April 14, 2013

Birthday Ballet


What a day! First, I was almost late for my bus because I had so much fun reading all the incoming b-day wishes on facebook. Luckily, I made it to class just on time... phew. You see, it's a time-honored tradition of mine to celebrate birthdays with ballet and bubbly (in that order, mind you). Last year I was sick with the flu, but before that it has always been class or going to ballet performances. A few years back, I even used to fly to my old home town Berlin - lots of great memories there! Last time I was there, spring had arrived early (not late like this year), and the whole city was in bloom. I took morning class at Marameo, then had a lovely après-ballet mimosa in an outdoor boat café, anchored on the Spree river. The sun was warming my face, and I was loving my life..

Today was just as awesome. Before we began with the barre, our pianist Dmitri serenaded us with a rendition of Happy Birthday, and my fellow dancers sang along. I was not the only b-day girl in class, which made it all twice as fun! Jenny, thanks for sharing.. :) Our teacher Virve Olsson gave us a challenging barre in a quick tempo, which had me struggling at times, but not too much. Although, I really have to work on my en dedans turns from fifth, especially when the finishing pose opens the passé leg a la seconde. I was better on the right side, but going to the left.. a mess. Still, it's always fun trying! I liked Virve's barre, it was very dancey. I also loved her demonstrations, she looks like she just stepped off the stage. Well, as it happens, she only recently retired from the Finnish National Ballet.

Center was lovely. We did an adagio with a bit of a Don Quijote feel. We were to imagine being the ballerina who is preparing to dance Kitri, right before she goes on. What I liked about it most, is that we we got to interject our own personalities, and play a little. It's much more enjoyable that way. But the best part was still coming. After a few more degagés and pirouettes and warm-up jumps, the familiar music from Sleeping Beauty's big entrance filled the studio... It was my first time practicing any of Aurora's variations. Well, it's only a short bit of course, but exactly the one I've wanted to dance. Full of energy and excitement and joy! I love that we got to have fun with it, without worrying too much about technical purity. Anyway, we are still leaning the steps - cleaning it all up comes next. To top the class off, we did our grand jetés to Kitri's music from Don Quijote. Oh, and let's not forget the après-class bubbly pink champagne, macarones and box of chocolates.. Can you think of a better way to spend a ballet birthday?

14 comments:

  1. Happiest of birthdays, Johanna! Sounds like you had a very lovely day and well deserved, of course! How exciting to be able to dance actual variations. Aurora on your birthday is every ballerina's super treat! :D

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    1. Thank you, Lorry! :):) It was such a fun and sweaty class - loved every moment of it. Interesting too, since I used to think that Sleeping Beauty is not my cup of tea. You know, being somewhat older than a teenage princess... ;) But it's class and not the stage, and you shouldn't take life & dance too seriously!

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  2. Happy birthday to you! I am glad you enjoyed your birthday ballet training.

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    1. Thank you very much, Paulina! I'm very happy Sunday class coincided with my b-day. :)

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  3. Happy birthday!!! That sounds like an amazing class. :)

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    1. Thank you, Hannah! It really was an amazing class! And it also reminded me that you don't have to nail every exercise to make progress and have a great time at it. :)

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  4. Belated happy birthday. I agree that there is no better way of celebrating than watching a ballet in a theatre or taking class. How sweet of the pianist to play "Happy Birthday" for you and the other student. I am very impressed with what you and your class can do: dancing principals' steps from Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty. Well done you. Best wishes for the coming year.

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    1. Thank you, Jane! The pianist was of course tipped off by our teacher.. It was a fun moment, and the first time I was serenaded in class ;)

      As for "dancing principal's steps".. Well, we are of course only practicing and having a bit of fun.. I'm just happy that I get to push myself and try out new steps! :)

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  5. Happy Belated Birthday! I have really enjoyed reading your blog!

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    1. Thank you very much, I really appreciate your lovely feedback! :)

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  6. I'm enjoying reading your blog, and I just had to step in and say "we are channeling the same muse!" I blog as The Classical Girl, and just two days ago, I did an "artist's spotlight" on Alina Cojocaru, posting a link to the footage that follows immediately after your own posted link does. (The "Rose Adagio.") It's uncanny! I hadn't seen this earlier footage and so enjoyed watching.

    Oh, and a happy birthday to you! I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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    1. Belated thank you! :) I looked at several variations, and this one came closest. I adore her youthful energy and spirit, not to mention crystalline technique.. a very lovely muse!

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  7. I´m happy you are posting again!! Happy birthday to you, even though I´m a bit late...
    You took class at Marameo? How did you like it? I saw a video on YouTube and to me it almost looked like company class...

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  8. Thank you for the b-day wishes! :)

    I took class at Marameo on two separate Berlin trips. The first time, I went to another studio (Dock 11) and a dancer there told me about Marameo. Then I took morning class at still another studio (Ballett Centrum), and someone again recommended that I should try Marameo's classes. So I did. It was a bit intimidating, because the school clearly states on their website that you should have the technical level of someone with completed professional training. But I had taken lots of morning classes before and at least I knew how to stay out of the way.. ;)

    Barre was advanced, but not too hard. Center was a challenge, especially across the floor. Some exercises I had to wach four times before I felt it was safe enough to join in. After class I told the teacher Edwin Mota that I was only visiting, and that I had enjoyed the class very much. I couldn't have been too bad, because he told me that I was welcome to come back any time! The next year I did, and went for a full week. Again, Mota was teaching and this time I could keep up, no problem. The barre is not the most difficult, but for center you really have to stay sharp. It's a very fast paced class and everybody knows what they're doing. I also loved the mix of the students, some professional classical dancers, some modern, others teachers. Young and old. It was a relaxed but concentrated & hard-working group. Can't wait to go back some day! :)

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