Hello beeple people,
I have taken many dance classes in the past including: classical ballet (as a child and adult), ballet jazz, tap dancing and recently, ballroom dancing. Along with playing an instrument, dancing goes in the same direction. It is a form of expression that enables the body and mind to communicate the thoughts and emotions that we feel. I can easily say my family is made of dancers and musicians... That being said, I was absolutely thrilled to be added to the media list of one of the city's most renowned dance companies, les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and be able to attend all these great and special events. Last friday, my first invitation, was to attend a private cocktail with the dancers. Imagine my luck... Since I had passes for two, I invited my good friend Jennifer, a former salsa dancer, who also took the adult ballet class with me a few years ago!
The sugar plum fairy & her friends...
The first person we were introduced to was Mahomi Endoh, a first soloist. Orginally from Nara, Japan, Mahomi shook our hands with the biggest smile, not knowing at that moment that Jennifer and I had just met the Sugar Plum Fairy herself. That's right, from The Nutcracker. I have seen the Nutcracker a few times but I never got to have a discussion with the fairy herself. Mahomi, humbly told us all about the many hours of practice and work all dancers undergo. Like many of us, dancers do a minimum of 40 hours a week if not more. The difference however, is that they are using their body a lot more. Mahomi spent a lot of time with us and shortly after introduced us to the lovely Sarah Kingston and the bubbly Renata Commiso, both demi-soloists along with Sahra Maira, a soloist as well. We hit it off immediately as we started to discuss career, travel and passions. Renata, it turns out, has Italian roots close to my very own and Sahra does too. Many of them, if not all, have traveled the world for their career and have had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of cultures before joining Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal.
After asking these beautiful dancers a few ballet oriented questions, Renata pointed out that you can tell quite easily who the dancers are in the room and she is quite right. Just one glance at their legs, their posture and their graceful necks, you know immediately that you are dealing with a professional dancer. Mahomi laughingly said that many of them wore closed shoes to hide their feet so as to conceal their hardened toes. I personally saw a few of them with open-toe shoes and sandals that evening and quite frankly? They weren't bad at all. I mean, yes, you can tell their feet are different, but only because you can see their strength. We all laughed when I mentioned all of them should just wear a t-shirt that says #BALLETDANCER (just deal with it) if anyone so much as glared at their toes in the wrong way.
In asking them what their favorite dance piece was, they had a hard time selecting one in particular. Sahra's eyes lit up in describing the different performances that were to unfold this upcoming season. Which got me thinking, maybe I should get me some tickets!
Multi-talented for double careers
It seems that the girls I met aren't only lovely, they are multi-talented. Interestingly, many dancers are considering going back to school. apparently, dancers must already start planning a second career as the lifespan of a professional dancer is not one that lasts for very long or to the least, they want to be prepared. This will be a challenge, they said, as they are already doing what they love the most. With the perseverance they demonstrate with their dancing, I am not worried for them to find a second vocation.
In fact, Sahra is already a well-known seamstress in the world of dancers. Under the name of DellAira Designs, she creates unique and stylish loetards. Her facebook and instagram page are full of rejoicing dancers when she posts her new customized creations. Actually, all dancers seem to have mastered the basics of sewing seeing as they make adjustments to their ballet slippers, pointe shoes and probably other outfits they wear and outwear on a daily basis. It was a pleasure meeting these charming women. Being artists, they were sensitive to my admiration and dreamy eyed face and they all took my heart in their hands when they showed me around the studio and offered me their beautifully worn out pointe shoes. I delightfully accepted one pair, that of Sahras, seeing that they were my size (I would have taken them all).
Just another day at the office
In a world where technology has affected our lives so much, the world of dance seems to have maintained its true authentic nature. A world where beauty is found in discipline and your body is the ultimate tool of work; the results are concretely felt in your muscles and seen on the studio floor. A world where news and announcements for assigned roles are still being pinned on billboards by hand and not sent by email. A world that brings people together in the studio, not separated by "working from home". There is an old school way of running things that I find comforting and that I miss and wish I'd belong to sometimes. Our body is made to move and to express ourselves. Perhaps that is why, after finishing ballroom dancing this past spring, I am signing up to ballet again this fall and perhaps even music, but that's for another post!
Until then, I strongly encourage you to check out the Grand Ballet tours and see a show that interests you! The dancers are just phenomenal...on and off the stage.
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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