moments.

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I’ve been collecting moments throughout this dear little career of mine. Writing them down, sharing in this space, keeping them safe here where I can return to them when they are needed. Last Saturday night amidst multiple mediums of fire and water, I scooped up a pretty powerful one. It’s past my bedtime, but I’ve got to get this out, down, locked away here in my safe space…

At 8:14 I crouch behind the basin stage. In full red unitard and crimson pointe shoes, it would be tough to hide me even without the hundreds of fiery crystals and plumed feathers crowning my head. Our elliptical audience catches my heart beats then tosses them up like sparks spit from blaze, left to scatter down wildly into the water below.

At 8:20 the performance begins. At 8:24 the first torches are lit. At 8:27 it starts to rain.

Then comes my cue. Stravinsky’s Firebird is reaching its swell, behind thin black capes I make my way to center stage. I enter the huddle of students, worriedly whispering, The stage is so wet! Be careful Miss Kirsten! and as the horns exhaust I am hoisted up from the group.

The music takes a sharp breath in while the audience applauds. Slowly in cadence with the petering cheers, I feel wet ground replaced beneath me and I stare boldly into the crowd. A bassoon guides my sanguine step forward, carefully onto pointe and then downstage. Red feet are less timid than mine. Looking through the layer of thin black smoke and metallic raindrops between us, I finally break gaze with the crowd to twitch my chin down with the quick recoil of my wings.

Oboes lead me through my trance before the flames assemble and the horns creep up again. We board the boat and push into the river as the finale builds. I peak. On a platform in the center of this wobbling wooden vessel, I can feel the warmth of four huge torches surrounding me. I stand in a deep lunge, never feeling more balanced and unstable. Stravinsky’s creation lets out its largest blast. I peek. Up into the weeping night sky, bending back toward flapping wings. It’s then the crowd’s cheers fall silent and I’m wrapped up in my moment. Under water, over water, through fire and cloaked in it, I cry.

This perfect, strange, magical moment, between PVD and me.

 

photo by John A. Simonetti.

summer staycations

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My GOODNESS, you guys, these past few weeks have been jam packed with travel, family time, homework, teaching, picnicking, kickboxing, yoga-ing, sunset-chasing, sweating, firework-watching, and a teeeeensy bit of sleeping, just for good measure. I know I say this about every season of life, but July is truly proving to be one of the busiest yet.

Since I’m busy teaching at the FBP Summer Dance Intensive and a few other summer workshops around the area this month, I’ve sticking close to home with some fun New England jaunts between homework cram sessions. A little round up of seasonal spots to match this smorgasbord of photos, if you’re interested…

Watch Hill for a beach day, a glass of rosé at Olympia Tea Room, and a sunset.

Little Compton for the cutest general store, massive waves, and a nostalgic private(ish) beach.

York, Maine for family dinners, lighthouse jogs, and watching a little bug dig holes at the beach.

Boston for Fourth of July fireworks, Turkish breakfast, serene museum visits, massive vegan salads, and yes, another long walk on the beach.

Providence for proper Prospect Park picnicking and catching up with best friends.

a sunday story

dsc08220The sound of blowing snow and falling sun wake me.  My apartment creaks as I shift pillows and the old radiators whine right on cue.  Sun beams C major through the frosty window.

All around winter sounds; oh sweet Sunday morn.

Thick layers wrapped and zipped and fixed, I waddle through snow right into his car.  Headed for warm caffeine and a walk through our latest most favorite neighborhood.

Every few steps a clump of gooey gingerbread appears inches from my lips.  I’m given no choice but to indulge and well, there are worse problems than this.img_9005

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Seeking refuge from chill in the old stone Athenaeum, we search through stacks and steal kisses.  From a certain corner Poe peeks in.  Smacky.  A nod to the oiled canvas Washington and we head back into the snow.

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Home at last.

He holds sunset tomatoes and fills the kitchen with french singing.  It’s early dinner and we’ll have a buttery omelette.  It’s big and full and tough to flip, but he knows full well:

things always taste better shared.

bucket list and a birthday

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It’s been a strange few days, so here are some photos of blue skies and books.  My mom had a few Providence places to cross off of her bucket list, so we (very spontaneously) strolled through the gorgeous athenaeum and the quiet Arcade together.  We talked architecture, restoration, politics and love.  We walked Westminster and Benefit, bought vintage sweaters, picked up fallen leaves, and picked out East Side homes around the Boulevard. November is weaving its golden ways and once again I’m hypnotized.

Speaking of my lovely mother, today is her birthday!  This wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t wish her a very happy day here. xoxo!

all the leaves are brown

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Ah, autumn.  This weekend felt short, yet decidedly fall.

There was a cousin visit, complete with brunch, a stroll through Swan Point and heavy and happy life discussions.

There was tea times three and lots more walking, leaf rustling, west side mansion shopping, and poster hunting.  There were Bucks & Dunnies, Ducks & Bunnies, pumpkin peeping, late night cookie baking (have you ever made just one chocolate chip cookie?) and more “life discussing”.

In a few hours it’s toes first back into ballet, but for now, I’m savoring the warm fuzzies of this photo diary.

hello october

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This weekend was a “kirsten weekend”- that is, I was sickish and sore and in the presence of world’s best beanfriend and thereby granted full control over activities.  My picks…

sushi + red wine + couch + this romantic drama

pumpkin blueberry pancakes + tea + couch + fleet foxes

pvdonuts + more tea + neutaconkanut hill hike + an old bridge friend

homemade portuguese soup + roasted autumn fruits + this romantic drama

Sometimes I enjoy being a walking cliché.  And sometimes I wonder how we fit so much into half of a weekend.  Welcome, October.  I like you so far.

don’t count your nuts

Like so many, my first audition was for a role in The Nutcracker.  My eighth birthday had fallen in February of the previous winter, and having finally reached the age requirement, I spent six months excitedly preparing.  I was one plan-happy, eager little girl- that is, until the day of the audition.  I freaked and decided the thrill of the big stage would no longer outweigh the terror of the audition process, and I would “not like to do this at all, thank you very much.”

My gem of a mother knew better than to succumb to my nerve-induced sudden change of heart, so she took me to the audition anyway, thank goodness.  As you may have already guessed, it was a total blast and I was elated.  I came home and reenacted the entire audition for my mom, showing her how we’d shuffled across the floor like angels and even temps lie-ed with imaginary dolls like party girls.  I impersonated the artistic director’s Serbian accent as he thanked  me, “Number Seventeeeeen” again and again to make my mother laugh, and we started to imagine what the dressing rooms at PPAC might be like.  I repeated my version of the audition for my (patient) mother every night, while we waited one very long week for the casting to be available.  Seven days later, auditionees were instructed to call the studio to see if we’d made it onto the list (#itwas1999).  I stood by the phone in the kitchen with bated breath while my mom called in.  A strange sort of blue took over her entire face.  She hung up, shook her head, and hugged me.

I remember quite clearly the next two hours of sadness.  I ran straight for my swing set in the backyard, flopped onto my favorite swing with the padded blue chains and white rubber seat, and cried.  I’m sure there was some dramatic singing of a ballad (I think I was pretty into this one at that time), and lots of sad, slow swinging.  My mother followed me out to the swing set and, earning the place she defends to this day as my #1 supporter, cried right along with me.  We hugged and dangled from that swing like a couple of soggy sponges until the familiar high-pitched growl of the landline telephone shrieked from the house.  My mom ran in to put it out of its misery and returned moments later with that golden light back in her face.  “You got in.”

Apparently, half of the cast list had been misplaced.  I’d been “in” all along.  But those crucial two hours when I thought I hadn’t made it taught me a very powerful lesson.  In those few hours, I grew my thick skin.  Though it looked like a pity party (well, it was a pity party), those tears would be the fuel in my fire for a career in the rather merciless world of ballet.  To this day, my mother and I still half-jokingly chant, “Don’t count your nuts before they’re cracked.”

Never take anything for granted.  There is really no such thing as a “given”.  As a reward for sticking it out through this brash life lesson from the leaky eyes of an 8-year-old, I give you this very derpy me, in my first role with a professional ballet company:

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