As we bask in the lingering magic of Christmas and look to the year ahead, may all your days be sparkly and bright!
‘Tis the season once again! Christmas has been and gone and New Year’s Eve celebrations are taking centre stage at the moment as we all prepare to welcome in 2016.
Last year, Ballet Papier artist Berenice produced a fabulously festive gift for fans of her work – an enchanting short movie of The Nutcracker, starring a twinkle-toed troupe of paper ballerinas inspired by real balletomanes (including yours truly!) from all around the world. For Christmas 2015, she created a limited edition range of ceramic mugs and miniature notebooks featuring scenes from the film. I am honoured to be included in the selected artwork, depicted as the elegant Dew Drop Fairy. Happily, I am now the proud owner of one of “my” mugs – and the matching notebook.
As much as Christmas provides an excuse to indulge in special presents, perhaps the greatest gift it gives us is the reminder to reflect upon the past twelve months. Now is the time to be grateful for all of the good things we have experienced, achieved and received; while also looking forward to dancing into the future.
I dance. Therefore, I am.
Dancers all over the world are celebrating International Dance Day today.
Dance has always been an essential part of my life and I am a dedicated advocate. Dancing offers so many physical, psychological, emotional and social benefits – everyone should seize the chance to dance!
Dancing promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, helps to build confidence, teaches the value of hard work and perseverance, encourages creativity and expression, relieves stress, brings people together and fosters artistic appreciation. And, above all else, dancing is really good fun!
Spring is finally here and it is time for us all to blossom like flowers!
Inspired by the beautiful flowers beginning to bloom in traditional English country gardens, Ballet Papier artist Berenice has drawn this fabulous flora-filled picture for me.
Team Ballet Papier in London
We dancers know that timing is everything. Fittingly, this month’s most exciting news is that, after over a year of communicating via email and on social media, talented Ballet Papier artist Berenice (María La Placa), her sparkling co-star daughter Ambar Gavilano and I managed to be in the same place at the same time for a gossipy get-together!
Our well-choreographed rendezvous came about as Ballet Papier moves forward in its quest to reach dancers on the world stage. Keen to connect with UK retailers and distributors – in addition to tapping into what is à la mode with balletomanes here in Britain – Berenice and Ambar made visiting London a priority for early 2015. Of course, they let me know of their plans to swap sunny Barcelona for a week in London to ensure that we would be able to make exploring the city an enjoyable pas de trois.
Eagerly anticipating our long-awaited meeting, I pirouetted into the capital for a Saturday packed full of dance discussions, inspiration and enthusiasm.
Ballet Papier Meeting: Georgina Butler, Ambar Gavilano and Berenice (María La Placa).
You, Fascinating You: A moving and inspiring novel
The rarefied world of classical ballet demands sacrifice and determination. Fittingly, Germaine Shames’ compelling novel You, Fascinating You shines a spotlight on the life of a dancer whose strength of character, passion for her art and heroic human spirit evoke nothing but admiration.
You, Fascinating You is a heart-rending work of fiction based on the true story of a gifted Jewish ballerina and her romance with a Catholic Neapolitan composer.
In the final weeks of 1938, in the shadow of Kristallnacht and imminent war, a heartsick Italian maestro named Pasquale Frustaci, wrote a love song called Tu, Solamente Tu.
The lyrics lamented his forced separation from his wife, the Hungarian ballerina Margit Wolf, in the wake of Mussolini’s edict banishing foreign Jews from Italy.
This anthem of longing proved to be a universal hit and earned its composer the moniker ‘the Italian Cole Porter’. Various versions made the melody popular all over Europe. Zarah Leander, the leading film star of the German Reich, sang the German variant (Du Immer Wieder Du), while the Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band performed the English rendition: You, Fascinating You.
Twenty-two years passed before the maestro and his ballerina were reunited face-to-face.
You, Fascinating You is their story – an absorbing read for balletomanes, history buffs and fans of real-life epics.