Thursday, October 28, 2010

From Halloweens Past

My brother and I. I'm guessing 1993?
Halloween has always been a favorite holiday, mostly because ballet class on that day was just slightly less serious when you're all dressed up :)

Here are some of my favorites from years past...

Halloween 2009. The theme was "Food and Drink," so Alice and I went as cookies and milk. Yes, we did barre like that!
Halloween 2009 at Radio City Music Hall. We all wore shirts with our Dance Captain's headshot on them. Good times!

Halloween 2007. One of my favorites. Yes, I did class on my "yellow brick road."

Halloween 2006.

Halloween 2004. I still remember the look on my ballet teacher's face at this one...

Halloween 2003 at Rock. Check out my hair standing tall. What a baby I was!
Halloween 1991? Really a baby!

Yes, I'm missing photos from a big span of years in there but...I'm sure that's a good thing! Those costumes included Miss America, a butterfly, an Indian...and that's the extent of my memory. Haha!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Behind on Blogging

I'm super behind on blogging...the minute I'm allowed to somewhat dance again is of course the minute I have no more time to blog...hopefully tomorrow or so I can catch up on a few reviews, previews, and recovery progress reports...sorry for the delay :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

 A very special Happy Birthday to my amazing mom today!

She has an incredible strength to her and I am eternally grateful for her constant love, support, encouragement, generosity, and role-modeling. She is a wonderful mother not only to my brother and I but to all of her many dance students who love her so. Thank you, mom, for all you do. Have a wonderful day!


PS- These are really awful pictures...for some reason we don't have a single decent picture from the past 5 years together, haha...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interview with Richmond Ballet's Ariel Rose

© Liza Voll Photography/
Richmond Ballet's Ariel Rose has been around the world and back. At just 20 years old, he was a soloist guest artist at Ballet Municipal de Lima in Peru after training at ABT's JKO School and Ballet Academy East (where we trained together). His budding career in both ballet and choreography is enviable.

Read my interview below with Ariel about his experiences abroad and his new position at Richmond Ballet.

What has the start of your ballet career been like thus far since BAE and JKO? Where have you been dancing, and what have been some of the highlights?

In 2008 I went to Boston Ballet to be a trainee for two years. However, as a trainee, I was luckily chosen to perform with Boston Ballet's corps in a few ballets such as Kudelka's "Cinderella,” Nissinen’s "The Nutcracker", Balanchine's "Diamonds" and "Coppelia" and the Royal Ballet's "Sleeping Beauty." During this time, my dancing changed dramatically, not only from the rep I was dancing but also because the incredible artists I was seeing everyday in class. When I took company class, I would study and try things that I observed from their different techniques. I was constantly inspired to push myself further and take myself to a new level I didn't think I'd reach.

You spent the summer dancing abroad with Ballet Municipal de Lima, right? How did that opportunity come about?

I have always had family in Peru (everyone from my mother's side that is.) Every year, we would usually fly down to visit them for a week; however, we never knew of the dancing going on within the country. During one vacation in which I couldn't afford to not dance for a week due to Boston Ballet's schedule, I found The Ballet Municipal de Lima online and asked if I could come take class for a week. In the summer of 2010, I was invited to guest with the Ballet Municipal de Lima as a First Soloist in Peru during their production of Alicia Alonzo's “Coppelia.” After being a trainee for two years, this seemed like a giant step forward but I did not hesitate in answering yes. A week after rehearsals, I was told that I would be learning Franz (the leading male role) due to an injury of one of their own principal dancers. Although a little intimidated, I went in head first, throwing all of my self-doubt out the window (I couldn't imagine doing a principle role any other way). I ended up dancing 5 performances of Franz (1/3 of the shows) and was pretty well received by the Peruvian audiences. When I look back, the jump from student to such an experience is actually frightening, but I feel that at least on an emotional level, I was ready for it and it was an experience that I needed. No, that I craved.

What was your experience like abroad?

Dancing abroad is something that I didn't think I would do at such an early age. Although I do not think it is good for every at twenty years old, I feel that it really brought me into the professional world. I went to somewhere completely new where I knew no one and in which the language was not English, and just engaged myself in ballet without anything else on the side. It was very easy to just focus and direct all of my attention to the art I was working on at the time and also find out what it takes to perform a three act ballet on and off the stage. Along with opening new doors, traveling to dance somewhere new really changes ones perspective on things in the dance world one way or another and to be perfectly honest, I think this is one thing that is necessary for a dancer to survive for a long time healthily and inspired. Along with dancing new and exciting repertoire, traveling abroad lets one meet new people, learn new languages, customs and more importantly, actually realize that ballet is done differently around the world. Yes there are different styles but people actually see and appreciate ballet in different ways depending on where you go.

(More plus video after the jump...)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fun Tights

Photo from
When I'm healthy and taking a zillion classes a day, I often get bored with my usual dancewear. Same old leotards, same old tights. I get creative sometimes with more patterned leotards I made at Class In, but the tights are always blah. But I recently came across We Love Colors, a company that offers all kinds of fun choices!

Their tights and leggings are SO comfortable. They really let you move and are fine to sweat in if you're dancing, running, or whatever your workout. And they're functional too...espescially this fall, leggings with boots are so in. You can wear these to class and then just throw a sweater over them to head outside. They're super cute in bright colors (though you may want to save those for jazz class...too bright for ballet!)
Tank Leotard
Photo from

They also make leotards, shorts, gloves, and more. Their tank leotard is not the most flattering, but it's a good basic for any dancer to have. And check out all the crazy colors they come in!

Looks like they have some fun ideas for Halloween, too.

Recovery: Day 42 - Bootless!

Today's my first day without the boot!

It feels weird, haha. My foot is hurting but not too's mostly on the outside of my ankle from being stiff and not using it for so long. Supposedly that will go away. It's nowhere near as bad as it used to be pre-surgery, though, so that's a plus.

As I walk without the boot I'm still hobbling a bit. It hurts when I flex and stretch to the extreme, so rolling through my foot in normal parallel as I walk hurts. I walk with one turned out foot exagerating the step because I'm used to stepping onto a big platform boot with added weight. Strange. I'm sure I'll get over it soon (I hope, hah).

It's amazing to be free from the boot, and it was more amazing to try barre last night. I've missed making a bun and getting warmed up and standing in my usual spot. Class itself was sort of amusing because I can barely plie. I can't releve yet. And I tried to do 5th position but it hurt, so I did all of barre from 1st. Hey, it's a start. I made it through all of barre until frappes, when I used the "stop while you're ahead" tactic. I'm really trying to make an effort to listen to my body and come back slow because I KNOW I don't want to do that and I must. I do not want to get hurt again...I can't go through this again...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Recovery: Day 41ish - Goodbye Boot, Hello Barre!

I'm SOOO happy today!

I just went to my doctor for my 6 weeks post-surgery followup and it's all good news: I can stop wearing the gigantic moon boot AND I can start taking gentle barre!

It's very exciting. I've been getting more and more frustrated by the day with the boot and with not being able to move. I'm sort of scared to take barre because a) I do still feel some pain if I try to plie, and b) I'm going to be SO out of shape. But still...I'm happy. I've been taking pilates and half of yoga for two weeks now, and I'll continue with those things to supplement a few barres per week for now. This is much sooner than I was expecting to get to dance!

I see him again in another 6 weeks, by which time I should be back to full dancing he says. Right now the thought of jumping and pointe shoes seems insane, but...I'll get there slowly I guess. Of course I'll continue with PT, but now we get to add strengthening exercises. I'm headed there now to see what fun I'm in for...

Hooray for progress!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

TAKE Dance: The Distance of the Moon

Photo by Kokyat
Takehiro Ueyama knows how to put on a good show. His contemporary company Take Dance, in collaboration with Pulse, presented "The Distance of the Moon" last week at Judson Memorial Church to standing ovations. And rightfully so: the evening offered intriguing choreography, strong dancers, exceptional live original music, and cool lighting in a great performance space.

The program was broken into seven sections with varying moods choreographed by Take himself and Jill Echo, Kile Hotchkiss, and Julie Tice. Each was deliberate in establishing a theme throughout the movement - contemplation, intensity, friendship, humor...all paying ode to the versatility of this company within a set style and vocabulary.

Hotchkiss' "Penumbra" was the most forceful and memorable of the selections, especially with it's start: Light! Five dancers stood in line facing a single stream of brightness on the left. It was a jolted start from blackness that sparked curiosity. Slowly the dancers held onto each other, slithering up and down in the shadows of Jake Warren, the tall dancer at the front. As the lights came up they separated into intense duets and solos of swoopy movements. Jason Jeunette's fantastic lighting cast their shadows larger than life on the three walls.

Following this was Echo's excerpt "Evening Song" for five women. In a circle, they swung their arms and threw their heads back, rotating around like clockwork. Their huddle broke to reveal their more playful personalities. Elise Drew has a particularly compelling stage presence. Yumiko Sunami's twinkly music was the most enjoyable of the evening (though JC Sanford's music in "Long Night Moon" also stood out).
Photo by Kokyat
It's always fun to see humor in modern dance, and Take's "And Dance By the Light of the Moon" did that well. Two dancers in white start hunkering around the stage like cavemen, shifting their weight side to side as they walk with bent knees and stiff torsos. As they round the upstage corner another comes out to the audience's surprised giggle. They go on to dance powerfully with subtle touches - a confused facial expression, an awkward movement - that called for laughs. It would've been just enough had the part when a dancer strolled by crouched on a skateboard in a just black shorts and a strange silver mask been omitted.

That hokey-ness and the pseudo-acting in the bar scene of "Moonshine" could've been skipped. Like many ballet, contemporary, modern, and musical theater works seen over the years, this last piece set a table and chairs on one side and a makeshift bar at the center to create your typical bar dance scene: the flirty girls, the suave guys. The cliche story and "acting" was saved by a clever duet for Warren and Mariko Kurihara. About 2 feet different in height, their partnering was comical in the best sense. Kurihara was hilarious, standing barely to her partner's ribs.

Whatever the work, Take Dance always is a joy to watch. The dancers have wonderfully uninhibited movement and flow. And live music and creative lighting made "The Distance of the Moon" a great success.
Photo by Kokyat

Exit 12 Dance on Reuters

I've been dancing/working with Exit 12 Dance Company since February and I'm so excited to see today's Reuters interview with our director, Roman Baca! Check it out above as he discusses the piece "Homecoming," which we performed in August and also in May in Connecticut.

I'm on the left at 2:12 dancing as the mother!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ABT's 2011 Met Season Rep Announced!

Very exciting! Details here.

Today ABT announced it's repertoire for the 2011 Met Season (aka my favorite time of the year).

Ratmansky and Wheeldon will each have a world premiere, and Millipied will have a U.S. premiere.

Then the season starts with some of my favorites: "Don Q" and "Giselle." Next comes "Lady of the Camellias," which I missed the last time they did it recently. Then comes Freddy Franklin's "Coppelia," Kudelka's "Cinerella" (I think they use supers for this one...yay...), the gorgeous "Swan Lake," and finally "Sleeping Beauty."

Plus Jose Manuel Carreno retires with Swan Lake on June 30. Osipova and Cocojaru are back.

Upcoming: NYCB Wellness Workshop

This Saturday New York City Ballet is holding a Dance Wellness Workshop that looks really interesting.

As a dancer recovering from a serious injury, and an almost-certified New York City Ballet Workout instructor, I'm really looking forward to this:

A one-day series of interactive presentations focusing on the care and healing of the dancer’s extraordinary instrument of art—the body.

Saturday, October 16, 2010
10 AM – 6 PM

New York City Ballet Rehearsal Studios
Samuel B. & David Rose Building, 8th Fl.
70 Lincoln Center Plaza

Registration open to students, professional dancers, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Top 5 at Fall for Dance

Last week City Center's annual awesome Fall for Dance season wrapped up - and what a fun season it was! I was lucky enough to see 4 of the 5 programs this year (the most I've ever seen at these festivals) and it was such a treat to see the diversity of dance and the genuine enthusiasm of audiences across the board.

Because Fall for Dance tickets are only $10 it seems to draw a different crowd than the typical concert dance lovers. These people hoot and holler and give standing ovations to nearly every artist - and though many deserve this fanfare year-round, it's only at the festival that people really show that support. It makes for a fun atmosphere and a good time. The cheap drinks and cool people watching in the Fall for Dance lounge certainly help, too!

Though there were quite a few pieces on the various programs that stood out, here are my top 5 Fall for Dance 2010 favorites:
1. TIE: Miami City Ballet
and Dresden Semperoper Ballett

Okay, I can't decide. I just love Tharp and Miami's "The Golden Section" was thrilling! I really like their dancers and they had killer energy throughout the whole piece. It was also cool to see dance to David Byrne's music, whom I danced with at Radio City a while back! But I also enjoyed being introduced to Dresden Semperoper Ballett in the Forsythe piece "The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude." Those dancers were so smiley and looked like real people rather than cookie-cutter ballerinas. Both works are ones I'd just love to dance, and being injured made me appreciate them just a little bit more, I think.

2. Gallim DanceTheir piece "I Can See Myself in Your Pupil" was definitely a crowd pleaser and...I fell for it. Andrea Miller's super athletic go-go-go choreography is in your face. The dancers, in bright colors, each had a personality of their own that shone through strongly. They were a hit!

3. Keigwin & CompanyI like everything I see by Keigwin. It's easy to literally be blinded by the light in his piece "Megalopolis," with its set of flouresant lighting. The dancers had sparkly, robotic-looking costumes and danced in sharp, angular, otherworldly movements. Very cool.

4. Russel Maliphant CompanyI always wonder at these things why some companies choose to (or are chosen to) show a long solo at Fall for Dance. Both this year and last year there were a number of solos that just...could've been shortened or, better, cut out completely. But Maliphant's "Afterlight (Part 1)" was gorgeous! The images onstage looked like an optical illusion. The dancer spun centerstage below dim projected light patterns, his strong arms rotating fast like a flip book. It was haunting.

5. TIE: ABT and San Francisco Ballet
Both are beautiful ballet companies, and both presented gorgeous pas de deuxs. I saw ABT's "Thais Pas de Deux" at the Met with the same cast last spring (Hee Seo and Jared Matthews) and it was just as lovely. Hee Seo has the most luscious bourres and footwork. But it was my first time seeing Yuan Yuan Tan from SFB and wow, she's huge! I mean, skinny, tiny, but so tall! I sat literally in the front row center just beneath her, which I guess made her seem even more tall, but wow. Such beautiful lines and smooth partnering. The piece itself was just okay ("Diving into the Lilacs") but the dancers really make it. 

Runner-Up: Paul Taylor"Company B" is always a favorite, but I was excited to see newer works by other companies this time.

Side note: To be fair, the program I didn't see included Company Rafaela Carrasco, NYCB, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, and Companhia Urbana de Dança.

Looking forward to next year's Fall for Dance!

Nutcracker in 3D

Has anyone heard of this? Looks dancing though. How can you have Nutcracker without ballet?!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recovery: Days 32-35 - 5 Weeks, Frustration, & Floor Barre

Today marks 5 weeks since the surgery!

It's been a long 5 weeks, too. Especially this past week or so I've been getting extremely antsy and more frustrated by the second at not being able to do anything. I watch Fall for Dance or Nutcracker rehearsal or Rodeo rehearsal for a November show and it *kills* me not to be able to move. It's complicated...

Part of it is that I'm tired of sitting still. Part of it is that dance is my form of expression - of love, frustration, joy, and concentration - and I have no other effective outlet for that right now. Part of it is seeing so many friends moving on happily and improving while I've lost so much strength. Part of it is desperately missing the daily-ness of class and I'm missing out on all that happens there.

The last one is about the only problem I can solve at this point. Even though my physical therapist said I should just start gentle yoga when I get out of the boot, I couldn't take it any more. I started yoga last week (nothing standing up though) and after that I was like a bat out of the cage. I've taken two classes a day for the past 3 days - yoga, pilates, and floor barre.

Now that I've found some options I feel like I'm finally making progress. It feels SO good to work my muscles again after so long off. Ah, that soreness is wonderful, haha. Saturday I took back to back pilates classes at DNA's Free Class Day and afterwards my abs were burning, but I felt so strong. Yesterday I also did double pilates. I'm not sure why I ever stopped taking pilates (no time?) but I really ought to keep up with it even when I'm healthy because it's such a good alternative workout with really focused muscle work.

Sunday in addition to yoga I tried floor barre. It was an interesting class...I've never taken it but it was nice and low impact. You're laying on your back basically the whole time and it targets the rotation and turnout muscles. I enjoyed it, but I think if I'm gonna have to start paying big bucks for classes (why oh why are classes so expensive in this city?!) I want something more physical that wears me out, haha.

Anyway...I go back to PT tomorrow after a week off from him and I'm really hoping this is the end of the giant boot. Then next Monday I see my doctor again and that's when we should start strengthening. The foot hasn't been too bad, though it does sort of hurt in the usual place if I flex and plie...hmm. In my head I'm hoping that means another week or so before I can try basic barre. It'll probably be longer but...fingers crossed.

The Red Shoes?

Devious Ballet-08 in Red Patent - BAL08/RJust came across this...

Ballet flats are in style - could pointe shoes be next?

Haha oh wow. Not sure why anyone would want to be on pointe in everday life if they didn't have to be. The heels really make it.

Found them at this new site that actually sells some interesting things...nice console tables, yoga gear, fun shoes, and more. Check them out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm in the New Radio City Commercial!

Check me out as Mary in the Nativity scene shown quickly at the 20 second mark!

Interview with Your Move! Choreographer Courtney Ramm

Courtney Ramm one of many young choreographers in New York City trying to break in and be seen. While this city is the mecca for dance, that also means the competition is stiff. This weekend Courtney has the opportunity to present her work at Manhattan Movement Arts Center's Your Move! Showcase. She has previously shown student choreography for Ballet Academy East (where we danced together) and Indiana University.

Read my interview below with Courtney about her upcoming piece and her choreographic process.

What is your piece called and what is it about? What can the audience except to see?
My piece is called "Still Lingering." It is a duet for myself and a male dancer. The piece explores ideas of containment, freedom, vulnerability, and dependence. There are many possible ways to interpret what the piece is about, however the audience can expect to see a duet which provides a glimpse into a complex relationship between a male and female dancer. The movement style draws from both classical ballet and modern dance.

How did you get involved in the MMAC Your Move! Showcase? What was the application process like?
I found out online that the MMAC was accepting submissions for the Your Move! Showcase and I submitted an application and video of "Still Lingering." It was a relatively simple process. I found out that my piece was selected 10 days prior to the upcoming show, so the difficult part is putting it together in such a short period of time! Luckily I knew a male dancer who was happy to rehearse and perform the piece, and so even with very little rehearsal time, the piece has come together.

I know you choreographed back at BAE, but have you had other training in composition or other showcases of your work? 
Soon after BAE, I went to Chautauqua for the summer where I had the opportunity to choreograph a ballet that won the Faculty Choreography Award and was performed at the 5,000-seat amphitheater in Chautauqua, NY. That was a very rewarding experience! I also took dance composition classes while at Indiana University. Although, I have to say that I strongly feel that choreography cannot be taught. Just like with any art, it is a talent from within that cannot be pushed on a student from without.

While at Indiana University, I had a unique opportunity to take part in a project called Hammer and Nail. I was paired with a music composition PhD student and we collaborated on the creation of a new work. The first year, the piece I created was called "Synthesis" and was a multi-media work based on the physiological process of protein synthesis. A video projection behind the dancers showed an incredible video of protein synthesis occuring in cells in real time. The second year I collaborated with my composer to create "Metro Graffiti," a Broadway/pedestrian-style modern dance piece that had a large cast of 25 dancers and was based on the chaos and multi-faceted nature of city life. It was wonderful to work with a composer who understood the theme of the piece so well and it was a highly rewarding experience.

What is the music for your piece this weekend, and why did you choose it?
The music is "Fauré Elegie in C minor, Opus 24." I chose this piece of music because I find it absolutely stunning and immediately had a dance choreographed in my mind from the first time I heard it!

What inspires you to choreograph?
Without a question, I am inspired to choreograph from the music. I am fortunate to have grown up in a very artistic family and I remember having classical music playing all the time in our apartment. I am also a musician and have been playing piano since the age of eight, so I have a very innate love and understanding of classical music. When I hear beautiful music, I can't help but want to dance and choreograph to it!

What has been the greatest challenge in pursuing a choreographic career as opposed to a dance career?
I am currently persuing a career in both performing and choreographing. I have not chosen one path over the other. I am dancing with two companies, IsadoraNow and Dance Visions, which both perform the rep. of Isadora Duncan as well as new contemporary choreography. I have numerous performing opportunities with both of these companies, so right now I am very fulfilled with everything I'm doing in terms of dancing, performing, and choreographing.

Any other upcoming projects?
I am performing with IsadoraNow at Symphony Space on November 19 and 20th in a full-length performance called A Simple Gesture. One piece I am particularly excited about is one that we as a company choreographed collaboratively to a piece of piano music that my mother, Adrienne Ramm, composed, entitled "Reminiscence Isadora." I am also performing with DanceVisions at The Hatch on October 23rd at the Jennifer Muller studios. The work is called "Dreamscapes" and is a creative multimedia dance-theater work based on the complex world of dreams. In addition, I plan on choreographing more works and having them shown at different venues in NYC.

MMAC Your Move! Showcase
Sunday October 10 at 6pm - Tickets $10
248 W. 60 Street

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Check Out the New GenDance

If you're blog-surfing this weekend definitely check out gendance's new website here. They're a cool weekly dance e-newsletter, but now they've expanded to a fun new community site. Looks like lots of action going on...

Recovery: Day 30-31 - Back to Yoga

Restless. That's about the only word that can describe how I've been feeling the past week or so. Though I'm still in the boot, I'm walking almost normal without it around home and mentally I'm desperately missing dancing. But last night I took my first yoga class (actually first anything phsyical class) since surgery and it was fantastic!

(Warning: this is sort of a mindless stream of conciousness about getting back in shape...not sure where I'm going...)

Technically I guess I should wait til I'm officially out of the boot to start getting back in shape, but technically the doctor said I *could* be out of the boot this week. I'm just waiting for my physical therapist to return to give me the okay. So I went ahead and did half of yoga - just the sitting half - and I'm so glad I did.

After a month of doing literally nothing physical I felt like I was reintroduced to a brand new body. It was very's like that sense of wearing someone else's shoes: they fit, but something's not right. My muscles felt oddly tight and loose at the same time. I know that doesn't make sense but it's true. Stretches that I never used to feel anything on suddenly twinged with constraint, but other positions that used to feel stuck now felt more free. I think when I'm in shape and turning out all the time my muscles almost block the openness of my joints. I'm not sure that's an anatomically correct statement, but that's what it sort of seems like. I mostly noticed this in the front of my hips...normally if I try to sit up and hold my knees parallel close to my chest I can't even get them to touch together, nevermind curl my chest over towards them. Last night it was so easy all of a sudden!

It made me think of how carefully I need to retrain my muscles as I start getting myself together again soon. I've always had a habbit of "gripping" my muscles while dancing because I'm sort of built to do so, but that's not good for you. It will be super hard for me, but I want to try to force myself to retrain slowly and more correctly so that I strengthen my muscles while keeping the length and ease that has come of relaxation (it's like my body has been refreshed, and although I certainly don't feel all energized and renewed, apparently my muscles are and they're just not telling me). It won't be easy.

Now that I've proven I'm able to do at least basic gentle yoga, I'm going to ease into a schedule of more and more yoga/pilates until I'm allowed to take barre. Once I'm offiically out of the boot I'll start standing poses and will be able to do more. But I think tomorrow I'm going to try hot yoga for the first time at Yoga to the People (anyone done that?) and then next week I'll take some pilates classes.

I'm so ready to be back in shape. I felt amazing after my half yoga class last night and this morning I'm actually not nearly as sore as I was expecting to be. And the best part is that my foot is completely pain-free still :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cool Classes Coming Up in October

Matthew Bourne Repertory Workshop
Matthew Bourn'e "Swan Lake"

While daydreaming about all the classes I'm going to take when my foot gets better I've come across a few really cool special classes coming up in the rest of October...if you're in the city, you should go...

I love how great companies that are touring to New York are starting to hold master classes lately. It gives dancers as dancers more experience being seen by different choreographers, and it gives dancers as audience members more insight into the company's artistic process and vision. Love it.

*Sat. October 9
Free Class Day at DNA! Check the schedule here. I'm going to try to make it to one of the yoga/pilates classes just because it's free!

*Sun. October 17
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is offering a workshop for $60 than includes a ticket to one of their upcoming performances at The Joyce. 10am-1pm is for Advanced, and 2-5pm is Advanced/Professional. The first portion begins with a warm-up and the second portion incorporates the principles and techniques of choreographers whose work will be presented at The Joyce. The workshop culminates in phrases of Artistic Director Benoit-Swan Pouffer's own work, which relates to the techniques that inspire him.

*Wed.-Fri. October 20-22
Matthew Bourne Repertory Workshop at Peridance! So cool! It coincides with the company's performances of his famous all-male "Swan Lake" at City Center. The class is open to both men and women.

*Fri. October 22
Master class with les Ballets C de la B at DANY Studios

*Mon. October 25
Master class with the amazing Wendy Whelan of NYCB! Sounds like a great opportunity offered by MMAC studios from 7:30-9pm. Oh how I'd love to go...MMAC is also offering a "Bring a Friend" discount to get your class free through December, though I'm not sure that applies to master classes.

*Fri. October 29
Another Cedar Lake class at DANY.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Morphoses at Works & Process

I really wanted to go see this over the weekend but didn't have a chance. Not long after Christopher Wheeldon called it quits with his company Morphoses, they're back in action - and looking pretty great, if you ask me. Check out the video above of their collaboration with David Lang.

When Wheeldon left last year Dance Spirit Magazine's e-newsletter interviewed me about it (as a freelance dancer in the NYC community...I have no other connection to the company except that I'd just love to dance for them!). Check that out here.

Works & Process at the Guggenheim has some other exciting things coming up...including an event leading up to ABT's new Nutcracker and a program with Ballet Hispanico later this month.

Interview with Rock School Student Alston MacGill

Alston MacGill
It's amazing to me how much time flies. This fall marks seven whole years since I first moved away from home to live and dance at The Rock School in Philadelphia. I feel old. My two years there were some of the most important of my life, shaping my identity as a dancer and person. I remember the good, the bad, and the very ugly vividly. For most of the years after I graduated I had known at least a few students still there and of course my teachers. But by last year all my friends had moved on and most of the teachers (and residence directors and academic teachers) I was close with had left.

But this year lovely young dancer Alston MacGill has entered the RAPA program at The Rock School. We've never met, but I know she's a beautiful student. Read my interview below with her about adjusting to life on her own, transitioning to new training, and dancing in Philadelphia.

What made you decide to attend The Rock School's year-round program? Why Rock and not somewhere else?

I decided to attend The Rock after coming for four summer intensives. When I was here over the summer I absolutely loved it. Also, I at stayed at the Marine Club (our housing now) for a week, and thought that it was nice. My parents and I made the decision for me to come here because it offers amazing dance training and great academics!

This is your first time living away from home (besides summer intensives), right? What has that adjustment been like?

Yes, it is my first time living away from home, other than summer intensives. It has definitely been hard adjusting. This first month I’ve been super homesick! But with Nutcracker rehearsals starting and school picking up, I’ve been busier and have had less time to think about home. It’s also hard to adjust to full time roommates; I have always had my own bedroom and bathroom at home. Five weeks at a summer intensive is so different from a full year. All in all, I’ve really just been adjusting to being on my own and dealing with everything that comes up without my parents.

How has your first month of classes been? What's a typical day like in terms of schedule?

The first month of classes has been super fun, and I’m falling into the swing of things. On a typical day, we get up at 6:45 and walk over for breakfast at 7:30. At 8, I have RAPA (school) for two hours. Morning class starts at 10:30, and we have ballet and then pointe until 1. Then we have lunch in the Rock Garden Cafe and rehearsal or RAPA starts at 1:30, depending on your schedule. Another ballet class starts at 4 and ends at 6. There is also partnering on Fridays, and extra rehearsal thrown in there in the evening sometimes. Our day is packed! But of course, there is still time to hang out in the hallway when we get back to the dorms.

What do you do for fun in your downtime there? (And just out of my own curiosity: do Target Tuesdays still exist? We always had a Target trip on Tuesday nights...the highlight of the week!)

Well, there are trips around the city on Sundays to places like the zoo and museums. There is the Target trip still, but it’s now on Thursday nights. So, I guess it’s now Target Thursdays! Mostly, we sit out in the hallways and have a good time or do homework in our rooms. We also go out to Dunkin and Rite Aid, obvious necessities!

What has been the hardest part so far of attending Rock?

Nothing has been easy! I am working so hard in class everyday, and it’s so much more dancing than I’m used to. Plus, living on my own is a challenge, too. I’m really mature and can take care of myself; I was just getting homesick, especially after a tough day in the studios.

What are your goals for this year, and what are you most looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to the "Nutcracker 1776"! I am so excited because I get to be Abby (their “Clara”), and it will be such a great experience. My goal for this year is to become super strong in my technique. Everyone here is so good and it pushes me to be an even better dancer, it’s a great challenge!

Went through my own old Rock pictures...this was from October of my 2nd year (2004)...what babies we were!

Recovery: 1 Month In

Today marks one month since my surgery. Technically that means I'm only 1/3 of the way through the recovery process, but it was definitely the worst 1/3. Things seem to be going smoothly but not nearly fast enough for my liking, haha. I'm getting antsy.

Starting PT last week was a big step, but this week my physical therapist is out of town and I wasn't able to get an appointment with anyone else. So I sort of feel like I'm taking a step backward waiting for him to return. I saw the doctor 2 weeks ago and he said in 2 weeks I could start getting off the boot, but my therapist said a little bit longer and I'm afraid to try anything when I won't see him for a while more week in the boot. I walk around at home almost completely fine with it off now, though.

I've been doing some very gentle calf stretching and basic ankle circles and alphabets (writing the alphabet with your feet to work range of motion). But I'm SO ready to be dancing again. I've been sitting in on rehearsals a few days a week and it kills me not to get up and put my pointe shoes on and dance. Last night the insomnia kicked in yet again and I decided to make myself an intense pilates/yoga schedule for when I'm out of the boot starting next week. I miss being in class - any class - and working my body. I feel like a giant lump who's just sat and eaten for a month. Must. Get. In. Shape.

I think tomorrow I'm going to try to get back into yoga...just seated poses for now. My therapist said once I'm out of the boot I can do it so...good enough for me. I'm restless.

In the meantime I've been watching a lot of great dance (not sure if that makes my situation better or worse - still connected to dance, but it makes me want to move even more!). I saw Batsheva last weekend and two days of Fall for Dance so far. I go again this week and then I'll do a review of everything hopefully.

It's not helping that I think it's this week that many of my friends start rehearsals for the Radio City season. Sigh...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Free Yoga in Philly

If any of you are in the Philadelphia area, check out this free Yoga in the Park class tomorrow. It's in Rittenhouse Square from 5-6pm offered by Philadelphia Ballet School. Looks like it's Power Ashtanga Yoga, which is what I usually take twice a week. It is NOT east...but so good for your strength.

An old teacher of mine from when I was at Rock in Philly recently started this new studio, Philadelphia Ballet School, and it seems to be doing well. If you're in the area, stop in and try a class! I would if I were there...and, you know, had two functioning feet...