Charlotte Stabenau's blog

There's one question every aspiring or newly minted professional ballerina knows the answer to: What's your dream role?  Whether it's Odette/Odile, Aurora, or Nikiya, every one of us aspires to one ballet, or one role in particular.  Once we get that part, we think, we've got it made--we've arrived.

 

Recently, the ballet world has been abuzz over Alastair Macaulay's controversial review of NYCB's Jenifer Ringer and Jared Angle's performance on the opening night of Nutcracker.  He wrote that Ringer "looked as if she'd eaten on sugar plum too many" and that Angle "seems to have been sampling half the Sweet realm".  I'm not going to go into the controversial and oft-discussed topic of weight as it pertains to ballet, but I do want to talk about what it feels like, and what to do when a critic has gone too far.

 

In my experience, ballet teachers who tell you to be yourself are very rare.  When you get a step wrong, most of the time they will tell you to watch another girl in the class and do it liker her, or that girl will be called up to the front of the studo to proudly demonstrate for the whole class.  Everyone is then told to copy her.  In general, it seems like most dancers learn by copying, rather than knowing when they are doing a step right or not.

 

I was recently talking with my parents about Alexei Ratmansky's new Nutcracker, which he's choreographing for ABT.  It's coming to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December, and I for one can't wait to see it.  By all accounts, it will be more grown-up, with a fresh, yet classical approach to the story.

Ballet dancers train long and hard to excel at what they do.  It is imperative that they be confident in their technique when they step onto a stage, as doubt can have a crippling effect on a dancer's ability to perform a movement that they've practised and rehearsed scores of times.  I've often had the opportunity of seeing elite dancers in class and rehearsal, and their relaxed manner and the ease with which they correctly execute all the steps shows that they know they can do this.  However, ballet dancers are also famously superstitious and wedded to rituals that

The title of this blog may be a tad misleading, but I do have an important question to ask.  After watching a video of the (divinely talented and gift to the ballet world from heaven) Svetlana Zakharova on YouTube, I wonder: What is the best and most correct way to do fouettes?  Is it by winding up  with a rond de jambe from front to side each time you complete the revolution, or, as Svetlana does it, to just open the leg to the side?

 

If I were to create a list of top three reasons why little girls want to be ballerinas, it would probably look something like this:

 

1. Tutus

2. Tutus!

3. Did someone say "Tutus"?

 

It is a truth universally acknolwedged among ballet students and dancers that running (or jogging) is bad, bad, bad.  Many dancers will say that running is terrible because it is pretty high-impact, meaning your joints can take a beating, and it works against you because it's a turned-in activity.  However, as a dancer who has been an amateur runner for the past six months, I say this is not necessarily true.

 

In my last blog post, I wrote about how eagerly I was looking forward to seeing Balanchine's Serenade this past Saturday.  I was itching with anticipation.  Well, as always, it did more than not disappoint--it astounded and delighted me.  I always notice new things and details about the ballet when I see it, and that night was no exception.  But on the whole, it made me realize just how big a star the NYCB corps is in almost every Balanchine ballet, which I've mentioned before.  But now, I'm pretty much convinced that they are, collectively, the star of the

I'm going to see NYCB on Saturday, and Serenade is first on the program.  I've decided recently that it's probably my favorite ballet, and here's why:

 

From the very first moment the beautiful "Serenade for Strings" by Tschaikovsky begins, I feel goosebumps.  There's just something about those first few majestic phrases that is so moving and so pleasing.  I'm thinking about it right now, and it's making me smile in delicious anticipation of that moment tomorrow night.  Then the curtain rises, and it's bliss from then on.