The Nutcracker snow and flowers costumes have just been put away, and now it’s that time of year again: Summer Program Auditions! They’ll be happening all across the country during the next few months. While it’s hard to fit in auditions with your normal dance and school schedule, a good audition may get you into a summer program that helps you reach your dance dreams. Here are some tips to help you be at the top of your game while still being realistic.
1) Major ballet schools will have auditions in a number of big cities, often at the same time. Try to knock out a couple of auditions in one trip.
2) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Audition for multiple programs so you have options if your first choice doesn’t pan out.
3) The earlier you audition the better. Schools can run out of space after the first month of auditions, so even if they wanted to take you, they might not have the space.
4) Look clean and neat. Wear a leotard that you feel good in – find something beautiful and unique that shows off your body, but nothing too flashy. Wear light make-up – don’t go in full stage make-up. Make sure you have all your shoes with you.
5) Do your research beforehand: if you’re auditioning for a school that is more Balanchine-oriented, familiarize yourself with that style. If you’re auditioning for a Russian-based school, know what they focus on teaching. In the audition, try to pick up on the style quickly.
6) If you don’t get into a program this year, audition again next year. If they see you again, they will be more likely to notice you, and it shows your drive to attend that program. Make sure that you thank the instructor after class. Don’t be too pushy, but showing respect can only help you.
View this year’s Audition Schedule for the Twin Cities
Best of luck this audition season!
We’re inviting YOU to join us as we launch the Holiday Season by giving back!
ALL proceeds go to the Emily Program when you purchase a new pointe shoe for only $10.
OPEN up the enclosed red envelope to reveal a surprise for yourself!
PRIZES range from 10% off Grand Jete merchandise to $5, $10 and $15 Grand Jete Gift Certificates.
These pointe shoes make GREAT gift ideas!
- Decorate it any way you like and hang it up as a keepsake
- Give it as a gift for your secret santa or a dance friend
- Have it signed by fellow cast members and guest artists for holiday shows
In the fall of 2015, Mariska Baranczyk, a long-time customer of Grand Jeté, called asking about the possibility of getting pointe shoes for a family friend of hers, Hannah Kritzeck. Hannah is a young, twenty-year old woman who dances in the Twin Cities. Normally this would not at all be an unusual request, as Grand Jeté has specialized in fitting pointe shoes for area dancers for over thirty years. However, this situation was unique in that Hannah is a primordial dwarf. She is one of only 100 primordial dwarves in the world and the only one in Minnesota.
4th Street Dance Recital
Primordial dwarfism is defined primarily by extreme short stature at birth and is furthermore unique in that the bones and organs of the body are all proportionally smaller than the average person. With such a small overall structure, primordial dwarves have a shortened life expectancy and face the risk of brain aneurysms among other complications. For instance, Hannah had two titanium rods put in her back to correct scoliosis at a young age. She measures a mere 39 inches tall and wears a 4 T in kids clothing. However, none of these facts prevent Hannah from pursuing her passion for dancing – and thriving at it!
Hannah dances at 4th Street Dance Center, taking ballet and hip hop. She pours her heart into dancing, inspiring both her teacher and classmates. When asked about her dancing, Hannah replied, “I’ve been dancing since I was two years old…I love dancing because it makes me feel good – hip hop makes me feel strong and ballet calms me down.” Just like many a young girl in ballet class, Hannah has long dreamed of dancing on pointe. For years, Hannah had been searching for a way to get pointe shoes; however, there simply was nothing small enough to fit her feet. It was at this point that Mariska reached out to Grand Jeté, knowing their expertise in fitting pointe shoes and their direct access to pointe shoe suppliers.
Grand Jeté’s Involvement
The staff at Grand Jeté is committed to providing each customer with personalized service. On a daily basis, Grand Jeté helps dancers find the right fit for their pointe shoes, sizing these unique shoes according to the size and strength of their feet. Our staff often helps dancers create special orders to meet their particular needs and specifications. However, pointe shoes have never been made in toddler sizes. While Hannah’s feet are extremely small, they are fully developed. Therefore, Hannah would need specially-created pointe shoes to fit the size, structure and strength of her feet.
Ruthena Fink, the owner of Grand Jeté, worked with Mariska to bring Hannah into the store for a fitting. Ruthena fit Hannah in ballet slippers to get a sense for the pointe shoe size that would need to be created. Hannah’s feet fit in a size six toddler, the smallest Capezio ballet slipper available, measuring five inches long. Additionally, Ruthena traced Hannah’s feet to provide a visual representation of her foot size and shape.
With the information she gathered from the fitting, Ruthena began communicating with Paul Plesh at Capezio. Mr. Plesh has a vast amount of experience in the ballet world, having both worked and danced with professional ballet companies for a number of years. He is currently Capezio’s Senior Product Line Manager, and after multiple conversations and exchanging photos, Mr. Plesh set out to see if Capezio could make a pointe shoe for Hannah. At Grand Jeté, we were thrilled to learn that Paul actually had a trip planned to Thailand, where Capezio’s factory is located. He brought all of the information with him and returned a few weeks later with Hannah’s pointe shoes in hand! Her pointe shoes were personally mailed to Grand Jeté, where they awaited Hannah’s first pointe shoe fitting.
When the shoes arrived at Grand Jeté, it was a beautiful sight – they looked just like regular pointe shoes, yet fit in the palm of Ruthena’s hand! The pointe shoes were created with pink satin and a hard toe box, with the one main difference being that the shank (the stiff sole of a pointe shoe created to support a dancer on her toes) was actually only the strength of a demi pointe shoe. Due to Hannah’s small size and light weight, a regular shank would be too stiff and difficult for her foot to work through properly. Thus, the demi sole was the appropriate strength to train her to dance on pointe.
A Dream Come True
Mariska arranged for Hannah to come to Grand Jeté again for her pointe shoe fitting, this time accompanied by her mother, Jackie. Nothing could match the excitement and happiness reflected on the faces of Hannah and her mother when the shoes were brought out and fitted on Hannah’s feet. The thrill was shared by Ruthena and her staff as they watched one more dancer realize her dreams of dancing in pointe shoes.
Furthermore, because she is finally able to begin training on pointe, Hannah is considering pursing dance in college or at pre-professional/professional ballet training programs. With Hannah’s talent and determination, it will be exciting to see where she goes with her dancing. What an example of how the inspiration of a pair of pointe shoes can be so far-reaching! Grand Jeté’s customer service and expertise in fitting dance shoes will continue to make dance dreams such as Hannah’s come true.
Click on the pictures below to view a larger slideshow of Hannah’s pointe shoe story:
It’s that time of year again…AUDITIONS! Many of you will be auditioning this month for summer programs, whether with studios in the Twin Cities or with programs around the country. We’re here to help you make sure you have everything you need ready so you can enter your audition prepared and think only of your dancing. Follow our checklist and tips, created by our own professional dancers to ensure that your auditions are a great experience!
Tip #1 : Leotards
Wear leotards that are unique, beautiful and flattering for your body type. However, it is best to choose styles with a basic structure and clean lines that won’t distract from your technique. You want to be able to move well and feel confident!
Advice from the Pros: Try bringing a few different leotards with you to the audition – it’s nice to be able to see what styles other candidates are wearing before you decide which leotard to put on. Also keep in mind the style of the program you are auditioning for.
Tip #2 : Extra Tights & Shoes
It’s always important to have back-ups during auditions! The last thing you want to worry about before an audition is a run in your tights or a hole in your shoe. How you present yourself visually plays a big role in the audition process. Always bring an extra pair (or two!) of tights and shoes that are clean and in good condition. If you’ll need multiple types of dance shoes for your audition, make a checklist for that day so you make sure you have each pair with you!
Tip #3 : Pointe Shoe Options
If you are auditioning on pointe, make sure to have several pairs of pointe shoes with you that are at different levels in the break-in process. Depending on the type of audition, you may need a pair that is broken in to the point of being soft and flexible, or you may need a pair that is newer and stiffer for more support. Since your pointe shoes are essentially an extension of your foot, you want them to function well to best show off your beautiful dancing!
Tip #4 : Warm Up Before Registration
Experience has shown that while a break may be expected between registration and the actual audition, the registration process can often start late or take longer than expected and run right up to the audition start time. Plan ahead and allow yourself plenty of time to warm up and get everything in order before registration. This way, you won’t feel stressed or rushed to get a proper warm up in before the audition starts.
Tip #5 : Plan Ahead!
Look up the location, directions, audition time and any needed materials the night before. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get to the audition early. As they say, “life happens,” and a time buffer allows for traffic, parking, walking, finding the audition, etc. Plus, it will help you feel more relaxed and confident going into the audition if you feel prepared arriving.
Tip #6 : Hair & Makeup
As with choosing a leotard, basic, clean lines are best when doing your hair and
makeup for an audition. Hair should be in a clean bun – use hairnets and hairspray to control frizziness or fly-aways. Makeup should be nice, but not over-the-top – definitely not like your stage makeup! Use foundation or powder to even out your complexion and cover any blemishes. Keep eyeliner and eyeshadow basic and natural. You want to present yourself as a sort of “clean slate,” allowing your auditioner to focus on your dancing and visualize which level or role they would like you to fill.
Twin Cities Auditions
January 8th – Ballet Arizona: “Upper Division”
Minnesota Dance Theatre –
Registration – 6:30 pm; Audition – 7:00 – 8:30 pm
January 9th – Joffrey Ballet
Ballet Royale – 3:00 – 7:00 pm
January 10th – Kaatsbaan Ballet
Ballet Royale – 12:30 – 2:00 pm
– Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Minnesota Dance Theatre (see website: mndance.org)
January 16th – Kansas City Ballet
Ballet Royale – 5:00 – 7:00 pm
January 17th – Milwaukee Ballet
Metropolitan Ballet –
Registration – 1:30 pm; Audition – 1:30 – 3:00 pm
– LINES Ballet
TU Dance 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
January 23rd – Washington Ballet
Minnesota Dance Theatre –
Registration – 6:00 pm; Audition – 6:30 – 8:00 pm
– Boston Ballet
Minnesota Dance Theatre
Registration – 12:00 pm; Audition – 12:30 – 2:30 pm
February 6th – San Francisco Conservatory of Dance
TU Dance – 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Looking to fill your dancer’s holiday wish list?
Want to put something special in his or her stocking?
The 2015 Grand Jete Holiday Wish List is complete! We’ve compiled brand new fashions, winter knit wear, staples for taking care of your dancer during performance weeks, and some of our GJ favorites picked by our staff. There’s something for everyone!
Looking for relief from tension and tight muscles? Now you can make a simple massage part of your daily routine wherever you are!
Whether you have a highly active or sedantary lifestyle, muscle tension can be a constant struggle that translates into foot, leg, back, neck pain — you name it. Our line of Rubz Massage Tools allows you to apply the level of pressure you need to roll out tight and tired muscles — whether during a quick break in the day or simply while relaxing and watching TV!
Foot Massage Ball
Most of our muscle soreness and tension actually originates in our feet. By rolling out your feet each day, it may relieve tension throughout the legs and even up into the back. This small, dense massage ball can get into the small pressure points of the foot that we may not even have realized were tight or strained. The small spikes allow for more articulation than a tennis ball or golf ball.
Whether you are a dancer, a dance teacher, a retail associate, a chef, or one of countless other employees on their feet all day long, you’re bound to feel foot fatigue by the end of the day. Make it a habit to roll out your feet each day to improve circulation, relieve symptoms of plantar fiscitis, and enable relaxation.
Small enough to take with you!
*Use it at your desk at work.
*Stick it in your dance bag for between rehearsals & classes.
*Use it on your lunch break.
*Carry it in your gym bag for your workout cool-down.
For more overall coverage and less-concentrated pressure, try the foot roller. The roller allows your foot to spread out and receive the massage across the whole foot at once.
A double benefit to the foot roller is that it may also be used to roll out calf muscles, hamstrings, and even tendons surrounding the ankles and knees. Use your body weight to apply the amount of pressure desired, but be careful to ease into it. Tighter muscles need a more gradual approach to rolling them out.
Full Body Massage Tool
Sitting for long periods of time, whether working on a project or staring at a computer, is bound to result in pain and tension in the neck and upper back.
Working hard on arm positions and proper alignment in dance classes may also cause new muscles to become tired and sore.
Here’s where the full body massage tool comes in!
The uneven shape of the full body massage tool allows you to select the small end for focused spot treatment or the larger end for broader coverage. Apply the desired pressure with your hand — you get much more leverage than simply using your fingers!
Use the Full Body Massage Tool on your shoulders and neck — also try it on your hips and specific spots on your legs or IT band.
Contact us for more info!
Grand Jeté is in the news! Dance Retailer News, a nationwide publication, featured Grand Jeté, interviewing owner Ruthena Fink, in their section entitled “Message Board: Front & Center,” which highlights tips and tricks from a variety of dance retail stores across the United States. Read it here!
Ever wonder how you can incorporate current fashion trends into your dancewear? Let’s be honest. Often a leotard IS what you end up wearing for the majority of the day. So how can you make it double as your fashion statement?
Check out these styles straight from the runway that are reflected in some of the dancewear lines we carry at Grand Jete!
Color block with bright summer colors like this swimsuit featured in Harper’s Bazaar…
…or add a contrasting colored trim to make your leotard pop and create a unique look.
*NEW in at Grand Jete this spring: Mariia by BalTogs.
Create more contrast by choosing leotards with cool cuts.
*Pick up on the accent colors of your leo with matching nail polish in soft summer hues
Keep it classy.
Why should the Little Black Dress be reserved for evening wear?
High neck, open back…
Patterned mesh and flattering designs…
…these Wear Moi classics bring elegance to the everyday.
Flaunt the Floral.
Add a splash of spring floral — it’s comeback is all over the spring styles this year!
*Ainsliewear made it even more eye-catching by pairing a floral print with a cutout back!
Want your floral print but prefer it a little more subdued? We’ve chosen a variety of tasteful leotards at Grand Jeté so you can have your cake and eat it too!
Work a muted floral print mesh into a monochromatic leo – like the Wear Moi Majeste.
High-neck, oh-so-soft pastels…from streetwear to dancewear.
Fashion knit shorts in bright colors? Now this one we think they stole straight from a dance catalogue…
(Below: knit shorts & legwarmers by Capezio)
Another dance style that made its way directly into the fashion scene — now you can go from dance class to summer stylin’ without even changing.
Harper’s Bazaar’s fashion take on the crop top and Capezio’s dancewear catalogue…
Same look. Same great style.
Take your Grand Jeté from studio to street!
Some things are just timeless …like lace and midnight blue…
Body Wrappers creates an exquisite tank leotard with lace trimming both the bodice and a keyhole back, modeled by Tiler Peck of New York City Ballet. *Also available in black.
Summer is the season for white.
Brighten your summer dancewear with a full white leotard, similar to this swimsuit featured in Harper’s Bazaar. In place of rouching, Wear Moi created softented texture with a delicate lace bodice.
Make your leo the new canvas for the paintings of Degas.
*NEW at Grand Jete: Cahoots leotards.
Express yourself through dance.
Explore your style.
Expect great things.
Find your style at Grand Jeté – where you’ll receive personal service from staff members who dance, know dancewear, and care about you.
An interview with Saint Paul Ballet Company Members
Brittany Adams & Anna Roehr
What are some nutritional tricks you’ve learned work well with your body?
BA: I definitely eat breakfast or I would pass out. I don’t usually make a specific meal plan, but I definitely need to eat a good full meal when I get back from rehearsal or class. I need to start and end the day with “real food.”
AR: Breakfast is usually rushed – if I’m up early enough I’ll make eggs or something with protein. We both like making smoothies with fruit, cashew milk, chia seeds, spinach…keeps us from getting too hungry. We usually eat dinner together – I like making meals in the crockpot a lot.
Pizza is a definite weakness and a fun treat. You can even make it semi-healthy!
BA: It’s a good day when I remember to bring snacks with me. My rule of thumb is to bring lots of snacks that keep me going but don’t weigh me down.
AR: Lunch is more a cliff bar/granola bar during a 10 min. break to change shoes. Same if I need to grab food before teaching.
Snacks of Choice
Trail mix – because I can buy a big tub and leave it at the studio.
Smoothies or Oatmeal – I like soft foods that are light but have good fiber & protein. I like smoothies especially because you can add whatever you want to them – like caffeine, flaxseed & supplements. I make my own and buy frozen fruit.
How conscious are you of carbohydrates, proteins & fats?
BA: Not as conscious as I should be, but I definitely can tell if I haven’t had enough protein. I find meats hard to buy and eat consistently, so eggs are a go-to.
AR: I don’t keep track of specific amounts, but I follow something similar to the Paleo diet – not a lot of bread, rice, potatoes, red meat or milk. I avoid refined foods in general because they just don’t make me feel very good – I just eat healthy and whole foods and eat when I’m hungry and that pretty much takes care of it.
BA: I pay more attention to supplements, especially since I currently have a labral tear. I take magnesium to rebuild muscles & fish oil for joint health, and I drink Emergen-C almost every day for Vitamin C, energy & potassium since I don’t like bananas.
Brittany’s Favorite Combo
*Toast with half a ripe avocado and a hard-boiled egg on top.
What exercises do you make sure to fit in outside of rehearsals/classes?
BA: I do most of my stretching & roll out my feet while exercises are being demonstrated at the barre. I always have to stretch my hip flexors between barre & rehearsal. And I roll out my back like 80 times a day 🙂
AR: I have to stretch my IT band and my splits every day – they get really tight. It’s kind of a nightly routine for both of us to roll out with a foam roller while we watch TV or something.
Do you cross train?
BA: I like hot yoga and do the “work for trade” program at Core Power. I also walk outside sometimes when it’s nice and occasionally lift weights for specific or challenging choreography.
AR: I take yoga and Pilates now and then – depending on what I have time for – sometimes I’m too exhausted. I cross train mostly to keep my core tight and sometimes lift light weights for arms since I don’t get as much of a workout with arms as I do with legs in ballet.
How do you help yourself stay hydrated?
BA: I always have a water bottle with me, but I don’t count the ounces. I can tell when I haven’t had enough, though, because my muscles don’t respond well, or I’ll wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.
AR: I try to have a big glass of water in the morning before coffee or anything else. I have water with me during class/rehearsal – I know I need to get even more than the daily amount because of how much I’m exercising and sweating. It helps just to keep it with me.
What do you do for down time?
BA: I would kill for down time since I really don’t have any – that’s been a real struggle this whole year. I don’t really feel healthy or balanced without it. I need a lot of sleep and often don’t get enough, so sometimes down time ends up being a nap. Ideally I’d like to spend more time with friends and get more things done around the house.
AR: I have an ok amount of down time…it usually ends up being late at night, which means I stay up later than I probably should – just whenever I’m home from teaching.
Brittany and I will make plans together, which is nice – it’s helpful to do something not dance-related.
What are some creative ways you’ve found to relax in the middle of a packed schedule?
BA: I take Epsom salt baths and try to schedule massages regularly if possible.
AR: I listen to music.