PRIMA by StageRitual holds an event for the upcoming release of their newest collection with a special guest: Principal Dancer Jurgita Dronina.
Not so much a farfetched claim to say that everybody has heard the story of Sleeping Beauty. As the tale goes, the princess grows in beauty and grace, beloved by all who know her. An embodiment of vitality and purity, Princess Aurora became a role that requires a great amount of dedication to portray on stage and to deliver a performance that is easy on the eye. But behind the ever-so-effortless looking choreography are countless rehearsals, overcoming setback after setback to achieve the beauty and grace the princess carries.
Princess Aurora, as well as the artists who portrayed her, are the inspiration for PRIMA’s newest collection: the Blumenfee Collection. It features three latest items to add to PRIMA’s growing lineup of wellness products to cater to every ballerina’s self-care needs. The Arnica Epsom Body Lotion, Rose Epsom Body Spray, and Lavender Epsom Roll-On Gel are created with an Epsom Salt base, sprinkled with flower extracts, and topped with essential oils to produce the perfect elixir for muscle pain recovery.
In line with the inspiration of the Blumenfee Collection, PRIMA has invited a special guest to teach Aurora’s Variation from Act III of Sleeping Beauty. Recipient of the Prestigious Zwaan Award in 2011 for her role of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and lead Principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, Jurgita Dronina has graced the event with her presence.
Joining the class today are not only the members of the Prima Club, but also the students from PRIMA’s partner schools and organizations namely Tutu Toe Dance Academy, Alice Chow Ballet, DC Ballet, Meadow Ballet Centre, Amare Dance Academy, Dance Space, Lisa Macuja School of Ballet, Sri Wilayah Ballet Centre, DancePot, and Goodsound Ballet and Music. The partnership between PRIMA and ballet schools and organizations allows their students to purchase PRIMA products at a discounted price as well as attend PRIMA’s events, helping them gain more experiences with other ballerinas from all around the world.
The class with Dronina starts with an introduction to Aurora’s character and the feeling one must express for the third act of Sleeping Beauty. “Imagine that your solo for the third act is a speech to all the guests that tells your story, thanking them for coming to your wedding,” Dronina shared. As the class went on with the first part, she guided the students well throughout the steps as well as the emotions they must convey.
Dronina also shared that the version she taught was one of Rudolf Nureyev’s, describing it as regal, royal, and one of her absolute favorite versions of Aurora’s Variation.
After finishing the first part of the variation, the class moved on to the second, which Dronina described as “thanking your godmother for all the gifts you have received.” After fixing everyone’s markings, Dronina then focused on correcting the students’ footwork, making sure that all the students were on the same page in movement.
Approaching the third and final part, Dronina expressed her excitement about her favorite part—the diagonal. “You get to tell a story of how you are a little girl, how you are at a party, how you met all the other fairies, how you met all four suitors who came to ask for your hand in marriage, and how you met the prince. (…) All of that comes from that one diagonal.” Dronina made sure to cover the tiniest of detail for the last part, putting emphasis even down to the movement of the fingers and show of the cheekbone in one’s angle.
At the end of the hour, the students were able to perform the three parts with finesse under the guidance of Dronina throughout the entire learning process of the variation. The tidbits of information about the role of Aurora were also much appreciated as they helped the students immerse themselves in the role they are portraying.
After sparking the students’ interests, both in the variation class and the mentor herself, a couple have decided to ask Dronina questions. At the first question about Dronina’s most challenging and favorite role throughout her career, Dronina enthusiastically shared her thoughts: “I think it is Swan Lake. (…) It is very challenging because you feel like every single step you take on stage is under a magnifying glass. It has to be technically impeccable, emotionally touching, (…) and there are so many options to do one step (to express emotion) which is why I think it is my absolute favorite yet very challenging (role).”
The next question was about Dronina’s inspiration in continuing ballet despite the difficulties, both physical and mental. She answered that when it comes to that point, it leads her back to the question “why do I dance?” Ballet, dancing, she believes that without it, life is just not the same. “In the most difficult times in my career, in my life, questioning why I do it, because I love it. (…) It is a truly unique art form, there is no limit to it for anybody, and by sharing it to others, it brings so much joy.” It is the love and passion that comes with ballet that kept her going, and it is the same for a lot of ballerinas who have their hearts for the field of dance.
Dronina also excitedly shared about the first moment she fell in love with ballet. The first ballet she has ever seen was Snow White, and to the surprise of many, it was not the role of Snow White that sparked her interest, but of the seven dwarfs. With each of the dwarfs having unique characters, it fascinated Dronina how one can express characteristics through movement. “That was it, that was my sign that this is what I want to do.” She concluded.
Throughout the question-and-answer portion of the event, Dronina has also shared what she focuses on during warmups for when she performs her role of Aurora, and her most memorable memories from both competitions she attended as well as performances she has accomplished. The event ended on an exciting note as Dronina announced her chosen ‘Best Aurora Student’ during the class and the reveal of the lucky winner who will receive the newly unveiled Blumenfee Collection. As always, the replay of the event can be accessed at the Prima Club Lounge for viewing.
Jurgita Dronina’s class was truly fun as much as it was informative, and the good news is that it is not an implausible thought to have her as a mentor.
As StageRitual grows to be a company whose main goal is to help ballerinas every step of the way in their career, StageRitual has launched Icons, an online booking platform for students to reach out to mentors of their choice to help unleash their potential through quality dance training and education. StageRitual continues to reach out to top ballet professionals in the industry to broaden the spectrum of the current lineup of mentors.
Written by: Grace Iglesias