24 hours in nyc

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Hey, guys. Our quick trip to the city was a bit less adventurous than planned- note the puffy-eyed half-smile above. ^

I guess I can count myself lucky to have lived 25 years without experiencing serious food poisoning. But like most adventures to exciting places, this weekend’s trip gifted me with an unexpected notch in my belt…and a stitch in my belly. Safe to say this girl will not be eating sushi anytime soon!

Despite the many embarrassing circumstances my body surprised me with this weekend, I felt supported, loved, and cared for. There is a lesson in every bit of life (besides being wary of raw seafood) and this weekend’s was certainly one of compassion and trust. If only I could express my true level of gratitude for this sweet beanfriend. All I can say is I am sorry for couping you up in the big city. Thank you for making me feel cute in the least cute of times. Thank you for turning rain into sunflowers. Thank you for carrying my tea and toast. Thank you for all that you did and do. Thank you for being a one of a kind boo. Preesh you. Yup. I really, really do.

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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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a day in providence

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    Despite a modest 20-square-mile area, the city of Providence is so packed with destinations worth exploring, 24 hours does not come close to lending a sufficient amount of time to do, see, and taste it all.  It does, however, provide just enough time to be charmed beyond recovery.  Full disclosure: You may fall in love with this little city.  Consider yourself warned.

I also find it necessary to alert you to the fact that, Providence being the foodie mecca it is, you will be consuming an absurd amount of food during your (hypothetical) 24 hours here.  In fact, your visit to Providence will revolve mostly around incredibly delicious, alternatively prepared, farm fresh and locally-sourced food, in an extremely abundant supply.  So loosen your belt buckle a notch or two, and let’s dig in.

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{an interview with} an american in paris

Hello, all!  I’m so pleased to finally be able to share with you a guest post from Rhiannon Pelletier of A Dancer’s Days.  Ms. Pelletier had a chance to catch up with former Miami City Ballet soloist Sara Esty, who recently landed a role in An American In Paris, Broadway’s newest show that’s compelling dancers everywhere to hop a plane to the city- STAT.  As a child of theater, I’m loving all the ballet representation on Broadway stages as of late, and could hardly contain my excitement to sneak a peek at what it might be like to actually experience this integration.  Oh, and if the star-studded cast and original Christopher Wheeldon choreography weren’t enough, the Paris debut sent my Esty-envy right over the edge.  For a behind-the-scenes dip into the life of a ballerina on Broadway, check out Rhiannon’s take:

“At my home, Maine State Ballet, there isn’t a person in the building who fails to snap to attention when the words, ‘The Estys are here’, trickle down the hallways. We all know who they are; their names have become somewhat of a legacy. Twins Sara and Leigh-Ann Esty, from small-town Gorham, Maine, have roots planted firmly with our school and company. They not-so-quietly climbed through the ranks and took on roles as prestigious as the Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker. A dynamic duo they are.

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Sara & Leigh-Ann Esty, respectively

The two eventually migrated down to take on the Miami City Ballet where they stayed for ten years. Leigh-Ann is currently a corps de ballet member with the company and Sara Esty reached as high a rank as soloist before an exciting opportunity came her way…

Sara was kind enough to work in between her busy schedule and indulge me with a Facebook conversation about her new and exciting life.

Firstly, congratulations on your life (no, seriously). You’ve certainly taken advantage of this blossoming crossover between ballet and Broadway. How did this opportunity come about?

Thank you so much!!! So I had been with the ballet company in Miami for about 10 years and one day I literally got a random Facebook message. It was from a casting director in NYC, saying she was working on a new project with Christopher Wheeldon for Broadway and asked if I would be interested in contacting her. There was no doubt in my mind that the answer was yes! Two of my favorite worlds were colliding – how could I not be part of it? I wrote her back and soon came to find they were looking around in professional dance companies for artists interested in singing and acting for a new version of An American in Paris. The rest is history!

That’s incredible. Has Broadway always been something on the bucket list?

I think I’ve always had a theatrical personality and drive about me, but it wasn’t till around high school that I made the promise to myself it would happen someday.

Coming from a small-town atmosphere, was the prospect of opening this premier Broadway show in Paris, one of the biggest cities in the world, overwhelming? … I mean, you are the “American in Paris!”

Haha! Yes, I mean all I was prepared for was to do what I know how to do… The rest was icing on the cake. I love the show and the experiences and places it has brought me so far. It can be overwhelming at times but mostly exciting and extremely gratifying!

What an adventure… Could you describe a typical day for the cast while you guys were in Paris?

Well, we had the mornings off typically and then would rehearse a bit after around noon. Shows were around 7 or 8. Other than that we had Paris at our finger tips!

I understand that you and Leigh-Ann have been blessed to work side by side one another for almost all of your professional careers. How are you coping with being separated for the first extended period of time?

Leigh and I have been dancing by each others sides for over 20 years. Being apart in life, let alone at ballet, has been a bit of a struggle. Good and bad I would say! The worst thing is just missing each other and having to catch one another up on our daily activities, people, and lives where as we never used to have to do that. We have gotten more used to it, and because we are so close, nothing changes whenever we see each other. It also came at an appropriate time I think. Independence is such an important thing for siblings, and we are really loving finding ourselves as individuals. Needless to say, I hope we get to dance together again one day!! This time is important and healthy though. :)

There are rumors twirling around that you’re dating a fellow cast member, can you confirm or deny them?

Haha, yes I can happily confirm them. What can I say, Paris is a magical place! We started out as friends. I’ve always wanted to find someone who is first and foremost a good friend :)

Last question! How did it feel to perform as the lead for the first time at the Palace Theatre?

It was unreal, surreal, emotional, empowering, exciting – all of the above! Life dreams –

I can’t thank Sara enough for taking time out of her wonderful, busy life to indulge her fans! You’ll never meet more gracious, humble, extraordinary people than Sara and Leigh-Ann.

* Sara is dating fellow cast member Will Burton (and may I recommend them both as perfect candidates to stalk on Instagram). She will be performing the lead in An American in Paris July 21-26. Don’t miss it. She’s incredible 

UPDATE: Sara will now be performing the role of Lise for the production’s Wednesday matinee performances beginning July 15th.”

Thank you Rhiannon and Sara for your contributions.  Such a fun read!

summer in the city

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At the end of the last week, my cousin and I took a semi-spontaneous trip to New York City.  We visited (so many) friends, took in some incredible contemporary art, and tested out our fair share of rooftops and rosé.  A bit of a photo diary below, if you’d like to see…

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We laid our heads down in Columbus Circle at night, but spent most of our days in Brooklyn.

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The first rooftop stop was perhaps the most charming, a little French-style bruncherie (just go with it) in Williamsburg called Juliette.  The service, omelettes, and infamous cobb salad were so refreshing after a 4 hour bus ride.  Highly recommend.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Williamsburg without a stop at Catbird, The Bedford Cheese Shop, Awoke Vintage, Beacon’s Closet* (which provided my wardrobe for the entire weekend- no exaggeration), and the rest of the charming boutiques scattered from Grand Street to Division Ave.

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I was really itching to see the Please Touch The Art exhibition since reading about it on Joanna’s blog.  Created by Danish artist Jeppe Hien and dotted throughout the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the collection consists of modified social benches in bright fluorescents, “appearing rooms” of skyward shooting water, and a “mirror labyrinth” reflecting Manhattan’s scape from across the river.  We also got to check out Tom Fruin’s gorgeous stained glass house, which I couldn’t seem to stop photographing, as evidenced above.

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I’m convinced it’s truly impossible to visit DUMBO without stopping into at least one hip coffee shop (we chose Brooklyn Roasting Company) and a quirky art gallery for good measure (Smack Mellon was a treat of a little exhibit set in a restored mill building whose gorgeous windows alone are worth the wander in).  Another fun discovery- when the line at Brooklyn Ice Cream Company seems daunting, opt instead for the basil-infused lemonade from Lizzmonade.  Holy delicious.
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Neither M nor I had ever walked the Brooklyn Bridge, so naturally it was high time to cross that off the bucket list.  As we traversed the iconic structure drawing together Brooklyn and her big sister, Manhattan, I couldn’t help but reflect on the connectivity beneath and around us.  We spent that walk marveling at our luck to be gifted with the presence of a cousin who feels more like a sister.

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Which brings me to the topic of family, and friends that feel like it.  Reveling in the blissful moments that spawn, seeing old friends you’ve met and immediately loved in so many mediums- through your best friend, as wild 19-year-olds at a RISD Halloween party, 7 years ago in a 2-week summer program at Jacob’s Pillow- friends who reside in cities from NY to Copenhagen, whom you catch up with on occasion and very seldom see- these moments are what make any trip worth taking.

Annnnnd cheesy mushy gush session, concluded.

*If you haven’t seen the Beacon’s Closet episode of Broad City, you’re missing out.

playtime

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When your work week is all blisters, cramping muscles, learning choreography, runs in your tights, and hairpins poking your scalp, a 3-day weekend begs for a little playtime.  T and I decided to put our Columbus Day weekend to good use by bussing it on over to the big apple to visit some lovely friends.  Between a night on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel (Chuck Bass looks shorter in person), a day trip to Williamsburg, Brooklyn (geek-chic glasses and beanie optional), and a rowdy game of Jenga in what I can only dub a “surf bar”, I’d say we did the weekend proper.

Today it was back to the grind…arch cramps, toe tape and all…

So here’s to wishing you a Happy Tuesday after the long weekend, aka “Monday”, everyone.  Hope you are surviving it and your daydreams of next weekend’s adventures go unnoticed by your coworkers and employers.  Over and out.