Do NOT Make Ballet a Political Scapegoat

I saw this ballet company a couple years ago and feel really badly that they are being treated poorly just because of their unfortunate name. Russian Ballet Theatre (now RBT) does NOT have anything to do with RUSSIA.

It is not supported by any government.

In this case, “Russian” refers to the method of ballet training, also known as the Vaganova method. The Vaganova method is a ballet technique and training system devised by the Russian dancer Agrippina Vaganova (1879–1951). It was derived from the teachings of the great Marius Petipa.

These dancers need to stop being vilified and scapegoated for what’s happening in Ukraine.

RBTheatre is an independent ballet company established to present audiences all across the world with the opportunity to experience the breathtaking beauty of classical Russian ballet in their hometowns. 

Founded in 2015, the RBT team shares a passion for enriching Russian ballet traditions through brilliant and critically acclaimed new productions of the world classics.

The multinational cast of fifty consists of professional dancers from more than ten different countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Italy, Japan, Poland, Armenia, Slovenia, and more, with years of Vaganova technique training.

RBT has had the honor of successfully performing for large audiences across the United States: New York, Minneapolis, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Baltimore, San Diego, and Escondido.

Please consider supporting them when they come to your city. I will.

Don’t allow them to become Putin’s collateral damage.

Link to posts about Swan Lake performed by RBT:
https://enchantedseashells.com/2019/09/21/russian-ballet-theatres-amazing-swan-lake/

Swan Lake: Magical and Bewitching

From The Grandma Archives: An Audience of Two VIPs

It’s been a while since I recounted a moment in time with the Angels…here’s one that brings a smile to my face and a glow to my heart.

I couldn’t help but hear the thundering footsteps of the familiar dinosaur stomp down the stairs at 6am which is marginally better than 5:30 am.

“Wake up, Princess Grandma Coyote Rose!” (He thinks long and hard about how he’s going to address me. It’s different and ADORABLE each and every morning.)

“Warm my feet up, Grandma, feel how cold they are!” “Are you still sleeping? You didn’t get up before I came down, did you?” [He hates when I do that because he’d miss out on our early morning tradition.] Did Daddy have a Batman tower when he was five?” “See my squishy? “I brought lots of stuffies down, too. Here’s Daddy’s teddy with the torn off ear.” “See?” “Give him a kiss, Grandma.”

“Did you have any dreams, my beautiful little buddy?”
“I DID but I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Was it scary? Do you want to tell me in a little while?”

“Yes.” “I’m hungry. Oatmeal first and then buckwheat pancakes when Char comes down.”

“Here are your slippers, Grandma. Hurry!”

First comes blueberry cinnamon oatmeal with a side of sliced apples; coffee for me, and more chat about the day. I never did find out what that dream was all about.

Angel Girl wakes a bit later than her ever/always on the move brother, so I prepped the buckwheat pancakes to be ready when she came down, which she did while AB was still eating his oatmeal. She climbed up on the bench next to him — “I’m in my spot, Grandma!. I need my pink spoon!”– to eat hers as I started the first batch.

After everyone had a few pancakes with agave for dipping and there was moment of calm, I asked Siri to play Swan Lake, one of our favorites. As the music embraced our peaceful eating, I asked them each to identify what feelings were generated by different parts of the ballet and was SUPER impressed by their accuracy.

With my captive audience of two, I stood up–in my fuzzy cheetah print bathrobe hahaha– and started dancing.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING, Grandma?”
AG to AB, “Grandma is dancing, Tati!”

“You guys keep eating and I’ll do ballet for you.”

“Should I do a pirouette?” “And this is a plie and a développé, and the best one of all, arabesque!”

“Wow, Grandma!”

“Let’s practice our ballet arms, OK?”
“First, second, third, forth, and fifth. I like fifth position the best, because it’s the princess one.”

I observed wide-eyed Angel Girl reproduce all of the arm positions while shoving more buckwheat pancakes in her mouth.

“Well done, C!” YES, I thought to myself, she will absolutely love ballet classes in a couple years.

I’m not sure if T was all that enamored of my dance skills (or as embarrassed as a teenager would be), but it kept him sitting and eating, and that’s a win for me.

“Now, listen closely. Can you hear the music is telling us to become the swan? Let’s practice making our arms fly.”

“Here’s how we do it.” Again, only one is trying, but the other one is still there, intently watching me. I can’t tell if he’s impressed or if he thinks I’m completely insane; either way, I’m entertainment. As soon as it’s safe to go, I will absolutely take them to see Swan Lake. It’s a rite of passage.

“Now that breakfast and the ballet is finished, we always end with a graceful curtsey.”

“OK. Let’s play, Grandma!”

No applause, no bouquets thrown at my feet, no curtain calls…but my heart is full.

I hope they’ll always have that memory of Little Grandma dancing to Swan Lake in the kitchen after cooking a gigantic batch of pancakes. And laugh about it.

Do you want to know where mom and dad were? Sleeping in, of course!

Inner and Outer Beauty

Here’s an update regarding the ongoing saga of my injuries: my back and toe are much better, but I seem to have a stress fracture of one of the little bones on top of my foot. I admire my consistency, however, because all of this is on my LEFT side.

This time the stupidity was caused by my sad attempts to remember Swan Lake choreography and practice fouettes, which I haven’t done in FOREVER. I wasn’t wearing pointe shoes or even soft ballet shoes; I was barefoot on a hard tile floor. Like I said, STUPID.

Why Swan Lake? Well, the last time I saw my Angel Kids, we were in the car when Swan Lake came on the radio. I yelled out, ” That’s SWAN LAKE!” T asked me what that was and I explained the story of the dance to him while we were listening. When the music gets to the part where the court jester does those incredible gravity defying grand jetes and double split cabrioles, I told him that it takes a very athletic, very talented dancer to jump like that, and he was intrigued.

I promised I’d take him to see Swan Lake as soon as it came to town. When we got home, he said to Siri, “Play Swan Lake” and then he sat on the sofa and became lost in the beauty of Tchaikovsky.

Anyway, that’s how I hurt my foot.

I can’t really put any weight on it, so I’m once again reclining on the sofa with my everpresent ice pack on yet another part of my little body.

C’est la vie! No one to blame but myself. I am NOT and never was Margot Fonteyn lol (ballet snob reference).

Here’s a few photos from inside and outside as I hobble around.

I stopped to admire the sun shining brightly on these indoor plants. I couldn’t capture the whole wall in one photo, but there’s a matching cabinet to the right. It’s a very pretty room.

Meet my special bunny friend. He’s slightly lighter in color than the rest of the family and he comes out more during the day than the others. This was taken right outside my bedroom window. Good morning, brave little one!

Because of relentless RATS, I had to pick these strawberries just before they were 100% ripe to save them from being half eaten and discarded.

I am reminded of a starfish with this spider lily. What a perfectly lovely specimen!

Check this out; it’s not a ballet but it’s danced by the great danseur, Sergei Polunin, to Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”. Choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi. (In 2010, at the age of nineteen, Polunin became the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer). He is truly amazing as an artist, but I read things about him PERSONALLY that aren’t all that savory in regards to some homophobic and sexist Instagram posts, so his invitation to perform in the Paris Opéra Ballet‘s performance of Swan Lake was revoked.

For a Princess-in-Training

How could anyone resist this sparkly butterfly shirt and frilly tutu?

Not me, that’s for sure.

I can’t wait to send this to the one and only Angel Girl 2.0 and watch her twirl.

There’s not much else going on in SoCal on this quiet Sunday.

PS I kinda wish they had this in MY size so I could feel like a princess ballerina, too.

Dragons and Pearls

I love jewelry boxes. I love them so much that I wanted to pass on the sweet tradition and sent baby Char a ballerina musical jewelry box fit for a princess that plays a tune from Swan Lake. Char wore a rainbow colored tutu for Halloween, so it’s definitely this Grandma’s job to nurture an early appreciation for dance.

It turned out that she loved it so much (and so did Theo) that I had to send him one too, only his featured characters that twirl around from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince and plays Mozart’s Eine Klene Nachtmusik. It’s about the right time for him to read that book, too.

I also found a new one for me (of course), and it’s better in real life than the photos portrayed on Amazon. The green is truly a beautiful background for the gold dragon. This one doesn’t play music but I have another one that does, so I’m content.

Now we’re all happily playing with our new boxes…a thousand miles away from each other.

Russian Ballet Theatre’s AMAZING Swan Lake

I’ve seen most of the greats: Margot Fonteyn, Maria Tallchief, Rudolf Nureyuv, Galina Ulanova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov with Natalia Makarova.

THIS version of Swan Lake with the Russian Ballet Theatre did not disappoint!

The RBT production captivated us with Russian traditions while adding new choreography, hand painted sets, and beyond beautiful hand sewn costumes.

Getting ready! Lots of excitement in the air. I love to sit close enough to hear the sound of toe shoes on the stage.

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido was packed; it’s lovely to see a great response to ballet. This was the opening night of their US tour.

Olga Kifyak as Odettel/Odile accomplished the Holy Grail–I believe we counted 32 successful fouettes, which is every ballerina’s fantasy to attain. Olga owned the stage with her powerful and ethereal dance and the most amazing extension.

Head Jester Mikhail Ovcharov seemed to fly through the air with his cabrioles and grand jetes–a definite audience favorite.

PLEASE check out the tour schedule below and don’t miss it!!!

For those of you who need a refresher about Swan Lake, it’s based on a German fairy tale. Tchaikovsky’s score tells the tragic but timeless love story of Prince Siegfried and a lovely swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of a sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming on a lake of tears and her nights in her beautiful human form. Odile is the black swan, and of course there’s a happily-ever-after ending.

Link to website: https://www.russianballettheatre.com/
Link to tickets: https://my.artcenter.org/single/SYOS.aspx?p=4353

There’s Nothing Like Pink Ballet Shoes

To a certain type of little girl, there’s nothing like pink ballet shoes.

I mean NOTHING. Nada.

Before I was Princess Rosebud AND before I was Rowdy Rosie, I was simply Rosebud.

I was ballet-obsessed.

A little ballerina in pink tights, leotard, and ballet shoes, and once in a blue moon at a recital, I was lucky enough to be chosen to wear a pink tutu. HEAVEN.

Yes, I was a bunhead. And proud of it!

There was the special red letter day all ballet dancers wait for; the day we’re told our feet and legs are strong enough for POINTE WORK –and that means TOE SHOES.

To dance en pointe is the epitome of a dream come true.

You never forget the day your mom takes you to Capezio to be fitted for those first toe shoes. Smelling and stroking them all the way home, hand sewing the satin ribbons in the perfect position, tying and retying them, clumping around the house on hard flat soles that feel like wood, hours spent staring at your reflection in the mirror. I AM A BALLERINA; ignoring the promise made to Madame NOT to try to stand en pointe without her specific instructions.

SIGH

Innocence and hope and aspiration all wrapped up in pink satin.

These are my old shoes, the toe box full of lambs wool. I’m walking around in them right now…and my feet are killing me, lol.

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I definitely can’t execute twelve fouette turns in a row like the good old days. Never mind trying SIXTY-FOUR!!!

 

Down in the village. there’s the cutest little ballet store, and I couldn’t resist a new pair of soft shoes for barre work-and an adorable shirt–pink, of course!

And I know what you’re thinking and NOPE, I’m never going to grow up, don’t even ASK!

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