Mixed Rep:
New Balletfocus Look!
Derek Dunn on Pirouettes
Royal Ballet Nutcracker

Balletfocus New Look!

Balletfocus has a new look! I didn’t plan on changing Balletfocus but one day, surfing the web, I came across the Baseline theme for WordPress blogs at Array Themes. Array has 10 great themes to choose from, some used by TED Talk and affiliates. I loved Baseline look, featuring large photos, big text, and simple layout. I particularly like magazine-style theme with a large featured image and featured content areas, with my “greatest hits” posts at the bottom of the page. Mike McAlister and John Parris run Array, serving the WordPress community since 2009. With help from Natalia Chriss at Codeable and Mike, the conversion took little time. I am still assigning the featured photos and working with the theme. Let me know if you have any problems navigating Balletfocus.

Derek Dunn on Pirouettes

Pointe Magazine has a great video featuring Houston Ballet Soloist Derek Dunn’s phenomenal pirouette en dehors. In the short video, he demonstrates six gorgeous, controlled pirouettes, with great turnout and pointed foot in retiré position.

Derek stresses building up core muscles as the key to multiple pirouettes. I’m skeptical of this. As a dancer many years ago, I didn’t excel at turning-and it wasn’t due to a lack of effort, including sit-ups. I tried and tried and tried to improve my turns, much to the chagrin of my ballet teacher, who thought my time would be better spent working on other aspects of dance. After much effort, I was still an average turner, always sure of triple pirouettes, sometimes four, rarely five (although I think I did six pirouettes once as my distant memories of my dance abilities seem to improve over time.)

I marvel at dancers like Derek, who can rip off six turns and make it look easy. Doing multiple turns is a hard task, and some big name dancers struggle doing big turns. After taking a basic ballet class at Steps on Broadway 10 or so years ago, I remember watching several New York City Ballet stars (no, I won’t name names) struggle on turns in an advanced class.

I’ve thought a lot about what makes a dancer a great turner, particularly in my dancing days when I aspired to do big turns like Baryshnikov. I don’t have any good answers to the question; maybe it is body composition, the ratio of the length of the upper body to lower body. Let me know your thoughts on turning in the comment section below.

For more pirouette fun, here is a YouTube video of Derek and Jim Nowakowski doing a perfectly aligned pirouette combination:

Royal Ballet Nutcracker Rehearsal

It’s almost Nutcracker time so here is a video from The Royal Ballet in rehearsal. Leticia Stock and Marcelino Sambé rehearse the Grand Pas de Deux. The last segment shows Claire Calvert as the Rose Fairy.

In a post on ballet marketing, I discuss how The Royal Ballet does a great job of marketing, allowing ballet fans worldwide to see their great work. This rehearsal video markets the December 8 Royal Ballet live cinema performance, shown in hundreds of cinemas worldwide. As I discuss in the post, the Bolshoi Ballet and Paris Opera ballet are also good in making their performances accessible to ballet fans worldwide through live cinema and DVDs. In contrast, NYCB and ABT are terrible.