twist and shout

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Summer has officially arrived and I am LOVING IT. Wind in my hair, ice cream in my tummy, yes sirrrreee. Between traveling, teaching, and school, this is set to be the busiest summer of my life, but I’m always happiest when I’m buzzing from place to place.

In an attempt to grow my baby muscles/give myself some form of a routine, I’ve been getting back into kickboxing (remember our first fling?), which means more mornings start out early and spandex-y. My body doesn’t exactly wake up craving burpees and boxing, but having fun clothes to wear does help! Especially if you decide to grab an iced tea after working out and want to look a bit less like a drowned rat. If you are in need of some motivation to move this summer, check out Zarely‘s dancer-designed active wear, and use the code KIRSTENZARELY at checkout for 20% off your order.

 

{Here I am sporting the Iana top c/o Zarely, a brand that I am very proud to partner with. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Setting The Barre!}

photos by Jenay Evans.

little rhodey summer

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A collection of snapshots, from the streets of pvdfest to the shores of Narragansett. Between b&b’s and ballet gigs, the summer has looked a bit like this:

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dirty ducks

mole sauce

uphill clogs

vegan ‘scream

scary dream

new fortnight

another booked flight

windy beach wedding

pvd sun setting.

somewhere upstate

After connecting with nature at the Pillow, M and I headed West towards Kinderhook to visit the sweetest Gma of them all. We were hoping the trip would only take 30(ish) minutes, but then the sun was shining, the tank was clean…IMG_5759IMG_5758IMG_5763IMG_5762…and field after field of wildflowers beckoned from the roadside! We had no choice but to pull over and dive in. So goes summer’s siren song, right? A bit of irony, you may notice, as my shirt claims that I am always on pointe, but if there is any place I would never like to be eeuuh-puueehn, it’s in a dense, damp, field of flowers somewhere upstate. Sure it may sound romantic (wait, does it?), but I assure you, muddy pointe shoes are no picnic. Fortunately I like to think this whole irony thing would be rather welcomed by the designer of this fun tee, Cloud & Victory. Do you guys follow them on instagram? Oh boy, you really should!IMG_5754IMG_5757IMG_5753IMG_5752Min’s endless stream of clever captioning brings this world the (actually funny) ballet humor it so desperately needs right now. Between her wise-cracking edits, C&V’s feed features the brand’s latest designs, yet another outlet for Min’s expert blend of ballet beauty and punny, dad-joke-eqsue humor (my favorite kind). The latest collection is modeled by San Fransisco cool-erina, Mathilde Froustey, and it’s seriously delicious.IMG_5751IMG_5764

Check the lookbook and let me know what you think! Which pieces would you wear?

 

 

 

all photos by Michael Collins for Setting The Barre.

a b&b tour of the Berkshires

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white horses and red lions cradling our heads

striped walls

antique-scattered halls

baked french toast and four-poster beds

John and Naji and Sylvia and Steve

teapot shelves

helping ourselves

to hidden matchbooks as we leave

buttered mussels and english muffins

double kale

unsent mail

crispy dolma with thick rice stuffed in

monument mountain surrendering to our feet

poolside tunes

quarter moons

goodbye sweet Berkshires, until again we meet.

-from the fondly reminiscing brain of a wait why am i still awake right now?

elements

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There are few more hallowed grounds in the great cavernous world of dance than those woodsy ones that comprise Jacob’s Pillow. Being relatively quaint in composition (that is, when compared to say, the gilded curtains at Palais Garnier or even our own fabergé egg in Providence), is no accidental affair; The space at Jacob’s Pillow invokes an unbridled celebration of marriage between movement and nature. I mean, the celestial “pillow” itself is an oversized rock, so, there you have it. Stages unencumbered by adornment, curtains, walls…

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Could any such space appear more divinely designed for Louisa Chapman’s “The Elements”? On Saturday afternoon the sun was shining, the sky showing off a perfect milky blue, and the wind was so gracious as to help the trees do some dancing of their own. From between branches that same wind whirled down around our faces as we emulated flocking birds, an invisible current, congested leaves, and finally ourselves, gently blown aback by the sweet scent of summer. This feels like something I should further describe the feeling of, but I already have: simply the perfect marriage of movement and nature.

 

 

second photo by Michael Collins.

shocking

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As you may recall, if you’ve been following along here for some time, at the end of last season I incurred a host of local injuries around my left bunion area. There was bursitis, sesamoiditis, tendonitis, a real -itis fest, if you will. ANYway, when that all happened, wearing flat technique shoes first thing in the morning became rather unbearable, so my physical therapist suggested I try warming up in socks. I began wearing socks for pliés and tendus, then expanded that to include dégagés, then rond de jambes, then fondus, until one day I was working through the entire barre “en sock”. And let me tell you, it was a magical discovery.

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I found I was able to warm up my feet more thoroughly, connecting down through the floor from the very start of the day. My bones were free to spread and contract as they took their morning breaths, inhaling marley up through their joints and exhaling sweet, strong energy. I was able to dance my entire season sans-itis. A miracle, friends! The only problem? In an attempt to give myself some form of padding, the socks I had on rotation were baggy, bulky, relatively uncomfortable and wholly unflattering.

Then I heard about Apolla Shocks.

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Let me first disclaim: This is not a sponsored post. Although I did receive the Apolla Shocks pictured here complimentary, I approached the brand myself to inquire about their products after being tipped off by the lovely Cirio Collective dancers. Socks specially designed for dancers! Look how pretty! How supportive! How strange! I had to learn more.

And boy am I ever glad I did. As seems to be the trend this days (thank goodness!), sports science, design, and dance have come together in the creation of these beauties. The pair I’m wearing here are the mid-level support and the ones that will likely become my go-to, The Performance Shocks. They feature a compressed weave for extra arch support and ankle stabilization, and a slim yet free toe fit to allow for articulation without suffocating your piggies.

In my shocks I am finally I am able to properly employ my feet at the barre again, shaping them with all of the grounded metatarsals, lifted arches, and lengthened toes I can muster! IMG_5223IMG_5221

All Apolla Shocks come in 3 different shades so you can (at least attempt) to find your shade and ergo, your perfect line, because it’s just that easy, right? These science socks are moisture-wicking (happy dancing- any fellow sweaty feet friends?!) and antimicrobial, meaning every day washing is not necessary (double happy dance).

One of the coolest things about these dance socks is the option for their revolutionary customizable traction. The thin rubber traction starts out rather sticky, but is meant to be worn in to your desired level of grip. Once my shocks start too feel a bit too slippery (I actually like how their feeling after just a few uses), I plan on rubbing some rosin into the soles (as suggested by Apolla) to keep them right where I want ’em.IMG_5222

What do you think? Do you dance in socks? Would you try Apolla? If you are interested, Apolla is offering Setting The Barre readers 10% their first purchase with the code STB-ApollaDiscount-1 at checkout. Valid through June 19th.

 

photos by Jenay Evans for Setting The Barre.

weekend reads & some announcements!

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This weekend is pvdFEST- a huge Festival of artists invading my city to perform, install, and stomp around downtown. Next week I’m headed up to the Berkshires to rehearse and perform a piece of choreography done by one of my favorite people, as a part of the project of another of my favorite people, in one of my favorite places- Jacob’s Pillow! I’m pretty excited to head back to my old stomping grounds (see vintage shot of 17-year-old Keeks at the Pillow above), and I’ll be sure to keep you updated, but for now…

How Boston Ballet’s Misa Kuranaga became a world-class ballerina.

The rebirth of David Hallberg.

A poignant review of Justin Peck’s The Decalogue

Obsessed with these new socks specifically designed for dancers– review coming soon!

A surprisingly well-rounded list: The 51 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time.

Community Day at Jacob’s Pillow– if you’re local, come out and see! Free dance for all!

Zarely is giving away some of their seriously *wonderful* gear. #zarelyperfectlines to enter.

I’ll also be heading to Vail Dance Festival this August to cover and review the performances in Colorado! SUPER excited to bring you guys behind-the-scenes at one of ballet’s most inspiring Festivals. Stay tuned…