marveling mermaid

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Whoever said getting older meant “growing up” never met a professional ballet dancer. One of the best things about my job is the essential nature of imagination. The cornerstone of my career transforms “playing pretend” into “making believe”.

In one of my first story ballets, I flew on the ragged tunic-tails of a magical manboy, coated in pixie dust, second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. Neverland became real for a while, and I visited not only in my daily rehearsals but in my sleep each night. In a few weeks I will revisit the little Cinder girl who waltzes in glass slippers and rides a pumpkin to meet a prince, but first I inhabit a mermaid.

Comfort in the sea and pure wonder on dry land, I’m a wide-eyed child, reborn on the shore in awe. The Little Mermaid marvels most everything in this strange new world, an assignment whose endless benefits I do not ignore. There’s nothing quite like putting yourself in the wobbling young legs of a recently spellbound former sea creature. Tip toeing around a garden, clean of this world’s clutter and ready to receive. What a gift to be tasked with occupying this curious stranger.

And if you were wondering whether or not playing around with mythical beings and fairytales is a difficult thing to do “at the office”, note my derpy rock friend and the happy puppy in the background of the above picture. Man, I love my job.

 

If you are in New England, come check out Little Mermaid. Tickets here.

we went on tour!

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Over the weekend, FBP brought a small cast of dancers to New Hampshire to perform at UNH’s Celebrity Series. We went *on tour*! Yes it was just one performance in one location in New England, but for a regional ballet company with a tight budget, that’s pretty impressive! And the nearly sold out theater is surely something to celebrate.

The entire day Saturday was spent in the theater, rehearsing our mixed bill program on a slippery stage, waltzing between runs and munching on “rich people food” in the wings. By the end of the day, the stage was thick with yellow rosin, our pointe shoes coated thick enough to match the floaty dresses of Christopher Wheeldon’s The American.

After the show, we celebrated Archie’s 18th birthday and our own job well done with a cast party at Misha and Mark’s in Portsmouth. On Sunday morning we all made brunch in Maine at my happy place. Sharing this space with my little ballet fam brought on even more warm fuzzies than I had expected. Ahh, Maine. The way life should be.

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land and sea

IMG_2991.JPGa most watery waltz

the spell midnight halts

godmothers and green scales

blue fairies and fish tails

floating on familiar chords

washing up on salty shores

in tangled gardens lovers meet

charming princes whisper sweet

disguised maidens find new worlds

passion springs then tension swirls

dive in deeper chapter by chapter

swimming and sweeping into two ever afters.

-6:28am Monday morning, from the tired, two-story-ballets-in-one-week mind of a restless ballet dancer

 

photo by Jeffrey Teitler for Ballet Theater Company.

spinning

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Hi, guys. You know when people write those inspiring essays about learning to say “no”? The ones where they champion the freedom, the health, the peace that comes with signing up for just as much as one can handle without tipping the scale too far toward swamped? Those people who have figured out how to be “good busy”, where they are toeing the line between active and buried and their hustle is inspiring? Yeah, I am not one of those at the moment.

Since last summer it seems I have not found the space to lighten my own workload. Personal ambition and love of projects are shaming me into a cycle of “yes! oh no, burn out, repeat.” It’s a loop I’d love to break open, a ride I long to jump off of.

When I was 10 my family when to Disneyland. Not knowing how fast the coaster would be, my mother dragged me onto Thunder Mountain Railroad with my brother, sister, and father, so that we could “enjoy” one ride together as a family. I spent the entire hour? 8 minutes jumping out of my skin, clutched to her flank and begging I’m not sure who to stop the ride so I could PLEASE GET OFF. In a completely non-morbid way, lately life feels a bit like this. On the inside I am screaming for everything to stop, but I can’t quite get myself to press pause.

M and I were discussing my overbooked schedule, trying to determine, as he puts it “the low hanging fruit” to be knocked from my priorities. Dancing, we agreed, come first right now. Have you read this article about adjusting ballet class to train a modern day dancer? Until then, cross training runs in at a close second. Another job for which I am counted on and given money to complete is that of PR & Communications Assistant. While it is work I enjoy- writing, designing, marketing, creating, sharing- my cluttered life makes the weight of this job feel overwhelming. But no less important. So then it’s on to school, a degree I am desperate to finally complete (hopefully) just over a year from now. Ambitious me decided to take on an internship for this semester. “I’ll write a history of the Company in honor of our 40 years! It’ll be great! It’ll be fun!” Ha. Past Keeks is unkind to Present Keeks. Diving into the archives and interviewing famous Festival Ballet faces should have been so enlightening. Instead it’s getting shoved into my stress compartment, entombed by this other commitment or that. Of course then the fun projects pile up, but how can I reject a Cinderella guesting the week after our season ends, a fashion show with Anthropologie on International Women’s Day, or a women’s initiative choreography project? Extracurricular creativity feeds the sooooul. So what’s left? Subbing for some of my favorite schools here and there? A trip to the theater because you got awesome tickets to An American in Paris for Christmas? International travel plans? Friday night rituals with friends? Monday tea dates? Sundays with your best friend (which are mostly gone because you are performing all the dang time (which is actually a “yay!” because that’s your first love but what about your love love?!). This is all before grocery shopping, laundry-doing, showering, keeping my house clean, my plants alive, attempting to see my family, and you know, all of those other human things. I don’t know how to solve this problem, which I firmly defend as a good one to have, but I do know that I am nervously laughing on the inside, ready to burst, all. the. time.

This is not a refreshing post wherein I solve my life’s problems. It is a simple rant about the hurriedness of life for what appears to have been far too long now, and my personal ambition’s apparent need to continue a vicious cycle. Thank you for letting me spill in this sacred space, which by the way, I have also been missing quite a bit, and will never categorize as “low hanging fruit”.

If I were looking at myself as someone else I would say, “Slow down. Keep going. All the way…stop. Relax. It’s okay. Turn it down. Cancel it. Take your time. You will get there. You will make it. It will still be there when you are ready, and if it isn’t, something else will be waiting. Do not fear.”

That’s all for now, xx.

shifting gears

Bouncing between planets and back pain, neoclassicism has left the building in favor of a quite indulgent flavor: rolly, flowy, weighted, contemporary goodness. It’s a hinge, y’all. And my heart is happy.

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For the past week, we’ve been bringing the work of two incredible artists to life. Kurt Douglas‘ “Thrust” is a whirling wonder- eleven minutes of movement that bring satisfaction to my soul and sweat to my thighs. Yep. It’s lefty Limón fused with Kurt’s innate nimble shifting, flowing formations, intricate accented patterns, and a whole lot of running. I absolutely love it.

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yon Tande is tackling a bit of history- Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”- and you guys, it gets the heart going. The ritualistic piece may quite literally make the earth tremble and sprout. What a total dream to be moved by this epic score!

I’ve been struggling with how to write this without sounding cheesy, but you guys, it has been so inspiring working with these two choreographers all week. They are passionate, positive, and so full of life. A total breath of fresh air in the doldrums of a stormy is-it-spring-yet month. You can find out a bit more about Kurt and Tande in my interviews with them over on the FBP Blog #shamelessplug if you’re interested. For now, I’m off to the studio for a double show day of “The Little Prince” (you were still wondering about that “interplanetary” business I mentioned in the first sentence, weren’t you?) and dinner with my lovely parents. Happy Sunday!

a chat with lauren lovette

Lauren_Lovette_for_Zarely_1800_1000_1400x.progressiveNYCB Principal Lauren Lovette, photo by Zarely.

At the Vail Dance Festival back in August, I was walking through the park on my way back from the amphitheater when I happened upon Lauren Lovette. She was sitting on a park bench, headphones around her neck, smiling at the wind. Mere hours away from premiering her new work (in which she was also dancing) that evening, Lauren looked calm and comfortable. So I decided to say hello.

Two hours later, we had recorded an entire (2 part!) interview and were now veering into a most interesting topic- her recent foray into veganism. Having just watched What The Health? with the rest of the Netflix loving world, veganism was at the forefront of my mind, and chatting about it with Lauren only further excited me. It wasn’t until the imminent food poisoning incident that I actually went fully plant-based, but I recently re-listened to our veganism chat and found Lauren’s story pretty enlightening.

Ms. Lovette is insightful, down-to-earth, and honest. Plus, there’s no denying her perfect podcast toned voice. ;) She shares her struggle with keeping on weight, eating a junk food diet, fighting for endurance, a serious health scare, and healing herself with plant food.

If you are curious, pull up a park bench and chat with us…

Thank you so much, Lauren, for sharing your experience!