Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Important information for my students about my move

Hello beautiful dancers!

As many of you know, I am moving my Monday and Wednesday evening and Saturday morning classes from Le Studio in Pasadena to Vonder Haar Center for Performing Arts in La Canada. As of Monday, October 13, I will be renting space there as I do at Dance Arts Academy. My schedule at both locations will remain the same with two minor exceptions. See my calendar at the bottom of this page for specific class times.

I'm very excited Leigh Purtill Ballet (that's me!) will be at both of these amazing studios and I'm thrilled it will open up more opportunities for performances for my students. More on that to come!

A few important changes to note:

1. Class cards - Leigh Purtill Ballet class cards can be used at both locations. You can buy them online here through PayPal or at class. Cards are payable by credit card, cash or check no matter where you buy them. A single class is $15. 5 classes are $70. 10 classes are $130. A 30 minute pointe class is $10. Class cards are nonrefundable but they do not expire.

2. Please do your very best to arrive a few minutes early to sign in with me, pay for class, etc. at both locations. The studio owners have requested that all renters be diligent about starting and finishing on time, which means allowing time for switching classes and for wrapping up. I will be starting as on time as I can and finishing a few minutes before the class period is up in order to be considerate of other renters.

3. If you arrive late, please sign in between barre and center so that I may finish on time and get to the next class I have to teach. I will be a PIA reminding you all of this (sorry in advance!) but it will mean you all get the most class time possible.

4. Two simple but important rules at Vonder Haar:
 - no street shoes in the studio
 - no food or drink other than water in the studio

Please help me by following these rules (or don't be surprised if I ask you to leave your shoes and coffee outside!). The floors are beautiful hardwood and anything other than water will damage them.

Thank you in advance!

The locations for both Dance Arts Academy and Vonder Haar Center are listed on the left side of this page. The phone numbers are the front desks of the studios. They can give you information about their studios, parking, etc. but for questions about my classes specifically, you can email me at LeighBalletLA at gmail dot com. Or you can call me directly at 323-640-6804. That's Leigh Purtill Ballet (that's me!).

If you have any questions at all, please ask!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Technique Talk: Arabesque

Recently, a dancer asked me about improving her arabesque. Because it was via an online discussion, I didn't have the ability to actually demonstrate or to make personal corrections. I did the best I could but thought it might be helpful to have some photos.

So let's start with the very basic elements of arabesque. The ideal line for a classical ballet dancer is the L shape, where the back is very straight and the leg extends from the lower back/buttocks. Unless your back is extremely flexible, you will likely have to make an adjustment or two to get the preferred line.

Some things to avoid:

DO NOT pinch your lower back.

DO NOT hike your hip.

DO NOT pitch forward with your shoulders just to get your leg higher.  (see below)

Corey shows us what NOT to do.

DO NOT sink back in your knee and throw the weight to the back of your heel.

DO NOT crunch your hip flexors (iliopsoas). (see below)

Corey shows us a collapsed, crunched hip.

Some things to embrace:

DO lengthen the front of your hip.

DO engage the quads and hamstrings and pull up the knee of your standing leg. (see below)

Corey shows us a cleaner line.
DO stretch the working leg away from your fifth position as if drawing a J in the air.

DO aim your toe toward the back of your head.

DO keep your spine straight.

To help you, here are a couple of little videos of me working with my student, Corey McCullough. The first shows you her starting and stopping a couple of times as I make corrections, and the second is her doing it on her own. Note how the muscles of her right leg (standing leg) are pulled up and her working leg lengthens and stretches away from her fifth position. (Thank you, Corey!)


 The above video is me giving direction to Corey.


The above video is Corey doing the arabesque on her own.

Happy dancing~

Monday, September 1, 2014

Contest! Win a CD from Rachael Sage!

My first ever contest! Whoo-hoo! And what a great prize I have:

If you came by the blog last month, I posted an awesome interview with Rachael herself. She is a former dancer whose music has been featured on the reality television show, "Dance Moms." In fact, she was recently on the show in episode 25. If you want to see the episode, go here. Rachael's song, "Happiness," was used by dance star Maddie Ziegler in the episode.

Want to win a signed CD? Just comment below with your name (or any name, just don't be anonymous!) with a "hey, put my name in the mix, please!" and I'll draw a random winner in 2 weeks. US residents, please.

Enter by September 15!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day long weekend schedule

Los Angeles and Pasadena friends and dancers!

My classes will be held as usual this weekend, including Monday, Labor Day. If you have some time off from laboring, come take class:

Friday, August 29, Le Studio:
6:30-8PM Intermediate Ballet

Saturday, August 30, Le Studio:
9-10AM Beginner Ballet
10-11:30AM Intermediate Ballet
11:30AM-12:30PM Pointe 1

Monday, September 1, Le Studio:
6-6:30PM Basic Pointe
6:30-7:45PM Intermediate Ballet
7:45-9PM Beginner Ballet

Hope to see you but if not, I hope you enjoy the long weekend! Happy dancing~

Monday, August 25, 2014

First year pointe student asks...

A Pointe in the Right Direction Designed by Meshea Cook
...how can I strengthen my ankles for pointe work? Are there any exercises I can do at home?

Answer: There sure are! And you don't even have to do them in your pointe shoes.

(And by the way, I caution all new pointe students when they are wearing their shoes at home. Be very, very careful! Until you know the proper way to rise up and come back down from pointe, don't! Get a few lessons under your belt first and then do a few eleves and releves at home, but nothing more or you run the risk of injury.

Okay, rant over.)

1. In bare feet or socks, stand in parallel at a barre, chair or counter and rise up and down (eleve) on both feet 16 times. Be sure to keep your toes flat on the floor and don't knuckle them.

2. Repeat the above on one leg, keeping the other leg in parallel coupe and not allowing the knee to swing in and turn in. 16x, repeat both sides.

3. Do both 1&2 in parallel with releve (demi-plie and press straight up, then lower back down to bent knees.) Again, 16x.

4. Do 1, 2, & 3 all turned out in 1st position.

5. Add a Theraband to your ankles, tying it loosely above the ankle bone, rise up on both legs in parallel and then while en releve, stretch one leg out against the band and back in (sort of like a parallel degage). Do this 16 times on each side. Repeat it in a turned out first position. If your calves hurt, you can do these flat.

6. Sitting on the floor, stretch your legs in parallel in front of you, wrap a towel or Theraband around the sole of your foot and lift it slightly off the ground. Point and flex your foot against the towel/band, increasing the resistance as you feel necessary. Try to keep your back straight so you also work your core. Repeat 16x with both feet.

These are some basic exercises you can do without your shoes. Once you feel more confident, you can repeat 1-4 with your pointe shoes on.

Happy dancing~