Cecily's Blog

Cecily as A Snowflake In"Waltz of the Snowflakes" - Boston Ballet's Nutcracker 1969 or 1970

A Dancer's Resource

Dancers in Photo above:

"Waltz Of The Snowflakes," A Performance of The Boston Ballet Company's Nutcracker in 1969 or 1970 
Second Row, L to R: 1. Diane (Debbie) Bryan or Kathryn Sullivan?; 2. Nina Bator?; 3. Stephanie Moy; 4. Reva Wildorf 5. Stephanie Marini 
Front Row, L to R: 1. Edra Toth standing; 2. Cecily Travsky Winslow Bressel; 3. Ellen O'Reilly; 4. Kathy Murphy Kolodzie 5. Sandra Feinberg Horwitz; 6. Veronica Fell

Cecily's Blog - Monday April 18th, 2016

Many Performance Permission Slips for our amazing June 4th & 5th, 2016 performances are still outstanding. Please turn them in today!!!!

There is no business like show business, and dance like everything else has a business side. The show is fast approaching....

I wish to re-iterate that the experience of performing is essential to the Dance Experience. Almost all Dance Students want and expect to perform. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen disappointment of the faces of hard working, talented students who discover to their dismay that they will NOT be participating because of a scheduling conflict or inadvertent choice made by parents who do not fully recognize the dancer's passion to perform. 

I implore you to speak to your child if she will not be performing. Explain your reasons. I often find that the children hear this sad news from me:(

Of course, I MUST KNOW:). Plans are in full swing. Costumes, Programs, Life in the theatre....

I make a huge effort to include every Dancer in the performing experience which is the reward for all the hard work and effort already put in the Studio. 

Also Tickets are officially on sale. Our goal is to be completely SOLD OUT!

Plan on purchasing your tickets before or after your classes TODAY:)

Communicate, commit, and show up:)

No collisions!

See you soon

Miss Cecily

Cecily's Blog - Tuesday February 16th, 2016

Good morning ABT Dance Families,

We are so thankful that it is another glorious Tucson Day! The weather in most of the country doesn't compare...

Come Dance & Be Happy TODAY at Arizona Ballet Theatre!! Our Lobby Doors will open this afternoon at 4:00 PM.

Ballet with Cecily begins at 4:30 PM Sharp in Studio I;

Jazz/Tap with Mia will follow beginning at 5:15;

Modern with Grace begins at 5 PM in Studio II;

That will be  followed TODAY by Combined Ballet From 6-7 and MiniPointe until 7:30. 

Rehearsal will end at 8 PM or slightly before, depending on how things go!


We are delighted to have you dance with us at ABT, today and everyday! And remember to Like us on Facebook...:)

Cecily's Blog - Thursday February 11th, 2016

Good Morning ABT Family,

It is a gorgeous day in Tucson, and we will have a grand afternoon of Dance beginning at 4PM TODAY:) Lobby Doors open at 3:30 PM.

In every class we are building Technique AND working on choreography for our upcoming June Performances.

Back to this week at Arizona Ballet Theatre - Dance Excitement fills the air!

Try to come on time, and be ready and psyched to fully focus!

My earlier blogs (scroll down to see them) contain valuable information you need to know. Please take a quick read so you are up to date...;))

  •  BTW - There are still a few costume bags that have not been returned:) Please keep thise costume bags rolling in - It means I don't have to waste my time and yours to contact YOU!

 When all is said and done, I am looking forward to a great afternoon of Dance with you!


Miss Cecily, Feeling Sunny!

Cecily's Blog - Thursday February 4th, 2016

Hello Dancers,


I imagine that every one of you has noticed that I have been placing Stage Tape Markers on the Marley Floors in both Arizona Ballet Theatre Studios, all this year - 2016.  I will frequently request that each dancer now stand on a pink mark. By the time we arrive on The Stevie Eller Stage in June for our Spring Performances, we will be more prepared than ever before to hit our marks. This is a very good  and necessary dance thing:)


Naturally, I started with bright pink marks - pink being a very  popular color at ABT.  Then, I added yellow marks in between the pink ones in Studio I, and blue marks in between, in Studio II.  Not to mention the green corner marks and large green center “X” in Studio II.  I have been rather busy with this ongoing task.  To you, it may seem rather random.  In reality, it is anything but…


Every mark has a purpose; the most obvious being -  enable even spacing when we are in the Center in Dance Class. By asking students to stand on marks, dancers can  much more easily  learn how to dance at a safe distance from one another.  Dancers must have a very strong sense of  personal space, while being respectful of the other dancers in the class.  Some dancers move bigger than others, some move smaller.  Sometimes we stay in a pattern, oftentimes we switch to a different pattern. These tape marks are helping us  to learn the basics of how to dance together like a “corps de ballet.” This is a very worthy goal…. Everyone loves to watch a beautiful organized corps de ballet in action…That is one very big reason why “everything is beautiful at the ballet” - to quote the words of 'A Chorus Line' .. :) 


Now, back to the green marks in the corners, which  are to specify where each student should begin her/ his drills from the corner.  As you know by now, I require a lot of drills in every clas that I teach.  Oftentimes, I observe dancers start a drill almost half way into the studio, for a few reasons, not the least of which is an eagerness to begin!  I love that!  But, my eager dancer may very well run out of space before she has  gotten the feeling of the drill, and that I cannot have. These ideas -  though they may sound very simple and obvious - must be taught and reinforced over time.  


Beautiful patterns that emerge when we dance are the result of intensive programming and much dedication on the part of teacher and student.  I am very pleased with the results thus far, and I am very excited to continue this process of learning how to dance beautifully in the space we inhabit whether it be at ABT or on a beautiful stage!


See you soon at ABT!  Come ready to learn and improve:)


Miss Cecily Thinking of You



In every dance class at Arizona Ballet Theatre, we are busily preparing for our upcoming Spring 2016 Performances of "Arizona Ballet Theatre Celebrates Women!"


I am testing out various musical selections in my very diverse Ballet Classes, and which rhythms will work best with specific groups. The younger dancers particularly are having an excellent time with The March of the Meanies, (The Beatles - Yellow Submarine:) Of course, that music appeals to the child in dancer, and to me!


What fun!


Come Dance & Be Happy TODAY at Arizona Ballet Theatre!


Miss Cecily, Checking In

Cecily's Blog - Tuesday January 26th, 2016

Hello Arizona Ballet Theatre Dancers,

Today I would like to address the Rules of Behavior expected of every dancer who studies at Arizona Ballet.  These are some of the traditional rules of Dance Etiquette, and you need to understand them in order to become the best dancer you can be….   

Number One - Do not chew gum at Arizona Ballet Theatre.  Gum Chewing is NOT ALLOWED while dancing, and generally, gum is NOT ALLOWED in most Dance Studios, at all.  Think of the difficulty were a dancer to execute a pirouette on a carelessly discarded wad of gum.  Not only would this create a nasty mess, it could possibly impede the dancer’s ability to move and might even result in injury. No Gum in the Dance Studio (including the Lobby, Dressing Room, and bathrooms) is  a Dance Tradition of long standing. While some schools may have have become lax concerning gum, at ABT Gum Chewing is most definitely Never Allowed!

Please throw your gum away before you enter the Lobby.  There is a trash container near the planters out front, which is the perfect place to get rid of gum, as well as banana peels, apple cores and all other food garbage. Banana peels, especially, have a strong scent which is best kept outside:)  

Number Two - Do Not Ever Hang on the Barres in either Studio.  No Hanging EVER!  Ballet Barres are meant for gentle support when executing the Arizona Ballet Theatre Ballet Barre Vocabulary. While it is certainly acceptable to stretch along the barres, while using the Barre for support, it is NOT OK to place your full body weight on the barre.

There are any number of reasons why a Dance MUST NOT EVER treat the Ballet Barre as if it is located in a Gymnastics, rock climbing or aerial setting.  First and foremost is safety.  At ABT the Ballet Barres are placed just a few inches from Glass Mirrors, which must be treated respectfully.  They are glass; they can break which is not a good thing for anyone.  

I will be making sure to explain this expectation regarding use of barres very vehemently to everyone at ABT, especially 
Dancers ages ten and younger, who as of late, have been quite unpredictable during Barre Work.  Barre Work is fundamental to learning Ballet ; Dancers DO NOT HANG on barres, and serious Dancers can and have been subjected to callous checks to make sure that a dancer is NOT relying too heavily on the barre for placement purposes, which is an important concept all good dancers must learn.  To repeat, absolutely no hanging, nor lying in between the barres with feet off the floor at any time!!!! 

Rule Three -  Dancers are expected to be dressed in appropriate dance wear in all classes,with the proper shoes, and with hair securely in place, so that nothing  interferes with the learning process.  Occasionally, dance bags or certain items are accidentally forgotten, and we try to be accommodating .  Forgetting your tools should happen very rarely however:)

Rule Four - Talking by students during class should be kept to a minimum, or not at all.  I often ask dancers to raise their hands in response to a specific question if they know the answer; it is also ok to demonstrate a position or step, silently, when asked. Remember that you are at Dance Class NOT Conversation of Socializing Class.  Keep verbal exchanges to a whisper and to a minimum.

Rule Five - Try to remember to be alert in class while paying attention to what is happening around you.  Often times, a dancer who has finished doing a combination with her group  will cross directly in  the path of another class member whose turn it now is. Dancers in the know generally stick to the perimeter of the room when NOT DANCING, especially in Studios as narrow as those at ABT.  

Rule Six - If you need to leave class to visit the rest room, that is fine; however, try to be as speedy as possible. Also, if given a Water Break, be quick.  Also, when it is time to change into different shoes, do so speedily.  Not only is it good practice for performance time when there are often quick changes, it means that more time can be devoted to learning vocabulary and technique.,  Rule Six is about being efficient and engaged in the learning process.  

Another Rule that is very important that I have not mentioned thus far today is to listen carefully to your body, This is a very important Rule at ABT, and everywhere else, for that matter.  Only you truly know what is going on inside of your body.  Listen and be cautious:) Your body is your instrument.  You want to protect it and carefully develop it, so that you can spend your life enjoying the Magic of Dance.

There is so much to know and to learn about being a dancer and thinking like a dancer.  I will be writing much more down the road.  For the time being, try to absorb as much as you can so that you will benefit the most from the precious time spent in the Dance Studios at Arizona Ballet Theatre:)


Looking forward to seeing you!!


Miss Cecily

Cecily's Blog - Tuesday January 19th, 2016

Good Morning, Dancers:)

This week, I would like everyone to focus very specifically on what you - as an Arizona Ballet Theatre dance student - need to bring with you to the ABT Studios, every time you come. In order to thoroughly benefit from every Dance Class, I want you to be prepared to truly dance your heart out!

What are the basics your Dance Bag should contain so that when you grab that Dance Bag on the fly, you still have everything you need? 

The short answer - Dance Wear for the day,  plus an extra set; all your footwear; for example, if you have made the move to Pointe Shoes, always bring them, in case an unexpected Pointe Opportunity presents itself;  bring your favorite hair accessories that really work to make a secure bun and/or a tight pony tail.  A stash of Bandaids, Toe Wrapping Tape, a small sewing kit, and a hand towel   - these are all items dancers like to have on hand so that they can be the best they can be!!!!

Even if you dance just for the amazing fun of it, you are going to get much more out of the Dance Class experience when you come well-prepared and properly equipped.

That’s the Arizona Ballet Theatre thought for the Third Week of Spring Semester 2016 week….Nineteen weeks and counting until our Spring Performances 2016, June 4th & 5th!!! Yay.

I look forward every day to working effectively with you to build your Dance Technique; my goal for you is that you become the Dancer you are destined to be. Work with me, and we can get there together.

World Peace Through Ballet, and All Good Dance!

See you soon,


Miss Cecily


Cecily's Blog - Friday January 14th, 2016

Hello ABT Dancers and Dance Families,


A number of dancers and their parents are not sure about our policy for making up missed classes. So, here it is:


What is ABT's Policy on Missed Classes?

Our policy is simple. Missed classes must be made up within your dancer's pay period.

What does this mean exactly?


Pay by the Month?

If you pay your Tuition by the month, it means you need to make up missed classes within The Same Month as the classes you missed. This month ends on Sunday, January 31st, 2016.


Pay by the Quarter?

If you pay your tuition by the Quarter, your make-up classes must be in The same Quarter. This Quarter ends on Sunday, March 20th, 2016.


Pay by the Semester?

If you pay your tuition by the Semester, you must make up missed classes by the last day of classes in the Semester. This Spring Semester ends on June 5th, 2016.


What Classes Are Suitable For Making up a Missed Class?


Several delightful options are available for making up a missed class. It does NOT have to be the same class.
Here are your options:


Option 1 

Your Dancer may take a more  Basic Class for a slightly younger age group. 


For example, if your child takes Monday Ballet with Miss Cecily at 4:30, you could bring her to Tuesday Ballet at 4:30 with Miss Cecily:) 

This has some benefits:

It is always good to review Basics, especially in Dance.  Dance is based on a strong foundation of basics upon which dancer build through years of training over time… Plus, it is fun sometimes to be the most advanced dancer in the group!!!!


Option 2 

Your Dancer may try a more advanced class. There are many more advanced classes at ABT in Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Modern.

For example, let's say your child missed her Monday 4:30 Ballet Class.  She could come to Tuesday Ballet Class from 6-7 with Miss Cecily. 

This is a slightly longer class, and the students are quite a bit more advanced.


Your child will get a taste of where her training is headed.


And, for a small additional investment, you could stay for Mini Pointe on Tuesday evening, which follows until 7:30; your dancer would take the class in Ballet Slippers, getting a preview of the process of moving up into the Wonderful World of Pointe which is the obvious goal for every little girl who loves Ballet:)


Option 3 

Your Dancer could try a completely different genre such as Beginning Modern on Tuesdays, with Grace, from 5-6pm. Perhaps there is a Jazz/Tap Class that always follows your child’s ballet class.  Stay for Jazz/Tap as well as taking Ballet the next week.  Not only will your dancer see what it is like to take two classes in a row, you will have succeeded in conveniently making up your class.



You could use the following class as an opportunity to test-drive a class that you may have thought about taking before!

  • For example, Learn-To-Turn with me on Wednesday at 4:30PM; Or,
  • Beginning Modern with Grace on Tuesday at 5PM;  
  • Dancers who have taken many of my Ballet Technique Classes may want to try Ballet with Norman on Saturdays at 9:30 AM.  
  • Or, you may have questions about Basic Ballet Technique which Miss Jan will be happy to address during her Sunday Beginning Ballet Classes.  
  • Have you ever wished you could Tap?  Why not try Beginning Tap with Karina on Wednesdays at 6PM?

Just remember to bring hair accessories so that hair can be pulled back from the face in a ponytail for Modern, and in a bun for Ballet! Be prepared!


In Summation - The best approach is to make every effort to make-up missed classes right away.  Classes do NOT carry over to the next semester, quarter or month. ABT policy is that you take make ups  during the month, quarter, or semester; dates are clearly explained on BOTH of ABT’s Tuition Tables.


Our goal is to provide quality dance education at an affordable price that works for the dancer and the school.


If you have still have specific questions about which other class to choose for a make-up - weather it be more advanced, less advanced or completely different style, simple send me an email at misscecily@mac.com or ask any of the faculty when you are at the studio next time…

Looking forward to hearing from you all! Come Dance & Be Happy at ABT!

Miss Cecily


P.S. Please remember to Like us on Facebook!

Good Morning Dancers, Dance Fans, & Supporters,

Please keep in mind that DANCE is an on-going activity! Your Technique will improve over time by becoming MORE involved and by taking MORE classes! Dancers on a Professional Track dance six days per week, and usually take two or three classes per day. While I do not expect most of Arizona Ballet Theatre's students to become Professional Dancers, we do aspire to a High Caliber of Dance Technique for ALL ABT Students.

I hope that most of you reading this have had the opportunity to see American Ballerina, Patricia McBride, honored at The Kennedy Center. The film clips of Patty dancing, as well as the live performances of several of her great roles performed by current professionals, demonstrated the high technical level expected of today's dancers.

I was lucky enough to perform many times with Patricia McBride during my years with Boston Ballet, when she and her frequent partner, Edward Villella, guest starred with us. This is the high level of dancing to which all students at ABT should aspire!

The mission of the outstanding ABT Faculty is to give you the technical tools so that you may experience the joy and wonder of great dancing.

I am enjoying a wonderful Year of Great Dance with all of you! Come Dance & Be Happy TODAY, Labor Day, and all year at Arizona Ballet Theatre, Tucson's Boutique Dance Studio located, since January 2003, in The Village at Sam Hughes.

I cannot wait to see you.

Miss Cecily Reminiscing About When She Was A Young Dancer With The Early Boston Ballet Company

Most of the photos in the slideshow that you will see below, are of me and other students in Classes at The Boston Ballet Studios on Washington Street, circa 1968-9, probably in the summer. One photo includes Mr. Hobbs, Miss William’s (E. Virginia Williams) husband, at the piano! Sydney Leonard was the teacher in both classes.

The photographer, Molly, told me that she especially liked to take photos of my dancing. That surprised me greatly at the time. All I have left are some very poorly treated contact sheets from 35 millimeter film negative strips. They have not been cared for properly, and it shows. I hope to learn enough Photoshop to clean them up. However, I thought you would like to see what we have scanned so far. It's been very exciting for us to blow these up and display them.

The studio had wood floors, no poles, and lots of windows. It had a small seating area for the Parents. Mr Hobbes piano was on that side of the room. E. Virginia Williams, also known by her initials EVW, sat on the other side of the room next to the windows, and next to the stereo. I stood at the front spot by the mirror closest to the front window and to Virginia. That was my spot and everybody knew it. Even when I was late after my long commute from Beverly, I went into that spot.

It was such an important place to me. I remember it vividly. I remember who stood where in the room, the kind of combinations we did. I remember the seating area for the parents was at the other end of the studio, near the air shaft. Relatives and friends were welcome to sit and observe. Some of the other dancers who danced at that studio with me were, Jerrolyn Dana, Edie Toth, George Vargas, Alphy Poullin, Stefanie Marini, June Perry, Veronica Fell, Ellen O'Reilly, Evie O'Reilly, Jeanne Churchill, Bonnie Wyckoff, Tony Williams, Sandy Kronsberg Jennings, Elise Ingles, Leslie Woodies, Stephanie Moy, and Terri Gordon. We had wonderful classes and wonderful rehearsals. So much was accomplished ballet-wise in that studio...

The photo above is of some of us in the Washington Street, Boston Ballet studio. You can see that we are exhausted, leaning on the barre as we watched an alternating group.

It shows foreground to background, Cecily and Jerilyn Dana During Class ~1968 to 1969 at the Boston Ballet Studios on Washington Street near the Commons. I was 16 or 17 years old. Jerilyn was a Principal, so she lead off in Center work. You will see that in later photos in this series.

It is very exciting to see these photos at a reasonable size. I have had these contact sheets for years with the teeny little 35 millimeter film contact prints. Now we can blow them up with our own equipment.

I could set a movie, a dozen movies, in the Washington Street Studio. Man, do I remember! We learned Giselle in that very BB Studio. The second act we learned form Dimitri Romanof... He was exactly how you would imagine a Russian emigré would be. He was perfectly cast. I think he came from Ballet Theatre in New York. ... He certainly knew everybody in New York.

Virginia used to bring very exalted people up to Boston to teach us these ballets. We learned marvelous ballets. Sara Leland was a Principal at NYCB. Virginia had trained Sara Leland, who was Mrs Ruth Harrington's daughter. Mrs. H was the administrator of the BB, she was the equivalent of Mrs. D'Addario at the Joffrey in New York City... She was there for decades. Sally Harrington was her daughter, but Sally's professional name was Sara Leland. Her Father was Leland Harrington. He was a hockey player on the Boston Bruins and a big hero in Boston. Sally Harrington would teach us when she was in Boston. Sally set a lot of the latest Balanchine ballets on us and taught us. She was a Soloist and was promoted to Principal. Sara Leland was 18 or 20 when I arrived and she soon went off to NYCB.

Virginia would shout out corrections to others. She had a strong voice. But to me she barely moved her lips with her flood of almost whispered commands! Now I look back, I was working my butt off in my hot spot that I chose myself. I was in a constant state of agitation and worry. But I wouldn't ever change my location. Now that I have been a teacher for quite a while, I see that EV wanted me near her so she could give me all those extra corrections. It was really a plus, that other dancers envied. At the time it seemed overwhelming and discouraging. But, I was tough I guess, or just stubborn. I would cry going home in the car, but I came back the next day, and every day.

it was fantastic, looking back, what we did in there. We established the heart and soul of the company. The artistic accomplishments in that room were incredible. Virginia was at her peak. She was bringing in a flood of people from all over the world. Virginia had made her mark as a choreographer. She had won a few choreography contests, I think, and she took notes when she was able to observe Mr. Balanchine in action. Now she was switching from being the main choreographer of her budding Company to bringing these other choreographers from all over. That was in addition to our resident choreographer Sam Kurkjian. This was the main formative period that made the Boston Ballet the artistic powerhouse it was. We really accomplished a lot at that time.

Joycie Cuoco was still in and out occasionally. She did a lot of television guest appearances on shows like, Ed Sullivan, Danny Kaye, and also Radio City Music Hall engagements. Many of the dancers who Virginia trained are or were in very important positions in the world of ballet. Some have retired but most are still active. Virginia had an exciting concept. BB was more well rounded in terms of repertoire than Balanchine's company. We had tons of new Balanchine Ballets, two or three a year. But we also did the classics with great people. Virginia hired Makarova, before anyone else in the States, right after she defected. She did the second act of Swan Lake with us. I remember watching her rehearse. It must have been 2nd act.

In addition to Virginia having had Makarova first, before others got her, she also had Marcia Haydee and Richard Cragun, Margot Fonteyn danced with us when we were still performing at the Back Bay Theatre which was just about a block from Symphony Hall. I remember how nice she was. Miss Fonteyn left her dressing room door open so we could go in and ask her questions. Virginia brought in a steady stream of ballet greats. Peter Martins and Susan Farrell danced a pas de deux from Diamonds in Balanchine's Jewels. They didn't dance with us; they were a Special Event which filled in the Program and filled the Theatre. Chellie Zide came back to Boston after being Ballet Mistress with the Joffrey and was our Ballet Mistress for one fabulous year only.

That's todays excerpt... Now, here's the slideshow of us in class in the Washington Street Studio in Boston that I promised I would copy into this blog.

©Cecily Winslow Bressel 2007-2008| All Rights Reserved

The slideshow also includes one studio shot from an early Boston Ballet Company brochure, made for sale at performances.

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