Tag Archives: Friendship

When life gives you lemons…

…you sit and pout for about three months before you even start considering the thought of making lemonade. Not to worry, around month four you’ll eventually start to come around…because, get serious…even in November, lemonade is tasty and still easy as hell to make!

Without getting into it, I may have indicated that life post-graduation has been anything but *glittery fun*. The transition from a structured life filled with technique class, an abundance of rehearsals, regular performance opportunities, and even discussions of dance (that don’t always feel like gifts at the time), to a life filled with self-doubt, Scandal, and free time…is hard. Life is hard.

Uhmmm…. (crickets) (…more crickets…)

I’m sitting at month four, and only because I’ve sufficiently met my pouting quota for the year can I reassure you that LIFE IS GOOD — and I mean that genuinely, not in like the…I tell my friends who I haven’t seen in six months that life is great when really I sit in dark corners at night and binge on Nutella because THAT makes things feel better...false version of happiness.

Four months in, and I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that if I want a structured life filled with the things that I love to do, then I need to put my big girl pants on and make it happen — and also recognize that the uncomfortable chapter of transition was, and continues to be a necessary part of the overall journey…and I might as well appreciate it for what it is.

Note: temporary

Had I come back to teach dance, start rehearsals, blah blah blah…without having time to think and reflect on my last crazy graduation-filled semester…I probably wouldn’t have realized the things I truly value in those situations

I like to teach dance, but even more than that, I LOVE to dance myself. I’ve learned that I need to take a challenging technique class at least once a week. I want to sweat, not just organ-slosh…and I want to be intellectually challenged while doing it. When this need is met, I’m instantly recharged and ready to give my students a similarly rewarding class…a class they deserve from their higher education.

I like to perform, but even more than that, I LOVE to rehearse. I love rehearsals…I love spending time with people who inspire me, learning about their process as they create work that matters to them. I value spending time with like-minded artists who appreciate the struggle that comes with the art-making task, but do it anyways…and they do it well. When I pursue my own choreographic endeavors, it’s those experiences that validate my challenges, and help me to keep my chin up.

I like to read about dance, but even more than that, I LOVE to write about dance. When I debated back and forth about ending This is Major, I finally came to terms with the fact that I no longer have any papers due for a grade, and therefore, if not for this blog, I have no real reason to engage in dance writing at all. And if I don’t continue writing about dance, how am I ever going to become the FIFTH American woman….of (Rochester) New York?

20131116_102354-1

And finally, I love to be mentored, but even more than that, I LOVE those people who mentor me, period. Dumbledore will always have a spot way higher up on the food chain than me…those are just the facts…but after allowing me to flail around and have my tempter tantrum, where I litrally cried about the opportunities she helped me to get, she was still willing to sit in a room with me after and laugh about how awesome/ridiculous/heart-breaking the lyrical face is. (Note: The lyrical face is real.) I’m now able to see all that she (and so many others!!!) have given me, and if wasn’t for that free time in between episodes of Scandal, I may never have figured that out. While I’ll always need Dumbledore to guide me down seemingly random hallways that may or may not have a million dollars waiting at the end (and then she lets me pretend to think it was my idea!) from time to time, mentors are more than just people who give you things…(did you write that down?) I’m now able to see that aside from sitting higher on the food chain, these people also possess qualities that I really admire and aspire to possess myself. These people are the family I’ve chosen for myself — these are the family members who get it, and don’t make you feel like an alien for wanting it — and if I can’t sit in a room without asking them for something, then I don’t deserve them at all.

Even Olivia lyrical faces...

Even Olivia lyrical faces…

I really love this community of dance, even though at times, it feels like the most unstable, selfish community ever. My job as a contributing member however, is to simply just keep contributing. If this is what I love to do, then that’s reason enough to make myself a priority and figure out ways to keep myself involved.

Thinking that the next great opportunity was going to land in my lap right after graduation didn’t necessarily get me all that far…maybe because I’ve been laying in my bed all semester, and it’s hard to tell where my lap actually starts when I’m always horizontal under at least five blankets…or maybe it’s because I’ve been laying in my bed all semester, and it’s hard to tell where my interest/talent/confidence ended up when I’m always horizontal under at least five blankets…it’s hard to say…

Do yourself a favor, Dyva.

  1. Get out of bed.
  2. Apologize for the selfish tantrums — not for feeling uncomfortable. Everyone (but you) knew this was coming…you just didn’t need to act like a six-year old….
  3. Stop pointing fingers. Nobody did this to you.
  4. Figure it out. Write it down, talk it out…whatever you need to do to figure things out. What do you want from all of this? Why did you spend the last few years in a dance studio for all hours of the day? Make the accumulated student-loan debt worth it.
  5. Enjoy your lemonade with a side of glitter.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

pity-party post alert

As the semester quickly takes it’s final turn (my last semester ever!!!), I’m finding that all of this forward momentum that’s felt so great for so many weeks has lately started to feel like it’s all working in retrograde…and not in like the fun way…

Let me explain.

1. My body. I went from eating really healthily and working out regularly to practicing the total opposite habits. I want/need anything with a high-calorie count in my mouth (ALL THE TIME), and the only walking I want to do is to and or from the refrigerator. I mention this first because you know how important it is to me to take good care of my body and mental health—like a healthy person would and should, and I’ve been doing everything but these past few weeks.

p.s. I’m 100% certain that #1 has, in a sense, caused the rest of this downward Laban spiral to feel so overwhelming…

2. My research. I was feeling great about my work and creative explorations at the beginning of the semester, and then all of a sudden, I just reached a plateau. I’m currently in the process of building three different pieces and you know, writing my thesis…and well…I have…nothing…I feel like I’m just sort of chasing my tail round and round, pretending that each rotation is bringing something different to the situation. It’s not.

3. My relationships. I mentioned in my last post how necessary it is to have normal people in your life…and I still stand by that, but there’s something to be said for the support you get from the people who share your immediate community. But what happens when that environment gets poisoned with unnecessary competition, and you can’t actually trust that those relationships are healthy anymore? All I can hope for is that whatever toxic energy has contaminated the air will just as quickly skedaddle. I can’t handle mean people anymore. I just won’t.

Stravinsky and Nijinsky

Stravinsky and Nijinsky…friends till the end

So this is sort of a pity-party post, but also a real-talk post, as life has sort of handed me lemons as of late. I have a few choices here, folks. I can take the lemons and my new love-handles and make the best friggin lemonade you’ve ever tasted in your life…OR I can take these lemons and make lemon bars that will undoubtedly make my new love handles grow and grow and grow…gross.

We’re talking money versus muffin-top. Easy choice, right?

It’s times like these that remind me how important it is to take some downtime, and to be confident in my imperfections. I’m the only me in the world, and I might as well enjoy it.

So what’s my plan?

Since it’s still sort of the first week of April, I’m going to set a few public goals, and I suggest that you do the same based on whatever it is you’re needing from life at this moment.

  1. I want to eat food that not only satisfies me, but also makes me feel good.
  2. I want to workout at least three times a week…even if it means Dyva-stomping on the tready for just 20 minutes at 3.5mph. Just something!
  3. I’m going to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing something fancy for myself…that doesn’t include mindlessly laying in bed. I want to do something that makes me feel good for purely selfish reasons.
  4. And finally, 20 minutes a day writing for my thesis, because you know…it’s gotta get done at some point within the next six weeks…no big deal.

When I asked my baby girl, Stravinsky if this post was too much of a pity-party, she said…

Bitch please, everyone needs a pity-party every once in a while.

So enjoy the party…and the lemonade that’s on its way!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

life awakeners

There are three types of relationships in this world – all of them are wonderful (at times), and work to fulfill a specific role in your quest for balance.

1. Relationships with people who share common goals.

Your school friends. The people you go to class with every single day. The people who know when you’re having a good day or not, based solely on what your makeup looks like. The people applying for the same 9897 jobs as you.

Photo: Rebecca Puretz

Photo: Rebecca Puretz

2. Relationships with people who work within the same field, but don’t share (immediate) common goals.

The Dumbledores, Mr. Oklahomas, Ms. Weight Sensings, recent grads, and younger comrades in your life. It’s all the same talk, just at different points along the continuum of (professional) life beyond higher education. There’s very little competition in these relationships because a hierarchy definitely exists (…as in, you’re eventually either receiving advice/letter of recommendation or providing one…) These are also the people who often have to switch hats to accommodate – like professor/turned advisor/turned friend/turned choreographer all within an hour. These are the people I feel the most supported by – they totally understand what’s going on at any given point, and then know just the right thing to say to get me off the couch and into motion. I basically want to be these people when I grow up. Thank you!!!

3. Relationships with people who have absolutely nothing to do with your chosen field.

I know this might sound a bit crazy, so try to bear with me. There are these…people out there who don’t actually wear spandx’y clothing on a regular basis, or who don’t give a flying-F about the concert versus commercial dance Venn diagram. I know…weird…

These are the also people who are like, “Oh, you won that super competitive dance award? Congrats…go take a shower, you smell like an animal.”

Buzz kill. But also…life awakener! (…yes, that’s now a thing…)

These are the people who remind us that there’s an entire world outside of the dance studio, and that it’s okay NOT to be in the dance studio from time to time. When we psycho-Dyvas get all crazy in our heads about these daunting deadlines and artistic goals, we need these people to pull us out and give us a reason to smile (beyond knowing Martha Graham Dance Company will be at Jacob’s Pillow this summer – or Jacob’s Ladder as my family insists on calling it…)

My man friend, the Ethnic Prince (who has been waiting for an honorable mention since I started writing this blog…here it is, sugar buns!) immediately caught my smeye (smize/smeyze…get it?) when the first he thing asked upon hearing that I was a dancer was, “Oh so like, you must study dance theory, and shit?”

YES!!!! And shit!!! No, I am not a stripper! No, I am not on Dancing With the Stars! Yes, I’m totally really smart! DING DING DING!!!

What the Ethnic Prince has taught me is that these “other people” we have in our lives don’t necessarily have to understand what we do in the studio, they just have to appreciate it and value our commitment to it.

America's couple.

America’s couple.

Dear General Society: If you are going to pretend that what I do is a make-believe profession, then you and I are not going to be friends. If you are going to admit that maybe you’re a bit jealous that I can not only tell you about the mechanics of the body (and how it moves through space), but then make beautiful things with those bodies in space, and then articulate in words what I saw those beautiful bodies doing in space…then I’ll definitely consider making friendship bracelets for the two of us. Sincerely yours, KapDaddy

We all need balance, people. We build community that not only shares common interests and values, but mutual support. There are times when it’s necessarily to feel a little competitive with your peers (not like, break their kneecaps competitive, but enough to light a little fire under your butt), times you need to bounce ideas off of someone who’s already been in your shoes, and then there are moments when you need to sit with your other friends and laugh about that one time you got in serious trouble for drinking (…spilling…) pickle juice in the pool when you were eight.

Ding-a-ling-a-ling!!!

Who’s there???

Your LIFE AWAKENER!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 things you should be doing right now…

…instead of studying for finals

  1. Bake. Duh.
  2. Figure out how many layers you can actually wear at one time. It’s cold outside…what?
  3. Start rehearsing a project for next semester.
  4. Brush your cat…and trim her nails…and then pretend to brush her teeth.
  5. Blog… (oh heyyyy)
  6. Stalk Pinterest to figure out what holiday gifts you’re making this year…because you’re a *BAD* (broke-ass dyva)
  7. Lay in your bed and stare at the ceiling…because…well…I’m exhausted, okay?!?
  8. Workout and then paint your nails. (you can’t do ANYTHING while your nails are drying)
  9. Make home videos with your Flipcam. (dance documentation, duh)
  10. And as a last resort…you could always shower   (I know…that was a silly suggestion)

 **Bonus 11.: Fly to Atlanta to visit your bestie whom you haven’t seen in about a year…

just prioritizing...in Atlanta...

just prioritizing…in Atlanta…

Hope this helps! Happy Finals!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

sharing is caring

So this past weekend (Oct. 18-20) was the moment of truth, time for my thesis Mapping to hit the big stage. We’ve been rehearsing since mid-August, and I’ve probably seen the piece at various stages at least 70 times; it’s safe to say at this point, there are very few performative surprises. Having worked together so closely for so many weeks, I could argue that things between the eight dancers have become sort of predictable (predictable = consistent)…consistent that is, until a new set of eyes exists in the same room as our dance…

…then all is fair in thesis and war…

As the choreographer, I tense up and sort of break out in hives…ok not sort of, I get a rash sometimes. I become so protective of our work together, that I almost can’t watch if other people are in the same room also paying attention. It’s like I’m being forced to give something special of mine away that I’m not yet ready to part with. Having that new set of eyes makes my perception of the dance completely shift. What was once predictable and consistent is now something I’ve never seen before in my life. Woof Daddy.

Mapping
photo: Rebecca Puretz

It’s so weird, but it happens ALL THE TIME, even with composition assignments for class. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen my own work, the minute there’s an audience, my body literally trembles…

Let’s not even get started on what my nervous energy does to the dancers when they can see me foaming from the mouth with anxiety.

I do think there’s something to be said for having people watch your piece while it’s in the developmental stages; I value feedback thats honest and respectful of the work in progress—and really, the only people I’m comfortable letting in are those whom I know give (my version) of constructive feedback. Let’s just say I work well under a compliment-sandwich situation. The minute the feedback portion is removed however, and people become just spectators viewing my work, I automatically go on the defense…maybe because I’m no longer in a position to defend my choices, as the piece in fruition is finally no longer mine.

Another thing I’ve grappled with throughout this process was not being able to share the narrative that the dancers and I developed. Trying to be a POMO choreographer of the concert world of dance, I left it all up for interpretation…but not really…I mean, absolutely have an opinion, but it’s probably wrong…just kidding…not really…sort of

pure dyvalicious glitter
photo: Emma Scholl

I know what you’re thinking, why do I feel the need to defend myself? Well, for this piece in particular, so much of ME is in it…how could I NOT go on the defense?? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, yes (I mean it this time!), but to sit anonymously within a crowd of people who are busy formulating opinions about the work you’ve devoted hours of your life to without being able to claim any part of it…it’s sort of isolating and an extremely frustrating challenge (especially for me, an attention whore/control-freak).

Those are MY ideas on stage that YOU are watching–and you have NO idea that while you’re whispering to the person on your right, I’m the person sitting to your left…the same person responsible for the tutu-spectacle that’s been assaulting your face for the past 18 minutes.

Not to the same extent, but I sort of feel the same way when I watch people I care about performing. I’m not confrontational (AT ALL), but I become a pitbull, open-mouth growling at people who make side-comments under their breath while people I love dyva-stomp on stage.

Am I alone? What’s the “normal” way to negotiate that point when the dance is no longer yours? Being a firm believer that the process is never-ending, and knowing very well that ready or not, at some point there will be an audience, what are some tactics for that painfully vulnerable stage when it’s finally time to share your work?

you can look but you cant touch

I mean, remember, sharing is caring!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Owning my inner RAB

So as the semester quickly winds down, I’m just as quickly losing my mind. While I’d love to say that I’ve conquered the aesthetic of cool at this point in my life, I’m pretty certain that in this past week (regardless of what my posts may have been indicating), I’ve been more of an RAB than anything else; this post is me owning it. I’ve definitely taken the time (all of last weekend) to veg out on the couch with Tyra, but sometimes life gets the best of you, and simple reminders are all you need to bring yourself back to the good side.

So in the spirit of finals season, I offer to you some of the more sane ghosts of This is Major’s past…consider these your simple reminders.

How to be a Dyva

Conquering Deadlines 

Dance Family Love

Why you should make friendship bracelets

And how to OWN whatever it is you’re doing

Actress Tyra Banks at the 2000 Cannes Film Fes...

Wink.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

friendship circle

Professional networking doesn’t always have to be amongst strangers; some of the most beneficial and lasting networking opportunities come within the circle of friends that you already have. So take a look around and appreciate your nearest and dearest for all of the fabulous and potential opportunities they have to offer.

Abbey Lee Moore for example, an aspiring photographer happens to be my wife. I met her in my first modern technique class (from Sher-Bear), my junior year at MSU. At the time, I just stalked her facebook pics on the reg to gawk at how awesome her crazy-artsy life appeared to be, I knew instantly that we needed to be friends. As she explains here on her blog, I simply just asked to be best friends one day, and she agreed. (mutual-crush-alert!!!) The rest is pretty much history.

I was recently looking to get some new headshots for my fast approaching future, and rather than looking far and wide for a photographer that I may or may not be happy with, or even comfortable posing for, I turned to someone whom I already knew and trusted.  I decided that Spring Break (St. Patty’s weekend) would be a perfect time to meet up with my long-distant friend for both a catch-up session and photo shoot; she loves to take pictures, I love to pose for them…and we both love to talk.

Abbey recently moved to Milwaukee from East Lansing, and has started her own freelance photography business that is rapidly growing with each passing day.  I’m not joking when I say that there is something incredibly magical about this girl; her positive energy and charismatic nature is not only contagious, but has karma wrapped around her pretty little fingers. I’m positive that she will have a successful and beautiful life, and am so honored to have her in mine.

Here’s a sneak peak look at our pensive-shoot together!

not sure I was actually laughing...production magic...

glitter alert!!!

Don’t forget to embrace, appreciate and utilize everything your circle has to offer. Even more important to keep in mind, Dyva’s always share; maintain a humble willingness to offer your flair whenever those opportunities present themselves—community glitterfests are way better than solo-fests!!!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,