an invocation


One of our dear dancers, Jordan Nelson, was hit by a truck while riding his bike in Providence Sunday morning. It was a hit and run leaving Jordan in the ICU, with some serious injuries including a broken arm, broken clavicle, and a fractured skull, as well as a sub-dural Hematoma and numerous abrasions and contusions. The full ramifications of these injuries are still unclear. In the meantime, his friends and family have been raising money to help cover his hospital bills and rent while he recovers, as he will be unable to work for some time. If you’d like to help, and can give any amount no matter how small, please see the drive here.

diary of an injured dancer


Advice to any dancers who have been nursing an injury for the past 3 months: make your first class back one filled with 12-year-olds.

No matter how much time you’ve spent away from the studio, that first time facing the mirrors after an injury is going to be rough.  The barre feels foreign under your palm, there’s a leotard invading your personal space and your ankles can barely support an eight-count balance.  Eeep.

Place a young dancer in front of you, though, and see empowerment replace fear.  Your knees will still wobble and your fingers will feel fuzzy, yes.  But those sparkly little eyes looking up at you from under stiff port de bras is just enough to enlighten.

Whenever I feel fearful about the daunting work that lies ahead before the start of this new season, I try to do something more easily said than done: remember my past.  I have fallen before, but I can rise strong.

FullSizeRender 103.jpgSo, have you read Brené Brown’s book yet?  What did you think?



Hello, friends.

Things have been rather quiet here on the little bloggy lately.  It’s been an interesting, er…difficult, week.  In the midst of the gourmet donuts and spontaneous trips to Boston that typically comprise my admittedly semi-charmed-kinda-life, a big ol’ window blew straight off its tracks and onto my face.  No, literally.  The heavy metal frame pierced a nice stripe on my cheek, leaving torn skin in its drunken wake.  And wake me it did!  Ripped right out of a dream and into a rather painful day…

Twelve hours of stress.  Twenty minutes of bated breath.  Ten minutes of acute discomfort.  Five stitches.

A wise bear once said, “They’re funny things, Accidents.  You never have them till you’re having them.”  You cannot control what happens to you, only how you react to it.  You know, some clichés are worth repeating.  I choose to interpret this accident as a reminder.  A reminder to be intentional, to never despise the mundane, and to appreciate every single gift.  I’m so thankful for my sight, for two Stevens, for my body’s wonderfully weird ability to repair itself, and for the brave surgeon whose many hours of study and skilled hands fixed up my face.

Today, I’m happy to be on the mend and making plans.  Thanks for listening.  We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.





grunge-tastic photo by Kelly Louise Photography for Free People Providence.

w e e k e n d reading


We are in the final days of our season (today will be our last in the studio before heading to The Vets next week!) and it is certainly bittersweet.  I’m soaking up every minute of pain and precision before a summer of much-needed R&R.  Some links for your Saturday…

Everyone should see a ballet by Jirí Kylián during their lifetime. (in my dreams I am always dancing this pas de deux from his Petite Mort)

Alessandra Ferri watching Alessandra Ferri. (some things get even better with age)

I’m just nosey enough to wonder what Isabella Boylston eats.  (and hurray for planks/bridges)

How comfortable are you with being comfortable? (Shelby dropping truth bombs on us, per usual)

Injured?  10 ways to take charge of your recovery.  (#8 is so important!)

It’s rhubarb season! (and I would very much like to make these in celebration)

Also looking forward to hopefully catching a show at SPAC with my mom and grandma this summer. (it just feels good to say that word…sssuuuummmmmer, ahhh)

i t i s


Maybe you read my last few posts, and you are wondering about that sore foot of mine…or maybe you didn’t and aren’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway.  With my MRI results came good news and bad news.

The good news: Nothing is fractured.

The bad news: Everything is enflamed.  I’ve got bursitis, tendonitis and sesamoiditis.

All of the itis’s.  That’s what I’ve got.

A bit of a disclaimer: I would like to make it clear that I in no way advocate for dancing on injuries.  In fact, I think it’s a terrible idea and extremely destructive treatment of your most valuable instrument.  That being said, I have been given the okay by my orthopedist to continue rehearsing- with caution- for the next 3 weeks and perform in our final performance of the season (followed by a summer of rest and relaxation- doctor’s orders).

So with anti-inflammatories and a bucket of ice I shall press on.  Excited, nervous, slightly disbelieving; I walk into rehearsals this week with careful steps, a positive mindset, and the opportunity to glean a powerful life lesson.


p l a n t e d

As I mentioned yesterday, my foot has been bumming me out these days.  And when I say bumming, I mean, bum planted on the couch, toes wrapped in ice, meh.  But speaking of plants (stay with me as I reach for romanticism in this medically-charged* post here), to quell the inflammation, I’ve been exploring the many methods through which Mother Nature heals.

Coupling my strong aversion to western pharmaceuticals (I blame a sensitive stomach and exposure to the miracle of acupuncture) with the aches and pains that accompany a ballet career, in recent years I’ve found myself charging down a quite intriguing path towards holistic healing.  I’m pretty convinced that plants rule the world.  A few of my favorites and the strange ways I’ve been harnessing their powers recently:

ginger. DSC07785minced up in sautéed kale, grated over strawberry-rhubarb crisp, bulky chunks steeped in tea.  it’s healing gingerols are powerful, and I love them in all forms.

turmeric.DSC07818 (1)which, thanks to my mom, i currently have in full root, ground and extract forms.  the curcumin found in this tasty spice is hailed by masters of Chinese medicine as one of the world’s most powerful anti-inflammatories.  try steeping the roots in hot water (mixed with a bag of green tea for added anti-inflammatory benefits!), sprinkling its grounds over a cauliflower before roasting or blending into your favorite smoothie recipe (it’s taste usually disappears amongst fruits and berries), or popping the extract capsules along with water and some food (the most potent and effective method, so I’ve read).

tea.DSC07834tea is a great way to absorb more of those wonderful inflammation-fighters found in the aforementioned ginger, turmeric, and yes, the magical flavonoids packed into green tea leaves.  the high level of catechin polyphenols in green tea have many healthy benefits, and relief from joint pain and swelling just so happens to be one of them. fill a mug and drink up!

maple and walnut.DSC07774curled into a beautiful (and efficient!) foot roller by the talented husband of a fellow FBP dancer, what once branched up from the earth now relaxes my roots.  it may look unassuming, but this bad boy has been a lifesaver for my cramped arches and stuff joints.

garlic.DSC07783in my (italian) opinion, garlic turns any dish it touches to gold**.  but its strength is not just in flavor; did you know garlic works hard to fight inflammation, too?  okay, so this is mostly based on dancer suspicions and old slavic advisors, but hey, it can’t hurt to add a little more gusto to your dish in the hopes of reliving some pain, right?  if you can get your handsome boyfriend to cook said dish for you, you’ve got it made in the shade!

arnica.DSC07766 (1)conveniently gel-ified by the wizards at arnicare, the arnica flower delivers an impressive collection of natural soothers.  the sesquiterpene lactones, found predominantly in the stem of the plant, share their anti-inflammatory effects to the body when applied topically.  yes, please.

actual flowers.DSC07828last but not least, never underestimate the effect of a cheery spring bouquet in lifting your spirits (especially if you’re currently experiencing a snow storm during the first week of April).  positivity=power!  bonus points if they are delivered by your sweet mother.

Happy healing!

*full disclosure: I am not a doctor.  The suggestions in this post are just that.  If you are experiencing pain or swelling in your body, I recommend seeing a medical professional whom you trust, listening to their advice, and experimenting with plant-based treatments that work for you and your body.

**unless your mom accidentally slices up a chocolate-almond croissant on your garlic cutting board.  garlic-flavored sweets are decidedly disgusting…haha.

planes and pains (+ an announcement!)


Tonight (or more accurately, tomorrow morning at 5 am) A and I leave for our Nutcracker guesting with the North Ballet Academy in Minnesota, and we are beyond excited!  Of course, since timing always seems to spite me, I came down with a pretty bad case of bursitis in my left foot (re: sort of a giant deep blister on top of my bunion, lovely, I know) this morning and wasn’t able to do much dancing today.  Lucky me, right?  But! I’ve got a few prescriptions and a determined mind to help me through these next few weeks.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

In light of this fun journey and a few other collaborations/surprises coming up on Setting The Barre, I’ve decided to open an exclusive STB instagram account, so I can easily share updates on my travels and behind-the-scenes peeks with all of you!  To follow along, find STB @settingthebarre on instagram.

Let the madness begin…xo, k.

no sunlight


There’s a running joke amongst us “dancer folk” poking fun at the ghostly pale ballerina complexion, a trademark only achieved by spending every last hour of daylight in the studio.  At FBP we even (lovingly) refer to the black-box-conversion studio as “the dungeon”, thanks to two thick, black curtains that block out any and all eager little rays of sunshine attempting to stretch their warmth down into the building.  But are our many days spent under fluorescents instead of sunlight putting us in danger?  New studies say they could be, and here’s why…

The sun provides us with an essential nutrient that contributes to high serotonin levels, strong bones, healthy hearts and even boosting the immune system: Vitamin D.  The crucial vitamin notes treating weak bones, bone pain, and bone loss as some of its main benefits, with aiding in muscle weakness and arthritis not far behind.  These are all issues that dancers deal with daily!  A study conducted for the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport followed 24 dancers at the Birmingham Royal Ballet as they danced between 6 and 8 hours a day (totalling nearly 38 hours a week).  The results revealed all of the dancers as being either Vitamin D deficient or insufficient in the winter months, with only a mere 15 % of the group sustaining normal levels of Vitamin D during the summer months.

After giving half of the dancers Vitamin D supplements and studying the effects, the results were too dramatic to go unreported.  The dancers taking supplements showed increased muscle strength, improved vertical jump performance, and perhaps most notably, they  suffered fewer injuries.  Of the 17 dancers taking Vitamin D, 12 claimed to be injury-free and only 5 reported sustaining 1 injury.  Of the dancers not taking the supplement, only 1 was found injury-free, with 5 others sustaining 1 injury, and 1 dancer suffering 2.

There were a lot of numbers being thrown around there, but what you really need to know here is that although the group of dancers being assessed in this study was small, the results are still convincing, and our next move is obvious: it’s time to take charge of our Vitamin D-intake.  If it can’t soften our vampire-like skin tones, at least it can protect us from injury.  So, spread the word, tell your mom, tell your teacher, tell your brother, sister, friend, cousin, dad, grandma, and her poodle.  Vitamin D supplements for all!

photo via

holy shoe!


I have been back to full out dancing (pointe shoes, jumps, and all!) for a week now, and there is one word that perfectly describes the way I feel:  OUCH.

My whole body hurts, in that great, dull achey way that makes me get up out of bed to take more pain killers before adjusting into 5 different strange and questionably circus-worthy totally normal positions before falling asleep.  It’s a hot, all over soreness that I can only imagine must be a release from the throats of my muscles as they sing their post-hibernation song.

As displayed by the above photo, my ballet shoes are humming quite a different tune.  When holes have their own holes and your delicate calluses become exposed to sticky marly floors and you can’t afford another trip to the dance store, drastic measures must be taken.  Enter thick thread and my expert sewing skillz.  Beat that, Martha Stewart.

The best part about working full-time again?  Those crazy little endorphins.  You guys, they are just lovely.  I was running across the studio, practicing some sotashas for this one piece (apparently I was doing a strange chasé, run run run, chasé again preparation of sorts, resulting in what appeared to be pure comical entertainment for my boss), and laughing at myself as I zoomed from one end of the studio to the other when I realized I am running.  And JUMPING.  And laughing!  It’s the simple things in life that sometimes make you the happiest.

i’m back, baby!

Last night I went from this:


to this:


After 6 weeks of easing the old bones back into ballet, October 10th arrived and it was time for my reevaluation with the spine doc.  If the fancy cocktails up there^ didn’t already give it away, I should tell you I received some good news: I’ve finally been given permission to resume dancing 100%.  You know, jumps, turns, partnering, pointe, the WORKS.  Guys, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

To make things even more wonderful, the boyfriend and I planned a little Japanese food date night on Westminster, and happened upon an anniversary celebration at my favorite little downtown store, Modern Love/Queen of Hearts.  Free champagne cocktails (named after David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust no less), shopping AND miso soup?  I guess the universe was really on my side last night!

Today in class, our ballet mistress started showing the first petit allegro combination, and I actually learned it!  And did it!  And I was sweating!  And my heart rate was all crazy and fast and awesome!  I jumped all the way through the end of class, and even did one of my rehearsals in pointe shoes today!  Woo!  You know what they (Elle Woods) say: Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy!  Well I certainly haven’t stopped smiling yet.