I am happy to say I am back in Los Angeles after a 2-month stint of working with the San Diego Opera! What a tremendous experience it was working with extremely talented dancers and a fantastic choreographer. Samson & Delilah was the first opera and Aida was the opera I just concluded.
Wednesday, 01 May 2013
Hello All! It has been a long time since I have blogged, but I am starting up again. I recently finished performing in San Diego Opera's production of Samson & Delilah. What an amazing experience with amazing dancers! I will be performing with San Diego Opera again in April in their production of Aida.
*Please note that discounted tickets only apply to Tuesday and Friday evening performances.
Friday, 15 March 2013
Dear Yogis, Dancers, and Lovers of the Movement Arts,
It is my pleasure to personally extend this invitation to all of you. I have been involved with the City of Angels Ballet for almost two years and what a truly remarkable experience it has been. Since the inception of City of Angels Ballet nearly 20 years ago, Artistic Director Mario Nugara has been providing selected youth from underprivileged communities in Los Angeles with professional level ballet training, shoes, leotards, and tights at no cost to the children's families. I am on the faculty at CAB in addition to being a dancer with the company. After two successful Nutcracker seasons under Mr. Nugara's artistic direction (and under the name California Riverside Ballet) we are hopeful of adding a Spring repertoire. This would provide professionals like myself with a quality repertoire in Los Angeles and allow the children from our school more opportunities to perform.
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Friday, 13 January 2012
Hello All! My apologies for the lack of fresh content lately but I have been swamped doing this! Here are some pics... enjoy!
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
'Tis the season... Experience a holiday classic and see what real ballet looks like! Watch the amazing artists (ehhm ehhhm...) of the California Riverside Ballet dance to the divine sounds of Tchaikovsky's score performed by a live orchestra.
All my regularly scheduled classes will be subbed next week. You will find me on the stage performing in the Nutcracker December 9th through December 12th. Get your tickets ASAP as the show will sell out! Click here for tickets and event info! Hope to see you there!
Friday, 02 December 2011
As a movement professional I take verbal cues very seriously regardless of whether I am the one giving them or receiving them. The ability to articulate movement to a student is the difference between good instruction and great instruction. I had many ballet teachers in my career yet only two of them were able to articulate their instruction in such a way that I immediately understood what to do with my body to achieve the desired lines. The same clear, concise and most importantly individually tailored verbal cues are necessary to proper yoga instruction. Whether you are an advanced yogi or a beginner or whether you are a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet or a ballet enthusiast, everyone needs a fresh pair of eyes. I call this the "spinach in between your teeth effect." If you have a piece of spinach stuck in between your teeth, wouldn't you want someone to tell you about? If you had your skirt tucked into your underwear in public wouldn't you want to know about it? How about if you had a piece of soiled toilet paper stuck to your shoe at a trendy nightspot, wouldn't you want someone to tell you???
Wednesday, 05 October 2011
Here's something worth waking up for: Coffee is actually good for all you! Especially for all the physically active folks! Yes, this is true; I am a yogi after all and this means practicing satya or truthfulness in every aspect of life. And to all the yogis out there who catagorically oppose the ingestion of caffeine I say LIGHTEN UP and practice what you preach, non-judgement and acceptance of factual information.
I heard about the positive effects of caffeine on muscle recovery many times but considered it an anecdotal piece of advice, but it is actually a verifiable fact. According to a February 2007 issue of The Journal of Pain, a team of University of Georgia researchers found that moderate doses of caffeine, roughly equivalent to two cups of coffee, cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48 percent in a small sample of volunteers. Another study conducted by the University of Georgia in 2003 found that caffeine mitigates inflammation in the body by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain.
Monday, 19 September 2011
Sometimes as a dancer I get tired of wearing leotards and tights all the time.. I am always on the lookout for cool gear I can rehearse in that's comfortable, breathable and flattering of course! ALO is my new favorite brand of yoga/dancewear. I love what the name ALO stands for: Air, Land, Ocean. ALO's minimal impact on the environment gives me piece of mind so I wear it proudly (and I look pretty damn good in it!)
A Few Awesome Pieces In Action...Love the material and fit!
Cross Neck Tank in Magenta/Pink Lady, sold at BeeBliss.
The thumb holes in the hoodie are great for cold weather and just looks really cool. Makes your arms longer & leaner
Studio Contrast Waist Pant (W5007R), sold at Online Shoes.
Wednesday, 14 September 2011
This past weekend I went to the IDEA Fitness Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center with a couple girlfriends and we had a blast! So many awesome products (and so many bizzare ones also). If you are a fitness professional or even a fitness enthusiast, (and especially if you are single) I highly recommend visiting the next Fitness Expo!
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
I recently watched Did God Create the Universe? the latest episode on the Discovery Channel series Curiosity. The topic was fascinating and prompted the rusty wheels in my brain to start turning. Being the philosophy junkie that I am I researched this esoteric topic further. The discussion of black holes is what really did it for me. Theoretically, black holes are regions in space where the gravitational pull is so extreme that all the particles within it are crushed together so that nothing, not even light can escape. Air, the essential element sustaining all living and breathing creatures on our unique planet cannot exist without space. Space does not exist inside a black hole; therefore neither does movement. The need for perpetual motion is shared by many professional athletes, dancers and yogis alike because movement makes us feel alive. If Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant scientific minds of our century is correct and we are in fact mere collections of fundamental particles of nature, the same particles that comprise all matter, what makes us so remarkable? The fact that we have come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is incredible! If such impressive strides in the unveiling of the great mysteries of our universe have already been made, can science ultimately piecemeal a theory for Creation or a Divine Creator? If scientific reasoning leads to the discovery of our own creation is it safe to say we are responsible for our own destiny?
Monday, 15 August 2011
Being a professional ballet dancer means taking class every day to stay in shape. If you are not under contract with a company or if you are in between seasons, it can be very difficult to find an adequate professional level ballet class to take. Living in Los Angeles makes it more difficult since the LA dance scene is more commercially oriented than the classical and theatrical dance scene found in New York City or even San Francisco. Fortunately, there are a few options for the professional/advanced ballet dancer when it comes to taking class in the City of Angels and one of them is Reid Olson's class. Reid Olson, former principal dancer with Los Angeles Ballet and soloist with Pacific Northwest Ballet, teaches an amazing advanced level ballet class at Dance Arts Academy in West Los Angeles. Expect to brush elbows with some top-notch professional dancers, but don't be intimidated because many non-professionals also enjoy taking class regularly with Reid. Reid is also a registered yoga instructor and teaches a yoga class on Thursday mornings at 9:30-11:00am before his 11:30am ballet class. Reid often teaches class at City Yoga in Los Angeles. Contact Reid for more information on his yoga schedule.
Monday, 01 August 2011
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Yesterday I decided to mix things up a bit. I took a hip-hop class. Don’t laugh! You heard me correctly! Ballerinas can groove too. Instead of trekking all the way across the city, dealing with the pre-carmageddon frenzy on the roads only to cram myself into a room with other sweaty pretentious dancers at a well-established Hollywood dance studio, which shall remain nameless, I decided to check out a new local studio. Moore Dancing Cardio Dance Studio in West Los Angeles offers a variety of classes throughout the day. Classes are basic enough for novices yet have just the right amount of groove and funk to challenge more seasoned dancers. Classes offered include hip-hop, funk, cardio dance, and more. Moore Dancing welcomes all levels of dance and all ages. Located on the second floor the studio gets a ton of natural light overlooking trendy San Vicente Blvd in west Los Angeles. The feng shui is perfect. Classes offered have uniquely funky names describing their individual sass. So if you live on the Westside of Los Angeles, be sure to grab your neon tights, sweatbands and legwarmers for Back to The Future with Matthew where dancers jam out to the funky beats of the 1980's!
Thursday, 14 July 2011
Exploring the motives behind movement is as relevant, if not more relevant, than simply understanding movement by itself. From a first person perspective, movement is a result of these three categories: pure physical necessity; the desire to entertain; and the desire to transgress (the physical). These categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, when an athlete plays a sport he or she carefully calculates movement out of sheer necessity in order to win the game. However an athlete’s motivation for movement may also result from a conscious or subconscious desire to entertain the spectators. Hence the phrase “spectator sport.” Any performance-based activity dips into the “desire to entertain” category. Yoga is no exception. Indeed yoga is an experimental and personal practice, yet it is also a beautiful form of movement that can and should be enjoyed by the voyeur. Lastly, and the most intriguing motive for movement for me is transgression. When I practice yoga or when I dance I always search for parallels between the two. In ballet, when I lift my arms up in the air to execute a movement it's as if I am transgressing the physical limitations of my own body, which (sadly) is bound by the law of gravity. Similarly when I flow through sun salutations I reach my arms up over my head "saluting" something greater than my physical self; the sun. Is the act of reaching my arms up and beyond myself an instinctual appeal to the Divine? Could the motivation for this particular type of movement signal a desire to transgress my physical limitations bound by the constraints of time and space in exchange for something greater? Surely athletes experience the same desire to transgress their physical bodies when they play sports; however, watching a dancer dance or a yogi practice sun salutations crystallizes a mental image of what movement dictated by the desire to transgress truly looks like.
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
What happens when you suffer an injury? No, seriously, this is not a rhetorical question. I am curious what all of you out there experience when your body is not well from something as minute as a paper cut or a bruise to something more serious like a broken bone. Something as minor as a paper cut or bruise can become a major annoyance. Don't you find that when you injure yourself you somehow someway always manage to hit, bang or whack the wounded area? What if the injury sustained is more serious than a paper cut? Let's say a dancer or an athlete sustains a pulled muscle or a sprained ankle, wouldn’t you agree that this type of injury is worthy of a personal "meltdown?"
People who are highly active either as a result of their profession or simply because of a lifestyle choice are gluttons for sensation. Just in case you didn’t hear me the first time, athletes and especially dancers are gluttons for sensation! The degree of pain and range of motion are barometers for how much further he or she can push him or herself physically. Whenever I manage to hurt myself (and it happens more often than I’d like to admit in my line of work) my dad always says, "Don't try it! Leave it alone!” Ahhhh... famous last words. My ex-professional volleyball player father should know better than anyone that when something hurts, when something feels off physically you have no choice but to rub it, stand on it, stretch it, tweak it, and test it out to see if it still hurts... yea, of course it still does; however, at least I feel like I am doing something beneficial for my injury by “testing the waters.” Maybe if I stretch it this way, or maybe that way it will hurt less and in order to determine if my brilliant methodology was a success I must test it out first! Duh! Ouch! Crap! Yup, my foot is still there and so is the pain. Time to R.I.C.E.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
IF IT'S NOT BROKEN, I'M DANCING!" Spoken like a true dancer. These are the words of Ryan Ramirez, a contestant on Fox's hit show So You Think You Can Dance in Season 8 after she was cleared by medics to dance at the Las Vegas callback. Ramirez suffered a bruised tailbone, which is extremely painful, but fortunately not too serious.
The professional dancer sacrifices his or her physical well being for something he or she perceives as much bigger and grander than him or herself. Is this self-sacrifice or self-sabotage? Is it simply asmita (ego), the second klesha, taking over the greater consciousness or is it the relinquishing of asmita? Perhaps it's a little bit of both. Maybe it's necessary to offer a part of yourself in order to accomplish something greater (pardon the utilitarian in me). You decide...I would love to hear what you think.
Thursday, 16 June 2011
What happens when a child falls in love with a shiny new toy at the toy store and begs mom or dad to buy it but mom or dad refuses? A temper-tantrum. What happens when an adult applies for his or her dream job and doesn’t get it? A temper-tantrum? It’s quite possible. You can take the human out of the playpen (hopefully) but you can’t take the humanity out of the human.
When things don’t go our way we get upset, frustrated, mad and stressed causing our mindset to crossover into dangerous terrain. Thoughts are the basis for emotions. Emotions are nothing more than the colors, which paint the landscape of life. I was at an audition the other day; I got a call back (that’s half the battle right there) and my performance at the call back was nothing short of “fierce” (inserting some shameless self promotion here). Indeed, I was crushed when I did not get this job. As a dancer, it’s best to avoid setting up any sort of expectations despite how awesome your performance was (yea…good luck with that); but let’s be honest, if I didn’t think I had a chance why would I throw myself into the grind yet again and even bother to show up at the audition? As I reflect on the outcome of this particular experience, I am forced to ask myself “Why am I so attached to the outcome?” The results of this audition didn’t change my life in the grand scheme of things so why the hell am I still dwelling on it?
Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Apparently to be taken seriously as a professional dancer in LA you need to be able to ice skate and/or rollerblade on top of your refined dancing abilities. I came across an audition notice for the LA Opera’s upcoming production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Initially I was thrilled because LA Opera doesn’t post auditions for dancers too often and because the audition wasn’t until tomorrow, I could still make it! My excitement waned quickly though, in fact I couldn't even believe my eyes once I scanned through the rest of the text on the page, which read: “Dancers must be able to ICE SKATE/ROLLERBLADE.” My eyes bled as I finished reading and my heart sank.What’s happening to the performing arts in Los Angeles? No, Really?! What's happening? This is an opera. Eugene Onegin was written by the great Russian author Alexander Pushkin depicting Russian aristocracy during the 19th century. This particular opera is a classical work with excerpts that call for professionally trained dancers, not Disney on Ice. This is a total degradation of the performing arts and classical works like Eugene Onegin. Not to mention, what sane professional dancer would jeopardize his or her livelihood by strapping on a pair of rollerblades?! Requesting professional dancers to bring rollerblades to an audition and skate around the stage for a work by the coveted Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky is utter humiliation. Dancers are dancers, acrobats are acrobats, and skaters are skaters. Interchanging these categories with such ease dismisses the years of training and professional experience accomplished by performing artists. My family and I were planning on attending this production, but not anymore. SHAME on LA OPERA!
ACTUAL AUDITION NOTICE FROM LA OPERA'S WEBSITE (no longer on the site becuase the audition was June 6, 2011)
*** I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.***
Monday, 06 June 2011
It’s no wonder that George Balanchine, the father of ballet in America as we know it, was such a stickler for tendus. Balanchine believed that if a dancer could execute a perfect tendu, then no step or combination of steps is unattainable. A battement tendu is a French word meaning to “stretch” or to “extend” and is a fundamental step in the classical ballet vocabulary where the foot is fully stretched so as to continue the line of the extended leg. Every time the foot leaves the ground, it has to be pointed!!! This is the 1st commandment of classical ballet! Otherwise, let's just face it...it's bad ballet. Tendus are the basis of all jumps, turns and all the seemingly effortless footwork seen in ballet. It can take years to perfect the tendu; in fact if you ask most highly trained professional dancers if they consider their tendus to be perfect they will undoubtedly reply: “Far from!”
Tendus are to ballet as tadasana is to yoga. The most fundamental asana in yoga is tadasana a.k.a. Mountain Pose. As the name suggests, the energy of this asana is strong and unbreakable like a mountain. In tadasana the feet are either together or slightly apart, the arms down with the palms at the sides of the body and the chest is lifted. It is important to keep the gaze soft by directing it at the tip of the nose to maintain the undisturbed energy generated by this asana. Tadasana is the blueprint for all postures in yoga because in tadasana the body is at its optimal alignment with the neck positioned over the shoulders, the shoulders stacked over the hips, the hips aligned over the knees and the knees positioned over the ankles. There's even weight distributed between the mounds of the big and little toes and the inner and outer heels. In tadasana the spine is maximally extended and not torqued. When the spine is elongated it allows for prana to flow through the body uninterrupted. When all the anatomical puzzle pieces fit together like this moving freely from one position to the next becomes second nature. The need to push, strain or overexert disappears and the risk for injury greatly diminishes. Additionally, when we successfully find this sense of ease in our yoga practice we can begin to pay less attention to the physicality of our movements and tap into their energetic quality. When this happens, many find it mentally soothing and therefore quite liberating.
Every sport, activity or art has its building blocks; but in my experience the building blocks of yoga often compliment those of ballet and in doing so provide me, “the ballerina,” a more comprehensive understanding of my body and a greater sense of physical awareness and mental clarity.
Wednesday, 18 May 2011