Blogs

Our final day in Israel was magical. The first stop was Mt. Olive for an amazing overlook of the Old City of Jerusalem. Everything was layered, both in the sense of time, with each century erecting their monuments upon the previous, and in the sense of religion, with the most holy of sites for so many all converging on each other in this small area.

On Thursday, we performed in Rishon Lezion just outside of Tel Aviv. The theater was a large marble complex with extensive backstage facilities including a separate studio to take class and spacious dressing rooms for everyone. We warmed up, did a quick rehearsal and then had a few hours for dinner before the show. The performance went really well, even though the audience was slightly more subdued compared to the raucous atmosphere of the Karmiel Dance Festival.

Healthy eating is always more fun when it comes in the form of finger food. Shelby Elsbree, a Royal Danish Ballet dancer and a prolific amateur chef, created this light and refreshing recipe: "I decided to try a spin on the summer salads I've been experimenting with this season, and came up with a fun way to serve one of my staple combinations."

 

Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Abigail Mentzer is a dancer's dancer. On top of her innate sweetness and lyricism, she also makes all the girls around her look good—in her handmade skirts. What started as a hobby four years ago has blossomed into a lucrative side business. This fall, Capezio's flagship store in New York will sell her Abigail Mentzer Designs in a trial run. Her skirts have done for dancers' bottom halves what Yumiko leotards did for the top.

 

Of all the legendary dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov partnered during his career, Liza Minnelli is not the first one you think of. But check out this amazing 1980 clip of the two performing "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate. Unfortunately, they aren't scheduled to pull off another duet anytime soon. But they will have a reunion at NYC Dance Alliance Foundation's "Bright Lights Shining Stars" Gala on September 9.

Day three in Israel was a busy one! We had an early bus call to Karmiel to explore and get something to eat before class. The area was like an upscale suburb in the States with tree-lined streets of shops and little gardens. Most of the signage was in Hebrew so it was hard to tell what each store held until you peered inside. My favorites were the small, locally-owned shops with delicious smells of fresh-baked bread wafting through the doorways and fruits and vegetables piled high.

 

The 2012 Princess Grace Award winners were just announced. The recipients in dance include Ballet West's favorite up-and-comer and "Breaking Pointe" star Beckanne Sisk, as well as Jamal R. Callender of Ballet Hispanico, Albert Gordon of The Washington Ballet School, Franco Nieto of Northwest Dance Project, Raymond S. Pinto from Juilliard and David Schultz from Hubbard Street. Student winners recieve a year's scholarship at their school; professionals have a year of their salary paid for by the Princess Grace Foundation.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is currently on tour in Israel to perform in the 25th anniversary of Karmiel Dance Festival. Principal dancer Alexandra Kochis is guest blogging about the experience for Pointe.

 

Finding the perfect pas de deux partner is, in some ways, similar to searching for your ideal pair of pointe shoes. At first, you’re tempted to decide based on the shimmer of the satin or the prestige of the brand name. However, you soon realize the need to look beyond the superficial, and choose the something that offers unwavering support and makes you look your best. During last night’s episode of "Bunheads," Boo learned that there's more to a good partner than what meets the eye.

 

For many dancers, the International Ballet Competition in Varna is the ultimate test of technique and artistry. In ballet, a gold from Varna is just as prestigious as all those medals Michael Phelps has hanging around his neck.