swan lake wrap up

{documenting my stage makeup overload}
{dress rehearsal of Act III}
{me and Brenna as swans}
{plunged my feet into a bucket of icewater before the last show}
{roommie picture :)}
{post-performance gala}

That’s it!  The last chords have been struck, final bows have been taken, the curtain has come down and Swan Lake, along with FBP’s season, has finally come to a close.  Several injuries, countless podiatrist appointments, several pounds of hairspray, 4 pairs of pointe shoes, and a big bucket of ice later, I feel that I have gained more from this performance that I’d ever even imagined.  Not only have I grown immensely as a dancer (who knew I would have the physical capacity to make it through two shows of pas de trois and cygnets?!  *patting my own back right now*), but I’ve learned that it’s important to listen to your body.  This sounds obvious for a dancer, right?  But the life of a professional dancer means constantly striving for perfection, aiming to impress your peers, teachers, audience and director.  More often than not, this takes the courage to move out of your comfort zone and the strength to work through extreme pain…something I’ve had acute experience with these past few weeks.  With the idea that ballet dancers must have the body of a bird but the endurance of a camel in mind, my initial response would be to “keep calm and carry on”.  But while performing this past weekend, I’ve discovered that it’s okay to take a break every so often, rest my toes, heal my injuries and relax my mind.  With that said, I’m looking forward to a week free of commitments, followed by 9 days in Florida to visit the roommie’s hometown!  Can’t wait, hope everyone is making it through Monday! xo

merde

It’s fairly well-known that no one says “good luck” in the theater.  It’s an old taboo, claiming that the phrase actually brings quite the opposite of what is intended.  So, in the acting field, “good luck” has been replaced with the rather obscure saying “break a leg!”.  Obviously, borrowing this well-wisher would not fly with ballet dancers.  A broken leg is career-ending, not something to discuss moments before curtain.  Soooo in the world of ballet, we say “merde”.

If you’ve taken any french, you may know that this actually means “shit”…doesn’t seem like the best word to be exchanging backstage does it?  “hey, tegan, merde!”…”thanks, you too! merde!”  Yes it’s weird.  Yes we know.  Yes we do it anyway.  There’s some superstition that if you’ve already said the worst there is to say backstage, nothing worse can happen onstage.  I’m not sure how true any of it is, but I’m not willing to risk finding out!  So wish me “merde” on my first show this morning!  AH!

diary of a swan

{a shot from one of the final studio rehearsals, a funny swan lake photo found on pinterest, and a holga photo of me taken by a friend a few weeks ago}

Here we are.  It’s Thursday, one day until the first show (a morning show for schools followed by the opening night performance) and the jitters excitement is setting in.  We had the first dress rehearsal last night, and while it’s true that the costumes, headpieces, hair and makeup, scenery and lights instantly make any movement about 1000x harder, Tchaikovsky’s iconic score really helps pull us all through.  The exquisite music so perfectly expresses the anguish of a flock of princesses imprisoned in swan’s bodies, the fragility of a forbidden love, and the sly trickery of an evil seduction.  So it follows suit that when you’re in the IV Act of a high-energy ballet wondering how you’re going to pull off that final flight circle around the 100×45-foot stage flapping your swan “wings” and pointing your aching toes out in front of you, the tragically dramatic final chords in the ballet come up behind you like a huge gush of wind, sending you back in line with the rest of the corps.

 Never seen Swan Lake?  You are missing out.  Ballet fan or not this show has something for everyone…

Call 401-421-ARTS for ticket information or visit www.festivalballetprovidence.org

theater week- tech day

{vintage dressing room photo & theater week ‘merde’ flowers from my mom}

Theater week for Swan Lake begins today!  You know what that means!

…but in case you don’t, here’s a cheat sheet in list form:

costume fittings (check)

lighting cues

flying sets

spacing- the stage is quite a bit bigger than the studio

hauling the contents of my locker (stinky shoes, leg warmers and various types of tape) to the theater

layers and layers of warms ups! it’s always freezing

marking (read: no need for pointe shoes :)

In a few hours I’ll be traipsing bourrée-ing across the PPAC stage, and I must say I’m pretty darn excited about it!  Let the swan transformation begin.

one week to go!

What happens when you are performing Swan Lake in a week?  CVS steals your entire paycheck!  Get ready for a series of posts chronicling final studio rehearsals, theater week and the performance weekend…starting with a few rehearsal shots from this week:

Well, I’m off to (more) rehearsal!  Happy Friday, folks!

Back To Ballet

{taking a breath mid-Le Corsaire-Odalisques on the outdoor stage at Providence’s waterfire festival}

Finally, the lengthy layoff has come to a close.  Today it was back to the barre- ready or not!  After 3 weeks of vacation time, we’ve plunged into Swan Lake head first.  It’s clear that this is going to be an extremely challenging ballet to stage, but I’m confident that we will pull it together- FBP has a habit of rising to the occasion.  But in the meantime, the next 7 weeks will be full of long, tedious, detail-driven rehearsals.  This can only mean one thing: TIME FOR BUNHEAD MODE!

p.s. “back” to ballet…see what I did there?

p.p.s. harrrhharhar, yup that corny pun was very much intended.

Running On Air

As my third and final week of spring break (read: almost a month of unpaid vacation) proceeds, I find myself anxiously itching to get back in the studio.  While several weeks of layoff throughout the season are to be expected in a ballet company, these three consecutive weeks have left my body feeling strangely underworked.  I’m desperately missing the incomparable quench that is achieved only by beginning one’s day with company class.  My now-rested brain searches for the challenge of tackling new choreography, my heart misses the comfort of my colleagues and friends, and (oddly enough) my legs and feet long for that specific breed of torture defined only by  a day packed with rehearsals.  Fortunately for me, these recently estranged aspects of ballet life that I more often than not greet with familiar, informal salutation will soon return to my daily routine with a vengeance.  In two week’s time, my shell-shocked muscles will be rudely awakened to the intense reality that is Swan Lake…

Oh, did I mention we’re closing the season with Swan Lake? ONLY MY FAVORITE BALLET EVER.  Yup.  I might be a liiiittle excited.

{photo above: my partner Ian and I performing George Birkhadze’s My Sorrow}