Monday, December 31, 2007

happy almost new year

Wow, last post of the year!

2007 has come and gone, quite quickly actually. It's certainly been a year of ups and downs, but it is definitely ending on a high note.

I'd like to take this time to thank all of the people who have made this year special, especially the last few months...I hope they know who they are. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way, given me opportunities to prove myself, and showed me who I can be. There are too many people to name individually, but a big hug and thank you to all my family, friends (near and far), and just everyone.

I have lots planned for 2008, but one of the biggest lessons I learned this last year was that plans are not set in stone and sometimes it's better to just have a general direction you're headed in and let the wind take you where it will.

Another lesson of the year: People can be your greatest asset or biggest hindrance, but only if you let them.

With that said, my new year's resolutions:
1. be more optimistic
2. let go of things that keep me down
3. take more time to stop and smell the roses

I found this quiz thingy online and just thought it was interesting what qualities make a year good or bad. My answers:

Compared to this time last year, you are:
Happier (much, much, much)
Less happy

Compared to this time last year, you are:
Healthier (minus the bursitis)
Less healthy

Compared to this time last year, you have:
More money (I got paid for the 2 things I love doing)
Less money

Compared to this time last year, you have:
More friends
Less friends

Compared to this time last year, your career prospects:
Are better (graduation soon!)
Are worse

Compared to this time last year, your life is:
More exciting (tenfold)
Less exciting

Compared to this time last year, you are:
More optimistic about the world
Less optimistic about the world

Compared to this time last year, you have:
More things to be thankful for (far more)
Less things to be thankful for

Happy New Year 2008 to all! Hope it's a good one :)

dance online in the Times

Even though my thesis is technically complete, I'm still avidly following the dance writing online craze and just came across an article about exactly that in the NY Times the other day. Mention of The Winger :)

Go read it.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

oh lazy day

Today was the first Sunday I spent in the city since August! Between Nutcracker rehearsals and going home for the holidays, I haven't had a Sunday to rest since the summer, and today I realized what I've been missing...relaxation!

Hah. I slept nice and late today, got a much-needed massage after being so sore from time off, and hung around at home most of the afternoon. I did some updates over on my website, but that's about the only productive thing I've done. I think everyone needs a day of nothing sometimes!

It's almost new years...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

holiday update - finally

Okay, sorry again for not posting for a few days. Even though things weren't too busy I tried to take some time away from the computer instead of my obsessive excessive attatched-at-the-fingertip hours on end online. Haha.

So here's what's been going on and what's coming up, bullet style:

*went home for Christmas and it was a nice, relatively quiet holiday

*since coming back to the city I've gotten to catch up with some old friends spending some time here and it has reminded me how small and tight-knit the dance world is, and how close everyone really is. Even though I go months at a time without seeing some of my closest friends, we get together and it's like we haven't missed a beat. I love that.

*I got an email from the director of my old studio asking if she could hire me to take over the studio newsletter, writing and designing the whole thing. I'm meeting with her next week to discuss details, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it, which will get me back involved over there after a 6 month absence (well, maybe not quite that long)

*remember how my foot has been bothering me? Well, my left Achilles tendon has been hurting on and off since about April, and it was only on Christmas Eve morning that I finally had a chance to get it checked out (mostly because insurance doesn't cover out of state, and I'm hardly ever home long enough to make it to a doctor there). So I have Achilles bursitis. It's basically inflammation of the bursa, a sack of fluid between the tendon and the skin, and there's not much to be done besides rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories. My main concern was that I wasn't making it worse by dancing on it, and the doctor said I'm not, so that's good. I should be starting PT soon so I should be just fine.

Coming Up...

*understudy/apprentice with Rebecca Kelly Ballet. I forget if I mentioned it on here, but I auditioned for her a while back and had some vague dialogue later, but she emailed recently asking if I'd understudy a little showcase they have in January and also come to her choreographic workshop as a guest the following weekend to learn some rep. So I'm looking forward to that.

*Dance Research Forum Ireland. Again, forget if I mentioned it but I submitted my senior thesis dance journalism proposal to this big dance scholarship/research thing and they accepted it and want me to present it via poster at their conference in Ireland in June. Yay! Work paid off. It's expensive though, so I'm not positive I'll be attending yet...

*starting to rehearse for a little student showcase with the people I take class with all the time, to be on February 24. Fun. I love them.

*internship at The New Yorker starts pretty soon after the new year. I'm sooo ready for that, but I'll miss my current internship.

Ah. Well, I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but there's an update for now. I'm back in the city and sore from class (since I took almost 2 weeks off besides a single class here and there). It's nice to have a few days of "vacation" to enjoy the city before getting back to school and work and such the day after new years.

And I officially graduate in 4 weeks.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

Apologies yet again for the lack of posts...I'm home now for the holidays (until Thursday) but will do a nice long update on the past week when I get back to the city. Not much excitement has been going on since school finished so not much to blog about anyway! hah

Oh, check out Christmas Gift Ideas for Dancers over at the Winger. My suggestion was the flexi-stretcher, haha.

Have a happy, safe, and restful holiday :)

Friday, December 21, 2007


How is it that even when I'm done with all my work I still can't find time to blog? Haha.

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, but I did just post (after a month's absence..oops) over on The Winger, so take a look. Just a general roundup of recent events.

A friend took me to see an interesting version of Nutcracker tonight...perhaps a review will come soon, but nothing official. It was very very different, let's just leave it at that, haha.

Oh, and I took class yesterday after not having it for a week (performing is different from taking class...20 minute warm up in socks in the dressing room with Britney Spears and hyper dancers blasting in the background doesn't count). I'm a bit sore, including my Achillles which has yet to be checked out but will be when I'm home next week.

There's a quick update...happy Friday.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

celebrate! semester is over

I turned in my last paper this morning, and I am SO DONE with this insane semester.


Haven't had time to write much lately, but I will do a good post tonight or tomorrow...promise. And watch for website and blog design updates coming soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Nut all done!

I'm back in the city after Nutcracker weekend!

All the shows went well and were fun. It's nice to be done with it though. And to get a paycheck in my hand at the end of the performances was SO satisfying! Maybe that sounds wrong, but it's like, to have the opportunity to do what you love AND get paid on top of the experience itself is so great. I don't know. Nevermind, haha.

Anyways here are some more pictures...I have performance shots and even (blurry) videos coming soon that my family took from the audience :)

Meanwhile when getting home tonight I got to meet up with my favorite visitors!!! I've missed them so very much and I'm so happy they came for a few days (even though it's the last, busiest days of the semester!)! We're going to have some fun...

snow costumes

the NY girls

on the train on our final return from CT

my favorite out-of-towners and I in front of the tree @ LC

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nut week 2 day 2

Today's shows went really well. It was yet another long day, but it was fun. I love being onstage.

My family came to the later performance and it was good to see them. I took pictures with them while still in costume but I'll have to upload those later from their camera. Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from backstage:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nut week 2 day 1

Today was our first day at Mohegan Sun! It's so much bigger and better than last week's theater. Especially the backstage area.

We had spacing and tech rehearsal all day, but like last week, it was a lot of sitting around waiting. Not so fun. We had a short break for lunch/dinner and we actually got to go out in the mall and casino area. It's so neat in there! Waterfalls and everything...

Later tonight we had dress rehearsal, which went pretty well. It was a long long long day though. We have 2 shows tomorrow so I'm looking forward to that!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

off to Nutcracker weekend #2!

In the freezing snow I'm off to the train to Connecticut for my second (and last) weekend of Nutcracker. I'm excited to be in the BIG theater this weekend, and will update regularly from the hotel :)

Also of note is that I just spoke with the NY Times dance writer about my thesis and she gave me some GREAT insight and interesting perspectives. I'll share details next week when I have time to finish off my thesis. So glad this insane semester is almost over!

Happy snow day :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

holiday fun!

After my internship today I took a break from the stress of reality and started to celebrate the holidays! Soooo much fun, but I'm left with a massive headache from all the sugar from gingerbread houses!

Monday, December 10, 2007

last issue of school paper

The December issue of MMC's school paper The Monitor is now online. This was my last issue as Features Editor before I graduate! As usual, lots of work went into it, so take a look!

Still smiling about The New Yorker internship :)

the new yorker!!! & more...

Okay, the secret is internship plans have changed as of an hour ago.

Before I accepted my spring internship at Forbes Magazine's website I had also interviewed at the mother of all magazines, Conde Nast's NEW YORKER. And I found out today that they offered me the internship. At The New Yorker. The epitome of the magazine world. AHH!

So therefore I must accept it and will be doing THAT in the spring instead of Forbes. I am so thankful for all these wonderful opportunities and am overwhelmed with options...I've never been in this kind of situation before and it's crazy!

On top of that, I don't think I mentioned that last week the contemporary company I auditioned for about a month ago emailed me asking to be a guest at their workshop thing in January and also come understudy a performance the week before at City Center! So that will be a great learning opportunity to!

So much is happening so fast. This insane semester is over in 9 days and I have so much to do until then (on top of Nutcrack week 2)...but I am not complaining! :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Nut day 4

I'm back in the city after a long long long weekend of Nutcracker.

Today's performance was definitely the best of the whole weekend. I guess it all takes some getting used to before I can feel free, but it was much more enjoyable today than usual.

Here are a few pictures...more to come after next weekend's shows at Mohegan Sun! 3 shows down, 3 to go! (and about 1 more week of insanity at school!)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Nut day 3

Today's performance was much much better than the past 2 days.

Luckily we didn't have to be there at the theater until 1pm, so we slept late and went out to breakfast before heading over. Then we just had a matinee show and that was it! It went quite well...I've figured out a nice little rosin routine so I don't fall again. Performing takes some adjusting and it's only after 2 full, long days at the theater can I be totally comfortable with everything. It's always fun, but it's just a bit tense and stressful when the directors stand in the wings and correct you immediately after coming off (even when you have to go right back on in the same dance...). BUT overall it's going well. I love those few moments of peace onstage.

After the show they had this "Sugar Plum Party" where the whole cast stands onstage in all the kids and mothers in the audience make a big long line and come around to us to say hi and get the Sugar Plum's autograph. It was hard to stand there for so long after performing and being exhausted, but it was so cute to see all the kids in their little holiday dresses and stuff! It was like a little Christmas pageant. I remember all my little dresses my mom used to put me in for that kind of funny.

Tonight we got back to the studio and got dinner, and now we're just sitting relaxing. It's nice to have some time to breathe and not be cramped in a room backstage. Oh, also today was better because some of us snuck into the house to use chairs to warm up before they opened it to the audience. It felt much better to be warmed up (what a concept).

One more show for this weekend (tomorrow matinee) and then back to the city. I feel like I've been here forever! It's been worth it though! And next weekend at Mohegan will be even better, I'm sure. :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Nut day 2

I'm writing from backstage, where I have been sitting with my heating pad listening to amusing conversation for about 3 hours now. Rehearsals can be such a waste of time...

We got up at the crack of dawn to leave the studio (where we stay) to get to the theater at 8am for a 10am show. Mind you it is quite freezing backstage, and no space to even do a plie, nevermind do barre to warm up! So hair and makeup went on fast and then we had a performance for school kids. It went pretty falling, so that's a good sign after yesterday, haha. It was cold though.

After the show they said we didn't have to be back til 1pm, so we had some time to go grab lunch on campus (we're at a college theater), so a big group of us went out in the cold. It was fun and we ate lots...

Then, since getting back to my little chair and plugging in my heating pad we have been sitting here just waiting and waiting and not rehearsing. We don't really know what's going on, but it's been a good 3 hours. We're supposed to have another full dress rehearsal at 7, but besides that it's kind of pointles for us to be here all day...ohhh well. The things we do to be onstage :)

Shows tomorrow and Sunday afternoon (and next weekend). 1 down, 5 to go.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Nut day 1

Surprise - I do have internet here in CT!

Today was Nutcracker madness week 1, day 1. It was tech and dress rehearsal day, but since we ran both flowers and snow last Sunday I didn't have to do anything until the full run later tonight. SO I literally sat in the audience for 5 hours doing nothing. Actually, I gave myself barre twice because I thought I needed to be warm for rehearsal...but no.

Dress rehearsal itself later was okay...not the best. We did a shorter version because tomorrow we do an in-school show so it's abbreviated. In snow, we started with this big pinwheel thing (typical for snow scene) and I ran right on to attatch to the girl and I felt FLAT on my butt. It was great. Smack down. I was fine and got right up, but I definitely held everyone up in the pinwheel. LUCKILY the directors didn't seem to see (they stand in the wings! tense) so nobody said anything besides 'are you okay.' And I was.

The rest of the show was okay though. Just tough adjusting to lights and stuff.

First performance tomorrow morning, then more dress rehearsal all day. Yay!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

off to Nutcracker weekend #1!

I'm just about packed and set to go for Nutcracker weekend number one! I'm excited to be onstage :)

Pictures to come over the weekend if I have internet connection at the studio where we stay...if not, then next week. Besides that I probably won't be able to post until Monday, so happy winter weekend everyone, haha.

mild annoyance at education

Okay, I try really really hard not to let certain things get to me and to avoid taking out frustrations via blog, but in my insomnia-procrastination tonight I saw this in a big ad in the new Pointe Mag and had to share...

How many PERSPECTIVE students will want to attend the Rock School Academic Program Alliance's unique college prep program when they cannot even spell or use basic grammar?! Usually it's PROSPECTIVE (not PER) who attend such fabulous schools.

I'm allowed to comment because I am an alumni, and despite their misleading self-representation in this writing, I did learn a thing or two about grammar.

Seeing that I'm currently taking a grad level copyediting class than ingrains these kinds of writing rules in my mind, I saw their huge (expensive) cardboard ad and saw that mistake and it just really really really irked me. Especially since the error is in the part where they're promoting the "educational" side of things.

I do apologize for the annoying tone, but it's hard to be proud of something or someplace when things like this come up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

i love my job

I had the best day at work (internship) today!

What started off boring, me entering business card addresses into the magazine's contact list, turned out to be such a fun day! After lunch I was invited to a press event with my bosses for this big craft show that's coming up in January (I'm in the home and crafts department) and they had a preview of the different vendors and stuff in this loft space.

It was sooo fun. What they do for that kind of thing is demonstrate their craft products by doing "make and takes," where you actually DO the craft right there at their table. It was like those old school craft fairs like with sand art (there was no sand art here, but that's what it reminded me of) but it was all free! I made a t-shirt with iron on things, a little birthday box filled with candy (who's bday is coming up?), a yarn pom pom, and these great wall decorations. And since we went towards the end of the day all the vendors were packing up as we ate our free brownies and they didn't want to carry all their products home on planes so they gave us all kinds of extra samples! Swag is the reason to go into magazines, if nothing else. Hahaha.

Heading back to the office with 4 of us carrying 3 bags of crafts each was quite amusing. It was lots of fun and I got some cute things to do once the semester is over and I can (briefly before January term starts) have a life again.

One more day til I head out to Hartford for Nutcracker! Lots of packing and papers to write before I go...

Monday, December 3, 2007

career day?

Today I gave a dance/dance criticism "lecture" at this high school I was asked to visit. In case you missed the back story, my huge senior thesis project is on dance journalism and one of my professors at MMC also teaches at this high school and asked me to visit them and "inspire" them with all I'm doing. Yeah.

It was actually kind of fun! I felt like it was career day back when I was in middle school, but this time I was the "adult" in the room. Strange, haha. Not many of them were interested in the journalism part, even though I brought a stack of dance magazines and press kits and my writing and stuff. But they were interested in my stories about ballet and Nutcracker and such, and they asked lots of questions.

They even applauded my answer to the question, "Is there anything you would change about your dancing experiences in the past? Or anything you regret?" Someday soon I'll write a detailed answer to that important question on here, since it has come up a lot lately. No time right now though.

I had (ballet) class and lunch (yes, we do lunch) with my teacher this morning, which was good. However my foot is still hurting from rehearsal yesterday. Not fun. Crazy me, though, I took night class too, and all on pointe, but it actually doesn't hurt as much now as it did yesterday. Good sign I guess. I had to take class again though because I pretty much won't have a real class now for a week, because they don't give warm-up classes before performances at Albano so I just have to warm myself up. Great.

Ugh, I have SO much to do before I leave Thursday morning. Last minute school stuff and to do some work!

intern bosses on video

The magazine I intern at is doing a Christmas season special on their website where all the editors were filmed while giving a different holiday tip for readers. Thought I'd share my two bosses making their website video debut :) They're so great...the day they filmed in the studio it was such a big deal, haha. I kind of love the magazine world.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

snow, onstage and off!

It snowed today!

I had this big long creative blog post typed up and then my comptuer died (as it often does) so here's the boring version of my day...

When I woke up to snow I half-hoped I wouldn't have to go all the way to Hartford for our last Sunday of Nutcracker rehearsals...but I'm really glad I went! As a surprise we got to rehearse in the theater today instead of the studio. I guess they got in early to lay down the marley, so we spaced and ran through everything today so that Thursday won't be so stressful (tech and dress day).

It was fun! I really love being onstage and being in a theater and everything. And this theater is super spacious because it's not in a city, haha. So nice. Rehearsal itself went well, although my Achilles is acting up again. My body often decides to go crazy on me when I change dancing environments, such as going on to a hard stage or going into 20 degree weather. Lovely.

Besides being unable to walk after the bus ride home, the day was good. I got home to a nice email from (my favorite) New York Times dance journalist, and Dance Editor of Time Out New York, Gia Kourlas!!! She's another contributor to The Winger and Kristin put me in contact with her to get some input for my (ever-developing-excitment) thesis. Wow! This paper is turning out to be a lot bigger of a deal than I ever expected but I'm really happy about it and that people care about it. It's no longer about my grade. It's about getting the issue out there and getting the opinions flying.

Anyway, I have yet another busy week ahead. Tomorrow after morning class I'm lecturing at that high school I mentioned last week. That should be amusing, to say the least. Tuesday and Wednesday will be mostly spent at my internship since Thursday, when I would normally be there, I'll be at the theater all day long in Connecticut. I'm spending from Thursday-Sunday staying over there and really can't wait to perform! The only part I'm not looking forward to is putting on pink tights. I've been kind of rebelling against them and wearing black tights since I "graduated" from BAE in June and have been in no rush to get them back on. But I guess Waltz of the Flowers would be slightly unattractive with little black legs sticking out of a pink costume, haha.

I'll keep posting through the busy week but come Thursday I probably won't have internet wish me luck for Nutcracker year 13!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

beginning to look a lot like xmas

I cannot believe it is December.

(Rockefeller Center pic I took last year...haven't gotten over there yet this year...)

This semester has gone by so very fast and yet so very slow. And it's almost done! Tomorrow is my last day of Nutcracker rehearsals before we go onstage next week! Yes!

Yesterday's interview for went well. He said it should be up on the website in a week or so, so you'll all get to read my amusing answers to some amusing questions. I can't help but laugh at myself sometimes, but I guess that's a good thing...

I'm still fighting a bad cold so classes have been a little rough this week. I think I'm just drained from everything, but I'm hoping the adrenaline will kick in these next two weeks of finals and performances! Too much to do to be slowed down by a headache and runny nose :(

Anyway, what lifts my spirits when I'm sick is all the pretty Christmas decorations starting to pop up around the city. The lobby of my internship office was all decorated with lights and wreathes when I went in the other morning, and today my school's lobby was decked out as well. The city is so nice at the holiday time :)

Friday, November 30, 2007

on being interviewed

I was just interviewed for this other ballet website and it was quite amusing.

The interview itself was fine, but I can't help but laugh at myself when I hear myself talking about certain things. For instance: Quesion- You do so much, do you have any kind of a social life? Answer- Ummm no

Okay, it wasn't quite as blunt as that, but I tend to ramble on and on about things and I just crack myself up. I guess that's a good thing...

Also, I hate the fact that I continue to talk about certain things and experiences as if they were so wonderful when in fact that were some of the worst times of my life. No details, but it's hard to denounce certain things in public even though it's true.

Being interviewed myself gave me some insight into what it's like for the people that I interview for MY articles and such. It's like, there are certain things you want to say and touch upon but the questions don't really lend themselves to that, so you find a way to finagle an answer in where it doesn't fit. I'm afraid when you read the transcribed interview it won't make much sense, but it did in my mind, haha. I'm not much of a conversationalist (especially when I'm sick, like now) but it should be a fun read when it comes online in a week or two!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

more opportunity

Tonight I had my last class of my 'intro to dance' course at school. It may have seemed like a joke to take it, but it has paid off...

First of all, I had to present my final paper tonight, which was an excerpt from my thesis. I brought a whole bunch of magazines and my laptop to show websites (like The Winger and Explore Dance). After class my teacher (who teaches at a performing arts high school in the city) asked if I would come lecture her students on dance criticism and my experiences in dancing and such. How fun! Too bad I'm like the same age as some of them, haha. But it should be interesting...

She also asked if I was interested in choreographing on them for their spring show. I think I'm going to do it, but it will be my first big-scale choreography project! I've done little solos for myself here and there, and helped some friends choreograph (for Rock graduation, a BAE show, etc) but this is all me. I'm kind of excited about it even though it adds still more work to the crazy life of Taylor.

Well anyways, that's the news for the evening. Tomorrow I'm being interviewed for this new ballet website . For once, I'm not doing the interviewing, haha. The guy thought I'd be interesting to talk to because I'm in both dance and journalism...little does everyone know that I have about 5 lives going on at once (school, grad school, freelance writing, ballet, internships). So much to do and say and so little time! But also he mentioned something about a potential writing project because he runs a book publishing company. THAT would be amazing.

We'll see how everything works out.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ode to a ballet teacher

My article on my teacher Kat Wildish is now posted over on : Kat Wildish Retires From Fairy-hood but Still Spreads Magic.

This one was amazing to write...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I can officially announce that my spring internship next semester will be at Forbes Magazine. It's an editorial internship with their website, and though I'm not the best with business, it's a great opportunity that I signed on to this afternoon.

I did have another internship interview with a big name magazine today, but I won't hear from them for quite a while and it seemed best to go with the one that was offered right away. It's a good name and a good environment. And there's a few other things in the works for next semester so we'll see how it goes...

PS- the cold that was coming on has definitely hit me hard tonight. Not fun :(

Sunday, November 25, 2007

back in the city

Every time I get my first glimpse of New York City's skyline when returning from a trip, either to rehearsal in CT or home to Boston, I get the same excitement and chill I first got when I moved to the city.

Except tonight, the chill was from a cold coming on :(

Yes, it's that time of year, and I'm getting a cold from being rundown. Can't imagine why. But I'm trying hard to fight it so I can make it through the rest of the semester alive.

Besides a sore throat and headache, my Thanksgiving break was nice. Visiting friends and family was good, and having some time away from my cramped apartment full of work was refreshing. I also got time for my body to rest before the final push of Nutcracker month.

[pretending to eat all the pie on Thanksgiving. yum]

[one of my dogs, Lucy, who is so cutely posing with the huge xmas tree we just put up]

[we -- well, my mom -- always decorate for christmas soon after thanksgiving for parties and such, and because the house is crazy we go ALL OUT. This would be just part of the massive Nutcracker collection that lines the entire counter]

Went back to rehearsal today...only one more Sunday left til we're onstage! I really can't wait. Mohegan Sun seats 10,000 people! That's almost more than all the theaters I've ever danced in put together -- and I've been in some big places.

Besides that I have some other things to look forward to. The big internship I interviewed for last week left me a message before break offering me the position for the spring. I have my big article due this week. I'm finishing up my last issue (before I graduate) of our school paper The Monitor. I'm being interviewed for this new dance website and may possibly get another writing gig from that.

As always, a ton of stuff is going on. I thrive on opportunity, but let's hope this cold doesn't keep me down.

Friday, November 23, 2007

happy thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving (yesterday) haha.

I'm home and attempting to relax but wanted to post quickly.

I'm making some updates on my website since I could finally download the actual editing software rather than using the online version. So keep a lookout for that.

I have rehearsal Sunday, so I probably won't write again until after that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

PA Ballet review & about the author has posted my review of Pennsylvania Ballet along with a little About the Author section I did.

Check it out :)

getting work done

I'm finally starting to make a dent in the pile of work I have to get done for the rest of the semester.

Last night I finished my (exceedingly long) draft of my thesis on dance writing and the shift from print to the internet. What was supposed to be a 10-15 page draft with roughly 20 sources turned out to be 23 pages with 62 sources! Did I go a bit overboard or what? Well, that's how I do things I guess.

I also just finished my review of Pennsylvania Ballet, which should be up over at soon.

I still have a ton to do, but luckily my internship let me out early today because of the holiday, so I have some extra time I wasn't counting on. I'm trying to get as much done now so I can pretend to have a REAL break over Thanksgiving. I probably won't update as much while I'm home from Wednesday night - Sunday. Happy (almost) Thanksgiving :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

autumn in new york

Sometimes when I'm having a bad day or just need a change of pace I skip the subway and walk through the park to get to where ever I'm going (usually class). Today was one of those days...but it was raining. I didn't go through the park, but instead went through some fall pictures I took recently. Enjoy...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nutcracker countdown continues

Rehearsal today was good, but I'm getting really anxious for the performances! Only 2 more Sundays of rehearsals and then we're onstage! yay!

The conductor was there today and we were working out music and stuff. We ran all of Act II in order again...same as usual. I'm really looking forward to performing.

Interesting New York Times article on Nutcracker today...'So Many 'Nutcrackers', So Little Time'. Alastair Macaulay basically gives a history of the Nutcracker, which I'm not so sure readers of the NY Times dance section really need. One thing he mentions is Disney's film 'Fantasia' and how it uses the 'Waltz of the Flowers' music. Reading about this jogged my memory about that scene (haven't seen that film in years!) but besides that...He goes on to say:

"There is only one “Waltz of the Flowers,” and one “Nutcracker,” that surpasses this [my note: the Fantasia version]. New York is lucky in that since 1954 it has had an annual season of George Balanchine’s “Nutcracker,” a masterpiece of construction that repays endless viewings."

Yes, the Balanchine version is beautiful. But I beg to differ that the only Nutcracker better than a cartoon of dancing brooms is NYCB. I am partial to Boston's Nut, which I grew up with...and I know there are many more out there that are so great. I have to say I very much disagree with the Times.

Anyways, I don't have time to be reading! haha I have so much work to do it's not even funny...Tuesday is my deadline for a whole bunch of things, so I better get going!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

PA Ballet

Tonight 2 of my friends and I went to see Pennsylvania Ballet's performance for me to review for ExploreDance. It was such a nice night!

The performance itself was quite beautiful. They did Seranade (that music gives me goosebumps) and Matthew Neenan's Carmina Burana. Very different from each other, but both really well done. Full review to come.

It was nice to the company here after doing Nutcracker with them back in my Rock days. Familiar faces of those I admired as a Hoop in Nut...and also some friends who were at school with me there who are now apprentices. How small this ballet world is.

Speaking of that, during intermission I ran into Darla and Julia, the directors of BAE! I haven't seen or heard from them since I left in June when the year finished (actually, Julia was around a bit over the summer when I worked there, but it's different). It was nice to catch up with them and it made me realize how much has happened and has changed since I left there. Seems like forever ago.

Afterwards my friends and I went to dinner and laughed a lot. It was fun because I hardly ever have time to go out at all any more! I really didn't even have time for tonight (thesis, stats project, and 2 articles due on Tuesday..eek!) but it was worth it.

Nutcracker rehearsal all day tomorrow as usual. More insane busy-ness for the beginning of the week before I go home for Thanksgiving on Wednesday!

so tired

I am dead tired tonight from this crazy week!

The rest of my afternoon after this morning's post was quite busy. I had an internship interview that went well, but it was kind of intense! Hard to explain but it was different from what I was used to as far as those things go. Seems like a nice opportunity, and the lady said she thought it went well, but we'll see. I have some other potential opportunities for next semester coming up lately and I don't know where it will take me yet.

After that I did another interview for my other article. Mystery person #4 (who might be revealed sooner than the others) was nice and helpful like the others. I'm starting to get a sense of exactly where this article is going, so now I just have to sit down and write it!

After all that I took class and rehearsal all night as my Friday nights usually go. It probably wasn't a smart idea to take most of the week off and then hit 3 technique classes in one day. I'm quite in pain this evening, and I was feeling my foot a bit in class which hasn't bothered me in a while now, so I don't know. The last thing I need is to be injured, haha. No, I'm fine though. That's my motto: I'm fine.

Alrighty, well I really need to do some work (even though it's late!) and then get to bed. Tomorrow after school (yes, Saturday mornings I have my graduate class) and ballet I'm going to see Pennsylvania ballet at City Center to review for ExploreDance, so I'm looking forward to that. Then Nutcracker rehearsal all day Sunday. 2 more Sundays before we're in the theater! Yes!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Complexions review posted

My review of Complexions is now up over at

Click here.

I just did an interview with my ballet teacher for an article for that site as well. Oh my goodness, what a conversation! I cannot wait to write this one. She is amazing. Just you wait.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the energizer bunny

I feel like the Energizer Bunny this week...I just keep going and going and going, haha.

I had work all day today. Whenever I say work, I mean my internship. And it only feels like "work" because it's in an office. It's really quite enjoyable. Today I got to go to another press event, this time for Walmart, and my boss came with me. Like Target the other day, they had some nice things they showed us that are set to be in stores in the spring. Got some nice swag (aka free stuff) out of the deal :) and got to talk more to my boss (she's too nice to be a "boss") about jobs and such.

School tonight was the usual. I'm starting to realize how little time there is left in the semester. I only have 3 more Thursday nights of classes thanks to Thanksgiving next week. This semester has flown by! Probably because I've done ten thousand things in the span of 3 months.

I've gotten some more comments on my thesis post over at The Winger if you want to check 'em out. It's so nice to hear from people! More people should comment on THIS blog too, since lately I've been getting some new readers...

Another super busy day tomorrow like yesterday. I finally have a chance to take class since I've barely had time to do so all week. After morning class I'm interviewing my teacher (she's amazing) for an ExploreDance article. Then I have an internship interview (the first interview in a while where I'm not the one asking the questions, haha). Then another interview for my other article (4th of 5). Then taking class the rest of the evening as I usually do on Friday nights. It's funny how right now class is like my reward for getting everything else done, whereas many times it feels like something I just have to do or have to get over with. Maybe that makes me appreciate it more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Complexions was so good!!!

Full review to come at

Due to the last minute planning of the evening I went alone, but I ended up sitting next to the Editor of Pointe Magazine whom I interned with almost 2 years ago! The dance world is sooo small, haha. It was nice to see her. The performance was really great...just really long (2 intermissions...2 1/2 hours).

As a follow up to my most recent post about being busy:
-ended up doing another interview tonight before the performance, 3 down 2 to go
-have a (pretty exciting) internship interview scheduled for Friday afternoon. It's a good one, although not much can beat where I work right now! This one's only for fall/January though.

SO busy!

This day, and week, has been insane!

This morning I did another interview for movmnt. Mystery person #2 was also really nice and gave me GREAT anecdotes to use in the article.

Then I just got out of a lonnnng audition for Rebecca Kelly Ballet, this contemporary company downtown. It was a really nice audition -- I liked the choreography a lot, and it wasn't too crowded. She has another audition in December before she makes any decisions or whatever, so I won't hear back for a while. It felt more like a good class than an audition, so...think positive.

Now I'm fumbling around trying to respond to many many messages I got while in the audition...I got last minute press tickets to review Complexions tonight, so I'm arranging for that to happen. I've been playing phone tag with another movmnt interviewee and I'm try to get that squared away. I got a call from a very important internship asking for references and an interview, so I'm in the process of that as well. Crazy! You know I'm busy when I can even find time to take class! I guess the audition counted though.

Anyway, I better get to work on organizing my life and stop rambling on here, haha. Report on Complexions coming later tonight :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

more intern fun

Today was another fun day at work (internship).

I got to go to a press event for a new design collection for Target. Fun! They have some cute stuff coming out in January.

The rest of the day we had another photo shoot. I like the days when we shoot because I'm not at a desk all day (as much as I enjoy my cubicle...and I'm not being sarcastic!). It's more interactive and fun. Everyone at the magazine is so nice. Today was exciting because the photo editor made cupcakes and brought them in, haha. Oh the things that brighten a day...

More interviews coming up this week. For this website I'm going to write for I get to interview my ballet teacher! Pretty excited about that one...haha I'm a dork beyond words.

This week is going by really fast and I have sooo much work to do. I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week! I'm going home to the family, which will be a nice (short!) break. So much to do before then though...just trying to keep everything in control.

Monday, November 12, 2007

movmnt interview #1

This morning I did my first interview for my article for movmnt magazine. I don't want to give away who it was (to leave suspense for the article to come out, haha) but it went really well!

Mystery person #1 was really nice and had some interesting things to say. I can't wait to get this article on paper! It would be so nice if there were all the print space in the world to share full interviews with everyone, but as my thesis topic shows yet again, it cannot be done. So you'll have to settle for a few quotes in the final draft of the article printed in January!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

rehearsal in costume

This weekend was nice because I only had to go out to CT for Nutcracker rehearsal today instead of spending the entire weekend out there.

It seemed to pass much faster since I didn't stay over, and rehearsal itself is getting better and better as we get closer. We've officially finished setting everything and are now running through Act II all the way through. It's finally starting to feel like a show, and I'm finally building up stamina to make it through without my calves turning to rocks, haha.

Before we ran Act II today we went through Snow as usual, but we got to do it in costume! We had fittings a few weeks back and the costumes are so pretty, but it's better when we actually wear them to dance. The choreography has several moments where we hold or play with the skirt (it's to the knee) so it was helpful to actually have something to swish around. And it just feels pretty to be sparkly, haha.

I can't believe it: 3 more Sundays until we're onstage! It's going by quickly...can't wait to actually be performing. One of my teachers once said, "The stage is sacred." Performing is living. It is why I dance, and why I breathe.

Okay, that was dramatic. But anyways I have an insanely busy week this week...interviewing people for my momvmnt magazine article, cracking down on my 20 page thesis, starting The Monitor's December issue, reviews of 2 performances for ExploreDance. Oh, where do I even begin...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

conversations about dance blogs

Recently I posted my thesis proposal on The Winger to get more input from dance bloggers and readers, since my topic concerns dance writing and the shift to the internet. It seemed fitting to publicize my ideas there just to get them out there, but the response was something so amazing!

People genuinely care about this topic, and I'm so excited about that. Dance journalism is not something to be forgotten as it would seem from diminishing coverage in print. Today even the former dance editor of The Village Voice left a comment on the post! It sparked great conversation and I can only hope more discussion will come. This week I have to sit down and make time (which I verrry little of) to write a draft of the thesis paper. It's a ton of work, but I'm so ready to get it all on paper!

On top of that I have writing assignments now for I'm reviewing a couple of performances next week and doing some other articles. Exciting!

Also this week I'm starting my many interviews for my movmnt magazine article, so that should be interesting. I love getting the opportunity to speak to these incredible people! That's why I want to be a writer -- to hear these stories and ideas and get them out there for others to hear. As movmnt's editor reminded me, "As journalists, we are storytellers."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Flexi-stretcher: my new addiction

As much as I need my gingerbread latte nowadays, I need the flexi-stretcher before or after class!

This thing is unbelievable. Basically, it helps you stretch in the absolute correct position so you can't cheat and use other muscles or twist your bones or anything. It mainly helps improve your arabesque and get your leg right behind you, but it can be used for tons of other things.

Last night after class we had a demonstration with the girl, Rachel, who invented it. She's a dancer herself and had a whole series of exercises to go along with this amazing stretchy band. From abs, to arms, to extension, this thing does it all!

I've had mine for about 2 weeks now (but was borrowing from friends for about a week prior to ordering mine) and I definitely feel a difference! Most notably in my back is extremely tight and always has been, but this contraption gets my hips loose and in the right position so my leg goes up. It builds muscle and strength as it stretches, and when I'm in class after using it I imagine having it on and can feel the right alignment. It pulls my shoulder back too, which I often twist and hunch to aim for better extension.

I highly highly highly recommend buying one if you want a great stretch! It's a little pricey but well worth the investment. I got mine at Discount Dance, but you can also go on the flexi-sretcher website to order and see demonstrations.

Warning: It's addicting! :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

the write stuff

Today I met with the editor of movmnt magazine - a new(ish) quarterly dance and pop culture magazine - and received my first BIG writing assignment.

I'm incredibly excited that this worked out! We came in contact with each other over the new dance social networking site, THE (INTER) MISSION and after some back and forth conversation he offered me an article for the next issue!

It's a nice 4 page spread (my work to this point has been maybe 1/2 a page, max!), and I have to interview a few big names in the dance world(!). This is a big big step for me and lots of work, but I'm so excited to get this opportunity!

Also of note is that I may start writing for another dance criticism website, Explore Dance. Through the Winger the editor saw my writing and thought I'd be a good fit. No details on this yet, but it's in the works.

At my internship they are starting to let me write for the magazine as well, so things are looking up! I wrote a short piece yesterday (mostly product descriptions...more like ad copy really) but next week I actually get to do an interview and write it up. More published clips!

This is an exciting time for at least one of my hopeful careers.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Monitor - Nov. Issue

The November issue of our school paper, The Monitor (of which I'm the Features Editor), is now available online.

Lots of work went into this, so please take a look at the .pdf and enjoy! Page 10 has one feature of mine, and page 11 has the very cut down version of my interviews for the DAW performance of the Dance Dept.

I only get to work on one more issue before I graduate. Scary!

Ballet + College = NYTimes article

As mentioned in my letter to Dance Spirit, I think it's really important for dancers to have an education. Though it was once frowned upon as a distraction and waste of time, college is becoming more and more prominent in the lives of professional dancers.

See this article in the NY Times yesterday. It talks about the new LEAP program a lot of New York area dancers are starting. My teacher who helped me graduate high school early is helping out with the program and it sounds really great for dancers with limited time.

I hope this is the start of a more forgiving and encouraging outlook of the ballet world towards education.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

good week

What is the magic ingredient that makes one class (and my resulting mood) quite good, and the next so horribly bad?

I wish I knew.

But this past week of class and rehearsal has been quite good for some unknown reason. I don't know what it is, but I felt like all of last week I had more energy or something. This weekend of rehearsal was similar. Can't explain it, but I hope it continues on this week!

I get into these modes sometimes where I realize how lucky I am right now. I go through my ups and downs a lot, but then I get to a point where I see that I really truly can't complain about my life: I'm in the best city in the world, doing what I love, at the brink of 2 possible careers, with the support of the people I love. I have to remind myself of that sometimes when I'm down -- there's nowhere else I'd rather be, no other way I'd rather be spending my time or living my life than the way it is right now.

Lots of stuff going on and coming up soon. I'm starting to interview for potential spring internships (seems like I just started my fall one yesterday!) along with working on my many papers/projects for the rest of the semester. Other writing assignments are popping up that I'm excited about but will keep me ever-more busy. Starting to think of audition season in the back of my mind...Classes and rehearsals as usual...

I'm counting down until Thanksgiving break (not much of a break though) and then til performances, and then til the end of the semester!

Friday, November 2, 2007

celebrate! gingerbread lattes are back

Today is like a holiday for me - it was the first day of the year that Starbucks began selling their limited-time-only seasonal Ginerbread Lattes for the holidays!

For 2 months of the year this phenominal caffeinated beverage becomes my drink of choice, and it is truly a tragic day come January when I ask the bored barista for one and they are out of gingerbread syrup. Tear!

But they are back! And I had one this morning, which for me marks the beginning of winter (it's freezing today!) and the beginning of the holiday season. I have a mental association with the warmth of coffee and the insanity of Nutcracker that is so comforting.

Yes, it's the little things in life...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

internship photo fun

While at work today I realized I haven't posted much about my internship at all since I started a month ago! So I felt an update was in order...

Today was a really fun day at the magazine. We had a photo shoot alllll day long, and it was so cool! They have shoots all the time in the studio right there in the office, but this was the first I was able to attend and help with. What an experience! I've been on other shoots for other magazines and things but this one was particularly neat because things are different when it's done in-house.

It was an all day affair and rather exhausting even though my job was basically to be a fly on the wall. I had to steam some shirts that the models wore (one of the few menial intern-type tasks I deal with) but besides that I sat back and just observed - how they make the set, how they decide on color schemes, how important props are, how they decide on the perfect pose, how they choose the final picture from the (literally) thousands of shots they take. Thank goodness for digital photography!

Anyway it was a really interesting day and it's times like these when I realize how lucky I am to be involved! My bosses are so great, and the photographer and photo editor and makeup artist and everyone were so fun to be around all day. Our one editor and I were talking and she asked how I liked working in magazines, and I said "I love it!" After dance (or instead of, if need be...argh) this is definitely the industry for me. She was like, "They don't teach this stuff in school. It's a whole other animal..." and she's completely right. That's what internships are for.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


SO much fun.

Tin Man, Scarecrow, and me, Dorothy. We're quite a crew. And yes, I danced on a yellow brick road and carried Toto in his basket for the whole class :)

me and Vladimir, our amazing pianist!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MEMORY: Anticipating Halloween

So I'm having yet another case of insomnia - where I cannot get to sleep because I'm thinking of all the work I should be doing, and instead of being productive while being awake I do things like go through old pictures and reread old blogs, etc.

I've been reminscing a lot lately, thinking back myself and talking to some (not so) old friends, and I've decided to start a new installment to this blog: MEMORIES. I'll post an old photo or two and write a bit about some experience or another. Not that I don't have plenty going on right now to write about, but I enjoy thinking back and I have tons of pictures from those times but little writing.

So here's MEMORY post #1 - Halloween.

I came across my pictures from last year's Halloween class and thought I'd put them on here for a laugh. Halloween and ballet have always gone together, for as long as I can remember. Wherever I happen to be in a given year we always dress up for class and attempt to dance in impossible costumes. It's tradition (my personal best costume for class was the fat clown suit, Rock 2004).

(Me and Victoria as clowns. Can't believe I actually just put this on here! May have to delete in the morning when I regain sanity...She may kill me when she sees this haha)

I'm definitely looking forward to Halloween this year, but I have to say last year was definitely one of the's hard to explain why so instead I'll just post some pictures. Enjoy!

Everyone at the studio.

Some of us before class.

The circle of trust.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And the Nutcracker countdown begins...

I'm back from another lonnnnng weekend of Nutcracker rehearsals in Connecticut. After one last midterm exam Saturday morning I hopped on the bus and was there all weekend til now. Luckily this weekend went much smoother than last weekend.

A new girl just joined the cast last week, so Saturday night we spent most of the time teaching the choreography to her. It was a good review for me because I'm still not completely comfortable in it. It's hard to only see something once a week and have no prep time before jumping right into it full out (not even a warm up or moment to mark through it!). So we worked until pretty late with that. It's hard because there's no set finish time for those rehearsals because those of us staying over from the city are literally living at the studio, so they can keep us working til all hours of the night if they wanted! They don't, but it's still hard to pace yourself when you don't know just how long you'll be working.

Anyway after rehearsal we finally had some time to ourselves so we go to go out to eat and one of the dancers that lives there gave us a mini tour of Hartford. It's such a cute little city - more like a suburb actually. The houses are beautiful and it was cool because many had Halloween (!) decorations out. It reminded me of my small town back home, and it was refreshing to get some air outside the city.

Then today it was back to rehearsal. We worked a lot on Snow today. I think that music might be my favorite part of Nutcracker. I remember back in the day in Boston I used to LOVE listening to that music backstage - and also from the orchestra pit the few years I got to be in the chorus because I was in Act II. That was quite the experience, seeing the snow scene from the conductor's perspective. That's the one thing I really do miss about home...Boston's Nutcracker. I grew up with it like I grew up with my family. That production will always be the first that comes to mind with that music, even though I've done many other versions since then.

Anyways - I'm rambling. Rehearsal went fairly well, and then our bus back left right on time for once. It's a nice treat to get home a decent hour on a Sunday night so I can prepare for the week.

Since last week was midterms and I did a ton of work and everything I gave myself the weekend off from homework. Usually I carry massive amounts of books with me on the bus, but this weekend I brought just one book to read for enjoyment. I haven't read for enjoyment (besides my weekly NY Magazine reading) in sooo long. All this school work takes over and I lose the time and energy to just sit and read. So I took Tony Bentley's biography, "Winter Season." She was a dancer in NYCB and it's all about her experiences with Balanchine and so forth.

I'm such a ballet dork reading ballet books, but 1) I like to hear different accounts of people in the ballet world who have worked with some of the teachers I know etc and 2) I hope to wite these kinds of books some day. So it's multipurpose, haha. But I finished the entire book this weekend and it was great. Highly recommended if you're a dance fan :)

Anyways I'm off to prepare for yet another busy week. I'm looking forward to Halloween class on Wednesday ( to come). 3 days til that. 3 weekends til Thanksgiving. 3 months from yesterday I graduate!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Beginnings...(Winger cross-post)

In case you haven't been keeping up, The Winger and the new dance social networking site, THE INTER MISSION, have been starting some very interesting conversations about dance. It's so wonderful how these topics are finally finding a place to be discussed effectively.

Anyways, one that I found amusing tonight was this question: How did you first discover dance?

Kind of relates to one of my previous posts. Here was my brief reply (if I had time I would write a book about my beginning):

My family actually owns a local studio in our small town back home, and I started there practically when I was born! My grandmother, aunt, and mom used to run it (now just my mom) and I was at the barre in ballet class with 8 year olds when I was, like, 3! I don't know what my family was thinking (haha) but that was the beginning to my inevitable future.

It wasn't really until I started at Boston Ballet when I was 7 (after seeing Nutcracker and being absolutely stunned) that I could really appreciate dance and start to understand the world around it. This was my first "real" dance class, and I was in love with the music and the movement.

It's fun to reminsce....
I would be the little chubby one on the end on the right hahaha


I'd love to hear how everyone else discovered dance...I want to start making this blog more interactive (so post comments please!!) since I've recently upped my page views...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

benefit performance

Tonight was the big benefit performance for the Tyler Dunne Foundation, with many of my friends and classmates (and teacher!) dancing in the show.

I was planning to help backstage but they didn't really need me. I ended up just watching dress rehearsal and then the actual performance. It was kind of a variety show of a bunch of different acts - ballet, jazz, modern, singing, musical theater....the works. Very entertaining. Everyone did beautifully! The audience (laregly made up of people from class) was definitely happy, and honestly it felt like a family, seeing so many familiar faces showing support to classmates.

Kat got a well-deserved standing ovation, of course. I was amazed. She looked like she was enjoying herself so much. Royce too!

The closing number was Jailhouse Rock (the one most people I know were in) and it was so cute! It was like ballet vs. musical theater. It looked like a blast!

I so would have loved to just didn't work out. Lately it's quite hard for me to sit and watch performances because I want to be up there! But I was so happy for everyone who was onstage. Congrats everyone!!! :)

This has been a tough week for various reasons...midterms, etc...I really just want the rest of the semester to fly by immediately. I'm ready for it all to be over.

Another set of my words to live by: what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dance Spirit letter to the editor, by me!!!

This is from the new November 2007 issue of Dance Spirit Magazine... it's my response to their Septemeber issue on college vs. dance. See page 38 of the issue. Another published clip :)

Click on the image to see it bigger so you can read it!

PS- the part about Ajkun Ballet Theater is no longer valid, but it was the plan at the time I wrote this. Other stuff has come up in it's place...

DAW interviews, part 3/3

Here's the last set of interviews I did for my piece in The Monitor about MMC's Dance Department showcase of Dancers At Work. See parts 1 and 2 also.

I'll be putting them all together later this week for the actual piece that will run in the paper, but I thought it was important to share everyone's full answers. Thanks again to all who took the time to speak to me :)



K- untitled for now, 5 dancers, exploration of women
T- ‘The Dilemma’, 3 dancers (double cast), different ways to cope with dilemma
L- ‘Occupational Hazard’, 7 dancers

TAYLOR- Can you tell me about what the process has been like?

L- It’s been exciting and nerve-racking.

K- The process is really strange because it’s like all of a sudden going from being a student in the not dominant position and suddenly being in a position of power and of authority. Standing up in front of all, what is 100 something dance majors and directing them. That was strange right off the bat. But also it’s hard because it’s not just who you want in your dance but who fits the schedule. It’s more complicated than desired.

T- I remember after the audition so many people came up to me [and were] like, ‘Did you write my name down?’ ‘I don’t remember!’ [laughs] Actually my dancers, my dancers that are in my piece, asked me that same question. ‘I don’t remember actually!’ [laughs] It’s totally based on schedule, mostly.
Movements on my body look totally different from movement on their bodies. Because my dancers are chosen by the schedule, my vocabulary is not necessarily good on them.

K- I think I lucked out. I got some really great dancers. The great thing about it, the way that they do it, is that people will surprise you. They’ll change your movement but it’ll be something you didn’t expect or you didn’t know could happen and it makes it even better than I thought it would be.

T- I think I have both experiences. Sometimes I feel like the movement is not good on their bodies and sometimes it’s totally different but looks good. I think it has both aspects.

TAYLOR- Is it hard to work with people who are your peers? Like establishing control and setting yourself apart?

K- I just have to go into a mode, quickly going from being in class with these people to then just realizing that although I want it to be a great experience and everything, it’s still my work that’s going onstage. So I want to make sure that I really…I don’t know…I’m also a control freak, so it works out.

T- It is really hard because of my language problem. English is not my first language, so sometimes I feel like they don’t understand what I’m saying because of the language I’m speaking. But sometimes not, just what I’m saying is really abstract and a new idea for them, and they don’t get it right away. So I feel sorry for them constantly and that makes it hard for me to be the choreographer, the powerful person in the rehearsal.

L- For me it’s been okay because most of my dancers are freshmen and they don’t have any preconceived notions. But in the end it’s like, ‘You’re the ones dancing it.’

TAYLOR- What’s your first language?

T- Japanese.

TAYLOR- How much collaboration is there with the dancers? Do they help you create movements?

K- I’ve done some very structured improvisation. At the beginning I did a lot of improvisation based on the feelings in my piece, and that was more just to acclimate them to the different qualities that I’m looking for. In the end it’s my choreography. Because I don’t have a wealth of experience it’s really great to have that input. I ask them a lot, ‘How does that make you feel when you do it?’ just so I can get a grasp.

T- I don’t give my dancers the timing of the movements. It’s totally up to them. You can call it improvisation. Yeah, I’ve had them do improvisation a few times in rehearsal whenever I don’t have solid ideas of the movement.

TAYLOR- Can you talk a bit about your faculty mentors? Who are they?

K- I have Pat. She’s great. I took composition with her, so we already have a good rapport and an understanding of each other and the way we work. She’ll come in to the beginning of one of the rehearsals a week and she’ll basically just watch the piece and point out spots that stick out as awkward. She’ll give some ideas. She won’t necessarily tell me what to do but she’ll help me generate ideas.

T- I have Pat too. What she said [Kim] is what I have to say.

L- I also have Pat. It’s helpful to have another eye. Sometimes I’ll be thinking of something and then she’ll reassure it. She helps me challenge myself.

TAYLOR- Are there any outside choreographic influences besides your mentors? Any outside choreographers…

K- I think you can’t help but be influenced by your teachers and the people you’ve worked with. Even just all the pieces I’ve been in in the department, whether it’s deciding I don’t want to choreograph anything like that, or picking not necessarily the steps or the movements but spatial formations. How can I do something similar to that? I don’t know.

T- I am definitely influenced by my teacher from Japan. That’s one of the challenges: to break the vocabulary from her. It’s frustrating. Whatever I do I feel like I’m doing her stuff.

K- I constantly feel like, ‘Wait. Did I see that somewhere before?’

T- Yeah!

L- I would say the same thing. You’re always influenced by whoever you dance with. And even when I go and see performances I’m like, ‘Oh, I like that movement,’ and then it will spark something else. Not necessarily doing the same thing, but it’s giving you an idea and it’s like, ‘Oh, I never thought of that before.’

TAYLOR- What else inspires you creatively? Is it music or anything else besides choreographers?

K- I’m personally inspired by improvisation. In my improvisation classes I’ve really discovered a way that I like to move and that makes me creative. Also I’m really interested in visual art. Music inspires me - not necessarily in that it’s a piece of music I’ll use - but I’ll take rhythms from other pieces of music and use it as a rhythm in my dance that goes against the music of my piece. I’m really inspired my literature too, because I’m a dork and I like to read.

T- People in public. I love gesture and movement. I cannot stop watching people. That’s good you know, just shaking hands.

L- I would just say music. I’m always listening to my iPod on, and even if it’s music that I would normally listen to and I’ll find little phrases that I like.

TAYLOR- What’s been the biggest challenge for you in the whole process of choreographing?

T- Time. We don’t really have time to finish the piece. We have the deadline, clear deadline, that’s coming soon. Choreography is not like if you try, you can make something. It’s not like that. You have to be creative. That creativity doesn’t come because you want it. So it’s really hard.

L- Yeah sometimes I’m like, ‘I’m not motivated right now. I’m not going to.’

T- But you still have rehearsal.

L- Yeah, you still have your rehearsal. You have to walk in with something because you have that time to do it.

K- My biggest challenge is self-judgment. Making something and being like, ‘Okay, that’s good because I made it.’ Not worrying about it being unique or mind boggling or earth shattering, but just being like, ’It’s good because I made it.’ That’s the hardest part.

L- And finding new ways to choreograph, too. I always find myself with my old habits and it gets monotonous. I have to try to find new ways to do everything.

TAYLOR- What’s been the best part?

K- Watching something when it works. Putting on the music and having the dancers go and it actually working. It might not have been what I thought it was going to be but ah, if it works…

T- When what I picture in my brain becomes reality, it’s the greatest moment ever.

L- Just putting everything together. We tweak everything and work on it so many times, and when we finally put the music on and put everything together, it works.

TAYLOR- Do you all want to choreograph in the future, like after you graduate?

K- This has definitely been an experience that I will rethink any future choreography. I will not jump in to any major projects. I’d probably approach it a lot differently.

L- It’s a different setting here, with all the deadlines, and this is exactly when you have to do it. It’s like all eyes on you. You’re not just doing it for fun. Maybe I’ll finish it - no, I don’t like that part. You have to progressively go.

K- There’s also the problem that for some people, this is the only performance of the whole semester. You feel like you have a responsibility to give them they want to perform. You have to consider their opinion.

TAYLOR- Do you have any advice for future choreographers for DAW?

L- You have to just figure it out for yourself.

K- Come in with as many ideas as possible.

T- You have to sit somewhere and picture how it looks onstage and not in the studio. Sometimes you lose the original picture and you have to think of how it’s going to be on stage.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Since I can't sing it to her in person (except maybe via phone, but I can't sing haha) I figured it would be best to wish her happy birthday on here!

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Mom
Happy Birthday to you

Miss you Mom! Love you :)

DAW Interviews, part 2

Another set of interviews I did for The Monitor. See part 1 from last week...more to come soon.



H-“Of the Earth,” 5 dancers, 2nd time DAW
E- “Conversely Tangled,” 9 dancers, 3rd time DAW

TAYLOR- What has the DAW process been like?

E- The process for me was a bit rocky at the beginning because I was actually injured, like the 3rd day of school. So I was on crutches for a while, so to choreograph was very super hard. I have really good dancers and they’re very perceptive and they’re very fast so it makes things a lot easier. But as far as working with the dancers it’s always a really good experience because everyone in the program is really on top of things. They’ll dance for you like they’ll dance for a faculty member. I really don’t have any problems with it.

H- You try and make it systematic so that dancers can pick things up well, but things choreographically don’t work that way. The creative process can’t be systematic. You can’t plan it sometimes. What you think in your head doesn’t always work in real life. Some of the best stuff comes through improve or having a simple idea and testing it out on the dancers and seeing the trials and errors. It’s a really fun, frustrating, and rewarding process.

E- All at the same time!

H- All at the same time.

TAYLOR- Is it hard to work with the dancers in the sense that they’re your peers?

E- In some ways yeah, because you’re automatically in a position of authority but at the same time they’re your peers, so it’s a little bit a conflict of interest sometimes. Overall there’s not any issues with respect or anything like that, so it’s pretty good.

H- For me it’s been really fun. It hasn’t been stressful at all to have my peers. Everyone respects each other very much.

E- Yeah.

H- Because..I don’t know, we just all do.

E- They understand what you’re trying to do. And a lot of them are like, ‘Well I wouldn’t want to do that anyway.’

H- It’s hard to stay focused sometimes because we have so much fun and we get into side conversations.

E- Yeah that is a downfall.

TAYLOR- How much collaboration is there with the dancers? Do they help you make up steps and stuff?

E- Yes. I usually come in with a set phrase I want to work on or a set minute or chunk of the piece I want to work on, and then once the movement is on the dancers I feel like it automatically just tweaks itself because it’s on a different body; it’s not on yourself. So if automatically shifts itself. In general I feel like working with your dancers is a very very valuable tool because you can come up with possibilities you didn’t think of on your own, or like your body doesn’t allow you to do. Especially when I was on crutches trying to choreograph, I’m like “Oh yeah, that can actually work because you can actually dance.”

TAYLOR- I bet that was hard.

E- Yeah it was crazy, but all better now!

H- The dancers definitely help me out. Especially for this piece I had them improvise a lot where they travel in space. Actually yesterday I gave them something very specific I wanted them to do, and somehow everyone started the same phrase at a different time, and it was awesome! So I told them to keep it. A mistake can be a blessing.

E- I love when stuff like that happens!

H- It’s awesome. They felt so bad and I’m like ‘Do it again! It was so good.’

TAYLOR- Can you talk a little bit about your faculty mentors? Who are they and how do they work with you?

E- Mine is Nancy. She’s very very perceptive. She actually hasn’t come too much to my rehearsals, but the ones that she does come to she definitely helps me out a lot. She always has something valuable to say. It’s not so much like, ‘Oh change this.’ It’s more like, ‘What do you think about this section,’ or ‘What are you trying to say with this.’ It’s in a very constructive way I think.

H- Mine is Pat. She’s actually great. I had her a year ago when I was choreographing and she saved me. This year has been harder because I know what I’m doing now. There are times when you want your piece to be your piece, and they want it to be what they think your piece is. It’s kind of like having someone coming in and you’re trying to paint a picture and you’re on a little corner. You know what the whole thing looks like but they only see that corner. They’re like, ‘No, that’s not what it is.’ I’m like, ‘Yes, yes it is! Leave me alone.’ So that can be frustrating.

E- It’s a little bit of a balance. But at the same time I always have to remember they’ve seen more dance than I have, they have way more experience than I have. So at the same time you have to just remember that I’m still new at this, so I do have to keep that in the back of my mind.

H- They do have good advice. It’s good to think about.

E- Take it in stride.

TAYLOR- Besides your mentors, are there any other choreographic influences you have? Any outside choreographers?

E- I would say, for me, this piece, I saw a choreographer last year named Susan Marshall. She does a lot of work at DTW. Just in the way that she uses gesture, I think that’s a very big part of my piece this year. And integrating that with dance and making dance and gesture one in the same. So she was a very big influence to me this year.

H- This year I’ve tried not to think about technique at all, about other people’s choreography, about my own typical choreography. I’ve tried to create from a place of what everything feels like. In that I haven’t thought of anyone else, of any technique, of any choreographer. Just seeing what comes out.

TAYLOR- Has that been difficult to totally ignore everything?

H- It’s actually been very rewarding. It’s been difficult because every time I have to create I have to come from that place. To get there sometimes I have to always forget what happened that day, that week, if there’s anything bothering me. I have to feel completely centered and remember what it is that I’m creating about. So I have to come from that physical and emotional place, which is hard to get to sometimes, but the end result is great.

TAYLOR- Is there anything else that inspires you creatively, like music?

E- Just because the music this semester was created specifically created for me, that in itself I think really inspired me because I had to – before I even started creating movement I had to think of a structure of what this music is going to sound like. That really drove my piece forward and definitely shifted the way that I worked. Normally I would go ABCD, but since I knew the structure of the music already I kind of knew the structure of the piece, so I could go ADB, I can kind of pick and choose sections because I knew in the end how it would all fit together. Definitely the music inspired me.

H- I was very inspired by African and Australian wildlife and living out in the bush, just in general. My piece is very much about that. I’ve studied a lot of animals and their movements, and just nature in general. [I] have read books on Australia and Africa and just the hard life and about what it’s like to be so connected to nature and to rely on it completely for your well being. And the people that really do that have a totally different sense of sensuality and embodiment. It’s so focused and it’s not at all like we have here. Everyone’s like [makes gesture] or totally in their own world. My piece is about connecting back to that original place and that inner animal. I guess.

TAYLOR- Elena, what’s been your relationship with your composer?

E- Funny story. It’s actually been pretty good. He is a friend of a friend. He has a band. It’s a very strong rock influence. He’s extremely extremely talented but doesn’t adhere to deadlines. And that’s all I’m going to say! [Laughs] No, it’s just hard when you want to be in control of all these different components of your piece and then you have to wait. Like I was saying to Heather, I still don’t have the final cut of my music yet so I’m kind of stressing about that. He gave me a rough cut of it he did on the computer, but it sounds very synthesized and very techno right now. But he did everything. The main instrumentation is guitar, piano, drums, base. Extremely rock and roll heavy influence. It’s kind of a ticking time bomb right now.

TAYLOR- Well that leads to my next question. What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far?

H- When your whole goal is to create from an inspired state, and you’re not inspired.

TAYLOR- Does that happen a lot?

H- Not too often. But when it does happen you feel like you’ve wasted so much time and it’s really depressing. Those are the hardest moments. But they don’t last.

E- If you have good dancers, yeah.

H- Yeah.

E- I’ve had a few [challenges], but really I think it’s staying true to instincts, because a lot of times you find yourself kind of going off course and you question yourself and you’re like, ‘Is that cool? Is it not? I don’t know, I’ve seen it so many times. I’m kind of bored of it now.’

H- That happens to me all the time.

E- I’m like, ‘I don’t know, is this boring? I don’t know if this is interesting.’ So it’s trying to find that balance between trusting it. It also helps to get a fresh pair of eyes to see it.

TAYLOR- What’s been the best part?

E- That’s a hard question. I think for me, it’s like this is my vision that I put into movement. It’s really hard to articulate because you have this idea in your head and it starts out as this little thing. Then eventually when you see it with lights and music and costumes and you see everything come together, it kind of just makes you want to cry because really it’s like your baby. You gave birth to this thing and it’s such a satisfying feeling.

TAYLOR- It’s funny that you say that because I was talking to Meghan [Pilling] the other day and she said the exact same thing about it being like a baby.

E- That is funny. Same analogy! But it’s true!

H- For me, I do love that moment. I really do. The best part is when you have your concept and you dig and dig really deep to understand it yourself. You find all sorts of things that you never thought about. Your dancers reveal things for you, and the movement reveals things for you. You get a really awesome understanding of what it is that you’re studying, and so do you dancers. For this dance I’ve had to dig really deep. I feel like a different person [laughs]. I’ve learned a lot and I feel like it’s translated into my other classes, and just in everyday life too. It’s cool when your dancers go on the same journey.

TAYLOR- Do both of you want to choreograph after you graduate?

H- Perhaps. I always thought I’d never be a choreographer and do choreography but I just switched my concentration to choreography, so who knows.

E- My concentration is choreography. I would like to continue to pursue it, maybe not on a huge scale, but I do like the idea of working with dancers and going through this process of creating something. I feel like it’s really important, as a dancer too, to really find what makes you, you. You’re expressions and everything.

TAYLOR- My last question. Do you have any advice for future choreographers or those coming through the DAW experience?

E- Woo, future choreographers of America! Get your music rights in the summer [jokes].

H- There’s so much you could say.

E- There is so much. To really be open to the idea that your piece may no end up what you originally thought it was going to be. I remember the first time I choreographed I was hell-bent on this one thing, and I would not change my mind. ‘This is what I want.’ And yeah, that’s good, but at the same time you restrict yourself so much by doing that. So just be open to possibilities. Don’t be so straight and narrow like I was.

H- I would say probably the same thing. Just don’t be discouraged. Take every opportunity in your choreography to grow and learn from everything that you can. The best part is when things don’t turn out they way you thought they would and it ends up being so much better.
E- Amen.