-perhaps more realistic, less expensive and as good-maybe better. Well, let me say, unless you have merited a full scholarship to one of the above institutions, this might be useful for YOU! Even if you have….

Before posting, I have tried to make them affordable, doable, and possible for the serious, well-trained dancer who has professional aspirations and maybe a few flaws (which you of course ARE WORKING ON). They are programs ANY professional dancer would attend (and DO!). I will also try to address the budget worthy, stressing emphasis on technique, performance, classes, and environment-cultural photos are gratis because you will not have very much time anyway, but it is is nice to smell the roses, so to speak, when you do wander.

No one ever talks about what they do at these programs-it is all part of getting your dollar-they all try to keep that a secret, but a lot of the smaller or out-of-the-way programs make very significant attempts at having you WANT to return. They want you to enjoy yourself, relax, and take in the sights. They want to enrich you (makes you and your dancing better!) as well as help your dancing. These are all rather straightforward curriculums and programs with absolutely NO hidden agendas, propaganda, and all of these are well-intentioned programs, revered, and staffed with fine teachers. They do not just take your money! Well, they do, but they do it with panache. Many of them are looking for serious dancers and not poorly trained ones, others are willing to coach privately those who might be looking for a little bit more. Some move around….They are all interesting!

Besides, Summer Programs might also be an excellent way to EXPAND even for the most serious of academic dancers and at any rate I have provided those with a more worldly view to ballet……and timely! None of these are mills.

Read More….https://mysylph.com/2013/01/24/the-summer-intensive-ballet-scholarship-quest-2013/


Swan Lake

Swan Lake.   reblogged from “Dance is the Word”

A Little Poetry Can go a Long Way, and so can an awesome ballet class!

to INSPIRE you.

Sometimes I feel exhausted, so tired and alone,

as if what I am reaching for is nebulous.

Sometimes the fear that I will be unable to do what I do

in my dreams, will suffocate me.

Sometimes I whine, the pain, the futility of repeatedly trying and failing,

is not resulting in the object of my desire.

But being alone, tired, sore, injured, blindly striving, monotony and repetition, even nightmares-all

feel good after a perfect ballet class! Truthfully, it is alone that I reach for the stars, muscling my body for Mars, to the music I sweep,

across the stage so wide, just hoping for my chance to be alive!


This is not how I imagine Boadicea in my mind. It has always been me. Hair flying, sword in one hand, daughters cupped protectively under one breast. In the other hand, my rein, of the horse driven chariot. I ride triumphant. I ride alone. I ride, despite turmoil, war, poverty, hypocrisy and against all odds. Odds are important. Surmounting them builds character. Inspiration comes in many forms and from invariable and sometimes unlikely places. I have never gotten anything for free and have never valued or kept anything I did not have to fight for. If I didn’t have to fight for it, then I just did not think it worthy of my time or effort. This includes e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

I first read about her in a book entitled Sarum. Then I hunted out Warrior Queens. Since then, I have read every bit of drivel about women pirates, leaders, queens, and concubines, and I always did have a serious fascination with fairy tales, especially Russian and Chinese, mythology, and Shakespeare. Which are surprisingly full of heroines-not weak. I was good at finding obscure books, like Woman in White and The Cloister and the Hearth. I studied Chinese language, a dream of mine, probably stemming from those fairy tales, and of course, ballet. Once I discovered the Russian fairy tales linked in ballet, I was hooked. My childhood was linked with my future (I thought then, I know now).

But of all those lusty heroines, Boadicea was my queen. She, for personal reasons, replaced the saint in my saintless life, and my religion has always been to conquer in the face of death, my goals. Was I to think that my passion for my children, would be any less flaming than my own desire to go where no woman has ever gone before? I did, in a way, do that. For the music business in the early 1990’s was not populated by even one successful female. No woman ever had had a record company I believe, even if my own was born out of management, and creative marketing of unsigned bands, I did it with no less flamboyancy than the best. It was difficult. Being a mother of a young son, at the same time, made it inadvisable, and being in England, alone, with a band, and no money, made it seemingly impossible.

Without thinking twice, I found a way to take 17 cassette tapes, $100 per week, and my will, and turned them into a flat on Baker Street, a son in  London public school, 10,000+ cds, and 2,500 press outlets, radio stations and distributors. In the stores in less than 3 months. I started in November. Published date was March 1st. We did a live radio interview on WNEW in the middle of the night in February, cds in hand. What motivated me, was that struggle-not power, but passion. I knew then, what I know now, that if it had been me I was promoting, I would have been competition for Madonna. But, it is also what you promote. My feeling is that if it is a product-it has to be virtuous, pure and , marketable. If it is a charity, then it has to be above reproach and fastidious in its lineage and heirs. If it is a person or a band, then it has to be loyal and true, built of the same mettle as me (at least) and it has to be ready to work. Above all is the immovable line of resolve, no wavering at the finish line.

In art the contract is everything. A bad contract is a very bad deal indeed. In ballet, there is practically no refuge for the artist. They get what they get. Artists are unfortunately not taught business and most of them only begin to learn when they are recovering (if they do) from being stepped on. I have learned more from my mistakes than my successes. But, there is a strange similarity between a baby and a business. You become attached. No matter whether you know your business isn’t perfect, you love it, you have created it, you hold onto it, until you just have to let it go. It is a part of you. You can feel this way after 2 years in a business, even 1 year. After 18 years, the roots are no different than the tree.

So, Boadicea, with her raped daughters, her outrage, her unconquerable spirit, her ability to rally her people, her martyr-like death, have always seemed to me to perfectly triangulate the ohm in my mantra. Ohmmmm. Ohmmmm. Nothing else makes perfect sense but life and death, and protection of your creation, whatever it is. It starts out very benignly, like a ballet class, or a little drawing of a Pagoda, or jumping around on the couches, perhaps, twanging a guitar, but after it evolves to become part of you, and you have nurtured it, sewn it, and aggregated it, daily, weekly, monthly, and each year, it becomes intrinsic to you. It is you. I believe that is what defines most dancers, musicians, artists, etc., it is that what they do defines them, enables them to communicate in another language, to a central part of their own spirit, which reaches out to other like spirits, as an energy, more than a thing. When I look back at my drawings, I do not see the lines, or the brush strokes. At first I feel a rushing, like wind, as part of my own energy calls to me, remembering that moment, that part of my own spirit and feelings (of the moment) that that artwork contains. Only after that rush has subsided can I look at the work or enjoy it. First-we recognize each other.

Of course there is a sense of pride, that when you look back at a thing, 30 years later, it still remembers you, and you it. But, there is also, that feeling that I did that, and it still lives and breathes my feelings of that moment, it communicates, still. Although ballet is literally a moment, it is the same, and a piece of music, once created, is a thing always enjoyed. This passion stems from the selfsame place as Boadicea’s, although hers is a bonfire, where mine might be a flame, they are both of the same elemental importance. As parents, we nurture our young, and pass on even these sorts of feelings, the same way we might pass on technique, a combination, or a story. We look to our young and most often I find, rather than one little thing like a grade, I am trying to pass on that fiery passion for learning, for life and for survival, that must be present in an artist and a warrior.

I am happy to say that each one of my children, in his/her own way, possess that spirit, entrepreneurial or not. But I feel that if they eventually catch fire, then I have succeeded. When I think of Boadicea now, I think of my daughter, and my sons, alternately in the chariot, with their children cupped under one breast, a sword in one hand, the reins in the other, hair flying.

Several Starts and Stops

Paris is luxe. London is Continental (and English speaking). Germany is FREE. Russia is difficult. New York is….well, New York. So many cities have so many dance offerings, it is truly thought consuming to go over all of the pros and cons of applying to or travelling to any of them. Sometimes it is just easier to stay at home while everyone else goes to summer programs. Yes. It is that time again. I am greatly overwhelmed, not just with the choices and options, prices and amenities, teachers and classes, but with the basic idea of sending my daughter away for any length of time to a place that by most measures of criteria can still be termed a very expensive summer camp.

If your child, like mine, located your passport and carried it around like a toy for the second year of her life onward, only wanted bags and purses from Toys r Us, and then decided she liked to mix with old friends two towns away instead of blending in to her new surroundings, only buys dancewear and shuns anything not dance related (even school), and whose cell phone is permanently attached to her hand-you may have the same problem I do. She is a dancer who has no problem leaving home and not looking back. I guess they all call when they have a problem, but are they old enough-not just to go away to a program, but to make decisions about what they want to do with the rest of their lives, without the benefit of our own experiences?

Sadly, going away is not my daughter’s problem. The problem is whether these experiences are worth the several thousand dollar investment each year in the long run. Would it not be better to encourage them to stay at home, avail themselves of the less busy instructors for additional privates, enjoy some home time and friend time, possibly start their monthly period, gain some weight and catch up on their favorite television shows and read some books, maybe even finish or get ahead in their high school work? A ninth grader should have some normal activities when the year has been spent dancing in at least two productions, classes everyday, privates and other dance-related classes, music, yoga, pilates, the physical therapist or whatever, and texting real people instead of being in a gang of girls going to the movies and the beach.

Also, does your child really benefit from these brief workshops where they are usually so crowded that even the teachers have trouble remembering anyone’s name but the very best? Are they really worth the effort and expense to find out at the end, if your child has been one of the lucky few to receive additional notice or an invite to stay on through the year? Would you allow your young daughter to stay? Can you afford it if she/he is asked? If not, can you or your child deal with the disappointment of being asked, but not being able to afford the tuition? Well, a couple of years ago, we were in just that position with the Joffrey and besides the fact that she was just not ready, we could not addord even the balance of tuition and room and board after the ample scholarship.

The next year they changed directors, she could not afford to go at all, but if she had gone, would she even have been asked? Such is life. But, I firmly believe that it was the best possible turnout for her as the instruction she has received here in the interim has been of very high caliber, in most cases nearly the best. She has been working on turnout, her stretching, epaulment, character, variations, dancing and is in the Nutcracker. Even though there are certainly issues at her studio, they are typical ones, like the allocation of parts to students who pay for each one they dance, or preference is given to children who have attended there for many years, or the costumes for the Nutcracker are secretly changed so that certain children whose mothers work in the costume fitting area will have them for their children. But we can deal with these things because the instruction is amazing. If only all of those children and parents who display these tendencies availed themselves of what is truly important, and there really was a spirit of family and comaraderie it would be a perfect world. You can’t have everything.

There is also the fact that my daughter has her own issues to overcome and she is being made aware of what they are through a not so pleasant but necessary process which would not be available if she were in a A level school-she would just be sent home, probably with little explanation and a poor opinion of herself. In this environment, she is being given the option to change, to better herself, to get better and better. No, she is not without potential, she is not lazy, but she is afraid to split herself in half. She is also weary of the endless (seemingly) stretching that (seems to) result(s) in little improvement, which  the minute she looks away. What she actually is is YOUNG, naive with a tendency to work very hard, but not always work smart.

What really can happen to a child when you prod them so much, and there is so much pressure to compete, but they have a choice, is that they often choose not to do something they basically love, because they begin to associate negative feelings with that activity rather than positive ones. Of course, as serious dance students, they waver between a normal social life and activities, even career choices, desires and may have a tendency to favor a fantasy life rather than a real life, but these are still normal swings and growth. What is tragic is if they begin to depend on dance as a life choice, while eschewing other possibilities, fearing that failure in dance will mean a life without any other choices. Parents have a great responsibility to these children to release them from liability if all does not go as planned and to teach them to love themselves not as dancers, but as talented people who have goals and see what not just their bodies, but they can do! One short goal at a time helps them to see they can accomplish anything they set their minds to, not just in the dance arena. Sometimes setbacks help us as parents to have that opportunity to teach our children (and ourselves) that you can make dinner out of almost anything in the cupboard if you only think creatively.

All parents of dancers struggle to juggle a heavy load, but think of what your children are accomplishing, even if they are not top of their class, fall somewhere in the middle, or even have trouble keeping up. All children have personal challenges, especially at this age. You may not see them in the studio but they are there. I remind my daughter of what she has accomplished since last year, not even a year, and she then sees her own improvement. Her long term goals have moved a step closer by her own logic, her own means, her hard work. It is not the dissemination of particular parts, but rather her own improvementrt she has to learn to appreciate and value, in short, herself. I can work to keep her focused on certain things, important things, and her teachers help. But it is up to her to do the work and to realize it is the ultimate reward. Nothing can touch, for some of us, the freedom and the beauty that comes in opening up and dancing, but to find that place where nothing else matters, is sometimes a challenge in this worried world.

I can decide to pay or not to pay, sometimes I cannot pay. Sometimes I cannot pay enough which means she really has to do what she can do within her means to improve herself. If she is told what to do, and she cannot find time to do it, then she is being inconsistent. Privates have little benefit at that point, for it is in the studio where she will find herself or not. And I have told her that consistency works wonders on the little goals-one step at a time. If she does not see immediate improvement, then she is not giving herself a chance to. That’s all. But such is the stress that accumulates when dancers try to do so much in so short a period of time. It’s funny, but you don’t look at them on stage and think they are a wheel on fire….They have to be reminded to slow down and to enjoy what they love or lose it. Performing becomes the heart and soul of their lives without their even knowing or expecting it, the parts the bonbons, the acceptances the reward, and the passion and reason for dancing, for working are sometimes lost forever, partlicularly at this age, where so much seems to be at stake. They cannot help thinking they are behind or not good enough if we let them fester. We are there to guide them, or steer them, into enjoyable learning experiences, and to remind them that nothing worthwhile is won without hard work, not just dance, but in any other aspect of their lives. Not all of that hard work pays off immediately, but it all pays off in the long run.

If they can take that committment into life with them, into their other activities or schoolwork, then it has not been a waste of time. Who knows what they can accomplish. We do not realize what we really buy with that tuition, those leotards or pointe shoes, but it does not have to be lost because one part is, one year, any year, all years. The summer camp might just be an extension of these lessons, proving to our children that what they bring home is just a slightly more enlightened version of what they brought with them in the first place, and that learning takes place all the time, not just the summertime. I do think think that they are worth applying for, auditions are important, and acceptances are, without a doubt, a confiormation of something, though we will probably never know what exactly. But, I also think that each school is looking for children who fit a very specific set of criteria oftentimes difficult to judge from one audition-whoever heard of all of the summer intensive students accepted, being asked to stay all year? If their judging skills were consummate then this would be the case, and using the same sort of logic, you can rest assured that if your child had been selected, and had the chance to prove him or herself-they probably would have been chosen to stay ;). Sometimes the thinking is better than the doing!