The ballet bun is as synonymous with ballet as tutus and pointe shoes. But to the new dancer and their parents it can feel like quite a challenge. Buns serve a practical role in that they keep the hair out of the dancers’ face, minimize distraction for the dancer and teacher and even help with balance. They are as important a part of the ballet uniform as the tights and ballet shoes. I remember before one recital Mia’s grandmother offered to help cajole her head of huge curls into a bun fit for the stage. She had Mia hang off the couch upside down while she braided her hair from the bottom up to the middle, then braided her hair from the top down, met in the middle and somehow twisted it all together into a bun. To say making a bun was a daunting task would be an understatement. Until one day when Mia was about 10 and Amherst Ballet offered a bun making workshop. They paired off the upper school kids by hair type with the younger dancers and had them practice on each other. From that day on she was able to do her bun herself! AB is again offering these workshops and to see the excitement on the faces of the young dancers as they begin to learn this new skill is priceless. Check back often to find out when the next workshop is taking place!
Lisa Gallant, parent
The rehearsal process for Snow White is well underway! Since September the cast has been working extremely hard, and has learned the choreography for most of the performance. We have been working with three extremely talented musicians, who have generously provided us with practice recordings to rehearse with. We are very excited to share this performance with audiences in six weeks! It is shaping up to be a unique and very exciting show – we hope to see you there!
On Saturday, the Amherst Ballet Family Association held a Community Day in which the goal was to gather the community to help take care of a few things around the building. What a turn out! Dancers, parents and staff showed up to get the job done. While cleaning up the yard and windows were an important task, building community and working together to help create a stronger and more connected Amherst Ballet was the main goal. Volunteering is such an important aspect of being a member of Amherst Ballet, and it is something we are striving to get back to. We want to offer a great dance curriculum, but also an environment that people want to be a part of. On such a lovely day, it was great to see so many people helping out! If you weren't able to be there on Saturday, there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities to come! So a huge THANK YOU to all those who showed up and gave their free time to help out!
Before I was a ballet mom, I was a ballet sister. Amherst Ballet has been in my life in one capacity or another for the better part of 40 years. As a ballet sister I had to sit through many shows, watch my sister receive beautiful bouquets, and make the newspaper more than once. I might have been just a bit jealous of her strong and graceful body and her complete passion and dedication.
My daughter Mia has been dancing since she could walk. At 18 months she started her first ballet class and I became an official “ballet mom”. I had to learn to navigate the world of tights, leotards, ballet slippers and buns. As she got older that world expanded to dinner on the go, late rehearsals, stage make up and balancing homework, sore muscles and family time.
As a family having a serious dancer impacts us in many ways. We often schedule dinner around Mia’s class and rehearsal schedule, sometimes eating early, sometimes late and sometimes all separately. Her younger brother has gotten used to waiting during class and rehearsals and has the advantage of seeing a show come together start to finish.
As a parent I have enjoyed volunteering back stage or helping with costumes. I love the nervous excitement in the kids, being there to bring a bandaid for a sore toe, to give a pep talk to a nervous dancer or to help fix a last minute costume. Being involved in the dance community has given me the opportunity to spend some extra time with Mia and to get to know her friends and cohorts. Ballet keeps her away from home a lot and this extra way of spending time together has been welcomed.
As Mia has gotten older she has learned to tame her crazy curly hair into a tight bun, apply make up with more skill than I could ever dream of and has even become an expert on putting tights on in the car! The biggest issue we face these days is finding time to get to Ludlow or Easthampton for the pointe shoes she needs every few months!
Like any activity dance requires the cooperation and dedication of the whole family and community and has enhanced my life as a parent in immeasurable ways.
Lisa Gallant, Parent