Tag Archives: baby bunny

Steve’s letter to Santa

22 Dec

In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought I’d do my own little dance-related wishlist.  Looking back over my posts, there were a lot of things I asked for…various DVD’s, requests to choreographers to use certain songs, that sort of thing…but due to the fact that I’m one of those “in the moment” type of people who doesn’t care to remember the past and is incapable of visualizing long term plans for the future, I would like to take this time to do a Christmas list that addresses my immediate needs.

Dear Santa,

If you fulfill my requests on my list somewhat soon, I shall leave for you Der Dutchman chocolate chip cookie dough.  While I have concerns regarding your obesity, it is scientific fact that Der Dutchman makes the best chocolate chip cookies on Earth, therefore I am resorting to this most luxurious bribery out of desperation.  Forget your health…I have demands.  Needs.  Things that have to happen or my world falls apart (and not like that movie 2012, which I think is a ridiculous exploitation of apocalyptic hysteria).

First, I would like to request some kind of recorded performance of Frederick Ashton’s ‘Symphonic Variations’.  There was one, and now there is not.  I used to watch it every other week or so, for the glory of Cesar Franck and the purity of Ashton’s choreography.  I loved the whole production, and especially the costumes.  Because my routine of regular ‘Symphonic Variations’ viewings has been maliciously cut off, the undue stress has caused a couple of minor breakouts of dyshidrotic eczema on my right hand.  The last time I had such blisters was when I was in elementary school (a stressful time for all), and being without ‘Symphonic Variations’ is like trying to go backwards from enlightenment.  My body is unhappy, and its resistance is manifesting into this chronic, incurable disease, that doctors know little about and can only treat the symptoms.  Therefore it is of utmost importance that the ability to see this ballet is restored to me in some way.  I would even be happy if nothing else on my wishlist is granted, so long as this first request comes to fruition.  Things just won’t be the same until we are reunited.

But…I said I had “demands” and “needs.”  I am therefore bound to writing multiple requests to reflect the aforementioned use of plurals.  My second item is a video of Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev performing the ‘Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux’.  I know she has performed it before (at the International Ballet Competition in Luxemburg) so it is surely in her repertoire.  Unlike many other Russian ballerinas who seem to struggle with Balanchine-speed allegros, Natashenka moves like lightning and really, I mostly want to see her leap fifty feet into the air and land in a fish dive when her partner catches her.  Strong he must be…but capable she is.  And I’m loving on the growing partnership between her and Ivan Vasiliev.  He’s grown on me a lot recently and I like his rawness, but sometimes it’s the “flaws” draw me to a dancer because it almost highlights what they do well.  He’s proof that great dancing isn’t about who has the biggest splits and all that nonsense.  I laughed when I read he thinks his height is a flaw compared to the limby, gazelle-men we often see in ballet and he measures himself everyday, a short man complex if you will, at an “unfortunate” 175 cm (5’9”).  I’m thinking “child, you don’t even know short” (and he is a child…just a baby bunny at a spring green twenty years old!).  He’s still taller then I and I have the gangly limbs…like a deer in an awkward adolescent phase, doomed to never grow out of it.  Except he can do 21 pirouettes (his record…I can’t even visualize how that happens) while I…cannot.  At any rate, I love their energy, and would love to see them do the ‘Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux’ which I’ve decided (at least for now) is my favorite of all the grand pas.

Also, this is kind of a strange one…but Santa; I need some help writing a libretto.  Well, maybe not actual help writing it, but I have a top sekret one in mind that I’m doing some research for, and it would be awesome if it were successful someday.  I think it’s bizarre that one would write a libretto in their spare time and I really don’t even know how exactly it’s done, but I’m doing some reading and hopefully I’ll come up with something of interest.  How it gets into the hands of the right people is another matter altogether, but it’s something I’d like to do.  I’m not the kind of person who can necessarily envision specific choreography, but I do have an abundance of ideas swirling in my head for ballets I would like to see…so why not write a libretto?  I could always use more strange hobbies.

And now for some miscellaneous smaller, important wishlist items:

I would also like to request that people start filming a prima ballerina besides Svetlana Zakharova.  Egads, she gets everything!  Some of her performances I’ve seen online have left me indifferent to her dancing, and I get the feeling that without the hyper extensively extended hyper extension she’s a dancer with less substance than others.  I’ve been wanting to watch ‘The Pharaoh’s Daughter’ for a while, but the only DVD available is of her, and I’d really prefer someone else (but it’s a ballet that has little chance of being released again.  I think only the Bolshoi stages it anyway).  It would just be nice to see a little more variety instead of shopping online for the “not Svetlana Zakharova version.”

I also have my eye on the black New York City Ballet tote bag.  I carry a lot of crap sometimes and I’m all for more opportunities to shout from the rooftops how much I love ballet.  While not the most extroverted of people, you can bet I’ll talk a stranger’s ear off about ballet given the opportunity.  Other companies make these pink monstrosities…leave it to New York to do something simple and sleek in black.

And finally, I would really like to just take class, all the time, all day.  Perform?  No.  Just take class and soak in the learning like a sponge.  After being inundated with the philosophy that academic learning is always the first priority, I’d be happy if the only learning I ever do from now on was in the physical realm.

That is all; give me a sign when you’re ready to make things happen.  I promise I’ve been morally sound this year.

Love,

Steve

No rabbits, no olives. What’s the journey of the pelvis?

16 Sep

Last week I said I was reading Carlos Acosta’s biography, and it was true.  But I was on page six.  However, last night I felt compelled to read much more and got through about a third of the book.  I have to say he’s actually quite funny, although I wasn’t entirely sure whether he was intending to be or not.  Maybe I have a sick sense of humor, but stories like the one of his dad teaching him how to ride a bike by putting him on it and giving him a hearty push so that he would run into a lamppost each time until he would eventually figure out how to avoid the lamppost…so much funny.  But he was so traumatized by the event, I feel guilty for being amused.  Or how traumatized he was by his parents cooking his pet rabbits for dinner, which at first, I gasped out loud because I was horrified by the thought, but then I kind of chuckled out of pity for little Carlitos and the bunnies (to this day, he has never eaten rabbit meat since).  I guess I relate to his childhood traumas in a comical way because humor is how I deal with mine.  I’m still terrified of and can’t watch The Goonies or E.T., and I’m okay with and might even enjoy the fact that people get a kick out of that.  Or how I could not reason with myself into eating black olives because when I was little, my parents took me to Pizza Hut and I completely freaked out when I was sure I saw an olive move.  They looked like the little beetle guys from Super Mario.

For the record, I have as an adult learned to eat and appreciate black olives.  Sometimes I still balk when it comes to pizza, but I think I've conquered it.

For the record, I have as an adult learned to eat and appreciate black olives. Sometimes I still balk when it comes to pizza, but I think I've conquered it.

He also has some good, what can now be termed “FML” moments (acronym for “f my life” for the blissfully unaware), like one time when he was playing hooky from ballet school (at one point he said he made a “compromise” with himself and would only skip school one week every month, instead of all the time), fell asleep on a pile of leaves by a lake and woke up to find that a bird had shat on his head.  Or a childhood game he and his friends invented, where one would throw a stick in the mud, the goal of which was to throw it in such a way that it would be standing up straight, and if one managed to achieve such a feat, the loser would have to eat a ball of mud.  It got better when he was also playing this while skipping a performance, and because his friend wasn’t convinced that Carlos had won, started wrestling with him in the mud.  The good part was when his teachers came by in a black car, abducted the muddy little Carlos and dragged his behind back to the school for the show (in which he was to do a mazurka with a girl he had a bit of a crush on), reprimanding him the whole time and literally flinging him into his costume and throwing him onstage.  I live for this kind of stuff.  There are definitely a lot of raw, gritty and difficult moments so far (where I am in the book he hasn’t even left Cuba yet), but it’s proving to be a really entertaining read.

Any whozoozle, as you can probably tell, I haven’t been to a dance class for a few weeks now, and it is slowly killing me on the inside.  It’s not there aren’t options, it’s just that I’m at a point where so many things in my life are up in the air and as a result I can’t squander the remains of my funds.  I might have to start going at least once a week though, because my soul is withering away, but while it does I survive on late-night dancing by myself like no one’s watching and memories of good times.  In fact, yesterday while YT-surfing, I found in a “related video” a dance by Adriana Durant, who now teaches at Ohio University.  SMALL WORLD.  She was one of the teachers I had at OSU, and…well, this is difficult for me to say, but I took hip hop with her.  I will rarely, if ever discuss hip hop in this blog, and not because of any ideas of it not being “legitimate dance” or anything like that I assure you.  It’s just that the thought of me and hip hop is pretty horrifying because that’s how bad I am at it.  My brain isn’t wired to understand it very well, and I’m not exactly into that kind of music either (Off topic, but Acosta started as a little break dancing kid.  Who knew?).  But it is fun to try every now and then, although for me, I’d be happy if I could take a hip hop class maybe…three times a decade.

The dance of hers I found was Jane and Wayne, a piece I actually got to see live while she was at OSU (although I don’t know if that’s where it was originally choreographed) and it was really cool to see it restaged for OU.  (For the record, people outsiders get Ohio State University and Ohio University confused all the time.  In fact, a lady I edit translations for intended to go to Ohio State, went through the whole application process and everything, and it wasn’t until after the unexpectedly long bus ride from the airport that she arrived in Athens, Ohio and thought to herself “I don’t think I’m in Columbus” and was welcomed by the orientation staff as one of Ohio University’s newest bobcats.  True story.)  I don’t think Jane and Wayne had a plot, and she typically does plotless dances to music, oftentimes incorporating an element of humor, which of course I loves.  In Jane and Wayne the audience always laughs at the end, but unfortunately you can’t see why in this particular video (priceless facial expressions).  It’s just a really fun piece that maintains the audience’s attention.  Unspoiled by messages or storylines, it serves as a conglomeration of peculiar movement that draws in the eyes and asks the brain no questions, takes no prisoners.

I did have a chance to take a modern class with her at the beginning of the summer when she did a workshop type thing at Columbus Dance Theater, which was a lot of fun, albeit painful.  First, I hadn’t done modern in a long time and modern is not my forte.  In fact, every time I’ve taken a modern class I always seem to hurt myself.  Hers in particular had some inversions and my elbow cracked, which it does a lot but on rare occasions it’s the kind of popping that hurts.  It didn’t feel good the next day and my sides were so sore it hurt when I laughed.  Second, her choreography is just plain hard.  But she’s so creative, supportive and non-judgmental it really is a pleasure to work with her.  She’ll say things like “I’m all about the journey right now, like the journey of the pelvis from here to there.  What is that?” to which I can only shrug my shoulders and say “I dunno” while internally thinking “let’s find out.”  I miss her, and her stories…like one where she told us about choreographing a dance in high school that included her, her sister and a group of friends and at the very end they were supposed to all jump up with jazz hands or something like that, except before the actual performance she told everyone except her sister to stay down instead.  It was mean, but so damn funny.

In other, completely unrelated news, last night I happened upon a video of 12 year old Derek Dunn, who I’m sure many ballet people are already familiar with.  He won the 2008 Youth America Grand Prix junior division with a Flames of Paris variation that was ridiculously good.  There’s a video of him doing it another competition too, and I like the commenter who wrote “12 my ass.”  It’s clear though, that at twelve he already knows how to connect with an audience, has wonderful eye contact and some extra gas in the tank that has a dusting of Soviet.  Companies must be salivating at the prospect of snapping this one up, with his enormous talent and Baryshnikovian head tossing.

HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING ABOUT ME?!?

7 Sep

I’ve been reading Kristin Chenoweth’s autobiography A Little Bit Wicked (along with the actual book Wicked, Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country and Carlos Acosta’s autobiography No Way Home.  This is when it helps to have multiple personalities).  Actually I’ve been listening to it because I got the audio book (come on, with that voice how could you resist?) and although I keep falling asleep while listening to it and sometimes wake up five chapters later, her stories only reaffirm the things I love about her.  And I’m not just talking about my affinity for short women with zesty personalities.  From my favorite celebs like Miss Chenoweth and Amy Sedaris, to many of my bestest of friends who approach a Sylph-like five feet tall (one of whom insists on being 5’1” when we all know she’s 5’¾”.  It’s not like it’s anything to be ashamed of!) .  I have my rage-filled Nacho, sweet sweet Totos, quasi-wife Erina, true-blue Aussie Aiko, and my bestest bestie Arika among others.  Of course I have tall friends too…I’m no heightist, but there is an uncanny (some have said “alarming,” whatever that means) pattern, but did anyone stop to consider that maybe it’s the other way around and they’re the ones drawn to me?

Anyway, it’s a hilarious and inspiring read, and I bring her up here because I’m officially promoting her to slot number one in my pantheon (previously occupied by Amy Sedaris, but never absolute).  Turns out (no pun intended), like many little girls, Kristin was very much into ballet, which her mother apparently felt was an “odd but basically healthy pastime.”  Unlike the girls that didn’t pay attention in class or put in lackadaisical efforts, she was one of the few who hung onto her every teacher’s word.  She doesn’t go too far in-depth about how far she got or how good she was, although she did tell a story about how she single handedly saved the Tulsa Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker when cast as a bunny, she hopped across the stage in character (which she described as a “Victorian Tchaikovsky bunny on Christmas Eve, with Stanislavski devotion”) and put a fallen piece of Christmas greenery into her mouth, carrying the hazardous material offstage so no one would slip on it and then returning to her place.  The then director, Moscelyne Larkin who Kristin is sure to mention was an original member of the Ballet Russes, praised her with a “Brava!”  Clearly, she knows her stuff and would watch dance specials on PBS and read everything she could find about ballet and dance, also idolizing fellow part Native-American Oklahoman, the legendary Maria Tallchief.

I guess it’s not a complete autobiography so much as it is a collection of anecdotes from her life, because she only briefly mentions taking tap, jazz and modern classes when it seems she was actually much more proficient than the book would lead you to believe (the only other dance related story was of her in college performing at an amusement park during the summers, and when she did a “high-kick-fall-into-the-splits,” her character shoe slipped and she did what she calls “the cooter smash,” fracturing her tailbone and apparently giving her the ability to predict the weather from down there).  She discusses in the book, several times, her short lived sitcom Kristin which basically nobody knew about.  Although NBC had bought about a dozen episodes as a midseason replacement, it got pushed into the summer and not only that, it changed timeslots every week and they only ended up showing half of the episodes.  I think it would’ve been impossible to try any harder to make that show even more invisible than it was.  Anyway, even though the last half of the thirteen episodes never aired, somehow someone has put all of the episodes on the tube.  It’s absolutely hysterical, and is completely “her.”  She even gives snippets of her opera background, singing Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen from The Magic Flute.  This is like the equivalent of some actress busting out some castanets and doing the Act I Kitri variation right before the punch line is supposed to be delivered.  Impressive stuff.

However, ‘tis the dance I must draw your attention to, and one of the best scenes is the catalyst and opening of the show, where as an aspiring actress from Oklahoma, she fails to get a job at an audition.  The audition is a little tap diddy, and we get a rare glimpse at her doing a pretty substantial tap number.  Perhaps she does more tapping in some of the Broadway shows she’s been in (apparently one time her and Idina Menzel started doing a tap dance onstage in Wicked because a gel on the lights was burning and making noise like a jackhammer and they could only wait it out), but again, I’ve never been to New York.  Anyway, this scene really needs to introduction and is the quintessential epitome of “You dance funny.”

“Mistake or intentional…you’ll never know.”

Words to live by.  Be sure to watch full episodes on the tube (user above has episodes 1-6, and you can find 7-13 here) and give her book a whirl.  You won’t regret it!  (If you’re curious, the title of this entry came from episode 5)

MASSIVE review of “The Turning Point” (1977…before my time)

15 Jul

Another movie review…this time, “The Turning Point” starring Shirley Maclaine, Anne Bancroft, Leslie Brown and Mikhail Baryshnikov.  By the way, I hope these movie reviews aren’t annoying…but please understand two things; number first, I didn’t engage the world of dance until a couple of years ago so all of these movies are still new to me, and second, I currently have waaaaay too much time on my hands and a fantashtik local library with a good (free!) selection.  In addition to “The Company,” I watched “The Red Shoes” a few months ago, and have “White Nights” on reserve.  “The Red Shoes” I don’t think I’ll be doing a review of (for now)…I’ve already forgotten many of the finer details, and I actually found it difficult to follow and really intense.  In other words, I’m pretty sure I’m too dumb to get that movie…but it was an interesting one nonetheless.  The drama and history of the whole Diaghilev and Ballet Russes era is one that I just barely scratched the surface of, and to those well versed in the history, it probably holds more significance (meanwhile, simpletons like me were hoping for a “Wizard of Oz” ballet…I’m an idiot).  However, I am starting to do a little research and such here and there and I really like “The Firebird” (one of my favorite Stravinsky works of all time), although there are parts that remind me of trippy Russian cartoons.  If you’re an Ohio State student and have ever been to Hagerty Hall (which is the foreign language building), the café on the first floor has several television screens that broadcast channels from all over the world, and sometimes there would be these DE-ranged Russian cartoons with lots of swirling colors and monsters that would continually morph into other monsters.  Your guess is as good as mine.

ANYWAY, so back to “The Turning Point,” I was really annoyed by the very first scene in the movie, which features the corps in the Kingdom of the Shades scene from La Bayadère.  It’s the famous moment where the shades are descending the platform contraption in a linear fashion, and pause to hold an arabesque.  I believe it was ABT that did the dance scenes for the movie, and the arabesques from those ladies were a hot mess.  The whole point of the corps, and especially that scene is to have all the arabesques completely identical, creating an illusion of eternity…like if you’re standing in a mirror while holding a mirror you get that infinite tunnel effect.  But some of those ladies were either too indulgent or just went to the arabesque they knew out of habit, and what you get is the same effect that the portrait of Stephen Colbert at the Smithsonian American History Museum produces:

Note sloppy corps...

Note sloppy corps...

But corps aside, I really loved this movie.  No other ballet movie shows so many variations from the big ticket classics, while this one has the aforementioned scene from La Bayadère, the slave Ali variation from Le Corsaire, pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty, pas de deux from Romes & Jules, selected scenes from Swan Lake and Giselle (now I know why Jess had us do 685047880546 entrechat quatre on a diagonal, which seemed like torture at the time), and everyone’s favorite grand pas de deux and coda from Don Quixote.  Baryshnikov, or “Misha” as one should call him in order to appear as though they can mingle with ballet’s most knowledgeable elite, is something else.  A gracious partner, superb technique and an uncanny ability to really connect movements in a phrase rather than a series of steps.  I do think Misha likes to throw his head back just a wee bit too much (some call it expression), and I find his pirouettes to look kind of crazed and almost too tight…he doesn’t exactly make them look easy, even if he is reeling around ten of them.  He’s a little pumpkin dynamo and deserves the praise he gets, but I have a tendency to be less enamored with people who are full of themselves.  For him to be playing the skeezy, womanizing Yuri in Turning Point, and many years later to also play a stuck up, arrogant character again on Sex and the City (a show that I feel has set women back 25 years), just makes me feel like his acting had to be drawing on real experiences if you know what I’m sayin.  But I shan’t criticize further…because in the end he is an epic dancer.  I just choose to worship in the church of Acosta (who I believe is substantially taller, making his ability to move with impeccable technique even more impressive to me).

Meanwhile, I have to say that Anne Bancroft played a very convincing withering ballerina.  For someone with no dance background, she certainly picked up on how to carry herself.  11 Oscar nominations for the movie was a little much, but I dig Anne’s portrayal of Emma.  There’s a scene where she even throws a drink on DeeDee (Shirley Maclaine), which was totally improvised so you know Shirley was surprised, and what a genius moment that was.  DeeDee is an obnoxious, whiny character who is always blaming others for her problems, and Maclaine did a great job of making me dislike that character.  But back to Emma, apparently Audrey Hepburn was even offered the role, which she turned down and was quoted as saying that that was the one she regretted not doing.  Sucks to be her…or not.  Anyway, Emma was probably my favorite character, and replace her 3 Yorkshire terriers with malteses, subtract the illustrious ballet career, fabulous New York apartment, and I’m thinking that’s where I may be when I’m in my forties.  I should be so lucky, no?  But muchitos kuditos to her and Shirley…a two “Venga!s” up for the both of them!

Anyway, a definite must watch for all ballet fans, and a particularly good one for non-ballet people too, since it’s a crash course in the classics.  Leslie Browne is an adorable little baby bunny, unseasoned at the time and did well for herself as an actress too.  And how can anyone not like her as a drunken corps member in Giselle? *cough* Gelsey Kirkland *cough*  Or her ridiculous Russian/Soviet persona she assumed in the bar to get drunk in the first place?  Clearly, she and Nikolai Alexander Vladimirovicherov could have an interesting conversation or two over vodka and caviar.  Like some of my favorites from the movie:

Favorite performance:

Lucette Aldous (Australian Ballet principal dancer) as Odile in the Black Swan pas de deux.  Totally sinister and saucy.

Favorite quote:

Michael: Little Arnold’s ambivalence is showing…

Arnold: Don’t get bitchy, Michael.

Michael: I’m not referring to your sex life.

PS. Michael is loosely based on Jerome Robbins.  Stephen Sondheim once said that the 2 things Leonard Bernstein feared were God and Jerome Robbins. ::snicker::

Other favorite quote:

Emilia: What happened between you and Michael?

Emma: Oh…um, priorities.

Emilia: Oh.  He liked boys better than girls.

So brilliant, so fabulous.  And to conclude this marathon entry, I leave you with the funniest pictures I could find that had anything to do with this movie…(actually, the only pictures I could find)

Director Herbert Ross joins in on the fun.

Director Herbert Ross joins in on the fun.

Courtesy of www.sleeveface.com.   Be sure to check out their site for more hilarious sleevefacing.

Courtesy of http://www.sleeveface.com. Be sure to check out their site for more hilarious sleevefacing.

And a quick note to my readers…I see that I’ve had a reader in Brazil!  Youdancefunny has officially reached its third continent, and I feel crazy honored.  So thank you ALL for reading, and I hope my blogging efforts are entertaining for you.  Feel free to complain or slap me if they aren’t.

Emeralds and Rubies and Diamonds! Oh, my!

21 Jun

Prepare yourself for a scattered entry with miscellaneous thoughts:

I forgot to mention that in Le Corsaire, Volchkov did these INSANE assemblé to grand plié, and effortlessly exploded upwards into a huge sissone.  That was crazy impossible, although someday if I’m bored and there are no people around as witnesses, I might try it for funsies.  If no one’s watching, what’s the worst that could happen?

Also, I didn’t mention anything about my last day at the Columbus Summer dance festival, since I was in a hurried and flurried rush to pack and get to the airport to fly to DC, but as for class that morning, nothing really out of the ordinary happened.  I’m sure you get the picture…attitude turns and “venga!” as usual.  Although Marden did finally tell us that “venga” means “come on” in Spanish.  Did I ever mention that he calls the accompanist “maestra” and asks for things in increments of “teeny-weeny-bombini?” Like, “Maestra! A teeny-weeny-bombini bit slower?” or “Maestra! How about a teeny-weeny-bombini reverence?”  And this coming from the same man who will tell you every other minute to “Move your body! Bam-bam-bam-bam!” (The “bams” referring to every time you spot while turning.  Although I’ve never done a quad.  Intentionally.).

Next, as it was Hilary’s birthday the day after we went to see Le Corsaire, I decided to give her a ballet DVD since her love for the art only became known to me somewhat recently.  I ended up picking Balanchine’s Jewels, and I even found the last copy in all of Columbus, Ohio.  I quickly called the specific Barnes and Noble that had it, in order to stake my claim and ensure that it would be mine to buy but they told me they didn’t have it.  Their website said they had it in stock so undaunted and determined, I called again the following day and lo and behold the bookseller found it after some searching and voila!  After this epic retail journey I thought to myself I deserve to say that I had found the perfect gift.  And then at dinner before the ballet she told me she was not a fan of Balanchine and felt his style is overrated. OH. BILLY. ELLIOT.

Panicked, I realized my options were to give the DVD as is and claim that because I had no knowledge of her lack on enthusiasm for Balanchine, it was an honest mistake.  Although, after looking at one of the gift shops at the Kennedy Center, I found that they had a lot of DVD’s for sale and was very close to purchasing a the Kirov production of Don Quixote (no ghosts, if I recall correctly although there is a dryad scene).  But this was just a few minutes before the show so I thought I’d give myself a minute to think about it.  I even thought of coming back the Kennedy Center in secret the next day if the gift shops were closed by the time Le Corsaire was over, but they were indeed open anyway.  However, the gift shop on the lower level had a more varied selection whereas the gift shop on the main floor did not.  They had Swan Lake (ghosts, enchanted forests, a definite no-go) and one copy of Baryshnikov’s Don Q, which for whatever reason I wasn’t as enthusiastic about buying.  Running out of ideas, I ended up telling Hilary I bought her Jewels, which spoiled the surprise but perhaps dampened the blow of the thought of having to own Balanchine choreography.  So I just told her if she didn’t like Balanchine’s style to just ignore Rubies, and only watch Emeralds and Diamonds.  So 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, and hey, no ghosts or enchanted forests right?  (What are they officially? Wilis?)  In the end, I’m glad to say she was happy with the gift because she doesn’t own any dance DVDs, and something, even Balanchine is better than nothing!

And last, but not least, in the interim of being here in DC I of course investigated some adult drop in classes, this time at the Washington Ballet.  Now, I have NEVER danced anywhere besides Ohio State, so I was prepared for a traumatic and terrifying experience.  Not because of anything Washington Ballet would do, just because I can’t ignore my natural tendency to freak out in new situations.  And of course there were a bunch of girls who were amazing, with gorgeous lines (although one had some severely winged scapulae…yikes!) but there were adults at various levels too so I really had nothing to worry about.  It’s a good experience to dance at different studios and learn different exercises and combinations, and I suppose meet new people.  Although, this morning there was a guy I had a brief conversation with who actually went to school at Oberlin in Ohio (and it really isn’t everyday you meet someone who knows Ohio outside of Ohio) and seemed to be a perfectly nice person, but again, I freak in new situations and rather than see that as an opportunity to meet a new person I ended up leaving without even introducing myself.  I have some serious issues and a curious, but skittish mentality like a baby bunny.

What I’m trying to say is, in dance, allow yourself to meet new people.  You obviously have something in common and it’s a great opportunity to just connect with kindred wilis.  Trust me when I say you don’t want to end up fickle like me, and then 5 minutes later when you’re walking down the sidewalk realize you should have at least said “My name is Steve(n).”  It’s almost embarrassing to think that I need one of those name tag stickers, as a fully grown (in age, but not in stature) adult.