Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ballet's Greatest Hits

I learned about this movie from YAGP and TenduTV and I think it is something you would all enjoy watching over the Holiday break! You can download it at itunes so perfect timing for all those itunes gift cards!! =) If you use my link below a portion of the sale will go towards my training! Thanks and be sure to share this post! Merry Everything! Love, Robbie

Presented by Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world’s largest dance education initiative, and subject of the award-winning ballet documentary “First Position,” “Ballet’s Greatest Hits” presents a one-of-a-kind glimpse of ballet from today and yesterday. The film is hosted by “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” Executive Producer, Nigel Lythgoe, and stars leading figures from the world of ballet. Dancers such as Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston, Skylar Brandt, Marcelo Gomes, Veronika Part and Hee Seo from American Ballet Theatre, Taras Domitro and Maria Kochetkova of San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet favorites Ashley Bouder and Daniel Ulbricht, Matthew Golding of Dutch National Ballet, Alejandro Virelles of Boston Ballet and Greta Hodgkinson of National Ballet of Canada perform iconic roles from the classical repertoire including Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle, Flames of Paris and Don Quixote. Audiences will gain special insight from backstage interviews with the performers and ballet luminaries such as Alexei Ratmansky, Angel Corella, Benjamin Millepied, Edward Villella, Jose Manuel Carreño, Mathieu and Denys Ganio, Matthew Bourne, Susan Jaffe and many others. See them dance, hear them talk and feel their passion in a unique dialogue between ballet’s history and its present.

Director: Clemente D'Alessio


Larissa Saveliev
Clemente D'Alessio
Youth America Grand Prix
Matthew Bledsoe


Alejandro Virelles
Edward Villella
Daniel Ulbricht
Hee Seo
Alexei Ratmansky
Joseph Phillips
Wendy Perron
Veronika Part
Benjamin Millepied
Nigel Lythgoe
Maria Kochetkova
Susan Jaffe
Greta Hodgkinson
Marcelo Gomes
Matthew Golding
Mathieu Ganio
Denys Ganio
Alessandra Ferri
Taras Domitro
Angel Corrella
Misty Copeland
Jose Manuel Carreno
Leslie Browne
Skylar Brandt
Isabella Boylston
Matthew Bourne
Ashley Bouder
Lawrence Bender
Stella Abrera

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tamara Rojo speaking at Prix de Lausanne on how to choose a company and a school and much more!

Monday, November 25, 2013

How to get THE STICK!

The Stick - A Toothbrush for Muscles
You may have seen it in some of my "What's in my dance bag" videos. This is a great tool to help you take care of your body. I use it before and after class. And right now they are offereing FREE SHIPPING! Click the link above to get one or tell someone you want it for a present!! =) Prevent injury and keep dancing !!! 
Buy "The Stick"

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ballet Wall Art by Susan Drawbaugh

Recently we came across this little ballerina wall art entitled "Her First Audience" from illustrator Susan Drawbaugh. We found her creations to be beyond precious and we just had to share them with you. Read on to find out more about Susan and how to get your hands on some of her art for your room, nurserie or studio. 

"In our interview with Susan we asked her what inspired her to create this piece." 

Susan: "My grand daughter has loved doing little ballet moves since she saw the Nutcracker at two years old. This idea came months later as I caught her setting up her stuffed animals to watch her while she performed. That scenario was so priceless that I couldn't get to my drawing board fast enough! After the initial painting, I recreated the little girl with different hair and skin colorings to fit the look of other little ballerinas."  

Ballet Babble: What other types of artwork do you do? 

Susan: "I specialize in wall art for nurseries and children's rooms, as well as humorous wall art for grown-ups - in some cases I customize the picture to fit a particular person. Other works that I've done are illustrations for children's picture books, juvenile stationery lines, greeting card lines, children's magazine editorials & covers, company logos - a wide variety throughout the years."

Ballet Babble: "Do you have a website where we can view or purchase your work?"

Susan: "Yes. My complete portfolio of artwork can be viewed at To purchase this Little Ballerina piece and/or other wall art that I've done you can go to Right now I'm offering a 15% discount for the Little Ballerina (and all other prints) through the month of October by using the coupon code of: wallwhimsy2 at my Etsy shop checkout." 

Ballet Babble: "Do you plan on doing other artwork for little ballerinas in the future?"

Susan: "Yes. I already have sketches in the works. There are so many precious scenes to portray of these little dancers that I can't wait to put them down on paper! "

Ballet Ballet: Is there anything else you would like to add? We really appreciate you sharing your art with us and the discount code too! 

Susan: "Thank you so much! I appreciate your sharing my work with other little ballerina enthusiasts out there! "

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Twerking Will Die Tomorrow, but the True Art of Dancing Will Live on Forever

Zachary Prentice and Kaya Aman, ballet dancers on the CW reality series Breaking Pointe, dance in a dramatic short film that takes place in an unexpected location.


Director: Matthew Irving
Camera: Blake Hendrix
Dancers: Zachary Prentice & Kaya Aman
Music: "The Awakening"
Composed by: Andy Quinn
Courtesy of: De Wolfe Music USA

Zachary and Kaya  star in “For In This Space I Dream” (, a short ballet film about human desire, dreams, and the endless search to find oneself.
In an age where twerking is confused for dancing, it’s nice to take a step back and appreciate the human form and what it can do, without feeling like you want to punch someone in the face.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Searching for Perfection: Interview with Joy Womack and Nikita Ivanov

You may or may not know that I have been following Joy Womack's story for a long time. Sometimes I post pictures of her or share videos. I posted right away when I found out that she was the first American woman accepted in the Bolshoi company (read it here) . Joy said it best when she said "Dreams do come true". She is an inspration to me and I want to share more of her story with you. 

There is documentary being released called Searching for Perfection and I am excited to post a quick Q & A about the movie with Joy and Nikita. I have tons of ballet documentaries and I am really excited about the movie. =) 

Watch the trailer and then read my interview with Joy and Nikita below. 

1. Could you please tell us a little what the documentary is about?

Joy: I think the film is first and foremost a window into what we as artists live. Our struggles and our victories. It focuses primarily with the small things in our daily routine with some interview about our background and our dreams...

2. The short films are usually created by young independent filmmakers with very low or zero budgets, without any studio involved. Were not you afraid to be part of such a project?

Joy: At first I said yes and was very excited and then I realized the commitment and became scared. Then I realized the youth is for the young and risks should be taken in order for growth. I am so amazed at what the team put together. They are all so dedicated to their craft and passions and it was inspiring to work with! 

Nikita: No, I was not afraid at all, it was rather interesting. The team which created the film is very diverse, interesting and motivated to make a unique story. In the filming process we’ve become so close together and sharing a common goal.

3. The documentary focuses quite a lot on your private life. Your fans definitely will enjoy it. Was it difficult decision for you to open your private life to the audience?

Joy: I think back now and I know in this film it will be a very intimate look into my experience my first year. I was very delicate in a way and they caught that struggle on camera. It’s amazing how fast we grow and change... I am for it because its interesting to collaborate with other artists and open up the good and the bad. But the future is long and sometimes life definitely gives you forks in the road. Who knows where we will be in 10 to 15 years... and I am grateful that I’ll be able to look back on this film almost like a yearbook. 

Nikita: When it comes to a good story I am all right with it, why not) I trust the director’s vision and ready to any interesting ideas.

4. Were you involved in editing process or let the filmmakers decide what is the best for the film?

Joy: I think the film producers and editors did a great job getting what they wanted to share out there in a beautiful way. I feel like we may have suggested a couple things here and there but for the most part it was there call))).

5. Are you satisfied with the final cut?

Joy: I am excited to see the reactions of the viewers but most of all I really hope it blesses Dina and her wonderful team!

Nikita: I like it!


You can find out more about Joy on her website and learn more about the movie at . 

You can LIKE the movie on facebook here...

The film is produced by Dina Burlis and you can read more about her here...

Joy and Nikita © Searching for Perfection

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Pointe Shoe Recommendation

Below is my recommendation. You can try to get one done at You have to be a member to post. It is a heavily moderated forum (which is a good thing). Be sure to follow the rules for posting and all guidelines. Have your mom help you. My recommendation came from an ex-ballet dancer, company shoe mistress and ballet teacher as well as mother to a male dancer. 

This is the information my mom provided: 

Picture links below for pointe shoe recommendations. Age 14.

Intermediate. Dancing 10 years on pointe for 3. 
Length Right foot 9.25-9.5"
Length Left foot 9.5 "
Width Right and Left foot 4.5"
Big toe Right and Left Foot 3.5"
US Street Shoe Size 7.5-8 depends on shoe in suffolks album you can see them on a foot sizer.
  Her right foot is nicer and she complains that feet don't pointe or show well in the shoes she has tried when doing center work. Trouble rolling through. Nothing seems to be an extension of her foot. Just klunky. People have also suggested sewing the heel and 3/4 shanking.

1. Her feet


2. Her feet in Bloch Euro Balance 6.5xxx great for turning - heel looks terrible, does not show arch, sole of shoe seems to cover  so much surface area! It's very big and bulky.


3. Her feet in Suffolks 6xxx - look a bit nicer but she doesn't turn or go over box as well. Was thinking about trying the stellars that are lower profile.
Thank you for your help!

Reply from the expert =) 

I think the Stellar may end up being the one. Have her start with size 6.5 XX (as per Mark himself)

She has a tapered toe configuration, meaning she needs to stay away from square shoes like the European Balance. She has compressible feet as well. She definitely has a space between her big toe and 2nd, which is causing the beginning of what could be bunions, so there are some strengthening exercises I think she needs to do daily. Her 5th, 4th, and 3rd toenails need to be shorter than they are too. I will write more later but am off to an appt.

Your dd uses her feet really well, and I do see what she is saying about the inequality between her 2 feet. Fortunately, she should be able to improve in the way she'd like! She will have to be diligent in doing daily exercises, but it should be able to be remedied. Your dd has low profile so low profile shoes will be necessary. She needs a medium weight shank so "Standard" or "Medium" or 1.8mm-2.0mm should work well for her. Her vamp length should probably be around 4 1/4"- 4.5", but no longer. Her side seams should be kept lower to show off her insteps- somewhere around 2" or lower should work.

She may want to be sure that she's working equally on both legs, and should probably stay away from spending time working on "the good side". That means choosing variations that might contain work that is done on her weaker side, and ensuring that she works equally in class. Theraband work would benefit her, and it would be good to get a PT's opinion in order to help maximize her progress. She seems to be well on her way!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

San Diego School of Ballet Student Show - Coppelia

Short summary of Coppelia:

Coppélia is a life size dancing doll created by Dr Coppelius. The doll is so lifelike that Franz, a young man from the village, becomes infatuated with her thinking she it is a real girl. He sets aside his true love, Swanhilde, and develops a plan to meet Coppélia. Swanhilde dresses as the doll, pretending to make it come alive, and saves Franz from a terrible fate at the hands of the inventor. It is a playful and fun ballet! If you have not seen it you should definitely make a point of it.

Here are some rehearsal videos of our show. I will load  show videos asap. We rehearsed ever Saturday and Sunday for about 3 months.

Fernando Martin-Gullans (14), Erick Garnica (17), Brittney Geoghegan - Coppelia/Swanhilde (15), Robbie Downey (14) , Polina Rozhkova (17) , Sara Yuen (17), Sophia T (14), Ruby Clementine Kerncamp (17), and Grace (13)

Staged by Maxim Tchernychev

Monday, March 18, 2013

Modas Dance Workshops and my Collaboration with Duncan Cooper!!

I will be working with Modas Dance teacher and choreographer Duncan Cooper April 18-19! Duncan was a Principal Dancer of 9 years with Dance Theatre of Harlem and also spent several years at San Francisco Ballet. We are collaborating on a contemporary piece, meaning he's choreographing it on me! I seriously can not tell you how excited I am to work with THE Duncan Cooper. And I should add the piece will be on pointe. That should be a challenge but I am looking forward to being challenged like that! As you know I am counting the days until I leave for Mr. Ellison's Ballet Summer Intensive in NYC so this is a nice opportunity to help me make it through until summer. Modas Dance has a great summer intensive in New Mexico that runs the same time I will be gone. But if you haven't decided where to go yet you can still submit by video to Modas or come to one of their workshops scheduled in April. If you are local to San Diego I hope you will come take this workshop with me! 

I will also be documenting my work with Duncan and making youtube videos for you guys! I might even be able to talk him into doing some Pas de Deux with me!

Also, many people have asked about my yagp videos. I will post them as soon as they are available! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Free Ballet App! How long can you last before you get tricked?

Get it free HERE   PSYMON SAYS

There are six 2d cartoon characters to choose from, each has his or her own unique animations. Characters include a skater, BALLERINA, pop dancer, martial artist, and your average boy and girl.
The rules of the game are simple, but Psymon Says will challenge anyone’s ability to stay focused and pay attention. The goal is to follow what Psymon Says and not get tricked into making a mistake. Nobody likes to be tricked, but Psymon tricks everyone. The best anyone can do is to see how long they can last before getting tricked. Here is a short explanation of the rules.
1. Only follow what Psymon says. Example: When you hear “Psymon Says jump kick!”, swipe up.
2. Swipe another direction when it’s not what Psymon says. Example: When you hear “Now jump kick!”, swipe down instead of up.
3. Swipe before the green timer bar is full to receive combo points. Combo streaks can quickly increase the score.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3/4/5 Gen) and iPad
* Requires iOS 4.3 or later
* 39.3 MB
Pricing and Availability:
Psymon Says – Simon Says Game 1.1.5 is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.
Get it free HERE 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pointe Shoe Quest! Fitting Freed Pointe Shoes and More.

This is a post compiled of information obtained in an email conversation with a very helpful online friend. She danced professionally for 17 years and began ballet at age 6, pointe at 11, and thought that she could help share some advice from her own seemingly endless pointe shoe quest. She danced professionally in numerous companies, US and European and we are so excited to have her insight!

Thank you Kelly!

All about FREED in Kelly's words.

In the end I found my shoe to be a Freed Wing Block maker Crown with cut down sides and lowered heel. Similar to Robbie,  I have wide, rather square feet with a narrow heel.  Now these shoes were a special order, but if you really are interested in trying to find a Freed shoe, maybe at least for auditions or performances, I would suggest you try to find a stock shoe in a maker that suits your toe configuration and then build a special order from that (shorten vamp, lower profile, cut down heel to help eliminate bagginess, customize shank, etc).  The beauty of Freed is that you can change almost anything once you find the right length and maker.  There is a spreadsheet I have with all the current Freed makers and their box shapes from tapered to wide and square, it might help if you are in a store looking by yourself.

My recommendation is to contact Clara76 (screen name) on “Ballet Talk for Dancers by Invision” .  I read the pointe shoe posts weekly and am amazed how she can fit shoes, Freeds are her specialty, by looking at some photos of your feet and certain measurements.  She is the shoe mistress for BalletMet and knows Freed, the makers, and how to help fix issues through special orders like nobody I have ever met.  I would highly consider sending her the photos and measurements and photos they request and see what she suggests for size and makers to try.

The other shoe fitter on the site is Victoria Leigh and she could help with suggestions on shoes by all available brands.  You have too beautiful of feet to be hiding your arches, whereas the right Freeds would be beautiful on you.  Keep in mind though that Freeds, in general, are a softer shoe and will break down faster than say, Grishko.  When I did not have a company paying for all of my shoes (sometimes 7-10 pairs a week) I would wear Grishko in class and rehearsal and Freeds for dress rehearsals and performances because you can break them in quickly and they are quiet on stage.

Otherwise, if you find yourself in NYC this summer for a SI make sure to make an appointment at the Freed USA store in Long Island (check out their Facebook page).  I would ask to be fitted by Brenda, Marie, or Mary.  Another source to check out a little more about Freed would be posts on YouTube.  Check out the youtube video featuring Marie Johanssen talking about makers and different toe configurations. (embedded below)

Personal tip for Robbie: From watching Robbie's past videos I would stick to a classic Freed and stay away from the Freed studio line.  They have a very strong 2.5 shank and can be hard to break in even for taller and heavier dancers.  Robbie may also want to ask her teachers about 3/4 shanking her shoes.  It is easy to do yourself and would really emphasize her arch.  I would experiment on an old pair of Suffolks before trying on a new shoe since it does feel different. 

Quick Tip: If you know your current Suffolk size that would be the same as your Freed size. Freeds are generally fitted 2 1/2 sizes down from USA shoe sizing.

The life of a pre-professional ballet dancer - Interview w/ Scout Forsythe age 16

Get your popcorn ready. Fifteen minutes talking to Scout Forsythe about the last few months. She talks about YAGP France, scholarship offers, attending JKO and ABT company class with Paloma Herrera and David Hallberg , pancaking shoes and she even gave me a signed pair that she wore in YAGP France 2013 to auction off as a fundraiser for my SI ! The link will be at when I have it ready .

Tips on Traveling with a Tutu with Scout Forsythe

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Q & A with Flexibility Expert Stacey Nemour

At present, Stacey has six DVDs available, Anytime, Anywhere Kung Fu, Secrets of Splits & Flexibility, Extreme Flexibility for Pro-Athletes & Teams, Stretching for the Least Flexible People On The Planet, Flexibility Fixes for Golfers & Tennis Players, and Secrets of Splits & Flexibility 2. She contributes articles regularly to the Huffington Post on: Kung Fu, Meditation, Flexibility, Spirituality, Health and Well-Being. She also helps prepare accomplished synchronized swimmers and rhythmic gymnasts for competition. Stacey has her sights set on shooting more DVDs, to move into more t.v. and action films, while continuing to be a positive female role model in the martial arts. 

Stacey is available for private lessons, small group classes, seminars, and consultation. Please use the "contact" link at to enquire about Stacey's program.

Q: Should I stretch everyday and what time of day is best?

A: I stretch everyday and what time of day is best? I feel everyone is different, for example some people are morning people and that time works best for them. I peak in the early afternoon. Also it is important to pick a time that works with your schedule and commit to that as you would brushing your teeth. Listen to your own body clock in regards to best time of day. 

It's alway good to warm up and cool down before and after you train.  For serious or professional dancers or athletes, 5- 6 days a week of stretching is good with 1 or 2 rest days a week. The body needs time to process, heal and repair. As far as daily training in your sport, it helps to cross train and work different muscle groups. So the other muscles can repair. This helps one progress. Most importantly, make sure you are stretching correctly with good form. Never force or bounce.

Q: What are the most important areas or muscle groups to stretch for increased flexibility for legs (for arabesque, develope, split leaps, splits etc)?

A: Since everything is connected- it's good to take the time to stretch the entire body and do it in the correct order. I like to start with upper body to get the energy going. Then work my way down, with each stretch gradually becoming more intense. Don't forget to stretch your calves, it will make it easier to stretch the hamstrings and low back. You want to get that whole line stretched.

Make sure you really open up your outer hips (t-band) & stretch the waist to get the low back to open up. Don't forget the inner thighs too which is also a necessary area to prep to do moves listed above in the question. Ankle weights are good once you are warmed up they help tired and strengthen the muscles to help you go the extra length!


Q: How do I know if I am overdoing it? 

A: If you are feeling constant fatigue, soreness and your body is not performing at it's best. I recommend getting plenty of sleep and taking some rest days so the body can repair and store up energy. This will help tremendously. Also, massage and going for a walk can help get rid of the lactic acid.


Q: How can I recover flexibility after a hamstring injury? 

A: It's helpful if you are able to see a chiropractor that does the activator method and knows how to use the activator gun. You don't want to stop training completely. Train around the injury with stretching and in your sport. This will keep you in shape and get blood circulating to the injured area.This method can help one come back even stronger. Don't do anything that causes the bad kind of pain. It also helps to visualize and see your body pain free and in top form.

Stacey's complete bio and DVD's are available at...

Stacey's articles in the Huffington Post

Stacey also provides expert instruction in the DVD "Flexibility Training on StretchGym™" (