Ballet Barre – January Can’t Help Falling In Love

January Barre 2020 Ballet Technique by Lisa Harris

With all the crazy that the world is bringing upon itself, I choose to focus on love. The people, places and all the twirl that fills my heart. Here is ballet barre for January.

Plies- Track 2/ Can’t Help Falling In Love Starting in first, relevé and bring outside arm to a v, then lower, double relevé with arms in v again, then lower, one demi plié with arms first, one grande plié with arms high fifth, cambré forward and back, relevé balance. Repeat second with cambre towards the barre and away. In fourth, stretching forward and back, with no relevé at the end. Then fifth, with grande port de bras.

Tendu- Track 3/ Cry Me A River Facing the barre, from first, alternating four times roll through your foot to relevé starting with the right. Tendu right foot front, grande plié, tendu front, side, back, side. Two rond de jambe with right leg while left leg is fondued, relevé balance. Reverse starting with the left foot.

Tendu- Track 5/ Golden Earrings Left hand on barre, from first, fondu supporting leg and tendu front, close first, repeat side, back, side. Two tendus front, two back, two side closing first, then two closing fifth. Reverse starting tendu back.

Passé- Track 6/ Friendship Theme Facing barre, run foot up to passé, plié and relevé 4 times, balance for eight counts, then run down. Do right foot, then left.

Elevés- Track 10/ Continental In first, second, and fifth. Frappe- Track 9/ Anything You Can Do Four front, coupe switch, four back, four double side, petit battement in coupe and passé. Hold back attitude, plié and relevé four times, extend arabesque.

Stretch- Track 12/ Hands Of Time Put right leg on barre and square off to leg, two pliés, cambré back, plié, relevé balance. Adjust leg to be in second, stretch over left, then right, plié, relevé balance. Turn to arabesque, two pliés, cambré back. Lift leg off barre and promenade to other side, bring leg to passé, stretch leg front, and side, then let go of leg and hold in second. Take to arabesque, then split. Reverse starting with the left leg.

Fondu- Track 8/ Around The World Plié supporting leg, extend ninety degrees, fondu développé relevé, passé hold, en croix.

Rond de Jambe- Track 7/ Fly Me To The Moon Four en dehors, four en dehors with port de bras arms, grande rond de jambe en l’air, fondu grande rond de jambe en l’air, then in relevé. Brush front, through passé extend arabesque, brush front, close. Reverse.

Grande Battement- Track 13/ Easter Parade Four en croix.

Petit Allegro Coupé right foot front, step back assemblé, coupé left foot front, step back assemblé, glissade close front, jump beating back then front, step right cabriole, pas de chat right, soutenu, then double turn.

“It’s You” January playlist

The weather has been gloomy with lots of mellow, quiet clouds. I am always after a good “heart” song that melts my heart. This playlist is stripped, naked and not polish. It’s what I love about all the songs. Not over produced, and over the top. A little guitar, some piano keys and some strong voices that are genuine, authentic and pure.

It felt right to start 2021 off this way. In coaching and in dance I always say find your own space, your own voice, your own place in this big badass world. It’s where you will thrive, succeed and where we are always happiest. When we’re our truest selves.

“Be you” Whoever it is you wish to be, the very best version of YOU. Let’s all go into 2021 with big a deep breath in and big exhales. With huge hearts, renewed energy, big dreams and the passion to show up.

As always I hope these songs play from my heart to your ears and you have a beautiful 2021 beginning as you strive for not perfection but your truest self.

Happy New Year – Love K

  • This City – Sam Fishcher
  • ’tis the damn season- Taylor Swift
  • Control (String version) Zoe Wees – ZWEI & Abbott
  • Wild Love (Acoustic)- James Bay
  • It’s You (Acoustic) – Ali Gatie
  • July – Noah Cyrus
  • Just You and I ( Acoustic) Tom Walker
  • Ocean Eyes ( Live) Billie Elish
  • Before You Go (piano version) Lewis Capaldi
  • Surrender – Natalie Taylor
  • evermore (feat. Bon Iver) – Taylor Swift
  • Falling – Harry Styles
  • September Song – Agnes Obei
  • Monster – Shawn Mendes – Justin Bieber

Always a Reason to be Thankful

I think many of us are counting down the days until the ball drops, the calendar changes and we move into a new year. 2020 has done a number on all of us, from the pandemic, financially, community, politics, social divide, you name it – it showed its face. One thing I always thing is important is to find the GOOD. Dinners, board games, family, less time out and about and more time together. People got loud shared their voices and more people voted than ever before. Regardless of what you think or believe it is something to celebrate!  There are so many things to be thankful for even in 2020.

I have been at Patty’s Dance Center since high school. This year they celebrated 50 years of business. No one successfully makes it to 50 years without hustle, drive, resilience, creativity, flexibility and not giving up. Patty’s has always been more than a studio but a family. The creativity that exudes from the building is amazing and the dancers are at a higher level than ever before. It seems that year 50 was all about testing the limits. While many studios struggled, folded, went dark, PDC thrived and has become a bright light in so many young dancer’s lives. 

How did they make this happen?

  • Showed they cared.
  • Put safety and health first.
  • Had studio calls just around community.
  • Taught dance online.
  • Put together a killer protocol for smaller classes, temp checks, masks, spaced out dancing. 
  • A new schedule with built in cleaning breaks.

I have been in awe of the hard work and dedication to keep things moving, to create a safe space, and to give dancers a bit of normal. If you are within driving distance you should check out this incredible dance studio.

As we move into Thanksgiving week I asked all the dancers to share what they’re most thankful for about dance. So PDC could see their hard work matters, teachers know their kindness is felt and the cleaning staff knows the children know they are keeping them safe. For costumes, performances, an emotional outlet, a safe place, a community, a family. Who thought dance could be so many things. Parents know it matters that you have invested in because it has always been so much more than dance. 

When I asked the kids what they were thankful for, they asked me to share. 

I said dance has always been my constant whether I was five or forty four.  Whether I lived in Boston,  Newark,  or now Worthington, OH. Whether I was not yet a mom, or had four. No matter the job or relationship, a good day or bad day dance was always there. 

Below are the things the PDC dancers are grateful for.  If you’re a dance teacher, read these and remember how much you are loved. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and comment below on what you are most thankful for…..

– Love K 

7-8-9 year old

  • Thankful for dance, good exercise and fun.
  • It is really fun to go on stage and have fun.
  • I am thankful for all the teachers.
  • Be around all you and have fun.
  • Family other than my family at home.
  • Thankful for ballet, I get to learn new things.
  • For the teachers that helped me get my back handspring.
  • Thankful for dance and that my parents help me out a lot and pay for costumes.
  • I am thankful for relationships here and friends.
  • Parents pay for it and don’t take me out of it,
  • Friends
  • I learn how to do tumbling and got a back handspring.
  • Brings me joy and makes me happy when I am sad.

9, 10, 11 year old

  • Getting my pirouettes
  • Jazz
  • Thankful for everyone here.
  • Thankful I still get to do ballet here.
  • For dance in general and the teachers.
  • That I can dance after my knee surgery. 
  • I get to see my friends and teachers even with masks on.
  • I’m thankful I’ve gotten a lot better at barre more than last year. 
  • Friends I’ve made the last couple of years.
  • Thankful for all the teachers.
  • Being able to express myself through dance.
  • To be able to still dance.
  • Thankful for costumes and teachers.
  • The kind of environment I get to dance in. 
  • Thankful they clean before I start and when I am done.
  • The teachers and that I get to dance in person.
  • I’m thankful I get to perform.
  • I’m thankful the teachers are so kind.
  • I have a place I can express myself and let out all my worries. 
  • If I am angry all week, it allows me to let it all out.
  • Meet new people.
  • Learn to express myself.
  • I am safe here and I don’t get made fun of,
  • I learn new things and new dances. 

11- 18 year old

  • Meet new people.
  • My escape.
  • It’s fun.
  • Make new friends.
  • Let my emotions out.
  • It’s my home.
  • Supportive and nice.
  • Self confidence.
  • Don’t have to be on a stupid zoom.
  • It’s my happiness.
  • New friends and new people.
  • Second family.
  • Valuable life lessons.
  • I can actually be happy. 
  • My mom pays for it and I can escape from school and cheer.
  • Coping mechanism.
  • Place to let go and be yourself. 
  • Safe place and people are supportive. 
  • People support me here.
  • Stress relief for anxiety and all that goes on outside of dance. 
  • Something to love, some people don’t have a passion for something.
  • Always something to look forward to, my happy place.
  • It gives me another family to come to.
  • Gives me best friends and a chance to be myself.
  • Be surrounded by people that have the same passion as you.
  • Dance is always fun and never boring.
  • Something to go to to get rid of everything else outside.
  • Able to do what I love and be surrounded by people who Love what I do.
  • Dance brings people together, especially during a pandemic.
  • It’s my safety and security.
  • Source of Joy.
  • Grateful to see each other and make it as normal as possible,
  • Second family and thankful for my parents willingness to support me.
  • Huge piece of who I am. 
  • Be myself and express myself.
  • I get to keep dancing and working on my skills.
  • This is where I have met all my closest friends.
  • Hang out with my friends and do something I love to do.
  • Allow for me to bond with new people.
  • Second family, way to express myself.
  • Get to do what I like to do, with people that like to do what I like to do.
  • Improve my dancing during Corona Virus,
  • Surrounded by people I am great friends with.

November Ballerina Barre

Ballet Music for Barre and Center Floor (6000) by David Howard 

When I was young I remember adults saying it’s all about “who you know”. I always felt annoyed because I felt that my hard work and drive would get me to all the places I was going. And of course those things helped but it’s true that the relationships you create in the world will take you farther than anything else. You learn more, your circle opens up, people do want to help each other in so many ways.

The dance community is a family. A network of people who breathe and thrive off of the same things. A passionate, spontaneous group whose creativity spreads beyond the walls of a classroom into stages, videos, social media. movies, into hearts. The things I have learned is to give, deposit, share and if you do it will come back. It might not come back today. or tomorrow but one day if you are genuine and give you will receive.

And so for ballet teachers everywhere…. On zoom, in your room, in a classroom, on a patio or for a class, here is November barre. Simple, easy… Use as you please…

To my network of amazing people…

Love you K

Pliés- Track 1/ Greensleves

            Facing barre, first position, demi plié, grande plié, stretch over right, then left.

            Second position, demi plié, grande plié, stretch back right, then left.

            Left hand on barre, fourth position, two demi pliés, one grande plié, stretch forward and lunge back

            Fifth position, two demi pliés, one grande plié, grande port de bras

Tendus- Track 3/ Sweet Old Fashioned Girl

            Left hand on barre, from fifth, tendu, close, tendu, plié, tendu close, then 4 quick, en croix

            Tag- tendu, coupé fondue, tendu, rond de jambe second, en croix, coupé balance

Dégagé- Track 5/ Sonata in B-Flat

            From fifth, two dégagé front, three quick side, two quick front, one quick side, passé, reverse back, two times through, balance passé

Élevés- Track 19/ Meinster Singer

Frappé- Track 7/ Jenny

            Two front, four quick side, two back, alternating front and back four times in coupé, double front, double side, double back, double side, hold, then reverse

Rond de jambe- Track 6/ Hilili Hi Lo

            Fondu rond de jambe en dehors, tendu side arm diagonal, 4 circles, reverse.

            Brush leg up front, brush through first to arabesque, carry side, close fifth

Fondu- Track 8/ Mazurka a Minor

            Fondu front low, ninety degrees, then high, plié supporting leg, close, en croix

Battement- Track 12/ Hot Voodoo

            16 en croix

Petit Allegro- Track 10/ Lady in Red

            Jeté, jeté, jeté, assemblé over, sissonne front, sissonne back, sissonne side, pas de bourrée, two pas de chats, assemblé, beat change, changement, reverse.

Allegro- Track 22/ Clavalities

            Piqué arabesque, piqué attitude, change arms, relevé arabesque, run run grande jeté

Across the floor- Track 23/ Swan Lake (Allegro No. 4)

            Jeté, jeté, pas de bourrée, pirouette turn, to the right, then reverse

Jumps- Track 21/ Sweet & Low Down

Falling for Fall – November playlist

Falling for Fall and so many other things. The list of things, dreams, ideas, and goals I have swirling in my brain continues. This year forced me to stop, breathe and look at things so much differently. Those dreams haven’t gone anywhere, they are here, bigger, brighter and better than ever. So the rest, breathing spaces, the support, the energy and the new chapter make me ready to change with the golden trees and fall right into Fall.

Here are some songs I have been playing for the last couple months. It was a September playlist, that became October and then just like the leaves, changed into a November playlist.

I hope you play it here there and everywhere…… And I hope you hear and see more of me finishing out this year and moving into 2021.

Change with the seasons- Love Kelli

Banks – Needtobreathe

The 1 – Taylor Swift

Trying my  Best – Anson Seabra

Without You – Leslie Odom JR.

More Love – Sara Bareilies

Can you Hear Me – Anson Seabra

If Your Meant to Come Back- Justin Jesso

Little Runaway – Celeste

I Just Don’t think I’ll Get Over You – Colin Hay

Rolling Deep – Aretha Franklin

Soldier – Gavin James

Can’t Help Falling In Love – Tommee Profitt

Catching up with Kerry – Part one

Catching up with Kerry Wee. I have given an intro of this amazing professional dancer and aerialist before. Kerry grew up in Ohio, where we danced together and then she ventured off to LA. She has an amazing resume in the dance world that many would die for. We reconnected in the last few years and I am so very happy we did. Our conversation comes easy about dance and actually many other things in life. Today in part one – I asked Kerry a million questions about how she started and what led her to LA. To learn more about Kerry and her aerial knowledge follow her blog with the link below.

Here are a few of my biggest take aways from my interview with Kerry….

  • First obstacle can be telling your family you’re headed to LA in the ARTS.
  • Dance can be a big question mark unlike other career paths.
  • LA may be more affordable than NY. You can live with many roommates and have that added support.
  • 25% Talent and skill- 25% Emotional toughness – 25% business sense and money management – 25% people and networking
  • Look and be the part even if you don’t have the skill or the steps.
  • NICE matters. People will remember how you walk into the room and how you behave at auditions and on jobs.
  • Auditions – go to learn and grow not only for the YES.
  • I always say ten Nos will get you to a YES. Kerry said her personal philosophy for dance was 60 Nos for a 1 YES.

Look for part two coming soon. Reach out with any questions and follow us on insta…

Go for the No… Love K

Not Fragile like a flower, Fragile like a bomb – July playlist…

Hello I missed you… Sometimes when I am away from typing this up it seems hard to jump back in. I always have a million thoughts and lately they have nowhere to go. So tonight I bring them to you.

In April I was crying, panicked because dance competition was coming up, I was suddenly slated to travel to too many cities in one month and working out schedules with the kids is always tricky. . Then COVID-19 happened. This is not to debate if you think it’s real or not. I actually had it so I know it’s real and how sick you can get.

The amazing thing about COVID is it forced us all to stop. Everyone that knows me knows that’s a word I don’t even understand. I have mentioned Aaron King before. He was my life coach for a year and now I would like to say a friend. I told him my 2020 word was action. That I needed to follow through and take action on all the ideas and things I stir up in my head. He said you already are “Action”. Everything you do is moving. You need to do the exact opposite in 2020. It’s like the universe knew we all needed less action. That we all needed to stop for a moment, or six months. UGH I hate to say possibly a year. It forced us to get off the merry go round. We ate at home, we played board games, we went on long walks, we binged watched, we read books. We knew what our kids were doing at school and they had a new and different perspective of what our job was. It made us give up new clothes, pedicures, or the perfect picture on a rooftop for our insta story. Funny to be grateful for a pandemic, but I do believe we’re different for the better.

I love people, I talk to them all day for a living. Love to know why they think what they do, what drives them. The last few months have brought so many hard things to the surface. I have watched good friends fight, cry, end friendships. I have watched some grow closer. Now more than ever in this world it is time for us to rise up. Not for a political side, not because you think we should wear a mask or not. We need each other more than ever. The last few months have made all of us a little more fragile than normal. And “not fragile like a flower, fragile like a bomb”. Why work so hard to prove your side, or prove your right. It seems easier to lead with kindness and not a divide. So that is my wish for all of you this Monday evening. That you let it go… Have your thoughts, feel them, know them, and let those you love have theirs.

I always said music brings joy, happiness, smiles and if you are lucky some dancing! This playlist has no rhyme or reason, much like the last few months of our lives. Just songs I have been playing – some loud, some to fall asleep and some dancing in the kitchen with a spoon.

I love you all – every single one of you… Even if you think the sky is purple! K

  • Little Voices – Sara Bareilles
  • Don’t Give Up On Me – Andy Grammer
  • Breathing Again – Sleeping At Last
  • Lost – The Wind and The Waves
  • Here I Am – Clare Maguire
  • If the World Was Ending – JP Saxe and Julia Michaels
  • Daughter – Sleeping At Last
  • Let the Rain – Sara Bareilles
  • I Love Me – Demi Lovato
  • Hardwired -Hailey Knox
  • Nothing Compares 2 U – Prince & The New Power Generation
  • I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Whitney Houston
  • Best of You – Andy Grammer
  • I Don’t Know Anything – Little Voices Cast
  • Floorplan – Sara Bareilles
  • Long Run – Deacon

Michael Cusumano –

“As true as possible, as honest as possible and as kind as possible. If it takes me places great.”

How lucky am I to have an amazing friend in Michael Cusumano. Michael began dancing at age six and was in American Ballet Theater by age fifteen. After spending years in ABT he took a chance at Broadway where he landed jobs in Chicago and All Shook Up. Many fun cameo appearances and then fell into teaching. He now is a full-time teacher at Pace University, Broadway Dance Studio and travels. A performer at heart, he still dances, shares his better half in a very fun comedic way and aspires to make people happy and hear them laugh.

I first had the chance to meet Michael at Broadway Dance Center in NYC. I loved the way he taught with love, carried himself, and his fun personality. Since he has ventured to Ohio a few times to teach the students I work with at Patty’s Dance Center. We became fast friends. I have loved watching him teach, watch his social media adventures and can honestly say we are ballet soul mates.

As we all know I love people. Love knowing their hearts, what makes them tick and why they do what they do. I have been wanting to combine my love of dance with my passion for people with some fun interviews to share with all of you. What better way to start then with Michael! Our only flaw in this interview is we could talk and share for days. So you may need to listen in bite size nuggets.

Click here….

In this interview you will learn…

  • A little about Michael
  • Dancing in a ballet company
  • Process of auditioning and hearing no
  • A touch of Broadway
  • Teaching ballet and Cusumano philosophy
  • Finding your true self and listening to your gut
  • Dancing through the pandemic
  • A touch of Self Love

Follow Michael Cusumano on Instagram at mikeycusumano and can also be found sharing ballet as madameolgav .

With lots of Ballet love … Love Kelli and Michael

April at Home – Playlist Spring

Have you ever been moving a million miles an hour and suddenly you are sick and down for the count? We often are terrible at saying no or shutting things off and actually resting. Our bodies force us to stop. The universe has shut down for the time being. The pandemic has slowed life, the constant moving, buzzing and running. Yes we all miss everything about being able to go to work, travel even dinner out, but when will we have this time again. Things have stopped and we are at home with our families. No travel, no running, still living, surviving and moving in a very new existence.

I am hopeful this time brings us a new gratitude for all things we normally take for granted. And also gives us a new appreciation and closer relationship with those people that we sometimes find ourselves passing in a hall or at the front door.

As with all things the dance world has changed. There are online dance classes popping in to all social media feeds. Connecting, choreographing and collaborating across states, living rooms, in tiny bedrooms, studio apartments in NYC and living rooms where a passing cat or dog can be found. What all those rooms are filled with are love. Love for dance, love for each other, love of connection and music. Our dance studio has successfully ventured online and its beautiful how everyone has come together. Here is a playlist I have been playing loud in the kitchen, in my makeshift dance space and on some zoom ballet center- stretch classes.

Listen- Play Loud and LOVE – K

  • The Story – Brandi Carlile
  • Castles – Freya Riding
  • Lost- Luz
  • 22 – Gavin James
  • Believer – Lil Wayne – Imagine Dragons
  • Don’t Give up on Me – Andy Grammer
  • Keep Breathing – Congratulationz
  • Way Down We Go – KALEO
  • Ships in the Night – Matt Kearney
  • By Your Side – Brooke Annibale
  • Change Your Mind – Jack Vallier
  • I will be there – Odessa
  • Stole The Show – Kygo
  • Stars Are on Your Side – Ross Copperman
  • Here – Alessia Cara
  • Ready = Hael
  • Heartbeats – Aaron Wright
  • We Come Together – Regina Price
  • Love Vendetta – Arrow Benjamin
  • Got The Feeling – Juliet Roberts
  • For You – Greg Laswell
  • Blinded by the Lights – Dan Caplen
  • Now I can Fly – Raign

Happiness is a butterfly – October playlist

From the sky today with some beautiful sunshine. A clear sky and clear head. I have started traveling a lot again, I love meeting people and connecting in person. In the last couple weeks I have met a few people who are listening and loving my playlists. Also some secret dancers who are using my barre work. Of course it made me so happy because I love sharing and want it to bring people happiness. This playlist has been around all of September but I hadn’t gotten a chance to share it with all my twirlers. I won’t continue to tell you how much I love music and feel it is my love language. Excited for you to have it, play it, hear it and share it!

As we move into October we come to that sweet end of an amazing year. Goals, dreams and the never ending chase for happiness all in play. Good news is you still have time. Time to make it happen, time to pivot, chase the dream and always chase happiness. Happiness is a butterfly, here fluttering, gone, then back. As usual I am always chasing happiness.. Note the WINS, have gratitude in what you do have. I mean what is happiness? Really just our mindset on our life and where we are at. Again all the power is yours. So be the happiness, be the butterfly, find it in yourself. And when you land in one garden or flower and it doesn’t feel just so, flutter to the space that brings you joy!

Here are some songs…. For the car, the dance classroom, while you workout, for some ballet barre in your living room and to share with a friend.

Love always a butterfly at heart! K

  • California – Lana Del Rey
  • Outnumbered – Dermot Kennedy
  • Dancing With Your Ghost – Sasha Sloan
  • The Archer – Taylor Swift
  • Happiness is a butterfly – Lana Del Rey
  • giving in – Iris
  • Get You the Moon – Kina
  • Bag of Dreams – Joel Baker
  • When I wasn’t watching – Mandy Moore
  • Glow – Gavin James
  • Higher Love – Whitney Houston
  • Coming Home – Gavin James
  • Rescue – Lauren Daigle
  • This Girl – Lauren Daigle
  • Easy Camila Cabello