Dancers: Don't Underestimate the Power of...

The dance world gets busy. We are either in class, rehearsals, teching for a show, being sized for costumes or working other jobs to pay the bills. The dance life can become hectic fast, which means things get cut out.

We have to examine what corners we're cutting in order to save time. What we are cutting out or short may be harming our lives or dancing. 

Sarah Lamb in rehearsal by Johan Persson for The Royal Ballet. {Photo by Johan Persson}

So let us take a pause and look at things that may be getting cut from our: 1) Health 2) Personal Lives 3) Dancing. 

"Deafness doesn't keep me from my passion" | Young Dancer Breaks Through Barriers

Sarah Firus-Parlby is a young dancer from New Westminster, BC, Canada. She dances 13 hours a week at K & S Dance Productions studying Acrobatics, Jazz and Contemporary. When Sarah was born, her family thought that she was a "normal baby" until  she was 6 months old. Sarah's mom started to notice that she wasn’t responding to the dog barking from the house next to us and that she didn’t turn her head when her mother called her name. At first, nobody believed Sarah's mom: "People would bang pots and pans behind me; I felt the vibrations and I turned my head," Sarah said. Doctors told Sarah's mom she was hearing just fine. But Sarah's mom knew something wasn't right. 

Photo courtesy of: Sarah Firus-Parlby [Follow Sarah on Instagram: @sarahfirusparlby]

At the age of 2, Sarah's family received confirmation: Sarah was profoundly deaf with no hearing in both ears. Hearing aids didn't work. 

Things Dancers Worry About [And Why You Should or Shouldn't]

The dance world is fast paced, focused but all over the place, driven, difficult, emotionally and physically draining and awesome. But in an environment where so many things are coming and over and twirling and rolling, it can cause anxiety within our dancing bodies. 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "Anxiety helps us get out of harm's way and prepare for important events, and it warns us when we need to take action." Sound familiar, dancers? 

Constantly needing to be alert both physically, mentally and emotionally can create an anxious energy within us which will actually harm our dancing. 

Photo Source: MWMart. Support this Ballerina Etsy Shop here!

Joints: How We Create Shapes and Lines

We are better dancers when we are armed with knowledge. We need to understand our 206 bones (alignment), our muscles (strength v. flexiblity), our joints, our ligaments and our weaknesses. If we know our bodies, then we are better prepared to head into class to control all of those moving parts. Today, we examine our joints.

First, ask yourself:

1. What is always sore after you're finished dancing?

2. What feels tight?

3. What do you feel you need to pop or bang on?

4. Where do you feel like you get stuck?

Now, let us dive into dancer anatomy to try to uncover some of your mysterious aches, pains or challenges.

Photo by: Matthew Fang

Breaking Pointe's Katie Martin on Taking the Plunge Into Ballerina World

You may know her as the spunky ballerina from Breaking Pointe whose season contract was not renewed. But Katie Martin's energy, resilience and firery passion is exactly what pushes her forward in the ballet world. Katie spoke with dance writer, Rachel Hellwig, for Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins to talk life, dance, barre and more!

Photo by: Mike Reid

For the Love of Ballet

Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins' team member, Elizabeth Katherman, recently saw Boston Ballet perform in New York City. She walked away that evening in awe of the power of contemporary ballets and in love with the history of classical ballet. It's an intriguing intersection to see classical ballet, influenced by modern dance, and presented in beautiful contemporary ballets. Read more:

Photo: Boston Ballet’s Symphony in Three Movements ©The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Gene Schiavone

Sarah Wroth of Boston Ballet: Living Her Art with Passion and Skill

To celebrate 50 years of dancing seasons Boston Ballet heads to New York City to perform challenging and visually intriguing ballets.

For their 2014 celebration at Lincoln Center, Boston Ballet will be performing The Second Detail by William Forsythe, Resonance by José Martinez, Cacti by Alexander Ekman, Symphony in Three Movements by George Balanchine, Afternoon of a Faun by Vaslav Nijinsky, Plan to B by Jorma Elo and Bella Figura by Jirí Kylián.

We spoke with Sarah Wroth, a dancer finishing up her eleventh season with Boston Ballet. Sarah began her training at the Frederick School of Classical Ballet in Frederick, Maryland, studying under Joyce Morrison. In 2003, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ballet and Education from Indiana University and joined Boston Ballet where she also served as a teacher for Boston Ballet's School and adaptive program.

Sarah spoke with us about the preparations and performance excitement for the New York City 50th celebration of Boston Ballet.

Photo: Altan Dugaraa, Sarah Wroth, and Yury Yanowsky in Kylián’s Bella Figura; Photo by Gene Schiavone

Pointe Shoes: Finding the Perfect Shoe For You

Let's talk pointe shoes! They are beautiful, but they can be high-maintenance, painful little monsters. Josephine, an expert pointe shoe fitter from Southern California created The Pointe Shop, a mobile pointe shoe store that comes to you and finds the perfect shoe for your foot. Josephine, who trained in classical ballet herself, saw there was a need to find proper shoes for ballerinas.

"I see a lot of dancers stop pointe work because they get frustrated with their shoes, but it doesn’t have to be the case," Josephine said. "If the dancer is in the right shoes, they will be able to dance more beautifully, safely and easily. The dancer should be able to focus on improving their dancing abilities without worrying about their shoes. That’s our job!"

Photo: Josephine, who learned how to fit pointe shoes from her mother, is trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop and tap.

What Dancers Want You to Know About the Free People Ballet Line

Free People, a clothing boutique that opened in the 1970s and today has three wholesale showrooms in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, recently posted a photo on their Instagram announcing their new ballet line. The ballet world is stunned, a little hurt, but mostly - it has everyone talking.

Photo posted on Free People's Instagram account announcing the new line.

Teaching Ballet: The Royal Ballet School Visits Richmond Ballet

Written by: Meredith Lee and Sheena Jeffers

We've all been there. A famous teacher from a prestigious institution comes into your studio to teach class, and instantly it's like you've never taken a technique class in your life! Your hands clam up, you clench the barre, you force your turn out, and is it just me? Or does gravity seem to be extra powerful today?

But stellar ballet educators, Mark Annear and Jay Jolley from The Royal Ballet School and Judy Jacob of The School of Richmond Ballet know just how to break through students' nerves and anxieties to pull the best out of their ballet training. The goals: remain cool, calm and collected; to keep a clear head and stay focused on personal goals.

Recently, The School of Richmond Ballet hosted The Royal Ballet School where Mark Annear, Head of Outreach and Teacher Training for The Royal Ballet School, and Jay Jolley, Acting Director of The Royal Ballet School, gave master classes to students and workshops to ballet teachers. The visit gave the schools and educators time to collaborate and discuss ballet training. Annear, Jolley and Judy Jacob, School Director of The School of Richmond Ballet, came together to look at the process of educating young dancers, and they spoke to us about their approaches!

Photo: Mark Annear, Head of Outreach and Teacher Training from The Royal Ballet School, conducts a demonstration class with students from The School of Richmond Ballet. Richmond Ballet 2014. All rights reserved. Photo by Sarah Ferguson.

This v. That: Ballet

In ballet, there are so many terms that either sound alike, look alike or seem eerily similar. They're the set of words that always get switched in your brain or make you think a little harder on which is which. Stress no more! We are here to help you see and feel the difference in seemingly similar ballet terms.

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