Ballet Styles

I have always wondered what is the difference among Italian, Russian or American ballet schools and what people mean by “ballet styles” I originally made this material in Romanian since there was nothing on this subject in Romanian, but then I realized that “Ballet Styles” was the most popular of the page and therefore read by people around the world.

There are 3 main ballet styles: classic, neo-classic and contemporary ballet. They have many similarities, but their vocabulary, the technique and the way are danced is different.

Classical ballet is the oldest and the most formal of the three. It is based on traditional ballet technique and vocabulary. The beauty of the classical ballet is that despite its formal structure, learning and interpretation could be done in different ways. So, there are different styles of classical ballet that are related to their areas of origin, such as French ballet, Italian ballet and Russian ballet. Several of the classical ballet styles are associated with specific training methods, which are typically named after their creators. For example, the Cecchetti method is named after its creator, Italian dancer Enrico Cecchetti and the Vaganova method is named after Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova. For more details read https://nouasijumatate.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/cele-6-scoli-de-balet/.

Classical ballet involves grace, smooth moves, endehors, pointes, symetre. The story, costumes and scenography are elaborated. Well known choreographers: Petipa, Vaganova, Gorski, Lev Ivanov, Vainonen, Bournonville, Perrot, Saint-Leon, etc

Neoclassical ballet is a style that utilizes classical ballet technique and vocabulary, but deviates from classical ballet in its use of the abstract. In Neo-Classical Ballet, there often is no clear plot, costumes or scenery. Music choice can be diverse and will often include music that is also neo-classical. George Balanchine is considered to be the founder of Neo-Classical Ballet, using the traditional ballet vocabulary but in a less rigid way. Balanchine used flexează hands and feet, endedans, uncentered positions. Neoclassical ballet involves: speed, energy, a manipulation of the classical form.

Contemporary ballet is influenced by both classical ballet and modern dance. Borrows the technique and using the points from classical ballet but allows using a more diverse range of movements and steps are less rigid than in classical technique.
George Balanchine is considered to be the founder of contemporary ballet too, while Mihail Baryshnikov is a brilliant example of dancer who has built an entire career based on this style. This ballet style involves: floor work, endedans, a wide range of movements and body lines, points but bare feet also.

The works of contemporary coreographers are part neo-classical, part contemporary. In ballet schools around the world, the most popular contemporary techniques are Graham, Limon, Cunningham, Forsythe.

Today, a ballet dancer is supposed to have the classical school and be familiar and accommodate easily with all contemporary and neo-classical styles. Ballet theaters around the world are familiar with a modern repertoire, while classical ballet is danced only in not too many places.

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VALENTINA KOZLOVA INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION

imageVALENTINA KOZLOVA INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION
October 16 -18, 2015, Brussels, Belgium
REGISTRATIONS TO VKIBC EUROPEAN SEMI-FINAL ARE OPEN
PLEASE VISIT:
http://www.vkibc.org/vkibc-competitions-article/europe-semi-final/presentation

WELCOME!

Ballet great Valentina Kozlova is very proud to announce the first European Semi final of the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition (VKIBC), to take place in Brussels, Belgium, October 16-18, 2015. Ms. Kozlova’s mission is to help, support and offer students and young professional dancers an opportunity to perform and compete in a positive and encouraging atmosphere in front of a distinguished panel of international judges.

Dancers are divided into four divisions:
Youth (11-12), Student (13-14), Junior (15 to 17) and Senior (18 to 26).

The main purpose of this event is to create opportunities for young dancers to “network”, to see and to be seen by their peers, teachers, schools’ and companies’ directors. Prizes, scholarships to schools, and more will be awarded during Brussels’ European semi-final. The final will take place in New York in April 2016.

MEMBERS OF THE JURY 2015

      • Under the direction of Valentina Kozlova, Artistic Director and Founder VKIBC, non voting President of the Jury.
      • Andris Liepa – President of judging panel Former Principal dancer with Bolshoi, Kirov and ABT companies, President of Marius Liepa Foundation
      • Nikolay Tsiskaridze, Rector, Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, Saint Petersburg (RUSSIA)
      • Amanda Bennett, Artistic Director of the Prix de Lausanne and director of the academy Ballettschule Theater Basel
      • Eric Camillo, Professeur Ecole Nationale de L’Opéra de Paris (FRANCE)
      • Charles Jude, Former Etoile de l’Opéra de Paris, Directeur du Ballet de l’Opéra de Bordeaux (FRANCE)
      • Anne-Marie Porras, Founder Espedance, Montpellier (FRANCE)
      • Anderson Santana, Artistic Director and Founder Brussels International Ballet School (BELGIUM)
      • Gregor Seyffert, Director Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin (GERMANY)
      • Sergei Soloviev, Former Principal dancer of Bolshoi Ballet, Professeur Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (FRANCE)
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Ana Maria Gergely – My Experience at English National Ballet School – Part 2

imageSecond year was harder and more stressful simply because we had to manage our school work and the “My First Swan Lake” national tour. But I have to say that I am very grateful to have taken part in the ENB2 company. The “My First Ballet” series happen each year and the second year students do them.The ballets are choreographed by an ENBS alumni George Williamson and they have to be one hour long. So a lot of the ballet was cut out but all the good parts were kept in. It was the first time I could go on stage as a character, then all the steps and hand gestures and they way I walked or looked at somebody had to be done with a certain purpose, that of the character. I had the amazing chance of doing the role of Odile and then just like everybody else the corp de ballet work in other casts.The tour gave a lot of stage experience to all of us simply because we went on stage a lot during two months. We had our premiere at the Peacock Theater in April and stayed there for a week (we had two or three shows daily including Sundays) and then each weekend we toured to different cities in England. I only got to tour in Poole, Manchester and Leicester and I also did a weekend at the Wimbledon Theater in London. Each of us had an amazing time touring and being on stage and the children loved it (the “My First Ballet” series are specially designed for children). It is said that from all the “My First Ballet” done until now, Swan Lake was the best one so we are very proud of ourselves!

Apart from the “My First Ballet” tour, some of us (second and third year students) had the opportunity to take part in the Spring Celebration which took place in March at the Linbury Theater at the Royal Opera House.The best part of this Spring Celebration is that the top 4 ballet schools in England: Royal Ballet School, English National Ballet School, Elmhurst Ballet School and Central Ballet School came to this event and each school showed a piece or two from their repertoire.I had the chance to represent ENBS at this event and also to see the student’s level from other ballet schools. For this event we performed ”Mozart Allegro” again.

For this year’s summer show second year performed a ballet by Petal Miller Ashmole called ”Ecole’ Classique”. By its name you can understand that this piece was very classical and very English!

On a whole note I can say that second year was most stressful untill now. All the school work such as essays and assignaments, all the preparations for assesments, all the rehearsals for “My First Ballet”, gave us a bit of a hard time, not to mention that we went without a break from February until May when the tour ended (this year we didn’t get any Easter holiday).

But I think next year will be even scarier. It will be my last year at ENBS. Auditions are coming and I can definitely forsee tears and tensions among people. But the teachers will be there for us and will try to guide to what is better for us.They will help us prepare our CV’s, our audition photos and our videos.

Another thing I should mention is that in third year all girls must do center on pointe and this is practiced already during the second year, just to get an idea about the struggles that are to come.This is mainly because in most of auditions, classes are done on pointe and we need to be prepared.There will also be opportunities to perform with the ENB company in autumn.
I am both excited and scared for my last year at ENBS and I cannot believe that I am going to be a graduate and hopefully a professional ballet dancer.

Ana Maria also shares interest in photography. You may watch her latest work here

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Ana Maria Gergely – My Experience at English National Ballet School – Part 1

imageMy journey at English National Ballet School began in September 2013 when I started as a first year student, like everybody else. The ENBS programme includes 3 years of intensive ballet studies only.

Now being part of graduate year I can very easily say that my last two years at ENBS had been full of joy, tears, accomplishments and opportunities like I had never experienced before.

The first year was the easiest in my opinion. I was never really homesick, maybe because I already had some experience from my two years spent in Berlin, away from home. And London, what can I say ? The first time I stepped on the London streets I felt like I found my second home. It was such a satisfaction for me to see such amazing arhitecture preserved through pretty much the whole city, people with great taste in fashion, posh restaurants and shops and people with amazing education in culture.

The hardest part of my first year there was to get used to the English ballet technique, called RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) technique combined with elements from Frederick Ashton (the great English choreographer). It is very different from the Russian Vaganova technique. On one hand, the Russians are famous for their beautiful upper bodies, extensions and lyricism in their movements. On the other hand, the English technique is based on fast neat footwork and small movements of the arms and of the upper body. Not to mention that the English are obsessed with clean classical lines.Therefore they alaways say to us ”Less is more!”. So, even though they can appreciate the height of the legs and the virtuosity of the dancer, they will also be very pleased with lower extensions , clean classical lines and clean double pirouettes. It was very hard for me to make the transition from the extravaganza of the Russian style to the English style and I am still struggling with the change.

Even since my first year I had the great opportunities to see and be seen by many principals and directors in London. Every 2 or 3 months we go to the Royal Opera House to watch the pre-general rehearsals of various ballet. I had the great opportunity to see amazing dancers such as Marianela Nunez, Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo, Steven Mcrae, Natalia Osipova and many others.
For each of our assesments we had a panel which included mistresses of the Royal Ballet and principals from different companies in England ( Leanne Benjamin former principal at the Royal Ballet, watched our first year assesments). In first year we only had one assesment in April. In second and third year we have two assesments one in november and another on during the months of march and may ( depending on the each year’s schedule). Usually , at the final assesment of the third year , the panel includes the directors from top ballet companies in England like Kevin O’hare (Royal Ballet), Tamara Rojo ( ENB) and the directors of Northern Ballet , Birmingham Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet.
But not just during assesments we get the opportunity to be seen by famous ballet personalities. Each year we have a guest of honour at our Christmas showcase.In 2013 was Monica Mason and last year was Sir Peter Wright.
For our summer show we prepared a piece choreographed by Renato Paroni called ”Mozart Allegro”. It was a 14 minutes long Balanchine style ballet and it was both technically and musically challenging. In this piece I performed both the main role and the demi-soloist , in different casts. You may watch below a short cut from the show.

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Andrada Ion – Vienna State Opera Junior Company

IMG_2809 My  name is Andrada Ion and I am a balletdancer with the Junior Company of the Vienna State Opera. This summer I have just finished my first season as a professional dancer.
Being able to dance means a lot to me and the fact that I have the possibility to work for what I like the most makes me even happier.
This first year with the Junior Company of the Vienna State Opera offered me the chance to improve the classical and contemporary technique, but also to discover my personality as a ballet dancer. This year I learnt that a dancer is not a robot executing pirouettes or jumps, dancers are artists who interpret different roles in different situations. I also learnt that dancers are human beings and that we are also tired, we do mistakes. Sometimes, and usually after a performance I find it almost impossible to set my alarm for the next morning. It happens to me some days to wake up, to sit with a cup of coffee and to wonder where my motivation is to start again, from the beginning with the same warm up,the same demi plies.
Usually the audience sees only the end product, a beautiful performance with shinny tutus, perfect lined swans or strong princes ready to make a ballerina float. Well, sometimes this job it is not as easy as it looks from the outside. This year for example, I fractured my 2nd metatarsal on the left foot, and because I am quite stubborn, I refused to let a doctor check my foot. I thought it was just a sore muscle or tendon. I danced 1 month with a lot of pain until one morning when couldn’t walk off my bed. This period of time that I had to take off, I needed to spend hours and hours with physiotherapists or acupuncturists. Fortunately it was a fast recovery.
But beside this not so pleasant moments, this year with the Junior Company was amazing. I met some amazing friends that made the working days a pleasure. We danced a various repertoire in various places such as Vienna State Opera, Vienna Volksopera or Muth Theater. We had choreographers from abroad creating pieces especially for us. One of those was Natalia Horecna who choreographed a piece for one of our tours to Germany. Of course, many things happened during those performances,some of them really funny, but in the end we realized that with every appearance on stage we gained more experience and self-confidence. I remember once, during Le corsaire pas de deux I completely ripped my tutu so I had no time to change the sides in the wings. My partner was expecting me to come from the left side,but I appeared from the right with a broken tutu. I remember his smile when he saw me. Or during one other performance, I had to change my costumes from a tutu to a Tarantella dress, but because of the really short time ( around 1 min), I had no time to close my dress. The music started, my dress was not closed and the people backstage were saying: Go Andrada! Just dance it out!. I went on stage like that, even if my costume was not right. No wonder nobody filmed or took pictures of that variation.
I had also the honour to dance on the same stage with Anna Tsygankova, Friedemann Vogel or Svetlana Zakharova in different performances of the Vienna State Opera.
IMG_2810
This year I also had the opportunity to dance in various international ballet galas beside my partner and friend Francesco Piccinin, who will join The Finnish National Ballet this autumn. We danced different duets like Satanella pas de deux or Le corsaire pas de deux. We both were invited also for photo shootings and our contemporary choreograph Jed O’Grady Weiss created two pas de deux for us. It is a great pleasure and it makes so much fun to dance and to be on stage with someone you really trust.

Well, this was a short summary of my first year as a professional dancer and I look forward for many others to come. I believe that when passion exists, you completely forget the hours you invest in it in order to make it look like it should be. That’s why, I can never call the opera or the stage my job.

Posted in Andrada Ion, Ballet, Francesco Piccinin, Le Corsaire PDD, Natalia Horecna, Vienna Ballet Academy, Vienna State Opera Junior Ballet Company | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

What is GYROTONIC® ?

imageI first came across this method a year and a half ago. My daughter, a ballet student, was in great pain due to an old scoliosis and kinetoterapy proved to worsen the situation. A friend suggested she should try a method called GYROTONIC®. We were both desperate so we decided to give it a try without even checking out on it. She went back to school feeling relieved so I decided to try as well. I now have a year (on and off) of practicing  GYROTONIC®method.

If you google for the word, you will find that GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM ® is a training method, based on a mix of dance, swimming, Tai Chi, gymnastics and yoga. It helps your mind, body & breath to ripple with energy. Juliu Horvath, an ex dancer born in Timișoara, Romania, invented the system in the 1980’s to repair injuries sustained during his career and continues to develop it to this day.

I love dancing and go often to the gym but I must say that there is no other single workout to give you the same benefits as GYROTONIC® does. What makes this method so unique to any other workouts (including yoga) are its specific movements:

  • based on 3D rotation and spiraling as opposed to one plan practice
  • fluid, with no end point
  • low impact and therefore causing no undue stress on the body.

Part of the appeal to me is that GYROTONIC® offers the mind/body benefits of practicing yoga without any of the asana’s stlllness. Regular GYROTONIC® practice also builds core strength, balance, coordination and agility. There are more reasons to break out your usual forward-facing routine and try GYROTONIC®, here are just a few from my little experience.

1. Fight computer back pain. Practicing GYROTONIC® regularly can greatly improve poor posture by lengthening the spine and strengthening the core to take pressure off of the lower back, along with opening the sternum and connecting your shoulders down the back

2. Cleansing the body. The constant motion : arching, curling, spiraling, moving from your core, breathing methods—helps removing the waste and circulating the lymph fluids.

3. In addition to strengthening the deep abdominal muscles around the waistline, GYROTONIC® also helps slim the midsection by improving posture and eliminating fluid and bloating.

4. Sculpt long, lean muscles. The lighter weights and emphasis on extending and expanding help build longer, leaner muscle.

5. Focus your mind. All movements require engaging the whole body and the whole mind, as well as coordinating breath with movement. So you have to stay focused and leave all the troubles behind.

6. Cardiovascular Benefits. According to an article published in “Fitness” magazine, a GYROTONIC® workout provides low-impact cardiovascular benefits.

7. Flexibility Benefits. The yoga-like movements are challenging to expand their range of motion and become more flexible. Increasing the flexibility helps the muscles recover more quickly from exercise and can prevent injuries.

8. Injury Recovery. Because it takes the joints through a full range of motion, GYROTONIC® exercises may help people with injuries speed their healing. Quoted in a 2009 Reuters article, Dr. Justine Bernard of Washington, D.C., reported that GYROTONIC® exercise can decrease scoliosis curvatures, increase bone density in osteoporosis sufferers and help people with low back pain move more freely.

For more information on GYROTONIC® method in Bucharest, you may call Studio Derzis, phone : 0040.720.908.185

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Too Late for Goodbyes

imageThis is a post I was supposed to write 2 years ago but came to life only today…
It was 2 years ago when i first met Bogdan, at “Floria Capsali” Highschool Gala. That time he had been preparing a dance for the students of his ex-school, performance dedicated to his own ballet teacher.
The tribute to the place and people who guided his steps in school was not the choreography. The great gift to the school and ballet students was himself. Not only a gifted choreographer, but a great heart, he was completely involved in whatever he was doing. For him, strivind for perfection was the norm, he was extremely demanding of himself and he was determined to make a masterpiece from anything he was working on. Working with him was challenging for the students but they adored him in the same time. He was a bomb filled with energy, determination but love and kindness in the same time. I know he was the ideal teacher…
Our first encounter was brief, we probably didn’t change more than a couple of words.
I had then the idea to try contact him to find out more information. on how he got to dance in Germany. At that time i was trying to make a ballet school database to be used by everyone opened for new perspectives elsewhere in the world.

At first he didn’t answer, so I thought may be he was busy. After a while I even thought ( and I was so wrong) he was a snob not interested to get in contact with unknown people. Finally he sent me a line. I wrote back. He sent me another line. I wrote back again. Next day he asked me something and then he went directly “can you skype?” He was direct, unpretentious and friendly. After our first conversation i felt we were friends forever.
We started to speak a lot that winter when the ballet school was in deep trouble. He was genuinly interested and willing to help. Shortly after this, he came up with the idea of doing something for the kids, something that would make a difference, something that would help them in the future. We were four this time and the four of us decided to get involved in a project that was close to our hearts.
I know people speak highly of him as a very gifted ballet dancer. I have only seen him dance on my computer screen. But I had the chance to see him in different situations. As a teacher he made all his students fell for dance. His enthusiasm for dance and movement was contagious. He was not giving just a class with information and corrections, his class was filled with joy, energy, love. At our summer school he brought 2 free cases of Freed pointe shoes. He brought fresh fruits every morning. He made the choreography for 2 pieces to suit each student abilities and show the best of each. He even convinced a friend to compose a musical piece for our performance.
So difficult to sum up his personality, he left a legacy for the young generation to carry on.
Love you forever dear friend!

Posted in Balet, Ballet, Ballet school, Bogdan Necula, Scoala de balet, Spectacol de balet, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment