Remembering why I started dancing.

I was once told by a teacher of mine that I had the worst body type of ballet. It was really hard for me to overcome, and I still get insecure thinking about how my body looks. I really loved to dance and I still really do. I still remember my first corps work with the company, I still remember being scolded by the Russian teacher, I remember the whole corps de ballet having to repeat the whole segment just because of me. These are the things I love to look back to every time I think about dancing and how far I have come and the lifelong friends that I have made. I still have a lot more growing, reading and learning to do and as much as a lot of my friends are telling me to move on, I just can’t seem to let go of my love for dance. 

 My only wish for everyone who loves ballet and dancing as much as I do is to never stop. I know sometimes you’ll see a bad video of yourself or a picture with ugly lines or a girl with better lines and turns but as long as you still can even if its not ballet, work hard at it and read about it! Its not enough to just dance, know its history and its art and you’ll learn to love it even more.

Dance Competitions. Are they healthy? Short review from my experience of the ABAP competition.

I feel like competitions are something parents love, most especially here in the Philippines, Theres the Philippine Dance cup, The ABAP competition and the CCP dance competition and many others. I wonder sometimes if it is healthy to be putting children into competitions into something as subjective as ballet. How then would you score your dancers? By the number of turns or the amount of battements they do? Are we educating our youth better? Or are we creating monsters out of an art we love.

Did we ever stop to think. What was the purpose of this? Did our dancers grow properly? Did they change for the better? Was it good for them. I think educating our future dancers well, is as important as educating their teachers and their parents properly.

I feel like I have to bring this up, even if I hate ballet competitions. Last weekend I was at a ballet competition and My student ranked first in the rankings in, Junior 5 Ballet Category. I am positive about this because I wrote down all of the girls scores and she scored the highest out of all the girls who danced. I was so excited to congratulate her backstage and see my student of all the girls had placed first.

Now when she received her award they announced that she was 7th place, Imagine my surprise. From first place to seventh? What was wrong? Was she deducted something? Did I teach her something wrong? Backstage they told her they had made a mistake and so they awarded her 6th? I was still not convinced that my student ranked 6th. And my other little student was also supposed to be 3rd but ranked 4th when announced her name.

Now of course confused and furious in my head but calmly we talked to the ones in charge, they said all the girls are deducted for every wrong step they make according to the video. Now this is a variation i know by heart. I am positive every other girl did the variation the same way in accordance to the video that they sent. (I know my friends can attest to this, I am known to know many dances, variations and choreographies by heart) I am positive, except that second girl who danced did it a little differently on the pas de cheval but only one step was changed from what she did as compared to the others. They deducted plenty of points from my student just for a missed step that I know wasn’t true because I observed each girl and each step during the dance.

I am of course disappointed as a teacher, I know my student deserved to win that category. And I am not convinced that she deserved 6th or 7th place. She did it the cleanest and with the most heart. I know when my student does bad and when she doesn’t, I know this because she deserved her 4th place in the other Junior 4 category in fact i think she did pretty awful there but I am not afraid to admit that. She also knew that herself, and she told me that too. But this time i choose to speak up and share this experience because i believe I do deserve a clear explanation as to why my students and my own hard work and months and months of dancing didn’t deserve 1st place.

I would just want an explanation as to How can my student who ranked first get more deductions than the girls who fell on the floor? I want to know for my future reference, Is it something personal? Does this happen in all competitions? If you cheated everyone in the competition was it worth it? I saw plenty of other students whose scores jumped from 2nd to 4th and etc. It was very painful to watch as a teacher.

 

 

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So did this competition turn me into a monster teacher? Maybe not. In fact It inspired me to do better as a teacher. Maybe it is not the case in all competitions and ballet is just something that is too difficult to judge in the first place. Of course at the end of the day it is not who wins and loses and life is not a competition. I just want my students to enjoy dancing the way all my teachers taught me but I wish I knew why we didn’t deserve to win that category.

Don’t get me wrong, I am of course grateful that all my students placed. Even my small baby ballet students placed and did very well during their dances but we all know that the older girls will also show the strength of the school. As a teacher building her own reputation, I want to know for myself what I can do to improve and what I can do to help my students more.

Now as a parent or a stage mom, if you are to decide wether to put your child into a ballet competition. Is it worth it? I encourage you all to think about it and read about it before you act. Here is the “sakit” if you may call it of the Filipino people. They absolutely love competitions they like listing their achievements. My parents are not the typical and as everyone knows I grew up in a Japanese setting. My mom taught me mostly that a smart dancer reads, she knows and she has to do everything from the basic. My mother is very particular with small details and she always told me, it matters.

Do you think it is healthy for your child? Is it turning into an earning scheme for schools? I hope we think about these things before entering into competitions. After all, we all aim to become better versions of ourselves right? Or to create better more artistic and beautiful dancers? Where has that art gone? Is ballet simply a sport now, or is it still an art?

This makes me sad. What are your thoughts?

Summer Recital excerpts from rehearsals

What did i love about this recital? The fact that I was given the chance to dance the role of Paquita, a Spanish girl who was raised by gypsies. We only danced the wedding scene for this recital. This summer was filled with so much challenges and injuries, up until a week before the recital I really could not dance anything so well because I misplaced my knee cap 3 weeks before the actual recital day. Then on top of that my original partner left, and when he got back that same day I just recovered from my 1 week of stomach flu, he danced he had a partial tear to his knee while dancing.

So much drama this summer, but I am glad that I was still able to push through. Even if I had to dance with my new partner, who I only rehearsed with around 6 times. Then my achilles tendon was so painful, so I was really glad that even with a clicking knee cap and an inflamed tendon I was able to dance everything, not as good as I imagined I could do it. But just enough I guess, most days I wish I could have done better but I guess its difficult when you only get one shot to dance it.

Here is a short clip from our recital and from some of our class videos before the show. Videos taken by: Miguel Antonio Gonzales * Stage ballet boyfriend. (Thank you!)

Watch on Youtube: Class and Paquita excerpts from DressTech 

Perry Sevidal Ballet, Technical dress rehearsals June 04, 2016

Dance by Lina update, May 2016

Its our recital in 2 weeks, my birthday in a few days and I still have to rehearse my students with the other school. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to update again. We started making a new line of pouches. Pouches for your small dance things. I get all the cloth from Japan and everything is Pure Japanese cotton. Well thats what my supplier would say.
We also decided to stick to skirts, laces and other things like the sort. Recently my sewer and I studied how to make Practice tutus and tutus so we are also looking into making more of those too. I know I’m not a professional designer, but I’m having a lot of fun figuring things out and working on more things. It’s starting out to be a very exciting business.
I’m not sure weather I should continue it or not after next year or just pre ready everything months before and shipping out orders. Plenty of decisions to make, but looking forward to an exciting things ahead of us this year. Its been really fun and I’ve being doing really well but It takes so much of my time that sometimes I don’t get more than 3-4 hours of sleep in a day.
Foot Stretchers, Ballet pouches, Ballet skirts, Practice tutus and dance costumes ❤ This is my focus as of now. All products are available on the link below or visit The Dance store PH for any of my products.
dancebylina.com

Behind the scenes with Dance by Lina, Photoshoot

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Nino doing this thing

Fixing the dancers positions

Fixing the dancers positions

This is me 3 months after opening my official ballet dance wear line in the Philippines. Its been a big learning curve for me. It really feels like years already. Here are some of our BTS photos, I’m really hoping that I could do more things this year. I’ve been feeling a bit stuck this month to be honest. However this photoshoot was a really good decision for our new update on the website details. Check out http://dancebylina.bigcartel.com for more details.

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The medina sisters. I love this picture out of most of all our pictures

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Foot stretchers and Ina as my model. With her beautiful feet.

This is the second photoshoot we had this month and I never got how important it was to have things like this until I started posting good photos. I used to just take photos by myself at home without realising how important the quality and style of photos are to attracting more viewers. I can’t wait to see what I’m going to come up with next! Tons of new challenges await me.

Pointe shoe fitting with Jeanne Share, Gaynor Mindens international sales director

Yesterday I had the chance to have my first Gaynor Minden pointe shoe fitting with Gaynor Mindens International sales director Ms. Jeanne Share. I guess It’s about time that I officially had my pointe shoes fitted for me. But based on what I learned from Jeanne, she told me that  most things you just pick up from experience. With each person she fits she says she learns something new. So how does one become an official pointe shoe fitter like Ms. Jeanne? Experience.

There are short courses to such profession, of course it wouldn’t matter unless you are actually a dancer. How would you know what kind of shoe fits you best when you haven’t even tried on a pair of pointe shoes, yet alone advice another dancer on which pointe shoes to be wearing. I had so much fun listening to Ms. Jeanne, I was finally able to find my actual pointe shoe size with her and it felt much better than the pairs of Gaynor shoes that I’ve been trying on for 9 years. Not being blessed with good feet and with my constant weight fluctuation, I have always had a problem with the pain from my toes and now I have found the culprit and the solution.

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Culprit, my greek feet. I’ve always known that my feet were “SPECIAL”. (HAHA) Unfortunately its always been painful for my second toe because it looks exactly like that picture. Now I’ve tried everything from Cotton to cushions but I never knew that Gaynor actually has a thing called a Totally toes fitting kit. Now i just need that small arch semi circle looking thing to be stuck under my shoe to help me with the missing space between my toe and my second toe.

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This is the fitting kit

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This is what you do with the fitting kit

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And heres how it works, (c) pictures are from online sources off of google

Now trying my shoes with Ms. Jeanne I learned that size 8 fits me better than 8 1/2’s and I always though that 8 1/2’s were better, which was most probably to make way for my second toe. I definitely was happy to know what shoe would actually fit me better. I also listened to her speaking to other girls about how the drawstring should be pulled or how much space there should be to accommodate your toe pads and the sort. Some of which I probably figured out on my own as a dancer, but it was nice to hear nonetheless from someone who has probably fitted thousands of girls with their new shoes and pointe shoes.

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Ms. Jeanne in action

Hearing her story and on how she started firsthand was really inspiring. I realised how important the right fit of your shoes are. How it can affect the look of your feet and how it can also affect your dancing. The people behind these small little details are who inspire me a lot. Imagine if we didn’t have these experts then the ballet world wouldn’t be as beautiful as it is. After reading a brief history on how the Gaynor Minden shoes were created I have a little more bias towards the brand of the shoe. ( You can read more about them on dancer.com )

I know that most people do not really use Gaynors and stick to the traditional shoes. A teacher of mine used to tell me “You will not get strong if I used Gaynor shoes and your feet will be spoiled”. I’ve read however on Gaynor Mindens site about how even the Pro’s like my favourites Alina Cojacaru or Gelsey Kirkland prefer Gaynors. My mom told me this afternoon after a chat on the shoe fitting. “Even the ballet shoes needs to evolve”. Its true that I guess traditional shoes are much harder to break into or wear and less comfortable, but I guess to each his own. It really all depends on what feels best for you or shows off your feet the most.  

You can read more about Ms. Jeanne and her profile on Dancer.com and if you are every near a Gaynor Pointe shoe outlet you should definitely get your shoes fitted for you with a professional. My own ballet teacher Perry had fun getting her shoes fitted too.

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Even my own teacher Perry had fun fitting her shoes!

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ITS OFFICIAL. Get your Dance by Lina products at The Dance store PH

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Thank you again Ms. Jeanne for the experience.

❤ Much love to every dancer out there. Keep on Dancing! You can now find my products at The Dance store PH and on dancebylina.bigcartel.com