Friday, April 30, 2010


Life is so strange. While I was going through my things during my huge packing excursion, I came across several old letters. Several were from old pen-pals from ballet summer study sessions of yore. There was one that I found, and it made me think of how sad it is when we lose contact with people. This person and I had some great times when we were away from home at the ripe old age of 13.

Well, tonight, I received a “friend request” on Facebook, and long story short, it was this person! I find it exhilarating that these types of things seem to keep happening to me this year! I had literally been thinking about her the week before, and then she found me! Wild!

It is easy for me to find all of this exciting and think that it’s some sort of cosmic gift being bestowed on me by the Universe as a “retirement” gift. However, it makes me pause to think. I bet these kinds of gifts are always around us. There are just times in our lives when we are more open to being able to see them. What would it be like if I was always open and able to see the gifts that are given to me daily? Well, honestly, I think that would get to be boring. I’m enjoying the novelty of these pleasant surprises. I think that I can accept that good things are always coming to me, but would never want to take them for granted. I like the constant ebb and flow of being surprised just when I need it. I guess I’ve really been needing it lately with all of the emotions I’ve been going through!

Speaking of these things. Tomorrow will be my last full rehearsal day in the studios of the Kansas City Ballet. Wowsa.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A closed chapter.

I did it. I moved out of my apartment-completely. The only thing I have left to do is hand over my keys. At 11:52 am yesterday, I completed cleaning and rushed from my apartment to work for a 12:05 rehearsal. I made it. I kept expecting to have a reaction to the fact that I had just become “homeless” so to speak. Nothing happened. Until later that night.

I went to see my roommate-to-be in a musical being done by the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. The performance was being put on in a theatre that I could see from my old place. The show was a wonderful piece that blended Shakespeare’s “Othello” with political points about the harmful aspects of war. They had me at “Hello” with the subject matter as I have recently portrayed Iago, and I love seeing renditions of that story. I managed to keep myself together throughout the show.

Then, afterward, as I sat in my car to leave, it hit me. I was driving away from my home. I realized that the apartment I could have walked to from the theatre was no longer where I live. I was driving in the opposite direction. A wave of emotion poured over and out of me as I experienced fear, excitement, panic and doubt about my upcoming move. All the while knowing still that I’ll be just fine, yet I was still freaked out.

This was my first meltdown of the week. I have been anticipating some in the upcoming days, but I wasn’t sure when the surprise would come. Well, there was number one, and I’m glad I got that out of the way. I feel much better now, and I will continue to feel more comfortable as I get used to my beautiful BIG new surroundings.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm gonna make it!

One more carload! I can do it all in one more carload! I think. Then I'll have the joy of cleaning the place for the inspection-yuck. I am so excited to be out of that apartment. It's a huge load off. Hopefully, within the next two weeks I'll hear good news about acquiring a place in New York. Everything has been going so smoothly overall, that I have no reason to doubt that the rest of it will fall into place. I will be excited to report.

It's strange getting used to living in such a HUGE house! It's fun though! My dog is slowly getting used to the place, but boy did he seem disoriented. I suppose that makes two of us.

Well, I've been writing this on a break from work, so I'm going back now. I am finding it more and more fun to watch my coworkers dance. This is my last week in the studio before performance week, and it is all completely surreal. I've never wanted time to go slowly and quickly at the same time so much as I do now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My first night "home."

What a house! I am floored by the generosity of my host! The house I am staying in is amazing. I joke that I'm going from living alone in a large one bedroom loft to living alone in a three story house to living with two maybe three roommates in a shoebox! Oh what an adventure.

I am almost moved out of my apartment, and it really is strange. I can't get out of here fast enough. It just isn't my home anymore. I feels erie without all of my things. So, short post, but I have to keep moving!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My last night "home."

I am so lucky that I have such wonderful friends in my life. Tomorrow, I will begin moving to my temporary home. My friend has recently purchased a house, and he is allowing me to stay there until I leave for New York. I am floored by his generosity.

I found my first rental agreement for the loft that has been my home, and I realized that I had lost track of time. I've actually been living here for seven years, and I thought it was six. Tonight, I will spend my final night in my apartment (unless I crash on the floor while cleaning this week.)

Suddenly, something weird is happening. It isn't home anymore. I feel as if I'm being released from it. It's a wonderful place, and I'm sure my sentimental side will kick in at any moment, but I am simply so overwhelmed with this move, that I can't wait to be out of here. I have to have it emptied and cleaned by Friday the 30th. Oh boy. Well, here I go. The good thing about this deadline is that it will put me in a good place for my performance week. I would have been really stressed to be trying to move during that.

Well, so long my wonderful loft. You have been a safe place as I asked you to be. What an amazing residency. You'll be hard to live up to.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Moving Insanity.

I can barely walk through my apartment because of all of the boxes. How can one accumulate so much in a one bedroom apartment?!? It's driving me mad, and the problem is, I don't know what I can get rid of! I need to get an unbiased friend to help me feel ok with getting rid of stuff.

Today, one fun thing I found was the old budgeting workbook my parents had made for me when I first moved to Kansas City. In it were worksheets designed to help me know exactly where my money was going. It was wild to see that my income that first season was just over $10,000! Somehow, I made it work! I felt rich. I still say today that the first year I was making a living was the most financially free one yet. I was so happy to be living on my own.

Well, now I'm going to be starting over again financially in a sense. Sure, I'm going into things with quite a bit more in the bank than the first time, but I am also going into things with a much smaller paycheck than I'm used to-at least at first. One thing that the two experiences will definitely have in common is my excitement factor. I am thrilled to meet this new challenge!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lessons learned.

You learn a lot when you live in a place for ten years. I have really grown up in Kansas City. As my "retirement" approaches, I am finding myself reflecting not only on the successes of my career and what I have learned onstage, but also that which I have gleaned from life experience offstage.

One thing that dance has taught me is that without heart and the emotional commitment to one's work, the art form is shallow. When you don't bring every emotion to a role, whether it be character or abstract, you miss out on the chance to make great discoveries. While making these discoveries, you learn how far to take a role. You definitely learn when you've taken it too far, and sometimes this can be a sobering thing. It can result in a bad revue or ending up on your ear. Nevertheless, you have to be willing to take the risk in order to reach one's fullest potential. Learning this over the years has made me grow from a school student into an artist. I don't have to be everyone's favorite artist, but I know that an artist I am.

I want to take this a bit further and point out that this has helped me offstage. Dancers are passionate, and we often have a hard time leaving this passion at work. There are direct relationships to what I said above and how I have conducted myself in my life that have taught me many things. I have learned when I am playing it too safe. I have also learned from the times I have taken risks and have gone too far. Those times have been painful, but I have learned the most from them. Those times were/are needed in order to figure out who I am as a person. I'm not there yet, I'm pretty sure it will take me the rest of my life. (well, duh.)

I love that I am able to take what I have learned from my chosen profession and apply it to my life. Every artist has his or her own relationship to their craft. Some may see it as I do, but some may be able to detach and simply do it as their job and be fulfilled by that. One way is not more correct than the other. However, what I have shared is my experience, and I hope that I will continue to learn as I go. It's painful to learn from mistakes, but oh, the hope of being a truly great artist and even further-a truly great person would be such a dream come true.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Students.

They don't cease to amaze me. They are a hot mess at times, but I can't help but love my students. Tonight, we had the first run through of their Spring concert. Parts of my piece still need a lot of work before I'll be happy with it, but I could definitely see their effort. Sometimes, it's easier to feel that the "other" pieces are the ones the kids care most about, but that's only because my ego is attached to my own work.

I know that classical ballet is not the favorite genre of many of the students, but as it is my forte, I feel that I shouldn't slack off when choreographing for them. Who knows, I may be their main exposure to the form.

This said, I was terribly impressed by them tonight. The show is still a week and a half away, and I will be excited to see it completed. I am going to miss being a teacher and resident choreographer. Since I have been there for eight years, it is almost as much a home to me as the KC Ballet. It's hard to think of closing two chapters at once, but it is amazing to think that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of something so wonderful.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I have been coming across many wonderful things as I've been packing and "downsizing." I have kept many letters over the years from family and friends. I came across many of the "Merde" (good luck) cards from early on in my career from my colleagues, bunches of letters from my parents than span back all the way to when I was thirteen and fourteen until now, and I have also come across some old "pen-pal" letters. Does anyone remember those?

Well, once upon a time there were objects called "pens" or "pencils," and people used to drag them across something called "paper" in specific designs. Then, the paper was folded and placed into another piece of folded paper-oh, gosh! Just the thought of it is wearing me out! How primitive! How did we ever live in such a world?!?

Seriously though, it is so nice to have these tangible pieces of my past. I did put a few of them into the trash can-but probably not as many as I should! I was able to get back in touch with some of my old friends via Facebook, and that was quite wild! One of them who was sixteen when we last corresponded now is married with one two year old child and another due any day now!

I was thrilled to find letters from some of my friends who I had met in high school and have remained part of my life ever since. I know that I will have them as long as we are alive. I think fourteen years makes us all stuck with each other!

Finding these letters is yet another much needed reminder that the life path that I am on is the correct one. With its many twists and turns, some things do stay constant. When I play my cards correctly, or at least as well as I can, the people I love are there for me, and things seem to go my way. I am thankful for that, and I'll keep playing the game as long as I'm able.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Something that some of the dancers have enjoyed doing together annually is going on a camping trip. I was excited to get to go on one last trip this weekend with them. I hadn't been on one in a couple of years, so it was a lovely reunion for me.

Getting to stay up late and laugh and play games together is such a fun diversion from our hectic lives of rehearsing. We're all able to put aside the dramas of work and just be plain goofy. Taking this time is a reminder of the much needed break from work that humans need in order to remain healthy in life.

As usual, this was bittersweet for me. I felt sad much of the time even in my happiness. I was reflective and allowed myself to sit by the lake this morning and journal about the changes that are happening in my life.

Last night, I actually had a dream about my last day of work. It was actually about my last moments bowing onstage and the curtain coming down. It was a freaky reminder that this is coming up soon, and it is very real.

What stood out in my dream were my friends. They were around me and encouraging me. I wasn't alone. It's nice to know that I have such great people in my life. People who I can sweat and stink with by a campfire.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"What I did for love."

Tonight, I had the privilege of seeing the national tour of "A Chorus Line" here in Kansas City. I went alone, and I'm thankful that I did. I purchased an inexpensive balcony seat, and I had my binoculars in tow. When I was being seated, the usher told me to take a closer seat because the show wouldn't be sold out. Furthermore, he told me I could move down even closer once the show began.

As instructed, I moved down to a closer seat, and this proved to be disastrous. As the famous opening of the show (which is about auditioning for a Broadway show) began, I completely lost it. To say I became choked up would be an understatement. It was amazing that this show that I am all too familiar with as a classic piece of American theatre now held a different message for me. I quickly and quietely moved back up into the balcony to a seat away from other audience members, and it is a good thing I did! I cried for over half of the two hour and fifteen minute-no intermission show.

Watching this story about hopeful auditionees and what they go through is now my life, and it will begin to be even more so over the next few months. I left the theatre feeling inspired but exhausted. As I let the stories told in that show give me hope and encouragement for what is to come, I renewed a vow to myself. Failure is not an option. I will do whatever it takes to be a success on the highest level I am able to. Perhaps I should just say "God I hope I get it" and leave it at that for now.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Always something there to remind me.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of seeing yet another teacher who impacted my life/training as a young dancer. This keep happening! This made me realize again how incredibly fortunate I have been to have had such wonderful opportunities in my life.

With this knowledge comes the sobering realization that I have a duty to now continue to uphold my end of the bargain. My teachers have given so much to me. They have taught me discipline and countless other lessons that go far beyond ballet technique. During these last several days, I need to work harder than ever I feel to keep my head in the game. It's not over 'til it's over as they say. For that matter, it won't ever be over.

I may not always be a professional ballet company dancer, but I will always be myself, and I will always carry the lessons I have learned with me for the rest of my life. To everyone who has taught me and nurtured me, thank you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I have begun the tedious process of putting things in boxes as I prepare for my move. One of the more difficult things has been sorting through which books to keep and which to get rid of. I am realizing that I am lucky on one side of things because I don't have a lot of things that don't mean much to me, but I am unlucky because this means there isn't much that I'm willing to part with! This may prove problematic moving into a small apartment!

Memories flooded to me as I was putting books in boxes. Three bookmarks in particular made me a bit misty-eyed. One was a bookmark from KC Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" from my second year in the company. It had the picture of a dancer/friend who has long since retired. Another had a theatre schedule from the 2003 Winter Series. It was fun to look back and remember what I was performing then. Another was a hand made Christmas card from a girl who was hired as an apprentice with me and was only here for my first year before moving on. This was perhaps the most special thing because I realized again how important my friendships are to me as I am still in touch with her. I found comfort in this because it is a reminder that even though I may be moving away from my "home," I will still remain in touch with the people who have become so close to me over the years.

It is such a gift to come across memories like these. I am excited to see what more I may dig up as this move continues.

Oh! I received another pleasant surprise this evening when one of my best friends and former coworker called to tell me he would be coming into town tomorrow and staying for the rest of the week! I am looking very much forward to his visit.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Soooo many boxes! I am so fortunate that a friend of mine had about a gazillion moving boxes that I was able to acquire. Now, I think I will begin to feel even a little bit more comfortable taking the next step and loading thing up. I am also very fortunate that people have been coming out of the woodwork to help me with places to stay while I'm briefly homeless in Kansas City.

Baby steps. Baby steps. Back to packing. Not very deep tonight, but that's where I am today (as I always say.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

May 9th.

I realized today that in less than a month I will no longer be employed by the Kansas City Ballet. This has been a title, status symbol and safety-zone all rolled into one for years now, and it will soon cease to be so. Yikes! I am amazed at how laid back I feel about this right now. Should I be freaked out? Why am I so confident? I don't even have an apartment to move into, and I'll be moving out of my current one in three weeks!

One thing is for sure, and that is that I'm ready. I have been realizing that my posts as of late have seemingly less substance than the earlier ones, and I don't find that problematic. It is simply a natural progression and an indication that I am doing what I should be doing and becoming increasingly more at ease with my decision. No, I don't have an apartment yet. Yes, my current apartment is a mess with all of my belongings on the floors. However, I will find a new apartment, and I will somehow manage to move out of this one. All will be well. Why? Because it has to be!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Maintaining relationships.

This will be a short post.

As I have spoken about before, my friendships have been an integral part of my time here with the Kansas City Ballet. They have brought me through good and bad times, and I have learned a lot about the human capacity to love and support. As I prepare to move on, I am inspired by the connections I continue to make with people who I haven't necessarily been close to. It is a reminder to me of how important it is to keep an open mind and heart because you never know who will impact you in life-now or later. It is easy to write people off because of a preconceived notion of who they are or what their personality entails. When we do this, I am learning, we block the chance to make a connection or friendship that may grow into something substantial.

I am encouraged that I am continuing to learn life lessons even at this "down to the wire" time in my journey. I welcome experiences such as this, and I hope to have many more of them.

(See, I said this would be a short post.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A blast from the past.

My apartment looks like Armageddon hit and left no survivors. I have removed everything but clothes from my closets. I feel that I need to see what I have in order to begin pairing things down and organize this move.

As I was checking the pockets of an old back pack, I found two souvenir key chains from auditions for the School of American Ballet (the official school of the New York City Ballet) from my time in high school. It was a treat to think back to the "old days" when I was just an aspiring student wondering if I would make it into a summer training program.

I also stumbled across an old composition notebook from 1996. At the end of summer programs, we as students would write notes to each other as we parted ways-I wonder if the kids still do this now? Page one had a short message from a dancer who I would end up dancing with during my first season with Kansas City Ballet. He is now a principal dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet. It is wild to think of the people you meet at such a young age in this field and how they stay in your life on some level. We really affect one another. It's such a small world.

This makes me once again pause to think how grateful I am for the memories I've made and the people I have met. I know no other lifestyle, but I cannot think that any other field is as unique as this one in this manner. We dancers share something rare. I love it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Saying "Goodbye."

It's happening. I'm beginning to get emotional at weird times. Today, I contemplated using the rest of my personal days in order to have shorter work weeks. It wasn't because I hate being at work. It's because I'm having a hard time being at work. One part of me wants to be there soaking up every last moment, but the other part of me feels the sting of how hard it is to let this place go. Sometimes when saying "Goodbye," people try to find an escape route so as not to have to. That's what I feel like doing at this point. It's just too painful.

I have written a couple of letters now to thank people and groups I have worked with for their impact on my life here, and that has made me a teary mess. I love the ability to put my thoughts into words, but I feel as if I am writing my own eulogy in a way. This sounds hokey and dramatic perhaps, but that's me.

The good thing for me is that I know that I will come back here at some point. This was my first home in a way. Whether I was planning on that or not, it happened. It will forever be a part of me, and thereby deserves the respect I can offer by coming back to it. I find this comforting because I do love it here. I'm glad that I am leaving a place that I want to come "home" to. It speaks to the quality of my life and community here. What a wonderful place to have called home for a third of my life.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Learning new skills is a challenge that I have always enjoyed, but there is something frustrating about learning how to tap dance! Tonight, I did ok in my first class with the younger kids, but I really began to get bummed out in my adult class! As I write this, I'm finding the last couple of sentences quite comical although I wasn't laughing as I slipped and almost landed on my face in class! (that sounds funny now too.)

The thing is, I know that I will continue to rise to the occasion. I know that I can and will only be as good as I am able to be at each moment in time. It's ego that drives me bonkers, and it will always be that which I have to keep in check. Getting frustrated really can only serve to hold me back, and I need to remember that I do find this new tool fun.

Hopefully, as I become a little less stressed and see the details of my move begin to come together in a bit more orderly fashion, I will feel better. For now, I will just go to sleep and be thankful that tonight's disaster is over!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Positive thinking.

I have had such a lovely weekend. My birthday celebration was a success, and many of my close friends attended. I felt really touched. I spent even more time today with some great folks by attending a brunch and a dinner with several of the dancers. Tomorrow, I have yet another day off! Ah, what a much needed three day weekend! Hopefully, I'll feel rejuvenated and ready to go back to work on Tuesday.

This weekend served as a welcome distraction because I have been feeling pretty down due to the fact that I haven't heard anything about summer employment from the theatre in St. Louis. I've now let it go as "I probably didn't book this one," but I'm still willing to be surprised. In the meantime, I can spend my time getting excited about my move and putting all of my energy into that. I am so thrilled to get to spend my summer in New York! I won't just be visiting! I'll be there to stay! At last, a life goal is almost achieved!

A new goal of mine is to learn to be more and more positive in my life. I want to strive to find a way to be happy even when I don't "succeed." Thereby, when I do, I can feel REALLY happy. I think that if I can somehow manage to achieve this attitude, or at least try to have this as my attitude, then I will be much happier and successful in my life in the long run. Life is too short not to enjoy it as much as possible. I am confident that at some point I will be able to look back and see why it is that I didn't book certain things. It's just so hard to be retrospective while still looking forward (if that makes any sense.)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Tonight, several of my friends will gather for dinner and then all go to an adult "prom" that is going on in a beautiful theatre Downtown. To me, this is another measure of the wonderful life I have built here in Kansas City. It's ever strange to think of leaving that behind. No matter how hard one tries, it is inevitable that not everyone will remain in perfect contact with one another after people move away. I will do my best, but I'm sure I will come up short.

In the meantime, I will continue to love and be thankful for the friends that I have.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

That's showbiz.

The waiting game is the hardest part of a "successful" audition. I'm referring to the St. Louis audition I did two weeks ago. People I know have been contacted with job offers, and I'm still waiting to hear if I'm going to get one or not. Well, that's the world I have signed up for now, I suppose.

Somehow, although I am quite anxious to hear something (positive or otherwise,) I feel content in whatever happens. I would love to perform this summer, and let's face it. I've put my eggs into one basket with this theatre. I haven't busted my rear to get work anywhere else. With that in mind, I go to the thought of, "obviously, I was planning to make this a transition summer anyway...." So, if I get a job out of this, it's a cherry on the top. If not, then I do what I originally planned to. I move to New York and get settled in and enjoy the summer. I don't think it has REALLY set in that I am going to live there. Yes, I will be living there-for better or worse!

I remain positive regardless of the outcome of this audition, and I am happy for my colleague who was hired. He is a talented young man who will do quite well in this field. It just goes to show that I'd better not let my guard down.

This is a highly competitive market. I was lucky to have ten years in a ballet company. I've already proven myself in a niche market. You don't have to be as technically "perfect" in the theatre world, but you still have to be darned good. I have to stay sharp.