When a dancer trips...

Friday, November 30, 2012

During tonight's performance, I tripped.

Before jumping into a tour-jete, it felt as if someone had pulled the rug out from under me. I didn't fall down, but I stumbled. It felt my shoulder slump and my head look down. For one second, I was in front of hundreds of people and absolutely petrified.

When you love what you do, your body and mind can work together to pilot your struggling ship straight again. I'm wearing a beautiful white tutu with flowers; I have a crown upon my head. I am a ballerina. The effervescent, magical, powerful storyteller of the theater. The audience wants to love me. My mind did not forget the steps that came next; my body did not fail to get me right up upon my leg again. A quick port de bras and my pas de basques came large and expressive. I back on track. My smile returned.

Of course I am concerned about how I must have looked. Was the illusion lost? Did I contribute to a lower morale amongst my fellow dancers for the rest of the piece? Did my face wrench into an unpleasant expression as I flailed? Did I flail? Was I able to regain my posture decently enough?

A year or two ago, I may have been in tears. I would have been nervous and shaking. But now...here I sit in the dressing room, happy and content. I am fine. Unbelievably, I feel great.

During the last section of the piece, when all the various characters come on stage to get into the final tableau, there is a moment when I prance into my center spotlight with a series of developpes before taking my pose in preparation for the ending. I have a moment to look into the audience, my arms outstretched and my slippers gesturing out to the top rows. Tonight, as I smiled upon them with my lips and my heart, I thought I heard a loving applause. It could have been for the others, but I would like to think they were welcoming me back - telling me "It's okay. We have your back; well done. " As I floated into my final pose, I felt happier than I had been in a long time.

When a dancer trips, remember that the audience wants you to do well. To see someone get right back up and carry on with a genuine smile may be even more thrilling than the fall itself. People love stories of individuals overcoming obstacles. When you trip or fall, it's almost like a miniature drama playing out in front of them. If you return from your "fall from grace" with strength and beauty, the audience is thrilled.

Dancers are the athletes of god. You are blessed and beautiful. You enthrall and entertain with a poise and magic that no other entertainer possesses. When you fall, don't let yourself fall down a black hole of despair. You are one of the privileged, so smile and continue your magical spell. There is a good chance the audience barely noticed anyway.

Opening Night!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Opening Night!

Here I sit in the corner of the over-stuffed dressing room, surrounded by flocks of dancers, a thin mist of hairspray hanging above our manicured heads. The music and sounds from the stage filter in through a speaker. Every so often, the pitched slap of skin against the stage floor echos through - most of the dance pieces are contemporary, after all, and you how those dancers just love their sadomasochistic relationship with the floor.

My white and red tiara perches happily on my head. My tutu has been tucked away on it's skinny hanger; it will not join me in the curtain call.

The dancers on stage breathe so heavily right now that I can hear it through the speaker.

It was a wonderful opening night. I was nervous, of course, but not nearly as much as I have been for past shows. This is my first show as a real "ballerina" with a sparkling tutu, and my joy was probably quite evident on my smiling face. I had so much fun out there! I'm working on keeping my chin up, since I cast my gaze too low sometimes. My pique pirouette manage started beautifully, but I when I realized I was going farther downstage than I should have, a small hitch made its way to my feet like a hiccup. It felt like an earthquake, but I'm sure it was miniscule.

The song playing right now reminds me of droids angrily boffing each other...

In my turning balances, I felt like my feet and legs were tied in knots, and I'm sure the footwork wasn't pretty... But I am still joyful. I have done it! I have performed in a tutu, with a tiara, in front of an audience! I hope I was able to share my excitement and joy with the audience tonight. :) 

Backstage photos!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Backstage in the dressing room at the theatre! I'm playing a ballerina from a Degas painting in a dance piece  about Impressionism. Dancers portray various subjects from Impressionist paintings. I even have a little solo! No pointe shoes, though.
Tonight is our first dress rehearsal, and we are slated to remain in the theatre until 11pm tonight. Yikes!

Why you need to go to the Dickens Fair! A teaser!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The weekends of November 23- December 23 (and the Friday after Thanksgiving).
10am - 7pm (stay all the way to the end for caroling!)

It will soon be time for my favorite holiday tradition - the Great Dickens Christmas Fair! If you live near the San Francisco Bay Area in California and have even a slight interest in history, I suggest you visit. Held in the cavernous stock barns of The Cow Palace, the streets of Victorian London are lovingly recreated and populated with hundreds of trained actors. They portray numerous characters from Dickens, historical figures, and various city folk and travelers. There is a wealth of delicious Victorian food, activities, shopping, shows, and entertainment. It's a truly immersive experience unlike anything that I can think of.

Think the Victorians are too "prude" for you? Oh boy, are you in for a surprise. You might just see Victorians (and history geeks!) in a very different light after visiting The Fair. Be sure to get tickets for "Naughty French Postcards"!

If you have never been, I wanted to give you a little teaser by showcasing some wonderful photos of the fair. Enjoy!

All of these wonderful photos are from various artists on Flickr. Flickr can make it difficult to share photos, so some are links instead of thumbnails. Show your appreciation for their work  by visiting their galleries and faving or commenting!

The parlor at The Adventurer's Club. Photo by marianme.

Mr. Dickens himself in the family parlor. Photo by maywong_photos

Victoria and Albert enjoy a reading from Mr. Edgar Allen Poe in the "Adventurer's Club". 

One of 'The Ruffles' at Mad Sal's.

Sketching an enchanting model with The Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood. 

The melancholy Edgar Allen Poe. Photo by tuna94544

A corner of "Le Legion Fantastique". 
Another little detail. 

The Can-Can Girls of Mad Sal's. Their show is delightful! Photo by tuna94544

Try as they might, their message is often ignored! Photo by tuna94544

Anyone who thinks these people are "lonely nerds" are wrong, wrong, WRONG. Dickens Fair is the site of some the bawdiest fun you'll ever see this holiday season. Photo by tuna94544
Fagin. Photo by tibchris.
One of the two living windows outside Dark Garden Corsetry. Photo by tibchris.
Live, genuine gentlemen. Yes, they still exist. Yes, they can be found in decently large quanities at Dickens Fair. Photo by tibchris.

Sir Mulberry Hawk from Nicholas Nickleby. Photo by tibchris

Chimney Sweep! Kiss them for good luck! Photo by tibchris.
I hope these photos have enticed you to visit this year!

What horses give you...

Friday, November 16, 2012

I came across this article on Facebook, written by a mother reacting to people who ask her why she is "wasting" money on horses for her daughter. She goes on to elegantly explain the immense benefits that growing up with horses (working with horses, not just riding them) can offer to a child (I feel like they are applicable to adults as well). I hope you would take the time to read this short article, even if you're not into horses, to understand the values and lessons that horses bring to the people who choose to involve themselves in their lives.

Because My Daughter Grew Up With Horses...

I was once a ballet-dancing commodore...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's me!

Every fall at my college, the dance department has open auditions for their Fall Dance Concert, which is composed of student-choreographed pieces in all styles of dance. I was in three pieces in 2009 (which were mostly small roles) and the experience was certainly worth it. I made a lot of acquaintances and realized how little I actually knew as a dancer. I felt like "the baby" amongst all these other girls (and a few boys) who had years upon years of experience. I had a really difficult time picking up choreography. :(

Fast forward to 2011, and while I had no interest in taking part in another Fall Dance, I did hear whispers that there was to be a ballet segment in a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed dance. Pirates? Ballet? WHERE DO I SIGN UP? Luckily for me, the choreographer used to dance at my off-campus studio and knew of me.  I was given the role of Commodore James Norrington.

It doesn't end there! Of course, every PotC dance needs a Captain Jack Sparrow! Who better than....my boyfriend Duke? For the first time in our relationship, Duke and I would be in full theatrical costume, on stage together, dancing, and in roles that both suit us. It was like a dream come true!

Rehearsals were wonderful. All of the Royal Navy cadets danced ballet, and I event got to dance a duet with Duke. Other segments includes contemporary, gymnastics, and hip hop. Duke and I worked together smoothly and happily. Things got even better when it came time to start rehearsing in costume and makeup. I wore a white "powdered" wig, poet shirt, a cream waistcoat, cream breeches, white tights, and black slippers with white elastic (so they look like black shoes). I had to dance all the choreo with a sword, adding an elegant challenge.
Best of all, Duke transformed into a stunning Jack Sparrow. Not only did he look perfect in the makeup, but he also got Jack's gestures, expressions, and run down pat.

Now, on to the pictures!

In costume as Norry before putting on the wig.

Confronting Sparrow.

Our duet. Apparently, the camera captured my inner demi-god. 

Enjoy the video too! The hip-hop segment was cut for some reason...

Ahem... A Nightcap

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'm just going to leave you with this tonight, my darling glitter sachets! Sleep well!

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