Defending the Dancer

What dancer hasn't had to endure the irritating parody of the goofy, bent-kneed ballerina teetering on tiptoes when unenlightened friends and strangers learn that you dance, and are unable to resist the urge for some light-hearted mockery... 

Most of the time we can just take it with a grain of salt, and even laugh along (no doubt the culprit's interpretation of fifth position port de bras is actually highly amusing... poor misguided soul!) but sometimes the cliches and denigration to the artform you commit so much time and hard work to can get a little hard to bear. Sometimes gritted teeth are replaced by gleeful visions of a grand battement delivered to the offending head - only ever in your imagination of course...

                   Now who's laughing? ;)

                   Now who's laughing? ;)

 

If any of the above strikes a chord with you then here's some indispensable words of advice from dancer and Energetiks team-member Emily on dealing with the inevitable stigma that dancers can face.

 

 

 

 

Defending the Dancer

 

As a former professional dancer there have been numerous occasions when I have had to defend my career choice to the narrow-minded, the ignorant, or the misinformed. It can be incredibly disheartening to perform your heart out on stage, only to be asked the next day at a backstage tour – “So when are you going to get a real job?”.

 

Dancing is an art form that has seen increased media interest in the last few years thanks to programmes like ‘So You Think you Can Dance’ and movies like ‘Step Up’. This exposure hasn’t done much to improve our pay conditions or our working rights, but with the amount of dancers showing up at auditions these days, it certainly seems to have inspired more people to pursue dancing as a career. Whilst many aspects of these shows and movies glamourize the industry and put a major emphasis on people’s backgrounds and ‘sob stories’, at least the average person gets to see more of this art form that so many of us love. And you would think that people might be more open minded, right? For the most part, sadly, no.

 

I spent many years dancing on cruise ships, and it always seemed so ironic to me that a waiter or bartender would say, ‘You dancers barely work at all. You have no idea what a real job is like.’ They literally had no idea of how much work a dancer has put in for the duration of their ENTIRE LIFE to get to a point where they can have some days off and dance for a few hours each evening. On the surface, sure, we worked less hours than the bar staff did. But what no one ever seemed to understand, was that we could have done their job too. And there is no way they could have done ours. You don’t train five hours a night (and more on weekends) every day of your life since the age of 2 or 3 sometimes to become a bartender. You don’t give up friend’s birthday parties, trips to the cinema and your entire school holidays growing up to become a waiter. We, and our wonderful parents, sacrifice so much so we can do what we love, and we are so excited when someone finally gives us a professional gig, that it is literally heartbreaking when someone makes a throwaway comment about the credibility of your career.

 

You start to wonder, does everyone in the audience feel this way? Are we all a joke to them? And you would get those inane comments from the audience sometimes. ‘So what do you plan to do professionally?’. ‘Do you all hope to get Broadway someday?’ (Like Broadway was the only place you could find professional dancers), ‘Are you going to go back to university and find a career after this?’. Some of us probably did want to get Broadway, and some of us do go on to go to university and follow a different career path one day. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a career already. Dancing requires talent, artistry and athleticism, traits that not everyone possesses.

We are special. And we’re strong. We are told every day at class that we aren’t good enough, even if we are. We criticise every inch of ourselves. We attend audition after audition and accept rejection after rejection. But we keep going because we love it so much.

There a few jobs in the world that require the level of dedication that dancing does. And most of those other careers are also in the Arts, some of the lowest paid skilled jobs in the western world.

 

You don’t see many people saying that football isn’t a real job. And when you consider the comparisons, what’s the difference? Footballers have to train from an early age. Footballers are selected for their teams out of the huge number of young people that play the sport and aspire to make it their career. They also face rejection and criticism on a daily basis. They are athletes that have to have the perfect body and natural facility, and they have to work on their skill every day. But when they make it as a pro, no one questions them. No one waits outside the stadium to say, ‘When do you plan to get a real job?’. No one asks them to work for free, or pays them just expenses, or a minimum wage salary to play a game. Society accepts them, and supports them in their thousands to do what they do. And that’s a good thing, for them. They are talented individuals who have worked hard.

 

Just like us.

 

So to all the dancers out there, the little girl in her first ballet class, the male dancer that just got his first professional show, the old pro that still goes to class every week, I say this. Dance for fun, or dance for a living. Dance every day like you’ll never get to dance again. Because it doesn’t matter what anyone says. We are the lucky ones.

 

We’ll probably never get to a point where dancers have the same status as footballers. But next time someone questions your career, or tells you to get a real job, don’t let it get you down. Don’t let anyone stop you from following your dreams. People can say whatever they want. But we have one up on them, and we always will. They will never understand what it means to master a triple pirouette in class. They’ll never know the buzz of an opening night. And they will never know what it’s like to dance your heart out in front of a theatre full of people, and to know that the applause you just heard, that was for you.

Energetiks talks with Miko Fogarty

Last month Energetiks was delighted to catch up with Miko Fogarty, the incredibly talented young star of First Position, Miko also took time out of her hectic schedule to fit in a stunning photoshoot with photographer Ebbe Sweet in front of the iconic San Francisco bridge (more pictures coming soon!).  Read on for our exclusive interview.

 

Miko_Prof.jpg

Hi Miko, thanks for chatting to us!


First of all, how did you first get interested in dancing and how old were you?

I first started dancing when I was 4 years old.  I was doing many activities at the time, for example swimming, violin, piano, tennis, gymnastics, but ballet was always my favourite!


                                                  Already a star! - little six year old Miko performing on stage.

                                                  Already a star! - little six year old Miko performing on stage.



Do you remember your first ballet class? 


No, I don't remember my first ballet class, but I do remember my first performance and I was called the “sparkly girl” because I showered my self with sparkles before the show. 


A lot of our readers will recognise you from your part in the Documentary film First Position, what was that experience like for you? Did you realise at the time how popular the film would be, and how much it would impact your life?


I loved being a part of First Position. Bess Kargman, the director, did such a great job of letting us get in the zone before competing instead of bombarding us with questions. At the time, none of us knew how big First Position would become but I was excited anyway, because it was such a fun experience for me. 


You do a fair bit of competing around America and overseas, do you enjoy this performance side of ballet more, or do you get the most enjoyment out of class and studio time?


I prefer performing because I love getting to connect to the audience, especially when I am bowing at the end of a performance. I try and make eye contact with a few people in the audience and perform for them.  But I also love working in the studio especially with new choreographers that I have never worked with before!


1.jpg

How do you cope with performance nerves, any rituals or techniques you like to do before you go on stage? 

I don't have any rituals other than to make sure I have done a good class that day and to have tested the stage. I also put a lot of rosin on my pointe shoes, so that I'm sure I am not going to slip. 


Do you still keep in touch with any of the other dancers from First Position?

I do keep in contact especially with Aran and Michaela, and I run in to them once in a while.  I still haven't met Rebecca or Joan Sebastian though. 


What's been the biggest highlight for you as far as dance goes so far?

The biggest highlight has been winning the Gold medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition last summer.  I remember saying to my mom right after my last performance that I would be happy with whatever I got because I knew that I danced my best, so when they announced that I got the Gold medal, I was over the moon with happiness.  I was able to meet some of the judges including Yuri Grigorovich, Ulyana Lopatkina, Svetlana Zakharova and others which was so cool!


7.jpg

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I am a social media kind of person, so I love checking my Instagram and Facebook to see what every one is up to! Also, I have been working on a new website that will be coming soon!


What makes you laugh?

My brother always makes me laugh. Ever since he was little, he loved being the jokester, so although we have our sibling rivalries, he knows how to brighten my day. 




Do you have a favourite tutu or costume that you have worn over the years? 

Photo credits to Liza Voll.

Photo credits to Liza Voll.

I have a few tutus that I am in love with. They are from Japan and are very expensive ($2500 USD each). But they are the prettiest tutus I have every seen.

 

What's your favourite movie?

Probably Pan's Labyrinth.

 

What helps you stay motivated when you’re having a tough or challenging day? 

                  Miko performing in her favourite tutus.

                  Miko performing in her favourite tutus.

My parents help me stay motivated. They always lift my spirit and reason with my problems.  Also, sometimes its good to take a day or two off ballet just to reset and regain your love of ballet again. 





Tell us something you’re looking forward to in the near future: 

I'm looking forward to hopefully becoming a professional. I'm going to be in my last year of school from this fall so I'm just hoping for the best in the next audition season!


If you could meet anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be?

This is not dance related, but I would love to meet Gandhi.  He is such an inspiration to so many people and I love the idea of non-violent revolutions and civil disobedience. 


Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have an Australian Shepherd, Balto, and a tabby cat, Mani. Mani is short for Maneki Neko in Japanese, which means lucky cat! I miss them both the most when I am traveling.


Are their any habits you wish you could get rid of?

There are too many in ballet, but in normal life I tend to eat really fast, so I need to think about eating a little slower especially at formal occasions. It kind of runs in my family though, like my father and brother both eat super fast as well. 


When are you happiest?

I am happiest when I just finish a performance in which I danced my best. It is the greatest feeling in the world.


Do you have a favourite warm-up song at the moment?

I don't really have one, but I love catching up with my ballet friends before ballet class.


3.jpg


What’s something that you think a lot of non-dancers might not realise about full-time dance training?

How much work it takes to perfect the art form. It takes constant thought and determination to fix one little detail. Also, you can't show any hard work or suffering on your face and body when you dance which can be the hardest part!


What profession would you choose if you weren’t dancing?

I haven't thought about that yet, but I love acting, so maybe an actress?


What are your goals for the future, where do you hope to be in five or so years time?

My goal is to get into a professional company and to be rising through the ranks slowly but surly.


11.jpg

 

And finally, do you have any advice for our readers who are aspiring to be professional dancers or performers?

One thing I would say, is to do what you love and love what you do. Also, be able to reset each day as if its a new day not to let any insecurities take over you!

 

 

We hope you enjoyed the photoshoot Miko, and we wish you all the very best for the future. We’ll definitely be cheering you on, all the way from Aus!  :)

 

I had such a great time at the photo shoot and I absolutely love all the dancewear I got from Energetiks! Thank you so much!   Miko x

 

COMING SOON: We're revealing the rest of the stunning photos taken by Ebbe Sweet from our San Francisco shoot with Miko, plus an exciting giveaway (Hint: It involves Miko...and something very very sparkly!), stay tuned.

xx Energetiks

 

 

Dancing in music videos: Highlights of the 2000's!

Ah music! Music and dance... dance and music... the two go together like Fred and Ginger. Yet despite this (and to our enduring dismay), most music videos these days feature surprisingly scarce amounts of choreographed dancing... The days of Thiller-esque, Michael Jackson-style dance spectaculars are unfortunately somewhat of a rarity amongst the newest generation of performers.

Luckily, there are those still willing to put down the microphone and shake their tail feathers every now and then (or at least feature the professionals who can)! So today we're honouring our favourite music videos (in no particular order) of the 2000's that bust a move, enjoy!

 

1. Chandelier - Sia

Whilst Sia herself doesn't do any swinging from Chandeliers, like the lyrics might suggest, Dance Mom's young star Maddie Ziegler swings, skips, jumps and slides pretty much everywhere else! An impressive amount of skill is demonstrated by the 11 year old who Sia allowed to take centre stage in the video (which holds some similarity to the Call Your Girlfriend music video by artist Robyn), Sia herself isn't even in the clip! Ryan Heffington also did a fantastically original, slightly eerie job with the choreography. Applause all round!

 

2. Runaway - Kanye West

'Ambitious' is the first word that comes to mind when we think of Kanye West's Runaway video. Closely followed by 'Cooooool!' or some other unsophisticated expression of appreciation. Because, Kanye surprised us all with this elaborately choreographed (Yemi Akinyemi, we're looking at you.) and shot video, which is only the smallest of excerpts from the actual Runaway, a 35-minute film (yes, you read that right!) written and directed by Kanye, set not just to one song from his album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy but to (almost) the entire thing. So what's the plot? Kanye falls in love with a supermodel phoenix and tries to assimilate her into the human world, only to learn that she can’t stay with him because, well, she’s a phoenix. For the full 35 minute video spectacular click here. We like thinking outside the box at Energetiks, and we're pretty sure Kanye doesn't even know boxes exist for this album, or at least if he does, he's let them 'Runaway'... ;)

 

*Warning: Mild language used.

3. Weapon of Choice - Fatboy Slim

And the weapon is Walkin' (hee hee, Walkin'/Walken.. get it?) and dancing!

Actor Christopher Walken stole the spotlight in Spike Jonze's video (which Won 6 awards we might add, rightly so!) for the 2001 Fatboy Slim single Weapon of Choice. Walken delightfully charmed his way into everyone's hearts with his hands-in-pockets, hip-shaking boogie-ing, all filmed in the lobby of the Marriot Hotel. Genius!

4. How Do I Know - Here We Go

In Here We Go Magic’s “How Do I Know,” a man has trouble getting rid of his robot... And who could blame him? One of the cutest robots we’ve ever beheld, she kicks up a dance-fueled storm in the desert.

5. Islands - The xx

The xx’s “Islands” has people dancing in a coordinated mirror effect that’s both artful and mesmerizing.

6. Tightrope - Janelle Monae

If Janelle Monae's groovy moves don't put a smile on your face then it's definitely time to cheer up. This quirky and talented musician keeps things original in her music videos, throwing in some apparently effortless dance moves that echo the likes of The King of Pop himself as well as sister Janet Jackson.

7. Shake it Off - Taylor Swift

The newest addition on our list, Swift's Shake it Off music video which is hot off the production line this week could more aptly be called 'shake it out!' - because Swift, and her cohort of skilled dancers (across the whole spectrum of styles from classical to b-boy, and even finger tutting) certainly do that! Whilst Swift herself takes a slightly less-than-serious approach to the whole thing, she lets the talent of her back-up dancers dazzle in between the twerking in a tutu, and other light-hearted and intentionally bizarre moments. Voila...

 

 

...Last but not least, we could not end this post without throwing in this bonus, the incredibly infectious, smile-inducing clip for Lonely Boy by The Black Keys. Not only is it probably one of the simplest (and cheapest!) music videos ever made, it also happens to be one of the gosh-darn-cutest! Made even more special by the fact that it was never supposed to happen, the Black Keys had a whole other 'fancy' idea worked out for this music video, but when they didn't like the final result they decided to use this spontaneously captured footage of their security guard (and part-time actor) Derrick T. Tuggle whipping out his own unique choreography and enthusiastically singing along to the music. No surprise, the video went viral.

Best. Decision. Everrrr!

Well, there you have it! Which was your favourite? :)

X Energetiks

Collector Pointe Shoes!

Exciting news guys! Look what's coming soon to our online store: We've got a new range of limited edition hand decorated pointe shoes that will make the perfect present or dance keep-sake, and best of all, the design will be 100% unique to you! No-one else will be able to purchase your shoe once you own it! 

The range is still in production at the moment so stay tuned on our blog and Facebook for an update once the shoes are online! Who's excited!? :)

xx Energetiks

 

Sneak peek:

New Range Energetiks Limited Edition Decorated Pointe Shoes

Art by Elly Ford

On-the-go workout food: Skinny Tuna and Salad Pinwheels

       

Source: Taste.com.au  Recipe by Donna Boyle                                                                                                           Photography by Mark O'Meara

Source: Taste.com.au 
Recipe by Donna Boyle                                                                                                           Photography by Mark O'Meara

This week's recipe is one of our favourite on-the-go meals at the moment, light, healthy and super tasty, these tuna salad pinwheels make an ideal pre-dance/workout food. 

A great source of protein (essential for active muscles) and slow-releasing, energising carbohydrates, fibre and potassium, all essentials for an exercising body.

  • 2 wholemeal or multigrain wraps
  • 1 small avocado, mashed
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 small cucumber, cut into thin ribbons
  • 180g can tuna in springwater, drained, flaked
  • 1 tablespoon whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 2 iceberg lettuce leaves, shredded

 

Nutrition Info:

Energy
1026kJFat saturated
3.00g

Fat Total
12.00gCarbohydrate sugars
3.00g

Carbohydrate Total
20.00gDietary Fibre
4.00g

Protein
11.00gCholesterol
17.00mg

Sodium
305.79mg

Directions:

 

  1. Step 1

    Place 1 wrap on a board. Spread with half the avocado, leaving a 1cm border. Top with half the carrot, cucumber and tuna.

  2. Step 2

    Drizzle with half the mayonnaise and sprinkle with half the lettuce. Roll up wrap tightly to enclose filling. Trim ends (if using round wraps).

  3. Step 3

    Cut into 6 slices. Repeat with remaining wrap, avocado, carrot, cucumber, tuna, mayonnaise and lettuce.

 

Enjoy!

Recipe source: www.taste.com

 

For an equally tasty vegetarian alternative check out these Touchdown pinwheels from Yummly. Mmm!

Image: www.yummly.com

Image: www.yummly.com

Energetiks sincerely apologises for a recent blog post that unintentionally offended members of our readership. We personally thank those who informed us of the situation. Energetiks has amended the associated post.

Sincerely,
The Directors of Energetiks 

WIN AN ENERGETIKS ASHI ROSS SIGNED POSTER & BEANIE KIDS BEAR!

IMG_3417.jpg
beanie.jpg

 

To celebrate the end of another wonderful week we're giving away this beautifully inspiring Energetiks poster, hand signed by Ashi Ross herself as well as this super adorable Beanie Kids Bear (also signed by Ashi)! To win simply comment below what your favourite Energetiks colour is at the moment (Note: Make sure it is a colour from our range!)  and 'POSTER' or 'BEAR' for which prize you're hoping to receive. We'll announce our two lucky WINNERS on Monday (July 14th)! :) Goodluck!