Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anne Polajenko Presents: CARREÑO DANCE FESTIVAL: August 4 – 27, 2011

      The first CARREÑO DANCE FESTIVAL was, by all accounts, a resounding success.

         Held in Sarasota Florida under the auspices of the Sarasota International Dance Festival,
it consists of a three week intensive ballet program concluding in a performance by the students and an international array of dance stars.

         I was first attracted to this new project by a personality, recently retired ballet superstar José Manuel Carreño. When I looked further at the faculty, I came across the distinguished Cuban teacher Loipa Araujo, the Russian ABT soloist Gennadi Saveliev, ABT teacher Rimat Imaev and the inimitable modern dance duo of Jacoby and Pronk. That told me the students were in for a very special experience!

       Ranging in age from twelve to eighteen, the lucky students who had been selected through the audition process were everything you would expect: talented, dedicated and hard working. What I did not expect to see was a polish and style almost impossible to achieve in a mere three weeks. There was the unmistakable mark of excellent teaching.

        Loipa Araujo is a teacher whose reputation preceeds her. She is a maker of true artists and among her protégés is José Manuel Carreño. There was something very touching about the relationship – artistic mother to son - and indeed the same respect and affection was now being handed down to a new generation. Students flourished under their strict but warm tutelage.

      The conclusion of the summer program was a performance showing off the students’ talents, which are many. Several are already winners of Youth America Grand Prix.

      They were joined by faculty members dancing an inspiring array of solos and duets ranging from “Swan Lake” to an amazing piece by Jacoby and Pronk. The program was tailored to educate as well as entertain. Much was made of special guest artist from ABT, Sarah Lane, whose un-credited doubling for Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” made recent news. The performance played to a sold-out house.

       Teachers who are always on the lookout for meaningful summer programs to which they can entrust their students should pay heed. The Carreño Dance Festival may not be in New York or San Francisco and it may not have the trappings of some of the major programs but it does have a very unique teaching faculty and an equally unique intimate atmosphere where every student matters.

    --- Anne Polajenko

     Love from your humble blogger,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oh Hollywoood, why?!

           A little while ago Hollywood presented us with a remake for Fame, which to some was sacrilege, we're talking a movie made in 1980 being remade and "modernized" 30 years later. One would imagine that Hollywood's bloodlust would be quenched by now, but that is not the case, it seems there is another sacrilege being prepared on the horizon, Footloose.

           Footloose originally came out in 1984, that's four years more recent then Fame, you might think that I'm being a stickler about time here but time is an important factor to watch for. If these numbers are right we might be seeing a remake of "Chicago" in the next 10 years or so, and a remake or sequel to "Black Swan" as well. Needless to say my fears go out to movies like "Grease" or "Dirty Dancing", or even worse, what if they decide to do a remake of "Singing in the Rain", got your attention now didn't I. Yeah, there is no dignity on the screen, that or Hollywood is legitimately running out of original ideas.

        Inception was the last movie released with an actual originality aim. I can't think of any other movie that was well produced, had a good cast, and attempted to push the boundaries of the norm, be it via special effects and amazing story line. We are in desperate need for some good movies to come out, not only good movies, but good original stories.

           We are the next generation, it is our duty to make this dream a reality, we must push the system, strive to create what has never been thought up, to speak out and have our own voice, in order to end this state of stagnation that we find ourselves in right now. In the times of our fathers, they sought to create a better world but in the end lost part of their imagination for it, we must strive to correct this wrong. To breath life into the entertainment industry. Let us rise up and take over and show the world how beautiful imagination can be.

            The act of creation is not one usually filled with smiles and laughs, but it is one filled with rewards and accomplishments. People will tell you to accept the norm, to keep your head down and not voice your opinion, but do not listen to those people, these are the same people that due to their loss of imagination have placed us in a black hole of creativity.

          When you dream, dream BIG, there is no reason why you should not, and when you try to do anything give it your BEST, anything else just won't do. And remember that regardless of success or not, what matters most is that you put yourself out there and sought to change the world. This is what matters most, the true attempt to make something awesome occur. Think about school, if a professor is impossibly hard and you never try you will fail the class and feel sad, but if you try your hardest and still fail the class, you finish knowing that you gave it your all, that you fought till the end. A simple fact to remember in life and a good one to keep close is that at times you will fail, you will fall, you will lose. It is not a matter of how many times you fall, what counts is the amount of times you get back up and continue to fight.
     (Here's a good clip from "Dead Poets Society" to illustrate my point)

        Thus I encourage you now to "Seize the Day", to grab life by the horns and lead it to it's full potential.

   Have an encouraging Monday, and a great week,

      Love from your humble blogger,

Friday, August 26, 2011

There Are Different Ways To Shine

        If you haven't read Anne Polajenko's post "Calling all Dancers" then please do so, it contains a lot of good info on how you can possibly acquire some free So Danca gear. And free is always a fantastic thing. Another way by which we bring people together and offer a free service to our consumers is through this blog, allow me to enlighten you on the infinite possibilities available to you. And best of all, there are no strings attached, believe it or not, its actually a free service.

       If you have an upcoming performance and would like for us to highlight it, just send us a pic of the poster and a brief description of the event, and we'll help you get some more view by posting it on here, free online advertizing, the way the internet should have always been. This also applies to stores that wish to have a blurb on here, dance schools as well. This also applies to any coming of age dancer who has either a photo or a youtube video of himself/herself dancing, if we get a lot of these we could even start a weekly "Dancers You Should Keep An Eye Out For" post.

       Now it is true that we all love dance, but maybe dance is not your overall goal, maybe you want to be a writer or a musician or an artist. Truly I say to you, there is a ton of space for you as well. We constantly feature other people's work, the ones that get sent to us by artists like yourself get featured in an article with your name and a link to whatever gallery you provide. Your level of skill is not the focus here, the focus is getting a chance to show your work to the world, and starting the journey of getting your name out there, for all to see.

        We've previously hosted a guest writer, Stephen Demmler's story "Superman's Landlord", and we could host one of your stories as well. This could be a fictional story, could be a story about your own life, dance, the dance community around you, dreams and aspirations, a movie review. Maybe you disagreed with a previous review we've done, well let your voice be heard and send us your own review, there is always room for the "people" to let their voices be heard.

        And musicians, honestly we wouldn't be here without you guys. Personally I love supporting upcoming artists, it's always great to see a garage band become a super popular. If you've recently written a song and want it to be featured here, just shoot me a youtube link, and we'll let the populace hear your fantastic work. There are many mediums on the internet that will aid you in getting your name out there, one more will only aid you further.

       Email your works to and get your name out there, at So Danca we love giving people these type of opportunities, to let yourself be heard, and bring the community together,

     Love from your humble blogger,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Anne Polajenko Presents: "Calling all So Dancers!"

        If you wear So'Dança dance wear or shoes, we want to hear from you! Send me an email at and tell me a little bit about yourself. Are you a dance student? Professional dancer? Teacher? What product of ours do you use and how long have you been using it? Do you own a dance store and have a customer you are particularly proud of?

        So'Dança provides clothing and shoes to thousands of dancers in the U.S.A. alone. We are a very large family and would love to include you and your news on our Internet social network pages. Have you received an award, a scholarship? Taken any memorable dance trips? Do you have photos or a video of a performance you'd like to share? Send it on to us and we will be happy to include you in our So Dancer news.

        Bringing the world closer together, one dancer at a time! So'Dança is always there for you!

  --- Anne Polajenko

   Please get in touch with us for more info!!

      Love from your humble blogger,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anne Polajenko: "Role Models Are Important In Dance Too"

      Think about this. Once upon a time there were books, most of them available in libraries. You had to get a ride, go to the library, find the book, check it out, read it and return it within a certain number of days. A research paper or an essay might require you to stay at the library, feverishly taking down notes before going home to write the paper. All this assuming you had, or could hastily organize, your transportation. It took work, planning and mental organization. 

       Today it is all there at your fingertips on your home computer. The avalanche of information is staggering. So, I find it singularly interesting that the more information is readily available the less young people know. 

      Take the example of history, dance history to be precise. My teacher used to say you do not know who you are until you know where you came from. Just as you know your family lineage, you should know your artistic ancestors to better understand your art. History is not just a series of dates and events, it is about the people who prompted those events and how they came to doing what they did. Get interested in the people and you just might find the whole subject of history fascinating.

        One of the most rewarding experiences I ever had as a teacher was to take my students on a trip to France. We were in the Great Hall of Mirrors at the grandiose palace of Versailles outside Paris. I stopped the group in the middle of the ornate ballroom and asked them to perform a ballet “royale” (small jump while criss-crossing the feet). “Now”, I said, “You have just replicated a step first done by King Louis XIV in this very spot four hundred years ago. How does that make you feel?” Their faces lit up. There was a sudden understanding of the meaning of legacy.

        When interpreting a role (or even just watching a ballet), it’s always a good idea to know some of its story. For example, in the ballet “Pas de Quatre”, one of the dancers hair - do is different from the three others. Ever wonder why? Fanny Cerrito was a rebel of sorts and was going to distinguish herself in one way or other. She surprised everyone by showing up with a different “do”. This tells you something about the personality of this 19th century ballerina and is certainly necessary information to anyone who will dance this part. It is even helpful in appreciating the ballet and the interplay between the four rival ballerinas.

      Role models are necessary to any young person. It is always helpful to have an “idol” in mind, how he or she danced, what they brought to the art form. You cannot work in a vacuum, you must have a successful artist to look up to. Some of the greatest are very much alive. Baryshnikov? Cynthia Gregory? Carla Fracci? Vladimir Vasiliev? Look them up on your magic computer. You’ll be glad you did. 
                            --- Anne Polajenko

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

       Love from your humble blogger,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Smartphones, Who Needs Them?

       Personally I was one of those people that boycotted the smart phone for as long as I could hold out. I never knew what the big deal about them was, hence I always made fun of them and kept telling myself that there was no way I would ever own one. Within my frame of mind there was no need for one, I had a laptop and my regular phone served me well, so why spend so much money on something that wasn't going to change my life that much....boy was I wrong.

       Around 2010 I got an Iphone 3GS, and I became instantly enlightened to the ways of the smartphone. It took about a hour or so of messing with it before I realized that I had been wrong for years, and with a defeated but joyous spirit I had to finally admit to being wrong and admitting my love for smartphones. Do you remember when you were 15 and thought to yourself, "I don't really need a car, it would be nice but it won't be a life changing thing" and later realized that now you could not live without one? Yeah, it's the same feeling.

       Smartphones have quickly become a norm and soon we will no longer have any phones around except for smartphones. They have everything one could possibly want, a computer right on your fingertips all the time, no matter where you are, yeah, it's magical. A huge breakthrough in technology. It wouldn't be wrong to speculate that this is the future of computers, that soon laptops will be ancient, and we'll all have pocket sized computers that will do everything it's bulky counterpart used to be used for.

       It's also obscene how technology evolves now a days, every year there is a new product that makes last year's product obsolete. Meaning if you buy a laptop today, that a year from now the same "top of the line" laptop will no longer be found in stores because it's old and outdated. Which can be a good and a bad thing, depending on your level of patience when buying new products. If you don't mind waiting, then you can just stay a year behind the growth and get a good product for way cheaper than it originally came out for. If you are not patient then yeah, this sucks for you, no doubt.

       The Ipad is also a big break through, it's crazy how much the Ipad has infiltrated our day to day lives. From doctors, students, lawyers, to business men, the Ipad has become a norm in various fields. It simplifies your life a significant amount. The downside being that you are always "plugged in", meaning anyone can get a hold of you at any time, be it through email, phone, text, aim, facebook, twitter, and all the other social media we have come to possess. Some have looked at this as a negative for the smartphone, but the positive outweighs the negative, so technology will continue to evolve and we'll continue to purchase the next best thing. It's just the way it works.

      So who needs a smartphone? Everyone. Those that have one understand that this is true, those that don't have one will probably disagree and fight me on this, but I promise you this, as soon as you own one, you will never be able to go back to a regular phone. They are just that helpful. The power of having Google at your fingertips in overwhelming, the possibilities are endless, and I for one am glad to finally have made the transition last year. It was a life changing experience.

           What is your take on smartphones?

    Hope you all have a fantastic Friday and a glorious weekend,

    Love from your humble blogger,  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anne Polajenko Presents: "The Harid Conservatory Students Wear So Danca"

      Students of The Harid Conservatory, located in Boca Raton, FL, are exclusively wearing the So’Dança ballet and pointe shoes for the 2011-12 school year. According to an agreement between the prestigious school and the dancewear company, all students will be provided with a monthly supply of shoes for classes and performances.

Russo Hall
       Harid Conservatory was founded 23 years ago as a not-for-profit, tuition free institution that would offer exceptional ballet training and academic schooling to talented students from the United States and abroad. Students are of high school age and must live on campus. They are selected through an annual audition process and must attend Harid’s summer intensive before being admitted to the school. Some graduates include Marcelo Gomez (Principal, American Ballet Theatre), James Sofranko (Principal, San Francisco Ballet), Isabella Boylston and Isadora Loyola (American Ballet Theatre) as well as Sara Webb (Principal, Houston Ballet).

For More Alumni Click Here
       So’Dança is very proud to associate its name with such a valuable organization as The Harid Conservatory and wishes all the students a wonderful school year!

Isadora Loyola (Harid class of 2007) in her So’Dança Pointe shoes.
Photo Bernardo Nogueira

                  --- Anne Polajenko


     Take a deep breath my friends, it's Wednesday, half way done, the weekend is looking closer and more beautiful than ever, 

    Love from your humble blogger,  

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Much Needed Evolution of Cable

          There are many things in our culture that have sudden evolutionary leaps. It's usually without warning and it covers a specific item that had not evolved in a long time. I believe that the next big leap we will be seeing soon is the downfall of cable television, and the rise of streaming companies.

          Take Netflix as an example, specifically their instant stream option. Soon Netflix will no longer have the "ship to home" dvds and be completely instant stream active. No they haven't made an announcement about this, but it is bound to happen, it would be the biggest marketing move and would put them above their competition by a whole lot.

          On instant stream you basically select your shows, everything you could want you get to watch, without commercials and such. This is the way of the future. Instead of paying for 400 channels that you don't watch, you'll be paying for one service and get to pick what you want to watch and what you don't, and if you add a Pandora style meter you'll be able to get rid of all the shows you don't like and be suggested shows you might like, hence you'll always be introduced to new shows of your choosing.

         This might seem like it needs an extra touch, something to organize it, and I agree. Microsoft has unintentionally given us the best model for what tv could be like in the future with their Xbox 360 Live program. Within the layout of this service Xbox has joined Music, Movies, Games, and other internet services all on one package. This is brilliant, it's simple to use, looks clean and neat and would offer the consumer infinite personal customization possibilities. Why would you sign up for cable, which would inherently force you to pay for channels you don't watch, when you can have a company that allows you to pick and choose what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, all in one Netflix style package.

          Here is my shout out to all business men out there, please do what you do and make this a reality. By doing this you would revolutionize the media empire and quickly become one of the most famous companies in the world. I don't really care about credit, I just want this service right now. It'll eventually come to pass, this is a simple fact. Cable hasn't really changed all that much, the only recent leap was Tivo, though it was a good leap they only got their feet wet, there is a lot to do still and much room to grow.

        So business men and scientists, do what you do and change the industry forever.

   Love from your humble blogger,

Friday, August 12, 2011

Movie Remakes: "How soon is too soon?"

       "Conan the barbarian" is coming out next weekend, and with it comes a burning question, How soon is to soon to produce a remake?

       The original Conan came out in 1982, and stared Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the time this movie was exceedingly popular and everyone who thought of Arnold thought Conan. So it's not like the original was a fluke, is 29 years enough to make a remake? It's not even like this looks better than the original, it actually looks worse, with no name actors, and truly no interest from the masses. This is not the first time they have done this, in face Hollywood has been doing this a lot recently.

       How about "Clash of the Titans", who's story got changed ridiculously and was made worse then the original, we're talking 1981 to 2010, same as Conan (29). The movie was not only made more brashly it removed little bits of humor that the original had.

        Yes the original is was behind us now, but this movie gave our parents nightmares, what are we doing destroying a classic? There should be some ground rules when creating a remake, and even worse, they are making a sequel to it....yeah....I cringe inside as well.

      So then some of your are thinking, "they would never remake the classics, movies that had Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, or Angie Dickinson, how could they ever replace them and be successful?" Well, I hate to break it to you, but they did, and not only were they successful the remake spawned two sequels, yeah, no movie is sacred.
      And you know what, most people don't even know that this is a remake. The original came out in 1960, and the remake in 2001, that's a 41 year span, which you might think, "that's plenty of time", but is it? Is it really? If this is the case we'll be seeing some remakes that could very well shock us all.

Zac Efron, Megan Fox and Daniel Craig, Oh, it could happen

      So by this we shouldn't be surprised if in 17 years we see a remake to "The Matrix", a remake to the "Star Wars" series, the series is about 5 years past its due for a remake, or even "Casablanca", or "Gone with the Wind". So here we are left with two questions: "How soon is too soon?" and "Are there any 'sacred' movies that should never be redone?"

   Let us know what you think with a comment bellow,

      Love from your humble blogger,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tapestry Dance Company Makes History With China Tour

   Excerpt from the ITA Newsletter:

   “Working with The Chinese Cultural Ministry and The Shangai Singers Club, Tapestry Dance Company will tour their National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpiece production of The Souls of Our Feet - A Celebration of American Tap Dance in China for 5 weeks this fall, bringing an artistic envoy from Austin comprised of 9 dancers, 3 musicians, a vocalist, a technical crew of 4—and artistic director Acia Gray. Starting in Shanghai, the company will present 15 performances.

        Gray says of the momentous news, "It is such an honor to be asked to share this historically relevant collection of tap dance classics and contemporary tap choreography in China. To present this indigenous American art form and represent Austin at the Shangai International Arts Festival with the support of Mayor Leffingwell, City of Austin Council members, and leaders of our Asian community—it is truly humbling."

       What's more, Acia Gray has also been asked to help develop a Chinese training system and syllabus of American tap dance for use in the university system. Meetings have been underway over the last two years and the first stages of development will happen in conduction with the tour.

       Tapestry Dance Company is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

   About the NEA’s American Masterpieces Initiative
        The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) created the American Masterpieces initiative to acquaint Americans with the best of their cultural and artistic legacy. The performances, exhibitions, tours, and educational programs held as a result of this initiative are geared to reach large and small communities in all 50 states. Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts.

     About Tapestry Dance Company
       Tapestry Dance Company is a professional, non-profit dance organization founded in 1989 for the purpose of developing a foundation in multi-form dance performance and education. The organization has expanded to a major dance organization in Austin. Its expansive south Austin facility is home to seven resident artists, an Academy for young people and adults offering classes (ballet, flamenco, hip hop, ballroom, jazz, tap, et al.), an annual festival, educational outreach programs, and a pre-professional and adult training facility sharing the unique training syllabus of founders Acia Gray and Deirdre Strand.

    The events and programs of Tapestry Dance Company include seasonal multi-form concerts at the historic Paramount Theatre, The Annual Soul to Sole Festival, community outreach programs such as Rhythm, Dance, Music & You!, numerous master classes and workshops in modern, jazz, ballet and rhythm tap as well as touring residencies throughout the country. The most recent production of The Souls of Our Feet - A Celebration of American Tap Dance is currently on tour through the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces." 

For more info on Tapestry Dance Company just follow this LINK
The Many Faces Of The So Danca Pro Tap Shoe ^_^
      So’Dança has been an active supporter of both the International Tap Association and Tapestry Dance Company for several years. We are delighted that the art of Tap dancing will be brought to the Chinese people by such a valuable organization as Tapestry Dance Company. We wish them every success.
 So’Dança is the official provider of Character and professional Tap shoes (TA 715 and 815) for the company since 2008. We are thrilled to have our product represented by such talented dancers in the United States and abroad.
                        --- Anne Polajenko

    Summer is ending, school is on the horizon and the busy season is soon here, We wish you all the best and hope that this coming school year is a fantastic one for you, 

     Love from your humble blogger,