Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mass production

Okay so first off I apologize in advance for well, I guess it's going to be the next couple weeks.
My Creative Non-Fiction Writing class is over in, WOW... it's just a week and I'm supposed to have published 10 blog posts since July. Currently I'm at 5.
So in the next week I will be mass producing blog posts. Not ideal because I like to spread the love so to speak. But also it just feels, in a word, wrong. It's like getting those stock letters where your name "fills in the blank" at the top. It's an attempt at personal, but at the same time almost more offensive because it's so not.
Well I hope that these blogs don't seem impersonal or written to just "git 'er done" as my co-worker Abby would say. I hope that they actually inspire something in you whether that be laughter, thought, action, or maybe just a refreshing and much needed escape from the daily grind.

At any rate you can be sure you'll be hearing a lot more from me in the very future.
Well next up is one on hope. And then "Vacation" in Vail Parts I... well I don't know how many parts there'll be... Adventures in D.C. turned into a trilogy. But please feel free to send in requests. I'm always up for suggestions and inspiration!

Now it's off to bed. And my hotel room is hot. Too hot. And there's no air-conditioning. I hope I can sleep. Tomorrow's a big day up here at 8,000 ft! Or is it 9,000? At this point it doesn't really matter. And now I'm rambling.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Anemia among other things

Well it's not official yet, but it looks like I have Anemia.
So what does this mean, you might ask, other than bruising like a peach?

Well... it explains why I've been experiencing extreme fatigue (I've overslept my alarm everyday this week), nausea, dizziness, at times racing heart, and felt feverish and overheated. It's either that or I'm pregnant...
Bahahahahaha!!!!! Immaculate conception? I think not. Jesus is coming again but not that way, and definitely not through me... I'm no one's Mary. I wish I were, but, nope... not there yet.

At any rate, we've been rehearsing like crazy the past 3 weeks, learning 3 new ballets (Concerto DSCH, Six Dances, and Glass Pieces), remembering 3 old ones (Serenade, "Cool" from West Side Story Suite, and 3 Movements) and generally dancing full days. Being anemic doesn't make this process easy. In fact it makes it quite challenging, to put it mildly. Needless to say I get home after sweating out all the liquid in my body and collapse on my bed. Forget dinner, I just want to sleep. But no... I have to write papers. Papers on things I like to write about, but papers nonetheless. And with little energy, at times this task seems insurmountable.
"But when I am weak, then I am strong." 
But by the grace of God it somehow is accomplished. So here is a sampling of my writing (complete with photos) on something I dearly love... Enjoy!

At the home where I was raised there live two beautiful Katsura trees. I don’t think they’ve always been as tall and stately as they are today, but like two sisters standing side-by-side, utterly inseparable, they have grown and matured over the years. In truth they are the most beautiful creatures I’ve ever beheld. Their slender bows and branches remind me of statuesquely toned arms – neither bulky nor brittle – outstretching in all directions. Dressed in a graceful green leaf sequined gown that flutters and shimmers with the passing breeze, these sisters ever so faintly exude a perfume of burnt sugar that entrances and allures.
These ladies, these trees, have taught me so much about beauty- true beauty.  You see theirs is a beauty that’s 100% natural. They don’t starve themselves to maintain a waif-like silhouette. They don’t kill themselves with hours of exhausting exercise all in the pursuit of the perfect “bikini body.”  They don’t paint their faces with pounds of make-up to hide unsightly blemishes, and they don’t dress themselves in the trendiest garb in order to fit in. No. These exquisite ladies are true to themselves – true to who God created them to be. Comfortable in their own bark they exude peace; they radiate joy. Can you imagine if instead of wanting to be their gorgeous selves, these Katsura trees tried to be a towering Redwood or a billowy Willow? It sounds absurd doesn’t it?
And yet how many times do I wish I were somebody other than myself? How often do I strive with all my might to be beautiful, as if it were some elusive thing I had to wrestle, beat into submission and then squeeze myself into? Unfortunately, this is how I see beauty. But the sister trees live beauty very differently. They are beautiful. Even in the winter, stripped of their green sequined gown, I have never seen anything more breathtaking than their bare snow laden branches. Beauty just is. No striving necessary. It doesn’t come from a number on a scale or from the clothes we wear, but rather it’s knit into the very fiber of our being, at the heart of every created soul.
I am beautiful. Period. The Katsura sisters taught me this.

These are the sequins I was talking about... 

 Bare branched and beautiful!

Their snow-laden bows remind me of ladies wearing elegant elbow-length white gloves. I wonder what black-tie party they're going to?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Adventures in D.C. Part III - Final installment

I have a headache.
It's now past midnight, I haven't finished writing my paper, I'm hot and I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with me... No, seriously, I'm going to the doctor on Friday.
Needless to say I shouldn't be writing on my blog right now I should be going to bed.
Don't worry this too will happen soon.
But I had to post something.

So D.C. the final addition...
What didn't I tell you?

Well the best and biggest surprise (other than actually getting to go to D.C. in the first place) was that my lil brodder Bear-Bear came down from NYC, enduring a nightmare bus journey, to see me perform on Saturday night. What an awesome gift!!!! I love spending time with my bro! We have so much fun together.
After the show we met up with some friends of his for an excellent dinner at which point we parted ways, but fear not! He met me at 10am sharp for brunch the next morning in Georgetown. And boy was he looking sharp... But then he always does.
We ate at the most amazing little Austrian "Kafe," that was tucked away off the main "M" Street drag: Kafe Leopold. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
The menu is extensive, and everything not only sounds amazing, but looks amazing, from their salads to their desserts. The hardest part is deciding what to order.
Well having scoped the place out earlier (I had lunch there) one item on their breakfast menu intrigued me. I had to order it.
Described as "Scrambled soufflé with plum-compote and currants," Kaisershmarrn mit Zwetschgenroster was, well... I think the photo below can tell you how I, or rather my taste-buds felt about this particular culinary masterpiece.
At any rate I got home and tried to re-create this by scrambling vanilla soufflé batter with currants on a grittle. Yeah. Not so much... I should have just googled the Austrian name for the actual recipe instead of creating my own. Whoops.
So below are some photos of Bear-Bear and Sika (that's my brother and I for those of you who are unfamiliar with our nicknames) in D.C. Maybe when I'm not so tired I'll find that recipe, or perfect my own and share it with y'all. But for the time being you're just gonna have to eat at Kafe Leopold. Sorry you West Coast folk...

Yep. I always order the best thing on the menu...

Thanks Bear for the wonderful surprise and I can't wait to see you in a week!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

... all dressed in white....

Here comes the Bride... All dressed in white... doo dah de dah, do do dah, de de dah....
Does anyone actually know how that song ends - like the lyrics? I remember singing it as a little girl when my friends and I played dress up.
You know... One of us would be draped in a white sheet with a smelly dandelion bouquet and the other would either be the pastor, the bridesmaid, or if we couldn't wrangle my little brother into being the groom... Yeah. I think you get the picture. I feel like I rarely was wearing the sheet... But I still don't know the end of that stupid tune.

Anyway, last week it was my dear friend Corene DenHerder's turn to wear the sheet - the real sheet. And she looked so beautiful!
In general, as a single person, weddings can either be depressing or inspiring. This wedding was definitely the latter. Miraculously it was an absolutely gorgeous day - there wasn't a cloud in that endless blue sky; a miracle considering that this is the Northwest, and also that just 2 days before it was one of the coldest 4th of July's I can recollect. And apart from the DJ forgetting the best man's name right before the toasts, he actually played some killer songs! I was dancing even before the dancing began.

But what really set this wedding apart for me was the story of the bride and groom - how they met, how they dated and how they love each other. Having been in a Discipleship group with Corene for years, I have known how patiently and persistently she's been praying for her husband - but not from a heart of desperation, but full of peace and assurance that He had someone out there for her that He was preparing. And man did He do a great job! Their relationship is an example to me of not only answered prayers, but of the Lord's perfect provision and perfect timing.

So cheers to you Mr. & Mrs. Repnik aka Dave and Corene!!!! May the Lord bless you abundantly in this new adventure He's has you both on side-by-side, hand-in-hand. I love you guys and thanks for an incredible party!

PS - Here's a couple photos of the happy couple and this amazing day taken by the amazing Rachel Harris.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Struggles the Cat.

Today's been a hard day. I'm struggling. During Coppélia at the end of last season we had quite of few days where there were struggles. One sweet little face at work once told me that she and another co-worker of ours thought that Struggles would be a good name for a cat... Struggles the Cat. So now whenever I'm having a day like today, a day where my heart aches from the weight of discouragement and I start wondering if it's all really worth it, I name it "Struggles the Cat."
I know... it doesn't really make sense, but then again, neither do I. So there.

We started working yesterday on a new Jiri Kylian piece that I'm excited to be learning, but, well, lets just say things haven't turned out the way I expected them to... (Maybe I should go back and re-read my post on Expectations)
I find myself discouraged. I find myself frustrated. I find myself asking the Lord, "Why? Why does it always have to be this hard? I'm tired of fighting. I'm tired working my butt off and for what? When's it going to be my turn?"
I find myself wanting to go out into the hallways of PNB, and grab those little bunheads that are here for the PNBS summer course and say to them, "Run! Run far away from this! Stop while you still can - before you get sucked in to a life and a love that will only hurt and disappoint you. Save yourself!"

And then I find myself amazed at the thoughts my mind's creating. What am I thinking? What am I asking? I already know the answers to these questions...
"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
For me, as a disciple of Christ, it's never going to be easy. I know this. Jesus flat out tells me so. Guaranteed there's gonna be trouble; there's gonna be opposition. It's not wrong to desire ease, but I have to realize that this is Heaven calling me home, and I'm not there just yet. There's still work to be done. I still need to be refined. And the best way to refine something is through fire - through times of trial that break us so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body - to show that our strength and perseverance comes not from within our own storehouses but from the joy of the Lord. 

And as for those little girls sitting in the hallway looking in the studio dreaming of the day they'll be the one looking out, well who I am to discourage them from following the path that the Lord has chosen for them? Yes, it's hard. Yes, there will be times of heartache, heartbreak and discouragement. But that's just life. So often I want to save myself from this pain of rejection. I mean who wouldn't?! And the most obvious course of action is to just run away; to say enough is enough and I've had enough - I'm DONE! But then I think of Jesus and how much pain He must have suffered, how much rejection He experienced. And did He give up? Nope.
You see running away from pain and rejection is just stupid because no matter where you run you're gonna run in to it eventually. It's inevitable. So what am I supposed to do then?
Turn my eyes upon Jesus! Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. He has told me these things - that in this world I will face persecution, rejection and pain - so that in Him I might have peace. For He is victorious! He has overcome the world! Praise Him!
"Therefore we do not lose hear. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I hope this is an encouragement to those of you out there who are having a Struggles the Cat day. May you be renewed by the hope of glory that is in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Oh and here's a short youTube video of the piece we're working on... It's pretty funny so enjoy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Adventures in D.C. Part II + some...

So I know I said I would be blogging more frequently since this Creative Non-Fiction Writing class began, but, well, yeah... It's been a while. Sorry about that.

Things this week have been, odd? That's not quite the right word to describe this past week, but I lack the energy and motivation to seek out another.

So Monday marked the beginning of a new season in more than one way - but I'll save that for tomorrow's installment... After having a two week "vacation" I returned to work beginning my 7th season with PNB (hard to believe huh?!). And if this first week of the 2010-2011 season is any indication of what the rest of this year's going to look like then believe me it's going to be an interesting one! Here's just a glimpse of this week for you and then I'll do my best to sum up the end of last season...

Day One Monday: Begin learning a new ballet (that we won't perform till March...)
Day Two Tuesday: No ballet today... go to a wedding.
Day Three Wednesday: Finish learning the new ballet.
Day Four Thursday: Forget the new ballet. Remember two old ones we performed last April (prep for our tour to Vail in 2.5 weeks).
Day Five Friday: Attempt rehearsing two old ballets with a strained calf muscle. Add another old ballet to the mix.
Oh and somewhere in there I wrote a paper, did some homework, and had a dinner with an amazing lady.
But forget this week... this post is supposed to be about Adventures in D.C., not Chaos in Seattle.

So you all heard about how the performances went - what else is left to say? Because it's all about performance right? Yeah, um not.

I have to say that I do love going on tour. Aside from the perk of it basically being an all-expense paid vacation with some work thrown in here and there, it's actually really fun traveling with my co-workers as a group. I spend a good amount of time with all of them every day in the studio, but there's something different when you're out of the box. Think of all the characters from the TV show "The Office" all on a vacation together... Okay well maybe it's not that dramatic or even that funny - but it gets you thinking in the right direction.
The cool thing about our Kennedy Center tour was that the co-workers that went are dancers I don't hang out with as much on a daily basis. So it was really nice getting to spend time with them and getting to know them a little bit better.
Another great thing about being a part of the Kennedy Center's "Ballet Across America II" program was getting to see other companies perform, and meet and dance with fellow dancers from across the country. I was blessed to see two old friends who now dance with The Joffrey (an amazing ballet company in Chicago) perform - and these two guys I knew from my school days! The ballet world really is SO small!

And lets see what else happened while I was in D.C.?

Oh yeah... I was able to meet up with a dear friend who I used to dance with in the Professional Division at PNBS. We ate dinner at a cute little place in Georgetown after a day of shopping and it was so wonderful to re-connect with her and hear how God's been working in her life. She and her husband came to the show Saturday night and I was so honored to have her sitting there in the audience supporting me because it was the first time she'd gone to a ballet since she was unfortunately forced into early retirement due to a knee injury she experienced four years prior.

Don't get me wrong - I do love and appreciate what I do - dancing that is. But talking with her over dinner really blessed me. It reminded me how fleeting this career is. How one minute you could be fine and then the next minute it's all over.
I am blessed to be a ballerina. I am blessed to wake up every morning and go in to work to dance and get paid to do it! It is a job, and with every job there's always drama and politics. But I'm convinced that this is just a tactic of the Enemy to steal our joy and distract us from the gift and blessing that the Lord's given us: a job we love to do, and the opportunity to glorify Him by joyfully and diligently working at it.
But this lesson doesn't just apply to ballerinas. Do you get caught up in the drama at your workplace? How often do you gripe about your co-workers, your boss or situations at work?  Do you wake up excited to go to work, or do you dread it?
I wish my answers to these questions were different. I am guilty on all counts, and more often than I'd like to admit. But having dinner with my friend, seeing the enthusiasm she has for the new path the Lord has her on, but also the grieving process she's gone through letting go of the old one (ballet) gave me a new perspective.
So thank you Lauren.

Well I guess there's going to have to be an "Adventures in D.C. Part III." Yikes.

For now I think this is enough.
Till later~