Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One private d.i.y. ballet camp!

Oh dear, it's been a very long while since I last posted. But it's also been one very hectic Autumn (my word load doubled from last school year - only a positive thing!) and I've had lots of ballet classes, too. Currently my dance schedule is as follows:

Monday - 90 minutes (advanced) with P
Friday - 75 minutes (advanced) with P
Saturday - 90 minutes (intermediate) with P
Sunday - 90 minutes (interm. - advanced) with K

P was my teacher also last year, K is new. Last year I had also L & D, but this year L's classes are at the same time with my work and D doesn't teach here anymore. So, one new style to learn also this year with K. And so far I've liked it. :)

This week I have my "Autumn vacation". Almost a whole week. One week that is very very welcome. As the school year began, I planned taking at least one class with M-P (in Helsinki) and soon it became obvious that I'd have time for Only one. And this week would be the time for it. Started thinking about spending couple days in the City, since I really like it and haven't had too much time to visit for many months. Also 2 ballet friends asked if I'd be interested in taking a class at the Helsinki Ballet Academy with Mr Juha Kirjonen - well, yes of course! And since we don't have our regular classes this week (besides Sunday)...


My feet & our romantic tutu in April, at the dressing room :D

Wednesday is tomorrow and I'm excited! It's so much fun to pack my bag and choose shirts and tights and shoes. Friday classes are also in Footlight (like Wed), and the last one is a pointe class. That's pretty scary, as I've done pointe only with my regular teachers and I know that Madame G is quite strict. But in a good way... :) I've been only once before in her class, so it's a nearly new experience also.

And on top of these, I might go and see the Sleeping Beauty on Saturday afternoon (at the Opera, by our National Ballet). Haven't decided yet. But that show has an interesting cast, so I keep thinking... ;)

I decided to stay in this fairly cheep hotel and it happened to have an offer of 3 nights for the price of 2. It's in the center, close to both schools I'll visit etc. This is a ballet camp of my own, my "holiday in South". A chance to dance and meet some friends, to rest in between and see the town. Yay indeed!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Ballet Summer, vol.1

I had a nice and long vacation, ended just yesterday. Today we had the first meetings at work, was almost as nice to meet the colleagues again. But I wouldn't have minded if there would indeed have been a bit more.

More time to take summer classes, to visit our cottage in the countryside, to bake or cook whenever feel like it, to sleep or stay awake as long as one wants. And so on. Managed to read some books, which is always great too.

The vacation began in the end of May and very soon there was something fun to see in Helsinki, at the Kasarmitori square to be precise. For couple of years the Finnish National Ballet has been touring in Finland during the first weeks of June. I've seen them even in my hometown and twice in Helsinki. This year we had to stand for the whole show, but it was worth it! :) Here are some photos, or actually the first batch...

Sauna scene from The Snow Queen

Lilac Fairy from The Sleeping Beauty

Mai Komori was very graceful.

Collection of endings - choreography by Emrecan Tanis

Linda Haakana in violet & Emmi Pennanen in "gold" with Johan Pakkanen

It was the premiere of this piece!

The dresses were lovely.
Timo Sokura, host of the evening.
Don Quijote - chor. Patrice Bart after Marius Petipa

Pas de deux (from the Gypsy scene)

Anna Sariola with Eemu Äikiö
The sky was Blue and the buildings were Beautiful!
Linda Haakana in her next costume... :D
Mai Komori and Terhi Räsänen, some grand piano and guitar I say!

La Banda Sonora - chor. Anandah Kononen

And the leg is still going up...


More to come... :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Seuraa blogiani Bloglovinin avulla

Just to let you know and if anyone's interested, I'm adding this ballet-adventure blog of mine to Bloglovin.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Break

Bohoooo, the vacation is almost over for me... I've been relaxing a Lot. More than enough, dare I say. I have photos and thoughts to share, but today I'll only show this picture. It's a screenshot from one of our choreographies in Spring Recital. Don't probably need to tell the name.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

FNB & Hartwall Arena

Last Saturday was just Grrrreat! :) I'm not talking about us losing the hockey game against Sweden nor the fact that our song in Eurovision contest got only 13 points... Instead, I'm saying it was just superduper awesome that 9000 people got to see our national ballet company perform - for free. There were seats for even more people, but in my opinion, that was a good result already!

A poster at the railway station.
Me and a ballet geek friend, her 2 daughters + one of their friends and her mom + my friend's sister and her husband all met outside the Hartwall Arena in Pasila (Helsinki). There was enough time to check out the powder room, stand in a que for a while and then, get in & choose seats. Most people had these advance tickets that told which area one could sit in, but no precise seat number. We found a nice place, right opposite the stage.

A panorama photo, taken from my seat (45 minutes before the show began).
Although we had to wait quite a "while" for the evening to start, it didn't feel that long. It was fun to look at all the people, try to spot familiar faces, catch up with the friend etc.

The host of the event was Marco Bjurström, former dancer himself, a choreographer and teacher. He's also been a host of a very popular music game show in tv, these days works also as a news reporter on channel Four (Nelonen). Sometimes I find his energetic style a bit overwhelming, but this evening it was ok. He introduced the works and some dancers interestingly, though I'd have preferred to hear All the soloist names... But you have to keep up with the time, that I understand :)

Mr Bjurström with a dark background.

Marco.B. with Mr Greve and 2 hockey players from the team Jokerit.
After a short speech by himself, Mister Bjurström invited FNB's artistic director to the stage, Kenneth Greve that is. They chatted for some minutes, thanking a lot of people, telling how the idea of this event came up and finally also introduced the 2 other tall men on stage. They were players from the team Jokerit, whose home arena this was/is. (They didn't have much else to do than just stand there and smile, the be swept away by some ballerinas.)

As it was forbidden to take photos of the works performed, I only have some shots of the final bows. But maybe they give some idea of how fabulous all of it was! :)

"It all" began with some scenes from the 3rd act of Swan Lake. This is the ending  pose. Eun-Ji Ha with Andrew Bowman, Nicholas Ziegler as Rothbart (on the right).

A very dusty pic... The end of Jorma Elo's Double Evil. Don't know who were dancing... But they were Great!

These cuties were butterflies from The Sleeping Beauty :)

Opera singers Helena Juntunen and Jyrki Anttila sang a duet from La Traviata. I missed the name of the accompanist, but he & the accordion were very nice indeed in this number!
Next up was the cool (and sweaty/hot) sauna scene from The Snow Queen. Mr Bjurström introducing it in this one.

After sauna it was time for Snow Queen herself & underlings team up - right in the middle of the floor!  Too bad the camera man was so close to them, we missed the most cool part... 

A big fight scene between snow queen folks and the goblins, ended with peaceful bows... ;) Mai Komori on the righ as the Queen, Wilfried Jacobs in the middle as the "main goblin" (sorry, don't remember the correct role name!!). Terhi Räsänen was the lynx maiden, on the left.

Can you guess what was coming up here... :)
Yes, The Sleeping Beauty - roses... :) So lovely! Also there was a hunting scene. This is from the end, they're about to bow. The tutus are gorgeous. 

All the folks! 

Maki Nakagawa (I think...) on the left as Carabosse, Michal Krcmar as the prince and Petia Ilieva on the right as... The lilac fairy? (I'm embarrassed, I'm really not sure :D)

Okay, there was this forbidden photo... But as a punishment my camera's battery died Right after taking this. 
I tried to take some pics with my phone, but they were super messy and well, not good. But here's one of them anyway.

The dancers of Walking Mad, one of my favourites (as all the others... :D).  Tuukka Piitulainen had a solo in this, he's a name to remember.
The last works we saw were a song by H. Juntunen (from the Monty Python -musical 'Spamalot'), a hilarious number! Then a comic bit called The Sofa. I've seen it twice before and still it made me laugh. On stage were Linda Haakana, Samuli Poutanen and Antti Keinänen, a trio that amused us last May, too.

Final number was an extract from Minus 7 (by Ohad Naharin). It really is something else. Also some members of the audience got to take part in it, yay! :)

Then it was time to leave, go home. I managed to fell in the stairs = one bruised knee. It still hurts, but we had a lot of fun, so I don't mind :) Tomorrow I'm going to Helsinki again, to have 1 (or 2) ballet classes. It's my final chance to experience Madame Greve's wonderful teaching, as the classes next year will be on Wednesday's and I'm working till evening. So, tomorrow it is. And now, some sleep!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Music that SHOULD be choreographed

...unless it already is and I just don't know about it... :D

I've had this idea for a long time now, maybe I've even mentioned it here, linked some videos. Here it is, anyway. It came to my mind again today, as we were talking (in fb) about Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, particularly the music. We're going to see it on stage May 30th, with Eun-Ji Ha as Aurora.

Soooo. I mentioned that my favorite work from Piotr is actually his 4th symphony. We played it in Liminka music camp (this one time... :D :D) and I still remember the 1st flute part quite well. 4 movements, all very typical (in my opinion) to P.T. but still interesting. First part begins super-dramatically, pompous even. Second part starts at 22 minutes in this version, with an oboe solo that could bring tears to someone's eyes. Third part with pizzicatos at 33.15 and finale at 39.30, with a Russian folksong as the main theme. (Btw, they used the same song in Anna Karenina, the movie).

I really urge just anyone, do listen to this. Even if this wasn't written by Tchaikovsky, the ballet composer, it would bring some sort of storyline to mind. Some steps and combinations too, though I've never made a choreo myself.

Myself, I wasn't going to listen the Whole work this time but well, it just happened... :D (I also wasn't going to watch the Russian ballet movie from 1953, but couldn't stop after I started.) My feet still hurt from yesterday, but now I have to try and get some fresh air. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Get on stage - tomorrow!

It's Monday evening and I'm sitting in the kitchen, with ALL my make-up on the table. Have to figure out what eyeshadow will be on my eyelids tomorrow. Also my hair is almost un-naturally tidy-looking, combed all very neatly and close to my skull, put together with masses of pins and bottles of hairspray. My hair is too short to make any kind of bun at the moment, but if you look from the front, you Could be mistaken. I Could have a neat bun, somewhere back there. Had to try it (all the combing and pinning) today, just to see if it's even possible and how it'll hold (we had an hour long rehearsal).

So, I should put all my things together for tomorrow. By this time (I've been home a bit more than 2 hours now) I've managed to eat, update my facebook a little and bring all the mascaras etc. here. So, I still have some stuff to do... :D Luckily I've got all of tomorrow off from work. So I can pack in the afternoon. Have to be at The House about at 4pm, on stage at 4.45pm. But I'll probably go even earlier, just to see others rehearsing on stage, it's nice to sit in the audience for a change :)

These days I'm using ->

This is the palet, but my color choice is Twilight Zone ->

My favorite for a long time :) ->

My color is number 15 - Vintage Red. ->

Really, I have to admit that I'm probably one of the laziest women to wear lipstick. I do like it, but a) my lips are for some reason super sensitive and get sore so easily... and b) I can't (don't like to) wear any when playing flute. That's why I buy quite cheap ones.

I'll have powder and blush and other skin-coloring stuff too, but don't have the energy to dig those photos up.

So. What do I have to remember, besides make-up?

  • the black leotard
  • 2 pairs of ballet pink tights (make sure they don't have unnecessary holes)
  • bottle of light pink nailpolish (IF the tights get holes, both pair I mean)
  • the yellow "gown" for P's number (Peter Pan, the 2nd star to the right)
  • the golden star -headpiece, also for P's
  • the flowery dress for L's number (Schindler's List)
  • black small cardigan, also for L's
  • maybe a small scarf (-//-, but not mandatory)
  • one pair of soft ballet slippers, pink ones (or maybe 2 pairs? well... what could happen to the first ones...)
  • legwarmers, shorts and some warm-ish shirt (maybe also woollen socks, I'm too lazy to put shoes on and take them off, to put slippers on and take them off)
  • pins and hairspray, comb
  • make-up bag
  • something to drink
  • something to eat
  • something to knit (if there's spare time)
  • (Do I Really Need All Of This???)
  • (Yes.)
  • cards etc. to give to the teachers
  • camera (optional), phone (mandatory!), wallet (yes!)
  • ...and finally - lots of joy and happy spirit! I love being on stage! :)

Photo by Tristram Kenton ->

Friday, April 26, 2013

More Alice!

Just bumbed into some video clips by Royal Opera House that were new to me. They are about two of my current favorite "things", Wheeldon's ballet Alice's Adventures and the crazycool dancer Zenaida Yanowsky. I still find Queen of Hearts as one of the roles I'd dance, if I was to choose. I'm not the most princessy type, nor maybe the delicate spirit floating in the woods. But then again, these aren't any Definite Opinions... ;)

Back to business. Here are the videos! First the one I noticed when flipping through ROH's page in youtube.

I love seeing how such artists as dancers & singers & actors work on their role. Too bad there isn't more material like this available, or too much of it, to be exact. But you know what is "the best" part here? I've got the same legwarmers as she does! :)

This second bit tells more about creating the whole work. I have heard (and watched) in another clip Mr Wheeldon telling about his part, but this one has also some interviewing of the composer. And as a musician I'm very interested in that point of view, too. 

Have to go now, to put some Red in my hair... ;)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

You know it's Spring when...

...the dance recitals are coming closer and closer! My first one (of the 2 I've got) is this Sunday, yikes... Well, not in a bad way, it was a happy yikes :)

This week we'll be on stage with one ballet class (the Friday group) and one jazz class (Sunday folks). I like both choreographies, especially the latter. The music is by Feist, a song called The Bad In Each Other. We're not doing the whole song, only about 2 minutes of it. I'm sorry I can't share our training video here, but we have a cooool lift in the end - 4 girls lifting, 1 going up, all quite dramatic... :) But here's the video of the song:

With the ballet class we're doing a waltz from the 3rd act of Sleeping Beauty (the beginning of pas de quatre, the jewel fairies). The choreo is by our teacher, but if I remember correctly, she said it's reminding (a little) a version she performed in her active days as a dancer. 

About the costumes...

For the jazz number we have Black. All of it, pants/leggings/tights (which ever one is wearing) and tops/shirts. Jazz slippers/shoes or these "ankle-high" socks (well, the very low ones :D). 

For ballet - we all have a leotard of lilac, long sleeves and a bit shiny material, ballet pink tights, soft slippers (I'm hoping everyone has pink ones), and 2 knee-length tutus (lower one is this kind of peachy color and on top it's white with 2 satin ribbons on the hem). I think it'll look quite nice, as the leotard is high enough in the front (covers my cleavage ;D) and the tutus flow like cotton candy! Hmm... Not the best image, maybe. But they are quite fluffy, "ma non tanto" (but not too much). Whirly (as we do soutenus and pirouettes) like a happy Spring brook. 

A photo from our dressing room :)

I'm not wearing those Elastosplit-slippers on stage, been saving a pair of quite new Pumps for the recitals. But I like them in studio, they fit nicely and show the arch properly (if it's there or not).

I like our costuming, but have to say that it feels funny to be in ballet pink tights again. I have nothing against them, nope, but I've been wearing these different colored leggings almost all year. But I like to think that it gives a small extra feeling (boost) to the show, when Even the tights are different from usual. 

Tomorrow we'll have the final/adieu class with Madame D. There's going to be a new teacher giving her classes in Autumn. I will miss her, the classes have been a strict and clear experience, with good advice on movements (from the very base of them). She's been emphasizing on how important it is to know Why things are done as they are, why we practice certain things on barre - what's the use later on (in jumps etc.). So, a bit of sadness in the air, too. But you give and you get. I've been working hard in her guidance, and so have the others. Madame D gave as a (rare) compliment last week: "It is so great to look at you!" ...after a well-done tendu routine (or plies, don't remember exactly). 

I hope to meet her again somewhere.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Color Your Legs!

For a long time I'd been thinking about this photo project, usually so late in the evening that it wasn't possible anymore (because of lighting). But on Monday I remembered it in the afternoon and finally made it happen!

Here's what it was in the beginning...

So, in about 4 years or so I've "collected" a bunch leggings (and some tights). At first I got them to wear with skirts and dresses in the summer, but 2 and a half years ago it changed a bit. I started ballet again, first wearing these black capri pants, but soon didn't like to wear them anymore in class. The were too loose, you couldn't see knees properly. So, these days it's always leggings + shorts. I wear tights almost only for the recitals in Christmas and Spring time.

About the financial side... I could have written "Sponsored by H&M and Seppälä Store" as caption. Well, I have paid for them alright, but I bought (most of) them in these 2 shops. Always as a 3 pairs for 2 or other bargains/offers. The only ones I've paid full price were 4 pairs of ballet pink tights by Intermezzo (my favorite convertibles!) and Bloch. Anyway, if you divide the costs for 4 years, it isn't much. And I have worn them, almost all. Not yet the bright yellows nor one orange pair, but they're on their way ;)

...and this is what I ended up with! :)

Have a colorful weekend!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Long gone, but still here!

It's been ages since my last post, but it doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about writing. There would have been Many subjects for posts, but I had just a bit too much to do right before Christmas - and lots to sleep during holidays! :D Schools = work continued couple of weeks ago, so did the dance classes. I've found new energy to do things and really wanted to write.

So, here we are :)

Today the boost for posting was the finals of Prix de Lausanne. I watched it online, though the streaming wasn't too good... During classical variations it was pausing every 10 seconds, really annoying. But the contemporary ones I saw just fine and dandy. Which was nice, as there were couple of dancers who'd chosen Jorma Elo's work (he's Finnish). And in 2 of them the music was by none other than Jean Sibelius, our greatest composer (if you ask me... :D). Too bad it was only a very short bit, but I can tell you it was from the finale (3rd movement) of his violin concerto. One of my favorites. I urge anyone to listen to the whole piece, here's one Excellent version by our Radio Symphony Orchestra and Leonidas Kavakos as the soloist (the finale starts at 27.40 or so).

*** If someone's interested, I recommend also the version played by Pekka Kuusisto. *** 

I've been going to my regular classes now, Friday evening + Saturday morning + Sunday early evening (jazz) + Monday evening. And about 2 weeks ago I took one additional (tourist) class at Footlight (Helsinki) again, such a joy... :) Madame Greve was her "usual" delightful self, if I can say that as I go there so seldom. 

The class started with a short warm-up for legs and ankles, facing the barre. And as we started, Madame M-P was there behind me, giving some fine-tuning corrections! I really did my best the whole 75 minutes, still got corrections - and enjoyed every bit of them. There was one slightly embarrassing moment for me, though -> tendus. Madame represents the French school and I do know that she wants her students to Cross The Legs, I mean Really Cross them. My other teachers are more of Russian school, so no crossing there. I wasn't that sharp when we started and - well, we did the first degage tendu to the front and then the music stopped. Madame kindly reminded us all that we do cross our legs. I knew it was my fault, as I didn't THINK when the routine started. So stupid!! :D She did give me a small look before putting the music on again. 

But from that on it was all okay. Stomach in, shoulders down. One correction for my hand to stay a bit lower in front (as most of the routines were done with one hand on barre, the other in the basic position (not first or second)). As we had one leg on the barre a la seconde, Madame came and wanted me to Point my ankle and toes, as we did  a cambre to the side. "Strech! Point more! Good, good! That's better, look how beautiful!" And I was smiling.... :) There were other compliments too, in different routines, as she had given a correction and I did my best to fulfill it (good! very good!). 

The only thing I didn't hear during the class was "Strech your knees!" But she did say that I should have a bit of space between my heels (in 1st position), because of my knees are like that. And That was something new to me. 

As the routines were new / unfamiliar to me, I had to pay attention all the time very carefully. And I did feel it in my brains afterwards :D Only one set I remembered doing also in December (the last time I took this class) and it was a pirouette exercise in the center. Tendu a la seconde, plie in 2nd position, up to retire (working leg) - tendu to the back, plie in 4th position, up to retire - tendu a la seconde etc. again, but this time retire with releve (supporting leg) - same thing to the back, with releve in the end. It was a good basic exercise, just the kind I need to get a grip on my turns. 

Some small jumps and then a loooovely reverence, all together with Madame. Her hands are just so lovely... And the feet and legs and the whole dancer. I like my regular teachers a Lot, but Madame has that spark from the big world, which gives the classes something extra. 

To close this jeremiad, I put together a tiny collage of what I've been wearing for class in January. I found this mint green, long-sleeved t-shirt from H&M, perfect for training. Tight, but not too much. Fabric feels nice to the skin. In February, maybe pink for Valentine's day? :D 

Made it in Polyvore ->

Now it's time for some cold remedies, got sick on Wednesday evening and it's been getting worse day by day. Yesterday I managed to take a class, no chance today. Or tomorrow. Or Monday... :( But luckily there's a lot of ballet online, so my mind can work :)