Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dear Sanna - Awkward

We had an extremely random rehearsal today. It was for a ballet we did at the beginning of the year a few times, haven't done for months, and will do a LOT in a few months. It is the same one where I really don't do much, but was "second cast" for a part I really wanted. This is the one where I need to be really together with my opposite, etc. It seemed like we were a solid second cast who would probably never perform, but we weren't so sure.

Then this rehearsal happened the other day. First of all, the dancer who I replaced in a few ballets this year returned a few weeks ago. Nobody is quite sure what this means. Maybe she will take back all her old parts, and the other dancers and I will be kicked out of our spots. Only time will tell. In this case a few of us guessed that she and another higher ranking dancer in the company would step into this part, bumping first cast down, and kicking me and my friend out of second cast. So when the higher ranking soloist came to me and asked if I heard she was doing the part, I was disappointed. Until she explained that we were doing it together. But that means my very good friend who I used to dance with was taken out, and I knew this would crush her. So I couldn't even be happy. I just felt horrible.

They didn't even have the decency to tell us properly. Everyone had to find out through someone else, nobody exactly sure what was happening and why. My friend cried a lot, and I felt helpless. I was afraid to even try to comfort her, because maybe she just really didn't want to see me at this point.

Of course later when she was a little better, she told me of course it's not my fault and she's not mad at me, and I know it's not, but it's still such a hard position to be in, and also really new for me. I am much more used to being on the other side, usually faking happiness.

Anyway on the bright side the director still likes me enough to place me with this other dancer in the part I really wanted! (Did I mention we are first cast and the original first cast is now second?) I am not counting on it, but hopefully it will last and I can really work on this part and learn to enjoy this ballet for once!


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Attention Performers Who Stress Eat.

You are invited to attend The Golden Fork, an extraordinary eating experience designed to STOP stress eating. This Five Step Solution makes returning to the table easier and increases your love for food and eating again.

the feeling of being unsatisfied is partly due to the stress, fast eating that is bad news for the digestive tract, health and stress. You can slow down.

If you eat too much, inahle the wrong foods, or eat a certain food too much this class will help you to increase your awareness for what your body, mind and heart needs. Do you know there are seven kinds of hunger? They do not need to be satisfied with food?

Anxiety about performing sends many performers to the sugar cookies, or causes them to eat too much or not enough. This seminar teaches how to be satisfied with a less, especially during performance season. (This is not a treatment program for eating disorders.)
Read more about it here. (on-line seminar available soon.) Email me if you are interested in information. This class is held in Pittsburgh,PA in Jan. 2010.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Your Performance Coach.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and lots of good rest !

Love you all,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Sanna - dancing alone

This is a very busy performance time for me. I have shows every day this week, sometimes more than one each day, but I love it. It's nice to get into the swing of things and perform the same show for a while, as opposed to our usual random shows of various programs. I was a bit nervous for the first show, but since I am understudying a major role, in reality I am not dancing THAT much, although I still have a nice part.

Anyway my partner for one section happens to be the one guy in the show who switches, since when he is not dancing with me he is doing the principle role, so I basically have half the amount of rehearsals with each partner. Unfortunately, this can be confusing, especially when the guy who danced the principle role the first show had to dance with me for the second show without ever getting a run-through. Something was bound to go wrong, and it did when I did a pirouette and realized my partner was not there to catch me. I landed okay and improvised a little pose while everyone around me went into a shoulder sit and continued with the rest of the dance. It was a little embarrassing, but I am not really upset about it, especially because I have a soft spot for the guy who left me. Oh and I forgot to mention in the same show, a different partner had me completely off my leg to the point I had to whisper to him left! left! in the middle of the stage. So embarrassing. A great show for me really. But amazingly instead of the typical hysterical reaction from the director, telling me I need to hold myself or just generally being mad about things going wrong, I actually was praised on my professional way of handling the situation, and my partners didn't get it too bad either. It was my lucky day, apart from the fact that my partners tipped me over and forgot about me.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Disciplines - Hi, Tom,

I agree with you. I was wondering the same thing! However, magazines set their editorial calendar based on what they think is best. The magazine article should be out very soon.

Do you have any specific questions? There are many ways to manage. I can address your specific question, or situation and speak in general terms.

Thank you for your comment! I appreciate it!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Raising the Barre on Your Attitude

Read my most recent article in DANCER Magazine:

Raising the Barre On Your Attitude!
Written by your truly in the November issue.

There is a lively discussion about how Instructors can read your mind, how to 'read' yourself better in the studio and two exercises for you to directly witness how the body does not lie.

Check it out - HERE!

Happy Nutcrackering!
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

PS - You do not want to miss next months issue where I interview three dancers about how they discipline themselves through the holidays. I was impressed by their strength! By the way, I am always looking for dancers to interview. If you are interested, let me know and I will consider you for future articles, or events.

Dear Sanna - understudying

I think I mentioned at the very beginning of the year that I had the honor of understudying one of the leading roles in the ballet we are, actually just now, about to perform. Well a lot has happened since then. The first cast of this role was changed for a different role, and another dancer became the first cast. Nobody mentioned me, but I assumed I was still the understudy.

It is very strange though, because I'm not even sure there have been more than 2 scheduled rehearsals for this part, and one of them literally said "learn from the video in the small studio," so even the girl who will dance the role is barely rehearsed. Often times, she will run the variation or watch the video or rehearse on her own time, which is good, but I feel weird about asking for my own private rehearsals, and they almost never tell me when she is going to practice.

So I find myself just watching her all day, and throwing on my pointe shoes to practice in the back behind her every time she works on something. In general I just feel stupid, but also it is my responsibility to learn this, first of all in case something should happen to the first cast and I have to go in, but second of all for my own good in case I am miraculously asked to dance the role. It would be a shame for the artistic director to actually cast me and then I can't perform because I don't know the part or didn't rehearse it well.

But I decided to stop being upset about this, and see it as a learning experience for myself. Chances are I won't perform this part, but I am going to appreciate the fact that I even have to opportunity to learn it (above any of the other girls who could be understudies), and work to dance the best I can, and if I am ever given the chance I will have done everything I could, and if not this time, I can get a lot out of learning this choreography and character. Every time I dance I can learn a little more about myself and improve.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Janie: Watch Me -

Janie and everyone who reads this,

Look in the mirror and love yourself.  You can't be perfect (unless you are photoshopped!) Do the best you can whether you are in the core, or lead, and anywhere in between. It doesn't matter where you stand. Put yourself out there as if you are performing through every show the last time for your life.  

Free your inner dancer ~   

Every performance is your opportunity to get better and better, to grow more certain and to do what you love.  Take that part of your to the stage.  The more you love yourself, the stronger you are through the highs and lows of performing. You keep dancing until you decide to stop. You know how hard you can work and what is demanded. Watch those ahead of you who are stars. Learn from them and how they work. Take "KNOW" for an answer.

Be excellent. As the curtain goes down, you can raise your arms high to say you did it. Someone is watching.

My besr to all of you through Nutcrackers and Winter performances.

I LOVE YOU ALL for making me smile, laugh and cry ...
Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Dance Mom, Performance Coach and Therapist

Monday, November 30, 2009

Performance Stress - All in a Day!

In talking with many dancers over the years, I repeatedly hear that the instructors who were/are firm and supportive are the instructors who are cherished and remembered as being instrumental in their success.  Learning to motivate students is an art form.  

If instructors could see themselves in action, perhaps they might consider other teaching strategies. (This is not about technique but how they teach.) 

We gravitate toward the familiar and what we know when we choose a mate and parent. Studio intimacy sets in motion those same dynamics. How they were taught and treated certainly influences and can develop teaching styles, unless they consciously decided otherwise. 

Does ballet training require harshness? What is your opinion as a student?

I have been told by many instructors how they wish they had learned what I teach their students when they were learning and dancing.  This speaks volumes of the need for mental skills training for dancers. You can dance better and stronger when you use specifically designed strategies to assist with learning, coping and readiness. They are fast and easy,

Do you know there are techniques for shielding oneself from harsh critical teachers? (It's in the Audition Audio Program.) It is not disrespectful in any way. It is an technique that enables you to hear what you are being told and separating out what is rightfully not yours - The anger!

Love to you all ~  
Performance Coach and Therapist

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dear Sanna - teachers...

Maybe ballet masters do forget what it was like to dance. They can be so cruel and unforgiving, screaming at us and undermining our confidence just before a show. And sometimes I think they stuck in the past, feeling nobody can dance the role as good as they once did. One of our ballet masters constantly tells us we need to do it exactly the way she did it, even if artistically it could be done different ways and still be beautiful or right. She gets so caught up in correcting us and showing it how it should be done, she doesn't even watch when we try to fix something or understand. It is so frustrating, and people are really starting to ignore what she says, even though sometimes what she says could be useful.

We are now doing our biggest production of the year, in a huge opera house with guest soloists. We rarely perform in such a big theater with such impressive sets and costumes. It is interesting, because I feel smaller and less important even though the production is more like that of a bigger, more important company. But it's still fun. I think I could enjoy being a small dancer in a large company as well as how I enjoy dancing here as a (sort of) bigger dancer in a small company.

The music for the piece we are dancing is really beautiful, and I am just having a good time dancing in such a great theater and watching the soloists and dancing a little myself. It's been a good week.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DanceMind- That First Ballet Slipper

Reminiscing - 

Do you remember the first time you slipped your foot into a ballet slipper and stood high on your toes?  


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Instructors Forget or Believe Something Else

When an Instructor says, "There is no performance anxiety in my class," what are they really saying?

* I am not in touch with my students.
* I choose to forget about my personal experiences when I danced.
* I do not understand the concept of performance anxiety. 
*I do not have time to listen.
* I don't know how to handle it, so I pretend it does not exist.

Often times I hear a resignation from instructors, "There is nothing one can do about it. You suck it up."

Students don't usually tell their Instructor about the knot in their stomach or how they cry at night or how afraid they are of their part or how they worry and worry.  Performers I work with privately do not tell, is this common? Maybe you all talk amongst yourselves about your worries and fears.

How much a part of performance is fear before it causes errors and mistakes? (Stress does that. Focus does that, too.)

Can these states of mind be explored? (Maybe not if one believes a can of worms is being opened)

Do we resign to dance less than who we are on stage when we are full of worry? (Can go either way. Also takes away from emotion.)

When are we accountable for how well we do? Do we say, "I excuse myself because I was nervous? We then associate anxiety -> worry during performance -> error - > more worry about performance.(Then we can work to resolve it, talk about it or seek help) Not a good 

Isn't it our responsibility to take our best selves to the stage? (Yes. We learn techniques of dance and for mind.)

Of course not every one needs to "see a therapist" or "hire a coach" (but they can be helpful). 
However, a kind supportive word, such as "You can."  "YES." can make the world of difference to empower that gnawing fear or shaking anxiety into a moment of greatness.

Yes.       You can.

I believe in each and every one of you.

Anxiety an be a good thing, when used to advantage. Your shaking knees are ready to move ...

P.S. Instructors are doing the best they can too even when they worry - quietly.

Monday, November 9, 2009

DanceMind- Dear Janie, New Experiences

Hello Janie, Your season is in full swing! Already there are many changes and challenges.

Partnering is a art, isn't it?  If you remember your previous partners, you discover that each one has a different way of connecting with you. There is nothing more beautiful or sensual then watching a couple so in sync on stage. It is magnetic, so powerful. They know they are connected and project it out into the audience. Everyone is 'moved.'

Last year I worked with a couple who were dancers together and also boyfr and girlfr. They were looking to improve their dancing together on stage as they seemed to always be paired together. They would fight and then attempt to smile through it. Doesn't work. The audience can see through that thin veil.

Here is what we did -- We talked about each ones viewpoint and perspective. What did they each believe about partnering.  SHELLY (false name) felt smothered and stiff in his company and wanted to feel safe and cared for so she can perform her role. She wanted to let go and trust him.

Henry (False name) believed he was to be strong and dominating (See what's happening here?).
And felt uncertain. He wanted to be that source for her to shine. 

So we processed it out and they then came up with a word/phrase that each wanted to project in their performance ... one separately and then a phrase that described how they would BE together.  Then they sat every day and visualized their performance together. They got to the point where they could sense each others visualization.

When they performed they rec'd a standing ovation it was so powerful. Now they really PARTNER together.

See if your partner would talk it out with you. I don't think this happens enough. Some men are naturally gifted at partnering and creating that freedom for women.

Janie, I am wondering if the stress you are feeling about  that piece you mentioned is actually stress. Could it be that you are challenged to keep your focus and attention strong?  You will respond differently if you reframe the tension.

What could it be for you?

How exciting to wear a pretty tutu? Be glamorous and beautiful!!!!
CONFIDENCE: If you rely on external events and comments for confidence then it does become reliant on who says what (even if it is negative).  YOU are in charge of this confidence.

Listen to track 6 on the Audition CD for several days. You will learn how to stack experiences. and then Audition Excellence to set the inner stage.  If you want confidence it comes with the repetition of believing you are. You are, sometimes, right? It is just a thought.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Dance Mom

Performance Coach

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dear Sanna - Bad Medicine

There is a ballet we did all last year, which I frankly do not like at all. It's actually a classical ballet, so at least it's not some creepy modern thing or bad choreography by the director, but there's a lot of character acting involved, and it's just really not my thing. Especially because I barely do anything since it was casted when I was very new in the company.

This year I at least get to dance a nice part I wasn't in last year (in a pretty tutu!), which helps, but it's very short and kind of stressful. The part I really have my eye on, I actually am second cast, which is encouraging, but it's not at all clear if second cast will ever do it. We have actually been trying to rehearse ourselves (there are two girls in each cast) whenever we get the chance and ask other dancers for help, because the teachers aren't really that concerned with the part at all, let alone second cast. But if they would think about it, it's really smart to have two casts because we will take this ballet on tour where there are shows every day, and it will be extremely tiring for one cast. They have actually mentioned switching, they just aren't that active about it.

It's really interesting because my partner and I are very different dancers. Different bodies, different schooling, different thought process, and we have to dance together and look the same. And without proper rehearsal, this is even more difficult. We are working very hard together to get it right. My bad medicine is to really push and be flirty and aggressive, while my opposite has to concentrate on making nice lines. It's really interesting to see the different ways we work, and I think this will be a good learning experience for both of us as dancers.


P.S. Sorry about the language!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

DanceMind : Language, Janie ...

Hello, there kiddo,
I did make a change of THAT word. We have many young readers and even though it would be accurate and honest to tell the whole story correctly, sometimes we need to leave out the 'descriptives.' Thanks for telling about your experience.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Performance Coach

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dear Sanna - Confidence

It's such a funny thing, what can affect my level of confidence. I felt great this week. Much more relaxed, excited but under control. It was like the first performance was the equivalent of those nerves I always feel right before I go on stage, and then once I'm out there the feeling disappears. Each show after the first I became more and more relaxed. The director was happy after each show, always saying it was better than the day before. Every day I was told that I don't use the corrections I am given (which are not THAT specific or clear might I add, like "attack it more!" or "use your head!"), but I think this is partially the director's way of keeping a running communication with me. Sometimes I know that I followed corrections (like be more stage left) and I still get the same correction the next day, even when I know I OVERcorrected the problem. So I think this is just the director's way of communication and it's okay.

A stage worker actually told me the other day (excuse the language, but this is a direct quote) "F*****' A", which I must say is probably one of the best compliments I ever got. It was after dancing in the new part I'm always talking/stressing about. In this specific section, I dance with a partner and another couple, the other girl being the prima ballerina of the company. It is amazing that somebody could compliment me on this part, dancing next to such a mature, beautiful dancer who I admire so much.

And lately this week, it's as if people know about my confidence problem and are trying to help me, because I just keep hearing more and more nice little things that brighten my day. I can't exactly describe it, but just these stupid little compliments or even a smile from somebody can completely lift my mood.

Here's hoping to more great weeks like this :) Happy Halloween!


Monday, October 26, 2009

DanceMind:DEAR JANIE:Body Image

We must love our bodies.

Beauty, shape and size tend to be associated with external factors, success as, lead parts, fitting into a certain costume that someone very thin wore, or how much money we make, or the friends we have.  You MUST REALIZE that pitting yourself against those factors WHiCH ARE TEMPORARY create us to lose our ground as they pass. You will always search for something to define yourself, to compare yourself to, align with outside of yourself. 

Have you noticed that you will never measure up and sometimes you feel good and then your lose your reference point?  External references keep you sad, depressed and confused about your true value and worth.  If  YOU BELIEVE you are wrinkly, thick thighed or thin lipped then your definition of yourself focuses on a physical attribute and eliminates the qualities you have.

Notice the inner dialogue you have about your body? How much does it define how you feel? Alone? or socially (walking across the studio?) 

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Performance Coach

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Sorry - I forgot to LINK it.

Ask yourself - What is real?

Performance Coach

P.S.   I put the Rest in your Sleep.   Stepping to Sleep for dancers. Recommended by Dance Mag.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


It is up to your to shine your light from the inside out. I know it is quirky, but true.

Dance is tough on mind and body. Dealing with negative critical people is one aspect of performance. Some people will NEVER like your performance style, your body shape, your hair color .... and on and on. The more you step into the spot light the bigger your imperfections become (look at some of todays stars, family members, friends, politicians, other human beings). Mostly because what we look at daily is an illusion created by a computer. 

Ever heard of a Troll. They are critics. They seek to demean and criticize AND GAIN PLEASURE FROM IT. 

A. critics will always be criticizing 
B. They rarely are creative other than with their words and comments
C. You must ignore them, otherwise YOUR INNER voice echoes them.'

Are you a troll of yourself?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

DanceMom. Therapist. Performance Coach.

Dance Mind

I need help. I have a dynamic woman I am going to set an audio interview with for dancers. She talks about these issues of body love and hate. WHAT WOULD BE A GOOD TIME?
9:00 PM? 8:30PM ? You can listen in and it will also be recorded.

I am working on this for you all so you can heal this part of you that does not live fully in your body, within yourself. ANY negativity drains your life force and creativity. No matter who says what or who does anything, you are and must be in control of what you believe about yourself.

Back to you ... Email me directly if you want to talk on the program about dancers and body image. I will also be asking for YOUR QUESTIONS>

Dear Sanna - Not nervous, excited!

How could I forget the lessons I learned last year? These knots in my stomach I've been feeling all week are exactly the excitement I was asking for. I hate performing without feeling, so I need to regard this not negatively as "nervous", but in a positive way as excitement. I am happy and ready for a chance to dance on stage and really perform. It will be fun! No matter what happens, I am getting to do what I love on stage.

The more I enjoy every moment, the more it shows in my dancing, and the less I sabotage myself by over-thinking the steps.

As for loving myself unconditionally, I understand that this would improve my dancing, and I wish I could just turn on or off self-confidence. But that's what makes it so hard. I can't just say I love myself unconditionally and make it happen. Maybe I will learn to, but in the mean time I am just trying to focus on the positive.

Also, I think a funny exercise I made up for myself is helping. If I feel self-conscious or see somebody watching me, I focus completely on them, instead of trying to ignore it. Almost just like the nerves, I try to use their once distracting looks as support while I dance. If I just stare back, I can dance through it. If I try to pretend I don't see them, I lose my focus.

Interesting how many things go through my mind while I dance.


Friday, October 23, 2009

DanceMind:DEAR JANIE:Body Image

Question: What if I told you that if you loved yourself unconditionally your dancing would improve? What would you respond?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Dance Mom
Performance Coach

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dear Janie:

Hi there, This is a good topic to process through. I am in a training until tomorrow. I will sign on Monday and teach you about confidence!

Much love to you all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dear Sanna - so self-conscious!

I think I am generally an under-confident person, but sometimes it gets really bad. Today we were rehearsing the ballet I stepped into this year to replace the principle who left. My solo is very slow and there is a lot of music for me to fill with not so many steps. Also, I was never really properly taught the part, so it's even harder because I don't really know exactly how each movement should be. I feel really embarrassed every time I do this solo, even if the rest of the ballet is getting better.

Today after I did the solo the artistic director pulled me over and told me I look like a shy, embarrassed girl and I have no confidence (only because it's true). The thing is, I hear corrections like this all the time, but if I could just change it I would, so this correction in itself is not all that helpful. If I knew how to dance with even a fake air of confidence, of course I would. Anyway today for the first time, the director did not just stop at this criticism, but instead had me show her what I do, and gave me specific things to change and work on. I think it helped a lot, but still in the end she had me go back and do it again, and this time I was sure everyone was watching, so I felt even more embarrassed. I am trying to use my imagination to get over it, but I just feel the eyes on me.

When will I feel comfortable in my own skin? At times I can't even cross the room without feeling the eyes watching me.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Looking for a MALE dancer to interview

for an upcoming article on topic of managing the holidays. Please contact me

Sanna Carapellotti, MS, CHt
Dance Mom
Performance Coach

Sunday, October 4, 2009


In our meetings with people who are in our lives every day, we do not always know what offerings they have for us. We judge and sneer at what we observer because we believe we know them, although what we see and observe is a short time period out of their lives. 

Class clown was helpful and kind and observant. Although his behaviors are not to your liking and his interactions may be immature and intrusive,  he may be your partner in the future or he may do something thoughtful as he did or it is revealed why he behaves as he does.

Especially in a company setting, where contact is up close and very physical, you want to be as flexible of someone else's behavior as you can.  LOOK for the nice things he does. Otherwise you will always SEE the annoyances and they become WHAT YOU LOOK FOR. We then do not see anything else. Shift the focus to WHAT else he does in and out of class. Annoyances - and goodness knows we all have those!

Sanna Carapellotti
Dance Mom
Performance Coach

Ps - Visit -

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dear Sanna - that other thing...

I'm not sure exactly what that other thing you have in mind is, but maybe it has something to do with having the patients and wisdom that I will heal and recover from injuries? It is easy to freak out and get caught up in an injury. It feels like your body will never be the same. But with time and rest and a little care, things do heal and improve. I appreciate the help of my coworkers and the massage therapist, and together with my own actions I think the injury improved. It just goes to show how very important it is to take care of your body.

Monday, September 28, 2009

DanceMind:Dear Janie - Something else?

What is the other lesson here?

Dear Sanna - here i am!

Finally back on the blog!

So there is this guy in company who usually gives me (and everyone) a really hard time. He is basically the class clown, and he loves to make fun of people, and can be really entertaining but also really annoying. Anyway after that horrible week with my back and everything, he made a comment to me about not finishing class (something I really rarely do), so I told him my back was really hurting me. So he was the one who actually asked the company's physical therapist to work with me that day.

It didn't really feel better, but he kept helping me each day after, with the clown's encouragement (and annoying jokes). A friend also suggested I take a hot bath which also helped a lot. Now I can do almost everything in class again, and it is much better, even though it's not perfect. It reminded me how careful I need to be with my body, and how important it is to practice good posture all the time. I am also doing abdominal exercises every day now, something I never used to do.

I also really appreciate being able to finish a class now. It reminds me how much I love dancing when I can't do it as freely as I am used to for a period of time. It's crazy how much I can enjoy what some people could say is the most boring part of my job! I am so lucky :)


Friday, September 25, 2009

Fun exercise: PLAY

1. Pull down a movie screen in front of you .... Remember when you first discovered ballet. The slippers, tutu's, wands ... or the joy of the movement. You leaped and twirled. Reached for the sky.  Remember and watch the joy.

    Wrap your young self in a beautiful aura of passion and light.

2. Watching your young self dancing and dancing and dancing.

3. Next, step into the movie screen and dance with her. Allow the aura to surround both of you.

4. Dance with your young self.  NEXT, become her, switch into her little body... watching how         you have grown up! Dancing through her eyes.

5. See her. Feel her beautiful love. (or him). Dance.

6. Close your eyes and dance. Close a fist and feel those feelings of love. Breathe.

7. ANYTIME you want to feel that connection. Close your fist and breathe and remember!

Thought Patterns

What do you THINK (or say to yourself) about your dancing ability?

Is it negative and harsh, or do you support your efforts with words of compassion and strength that move you forward.

 Say, YES, to your desires.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dear Janie: STRESS!!!!

Yes, you had quite a week. Stressing through errands and government processes can leave its toll on the body and mind.  How related do you think your back pain was to the fatigue and worry through each day? There seems to have been an accumulate effect.
Stress is not ABOUT THE EVENT, but about the value and meaning you attach to it. It is looking through your own eyes (not any one else's) at the event or situation. Granted you had a couple of long days with surprises (test taking) and unplanned situations (dead cell phone.)  

*In my opinion, you  might consider carrying and extra charger in your dance bag and plug it in at the studio, if you think you can. Especially in a foreign country running errands alone, you want to have the ability to contact someone. Yet, I am sure someone in a store front would help you if went in and asked providing you can speak the language. We forget that cell phones keep us connected in a new way and we can still talk with people face to face.

I guess that your back pain was due to the burden of the stress. The body holds stress like the earth holds lightening and the sun. It absorbs it. Stree has to go somewhere.  Listen to the audios STEPPING TO SLEEP or Audition Excellence to relax and sleep.

We all have days like that where we get rattled. The idea is to catch yourself as you VEER of track and take an SOME action to calm yourself. BREATH is free and always available.

When a situation arises, you have to call on your resources. Your strengths, values, integrity to move toward a solution.

Here is a suggestion:  You're stressed.  THINK of a phrase that is grounding.
Example, "I am - OK."    or   "I am safe."

Break it into two syllables.   (I am  .... and ..... OK)

BREATHE IN and THINK " I am ...."

Do it 5 times NOW. 

Create your own statement to meet the demands, or what you need.

Here is an GOOD example, I spent Tuesday in the ER with an immediate family member. I had a 5 hour seminar at which I was the primary presenter on WEDNESDAY. I was slated to teach for 4.5 hours. I honored the people I knew who achieved something beyond all odds, that forge through some difficulty to do what they needed to do. I used my breath and kept seeing success, high energy and clear headed. I also recalled times when I was strong and powerful. THAT IS WHAT I TOOK TO THE SEMINAR -

I was  powerful in my presentation. It was flawless, even with all the stress. I had a job to do. We honor our commitments whether it is to dance or life.  Self-importance gets us no where.
Certainly if there was a critical crisis I would have to consider, but how often do we CREATE the feel of urgency or a crisis when it really is not. There is always a solution.

You must change your mind/viewpoints. Some are accustomed to wanting life to be all for, and about them. We collide with each other, don't we?  

To avoid the pain in the body feeling, after a day like that, stretch, bathe, breathe, use a cd. Take SPECIAL care of your body because you use it as a dancer. You rely on your body for your livelihood.

SO WHEN AND IF YOUR CHOOSE TO STRESS,  take some care of your body immediately after.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


We can now enter the blog once again! Something was askew....

Be back tomorrow!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dear Sanna - What a week!

This has been such a stressful week for me! Including the fact that I wrote this post already 2 days ago, and the whole thing was lost. Grrrr

Anyway it started with finally taking a placement exam for a class to learn the language here. I know lightyears more than I did before, but I still really need a class to be able to speak fluently and really understand everything. So I practically ran to the place after rehearsal and began what I had no idea would be a 2-hour long test. It was exhausting, especially when I still had to walk home after, but luckily my wonderful roommate had dinner waiting for me :)

Then I had to wake up SUPER early to go get my work visa renewed before work. This is always a nightmare of a process, and this time was no exception, although I must admit probably the least-horrible of all the times since I came here. It feels really good to check that off the list, too.

Then my back decided to hurt really really bad one day. And we had a schedule I would normally love. Tons to do, because it was the first rehearsal this year for a ballet in which I would really love to have a better part. Last year I barely did anything, but I have had my eye on this soloist part for two girls. So the first rehearsal of the day was for this part I really want to dance. The last rehearsal of the day was the first time rehearsing the ballet you may remember me talking about at the end of last year. I am replacing one of the soloists who left, and I really like this part. And in between these two rehearsals which are very important to me, were a whole bunch of not-so-important rehearsals which I felt I had to do with as much integrity as the others, because it's not fair to just try hard with the things I like. So I sucked up my back pain and just did it, and gave 120% for all the rehearsals.

That night I went to see the physical therapist. The trip there was horrible. It took over an hour on the bus, and then I got lost frantically trying to find the place (I was late) without any battery in my phone. I finally stopped a man on the street and begged him to help me write down the address while I used my phone's dying breath to call and ask the doctor where he was located so I could take a cab. I finally got there and he cracked me and hooked me up to machines with heat. It felt better at the time, but sometime after the long trip home on the freezing bus the pain was back.

The next day at work was basically the same, with more demanding rehearsals in between. At the end of the day I was amazed that I even made it to the end.

Today my back hurt more than ever. I did less of class than I have in my entire career (besides the days I thought I would throw up after barre earlier this year). A friend in the company was nice enough to ask the massage therapist if he had time for me, so I got a really nice massage. Unfortunately my back still hurts, but the pt also told me there is trauma that will take time to feel better. At least I'm pretty sure it's not getting worse, and I will try to do exercises. My entire body was really tense, he said, and was a little softer by the end, so hopefully that will also loosen me up a little.

I am just so happy the week is over! I hope it will pay off with the solo part I wanted, but today it was pretty clear that another cast of girls will do it, and I am probably part of the second cast. Last year the second cast only did one show, so that's not too encouraging for me :( I'll keep you posted, though, and hopefully there will be good news to share...

Here's hoping for a fresh new week that is nothing like this one!


Monday, August 31, 2009

DanceMind:Dear Janie, Shy, Confidence and Nerves ...

Hello Janie,  Your last post was very insightful. I am happy to read your thinking. You are more curious and interested in your expression of dance and recognizing that emotions do play an important role in how you perform.

Let's take the first paragraph - You said that last year "you felt nothing ..."  Do you know that is also an experience of fear and worry?  Feeling nothing is akin to being devoid of emotion and 'not inhabiting the body.' The energy has left the building. (LOL) It is understandable that being new to the company, your first professional position and moving to a foreign country would be 'unnerving.' You had a lot of adjustments to make. You courage was admirable and exciting to watch. Do this - Read through the posts from last year around this time? It is a good way to note how you 've changed. It is a good parameter.

Here is a suggestion :  Use the CD's to BREATHE into your body. Move in,so to speak. It is really important. IF YOU WANT TO EXPRESS yourself more, than you must inspire your body with the fullness of breath. THIS IS WHEN YOU RELAX, not before a performance.

YEs, the body responds in the same way as you rise toward a performance. Your mind associates thoughts and words can lead you down the path toward struggle. KEEP YOUR THOUGHTS routine at first --  "I am strong."  "I work hard."  "I am excited to perform this piece."  THINK what you want to experience. The brain accepts positive or negative. TAKE change of what you put into the brain. THEN you begin to associate positive energy with performance.

Let's say you have an amazing day. You were on!  WHat do you say?  Those words can be your inspiration. Ck it out.   

Love ya, kiddo and all you FANS OUT THERE!!!

P.S.  I do phone sessions for those of you who have been wondering. There are many aspects of performance that can be strengthened with guided experiences. You want to do you best and your mind determines whether you do. DO NOT leave it up to chance.  
I am interested in doing a tele-seminar in early OCT?  On performance issues. What do you think? Send me your questions or needs. and we can plan it.
I look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dear Sanna - transforming fears

I am trying to do what you said and transform my fears into excitement, and it's actually really easy to think of it that way, because my stomach is kind of the same anyway whether I'm excited or nervous. I also appreciate both of these feelings, because even nerves are much better than no feeling at all. I remember last year around this time feeling nothing besides maybe fatigue and boredom. I was barely doing anything, and I really felt nothing before the performances. I wasn't nervous or excited or anything.

Now I am excited about the roles I am dancing, but happy to do them, so even when I am scared it is still a good feeling. I guess at the end of last year I had a sense that the artistic director liked me, but it is so weird and exciting to find myself really one of the favorites. The director often tells me I am too humble and shy, and I need to break out of my shell. A member of the staff told me the other day "I hear you are on the way to becoming one of our next primas, but you are just too shy."

I think it's pretty clear what I need to work on this year, so my goal is to be more confident in my dancing. I just feel so self-conscious sometimes, but the more I dance a role and the longer I am with a company, I think I feel more comfortable and it shows in my dancing. I am definitely in a good environment to work on this goal. Everyone has been very encouraging so far.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome Back Janie!

Hello Janie! I am happy you have returned and are enjoying a grand start for the new year!
We'll be patient while you get set up with internet.  Keep us posted.  

Have you considered transforming the fears toward your dance partner into excitement. Could it be that your body is revving up to dance with someone you admire and enjoy dancing with?  Change the mind behind the physiologic response.   " I love dancing with Bob."   " My body gets all jump and happy when I partner with Bob."  

The sensations in the body for fear can be misinterpreted by what you think. Take the current 'mind set' away and notice what happens.


PS - Just finished another article for Dancer Magazine on attitudes!

PPSS - I am thrilled that more dancers are realizing that their mind matters and audio programming helps.  Here is a new testimonial - "Mrs. C., I am a different dancer after three weeks of sleeping better.  I am amazed, stunned really. I would not have guessed that it would be that important. Everyone is commenting!" Julie Smythe, age 19.

Mountain DEW Cubed!

How much sugar in the yummy treat?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Sanna - An exciting year ahead

I am sitting in an internet cafe for another precious internet session! It's amazing how important the internet has become for me, especially abroad.

Well the night after my last post I was sick all night and could not even go in to the studio the next day, the first time I can remember since early high school, maybe even longer. The next day I felt better and tried to take class, but by grande battementes I had to go lie down. I hate to stay at home and miss things! So I stayed and watched a new girl step in to my (soloist!) part in one of the classical ballets we are doing this year. Then I marked the arms for my first rehearsal understudying the leading soloist in the same ballet (the second-biggest part in the ballet). Of course understudying DEFINITELY does not mean I will ever perform this role, but I am thrilled that I was even considered as the understudy. Then I finished the day being cast as demi-soloist in the ballet we started learning at the end of last year, which I was very excited about!

So besides being sick, it was a pretty great way to start the season. I am so glad the director sees me in these larger roles and will give me a chance, because even though a lot of good dancers did not return this season, the director could've chosen other dancers over me who are still in the corps at the moment.

I am also almost always dancing with my favorite partner! (Who makes me really really nervous by the way, but I sort of like that feeling and I like that we were paired up anyway.)

So that's all my time for now but I thought I would share my exciting news.

Until next internet cafe!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dear Sanna - back!

Hey I still need to set up my internet connection, because I literally arrived back here yesterday evening and started work today! So sorry I haven't been on - haven't even read the posts I missed when I was gone yet, but I will save them and read them later when I am back home without internet (I am in an internet cafe now).

But my vacation was amazing, and I don't even think I got too out of shape! The director was relatively nice today, too. Seems like it is going to be a good year - so far I have some pretty decent parts.

Hopefully I will have internet and post soon! I hope everyone had/is having a great summer.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Sanna in Dancer Magazine

Enjoy this Read - FLY GIRLS, Tips on Managing Fear, Dancer Magazine, Aug. 2009

Janie will be back real soon!!! 
I believe she is in route back to her country.

Sanna Carapellotti, mS CHt

PS - I will address the goal responses in the next few days.  Thank you very much for your interest. Any one else?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Goals for this year -

What do you really want out of this NEW year? 

Get clear with WHAT YOU REALLY WANT.

Send me some of your thoughts.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Performance Coach and Hypnotherapist

PS - "Janie" is off with family and vacationing. She will return here very shortly.

PPSS - If you don't know then you are left to be 'hijacked' by others ....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Accept or not ...

Are you a member of the status quo? The back row or the 'forever core.'

What is keeping you there? Look yourself square in the eye and ask yourself.

Your 'secret' is seen in your attitude that is reflected in your performance. (None of us can hide) If someone gives you negative feedback, do you even try to dance with an attitude against the feedback? I hope not. Take what you need from what you heard, dump it and GO DO IT. Sometimes other people see what we do not see or even know.

Of course if the correction is way off base for 'some reason.' For example, when Mr. F. told me in High School that I would never amount to anything. "Mr. F, your guidance was not so accurate." (I 'm sorry you did not take the time to know me and what was really going on). Straight A's in Grad school, writer, speaker, healer ...

If you want to stand above the status quo, you know what you need to do, just like I did.

Courage to stand apart, even taller.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

While Janie's Away ...

While Janie's away --

Here is my latest interview in Dancer Magazine. The focus is auditioning, perspective and suggestions.

I would love to hear your comments. What do you have to say?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT
Performance Coach and Therapist

Thursday, July 16, 2009

If You Want it you can have it -

I have had many requests ffrom those of you interested in purchasing the Performance Package but cannot afford it. Well, being the chief-in-charge here, I make the decisions I want to make. This is for you ~

I am placing the Performance Package for sale on a donation basis for ONE DAY.
(It is a 60.00 Value)

Sunday -- July 19 ... from 12 midnight to 11:59 p.m.

Here is how it works:

Read about the Performance Package. There are testimonials and lots of info on the page.

ON JULY 19th, I will link to PAYPAL and you send your donation (What you can honestly afford.) and contact information. You must include 7.00 for shipping and packaging.

I want you to have this Performance Package. You will use this regularly because you will - Get stronger, more passionate and more focused. (I have several dancers who used them and used them for 3 years and purchased a second set. I encouraged ipod usage because they listen to them every day.)

Here is what is included:
  • 4 CD's
  • 48 page booklet,
  • A pot of Lavender Silk.
  • Tele-seminar, Performance Jitters for FREE.
You asked. I listened.
Here it is For You.
Tell Your Friends and they will love you even more!

If you have any questions - email me now.

Love to you all!

PS. Sunday, July 19th, 12 :00 - 12:00

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Here is an article that speaks about the importance of sleep and performance. Although geared toward athletes, the way in which dancers work their bodies classifies them as "artistic athletes?"
Read and Get your ZZZ's. If you need help, Stepping to Sleep is a available and empowering.

Comment back here what you think?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHt
Performance Coach and Therapist

Saturday, July 11, 2009

counter on blog

Does anyone know how to reset the counter on the profile page? It has been stuck on 670 for months! let  me know techno wizards!


Friday, July 10, 2009

What Miranda said ...

Miranda is 19 yrs old and a ballet trainee. She purchased the Stepping to Sleep program mainly because she did not want to be tired for performances. When I talked with her (when she placed the order), she said all the rehearsals revved her up so much that she would be awake until 3 or 4 in the morning.

Since she purchased Stepping to Sleep, she is sleeping all night and feeling stronger for the actual performance. She was surprised that she has not 'heard' the program because she is always falls asleep. The imagery  has helped her to feel calm and strengthened from the inside. She said she has noticed a boost in creativity as well. (She doesn't know how that happened. Guided programs do that - That's my job! :) )

She purchased the program in March, 2009. She listens to it about 5 nights a week. It has become a part of her training program.

I am happy that Miranda gets it - Sleep and performance can be improved in the simplest of ways.


PS - It is still on sale for 19.00. (reg.35.00) It is a good night with Stepping to Sleep.

Monday, July 6, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, Tomorrow DOES Come!

As the year winds down it is bittersweet. Yet is time for you to rest and strengthen for the upcoming season.  

There are several things you can do that may not SEEM like you are training. I do hope that with all we have talked about here on DanceMind you realize that training for something as rigorous as dance extends beyond the studio.

Here's how --  Get Mental This Summer!

Back at you!
Performance Coach

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dear Sanna - July already!

Wow the time is really flying by. I was pleasantly surprised by all the work there is to be done now. I mentioned the new ballet we are working on in an earlier post. I was really excited to be doing the piece at all, and now learning the choreography I am loving it more and more! Also, we learned the demi-soloist parts as a group, which is really fun, and I was paired up with my favorite partner, who is very likely to dance the role. I don't like to get ahead of myself or expect things, but I think that means I have a possibility of doing the demi-soloist too! That thought is really exciting... but I won't let myself indulge too much in such uncertainties. Anyway it's really fun for now to rehearse, and whatever happens next year will be fine.

And we are still performing this season's pieces, as well, so really there is a lot to work on. Even so, a lot of dancers in the company go home almost every day after only half a day of work. The rest of us stay for the choreography workshop. It is really interesting, especially in the piece I am dancing, because the choreography really makes movements based on her own style. It is sometimes very difficult to imitate her way of moving, but I think it is good experience to figure out how to communicate what I am thinking and feeling and try to understand from the choreographer exactly what she wants.

Anyway it's all a lot of fun, and before I know it I'll be off on my summer travels! I am excited, but also not that eager to leave. I like where I am now! It's a really nice feeling to be equally happy at work, where I live, as on vacation and in my home town. It will be really interesting to see how things have changed and stayed the same in the states.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dear Sanna - tomorrow comes....

..and the next day and the next day and the next day! I can't believe how quickly this year is winding down. There is suddenly so much to do in so little time - but it's all fun stuff, so I'm more than happy to be busy. I am noticing more and more lately how powerful my mind is in affecting my mood, dancing, and overall happiness. I am really in control of things. When I begin to worry about wrapping things up here, or how I will handle the inevitable getting out of shape (at least a little, which I think is healthy) over the holidays, I keep trying to mentally prepare. I know this can make the difference between a painful struggle and a methodical way of getting back in shape when the new season starts.

Promise to post more later but now I have to go dance!!


Monday, June 15, 2009

DanceMind : Language, Janie

As stated by Janie ...

Hopefully in 6 months or a year I will appear less stiff when I dance, since I am always working on it and trying to improve as a dancer. I imagine I will not be completely rid of this flaw in my technique, but at least it will be better than it is now."

I bolded the words that are influencing your performance. Notice the words that PUSH success into the future, or are uncertain, or speak of certain permanency.

Again, I ask, "How much will you truly be able to shift?" Not much.

Do you understand that you will continue to move forward JUST AS YOU HAVE IN THE PAST come to this day making minimal strides. Tomorrow comes.

Back to you ...

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS - Need more sleep? Go here ...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dear Sanna - stiffness in the future

Hopefully in 6 months or a year I will appear less stiff when I dance, since I am always working on it and trying to improve as a dancer. I imagine I will not be completely rid of this flaw in my technique, but at least it will be better than it is now.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stiff Arm Language


Now here is the next very important question... Read very carefully.

Now since this stiff arm problem has been going on for years (and you have achieved profressional status.) and you have a inner dialogue that supports the stiff arm problem. (read previous posts)

What would it be like for you in 6 months or a year WITH THIS STIFF ARM experience.
One Year? Will it be the same or change?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

P.S. Stepping to Sleep is on Sale! It is a dynamic problem guaranteed to strengthen your performance. Dance rested,

Dear Sanna - Stiff (everything! not just arms)

Yes that is correct. Definitely a miscommunication there. At least understanding this is a little helpful, but it's hard to deliberately not do what I think they are saying. I have been talking about this problem for years now. I think maybe it is a general characteristic of my dancing that I have always had.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stiff Arm Language


How long has this been a problem? Also, how long have you been referencing 'stiff arms' in the way you mentioned below.


DanceMind:Janie - Stiff Arm Problem

Let's work through "Stiff arms."

Here is what probaly happens. The stiff arms become stiffer or way too relaxed because your attention is on them trying to make them big and fluid. You might even lose another part of your movement when the focus is on 'arms.' You become fragmented?

What YOU FEEL (and believe) you are doing and what THEY OBSERVE is obviously different.

So something is off a bit.

Part of the annoyance could be frustration with yourself because you are doing the best you can and think you have made a change and TO THEM they do not SEE a change.

Is this correct?

Language (better late than never I hope!)

My problem: I look very stiff when I dance.

Even when I try to bend and make my motions big and fluid, I am constantly told to do more. Teachers often tell me to relax or bend more, but if I do what I think they are saying, it doesn't help. Often times I need to hold myself more to appear relaxed or just bend differently, not necessarily more. I get really annoyed sometimes when I hear these corrections and I can feel myself closing to the corrections. Instead of using the criticism to become a better dancer, I feel resentful and hopeless.

In other news....

As the end of the season is in sight, a few dancers have announced they will not be returning next season, including one of our main principle dancers. In the past few weeks, the ballet masters have been telling people to really learn the places that will be empty next season, and I was specifically told to learn the principle's space in the ballet choreographed by the guest earlier this year (the one I was not cast in even as an understudy but learned anyway). She already had an understudy, but she did not learn the part very well or even go to half the rehearsals I was in, so as of now I will go in next season! It just goes to show how much can change - from not even being cast as an understudy to performing on of the main parts. I am really excited for this opportunity.

Also, someone is now learning my part in another ballet, which I think means I might be promoted to a better part in the same ballet, since the same dancer will leave a hole there next year as well. Even if they end up getting a new principle who will do these parts, it is still nice to know that they would consider me, and it's a good learning experience. There is also a choreography workshop with dancers from the company, and I am in one of the dancer's pieces, which is both challenging and fun. AND we just started learning another ballet I really love for next season. Things are really going well! I am so glad it's not the boring end to the season I anticipated.


Monday, June 8, 2009


I met my deadline with Dancer Magazine for an article or the August issue. It focuses on aerial arts and the 'dare devil' phenomenon that surrounds it. Fascinating experience for me as I interviewed Amy Ell of Gyrontonics Houston and Serenity Smith Forchion of Nimble Arts, LLC. How inspiring they were to speak with. I will update you when the article is available on line.

I have written 2 other articles for them --


Language exercise ...  

NOW notice that what you say mirrors the experience you have.

For example, You want to improve your turns.

You tell people, "I can't turn. I really struggle. I can't even get around twice. My feet wont turn. I fall out in the most embarrassing times."

Notice how that IS your experience and HAS BEEN.

Do you believe the future will be much different?

Let's rewrite the script ... " Every day I practice my turns. I work hard at them. I practice after class and when I can. I visualize myself turning. I am improving. I feel good about learning. My teacher helps me.  I love to watch how other dancers master their turns...."

See the difference. It feeds what you want to accomplish and you move towards greater efficiency.


Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Stepping to Sleep is on sale for 19.00! This is the lowest price since its release, even when Dance Magazine recommended it. "I feel stronger because I am sleeping. I did not realize I was 'not rested.' This program is on my bedside table."  Lori Bates, Las Vegas.

Sleep improves performance. That is a fact.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Worth mentioning is how we address what occurs in our lives. Listen to how you speak of events...

Pick a problem you have had for a while, maybe a performance issue.

Write it down in a simple sentence.

Next write a few paragraphs about how you think of this problem. You may have inner dialogue, or say (speak) about it to family, friend and peers in a certain way.

This is a private exercise so be honest with yourself.

I will return in the next day or so and continue this exercise. I want you to do this now.

Janie, if you can post your response.

Thank you! Welcome to the new followers and I thank you all for your questions and comments. I appreciate it very much.

I am marking my performance CD' s down this week. It will be a nice sale for summer intensives! Stepping to Sleep is especially a good program to have as it strengthens, heals and prepares you for the rigors of intensive dance practice. Going away from home for long weeks in the summer can be difficult.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Taking Care of Yourself Pays Off

I am happy to hear that you FINALLY went to the chiropractor, and took action to check out your injury. Look at the results! Turns have improved! You are happier!

Crooked spine image: The body/mind creates and uses the language of imagery to communicate to you. When you feel creepy, you might feel tingly. When you have a head ache, you say, "My head is pounding." What your mind communicated was most likely exaggerated. Yet, there was a muscular pull in a direction that was unnatural. Your mind said, "I feel crooked."

Pay attention to that. It demands attention. Otherwise Janie, you could get another stronger message from your body. These cues speak. You experienced the results of paying attention. Taking action makes the difference.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dear Sanna - chiropractor magic... or mind power, or both!

It has been so busy! Since my back-kicking drama a lot has happened. We had a very important performance for an event, which was luckily very short, so I endured some minor pain for the sake of everyone's sanity and the show was fine. It was cool to perform at a fancy event in front of some famous people. And my back was good enough for our mini tour, even if my shoulder was sore after swimming and I still didn't feel good putting a lot of weight on it. But I could dance okay, and it was slowly improving on it's own, although I felt crooked even when the pain was nearly gone.

So the other day I FINALLY made an appointment to see a chiropractor. It felt a little silly, because it was so long ago and the pain was really minor by that point, but I was still a little scared that there was some internal damage or something, or at least that I was out of alignment. So the appointment was half for my back and half for my head. Anyway he cracked me like crazy and hooked me up to all these massage machines and said I had no real damage other than what he fixed by adjusting me.

Well I was very relieved, since the day after the kick I felt like they might be amputating my right shoulder. I also felt much looser and straighter, and the next day in class felt great. My turns were amazing! I don't know whether the physical adjustments really made that much of a difference or if the thoughts of a straight spine in my head helped me to dance that way, but it was great and I will try from now on to picture my spine this way.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, What Occurred to Me ...

Is that I could take a trapeze lesson.

Aerial arts are an amazing opportunity to display strength, poise and beauty on the stage. I have an article to write for Dancer Magazine on the management of fear. I have learned a lot and will keep you posted.

It is all about the mind - what we do in our lives.  My daughter and I are planning a lesson together. With her strength she will swing longer and probably do some trick of sorts. For me I am happy that I can view it as an option., a possibility, a new adventure.

My mind has changed about aerial arts after two conversations with two very dynamic women.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dance Mind- Interview with Amy Ell.

What a refreshing conversation with Amy Ell, Aerialist, for an   upcoming article on the psychology of risk in the arts for a dance magazine. It is awesome, yet has a lot of 'mind' behind it.

More later. Janie, I will write tomorrow!

Gotta get to Bikram Hot Yoga class.


PS -

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dear Sanna - careful it's a long one

I think I mentioned earlier this is a very busy month as far as performances go, and it happens to be socially busy as well for me. Last week we had evening performances 2 days in a row, an early studio performance the next day, and still one more normal day of work before we made it to the weekend, so it was very exhausting. The company has been a little on-edge lately, too. Nobody is exactly sure why, but maybe it's just that Spring-time stress I seem to remember every year (although I used to think it was because of school finals and auditions and whatnot, but maybe even without those things the environment can still be stressful).

Anyway I was also starting to come down with something - sore throat, runny nose, etc. and just not having the best week. Then before the second evening performance, the artistic director had a really annoying rehearsal in the studio. It's this hopeless ballet that is just a mess of choreography as the basis, so it's really impossible to make it look good. And on stage it's even worse because there is way too much going on and too many people and it just doesn't work, and everyone but the artistic director (and choreographer) know this. So it was annoying enough we had to rehearse over and over before the show, and it was an especially horrible rehearsal that went 15 minutes over time. The director said "the bus will wait. I need to rehearse," so we took our time getting ready. When my friend and I arrived at the bus stop 8 minutes past the time we were supposed to leave, after 2 very angry phone calls, and we the director yelled at us, too. But we did not even come as late as the rehearsal ran over, and we were told the bus would wait. Yes, we could've rushed or not gotten food to eat between 2:00 and 12:00, but that's not right, so we didn't. It just made me so angry. But the director talked to me and wasn't really that mad. We said it wouldn't happen again and the director proceeded to give me the typical back-handed compliments. I am a good dancer with a nice facility but I need to push myself.

Anyway I really do feel I am getting better at knowing what mindset I need to approach a performance and how to forget my negative emotions when I need to. So I think I was okay during the show. It was going pretty well actually, despite the ridiculously small stage. Then we got to the end of the dreaded ballet we rehearsed earlier, the climax of huge crowded mess. But I really went for it, and then I felt a leg come crashing down on my head and then shoulder. It was horrible pain, and I didn't know what to do. I covered up the choreography I just missed, and continued, because I knew I could and it was the professional thing to do. I held back tears (barely) until after and then I couldn't hold it in. I knew the girl who hit me felt awful and I tried not to blame her or let her know how bad it was, but my shoulder felt horrible. All messed up when I tried to move it.

There was still one piece left in the show, so I did it through the pain. Then the next day we had to come in extra early for the studio show. I couldn't even hold the barre with that arm, it hurt so bad. And whenever I tried to do anything holding my back it hurt. And nobody with authority even showed up until about 10 minutes before the show, so I felt I pretty much had to do the show, since I have no understudies, and I just asked that I not do the demo class and a few especially painful parts. I was so scared and frustrated, just like any new injury, that it might never get better.

The next day I woke up and it was slightly better though. It's tough with this schedule to try to see a doctor or chiropractor. There's a show and then we are on the road performing, but I think I can get by. Hopefully it will keep improving a little on its own, and then when we return in a few days I can see somebody to put me pack in alignment. I'll let you know how it goes.


Monday, May 11, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, Nerves

Nerves are a part of your physiology and respond to subconscious/unconscious mind and emotion, and also to the body. It is a complex  interconnection so closely fused that it is hard to tell what begins the effect and how it all comes together thru expression. Some times the body initiates it, too. You do not know why?

Realize that - You program yourself to associate mind, emotion and physiology to an event.

Dance performance = fear, dread, disappointment.  (nothing you do will ever be god enough.)

Dance Performance = joy, excitement, commitment, love. (You learn and grow from experience)

You are right, Janie, having no sense of excitement, or 'nerves' is boring and creates a lifeless performance. It would be like meeting your favorite rock star, or going to a party without energy, lifeless and dulled. It is possible that you were holding yourself back, to not put yourself out because of personal risk, uncertainty about your 'place,'  the politics within the company. SO we withdraw when we do not know, or it feels safe to be expressive.

Look at it this way --  on a scale of 0  --  10.   You cannot approach a performance and expect to do well if you are at a energy level of 2. You could maybe walk across the stage reasonable well.

This rating system can be helpful. Get to know yourself and how you feel BEFORE, during and after you perform your best. 

Now without a doubt certain roles, choreography or difficulty has a different feel. As you become more experienced you know what level of energy is demanded of the piece. 

You can associate a certain feel with the numbers.

If you begin at a 9 (you are in a high state of stress / 'nerves'.  It is more difficult to manage the body, to bring it down. It is much easier to move up into the energy required of a performance.  
I did work with one performer who HAD to be very hyper yet was  instantly able to reduce the body mind experience very quickly, actually instantly. This is an exception. Is it necessary? No. She would collapse after a performance. Her recover was a lot longer than most. She had not desire to change it. It worked for her and she accepted the price of exhaustion, for now.

You might wan to establish  a 4 - 5 range prior to performance . You allow yourself to naturally increase energy. You are sensing an increased heart rate, tingling, more blood pumping in your veins, changes in eye movement and breath -- and you are at a 4. Know what that feels like. Then you can return there and know -- "hmm , for this piece I can safely stay here because it starts out slower .."

Nerves are a 'good thing.'  They communicate to you.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS -  Join me on FaceBook!  Sanna Carapellotti

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dear Sanna - some answers

It's true. Nerves can be good. I remember at the beginning of the year, I did not feel nervous for the first few performances. Maybe the atmosphere did not feel professional to me, or maybe I was just not being challenged with my roles, but I felt nothing. No nerves, no excitement, and it was difficult to perform this way. Nerves get my adrenaline going and I have energy to perform. Without it, dance just feels like a job, which it has never been for me. That's why I like my job, because it's fun and it DOESN'T feel like just a job. Even in rehearsals or class if I am nervous, it's not always a terrible feeling. A little drama makes life interesting!

okay now for 20 responses - I could adjust my rhythm but...

1. Nobody else adjusts for me
2. I am doing the correct counts
3. It's harder to change than to stay the same
4. My partner will also have to adjust with me
5. I might not dance as well if I am distracted by new counts
6. I don't want to!

okay is this an exercise to prove that there aren't that many good reasons why I should not adjust? Because I can't think of more than 6 reasons aside from the 3 examples you gave.

Today we had a performance and I was so annoyed. First, before the show a friend of mine couldn't find her costume. She kept saying somebody must have taken it, when I'm sure it just got left behind somehow at the studio. These things happen, and yes, it's annoying, but it's more annoying when you don't stop complaining about it. There are plenty of extra costumes, but she was fussing so much I finally just told her to take mine and I would take one of the spares. In the end she took the spare and I stuck with my costume, but there was a lot of unneeded stress in the room.

Then during first act my mood worsened. It went okay, but it's one of those really cheesy story ballets where the corps do a LOT of acting and not so much dancing, which isn't really my thing. I feel stupid and awkward walking around trying to act. On top of that, I got punched in the face, I'm assuming by one of the new guys who doesn't really know what he's doing, but it just really hurt and I still had to walk around the stage acting and smiling like an idiot. Then after, I couldn't find my costume, and it's not that big of a deal for me to just take one of the spares, even if it is a tutu (therefore more fitted than the first act costumes), but I wasted a lot of precious intermission time searching for the stupid thing. Then I went upstairs and my costume was in my dressing room. I suppose it was a nice thought that somebody got it for me, but since I didn't know it just caused trouble.

Grrr! It was so hard to not think about the fact that my nose felt like it was smashed into my face and my costume frustration for the rest of the show, but somehow I forced myself to change my mood and the rest of the show was even kind of fun. Now for some rest...


Monday, May 4, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, Experience

You are right about the experience piece. That experience tells us to -

1. expect change
2. surrender to it
3. to flow
4. to strengthen
5. expect change

... and of course, perform.

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

PS - I was interviewed ast week for a piece on 'rejection' for Dancer Magazine. I will let you know when it is published.

DanceMind: Dear Janie, All in a day ...

The question becomes this -- How do you increase 'movement' to do what is asked of you with all the mental "yes buts."  

Consider the mind set surrounding 'yes, but.'

Let's do this ... Answer this question with at least 20 responses - Ask yourself. Allow the answer to pop into your mind and ask again, very quickly.

I could adjust my rhythm but ..... There is no time.
I could adjust my rhythm but ... the performance is tomorrow.
I could adjust my rhythm but  ..... I learned it this way.

Got it?

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dear Sanna - moments of truth

Unfortunately I think the main way to be more prepared for these kinds of things is experience, perhaps together with an open mind. It's amazing how much easier it is when I just open my mind to things I know I have to do anyway. Of course sometimes it's important to stand up to things I really disagree with, but if I know I will eventually do it anyway, it's much better if I at least pretend that I want to.

That must have been so difficult and scary to first prepare a speech about something that bothers you so much, and then have to change it at the last minute. It's easier now to think about how to handle these moments, like my pre-show stress. Maybe it's a huge deal to me, but maybe to everyone else it just sounds like a normal correction or a way to make me dance my best. It's not the end of the world, and I need to realize that when I try to apply the corrections. It's not life or death, and if I just try it can only help me.

Hey I did 5 pirouettes today! More than once, too. I was just practicing in the back of a slightly boring rehearsal when a company member gave me a little correction, and there you go - 5 turns. It was so much fun and I kept doing it too. We'll see if it still works tomorrow ;)


Sunday, April 26, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, All in a day ...

Experience teaches us the importance of being authentic as to who we are and knowing our subject matter, in your case - ballet.  

About 20 years ago when I first started speaking as a part of my work, I was invited to speak to a Mother Daughter's Brunch on Mother's Day. At first I freaked out and declined. (at the time too much trauma for me due to my mother's sudden death when I was a young teen) After much thought, I realized that this could be a part of my healing. I accepted the challenge.

I was told that the daughters would be teens and the Mom's  in their 40's and 50's. SO I prepared a 30 min talk about separation, growing pains, trust and memories and weaved together a nice discussion and a few exercises.

Preparing for the event was nerve wracking. I admit to being so afraid I would cry HUGE tears. Mother's Day was not my favorite day.

Mother's Day arrives and I show up all prepared. I walked in to the church basement and stopped dead i my tracks. I was speechless.  

The daughters were in their 40's and 50's and 60's and the Mom's in their 70's, 80's and 90's!

I was so programmed and glued to MY speech out of my own great fear, that I have to say it was probably one of the most difficult moments of my life. I had to ad lib the whole thing and it was not my best, I stuttered and stammered, yet I got thru it. I was so uncomfortable.

What I know now is that I prepare not only with words and WHAT my expert subject is, but also to for the audience, it is not about me. 

I could have told a moving story about my mother loss and tied it into how grateful they can be about having time together ... But I stood steadfast in my own drama of the moment.

My self-importance and inexperience got me in big trouble. My talk was for them - to move them, not about me ("OMG! I was given the wrong information, What can I do? I have nothing to say!) I could have made a joke and been more 'flexible.'

Being in dance (as in most positions) requires you to be in the moment and to shift away from what was and to what is called for now.  Controllables.  You know that things happen - injuries, life events, changes, etc ...

Many of us can say quite nicely what the controllables are and yet not want them to be so in the real world. 

All you can do, Janie, is the best you can do at any given moment.  The directors and instructors make decisions based on what they believe to be needed, not what you could be prepared for. 

Do you understand that? 

Being told the day before about being off time could have been a forgotten thought of yesterday.  They have so much on their minds.  I can venture with certainty  that thoughts race, especially before a performance.  When you discover that the performance is much bigger than you, that you are a part of a larger picture than you can truly be prepared to do the best you can.

Resistance of mind creates tension in the body.  That part of it is self imposed. It places you in a  position of being 'against' the company. Is that  who you are? (i do not think so)

Here is the good thing, Janie -- You have been there almost a year. You have realized some communication patterns in how they relate. Some good and some not so good.

Be ready. Just because someone says something to you does not make it true. This can be about your habits, weight, work ethic .........

How can you prepare yourself? How can you become more flexible in mind to become more adaptable in body?

Here is the question -- How does it serve you (to be resistive?)  

What if you could be more fluid, more adaptable, more open to change?  When things do change (and they do) you will be open to learning faster, being more present and even more 'presentable.' You just do it.

I know I rambled... however, I will read it over to make clarifications.

Controllables ...  YOU!

Sanna Carapellotti, MS CHT
Performance Specialist

Saturday, April 25, 2009

DanceMind: Dear Janie, It's all the same to you!

Your posts are very revealing once again about the challenges within dance companies, especially in the area of communication. Communication is often uncensored and emotionally driven. Often based on appearances. (you are studying and director views it as if you are not 'concerned about your piece.')

It is difficult to not take things personally, or to not feel badly. You have been working hard, are dancing with partners you are not familiar with and have been mentally rehearsing. How could he tell that?????

Some aspects of preparation are unseen and unnoticed. Placing your attention on other matters can actually strengthen your performance. It is virtually impossible to sustain ALL your attention on choreography ALL the time. Diverting attention to LEFT brain activites is actually a good thing. Also flipping through a magazine is a powerful relief too. Or listening to one of the audio programs you have of mine.


Back in the morning.

Dear Sanna - it was okay

So I worried and worried about the performance following my last post. I talked with a friend about it, who helped a little, saying I really look good in the piece and reminding me how the director gets crazy and says things in a really rude way. I felt a little better, but still nervous since I would maybe have one mark-through before the performance to fix it.

The next day I tried to approach the show with a good attitude, since I knew being negative would not help matters. But it's hard to be positive when you are so stressed out! After class I sat stretching and studying (did I mention I am trying to learn the language?) with some friends while they worked on a ballet I am not involved in on stage. The director walked in and made an annoying comment about how "orthodox I am with my studying," but what I should be thinking about is the performance because it was "not bad yesterday, it was terrible." Great way to boost my confidence before a show. And as if I had not spent the entire evening and morning going over the piece in my head. As if I didn't care how I danced. As if the rest of the corps and the music and my partners were not important in my dancing with the group and it would be perfect if only I would stop studying and think only about the dance. Very annoying.

During the mark-through on stage, I did as much as I could full-out, without making my overworked partners do too too much. I felt bad, since most of them are principles with a lot to do, only dancing with me because my partner is away. But I tried very hard to do what I think the director wanted (not that I'm ever told exactly what is so terrible about my dancing).

But the show went okay, I thought. And the next day we actually got notes all together as a company after class (which is another rare occasion for us), and the ballet master who corrected me the day before the show specifically said I was much better. I felt silly, since not many people were singled out, and I think it might have something to do with the way I reacted to the correction. I was upset and frustrated and I said that I felt like nobody would work with me either, so that's why it wasn't together. I hate to talk back to teachers when I am corrected, but I just couldn't help it.

I suppose all's well that ends well. My partner will be back in a few weeks, so I guess we'll see if it will be hard to adjust to him or if it will be comfortable like he never left. Hopefully the latter!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dear Sanna - helpless

Today we had dress rehearsal on stage (a very rare thing for this company) including the piece where my partner is missing. I was under the impression that I would not have to perform this piece before my partner returned, but he is not back yet and there is a show tomorrow. Great.

And today after the rehearsal, one of the ballet masters told me I was not together with everyone else, which when I think about it is somewhat true, but this information would have been much more valuable if I knew a little sooner than the day before the show. AFTER rehearsal - I couldn't even try to fix it today! At least if I had known I could've tried to fix this in the studio when we rehearsed the past few weeks. It is also frustrating, because I know there are many instances where I am the only one on the music, or at least doing the steps on the counts we originally established. When I reflect on my dancing, I realize that I think I am a little subconsciously stubborn, so I am aware that we are not together, but I am also determined to do the steps on the "right" counts. Tomorrow I will just have to try to let the music and counts go and be with the group, but it is very difficult to try to fix this overnight without any rehearsals.

...not to mention the fact that I also dance with partners who also need to be together with the group. It cannot be completely my fault we are off the music. And it's hard to track down all these partners and work out problems, especially when the problems are with timing, which requires both music and the rest of the dancers. It is way too complicated!

But I am much less angry than I was earlier today so I will just do my best tomorrow to be with the group and have an open mind and good attitude, because staying angry will definitely not improve my performace. I'll let you know how it goes.