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!
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!
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!
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…
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?
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.
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?
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!
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.
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