An American in Paris

Have you noticed that musicals are cool again? New musicals like La La Land and Beauty and the Beast are making their mark in America. History has shown us that most great musicals come out in times of anxiety and disorder…hello?! Musicals help provide us with escapism…who doesn’t want to get away sometimes? Audiences love watching a beautiful fantasy about young people succeeding. Think about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers…they provided an elegant distraction from the Great Depression.  Classic musicals like Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris offer that escapism that people are craving and now we’re seeing them pop up again today.

An American in Paris is the theatrical version of Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly’s Gershwin-themed 1951 screen musical…very different from the Vincente Minnelli movie. Even today, the late Kelly continues to inspire dancers, choreographers and directors such as Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and British ballet dancer Christopher Wheeldon, who directed this balletic musical. English choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon, who ranks with choreographers like Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse, is a master at connecting storytelling through the language and romance of dance. 

George Gershwin’s beloved  ‘s wonderful jazzy American standards are still timeless today and they work well with the displays of bold primary colors and geometric shapes in Wheeldon’s An American in Paris on Broadway.

‘S wonderful, ‘s marvelous
You should care for me
Well, ‘s awful nice, ‘s paradise
‘S what I love to see

Wheeldon opens the show in 1945 (unlike the movie which opened in 1951) just after the end of the war. Paris is traumatized…dark and poor not cheerful and light. Opening with scenes of a shorn-headed collaboratrice being manhandled by the crowd. Wheeldon says, “In many ways, [the changes] makes the romance more potent because there is a contrast of the darkness and the light.”

The show is about an American WWII veteran trying to make it as an artist in a newly liberated Paris. American soldiers, Jerry Mulligan (Garen Scribner) and Adam Hochberg (Etai Benson), stay in Paris after the end of the war. The painter and composer befriend a wealthy Frenchman, Henri Baurel (Nick Spangler) and all become involved in the production of a new ballet. They also all fall in love with the same woman, Lise Dassin (Sara Esty), who has a secret past. 

An American in Paris is a love letter to the City of Lights. The virtuosic designs take us all around Paris…people fishing on the Seine and shoppers in the Galeries Lafayette. It’s a style fit for Gershwins’ irresistible “(I’ll Build a) Stairway to Paradise.” 

The dancers display balletic grace and emotion that seem effortless. These performers are true triple threats…they act, sing and dance so well that they lift you right out of your seat to take you along for the ride.

Escape with An American in Paris while you still can. 

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Ten reasons to see LakeCities Nutcracker…again and again

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Ah, The Nutcracker…a family favorite holiday tradition and the reason so many of us fell in love with dance in the first place. It goes without saying that The Nutcracker is a delightful experience for a dance lover of any age. The first time you see it, you’re taken with all the children in many roles, the growing tree, the snow, the magically gliding angels and the grand pas de deux. There’s something so magical about this ballet and the many ornaments of enjoyment that leave you feeling like a little child in the Kingdom of Sweets.

I had the pleasure of sitting in the audience during a rehearsal before the Saturday night performance. Sarah Lane asked the conductor to pause when they first enter during their pas de deux’s opening section and to go slower during her solo…explaining that they’d like to “try something different to keep it fresh.” Lane is extremely focused…she brings more than just steps, she gives something very special to the stage, it’s magical. Ulbricht gave Lane a sugary fairy lightness by sustaining her up, up and then UP before down during their solos.

This was my little girl’s fourth Nutcracker with LakeCities Ballet Theatre. Something I noticed this year more than others was that there was so much kindness coming from the older dancers the way they cared for each other. Daniel Ulbricht escorted Sarah Lane onto the stage in Lewisville just coming in from New York and announced how happy they were to be here again and thanked everyone sincerely for having them. Ulbricht and Lane showed tremendous professionalism and I so admire how humble they both are…they were wonderful role models for all the children involved.

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Here are ten reasons why we think LakeCities Nutcracker is the best:

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1. Ballerina Doll: My son sat still in his seat to see what was in the magical box…a wind-up Ballerina Doll who danced sharp and snappy like a dismantled ballerina. The ballerina doll, Carly Greene, moved with staccato gestures and powerhouse movements that were playful and lively…especially when she would blow kisses.

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2. Herr Drosselmeier: Drosselmeier (Ken Wells) has once again shown up to the family Christmas party in Nuremberg, Germany with his puppetry and magic tricks. Drosselmeyer has a magical and whimsical character. He elevated the entire production to the level of the kind of dream that never fades.

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3. Clara: Clara (Kristina Lorelli) was the sweetest most lovely dancer (on stage and off). Sometimes older dancers might not thing to stop and say hello to the younger dancers, this Clara made time to spend with the little ones…she even gave each little Baker one of her pointe shoes. She now has a following of sweet dancers who look at her like she is the real Clara. She would convey a sense of innocence and naiveté as the audience watched a budding romance that ushered through the Kingdom of Sweets.

4. The Party Scene: The party scene is endlessly engaging. I always think the best pictures come from the party scene because it’s so visually pleasing. It’s easy to notice something new in the first act…little Fritz (Trevin Ralphs) is such a naughty little trouble maker and the poor nanny ends up upside down.

5. The Battle Scene: LakeCities battle scene is serious combat between the Nutcracker soldiers and eighteen not-so-blind mice. These little mice meant business…carrying off the wounded in stretchers. The mice are endearingly absurd and their King is so hilariously insolent of his enemy that he dies as if believing he were incapable of death as one mouse tosses a white lily onto his belly.

6. Sugar Plum Fairy & Cavalier: The Sugar Plum Fairy, Sarah Lane, is everyone’s favorite fairy. She’s regal, affectionate and delicate yet she has an assertive presence that commands the Kingdom of Sweets. Clara may be the heart of Nutcracker, but the Sugar Plum Fairy is its soul, with her sparkling, fairy-like dancing. The audience sits through nearly the whole show anticipating her entrance.

The Cavalier, Daniel Ulbricht, lights up the room with his charm…even when he’s not dancing. His technical brilliance and athleticism is mesmerizing. Together, Lane and Ulbricht, dance in culmination with such feeling…watching their small nuances and gentle touches leaves the audience in awe. Together they transport the audience to a sweet place that is loving, touching and engaging.

7. The cherubs & angels: Little cherubs and angels guide the way as they take Clara on a journey through the snow. It’s an “angel secret” how the angels appear to be floating across the stage…truly magical, truly angelic.

8. Lewisville Lake Symphony’s Orchestra: The ballet begins with a live orchestra. Tchaikovsky’s score is played by the Lewisville Lake Symphony’s orchestra lead by Adron Ming. Listening to Tchaikovsky live enhances the full experience…his score is the true candy in the Kingdom of Sweets. Every measure is filled with enchantment and nothing can prepare the ears for the grandeur that comes with the main melody…Ulbricht supported Lane as she arched back and her descent matched one of the most beautiful descending scales in Tchaikovsky’s score.

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9. The Snow scene: The snow scene is one of the most stunning moments, with lovely clusters of ballerina snowflakes fluttering about in a pool of wintery white. The off-stage vocalizations sung by a snow choir dressed in 19th-century Russian attire put the audience in a dream world. LakeCities Snow Queen, Michelle Lawyer, transported the audience to a snowy winter wonderland with her refreshing breathiness and sweetly flowing lines.

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10. The Kingdom of Sweets: In Act II, the angels lead Clara into the Kingdom of Sweets. The Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier introduce Clara to dances from around the world…Spain, Arabia, China, Russia and France. The audience wanted to snap along with Carley Denton, Lauren Hunter, Kelsey Rhinehelder, Mikaela Seale as “Spanish Chocolate”, Andre Harrigton’s elevated in style as “Russian Baba,” but it was the underwater artfulness of Julia Tiller and Shannon Beacham in “Arabian Coffee” that still remains one of the favorite highlights of the Kingdom of Sweets. Former Cowboys player Isaiah Stanback also returned as a hilarious Mother Ginger. The entertainment finished with the dance of the flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy dancing with her Cavalier before Clara returned home.

There’s something special about the way artistic director, Kelly Lannin, tells the classic 19th-century story that makes sense for our community today. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Nutcracker. It will be another opportunity to notice new things and new dancers…and to ponder what’s real and what’s a dream in Clara’s fantasy world. Somewhere out there in the audience, someone’s falling in love with these dancers and what they get to do up on that stage. I never tire of watching and listening to LakeCities Nutcracker.

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Frohilich Weihachten from the Stahlbaums’ household in Nuremberg, Germany!

Photo credit: Nancy Loch Photography

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Ballerina Cynthia Gregory: strength and impeccable technique

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Cynthia Gregory is a legendary figure in American ballet. She was an American Ballet Theatre superstar in the seventies and eighties. It didn’t matter what it was that she performed…she would take the audience into a magical world on stage. Watching her balance and stay up en pointe forever…like she does as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty is mesmerizing.

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Gregory’s technique…especially her balances were remarkable. She is also known for her musicality and expressiveness…feeling the music and letting it spill out in whatever character she was portraying…a true artist and breathtaking storyteller of narrative ballets. Every little movement was delivered with meaning and intention.

She says this about teaching expression: “What’s so beautiful about ballet itself is that you’re telling a story, physically, with your body. And you have to be with the music. Not necessarily on the music, but with it, expressing it. And if you don’t let the music come through you, then we are losing something.”

When Gregory is coaching she asks dancers, “What is the story about and who is your character?” Dancers who are lucky enough to work with her learn how to be an artist not just a technician.

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Here are five things you might not know about the great Cynthia Gregory:

  • One of the most memorable moments in ballet history was when Cynthia Gregory was smoking a cigarette onstage as she danced the Grand pas Classique. Gregory hated Grand pas Classique because it was a strictly technical ballet and she would do the role as a different ballerina every night to amuse herself. She would channel famous dancers…Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy, or Carla Fracci. One night she smoked a cigarette during a long series of releves on the diagonal and put out her cigarette with a few bourrees. When Lucia Chase, artistic director of ABT, found out about it, she was told that she would never dance the role again.
  • She first appeared on the cover of Dance Magazine at the age of seven.
  • Gregory was tall for a ballerina…six feet en pointe. Her hight wasn’t an impairment because she was partnered by the very best: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Erik Bruhn, Fernando Bujones, Perter Martins, Ivan Nagy and Rudolf Nureyev.
  • She began dancing at age five in Los Angeles when her mother enrolled her to help prevent sickness. Her nearly thirty year professional career began when she enrolled in the San Francisco Ballet school when she was fourteen. At nineteen she left for New York to join the American Ballet Theatre, where she spent more than twenty-five years.
  • Gregory was passionate about American Ballet Theatre and became rebellious because she wanted ABT to believe in America and not emulate other countries ballet companies. She believed ABT should be a ballet company that gave American audiences and American dancers opportunities to dance and celebrate their own tradition…not try to be the Kirov Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet or Royal Ballet. “On its very own steam American Ballet Theater has become an internationally recognized company.”

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Gregory says this about the difference between coaching and teaching… “Coaching is what I do best. People would ask me to help them with a role when I stopped dancing. They’d commission me to do that. Teaching has to do with the basics of class and technique. I’m much more interested in helping a ‘finished’ dancer when they’re looking at a role … it’s like finding your voice.”

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Le Ballet de Dracula: Scary good

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LakeCities Ballet Theatre’s original Le Ballet de Dracula has fans flock like people do for The Rocky Horror Picture Show during Halloween. It’s an occasion that calls for something borrowed and something black! The time period, costumes, romance and the good old-fashioned Halloween fright make this ballet a must see every October. This is not a candy-coated ballet where the SugarPlum Fairy reigns but an enticing, frightening, jump in your seat and gasp with delight ballet that’s an adventure that you don’t want to end.

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The ballet has exploded in popularity over ten years since Tom Rutherford, the company’s art director, wrote it and Kelly Lannin, the artistic director, choreographed it. Lannin draws us into the legend of Bram Stoker’s Dracula naturally and transforms beautiful ballerinas into gothic vampires. Lannin tells the story of Dracula just as Stoker’s novel did…taking us into thrilling peaks that build and keep the audience of the edge of their seats.
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My daughter looked up in awe at the dancer who portrayed Aurelia (the girl Dracula tries to lure from her fiancé) and whispered to her cousin, “Look! She’s under Dracula’s spell.” 
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Lannin requires her dancers to be actors just as much as ballerinas. They must be fully engaged in their roles. It’s obvious that Lannin’s dancers believe in their roles, they make Dracula real with the boldness and confidence of movements that explored the limits of graceful extensions that seemed to harmonize with the music.
The engagement of Aurelia (Carley Denton) and Marius (Steven Loch) is charming. This is the second year that Denton and Loch have performed these roles together…time is on their side. They look at each other with familiarity and love.
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The joyfulness of the Maypole dancing scene is my favorite, especially as the music and clapping build. It’s a nice contrast with the scary hissing Weolas.
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Nightmare becomes reality and Dracula descends in shimmering red to feed on Aurelia. Dracula (Shannon Beacham) has a dramatic presence that is intoxicating! Beacham has tenacity and fearlessness when he glides on stage with his cape flowing behind him.
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Steven Loch (from Pacific Northwest Ballet) has a rhythmic awareness and freshness that when he performs his grand jetés, it seems so naturally timed that you forget the music isn’t live.

It is always a pleasure to watch Denton perform. She attacks her toe hops with effortless elegance lingering just long enough to have you hold your breath as you admire her footwork.

The MCL Grande theatre is intimate enough for the audience to be more personally engaged in the fantasy. Seeing the mysterious fog, chains clanging on dungeon bars, many undead brides and Dracula rising from his coffin, it’s easy to forget you’re not in Romania but right outside of Dallas, Texas.
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The good news for those who missed this spooky ballet and for those who saw it and loved it…you can see these same talented young performers in more heavenly roles in The Nutcracker:
November 26th at 7:30 pm and 27th at 2 pm Marcus High School Sigler Auditorium, Flower Mound. Buy tickets here.
Le Ballet de Dracula photos, courtesy of Nancy Loch Photography.

Neil Young: Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say

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Neil Young is a rock-and-roll icon and has been for six decades…he’s not fading away! He’s released thirty-six solo albums since 1969-2015. “I don’t care what people want to hear…that’s not why I’m playing. I’m not an entertainer in the classic sense. I play what I feel like playing, and I hope the people like it.” 

Neil Young is my Dad’s age…seventy-years-old young. There’s something about this generation…their unwavering confidence and spirit of a Crazy Horse. Neil Young’s middle name is Percival…one of the knights of Arthur’s round table. Percival was one of the persevering knights who finds the Holy Grail and completes the quest. Young’s parents probably knew that Percival would suit him well.

Most music fans know about Neil Young and his epic musical legacy, but if you “come a little bit closer”…the man behind “Rockin’ In The Free World,” “Heart of Gold,” “Harvest Moon,” “Ohio” and so many more classics is even more interesting than you thought.

FIVE THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT NEIL YOUNG…

1. Neil Young has been a resident of Northern California for almost fifty years (he also has homes in Florida and Hawaii) but did you know that he’s Canadian? He’s received both the Order of Manitoba and the Order of Canada“It’s my roots, I’m proud to be a Canadian – but I don’t let it hold me back.”

2. Neil Young was once in a band with R&B legend Rick James. Before he formed Buffalo Springfield, Young played in a ’60s Toronto band called the Mynah Byrds that was fronted by seventeen-year-old Rick Super Freak James. Not only did Young play in a band with Rick James in the ‘60s, they also shared an apartment together in Toronto. In an interview Young said, “We did some wild things. It’s all very hazy to me now. I’m glad I made it through that stage. It got a little dicey.”

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3. Neil Young is passionate about paddle boarding and practices during his free time. He said he loves paddle boarding because “it’s a beautiful thing…I can’t worry about the paparazzi. You can’t see them anyway. They are taking pictures from behind trees. You can’t think about that.”

4. Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” as a diss song to Neil Young for writing “Southern Man” and “Alabama.” Young’s songs discuss the racism that existed in the American South. “Sweet Home Alabama” is about how great the South is and includes the lyrics “I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” Young actually liked the song.

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5. Young looks long and lean because of his training regimen…Pilates! He’s a trained Pilates instructor. “I have a truck that travels with me when I’m on the road, and it has a Pilates Reformer in it. I keep doing stuff like that. It keeps me fit.” Young attributes Pilates to making his performances on stage more aerobic and a form of strength training. “I can actually do it better now than I’ve been able to for years because Pilates has opened my body up. I feel much better about my ability to react physically to what I’m doing.”

It’s nice to know that Neil Percival Young isn’t retiring anytime soon. He’s writing a book right now…still on his quest like a persevering knight of King Arthur.

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Wanderlust: Find your true north in Dallas

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My friend Lisa had a brilliant idea…“Let’s go to Wanderlust!” Saturday mornings, we usually meet for ballet class. The connection between dance and yoga is especially strong with us. We took our ballet training to the lawn at Reunion to try out dance yoga to MC Yogi, yoga slackers, and to practice yoga and drink Kombucha tea outside in Dallas.

The yoga dance party reminded me of Edge Fest in the 90’s…waving our hands from side to side in Crescent Lunge like we were at a concert while emcee spun his 90’s mix saying, “Only love is real.” Lisa and I were laughing and snapping our fingers in sync.

The stunning Faith Hunter led a very happy yoga crowd (imagine the largest yoga class ever) through a high energy yoga flow.

The favorite event at Wanderlust had to be Slacklining. It was exhilarating, challenging and humbling. I think Lisa and I thought we might have an edge being ballet dancers but instead of going straight up to find your balance, it’s better to take yourself off your balance and then find it. It’s a great way to access those balancing muscles that we don’t use on a daily basis. Slacklining could become one of those addicting hobbies. I’d like to put a line in my backyard and just play outside…my kids would love it too.

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If you live in any of the areas Wanderlust 108, find a friend and sign up. I can’t wait to go again. There’s something so freeing about practicing yoga outside.  Find your true north at Wanderlust and unplug from the ordinary.

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Aerial Yoga with my girl

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Kids LOVE to hang upside-down on the monkey bars…aerial yoga for kids just makes sense.

My daughter and I have danced on stage together, practiced Pilates and paddleboard yoga together and now we share a love for aerial yoga.

When I told my daughter that my friend and favorite yoga instructor, Sloane, was having an aerial yoga for kids class at her new studio she jumped up and down screaming, “YES, this is going to be so much fun!”

Remember that feeling you had when you were a kid swinging on the playground at recess? Aerial yoga provides that same sense of lightness with the support of the fabric…think anti-gravity AND anti-aging!  When the fabric is wrapped around the hips to support the body, tipping upside down feels incredibly natural…spreading the arms out like an eagle, reaching the legs out to the sides of the wall and letting go of any pressure in the lower back is an amazing sensation!

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Imagine Cirque du Soleil–style yoga. Sloane has the class start out with the hammock at your hip crease and fold forward into down dog. I could feel a release in the front of my hip joints and found a natural alignment adjustment as I folded deeper in the hammock…gravity does the work and it feels soooo good.

Yoga is wonderful for every (adult and child) body. Aerial yoga is a way to explore new and traditional yoga with your body weight partially or fully supported. This allows you to expand flexibility, increase range of motion, build strength, lengthen and decompress the spine as you relax the nervous system. Letting gravity take over while being held in a hammock can deepen yoga poses and allow you to safely invert. It’s a fun way to find some zen and feel young again while flying.

My daughter said that aerial yoga was fun but also hard. I like that she was laughing when she was being challenged. This tells me that she’s working on coordination and strength while building her confidence and mental concentration.

Try it and you will find a sense of peace, playfulness, creativity and empowerment to thrive on and off the mat. Aerial yoga is a way to dream and imagine you are an aerial acrobat feeling free and enjoying life even more.

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Cinderella: LakeCities Ballet Theatre

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One of the greatest secrets to a sold out show is good casting. For those in Lewisville who saw one of the three sold out shows at the MCL Grande from LakeCities Ballet Theatre’s  “Cinderella,” it was clear that artistic director, Kelly Lannin, has the secret in the bag…or the pumpkin carriage!

We all know that Cinderella is a heartwarming romantic story…Did you know that it came out of Russia after the war ended? Originally intended for the Kirov, it was first presented by the Bolshoi right after World War II. Stalin celebrated with Cinderella at the Bolshoi in 1945 with the dramatic music by Sergei Prokofiev. Cinderella was a fable representing the victory of a wholesome Cinderella (the USSR) over her evil stepmother. Over seventy years later, Cinderella is still timeless…It’s a tale of class distinctions erased by the goodness and self-sacrifice of Cinderella. It makes sense that this ballet was developed post-war with its lush grandeur and poignant score.

When Prokofiev wrote his score for the ballet he said, “I see Cinderella not only as a fairy-tale character but also as a real person, feeling, experiencing and moving among us.” 

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LBT’s porcelain Cinderella (Madeline Hanly) showed grace and quiet strength…just how Prokofiev probably imagined. She was a delicate heroine who took her mistreatment frustrations up into the air with fine flourishes of Italian pas de chats.

Cinderella (Hanly) and her prince (Ruben Gerding) began their happily ever after by testing their balance, displaying exquisite technique as they rotated, spinning effortlessly in their complex choreography. Their controlled smooth turns in their classical pas de deux of the ballroom were emotionally powerful. Hanly’s expressive port de bras seeming to lift her higher…as luxuriant and flowing as creamy satin.

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The Fairy Godmother (Michelle Lawyer) of sweetness and good will waved her magic wand as she spun effortless turns, her steps knitted the story together. The Fairy Godmother sends Cinderella off to the castle surrounded by the beautiful waltz of the Midnight Stars (the most beautiful costume).

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The ballet also provided sheer entertainment…the hilarious shenanigans of the stepsisters (Carley Denton and Mikaela Seale) and their high society aspirations as they cavorted in the ballroom were downright slapstick. It is always a delight to watch Denton dance…Broadway is calling her name. Listening to the sound of roaring giggles, the evil stepsisters were very much to the liking of the young audience. The comic characters wouldn’t have been as funny without their supporting cast of the dapper dance master (Shannon Beacham), Cinderella’s Father (Chuck Denton), and the selfish Evil Stepmother (Denise Clarkston).

Lannin kept in mind that a ballet production of Cinderella would have great numbers of young children in the production AND in audience so she squeezed in as much fun for Cinderella as she could before midnight…condensing the ballet and Prokofiev’s three-act score to two acts and just under two hours without sacrificing ANY of the fantasy.

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The complex patterning for the four soloist fairies (Kelsey Rhinehelder, Faith Jones, Julia Tiller and Chloe Davis), wove swiftly through the woodland forest victoriously spinning their pique turns together. It was as if the Fairy Godmother had them under her spell to dance in perfect accord blending naturally and seamlessly with the music.

It was a first-rate fairy cast with the Autumn Fairy (Tiller) as the most eye-catching…showing fine musical timing and lovely epaulement all while effortlessly dancing a dynamic solo.

In short, LBT’s Cinderella, pleased grownups and children alike…leaving them wanting more.

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Lannin’s use of the younger children in her pre-professional program was brilliant. There were many roles for children…a young Cinderella, Mice, Court Jesters, Fairy Attendants, Dragonflies, Woodland Sprites and Time Keepers. It was sweet to see the expressions of proud parents in the audience…I was one of them! Congratulations LBT on ending the season on such a magical note!

Photo credit: Nancy Loch Photography

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Modern Salt Caves for the whole family

 

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My friend and favorite yoga teacher, Sloane, introduced me to the Salt Cave of Southlake. Every time I’ve visited the salt cave, I leave feeling like I’ve been on vacation…totally relaxed. On Saturday, the yoga cave wasn’t ready yet (a couples massage was running a little over) and I was offered a mimosa before class…they really want you to relax! Since I’ve been going, I’ve noticed that I’m sleeping, breathing and feeling better than usual during these cold dry winter days. If you have the winter blues, a little salt cave time will make you feel happy and healthy.

Breathing in salt vapor during yoga class helps to breathe deeper…purifying the lungs and clearing sinuses. The combination of yoga and salt therapy naturally relaxes the body and opens airways increasing oxygen intake.

Salt therapy is an all-natural, holistic treatment recently made modern…inspired by Eastern European countries.  Natural underground salt caves in Eastern Europe have been used to heal skin conditions, allergies, asthma and more. Salt has been used for its medicinal properties as far back as the Egyptians. Modern salt caves can be found today above ground…made to feel like a natural underground European salt cave.

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The air is enriched with salt dust by reducing pure Himalayan salt crystals that are ground into miniscule micro-crystals and blown into a relaxing spa environment.

The benefits of salt therapy give a sense of well-being, reducing allergy issues, insomnia, boosting energy and alleviating depression and stress. It’s the same relaxing feeling after spending the day in the natural settings of mountains, waterfalls, or beaches…the negative ions emitted increase oxygen flow to the brain.

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The Salt Cave of Southlake also has a “Kids Cave.” My kids encourage me to go take a yoga class there so that they can come and play in the salt…it’s magical to them! Children can play, read, draw while Mom and Dad take a yoga class. It’s healthy for the whole family.

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We couldn’t survive without salt…it does the body good!

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Five things you might not know about the Rockettes

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Tourists have been flocking to Manhatten to see one of the New York City’s oldest traditions…The Rockettes.

The Rockettes are the world’s most beloved precision dance company…legendary for their high kicks. Their style of dance, called precision dance, is a combination of ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance.

Since their start more than eighty-five years ago, the Rockettes have been steadfast and iconic to New York City. These beautiful dancers are an example of the American dream performing for grateful audiences everywhere. Founded in 1925 and since 1935 they have performed out of New York City’s, Radio City Music Hall.

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Many girls have dreams of being a Rockette…(I was one of those girls) and wish that I was tall enough! For those who have the height, auditions to be a Rockettes are held in the summer in New York City then their rehearsals start in September and are everyday Monday through Friday, from 10am to 6pm. They are about to end their Radio City Christmas Spectacular (ending January 3rd) and get ready for their New York Spring Spectacular.

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Here are five things you might not know about the Rockettes…

  1. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular kicked off in 1933, and two of the original numbers still light up the stage…”Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity.”
  2. Rockettes have to be between 5’6″ and 5’10 1/2″ tall. In kick lines, thirty-six women stand with the tallest in the middle, moving down to the shortest on the ends, which creates the illusion that they’re doing everything in unison.
  3. Rockettes do their own hair…everyone wears a French twist, bright red lipstick, and red cheeks stay put thanks to the magic of double-sided tape.
  4. They “feel the fabric” of their neighbors’ costumes and rely on their core strength to stay upright instead of holding on to each other.
  5. They have more that six costume changes per show…more than 1,300 costumes cross the stage in the 90 minutes of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

02 Onstage in 1937, the Rockettes cut a sharp, diagonally receding line—in white and top hats—against the dark backdrop

The high-kicking precision-dancing Rockettes are full of New York City’s energy and enthusiasm. Never underestimate the beauty of a super-straight line and high kicks.

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