Thursday, January 31, 2008

i love new york reason #19873

Have I mentioned lately that I love New York?

Every day and night is different in this incredible city, and I love that.

Tonight I went to see a friend's acting showcase and was quite inspired by the evening...there is so much art out there and I've realized I've only been exposed to very little of it. I should go see things besides dance more often. Hmm.

Friends in Rockefeller Center after dinner (my poor camera is getting old and going down hill, hence the weird flash and blurry-ness)

why blog?

Doug Fox on has started an interesting discussion on dance bloggers, asking all to answer why we blog, what we write about, etc.

Here was my's more like a stream of random thoughts rather than what I would have prefered it to be... an orgranized ode to blogging given the time. But anyway...check out the conversation to be introduced to other blogs...

- Describe the focus of your blog and what you write about.
- Provide background about what motivated you to start your blog.
- Share stories about the people you've connected with as a result of blogging.
- Write about what has surprised you about blogging.
- What have been the main benefits to you of blogging?
- Other topics you would like to address.


I currently write 2 blogs. I contribute to The Winger and have my own personal dance blog, Off Center (

With the Winger, I'm part of a larger community of bloggers. We have over 20 contributors from all aspects of the dance world, and it all started with founder and former NYCB dancer-turned-new media director Kristin Sloan.

Because it is updated by so many people, I tend to post on there only about twice per month. In general I stick to what's going on in my life as a dancer in New York trying to make a career, with a few outside topics on the side (ie: my senior thesis on dance journalism/blogging sparked a lot of conversation). I've connected with all kinds of interesting people through The Winger, including many other dance bloggers, younger dancers struggling with the decision between dance and college (which many of my posts address), and balletomanes interested in the inside world.

The biggest benefit of writing on The Winger is the audience. Thanks to Kristin's iPhone commercial, we have SO many new and devoted readers and it's great to have the opportunity to reach that audience and say what I want to say about the art that I love.

My personal blog was actually started when I hadn't heard back immediately after asking to contribute to The Winger. I wanted to blog one way or the other, and after starting on The Winger I decided to maintain Off Center as well to cover more of my daily life, since I've had other major things like finishing college and doing internships going on on top of dancing professionally.

I kept Off Center pretty quite until recently, when I linked to it on The Winger, and since then my readership has grown tremendously.

The way my life has been going lately (at a super fast pace...just graduated college at 19), I find that blogging is the most convenient way to keep people updated on what's new. I tend to write about how rehearsals are going, how I'm balancing my time with school, reviews of performances I see, memories of other dance events, and reactions to dance news. It really varies from day to day and I think (and hope) that's what keeps readers interested.

To address one of Doug's other questions, what surprised me about blogging is how quickly I became almost addicted to it. Being a dancer and writer, it is such a convenient way to add a voice to the discourse on dance, and I think it's an excellent way to maintain a community of dance lovers that might otherwise not be connected.

The biggest benefit to me, besides being a personal kind of therapy or way of organizing my thoughts about dance, is the people and opportunities I have met from having my writing online.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

another social network

I had an article due today about how dance studios can use the internet to their advantage, and in my (very last minute) research yesterday I found an interesting new (well, new to me) website...

My Dance Place on

It's actually run by the magazine the article was for I believe, but they have lots of interesting info and blogs by some different kinds of people involved with dance. It's not in the same realm as THE (INTER) MISSION, but it's cool! Check it out.

Crazy busy day today and tomorrow...apologies if I don't post much.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

lecture demo

This morning with Rebecca Kelly ballet we did a little class/rehearsal thing for a group of middle school students...kind of a lecture demonstration type thing. It was fun...

The first hour one of the other dancers taught a basic jazz/modern class for the kids, which we all took to warm up. I was impressed that the teacher from the visiting school even took class! They were into it :)

Then we went through all the choreography we learned in the workshop last week while the kids watched to see the process of creating a dance. The rehearsal itself was quite good now that all the choreography is in my body and I can play with it more rather than being focused on remembering what comes next, like when we learned it all at super speed last week.

It was a nice morning, and being with young people not familiar with dance always makes me appreciate it's like fresh eyes, fresh take on art. much writing to get done today...I'm behind and on major deadline for 2 articles (NYCB review from the other day and one for Dancer Magazine) so I better get cracking...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Newsweek article about my greatest fear realized

In a Monday morning trip to Barnes & Noble (sadly, movmnt mag with my article has not hit the stands yet, much to my dismay...) I found a wonderful article in last week's Newsweek magazine while I had my latte and scone.

From Overdrive to Coasting
"What happens to overachievers as we age? Let's face it, the spirit is still willing, but it's the flesh that's weak. While we hate to admit it, we run out of energy sooner than we run out of ideas. And it is certainly not in our nature to just fade away. We may burn up, burn out or just annoy the hell out of family and friends (who would never even want to measure up to our high standards). I've talked with many aging overachievers who tell whispered tales of diminished capacity for pushing themselves beyond all reason. We feel guilty even discussing what we see as our "infirmities." After all, we are profoundly uncomfortable even having things like bad backs, the stirrings of arthritis or that strong desire to just take a nap. That's the entire point of being an overachiever. We refuse to see ourselves as simply human. That would be settling, and we don't ever settle...."

Go read more.
It is so me! I hope I never hit the point where my body won't keep up with my mind, haha. Too much to do in life!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

NYCB = so good!

New York City Ballet was SOOO good today. It was probably the best program I've seen in a long time. As I read through who was dancing I couldn't wait for the next thing to was all soo good!

Real review to come on ExploreDance soon.

The program was Square Dance, Prodigal Son (Daniel Ulbricht's debut..amazing), and Four Seasons. They all looked like so much fun to dance! All wonderful

During intermission I met up with the other dance bloggers to say hi. It was quite quick, but it was nice just to see each other and comment on the performance. Thanks to Philip who set it all up :)

Anyways, time to prepare for a busy week ahead...
If you subscribe to movmnt mag, it is supposed to be mailed out this week so look out for my article!
Also have lots of writing to do this week, on top of starting spring classes for grad school (actually started last week, but work is due this week), working again with RKBallet, etc etc.

off to nycb...

What a busy weekend this has been...

I'm heading to see NYCB again this afternoon, along with the blogger meetup :)

I think I've been to more performances in the last month than I've been to in the past 2 years combined! Haha it's good that way, though!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Top 10 College Moments

I'm working on a long post for The Winger to sum up the fact that I finished college, and in the process I came up with my top 10 moments of the past 2 1/2 years of college and dancing. There were many more good moments but here are some highlights

in chronological order

1. Moving to my dream city

2. Getting an internship at Pointe Magazine & seeing my first real (short) article printed

3. Dancing a soloist role in Balanchine’s Raymonda Variations with BAE

4. Working with big names in dance at BAE

5. Meeting the best teacher in the world

6. Finding the guts and opportunity to interview important people

7. Cashing my first major paycheck for performing with a ballet company

8. Having my website take off and getting writing opportunities from it

9. Starting my internship at The New Yorker

10. Realizing that all the hard work paid off as I graduate and move forward with both careers

Friday, January 25, 2008

turning a new page

After finishing college yesterday I took most of today just to relax and let it all sink in. I needed a break since I definitely overworked myself a bit the last few months (perhaps that's an understatement).

Anyways, the news of today was that I got an email from DANCER magazine asking for article contributions for their March issue. I guess they came across my website and asked if I'd be interested, so I pitched some ideas and now have an article due for them next week. Yay! More writing opportunities are good good good.

Speaking of my website, perhaps the most significant part of graduating yesterday was updating all of my bio and everything to say that I have my BA in Communications rather than simply "pursuing" it. Haha! It's cool when it's finally in writing.

Also of interest on my website is that I added a page to include some of the digital pictures I've taken. I've always loved taking pictures and though I would indeed like to learn more of the technical parts of photography in the future, it's mostly just a hobby for now. But I thought it might be nice to display a few of my favorites, so go check 'em out here.

I have a busy weekend ahead with various graduation celebration activities...and the blogger meetup at NYCB!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Goodbye College!

It is over.

I just finished my last course as an undergrad at Marymount Manhattan College!


And it didn't really sink in yet...

So before we end and then begin
We'll make a toast to how it's been
A few more hours to be complete,
A few more nights on satin sheets,
A few more times that I can say …
I've loved these days.
-Billy Joel

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

the final sprint

As I race to get my LAST (10 page) paper done before I finish college tomorrow night (!!!) I don't have much time to blog. Nothing like procrastination to round off the pursuit of a bachelor's degree. Haha.

But just thought I'd post an interesting link...Parsons Dance, which I reviewed last week, has listed all of their press hits on their website. Not only did they include my review from ExploreDance but they also listed blogger reviews, including this site, Tonya's, and Philip's. I think it's a big step for bloggers because they're being listed alongside reviews from The Times and The Voice and everything. Companies are starting to catch on...the internet is here to stay!

Anyway, this time tomorrow I will be a college graduate. That is, if I ever get this paper done!...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blogger/Reader Meetup @ NYCB 1/27

Calling all blog readers!

As a follow up to the blogger meetup event hosted by Cedar Lake, some of the fun other bloggers I met are planning another get together, including any readers who want to join us!

It will be this Sunday, 1/27 at New York City Ballet's matinee performance. Philip has organized it so we'll meet during the second intermission on the Promenade (1st Ring Level) east end near the giant statue where the info table and gift shop are located. It will be right after Daniel Ulbricht's debut in Prodigal Sun, which should be amazing. He took class once or twice with us last year and he's pretty much incredible.

I'm reviewing the performance for ExploreDance and am definitely looking forward to it, and to meeting up with bloggers!

So, readers, if you're in town and happen to have tickets to that performance, please join us! OR you can buy $20 fourth ring tickets online here

Hope to see some of you there...
PS- let me know if you're coming so I know to look out for readers and not just bloggers :)

a good return

Tonight, after much anticipation, I went and took open class back at my old studio for the first time in 6 months.

Even though it's so close to me and I recently was offered free classes there since I'm working on their newsletter, I never go up there. I don't exactly know why, but I was kind of nervous heading in tonight. It's so familiar and yet so unfamiliar because I'm not actually a student there anymore and people have grown up and teachers have changed, etc.

I'm really glad I finally went though. First of all, class itself was good because unlike my usual classes I take, there were only 10 people in it. Granted it's a MUCH smaller studio, but it's nice not having to dodge around people all the time. And combinations and stuff felt good because it was all the old stuff I did repeatedly for 2 years, but now that I've moved on and changed some ways of doing things in my technique (to keep my body healthy, among other reasons) I really noticed the things I do differently. It was a good class, especially compared to the particularly bad class I had yesterday (my own fault...don't push when you're too tired).

Anyways I'm also glad I went because I got to see one of my favorite teachers I've ever had, whom I haven't seen since I left over the summer. It was a warm welcome back... even though I didn't see everybody there I probably should have said hi to.

Now that my schedule is shifting to the spring semester soon and things are (only a little bit) calmer I think I'm going to try to get up there more to take class. The dance world is too small not to maintain relationships with people and places you come from. At least, that's my positive attitude for tonight :)

A few memories from my time as a student there:

In Balanchine's Raymonda Variations (me on front right)...probably my favorite performance moment ever happened during these performances in spring '06

in Bournonville's Napoli, staged by the incredible Nikolaj Hubbe of NYCB...that one was fun because we had tambourines, haha

this past spring in Balanchine's Diverimento No. 15...pretty costumes :)

workshop's done

Today was the last day of the workshop I was doing with that contemporary company. We put together a whole 8-minute dance we learned bits and pieces of over the last week and ran it in groups...3 times in a row, back to back! Talk about stamina. It felt oddly wonderful after the last run, like I had pushed so hard and almost "felt something" as was encouraged a few days ago. Quite tiring though, needless to say.

This was such a great opportunity and I'll try to post more about it when I get the energy. I don't know if/when I'll get to work with them again, but I'm so grateful to have been able to do so the past few weeks. I need to start doing more of that kind of work...

Anyways...tonight I'm planning on taking open class at my old studio, which I have been....dreading doing for unexplainable reasons. But I think I need to suck it up and go, so I'm on my way.

Countdown: 48 hours til I finish college.

Monday, January 21, 2008

more on NYCB reception

I'm not really in a writing mood tonight...

But check out Robert's take on the NYCB reception I reviewed and posted about. Here's his rundown of the reception, and another ExploreDance writer's review. Interesting how a single performance or piece of art can have such different interpretations by people sitting right near each other.

Anyways, today was long and tiring. Oh Mondays...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

NYCB R+J review posted

My review of New York City Ballet's Romeo + Juliet is up on, so check it out. This one was kind of hard to write because I had a lot to say and couldn't really make an overall positive or negative decision on it. Hm.

Anyways, here's a photo of another ExploreDance writer, our editor Robert, and I at the reception before performance on Tuesday. What a nice night.

digital dance class

This article in the Times is brilliant...Merce Cunningham classes offered online. Dance and technology merge once again. How cool! I can't wait to see the videos they do, even though I'm not really familiar with his work. It would be great if more master teachers did something like this so that people outside of New York (and those of us here as well!) could learn from them without the hassle of a big master class.

The separation from technology does eliminate that immediate feedback factor of class, but nowadays you're lucky (or, me anyway) if you get attention at all in a class like that.

Anyways, go read about it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

3 rows from Baryshnikov!

Thanks to a friend's good luck with tickets, tonight I got to see the otherwise-sold-out Beckett Shorts program starring Mikhail Baryshnikov with 3rd row seats!

It was so cool to be up close and personal at New York Theater workshop and to see him in a non-dance environment. He's incredible in so many ways, but I think it's particularly good that he has branced out from his fabulous dance career into other art forms. It takes a true artist to succeed outside of their normal realm, especially as such a legend, but he absolutely does!

Though Beckett's work itself was nothing all that special, Baryshnikov was so interesting to watch. There were 2 shorts without words, followed by one where he and another actor had dialogue, and the last in which he sat almost entirely still and silent while another actor spoke. I preferred the non-speaking parts by far - maybe because his non-verbal presentation skills from ballet translate best in this kind of work. He was good in the piece he had lines in, where he was supposed to play a blind homeless man, but it wasn't my favorite.

It was so exciting just to see him live though! After all the hype in the dance world and his appearances on Sex & the City and such, it was an honor to see him work in real life. I would love to see him act in something else that exhibits his artistry better. Beckett didn't really cut it.

Anyway, went to class before going to the show and it went pretty well. I'm a lot less sore today - THANK GOD - so it wasn't quite so painful. It's weird that I was more sore after only 3 hours of rehearsal Thursday rather than dancing a total of 8 hours yesterday (the most in quite a while, even though I used to do crazy days like that all the time...).

So much work to do this next week...I start my spring semester grad school classes on Wednesday, and I officially graduate from Marymount on Thursday! No time to waste :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

is age only a state of mind?

Warning: this post kind of goes on and on about nothing really, but it's just me thinking out can ignore me :)

For the past 2 days I've been doing a workshop with the company I was understudying with last week, and instead of standing in the back trying to learn choreography by staying out of the way, this week I actually get to dance. A LOT.

We've had a short contemporary barre/center before learning repertoire, and I really like the alternative way of taking class. It's very different from a traditional ballet barre (specifically in the music, which is WAY more fun than the overly-familiar melodies of the classics). She has a lot of emphasis on moving really big and feeling the movement through your body.

Class itself is defintely a challenege because after years of doing tendus, your brain goes a bit on auto pilot...even though I constantly feel a struggle in turning out and pointing my feet in an easy tendu combination, there's still a level of monotony. With this kind of class the combinations of familiar exercises are different, and different parts of the body are used (the head, deep in the lower back).

Moving on to the rehearsal aspect of the workshop, we've learned a long exercept from a piece her company has done and it's all taught really really fast. Then we put it all together and do it in different small groups a few times before learning more. Again since some of the movement and style is foreign to my ballet brainwashed body it's tough to pick up all the nuances of the choreography. It's great though! And since there's only 9 of us in the workshop (3 are in the company, the rest are other dances from various places in the city...all of whom are at least 4 or 5 years older than me...) the teacher can really see us...

After we put together 3 or 4 sections of the long work, the teacher (who is wonderful, by the way) stopped after me and another girl did it as a group and said she wanted us to go deeper inside to feel it. She proceeded to give me an excellent, lengthy "lecture" (it wasn't really a lecture but...) on how it's important to FEEL the movement and show it, especially through your face. She complimented me a bit but said that I AM young, and I haven't really 'suffered' (which got a laugh from the others) but that that comes with age.

It was a very inspiring speech because to this point being drilled into ballet land nobody has asked me to actually FEEL anything while dancing. Besides 1 teacher in particular, they demand turnout, feet, etc etc, but not that you really reach inside and express it through your face. Isn't expressing emotion through movement was dance is really all about? I was really thankful she took the time to say this all during the middle of rehearsal because it made me think.

Isn't it ironic that one of the major values of ballet, youth, is the same thing that causes a disadvantage in modern/contemporary dance?

In recent years I have been reminded time and time again that "a ballet career is short" and if "you're not in a company by the time you're 18 then it's not worth it" and, particularly in my last year of real pre-pro training, being made to feel as if I'm too old for a career since my body won't allow for the level of technique necessary or whatever. And now, not just in this one instance, but a few times recently, my 'young' age has cropped up as a (minor) issue.

Is age really a state of mind or a number or a level of experience or what?

All of this comes just a week before I graduate from college at age 19. I'm starting to think that I've overcompensated in my real-world life for not being a ballet prodigy child, and now it's coming back to bite me. Or confuse me.

Anyway, all in good spirits. I'm exhausted from rehearsal, but I'm off to class tonight as always, followed by our Friday night rehearsal thing. Hopefully tonight we're going to start the Rose Adagio for the student showcase thing. If I can muster the energy ;)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

bae interviews

As some may know, I recently was asked to take over the studio newsletter for my old school, Ballet Academy East. I'm basically a one-woman team putting together an 8 page newsletter about studio events since the last issue came out in early 2006. It's quite a bit of work, but it's stuff I enjoy doing and for a place I spent 2 years of my life.

Today I interviewed a friend of mine, which will go in the newsletter in the alumni section. She graduated with me from BAE last year and currently dances at Vassar college.

Meet Amanda:

Taylor: Are you a dance major at Vassar?

Amanda: No, they don’t have a major in dance. I do get academic credit for dance classes and for working with the dance company though.

Taylor: What is your schedule like?

Amanda: I have ballet 3 times a week, which is definitely different. And I’m going to try to take a Grahm class this semester. Most of my time is spent in rehearsals 5 days a week.

Taylor: Do you get to perform a lot?

Amanda: We’ve had a few performances. In October we had our first showing, which was mostly for works in process. Then in November we had our final showing that included all of the work choreographed by students and professors. In March we’ll have our big show with costumes and everything.

Taylor: Do they have a theater right there on campus?

Amanda: They just recently renovated the dance building and they have a theater. It’s a big stage, but not really the biggest audience. It’s really nice, though, and you don’t have to go far to get to performances.

Taylor: How are the teachers?

Amanda: They’re really different. There’s only 1 ballet teacher and she’s been there for years. It took a while to get used to having only 1 teacher. I thought I might go insane having only 1 for all 4 years.

Taylor: Do you have to audition to get into the classes?

Amanda: You audition for classes but you do to get into the company. They had auditions right around when we started classes and I was really nervous. There are about 25 girls in 10 boys, but none of the boys are very balletic. It’s mostly modern.

Taylor: How has BAE prepared you for your experiences there?

Amanda: The ballet at BAE teaches you discipline and how to accept corrections and correct yourself. They expect you to act a certain way and that trained me how to act at Vassar. We have bigger classes there, so we don’t get as much attention.

Taylor: What do you miss most about BAE?

Amanda: I miss the teachers a lot. They are all so different, and I grew up at BAE so the atmosphere in class is like family. I also miss the high level of the classes. There aren’t as many serious dancers at Vassar and we don’t do as much pointe.

Taylor: What do you do to keep your technique up?

Amanda: I try to keep pushing myself as hard as I can. Even if the classes aren’t that challenging I sometimes add beats or something to make it harder. It’s also good to go back to a lower level sometimes to analyze yourself.

Taylor: How has the college experience been outside of ballet?

Amanda: It’s really different, and it took a while to get used to it, but I love it now. It’s such a change. You’re always with this huge student body and the academics are harder. But dancing constantly makes it familiar and I don’t get too bored.

Taylor: Was it hard to set up your schedule with all that?

Amanda: I’m insanely organized and over compulsive when it comes to that. I made lots of lists and managed to work around everything.

Taylor: Do you have any advice for future BAE graduates who are choosing between companies or college?

Amanda: You need to think about what you really want to do in the future and think honestly about where you’ll be happy. For me, I thought that college was the best option. It’s important to be organized in the college process to make it less stressful, even when you have lots of BAE rehearsals going on!

Taylor: Anything else you want to add?

Amanda: I miss BAE a lot and everyone who’s still there should appreciate the time they have there, because once you’re gone you really miss it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NYCB reception & R+J

Tonight I had the priveledge of attending the Society in C reception at New York City Ballet's performance of Romeo & Juliet. I'm reviewing it for ExploreDance (will post real review soon) and got to go with Robert and my friend Yasmine.

What a nice night. I'm not great at the whole mix and mingling thing, but it was nice to be around other dance supporters and everything. In the last few weeks I've come across a whole new range of people interested in dance and it's so nice to see that! Some of the dancers were at the party too, including Daniel Ulbricht (who taught class once as a guest at BAE...) who spoke about behind the scenes stuff a bit.

The performance itself was good. The dancing was beautiful, of course, but I really wasn't a fan of the costumes.

I'll leave it at that for now...full review to come in a day or two, plus photo of us at the reception. I love being able to have the opportunity to go to these kinds of things!

made, REmade!

Just days after I posted about my memories of being in an episode of MTV's MADE about becoming a ballet dancer, I found out they made a new, similar episode with a girl who wants to be a dancer! Apparently it aired this weekend, but seeing a I don't have cable and rarely watch TV I missed it.

Thanks to the internet, however, you can see the full episode any time! So far I've only watched the first part (my computer and internet service are both sooo awful...) but it's really amusing. I'm sorry, but reality television is SO NOT reality. Watching it brought back even more memories of our months with the camera crew at Rock and the realization of what happens behind the scenes.

Anyway, if you get a chance go watch the episode!

Here's the opener:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Parsons Review Up

My review of Parsons is up at Check it out.

PS- Plans are in the works for another blogger meetup, organized by Tonya and Philip and perhaps including all you readers in the city! Keep a lookout for details soon...

fun class pictures

In my teacher's biweekly e-newsletter (which, by the way, any dancer should subscribe to...she's amazing and so is the content) she had a link to a bunch of old class pictures taken by her husband and another student.

Click here to see some amusing shots.

There's some of me in the "misc class photos" album and the one called "our new home" (aka Ailey).

I always hate seeing dance pictures of myself (particularly in class, because I'm not exactly in smiley performance mode) but these gave me a laugh today after a long morning of class and rehearsal...feeling blah today.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

random amusing additions to the day's posts

Lots of posts today! Here are a few more things to add to the day...

1. Kristin has posted the group photo of the bloggers at the Cedar Lake Event. Copied the picture here...yay!

2. In a rage of googling this afternoon I came across an old article from my hometown paper on me and some other dancers in Boston's Nutcracker from my last year there. It made me laugh...check it out: Keeping a Holiday Tradition on Its Toes

3. Since there have been a lot of new readers here lately I just wanted to welcome everyone again and to ask everyone to feel free to comment! I want the blog to be more interactive than it has been, so go ahead and go through the archives or whatever. I'm gonna try to do a general post on EVERYTHING that's going on (and my goodness to I have a lot of irons in the fire...) soon.

Happy Reading :-)

Quick & Simple intern rundown

As promised, here's a play by play of my fall/winter internship at Quick & Simple Magazine, a women's weekly published by Hearst. I was in the Home & Crafts department, and in case you missed it: I finished there last week and am now at The New Yorker.

I had to do this little journal to get credit for it at school, so may as well share the whole thing. Apologies for the length and the pretty boring quality of writing...keep in mind, it was for school (COUNTDOWN: 11 days til I graduate.)

Internship Journal: Quick & Simple Magazine

Here are the highlights from my experiences interning in the Home & Crafts Editorial section at Quick & Simple Magazine at Hearst Corporation from October 2007 - January 2008.

-Getting Familiar with the Magazine
My first week at the magazine was pretty slow, but it was a comfortable way to start. My bosses - Lauren, Senior Home Editor, and Laura, Assistant Home Editor - had me doing so administrative tasks mainly so that I could become familiar with the way the work and the magazine itself. I had to send copies of recent issues out to vendors that were featured in the home section, and by doing this I got to learn the public relations people for each company they deal with and I got to spend some time flipping through the pages of issues. I also had to return some products they used in a photo shoot.
They were also in the planning stages of figuring out story ideas for the 2008 issues, so they asked me to make a calendar for them of all the popular and more off beat holidays and their dates in the new year. I was surprised at how far in advance they plan for the holidays, even though it’s a weekly magazine.

-Researching for Features
A big part of my responsibility was to conduct online research for various story ideas that they were working on about home and crafts. One of the first they asked me to look up was ideas for recycling old Christmas supplies. They were aware of the common ideas for this, but they wanted something more creative. I spent quite a bit of time Googling different holiday words and trying to come up with unconventional ideas that they might use for the story. Editors are very creative thinkers and it was difficult to find unique ideas, but they ended up using some of the stuff I found!
Another way I had to research was by going through older home and craft books looking for images they could use in a story. Because the magazine is owned by Hearst Corporation, any images used in another Hearst book or magazine can be used free by our title. This makes for cost-efficient stories that look just as good as original ideas, and because it’s a relatively new magazine, money is key. I got to go through books and pick out images that went off a similar theme and then the editors chose what would actually be used from my suggestions.
Other features I researched for included new storage products, and product roundups of red and yellow accessories. This required contacting various companies to see what new items they had, skimming through various websites in search of cheap, interesting products that would photograph well, and going through old magazines (both Quick & Simple and competitors) to get ideas. This was all very much idea-based, and with the exception of a few product print outs, there was often nothing tangible for me to turn in to my bosses as a result of my time working. However, my ideas seemed to please them.

-Administrative Work
The job title “intern” automatically comes with the connotation of filing, faxing, and photocopying. Luckily, most of this internship did not consist of days like that, though there were a few. I had to fill in for the receptionist who was out sick one day, and while this took me away from my usual setting I did get to learn from it. I got to meet more people who work at the magazine coming in and out through reception, and I became more familiar with the magazine at large when calls came in.
Other administrative tasks I had to do included sorting and filing piles of press kits from home and craft companies, and updating an Excel document with publicity contact information.

-Photo Shoots
As unimpressive as the administrative work was, it was worth it to put up with that so that I could attend photo shoots. The magazine has an in-house photography studio right on the floor, with a huge prop closet next door, rows of colored papers for backdrops, and stacks of camera equipment. My first time in there I was amazed at how different it looked from any of the pictures I had seen in the magazine. With all the variations they can do in setting up, they can make that space look like any kind of room.
The first shoot I sat it on was for a story about being clean versus messy, and they had two models come in to represent the different sides. I was surprised that they came in separately even though the final image looks as if they are posing simultaneously. More unnerving, though, was the number of shots it took before deciding on the perfect one. Each model took at least an hour trying different positions and different props while the editors, the photographer, and the photo editor stood by watching carefully. The goal was to get the perfect image to fit the page, but there were so many elements that could go wrong. Just from listening to all their comments in attempt to frame the best image I learned all it takes behind the scenes to get the single image a reader sees on the page.
A similar process took place in shoots without models. They shot a story called “Luxe for Less” a few others that only consisted of products. I figured it would be easier to work with inanimate objects rather than people, but it was just as much of a challenge. So many things, from colors to sizes to leaving space for text on the page, matter in terms of magazine photography. On the days we did these shoots I learned a lot from the photo editor even though that wasn’t really my goal. Though I’m interested in the writing part of a magazine page, the art part is equally as essential and it’s important for both elements to work together.
At the end of my internship we were working on an Easter story to be featured on the cover of an issue, and I got to observe an art meeting with the Editor in Chief, the creative director, and several other people from the non-editorial side. To be a fly on the wall for this was very interesting. People all had different opinions and ideas for the cover art and a big issue was authenticity of the image.

-Press Events
A big benefit of this internship was the opportunity to attend press events for the home and crafts markets. The first one I was invited to was for Target’s spring home collection. Neither of my bosses were able to attend, so they asked me to go and RSVP’ed for me as their “Home Assistant.”
The event was held in a showroom in midtown, and there were a number of publicists and magazine editors in attendance. I tried my best to act professional even though I was significantly younger than everyone there! I took notes on the various products that were set up in sample rooms and got press materials from the representatives to give back to my bosses. They also gave us swag - free samples - which my bosses let me keep.
After the excitement of that, I got to attend another event hosted by WalMart. This time one of my bosses, Laura, came with me, and I was more prepared having been to the Target one previously. This one was also set up in a showroom, but the publicists took all the editors (and me) all around as a big group to better explain the products in case anyone wanted to use them in their magazine. It was interesting to see the different marketing tactics between Target and WalMart and to see which my boss and other editors preferred.
The last event I got to attend was the most fun because it was a preview of a big craft fair, with “take and make” tables, where editors can try a craft and take it home. Both of my bosses, as well as an editorial assistant, attended, and we got to try a bunch of different crafts not only for our own enjoyment but to see if they were “quick and simple” enough to be featured in our magazine. Because this one was more for crafters and craft editors, more targeted market people were there. My boss knew many attendees and vendors and introduced me to them. It was great to see the up and coming ideas that will be in the pages of the magazine.

One of my main goals for this or any internship was to get a published writing clip to add to my portfolio. The magazine doesn’t actually give bylines, and the home section doesn’t often run long-form articles. However they did allow me to write brief product description blurbs that went along with a few stories. Not only did this allow me to get writing and get creative, but I was challenged to be concise and accurate. The ones I worked on are just now coming out in recent issues and it’s exciting to see my words in print.

Parsons Review

Hi all!

After another morning of rehearsals I got to write my review of Parsons Dance performance last night. See should be up on soon.


David Parsons is one of those few contemporary choreographers whose name suffices for their own successful dance troupe. Parsons Dance is presenting its 2008 New York Season January 8-20 at the Joyce Theater with two separate mixed-bill programs of all Parsons‘ choreography. Saturday evening’s performance of Program B was a upbeat treat.

The Parsons style remained consistent throughout the evening. He uses a distinct set of jumps and lifts that are only mildly altered for each dance. Many of the works appear to be very systematically choreographed, with the patterns of dancers perhaps being more interesting than the movement itself. Lots of sharp head movements plague the dancers, and they all have a tart element of showiness that alludes to genuine enjoyment.

Though that quality identifies his dancers, it’s a bit over the top in the first two dances of the evening - the group opener “Bachiana” and the male duet “Brothers.” In fact, the program would have been better with these and “Union” (from the second act) eliminated. What remains of the director’s choreographic sample is worth the wait through these mediocre pieces.

The first work to really strike it hot is Nascimento Novo, a Latin jazzy number for the whole company set to music by Brazilian composer Milton Nascimento. The dance is packed with energy and has visible influences from African dance. It is here that the playfulness of the dancers’ personalities makes sense.
A brightly colored backdrop, changing for each segment, enhances the spicy mood and livens up the look of the performers, who wear white shirts and khaki bottoms (pants for the men, knee-length skirts for the women). It would have been fun to see them in more creative costumes. The company is strongest as an ensemble, as seen here and in the final dance “Shining Star,” where the dancers groove together to feel-good music from Earth, Wind & Fire.

The exception to this is dancer Tommy Scrivens, who performed the solo “Caught” on Saturday night. Parsons uses a strobe light in this piece to make the dancer appear as if constantly in the air. Each time the light is on, Scrivens is mid-jump, moving gradually across the stage while touching ground only when the light is off. The resulting image is like a flip book of still photographs of the dancer literally defying gravity.

Periodically, most likely to give the exhausted jumper a break, a center overhead spot shines on him standing still, strobe light off. Time after time, the audience cheered at the sight. Like a bolt of lightning, Parsons has truly illuminated a masterpiece with this crowd-pleaser.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Parsons & rehearsals

Today was another looong day, as always.

I had another set of rehearsals with Rebecca Kelly, this time with the whole company. The piece we did yesterday that I had learned from the video I know pretty well, but today they went through 3 or 4 other dances that I'm clueless about! It's great choreography and all her older dancers know it all, so it was basically just for them to go over it and get it back in their bodies for Monday's APAP me and the other 2 new dancers hung in the back mostly. I felt bad that they had to stop and teach us some of the combinations and such, but it's definitely a challenge trying to follow along! Let's put it this way - I'm glad I'm just understudying for now and I don't have the pressure of performing after just these rehearsals.

After 3 hours of that my brain was quite fried, but I still took class all afternoon. It was decent.

Then tonight I went to see Parsons Dance to review for Explore Dance. Some of it was really really good, and some of it was really really not. Real review to come on Explore Dance soon.

I'm super tired tonight...I'm going through one of those phases where I dance more hours than I sleep. And last time I did that I pretty much got burnt out. Luckily it's only for a few more days...though I'm so grateful for the opportunity to understudy!

PS- Welcome new readers from The Winger! Feel free to go through the blog archives to catch up...a ton of stuff is going on...

Friday, January 11, 2008

2 days of firsts

The past two days have been insane!

Okay, first things first: official Cedar Lake review here on Explore Dance
And most recent post about the event on The Winger

Moving on...

Yesterday was my first day at The New Yorker, and today was my first with Rebecca Kelly Ballet. How exciting...

The New Yorker was good from the start. The people are nice, and they put me to work right away. I guess their other intern can't start for another few weeks, so they really need all the help they can get right now. I had to go in again this morning when I wasn't planning to in order to get more work done. It's nice to know that you're needed, even if it's just for doing intern-type work. More details on all that to come. I go back next week.

Today after working there for a bit I had my first day of rehearsals as an understudy/apprentice with Rebecca Kelly Ballet. It went really well! The first rehearsal was a piece I learned a bit of during the audition back in November, and she had asked me to look at it on youtube. . I've been trying to learn it from the computer screen all week, and it definitely helped...we only had an hour, and they two who are actually performing it (at APAP at City Center on Monday) have done it before, so me and the other new person were kind of struggling in the back. I think I got it though, by the end of the rehearsal. I went back a little later to learn a pas de deux. No partner to work with, but still started to get it in my body. It's such great choreography. More rehearsals over the weekend...will update soon.

After ALL that I headed back to class as I usually do on Friday nights. It was exceptionally good tonight. For those who don't know, I usually take two classes back to back and am usually totally dead by the end but go on to have either partnering class or rehearsal afterwards (yes, until 11pm...long story, but it works for us). Tonight was really good though, and rehearsal was super fun! We're working on a group part from Swan Lake for a mini-showcase in February. So fun.

Anyways, that was today. Crazy busy as always, but I love it that way. Busy weekend ahead, too, including rehearsals and a review of Parsons Dance...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

more on Cedar Lake

One of the great things about last night's event is that writing about it came out almost IMMEDIATELY because it's all bloggers! Below is my real review, which will show up on Explore Dance soon. It was kind of hard to write about the performance because I was more enthusiastic about the event itself! Haha. But it really was a great show.

For more coverage of the night from other bloggers, check out Tonya's star-struck account (, Evan (, Philip aka Oberon (, and, of course, The Winger.

PS- I started at The New Yorker today! And it was good....details to come soon.

My review of Cedar Lake:

Cedar Lake’s Themes to Think About

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is perhaps the newest wave of intense contemporary dancing in the New York scene. Founded just four years ago, the fresh group has already made a name and a home for itself at its facility in Chelsea, and its Winter 2008 season proves to enhance its developing reputation as a top-notch company with international talent.

The program for the season, running January 10-20, includes a world premiere, a US premiere, a revival of a work originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater, and a special one-performance-only (Jan. 13) return of the acclaimed piece, Decadance, by Ohad Naharin, which brought great visibility to the company in June 2007.

The opening piece, “Symptoms of Development,” choreographed by Jacopo Godani, is vibrant and loud. It explores “the pervasiveness of technology” and the human ability to connect with one another. Godani uses a distinct vocabulary of upper body movements that is nearly as flashy as the music by Ulrich Muller and Siegfried Rossert of 48Nord. The warehouse nature of the theater makes for interesting acoustics; the audience can feel every beat in their seats.

Projections were an integral part of the dance, with video running behind the dancers at various points, reflecting images and words recited but barely decipherable in the music. One that stood out was a blurry white figure next to a red line that extended from one of the dancers as he walked across the back of the stage. The sound mumbled about a spirit connecting, and the white blur followed the red line to the dancer. The moment seemed to capture disembodiment.

What followed in contrast to this was “Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue,” a world premiere by Vancouver-based Crystal Pite. Five dancers, all with admirable technique, change in and out of pairs enacting narratives relating to rescuing, with 15 standing stage lights in a semi-circle as a backdrop. Pite attempts to use particular images, like running to catch up to a lover, to demonstrate moments of “rescue” immersed in dance. While the concept aims to “extend, distort, or suspend these fragments of narrative,” some moments are unclear and don’t remain static enough to grasp the underlying image. However, the use of common movements adds familiarity.

The final piece of the evening used the dancers to portray yet another intense theme. The US premiere of “Rite” explores the distinction between male and female through androgyny and is set to Stravinsky‘s “Le Sacre du Printemps.” Each of the nine dancers, both males and females, are dressed in similar strapless dresses and dark eye makeup. Only the colors, orange for the men and blue for the women, determine which gender is which. Though artistic director Benoit-Swan Puffer mentioned that decisions on costumes and sets were long thought out, the dresses seemed to consistently bunch up awkwardly in front because of the material. It was a distraction, but luckily the stage had so much more to focus on.

The choreography revolves around a set of green blocks that are shape-shifted at various times to create long lines with which the dancers move around, over, and above. The men perform impressive leaps over them. The women crawl sneakily on them. While most of the movements can be identified as either masculine or feminine with respect to the corresponding dancer, there is one moment when two of the men walk atop the green blocks, catwalk-style. It is here that the lines between the sexes are blended.

The program succeeds as a collection of theme-based works, which Pouffer called “a repertoire of what we’re living now.” It is worth it, though, to follow up with the company’s installation series, which truly makes it a unique performing group. Held in the past at the group’s home space without the typical theater setup, the dancers interact with the audience on a more personal level. Following the success of previous installations, this spring they will present “Glassy Essence: An Installation Erasing the Boundaries of the Stage.”

With its winter season setting it apart, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is certainly erasing the boundaries of the New York dance scene, blending fresh talent with international leaders.

Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet’s Winter 2008 Program runs January 10-20 at their facility at 547 West 26th Street. New York, NY 10001

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

dance bloggers unite at Cedar Lake!

What a fabulous night tonight was!!!

Cedar Lake Dance held a preview performance of their season that starts tomorrow, with pre-show mingling and post-show discussion with the director...for dance bloggers! Not only was the performance great (formal review to come on Explore Dance within the next few days) but I got to meet all my fellow bloggers!

It was funny because we all know each other so well online, but most of us have never met face to face! That is, until tonight. It was so great putting a face to the name and discussing dance on a higher level with people who are so passionate about it! They are all such great people!

I sat with Dancing Perfectly Free blogger Evan, and we enjoyed the performance. What a great space that facility is. And afterwards we got to all speak with the artistic director and hear some cool stuff about the company. Did you know those dancers have full time contracts!? No fair. Haha. They were all wonderful. Go see the performance! was a great evening. We took a big group picture of all of us which hopegfully will pop up on The Winger soon. More details some other time...and look out for my real review on Explore Dance soon.

New Yorker starts tomorrow! And so much other stuff going was so busy, but tonight was awsome :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

it's done - quick and simple

Today was my last day interning at Quick & Simple Magazine!

I'll write a detailed post about my full time there soon, but just thought I should update for the occasion. It was such a great, fun experience! My bosses were great, my office was great, my days there were great...I think, to this point, this has been my favorite's a toss up between this and Pointe.

Anyways...I can't stress enough the benefits of doing an internship (or multiple) in whatever field you're going in to - publishing in particular. I'm really thankful for all the opportunities I've had to work with some fabulous people and be a fly on the wall for some really interesting things. You don't learn everything in school, let me tell you...

I'm defintely going to miss it there, but I'm so ready to start at The New Yorker on Thursday! Not wasting any time in between.

Other updates...

I have some more review assignments for Explore Dance and will be going to a bunch of performances in the next few weeks...the first of which is tomorrow night. Nothing to do with Explore Dance. Cedar Lake Ensemble is giving a preview performance of their season for dance bloggers, along with a meet and greet type reception thing. Definitely looking forward to meeting some other bloggers that I read all the time, and seeing the show too.

I've done a big chunk of work for the BAE newsletter, including my letter from the editor. It was kind of tough to write when perhaps it shouldn't have been. I'll post it on here soon, just for kicks.

Rebecca Kelly ballet thing starts this weekend too. I'm just understudying, but to learn from a video to prepare is difficult!

Another website I used to write for called me out of the blue yesterday to start writing again, so that's another addition to the neverending to-do list.

I guess that's it for now.

Oh, and THANKS to Q&S!

Monday, January 7, 2008

dance on camera: sytycd and made memories

Tonight in class we had a special 'treat.'

A girl who sometimes takes class with us is a semi-finalist for So You Think You Can Dance and they wanted to film her in ballet class, so we had a big camera crew the whole time. They were mainly focused on the girl and on the teacher, and supposedly it's only going to be a short clip, (and I forgot to sign the video release we were required to sign...), BUT it was still kind of stressful! Haha.

It makes you work differently when there's an audience, any kind of audience, be it in person or behind a camera, and even if they're not focused on you (as in this situation, or perhaps in a corps de ballet in the background situation) you still know they can see you. It's hard work! I definitely approached class differently without meaning to...I was so tired by the end. More so than usual. 'Course I still took the class right after it too, as I usually do - and all on pointe nonetheless.

Anyways, dodging the camera men reminded me of the days at Rock School when they filmed an episode of MTV's "MADE" on us. Some kid wanted to be 'made' into a ballet dancer, so he came and took class for about 2 months and they filmed the whole thing, from barre to grande allegro to stretching and chatting before class to eating dinner in the lounge afterwards. It was certainly an experience being followed by a camera (again, not as the focus but still in the picture) and fun in some ways but annoying in others. It's interesting to be behind the scenes for a supposed "reality" tv show. Hm.

Well, tonight brought back those memories, so I thought I'd share a picture from the fake Nutcracker (I real...) we did for our MADE episode back in early 2005. And then I got looking into old pictures from that year and thought I'd post a few for kicks. Enjoy :)

on the bus on the way to Delaware to film the 'performance'

Cheech! She's back in Japan :(

snow ball fight in the was moments like these that made living all together fun


Saturday, January 5, 2008

back to the rehearsal routine

Having a cold has slowed me down for a few days so there hasn't been much to blog about...just some little things that have come up...

Last night we 'officially' started rehearsing for our little student showcase thing in February. It's just in a studio and it's nothing fancy, but it's fun. We started learning the waltz from Swan Lake as a group, and, if all goes as planned, I'll be learning the Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty. It is one of my absolute favorite favorite pas de deuxs (well, she has 4 partners throughout the dance...) since I first saw it from sitting onstage as a Garland Child in Boston Ballet's production of it back in the day (2001 I think?). The part where Aurora balances and promenades in attitude with each of the princes has stuck in my mind all these years...

Anyways, it's nice to be in the rehearsal process again after a few weeks off post-Nutcracker season. And this Friday I start a bit with Rebecca Kelly Ballet, so I have to learn some choreography from a video to prep for those rehearsals...

Other than that, not much going on. I've finally started to get some alumni news from people for the studio newsletter I'm working on. It's nice to hear from people and see what's up after 6 months (ish) apart.

I've got a pretty busy week coming up, between finishing my Q&S Magazine internship, starting at The New Yorker, starting to work with Rebecca Kelly, going to a dance bloggers-only performance of Cedar Lake, and some other stuff. Updates to come :)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

last 'first' day of class

Well, tonight was my last 'first day of class' in college. I'm taking one course just in January to finish up my credits. It's coming so fast...

Also had my second to last internship day at Q&S Magazine. It was great as usual. We had yet another product photo shoot, so we were in the studio all day. It's so interesting just to be a fly on the wall there. I'm going to miss it and the people I work with there too, but I'm looking forward to starting at The New Yorker next week!

Ugh, but on top of getting back in the swing of things I have a cold - again. It's just at the starting point, but I'm hoping it will come and go quickly because next week (and weekEND) is really busy...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

studio newsletter & headshots

Finally life is picking up after the holidays. I guess vacation is good, but I think I prefer real life (even though I'm getting a cold yet again...). Two things new today.

First, one of my new projects for 2008 started: taking over the studio newsletter of my old school, Ballet Academy East. I went up there for the first time since August (!) to meet with the director to plan it out and it should be fun. We're shooting to get an issue done by March, and it's more or less the same work I've done for Rock's newsletter and Marymount's newspaper, too.

A lot of what needs to be done for it is to get in touch with alumni for the news section, so this will force me to be better at keeping in touch with people. Usually I stay in touch easily with people from my past, but the past few months have been so insane that I really haven't been able to. I guess this project will make me jump back into that world again...

On another note, my big article for movemnt comes out in a month and they asked me to be on their 'contributors' page as well, so I sent them a bio but they needed a headshot as well. The last (and only) time I got professional headshots done was when I graduated from Rock in '05 and even though I still look like I'm 16 (or younger), I don't look exactly the same as I did then. And all of my recent pictures were too small for print, so I did some new (not professional) headshots tonight. The outtakes are below, for a laugh.

Back to real life after the holidays tomorrow: second to last day of my internship at Q&S Magazine and the start of the January session of school. It's my last 'first day' of college. And I graduate 3 weeks from tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Here's to 2008

Happy New Year again.

Welcome to the new look of Off Center for the new year. I thought it needed a bit of a change, so let me know what you think.

I'd like to make this blog a bit more interactive for the new year, so everyone please feel free to comment, start a discussion, or email me any time.

May 2008 be happy and healthy for all.