Ballet For Me And You Now Available on the iBookstore!

I’m thrilled to announce, after many years in the making, my first book has been officially published! Ballet For Me And You started as a simple document that I passed out to my students’ parent to help them understand what their children were learning in ballet class. In the past few years, this simple document expanded into a iBook with poetic verses, a guide for parents, step by step images, and quizzes. As a dance educator, my goal has been to spread my passion and knowledge of dance. Through this book series, I am excited about continuing this mission. Ballet For Me And You is now available for your iPad on the iBookstore for $2.99.

Ballet For Me And You Press Release!


Dance Around The World – La Bailarín De Antigua

One night after dinner my housemates at the B&B couldn’t stop talking about this dancer. For the past three weeks, each of them had seen this blonde woman dancing around Antigua. They joked that she never walked, but danced from place to place. They speculated about where she was from and why she was dancing. It was then they named her “The Dancer of Antigua.” Secretly I was jealous, How could I have missed her? This would be perfect for my project! I only had two more days in Antigua: tomorrow, which I had already scheduled a cooking class and the night after returning from Lake Atitlan, which only left a few hours to possible find her. I started to give up all hope.

To read more CLICK HERE!

Ballet Dancer Must-Haves IV

Alyson Abriel Salomon is a bay area dancer for both Labayen Dance/SF and the DanceWright Project. Here’s what she had to say about her ballet dancer must-haves:

“Sounds silly, but these two products are MUST-HAVES for me. The hairpins are incredibly strong, and you don’t need to use many, which makes it easy to go from a bun to a ponytail. They also don’t fall out and create a hazard onstage like more traditional hair pins.”

Scunci No Damage Ponytail Holders

Scunci Magic Grip hairpins


Joffrey Academy of Dance

Joffrey Academy of Dance (clipped to

The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, announces a national call for artists to submit applications for the Joffrey’s Second Annual Choreographers of Color Award. The goal of the Award is to recognize promising young choreographers of color whose diverse perspective will ignite creativity in the form of original works of dance.  The deadline for application is October 1, 2011 and winners will be notified by November 1, 2011.


Three selected choreographers will be given a minimum of 30 rehearsal hours to set their pieces on the Joffrey Academy Trainees.  Each winning choreographer will also receive a $2,500 stipend and an opportunity to work directly with Joffrey Artistic Director, Ashley C. Wheater, and Academy Artistic Directors, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik.  Choreographers whose permanent residence is more than 100 miles from Joffrey Tower will be provided with accommodations for the duration of a two-week residency.  The completed new works will be performed at various venues throughout the 2011-2012 academic year, including the Joffrey Tower and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.  Last year’s Choreographers of Color Award winners were Francisco Aviña and Amy E. Hall.


Choreography created for the Joffrey Academy Trainees must be original work developed by the applicant.  The finished piece must be a minimum of 10 minutes and maximum of 12 minutes long.  To be eligible, applicants must be 18 years of age or older.  International students are excluded, as are foreign nationals who hold citizenship with countries other than the U.S., unless they are naturalized or permanent residents.


To apply, interested choreographers must submit the following by mail:  a DVD with a five-minute or less excerpt of their choreography with a brief written description; a letter of intent describing their interest in the competition and the kind of work they will create; a headshot and curriculum vitae with three references; and, a general application, which can be found online at  There is no submission fee.  Materials can be mailed to:  The Joffrey Ballet, Attn: Choreographers of Color Competition Selection Committee, 10 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL, 60601.


About the Academy Trainees of the Joffrey Ballet 

Students are selected to participate in the Trainee Program by invitation from The Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director, Ashley C. Wheater, and Academy Artistic Directors, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik.  The Trainee Program is a rigorous two-year program in which students train in ballet and other dance disciplines.  Graduates from this program have been accepted into ballet companies around the world, including The Joffrey Ballet, the Berlin Staatsballet and BalletMet.  Trainees rehearse and perform classical and contemporary works from The Joffrey Ballet’s extensive repertoire and have the opportunity to work with world-renowned guest choreographers.  The Academy of Dance opened in January of 2009 and received the 2010 Youth America Grand Prix Outstanding School Award.


For more information on the Academy Trainees of the Joffrey Ballet, or other programs at the Academy of Dance, Official School of the Joffrey Ballet, please visit

Written by: Eric Eatherly & Beth Silverman

A Short Break

Hello Loyal Readers!

I’ll be taking a short break from writing because I’m training for a new job (tell you about it soon), preparing for three weeks of dance concerts, and taking a much needed vacation. You can expect more articles and blog entries in July. Hope you all have a wonderful spring!

Keep on dancing and learning!

Miss Alissa 

Ballet Dancers Must-Haves III

Marlowe Bassett is a member of Napoles Ballet Theater and is a notable costume designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here are her ballet dancer must-haves:

“Here’s what’s in my dance bag right now!”

  • Freed Classic Pro Pointe Shoes, they are as close to special order Freed’s that you can get with out special ordering. 
  • Lambs wool toe pads with gel tip
  • Bunheads: toe gel toe spacers
  • Arnica Gel (for sore muscles & bruises)
  • Balls: which I roll my muscles out on (could use tennis balls)
  • Thumper mini pro: the most amazing electric massage tool. I don’t leave home with out it.
  • Any other massage tools like foot rollers.
  • I must have Jet Glue on hand if dancing on pointe.


National Dance Week Interview

For the past month I’ve been planning the National Dance Week events where I work, The School of Perfroming Arts. Last week I was interviewed by one of the local papers. Check out the artical below!

National Dance Week Encourages Exercise

OK, Naperville, put on your dancing shoes, or sneakers, and lace up for National Dance Week, which is coming to Naperville the week of April 22 through May 1.

Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or love the idea of “movin’ to the groovin,’” The School of Performing Arts in Naperville will kick off National Dance Week with Dancin’ Down the Street. Throughout the week, the 5th Avenue Station school will offer a variety of classes for all levels and ages.

National Dance week started in 1981, when a group of dance-related organizations made it their mission to bring more awareness that dance is an art form and part of American culture. Eventually, the United Dance Merchants of America made a commitment to grow National Dance Week. Since then, dance legends such as Gregory Hines, Paula Abdul, and Chicago’s own dance celebrity Gus Giordano have been spokespersons for the week. Thanks to volunteers, including The School of Performing Arts, the mission of exposing and introducing as many people as possible to the enjoyment and benefits of dance is growing.

“We hold the title of an official 2011 National Dance Week representative,” said Alissa Baird, marketing director of The School of Performing Arts. “We are committed to sharing our love of dance and its benefits to our community, and hope the NDW will soon become a recognized event in Naperville.”

All of the events during NDW at The School of Performing Arts are open to the public. The school will be hosting free dance classes, parent and student enrichment, and community classes, including a Mommy and Me class at Lululemon.

As one who dabbled in choreography years ago, I know dance not only is an art form and form of expression, but it also can be an incredible workout. Look at the health improvements of the contestants on “Dancing with the Stars.” They all talk about the improvements in health and weight since they started dancing. And the best part of dancing? There is no age requirement — it’s an all-inclusive activity. For older adults, dance strengthens the vestibular system, which is responsible for balance and spatial orientation.

“Depending on the style of dance you choose to pursue, you can gain strength, flexibility, and improve your cardiovascular system,” Baird said.

The School of Performing Arts believes anyone and everyone can dance. Even those who haven’t danced since their wedding day might be cajoled into participating. The classes are for all ages and levels, including students with special needs.

“With the growing rate of child obesity, depression and diabetes, dance, when practiced regularly, can curb these conditions,” Baird said. “Dance class is a unique form of exercise, because it raises your heart rate through expressive movement, and it raises endorphins, giving students a feeling of well-being.”

Parents can see changes in their children, too.

“Parents often approach me with gratitude for the impact of dance on their child,” said Sasha Vargas, the school’s dance department director. “From the strength of proper posture to the growth of self-confidence in a doubting child, transformations have been made through dance.”

According to their website, “The School of Performing Arts offers a diverse curriculum, taught by professional artists, which fosters creativity, builds self-esteem and develops students’ lifelong love for the arts.”

To learn more, visit or

Contact Nicki Anderson at

Story Image

In Celebration of National Dance Week, April 22 through May 1, The School of Performing Arts invites the public to dance down the sidewalks of downtown Naperville on April 23. Interested dancers should meet at 4 p.m. on the west end of 5th Avenue Station, 200E 5th Ave. Shown here is dancer Danielle Fattore. | Photo courtesy of Matt Glavin

Ballet Dancers Must-Haves II

In continuation of the series, Ballet Dancers Must-Haves, here’s another entry!

Soloist for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens De Montrea, Bob Deskins explains his must-have…

“I could not live without my lululemon studio 2 pants. Yes they are made for women but they are perfect for any dancer. I love they way they fit. They keep me warm but don’t hold in the sweat. They dry fast. And the crotch doesn’t rip when I really get down. They rock! I will never go back to sweats again!”

Young Dancers and Food

I like to start my dance classes off with a terminology game, a little history, or sometimes I just ask a question. Not long ago I asked my students, “If you could have one superpower, what would it be?” I heard everything from the power to fly to understand and speaking to animals. But, the one I remember most was from a girl nearly 8 years old. She wanted the the power to eat as much junk food as she wanted without gaining a single pound.


Her response stunned me and I thought immediately… I’ve got to figure out how to teach my students about nutrition! Ironically this months Dance Teacher magazine had an article with some suggestions and ideas about teaching nutrition. However, I struggle with how the information will transfer. It’s one thing to inform my students, but how can I stop their parents from sending them to dance class with a bag fast food or giving their child money for the vending machines? Some of my students are so young and can’t see the effects of what junk and processed food does to their body. In fact, they might not have noticed how it makes them feel aside from their mouth watering at the mention of french fries.

Artwork by Andy Council


So my plan of attack is to start a conversation with my students. I want to know what they perceive as junk food verses healthy food. With that information I’m hoping to figure out how to approach this subject on their terms. I like the idea of a Jeopardy style game, an eat this, not that demonstration, but I think my strongest superpower will be getting them to notice how junk food makes them feel. Stay tuned to learn how my quest to teach nutrition goes! 

P.S. Do you have any suggestions, tips, or tricks? Let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.