city corners

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A thin strip of exposed brick to your left suggests the former life of a sunny crêpe shop.  We pen wedding congratulations and prep for wedding celebrations.  We taste-test our way through the section of summer I’ll refer to as “pre-France”, croissant-galette-tarte-samiches on back steps in the rain.  We play “which corner would you photograph” and I point out the mansard roof to our right.  You like the font over Gary’s Drugs.  Hydrangea-stamped homes and organic-lined shelves pepper the walls of Beacon Hill, raindrops and creamy petals dot the floors.  We reminisce on touching toasts and hip bars with morbid names.  I notice floral details and you notice me noticing them.  We explore abandoned buildings from the top of the city, stumble upon a cornhole tournament and play a round to the sound of Purple Rain.  Hummus summons and we discover Pita.  We discuss travel both near and far in the future, and all the while I’m just hoping the future feels a lot like right now.

i n t e r m i s s i o n : boston edition

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Spring is synonymous with transition.

In this space between The Lake and Eaton Street, this time between curtain call and class introductions, lives a rare creature: a vaguely familiar shadow of me, one that feeds on a careful mix of relaxation and exploration, leisure and productivity.  The incarnation appears in the intermission between season and school, adventuring and sleeping and biking and eating one too many cheese plates (is there such a thing?).

Swan Lake closed just about 3 weeks ago, and my summer school semester at Providence College begins Monday night (Social History- Providence Architecture!), and in the mean time I’ve been filling the gap between the Bean and PVD.  Stay tuned for more from Providence, but for some recent snaps around Boston…

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+ a stop in for English breakfast, a raspberry fruit box and floral inspiration at the newly enlarged Tatte in Brookline

+ perusing the (immaculate) shelves at Boston General Store (also in Brookline) just in time for a lovely bridal brunch at Pride’s Crossing

+ my first visit to M’s favorite Saffra Bakery for avocado french toast

+ a trip to Boston Opera House for Boston Ballet’s Swan Lake

+ dumplings and crust(y)aceans at Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown

+ drinks over Boston at the Prudential Center’s Top of The Hub

books and brunch in boston

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I have bruises on my body, but spring in my soul, following this warm weekend up north with my favorite human.  M and I brunched and browsed all over Boston, and the sun stayed with us far longer than we’d even hoped.  From Brighton to Brookline to Chinatown, Beacon Hill, Cambridge and back again, we made our way through boro(ugh)s and backstreets until our tired, unscented brains* could explore no more.  We visited some of our very favorites, including Tatte and The Middle Gray, where I scribbled this little ditty into my journal, which I’m going to call Ode to An Arepa…

black and white

and grey all over

where beginning 

meets end and

trains transcend

tea-stained flowers

bloom and bend

sriracha-soaked arepas

poison sinuses

our bodies defend

fight the careful blend

my dearest friend

you challenge my senses

so I guess the contents

in your favorite hot sauce trend.

 

*Have you ever googled “What does a human brain smell like?”  Not recommended.

dreamy january

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Blue skies, red bricks and white tiles.  Patriotism painted in Boston’s bright blood, streaked with a nostalgia for times yet to be had.  How can you long for a time and place you’ve yet to know?

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If I could control the calendar, I would place the New Year in autumn. Fall would refresh us, with its subtle sinking temperatures and tendency to steer us towards all things new.  We would make our resolutions when the leaves turn gold, sparked by a behavioral stamp embossed on our temporal condition since childhood.  Back to school, new schedules, the shedding of our summer skin.

January feels more like a time for questions.  A time for exploration, investigation, experimentation.  A time to take the pressure off, test the waters, let the kettle scream.

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Today we head back into the studios to begin work on three new ballets.  All contemporary, all world premieres. Heading straight into the unknown, fresh off the Nutcracker Express, I can almost feel the words buzzing in my head…exploration, investigation, experimentation.

Happy New Year.

So far 2016 has felt positively dreamy.  But I suppose that’s to be expected when it starts off with fireworks over Boston harbor, compelling conversation and a hot chocolate tour of New England, right?

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a christmas story

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This morning I parked my car at a metered spot in Brookline and hoofed it half a mile to one of the most beautiful bakeries, Tatte.  Brownstones lined my right and a woman in blue passed by on my left.  As she did I made eye contact, smiled, and chirped my usual “Hello!”.  To my delighted surprise, her equally spirited return greeting came almost instantly- if only you knew how many people look away when I acknowledge them.  Her quick but genuine response tickled, and I walked the rest of the way feeling a tad bit lighter.

Fast forward through some pastry perusing, tea sipping and note scribbling a la Tatte, when the women next to me start “discreetly” side-eyeing my notebook, a page of which I’ve now begun staining with the dregs of my English Breakfast leaves.  I realize the rather strong likelihood that my strange activity is offending their tame Wednesday brunch chatter and check my phone.  An hour has passed!  And I only paid for 48 minutes of parking!  I cause a bit of a ruckus in gathering my things (why must I bring crafts everywhere I go?), clearing my teacup and busting out the door.  There’s still a good 10 minute walk between myself and my inevitable parking ticket, so I pick up my pace from rush to trot towards the Brownstones.

From several gallops away, like the frame-by-frame delivery of a sad comic strip, I see the ticket print out (chchchchhchh), detach from its maker (zzzzip), and smack down onto my windshield.  I’m there just in time for my ticketer to turn around and watch my shoulders shlump dramatically downward.  Between panting breaths from frowning lips I sigh out, “This is me”, placing a defeated, consoling hand on my poor car, whose already been through enough this week.  The meter guard interrupts her own automatic apology to surprise me again, saying, “You know what?  If I hadn’t seen you earlier, and we hadn’t said hello to each other, I would never do this.”  She slips the ticket away, crumples it into her pocket, and before walking away, smiles once more and says, “Merry Christmas.”

Thank you, kind stranger who made my morning feel special when it could have been frustrating.  Never have I so directly felt the power of a friendly greeting.  If that’s not Christmas spirit personified, I don’t know what is.

 

a very nutty friday

With two shows in Winchester and another week of rehearsals under my belt, it’s safe to say I am officially in full on Nutcracking mode.  It only seemed appropriate to have this week’s links reflect my current nutty state of mind…

Secrets behind the magic of The Nutcracker from the Royal Opera House.  (spoiler alert)

“The greatest mysteries, however, remain in the music we already know. What does the Sugar Plum’s adagio express? We can say it’s about the sublimity of a perfect being; we can say its huge, cascading scales are liturgical, Tchaikovsky’s requiem for his beloved sister (who died while he was preparing the ballet); it contains both glory and tragedy.” -New York Times dance critic, Alastair Macauly, on the mystery and reward of his annual Nutcracker marathons.  (reminds me of the Nutcracker mini-marathons my mom and I used to do)

Meet the Sugarplums of Boston (Hi Ashley!)

Festival Ballet’s Adaptive Dance program comes to the Nutcracker stage. (heartwarming)

Dew Drop is my favorite part of Balanchine’s Nutcracker. (so dynamic)

A while back my mom and I went on a little date to see the Bolshoi Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet– in a movie theater a few miles away from Providence.  Though an entirely different experience from that of attending a live performance, seeing ballet on the big screen was stunning in its own way, and the behind-the-scenes footage and commentary were so cool.  Now is your chance to see what I mean- this weekend The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker will be screening at a view different theaters around the country. (check out the RI schedule here!)

And while you’re at it, check out some of The Royal Ballet’s rehearsal shots from their time in the studio preparing The Nutcracker. (lovely)

For tickets to FBP’s Nutcracker at PPAC next weekend. (shop local)

ms. rubia and her wonderful warmers

Last winter, somewhere in the midst of record-breaking snowfall, a friend introduced me to RubiaWear leg warmers.  Flattering silhouette, ultra thin fabric, soft knit, subtle stripes.  Always game for a little investigation, I decided to give them a go.11026053_1607928049427136_5997283873558158194_n

When my first pair arrived in the mail, immediately I was hooked.  For the remainder of the season, not one morning passed where I watched my reflection without the warm hug of my trusty Rubias.  Today Boston Ballet’s Ashley Ellis, the genius behind RubiaWear, sheds a bit of light on what life has been like since creating the collection of warmers worn ’round the world…

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So Ashley, how did you become inspired to start making leg warmers?

It should be noted that I am in Boston now, and well, winter here is notorious for being long with extreme conditions, so this was surely extra incentive for creating a line of ‘warm ups’!

Apart from this, I really enjoy making all sorts of things, am always busy with projects, I find it to be a nice outlet for me. Whether I’m sewing, fixing things around the house, painting, baking, or what ever else sparks my curiosity. Needless to say that when I sew I am often drawn to making things to wear in the studio because this is where I spend so much of my time.

In the months before I opened the line I had made some legwarmers for myself, simply because I had lost the ones I’d had before (by that mysterious fairy that steals dancewear left in the studio over night). I played a bit with different styles that I found to be most flattering. Then, a few friends started to ask me to make them some. As more people showed interest I thought it would be fun to make more and come up with a design to offer to my colleagues. I explored this idea step by step, and with each new detail I wanted to create a product that looked professional but maintained a unique quality.  In the end I thought I might as well make it an official line and how fun it would be to offer not just to my friends, but also to anyone who would be interested.

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Your tendency towards constantly finding little projects is so relatable.  So, what made you decide to turn it into a business?

It wasn’t really a predetermined plan of mine, it just sort of happened. Not to say it was easy- it took a lot time, work, and educating myself on how to get it all going, but I was having fun with it so I kept going.

I knew that my colleagues were fans of the warmers but I had no idea whether or not people outside of my direct contact would be interested in buying them so I just decided to give it a shot. I did feel that if I was going to offer RubiaWear to the dance world at large I wanted the product to be of a high quality and offer an attractive platform from which I was able to sell it. Essentially, something that I myself as a dancer would want to buy and wear everyday.

Since starting with the official line of RubiaWear things have been escalating nicely which has been a very exciting ride so far. It’s been difficult to keep up with at times, and I wish I could move faster and offer more growth sooner, but this will come with time. I plan to introduce new designs, premade products to get things to customers faster.

Being a dancer is still my passion and full time concentration, so at times there are moments when I have to step back and admit that there are things that still have to wait and feel fortunate that things have escalated at the pace that they have.

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I’ve always wondered, where does the name RubiaWear come from?

While dancing in Spain for three years with the Corella Ballet de España I picked up the nickname Rubia, which essentially means Blondie, and it kind of stuck. I wanted to have a part of myself in the name but didn’t really want to use my own name. So, RubiaWear has a sort of disguised part of me in it. I chose the logo and its colors because I thought suited the ‘blonde’ theme. I like that there is meaning behind it but it doesn’t have to be completely obvious.

I just love your children’s line, Rubita, and my goodness, the Rubita MINI series- don’t even get me started.  Cuteness overload!  Where did the inspiration to start making miniatures come from?

Well, besides the fact that the Rubita sizes are so adorable? Haha. I just thought that there are so many young dance students out there who should also keep their little legs warm in between classes and to and from the studio. These ballerinas in training should also have the option to wear dancewear that is unique and showcases their sense of style, even if they do have to wear a uniform for class. I plan to offer children’s sizes whenever I can with future products as well.

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What has been the most surprising/exciting/fulfilling aspect of running RubiaWear so far?

I’ve really enjoyed the learning aspect that starting RubiaWear has offered. I’ve had to learn a lot, not just about how to make warmers but how to run a business.

I’d say one of the most rewarding things has been seeing people all over the world getting excited about the product. I enjoy being in contact with the customers. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback and it gets me more excited and confident about moving forward into the future.

I have to mention that I’m grateful for how encouraging and supportive people, near and far, have been of this venture.

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THANK YOU to the inspiring and beautifully articulate Ms. Ashley Ellis for sharing her story!  To shop the collection (which I highly recommend), head right this way.  To catch Ashley on stage, head over here.

photos by Kenneth B. Edwards