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Day 36 of 84 Days of 84  Ribbons: A Secret 0

Day 36 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: A Secret

Writers begin with reality and life situations and go wild from there. I did that with Miss Holland, Marta’s dance teacher. She is based on my wonderful Bremerton dance instructor Margie Speck. Here’s how they became one in my mind. Both dance instructors were thoughtful, positive and gave 110% to all their students from beginner to advanced. Both used record players and tape decks as sources of music. Both had commercial building spaces with concrete floors covered with linoleum. These and other facts moved to fiction as I began 84 Ribbons. They continue into book two, When the Music Stops...

Day 35 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet Movies 1

Day 35 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet Movies

Since 1948  ballet-themed movies and movies with a significant  numbers of dances in them have become a small sub-genre of movies. Here are a few of note: 1.  Red Shoes (1948) 2.  American in Paris (1951) 3.  West Side Story (1961) 4.  Turing Point ( 1977) 5.  Nijinsky (1980) 6.  The Company ( 2003) 7.  Mao’s Last Dancer (2009) 8.  Black Swan (2010) Which, if any of these movies, left positive and lasting images that shared true dance expertise?

Day 34 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: World Book Night 0

Day 34 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: World Book Night

World Book Night is tonight in the USA! Tonight 25,000 volunteers with distribute free 500,000 books especially printed for the event. The goal is to get new books into the hands of underfunded schools and community members. Volunteers apply to receive the free books than go out and distribute those books. FYI: If you plan on considering being part of it next year, you’ll need to sign up soon.   This year the honorary spokesperson is Amy Poehler. Her comment begins, “I grew up loving books. In today’s digital world it’s more important than ever to know how it feels...

Day 33 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons : Ballet Mime 0

Day 33 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons : Ballet Mime

If you’re like me, you talk with your hands. I think sometimes I drive people cray when I do that. But, dancers must speak with their hands if they want audiences to grasp the meaning of their moves and expressions since most of us sit several rows back from center front. Consequently, dancers use mime to enhance their facial expressions and the mood of a story ballet (ie: Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, etc). Let’s look at a few less obvious gestures.   Anger – waving both fists wildly in the air or in the face of the other dancer Sadness –...

Day 32 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet in the 1800s 0

Day 32 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Ballet in the 1800s

Ballet began to flourish in the 1800s as dancers became trained individuals. They improved their skills, females began dancing on pointe and dancers used their entire bodies to share  their character’s emotions. Full length ballets were created giving ensembles performance pieces as well as giving dance leads specific solos. This was the era of story ballets: Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and the Nutcracker, all ballets still performed around the world. This is also the period when costumes were designed to show off the dancer’s foot and leg work. Tutus became popular for females. The fabrics selected often helped/help an audience...

Day 31 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Trivia Answers 0

Day 31 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Trivia Answers

Wearing pointe shoes are most young female dancer’s goal in ballet class: to be old enough to wear pointe shoes and “stand on tippy-toe’ and whirl and twirl around. Then they learn about the pain and extra effort it takes to perform in pointe shoes. Let’s see if you experienced any pain in answering the trivia questions. 1. Pointe shoes are often made to a dancers specifications. TRUE Professional dancers often send in their footprints to have specific shoe makers in a specific company they request make their shoes. 2. Pointe shoes are made with (b) canvas, satin and glue....

Day 30 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Pointe Shoes 2

Day 30 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Pointe Shoes

Try your skill with these trivia questions about pointe shoes. Some questions have more than one answer that is correct. (Answers will appear tomorrow.) 1. Pointe shoes are often made to a dancers specifications.  True or False   2. Pointe shoes are made with: a. plaster, cardboard and glue b. canvas, satin and glue c. all of the above   3. How long does a pair of pointe shoes last a professional dancer? a. three weeks b.  three days c.  one performance   4. The manufacture of pointe shoes includes several machines designed especially for sewing vast numbers of shoes...

Day 29 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Upcoming Events 0

Day 29 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Upcoming Events

My next three book events take me to Montana, the location of Marta’s story in 84 Ribbons. If you are nearby on these dates, please stop in! A Book signing on Friday, May 16th at 2:00 – 3:30 PM Missoula, MT at the Fact or Fiction store (inside the University of Montana bookstore) A Book Talk on Sunday, May 18th at 2:00PM Bozeman, MT in the downtown Country Bookshelf book store A Book Talk and Activity with Teens on Thursday, May 22 at 4:00 PM Parmly Library in downtown Billings, MT   Then I’m back home for a book event...

Day 28 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Dancers as Writers 0

Day 28 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Dancers as Writers

Like many professions, those who participate in said profession also write about it, sharing their insider views. Here are a few titles to consider. The ratings listed come from Goodreads. The following ballet novel titles are about dancers who rise up through dance academies to join ballet companies. 1.  Girl in Motion by Miriam Wenger-Landis     (3.78) 2.  Breaking Pointe by Miriam Wenger-Landis  (3.40) 3.  Bunheads by Sophie Flack  (3.72) 4.  Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe  (no rating) Another set of dancer-writer books are autobiographical or life stories told to writers. A. Dancing on my Grave by Gelsey Kirkland (3.72) B. ...

Day 27 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Event 0

Day 27 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons: Event

World Book Night Wednesday, April 23rd is World Book Night, a celebration of books. It’s an evening to give away new or gently read books to strangers (in a setting of your choice: school, bus station, hospital, etc) reaching out to those least able to purchase books. Part of the goal is to express the value and wonder found in books. There is an organization (www.worldbooknight.org) with specific book giveaways but I think each of us can participate on our own if there is no organized event planned where we live. If you feel the value, perhaps you’ll become the...