times and things

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Sometimes you feel unprepared, underrehearsed, unstable. Sometimes you run a ballet for the first time for a paying audience, under rascally lights, with a heavy skirt and full mind. But then sometimes your loyal parents, oldest friend, sweet beanfriend, and adorably adoring miniature bunhead friends come to see it all happen and you feel like you can suddenly reach out and touch the moment, like it’s a physical thing before you. And then, sometimes, you watch that thing ball up, explode, and float out from its own center, leaving behind an intangible bath of glowing fuzzies all around you.

a few reviews.

for tickets.

boat house love

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blue glass

blue china

blue sky

blue sea

a long weekend for lobster

and a fluffy dublin tea

late night whisky scrabble

leaks into breakfast babble

sticky griddle we will dabble

breakfast for dinner, dialogue for dessert

warm wood surrounds us

empty space confounds us

still this young love abounds us

drowns us, pouring over every day

with

nutella lips

ginger sips

goosey quips

my person sticks

to yours like beans 

bean legs

soda breads

looking out

where the ocean ends

tiny hands

frozen sands

perfectly aimless

weekend plans.

keeping up

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Things have been a bit quiet around here lately. Please excuse the lack of communication; this past month was one of the strangest rehearsal periods of my entire career. Even with the company’s financial footing growing sturdier each year, unexpected setbacks inevitably arise. In coping with unpredictable cashflow, the past few weeks have been a cycle of 4 days on, 3 days off. We were forced into a work schedule of rehearse Wednesday-Saturday, rest Sunday-Tuesday, and repeat. Rehearse, rest, repeat. We’ve explored ways to deal with the stress of lengthy layoffs before, but what happens when layoffs creep into your regular routine?

Mid-season layoffs (we’ve also had a full week off after almost every program this season) are frustrating. Studio time is limited, precious rehearsal hours are coveted. I’d even go as far to say (bear with me) that my identity feels compromised. Without the work behind it, the art of dancing is lost. While I’ve learned to survive that loss during the summer months (re: rest and rosé) mid-season layoffs offer another obstacle entirely. It’s this loaded task of keeping in shape with less dancing time, as well as performing at the extraordinary level expected by the audience who- unless they are reading this post- should know no difference in your preparation experience. It’s easy to fall into a monotonous routine of class, gym, sleep- a truly depressing cocktail for any supposed artiste.

Leaving our surprise layoff period behind, we head into 3 consecutive 6-day show weeks. It will be a welcomed but admittedly difficult and abrupt transition. What an interesting thing to have a job wherein the overriding upset of time off is not the lack of income (which stings- don’t get me wrong), but the lack of the work itself. The first step to coping with such a circumstance is recognizing the beauty in that blessing. The next steps (suggestions, really) are slightly more hands on…

  1. Get away. Escape to Maine, road trip to Connecticut, watch the sun set in another state (thank you New England and your mosaic boarders).
  2. Explore. Try a new recipe, a new form of cross-training, a new craft.
  3. Take the long way home. Linger on the ordinary. You’ve got time.
  4. Journal. Even if you’re a self-proclaimed non-journaler, it’s healthy to document these uncomfortable parts of your life. I promise you will learn something.
  5. Trust your instincts. Listen to your body. Know when to experiment and learn when to relax.
  6. Practice patience. For all things, there is a season. This too shall pass.

visual learner

When I was 10, Festival Ballet Providence debuted a brand new Carmen.  A few Nutcracker performances with the company had brought me into full fandom by then, so I wouldn’t dream of missing a single show- even if I had no idea what it was about.  Because facts didn’t matter.  I never needed to read the story first, I preferred to see the story onstage.

From the very first scene, Carmen enraptured me.  Plotnikov’s telling begins with Micaela (the betrothed bystander) dramatically exposing the ruinous fates of key characters in a striking solo.  She eats up every bit of the stage, her motions sharp, flowing, heavy, and tragic.  One movement hypnotized me more than any other, and I remember feeling something in my stomach flutter when Micaela repeated the strange movement again in the ballet’s epilogue.  It appeared almost as a magic trick, her hands seeming to attach and shoot straight through her body.  It took obsessive 10-year-old me several hours in front of the mirror in my bedroom post-show to figure it out.

The dancer stands facing the wings in profile to the audience.  One hand is placed on the abdomen at the base of the wrist, fingers shooting outward away from the body.  The other hand mirrors this one, attaching at the back.  As the dancer begins to scuttle backwards, her hands flop up and down in time, as if shaking the hands of invisible strangers directly in front of and behind her.  It’s simple and bizarre and completely marvelous.

Yes, I have been idly “practicing” this odd step for 15 years now.  I’ve waited and watched for it every time the company has performed Carmen since, including 7 years ago when I entered the cast as a Factory Girl.  I’ve learned that the fingers must remain splayed, yet unstrained, the hands should rise and fall as if void of muscle and bone; It really works best when the hands are relaxed entirely.  All these years I have been workshopping and playing and alas, my turn has finally come!

for tickets.

gilded & floral

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When I looked back through my photos from last weekend in New York, I felt a wave of gold and pink.  Gilded and floral. Luxurious and blooming.  These hues really do best describe our trip.   Of the many gilded fixtures and blushing bouquets, though, one of each proved truly special…

Tiny Golden Loop, A Love Story

Friday was meant to be “my birthday”, for our celebratory purposes.  Unfortunately, I had been slightly handicapped by some strange spine-bending stomach pains that morning.  BUT!  Knowing me too well, my friends had arranged for us to spend the day in one of my favorite Brooklyn neighborhoods, and no belly ache could keep me from Catbird.  We hopped off the subway and I shot straight for the little jewelry boutique, tucked into 219 Bedford.  My goodness is that place magical.  Swept up in a sea of my own ooohs and ahhhs, it was like being pulled from a trance when T summoned me to the back wall looking excited.  My three best friends looked at me with bright eyes and wide smirks and pointed to a tiny bowed box on the shelf.

“Look how cute!”

“Yes, tiny box! You guys know how I love tiny things.”*

“Yeah! You should open it.”

After some “Huh, you want me to open this?” investigating, I started to catch on.  My trance reinstated.  I untied the teeny golden bow, and inside the bitty little black box I found an ever teenier little gold ring.  Feeling overwhelmed with surprise and excitement, I peeled the beautiful specimen out to read the engraving: a m i s ; meaning friends in French.

Are you wondering if I freaked out?  Oh my goodness did I ever!!!!!!  Choked up, I squeezed them into group hug after group hug, several times in the tiny boutique, once more outside on Bedford, again in the Tea House, and a few more times back at the Plaza.  I also developed this strange affectation of slow, exaggerated spirit-fingers-ing to subtly show my appreciation for their love, now forever suspended in gold and wrapped up in my hand.

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Briar Rose, A Breakthrough

I have seen the New York City Ballet live twice before.  The first time at Saratoga when I was a wee one, I think it was an excerpt from Harlequinade?  Hard to say.  The next time was several years ago on a December trip to the city with my dear Mama.  We saw The Nutcracker and, perhaps too infatuated with our own version, agreed that Ashley Bouder’s Dew Drop (and Waltz of the Flowers in general), was the stand alone wow.  Last Saturday night, though, I had the honor of witnessing Lauren Lovette in the second show of her Aurora debut, along with quite a few corps de ballet dancers who would be promoted to soloist the very next day (congrats, Indiana!).  Now I can say, with full reverence of the word, wow.  Wow, wow, wow.  What a show.

Lovette was the most perfect Princess Aurora.  Sweetness seeming to drip out of her in place of sweat, she eased her way through the ballet as if the character were hers from birth.  Every glance felt genuine, every touch appeared to affect her deeply, giving the impression that Aurora’s experiences were crossing over her own in the moment.  The sad, sweet, scary elation of such a momentous debut.  Her lines were sculpted yet understated, never sacrificing rotation and shape for alien extension.  Lauren is certainly one of NYCB’s more lyrical principals, but not for a lack of clarity in the crispier choreography.

The rest of the ballet was spectacular as well- those transforming scrim scenes leading you into the castle!- but Lauren really charmed us the most.  I mean, T wept through the entire Rose Adagio, so.  Yeah.  Safe to say seeing Miss Lovette blossom into this beautiful Briar Rose was a most worthy birthday gift.

 

*I managed to take home 3 TINY TINY TINY bottles of Tabasco from The Palm Court.  Yep.

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aquarius wishes

I’ve grown used to my cold weather birthdate.  25 years of indoor parties, blizzard warnings and windchill have made me a pro at bundled celebrating.  This year I embraced the cold weather with a relaxing morning, a warm bath and some serious comfort food.  Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

Today A, B, T and I are headed to the Big Apple for some festivities.  We’re staying at The Plaza (!) and seeing Sleeping Beauty at NYCB.  Stay tuned!

 

twenty-five

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Now I am 25.  I eat black beans and scrambled eggs and doughnuts x 3.  I walk the West Side, build my own bouquet, take a bubble bath and do not nap.  I lounge in a striped romper and study the history of photography for actual credits.  I am tired, I am happy, I am mid-performance weekend.  I am sung to after grand battements, out of breath and blushing.  I am both Montague and Capulet, then Montague…then Capulet.  I am a saucy gypsy.  I anticipate the layoff and Valentine’s and a friends trip to the Plaza.  I practice shaky calligraphy, knit calf warmers, sing to my plants, sweep the kitchen.  I want to save superman, and I want to hold your hand.  I am 25 now.  25, here I am.

 

photo by Kelly Louise.