Sunday, January 17, 2016

Improve your Arabesque and Back Strength and How To Take Photos for your Summer Intensive

Check out these videos from me (with Stacey Nemour and Jennifer Curry Wingrove), and fellow youtubers Kathryn Morgan (former soloist NYCB), Clarissa May (Live on Point) and Hannah Ballet!

I am really young in some of these videos (so embarrassing) and my sister is a baby!!!!! So cute.

They are pretty raw but have great info. Always warm up and ask your teacher if you are unsure about an exercise. Be safe when stretching and don't overdo. It takes patience and consistency to build flexibility and strength. You have to be able to hold that leg up there, right?!! You need a strong back and remember to keep your hips square in arabesque . =)

Check out for more great videos you can download! Be sure to watch the HOW TO video below with me and my sister, Kyla, with tips on taking arabesque photos for your summer intensive. Good luck! xo Robbie

Quick note- something I learned at Ellison Ballet: When doing an arabesque, try and get the crease in your hip. Really rotate that thigh when the leg is up in arabesque, you will start to see a "V" shape in the muscles near the hip (when rotated). When closing from arabesque really pull up those stomach muscles and pull the pelvis up to bring the leg down. Pull up the hamstring in the supporting leg and rotate the inner thigh.

I also found a great thread on ! Must read!

Click here to read the thread! 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ellison Ballet Winter Showcase

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Two weeks ago we had our Winter Showcase. I was sooo excited to finally be performing with Ellison Ballet!! It has been my dream since I was 13 to attend the year round program. I have been to NYC every summer since I was 12 and it is my home away from home. I always wanted to watch and be in the showcase but it was not doable for me until now.

Me and Ashlyn Mae. 

I performed in Napoli Pas de Six, Napoli duet, Waltz of the Flowers, and Don Q Coda. I was originally supposed to perform Swan Lake Pas de trios variation and coda, but I was injured and not able to perform the variation :( I'll explain this more in another blog - possibly a posterior ankle impingement. Not sure exactly. So disappointing. But this is part of life as a dancer.

A selfie I sent to my Mom when she asked how I was doing. =( #disappointed 

Overall I was happy with how the shows went! I think we all worked really hard in the rehearsals leading up to the show. Not only that, we took notes and reviewed the corrections with everyone else in the pieces. I think really working together after class especially for Waltz of the Flowers, helped us improve more. (Along with rehearsing it in the studio)

Me and Claire Wilson

For Napoli we got to work with Ms. Karina Elver. She stages Bournonville  pieces on companies around the U.S. She just recently staged a Bournonville piece on Colorado ballet. I loved working with her! She has such great energy! I also loved being able to work on the Bournonville style. It requires a lot of detailed footwork, which is always something to continue working on. It is basically the unfiltered 19th century technique of the French school of classical dance. (

I performed Napoli in the first show (Friday Night). I think it went pretty well overall. I felt some shaky parts but I think for the most part we kept the energy through the whole piece. I had a lot of fun performing the duet with my friend Claire. It was originally a solo variation, but Ms. Elver staged it as a duet. The two girls were very playful with each other, it was kind of like a game. The beginning kind of felt like a game of who could balance longer. Claire and I had a lot of fun playing and working with this piece.

This whole dance requires a lot of stamina, but especially the entrance part. It has a lot of big jumps in it. When we would rehearse it we would run the entrance section over and over again! Definitely good for the lungs! The best is when we went straight from pas de trios rehearsal into Napoli! The lungs were really burning by then! In a way it's a great feeling most dancers will understand. ;)

Gloria Benaglia, Gillian Fitz, Ashlyn Mae and moi

So I was originally supposed to perform the second Swan Lake PDT variation and coda....but I got injured 3 weeks before and wasn't able to rehearse the variation. Yes, I was able to make it through my other pieces with my biscuit foot. Mostly everything was painless on pointe for some time. This variation had toe hops in the beginning....those would hurt sooo bad with my injury. :( Stay tuned for a blog about my foot update.  I was still really happy I was able to perform the other pieces. 
Everything happens for a reason. With this injury I was able to focus on other things during class, such as my alignment, and Ms. Forrest said that had improved in the last few weeks. She said that in a way this is sort of a blessing in a disguise.

The last piece I was in was Don Q coda. This was just the coda at the end of the show after Theo and Juliet's pas. I think everyone worked so hard and performed beautifully! Congrats to everyone! Xo

With Taylor Lim

A little bit about theater week:

Starting the Wednesday before the show we had two full run thorough in the theater at MMAC. ( pretty similar to the one we performed in at Alvin Ailey.) Each day we had two full run throughs, because some pieces had two casts. For the second run throughs I did it on flat and tried to do mostly everything full out. I still wanted to be able to perform in the show, so I didn't want to over push it at the time.

After these run throughs we would go over notes with Ms. Forrest and Mr. Ellison. For the people in Napoli we would go over notes with Ms. Elver.

With Alejandro Andrade and Taylor Lim

Thanks for following the journey!

Love, Robbie