nesting

IMG_6043afterlight

afterlight

photo 3

It seems my last post (the one where we discussed negativity) was relatable for more of you than I had anticipated.  Since so many were able to identify with the struggle of controlling interloping thoughts that are anything but happy, I thought it would be nice to share some tricks to keeping yourself balanced outside of the studio.

For the first installation of this balancing-act how-to, I’d like to focus on creating a zen space.  Having an area to yourself designated purely to relaxation and restoration is key to maintaining a healthy mind and body.  Much like a mom-to-be nesting in preparation of her baby’s arrival, I find immense satisfaction in building a nest of my own.  I’ve shared just a few photos of my new apartment previously (which I regularly refer to as the coziest place on earth), but my favorite spot therein has slowly become my bedroom.  I’ve been taking my time putting it together, adding special elements to up its relaxation factor.  A few things that are currently making it extra-snug…

A new mattress from Santa.  One word: plush.  And new sheets, too, because comfort is an extravagance I do not play around with.

String lights in leu of a headboard.  The soft glow of these warm lights makes me feel like I’m wrapped up in a warm blanket- perfect for lazy Sunday mornings spent blogging from my bed.  More fun lighting options here.

Heavenly scented candles. There’s something so comforting about the flicker of a candle.  I once told a friend that when I’m alone, I like to keep a candle burning because it’s subtle movement serves the same “white noise” purpose as a soft radio playing in the background of an empty house;  Its delicate dance creates a buffer between the apartment and me, filling the air with just a bit of motion produced by some source other than myself, and strangely enough, I feel less alone.  My friend looked at me like I was 100% crazy and we moved on, but I’m sticking to my story.  My favorite scents are this (whose sexy smell has earned it the nickname “man candle” amongst my friends and me) and this classic.

Artwork with personal meaning.  When I arrived home after opening night of Peter Pan last spring, there was a package for me at the door.  A very dear friend of mine who lives out of state had thoughtfully sent over a beautiful print depicting one of my favorite quotes from J.M. Barrie’s timeless story- “Just always be waiting for me”.  It’s deep hue and night sky theme make it perfect for hanging just above my bed, and every time I see it I am reminded not only of that magical performance weekend, but also of my lovely friend and her sweet gesture.  I also have a print from Viktor Plotnikov’s Orchis hanging near my bed to remind me of another favorite show.

Something uniquely “me”.  It’s obvious by now, I’m sure, how much Peter Pan means to me.  When I first saw the Haptic Lab “Wendy Darling” kite at the Catbird boutique in Brooklyn, my eyes turned into animated red hearts a la this infamous emoji.  It’s so light and ethereal, and with it hanging right above my bed, I am tugged back to a time where innocence prevailed and I imagined my dreams being carried from Neverland to my bedroom in an enchanted floating ship.  It’s eclectic, it’s strange, it’s a kite hanging in my home- but it’s me and I love it.

So, I’d love to know, do any of you nest like me?

PS- check out my new “Muse” status on the gwenythbrand website ;)

2 piece or not 2 piece?

Jennifer+Ricci+as+_3Y90TOAVD

I came across a video recently in which the director of a dance competition called out to teachers across the nation, asking them, “Is that 2-piece costume really necessary?”  He pointed out the fact that the number of people whose bodies are flattered by such a revealing costume is no where near proportionate to the amount of students performing at any given competition.  With that statement fresh from his lips, the director asks his audience of dance instructors to explain why they continue to select these 2-piece costumes, with the thousands of more suitable options available to them.

The responses disgusted, but did not shock me.  Many teachers admitted, with little shame, that they select 2-piece costumes in hopes of inspiring heavier dancers to lose excess weight.  While I am completely in support of maintaining a strong healthy body and striving to create the most beautiful lines possible, I cannot get behind this exploitive intimidation technique.  It is a direct breech of trust in an environment where a dancer is supposed to feel most comfortable: on stage.

This presentation was directed mainly towards instructors at competition schools, but I believe it can be applied to the ballet world as well.  Of course, there are classical roles where a 2-piece costume is traditional, expected by the audience and therefore a necessity, like Arabian in The Nutcracker or Nikiya in La Bayadare.  But for contemporary ballets in which the costuming is entirely subjective to the preference of choreographer, how does one deem a 2-piece costume appropriate for the piece being danced?

You can probably guess by now that I have in fact been cast in a pas de deux during which I must don a 2-piece costume.  The last dancer to perform this choreography was the ever-fierce, 6-pack enigma pictured above, Ms. Jennifer Ricci.  A Rhode-Island legend and FBP-veteran for almost 25 years, Jenn pulls off the midriff-bearing costumes better than anyone I know.  But when you have to follow up that class act with, how should I put this…decidedly less muscular definition? things can get pretty stressful (re: I have been freaking out about it for the past 3 weeks).

SO, I guess what I’m trying to say here, is how do you guys feel about 2-piece costumes?  Have you ever had to wear one on stage?  Did it turn you into a nervous wreck?  Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s midriff shy!

 

 

 

photo by Thomas Nola-Rian

thoughts on running

I used to claim I’d never enjoy running.  Being a dancer, my joints are very dear to me, and the negative effect running can have on them was just never worth the risk.  This summer, however, that changed.

I decided to try interval running, a technique where you run for a few minutes, then walk for a few minutes, and alternate the two speeds throughout your entire distance.  I am SO glad to have finally realized the beauty that is interval running.  It allows me to rest my joints and feet for a bit between spurts, while still keeping my heart rate elevated for the duration of the workout.  That is what you call the best of both worlds, folks!

Now, I can proudly say I am a changed woman.  While I can’t yet claim to ever actually look forward to running (constant heavy breathing, hair stuck to my forehead with sweat, aching feet, and I don’t even get to wear a tutu? hard to see the bright side here…), I have finally found a way to make running accessible to me.  I even went out running in the pouring rain the other day, just to get in a good sweat and clear my mind!  This may not seem like an accomplishment to most, but I am pretty darn proud.{spotted: raindrops on roses during my rainy run}