kinetic

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Second piece on the program, we hopped and jogged through half the first, building the blood up in our bellies. Listening for the change in key, we scurried through the wings behind the backdrop, waiting stage right. Silently and in darkness, we writhed. Each of us feeling out our bodies in the tight strip of blackness, checking for the twist of our spines, the flexibility of our shoulders. Measuring the bare space before us with micro-movements, careful not to brush our backs against the drop- give ourselves away. Shifting from one foot to the other, testing balance in this blankness. In my careful tangling I became aware of the odd process we practice: eyes closed, somehow separate but synced. Moving in a coil, gathering energy up from the floor through our feet and into this one mass we became.

From our swirling came lights, strings, an explosion of electrified bodies zip-zapping and bouncing from one spark to the next.

Of a work of art, depending on movement for its effect. Kinetic.

And now, the morning after, I find myself revisiting an old friend. White Electric. One of my favorite west side coffee shops, with its three bolts of electricity flashing across the front window. Just sitting like a citizen, reminiscing on 14 hours ago when I was made of some other matter.

back to the stage

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Beethoven, Phillip Glass, unauthored cacophonies, but first ballet class…

This weekend I will (finally!) perform in my first real program of the season! That’s seven longs months offstage, folks. Despite last minute adjustments in choreography, costumes, timing, spacing (you know, the usual), I am feeling emotionally r e a d y. I’m dancing Plotnikov, Kozadayev, Yanowsky, and Douglas. Ooof, now say that all five times fast…

So tonight’s the night. It’s about dang time. Let’s do this thing. Go get ’em, tiger. And all those other clichés. See you on the other side.

 

Photo by Dylan Giles.

perform and protect

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Every year around the first week of November, my calendar fills up with acupuncture appointments and ice baths. My heating pad fires up multiple times a day, I sit down whenever possible, and when standing is a necessity, I consciously shift weight back and forth between my two legs to avoid (or let’s be honest, delay) the eminent burn out of my left calf muscle. That’s right, Nutcracker Season is upon us and my left leg is feeeeeeling it.

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If you have danced any variation of the “traditional” Petipa version of Grand Pas (affectionately referred to as Grandpa), you know what I mean. Each and every section of the 15 minute pas de deux- from adagio to coda- seems to depend heavily on the strength of the left leg. It’s the supporting leg in every pirouette, promenade, and balance and by the last cymbal crash, that baby is screaming.

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Swooping in to give my left calf any chance of survival this season, my favorite compression-tech dancewear brand, Apolla, sent over one of their newest products to save the day. The K-warmer (short for Kinesio) is made with a tight-knit to provide targeted compression to sore leg muscles. The special weave encourages circulation, which reduces inflammation and lowers the risk of injury. It’s sort of like having a personal physical therapist following your sore legs around, wrapping tape where you need support and applying pressure where you need blood flow.

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I love that the K-warmer provides support while still allowing my body to perform at its full range of motion. The warmers (which come in a set) can be extended for full leg coverage, but I like to double up on the squeeze-factor by folding one down around my calf for an extra warm hug. On particularly long days, I keep my K-warmers on when I leave the studio, so they can keep working their magic while my body transitions into rest mode. Performance and protection, double whammy! They are also antimicrobial (aka not stinky), sleek fitting (hello tutu time), and dancer approved.

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I really do swear by all of Apolla’s products and wear them daily. You guys know, I only work with brands that I genuinely love and think you will, too! If you want to get your hands on/legs in a pair of K-warmers, use code STB-ApollaDiscount-4 for 10% off at checkout.

PS- this is not an affiliate code- I don’t make any money from this, just want to spread the love and help you survive Nutcracker Season! Code is valid through November 22, 2018. xx

october thoughts

4349199F-D321-4962-A5EF-CD8D1455020F.JPGTwo old souls finding softness in a militaristic movement. Ions attracting and repelling, sharing energy and exploding into convulsive, wiggling bits. A journey from one corner to another, whirling up and grounding down on the way. A war between love and sex, excitement and exhaustion, swing and still, girl and mirror. Up Close On Hope will be a close up study of polarity for me.

Kozadayev, Plotnikov, Douglas, and most notably Yanowsky’s Reverso are forcing my body to produce opposing qualities, while my mind is confronted with an eerily similar feat. Reverso has me with eyes straight into the mirrored wall, unable to avoid self-examination, critique, judgment…all of these useful dancer tools so excellently exploited into an emotional movement that has no use for acting. We’re pressing limbs against their reflections, plunging forward into ourselves and out again. What a unique concept to make an exhibition of introspection. And oh, the danger of what we might see…

I’ve shared insecurities here before, and written several times about life’s uncanny ability to match studio and soul. When heartbreak left me speechless, Moonlight told the story of writer’s block. When new love filled up my journal once again, Apollo put Calliope’s scroll in my hands and the words flowed like Balanchinian building blocks. Now, in this period of change- both in company and home life- I am confronted daily with the demons that ballet can so cruelly conjure. Some days I feel more armed to fight than others. And in this written therapy session I am wondering if I can ever devise a way to simply…not fight.

Is it possible to just drop my weapon? Unhand myself? Call off the charge? Can I just dance? Can I just not? A sad question for such an ethereal art form. And all the while I’m bruising my toenails and enflaming my itis in preparation to do just that; dance and not. Sugarplums and grieving girls are pas de deux-ing in my head. Halloween week has certainly arrived, friends.

teenage dreams

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I imagine you are engaged, it’s an excitingly expectant time. Still young, but with big plans.

You take the train into the beantown, you fall asleep next to him on the way. You get off at Ruggles.

You #shoplocal. Fancy chocolate has been procured for later that evening.

You check into a spaceship yotel. There is a convenient rooftop bar. It happens to be sunset. Red wine and tortilla chips are had.

Your favorite band- the one with lyrics that made you want to become a writer- is playing just a few blocks away in a beautiful historic theater. You have tickets in row D.

The lead singer gets behind the piano, he’s about to play your favorite song. The one that makes you cry when you’re not sad, not happy.

They rock. You dance. They close the concert with your boo song. Everyone sings. I need you so much closer…

Back at the yotel, there are fun lights to play with. There is popcorn and seltzer. There is The Parent Trap on TV.

You are complete in the simplest, yet most cosmic of ways.

cozy home stuff, woodsy walks, and foods shot from above

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The air is getting crispier, the leaves are burning up the last of their fuel to light the quickly darkening sky, and our house is feeling cozier every day. Every room seems to be progressing at once now- we hung a mirror on the landing! put a rug by the porch doors! stacked figgy up on a stool (thanks mom!)- but that also means every room has a new project all at once, too- more lights in the living room! and the dining room! and the office, for that matter! But ah, the bliss of cohabiting with my bff…

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, tiny pumpkins by the fireplace. Movie nights and warm beverage mornings, bike rides on the boulevard. Neighborhood walks, new neighbor talks, carrot-ginger muffins and rainbow-colored zinnias welcoming us in. Bristol beehive snackin’, mini-botanical stackin’, moody reds outfit trackin’.

October, you’re a fine thing.

we bought a house

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on a windy monday

at the end of september

we all shook hands

and signed legal tender

 

with shiny new keys

and dusty cake toppers

turning box after box

into cardboard door stoppers

 

surrounded by trees

and a block all our own

in a little blue place

called fourteen gorton

 

we’re hanging our shirts

and stacking our glasses

making plans to stay home

while this autumn rain passes

 

gooey pumpkin loaf

in our fancy new oven

and a purring dishwasher

keeping all of the suds in

 

we’re warming the hearth

and decorating the rest

two birds flew the coop

now we have our own nest.