Like Magic to the Body

Poster for a concert
Purchase Cares: A Benefit Concert for Dancers Responding to AIDS

Last night was a magical experience, so let me try and explain why.  There was a benefit concert held at my college for Dancers Responding to Aids. This concert featured dance pieces, musical performances and collaborations of the different arts; all created specifically for the concert, and to raise money for this cause. Overall, the concert and online fundraising prior to the show raised almost $3,000 for the organization! It is a pretty amazing thing when you realize that you can use your art for a good cause, and help to make a difference. That is one of the many reasons I love what I do.

I had the privilege of performing in a piece alongside my entire Senior dance class of 2016 (which consists of 32 dancers). We realized that it was the first time (and also the last since graduation is in 2 weeks) that we had all actually been able to perform together in the same piece. Although we always have technique classes together throughout the week, performing is just such a different and invigorating experience.

The greatest aspect of it, was that we all felt an incredible supportive and loving energy that was spread across that stage as we performed alongside each other. Every single one of us was smiling at one another and really connecting on stage. That is 32 authentic smiles all in one space at the same time. Now I call that powerful. The energy that was in the theater I can only define as the feeling of magic crackling through the air, into our muscles, and our hearts. I hope the audience was able to feel the magic, but I know that 32 unique and amazing dancers sure did.

I just thought I would share this experience while it is still fresh in my memory.

~Victoria

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My Creation

For my Senior composition project, I created a piece based off of those wonderful but horrible, pesky but invigorating, butterflies that you feel whenever you are around someone that you like or are attracted to. My piece evolved and made a journey from this original concept to the final product, incorporating the idea of staying true to yourself while also encompassing the different worlds of dream and reality along the way.

It took a good amount of time for this work to morph into the final product, and up until the day of the performance there were still changes that I was debating whether or not I should make. However, it is a work that I am proud of- which is unusual for me. I normally am extremely critical of my own choreography and do not always feel positively about the end result, but in this case I did. It also didn’t hurt that I had the best cast of dancers to work with. So, here it is below. I hope you enjoy!

 

~Victoria

Pull it up, or pull it down?

This past weekend I had the privilege of doing what I love once again-dancing on stage. Performing in front of a large audience just brings such vivacity into life in a way that other things cannot, although nerves, doubtful thoughts, inner turmoil, and exhaustion like to tag along. Double the fun too, if it includes a fairly large cast of dancers that you get to share the experience with up on the stage (which it did). So all in all, this weekend was a fun one. It was my dance conservatory’s Spring Concert, and I had the privilege of performing in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, which originally premiered in 1946. If you don’t know anything about this particular ballet of good ol’ George’s, here’s a little info.

The Four Temperaments begins with three separate themes. Each takes the form of a duet, with one woman and one man. I had the honor of performing the woman’s role (for obvious reasons), in the second theme. The ballet then goes on to portray four different temperaments, as the title alludes to. These temperaments being: melancholic, sanguinic, phlegmatic, and choleric. Lastly, all of the dancers appear back on stage for the finale, which incorporates movement vocabulary from each of the four temperaments previously portrayed.

Additionally, The Four Temperaments is one of Balanchine’s Black and White ballets- meaning that the costume worn by the dancers is only a black leotard and pink tights for the ladies, and  a white shirt and black tights for the gentlemen. This basic costume, which mimics everyday practice clothing, allows for visible clean lines, and doesn’t hide anything (almost not hiding what it needs to hide).

Part of this whole performance experience involved wearing the actual black leotards and pink tights worn by the New York City Ballet dancers. So for one, these costumes were very old. The black belts worn around our waists were fraying by the minute and we had to be extremely gentle in order not to poke holes in the delicate leotard fabric. For two, these costumes were also quite small. The tights no longer had stretch in them, so they were constantly falling down, but the leotard was the best part. That moment when you are in the wings preparing yourself to look just right as you take your first step on stage (where you would normally just adjust a strap, tweak a bobby pin, or just take a deep breath) I would pull the leotard up. But nope, that wouldn’t do, so I’d pull it down, but then pull it up again, but nope back down it goes- there just wasn’t enough fabric to cover everything necessary.  However, when performing, you’ve got to pretend none of this is happening. Even if a wardrobe malfunction does occur while on stage, you can’t exactly stop, turn around and tell your partner to hold up a minute, and fix it. That’s just not how live performances work.

Here is a picture of my wonderful partner (seriously though he is the best partner ever) and I backstage before the performance. As you can see, the leotard is quite small.

Dressing room photo
The Four Temperaments-Theme Two

Anyway… I hope the audience enjoyed seeing a decent amount of my booty on stage this weekend (I chose to pull the leotard up). Despite the tiny costume and surrounding difficulties, I had so much fun performing this piece, and I would love to have the chance to dance it again in the future.

~Victoria