Ballet Classes, Ballet Show, Ballet Tips, Dance, Dancers Life, Students, Uncategorized

Stage Basics

I had a show this past weekend. It was a school show, we had three sessions (Saturday at 16h and 21h; Sunday at 18h). As much as I have to say about what happened this weekend, I want to talk about a subject that is as important to a dancer as picking the right shoes or leotard: Stage Basics. 

When I talk about stage basics, I mean everything that makes you ready to go on stage flawless (like a ballerina should be 😉). Of course there’s your outfit, your tights and shoes and some warm up clothes (very important!!) but, how about the rest? What should you carry in your bag? 

Let’s start from the top:

Hairspray

– Hair gel

– Bobby pins 

– Rubber bands

Hairnet 

– Brush

– Comb

– Toothbrush

You must ensure that you have everything you need for your hair to be perfect, including head accessories if needed. Also, if you’re not having some expert doing your hair, you must know how to do it yourself. 

And, how about make-up? Every dancer or teacher has it’s tips and tricks but, here are the products that I find essential:

Primer

– Foundation

– Fixation Powder

– Bronzer

– Blush

Highlighter

– Eyelash curler

– Mascara

– Eyeliner

– (Other items maybe needed depending on various factors: lipstick, eyeshadow, glitter, etc…)

Here again, unless your makeup is too specific that needs to be done by an expert, you must do it yourself and make sure it’s stage ready. Don’t forget that, when you are on stage, your make up must be exaggerated. You will have many lights on you, and also you will sweat, a lot. So, enough is not enough. 

As a teacher, I expect my students to know this and to be always stage ready when I need them to be. I pass this on to them and it’s really nice to see that the older ones are now helping and teaching their tips and tricks to the younger ones. This is what makes a dancer. 

Last weekend, I couldn’t believe when the students approached me to help them with their ballet buns and their make up. And, most of them didn’t have their own make up! My fellow teacher never taught her students about this matters. 

This is my advice , teach your students everything that a dancer needs to know, not only technique, not only performance… Encourage them to have everything in their bags and encourage them to be responsible for themselves and their stuff. This way, a sense of maturity will grow within each one and they will feel even more fulfilled when it’s their turn to pass on some wisdom 😉

Ballet Classes, Dance, Students, Uncategorized

The worst thing

I have a class of teenagers, at a school in Porto, that has a very rude temperament. To contextualize, I only began these classes in this school in september. They had other teacher that left during the summer. When I arrived, beside the adaptation that is always hard for children, I noticed they were all very bad behaved. Of course I can’t  allow some behaviours in my class. The begginnig was hard because I was imposing many rules that they didn’t have before. But now, some months have passed and they are all amazing, polite and focused students. Except this one class of teenagers…

They have between 10 and 13, which are terrible ages and they are lazy, really lazy. Every class is a battle because they like to measure forces with me. Of course I don’t give them a chance but, it’s really exhausting. 

Yesterday they were supposed to have two classes: Floor Barre and Grade 6. They don’t like Floor Barre and they do everything that is possible to be late for that. Of course, if they are late, they miss the warm up and I don’t let them do the class without proper warm up. So, I make them sit through the entire class. And it was one of those days, so, I started Grade 6 with a lecture, reforcing the importance of Floor Barre and also pointing out how rude they were. The class started with a heavy mood. When they were already at the centre, I asked for the Adage and one of the students said: “do I really have to do it?”

That was it, I couldn’t fight it anymore. Everyclass, she is the worst in terms of behaviour. It was the moment I said to myself “I quit”. And I replied to her: “Beatriz, I’m only telling you this one thing: the only thing worst than having a teacher that is always lecturing you or correcting you, is to have a teacher that has lost her interest in you. And, now, I tell you, no, you don’t have to do the exercise. Do has you wish.” Can you believe she actually sat on the floor after that? The rest of the class was so straight and focused, I couldn’t believe that girl was doing that… 

It was definitely my breakup point, I couldn’t continue to believe in someone who acted like this over and over again. 

Students, believe that, if your teachers correct you or lecture you or push you beyond your limits, that’s because they believe in you, they have faith your potential!! Work with them and you will be amazed of your achievings. Because, behind every dancer who believes in himself, there’s always a teacher who believed first. 

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Stage Fright

Do you know that feeling when you feel anxious for days before a big event? Well, despite my love for ballet, I feel very anxious before any show… Every year, with my final showcase and my students, all the preparations, the tutus, the music, the choreography; I might spend a week not eating or sleeping properly because of my nervous system.

But this year, this is all very different because its with myself, again. When I was just a ballet student, of course I was nervous, but, somehow, it was different. Now I’m a teacher and I’m also dancing with the company for the first year. The first performances were in may and I thought they went quite well. But now, that we are rehearsing again for the reposition next weekend, the director said that my performance wasn’t great and that she expects a lot better from me. Those words shook me so hard and I’m feeling even more nervous, because know I have to be better than myself. And, when I feel nervous, I know that I’m not good, I’m just a nervous dancer… That’s not right!

So, to everyone that feels like me and suffers from anxiety or stage fright, here are some things that can help to relax and forget the nerves:

  1. Breathe in and breathe out. Feel the air entering your lungs, use your whole lungs;
  2. Meditation. Or, if you have never meditate before, just take some time for yourself, to clear your mind and to relax, daily. Try to start a few days before the big event;
  3. Organize everything that you need in advance, so you don’t have to be running for everything on the last minute;
  4. Listen to your favorite music;
  5. Remind yourself of all the hard work you had to get there and that you deserve to enjoy yourself and have fun doing something you love;
  6. Don’t be hard on your self. Of course everyone can always be better, but you are at your best at that exact moment and that’s what you have to work with;

And let our love for what we do be bigger than our anxiety 🙂

 

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Carnival in Ballet Class

Today was Carnival day in Portugal. So, yesterday, was Carnival Night. Like in Brasil, we have many traditions, parades and many other ways to celebrate this day. In class, imagination is the best way to do it!! It was really fun to teach a ballet class to a rabbit, a devil, a clown, a lemon, a bee… My adult students found their way to bring something to class and still be able to dance! What a great class it was…

  
PS: That’s me with the Venice mask in the middle of the group 😉 

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Enough is enough

For the past 5 years i’ve been teaching ballet in a small kindergarden near my hometown. I started in a small dance room, with mirror and barres, but the floor was too hard for ballet and the ceiling was falling appart because of the rain. The room was could and there were anta everywere… Everytime I talked to the principal, he would say that it was a transitory situation because they were about to buy a new place for all the activities (ballet, karate, etc…). And, like that, the years passed… Last year (without the new classroom), I said I was tired of the situation and they decided to do some construction work in the room (yey!!!). Except, they transformed it in a small school library. So, by the end of the year, I was moving the shelfs before and after every class to adjust the room to my porposes. This year (in October 2015), they contacted me again and I said I needed conditions. Problem solved, they said I could teach in a gym nearby. “Great! Problem solved” were my thoughts. Of course they had to ruin it. It’s a 5 minute walk form the gym to the kindergarden (a bit more when you are walking with a group of three year old’s) and they asked me to be the one accompaniyng the children from one place to the other. It is worth mentioning that I teach three classes without breaks and the I drive for 10 km to teach at another school. So, with the time lost with those walks, the time of the class is shorter than it would be without all that walking… Now, think about the rain, wind, cold. It’s not easy. And, every single time I would get to the kindergarden to pick them, they weren’t even ready. I had to be the one to help them. Yesterday, the principal had the nerves to tell me: “You know, you have to teach the class for the expected time. The parents are complaining that the children don’t have ballet for a whole hour” and I politely ansewered “I know, it’s not my job picking up the children, help them get dressed and protect them from the cold and the rain. You said the situation would be solved years ago…”And the discussion went on and on. He said I needed to be patient and collaborate more. I say it’s time to scream “enough is enough”! After writing all this I realized I’ve been a fool for too long… And, you know, it’s not even worth what they pay me. It seems that, if you have a good heart, if you are a good person, people will abuse. Well, not anymore!