goodbye broom

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Flying coven.

Plunging fall.

Morning birds.

Hopscotch pumpkins.

Broken witch.

Enchanted broom.

Sweep, sweep, sweep.

Chop, chop, stop.

Growing fondness.

Scheming neighbors.

Cultish fervor.

Human fire.

Ghostly woods.

Packed bags.

White paint.

Family dinner.

Soaring tango.

Happily Ever After.

 

photos of Saturday night’s “Widow’s Broom” by Ty Parmenter.

 

{chatter}box

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We finish every show in the Chatterbox series with, as the title implies, a little chatting.  Seven Stars graciously provides a sampling of their sweetest treats for our young patrons, and between bites of chocolate chip and ginger, the dancers are treated to adorable, sometimes offbeat, yet always endearing remarks.

Things worked a bit differently after the show at PPAC, however, since the children were not actually able to approach the stage for a meet and greet.  Instead, our outreach coordinator fielded a few questions from the audience, the first being directed towards the witch with the very curious subject of exactly how she became so fierce.  David had not yet spoke two words into the microphone when an eruption of surprised gasps and giggles broke out amongst the rows of small spectators.  This was immediately echoed by the cast, who, in our newfound familiarity with the show, had not prepared for the shock that would ensue should the witch’s true gender be revealed.  David reclaimed the floor with the deepest tone in his spectrum, “You weren’t expecting this voice were you?”  Laughs and cheers boiled over one again.

Some of our interactions are a bit more heart-warming, like the 12-year-old who marched forth this weekend to tell me she had received my Nutcracker pointe shoes as a Christmas gift, and seeing this show was her one birthday request.  Completely tickled by the entire situation, I couldn’t help but share the fact that I, too, am a February girl.  Her whole face lit up, and I felt my insides go mushy.

From shy inquiries about set changes and costume pieces to animated recounting of friends and cousins and aunties and puppies who take ballet class, too!, the post-Chatterbox talks never cease to bring a smile to my face.  In fact, H and I noted a real soreness in our cheek-raising muscles when the weekend was through.  Our marley floor is also now 70% chocolate chips.  But are the laugh lines and chocolate-covered shoes worth it, you ask?  Absolutely.

fauns and roses

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We are headed to The Vets this week, and already I feel the familiar excitement of performance time.  Choreographer Dominic Walsh returns to Providence tonight, so it seems an appropriate time to look back on this interview from a few weeks ago, when he was in town setting his works.  In the clip, Dominic sheds some light on the inspiration behind his reinventions of Le Spectre de la Rose and Afternoon of a Faun.  Being able to learn about the birthplace of his creativity and take special note of those influences now, while preparing his pieces for the stage, has been so rewarding.  I especially love seeing the Rodin sculpture of Nijinsky that inspired the iconic first pose in his Faun.  Dominic makes such a poignant statement about creation:

“That time of The Ballets Russes was so exciting; They were breaking barriers.  There was this dedication to exploration and excellence.  So I think to reinvent these works is one way to contribute to the roles and responsibilities of the cultural institutions, and therefore our community.”

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Very well said.  If you have a minute, check out his interview below.  The extended version is even juicier, if you’re interested.

For tickets.

Photo of FBP ladies in rehearsal for Dominic Walsh’s Afternoon of a Faun by Alex Lantz; Second photo featuring Ty and Marissa Parmenter in Dominic Walsh’s Afternoon of a Faun.

friends gather here

11165194_10153019717894480_1196090845715282896_oThe entire east side of Providence (and perhaps a few busloads from the other three quadrants) turned out for the annual Hope Street Block Party last Saturday.  Mothers, fathers, children, artists, musicians, bakers, brewers, baristas, and an impressive array of dogs took to the crowded strip between Seven Stars and Rochambeau for a late spring social, bringing all five blocks to life.  Talented local bands provided an audible heartbeat.  Children face-painted as butterflies and tigers lent their excited pulses, climbing inflatable slides and constructing cardboard box forts in chalk-doodled parking lots.  Residents and artists alike breathed fresh air into Hope Street’s many shops and pop-up businesses, exhibiting an appreciation for handmade goods unrivaled by any I’ve witnessed before.  Craft beers and artisan food trucks satiated superbly.
Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.14.10 AMFestival Ballet‘s annual Beers for the Ballet event took the lead in thirst-quenching, proving once again to be the highlight of the block party.  Teaming up with local brewers Narragansett, Bucket Brewery, Trinity Brewhouse, Revival Brewery, Grey Sailing Brewing, Proclamation Ale Company, and Foolproof Brewing Company, the staff at FBP earned its title as “that friend who throws the best parties”, creating a bustling beer garden, stretching out over the block surrounding FBP.  At a cool $4 a pop, locals indulged in many a brew, catching up with friends, playing corn hole and supporting the ballet as they sipped.  At the ballet’s ticket window, where I spent most of my day checking ID’s and dolling out wrist bands, a boundless collection of fun-loving folks filed through, as we served beers to what seemed to be every Providence inhabitant over the age of 21 years.  Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.09.57 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 9.58.24 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.09.27 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.17.54 AM (1)Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.19.59 AM

The event’s instrumental accompaniment showcased Providence’s diverse music scene from folk to rock to rap, with an open mic set up and some big band brass thrown in for good measure. Big Nazo‘s infamous monsters cut a rug to the sounds of an eclectic mix, offering tentacled-high-fives to fellow groove-seekers young and old.  A fashion show- complete with catwalk- offered the spring inventory from Hope Street’s favorite little shops, as well as a peek at some of the tutus that will be hitting the stage at Festival Ballet Providence School‘s annual culmination performance later this month.  Even Mayer Jorge Elorza made his rounds at the event, stopping in at food trucks and various businesses to show his support.Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.18.33 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.16.34 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.20.35 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.18.35 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.05.04 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.07.36 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.03.52 AMScreen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.01.46 AM

Boy, do I love this little city.

first photo via the Hope Street Merchants Association, following photos by Liam Louis.

hitting a wall, and bouncing back

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Nothing seemed to go my way yesterday.  I spent the entire work day in a bad mood for no reason, aside from the fact that I was off in class, I couldn’t get on my leg, I was bloated, and ballet seemed to fight me every step of the way.  This frustration, of course, led to the dramatic why-do-I-even-care-so-much negativity spiral, in which I question my intense love for an art form that half of the world has never given the time of day.  Why does ballet have such a power over me?  Why can it destroy my emotions with the simple wobble of a pirouette?  And though it maintains this ability, why does it feel the need to exercise it over me on such a random Thursday?  Ballet can be so cruel sometimes.

And then I read this review from last weekend’s Up Close On Hope performance (Alex and I finally premiered Moonlight!), and my trust in ballet was completely restored.  It’s one of the best reviews I’ve received in a long time, and reading it gave me that tickly toes feeling, like when you finish a whole crossword puzzle (nerd alert).  I put so much of myself into that performance, sitting cross-legged with my forehead pressed into the marley for 15 minutes just before dancing, mentally returning myself to this dark place I told you about, so having that vulnerability validated felt like a huge triumph.

And with the quick skim of that article, I was back in ballet’s warm embrace.  She’s a fickle beast, that one.

for tickets.

second star to the right

Walking home from work last night I spotted more than a few of these…photo 3

…covering storefronts, bulletins, even buses.  Do you remember when I told you about my first ever FBP photoshoot?  Well, the final product has been plastered around Providence, and it’s all kinds of strange/exciting.

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Evidenced by my slight absence from the blog recently, preparing for Peter Pan has me working around the clock; When I’m not flying off to Neverland, I’m sword fighting pirates, befriending fairies and wondering if there’s any job as remarkably transportive as this.*

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I’m pretty excited about this show, and if you’ll be around the Rhode Island area May 16-18, you should be too!  Support the arts and grab your tickets to Neverland here.

*seeeeriously bad “transportation/bus” pun truly not intended.  I swear.

reflecting

Every part of my body aches, from my swollen feet to the nape of my stiffened neck.  A strange soreness shoots daggers through my poor pinky toe at the slightest touch.  My right forearm has inflated considerably, just another physical sign of my recent time spent wielding a steel sword and fighting off pirates.  The sweet score of this ebullient ballet beats incessantly on my eardrums, choreography dancing around my mind every time I close my eyes.   It bounces up, down, left, right, rebounding off the inside of my skull tirelessly, on repeat, on autopilot, without my instruction.  At night my dreams are filled with sideways visions of dark houses down below, as I swing from the top of the VETS stage, clutching to the hand of a boy who won’t grow up.  During the day, I’m waist deep in fairy dust, looking down to see my feet being swallowed by pointe shoes more often than not.  I’m utterly exhausted, yet completely content.  In less than two weeks, I’ll take the stage for the most important premiere of my life.  Now seems like a good time to do some reflecting…

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These past few weeks I have trained longer and harder than ever before.  The level of self discipline required of a ballet dancer is nothing new to me, but this volume of work certainly is.  Most of my days are spent dripping in sweat, shifting my weight from one foot to the other, navigating each ache and pain as I weave my way through the challenges of dancing such a major role.  I’m learning as I go, teaching my body to find moments of relaxation and breath so that I can carry on dancing through to the very. last. scene.   It’s impossible not to grow through an experience like this one, but I could have never imagined a personal evolution as substantial as this.

When I compare this process to my physical status at this time last year, it’s almost hard to believe.  One year ago I was fractured, broken…crippled on the couch.  And now, I feel stronger and more able than ever in my life.  Ballet has this amazing power to nourish you, if you’ll let it.  Its provocation feeds you not only with physical fortitude, but with a mental resilience to rival your darkest of days.

Now, as I alternate between nerves and excitement, I keep reminding myself that- for better or for worse- performing this ballet will be a huge milestone in my career, and I must do all that I can to diffuse the stress and enjoy this moment.  Because once you leave Neverland, it’s hard to know when you’ll return.

 

[photo by Christine Manory]