Genevieve Eveleigh's experience at The Princess Grace Academy

by Admin22. July 2014 11:19

- By Genevieve Eveleigh 

Capezio Brand Ambassador Genevieve Eveleigh attended the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco over the summer

“It’s summer again and the best thing of all is that I get to experience ballet in schools that I don’t normally attend – with different teachers come different corrections and the opportunity to push myself to a higher level.

Over the last week I have been at The Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and her are some answers to some questions that were put to me after my stay. I hope that they will give you an insight into my week away..”

Why did you choose to go to The Princess Grace Academy in Monaco?

“The school has an affiliation with The Ballet de Monte Carlo which is an interesting Company for me. It has a good reputation for teaching strong technique and a sense of tradition which appeals to me. Of course the location is amazing and it gave me the opportunity to practice my French.”

What were your first impressions? 

“Everyone is very friendly and it is definitely a place for working hard. The studios are beautiful and there is a calm atmosphere. The accommodation is nice but there are many steps to go up and down to reach it.

I was pleased to see that we would have a pianist for class.

There were 11 pupils in my class and we were placed by age. The level was quite high and the ballet master was serious and eager for us to learn from him.”

Describe a typical day in the Academy.

“Breakfast was from 7am and after climbing the 85 steps from the dorms we were ready to eat. There is a good selection of cereal, yoghurt, toast and drinks.

There are 3 classes over the day including 2 technique and a contemporary class. There is also Pilates, French for foreigners and music classes available.

After technique and Pilates we would have lunch which was always really nice. There would be a protein element Meat/fish vegetables, pasta, salad and fruit. 

The last afternoon class would finish at 5pm

Dinner was in the evening around seven”

What would you do in the evenings? 

“As I was in the older age group there was nothing organised for the evening. There was a TV room and we were allowed to go out into Monaco. It was necessary to sign in and out and to say where you would be.

Monaco is very safe and nice to wander around. The port area is very busy with beautiful boats to look at. There are many places to have a drink or ice cream and my favourite place to eat “Planet Sushi”.

You can visit The Casino, The Palace, The open air cinema, The swimming pool and the Exotic Gardens. If you have lots of money there are some very nice shops :-)

What did you like best about the school? 

“The Faculty who were serious about our progress and experienced company members – I have taken away two quotes from them which are particularly meaningful to me. “ Dance every move as if it is your last.”    It’s not your teacher, It’s you!

Is there anything that you would like added to the course?

“Yes, pointe work and Pas de Deux.”

Would You recommend this course to others?

“Yes definitely, if you are serious about training and ready to give 100% effort in class.”

Would you like to return to Princess Grace Academy in the future?

“Yes, definitely.”

What was the high light of you trip?

“Learning from my teacher Thierry Sette and the surprise helicopter flight from Monaco to Nice airport at the end of the week.”

Can you tell us what you pack for a summer intensive?

“A selection of leotards (at least one per day – Capezio have some great colours and styles)

Capezio stretch and hold tights

My Capezio warm ups

Capezio Ballet shoes (flats/pointe)

Sewing kit

Mini medical kit (blister plasters/muscle rub etc)

Bunheads hair accessories

Foam roller

Light make up

Casual clothes/shoes for free time

Night wear

Sheet/duvet cover

Spending money.”

Thank you so much Genevieve for sharing with us your experience at the Princess Grace Academy! 

CapezioSummer Instagram competition rules

by Admin23. June 2014 10:32

The Promoter is Capezio Ballet Makers Limited, whose registered office is at 95 Whiffler Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 2AW. The competition will run from Monday 23 June 2014 to Sunday 10 August 11:59AM (BST).

The competition is open to all residents of Europe, which comprises the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, France, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. 

There is no minimum age limit unless specified otherwise in the competition information. There is no maximum age limit. Entrants cannot be employees of Capezio Ballet Makers Limited. Competitions are open to customers and non-customers. No purchase is necessary.

There will be a total of seven winners. The Capezio team will choose one winner every week. Each of the winners will receive a Capezio goodie bag worth £100. The Winners of the Competition will be announced on Instagram and Facebook after the contest is over. Capezio Ballet Makers will notify the Winner by using their Instagram profile names.

To enter: • (1) Take a photo of yourself (or ask a friend to take a photo of you) that suits the theme of the week stated by Capezio every Monday (to be announced on Facebook and Instagram) • (2) upload your picture through your Instagram account; • (3) Tag #CapezioSummer in your photo.

Photos must not: • a) contain any material which is defamatory of any other person; • b) contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory (or is of a sexually explicit nature); • c) infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person (such as a photo of a copyright work, such as a painting or another photo- graph, taken without the copyright owner’s permission); • d) be likely to deceive any person; • e) be taken without the subject’s consent (or depict any subject under the age of 18 without their legal guardian’s consent); • f) be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; • g) show or encourage risky or dangerous behaviour; • h) show or encourage discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; • i) show or encourage any illegal or immoral activity violence, racial hatred, cruelty to animals or any other anti-social or unlawful behaviour of any kind. • f) have pre-existing likes and comments.

You must be wearing at least one Capezio item of footwear or clothing in your photos (tights, underwear and accessories don't count).

There are no restrictions on the number of entries. You may enter as many times as you like to increase your chances of winning. 

By entering the Competition, Participants expressly acknowledge that the Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram or any other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and releases the aforementioned of any and all claims relating to or arising from the Competition. A selection of photographs may be published on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Entries not submitted in accordance with the rules will be disqualified. 

All entries will become the property of Capezio Ballet Makers Limited on its receipt of them and will not be returned. Entrants hereby assign to Capezio Ballet Makers Limited all worldwide copyright and like rights in their entries and waive all moral rights. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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Interview with The Pulse Collective

by Admin10. June 2014 16:31

 As seen on Sky1's Got To Dance, The Pulse Collective is a new-style tap company set to spearhead the future of tap dance in the 21st century.

So guys, lets start at the beginning! Tell us a little bit about The Pulse Collective and why you all chose to form the group?

KANE: It was about time that a tap company were seen on a mainstream television show, pushing the boundaries and reminding the British public why they love tap dancing. So when Got To Dance got back in touch with me after appearing on their first series, it was the perfect opportunity to establish The Pulse Collective as a company thats ready to make a much needed jolt in the dance scene.

EILIDH: I had just finished working on the 2012 Olympics and was looking for a new project. Kane had advertised that he was looking for tap dancers with a commercial edge, and I felt that I fitted the brief!  

Theres quite a few of you in the group, how did you all meet one another?

KANE: As Eilidh mentioned, I sent out a casting across all of my social networks and before I knew it I had my company. I knew of Ryan and Eilidh and had seen them both at the London Tap Jam.

EILIDH: I knew Kane and Ryan from the 'tap circuit'. There's a really strong tap community in London, especially thanks to the London Tap Jam, where tappers of all levels can jam in a supportive environment and it was at this event that I first met Kane, Ryan and a few of the guys. Some of the other members were fresh out of college and I didn't know them at all, but Kane had a link with everyone and pulled us all together. 

RYAN: Quite a few of us already knew each other individually though various jobs as well, I think it was just a case of coming together for a project we were all interested in.

Youre branded as a new style tap company, but what are your goals and objectives together as a group?

RYAN: To create tap work for a modern audience whilst upholding the integrity of our art form. 

EILIDH: Tap dance is a well-loved art form, but mostly associated with theatre - we want to present tap dance in a more commercial way, influenced by current music trends and other street dance styles. Music videos, commercials, advertising campaigns, TV/film are all areas of the industry where we feel we could bring something edgy and new. Oh, and we wouldn't say no to our own show either!

KANE: Like the guys both said, to show that tap dancing is a commercially viable form of dance. That doesnt mean adding a funky arm line to a step, but to really look into the styling, influences and branding of the company, making sure that every essence of The Pulse Collective is relevant and current, whilst still paying respect to our predecessors who paved the way, allowing us to do what we do.

Youve got a large fan base of dancers who already look up to you, but who do you individually look up to for your dance inspiration?

EILIDH: When I was younger there were many great tappers that I was encouraged to learn about - Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr, Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly to name a few - and through books/videos and then later Youtube they opened up a whole other world of tap dance to me. I think nowadays, however, my main inspiration comes from tappers that are still around today - Jason Samuel Smith, Chole Arnold, Michelle Dorrance, Heather Cornell, Savion Glover - these are tappers breaking boundaries of the art form and I have been lucky enough to train with them first hand.

KANE: Hard one. I seek inspiration from so many places, not necessarily just tappers. If I had to choose oneMichael Jackson was the first person who showed me what music looked like. He embodied rhythm, in every movement, hed become a snare drum, a string concerto, a bass line.

RYAN: I'm inspired by so many people from the past and present. To name a few dancers: Jimmy Slyde, Bunny Briggs, Steve Condos, Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Michelle Dorrance, Jason Samuels Smith, Sam Weber, plus so many more. Musicians inspire me too: Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Jurassic Five, James Brown....

Your company has an A & B Team, tell us a little more about it?

EILIDH: Our company is split into 2 teams - A and B. The A team is the go-to team for professional work and are featured on promotional material. Most of the A team are original members. The B team are a second team of tappers that are new to Pulse Collective, who train with us with a view to one day joining the A team.

RYAN: For sure. A team is the group of people ready for performance, B team are still in the process of developing their skills to the standard that we ask of them. 

Does The Pulse Collective still take on new members, or are you a closed group?

KANE: If I find talent that I know will add an interesting dynamic to the company stylistically or someone who is just outstanding technically we always welcome them in. Thats what makes The Pulse Collective different, our members versatility. The only way this industry will ever evolve is for all of us to collaborate and get better as a community.

RYAN: We are always on the lookout for people to get involved. This industry creates a lot of instability in people's work and we have to accept that people will come and go. However the core team are very dedicated and put a lot of time and effort into the company. 

EILIDH: We do also encourage people to come along to our workshops and classes, as thats the most likely place that well spot you!

Your group performed on Got To Dance, what was that experience like and what did you learn from it?

EILIDH: Getting to the semi-finals of GTD really pulled us together as a group, and gave us something to work towards, which I think every new company needs. It gave us a better focus and drive to succeed and the positive feedback we received was so encouraging - if it wasn't for that I'm not sure if we would still exist today!

RYAN: Got To Dance was an interesting experience. It's not something Id want to repeat. They look after you well on the show, but when you have to create work that's only 90 seconds long you find that you have to make artistic sacrifices in order to try and win public votes. It was a learning experience. 

KANE: I have history with the show. It put me on the map. It was my starting point on a journey that Im still on now, to quite simply bring tap back. What did I learn? That youve got to go on a show like that purely with a view of exposure and expression. If you go to win, youre either going to be completely made up, or extremely disappointed. You build your own opportunity and a show like Got To Dance is the perfect platform to create your empire.

Do you have any upcoming shows or events youd like to share with us?

KANE: Weve just recently launched our monthly intensive where advanced tappers can come into our rehearsal space and spend 3 intense hours working with the company. Were also workshopping all over the UK. Other than that, were doing the odd appearance here and there, but right now our focus is on research and development. Were creating lots of material, we cant quite tell you what for yet. BUT watch this space and make sure you follow us on our social networks to find out all of the exciting news.

Finally, do you have any advice for other tap dancers out there?

EILIDH: Try and get to as many different classes and events as you can. There is a big emphasis on syllabus work in this country, which is fantastic, but add to these classes in different styles and using different steps and you'll be a force to be reckoned with!! 

RYAN: If you love it, then stick at it! For me, tap is a way of expressing myself and it can also change my mood. If I'm having a bad day and I can get in a studio with my tap shoes, that day soon becomes a good day. Tap can be charming, impressive, technical, musical, powerful and beautiful. Find out what kind of dancer you are. Be a tap dancer, not just someone that knows some steps.

KANE: Im 21 years old and working with some of the best tappers in the UK, learning every single day. Were forever students and constantly developing. Dont aim to be at the top, aim to always lead the way. Try. Fail. Learn. Repeat.

 

Thanks to The Pulse Collective for sharing with us. If you would like to find out more about the group check out their website at http://www.thepulsecollective.co.uk/ or find them on social media with their hashtag #RhythmArmy.

New English Ballet Theatre tickets competition

by Admin10. June 2014 11:00

Capezio launches competition to win tickets to see ENBT perform at the Peacock Theatre

Competition rules

This competition is open to all residents of the United Kingdom. Entrants must be 14 years old minimum. There is no maximum age limit. Entrants cannot be employees of Ballet Makers Limited.

The winner will receive a pair of tickets to see New English Ballet Theatre at the Peacock Theatre for any available performance between July 3 - 5. Tickets to be collected at the box office with no cash alternative. Tickets are subject to availability and cannot be resold or transferred to another performance. Travel and accommodation will not be provided. 

This giveaway is open to customers and non-customers. No purchase is necessary.

Only one entry per person is permitted. Automated entries will be invalidated, including multiple entries from the same IP address.

To be entered into the giveaway, entrants must comment on the competition's facebook post to let the Capezio team know that they would like to be considered to win the tickets.

All entries must be received by Sunday 15 June 2014 midnight GMT. All eligible entries received by the closing date and time have an equal chance of winning. Entries not submitted in accordance with the rules or illegible entries will be disqualified. 

The Capezio team will select the winner on Monday 16 June 2014. The winner's name will be announced on Facebook. 

It is a condition of entry that any entrants consent to receive the Capezio newsletter.

The promoter is Ballet Makers Europe Limited whose registered office is at 95 Whiffler Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 2AW. The competition is run by Ballet Makers Europe on behalf of New English Ballet Theatre. Capezio Ballet Makers Europe  is not liable for tickets to the performance.

Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Can You Dance? 2014

by Admin12. May 2014 16:01

Can You Dance 2014

 

Hi Both! Can You Dance? events are back! How are you both feeling?

Excited, we can’t wait to bring this amazing opportunity to dancers again.

So last year’s events were pretty epic, but we’ve heard that this year will be bigger and better, what do we have to look forward to?

Top choreographers and dancers becoming your tutor for the day. An industry exhibition where you can network/gain advice and a showcase area for dance schools to perform. We have top agents attending looking to scout dancers and colleges looking to giveaway scholarships worth £22,000.

You had some fantastic guest tutors last year, are you allowed to unveil to us who will be at the events this year?

Yes, top choreographer Gareth Walker who played a major part in putting the Olympics together, BB Kaye & Aaron Renfree who have danced for major artists including Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Pussycat Dolls, Black Eyed Peas, Mariah Carey, Alexandra Burke, Girls Aloud & the late great Whitney Houston. Last but not least, leading West End lady Charlotte Gooch; who is known for her amazing performances as Penny in Dirty Dancing.

Do you have any tips for those who are performing in the showcase this year? Anything the judges will be looking for in a performance?

Just enjoy yourselves, performance is key.

What part of the upcoming shows are you looking forward to the most?

We love every moment, there is so much to do throughout the day it’s hard to say.

Finally, do you want to remind us what made you start the Can You Dance? shows and why it’s a great event for dancers of all abilities to attend?

To create opportunities for dancers around the UK, allowing them to work with the very best choreographers and dancers. We bring the industry to you allowing you to network and gain advice on the next steps.

International dance day Instagram competition

by Admin25. April 2014 09:03

The Promoter is Capezio Ballet Makers Limited, whose registered office is at 95 Whiffler Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 2AW. The competition will run from Friday 25 April 2014 to Tuesday 29 April 11:59AM (BST).

There will be a total of five winners. The Capezio team will choose the winners. Each of the winners will receive a Capezio goodie bag worth £100. The Winners of the Competition will be announced on Instagram and Facebook after the contest is over. Capezio Ballet Makers will notify the Winner by using their Instagram profile names.

The competition is open to all residents of Europe, which comprises the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, France, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. 

There is no minimum age limit unless specified otherwise in the competition information. There is no maximum age limit. Entrants cannot be employees of Capezio Ballet Makers Limited. Competitions are open to customers and non-customers. No purchase is necessary.

By entering the Competition, Participants expressly acknowledge that the Competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram or any other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and releases the aforementioned of any and all claims relating to or arising from the Competition. A selection of photographs may be published on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

To enter: • (1) Take a photo or a video of yourself (or ask a friend to take a photo or a video of you) doing your favourite dance move. • (2) upload your picture through your Instagram account; • (3) Tag @CapezioEurope in your photo.

Photos must not: • a) contain any material which is defamatory of any other person; • b) contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory (or is of a sexually explicit nature); • c) infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person (such as a photo of a copyright work, such as a painting or another photo- graph, taken without the copyright owner’s permission); • d) be likely to deceive any person; • e) be taken without the subject’s consent (or depict any subject under the age of 18 without their legal guardian’s consent); • f) be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; • g) show or encourage risky or dangerous behaviour; • h) show or encourage discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; • i) show or encourage any illegal or immoral activity violence, racial hatred, cruelty to animals or any other anti-social or unlawful behaviour of any kind. • f) have pre-existing likes and comments.

There are no restrictions on the number of entries. You may enter as many times as you like to increase your chances of winning. 

Entries not submitted in accordance with the rules will be disqualified. 

All entries will become the property of Capezio Ballet Makers Limited on its receipt of them and will not be returned. Entrants hereby assign to Capezio Ballet Makers Limited all worldwide copyright and like rights in their entries and waive all moral rights. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.

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Custom Made Pointe Shoes Competition Rules

by Admin11. April 2014 17:42

Competition Rules

This competition is open to all residents of Europe, which comprises the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, France, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. There is no minimum age limit unless specified otherwise in the giveaway information. There is no maximum age limit. Entrants cannot be employees of Ballet Makers Limited.

The giveaway is open to customers and non-customers. No purchase is necessary. 

Only one entry per person in permitted. Automated entries will be invalidated, including multiple entries from the same IP address. 

To be entered into the giveaway, entrants must email hello@capezio.com with a description of what their custom-made pointe shoes would look like. Your entry is valid provided you like the above mentioned Facebook post and email hello@capezio.com.

All entries must be received by Monday 14th April midnight GMT. All eligible entries received by the closing date and time have an equal chance of winning. Entries not submitted in accordance with the rules or incomplete or illegible entries will be disqualified.

The Capezio team will select the winner on Tuesday 15th April 2014. The winner’s name will be announced on Facebook. The winner will be notified personally as soon as reasonably practicable by email after the closing date. Full details of the prize will be given in writing upon notification.

It is a condition of entry that the winner consents to their first name to be published on Facebook for up to 15 days after the closing date.

It is a condition of entry that any entrants consent to receive the Capezio newsletter.

The promoter is Ballet Makers Europe Limited whose registered office is at 95 whiffler Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 2AW.

Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.

All entries will become the property of Ballet Makers Europe on receipt and will not be returned. Entrants hereby assign to Ballet Makers Europe all worldwide copyright and like rights in their entries and waive all moral rights.

 

 

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The Ins and Outs of Pointe Shoes

by Admin3. February 2014 15:17

By Katherine Moore of Dance Informa.

As if dancing en pointe was not hard enough, taking care of your pointe shoes while you’re not dancing in them is just as important as your technique in the shoes. Here are a few useful tips to help you care for those magical shoes that help you dance your dreams.

Find the right fit

If this is your first time buying a pair of pointe shoes, make sure that you are fitted correctly by a professional. Wearing the wrong kind of shoe for your foot type could cause injury and limit your dancing. A shoe that is not right for your foot could breakdown more easily and not provide you with the support you need. Make sure the shoe will give you enough support to not “roll over” the box but is flexible enough that the shank can fit well into the arch of your foot. Everyone has different foot shapes and physical tendencies, and there are a myriad of pointe shoe styles to accommodate these differences. Remember to allow room for padding around the toes.

Sew ribbons and elastic correctly

Professional ballerinas all have their own preferences for how they sew ribbons and elastic, but some general guidelines apply.

If you’re using elastic, you will want to sew it so that it lays across the arch of your foot for maximum support. You can measure this off simply by putting on your shoes and measuring the distance of the elastic from side to side. Mark with a pencil on the inside edge of your shoe where the elastic should attach. After you cut the elastic to the appropriate length, you may want to quickly run a lighter over the edge to prevent fraying. Be sure to not put the elastic directly in the flame, only near it, and keep a glass of water nearby in case you need to quickly dunk the end of the elastic. If you are young, make sure to get your parents to help you with this. If you feel uncomfortable using a lighter, you can use clear nail polish on the ends. Then simply sew each end on the inside of your shoe.

In order to sew ribbons, first fold down the fabric of the heel towards the toe. Draw a line with a pencil where the heel edge meets the fabric of the sides of the shoe. You will sew the ribbons either on or slightly forward of this line, depending on your preference.  After treating the ends of the ribbon for fraying, fold over the edge of the ribbon one or two times and sew it to the inside of the shoe. If this is your first time, you might want to do a few loose stitches and try them on to make sure ribbons are fitting correctly before making tighter stitches. The heel and sides of the shoe should not gape when you stand en pointe.

Capezio pointe shoesLearn to break in your shoes properly

We have all seen those movies where ballerinas are slamming their pointe shoes into door jams and hitting the box of their shoes with a hammer. While all dancers have different needs, this is generally not recommended, especially for young pointe students, because these actions could break the box or the shank of the shoe in a way that is not supportive while wearing them.

To break in your shoes, begin by massaging the areas where you know you will need more flexibility, such as the sides of the toe box and the part of the shank which should mold to the arch of your foot in releve. Then, the next step is to simply wear your shoes around the house for a few hours. Rising to demi-pointe and walking in your shoes will give your shoes flexibility that matches the shape of your foot. Finally, you can give yourself an at-home barre warm-up in your shoes, working through demi-pointe, before you actually go to pointe class.

Dry out your shoes

In order to give your shoes as long a life as possible, it is very important to let them dry out after use. The moisture that accumulates in the shoe from sweat will cause it to break down more easily, which means you’ll be buying shoes more often. After wearing your shoes, try tying them to the outside of your dance bag instead of throwing them inside. You can also try putting them in a mesh bag that allows air to flow through. If you are dancing on pointe several times a week, it could also be a good idea to always have two pairs of shoes at a time and alternate which pair you use from day to day.

How to know when you need a new pair shoes

Wearing shoes after they have passed their prime is dangerous for your body, and you should always be conscious of the support you need from your shoes for your technique level. Your teacher should be able to help you tell when you need to buy a new pair, but generally, if you notice that you are rolling over the box, crunching into your toes, or leaning too much to the inside or outside of your foot, it might be time for a new pair. 

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Ballet and fashion’s historic relationship

by Admin3. February 2014 12:20

By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.

Since the very beginning of ballet, the dance form has both inspired and been inspired by high fashion. Taking a quick look into dance history shows a constant interaction between the ballet world and fashion world, both influencing one another in beneficiary ways throughout the centuries.

Perhaps this is due to ballet’s ethereal quality, an appealing trait to fashion designers seeking to give their clothing designs a sense of beauty and sophistication. Or perhaps this is due to ballet’s costume designers bringing their own style and professional fashion expertise to the stage. Either way, ballet’s association with fashion (and vice versa) is certainly undeniable.

Looking back at when ballet first originated, costume elements were already an important aspect to the creation and direction of the form. Ballet, which originated in Italian court and wedding dances in the 1400s, was often choreographed around the costumes’ best qualities and the dancers’ abilities to move in them.

As pioneering choreographer Jean-Baptiste Lully began his lifelong association with French King Louis XIV, ballet and fashion’s relationship continued to flourish as court dances grew more lavish in costumes and accessories. In the 17th century, Louis XIV, the King of France known for helping to found the first ballet academy, would often have extravagant costumes designed for hours-long court dances. The king was even nicknamed “the Sun King” for performing a ballet with lavish robes meant to evoke the sun god. In his lifetime, Louis XIV performed 80 roles in 40 major ballets, often having completely original costumes designed for each performance.

Coco Chanel's costumes for the Ballets Russes

Coco Chanel's costumes for the Ballets Russes in 1928. Source: Tina Sutton’s The Making of Markova blog (www.themakingofmarkova.com)

This aspect of ballet performance requiring original costumes only grew more customary as time went on.  In the 19th century when ballerinas such as Geneviève Gosselin, Marie Taglioni and Fanny Elssler experimented with new techniques such as pointe work, new shoe and dress designs were experimented with, often intriguing clothing designers. This brought forth the well-known balletic ideal of light and pure movement imagery. The Romantic Movement epitomized this with La Sylphide, a ballet portraying ballerinas as fragile, unearthly beings in costumes with pastel, flowing skirts baring the shins.

This balletic imagery has evolved again and again over the centuries, but it has always continued to inspire fashion trends. Ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev and his groundbreaking Ballets Russes were known for having a fruitful relationship with French fashion designer Coco Chanel. Chanel created costumes for four of Ballet Russes’ productions, notably Le Train Bleu in 1924 and Apollon Musagete in 1929. According to aNew York Time’s 2010 article, Diaghilev also hired boldface names like Picasso, Matisse and Georges Braque to design his costumes.

In 1949, Capezio dance footwear made the cover of Vogue and in 1952 received the Coty Award, fashion’s highest accolade.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn in 'Sabrina' wardrobe test shot on September 22, 1953. Photo © Paramount Pictures. Photo source: The Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund (www.audreyhepburn.com)

In the 1950s, film and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn made ballet flats fashionable in the movie Funny Face when she wore them with skinny jeans. Ballet flats are still being sold around the world today. Likewise, throughout the 1980s, films such as FameFlashdanceand Dirty Dancing made dance looks and themes trendy. Who doesn’t remember the fabulous 80s leg warmers? In addition to this, mainstream fashion was inspired by leotards, jazzy fishnets and slouchy t-shirts worn by dancers during rehearsals.

Another look fashion took from ballet is the conservative ballet bun hairstyle. While origins of the style date back to ancient Greece, the bun really received attention on the ballet stage, giving dancers the appearance of long necks. It soon became the height of style in the Victorian period and has continued into today. Classic ballet buns are still seen in various advertisements, films and on catwalks.

More recently in 2010, the controversial movie Black Swan starring Natalie Portman influenced spring runway lines. Chanel sent numerous looks down the catwalk that reflected the gothic, dark look of Portman’s Black Swan character.

Last year, Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani designed costumes for New York City Ballet. It was reported that Garavani emerged from retirement just to create the costumes for three premier ballets. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker, a former dancer herself, helped plan the event.

Boléro at the Paris Opera Ballet in 2013. Photo by Opéra national de Paris/A. Deniau.

Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci’s costumes in a new production of 'Boléro' at the Paris Opera Ballet in 2013. Photo by Opéra national de Paris/A. Deniau. Source: Paris Voque Magazine (www.vogue.fr)

And by no means was Garavani the first in recent years to design costumes for the world’s leading ballet companies. Even in the last few months ballet has been having a renaissance in the fashion zeitgeist. On May 8th of this year, luxury women's ready-to-wear clothing designer Joseph Altuzarra's ballet costumes made their debut in choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux A Place For Us at New York City Ballet’s annual gala. In April, Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci’s moody, ethereal costumes debuted in a new production of Boléro at the Paris Opera Ballet, and David Hallberg, American Ballet Theatre and Bolshoi Ballet principal, graced a spread in Vogue.

Just last year, the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, devoted an entire exhibition to the relationship between dance and fashion, highlighting ballet costumes designed by Christian Lacroix, Ralph Rucci, Viktor & Rolf, Akira Isogawa and others. “Ballet costumes really are works of art with their ornate designs and incredible craftsmanship,” said The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister on the exhibit.

Overall, fashion and ballet’s history are often interlinked, if not actual mirror images reflecting the whims and trends of popular culture. David McAllister is reported to have simply said, “Ballet and fashion have inspired each other for as long as performers have been dressing up and dancing.”

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Sources:

- The Lure of Perfection: Fashion And Ballet, 1780-1830. Chazin-Bennahum, Judith. ‪Psychology Press. 2005.

"Dancing King: Louis XIV's Roles in Molière's Comedies-ballets, from Court to Town." Prest, Julia.  Seventeenth Century. 2001. University of Durham. Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies.

Ballets Russes Style: Diaghilev's Dancers and Paris Fashion. Davis, Mary E. REAKTION BOOKS. 2010.

Apollo's Angels. Homans, Jennifer. Random House. 2010

- “Dance, expression and Audrey Hepburn.” Vashti, Lorelei. Behind Ballet, the official blog of The Australian Ballet. May 5, 2010. www.behindballet.com/dance-expression-and-audrey-hepburn.

-  “Ballet & Fashion” exhibit at NGV International. The National Gallery of Victoria. Melbourne, Australia. media.ngv.vic.gov.au/2012/11/01/ballet-fashion.

- “En Vogue, En Pointe: Fashion's Influence on Ballet.” Wyma, Chloe. Blouin Art Info International Edition. May 14, 2013. sg.artinfo.com/news/story/902640/en-vogue-en-pointe-fashions-influence-on-ballet.

- “Black Swan Inspired Catwalks.” Kim, Deborah. Trendhunter. August 16, 2011. www.trendhunter.com/trends/trash-couture-spring-2012.

- “Valentino to Create Ballet Costumes.” Kepler, Adam W. New York Times. June 3, 2012. www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/arts/dance/valentino-to-create-ballet-costumes.html?_r=2&.

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Can diet help you remember choreography?

by Admin3. February 2014 11:58

By Emily C. Harrison MS, RD, LD for Dance Informa.

One of the many things I wish I had understood better when I was a professional dancer was the role of nutrition in memory and quick learning. Being labeled a “quick-study” can do as much for your career as your body type. We can’t control what kind of feet we are born with, but we can make a difference in how well our brains work through the power of nutrition.

Meal timing: fuel the brain

A common theme in many of my articles for Dance Informa, is the concept of “smaller, more frequent meals.” Providing a regular source of fuel to muscle and brain cells improves mental and physical performance, mood and fatigue levels. This means eating breakfast and then making healthy choices about every three hours during the day.
The brain runs on glucose from digested foods. No food in the system, especially after an overnight fast, means that brain function suffers. Providing fuel first thing in the morning improves test performance1. We have known for years that breakfast is associated with academic success, but one Chinese study actually showed that breakfast improved IQ scores in young children2. There was an improvement in brain function when subjects ate a low-glycemic index (LGI) breakfast3,4. LGI foods such as whole grains, fruits, soymilk, oatmeal and nuts digest slowly and provide sustained energy.
The nice thing for dancers is that eating breakfast and eating regular LGI foods will not only enable you to think faster, but will help you have a healthy body weight and decreased body fat.  See my “Glycemic Index” article in Dance Informa (April 2012) for more details.
Protein also has the power to help us stay focused longer. So if your energy promoting carbs have a protein to accompany them, you will be able to pick up choreography much faster. Try nuts, veggie sausage or even a tofu scramble. Keep eggs to a minimum because of the fat and cholesterol in the yolk.

“Power foods for the brain”

Dr. Neal Barnard’s groundbreaking book by this title describes a “Brain Enhancing Menu.”5 Instead of the food groups most westerners grew up with, he simplifies it into four main groups: fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. The many reasons these protect memory and boost brain function range from their low-fat content to their storehouse of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
I highly recommend getting four servings of veggies and two to three servings of fruits every day. One serving of vegetables is only ½ cup or three to four broccoli spears. Throw some on a cup of salad greens and that’s two servings right there. Add walnuts, flax seeds or chia seeds for brain boosting omega-3 fats and pumpkin seeds, garbanzos or edamame for protein, and you have a brain-boosting lunch. Blueberries have also been shown to protect memory so add ¾ cup of organic blueberries to oatmeal in the morning with some nuts and seeds and you will be labeled a “quick-study” in no time.

Foods and substances that sabotage memory

We all know that to maintain our lean dancers’ bodies we have to limit or avoid foods found in the typical western diet such as saturated fats, refined grains, cream, butter, bacon, red and processed meats. But now research demonstrates links between these unhealthy foods and memory loss. It’s not just about forgetting where you put your keys. Risk for Alzheimer’s goes up when people eat these types of foods. It seems that both fat and cholesterol affect brain function and are linked to the development of plaques that make it harder for your brain cells to communicate.5 Columbia University tracked 908 elderly New Yorkers over four years and those who ate the most meat and dairy had a higher risk of Alzheimer’s than those who favored a more “Mediterranean” style of eating.5, 6 Don’t wait until you are elderly to protect your brain. The good news is that eating more plant foods that don’t have saturated fat or cholesterol provide protection from memory loss, but they also boost mental and physical performance at any age.

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Sources:

1.      Rampersaud GC, Pereira MA, Girard BL, Adams J, Metzl JD.  Breakfast habits, nutritional status, body weight, and academic performance in children and adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005 May;105(5):743-60; quiz 761-2.

2.      Early Hum Dev. 2013 Apr;89(4):257-62. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Feb 8. Regular breakfast consumption is associated with increased IQ in kindergarten children.

3.      Degoutte F et al. Int J of Sports Medicine 2006

4.      Tarnopolsky MA. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine 1996

5.      Barnard ND, Power Foods for the Brain.  Hachette Book Group. 2013.

6.      Scarmeas N, Luchsinger JA, Schupf N et al. Physical Activity, diet, and risk for Alzheimer’s disease. JAMA. 2009;302:627-37

 

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Nutrition