Wednesday, December 16, 2015

That's A Wrap.

Last Sunday was our final performance of The Merry Widow at Lyric Opera of Chicago. This contract was even better than I dreamed it would be. I loved my job, the people, and the dancing. I really tried to take it all in and really watch the final show from backstage. My dad was able to see me dance for something other than arena football and I think he really enjoyed it. I feel bad that he paid so much money for a balcony ticket since I ended up being able to get him a free ticket in the second row. Oh well! We had a little after party at a bar with the cast and then my dad took me to fancy dinner at the Palmer House Hilton. This show is the highlight of my career and I'm so happy it happened and sad that it's over. 

A little pre-Kolo Act II warm up. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Opening Night.

Opening night of The Merry Widow at the Lyric Opera of Chicago was magical. We were given nice little gifts and goodies prior to the show and copies of our beautiful program. It is so fun to see my headshot and bio in there. I had been a bit stressed the week leading up to opening, but for some reason I was totally calm. Everything went well and felt like a dream. Our audience was so responsive and seemed to really enjoy it. Standing O! Reviews were pretty good, especially for the dancers. Click here for the one from the Chicago Tribune. I had the love of my life in the audience and I'm happy that he finally got a glimpse of my world. He was so cute getting ready before we left and took longer than me haha. He looked really nice. 



With the legendary Susan Stroman. I am so happy that she picked me for this show. Her choreography and vision are beautiful and she was a joy to work for. 


After the show, Lyric threw a nice party to celebrate.


My handsome date. 


Everyone in the cast is so talented. These two beauties both danced for Radio City. 


Ashley brought her mom to the party and we found out that our moms were sorority sisters at the same university. Small world. 


With our Danilo, Thomas Hampson. 



Click here for the promo video for our show. We have 8 performances left so get your tickets now!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dress Rehearsal

This week has been a whirlwind of tech and dress rehearsals. We ran the entire show without stopping yesterday when friends, family, and press were invited to attend our dress rehearsal. Performing is so much fun, especially with big names like Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson. Everything went pretty smoothly until the very end of the show when I had a little costume malfunction. The heel of my fab LaDuca boots got caught on my skirt and I almost went down. The show must go on though! Probably wasn't as bad as I thought, but still embarrassing. The costumes we get to wear were beautifully designed by William Ivey Long. My favorite is my Act II costume which is what I have on in the first picture. Our official opening is this weekend. I can't wait!




Saturday, November 7, 2015

#LyricWidow

I am having the most incredible time in rehearsals at Lyric Opera of Chicago for The Merry Widow. We learned pretty much the entire show within 4 days. After we had all of the choreography down we started rehearsing with the singers. I am blown away by the amount of talent involved with this show. Susan Stroman is our amazing director. She came to rehearsals already knowing our names and gave us big hugs. Her choreography is beautiful and I feel so pretty performing it. We are doing our first run of the show in costume tomorrow. This week is also our final dress rehearsal. 


Getting around this city has been a bit of a struggle since they are doing a lot of construction on the train routes. Overall though I think Chicago is beautiful and clean. A lot of my NYC food favorites are here including Pret, Magnolia, Shake Shack, and Bloomingdales (looking forward to getting some peanut butter froyo at Forty Carrots). I can't believe it has been 6 years since I visited. The last time was for the Rockette audition in 2009. I actually auditioned in the same building and room that I auditioned for this show in. 


During my time here, I am staying with my former cruise ship cast mate, Kevin. I had missed him so much and we had fun celebrating our 2nd Halloween together, on land this time. One of the singers in our show also had a party and it was the best party I've been to aside from a wedding. It had a haunted mansion theme with the yummiest food, drinks, and desserts. 



I have always loved the rehearsal process. I think the most interesting and perhaps most challenging part is taking the show from the studio to the stage. There are many new elements to consider in addition to all that you've spent so much time on. Yesterday, we saw our gorgeous Act III set for the first time. You have be fully present and thinking about what you are doing at all times so that you don't get hurt. Set pieces and props enter and exit the stage all while you are dancing and being lifted around. It is thrilling!  


Showing off our lovely new LaDuca boots. 


Sajen and I became fast friends and have had fun exploring the city from the farmers market and shopping to Magnolia Bakery and the bean. I love my cast!


This house is gorg.


I look forward to going to work every day and Lyric has made this the most enjoyable experience. Not one day has felt like a job. It is a dream. Everyone in the cast has been professional and great to work with. The Merry Widow opens one week from tonight. My boyfriend will be flying in for opening night in a few days. He has never seen me perform so I am beyond excited. I can't wait for my dad and hopefully mom to see as well. 
For more information and tickets click here

Monday, August 10, 2015

Just Keep Kicking

This is the first year in my 7 years of auditioning for the Rockettes that I will not be in line with the other hopefuls today. I have put so much focus, effort, and all I had in me into the pursuit of that dream and it is time to try something new. Moving on is hard, but I am still living the life my childhood self always wanted. The thought of doing something else rarely crossed my mind growing up. However, I have recently come to terms with the fact that there is more to life than Radio City. 


2014 RSI Invitational 
RSI 2010. Such great memories. 
I moved to Manhattan in 2010 with one goal, to be a world famous Radio City Rockette. After 11 Rockette auditions, making it to the end several times, a private audition with Linda Haberman, a video about my audition experience, 7 summer intensives, receiving a scholarship and assisting the program, training privately with several Rockettes, and still not getting that call, I still haven’t entirely given up the desire to audition to be a part of the legacy. I would not be the dancer I am right now had I not trained so hard in precision jazz and tap. It has opened other doors and so many invaluable connections. You never know what’s to come.  The plan is to go back and audition next year, but who knows. 
I don't know why Radio City never wanted to hire me. It could be my height or weight or turns or kicks or any number of things they will likely never tell me. An awesome former Rockette said one of the nicest things to me when I was dealing with this last year. She said the job requires you to blend and not to stand out. She suggested that maybe those who don't fit the mold are too unique, individual, and beautiful to blend. That has stuck with me and actually makes perfect sense as every job has a "type" they look for. You can't be perfect for everything. 
After making it through the 2012 Rockette audition.
Me in the December 2014 issue of Dance Spirit


For me, dancing has and always will be synonymous to breathing. Nothing will change that.  I have traveled the world doing what I love, performed on many stages and trained at an advanced level with some incredible teachers. I have realized dance dreams I never knew were possible. It is a privilege to be able to do this and I've worked my butt off to get here. I won’t let the fact that I haven’t checked one goal off the list undermine others that I have. I don't want to be defined as the girl who gave up any semblance of a "normal life" for a dream she failed to achieve. Recent performance jobs have lead me to truly believe that I have already achieved the dream; I get paid to do what I love. I am also finding the value in a tiny bit of normalcy.



All I ever do is dance. Once a dancer always a dancer, no matter what. One of the first things you learn when entering this industry is that rejection is inevitable unless you’re one of a rare few. You have to use these heartbreaking moments to make you a stronger dancer and person. You keep going if it is what you truly want as only the strong survive. 





This fall I will be making another major dream come true. I will be dancing in The Merry Widow, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. The audition was two days long and the most fun I had had in a long time. We did high kicks, jump splits, and cartwheels. I will be dancing in the style that I have trained so hard at while wearing some super glamorous costumes. I'm beyond excited to begin rehearsals with this amazing company. I have chills just thinking about performing in such a beautiful place. 



I wrote this post for myself and anyone who may sometimes feel discouraged by their big dreams. Life will likely not happen the way you mapped it out, but I believe more than anything that you should follow the path that makes you feel most alive and fulfilled. You will only regret the chances you never take. Best of luck to all auditioning this week!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

LOC

I am so excited to share with you guys that I will be high kicking and jump splitting at this beautiful theatre in the fall! Major dream come true. The audition was 2 days long and consisted of three combinations and some singing. I had a blast learning Susan Stroman's fab choreography. I can't wait to meet the rest of the cast and begin rehearsing. I will not be going back to Busch Gardens this year and will miss my friends so much, but I am beyond happy to be able to make this next step in my dance career. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Bonfire

Third Eye Blind kicked off their Summer 2015 tour in Cleveland on Friday. My best friend and I were so excited since they are our favorite band and lineup was pretty sweet with Augustana and Dashboard Confessional opening. Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica is a gorgeous place to see shows because the Cleveland skyline is the backdrop. We even got free drinks since the credit card machine wasn't working!



3eb played all of the classics and several new songs including a cover of "Mine" by Beyonce (better than her version in my opinion). Brad Hargreaves had an incredible drum solo and the energy of the crowd was amazing. There is nothing like seeing your favorite band live and being surrounded by other devoted fans who know every word to every song. 



My horoscope that day said "Tonight: Surprises mark your interactions." As we were leaving the show, the band's assistant asked if we wanted to come hang out with them. Um... yes!



We ended up sitting around a fire with the band before they left for their next city. Stephan Jenkins gave me audition tips and even taught me some Kung Fu (haha!) I really appreciated his willingness to answer a few questions I had about the band and their upcoming album as well as his interest in what I do. He even asked for my critique of the show as a fellow performer. It is a great show by the way and a perfect kickoff to summer. Go see them! 



Brad and I chatted briefly about the show and the fact that his grandma lives in the same city in Florida as us! 



They are such a nice group of guys. I definitely blurted out that their music has been the soundtrack to my life. Cheesy, but so so true. 


Sweaty concert hair : o

My 3rd Third Eye Blind show was the best one yet. I can't wait to get the new album, Dopamine, on June 16th and see them again soon!



Shout-out to Colin for inviting us. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Freckled Fox Fund

I was heartbroken to read that the husband of one of my favorite bloggers, The Freckled Fox, was just diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma. They are the cutest family and are about to have a fifth baby. You never know what life will bring and I hate seeing bad things happen to good people. To help with the cost of his treatments, her friend has urged her followers to donate even just $1 to help them afford his treatments. A PayPal account has been set up under FreckledFoxFund@gmail.com. Select Friends or Family when the option comes up. Please read her posts, keep them in your thoughts, and donate to their fund if you are able to. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

First. Finest. Forever.

I got back from Florida just in time to attend my sorority's annual Founder's Day brunch. It was held at a country club that brought back so many memories since I attended two sorority formals there. Several generations of Akron ADPi's were in attendance so it was great to meet them in addition to reconnecting with sisters I was in school with. 


Isn't this the cutest cake? 


 It is crazy how quickly time flies. Sisters have gotten engaged, married, and started amazing careers.  We will always be bonded through sisterhood and I love that I can attend these events after being away for so long and still feel connected to my sisters.  I can't wait to return to our sorority house in May for another event. I used to live in the house and haven't been to campus in years. 


I transferred out of Akron my junior year to a school in Manhattan with zero greek life. Fortunately, I was able to do a little volunteering in the city with the NYC alums. What I love so much about being in a sorority is that I can meet sisters from all over and instantly be friends knowing that we share this bond and common values. 

Feels like yesterday...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dance Life

Today I decided to read through posts on my first blog, Dance Life. It's hard to believe that just 2 years ago I was exploring places I never thought I would get the opportunity to see all while doing what I love. In my opinion, cruising is the best first job for a dancer, especially out of college. Friends have used that money to pay off loans and I used it to survive in Manhattan for a year. 

Some of my favorite memories include New Years Eve in Antarctica, visiting the pope's church in Buenos Aires on Easter, amazing steak and wine in Uruguay, helping to fix up a school in Ecuador, and of course, performing on the ship and interacting with people from all over the world. It was truly life changing. 
Uruguay
Brazil
Peru

Antarctica
Veendam Cast 2012-2013

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Memphis Men

One of the coolest things about being in the entertainment industry is seeing your former cast members and friends accomplish their dreams. Jamari and J'royce whom I danced with in Monster Stomp at Busch Gardens, booked the national tour of Memphis.

I can't think of more deserving people. I feel like it was just yesterday that Jamari was dancing like a fool backstage with me pre-skeleton number and J'royce was inspiring us with his words of wisdom and encouragement. 

My mom has always wanted me to experience Palm Beach so when we found out that they were going to be performing at the Kravis Center in West Palm, we decided to make a trip out of it. 

The show, set in 1950's Memphis, is about a white DJ playing black music despite prejudiced attitudes of the time. We were blown away by the amount of talent in this cast. The show was wonderful and you should definitely check it out while they are still touring. 

Jamari looked like he was having the time of his life on that stage. I only wish J'royce would have been up there too, but as a swing he was not on that day. I'm so happy I was able to see them after the show.