All posts filed under: Dance

Sharing my zest to dance.

A Dancer’s Path of Guillain-Barré

What is your first response when your toes go numb? Mine was to wistfully ignore it and keep dancing. Let me set the scene. It was this August and I had just flown across the country from Seattle, Washington to Becket, Massachusetts with my dance family, Pacific Northwest Ballet, to perform for the renowned Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. I was cast to perform in all six shows that week, sometimes with three roles in one show. On the flight to MA, my toes went numb and then, halfway through the week, I started loosing sensation in my fingertips too. It is instinctual as dancers to push your bodies to attempt movements that aren’t normally feasible and I certainly wasn’t going to let my fingers and toes keep me from doing what I loved most – performing. While dancing in the final performance, my legs were out of steam. The power I was used to having in them when I jumped just wasn’t there. I was tired from the shows, traveling, and performing, but I was fine. I scheduled …

Coppélia: Then & Now

FEATURED ON THE {PNB Blog}   George Balanchine’s Coppélia is a ballet near and dear to my heart. As I rehearse for its opening in one week, I daydream about my memories as a wide-eyed 12-years-old girl dancing Coppélia. This ballet must tickle every little girl’s dreams of becoming a ballerina and twirling in a tutu on stage. In 2003, I had been cast as one of the 24 little ballerinas to dance on the New York State Theater stage, now named the David H. Koch Theater. You can imagine, I was smitten. You certainly didn’t have to ask me twice to wear the cutest pink tutu and dance alongside the company dancers – those I only dreamt of becoming one day. Believe it or not, Peter Boal was a Principal dancer with NYCB at the time I first performed in Coppélia  – we have both come a long way since! As a student chosen to be in a NYCB production, I took my role very seriously and would practice my choreography everywhere – the school cafeteria, at home, on the street, you name it. I had been auditioned by Children’s Ballet Mistress, Garielle Whittle months in advance and …

A Year Ago Today

On this day one year ago, you would have found me on the stairs in front of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA crying. Crying out of relief, shock, joy, excitement… an overflow of every emotions. One phone call had the power to cause so many emotions and subsequently change my life from that moment forward. The person on the other line was PNB Artistic Director, Peter Boal. I had spent the previous six months in limbo as to where the next chapter of my life was going to take me. However, this one call was everything I could have asked for. I had taken class with numerous companies near and far, but the Pacific Northwest was supposed to be. The best part is that I would do it all again – the auditions, the anticipation, the uncertainty – because it had taught me to appreciate everything I am given and trust that the right path will always make itself clear. One year ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt of hitting so many performing milestones at PNB: Jerome Robbin’s {The Concert} PNB World …

PNB Takes over NYC.

I am thrilled to announce that I am the newest contributor to the PNB blog. I am combining my blog writing with an internship with PNB’s Market Department and I can’t wait to see what I will learn from the amazing team. {View my first post.} This week, I will be posting about PNB’s current tour to my hometown, New York City, where we will be performing at City Center. Although the company doesn’t have too much free time, I am packing in as many activities with my family and friends as I can.  It is so good to be home! PNB is bringing two programs to NYC audiences. 1. An evening of George Balanchine‘s works. What I love about this program is the variety of Balanchine’s styles: from pure classical technique to a neoclassical leotard ballet to a story ballet. Square Dance (premiered in 1957) Stravinsky Violin Concerto (premiered in 1972) Prodigal Son (premiered in 1929) 2. An evening of Contemporary works. This program showcases the athleticism and fierceness of the PNB dancers and innovative choreography from the last decade. David Dawson’s A Million …

Seattle {Brunch} and R&J

I am slowly checking restaurants off my ever-growing list. (Thank you Jessika!) Let me tell you, Seattle has some incredible food! My lovely friends and I have ventured to new brunch spots in the Emerald City and they are too cute and too good! 1 – {The Wandering Goose} Must get: Biscuit and jam 2 – {Tallulah’s} Must get: Maple Quinoa Porriage 3 – {Plum Vegan Bistro} Must get: Veggie Slam *** PNB dancers are in the midst of {Romeo & Juliette} and our NYC tour to City Center. This is the first time I have danced and performed the work of Jean-Christophe Maillot and it is a thrilling experience. We are fortunate to have stagers Gaby Baars and Bernice Coppieters from Les Ballets de Monte Carlo with us in the studios as they guide us to the emotional level the production requires. PNB’s {Romeo & Juliette} Trailer Another treat has been watching Noelani and Leslie transform into Juliette during our studio runs. Their raw emotion and vulnerability, along side their impeccable technique, is inspirational. Article to read – {Boomerang ballerina: Noelani Pantastico …

The 2015 Perspective

Words can’t really describe 2015 for me. If I had to try, I would find a word that encompassed gratitude, joy, humbling, glee, and fulfillment. In 2015, I closed and opened new chapters on different sides of the country. My six years with Carolina Ballet have been filled with unbelievable memories, such as {In The Gray} {The Four Temperaments} {Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2}. And if that wasn’t enough for one year, I began a new chapter in Seattle as a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. I moved West with the freedom of starting fresh with all the lessons I learned in North Carolina, and after six months in Washington, I have carved a life that I adore. I am surrounded by an incredibly supportive family of dancers and staff that I feel have been with me my whole life. Each ballet and role is a challenge and I am excited by how much I am going to learn from each artist I am surrounded by each day. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a community. 3 moments …

Seattle Family

I spent the Labor Day weekend zipping to Raleigh for a short trip to be the Maid of Honor for my friend Jessica’s wedding. Although I must have brought Seattle’s rain to the East coast, the beautiful bride Jessica and her groom Logan had a lovely ceremony with close friends and family. The following day, I indulged in seeing as many of my closest friends one day could allow. The four months that have passed since I moved from my Raleigh family felt like ages – so much of my life has changed, in the best of ways. It gave me such joy to see them all happy and starting the Carolina Ballet season to a good start. The day solidified how Raleigh will always be such an important chapter in my life and holds a vital core of friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world. On my flight back to Seattle, I dove into reading the latest edition of the {Kinfolk} magazine. I adore its thought-provoking articles on current lifestyle and the beautiful artsy layout. {Kinfolk} Fall’s issue focused on family. Two …

First West Coast Weeks

I must admit that each time I see the Space Needle on my walk to Pacific Northwest Ballet, I am reminded of how lucky I am that Seattle has quickly become my new home. I am dancing into a new life, city and season. When I first took class with the company back in March, I only dreamt of joining the company. As I walked around Pike Place Market that spring, I told myself if I were fortunate enough to move to Seattle, I would buy a bouquet of flowers each week to celebrate. Here is my collection of photos from the past few weeks. The first rehearsal of PNB’s 2015/16 Season for the ladies was {Nutcracker}’s Snow Scene. As a fresh start, the company is presenting George Balanchine’s {The Nutcracker} for the first time after 31 years of the Kent Stowell/Maurice Sendak version. In two weeks, we learned the majority of the ballet and began running the Act II divertissements each day. Oh yes, {Nutcracker} in August! After two weeks, we have moved past the holiday season for now and are focusing on …

New Chapter in Seattle

In the past 4 years and 50 posts here on {Zest to Dream}, you have share my experiences in North Carolina as I began my journey as professional dancer. From the numerous premieres to the countless {Nutcrackers} to the classics {Sleeping Beauty} {R&J} {Giselle}, I have performed in close to 500 shows with the Carolina Ballet in six seasons. Six years ago, I moved 500 miles to Raleigh, NC to join Carolina Ballet. The southern charm and lifestyle taught me to slow down, reevaluate and refocus my goals from the fast-paced New York City. I learned irreplaceable lessons on and off the stage, in addition to juggling my time as a part-time Ballet teacher and a part-time college student. However, there is no substitute for the incredible opportunities I gained under the guidance of Artistic Director Ricky Weiss and Coaches Debbie Austin, Marin Boieru, Olga Kostritzky and Zali Raffael. I have been given strong building blocks and a unique artistic voice that has made me eager to learn more. Today, I embark on a new chapter as I move 2,800 miles to Seattle, WA to join the Pacific Northwest …