Pegli, Italy – Una Ballerina, Focaccia, e un Caffรจ Latte Macchiato

It’s been so long since I posted on here, and usually October is the month of the year each year I am actively blogging about Halloween, fall activities, and happenings in my life. Usually I am preparing for Nutcracker and drowing in Dunkin pumpkin coffee, but this year is a bit different.

As the weather changes over to autumnal coolness, I am feeling myself yearning to be back in Italy. For the Joffrey Ballet intensive I attended, I stayed in a small beach district of Genova on the Mediterranean coast, called Pegli. I have been missing the beautiful, simple town; the delicious foccacia, pesto, and espresso, and the intense heat of the sun during the long dance days.

My two weeks with the Joffrey School were so magical and enlightening. Not only did I travel – BY MYSELF – to Pegli (which involved a 7 hour flight, THREE train transfers at stations with no escalators, and a 50 lb suitcase), but I trained hard in a beautiful dance studio on a mountain (that had no air conditioning), with people from all over the USA and Italy. I still can’t believe I was brave enough to do all of this on my own, and with my own money.

No one in this district spoke English, so it forced me to use the little Italian I do know, and learn how to speak. Joffrey also equipped us with four Italian language lessons while we were there. I was told I have great pronunciation, and a lot of Italian people believed I’d been speaking Italian for a lot longer than one week!

Here are some images from the district I lived in. I walked up and down the lungomare (path along the sea) after every meal, and admired the scenery, culture, people, and beaches.

I drank an ameretto sour at a beach bar with my roommate late one night, and tried to communicate with our waiter in Italian to figure out if the other waiter was his brother.

“รˆ tuo fratello?”

“Si, mio gemello!”

I made friends with the hotel baristo and he gave me a bottle of the wine I drank every night for free as a parting gift.

I traveled to Milan and toured the Duomo, and the La Scala theater. We toured Genova, and toured the Princess of Genova’s palace, and the Genova Aquarium – the second largest aquarium in the world.

I ate the most bread and pasta I have in my life, and also drank the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life every morning and afternoon! I cosumed so much gelato I’m surprised I didn’t turn into it. My favorite flavor of gelato is yogurt gelato!

We even toured the world’s best, and freshest pesto company greenhouses, and made our own pesto with their family recipe! Genova pesto is known to be the best in the world.

I cannot wait to travel back to Italy to explore more of the country. With this experience under my belt, I am not afraid to travel alone anywhere. I am so thankful for this experience, and will remember it all for the rest of my life. Thank you to the Joffrey Ballet School for this amazing experience, and all of the amazing faculty.

xoxo

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July 2019 Happenings!

Hi everyone!

I turned 24 this past week, and I can’t believe I already made another 365-day trip around the sun. This was the first time I was home for my birthday in two years, and it was amazing to be home with my family and close friends. I share the same birthday as my mom, so to be able to be home and celebrate with her, my grandma, my siblings, and my father meant a lot to me!

A lot has happened since I last posted! Remember in my last post how I mentioned I was going on an audition? Well, your girl was invited to join the company she auditioned for, and tomorrow will mark our third rehearsal together for the summer! It’s very exciting to think I am starting with a new performance group (based out of NYC), who has such an important mission that is near and dear to my heart.

Related: May 2019 Life Update

This specific company is dedicated to raising awareness about eating disorders, and de-stigmatizing mental health. As someone who considers herself a recovered anorexic, and someone who struggled with anxiety her whole life, joining this team of artists means THE WORLD to me. I am so excited for our season. We have so many amazing projects lined up for the summer and fall!

Related: How Dance Helped Me Survive Anorexia and Literally Everything Else

I leave for Joffrey Italy in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!! I literally CANNOT BELIEVE I AM GOING! I prayed for a year for an opportunity to dance and travel, and last minute went to the Joffrey audition, and then was accepted into the Italy location! Life is so funny with the way it works! I can’t wait to travel, train, and experience Italian culture right on the Mediterranean.

Related: Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive

Another cool thing I did recently was get another piercing! I wanted my septum pierced for a while and decided to pull the trigger and go get it done a week and a half before my birthday. This way, it would have a whole month to heal before I leave for Italy. I LOVE how it came out! The piercing is a titanum horseshoe because I can flip it into my nose to hide it. I had it anodized rose gold to match my nipple rings ๐Ÿ™‚ Haha. I adore it, and it’s been healing well. I can’t wait for it to heal completely so I can wear cute clickers and other jewelry.

Related: Julia – You Got WHAT Pierced?!

I’m feeling really optimistic about the future, and my coming adventures in Italy and NYC. I’ve been working and trying to enjoy my time home before I jet set off for four weeks to train. 24 is already giving me great energy, and I can’t wait to see where I am next year when I turn 25 (that is a SCARY number oh my gosh).

I hope I can write more, and at least make a post or two while I am in Italy! If not, I will definitely be posting when I get back to the states and after my NYC intensive. I hope you all are enjoying your summer vacations, travels, and adventures!

Xoxo

Life Update March 2019

It is already ten days into March, and somehow 2019 is already almost a quarter of a year over already?!? WHAT?! Life has been sincerely flashing right by me, and I’ve hardly had any time for myself, let alone time to blog (hence why I am writing this post at 12:14am Eastern time).

This is the first weekend I will be home in a while. Two weekends ago I was galavanting around Chicago with my best friend I haven’t seen in a year! We had the best time, and I will hopefully be able to write a post about our weekend because we hit up a bunch of local spots, saw the Joffrey ballet perform their new world premiere, and got matching tattoos! Anyway, it was a whirlwind and super jam-packed to say the least!

I took this photo at the top of the World Trade Center in NYC last month.

Last weekend, I was in NYC all weekend with my mother and grandmother for a girl’s trip! Back in October, we bought tickets to see the New York City Ballet perform Prodigal Son, which is a ballet my grandma has talked about taking me to for years! So we went into NYC for the Saturday matinee, went for a fun dinner, and stayed in a ritzy hotel near Central Park. You can read more about that trip at this link: New York City Ballet & New Beginnings

In other news, I was accepted into another summer intensive, which was the intensive I really wanted to attend! I will be attending the Peridance Capezio BLUEPRINT Summer Intensive in August! And guess what? This intensive starts three days after the Joffrey, Italy intensive ends, so they will not interfere with each other!

Related:Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive

I was awarded financial aid for Joffrey, and if everything works out with my budget, I will be able to afford to attend both intensives! I might even leave a week early to explore Italy a bit before the intensive starts! My summer is looking like it is going to be full of dance and adventure, and I’m here for all of it!

Street art found at One World Trade

As always, I am still having trouble sleeping, so maybe I can use my time at night awake to write for JLoF again. I love blogging and miss it dearly. I have some more auditions planned for this month, and a busy next couple of months! Fingers crossed that I am hired for some more dance jobs, and in the meantime, I hope I talk to you all again soon!

Xoxo

New York City Ballet & New Beginnings

Over the first weekend in March, I went to New York City with my mom and grandma to see the New York City Ballet perform! This was my first time seeing NYCB perform, and the program they performed in particular is one my grandma has talked about taking me to see for years! They performed Prodigal Son and Liebeslieder Walzer, and both were FANTASTIC.

The Prodigal Son ballet is based on the Prodigal Son parable in the Bible. The story centers on a son who asks his father for his early inheritance, and he leaves home excited to spend all of his new-found riches. On his journey, he is wasteful and extravagant with his inheritance, and ends up destitute, only to crawl home and beg his father to take him back as a servant. To his surprise, his father does not scorn him, and instead, accepts him back with open arms and love.

The ballet adaption of this tale was magnificent. The choreography was so different/contemporary than what I expected. This ballet originally premiered in 1929 when George Balanchine created it on Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. For choreography in 1929, Prodigal Son must have been incredibly avant-garde. Nonetheless, it was gorgeous! I loved every minute of it.

The other ballet we watched – Liebeslieder Walzer – was much different compared to Prodigal Son. Liebeslieder Walzer is set in an 1800s era ballroom, and centers around four couples dancing in the midst of their romances. It is set to 33 of Johannes Brahms waltzes, which were sung by a quartet on stage alongside two piano players. The first part included 18 waltzes where the dancers were in period costumes with character heels. The second half included the last 15 waltzes where the female dancers changed into these gorgeous taupe, purple colored romantic tutus and pointe shoes!

The second part of the Liebeslieder Walzer was a favorite of mine! I saw Tiler Peck SLAY her solos which was a really cool experience for me! Additionally, the costuming and the lighting in the second part captured the romantic mood of the set and the music perfectly. Everything about the Walzer was sheer magic!

After the show ended, we went to the Sugar Factory! My mom and grandma had never been, and the Sugar Factory is known for it’s insane drinks and outrageous desserts! The three of us split a Mai Tai, and it was delicious… and strong. We ordered burgers for dinner (turkey for me), which were also really tasty. For a franchise so focused on dessert and candy, I was surprised their dinner quality matched their drink quality!

Later in the evening, while my mom and grandma were cozy in the hotel room, I walked around Times Square and bought myself a cute ring at Pandora as an “I Love Me” present. This was an important weekend for me, which I will explain below.

Later in the evening, I received a text from a friend telling me to meet him at this underground bar for his friend’s birthday! I never have the chance to see this friend, and he is actually a dancer I picked up from the airport when I was working at the American Dance Festival this summer. Our night together was spontaneous and fun, and was great cap to end an awesome day!

My new ring from Pandora!

This weekend was really special for many reasons. Without even realizing, my mom and grandma booked this trip on the exact day I decided last year (2018) I was going to end my engagement. On that exact weekend last year, I found out the hard way the person I was engaged to was NOT the person I thought he was. It was the worst weekend of my life, and the most shocking emotional trauma I’ve ever had to process. In those moments last year, I felt alone and disgusting.

Contrary to last year, this year I was surrounded by so much love from friends and family. I was in my favorite city in the entire world watching my favorite art form ever, with my two favorite women in the entire world, and ended my night dancing with one of my favorite people… I couldn’t have asked for a complete 180 degree turn around from where I was emotionally and physically this exact weekend last year. I feel very blessed for my family, and the friends I have made through dance. I am truly healing.

I had so much fun with my mom and my grandma, and they made the weekend super special. If you both read this – thank you for being phenomenal women in my life. This trip to NYC was the mark of new beginnings. I’ve officially survived one year through one of the hardest transitional periods in my life, and I can finally say I am excited for the future to come.

Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise? That I dance like Iโ€™ve got diamonds at the meeting of my thighs? … I rise I rise I rise

Dr. Maya Angelou

xoxo

Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive

Hello wonderful readers of the internet!

I have been on a whirlwind. 2019 began and I hit the ground running. I’ve been working *7* jobs, taking dance classes, and auditioning like crazy. I’ve been going to casting calls for jobs, but also for summer training programs. I wanted to share a fun story about my audition for the Joffrey Ballet School summer intensive.

Last week, I decided at the very last minute I was going to attend an audition for Joffrey Ballet School. The audition was on Saturday, and I decided Friday evening I was going to go. This was a bit stressful because for the audition I needed a picture of me in first arabesque in pointe shoes, and I needed a headshot with my hair in a “ballet hairstyle”. I didn’t have either on hand. So after a full day of ballet class for me, and teaching tap in the evening, one of my student’s moms’ helped me take a photo in arabesque, I drove an hour home, and my little brother helped me take a headshot with my hair in a ballet bun! Both didn’t turn out too shabby! I ended up running to a CVS at 11:30pm to print them out! When I said last minute, I literally meant the very last minute (the CVS closed at 12am).

This was the headshot my brother took on his iPhone

The audition was in Putnam county NY. I taught barre and TRX Saturday morning, and then I drove myself to the audition site. I felt really good about how I performed. We took a ballet class and then performed combinations en pointe across the floor and in the center. When it was over, I thanked the instructor and the owner of the studio, and was informed I would know my results by the following Friday.

Two days later, I received my acceptance letter! I was accepted into 11 of their programs!! I was actually floored because I almost didn’t go to the audition, and now I have so many options and opportunities available to me!


I’m intrigued by so many of their programs, it’s all a tad overwhelming! I am definitely leaning towards the NYC Ballet Intensive (that is the bread and butter of the Joffrey Ballet School for the summer), and the intensive in Genoa, Italy!! If I attend any of these programs, I don’t think I could make a wrong choice. However, I’ve never been to Italy, and studying ballet and contemporary in Italy sounds like a dream come true!

Even more exciting – my best friend who lives in Chicago told me if I attend the Italy location, she will come at the end of the two week intensive to see our dance showcase, and then her and I could take a week and explore Italy and/or Europe together! Uhm, what!!! Can you say dream summer?!? I am so beyond excited at the thought of the possibility.

I still have a few more summer training programs I am auditioning for this winter, and as you can imagine, none of these programs are cheap. Before I put deposits down for anything, I am going to keep spreading my seeds far and see what grows in time. If this wasn’t already a lot to choose from, hopefully there will be even more to choose from in a few weeks!

It’s encouraging to receive an acceptance letter throughout all of this hustling back and forth between NJ and NYC. And it’s also reassuring that I am good at what I do and all of my effort is not for nothing. I will definitely be updating my blog with news throughout audition season. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Until next time

xoxo