ballet

A Weekend in Boston: Old and New Favorites

Two weekends ago, I spent a whirlwind few days in Boston. Every trip up, I feel like I never have enough time there. Nevertheless,В I managed to catch up with a few friends and check out my dad’s booth at the New England Flower Show. I also went to a few places that were new to me, as well as some old favorites from when I lived there. The highlights:

Area 4

Area 4_coffeehouse

Area 4 pizzas
Kind of crazy to say, but I wish we had more places like this in NYC. For whatever reason, NYC has a lack of good cafes/restaurants/communal spaces to do work, in my opinion—and I say that as a blogger and former freelance writer! That’s why I was wishing I could somehow transport Area 4В from Cambridge to Manhattan. This bakery/coffeehouse/bar is located in tech-centric Kendall Square and looks the part. It’s bright, glassy and airy and has a sweet front area for laptoppers—I could see myself happily pecking away at my keyboard for hours there. It also has a back area for sit-down diners. We went for a late lunch and split a few of their delicious wood-fired pizzas. (I was especially excited about topping off our Carbonara pie with an extra egg—my fave pizza topping!)

Legal Sea Foods Harborside

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Sure, it’s cliche to go to Legals. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! I’ve ended up at various Legals during the years I lived in Boston, and the ones after, and enjoyed every experience. In fact, I look forward to eating there, each trip! This time around, we had dinner at Legal Harborside, which is right on the South Boston waterfront (conveniently close to the flower show). The restaurant has a great view of the city skyline, which, I’m sure, is even nicer in summer, when you can eat outside. And my lobster was pretty awesome.

Boston Ballet

boston ballet school

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the ”All KyliГЎn” programВ I’d hoped to see. I did manage to take a class at the Boston Ballet School, though. Back when I lived in Boston, I attended a few classes there. At the time, I thought the studios were the prettiest I’d ever seen, but the classes intimidated me! Even the advanced beginning level was daunting. But on trips back, over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed taking the open classes. I still find the studios gorgeous—they’re sunny and spacious and it’s a luxury to be in the space. The instructor, Arthur Leeth, is good—I especially like his lengthy adagios. And now that I’m no longer scared of the classes, it’s fun to just go there and dance. (Which helps offset all the eating I do in Boston!)

Brookline Booksmith

brookline booksmith

brookline booksmith

I spent my first few post-college years in Brookline for one main reason: I wanted to be close to the big Trader Joe’s in Coolidge Corner. Since I could barely afford to eat, that was the only place where I could get a week’s worth of groceries for $25. (For ALL meals—with my entry level newspaper salary, my budget didn’t allow me to eat out or order in!) Luckily, the neighborhood also had a few good restaurants, bars and shops.

During this trip, I met up with my all-time favorite dance buddy, Jackie, who still lives in the ‘hood. We had a nice brunch at Hops N Scotch, one of many places that had opened up since I’d lived there. (The breakfast biscuit sandwich was exactly what I was craving!) Before and after, I went to the Brookline Booksmith, right around the corner. I’d forgotten how much I loved that place. And how great it is to have an awesome book store nearby. The Booksmith has it all going on. It draws fabulous authors for talks and signings; displays new and recommended books in a way that encourages browsing for hours; has a rainbow-ordered wall of Moleskines (!!!); offers amazingly curated tables of.gif"area 4 fb" href="http://www.facebook.com/areafourcambridge/" target="_blank">Area 4’s Facebook page, Legal Sea Foods, Boston Ballet School’s Facebook pageВ and the Brookline Booksmith’s Facebook page)

Ballet, Cats and Other Things

First, Second and Fourth Positions

First, Second and Fourth Positions

Of all the things I came across on the internet this week, this was by far my fave: the Tumblr “Ballet, Cats and Other Things” from New York City Ballet principals Wendy Whelan and Janie Taylor. (Both, whom I’m a huge fan of.) It’s basically the dancers’ arty iPhone snapshots of, well, ballet, cats and some other things. And you know how I feel about ballet and cats. (Is required that if you’re a dancer, you also love small, furry animals?)

It’s cool to get a peek into Whelan and Taylor’s lives—especially the up-close looks at recent NYCB productions, like “Sleeping Beauty,”В “Diamonds”В and “Swan Lake.”

And, of course, the cat photos are pretty irresistible, too. I laughed out loud when I saw the one above with Whelan’s astute caption!

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Image via Ballet, Cats and Other Things)

Petit Mort

A highlight of my week was seeing Alvin Ailey during their annual December run at City Center. Talk about inspiring. Whenever I see the company, I’m reminded of how my friend/former co-worker, Ted, once described them to me: “They’re like the dance gods.”

They really are. The beauty—and power—of professional dancers is how easy they make everything look. Every Ailey dancer has that ability to a ridiculous degree. Each of their moves is executed flawlessly, weightlessly and with incredible athleticism and grace. It’s hard not to be blown away during a performance.

On Sunday, I saw a program I was particularly looking forward to. It included Ronald K. Brown’s “Grace” (a contemporary/West African/hip-hop piece that astounded me the first time I saw it performed in Boston) and, of course, Ailey’s signature “Revelations.”В В But the piece I was most looking forward to was JiЕ™Г­ KyliГЎn’s “Petit Mort,” which ended up being my favorite. This contemporary ballet has amazing, sensual partnering, as well as some playful props—you can’t help but smile when the black dress forms roll onstage! I’d love to see it again, live, but for now, I’ll have to be content with looking at these photos and short trailer:

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petit mort

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Have you seen Ailey perform? What’s your favorite piece in their rep?

(All photos via Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Facebook page)

Dancers Among Us

Yesterday, I stumbled across a post on Joycreation that made my day. It featured Dancers Among Us, a photography project and book by NYC photog Jordan Matter. He shoots dancers in street clothes in various locations around the country—but in every shot, they’re captured in the middle of a move, a jolting contrast to everything/everyone around them. Many dancers are soaring mid-air in Russian pas de chats, attitudes and jetes; you can’t help but feel a little exuberance and joy while looking at them!

I got sucked into looking at all the photos on the Dancers Among Us site, but was particularly impressed with the range of locations for the NYC shots. Some of my favorites:

luke mccollum, dancers among us

ft. tryon park, adrienne hayes

broadway

stone street

central park

lincoln center

(All photos via Dancers Among Us; found via Joycreation)

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!

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)