aurora for a day

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Aside from the fact that my eyes are extremely heavy, right now I look absolutely nothing like I do in these photos.  I am bruised over most of my body from the hips down, my hair is still in a towel from a shower I took 2 hours ago, and I have pillows supporting my neck, back, and knees…if only I could look as effortlessly sleepy as Princess Aurora every day.  Le sigh.

I wanted to share a few photos from the Collaborations project with you, but it felt wrong to make you believe I look anywhere near this serene as I sprawl on the couch creating this post for you now.  In a way the juxtaposition between these images and my appearance tonight is sort of what this blog is all about: bringing awareness to all of the ugliness that goes into making ballet look beautiful, like the calluses stuffed behind those pink satin pointe shoes we ballet dancers all love to hate.

To see my photo on the June page of our gorgeous Ballet Off Stage calendar, or to purchase one for your favorite dancer, head on over here.

photos by Cemal Ekin, styling by Vilia Putrius



After a long first week back in the studio, tomorrow marks FBP’s first public event of the season:  Collaborations.

Brainchild of FBP principle dancer, Vilia Putrius, this project combines Ms. Putrius’ impeccable aesthetic with the photographic talents of Cemal Ekin and an eclectic selection of the vast array of natural beauty Rhode Island has to offer.  Over the course of a year, twelve dancers from the company were selected and shot in various locations, each portraying a famous character from a major ballet.  The resulting images will be turned into a calendar for the coming new year.  I am so honored to have been included in this stunning series (I got to play Princess Aurora from The Sleeping Beauty for a day- dream come true!), and can hardly wait for the unveiling of the final prints at tomorrow night’s premiere.  In addition to a gallery-showing of the prints and live auction, the company will be holding open rehearsals of our newest works, inviting the public in for an exclusive sneak peek at what’s in store for November’s round of Up Close On Hope.  If you are in the Rhode Island area, do consider stopping by and checking out the collection.  For more information, read what photographer Cemal Ekin has to say about the process and his observed comparisons between visual and performing arts.  For tickets to the event, click here.


photos by Jim Turner and Vilia Putrius

jookin swan

This morning I want to share a fantastic collaboration I’ve just become aware of:  Yo Yo Ma & Lil Buck.  These two names do not seem to really roll off the tongue when put into the same sentence, do they?  But they should…

Lil Buck performs an interesting style of dance called jookin (also known as “gansta walking”), which was created in Memphis, Tennessee.  While there are many different forms of this technique, jookin is often characterized by the dancers’ smoother-than-butter body rolls, arm/hand choreography and footwork (watch the video above and you’ll notice that these dancers spend a good deal of time on their toes- not unlike ballet dancers).  Which is why it would come as no surprise to those versed in jookin (you can probably tell by the way I’m describing it that I am not one of those people), that the music of classical cellist Yo Yo Ma inspires such beautiful movement from Lil Buck.  The fact that it all came together with Camille Saint-Saens’ Dying Swan, a piece of music that everyone in the ballet world has an undeniable soft spot for, really is the cherry on top.

Perhaps what I love most about this video, though, is Lil Buck’s interpretation of the music.  It’s as if there are no barriers between his body and the music.  His ears take in the notes and his body produces what his mind makes of them.  I also love his references to classical culture and the original choreography.  Like that “violin playing” sort of step he does at 2:00, or his hyper turned out “first position” at 2:10.  It would be pretty hard to miss that homage to a “swan arm” at 2:44, and if you didn’t squirm/appreciatively smile at his final “dying swan” pose at the end, you have no soul.

This photo was taken at the 2013 Youth American Grand Prix competition finals, where Nina Ananiashvili and Lil Buck performed Dying Swan side by side…935055_10152783608935188_807652483_n

And a gravity-defying still from Lil Buck’s performance with Yo Yo Ma…Yo-Yo-Ma-and-Lil-Buck-LEAD1-560x245125

Aaaand I leave you with a photo I took from the wings as FBPSchool alum and current National Ballet of Canada principle, Greta Hotchkinson performing Dying Swan at FBP’s Together We Dance Gala earlier this season…427971_3856368736238_108261398_n

Who’s the best Dying Swan you’ve ever seen?