welcome to the dark side

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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

museums in paris that aren’t the louvre

  1. La Musée de la Chasse et de la NatureIMG_7598

Nestled amongst beautiful shops and famous falafel in the heart of Le Marais, La Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature is almost eerily quiet. The lesser-known museum offers a quiet respite from the bustling streets of the busy Marais, where one can explore the extravagant structure that is home to antique armament and taxidermy beasts of all shapes and kinds.

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2. La Musée RodinIMG_5477

The diverse and serene Musée Rodin is an immersive experience, delighting its visitors with a multitude of scenery. From the outdoor gardens featuring the super famous “Thinker” and “Gates of Hell” to the softer interior works elegantly showcased by stately wooden architecture, Musée Rodin offers the exquisite art of a world class museum without the selfie-stick-clad crowd armed and ready to ruin your day. Highly recommend!

*Pro Tip: Stop at Café Coutume for a spring toast and some caffeine, post-museum.

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3. Le Musée d’OrsayIMG_7618

Okay, so it’s not exactly a “hidden gem”, but this quiet(er) museum boasts an impressive collection of masterpieces from the likes of Degas, Monet, Matisse, Van Gogh, Lautrec, and Rodin, to name a few. Second only to the artwork, the beauty of the building itself-  an ornate old train station- is breathtaking. If you have time, get lost in the adjacent Musée de l’Orangerie, home to Monet’s epic waterlilies. It’s my number one must-see for the Paris traveler who is “not a museum person”. Must see!

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you want thing-a-ma-bobs?

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WOW.

It’s been almost a month since my foray under the sea, and I have yet to chronicle it here! What an interesting experience, to dance a ballet with no legs, hovering above the stage in a shimmering pseudo-fin. With some support from my undertow (blue unitard-clan men), I bobbed through back flips and press lifts, paddling through the waves with the wonder of a woman in love with a world she’s never known.

Of course, I owe the great fun of Act II to my Prince, whose garden grows greener and waltzing whirls worthier than any I’ve known. Okay, things are getting strange…enjoy some behind-the-scenes photos, I’m off!

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first 6 photos by Thomas Nola-Rian.

 

weekend update

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Season 40 is off to a roaring start, and this beautiful beast shows no signs of slowing. In 5 weeks the company have learned almost 6 ballets; One new work is still in the creation phase, and our first full length Widow’s Broom is currently a collection of scenes. I have eight countable bruises on my legs and a fire in my belly. The time is now.

Speaking of full seasons and carpé-ing diems, this weekend M and I are off to the city to see New York City Ballet’s Here/Now program on Sunday. Wheeldon, Wheeldon, Ratmansky, Peck. What an incredible lineup! I will be reviewing the show on The Wonderful World of Dance, so stay tuned.

there’s no place like home

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Man, is it good to be back. M said something this week that really resonated with me:

“You know you’re living in the right place when you travel all over and you keep looking back over your shoulder.”

How beautiful is that? Walking the steps up to my apartment in Providence for the first time in a month was just the best homecoming; Walking around the Hope Street Farmer’s Market Saturday morning was somehow even sweeter. Maybe because I knew this would be my last chance to stomp Lippit Park on a Saturday morning, with the season starting next week and all…

Speaking of the season, have you guys heard that sentiment going around about how “September is the new January”? I couldn’t agree more. There’s something about the crisp fall air that stirs an urge to refresh and prepare. It’s perfect nesting weather. What better way to commemorate my renewed love of PVD and nestle into fall than with this pretty little map of my city?

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Inspired by her world travels, the artist behind Modern Map Art uses intricate city grids to create detailed urban portraits with a touch of nostalgia. I love the vintage font and graphic vibes in this poster- how cute would it be as a housewarming gift?

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The map arrived just in time, as my wonderful city welcomed me back with fresh fall feels. M and I have just started listening to Crimetown, the Gimlet podcast all about Providence’s mobster past. It’s pretty wild hearing the late Buddy Cianci’s voice (and a beautiful chorus of other Rhode Island accents) on such a well known pod. The perfect compliment to local cherry tomatoes and late-summer figs.

What city do you call home? Does it have quirks that make you feel all fuzzy?

 

Providence map c/o Modern Map Art. Check them out to celebrate your city with a custom print.

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.

there is only now

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I am such a huge fan of New York City Ballet’s 2016-2017 campaign.  It’s somehow both hauntingly timeless and incredibly current; a breathing incantation of Balanchine’s mantra “There is only now.”  The captivating video and stunning photos by Peter Lindbergh are just dreamy, and his musings on the special art of capturing ballet dancers are truly poetic…New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-03.jpgnew-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-07New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-06.jpgnew-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-01new-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-02-762x1024New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-04.jpg

“With dance, it is about capturing movement, which is everything I love.  It leaves space for the unexpected, as the same movement is never twice the same.”

-Peter Lindbergh