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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The Parlour – Durham, NC

Surprise! I didn’t think I was going to have time to blog this week, but turns out I do! And today I am sharing something I am SO passionate about. It is ice cream, and ice cream I found in Durham, NC.

As an ice cream lover, I am SO LOYAL to my chocolate and vanilla swirl soft serve in a cake cone (also known as a wafer cone). I usually top it off with rainbow sprinkles, and voilà! That is ice cream bliss for me. However, while I was at the American Dance Festival last year in Durham, I discovered “The Parlour”, which is downtown Durham’s favorite local ice cream shop, and for good reason!

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Not only do they have homemade flavors such as Lavendar-Vanilla, Blueberry Buttermilk, Salty Malty Caramel Truffle, and Coconut Cream Pie (all of these are DELISH by the way), they have Kalamansi and Blueberry flavored sorbet. In addition to these, they have vegan options like Yuzu Mandarin and even Chocolate! Among my favorites of all of their amazing varieties is their Vegan Chocolate ice cream! And I must say – it actually bumps chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles to 2nd place in my favorites book. There is actually no competition – this vegan chocolate ice cream has landed #1 as my favorite ice cream of ALL TIME!

Their vegan chocolate ice cream has a consistency between a hard ice cream and a soft serve. It is not too hard, yet it is not super soft. Unfortunately, I suffer from a lactose sensitivity, so my love for ice cream is plagued by a bought of stomach cramps and bloating, and a trip to the bathroom after eating it.

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BUT this ice cream is incredible because it is vegan so I avoid the effects of the lactose and heavy milk fats. Plus, it has such depth to it’s taste! It tastes like a serious fudge brownie, and I am able to enjoy all of it’s cold, chocolatey deliciousness without the lactose-induced bellyaches that usually follow.

I took my mom to The Parlour the day we drove down to NC together to show her how amazing it actually is. And she loved it. She ended up buying the Blueberry Buttermilk, and she tried my vegan chocolate and said it was too good to be vegan!

If you all find yourselves in Durham, North Carolina definitely stop in to The Parlour and try one of their many amazing flavors. I dare you to order the vegan chocolate and not love it! I bet you will love it so much you’ll go back for seconds! And thirds, and fourths…

I will be posting more about my food and travels throughout the next two months! Keep your eyes out – I will be dancing a lot which means I will be very hungry 😉

Until next time,

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Hello, Dolly! & Chicago on Broadway, The Meatball Shop NYC

Hello beautiful creatures!

Last week, I visited NYC three times! Twice for different Broadway shows, and once for an audition.

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

The shows were amazing, and so was the food we ate before the shows! I wanted to rave to you all about the restaurant we ate at called the Meatball Shop, and tell you how wonderful each of the shows were.

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Dad and I ordering some meatballs before Chicago!

On Sunday April 15, I saw Hello, Dolly! with Bernadette Peters. Melanie Moore, who won Season 8 of So You Think You Can Dance, was also starring in this show, so I was super excited to see the production! The day I saw Dolly, I went with some colleagues from one of the dance studios I work at. We were meeting our students in the city at the theater to all see the show! Before we went to the theater. one of my fellow teachers took us to the Meatball Shop which is on 9th ave and 53rd street Manhattan! It is so delicious I can’t even begin to tell you how yummy and FRESH the food is.

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They have a weekend brunch menu, but then they also have a menu where you can pick the kind of meat (or veggie) balls you want, what kind of sauce you want, and how you want them (just in sauce, with pasta, in a hoagie, smashed into a burger… etc.). I got the chicken meatballs “naked” (just in sauce) with fresh pesto and a slice of focaccia. I also ordered the seasonal side salad which was SO YUMMY! It included fresh lemon dressing, watermelon radishes, and feta cheese!

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The food here was so good, I had to take my dad back with me the following weekend when him and I went to see Chicago on April 22! My ticket to see Chicago was free since it was a studio trip, and luckily, additional tickets were cheap. For this reason, I bought my dad an extra ticket and had a nice day in the city with him. When the two of us went in, I ordered the chicken meatballs again and tried them in their parmesan cream sauce. I actually liked the pesto sauce much better, but it was still delicious and mixed well with the salad. It didn’t hurt to wash it all down with some cold Prosecco, either! My dad really enjoyed the food, too!

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Both shows were phenomenal, and I had such a fun time watching them! I never knew what Hello, Dolly! was about, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it. The music, choreography, costuming, and set were incredible. I laughed harder than I ever laughed at any Broadway show, and I also cried and felt super sentimental during the more “emotional” scenes. I can honestly say Hello, Dolly! is my new favorite Broadway show ever! Which is saying a lot, because previously it was Chicago!

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Chicago was different this time compared to when I saw it seven years ago (2011)! Maybe it is because I am older and understand more of the adult humor. Or maybe it is because it is a very different cast who put their own spin on the characters and the show. I don’t know which it is, but seeing Chicago again with this cast was fun because as I mentioned, it was very different from the first time I saw it. Both were great in their own ways. It was my dad’s first time seeing Chicago, and he loved it! Nothing is more captivating than genuine Fosse choreography and amazing dancers who bring it to life on stage.

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This past week was full of adventure and new beginnings. I have not felt this motivated in a while, and I am excited to see what my future holds. Adventuring around New York is becoming commonplace for me, and I can’t get enough. I am thankful to work for a studio that values giving our students immersive experiences in NYC! If you are in NYC at all anytime soon, definitely visit the Meatball Shop and go see a Broadway show if you can! If you need a recommendation, you can’t go wrong with these two 😉

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I love NYC!

Until next time 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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2016 Year-In-Review

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2016 was a whirlwind of a year. I don’t even know where to begin to describe it because I feel like the year flew past me like a speeding train. There was so much good and so many lessons that came out of 2016, and I’m as thankful for the year 2016 as I am glad it is over. 2016 made me laugh, cry, love, rejoice, pout, and count my blessings. I lost sleep and my sanity sometimes, but I also found a new sense of self-confidence and a reinvigorated drive for success. There is nothing I would change about 2016 because for the first time in a long time, I feel 1000% positive I will make my future successful. I’m excited – so excited, in fact, I can barely think about anything else but my future.

Some of my favorite moments from 2016 included:

  1. Performing at ACDA
  2. Spring 2016 dance concert
  3. Memorial Day Weekend
  4. Turning 21
  5. Trip to Lake Tahoe
  6. Being selected for the Randy James/10 Hairy Legs dance ensemble
  7. Working as a dance teacher
  8. Puerto Rico
  9. Performing in a performance art installation created by Kata Mejia
  10. Halloweekend
  11. Seeing the David Parsons Dance Company/meeting the dancers and David
  12.  Presenting my senior choreography capstone at the local nursing home
  13. Seeing Avenue Q
  14. Receiving my acceptance into ADF
  15. Christmas Eve/Christmas morning

2017 is going to be a year of many changes. I will graduate college with two degrees, I will attend a bunch of auditions and hopefully land a performing job. I will find out whether or not I was accepted into graduate school, thus I might enroll in graduate school. I will travel nationally, and possibly internationally (there’s always the possibility!). I could move out to my own place or stay at home. Etc. Etc. Etc. There are so many wonderful opportunties this year is going to bring, and I am so ready for all of them!

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I hope you are as thankful for the past year as I am, and I hope your 2017 is amazing! Here is to 2017 and kicking off this new year right! ❤

*Both photos taken by my lovely best friend Kelsie*

Until next time,

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