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Turn Out That Turn Out!!

Summer session has officially begun and while the class was good overall one thing pestered me the entire class – my freaking turn out. Now, some people have told me that my turn out is fine, even heard the word “good” flung around once or twice. Regardless of the intermittent compliments, I still loathe my turn out.

To be fair – my turn out devant is pretty good. But any tendu executed en ar·rière (aka to the back) is just horse shit. There I said it. My tentus en ar·rière look like complete horse shit! Call it a freaking curse. I watch the other students in class and it amazes me how even the most novel student can execute the step without wincing in embarrassment. Then there is my sorry ass. What in the hell is the deal, yo?!?! I stretch (mind you not as often in the beginning but at least 4 times a week) and have tailored my weekly workouts to focus entirely on my lower body and here I am. A sad-sack of a ballerina who can barely tendu like a lady!!

Question: Is LB a quitter? Does LB shy away from a challenge and acquiesce to defeat before even attempting to overcome the adversity that befalls her?!?!

Answer: Ahhh dahhhhhh. No!! [Who is that lady? She sounds terrible. Maybe a hug will help? Or a Xanex?]

Just for the record, LB is a maniacal (and often hilarious) beast whose sole purpose in life is to show her peers, nay, the world, that she cannot be stopped. She won’t be stopped. Because you cannot stop this force of a woman from pursing the impossible!!!

…Ok. I’ll stop being so dramatic and talking in the third person. That’s just c(w)eepy. (Says my son)

Anywho. Dramatics aside, I do want to attempt and make my ever-so-blah-turn-out better. It would make me happy to see improvement in this area. I challenged myself to achieve the splits – what the hell?! Right?!

So in my research I found an article by The Ballet Blog which provides a little insight in how to achieve your ultimate turn out. Warning: The stretches are crazy. Forget the butterfly – these yoga inspired poses will kick the crap out you in seconds!! I am going to work these stretches into my routine and hope I see some results. I’m tired of having a crappy turn out!!! I’m tired, I say!!!

If you have any suggestions or links, you just send them on my way! I need all the help I can get!

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Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Listen ladies (and gents) – I am a strong proponent of stretching and when a good video comes my way I feel compelled to let my loyal readers know. The following video is from the incomparable, undeniable Goddess of Dance – Allison DeBona. I have taken a couple of her master classes and actually have driven her in my lowly Nissan Pathfinder. (I’m more like a Legal Chauffeur. Ha!). She is exquisite and a true professional. When she speaks, I listen.

So ladies, listen to Allison’s magical wisdom of stretching, compliments of the YouTube.

Enjoy.

Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Improve Your Turn Out!

Ok – I am officially obsessed with improving my turn out. I’m sure all of you adult beginners out there can identify how hard it is to get a decent turn out when you start ballet late in life. I am convinced I can improve my turn out; I just need to diligently work at it.

I was doing some YouTube searches and I came across two videos that may help, if you are so inclined. One of the videos involves a young lady, but honestly, she has some great tips.

Enjoy!

Ballet Strength

How to Improve Your Turn Out

“Ballerina”

After watching the documentary entitled “Ballerina”, I just had to blog about it today.  I think I have watched it at least 7 times in the last year.  This documentary follows a group of professional ballerinas from the Mariinsky Theatre (the renamed Kirov Ballet).  The group includes Alina Somova, Svetlana Zakharova, Evguenya Obraztsova, Diana Vishneva and Uliana Lopatkina.  I am sorry – but these ladies are absolutely amazing. Their technique is flawless as well as their ability to deliver a performance to the audience.  Watching this movie always gets me inspired to dance.  For those who dance, watch the following documentary to get inspired too!

A couple of notes:  Look at these ladies feet.  They are so strong the shoe practically buckles within the box.  It is like they have hands for feet! Monkey hands!  This goes especially for Diana Vishneva.  Not only do I identify with her dancing the most, but she has crazy strong feet.  I want feet like that.  Diana is considered to be an unconventional prima ballerina because of her lines and technique, but her ability to add emotion to a performance is insane! She is more like a ballerina-actress, which I suppose professional ballerinas are in general, but she is special.  You will see what I mean.   And Svetlana Sakharova?! Forget about it! She is practically a robot!  Absolutely exquisite. There is this part in the movie where she is practicing a piece from Swan Lake alone in a room at the academy.  Her technique is so smooth and effortless, she looks like she is going to take flight! She looks like an actual swan when she dances.  So neat.

So, for your viewing pleasure, “Ballerina”.

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Diana Vishneva.  All I can say is, “Wow.”

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Svetlana Zakharova….Breathtaking.

Law Office Zombie

So I am a little hyper today….OK, a LOT hyper.  I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin!  I get like this sometimes and it is hard to concentrate.  Unfortunately for me, my Gi-Normica likes to antagonize me so she doesn’t have to work.  During these times of utter hysteria, we start talking about whatever randomly pops into our head.  For example, yesterday Normica was hyper and she said from her office, “Did you ever notice that crows have a pattern when they crow?” …..(pause from me)…..”Umm, yeah.  They are communicating with other crows.”  Then Normica says, “Wouldn’t that be cool if you could figure out what they were saying.  You know, speak crow?!”…..(another pause)….”Umm yeah.  There are people who study bird behaviors, patterns, habitats and things like that.  I am sure there are people who can understand what certain patterns mean.”  Then Normica stopped and said, “Do you hear that crow? Listen.”  (crow in the background cawing).  She proceeded, “See?! It went ‘Caw, Caw, Caw, Caw…Caw…Caw…’  What are they saying?!”  I then said, “Well I don’t know, things like, ‘Hey beautiful bird! Come over here so we can make more baby birds!’ or ‘I have a big juicy worm!  Do you want some?’ or ‘FLY AWAY! There is Danger! Danger! Danger!'”  THEN we started to talk crow and cawed so loud I would not be surprised if everyone in my office heard it.

As you can see, not all lawyers are super serious.  I am serious when I work, talk to my clients or go to court, but I do get goofy sometimes.  It’s a good release when you are stressed.  You know – thinking about what crows are saying?! Total stress reliever (you should try it sometime).

Anywho back to today.  While I was harassing Gi-Normica at the copy machine I thought of a perfect office movie. I said, “HEY! You know what would be a great movie?!  Law Office Zombie!  All the lawyers are Zombies and we perform legal work for clients, but when we are done, we eat their brian!”  Then I did my best Zombie impersonation and lumbered around Ginormica while saying, “I want to practice lawwwwww….THEN EAT YOUR BRAIN!!!”  My boss would say, “Pay your billllllll…..OR I’LL EAT YOUR BRIAN!!!”  Our assistants would say. “I better get my work done or my boss will EAT MY BRAIN!”  …Yeah that would be one sweet movie. I bet I would make a million doll-hairs if I made that movie.  I would be all famous and people would want to take my picture and I would say, “Anything for my adoring fans! Here, let me sign your shirt and your baby and your grandpa for you!”  I would get a prestigious award for being so creative and awesome.  In my acceptance I would say, ” I would like to thank everyone that made this movie possible.  My cast and crew were amazing.  I want to thank my husband and kids who always believed in me.  I also want to give Ms. Normica a special thanks for help making my vision of creating a law office full of zombies come true.”  The public would be clamoring to see my next film, “Lawyers in the Abyss” which is about a law firm that gets thrown into the ocean and in order for them to survive they all had to develop gills and grow fins and from the “abyss” they would give stellar legal advice and representation to all of their clients around the world!……..Oh yeah.

The following is a picture of a zombie.  However, in order to spare my readers of the gore, I found a picture that would suite any taste!

Ice cream zombie!  So sca-wy.

Inspirational (and Odd) Dance Movies

Once a week, I like to cross train.  This usually entails me going downstairs and utilizing the treadmill or elliptical for 45 minutes while I watch TV.  This was once something I did 4 times a week before my obsession with ballet began.  Anywho, my giant projection screen TV finally took a shit.  This thing is from the mid-90’s and weights about 500 pounds.  It has giant speakers and a sub-woofer (yeah-ya!) It was considered super high-tech back in the 90’s.  Well, It finally died.  So, I resorted to watching Netflix on my IPad instead.  If you are not already aware, Netflix has some pretty kick-ass dance movies.  I wait and watch them when I am alone in order to spare my poor husband the misery of watching them.  I thought I would bestow upon you a couple of my favorites.  Some of these movies do not necessarily entail good technique (some are just down right ridiculous) but they are nonetheless entertaining and will, if anything, get you in the mood to dance.

(1) Staying Alive.  The long-awaited sequel to “Saturday Night Fever”, this movie depicts Tony (played by the beloved John Travolta) continued pursuit for the love of dance.  Tony Manero is now in New York City trying to make it big as a professional dancer on Broadway.  Funny, I don’t recall Tony doing anything but doing the hustle at disco clubs.  Who new he was professionally trained!  Regardless, Staying Aline has everything a cheesy dance movie could ever want: music (all performed by The Bee Gees, of course), dance (well, a lot of kicking and grunting, at least) and love (Tony is such a stud.)   Tony finally lands a role in a Broadway show called “Dante’s Inferno”. Tony is first just a lowly back up dance, but then lands the lead role, because, lets face it – He just so damn talented!  There are some really sweet fashion in this movie too.  Check out the director’s outfit.  He wears a leather jacket at every dance rehearsal.  Someone’s not planning on dancing during rehearsals.  Speaking of leather, the snobby lead dancer wears an all grey leather suit at one point too.  It is terrible.  She looks like an extra from one of the Star Wars movie.  And then Tony busts out “old reliable” (aka white suit) for a posh Christmas party.  Come on Tony, wearing head-to-toe white in winter?  Really?!  Besides the gut-busting garb, this movie also has one of my all-time favorite lines: “I liked you, we made it.  What did you think? We were going to fall in love?”  I just love when people back then called sex “making it”.  Sounds more like making a cake then having sex, doesn’t it?

(2) Girls Just Want to Have Fun.  The talented Sarah Jessica Parker plays Janey in this mid-80’s dance flick.  Janey is young, a girl, and of course, just wants to just have fun!  Her quirky best friend, played by the Oscar-winning Helen Hunt encourages Janey to pursue her dream of becoming a regular on Dance TV.  A super bitching dance show that happens to be looking for their next dance star to appear weekly on their show.  A contest is held, and wouldn’t you know it? Janey makes the cut!  The problem? Her dad is a military man, who doesn’t believe in such antics like “dancing on TV”.  Poor Janey.  Good thing Janey doesn’t let rules or parents get in her way! She pursues her dream alongside her kind-of-cute (I’m sorry – he is!), hairy (yes, hairy) dance partner and end up winning the contest!  Go Janey!  This movie has some stellar 80’s dance moves, music and all around teenage fun!  Hence the name, girls just want to have FUN!  This is a must see people, really.

(3) For someone who wants to watch a serious dance movie, I suggest Ballerina (pretty easy to remember, right?).  This documentary profiles five outstanding Russian ballerinas from the prestigious Mariinsky Theatre (the renamed Kirov Ballet), following them from grueling rehearsals to flawless performances around the globe.  This movie is truly spectacular to watch and I want to get up a practice pointe every time I watch it.

So there you have it.  I could go on and on really, but these are my top three.  Enjoy!