Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A city that steals my heart: New York City

Bye Bye, New York. I love you.

A beautiful fall day in Central Park <3 class="goog-spellcheck-word" data-blogger-escaped-="data-blogger-escaped-" span="span" style="background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% yellow;">br

Love equals fall in New York
My heart aches for a city that I have all the love in the world for. I left 24 hours before this terrible storm, leaving behind a city that takes a chunk of my heart every time I visit. I hope there is less damage than expected and New York will be back on it's feet soon. I have faith. It might be the most resilient city in the world. I love you, New York.

My blog posts are few and far between, but the time has not been wasted. Fall is among us, well some of us. I feel very lucky to have spent the past two weeks in an area of the world where autumn was reaching it's peak. There are so many things I love about fall, the fashion, the food, the colors, the weather, the approaching holidays.. all heart warming things. The tones to wear are what I live for. They all verge on the edge of potentially being the grossest most pukey colors but for some unknown reason those colors are what look the best on me... (hmmm. maybe that's not such a great thing?!) Give me a baby poop green, a mustard pukey yellow, a burnt sienna any day all day and I will wear it until it's dead. The fall season of foods is a major obsession too. Throw me anything pumpkin and a spice and I will eat it until I glow orange. The perfect weather comes in fall. A kind of heavy cool that makes you tickle inside with the thought of pulling out your favorite cuddly sweater. One of my favorite feelings is holding out to use the heat because it's just that tiny bit off, and in turn you have to pull out your blanket and walk around the house with it.

New York in the fall is like nothing else. I think I have made an effort to go there on my fall layoff 5 out of the 7 seasons I have been with the Houston Ballet. It sets me off on the right foot for the Nutcracker season ahead. The cool crisp air reminds me of what is about to come.. If I were to stay in Houston and sweat in the 90 degree weather until the opening of Nutcracker, I would be a total debby downer.. "THIS ISN'T WINTER, THIS ISN'T EVEN FALL WEATHER.. WHY ARE THERE FLOWERS BLOOMING?! SHOULDN'T THERE BE A FROST!? WHY AM I SWEATING? BAH HUMBUG."

This trip in particular was something uniquely magical. My week felt like a month from the number of activities and the amount of inspiration I received. The week was laid out perfectly for everything I needed to accomplish. Every morning started off with a Double Barre that Richard Marsden created for himself when he was a dancer with New York City Ballet. He made it to build strength, maintain technique and for injury prevention. Each element is exactly what I need at this time in my recovery. I can take everything I have learned from him into my everyday life as a ballet dancer and keep me on my path back to a full and healthy recovery. The class is an hour and is exactly what it states, a double barre. You go through a very very simple basic barre set to music by Freddy Tumakaka. Richard explained the importance of timing with music during barre. Timing is everything. It allows the body to get a rhythm and build proper muscle memory. It is absolutely true. The teachers who are the most prolific in the ballet world pay attention to timing. They are VERY particular with the pianists in class and it makes all the difference in the world. After the first half of the class and you have finished your first barre, he gives you a few minutes to stretch before you begin right back at the beginning with plies through grand battements once again. The second barre is more difficult and is done at a faster pace. The first class I took I thought I was going to die. It worked me to the max but in the HEALTHIEST way. Nothing hurts, your body is warmed up in the proper way. I can't rave about it enough. 

Since that was only a barre, I needed to have another class on my agenda for the week. I was sent to Lisa Lockwood's class at Steps because of her complete attention to placement. This could not be a better thing for me. Because of my late start to ballet, I had come to the awareness that I was mimicking and faking a lot of what ballet technique actually is. And in the end is a guaranteed reason why I developed a chronic ankle injury. I feel so lucky to have had people in New York who had such a great awareness and care for me at a time that I needed it more than anything. The amount of willingness to help me in every way possible couldn't have been more apparent. They really wanted give me as much information as they could to assure I was going to be on a proper path of recovery. I have not felt this anywhere else and it feels amazing. That is what life should be. People giving other people any and all the helpful information they have. Why hold knowledge that is going to benefit someone? Wouldn't you want that for yourself? I know I do. With the proper warm up I was able to complete the entire class start to finish for the first time in nearly 8 months. I was still in flat shoes, but the fact that I got to move through space in a grande allegro was the most rewarding feelings I have had in a long time. There is finally a consistent progress that keeps me going through this insanely difficult recovery. I have hope again.

Another very supportive person in my life was in New York at the same time as me. He is constantly inspiring me to be a better happier human with his passion for music. I feel he has the same burning passion towards music as I do ballet. He invited me to go to a few shows that happened to line up perfectly with my schedule this week. The first was a CD release party for a group named Barnaby Bright. Their music was just beautifully inspired and written. They were accompanied onstage by some renowned musicians such as Ward Williams and Martin Rivas who really made the show special. It was held at Joe's Pub on Lafayette, a lovely space that feels very intimate. We got to meet the musicians after the show and they were so lovely and sweet. The following night was the second concert. It was held at the glorious Beacon Theater down the street from where I was staying on the Upper West Side. That theater is pretty mind blowing. The decor is super extravagant and not really what you would expect in an old theater. It was particularly special because it was Regina Spektor's hometown. She kept saying "HOME!". Pretty neat. You could really feel the love... She is absolutely amazing live. I sat next to an American Idol contestant, Jeffrey, whom Micheal sold the ticket to out front ;). Super fun corky dude.

The third show I got to see was without a doubt one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen. It was Pina Bausch's company at the BAM in Brooklyn. The tickets had been sold out for about a month but during my gyrotonics session earlier that morning Hilary asked me if I would like to be her date! I about passed out. Go to see the Pina Bausch company with my idol???! Yes please. Pina Bausch was a genius in her lifetime and I am confident that her legacy will live on forever. Her ability to create a two hour and forty minute ballet with only one short intermission and not lose my attention once is mind blowing. She had this ability to make the most diverse evening of movement that flowed in the most liquid way. It took you through all emotions. Bouts of hysterical laughter, moments of uncomfortable tension, lighthearted silliness, and mind blowing solo's from every person in the company. She has impeccable taste in design, costumes and music. The women wear the most feminine beautiful flowy dresses ranging from silk to velvet, each one complimenting the dancers own personality, style and complexion. The men were often dressed in slacks and suits which worked brilliantly. The music itself could have been an evening to enjoy. One fascinating element was the stage design. They were able to create a floor that throughout the ballet cracked like the earth on a fault line. The first time it happened was during a solo of Thai woman in a stunning white dress. I was so mesmerized by her movement that I didn't even notice the "Earth" had shifted into a cracked stage until nearly the end of it. The women all dance with their hair down which gives another very human and feminine quality that is quite effective. It is as if their hair acts as a visual that makes you see the circles of movement that she has created with her choreography. The company also has a perfect balance of diversity. There is an older dancer who I just felt so much love for. He did a gorgeous solo that brought tears to my eyes, there is something so warming about his complete loyalty to Pina and her company to remain dancing for that long. After seeing this performance and also the film "Pina" (which if you haven't seen yet, RUN DON'T WALK TO SEE IT NOW) you can see the devotion her dancers have to her and her legacy. So special. So beautiful.

The whole week was made even better by the place I stayed. I lucked out with the offer to stay with a Pilates instructor and her husband on the Upper West Side. It was the perfect setup, a private room with bathroom and the option of using her beautiful renovated kitchen. I even got some animal time with her three hilarious cats and 4 turtles. Another location with views of the Hudson. It also allowed me to hop straight on the metro and travel anywhere at ease. I'll miss it. Sighhhhh.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you had such a magical week in NYC -- and equally glad that I got to be part of the festivities and that you were able to go to both music events. It was really enjoyable to see Barnaby Bright with you because you obviously truly appreciated how special they are. :) And Regina.....well......she's just beyond words....

    You're a very inspiring person yourself, Jordan! :]