Charlotte Stabenau's blog

There have been so many blog posts and articles about how ballet and ballerinas are portrayed in Black Swan, that I feel sort of guilty piling yet another one on, but I'm going to anyway.  A recent conversation with a friend suggested just one more topic that can be addressed as a result of the movie: The violence of ballet itself.

 

In January, I wrote about making plans for the year ahead, and drawing on past experiences to make sure you're taking the right steps.  There are those among us, though, that are about to embark on a journey that nothing can really prepare you for: College!

 

There was great excitement in our offices here yesterday afternoon, due to NYCB principal Jenifer Ringer's appearance on "Oprah".  Aside from Oprah asking the usual, and rather tired, questions about Black Swan (see my earlier post about this topic), there was one thing that Jenifer said that I found very relevant.  She has struggled with an eating disorder in the past, and after Oprah asked her about her reaction to Alastair Macaulay's infamous

I went to see New York City Ballet on Saturday night, and was introduced to Balanchine's absolutely delightful Cortege Hongrois.  There are so many reasons why this ballet is great, but the three aspects I enjoyed the most are the deceptive simplicity of the choreography, and the soloists Ana Sophia Scheller and Savannah Lowery, who were in the lead ballerina roles.

 

This morning, there was a very interesting article in the New York Times' Style section about Benjamin Millepied. It's quite long, and pretty thought-provoking. As we all know, Millepied is engaged to Hollywood star Natalie Portman (of Black Swan), and the couple is also expecting a baby. The article explores his rise to fame, and the reasons why he is famous. The surprising thing is, it's not really because he's a great dancer.

 

I'm sure many of you have done yoga.  It's quickly becoming compulsory in summer intensives and college dance programs, and many professional dancers swear by it as a great supplement to their classes.  Yoga comes easily to ballet dancers, as the flexibility, discipline and core strength required is often already there.  But while I've heard so many dancers talk about the physical benefits of yoga (increased flexibility, strength, and balance), I don't often hear many talk about the mental benefits.

 

Thanks to the popularity of Black Swan, featuring Natalie Portman as the tortured ballerina Nina Sayers, I get asked a lot of questions by non-ballet people (pedestrians), about the actual experience of being a ballet dancer.  The same thing happened after Center Stage came out--all of a sudden, everyone was interested in what the world of ballet was like, and if it bore any resemblance to the worlds these movies created.  Most people are disappointed when I say no, not really.  Those movies exaggerate every thing, and every stereotype about ballet to such a

As Web Editor, it is my happy responsibility to go to cover shoots and edit the behind-the-scenes videos that give you a glimpse of the process.  I recently edited two videos featuring two very different ballerinas, from very different places and schools.  It made me realize that contrary to the opinion of many teachers and dancers, there is no one way to move beautifully.  The ballerinas I'm talking about are NYCB principal Sterling Hyltin, and the Kirov's Yevgenia Obraztsova.  

 

In my last few blogs, I've written about the upcoming audition season, and today, I want to address one of the most important parts of the process: Audition photos.  Most summer programs, schools and companies will ask you to bring photos of yourself in certain poses; I've seen first arabesque, developpe a la seconde, attitude croise and others requested.  The hard part, obviously, is not doing these poses, it's getting them to look good on film.

 

As 2010 draws to a close, many of us find ourselves looking back at the year that has passed, and looking ahead at the year to come.  It's the time to think about what you have done, and what you will do.  Regrets surface, and resolutions are formed to do better "next time".