Wednesday, September 30, 2020

VOTE

I think it is important that I share this. This is my blog and I want it to showcase what is important to me. 

What a privilege it is to be able to vote. I am standing up for what I know to be right for me based on my experiences, education, arts career, values, etc. I am voting in favor of compassion and equality. I am voting because my dad/family members were/are military and I refuse to support someone who bashes dead soldiers while also having been a draft dodger (a friend danced 6 shows a day in heels on painful bone spurs FYI). I am voting for my uncle who died of Covid. It is not a “hoax.” I am voting to continue to make my own decisions for MY body. I am voting for healthcare. I am voting in favor of the arts; my safe place, job, and escape. I am voting because climate change is so real and I respect our planet. I fear having a family in this current climate and worry we are about to be set back 100 years. Despite having traveled to so many wonderful countries, there is no place like the USA. I want to continue to be proud to be from here. I am a female artist with friends from all walks of life. I do not think I am better than anyone else. We are not being lead as if we are one country and it has to stop. Don’t be surprised by this post. You are free to make your own choice as well based on your beliefs and experiences. Just vote. And no matter what, be a kind human.

Gypsy Soul

I want to hop on a plane and go to a million places. I want to try new things and adventure. I wish I could go back for just one cruise and wake up in a different place each day. I hope we all learn from this experience not to take a single thing for granted. If you can dance, dance. I know it’s hard to stay motivated right now but it truly beats the alternative. If you can move your body, do it! Plan for the future but live now. 

I have many feelings lately and one is feeling limited. I spent the last 6 months dancing and taking online classes, but now the thought of possibly not being able to perform again is finally hitting me. The theatre that has given me so many great opportunities is not able to have their regular season. I get down some days and wonder what the point of training right now is. Then I remember how dancing makes me feel. Training is a lot different at the moment. I mainly do YouTube workouts and class with my fav nyc teacher once a week. I do occasional jump kicks and ballet. 


I’ve always had one goal and that was to be a Rockette, but it seems so far away. I will continue to dance to stay strong for what I hope is a big comeback, but it’s just sad sometimes. I feel sad taking dance knowing the jobs aren’t there. I feel sad not dancing too. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. 


I watch old dance vids and wonder if it even really happened since it feels like lifetimes ago. After my first cruise contract I told myself I would appreciate every opportunity to move and perform since I realized just how in demand those jobs are. I look back on the contract where we woke up in the Bahamas or Palm Beach every day. All we had to worry about was which bikini to wear or where we would get coffee. We really lived life then and knew what we had was special. I’m pretty sure we would all give anything to go back even just for one more Bahamas Cruise. Four years ago, the ocean was life. We explored by day, swimming and drinking from coconuts. By night, we were back at sea, dancing and disco-ing. 


I hope that I get to feel what it's like to be onstage again. It is the biggest high. I want to experience that again and don't know how. Lately I find myself wanting to learn to surf, snowboard, or anything that I was unable to do so as to avoid hurting my chances at a performance career. I just need to do something that doesn't make me feel like the days all run together and life is going by. What a weird time. Wish I could book a ticket to Hawaii or another country. Someday...

Saturday, September 19, 2020

National Dance Day: Missing Those Center Stage Moments

Every day is a dance day, but today is National Dance Day! It looks a bit different this year, but I was able to take class online with my favorite NYC teacher. I also looked at old pictures and reflected on the opportunities that were awarded to me from choosing a career in dance and training hard. I know that some days it feels painful to think about dancing knowing there aren't auditions or contracts available. Dance anyway. Dance it all out. It never fails to make me feel much better. 

I wrote my college admissions essays on the movie, Center Stage and how it impacted my life. Growing up, I was never the best or the favorite, but I certainly had the passion and work ethic to get there. Jody Sawyer spoke to me. She made a place for herself in the dance world and I was going to do the same. One of the movie's choreographers was Susan Stroman; someone who would later transform my career. I watched it pretty much weekly leading up to college dance auditions. I also went to see stars of the movie, Julie Kent and Ethan Stiefel perform Gisele together at Lincoln center around the same time. Little did I know that 8 years later I would be chosen by Stro to dance her choreo at Lyric Opera of Chicago in The Merry Widow. And two years after that, I would be performing it again at Lincoln center.  I may not (yet) have achieved what I thought was my ultimate goal of becoming a Rockette (although made it through and waited by my phone for a job call 7 torturous times), but my dance career literally came full circle. 

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a performer. There was nothing else. I was going to make it happen. And I did. You can too. Always chase your dreams and give them all you’ve got. You have one life and once we are beyond this major setback, please go for it! It may not look the way you imagined it, but I promise it will be worth your efforts. This year has made it even more evident that we only have a short time on this planet and it could end at any time. Live a life you're proud of. 



Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Comeback.

New York is NOT over. Theatre is NOT over. People are resilient. Artists are too strong and resourceful to let this kill our industry. Everyone consumes art. Many are quick to forget that you need artists to create it. Art comes in various forms. I guarantee most if not all quarantined humans utilized some form of art during this time and every day after. We NEED leaders who are supportive of this important source of inspiration, therapy, happiness, and money. 

New York is a dream. Being there doesn't feel real. I remember every first cab ride back in the city and every last day there. Theatre is the heart of NYC and generates SO MUCH MONEY. It has given me a sense of hope and brings me to tears the second the orchestra starts to play. We need hope. You can't tell me that certain governors are responsible for its downfall because cities with different leadership are suffering in the art department too. It is affecting my ability to perform as well and I am in the South. Gyms have opened, sports have started, and yet we can't have a performance season!? There needs to be change. 

I'm having a hard time understanding why theatre is screwed over. What makes this different? Sweating and sharing germs in a hot box of a gym, but not allowing a spaced out performance? I am not comprehending that logic. And don't get me started on schools. If this isn't going to happen, PUA certainly needs to be extended for those who rely solely on this income. This is a career that so many have put a lifetime of training into. It is not a hobby. Just ask an artist how expensive their training has been and will continue to be. 

I've alternated between performing full time, performing part time while working full time at another job and back again. We always seem to find our way back to what we are best at. Pivoting is definitely okay, but not everyone has the opportunity to pursue something else. It isn't realistic to tell people to just get another job. I know everyone seems to be saying the city is done and everyone is moving out. Yes, there are some heading elsewhere, but the people I know intend to be back the second our industry recovers. I also have many friends who are choosing to stay. 

If there is a show you watch constantly, if you go out dancing or consume video content, if you read magazines or listen to music, don't forget you NEED artists for this. Continue supporting these things and be vocal in your support if you can't imagine a world without this industry of hope, escape, and happiness. It is essential. 

Times are hard, but if you are at all able to, purchase a dance class with a favorite teacher or at a studio that is holding online classes like Steps on Broadway or Broadway Dance Center; consider donating the price of your canceled ticket to the theatre or venue; purchase a ticket for an online performance; buy art directly from an artist; or even just check in with a friend who has had their world turned upside down. 

This post may have not been the most organized, but I have a lot of thoughts lately. I am tired of being pissed off. Stop politicizing a virus. It is real. Just ask my family, or Nick Cordero's family, or several of my YOUNG friends who had it. Regardless of whether or not you have bad symptoms or die from it, who actually wants a virus in their system?? And who wants to be responsible for unknowingly giving it to someone who does die? Wear a mask for your family. Wear a mask for the arts. Wear a mask to be part of the solution, not the problem. Let's end this thing. You aren't oppressed in doing so and you don't know someone else's struggle. Just. Be. Nice. Assist in bettering the world. Stop spreading hate and ugliness. 

Here are some additional resources: https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/financial-relief-resources-for-artists-during-covid-19






Do what you love while you can <3 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Beveling Bride

 Hi friends! It has been way too long. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe. My heart breaks for the world right now. I'm grateful that we had something positive happen during this time. We are ENGAGED!! I can't wait to spend my life with my forever dance partner. He makes me excited for a future filled with adventure, love, and happiness. My heart goes out to all of the brides who had to postpone or cancel their weddings. I was nervous about wedding planning with all of the uncertainty, but we need something to look forward to. I have booked a lot for ours already. It was definitely stressful trying to make the right choices. I think DJ was the hardest part, because that really sets the tone for the entire day! We still have over a year to go, but it will be nice to put focus on having fun and the little details now. 

It's a weird thing not knowing the next time you'll be onstage (or back to work) again. We spend so much time training with particular goals in mind. Most of those have disappeared without return dates. I think that with any future opportunity to perform I will appreciate it so much more and take in the moment as much as possible. Prior to 2019, I was a gypsy soul, living out of a suitcase and moving on when things got too comfortable. After moving to Florida and meeting my love, I don't feel like I'm giving up on my dreams by being in one place. He lifts me up and supports my goals and we are creating our own. I am so excited to see what is in store for us and what we will work hard to achieve together. He has a long road ahead of him still with school, but I think our wedding falls at the perfect time. It will be during his last year of classes, before the craziness of prepping to take the bar and starting a new job. 

We got engaged in June on the most perfect beach day. It was our first beach day since Covid began. It was just the two of us, swimming and having fun. We decided to play the question game (my fav) and I said we should have another beer (obvi). He said he had something better and reached into the cooler. I thought he meant some other drink. He started saying all of these sweet things and that he had one more question. Before I knew it, he was on one knee in the sand with the shiniest ring : ) He asked me to marry him and of course I said yes! (Actually I said of course...haha) Then we had some champagne before celebrating with our parents. 



I was quick to get started with planning with it being a destination wedding for most, the uncertainty of the pandemic, and my love going back to school. In the last two months, I've gotten most of the big parts of planning out of the way (venue, engagement shoot, save the dates, room blocks, photography, videography, catering, cake, asking bridesmaids, website, and music!) I have performed at many events and have loved experiencing this side of them and seeing my vision start to come together. We were able to do our cake tasting at home and had so much fun with that. We tried 3 amazing flavors and are having a great local bakery recreate my Pinterest dream cake. We will likely do our menu tasting when this semester ends. 

I hope a lot of our friends and family will be able to attend. As a performer, you make amazing friends with every contract, but they live all over the world. I understand how difficult it is to commit to something like this when a contract could pop up at any time. I've missed weddings, school dances, funerals, etc. for work. The vibe I hope to achieve for our day is romantic and warm. I want to be surrounded by our closest family and friends and have so much fun. I'm looking forward to incorporating my dance life a little bit with custom La Duca's (fingers crossed) and a first dance choreographed by me. 

The following pics are from our engagement shoot. Whitney Coogan is a wonderful local photographer who does an amazing job of creating a romantic, fairy-tale dream world with her work. I knew she was the right photographer for the vision we were going for and I can't wait to put some of these on canvas.