Los Angeles

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Santa Ana Winds & The National Ballet of Canada!

I know they reap havoc on the town, tree branches and fire safety, but I really love the Santa Ana Winds.  It makes it feel more like fall when the air is whipping all around you and leaves are flying everywhere!  Last night they were particularly strong and as I came home after a late rehearsal it really did feel spooky outside - It felt like Halloween!  

This week has been what feels like a lot of catch up and a little bit of drama.  Maybe I should blame that on the winds too.  But now that it's Thursday I feel like I can see the light of the weekend and I'm already feeling more relaxed.  

So here's a quick run down of what's been blowing around here....

Sonia Rodriguez in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Photo by Bruce Zinger
My review of The National Ballet of Canada's production of Alice in Wonderland posted on DIY Dancer. Go check it out for the complete inside scoop!

I've been taking a lot (for me) of ballet classes to try to prepare for a fundraising gig I'm participating in...Where I yet again will be performing my spotlight variation in this costume.

They're already putting up Christmas decorations in my town, which I think is just swell!  Too early?  Not if you ask me!  Bring on the Christmasing! 

What have you been up to lately? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This Weekend

You know when you have like a million things to do over the weekend and yet somehow you get less than half of them done?  Yeah, that's kind of what happened to me this weekend.  It's like, where the heck does the time even go?

Despite my lack of productivity, I did get to go to some really cool events, namely The National Ballet of Canada's performance of Christopher Wheeldon's new full length ballet of Alice in Wonderland.  It was amazing.  Unlike any ballet I've ever seen.  I'll be linking to my full review on DIY Dancer soon, but until then have a gander at one scene from the show.  This is from the Royal Ballet's performance, which you can purchase on DVD over on Amazon!  I may buy it just because I want to see it again....There is so much going on I feel like I need to see it at least twice just to get the full scope of the production.    Enjoy this little snippet!  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

National Ballet of Canada's Alice in Wonderland

I simply cannot wait for this Friday, as I am attending the US premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's Alice in Wonderland ballet with the National Ballet of Canada.  A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the soloists at the National Ballet of Canada, Chelsy Meiss, and we talked about her own impression of the production.  

After speaking with her and viewing a few of the video clips online, I feel truly excited to see this brand new story ballet.  I've always been a fan of Wheeldon's choreography and composer Joby Talbot's work as well.   It seems like it's sure to be an enjoyable and impressive performance.

You can read the full interview here on DIY Dancer, and be on the lookout for my follow up review next week too!  Until then, check out this video clip about the production when it premiered on the Royal Ballet.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ballet Class Conundrums

Today's post is a bit of a rant...

I know that I need to get myself into a ballet class and soon.  I haven't been in so long and the fact that I'm often feeling sore just from days spent sitting at my computer is more than a little worrying!  But (and I will be totally honest here) I kind of hate taking ballet class.  Of course once I'm in it, I'm fine and afterwards I do always feel good and happy.  But it's giving myself the motivation to go that seems to be the tricky part...That and all the stuff that inevitably happens before plies.

photo from The Red Shoes

I hate going to my nearby studio and having to go through the process of purchasing a class card and getting talked into buying more classes that I realistically will not attend.   Furthermore, everytime I go they ask me if I'm a professional dancer and I have to say "yes, well no, sort of, well I used to be," and they continue to give me the 3rd degree until I have confessed every iota of my career and my love/hate relationship with ballet.  

Then, there's the dressing room.  The dressing room always seems to be the place where dancers go to brag and I hate even overhearing the stories of past triumphs and blatant name-dropping that always permeates this space.  So I change quickly just to get myself into the studio, but the atmosphere out there isn't much better.  While stretching and warming up before class, I always feel like everyone is sizing one another up.  The young ones - 17, 18, hungry and competitive - do their best to show off just how flexible they are, and as much as I want to go up to them and say, "listen, you don't have to prove anything, I'm sure you're fabulous," I know that wouldn't make a difference.  I was probably just as bad when I was their age. It's part of the culture.  

Then the whole pre-class drama wouldn't be complete without some old crazy ballerina lady telling me that I am standing at HER spot at the barre and she has stood there for 20 years and would I please move elseware!  Then, usually, it's time to start.

Once the music begins and we get into the safety of routine, I'm fine.  But it's all the lead up that I can't stand.  Now I know this all must seem a bit silly, and I also know, that even though so many of these things make me uncomfortable, I still need to go take class.  I'll be so happy afterwards, it will all be worth it.  But it's the getting there that makes it hard.  

Starting tomorrow I'm going to look into taking some more classes around town, maybe at a few different studios, so if any local Los Angelenos have any suggestions of new places let me know... Otherwise I may just have to brave the usual shenanigans of my regular studio.  Yikes!  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reading List: Jacques D'Amboise

Over the weekend I picked up former NYCB dancer and ballet legend Jacques D'Amboise's memoir I was a Dancer.  I've only just begun the book but already I'm hooked!  Jacques D'Amboise is one of my biggest inspirations!  Not only was he an incredible artist, who worked with George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and so many others, D'Amboise also is an inspiring teacher.  His program with the National Dance Institute has inspired hundreds of kids to move to the music and embrace the artform of dance! 

I just love his energy and his positivity.  He may be one of the most inspiring people ever to come out of the dance world!  And I just love that he wasn't limited to just ballet.  D'Amboise danced in such classic musical theater films as West Side Story and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, making him even cooler in my book!  I can't wait to dig into this memoir and learn even more about this fascinating man! 
If you are a fan of Jacques D'Amboise and want to learn more about the man and all his good works, check out the National Dance Institute.  He is also featured in the new film documentary "I Can Dance" which is in desperate need of funding.  You can make a donation to help bring this film to audiences and learn more about the film here.  

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