Mar 28 2013

Well, I am getting reports that Elaine has been a good patient, taking her vitamins while being sensible about her pain medication intake.

Because she is doing everything right to speed her recovery, SunbonnetSmart is rewarding her progress with another *TA-DA!* Activity Page. You’ll notice I am really getting into this. While homeschooling, I used to make learning puzzles for the Peanut Gallery, but it’s been a while. What fun to revive this old skill-set and put it to use.

And besides, because the puzzles are for “big people,” I can make them bigger and harder so that all of BlogHer-dom comes to a grinding halt while trying to solve them. The power. The control. I’m enjoying it.

First off, let’s start out with another Candid Camera type video. I loved that show as a kid. Allen Funt got a little boring sometimes, but the premises were so funny, I remember many episodes well. See what you think of this:

Just for Laughs Gags

Now, just to make sure you’re not getting too far afield of Passover, here is a remarkable video combining a tribute to Passover and Les Miserables. I think it is nothing sort of brilliant. And while we’re discussing Passover, Elaine, I hope your Seder plate is sustainable, good and good for you. If not, you might want to read, The Seder Plate and Your Health: Nutritious Benefits of the Passsover Symbols.  Now get your spiritual groove on while you relate to a popular musical at the same time:


Here is a BlogHer Word Search with lots of your forest friends and some memories from BlogHer ’12 in New York City. I have to apologize in advance as I am not getting in all of the thousands of people you know, but I did the best I could to try to catch most of them. If anyone is left out, tell me in the Comments and I’ll include them in the next puzzle.  This should take you a while, so no kvetching:

BlogHer Word Search: Click Image

See what you think of this video pitting Lance Armstrong against Babe Ruth in an epic rap battle. I thought it was crazy, but interesting. Some bad words, so make sure kiddos are not in earshot, or maybe not play this at work, everybody else:

Lance Armstrong vs. Babe Ruth

So, that’s all for today. I hope your funny bone, not your wrist bones, got a work out.

We LOVE YOU, Nurse Plummer!

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Feb 18 2013

Every once in a lifetime, I meet someone so profoundly amazing, to be with them is to stand in the presence of brilliance. My mind can hardly focus on witty repartee as it tries to keep up and assimilate the input from a dazzling source of soul light.

I want to introduce you to a friend who is just such a person. She’s beautiful, gifted and lovely, inside and out. And, as amazing as her renown and talents are, she is all the more so engaging, because to talk with her, she will never, ever, point to all of her accomplishments. Her name is Christi Stewart-Brown and today is her fiftieth birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRISTI!

Christi Stewart-Brown

But, I am not bound by such compelling modesty. I can share the profound points of her chocked full CV without any humility whatsoever. In fact, I’m sharing not as much to praise Christi, as she’s had plenty of that, but rather, so you know this little Sunbonnet is Smart enough to know someone this special! Why, every time I read about her, or find out about her latest accomplishments, my self esteem goes up a notch and I don’t have to do a thing.

Writing plays, books or “wrasslin’ cattle,” Christi ties one on.

Just read this bio from her web site, for instance: “Christi Stewart-Brown has had over 40 productions of her plays across the U.S., in Canada, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Stewart-Brown is a four-time Helen Hayes Award nominee and her plays include: Morticians in Love, which ran Off-Broadway in 1995 at the Perry Street Theatre, The Gene Pool, Three More Sisters, Sweet Land of Liberty, Full of Grace, Steak! (co-author), a country-western musical about cattle-rustling vegetarians, and Do Not Use if Seal is Broken, which was made into a film entitled Loungers. Loungers, directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner), was featured at the 1996 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where it won the Audience Award and placed second for the Jury Award. Stewart-Brown has also written a work of young adult fiction, entitled Kin. Click HERE to read reviews at”

“Kin,” poignant young adult reading.

“Kin,” Christi’s latest accomplishment, is an edge-of-the-seat Young Adult read that was satisfying to me as a grown-up as well. Christi is a startling wordsmith, able to spin a phrase creating images before your mind knows what’s happened to it. She is smooth in her verbiage and mischevie0us. When I read her works, I keep turning pages to see what will delight me next. In addition, because she’s clever, her characters have to follow along behind. A review for one of her plays, Morticians in Love, commends her thus: “…Morticians [in Love] is a simple enough idea: the tender story of first love between two devout necrophiliacs. Now, the idea itself gets a laugh, but what’s a pleasure is that Stewart-Brown follows through and creates characters, dialogue, and stagings that are a real joy to watch. It’s so depressing to see ingenious ideas or plots wasted by paper-thin characters, or to watch great characters ruined by dumb dialogue. Morticians scores on all counts, following up a great idea with solid writing.” — Matthew Richter, The Stranger (Seattle)

But, the most amazing thing about Christi is the entourage of friends she is carrying through life. Just reading through her Facebook page, she has blessed many people with her friendship and they, remembering her birthday is today, have left comments by the dozens. You have to see it to believe it! What love, what tributes and all of these friendship go back years, even years and years. Why, Christie’s friends are writing poems, making movies and singing original compositions for her birthday, each vying for her attention. Why, the staggering fanfare is giving competition to the Queen of England’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee, celebrating her sixty years on the throne.


Christi’s friend, Gavin Derek is moved to song. What a guy! LOVE this.

So, don’t be left out of the party! Go to Christi’s Facebook page and say, “Hi!,” check out her books on Goodreads and look to Amazon to see all of her books and mentions, some in the Kindle’s immediate download. Make Christi’s birthday a fiftieth to remember and grab on to a bit of her intellectual celebrity presence, for she is Renaissance in her command of many venues.

Every now and then, someone comes along with spell-binding gifts in order to create joy and happiness for others. Join me in shouting out, “Yay, Christi! Happy Birthday with many more to come.”

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Nov 23 2012

Being habitually behind the popular culture eight ball as I usually am, it was a while before I got into Breaking Bad. I didn’t like the violent noises coming from the other room. Included were shrieks and cries of anguish, and that was just from the family audience watching.

Eventually, one cannot help but be pulled in by the cast of Breaking Bad. It’s inevitable and one might as well sit down and give in. If it’s not the cast, it’s the story line. If it’s not the story line, then you’d have to be a rock not to love the musical score. What a package. What a show. I’m a fan.

So, here. Just in case you missed the last show of Season Four, here is a great video clip of Walter White and his sidekick Jesse Pinkman burning down the meth SuperLab. But, there is more to it than that. Listen to the musical score and how the action is coordinated to its tempo. Masterful.

Walt and Jesse destroy the SuperLab.

Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Spanish influence in the Flamenco guitar is hypnotic. It captivated me and I had to find the origin of this musical piece. When I did, I was very surprised, as the musicians are teenage brothers.

Look who’s playing this Breaking Bad score!

What great young musicians. Their mother must be so proud.The Taalbi Brothers were fifteen and thirteen years old when they composed the theme. As the YouTube title says, they “shred” flamenco rock guitar. I haven’t been so thrilled since Antonio Banderas played in the beginning of the movie, “Desperados.”

How the Fourth Season finale was filmed.

So, if you haven’t done the Breaking Bad marathon, now’s the time. It takes a firm commitment and several days. Work starts back bright and early Monday morning.

Better get started.

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Nov 22 2012

There I was. Minding my own business. Clicking through BlogHer, enjoying myself while reading and writing Comments.

And it happened. I started taking one of Jane Collins’ surveys, nothing extensive, mind you. Just a few questions on what I’d be doing the day after Thanksgiving Day. I answered without a second thought. I might check out a few Black Friday sales, but mostly, hating crowds and traffic, I’d be sitting at home eating leftover turkey. I selected my answers and voted.

The bar graph came up and whoa! Most people were planning on watching series TV shows and being couch potatoes. Oh well. Tut. Tut. I thought. Couch potatoes! Cheeze. Can you imagine! Ha-Ha. Watching series TV.

But then, that got me thinking. I remembered that Portlandia clip on YouTube showing Carrie and Fred Watching Battle Star Galactica, for DAYS.

Just one more. We’ll just watch ONE more.

That got me started. I just HAD to find the clip to add to my Comment, in case BlogHers visiting Jane’s post hadn’t seen it. In the process, I started looking at Portlandia videos. Seen them all, but had to, just had to revisit and watch. That did it. Having laughed at the TV serial watching couch potato just before, now I was not only in the mood, but obsessed on finding a serial show to watch.

I like spiritual movies that make me think differently.

Now it is 10:30 at night, and I just finished watching the movie, The Secret,AFTER watching two Battle Star Galacticas, movie on Alexandria, the newTreasure Island with Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver and to round off the spiritual rough edges, 3 Magic Words. These are all streamable on NetFlix and I had a blast. So, I have to admit, I didn’t wait for the day after Thanksgiving to begin couch potato activity.

I started two days early. Woo-Woo! It’s fun being me.

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Apr 17 2012

The book “Demeter’s Daughters” made a great impression upon me when I read it in the 1990s.

It set me straight about feminism in Colonial America. Many people wrongly assume that feminism is a time-line with recent, progressive advances. But, as author Selma R. Williams points out, in the United States, it wasn’t until “…the end of the eighteenth century the self-sufficient, independent wife was replaced by the “lady” whose indolence, ignorance, and subservience were cultivated as the status symbol of her husband’s prosperity.”

This early 1900s postcard shows the influence of dancer
Isadora Duncan’s emphasis on free and natural movements
inspired by classical Greek art.

In truth, “Demeter’s Daughters” convincingly maintains that, “Like the ancient Greek Goddess Demeter, females of early America were responsible for supplying society with earth’s blessings: food, marriage, children – and civic harmony. The story of these women – heroines, victims, and at least a few out-and-out scoundrels – is the story of the founding of the United States.”

Ms. Williams continues that “…colonial women set the pace for twentieth-century feminists. And the modern “Ms.” has yet to catch up,” as written in 1975, the date of the book’s publication.

I have been greatly influenced by the book, “Demeter’s Daughters, The Women Who Founded America 1587 – 1787,” and one day it occurred to me that being a daughter bonds all women.  Not all women are wives, mothers or sisters, but all women are daughters.

In recent thoughts about BlogHer, I realized that we BlogHer daughters are gathered in cyberspace to supply each of our own societies with earth’s blessings. And that…

Why, wait a minute! What’s this? A poem!

It must be an entry for Mel’s NaBloPoMo Poetry Contest: Villanelle

How in the world did that get here?

Gathered Daughters

By Robin,

Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers,
Come to nurture soul with soul aligned and
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.

Once strange women, questing for a smother,
Of female caring, so they join and band
Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers.

Young women writing, some mommy bloggers,
Use adult words to make their baby plans,
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.

Middle women writing, baby boomers,
Lessen life pains with extra love to span
Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers,

Older women writing, sound unfettered,
Free to offer guidance and a quick hand,
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.

Small portraits beckon, on the screen cluttered,
Attracting mentors, to a comment land.
Gathered daughters, unrelated mothers,
Reaching, teaching, purposed for each other.


NaBloPoMo April 2012

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Mar 13 2012

Thank goodness life is not picky. Everyone seems to have good and bad experiences ranging from the heights of joy to the unending depths of sadness. With all of this character building, each person eventually finds a way to cope and survive the bad times, waiting for the good to come back around.

In my last post, Barbara Hughes shared her methods for healing from childhood sexual abuse by giving us a look into her art studio. She showed us how the creation of healing sculptures and paintings helped her get her pain outside of her mind and body. By forming her emotional pain into physical works of art, Barbara has lessened the impact of her childhood terrors.

Barbara Hughes, artist and healer.

In addition, Barbara also has reached out to gather community where she lives in Tennessee and traveled to Tanzania, Africa, intent on healing others in pain. Barbara has found that by enlarging her circle, she could continue to heal herself by helping to heal others. And, while Barbara was in Tanzania, she observed and celebrated the culture by painting and sculpting the beauty of the people she met.

Maasai Women

In 2010, Barbara taught in Tanzania at the Msalato Theological College. She taught Art and Spirituality to a group of African men and English to both men and women. As an accomplished artist, Barbara found the Tanzanian people and culture to be an endless resource of inspiration. Upon her return to her Tennessee studio, she began to sculpt and paint the “Women of Tanzania,” a show installed at Shenanigans Gallery, Sewanee, TN from April 1 – 26, 2011. The sculptures and painting in this post are all from the “Women of Tanzania” show.

The sculpture of Maasai Women, above, depicts women from a Maasai village Barbara visited. Although the Maasai are a very patriarchal society, Barbara found the women to be tall and magnificent, regal in their bearing. Her sculpture shows them wearing the traditional red cloaks worn by both Maasai men and women.

Here, Maasai women are singing. Many villages
have Mother’s Unions that gather to sing, dance
and drum at worship services.

Barbara fell in love with Tanzania after spending six months there in 2010. She went there to teach at the Msalato Theological College in conjunction with McCann’s Mission in Msalato, Tanzania. McCann’s mission is working toward, and accepting donations to build, the anticipated Msalato Women’s Center to offer wider outreach.

Another well known organization, the Mother’s Union, is an International Christian Charity supporting families worldwide, with a well recognized presence in Tanzania. As the Mother’s Union web site explains, “In 83 countries, our members share one heartfelt vision – to bring about a world where God’s love is shown through loving, respectful and flourishing relationships. This is not a vague hope, but a goal we actively pursue through prayer, programmes, policy work and community relationships. By supporting marriage and family life, especially through times of adversity, we tackle the most urgent needs challenging relationships and communities.”

Matiki, a member of the Mother’s Union,
from the Wagogo Tribe in Tanzania

Women who belong to the Mother’s Union meet regularly for fellowship and worship. The Mother’s Union in each village will gather to sing, dance and drum and also to discuss issues of the village. Matiki, Barbara’s portrait of her above, is from the Wagogo Tribe. Even though the Tribe is a structured patriarchal society, the women of the Mother’s Union are very powerful. Barbara comments that, “Not much gets by these women.”

The Mother’s Union, founded in 2000 in Tanzania, has
accomplished much in changing lives for the better
with their Literacy and Development Program.

When Barbara saw this video about the Mother’s Union, she said, “I was really moved by the young husband having turned around his thinking. Domestic violence and extreme patriarchy is typical in Tanzania. I worked with some Mother’s Unions in introducing Al Anon, for families of alcoholics. Alcoholism is rampant. We did two trainings about the disease concept. Once open, the Msalato Women’s Center will be working with the Mother’s Union as well.”

The Mother’s Union was founded in 1876, in England, by a mother of three, Mary Elizabeth Sumner. She was aware of the burdens and responsibilities that can swamp young mothers. The Mother’s Union was specifically founded as a society for support of women in their role as mothers. Mary believed, “…that good parenting was more than providing for the physical needs of the child, and she believed that the primary responsibility was to raise children in the love of God.”

Barbara’s friend, Eunice, helps her fire clay sculptures
made by students of her Art and Spirituality class.

Barbara taught an Art and Spirituality class at the Msalato Theological College in Tanzania. In the photo above, Barbara, Eunice and some students from the class are in the process of firing clay artwork. Barbara shares that, “We placed the clay pieces on a flat stone and built the sticks around them. Then, Eunice ignited the sticks and they went into a roaring flame and fired the pieces.”

She continues, “In this firing I was helping to finish the figures my Tanzanian students had made in the Art and Spirituality class I taught. Here we see two of the five wonderful men who took to the class like ducks to water.”

Woman Dancing

Barbara tells us that, “The joy of the people is really something to see. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. They have had years of drought and yet, they know how to laugh and dance to enjoy life.”

When looking at Barbara’s artwork and then at slides and videos of Tanzania, the magnificently dyed fabrics of the clothing make a lasting impression. The beauty of the colors and patterns swirling with each movement become a visual delight. The prints on the fabrics are distinctive to each group of people and each region in Africa. Most of the garment fabrics are hand dyed by women of each village.

Brightly colored hand dyed fabrics celebrate the women’s song.

To effectively translate her impressions of the Tanzanian women into the hard media of clay sculpture, Barbara softens the visual effect by leaving off the shiny overglazes one usually finds on kiln fired clay pieces. Her sculptures, Woman Dancing, Woman Begging  and the Maasai Women, show only  the colorful matte underglazes to better depict the feel of the fabric.

Woman Begging

Barbara’s sculpture of a Woman Begging has a story. Barbara explains that, “My sculpture, Woman Begging, is of a woman who stood outside our little house and just waited without saying anything. We gave her food.  She seemed to epitomize the suffering of these people.”

Easing the suffering of others is now a big part of Barbara’s life. Remembering her own pain and moving through it, she is reaching out spiritually, but also financially, to help lessen the needs of others. Barbara sets aside a portion of the sale of her artwork to benefit the Msalato Women’s Center in Tanzania.

An informative article profiling Barbara’s work and her show, Women of Tanzania, is offered by Rev. Diane Moore, a prolific writer of many published books and of the blog, A Word’s Worth.  Of interest to fans of Isabel Anders, Rev. Moore has written a mystery novel with BlogHer’s own Isabel called Chant of Death.

For more information on Barbara Hughes, visit her website.

A portion of all artwork proceeds are donated to the
Msalato Women’s Center in Tanzania, Africa.

To give to the Mother’s Union
East Africa Famine Appeal, click here.

For a delightful peek at Diane Moore’s and Isabel Anders’s book,
Chant of Death, go here.

NaBloPoMo March 2012

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Jan 25 2012

The Washington Post newspaper, Style Section, January 2012

I am the last one who should be writing this article.  Honestly, I don’t know how it’s happening. I am the one, for instance, who never watched TV’s Seinfeld until it’s third season. It’s a tradition. I am never on top of any fad or prevailing fancy. I am always after the fact, getting into a social phenomenon after the public’s tide of interest has crested. It regularly seems when I finally wake up and get on board, looking around to say, “Hey, everybody, I get it,” nobody’s there. They have all moved on to the next great allure and I have no idea where they are or what that might be.

Why in the world the touting of the off beat series Portlandia would fall on my shoulders is beyond me. Surely EVERYONE in the world has seen it as I’m always the last to know.  But, for some reason, maybe I’ve turned over a new leaf or crawled out of a new rock. Maybe my family just didn’t know any better, because if you’d told me to watch it, I probably wouldn’t have, resisting the urge to be like everyone else, until the moment had peaked.

Maybe when we went to pick a movie from NetFlix and serendipity landed us on the unknown title of Portlandia, we didn’t resist because we hadn’t heard of it at all. There was nothing to fight, so we effortlessly moved to Portland. But, now that I’m ahead of things for once, I look around and nobody’s here. Nobody seems to have heard of Portlandia and I am ahead of the pack.

Fred and Carrie live in LA but find themselves in Portland, Oregon

Big “duh,” but it took me a while to realize Portlandia is a series of skits compiled by two people, Fred and Carrie, who play an agile mix of characters in every trendy, hip and robust scene imaginable. All of today’s pertinent topics are covered and each character they play relates somehow to someone you know, or an acquaintance you’ve met. No one is spared, but their gracious inclusion speaks to their love of humankind while forcing everyone to laugh at themselves and everyone else.

Toni and Candice know the rules and apply them universally.

The Portlandia selection on NetFlix streams Season 1, so there is no waiting and you can enjoy it right away. The only problem is that watching one episode, you will probably want to watch another. Like we did. We stayed up late on Friday night and then started watching again at breakfast Saturday morning. It was heaven and addictive, and as Toni says, “Addiction isn’t funny.” But, of course, Portlandia addresses that current wrinkle in society, watching several years of a series show in one sitting, just watching one more episode each time.

Warning! When you start to stream Portlandia, this will happen.

Well, so…we’re hooked. So much talent and so much fun. Maybe it won’t become “your thing” like it has ours, but I hope that somewhere in this, you were able to crack a smile.  🙂

NaBloPoMo January 2012

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Jan 06 2012

A mother poodle nurtures her puppies. Or wait, does she?

When I was a kid growing up, I had a friend that used to say a common adage, “You can believe nothing you hear, half of what you read and everything you see.” If that were ever true, well, fifty years later that has changed. Now things are much simpler: “You can’t believe anything you hear, read OR see.” Modern technology is progressing so quickly it is important to realize that “photographic evidence” can no longer be trusted as such.

Watch this fascinating video about the green screening and computer graphics of the movie John Adams by clicking play to fully appreciate the enhancement capabilities of audio/visual information:

Technology is a wonderful thing, but now every bit
of new information must be critically reviewed.


For information on the green screen technique, preview
this guide by hovering your mouse over this link:

Greenscreen Made Easy: Keying and Compositing Techniques for Indie Filmmakers

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Dec 21 2011

Jacqueline Akhmedova is an accomplished Prima Ballerina
who has danced with and been choreographed by the
greatest names in ballet, including Rudolph Nureyev.

Mme. Akhmedova began dancing as a child in Munich, Germany, at the Roleff-King Ballet School and the Munich State Opera Ballet School.  After graduating with honors from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and the Ukrainian Academy of Dance in Kiev, with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Ballet Performance, Pedagogy and Choreography, she quickly moved into the world of European Classical dance performance.

In a professional career of more than twenty years, she was a principal dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet in Tashkent, the Munich State Opera Ballet and the Vienna State Opera Ballet, dancing every major role in the classical and contemporary repertoire.

She has worked with the world’s greatest choreographers – Jiri kylian, John Neumeier, Rudolph Nureyev, Hans van Manen and Peter Wright.  She has toured extensively across Europe and performed as guest artist in major companies worldwide.  She has also choreographed classical and contemporary pieces for many professional ballet dancers and for many students in international competitions.

And now, where do we find Mme. Akhmedova?

Teaching at her newly founded school of the dance,
The Akhmedova Ballet Academy.

One of Mme. Akhmedova’s remarkable students,
Amelia, dances “Shade variations from La Bayadere.”

Students who dance at a pre-professional level have studied classical ballet for many years, most since they were small children. While many ballet studios in the United States teach the Balanchine methods, the Akhmedova Ballet Academy strictly teaches the Vaganova method, techniques define by the great innovator of classical ballet, Aggripina Vaganova.

Deanna Pearson in rehearsal for Medora.

Madam Akhmedova, herself a Professor of Choreography and Teaching in the Vaganova System, utilizes classical Vaganova training methods supplemented with best practices for strength and flexibility training to better prepare her students for both classical and contemporary choreography.

Mme. Akhmedova receives inquiries from all of the world about training in her programs. Each student who applies is required to audition and receives guidance as to their level, abilities and options for career futures. The Akhmedova Ballet Academy opened at its present location in Silver Spring, Maryland in February, 2011. For more information and to read an article from the Gazette newspaper, click here.

ABA Mission

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy is dedicated to providing the finest quality ballet training through the use of personal and artistic mentoring of young dancers enabling them to become strong, healthy, and fully developed artists for the 21st century, prepared to take their places in major dance companies around the world.

Mme. Akhmedova specializes in preparing dancers
for competition and professional careers. Here
are the members of her pre-professional class:
Abigail, Deanna, Amelia, Mme. Akhmedova and Logan.


The internationally acclaimed Deanna Pearson was
coached by Mme. Akhmedova for her competition in
Berlin, Germany where she won the gold medal in 2010.

The arts are suffering financially. The glorious visual, musical and performing arts that raise our spirits and soothe our souls need our help. World economic downturns, those affecting us all, have required patrons who used to give freely to reconsider and be more frugal.

If you have a desire to support The Akhmedova Ballet Academy with any amount, your donation would be most appreciated. It is noteworthy that any donation to this non-profit organization could serve as a year end tax deduction.

Please consider going to the safe Fractured Atlas web site and giving so that Mme. Akhmedova and her talented students may have what they need to continue study. Thank you for your consideration.

Click on the Fractured Atlas above
to donate a much appreciated gift
to the Akhmedova Ballet Academy.


NaBloPoMo 2011

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Sep 02 2011

Mme. Akhmedova, of the Akhmedova Ballet Academy
or ABA in Silver Spring, MD, instructs a student.

It’s that time of year! School is starting. But, not just graded schools teaching reading, writing and arithmetic! In addition, it is the time of year when schools of the fine and performing arts begin their academic year. And so it is with the Akhmedova Ballet Academy in Silver Spring, Maryland where dance is taught with an eye toward perfection, but with an emphasis on enjoyment and delight.

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy opened in February, 2011 accompanied by an informative article in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area Gazette newspaper. The article was complete in creating a mental image of how Jacqueline Akhmedova, the owner and namesake of ABA, manages her studio to bring out the best in each student.

Bringing out the best seems to be easy for Mme. Akhmedova as she laughs and instructs in a gentle, but direct manner. Not only does Mme.’s command of the discipline allow her to make quick, astute determinations, but the studio space itself creates a sanctuary conducive to a dancer’s focused concentration.

ABA’s Vaganova Studio is named after Russian dancer
Agrippina Vaganova who devised the instructional discipline
studied by some of the most famous ballet dancers.

The three ABA studios are appointed in a soft powder blue which is soothing and reminds one of the mists swirling around the stage of a Swan Lake production. The color, in addition to lilting measures of classical music, creates a inspirational ballet environment freeing dancers to leave their worldly thoughts at the door and immerse themselves in their art.

Mme. Jacqueline Akhmedova, born in Munich, trained in Russia
at the Bolshoi Academy, had a twenty year professional career
before she retired in 1997 to mentor young professionals.

Mme. Akhmedova is a commanding figure in the world of ballet who has taught several accomplished dancers of note: Hee Seo is a currently a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre out of New York City and Deanna Pearson who has won many competitions both here and abroad as featured in the news article found here. You can enjoy Ms. Pearson’s talents by clicking on the video below which was recorded when she danced at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia in 2010.

Ms. Deanna Pearson dancing Paquita at the
Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow, Russia.

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy has classes for all age levels, from beginner to very advanced, some of which Mme. Akhmedova teaches herself, and some that are taught by other highly trained professionals. Classes are generally offered in a group format or semi-private lessons with no more than eight in a class. Private lessons are also available. These individual classes are specifically tailored to a student’s needs thus encouraging each dancer’s maximum development and progress.

The 2011 ABA Cape Cod Summer Intensive. Come audition and
join the class located every year off site at the Academy of
Performing Arts School in Orleans, Massachusetts.

ABA classes are not limited to classical ballet. By attending the Akhmedova Ballet Academy, students also can excel in contemporary and modern dance allowing them a firm foundation in the most innovative trends in performance movement. Workable class schedules with state of the art dance disciplines encourage each student to achieve and become accomplished.

Alice Belle Wylie, a 200RYT certified
Yoga Instructor, teaches Yoga and Pilates.

ABA teaches yoga and Pilates classes to develop the strength and core stamina required for ballet, one of the world’s most demanding athletic disciplines. Alice Belle Wylie is not only certified in Yoga, but also has her BA in ballet and French giving her insight into dancer’s needs for goal fulfillment. In fact, Ms. Wylie feels yoga is an embodiment of joyful, mindful and meditative movement, much like dance itself.

If you or someone you know is desirous of a course of dance study in a disciplined, but pleasantly productive atmosphere, get more information on classes and options by going to the Akhmedova Ballet Academy web site, e-mail or telephone 301-593-6262.

Mme. Akhmedova and students from the ABA 2011 Summer
Intensive located on site at the Silver Spring, MD studios.

The Akhmedova Ballet Academy teaches the Vaganova method. This book was written by Aggripina Vaganova in 1948 after she designed instruction combining classical Russian ballet with elements from French and Italian influences.

If you have an interest in the Vaganova method,
hover your mouse over the link below:

Basic Principles of Classical Ballet

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