weekend reads

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What a whirlwind week it has been!  Everything was fast-paced: the days, the choreography, the jumping, the learning, the breathing…I’m feeling full, inspired, tired, and ready to head up to Maine for the week to watch my big brother get married.  If you’re in the mood…

Suzanne Farrell’s bon mots. (and apparently, a farewell!)

Footcare and choreography.

This looks dangerously good.

Gorgeous NYCB gala designs.

Why do I love nosy articles like this one?

When experts cringe.

How to do nothing.

The dancer’s best body program.

 

photo of Lauren Lovette by BalletCollective.

whatever melts your butter

Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 8.11.12 AM.pngThis week we welcome Elyse Borne into our studios to set Balanchine’s energetic Allegro Brillante.  Ms. Borne’s spry spirit seems to embody the ballet: abbreviated in length, yet loquacious as can be.  I could explain what I mean, but I think Mr. B has already done a better job than I could…

Balanchine described Allegro as “a concentrated essay in the extended classical vocabulary, in which a maximum amount of choreographic development is contained within a rather restricted area of time and space…It contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes.”  Oof.

Maria Tallchief, the ballerina goddess on which this work was originally choreographed, defined it as “an expansive Russian romanticism.”  Of course, Balanchine’s work is notoriously tied to music, and Allegro seems to go one step further, sewing itself in and out of Tchaikovsky’s fast paced score to make the movements appear even more difficult and impressive.

While I have relearned a crucial lesson in not getting one’s hopes up (stay tuned for a story), right now I am enjoying the opportunity to learn Ms. Tallchief’s role in this joyous ballet, with coaching from the human brillante herself.  Back to Ms. Borne…

She’s a ball of energy with a perfect manicure and red lips that leave a punchy kiss on each of her adorably sassy little isms.  One of my favorites from yesterday:

“Whatever melts your butter.  Speaking of melting butter…” On choosing port de bras, and transitioning from a la seconde into penché.

 

photo of Elyse Borne, c/o The Balanchine Trust.

splash

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Last night, driving toward the last sunset of summer layoff, I was stumbling in the description of my own confusing feelings on returning to the studio, and M said something  rather poetic.

“It’s like you’re about to jump into a cold lake.  You have been standing on the edge for so long, counting down, 3…2…1…but it’s not time.  3…2…no!  3…2…

Once you jump in, you will feel so good.  Refreshed, energetic, in your element.  Comfortable, even.  You just need to make that first splash.”

His flawless analogy revealed more than the fact that I had obviously bloated his ears full of my bipolar, excited laments on the subject far too many times, but also that he was listening.  I mean, really listening.  The kind that defines passivity with its fervent opposition.  Listening with an attentive purpose, wheels turning, taking in every word and searching his own glossary of Kirsten closeness to dissect the true meaning in each one.

This morning I am grateful for the chance to dive in, and for the support of someone who knows just when to let go of my hand and whisper “Jump.”

 

 

collage by Merve Özaslan.

a recipe

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Confession: I have what M likes to refer to as a “ballerina fridge”.  In my defense, there are several factors that contribute to the sad state of my fridge on a Friday night.  I blame this mostly on the fact that I live alone.  I’m not a big-meal-prep-on-a-Sunday-night kinda gal. I like my meals fresh and tend to visit the grocery store several times a week as a result.  The shelves of my refrigerator are a constant rotation of items best consumed within 24-48 hours.  It’s just how I roll.

Enter the long weekend.  It’s Monday morning, you’ve slept in considerably.  You are hungry.  There’s a slight autumn chill in the air.  You want pancakes.  You need pancakes.  You fall back on a few freezer/pantry staples, throw in the last of the blueberries, and you are extremely proud of the thick, fluffy results.  You decide to share the “recipe” on yer blog…

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Blueberry Ballerina Pancakes

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tblsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 1/4 cups coconut milk

Sift first 4 ingredients together.  Yes, sift!  This is the secret to fluffy pancakes, promise.  Stir in cornmeal and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until light and frothy.  Elbow grease. Stir in vanilla and maple syrup.  Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and stir.  Heat a griddle, throw down a slab of butter and ladle out 1/4 cup (ish) piles of batter.  Sprinkle blueberries in, flip after batter has settled and brown the other side.

Note: This recipe makes very thick, cakey pancakes (hehe), so a low-and-slow cooking method is recommended.

Enjoy with maple syrup, cherry preserves, and Wes Anderson.

a giveaway

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To celebrate 2000 lovely folks following along on this little blog of mine, I’m partnering up with the beautiful Ashley Ellis (Boston Ballet principal and famed legwarmer goddess of Rubia Wear) to give one lucky reader a pair of free warmers!  See here for details on how to enter, and bon chance!

A few other things…

Ilya Kozadayev will be in the studio next week to begin choreographing a brand new Romeo & Juliet on us.  I’m doing a little research on all the many versions to prepare!

I’ve also started a new semester at Providence College.  This article is both depressing and motivating.

Not a read, but last night I nerded out and watched Joffrey’s live stream of rehearsals for the new Nutcracker Chris Wheeldon is choreographing there, and you should too.  Hi Mahallia!

 

photo by Kenenth B. Edwards for Rubia Wear.

fine

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What a fine, fine weekend.

We had Nick’s, we shared old bay popcorn, we watched indie films, we made cornmeal blueberry pancakes.  We shared space, we adopted cacti, we antiqued.  We put a new spin on an old school game, we napped, we laughed.  We spoke easy twice, we donned a red fez.  We crafted in the sanctuary, we admired the Pearl, made a new bridge friend, we visited an old one.  We ate pears and pico and peanut butter.  We hoofed it downtown, we got lost in the watery fires, we hunted wine, we met friendly faces.  We invaded Brown, we limboed lower, we sipped Del’s, we climbed a roof.  We sat in ghostly study halls discussing the miracle of childbirth.  We rubbed tired eyes.  We held hands.  We walked home.

A most very fine weekend, indeed.

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there is only now

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I am such a huge fan of New York City Ballet’s 2016-2017 campaign.  It’s somehow both hauntingly timeless and incredibly current; a breathing incantation of Balanchine’s mantra “There is only now.”  The captivating video and stunning photos by Peter Lindbergh are just dreamy, and his musings on the special art of capturing ballet dancers are truly poetic…New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-03.jpgnew-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-07New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-06.jpgnew-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-01new-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-02-762x1024New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-04.jpg

“With dance, it is about capturing movement, which is everything I love.  It leaves space for the unexpected, as the same movement is never twice the same.”

-Peter Lindbergh