movement exchange


 When I decided to sign up for my first dance class, at the ripe age of 2, it never occurred to me how much of a privilege this was.  As I galloped across the floor from one bubblegum pink wall to another, my intrinsic love for movement was sprouting into something tangible and my dance education, though mostly heel taps and frog leaps, began to blossom.  During these early years, dance lessons allowed me to express myself and as I matured, I began to identify more and more as a “dancer”.  Somewhere between my early withdrawal from Brownies (pre-Girl Scout status) and my first pair of pointe shoes, dancing evolved from something I did to everything I was. Little did I know, thousands of children possessed this innate urge to move but lacked the resources to explore and expand it.

photo 3

Fast forward 20 years to the present, I now dance professionally, and sharing my experiences through this blog has become as much a part of my identity as ballet itself.   Continue reading

september in the creative capital

photo 3photo 4photo 1photo

“To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art- that is, intimacy, spirituality, color, aspiration towards the infinite, all expressed by every means available to the arts.”  -Charles Baudelaire

Last week a few of the dancers and I attended a campaign party to show our interest in all of the elections going on right now, and to emphasize the importance of supporting art, even in our (very) little corner of the world.  There are speculators out there who claim that ballet is dying.  That it is too old, unapproachable, and unchanging to keep up with today’s faster-than-ever-paced society.  But I challenge them.  I challenge them to look past these stereotypes that they latch onto for argument’s sake and to take another look at ballet.  It is not misguided, it is misunderstood.  With new works being created every day and young choreographers emerging as if overnight (hi, Justin Peck), ballet keeps up a rate of fresh production to rival some of the world’s leading musical and visual artists.  Through time and space, ballet continues to reinvent itself, with hundreds of companies across the globe performing modern, contemporary, and neoclassic works alongside their classical repertoire, and doing it with style.  The level of skill, strength, and intelligence required for dancing such a wide range of movements with this high standard of technique is nothing short of awe-inspiring.  Perhaps, I am suggesting, it is simply because the public is not informed of this constant creation, that ballet does not receive the credit it is due.

Today I met a man in line at the supermarket.  He was African, with a thick accent, and a vibrancy for life that suggested he had only recently moved to the US and was not yet intimately aware of its quickly reproaching society.  He told me he liked my outfit, and asked what I called the style of skirt I was wearing.  I responded “A-line” and my insides fluttered a bit when I noticed him repeating it to himself, filing away my words into an important storage section of his brain;  his inquiry was genuine, his enthusiasm contagious.  He showed me the hydrangeas he’d selected for his wife, and continued to ask me about myself, Was I a student? -no- A ballet dancer?!  How wonderful! I simply must write down the name of my company so that he can see a show.  I scribbled Festival Ballet Providence and some info onto his receipt and he was on his way, smiling as he waved goodbye.  His interest was honest, and it left me realizing how many times I’ve had this exact interaction, only with a considerable lack of excitement from the inquiring party.  Then I thought about how this man might actually look into FBP and show up to a performance, and how happy it might make he and his wife.

I would like the public to consider ballet the way this man did.  Consider it as a higher form of entertainment.  Consider what ballet could teach you or your children.  Consider how it could make you feel.  Consider how ballet could inspire you, enrich or pleasantly bemuse you.  Consider the many ways in which ballet in all its diversity is relevant to the art scene; past, present, and future.  Consider how much you really know about ballet.  Now is the time to encourage this renaissance, and as dancers we are the messengers of this movement.  Who’s with me?

all photos by STB

the modern classic


An infusion of romantic, vintage-inspired elegance with synergistic comfort and functionality, The Modern Classic top by up and coming fitness brand, gwenyth, is a breath of fresh air.

When the line’s creator, Michele Cheowtirakul Braxton, reached out to me about reviewing the inaugural piece from her new brand, I immediately checked out their start up video, and was completely hooked.  I love the way Michele compares her designs to dance, describing both as a marriage of beauty and precision which come together to create a “sublime combination of art and science”.  Genius.  And she’s not making this stuff up; Not only is this the most visually beautiful workout top I’ve ever worn, it’s also extremely flattering and supportive.  Fashion meets function.

When I opened up the little gwenyth package, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly soft the fabric was.  I’m not kidding, guys.  I want to cuddle with this top.  Sweat-whisking, shape-shifting components leave most fitness tops slightly stiff and scratchy, but the Modern Classic is different.  It’s flexible, adjustable, absorbent and soft.  Activewear sorcery!

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this top, in my case, is the built-in sling bra.  First of all, it comes with two different types of removable pads, depending on your needs: shape & support or just coverage.  Options?  Yes please!  Secondly, the straps on this thing are what I would like to call “super adjusters”.  Of course they alter the way normal camisoles do, but the addition of adjustable trianglular straps at the sides plus an optional back strap boost this built-in bra from average to exceptional.  As a self-proclaimed busty ballerina, this feature has me absolutely sold, and frankly reluctant to put on any of my old workout shirts.

The cinch-able ties on either side are a fun bonus, allowing the Modern Classic to grow and shrink in length, seamlessly transitioning from tank to tunic, studio to real world, day to night.  If you feel like hiding those little ties on the side, no problem- tuck them up into the convenient little loops on the inside of the top.  These designers have thought of EVERYTHING.  Plus, if you choose not to use the back strap in your bra, it doubles as a headband.  So you know how sometimes you leave the studio and your hair looks like 80’s SJP but you promised an old friend you’d meet them for a drink?  Pop a cute head band in that rat’s nest and suddenly you’re a little less impulse-perm and a little more I-woke-up-like-this-flawless.  Win-win. (win, win, win, win.)

Clearly I’m a believer, are you?  Read more and get your gwenyth here.

IMG_4623 IMG_4616 IMG_4624

photos of me by Jenay Evans for STB