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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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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American Dance Festival Dance Professionals Workshop Sampler

Hi everyone!

Apologies for being M.I.A., I spent 10 days in North Carolina for the American Dance Festival’s (ADF) Dance Professionals Workshop (DPW) Sampler! Back in November, I posted about the American Dance Festival and my application to the program, so you can click on this link and read more about the festival to see what it is all about! (Planning Post-Graduation: American Dance Festival!). ADF is usually held at Duke University, and offers a six week professional training program for dancers ages 18+, and a three week pre-professional training program for dancers ages 13-17. This year, the festival this year is celebrating it’s 40th year in Durham, NC, and the festival itself is over 80 years old!

Let me tell y’all, this experience was life-changing!! The festival exposed me to so many amazing people and dance artists, and I was surrounded by like-minded, focused individuals who all had something special and positive to add to the energy and the art being created in the room. Being a DPW Sampler participant, I was able to drop-in to any classes I wanted! Since this was the first DPW of the summer, it was the second week of classes for the six week school students. For this reason, we were lucky we were able to drop into classes and be in somewhat the same boat as the six week school students in regard to learning new movement material and phrase progressions.

Our sampler involved seven participants (including myself) , plus the workshop leader Nia Love, and her daughter who is also a professional dancer. After a full-day of classes and dancing, our sampler cohort would get together and explore the Duke University Gardens, have lunch together, or have conversations discussing current events and issues followed by structured improvisations. One of the benefits of having a sampler cohort is that it allows you to make friends with students like you who are only there for one week. It helps to have friends to eat meals with, go see the performances with, and go exploring with!

Every night there was a new performance to see, and some performances I saw included Cherdonna Shinatra, Beth Gill, and Pilobolus! The show tickets are complimentary for ADF students (which is amazing), and all of the shows I saw were fantastic in their own way. I think my favorite performance was Pilobolus! Y’all definitely need to go see them if you’re new to the modern dance scene and want a good introduction into concert dance.

I cannot forget to mention Durham is an ADORABLE city!! It has a young vibe, and street artwork is everywhere. As you probably saw on my Instagram, I was enjoying all of the aesthetics the city of Durham offered. These murals are just some of the gorgeous murals I saw during my stay. Local businesses in Durham wave the ADF flag and have ADF posters and postcards hanging in their shop windows. It is amazing that this city supports the arts (and dance!) as much as they do. You don’t really find this kind of culture in many places.

During my stay, I took classes such as Gaga, West African, Afro-contemporary modern technique, improvisation, ballet, yoga, contemporary, modern technique, and Feldenkrais. I met dancers from all over the country and all over the world, and shared thoughtful moments and memories with everyone I met. I sweat my ass off, and walked about 23,000 steps each day (according to my FitBit). The memories and art shared and created at ADF will resonate with me for the rest of my life, and I plan on attending the six week school next summer! ❤

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If you are looking for an affordable summer training program and are serious about improving yourself and pushing your limits, go check out the ADF website for more information. http://www.americandancefestival.org/. The DPW Sampler was an amazing and cost-effective way to train over the summer and gain exposure to new teachers and techniques to help me grow as an artist and a dancer. The six week school is also a great price for the amount of training and time you spend in the studio, in addition to all of the amazing shows and opportunities to perform that are offered to you through the festival.

It is bittersweet my dancing adventure in NC is over, but it has me so motivated to improve myself and focus on the dance projects and companies I am involved with now! More news is to come, and I can’t wait to show y’all what I have been working on! ❤

xoxo until next time

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