I’m Back and Ready to MOVE!

Hi everyone!

WOW, the American Dance Festival was a WHIRLWIND! I cannot fully express in words how busy I was, and how saturated I am right now with everything I was exposed to. ADF was one of the very best decisions I ever made, and I can’t believe all of the connections I made, experiences I had, and dances I danced.

There were too many great moments to pick a favorite! But let me just say the community ADF creates cannot be found anywhere else. Everyone is free to be 100% themselves, everyone is encouraging, and everyone is there to connect with each other through dance. Durham, North Carolina is the perfect city for the festival to be located in too. This is because Durham is filled with so many artists, dancers, and musicians, and everyone is so open to collaborating to make something beautiful.

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Photography by: Tim Lytvinenko

Some of my favorite performances I watched included the ADF Alumni concert, Rosie Herrara Dance Theater, Kyle Abraham A.I.M., and Michelle Dorrance’s tap solo in the Wondrous Women Concert. In addition to dancing full time, I was working in the Performances office of the festival assisting the staff with picking up and taking care of visiting dance company needs! I met so many amazing performers and choreographers, and even was invited to some exclusive invite-only events by some of the choreographers (I can’t share information on these things now, but in the fall when they happen I will be able to post about them! So exciting!).

While I was there, I also collaborated with a Raleigh-based artist named Tim Lytvinenko. He needed a model for a project series he is working on (his work is in the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh BY THE WAY), and I needed dance photos. So we exchanged photo shoots which was super fun! He is going to turn one of the photos he made of me into a piece of art which can hopefully be in his museum installation one day. Here is one of his favorites.

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Photography by: Tim Lytvinenko

Side note: This photo reminds me a lot of the movie DVD cover of Across the Universe. Do you all know that movie? It is a movie musical telling a story through the songs of the Beatles. It’s amazing, and if you haven’t seen it, after you’re done reading please go watch it.

Anyway, I was able to perform in student choreography concerts, visit the Nasher Museum of Art, watch dance films, take masterclasses, and push my body to new limits. Since I’ve been home, I’ve been fortunate because this week the company I dance for is performing in a summer arts festival in New York, and we have been rehearsing and creating all week 🙂 It is nice to keep moving and not be stuck home sedentary after 6 weeks of nonstop movement at ADF. I have some auditions and fun adventures in NYC coming up next week and in August too! There is no time rest it seems, but I don’t mind pushing my body this much if it means I can dance!

There is so much going on, and all of it is amazing! I can’t wait to share more with you!

Thank you for reading – it’s so nice to be back!

Xoxo

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Halfway Through ADF – I’m SO Inspired!

Hello everyone!

I am officially three weeks into the American Dance Festival, and I am SO grateful to be here! I am having the time of my life! This experience is helping me find myself, work through obstacles I have not been dealing with effectively, and is bettering my technique. All of this is happening while I am training, growing stronger mentally and physically, and being inspired left and right!

I’ve met some amazing people/dancers, and this environment is incredibly supportive, safe, and creative. I love how immersed I am in dance and art, and I cannot express enough how truly thankful I am for the opportunity to be here this summer.

I wanted to share with you all some photos I took within the last three weeks! It is amazing how quickly time is passing, and I really want it to slow down! The first week I was here, I was able to take some fun photos at the Duke University Chapel!

Today, I went to the Nasher Museum of Art of Duke’s West Campus for their presentation of “Movies by Movers“, which is a series of dance films they present throughout the weekends of the summer intensive. Today was the first day, and the films I viewed were stunning. I left the museum theater feeling introspective and thoughtful.

You can view the list of  “Movies by Movers” at this link: ADF Dance Film Festival Line Up

At the Nasher, I visited their gift shop and found some beautiful post cards with prints of artwork featured in the museum on them! I am in love with the one on the top left of my picture (your left!). It is called “Places to Love For”, and I was immediately drawn to it. She looks like a dancer, but even if the woman depicted is not, I feel like the painting has a lot of movement to it, even though she is portrayed standing still. I wish the museum sold a full-size replica print or poster because I would have bought one for my room! Instead, I bought four different post cards that I am going to frame and hang on my bedroom walls when I go home!

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I am also collaborating with a visual artist while I am down here! He is based out of Raleigh, NC and I am modeling for him for a project he is working on, and in exchange, he photographed some headshots and dance photos for free for me to use for auditions and dance projects when I am back home in NJ/NY. I CANNOT wait for those photos to be released so I can share them with you all! They came out so great, and we worked for a while on them! We have another photo shoot scheduled for his projects too, which will be super awesome to see the final result when he is done manipulating the images.

Living down here on my own and navigating this festival is changing my life, and I have a feeling when I return home I will be a better version of myself.  Dance has ALWAYS been the one constant in my life, and the American Dance Festival is confirming my belief that dance is my path to journey down in this lifetime. I am forever grateful for this art form and the community surrounding it.

I will update you all soon! I can’t wait to share my other adventures and projects with you all!

xoxo

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The Parlour – Durham, NC

Surprise! I didn’t think I was going to have time to blog this week, but turns out I do! And today I am sharing something I am SO passionate about. It is ice cream, and ice cream I found in Durham, NC.

As an ice cream lover, I am SO LOYAL to my chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve in a cake cone (also known as a wafer cone). I usually top it off with rainbow sprinkles, and voilà! That is ice cream bliss for me. However, while I was at the American Dance Festival last year in Durham, I discovered “The Parlour”, which is downtown Durham’s favorite local ice cream shop, and for good reason!

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Not only do they have homemade flavors such as Lavendar-Vanilla, Blueberry Buttermilk, Salty Malty Caramel Truffle, and Coconut Cream Pie (all of these are DELISH by the way), they have Kalamansi and Blueberry flavored sorbet. In addition to these, they have vegan options like Yuzu Mandarin and even Chocolate! Among my favorites of all of their amazing varieties is their Vegan Chocolate ice cream! And I must say – it actually bumps chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles to 2nd place in my favorites book. There is actually no competition – this vegan chocolate ice cream has landed #1 as my favorite ice cream of ALL TIME!

Their vegan chocolate ice cream has a consistency between a hard ice cream and a soft serve. It is not too hard, yet it is not super soft. Unfortunately, I suffer from a lactose sensitivity, so my love for ice cream is plagued by a bought of stomach cramps and bloating, and a trip to the bathroom after eating it.

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BUT this ice cream is incredible because it is vegan so I avoid the effects of the lactose and heavy milk fats. Plus, it has such depth to it’s taste! It tastes like a serious fudge brownie, and I am able to enjoy all of it’s cold, chocolatey deliciousness without the lactose-induced bellyaches that usually follow.

I took my mom to The Parlour the day we drove down to NC together to show her how amazing it actually is. And she loved it. She ended up buying the Blueberry Buttermilk, and she tried my vegan chocolate and said it was too good to be vegan!

If you all find yourselves in Durham, North Carolina definitely stop in to The Parlour and try one of their many amazing flavors. I dare you to order the vegan chocolate and not love it! I bet you will love it so much you’ll go back for seconds! And thirds, and fourths…

I will be posting more about my food and travels throughout the next two months! Keep your eyes out – I will be dancing a lot which means I will be very hungry 😉

Until next time,

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Dancers, Fairies, and Road Trips!

Hello beautiful readers!

Holy apologies – I have been so absent lately for good reason, and I wanted to update you all on my life and tell you what is coming next for me!

Last week was my final week of teaching, and my final week of rehearsals for the company’s big show. On Saturday June 9, the Warwick Dance Collective presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream ballet, and I danced the roles of a lead fairy attendant and a maid of honor at the triple wedding in act II.  (See Related)

Related: A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Fairy Makeup and Hair

I am not a ballerina, however, the company I dance with right now performs mostly ballet, and I am trying to teach myself how to dance gracefully in pointe shoes! This show was particularly challenging because I have never danced en pointe in a show for any longer than 5 min. I realized the brand of pointe shoes I’ve been rehearsing in are not the best shoe for my feet.

Anyway, there will be official video and pictures emailed to me, but below are images of my official fairy/bridesmaid makeup, and a picture my dad snapped of me from the audience.

In addition to having a fun time performing, I was accquainted with new dancers! My director brought in all of the male dancers from other companies, and they were all so fun and kind. I’ve never met a better bunch of dancers to work with on a project! Although hectic, overall Midsummers was a great experience!

The following day, Sunday June 10, I drove 10 hours south to the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC! The drive was not bad, and my mom came with me. I drove all 10 hours because I wanted to see if I would be able to do it when I was that tired – and I did! I was exhausted from my crazy week, but I knew it would be a push from show weekend until the end of ADF.

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Can’t stop won’t stop! Am I right?

I am officially here, and my first day of work was today. I am working in the performances office, and I am so excited I have the opportunity to meet a lot of the choreographers who come to dance, teach, and perform at the festival. Today, they literally put my ass to WERK. I did so much manual labor I feel like my arms are going to fall off. And tomorrow I have to pick up dancers of Shen Wei Dance Arts from the Raleigh/Durham airport. Crazy right? I might be picking up the ACTUAL Shen Wei – uhmm what?! So cool!

Thursday is the official start of this year’s festival, and I have a crazy weekend coming up as well. There will be a lot of auditions, classes, and work to do so I may not get around to posting until Sunday to let you all know about my week. I am going to do a summer series of ADF posts on my journey here, my work, progress, and the adventures I find myself on!

Also, I just want to quickly shout out my beautiful mother for being an ABSOLUTE ANGEL and driving with me, going food shopping for me, helping me move in, and providing more love and nurturing than I deserve! She helped me prepare and execute SO MUCH for this trip, and this trip would not have been as comfortable or smooth if she was not here to help me. So thank you momma! I love you!

Until next time, I hope you all have an amazing week!

Xoxo

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Places I want to Visit this Summer

Good evening readers!

As American Dance Festival planning is now in full swing, I am looking forward to being in North Carolina for most of the summer! While I am in North Carolina, I am hoping some weekends my fiancè and I can escape to some other fun southern cities! We probably won’t be able to travel too far because of his military obligations and my dance obligations. Regardless, there are a lot of fun towns I want to see this summer while I am living below the Mason Dixon for 2 months, so here is my wishlist!

1. Charleston, South Carolina

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Ok so I’ve been DYING to go to Charleston for the longest time. I am obsessed with all of the southern charm this city posesses and the history it carries. I’d like to visit the main part of town with the rainbow rowhouses, and also visit the some of the old plantations. U.S. history interests me, and it would be fun to learn more about U.S. history by visiting a historic city in person! Also, I hear the main strip of Charleston has fun bars and restaurants, and I am always down to try local fare and explore!

2. New Orleans, Louisiana

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Unfortunately, I do not think I will make it to New Orleans this summer just because it is a tad bit too far away from Durham, NC 😦 However, I REALLY want to go, and if I can I will! My interest in New Orleans is tied with Charleston because they both have such a deep and intricate history in the formation of the southern United States. Also, I’ve been dying to go to New Orleans ever since I read “A Street Car Named Desire”. Am I the only one who has read the entirety of that play three times? No? Just Me? I’d love to see the French Quarter and visit voodoo shops, have a night of fun on Bourbon Street, and have beignets with espresso while listening to street jazz music!

3. Wilmington, North Carolina

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I’ve been to Wilmington, NC before, but it makes number 3 on my list because it is fairly close to Durham, and I love Wrightsville beach. I mean – it is NOT a Jersey beach by any means – BUT it is clean and full of young people and the town strip has a lot of fun bars and places to eat! This will be a fun trip for the weekend before or after my birthday (which is July 3 FYI!). Fun fact – the great ice cream parlor in downtown Wilmington we always visit when we are there (called Kilwins) has a location in Ridgewood, NJ!

4. Savannah, Georgia

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Ah, another city whose southern charm appeals to my inner explorer! My fiancè had the opportunity to visit Savannah while on medical rotations in GA, and I was so peanut butter and jelly! I want to visit Savannah so badly because I hear the center of town is super cute (as this photo depicts). Savannah is a 5 hour drive from NC, so maybe we will have the chance to visit this historic city as well! I’d like to visit some local eateries, in addition to historic sites like plantations and Civil War battle grounds.

5. Outer Banks, North Carolina

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Believe it or not, I’ve never made it to the Outer Banks in NC! Growing up, so many kids I went to school with vacationed to the Outer Banks for Memorial Day, the summer, or Labor Day, and I’ve always wanted to go to see what all of the fuss is about! I am doubtful the beaches are as nice as New Jersey beaches (can you tell I’m biased LOL), but if they are as nice as Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, I bet I would love them! I feel like the Outer Banks would be more of a “Plop my ass on the beach and not move all weekend” kind of adventure, and I am totally okay with that!

6. Charlotte, North Carolina

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I’ve been wanting to visit Charlotte for a long time. The only time I’ve ever been there was on a flight layover to Disney World when I was 12 and that doesn’t count! There are a lot of small dance companies based in Charlotte, and I would love to visit to take class and maybe even see a dance show! If this city is anything like Durham or Raleigh, I know my fiancè and I will have a blast exploring it! I want to try all of the local hotspots for food and check out some of the best bars. It is always fun to try some of the local craft beers in these southern cities also, and I’m sure there are microbreweries in or near Charlotte!

7. Nashville, Tennessee

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Last but certainly NOT least is Nashville! I would L.O.V.E. to visit this city! A lot of people I know visited Nashville in 2017, and I WISH I could have gone! I am not the biggest fan of country music, but “when in Rome” I would definitely be into it if I were visiting! Also, just look at all of the lights, hustle and bustle, and all of the musical history that happened here! Nashville is probably too far of a drive (I believe it’s about 8 hours from NC), so I probably won’t make it here in the summer, but I would love to go at some point this year!

I hope you enjoyed reading through my wishlist! I hope I can actually visit some of these places this summer while I am living in NC! 🙂 Have you visited any of these cities on my list? Which are your favorite, and what do you recommend doing there? Let me know!

**I do not own these pictures or the rights to these images. Copyright infringement not intended. Each image is hyperlinked to the URL in which they were found**

xoxo

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