July 23, 2012

Imagine You're On Stage, In the Bolshoi..

That's what our teacher Silvia told us to do. You can pick another theatre of your liking, say La Scala or Opéra Garnier - just make it a grand one. There has to be a third row balcony, because that's as far as you need to project your stage presence! You see, it's not enough to dance to the privileged viewers in first row. You want to dance to the ballet lovers who can only afford seats in the nosebleed section! The idea of dancing in the Bolshoi theatre made us all giggle, but everyone stood immediately a little taller. We might be just a bunch of adult dancers, but we can imagine with the best of them!

Personally, I've often found my imaginary audience to be a tricky one. When I look at the mirror, I try to think there's someone behind that looking glass - but I get quickly distracted by my own reflection. Even when I assume the standard poses, head positions included, the idea of "projecting" has yet to sink in. I suppose it's because a lot of confidence is required to present yourself in such an obvious way. But that's ballet for you.

I remember when another teacher told me to look into the direction of my hands, but not at my hands. Like when your arms are up in fifth/third/couronne - they have to be in your line of vision, but without craning your head. Or when you do an allongé - the head is turned towards, but the eyes don't linger on the wrist or fingers. Simply put, elongating your lines does not stop at the body. The eyes will take you to third balcony and beyond, as far as you want to dance.

See you at the Bolshoi! ;)


  1. I remember the first time I saw Irek Mukhamedov I was up in 'the gods' at Covent Garden, but I felt like I was in the front row and could see every expression on his face. His projection and use of eyes was amazing.

    1. Wow, you've seen Mukhamedov live.. I'm jealous! :)

      Projection is something I really haven't given much consideration before. Ballet is hard enough as it is, and I'm merely a recreational dancer. Not like I'm preparing for a professional career the stage. But why make excuses? Presenting and projecting yourself changes everything, your presence and the way you dance. Even how you experience it! Why settle for less?

      "Up in the gods" - thank you, I didn't know that expression! :)

  2. I just started my own ballet blog. may I ask how you got your blog out there, and how you gained followers?

  3. Hi Andie!

    When I started, I didn't know if anyone besides my friends would read my blog. Or even like it! But I didn't worry about it. Hey, even if you have only five readers - it's still an audience :)

    But there are ways to "get out there". Read other blogs, and write sincere and thoughtful/interesting/fun comments. You can advertise your blog, but don't ask other bloggers to add yours to their list. It's entirely up to them and what they prefer. Also don't make your blog's announcement the comment's main point. Think about what kind of comments you would like to receive. Be positive and polite. Don't just stop by, but make frequent visits. Be a part of the community.

    P.S.Make sure that your profile has a link to your blog, bloggers are likely to check it out.

    You can also share your blog on facebook and twitter if you have accounts. There are also dance-blog sites where you can add your own:

    I think I got my first "share" from Nichelle recommended my blog on her site, and I got more readers. Sometime later The Ballet Bag added mine to their "Link Candy" - which was so cool! :) A few other bloggers also added my blog to their blog rolls. It's really a ballet blogging community out there!

    You might want to think about your key words, this is often how readers find your posts. If you're writing from a teenage late-starter POW, make sure that comes across.

    Keep your blog reader-friendly. It's fun to play around with various backdrops and cool fonts, but they're not always so easy on the eye.

    Be true to yourself. Write from your own experiences, and keep a sense of humour. Enjoy the writing as much as you do the dancing. That will have readers coming back for more! :)

    1. I was also going to say that it takes time. Followers don't find you overnight! But when readers like your stuff, word tends to get around.

      Oh, and thanks for your comment -it's always nice to be asked for advice!

  4. Hi,I'd like to invite you to visit The Ballerina Collection:

    1. Thank you - I really liked the photos! Cool backdrop, unusual contrast and very beautiful ballet lines. All the best to Livia! :)

  5. I like that imagery of imagining your favorite stage : ) One of my ballet teachers tells us something similar: "Remember, there are people out there watching and those people in the fifth ring also paid to see you so you have to dance out there to them as well!" Projection is definitely an art that you can instantly recognize in a professional dancer with that little extra something that makes them come alive on stage. I think it's good even for us adult recreational dancers to remember that ballet is a *performing* art and that we should be mindful of that quality when we dance. I know it helps me get out of my head and dance vs analyze :)

    Another teacher likes to tell us that "the eyes are the forgotten ballet muscle!" meaning that we have to perform with our eyes...energized and outwardly projecting, not glazed over and unfocused, and in the correct direction. Makes so much of a difference! I see it when I watch my classmates and then I feel obligated to keep up the energy and effort.


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, ...