midweek reads

IMG_2755 2

The 39th season has official come to a close, and I am quickly gearing up for my trip to New Zealand! M and I take off Friday(!) to Queenstown…any recommendations? In the meantime, some fun reads from around the web…

A review!

This Buzzfeed article profiling Royal Ballet principal Marianela Núñez is so well-written and refreshing! Loved every word.

Swan Lake in-the-round at English National Ballet.

Yannick Boquin’s notes on connecting barre with center.

The Coveteur discovers a day with Tiler Peck.

Couldn’t stop smiling at this young boy Gabe getting vocal about his love of ballet- SO endearing.

Flash Footage: The Decalogue.

I wore my Zarely performance tights during the Cinderella run and felt *magical*. Get 20% your order with the code KIRSTENZARELY at checkout.

 

 

photo by Jenay Evans

a dream is a wish your heart makes

IMG_3896IMG_3865IMG_3916IMG_3871IMG_3922IMG_3924IMG_3920IMG_3917IMG_3921IMG_3926IMG_3918IMG_3923IMG_3919As I prepared to take the stage as Cinderella 27 hours ago, friends, mentors, choreographers, and colleagues kept prescribing this one bit of advice:

“Enjoy it,” they said, “Have fun. Finish every movement. Be in the moment. Be present. Be proud.” So I did. And I was.

And I’m still reveling in the magic of this dream coming true…

{two more chances to catch FBP in Winthrop Corey’s Cinderella}

all photos by Brenna DiFrancesco.

cinderesearch: julie andrews in 1957

Julie Andrews As 'Cinderella'

19337dd6845600056376b2609f2111b0

Is Julie Andrews not the most wonderful, talented, awe-inspiring human? While as a child I fell in love with her as Mary Poppins and Fraulien Maria, her interpretation of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella for the 1957 CBS special is actually a newfound love of mine. Andrews’ portrayal is genuine, her voice exquisite, and her graceful smile utterly charming. Just before the clock strikes midnight, she gazes into the face of her Prince in seeming disbelief at the existence of such perfect love. It’s truly superb acting. Now excuse me while I fangirl and study…

81wwR7IjquL._SL1500_

cinderesearch: leslie ann warren in 1965

cinderella-shout-1e63761ec7899df673bd2105e6483b4c3

When I was little, my family regularly crowded around our tiny tv set for a viewing of the 1965 CBS television version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I would often block the screen with my passionate interpretation of Leslie Ann Warren’s epic post-ball backyard ballet solo, straining my neck in an effort to emulate her swanny proportions. The film’s credits would always be followed by my encore performance of “In My Own Little Corner”, complete with a tiny wooden chair, original choreography, and spirited singing. My mother graciously applauded every time, bless her heart.

In preparation for this week’s performances, I’m rewatching my childhood favorites (as I write this, clips of Julie Andrews in the 1957 live CBS special are on a loop and Evans-family-favorite Ever After is up next), gathering inspiration with a heaping side of nostalgia. This particular Cinderella’s world feels so very ’60s, in a wash of bright orange, pea green, and brown. It all harkens a very October tale, sets and costumes reflecting autumn colors fit to accompany the eerie Prokofiev score rolling around in my mind. I’m studying the longing look in Warren’s eyes, the soft lifting in her brows and the twisting of her mouth as she smiles shyly toward the prince…

C5Rwj2mW8AY9zy4

theatre week

Things have been BEYOND busy around here; Last week was our final in the studio before hitting the stage and closing the 39th season this week. So yeah. I’m not too proud to admit there were tears. There was blood. And oh, was there sweat. Buckets and buckets of sweet, salty, sweat (see post-run sweat-stained selfies above).

For me, the week culminated in my first Cinderella-as-Cinderella run on Friday night, 2 more runs as Fairy Godmother and Summer Fairy on Saturday, and a big long 40th Season photoshoot on Sunday. Today it’s Monday, and the week still seems to be ending, not beginning, with an extension of yesterday’s photoshoot this morning. The life of a ballet dancer!

It’s been hectic and exhausting and stressful and consuming, but I’m trying to let myself get swept up in the weight of it all knowing that one week from today, my carriage will turn into a pumpkin and my waltzing feet will wear sneakers instead of slippers.

for tickets.

a bold statement

There is something that has been on my mind, but I’ve been too timid to declare it. It’s not exactly revolutionary, revealing, or remarkable, but in the interest of documenting my thoughts, it must be stated (and adequately mused on, let’s be real) here.

Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens are the modern George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky.

There, I said it. In big letters, too. Okay, okay, before you go and roll your eyes and point out all of the differences in style and situational relationships, hear me out. I don’t mean to say that these choreographer/composer relationships are identical, but simply that Peck and Stevens’ partnership excites me in a similar way I could imagine a 25-year-old bunhead living in the mid-20th century would be excited by that of the late great(s) Balanchine and Stravinsky. I should add one last post-pre-text disclaimer to this preface and state that these are all very personal opinions of mine. Bear with me…

NYCB-JP-superJumbo-1.jpg

New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s Serenade, source unknown.

yearoftherabbit-slideshow-thmb.jpg

New York City Ballet in Justin Peck’s  Year of The Rabbit, photo by Paul Kolnik.

One of Peck’s first choreographic endeavors at NYCB resulted in his Year of The Rabbit, an iconic piece set to Sufjan Stevens’ 2001 electronica album Enjoy Your Rabbit. One of Balanchine’s earliest works, Apollo, also marked his first collaboration with classically alternative composer Igor Stravinsky.

Stevens and Stravinsky share more than the double consonant start to their last names. Stravinsky made a name for himself as a musical revolutionary by changing the way people saw rhythmic design. Similarly, Stevens is known for his irregular time signatures and variation of genre and style.

There are endless parallels to be drawn between the two choreographers as well. Peck and Balanchine share a propensity to utilize the corps de ballet, emphasizing the strength of a body of dancers and creating architecture on stage. The two use a similar vocabulary and technique, pushing dancers to extend their limbs fully and consume the stage. I think the most essential comparison, though, is that both Peck and Balanchine are of the moment; well, of their moment.

For Balanchine, “of the moment” changed from the sweeping romanticism of Serenade in the ’30s to the paired down black and whites in the ’40s to ’50s Americana with Western Symphony, Square Dance, and Stars and StripesJustin Peck’s moment is this one, and he is certainly taking hold of it. His ballets seem to always be just what the audience doesn’t know they need. In 2014, Peck’s lively Everywhere We Go set to an original cinematic score by Sufjan Stevens marked the next major collaboration between the two artists, awaking even New York audiences with it’s contagious energy. In 2015, Peck paired up with street artist Shepard Fairy to create Heatscape for The Miami City Ballet, using the city’s colorful backdrop to weave culture into the ballet. Just last year, Peck and Stevens worked together yet again to create In The Countenance of Kings at San Francisco Ballet. Though all I’ve seen of it is the video below (at least 12 times, mind you) it’s already one of the best pieces of music and choreography I have ever experienced.

So when I hear Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens are at it again, their newest collaborative work The Decalogue premiering in just a week, I can’t help but imagine myself several generations back, giddy over the news of a new Balanchine/Stravinsky ballet.

In his February interview with the Chicago Tribune, Peck mused on the importance of relationships between choreographers and living artists:

“What’s always interested me the most about ballet is it’s this great opportunity for many different artistic mediums to come together to create a cohesive experience,” Peck said. “I think the future of ballet, as I would see it, is to continue the conversation between all these different worlds and have ballet be the platform for these different conversations. … That for me is what makes it so exciting and universal. There’s something for everyone to get out of it. I think the art form starts to fade when we forget that.”

 

weekend reads

IMG_3597.JPG

Hard working hands (and feet!) rocking (chipping) red nails, new shoes and an embroidered tutu for some Fairy Godmother rehearsal! This week was intense and wonderful. All of the process I was missing so dearly last month has caught up with me in a sublimely exhausting way. Sadly, there’s only one week left in the season before we head into the theater to finish out this final program, but at least my plate is full as can be for now! Some interesting links from around the web…

Imagine finding out on stage mid-performance that you were performing an extremely difficult solo to finish the piece. Welcome to The Lottery.

I’d very much like to be here now.

An interview with a Restless Creature.

Single-serving cookie dough.

Isabella Boylston’s morning routine.

…also her thoughts on inner and outer beauty, compiled into a breathtaking little video.

Loving everything from Cloud and Victory’s Spring 2017 Collection. That almond blossom leo! *insert gushy hearts-for-eyes emoji*

Are you following @festivalballetprovidence on Instagram? We’re releasing a fun Cinderella project that I helped with very soon- stay tuned!

If you are in the area and would like to see Cinderella, tickets are here.