Tuesday, December 30, 2008

DanceMInd: Dear Janie: WInter Season

Well, all the Nutcrackers and Winter season performances are over. It is time to stretch out the feet and enjoy a few days off through New Years.  Along with being with family and friends, or even if you are alone, your mind still dances.  

It may be a good time to review what you want and need to do over the upcoming year. Writing it down is a good idea because it materializes your desires, and offers a place for reference. 

It is easy to just float aimlessly without any real direction. 

Most dancers work very hard in the present moment, have dreams of the future and lose the 'meat,'  or process in between. This is where the true growth and action lay. Breaking it down into pieces gives you a path for change. Using visualizations strengthens and moves the process along more quickly too. 

There are many paths to becoming a professional dancer. A one point focus is mandatory. You have to want it. Breathe it. Demand it. Do not take NO for answer.

I spoke with a Mom recently who was crying because her son was not invited to a prestigious dance program. She brought him in for counseling thinking he had self sabotage. 

Through our work, He has realized that he prefers a smaller company where there is a manageable balance of stress and continued opportunity for lead roles.  He has been working beyond his limits, though injuries and rejection. 

Because he was given a 'no' does not mean that he has defined himself by the no. His determination is even stronger because he has realized his direction and clarified where he wants to dance and how. Nice.  

Everyone's path is a little different. The male dancer took this No as an opportunity to get to know what is important to him. So a no can be a YES!

If you have some time in the next few days, do some writing about what you want, what has become important to you over the last year and of course, your dreams.

Happy New Year all around the World!
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS - I just finished an article for Dancer Magazine on How to Stop Smoking Using Your Mind Power. Feb issue.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie:You Got it!

Yes, take what he says in 'chunks.' Extract what you need to know, what is cliche, incorrect and wrong guidance. Again, you will not change him, yet you can change how you feel and what you accept. 

Try this -- the next time he approaches you and you are not dancing - mirror his movements without being obvious. If he is standing with his arms folded, you can cross your arms lower or cross your legs. If he scratches his nose, brush your cheek. 

This is one way to align subconsciously with someone you do not connect with, yet must have a relationship with. It is sending back a message that is similar and it can create a shift in his behavior.

Many years ago I had a supervisor that was mentally abusive. He would pound people with his photographic memory and intelligence. It was very difficult to consult with him. I mirrored him.  It threw him off, he could not think clearly and cut short the time. The next time we met, he was different, yet still difficult so I did it again subtly and he again could not over power me.

The third interaction he was calmer and we were able to work together.  This is a good way to align with someone to whom you cannot communicate your experience. He would not have understood anything, or would have become very defensive. 

There are more ways to fluff a tutu!

Happy Holidays to you! and Everyone!
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Dear Sanna - at least I'm not left wondering...

The artistic director is rude, nagging, and doesn't know when to stop. Most just try to avoid all contact, because any exchange will inevitably contain something negative. But at least it's all out there so you never have to guess what goes on inside that head. So the other day, I was trying to blend in when the artistic director showed up. The attack came after repeating things a million times in rehearsal, I was trying to let my aching toes air out during the break.

"why are you tired?"
"i'm not tired!"
"what time do you go to sleep? blah blah blah... do you know what to eat? blah blah blah buy this here and cook it, bring a sandwich to ballet. did you bring a sandwich? you are a nice dancer but you could lose more weight. we like you. you are a nice girl. but you're very tall you need to lose some weight. it is very hard to partner you. but i watch you. you are a nice dancer. we see you have something special. you feel more confident now here? remember i watch you. now go eat your sandwich"

but I am learning that pretty much everyone, in the artistic director's mind, could lose a little weight. I know in this profession, I pretty much always need to make sure I am eating right, so I can pretty much discard that part of the conversation, and try to focus on the compliment I possibly heard? They like me. And I am being asked to learn more and more things. I am actually performing a part right now with just 3 other girls, and I am the only new company member of the group. It seems like a pretty special part, actually. All 3 of the other girls have performed principle roles with the company, so it is encouraging to be grouped with them.

Tonight after the show, I got even more feedback. Actually even during, "I watch you. it is better. you pointe your feet. good."

so strange, but I'll take what I can get...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dear Sanna - It's all for YOU

We have 5 ballet masters and an artistic director. That is 12 eyes, 6 different opinions, 6 voices, and 4 languages scrutinizing me all at once. Sometimes I feel like my brain is about to explode! It is hard enough to rehearse, thinking about the choreography, music, spacing, feet, legs, body, arms, and head all in the correct place, without the teachers screaming on top of one another, often different things, that I am expected to fix immediately, right then.

I can feel myself tense up, trying to apply all the corrections, and I start to loose my cool. I forget where I am in the choreography. If I'm told to turn out more, I loose my balance. My shoulders go up and I forget to breathe, and I can feel the tears about to come.

At least that's how it was, or how it is on really bad days, but I am learning to just breathe, smile and apply as many corrections as possible. I have seen my fellow dancers react in such a negative way to corrections, and it's really almost embarrassing. Today a teacher was correcting this girl, who was being so stubborn she refused to take the simplest advice, playing dumb and doing ridiculous things. For what? To prove the teacher wrong? To show she couldn't do it correctly?

In a way I understand how I might be tempted to do such childish things sometimes, but it is really better for everyone to just take the correction. As the teachers say again and again, the corrections are for us. They just want us to be better dancers, and that's what we want, too, right? So I should be happy they are giving me the opportunity to improve. If I never get corrections how will I get better? The teachers appreciate when I apply the corrections, too. The scary teacher I often talk about was giving a correction today and began to name names, and when she got to me she actually said I was okay, which is about the biggest compliment anyone could hope for from this teacher!

Anyway I still need to work on listening to 6 people at once, and figuring out which of the conflicting directions I should take, while continuing to dance on the music, but at least I am controlling my temper...


Thursday, December 11, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Life is Ballet is life.

Bless you my child.  

Dear Sanna - dealing

I know things like this will happen, and I still get upset, but I am learning to let it go more and more quickly. It's bad enough that such horrible words can ruin even a minute of my time. There is no way I am going to let it make me miserable during more of my precious time. You could obviously tell how angry I was when I vented here on the blog, but only one day later I saw another poor soul being tortured, and I realized I had just unfortunately been standing in the line of fire. Anyone who gets too close will be nagged. Nothing positive ever comes out of that mouth. So life goes on.

But even more than that, I am even finding that impossible silver lining in having such an abusive, vocal director. The other day we actually had an hour scheduled with the director just to talk. It was horrible. We were spoken to as if we all wanted to be fat. As if we sat around eating all day and didn't give a damn about how we looked. We were accused of lying and ignoring our boss when asked to lose weight, and they even had the nerve to say that when we get upset or cry because of their harsh words, the tears are out of our own guilt. But everyone knows it's ridiculous, and when it's everyone, it almost bonds us together. The company is able to make light of the situation, just like you said. We laughed about some of the absurd things they said, and since they told us we are no longer allowed to wear black tights and lots of warm-ups in rehearsals to cover up, today we all wore pink tights under our leotards with nothing else for rehearsal and everyone laughed at how silly the whole situation was. And what's even better, we all look great. Not one person looked heavy, and the stupid director even admitted we all looked really good and nobody needs to lose weight. (Another thing that drives me crazy! How could there be such inconsistency?! Why make us miserable one day, just to take it all back the next? It's just stupid games)

Anyway, for me, I find it's best to just act pleasantly naive about the whole thing. I smile innocently and nod, while I picture the director exploding right in front of me. I know any opinion the director may have of me could change any day or not, but it doesn't matter what I do or how I really am. I have no control over the director's distorted point of view, so I will just work my hardest and do what I feel is right.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Dealing with Wild Moments

Learning how to cope with difficult people has been written about for decades. It is no different in the ballet world than in corporate and the neighborhood diner. Yes, the stakes can be higher, yet the interactions between people working together particularly among higher ups and those under their watch can range from respectful to downright abusive.

In this case, Janie, you are in the employ of a artistic director whom you present as mean mouth and uncaring.  His talent and knowledge aside, his behavior is unbecoming of a professional.
You have describe  him to blurt out nasty comments, to not listen and I believe moodiness.

When someone abuses their 'power' or authority speaks of their character. Who he is as a person.  There is nothing you can change about that (unless he gets his a@@ kicked a few toomany times and realizes that he needs help.). Clearly there are problems here, Janie, AND IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU, although he directs his anger toward you and others. However, you can guard against him, protect yourself and take out what you need to know from what he says.

The problem is that you believe you have recourse. If you do speak up, you risk parts, your job, being ignored, etc. AGAIN, this speaks of who he is and how he runs his company.

Look, we all throw temper tantrums on occasion. Yet to batter and embarrass someone in front of others is downright disrespectful.  Apologies are forthcoming, but will most likely not happen. Someone like you, would apologize when you act up. YOU ARE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR BEHAVIOR.

Big Difference.

On the receiving end, you can also TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your response.  Here are a few things you can do.  (HINT:   You can be ready. It will happen again AND you know it is coming.)

1. Zip up!  In the field of energy medicine (Donna Eden)  there is a simple technique that is protective (and it works!)   If someone wants an explaination email me.
 Here's how -  
1. TAP using your fingers right under the knobby bone of the collar bone about 10 times.   
2. Think a positive thought.   
3.  Next is the ZIP up... Place your hand down where a zipper (yes on your jeans) ends and TAKE A DEEP BREATH while you move your hand all the up the center of your body to the lower lip.  You can do this a few times. You are closing up, protecting yourself.

This technique is one of many in the Audition CD program ...
Put up a Wall!  Imagination plays a key role here.  Close your eyes NOW.  Ask yourself, "what can you construct that acts as a barrier between you and him?"  Some people use clouds of safety all around them, or God's love, or even a Rainbow Wrap.  Use your visualizing powers to create the experience. Breath it up. Make it really feel powerful and protective.
NOW, when you go to class, you Zip up and protect yourself with your imagery. Try it. You will be surprised.

Anyone who has results, please let us know, too!

You could also say in a calm tone, "Mr. _________, please do not talk to me that way. I find it offensive and demeaning."

You could ask for a meeting with you, him and another staff member and voice your concerns.


You can realize that he is an angry hostile man and take what you need to know and leave his hostilities with him.  It is also a good idea to have feedback from others and to be clear with who you are and what is true for you.  

When you go to dance, you want to look your best and feel comfortable - Consider getting rid of the leotard.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Dancing Mad ...

Sanna has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine (3 times), Dance Studio Life (11/08) and Dance Magazine recommends "Stepping to Sleep" audio for help with sleep problems. Look for her upcoming article in Dancer Magazine, Jan 09!
Janie,  Thank you. What a day for you!   You certainly know this experience  you described here is common.   Yesterday I thought of you and this 'posted' situation.

I was at the grocery store and overheard a conversation between two employees. One was furious about schedule changes because the wrong schedule was posted. She was pissybecause she was working with a 'slacker' and she was also informed that she was not smiling enough on the floor.  The other employee complained too, "Yeah, they told me that last month - You need to smile more. They need to pay me more to smile more." and on and on......

If you do not believe you have any recourse in the way of speaking up or getting more info, then your choice is to change how you respond to their comments. We can never control how someone delivers a comment. We cannot control the words they choose either. (We all have made that mistake of saying something wrong or hurtful.)

In a professional setting, one is expected to treat others, no matter what position, with undue respect, kindness and regard. That doesn't mean that tempers fly or inappropriate remarks do not flair, that would be very naive of me to say that.  When there is a consistent bullying, or patterns of communications then there are deeper problems then just having a bad day

Personality factors come into play when there is that consistency, meaning that he has problems. You have described this director as being impulsive, rude and demeaning. I am sure there is more but for sake of brevity.   People who do that to others are deeply troubled and very angry individuals. 

What an a@@ this person is. 

Without getting too deep here, if someone is consistently rude and crosses over boundaries, You have  a decision to make, Janie cause you know it is going to happen again.

1. You know your body type.  You know your height, weight, proportions.  "Big Girl" does not describe you. PERIOD. He is very unprofessional to set blame on you especially if your partner is not doing his part and they messed up the choreography. 

 If you were 5 '11, I could see that there would be a need for adjustments. That doesn't even make sense. Again, the word a@@ keeps coming to my mind.

Not all feedback is correct.  In ballet, body image becomes very distorted because of the demands from some "teachers."  What is the percentage of anorexic dancers? 70 - 80%?
You cannot rely on HIM for accurate feedback.

You always have the personal right to decide what the hell to do with such off the wall, bizarre comments -  (Expect more from him)
1. Take him aside and scream in his face. (It could happen. LAst resort.)
2. Run out of the room crying. (Could happen. Could excuse yourself politely)
3. Call a conference with a third person and speak your mind. (Could happen. He could be set straight by a higher up.)
4. Suck it up and have indigestion later. (Not advisable.)
5. Use humor. "Yes, I am HUUUUGE!"
6. Use some avenue to handle it.

Here is an even harder question --
Is there some truth, any inkling of truth to what was said. (EVEN IF  YOU BELIEVE IT in the furthest corners of your brain -- It still doesnot make it OK that he said that to you.). Yes, you have had difficulty with a few pounds, yet you have done a good job of dropping excess. 

This is hard to look at, I know.  You have worked hard at this issue. So stay with me and ask yourself for the sake of honesty without passing judgement or being critical. Because if YOU BELIEVE it, then you may need to change YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM, not necessarily your body.

Do you hear what I am saying?  You may need to change your belief system about your body.

2. Do you accept his remark, or do you leave it with him. (You know -- "I am rubber you are glue what you say bounces off me and sticks to you.") You do not want echos of THAT in your brain.  DO NOT INTERNALIZE his remark. This man has problems. 

Say something like, "I love my body." I work hard to stay slim and strong."  What do you believe, and what can you say in your mind when this  happens to counter what he is saying.
Do not let his comment take away your esteem.  Be ready for it.

If you allow it to become personal, it becomes personal.  You can leave it with him. Like a pie in the face. 

I would really like to hear form others who have had this problem of being spoken to with disrespect for a any reason.

I will add a technique for you tomorrow that will help you when this happens.  
Next time you will be ready.  Did I say a@@?

Love ya -

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear Sanna - so.much.anger.

I was actually having an almost boring week, as far as ballet goes, to the extent that I couldn't even really choose anything to write about. It was almost too good to be true, so I wasn't really surprised when it was ruined by my stupid, mean, nagging, b*tch of an artistic director! (Sorry, but this is really my only chance to let it all out)

First of all, it was the first time rehearsing a ballet since a terrible partial performance a few weeks earlier. We hadn't even rehearsed enough to perform the cut version of this ballet, and it was pretty much a disaster. Like most things here, I considered it a good experience, trying to figure out what I was doing in a stressful situation for which I was not prepared, but that's really not the point of this story...

So we were rehearsing an especially sticky part that never really worked quite right, and although I know it's not nice to point fingers, my partner wasn't exactly helping matters. We had already had several private rehearsals with just the two of us, where the teacher tried dancing with him and actually did blame him for pulling me off my leg. Then during this most recent rehearsal, we discover we were all taught the wrong choreography, so it's been even harder than necessary. So we're all trying to adapt to the changes, with not enough space, bad partners, and short tempers. I also happened to be wearing an especially unflattering leotard, since my other was completely soaked after class with the crazy strict teacher I'm sure I've mentioned in the past.

In waltzes none other than our nutcase director, only to see my frustration when my partner cannot even remember the changes in the choreography. Just to add some fuel to the fire, the director basically tells me it is impossible to partner me because I'm a big girl (I'm told that ALL the time. even when it's not necessarily meaning I'm fat. Apparently they just think I'm so big here) AND that I've gained a lot of wait.


first of all, UNTRUE. I have been told to lose weight here several times, and most times I agreed, even if it was ridiculous the way I was told days later, as if that is enough time to change my body. But last time I was told to lose a certain amount of weight, I lost that and more, so at the moment I actually weigh less than requested. The director is so stupid, not being able to tell the difference between an unflattering leotard and weight gain!! And I really think the cruel words might have also been just for the sake of hurting my feelings or playing games with me. It's not that I believe that I am fat, it's that I know the director may see me that way, and what the director thinks is unfortunately very important for the sake of my career. It is so infuriating!

And I know I am not in denial, because I know my body AND people have come up to me and told me what the director said was completely out of line. I just hate being nagged and criticized all the time with no chance to ever stick up for myself or explain or even ask a freaking question! The whole rehearsal I was actually trying to ask for clarification about the choreography but everyone was just ignoring me! I just get SO SO mad about the whole situation.

But I am breathing and thinking logical thoughts and getting through. I know in my mind what is right and that it will all blow over and be fine, but I just hate how the director chooses someone and something to pick on and will not cease until there is a new person to bully. I will just have to wait it out until it is someone else's turn, and for the meantime try to block out all the b.s.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Dancing ...

Sanna has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine, Dance Studio Life Magazine and Stepping to Sleep has been recommended by Dance Magazine, June 2008.


In your recent post you mentioned thinking during dance.  Let's give some attention to that in this post. It is a common approach to dancing that can be problematic.

Think back --  What is the common denominator of those dance occasions when you were 'on it,' 'in the zone,' 'unconscious,' or 'not knowing what happened?"  You know, you could not have done better. It felt strong. You were on your marks. Your energy was high. Your nailed it.

Thinking nothing.

You let go.  You trust that you have learned, rehearsed, and are ready.

There was no direction. The training took place earlier, now you are in performance mode.
Thinking when you are performing returns you to the studio in class where you are learning.

In order to excel up in your higher range possibility, you have to stop the thinking.  When the curtain goes up Janie, you must be ready to 'perform.'  

Understand that thinking slows down the body. It interferes with the Central Nervous System and the body can get confused. You are moving faster than you can think about what you are doing.  The body can move on its own once you are taught.

Think about walking. Do you say ... right foot, left foot ... swing those arms ... etc

Or how about speaking? Do you spell each word? or Think of your sentences before you speak them? No. Unless you are making a speech.  

You trust and you do it.

Same with dance performance, including auditions.

Let me know what you think, Janie. (or anyone else reading too)

To Your Best,
Sanna Carapellotti, MS, CHT

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dance Mind: Dear Janie, Proud of you!!!

Sanna has been featured in Dance Spirit, Dance Studio Life and Stepping to Sleep has been recommended by Dance Magazine, June/2008.

You said so many good things in your last post.  I will recap and expound on a few now.

1. Thanksgiving.  I know that where you live there is no Thanksgiving celebration. How can you take a moment in your day to offer gratitude for what you do have right where you are and back here in the US?  This is a good time to remember precious times, ie parties with friends, Thanksgiving dinners as a child, your favorite dish, family events, how far you have traveled in miles AND maturity. 

Create your own meal. Teach the dancers where you live now the joy of Thanks - Giving!  That would be a really nice experience for you and your new friends! Offer them a piece of our culture.  You can start your own traditions. Just as immigrants traveled here to the USA and continued their traditions.

I will be sending love your way tomorrow - and thanks for being here with me and our readers.

2. PREPARING FOR PERFORMANCE.  I am so happy to hear that you are tuning into FOODS that nourish your body and mind for performance.  We all have different needs, taste and thresholds, yet,  if we all ate consciously and powerfully we would be more efficient and successful. Food makes a difference. For those of you who do not think it is important, make a few changes and see what happens!

Even in my work, I know what I can eat (whole simple foods) to be highly intuitive and effective. I plan for it and do not deviate. Just like you, Janie, I owe my best to client who pay me for services. Every sessions demands attention because every session is healing and very empowering.

In the Audition CD program is a review of this and a place where you can put all the foods for performance that work for you ... Pay attention. See how you feel. What works and gives you the energy you need.

Consider - chicken, eggs, grains, fruits and veggies. Lots of water of course. Save the high calorie drinks, burgers, sodas and junk foods for another time.

Stop eating SUGAR!  Sugar can increase jumpiness in the body (Central Nervous system takes a huge hit). Memory can be impaired. (YES!)  When the body does not feel right then the mind and emotions feel the dis-ease.
Times when I am back stage I see so many cookies and cupcakes. Not to mention weight gain, it is best to stay away from those sweets.

Pay attention! to what you put into your mouth - if you want to perform your best. Diet makes a difference.

I am going to close for now and address the other things later.

I do want to mention that I am gearing up for audition season myself. (as a Performance Specialist!) If you feel worried and afraid, there is no need to feel that away about something you love and live for. If you need assistance to clear out fear so you can be pure power, call me. We can work on the phone. (I have clients all over the country!) There is no reason for you to continue in that way.

Gotta love ya!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS == "Bring on the Butterflies!"  Dance Studio Life Magazine, Nov 2008. Read Sanna's interview!  It is not available on line yet but it is in the magazine!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Sanna - staying focused

I think all this performing experience is really good for me. I am finding out a lot about myself and how to best prepare for and perform a piece. I am noticing which foods sit best in my stomach and give me energy for the show, what I need to do in a warm-up class in order to prepare myself for a show, how to go over things in my mind so I feel prepared to perform, and how to focus my mind. Last week we performed a piece we had only finished the day before and barely rehearsed. It was obviously going to be a mess, and on top of our being under-rehearsed, the stage was tiny, which made spacing even more difficult. But we pulled together and composed ourselves as well as we could. I went over the steps in my head a few times and talked about the order of the show and when/where quick changes occurred to make sure we knew what we had to do before the show. There were actually two performances in one day. The first was quite messy, but I felt I had rehearsed the movements enough in my mind that I was prepared as I could have been, even if I was dodging scenery, wings, and other people when dancing full-out on the stage made it seem even smaller than before.

I also found it quite helpful to go through the steps in my head, applying any corrections I get during class or rehearsals. Not only is it important to take corrections and really work on things to be a better dancer, but when I know specific things like this to think about while I am dancing, my mind is less likely to wander at all, let alone to those negative thoughts that psych me out and result in mistakes.

If my mind does wander, I try to shake it off, too, like you mentioned. I do find it hard once the thought is in my head to stop it, so it is usually better not to let my mind go there at all.

I am having a great time with lots of performing and exploring and making new friends and all of this! It's hard and sometimes sad to think about my family getting ready for Thanksgiving back home, and all my friends who will be visiting during the holidays. It will also be the first time ever I will not see my friends and family on New Year's, which will be sad, but I know I will see them eventually and luckily modern technology allows us to keep in touch pretty well. I really am making great friends here, though, so being away during the holidays could be much, much, worse. We all knew going into this career there would be sacrifices...


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sanna in Dance Studio Life Magazine!

Does your heart race before a performance? D0 you feel jumpy? Have butterflies?

Then you need to read "Bring on the Butterflies in Dance Studio Life Magazine, Nov. 2008

I was interviewed by Nancy Wozney. 

It is a good article to share with your dance mates.
It will help you to understand that your heart and knees are just excited to dance! Read it! Your dance teacher may have it. Ask her!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Friday, November 14, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Talk, Talk Talk

I want to tell you this -- Your thoughts can be managed. Of course thoughts influence how you feel. EVERY thought changes your physiology and is linked to an emotion. Stressful thoughts trigger fear and anxiety cycles.  

THOUGHT STOPPING -- is an easy way to stop negativity, rants, fear based thoughts, anything that does not support the possibility of a wonderful performance.

AS SOON AS you become aware of thoughts , say STOP either silently or quietly -- and move your body around. (this breaks the physical state). Taking charge of these repetitive that are habits puts you in charge. You might have to repeat it many times because these thoughts can take over. 

This is a simple but highly effective technique. Any time thoughts interfere, use it.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dear Sanna - mistakes

As far as my conscious actions regarding the show and the music mishap, I must say I was pleased with how I handled it, as a result of doing exactly what you said. After past experiences with reacting to things on stage, I realized that in this sort of situation the best thing to do is ignore it, or pretend nothing is wrong on stage. However, I wish I had not gotten so worked up about the whole thing. I could feel my muscles tensing as I struggled to hold the position. Although it is not a comfortable position at any time, it was somehow harder in this situation and my mind was racing about the possibilities of what could happen. In a way, I did psych myself out a little, because when we finally did perform the piece, I was very shaking and scared and my mind was still buzzing a little with negative thoughts or fears about messing up. I think this always tends to happen during shows, but I wish I could avoid these thoughts, because usually the only time the fears actually come true is when I am thinking about them.

On a different note, we have a guest choreographer here setting a new piece. The choreographer watched a few classes and one of the shows, and then worked with us all after class one day to choose people for the piece. I was not expecting at all to be picked, because we knew only a small number of girls and boys would be in it, and there are more than that number of girls that would be the obvious choice over me. I thought this was a good thing, because I wasn't too too worked up during the "audition" and classes, although I can never be completely normal in such a situation. Anyway I thought I did okay, for me. Then casting went up, and the assumed girls were chosen, but a second cast was also there. I hadn't considered this possibility, and when my name was not on the second cast list, either, I must say I was very disappointed. No I did not consider myself among the top third of the girls in the company, but I had hoped I was at least in the top 60 percent.

Anyway I debated with myself about staying anyway for a chance to see and try some different choreography, etc, but decided it was weird for me to just stay for a guest choreographer's rehearsal for which I was not chosen. But on my way out, the artistic director stopped me and gave me some corrections. The director was apparently surprised I was not chosen and thought I danced beautifully and I look like a dancer (something I had not really heard before). The director did say that I really need to work on using my head and upper body more, and that audience members noticed, too, so perhaps that may explain why I wasn't chosen for the choreography piece. Anyway there was also some hinting that it was a shame I was not working with the guest, so I asked if it would be disrespectful to go late to the rehearsal that was going on at the time and learn the choreography. The director encouraged it and I am happy I went. Even though I felt silly and had to endure the thoughts I imagined going through the heads of the other dancers, I felt good knowing I was working on my weaknesses. Feeling sorry for myself doesn't help anyone. And I think the conversation with the artistic director was encouraging, as well.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Mistakes

There was a little girl who was seven years old who took ballet. It was her recital. She stood on the stage with her class, the music started and the teacher in the wings lead the class to dance a piece that was not theirs! This seven year old girl stood her ground. She did not move from her mark and  we watched her motioning to the teacher that she was doing the wrong piece. Finally after about thirty seconds the teacher realized her mistake, stopped and restarted.  It makes for a memorable 'human' experience.

Janie, you have to know and accept that 'things' will happen during a performance. Once you accept that, then you are more able move with the snags. It is unpredictable, Uncertain and yet probable. ALTHOUGH EVERYONE IS DOING THEIR BEST.

It might make for a good discussion to ask others what kinds of things have happened and how did they handle them.

Audience members show great empathy and care when things happen so it is not really about them.  Your job is to be well rehearsed and ready for performance! (and that includes responding to incidence.) 

If you 'react,' here is what you can do ... Review in your mind, what you could have done differently. Practice the 'emotional' correction several times.  What you will notice that this gives you the vision to be creative in your solutions.  Each situation  calls for a different response. Sometimes it may be that you must stand still until you are notified. Maybe you know you must get out of the way. 

Catch your breath by deliberately putting your attention on it. Breath a couple of times at that higher rate and then gradually slow it down.  You will recover more quickly and be ready to continue with the performance.

Apologize. If necessary make an apology to the appropriate folks if you  make a mistake. Taking ownership and showing accountability speaks very loud of your integrity.

You certainly do not want to go into a performance worried about something happening, yet it is the nature of the beast. Things can go awry. Yet, a concerted effort to stay focused, to help if you can, manage yourself - cause the show will eventually go on.

What do you think you could have done differently?

Part of the maturation of being a dance professional as I guess it is for any type of work is responsibility and accountability.

It sounds to me as if you did a nice job, yet it also sounds like there can be some tweaking you can do to build your inner mental muscle.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dear Sanna - performing

The other night was my first time performing a piece where I start on stage standing in a less-than-comfortable position as the curtain comes up. I always get some butterflies before shows, and usually feel like I have to go to the bathroom, but this is normal so I was trying to relax and calm my usual nerves when the stage manager called places. So the curtain goes up and I immediately fight the feeling that I'm going to tip over backwards, and regain my focus and balance. Then the music starts. But not at the beginning, right in the middle of the piece. So we all just stand there and try not to react until the music stops and starts again in the same (wrong) place. Then the lights go out. And back on. And off and the curtain goes down. Great start. So we all kind of laugh it off while they work out the glitch and then everything is fine and we start for real. But I was so drained from trying to hold the position and my nerves were fried! It was definitely a less-than-perfect show after that. Nothing went terribly wrong, but the whole thing was very shaky and did not feel as clean as it could've been.

The next piece was not perfect either, but was so much fun! There were actually parts that did not go well at all, but for some reason I had such fun on stage! The ironic part is that this is in no way my favorite choreography or music or anything else, for that matter. I HATE rehearsing it, and I really just generally dislike the piece. Go figure.

So it wasn't a terrible show, but there is definitely room for improvement. I think I am learning and growing a lot, though, from these experiences. I feel that past experiences like this have taught me how to deal with such things. As I stood and listened to the music malfunction, I recalled past experiences of having to improvise on stage. In the past, I regretted reacting to such things and I remember thinking a more professional response would have been to pretend not to notice. So that's what I did this time, and it was definitely appropriate. I am learning more and more about how to deal with the bad things that inevitably happen in the performing arts, and I am learning more and more about myself and how to control my own reactions.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: The Audition

Continued discussion -
The idea of doing your best is misunderstood. One often thinks of perfection.  

Every day is an opportunity to improve your ability to dance. 

What if you have a difficult day? You feel crampy and tired. You are in the middle of exams. You just can't get it right.  Your mind is racing. Your face is scrunched.
How do you manage? Push yourself harder? 

It is one day.

Give this some consideration. Back to you ... with some tips to get thru a crazzzyyyy day like this.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: The Audition

Janie, You realize that even being a professional dancer you have to be your mark every day. You do not audition per se, however, your directors are watching, considering and looking thru a creative lense to determine which roles are best suited for the company.

Oops - My appointment is here ...
Back in touch ...


DanceMind: Dear Janie: The Audition

This is the time of year Auditions begin. However, many schools have internal for performances, such as the Nutcracker. For som dancers just thinking about an audition tightens the core and brings on tears. Many of the worries are silent to their teachers, parents and even to self.

One client, Maggie had severe cramps before EVERY audition.  She THOUGHT it was Hormonal and fought thru them. Her auditions did not go to well.  In session she discovered that the cramps were fear based - "I messed around in class."  "I am not good enough."  

We actually calmed her cramps thru a high powered conversation that PROVED that she was good enough, that she did work hard and COULD get in with a stronger presence.

It worked, no more cramps, and she got into on of the top summer programs. She also listened to Audition Excellence for one week before every audition. This help to recondition her mind.

SANNA'S COMMENT:  You must look beyond the audition experience, meaning before and after. It is not just what occurs at the TIME of the audition. 

Yes, you do want to do well, yet consider this - everyday is an audition. Your teachers are observing, guests take note because they want to see who is consistent, strong, present, has a winning attitude, and who can learn choreography, etc. If you do not push yourself in class, how can you expect to do any better at an audition. If you approach an audition with the certainty that you have put your best foot forward, then you are free to do your best. If you KNOW that you have not been paying attention, missing class, etc, then that guilt can manifest as a 'symptom,' like Maggie. Of course "she would develop the belief - I am not good enough. In reality she was not and the outcome affirmed her belief.
She was playing a mind game and not taking her classes time seriously enough.

If you practice doing the best you can do at that moment (and push a bit) You will be accustomed to knowing what that feels like for you. Then when you go to an audition, you will have already been 'auditioning' and enjoying the feel of dancing within your best range.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Saturday, October 25, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: In Pieces.

Sorry I have not on the blog. The trip to Europe for 10 days put me behind and this week was catch up.  In the next few days I have several things that need to be accomplished here. 

1. responding to your posts, of course.
2. I am having a drawing for the book I have listed below as one to read.
3. We need to talk about auditioning as we are moving into that season. Hey you are NOT auditioning this year. Except now, every day is an audition of sorts.
4. Look for a a discussion on talkshoe.com about audition. Nine Tips To Your Best Audition.


I do have a question - You have a way of pushing yourself beyond what most people can handle.
  • Do you think that this is required of dancers, ballet expecially?
  • How do you know when you have to stop and care for yourself?  For example, burning, blistered, painful toes can lead to infections which would most likely sideline you for a few days and set a recovery period.  When  do you draw the line?  A Broken bone? A gaping wound? Obvious illness?
  • It is an interesting dilemma for performers, musician, athletes.  How many push thru a game or performance with serious injuries that would send most people to bed.
I think your opinion matters. Lets discuss this back and forth. With you being a professional ballet dancer, I think a lot of the dancers here would like to hear what happens within you that allows you to continue.
  • Also, is it different now that you are a professional?
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Sanna - more irony

So the artistic director decided to choreograph a new piece, even though we have PLENTY to work on right now, with many shows in the near future. I was one of the "lucky" chosen ones, and I came to realize this was not necessarily such a great thing as the more experienced company members seemed to slip out. I know any dancing experience is good, and it's good to work with the director, but this piece is just bad, and sometimes I think it is truly impossible to make a good impression while dancing this choreography.

That said, today was an especially draining day of rehearsals, ending of course with the new piece. By then my toes hurt so badly I seriously considered asking to take my pointe shoes off, but I figured I might as well just suck it up, since the choreography is so sloppy anyway that if it hurt that bad I could probably get away with not doing everything en pointe. I really don't like to have to ask to do things on flat, or really draw any attention to my weaknesses. I don't think it looks good, I don't think directors want to hear it, and it's not going to kill me to keep my shoes on for one more hour. No pain no gain, right? And to tell the truth, I was wearing my shoes a lot longer and in a lot more pain last year...

So in rehearsal today I was just desperately trying, as usual, to do what the director wanted, with "more energy!" yet still somehow natural like we aren't trying, while still keeping my technical integrity. This is nearly impossible, but I still try. Anyway we somehow made it to the end of the rehearsal and in the final run I actually messed up really badly near the end and skipped a bit. I dance a lot in this piece with two other girls, and they were right. It wasn't really a big deal. The piece is a mess and it was the first time we had added the new section I messed up. But the artistic director pointed to one of the other girls and said "you couldn't do it with the music" and I said there was a little extra time, because I thought it was directed at all of us. Then the director told me how well I did. But I was very wrong and dancing very badly. Like I said, I was really tired. I just don't understand! When I am working my butt off I am told I look like I am marking. But when I'm exhausted and can't remember the choreography, I am loved!

There are some things I will just never understand.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dear Sanna - what we think we want

It's so funny how we can be so wrong about what we want sometimes. The other day we were all so excited when we saw the schedule, thinking it would be a nice easy day with two actual breaks (meaning longer than 5 minutes). Most days it seems like we don't have a second to rest or think in between rehearsals, and although we don't think about it much during, by the end of the day we are exhausted! But as the day dragged on, we all got lazier and less happy, and by the end we were all complaining about how it was such a horrible day because we didn't do anything! It's funny how what we thought would be a nice easy day turned out to be kind of a bore. It feels like we haven't accomplished anything when there is so much wasted time. Funny how that works. Maybe we just like complaining...

But speaking of free time, I am starting to feel more and more comfortable here and making more friends and more plans. It's really nice to be busy for a change. However, I am also starting to think about things I "should" do, such as work on learning the language, or maybe look into more college courses. I promised myself (and my family for that matter) that I would keep up with some sort of studies. I think it is very important to learn the language here, even if I am only staying for a year. It would be a great thing to take away from this experience, plus it will be very useful while I am here. I think maybe I will start setting goals for myself as far as that goes. I am using Rosetta Stone, a language computer program, so maybe I will try to master a lesson each week. We'll see how it goes...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

DanceMind- Dear Janie, Hello!

I am at this moment in the same part of the world with you, not close enough for a visit as it would take a several hour plane ride, however, I am closer than the USA.

Your description of 'super hard teacher class' is amusing. Burning toes, very difficult and demanding ... Most people would shake their heads wondering 'What joy could there possibly be in that?'

When burning passion is enlivened (in other words, You are doing what you love, have to do) your threshold rises and you embrace the whole experience. The burning toes and aching body, long hours, demands AND the bright lights, applause and beautiful costumes.

You have to put all your eggs in one basket to be good.

Back to you. We ar eleaving this area to travel to one of the most historic cities in the world. Hmmmm where could I be?

Love to all -
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS - Auditioning? Getting ready for a performance? Ck out the Performance Package on the on live store. Janie loves it; Clarissa, loves it and so does Amanda.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dear Sanna - owwww :)

We had our super hard scary teacher again for class today, which makes me really happy because I hope that means this will become a regular thing. We were afraid she would only be doing rehearsals for a while, since there is a lot of rehearsing for her to do, aside from teaching class as well. Then on top of that, we had our hardest, longest rehearsal first, so we started our day with two really difficult things.

By the end of the first rehearsal today my toes felt that stinging, sharp pain that only results from hours in pointe shoes. And there were still TWO more rehearsals to go! The second rehearsal was just torture, and I was afraid to even put my shoes back on after the 5 minute break before the last rehearsal, but somehow I managed to go en pointe long enough to get through. I must say though, the fact that my toes hurt almost makes me sort of happy in a weird way. Because I know that I am working really hard and the more often I wear pointe shoes, the longer I can wear them before I get to that painful point. Almost like I build up an immunity to it, so it's not all bad (hence the smiley after owww).

So it's nice to think I am being challenged here and hopefully improving, because that really was one of my main goals in coming here. I wanted to get experience, improve, hopefully make a little money, and be able to add a professional dancing job to my resume. So it seems like I am accomplishing all of these things and more. Even when I am feeling down, it's nice to remind myself of these things.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dear Sanna - Piece Struggles

When I first begin working with a new company or new teachers or dancers, I always feel uneasy about certain things at the beginning. Specifically here, I felt very distant from my fellow dancers. I would come in and say hi to people, and they would respond, but nothing more. If there was a group of people talking, it would always be in their language, so it was awkward to join in. It would have been hard enough to invite myself into a conversation in English, but it is impossible to know when to interrupt the gibberish. Even worse was I didn't have much to say.

Other times, I would be speaking alone with one kind soul who would talk to me a little in English, and another native would come over and start speaking their language and it was like I didn't exist anymore. I thought it would never get better, but now I am finding I wish they would speak more in their own language so I could learn.

Another frustration also dealt with language. The teachers NEVER give important information in English. I find myself completely confused after a 5 minute explanation, and it seems like nobody can explain what I should be doing. Many times I would be asked impatiently why I didn't have my shoes on or why I was on the wrong side of the studio, when there was absolutely no reason I should know what to do. Finally I am starting to pick up enough of the language where I can at least decipher what I should do, or I have the intuition to guess. If not, at least I know who to ask or follow. At the beginning, I never thought I would be able to understand one word, but I am finding my vocabulary expanding each day.

I am also learning my teachers, so I am better at picking up the combinations, even when they are unclear (more often than not). I am even used to the oh-so-slippery floors!

Is that what you meant by piece struggles? Hope so hehe


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dear Sanna - Roommates

Living so closely with someone can be tough, especially when we work together as well. But it seems like communication is really key. In past experiences, I found that the more that goes unsaid between roommates, the more tension builds up. In my case now, we are really open about everything. We aren't afraid to get down and dirty and discuss even really unpleasant or nitpicky things. Sometimes I feel silly breaking things down to the dollar, when it comes to sharing expenses, but if I am really precise about it I hope it will prevent either of us from feeling cheated. It seems obsessive, but I think it may be necessary, because when we aren't exact about it I either end up feeling like I got the short end of the stick or I end up over compensating when it seems like I got the better end of the bargain.

I have also been building up my network of friends other than my roommate, so it is nice to know I have other people to talk to if there is a roommate issue, or just if I need a break. One really good friend of both my roommate and I sometimes even acts as a bit of a mediator between us. When we all get together sometimes it's really nice to just talk about everything and anything with a third perspective.

At the moment, I am trying to find my balance between being overly sensitive to my roommate and sacrificing my own needs and being selfish about what I want. I think mostly I need to be a little more assertive, because I often find myself nodding in agreement to what others suggest, even if it's not exactly what I want. However, I would hate to make others feel that way, and I seem to be much less picky and kind of indecisive sometimes, so it's not necessarily bad for me to have an assertive roommate.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Piece Struggles

Tell us/me about the initial piece struggles you mentioned. That is a common experience. Please talk about YOUR experience.

Back to you tomorrow --

Dear Sanna - today

Our crazy, scary, REALLY strict teacher taught class today and it was amazing! It was so refreshing to have a really challenging class, and the fact that I got through was encouraging, because I often fear I am becoming like so many lazy company members I have seen in the past. I hope we have this teacher more often, since this is the first time in weeks. I think it will be really good for us as a company, and her class really inspires me to work harder.

I also heard some encouraging words from the artistic director about a piece I initially really struggled with, so that is also good news! In this company, we are all encouraged to learn as many things as possible, because if anyone ever gets injured or something happens, anyone who shows they can do the part could go in. That said, there are still specific things people are told to learn, even if they will not necessarily perform, and I am happy to see that I am being told to learn more and more. It's nice to know they see me potentially dancing more here.

By the end of the day, we were all exhausted. It was uncharacteristically dark, and we were rehearsing later than normal, and the focus started to dwindle. But it was actually really fun in a way! The company felt almost bonded together, not really by a common enemy, since we weren't necessarily mad or against anyone. But we all felt the same tired, hungry, ready-to-go-home feeling, and everyone was being kind of silly and chatty and it was the first time I actually felt really close with a lot of people in the company. It was really nice, and just proves what I keep saying, time makes everything better! It's not like some break through moment made me feel at home here, or friendly with the company members, it's just that over time we have become closer. I know at times it seems like you will never be friends with certain people or feel you belong, but patients goes a long way.


Monday, October 6, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: That's it!

This is the energy that is who you are.  Although this is brief, give some thought to how this love 
helps you get thru difficult moments. It is a commitment. Body, Mind and Spirit.  The dark and the lights.  The confines of choreography and the freedom to express your personal quality. The beauty and sweat ...

Roommates is a good topic.

Gotta sleep ---


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dear Sanna - Living the Dream

It's true. I am doing exactly what I want to do. It's like getting paid for my favorite hobby, like my dad getting paid for his leisurely bike rides after work. That's why I always knew I had to go for it while I have the chance, so I will never feel like I missed my chance to do what I love, like those people you described hearing about your daughter's career.

I am so happy to get up every morning and go to work. I LOVE taking ballet class. It's just the most perfect way I can think of to begin each day, even when it's not the best class. I can't think of many people who have the opportunity to start every day with their favorite activity. It's amazing. And I love my coworkers, which helps a lot. I've always felt a strong connection to my fellow dancers - I think it takes a certain type of person to go after a career in classical ballet, so it's nice to be around those people at my job and chat and have fun during breaks.

We have really been having a lot of fun bonding and becoming more comfortable with each other, spending so much time together touring and rehearsing. It really is like a family. And the people I complain about work the same way. It's like family, of course certain things will start to get on my nerves, but I love them deep down. I've even made a little progress with my roommate, discussing some of the things that really bother me, and letting other things go when I realize they don't really matter.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: let's talk about dance --

Dance is an everyday experience. When you are not dancing you thinking about choreography, roles, previous performances, improving turns, class last week, dreams, conversations ... Dance maintains a steady presence in your life.  It fills you. You have to dance.

I am continually amazed by the number of strangers, friends and family who are fascinated by my daughter's dance career. (she is a professional ballet dancer.) ( I think sometimes people feel obligated to ask "Where is your son/daughter at college?") Rather than the usual response of 'she is at such and such of college'  I watch their eyes brighten and notice a rise of interest that draws more questions about her career path, her work ethic and discipline, her determination. People are drawn into the story, want to hear about her dancing.

It is awe inspiring for me to speak of her. 

Yet there is another aspect to this  friendly discussion that is worth mentioning.

I wonder how many people are really living their dreams.  Following their passion. Filling their moments with what inspires them. Sharing their gifts with others.  Feeling juiced about what they do. get excited talking about what they do ...

It is almost as if they (strangers, friends and family) live vicariously thru her in that moment, as they listen to the story of dedication, of commitment about  someone who followed (insisted on) her dream of becoming a ballet dancer.  There is  elation and admiration for her, a 'good for her' cheer.  yet I detect a hint of personal resignation.

Often times there is an addendum to the conversation, "Yeah, I wanted to be a musician, an artist .... a designer ... a potter ... a writer ....

I often hear of those who regret not pursuing a career in the arts because of family demands or ideas of living a life of poverty, or something or someone that steered them toward 'sensible' work.  Maybe they gave it up or pushed it aside. Years later, the suppressed creativity surfaces as a depression or deep sadness or loss and regret.

I could not imagine suppressing my daughter's passion for ballet. I could see it in her eyes. I watch her take class even when she was not feeling well, or in lieu of socializing.  I see her taking care of herself to dance her best. I sat with her while she sewed her shoes. Helped her through very dark moments. Applauded her triumphs. Comforted her when she was not selected as a dream fairy (age 11).

How could I have selfishly stopped her quest when her effort was so great. That energy cannot be contained. It must be expressed.

 Little did I know that her story may possibly give others a message of hope to follow their own dreams, no matter what age.

Mark is one such story that draws attention. 

Mark is 53. He started taking ballet 4 years ago. A professional man, his family and friends are shaking their heads, "Mark, what are you doing?  Why are you dancing? Are you crazy?"

He is passionate, loves the feel of ballet movements thru his body and is determined to perform one performance.  I am so inspired by him, my daughter, "Janie," and all of you who persist. Dance - you have to.  

"I can't imagine not dancing. It is my life." Spoken by a dancer just like you ---

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT
Performance Specialist and Hypnotherapist

Thursday, September 25, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie: Friends and Dance

You have a friend.

We all experience changes in friendships.  Whether it is in a work related situation, neighbors, girlfriends, boyfriends, that introductory period is when our best self is presented. Thru time it becomes difficult to hold up those appearances and we settle in to more of our personalities.  

Of course you will notice traits and behaviors you do not like, or care to be privy to. All of us want to have 'fun,' interact freely and not be bothered by seeing the real parts of others' personalities. It spoils all the fun, doesn't it.

It is true for all of us. You and I included.

Think about other relationships you have and notice how they have progressed thru time.
People you thought were one way when you first met them can show a very different side as you get to experience them managing stress, interacting with people of all ages, or being involved in their lives (and yours!). How they handle criticism or money. How they interact with family members. How they communicate ....  (list is very long)

If you recall a few posts ago we dialogued about this very same thing - negativity.  You have made changes and it is easy to not like what we hear when others are doing the same thing. We are all guilty of that. 

Here is something else to consider --  It may be a style of relating between her and her family. 
People do act differently around family members. OR she may be speaking her truth to them and really needing to have support and guidance to make important decisions.

When you are uncomfortable, leave the room. Put some headphones on.  So she can have some private time with her family - you can listen to some great music or a program of mine.

Janie,  Staying associated to her may put you in a difficult position whether she leaves or stays.
You staying at this company is dependent on your decision and passion to dance. You have made many friends thru your life. You can make more. It takes time. It is difficult with your dance schedule, yet a little effort could be helpful to you. You will not feel so tied to her.

I would suggest that you find a few friends outside of dance. I realize that may be a challenge.
Maybe you can consider doing some volunteer work, or take a class, or join a group that meets regularly. Can you work part-time or babysit kids?
It is not unusual to move to a new place and create a friendship that changes. This may be a signal to begin branching out. You will attract people with whom you have  stronger commonalities.  

I understand that you may be worried if she leaves. However, you are  jumping the gun here, kiddo.  That is many months away and besides you cannot control that decision.

Maybe you can talk to her about her "trashing."  You may have a good honest chat about both your likes and dislikes of the company.  However, keep in mind that word travels -- 
and that goes back around to the idea that she may need to vent or talk more openly with her family.  

Regardless, you can slip into the other room. Go for a walk, Take a Shower. Use headphones with the TV... Blend something.  

You two live together, dance together, eat together, socialize together ... Find a way to give yourself some breathing room. It may do your relationship some good and you might just be surprised to see what is around the corner.

Let me know-

Dance Mind:Dear Janie, Relationships Change ...

Hi Janie, 

I just realized the top blog description lists you as a pre-professional dancer! I will change that right away.  If you can review the your info and make any changes to update for our readers.

Varia left a wonderful supportive comment below your most recent post. She has identified with you. Feels a kinship with you & your experiences.  Welcome Varia!  We really appreciate comments from you (all) because it helps us to know that Janie speaks honestly.

This forum is also open to you all to comment to. Remember that!  If you have a similar experience - tells us!  If you disagree, we still want to know.

Keep us informed!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Dance CD Sale is still going on til Sept 30! Check it out!  

Dear Sanna - think positive

I love my roommate. We get along really well, like enough of the same things, but have enough differences to make things interesting and share a box of chocolates ;) But we work together, live together, and usually go out together as well, so it is not surprising that we are beginning to push each other's buttons a little.

One thing I find is that my roommate likes to complain a lot whenever she speaks to her family on the phone. It's not that I try to listen or anything, but our main phone is in the living room and sometimes either one of us is watching tv or using the living room when the other is on the phone. But it's really hard to listen to her saying how crappy the company is and how she misses home and blah blah blah. She says she has no intentions of staying another year, and that upsets me, too, because I am afraid I will be kind of left alone here. We spend so much time together, and she is not the most flexible person when it comes to hanging out with other people, too, so I am definitely not getting as close to most of the other company members.

It's just really upsetting to hear since I am part of this company she is trashing, and I am much further from home than she is. AND she has tons of family here and has been here tons of times and apparently always wanted to live here, whereas I had never even visited before I moved here and have no family. Not that I am really unhappy. Of course I have my complaints, too, but I am generally having a good experience. But when I hear her complain and I know her situation is technically so much better and easier than mine, I can't help get angry or a little depressed! I know this isn't the best company ever, but I do think it's a good first job, and we are getting a lot of experience here.

I have to just keep reminding myself to get the most out of what I'm doing and not let others get me down. I know how I feel, and what my roommate is feeling shouldn't affect that. But I'm still not as happy when she's not. It's hard to stay cheerful or have fun when somebody's moping around you all the time. And it's not that I want to ditch her. I could just ignore her and do my own thing and go out with other people, but I don't want to do that. I just want her to stop moping around all the time! ...without me having to strain our relationship by pushing her buttons and trying to get her to stop complaining. Bleh it's tough! But I'll work on it.

Anyway as far as ballet is going, I'm not sure if I mentioned a really tough teacher who was here at the beginning, but she had to leave a few weeks ago to get things sorted out in her home country, but she is back! She has incredible technique and really knows how to rehearse the corps and make the ballets really polished. She even said good to me a few times (I think... there's not too much english in her vocabulary)! It's nice to know someone notices your progress, or even cares!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dear Sanna - premiers galore!

Congrats to anna! I just returned from my first official professional experience as well! We performed in three different cities this past week, the whole company taking a tour bus to the shows. Although I am still getting to know the company, I think it was a good bonding experience and I am starting to really feel like part of the company.

Performing outside of a company's home theater can be a bit tricky, finding a place in the dressing room (at one theater I was in the corner, mirrorless, having to change costumes basically right in the face of a principle who wasn't dancing that night), and getting to know your way around the theater. But the people in charge of the sets and music were worse off than me! It was very interesting to see how we as a corps dealt with a big glitch in the music, after missing our first cue, then trying to catch up to the music while still dancing as a unit. But somehow we got through and, although it wasn't our best performance ever, it was fine, and the audience was still very receptive. All in all it was a good experience, and I am excited to continue the tour of this piece and later add new rep!

It is so crazy to think we have been blogging a whole year! I never would have guessed at that time that I would be living where I am, just finishing my premier as a professional dancer one year later. Here's to another year even more exciting than the last! Thanks to all the readers and supporters!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dance Mind:Dear Janie, Happy to be Dancing!

I wanted to say congratulations to my daughter, Anna, who is a professional ballet dancer!  Like all of you she works very hard. Currently she is preparing for a DonQ performance.  She will be dancing many roles, on being the queen.  It is her first professional appearance!  WE ARE VERY EXCITED FOR HER.

One day perhaps I will tell you her story, with her permission. She overcame many obstacles to perform. 

You can too. You have to want it...

Janie, How are you? doing?  

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Birthday DanceMind!

Janie, Can you believe it has been a year !  This is very exciting to know that we have readers -new ones every day and those who have been following since the beginning (Right, Madeline from TX! and Alexa from Indiana!)

This has worked out  just as I planned. Our goal was to help others in a global way through a dialogue on this blog.  I want to thank all of you who have contact me personally, or commented to a post. It is so good to know that this is helping you.  Please keep letting us know that you are out there and that this is helpful by  following, or receiving feeds. It is awesome that we have that now.

Also as my thank you to you all I have slashed prices for a few days. on the Performance Package, The Audition CD and Stepping to Sleep. I know some of you have been wanting the programs and now this is your chance to have them in your hand by next week. They are keepers for your dance career. Even if you become a professional dancer, you will still listen to them because they help you strengthen your mind.

Go to this page to purchase the programs. You will be amazed at how quickly you will feel stronger.  I have dropped prices insanelly low because I want you to experience the ease of which you can do better.

Did you read about Thema's experience 2 posts back? She has been using the Audition Excellence (Track 9) for a year and a half). She is a model, dancer and actor in England who found my ad in Dance Magazine last year. She ordered the program and loves it to this day.
She is strong, passionate and determined.

TO JANIE, Thank you for all your honestly and back stage view of ballet. You have grown up so much in the last year. Look at you - a professional dancer!  Your motivation and pure passion is what took you there. You are living your dream.  This is what you have been looking toward and work toward for may years.  Love ya, kiddo.

Sanna Carapellotti.MS CHT

DANCEMIND: One Year Anniversary!

Enjoy this precious video and remember that everyone has a dream.

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- That is right!

Janie, Now you have the biggest piece of information - and that is helpful to you. Yes, you are right, it is a bit confusing and with the 'mixed' communication as you say. Yet it is a lesson to really holding on to who you are for a while until you understand what you really need to hear.

You will recognize patterns thru time, in terms of how he relates to you and company members.  Hey, he can't be perfect. Maybe his flaw is poor communication skills yet his performances are fabulous and you are pushed to the next level of performance. How bad can that be.

Michaelangelo had very poor social skills.

We all deal with difficult personalities at the workplace, except for me. (I work alone.)
 There are books written about how to handle them and what one can do to cope.  

Here is what to do ... HEAR what he says. DO NOT REACT or Lose your ground. Get feedback if you can from others or even him. Make a decision on how to handle it. Maybe there is truth to what he is requesting.

Maybe you do need to pay more attention to maintaining your weight.

Maybe he sees your potential and that is is way of letting you know.

Watch, listen and do not react. Understandably we all have our moments when we fly off in our minds.  Have a statement to ground you again.

I will wait and see what he is really saying.  or  Maybe I do need to ... yada yada ...

So again this may not be simply about you, but the good of the company.

I was thrilled to open my email to this note from THEMA DAVIS... model, dancer, actor.

Thema wrote on your Facebook Wall:

"Hi Sanna,  I listened to your (AUDITION) cd and im very very very pleased an honoured to say that I have passed my audition! I beat off hundreds to gain a place on a free acting course with the prestigious BBC Talent boost and at the end I get to audition for top casting directors and the nations best TV shows. Im so happy as acting isnt one of my strongest skills but now I will get to learn and gain new opportunities! :-) xxxx


Today is our one year anniversary!!!!  I am posting a gigantic sale this evening.
So for those of you who have been wanting to purchase my audio programs this is you chance to get them in your hands so you can dance even better!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Dear Sanna - mixed messages

The director is just plain crazy. In the same speech I got about dancing with more energy, I was also told for probably the 4th time that I need to watch my weight, so it's not that I'm too thin.

Everyone is told SOMETHING about his or her weight, though, so I'm not too worried about it. It seems like the director just wants the company to look their best and to keep it that way. Every day company members are told they are too heavy or too thin. It almost depends on the director's mood, and we all know now to take it with a grain of salt. This kind of includes all corrections, really.

I'm starting to think many corrections are just a means of pushing us to our full potential, not necessarily pointing out flaws that are unacceptable for the company. So when I am corrected on things I know I do better than other company members, I just try to think it's because the director knows I am at a higher level.

So despite all the grief I get from the director, the other day I was actually placed in the empty space for a 4-girl corps part I have been learning. After we ran the piece, the director told me I was being considered for the 4th girl and that I did a good job in the rehearsal, so I guess the director really does just have a very negative way of giving feedback to the company members.

It will take a little getting used to knowing that negative comments are actually good, but it does make me feel better to know I can still be doing well even when I do hear unpleasant things from my boss.


Thursday, September 11, 2008


On that day, I am celebrating. Stay tuned. You'll get it!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT
Performance Specialist 

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- WHAT!!!!??!?!??

Thank you, Janie.

That was energy!

There is nothing more frustrating than being told to do something, then do it and be told you are not doing it!  Frustration, confusion, anger ...   an entire range of emotion. It is exhausting.  What do you do?  

Yes, you said it. There are so many pieces that go into learning choreography and performance ... learning the sequence of steps, cleaning the technique, developing timing and rhythm, managing the energy, so much more  and of course, smiling ... :)

The Director telling you to eat a sandwich could mean that you are too thin?  Are you?
It could mean that food provides nourishment and calories and thereby increasing your energy.
Or that you look hungry/ low energy. Maybe it is lunchtime!

When something is ambiguous and you try to do what you are asked to do and you are still getting corrected, you might want to ASK someone.  You can ASK him, or a company member or another instructor. 

Janie, you could be chasing your proverbial tale.  That will drain your energy.

On the rare occasion that I work with a teacher (most of my clients are performers) they agree that in the flash of the moment they  might not be as clear as they could be. They may have their own VIEWPOINT or expectation.

You heard ... "Feet!  FEET!"  You are pointing. You are pointing hard.  From his angle, he maybe seeing something different. Again, You could ask him. Maybe it needs to be in a different place in the air or floor. Now, I am guessing, of course.  

In the heat of rehearsal may not be the right time to ask, unless he is getting upset. You could assertively raise your hand and ask, Can you please show me?

Listen carefully. Maybe he says that to others too.

Ask around and see what HE means by that and what would make the difference. 


You mentioned that you got angry and felt energized. Maybe that is the answer for you to step up to the next level.

However, you can step it up without the attachment of anger.  The feel of that 'angry experience' is what you are after.

Let me know about this in your next post and I will tell you what to do.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Dear Sanna - MORE ENERGY

it is so frustrating when i am told over and over to do things with more energy. as if i am not trying my best. as if i want it to look lifeless and if i only knew ballet should be energetic i could do that. WRONG!!!!!! first of all, i am trying to hard just to get the steps right and stay in line and be on the music and all the fundamentally important things. what is the point of energetically making myself stand out while i dance out of line and off the music? they won't give me a second to figure things out!

and what's worse, i try so hard to be energetic on top of all the other things i am worrying about, like literally think "more energy" in my head, and what's the outcome? they tell me more energy when i'm done. it's impossible! i don't understand if they just want to push me and make sure it's my best work or i'm really not good enough or what?! i look around me and i really do think there are other more important issues to deal with...

same with pointing my feet! i feel like if i pointed any harder my calves would burst, and they sit there screaming "point your feet! FEET FEET FEET!" and i look in the mirror and they look pointed! i don't get it.


but then i get really mad and just try to direct all that anger into more energetic movements, so hopefully that is helping. who knows. it does seem to give me more energy, i guess.

and then i just smile. like i said before. i practice smiling and the frustration turns to humor, and i notice my colleagues feel the same way and we laugh together.

the life of a dancer!


DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Dance Follwers and Subscribers

Now you all can follow or subscribe to this blog.  I am happy that Blogger has set that up because
I did not know what to do about that. I appreciate all of your patience and motivation to check back at your own will and desire to learn.

This is a good time to begin following. It is almost our year anniversary and I will have a wonderful sale for you all beginning on that day.  Info is coming. So stay tuned.

This a god chance to get your dance programs at lesser cost even though the value is HUGE!!!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT.

PS. -- Who is up for an interview? Got a good strong story about how you overcame something to keeping on dancing?  Drop me a note... I am looking for you!

Hello to all. Have had trouble getting into Blogger. We are back on track ...

Post later today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dear Sanna - busy doing nothing!

Okay not really doing nothing, but I really don't have much excuse for not blogging. I guess I have been spending too much time exploring and visiting rather than on the computer. I am definitely starting to feel much more comfortable here. I have learned to maneuver through the pushy crowds quite well (something that actually stressed me out a lot my first weeks here) and i am slowly learning more of the culture and language.

I have been almost scared in ballet these first few weeks, just to kind of not get yelled at. I have been so desperately trying to stay in line and not do the wrong thing, that I was told last week I am dancing like I am marking and I need to "bring a sandwich because I have no energy". The director often says annoying things like that. The director didn't ask me if I was tired (which I'm not by the way!). She just told me I was. But after initial frustration, I translated the speech into "you need to dance bigger and with more energy" - something positive, and more useful than the negativity of me looking tired. So I have been making an effort to put more energy into my dancing and I think it is helping a lot. I hope.

Anyway it is very late so I will write more another time and try to blog more often.

All the best!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

DanceMind: Dear Janie -- Dance!

Janie, I want you to understand that ranting is human nature. Yet there is a responsibility with ranting.  We have all said things out of emotion. Sometimes we insert foot.  Sometimes it is just a pattern of behavior.

I used to complain a lot about everything. One day, I 'heard' myself and realized that I complained when I didnot even mean it.  I made a change on that very day to be conscious of my complaining.  Every time I complained, I stopped myself immediately. I broke the pattern.

As a newbie, you don't really know who will take the rant for what it is a moment of frustration. Also relationships change thru time. Who is a friend today may not be a friend in 3 months and then a friend again in 2 months. 

On the 'job' you have to be careful with what you say, especially to your 'co-workers.  

Feel free to rant here. I am sure your rant will be familiar to many other dancers who have had those moments.  I encourage you to rant.  Tension and stress is about how you react to it.

Energetically you do not want to be a part of the problem. 

Smiling releases endorphines and other feel good hormones.  The next time you hear yourself ranting, stop yourself and half smile. Notice what happens.

How is the adjustment going with city life?  Have you received your first paycheck?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dear Sanna - just smile and nod

You're completely right. It's not worth whining about all my problems at the risk of hurting someone's feelings or making the wrong people mad. It was nice to blow off a little steam the other night, but I really should just focus on the positives. There really are so many - I'm living my dream for heaven's sake! I can even rant here on the blog anonymously without spreading the negative energy to my coworkers.

It's so true that hearing someone complain only makes you think even more about all your own problems. I've been trying lately to physically slap a smile on my face and just take it. It's not that bad. When the artistic director is making absolutely no sense, or is on my case about silly things I know don't matter, I just put on my best "I'm a good sport and I'm happy to take your corrections" smile and practice what I'm told.

A yoga teacher once told us while we were meditating at the end of class to try to smile - on the inside and out - and it really stuck with me for some reason. Physically trying to smile really can change your mood. How can you be angry with a smile on your face? You either end up laughing at yourself for thinking bad things while you smile like an idiot, or you actually smile. It works like magic for me. Just turn up the ends of your mouth, and there's instantly a reason to smile. I actually practice smiling when I feel like I have nothing to smile about. It always works to brighten your mood. The sillier you feel, the better! And who could really hate a dancer, or anyone for that matter, with a nice, pleasant smile on their face? (unless it was disgustingly cheesy or fake of course, but that's not what we're going for here)


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holiday Wght Managment

Hello to everyone,

As the holiday approaches, know you can be in control of what and how much you eat.
The above program link to TALKSHOE.com was recored July 3 with a focus on Holiday Weight management. It can easily be helpful to you for Labor Day.

Learn about the concept of "See Food" experience a hypnotic journey, and learn ways to manage so you can truly relax, take the day off without worries.

You can follow Sanna's program entitled HYPNOSIS FOR LIFE, SannaCarp. Discussing performance, wght issues, money and more...

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT