Bloch Store: Amsterdam

Before coming to Amsterdam, I contacted a few friends to ask about the ballet stores I could visit in Amsterdam and they mentioned only 2 and one being the Bloch store. I skipped the other one and decided to come here instead, as the girls mentioned that this store had more things that I would want, and I most definitely did not regret that decision to come to this store with my new and beautiful friend from Amsterdam Sterre! (If you’re reading this Sterre, thank you for the wonderful time around Amsterdam)

The store is located in one of the more expensive parts of Amsterdam, as my friend had mentioned, its the place most actors and actresses live at because the rent is so high. It is located near the streets where people pay one of the highest rent prices in Amsterdam. Anyway, this is irrelevant to my blog, which should be about the Bloch store.

What can I say about this store except that its perfect! I really think that Bloch stores around Europe make quite a good impression. The one I went to in Paris in the past was also quite beautiful as I expected it to be. But comparing the prices from the Paris store to the Amsterdam store, the Amsterdam store was definitely cheaper? Im not sure why, it could be the season I went to Paris last year? and they were having a good SALE there in Amsterdam where the leotards outside were selling from 12-20 euros. Quite a good deal considering the really nice designs and price point. The plain leotards were also quite cheap, and I was happy with my purchases!

Leaving the store, I left purchasing 2 leotards and 1 set of sheer stretch ribbons for a price of less than 50 euros. I think that was one of my best ballet purchases, I have probably spent more in the past just for one leotard. 50 euros won’t even be one Yumiko leotard, if you know what I mean. And as much as I love my Yumikos, I would rather have more quality leotards than none and having 2 more BLOCH leotards made me happy. I definitely had a good run for my money!

So if you’re ever in Amsterdam and in need of a good leotard or ballet purchase, I would recommend coming to the Amsterdam store there in Amsterdam. I am sure that you will not regretting going or making the travel.

And finally thank you again Sterre! Without you, our last day in Amsterdam would not have been a really great and amazing one. Thank you for taking time off and coming all the way to Amsterdam!

My time at the Vienna State Opera Ballet, Inside and Backstage 

I can’t begin to describe the feeling it was to be back at another beautiful theatre in the same year that I visited the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia and the Paris Opera Ballet in France. Once again I was somewhere I could call home, another place I could feel at home together with strangers and some new friends. Sharing the same air and breathing in art.


I knew from the first moment that I watched a ballet that I was going to give my whole life dedicated to it. I don’t think I’ve found that in anything else I did in life except with dance. So here I was in the beautiful theatre, trying to hold back the tears again as the curtains rose and the orchestra began to play a familiar tune thats been with me since childhood.


My entries might change quite a bit from the time I first started this blog, if something I realised I was inconsistent because I was doing these blogs for all the wrong reasons. Now I want to write because I really want to share the experience of all my trips into this blog, also a bit more of my personal feelings and to show you all my personality through them.
If you ever come to Vienna, there are only a few things i could recommend for you to do:


  1. Make sure you walk A LOT, If there is one way to get to know a city, is that you should walk around and get to know the paths the little shops, observe its people and what they eat.
  2. Watch a ballet and an opera, oh you won’t regret spending that extra 200 euros to watch the ballet. Wherever you get the chance, or you can do what other tourists do which is to line up early for a cheaper 40 euro ticket to get to the standing area upstairs, which is also very good.
  3. Watch orchestras and concerts. My mom and my sister are big fans of the orchestras and concerts. We quite enjoyed the Viennese orchestra and concerts.
  4. Eat all the different kinds of sausages. If you are a fan of sausage then you won’t regret coming to vienna, because thats all they love to eat everyday. Also try their cafes, my mom wasn’t so impressed because she said the coffee in Italy is better but I mean if you’re going then just try it. Also their cakes and famous Apfel strudel.



Sorry for going a little off topic, I was supposed to be talking about the Vienna state opera. Well what can I say? Its beautiful. The interiors were beautiful and so was the ballet.  I heard that at first the opera house wasn’t really this beautiful or clean, but there was a year they really invested to clean it up. Thats also the same case for what they did with the Paris Opera Ballet. Now on to the topic of the dancing.

One thing Vienna likes to do is to experiment, that is probably because of their director. They did a different take or the Nureyev version of the ballet the Nutcracker and I saw this for the first time. I never really knew it since I’ve always only seen the Russian version or the original versions of the ballet. I guess sometimes they have to make things different so people who aren’t so familiar with the ballet would also watch the ballet and eventually after getting their interest you would turn them into fans.

Ballet is a really hard art to get into right now. Dance yes is big and all these new dance things are popping up online here and there nowadays but nothing really of pure art or substance. Just like all things that get viral. Now everyone seems to be an expert in ballet, which makes it hard for me to be a ballet teacher too.


But I was happy in Vienna, my friend Natascha Mair who is now the Principal Dancer of Vienna state opera ballet was able to tell me a little more about their situation in the company and also take me inside and backstage the theatre, which you will probably see in the video that I also linked into this blog.


I was lucky to have caught her show where she was actually promoted into Principal Dancer, although I couldn’t really understand it at first since everything was being said in German. I had to listen around to hear someone speaking in English and eventually ask what had happened. According to a friend who dances with the Vienna State opera, this tradition was brought into by their Director Manuel Legris. Where they announce the promotions on stage.


I was very happy for her, and more so happy for myself for gaining another crazy experience. I don’t think that day and the day that I was brought backstage into the opera house will be something I will ever forget. These moments align just the same with the time I first stepped into the Mariinsky and into the Vaganova Ballet Academy just last year too. (Which I just all find so mind-blowing)


I’ve been travelling more lately for dance, and I really am looking forward to the experiences I’ll be having in the coming year. I hope you enjoyed this little entry of mine as somewhat of an appetiser to my ballet life. Its always a pleasure for me to share my thoughts and if you read my blog till the end, thank you!
Much love,
Lina

 

Christmas in Salzburg

Here’s a short vlog above (If you’re too lazy to read, but the blog has more input) and this blog about my experience in Salzburg on Christmas. Oh boy do I have a lot of things to talk about Salzburg. First off, this is and was my first time in Austria. I really had so much fun because of the friends that I got to meet again and the friends I was finally able to meet. After having such an honest to god very difficult year past me, I was happy to finally have this vacation with my friends and family.

So i decided to finally do this again (Which is blogging), not for any reason or to get much attention. I think when I first started the blog It had different intentions of reaching a specific audience, and now that I am much older and hopefully also wiser? (HAHA) I would like to think that my intentions to write are purely for sharing purposes of my thoughts and to help you get an idea of how one place is based on my personal experiences.

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CHRISTMAS IN SALZBURG: 

  1. Don’t forget to visit the Christmas markets and the Glühwein, also have some of the Christmas treats, sweets and the sausages (Try everything) 
    I must warn you however that the Glühwein upset my moms tummy because they used some cheap wine. Its nothing special but its definitely nice to have with your friends if you are feeling cold. But if it gives you any sign of discomfort or an upset tummy its best not to drink it.
  2. Do the Sound of Music tour even if its the cheesiest thing 
    Salzburg is definitely known for this tour, People from all over the world literally except the Austrians would do this tour. But I really wanted to do it, even if the weather was below zero and it was raining. I really enjoyed the time I had and learning about the real Von Trap family and how the escaped austria was really nice. Its pretty shocking to find out though that Austrians have never watched this movie, I take it from my 2 friends from Austria who have never even watched the sound of music. I guess its really just a tourist thing.
  3. Go to Mozart’s birthplace and the Mozart residence
    I believe that this was the best thing that I experienced in Austria. It was about learning so much about Mozart. They really do love Mozart so much and Strauss. (But still more of Mozart) I really enjoyed the history of Mozart and seeing how and where he was. I learned more about mozart on this trip, more than any book I read about him.

  4. Enjoy a stroll around the Mirabell gardens and palace
    Although I did not enjoy the history of this place, it being built for a wife of a priest or something of the sort. I did enjoy the concert that we watched here at the palace. Also most of the sound of music videos were shot here at the Mirabell gardens and it was nice to see those statues and the gardens, to walk all around the area reminds you of the ending of the video of the DO RE MI song. This is also known as a UNESCO heritage sight. Even in the winter it was quite a sight.
  5. Hear Mass at the Dom ( CHURCH)
    I wish I could tell you which Church it was, It definitely was a really big Church and I am Catholic. So on Christmas day we went to mass, my mom and I. It was a mass with a full orchestra playing all of these wonderful songs and I just never experienced anything like that. I guess when in Austria, you really get the full experience of the culture. I felt like I time slipped back into the past and fell into the time Austria was still at the peak of its music culture.

GETTING TO SALZBURG FROM VIENNA:

My best advice, just because its Christmas time, its best that you get the tickets early. We did experience a few other people coming into the trains randomly but they didn’t have any seats left for them. If you get into the train, you will see a sign on the top of each seat, the signs with the dots on them will mean that they are reserved and those without the note on the sign will mean that they are free to be seated on or used. The conductor or a conductor will check on that and you can actually also just show them that you paid for the trip even if you didn’t have that reserved seat and they will let you sit on that chair.

Lastly, take a walk around the old town! Whats terrible about Salzburg is that all the shops close so early around 5-6pm to be exact. Its really a town where tourists just visit but not stay at. We were really there for 5 days and so it was such a long time to be just in Salzburg. I would recommend around 2-3 days if you really just want to see most of everything and to do the tours around the area and you don’t have time to stay for long.

Hope you enjoyed this short blog!
Much Love,

Lina

Inside the Paris Opera Ballet: The Oldest National Ballet

 

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The Paris Opera Ballet was breathtaking and if you watched the video I posted on YouTube which is below the tips section, you could see the different Marbles and the structure of the place was really just amazing. Every room feels like a dream and every stairway was so picturesque. If I ever got to Paris again I hope that I am able to watch a ballet show with the Paris Opera, even if I have heard not so okay reviews about their companys politics. It would be a really wonderful experience for sure to be with the crowd of snobby French people appreciating their art. Now that is something I really would love to experience firsthand, unfortunately there are no shows during the summertime when we went to Paris.

Its Amazing how this place built in the 18th-19th century is still so beatuiful. The place was built if I remember correctly during the time of Louis XIV. When ballet or social dancing during that time got too demanding that they had to build a place where dancers could train for performances. During that time the dancing was usually done like a court dance, but with all of the complicated steps being added by the kings personal ballet teacher, they eventually had to make a system of ballet and thats when the steps were noted and eventually put into system and thus the birth of the ballet school and the Opera Garnier to watch performances.

Some tips if you intend to visit the beautiful Opera House.

TIPS: 

  1. The entrance is not at the front but on the west side of the building. So if you want to go inside, just make sure to go from the side of the building where the famous statue is located. That statue is the one believed to be protecting the Opera House from any fire. 
  2. No need to come early, we were there around 11am but the line isn’t so long usually since Im sure most people who come are dancers or people who love art and the threatre. 
  3. If you are under 26 you always apply for the student discount! Don’t forget because it will make a big difference 

I wish I was just able to visit the flooded ground floor, Im sure there is a way to visit that place but I will probably have to pay a lot more and hire someone to bring me there.

 

My sister and I really enjoyed the Paris Opera Ballet theatre or the Palais Garnier. I think anyone who isn’t a person of ballet, would instantly be turned into someone who will be interested in the art after coming here. What is beautiful about Europe and or Paris is that ballet is still treated as being a part of their culture. Whats even more interesting is that so much of that culture was also brought to the Philippines in the past! Do you know that a lot of famous ballet dancers visited the Philippines long ago.

I hope that there would also be more infused culture of supporting the arts and ballet in the country. A challenge to all the ballet companies and schools to keep their shows up to standard and to keeping the art alive.  I hope and pray that times change for the better. For now enjoy my ballet loving blogs and vlogs.

Much Love,
dancebylina.com
thebackpackingballerina.com

 

Mission Rome

It took a long time for me to write this, I actually travelled to Rome last October and I still remember all of my favourite sights. What surprised me though was the rich history and culture that it had. Also the secret tours and tunnels that we were able to experience, thanks to my mom. Rome has a lot to offer for those who are really interested in its rich history, its aqueducts and the cool excavation tours.

I was finally able to summarise the first half of my experience through my Vlog, I will probably just write down in my next blog, about the ballet classes I was able to take and experience in Rome. It was a really good vacation for me, and I hope to do something like this again, if my budget permits.

Its been so long since I’ve actually written on my blog, because of my crazy schedule. Compared to last year, I have a lot more pressure riding on me. Such as my soon to come board exam on October, which has been putting a lot of stress on me. I hope I find the strength and the will to keep on going and studying. While trying to keep my spirit alive by dancing.

Hoping to find time to write more again,
CIAO!