collide

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This new season begins with collaboration.  A propitious brew of poet, choreographer, actor, dancer, observer, blended in pursuit of manifesting tragedy.  We’ve come together under a prolific score to leave some unique, yet to be determined impression on history’s most influential love story.  Creating and learning together, spoken expressions fusing with silent ones to produce some new form.

The past 2 weeks were certainly long ones, with Ilya Kozadayev in Providence creating an entire full length ballet in just 11 days.  Yeah.  We also welcomed 2 talented actors from Pawtucket’s Gamm Theatre as well as their director, Tony Estrella, into the studios to incorporate the element of dialogue into the show.  With words so beautiful, it’s only right to hear a few of them spoken by professionals.

Speaking of pretty words, as a lover of literature, I’ve been so appreciating hearing such expertly chosen arrangements articulated in the studios.  One of my favorites so far: “Come what sorrow can, it cannot countervail [this] exchange of joy.”  Ah, such lyrical beauty.  Here’s one that hits even closer to home: “Ladies that have their toes/ Ah, my mistresses!  Which of you all / Unplagued by corns will walk a bout with you.”  If you know my history with corns, well.

I’m quite looking forward to bringing this all to its decidedly unique fruition.  Stay tuned, friends.

 

photo via Festival Ballet Providence.

remembering romeo

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When I was in the 5th grade I memorized Romeo’s balcony scene monologue.  My brother had just started in the 8th grade at a new private school, and his English class was studying Shakespeare.  Each student was required to memorize a passage from the great tragedy and recite it to the class.  My brother, though brighter than most, was rather intimidated by this.  He favored equations over paragraphs.  Shakespeare’s particular brand of loquaciousness might as well have been Portuguese to his number-loving mind. Fortunately, my mother was always one step ahead.  She established a line-a-night system, softening the intricate prose so it may permeate and linger long enough to be spoken before his classmates.  Each evening after dinner, she would read the tangled words aloud slowly, using an authentic inflection.  Hearing it broken down this way, I awoke to Shakespeare’s poetry.  The words came alive.  It made sense.

“That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.”  I understood.

Thanks to sheer proximity (re: shared couch space), my mother’s slow Shakespearean sets seeped their way into my brain as well.  Though serving over the years as little more than a fun party trick, my memorized bits of Romeo’s monologue are resurfacing in the studio, as we set a brand new interpretation of the epic love story.  But this time my understanding feels different.  Though the ancient text remains unchanged, the love and loss in my own life have transformed the words I once thought I knew.  The prose itself seems to have inflated, the sentiment of every sentence deepened.  Romeo’s love for Juliet seems ever more magnificent to me now, their untimely deaths far more crushing.

I can’t wait to see where the rest of this ballet takes me, perhaps even beyond fair Verona, where we lay our scene…

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a sunday story

dsc08220The sound of blowing snow and falling sun wake me.  My apartment creaks as I shift pillows and the old radiators whine right on cue.  Sun beams C major through the frosty window.

All around winter sounds; oh sweet Sunday morn.

Thick layers wrapped and zipped and fixed, I waddle through snow right into his car.  Headed for warm caffeine and a walk through our latest most favorite neighborhood.

Every few steps a clump of gooey gingerbread appears inches from my lips.  I’m given no choice but to indulge and well, there are worse problems than this.img_9005

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Seeking refuge from chill in the old stone Athenaeum, we search through stacks and steal kisses.  From a certain corner Poe peeks in.  Smacky.  A nod to the oiled canvas Washington and we head back into the snow.

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Home at last.

He holds sunset tomatoes and fills the kitchen with french singing.  It’s early dinner and we’ll have a buttery omelette.  It’s big and full and tough to flip, but he knows full well:

things always taste better shared.

nesting

DSC08248.jpgIt’s nesting season!  Christmas gifts nestle into their nooks, scatter onto shelves and exhale renewal.  I’ve been cleaning out, rearranging, and savoring that fresh feeling of a new view.  A few peeks into the nest, if you’re interested…

these spiky friends and a new cookbook in the kitchen.DSC08234.jpg

a few sunny corners with new crates, cacti and collages.

 

three soft bells, the sweetest Christmas surprise, which will hang on my bar cart year round.DSC08209.jpg

this gorgeous interactive edition of one of my favorite stories, gifted by a best friend, lending its beauty to the sunroom.DSC08224.jpg

…and on that note, Wendy Darling’s dream boat above marshmallow Sunday sheets.  An oldie but goodie.dsc08236

two thousand seventeen

IMG_8875.JPGIt’s become a bit of a New Year’s tradition for me to make just one resolution.  While of course I’d love to learn to knit and drink more water in 2017, each year I like to take the first few days of January to contemplate which area of my life could use a bit more intention.  This year, it’s things.

Oh, things.  I’ve got a lot of them.  They come and go, some passing through my home in a matter of days, others taking up residence for years, only to be unceremoniously hauled back out eventually.  I recently conducted my annual apartment clean out, and was left wondering how I could still have a furnished apartment with all of the things that got donated or tossed.  Where does all that extra hide?  While I recognize my maximalist tendencies, in the coming months I’d like to keep a better handle on all of it; bringing only things into my home and life that solicit joy and/or function.  And there’s my resolution.

SO!  Since we all know I can’t resist a list, in the tradition of shifting said annual list from resolutions to reflections, a few of my favorite moments from 2016…

IMG_7404a snowy walk through PVD and cornmeal pancake breakfast in January.

IMG_8429a “cheese cake” and 24 candles in February.

12697303_10104686585945999_870890731238790483_ocreating house of bernarda alba, 2 trips (Florida and New York), and champagne with Baryshnikov in March.

FullSizeRender 49dancing pas de trois, big swans, and princesses through an injury and in April.

IMG_2592tracing our tracks and planning a trip to France with breakfast by the river in May.

IMG_3109a weekend in my happy place with the family of friends for Memorial Day.

IMG_3436 3watching my dear friend get married at a fairytale wedding in June.

FullSizeRender 104filming for Free People Providence with Emily, meeting the awesome Frame & Anchor duo and making it to the FP website with my girl Kelly.

IMG_1347 (1)the trip of a lifetime with my best friend in July.

IMG_7979climbing mountains and doing some late summer camping in August.

14390759_10207705662948115_6942956620654551979_nwatching my brother marry his best friend in September.

img_6502biking to Bristol for brunch and west side wandering in October.

img_7081-2dancing Allegro Brillante with Boyko in November.

15626216_10103353237302361_7601176835455231835_oa snowy guesting, dew drop debut, and very memorable Sugarplum in December.

a few highlights

Before 2017 arrives and Nutcracker becomes utterly irrelevant for 11 months…

a rose gold makeoverimg_8177-2…because this tutu was always a bit more sugar than plum.

an upside down viewimg_8219…because it was taken before Thursday night’s post-school-show dress rehearsal, and it perfectly reflected my loopy feelings.

this dew drop momentfullsizerender-116…because it was captured by my best friend from behind the backdrop and I’m still trying to figure out how this became my life.

other highlights…

an early morning rhode show interview.

the boston globe backstage.

our adaptive dancers make national news.

a jazzy little thanks.

prepared

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I’m a planner.  Routines, lists, schedules…my piety is in preparation.  But some things cannot be predicted.

This year’s was by far the most dramatic Nutcracker of all my seventeen.  Through a partner swap, stolen costumes, and an injured principal pulled from the production the evening before, I found myself performing Sugar Plum Fairy with my best friend as Cavalier on opening night.  My life had suddenly become a cheesy Hallmark Channel special, but with actual dreams coming true.

No amount of planning could have prepared me for those 14 glorious minutes on stage, or for my devastation the following morning: Halfway through warm up I learned that the dear woman who gave me my first barre had just died.  Unable to finish class, I sloppily collected my things from the stage and fought through tears toward my dressing room, only to be stopped by my sweet partner.  He had awoken with a seized back and would be unable to perform Grand Pas in our scheduled matineeé that day.  Twenty of my friends and family were already gathering in the velvet-softened house; I sat in the light of my glowing mirror and cried.  I wept for Miss Ann, for the theatre whispering her name through its walls, and the stolen costumes crafted by her skilled hands.  I cried out exhausted, heaving breaths for the little girl who loves lists and the abrupt destruction of a preparation so righteously designed.  I sobbed, I crumbled, and then I stopped.  I began the meditative making up of my face, my hair, my body.  I found solace in this pre-show ritual.  I found comfort in knowing that dancers around the world were doing the exact same thing at that very moment.  I took a deep breath, and I prepared.

The next day, A’s back had improved significantly, and we performed Grand Pas for a sold out house.  Yes!  For the first time in my professional career with this company, all 3000 seats at PPAC were filled with bow-adorned children and the tired grown up arms on which they pulled.  Little voices asked for explanations, and equally excited wiser voices answered back.  As we took our bows at the end of curtain call, a roar was felt- not heard.  I sensed a closing in as the audience took to their feet, shortening the distance between stage and house.  In that cavernous space so filled with joy and appreciation was a warmth I’m sure will not soon leave me.  I’m learning, slowly, that the best preparation is a conscious opening of one’s self to the unexpected nature of life.  The reward is in the acceptance.

 

photo by Jacob Hoover.