A Humbling Experience

thoughts

With each breath, I remember how lucky I am to be alive, and I thank God for the health of myself, friends, and family. It is so easy to take “the little things” in life for granted, but it is important to remember that everything can change in an instant. Nothing is ever guaranteed. As I let my feet sink into the earth, I embrace the sounds of nature and consider how fortunate I am to hear the birds sing. I think about how blessed I am to have vision that allows me to see the amazing world that surrounds me, and a voice to speak what is on my mind… I thank God for waking me up because today truly is a gift.


I danced for the patients at the hospital yesterday, and it was a very humbling experience. Emotions stirred within me as little kids reached for the tutus, stretched their arms up, and moved their feet… I am so grateful that I could share my gift of dance with such an inspiring crowd, and it is something that I will never forget. It felt so rewarding to see the joy on their faces, and I hope that I can do this again in the future. Props to my friend, Claire, who organized the event because it would not have happened if it wasn’t for her… Thank you for everything!

Have you had an eye-opening experience recently? What have you been up to this weekend? I hope that you have a fantastic week.

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On The Edge: dance video

contemporarysolo

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!

Season 2018-19 Recap

lookingback

The 2018-19 season has come to a close, so I took some time to revisit all of my adventures from the past several months…

I remembered the exhilaration of dancing the Snow Queen pas de deux in The Nutcracker, and flutes of Act 2 came floating back to me from when I took the stage as a Mirliton. My heart became warm as I recalled performing the Sugar Plum Fairy variation for the seniors at the assisted living facility, and I smiled at the memory of pure joy on their faces. I recalled working with the choreographer of “Flight” and being part of its debut in January as well as the Balanchine-themed “Spiral.” Both of these creations were brought to three separate stages as we popped in and out of the city this year, and each experience was uniquely special. I shivered at the flashback of February and all of the stress that accompanied those long days of overtime at the studio. Alice in Wonderland definitely kept us on our toes as we raced against time to put the entire ballet together, but the performance was worth every moment. Shortly after, we dove into The Little Mermaid where we spent over 13 hours in the theater on a show day, and the contemporary repertoire marked the successful ending of this very busy season.

I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that I had, and I cannot thank everyone enough for the tremendous amount of support through it all. I especially want to thank all of my followers for joining me this year, liking my posts, and leaving such positive comments. It means so much to know that my friends, family, and readers all believe in my ability to succeed, so THANK YOU!

How was your dance season? Do you have any questions for me? Any special post requests? Happy Summer!

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!

Catching Up

photoshoot3

I hope that you all had a great week and a blessed Ash Wednesday! I apologize for my lack of posting/reading, but I should be able to get back on track now. Midterm week finally arrived which meant extra coffee and cram-study sessions for me… That pretty much explains why I have been absent for the past few days.

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I went to an early mass this year for Ash Wednesday because it was the only possibility for me, so I wore ashes on my forehead all day. I was shocked by the amount of confused faces that passed me in the hallways at school, and I actually had multiple people tell me that I had something on my head. It was an interesting day, but I was not embarrassed. I used these encounters as a way to educate others and help them understand the purpose of the ashes.

“We can feel a little funny with ashes on our foreheads, but for Catholics, that is how we mark the start of Lent. Ashes don’t say we’re holy. They say we’re sinners. They don’t say we’re perfect, only that we’re willing to try. They don’t say we’re models of religiosity, but they do say we belong.”

~Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, RSM

Next weekend, we will bring “Flight” back to the stage, so be sure to keep an eye out for that post! I also just want to take a second to thank all of my loyal readers who continuously read/comment on my posts. You are all so positive and encouraging, so I will not desert this internet space anytime soon (despite occasional inactivity). You are all amazing, and I cannot thank you enough for that. Now, go be awesome!

Photo Credits: Richard Jean-Louis

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. 🙂