Dance news, reviews & info

Archive for January, 2011

New Year, new you: Get ballet fit

Give your new year diet a boost with ballet

The last week in January – officially the gloomiest week of the year. It’s the week when people start paying their post Christmas bills and crucially it’s when a lot of people give up on their new years resolutions.

‘Lose weight and get fit’ is one of the most popular resolutions and by now the gym and vegetables are probably starting to get pretty boring.

To stick to the diet resolution it’s important to shake up your routine and try new, exciting exercise methods and eating plans. Incorporating dance into a fitness regime will certainly keep things interesting and because it is such a fun form of exercise half the time you won’t even feel like you’re working to get fit.

The New York City Ballet workout book

Ballet is the perfect place to start. On average a ballet dancer burns around 370 calories an hour. For a more accurate figure for your weight click here. Not only does ballet burn calories but it greatly improves posture which gives the immediate impression of weight loss.

Ballet also works every single muscle in your body, especially your core, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when resting. Finally and most importantly ballet is great fun, whether you are a beginner or advanced.

It may look strict and disciplined but adult ballet classes can be great places to make friends and the buzz of exercising to beautiful music and pushing your body to the limits is second to none.

If you’re not quite ready to don a leotard and take to the barre, there are some really good ballet workouts that you can do at home. New York City Ballet workout has both a book and DVD. The workout is a mixture of pilates and ballet and is a great way to introduce yourself to the basics of ballet. Darcey Bussell also has a DVD and book ‘Pilates for Life’ which is more than just pilates and uses ballet technique to make it a great strengthening workout.

2011 fashion: Tutu trendy

The 2011 catwalk has been inspired by ballet

Fashionistas take note – if you want to be a step ahead then it’s time to don your ballet pumps and tutu skirts. Spring 2011 is all about ethereal dresses and skirts, pastel colours and pleats. Ballet hair is also set to be popular with super low buns being showcased by Dolce and Gabbana.

Natalie Portman is leading the official start of the new ballet trend with her film Black Swan, launched on 11 January (see below). The costumes are designed by hot label Rodarte who have always advocated long, flowing, pastel fabrics in their creations.

Tulle ballet skirts at Chanel S/S 2011, Paris Fashion Week

Online retailers ASOS and Lipsy are leading the highstreet trend.

 

Ballet inspired dress at asos.com

‘Black Swan’ ruffles some feathers

Good ballet films are few and far between. So the ballet world is eagerly anticipating the release of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan on 21 January 2011.

In the film Natalie Portman plays a ballerina rehearsing the role of Odile/ Odette in Swan Lake. Sounds boring? On the contrary – it is actually a ballet horror movie that is sure to horrify anyone with a love for ballet.

Anyone interested in dance will be asking themselves at this point how on earth actress Natalie Portman can play a world class ballerina? Why use an actress and a body double when there are hundreds of real ballet dancers out there who can act and do so every day on stage? Just take Mikhail Baryshnikov in Sex and the City as an example.

Portman has been training hard apparently but this is just a further insult to the ballet industry. The art of ballet cannot be learnt in a few years, let a alone a few months. Portman’s upper body is used in the film, but to the trained eye it will be painfully clear that she isn’t a trained dancer. In the short trailer alone, I winced at the sight of a very ungainly hand.

The film apparently further insults the ballet world by focussing on all the old clich├ęs that are associated with ballet. From overly pushy mums to bulimia, the film covers it all and according to The New York Observer’s dance critic, Robert Gottlieb it does nothing to help improve the “old ugly misconceptions of ballet.” Read his scathing review here!

The Guardian asked some of Britain’s top dancers what they thought of the film and they didn’t hold back with their answers.

The official Black Swan trailer