tis the season to drink baileys

Have you seen Baileys’ latest holiday-inspired tv ad?  The Nutcracker themed commercial features an epic Rat King battle for the beautiful Clara, who stars in this version of the story as an ethereal, light-footed bar patron out for a night in “Candyland” with her girls.  A bedraggled protagonist is found in our studly Nutcracker Prince- love how they made him look like he’d been off at war for some time before stopping for a beer Baileys in the twinkling, chandelier-studded bar.  The Rat King, a tattooed-and-facial-scruffed hunk of man intervenes in the (extremely confident) Nutcracker’s sweet courting of light-as-air Clara, resulting in a ballet battle of carefully crafted roundhouse kicks, expertly choreographed by my Nantucket bff, Natalie Portman babydaddy arm candy husband, and new Paris Opera Ballet director, the ever dreamy Benjamin Millepied.  The dancing, executed by Royal Ballet dancers Steven McRae, Thiago Soares and Iana Salenko, is impressive to say the least.  There is something about the soft fluidity and pure power of the Royal Ballet that always astounds me.  I also love the girl-power message by Baileys, as Clara turns the tables on our dance fight, only to return to her friends for more fun, leaving us with the suggestion to “spend time with the girls this Christmas”.  Don’t mind if I do!  Check out the making of the commercial for yourselves, down below…

all hail alina cojocaru

The other night, in the spirit of Sleeping Beauty preparations, my roommie Tegan started watching a clip of The Royal Ballet’s Alina Cojocaru performing Aurora (as if all of her rehearsals in the studio weren’t enough Sleeping Beauty for her!).  After being blown away by Cojocaru’s first few steps, Tegan restarted the video and turned it towards me a bit so we could both revel in the resplendence of this dainty Aurora’s every movement.  Wow.  Cojocaru is Royal Ballet’s hidden gem.  She is gorgeous, expressive, explosive, gentle…not to mention whacked out like crazy!  Today on Facebook, ballet photographer Gene Schiavone posted a link to an article which interviews the Romanian ballerina about her work with Hospices of Hope in her home country, as well as her current injury, plans to return to the stage, and her future with fiancé and fellow Royal Ballet dancer, Johan Kobborg.  One response, I found particularly insightful:

“When do you think you realised that what you were doing in that daily drill would be your dream?

Cojocaru: I have a feeling it was when we were taken to watch Giselle. That’s when I realised, oh, we don’t just stay at the barre, it’s an emotional thing, we get a story, we get involved. I’d never even seen a ballet before.

I tell you what I liked. I liked the teachers saying to me, “Good.” And I worked for that “good” every day. Not knowing. It was someone telling me I was doing well. Slowly discovering that I could do something well, without being at home. And then I became passionate about it, and the “goods” were not the only aim, it was about going further, to understanding what “good” is. I came across a diary I kept – I didn’t even remember. It seems I was counting hours to seeing my family. But now it’s the good memories I keep. You choose to keep the good memories.”

It’s so interesting to find out that although Alina and I had different reasons for initially becoming involved in ballet (I was 2 when I saw/fell in love with my first ballet- Alina had never seen one until she was dancing in it!), growing up in ballet class we shared a similar hunger for self-improvement and affirmations awarded in the form of scarcely heard and therefore coveted “goods” from teachers.  I know, this is probably true of many ballet students, but I’m having fun convincing myself Cojocaru and I are similar in some way!

Also, if reading about Alina’s contribution to such a wonderful charity in her tragically impoverished home country does not pull at your heart strings, you have no soul. That is all!