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The Ultimate Ballet Fanzine


WELCOME


Contents Greetings and Meetings

Meet the Editor and the amazing contributors on page 2

Tell Me a Story

Let’s talk about La Sylphide on page 3

Pointing It Out

Real words from real Bunny Heads on page 4

Daily Dancers

Feel like a ballet dancer while waiting for the bus? Go to page 7

D.I.Y.

Learn how to make a tutu on page 18

Meet the Freaks

A close look on our favourite ballet weirdos on page 19

Changing Room Talks If only those walls could speak...on page 24

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Editor’s Letter The first time I wore a pair of ballet shoes I was 4 years old. My hair was wrapped so tightly into a bun that my head was hurting, my pink woolen cardigan was hitchy as hell and I felt lost among the other twenty little girls exactly dressed like me. I remember the fear, the silence, the discipline, but most of all I remember the feeling of peace and completion: I simply was where I belonged. Yes, sometimes I also felt inadequate, fat and helplessly clumsy. Ballet can be amazingly wonderful or bluntly cruel, but it always has something to tell. Above all, it slowly spills over into every other aspect of your life until it becomes an integral part of it. Bunny Heads wants to celebrate it because, in the end, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve become a professional dancer or not, if you’ve stopped doing it or even if you’ve enjoyed it, ballet just sticks with you forever. Like chewing-gum under you shoe, it’s not easy to get rid of it . Enjoy,

Contributors Pernille Haugen

Photographer, Norway What do you like the most about photography? The thing I like the most is the ability I have to freeze a moment, to capture something beautiful, and then have the opportunity to relive it and share it with other people. I also have the opportunity to create my fantasies. I can create an actual physical image of something, rather than just keeping it inside my head. If you were an animal, which one would you be? I would like to be a bird. A beautiful one, like a green hummingbird. I would fly high and look down at all the craziness happening in the world. I would spend every day in a new place and it would be so much easier to fly home and see my family whenever I wanted to. What’s your favourite song? Only if for a Night by Florence + the Machine. Florence sings about her grandmother and how she can still feel her presence as a ghost after her death. I am a firm believer in the supernatural and I relate this song to how I feel about my deceased grandmother.

Soo Jung Park

Make-up artist, Korea How often do your friends ask you to put make-up on them? Usually, twice a week. It is really unpredictable. Sometimes, I get request almost every day, sometimes it is really quiet. If you were an animal, which one would you be? I love all kinds of birds, especially their features and movements. What’s your favourite film of all time? Nanny Mcphee is one of my favourites. It is incredible how many different vivid colours they used for the costumes and set, and I like really happy-ending story. If you could have a superpower, what would you choose? I’d like to be a time traveller. I think it is one of the most remarkable superpowers to have. If I could travel in time, then present would not exist anymore, and it would be possible to predict the future and fix the past as well.

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Tell me a story: La Sylphide

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iven that the majority of ballets are coroneted by one, unquestionable ending – death – it is hardly surprising that La Sylphide is another tragedy. Nevertheless, it remains one of ballet’s great mysteries, because no one knows what it is about. Does it involve a fairy? Is it a tragedy? Does a witch appear at some point? No worries, we’re here to solve the problem. Act 1: Where a young man falls for a fairy, a witch is dangerously insulted and a heart is broken In a big manor-house in the middle of nowhere in Scotland, a bunch of sturdy young men are sleeping all together by the fire. James, our hero, is soon to be married with Effie, his life-long love. His best mate Gurn is also in love with her, but unfortunately for him she’s not particularly keen on him. A fairy appears, flying here and there with her flapping little wings. She stops by James’ chair, draws her little face up to his and kisses him. James wakes up and tries to catch the Sylph but, alas, it’s too late, she’s already gone up the chimney. Effie arrives with all her friends to organise the wedding, but James is still thinking of the Sylph and ignores her. Gurn, meanwhile, is doing his best to impress the girl, without success. James is still in a daze, when an old ugly witch appears. Her name is Madge and she doesn’t look too friendly, but Effie wants to have her future predicted so she lets her stay. However, Gurn is the only one happy with the witch’s prediction: Effie will marry him, because James is in love with someone else. Our hero doesn’t appreciate the innuendo and decides to chase off the witch, who’s clearly vindictive and subsequently curses him. The groom is left alone and the fairy suddenly reappears. She’s terribly in love with James and wants him

to go with her in the woods. He initially resists, but when she starts crying he can’t help but kiss her. They’re not alone though. Gurn in fact is spying on them from behind a curtain and cannot believe his luck. It’s the perfect occasion to win Effie’s love! So he runs off to tell everything to her, but sadly the story lacks plausibility: fairies? Such things do not exist. Unfortunately for Effie they do, and when the wedding ceremony is about to begin the Sylph manages to steal the wedding ring from James, who runs after her into the forest. Act 2: Where a scarf messes things up, someone gets finally what he wants and someone else dies Deep in the dark wood, Madge is planning her revenge with her fellow witches. They’re all dancing around a fire, throwing herbs and other sinister ingredients into a big, black caldron. Then she dips her hands in the boiling liquid and takes out a beautiful scarf. Meanwhile, James is trying his best to catch the Sylph, but she’s too fast for him and keeps frustrating his efforts. To cheer him up a bit, she calls all her sisters and they start dancing around him. On the other side of the forest, Effie (understandably angry by this point), Gurn and all the guests are in search of James. Gurn finds his hat

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Marie Taglioni performing La Sylphide (Alfred-Edward Chalon, 1845)

abandoned near a tree, but when he’s about to tell the others Madge appears and convinces him to get rid of it and concentrate on comforting Effie. So he does and asks her to marry him. Unexpectedly, Effie is so depressed that finally decides to give him a try. Besides, the wedding is already organised, so nothing is going to waste. Back in the deep wood, Madge reaches James and tells him she knows how he can stop the Sylph from escaping his embrace. Now, everyone with an ounce of common sense would avoid taking advice from a witch who has already cursed you, but James is not particularly bright and happily takes the magic scarf Madge is giving to him. He then goes back to his fairy and wraps her up in the scarf. The Sylph stop flying around and James thinks he can finally have her, when suddenly her wings fall to the ground. She’s dead. Madge, happy as ever, shows him Effie and Gurn at the wedding far away and goes away laughing out loud.


Nicola Strada

Professional ballet dancer, Italy When did you start doing ballet? The first time I set foot in a ballet class I was 13 years old. It was kind of traumatising: I was the only boy in an all female class and the only reason I was there was to spend more time with my best friend I had a crush on. But as time went by I began to feel more and more

Pointing

Four amazing people shar

involved in ballet and when at the end of the year my teacher suggested to participate to an audition for La Scala Theatre Ballet School in Milan I decided to give it a try. Which was the hardest thing you had experienced during your career? The 4 years I’ve spent at La Scala have probably been the hardest ones. Not only I was young and far from my home and family, practicing ballet every day and studying for school till late in the evening, but the relationship I had with my teacher was terrible. I’m really happy to have left those years behind me now, and I think I wouldn’t have made it without the support of my family and friends, to whom I’ll always be grateful. What’s the best thing about being a professional dancer? One of the most amazing things is that you have the chance to travel around the world and come across many different cultures. I’m now working at the Bayerisches Staatsballet in Munich and every morning in class I hear people speaking more than 15 different languages, I think that’s brilliant. We’re always speaking in English and that’s why I’m currently having some issues in learning German, only three people in class speak it. What’s your best memory about ballet? One of the best experiences I had happened last year, while I was looking for a job and doing auditions all around Europe. I was stuck in Bordeaux with 8 friends of mine because of the eruption of the volcano in Iceland and we had to take the train back home. It was a 16 hour journey I’ll never forget. Have you ever gotten discouraged and thought about quitting? Yes, sometimes I have, especially during those 4 years at La Scala. But the emotion of being on stage and dancing for the audience is too fulfilling to quit. What would you like to be if you weren’t a ballet dancer? I can’t imagine being anything else than a dancer, but sometimes I daydream about quitting everything and taking a plane to an unknown destination. I could be a flight attendant or, better, a pastry chef! I love baking cakes when I’m feeling down. What’s the first think you associate with the word ballet? (it can be a smell, an image, a name, a song, a feeling…) When I think about ballet I always think about the particular smell you find backstage in the theatre, a mix of wood and sweat. What’s your favourite thing about ballet? Ballet is never dull. You’ll learn something every day and it’s a never ending challenge with your body and with the other dancers. Do you think ballet is more about dreaming or disillusionment? Neither. I think that trying to realise your dream may help you being focused, but what is essential is dedication, even more than talent. Personality is also a key in ballet, if you have a strong attitude you’re already half way there. Disillusionment just brings you out off the track.

Giulia Pandolfino Student, Malta

When did you start doing ballet? I have been doing it since the age of 3 as it was part of my schools’ extracurricular activities. What did you learn from it? I learnt how to use the core muscles in my body in order to create a movement, how to concentrate and practice until perfection, and also how to manage time between lessons and school. What’s the first thing you associate with the word ballet? Delicate movements, strength, the colour dusty pink. What’s your favourite thing about ballet? And the worst? The best thing is doing something that not everyone can do. The worst is the feeling that I can’t do a certain dance move, no matter how much I practice, especially when the others in class have improved at a faster pace. What do you think is the most common misconception about ballet? Probably people think it’s easy and only involves jumping in one place with both hands up. For how long will you continue doing it? For as long as I have time and continue to enjoy it. I am planning to continue at least until I have graduated. Have you ever thought ‘I wish I had never tried it’? Not at all.

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g It Out

Katarina Kostich Student, South Africa

When did you start doing ballet? I started when I was 3 years old. My mother thought I would enjoy it because I had too much excess energy. Was it hard to realize that you would have never become a professional ballet dancer? It wasn’t that difficult to understand. In the end it is a short and difficult career, so I thought it was best to have it in my life as a stress-reliever, not maker. What’s the best memory you have about ballet? And the worst? Being on stage and having the most amazing adrenaline rush at every performance. I don’t have a worst moment, there are always ups and downs, but dancing is and will always be about happiness for me. Actually, I broke my toe once and it was absolutely horrible. What’s the first thing you associate with the word ballet? Peaceful meditation. Do you think you’d be a different person if you had never done ballet? Yes. I wouldn’t have been so obsessed with the body and its movements. I would probably have been more self-conscious. What’s your favourite thing about ballet? The peace that overcomes my mind when I’m dancing, it’s a sort of escape and refuge for me. There is no rush, just control and patience. Do you think ballet is more about dreaming or disillusionment? Both .You need to be able to dream to be a ballerina, because it’s such a fantasy world, but at the same time you need not to take yourself too seriously. That’s the point when the emotion comes out and you truly engage with ballet. Have you ever thought ‘I wish I had never tried it’? Never.

re their thoughts on ballet

David Wilson

PhD student and blogger at davetriesballet.com, UK When did you start doing ballet? I first started doing ballet about two years ago. I was living in the States, studying for a Masters, and wanted to do something outside of my comfort zone. For some reason, ballet sprang to mind and I haven’t looked back since. You are writing a blog about your experience in the world of ballet, how did this idea come into your mind? I first started my blog as an extension of a Twitter account (@davetriesballet) I set up when first deciding to start ballet, that’s how my blog was born. Since then I’ve had over 350,000 hits which is pretty awesome - it seems to be a nice mix of beginners, ballet-enthusiasts and even a few professional dancers. What I really love is when all three audiences connect with a post, resulting in some really interesting discussions. You have written on your blog that one of the thing that interest you is the connection between ballet and math. I am intrigued, what are you talking about? I think ballet has a connection to math in multiple ways - the obvious one is through the structure and counts of exercises and combinations. Outside of that there are hidden away links - I wrote a post about how the golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers appear in different ballet works and in ballet dancers’ bodies too. What’s the first thing you associate with the word ballet? For me it’s the feeling I get, albeit rarely, when everything suddenly clicks and works. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like you’re flying or floating on air. It could be an entrelacé where you get that feeling of weightlessness in mid-air, a grand pirouette that feels like you could keep spinning for days, or it could be an attitude relevé that you nail and feel like you could hold forever. What is the most important thing you have learnt from ballet? For a start, I’ve learnt it’s way harder than it looks! I have learnt I can push my body harder than I thought and I’ve learnt to listen to my body carefully whilst doing so. Do you think you would be a different person if you had never done ballet? How did it change you? Yes, definitely. Ballet has given me a good dose of confidence outside of the studio which is really noticeable, at least according to my friends and family. It’s also awakened my artistic side, which my academic work doesn’t do. I’m currently deciding what I want to do after my PhD and I am looking for jobs relating to both computer science and ballet - don’t know if any exist but I’m searching! Do you think ballet is more about dreaming or disillusionment? Can I say neither? I think ballet is really about using your whole self to express the deepest emotions and so is actually heavily based on reality. The simplest tendu can tell a thousand different tales with so little changes to its execution that every performance is different from the other. You have to live in the moment to appreciate it, this is what is so key to ballet in my eyes. Finally, for how long do you think you are going to be doing it? As long as I can. I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

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Katarina is wearing tutu see page 18, top stylist own, tights Calzedonia, shoes Dr. Martens. Luke is wearing vest vintage, tights Bloch, shoes Vans.


Daily Dancers Creative&Fashion Direction: Annachiara Biondi - Photography: Pernille Haugen Make-up&Hairstyle: Soo Jung Park - Models: Luke Kelly, Katarina Kostich

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Katarina is wearing sweater and lace shorts American Apparel, leg warmers H&M, ballet pointe shoes Bloch.

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Luke is wearing jumper Foot Locker.

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Luke is wearing vest Urban Outfitters, tutu see page 18.

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Katarina is wearing cotton top vintage.

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Luke is wearing jumper Urban Outfitters. Katarina is wearing leotard Bloch, velvet skirt Urban Outfitters, hairband stylist own.


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D. I. Y.

How to make your own wonderful tutu Step 1 : measurements

Things you need:

Measure your waist using the tape and cut the elastic band approximately 5 cm shorter than your waistline. Try it on and adjust it before sewing the two ends together to create a round piece of elastic. Take note of the length of the space between your waist and the point you want your tutu to end.

Step 2: buy some net

Luckily for us Bunny Heads, tulle is usually really cheap, especially if bought in a market. The quantity you’ll need depends on the kind of tutu you’d like to make and on how full you want it to be. However, the general rule is the more the merrier, and you can use as many colours as you wish. For example, to make the wonderful tutu you’ve just seen in the editorial we’ve used 10 meters of 1 meter –wide tulle in three different colours.

Step 3: cut

Now it’s time to cut the fabric into strips. Cut each one double the length you want the tutu to be. To do so, take the fabric and carefully roll it following the arrow in fig. 1, then measure 10 cm from one of the edges and start cutting. Continue doing so until you’ve got all your strips ready to be used.

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Fig. 1

Elastic band

Step 4: knot, knot and knot

Take the first strip of tulle and run it around the elastic band in twofold, then tie it. Try to make the knot as small as possible and really tight, but be careful not to rip the fabric as it’s annoyingly easy to do so. Do the same with all the other strips, making each knot really close to the other so that when you wear the tutu you won’t spot the elastic band through them. If you’re using different colours try to alternate them to make the tutu more uniform.

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Step 5: Wear it and shine! 18


Meet the Freaks Creative&Fashion Direction: Annachiara Biondi - Photography: Pernille Haugen Make-up&Hairstyle: Soo Jung Park - Models: Marthe Engdal, Eduardo Machado


Giselle

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The Nutcracker


The Lilac Fairy


Le Corsaire 23


CHANGING ROOM TALKS

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ver wondered what ballet dancers talk about whilst struggling to fit in to their tight leotards? Here are their three favourite topics, but it might not be what you expected.

2. Feet

If you are a ballet dancer, chances are that you will receive more compliments regarding your feet and their shape than your face. Usually it is the first thing Bunny Heads notice encountering a stranger, they get excited about them and even years after retirement from ballet they cannot help but having a quick look at your feet before looking you in the eyes. For an unprepared audience, ballet dancers talking about feet could sound like a bunch of massive fetishists having a party.

1. Sex

Maybe it is because of the shortage of male individuals around, or maybe because of the special intimacy created by standing in front of each other wearing embarrassing leotards and pink thighs, anyway, sex it is undeniably the king of the changing room. Do not think about a typical girly chat thought, it is sex talk without boundaries – extreme, shameless and exceptionally vivid, a sort of Sex and the City meets Chuck Palahniuk.

3. Blisters & Cramps

No matter how young he or she is, every ballet dancer has a complaint to make about his or her physical condition. Blisters and corns are their best friends, but don’t forget dislocated joints, sore backs and muscle strains. Depending on how many ballet dancers you know, you may consider a career in physiotherapy and become a millionaire, or just use them as a means of eradicating any doubts you may have had about the existence of arthritis.

Barbie printed body Miss Selfridge

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Thank you! Have a Nice Day Any comments? Please email at bunnyheads@hotmail.com


Master Bunny Head Alina Cojocaru

Born in Romania and trained in Ukraine, Alina Cojocaru is one of the principal dancers of The Royal Ballet of London. Her most famous performances include Giselle, Clara from The Nutcracker and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Despite two serious injuries, she’s still one of the greatest dancers of our time. When not shining on the stage, you’ll find her cross stiching in the company of her boyfriend and on stage partner Joahan Cobborg.

Bunny Heads  

The ultimate ballet fanzine

Bunny Heads  

The ultimate ballet fanzine