sugar on the road

AA43CE75-EF01-4A05-B6C3-76A8ECB2FEE8

Hey, hi, hello. We have to stop running into each other like this! And by like this, of course I mean with far too much time between visits…

I have been neglecting this little space a bit, as life has just felt full up to the brim. I’ve been reading and dancing and working and writing and loving and occasionally sleeping. But today is my first Nutcracker of the season (a guesting in Winchester!) and what else but Nut to make you feel nostalgic enough to sit down and document?

Grand Pas never seems to get any easier. Season to season, you never know what you’re going to get. Steps that I’ve breezed through in previous years are giving me trouble, and things that I have always struggled with feel smooth and clean. It’s all sugar and spice, and sore toes. The most wonderful time of the year!

A few photos from the rest of life lately, if you are interested…

Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

Processed with VSCO with e3 preset

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

breathed into being

Processed with VSCO with f1 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Setting sail from one sweet port to the next. Finding an upturned lip in the darkened threads of a couch. Seeing stripes in the reflection of a metallic basin. Counting days, hours, minutes…then losing track of everything and anything at all.

Dancing and romancing, singing tragedies without words. Becoming someone else for an evening, savoring their spark, pushing away their sorrow. Remembering that acting can intercept with reality and- even when you don’t intend it- life informs your art.

Noticing the frayed string of a tiny tea bag. Imagining the one-sided conversation heard by strangers in the park all the way on the other end of the telephone. Imagining the way his eyes flicker when he’s saying something serious. At night, wrapping myself in the weight of us; In the daytime, walking light as air.

All of these things can be used. Taken, molded, changed, wrapped around a different character, and breathed into being on stage. And just as easily, when the time comes and the final curtain calls, they unwrap from around your limbs and dissolve into memories. A beautiful catalogue to return to from the next life.

“I’ve never been good at goodbyes.” So darling, I’ll see you soon.

benefit speaks

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset0CDC7AA2-AEBA-4DE3-A607-24E9C067DAEA.JPG

Processed with VSCO with e5 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with e5 preset

“The world gave me many things, but the only thing I ever kept was absolute solitude.”

-Dulce Maria Loynez, Absolute Solitude

In the busy bodies of modern humans, you will find many cluttered minds. Wade deeper into the rising tide of the millennial mind, resist the pull of digital distraction and you will find a sliver of longing. Small and made of negative space like the eye of a needle, soft as an echo, this little longing looks for real connection.

Locating and listening to this longing may sound tough, but the true challenge lies in deciphering its request. In a culture where connection may be an epidemic, we must learn the difference between connecting with a pixelated person and a tangible one. Sometimes connecting with others requires a reconnection with oneself. Enter the Benefit Street Stroll I took myself on this past weekend…

I am a lover of solitude. There are few things I can’t do alone, and in fact, I often prefer it this way. Recently, though, I have found myself longing for some company, reaching for a hand when the cobblestones snag my shoe.

Instead, I got an afternoon of connection with the city I love. I stumbled upon a tour of the Stephen Hopkins house, a pocket of Providence history ripe with rebellious stories and shadows of the past. I tucked myself into the Athenaeum, searched for Georges Sand, got to know Walt Whitman, and filled several pages of my journal, reflecting on just how much can change in a year. Or two. Or three. I took the time to notice the colors of the homes matching the blushing autumn sky. I sifted through the crackling confetti fallen from trees that will too soon be sleeved in snow.

I decided to learn what I already knew: You are never truly alone, if you can listen when your city speaks to you.

autumnal things

Processed with VSCO with e5 preset

Processed with VSCO with e5 presetProcessed with VSCO with e5 preset

Processed with VSCO with e5 preset

Processed with VSCO with e5 preset

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

dying chlorophyll confetti

flying, fertilized, and ready

giving wind its autumn sound

painting time upon the ground

 

root to rise

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

Processed with VSCO with ka1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

We’re sliding into slower days and I’m splayed out, one foot into nesting mode and the other five toes clinging dearly to the adventurous personality of my summer skin. As I’ve mentioned before, these past 8 months have been a real metamorphoses for me. In February, I was dropped hard onto the earth. In March, I learned how bitter it could be. In April, I recited a manifesto. In May, I was reborn, I dove into a lake. In June, I was surprised. I hugged my soulmates and let go of fear. In July, I harnessed a confidence I never knew lived inside me all along. By August, I was floating.

Then September rolled up. In her suitcases she carried anxiety and doubt, a familiar overthinking that kept me up at night. Toxic ambivalence. This duality of heart that served me such clarity 8 months ago, in the amber light of fall just clouded my lens. With my head already underwater, I’ve got no choice but to kick and paddle. So I swim.

A certain someone recently acknowledged the indescribable feeling that comes from just being with your art. No expectations, no homework, no parameter of time. Just pure connection with this inhuman, breathing beast that has grown with you always. It will make you whole, if you just let it.

Today, I am channeling that. Restore. Refresh. A new month, a new mindset. Let’s work, let’s play. Happy October.

welcome to the dark side

dsc07294.JPG

For most of my career I have been “the good guy.” Fairy, princess, maiden, swan queen; she comes in many forms, all of which include a healthy does of sweetness and sparkles. Last season, however, I got to dip my toes into the shoes of a not-so-nice-guy, and well…I kinda loved it.

Our fall season opens with Ilya Kozadayev‘s (very creepy) Hansel & Greteland I’ve graduated from the young heroine and straight into the wicked mind of her evil stepmother. She’s mean, she’s ruthless, she might even be slightly possessed. And yes, I’m all about it. Who knew creating the conflict could be so satisfying?

Though the show is part of our chatterBOXtheatre series geared toward children, brilliant Ilya did not hold back on the scare-factor of this grim (Grimm, heh*) story. The role is rife with all sorts of unsettling movements in which some vile creature within nearly breaks through her skin and bursts into the scene. The choreography somehow accomplishes this while remaining folkloric and simple enough for children to grasp onto. No small task. Perhaps the most frightening thing of all, though, is the stepmother’s ability to keep all of this darkness contained behind a startlingly realistic artificial composure. Shudder. She’s an intricate bit of character work and a real treat to tuck into. Long live the bad guy.

 

*Full disclosure, I already used this joke once today, in an interview with H&G choreographer, Ilya Kozadayev. Not proud, but still sorta proud, you know?

photo by Dylan Giles for Festival Ballet Providence

not to worry

Processed with VSCO with e5 preset

“I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.”

-Mary Oliver, I Worried