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Its summer in the Philippines and you have found a good place for your child to start training ballet ( or any other dance for that matter).  Have you ever thought about what you should be doing in preparation for the 1st class?  First order of business is to get your kid in the right attire.  Before the 1st class, you should ask the teacher about the attire.  In ACTS Manila ballet schools we have a prescribed uniform ( fuschia sleeveless leotard and a skirt of specified length ) so it would be a waste to buy something other than what is called for.  You should also ask about how the hair should be done.  Second item would be teacher’s gender. I’ve had some kids refuse to join my class because I was male! (As if they didn’t have any fathers!) If you know before hand that the teacher is of opposite gender to your child, you may want to prep the him/her.  Thirdly, be ready with food and water.  Kids can get really hungry and thirsty after class.  Fourth, make sure your child has gone to the bathroom prior to class.  Lastly, prepare for things that need to be paid for. Uniforms, tuition, registration, etc.  Don’t forget promotional items or coupons giving you discounts or free classes.

Ballet is a wonderful experience for little girls and boys.  They get to dance out fairy tales instead of just reading them. I wish you and your child the best in your ballet experience.  If you live in the Sta. Rosa, Laguna area, you can reach me at 09083020319 for ballet classes.  Mention this blog for a free class.

In my last entry, I blogged about our recent ballet pictorial.  As my wife does the post production part of the shoot, we have been staring at all the student’s photos for quite a while now.  In so doing we noticed a few more items worth some attention.  First and foremost, would be the smiles.  As I stated in my previous entry, we had to constantly remind kids to smile.  It was not a surprise to see good shots getting archived because the kids were not smiling.  Second would be jewelry. Just because your kid has a pictorial, doesn’t mean that you have her wear all your loose diamonds.  You have to follow the artisitic direction of the producer.  Its funny if your kid has the role of a simple village girl and her ears sparkle.  Lastly, the weight! Please STOP your children from always going to McDonalds or eating  chips and chocolates.  If you don’t think their fat, look at their pictures. It even gets worse when they get on stage.  The worst thing that could happen is if they won’t fit in their costumes come recital time.  Give them real, nutricious, high quality food.

The weekend was quite busy for us.  It was the pictorial of ACTS Manila ballet schools.  While Saturday was not so bad as it only involved my wife, Sunday engaged all four of us.  We woke up very early to be at the pictorial site at 730am.  The shoot started around 830am, with my daughter’s ballet class. About an hour later, it was my son’s ballet class. At around 10:30am,  it was the turn of my students to be photographed.  The whole morning was practically a family affair.  After lunch, it was back to my wife’s monopoly of things to do.

Perhaps your kid is about to have look into that Canon camera in a ballet pictorial setting. Here are some practical tips:

  • 1.) Come early! – In a production pictorial setting, you have to put on a costume or wear special make up.  For this reason, call time is usually 1hr before the scheduled shoot.  By coming late, you run the risk of not wearing the costume properly or putting on the best make-up.   In some cases, you may even damage the costume.
  • 2.) Wear make-up before getting to the site. – If your circumstances permit and no special make-up is required, you should have your kid wear make-up before arriving at the photoshoot.  This way, you can focus on his/her costume.
  • 3.) Keep the kids busy. –  Do what you can to keep your kid preoccupied while sitting down.  Bring books or games that will keep him/her from running around and destroying his/her costume. Pictorials usually take long because of the number of kids to be shot, so you have to bring quite a number of books and games.
  • 4.) Bring food. – Because of the long wait time, bring along some snacks.  However, don’t let your kid eat brownies or other dark colored stuff unless you want his/her teeth to have stains.  You should also stay away from messy stuff like cream pies as they may spill on the costume.
  • 5.) Bring a good container for the costume. – Bring a container that keeps the costume from being damaged during transport or storage.
  • 6.) Practice your child’s smile. –  It’s interesting that we had to nag kids to smile. Have your child practice smiling the night before. It would even be better if you have a mock pictorial!

Hopefully this makes your pictorial experience more memorable in a positive way. Smile!

It’s about a year now since I started to return to ballet as a teacher.  Prior to that my life was pretty much sedentary.  I was stressed since most of my work was cerebral.  Now, I have the physcial and social aspects of a ballet teacher life to balance the analysis I do to correct my students.  From a 208 lbs weight to 182lbs, I’d like to say that I’m getting closer to becoming a weight loss success story.  The most important thing is that I feel that I am fulfilling God’s call in my life and that I enjoy the job so much.

I was watching the finale of Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance today.  It was an interesting show as it showcased favorite routines throughout the season.  Even the judges danced.  Its just amazing how the dancers would execute the leaps and lifts. Such moves would prove to be good testosterone boosters.  My favorite routine would be “Imagine” danced by William and Katee.  An excellent contemporary pas de deux with a difficult a la seconde promenade.   Can’t wait until season 6.

Yesterday. I was trying to follow a dance being choreographed for ACTS Manila.  It was a Singkil inspired Ballet Number.  While it may not be that difficult for the kids learning the dance, I had some challenges as it required sitting on a folded knee.  At times it was difficult to get up.  This afternoon, I also had to do some rolls in the floor that were also taxing to my knees. Thank God, I don’t have arthritis or else I would be suffering from joint pain.  Quite hard when you’re advancing in age and you still have to do this physical stuff.

This week I got back to teaching Ballet and taking classes.  SO GOOD TO BE BACK!!! Another week in vacation and I would likely gain more poundage.  I measured myself the other day and found I gained 6 lbs and 4% fat. After a week of participating in our Church’s annual prayer and fasting, I have 3 more lbs to go and 3% fat more. With Ballet classes, I should be able to build muscles faster thus accelerate getting back to my ideal physique. With exercise that target leg muscles and work stabilizers, muscle develop is optimize.  The stretches also prevent these from bulking up.   Its really about being fit and preventing heart disease.

I was watching ” So you think you can dance” today and noticed the that dancers had fit and lean bodies.  They didn’t have the bodies you get by lifting a Kettlebell or a barbel.  They had scuplted bodies as a result of dance conditioning.  Dance drives the dancer to explore different ways of movement.  As you go through the training process, you end up with a greater ability to control your body.  This is a far cry from the canned exercises of the gym.   So do you think you can dance?

Have you seen GMA 7’s latest videoke singing game show? If you haven’t then you should! Of course, I am biased because one of the band members is Michael Gemina! I’ve seen him when he was still a little boy and now he’s all grown up (nope, I don’t recall him having any acne treatment) and making a name for himself and doing what he loves to do most. Play music!

It was just a few months ago when we were believing God to send Michael to Berklee. Now, God has opened up doors for him in the music industry. I know that God will do wonderful things for him in the coming days and his future is definitely bright. Not only is he an excellent musician, he also has a good head on his shoulders and more importantly, a heart that wants to honor God. Bravo, Michael! More! More!

Here’s how the show went :

watch?v=uYm8yQaOhU4

We took our kids to CCP today to watch Philippine Ballet Theater’s adaptation of La Fille Mal Gardeé and of course because we wanted to support Acts Manila (Teacher Chelo B. Gemina’s ballet company). We also brought with us 3 of the husband’s ballet students and crammed all of them in our car. Imagine 5 kids all talking at the same time at the top of their lungs non-stop! Teriblé! But it was still worth it. It turned out to be like a mini field trip for two of them because it was their first time to watch a performance in CCP. I’m glad they enjoyed the show and that they weren’t bored with it. I think it’s rare to find kids nowadays who appreciate theatre performances. What with psp’s, xbox’s, wii’s and video games, not to mention pre-occupation with teen stuff online chatter on friendster and multiply, instant acne treatments and remedies for those unwanted zits that pop up during the most-awaited gimik day, fashionista talk – how many have time to sit down for two hours and watch a classical ballet performance? Sadly, not too many. That’s why even if we were squished like sardines in our car and even if the noise level was beyond the allowable decibels the human ear can handle, it was still worth all the effort because I know that the children left the theatre inspired and challenged.

I was just browsing around for Vaganova Ballet Schools in California specifically in the SFO Bay area or Los Angeles and I found one this one in L.A.  – > Masterpiece Dance Theatre. Check out their ballet mistress!

Nadezhda (Nadya) Koscuik has been teaching the “Vaganova”  syllabus for over 30 years and she is the only recipient from  both the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Vaganova Ballet  School, St Petersburg, Russia to be officially endorsed to not  only teach the authentic and complete Vaganova curriculum  but also to teach all nine levels. Her extensive international  training, performance experience, and professional contacts  and relationships make her an authority in the world of  Classical Ballet.

Nadya received official permission from the Russian Ministry  of Culture to write her book titled “The Vaganova Legacy”. In  addition to her extensive training, receipt of the entire and  complete Vaganova Curriculum from her friend and mentor  Ninel Kurgapkina (former pupil of Vaganova) further  establishes Nadya as an international authority on the  Vaganova system of teaching. Nadya is now in the process of  editing the first complete draft of the textbook named “The  Vaganova Legacy” which will also serve as a reference manual  on the subject.

Isn’t that impressive! Of course, if ever the kids decide to pursue ballet professionally I wonder what it would cost to uproot ourselves from here and get the service of moving companies Los Angeles Hollywood style? hmmm… that’s still a half a decade away so for now, I’ll settle for Vaganova on youtube. LOL

I finally braved it and opened a Cafe Press store! Guess what’s on sale? Of course, Everything Ballet! Right now, I have one design available but I will slowly be adding new designs to the shop. There are ladies shirts, notebooks, pins, bags and other fun stuff for ballet fanatics out there. Here’s a little sample of an Everything Ballet bag looks like:

Isn’t it cute? Unfortunately, it’s not yet available locally but if you do order online at Cafe Press they can ship it to you wherever you are.  So what are you waiting for… check out the store right here —> Everything Ballet


You Are Ballet


You are quite introverted. You enjoy keeping to yourself and cultivating your talents.

You are dedicated and focused. If practice makes perfect, you’re willing to keep practicing.

While some people may dismiss you as boring, you can be quite edgy and interesting.

You can fit in almost anywhere… and your style ranges from conservative to funky.

Well, waddayaknow… hahahaha 🙂

We always hear fashion gurus telling us that the “little black dress” is one of those fashion essentials you must have in your closet. But what about jewelry? What should you invest in when it comes to jewelry? I grew up in a town famous for it’s jewelry making industry and seeing jewelry catalogs around our house was nothing extraordinary. Although I am not the “chunky, clunky” type, I do appreciate good jewelry when I see one. Below are what I think every one should have at least one of in their stash. My jewelry of choice would be earrings and here are some samples of what I would wear (if I could LOL).

Diamonds are classic, timeless and always in style no matter what the occasion.

Pearls are elegant, sophisticated and can take you from drab to fab in an instant.

Real gems and birthstones add that personal touch to your overall look.

What about costume jewelry then? Where does that fit in? With all the high quality hip and trendy fashion jewelry coming out, there will always be room for that in your wardrobe especially if they are as cute as this:

… yeah, yeah it’s ballet of course I’ll wear it hahaha (I found this in etsy – image is linked… I think 🙂 )

So that’s my fashion roundup for this time.

THE COMPANY OF ACTS MANILA together with the advanced classes from ICA and VCIS:

(Music : Vivaldi/ Violin Concerto In G Minor, Op. 8/2, RV 315, “The Four Seasons (Summer)” – 3. Presto)

These are shots I took during the Technical Dress Rehearsal and the actual show of “Noah’s Ark and other ballets” held at the CCP Little Theatre last May 2009. I turned them into my first youtube video.

Special thanks to : Ms. Chelo B. Gemina, Artistic Director of The Company of Acts Manila. (accepting corporate dance engagements and collaborative artistic projects)

Comments are welcome.

TFL!