gilded & floral

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When I looked back through my photos from last weekend in New York, I felt a wave of gold and pink.  Gilded and floral. Luxurious and blooming.  These hues really do best describe our trip.   Of the many gilded fixtures and blushing bouquets, though, one of each proved truly special…

Tiny Golden Loop, A Love Story

Friday was meant to be “my birthday”, for our celebratory purposes.  Unfortunately, I had been slightly handicapped by some strange spine-bending stomach pains that morning.  BUT!  Knowing me too well, my friends had arranged for us to spend the day in one of my favorite Brooklyn neighborhoods, and no belly ache could keep me from Catbird.  We hopped off the subway and I shot straight for the little jewelry boutique, tucked into 219 Bedford.  My goodness is that place magical.  Swept up in a sea of my own ooohs and ahhhs, it was like being pulled from a trance when T summoned me to the back wall looking excited.  My three best friends looked at me with bright eyes and wide smirks and pointed to a tiny bowed box on the shelf.

“Look how cute!”

“Yes, tiny box! You guys know how I love tiny things.”*

“Yeah! You should open it.”

After some “Huh, you want me to open this?” investigating, I started to catch on.  My trance reinstated.  I untied the teeny golden bow, and inside the bitty little black box I found an ever teenier little gold ring.  Feeling overwhelmed with surprise and excitement, I peeled the beautiful specimen out to read the engraving: a m i s ; meaning friends in French.

Are you wondering if I freaked out?  Oh my goodness did I ever!!!!!!  Choked up, I squeezed them into group hug after group hug, several times in the tiny boutique, once more outside on Bedford, again in the Tea House, and a few more times back at the Plaza.  I also developed this strange affectation of slow, exaggerated spirit-fingers-ing to subtly show my appreciation for their love, now forever suspended in gold and wrapped up in my hand.

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Briar Rose, A Breakthrough

I have seen the New York City Ballet live twice before.  The first time at Saratoga when I was a wee one, I think it was an excerpt from Harlequinade?  Hard to say.  The next time was several years ago on a December trip to the city with my dear Mama.  We saw The Nutcracker and, perhaps too infatuated with our own version, agreed that Ashley Bouder’s Dew Drop (and Waltz of the Flowers in general), was the stand alone wow.  Last Saturday night, though, I had the honor of witnessing Lauren Lovette in the second show of her Aurora debut, along with quite a few corps de ballet dancers who would be promoted to soloist the very next day (congrats, Indiana!).  Now I can say, with full reverence of the word, wow.  Wow, wow, wow.  What a show.

Lovette was the most perfect Princess Aurora.  Sweetness seeming to drip out of her in place of sweat, she eased her way through the ballet as if the character were hers from birth.  Every glance felt genuine, every touch appeared to affect her deeply, giving the impression that Aurora’s experiences were crossing over her own in the moment.  The sad, sweet, scary elation of such a momentous debut.  Her lines were sculpted yet understated, never sacrificing rotation and shape for alien extension.  Lauren is certainly one of NYCB’s more lyrical principals, but not for a lack of clarity in the crispier choreography.

The rest of the ballet was spectacular as well- those transforming scrim scenes leading you into the castle!- but Lauren really charmed us the most.  I mean, T wept through the entire Rose Adagio, so.  Yeah.  Safe to say seeing Miss Lovette blossom into this beautiful Briar Rose was a most worthy birthday gift.

 

*I managed to take home 3 TINY TINY TINY bottles of Tabasco from The Palm Court.  Yep.

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there is only now

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I am such a huge fan of New York City Ballet’s 2016-2017 campaign.  It’s somehow both hauntingly timeless and incredibly current; a breathing incantation of Balanchine’s mantra “There is only now.”  The captivating video and stunning photos by Peter Lindbergh are just dreamy, and his musings on the special art of capturing ballet dancers are truly poetic…New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-03.jpgnew-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-07New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-06.jpgnew-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-01new-york-city-ballet-2016-2017-02-762x1024New-York-City-Ballet-2016-2017-04.jpg

“With dance, it is about capturing movement, which is everything I love.  It leaves space for the unexpected, as the same movement is never twice the same.”

-Peter Lindbergh

snow day education

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Growing up, I didn’t know much about “the ballet world”.  Sure, I had heard of New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and the Bolshoi, but I couldn’t tell any of them apart and the name Balanchine didn’t mean a whole lot to me.  In my mind, the ultimate principals were Cooper Nielson and the Kathleen Donahue, but no one was cooler than underdog Jody Sawyer.  Fast forward 10 years and the baby bunhead in me is making up for lost time with some borderline obsessive fan-girling tendencies, re: hours of youtube-ing on a lonely snow day (I didn’t say I was proud of it!).

Yesterday I dove in hard to the New York City Ballet’s online presence, which is rather extensive, I might add.  I thought I would share some of the beautiful content I uncovered during the NYCB-themed cyber stalk sesh…

Some gorgeous photos from the impossibly chic, talented and well-spoken Garance Doré, taking us along on her visit behind the scenes with the New York City Ballet.  (part II here)

Ever wonder how NYCB principal Sara Mearns creates that just-tossed-it-up-real-quick twist/bun hybrid thing she’s always sporting?  Ponder no more, here’s a tutorial from the master herself.  And ps, she just replaced Jody as ballet’s resident “cool girl”.  Sorry, Sawyer…

I never considered that a person actually holds the job title of “official shoe sprayer to the New York City Ballet”, but it’s pretty rad.

Take a peak inside the NYCB costume shop and follow the recreation of the Theme & Variations tutus.

The euphoric purgatory of being promoted to Soloist in the New York City Ballet.

 

photo by Garance Doré

NYCB x The Coveteur

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As a long time fan of The Coveteur, a website that takes you inside the closets of today’s tastemakers and publishes the scoop on all of the latest designer collaborations, I practically jumped out of my dress when I noticed their feature on New York City Ballet‘s annual Fall Gala, which happens to be tonight.  Because I stalk several NYCB dancers on instagram, of course I had already heard about the company’s collaboration with Thom Browne, Carolina Hererra, Mary Katrantzou, and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen (coordinated by NYCB board member and resident fashion insider, Sarah Jessica Parker).  But, being the stalker that I am, the idea of sneaking a peek behind-the-scenes before the costumes even hit the stage was impossible to resist!  Imagine how fun it would be to don an exclusively NYCB designer costume for the night?  Swoon.

Check out the designs for yourself here!

Read more about the project here.

All photos via The Coveteur

a day in the life

Presented by the New York City Ballet, this little clip compares the daily routine of a NYCB dancer to that of a young professional.  Though the two might not cross paths all that often, this video’s witty split screen reminds us how similar they can be.  I think my favorite part is the shot of the man’s fingers padding along his keyboard mirrored by the bourrées of the dancer en pointe.  Both are so gentle, but so skilled.  I think it’s a pretty cute project, bringing professionals of all kinds together to promote NYCB’s young patrons circle.  If only more young people could learn to appreciate dance- we need all the support we can get!

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Ask anyone in a professional ballet company their opinion on the gimmicks surrounding ballet in the media (read: overdramatic reality shows and thrillers based on every cliché in the book), and they will all share with you some version of this fact: Dancing ballet professionally is dramatic, scary, and full of passion enough on its own.  It doesn’t need a script.

That seems to be the thinking behind the newest mini-series on aol.com, city.ballet.  Featuring 12 short documentary-style segments, the show gives viewers a behind-the-scenes peek at the life of a New York City Ballet dancer.  Each clip focuses on a different aspect of professional ballet, from the shoes to the makeup to deciphering the ranks, all seasoned with honest, straight to the point commentary from the dancers and even ballet master in chief, Peter Martins, himself.    The series takes us into the enormous shoe closet (fully stocked with Freed’s customized to each dancers exact bunion size and callus width), into the rehearsals of principle power couple (and real life couple) Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck, and into the physical therapy room where injured dancers seek treatment daily.  Finally, a true representation of the professional ballet world has been documented for the world to see.  And with long-time balletomane Sarah Jessica Parker as our host/narrator, I don’t think it could get any better!

Although I’ve yet to watch them all (can’t wait to finish them up later tonight), one of my favorite segments features a part of the ballet world that every female dancer knows all too well…the corps de ballet.  The video addresses the importance of the often under appreciated corps and its role as the base of the company and the “glue that keeps everything together”.  Preach!

Check it out here, and let me know what you think!

rehearsal chic

NYC Ballet Ballerina Style

After reading this article on HuffPo about the style of NYCB’s ballerinas, I started considering; how exactly does one’s in-studio style develop?  Everyone has their preferred dancewear flavor, from the guy who sports a wrestling singlet every Saturday to the girl who never starts class without her fluffy knit shawl.  We’ve all seen (and worn) some version of the sheer black wrap skirt and we revel in the magic of the tights-turned-bra-top trick.  We’ve certainly all experienced the softness, warmth, and fat-day-concealing power of the baggy cotton overalls that are somehow deemed acceptable garb within the half circle of wooden barres.  A company-wide rumor of unclaimed “trashbag” anything (shorts, pants, jumpsuits) in the lost and found excites us beyond belief.  But what exactly determines which odd ballet trend we go for?  Why do some of us reach for a sleek black camisole while others relish the chance to don a bright purple Yumiko in the morning?

Personally, I think it has something to do with our sartorial choices outside the studio.  Par example, one of my best friends is a true earrings girl.  From big studs to pearls to danglies (made that word up), she has a big jewelry box stuffed full of them…it’s like the Whole Foods bulk section in there.  She never leaves the house without some kind of ear decor, and she’s even been known to coordinate her earring/leotard combos quite painstakingly.  The brilliance in her dressing?  Without many other options for accessorizing your rehearsal-wear (shoes don’t deviate much from pink satin and necklaces/bracelets/scarves can be cumbersome), earrings are a really smart way to jazz up your ballet gear.  So bravo, T!

As for me, I’m getting pretty excited about a custom-made pair of leg warmers currently being knitted for me by the lovely Vilia Putrius.  Her stuff is seriously amazing…can’t wait to see how these turn out!

Happy Monday!