Jennifer Stahl's blog

Houston's dance scene is about to get a little richer. The newly-launched Vitacca Productions & Company will include a pre-professional troupe, a choreographic fellowship, outreach initiatives and commercial dance services for conferences, galas and other events. The company is led by Kelly Ann Vitacca, who serves as Dance Houston's creative director and worked as artistic coordinator for Houston Ballet. Renowned ballet master Phillip Broomhead, of The Royal Ballet and Houston Ballet, will be artistic advisor and ballet master.

 

Tired of eating the same old thing for breakfast every day? Try this simple but tasty recipe from Pointe's favorite dancer-chef, Shelby Elsbree of the Royal Danish Ballet. "I like to start my day with a 'breakfast of champions,' as my Dad likes to put it," says Elsbree. "Something that will keep me satisfied and energized for a full day of dancing."

 

Breakfast Quinoa

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of quinoa

1/2 cup of milk (I prefer soy)

Can stretching before class hurt your dancing? New science suggests it might. Yesterday, I  listened to a recent interview on NPR’s Fresh Air program with The New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds, who just came out with a book called The First 20 Minutes. Reynolds explained that almost all research now suggests that stretching prior to working out is counterproductive: It causes your brain to think you're going tear the muscles.

Just in time for their Met season, American Ballet Theatre is launching its own iPhone app. I just downloaded it yesterday and am already addicted. You can browse through all of the company’s upcoming performances and learn who’s dancing which night. Contact the box office, add the show to your calendar and let all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know when you’re going. All of the company’s latest news is right at your fingertips, along with a continually updated archive of choreographers, composers, designers and ballets since ABT’s founding in 1940.

Pointe just launched its new iPad app! Download each issue on your tablet. Just like the print edition, the app will put you backstage and up close with top stars and choreographers. It gives dancers everything they need to succeed in ballet: tips on technique and artistry, intimate photos, audition advice from artistic directors, the latest fitness info, and more. This interactive version offers extra iPad-only videos and slideshows. Find it in the app store.

Behind every great ballet dancer is a great mother who drove her to classes, bought her dozens of pointe shoes (and maybe even sewed them), told her when her bun looked like a mess, went into a tizzy when Suzie was cast as Clara instead of her daughter. It's not easy being a ballet mom. So be sure to thank yours this Sunday.

 

Happy mother's day!

What's a better springtime treat than some ballet alfresco? Texan dance lovers are in luck: Houston Ballet will present three free performances at the Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park on May 11, 12 and 13 at 8 pm. The company will dance excerpts of Giselle, Swan Lake and Le Corsaire. Grab your free tickets (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between 10:30 am and 1 pm.

 

Haven’t nailed down any summer plans yet? There’s still time to apply to the Royal Academy of Dance’s two-week Performance Course, new to the United States this year. Instead of focusing on technique, the spotlight in this intensive shifts to choreography, with a number of dance professionals setting original work on the students. After a morning class, dancers spend their days learning everything from modern to musical theater pieces, which they then perform at the end of the workshop.

American Ballet Theatre principal Herman Cornejo, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck, Alvin Ailey's iconic Matthew Rushing, Martha Graham Dance Company star Katherine Crockett. Artists from New York City's top dance companies are teaming up tonight for a benefit for the American Cancer Society. "Dance Against Cancer," produced by New York City Ballet's Daniel Ulbricht and former Carolina Ballet dancer Erin Fogarty, is now in its second year.

New York City's Steps on Broadway (with P3Productions) is putting together a new reality tv show that will follow the personal journeys of a handful of Steps regulars. They are currently casting dancers to film a reel to send out in hopes of getting picked up.

 

The producers want New York City-based dancers (ages 17 and up) of all genres. Any professional, student, retired dancer or dance teacher who makes Steps a regular part of their life is invited to apply. Filming will start this summer.