Friday, November 26, 2010


I am always cold. Especially as winter approaches, I inevitably end up starting every class wearing tights, leg warmers and shorts underneath sweat pants. My hips have also been incredibly stiff these days, so I try to keep them as warm as possible.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Svetlana Zhakarova's Amazingness

"What's up, Svetlana Zakharova?"
"Oh, not much, balletomane. Just throwing out a couple of rond de jambe sautés from The Sleeping Beauty...
actually I'm just marking it because I have a migraine from kicking myself in the head in dress rehearsal yesterday."
"We will never be friends."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why is Alistair Macaulay so eloquent?

I just read another review in the New York Times by him, and he expresses so well a quality that I so admire and try to embody every day in my dancing.

" and elsewhere," he writes, "the Farrell dancers are unsurpassed at arriving with (actually, a hair’s breadth ahead of) the beat, so that they reveal the music by embodying it rather than following it." 

This sort of explains a point I tried to make in a previous post: Ballet and the Whole Self. I said that a dancer must have such an intense understanding and relationship with their music that it must seem that they themselves are creating the music as an illustration to their dancing. Macaulay puts it so much better by saying that the dancers of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet reveal rather than follow the music.

I wish I was as fantastic as he is, and I suppose, as musically gifted as Suzanne Farrell's dancers are.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Frederick Ashton's Cinderella

Read this review of the Royal Ballet's production of Cinderella, which begain its run on Saturday evening. I love Marianela Nuñez so much (she danced in the title role), as well as soloist Yuhui Choe, who got an honourable mention in the article too! I'm so proud of Choe- she is adorable and a magnificent dancer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


No, not my feet. OK, those too, but I refer chiefly to this review by Alistair Macaulay for the New York Times, (whose criticism I adore, for the record).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Personal Update

I have three performances coming up, which I'm rather excited about. The first is an informal performance of the Dance of the Mirlitons from the Nutcracker ballet for a local arts showcase. The second two will be duets with Ryan, whom I've posted about earlier. One will be our own choreography, and the last has been choreographed by an extremely talented and creative modern dancer/singer/actor/director/choreographer whom Ryan met recently at an audition. The dance he's choreographed on us is about the isolation that's felt in a relationship when one of the pair is struggling with depression, and it is set to the music in the video above. 

The song is a cover of Robyn's 'Dancing on My Own' and is quite beautiful.


I have been offered a very exciting job in a city quite far from Toronto that starts in January 2011. I have already accepted the offer, since it's going to be a really fantastic opportunity for me. As excited as I am, taking this job has caused a MAJOR DILEMMA.

Obviously, I am seeing the Mariinksy's performance of Swan Lake in Toronto on opening night. There really is no other option in my books. However, opening night is on a Tuesday, and there is no way I'll be able to make it without missing work. The ticket is not refundable or exchangeable. The way I see it, I have two options: sell my ticket to someone who'd like to go and buy a weekend ticket instead, or... impress people at my new job lots so they like me and allow me to take that Tuesday off.

The thought of the first option kills me. I was super excited to go on opening night. Somehow, the other performances seem inferior to that one. I know it's stupid, but I am a balletomane to the core. Thus, the first option will be my back-up plan!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shen Yun Performing Arts

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Beatrice Hull, The Friends of Voltaire, 1906

This holds true for my stance on the spiritual group, Falun Gong (or Falun Dafa). I have read Zhuan Falun by the group's founder, Li Hongzhi, and have spoken with and befriended a few practitioners. I am not a practitioner nor will I ever be, but their continued brutal persecution by the Chinese Communist Party is a deep concern of mine.

I apologise to readers who don't want to read about politics, and I apologise to any readers from mainland China who, by virtue of my opening paragraph, will probably soon be blocked from viewing this blog. For those of you who have never heard of Falun Gong, research it, please. Read Falun Gong publications, but please also read statements about the group from the Chinese government. Falun Gong is a spiritual group that is based on three vital principles: truth, compassion and forbearance. Practitioners manifest these values in their everyday lives and also through a series of set physical exercises that empower body and mind, not unlike yoga. Most of the poses in these exercise sets have spiritual meaning.

I could write a separate essay on my views about Falun Gong and why it is such a target of hatred by the Chinese government. Suffice it to say that the group has been banned in China; practitioners are constantly imprisoned, tortured, put into labour camps, or killed. Remember truth, one of the founding principles of Falun Gong? Members adhere strictly to the virtue of truth. So when they are told in prison that the torture will stop when they denounce Falun Gong, they don't lie; they endure further abuse instead. The group is super peaceful, and my friends who are practitioners are some of the kindest, purest, hardest working and most compassionate people I know. Falun Gong benefits them on a daily basis and they love the values that they live by. Whether you agree with specific practices and beliefs or not, you should be aware of the human rights abuses against the group if you care about freedom of opinion.

Anyway, this post is related to dance, I promise!! I recently met an unbelievably amazing girl who I go to school with. She takes half of every year off to go on tour with the Shen Yun Performing Arts company- she is a Chinese classical dancer. Shen Yun has been performing all over the world at its most prestigious theatres. The troupe was created by Falun Gong practitioners who wanted to celebrate China's 5,000 year history of elaborate music and dance. Not only is their spirituality outlawed in their home country, China's ancient artistic traditions have also been suppressed since Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution.

They have three different touring groups who tour the world every winter, so if you have the chance, attend a performance! I have never seen Chinese classical dance before, but apparently it is very similar to ballet in that it is an extremely demanding and precise, yet beautiful and expressive art form. I plan to attend my very first Shen Yun show in early 2011 and I can't wait (though I'm admittedly still more excited for the Mariinsky!).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

National Ballet of Canada 2010/2011 Souvenir Book

For all NBoC fans: order the National Ballet's 2010/2011 season souvenir book here, featuring beautiful photographs of Canada's most talented ballet dancers. The book costs $15, including shipping and tax!