BEHIND THE CURTAIN with The Pennsylvania Ballet

    Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancers Zachary Hench and Riolama Lorenzo in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. (photo: Paul Kolnik)
    We sit in the audience, and the show onstage enthralls us:  the swirl of costumes, the pulsating music, the mystery of lighting in the darkness of the theater.  Astounding moves look effortless and dancers seem to float on air.  A world of fairy tales and feathers and thwarted romance unfolds and we are transported.

    Ah, but what drama unfolds behind the curtain?

    Perhaps I’ve seen too many movies, because what I expected was not at all what I found when I got to peek into the studios of one of the world’s premiere ballet companies, The Pennsylvania Ballet.

    TOP: Principal dancer Arantxa Ochoa. MIDDLE: Arantxa with soloist Francis Veyette and (2nd row) soloist Barette Vance with corps de ballet dancer Andre Vytoptov. Artists of The Pennsylvania Ballet. (photos: Alexander Iziliaev)  BOTTOM: Soloist James Ihde in rehearsal with corps de ballet dancer Evelyn Kocak and onstage with principal dancer Riolama Lorenzo in Jerome Robbins' In The Night. (left photo: Doreen Creede / right photo: Paul Kolnik).

    My first surprise was the athleticism behind the artistry.  Up close, in the bright lights of the rehearsal studio, you see the sweat streaming down Barette Vance’s smiling face as she flits through Balanchine; feel the reverberation of Francis Veyette’s muscled legs pounding into the floor, with the thinnest slipper as “protection;” wince as James Ihde’s rippling arms swoop a sitting Evelyn Kocak straight over his head, as if she weighs no more than a pillow.  You think back to that awkward ballet class you took at the age of six, and realize that for every million little girls who dream of being a ballerina, perhaps one actually makes it her career.  Or to put it in terms my husband would relate to: this is the NFL of the dance world.

    My next surprise was what I didn’t see:  No drama.  No divas.

    During rehearsal, when a “take” [my word] didn’t work, the ballet mistress and dancers had a calm, collaborative discussion.  At a reception after an In-Studio Show, dancers ranging from veteran principals to new young corps de ballet members got along as though a happy family and made us visitors feel like welcome friends.

    Perhaps the camaraderie is because company dancers spend more time together than most families, training nine hours a day, five days a week, 10 months a year.  Or perhaps it’s that a quarter of the company literally is family:  three couples in the Pennsylvania Ballet are married, one engaged.

    But I think it’s something else.  I think it’s the joy that comes from making a living by every day doing the thing you truly love. The positive energy in those unadorned rehearsal rooms--lined with storage boxes, lights glaring overhead--was simply infectious.

    (photo by Alexander Iziliaev)

    AT THE MOVIES: The Black Swan Connection
    Given the hype, you probably think the movie Black Swan inspired this post.  In fact, it was a letter from my friend Janis Goodman, chair of the board of trustees, that piqued my interest.  Not until later did I discover that 14 of The Pennsylvania Ballet’s dancers appeared in the movie and that the Company will perform Swan Lake this March, followed in April by the premiere of a new work by Benjamin Millepied, Black Swan’s choreographer and Natalie Portman’s fiancé.

    ONSTAGE: The Pennsylvania Ballet's Spring 2011 Season
    (Unbelievably, tickets start at just $20.)

    February 3-6  Classic Innovations
    (includes: The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; Polyphonia; In The Upper Room)

    March 3-13  Swan Lake

    April 14-17  Building On Balanchine
    (includes: Agon; a yet-to-be-named world premiere by Benjamin Millepied; and Who Cares?)

    June 2-11  La Fille Mal Gardee

    Artistic Director: Roy Kaiser  |  | 215-893-1955

    The contrast of Paul Kolnik’s flawless performance pictures and the natural beauty of Alexander Iziliaev’s studio shots completely captivated me.  Then came my third surprise of this post: photography is a hobby for Alexander.  His longtime "day job" is principal dancer with The Pennsylvania Ballet.  

    That's him, at left, in Balanchine's Agon.  Talk about talented!
    (Alexander's photo by ... you guessed it ... Paul Kolnik) Source URL:
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{Mix} Tea Party

free as will

    still busy doing fashionweek, even have no time to relax a bit in this Chinese New Year holidays.
    a month to go, but quite exciting about everything!

    Bad Angels Numero #85 August 2007

    model : unknown leather man & Masha Novoselova
    photographer : Greg Kadel
    stylist : Bill MullenSource URL:
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BLOG BIRTHDAY: Style Maniac Turns Two!

    It's hard to believe that two years ago I had barely read a blog, didn't own a digital camera and couldn't have told you SEO from XHTML.  Most of all I had no idea that the joy of creating something that combines my  love of words and images, planning and serendipity, style and soul, could be made ever so more amazing because it's shared with each of you--a community of smart, fun and stylish women around the world.  So, on Style Maniac's Second Birthday, I'm tossing virtual confetti your way, releasing bundles of balloons and raising my glass in a toast of thanks and appreciation for stopping by here and making my days brighter.  Cheers!

    (For one lucky reader there will be an "in real life" gift as well.  Stop by next month to enter Style Maniac's first ever Giveaway ... it's a good one!)

    Vintage beach photo via Rainbow Armour on FlickrSource URL:
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{Home} Open Floor Plan - Swedish Interior Design

His and Hers

{DIY} Painted Tube Cocktail Art

    • Can with different circumferences and heights
    • Can opener
    • Nuts (short, slotted) and bolts
    • Drill
    • Flat head screwdriver
    • Wrench
    • Spray paint
    • Craft acrylic paint
    • Variety of things to fill in the cans

    How To:

    • Cut the bottom of the can with a can opener
    • Arrange the cans in the arrangement you like
    • Starting with the corner can, drill a hole in the middle of the can. Match the hole to the middle of an adjacent can and mark the second can, drill a hole where you mark the second can
    • Screw the 2 cans together with a nut and bolt
    • Add the cans together one by one
    • Tighten all the screws with the screwdriver and wrench
    • Spray paint the outside structure
    • Paint the inside of the cans with desired colors
    • Fill in the cans with event related items


    Source URL:
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Hot Pink


Megan + Eric

{Handpicked} Bright Woodland Rosette Necklace

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