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The Recipe for Success

posted 1 Jun 2014, 10:25 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 07:13 ]

" It is better to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion" 

Marguerite and Armand performed by the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House...Marguerite and Armand performed by the Royal Ballet Tamara Rojo  Sergei Polunin Alastair Muir

Prima ballerina Tamara Rojo was invited to talk about her career at the Daily Dance Dialogue session of the Prix de Lausanne - Edition 2013.

She began by talking about how she started her first ballet classes during childhood. Then she described her passage by different companies between Spain and the UK, her experience as a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet and her expectations as artistic director of the English National Ballet.

While talking about her career, Tamara offered valuable insights on how to choose the school and the ballet company to work for. And this has a lot to do with the personality and abilities of each individual  dancer. In addition, the dancer explained that one of the advantages of being a director and also a dancer of the English National Ballet is that she will always be aware of the needs and requirements of the members of the company.

Then Tamara explained how she planned her post-performing career over the years; and how the development of a dance company can be hindered by undue political interventions, changes in government plans as well as patriotism.  

According to Tamara’s thoughts, the recipe for success could be summarised in the following points:

1) The advantage of working in a small dance company is that people have more time to learn the repertoire and have more opportunity to perform on stage. Thus the dancer gains more performing experience and the chances of promotion in a short amount of time are greater.

2) Only make the next career move when you are ready for it.

3) Know yourself well. Be aware of your skills and limitations.

4) Mirror yourself on dancers who inspire you, whom you can learn from.

5) The dancer's job is a craft. and you need to learn your craft.

6) The people that last, are the people who work hard.

7) Be aware of what repertoire fits you; whether it is classical, contemporary, romantic or  any other dance style.

8) Choose to work with ballet masters with good reputation, as you need people who will give you the tools to progress.

9) Always question how the dancers progress within a company .

10) Be aware of the kind of exposure you want; how articulated you are and how you communicate with the external world.

11) Look for opportunities to develop yourself within the company.

12) Make sure you have choices at the end of your performing career.

13) Make sure you have a decent leaving.

14) Be pragmatic, be clever, be strategic.

15) Be always ambitious.

16) Never put yourself down.

17) Do not make the call when you are injured or someone has fired you. Make the call on the opening night, when you are on the papers.

18) Never close doors behind you.

19) Use the social media to build your network.

20) You learn the most from your colleagues than anybody else.

21) Always have an inquiring mind. Ask what and how your colleagues are doing in places you might be interested in.

Why are Tamara's words so inspiring?  Because they are not only advice to aspiring dancers. In fact, they are sound lessons for life. Her advice is applicable to all of us, not just for those who wish to pursue a dancing career.  

Quite often people get stuck in their jobs because they transfer the responsibility for their success to their employers. In many cases we spend years in the same job waiting for an opportunity that never comes. Resentment grows, relationships deteriorate and years go by without actually getting where we want to be. In fact, each organisation has its own working culture, objectives and strategies, over which we have no control whatsoever.  

Therefore, her words make us think about ourselves. By this I mean that the responsibility for our own success is solely ours. Are there difficulties along the way? Yes, there are; as we live in a world of competition with limited resources. But there are opportunities too. Just be prepared to grasp the chances that come your way. It is important for us to know ourselves very well. With these tools, we will be ready to build our own career; and will know when to make the call towards the next move. 

Watch the full talk below.

Search Terms: Prix de Lausanne, Tamara Rojo, Swan Lake, Talks

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My Favourite Ballet Picks

posted 21 May 2014, 23:25 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 07:15 ]

Almost every dancer carries something with themselves that will reminds them of their love for dance. It can be anything, a lucky charm, a piece of jewelry or even a keyring. And even those who are not connected to the dance world cannot resist the beauty of the  items that hit the market that are inspired this artform. In fact, dance is art; and as such, it is impossible to detach it from the beautiful things of life such as sensitivity, delicacy, beauty and colour.

Among gadgets and gifts, I have selected 45 ideas that will suit all tastes and budgets. Check them out here, as I am sure you will find something that you will fall in love with.

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: Goods, gifts and gadgets

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Chagall's Ceiling

posted 13 May 2014, 04:55 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 17:53 ]

When I visited Paris Opera for the first time I got a little stunned by the amount of artworks that the building houses. There are sculptures, paintings, chandeliers, busts and mosaics everywhere. I did not know where to turn or where to start. The first question that came to mind was: could I be living in a place like that? After the first shock, I began to dwell on the details of its corridors and rooms; and the first impression was that there was not enough time to digest so much beauty. So I walked around the aisles without realising that the time had passed and the night had fallen.  

Faced with so many details, I could never tell you about my visit to the Palais Garnier in one single post. I will, however, do it in stages hoping to be able to describe in detail the images captured by my tablet.

So I will begin with the Chagall’s ceiling:

This piece of work was commissioned to Russian painter Marc Chagall (1887-1985) in 1963. When the work was finished in 1964, he refused to charge for it, so the French Government only undertook the costs for the paints and installation.    
The painting consists of 12 canvases measuring altogether almost 240 m2. These pieces were mounted on a mobile frame installed in the middle of the auditorium, under which the crystal chandelier was hung.  

Displaying almost childlike figures, the themes are marked by colour groups. All of them contain elements related to music and ballet, in which Chagall honoured 14 of the greatest classical composers: Mussorgsky, Mozart, Wagner, Berlioz, Rameau, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Adam, Bizet, Verdi, Beethoven, and Gluck.

At that time the critics were divided. Some thought that a piece of artwork made by a Russian-Jewish modernist did not suit the historical building. Others felt that the work was too much primitive for which it was commissioned.

On the inauguration day, 23 September 1964, the guests were stunned when Chagall’s work was disclosed to the sound of Jupiter Symphony by Mozart. In the end, the new work was recognised as a great contribution to the French culture.

There is no doubt that the painting is a masterpiece. Its colourful touch highlights the seats shades of burgundy and the gold coloured walls and galleries. Perhaps at the time the critics were overly conservative; but nowadays designers and architects are more eclectic; and understand how different styles can contribute to interior design.


To me, Chagall's geniality is revealed in the creation of timeless pieces that suit any environment; and in the case of the Paris Opera's ceiling, each theme developed in the panel is an independent piece of works per se, which could also be nicely displayed individually.

Search Terms: Marc Chagall, Painting, Palais Garnier, Paris Opera, Opera Houses and Theatres, Highlights.

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Lessons Learned from Tamara Rojo

posted 12 May 2014, 23:38 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 07:19 ]

First Posted on October 4, 2012 

To celebrate the centenary of the establishment of Anna Pavlova at
Ivy House, in North London, many events have been organised this year. In March, the Ensemble Group organised the Anna Pavlova Gala, which was artistically directed by Wayne Eagling. Other dance events were also organised by the Royal Opera House such as “An Intimate Evening with Anna Pavlova“.

To date, Anna Pavlova is known for her expressiveness and passion with which she used to play her roles. Furthermore, the dancer was also a business woman. She founded her own company, created roles for herself and was the first dancer to tour the world with her own troupe.

On June 24, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, based at Ivy House, organised the Pavlova Day. In the morning, practical demonstrations of the Cecchetti method were made. In the afternoon, Royal Ballet principal dancer Tamara Rojo and dance critic Gerald Dowler gave a talk on arts and expression in dance. Before a selected audience, they showed extracts of old films, from which the topics were being developed.

Tamara holds a master degree in scenic arts and is a bachelors of dance from the University Rey Juan Carlos. In 2000, she was appointed principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. However, as of September this year she leaves Company to take over the artistic direction of the English National Ballet. The good news is that in addition to increasing the artistic qualities of the ENB, Tamara will continue to dance, no longer at the  Royal Opera House, but at the Coliseum,  where regular ballet goers will welcome her with open arms, for sure.

Recognising the importance of dance as an art form, Tamara is the real embodiment of the twenty-first century dancer. She knows how to take the classics to modern audiences, and knows well the challenges of her work environment. Tamara is long known for having one of the most insightful minds on dance and the arts in general. She answered all the questions with  confidence and showed an extraordinary sense of elegance.

Tamara emphasised the importance of expressiveness and creativity while building a role. As for Giselle, such an old ballet, she seeks inspiration in earlier  interpretations and makes a thorough research on the character’s identity. But most importantly is to plunge into character’s world  and discover the nuances of personality that composes it.  It is also important to keep a distance between the dancer and the character, so that the artist can print his hallmark and gain the credibility of the public. In which case, the technique, physical conditions and the ballet classes discipline must serve the artistry of the dancer. Although la Sylphide are Giselle are portrayed as pure and ethereal beings, it is still possible to create characters with the values and conflicts of a twenty-first century person.

Scenes of Ondine with Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes were also displayed. Tamara said that the interpretation capabilities were one of her greatest skills and her intelligence made Margot on of the greatest dancers of the twentieth century.

Working with Mats Ek was also one of her greatest pleasures. The choreographer breaks all classical ballet rules and revisits some of the well-known classics, where he incorporates elements of violence, madness and brutality. With modern techniques such as of Martha Graham’s, he can explore the limits of expressiveness of the dancers, which makes him one of the most sought-after choreographers these days.

The joy of working with Kenneth MacMillan is that the choreographer had enough sensitivity to understand the human feelings complexities. So Macmillan shows the contradictions of the human soul through his characters without any subterfuge. While Manson was a courtesan, she could also have genuine feelings, such as love. So the more the artist is capable of humanising a character, there more the public will identify with him.

In a highly digitised society like ours, Tamara hopes to be able to give the ENB dancers the opportunity to put their feelings in their character, so  they can grow as artists and share their emotions with the public.

In the end, Tamara performed the Five Brahms Waltzes in the Manner of Isadora Duncan played on the piano Philip Gammon. This piece was choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton on Lynn Seymour, and was inspired by Isadora Duncan, one of the greatest symbols of freedom of expression in dance of the twentieth century. Needless to say that people left the room in amazement and the flashes would not stop clicking trying to capture all the ballerina’s movements.

Search Terms: Tamara Rojo, Anna Pavlova, Isadora Duncan, Isadora

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Bravo Roberto!

posted 12 May 2014, 22:53 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 16:10 ]

First Posted on July 14, 2012

For those who are unaware, Roberto B
olle is not just a pretty face stamped on Italian fashion magazines. In addition, the Principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre and Étoile Alla Scala of Milan, was nominated goodwill ambassador for UNICEF
in 1999 during a gala evening at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome.

In 2006 he visited the Sudan where he participated actively in health and education campaigns having raised over $ 655,000 for education and health in that country.

In 2010 he visited the Central African Republic, where the issue of malnutrition was widely explored. At that time. Roberto reported his experiences on the weekly magazine of Corriere della Sera “Io donna“.

In his reports, Roberto expects others to follow his example and support the UNICEF work, which has five focus areas: child survival and development, basic education and gender equality, children with HIV/AIDS, child protection policies and advocacy and partnership.Since then Roberto has used his art and fame for a worthy cause. He has supported UNICEF events, taken part in galas, and worked alongside governments to promote the improvement of life and health of children worldwide.

For those who do not know, UNICEF has promoted hundreds of events involving dancing in several countries such as Mozambique, Palestine and India.

When I see examples like these, I reaffirm my conviction about the transformative power that dance has, and through collective efforts it is possible to believe that the world can be a better place to live.

Click here to access UNICEF’s key publications and here for a quick look at facts and figures about nutrition in the world.

Online donations can be made here.

Search Terms: UNICEF, Roberto Bolle, Alessandra Ferri, The Lady of the Camellias 
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posted 12 May 2014, 16:44 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 07:57 ]

First Posted on July 8, 2012

I have discovered —ctrl+alt+dança during my searches on dance on the Internet. So, I have started following their publications which make me think deeply about dance in Brazil.

Following the contemporary line, the site brings us news on events, reviews and essays that give rise to thoughts on the role that dance plays in that country.

I am constantly amazed by their publications, which only proves that I have a lot to learn. Therefore, I have decided to share my new finding with you. Enjoy it!

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Le Parc

posted 11 May 2014, 15:38 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 16:08 ]

First Posted on May 28, 2012 

Le Parc is one of the most sublime ballets I have ever seen. When I attended  the 100th Anniversary`s Galina Ulanova Gala last year, this piece was one of the biggest surprises of the night, and was danced by Vladimir Malakhov and  Nadja Saidakova.

I had been impressed by it when I saw  Aurélie Dupont and Manuel Legris`s rehearsals in  the l’ l’espace d’un instant movie, and was even more thrilled when I first saw it at the theatre.

The piece carries Angelin Preljocaj`s signature and his daring sensuality; and I think his  geniality is due to his delicate manner with which he deals with love affairs.

When I saw this commercial being circulated on Facebook today, I could not help writing this post here.

The shooting took place in a Marroccan desert, where no special effects were used; but rather, the sky being reflected on a 400 square meters mirror, having Benjamin Millepied and Virginie Caussin as protagonists.

The idea of this advertising campaign is to pass on to the public an idea of efficiency and reliability that Air France can bring, through a love story.

Cheers France!

Search Terms: Le Parc, Isabelle Guerin, Laurent Hilaire, Angelin Preljocaj, Advertising, Benjamin Millepied, Virginie Caussin, Vladimir Malakhov, Nadja Saidakova.

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The girl dances…

posted 11 May 2014, 13:05 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 08:32 ]

First Posted on February 25, 2012

“A menina dança sozinha por um momento
A menina dança sozinha com o vento, com o ar, 
com o sonho de olhos imensos…
A forma grácil de suas pernas ele é que as plasma, o seu par de ar,
de vento, o seu par fantasma…
Menina de olhos imensos, tu, agora, paras, mas a mão ainda erguida 
segura ainda no ar o hástil invisível deste poema!” - Mario Quintana

At 16, she won over the Brazilian people`s hearts with disconcerting simplicity and her cheerful spirit,  when she won the Joinville Dance Festival in 2010. With the same cheerfulness, the Swiss public fell in love with her and granted her the audience best dancer award as well as the Prix de Lausanne final prize in 2011. However, Mayara Magri knows that in order  to succeed in dancing, it takes a great deal of determination, perseverance and hard work. She knows that in the ballet studio her focus is on the job. Then she rehearses, repeats in the constant quest for perfection. Talent, she has it in abundance. And it is quite noticible when one watches the lightness and gracefulness of her movements when she performs the variations of their repertoires. It makes a difficult job  look easy, and with a striking smile she bewitches the members of the audience who sit in the theatre’s last row.

According to the G1 site, Mayara has already received over 50 awards, including the prestigious YAGP, where she performed the of the Black Swan (Odille) variation. There is not even one single person in the Brazilian dance field who has not heard of  “Mayara Magri”. It is even more difficult to find a ballet student that does not get inspired by her example of determination and her quest to overcome the difficulties inherent to the dancing career.

The award received from the Lausanne competition allowed her to join the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London. And in such a short time, the dancer also won the hearts of the British people. Recently, the girl has taken a step further. Almost a month ago, the social media networks reported that she has now been offered a contract with the Royal Ballet. Has Mayara conquered the opera stage, or has the stage won her? I would stick with the second option because her acceptance by the Royal Ballet is a well-deserved achievement and certainly she will live up to her new role. However, her girlish  and almost careless spontaneity proves that the stage is already hers, because she was born ready to shine among the Greatest.

I want to have the pleasure to see her represent our Brazil so well, beside Thiago and Roberta, in the box of dreams, in which one day shone RudolfMargotSylvie and many others.

I want to stand, applaud her, visit the  Royal Opera House gift shop, see her  face featured on the Royal Ballet Yearbook and be able to say: Ah! Happy to be alive to see these all these wonders.

Please click here and here to read an interview given to the Kerche & Kerche and Les Chroniques d'un Petit Rat blogs, which show a bit of personality and history of this lovely dancer who won the hearts of dance students from all over Brazil.

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Ten Things You Should Know About the Carnival

posted 11 May 2014, 12:21 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 08:33 ]

“Tanto riso, oh quanta alegria
Mais de mil palhaços no salão
Arlequim está chorando pelo amor da Colombina
No meio da multidão
Foi bom te ver outra vez
Tá fazendo um ano
Foi no carnaval que passou
Eu sou aquele pierrô
Que te abraçou
Que te beijou, meu amor
A mesma máscara negra
Que esconde o teu rosto
Eu quero matar a saudade
Vou beijar-te agora
Não me leve a mal
Hoje é carnaval”
(Máscara Negra, Zé Keti)

1. The carnival is a festival that was originated in Greece between 600 and 520 BC.

2. The history about the Columbine, Harlequin and the Pierrot arose from the Italian Comedy. A company of actors in France spread out  the history in France, aiming to popularise the Commedia dell’Arte,

3. During the seventeenth century, members of the Italian aristocracy wore masks during the Venice Carnival so that they could mingle with the people.

4. The Venice Carnival begins 58 days before Easter and ends on the Tuesday that precedes Ash Wednesday.

5. The Brazilian Carnival was originated in Rio de Janeiro in 1641. The festivities are rooted in the customs of the Portuguese bourgeoisie that was influenced by masked balls were very common in Paris at that time.

6. Despite the carnival of Rio de Janeiro is included in the Guinness Book as being the most popular party in the world, the group O Galo da Madrugada, from Recife, is considered the largest carnival group in the world.

7. The Carnival of the Animals ballet created by Christopher Wheeldon was first choreographed for the  New York City Ballet; and was premiered on May 14, 2003.

8. The ballet Carnival of Venice was created by French composer  André Campra. Its première took place on January 20, 1699 at the Académie Royale de Musique, now the Palais Garnier, where the Paris National Opera Paris National Opera.headquarters is located.

9. Marius Petipa reformulated the Satanella ballet for ballerina Alexandra Vergina in 1868. He then introduced Carnival of Venice in the third act.

10. The Ballet Les Millions d’Arlequin, which was choreographed by Marius Petipa was premiered on February 23, 1900 in St. Petersburg. However, the adapted version of George Balanchine, called Harlequinade has become more popular these days.

Search Terms: Carnival, Popular Culture, History of Dance,  Evgenia Obraztsova, Venice Carnival

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Alexei Volodin's Nutcracker

posted 10 May 2014, 19:46 by Juliana Araújo   [ updated 21 Jun 2014, 08:35 ]

First Posted on December 2, 2011 

I have mentioned here that love listening to ballet music played on the piano when I spoke about the Russian gem,
 Karen Kornienko
. However, about two weeks ago, I received an email containing a video containing the Nutcracker Suite played by another gem of classical music. It is Alexei Volodin, a pianist born in Leningrad who began playing piano at nine years old and eventually developed his own way to perform the pieces.

As Kornienko, Volodin is the recipient of numerous awards and has worked with the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including participation in various festivals such as Verbier and Lucerne (Switzerland), the Festival Ruhr (Germany) among others.

The entire piece is filmed on October 12 this year and is available on the Mariinsky TV website.Click here to watch it. It’s worthwhile because it is beautiful.

To learn more about his work, click here.

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