Long2 Final Showcase and My First Solo Performance

Hi beauties!

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.

Related: My First NYC Dance Job Starts This Fall! (2018)

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

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!

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

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.

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

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.

Photography Credit: Marisa Augustine
Alvin Ailey Studios February 27

Write again soon!

xoxo

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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 I’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

HorrorCon Fall 2018 – Atlantic City, NJ

HAPPY AUTUMN EVERYONE!

I had such an amazing week last week – I will tell you all more information once some paperwork is finalized, however, I ended my amazing week by going to Atlantic City with my two good friends for the fall NJ Horror Convention!

This convention happens twice a year, and this season it was held at the Showboat hotel in A.C. My friends and I stayed at the Showboat, and had a super fun 36 hours running around Atlantic City!

We arrived at the hotel at midnight on what was technically Saturday morning (and technically the first day of fall). We checked in, went to our room, freshened up, and then took a Lyft to Bally’s for an Emo Night Brooklyn event! Emo Night Brooklyn is a DJ show where the DJ plays all pop-punk, alternative, and emo music ranging from the early 2000s to pop punk hits from today! It was held in the Wild Wild West casino in the Ballys resort. I’ve been wanting to go to an Emo Night Brooklyn event for a few months now, so to do it with my two good friends was special! I also ran into some friends from high school while I was there, which was awesome. We didn’t arrive back to our hotel until 3:30am!

Saturday we woke up, went for lunch in the hotel, and then went into the convention! HorrorCon has all types of horror-inspired small businesses and vendors come set up tables to sell products, and there was an independent horror film festival going on as well. In addition, there were so many actors and actresses/celebrity icons at this event! Cassandra Peterson (who was the original Elvira!) was the headlining personality at this convention, in addition to Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Bam Margera (MTV’s “Jackass”), and Linda Blair (from the Exorcist!). Tony Moran, the man who originally played Michael Myer’s in “Halloween” was there, along with many others.

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I picked up a few awesome items from this convention! If I hadn’t lost $65 gambling, I would have probably bought more fun things! But when in Rome, you do as the Romans, am I right? 🙂 Anyway, here are the awesome items I bought!

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My first and FAVORITE purchase is this print made by artist Scott Straka. He is a Philadelphia-based artist, and was selling his AMAZING portraits for an amazing price. I was drawn to his table for a portrait he did of Tate Langdon (Evan Peter’s character from season 1 of American Horror Story). It was an incredible drawing, but when I started looking at the other available prints, I FELL IN LOVE with this Bride of Frankenstein portrait. It gives me all of the old-Hollywood glam-gore vibes, and looks super pretty on my bedroom wall! This was definitely the best find while I was there.

Check out Scott Straka’s store if you want dope prints like this for your home! https://scottstrakaart.storenvy.com/

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My next purchase was this tee-shirt advertising for Poisonous Pinups. Poisonous Pinups is an alternative pin-up model magazine (very similar to Suicide Girls if you are familiar with them), and I really liked their logo! The sticker of the red-haired monster/thing is also featured on the back of the shirt printed much larger, and it gives me all the badass lady boss vibes. This magazine is based in NJ, so it was cool to support this small business.

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This pin has to be one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, and I was SO excited to buy it. This is from a company called Kneehigh Horror, and the owner makes and sells enamel pins from very niche horror films. This lovely lady pin is the Salma Hayek character Satanico Pandemonium from Quentin Tarantino’s movie “From Dusk Til Dawn”. Her character does a burlesque dance with this cool headdress and a python(!!), so naturally, I wanted this to display on my denim jacket!

You should definitely check out his shop if you’re interested in some niche and hard-to-find pins based on different horror series. https://www.etsy.com/shop/KneehighHorror

If you couldn’t tell, I had a theme to all of my purchases: badass ladies!

Anyway, later in the night I went out with my two friends, and we went to the new Hard Rock hotel for some dinner, drinks, and gambling! We even went to the Sugar Factory (which was my first time!), where we ordered a special 60 ounce watermelon mojito drink, topped off with sour watermelon gummy candies, and raspberry gummies inside the glass! It was delicious, and something I’ve always wanted to do!

Sugar Factory

None of us won any money unfortunately, but after a few hours out, we ended up going back to our hotel and talking until the wee hours of the morning.

This trip was definitely one I will always remember. It is such an empowering feeling to be able to geek out with my two friends who are also super into horror/Halloween/alternative styles, and be comfortable being the real Julia for the first time in what seems like my entire life. Since April, I’ve been trying new things and having all types of new experiences! Not only have I been going places I’ve always wanted to go, I’ve also been tapping into all of my interests, including those I haven’t thought to tap into in years. It is so weird to me how I never allowed myself to step outside of my comfort zone and be my true authentic self. Weekends like this help me realize all parts of me make me a badass boss lady (just like my Bride of Frankenstein and my Salma Hayek pin).

I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you’re in NJ/NY/PA, you should definitely consider attending this convention if you can make it! There will be another one in the spring, but I do not know yet where it will be. I’m not sure if I will attend the spring one, but it will be fun to make this convention trip an annual fall occurrence with my friends!

Xoxo Happy Autumn loves!

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