Pegli, Italy – Una Ballerina, Focaccia, e un Caffè 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.

“È 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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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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Citrus, Ginger, Coconut Water – Spring Thirst Quencher

Hello everyone!

Lately, I’ve been switching a lot of my cooking products/products I eat to coconut-derived products. For example, I’ve switched my milk to unsweetened coconut-almond milk; instead of olive oil, I use organic coconut oil; and instead of bringing regular water to rehearsals and teaching, I’ve been making this coconut ginger citrus water instead! I want to share this recipe because it has changed the way I hydrate, and I’ve only been experimenting with it for a week!

When I dance a lot/exercise a lot, sometimes regular water (room temperature or cold) becomes hard to swallow. That’s not a metaphor – I mean for me personally water becomes really hard to swallow because it just doesn’t cut it with no electrolytes or anything to replenish the salts I lose through sweat. I’ve never been a fan of Gatorade unless I have a bad cold! I just can’t tolerate the sugar when I am burning energy because it leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.

Coconut water has A TON of natural electrolytes and salts you need to replenish your body, without artificial colors, flavors, or added sugar and syrups. Although coconut water plain is just as good for you, it is an acquired taste. When sweating, plain coconut water may not be the best option to drink because it’s a bit bitter, thick, and salty. This citrus and ginger coconut water quencher is sure to provide a better, more palatable flavor, and yummy hydration for everyday drinking.

This is not my original recipe, however, you can get creative and add as much or as little as you want! I found the original recipe here: https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/coconut-water-benefits/.

What you’ll need:

  • All natural coconut water (**I’ve used Vita Coco and Goya Coconut Water**).
    • Usually I use the regular 2-cup servings in the box you can get at the supermarket. Pictured is a larger coconut water, which may be more economical if you’re making this drink frequently.
  • Fresh ginger root
  • Regular filtered water
  • Fresh Lemon
  • Fresh Lime
  • Honey (if you want a little sweetness!)
  • A blender or NutriBullet

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What to do:

  1. Add 1.5 – 2 cups of coconut water to your blender
  2. Add 0.5 – 1.5 cups of regular filtered water to your blender (depending on how concentrated you would like the coconut water to be)
  3. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  4. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  5. Grate the ginger root and add 1/4 teaspoon or more of ginger to your mix (add more or less to taste)
  6. Optional Step: Add 1 tablespoon or more of honey for sweetness
  7. Blend!!
  8. Taste test, and adjust whatever more or less of whatever it may need. Or if you are satisfied, move on to the next step!
  9. Transfer to a refrigerator safe container, and chill. Serve cold!

It will stay fresh for up to two weeks in the refrigerator (if it lasts that long – it is SOO good!). It is best served chilled, and over ice. You can add fresh lemon and lime wedges, or more grated ginger to the top for garnish if you are planning to serve this to dinner guests/friends. You can blend it with ice and make a healthy, quenching, slushy, or even add tequila if it is Taco Tuesday and you’re feeling like you want a healthy twist on a margarita!

I’ve found this recipe to be delicious with a little more lemon and lime, a little extra water (not too much though), and a little extra ginger. I’ve also found it to be delicious with, or without honey! I will definitely be making this a lot while I am attending the American Dance Festival, and will be making this for all of the shows I have coming up! (I’m performing in my first full-length ballet – Midsummer Night’s Dream – in June).

What’s your favorite way to hydrate? If you try this recipe, or have another coconut water recipe, please share it in the comments! I would love to try it!

Xoxo

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American Dance Festival Scholarship Update!

Hello lovely followers!

On Friday, I received word that I was awarded a Staff Assistant Scholarship to the American Dance Festival!!! I will be completing an arts administration work-study in their PERFORMANCES office! I AM SO EXCITED I CANNOT CONTAIN IT!

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I wrote previously that I’ve been selling product on my Etsy to help fundraise my expenses for the festival. Along with my Etsy, this scholarship is going to help me tremendously afford my summer experience in Durham, NC and I cannot be more grateful or excited for this opportunity!

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I grew so much in one week last year at the Dance Professionals Workshop, and I can’t imagine how much I will grow over the course of 7 weeks this summer while I am taking full-time dance classes, and gaining hands-on experience in a dance performance arts administration setting!

Don’t forget to browse my Etsy shop for cute hair accessories and homemade eye makeup! Any sale helps me towards my summer goal! Thank you to all of my followers for being so supportive over the years of JLoF and my dance dreams!

xoxo love and light to all!

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DIY Hair Accessories for Dance Costumes

Hi everybody!

The recital for the studio I work at is this Saturday, and one of my dances needed a hair accessory to match their costume. The hair clip that came with the costume was a simple, rhinestone bobby-pin type hair accessory, and I thought my dancers needed something flowery and bigger to compliment their costume. I decided to visit the local craft store and make my own hair accessory – a summery, warm, shiny hair flower bouquet! I wanted to show you all how to make them if you are someone who has students or dancers who need better hair accessories for performances.

Step 1: Materials

You will need fake flowers of your color choice, scissors, a hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, and Goody hair clips (or brand of your choice).

Step 2: Cut flowers and leave stems, glue the first few flowers together

For this step, take the first few flowers you are bundling for the hair piece and glue their stems together. It will make gluing the remaining flowers on easier.

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Step 3: Add the last of the flowers to the bundle

Cut the stems so they are even and shorter (i.e.: easier to glue to the hair clip).

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Step 4: Hot glue the flower bouquet to the hair clip

After the stems are trimmed, hot glue to bundle to the hair clip in the position you want it to lay.

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Step 5: Hide the glue with another flower! Cut the stem of the flower so the back of the flower is flat.

This is where you can get creative!! Arranging the flowers together is super fun, and allows you to make pretty arrangements. What is great about synthetic flowers is that the actual flowers pop off the long stems. So after everything is glued, you can pop another flower off of the fake bunch, and trim the back so the back of the flower is flat, and then glue it on top of where you glued the bundle down to mask the ugly dried melted glue.

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Cut the yellow stem off.

Step 6: Let it dry, pull off any strings of melted glue that might be tangled in the flowers.

Put it in your hair, on your bun, above your pony tail, etc. and ENJOY! ❤

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I hope you enjoyed this post – these are super simple, fun, and easy to make! Comment below if you want more DIY project posts like this one in the future!

Xoxo happy dancing and happy summer!

 

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