Guess what I found?!

So I just found this on YouTube!! This is the very first "senior line" I ever danced in @ Juliana's Academy of Dance. (Yes, the same Juliana's Academy of Dance that Evan Kasprzak from last season of SYTYCD came from also :) I was 12 or 13. I can't tell you exactly where I am the entire number, but I remember I was center front in the fouette section, I did the partnering stage right & then danced stage right opposite a girl who hated my guts while another girl did a turning section @ center. Random, I know...keep in mind this is from 1998. I'm not going to lie...it definitely made me giggle.

Also, I can't stop listening to Church Clothes by Matt Nathanson. (Thanks Keltie)

I've spent more than my share on temptation
trying to cool my swollen tongue
Gorged myself on all that free good will
and left the others none
What I wear like church clothes,
you wear just like jewelry
All the simple things you revel in,
they just suffocate me
And I don't know anymore,
wish someone would tell me who to be
Because I'm ready, I'm ready to try anything
I'm dazzled by glamour and camera angles,
the drama and swagger of fools
sacrificed beauty once to chase after their parade
and spent my morning after
crawling back to you
I want to be brand new, I want to trade in these wings
Mine don't work like yours do


A well-spent day brings happy sleep.

Text from The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci:
From the roots of his hair to the bottom of his chin is 1/10 of a man's height; from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head is 1/8 of his height; from the top of the breast to the roots of the hair will be the 7th part of the whole man. From the nipples to the top of the head will be the 4th part of man. The greatest width of the shoulders contains in itself the 4th part of man. From the elbow to the tip of the hand will be the 5th part of a man; and from the elbow to the angle of the armpit will be the 8th part of man. The whole hand will be the 10th part of the man. The distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose and from the roots of the hair to the eyebrows is, in each case the same, and like the ear, a third of the face.

You know all of those "parts" da Vinci was referring to? Yes, well mine all hurt!! I'm exhausted. Every muscle from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet hurts. #1 sign of an entire day of dancing full out. I think we did the same kickline at least 10 times!!!! But putting in hard work to do things correctly & to the best of your ability early on creates good muscle memory, right? (especially when your rehearsing under tempo, it's way easier to get the all of the details perfectly)
Today before we ran Shine for the first time from top to bottom, our marvelous Assistant Director, Mark, served up a giant heap of inspiration on a sterling silver Tiffany's platter. I wish I had a photographic memory & could recall every single word he said & pull it out of my back pocket every time I was thinking I would rather be somewhere other than on a giant moving staircase in a glamorous sparkling costume & a red lip. Or dancing on a double decker bus in a sassy white trench coat. (Cause honestly, why would I?) Crazy as it sounds, it does happen. He said, "You are every little girl's dream." It's true. I see it at meet & greets with little girls telling me about the ballet class they take once a week. I see it from stage when there's a girl in the second row dressed in her mother's best imitation of one of our costumes, & then after the show when an entire dance studio is waiting at the stage door for autographs. We're the beautiful, glamorous, dancing fairy princesses of our 4 year old selves' dreams....This is the perfect occupation for a 25 year old girl who still loves make-believe & refuses to grow up.
Alright, my brain is having problems stringing complete thoughts together...am I still making sense? It must be bedtime. Sweet dreams.


Bright as a diamond

Nine out of ten dentists agree: When you have one day off a week, it goes by two times faster than the other six. (If you ever find yourself in need of a vote on something extremely important; ask 10 dentists. They know their stuff) It was a pretty perfect day off. Pancake brunch with some of the other girls, then Keltie & my key didn't work so we were locked out of our condo for about 45 minutes, until a man in a big bus brought us a new key! Lounged for a few hours & went for another walk on the beach, which included another impromptu photoshoot in the tide. :) That was pretty much it, the rest of the day was spent on the Internet, watching television & talking to friends & family on the phone. (oh & eating virtually everything I had left in the refrigerator ;) I always feel guilty when I sit around all day on my day off, but at the same time, my body really, really needs the rest.
So, today we learned one of my top eight favorite numbers in the show. (We do eight numbers in the show. I'm a dork, I know. I realized at about age four that I would never be able to pick a favorite anything. Color, number, season, movie, food, band, song, nothing. I'm just too indecisive. I have about 50 top 10 favorite songs.) Anyways, the number is Shine. It's the last dancing number in the show & honestly one of my favorite numbers to dance. (Top two....three.) It's a relatively new number to the Christmas Spectacular, introduced only two years ago on the 75th anniversary of the Christmas Spectacular itself. Quick Radio City history lesson: The Rockettes got their start as the "Missouri Rockets" in 1925 in St. Louis. It wasn't until 1932 (opening night was December 27th!!!) that they were brought to Radio City Music Hall. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, starring the Rockettes, was introduced in 1933. The show that you see today still features dance numbers that have been in the show, for example, The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, since 1933. There will be a quiz on how much of this you retained, immediately following this blog entry. I hope you have your No. 2 pencils sharpened...
Where the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers so perfectly exhibits the amount of precision, archaic style, wholesomeness & tradition that the legacy of the Radio City Rockettes carries; Shine is almost it's polar opposite. It's contemporary & sassy & new, but at the same time, just as glamorous as ever. How can you not get butterflies in a costume made out of thousands upon thousands of Swarovski crystals?! I love my job. I'm so lucky.
For a Monday, today was a wonderful day. Six hours of pique arabesque-ing three numbers instage & half a depth upstage, beveling, shining out instage, kicking on four with a combres back 5 & 6...you get the idea. (Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about...Rox lingo) But it was truly a delicious day, I did my very best to dance to my full potential in every count, stay present in the moment, & be positive, all while continually reminding myself that I am a talented, beautiful dancer. In an attempt to become better dancers we are constantly criticizing ourselves, our bodies, our technique, our turn out, our smiles, ect. ect. ect. on & on & on...No one knows their bodies better than someone who's logged countless hours staring at it in pink tights and a leotard. (Nightmarish) How many times has a teacher told you, "Never settle, There is ALWAYS someone better than you." Although it's good to never be complacent, & always want to be better...It's difficult to keep that from being a permanent mindset. There is a big difference between being honest & pushing yourself, & being self deprecating.
I was talking to someone very near & dear to my heart last night, & they were the one who suggested I keep that perspective all day. (I'm so lucky to have a handful of really inspiring, marvelous people in my life) It wasn't nearly as easy as it sounds, but I did it, & guess what? I had an incredible day!!!!!!!!!!! I danced better, I was happy to be where I was & people noticed. When I was complimented, I simply said thank you, instead of telling them why they were wrong. I'm sure I was much more pleasant to be around. Maybe this is a simple concept that somehow has evaded me for the past years? I don't know but I think this is something I am going to really work on every moment of every day. I can still push myself to be a better dancer while recognizing (not only as a dancer but in general) the things that make me quirky, beautiful, silly...all the things I like about myself. Thank you sosososoooo much, you know who you are ;)



Chamomile, thunderstorms & stuffed dragons.

Today was a big day. It's incredible how much information, detailed information, you can stuff into your head in six hours. We've now officially finished learning an entire piece in the show, and it's a doozy. I'm icing my poor feet right now. Like I said, today was a big day.
Something remarkable about this job: You can be a Rockette for two years, or you can do the show for 10, but you will never, ever, have the exact same cast. Every year, each particular line has a new & unique dynamic that's never been seen before & will never be replicated again. It's a powerful thing. We walk into orientation as 23 individuals from different walks of life, time zones & backgrounds, expected in the next couple months to learn to dance as one. To meld together as a line so that we're no longer 18 individuals dancing on the stage...but one beautiful, precise, well-oiled Christmas machine. (Kind of like Transformers only with better reviews) Of course, each season it takes a different amount of time to achieve that solidarity. I can already see it happening this year, & it's only day 3!! It's exciting to feel the energy of the girls around me as we're all learning to work together, creating our own inimitable dynamic. Outside of the rehearsal hall we're still the strong, beautiful individuals we got off the plane as, but once we strap on those LaDucas we're becoming a part of something much bigger, wrapped in tradition, legacy & glitter. How's that for Christmas magic?


...Oil Can...

"be gentle with those magical feet of yours...may ur wings flap briskly to lift the weight off your tired sore foot as u dance your graceful spunky kind loving free-people wearing + free-spirited ASS off!"
A new, yet very dear friend said that to me in an email yesterday. I love it so much. I'm saving that email forever. I must be doing something right to have friends like her in my life.
I'm incredibly sore, & it's only day two. My mind & my body are both simply exhausted right now. Two more days. 12 hours of rehearsal until our first day off of the season. Trying not to think too much about it. Keltie & I were talking earlier about choosing to enjoy our time in rehearsal, instead of staring at the clock, waiting for 5:00. (Like Keltie said, "Where would we be if we weren't in rehearsal? Sitting @ home on Facebook?") She's right. It's easy to start wishing for time to pass more quickly when our feet start to ache & we've done the same 32 counts of choreography 4 times in a row, but really how much time do we have? & why the hell are we wishing we were sitting on the couch instead of doing the one thing we love to do more than anything? Crazy. Personally I have a terrible habit of being so consumed with the future that I'm not able to fully appreciate the things happening around me. I'm learning it's pretty important to live in the moment, (even the '8 of the "5,6,7,8" 4 hours deep into a rehearsal, when your sure your leg is going to fall off if you have to kick it one more time...) You may not be able to find any good in it just then, but those are the memories we're going to love forever.
Alright, I have 7 hours to sleep & rejuvenate before I get to do it all over again tomorrow!


I celebrate Christmas 28.8% of the year.

So. For the next 104 days I will be living in 33 different hotels, on a Greyhound bus, in 33 different cities, wishing a Merry Little Christmas to tens of thousands while trying to find time to do my own Christmas shopping, & my laundry. Eating at truck stops, rev-beving, forgetting my room number, taping my feet, toeing the dot/dash on 11, changing from a toy solider into a sassy high kicking Rockette in 45 seconds, ice bathing, french twisting, losing my hotel key, losing my focus on the follow-up, remembering my cheeks for ragdolls, meeting, greeting, smiling, singing, trying to find 5 minutes to relax with a cup of tea & maybe call my mom. And it's all just another day at the office.
So much happens on a daily basis that I want to share with so many people. This seemed like the best way to do so, without having to email, text & facebook the same stories every day. If you want to take a peek inside what goes on in & directly outside my head on a daily basis, this is the place to be. I promise it's never boring.
Today was our first day back, well our REAL first day. Yesterday was orientation, eight hours of sitting & listening. Not exactly one of my strengths. Anyways, today. Rehearsal started at 10:00am sharp as it always does, & by 10:30am we had all done the NYAC (New York @ Christmas) kickline 5 or 6 times. Welcome back. That was the pace we continued at for the next 5.5 hours of the rehearsal day. Our three new girls are kicking ass. (I STILL remember what it's like being new & having all of that information thrown at me so quickly...they're doing WAY better than I did) In fact, A-Team 2.0 looks like a killer line from day 1. In fact we did so well that Julie (our director) turned us over to Mr. Gordon Twist (our musical director) for the last hour twenty of rehearsal. Nobody...and I mean NOBODY rehearses vocals like Gordy, he's the most animated person I have ever met. If there are words to describe him, they're far beyond my modest vocabulary. First day of rehearsal also means first day of ice bathing. 45 degrees for 10-15 minutes waist deep, screaming & laughing in "this is the best thing for my aching legs right now" agony. We all do it...(well 99% of us do & I guarantee we feel better tomorrow morning than that 1%) & we bond. Over blisters, iPhone apps, LuLuLemon & aching brains & feet. This is my life...& I love it.