Monday, March 31, 2008

more on dance critic Jowitt

Thanks to danciti I came across two Gawker blurbs about Village Voice Dance Critic (or formerly so) Deborah Jowitt being laid off last week. See here and here.

That first one has some interesting comments...apparently the general public agrees that dance is unimportant...though one commenter mentions, "I think it would be more accurate to say that the kind of dance most dance critics write about is "increasingly irrelevant, culturally". Dancing is a very popular activity among humans and I don't think that's going to change any time soon."

MAYBE I could get on board with that thought...I don't know though...

It's clear that the Voice is having issues in itself regarding budget problems and such (like many other newspaper-type publications) but it's still a big deal...

rain = pain

Can someone share with me the actual scientific reason why rain and humid weather causes my entire body and all my joints to ache horribly? I KNOW I'm not the only one who experiences this...

Class was rather painful this morning...doesn't help that it's Monday morning, which is an excuse unto itself.

The Art of the Apprentice

Just sent out my teacher's monthly e-newsletter and here is my "Taylor's Tales" column of the month...
FYI- I'm a huge dork. Just thought I'd throw that in.

Taylor's Tales April 2008
The Art of the Apprentice: Rebecca Kelly Ballet

Rebecca Kelly Ballet, a small 20+ year-old company based in SoHo, will present its New York Season at the end of this month (see performance corner this issue) just blocks away from our classes at Ailey, at the Gerald Lynch Theater on 58th & 10th avenue. A choreographer with strong themes and a troupe of diverse, exceptional dancers, Rebecca has a remarkable program planned – one that I have had the honor of understudying for the past month or so.

From the day I auditioned I knew that working with this company would be different from my past experiences. Rather than focusing on the nitty-gritty technical details of dancing, her work is more concerned with expressing emotion and ideas through movement. Since January I've had the opportunity to get a taste of several of her ballets, with themes reflecting everything from environmental issues to the Iraq War. But the work I'm most involved with now is a world premiere titled, "Writing in Water."

A metaphor for the ephemeral nature of dance, the piece features 5 dancers intertwining in various combinations and phrases to music from Beethoven's "Grosse Fugue." The concept motivating the ballet is that a performance is a moment in time you can never get back. Like trying to write in water, it is fleeting, transient, and gone almost quicker than it came.
That feeling when you surface into the spotlight, out of the shadows of the darkness drowning you and into a state where no thought occurs but being alive – it can never be felt the same again. And if someone missed seeing you dance, that moment can never be returned. You are back in the endless stream of dancers in New York City wading desperately through to reach your dreams, resisting the tide of failure and rarely coming up for air.

Such a theme makes me appreciate the chances I have (had) to do what I love. Ironically, I was called in to be an understudy after one of the original cast members discovered a stress fracture in her foot. Sometimes I think we take for granted what a gift dancing is – to be free with movement, to express unconditionally, to challenge and improve daily, to possess the physical ability to embody passion.

I stand at the back of these rehearsals as the mere apprentice marveling at the beauty behind the steps. Every movement has a reason, and every reason goes back to the one theme that gets me out of bed every morning: the love of dance.

I hope you will make time to see their performances April 24-26 and consider your own appreciation for movement and for life.
The Gerald Lynch Theater of John Jay College is located at 899 10th Avenue at 58th St, NYC. April 24-26 Thursday at 7:30pm, & Friday and Saturday, at 8pm. For tickets call Ticket Central: 212-279-4200. (416 W 42nd St., 12-8pm) or click here. Student & Senior discounts are available.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

spring has sprung!

What a beautiful Sunday it is here in NYC today. Yay for it FINALLY being spring!

I'm hard at work in my coffee shop this afternoon writing a bit, getting my teacher's monthly e-newsletter together to go out tonight, and more...but I definitely think the weather is excuse for a break pretty soon, haha. I desperately want to go for a walk in the park or something...and I just might do that and procrastinate some more :)

Happy spring everyone.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

differences in technique

I took class today with the teacher I took with a few weeks back who is super Balanchine...and it was good, but interesting because I was noticing some of the big differences in technique with different teachers.

First of all, I really like taking a Balanchine class because it's so fast and it works me really hard and gets the inner thighs and all the right muscles working quickly - but there are some things that are just so off the wall opposite from classical technique that it makes me laugh to hear the teacher emphasize them where other teachers would scream out against them. It's only small details, but they're important things that I try to pick up on. One of the benefits of the position I'm in at the moment is that I can take class with whomever I want and experience many different styles and stuff, but sometimes that can be even harder since you need to know which things each teacher prefers. Interesting.

So I spent most of my day in class there and then at my usual class I take. I've been on an energy kick or something the past few weeks because I've been dancing way more than is probably necessary at the moment...but I love it, haha.

Anyways...the rest of the weekend is devoted to writing since today was a dance day. Many things due in the coming week so I better get to work!

Friday, March 28, 2008

ANOTHER one?! critics going, going, gone!

From NAJP's ARTicles:

"Critic Elizabeth Zimmer has just posted the news on that critic Deborah Jowitt, who for four decades covered dance at the Village Voice, was fired from her staff position..." Full post here.

Elizabeth Zimmer's post here.

Zimmer's response to my thesis proposal last semester mentioning her own sad experience being laid off from the Voice here.

Comment from her on my post on The Winger: The shifting of dance writing to the web has been a boon for a lot of people, but those of us who’ve attempted to make a career of it notice that there’s almost no paid opportunity for young writers to enter the field. Without the prospect of earning a living, or part of one, as a dance journalist, many talented people will leave the field. I’ve spent 35 years being paid–sometimes adequately, often pitifully—for my writing and editing by newspapers, magazines, and radio stations, which has enabled me to spend dozens of hours a week paying close attention to the work of dancers and choreographers, and still cover the rent, health insurance, and eating. Last year I was laid off from the best job I ever had, as the dance editor at the Village Voice. Now I’m scrambling to pay my bills, and going to half as many performances since I’m now working part-time as a theater critic and part time as an English teacher....

Also her comment on former LA Times chief dance critic Lewis Segal's lay off mentions cut backs even in freelance opportunities:

Comment: This breaks my heart. Lewis is a Los Angeles institution.
In the same batch of e-mail that brought his news came word that my rates as an arts freelancer at New York's METRO are being cut 25 percent, and that the frequency of my reviews is being reduced.

NOT GOOD! Is the Times the only paper left with a full-time dance critic?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ballet & barbies...or Ailey & Barbies

This cracks me up:

Why no Ailey Ken doll to advance the notion of male dancers? “Do you know any other dance company that has its own Barbie Doll?” Ms. Jamison exclaimed. “Give me a break.”

Read the Times article today on Ailey's 50th Anniversary, commemorated in part by the sale of an Ailey Barbie Doll dressed in a Revelations costume...

choreography - finished the piece!

Yesterday I went to teach as I usually do on Wednesdays and I finished setting my choreography on the kids. It felt GREAT to finally be done, although it needs a ton of cleaning now. But it was more important for me at this point to get all the steps on there and then get them to learn everything than to make everything perfect right away.

My whole choreographic process is still brand new and I'm still trying to figure out what works for me, but this method appears to be successful for the moment. I've been tweaking things as we go while adding on, but now it's time to really make it something special. I'm looking forward to working with them the next few weeks to get it all to come together for their performance in May.

Besides that, yesterday was pretty typical. I'm still incredibly sore from my Monday rehearsal, so that's no fun. The first thing I've done every morning since then is roll out of bed onto the floor and onto my foam roller to try to work the kinks out. Ouchies, haha. Ah well.

I'm at the New Yorker all day today (lunch break right now) and then spending the night writing a whole lot, since I have many things due next week.

That's the update for the moment :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

blogger dinner

I met up with some fellow bloggers tonight for dinner in Lincoln Center. It was nice...the purpose was to toss around ideas for an article I'm doing, but as always we got into some interesting conversation beyond what was planned. It's great to see them once in a while and catch up on things, stay in the blogging loop, gossip about other dance writers and bloggers (haha), and the like.

The other highlight of my day (after several phone interviews and things) was purchasing my new mac!!!! It's very exciting. I haven't had a mac since high school but I'm glad I chose to go with one for my new computer. It's wonderful, and I DESPERATELY needed a new laptop since mine was so horrible.

Anyway, lots to do tonight getting it all set up and everything...I want to experiment with some of the nifty media applications sometime soon so expect some interesting additions to the blog :)

computer issues

I didn't blog yesterday and haven't been blogging in detail lately largely because my laptop is misbehaving and dies every two seconds. SO I'm am very happy to report that I'm buying a new laptop today!!!! Yay. It is very exciting, haha. You don't know how annoying it is to be writing an article or a paper for school and have to click save every two words in case it freezes or dies. No fun. But today that will be solved!


Yesterday I had a busy ballet day...I had rehearsal again with this choreographer who's doing a piece on my for our little June student showcase, but we were in a studio with a wooden floor rather than marley. It was a plus because that meant no pointe shoes (his choreography is basically physically impossible on point, as I learned last week). BUT it was a tough tough tough rehearsal. I'm SO sore today it's insane. His style is so unnatural for me, so it's a big adjustment. I'm sure I'll get it eventually, but it was kind of frustrating yesterday. My teacher who's there helping can see my annoyance, haha, but what can you do but keep trying...

My weekend at home for Easter was nice. Brief but nice. I got to see my dogs :) haha

What else...I did several phone interviews this morning for one of my many articles due in the next week. It's so cool to talk to some of these interviews are way harder than real life ones though. And on top of awkward cell phone reception, they were cleaning the carpets in my hallway outside my apartment this morning, so it was SO loud. Ugh, haha.

Tonight I'm meeting up with some fellow bloggers for a lively conversation like we had at movmnt's office a few weeks ago. Looking forward to that.

Lot's going always.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

oh home...

I'm home in Massachusetts for Easter weekend...I guess it's nice to be out of Manhattan again briefly...I have so much work to catch up on, but being away forces me to "relax" a bit...I'm no good at resting, though, haha.

Will blog more soon. Happy weekend :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

"i'm the giraffe that opens the show..."

Thanks to my favorite role as writer, I just got to go backstage at The Lion King on Broadway!!!

Haha I'm such a starstruck loser, but it's okay.

I'm doing a profile on one of the dancers and though I offered to have the interview at a coffee shop like I usually do, he emailed this morning saying we could do it at the theater. How amazing!!!

Details soon because as always I'm in a rush right now, but it was SO cool. Hyena heads staring at me, lion scenery...the works. We spoke in this big open reception area type room overlooking Times Square (though I must admit, The New Yorker has a better view...being on the same level of all the billboard lights is distracting). And MTV was below us, so there was the pounding of music to complement the pounding of my heart at being backstage. Hah!

I love my job(s).

Running to class. New Yorker was less stressful today :). Heading home for Easter weekend tomorrow. More details of everything to come soon, promise!

a moment to breathe...

Instead of running off to morning class today I decided to take a moment to breathe after not stopping for the past 48 hours or so, haha. In efforts to organize my thoughts and start fresh today with mooorrre work, I figured I'd take the time now to blog about the past two days.


-In the morning, the company had a master class with Karin Averty, a former dancer with the Paris Opera Ballet. What a great opportunity! It was nice to be in a small class for once, and she was such a good was a super fast class, not just the combinations themselves but the way she taught them. For instance, petite allegro is usually my favorite because it's complicated and quick and something I can do, but even I couldn't get her combination! It was all tricky because it's a different style...not different in the same ways that Balanchine or Russian or Ceccetti styles have distinct differences in porte de bras or timing etc, but different in terms of transitions and in between steps. I really enjoyed the class, and hopefully she'll teach again before she goes back to Paris.

Right after that we had rehearsal as usual, and I had to fill in for a different dancer than I did on Tuesday. Luckily I took a copy of the rehearsal dvd home Tuesday to go over the different part...the way this piece works is complicated because everyone does similar phrases but in different timing and spacing and with different people, and it's a lot of patterns and crossing with people and such, so I really didn't want to mess up and be crashing into people, haha. It went well, though. It's kind of fun to be different people every day.

-That rehearsal ran late, so I barely made it uptown in time to teach as I usually do on Wednesdays. I gave the kids a really quick warm up because I wanted to push through the rest of the choreorgaphy to get this piece done, since it needs A LOT of cleaning. We didn't finish it as I had hoped, but we did get another minute or so done in only an hour, so that was good. They work well with me, which apparently is surprising to their normal teacher who doesn't get much respect from them. Interesting...I think it's good for people to branch out from their regular teachers once in a while despite leaving their comfort zone (myself included...).

-Took my usual night classes that night and broke in new pointe shoes...ouch. The only good thing about new shoes is that you can balance forever, so that was fun, haha.

-Also between Wednesday and today, the company (RKB) has asked me and been on me about helping them with publicity stuff. I'm honored that my opinions are valued, but it's so hard to help with such limited time. They're working on marketing plans for the season in April and want me to write some things, etc. More on this to come...I'm meeting with their development people next week to try to help out. As the director mentioned once before, "there's no problem that couldn't be solved with a lot more money." That's too bad...

Moving on.


As I mentioned, my boss went out of town for the holiday weekend, so I basically had to take over for him, doing things way beyond my normal intern duties. He had shown me some of the things I'd need to do over the past few weeks, and he left my a details packet of directions (with added humor...hey, it's the cartoon department) so that I would be prepared for anything that came up.

So I thought! In the morning, the editors have their meeting to decide which cartoons to purchase from the artists, but those don't usually run in the issue right away. Well yesterday they decided to get one to go in THAT DAY's issue (the one that will come out this Monday, but it closed yesterday). So that put everyone into a frenzy and added a whole hurried process that I had to be a part of that I was unaware of. It was like treading through the dark, hands outstretched feeling my way around the unknown. I was pretty much clueless, and the editor people were like talking fast and assuming that I knew the process. I must have looked at them like they had 5 heads, because eventually they got the idea that I was lost, hah. Wasn't my fauly though, and they knew that and were super helpful with showing me what to do. We got it done and taken care of, but since it was a timely issue and everything it definitely added some stress! It was exciting though...I like the publishing world, haha.

Speaking of that, a few times recently people, both in and out of this industry, have mentioned to me that publishing is a "cut throat" industry. I would say no more so than dance! And in my experiences thus far, everyone has proven to be helpful in aiding a newcomer like me :)

Anyways. After the exciting morning things calmed down a bit. I followed all my directions and got everything done, but it was a long day. I stayed til 7pm to get some of today's work done since I knew I couldn't go in as long today. It felt good at the end of the day to have accomplished a full day of almost being a real contributor to The New Yorker (okay, I'm sure my little exciting escapade wasn't THAT essential to the magazine, but I felt like it was pretty darn important at the time, haha). I was so tired by the end of the day though!

Somewhere in all that work I found time to keep up with my own email and got another few writing assignments for the next week or two. Lots coming up...and lots of people asking for my help/advice with things, which I find amusing. I don't know that I have that much to offer these people in terms of advice, haha, but it's nice to be asked.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some details of the past few days, but that's enough for now. I'm running to pointe class now, before more New Yorker excitement. Later today I'm doing one of my interviews for movmnt...details on that to come...I may get to go backstage at a Broadway show ;) not positive yet, but that seems to be the convenient meeting place for the moment. Then taking class all night as usual. What a life I live, haha.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

whirlwind two days

The past two days have been absolutely INSANE! Yesterday was the heaviest ballet day I've had this semester, and today was the heaviest work day! Two totally different aspects of my life, but equally exciting...

I'm still having computer issues, on top of not having a moment to sit down and blog without being interupted by a thousand emails, so this has to be brief. BUT I promise on my bus ride home to Boston for Easter weekend (Saturday morning) I will write details about it all...the bus I take has wonderful WiFi so thank goodness for that.

Yesterday, the company had a master class with a teacher from Paris Opera Ballet, followed by a good rehearsal where I actually got to dance!

Then I went to teach as I usually do on Wednesdays. We got another minute done of choreography, so we're finally making progress.

There's a lot more to write about yesterday but just can't right now...

Today I was filling in for my boss all day at The New Yorker. I felt confident that I knew what I was doing, and he left me an extensive (humorous) list of directions for everything I needed to do, but the morning brought some surprises. Such is life in the publishing industry...luckily there were people around to help (patiently) and everything was good, but it added a bit of stress, haha. I spent the ENTIRE day there, staying way late because I can't be in as much tomorrow. I enjoyed it though, and having the extra responsibility was exciting.

More details on everything to come...also got a few more writing assignments for some different things and more...I've been getting e-mails from blog readers lately, too, which I love!!! So please keep those coming...despite my insane schedule I find these emails refreshing and fun to answer :)

stupid computer!

So I have lots to blog about from yesterday, but my computer is misbehaving and wouldn't let me get online at all last night. So frustrating!! Because then I wake up to a thousand emails and I have to run to school before starting my day just to use the library computer to check everything! Ugh...

I'm at the New Yorker all day filling in for my boss (!) but perhaps I'll find time this afternoon between cartoon duties to write a bit...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

why be mean?

Hey, I'm all for telling the truth in journalism and writing, but in terms of dance criticism, why must we point out silly flaws in particular people and announce it to the world in the very limited word space we have, in print OR even online?

This is twice now for Macaulay, just in the past few weeks:

"Neither in the arch of her feet nor in the line of her shoulders does she yet seem a prima ballerina..." What on EARTH is wrong with Sara Mearns' feet?!

"And her sleeveless attire...ungallantly draws attention to the muscular looseness under the upper arm that often becomes apparent after the age of 40 in even the most otherwise youthful female dancers..." Of all the things to say about Bolshoi ballerina Nina Ananiashvili, was that necessary?

I've had a few conversations lately about dance criticism, and I have to wonder if these kinds of personal attacks (for lack of a better word) serve a purpose? There are other ways to give a negative review besides making a dancer more uncomfortable than they already are forced to be about their body...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

on being valued, etc

Today in rehearsal I actually got to dance instead of learning the back trying to stay out of the way in my little corner of the studio. It was fun!

Luckily I remembered all of the girl's part I was filling in for, and there was another girl brand new to the choreography, so we didn't run through it full force straight away. And another good thing was that we didn't go it on pointe, haha. It was more for musicality and details today rather than the pointe technique stuff, so I was happy about that. I think it went well, and the director laughed and said it was good to see my finally dancing out of my corner, haha. Good.

Tomorrow I get to fill in for someone else, although I don't know her part nearly as well. I got a DVD of a rehearsal they filmed last week, though, so tonight my job is to re-teach myself. I'm happy to spend the time doing it though...I love the choreography and even just getting to work it out during rehearsal without performing it is an experience.

There are very few places, to my knowledge and experience, in the dance world where a dancer, particularly an apprentice or low person in terms of importance, is made to feel valued. I am happy to say that THIS experience very much goes against the norm and is quite fulfilling despite what you may think. Not only does it feel good to know that I can step in at any time during rehearsal (even if others don't find it being "important," I see it as such) but since this is a relatively small company and the director very clearly knows everyone and personalities mesh, I feel like the dancers are valued as people as well. It's very collaborative and everything...

Also after rehearsal, she introduced me to their intern-type girl and their development person because they're looking to get publicity for the season in April. She knows I'm a writer and apparently the development lady visited my website and stuff and they'd like me to write about it somehow. We had a nice conversation about dance criticism and writing and how a lot of times things get so technical, and really the choreographers (like her) are much more concerned with the ideas behind things, and how a lot of criticism tears apart the art form rather than pushing it forward. So she asks me to brainstorm and write...

I am MORE than happy to do this and think the program has so much to offer and write about - but sometimes I feel like people think way higher of me than I do of myself, haha. I'd love to WRITE about it, but I don't know where it would be PRINTED. She just finished saying she enjoyed my recent (online) article about the lack of dance writing in print...there are very few opportunities to have dance writing PRINTED besides in the few magazines out there (all of which need more lead time than we have here). So we'll see what I can do about this...I know I can post on the winger and reach lots of people for them, but I need to brainstorm what else I can do. The company is worth it!

Anyways, that's my rambling for the day. After my good rehearsal I went up to my old studio to meet about finishing up the PRINT newsletter (hah) I've been working on for them. It's being proofed tonight and then it should be complete! Finally. They usually put it up as a PDF on their website, so I'll link to it when it's officially up and done. That was a long project...another issue to be done in June.

Oh also, yesterday a girl from class asked me about a potential performing opportunity...she has a play in some Amazing Plays of New York something or other festival in May and is looking for dancers. Just confirming details, but if all goes well that will be another thing on the to-do list...and I'll get to perform :)

Anyways...the rest of my day is for sewing pointe shoes and catching up on work...tomorrow before rehearsal we have a master class with a teacher from Paris Opera Ballet who watched rehearsal last week. That should be interesting. Then rehearsal, and then running uptown to teach and rehearse my piece for the high school kids. Busy busy! New Yorker all day Thursday and Friday...and Friday I have the first of a few interviews to do for my next movmnt articles...should be fun. Then going home for the weekend for Easter. So much going it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

unexpected rehearsal

My original rehearsal for today was cancelled, so instead of being a good student like I should have been and catching up on my school work, I decided to take pointe class so I could work on all the details we touched on yesterday in my private. First of all, it was a bad idea to decide this last minute because I took a cab to get there, totally forgetting that it's St. Patrick's Day and the stupid parade makes it impossible to get from east side to west side in a timely manner. My cabbie was nice though, haha, and we had a conversation about writing. He said he had a goal of reading 1,000 books in 10 years. Wow!

Anyway, pointe class was good. I'm definitely sore way deep in my muscles from yesterday and felt it all coming togehter in class, which was reassuring.

THEN afterwards I'm getting ready to leave and go about the rest of my afternoon of papers and work and stuff and I'm called in unexpectedly to do this rehearsal thing we weren't supposed to start until next week, but they happened to have studio space today.

This choreographer needs to do a demo reel to showing Ailey II and asked my teacher to help choreograph and work with a more balletic dancer rather than the modern dances he's used to, apparently. So she suggested me, and he's choreographing on me for that and for our next little student showcase. I knew all of this, but was SO not prepared to start today.

It went okay, but definitely could have been better. The choreography is nice, but it's kind of uncomfortable the first time around. I guess that's like with anything...time will help it all to sink in. It's also hard because...and I don't mean this in a bad way or anything...but the steps given are difficult to execute on pointe because they are choreographed more for flat shoes since he is a male choreographer not on pointe. It was a challenge...for instance, moving around on pointe on forced arch, like walking around but not in the foot position you would do hops on pointe in, but in FORCED arch. No can do. Luckily my teacher was there to help explain that both to him and to me to make it work better, but I got a bit frustrated. I'm thrilled about the opportunity though and hoping it will come along with time. We have until June, thank goodness.

Anyway that took up a good hour and 15 minutes or so, so now I'm a bit thrown off...gotta try to get some work done before going back there for lots of class tonight. Sheesh! The good news is that my foot isn't hurting so bad this week, after taking a few days off while I was away last week.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

e-news 3/16

Just sent the new issue of my teacher's e-newsletter that I help with.

Click here to see the March 16 issue.
Click here to view archives.
Click here to subscribe.

My article in this issue:

Where is all the Dance Writing?

As some of you know, I've been pursuing a writing career on top of a ballet career, and as few coveted paid positions there are for dancers out there, there are even fewer for those who write about dance. Aside from e-newsletters like this one and a critique every now and then in the New York Times, the world of dance rarely reaches the general public through the media. Perhaps there just isn't the readership for it. But how can dance evolve onstage and in class without an audience to support it?

Last week the Los Angeles Times announced that it would eliminate its staff position of Chief Dance Critic apparently due to financial reductions. Other national newspapers and magazines have cut back on both their dance coverage and writers, including The Village Voice and New York Magazine. How often do you read about this art form you practice besides in advertisements likely far beyond the budget of small non-profits or in targeted, specialized magazines for the professionals?

Luckily, this past week an article appeared in Newsweek Magazine (March 17 issue), not by a snarky dance critic but by a respected male principal dancer with American Ballet Theater. In "Don't Judge Me By My Tights," Sascha Radetsky, whom many may know as Charlie from the film "Center Stage," writes about the challenges he and other male dancers face in the ballet world due to our culture's stereotypes of men in dance.

Though his point is valid and applicable even to male dance enthusiasts who take class for the pleasure of it, I would argue that there are greater issues that could have filled the full page that Newsweek so generously allotted. Radetsky says, "The boy who perseveres in dance must have a genuine hunger for it, must be uniquely motivated and dedicated, and must develop a truly thick skin." Is this not true for girls as well?

With all the issues plaguing the dance world (funding, health issues, development, etc) it seems a shame that the national exposure of our delicate art form is limited to a rare spout of a dancer's frustrations. Why isn't dance given the publicity it deserves?

"Exposure to ballet is all that is needed to open minds," Radetsky writers, "for the combination of athletic movement, ardent drama and beautiful music can instill a profound appreciation in an audience." So spread the word. If the news media won't do it, we as dance-lovers can play a part in promoting the art simply by sharing our respect for it with others. Exposure.

monthly private lesson

Today since my teacher came back from her week-long vacation (seemed longer!) I had my monthly private lesson with her. It really should be called more of a torture session than a "lesson" haha. She says so herself.

It was great though. I'm going to be majorly sore. Since I don't have a variation that I'm working on at the moment, we did more class type stuff to get deep into little details I caught in myself while watching my audition video footage. I showed her some of the video on my ipod and together we really picked some things apart. It was painful, haha, but really good. Being tortured is good once in a while haha.

I took class beforehand since I didn't have time to take class yesterday and I didn't want Monday to feel like Monday since I thought I'd have to be filling in during rehearsal. But I came home to an email saying reharsal tomorrow is cancelled. So there goes that plan, haha. Good though, because I have more time to get some work done since a lot has piled up the past week.

Pretty busy week ahead this week as well. Tuesday and Wednesday I get to fill in for people during rehearsal, Wednesday I teach as usual, Thursday and Friday my boss at the New Yorker is away so I get to be him and do his jobs so that should be good (and slightly stressful). Next weekend I'm going home for all of 48 hours for Easter. Should be fun.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

experiment with video

So as I am in the process of trying to create an audition video to send out to a few companies, I'm starting to learn more about video and the web and such. I TRIED to upload part of our little February student showcase to youtube, but the quality is just awful. I have a link to a better version uploaded by my friend who actually filmed it and knows about this stuff...but here's my sad attempt at this video business.

The dance is the Goblet Dance from Swan Lake...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Boston struggles...again

"Boston Ballet to Cut Nearly 20% of Dancers in Company"

In seeing this article in the Times today, I was reminded of my days at Boston Ballet School and was saddened to hear that they have to cut back...and on dancers, of all things! The company has faced many issues while I was there in the school (til '04) and since then, but just the sound of laying off 11 dancers is horrible!

Dancers barely get paid decently in most ballet companies, but from what I had heard Boston seemed to be one of the better ones in terms of taking care of their dancers, even offering full health and dental benefits and show allowance to their SECOND company BBII. Few companies to my knowledge can afford to treat their apprentices that well, nevermind the company. So to hear that 11 company members won't have their contracts renewed because of debt and financial problems is awful.

The news also comes with the announcement that their executive director is leaving to "explore a number of exciting opportunities in the nonprofit world,” according to her quote in the Times. I found this interesting also after reading Danciti's post about the struggle to keep good executive directors in dance (post links to an upcoming panel hosted by Dance/NYC about this probelm). Apparently Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen will be wearing both hats of artistic and executive director until they find a replacement, but won't that create even more challenges?

Oh the trials and tribulations of non-profits. During y rehearsal this morning our director was speaking of a board meeting they had recently where they laughed about the fact that almost any problem could be solved with more money. It's sad that the arts are not well funded today. Sigh.

my (brief) take on dance in Newsweek

(NOTE: I'm running to class now but will write more later. This is just a quick rundown for the moment...)

If you haven't heard by now, ABT dancer Sacha Radetsky wrote the weekly column My Turn in Newsweek magazine this week, and it's all about the struggles of male dancers with the stereotypes and stigmas associated with ballet.

See the article here. "Don't Judge Me By My Tights."

I've waited a few days to see some of the discourse around the article and hear opinions about it from some other people before posting my two cents about it - mainly because I'm sort of coming at it from many different standpoints: dancer, writer, publisher...

The bulk of the conversation about the article seems to be happening over on the winger on a post from David (one of Radetsky's fellow ABT male dancers). Read it all here. Many people seemed thrilled about the appearance of the article and the arguements he makes for male dancers becoming stronger thanks to ballet, and proud of their masculinity. It goes on at length to drill in the fact that he's a ballet dancer and is not gay, therefore facing additional challenges in a primarily women's world of dance. Winger comments show that many people relate to the article and agree.

Another opinion I've heard about it is that the article is awful. It basically goes against the gay thing...and more to that extent. Also to that end, another blogger posted about how male dancers really don't have it all that tough in the ballet world because they are in such high demand, and it's not comparable to the challenges women face in a "man's world" in other industries and businesses.

Here's where I come in.

When I first saw that the article was out, my gut feeling was, "Yay! Dance in a major national weekly magazine! Exposure! Publicity! I wish I had the opportunity to write a dance article for them, but they never publish about dance!" So, my initial thoughts were extremely positive about the fact that the article was there at all. It wasn't just a performance listing or a short review of a major company or just an advertisement. It was a full page piece written by a dancer himself. Particularly with the recent dance critic cut at the LA Times, any dance writing widely published seems to be good news.

Then I read more into the article. While I agree that there is definitely a stereotype of male dancers and many of them face the challenges written about here, it's no easier for female dancers. We face far more competition in ballet...there are hundreds more girls than there are of boys shooting for a (short-lived) professional career in this field. On one hand, this breeds those problems for guys...but from a female perspective, there seems to be a number of more plaguing issues: pressures to be thin, the whole body type hype, competition, fewer scholarships, and the list goes on. There's no denying ballet is tough for everyone involved (not just dancers...choreographers, presenters, etc) and I think what would have been better for this article in Newsweek was if it addressed maybe more, different, or just general problems about the dance world rather than just the male stereotypes.

I respect that Radetsky did write the article and the topic was one of importance to him, and again, any publicity for dance is good publicity. I also understand that the My Turn column is what it is. But I feel like when dance is so rarely exposed to the general public like that, there are deeper issues to be exposed...funding anyone? Things like that...

Just my opinion. I'm glad there are conversations going on about the article, particularly on blogs. And I'm super glad Newsweek published the piece at all, and hope that maybe this will spark more appreciation or at least awareness of dance in everyday life.

PS- I'm open to other viewpoints and am still contemplating the article and stuff, so feel free to comment and shout out your opinions

Thursday, March 13, 2008

back to the movmnt

Tonight I went to a meeting at movmnt magazine to prepare for the next issue. I'm super excited to say I have 3 article assignments this time! Should be fun even though it's lots of work with a pretty quick deadline (few weeks anyway). If you haven't already purchased your copy of the most recent issue (see cover above) YOU SHOULD GO GET IT. Haha.

That was just one highlight of my busy day...I literally was nonstop going all around the city today and finally got home at 10pm - my first breather all day. Rehearsal this morning went well. There was a guest watching from Paris Opera Ballet, who might teach a master class before rehearsal someday next week. That should be interesting.

Right from there I went to the New Yorker again. Pretty much a typical afternoon there...

Then had to stop by school to take care of some little errands (applying for 2 senior awards I was nominated for...hah) before heading downtown to movmnt.

After the meeting I met a friend nearby...the one who shot video footage of me in class last week so that I can put together an audition video. He helped me download all of the video to my ipod so I can look it over and see what else I need (and if I like it or not...). Thankfully, after a week off to free my mind from seeing it, it looked better than I was expecting. I absolutely despise watching myself dance, haha. Or do anything on film, for that matter. But it wasn't QUITE as bad as I had pictured in my mind. We watched a bit of it together, but I have to sit down and go through the whole hour long clip and see. Ugh. I'm glad I'm finally getting this done though.

Anyway, I'm exhausted from a nonstop day. Even though it's only been a 4 day week for me thanks to my travel back from Salt Lake City, I feel like this week was busier than all of last month combined. Crazy. But good!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

new class and more

Today was another super busy day.

I had rehearsal again this morning, and it was fine. Two of the dancers are going to be out next week, so I'm going to have to fill in for one or the other most days next week - so I had to really watch close today and try to learn everyone's choreography and traffic patterns. It's kind of hard with this piece becauase a lot of the phrases are similar with just minor changes in order and spacing for each person, so remembering who does what, when, and where is a challenge. Hopefully I'll get it all straight by next week, although all of them are still in the learning phase as well so I don't feel too bad.

After rehearsal I ran up to work with my high school kids. Since I was late from rehearsal their usual teacher gave them the warmup, so I just jumped into my choreography. We decided this week would be a review week, to go over everything we had done so far. They definitely needed it, and it seemed to be a productive rehearsal. I'm looking forward to moving on with the rest of the dance. The school is having trouble finding space for their performance in May, however, because they have basically no budget to rent anywhere (their usual place is being renovated). So if anyone knows of affordable performance space to rent for a night in May, let me know!

After that I came home to answer numerous emails and calls, etc. Sometimes I sit at the computer for hours and I have nothing to show for it really, but I am so busy as I sit there writing email after email about various projects. It doesn't help that my computer is super slow and keeps dying on me :( ugh.

Then later tonight I tried a new open class that I've never been to before. Since the usual teacher I take with (obsessively) is away this week, it was time for me to branch out. I am really glad I did tonight, because I found a great teacher! She is super Balanchine, which I haven't experienced in a few months now. It was SUCH a good class. Minus the fact that I'm still slightly out of shape, it went really well. I can already feel my inner thighs burning thanks to the strict Balanchine barre of a zillion tendus. As much as it is kind of a pain (literally and figuratively) I realized tonight that I kind of do miss that work. There aren't many other true Balanchine open classes in the city, and as much as I love my usual teacher (and the extensive benefits of her class) I feel like I need to have a little kick once and a while to push me in the way that tonight's class did. I'll definitely be going back later this week and whenever else I get a chance. Not only was the class good (and small...10 people or so! nice...with BIG studio) but she herself was nice and energetic. She asked me where I trained and told me to come back again. I'm glad I took a chance tonight, and I most definitely will be returning.

After my long day I came home to still more emails and calls. No complaining though :) Tomorrow is another crazy busy day, but luckily the weekend is pretty quiet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

back to busy-ness

Upon my return from my weekend away in Salt Lake City (see details in post below), I had a VERY busy day today. The kind of busy I've been missing, ironically haha.

I had my first day of rehearsals with Rebeca Kelly Balle.t today after a few months away from working with her. I'm officially an apprentice/understudy this time around, so basically today I had to start learning everyone's parts in case someone (as one already did) gets injured or anything. Though it can appear as a blase position since I don't actually dance full out the whole time like those in the pieces, it is really a daunting yet exciting task to be the low man on the totem pole because I DO get the opportunity to learn everyone's part and be prepared on a moment's notice.

You know, I may not have the best feet or the best ballet body, BUT I can learn choreography and learn quick.

I think that's why they called me in, and even though I'm just in the back I'm really glad that I'm there. The whole process of creating the work that she's doing is soooo intriguing and I love the choreography itself. She speaks of how the ideas behind the movement should trump the technique no matter what, and how often times we get caught up the smallest, unimportant details and ignore the motivation behind movement. I couldn't agree more.

We have rehearsal all this week and most of next to prepare for a guest performance coming up, and then all through April we rehearse for her season at the end of the month. I'm excited to be involved.

More of my busy day...right from rehearsal I had to head up to the New Yorker to work. It's getting interesting there because next week my boss is away, so I'm kind of filling in for him. The past few weeks I've been learning the ropes more than I may have as an intern otherwise, since I have to take all of his responsibilities for a few days. Good opportunity.

They let me go a bit early, so I went to take class with a teacher I've never taken from before (since my teacher is away all this week, sadly). I hadn't taken class since last Wednesday (in a brief attempt to rest my burisitis-plagued foot, which at the moment isn't doing too bad) so I was a bit out of shape, but it could have been worse. I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow though, as I always do when I take time off. Class itself wasn't my favorite either...I guess I'm just used to working differently...

After all that I went to the library at school to do some work. On top of everything, this week I have midterms for grad school, which equals lots of essays and papers.

As much as I needed to get away, I am glad I'm back to my busy schedule. Things were kind of blah in February, but thankfully they're picking up back to my tiring pace that I thrive off of. It's good to get away to get a fresh perspective...

Salt Lake City - the details

My first day back to life after my brief getaway was crazy busy, so I’m just now getting a moment to write about my weekend in Salt Lake City. I’ll blog about today in another post, but here’s how my weekend went:

Friday I flew directly from NYC to Salt Lake City. Two of my very best friends live out there (attending University of Utah’s ballet program) and since I haven’t seen them in months and I desperately needed a break from my own life, I decided it was time to take a trip. I’ve never traveled that far before - in fact, the only “vacation” of my life was to Aruba when I was like, 10, and besides that the only place I’ve been outside of New England/New York is Florida for Miami’s summer intensive a few years ago. So I’ve never taken a “spring break” trip, and I’ve never been out to the west, and though many friends pass through New York and visit me, I never braved the effort to go see them. Alas! Here was my opportunity.

The whole thing came up very last minute, with the plane ticket purchase happening just a week prior to taking off. It’s good to be impulsive sometimes (well, this wasn’t really IMPULSIVE but…). Anyways I flew out on Friday and 5 hours later (7 with the time difference) I was standing in the mountains hugging my former roommate and friend Victoria.

That night we just hung around and chatted and gossiped and caught up with each other’s lives. You know, a long distance friendship can be tough, but somehow it felt like we hadn’t missed a beat. Many many many of my good friends are far away and I don’t see them often, but those relationships still stay strong (particularly those from my boarding ballet school years where we LIVED together like sisters) and I’m so grateful for that. Friday night, we laughed a lot as we recounted memories from the past few years, both together and apart.

Saturday we explored Salt Lake City a bit. I was mostly in the area near the college, so maybe other parts are different, but it didn’t really feel like a city. Coming from the hustle and bustle of NYC, this almost felt like suburbia. Even though her college has over 30,000 people (nearly 15 times what my college had!?) we kept running into people she knew everywhere. It had a small-town feel that compared to the town I grew up in outside Boston. It was cute.

We stopped in the city library for a while, which is a really beautiful, HUGE building. That kind of place makes you WANT to study. I posted a picture of the place from the library website the other day.

The only thing about visiting friends on their home turf is that they still have a life to live and work to get done and people to see. So Saturday night I went babysitting with Victoria, and we had some more laughs. At heart, I think we’re both still little kids, haha. We watched the movie Game Plan with the kids, which, by the way, is hilarious because it involves ballet. They actually used some people I know from Boston Ballet as the background dancers and stuff, so it was fun to see that. Movies about ballet crack me up…

Oh, also Saturday afternoon I got to see another of my friends that I traveled across the country for. We got coffee and talked. She brought me to a cute little shopping center that used to be an old train station. New York doesn’t have anything authentic quite like that.

Sunday was fun, too. Monday was Victoria’s birthday, but since she had school that day we celebrated mostly on Sunday. We had brunch and yummy ice cream cake with the family she lives with.

Then, of all things, we went on a hike through the mountains. Okay, when I was little we used to go up to a condo we rented in New Hampshire once or twice a winter for a weekend getaway…and honestly, I really kind of hated going, haha. Another best friend always came up with us and we did have fun in the indoor pool, but I couldn’t stand being outside in the cold mountains. My dad would have to almost force me to try skiing, sledding, hiking, ice skating, or any other mountainous activities. SO when Victoria suggested hiking so that I could really experience Utah’s mountains, I was a little weary.

It turned out to be really great, though. First of all, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, and the mountains picturesque. The path we walked - er, hiked - was really muddy and there was still some unmelted snow, but besides that it was quite lovely. I felt so rustic and connected with the earth, hahaha. Or as connected as I’ll ever be. I was so proud of myself, I only came close to falling 3 times!

After my nature experience (no mountains in Central Park…) the three of us met up for dinner all together, just like old times. I miss them terribly even though we talk often. When you go from seeing someone every day of your life to seeing them a few times a year, it’s tough. I still consider them some of my closest friends despite the physical distance.

Yesterday, Monday, it was time to say goodbye. Victoria had classes in the morning so I went with her to sit in the main building on campus to get internet while I waited. They have such a great facility…part of me feels like I missed out on the real college experience by going to school in the city with a very non-traditional campus. Utah’s campus felt so…traditional. BUT I don’t regret anything. I’m very non-traditional in more ways than one, and I could never have been happy at a “real college,” as I put it.

After her classes we went home to eat the leftover ice cream cake to celebrate her actual birthday, and then the cab came to take me to the airport. It was so long, Salt Lake, and a long day of traveling home. I didn’t get in til almost 1am this morning, and though it was quite an extended period of time on the go, I kind of felt the day of listening to my ipod and reading magazines while high above the clouds was necessary. For a brief time I was unreachable, and that was such a relief.

Now I’m back in New York and happy to be here. Anytime I leave the city, even if just for a weekend trip home, I return with a renewed appreciation for the city and for my life here. I think I’ve said this before, but anytime I see the Manhattan skyline as I approach - by plane, bus, car, whatever - I get the same thrill as when I first came as a little kid visiting with my parents, as when I first came as a teenager commuting to auditions, as when I first came as an independent person moving in to my own cramped New York City living space. It’s the thrill of opportunity, and no matter how far I go it will always be there.

Salt Lake City - so long

I'm home sweet home back to my tiny little cramped can't-see-nature apartment in NYC after my weekend in open, free, peaceful Salt Lake City. I'm actually kind of glad to be back...I'm not good at relaxing and taking time off, even though I desperately needed it...It was a great weekend, and again, I promise details tomorrow. Right now, it's bedtime since my body clock is all messed up thanks to the time difference and daylight savings...and I have to take class early tomorrow before rehearsal! Ahh.

Few more fun pictures from the wild west

Monday, March 10, 2008

Salt Lake City - the hike

(view from the plane...those aren't clouds, they're mountains!)

This is my last morning in Salt Lake City...and I finally had a moment to upload the many many pictures I took over the weekend. Here are just a few from yesterday's hike. Yes, a HIKE. Through the pretty mountains. I'm not one for nature (Central Park is just enough, haha) but this was wonderful!

I'm heading home to the city later this afternoon, but I won't be back til really late. Tomorrow's a busy day with rehearsal (my reason for coming back so quickly...see last week's posts) but maybe tomorrow night I'll write details of my trip. It's been fun!

Salt Lake City day 3

Again, just a quick update from the west!

We went on a hike in the mountains today...and if you know me at all, you know I am NO outdoors-y person. BUT it was really fun and pretty and so nice out. Definitely not a Manhattan moment, haha.

Flying home tomorrow afternoon...because of the time difference (which, by the way, has me even more messed uo thanks to daylight savings) almost the entire day is shot tomorrow. I have a brief layover etc, not getting me home really late. Oh well, SO worth it.

Will update maybe from the airport or if not, then Tuesday I'll write all about my trip!

Photos to come!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Salt Lake City day 2

I'm sitting in here in the amazing city library in Salt Lake with my friend and some of her friends...what a beautiful building!

It's nice having a break from New York to a place that is SO different. Mountains everywhere...buildings spread to

Have to say, I could never live here - New York is my one and only - but it's great to have a change, and I'm so happy visiting my friend Victoria, whom I haven't seen in months.

Will post details and pictures probably when I get back to the city late Monday night or Tuesday

Friday, March 7, 2008

Greetings from Salt Lake City!

I'm here in Salt Lake City, halfway across the country!!!

Will write more tomorrow...tonight is for reminscing.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

at least i get to laugh at my job

Thursdays are busy intern day, and today in particular was a bit crazy. As an intern, at a weekly magazine specifically, you never know from day to day whether you'll be insanely busy running around with your hands in a million different tasks, or if it's a slow day and you're stuck practicing your postal system skills for hours. Today was the busiest I've been in my time at The New Yorker, and it was fun!

The big project of the day involved going through the archives of all the cartoon caption contests in the past 3 years. It was SO FUNNY. I sit at the computer trying hard not to literally laugh out loud at some of the things people write - both the intentionally funny, winning captions and those that are so off they are hilarious. I went through quite a few (nearly 300 pages in Word...although I didn't have time to stop and go through everything, obviously...) and found enjoyment in a rather tedious task. I think that's the trick to being an intern...make the most of it, and I certainly have been doing that.

Speaking of that, on my last day of my previous internship back in January, the last intern task was to decorate easter eggs for a cover photo shoot! Haha and tonight I ran across the new issue without looking for it, and saw our pretty eggs right there staring back at me! Too funny...

Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have the opportunity to intern at the places I have? They really have been the best teaching experiences beyond any college (or grad school) course.

Anyways. I'm off to Salt Lake City in the morning! I'm so looking forward to it. I'm bringing my laptop so I'll squeeze in some blogging amongst my reunion fun, haha.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

choreography week 5

Today was another class of work with the high school kids I'm working with. We have a tentative performance date for May 16, and it's taken us a month to get a minute into the dance. Eek! So I knew it was time to crack down today and get lots of work done.

Luckily the kids were up for it. Because there are so many of them and we work in a very small studio, I had to break up the choreography into small groups so that they don't kill each other. I let the other groups sit down as I taught the phrase I was working with to a few of them at a time, so it kind of got noisy at times. I'm glad they listen to me though when I ask them to listen or pay attention. Since I'm only a year or so older than a lot of them I thought it might be difficult to be in the authority position, but fortunately it's all working out.

By the end of the rehearsal we did indeed get a lot done...almost a whole additional minute of choreography! It's fun to see them getting the steps and trying...when things work out it's like, yay! The piece is coming along...we have time.

Aside from that, the majority of the rest of my day was spent in class. Pointe class in the morning was quite good, because my teacher is trying to get me to work differently so that my foot will heal. Sometimes when I'm discouraged I feel like she can read my mind...she knows just what I need to hear, and I'm so thankful for that.

Originally my plan was to take a week off from class beginning tomorrow to rest my foot, since I'm going away for the weekend and all. BUT now that I found out I have rehearsals next week that plan is off. However while I AM away Friday-Monday, I won't be taking class so at least that's a few days...

I'm really looking forward to getting away...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

one more NAJP quote

Reading on after the blog entry I just linked to on NAJP's blog, regarding dance critic Segal's layoff, I came across an interesting quote posted by former Times chief dance critic John Rockwell:

"In this age of the Internet, for a newspaper to sit on its hands while the blogs are alive with facts and rumors is suicidal...What worries me, especially under the threat of Internet competition, is how sober newspapers like the Times, still clinging to their sweet dreams of fairness and objectivity, may be easing up on their former scruples about checking and double-checking not only the facts but the tone in which they are presented."

Very very interesting. I like this blog I just found...check it out.

removing the dance critics?

Just heard that LA Times dance critic Lewis Segal was laid of from his staff position. Though it's not surprising after all my research on dance journalism/criticism last semester showing the fall of the field, it IS quite disheartening to someone who hopes (or hoped) to turn dance writing into a career...

"Writes Segal, who has been in the post since 1996 and written about dance for the LAT for 12 years before that: ' position is being eliminated in the latest round of of staff layoffs and cutbacks...I have followed my supervisors' advice and applied for the Times buyout, which means I'll be off the staff as of the end of this month. However, there is some talk about my freelancing for the paper in the future.'"

Read more on the National Arts Journalism Program blog.

Why does this keep happning? Zimmer, Tobias, now Segal...

irony of life

So very last minute a few days ago, I made plans to go visit two of my best friends whom I haven't seen in months, in Salt Lake City. Next weekend happens to be completely free of plans, which is rare, so I decided to take the opportunity while it's here and book my flight. It also happens to be one of said friend's birthday on Monday, so I thought it would be perfect.

Then today I get an email from the director of the contemporary company I was working with a bit back in January, saying that she needs an understudy immediately because a dancer got a stress fracture in her foot and needs to be replaced. She asked if I would come, and rehearsals start next Monday.

I am THRILLED - but of course it comes during my first "vacation" in like 8 years, haha. Luckily she said I can come starting Tuesday, so it all works out. I just find the irony of life amusing sometimes.

I'm excited to cover the part's for a performance in April, and she may have one of the company members available to actually do it, but I'm glad at least I can go learn and everything.

Anyway, that's today's news. I'm looking forward to my little getaway...I leave Friday, so there may be a lack of posts over the weekend. But forgive me, I REALLY need a break, haha. And it's only a short time.

Choreographing tomorrow for those high school kids...better get prepared...

pictures brighten my day

I love pictures. I always hate being in them at the time, but to see them later and relive the memories is so fun. And I enjoy taking pictures as well, even though I know often times people feel the same way about not wanting to stop and pose, haha.

I got a whole batch of recent photos today from a photographer friend and thought I'd share just a few...

we are totally serious in ballet class...haha


my graduation dinner after our little performance last week

Monday, March 3, 2008

nostalgic amusement

Yesterday in my procrastination efforts (haha) I went through some (really) old writing I had stashed away in old files on my computer, and I came across this hilarious poem (is it a poem?) that I wrote years and years's basically all amusing things that were overheard backstage at Nutcracker in Boston. Mind you I was no fabulous writer back in the day (I think I was like 11 when I did this?) and it's nothing fancy, and might not even have any meaning unless you were there...but I had to post it. It's hilarious to me...I think if you've ever been backstage in that kind of professional environment you may relate to some of these phrases...and if not, don't ask! Haha.

Curtain Call

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your half hour call, half hour!
Clara to wardrobe!
When can we rehearse?
Can I borrow some hairspray?
Quiet downstairs!

Fifteen minute call, fifteen minutes to the top of Act I.
Are my curls ok?
The vending machine broke again!
Where’s Dew Drop?
It’s so hot in here!

Ten minute call everyone, 10 minutes.
Chorus to the studio for warmup!
Anyone have some bobby pins?
Warning on fog…
Stop screaming about the cockroaches!
Not talking in the pit.

Five minute call please, onstage at five minutes!
Light 346...go!
Orchestra to the pit.
You’re going up, Paul.
Meatball, can we have footlights?
Places please!

And curtain…

Ok, rereading it again now, I KNOW some of this doesn't make sense. 'You're going up Paul' is funny because it's when they would raise Drosselmyer up so he could 'fly' in for Act II. Meatball was a nickname for a stagehand.

Oh there are so many memories...someday I'll write them so they actually make sense! Haha.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

another college/dance story

I go through phases where I'm really not in a blogging mood and don't have much to say, so I'm outsourcing today's post haha.

Dance Spirit Magazine has an interesting blog section on their website from time to time, and a recent post was written by Pennsylvania Ballet principal Julie Diana, one of my favorites from when I was in Nutcracker with them a few years back. Anyway, she has had a great career and has been pursuing college at the same time, which, given my experiences, I am quite admirable of.

Check out her blog entry. I hope to hear more of the stories in the future.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

going ga-ga

I've done a zillion things today and have only now had the chance to sit down at the computer to check my millions of emails and blog, etc. So this is going to be quick...

But one of the highlights of today was going to a movement workshop of Batsheva Ensemble's popular Gaga technique. The Israel-based company has this unique movement language developed by popular Ohad Naharin. New York rarely gets to experience these workshops, but today there was a free session as part of some big Isreali Arts celebration. It was supposed to be a taste of "gaga" for non-dancers.

It was definitely an interesting experience. It reminded me a lot of creative movement kind of classes we teach little kids learning to dance. The 30 or so people, all ages and sizes, were told to continuously feel as though we're moving throughout the entire hour, even when we're standing still ("feel the flesh moving"). It was very image based, with emphasis on the skin and bones and really being connected to the body and to movement.

I'll try to write more tomorrow, but for now read more about Gaga here and here.