The History of Ballet

Hello everyone!  Long time, no blog.  I’ve been having a very busy, yet relaxing summer.  It’s almost time to go back to school and for dance classes to start-up again.  Because I am a dancer and talk so much about my love for dance, I decided to write a series of blog posts about the history of different kinds of dance.  For my first post in the series, I am going to start with the form of dance I love the most – ballet!  I started ballet at the age of five and I didn’t much appreciate it in the beginning.  Now, I go to a dance studio where the main focus is ballet technique.  Now I am so much better at it because it’s all that I do.  The history of ballet is as interesting as the art form itself.  The word ballet comes from French and was borrowed into English around the 17th century.  The French word in turn has its origins in Italian balletto, but uses the shortened version of ballo (dance).

Ballet ultimately traces back to Italian ballare, meaning to dance.  According to Wikipedia, ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries and spread from Italy to France.  Catherine de’ Medici and Balthasar de Beaujoyeulx were responsible for presenting the first court ballet ever which applied poetry, dance, music and set design to a storyline.  In the late 17th century Louis XIV founded the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opera), within which emerged the first professional theatrical ballet company, the Paris Opera Ballet.  The dominant use of French in the vocabulary of ballet reflects this history.  Theatrical ballet soon became an independent form of art and spread from Europe to other nations.  The Royal Danish Ballet and the Imperial Ballet of the Russian Empire were founded in the 1740s.  In 1907 the Russian ballet moved back to France.

Soon ballet spread around the world with the formation of new companies, including the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet, and many others.  In the 20th century, different styles of ballet continued to develop.  The United States choreographer, George Balanchine, developed what is now known as neoclassical ballet.  Subsequent developments have included contemporary ballet and post-structural ballet.  I want to be a ballerina when I grow up.  My favorite ballerina, Misty Copeland, was just named American Ballet Theatre’s first female African-American principal dancer.  I find her to be very inspirational.  Because of her late start in learning how to dance ballet (she was 13) and her race and body type, she is what’s known as an unlikely ballerina.  Keep reading my blog to learn about other forms of dance.
 

This is me in my ballet costume for a group dance I was in during my 5th grade year back in 2013 – 2014.  We danced to Discombobulate.  It is the theme song from the movie, Sherlock Holmes.

New Year’s Eve, Adventures in the Asian District, and Ziggy Tales

It’s New Year’s Eve!  Almost time to start putting away the Christmas decorations until next year.  I wish I didn’t have to say good-bye to my collection of nutcrackers though.  Today’s the last day of 2014 and all in all it’s been a pretty great year!  It was my last year of elementary school.  My family went on vacation to New Orleans and Disney World.  So awesome!  I started the dreaded middle school and it hasn’t been that bad.  I turned twelve.  I changed dance schools and I got a part in the ballet company’s production of The Nutcracker.  I am excited about 2015 and all the good things to come.

DSCF2514

Well, ever since we went to Epcot at Disney World this summer, I have been interested in Asian snacks, mostly Japanese snacks.  I asked for a lot of different Japanese candies that I saw on Amazon for Christmas and my sister, Ashley, bought me a bunch of it for my present.  Some of it was good, like the green tea Kit Kats.  They taste just like the green tea lattes that my mom gets from Starbucks.  Yum!  Some of it was meh.  But, it just made me want to try more of it. Have you ever had dried seaweed or shrimp crackers?  What about dried squid?  So, ever since last week, I’ve been begging my parents to take me to a couple of grocery stores in the Asian District of the city where we live.  Today, my mom worked half a day and when she got home, my mom and dad took my brother and me to get some candy.  We didn’t spend very much money at all, but we got a lot of stuff, and I found more Kit Kats. I also realized that I could read the ingredient and nutrition labels because they are in English!

FullSizeRender IMG_1673

 DSCF2504

Finally, I wanted to tell you about Ziggy.  He’s been quite a good dog since I’ve been sick.  He’s even taken to sleeping at the foot of my bed.  I think he was being extra nice to me because he knew I had the flu.  Well, the other morning when I was still out of it from being sick, I went to feed him his breakfast.  He eats Cesar dog food.  I took it out of the can, plopped it in his bowl, and went back to bed.  Pretty soon, I heard dad calling me.  He sounded mad.  Oops!  I forgot to break up Ziggy’s food.  So, he picked up the entire square shaped, wet dog food, put it in his mouth like a sandwich, and proceeded to take it over to the carpet to chew pieces off of it.  Dad was mad about the dog food grease that Ziggy got on the carpet.  So there goes another one of Ziggy’s Tales.  The moral of the story is:  remember to break up the dog’s food or he’ll think it’s a burrito and carry it away from his bowl.

IMG_1020

Happy New Year everybody!

Another Judy Blume Book Summary – Deenie

I bet you thought I forgot about my Judy Blume Summer Reading Challenge. Well, I didn’t. I just got so caught up in the beginning of the school year and starting middle school and everything. I’ve had so many other things to talk about over the last month. Anyway, I’m not too far behind on finishing up my “Summer” Reading Challenge even though the last day of summer was a few days ago. I only have three books left and tonight I’m going to give you another summary.

Deenie Book CoverBook Title:  Deenie
Author:  Judy Blume
Illustrator:  None

Beautiful Wilmadeene.  Thirteen year old Wilmadeene (Deenie) is always being dragged to modeling agencies.  Her mother Thelma wants her to be a model.  Thelma wants Deenie’s sixteen year old sister, Helen, to be a doctor.  “Deenie is the beauty, Helen is the brains!” says Thelma.  Deenie’s never really wanted to be a model even though it would be cool to be on the front of a magazine.  One day when Deenie and her mother go to a modeling agency Deenie is evaluated and is told that she needs to work on her posture more.  Deenie is later told the same thing at school by the gym teacher who calls later that night.  Deenie had to go to the doctor.  There she finds out she has scoliosis.  Her mother is very disappointed, but says she can still model after wearing the brace that was given to her to wear.  She has to wear it for four whole years!  When Deenie sees the brace for the first time she wants to scream, FORGET IT!

She hates it and doesn’t like the idea of wearing something from her hips to her neck.  She has to get bigger clothes just to cover it.  She would rather have the surgery instead, but it wasn’t her choice.  Now that Deenie isn’t being dragged to any more modeling auditions she has time to focus on her best friends, Janet and Midge and her crush, Buddy Brader.  She even befriends Barbara, a girl whose eczema alienates her from everyone.  Deenie used to not want to touch her, afraid she would catch her rash.  She used to think she was disgusting.  Now they are great friends.  Deenie is now more self-conscious about the way she looks due to the brace and she is afraid Buddy might not like her anymore because of it.  In the meantime, Helen has fallen for Joey, who works for the family’s business, a gas station.  Thelma has Joey fired because she is upset that Helen has become so distracted from her school work.  Thelma claims that Joey was let go because of the family’s doctors’ bills due to Deenie’s scoliosis; but it was really about her concern about Joey’s relationship with Helen.  Deenie believes her and is afraid that Helen will hate her because of that.  Helen doesn’t blame Deenie and they both tell off their mother and cry in each other’s arms.  In the end Deenie asks her father for permission not to wear the brace to Janet’s party.  Her mother said ‘yes’ but  her father makes her wear it.  Deenie decides to bring a bag of clothes that fit her without the brace to the party, planning to take it off.  She ends up kissing Buddy and changes her mind and leaves the brace on.

More Judy Blume Book Summaries – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t

Only five books left in the Judy Blume Summer Reading Challenge.  Here are two more!

Are You There God It's Me MargaretBook Title:  Are you there God? It’s me Margaret.
Author:  Judy Blume
Illustrator:  None

Moving from New York to the New Jersey suburbs is already hard enough on twelve year old Margaret Simon.  Her mother Barbara is Christian and her father Herbert is Jewish.  Her parents say that they will support whatever religion she wants to follow, though both sides of her grandparents wants her to pick one or the other.  That’s not all that Margaret has to worry about.  She’s worried about starting sixth grade and making new friends.  After the move Margaret meets Nancy Wheeler who lives a few houses down on Morningbird Lane.  Nancy is also starting sixth grade just like Margaret.  Nancy doesn’t think about the same things as Margaret, like what religion she should choose or whether or not she will fit in at school.  Nancy is more focused on boys and she even practices kissing them on her pillow.  Nancy introduces Margaret to her friends Janie Loomis and Gretchen Potter.  They all decide to make a group named the Four Pre-Teen Sensations.  Nancy says they all have to have fake names in order to join the group.  In their group they do things like make boy books, talk about wearing bras, and getting their periods.  Margaret develops a crush on Phillip Leroy, a boy in her class.  The group also talks about Laura Danker, the girl in sixth grade who has started physically maturing.  With no one to turn to Margaret talks to God, always beginning the conversation with “Are you there God? It’s me Margaret.”  Margaret’s sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Benedict, asks the students to do a project on any subject that they want.  Margaret decides to choose religion.  Margaret does a lot of research and finally decided that parents should teach their children religion at a young age.  She writes a letter to her teacher instead of a report but she doesn’t include her talks with God in the letter.  Margaret turns 12 and goes to her very first school dance and her first party.  She gets her first bra and her first kiss with Phillip Leroy.  Margaret meets her mother’s parents for the first time and becomes mad with God that she cannot find a religion she feels right for.  She isn’t the first club member to get her period and feels that something is wrong with her.  Nancy lies about getting hers and Margaret finds out the truth later.  Margaret graduates from sixth grade.  She gets her period and she shares her excitement with God.  She is happy to finally be growing up.

Then Again Maybe I Won'tBook Title:  Then Again, Maybe I Won’t
Author:  Judy Blume
Illustrator:  None

Twelve-year-old Tony Miglione lives with his family in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Everything happens so fast when Tony’s dad finally sells an invention and gets rich!  He makes an electrical cartridge and sells it to an electronics company.  Tony, his parents, and his grandma move to a large home on Long Island.  Tony’s grandmother soon becomes depressed because she can’t cook meals for the family anymore due to the new housekeeper.  She is soon banned from the kitchen by Tony’s mom and starts to stay in her room all day.  Tony starts playing on the youth basketball team at his local Catholic church and meets Joel Hoober, who also lives next door.  Tony’s mother thought that Joel was an angel when she met him but Tony knows that that’s not the truth.  Joel steals in front of Tony all the time.  Joel makes prank calls and pushes Tony to do it.  Joel lies about most things.  He even gives Tony beer, vodka, scotch, rye, and brandy from his dad’s stash.  The boys drink too much and throw up in the bushes.  Tony has a horrible headache the next morning.  Tony is afraid to tell about Joel.  After watching Joel steal again, Tony’s stomach pain causes him to fall out on the sidewalk.  He’s put in the hospital and tested to see if he has any medical conditions.  The physicians find nothing wrong with Tony and refer him to a psychologist named Dr. Fogel.  Tony is finally able to speak openly about his stress with Dr. Fogel.  Although Tony doesn’t like Joel, he really likes his sixteen year old sister Lisa.  He starts having wet dreams about her and is afraid his parents and or housekeeper will find out.  For Christmas, Tony asks for binoculars and tells everyone he likes bird watching.  In reality, he wants to get a better view of Lisa because he can see her change her clothes from his window.  His dad tries to talk to him about sex, but ends up giving Tony a book it.  Tony thinks it’s because his brother Ralph and his wife, Angie, announce they’re pregnant.  They end up having a girl and naming her Vincenza after Tony and Ralph’s older brother Vincent who died in Vietnam a few years before.  In the end Tony watches Joel steal something yet again.  He turns him in after he is questioned by security.  Joel’s parents are told and later Tony is informed that Joel will be sent to military camp as punishment for his crime.

 

Gummy Bear Popsicles

I decided to make some gummy bear popsicles! I want to thank the DIY Queen for inspiration and the recipe. I read a few comments from people who thought the bears would just go to the bottom of the mold. I was worried about that too. But then I realized the bears don’t all go to the bottom of the mold because of the popsicle stick.

Gummy bear popsicle ingredients

Gummy bear popsicles frozen

Gummy bear popsicle all Gummy bear popsicle results

Supplies:

  • Popsicle Mold
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Gummy Bears
  • Sprite

Directions:

  1. Fill molds about 3/4 of the way full.
  2. Drop in gummy bears.
  3. Place popsicle stick into mold.
  4. Freeze until frozen all the way through.

The DIY Queen’s recipe is here