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Ballet Is Beautiful - Danielle Clifford’s Secret to Everlasting Joy

~ Written by Danielle Lee-Hogervorst, Outreach Coordinator at Ballegro Player, Alumni of Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program

Danielle Clifford is one-of-a-kind, no one can ever replace her.  Now 77, she still teaches multiple ballet classes on a weekly basis and still demonstrates each exercise full-out!  She turns and jumps, her brain is sharp, and she never fails to bring joy to everyone she encounters!

Along with Pam Rosa, over 30 years ago, in 1985, Danielle co-founded Harbour Dance Centre, a downtown Vancouver studio at the heart of the city’s dance scene. But before this, she had a long and successful career as a performer with ballet companies across Europe including touring as a principal dancer with the Grand Theatre de Nancy and as a soloist with the Nice Opera.  Over the past 10 years, Danielle has worked as ballet mistress at Anna Wyman Dance Company, and has been an adjudicator at competitions across British Columbia. 

The founder of...

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Stretch and Strength in Ballet - Suzanne Ouellette Explains

~ Interview by Lucas Batista, Marketing Associate at Ballegro Player


Suzanne, originally from Vancouver,  trained and danced with some of the world's finest ballet companies. From Germany’s Stuttgart Ballet to Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, London England’s Dance Centre to the Pacific Ballet Theatre, and being Ballet Mistress at Ballet BC for 5 years to being the founding director of Ballet BC’s Mentor Program under Artistic Director John Alleyne, Suzanne has done it all. She has worked as a rehearsal director for James Kudelka, Paul Taylor, Jean Grand Maitre, Reid Anderson, Anna Marie Holmes, Simone Orlando, Joshua Beamish and Jennifer Mascall.

Suzanne has also performed as a lead dancer, singer and actress in professional musicals with the Vancouver Playhouse, Calgary’s Stage West’s Nunsense, and several productions for TUTS, MUSSOC and Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage. She has guest taught and adjudicated...

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Here Is The Reason Why Musicality Is Crucial For Dancers

dance tips education music Apr 10, 2019

~ Written by Danielle Lee-Hogervorst, Outreach Coordinator at Ballegro Player, Dancer at Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program.


Musicality is a hot topic within every studio practice and rehearsal.  Why? Because it is the essence of all movement. It is always present, whether you are listening to the actual progression of notes or the spaces and silences in between.

As I began brainstorming for this post, I ended up asking myself the reverse question: What is dance without musicality? The answer I came up with: Nothing. You can choose to dance in all one, legato quality, but this is still a choice and is still a form of being musical.  You can choose to dance in silence, but this only heightens the importance of creating musicality inside of your body.  You can be still, but even when you are not moving in space there is a buzzing within you, whether it’s an emotion, sensation, thought, or experience.  So that is why musicality is important; because even...

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Top 6 Ballet Songs You Absolutely Need In Your Playlist!

education music Mar 10, 2019

~ Written by Danielle Lee-Hogervorst, Outreach Coordinator at Ballegro Player, Dancer at Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program.


In every ballet class, we listen to about 20 different pieces of music. Ranging in style, tempo, and mood, each song has its own unique way of moving and carrying the dancers through the exercise. And the best songs propel and inspire us to indulge in every step.

Here are the Top 6 hits on Ballegro Music Library’s expansive collection.

#1: Pavane

Number 1 on the charts is Pavane, by Gabriel Fauré.  Fauré (1845-1924) was a composer and pianist at the forefront of his generation.  He was a major influencer for many twentieth century composers, and Pavane was one of his best-known works.  Written in a minor key, Fauré’s famous composition has a nostalgic and melancholy feel, making it ideal for Warm-up, Pliés, Adage, and Stretching!  Although a typical adage is set to a 3/4 signature, this piece is...

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Do We Need to Update Our Approach to Ballet Technique?

~ Written by Danielle Lee-Hogervorst, Outreach Coordinator at Ballegro Player, Dancer at Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program


I took my first ballet class at 2.5 years old - a mother-daughter class - and have never stopped since.  Currently training at Arts Umbrella in their Graduate Program, I partake in the study of ballet 6 days a week. It is a never-ending practise.  One where you are constantly striving to be better than you were yesterday. One where you feel like you have gotten progressively worse since last week, but you nevertheless continue to show up everyday to persevere and challenge yourself, because you have a vision of what you can and hope to achieve.  One where you discover something new about your body, mind, relationship to others in space and time everyday.

 But is this practise and strife for consistency and possibly perfection giving us, as aspiring and professional dancers, everything we need to succeed in the 21st century dance world?...

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Progressing Ballet Technique: Beverley Bagg gives us an Introduction.

~ Interview by Ben Waters, Marketing Assistant at Ballegro Player, Dancer at Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program


This week we had the pleasure to learn a little bit more about PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) with Beverley Bagg. PBT is a modern trend in the Dance World that progressively trains the muscle memory required to develop a strong Ballet Technique. 

This program was created by Marie Walton-Mahon, with the objective to develop a further Ballet Technique in her students and having them achieve their absolutely best. She began developing this technique through her 10-year-old students using stability balls. After 3 months, she noticed that the students were much more aware of their weight-placement, alignment, and posture; This inspired Marie to experiment more, and surely enough PBT became a world phenomena. Beverley Bagg is one of the pioneers of this technique in Canada, and we are incredibly excited to feature her in our blog today.


Beverley is an...

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How To: Grand Jeté En Tournant

education music May 17, 2018
 

          "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore." ~ Dorothy in Wizard of Oz.

That's what Dorothy said after she and her dog Toto landed in the Land of Oz, after their strange yet amazing journey swirling UP in the Big Tornado.

I grew up in Taiwan where there are regular Typhoon visits.  Typhoons can be violent and devastating, but at the centre of the Typhoon, there is the Typhoon Eye - the moment of stillness - where all the sudden all the movement stops and time feels suspended.

Today we will talk about Grand Jeté En Tourant  in dance and I will show you how to make the musical tornado work for you.  Once you understand and master how this internal energy works, you can ride on the power of this musical tornado, swirling UPWARD, hitting that movement accent UP in the air on the musical DOWNBEAT. 

Hold the Tension of the Opposites:  In order to go WAY UP, you need to go WAY DOWN. Have fun with your...

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How To: Play Music That Goes Under Your Skin

education music Apr 02, 2018
 

I've got you under my skin
I've got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me
I've got you under my skin

"I've Got You Under My Skin" is an oldie made famous by the legendary Frank Sinatra around 1956. 

Today we'd like to talk about How To: Play Music That Goes Under Your Skin that can help you move better, more musical.  There are so many new innovative possibilities that we call music especially in this contemporary era, but in the context of ballet, we just need to know but 3 basic elements. There are 3 distinct music elements in ballet music: rhythm, melody, texture (harmony/fills, etc.).

As a pianist playing for dancers, your job is to be the one man orchestra with your 10 fingers, fuelling your dancers with motivating rhythm, guiding them with a clear melody, and inspiring them with uplifting sparks!

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Tips on Your Relationship with Dance and Music.

education music Mar 22, 2018
 

Movement to music is innate and unquestioned. The actual and possible relationships between music and dance are multifarious.

Dance does not require music, as movement can be expressed in silence or with a simple and abstract sound design. But — especially in ballet — choreography, dance, and music work together. Therefore, music can play a huge role in dance.

                               “Music is audible movement. Dance is kinesthetic music.”

In this episode, we will talk about your awareness of music and which three kinds of relationship with music exist. Take a moment to examine where you are in this relationship, whether you are a dancer or a musician. Being aware is the first step.  

Awareness begins with knowing about all the possibilities that the music gives you and using that to apply changes to your dancing or playing.  We all have musicality, and it is up...

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All You Need To Know About Musicality

education music Feb 26, 2018

We all have it — musicality. We get born with it and naturally sway, bounce and dance when we hear the music. Children just ‘feel’ the music. But what exactly is musicality?

It is how ballet dancers, or dancers in general, move and express themselves to music. It is the ability of the dancer to become one with the music and interpret what they hear. You have to understand the technical side of the music played but also dig inside of it in order to feel it.

“Musicality is understanding music on a technical level, and then dropping all of that knowledge so you can sit deep inside the music,” says choreographer and So You Think You Can Dance regular Wade Robson. “It’s dancing inside the music, as opposed to floating on top of it.”

Musicality can be demonstrated in several ways — what sounds do you decide to dance to, what do you want to highlight in the music and which mood do you want to create with what you hear?

Can you learn...

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