Dedication to Dance 2021

Each year, other than the past few (due to our renovations and then the pandemic), Les Petits Ballets awards one or more dancer(s) with 'The Dedication to Dance Award'. Founded by former Director of Dance, Eva Zielinski in 1992, the award will be renamed in her name after her retirement, to honour her commitment and her own 'dedication' to the scho...
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Pull Up or Push Down?

Understanding and Using the Concept of Opposition in Ballet    We all know opposites attract, right? We also know that we reach equilibrium if the vector sum of all forces acting upon oneself is zero (ballet is all physics and math!). How do we incorporate these principles of opposition in our dancing and why is it helpful? Ballet is...
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Why Dance During the Summer

​School's out for the summer (soon anyways)! But should you also put your dance training on hold? Obviously we're a little biased, but dancing over the summer can have many benefits for your training and not to mention, it's FUN!  Maintain your skills - You've worked hard all year to improve your technique as well as learn new skills...
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Perfecting Your Arabesque

The arabesque is the quintessential ballet pose. Meaning 'in Arabic fashion', the arabesque is a beautiful pose in ballet that consists of the dancer standing on their supporting leg and extending their straight working leg behind the body, creating a beautiful line from the fingertips to the toes. The name references the intricate, swooping lines ...
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Achieving Beautiful Port de Bras

Definition: PORT DE BRAS - the carriage of the arms Port de bras does not just encompass the poses of the arms, but the transitional movements between the poses including movements of the head, the use of the body and épaulement. It is the foundation of the use of the arms in ballet and is the most difficult part of dance to master. It is grad...
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Creative Ways to Keep in Shape

Are you feeling a little discouraged with the news of another extended lockdown? We get it, dancing from home is not the same as being in the studio BUT we can make the best of the situation we are in and can stay positive knowing that this is temporary. There are many different ways to keep in shape during this time at home while having fun and ev...
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Working on a New Production - Springtime

With spring approaching, Les Petits Ballets' performing company would typically be busy getting ready to perform a new production at Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe in May, as was the case for decades. While still in the midst of the pandemic, we have shifted our goals to work towards a production of a smaller scale. While the senior half of the s...
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Ballet Exam Checklist

Last week, we explored how to prepare in the lead up to your ballet exam. Read more about it here . This week we will take a look at what you should do the night before and/or day of your exam in order to be as prepared as possible to do well. Know the exam schedule: Make sure you confirm with your teacher what day and what time your ballet ex...
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Preparing for Your Ballet Exam

With ballet exams around the corner, it's completely normal to be feeling a little nervous. Although they can feel scary, ballet exams are an excellent tool to gauge your progress and to receive feedback that you may or may not have heard before. You can treat your ballet exam as a performance. You wouldn't want to be unprepared for a stage perform...
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Working on a New Production - Peter and the Wolf

 With spring approaching, Les Petits Ballets' performing company would typically be busy getting ready to perform a new production at Meridian Theatres @ Centrepointe in May, as was the case for decades. While still in the midst of the pandemic, we have shifted our goals to work towards a production of a smaller scale. The senior half of the s...
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100 Years of Dancewear

Today, in the 2020s, dancers are spoiled for choice when it comes to attire for ballet class. Leotards of every colour, style and pattern are available and are easy to purchase from dance stores or online. This was not the case many years ago, with the now commonplace spandex leotard or bodysuit only being developed in the 1960s. Let's take a look ...
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Rest and Recovery

 Dancers tend to be pretty hard on themselves, physically and mentally. Rest is an important aspect of training that is largely overlooked or ignored, especially in today's face-paced society. According to Matt Wyon, Professor of Dance Science at the University of Wolverhapton, "Quality of training is more important than hours danced. Optimal ...
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Setting Attainable Goals

Goal setting is defined as 'the act of selecting a target or objective you wish to achieve'. In dance, goal setting can be a great way to motivate yourself and personally keep track of your progress in class and performance. This can be especially helpful during the pandemic as it can be easy to feel unmotivated with the stressors of the ...
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How to Sew Pointe Shoes

While it may be tempting to ask mom or dad to help you sew your pointe shoes, part of the rite of passage of going 'en pointe' typically includes the responsibility of sewing your own shoes. It may not be perfect at first, but with practice, you will get better and better and will learn what works best for you and your foot. With more experience da...
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Pointe Shoes - Finding the Perfect Fit

Finding the perfect pointe shoe can be a difficult process and can take dancers many tries and countless pairs to get it just right. Your perfect pointe shoe needs to fit like Cinderella's glass slipper - not too small, not too big, just snug and fitted all around your foot. Since the majority of pointe shoes are still handmade, there can still be ...
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Pointe Preparedness - Are You Ready for Pointe?

  Do you dream of donning your first pair of peachy-pink satin pointe shoes? This iconic symbol of the ballerina is aspirational for many young dancers. Though we may want to start pointe right away, it's important that the process is not rushed to decrease the risk of injury. There are many factors to consider when determining if a ballet stu...
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Why Should Adults Dance?

  Starting ballet as an adult or coming back to ballet after a long hiatus can be intimidating and downright scary! While it may seem like most dancers begin at a young age and continue honing their technique as they age, it is totally possible to begin to dance later in life. It is also equally possible to come back to dance even if you haven...
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The Different Styles of Tutu

  The tutu. The quintessential ballet costume. While beautiful, if you really think about it, the tutu is a rather strange garment, with layers of tulle jutting out from the hips, exposing the dancer's legs. The modern professional tutu usually consists of 8-12 layers of tulle, often with an attached bodice, and can take up to 20-60 hours of w...
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Four Ballets, Four Different Styles

Stylistic variations and subgenres of ballet have evolved over time. In addition to different training styles (our training is based on the Vaganova style at Les Petits Ballets), there are also different styles of ballets which were dependent on the era in which they were choreographed. These are Romantic, Classical, Neoclassical and Contemporary. ...
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The History of the Nutcracker

 Last December, Les Petits Ballets put on their new production of 'The Nutcracker'. After a 40 year history of being Ottawa's performing ballet school, this was the first year that 'The Nutcracker' was performed - a rarity for any ballet school or company. As the most popular ballet for dancers and non-dancers alike and the main revenue genera...
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Performing During the Pandemic

As we approach the end of November and the holiday season, we would normally be preparing for our biannual performance at Meridian Theatres. Last year around this time, we performed a new production of 'The Nutcracker' with choreography by Emily Rudenberg. The performances were a big success and we all were looking forward to performing it again th...
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Boys Don't Do Ballet, Do They? PT 3 - Ballet Dancers Who May Surprise You

 In our third post in our series 'Boy's Don't Do Ballet, Do They?', we will look at the benefits of ballet for everyone (not just girls) and take a look at some professional athletes who take ballet - you may be surprised! See Part 1 and Part 2 by clicking the links. Unfortunately, there are still those in society today who reinforce...
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Ballon - Achieving Enviable Jumps

 Ballon - A ballet term that refers to a dancer appearing to hover in the air when performing a jump. This light-weight and airy quality in allegro work is highly desired in ballet as it adds to the illusion of ease and weightlessness while dancing. Although it makes jumps appear effortless, achieving enviable ballon actually takes a lot of ef...
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3 Spooky Ballets for Halloween

 The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we celebrate holidays this year. With Halloween around the corner, consider watching a spooky ballet that is sure to put you in the Halloween spirit! Giselle   A spooky favourite, Giselle, first performed in 1841, is a romantic tragedy and ghost story. After dying of a broken heart, the titular c...
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Boy's Don't Do Ballet, Do They? PT 2 - Interviews with Two Male Dancers

 In the second instalment of our 'Boys Don't Do Ballet, Do They?' series (spoiler, they do!), we have interviewed two male dancers, whose dedication to their art is so inspirational! We asked them about their experience as males in the dance world and how they cope with the incorrect idea that ballet is only for girls.   &n...
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Boys Don’t Do Ballet, Do They? - The History Behind the Stereotype

Have you ever heard someone say that ballet isn't for boys? That ballet is a feminine activity, reserved solely for girls? Statements like these can't be further from the truth. To understand why this stereotype persists today, we must first look back at the history of ballet as a performing art.  Ballet finds its origins in the Italian Renais...
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Aplomb - What is it and Why is it Important in Dance?

 APLOMB - Stability, Assurance, Poise   Correct posture allows us to use our bodies with maximum efficiency. In the words of Vaganova, "a correctly set body is the foundation of dance" . We call this 'aplomb' . This term applied to the dancer means that he or she has full control of their body and limbs with their weight correctly ce...
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Ms. Eva's Retirement

  A year of many changes to our regular lives, 2020 is a year that Les Petits Ballets is going to go through a major change - the retirement of Eva Zielinski, from the position of Director of Dance. After an established career as a dancer and teacher in her home country, Poland, Eva emigrated to Canada in 1982. In 1986, she joined Les Petits B...
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Our Choreographic Chain Letter

 While COVID 19 health restrictions prevented in-person classes and rehearsals, the Les Petits Ballets family banded together to create something special - a way of dancing together while being apart. This project involved students from every program at Les Petits Ballets, including students from the Pre-professional, Recreational and Adult pr...
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The Healthy Dancer

Dance throws us many physical and mental hurdles. Staying healthy can allow us to conquer these hurdles and become the best dancers we can be. See the tips below to learn more!     Tip #1- Take care of your body A dancer's body is their instrument, therefore it is extremely important to treat it well and with care. This includes eating we...
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Hallmarks of the Vaganova Technique

  "Look at life all around; everything is growing,  everything is moving forward. Therefore I recommend… keeping in touch with life and with art".  – Agrippina Vaganova   Famed pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova (1879-1951), is known for her development of a new training system for dancers in the first half of the 20th century, now kn...
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Three Nutritional Tips for Dancers with Registered Dietitian, Christine McPhail

​ Nourishing our bodies is very important for daily life and is even more important for athletic performance. Adding dance training to our regular activities uses up A LOT of energy and properly fuelling our bodies helps us maintain energy levels, avoid injury and stay well. Registered dietitian, Christine McPhail, so generously provided us wi...
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Dancing at Home: A How to Guide

Dancing at home is something you might have done occasionally for extra practice, or simply because you love to move. The majority of your training typically took place in the spacious studios at the Nepean Creative Arts Centre. This has all changed of course, due to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves living in - the COVID 19 pandemic. I...
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How to Make a Ballet Bun

​It's hard to think about ballet without conjuring up an image of a ballerina in a tutu with her hair tied back in a perfect bun.  We all know that becoming that ballerina in the tutu is a lot of hard work, but for some, creating that elusive bun is more difficult than expected. ​ ​ D ​ O NOT WORRY! YOU WILL NEED : -spray bottle with water -co...
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Foot Care for Dancers

Feet are the most precious tool for a dancer and taking care of them should be a priority.  The following are a few tips for healthy foot care.  ​ Toe nails Toe nails should be kept short.  Using sharp scissors or a toenail clipper cut your nails straight across the nail.  Do not curve inwards as this may cause ingrown toenails....
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How to Clean Canvas Ballet Shoes

​In order for your canvas ballets shoes to look and feel their best it is necessary to keep them clean.  Following the next few simple steps will ensure comfortable, clean and  longer lasting shoes. You will need:     lingerie bag or mesh ballet shoe bag, mild detergent and a washing machine Step 1: Place canvas ballet...
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How to Sew Double Elastics on Ballets Shoes

​You have purchased a new pair of ballet slippers with double elastics, are excited to wear them and then realize you need to sew on elastics!  Don't worry!  Following the four simple steps below will ensure perfectly placed elastics and your shoes will be secure and comfortable. You will need:  thread, sewing needle, straight pins, ...
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How to Sew Elastics on Ballet Shoes

​ ​Is this your child's first pair of ballet slippers or maybe yours? Are you wondering how to attach the elastics? The only method is to sew the elastics to the shoe either by hand or machine. As the sew by hand method is accessible to everyone, it is demonstrated below. Generally, a single elastic is preferred for younger chil...
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