Tag Archives: University Dance

master of dance

Well, friends…as of a week ago, I’m officially a Master of Dance.

Master KapDaddy, that is.

So much has happened since I moved to Brockport three years ago…

  • I learned how to have an opinion
  • I learned about dance analysis
  • I found my faith
  • I lost two of my grandparents
  • I learned how to not be a good long-distance friend
  • …by learning how to become a good long-distance friend
  • I adopted a kitten
  • I danced for two professional companies
  • I was awarded distinguished honors through the University
  • I turned 25
  • I finally started to identify as an adult
  • I danced and presented work at the American College Dance Festival
  • I also danced and presented work at the inaugural Rochester Fringe Festival
  • I learned how to boil noodles
  • For that matter…I learned how to actually cook real food…
  • I stopped calling Michigan home
  • I learned how to stand up for myself
  • I’ve maintained a (just about) three-year-long-distance relationship
  • I learned how to accept small victories
  • I guess that means I also learned how to fail
  • I learned how to forgive
  • I performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
  • I witnessed my favorite undergraduate professor retire
  • I discovered how delicious vegetables can be if you simply roast them in the oven

I started this blog

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at a crossroads, it appears

I know that deep down, I’m still me (KapDaddy from the block), but although I may have the same exterior, things on the inside have definitely changed.

I’ve realized that up until now, most of my life has been spent striving for something –usually something someone else has recommended. I always considered myself to be a proactive type, but really, I was the most reactive person ever to walk the face of the Earth. Mr. Oklahoma often says in his technique class, “…just try it on…” I guess you could say I’ve tried quite a bit on since moving to New York, and three years later, I’m just flat-out tired.

I’m sitting here in Becket, MA writing this post, trying to decide if I ever want to experience FOMO ever again in my life. (I just felt it about five minutes ago when I noticed a close friend got a gig that I wasn’t invited to participate in…) Do I even get a choice? I feel like the only way to avoid FOMO is to live life with clear intentions; well my intentions happen to be a little blurry at this point, probably because my perspective is a little blurry. I’m pretty sure the logic of these sentences may even be a little blurry.

The good thing about spending 25 years unsuccessfully trying different personas on is that I’ve been able to distinguish quite clearly what fits well enough and what just isn’t me. I was always taught that you teach people how to treat you…I guess I never considered that you learn to care for yourself based on the way those same people actually end up treating you…or at least I did. I’ve learned, or rather, I’m learning to accept that just by being, I am enough. I never have to try anything else on if I don’t want to –I don’t have to strive anymore.

I know that graduating can oftentimes feel like such an overwhelming landmark for change–hence going to grad school straight out of undergrad in hopes that I wouldn’t actually have to grow up. Puh! I guess now I view graduating as beginning rather than end, maybe even a marker of all that I want to pursue for myself. In some ways I feel as though I’ve just recently started to figure out what it is I actually want…who I want to be…where I want to be…

This Is Major has allowed me to share in the ups and downs of life as a dance student in higher education. While I’m still a dancer, and I’m still engaged in higher education, my goals for this blog will inevitably reflect my shifting perspective.

Oh…public service announcement, I’m staying in Rochester to teach next year!

I want to make a difference. I already told you guys, I know. But I like…really want to do things with my life that matter. As I spend the next three months in the Berkshires writing press releases and hosting journalists as they view incredible dance performances on two of the most historic stages in the country (put the puzzle pieces together, people), I want to figure out how exactly I’m going to change the world. I don’t want to simply make a difference – I want to make a substantial difference. I think I want to intentionally empower people through dance.

So vague, I know.

I share this with you, because this is a community of support…is it not? I’m planting the seed, and you’re all here to witness the growth. Here’s to new beginnings. I have no idea (today) what’s going to come, but I’m optimistic that it’s gonna be good!

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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!!!

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the inner circle of concert dance

So open disclosure, I’m totally going through my quarter-life crisis right now…as in, one of my friends cut out a magazine article the other day about how to survive a quarter life crisis…before I ever actually came out and said anything about going through my quarter life crisis. This is my life, friends…I’m turning 25 in a few days…it’s officially the beginning of the end…

So with all of that being said…

The more people I meet and the more work I do within the world of concert dance, the more I realize how small that world actually is. In some ways, it’s extremely reassuring to know that the inner circle is actually somewhat attainable, and that it’s all essentially just one incestuous pool of love and talent…that is, once you make it into the inner circle.

I feel like the few opportunities I’ve had in the past few months have demonstrated the potential for all that this incredible world has to offer, and as I mentioned a few weeks ago…I now know that I really do WANT IT ALL! The thing is, I sort of feel like I’m standing on the peripheral (the wings, if you will…), impatiently witnessing all of the fun, not quite included yet…but closer than some…and hissing at anybody that threatens my potential spot a few years down the road.

Sometimes I wonder (okay, lately I’ve been consumed with wondering…) if once I’ve graduated there will actually be room for me as a contributing member of the love/talent pool of incest? What opportunities are going to be around when I’m no longer engaging in residencies and faculty repertory classes within the Brockport bubble, but rather, I’m just one of the other 200 white, female dancers showing up to an audition?

I haven’t even graduated yet, and I already have some serious professional-dance FOMO.

mind if I join you po-mo'rinas?

Mind if I join you po-mo’rinas? (AKA…Can I play???)

Here’s the thing, it wasn’t even two weeks ago that as I sat in Dumbledore’s office discussing my future she said, “Nicole, the world is yours. How exciting!” …Is it though?

I have been incredibly blessed while at Brockport and have had numerous opportunities to perform and embrace the world of concert dance for all that it is, and I truly have nothing to complain about. Sometimes though, I can’t help but wonder if there really is a seat for me at the round table of real-life dance. The question as of late has become, why do I feel so incredibly threatened by just about everyone? How competitive is it really going to be to find work once I’m up against all the other “Nicoles’ from all over the country?—and what about the up and comings? Where will we all fit???

I will say that I do have a few enlightened moments from time to time as I work through this awful and uncomfortable QLC, when I not only sort of see things clearly, but I think I can see the glitter in them as well. Even as I type this, I have to remind myself that success is all relative to how you choose to define it, and that there will be room for me at that round table…when the timing is right. My job now (…as a student) and in the future (…life post graduation) is to stay true to myself while I continue to work hard.

The good news is, there is only one me in this world, and as long as I “do me” well, nobody else can compare.

Good things happen to good people, and if I’m spending my days wishing for every other dancer in the world to slip on ice…then I’ve pretty much wished some inevitable trouble upon myself. Competition does not have to exist if I choose to engage my mental energy in other, more constructive ways…like fostering healthy and supportive relationships with those dancers (not slipping on ice) as we engage and establish our own inner-circle of sorts. These people who I worry about taking my spot one day may actually, and probably eventually, create new spots for me to fill…again, when the timing is right. The world of dance is small, yes…but it’s only exclusive if you choose to perceive it as such.

The fear of missing out will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if and only if that’s what I choose.

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you want me to eat my food off of a plate???

How many times have you heard in your life, “integrate X-activity into your practice”…

Mmmmmm by practice…do you mean…show up two minutes before class starts with just enough time to take my shoes off…and then run out of the room right after class finishes to not think about any of it again until…the next class two days later?—oh, while also making sure to eat an abundance of Fritos and chocolate truffles while running to and from the studio?

Yes? No?…wait, really…No?

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until VERY recently that I started to figure what all this “practice” hoopla is about…and through pragmatic research, I’ve decided that it’s not in fact a hypothetical thing that artsy-artists just say as one more way of isolating you from feeling legitimate. In fact, how many times have those artsy-artists made you feel like the biggest fraud ever for not actually understanding what it means to feel connected into the earth?

Ummm the floor is in the way, guys. I don’t care how hard you practice, the floor is definitely in the way…

So I say…screw the artsy-artists, I’m here to tell you from one Dyva to another, that you too can have a real-life, legitimate practice. You (yes, you!) can regularly engage in a series of activities that not only make you feel confident to throw glitter all over your kinesphere, but you can engage in activities that actually prepare you to go ham with your glitter without ever having to risk pulling a hammy (did you actually follow that logic?). Sounds like a win-win, yes? Yes.

As my performance opportunities have increased in the past few months, I’ve really started to identify what I need from my body to feel available and prepared for a successful performance. I can eventually find a comfortable groove to live in once I’ve hit the stage, as long as I know that I’ve primed both my mind and my body–especially when I’m nervous (as I seem to turn into a clammy mess of emotions).

Performing with Red Dirt Dance

Performing with Red Dirt Dance

For me, my practice starts first thing in the morning; I know that if I don’t sit down at the kitchen table and eat my breakfast off of a plate, that the rest of my day is a lost cause. If I can’t slow down long enough to feed myself like a human being, then all sense of balance follows suit, and I can pretty much kiss a grounded performance goodbye.

Other things I need?

  • Healthy food that doesn’t make me feel bloated (I’m looking at you, dairy!)
  • A good plank and a downward dog
  • Some leg-swings
  • Several plies
  • Lots of standing roll-downs (…the official name, I’m sure)

…and finally…

**I MUST balance on releve on either foot while singing, “Whistle” by Flo-Rida. I do not step on stage without this final exercise being accomplished successfully. I have never been so serious in my life. (…please excuse the crude lyrics and images…I can’t really explain the appeal…it just is what it is…)

So that’s my list for performance needs, but even for class I require a little maintenance. Attending class regularly is a practice in itself, but my curiosities should always be alive to be truly invested and engaged in the material (even when I’m not in the studio under the guidance of a teacher and their syllabus).

Technique class is my version of a scientist’s lab, blow shit up and don’t worry about being on good behavior until the science fair eventually rolls around.

I think one of the most important parts of engaging in a practice is to first allow yourself to be humble. Practice makes perfect is a grossly summarized version of my mantra…or at least what I want it to be:

Practice makes failure. Failure makes progress. Progress is perfect.

Until the next science fair rolls around (or lets say, my next performance in April), I’ve got to stay committed to taking unapologetic risks in class. Not succeeding one day doesn’t mean I fail forever, it just means that I have a new goal to work towards. That’s exciting.

What do I need to feel successful in technique class?

  • I can’t be too hungry or too full.
  • KapDaddy must visit the potty. I know I’ll have to pee, I always do.
  • I’ve got to turn off all technology at least 20 minutes before class so that I can focus my energy away from the distraction of social media and back in towards my body.

Seriously though, who can concentrate on undercurves with a raging case of FOMO? Not this Dyva.

I hate to say it, but *knowing that I have a practice and then *owning that I have a practice sort of makes me feel like an artsy-artist. But don’t worry, not the annoying kind…the floor is definitely still an issue…

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why i love to dance…again…

I feel like you should first know that about six months (or so) ago, I had a little chat with Dumbledore about my decision to eventually (sooner than later, actually) transition away from dancing into purely dance scholarship. I can remember thinking that dancing was no longer satisfying, but rather an added source of anxiety; I also knew that I love(d) to write, so maybe I was just meant to be the next incredible dance historian…maybe I still will be…but because of this show however, I now love to dance again.

Let's dance...forever!

Let’s dance…forever!

I feel like (still) not having experienced life outside of an academic setting, I was tired of feeling like I needed to perform for a grade, and that my curiosities had become complacent because I was purely dancing to fulfill a list of expectations as listed out on some class syllabus.

And then Mr. Oklahoma, the Artistic Director of Red Dirt Dance asked me (without actually asking me) to dance in his show, and then surprisingly, things started to quickly turn themselves around. I remember feeling so nervous at our first rehearsal back in November …even though I had spent (and continue to spend) a fair amount of my day, every day with this man. It was essentially my first time out as a not-student working as a professional alongside a professional (a professional who has David Dorfman on speed dial) for a professional gig…

As we continued to rehearse two pieces together, a trio and a solo, I found myself rediscovering why I ever loved to dance way back when I was five.

  1. I sort of get to do the “lyrical-face”…yes, you know exactly what I’m talking about—and we all know po-mo dance rarely leaves room for “facials”.
  2. I was involved in a process that demanded my full attention and creativity on the spot. I was finally being treated like a professional…because, well let’s face it…I’ll be 25 in two weeks, and I sort of am a professional.

So once I adjusted to this new role, I decided to wear my hat as a working dancer with pride and enthusiasm. This process has been challenging, but so so fulfilling.

And guess what Dyvas and Dyva’men? I’ve redecided that I want to dance for the rest of my life!

P.S. Come see this show this weekend, it’s incredible!
P.P.S. The flashmobs were also incredible…and incredibly rewarding! A grand total of five…count them, FIVE not-mobs took over campus yesterday, and it was glitterific to the max!

 

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feeding your (other) interests

While it’s fun to say I’m a dancer, chances are you’re also something else all at the same time.

“I’m a dancer and a secretary.”
“I’m a dancer and a teacher at a studio.”
“I’m a dancer and a waitress.”
“I’m a dancer and a DYVA”…obviously

You get the point.

I think it’s important to recognize that while there are still a few jobs out there that offer full-time work for dancers (…in Minnesota…), most of us are going to have to find supplemental work to support our passion for the arts. The question then becomes, what is my something else?

If I may, I suggest filling your time with work that feeds your interests while both fulfilling and challenging you as a unique individual. If working at a coffee shop is where you want to be, that’s great…you make that coffee!!! For me however, I’m going to need to find work that makes me feel just as valued and excited as when I finish rehearsal…

So how do you do this? Well…do yourself a favor, and when you’re already busy making your new website, continue to soul search and dig just a little bit deeper. As you discover how/why you make it rain in the dance studio, think of other areas that make you excited enough to want to throw a little glitter in the air.

I’ve talked about the show I produced way back in the day, and well, I love philanthropy and contributing to my community! Maybe I pursue part-time work at a non-profit organization, maybe I find a way to make a career out of producing my own shows? The key is patience; be patient with yourself and with your journey. We know that you (I) love to dance, but somebody has to pay the bills…consistently each month. I can pretend that I’ll be okay not making a regular paycheck, or I can be proactive NOW while it’s still January to pursue opportunities for when I graduate. I may end up working in an office for a bit, but that’s okay because it’s not forever. As long as the work I’m doing feeds my soul, my soul is happy.

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make it rain…online

In this day and age (Hey 2013!!!), is it enough to just dance anymore?  Maybe. But not for me…

Who thought (when they were six years old) that by the time the 2000’s rolled around, we’d by flying? Well, we’re not exactly flying, but thanks to the not-so recent advances in technology, we’re now able to make an appearance overseas without ever having to leave the comforts of our living rooms….jammies…or even kittens…

How old do I sound right now? I swear I’m still in my 20’s…

As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to finding work, self-promotion is JUST as important as quality studio-time. With the internet and social media making the once expansive world teeny-tiny, you can never really know who’s scouting you out (RIGHT NOW IN THIS VERY MOMENT) from the opposite side of the globe; so why would you not put yourself out there?

don't leave us!!!

don’t leave us!!!

There are so many free websites waiting for you to make one of their nine-million premade templates your new online-home; whether it be blog, personal website, or even video channel, there aren’t enough reasons to keep you from showing your face online. Consider this your personal invitation; please join me with an online presence that extends a smidge past Facebook and Twitter!

You can RSVP by checking out one of the following links:

www.weebly.com

www.wix.com

www.wordpress.com

www.youtube.com

www.vimeo.com

I’m not asking you to indulge us in all of your most personal information; I don’t actually want to steal your identity…

I do however want to know what makes you unique in a world of dance where everyone can essentially start to look the same. Even if you’re just starting out, creating a website sort of forces you to identify your niche. What about you is marketable? What are your strengths/weaknesses? When you’re forced to choose the content that essentially represents your “brand”, you quickly start to realize why you’re special, and why your skills are the bomb.com. Exuding confidence is always sexy…right?

Get sexy…Get online…Get a job!!!

Things to consider as you’re creating your page:

Language: Who’s your target audience? The content you choose should represent the people you’re speaking to—keep them in the loop with relevant lingo and an appropriate tone.
Just be honest: People can see right through disingenuous crapola within seconds of hitting “publish”. Don’t alienate your followers by trying to be anything you’re not.
Who are you?: If not your resume, find a way to share a brief bio with your community. Why should people care about you and what you do? This is your page to self-indulge, so…unapologetically Dyva-stomp all over the place.
-Reviews: Now it’s time to share what other people think of your work. It’s like once the hot girl gives the geek a chance, all the bitches want a piece. Not that you’re a geek…
-Multimedia: Now that you’ve shared in words why/how you make it rain glitter, and you’ve shared other people’s descriptions of your incredible rain-making skills…it’s now time to prove it. Post excerpts of work you’ve either created or have been in that demonstrate you’re the shiz.
Apologize: Wait…don’t do that. Never apologize. Be intentional. Be original.

Share: Let us know when your new sites are up and running!!!

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be the OG…don’t steal from the OG

So rumor on the street is that everything’s already been done before…well that really blows, now doesn’t it? What’s a DYVA to do when the glitter she’s all ready to throw has supposedly already landed…years ago…maybe even centuries ago?

(S)HE MUST FIND A WAY TO REINVENT THE WHEEL, duh. You’re right, it’s not broken, but it’s now his/her responsibility to make this (new, cooler, hotter) version of the (dance-)wheel unique and distinctly NOT the original…unless it’s an updated edition/restaging/ummmm…you get the point.

The line between plagiarism and originality (given the circumstance, of course) can be tricky, but it definitely doesn’t have to fall within that gray area of questionable intentions if you’ve not only done your research, but are also smart about your actions moving forward.

Steal my glitter...I will behead you. Just kidding...sort of...

Steal my glitter…I will behead you. Just kidding…sort of…

Inspiration for a new project often comes from a variety of sources and people, it’s then your job as an artist to take said inspiration and use it as a springboard from which new ideas are developed; as in…move far far away from the original version by layering many your own ideas over it. The goal here is to make sure that even the most seasoned and educated eye will have to take (at least) a second glance to realize the similarities.

Make sure to cross check that any glaring light of familiarity to the OG choreographer/writer/designer is neatly suffocated underneath your layers upon layers of Dyva-glitter. Rest assured that somebody will notice, if not the artist themself…and let’s get serious, nobody wants to be known as a cheater-wiener.  Again, take this advice if and only if you’re claiming to be original, if your intent is to pay homage to a choreographer/writer, make it known.

Loud and proud, baby.

As we approach a new semester, lots of new projects will be conceived and it’s so easy to borrow ideas (sometimes unintentionally) from the people you work with on a daily basis. Just make sure to take a step back every so often throughout process to ensure that what you’re “creating” is actually YOUR creation. There’s nothing worse than finishing a project that you’re so proud of and then having almost everyone refer to it as somebody else’s work.

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happy one year anny

So ummmm, well….HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!!

I cannot believe it’s been an entire year since This is Major started filling your inbox, cray-zay!!! Thank you all for reading my posts every week, thank you for all of your honest feedback, and thank you all for joining the Dyva-army!

I feel like now’s an appropriate time to share a little insight into why I started this blog in the first place…a year in, I guess it’s about time I put out

Note: most of this has nothing to do with dance…some of it does…uhmmm enjoy!

So it was around this time last year that I became obsessed with reading blogs, my favorite blog was The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson (now inactive), a fellow Spartan that I’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts. I found such a home in her random stories, as they felt so familiar to life I was living in Brockport (…my version was just a little more G-rated…), and in my weakest moments, I found solace in knowing that my path wasn’t necessarily unique—I wasn’t actually alone.

Similar to Rachel, I struggled with my weight for most of my life; when I graduated high school and then again from Michigan State University, I weighed close to 200 pounds, and I could fluctuate up or down 30 pounds any given year…not healthy…

hey me.

hey me.

As we’ve talked about before, my days as a dancer are spent standing in front of a full-length mirror just trying to get better; with this being said, most of my life was also spent under the bribe that if I lost ten pounds (when I actually had 60 to lose), some desired dance-reward would follow.

If you lose ten pounds, you could win a platinum medal at the next dance competition.
If you lose ten pounds, you could even place first overall.
If you lose ten pounds, you could be accepted at x-university.
If you lose ten pounds, awesome-choreographer will cast you in their next piece.
If you lose ten pounds, you’ll get a job with x-company.

Holy hell…why couldn’t I just lose those frickin ten pounds!?!?!??

Well I’ve lost about 50 pounds in total thus far, but so much more than the size of my dance pants has transformed; I finally found my voice.

Hey me, again!

Hey me, again!

Ok, yay for me…let’s bring things full circle, shall we?

I was spending hours of my life reading Rachel’s blog, feeling like we were meant to be best friends…but in reality, this chick didn’t actually know I exist ( and still doesn’t), yet I was changing my life because of her words (…initially…). I started thinking, if this girl could have such an impact on my life, why couldn’t I do the same for some stranger that I would never meet?

We’ve already established that I’m an attention whore…I WANT TO CHANGE SOMEBODY’S LIFE!!!

I wanted to create a blog that was written for my people, people who were experiencing the same things I was experiencing on a daily basis. I wanted to form a network where people from the dance community could not only connect with one another, but with outsiders as well; I aspire(d) to serve as the liaison between our world of concert dance and everyone else. I believe in dance advocacy (I know, I just blew your mind), and I love knowing that my dad can relate to what I’m talking about without actually knowing what I’m talking about (“I’m a modern dancer…I’m a kumquat!”) But seriously, how cool would it be if my review of Jonah Bokaer’s show inspires Ordinary Person to purchase tickets for his next performance at the Joyce?

That would be pretty cool.

So in conclusion, I’ve spent this past year writing posts that are based on real events from my dance life, hoping that something (anything) resonates with your life…even if it’s just the title. I love connecting with people and I hope that at some point you’ve realized through reading my blog that even when you feel the most alone, you’re never actually. Again, I appreciate your support throughout these past 365 days—through the ups and the downs (…sorry about last week…), and I’m ecstatic to see where we go in the next 365!

Happy Holidays! (we survived the apocalypse!!!)

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auditions ain’t a thang

Auditions. Some dancers love them, some (most) dancers hate them, either way, we all face them.

It goes without saying…or at least it should, that RABs are always lurking around the corner, but that aside, how do Dyva’s survive the audition process?

Look no further, I will tell you…

The Dyva’s Survival Guide for Auditions:

The first step is home preparation. You know that any audition is going to conjure up some nervous energy, so spend the night before preparing anything and everything you may need for the big day: snacks, water, your resume, a pen, clothes you feel good dancing in, a change of clothes, shoes (tap, jazz, pointe, sneakers), DO for your B.O, your IPod and headphones…and of course, bright lipstick. **I forgot lipstick at my last audition earlier this week actually…and I definitely didn’t perform at my best…I’m just saying….

I’d rather be over-prepared than seizing in the corner with anxiety because I forgot my ballet shoes on my bedroom floor under the pile of dirty clothes (…true story for 17 year-old Nicole…) Put in the necessary time to make sure you’ve checked your bag for all of the essentials before you even go to bed.

Dyvas on Dyvas on Dyvas

Dyvas on Dyvas on Dyvas

So let’s say it’s the day of the audition, do yourself a favor and eat something…quality food please. Keep it clean so you don’t feel weighed down. Keep it substantial so you don’t feel famished by the time you hear “5-6-7-8”. Just keep it classy…I mean nourished…keep it nourished.

Breakfast: oatmeal with half a banana, almond butter, chopped dates, butterscotch chips, a shimmy of cinnamon, and brown sugar.
Lunch: Egg salad with avocado (wholly guacamole 100 cal packets instead of mayo) on two pieces of whole wheat bread, and some crunchy veggies.
Snack: Small apple with a handful of almonds or roasted chickpeas.
Dinner: Salmon with pesto and Parmesan cheese, and a side of steamed green beans.

There…now no matter what time of day you’re auditioning, you have no excuse not to eat healthy.

An hour before the audition:
Stop freaking out. Clap your hands in front of your face three times, and realize that in that particular moment, you have absolutely NO control over what will happen 60 minutes in the future. Make sure to give yourself ample time to warm up and physically prepare for whatever might be thrown at you. If you’re a yogi, see you in downward dog…if you’re a bunhead, see you at the barre…if you’re a RAB, go to hell. Trust your facility, and know that whatever happens…it’s going to be great!!! (…my motto for 2012…)

AUDITION TIME!!!
Take everything in stride, and do your best to stay focused. I find that the less time I spend glancing around worrying about what everybody else looks like, the more time I can invest in just picking up the information as fast as possible. Keep breathing, and never be afraid to stand out. **Try to use your context clues if you’re unsure about something: there’s never any harm in asking questions, but if it’s something you can figure out by observing others (…not judging), do that instead. It’s always better to stand out for your dancing (and lipstick), rather than your laundry list of questions and insecurities.

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Now, what do I look for when I’m on the other side of the audition looking to cast dancers?

  1. Confidence: Don’t be afraid to stand in the front row. It’s important to make your face seen, but don’t be too pushy; there’s a fine line between throwing elbows for the front row and being noticed because of your incredible skill and unique presence.
  2. Stylistic Compatibility: Will your dancing fit the needs of my choreography for this specific project? I’m not going to cast a dancer with an affinity for lightness and free-flow if I’m looking to make a grounded hip-hop piece with bound flow…  (…wait…picture Balanchine tutting…you’re welcome…)
  3. Your Reputation. Never forget how small the dance community is; we all talk. Be a professional: show up on time, show up prepared, and keep the talking to a minimum. Don’t make me blackball you… (I WOULD NEVER!…)
  4. Our relationship. Have we met? Have we worked together before? Do we have matching friendship bracelets?
  5. Scheduling: Sometimes timing just isn’t right. Nothing personal and no hard feelings.

Moral of the story: go in and do the job to the best of your ability. If you have a genuine interest in the project and are a good fit for the choreography, you can rest assured that if it’s meant to happen…it’ll happen.

May the odds be ever in your favor, Dyva!

MERDE ALERT!!!!

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