moments.

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I’ve been collecting moments throughout this dear little career of mine. Writing them down, sharing in this space, keeping them safe here where I can return to them when they are needed. Last Saturday night amidst multiple mediums of fire and water, I scooped up a pretty powerful one. It’s past my bedtime, but I’ve got to get this out, down, locked away here in my safe space…

At 8:14 I crouch behind the basin stage. In full red unitard and crimson pointe shoes, it would be tough to hide me even without the hundreds of fiery crystals and plumed feathers crowning my head. Our elliptical audience catches my heart beats then tosses them up like sparks spit from blaze, left to scatter down wildly into the water below.

At 8:20 the performance begins. At 8:24 the first torches are lit. At 8:27 it starts to rain.

Then comes my cue. Stravinsky’s Firebird is reaching its swell, behind thin black capes I make my way to center stage. I enter the huddle of students, worriedly whispering, The stage is so wet! Be careful Miss Kirsten! and as the horns exhaust I am hoisted up from the group.

The music takes a sharp breath in while the audience applauds. Slowly in cadence with the petering cheers, I feel wet ground replaced beneath me and I stare boldly into the crowd. A bassoon guides my sanguine step forward, carefully onto pointe and then downstage. Red feet are less timid than mine. Looking through the layer of thin black smoke and metallic raindrops between us, I finally break gaze with the crowd to twitch my chin down with the quick recoil of my wings.

Oboes lead me through my trance before the flames assemble and the horns creep up again. We board the boat and push into the river as the finale builds. I peak. On a platform in the center of this wobbling wooden vessel, I can feel the warmth of four huge torches surrounding me. I stand in a deep lunge, never feeling more balanced and unstable. Stravinsky’s creation lets out its largest blast. I peek. Up into the weeping night sky, bending back toward flapping wings. It’s then the crowd’s cheers fall silent and I’m wrapped up in my moment. Under water, over water, through fire and cloaked in it, I cry.

This perfect, strange, magical moment, between PVD and me.

 

photo by John A. Simonetti.

summer staycations

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My GOODNESS, you guys, these past few weeks have been jam packed with travel, family time, homework, teaching, picnicking, kickboxing, yoga-ing, sunset-chasing, sweating, firework-watching, and a teeeeensy bit of sleeping, just for good measure. I know I say this about every season of life, but July is truly proving to be one of the busiest yet.

Since I’m busy teaching at the FBP Summer Dance Intensive and a few other summer workshops around the area this month, I’ve sticking close to home with some fun New England jaunts between homework cram sessions. A little round up of seasonal spots to match this smorgasbord of photos, if you’re interested…

Watch Hill for a beach day, a glass of rosé at Olympia Tea Room, and a sunset.

Little Compton for the cutest general store, massive waves, and a nostalgic private(ish) beach.

York, Maine for family dinners, lighthouse jogs, and watching a little bug dig holes at the beach.

Boston for Fourth of July fireworks, Turkish breakfast, serene museum visits, massive vegan salads, and yes, another long walk on the beach.

Providence for proper Prospect Park picnicking and catching up with best friends.

a slip and a tip for traveling dancers

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Summer and New England have only just made things *official*, and already this is the most traveling I have ever done on a summer layoff- hands down.

From New Zealand, to the Berkshires, to Maine and soon enough Colorado (more details on that soon), M and I have been zipping around this globe like hummingbirds dipping our little beaks in here and there and everywhere. In the process we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes travel more enjoyable for us. My biggest lesson learned, if you’re interested…

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supergirl

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Have you guys seen the new Wonder Woman movie? B and I decided to escape the brutal heat wave that wafted its beastly way through Rhode Island by catching the matinee, and woah baby was it inspiring! My biggest takeaways: I was hungrier for a female superhero movie than I realized, speaking of hunger- seltzer + mixed nuts is a great sneak-it-in movie theater snack, and Diana (+ that fierce braid!) is the best role model, in so many ways…

She is strong, smart, and adorably female (in one scene she sees a baby for the first time and literally stops mid-sentence to get a closer look- this is me all.the.time. ha), she’s witty, she’s fearless, and she never hesitates to throw shade on shady people, if ya know what I mean.

I’ve been rocking my version of the Amazonian braid and my most empowering tee (by Cloud & Victory, of course) and feeling rather wondrous myself!

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Plié, Coupé, Jeté, SLAY. Don’t mind if I do.

Shop the rest of the Cloud & Victory Summer 2017 Collection here. Read my interview with C&V creator here.

weekend reads

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I’m taking off early this weekend, up to Maine for a long pre-fourth-of-July celebration weekend. I can’t wait to be in my happy place, falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing and waking up to waffles. What are you up to this weekend? For some fun reads around the web…

Diana Vishneva took her final bows with ABT last week.

So bummed to have missed Miami City Ballet opening the season at Jacob’s Pillow.

Have you seen the work of Karolina Kuras? I’m addicted, and loved this podcast interview from Conversations on Dance.

With photos by Ms. Kuras, this interview featuring National Ballet of Canada Principal Sonia Rodriguez provides a refreshing combination of humanism and prima secrets.

I’m joining the team at Wonderful World of Dance! Look out for exclusive articles and interviews as I dive deeper into dance blogging.

 

an invocation

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One of our dear dancers, Jordan Nelson, was hit by a truck while riding his bike in Providence Sunday morning. It was a hit and run leaving Jordan in the ICU, with some serious injuries including a broken arm, broken clavicle, and a fractured skull, as well as a sub-dural Hematoma and numerous abrasions and contusions. The full ramifications of these injuries are still unclear. In the meantime, his friends and family have been raising money to help cover his hospital bills and rent while he recovers, as he will be unable to work for some time. If you’d like to help, and can give any amount no matter how small, please see the drive here.

twist and shout

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Summer has officially arrived and I am LOVING IT. Wind in my hair, ice cream in my tummy, yes sirrrreee. Between traveling, teaching, and school, this is set to be the busiest summer of my life, but I’m always happiest when I’m buzzing from place to place.

In an attempt to grow my baby muscles/give myself some form of a routine, I’ve been getting back into kickboxing (remember our first fling?), which means more mornings start out early and spandex-y. My body doesn’t exactly wake up craving burpees and boxing, but having fun clothes to wear does help! Especially if you decide to grab an iced tea after working out and want to look a bit less like a drowned rat. If you are in need of some motivation to move this summer, check out Zarely‘s dancer-designed active wear, and use the code KIRSTENZARELY at checkout for 20% off your order.

 

{Here I am sporting the Iana top c/o Zarely, a brand that I am very proud to partner with. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Setting The Barre!}

photos by Jenay Evans.