Dongdaemun Fabric Market: Korea

The fabric market: located at Dongdaemun is the building right behind the Marriott hotel, its not very difficult to find, just take exit 2 and walk straight ahead, no need to cross the street unless you’re on the other side of Marriott and enjoy shopping.

Fabric selections include, cotton, wool, twill, laces and the top floor has a whole lot of accessories.

Price range: It was expensive as compared to the Philippines but I do not regret coming here to get an idea of how the fabrics were priced. Some ranged from around 10,000 won per yard which is about 500 pesos, it depends what you were looking for but in my opinion it was just not worth it unless for single items, but its worth the look because the laces and the other lace items were so beautiful, you don’t find very pretty lace and embellishments in the Philippines.

Ballet Stores in Korea 

Finally finished this blog and vlog for korea, i think for address references its much easier to do a BLOG compared to a VLOG but the vlog will give you more of an idea of how the area looks like and how difficult it was to find these locations. Here were the stores we visited and the stores that you can all consider visiting if ever you end up in Korea, although I wasn’t a fan of the items, i sure was a fan of the really good quality tights that they had at each store. They all had their own brands but I suspect it comes from a single supplier just with different rebranding. Most of the stores were located near one another and there was just one store I didn’t go to that was suggested because it was so out of the way from where most of the stores were.

V denie and E ballet shop were the first we found on the way to GANGNAM. Korea is really hard to get around on because they don’t like google maps. But we used instagram to get most of the locations of the places we wanted to visit before coming to the stores. I suggest you do the same if you want to find their addresses. As if you don’t search it in Korean most shops do not come out.
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1. V DENIE 
This was the first store we visited on our list, what was great about V denie were the super cheap and super soft tights. I recommend bringing home plenty. We bought about 20 pairs for about 15 usd each. They are open on Monday-Saturday from 11-7pm but they have a lunch break at around 12 and the staff did not speak any english so be prepared to use google translate and some hand gestures.
2. BALLESSIMO
Ballessimos physical store closed last year but they still have their online store in Korea, so if you plan to stay there before your trip and maybe you can have your items shipped to the hotel to avoid any hassles. At least you can contact them while you are there for any problems.
3. TOP TOE KOREA
E ballet shop was right at the corner near V denie 8 mins walk from each other according to google maps. It had the most brands of leotards such as Yumikos, Gaynors, Grishkos and Wear Mois. I loved this shop for its many items but the price range was just crazy especially for the Gaynors which cost about 150usd.
 
4. REPETTO
We were not able to visit Repetto because of time constraints, we had a full day of visiting these other shops that we failed to visit Repetto.
 
5. CAPEZIO 
Capezio was right on the road and very easy to spot, it was my favourite shop of all the shops that we had visited before this. It was also the last ballet store that we visited on my list. If you are looking for pointe shoes they sell Grishko Maya, Fouette, 2007 and Smart Pointes. They also have a good collection of Ballet Rosa, Ainsliewear and Capezio Leotards. Ballet CD’s were also available in the store and they were very nice ones too.
6. BLOCH 
I did not enjoy the bloch store because they mostly sold Grishko items. Which is weird because they had the BLOCH logo on the stores front, it was a 3 min walk away from Capezio. Most of these stores are right next to each other in the rich district of Gangnams boulevard strip. They also sold Grishko Maya, Fouette, 2007 and Smart Pointes.
7. E BALLET SHOP: SEOUL ARTS CENTER 
This shop was one of the 2 shops we could not visit as it was the most out of the way shop of all the shops. But we were told it was also a good shop
8. CHACOTT
We really intended to visit Chacott here but it was closed due to something unknown to us. A lot of sings were in Korean and so we got to see the shop but not get in it, unfortunately.
PRICING: 
If you will ask me, of all the stores the pricing for V denie was the most affordable compared to the other stores pricings, so if you ever want to visit one or many since they aren’t far from each other I would recommend taking an afternoon to go to Gangnam to just visit all of them.
I hope that this helps you in your ballet item shopping, just in case you end up going to Korea. I will also be posting about dance schools in Korea on my next blogs and blogs to help you find the places you can take class in Korea!
All the best and much love always,
Lena

First time in Inverness: What to expect and Place to Stay

Oh my, Hello Inverness!
I’ll be honest, the reason or the real reason why my friend Mari and I had an interest in Scotland all of a sudden was because of the TV show Outlander, which we loved so much a year or two ago. We were obessed with the Battle of Culloden and the stones as well as the love story and the history. Afterwards, we just kept on discussing Scotland and how amazing it is to visit it someday. So we made side trips in between the places I wanted to see for ballet and for some work on this trip.

First impression, COLD. (Haha) unfortunately for me I am just always cold, or I just easily feel cold almost all the time. Even in a country that is normally around 30 degrees celsius I could probably wear a jacket on a cool day because I just don’t deal well with cold weather. But the wind is definitely harsh there even towards the end of July, they call that Scottish weather, when the wind is strong and its raining sideways in possibly the most inconvenient way.

Some Personal Tips:

1. You will need a car:

Its not even an option not to have a car. Inverness is clearly a car society even if there are cabs and or tours around. If you’re young and you can still drive, I would recommend getting a car so you can save extra cash. I rented a car on booking.com and had some problems with the local company there but eventually we did get our car except it was manual, thankfully I knew how to drive a manual car. It was only 25 pounds per day and you just had to return it with a full tank of gas. It was well worth it because if you took the train or a cab and or a bus you would easily spend 20 pounds going to the airport or 50-70 pounds getting a tour around town or going sightseeing. We were just lucky that the place we stayed at, the couple was kind enough to always drive us for a lower fee, but if you’re not so lucky a cab ride can easily turn into 30 pounds and 100 pounds charged for tours.

Long Drives: We definitely took a long drive out of town to SKYE. There are plenty of routes for long drives and its a bit tricky if its your first time driving in Scotland because the cars do drive around 80-100kph and its really fast for a city girl like me who is used to driving only around Manila and no where else.

We also drove to a few small towns, I would suggest skipping the fairy pools because most of them are gone due to safety hazzards. Bring your hiking shoes so you don’t slip on stones. Brothers point was my favorite because of the sheep and the most breathtaking view of the sea by the road. Scotland is truly beautiful when you’ve lived in the city all your life. When there is nothing but the road and the green and the sky, the world seems so big and makes you feel so small. ** Tearing up here haha ** the dramatics aside, I really do recommend doing a drive out. We left our house at around 8am and got home about the same time in the evening at around 8pm.


2. Where to stay 

So the question is, will I stay inside the city or outside the city? Of course if you want convenience, you can stay in the town center of Inverness. I personally found plenty of hostels and hotels around Inverness that you could choose from. But we opted to stay outside the city near the highway, just because the place we found was really so beautiful and it came with breakfast. For 2 people and 5 nights it was also not that bad, and being 2 girls traveling by ourselves technically, we really wanted to choose places that were okay and safe for us also and more of a Bnb rather than a hotel, it was our first travel to Europe.

3. In Town suggestions 

According to the owners Hootanannys in old town Inverness is the place to be. On the weekends they would have live shows and the drinks were good. Otherwise, we didn’t go around much to the other food stores. I did enjoy the souveniers and of course the walk around the town bridges. Its a very quaint old town, it reminds me a bit of the baltics.

Where we stayed: Birchwood House B&B

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I will give a 10 star recommendation for this place we stayed. I never felt more at home and more well rested than staying at the beautiful bed and breakfast in inverness. It was owned by a lovely couple who made us breakfast every morning, and they had everything from a beautiful garden to a lovely library. Also had a common area to sit around in, they had a cat and dog which made me feel a bit homesick because I missed my pets. The bathroom and bedroom were so neat and clean, fresh towels and linens were provided for us every end of the day. Coming home to this place was even better than coming home to a hotel, because it really did feel like home.

To end your trip, don’t forget to pass by the Culloden Battlefield, the Harry Potter bridge and the stones nearby. There are a lot of things to do and see in Inverness. A whiskey tour or two perhaps for those who love to drink ** like myself hehe ** the trip was definitely one for the books and one to remember and I would love to go back. Travelling is always fun with good company, I wonder where my life will take me to next.

Much love,
Lina

thebackpackingballerina.com

dancebylina.com

Amanpulo: Palawan, Philippines. My break into paradise? Was it worth it?

If you’re all lazy to read. Here is a video of our trip to Amanpulo.

Ever since my dad mentioned it, Ive been dreaming all my life to visit this island. When I was much younger and we were less endowed with the best things in life, we used to come to Palawan and visit the more affordable resorts as you may call it. My parents worked really hard, as the eldest child I saw my mom and my dads highs and lows. But the beach or more so Palawan was our safe place, it was somewhere we spent most our time going to take vacations to. In the Philippines my dad only wanted to come here and nowhere else to him was more beautiful. 

Enough of the things about us, We came here for my parents 29th Anniversary. I cannot count with my hands how many times Ive been here to Palawan since I was 10. But Amanpulo is the best of the best here and I only found our 3 days before our flight that we were coming to the island. In the middle of my work and everything I got really excited because this trip would hit the Holy Week break! 

Coming to the island only takes 40-50 mins if youre taking the bigger plane. They greet you with Sampaguitas and give you your own tour in your personal golf cart. Its really an island for the rich, well for 3000-5000usd a night it should be. But this blog wont be about how fancy or luxurious this place was. Im actually going to share to you my own tips on how to visit this island on your budget based on our experience. But of course if you have that money saved up, then by all means you should visit! Personally, if I were to pay for this place myself I would eat up more than half my savings and that wouldnt be a wise way to spend my money. 

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VISITING THE ISLAND: 

My mom found a lot of faults in their booking. I guess they assume that everyone can pay and afford their island. But if were speaking about practicality some rates and things are completely out of any practical persons budget.

We complained more than 4 or 5 times about the pricing and they kept on telling us that they would extend the credit, in the end we were left with Php -800 credit for them to return to us, but not after me viewing their terrible accounting statement of which I had to decipher. It was obvious that the person who made the accounting statement was not an accountant, and they just printed out what they thought was proper deducting and adding, but after doing the analysis and the math, It was clearly a very confusing situation already because different managers were promising different things to us each time and in the end I didn’t know which was the agreed upon statement anymore.

They probably didn’t think that they’d meet someone such as my mom, my mom is just the type of person who wants you to explain it clearly to her, and the manager and staff clearly didn’t know what was going on with their accounting system. If they did, they could have easily told her what the statement stated and included. Instead we got more than how many different managers telling us 3 or 4 different things.

  1. You actually have options that they dont explain.When we first booked the place, they never mentioned it to us. They just sent us a statement and made it seem easy to book. Not that I didnt like that, its just that if there was an option for a cheaper booking I would have saved my parents a lot more money.There is actually an option not to have the room food replenished everyday and that rate they said is cheaper. We didnt know at first because it was not even explained to us how to book in the first place.

    At the end of our trip we ended up asking for the un-replenished daily chocolates we were supposed to receive per day since we did pay for it but it was not mentioned to us, tea and drinks. If it was explained to us earlier we would have taken it. I mean of course we want our moneys worth if we paid extra for it.

  2.   Read all of their agreements and non disclosure agreements.
    There are a lot of charges an rules here and there about the island. Mind you its not cheap either.
  3. You can bring your own food.If it were up to me, i would have survived with 2 meals a day or even just one meal a day. My mom brought some canned tuna and bread from Manila and her own food and snacks. Being on the island, you dont really eat much. And if you paid that extra 70usd for lunch then I suggest you remove it because breakfast is part of your rate anyway.One meal costs about 50-80 usd and the massages range from 200-300usd. We didnt avail for anything on this island. Because a lot of things were freeassuming it was already included in that rate we paid for.

  4. Take the free snorkeling every 10am and 2pmIt will save you a lot of money since going on a private tour is about 200-400usd as well. It would be great if you were a lot but we were only 4 on this trip and it would have not been practical at all. The snorkeling tour goes to places where you can see turtles as well as really big fishes!

  5. The room is big enough for 4 peopleIts an extra 1000usd per person also including the flight to the island. If youre not such a particular group of people there is an even cheaper treetop casita that is about 1900usd per night  including the flight for 2 people and an additional 1000 per head if you add. Of course a double bed will be added. I feel like this is shareable and had i known I would have just asked for this option and slept on my parents couch in the beach casita.

  6. Pets are not allowed on this island.I really wanted to bring my dog, considering the priced we paid. My chihuahua is really small and I hoped we could have brought him with us too. But I can’t complain about this so much, since I guess its a private island and I shouldn’t really be expecting to be able to bring my little baby.

  7. My sister and I nearly got lost at sea, be careful of the currents.

    I don’t want to explain much about it, I already got comments on Facebook that blamed me as a sister for not doing much. I think I was able to do my part by staying with my sister. Just be careful when you’re out with young kids. They don’t really monitor you so well and I think when you’re with a kid you just need to stay by the shore.

  8. They will want to charge you for the bigger room so you could bring more peopleI also read this on their Facebook comments section. They really want you to get the Villa which is $21,000. When I called them at first, they really wanted me to get the Villa for our whole family instead of 2 separate rooms which would turn out cheaper. Just remember that you have a lot more options than you think, and even if they’ll hate you for asking, just ask them, you’re a paying customer.

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For a 5 star resort, maybe my expectations were just higher than this. Maybe it is really visited by people who bring their maids on vacation and we were too poor compared to these other people to understand the situation. But It made me see also how different the other side of life is like. There is beauty in simple places and more homey hospitality. Personally i did not feel it on this island. 

They have 400 employees on this island and we didnt see most of them on the island. Most of your money probably goes to the extra people  who need to maintain the island and its filtration system and the good food and chefs. Being aware that the island has more employees than actual guests. I was disappointed when I realised that we were so little compared to them. As the island is only home to about 47 cottages and half of these are privately owned and not for rent. 

Now after reading you might think, how much of a cheapskate can this girl get? Come on, bringing your own food and sleeping on the couch?! I guess doing this is not for everyone and we all have different ways we want to live. I just think that looking at it in an economical more practical standpoint. That money could have been used for so many more important things than just the food on our vacation or the chocolates and drinks in the fridge.  And of course I have to make this post neutral for those haters who might say, enjoy it, it was a free vacation after all! That is true, I will not of course deny the beautiful memories I made here with my family, good or bad.

I do believe it is somewhere you could go to experience for once in your life. I will definitely say that, I loved the beachfront and there is nothing like it or compared to it. I just hope that someday the management improves and their staff training. It is definitely what you’d call a luxury leisure resort and the staff are also just as in leisure as the guests.

Wishing you all happy days!
Hope this all helps you make decision in visiting the island.

thebackpackingballerina.com

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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

 

Stuck in a dance plateau?

Do you feel like you’re not improving at all? Don’t worry we’ve all been there. Its normal, even in life sometimes to feel like, something is missing or something is not right. There will be days when you feel different and days when you feel like everything is in perfect place. But life is always about a good balance of everything and about overcoming these times when we feel like we’re stuck somewhere in our dance lives.

So here are my personal tips, and I also made a video to explain something about being in your dance plateau. Hope that these help you improve and help you gain more understanding to your dancing and your thinking too. Most of your dancing actually comes from your willpower to keep on going.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone
    There are different reasons of being in your dance plateau. You have to do the assessment yourself, are you putting enough hours? Are you getting enough time to practice? If you are, then maybe you just need to try something new. Sometimes, its okay to take a short break to destress and to do something different from what you usually do. Learn to get out of your comfort zone, in and out of class.

    You can try taking a new style of dance maybe? Or maybe try going to a new teacher just to bring out some new ideas and give your mind some more.

  2. Talk to your teacher 
    Sometimes your teacher doesn’t tell you up front in class, because she doesn’t want you to get hurt in front of your classmates. But the more you ask, the more you will find out. Maybe your teacher has somethings she wants to say, or maybe you also have things you want to clarify. Learn to communicate with your teacher, create a good relationship with him/her. If she gives you some constructive criticism, learn to accept it and learn from the new information.
  3. Go back to your basics 
    Maybe you’re missing something? Maybe you are not. But it is always good to go back to your basics. Try a slower class maybe to help you break down all the steps again. Slow classes are always good for all of us.
  4. Find your own identity and focus on your own body
    Maybe you feel like you are stuck because you are comparing yourself to the girls around or beside you. Not everything in life is a competition, most especially ballet. This is why I love ballet, you can be good at something that someone is not. Someone can be better but you can be better at other things. Find your niche, find you own identity and focus on your own body.
  5. Set GOALS
    Go to class with a goal in mind, I encourage every dancer to keep a notebook of their goals and dreams. It is always better to write things down than to type them on your computer. When you write things, they process better in your head. Set a goal every week, and talk with your teacher, and ask her to help you note your concerns and the thing you would still like to improve.
  6. Enjoy the process

    I will always finish my blogs with, Enjoying the process. Because that after all is what will keep you sane. The only thing you can control is how you can react to things, so enjoy each and every step and problem you encounter with you dancing.

    Its not everyday that you feel this way. Your dancing may be feeling like it is plateauing, but remember there is always a spike up in improvement every now and then. Just keep on going and keep your mind set farsighted on your goals. Hope these tips help! and you can catch my VLOG on the same topic too, on YouTube.

 

WHAT I THINK MAKES A GOOD DANCE TEACHER, THE KIND I ASPIRE TO BE:


Anyone can be a dancer but not everyone has the skills to be an effective and good dance teacher. It takes so much skill and patience for a teacher to be able to mold a beginner into what they visualise someday for their dancers. Theres so much more to teaching than a lot of people think of it, even more than just choreographing steps, its an art.
We all of course differ in our opinions of what makes a good dance teacher. Some would prefer a more relaxed and happy teacher as others might prefer a more strict teacher. I don’t think theres just one way of teaching, each teacher has something to offer. But regardless of that I think there are certain qualities that A eacher should possess.

1. Professionalism:  A good teacher respects her students. I think a teacher should be someone you will respect no matter what situation. They can handle situations effectively, in the way they speak, talk and dress. Its really important that the teacher for me interacts well with students.

2. Experience and Reputation: Although i don’t believe that a dance teachers educational background matters or is directly related to their way of teaching, as I have had plenty of amazing dance teachers who didn’t even take dance as a course. I think reputation and experience speaks for them. Plenty of dancers, even without any certification such as retired professionals can be amazing dance teachers. I think its important to consider how long they have been teaching and observe their class before enrolling too.

3. Patience and Organisation: A good teacher, knows how to organise his or her lessons. And and effective teacher knows that it takes time to master a step and choreography. A good teacher puts emphasis on the simple steps, rather than jumping straight to the difficult ones.

4. Punctuality: A good dance teacher is always a good example. Being Punctual means he or is a responsible teacher, if your teacher is more than 10 mins late to class with no apparent reason all the time then i think you should consider changing your school.

5. Dedication: A good teacher is completely dedicated to teaching you the best things they know.

6. Constantly learning: A good teacher is also someone who constantly strives to be better, and to give you the best dance education.

7. Passion: And finally a good dance teacher is passionate about what she or he does. Good dance teachers, inspire and they share. They are constantly giving and learning for you. A teacher is also a student, A teacher learns new things and adapts them for you in class. This is what i aim to be, to generate dancers who want to dance and to inspire them to aspire to become the best in an artistic and technical way.

if you have a teacher like this then good for you! REMEMBER: At the end say that a good teacher deserves an equally good student, so do your best and do them justice. Tag your favourite dance teachers and tell them how much you love them. ❤