Funky Friday – HipHop Minus the Swag

You know how when you claim to have been dancing HipHop since you were seven, people assume you are really good at it? Well, there came a time where I started to believe that I was good at it myself too…

Jazz Hands!

Jazz Hands!

I always stood at the front left. In performances I was placed centre stage. Mothers walked up to me and complimented my skills. Little kids stared in awe. These few affirmations led me to believe a career in dance could be quite probable. My dream of dancing for Michael Jackson constantly grew. When that was no longer possible I imagined myself the owner of a world-renowned dance company..

Dance

Dance

When I left for New York, I left knowing I was at my best. Nothing could stop me – not even pure contemporary lessons and no more hiphop. I would return just as much a star!

developé with a plié

developé with a plié

I hadn’t danced hiphop since before my departure, in July.

My perception of my talents shattered this past Monday.

IMG_0591Yes, I might have mastered the hiphop style of that specific choreographer; but that’s also the only style I know. On Monday I attempted to try a new style, a new teacher, a new studio. Full of spunk, believing in myself, knowing I’m actually not bad, I entered the room in my Sarah Lawrence Tank and cute polka dot pants.

Never did it dawn on me that I actually might suck at other kinds of hiphop… 

The warm up was fine, full of basic movements I was already familiar with: There was the wave, isolations, second position pliés – the works. I was feeling good, confident, myself. Contemporary and jazz are all great and all, but hiphop was the only dance I ever really felt comfortable in and it was amazing to finally be back at it…until we got to the choreography, aka my predestined meltdown.

DANCE!

DANCE!

Some would say, it’s a new teacher, so I need to get used to his way of teaching before I can really get in to it. Agreed, that is important. But in this case specifically, I don’t think my movement mess-ups were due to the choreographer merely being a new acquaintance. No, I think my mishaps were more along the lines of “I have lost my swag, my coolness, my inner gangster, my hiphop-y-ness”… it wasn’t a good day.

I realised, by never ever testing the waters elsewhere, I had just plunged head first into a battle I could not win. 13 Years of only one hiphop style is a biggie. You don’t mess with that. And I did. Oops.

Back stretch..

Back stretch..

This never occurred to me while learning ballet, dancing jazz or rolling around in modern. There I always seemed to come to terms with the fact that “I was better at hiphop, I’m only here to have fun and not be amazing, I have more experience in hiphop etc etc”. I also always went to different teachers and somehow managed to cope. Knowing my “true calling” was actually more urban-based helped me keep my head up when I was stuck doing one pirouette in ballet while the rest was twirling 3. Monday changed everything. Monday told me that maybe I should rethink things…

I found myself suddenly feeling better in jazz.

Is a more classical path my actual calling after all? Maybe. But I will give myself one more chance and will brave the hiphop class once more, only this time I’m making sure to “swag myself out” in baggy pants, Adidas trainers and a gold chain necklace… superficial hiphop style might help me out a little 😉

With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

Funky Friday: I walk through life En Pointe!

Backlights off, stage lights on, the floor trembles from intense bass. The crowd roars as the show begins. Adrenaline floods my veins, sweat beads on my forehead. We dance, the focus of attention, high with pride. The hours of strenuous practice were worth it.

Exhilaration of performing is one aspect of dance, my passion for 14 years. Starting with classic ballet at 3, continuing with the more urban hiphop at 11, and adding modern, jazz, tango — everyone calls me dance-crazy. I find myself randomly practicing new moves, regardless of my surroundings.

Picture waiting for a bus and starting to rhythmically head-bop to some music.This meager bop becomes a roll of the neck and shoulders, then a rippling reaction in your arms, initiating a body wave, infecting the rest of your upper body with a Cambré, finally echoing in your feet, throwing in a rond de jambe here, a Moonwalk there or even a pirouette.

I’m not befuddled by my dance-outbursts because I walk through life en pointe.

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Snacks this Week

Dance came slightly short this week. It’s the summer holidays, so classes aren’t very regular anymore. Also it was the last week of my internship, so leaving earlier for dance wasn’t a priority. Next week I will be taking stretch classes daily while also trying to catch up on my ballet.

Before the couple of classes I did take this past week  (Ballet on Wednesday and Kickbox Cardio on Thursday) I made sure to keep up my snacking 🙂

IMG_0035FroYo and Green Power juice.

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Peanut Butter Oats made in an almost empty peanut butter jar.

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IMG_0041Another green power juice to keep my vitamin intake high after a ‘cheat day’.

IMG_0040Chocolate Brioche and blueberries

IMG_0042Sour Cherry Crumb cake

I also ate some carrots, with two dogs watching every bite..

IMG_0038Next week I’m going back on my clean eating schedule.. but I did very much enjoy the yummy food I ate on the cheat day. Especially this salted caramel truffle:

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With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

FroYo and Frappé

Yaaaaay for Wednesday, frequently known as my Jazz intense day.

Today, despite the summer vacation, classes are still in session! My number one favorite school – never closed, except for next week’s exception because they are moving location – is organising daily workshops, with my favorites this week being Jazz and Ballet, while the number one ballet school here is offering quite a few classes throughout the vacation as well..I’m in heaven 🙂

I haven’t been to dance for over a week now, but with three of my favorite people flying back home yesterday 😦 , my daily routine returned back to normal, and up until this weekend it should stay that way!
Why not after that, you ask? Well, Friday will be the last day of my 3 month internship .. after that I will try to find time for dance, but more importantly I have to start packing for college! Yikes! Time flies…

Lunch today was very special; I found some really tasty, plain frozen yoghurt in Zürich and enjoyed every last bit of it for my midday meal 🙂

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Not exactly the healthiest choice – given that I was planning on going to dance today – and don’t even get me started on whether it was balanced or not. So I added something green..that’s always good and healthy, right?

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Spinach, Apple, Lemon Juice and Ginger.

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Smoothie + FroYo + Berries = ate some of the colors of the rainbow 🙂

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This was just too good! (Restaurant review coming soon 🙂 )

After leaving the office a little later than I had hoped, I couldn’t make it to the jazz workshop. No biggie, because there was also a ballet lesson I could look forward to. On my way there, I enjoyed some fresh fruit for an extra vitamin boost and some yoghurt covered almonds.

The class was taught by a former student of the afore-mentioned ballet school. After completing her studies there, she joined a ballet company in Russia and began travelling the world. I really enjoyed her class and was mesmerized by how beautiful and elegant each and every move was..even if it was just an exercise! A great start back into my routine! 🙂

With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

P.S Did you get that Frappé in the title is a word-play on my ballet lesson, and not something to eat? 🙂

Tuesdays and Tutus – Fondu

Last time I introduced you to some simple things like pliés and foot positions.

Plié

Plié in fourth position

In keeping with the simplicity of pliés and foot positions, I bring to you the ‘fondu’.

Fun fact: Fondu means to melt! And guess what! The Swiss dip bread into melted cheese and fruit into melted chocolate (not at the same time) in a pot and they call it fondue!

Isn’t that a coin-ki-dink 😀

With this double meaning in mind, look at my recipe poststitle and put two and two together…smart, eh?

“pat on back”

Returning to the ballet move. A battement fondu (this is the full name) is:

1) Fondu: a plié of the supporting leg, while the working leg forms a ‘coupé’ on the side of the supporting leg’s foot.

2) Battement: the working leg is then extended and the supporting leg straightens until both legs are straight. The working leg can end up on the floor (à terre) or in the air (en l’air), to the front (en avant), to the side (à la seconde) or to the back (en arrière). This whole process can even be executed ‘double’.

Non-dancers all go: Huuuuuh?! I might’ve well just said gobble-de-goop..Ballet moves are definitely not easy to describe non-visually, which is why I took some pictures.

Begin in 3rd/5th position

Begin in 3rd/5th position

Plié of the supporting leg, coupé of the working leg

Plié of the supporting leg, coupé of the working leg

À la seconde à terre

À la seconde à terre

À la seconde en l'air

À la seconde en l’air

En avant à terre

En avant à terre

En avant en l'air

En avant en l’air

So what is a coupé, you ask? Coupé literally translated means to cut. It is both an action used as a link between steps, like here in the fondu (also used in pas de bourré and grand jeté, definitions coming soon :)). It’s also used as it’s own move where it will mean to close or fall, exchanging from one leg to another (more common: tombé avant, stay tuned!)

Coupé with the supporting leg in a plié

Coupé with the supporting leg in a plié

Interchangeably used for a coupé is the ‘sur le cou de pied’ (literally on the neck of the foot). This is a static movement unlike the coupé which is a linking movement. The working foot is placed between the base of the calf and the beginning of the ankle.

There are two accents here: devant, where the heel is placed in front of the leg, the toes point back and the in-step (cou-de-pied) ‘hugs’ the lower leg

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..and derrière: the heel and the toes are pointed behind. Alternating between devant and derrière is called petit battement  (bending action is at the knee, upper leg and thigh remain still). Stay tuned for more information on the petit battement, and many other kinds of battements!

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Pfeeew I really threw some French at you 😉 I’m a bit rusty after not using it in over a year, but ballet helps keep some of the vocab alive!

With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

Tuesdays and Tutus

If you’ve read one of my blog posts, or even just my little ‘about me’ widget on the right, you would know that I am trying to create a quote..something to remember me by, something catchy, something that describes my blog in just a few words.

You guys figure out what I am talking about? I am talking about my signature: …with attitude and nail polish.

But uuuuhm what does THAT mean?!
Let me break it down for you..you’ll love it as soon as you get what it means 😉

..I think I'm not just a conceal-a-holic....:)

..I think I’m not just a conceal-a-holic….:)

Nail polish. Simple. We all know about nail polish. Many of us use nail polish. I blog about nail polish every Monday.. Ok. That’s clear.
But attitude? What’s that all about? Is Anoushé talking about a state of mind or a feeling? Or even worse, an ARROGANT or HOSTILE state of mind? (Yes, I looked it up in the dictionary, and if you do so as well let me be clear, I do NOT mean the orientation of an aircraft’s axes relative to a reference line, nor do I mean the orientation of a spacecraft relative to its direction of motion, and I definitely do NOT mean being arrogant!!!!)
So, my dear imaginary internet friends, what do I mean when I sign my post with this quote above..?

It’s quite simple really..

Take one type of dance I do (Ballet), remember it, check the dictionary for something to do with that dance, and nod in understanding. Nooooooow you get it, and you smile (or not).

For those of you not in close vicinity of a dictionary, or are too lazy to check because you know I will tell you anyways…well, you got me! Unbelievable how well you already know me…;)

So here’s a picture

Attitude

Attitude..still working on it!

…and an excerpt from the online dictionary: Attitude: A position similar to an arabesque in which a ballet dancer stands on one leg with the other raised either in front or in back and bent at the knee.

Now add two and two together. Attitude = dance; nail polish = beauty addiction…hmmmm, sound familiar?
Cause it should…!

This quote basically describes a synonym for none other than my very own blog title! Isn’t that awesome? Let me pat myself on the back for a second..

But back to life, back to reality..(that song quote is for my father; he knows why..)

So why did I opt for concealers over nail polish, and pirouettes over attitude from my title? Good question!
I did not choose with attitude and nail polish because I knew the word attitude may leave many of you thinking..huuuuuh? You wouldn’t instantaneously think of dance, which is why I chose pirouettes instead! Most people affiliate this basic turn/spin with dance, no?
For the beauty part I knew it had to either be nail polish or concealers… and both are equally present in my life, both left similar dents in my bank account! So the choice was really just a matter of which one I thought fit better..

Anyhoo, as you might have already noticed, I will be throwing random dance terms at you every so often, especially in my post titles! A great example for this occurrence would be my food posts: ‘fondu’ in the title does not mean melted cheese, it is actually a ballet step!
To prevent you from scrunching up your forehead – and causing premature wrinkles, while thinking ‘what in the world does that mean?!’, I bring to you this: Tuesdays/Thursdays and Tutus! These posts should help clear up many of your dance terminology questions.. word for word..week by week..

So let’s (fan-) kick things off and start (head-) rolling with the program (har har har)..

Plié

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Translated from French, it means to bend. In dance it means we bend our knees.

There are two types of pliés: Demi-plié and grand-plié. A grand-plié is a bend to the deepest position possible, in most cases while lifting your heels, and a demi-plié is a bend where your heels should still stay on the floor. In either form, the movement should be fluent – you move downwards in the bend and then reverse back upwards to the straight leg, your body must remain tense and muscles should be flexed.

A plié can be done starting in any of the following positions (I took these pictures in the centre, without a barre, which sometimes still is slightly difficult for me…don’t judge! :))

6th (feet are parallel and closed)

1st

Plié

Plié

Grand Plié

Grand Plié

2nd

Second Position

Second Position

Plié

Plié

Grand Plié

Grand Plié, feet are slightly too far apart here..

3rd

Also called fifth position

Also called fifth position

Plié

Plié

 

On way to grand

On way to grand

 

Grand Plié

Grand Plié

 

Other foot can also be in front

Other foot can also be in front

4th

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Plié

Plié

 

 

Grand Plié. would've looked better if I could hold the barre..;)

Grand Plié. would’ve looked better if I could hold the barre..;)

Other foot in front

Other foot in front

Next time we will be looking closer at what lies behind the term ‘fondu’. Quick hint: it’s not about cheese! 😉

With attitude and nail polish (now you know why :D), Anoushé xoxo

 

Funky Fridays

Tomorrow means three things: 1. I get to see Prince live in concert. 2. I’ve gotta finally clean up my room 3. I get to see Natalie Cole Live at Sunset tonight.. Oh and one more thing..it’s the weekend!

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The amazing Natalie Cole, who even sang a tribute to my idol, Michael Jackson!

The amazing Natalie Cole, who even sang a tribute to my idol, Michael Jackson!

Another week has passed. My, oh my doesn’t time fly.. the days seemingly end at lightning speed between my hours at work and my frequent training afterwards. It seems like just yesterday I started my intensified program and finally, 6 months later, I feel like I am making actual progress in dance.

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Despite dancing ballet since I was 3, I only ever went to class once a week until a few years ago when I started to go 2 or three times. I was never amused by the technique. It was so rigid and disciplined that it was more the creative side, choreography, that I fell in love with. And it’s this love and its development I wish to bring you closer with in today’s post.

young me at a ballet performance

young me at a ballet performance, source: operah0use balletschule

Starting very young, I began to develop a bossy personality that would force lead my friends to perform numerous shows filled with twists and turns to the latest Spice Girls song. This tendency to create dances walked with me, hand in hand, throughout my life. It is probably one of my most important traits, something that truly makes me, me.

Upton house performance...notice the red slippers :D

Upton house performance…notice the red slippers 😀

In pre-primary, as mentioned above, my friends and I would dress up in costumes and perform a variety of moves we learned in front of my mom’s camera. As a first grader I choreographed to ‘Bring it all back’ by S club 7 for my whole class (20 children I believe) and we performed that at a mini play back show in front of parents and the rest of the school. In retrospect, I think this was my big break as a choreographer, because a few years later I was even asked to create a dance for the school’s 10 year anniversary!
It was around then that I started to enjoy HipHop dance more than classical ballet. By that point I had already taken 3 RAD ballet exams and had upped my lessons to twice a week, which is sadly still amateurish and not enough to become more professional. I also took street dance classes at school, which I really enjoyed, and decided that I wanted to pursue that style more.

My mom found a hiphop teacher near our home, where I – to this day – dance every single Thursday. Initially as a beginner, gradually improving and finally joining the performing ‘show group’! In HipHop I found an easier way to express myself through choreography; the steady beats of the hip and current songs were more inspiring than anything classical for me as a teen, and I used much of my ballet basics to improve the quality of my moves.

plié

plié

HipHop remained a much more constant activity than ballet. I grew tired of the finical need for perfection in ballet and no longer had the patience or discipline to work on my technique. I drifted further and further into the more relaxed world of urban dance, deciding to combine it with a newly learned tango rather than better-known ballet (which would’ve been such a cliché anyways!) for my senior thesis. It was then – while practicing for countless hours and wanting ultimate perfection for my own performance – that I realized my discipline in dance was back. My ambition for perfection had returned. That’s when I started to frequent the ballet studio more often, trying to make up for lost time.

Attitude with a Plié

Attitude with a Plié

And with this newly found necessity to have outstanding technique, my longing for urban hiphop is slowly leaving, being replaced by jazz dance and modern, swapping sneakers for pointe shoes… weird how that happens..

Recently I took things even further. I realized that in order for me to become the choreographer I one day hope to be, I knew I had to successfully complete my ballet training first. No more choosing jazz over pointe, modern over barre.. what use is a beautiful choreography if it cannot be performed to it’s full potential because I am lacking the proper basics? I have a new goal in sight and will be giving myself a year to achieve it.

Tombé in to fourth position, after a pirouette

Tombé in to fourth position, after a pirouette

My goal is not to become a prima ballerina. Neither is it to be a jack of all trades. I wish to choreograph, to create, to intertwine various dance styles, incorporating moves from everywhere while remaining inspired to pursue my passion. As soon as I feel there is a force behind my dancing, a ‘I must’, then I will reevaluate things again and ask myself whether the path I chose was the right one.

Ultimately this is what I wish; to master many styles, but remain joyful in doing so, and gradually create choreographies dancers will love to learn. My dream is to see my name in spotlights, my routine on stage, screaming audiences clapping and smiling…and I believe that my first step in achieving this is to build a proper ballet basis to grow from.

So bear with my people, while I try and get my arabesque higher, my turn-out wider, and my back-bend deeper and stay tuned while I continue down my path to becoming – what could have been – one of Michael Jackson’s choreographers 😉 (he is one of my all-time dance idols!)

With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo