Thursday, August 30, 2012

Join My Facebook Event !

We created a facebook event to spread the word about how I can get up to $3 towards my training at no cost to you! I get up to $3 towards my training when you join Goldstar!

It's FREE & you save 50% on event tickets from sports to concerts to ballet! Please do it for me! It only takes a minute.

We get all of our ballet tickets on there at great prices! There is no time frame you can do it anytime and tell your friends.

I'm also giving away old pointe shoes to one person in the event attendee list by random drawing in November. Anyone can join the event even if you don't click the link. Also, some of you may not be able to if it's not in your area. It goes by USA zip code I think. The link is at or also on this blog in the menu to the right. Click the Goldstar banner. My facebook page is at if you want to join the event.

Also on if you shop on Amazon or buy from any of the affiliate links, like leotards from Motionwear, a % goes to my training. =)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"It's Possible Dreams Do Come True" Joy Womack Makes History

We have been following Joy's progress at the Bolshoi for a while now. Today we heard major news and we knew it was coming. We knew they would take her and we never doubted it for a minute, well this is ballet so maybe for a minute. Joy Womack will be the first American woman to join the BOLSHOI! THE BOLSHOI! All of her sacrifice and the sacrifices of her family have been rewarded. She left home at 15 to go to Russia to train, no, to get the best training in the world. She didn't know the language and she was the new girl. Ballet training is challenging enough with your family and friends right by your side. It is no small feat what Joy did and she deserves this. It's a real blessing to see a dream unfold and come true right before your eyes.

Joy will be able to dance in a culture where ballerinas are the equivalent of famous football stars in America. She will dance for audiences that know and appreciate ballet in it's truest form. That has got to be a huge driving force for any dancer that has ballet truly in his or her blood. And any serious dancer can relate to her quote in the picture above. Ballerinas are made of blood, sweat, tears and some actually get to dance for a living and dance where they REALLY want to. Joy will do it with the Bolshoi.  We hope you are as inspired by her as we are. What an amazing person. Congratulations Joy!!!


Gina and Robbie

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Volunteer Experience at Boys and Girls Club for National Dance Week 2012

On April 25th I went to one of the San Diego Boys and Girls Clubs to teach 2 dance classes. My sister Kyla came along to help. The first class was Kindergarten and First Graders and the second class was 3rd and 4th graders. Both classes were half, if not more, boys! The kids wore their street clothes but towards the end took their shoes off. I told them why I was there and how Misty Copeland used to attend Boys and Girls Club. I showed them a photo of her as Firebird and they said "Whoa! Is she real?!?" I also showed them some pointe shoes.

Only about 2 of the kids out of both classes had had ballet before. It was a totally new experience to everyone else. The younger group of boys was more willing even though they did laugh a little at the idea. With the older boys I had to explain several times how football players take ballet for flexibility and balance. When I was telling them some of the ballet stories one little boy suggested a Batman ballet. I think he might be a future choreographer. One boy yelled out "How old are you?! Are you the teacher?" I said "Yes and I'm 13." Sounded funny.

The kids followed along as I showed the positions and explained how to pull up through the top of their heads like puppets on a string.  They did tendu and even went across the floor with imaginary swords. Kyla demonstrated a leap over a shoe and they were all very impressed. One little girl really had a passion for it and she was pretty good considering. She always had a smile from ear to ear when going across the floor. I could tell she was really into it and had a genuine passion for it. I couldn't help but notice the ones that had some good turn out =)The boys definitely liked leaping the most and most added some sort of knee slide at the end or a little original twist or kick of the foot. Silly yet creative.

It was fun teaching them how to curtsey and bow and thank the teacher at the end of class. They all got a coupon for Discount Dance Supply and were on their way. I actually went there to inspire them but they actually inspired me. I have always liked helping assist the beginners at my studio but this was ALL me, except for Kyla helping out of course. I developed an even greater passion for teaching and having a studio someday. I have always wanted to start a program for low income families so their kids can train for ballet if they want. I'm definitely going to try to do that in the near future.



Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 YAGP New York Finals Results for Women - Top 20 Final Round

Congratulations to the following dancers from the USA who made it to the Final Round of Youth America Grand Prix 2012 in New York City! 

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition that awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. The competition is held annually around the world and in New York City, and is open to dance students of all nationalities 9-19 years old.

Senior Women (USA Participants) Top 21. Here are the girls from USA: 

Tyler Donatelli Southland Ballet Academy CA
Rachel Richardson The Rock School PA
Chisako Oga V and T Dance CA
Tiana Lovett Lovett Dance Center CA
Jennifer Bummer Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy CA
Hannah Bettes Next Generation Ballet
Patel Conservatory FL
Calley Skalnik Tulsa Ballet Center OK
Lauren Carfolite The Rock School PA
Deanna Pearson Akhmedova Ballet MD
Dominique Alessi Marat Daukayev School CA
Jessica Payne Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy CA

 Junior Women (USA Participants) Top 24. Here are the girls from USA: 

Gisele Bethea Master Ballet Academy AZ
Grace Davidson Faubourg School
Austin Eder Anaheim Ballet CA
Larisa Nugent Maryland Festival Ballet
Mackenzie Richter Int'l City School of Ballet in GA
Aubry Mason Dmitri Kulev School CA
Olivia Gusti & Gabrielle Beach Next Generation Ballet FL
Juliet Doherty Fishback Studio NM
Miko Fogarty Westlake School of Perf Arts CA
Sophie Sea Silnicki Pittsburgh Ballet School
Serena Sovdsnes Art Of Classical Ballet FL

YAGP NY Final Round Senior Men from USA:

Cameron McCune The Raleigh School of Ballet NC
David Donnelly Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet OH
Albert Gordon The Washington School of Ballet DC
Devyn Lovett & Patrick Frenette Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy CA
Derek Dunn & Andrew Czerkawski The Rock School PA
Ka'imi Cambern Ellison Ballet (NY) CA

YAGP NY Final Round Junior Men from USA:

Austen Acevedo & Blake Kessler Orlando Ballet FL
Eli Gruska Marat Daukayev School of Ballet CA
David Preciado Los Angeles Ballet Academy CA
Tanner Bleck Bluegrass Youth Ballet KY
Kemper J. Cassada Next Generation Ballet FL

Congratulations also to the International Finalists and MERDE to all! 

Chisako Oga Senior Women Finalist

Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with Henrik Lamark - Professional Ballet Dancer and Blogger Extraordinaire

Henrik Lamark, author of Tights and © Jørgen Mathisen

Henrik Lamark

Age: 25

Born in Ålesund, Norway

Lives in Győr, Hungary and dances with The Győr National Ballet of Hungary

At what age did you begin dancing?
I started dancing already at four, but I had a severe hip displacement, and went through a series of surgery from age 6 to about 8. I started dancing more seriously in my teens. I wrote a post on Tights and Tiaras about how I began to dance, and what the surgery did (and didn't) mean to my career called "The importance of not assuming". 

How did you know you wanted to dance?
I'm not sure how, but I know I told my parents I wanted to become a dancer already at age three. I have no clue where that thought came from, but being a stubborn bastard, I lived up to the idea. It wasn't like it was always written in stone that I should dance either - my background and abilities were far from ideal, and I didn't really decide to become a dancer until my mid teens, but the interest were always there, and I never doubted it.

Being a boy, did you feel pressure to not dance ?
I did in academic school and from other kids, but fortunately, I always had my parents and my teachers that supported me and cheered me on to continue doing what I enjoyed, and not listen to others. Without that support, I don't think I would have continued dancing. Today, that is one of the things that engage me, showing the world it's ok for a boy to dance! Not all young male dancers is lucky to have the support around them I had, and that is a shame. In my post on men in ballet I try to confront some of the prejudices connected to male dancing.
Henrik as Ego from Carmina Burana Hungarian Opera House

Did anyone ever tell you you could NOT be  dancer? If so why?
My doctors kind of did, although not to me directly as much as to my parents. Today, I am very happy that my parents chose to let that decision be mine instead of anyone elses. I was always well informed about the handicap my hip surgery could cause, but it was never presented to me as a problem, and therefore, I didn't treat it as one either. In short, my parents gave me the opportunity to find out for myself if my legs could do this, and it turned out, they could. I have had very little problems with my hips in my career, and many of my colleagues don't even know about the surgery I had as a kid. If they would have listened to the doctors, I would never even have started what would become the obsession of my life. 

Were your parents supportive?
Always! They were, and still are, the pillars my whole career was built on. I know I can always rely on them to support me and help me make good decisions. They are my biggest fans :) I wrote more about that too in the post I linked to earlier. 

When did you realize dance would be a career for you?
When I was accepted to the Hungarian State Dance Academy at 18, I was thrilled by finally doing dance on a professional level. But that it would actually become my career wasn't really clear to me until I was standing in my first company, the Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine, with a contract and a spot in the boys changing rooms. That was a great feeling - I did it! I'm a dancer!
Practicing with partner Anna Krupp from the Hungarian National Ballet for pas de deux. © Daniel Bolla

What is your least favorite thing about ballet?
It's so frickin' hard! Ballet technique is just a pain in the behind, to be honest!! Everything needs to be repeated until boredom, polished and exercised until it works - everybody who dances know it takes a lot of hard work!

What is your favorite thing about ballet?
My favorite thing about ballet is that it allows me to "turn off" the rest of the world. Dancing requires such a devotion and concentration, when I dance, there is nothing else. It's a great feeling, a mixture of total calmness and adrenaline. It's like zen, really, peace of mind through hard physical work. Or, at least for me, it is… 

Most difficult skill to master?
I have probably spent more time practicing pirouettes than any other part of the classical ballet repertoire, still I wouldn't say I have mastered it yet. That's whats great about ballet - you never master it, you only improve. There is always room for improvement, to be better, to take it up another notch.
Blogger Extraordinaire

You have your own blog Tights and Tiaras, how did that come about?
Ballet is often considered a very closed and inapproachable world, and I wanted to open it up a little. Many people have little idea of what it means to live like a professional dancer, and I wanted to share my experiences, my passion for dance and my life as a dancer with those who don't necessarily know all the ballets, the steps and the whole "world" that exists around dance. So I started Tights and Tiaras. Today, two years later, it's still developing, but I have gotten a good, solid base of readers that support me and helps me continue to develop the site. I have a lot of plans for the blog in the future, now I just need to find the time and the means to actually put the plans into life..

I saw the t-shirts where can people buy them?
The Tights and Tiaras t-shirts were the first item of some merchandize I wanted to create for the blog. The shirts can be bought from our merchandize page

What are your future goals?
I still want to do a lot of dancing in my life, I want to learn new techniques and dance several different pieces for as long as my body will let me. But I also want to develop as a person, experience a lot, travel, meet lots of different people. I guess my goals are to make as much out of life as possible, both concerning my passion, and outside of it. 

What advice to you have for other young dancers, especially the boys?
Work your butt of! Don't rest a day - you are young, full of energy, and you are laying the foundation of what your whole dancing life will be built upon. Listen to your teachers, your mentors, your parents and your friends, but try to figure out things on yourself as well. No two bodies are the same, but you are lucky - you don't need to know how all of them work, just the one thats yours! Work with it, get to know your body! What happens if I do this, or that? How can my body do that turn, that jump, that pose? And follow your heart! The most important thing of all is that you enjoy what you are doing. Only then will you be truly happy, and only then will that happiness and love for dance show through your movements! 

What is your favorite ballet?
Romeo and Juliet for it's passion. Giselle for it's diversity. Swan Lake for the ideal. Bajadére for the depth. The big ballets are all great tales, with so much more to them than what you can see from a short clip on YouTube. One must simply go to the theatre and breathe in the whole ballet to understand what a great art-form it is. I don't have one favorite ballet, it all depends on my mood, my day, the production and the theatre. 

What is your favorite variation?
Albrecht's second act variation is great, it is a simple variation, but has the depth, allows you to add your personality and some story into a quite short piece. I guess that is my favorite one, although there are so many good variations. All for their own purpose, I guess. 

You recently had some time off due to surgery. What was the surgery for and did you want to insane!?
A part of the meniscus of my right knee broke off in December, and I had to have it removed. It is a relatively frequent injury, and not a very complicated surgery. Still, it's surgery, and recovering takes time. I did want to go crazy from not being able to train, but once the knee got good enough to start working with a physical therapist and such, I got a bit more relaxed mentally as well. I have also learned a lot about my body in the recovery process, for which I'm happy! I'm hoping that when I finally recover completely (the doc says March is realistic…) I'm going to be stronger than I was before the injury, both physically and mentally! 

How long will it take you to get back to your prior level of dancing?
Well, it depends on how the knee handles the stress and workload that comes with full training.. The first period of recovery was slower than we thought, but now, I'm working with full   intensity, and things are getting better fast. But with the training comes stress, and just yesterday my knee swelled up to like three times it's size, not a good sign. But I'm working on it every day, and there are small improvements all the time, so I'm confident it will turn out good.

Did you ever compete?
I did some internal competitions in school, but I never attended any big international competition. 

What do you think about competitions?
I think competitions can be a great way for a dancer to improve their skills and compare themselves to others from other schools and companies. That said, I think it's important to remember ballet is about more than just bravura and tricks, which tends to get more attention at a competition. 

Who has been the most influential person in your life as a dancer?
My first and my last ballet teachers! My master, Mr. György Szakály, taught me the last three years of school, and I learned a lot from him. But also my first teacher was very important to me. Her name was Heather Hebbert, she taught ballet to kids in my home city in northern Norway. She was a great teacher, strict, but kind, and was very supportive. I think I learned the love for dance from her!

What shoes do you wear?
I wear Sansha pro's - I like how they are soft and shapeable to the foot. But I sometimes feel their fit is a bit like the one of a garbage bag. I guess I haven't found 'my shoe' yet, although I've tried quite a few ballet shoes through the years… 

Where do you buy your dance wear for men?
I usually buy a lot of my dance wear in sports shops. I like to use clothes that aren't necessarily made specially for dancers, it's cheaper, and they are often of better quality than dance wear. I also usually buy dance wear from dance shops when I'm traveling or on tour, it's cool to have something that reminds you of places you have been. 
My company provide me with the basic dance wear, like dance belts, shoes and such, which is great, both financially, and time wise - we don't have to spend time finding and buying those things ourselves.

Henrik's Links

Please add anything else you would like to add:
Thank you for featuring me on the site, and keep doing your stuff, I enjoy it a lot! For all dancers out there, keep dancing, put your heart in it, and show what you do to the world! Tell folks about Tights and Tiaras and dance on! :)