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About Dance*is*life

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  • Birthday August 15

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    My family, ballet, theatre and musical theatre, music, books,films etc etc.

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  1. Dance*is*life

    Summer School in Brussels?

    Thank you all very much! Most useful!!
  2. Dance*is*life

    Summer School in Brussels?

    Has anyone heard of a good summer school in Brussels? I promised a student that I would find out for her. Thanks.
  3. Dance*is*life

    Spanish inspired ballet music

    I discovered quite by chance on youtube a spanish piece by Elgar! It's called Sevillana Scene Espagnole. I used it for my pointe dance last recital and it was a huge success!
  4. Dance*is*life

    RAD Intermediate Exam

    The latest RAD syllabi are very different from the old ones and certainly the choreography is far more creative than it used to be. There is one free enchainement and the format has just been changed slightly. The examiner can choose between three focal steps and use whatever she likes from a list of linking steps. There is a choice of two dances, one classical or one neo/modern. Demi-pointe shoes must be worn, but they can be old pointe shoes with the inner sole removed. The actual pointe work is fairly simple. 3 exercises on the barre and two in the centre, plus the reverence......... put simply wearing demi-pointes prepares you for working in pointe shoes on stage.ointework
  5. Dance*is*life

    Which companies generally prefer the tall/short dancers?

    Yup - I can vouch for that! My husband and three sons totally make me feel like Tiny Tim!
  6. Dance*is*life

    Which companies generally prefer the tall/short dancers?

    Definitely an important point! In the 60s when I was looking for work I lost several possibles because of height - my lack of! Although I was 1.62m which isn't too bad. I remember doing a class audition with the Stuttgart Ballet and feeling totally as if I were in the land of giants! Marcia Haydee, their star, was tiny and all the corps were tall in order to emphasize this. Although they liked me, they couldn't accept me, because I wasn't ready to start as anything but corps. Such is life! Of course the bonus was that I often got picked at RBS to be Wayne Sleep's rep and pas de deux partner😊
  7. Dance*is*life

    choices at 16

    Oh yes - I quite agree and that is indeed a problem. I think that children, even today, are educated from the word go, not to question a teacher's decision, so it can be very hard for them to stand up for themselves if the need arises.
  8. Dance*is*life

    choices at 16

    I do think it's an individual thing. Some older teenagers, however competently they can look after themselves, may not be up to living away from home. I went away from home for the first time to join a ballet company, when I was 19. I travelled around Europe auditioning on my own, was clearly capable of looking after myself, but when it came to living in a room all on my own I was hopelessly lonely and homesick. Later on I took a room in a communal building where I could pop into other dancers' rooms and there I was fine. I needed a substitute for my very close family. Of course that was before mobile phones and instant messaging, so we were really on our own!
  9. Dance*is*life

    RAD Advanced Foundation Music

    I love that piece! And the choreography!
  10. Dance*is*life

    Ballet vs academics

    Yes, flamenco is a great extra dance genre for them. Each class has a colour leotard to suit the RAD level and then we order flamenco skirts to match - so they have their costume for performances all ready! Several of our seniors have actually become pro dancers and teachers. They also learn to sing, play castonets etc as part of it. It's fun for them and we prefer to start the Grade 3s on flamenco as an extra, rather than jazz, which we bring in at Grade 5 level or modern, which is taught from Grade 4.
  11. Dance*is*life

    Rad discovering repertoire classes

    We had a teachers' course on DR not long ago. I felt that the classes were not challenging enough for the level, the barre was particularly limited in content. That might be because I believe I read that it was originally planned for adult dancers, but I may be wrong about that. The solos on pointe would on the other hand be very challenging, so I am not sure about it. I also felt that having to show the development exercises in the exam was unneccessary. I would have preferred a more advanced class with a choice of set repertoire variations. It's useful that you can take the exam in sections, so you can fit it in wherever it works in your particular school. I had thought to use level 3 for my last years Intermediates, but decided I'd rather challenge them with Advanced Foundation.
  12. Dance*is*life

    Ballet vs academics

    Just wanted to ask what level she's at ballet wise? The 9 year olds in the school where I teach are usually in RAD Grade 3. There they have 2 x 75 minute ballet classes plus an hours flamenco. They are still very young in 4th grade at school. Your daughter sounds rather talented especially if she's an Associate as well, but she is only 9....... Kids do need some downtime too just to be kids.
  13. Dance*is*life

    I am shamed by my poor dévéloppé

    Yes in a developpĂ© there is definitely not supposed to be a kick in order to raise the leg. The description you are looking for is extension using a controlled unfolding of the leg. And in fact even a sissone with a developpĂ© shouldn't be kicked, but squeezed out at the end ofvthe jump. Grands battement is a sort of kick, but even there the dancer has to control it by brushing through the floor, keeping the turn-out and definitely controlling the lowering of the working leg. A good way of practising in order to build up the strength needed to raise the leg higher, is to shoulder the leg (the stretching movement) and then let go of the leg trying to keep the leg and placing as they were. Also when you put the leg on the barre for stretching try and lift up the leg from the baƕre and hold it. The video above is a perfect example and shows how you are supposed to lift the leg from the retire through attitude in order to help the extension. Don't despair it will come with work and more strength.
  14. Dance*is*life

    10 Reasons Dance is Undeniably a Sport....and so much more

    Lisa - if I could have given you two likes I would have! I refuse to accept that my beautiful ballet is a sport. Sport doesn't satisfy the soul! I wish that there wasn't such an emphasis on athleticism nowadays, but even with that I cannot agree that it's a sport. My husband is good at most sports and can't dance - no feeling for rhythm bless him. And I was hopeless at sport, except for basketball where as a shooter I could do a great temps leve in arabesque to pop the ball into the net!
  15. Dance*is*life

    Pointing toes in ballet

    Ballet movement has to become part of your natural movement memory for you to always remember to do the correct technique. Look how long it takes children to learn. It takes several years until they do things automatically! Even for adults you have to acquire the skills you need. If you've only been dancing ballet for a few weeks you won't remember automatically to point your feet yet, so don't feel badly about it! The most important part of pointing the feet is the flexibility of the ankle, much more than the toes. If I ask someone to point their feet who doesn't dance, the thing that stops them is the stiffness of the ankle. Work on flexing and pointing the feet to loosen the ankle. Then work on going through the feet - through the balls of the feet, pushing out the instep. When dancers jump we push off against the floor going through the feet and landing the opposite way. Non-dancers don't have that flexibility in their feet. I remember gojng to a physio after I broke my ankle. I said to him that I couldn't point properly with that foot and he asked me to show him my point. He was quite impressed with it - didn't see anything wrong! So I pointed my other foot........... enuff said!