Friday, April 27, 2012

It's here! It's here!

Yesterday I got mail from the UK. Yes sir indeed. The Alice -dvd from The Ballet Bag arrived, autographed by the lovely Royal Ballet Principal dancers! Took some photos :) And shall watch it this weekend.

I like the part "with compliments"... :D

Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice/gold) and Zenaida Yanowsky (the Queen of Hearts/silver)!!!!! :)

Edward Watson (the White Rabbit/gold) and Steven McRae (the Mad Hatter/silver)!!!!! :)
The COOL photo from the back of the leaflet.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring Recital!

It's aaaaalllllll over for this season.... Well, the recital stuff at least. We had the one and only performance for this Spring today, at one of the local schools. The stage was tiny, but it came as no surprise as I've been there before. Our coreography was 2,5 minutes (like all others) and went by so quickly. Too fast, I'd say. I really really like being on stage, with flute or dancing.

We took 3 photos of our small group, here they are. (A "bit" edited, just in case.)

Those lovely skirts... :D Well, it's always fun to wear a full circle skirt, and even with tulle under it! Pirouettes were extra nice to perform - we had 2 x soutenu and then some chaines'. Later on there was 3 x en dehors to the right, from 4th position. They would have been even More fun on a bigger stage. Same goes for the jumps. There was practically no space after the first. But challenges are made to be taken over. Or won. Or something.

My evening was as good as it could have been. Only one small step to the side (my balance didn't stay put), but everything else was okay. Day after tomorrow there's going to be our last Friday class - dislike the fact. Luckily last Saturday we got some good news about summer -> there'll be a class 2 times a week, on Monday and Wednesday evenings. I'm hoping we'll do some pointe during them, too. Have to ask about it, maybe this Saturday already. Would be boring to have a 3 month break from The Shoes.

Now I'm off to bed. Rented the-girl-with-a-dragon-tattoo, but didn't have the energy to watch. In the morning then. And I've seen the originals & read the books many times, so there's really nothing new to it... :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Season 2012-2013

Last week the Opera & Ballet announced their repertoire for next season. Not completely, but most of it. It's going to be an interesting year again. They revealed all works for Autumn-Winter -12, and one premiere for Winter-Spring -13. The rest of the works (returning to repertoire) will be announced in the Autumn. But everything's to be seen here: Opera's calendar in English.

About one year ago I made plans of what I'd like to see this year (11-12). And almost all I did see! Here's a list:

*** During Autumn - Winter: ***
* Blood Wedding / Scheherazade -> yes
* Cinderella (world premiere from Kohler) -> yes
* The Nutcracker (twice in one day, though it wasn't my plan) -> yes

*** During Winter - Spring: ***
* The 90th Anniversary Gala of the Ballet Company -> yes!
* Don Quijote -> nope :(
* Coppélia -> nope :(
* La Bayadere (Minna Tervamäki's farewell performance) -> yes!

*** Shows yet to come this season: ***
* The ballet school's spring recital
* Helsinki International Ballet Competition
* The (free) performance of ballet company at the Senate Square in Helsinki (25.5.2012)
* The summer tour of the ballet company, in different cities/towns
* Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (in Kuopio)

But what would I like to see next year? I like making lists, so here's one more.

* Romeo and Juliet - I did see this production in 30.4.2011 and liked it a lot. It depends a bit on who're doing the leading roles. (I'm guessing Baranova and Krcmar will do it, as they are the young ones. But who else?)
* The Boston Ballet's guest performances - as I've admitted already before, contemporary ballet isn't my (biggest) thing. But I'll probably never again have the opportunity to see this company, so it's a must anyway.
* Le Corsaire - never seen this before (live) and it's a classic -> to the must-see-list.
* Manon - never seen this one either, so... -> to The List.
* Dance Battle - a new coreography by Minna Tervamäki (premieres this Spring -12). Would probably be interesting.
* The Snow Queen - they've put Nutcracker on hold for some years and there's this brand new work coming from Mr. Greve himself. Snow Queen is based on a fairytale by H.C.Andersen and has references to Finland! It doesn't have the "traditional" music of Jukka Linkola (from the movie), but Tuomas Kantelinen has composed new stuff. I liked Greve's Scheherazade and the small piece he'd made for last summer's tour. So this goes -> to The List.
* Bella Figura - "a triple bill featuring works by three world-famous choreographers." They are Kylián, Balanchine and Wheeldon. Contemporary, but probably very interesting.

The promo pic for Corsaire! :D (photo from

There's going to be other ballets too, but we have to wait for the information. Blah... I want to know already! :D Have to start saving for all the tickets. Or buy opera binoculars and the cheapest tickets.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One fabulous dancer called M. Krcmar

I mentioned in my Bayadere-post how positively surprised I was with his talent. One would just sit there, in the audience, with mouth almost open, and watch. And then give huge applause and some even shout bravo bravo! I'm telling you, he is a dancer we'll hear much more about. Appointed principal dancer last Autumn (2011) at the age of 21. Here's a video I just found, Solor's variation from Bayadere. It's most probably from the performance I saw, as he hasn't done more of them yet. And the set/costumes are exactly the same. The jumps and the pirouettes. Wow. Had to watch it couple of times before writing this! He has that royal kind of nobility here, in all the gestures. And it's all so... ready. Mature. But I'm eagerly waiting to see more on stage, to see how he develop(pe)s.


(He also has a page in fb.)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lady Luck is called Alice!

The Ballet Bag had an article about Royal Ballet's Alice, mainly the costumes in it. Also there was an Alice dvd promo competition, which I entered (as it said global answers were welcome). Well. Guess what?

I won!!!

Had to read the e-mail "a couple" of times, but there it was. I am getting an autographed copy of the wonderful work. It's going to be my first very own ballet dvd. I do have one Swan Lake on vhs, but it doesn't count as it's been recorded from tv. And the autographs are from Royal Ballet Principals Lauren Cuthbertson (Alice), Steven McRae (the Mad Hatter), Zenaida Yanowsky (the Queen of Hearts) and Edward Watson (the White Rabbit).

Happy. Happy. HappY! HAPPY!!! Yay! 


p.s. You can read the article HERE.
Photo by Johan Persson/Royal Opera House

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hey, I put some new shoes on...

The title is actually a great song by Paolo Nutini, you can watch it HERE. And as I bought me a new pair today, the song is very much relevant.

Got a bit carried away when browsing stuff via Polyvore... :)



The shoes are from Converse ♥ Marimekko's Fall 2011 collection, fabric design is called Kaleidoskooppi (by Maija Louekari). Shoe model is of course Chuck Taylor All-Star (Hi-top). And I can't help but mention that these are my very first pair of Converse shoes ever. Very happy with the design I picked! ;)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grande Finale!

One week ago I was quite excited, to say the least. Only 2 days and there would be something amazing to see! Of Course I'm talking about the farewell performance of Minna Tervamäki, the retiring étoile of our National Ballet. On Saturday I had a full day of Suzuki teacher training before running to the hotel and changing and... Well. Let me tell you about it.


I took the 7.45 am buss to Helsinki, after only 3-4 hours of sleep. Good day ahead! Made it on time to the music school of Käpylä. Met some lovely colleagues and taught one student, listened to others teaching, followed some lecturing. Made lots of notes. Took a buss to the center. Bought one pair of pantyhose -> NEVER buy only one pair if you have a Thing to go to. Always ALWAYS at least 2 pairs. Okay, so, got some (real) champagne for Sunday (to give my friend), some snacks for the evening (to eat after the show). 

Back to hotel. Try Not to sleep. Take a shower. Change clothes. Notice one crucial hair product missing. Put on those pantyhose. Hear a "snap"... Oh. There's a BIG hole in them, on my right thigh. Find nail polish. Fix the hole. *Deep sigh.* Remember to remove the old (very colorful) polish from finger nails. Put on some make-up. Sip some bubbly (not the champagne, but some cheaper stuff, just a piccolo bottle). Eat some chocolate. Put on the jacket, shoes. Other shoes in a bag, remember to take the purse! Leave for the tram. As the tram starts to move, notice that YOU STUPID IDIOT FORGOT THE BALLET TICKET in the hotel room!!!!!

Get off the tram on the first stop - run for your life - get the ticket and try to breath at least a little - ask the reception girl to call a cab. While sitting in the car, think about the 2-day-all-round-ticket you bought for 10 euros, for all the buses & trams & metros. Then pay 15 euros for the cab... :D And make it on time for the show. Yay!!!

Then about the actual performance...

Michal Krčmář and Minna Tervamäki. Photo by Sakari Viika.

I've never been to a farewell show before. Only seen bits and pieces online (of Darcey Bussell). This already made the atmosphere special. Had a teeny-tiny doubt about the night's casting - Tervamäki at her 40s and Krcmar in his early 20s. But I sure got proved "wrong" about it, Mr. Solor was a-ma-zinggggg... Just. Wow. (You'll find his webpage here, go!)

I actually didn't have time to watch the whole work through beforehand as I planned, there were some sad news of a friend. But - the plot was familiar (and I bought the programme leaflet), so I knew what was to happen. I think everyone was as eager as me, just waiting for Étoile herself to appear on stage. And as she did - such spontaneous applause! Some friends said they had tears in their eyes at that moment - and so did I. In my opinion Tervamäki was and is at her best in these very dramatic roles, her style is charismatic, she's elegant and strong. She was very good in the lovers' scenes, but can't help thinking that the suffering parts of the role were more of her kind. For example, the dance of Nikiya at the engagement scene, before getting the flowers and the snake etc. The music was oh-so-sad, my hands got sweaty, eyes teared again. I've seen maybe some deeper bendings of the back, but Tervamäki - she gave out her everything. And soon she died... Talk about drama, I say.

Minna Tervamäki and Michal Krčmář. Photo by Sakari Viika.
The Kingdom of Shades. In my opinion our corps de ballet did a splendid job. As I followed the first shade's process from the first arabesque to the last, my legs got exhausted! That part of the second act is long, lot of balancing (arabesque, developpe a la seconde - argh....) and moves that have to be unisono (borrowing an Italian word here, in one voice). Some of the main couple's dancing went without me paying attention, as I was waiting so much for the Variations. And my former dance class friend (from childhood) was one of them! It turned out that she got to do my favorite, the First One. There was applause during the one-foot releves in the end and she sure did deserve them. Biiiiig applause in the end, too. The second and third Shades were very nicely on the spot also, such a pleasure to watch.

Barbora Kohoutková, Michal Krčmář and Minna Tervamäki. Photo by Sakari Viika.
The final act. Lot of bling, lovely costumes. Even more drama. In the photo above is also Barbora Kohoutková, whom I've wanted to see on stage for years. She was the winner of Juniors in Helsinki International Ballet Competition in 1995, also got the Grand Prix price. And I remember it so well... :) This evening she was glamorous, yet a bit scary, in her role as Gamzatti. Skillful to the last extension of toes, also elegant. Just look at those hands in the photo.

The last act was over so soon. Nikiya and Solor got each other, of course, but I felt empty somehow. It's that feeling always after a Good performance. Whether you're part of it or just a spectator. We stood there, giving our thanks to the Star of the evening, and stood for a While, might I add. Opera full of people clapping their hands together. The only thing I wondered was Why she didn't get flowers sooner. I would have given them almost instantly. And more than the one bouquet of roses she got near the end of the standing ovation. (The roses were plenty and they were Lovely, don't get me wrong here. But still.)

As we walked from the first balcony (I sat right in the middle of it, in 1st row) and the curtain had closed for good, we could hear applause, laughing, happy noises behind it. How great it would have been to be there! Luckily it wasn't over for us, not yet. Many of us went to the main foyer, to wait for the interview of Miss Tervamäki. There was a man telling some stuff about Minttu (as many people call her), and the audience got to tell their memories of her. Soon enough She emerged and sat down, still wearing the last outfit. With some warmies over it! :) That man interviewed her a bit, then we got to ask her questions. Aaaaaand finally she gave autographs. I'm not usually the one who goes after them, but this was something I wanted. Have to take a photo of it to show you.


Sooooorryyyyy for this overlong post! Just couldn't put it in fewer words. And this wasn't even all I thought about it. Have to continue later, maybe. But to really sum it all up - probably the best I've seen this season. It's still running till the end of April, go and see. Salla and Jaakko Eerola, Maria Baranova and Michal Krčmář, Eun-Ji Ha and Nicholas Ziegler (I'd have loved to see him, but had to make a choice, bohoo....).

Monday, April 2, 2012

The farewell of a great dancer

As I gloated earlier, yesterday was the evening of a once-in-a-lifetime-experience. The étoile of our National Ballet retires and it was her last performance. At the moment I'm too tired from the weekend and all other stuff that's going on (my friend is going to die soon), but tomorrow might have the energy again. So bare with me... :)

Didn't have my camera with me at the Opera (couldn't fit it in my stupid little purse), but luckily managed to snap some photos of Her during the interview session, after the show. She was just lovely!