Colombo Dance Factory, Zurich, Switzerland

March 18, 2012 § 6 Comments

Heinrichstrasse 267
8005 Zürich
Tel 044 272 55 30

It is tricky to find so be sure to look at their map before going.

Well lucky you! You get to visit the Zurich Colombo Dance Factory‘s website AFTER the update. It was a nightmare before, there wasn’t even the schedule on it! Arrgh! Now it is all complete and navigable, yay!

Sadly, I only took two classes here since I have been quite ill for some time. I was in Zurich for a month and only took 3 dance classes. :O(

Since I was so out of shape, I took the beginner/intermediate (‘A/M,’ meaning ‘Anfanger’ [beginner] and ‘Mittelsuffe’ [intermediate] in German) class with Daniell’ Ficola on Monday evening, and another ‘A/M’ class on a Wednesday evening. I think the Wednesday teacher was a substitute though, I don’t recall her name. She was not very technically professional…it was strange!

The dance center has that urban dance center feel, which I like…reminds me of taking class at Broadway Dance Center in NYC. At Colombo Dance Factory, there is an acting, singing and dance program gearing students toward a career in show business. Much like many NYC dance centers.

Daniell’ Ficola (above)

Daniell’ Ficola’s class was very enjoyable, nothing magic but satisfactory. She is a fun, smiley and relaxed teacher. Combinations were not too complicated, so I would say the class is more beginner than intermediate. Be sure to try to be close to the studio door once the previous class lets out; her class is quite popular and therefore crowded, so try to get in to get a good place at the barre. Studio size…average. Though with so many people it feels small! If it is winter and the heaters are on, try to get on the portable barre that they drag out into the center, and not on the barres attached to the rear wall right above the HEATERS!!! It gets so hot even after pliés! hehe

« Read the rest of this entry »

Zurich Dance Studio Reviews, Coming Soon!

February 14, 2012 § 3 Comments

I have not written anything here for a while….perhaps I didn’t think there were any ballet studio reviews to write after Marameo hehe.

But! I am in Zurich, Switzerland now until the end of February 2012, and I have already taken classes at two dance studios: Ballett-Tanz Institut Franziska Frei and Colombo Dance Factory.

SADLY I was not able to attend ANY events on the various days of the Prix de Lausanne :O( I was busy getting married! What the hell!?? So not fair. hahaha

Anyhow, I need to take more classes between the two dance centers to develop a more-informed opinion about each studio, so I will be reviewing my little tail off in just a bit! See ya soon!

Dance Studio Review: Marameo, Kreuzberg / Mitte, Berlin, Germany

September 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

Wallstrasse 32
D – 10179 Berlin
U-Bahn: U8 Heinrich-Heine Strasse or U2 Markisches Museum

Space, the final frontier….that ballet studios in Berlin have yet to conquer. Seriously, at every dance studio in Berlin, the ‘saals’ become unpleasantly crowded once attendance reaches 15. I did not realize this until I FINALLY went to the enormous, beautiful and perfect Marameo, but in these crowded dance studios, you actually train yourself to hold back, to make your movements smaller.

It is HONKIN'! I could not even get the whole studio in the photo.

I am so red and sweaty because I can actually dance at 100% at Marameo.

Want to go all out and give 100% in a small, crowded studio? Go for it, but you are going to smack someone upside the head with your jete’ entrelace’, or run into the mirror (see my review of Dock 11)

« Read the rest of this entry »

Finally….the Homemade Flexistretcher

August 5, 2011 § 6 Comments

Oh dear dears, yes I know it took me  a million years to finally post the pictures of my make-your-own-Flexistretcher! You know how it is though, if you dance you are lazy about everything…except actually going to class.

So here it is, and it works! I would even wager that it gives a better stretch than the real Flexistretcher, as mine does not have elastic pieces for extra ‘give.’ Who wants slack and give anyway? You want to crank the hell out of your leg! hahaha

All I used was:

« Read the rest of this entry »

Make Your Own Flexistretcher

June 8, 2011 § 3 Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, stay tuned as I am in the process of making my very own stretching device similar to the Flexistretcher.

Save your $60 plus shipping and make your own Flexistretcher! Come back soon and see what I can make for less than $10 from the hardware and thrift store.

Don’t Make Your Ballet Teacher Depressed: Give 100%

May 20, 2011 § 6 Comments

I know, it sounds funny, but it is something I never have thought about. Thanks to my current teacher, Mirco Fila at Escuela de Danza María Carbonell  in Valencia, Spain for quite vocally showing his frustration at the class today for looking like zombies just going through the motions. I appreciated this as it shows he cares about our progress and thinks we can DO IT.

Many teachers spend much of the day teaching, or if not, perhaps they have a day job from which the come to do something hopefully fun and engaging. Imagine spending all day watching students not giving 100%, looking dead when they execute steps (and not dance!)….that must be depressing!!!

But trying to keep your adult beginner ballet teacher off the anti-depressants not only benefits her/him, it benefits YOU. « Read the rest of this entry »

Dance Studio Review: Pro-Stage, Kreuzberg, Berlin

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

U-Bahn: U7 or U8, Hermannplatz

Urbanstrasse 71
10967 Berlin

+49 30/61209261

(note: the review below is of the old studio on Mehringdamm; once I take a class in the NEW finished Urbanstrasse studio I will update! I did take the very first class in the new studio, but the construction was not yet complete so I can’t give a fair observation of the space.)

Pros: nice morning classes to start your day/Matthew/bright unobstructed studio/great price

Cons: studio is a little small (see note above)/not a lot of variety in teaching styles

Teacher: Matthew Thomas- English National Ballet

I can only say good things about Pro-Stage, really. Matthew Thomas is the main ballet teacher and teaches 4 days a week. I wish there were other classes to take, but I think the studio is starting out and still operating on a small scale. The only bad thing is that the studio is kind of small, but Matthew seems to create the combinations with that in mind (contretemps!) so it really isn’t an issue. Plus the prices are reasonable. 7 euro to try any class for the 1st time, then 9 euro after.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Dance Studio Review: Domus Danza, Buenos Aires, Argentina

May 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

Tacuari 477 at Venezuela
Barrio: San Telmo/Monserrat
Subte: Independencia
4334 6379

Yes! WOOD FLOORS! And great teachers….who teach in flip-fops and jeans :O) They can still do 4 pirouettes in flip-flops, it is incredible.

Another great thing is the price. You can buy an ‘abono mensual’ (monthly pass) choosing 1, 2, 3, or 4 classes a week. I buy the 3 classes a week pass, so I get 12 classes a month for 260 pesos (currently about $65 US)….that works out to less than $5.50 US a class! A one time drop-in class is 40 pesos, or $10 US.

This is my favorite adult ballet school in Buenos Aires. And my second favorite in the world. Alas, it is hard to beat the dilapidated Centre de la Danse du Marais in Paris when doing dance studio reviews.

Sala 1:

« Read the rest of this entry »

Dance Studio Review: Dock 11, Berlin, Germany

April 30, 2011 § 6 Comments

Dock 11, Prenzlauerberg
U-Bahn: U8 Rosenthaler Platz or Senenfelder Platz
Kastanienallee 79
10435 Berlin
+49 30/4481222

In a nutshell: good to great teachers, but the owners really need to make some improvements in the dance studios.

***I cannot stress enough how annoying the 2 ceiling support poles are, especially if the class gets to 10 people or more. It is super irritating trying to improve and you can never complete the combination because you are going to either run into a pole or another dancer. And worst of all, the barres are a homemade cheap-o affair: much too light curtain rods affixed with velcro to a curtain rod bracket. Yes, velcro. Curtain rods. They slide around constantly and feel really wobbly, it is really frustrating. Especially when you know someone could spend 30 minutes and find a cheap, simple, stable fix. In fact, I do not go to Dock 11 any longer unless I am forced to (summer break for many dance studios…). I really wish they would move the ballet classes into Saal 2 and fix the barres. I can’t take it any more! ***

Pros: Variety of teaching styles/clean, modern studios/ classes mornings & evenings/ morning classes are a steal at 7 Euro/ a small cozy cafe inside/nice big mirrors/warm community feeling/ well-ubicated near U Bahn and tram stops/all teachers speak English

Cons: main studio (Saal 1) has 2 big ceiling support poles that really get in the way/the barres are attached..with VELCRO, it is terribly unstable!/evening classes are pricey at 11 Euro drop-in/ no Saturday class/ to buy a month discount class card you must choose either only beginning or only intermediate

« Read the rest of this entry »

Ballet Photo & Video Dictionary

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

You have started your classes and are now being inundated with all these….moves…and…French words! What is a person in adult beginner ballet to do to make sense of all of it?

Here is one of the most handy-dandy resources I have ever found online. It is a wonderful photo and video ballet dictionary put together by the wonderful American Ballet Theater. Want to see how a certain movement or pose that you are having trouble with is done correctly, by a professional ballet dancer?

American Ballet Theatre’s Ballet Dictionary

A dictionary of videos of ballet moves! And the descriptions help a lot too.

I know if I keep watching that jete’ entrelace’ video over and over I will finally get it!