bringing brillante

IMG_6986.JPGimg_7016

One of my favorite pre-show tidbits came around this time last season, while working on Apollo with a Skype-assisted Sandy Jennings.  Her suggestion to wear my favorite perfume for the performance reminded me just how transformative feeling like a ballerina can be.  Friday in the studio, sweet Elyse added another gem (harhar) to that collection.

“I want you to imagine you have little tiny diamonds on the tip of every eyelash, every fingernail, the end of every strand of hair…and maybe a few on your butt,” Elyse said with a wink.

Signature sass in every syllable, she dusted the aforementioned areas with jittering fingers.  Delicate red-tipped nails played invisible keys hovering just over my shoulders and down my arms as she spoke.  Emphasizing the importance of exclamation points (and maybe “a couple commas”) throughout the piece, Elyse used her diction to demonstrate.  Ah, diamonds and dialogue, does it get any better?

This one is a memory I will lock up in me, to be accessed and applied whenever I lose sight of my brillante.  Now, on with the show.

for tickets.

cracked

IMG_7896

I start almost every week day with eggs.  Anyone close to me knows I’m “weird about  my eggs” (re: not always a huge fan), but I know their protein is valuable to my vegetarian diet, they’re cheap, and incredibly easy to prepare, so I’ll do just about anything to make them more appealing.  I often eat hard boiled eggs with spicy mustard and lately I’ve even taken to treating my fried eggs like pancakes- fresh blueberries and little maple syrup go a long way for this egg-hesitant lady.  I know, I know, it’s weird.  But I’m deviating from the point, which is that on most mornings, my egg tricks are a success, and I fill up on protein before my body has even fully woken.  Win-win.

This morning started like any other.  I was completing my usually morning routine with the heating of the tea kettle, the sipping of the lemon water and the cracking of the eggs.  Despite my best efforts, often times my egg-cracking skills are…sub par; The shells break jaggedly, yokes pierced and unruly and I’m picking teeny shards out of the gooey egg whites.  But this morning, something strange happened.  I picked up my first egg and, tired morning hands gripping with the strength of a lazy goldfish, promptly dropped it onto the cutting board.  The shell broke, not in the shattered, messy way one might expect, but in a perfectly straight line circling the diameter of the egg.  It was a clean break, yoke intact and whites just baaarely spilling out…and it happened completely by accident.

I can’t help but see this “egg incident” as some sort of a sign.  A sign to just let go.  To relinquish control and let things fall apart on their own.  It’s counterintuitive for my type A personality; a planner, a list-making, superstitious, organizer.  But when you attempt to oversee every aspect of your life, you make it impossible for the new, the unknown, and the accidentally perfect to enter it.  Surrender this power, and give it back to life.  The results may not be what you expected, but they might just be perfect.

trust fall

photo

For a moment I swear I was flying.  Cradled by the air I hung in suspension, held in that pocketed ballon that dancers are addicted to.  I was weightless…then breathless.  My body came smacking, hips first, into the ground and the wind rushed out of me like a bubble with a rock on it.  Confusion, then quick surprise, and dread of imminent pain inundated my brain, emotions angrily mobbing one on top of another, each demanding my undivided attention and the cells coiled within my skull swirled out from the center like a miniature big bang theory.  Knees shrinking into my chest to relieve the anchored hip, my ability to shift without triggering any shooting pain assured me that my pelvis was not shattered.  Score.  Faces circled around my folded figure as I asthmatically mouthed I’m fine I’m fine, really in a way that made me seem very un-fine.  Twenty seconds later, ice packs lined my left side and I was laughing sadistically at my own misfortune.

I have talked about falling before, but never have I collided so forcefully with the floor that another dancer looked down at me in horror, tears fighting at the gates.  She had seen the entire plunge transpire, from my squatted take off, to the five-foot high jeté, to the precarious flip and, ultimately, the aforementioned (is it too soon to brand it “infamous”?) body slam.  Cringe-worthy to say the least, but I got lucky; Just a bit bruised up and slightly embarrassed…or so I thought…

It really is true that there are times in this career where your personal life starts to echo your professional life- almost to a fault.  Bruce Marks said, “There are falls that happen when you dance fully…and that’s worth it.”  I’m sure you are all sick to death of the depressing nature of this blog as of late, so I’ll keep this as short as possible;  I have learned a lot in the past few months, and one of the most important lessons thus far has been this:  Being honest with yourself is vital.  Personal integrity builds a trust within one’s self and when this trust grows strong enough, a safe space is built.  This space allows for self-reliance, physically and emotionally.  Use this personal integrity liberally, cultivate it frequently, and trust only you with its care.  When it comes time to trust another with something as sacred as this safe space, do, but do so carefully.  Remember, when you dance, live, and love fully, you are likely to fall, and it may not always be the good kind of falling.

rain, rain, go away

afterlight photo

You know how they say “when it rains, it pours”?  Well I think sometimes it pours so much that the ground can’t absorb or displace it and the earth implodes on itself, leaving the atmosphere in a foggy haze of quiet disorder.  Of course, eventually the rumbling vibrations from such an explosion dissipate, and the smokey clouds begin to clear so the sun can blink towards the squinting earth, greeting its old friend trepidatiously- careful not to temper the fragile soil as it rebuilds.  But sometimes these efforts are in vain.  Sometimes just as a bit of goodness touches down, another- bigger, badder- monsoon comes out of nowhere and wipes it all away.

A very wise bear once said, “The trouble with accidents is you can’t see them coming.”  I think what Winnie (or should I say Mr. Pooh?)  meant was that accidents are a precarious combination of trouble and surprise; Not only do they force us to deal with an unfortunate circumstance, but an accident means we must do it suddenly.  They challenge us more than any premeditated disaster ever could, testing our courage, faith, our strength and our resilience- both mental and physical.  They push us to embrace perseverance while imposing their worthy lesson in patience upon our frustrated spirits.  Accidents prove that it’s not until we are faced with an unexpected cataclysm that we are able to truly appreciate the beauty of a calm drizzle.

resolving

photo 3 photo 1photo 4 photo 2photo 3

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions?  Do you ever make them?  Better question- Do you ever keep them?

In my case, creating a list of resolutions that I’ll stick to throughout the new year is something of a fantasy.  It’s not that I don’t have goals, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve mentioned before that I very much like emphasizing these goals as I change the calendar and my moral, physical and emotional slate clears, but it’s rare that my resolutions actually define my actions in those twelve months that follow.  Buuuut, despite my inability to fully implement these specific intentions, I can’t deny the joy I take in recording a fresh set of goals on January 1st (or 2nd ;).

Every year I strive to live in the moment, document more, work on my photography skills, do more creative writing, read at least 3 books (come on, girl, you can handle that), and take care of my body, but this year I have one resolution, discussed with my brother on Christmas night, that stands out from the rest.  So without further ado, le resolution principe de 2014:

Kirsten, you must take care of you car.  

2013 marks the year I bought my first car all by myself.  I love my little VW Golf, aka Greta, and it’s time I started giving her the love, oil changes, and vacuum-seshes she deserves.  So let it be written, so let it be done.

What are your goals for the coming year?

hidden light

DSC02783

Sometimes you have to search for the rainbow.

There are times when the skies open up after a storm and the clouds step aside to give light to an anxious arched prism across an unwrinkled blanket of blue.  The immaculate stream of reflected luminescence makes you feel instantly brighter.  It reminds you that sometimes a rainy day produces beauty, and you notice yourself smiling.

But there are also times in which the shift in weather is less explicit.  No matter how hard that stream of color pushes its way toward you, the clouds linger overhead, muddling the view.  If you really search the sky, however, you can make out those determined little stripes.  You can find them touching down somewhere in the horizon, guiding you with their optimism, calling you forward.  Slowly, your lips part like tentative clouds and you’re flashing a half-smile.  It may not be quite as bold as what you’re used to, but it’s long-awaited, much-needed, and it feels like a dream.

I’ve been feeling a bit like a rainbow in a cloudy sky lately.  No matter how hard I try to lighten up, a new cloud comes in to push me back.  This storm has felt endless.  As the start of the season quickly approaches and the state of my fractures remains vague, I’m feeling the downpour of rain on my back more than ever.  But I’m realizing now that I can’t let this torrid weather bring me down.  Despite of my injuries, I must always find ways to smile.  Life has presented me with a persistent haziness and the perfect opportunity to find the ultimate rush.  I think it’s time I stopped searching and consider the light all around me.  Sometimes the least obvious rainbows are the most rewarding.

on my nightstand

DSC02631 DSC02641

Currently on my nightstand: fruit salad and english breakfast tea, and souvenirs from Paris- a Diptyque candle and eau de toilette from Merci

One of the most important aspects of returning from an extended vacation is slipping back into your real life without feeling like a visitor in someone else’s.  To make that fateful shift from holiday to home, there are a few simple steps I always take in that first week back in my own, now-slightly-foreign, element.

1.  Unpack.  You don’t have to do it immediately after stepping off the plane, train, car, boat, or bus like I do (there’s that OCD again!)…but unpacking within the first two days of returning home is a crucial part of adjusting to home life that cannot be overlooked.  Living out of a suitcase subconsciously gives the impression that the vacation has not yet ended, and as you can imagine this is extremely confusing in terms of inner motivation.

2.  Integrate new possessions into your daily life.  Whether they be material or mental, going away to someplace different always rewards us with souvenirs.  Find a home for everything.  Settle physical memories in places around your home that soak them into your pre-existing decor, so they don’t feel like a temporary art exhibit in your living room.  Apply knowledge acquired on your trip into your home life, and see how it applies to your daily activities.

3.  Give yourself a schedule.  Jumping back into the stresses of life at home after a vacation can be intimidating, but getting back into a scheduled routine can be an absolute life-saver.  Even if you are still healing from a back fracture and your only plans consist of physical therapy, acupuncture appointments and the beach, carving out time to do these things is an essential step in adjusting to home life.

And with that, it’s off to the beach with me!  What are your tricks for shaking the vacation vibes and getting back into the swing of things?