It’s officially Nutcracker theater week, day one! I’ve yet to actually set foot inside PPAC this year, but with preparations already taking up so much of my time (notice the above photo in which I’m sewing pointe shoes in the car en route to a check up with [one of ] my [ many ] back doctor [s]), I can already tell it’s going to be a great deal busier than my last theater week.
With a definitive cast list still up in the air, I’m feeling a bit uneasy about this weekend’s performances. When will I be dancing which roles and with whom? Just tiny details! Although, casting questions aside, I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt super duper prepared to perform by day one of theater week. It’s always those tech and dress rehearsals onstage that take my comfort level from restless to ready. Hopefully PPAC works its magic and I can sleep easy tomorrow night before Thursday morning’s show. Wow, just two days until we open! Where has December gone?
Now it feels like I’ve performed again. After just three short weeks back in pointe shoes, I had the pleasure of performing two different pieces en pointe in this past run of Up Close On Hope, and it felt goooooood. Like fuzzy bunny slippers after a day running around New York in high heels good. Or maybe even blueberry pancakes at midnight after a breakup good…pick your poison.
Our official unofficial in-house photographer, Cemal Ekin (maybe you remember his work from Orchis?), snapped the body-bending photo above during Friday afternoon’s dress rehearsal. Isn’t it cool in a wait is that my hand or Ian’s elbow psychedelic trippy kind of way? I really love how you can see the complex, twisted partnering that defines this piece.
Of course, after the show on Saturday night, wine and cheese were a necessity…
…so naturally, we ordered the charcuterie as well. Wouldn’t want that smoked gouda to be lonely, would we? ;)
And just for fun, here’s a little snap of B and I before dancing George Birkhadze’s Tzigani…channeling our inner gypsy:
As we head into the second weekend of Up Close On Hope performances, I can’t help but reflect on how far I have come since the first day of the season. I can remember being stuck sitting down during rehearsals, half-learning all of the parts I’d been “assigned”, thinking my body could never be ready to perform them in less than 2 months. Now here I am, embarking on round two of black box performances with fresh calluses growing in quite nicely and pointe-shoe-ribbon-indentations where fuzzy socks used to be. I have a huge bottle of hairspray in my locker and my brain is filled with choreography and chords. The best part is, there’s this little voice inside of me telling me that all of this is right. Can’t wait to get out there and perform Joseph Morrissey’s In Passing and George Birkhadze’s Tzgani this weekend.
From that baby-sized bright pink plastic duffle with the pointe shoes embroidered on the front to the stinky, ratty old sack you drag your warm-ups to rehearsal in, the ballet bag is a staple in every dancer’s life. This is why when I found out about Nina Ricci’s new line of ballet-inspired leather totes, I knew I had to post about it. I admit it has taken me a little while, buuuut voila! I now present to you the magnificent collection of Nina Ricci “ballet bags”:
Glorious, aren’t they? I’m totally coveting the soft pink one. And I know it’s obvious, given their title and inspiration, but these things just scream sophisticated ballerina on her way to the theater to me. There’s just something about the thin handles and long, sensual lines…j’adore. Spot on, Nina Ricci. You nailed it.
For more beautiful bag goodness, check out this little video created for the collection’s release by Paris-based artist duo “I Could Never Be A Dancer”:
Hello, everyone! This week has been action-packed…
Date nights at The Grange, pre-gala giggles with my girls, Waterfire smooches with the boyfriend and- GASP- stuffing those feet back into pointe shoes for a few daily relevés. For any of you who have never gone 5 months without strapping on some of those pink satin bad boys, let me just tell you this: Calluses disappear fast. You won’t notice it at first, but one day you’ll try to stand up on your toes and consequently discover that this strange, silky skin has replaced that once beloved patch of crunchy padding on your baby toe. The thick toupé that used to sit atop your big toe? Vanished. Oh and that long strip of hardened cells (aka the built-in-bandaid) that used to wrap around your heel? Gone with the wind. So, please, do whatever you can to keep those hardened skin swatches attached to your feet for as long as possible. Sit around in heels, take cold showers, whatever it takes. And above all- despite how much your open-toed shoes try to convince you- STAY AWAY FROM THAT BIG COZY PEDICURE CHAIR. Even if you’re going purely for the massage and polish, that soak/pumice stone combo is going to make you wish you’d never learned the difference between an ouch pouch and lambswool toepads. So just don’t do it.
Last week my shoes touched marley floor for the first time in almost 4 months.
When a student from FBPSchool asked me to help out with her audition video, I will admit, I was hesitant. Back in the studio? Creating combinations with my hands that my body cannot yet execute? Watching someone else hold the barre while I press play? Waves of doubt surged over me. But it seemed the only way out was in through the studio. So I put on some big girl shoes and agreed to meet her around noon.
The instant my shoes touched that gummy black floor at 12:01 I knew I had made the right decision. A familiar electricity flowed through me, expanding itself into every inch of me. Finally, I felt calm. About 3 hours of outtakes, remote fussing, dead camera batteries, musical mistakes, and rogue pointe shoe ribbons later, we were finished. And I felt really good.
There is a certain high that comes with once again feeling thisclose to ballet.
My all-time favorite jewelry brand, Catbird, has just launched a new line of dainty earrings and bracelets inspired by ballet. Each “long, lean, and graceful” piece evokes the delicate nature of a prima ballerina. Checking out the collection in their charming store in Williamsburg the other day, I immediately pictured each and every piece with pointe shoes and a bun. I’d had my eye on the opal teardrop ring (pictured below) for quite some time, so none of the ballerina-suited baubles came home with me this time, but now I’m really lusting over those rose gold “barre” earrings and the matching barre bracelet.
I did pick up the opal ring and also a rose gold threadbare for my pointer finger…
…and I’m loving the way they look with the turquoise ring my boyfriend bought me at one of my favorite boutiques in Paris. Oh and with the lovely tan line on my middle finger…ha. Happy Sunday!
Last night my fellows dancers and I had the pleasure of attending an elegant gala at Aspire in honor of Festival Ballet’s 35th season. Complete with a silent auction, live music, and an open bar(re)(ha…haha), the evening was truly a lavish affair. Guests mingled with company dancers and FBP staff members, celebrating this season’s success thus far and getting excited for next month’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. The dancers were asked to decorate old pointe shoes (worn in various shows throughout the year) using any and all materials available to them, to be auctioned off at the end of the night. To me this read more like: Arts and crafts!? Okay!
Here we are auctioning off our smelly old beautifully decorated pointe shoes, and here’s how my shoe turned out (haha, no pun intended)…
…there’s no real theme there, but bling-tastic is how I’ve been referring to it. The gorgeous downtown fundraising gala, aptly entitled “Urban Beauty”, turned out to be a huge success (my pointe shoe sold for $500!) and a real shining moment for FBP. Here’s to the last 2 1/2 weeks, 2 dress rehearsals, and 4 shows of the season! xx
Just thought I would check back in here to record the effects of today’s “be happy” plan. This day has brought me many things, among them a new mantra: Good things come to those who smile.
Today was one of the best days I’ve had in a while. Nothing monumental happened; there were many tough rehearsals and stinky pointe shoes and all that (ballet) jazz. But something felt so different. I was smiling, happy, energetic- three words that could not have been further from describing me yesterday. This difference, I now realize, came from me. It wasn’t some kind of huge spiritual awakening, or centering of my “qi” (though I am still working on it, ahem, take-home-needles-permanently-stuffed-into-my-hand/back/ear- I’m talking to you), no, it was much simpler than that. All it took was a smile. Today I decided to smile when my alarm went off too early, when I rushed to take all of my many new herb supplements (more perks of acupuncture, weeee), spilt hot tea on my hand, did my first plie of the day, put on the aforementioned stinky pointe shoes, got my bum kicked in rehearsal for Enroulment, did one too many pas de chats en pointe during fairy rehearsal- all of it. I smiled all day, and you know what? The day smiled back.
PS- If you’re in the New England area, come out to see how well my acupuncture/smiling tactics have been working in this weekend’s performance of Up Close On Hope!
*photo by A. Cemal Ekin, pictured are Ruth Whitney and Alan Alberto in Unexpected, from last weekend’s Up Close