If you recall, around this time last year I was invited to join a second company in NYC. Our season ran from October 2018 until March 13, 2019 (last week), and I wanted to share some photos and thoughts about that experience.
Long2 is the second company to Vanessa Long Dance Company which is based out of New York City. The opportunity to join came the day after I was cut from her main company audition. It was such a thrill to be asked to participate.
We performed a studio showing at the end of February at the Alvin Ailey studios in NYC, and our final showcase was at the Tank Theater in NYC on March 13. Not only did I perform choreography and repertory from her company and other choreographers who set work, I also performed my first SOLO ever which happened to be self-choreographed!
It was a very empowering experience to perform a solo for the first time – in a NYC theater – that was self-created. My solo is titled “Joe” and is a dance celebrating my grandma and grandpa’s relationship and love for each other. The dance is set to the song I Can’t Believe You’re In Love With Me by Billie Holiday. I edited and mixed an interview with my grandma over the track as well. In the song, my grandma tells a story of how she realized my grandpa liked her back as they bonded over playing piano at their school.
This weekend, I am performing with my other company in Hudson Valley, NY. I have the opportunity to perform “Joe” again, and I am very excited to do so! I changed some of the choreography, and I will be dressed in 1940s/1950s fashion which will fit the theme of the piece much better than what I wore for the show in NYC.
This experience was fun, and has connected me to the NYC dance network better than I could have imagined. I am very grateful and thankful for my time with Long2, and look forward to new auditions and opportunities that will arise this spring. I will also be auditioning for her main company again in April!
I hope to take good footage of “Joe” at my show this weekend, and if I do, I will post it to YouTube and post the video in this post. Dance is such an amazng part of my life experience, and I am forever grateful for the way it heals me.
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!
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.
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).
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!
I took some time away from writing the last few weeks to focus on my family, friends, and the holidays. The end of the year is always so hectic, as is the beginning of the next one. I am preparing to hit the ground running this January with classes, auditions, adventures, a new job, and new experiences, and there is not a lot of time for me to relax it seems!
Anyway, I had a lovely Christmas, and for my family this was the first Christmas that actually felt like a true Christmas in a long time. It was just my family, my siblings’ significant others, and my grandma, and it was perfect. We ate delicious food (some of which I prepared), including home made ginger bread I made with my dad. I received some very generous presents, some of which I am going to review on here hopefully sometime this month. 🙂
I spent New Years Eve running around Manhattan and NYC with some friends who live there. I had a great time, and it was my first time spending New Year’s Eve in NYC since 2005 when my family went in to see the ball drop! I met some friends (old and new) at an Indian restaurant, and then we took a cab over to Industry City in Brooklyn for a NYE party!
I actually had to teach fitness this morning. I wasn’t drinking much last night because I knew I was going to be up late and had to be functional for work, but I still had a great time, made it to work on time, and did my job well! I also was kissed at midnight for the first time in a few years, and it meant a lot to me. So if last night/early this morning is any indication with how the rest of 2019 is going to go, count me in for ALL OF IT.
My last/newest endeavor is today I began the Whole30 challenge. It is basically a dietary plan that cuts out all anti-inflammatory foods as a “reset” to your body, taste buds, cravings, etc. No dairy, wheat/grains, corn, seeds, legumes, processed sugar, artificial sugars, and alcohol. Basically what foods are “approved” are lean meats, veggies, fruits, tree nuts, and potatoes. I am not following this diet verbatim because I am very active, and I do need some grain carbohydrates throughout the day just to keep my energy levels up. However, I will be doing a check in with this after the month is over to see how I feel, and see how I did!
I am so thrilled 2018 is FINALLY behind me. There were a lot of amazing memories in 2018 that overshadowed a lot of darkness, so I am grateful for all of the change and growth 2018 brought me. Now, however, I am prepared for a bountiful 2019 where I hope to see some pay off with all of the seeds I’ve planted and watered in 2018. 2019 Julia is determined, better trained, more confident, and more self-aware, and I look forward to what’s to come.
On Wednesday, I was on my way to rehearsal when my phone lit up with an Instagram notification! A few weeks ago, I entered a contest on Instagram with DiscountDance.com – the online retailer I purchase all of my dancewear and needs from. They were having a contest, and to enter you had to comment below their photo your favorite blog post from the Discount Dance blog, and why for a chance to win THREE pairs of the new Natalie Dancewear Dance socks!
Well, as I am walking down 8th street in the East Village NYC, my phone lit up with a “liked comment” notification, telling me Discount Dance liked my contest entry comment. At this point, I totally forgot I entered the contest two weeks prior, and thought it was nice of them to acknowledge my comment (I wrote a lot, and really liked the article from their blog). Five minutes later, I received another notification from Instagram from a tagged comment from Discount Dance, saying I was one of the lucky winners!!
Coincidentally, this summer I discovered Natalie Dancewear made turn socks, which I put on my birthday wishlist! I didn’t necessarily think those socks were going to be great because they had padding on the ball of the foot of the sock, but I thought they would be interesting to try. I never ended up buying them or getting them as a gift, so when I saw Natalie made a new design for their dance socks without padding, I new I had to enter the contest! If I didn’t win, I told myself I’d buy a pair just to try whenever DiscountDance.com had a free shipping deal.
Now, I have three pairs of these socks coming my way for free! I was so shocked I won, and I cannot wait to try them out! They remind me a lot of the Apolla Shocks socks, which are the biggest name in dance socks on the market right now, with each pair retailing about $30. I don’t own Apollas, but I know a lot of dancers and dance educators who do who love them.
The Natalie socks retail for about $11.00 a pair (but right now they are on sale on their website for $5.91), so I will definitely be writing a follow-up post about their wear, durability, and traction once I have a few weeks to test them out! Here is a link in case you want to check them out: