Friday, April 24, 2020

Dance Therapy

We all have different ways of coping with difficult times. Some people can't stand learning off of a computer screen and deal with their feelings in other totally valid ways. I wake up every day lately feeling deep sadness. I can't help but check the news. I can't help but feel heartbroken when the suffering hits closer and closer to home. I don't feel like moving when I wake up and lately I find myself in bed until almost 11am. Regardless, I make myself get up, put on a little bit of a face, and move. 

I am thankful that my dance studio is giving barre, the Rockettes are teaching their style, NFL teams are posting prep classes, La Duca is offering multiple classes per week, and my fav NY teacher is giving class. I was supposed to be in NYC right now and would be running around trying to make it to a bunch of classes anyway. The opportunity to work on my technique, mind, and body in my own apartment is too good to pass up. 

For someone who has worked in a non-dance position for a year, these classes are giving me a chance to return to my self. I feel like me again. I miss feeling like part of the industry. Seeing friends in Zoom classes and reuniting through movement has made me feel more connected. Since I'm not always in New York anymore, I often take dance and fitness classes online. Right now, it is even more of a privilege to be able to take live class from my favorite teachers. The only thing that has truly improved my mood when I'm down throughout my life has been to dance on my own or take class. 

The Metropolitan Opera has been streaming shows on their website. Watch here. They just put up "Merry Widow", which is the show I did there and also at Lyric Opera of Chicago. It was the highlight of my career so far. While watching, I realized how much my heart breaks for theatre. Dancing, singing and viewing performances bring so much joy and also serve as an escape from reality. The arts are so important right now. The theatre community is so strong. What better way to at least temporarily be transported to another world than through theatre or dance? We will get through this together. 

Special thank you to essential workers for keeping us safe during this crazy time and always. 

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Keep Dancing

Where would I be without the arts? Where would any of us be? With so much going on in the world and after being laid off, I have been dancing the days away. I am kind of in denial about the whole thing. Dancing and music have given me so much joy and stress relief in the past 11 days I've been without a schedule. My favorite bands have put on concerts from their homes, countless artists have been giving class, and there are so many great shows to binge at the moment. I've had the opportunity to reconnect with the dance community and learn from teachers around the world. Right now it feels like nothing will ever be the same. I worry about having a job in any of the fields that I've trained so hard in. I know that I'm not alone in this. 

Personal favorites at the moment: 
Naples Academy of Ballet 
La Duca Shoes
Yoga Labs
Pop Tap 
The Fitness Marshall
Tiler Peck

Short term quarantine goals: 

  • Read a book
  • Organize and deep clean my apartment
  • Be active every day (do at least one class or video)
  • To make it through the rest of my lease and still have some $ in my account
  • Connect with friends and fam (Facetime)

Lastly, please stay home. Several friends have come down with the virus. It doesn't discriminate. It is all happening so quickly too. Within the last 2 weeks, my boyfriend arrived home to visit thinking he was leaving for The Keys for spring break. Within days, things were shutting down there and his law school decided to go online. I lost my job and every restaurant and public beach shut down days after that. Life can change in an instant. I know there are people with greater problems than that though. My prayers go out to anyone in an essential job right now and anyone feeling alone. My hope is that we learn to appreciate Earth and each other. Joy and meaning can come from the most basic things. Stay strong, friends. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Back To Me.

I just turned a certain age and have really been reflecting on what I've learned in my life:

  • Don’t ever give up your dream if you can afford to stick it out. Your dreams may evolve a bit, but if there is something in your heart that makes you come alive, fight for it even when things are hard. Everyone says that, but I’ve experienced it. I always feel on top of the world doing what I know I was meant to and like something is missing when I am not. 
  • Everything really does happen the way it’s supposed to and for a reason. There are so many things that I have questioned in the beginning and come to find that they were perfectly meant to be. If I hadn’t moved back to Naples and taken a non-performing job, I never would have met the love of my life; if I hadn’t chosen to pass up a certain opportunity, I never would have danced at The Met; if I hadn’t worked on ships, I wouldn’t ever have seen amazing places like Antarctica, etc. I've been hesitant about things in the beginning and they ended up changing my life for the better. Trust your gut and know you’ll always end up where you belong.
  • Age is just a number. On my first contract out of college, our cast ranged in age from 22-50. We were doing the same shows, living the same lifestyle and never really thought much of the age gap because it didn’t matter. It’s a state of mind. My dancing improved way beyond college and will hopefully continue to. You learn more with each contract and carry that experience into the next. 
  • You can start over. I’ve met plenty of performers who started later or returned to it after having families or taking a break or doing a different job entirely. If you want to leave the industry, that is possible too. I feel that skills learned performing and traveling are invaluable and translate to other jobs as well. You can always do something else. Just be sure you’re doing what is best for you. You only get one chance at this life.
  • Work to live don’t live to work. Seriously.
  • If something doesn't feel right or if you know you're worth more, trust yourself and don't do it. 
  • Be nice to everyone. You really don't know what people are going through. It doesn't matter what your job is, where you're from or how much money you have.   
  • Take care of yourself. I didn’t know what this meant until I was in the ER on my 19th birthday with mono and horrible tendinitis in my hip. That was a low point, but I stopped staying out late and waking up early to make it to a 6 hour dance day and started taking care of my instrument.

The truth is... I miss performing. I miss waking up in a different place every day. I miss being in the industry. I miss class. I miss being around people with the same passion. I don't think anything can bring that level of excitement. I can very much still dance. I feel like I'm living a double life. Once a dancer always a dancer.

On that note, I really need to get back to myself and what makes me happy. I honestly haven't had a good dance session in months. I need to start doing things that make me happy, because right now I'm not making the most of life and it is too damn short for that. I really don't have a schedule that allows me to have time for it. So for now I guess it will be a yoga membership and training myself until I can do more. 

One thing I was able to make time for was a photoshoot. I recently shot with Luminaire Foto in Naples. He made me feel so comfortable and confident that I was doing crazy dance poses on the floor by the end of the shoot. Can't wait to see all of the images. He truly has a gift of bringing you out of your comfort zone and working with you to find your best angles and looks.