Short trip to San Francisco Packing List

Nicole Voris

I pride myself on being a light packer.  I try to make it a game with myself to see how efficiently I can pack without missing anything I need.  With ballet though sometimes it feels like I need to pack two wardrobes, one for the studio and one for the street.

Here is what I brought:

Here’s what’s on the packing list.

Dance clothes:

  • 2 Ballet Zaida Leotards
  • 1 pair of black tights
  • 1 pair of bootie shorts
  • 1 theraband
  • 1 tennis ball
  • 1 pair of warm up pants
  • 1 pair of legwarmers
  • 1 pair of pointe shoes in good condition (to last through two classes)
  • 1 pair of flat shoes
  • 1 set of toe pads/toe spacers (not shown)
  • 1 black sweater that I will also wear as “street clothes”
  • 1 bag to use as my dance bag (I chose my favorite giraffe print bag that my mom got for me)

Regular clothes list:

  • 1 black sweater (same sweater from dance clothes list)
  • 1 pair of black jeans
  • 1 pair of black leggings
  • 3 shirts (one crop top, one turtle neck long sleeve, and one white blouse)
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 2 socks
  • 1 bra
  • 1 set of warm pajamas
  • 1 leather jacket (San Francisco can be cold all year round)
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 1 pair of ankle boots


  • My cross body bag that I will use as a purse
  • A tripod for my iphone
  • Cosmetics/toiletry bag
  • My reusable water bottle

Electronics (not shown above)

  • Iphone 6 plus
  • Ipad Mini
  • Charger
  • Headphones
  • My reusable water bottle


When making my packing list I try to choose clothes that go well together and are in the same color pallet.  I chose to go with mostly blacks and whites so that I could mix and match.  I also chose shirts that are easy to wash in the sink and that dry quickly.  My brown jacket isn’t in the white and black family, but I don’t have a problem wearing brown and black together, I personally find it aesthetically pleasing. :)

How did I pack it?  I have recently switched to using a travel backpack.  I use an Ebags weekend mother loader.  It has a ton of pockets, can pack a lot, fits my frame, and gives me much more freedom when traveling.

I packed all of my clothes and toiletries in the main pocket for convenience.  It’s easier for me if everything is together.  There is a center divider so I packed all of the dance clothes on the left and the regular clothes on the right.

I didn’t pack my boots, leather jacket, or leggings because I will wear them on the drive up.

In the back pocket regularly reserved for a laptop I packed my dance bag.

In one of the front pockets I took advantage of the organization system to pack my electronics.

I also packed my purse in that pocket so I would only have to worry about carrying my backpack when we get to our destination.

Fully packed!  I still have tons of room in the backpack and could probably fit twice as much! San Francisco, here we come!

Ballet Zaida: The Tide

Nicole Voris

On Monday we released our latest film, The Tide. We are so proud of all of our work, and this piece is no exception.  It gives me chills every time I watch it.

The music is by Ken Mankin & Ariel llies.  We had never worked with spoken word before, but this amazing piece, with poetry by Ken Mankin and music by Ariel Ilies, was perfect to start with. 

Oliver, Stephen, and I have known and worked together for almost a full 10 years now.  Stephen is Oliver's and my best friend.  We all know each other so well that we completely trust one another.  When we work together it's pretty spectacular because we really know what the others are thinking.

As a partner I completely trust Stephen.  I can through my body at him and I know he will never drop me, plus we also make something really cool.  The day we made this we filmed a lot of different lifts just in case we would need them.  Not all of them made the final cut, but we did some work that I have never seen done before.  Stephen and I just allowed our bodies and gravity to work together to make new exciting partnering.

We hope you enjoy the film!  If you do please like, comment and share! 

Behind the scenes July Video Project

Oliver Endahl

Hey everyone,

Today I wanted to share some of the process of the July Video Project. 

As you recall, I posted 1 video every day during the month of July to the Ballet Zaida Instagram, Facebook & YouTube accounts.

As I revealed after all the videos went online, all the videos were shot using an iPhone 6S Plus. 

The reason I used a smart phone to film the videos was to show you that anyone can make beautiful art, & that doing artistic endeavors is not out of your reach. 

To film the videos, I used the basic "Camera" App that comes pre-installed on the iPhone. (There are various video recording apps for the iPhone available, but I chose to use the basic camera app because I wanted to use the app everyone had access to.) 

There are some videos where the camera is totally still and only the dancer is moving, but for the videos where the camera is moving around the dancer, in order to stabilize the camera and achieve a smooth gliding effect, I used a Glide Cam HD 2000 

During the indoor video shoots, I would put on some music, give the dancers a general direction, and have them move to the music playing. (The music I played during the filming was not the music that was eventually featured in the videos)  

I played a lot of Ólafur Arnalds. This was fun, because on top of my verbal cues giving the dancer some guidance, the sound of the music also gave the dancer a general mood. If the song was slower & more solemn, the dancer would move more in that way. 

What's also nice about shooting in-doors is that during the video you can continuously give verbal cues to the dancers as they move. So for one shot you can be like, "Get back to back & utilize your port de bras" (port de bras is a ballet term that means "an act or manner of moving and posing the arms") Then after a bit you can say "Now separate & try some leg extensions" as featured in this video below. 

If it was an outdoor shoot though, like this one on the beach, I would tell the dancer some verbal cues before we started filming and a general vibe, but then during the filming the dancer couldn't hear me due to the waves and the distance. So we would shoot a take for 60 seconds or so, and then I would jog over and give her a new cue before starting another take. 

Also, moving for both the dancer and the camera man outdoors is no easy task. I found just walking while filming is incredibly difficult, much less dancing gracefully. 

For each video, I would film around 5 - 15 minutes of footage.

After arriving home from the shoot, I would offload the video onto my computer and use Final Cut Pro X to edit it.

The editing mainly consisted of me chopping up clips and putting them in various orders. So if I filmed a clip that was 60 seconds long, I would watch the clip and cut it down to 5-30 seconds and then place it in my main timeline of the video, along with a few other clips.

Once I had a few clips I liked lined up, I would experiment with overlaying music. This was my favorite part, because you can have the same clip of dancing and put it to one piece of music, but then you can try a different piece of music and it will completely change the tone and vibe of the video. 

Other than putting the clips in a specific order that had a good flow, the rest of the editing to the videos is very minimal. Once again, I wanted to showcase that you don't have to have professional camera knowledge, or intense video editing skills to make beautiful art. Everyone can do it. The editing to the videos I did was just a small contrast boost. 

(I'm familiar with Final Cut Pro because I've used it in the past, but you can definitely use other movie editing apps such as iMovie to create great videos) 

The music for the videos was a mixture of myself, Joshua Piper, and Benjamin Stewart. Each of us has a unique style that you can really hear through the music. 

All the music from myself, Joshua and Benjamin is available to download for free. Just visit our SoundCloud pages and you can download all the music from there. The reason we gave away all the music is because we want people to download it and experiment with making their own dance videos.

I actually started out by making music through Garage Band on the iPhone. (There's some songs in those videos I made entirely through the app) 

The July Video Project was a really fun event for me. I had a blast working and creating with all the different dancers. One video in particular was created a little later on during the project, but I'm a huge fan of it. Here's a bonus video featuring dancers Sarah Hay ( @SarahHayOfficial ) and Christian Novopavlovski ( @NovoPavlovski ) The music is Waltz in C Minor by Joshua Piper. Available as a free download at his SoundCloud.

All of you can make amazing art, and technology has made it easier than ever to create. Try and experiment with things. Take photos, make videos, make music, just experiment & have fun! You've got nothing to lose. 

-Oliver Endahl


Annabelle Ochoa's Frida

Jeanette Kakareka

Today is our last day of shows for "She Said", a triple bill of all new works choreographed by all women. I've been performing the "Female Deer" in Annabelle Ochoa's piece "Broken Wings", which was inspired by Frida Kahlo's life and paintings. My role was based on a painting that she did, as you can see below.

The Wounded Deer, by   Friday   Kahlo (1946)

The Wounded Deer, by Friday Kahlo (1946)

Annabelle is quoted saying: “But Frida often said she didn’t paint dreams, like the surrealists, but her own reality. Her paintings are her life, her emotions are weaved into them, so I am also using them as a way into her mind, as a way to tell the story”. This means that Broken Wings is partially reality, partially Frida's reality. One of my favourite scenes is the "Mexican restaurant" where Diego is cheating on Frida and the skeleton men form a mariachi band to serenade the adulterers.

I think all of the dancers have had a wonderful time working with Annabelle. She's extremely efficient and affectively runs a really smooth rehearsal. She also loves to get inspiration from dancers' jokes and turn it into actual choreography--I've seen her do it!

Of course, it is extra satisfying to have a role created on you, so I was very lucky. My character comes later in the piece when Frida is in much pain after surgeries and taking morphine. "The Wounded Deer" was actually painted after her spinal surgery in New York City. Nancy Meckler, who worked with her previously on A Streetcar Named Desire, was also there in a number of our studio rehearsals. She was very kind and helped explain me through my character.

The 11 male Frida's in the piece have the most fun probably--they had body paint and makeup sponsored by MAC. They also had an excuse to wear these very colourful skirts. Their first entrance is probably the most visually dramatic in the piece.



I also got my fabulously-Frida monobrow and lipstick done by MAC. My wig was styled around antlers by our Amelia Carrington-Lee. They seemed very heavy at first, but after a couple of shows I got used to them. Still had to duck and weave around doors and curtains though!

We were all so fortunate to get to work with a lovely choreographer and team and it was even more rewarding this week to see it premiere and come to life!

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Ballet Class Warm Up

Nicole-Voris-Header-Ballet-Zaida-Affinity copy.jpg

Nicole Voris

If you are a professional dancer, a serious student, or just someone who takes ballet class for fun, it is extremely important to warm up.  I think we all know that we should warm up before class, but I have found that many dancers (myself included), don't always take it as seriously as we should.  

It's very tempting to just sit in the splits and chat with your friends before class.  You might feel loose before class, but you probably aren't warm or prepared for what comes next. I remember when I was still training we would all show up to the school 1-2 hours before class to be dedicated.  But now that I look back what did we really do?  We listened to music, chatted, and stretched a bit.  We may have done a few crunches, but I don't remember us really preparing our bodies.  

I think part of the problem is that we didn't really know how to properly warm up.  What works for each person is extremely individual and probably changes depending on the day.  I personally find what works best for me is to do strengthening exercises that focus on stabilizing my hips and core.  It gets my blood circulating and warms up the muscles way before my first plie.

By being consistent with my warm ups I noticed a much faster improvement and less aches and fatigue in my body.  I very much encourage you to avoid stretching before class and to instead strengthen and warm your body. 

Below is a 5:30 minute video of a warm up I may do before class.  I'll continue to post different variations and times in the future and will also include some of the cool down stretches I will do after class or rehearsal.  Consult with a doctor before starting any exercise programs.