Tag: ballet

The Ladybird Vanishes

Who doesn’t love a Ladybird book?

The text has the reassuring condescension of a public information film combined with illustrations full of a matter-of-fact surrealism which can only really work in books for children.

I have a whole shelf of them at my mum’s, which I should start ferrying over sometime.

One of my favourites was the Ballet book, and when I found it in a charity shop, I snapped it up (along with a few others).

I still have very vivid memories of the illustrations (their influence on my make-up style can’t be overstated) and the thrill of finally fulfilling my ambition of seeing Checkmate on stage slightly overshadowed all memories of the production itself.

I’m not the only one to have imbibed the Ladybird zeitgeist, artist Miriam Elia has created We go to the gallery, published by Dung Beetle books which aims to guide children through the world of contemporary art where, ‘with Mummy’s help, they will discover that real meaning does not exist and that death is final.’

We go to the gallery by Miriam Elia and Dung Beetle Books

We go to the gallery by Miriam Elia and Dung Beetle Books


How thrilling.

Preparatory Position

Have you ever watched a row of people stand at a bank counter?

The high, old fashioned kind with a screen, not the new ones that look like space pods. Almost everyone will put their weight on one foot and bend their other knee to rest their toe on the floor.

There’s a similar preparatory position in ballet (but a little more turned out), you usually use it before you set off on an exercise that travels across the floor, or in the wings when you’re about to run, leap etc onto stage.

In this position there’s a little rock onto the back foot that you take before you set off. It’s a fairly small movement, but the idea is to take it a breath before the start of the music so you can start in an active state, rather than trying to catch up. Being off balance keeps you alert.

I feel like I’m waiting for the breath before the music that will set me off balance. I know the outline of our new routine, but it’s not in my body yet, it doesn’t feel natural and automatic.

So merde to everyone starting new things next week, we’ll be thinking of you.

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