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Julie Diana in rehearsal for John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet

(photo by Pete Checchia)

 

A quintessential Bournonville piece, Flower Festival in Genzano was originally a one-act ballet choreographed in 1858 for the Royal Danish Ballet. Although the full ballet was inspired by an Alexandre Dumas tale, today only the pas de deux survives. Nevertheless, the charming love story is still apparent in this flirtatious duet, which includes an entrance, two variations and a coda.

 

We all know that a cup of coffee can provide a much-needed energy boost during a long day of dance. And several studies from the past few months have reiterated that caffeine can improve athletes' performance in endurance activities. According to research from St. Mary's University in the UK, the thought is that caffeine increases the frequency or size of neural transmissions and helps to suppress pain.

Ballet’s spectacle does not always rest in high extensions and multiple pirouettes. In fact, sometimes precision gets lost in a catacomb of tricks. But moments such as the Dance of the Cygnets from Act II of Swan Lake recapture ballet's purity with meticulous footwork and teamwork. Its cohesiveness reveals how simplicity can enrapture an audience. With hands interlaced, these four Bolshoi ballerinas coordinate their épaulement and piqués as if they are perfect replicas of one another. Enjoy this quick moment of intricacy. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Karina Gonzalez

Houston Ballet's González in the studio. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

On Thursday, August 21, the Joffrey Ballet will live-stream a rehearsal of Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. Wheeldon will be in attendance to coach the dancers, while Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater will host and conduct interviews with the dancers during rehearsal breaks.

 

If you've been on social media lately, chances are your feeds have been overloaded with videos of your friends dumping buckets of icy water over their heads. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken off over the past few weeks, raising money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). If you are nominated by a friend, you have 24 hours to either complete the challenge or make a $100 donation to The ALS Association. You then challenge other friends to do the same.

Many Romantic ballets revolve around tragedy when dealing with love and romance. However, some simply attempt to replicate the joy of dancing, and produce little conflict other than a delayed marriage (Swanilda’s story in Coppélia hardly compares to the trials and tribulations of Odette's in Swan Lake). Still, beauty remains a major component to all ballets, no matter the conclusion.

If you’re a fan of First Position, you may want to tune in this Friday to “Dance School Diaries” on the DanceOn YouTube channel. The new web-based reality series follows four Southern California students as they prepare for the 2014 Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Scheduled through mid-October, new episodes air every Friday at 10:00 am PST.