Redemption

flight

I stood backstage staring at the vibrant feather that I was about to pin back into my hair, and I began to remember January’s performance…

This was our moment of redemption.


My bare feet slid across the stage, and my arms swayed to create abstract shapes that showcased the wonders of modern movement. It all happened so fast, and there wasn’t much time to overthink the steps that my body had instinctively began to do. I soared as high as I possibly could, and I felt like I was really able to live in the moment this time. Just like that, it all ended. Looking out into the audience, the six of us stood together and bowed our heads. The applause filled the theater, and our hearts filled with relief; we did it!

It was honor to perform with this incredibly talented group of dancers, and I am so thankful that I was chosen to be a part of this piece. It was such a wonderful opportunity, and I feel like I have grown a lot as an artist by discovering new ways to move. This piece has also inspired my own choreography because I was able to see how unusual movements develop into something truly amazing. Overall, I really loved this dance, and I hope that I have more opportunities to work with brilliant minds like the choreographer behind “Flight.” Thanks for everything!

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Weekend in Wonderland

I had such a fun weekend performing in Alice in Wonderland, and I am already missing the sound of laughter that erupted from the audience. Acting was a major part of this comical ballet, and I really got to enjoy myself in each of my roles. I have to admit, it was quite difficult to not laugh at myself when I portrayed a crazy maid with an extremely defiant attitude. From pouring salt in my mouth and choking on chili to stomping across the stage with my tongue out at the dutchess, it was hard to keep a straight face with such an amusing role. I honestly don’t know how I did it! It was a great show, but it was also very stressful as we had constant quick changes and responsibilities backstage. Overall, everyone performed beautifully, and I am so proud of the entire cast. I managed to snag a quick photo with these lovely ladies in my deck of cards costume, and I was so happy to meet my friend after the show! I hope the audience enjoyed their experience in wonderland as much as I did.

Backstage Secrets

Pas de deux

The house lights start to dim, and hushed voices lead into silence. The orchestra begins to play the first few notes as the curtain rises. The show has begun. Audience members witness the artists’ story, but the other side of the stage remains hidden from them. Behind the backdrop, beyond the Marley floors, and in the depths of the wings lays an unknown world filled with secrets that only dancers share… until today. I have selected my top 6. Enjoy!

Toothbrush Trick: Believe it or not, I blend my hair together with a toothbrush before shows to to remove the dreaded streaks from a wide toothed brush/comb. Gel and hairspray makes hair stick together, so this trick is lifesaving. I have a specific toothbrush dedicated for this purpose, and it has never been used in my mouth. I thought I should clarify.

Calamine: We always have to apply a light layer of calamine onto our new pointe shoes before a performance so they don’t reflect the bright stage lights. Most directors would agree that shiny shoes can be very distracting.

Butt Glue: It isn’t ballet related (DO NOT use this with tights), but this is crucial for contemporary/modern shows when we are only wearing a leotard. We put a line of butt glue on the edge of our leotard so that it doesn’t move onstage. Trust me, it has spared us from countless wedgies. Enough said.

Securing Ribbon: It is practically impossible to tie all of the pointe shoe ribbon around ankles, so the remaining ribbon is tucked in under the knot. However, they occasionally fall out, so we always have to sew them to the top layer with a few stitches with thick thread (dental floss works too).

Weird Words: This was actually my idea, and a few of my fellow dancers still think this is a bit odd… During a long corps de ballet section, we are continuously going on and offstage, and it can be intimidating to run offstage with ten seconds to remember which part of the dance comes next. I create weird words or letters so that I don’t blank out in the wings before my next enterance. I still remember the Friends dance of Copellia was “SAP D-G.” The first time I went offstage, I came back on with my Solo… ran offstage for a few seconds and waited for the Adagio section to begin. I continued to go through SAP D-G until the end of the dance!

Rosin: We often coat the back of our heels with rosin so that our pointe shoes don’t slip off of our feet if they feel loose.

Thanks for reading! Did some of these things surprise you? What are some of YOUR backstage secrets?

Taking Flight

ceremony

During a live performance, nothing is promised, and the audience experiences something new each time the curtain rises. They are able to witness the real-time mishaps and slips that cannot be undone or edited out. Each show is simply an unparalleled mystery to both the dancers and audience members because it is never certain what the outcome will be regardless of the repeated choreography. Even though dancers try to maintain a professional image, we are just like the people in the darkened theater clutching tickets in their palms. We make mistakes. We fall. We have off days just like everybody else. No matter how hard we strive for perfection, we will never be flawless, and that is reality.

peacock

Saturday, we took Flight, a guest-choreographed modern piece, downtown with peacock feathers perched delicately in our hair. To be honest, I am quite disappointed with my performance. It was an incredibly stressful night as things continuously went wrong, and I had to endure that defeated feeling as I took a bow. This piece will be performed again later this season, so I am hoping that we can redeem ourselves. As of right now, we must move on because it is going to be a busy week in the studio as we prepare for Alice in Wonderland in three weeks! I will not waste any more time thinking about the past. We have a ballet to learn. 🙂

The Nutcracker 2018

Last night was even more magical than I imagined as I finally got to perform the role that I had admired ever since I was a very young ballerina! I couldn’t have asked for the snow pas de deux to have gone any better for the shows, and I am so incredibly thankful for my snow king who supported me through it all. Despite the 14 hour-long day that was spent in the theater, this production generated so much positive energy within me, and I really wish that I could rewind the clock to do it again. Even after I came offstage, I could not stop smiling as the sound of applause filled my heart with so much happiness. However, the curtain has officially closed for the Nutcracker, but we will be back in the theater in a month for our production of Alice in Wonderland. I heard that casting will be announced within the next week, so be sure to keep an eye out for it! 🙂

I hope that you all had a fantastic weekend!

One More Week…

snowpasdedeux

I see the elaborate tutus hung on the racks and admire the glittering tiaras set in careful stacks. The props in the basket are so very sweet. This show will definitely be a treat!

It is hard to believe that opening night for “The Nutcracker” is exactly one week from today, but I am looking forward to performing in the very first show of the 2018-19 season. I am so humbled to have been cast as the snow queen because it is one of my favorite roles in the entire ballet. As much as I love it, the snow pas de deux is has been very challenging physically and mentally as I try to get as close to perfection as possible. I want to leave the audience in awe this holiday season and perform to the best of my ability. I have one more week. Wish me luck!

This Art Form

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It is so easy to forget why you love this art form when you sacrifice so much of your life inside of a studio with your feet cramping, muscles burning, and sweat dripping in your eyes. It is so easy to forget why you love this art form when you think about how many things you have missed out on by not living a “normal” life for a dream that you may never even reach. It is so easy to forget… until you step onto that stage to dance for hundreds of people and hear their applause… until you experience an injury that prevents you from being able to express yourself for weeks… until you are offered a job contract that allows you to do what you love and not sit in an office all day long… until an audience member warmly touches your shoulder after a performance and tells you how grateful he/she is for sharing your gift…

The fact is, I hear negativity every single day whether it is inside of my own head or from other people expressing their personal unhappiness. I have begun to realize that dance is a mental battle, and it is something that continuously challenges people both emotionally and physically. I have known so many people who have stopped fighting for this dream and have had thoughts of “what if I didn’t, where would I be now?” for the rest of their lives. Do not ever forget why you started dancing, and do not ever forget that magical moment that lit up your young eyes when you discovered it for the very first time. Always remember the power that dance has to heal and change people’s lives, and never allow your current emotions to put out the flame that burns deep within your soul. Remain true to yourself, and have faith through it all.

No matter how defeated you may feel at times, never forget this art form… It is part of you. It IS you… Do you really want to let it all go?


I know that this post was significantly longer than my typical posts, but I just felt like the world needed to read this because these words have been lingering in my head for quite some time now. Too many people in my life have incredible talent, but they are quickly loosing their passion; I don’t ever want that to happen to me.

Photo credits: Richard Jean-Louis