giving back

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Last night was nothing short of a triumph.  Everyone involved- from the dancers, to the many choreographers, to the lighting director who learned the cues moments before the show- exhibited an incredible amount of professionalism, and for that we should all be very proud.

After the performance, a few friends and I headed over to our favorite bar, Ivy Tavern, for some well-deserved wine and dinner.  We toasted to our success, laughed about our mistakes, and ate and drank until we were properly satisfied.  Upon realizing it was past 11, we signaled our waiter-friend for the check and bantered a bit about who had cash, how to split the bill and the rainy walk home that awaited us.  It was then that something truly amazing happened.  When our waiter returned, his hands were empty but his words were not.   “Hey guys”, he started in, looking a bit confused, “so the man at the bar just paid for your entire meal.”*  Now, having noticed a mysterious-looking mustached man and his sidekick with a gaze that lasted just a bit too long on my way to the bathroom earlier that night, my first reaction was to start considering how to walk home without being followed by the very generous, albeit slightly creepy, ‘man at the bar’.  But when I turned and saw an older man and his wife raising their glasses towards us, I realized what had really happened.  This couple had just seen our show.

We thanked and thanked and thanked them again, utterly blown away by such a kind gesture.  In an effort to show our gratitude for their munificence, we offered to buy their next round, but in reply, the woman simply shook her head, held up her FBP playbill, and said, “The real gift was given earlier tonight.”

Sometimes humanity surprises you.  Sometimes-when you least expect it- someone is watching, connecting, and graciously receiving what you’ve worked so hard to offer.  It is moments like these that remind me why all the sweat, tears, and sore muscles are worth it: Because there is no sweeter gift than appreciation.

*For the record, we are pretty sure our waiter thinks we are famous now.  We don’t mind it.

merde macaroons

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Last night I put all of my extra down time to good use, by baking up a batch of coconut macaroons to give the dancers as a little congratulatory treat in honor of the opening of Sleeping Beauty tonight.  The little confections were sticky, fragrant and fun to make, and the end result yielded a pile of perfectly golden brown, crisp, mini-domes of sweet coconut goodness.  To add an extra level of decadence, I decided to half-dip the airy little cookies in chocolate.  Is your mouth watering yet?

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So, my fellow dancers, my colleagues, my friends, my ballet family- Merde, and bon appétit!

the youngest balletomanes

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This morning FBP has it’s first performance of The Sleeping Beauty, one in which the audience will be filled with (mostly) excited school children attending the show as part of our Discover Dance program.  The company holds one or two performances during school hours and invites elementary-high schools around the area to catch the show for a reduced very rate, allowing schools the otherwise unattainable opportunity to see a full-length ballet being performed by a professional company on a real stage.  For some kids this could mean the field trip from hell, but for other eager young spectators, this could be the first date in their love affair with ballet!  So MERDE dancers, and may you perform,ignite, and inspire the future of dance this morning!  Can’t wait to watch you from the audience!

all photos by A. Cemal Ekin

merde

It’s fairly well-known that no one says “good luck” in the theater.  It’s an old taboo, claiming that the phrase actually brings quite the opposite of what is intended.  So, in the acting field, “good luck” has been replaced with the rather obscure saying “break a leg!”.  Obviously, borrowing this well-wisher would not fly with ballet dancers.  A broken leg is career-ending, not something to discuss moments before curtain.  Soooo in the world of ballet, we say “merde”.

If you’ve taken any french, you may know that this actually means “shit”…doesn’t seem like the best word to be exchanging backstage does it?  “hey, tegan, merde!”…”thanks, you too! merde!”  Yes it’s weird.  Yes we know.  Yes we do it anyway.  There’s some superstition that if you’ve already said the worst there is to say backstage, nothing worse can happen onstage.  I’m not sure how true any of it is, but I’m not willing to risk finding out!  So wish me “merde” on my first show this morning!  AH!