Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ellison Ballet Year Round Professional Training Program Week 1 and 2 -Robbie Downey

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Hi everyone!!! So I made it to New York! My flight took off around 1pm on September 5th and I made it to the city a little after 9pm.  I had two large suitcases, a carry on suitcase, and a backpack. Once I got outside one of the workers asked if I wanted to use one of the carts that people left. Usually you would have to pay for it, but there were a couple sitting around. It really helped getting my luggage to the taxi stand.  I think I got to the dorms sometime after 10pm, there was a decent amount of traffic. It felt a lot like leaving for my summer intensive but I would be gone much longer this time! Only home for holidays.

My going away party with all of my best friends and sister! 

At the airport. No crying! 

I currently have a pretty small room. My roommate didn't come until that Monday, so it was fine for just me.  Once all of our stuff was in here together, it was tight.  We haven't really finished unpacking.  I then saw my friends room the next day and it was way bigger! We are supposed to be moving rooms in October.

I couldn't really fall asleep until around 3am, which is 12am California time.  The next day I woke up around 11 am. Before I headed out I facetimed with my friends Audrey and Sophie.  I eventually got ready and then headed to Juice Generation.  I got the Smooth Strawberry Smoothie and added spinach.  It was really good, I could only taste the fruit! After this I headed to Bed Bath and Beyond to grab some things for my room.  I then headed back to the dorms, and went to go say hi to some of my friends.  I then came back to my room and facetimed my sister for a bit.

On Monday my friend Gloria and I headed out.  We stopped at Columbus circle and I grabbed an acai bowl from Jamba Juice. We didn't really know what to do so we walked down to 66th and then headed to the area of the dorms.  We didn't want to go back  inside yet, so her roommate met us.  We then looked in a couple of stores, one of them was Urban Outfitters.  After this I went to get my eyebrows threaded...much needed!!  Once I got back to the dorms I met my roommate! Her name is Emma and she is really nice! After I talked with her and her mom for a few minuets, I went downstairs to say hi to my friend Gillian, who I know from summer. Then my friend Taylor and I headed to Trader Joes to grab a few groceries. I love TJ! ;)  Once I was back I went to Whole Foods and then down to hang out with my friends in one of their rooms.

Some of my friends and I needed to go pick up our white leotards from Grishko. We have a set style we are to buy made by Ainslie Wear.  I also had to pick up a pair of Grishko flat shoes.  We then headed to Capezio, which was near by, to see if they had any of the Prima Soft stretchy ribbons. They didn't have the exact ones I use so I just ended up ordering them from Discount Dance.
Tutu in the Grishko Store.

A cute baby shoe in the Grishko Store. 

On the Wednesday before I left California, my foot started bothering me.  It hurt to press on my metatarsal below my third and fourth toes.  It also hurt on releve.  It was more of a sore pain, but I was still worried.  On Wednesday morning my foot felt way better, but I was still going to let my teacher, Ms. Forrest, know about it.

I arrived to the studio around 9:30 to warm up.  We had technique class at 10:30 am and then pointe afterwards.  For the first three days we started off really slow, like we were beginners.  We did every combination facing the barre and they were all basic and slow.  It is amazing to start off this way because you get to pick everything apart.  This is so helpful because most of us learned new things that are extremely important to work on.  Ms. Forrest finds all the little details, which are extremely important to our technique.  Our barre on the first day was probably around two hours.  Mainly because we were moving slow and talking a lot about corrections. We did a little bit of center work and pointe work.  After this we had an hour break and then orientation.
Gaynor Minden Paws! 

After my first day at Ellison I headed over to Gaynor Minden to go try on some leotards for them as fit models. Another Gaynor Girl was also there, her name is Abby.  Before we tried on the leotards they took a look at our custom shoes.  They thought mine looked good, so I would let them know how I liked them once I sewed them.  When we were trying on our shoes, two of the dancers from Trockadero came in to pick up their pointe shoes! I thought it was so cool!!! Trockadero is male dancers on pointe. It's a great, fun show! Basically we tried on a new design that is still in the making!  I also met Eliza; she designed and developed Gaynor Mindens!!
Gaynor Minden Paws and Sweater Tights! <3

On Thursday morning before class we all helped each other review combinations.  We learn new combinations at the beginning of the week and continue using them for the rest of the week.  Usually she will add to the combinations or add additional combinations.  We were all sore and it lasted the rest of the week!

After class, during our break, I usually like to write down corrections in my notebook.  I already bought mine before the program started, but Ms. Forrest recommended for all of us to buy one.  It is extremely helpful because there is so much information being given to you, so if you write it down you will always have it there.  Also, in companies they don't usually work on technique.  Sure you may get a few simple corrections here and there, but its mainly class and then rehearsals.  Ms. Forrest said that these notebooks will most likely help us in the future.  It will always be nice to review the corrections and to have them written down.

Friday was pretty similar to the rest of the days.  Slower technique and pointe class followed by workshop later in the day. In workshop this past week we just worked on technique.  We were able to ask questions about some of our corrections.

After class on Friday, Gillian, Taylor, and I went to 16 Handles, and the looked around Urban Outfitters.
Me at Urban.

On Saturday morning I went to brunch with some of my friends from Ellison. We went to The Butcher's Daughter and it was soo good! It was a super cute restaurant.  We then walked down Mulberry St.  Later in the day we walked around So Ho for a bit.  I then came back to the dorms and hung out with some of my friends there.
The Butcher's Daughter! I had French Toast! =)

On Sunday I went to go take Mr. Ellison's class at Steps.  It was a good class for me!  After class we all talked with Mr. Ellison for about an hour and a half.  Some of us asked questions; I asked about how to get a deeper demi plie  He gave us some ways to help loosen the top of the ankle.  There is this little spot of the ankle that gets tense.  If you flex your foot, it is the indent right in the middle of the ankle.  He massaged mine on one foot and it actually hurt!  You can feel it more when someone massages it for you, rather than when you do it on yourself. 
Me with Taylor and Alejandro at Steps.

Rainy day in the city.


On Monday we had technique class at 10:30.  Ms. Forrest assigned us barre spots, which she hasn't done before so we were all curious to know why.  In the studio we were in for class I couldn't see myself.  This is good sometimes so you can feel what you are doing, rather than constantly looking at yourself in the mirror.  Class was "slower" today because we were learning the combinations and talking more in-between.  We now have one hand on the barre, but are still going on the simpler side. Class actually went by super fast.  It was almost 12:30 and we were still on barre! We did a little bit of center and then had to end.  After our hour lunch break we continued a bit of class and then went into pointe work.  Yay!!! We had pas de deux at the end of the day from 2:30-4!  My partner is Arne, but sometimes I go with Forrest.  Mr. Ellison said we are going to start with simpler combinations and slowly build up.  We also have to remember our combinations for partnering class.

After class on Tuesday we all sat down and had a really nice talk with Ms. Forrest.  We all talked about the coming year and how we should not bring ourselves down.  Do not constantly be like, "oh that was terrible", or, "I suck, I can't do this." Be positive about everything!!  We are such a great group and we are all willing to help each other!

Everyday class starts at 10:30 am.  Before class on Tuesday we all reviewed combinations together. Technique class is supposed to go from 10:30am-12:30pm but we went over into our pointe class for a bit.  After this we then put our pointe shoes on and worked until 1:30pm.  We then had workshop at the end of the day.
Heading to class.

Wednesday was the same schedule as Monday.  In Pas de Deux we started working on The Nutcracker Grand Pas de Deux!  The music is so pretty and I am really excited to work on this pas! We ended up going over 30 minutes, working on this pas de deux.  After classes, I went to Central Park with a couple of my friends.  Once I was back at the dorms I facetimed my sister for a bit.  I miss everyone from home so much!!!!!

In workshop on Thursday, Ms. Forrest wanted to do a pirouette combination and a Grande Allegro combination, but we ended up only working on pirouettes.  We spent a majority of the time working on chaines.  She had us go in partners and film each other.  We then analyzed the videos.  Ms. Forrest would tell us to look at only one part of our body at a time.  I learned so much from doing this and now I know how much goes into something like chaine turns. 
Stretching after class.
We all love to help each other! My friend Brianna giving me a few corrections! =)

I woke up Friday Morning and received and email saying that Mr. Ellison would be teaching our technique class!  He wanted to see what we have been working on, so we used Ms. Forrest barre combinations.  We did a short center but continued working for a bit into our break.  After our break we had pointe class with Ms. Forrest.  I finally received my ribbons and had sewed my new custom pointe shoes the night before! I really like how they are looking.  My bunions (especially  my left one) get slightly irritated in new pointe shoes, so I changed into my previous pair before pas de deux.

On Saturday I slept in! I love sleeping in hehe.  At around 12 I did some laundry and then headed to this clothing store that was having a huge sale! I have been looking for some type of black booties for a while now, so that was my main reason for going in.  My friends Gillian and Emma also came.  The store was pretty crazy but I ended up getting these cute black booties for 10 bucks! Yay! After this I headed back to the dorms for a bit and then my friends and I grabbed a quick lunch from Whole Foods.  Gillian and I then explored Home Goods...I love that store. ;)  I then headed to Bed Bath and Beyond to get a blender.  I can't wait to make smoothies now!  Later in the evening I made some dinner and then went to 16 Handles with my friend Juliette.

At 12:30pm on Sunday is Mr Ellison's class at Steps. I went to go take his class and it went well! After class me and some of my friends went to Levain Bakery. Ahh they have such amazing cookies! I then went and got a few things from Trader Joe's.  Later in the evening I hung out with some of my friends at the dorms.  

Thanks for reading! My schedule is crazy but I will blog as much as possible. And thank you BC for making writing this blog on a laptop possible =)))))

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We now have MERDE sweats at . Christmas MERDE shirts coming soon. 
So excited for Fall!

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

What's in my Gaynor Minden Ballet Bag...

In case you haven't heard yet, I have been selected by Gaynor Minden to represent the brand as a Gaynor Girl! I was happy to accept because I actually wear Gaynor Minden Pointe shoes and I genuinely LOVE them! They never pay dancers to wear their shoes so anyone you see in this program is wearing them by choice! 

In the future I will be featured on the Gaynor Minden website and their social networks. I may get to test and review new products, I may be featured in advertising or appear in photo or video shoots!! Gaynor Girls are pre-professional students who have chosen to train and perform in Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, exclusively. If you are not familiar with the brand please visit to read about these amazing shoes and see other great products like the ones featured in my video below. 

I have already been asked to make a visit to the Gaynor Minden showroom in New York City this month. I will be sure to post about what I am doing there! Check out my video below to see my new custom Gaynors I was fitted for in NYC this summer. And if you are wondering why I am returning to NY so soon after summer intensives... just watch the video! 

Thanks for following the journey. Some of you have been watching since I was 10 and had my first lesson on pointe! Six years! If you would like to sponsor me and see what I am up to visit

If you spend $50+ at and use code GGRD in September 2015 you will get a FREE pair of TLC pointe shoe ribbons. So worth it to save your Achilles!! They stretch! 

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Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for updates from NYC!



PS: Check out the inside of my custom shoes! Too cool.