Dryads & Shades

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Excerpts from two beautiful ballets filled the stage last week as dryads instantly transformed into a kingdom of shades.

Right after floating through the dream scene of Don Quixote, I only had a few seconds to recover before jumping into the first shade variation of La Bayadere. I had performed it before, but I forgot how physically demanding it was especially in addition to the corps de ballet work. It is one of the fastest variations that I have ever done, so maintaining precise execution of each step, despite the fatigue, is an incredibly challenging endeavor. However, the encouraging cheers from the audience gave me so much energy, and I finished stronger than I ever had in rehearsal. When I hit my final pose, I couldn’t hold back the giant smile that radiated from my face… It was a great show!

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On The Edge: dance video

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Eccentric movements return to my memory as I flashback to the mixed repertoire showcase of May… I was not lying when I said that I would share a video of myself dancing, and I know that several of you really wanted to see “On The Edge.” I choreographed this contemporary ballet solo last season, and I am so thankful that I was able to snag a video of dress rehearsal. The last six seconds did get cut out, and the stage lighting made a small section a little blurry. Despite the minor complications with technology, I am still willing to perform for you! This is the first time that I have ever publicly released a video of my dancing. I am nowhere near perfect, but I thought it would be fun to switch things up a bit. Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

**Special thanks to my friend for taking the video! I really appreciate it!

Eccentric Movements

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The audience sat intrigued as we created eccentric movements one dance at a time, and we slid barefoot across the floor embracing the freedom in our blistered toes. It was a night of contemporary, and the stories left people deep in thought as they attempted to interpret the ambiguous shapes. I had the opportunity to choreograph my own contemporary solo this year, and I felt so powerful as I brought “On The Edge” to the stage for the very first time. Halsey’s song, “Castle,” echoed throughout the theater as my legs and arms intertwined to match the vocal cues.

I felt like I attacked the steps with so much power during the onstage rehearsal, but a migraine took over when people actually filled the seats that night. I pushed through all of my dances, not allowing it to alter my performance, but I am upset that I couldn’t truly enjoy myself. Overall, I am so happy with how the choreography turned out, and it is definitely one of my favorite dances that I have ever pieced together. Halsey was my true inspiration, and her song really generated the intensity that I wanted. I hope that I have the chance to perform it again in the future…

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What are your thoughts on this song? Do you enjoy the contemporary style of dance? Can you relate to getting a migraine at the worst possible time?

Behind the Curtain

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13 hours in the theater. 6 quick changes. 3 performances. 2 dress rehearsals. All in 1 busy day.


I glanced at the bruises forming on my feet, and my body was overcome with a state of pure exhaustion. It was my eleventh hour in the theater, and I stood behind the curtain listening to the constant murmur of the crowd as they made their way to their seats. The final show of “The Little Mermaid” was about to begin, and I was minutes away from tackling another ballet with the very little energy that I had left. It is expected that every performance has the same quality, and the audience deserves the same experience every show because tickets all cost the same. This is where it gets challenging and stressful for us, dancers. At the end of the day, fatigue and aching muscles must be concealed by bubbly smiles and seemingly effortless movements which is extremely difficult. I don’t think the audience ever truly realizes what actually goes on backstage, and the beauty of this art form can be very deceiving by the graceful image that we portray.

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All in all, it was great to be back in the theater, but I think ballet officially kicked my butt.

What did you do this weekend? Have you had any performances recently? Are you ready for summer?

Redemption

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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!

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

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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?