Monthly Archive: April 2014

Day 41 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Q&A 0

Day 41 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Q&A

During book events people often ask questions. Here are a few of the more common questions and my answers. When did you start writing? I started writing poetry when I was a child. I also made my own cards and wrote short stories. As a teacher I wrote plays and song lyrics but my interest in writing didn’t happen until I retired and had time to write at length. My first project was taking the training ideas Linda Belz and I developed for our classroom parents and turning them into my first book, Educating America: 101 Strategies for Adult Assistants ...

Day 40 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Dancers with Diplomas 1

Day 40 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Dancers with Diplomas

In our current world not every dancers leaves home to finish high school in a dance academy or graduates from high school and auditions  straight-away to join a ballet company. Some actually put their careers on hold and choose to attend college. True, many still seek out apprenticeships in ballet companies but a growing number of dancers go to college and earn Bachelors degrees in Fine Arts. Part of the draw is the chance to study dance history, kinesiology (mechanics of movement of the human body), and other interests such as early childhood education in addition to being able to...

Day 39 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Popular Ballet Novels 0

Day 39 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Popular Ballet Novels

The resurgence in interest in ballet stories is probably related to movies like The Company and Black Swan as well as the reality TV programs such as SYTYCD:  So You Think You Can Dance and Breaking Pointe. Many ballet stories are for young adults (YA); a few are for mature adults (MA). Please share your comments about any of the listed ballet stories you’ve read or if their synopsis sounds interesting to you. For more extensive synopses look to Amazon or Barnes and Noble online where you will also find reviews and ratings. 1.  Dancing on My Grave by Gelsey...

Day 38 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: (answers) 0

Day 38 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: (answers)

Here are the short answers to the French terms listed yesterday. For longer answers, check ballet terminology online. 1.  allegro – rapid movements accompanied by jumps, turns, etc. 2.  pas de deux – a dance done by two people (usually a man and a woman) 3.  tour en l’air – complete turns executed in the air 4.  balance’ – a waltz-like step where the weight is shifted from one foot to the other 5.  bourre’ – a traveling foot movement of tiny steps on releve’ beginning in fifth position 6.  glissade – gliding steps performed to prepare for a leap...

Day 37 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: French Word Trivia 0

Day 37 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: French Word Trivia

More French terms for you to decode. Use your background knowledge to  determine the meaning for each term as it relates to dance and especially ballet. Good luck! 1.  allegro 2.  pas de deux 3. tour en l’air 4.  balance’ 5.  bourre’ 6.  glissade 7.  grand battement 8.  re’verence’ 9.  passe’

Day 36 of 84 Days of 84  Ribbons: A Secret 0

Day 36 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: A Secret

Writers begin with reality and life situations and go wild from there. I did that with Miss Holland, Marta’s dance teacher. She is based on my wonderful Bremerton dance instructor Margie Speck. Here’s how they became one in my mind. Both dance instructors were thoughtful, positive and gave 110% to all their students from beginner to advanced. Both used record players and tape decks as sources of music. Both had commercial building spaces with concrete floors covered with linoleum. These and other facts moved to fiction as I began 84 Ribbons. They continue into book two, When the Music Stops...

Day 35 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet Movies 1

Day 35 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet Movies

Since 1948  ballet-themed movies and movies with a significant  numbers of dances in them have become a small sub-genre of movies. Here are a few of note: 1.  Red Shoes (1948) 2.  American in Paris (1951) 3.  West Side Story (1961) 4.  Turing Point ( 1977) 5.  Nijinsky (1980) 6.  The Company ( 2003) 7.  Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) 8.  Black Swan (2010) Which, if any of these movies, left positive and lasting images that shared true dance expertise?

Day 34 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: World Book Night 0

Day 34 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: World Book Night

World Book Night is tonight in the USA! Tonight 25,000 volunteers with distribute free 500,000 books especially printed for the event. The goal is to get new books into the hands of underfunded schools and community members. Volunteers apply to receive the free books than go out and distribute those books. FYI: If you plan on considering being part of it next year, you’ll need to sign up soon.   This year the honorary spokesperson is Amy Poehler. Her comment begins, “I grew up loving books. In today’s digital world it’s more important than ever to know how it feels...

Day 33 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons : Ballet Mime 0

Day 33 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons : Ballet Mime

If you’re like me, you talk with your hands. I think sometimes I drive people cray when I do that. But, dancers must speak with their hands if they want audiences to grasp the meaning of their moves and expressions since most of us sit several rows back from center front. Consequently, dancers use mime to enhance their facial expressions and the mood of a story ballet (ie: Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, etc). Let’s look at a few less obvious gestures.   Anger – waving both fists wildly in the air or in the face of the other dancer Sadness –...

Day 32 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet in the 1800s 0

Day 32 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet in the 1800s

Ballet began to flourish in the 1800s as dancers became trained individuals. They improved their skills, females began dancing on pointe and dancers used their entire bodies to share  their character’s emotions. Full length ballets were created giving ensembles performance pieces as well as giving dance leads specific solos. This was the era of story ballets: Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, all ballets still performed around the world. This is also the period when costumes were designed to show off the dancer’s foot and leg work. Tutus became popular for females. The fabrics selected often helped/help an audience...