Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Evening with Anne Polajenko: "Great Ballerinas Do Not Make Themselves"


There is a saying that goes “ behind every great man is a great woman.” The exact reverse can be said about ballerinas: “behind every great ballerina is a great man.”
Sorry girls, but this is the simple truth. Ballet history is peppered with examples of  women made great by their teachers and choreographers. And, mostly these are men.

A great dancer does not make herself. She has a lot of help along the way, starting with an early teacher who saw a potential and culminating in a coach or choreographer who gave her the material to propel her to stardom.

Take the example of Maria Taglioni, Romantic ballerina “par excellence”. Not only was her father her teacher, he also developed the first pointe shoe exclusively for his daughter.
Carlotta Grisi (the first “Giselle”) owed her brilliant career to her romantic relationship with choreographer Jules Perrot.

Then, there was the army of Italian ballerinas at the end of the 19th century who owed their careers to their teacher, Enrico Chechetti, and the great choreographer Marius Petipa who provided them with extraordinary ballets in which they could show their equally extraordinary technique.

In more recent times, a number of ballerinas come to mind. In all cases, someone had to give them the chance. Someone had to believe in their particular talent enough to merit plucking them from the ranks and nurturing them forward. This, in itself, is quite a talent. Would we have had the brilliant Brazilian ballerina Marcia Haydee without John Cranko spotting her in the corps de ballet? Janie Parker (first American ballerina to win the Gold Medal at the 1982 International Ballet Competition) without her mentor, Ben Stevenson? And what of Maria Tallchief, Allegra Kent, Melissa Hayden, Patricia McBride and the more recent Suzanne Farrell and Gelsey Kirkland? Unbelievably, all these extraordinary artists were “made” by a single person, George Balanchine.

Janie Parker’s evolution stands out for me because I happened to have been there when the fifteen – year - old first joined the company I was dancing with. It was obvious from the get-go this child was unusual. But, it would take a Ben Stevenson (Houston Ballet) to harness this talent and direct it to stardom. The journey was a marvel to witness. I sometimes wonder what turn Janie’s career might have taken had she never met Stevenson?

Has the male dominance of ballet receded with time? Hardly. Take a good look around you and name current women who have the wherewithal to “make” a ballerina. George Balanchine was fond of saying ballet was a woman’s world. He didn’t add that it is run by men.

     --- Anne Polajenko

      Love from your humble blogger,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Anne Polajenko Unplugged: "Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks"


"Have A Heart" by micromeg
         There’s nothing like your kids, or better yet your grand-kids, to keep you on your toes.
The staggeringly rapid developments in Internet communication leave me breathless. It seems as soon as I master one thing, it has been replaced by another. Thankfully I have a grandchild who very patiently walks me through it or I would throw up my hands in despair.

         For example, texting is a very fine feature added to our cell phones. If only “texters” did not communicate in some strange, abbreviated language, that is! You see, I belong to the generation that thought LOL meant “lots of love”. My granddaughter got such a hoot out of that, she made me a texting dictionary. This old dog will not be left behind!

          This led me to wonder what ballet language would look like in text messaging. Imagine a girl who has missed rehearsal and needs to find out what choreography was added. The answer could look something like this:

2pdc(r), 1pdb(left),2ch. Repeat os.

  Got it?

          I don’t think we are quite at that point yet but I would not be surprised to see it in the near future. Of course, someone would have to devise how to also state arms, directions and musical counts! But I leave that to the computer geniuses who, no doubt, will figure out a complete new language for us to master.

 Meanwhile, here is my contribution:

pdc = pas de chat
r = right
l = left
pdb = pas de bourré
ch  = changement
os = other side

     ---- Anne Polajenko

      Here's a picture of the conclusion of our So Danca Conference, 
       There are benefits to working at So Danca, the familial relationship throughout the workplace is one of those, needless to say our So Danca family dinners are always a great time. 

    Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, 

                          Love from your humble blogger, 

PS: going off of Anne's article, this is my favorite emoticon <(^-^<) <(^-^)> (>^-^)>

Friday, June 24, 2011

So Danca Conference 2011

           We are currently having our annual So Danca conference. This is where the whole So Danca team comes together to discuss new lines that are coming out, discuss all the plans for 2012 and so on.
          The conference has proven to be quiet astounding this year, with our new line looking fantastic and plenty of new arrivals to quench any craving you might have.
          Keep an eye out for all the latest So Danca news here on this blog, we will be making some pretty amazing announcements in the coming months, so be sure to check in ^_^
           We're about to start session two now, and I'm sure it'll prove to be equally as amazing as session one was. Keep your hats on, this year is going to be a ride.
        Hope you all had a fantastic week and that your weekend proves to be equally amazing,

     Love from your humble blogger,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An Evening With Anne Polajenko: "Pre-Arch"

Pre arched Pointe shoes:

What is a pre-arched shoe?
These shoes are a fairly recent development in the construction of Pointe shoes. The pre-arch refers to the type of leather shank which in this case is specially made to be very flexible and conform to the dancer's arch. Once it has taken its shape, the "memory" arch remains the same.
One advantage of a pre-arched shoe is that it breaks in more easily which makes it a good shoe for the stage.
So'Dança makes a variety of styles in pre-arched shoes. These include styles for each type of foot: Greek (with a longer second toe), Egyptian (toes slanting diagonally) and Square. There are style with "U" shaped vamps as well as the very popular new "V" shape vamp.

       --- Anne Polajenko

     Hope everyone's week is going well,

     Love from your humble blogger,

Monday, June 20, 2011

Anne Polajenko presents: "Food For Thought"

Love Coffee by Swdfish


I do not want dancers who want to dance, I want dancers who have to dance 
                                                                                              George Balanchine

”Ballet class is like Life Lessons 101. You learn some of life's most important lessons here that you will carry with you forever.”
                                                                                               Joanne H. Morscher

 “Ballet is a dance executed by the human soul.”
                                                                                                 Alexander Pushkin

“Dancers are the athletes of God.”
                                                             Albert Einstein-

“When I miss class for one day, I know it. When I miss class for two days, my teacher knows it. When I miss class for three days, the audience knows it.”
                                                                                                      Rudolf Nureyev-

“Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff of which it is made.”

                                                                                                         Ted Shawn-

“He who cannot dance puts the blame on the floor”

                                                                                                           Hindu proverb-

“ Dance is the interpretation of music through the body.”


       --- Compiled by Anne Polajenko

       And here we are again, another Monday bidding us welcome into a new week. I wish you all a fantastic week and hope that your weekends were fantastic ^_^

    Love from your humble blogger,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Harry Potter Fans Rejoice!

     The latest Harry Potter movie will be coming out in a few weeks and fan are expecting to be blown away by it's brilliance. The many previews for the movie are all inspiring and even youtube artists have taken a liking to making video montages prepping us all for this movie's release.

    Latest preview:

      There is a sad aspect about this whole thing though, it is the fact that with this last Harry Potter movie coming out, this will be the last chance we will have to have Harry content. Meaning, this will be the last movie in the series, and so fans of the series have come together in hopes for something to occur, something to give them hope that the series will continue, or that some miracle will happen and they will be able to hang out in the Harry Potter Universe for a bit longer.
      Well Potter fans rejoice! Something is in the works, nothing is clear yet, there aren't any news on what will be shared, but in 5 days J. K. Rowling will be making an announcement about the future of the Potter series. The site is if you click on the owls it will send you to a youtube video link with a countdown to the broadcast. I recommend you keep a look out for this, looks like it's going to be good.
      Though many rumors are circulating right now there are no definite answers to what the broadcast will be about yet, though Rowling has not disappointed yet, and thus the internet community is in an uproar with anticipation.
       Be sure to watch the new movie on July 15th, it's sure to be a fantastic close to a magical series.

     Love from your humble blogger,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Evening With Anne Polajenko: "To Quit of Not to Quit?"


Recently, a student asked me if, at any time during my dancing days, I was ever tempted to just throw in the towel and quit. Since my students know how committed I am to what I do, I guess my answer shocked them. I laughed.

“Sure,” I chuckled, “several times.”  The truth is every professional dancer goes through periods of self-doubt, disappointment or just sheer mental and physical exhaustion. The temptation to quit can be quite overpowering at times, especially when the grass looks so much greener on the other side! Imagine a life with a schedule like “normal” people, week-ends to sleep in, holidays like everyone else, no dieting, no daily class, no shin splints, no grinding discipline and, above all, no Pointe shoe sewing. Heaven!

Well, almost.

When you have reached a certain level, dancing is not something you put on and take off like a pretty dress nor is it a hobby you can take or leave at will. It is a commitment, a lifestyle, a vocation. It is in you. When you leave it, after a while you begin to notice that it is still there and shows itself in different ways. Your body misses the daily class you so hated, your soul misses the camaraderie of fellow dancers, your brain begins replaying choreography you loved to dance. Life may be easier in some ways but less stimulating in others. Now you find yourself wishing you had thought your decision through a little better.

Quitting before your time takes some serious thought whether you are professional or a student. It should not be an impulsive decision because it is almost impossible to come back. Seeking advice is always a good idea but beware of (not so) well-meaning colleagues or even directors. In my case, I turned to family members who could give me a more objective perspective.

It is perfectly OK to question why you are dancing. If nothing else, it makes us re-assess our progress, our ability to balance demanding schedules with everyday life and our overall commitment to what we do. 

           ----Anne Polajenko


    Hope you are all having a great week, 

                        Love from your humble blogger,

Monday, June 13, 2011

If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?

   As this week begins I encourage you to undertake making good decisions for your life and the life of those around you. Many of us have heard the saying "if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump as well?", from our parents or teachers or even sometimes a dear friend who is trying to teach us and encourage us.
   The sad part of it all is that sometimes we do jump with our friends, while ignoring all the consequences of our actions to the surrounding people around us as well. Here is what is meant by this, people follow people, this is a simple rule of life, so when someone of a 'pack' decided to not do what the pack is about to do then someone else will follow you by example.
    Sometimes it takes one person doing the sane thing for some of the people around him to wake up and realize what they have been doing and that following the pack is going to end up being a bad thing.
    My encouragement is that you not only be the person to says "No, I won't jump" but also be the person that sets the example, the person that shows the world that there is another way, that one can say no, and thus give encouragement to those around you.
    Be this by being kind to someone who no one is kind to, to showing love in random but significant ways, all these things make an impact. And even though sometimes you might feel like no one is around and no one notices, this is not the case, someone always notices, you are not alone.
    We as humans all share this feeling of loneliness, this feeling of always being by ourselves, of not being appreciated enough. We all have social issues, we all have fears, so remember, you are not alone. Plenty have stood up to the pack and said "ENOUGH!"
     So as you walk through this week take the time to live in love, to yourself, to those around you, and stand up to the pack. It has been done before, and it will happen again. This is your time. So grab a hold of it and walk a better road.

    Love from your humble blogger,

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Friday!

Cup by Tanami-M
      Oh it's Friday.
  Friday's can be a day of rejoicing for those of us that have mon - fri jobs, or those that are in school. The weekend is something we look forward to and are sad when it leaves. No matter what happens on Friday we always have the comforting feeling that Saturday is right around the corner and that keeps us going with a smile.
      Oh it's Friday.
   The part about Friday that I wanted to focus on tonight is the waking up part, I think this is one of the most important parts of the day. The routine you always do during the week, with the longing for it to be evening already. That delicious cup of coffee, or that class of milk, what kind of music you play, how hot the water in the shower is, these are all simple facts that can make a normal day a great one.
     I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and an amazing weekend. And that your Friday morning was a good one ^_^

      Love from your humble blogger,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An evening with Anne Polajenko: "Pointe 101"

5 things a Pointe shoe should do:

1. Correspond to the general structure of the foot. A square foot will not fit into a pointed shoe!
2. Assist the dancer establish her central balance on pointe
3. Allow the roll through on demi-pointe without too much resistance. This will get easier as the shoe gets softer.
4. Provide correct arch support
5. Create a long, sleek look

5 things a Pointe shoe should not do:
1. Prevent the dancer from standing full up on the shoe
2. Allow high arches to roll right over the box
3. Hinder the dancer from rolling up/down through the demi-pointe
4. Cause undue pain across the toes, on the bunion
5. Twist on the foot or crease at the little toe when first tried on
          --- Anne Polajenko


       Hope you all are having a great week so far :)

   Love from your humble blogger,

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Random Monday Comic ^_^

      Keep a look out for more Random Monday Comic entries!
    The idea is to give you something to laugh at, even if it's just a giggle, as you arrive at monday :) just some love really.


   Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and that this week will be a fantastic one,

     Love from your humble blogger,

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nature Breaks

      There is something to be said about nature. In it's purest form, nature can be uplifting and inspiring. From a beautiful morning sky to that big tree on your lawn during fall, there are many sights that nature provides us with that aid us in the process of taking a break from our busy day and just taking a "nature break".
       Nature breaks are so abundant to us that we somehow miss the opportunity of appreciating them more times then we would like to admit. Yet the beauty of it is that nature will never go away, never leave you, and there will always be a beauty within nature no matter what time of the day it is.
       We all live such busy lives and sometimes never get a break from the day, so here is an easy way to take a 2 min break to recop some energy. Stand by a sunny area and just look up at the sky, squint your eyes toward the sun and feel it's rays feeding you with vitamins, take just a minute to enjoy what is always around you, and then return to your normal routine.
       It's always nice to know that there is something in life that will always be the same, "nature breaks" is one of those things. No one will ever take that away from you. It's a gift from Earth to you. So take the time to enjoy it from time to time.

         hope you all have a fantastic weekend,

   Love from your humble blogger,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An evening with Anne Polajenko: Humor at the ballet

Humor at the ballet:

In 1845, an enterprising, English, theatrical agent had the temerity to invite the four leading ballerinas of the day to perform in one ballet together. They were Maria Taglioni (the undisputed queen), the Italian ballerinas Fanny Cerrito and Carlotta Grisi, and the Danish dancer Lucille Grahn. The ballet was "Pas de Quatre" (Dance for Four) to be performed in London.
Benjamin Lumley soon had reason to regret his invitation as all these ladies were very difficult women, stars in their own right, who would not take second place to anyone. Arguments arose over who would get  top billing. Taglioni of course would go first, but then? Each lady threatened to walk out unless she be listed next. Finally an exasperated Lumley told them he would list them by order of AGE. He did not hear a single demand from the three ladies again.........
-- Anne Polajenko

      Hello everyone, hope you've all been well since last we conversed. The blog will be taking on a new light soon, based on comments we are thinking about switching the days to a mon-wed-fri posting,
      any comments? suggestions? ideas?

        Love from your humble blogger,