Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnati Ballet’

It was Eric that first brought up the idea of unity being the centerpiece concept of the evening. While we were having dessert, or more aptly, not having dessert after a stop at one place seemed too rushed to be enjoyable and the server at the other forgot to put in our dessert order. It finally came and the extra wait gave us plenty of time to talk thoughts about the performance we’d just taken in – Cincinnati Ballet’s Kaplan New Works – as I mentioned yesterday. I had entertained the same thought myself here and there about unity, but something in me wanted to resist it.  I saw unity. I didn’t feel unified. It was weird. But at the same time, that’s part of what the Kaplan series is all about, shaking your tree, challenging your notions, and confusing your feelings.

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I have said this many times in conversation, and will say it again here, if you have one of those friends that got dragged to the Nutcracker once when they were eight years old and convinced themselves that they hate the ballet – it’s boring, it’s not macho enough, it puts you to sleep. Take them to Kaplan. They may revise their opinion. This ain’t your mamma’s ballet.

The performance opened with a piece by CB-staple, Heather Britt, and as it opened, I kinda sighed.  Despite the addition of vocals by the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble bringing a new aspect to the performance, the opening sequences felt like I’d seen them before in other works by Heather. I love Heather’s work and style, but I was missing the Heather of Opus 5.5 from Kaplans of years past.  However, this feeling lifted with the rise in tempo and more of the energetic Heather began to shine through the movements of the dancers.  It was also at this point I began to really take notice of the men in the ensemble.

My friends, I’ve had the privilege of watching several of the dancers in the company mature in technique and confidence over the years – and I know that the Kaplan series has taken a feminist bent over the past two seasons – but can I just say, HOLY SMOKES! The guys in our ballet company are FIERCE!!! If anyone ever tells you ballet is for girls, I wouldn’t put it past one of our male dancers to lay them out! We have some STRONG, FIERCE and TALENTED men.

*Pause to breathe.*

Okay, back to the show. Next up after Heather was a hip-hop performance by Elementz Studio Kre8tv which included spoken poetry challenging societal perception. This is the part where I could shoot myself for leaving my program, which included the spoken words, on the bar at dessert.  I LOVED this part of the performance, which had absolutely nothing to do with ballet in its technical sense, but posed the query – when we talk about ‘us’, what do we mean by that?  Us includes all the people around us, not just the ones that look like ‘us’.  Therein lies the unity. We’re in it together, but why can’t we see that? The performers were confident, and brought such high energy. Truly a BRAVE thing to throw in the line-up, Ms. Morgan.

“Fractured Glass”, by Victoria Morgan herself, I had problems connecting with. Coincidentally, this was the same piece that brought Eric to the theme of discussion unity.  To me, the women moving about the stage were ANGRY. For some reason, the He-Man Women Hater’s Club came to mind from the Little Rascals. I don’t know why. I stopped trying to explain the way my brain works long ago. But this time, instead of Spanky and Alfalfa, the women had wrestled control. The choreography seemed frustrated and angry, something about breaking a glass ceiling. The male roles in this one seemed more lyrical to me – almost like the traditional archetype choreography of aggressive men and delicate women had been gender-role reversed. And I kind of get that that was part of it, again – glass ceiling fractured, but then there was a 4th female dancer that comes out and all of a sudden everyone gets along just fine.  Like I said, and I will freely admit, I didn’t get it. Eric got it. I didn’t get it.

The second half of the series was the more enjoyable end to me.

“Yesterday, Tomorrow” by Amy Seiwert made me amused and happy. Clever from start to finishing details, it was eye candy in a most innocent way. I LOVE LOVE LOVED the music by Gillian Welch. On the iTunes list for sure! Using a simple bench prop, costumes comfortable in country church and soft slippers, our dancers looked like they were having just as much fun in the dance as the spectators were watching. I hope to see this one again in the future.

Continuing the dramatic reprieve was “Triple Play”, choreographed by William Whitener. A pas de deux in 3 parts, danced well to piano accompaniment. I liked it, but it didn’t hold my attention as much as I would’ve liked.

Finally, it was time to “SIT” with Jennifer Archibald. OH. MY. GOD.  This is where I find unity. The sultry qualities we saw in Heather’s work amplified, with the intensity of statement made by Elementz Studio Kre8v, and the clever technical work embedded in Seiwert’s piece. The struggle of Fractured Glass. All of it came together here, UNIFIED, in a way that still makes my heart jump.  First, I’ll say it was nice to see Rodrigo Almarales toeing the same line in front as Principal Dancer Cervilio Amador.  I’ve acknowledged before that Almarales has been fearless in recent performances. He is earning it. Next, can we talk about James Gilmer? How tall is that guy? WOW! (And I apologize if I’m talking about the wrong dancer, because again, program left on the bar and the ballet doesn’t put up a dancer stat page like MLB does). I point this out because it’s not common to see someone that tall in dance, that can move like that – and he could MOVE! There were a few times he could’ve kicked the moon out of the sky with his extension. Did I mention how FIERCE our guys are looking?! Anyway, Archibald’s piece just kept my heartbeat loud and passionate in my ears, pinned to my seat – for the aptly named SIT.

Kaplan will be running at the Aronoff through Sunday, September 21st. Go get your seat. 🙂

Ooooh my friends, doesn’t September have the most divine sleeping-in weather?

Windows open, chill in the air, bury yourself a little deeper under the covers and tangle up your feet with that fella next to you to warm up the toesies – PERFECT sleeping-in weather.

There is simply no way to untangle those toesies for a 5am workout alarm. There just isn’t.

In other words, I didn’t make it out to Caesar’s Creek for triathlon training. Again.

The discipline, it is lacking. Lost somewhere in the woods. For a couple weeks, I had legit reasons, but this morning – it was all Zzzzzzzz.

Instead, I’m getting some computer work done, sipping on a coffee, and watching the two dogs snooze – across two different rooms, two different dog beds, in exactly the same position.

The motivation is hard to come by today. Errands need to be done – and frankly, that perfect sleeping-in weather is AWESOME running weather too. I should probably get that done.  Also, I’m out of coffee. So that must be fixed.

And through some magical intervention, the husband and I scored tickets to Kaplan New Works  tonight!  Baseball season is starting to wind down with the Reds last road trip of the season, and while I continue to click my heels and chant “There’s no place like Playoffs!”, the timing also means ballet season is starting to wind up. Time to get the dance on! Kaplan is one of the most amazing local dance traditions – and when I was fortunate to get a preview of the performance over the Summer – it got added to my must-see list with the quickness! However, the timing almost slipped on by me. I have been a busy girl!  Gotta do some prettying up for date night and get us to the dance on time.

But first the run. Must. Get. Run. Done!

 

Friends, it’s another Yoga Teacher Training weekend – one of the last for this bit of training that I’m doing. Around 20 hours in the studio working on meridian theory, assisted Yin stretching, some Acro Yoga basics and learning all about Yoga Nidra. That’s my weekend schedule, and there isn’t much time for anything beyond that except eating and sleeping.

So, of course, my mind is also wandering to things I won’t be able to do – that are fun though I’m sure all my friends that go do them will be pining away and sighing “Oh, we wish Cynthia were here…” because that’s what y’all do when I’m not around, right? Ha!

First off, there’s this:

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which you should absolutely watch.

Cincinnati Ballet is collaborating with local band Over the Rhine for a live concert/dance performance this weekend. This has been towards the top of my ‘must see’ list since the season was announced, but unfortunately my schedule just won’t let it happen. So, you should go in my stead. You’ll only have to chair dance a little to make it believable that I’m there.

Next, there’s this:

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To which I am going and since it’ll be a whole heckuva lot of fun, I think you should come too. Provided you have a vagina. Girl’s only this time. Sorry fellas.

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IT’S RUN THE BLUEGRASS WEEKEND!!!! and of course, I’m procrastinating with the packing. Does anyone really like to pack?

I’ve already gotten 2 huge and heavy boxes of yoga mats out to the car. Thank you Miss Passerby who pointed out the irony that I was getting my workout struggling to get a box of yoga mats in the car – and didn’t offer to help.  *insert blank stare here*

The race isn’t until Saturday morning, but I’m heading out today to see if I can put in some volunteer time at the expo and generally contribute. Especially since I can’t run the race after all. So, if you’re there and you see me, SAY HI!!!

BUT – if you’re not going down to horse country with me…

Friends, let me tell you – this is a *HARD* weekend to be away from home. There are some AWESOME things going on about town. One of those weekends where all the events seem to converge into a whirlwind of too many places to be at once. First – there’s this!

I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview rehearsal of Bolero last week and I don’t think I’ve been more sad to miss a performance all season.  Remember when I said Victoria Morgan doesn’t *do* boring with her choreography? In the preview, there were several moments where I sat forward in my seat and said “HOLY CRAP” under my breath. (Holy Crap! being a compliment and my favorite exclamation of surprise.) My peeps – this is easily a “4-Holy Crap” rated show.  If you go, make sure you watch the corners on the exits – if you don’t you are missing some cool stuff. A few jumps and spins and lifts that I’d need to see in slo-mo to even begin to sort them out.  I’ll also add that after seeing Rodrigo Almarales as Mordred in Camelot, and noticing him again in this rehearsal – this dancer is having one heckuva season! Certainly someone to watch as a shining star in the coming performances.

Also – um, there’s this baseball thing – if you like baseball – BWAHAHAHA.  OPENING DAY is MONDAY!!!! BUT – if you can’t wait until then, there’s a Reds pre-season exhibition game in Louisville w/ the Louisville Bats on Saturday night.  You have no idea how I racked my brain trying to figure out how I could be at the run on Saturday morning, sneak over to Louisville to catch this game, and make it back to Lexington for the post-race party at the Griffin Gate Marriott on Saturday night.  Unfortunately, there’s only one of me. And that girl needs to be in Lexington – so if you make it down to Louisville for the Bats game, have a big ole popcorn for me and scream nice things for JJ & Sam if they get called to the mound. ‘K? (But keep it clean, I’m a nice girl.)

FINALLY, if none of that floats your boat, it’s Final Friday downtown again. Which means the Acro Yoga Jam at You Do Yoga is ON! If you’ve ever been curious about Acro Yoga, this is a GREAT environment to give it a try – lots of talented, experienced people that are happy as larks to show newbies how to fly. At the very least, it’s pretty to watch – so stop in, look around, chat up the studio peeps, then head down the lane to grab a bite at MOTR and listen to some tunes. It’s an excellent use of your time, trust me.

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I’m pretty sure I’d borrow $20 from him and not pay it back.

Except that that’s a lie. But only because I’m a payer-backer. Actually – I’m a not-borrower-in-the-first-placer. But if I was a borrower-in-the-first-placer and I borrowed $20 from Arthur, and I were not a payer-backer, I wouldn’t pay him back. Follow? Then I’d see him again, and I’d ask to borrower another $20 – and ya know what? He’d give it to me. Because that’s the kind of guy Arthur is – he’s trusting.

He’d trust the woman he loved to be faithful. He’d trust the new friend he found to be true. He’d trust the motives of the newcomer, just arrived off the lake.

She isn’t. He isn’t. That guy who smells like fishiness – not so trustworthy.  This is the story of Camelot – where you’re only as good as your word.

Cincinnati Ballet staged the WORLD PREMIERE of the lover’s tale, opening this past Thursday night, and *this girl* was lucky enough to be there!

My friends, it was like Carnival on stage. Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director and CEO of Cincy Ballet, does not *do* boring in her choreography. There were so many whirling colors! Groups in movement. Puppets! There were puppet butterflies and horses! SWORDS! Oh my god! They gave Amador (as King Arthur) & Patric (as Lancelot) swords and then had them spin around! A coupla other guys too. There were a lot of guys spinning around at one point – with sharp objects – at least I think they were sharp – they flashed and clanked like metal. Wooden swords, dull swords – they don’t clank. These swords – CLANK!

Friends, there are many fantastical and magical aspects of this production – too many to credit everyone that deserves accolades. Projections on layered screens, some of the best sets I’ve ever seen in a Cincy Ballet performance and costuming perfection. That’s before we even get to the dancing.

Some things I would be remiss if I didn’t mention – no particular order:

  • The performance of Charlie Klesa as Young King Arthur in the opening scene, along with the ensemble from the Otto M. Budig Academy as Children of the Realm. I can’t recall any ballet beyond the Nutcracker that put so many children front & center – and I was extremely impressed with their technical performance.
  • Janessa Touchet as Guinevere. She is lovely. Ethereal without the accouterments of magic given other characters. It is her regal air that keeps the innocence present in her “meet cute” with Arthur – a memorable scene in itself with its use of scarf props and a butterfly puppet (given life by Julia Concepcion) – and keeps a tryst with Lancelot passionate where it could have easily taken a turn towards vulgar. Instead it was elegant.
  • Zach Grubbs (Gawain), James Gilmer (Percival) and Rodrigo Almarales (Mordred) deliver wit above and beyond the already clever choreography. Their roles offer passion, testosterone and comic relief rolled up in banded tights and flashing swords. Representing the facets of allegiance – Gawain and Percival in its highest value, Mordred in its disregard – they take the tale of Camelot to a greater level than just that of a love story. Camelot is the tale of unity, bound and then broken, beyond one person’s measure.
  • The projection elements that signified the passage of time in Arthur’s growing up kept interest and livelihood in what could have been a tedious scene.

Some things I would’ve liked to see but didn’t – though I’m no expert:

  • A longer transition between group scenes and the more intimate moments. Sometimes the group scenes were so intricate, with so many dancers onstage simultaneously, that transition to 2-3 person scenes felt rushed. I could’ve used a longer moment to process what I had just witnessed before the mood switch into the next sequence.
  • Again, speaking to transitions, I would’ve liked one more transition in the opening sequence as Arthur goes from boy to king. Having only 2 iterations of Arthur forces the dancer into playing “young” a man who is a respected leader of a country and the man who captures Guinevere’s affections.
  • More contrast between Lancelot and the rest of the knights. This is aside from always wanting to see more of my dance-crush Patric Palkens. Lancelot’s character is an outsider who comes in and sweeps Arthur off his feet – immediately becoming his trusted right-hand. There has to be something different about him that sets up that sense of trust. In this instance, his clothing and choreography blend almost too well into the existing band of brothers.
  • Sometimes the stage seemed a little unnecessarily cluttered with people. Especially the joust scenes. Horses, even puppet horses, take up space. I would’ve liked to see the crowd of dancers at the joust paired down to give more focus to the action. Coco Chanel rule applies here.
  • The ending of Arthur throwing his sword to the stars…meh. A bit cheesy for my taste. I think the point would’ve been made better if the child had – having interacted with Arthur – just laid down the sword. Turned from the bloodshed.

The story of Camelot is complex. Characters of significance are numerous. History and subtext, plentiful. Then there’s the magic – the impossibles which need to be made tangible in performance to get the story told. Morgan has to wander treacherous territory to try and make a 90-minute story physical – one misstep and the telling falls apart. On the whole, this is an incredible interpretation. Never boring. Whimsical and comical at times without losing the overarching tragedy of betrayal. Throughout the entire production, Morgan never lets us lose sight of Arthur – the vulnerability of his trust, and our hope that it is not badly invested. That we can believe with him, in our best possibility.

Especially since we owe him 20 bucks.

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Cincinnati Ballet’s telling of Camelot runs through Sunday, February 16th. The ballet’s next performance will be March 28-29th, Symphony in C (a Balanchine piece) & Boléro (also choreographed by Victoria Morgan).

Um – this is coming up – like this weekend. You know, VALENTINE’S DAY weekend.  Opening night is Thursday.

And okay, so I already have tickets, but if you’re short on ideas – tickets are still available and from everything I’ve read and seen, this is going to be an AMAZING premiere.  It should not be missed. And I know some of my less artsy friends are going – the ballet, really?

I’m telling you – the ballet. Really.

There will be jousting. And puppets. I don’t care who you are, you have to like jousting and/or puppets. Maybe even jousting puppets (don’t hold me to that though, I didn’t go to the sneak previews).

Costumes that look like these –

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Image courtesy of Cincinnati Ballet

All sorts of wonder, awe and eye candy. I mean, AWE and EYE-Candy. Two separate things. Not awe-candy and eye-candy. I don’t even know what awe-candy would be. Mike & Ike’s? Watermelon Jolly Rancher Lollipops – those *are* pretty awesome.  I digress…

Go. Seriously. Go.

Also, there’s usually chocolate in the lobby at intermission. In case you wanted to get something for that Valentine that already has tickets…

Peeps, I am telling you – home improvement…just those two words – while generally exciting – this week, they make me need a nap. And if I’m being perfectly honest with you – I’m barely doing any of the work. The husband – he’s exhausting me just watching him get shiz done. When I ran out of staycation week, there was still a lot to be done and then I got BUSY! He pulled the short straw on this one and I owe him BIG! BIG! BIG!  The house is almost all yellow-ed up!

When you hear a really loud HALLELUJAH!! next weekend – it’ll be because the housepainting is finished.

I am not religious at all – agnostic heart, I have. But some things, they warrant really loud Hallelujahs even if it’s just the wind listening. Then duck, cause lightening.

Friends, some day I will tell you my story of this house. That is not this day.

This day is about –

Crap. What is it about? I got some stuff to catch you up on. And some stuff to tell you all about. So it’s kind of a catching up while catching what’s coming maneuver. Somewhere, Ryan Hanigan just cocked his head to the right and went, ‘WHAT?’ and he had no idea why. Sorry, Ryan. I’m abusing my baseball catching words again.

Playing Catch-Up

There’s been scraping, painting, crafting yoga classes, teaching yoga classes, homework for teacher training, etc.  – things to be done. Which means I’ve missed a lot of other stuff, namely running group meets, and time to write. When push comes to shove, I can run on my own odd times, so running group obligations have to shift for a bit.  I miss my running group. BADLY. Hopefully, I’ll be able to join up with them again starting next week.  BUT – while I’ve missed out on some runs – some other things have happened. First off, I made a new running friend – who can meet on one of my flex days and also likes to work out in the pre-dawn hours. We’ve got a little pace differential to work on, but I enjoy her company. Pace differentials don’t matter so much when you enjoy someone’s company – and also when they know about coyotes. Apparently, we were accompanied by coyotes at 5:30 the other morning. Me = clueless. She made sure we weren’t dinner. I got educated. A friend that will run with you at 5:30 in the morning AND not feed you to coyotes – gold I tell ya. They are gold!

Also, changed up my training plan (again). Ramming my shoulder into the ground a few weeks ago really threw any weight training (& quite a few yoga moves) right out the window. I had to figure out something though. The husband and I – we started meeting with a trainer once a week. A dude who is really enthusiastic, trained in gymnastics & martial arts, and perfectly willing to kick both our asses every Sunday morning. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked with a trainer building a program around just me ( & Eric) – and I have to say, it’s very, very nice. Also, last week we met him up at Burnet Woods to work out outside. It was GLORIOUS! The next best thing to a run outside is a full body workout outside. Y’all, Mother Nature provides plenty of obstacles.

Also, 5-6 weeks later, I can finally get a sports bra shirt on and off, and put the car in reverse again without wincing or needing help.  Do not, if you can help it, ram your shoulder into the ground at full speed. It is not a good idea.

I nailed down teaching two more regular yoga classes – Tuesday evenings and every other Sunday at Move Your Body Fitness in Erlanger. It’s a brand spanking new studio and so I got to pick times that work well for me. The place officially opens 9/28, but I taught my first class there for the “soft opening” just today. No one showed up – which is typical of a new studio – so no worries there. Rather than bail entirely, I pulled my mat over to the big windows and worked through my class there so people could see something going on in the business. Yoga-fy and they will come! I know it!  Really, please come!

Playing Catch Me if You Can

Tomorrow night (Weds), I’ll be heading over to Cincy Ballet’s Kaplan New Works. As I mentioned before, it’s that time of year again. Ballet season if firing up – and there is no better way to fire up than Kaplan. Friends, I know there are those of you that are going to roll your eyes at the mention of ballet – but this ain’t your grandmother’s ballet. Kaplan programs are sensual eye feasts. Unexpected musical twists. Risqué choreography. They are powerful, sexual, visceral pieces.  Especially with Cincy Ballet kicking off their 50th anniversary season – WHOA! THIS SHOW IS GOING TO BE GOOD!

I had the privilege of attending a preview night last week – and to be honest, I was hoping they’d choose the Johnny Cash Man in Black piece to showcase since I’m a JC fan – but they didn’t. They showcased a world premiere by Val Caniparoli called Caprice. Sometimes it’s a good thing when you don’t get what you want. First off, there’s another thing akin to the “chin thing” I wrote about last year – the girls, they just can’t stop kissing Patrick. And then there was this flippy thing – that in all my years of ballet, I would have to go slow-mo on it to even begin to figure out what was happening. Do not blink. You do not want to miss the flippy thing. It will catch your breath in your chest and hold it. That doesn’t even touch the music – 9 Paganini violin “caprices” performed live via 2 CCM graduate students onstage. If you are not familiar with Paganini caprices, they are technical violin on steroids. Extremely difficult to play and listening to them makes my heart ache. (Did I mention I took violin once upon a time too?)  I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE THIS SHOW! Dear boys (or girls, I don’t judge), if you’re looking for some brownie points on date night with the girl – Kaplan new works runs through 9/22 – there are several after party events – and you can get tickets here.

Since we couldn’t take pictures at the preview – there were already 5 separate camera tripods set up for promo shots – I’ll flip you some of the shots from ballet day at GABP. In case you were wondering, I saw principal dancer Amador (he threw out the first pitch) after the preview – he wears his Reds ballcap around the dance studio.

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A 720-degree windup, done a couple feet in the air.

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Amador getting serious.

Reds tickets fell into my lap for 9/23 – and I’m thinking about going again on 9/27 for the last Reds social media night of the season. Actually, I’m trying to talk the husband into going to that whole series to get my fill of baseball (between that and playoffs, of course) before the season closes. Thinking about volunteering at Redsfest this year.

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Chapman caught for Amador.

This weekend is the Hudy 7k/14k – which is sold out. I’m registered for the 14k. I’ve been so busy this Summer that I’ve barely been doing any racing, so it’ll be interesting to dive into the masses with this one and see how I’m doing. Knowing that I’ll get to see most of my running pack at this run makes me really happy to go do it – ready or not with the legs.

Finally – I’ve got a trip to Lexington coming up first weekend in October where I’m sure I’ll be taking LOTS of photos. I’ll have loads to share with you after that and I’m SO. DANG. EXCITED. about it that every time I get on 75-S and see the sign to Lexington, I swear my car wants to go that way! There will be bourbon and horses and donuts and running and LOTS AND LOTS of good things.  I need to keep part of it under wraps until I get back, but trust me peeps – this is some good stuff coming.

So that’s what I got. Good things, peeps. Good things. Also, I’ll share with you – from the Reds website – if you haven’t seen the video of Amador styling the Reds starting rotation, it’s pretty funny.  Also, video of his pitch, complete with 720-degree windup.

Friends, *whew*! I have been a busy girl!

Lots of things going on! All good and fun and happy.  All of which make it a bit of difficult to sit down and write – so this is going to be a piecemeal kind of quickie (you’re welcome), but some of the things that are going on are pretty cool and I should probably get them all shared with you.

First – since thanks to the Reds Social Media night on 8/9 (which was really fun and I have some things I want to write about that SOON (before I forget them)), I’ve made a LOT more Twitter friends that are Reds fans, I want to tell you that I’ll be there this upcoming Sunday 8/25 – which happens to be Cincinnati Ballet’s Day at the ballpark.

Baseball, ballet and the opportunity to take photos of both? SWOON! I am SO THERE! 

If someone handed me an egg sandwich and a German Shepherd puppy, I just don’t think I could get any happier.  It’s like all of my favorite things in one big stadium-sized basket!  Cincinnati Ballet has a day at the ballpark to benefit their CincyDance! program. From the Reds website:

“…[CincyDance!] program which brings dance and arts education to schools and community centers. This program provides free ballet classes and scholarships to young people with no previous formal dance training. Cincinnati Ballet aspires to take a long-term approach to exposing children from a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds to ballet, and to give them the chance to learn both the discipline and the joy of dance in a safe, structured and supportive environment.”

You can get discounted tickets to the game by using the promo code BALLET on the Reds ticket website. It’s like you’d be watching baseball for a good cause y’all!  So GO!

And if you’re at the game –  I’ll be there solo – give me a tweet (twit?) at @swlikeablegirl to say hi.

I’ll also be at the ballpark  Friday night 8/23, but that’s kind of a date night with the husband…and then I’m also celebrating my birthday at the game on 9/3 (Cardinals series!!) and heading out there with the in-laws on 9/4.

Peeps – it has been raining Reds tickets in my world this week, and I am totally okay with that.

Speaking of the ballet – it’s almost September again, which means as baseball season starts to wind down, dance season starts.  The Kaplan New Works Series will be firing up again mid-September and it looks like it’s going to be AMAZING! Ballet to Johnny Cash. Really, do I need to say more? Okay, how about I say Patric Palkens is the guy in the promo/ad with the tattoo on his stomach – remember when I wrote about him?  GO!

Been taking photos at Final Friday Acro Yoga again – posted another album and got an amazing response to the pics! YAY! Still building my confidence with putting photos out into the world. This one in particular got an amazing response:

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For me personally, I see a lot of joy in that photo – everyone looks happy – and the thought that that’s what people are responding to makes me really happy. Taking the picture brings me joy.

Getting the 5:30AM yoga class off the ground has been SLOOOOOW! Way slower than I thought it would be, but I’m tremendously lucky that my friends (the studio owners) are being really supportive and are trying to help me figure out how to make it work.  I think I’ll have some changes coming up mid-September on the approach and we’ll see what that does with getting more yogis in my door.  In some ways, the slow start has been good because it’s given me an opportunity to work out the kinks in my teaching style as a newbie with a much smaller audience.  So, that’s less embarrassing than I think it would be. I’ve got another friend opening up her own studio in October and we’re working on my picking up a few classes there, so that will increase my teaching opportunities as well.  AND – the 500-hour training program kicked off last weekend – so there’s that kind of busy coming my way too. Yikes! Who knew there would be so much homework in yoga class?!

I’m registered for the Hudy 14k on September 21st.  I did that one 2-years ago – the 7k – and let’s just say there were some extremely awkward technical difficulties (*cough* forgot to put down the 7k turnaround markers then ran out of lots of things*cough*). It will be interesting to revisit that in year 3 and see the changes they’ve made. 

I think I have another race before that though – a friend is on the Board of the ZERO Prostate Cancer Race scheduled for Sept 7th that I’d like to go support – Cancer is a scary mean bitch – and I say that knowing full well I just cussed. Unfortunately that’s also the day that I’m throwing a paint party at my house AND the weekend I promised I’d go cheer some friends on at the Rev3 70.3 in Cleveland.  Holy calendar confusion!  We’ll see how that all works out.

I’ve got some more even than that to add in – some cool running stuff, a change-up (again) in the training plan, an update on the shoulder injury – but “quickie” turned into 900+ words already – so I’m going to save them up for later.  I’ve got a few more photos from Final Friday Acro Yoga that I’ll be putting up in the meantime – feedback encouraged!

Keep the peace! And give me a holler if you make that 8/25 Reds game! (Please!)

…was watch spark in action. The flare of something new passing over young faces.

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The thing that once seen can’t be unseen, makes your eyes light up and your toes twitch.

The last weekend of Macy’s Artswave Sampler took place this weekend, and if you can’t already guess from the things I’ve written before, this is a bit of what they’re looking at:

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CBII Trainee, Irene Przywara

Rayleigh Vent & Daniel Powers accompanied by their lovely smiles.

Rayleigh Vent & Daniel Powers accompanied by their lovely smiles.

Dancers from the CBII company of the Cincinnati Ballet hosted the strong imagination of a flock of children. The “day in a dance student’s life” was followed by…

whirling bright colors from Anaya Gypsy Dance

whirling bright colors from Anaya Gypsy Dance

the discipline of Kung Fu from Blue Ash Shaolin Do

the discipline of Kung Fu from Blue Ash Shaolin Do

Visions that go like lightening into the dreams of small children.

My own spark to the arts was conjured at the age of 5 by the wizardry of The Nutcracker. Legend has it that I stood up during the performance at Music Hall, pointed to the stage and yelled “I’m going to be a balleter!” at the top of my lungs. It was my first exposure to ballet. One look was all it took. Vision in a child is a powerful gift.

Wanting to be prima ballerinas and ninjas is where we start believing that when we grow up we can do and be anything. Events like Artswave shows us that some of us really can. That dreaming and believing and reality don’t have to be that far apart.

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The Cincinnati Ballet will be hosting the fundraiser Club B event on April 20th (that’s this upcoming weekend!) and Frampton & the Cincinnati Ballet Live on April 26th & 27th.

Oh Cincinnati, how happy I am to be back on your firm, yet comfortable couch with a nice ale nearby. After riding shotgun through one of the worst driving experiences I’ve had – 25mph through a snowstorm that started somewhere near Columbus and ended at Kings Island – I am content to be home. I know, I know – that was Sunday, but still…a snowstorm. On the cusp of April? Color me meh with flecks of traumatized. Should I mow the lawn or snowblow it? Who knows?

Back in the world, back to the business of life, back to the keyboard.

People…for some things, the right words just haven’t been invented yet. You think you know them all, but then a thing happens, and you have to take a moment to try to string together the best syllables that you have at your disposal. Even when you know they won’t be enough. Even when a really long, snowy car ride gives you a few extra minutes to think. Then you still take another day. Not enough.

Last Saturday night, the husband & I pulled out the finery and headed out, once again, to the Cincinnati Ballet. You may recall, I put this on the calendar earlier this month and was really looking forward to the George Balanchine centerpiece Prodigal Son. As infamous as ‘Prodigal’ is in the Balanchine repertoire, I’d not seen it performed before. Pair that up with the intriguing preview of Extremely Close, my guy, and two of my best gal pals who were joining us out on the town – for me, it was an excitement cocktail.

As we took our seats, there were the feathers. Floating ever so gently down, from rafters to stage. Knowing they were there for a reason, I gave myself a moment to let them pull me in. To feel them as much as to see them. Extremely Close would be up first, and right on cue of dimming lights – my dancecrush, Patric Palkens is the first we see dashing onto the stage. Two others follow and, in a complete contrast to the gentle calm of the floating feathers, the three are moving fast! Chains of movement that come together and break apart rapidly. The music, fast-paced piano by Philip Glass and Dustin O’Halloran, leaves no room for a misstep or hesitation. All in all, 8 dancers break into pairings and trios amidst 3 mobile white panels which mirror the push-and-pull tension of the physicality going on around them.

It is about a third of the way into this performance that I cock my head to the right, and the clarity of it all comes crashing down on me. When I saw the preview of the piece, I thought I understood it – though I was a little confused by the “relaxed aggression” description used in the Q&A session. I thought I had it. But oh…now…at least for me, something has become so unexpectedly clear. Something I have not seen in any of the descriptions I’ve read.

What I am feeling, this complex inhale of energy, is Balanchine – but not Balanchine. It is a study of contrasts – stage lights at the back light up subtly enough to create shadow. The stark white panels provide contrast to the dark costuming so the dancers stand out. There are transitions done in slow silence which play against the rapid piano syncopation. What seems so simple to the eye in set design & costuming is contrasted heavily against the alluring and complex choreography.  These conceptual contrasts are the hallmarks of Balanchine! Whether it is the intent or not, this is what I see – and the unadulterated genius of it sets me spinning. Alejandro Cerrudo hasn’t missed a single opportunity in this incredible piece to mesmerize and conflict his audience. To compliment Balanchine (seriously, go google clips of The Four Temperaments) and at the same time be unique. SO ELEGANT. Every little detail is JUST SO ELEGANT. This moment of clarity was where I lost all my right words. I think I actually heard them hit the floor and roll away. I am spun.

Also notable in ‘Extremely Close’ are Janessa Touchet, James Cunningham, Sirui Liu, and Maizyalet Velazquez. Though, to be honest, I call them out more because their sections were my favorite parts as much as any other reason – because everyone was amazing. Honestly, there is not a single spot on this visual masterpiece which did not entrance me. It is a contender for being my favorite ballet. Ever.

Following EC was the World Premiere of Concerto #4, choreographed by Cincinnati Ballet’s own Devon Carney. Following the themes of contrast and Balanchine, as intensely carnal as EC was, ‘Concerto’ is light, airy and innocent. Virgin. It is happiness via Bach and pointe shoes. Perhaps an homage to Divertimento No. 15 or Jewels. Again, Balanchine, but not Balanchine, though the influence here is more direct than Cerrudo’s.

Finally, we get to the actual Balanchine choreography in Prodigal Son – or do we? Here is the crux of the thing. The flirtation that is driving me mad. One of the most unique features of Prodigal is that it tells a story – a feature for which George Balanchine wasn’t known. At least the GB works with which I am most familiar do not bog down in details of fables. There are some others out there, but they are not the most common. Balanchine is about music and movement entwined. That’s it. So, Prodigal Son, in the very nature of its story telling continues the thread – THIS IS BALANCHINE. But Balanchine, in this work, is not yet the Balanchine we know so well. All of the revolutionary methods are there, but wrapped up in story. Similarly, in this work, we see a Cervilio Miguel Amador that we thought we knew. When you think he can’t get any more amazing, it’s as if he channels some inner daredevil that flings him up to the topmost height – just a little further than where we thought he could go. I would be remiss if I did not mention how the entire audience around me gasped when he ran up the table, sure he would fall – or held their breath at the crucifixion imagery he presents stripped down of all his possessions. Likewise, Ms. Sarah Hairston – girrrrrl, you made some people blush. I might have been one of them. For all the subtle visceral pleas of Extremely Close, Prodigal Son is unflinchingly open about the sexuality between the son and the seductress.  Yet, somehow, in all of this unabashed passion, there is the comic relief of the “drinking companions”.  More contrasts – subtle v. open, passionate v. comical. It leaves you so torn. How were you just laughing with Amador a moment in the pub when now your heart bleeds at the sound of yet another knee-strike on the stage as he drags himself home, where – with a nod to Devon Carney in the role of the father, he is unexpectedly welcome? How?

In the final moments of Prodigal Son, a single white feather comes drifting down from the sky. Whether that was intentional or not, the timing is perfect. Poetically, we are where we began with the contrast of floating calm against this intense scene in one small motion. As it strikes the ground, son & father dim. The performance is done.

Oh. my. God. Yes, loves, that was me and my crew on our feet in front of the tech box upstairs applauding like mad.

Every single time I venture out to the ballet, it is better than the last. The ballet’s next events include the Club B benefit on April 20th and Peter Frampton and the Cincinnati Ballet Live on April 26th & 27th. Go! You have got to go!