May 20, 2012

I Can't, I Have Ballet..

Starting from today, ballet takes over pretty much my entire spare time: classes, rehearsals, recitals, volunteering, classes, watching others dance, and then blogging about it all. Ballet until I drop - hey, it's the motto I live by! I just hope I won't drop too soon.. ;)

Today (Friday): advanced ballet class, as usual, followed by pointe class, as usual. We are going to rehearse our entrance of the wilis for the upcoming spring show, and.. we get to try on our costumes! I haven't seen anything yet, but those tutus should be wili-esque: long, white and romantic. It's certainly a big improvement from last year's see-through flower curtain -skirt (which I've worn for two different shows already). If those wilis wouldn't be so sad in their eternal damnation, I would do a happy dance on stage!

Saturday: Don Quixote rehearsal from 12-14.00 hrs, followed by a bonus pointe session. Two of the advanced girls are doing the Paquita variation, which we practiced in pointe class earlier this spring. Our teacher is letting us (me and a two other girls) rehearse along, because it benefits us technically. Of course, we have to stay in the back and out of the way. But, last Saturday, one of the girls had to miss rehearsal (work, nothing serious) - which meant the rest of us got corrections and coaching too! And I can tell you that I really need it. That Paquita variation is serious stuff, especially when you consider that I have been on pointe for only a year and a half.. I have finally gotten past the fear of looking silly, but that final diagonal with them en dedans pirouettes, arabesques onto relevé and chaînés is a killer! So I'm more than happy to practice any chance I get.

Our big Don Quixote dance is coming along nicely. Groups, entrances, lines and rows and patterns have been sorted out - now it's down to the dancing and fine-tuning. There are 19 dancers, from all levels and with a variety of experience and skills. Most of the steps I have been doing forever, but the choreography and style is new. Last time I was told to work on my presence and my épaulement, because it's not yet "Don Q" enough! I was already dancing full out at the time, and frankly, I don't know how to be more "Don Q". The problem is, there is just not time enough. You have to learn the steps, dance with the group, and do the best you can. Maybe I'll discover my inner fiery and proud "Spanish" ballerina when the lights go out!

We also got try on our costumes, short satin skirts with tulle underlays. Mine is rose-red, and it's lovely. Although I was a bit apprehensive at first, because the rouching at the waistband adds even more width to my hips.. But my teacher assured me that I look just fine, and reminded that we are constantly on the move anyway. By the way, the fastenings for the waistbands we got to sew ourselves. I'm proud mine turned out neat enough, sewing not being one of my many skills.

The flower is my own, but hasn't been approved yet..
It has a clip on the flip-side, and can be fastened without sewing.

Sunday: last rehearsal for Don Q! Help! Now is the time to dance full out, smiles and all. I have one "solo" diagonale in the final coda: four counts chaînés deboulés - chassé - big grand jeté with arms in couronne. It's awesome, as long as I don't veer off and crash into the group on my left. We also have an extra rehearsal for Giselle, which is sorely needed. We have been working on the entrance of the wilis in class only, and someone has always been missing. I have danced twice without my partner, and it will be helpful to see her instead of imagining her placing!

Monday: regular classes, hopefully some chaînés and jetés as well. Must focus on clean technique and finishes!

Tuesday: last three classes with Madame. Summer term starts the week after, and she won't be back until mid-August. I'm going to miss her classes so badly! I think I'll write a list of all the corrections I have been getting, and the things that need extra work. Which is a lot! And yes, will blog said list here.

Wednesday: last day off, for a while.

Thursday: regular class, that's all.

Friday: last class before spring show, also last pointe class before fall and last rehearsal for Giselle.

Saturday: dress rehearsals at 12.35 hrs, show at 16.00 hrs (4 pm) and 19.00 hrs (7 pm). Time for those wilis to enchant, twice. No idea when I'll be home.

Sunday: show at 18.00 hrs (6 pm). Don Quixote! We get only one chance, best to dance full out and enjoy every second! Also, Madame said she's going to be in the audience. Happy, and slightly nervous. Final bows before the summer, and time to have some aprés-show bubbly!

Monday: no rest for the weary, as I'm going to volunteer at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. Wake-up call at 9 am! After my guide-and-help gig I have another class in the evening. Life and dance goes on..

Tuesday - Wednesday: more volunteering, maybe a basic class if I can schedule & manage it.. And if that isn't enough: I have been selected as the official audience guest blogger for the ballet competition! So, for the next couple of weeks I'm fully booked. Lucky me. :)


  1. That skirt looks lovely, Johanna!
    (Makes me really regret leaving HKI. The performance opportunities for adults are fantastic here!)
    Wishing you lots of merde for the coming week :D
    You better get that proud, fiery Spanish ballerina on stage by Sunday, girl!

    1. Thank you, Noora! :)

      Six of us are wearing red, the other skirts come in pale blue and lilac. Looks very pretty together.

      I have to mention that the performance opportunities here wouldn't be as fantastic without our teacher Gabriella! :)

      My fiery Spanish ballerina is slowly emerging, although she's competing with my less-fiery wili.. ;)

  2. Love it, you're are so inspiring me to get back into ballet.

    1. Clare - just do it! Get back to ballet soonest possible, you will wonder why you didn't think of it any earlier.. :)

      Thanks for your lovely comment!

  3. I think we're all eagerly waiting for your "reports" from both Don Q./Giselle shows and the competition! I'm very happy the HIBC organizers have bloggers involved. Toi Toi Toi for the shows!

    1. Thank you, Iepukka!

      I'm both happy and honoured to be involved with the Helsinki International Ballet Competition!

      And very excited about my own spring performances :)

  4. How fantastic! Of course, I'm tired just looking at your schedule :D

    I have to admit, I'm a little jealous of your ability to devote so much time to ballet. I have to finish this dissertation already so I can get to important things - like dancing!!!

  5. Shouldn't you be writing about the competition as the official blogger? :)

    Waiting anxiously your posts!

  6. Just out of curiousity? What does wili mean? You keep using the word...

  7. Hi Eva!

    I was refering to the "wilis" in the ballet Giselle. They are a female spirits/ghosts, women who were heart-broken and/or jilted and died before marriage. Instead of resting in peace, they haunt the forests at night, looking for bad boys. Lead by Myrtha (head-wili),they will then kill the evil men by making them dance until death! Pretty gruesome and sad, come to think of it.. ;)


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...