BFan Academy Fall Session has Officially Started!

Last weekend, we kicked off our Academy Fall Session with an Open House Event at our studio! We had delicious snacks, offered example classes, held a raffle for BFan apparel, and there was even a surprise performance by our company dancers. Not only did we get to see our wonderful academy dancers after taking a short break for the summer, but we also were able to meet many new academy dancers that are joining us this week! 

Class with Ms. Hannah

Above: A special ballet class with Executive Director, Ms. Hannah!

Surprise Performance with Ms. Cari and Mr. Natanael

Above: Ms. Cari & Mr. Natanael during their surprise performance for our Open House guests!

Enrollment is still open at the Ballet Fantastique Academy. To enroll your dancer, visit our academy website.

Adult classes are also offered at the Ballet Fantastique Academy.  For more information, visit our academy website.

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The young dancers of Ballet Fantastique: Dancer interviews from backstage

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Trainees Emily Wilhite and Camille Morgenstern Photo Credit: Stephanie Urso Photography — http://stephuphotography.com

Event Coordinator Intern, Kristen here again! This last weekend, we had a splendid performance by our Academy dancers in the Home for the Holidays jazzy ballet concert at the Wildish Theater. After the performance I interviewed three very talented ladies, Brenna (age 5), Naomi (age 10 1/2), and Emily W. (age 22).

Brenna, age 5

BFan: What was your favorite part of the performance?
B: The Whole Thing!!!

BF: Were you nervous?
B: No

BF: What did you do to calm your nerves?
B: I smiled!

BF: What do you love most about ballet?
B: Because I get to go to performances.

Naomi, age 10.5

BF: How often would you dance in a day or week?
N: About four days a week.

BF: What are your favorite steps/moves to perform?
N: I love a lot of them, but I would have to say jumps, pas de bourrée, and frappé!

BF: What gives you inspiration to train so hard?
N: Seeing the older girls gives me inspiration. They are so good, I want to be like them.

Emily W., age 22

BF: What are the most important things you do to get ready for a performance?
E: One, obviously warm up, so I do not pull something on stage. Two, I always take a moment to breathe, to just avoid the noise and loudness.

BF: How long have you been dancing and when did you start?
E: Hmm, about 9 years ago, if I am doing the math right. I started my freshman year of high school.

BF: What is the hardest thing about ballet?
E: For me personally, to get my arms correct. In ballet, you need to have a fluid line. It is not just one position to achieve, that is the hardest for me.

We’re proud of you, ladies!  Great work on stage up there.

Our Holiday Gift Guide

Harvest Moon Photography Caitlin

Photo: BFan dancer Caitlin Christopher and Troupe Carnivale in “Seller of Dreams.” (Harvest Moon Photography; see more here)

It’s BFan Events Coordinator intern Kristen here.  Not sure what to get your loved one for the holidays this season? Look no further than your local contemporary ballet company, Ballet Fantastique for a gift that’s unique, fun, local, and a double-whammy…you get to give it now, and enjoy it later.  🙂

Here are my top five gift ideas to put a smile on pretty much anyone’s face:

  1. Tickets to The Misadventures of Casanova! Come see this new contemporary ballet premiere with lush costumes, decadent music, romance and intrigue making the way to the stage at the Hult center this coming February 2 and 3, 2013!  It’s two-in-one: holiday gift and Valentine’s event wrapped up in one.
  2. While you’re at it, you might want to consider making a bigger bang for your buck with a Ballet Fantastique Season Subscription for the rest of our 2012-2013: VENTURE lineup (The Misadventures of Casanova and Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet with live jazz!). Your pro-rated (read: discounted) season subscription will include tickets to the remaining two contemporary ballet premieres at the Hult Center, free Open Barre pass (for preview rehearsal/wine tasting reception at the City Center for Dance), additional savings from the community, and more VIP treatment!  BFan’s last three productions sold out, so a season subscription also guarantees that you’ll get seats.  These start at just $50 each, for all these goodies (and $24 for kids).  Read more about the perks and get ’em now here.
  3. Know someone who has always wanted to try something new—or who loved ballet and been wanting to get back into it?  Or been talking about whipping into shape as a new year’s resolution?  How about a Class Card for Ballet Fantastique’s hoppin’ Adult Drop-In Program?  Class times are convenient, class cards don’t expire for a whole year, and teacher Leanne Mizzoni from Washington, DC is rumored to be absolutely incredible.  Get a class card online for one, 10, or 20 classes and get the dance party started.
  4. Do you have a little one pulling on your heart strings? A daughter/son or niece/nephew? Try a gift certificate to our Young Dancer Program (ages 4+) or our Training Division (ages 7-preprofessional) as a gift.  Fill out this little form and Hannah or Emily will get back to you right away to get you outfitted with a pretty gift certificate to wrap up.
  5. Adopt a Dancer—give the gift of a scholarship to a young dancer giving him or her the opportunity to study professional dance right alongside his or her more privileged peers.  A certificate for your lucky recipient will outline the difference being made in the life of a youngster, thanks to you!

But above all, remember to enjoy this holiday season with the ones you love!  Happy holidays from our BFan family to yours.

—Kristen

How to Balance that Ballerina Body

There is often times a stigma associated with ballerinas and the need to be skinny. It is no secret that this stigma can lead to eating disorders, and many ballerinas are unfortunately stereotyped as having various disorders. However, there are many ways to maintain a healthy diet and stay in shape the right way! Here are a few tips and helpful hints to help ballerinas balance their diet:

  • Food intake must include all the necessary nutrients: a good balance in your everyday should be approximately: 58-60% Carbohydrates, 12-15% Protein and 30-25% Fat.
  • Keep a good balance of acid and alkaline within the body. Your diet should be balanced with 20% acid forming foods and 80% alkaline forming foods.
  • Water can account for approximately 65% of the body’s weight, depending on one’s age and sex. We all know water is important, but many do not know why. It is essential for the digestive process, carrying food to the tissues and carrying away waste. It controls body temperature. Water directs the process of converting food into tissue and energy. You should be drinking one and a half to two liters of water every day.
  • You should eat a meal one and a half to three hours before performing. In order to have a good energy level, this meal should have complex carbohydrates, which is the best energy source for dancers.
  • Avoid sweet fluids before performing because they are absorbed very slowly and do not enhance performance.
  • When cooking, use olive oil instead of butter.
  • Eat tons of fiber and leafy greens.
  • Try to avoid making cream sauces or mayonnaise-based dressings.

Important vitamins and their functions:

  • Vitamin A to act as an antioxidant to help your muscles to recover and heal and to aid bone formation (leafy green vegetables, yellow fruits, milk, cheese, egg yolks)
  • vitamin B1 [thiamin] to convert food to energy (pork, whole grains, legumes, fish)
  • vitamin B2 [riboflavin] to convert food to energy (lean meats, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, eggs)
  • vitamin B3 [niacin] to convert food to energy (dairy products, poultry, lean meat, fish, legumes, nuts, eggs)
  • vitamin B6 [pyridoxine] to help form red blood cells, make protein (chicken, fish, eggs, brown rice, whole-wheat bread)
  • vitamin B12 to maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells (fish, dairy products, eggs, meat, poultry)
  • vitamin C as an antioxidant to help muscles to heal and recover, to enhance the immune system (citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes)
  • vitamin D to promote absorption of calcium and formation of bone (fortified milk, salmon, tuna, sunshine!)
  • vitamin E as an antioxidant to help muscles heal and recover, help formation of red blood cells (wheat germ, soybean, corn, olives, seeds and nuts, spinach, asparagus, vegetable oils)
  • calcium – essential for development and maintenance of bones and teeth, important for muscle contraction and nerve function (dairy products, green leafy vegetables, tofu, fortified orange juice)
  • iron to carry oxygen in the blood (meats, poultry, fish, oysters, whole-grain cereal, fruits, green veggies, egg yolks)
  • zinc to support the immune system (oysters, meats, poultry, legumes, nuts, dairy products, whole-grain cereal)
  • magnesium to metabolize food to transmit messages between cells to relaxing muscles, for other different fucntions in the body (nuts, legumes, whole grains, green vegetables, spinach, avocados, bananas)
  • potassium which is critical to muscle contraction and heart function, building muscle, normal body growth (fish, broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes, leafy greens, apples, bananas, apricots)

Finally, try to avoid the following:

  • Eating extremes of any kind
  • Fad diets
  • Food grown with pesticides, antibiotics or hormones
  • Junk food
  • Refined, processed foods
  • Soda (regular and diet)
  • Excessive caffeine

The Dancing Gourmet is a great book filled with recipes and more helpful hints about how to balance a healthy ballerina diet, by Linda Hymes.

Making the most of your child’s dance training

“To dance is to be out of yourself, larger, more powerful, more beautiful. This is power. It is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking.”
–Agnes de Mille

Enrolling your budding dance star in one of our classes, or just looking for more insight into our program? Let this list of tips guide you!

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER!
From The Intensive Dancer Handbook by Rhee Gold, 2007
Parents and teachers may look at a child’s learning from different perspectives, but we share a common goal: to assure that every child receives the best possible training, both physically and mentally. Mutual respect between our faculty and our dancers’ parents provides children with the ultimate care and education.

HELPING YOUR CHILD GET THE MOST OUT OF DANCE TRAINING:
1. All the time: Encourage your child and express your pride in their efforts and accomplishments.

2. Before class: Make sure your child arrives several minutes prior to the start of his/her class, attends all scheduled classes and rehearsals, and comes prepared according to the dress code. Missing class can be discouraging when a child returns to class; often students have a hard time catching up, especially with choreography. They can become frustrated or anxious when they can’t catch up.

3. During class: We know that it can be tempting to want to watch your child during his or her regular classes. You want to see how they are doing! However, just as in school or with music lessons, it truly is in the dancer’s best interest for parents not to watch—
dancers truly focus better and learn more quickly when they know you’re not there! It can also create tension or confusion for children when some parents do and others do not respect the Academy of Ballet Fantastique’s policy that parents not watch—please help us keep the kids and their learning as our top priority and respect this policy.

4. After class: Talk to your child about what they learned at dance class!

5. Throughout the year: Special Parent Observation Days, exams (for older students),
and performance opportunities give dancers an opportunity to show their pride and
accomplishment in learning. You should definitely be there for these!

6. At home: Encourage your child to think strategically about his/her training at home.
Older students can be encouraged to record corrections and goals in a special dance journal or notebook. Practicing difficult concepts or steps at home (including pointe work) is generally not a good idea without the supervision with a teacher, but reviewing positions, vocabulary, or poses is great! Check with your child’s instructor if you would like guidance on how he/she can most benefit from out-of-studio practice.

7. When you have a question or concern: Feel free to call the Academy at 541-342-4611 or email info@balletfantastique.org to schedule a parent-teacher meeting any time you have a question or concern. Ballet Fantastique faculty recognizes and appreciates the importance of communication every step of the way. Please show respect and support for your child’s dance teacher, especially when it comes to disciplinary action.

8. Behind the scenes: Avoid judgmental statements concerning other parents and students at the Academy. Be proud to be a non-gossiping parent; spreading gossip or rumors creates a downbeat atmosphere and is a negative influence on productivity, both in and out of the classroom.

9. When tuition and fees are due: Promptness with tuition, costume deposits, and other fees is essential; payments should be made on or prior to the due dates.

10. During your first month with us: Read all of the materials in this Academy of Ballet Fantastique New Dancer Folder and on the Academy Handbook Website for other important details that you are required to know! Review expectations with your dancer.
11. When your child will be absent: Please call in advance to leave a message with the studio line: 541-342-4611.

12. All the time: Be proud that your child has a healthy body and is focused on the greatest art forms of them all…the art of dance!

We are proud of what we do, and want your to child feel the same way!!

14 Reasons to Take Ballet Lessons

Skills that last a lifetime—what you will gain from a strong ballet training program (no matter what your age, child to adult)

Physical

  1. Body awareness—Dance lessons build strong balance, spatial and kinesthetic awareness.
  2. Balance—Dance stabilizes muscles in the legs, ankles, and the abdominal core for healthier knees and ankles for a lifetime.  The Vaganova method used at BFan builds very progressively, so that students feel confident and successful as they grow their technique correctly and safely.  All BFan classes follow this deliberately progressive approach, even creative movement classes.
  3. Flexibility—Dancers strive to achieve a full range of motion for all of the major muscle groups, building flexibility in tandem with strength.  BFan training also includes required Ballet Conditioning classes for Professional Training Division students to build flexibility in tandem with strength training for dancers.
  4. Strength—Dancers build strength safely in a low-impact way, by forcing the muscles to resist against the dancer’s own body weight.
  5. Endurance—Dance builds the ability of the muscles to work hard for increasingly longer periods of time without fatigue.  At Ballet Fantastique, small class sizes mean that dancers dance more, instead of waiting around for multiple groups to use the floor for each exercise.  BFan dancers have extra-strong endurance!

Social

  1. Make friends—Make friends, challenge and support each other, and build overall social skills in a positive ballet academy environment like the Academy of Ballet Fantastique, which we’ve been told “feels like a family!”

Cultural

  1. Historical—Gain respect for and awareness about a beautiful, historical art form.
  2. Musicality—Dance is unique among many sports in that it involves music!  In ballet class, learn about musicality, rhythm, and music appreciation.  BFan Artistic Director Donna is a classically-trained pianist and cares a LOT about music.  She makes sure that every student and teacher is musically passionate and knowledgeable.  Even 4-year old beginning dancers in our Twinkling Stars class learn the basics of rhythm, clapping in sync, and “adagio” versus “allegro.”  You can ask them what these mean!  🙂
  3. Creativity—Build a confident sense of improvisation and artistry.  Artistry is key at BFan!  Browse our media reviews to see how reporters see it in even our young student performers.

Overall Well-Being

  1. Stress Release—Dance gives you a stress release and a proven mood elevation (physical activity reduces stress and tension, and can contribute to higher self-esteem and more positive outlook).
  2. Discipline—Build a sense of discipline and accountability to your “team”—so that you’re more likely to achieve your goals.
  3. Confidence in front of an audience—Build self-confidence, grace, and composure—both for yourself and in front of an audience.
  4. Learn how you learn—Dance lessons teach you more about your own learning style, improving your learning ability.
  5. Reach your goals—Dance lessons reward you with an increased sense of focus, effective goal-setting, and accomplishment. Plus, research has shown that students who participate in the arts have better achievement in academics and better social skills.  BFan dancers have a tangible sense of accomplishment, completing their annual level exams and earning well-earned medals of achievement.

What are you waiting for?!  Classes begin Sept. 10, and they fill quickly.

Register online now!

Contact us with questions

Fun Ballet Recipes for Kids: Dinner and Dessert!

With summer coming to an end and Labor Day Weekend just around the corner, we searched for two simple and fun ballet shoe food recipes! Cook up these quirky recipes for your ballerina or bring them to a Labor Day picnic or get-together!

First, let’s start with “Angelina’s Ballet Slippers.” Not only is this a fun meal to make, but it is also part of a balanced diet. It only takes 10 minutes prep time and 35 minutes to cook and then it will be ready for serving — it makes “2 slippers”!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 red pepper, cut in half with the seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup quick brown rice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup canned mixed veggies, no added salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Decorative cabbage

Now, you’re ready to begin! First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot of water and bring it to boil. In a separate pot, cook brown rice in vegetable broth according to the package directions, for 5 minutes. While the rice is cooking, blanch the red peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes — remove with spoon and place into a high sided baking dish. Stir the veggies into the rice — season with pepper and parsley. Next, spoon the rice mixture into each pepper half, brush the tops lightly with olive oil, squeeze lemon, and sprinkle the grated cheese! Place baking dish in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes — until the peppers are soft and the cheese is melted and golden. When done, place the cabbage so they make a crissed-cross pattern to resemble ballet shoes!

Now, on to dessert! This recipe is from TLC and is a bit simpler — it only calls for 5 ingredients!

What you will need:

  • 1 package white cake mix pudding in the mix, plus ingredients to prepare the mix
  • 1 container vanilla frosting
  • Red food coloring
  • 1 tube pink decorating icing
  • Pink ribbon

To get started, prepare cake mix and bake in 13×9-inch baking pan according to package directions. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Remove from pan to cookie sheet; freeze overnight. Cut frozen cake in half lengthwise, then cut each half into ballet slipper shape using photo as guide. Arrange slippers on serving platter. Reserve 1/3 cup frosting. Tint remaining frosting with red food coloring to desired shade of pink. Frost center of each shoe with reserved white frosting, leaving 1 inch on each side and 3 inches at toe. Frost rest of slippers with pink frosting. To add texture, lightly press cheesecloth into frosting and lift off. Outline soles and centers of shoes with pink decorator icing. Tie ribbon into two bows; place on toes of ballet shoes before serving.

We hope you enjoy these recipes and for your next picnic, ballerina birthday party, or family dinner!