hot town, summer in the city

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

It’s been a whole month (!) since Swan Lake. Several days after the final performance, The Great Flu of ’19 knocked me down for 2 weeks and well, you could say I ran out of steam. My annual lofty goals to “keep dancing all summer” fizzled under piles of tissues, and needless to say, I’ve been looking for motivation to get back into the studio ever since. Well guys, I think I might have just found it…

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

We know the magic of Zarely’s super soft tights (I love the recovery compression tights for going out after a performance when my legs need a little love!) and elevated activewear, but did you know they recently released two leotards? Well, listen up. I’m out here shouting it from the rooftops.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Have I peaked your curiosity? Okay, the review…

In keeping with Zarely’s design style, the Alicia leotard is cut to flatter. I was worried about her higher neckline, but the material (made in Italy) hugs so nicely. The lining is soft but effective- trust a busty ballerina to give you an honest assessment when it comes to support that doesn’t strangle you.

The base fabric is  thick enough to smooth things out without puffing up, but I think my favorite feature is the mesh panel…

IMG_0524.JPG

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

The designers at Zarely pay special attention to lines when creating each piece, and woah baby, it pays off. I’m not typically one for wearing mesh on the front of my torso, but this leotard dips a toe into the trend without being over the top. I’m a fan.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

So, what do you think?! If you’re interested in trying out one of Zarely‘s new leo’s (or any of their well-made dancewear) and want a little discount, use code KIRSTENZARELY for 20% off at checkout.

E7DE6B18-9F12-4CB6-9729-8EB113F656DF.JPG

photos by Jenay Evans for STB.

to brooklyn and back

A few quick days in the big citaaay.

Musing on getting lost, vulnerability, and finding familiarity in the foreign. There’s something oddly thrilling about being anonymous. Walking through the streets nameless, meeting baristas who do not know your usual, window shopping strange storefronts. Camp and Matisse, ocean eyes and a polka dotted dress, fig gelato and getting caught in the rain. Plans thrown out the window and plants left on the windowsill. Dreams that feel real and real that hums dream.

I came home minus my old phone, but plus a new little gold loop on my finger. Stacked with my precious “amis” ring, my left hand is singing a whole new song, and I’m into it. :)

I also came home with pages of notes and the start of a possible book (!). Now all that’s left to do is write, write, write. And that’s my Saturday night, friends.

soulmates

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with b1 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Ah. You know those weekends that feel like 4 days rolled into one? The weekends you just want to keep living in? Nothing like an impromptu best friends trip to Boston to make you feel grateful and free.

We drove ourselves up to Boston to witness the ever beautiful Kathleen Breen Combes retire from the stage. With this bittersweet bow comes an exciting new chapter, as Kathleen will become FBP’s Executive Director in the fall! Feeling so excited to have such a powerful role model coming our way, and a wonderful, welcomed addition to the FBP family, of course.

 

And now, some thoughts from the weekend…

There are parts of yourself that you can’t find reflected in the bubbled bottom of a bottle of wine, or the ice chips squeezing final sips of diluted gin. They are not in the wrinkled petals of your favorite flower, nor are they looking up at you from the intricate tiles of a trendy café floor. Don’t look for these bits of you in the mirror- not even a peculiar room with entirely mirrored walls and amber shells- your questions will be as if unheard. Turn instead to your friends. In unrelenting laughter that rolls from your belly and bursts from your lips, in words never spoken but exchanged through subtle movements in brows, in tears caught before they leave your cheeks. In the strange desire to eat, drink, walk, sit, talk, the same things at the same time. Every time. This is where your essence lives, where your spirit rests, where you are truly whole. Soulmates, they come in so many forms.

surprising

5884C5CB-9221-4430-8737-639FC17902BF.JPG

I don’t know yet what I don’t know, but I do know this: Everyone ever will always surprise you eventually.

It won’t happen at every turn, and it won’t always happen when you least expect it. Sometimes it will be completely out of the blue, sometimes it will confirm a lingering suspicion, but this premonition won’t make your surprise any less, well, surprising.

As humans, we like to put people into neat little boxes. He’s a “bro.” She is “good.” He’s an artist, so he will never be truly emotionally available; She never met her father, so she will always feel damaged. We put people in boxes, on shelves, in tidy compartments with classifications and we predict their futures by reading into their pasts. But the catastrophe of shock is certain, because there is no instruction manual for the human existence.

I’ve spent the past 4 years contemplating the existence of a higher power, but regardless of this inconclusive search, it seems that each life is composed of a series of decisions. Whether these decisions lead to actions that “happen for a reason” or are completely random becomes irrelevant to this conversation, because it does not change the sole thesis that: Everyone ever will always surprise you eventually. And this includes you.

Often times our most surprising selves surface in the wake of shock caused by someone close to us. A person we think we know sets off a surprise chain with some “uncharacteristic” behavior and our reaction, our series of decisions in the cold, unrelenting wake of this surprise, can set a self-surprise into motion.

Of course, surprise doesn’t always come in the form of an action. Sometimes it comes early on, while semi-strangers are becoming friends. The casual reveal of an unexpected detail- something outside their tidy personality box- comes forward and scrambles our premature judgement. The classification conundrum.

In any and every case, though, people are surprising. And even in knowing this, you will be surprised. And that, my friends, is a beautiful promise.

three-faced

 

dark to light

from day to night

black to white

sixteen swans in flight

a deceitful blight

a vision at height

a desperate love’s plight

triumphant truth’s fight

won with great might

now cracking dawn’s light

her transformation in sight

still daybreak burns bright

sparks of trust reignite

arms open and invite

twisting lovers holding tight

at long last all wrong is right.

-reflections on the Lake

 

What was strange about playing two very different characters in one ballet? I suppose the weird part was how very not weird it felt at all. Countless hours of rehearsal, nights laying awake reconsidering a sly wink here or a sharp gesture there, none of that seemed to matter when the lights hit. Odette’s trapped sadness felt real. The anguishing betrayal was not just a dormant memory in my own life’s experience. It seems a reoccurring theme. Odile’s slippery charm- while not exactly inherent- never felt altogether foreign, as if this persona was one I’ve tried on before.

I have waxed on about ballet life matching up with real life time and time again. I shouldn’t be surprised when this happens, but every time I find myself in awe of this art form’s ability to sink its teeth into my life and reveal bits of me that I didn’t know existed. How odd to have a piece of art explain your own feelings to you.

Thank you, Swan Lake, for being everything you are. The difficult pill that needs swallowing, the instructions manual that appears to be written in some language only decipherable through reflection. The glorious wave of warm sunlight when the water feels too cold to jump in alone. And thank you, Swan Lake, for showing me I can.

 

pleased to meet you

 

Whats your name summer girl?
Will you stay until September comes?
And takes it’s sun from your blonde hair

Whose your type summer girl?
Who’ll hold you tight till the fall comes?
And your life takes you away

I remember seeing you
Before the summer sun touched your pale skin
And now you’re golden
And sitting round the fire with my friends

What’s your name summer girl?
Will you stay until September comes?
And your life takes you away

Whose your type summer girl?
Who’ll hold you tight till the fall comes?
And takes it’s sun from your blonde hair

All the lonely winter days

Crust and brake around like autumn waves
And Massachusetts Bays
And get cast out to sea and gone for good

Who’s your love?
Where will you go when September comes?
And brings your body back to him

Walk with me summer girl
Walk with me till the sun comes
And takes the night, our world, away

Summer Girl, Family of The Year

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

i just may

AE1AF6D2-3179-4C01-9CC8-6115D80ED135.JPG

standing at a precipice

the edge knows me too well

from one chasm to another

to Purgatory, I once fell

but in this jump I find Paradise

tip-toeing across subway grates

it’s impossible to know

at the bottom, what awaits

looking out on rocky cliffs

toes poised, hands ready

I’m the girl who’s always prepared

her heartbeat calm and steady

flitting from one branch to the next

keeping butterflies at bay

now feels like the right time to dive

and I think I just May.