Off to Run!

nj marathon

I’m off to the Jersey Shore and couldn’t be more excited! Tomorrow is the New Jersey Marathon, half-marathon and half-marathon relay, which goes through Ocean Port, Monmouth Beach and Long Branch. Mal and I will be running the relay and Peter will be running the full half.

This is my first relay, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes. I’m also curious to see what my time will be. I haven’t trained enough to have a solid idea of my pace; I figured it would be around 9:15/mile, which is what it was last year, but in my last two runs with Mal, we’ve been averaging about :45/mile faster. Running together has made us push each other, but we won’t be together during the actual race! I’m wondering whether I can get to that pace on my own. (Last year, I definitely didn’t push myself hard enough. After I crossed the finish line, my mom said I looked like I was strolling through the park—and I felt that way, too! I should have emptied the tank more.)

The organizers of the NJ Marathon have impressed me very much, so far. They’ve built in many great extras to make the race more socially conscious: They’ve given out virtual goody bags (an email with freebies and special offers) to cut down on waste, and they’re holding used sneakers and canned food drives at the pre-run expo. They’ve also created special “United We Run” shirts to support Boston, with a portion of the proceeds going to The One Fund, which benefits the bombing victims.

All this is coming from an area that’s still rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

Here’s to a wonderful weekend!

(Photo via the New Jersey Marathon’s Facebook page)

Words to Live By

Apparently, half the world has already read theВ Holstee Manifesto; according to their site, it’s been viewed more than 60 million times!

I may be late to the game, but I certainly understand why the manifesto has been shared so much. The words definitely resonated with me—it’s the philosophy I’ve been trying to live by, though spoken much more eloquently than my inner monologue! Read on—and get inspired:

The_Holstee_Manifesto

Happy Thursday!

(Image via Holstee; found via Swiss Miss)

Rain Room

Here’s a good reason to mark your calendar: Random International’s Rain RoomВ is coming to PS1!

The exhibit, which debuted last year in London, looks incredible. Vistors enter a room filled with rain—but wherever they step, overhead censors prevent water from falling on them. So they’re able to walk through the downpour without getting wet, virtually controlling the weather!

I first learned of the Rain Room, last fall, when I saw these photos. Wayne McGregor choreographed about 25 hours of dance for his companyВ to perform inВ the London exhibit:

rain room

rain room

No word, yet, on whether there will be a similar dance component in the PS1 exhibit. But if anyone is interested in being my pas de deux partner, let me know—I would happily dance around the Rain Room with you!

(Photos by Sidd Khajuria via Random Dance; Rain Room is at MoMa PS1 from May 12 through July 28.)

Eleuthera Recommendations?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was exploring Cat Island (the one in the Bahamas, not in Japan!) as a possible vacation option. В Since then, I’ve changed course—just a little!—and decided to go to Eleuthera, instead. Mal, Peter, two friends and I are headed there in two weeks.

As one of our friends put it: “I’m so excited, I could cry!”

I could, as well! I am very much looking forward to a few days of chillaxin’ on gorgeous beaches, eating lots of fresh seafood and sipping rum cocktails.

We’re likely staying in south Eleuthera (and hopefully visiting Lighthouse Beach, below), and spending a day around Governor’s Harbour, in the central part of the island.

lighthouse beach

If you have any recommendations about what to see/do/eat, please share—I’d love to hear your tips!

(Photo via Discover-Eleuthera-Bahamas.com)

A Resolution to Travel?

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

This weekend, I was in Orlando for a super-fun (and successful!) work event that my group put on. While chatting with one of my colleagues there, I learned of a very cool, year-long resolution she made: Last August, she decided that she would travel at least one time each month, for an entire year.

I thought that was a brilliant idea—and actually wondered why I hadn’t thought of it, myself! She told me she came up with it, last summer, when she realized she’d gone out of town every month for the past few. She decided that she’d keep the streak going for a full year. In the last several months, she’d been everywhere from NYC and Boston to Europe. (She’s based in Orlando.) As she spoke about the places she’d visited, it was clear how much she’s enjoying keeping this resolution!

I try to get out of town every few weeks—I get antsy, if I don’t! But I’d never thought about making that a goal that I’d have to stick to. I love the idea. In my book, any excuse to get away is a good one. And it would mean I’d always have something great to look forward to, every few weeks!

What do you think? Would you ever make a travel resolution?

(Photo: The Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Orlando—I managed to snag an hour in the sun, the day after the event, before heading back to chilly NYC!)

Runners for Boston

I still can’t believe what happened last week in Boston. The attack on the marathon was so pointless, shocking and sad, and the subsequent lockdown of the city was terrifying. I can’t help but get upset any time I’m reminded of it. And I haven’t lived in Boston in years.

But I do know the city well, and one thing I’m 100% sure of is that Boston, and everyone who lives there, will get through this tough time. I know the marathon will be back next year, and thousands of people will be out in the streets to support the runners and the city, and show that they’re stronger than this year’s tragedy.

I’ve also been heartened to see all the support the worldwide running community has shown Boston, in the aftermath. And it’s not a wonder—anyone who has the drive and dedication to train for these races certainly feels camaraderie with others who do the same. (Back when I lived in Boston, and running, not dancing, was my singular focus, I’d trade grim smiles with other crazies who’d be running through the snowy paths along the Charles in the dead of winter!)

At yesterday’s Salt Lake City Marathon, runners, were given bracelets with Boston Marathon colors
Salt Lake City Hosts Marathon Under Stepped Up Security Measures
…and a several runners from the Boston Marathon, dubbed the “4:09 Group” crossed the Salt Lake City finish line at that time—when the first bomb went off in Boston—in honor of those who were killed, injured or unable to finish the race. Thousands of Salt Lake City runners signed a giant banner to show their support.
Salt Lake City Hosts Marathon Under Stepped Up Security Measures
At today’s London Marathon, runners observed a moment of silence before the race…
london marathon moment of silence
…and, in various places across the country, this weekend, runners ran for Boston.

I’ll be doing the same, in a few weeks. On Friday, the New Jersey Marathon posted this message on its Facebook page:

In solidarity with the Boston running community we are encouraging every one to wear blue and yellow on race day – shorts, hat, socks, etc. Whatever works for you! Let’s show our support with a sea of blue and yellow on the Jersey Shore.

If you’d like to make a monetary contribution, The One Fund has been set up to help the people most affected by these tragic events.В http://www.onefundboston.org/

I am so excited to do so. It’s just a small gesture, but one that sends a strong message.

one fund

Have you come across other ways runners are showing their support?

(Salt Lake City photos by George Fray/Getty via theВ San Jose Mercury News; London Marathon photo by Luke Macgregor/ReutersВ via the NY Times; bottom photo via the NJ Marathon Facebook page)

Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem

This past Saturday night, I had the pleasure of seeing theВ Dance Theatre of Harlem. Their five-night run at Jazz at Lincoln Center marked the end of a nine-year, financially driven hiatus for the company, and I was super-excited to see one of their first NYC performances.

Saturday’s program could best be described as “lovely”—a real joy to watch. It opened withВ “Gloria,” a gorgeous new work by resident choreographer Robert Garland. It was one of the most inspiring pieces I’ve seen in a while—one that I would love to dance, if I were so talented! The movement was deeply classical with refreshing contemporary elements woven throughout. During the piece, the mood shifted between melancholy and and joyous, as dancers effortlessly wove among each other, partnered up and separated. At the start and end of the piece, ballerinas-in-training, from the Dance Theatre of Harlem school, joined their more seasoned counterparts onstage—an apt metaphor for the company’s new beginning.

The next piece, Helen Pickett’s “When Love,” was a moving, athletic duet featuring Jehbreal Jackson and the ultra-talented Ashley Murphy. (My apologies to Jackson—I kept finding my eyes drawn to Murphy!) Set to Philip Glass’ stirring “Einstein on the Beach,” the piece depicted all the wild emotions that you experience in love. I especially appreciated how well the dancers conveyed the feeling that the two of you exist separately, in a world apart from everyone else.

Balanchine’s playful “Glinka Pas de Trois” followed (also featuring Murphy), then Ailey’s “The Lark Ascending” (pretty, but it felt less tight than the previous three works). The last piece of the evening, Donald Byrd’s “Contested Space,” was my least favorite. After the moving, uplifting dances that preceded, this felt like a misfit. “Contested Space” is set to a jarring, techno score and features flashy, ultra-contemporary ballet moves—overwrought developpes and the like—the type that you might see in So You Think You Can Dance. This was not a good thing. And I’m saying that as a diehardВ SYTYCDВ fan!

I’m hoping Dance Theatre of Harlem is back for good—not just because I really enjoyed the Saturday program. I also fully support what the company stands for.

Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell, the firstВ African-American principal dancer of New York City Ballet. (He’s probably best known for his В role in Agon‘s pas de deux, which Balanchine famously choreographed for him—ground-breaking, at the time, because it paired him, a black man, with a white woman.) Dance Theatre of Harlem’s mission has always been, in part, to break boundaries and prove that black dancers can perform classical ballet at the highest caliber.

Today, it’s no secret that the ballet world is still not the most diverse. In most of the classical ballet performances I’ve seen, there have been very few—or, often, no—dancers of color. And in comparison to the very diverse world I’m used to seeing every day in NYC, I can’t help but notice that. (That’s also one of the reasons that led me to take ballet at Ailey—I wanted to be surrounded by a diverse group of dancers.)

And that’s why I’m hoping Dance Theatre of Harlem will be around for many years. I’m hoping this diverse, talented company will inspire everyone who has the drive to pursue ballet to do so, no matter what their backgrounds.

(Photo of “Gloria” via the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Facebook page)