Friday, February 29, 2008

e-news 3/1

Here's my teacher's e-newsletter (I'm in charge of) for March 1st. You're getting the link's mailed to subscribers at midnight!

Click here to read March 1st issue.
Click here to see archives.
Click here to subscribe!

Farewell February!

Taylor's Tales

In my ballet teacher's e-newsletter that I help put together and send out twice per month, I have a new column that I'm writing. She asked me to contribute reviews or articles or anything relating to dance basically, so I'm excited to get a few words in since this reaches over 1,000 people.

Below is my first excerpt I'm including in the newsletter that goes out tomorrow for March 1. I'll link to the whole newsletter when it's finished later, but for now, here's what I have to say.

Hi all!
Kat has graciously asked me to add my two cents to her newsletter in my new column “Taylor’s Tales.” Look for different dance articles, performance reviews, and funny anecdotes from my journeys in the ballet world. This week’s piece is an excerpt from a blog entry I wrote over the summer when we had our weekend classes in the big 5th Floor double-wide studio. See the full article here.

…After swiping my card and waiting too long for the elevator, staring at crowds of baby ballerinas and teenage hip-hoppers, I finally get upstairs to the studio. at first glimpse, I know all is well. Empty, with the tinted sunlight shed from the see-through blinds, it is rather chilly and quiet. I immediately drop my bag in its usual area near the front.

Though there is nobody in sight, I rush to drag the portable barre from the corner to my spot in the center as if the whole class were clamoring to beat me to my place. It’s funny how, as dancers, we become attached to our habitual place at the barre - the place of our internal work, the angle from which we always see ourselves in the mirror, the fixation that remains constant each morning, as welcoming (or unwelcoming) as that first cup of coffee. It is our personal space and our home base that we become so possessive of.

I open my bag, and overflowing with pointe shoes, Tiger Balm, and warm ups, it spills across the floor beneath the cool silver barre. It’s the same routine every week: Change into sweatpants. Filter through the pointe shoes and decide which to wear. Replace toe pads in appropriate shoes. Lather the Achilles tendon in anti-inflammatories. Pop an Advil if it’s been a bad week. Set out the skirt and soft shoes for the start of class. Then return everything else to the side.

After all is settled I take a deep breath, encouraging myself to begin my necessary stretching, strengthening, and joint-cracking ritual. The percussion of my vertebrae clicking into place is the only sound besides the whizzing air conditioner above. I hardy notice either.

I breathe in the emptiness of the room and close my eyes, savoring the quiet. To be alone in that great space is liberating. In the confines of Manhattan’s steel valleys it seems impossible to find just a single square foot of personal space. But here in the studio, I am truly free. I can see the buildings of midtown almost at arms length. The clouds are close enough to tickle with my breath.

If I were warmed up and fully awake I would love to break out into some long lost choreography that simmers inside me, never with an opportunity to surface. But by the time my pre-class routine gets me to my feet to stretch my calves, I hear the beeping of the elevator in the hallway. Other dancers come in and glance around before entering, as if afraid to disturb my silence. I smile at them…and we dance together.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

new yorker state of mind

Had a long day at my internship today, so I don't have much to blog about dance-wise. Work is going well boss is going away in a few weeks and I'm going to be in his place for a day or two, so I'm learning more than I normally would so I can take over for that short time. It's good, just a big responsibility.

Other good news is that CN decided to start paying interns a stipend starting in March. Yay, haha. It's like, nothing, but it's something. Just a little extra money for food and travel, but it was nice to find out about that today.

I have a ton of work to catch up with tonight...getting my teacher's e-newsletter to go out March 1, working on the other studio's newsletter layout, finishing my review of Vishneva last weekend (see, behind!), and more.

Will try to blog more interestingly this weekend, haha.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

choreography week 3

I went to work again today with the high school kids I've been choreograping on the past few weeks. Last week they had school vacation, so I was a bit nervous that we'd be thrown off this week, but luckily everyone came in refreshed and remembering all we had done.

Again I gave them a brief ballet class before diving into my choreography. Their attendance has been a little odd, with people showing up one week and not the next and so on, but I guess there's a lot of them total and only 16 today. We went over what I had previously taught them, and then I added a whole new section.

Since I'm pretty new to being the choreographer in charge, I'm still trying to figure out my approach to setting this dance. Mostly I make up combinations and steps from week to week and teach as much as I can of what I have prepared in the time I'm allotted. What I've had them doing is basically connecting a few phrases together back to back, with everyone doing it as a large group and then broken up into smaller groups so they can really use the (little) space they have.

Today, however, I realized it was time to crack down and start making it actually look like a dance rather than just a long combination. I taught them a new phrase that uses a lot of level changes, and then turned it around so that they do it in a big circle. It was hard for them to grasp which way they needed to face along the circle at different points. For instance, there's a part where they fall to the ground and lay straight out, but there was no space to do so along the circle, as if they were head to toe with one another. So I had them fall away from the center of the circle. This proved a challenging concept for some, but I understand since many have very little dance training.

By the end of the rehearsal we figured out the circle and made some additional changes to what we already had for phrases to make it more like a performance. I'm happy with the way it's coming, but we still have a lot of work to do. They seem to be enjoying it though, which is definitely important. Their usual teacher, whom I'm working for, seems pleased with it as well. It's definitely a new experience for me, but I'm glad I'm tackling it.

Besides that it was a super busy day...class, meeting at school, etc etc.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

showcase pictures

Some pictures from Sunday's little showcase, and dinner afterwards :)

my visiting family and friends from class...all together! (can't see half the table here...)

my partner for swan lake, gregory

no pointe shoes...that's why i look so short on the right there :(

weird one, but some random moment during my gamzatti variation

dance & technology seminar

Tonight I went to a Dance & Technology seminar downtown hosted by Dance/NYC with speaker Doug from greatdance. It was quite an interesting talk.

It was more aimed for dance companies and presenters rather than individual artists or bloggers in particular, but it got me thinking a lot more about untapped opportunity in the online dance world. Doug showed a bunch of good websites out there for companies to model themselves after, and emphasized the importance and appeal of video and youtube.

He went through the basics of youtube, facebook, and certain blogging technologies so that marketing people and companies can learn more about creating and maintaining an internet presence.

One interesting issue that was raised was that of rights issues and intellectual property concerns when putting dance choreography and performances online. Where is the line drawn for fair use, and when are we overstepping boundaries of someone's creative property if we make it available to the entire internet audience? It's something to think about for sure.

Another question someone asked was whether seeing dance videos online actual hinders audience buildup because they can sit at home and watch dance on the screen rather than attending actual performances. I would argue against this, saying that online dance merely exposes the art form to a greater audience and if anything ENCOURAGES them to view the real thing.

Something Doug talked about was the new Mondays with Merce concept that I blogged about a while back, and the concept of audience participation and learning to dance through the internet. I think this is a hugely beneficial thing for a very large audience of balletomanes who may be intimidated by dance.

Anyways, I'm glad I went, at the invitation of Evan. It was great to hear Doug speak in person about many of the things he's been posting about, all stuff at the front of technology for the dance world. It would be nice if I had the time to pursue some of the ideas tossing around in my head as he was suggesting ways to use the technologies...maybe someday soon I'll experiment.


Oh my goodness, I got a massage this morning and it was SO good.

As a dancer it's really best if you go for a massage often to keep your muscles loose and healthy and everything, but time and money don't always allow for frequent visits...I haven't been in farrr too long and given my foot issues I thought it was time.

He spent like 45 minutes on my one calf on the bad foot side. It was so painful...I'm hoping with muscles loosening up though maybe some of the dancing pain will go away? I don't know if that's directly related to bursitis, but it can't hurt right?

Before and after class I try to stretch and work through muscles that hurt or feel tight, but it's so hard to target the specific places on yourself. Tennis balls and foam rollers are dancers' best friends, but they don't reach every specific tight spot.

Anyways, I'm glad I finally went. I'm kind of more sore now than I was when I went in though, haha. Oh well.

Tonight I'm going to a dance and technology blogging seminar thing hosted by Doug of GreatDance. Should be interesting.

Monday, February 25, 2008

in the wings books

This morning at Barnes & Noble I finally had a chance to pick up a copy of the new behind the scenes at NYCB photo book "In the Wings" by corps de ballet member Kyle Froman. I had heard all about it when it came out recently, but had yet to see the wonderful pictures everyone spoke about. It really is a great book with some interesting pictures...I recognized lots of dancers in the backgrounds.

What was ironic about coming across the book today was that I went there to have my coffee and work on MY book proposal, which is an assignment for grad school. Basically I was given the task of thinking up any possible book I would want to publish and putting details together. Honestly I've been wanting to get myself to write a proposal for a while now and just haven't had the time or opportunity to do so, and now that it's required I figured I'd put some real effort into it so I might be able to use it one day for real.

The irony: I named my prospective book "In the Wings." Haha. It was subconciously tucked away somewhere in mind and it's a pretty common cliche kind of title for a dance related thing, but I didn't think anything of it until I realized there's already a book with that name. Stupid me, haha.

So now I need a new title. But basically my "book" is about the insides of the ballet world, and it would potentially be broken up into 3 parts. I don't want to give away details in case some day it comes into fruition (haha) but it's fun to think this stuff up. I really should take them time to actually write it...someday.

It would be nice if there were a bigger market for dance titles, though. That's the problem.

Anyways thought I'd share that for now, since I spent most of the morning working on it (after saying goodbye to my family who were visiting for yesterday's performance). I'm off to the New Yorker in a bit, and then class later. Some interesting stuff coming up this week...details to come (and Vishneva review to come).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

mini performance & dinner

Tonight was our little student showcase performance, and it was quite fun.

I'll write more tomorrow, but it went well overall. My variation was a little shaky but it came together. Our group piece from Swan Lake was fun, though. We had a nice little audience, bigger than we were anticipating, and in general it was good.

Some of my family came to visit, so afterwards a whole bunch of us went out to dinner to celebrate the performance and a belated celebration of my graduation. There were a lot more of us than planned, but it was really nice to have both my real family and my ballet family (ok, corny) there together for once. We had yummy Japanese food and laughed a lot.

More details (and photos hopefully) to come, but big thank you to all who came to support us and to my friends and family!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

stargazing at Vishneva's performance

I went to Diana Vishneva's Beauty in Motion program tonight, and it was sooo good!

I'm reviewing it for exploredance soon, but wow, she is amazing. And her other dancers were great, too. The choreography was all very different but very good...and it was a treat to see Desmond as a guest, too.

Haha, the best part of my evening was people watching before, after, and during intermission. First, thanks to my lucky fabulous orchestra seats, I spotted Paloma Herrara and Marcelo Gomes in the front row! Obviously they were there to support their fellow ABT principal dancer, which I thought was nice! Then in the second intermission up in the lobby by the balcony I walked past Alessandra Ferri!

And I also saw...Baryshnikov. Several times, haha. I'm such a ballet dork, and I really thought I was past the point of being starstruck by dancers, since I know all to well now that they are merely human like me. BUT it was so cool to see him in person, not onstage, just candidly. My friend and I walked past him a few times to goggle in awe, and she swears she saw him "staring" at us. Haha well...

Anyways it was a great performance and a nice night. Review to come soon on exploredance. For now you can finally see my review of Wednesday's NYCB performance on ExploreDance here.

I'm performing tomorrow :) time for sleep...

bae letter from the editor

So as I mentioned a while back, my old ballet studio called me in to produce an issue of their school newsletter, since it hasn't been done since early 2006. It was actually more fun of a project than I expected because I got to reminsce about performances from the past 2 years and go through pictures and programs.

Yesterday I sent the director a draft of all the copy, so I thought now would be a good time to share my letter from the editor. I have to say, this was one of the first things I wrote for it, and one of the hardest - for various reasons.

Anyways, see my letter below. When the whole issue is done and the pdf is online I'll link to it.

Tonight I'm going to see Diana Vishneva's performance for ExploreDance review...and tomorrow is our little studio showing performance. Should be mom and grandmother are visiting for it.

Letter from the Editor - BAE alumni Taylor ---
Dear BAE Students, Faculty, and Friends,

I’m excited and honored to be bringing you a new issue of the Graded Level Ballet Newsletter. When Julia asked me to work on this project I couldn’t say no -- it’s my chance to give back to the place that gave me so much in my two years of attending.

Though many students have grown up here, I stepped into this unique environment for the last leg of my ballet training. I came to New York in 2005 in search of opportunity, but what followed was unimaginable, both at BAE and beyond.

There are a few particular moments that remain imprinted in my mind like the permanent lines of pointe shoes on my feet. The chance to tackle Balanchine repertoire is something few other pre-professional schools offer, and learning and performing Raymonda Variations and Divertimento No. 15 were unparalleled experiences.

I remember being in the green room just after coming offstage from our first performance of Raymonda Variations in the Spring Show of 2006. All of the teachers came down to congratulate us. “Balanchine would be proud,” Peter --- told me. “He loved his dancers, and we’re just passing on the love.” To that point I had never felt such validation from a performance, and it could only have happened at BAE.

Similar excitement came when working with various guest teachers. Getting corrections from Cynthia Gregory, practicing partnering with Nikolaj Hubbe, learning movement from Christopher D’Amboise - how could a new New Yorker even imagine these kinds of experiences? Saying that my expectations were surpassed is an understatement.

Unlike most of my classmates, while polishing my technique I was enrolled full-time in college as well, aspiring to be a writer outside of dance. To balance homework and rehearsals, not to mention internships galore, was difficult, but the challenges motivated me to push harder for what I wanted. Since graduating from BAE in the spring of 2007, I have danced with two ballet companies, completed a project to be presented at the Dance Research Forum Ireland, interned at magazines like The New Yorker, written about dance for many publications, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in Communication Arts, and started grad school at age 19.

Busy as I may be, I’m excited to be sharing my writing career with BAE. Feel free to contact me with suggestions for the next issue, and I hope you enjoy the newsletter!

All my best, Taylor

Friday, February 22, 2008

dance news roundup 2/22

Lately I've been getting press releases and hearing news things that I haven't been able to keep up I think a new installment to this blog will be a weekly (or so) dance news roundup of interesting things going on in the dance world.

Let it be noted that I do not call myself a news blog, nor do I make an attempt to cover EVERYthing that's going on in dance. As much as I'd love to do that, I don't have the time - and until blogging starts paying somehow (aha) this is the best I can do...just to share some information...

*MORPHOSES, Christopher Wheeldon's company, was recently honored by The South Bank Show Awards, "one of Great Britains most prestigious awards for arts and culture." For their inaugural season at Sadler's Wells last fall, the company was named
Company winner of the Dance category. In addition, the Laurence Olivier
Awards announced that Wendy Whelan has been nominated for a 2008 award for
Outstanding Achievement in Dance for her performance in Christopher Wheeldon's "Fools Paradise." Looks like the company is well on its way to success!

*NYCB recently launched a YouTube channel, thanks to the enterprising Kristin Sloan. It will feature interviews and behind the scenes coverage, similar to Kristin's videos for Romeo + Juliet last spring. They already have an intro video up, along with preview clips from their Winter Season. Kristin certainly is opening up the dance world for all to see!

*Also see Philip's account of last night's NYCB performance (mine will come soon on ExploreDance..promise!)

*Richmond Ballet (where I have a friend who is an apprentice!) is visiting New York to present 3 NYC premieres by Jessica Lang, with a Q&A with the choreographer to follow the one-night-only performance. The program is part of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts' "New Work / New York" series, which "supports multidisciplinary artists in the creation of works that receive their New York and/or world premiere at Brooklyn Center."
I'm not able to make it, but it sounds like it's definitely worth seeing. Too bad it's only one night...
Richmond Ballet: Works by Jessica Lang at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College
2900 Campus Road, Brooklyn
Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 8pm; Tickets $25

*Check out some Irish dance also at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts World Stages program in March...just in time for St. Patty's day, haha. They're an 8 member brother-sister act from Canada...
Leahy at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Walt Whitman Theatre
Friday, March 7, 8PM
Tickets: $40, $25.
Online orders:
Box Office: (718) 951-4500

*ABT recently concluded a 5 day long Alumni Teacher Training program, the first of several series in effort to codify the American ballet curriculum for young dancers. My teacher participated, along with 60-odd other company alumni.

More news etc to come soon...let me know if we like this little news addition, or if it's boring, or what?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

movmnt blogger photo

From the other night's blogger meetup at movmnt magazine (photo thanks to David)

From left to right:
Doug, Tony , Al and Andrea , me, Tonya , Evan , David (Editor/Publisher of movmnt magazine) and Brian .

Look for another post soon on The Winger about our blog conversations and more! And buy movmnt's new issue.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

play it cool at nycb

Just got home from seeing NYCB's American Songs and Dances program, which concluded with West Side Story Suite and Robbie Fairchild *singing* Cool from the famous West Side story score. As I've always been a fan of the film version and was reinspired by the stage version when I saw Chita Rivera do an excerpt in her brief Broadway engagement 2 years ago, I was so excited when I saw it on NYCB's program...and it made me want to dance!

Formal review to come on ExploreDance, but this and the rest of tonight's works were really different from the traditional evening at the ballet. It was all very Broadway-esque. Of course all the dancing was great.

I ran into Evan and Philip sitting a few rows in front of me in the orchestra, and we chatted and people watched during both intermissions.

As we walked out late (3 hour long program...sheesh) Evan and I ran into a huge crowd staring up to the sky over Broadway. At first we could only see them looking up, but the sky and everything was blocked by State Theater. When we finally got out by the (boarded up) fountain we saw what was going on...the lunar eclipse! Haha cool. But it was definitely a funny sight to see a huge pack of ballet-goers staring was like what, is there a fire, or someone jumping off a building, or what? It actually reminded me of when I was in this press picture thing for Dancing with the Stars where we all had to look up to the photographer atop Avery Fisher Hall. haha

It was a nice night.

Right before running to Lincoln Center I rehearsed with my friend to embark on the process of making audition videos, as I mentioned earlier. She had found a ballet coach to work with but neither of us knew exactly who it was, and when we met tonight it turned out to be a teacher I had a few days back in my early Boston days! Small world! It was nice to have a different pair of eyes on my variation (gamzatti from la bayadere...performance this sunday :) but I'm finding some contradictions between different versions I've learned and what I should be doing. I guess it's all in the interpretation of the choreography...I like working in depth on this thing though, as I don't really get the time or chance to do that much nowadays.

Okay, it's definitely almost bed time...busy day at The New Yorker tomorrow. Keep a lookout for my NYCB review on ExploreDance.

busy day

Today has been a day similar to the many I had last semester where I have a million places to be at the same time and everything seems to be happening at once. Luckily I thrive of this, but it's been a little stressful.

Earlier a friend and I rented a studio to rehearse our variations for this weekend's little performance since our normal teacher/coach has been away the past few days. I'm glad we did it, but it's kind of hard to get stuff done when you don't have someone there yelling at you, haha. My teacher yells a lot...but in a good way :)

After that I had an interview for a paid internship at this one sounds like a great opportunity, but it's full time which is a little daunting to me at this point. We'll see what happens.

Tonight I'm rehearsing with ANOTHER friend because we're trying to get it together to make audition videos to send to companies. I haven't made time to do this the past 3 audition seasons, haha, so I definitely have to now. We're working on it...

Then I'm going to see New York City Ballet tonight for the last time this season. I'm excited to see their West Side Story Suite...they sing! Review to come on ExploreDance later this week.

That's all for now...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

yes, another blog

I swear I don't just start new things for the heck of it. If you know me, you know that I follow through with everything I sign on to, even if it means pushing a little too hard to get all my work done.

So the new task added today is another blog. Yes, this is what, number 4? If you count this new one, this Off Center, the Winger, and ExploreDance (which i don't consider a blog but it is online). BUT I am quite happy to be starting this one.

It's over on which I mentioned a few weeks ago. The site is hosted by Dancer Magazine, and after doing an article for them recently (which actually spoke about their blog/network/website a bit) they asked if I'd maybe be a featured blogger.

I'm really glad there's an outlet (many in fact) for me to write so much about my love of dance! None of this existed just a short time ago, and now blogs and voices in dance are in abundance. This is good good good.

Anyway, check out my blog/profile over there if you want, and read up on some of their other contributors...interesting people from all walks of the dance world. Or create a profile and contribute yourself :)

ABT summer audition results

Dear Taylor,

Congratulations! We are delighted to inform you of your acceptance to American Ballet Theatre’s 2008 Collegiate Summer Intensive from May 27 to June 13. We look forward to your participation in our program!

Collegiate Summer Intensive
Dates: May 27 – June 13, 2008
Location: American Ballet Theatre

Don't know if I'll end up attending, but I appreciate their timely response! Usually these things take forever to get back to you and you wait eagerly by the mailbox (used to be the real life mailbox in my day, now it comes by email!) for weeks.

More on movmnt last night soon...I also posted on the Winger about it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

movmnt blogger meetup

Tonight movmnt magazine hosted a blogger get together at their offices downtown to toss around ideas about the dance world, marketing and promoting dance, and dance in pop culture. I’ll be writing quite a bit more on the conclusions of the (excellent) discussion and more soon (probably on the winger), but for now here’s a basic rundown of the evening.

I ran into Evan of Dancing Perfectly Free in the elevator on the way up to the office, and when we got there we were welcomed by David, Editor and Publisher, some of his magazine staff, and two other bloggers: Doug and Amber (didn't catch name of blog? sorry!). A stack of sandwiches and multiple diet cokes awaited us, with chips and snacks added to make us feel at home. It’s funny because even though we all see each other in person once in a while (and only since the Cedar Lake event), we all have a sense of what’s going on with each other that we don’t really even need to ask, “So how are you?” Haha we read each other’s blogs and it’s such an amusing connection. Sometimes when I blog randomly I think, who on earth actually reads this. And then I talk to people such as this and realize my words are indeed being heard, haha. It’s nice to know.

Anyways, multiple other bloggers filtered in within the next half an hour, including Tonya and fellow Wingers Tony & Brian (visiting from San Francisco). (We missed Philip and Ariel.) After munching and marveling over each other’s real life personas versus blogging personalities, we got down to business.

The nearly 2 hour long conversation went everywhere from what influence do bloggers really have, to what dance companies are(n’t) doing to modernize themselves through publicity, to social networks and the fame culture, to where is the blogosphere headed in the future. Everyone raised some very interesting points and sparked some great debate/dialogue. It’s really inspiring being surrounded by people who care so much about dance as an art form coming from such varied perspectives. I was fascinated by each person at the table.

Idea after idea danced through my mind while listening (okay, corny sentence). There is little other opportunity for this level of discourse about dance, probably both because people don’t have time for it and people don’t care enough about it. A big thanks to David and movmnt for hosting the event and for being among the first institutions to reach out to bloggers.

After saying goodbye and walking away with another copy of the new issue and an awsome pair of movmnt socks, I took the subway uptown with Evan and we continued the conversation for the whole ride, discussing the issues already raised and bringing up other things we forgot to mention. Now that I’m home and thinking it over I realize there is so much to be discussed and we’ve only touched the tip of it. I hope we have more get-togethers like this regularly in the future!

Towards the end of the meeting we were discussing the magazine and David was saying how he loves blogs but he’s always been one for paper…meaning magazines the print media. I have to agree, as much as I enjoy blogging and reading blogs. I love magazines, and writing, and movmnt magazine - but I also love the immediacy of the internet and the opportunity for vast voices to be heard. In the tight-knit dance world especially, I think it’s important that both media mesh, and tonight was definitely the epitome of that! Yay for dance finally earning a place in social discourse.

More details and photo(s) to come soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

critical conversation

There's an interesting conversation going on over on greatdance about the role of the critic and what qualifies a person to be an effective dance critic.

It's interesting to note that the dialogue is going on at all, and it's something I'm so intrigued by given my research on dance criticism last semester. There are so many opinions about something so subjective that I don't know how conclusions can be reached...but we're trying.

Check out the conversation and let me know what you think. Why do you trust the dance critics you agree with? How important is criticism to the dancer/choreographer? What do you think gives a writer/person the authority to judge such an art form?

Just brainstorming...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

articles out

Still not exactly in a blogging mood tonight, but news of the day is that both of my most recent articles were printed this week.

As I mentioned yesterday, movmnt is out with my piece on injuries (ironic now because my foot is getting worse...). Today I got an early copy of Dancer magazine with my article on dance studios using the internet for marketing etc.

I like seeing my name in print :) Don't get me wrong, blogging and writing for the internet is something I enjoy also, but there's something so official about print...especially magazines.

Have I mentioned lately that my grad school courses in magazine publishing are keeping me busy? I never really talk about that aspect of my life, but it's definitely there and keeping my occupied outside of ballet!

Anyways this is another kind of random, unimportant post...sorry haha. Have a good weekend all...and go buy those magazines if you get a chance. Other stuff in both publications are really interesting to read, too!

Friday, February 15, 2008


Apologies for not posting earlier today at all. It's been a long day.

I'm so tired tonight, and as I've mentioned recently, things are starting to catch up with me nowadays and I need rest. Today was another heavy ballet day, and my foot (which has achilles bursitis, if you haven't been keeping up) is not getting better. I'm sure this is because I refuse to take time off...but I'm suffering the consequences now and STILL won't stop. Ugh.

On the bright side, I feel like my variation for next week's little performance is coming along slowly but surely. After 3 hours of class (and 1 in the morning), I ran it to the ground tonight, several times back to back. There's something so oddly satisfying about pushing til the last drop of energy. And then going further.

Anyways...I got a copy of the new issue of movmnt also this afternoon, with my article on injuries. I'm on the contributors page as well, which is nice...although I make myself laugh...I wrote my bio to be all serious and listing what I've done, whereas most of the others are much more fun and amusing. Haha hey that's me. The issue is great though...I'll write more about it all later, but go get a copy if you can.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day all.
(photo by me)

e-news 2/14

New issue of my teacher's bi-weekly ballet e-newsletter that I help out with is out today.

Click here to read February 14 issue

Click here to subscribe to the informative newsletter that comes out twice a month, with ballet news, tips, class updates, and more.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

choreography week 2

Today was my second time working with those public high school kids that I'm choreographing on...and it went much better than last week.

First of all, this time I was actually prepared to teach a class first rather than go right into teaching my choreography as I had expected last week. So I gave them a warm up barre and some things in the center. Again, most of them are not trained dancers, but they certainly do pick up quickly! I was impressed by the fact that they all remembered most of the choreography from last week, even though they hadn't done it at all since then.

After doing some center combinations to get them turning a bit, we went over the stuff I taught last week. It was nice that they kept it all in their bodies because we could add on some finer details and clean up the movements a bit before moving on. I then taught them about 16 more counts of the phrase and we put it all together with what we did before. I find that repetition is really the key with this group. They all seem to be trying really hard and they appear eager to get it right, so I try to give them the opportunity to really feel comfortable with the steps before moving on.

The tough part as a teacher is to do this for the less experienced ones while still keeping the advanced ones interested. Having been in both kinds of experiences (the worst in the class and the more advanced side), I hope I can use how I've felt in those situations to translate it effectively as I teach. Obviously I'm still just starting to find my "teaching tone" -as I referred to it last week- but that's my goal anyway. I find myself unconciously mimicking those teachers I've had in the past who have been most impressionable on me personally (a select few).

Anyways. The rehearsal went quite well and I like that they are already progressing. Next week they have school vacation, but after that it's time to crack down and choreograph more to put together so it starts to really look like a dance. I only get them 2 hours per week until their show in May, so it will come up quick. Will post performance details as they become available.

Speaking of performance details, reminder of the small studio showcase performance thing I'm in on Feb. 24th at 5:30. I've been working a LOT on my variation (Gamzatti from La Bayadere) the past few days with my teacher, which I really enjoy because, again, we get to go into great detail and find what works for me. Should be a fun little performance.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

more teaching

Oh what a snowy day here in the city.

I've added some more teaching to my busy schedule. I'm starting to work privately with some beginner adult students from class. I like working more one on one because there are sooo many details to every step that it's nice to break things down and really dig in deep to the technique. It's too bad we can't do that all the time in regular class.

It's kind of fun being on the teaching end of things, too. I feel like I've learned so much from everyone I've worked with in the past and as I dance myself, I have all these little voices in my head (haha) reminding me of what's correct and what looks best. Now I can share those voices and add my own to help someone else. I'm also genuinely inspired by some of these new-to-dance adults I come in contact with often lately because they really love it and want to learn it for the art. I try to remind myself of this when I get discouraged.

I'm teaching/choreographing on those high school kids again tomorrow...better go prepare myself.

Happy snow day :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

blast from the past, and super tired

Today was extreeeemely ballet heavy. Unexpectedly, I ended up having an hour and a half of private lesson after class to work on my variation for a little student showcase coming up at the end of the month. I hadn't been planning these rehearsals but there happened to be empty studios after both morning and night classes today, so we worked a LOT even though I was super exhausted from class (and my foot is bothering me again...).

I'm excited for our little showcase though. It's going to be February 24 at 5:30pm if anyone is interested. Pop me an email and I'll give you the location...all are welcome! It's only $5 at the door and should be a quick but fun program.

Besides that, the highlight of my night was just getting delayed email notifications of some comments on The Winger. For whatever reason, the WordPress software didn't email me when people left comments on my posts weeks ago, and only tonight did they bother to come through my inbox.

Well, I was greatly surprised and excited to find a congratulatory comment from an old teacher I had a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time ago in Boston. Years and years ago, and she was never actually one of my main teachers but rather a head of the studio kind of thing. But apparently she had been keeping up with my posts on the Winger and wished me congratulations for graduating, etc. How wonderful it was to hear from her and to see that people really do read this stuff we post about!

I know usually I'm complaining about it, but I really do love the fact that the dance world is so small.

If anyone else out there from the past is reading this feel free to comment and keep in touch! I love love love hearing from people I miss and often times feel like they've forgotten who I am haha.

Yay for blogging, I guess, is my point tonight.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

audition: ABT summer intensive

Today I had my audition for ABT's summer program. It was both for their normal 6 week program and also their 3 week collegiate program...and it went surprisingly well.

The age group was 16-22 so I fell somewhere in the middle, which was nice. There were a zillion people there though (actual number, somewhere around 80) so it was cramped, with a LOT of small groups for center work. I seriously don't know how they can see and judge people like that. I've always wondered that and have come to realize that a lot of rejections, not just me but other people as well, come more from the fact that they just don't SEE you rather than the notion of bad dancing/technique.

Anyways I was actually fortunate because I happened to be the LAST one to register (I wasn't even late..I guess a lot of people had pre-registered so I ended up last) so I was in the last group and the way the numbers worked out there were only 4 of us instead of 8. So hopefully that means they got to see us better.

Class itself was pretty simple. The only annoying part was having to keep myself warm and aware of the combination while waiting for 20 other groups to go before me. Such is life at an audition, though.

For my first of the season it wasn't so bad. I had a decent class. I should hear from them in about a week to see if I got in. We'll see.

Afterwards as I was leaving I ran into my friend and former Residence Director from my high school studio! I haven't seen her since I went to visit for my friends' graduation back in June, so that was exciting to see her unexpectedly! She was with some other students coming up for the audition. I miss her!

Anyways, it was a long day and a long weekend.
Tomorrow movmnt comes out. Head to Barnes and Noble!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

audience alumni

Last night I went to see the studio showing performance of my old studio. They conveniently had it in the basement theater of the place I usually take class. It was quite interesting being in the audience for once, since the last 2 years I've been IN these performances.

I do miss performing. But I have to say that at this point I'm glad I've moved on from there. It WAS really nice to see my former classmates dance so wonderfully and to get a chance to speak more to my old teachers.

They did 2 big pieces and a lot of student choreography. I was noticing how -- as I was recently told and lectured about during a rehearsal -- the difference between dancing like a student and dancing like a professional. There's something about the quality and the presence of movement that makes certain dancers stand out, despite their age or experience. Seeing my classmates from a more objective eye (with 8 months time distance) made me think a lot about that, and about what I danced like when I was there versus how I dance now. Or at least how I take class now.

Anyways, I was very impressed by the performance and it made me proud to say that I came from there. I was glad to see certain teachers as well and catch them up on my new life.

I was kind of supposed to go their benefit party tonight, but I just wasn't up for it. I'm actually not feeling so well and the past few busy weeks are catching up to me finally, so I had to skip it. Congrats to all who performed, though! I'll be posting a brief article about it and about other studio stuff soon, as I'm almost finished with this issue of their studio newsletter.

Pictures from LAST year's studio showing:
student choreography

in a piece by chris d'amboise

Friday, February 8, 2008

audition pictures...

Every audition season, come January and February, I have to take on the annoying task of taking ballet pictures to give with my resume to companies and summer programs. I really hate the fact that so much is judged by a simple photograph when dance = movement, and a picture is not moving. Needless to say, taking pictures is not something I look forward to.

I did the first round this morning after class, although I may need to do more. They are fine for this weekend anyway...of course I'm not confident enough to actually show you the pictures on here, haha. BUT I did do a little photoshopping as I enjoy messing with stuff and came out with some kind of cool things...have a look.

I was lucky to have a wonderful background of the city! Ailey = amazing.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

happy chinese new year!

After spending most of the day at The New Yorker (and getting my official CN key card thingy -- which is rather exciting) I went out with a bunch of people from class to celebrate Chinese New Year...the year of the rat :) It was a fun night.

This post is pretty irrelevant to anything, but other than tonight it was a fairly uneventful day. Busy weekend coming up keeping with my role as editor of my old studio's newsletter, I'm consumed by them tomorrow and Saturday nights with their performances and benefit. Should be interesting. Also have an audition Sunday for ABT's summer program...first audition of the season, and not really looking forward to it, haha.

Anyway. Happy Chinese New Year all

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

attempt at choreography, week 1

Today was my first day wearing the hat of choreographer for this group of NYC public high school kids' spring performance. Their regular teacher is a teacher I had last semester at MMC and she asked me to come work with them.

Okay, I've taught before. My family runs a local school and I started helping teach when I was all of ten years old. And last year I was an assistant teacher at BAE with the little little kids. HOWEVER this is my first foray into being the actual main person in charge in the studio. And I like it!

Haha. If you know me you know that I'm not a very loud person. But somehow I managed to find a teacher tone today. I had to give them a short warm up class before diving into the choreography, which I was not exactly prepared for. It went fairly well though...making up combinations on the spot was seemed to work somehow.

After they did barre I took them to the center of their quaint little studio space and we started with some choreography that I very thoughtfully tried to come up with yesterday in my bite sized apartment. I didn't get a chance to actually do any of my ideas full out, and the students aren't all actual dancers, so I was a bit concerned. It went quite well though...we got through most of what I had prepared and even though I took it down a notch level wise, they seemed to get it all and be enjoying themselves. They liked my music too, haha (it's the theme song from American Beauty...I danced the first pas de deux I ever performed to it one summer way back when and have loved the soundtrack ever since).

Anyway it was definitely a new experience but one I'd like to continue pursuing...this teaching/choreography business. I'll be working with them all this semester so it will be fun to see their progression!

Besides that today was really really busy...class all morning (good turning day for once!?) and then had a meeting at school later...I'm tired haha. Teaching for an hour and 45 minutes straight requires a huge amount of a different kind of energy that I'm not used to at all. It's different than what I use to take multiple classes every day. I have to get used to this!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

great Dane

Much of the talk around the dance blogosphere today is about Nikolaj Hubbe, a New York City Ballet principal dancer who will be retiring from the company this week to take on the role of director of the Royal Danish Ballet, the company where he first made it big.

Apprently there was an interview/q&a with him last night that I so sadly missed, but Philip and Tonya wrote quite a bit about it...

I thought it would be fitting to mention my memory of working with Nikolaj at BAE 2 years ago. For our Studio Showing he came to set parts of Bournonville's "Napoli" on us...and it was SO much fun!

(me in "Napoli")

First of all, that ballet is great. I had learned one of the little variations from it back at Rock a few years before, but the whole tarantella scene and everything that we did is so wonderful. The excerpts we did included this, a pas de six, and a few variations. Even though it's supposed to be the same six dancers who are featured in the tarantella, Nikolaj broke it up into sections so that each of the 20-some people in our version of it got a chance to shine. My part was with a kid who is now at PNB, and we were both kind of shy...apparently we were supposed to be the couple who were "married" one point Nikolaj wanted us to make eye contact or something and neither of us could do it and get the steps at the same time, so he stopped the whole rehearsal and did the combination with me alone, all the while laughing and yelling "look at me like you love me!"

It was his incredible energy, zest for movement, and charismatic humor that made working with him so memorable and fun. I know all of the other BAE dancers had many laughs during those rehearsals, and I think we'd all agree he was one of the best guest teachers we had! What an honor it was to work with him on a Bournonville piece, for which he is known and for which he will move on to with his directorship of Royal Danish Ballet.

I saw him last week in "Square Dance" and not only was I amazed by his dancing (of course) but I felt quite lucky to say that I had once been in a studio with him laughing and learning. I think that's the beauty of dancing in New York...getting those opportunities.

He will be missed by many when he retires on Sunday!

Monday, February 4, 2008

have a laugh

I realize I haven't posted much about my internship at The New Yorker lately...

Here's a quick link to make you laugh...slideshow of the cartoons in the current issue of the magazine. Since I get to see a lot of these before they are printed it's even funnier to see others enjoying them later.

Have a laugh on a rainy Monday.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

NYCB Traditions Review

Wow, this past week has been a little crazy. I know, I say that all the time...and the truth is, it always seems to get a little more crazy each week. Something new comes up or more work is added or whatever...

Anyways I FINALLY got to finish my review of NYCB's performance last Sunday of Prodigal Son, etc etc. It should be up on ExploreDance soon, but see below...

Something new this week: I'm starting to choreograph for this group of NYC public high school kids. It's a long story how I got the opportunity and I promise to write about it soon, but starting Wednesday I have to put together a piece for 30-odd students who haven't had much dance training...some of whom are almost the same age as me! It should be an interesting experience...I'll post about it as it happens.

Anyway...the review:

New York City Ballet has already had a whirlwind Winter Season, and it has only just begun. The “Traditions” program on Sunday, January 27 was one of the best I’ve seen in some time now. The three ballets, all dating back to some of the earlier days of the company, showed off the technique and improvement of young talent.

Opening with Balanchine’s “Square Dance” seemed appropriate in following the theme of “Traditions.” The neo-classical style that epitomizes Balanchine’s ideas for American ballet makes this piece stand out. With choreography influenced by folk dance moves, the dance features sections for just the males, just the females, and various united sections. Sunday’s cast was led by the charming Megan Fairchild, filling in for Abi Stafford, and the demanding Nikolaj Hubbe, who will retire from the company on February 10. Between Fairchild’s sparkling footwork and Hubbe’s expansive presence, the stage was livelier than any traditional square dance.

The following work exemplified another side of Balanchine’s mastery. “Prodigal Son” is a story ballet based on the biblical parable and was originally made for Segei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes in 1929. Debuting in the lead roles on Sunday were Daniel Ulbricht and Teresa Reichlen as the Siren.

Ulbricht wowed the audience the moment he stepped onstage. Though he is quite short compared to other dancers of his rank, his first jump reached a height few others achieve. A gasp from seemingly the entire New York State Theater audience proved his ability to grasp attention, but it is more than tricks that make an artist successful in such a role. He truly commanded emotion in the final scene of the ballet, as he struggled, pain and suffering read loud through his body, to attain the embrace of his father, played by the noble Johnathan Stafford. Ulbricht’s touching inhabitance of the role was only partially met by Riechlen, who danced the Siren role with a lovely, sultry quality but did not own it as strongly as her petite partner.

The program concluded with an entirely different mood in Jerome Robbins’ “The Four Seasons.” More of an amusing spectacle than either the clean ballet or deep story that preceded, the piece is filled with bright, creative costumes and interesting lighting.

“Winter” is a cutesy number for the corps de ballet girls, joined by a fluttering Sterling Hyltin and her two partners, Sean Suozzi and Christian Tworzyanski. “Spring” is a much calmer section, led by an elegant pas de deux performed by Sara Mearns and Jared Angle. In a still different tone, “Summer” gives the impression of intense heat. Rebecca Krohn stood out for her technique, but it would be interesting to see her in a more upbeat role to see her play more to the audience. The final season, “Fall” was a rather showy rendition for Ashley Bouder and Benjamin Millipied. Bouder’s double fouettes were impressive, and her confidence onstage ran wild in the role. Antonio Carmena’s lead part was reminiscent of Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and his playful character was enjoyable.

The colorful finale of the ballet culminated an afternoon of outstanding dancing. After seeing this program it is no secret why the New York City Ballet’s Tradition has continued year after year.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

why read blogs?

To follow up after the other day's post about why I blog and's post about why bloggers blog, I wanted to see why readers read!

Why do you read blogs, and dance blogs in particular?
What other blogs do you read, and how often to you read?
What do you get out of following a particular blog?
What kinds of stuff do you like to read in blogs?
What do you wish was different about dance blogs?

If you have a minute feel free to comment and answer some or all of those questions! I'm just it's a nice way to introduce yourself to the blog community :)

Have a good weekend!

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm an e-news editor

Official as of this morning when the February issue came out...I am the new webmaster/e-newsletter editor of my ballet teacher Kat Wildish's website. She asked me to take it over recently, and today my first issue went out to her huge mailing list after working on it all week.

Since I only copyedit and format it rather than actually create content, I can argue that this is perhaps one of the most informative newsletters out there for dancers! She lists auditions, performances, healthy tips, and TONS more, and even though it's focused on being an update for her (1000+) students, ANY dancer/dance fan will love it. It comes out twice per month, and I highly encourage everyone to subscribe!

See today's issue here.
Newsletter Archives here.