Nutcracker Week – Performance Essentials!

Hello beautiful readers of the internet!

As promised, here is the third installment of my Nutcracker performance posts! Today, I am sharing with you my favorite products (old and new) for this season’s performances. I use these products not just for ballet productions, but also for contemporary and modern productions, in addition to class and rehearsal!

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Of course, I had to feature my FAVORITE pointe shoes by Bloch – the Sonata (SO1030). These pointe shoes fit my feet like a glove and stay on so well! The Bloch Elastorib I sewed onto them helps ease tension on my Achilles (read about them here: Bloch Sonata Pointe Shoes and Elastoribbon!). All around, these pointe shoes are the best! In addition to my favorite pointe shoes, I wanted to display my favorite and never failing gel toe pads. The Eurotard Feather Lites are so comfortable. They cushion and protect my toes, while never taking up too much room in the box of the shoe. I highly recommend these if you are looking for a thin, light toe protection option.

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I picked up a new pair of seamed tights for this weekend’s performances. I decided on Body Wrappers Seamed Transition Tights in the color light pink after the woman at the dance store recommended a few brands to me. They are not mesh, however, they are the perfect shade of pink, and the waistband is wide and soft-knit. For this reason, the tights don’t cut into my sides, and I am very happy with my choice.

I purchased Capezio 2.5 inch thick u-pins to keep my bun secure and on my head! I’ve been using the thicker u-pins from Goody, but they are still not strong enough to hold my curly hair in place. Hopefully the Capezio ones work well for my hair!

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I needed new ballet shoes, so of course I re-purchased my SoDanca SD16s! They are the COMFIEST ballet slipper ever (read more about them here: National Dance Day & National Lipstick Day!). Anyway, I also picked up the beautiful champagne colored pointe shoe bag all of these products are resting on! I’ve been wanting a pointe shoe bag for some time now because I keep all of my dance shoes in a trundle box in the trunk of my car, and this bag will help me keep my shoes and toe pads together with my ballet slippers so I don’t have to dig around my trunk when I am running into rehearsal or teaching.

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More important than what I have to wear with my costume is what I have to wear under it! I wanted to show you all a supportive dance bra I’ve used for a few years now. The bra shown is Capezio brand, and although there is no underwire, it is full coverage. I wear this bra under the nude leotard (I forget what brand it is!), and my chest is almost fully supported. The woman at the store gave me new straps for the nude leotard for free, and I am thankful she did so because the thicker straps make the leotard secure.

All of the products mentioned above are HIGHLY recommended. I have found these products to be repeat buys, to be durable, and to be long-lasting. I am so excited for my shows this weekend I can’t take it! What are your performance essentials? Let me know!

Happy Holidays! xoxo

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Nutcracker Week – History of the Nutcracker

Hello ladies and gents!

Today I wanted to give a short but sweer history of the Nutcracker ballet! As you’ve probably seen or read, this week includes my Nutcracker performances and since I am so excited for them, I wanted to write posts based off of this theme.

Anyway, if you didn’t know this already, the story of the Nutcracker was originally written in 1816 by a German writer named E.T.A. Hoffmann. The story was originally titled “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and was  a darker, creepier tale then the one embodied on stage during the ballet. By the 1850s, a man named Alexander Dumas revised the original Nutcracker tale, and cheered it up to be a happier, more magical story.

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The cheerier version of the story is what inspired Marius Petipa to choreograph the first Nutcracker ballet in 1892 (he also choreographed La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty). When Petipa became sick while setting the piece, he handed over the choreographic resonsibilities to Lev Ivanov. Petipa and Ivanov partnered with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who composed the score for the show. The musical score was a large part of the ballet’s original success.

The ballet didn’t make it to the U.S.A. until 1940 when the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo toured to America and brought the Nutcracker with them. By 1954, George Balanchine of the New York City Ballet choreographed the Nutcracker on his company and first performed it in February of that year. Balanchine is credited as being the first choregographer to recognize the holiday appeal of the Nutcracker ballet, and in 1955, the New York City Ballet performed the Nutcracker in December. Since then, the Nutcracker has been a holiday classic for dance and ballet companies everywhere.

It is crazy to think the Nutcracker was originally written in the beginning of the 1800s, and now in 2017 companies are still performing this work countless times between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t think E.T.A. Hoffmann ever expected his creepy story to EVER gain as much popularity as it has, but it is incredible how this century old story is brought to life every year to celebrate Christmas! It is such a deep part of American holiday culture, and it all began with a story written 201 years ago!

I hope you enjoyed this piece of dance history, and tune in for more of my Nutcracker related posts! Happy Holidays!

Sincerely,

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Discount Dance Fall Order

Hi beauties!

Today I wanted to share with you my recent purchase from DiscountDance.com! Discount Dance is an online store that has literally everything and anything you need as a dancer. Leotards, tights, Therabands, accessories, costumes, rosin – you name it and they probably have it! I’ve written about Discount Dance before on my blog (see Dance Christmas Wishlist), so if you are a dancer and you haven’t visited their online store, I suggest you do so! They have great prices for quality dancewear.

This past week, they had a super awesome promotional code for free shipping and 15% off of your order, so I ordered some new tights and a new leotard! As I’ve raved before, I LOVE Natalie Dancewear. For real if I could be an affiliate for Natalie I would! Their leotards are EXTREMELY well made, long lasting, and super comfortable. Not to mention, they are great for dancers who have boobs. Their leotards compliment, support, and shape bigger breasts as opposed to making them look squished or not being supportive enough.

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I actually own this leotard in a different two-toned color scheme (it is two different purple colors), and I love it so much that I bought it in Navy and Light Pink. This picture doesn’t do it justice – the colors POP and look so nice together! I bought my first one of this style leotard at the beginning of sophomore year of college, and it still works as well and looks brand new today which is over two years later!

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Next, I wanted to try the new Theatricals tights. First of all, I’ve LOVED Theatricals tights since I discovered them freshman year of college. They had this INCREDIBLE elastic waistband that did not dig into your sides and were super flattering to wear. Unfortunately, Theatricals is no longer making them that way, and instead have released a new version of their convertible tights that I wanted to try. They rid of the elastic waistband, and replaced it with a knit waistband similar to Body Wrappers tights.

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Unfortunately, I tried these tights with the new waistband on and I do NOT like them. They are super soft like the old style, but the waist band digs into my sides and is not flattering to wear over or under my leotard. I bought a pink and a black pair thinking I’d like them, and unfortunately I do not see myself wearing them often.

If you are looking for a new leotard to purchase, I highly suggest Natalie dancewear. They are incredible and super cute/stylish for class and rehearsal. As for the Theatricals new tights, I’d say pass if you loved the old style like I did!

xoxo

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Summer Room Renovation!

Hi everybody!

Over the summer, I moved back home from college. My bedroom in my parent’s house was cluttered, dusty, and a bit juvenile. To be honest, there was a lot of stuff I didn’t need or want anymore. I decided to clean my room out and give it a fresh coat of paint. Then I decided I would rearrange my furniture, and declutter as much as I can! I wanted to show you all what the finished product was because it turned out so nice! The best part was that I did it all by myself! Here is what it looked like before (the day I began cleaning it out).

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As you can see, my room was literally busting at the seams with clutter and crap I didn’t use or have space for. After four whole days of cleaning, painting, and rearranging, here is the final product! Click the below photo to expand because it is a panorama!

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I still can’t believe the difference!! Since I took these photos back in June, I’ve hung a big dream catcher on the wall, a canvas my boyfriend painted me, a picture my best friend printed, and a dry erase monthly calendar. But these photos were taken before I had all of those items to hang on my walls!

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I completed this project at the end of June, and now as fall progresses, I am thinking about doing some more cleaning and sorting of the items in my room. To me it feels great to throw out or donate items I no longer use or want.

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It feels great to put some elbow grease and sweat into your living space! My room finally feels like an adult bedroom that I can live in as I begin my “adult” life (while I still live at home). What kind of projects have you done at home? Do you like your living space?

Let me know what you think of my project below!

Xoxoxo

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Staying Organized and Marketing Yourself as a Dance Professional

Hi everybody!

As you all know, I am trying to break into the dance industry as a professional performer and as a respected dance educator. I’ve been learning as I go, and it has been so hectic trying to stay organized on top of all of my responsibilities as a dancer in two companies, and a teacher at four different studios. I will share with you the ways I’ve found to be most effective in keeping my life together! ❤  These tips are focused for dancers, but are helpful for any young professionals trying to break into their own industries!

1. KEEP A BINDER, AGENDA PLANNER, & JOURNAL ON HAND ALL OF THE TIME

This one is a biggie. I cannot tell you how helpful each of these resources are. My binder separates my paperwork for all of my studios. It organizes my class rosters by day and time, separates costume pictures for recital dances, and allows me to keep track of employee agreements and contracts. Furthermore, the binder allows me to keep a portfolio of different class combinations, barre for each level of ballet I teach, and choreography. The agenda planner obviously helps me keep track of commitments, auditions, teaching, private lessons, and rehearsals.

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My journal helps me keep track of all of my ideas for my classes, for my blog, and allows me to create to-do lists. With all of your paperwork organized, you will not only thank yourself for keeping your life in order, but you will appear organized to your employers and directors, and appear as though you take your job seriously (which you should), which is a win for both parties.

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2. KEEP COPIES OF YOUR PERFORMANCE BILLS, RESUME, AND HEADSHOT

I cannot stress ENOUGH how important this is. If you don’t keep track of your performances or choreography showcases, how can you prove to future employers or directors these events actually happened? Also, keeping copies helps you create a precise CV/resume – performance bills usually have choreographer names spelled correctly, and include the name of the piece you danced in, the music, and the names of the other dancers you performed with. This information is pertinent for networking with other dance professionals and creators in the field, and pertinent for updating you’re own CV.

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Keeping extra copies of your headshot and resume is helpful if you have a lot of back-to-back auditions or workshops you’re attending. Sometimes workshop teachers will ask for participants’ headshots and resumes, and having extra copies readily available will only be beneficial to you and to the hiring directors! You never know who you’re going to meet!

3. MAKE BUSINESS CARDS MARKETING YOURSELF AS A PROFESSIONAL

Okay, a lot of dancers (especially emerging professionals) don’t believe they need business cards since dance is not necessarily an “office job”. However, that is actually false! Dance is a business, and a small fraternity at that. I decided earlier in the summer to make business cards for myself and for my blog/Etsy shop. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have them on hand since I was securing a lot of studio jobs and auditions.

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Low and behold, at the dance festival I performed in (see First Professional Performances – I Can’t Believe This Is Real Life), one guy from another company who performed in the show gave me his card and asked me for mine!! Luckily, I had them on hand to distribute! Again, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU WILL MEET! Whether or not these dancers are in the same dance genre as you, networking is so important, and you never know how these people could influence your career later down the line.

4. MAKE A FREE WEBSITE PORTFOLIO DOCUMENTING YOUR DANCE EXPERIENCE

The internet and WordPress are a great way to advertise yourself for free! I use WordPress.com for my blog, and for my professional dance website. Check it out at juliakathryn.dance. You can use one of the readily made templates, and customize it to your liking. You can include a copy of your resume, your dance reel, dance photography, highlight important workshops or dance experiences, and more!

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Furthermore, you can buy a web domain and link it to your free website, so when people search for your site, you have a professional domain to go with it. I bought a few domains and linked them to my free WordPress website from GoDaddy.com. This online portfolio you can link in the signature of your emails, put on your business cards and resume, and you can put it on your social media to direct followers to your professional work.

This concludes my top tips for staying organized and marketing yourself as a dance professional. All of these resources are also cost effective – my planner was $5 from Wal-Mart, the journal was a gift so it was free, the binder I already had with dividers from college, the website is free, my business cards cost about $10 for 100 of my dancer ones, and $15 for my blog ones (because they are square and printed front and back), costing me bout $25 before tax and shipping. My website domains with discounts for a year of ownership was $41 for three domains. An 8inx10in headshot print out costs about $3 from Walgreens.

I hope you enjoyed my top tips! I didn’t realize how important the business side of the dance world was until I graduated college, but these resources have helped me land a lot of jobs in the last six months!! 🙂 I hope they continue to do me well in the months ahead, as I try to break further into this industry as a young professional.

What are your favorite ways to market yourself? Have you tried any of these resources? Let me know if this was helpful!

xoxo

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