A Ballet Dancer’s Feet

Speaking of ballet, how striking is this photo?

I came across it in this week’s NY Magazine and immediately had to stop and read the related item.

The image is part of Ballet, a new book and exhibit by photographer Henry Leutwyler. He spent last winter with New York City Ballet, capturing intimate moments with the dancers, both on and off-stage.

Here’s what Leutwyler says about the photo:

If I had to title the picture, I would call itВ Reality and Dreams.В The footВ en pointeВ is what every little girl dreams of. The other is the hard, hard work, and the reality.

So true—and I love how this simple shot depicts that perfectly. I only started pointe recently, as an adult, and was shocked at how difficult and scary it is—and I have pretty decent technique! The fact that professional dancers work through that pain and fear and make every move look effortless, weightless and graceful is truly amazing. When you’re watching a performance, it’s easy to forget all they went through to achieve that ability.

More of Leutwyler’s gorgeousВ Ballet photos are on NYMag.com and the Foley Gallery’s site; his exhibit runs through January 6. (I’m definitely going to check it out!)

Have you studied pointe, as well? What was your experience like?

(Photo by Henry Leutwyler via NYMag)

Thankful

Is it just me, or did Thanksgiving fly by?

Though the last few days were fleeting, they were filled with so many moments that reminded me how much I have to be grateful for. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family—and ate a ton of delicious food. And last night, my parents and I attended a benefit dinner for the family of two Hurricane Sandy victims in Staten Island. Though the occasion was sad, the event garnered a great turnout; it was truly wonderful and uplifting to see how many people came together to offer their support.

But the biggest highlight, for me, was dancing in another showcase at Ailey. This time, we performed the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” from the Nutcracker—my favorite number from the ballet and a piece I’ve always wanted to dance. I’m not in holiday mode yet, but the piece was the perfect way to kick off the season. And I was thrilled—and appreciative—that so many of my friends and family came out to watch. That, alone, made my Thanksgiving! (Thank you all! <3)

The “Waltz of the Snowflakes” never gets old—I’m surprisingly not sick of it, despite hearing it hundreds of times over the past few weeks. So I’m kicking off the holidays here, too, with a clip of the Royal Ballet performing it. (Just a tad better than we did. ;)) I’m always amused at their blonde wigs!

How was your holiday? I hope you have lots to be grateful for, as well!

A Gorgeous NYC Calendar (That Benefits Sandy Relief)

A NEW YORK CALENDAR TO RAISE FUNDS FOR SANDY RELIEF

It’s no secret how much I love my hometown. So I was thrilled when I came across this gorgeous 2013 calendar of NYC images, by Jenna Park, a Brooklyn-based designer. The photos are just breathtaking. I love their dreamy feel and how they represent a variety of local places.

In a very nice gesture, 30% of proceeds of calendars purchased this month will go to NYC organizations that are aiding Hurricane Sandy victims. Now that’s definitely a reason to feel good about buying one now—especially since parts of the city are still struggling with the aftermath.

And while I’m on the topic of Sandy: Tragically, a friend of our family was one of the hurricane’s victims. Jeffrey Chanin was a retired NYPD sergeant who was killed when a tree fell through his house the night of the storm. He leaves behind a wife and four children. If you’re interested in making a donation to the family, it can be sent to The Chanin Family Fund, P.O. Box 739, PearlВ River, NY 10965.

(Image via Sweet Find Day, found via A Cup of Jo)

Off to Atlantic City!

atlantic city

I’m headed out of town for the first time in a few weeks—to Atlantic City for a friend’s bachelorette party. (Congrats, Lauren!!!)

AfterВ Hurricane Sandy hit, I’d heard the area suffered a lot of damage. The news kept showing scary images of flooded streets and a ravaged boardwalk. But since then, I’ve learned that while parts of the boardwalk and municipality were, sadly, destroyed, other areas escaped largely unscathed—including the main (i.e. touristy) part of the boardwalk and many hotels, like the Revel, where we’ll be staying.

But the area has taken a hit, financially. Atlantic City has lost an estimated $55 million in tourism from the hurricane, according to the Wall Street Journal, a combination of the casinos having to close during and after the storm, and from people canceling their plans to visit because they believed there was widespread destruction.

Now that I know the city isn’t in ruins, I’m excited to have a fun, celebratory weekend there—especially since it’ll really support the community. I know they could use it.

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Photo via Metro SHU)

The Infinite Jukebox

infinite jukebox

Do you ever get fixated on a song and listen to it over and over again…especially when you’re at work…and all your friends probably know about your embarrassing song obsession from seeing it in their Spotify feeds? I’m definitely guilty of that—especially with super-poppy or ridiculous songs. Like Beyonce’sВ “Countdown.” Or Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” (Like, ever.) Or Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen.”

So I was really amused—and wowed—when I stumbled upon The Infinite Jukebox, a project developed by Paul Lamere, a director at a music intelligence company in Somerville, MA. Its tagline pretty much says it all: “For when your favorite song just isn’t long enough.”

The program basically analyzes a song beat by beat. Then it figures out other places within it that sound very similar, where it can jump to. The result: The song can play forever in a seamless loop.

Even cooler: the Jukebox creates a pretty, color-coded diagram for each song. Every color block represents a beat and its timbre. The arcs show the different places where that beat can jump. So, as you listen, you can follow the path your endless tune takes.

Listeners can submit the music they want to hear. I loved how most of them fell into the pop/ridiculous realm: R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix),” Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And, of course, one of my favorites: “Call Me Maybe.”

What are you going to put on an infinite loop?

(Bottom three images viaВ Paul Lamere‘s blog, Music Machinery)

This Photo Made My Day

Inbound by Phrasikleia Epoiesen (Phrasikleia)) on 500px.com

Click through to get a better look at this image–it’s so pristine that it’s hard to believe it’s a photo and not painting.

Peter sent it to Mal and me this morning with the message, “Guess where this is?” I thought it looked like Lake Bled, in Slovenia. I was close; it’s actually Lake Bohinj, also in Slovenia. The three of us have been wanting to take a trip there for years, but we haven’t been able to get the timing right. Peter’s family is Slovenian and every time I go to his family’s house and see their gorgeous paintings of the country (which look a lot like this photo), I just want to pack my bags and go!

Anyway, this morning, I was running late and completely frazzled. But when I saw this photo, it immediately made me smile and cooled my nerves. Nothing like a little vacation inspiration to put you in a good mood, huh? рџ™‚

(“Inbound” image by Phrasikleia Epoiesen)

Oh, Ballet

Gif Tumblrs may have reached their saturation point, but I’m still endlessly amused by them. Recently, I discovered “Oh Ballet,” one dedicated to my favorite hobby, and had a good laugh from their entries.

Like this:

When you think the teacher finished teaching the combination but they keep going

When you think the teacher finished teaching the combination but they keep going

and this:

When somebody can pull off a white leotard

When somebody can pull off a white leotard

And my favorite:

After I tell people I’m a ballet dancer

After I tell people I’m a ballet dancer

*Sigh* it’s so true. Happy Friday!

(Text and.gif"oh ballet" href="http://ohballet.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Oh Ballet)