Friday, August 27, 2010


When I was a little boy, during my first year at the NC School of the Arts, I was offered a special opportunity. I was offered the chance to be in the classic ballet "Petrouchka." It would have required about one or two weeks of extra rehearsal in the evenings, and since my family lived about an hour away from school (and we were accustomed to only traveling to the school a couple of days a week at the time,) my parents decided that it would be best if I didn't do it.

When the performance went up, my parents took me to see it. It was fun to see my peers on stage, and I enjoyed every moment of the ballet. When we got into the car though, I lost it. Tears came from every which direction. I know now that my parents felt absolutely horrible. I suppose it was at that moment that we all realized that this ballet thing wouldn't simply be a "phase."

Last week I auditioned for a production that will be in the New York Musical Festival or "NYMF" as it is called. Long story short, I booked it. It's the first thing I've booked since I've been up here, and it is something that my agents sent me in for. The name of the newly envisioned piece,


Mom and Dad, rest easy tonight. I guess this means you're off the hook.

The End.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A New Season.

The Kansas City Ballet began their 2010-2011 season today. It hit me pretty hard, as I had expected it would, for the first time. I'm no longer on the website, I am definitely not a part of that company anymore. I'm not being dramatic (well maybe a little,) but it really was strange for me to think about today. I'm glad that I spent last year preparing myself for this.

I find it interesting that even with it being my choice to leave, it is still a huge adjustment when I realized that I really wouldn't be going back again. The company goes on without me-as it should. I really believe even more fervently right now that it is immensely important that dancers choose when to leave their careers behind if it is in any way possible. I can't imagine not being ready for the next phase of life.

I find myself coming full circle now and really want to spread encouragement to the younger generation to enjoy their careers if they're lucky enough to land a job in this field. It's too short not to enjoy it. When it comes time to move on, I'd like to further encourage dancers to be brave and generous enough to do just that-move on. Now, I'm merely referring to the circumstance where someone may continue dancing because it is all they know how to do and all they are comfortable with. I do believe there comes a time when it is someone else's turn to fulfill their passion ESPECIALLY when a dancer may not be doing it for the love of the art anymore.

I find pride in dancers who make long careers of this form and still acknowledge the love for it. I wish my former fellow dancers as well as my "replacements" the best for the future. May they love and be fulfilled by what they do for many, many years.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Suddenly, I found myself sitting with two ladies I had gone to NCSA with and hadn't seen in over eleven years. One of them had hired the other two of us to teach for her ballet school's dance intensive. At that moment, however, we were sitting outside sharing wine and stories, reconnecting and reminiscing about old school days. It suddenly dawned on me, we were now the ones in charge. We were remembering the days when we knew each other, and at that time we had been the ages of the students we had taught that day. My, how the years fly.

We shared our thoughts on how the things that we felt worked in our training and those that didn't. We shared our views on what we had kept with us from our teachers and those things we didn't agree with from their methods. We had three entirely different experiences, different opinions, but one thing was the same, we were all there together with a common bond. That was a wonderful school that had trained us and helped us develop our distinct personalities. Now, it was our turn.

Today, I finished my two day teaching excursion in Maryland, and I feel refreshed and ready to head back home to New York. I'm not going to be returning to the Kansas City Ballet next week when my former colleagues do, but I am experiencing something new and exciting, scary and exhilarating, and perhaps slightly insane! It's my journey though, and I'm loving every moment.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Learning my way.

Yesterday, I once again attended an audition for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. They had been my first audition after I "retired" from the ballet. I'm learning that often, auditors teach the same combination at each audition. Thereby, I was able to think a little less and focus on performing. I made it a bit further than I did the first time before I was once again cut, but hey! I'm gonna look at that as progress!

Now, this method of teaching the same combo over and over for years and years can be frustrating if it's your first time auditioning. Another show that I auditioned for two days ago had a fun but quirky dance that we were learning. Most of the guys in the room knew it before going in, and thereby had quite the advantage.

I have an idea. If ever I'm in a place to be running an audition, I'm going to try to have a couple of combos. Thereby, (in theory) I can shake it up a bit so that those who already know the choreography won't have as unfair an advantage. Of course it's inevidible if one has been attending the same audition for five years that they'll know the choreography, but still, there has to be a way to at least try to level the playing feel. It could be wishful thinking.

These auditions can be quite cutthroat. So many people want jobs, and often it seems that there is little that some will stop at to get them. I'm working to stay friendly as I need to be but overall positive. While I'm not there to make friends, I definitely don't want to come across as negative, snarky or rude, beause I never know which of these dancers I may have to work with someday.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The waiting game can be the hardest part of my profession. I suppose that's how it is in any profession in which one is waiting to find out the outcome of a job interview. Auditioning is like fishing. You cast the line and reel it in and occasionally you get a bite. The tough thing is that YOU'RE the one at the end of the hook as bait! Sometimes just as in fishing, there seem to be nibbles or positive feedback only to pull the line in and find a half-eaten worm! The difference of course is that our pride can be what gets bitten off by the "fish." It's hard, and keeping that tough skin is definitely necessary. (Well, this analogy made sense to me!)

I'm learning patience already. I know that I've only been here for about eleven weeks, but I can already see more than ever how one needs to be touch up here. Rejection is hard, but if one can't get past oneself and keep moving onward, there's no way to survive. I'm finding ways to make it pleasant for myself even when I get cut by focusing on other aspects of my life that I enjoy. It really helps. I do have to make conscious efforts to remind myself when I get cut that "it just isn't my turn yet." But oh, do I feel it coming.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Nutcracker Fall Video...

If you're been reading this blog for a while, you may remember my story about falling during the Trepak (Russian) dance in "The Nutcracker." It was a role I had performed for about nine years, and it became epic on my opening night of my final run with this role. Even if you haven't been reading for a while, I'm pretty sure this clip is entertaining enough. I also gave a silly update at the end of it as to how my luxurious "Retirement" is going so far. Enjoy!!

Ok, so I tried to post the link, it didn't work, so go to Youtube and search for:

Matthew's Nutcracker Fall 2009

There will be a picture of me wearing a white Panama hat.