Tag Archives: ballet

Of Swans


Before I start, I just want to say that I must have somewhere around a billion (ok… maybe more like 7?)  browser windows open and anywhere from 5 – 10 ( more?) tabs open in each one. I also like to think I have a pretty good memory, so often I’ll spot something in a magazine some kind of other somewhere and I’ll close my eyes and tell myself where it is and to tell myself to remember, assuming that I will. Sometimes I take a picture on my phone, thinking it will help. So, I may have some whole huge little article compiled in my brain and then I go to write it up and realize I don’t know where everything is, which I always find annoying because I like to think I’ve gotten better at organizing my adventures in curiosity.. I mean, come on, I’ve even organized my bookmarks! I did! Into categories. Sigh, anyway…. What I meant to say was that I had some killer shoes to go with this post, but it turns out I don’t remember who designed them and my searching (for the last 1/2 hour or so) has not yet yielded satisfactory results. Granted they were way more expensive than I wanted them to be, and you, too. So maybe it’s better that you didn’t see them… Because if you have a thing for all things ballet-ish (or just pretty shoes), well, you’d really want them, and then you’d be kinda bummed that you couldn’t have them. (But, I’ll still try to track them down, just because I love you all so much)


So, I’m pretty jazzed for the film Black Swan.

Dance films can be like crack for me. I don’t really have the space to dance around here in my NYC abode, and watching dance makes me warm and fuzzy inside. Cheesy, I know, but true. This film looks both beautiful and dark in a way that dance related films don’t usually touch. And I’m excited about how much press and interest it’s been getting. The above promotional posters are, in a word, amazing. Released by Empire, sadly without notice of the designer (who certainly deserves to be recognized), they certainly set the tone. They’re intrinsically beautiful, with dark, hidden, look-closer details that hint at the mystery and thriller nature of the film. What’s so lovely about them, in my opinion, is how well they could stand on their own. I’d want them even if they weren’t associated with a film. Just because they’re great.

I feel like ballet/dance is seeping more and more into culture. It’s subtle, but it’s there. With the popularity of ballet flats (and the shoes I found but then lost, even had satin ties to wrap around your ankles), and of clothes that are reminiscent of dance/wear, and some of the headband craze, it seems like more and more people are looking to reflect the delicate strength and grace of a dancer.

Thinking about it, it’s kind of an interesting off-shoot to the beautiful garb of say the Mad Men age and other vintage eras that have gained popularity in the fashion world, and spreading into the mass market. The whole look of ages past is so very well thought out, all in the details. But with dance, sure the costumes for performances are gorgeous…. but the strength and the posture and the character is all internal. It’s all about you and your body and your mind. Granted, it’s competitive, too. And so is the real world.

Or maybe it’s the tiaras and Prima Ballerina “princess” sort of idea that captivates some…. haha.

Ray Lewis for Black Swan, some more photos here

The Australian Ballet has certainly taken wind of the trend with these fabulous tote bags. I saw them first on The Design Files, where they were having a giveaway – and it’s a good thing, because when I checked the site after ooh-ing and ahh-ing with glee over the bags, they were totally sold out. They’re back in stock now, but something tells me that it’s not just your standard ex-ballerinas, ballerinas or dance patrons snapping them up.

The Dying Swan


Isn’t Anna Pavlova lovely? (I tried some magic code to shorten the video so that it would start just when she began to dance, but apparently the code doesn’t like me because it refuses to work. Oh bother)

I was watching a short clip of an interview (long ((enough)) after her death, I believe) with someone who knew who Anna well. The duo ruminated on how she was such a wonderful and unique and captivating dancer, and they touched upon her limited technique and how considering the “dancer’s of today” she might never have made it so big.  It had to be mentioned, and though they went back to remark on her passion, her presence, and how there was something different and ineffable about her performance, I couldn’t help but think, how true.

The thought occurs to me most every time I look at dancers of the past. The bar of technique and athleticism and perfection has risen to such an incredible degree throughout the years. I find it dually wonderful and a little sad. Perfection. Passion. What if you have the passion but not the perfection? What if you have the perfection but not the passion? What if there are scores of Anna Pavlova’s (in any art form or field) held back by a lack of textbook all-around perfection? And, while I’m wielding a double edged sword (being a perfectionist and all), what if we’re missing something really great by only looking for “perfect”. Doesn’t that, after a while, get a little boring?

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The Grey Area


This portion of The Grey Area choreographed by David Dawson captured my attention a good few years ago and mesmerized me completely. I’d saved it as a favorite, but at some point in time it mysteriously disappeared and I’ve hunted for it here and there ever since. So I was relieved to have finally found it again, so that I could watch it and become drawn into the dancers incredibly fluid and organic movements once more. And it was just as enchanting as I remembered, this dialogue between two people who just happen to be classically trained ballet dancers. What I love about this piece is the way that it sort of strips away the hardcore, fine-tuned, precise sort of technique of classical ballet and turns it into a modern, incredibly organic, and emotive sort of piece. It’s almost as if a relationship was taken and it’s conversations were stripped of words so that there was only the movement to express yourself. As though you are watching a conversation/interaction between lovers.. the agreements, the arguments, the familiarity, the making up, the indecision, the soft words with the mute button on. And I love how they keep dancing as the curtains slowly descend, reminding that though we’re usually given an “end” to a story, it still goes on (somewhere).

If you enjoyed this, and even if you just enjoy ballet/dance and/or are curious about it and the process behind the creation of a dance, I would highly recommend the video on the making of the 3 part ballet. I watched all three portions (each 10 minutes) of the documentary and enjoyed it immensely. It’s very well done. Portions one, two, and three. Go!

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Amelia Waits


Stumbled upon this mesmerizing clip from the ballet film Amelia (2002), performed by the ballet company La La La Human Steps and choreographed by Edouard Lock. The score is comprised of lyrics from Velvet Underground(!) songs (i.e Lou Reed)  combined with violin, cello, and piano arrangements written by David Lang; this particular portion uses the song “Waiting for my Man”. A commenter on neatorama who saw Amelia performed live (it really is that fast!) says the piece is “essentially about the nature of love, and the increasingly blurred divide between the human and the artificial and how that affects our ability to love and be loved”.

My interest has certainly been piqued after reading more about it (and just finding out it was an entire 130 minute film!), and I’m curious and itching to see the whole film.

I’m also aching for my pointe shoes (this always happens after I’ve watched a dance performance), and intrigued about this company. Seems like it’d sure be fun to dance with them! Apparently, in another portion of this film there is a pas de deux where both dancers (one man and one women) are dressed as men and both are on pointe!

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