Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sylvie Guillem - A Life in Progress


On Saturday September 14th,  I was lucky enough to be able to see one of Sylvie Guillem's final performances ever!! I went with a few of my friends from Ellison Ballet. This show was her last performance in the U.S. I am a huge fan of her as a dancer and also as a human being. Sylvie is also a big supporter of Sea Shepherd, a non-profit that defends the oceans, and she is also vegan!!! Yay!! I have recently gone vegan but have been a vegetarian my whole life. She is an inspiring role model. Sylvie is now 50 years old and her career was about 35 years. I feel honored to have been able to watch her farewell.

Laurent Hilaire and Sylvie Guillem rehearsing at the Royal Ballet School in 1992. (Michael Ward/Getty Images)

 A quick pic before heading in.

My friend, Ashlyn, went to go see her perform on Thursday and I asked her how it was and she had a loss for words.  When I saw Sylvie perform her first piece, I felt the same.  The choreography of the first piece was so different and unique but it suited Sylvie very well and she performed it with perfection.  I could really feel her emotion of the piece too.  I mean it is so hard to explain any of these pieces because it was just so incredible.  You would really have to witness it live.

All dressed up and ready for the show

The next piece was a duo choreographed by William Forsythe with two male dancers, also contemporary.  It was quite interesting because it started out with no music; just the two men dancing with each other.  They connected their movements together nicely and it was almost like one did a movement and then the other would sort of react to it or continue it.  To me it seemed like that some parts were as if one was a shadow of the other.  Sylvie came on in this piece near the end for about 30 seconds or so.  Ashlyn said she didn't do this on Thursday night.

Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts in Duo2015. Photo: Bill Cooper

Sylvie then did a duo (Here and After) with Emanuela Montanari (La Scala).  It was choreographed by Russel Maliphant. They danced so in sync and I really liked the choreography and music.  I couldn't see this from my seat, but if you sat a little higher you could see the lights on the floor.  The lights would go with the music or where Sylvie and moved across the stage.

During intermission we all met up and we were all in shock that we were actually seeing Sylvie perform live!!!

The final piece was titled "Bye" (choreo by Mats EK). It started out with this rectangle screen near upstage left. (If you are on watching from the audience it would be considered upstage/rear right)  It had a projection on it with Sylvie.  She would then dance with this projection. It was hard to tell if the projection was actually Sylvie in that moment or not because she was so in sync with it. In some points throughout the piece I thought that it was filming her and then projecting it onto the screen live.  Thats how in sync with it she was! Again, hard to explain but amazing to watch. If it comes out on DVD I would definitely buy it. 

After this piece was performed, Sylvie came out to bow and she got a standing ovation from the sold out theater!!! It probably lasted for about 10-15 minutes! People handed her flowers from the front row. I wish I was sitting there!

I then met my friends outside the theater and we headed to the stage door.  There was already a decent amount of people waiting.  Some of my friends were closer to the door, but Gillian, Claire and I stayed back a bit but were in the center facing the door where we thought she would exit. We had to wait for about 45 minutes, but it was definitely worth it!

There was a security guard there and they had this pretty organized. Sylvie stayed inside this area in the doorway. People were allowed through the doorway in groups and she took several group pictures.  If you wanted something signed you would just hand it to her and she would go through the pile signing everything. She already had a sharpie.  I had her sign my pointe shoe.

I am so grateful to have been able to see this idol perform and I am still in shock that I got to meet her.  Sylvie is a beautiful person and dancer.

Thanks for reading and keep dancing! 



Sunday, November 8, 2015

What every dancer should know about flexibility training...

Just as we need to go to dance class regularly to progress, we also need instruction and time devoted to improving flexibility to keep moving forward.  You can try to learn all the dance moves under the sun, but until you have gained flexibility you will not be able to perform the movements with the full range of motion or do it with proper alignment.

Me working with Mira (Ballet Dancer, CA)

The more you dance the stronger you get which may make you get tighter.  The body must be kept in balance with a comprehensive flexibility training program to avoid pain, injury and frustration.  Control and balance come from a specific kind of flexibility training that involves working on flexibility while standing up, only after you are completely warmed up and opened up to perform at maximum capacity.

Even people who are naturally very flexible need a certain kind of flexibility/core strength training to get control or can perform like floppy loose noodle without clean lines. Because they may feel like they are already flexible and don’t have to work for it, when can lead to compensating when performing without proper alignment.  Usually tighter people are good jumpers and naturally very flexible dancers tend to have to work at getting good height. The best way to do this is create a routine of different kinds of jumping drills.

"I've REALLY noticed how tight I am with all the extra dancing now that I am in the year round Professional Training Program at Ellison Ballet.  I know I am getting stronger and it definitely makes me feel tight. I try to do Stacey's recommended stretches as much as possible and regularly practice with her DVD "Proven Flexibility Solutions for Dancers" to keep conditioned." Robbie Downey

The good news is anyone can become more flexible if they do the right stretches in the correct order. Rather than holding the stretch while in pain and being stuck there, repeat the more difficult stretches until it starts to get easier each time.  In order to make noticeable progress deep breathing is required while relaxing as you exhale and sink into each stretch.

flexibility with robbie downey
With Robbie Downey

Always honor the body by warming up. Aches and pain is the body’s way of talking to you, in most cases a complete flexibility session is all that is needed to clear any issues.   After a session my clients are usually shocked that they can dance without pain and are actually capable of having the flexibility they have always dreamed of. 

The bar is always being raised higher and higher on dance, skating, gymnastics and with all sports to perform with the highest range of motion possible.  The best way to increase flexibility is for to work it in as part of your regular  training regimen  and it will pay off. 

Keeping myself flexi! 

Adult Ballerina En Pointe has a testimonial here on here blog. READ HERE

Here are many more testimonials and before and after images LOOK HERE

Stephen's progress 

A great place to start is at the beginning. No matter how advanced you think you are it is vital to have proper alignment and to do the stretches in order. I created a program especially for this called Proven Flexibility Solutions for Dancers.

DVD Review:

"Proven Flexibility Solutions for Dancers" is an excellent routine to help keep dancers properly stretched.  It addresses some common issues and needs dancers have in terms of stretching that often go unaddressed.  I have found that it is a brief video that doesn't take a ton of time out of my day, but still provides significant results.  As a dancer, I appreciate that I can get results with this video to help me stay on track in between longer sessions and stretch routines.  It is a valuable part of my regular training routine. 

Lauren Michael competitive dancer

Lauren on working one on one with Stacey...

"Training with Stacey has been an incredible experience. Her focused, individualized approach, and expertise has proven to be invaluable. I've made improvements beyond what I ever thought possible, and it's really been a game changer for me and my dancing." 

Thank you for reading and good luck! 


Stacey Nemour 

Stacey Nemour is a Internationally recognized highly respected martial artist and flexibility master. She is known as a voice for transformation through her extensive DVD line and as a regular blogger on the Huffington Post on topics about: Kung Fu, flexibility, injury prevention, raising consciousness, sports performance, healing, meditation, and well-being. Her work also has been featured in  other numerous publications including Inside Kung Fu, Masters of Kung Fu, Self Magazine, Dutch Yoga Magazine and most recently a spread in four issues of Kung Fu Magazine. Her flexibility systems are used by: Internationally by recognized MMA fighters, Celebrities, Gymnast, Ice Skaters, Professional Soccer, NBA players, Baseball players, Ballerinas and dancers for competitive preparation at the national and Olympic level.

 In addition to appearing on Fox Sports 11 News and guest starring in the popular TV show Power Rangers, Stacey has worked as a fight double on television shows and performed in select video games She also was hired by the inventor of the StretchGym to help design the flexibility training program and performs this in the DVD that comes with the apparatus.  Her latest video “Proven Flexibility Solutions for Dancers” with dancer in training Robbie Downey now available @ . For more information and her DVD line : ;Stacey is available for private flexibility coaching sessions in person or via Skype for people out of Southern California.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

World Ballet Day 2015 Creates Ballet Addicts Worldwide!

The 2nd Annual World Ballet Day has come and gone!  I wish it lasted longer than just a day! Like many other dancers and fans I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH! This is the second year that they have done a live streaming of 5-6 major companies across the world.  World Ballet Day was born out of Royal Ballet Live, a nine-hour live stream on YouTube and The Guardian website in March of 2012. The event achieved 200,000 views of the live stream and repeat broadcast and over 2.5 million views on YouTube to date. 

Here is a video of inside class at the Royal Ballet from 2012 Royal Ballet Live.  

The companies live streamed for 2015 were, The Australian Ballet, The Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and San Francisco Ballet.  This year they also featured smaller segments of other top ballet companies such as ABT, Houston Ballet, Boston ballet, and many others. That's 23 hours of ballet, ballet, BALLET! More than half a million people watched last year's live stream. If you loved the behind the scenes, rehearsals, live classes and interviews be sure to mark your calendar for next year!

If you missed the live streams a link to watch archives is at end of blog.

For me, World Ballet Day started at around 10 pm on September 30.  I watched some of the Australian Ballet's company class before I went to sleep.  I also started live tweeting (@BalletBabble) and posting on my public snap chat. (@theballetbabble).  This kept me up until around midnight, it was so good I just couldn't stop watching!  I wish I could have stayed up to watch the Bolshoi rehearse but I had classes the next day.

When I woke up in the morning I turned on the lifestream to watch The Royal Ballet rehearse. SO GOOD!!!!  I absolutely love The Royal Ballet and it is so amazing to be able to watch them rehearse in the studios.  I continued to get ready for a day of classes as I watched the live stream.   Once I arrived to the studios I updated on snapchat and twitter.  I continued these updates throughout the day.


During our lunch break some of us watched the live stream. It was a segment of Boston Ballet rehearsing the Nutcracker.  We didn't have too long of a break so we couldn't watch The National Ballet of Canada. =(

National Ballet of Canada Artists in rehearsal. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

After classes I headed back to the dorms and turned on the live stream on my computer. The wifi was being difficult so I had to use my hotspot.   My roommate and I were able to watch San Francisco Ballet rehearse Giselle! We saw Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit rehearse the second act. I also spotted Sasha de Sola in the Corps de Ballet. They then ran a second cast with Mathilde Froustey as Giselle. I love how World Ballet Day gives people everywhere a chance to see what it takes to be a dancer and to be in a professional company. I hope it inspires people to take ballet, stay in ballet or go to the ballet!

On the side of the live stream (on youtube) there was a live chat box where you could send comments. Whoever was watching the lifestream could see those comments.  I commented something and then Joy Womack responded to it! Also some people who follow my Youtube page also said hello! It was so cool to talk with Joy and others! I had so much fun!

I wish World Ballet Day would last so much longer.  Good thing we can watch the recorded version of it on Youtube.  I believe there is still footage from last year as well.

Here is where you can watch the recording of the Live Stream!!!!

Thanks for reading and be sure to watch next year!



More about World Ballet Day 2015 HERE  (Dance Informa Magazine)

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