Friday, August 19, 2016

Vacation plans and Earthquake proofing!

First of all, if you are a student of mine who is not on my email list, you might not realize I'm on vacation from August 22-27. That means there are no classes during that week.

My first class back is at Inspire Dance Studio on Monday, August 29, 6:30PM Intermediate ballet.

Classes at Dance Arts Academy begin Tuesday, August 30, 6:30PM Advanced beginner ballet.

Now on to my technique advice: Earthquake proofing your body!

People who live Southern California are always aware there could be an earthquake at some point. If you own your own home, you might even do what is called "bolting" which means your house is literally bolted into its foundation so it can withstand the shakes of an earthquake.

Not like this!
San Francisco after Lomo Prieta quake (Wikipedia)
 I like to imagine I do the same thing with my hips. I think of the femur fitting into the acetabulum of the pelvis and "bolting" it in place. I can do this with the very small, deep external rotators under the meaty glutes.

These external rotators will stabilize my pelvis so my extensions are more solid, my retire is flatter, and I can balance longer.

Many dancers, when they feel the earthquake, try to stabilize themselves with their hip flexors or thighs and then they end up gripping and turning in. This is the exact opposite effect you want and works against your technique. It also contributes to lower back problems, weak battu in allegro work, and shaky promenades.

Here is an image from Wikipedia that shows the deep external (lateral) rotator muscles of the hip. If you can access these, strengthen them, and bolt yourself in place, you will find stability and confidence whenever you step away from the barre.

Friday, August 12, 2016

A weekend consumed by Zombies!

(see what I did there?)

This past weekend was the ScareLA Horror Convention in Pasadena, CA at the convention center. Two awesome days of fun and thrills and a few scares. I am so proud of my dancers who performed my zombie ballet not once but 8 times! They performed six times in what was sort of like a flash mob arena and the other 2 times on a stage.

Here are a few photos of them getting made up by the pros at EI Makeup (a school for makeup artists):

And they were minor celebrities too! I would say "major" except we have to reserve that for Elvira who was the convention's star. Wherever we walked, they were stared at, oohed and ahhed over, and sooo many people begged to have their pictures taken with them (including me!). Here are a few:

These are just a handful - there were so many! Old and young, they all wanted their pictures taken with the zombie ballerinas.

Besides the makeup, the costumes were just phenomenal. And that is due in large part to the work of Jen Marchain, who was instrumental in getting us into this convention. She's a big-time zombie addict/Walking Dead fan who even flew to San Francisco once to participate as a zombie in an episode of Mythbusters! She either instructed the dancers on how to make the costumes or she zombiefied them herself. Here are a few close-ups:

 Of course, I had to have one myself! Here I am with classical zombies and scary zombies:

Happy zombie dancing!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Performance times for Zombie Ballet at the ScareLA convention

Planning to come to the ScareLA Horror Convention? Then make sure you "carve" out some time to check out my Zombie Ballet!

And don't forget to use the discount code, scareshow, to get 10% off your ticket to the convention.

Saturday, August 6

1:45pm Slider Stage 
2:45pm Main Stage (Before Trend Setters of Horror)
4:00pm Slider Stage
5:30pm Slider Stage

Sunday, August 7

1:45pm Slider Stage
2:40pm Main Stage (Before Universal Panel)
4:00pm Slider Stage
5:30pm Slider Stage


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Saturday Pointe Class REBOOT!

A number of my students have requested pointe class again and I'm very excited to bring it back on Saturdays 11:30AM-12:30PM at Inspire Dance Studio in La Canada. Because I have a number of students who are new to pointe, I'm going to structure it like this:

First half-hour at barre - technique:
 - exercises for articulation of feet and toes
 - exercises to strengthen ankles and calves
 - balancing en pointe
 - glissades and sousous, pique sousous (eventually echappe and soutenu)
Second half-hour in center - technique:
 - walking, running, glissades
 - tendus and degages (eventually echappes)
 - port de bras with developpe
 - traveling steps: waltz, balance, etc.
 - bourree and soutenu, easy turns

Occasional center combinations - phrases from variations
Some of my pointe students' feet!
The majority of the barre exercises will be the same from week to week to maximize time and measure progress. Center will vary and will not always include the same elements.

For beginners, the class is structured so that shoes can be taken off after barre (or after walking/tendu practice) and the rest of the class can be completed flat while still working on technique applicable to pointe. As beginners progress, they can eventually perform exercises like bourree and waltz first at the barre and then in the center as they build strength.

More experienced dancers can perform the entire class en pointe.

The class will begin on Saturday August 6. As with my other technique classes, pointe will be drop-in; you won't need to sign up in advance nor are you required to take it every week. For those dancers completely new to pointe, I ask that you not purchase shoes yet but take a class (or 3!) flat until we are confident you have the strength in your core and ankles to hold you properly. When you are, this article about fitting pointe shoes from physiotherapist Lisa Howell is an excellent resource. 
If you have any questions, please ask! Happy dancing~

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Halloween in Summer! ScareLA Horror Convention

Hi everyone! Still wondering if you should attend the ScareLA horror convention this August 6-7?

Check out this short promo and maybe it will help you decide!

Buying tickets? Use promo code scareshow and get 20% off~