Thursday, July 31, 2008

still up in the (birthday) air

As of now, 3pm, I still have not made a definite choice about anything. I've come to a conclusion in my head but it's not set in stone yet...

Many thanks to all for the birthday wishes and advice...I won't be home til late tonight to blog about the final decision but rest assured you will find out soon. I WILL find out soon, haha, hopefully...

In the meantime, check out my amusing birthday post from last year. Thinking back, I can't believe how much has happened in just a year. I've been up and down, way down, and way up. I've met so many wonderful people. I've been given so many opportunities. I am so thankful!!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the revelation...

Well, happy birthday to me in about half an hour.
And my present: a life changing decision to be made very quickly!

To all those who commented and/or emailed regarding my last stressed out post, THANK YOU. You have no idea how much your support means to me.

Ok, here's the deal. This has been in the works for 2 weeks but the final step was offered today so hence the panic attack:

I was offered a dancing contract in a small/medium ballet company in the midwest...not an apprenticeship, an actual company spot for their full season.

The director watched me in class 2 weeks ago and it's a complicated story that eventually I'll get to, but basically today they finally told me how much they can pay me and if I agree to it then I sign the contract tomorrow.

It's not much money.
Money has never stopped me before.
But this is a big deal now because of my current apartment situation...just moved in with a year's lease to pay. My whole life is here. I do have one last semester of grad school, but given the option I am more than happy to postpone that til later (what good is a 20 year old with a masters degree anyway?)

I could still do most of my freelance writing (minus New York performance reviews, obviously) for the different magazines I work for.
My internship at The New Yorker was pretty much the top and end of that line before getting a full time magazine job, which also would be a dream come true, but it's a dream that can wait while dancing is not (my body ALREADY feels old).

I'm a mess of thoughts and emotions and confusion right now and any advice is much appreciated! Some birthday, haha. I will keep you posted on my decision but either way, as I've been told by many I've sought advice from already, either way it's a win-win situation I suppose.

Has anyone else gone through this crazy kind of choice? If it were up to me I'd be out there dancing tomorrow (the contract starts this coming Monday - another do I find somewhere to stay by then???) but it's so complicated...

Again major thanks for the support everyone :)

what's the price of love?

If you had a choice to give up everything - EVERYTHING - in order to fulfill your single lifelong dream, how much money would you do it for?

I'm serious, I need answers...

Details to come on this very stressful birthday-eve...

Monday, July 28, 2008

things are brewing...

My lack of blog posts has a good reason this time.

Last weekend a major opportunity presented itself and it has been on and off and up and down in the works the past week. It's been rather insane and unsettling, but in a good way...Should this opportunity go through it would mean a major change of plans (ie - not finishing grad school this fall, not staying in NYC with my brand new apartment lease...) but because it's still very much up in the air I don't want to post details.

As soon as it is resolved one way or the other (as of now I'm betting on it not happening) I will explain. Bear with my frazzled-ness, haha!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

on injuries

A friend sent me this article - "Blood Sweat and Tutus" - about injured dancers in San Francisco Ballet.

..."As long as you can hide your injuries, you are a success!"...

"In a 1975 study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr. James "Nick the Knife" Nicholas — the former team physician for the New York Jets, Rangers, and Knicks — conducted a battery of 18 'neuromuscular, physical, mental and psychometric' exams on a bevy of athletes. He ranked ballet as the most physically and mentally taxing activity among 61 sports; pro football came third. Ranked No. 2: bullfighting."

So much to say, and it hits close to home because my achilles has been getting worked up again. Give it a read. Thoughts?

Monday, July 21, 2008


Is it a coincidence that almost exactly one year after writing this post about taking adult ballet classes last summer I'm getting a big number of blog clicks for that very entry?

me in performance with the "adult students" in June

One of my many plans for the next few blogging weeks - besides posting more often as I used to - is to write an updated version of this old post about my experiences after a whole year of taking open classes...more to come...

Mamma Mia...

This weekend I went to see the newest in a trend of rather unsuccessful movie musicals: Mamma Mia.

By unsuccessful I don't necessarily mean by box office standards. The film has had a pretty decent (and extensive!) marketing campaign going on for a while. But can Broadway really translate well to the screen?

I am a HUGE fan of the old movie musicals. I grew up watching Singing in the Rain and Royal Wedding and all the old classics. But those that have been released in recent years just cannot compare (except Chicago, which is one of my favorites now).

I want to write more about this -- translating performance to the screen -- when I have the time, and perhaps I'll share a long paper I wrote in college (it's weird to say things like that...'back in college' like it was years ago...) about the musical genre. But for now I'll just say that you should see Mamma Mia for a smile and a laugh, but don't expect much. I've never seen the stage version and even putting aside the fact that the story is hardly substantial enough for a film plot, I'd be willing to bet the theme of interrupting perfectly fine dramatic scenes with an ABBA song out of nowhere goes over better onstage than on screen.

Other thoughts?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mini vacation

I'm heading home today from my "summer vacation" - that is, a 2 day break from NYC, haha.

I flew down to Myrtle Beach, SC Wednesday morning and am in the airport (with a delayed flight...) on my way home this afternoon. It's so open and spacious and warm down was nice to get away briefly but a) 2 days is not nearly long enough to be called a vacation, b) now was not the best time to take a break, being in the midst of an apartment move and so forth, so I didn't really relax, and c) I was still doing some work this morning to finish an article due today.

So yeah, not quite the summer vacation most 19 year olds (almost 20!) take, haha. But I'm hoping August will be a bit quieter.

This next week is full fledged apartment move in, plus going to see some performances to review and such. Now that school is done for the summer (I got an A on my 35 page thesis...a huge relief :) I promise, PROMISE, to return to regular blogging.

Happy Friday!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Blog Anniversary!

Happy Off Center Anniversary!

One year ago today I started this blog, and what a whirlwind of a year it has been. I've met so many incredible people thanks to this site, and many opportunities have sprung from finding myself a voice online. If you know me in person you know I'm not much of a talker, but here on my blog and elsewhere in print I can let myself get it all out (and boy do I have a lot to say silently sometimes!).

I am so appreciative of my readers and fellow bloggers...a year ago today few people cared to read my ramblings (previously scribbled in numerous journals and/or meager attempts at online journals). Now, it's so cool to wake up in the morning, check my statistics and see that before I've even rolled out of bed and cracked my back (hah) people have checked in to see what I have to say (or whatever other reason you click on). It's amazing!

Thank you thank you thank you to those of you who have continued reading my blog this past year, even through the rather dull posting periods where all I say is "I'm busy," haha, like this past week.

I can't believe a year has passed! Here's to the next year of blogging - may it be great for all!
Many thanks,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

busy weekend

Can you believe it's already the middle of July?!
Where does the time go?

I've had yet another really busy weekend, hence the lack of blog posts. I did get to see Giselle again Friday night (Nina & Jose cast), but since I got student rush only an hour or so before the performance we had HORRIBLE seats. For the first time ever the Met disappointed me...they didn't tell me it was partial view...we were in a box in the balcony but all the way on the left side of the house, so I was watching the shadows of any dancing going on on that side of the stage. I had a better view of the immense sold out audience than of the dancers, haha. I was glad to go again though before their season ended.

That was the highlight of the weekend...the rest has been spent working and taking class and packing.

Tomorrow I'm venturing out to the new Ikea in Brooklyn (via free water taxi :) to check out some stuff for my new apartment...anyone been out there yet? Leaving Manhattan is always an adventure, haha.

Speaking of traveling, I'm going on a mini-vacation this week. As usual, I have just barely a 3 day span of free time to relax, but it is a much needed escape to Myrtle Beach with the family. Not long enough but still looking forward to it.

My apartment lease starts Tuesday and I'm going to finish moving when I get back next weekend. Once I am settled and other things calm down blogging will return to normal...I've been giving that excuse for about a month and a half now, but things really will quiet down in August!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

back to the "insane" kind of day

Today I had one of those days. One of those crazy, insane, running around Manhattan doing a zillion things kind of days that I haven't had for a while now.

And it was good.


A lot of time was spent with the apartment business, which still is not officially settled but hopefully will be tomorrow so that I can move next week sometime. I'll be so relieved when I'm settled in and totally over this whole transition.

In other news, I received a big review assignment for print on ABT's entire spring season. Got the call this morning and then frantically tried to rearrange my schedule to hit double Giselle this week to recount my memory of certain dancers...and also because it's one of my very favorite ballets ever. I went tonight for Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel and, wow, it was absolutely beautiful. I was one of the little village kids who does next to nothing when I was about 8 in Boston's production, and ever since then - since being onstage the moment Giselle goes mad and dies (or kills herself, or dies from dancing, depending on the version) and seeing that passion close up - it has been a favorite. I'm going to try to make it to one more performance before the season ends this weekend...hopefully Friday night.

During intermission I met up with Tonya and blog reader Sophie to chat a bit. One of the great things about this past spring dance season has been that going to the ballet has been like going out for recess as a kid or something...I never really know who I'm going to bump into but there's always someone inspring I know or someone to meet or to see or to talk to. The dance world is so small, especially in New York.

AND the other news is that I got my hands on a copy of the new summer issue of movmn magazine (which will hopefully be in Barnes & Noble soon) with four of my articles...and I was most pleasantly surprised to hear that I am on the masthead as "Associate Dance Editor." How exciting! Check out the issue when it's available! Not just for my stuff but for all the other great work that went into it.

Anyways, that's just the tip of the iceberg of my insane day.

Monday, July 7, 2008

"boringly lovely"?

I can't think of a worse thing to be called in a review than, "boringly lovely." What an odd half compliment Alastair gave one of Mark Morris' dancers in today's review of his new "Romeo & Juliet". Read it here. It's pretty vicious all around, but that line in the last paragraph caught me.

I would have liked to have seen this performance...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

moving and memories, p.1

One of the fun things about moving to a new apartment (besides the endless hours of packing...) is going through all your stuff and reliving memories. I spent much of this holiday weekend trying to start organizing my apartment so I can move in a few weeks (hopefully I'll sign the lease tomorrow) and in the process I came across many an old photo album and buried picture (not to mention THOUSANDS of old programs and Playbills)...

Some of these are from my time in NYC and some are not, but since I have little time an energy lately to blog in writing I thought I'd dedicate a few posts this week to some photo memories.

All of these but the last were from '04-'05 in Philadelphia...have a laugh.

This last one is in the M&M store in Times Square this past Xmas :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Evaluations = cause for celebration?

Receiving written evaluations with a breakdown of your strengths and weaknesses blatantly graded in black and white is a fact of life of an aspiring ballet dancer. Every school or program has their own way of handling these and of giving you feedback on what you need to work on (some kinder than others...), but overall they share the same basic criteria:

turn out, flexibility, foot work, adagio, turns, jumps, porte de bras, alignment, placement, line, projection, musicality, attendance...the list goes on, and varies in specificity (once I had two different grades for "arch" and "instep"...)

Anyway, after being away from the whole "ballet school" atmosphere for just about a year as I transitioned into an apprenticeship and so forth, I was greatly surprised to hear during my last few days at the ABT intensive that we would receive written evaluations by mail in a few weeks. I definitely had a flashback to my early Boston Ballet days when they would hand us evaluations and meet in the scary office for them to tell us all that's wrong with us (okay, I'm being dramatic...however, that was NOT the worst of these occasions...). I was a bit nervous to receive mine in the mail...and it came today.

I opened it and laughed.

For the first time in 20 years (yes, I turn 20 four weeks from today...) I received something other than "satisfactory/needs improvement" on BOTH turnout and feet. If you knew me and what I've been through with my evil tendonitis-infused hips and bursitis-riden feet (both from overuse, i.e. forcing what I don't have) you would know that this is a GRAND OCCASION.


Of course, there are MANY other things in the evaluation that I need to work on, and it is much less intense than the "ballet school" type evaluations because I won't be returning to them. And yes, it is very subjective.

But you have no idea what it means for a teacher to write the words, "very good" next to the words "turn out" when all you've heard your whole life is "bad". It's a break through!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back to my old studio for summer class

I'm always hesitant to go back to places I used to dance. Visiting, catching up on life, and seeing old friends is one thing - a fun thing, usually. But heading back to take class is another...

"will they think I've improved?" "do i look a lot different?" "will i remember what technical details the teachers prefer?"

Just a few things that go through my perhaps overly paranoid mind.

But tonight I was pleasantly surprised when I returned to take open class at my old studio here in the city with one of my favorite teachers I've ever had, though I haven't seen him in months (and haven't taken class from in a year...he usually only teaches in the school). It felt nice and almost comfortable, for once, to be back to a place I spent 2 years of my life, and without that awkward returning stuff. It perked me up after a rough couple of weeks.

I saw some old friends as well and it was nice to catch up. I'll definitely be returning throughout the summer to take class regularly while I can.

Lesson learned: forget the nerves and just do it.